Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ready to Dash

Stash Dash officially starts tomorrow, and I am ready! Thanks to an intense spinning session last night, I have three bobbins of singles waiting to be chain plied:

And I also have a sock that's a little more than halfway done:

I still have my Hitofude in progress, and I'll be continuing to work on it with the hope of finishing it up in the next couple of weeks. I have a bunch of design projects to get under way as well, so this should be a busy summer!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On Repeat

Sweaters knit out of fingering weight yarn don't tend to get finished very quickly -- that's a given. When I cast on for my Hitofude in March, I expected that it would take me a bit of time to knit it. After all, the last fingering sweater I knit took me four months to complete, and the lightweight sweater before that took a full year. So you can imagine my surprise when I put down my knitting for the night last night and realized that I have only eight rows left in the lace pattern.

Of course, this isn't the end. I still need to work some additional repeats to make the sweater long enough, because right now it's more of a cropped fit. I still have a ton of yarn leftover, too. I'm still in the dark purple (which was the first color in the second braid of fiber I spun), and ideally I'd like to get to the light blue of the end of the skein for at least a bit. I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to continue the increase pattern for the fronts or just maintain the stitch count and only add length, but at least the end is in sight. I have completely memorized the pattern by now, making this an easy project to pick up and put down.

I cast on for my second Bahamian sock over the weekend and am working my way down the leg.

The work on the sock means that I've taken a bit of a break from knitting earbud pouches; I've worked through pretty much all the self-striping scrap yarn I had on hand, so I figured I'd try to finish this pair of socks and see what I have left to knit more should there still be time left in the month.

I'm hoping to cast on for something new next week, but for this week, knitting is pretty much on repeat: lace sweater, stockinette sock.

Before I go, I want to mention that the new special-issue Knitscene Handmade is out, and I have a sock pattern in it!

My Durango Socks are knit from the cuff down and feature a fun traveling twisted stitch pattern. For now, the issue is available online and in stores, but I believe that individual patterns will soon be available through the Interweave online store.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Countdown to Plying

Last week's theme is still in effect: I have a lot of singles on bobbins right now. I put in some more time this weekend with my Southern Cross Fibre Corriedale, and I'm nearly done with the third segment (of four total):

It seems to be almost impossible to get all the colors to come through here, but it really does look autumnal. There are beautiful burnt red-oranges, earthy browns, and a hint of green as well as a small bit of sky blue. I think this will look really lovely when it's plied up.

Last night Rainbow was at her grandparents' for a sleepover, so the Mister and I decided to watch a movie in our new den (formerly the nursery). I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out my new WooLee Winder on my Lendrum, so I got started on the first colorway of my most recent FatCatKnits shipment. We all got along very well once I got past the initial awkwardness of a leader that kept slipping.

I have to say that it's a really fun experience to spin on the Lendrum and not have to stop to move the yarn guide. I'll be interested to see how much I can fit on one of these WW bobbins; I can usually get a tad more than 4 ounces on a standard Lendrum bobbin, and these look to be a bit bigger.

For as much spinning as I have been doing, the club shipments still keep arriving (I am trying my best to keep up!). The April SCF shipment arrived earlier this week, and I couldn't have picked a colorway that appealed to me more if I'd tried.

This colorway is called Resistance Is Futile and it's on organic Merino. Yum!

I'm hoping to finish spinning the Corriedale singles at the very least this week so that next week, once Stash Dash has officially started, I can attempt to ply all three bobbins. It's very convenient that it's a holiday weekend, which means extra crafting time!

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Thanks to those of you who left comments on my last post! I am really happy with the shawl and will be even more happy to get it out into the world, but I've got to gear up for finishing up the charts (and doing the written version of them) before that happens.

It's been a busy, somewhat crazy week. Work has been very busy and the Mister has been traveling and out late for work, leaving me to do a lot of the parenting. Thankfully that's much less exhausting than it used to be, but Miss Rainbow is now an opinionated 6-year-old who likes to do things at her own pace, so often my quiet time in the evening ends up being much shorter than I'd hoped. As a result of the diminished amount of crafting time and my diminished mental capacity at the end of the day, very little knitting has actually gotten done.

I did finish a sock, but I'm not sure that counts for much because it was already nearly done.

This is in Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in Bahamian, and in a happy twist of fate, it looks like I will have to wind very little off to get to the right point in the stripe sequence to get the second sock to more or less match. It's a long mirrored sequence, so I was pretty much resigned to having fraternal socks because I didn't want to have to wind off a bunch and then splice in sections to try to match.

I've knit three whopping rows on my Hitofude, but it doesn't look much different from the last time you saw it, so I'll spare you another uninspiring picture.

Mainly, I've been knitting pouches, like these four that have been finished this week:

These were all knit out of FDW Bounce scraps from socks I've made in the past year or so, the three on the left from After the Harvest and the one on the right from Doubletree. I finished a fifth at lunch today and started a sixth in leftovers from these socks. Once I've gotten through my FDW leftovers, I've got some small balls of handspun that I may tackle next. These little pouches have been the perfect knitting project when I really can't think or count. I've got the pattern completely memorized, so all I have to do is stop and count rounds every now and then. An added bonus is using up all these bits and bobs of leftover sock yarn before they get tossed into the stash room. They don't do much to alter the overall bloated state of the stash, but a little is better than none, right?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Real Nail-Biter

In every project I knit, no matter what the pattern or how much yarn I have, there is always a moment when I worry I'm going to run out of yarn. In many cases it's a ridiculous notion because I always have more than enough yarn (or can easily get more), but I suppose it's just part of my process. But in the case of the project that just came off my needles, it was a reality.

In the case of this shawl, which was of my own design and using one skein of yarn (the only skein I had), I very nearly didn't make it. Concerned about how much yarn I had left, I had run a lifeline through the work before I started the last section just in case I ran short. This shawl was knit top down, so of course the rows got longer as I went along. Complicating things was the fact that each section I knit on this shawl was bigger as well in terms of total number of rows, plus I chose a bind off that eats up yarn at an alarming rate, so I had a number things working against me.

Fortunately, I made it -- just barely. I had to adapt my planned edging a bit, but I'm actually very happy with how it turned out. So that you can a sense of just how close it was, here is the yarn that was leftover (and this includes what I trimmed off the ends after the shawl was blocked). It's less than a gram worth of yarn.

I am really, really pleased with this shawl, in spite of the palpitations it gave me. I was worried that it would end up on the small side -- it really is so hard to judge on the needles -- but I blocked it out pretty aggressively and got a good-sized shawl in the end.

This was knit as my entry to the original design contest for Mad May. I used the one skein of Tosh Merino Light that I won from Mad May last year in this gorgeous gold color called Chamomile. It's not a color I would normally wear, but it makes me happy with how bright and sunny it is. I especially love the spots where the color veers ever slightly toward an orange gold.

Now that the nail biting is done, I have to finish up the charts, get the pattern in layout, and send it off to the tech editor. All of that should be a heck of a lot stressful than knitting the last row of this shawl was, though!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Filling the Bobbins

I've been in a singles-spinning mood lately. I finally finished up the bobbin of Targhee singles from my FatCatKnits club shipment earlier in the week and I quite like them:

Rather than starting to ply this batch or its complement, I immediately started in on a new batch of fiber. My shelf of shipments from the Southern Cross Fibre club is getting quite full (in fact, when I went into that room earlier this evening, one bag had launched itself onto the floor!), so I pulled out a bag from last fall and started spinning it. This is another batch of Corriedale in a colorway called Autumn. I split the fiber in half vertically and then split each half in half again, and I'm spinning up one strip out after another.

I'm about halfway done with the singles at this point thanks to a couple of hours at the wheel this afternoon.

I'll be having a plying party once this bobbin is done -- three bobbins will need to be chain plied! I think I may save them for the start of Stash Dash, as it would be nice to start out with some decent meterage.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hard Evidence

I have been knitting for more than 25 years now, so I'm a pretty fast knitter. Given how busy my life is, though, sometimes I don't get that much done even with that speed. So you can tell how much knitting time I actually got in this past weekend when you see how much progress I've made.

In the car on the way down to Maryland and in the hotel that evening, I worked mainly on my Hitofude. You may recall that the last time you saw it, I'd formed the sleeves and moved on to the ribbing around the neckline. I finished that up and bound off for the neckline before leaving, and in the car, I moved on to the patterning of the body. I'm now nearly two repeats in (each repeat is 16 rows).

When I worked on this last night, I also officially moved from the end of the first braid of fiber to the beginning of the second. It's looking like I will still have plenty of yarn left after finishing the specified number of repeats of the lace pattern, so it's very likely that I'll keep knitting to make the body longer.

I also spent pretty much all of Saturday evening and most of the ride home working on my Mad May shawl, and it has grown significantly since last you saw it:

I've now finished all the patterning that I'd charted out and still have about 160 yards of yarn left, so I think I'm going to attempt another section. Just in case there isn't enough yarn for it, I've run a lifeline through the stitches on the needles to make it easy to rip back should I need to. The shawl is now big enough that I can't fully stretch it out on the needles but still looks to me shawlette size, so I'd like to make it a bit bigger if I can.

There is one other project on the needles, and it's a new one. I cast on for a new pair of socks on the way down to Maryland with the idea being that I'd have a pair in progress to work on while we strolled around the festival. In reality, I think I only managed about three rounds in total while we were actually there, so it's become my lunchtime knitting for the week. I turned the heel and started the gusset yesterday, so I will soon have a finished sock.

The yarn is Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce (superwash merino/nylon) in a colorway called Bahamian. It does rather look like tropical waters, doesn't it? I'm just knitting my regular plain vanilla sock pattern for these -- no sense in trying to work a stitch pattern when the striping is doing all the action on its own.