Tuesday, December 12, 2017

One Deadline Met

Good news -- I finished Rainbow's socks before the start of Chanukkah (actually, with a few days to spare)!

Pattern: Vanilla Is the New Black by Anneh Fletcher
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon) in Hopscotch
Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm) Addi Sock Rockets
Started/Completed: November 24/December 9

These were an easy, straightforward knit, and they would have been done a lot faster if I didn't have to knit them in secret. I'm anxious to see how they fit Rainbow's feet. I know she'll be thrilled with them, but we've been trying out different heel styles and seeing what she likes best.

I've been intrigued by this pattern for a while and could see pretty much how the heel was constructed, but rather than trying to wing it I thought it was worth it to give Anneh the money she deserves for figuring it out and writing it up. It is a clever heel and one that's not very hard to execute. I will likely make myself a pair at some point, if only in the name of science -- I'm really interested in how the heel wears over time without any sort of reinforcement.

Now that these are done, I have one last project on the needles that I'd like to finish up before we leave for Florida next week. That's my Flower Market Shawl, which has been seeing some action the past few days but probably not as much as it needs. If you'll forgive this horribly lit photo (it's snowing here today, which means there is zero light outside), here's where things stand at the moment.

I'm almost done with the seventh of eight total repeats of the main body chart, and if you look closely, you can see that I've just gotten into the start of the transition from gray to blue. Here's a better shot (with colors that are a bit more accurate):

As is usual with lace, this looks like utter crap just sitting on the needles, but trust me when I say it looks really nice stretched out.

The shawl (and its charts) are a bit much to take to work for my lunchtime knitting, so I've got another pair of socks on the go. This is another pair in Felici (colorway Hawaiian Shirt) that's for me, and I'm trying out a new heel method. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen the first attempt yesterday that did not turn out as I hoped. I ripped back to the start of the heel turn and redid it, and I'm liking this version much better.

I've taken some rough notes of what I did that I'll be fleshing out a bit and testing with the second sock. It would be nice to finish these up before our trip as well so that I could take some new projects with us; to be honest, it seems more likely that I'll finish the socks by next Friday than the shawl, but I'll keep plugging away at both.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

And Another Skein Done

When I bought all the fiber and started spinning for my Boxy sweater, I had some crazy notion that I'd get all the yarn spun before we left for our winter vacation and that I'd start knitting while we were away. Needless to say, that's not going to happen. I did, however, finish up the second skein this weekend.

This is 4 oz. of the darker blue, color, Bay, and I ended up with approximately 267 yards of three-ply heavy fingering. I'm now glad that I bought three extra braids of fiber to spin because I know I wouldn't have had enough with what I originally bought. I can't tell if it's because the yarn does poof up a bit (meaning the length of the skein shrinks) or if it's just a characteristic of the fibers that gives me lower yardage, but I fully understand that I won't get huge yardage in these skeins. That said, I am very pleased with the quality of the yarn.

I've also been spinning my Fibernymph Dye Works Holiday Countdown mini bundles of fiber and am hoping to have those singles finished up early this week. If you are spinning these and are going along with the date and don't want to be spoiled, look away!

I ran out of light long before I finished spinning this afternoon, so there are even more singles on the bobbin now -- it's actually almost full! I have five bundles left to spin, and I'm likely going to spin them onto a new bobbin. I'm planning to ply all the singles into one skein, though, probably on my miniSpinner. Ideally, that will happen by next weekend, so if you're interested to see just how crazy this skein of yarn is going to be, check back next Sunday!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Counting Down

There has been much knitting the past several days, and projects are finally starting to wind down. All the same, I also feel like I am running out of time.

First, the finished -- my Plummy Mitts are complete!

Pattern: Plummy Mitts by Katy H. Carroll, size small
Yarn: handspun Targhee
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)
Started/Completed: November 25/December 3

I made these exactly as the pattern called for, with zero modifications. And they are a perfect fit. After blocking them earlier in the week (in the hope that the yarn would bloom a bit, because the yarn used for the second mitt was a bit thinner than that used for the first mitt), I brought them into work yesterday and have been making good use of them when the office air conditioning kicks on (yes, even when it's freezing outside -- our HVAC system makes no sense). They are incredibly squishy and cozy, and I kind of want to wear them all the time. I still have a bit more than half of the yarn leftover, so I need to figure out what to do with it. Unfortunately it's not enough to make the matching cowl, but maybe I'll make another pair of mitts for home or something.

Meanwhile, I am in the home stretch on Rainbow's Vanilla Is the New Black socks, with just the foot of the second sock left to knit. I'm very confident that I can finish these up this weekend and have them ready for the first night of Chanukkah, if I decide to give them to her then.

The one project that's causing me a bit of concern is my Flower Market Shawl, which is moving but slowly. That's really my own fault -- I just haven't been working on it as much. I'm through five of the eight repeats of the main body chart at this point, and I'd really like to have this finished up before we leave for our trip, so I'll be focusing on it more in the next two weeks to try to make that happen.

I've also got another pair of socks on the needles, cast on pretty much because I needed something to work on while putting Rainbow to bed (which means nothing with a pattern or that requires actually being able to see my knitting), and obviously I couldn't knit her socks in front of here. These are another pair in Knit Picks Felici, in the colorway Hawaiian Shirt. They're just a plain stockinette, but I'm planning to try out an idea for a new heel with them.

The weekend ahead is looking to be pretty busy, with a couple of birthday parties for Rainbow (one of which is hers) and a holiday party for us adults as well as podcast recording time. I'm still hoping to get in a few hours of crafting, though, and hope that by next week I'll have some noticeable progress to show you!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Pattern Release: Elodia Socks

2017 is rapidly winding down, and I've got one last pattern release for the year. I decided to go back to what really got me crazy about knitting in the first place: socks. I've knit so many socks by now that I no longer need a pattern to knit a basic sock, but sometimes something more exciting is called for. And when I was browsing images of stitch patterns and motifs, this leaf-like design caught my eye. I swatched a bit, added some additional texture, and came up with the new pattern I'm debuting today, the Elodia Socks.

These socks are knit from the cuff down and use a traditional heel flap and gusset. The twisted rib pattern of the cuff transitions into the faux-cable and lace stitch pattern that runs down the leg and onto the instep. The back of the sock is worked in simple stockinette, giving you a bit of a break from the stitch pattern on the front and speeding up the time to knit the socks. The foot is finished with a wide toe that is grafted.

This sample was worked in a lovely tonal yarn, Knit Picks Hawthorne Tonal Hand Paint, a lovely 80% superwash wool/20% nylon blend with a high twist. I used one skein of the colorway Ashland, and I just love the subtle variegation in tone the knit fabric that really gives dimension to the color.

These socks are graded to three adult sizes -- to fit a foot circumference of 8 (9, 10) in./20.5 (23, 25.5) cm -- and have both written and charted instructions for the stitch pattern. I'm also offering the pattern at 20% off for the first week of publication (until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, December 11) with the code SOCKHOP.

I expect you'll be seeing these socks again, as Rainbow has already asked me to knit her a pair!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Cheating on My Knitting

Despite the fact that I have knitting projects on the needles that have a deadline, what did I spend most of my free time doing this weekend? That's right -- spinning. Honestly, I have no regrets.

First, I finished up the singles for my skein of HipStrings Buoy in Bay:

The third bobbin needs to rest a bit before I ply, so I continued to work on my Fibernymph fiber samples. I'm in the middle of bundle number 12, so nearly halfway done.

These colors are very different from each other, but it's definitely a fun spin. And it's so easy to sit down and spin a few grams of fiber; it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to finish up a handful of fluff! I'm going to continue to try to spin a bundle every day or so, if I can find the time. I don't think it'll all fit on this bobbin, but I'm planning to ply everything into one skein. I can't wait to see it finished!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Feeling Stripey

My projects this week have been all about the stripes.

I haven't touched my Flower Market Shawl since you last saw it, though I'm hoping to put in some serious time on it this weekend. Instead, I've been focusing on my Plummy Mitts for my evening knitting and Rainbow's Vanilla Is the New Black socks for lunchtime knitting.

I finished up the first of my mitts last night and it fits perfectly!

The colors are a bit brighter when there's actual daylight

I'm hoping that the yarn blooms a little more when I block these, because there were definitely a few spots where it was a bit on the thin side and the fabric is a bit see-through. I've already gotten started on the second mitt, and I anticipate having a finished pair by next week.

Meanwhile, I have finished up the heel and moved onto the foot of Rainbow's socks, and they are continuing to delight me with their colors.

I'm a tad bit concerned that these might be a bit big on her (because I tried them on and they fit me, albeit tightly), so I may go down to the smallest size for the next pair. The heel was fun to knit on these, and I'll be interested to hear how she likes it as compared to the heels she's experienced with the previous socks I've knit her. Sizing concerns aside, the pattern is easy and a lot of fun, and I'm really enjoying the yarn. It's been a while since I last knit with Felici, and I swear it's gotten softer. I'm not sure how that will translate into wearing well, but at least with Rainbow she's more likely to outgrow her socks before she wears them out.

The weekend ahead looks relatively calm, so I plan on filling it up with lots of knitting and spinning time. December has really snuck up on me and there's less time than I thought I had to get things done, so I'm going to need all the time I can get!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giftalong Fever

Remember the last couple of weeks, when I was decrying the fact that I was feeling totally unenthusiastic about my knitting and wondering where my mojo had gone? I'm happy to report the feeling has completely left me and I am completely enthused by my current projects thanks to the Indie Design Giftalong. I've got three projects on the needles that I'm actively working on, and I'm enamored with them all.

First up is the only real gift that I'm knitting, and that's a pair of Vanilla Is the New Black socks for Rainbow. These are being knit in a lovely, bright colorway of Knit Picks Felici called Hopscotch.

I'm nearly halfway done with the first sock (if you consider the heel the halfway point), but these should move along very quickly given that the heel is the only part where I really need to pay attention. I started these over the weekend but didn't get too far, as I could only work on them when Rainbow wasn't around -- I really want these to be a surprise! These will be one of her Chanukah presents, and for now they're my designated lunchtime knitting.

The other two projects are both for me. One is the Flower Market Shawl, a pattern I bought last year and that has been patiently waiting for me to find the perfect yarn for it. I realized that the faded skein of yarn I spun a couple of months ago had just the right amount of yardage and would look really great in this pattern, so I didn't waste much time in winding the skein and casting on right after the GAL officially kicked off.

I'm in the middle of my fourth (of eight) repeats of this motif, and the rows are just starting to get long enough that I notice they take me a little while.

The other project is, coincidentally, also being worked in handspun and using a pattern I bought previously. It is a set of Plummy Mitts that I'm knitting up in the skein of Gwen Erin Targhee I finished earlier this month and couldn't bear not to keep for myself. I think it was a smart move, because I really love how the first mitt is knitting up.

I'm part of the way into the thumb gusset, and I think if I can get in a decent amount of time on the first mitt tonight, I should be close to finishing it up (if not actually finishing it). My plan is to use these mitts at the office to keep my hands and wrists warm; despite the fact that there was extensive work done in the building last year to make the HVAC system more efficient, I am still always cold because the air conditioning comes on pretty much every day and the heat never seems to. Fingerless mitts should make a bit difference while still keeping my fingers free to write and type.

If I happen to be really productive and finish up all these projects with time still left in the GAL, I'll be casting on another pair of socks for Rainbow as well as a baby sweater for a baby that is due very, very soon (I totally dropped the ball on that one, but at least a baby sweater is a quick knit). One thing at a time, though -- I'm determined to keep this GAL all about enjoying myself and not overdoing it.

If you still haven't taken advantage of the big GAL pattern sale, here's your reminder that it ends at 11:59 EST tonight! You can find my bundle of sale patterns here. You don't have to buy new patterns to participate in the fun, though -- if you already have patterns by participating designers in your library, you can use those! I'd really encourage you to come join the Ravelry GAL group and have fun chatting and playing the games. It may seem a little intimidating because it's a big group and the chat moves quickly, but you can jump in anywhere you like!