Stitches West & Beyond

February has been a total whirlwind!  I knew going back to work would happen quickly, when it did happen.  I knew my creative time would take a hit but man, I forgot what a disaster everything else becomes too!

I used to laugh at the parade through my building on Saturday mornings.  First thing…take out the garbage.  Without fail, every Saturday morning, half the building takes out it’s trash.  Then they all parade through the laundry room.  Then it’s the parade to the grocery store.  As you can imagine, it is with great reluctance that I re-join this parade.  It’s all coming back to me though.  I’ve usually gotta work a trip to the post office in there, too.

I’ve been forcing myself to knit at least a few stitches in the evenings.  Slowly, I’m getting back into the swing of maximizing my time.  I’ve finished a bunch of small instant gratification projects recently, hats and toys.  I’ve got a new Dotted Rays shawl on the needles, too…but I’ve had no movement on my steeked sweater.  It is still zipper-less.

 

And then Stitches happened!  Phew!  I’m nearly recovered.  It was a good time and, I’m happy to report my ‘Carrying Coal to Newcastle’ approach worked.

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I filled my bag with stash yarn from home, just as little reminder that I have plenty of great yarn and there’s no need to buy anymore.   It totally worked!  I did not buy yarn at Stitches!  I did buy a couple trinkets…a Willie cool patch and a cute tin with a few little stitch markers.  The flying alpaca-corn became the perfect zipper pull for my notions bag!

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Check out this slideshow to see all my Stitches pictures.  Without serious yarn shopping to do, I took a lot of pictures and looked at lots of samples.  I doubt I even saw half the market floor though.

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And so, another Stitches is in the books.  I’m looking forward to next year when, hopefully, I’ve lifted my self imposed ban on stash acquisitions.  I’m super inspired and motivated to do lots of knitting in March!

Ready…Set…GO!

Zipper Installation Time

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The knitting is done!  Woohoo!  I’ve also secured the steek, cut it and bought the zipper!  I even wove the ends in!  The only thing left to do is sew the zipper in!  Naturally, this means I’m second guessing my design decisions.

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As a pullover, this sweater fit perfect.  I like pullovers with positive ease.  Only problem…it’s a cardigan.  I like my cardigans closer to zero ease.

My first thought was to re-steek the front panels to remove an inch from each side.  That’s two more steeks though…why do twice the work, when I could just trim one front side and have an asymmetric look.  Then I thought, why cut it again at all?  What if I abandoned the zipper and went for a double breasted look?

Big decision.  I’m totally undecided.  And this weekend is Stitches West, which means no time for such focused work.  I’ve got plenty of time to sleep on it.  In the meantime, I’m still wearing it…shawl pins work just fine on sweaters too!

The Race is ON!

It’s official!  I start my new job on Monday.

There’s so much to do between now and then, including finish my sweater!  I’m making really good progress.  The sleeves are done.  Lucky for me, my favorite sleeves are half to 3/4 length.   Just a few more inches on the body and the knitting will be done!

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That’s not the end though.  There’s still a ton of work to be done after the knitting.  Securing & cutting the steek, installing the zipper and then designing & stitching my RBG inspired dissent collar.  No chance this will all be done by Monday but I think it can be ready in time for Stitches.   It’s not for a couple weeks yet but it’ll be here in the blink of an eye!  (My resolve to not buy yarn is still holding strong too!)

Happy Friday!  Anybody else excited for work Monday morning??  lol!  Have a great weekend, Knitters!

 

Must.Knit.Faster.

The race is on.  I feel my unemployment coming to an end very soon.  I started the week with no job opportunities and now, I have two.  Things are looking good on the job front!  Of course, this brings a whole new urgency to my knitting!  Can I finish this before I start a new job?

The good news is…I’m well passed the sleeve divide and into the body.  It’s smooth sailing all the way down to the hem from here.  It’s nothing but stockinette in the round.  I love this bit.  It’s the part of knitting I love the most.  The autopilot part!

The business of steeking, adding a zipper and duplicate stitching the final details will take some time though.  Either way, I think I’ll have a new sweater in time for Stitches.  I’m crossing my fingers!

I’ve also finished an Etsy update because who knows when I’ll have time for that again!  I had fun doing a couple snarky Valentine’s day hoops.  I mean, what’s the point of having a significant other if you can’t share a little snark?

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And of course, now that we’re having a clear spell, I’m making sure to get out and visit my favorite sit and knit for a spell spots while I still can.

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I even met a reporter from our local NPR station to record an interview about The Palace of Fine Arts!  I’ll definitely share when it’s been broadcast.  It was the kind of fun thing I definitely don’t have time for once the job starts up!  I’ll definitely be making the most of my weekend!  Happy Friday!

WIP Wednesday – RBG Squid Ink Fade

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Now that’s it’s finally on the needles, I’m making good progress on my latest sweater.  Of course, any notion of following a pattern was quickly laughed off.  I mean, I could try but it wouldn’t work out.   I started off with a peacock fade but now I’ve decided to go darker with it…a squid ink fade, if you will.

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I started with Idunn, a Knitty pattern by Ragga Eirikisdottir.  Initially, I thought, I’ll just knit this sweater as is.  The yoke details could pass as an RBG collar no doubt.   Ultimately though, I’ve decided to knit the sweater in plain stockinette with no colorwork in the yoke.  I’ll add my RBG collar details after I’ve finished the knitting via duplicate stitch.  It’s an unconventional approach…but that’s definitely the way I roll.

I’ve finished my first color and ‘faded’ into my second color.  I’m knitting top down, in the round, with the intention of steeking and adding a zipper.  I’m just about to divide the sleeves off.

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That’ll be a big help!  Right now, it’s just sort of a big blob.  I feel like it’s too big, despite all the math & gauge working out.  Fingers crossed that good news awaits on the other side of the sleeve divide.

I’m also working on a few new cross stitch designs for Valentine’s Day, so I’ve updated my cross stitch gallery with a new page for 2019!

I’m really looking forward to growing my collection this year!  My idea book is overflowing and I’ve finally found my stride, post-holidays.  Stay tuned for much productivity!


 

WIP It Wednesday

I’m back in the swing of things with my knitting, which means a classic case of Cast on-itis has manifested.

It’s not enough to finish just finish my nephew’s super cute christmas sweater.  No, I couldn’t just enjoy my beautiful seams.  I had to start another sweater.  Of course, that sweater can’t be knit in a dark movie theater so I had to cast on a movie theater project.  I’m still working on my latest shawl too!

It’s all going well!  Baby’s first ugly Christmas sweater is almost done.  It’s acrylic and I’m thinking of ‘killing’ it.  Not something I’ve ever done intentionally but I think it’ll take this sweater from stiff to drapey.  That should up the cozy factor!  I’m planning to wash and dry it in the machine.  Then, hit it with the steam iron.

I’ll keep you posted!  Hopefully it’ll be ready for a big FO Friday reveal!  You aren’t gonna want to miss this one!

Jimmy’s SmartStix Needle Review

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I’m happy to have my needles clicking again…I don’t have much to show for my renewed efforts though…at least not on my Striped Esjan Shawl.  It’s going to be scrunched on the needles and hard to see for a while longer but I’m transitioning to the border so next to you see it, at least it’ll have new colors to look at!

In the meantime, let me tell you about Jimmy Beans new SmartStick knitting needle + tape measure combo.

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Firstly, because of the recent kerfuffle with Making Things, I’ll tell you, I paid for these needles because I wanted to try them.  I’m not being compensated for this review.  I’m not getting kickbacks.  There’s no affiliate links (or links at all.  If you decide you want the needles, I’m sure you’re clever enough to find them on your own!)

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So, the gimmick here (and yes, it is a total gimmick) is the needle has 1″ segments marked from tip to tip so it can double as a tape measure.

I’m firmly in the camp that says you measure with a ruler.  It’s the Elizabeth Zimmerman camp and she’s never wrong.  The logic here is you want the most accurate measurement and the firm edge of a ruler provides that.  Measuring flat on a table with a tape measure isn’t so bad but there’s still flexibility and wiggle room with that method.   Firm edge = best possible measurement.   Measuring with the floppy cord of a knitting needle (with knitting attached?) on your lap will never give you an accurate measurement.  I will never use this needle in that manner.  Seriously, I’m nixing this idea from the very beginning.

That said, I’ll step off my soap box and acknowledge that is not what the folks at Jimmy Beans are encouraging.  They say themselves on the package ‘for quick & dirty measuring on the go’.  Okay fine.

I’m really just in it for the needles.  I’m a die hard Addi fixed needle user.  I really do knit faster with the amazing Addi Turbo.  That’s not just lip service but I’m open to trying other needles.  One day something better than an Addi fixed may come along.   The SmartStix happen to be Knitter’s Pride needles, which I’ve never used.  There’s lots of things I like about it.

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The join is smooth.  The tip is pointy but not so pointy that I impale my thumb.  I’m an occasional pusher.  I don’t do it all the time but when I do, I don’t want a needle so sharp it hurts.  The 1″ segments along the barrel are joined nicely, they don’t catch or snag.  I like the foil packaging with the sturdy zip top.  I store my needles in their original packaging, clearly the intent of this bag.

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Personally, I prefer my needles a bit more slick.  In my mind, Addi’s are slick, not slippery.  If you think Addi’s are too slippery and you lose stitches off the end, you’ll enjoy the finish on these needles.  The feel of metal without the slipperiness.

The cord is soft and pliable despite being on the thick side.  It’s got a nice suppleness to it. It’s not stiff or inflexible.  I like the cord.  The markings on the needle barrel are engraved so no rubbing off.  I think the marks on the cord could wear off over time.  I tried my best to scratch one of the spots off with my finger nail.  I couldn’t so I think that bodes well for those who are into the tape measure gimmick.  It’ll require a lot of use before those marks show signs of wear and tear.

Ultimately, these are nice needles and the price is right.  I like them fine but they’ll never become my go to needles.  I wish they weren’t pink.  They’re color coded by cord length, 16″ are red, 24″ are blue, 32″ are green and 40″ are pink.  You get what you get.  40″ size 4 is my most used size so I went with it.  I’m sure it will get use…I always want to cast on another shawl.  I’m not rushing out to buy the interchangeable set or even another pair of the fixed needles though.

Now…on to that shawl edge!  I’m ready to tackle those 600 stitch rows!