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Knit with Love

A few months ago when I was working on the Through the Loops Mystery Sock, I became quite enamored with the mosaic knitting method.

If you’re not familiar with this method, it’s pretty fun.  You only knit with one color every row, passing stitches from a second color by so that you get this cool connected effect like you see above in the two color section.  I really wanted to revisit this method again and found another pattern to do it with.  Pucker by General Hogbuffer looked super cool and just what I wanted!  It took me a few months to get to them, but was happy to finally cast on a few weeks ago.

All was sort of well for the first few inches.  And then the troubles started.  Firstly, the yarn I was using was beginning to annoy me.  It was splitty and I was having to fix a lot of stitches, which was slowing me down and preventing me from getting a good rhythm.  Then, the colors in the multi colored yarn started changing in such a way that I was having a hard time distinguishing between the two.  I thought I could overlook these things once I got to the heel, though.  Surely, if I just persevered, things would fall into place and it would all be ok.  Somehow, I would become ok with the splittiness and the colors would pass by and look better.  (I can see all you veteran knitters shaking your heads here:)

I think we all know where this was heading.  Oh, I did get to the heel.  In fact, I even knit the heel.

Twice.

The first time, I got all the way through the gusset pickups when I noticed that I had not got the last 6 rows of the color patterning right on the leg.  I would have let it pass if it were not for the fact that those wrong stitches would be front and center of the design and I could not continue and make it look like it was supposed to.

It took me a whole evening to rip it out, pick up all the stitches and knit the color pattern correctly.  Then, last night, I knit the heel again.  Only, when I got to the part where I needed to turn the heel (my favorite part), I discovered that I had knit the wrong number of heel stitches.  Again, I could not let it go because then the pattern would not be nicely continuous.  Sigh.

I ripped it out again and cried uncle.  Honestly, I love the pattern, but I was really hating the yarn.  I could not bear the thought of picking up those stitches and knitting the heel again.  And you know what?  I am always telling people that life is too short to knit with yarn or patterns that we don’t love.  I want to knit with love, not anger or frustration.

I pulled out the yarn that I bought last week at the MD sheep and wool festival that I bought for Helical socks and decided they would also be perfect for this pattern.  So far, I only have a couple of rows, but I am loving the yarn combination so much more already.  We’ll see how it goes.

The lesson here?  Knit what you love.

Sidetracked

As so often happens when I set goals, I got a little distracted this month.  My original intention was to finish my Chartreuse, but it’s been a few weeks, and it doesn’t look much further along than it did before.

There is a slight difference, though.  I was able to get past the pocket portion, so that is something, I suppose.  Then, it got tossed aside for two completely spontaneous new mystery knit along projects that both started the first week in February.  There is the Through the Loops Mystery Sock knit along.

And the Snowmelt Mystery Shawl knitalong.

Both of these designers are new to me, which is fun and I enjoy a bit of deadline knitting now and then.  That’s not to say that I will knit anything.  Before I signed up, I made sure to check out their other designs to make sure I liked them, generally speaking.  And I did and, so far, I am really enjoying these knitalongs.

I’ve also just recently signed up for A Year of Techniques, which will be starting up in March, so I already have the next mystery lined up when these will be wrapping up.

My original intention was to sort of try to finish one pair of socks, one shawl, and one sweater a month, but I think I’m coming to the realization that that might be a bit much to try every month.  Two out of three might be a better goal.

I did manage to finish a pair of socks in January, but did not mention them here because they were a Valentine’s Day gift for the husband.  I used the Simple Skyp Sock pattern for these which was quite an easy to memorize pattern.

Incidentally, the husband and I had an interesting conversation the other day about process knitting versus product knitting.  I always thought of myself as a product knitter.  Generally speaking, I don’t see the point of making something if I don’t want the end product, but then he pointed out to me that I knit lots of shawls and hardly ever wear them.  That is totally true.  I love to knit shawls.  They can be easy or challenging skillwise, but they are almost always easy on my hands, which is not true for sweaters and socks.  Also, I don’t need to worry if they will fit.  As a result, I do have quite a few shawls which I love, but never wear.  What to do with them?  Anyone else have this dilemma?

 

 

Snow Adventure

Many thanks to each and ever one of you who commented on my Ommegang sweater. I am happy to say that you all have given me the confidence to wear it, no matter what! It certainly is warm and we needed warm clothes this past week when we hit a new low for our area.

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This is one of the coldest weeks I can remember from the past 20 years that I have lived here, but I did not mind. I know how to keep myself busy indoors! I was able to finish a pair of socks for the husband.

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As well as a sock for myself.

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And, for the first time, I think I have been able to keep up with a mystery knit along and finish on time.

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My Follow Your Arrow 2 shawl got a nice bath.

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And then a good blocking.

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I used some new blocking wires that I got for Christmas.

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These will take some getting used to since they are super flexible. I had a little trouble pulling the shawl as taut as I usually do. I will give a more in depth report about these when I have had a chance to use them on a larger variety of finished objects. For now, I am just loving how this shawl turned out.

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Each clue was interesting and fun. I like how there is a mix of three dimensional textures and lace.

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Yes, looky there! We had a little snow early last week, at last! The boys were able to go sledding and it was a pretty good day for it, too. Then, on Saturday, we had a bigger snow event. Truthfully, this winter has been so lackluster that I think everyone had let their defenses down for this storm. We were up before the sun on Saturday to attend the elder son’s last swim meet an hour away.

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The sock and I tried to make some progress, but honestly, early morning and me don’t mix, so I only got a few rows done. By the time we were done at 10:30 am (thank goodness they did all the older boys at once in the morning so we didn’t have to be there all day), it was just a little cloudy. We drove to our favorite restaurant in the area for a post meet meal. It had started to snow a little by then, but we weren’t worried. A little snow can’t hurt us, right? Ha! At 11:30, we were done with our meal and pondering a trip downtown to hang out at a museum, but decided we would all rather go home and take a nap. At this point, it was snowing quite heavily and the streets were getting a bit slippery. It took us an hour to get to the on ramp of the highway and when we got there, it looked like this.

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Clearly, no plow had been by this road yet. After another hour of driving, we were halfway home and decided we needed a break from the traffic and snow.

So, we stopped for some gelato. We got there just before they closed due to the weather.

When we got back to the highway, the traffic was even worse. The first mile or two took us an hour of stop and go traffic on elevated bits of highway with no exits. The other side of the highway was no better. We passed miles of backed up traffic, including this nice line of 13 snow plows that were stuck there, unable to do their jobs.

It took us six hours to get home from a town that usually is just an hour’s drive away for us. And there is no way we would have made it without the husband’s awesome driving skills. We passed many many cars slipping and sliding away and also ones that had been abandoned because they were stuck. The storm took many people by surprise, including us. Thankfully, we made it home safely and the boys even thought that parts of the experience was fun, haha. After a day like that, I was glad to stay in all day yesterday and do some sewing and knitting. I’ll tell you about all that another time, though. In the meantime, I hope you are staying warm and comfy, wherever you are!

Making Up for Lost Time

Friends, it is flu season and this year is a bad one.  We were all wiped out last week with the flu.  It’s the first time in over ten years that we had to stop everything.  There was no school. No sports.  No cooking or baking.  Friends, I even went for almost two days straight without knitting.   However, before I was forced to go to bed for those two days, I was able to get quite a bit done on a secret project and when I recovered enough to sit up, I was able to knit even more, so much more that I was able to finish that project yesterday.  Whoohoo!  When I realized last night that I could knit on something else, I literally did a happy dance around the room.  As much as I loved knitting that project, it is unlike me to knit exclusively on one thing for such an extended period of time.  Sadly, I cannot show you that finished project yet, but I will be able to pretty soon.

In the meantime, I feel free!  I have reorganized all my works in progress, wound a lot of yarn for new projects, and am totally planning a super duper cast on party!  Woohoo!  Here are a few of the things in the lineup for the near future.

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First, the socks.  I really need to and want to make some more socks this year.  Already this winter, I have had to retire three pairs of socks.  Initially, I thought I would try to darn them, but that is such a tedious process (insert a rather  unladylike whine here).  My gut is telling me that knitting new socks is going to be more likely accomplished than darning, but who knows?  Maybe I will have a change of heart.  In the meantime, I am back at work on these socks.

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Deflect pattern by Hunter Hammerson.  I am on to the heel and enjoying this fun asymmetric pattern.  The yarn is Plucky Primo fingering.

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I am planning some plain vanilla socks with this fun self-striping yarn.

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And when I get a few spare minutes and brain cells, I am going to cast on a pair of socks from the Playtime collection with this Wollemeise.  Now, this skein is oversized, about 150g, so I am hopeful that I will be able to get two pairs of socks for myself out of this one skein.  Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

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Next, I am hoping to be finished with this sweater in the next week or so.  All I have left is half a sleeve and the button bands, which should make easy tv knitting.  After this sweater is done, I am planning to take a short break from sweaters to concentrate on a few shawls.

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Well, four, actually.

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I’ve got a Wintersweet started, but nowhere near finished because it was interrupted by secret knitting.  It was a mystery project, but the mystery is all over now.  Still, I hope that I if I work on one clue a week as was originally published, I can have it done in a month or so.

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Similarly, I could not resist Ysolda’s new mystery shawl knit along, Follow Your Arrow 2.  I did one last year and had a lot of fun with it.  So, I dug up some leftover Kauni yarn and cast on at 4am this morning when I could not sleep.

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There’s also this cowl that I started awhile back and never showed you.  This one may well be put on the back burner for a bit because I am not feeling any special motivation to work on that one.

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Lastly, I have this lovely bright yarn all wound up and ready to go to knit a wedding shawl for a friend.  This one is really special, as is the friend, so I know I will enjoy this knit.  There’s a deadline for this one, so it will likely be started pretty soon.

Wow, with the flu behind us and that big secret project behind me, I feel as if the new year is really beginning now.  I think I have a pretty good start so far!

Taking Stock

Today, I decided to get out all the knitting projects that I am actively working on and update them in my list of projects on Ravelry. There are a couple of things here that I have not even had the time to make a project page for, much less share them with you. I find that doing this every once in awhile helps me to prioritize them. For example, here are the two sweaters I promised to show you last week.

1. Rolling Rock

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2. Tea Leaves

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You’ll notice that both sweaters are sleeveless. This is quite a plight with top-down sweaters. Often, with a bottom up sweater, I will knit the sleeves first because, for some reason, I always get stuck on the sleeves if I save them for last. With a top-down style, though, I have no choice but leave the sleeves for last. Well, I guess that is not strictly true. I could put the body on hold after I divide for the sleeves and knit those first, but somehow, I never think to do that when en route.

Anyhow, while I had both of these projects out, I decided to finish the purple one first. Why? Well, first of all, the gauge is bigger, so the knitting will go faster and also because it is 20 some degrees outside today and this one will be warmer. The blue one has a lacey, cabley design on the back that is very interesting, but I suspect it will let in a little draft, so will not be as immediately practical. See?

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Ok, good. Now that the sweaters were sorted, I went on to shawls.

1. Hediye

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2. Autumn Oborine

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What is that orange one, you ask? Well, this is one of those that I never made a project page for or even shared here. I began it way back in September when I was out of town. In fact, I got the yarn while I was away. It started as one of Susanna IC’s mystery shawl knit alongs, which I love to do. I have yet to be disappointed with her patterns and the mystery ones are great fun. However, I lost my momentum with this one once I got home and got back in touch with all my other works in progress. Now, here I am, just 4 rows away from being done. Trouble is, these are the longest rows and they involve beading, so I have to have a good hour of uninterrupted time per beading row (of which there are 2 more) in order to get this one finished. I don’t seem to have that kind of time these days.

On the other shawl front, I have finished the finicky border and have moved on to the garter panel in the center. This promises to be easy and fast. Which shawl will get finished first? Who knows. It will probably all depend on what kind of time I have.

Socks are next.

1. Deflect

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2. Slipper Socks for the boys

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There’s really no mystery here as to which of these will get done first. The slipper socks are intended for the boys as Christmas presents and are fairly quick and easy. I did almost half of a sock while sitting in a three hour meeting last week. They are easy and good knitting for all those bits of time one has when one is out and about. The only tricky part at the end will be sewing on the leather soles. One pair is done and now I have to knit the other pair. Here’s the yarn for that one.

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At home, I am quite enjoying the deflect socks when I feel like working on them. The primo fingering has a bit of cashmere and the yarn is nicely spun, both of which make for a pleasant sock knitting experience. The pattern also has a nice balance of ease and interest. I did change the cuff from the original pattern a little; basically, I just did an inch or so of ribbing before I started cabling instead of cabling right away. It was just something I did on the spur of the moment because I thought it would be too fiddly to do a cable just after a cast on row.

Well, that’s it for now. It would be a little scary to look at all the projects I have started and not finished. My goal is to just concentrate on a few of these until a couple of them are done. It’s kinda hard. I really want to cast on a hat and some colorwork stuff, but there is too much going on right now. Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving? And we are just beginning to wrap up our cookie project! I think I have enough on my plate; piling on more would just be disastrous!

So, what are you working on lately?