WIP WEDNESDAY: saving the best for last

Nothing like 80 degree weather to make a girl feel like knitting again… I hadn’t really felt like knitting since finishing my sweater back in March but last week I felt the call of the needles again. I’m working on editing my Daisy Socks pattern, the first socks I designed almost two years ago now. I’ve learned so much about construction and pattern writing since then that I figured it couldn’t hurt to update the pattern a little bit. I’ve already changed the toe construction and I figured I would give an afterthought heel a try.

Turning heels is actually one of my favorite things about knitting socks. There’s something endlessly satisfying about how a handful of short rows can completely change the shape of something. It always feels a bit like mathematical witchcraft to me. But one of the things that’s kept me interested in knitting all these years is that there’s always more techniques to learn, and afterthought heels seem to make a lot of sense with colorwork socks. When I got to my foot length I knit in my waste yarn and then kept on zipping along through the leg. I spent most of last night knitting away and if I do the same tonight I’ll probably finish the leg. This way seems like there’s a lot less counting stitches and making sure my pattern is lined up properly, and saving the best part for last is certainly motivating.

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FOs and WIPS

I got sucked into video games this week. There’s something so inviting about a dumb little digital world where everything makes sense and little creatures tell you what to do with your time.

ab3154b3-c0de-48f1-b857-480c00f4b54cI also managed to finish another pair of socks for the holidays. Halfway through knitting I ran out of yarn which is more annoying when you’re using variegated yarn. Out of three skeins, I now have about 40 grams broken up into 6 stupid little bundles of yarn trying to get both socks to match. They look pretty close now that they’re off the needles – enough that no one would really notice, but the pattern repeat was about two and a half rows off when I was knitting (which drove me up the wall). I spent a good amount of time matching up the yarn and starting the cast on from exactly the same point on each sock. I don’t know why it shifted. They’re identical mathematically, I would assume they have the same gauge – I’m not sure how they wouldn’t because I knit them both at the same time. Besides the shifted colors, these knit up pretty quickly because I was excited to see what the next color section was, which is I guess why people like self striping yarns.

f1616cc5-996f-40b2-bdbb-9d7b3012ff67I also started working on an infinity scarf for my sister. I asked her if she had any requests for a gift this year because I’ve knit her quite a few things over the years and she’s pretty particular (read: picky). She told me a “basic-ass infinity scarf” that she could wear to work – something that would go with most of her outfits – so gray. I found a lightly spun, lustrous gray yarn that’s once again variegated. I’m using needles that are two sizes larger than recommended so the texture stitch is coming out a bit lacy and has a nice drape. This one is very mindless knit so it’s going pretty quickly.

 

Anybody else feeling the gifting deadlines yet? It’s getting to the point where I feel like I have to be knitting, not that I get to be knitting.

A Year of Making

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 24

Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out?

About three years ago I started to get bored with making other people’s patterns. I think it came about from having mostly weird sized yarn and not very much money to buy more. I designed a few mitten patterns for holiday gifts and just kind of whipped them together. Over the next few years I started making a few socks and baby sweaters just based on gauge and measurement standards.daisy_sock_medium2 Nothing too fancy, just the basics. Then in the summer of 2016 I made these Daisy Socks and the rest, as they say, was history.

I got a lot of positive feedback on instagram and tumblr so I figured why not write up a pattern for them, how hard could it be? I already had the charts and the construction really isn’t that difficult to explain. I even found someone who wanted to test knit them (it only took her like five months to get around to finishing). I didn’t publish this pattern yet because I was hoping my test knitter would finish knitting, but in the mean time I was already working on another pattern. I ended up publishing two different patterns that October and decided to just go for it and publish the daisy socks without the test knitter in November.

It’s been about a year since I started and I now have 13 patterns available on Ravelry. I honestly can hardly believe it- people I don’t even know making things that came directly out of my jumbled brain garbage. There are definitely aspects I need to improve on this year as I take designing into a more and more professional realm, but I’m learning things with each pattern and always working to get better.

Once I make it through the holiday knitting rush I’ll have time and hopefully be bored enough of vanilla-ass socks to start designing patterns for next year. I also have every intention of maybe getting an etsy shop up and running. Lucky for you guys, you’ll probably be the first to know all the new things.

 

The No Knit List

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 22

Have you ever stricken someone off your to-knit-for list because they didn’t appreciate/take care of your last knitted gift to them?

I’ve definitely learned my lesson knitting for lots of people over the years. I have minimized my list dramatically mostly due to the stress of knitting for like ten people. It’s too much for my hands and it’s a lot of time to not be designing new patterns for my shop. The year I made socks for a bunch of my friends a lot of them seemed uncomfortable to be getting socks and a few didn’t even thank me. I’ve had a few people ask me to knit something for them “and they’ll even pay me” but balked when I told them a ballpark range of how much their item would actually cost or they simply never paid me. That’s the fastest way to the no knit list. I’ve limited my list to mostly family at this point. They understand how much labor a hand knit item takes and I know they’ll appreciate it. I actually went to buy my Christmas gift yarn haul this morning so now I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve got five items to whip out before the holidays.

#WIPWEDNESDAY and New Patterns

I skipped yesterdays blog prompt. I just didn’t have the energy to write anything and the topic seemed a bit redundant and needlessly negative. I feel the same about today’s so I’m going to skip this one too.

img_2548The mice are back. We woke up last Friday to the struggles of a not dead but very trapped mouse trying to crawl back down the hole with the trap. Not exactly a pleasant wake up. Thankfully K was able to deal with it. There’s another one in there tonight trying to eat our left over french fries. It does’t seem to be bothered for very long when I bang on the cabinet. I’ve taped the doors shut because the cat is very capable of opening the doors but maybe not so capable of doing the deed. It can enjoy some cold fries for it’s last supper and I’ll put our last trap under the sink tomorrow. It looks like someone had tried to cover the hole with foaming caulk of some sort but it’s obviously been chewed threw since then. We need to come up with a more permanent solution. I don’t like being responsible for all these mouse corpses.

I’ve been busy knitting away. I finished the snowflake socks and plan on making a matching hat, much like the tree set if you’ve been following along. I wrote a pattern for the tree set and published it a little over a week ago. Happy Trees is available HERE and HERE if you’re interested. I’ve been struggling to take halfway decent photo’s in this house. My parent’s have a nice weathered deck that worked really well for me in the past. I have dingy carpet, wood-like but not nearly floors, and weird colored walls. Outside is old blacktop and a crumbling but not aesthetically so concrete front porch. I’ve been considering building some sort of set to stage my garments because I just can’t get decent images. Another contributing issue is the fact that I’m rarely awake for any significant amount of day light. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually, but for now it’s really frustrating me.

sept socks grid 2I also was finally able to publish a sock pattern I’ve been working on for months. This pattern was the subject of my very first #WIPWEDNESDAY. This one took a bit of finagling to get right. I decided to have it professionally tech edited which was incredibly nerve wracking but ultimately a good decision. Getting my files back all marked up was like getting a final paper back in college, only somehow worse. After that was all through I had test knitters work on it. This is something I’ve been doing for a while and I’ve been having a string of really bad luck with getting them to finish on deadline – or even at all. This batch was very helpful and gave me lots of feedback though. But anyways, Get a Room is available along with the rest of my patterns on Ravelry and I’d love for you to go check them out. A lot of hands (and feet – haha) went into this one and I’m really proud of it.

 

Thoughts from a reformed yarn snob.

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 9

What fiber or yarn do you love working with?

As with most things certain yarns and fibers work better with certain projects. I’ve been really lucky to be able to work with lots and lots of different materials over the years. I’ve raised silk worms and spun from silk hankies and silk roving. I’ve been to a few sheep sheering events, one alpaca sheering, and an angora bunny sheering. I’ve washed very poopy fleeces and have been able to turn them into workable material. I’ve also been able to learn quite a bit about dying different fibers with mx, acid, and natural dyes. It’s really really hard to pick a favorite.

For a while I really enjoyed weaving and knitting lace with very very thin tencel yarn. It has a silk like quality and dyes beautifully, with the added bonus of being a plant fiber and much more cost effective.

I have also been lucky enough to have had access to a lot of 100% merino. I know a lot of people who don’t really like wool because it’s always scratchy or whatever but merino throws all of those ideas out the window.

That was all in school though. Outside of school I’ve mostly just used things I can get at chain stores and every once in a while I’ll splurge on something really nice. Most of my yarn now is mixed with acrylic and is super cheap. But honestly it gets the job done just fine. I can throw my socks in the washer because who the heck wants to hand wash a bunch of socks every week? It certainly isn’t me. I think with the things I make the most, which seem to be socks and the occasional mitten or baby sweater, functionality, durability, and ease of care out-way the yarn snob in me. Fancy yarns seem too precious some how. There’s a lot of pressure in my brain to make THE BEST PROJECT with THE PERFECT PATTERN with fancy yarn and it just kind of takes the fun out of making. I also think acrylics have come a long way from the stuff my grandmas would crochet afghans with in the 70s. I have a few blankets from them and you can literally see the strands of plastic hanging out but bonus points for still being warm and cuddly, totally washable, and not eaten by moths.

It’s not a waste of yarn if you’ve learned something

Life is really weird when you stay up all night and sleep during the day. That seems like an obvious statement but trying to plan things for say a Wednesday evening is really hard to wrap my head around. It’s hard for my brain to conceptualize time right now. Like right now, Tuesday at 6 am is basically Monday night. Dinner is breakfast, breakfast is dinner. I don’t know when to shower or when to eat lunch. I’m getting used to it, but it’s weird.

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 7

What is your least favorite piece that you’ve knit?

Going through my Ravelry page today trying to figure out what my least favorite project is. I don’t know that I could pick one specific project out. Sure I’ve had my fair share of failed projects but I’ve also learned something from each of them. Scrolling through I can remember making most of them. I remember what the yarn felt like. I remember who I gave the project to. And I remember what things didn’t work with each one. There are things that I definitely don’t need to make again and there are things I would make differently if I made them again. I picked out two projects that should have been made differently.

IMAG0529_mediumThis first one is a lace hat I made for my mom. I remember buying the yarn and I think my first pair of bamboo needles. The yarn is so silky and has such a nice drape which is exactly what went wrong with this hat. It’s way too floppy, even for a slouchy hat. The pattern called for wool which would definitely hold up a little better and actually be warm. On the other hand, this was the first project I knit that incorporated short row shaping – so I learned something. And my mom stills wears it even though I think it sucks. tumblr_nk16u9ojC41qhxvzyo1_540_small2

 

 

 

 

 

The second project I found is this pair of socks. I had been coveting a mitts pattern for a while but at the time I didn’t want to make mitts. I tried to make mittens with this lace pattern which did not work after several tries. I decided to try and make them into socks. Things I didn’t understand at the time of this project were ankle shaping and negative ease. The picture really makes them look a lot better than they are and it was not an easy picture to take. Besides the obvious mix ups in the lace, these are super slouchy and end up making my legs seem much bulkier than they are. I don’t hate the idea of frogging them and starting over. I would probably use the yarn to make the mitts as they were intended in the first place since the wool is really quite scratchy. If I made socks like this again I would use the sock yarns I’ve been using for my other projects and change needle sizes down the leg for shaping since I think adding stitches into the calf would be rather obvious in these.

It is pretty cool to look back at the things you’ve made and see their merit even though they’re not up to your current standards. Having real physical evidence of things you’ve learned is really encouraging and I hope in a few years I can look at the projects I’m working on now and see how much I’ve learned since.

Do you guys have knitting duds? What do you do with them?

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 2

Day 2: What is currently on your needles?

I’ve actually got three projects cast on right now. I almost never have more than one knitting project in my basket (on the table, on the floor, on the couch for K and or the cat to sit on), but by some weird turn of events I’ve got three.

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Project 1: Sunstone Shawl

This is kind of my never ending forever project at this point. It’s one of those projects that I can pick up when I don’t know what else to knit but knowing it’s going to take me forever to finish it makes me not want to work on it. For some reason I decided to use US 0.5 needles and super fine yarn to make a very large shawl. I mean this thing is going to be stupid beautiful whenever it gets done- but it’s not going to be finished anytime soon.

3EA6F34B-EAC3-48AC-9DF5-2310A2529154Project 2: Snowflake Socks

I was super excited about this when I started them. I was going to have a few different pairs and release a set of patterns right around now. I ran our of yarn halfway through the first heel. It took a few days to make it to the store to get another skein and by then I decided that I needed to knit a sweater for myself. So on that trip to the store for one little skein of yarn I ended up being seven other skeins for a sweater.. The yarn I needed is still at the bottom of the shopping bag and the socks are still on my desk in my studio where I left them.

2b8d19cd-550f-4507-bfde-d0f155120addProject 3: The Sweater

After a few days of searching for a sweater pattern I decided on an old classic. I’ve already knit this sweater for my sister several years ago and I’m not sure if the pattern has been updated or I’ve just learned a whole bunch about knitting in the last few years but this pattern kind of sucks. First of all, it’s seamed. I hate purling, like a lot. I’m also not a huge fan of seaming. Knitting in the round is the way to go – no rowing out, less purling, no seams. I also really hate dropped sleeves. I looked at a lot of project pages for this sweater and I read a lot of other peoples notes. The consensus was that the sleeves are way too big and create a bat wing effect. I’m planning on doing some raglan decreases instead which also means I don’t have to pick up any stitches for the sleeves and extra bonus I won’t look like a child in my grandfathers sweater. It’s knitting up pretty fast by I forgot how much my hands ache when I knit with large yarn and needles. My fingers are actually swollen and my tendons are kinda twitchy but I, of course, won’t take a break from knitting, so…

Anyways, I’d love to hear what you guys are working on! Check out my previous post to see Day 1 of this challenge and for the full list if you want to follow along this challenge with me.

#WIPWednesday

I’ve had a pretty busy week. I made two loaves of bread (one when I was very very intoxicated). I read a real live actual book which I haven’t made time to do in what seems like years. I finally made curtains for my living room – I’ve got the sewing bug now so I’ll probably be working on some more sewing projects coming up.

I  spent the week thinking I was going crazy. Every evening I could hear something 5703F15E-F226-4B5F-9C2A-FA06CC14A7DArustling around in the kitchen. I kept checking but didn’t find anything, not even a hole in the bag of cat food. Thankfully the cat confirmed I wasn’t crazy and kept guard on the kitchen for me.

Last night I cleared out all my cabinets and set a mouse trap just in case. Not five minutes later it snapped. So I’m not nuts. I can’t bring myself to look  in the cabinet so I’ll have to wait for K to get home and check for me.

I’ve also been anxiously awaiting my test knitters to finish up so I can publish a pattern I’ve been working on for months. It’s been a very long process but hopefully it’ll be worth it. My group of knitters have had a lot of feedback which is great. A lot of people have worked really hard on the pattern and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I mentioned working on some sweater socks in my last #fridayfavorites post. I finished them and suddenly it was 75 degrees. Now that it’s appropriately freezing again it hasn’t stopped raining so I haven’t been able to take better images. These are super cozy and used up some yarn I’ve had laying around for a few years. I made the hat mostly to make a pompom. I haven’t made a pompom since like second grade and it was SO satisfying.

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Since the tree socks went so quickly I decided to make some more cozy socks. I started some snowflake socks the other night with more stashed yarn but ran out of red last night. I think I’m going to make three patterns and release them as a set before the holidays.

 

 

#FridayFavorites

Last weekend I made the coziest pair of sweater socks. I made both socks in like 36 hours which didn’t even seem real to me since I usually knit with needles no larger than US 2. They knit up so quick and easy that I made a hat the next day in practically one sitting (It could have been one sitting, but I woke up the next morning and didn’t like the crown decreases so I ripped that all out and made it better). I’ve got them all blocking in the kitchen right now and hope to have a pattern worked up sometime this weekend, but the weekend tends to get away from me.

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Studland by: Clare Devine 

I’m really not even sure why I’m so drawn to these. Usually I’m interested in more textural pieces or crazy colorwork pieces but there’s something so simple about these that I just love. I do really just love the yarn color and I was drawn in by the ‘lifestyle’ photos. Lifestyle photos are something I’m not very good at when photographing my own work, granted it’s pretty difficult to take normal looking pictures of your own feet when you don’t have a tripod or an adorable apartment.

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Ola Sokken by: Lill C. Schei

I’ve been kind of obsessed with gray and white and gray and yellow lately and these bring the best of those together. They’re geometric and fun and would certainly keep your toes warm all winter.

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Keel by: Brenda York

I just love how classic these socks are. They would make a great gift for anyone and would look great in any color combo. They make me think about sitting a porch watching autumn leaves fall drinking a cup of hot cider.