Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fine and Dandy

These photos don't look very "winter" do they?  It's Second Spring here in Southeast Texas, but I'm knitting away on the wool socks anyhow.  You probably recognize the Fine and Dandy sock pattern.  If you knit and are on Instagram, you've seen them.  If you knit socks at all, you've seen them.   If you don't knit and don't think you've seen them, you have and they're rattling around in your subconscious.

They are a big hit with the sock knitting crowd.  I'd be interested to know how many pairs of these have been entered in the Box o Sox Knit-along, but that thread is so monstrous that by the time I finish looking my son will be standing in front of a darkened school building with a long, white beard.  So, let's assume there are tons of them.

I started my pair months ago with the Indie Designers KAL hosted by the designer, Jessica Gore (The Sweater Collective.)  I failed to finish them with the group, but it wasn't for lack of interest.  These have a tricky little stitch to them that is sort of addictive to work on.  The OCD part of my brain that quotes my grandfather saying, "Never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today." compelled me to knit row after row, swearing each would be my last.  That's the crazy-eyed, driven part of my brain that gets things done.  We're all secretly grateful for that part.

I am so pleased with how they turned out.  The stitch pattern and delicate yarn, along with the eye of partridge heel, look so vintage and sweet.

I opted to do cuffs, heels, and toes in a cream color from Valley Yarns Huntington.  That's a great, inexpensive yarn for contrast colors.

Details:  I used size US 0 Karbonz needles and Miss Mothballs' Soft Sock base in the Bird's Egg colorway.  Tell me this doesn't look like it's namesake!

It's an 80% merino wool /20% nylon yarn.   That little extra 5% of  merino makes such a difference in softness and halo.  I don't really have to worry about durability as much as most knitters because I don't have many weeks in which to wear wool socks.  I'm not sure if I have a preference between 20% or 25% nylon, but my heels and toes were knit with a 75/25 yarn, so I should be good.

Before this year, I didn't have enough hand knit socks to experiment with fiber types.  Two pair were knee socks that required the right outfit and so were rarely worn.  The other pair was knit in Lion Brand Magic Stripes with Knit Picks Stroll for the heels and toes.  That's a 75/25 sock yarn and it's still going strong, even after being thrown in the dryer a few times.

My big Box o Sox will give me plenty of opportunities to decide my favorite sock yarn composition. But, guys!! I am so far behind on this challenge.  The Fine and Dandy socks are pair number 8.  I will   Kitchener the toe closed on pair 9 tonight but that still leaves three pairs to be knit in December.  Ugh!  My many cabled sweater plans are fading out of view.  RSI here I come!!

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

My previous post on these socks is here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Waiting for Rain and a Confession

Let's just focus on all the good stuff first and save the tragic bits for the end, okay?  So, here's my Waiting for Rain shawl, knit in the most beautiful single merino yarn from Swift Yarns- the most beautiful yarn.  I knitted this with the Soft Sweater KAL in Katrina's Yarn Thirty Podcast group.

I bought the digital pattern for the KAL, but when I saw the images from the book, I had to purchase it from Sylvia Mcfadden too.  Shawl Joy is just that, a joy.  Sylvia has captured her work in the most  dynamic way.  That's no small feat when shawl sample photos are so ubiquitous that we sometimes get desensitized to their detail and beauty.  Or maybe I'm just talking about myself.  Anyway, there's no chance of that happening with these patterns.  Every inch of these stitch patterns, wether in full sun or shadow, in stasis or tossed in the air, is emotive.  I want all of them on my needles.

The innovation doesn't stop with the photography, though.  She has come up with the most clever way of charting her lace short rows.  I am in love with this book, guys.

I enjoyed every second of knitting on this shawl.  I love how the lace bits look almost like rips in the fabric of the shawl.  Tears that produced beautiful, threadbare lace patterns.

Maybe I blissed out a bit too much... because I made a pretty big oopsie.  (I used to get so annoyed when my daughter was little and would break something and say, "Oopsie!"  She didn't mean to sound blithe about it but it came out that way.  Well, this is a completely sarcastic oopsie.  It really means I wanna kill... kill... with veins in my teeth.)

It's possible you've seen said oopsie.  If so, just cross you eyes slightly and smile like nothing's amiss. Thanks for that.

Details:  I used size US 5 needles and Swift Yarns' Simple base in the Wednesday colorway.  It was the perfect yarn/ pattern combo.  I prefer singles for shawl and the depth of color in this one made it my pet project for a few weeks.

There was just enough lace to keep things interesting, but I could still read while knitting the garter stitch.

I had no trouble following the charts or the basic instructions.  I appreciate the simple layout in the book, too.

But, and this is the woeful part of the story, as I was taking my photos I found an error.  I  wondered why I'd put it on correctly for a photo, then look down and find it was on backward.  Slowly it dawned on me that no matter which side I wore facing out, it would seem backward.  That was because I knit the bottom lace portion facing the wrong direction.  So the top three lace sections faced the RS, but the longest one at the border faced the WS.  My husband says I'm too busy to focus.  Sometimes I wanna cry like Lucille Ball.

It was too surprising to even upset me at the time.  I've done some doofy things, but this would be among the doofiest.  Oh well.  I'm entering it into the Soft Sweater KAL because I did finish it and will wear it, but I'm going to have to rip back and do it right one of these days.   It stinks because I was all ready to start another one from that collection.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Another Great Northern Knit-along

There's another Great Northern Knit-along happening on Ravelry and Instagram.  This time we're either knitting Lonely Souls, Filled with Secrets, Starts with a J, or Lynch Pin.

I chose Lonely Souls because... a horse head, guys.  That sounds vaguely Godfather-esque.  But, I was thinking more of the horse and rainbow t-shirts of my youth, of horses running across the front of a Trapper Keeper, and of striped Silver Unicorn jeans.

I've had my Wool of the Andes sport and two skeins of Knits in Class dk ready for this for months.  Remember I posted one of Teresa's sneak previews of it last year.  All this while I've been debating what size I should knit.  My weight has gone up and down in the last couple of years, so I've tried to avoid knitting anything very fitted.  This sweater is meant to be worn with no positive ease, so I've waffled back one forth over which size to knit.  I'm between the 34" and 37.5" so I've decided to knit a size 34 and hope that my famously loose gauge gets things just right.  And there's always the magic of blocking.

I did wash and block my swatch, above, and found that the two yarns, though slightly different weights, gel nicely.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

I've already knit half of cross-over bottom band.  (This top has lots of unique details.)  Join us in the KAL.  It'll be running into January, I think, so come join us!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Within Inspires Envy

Let me just get right into Within by Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond.  As you'd expect, it's full of things I want on my body when it's cold, beautiful photography, and charts to make choosing a size foolproof.

What I didn't expect was to find myself turning the pages of this non-existent couple's story of escaping the chill of Fall in their secluded cabin and finding myself filled with envy.  I wanted to be them.  Okay I wasn't "filled" with smoldering envy, but there was some envy at the idea, and I'm not normally an envious person.  I'm more of a melancholy, "Oh well, my lot is my lot."-kind-of-gal.  So the emotions these beautiful photos produced in me surprised myself.  (I really need a camping trip, friends.  It's been a couple of years! I think it's my turn.)  Can you blame me?  Just take a look at some of the pattern photos.  Don't you want to be there?

Anyway, Jane and Shannon created the perfect atmosphere for knitters craving Fall.  I want to make all the designs.  I just may, since I think I've got yarn that would work for all of them.

This brings me to another thing I realized, while scanning through the book.  They use classic, affordable yarn for these projects.  I mean, who doesn't have a giant, giant, giant, hand-wound ball of Cascade Eco in their stash, or leftovers in several colors?  I had two in colors appropriate for both the Fireside Pullover and Hudson.  So, I ordered a bit more in a Craftsy sale and am set to make a Fireside for myself, which you see here, and a Hudson shawl for my grandmother for Christmas.  The nature of those Eco skeins means I'll  have enough leftover from her Hudson to knit one for myself.  This is so doable!  My giant Eco purchases will be enough for a sweater, two bulky weight shawls, and numerous other accessories and/ or colorwork projects.

My Fireside is going along well.  The construction of the collar was interesting to watch as it took shape.  I didn't even resent the 1x1 ribbing when I had to start over to get gauge.

I'm past the armholes and now it's easy stockinette the rest of the way. As far as size, I chose size 34" based on the fit of the sample, which is given with sizing options in the book.  I'm thinking that will work best for my in-between state, as I've been losing some of the dreaded hormone therapy weight.  It only took a year.

Now that I'm past the ribbing, this will be my podcast/ tv knitting project.

(more on ravelrykollabora, instagram, and flickr)

If you want to knit on any of these with a group, there's a new group on Ravelry for the book, Marion Rae Publications, and a knit-along in progress there and on instagram. (#withinknits)