Thursday, March 29, 2018

New Cast-ons

After all that new yarn came into the stash last weekend, I didn't wait very long before I started using in. In fact, not long after the last post was published, I cast on for my Humulus using the HipStrings Buoy that I bought. What you see here is the work of two evenings -- it's really knitting up quickly!


Right now I'm on a larger needle than the one I'll be using for most of the sweater, and it's clearly a newer one, judging from how crazy the cable is. At the moment, fighting that cable is the only frustrating thing about this project. Everything else is great, and the yarn is really nice to work with -- definitely a rustic-feeling, woolly wool. I had one little issue with a hole forming near one of the short row turning points, but I'll go back and fix that later.

I needed a new pair of socks for my lunch break knitting after finishing my Down at the Pub socks on Tuesday, so I've started a new pair for the Mister. My Ravelry project page tells me that the last time I knit him a pair of socks was 2009, so he was due (although I stopped knitting them for him for a while because he declared he had enough). These are a bit wilder than the ones I'm used to knitting for him, and I bought the yarn specifically to make socks for him, so I'm assuming he'll be okay with this pair.


The yarn is Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in the colorway Harlequin. The colors of the stripes nearly match the colors of the Mister's company, so I thought these might be fun for him to wear to work sometimes. The black has been rubbing off on my fingers a bit as I've been knitting on them, so once the socks are finished, they'll be getting a little special treatment to make sure the dye is really set and completely rinsed.

The weekend ahead looks like it will be a good one for crafting. Passover starts tomorrow evening (and we're hosting this year), so there likely won't be any of my usual Friday night spinning, but we've got nothing else on the calendar, so I plan to relax and spend time with Rainbow, who's been doing sleepovers at her grandparents' this week while she's been on spring break. I expect that by the next time I post knitting content, my sweater will look a lot more like a sweater!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

More In than Out

As I alluded to in my last post, there were some significant stash enhancements this past weekend at Indie Knit and Spin. I went into the event with the express purpose of buying yarn for at least two sweaters, one for me and one for Rainbow, and I'm happy to report that I was successful. I only made one sort-of impulse purchase as far as yarn is concerned, but it wasn't exactly done on impulse because it was something I'd had my eye on before.

But you want to see the yarn, don't you?

First there was the sweater for me. I was planning to knit Humulus, and I decided that I'd really like to make it in HipStrings Buoy DK (the yarn this time rather than the fiber), provided they had enough on hand. I ended up with five skeins of Lead (pb) for the main color and a beautiful spring green for the contrast color.


Rainbow, meanwhile, was looking for a worsted weight yarn so that I can knit her a Hyphen. She liked the one I made as a baby gift a lot, and she really became interested in the pattern when I told her I'd found a project on Ravelry explaining how someone had adapted the pattern to fit an 18-inch doll. So the plan is to make one for her and one for her American Girl doll. She selected some Spencer Hill Naturally Dyed Yarn Molly in the colorway Raspberry Beret.


Luckily for us, the dyer had the same colorway on other bases, so we picked up a skein of Ruth, a fingering weight singles base, for the doll sweater.


In real life, the skeins are a much better match, but it's so difficult to accurately capture any shade of red.

The sort-of impulse purchase was a skein of Bounce from Fibernymph Dye Works in a Scrabble-inspired colorway called That's Not Even a Word!


I'd had my eye on this in a previous shop update but decided at the time that I didn't need it. But when I saw it in Lisa's booth, I figured it was a sign that I should get it now.

With all the yarn coming in, I've been doing my best to keep some yarn going out of the stash to make room for it. Today I finished up a pair of socks for me, in Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in a beer-inspired colorway called Down at the Pub.

I matched up the stripes pretty well -- at least on this side!

I used my Non-Euclidian pattern for this (because the first pair I made, though they were knit to fit me, are being kept nice as a sample). I didn't make any modifications, so they're pretty straightforward. I also wound up another skein of Bounce first thing this morning to start a pair for the Mister, who has not received a pair of hand-knit socks in several years. I don't anticipate them getting done anytime soon, but it's always good to have a pair of socks on the needles!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Just One More Step

This weekend I decided that I had had enough: It was time to finish the rest of my singles for my sweater spin. My wrist might be angry with me later, but I'm very pleased to say that I accomplished my goal earlier this afternoon


These three bobbins hold 6 oz. of singles for my final skein. I will be plying at some point this week, and for certain I will have a finished skein by this time next week.

Yesterday was Indie Knit and Spin here in Pittsburgh. Rainbow and I went with the intent of finding yarn for sweaters for both of us, and we were successful (I'll share the yarn in my next post). While I certainly wasn't intending or needing to buy any fiber, some did catch my eye and came home with us as well. First was this braid of Targhee, bamboo, and silk from Gwen Erin Natural Fibers. I've always enjoyed Gwen's fiber, and I thought this might be a fun blend to try.


Then, while we were shopping in the HipStrings booth, this fun braid caught both our fancies.


This is one of Jill's favorite things colorways, Raindrops on Roses. It's going to be a slippery spin -- it's 62.5% Merino, 12.5% viscose from roses, 12.5% viscose from bamboo, and 12.5% trilobal nylon -- but I think it'll be pretty fabulous. I'll likely do a quick and dirty two ply with this to keep as much of the fibers together as possible. I'm certainly going to have a lot of good options for my first spin after the end of the sweater spin!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Blocked and Trimmed

After lingering for months on the needles and then sitting in a bag for more than a week after it was bound off, my Wonder Woman Wrap is finally finished finished finished -- it's been blocked, the ends have been trimmed, and it's had its photo shoot!


This thing is positively enormous. It's so big that I couldn't even get it all in the shot. It's so big that I didn't even try to measure the wing span because I'm fairly certain it's bigger than any of my measuring tapes will go. It was a very fun knit and certainly very engaging due to the clever shaping. If I have one complaint, it's that I think I used needles that were too large. The yarn I used was on the light side of fingering, and the resulting fabric is a bit on the airy side for my taste; I really would have preferred a denser fabric.


See what I mean? It's not really a big deal, and it's entirely my own fault, but I'll be sure to use a smaller needle the next time I knit it (and there will be a next time, because Rainbow is already angling for one -- though she'll be getting the smaller size).

Still on the needles are my socks, which are approximately 70% complete, and a new pattern sample.


This probably looks a little familiar because it coordinates with the last two pairs of socks I knit. This time I'm using Marianated Yarns Playtime DK, which is an amazingly round yarn with excellent stitch definition. I must use more of this in the future for something with cables!

I may do a little work on the hat tonight, but my first order of business is doing some swatching. Indie Knit and Spin is this Saturday, and Rainbow and I will be doing some shopping. I'm thinking of buying a sweater quantity of yarn I have a skein of already, and I want to see if it will work for the pattern I have in mind. Rainbow is on the hunt for yarn for a new sweater for her (in worsted) and for a matching sweater for her American Girl doll (in fingering). And I'm sure we'll find some other ways to enhance our stash while we're there!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fried

I don't have much to share tonight, mostly because I'm in my busiest time of year at work and my brain has been completely fried. I'm still working on my beer stripe socks; the first one is finished and I've just started the heel of the second, but I didn't take a picture because how many pictures of the same stripes do you really need to see? I'm sure I'll knit a little of this and a little of that tonight, as long as it's something I don't have to think too hard about, but I figured that as long as I don't have the brain power to follow a pattern, it's the perfect time to do some procrastinated blocking.


This shawl has been done for more than a week and has just been sitting in my project bag ever since I finished binding off. Normally I'm ready to block as soon as a shawl comes off the needles. Can I blame the fact that despite the calendar saying it's the first day of spring, we're in the middle of another snow storm?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

So Close I Can Taste It*

As of this afternoon, I have one bobbin of HipStrings Buoy singles in Sky done and two left to spin. That means just two more bobbins (plus, of course, plying) before my last sweater skein is done. If I'm being honest, this is my favorite colorway of the whole project.


I will definitely be putting in more hours on this spin this week in an effort to finish it up.

As if finishing getting the final skein done wasn't enough motivation, I got some additional this week in the form of the first HipStrings Synergy fiber club shipment. This fiber club was a bit more expensive than other clubs I've been in, but knowing the thought and energy that Jill puts into her fiber blends, I knew it would be worth it -- and this shipment didn't disappoint.

The first shipment focuses on how fiber prep can affect the blending of different fibers and the finished yarn. The fiber blend in the box is presented three ways: as combed top, carded batts, and component parts.


The colorway is called Pebbles, and it's a blend of 50% Merino wool, 25% Zwartbles wool, 12.5% Tussah silk, and 12.5% Sari silk. You can see the top on the left, the batts on the upper right, and the components on the bottom right. The gizmo at the top is a handy tool to secure your ends when you step away from spinning.


As with all of Jill's blends, the fiber reads as one color (a sort of greenish gray) from far away, but when you look at it up close, you can see all the different colors and shades. I'm really excited to spin this up -- just as soon as the sweater spin is done -- and I think I'll likely spin each prep on its own so I can compare how the prep affects the finished yarn. I might take the components baggie and throw the content on my drum carder to make another batt, too.


*Just for the record, while I will happily smell wool, I do not endorse tasting it unless you want a fuzzy tongue.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Briefly Monogamous

Unbelievably, I still have only one project on the needles. That's not for lack of wanting to cast something new on, mind you, it's just how things are at the moment. I'm working on a pair of socks for me using the most recent sock yarn to come into my stash, and for the past few days, this one WIP has satisfied me. I'm now into the heel, so nearly halfway done with the first sock.


I will likely be casting on a second project soon, perhaps as early as this evening. This will be another design sample, a hat that goes with the last two pairs of socks I finished. I did some swatching the other evening and finally remembered that I could use my spiffy Akerworks swatch gauge to measure my swatch.


I bought this tool at SSK last summer and promptly forgot I had it until now, which is a shame, because it's a really handy tool. Unlike a measuring tape, it stays put when you put it down, and it's much easier to count stitches and rows when you're not wrangling a slippery tape at the same time. From now on, I'm going to make sure I keep this in a convenient location so I don't forget about it the next time I need to measure a swatch!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Two FOs, One WIP, and a Rerelease

It may just be me, but this past weekend seemed to fly by, even though it was longer than normal. We were pretty busy, so I'm sure that played a part. The good news is that I got a fair amount done, even if it wasn't as much as I was hoping. You will have seen the spinning progress if you read my last post. But new for today is the two projects I finished.

First up, my Wonder Woman Wrap, which I finally "wrapped" up (hehe) Sunday evening. I'd hoped to have finished it on Friday, but it turned out that I was more interested in napping than knitting when I finally sat down to do it.


Pattern: Wonder Woman Wrap by Carissa Browning
Yarn: Twist Fiber Studio Fairview Fingering (75% merino/25% nylon) in Bollywood and Gale's Art Wonder Sock (75% BFL, 25% nylon) in XXXX, one skein each
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) 40 in. ChiaoGoo Red Lace circulars
Started/Completed: August 26, 2017/March 11, 2018

Of course, this wrap isn't finished finished finished, because I still have to block it and deal with some ends, but the knitting portion is done. Overall, I enjoyed knitting it, though I'll admit that there are an awful lot of ends to deal with due to the way it's knit. The construction is rather ingenious, though, and I really appreciated the pattern because of that. Rainbow has already asked if I'll make her one in the traditional Wonder Woman colors, so I guess I'll have another one on the needles at some point (though I've already told her that I would make her the smaller size).

The other FO is another pair of socks for Rainbow. The colorwork motif is part of a new pattern that's with my tech editor at the moment, but I used the heel from my Non-Euclidian socks to see how she likes it. I used the same Marianated Yarns Practicality sock yarn that I used for the original design sample but with the colors reversed. The yardage is so good on this yarn that I still have a decent amount leftover of the two original skeins!


For a very brief period of time after finishing up these two projects, I had no projects on the needles -- that's right, zero. Unheard of! I couldn't allow that to be the case for two long, so yesterday morning I cast on a new pair of socks for me. This is the first shipment of the Fibernymph Dye Works Happy Hour Yarn Club, a colorway called Down at the Pub that's inspired by the different colors of beer. I'm knitting myself a pair of Non-Euclidians that I can actually wear (the original pair is now living in my sample bag). The best part about these socks just might be the progress keeper that came with the yarn:


Now, on to the rerelease. You may remember that I posted about my Intrecciate Socks last fall when they were published in Knit Now, and you may also remember that I knit up a new sample when I was on my winter vacation because I wasn't super in love with the yarn I was given for the first sample. In any case, I'm happy to tell you that you can now get the pattern through my Ravelry store.


These socks are knit cuff down, with a heel flap and gusset and a wide toe. They're graded to three sizes (to fit a foot circumference of 7/8/9 inches or 18/20.5/23 cm) and both charted and written directions for the stitch pattern. As fun as the colors were in the original yarn, I think the stitch pattern really shines so much more in a solid color -- and you can see that these socks are truly unisex. In addition to knitting up the new sample, I've also run the pattern by my tech editor, so you can be sure it's up to snuff.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

4/5

The extra time I've been spending at my wheel lately has paid off -- the fourth skein (of five total skeins) for my handspun Boxy is done! I finished plying just a little while ago, in fact, and the skein is now getting its spa treatment. Before it went into its bath, though, I snapped a few pictures. Just be aware that it looks a little twisty because these were taken fresh off the wheel.


This was another 8 oz. skein, using one braid each of Buoy in Bay and Sky. As with the previous 8 oz. skein, I faded from one color to the other. I think this might be my favorite. I obviously won't know final yardage until it's fully dry from setting the twist, but I think it might be in the neighborhood of 600 yards or so, giving me somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,800 yards total thus far. That's already more than I likely need for the pattern, but having extra yardage will allow me to have some leeway in making the body and sleeves longer than specified should I decide I want to.

Here's a nice portrait of the four skeins together:


The fiber for the final skein -- 6 oz. of Sky, the lightest color -- is ready to go and will likely go on the wheel starting tomorrow. I am really getting excited to get this whole batch of yarn finished so I can cast on!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Still Knitting

No real progress to report here; it's been a busy week, so I am inching along on my projects and looking ahead to a long weekend (Rainbow and I are both off tomorrow). I've got about 15 more rows to knit on the top of my Wonder Woman Shawl, so it only looks a tiny bit different from the last time you saw it.


Duni left an interesting comment on my last post, noting that I'd called my Breezy Cardigan my "one notable exception" to my habit of not letting projects linger on the needles for long periods of time and yet, in the post about the sweater, I pointed out one other "notable exception" to this practice, a Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole that I started a little more than a month before Rainbow was born. I'd say that project was a special exception considering the timing; I didn't knit much at all right after Rainbow was born, and I ended up ripping out the project altogether a while ago because I just wasn't feeling it anymore.

Rainbow's socks are approximately 75% complete at this point; I'm on the heel of the second sock. She's getting antsy for them to be done, so I expect they'll get some extra attention this weekend.


Speaking of the weekend, it looks like it might be another busy one. Although we're off tomorrow, we're pretty scheduled up, with two dentist appointments (one for me, one for her), a parent-teacher conference at her school, and a plumber coming to repair something. Saturday I have to go get some bloodwork done and then we're going to do a little car shopping. Sunday we turn the clocks ahead (yay for more light but boo for an hour less of sleep) and have to do the usual errands and chores. On top of all this, tomorrow is actually my birthday, and we're having the entire family over for dinner to celebrate on Saturday evening. I'm hoping I can use the event as an excuse to grab some more quiet crafting time amid all this activity!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A Resurrection of Sorts

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I'm the type of knitter who usually has several projects going at once and rotates through them fairly likely. You'll also know it's unlike me to let a project languish for a long period of time (one notable exception notwithstanding). So I'm sure that like me you're completely puzzled by the fact that this WIP has been sitting in a bag, ignored, for so long.


I'm sure you'll have no problem identifying the pattern -- the Wonder Woman Wrap that was such a hit last summer following the release of the movie. I specifically bought the yarn for this project last year at SSK and was very excited to start it. I couldn't remember exactly when I cast on, so I had to check my Ravelry project page: August 26. That's quite a long time ago, and I really have no reasonable explanation for why it's remained unfinished this long. There is nothing wrong with the pattern, and I've enjoyed knitting it. The only possible thing I can say is that more pressing things have come up and I've just forgotten it was still on the needles because it was buried at the bottom of a bag of projects.

When I picked up this WIP again in the past week, I found there really wasn't much knitting left to do on it. I had about four garter ridges left on the upper W, the upper triangle, and the final stripe along the top. As of this writing, only that stripe is left (along with weaving in a heck of a lot of ends). I'm fairly confident that I can finish this long-languishing WIP by the end of the week.

The only other thing on the needles at the moment is Rainbow's socks, which are now past the 50 percent mark. I got some good knitting time in on these while we were getting our taxes done over the weekend. These are a new design with the heel from Non-Euclidian.


When these WIPs are finished up, I'll be starting some new designs and possibly a new pair of socks for the Mister, who hasn't gotten any new socks in a while. I ordered some self-striping yarn from Fibernymph Dye Works for him last month that's a little wild for him but in "his" colors, so I think he'll like them. At least it's not all black!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Just Like Old Times

After more than two weeks of not spinning, I was very much missing my wheel and made up for all that time away during the Olympics. In the past week, I've finished two bobbins of singles toward the next skein of my sweater spin:


and I'm nearly halfway through the third:


I imagine that I'll be done with the singles and perhaps even have gotten them plied by this time next week, leaving me just one more skein left to spin for the project. As lovely as this fiber is to spin, I'm going to be very happy to be done with it if only so I can spin something a little different for a change! There has been plenty of new fiber coming in to the stash while this project has been under way, including the January shipment of the Southern Cross Fibre club, which showed up later than expected due to some shipping snafus (all on the part of the USPS, not David).


This is a colorway called Fragonard on South African Superfine, and it is as soft as you would think. I'm pondering how to spin this in a way that won't muddy up the delicate colors. Suggestions welcome!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Pattern Release: Palestra

This past holiday season, while we were away in a warmer climate getting lots of sunshine and extra rest, I got an urge to knit some quick socks. I'm sure you're thinking, "But Sarah, you always knit socks pretty quickly!" No, my friends, I mean really quick socks -- like a sock in a day, without spending the whole day knitting. You know what makes great quick socks? Sport weight yarn!

Back when my friend Lisa and I were deciding on colors for Xenolith, she sent me three skeins of her sport weight Traveler base to use as the main color for the two hats. There were two grays (a light and a dark) and a light blue. Obviously with only two hats, there was a skein that wasn't used, and I just knew I had to use it for some socks. Plain gray socks can be a bit dull, and there were some light blue leftovers from one of the hat samples, so, I thought, why not combine them? One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had a pair of sporty shortie socks.


I'm calling this pattern Palestra, the Italian word for "gym" (and also, coincidentally, the name of the sports arena at my alma mater), mainly because these feel like the hand-knit equivalent of a sports sock. They're a basic ankle sock, but with a few twists. First, I've incorporated some short rows on the back of the ankle to create a little pull-on tab, much like the tab you might see in store-bought athletic socks. If short rows intimidate you, you can always omit them, but I'll throw it out there that short rows in garter stitch are really easy because you don't have to pick up the wraps -- they blend right in!

The second twist is a bit of colorwork -- and trust me, this is dead-easy colorwork. If you've never done it before or have only done a little, this is a great way to practice. At most, you're only ever carrying an unused color two stitches, which makes it ideal to practice keeping your tension even. An added bonus is that the section of colorwork around the middle of the foot ends up being nice and squishy from the extra fabric created by the floats.


It might look like there's more stranded work here than there actually is; two of the four sections with color are worked in horizontal stripes, so you're only using one color at a time! But using two colors certainly makes it a lot more fun to work and wear.

I've graded this pattern to five sizes, so you can make it for everyone from small children to adults with large feet. Most people will need one skein of yarn or less for the main color and just small amounts for the contrast color. If you've got some sport weight mini skeins lying around, this would be a great way to use them up!