#73 Project Update

This has been a pretty simple week. I continue to work on my Christmas socks and my Amrum sweater body. I have only made myself 2 sweaters and both are tunic style as I like to wear them with leggings. I was kinda thinking about making this one the more traditional hip length but it’s clear that all my worrying about not having enough yarn was misplaced. I will easily have well over a cone of yarn left. Thus I think I will go ahead and make it the tunic length since I have so much yarn. I’m going to have to do some research on the bind-off. I do not want to do a ribbed bindoff as I don’t want it to curl. I need a straight hanging edging. So I’m thinking I-cord or maybe just a simple garter edging. ARGGGG – I dropped a stitch last night and can’t fix it!!! Ripping out about 8 rows. 😦

The Christmas socks are coming along nicely. They are my “brain dead” knitting for social knitting or watching football and futball.

My lavendar yarn arrived this week for my A Trip to the Pacific sweater I want to make. I hate buying unseen yarn online but I took a chance since the cost was so low. And it’s perfect!! Exactly that “dark” lavendar I wanted with just a hint of “tweediness”. So many sweaters to knit!!!

LESSON LEARNED

Wow and well, guess I’m glad for the yarn maker. One self stripping yarn maker I like sells out her sock yarn almost as fast as she posts it. So I emailed her to compliment her on her success as well as ask when the next time yarn would be posted so I could put it on my calendar. She responded quickly and even gave me a tip on how to get “early” access. I am glad she is doing well as the local young lady that makes vibrant self striping socks apparently isn’t making yarn any more. No idea if this is temporary or permanent. I’m looking forward to getting some “brain dead” self striping sock projects in my stash.

#72 In Person Knitting!!

Well my knitting group finally bit the bullet and met in person after not seeing each other physically for the past 6 months! A LYS offered reserving their very large table area that normally seats 16+ knitters to be reserved for no more than 6 people. So the 5 of us were able to reserve it for our group. While we didn’t hug or even squish each others projects, it was nice to be able to see how beautiful everyone’s project is. The colors and details just don’t come through accurately on the computer.

We showed our appreciation by buying yarn and I bought the Cocoknits Sweater Workshop book and worksheets. I’m a visual learner so creating stitch charts is best for me. The LYS offered 20% off on books so is it my fault I couldn’t resist?? I’m looking forward to reading about the method and then applying it to the various sweater projects in my queue. Of course this week I’ve added 2 more sweaters to my queue for 2021. One will use yarn from my stash but after not finding summer weight yarn I wanted at the LYS, I ordered closeout yarn from WEBS when I came home. I mean really, no one is expected to resist a sweater quantity of yarn for $60 right!?

We capped off the afternoon with a two block walk down the town’s main street to visit a coffee shop for a latte treat. While not sunny, it was warm enough to sit outside so we could maintain safe socializing. Here in Cincinnati it is just about peak autumn leaves color. So a beautiful day both visually and emotionally.

PROJECT UPDATE

Finally!!! I finished the third pair of socks and mailed them off to Boston Friday. I included a note encouraging the recipients to let me know how then fit if they hope to receive a second pair. 🙂

I got a little knitting done on my daughter’s Christmas socks and I finished the sleeves on my Amrum sleeves. I even modified the sleeve a little by adding some of the front pattern to the end of the sleeve. I’m much happier with the sleeves since I tried it on repeatedly to confirm the fit. The sleeves on my sweater I made last winter are WAY too baggy as well as too long. I really should rip them out and reknit them. Being SHORT, I need to accept that patterns are going to have sleeves that are too long and I must plan on fewer rows and quicker decreases than the pattern calls for. I’m confident I can get both the Christmas socks and the sweater done by Thanksgiving. I only need a few more inches on the body of the sweater!! I’m already looking forward to casting on the next sweater!

#71 Numbered Stitch Markers

As I’ve said in the past, I’m a stitch marker queen. I frequently use more than one stitch marker (like hanging a red pin on my “pretty” stitch marker) to try to make me “wake up” and notice what that I’m supposed to do something!! I also like to use stitch markers to count my stitches. I need to constantly reassure myself that yes, I have the right number of stitches for this row in my pattern. Or yes, I still have the right number of stitches on the heel side of my sock.

So in addition to using green stitch markers for the right sleeve, white stitch markers for the back, etc. I was seeking some numbered stitch markers so I could more quickly count that yes, I have 88 stitches on the front. Since I mainly knit even sweaters with fingering weight yarn, I have a pretty high stitch count for fronts and backs. I looked on etsy but most numbered stitch markers that I could find were pretty big gaps (25, 50, 75) and were expensive in my opinion. I really like to have mine every 10 stitches so it’s easy to find a dropped or added stitch.

I tried making my own by using jewelry wire to attach numbered beads to my o-ring stitch markers. Unfortunately the wire ends never stay tight and instead catch on the yarn. So I finally admitted defeat and bought numbered stitch markers from Twice Sheared Sheep. This is the same young lady that makes my absolutely favorite knitting tool, her row counter. https://twiceshearedsheep.com/product-category/row-counter/ They arrived this week and I can’t wait to change out my handmade ones on my Amrum sweater with these. (I have NO association with Twice Sheared Sheep. I just like sharing knitting tools I’ve found.)

PROJECT UPDATE

Not too surprising, I didn’t get much knitting done on my long weekend away last week. I ended up being the driver for all but 2 hours of the 14 hours of driving and we indeed talked with our hosts for most of the 2 1/2 day visit catching up on the past year. But I’ve turned the heel and am heading up the leg of the Fixation socks I want done ASAP. The Christmas socks for my daughter at least have a few stripes on them making it a fun and festive knit. No progress on my Amrum sweater these past 2 weeks but I am motivated to get those sleeves finished so I can stop juggling the cones of yarn as I knit them 2 at a time.

This is a Year of Projects post. Officially the Group is in its 10th year, but this is my 1st year participating. If you would like to find more about the Year of Projects Group on Ravelry.

#70 Two at a Time Sleeves

I knit my socks two at a time on magic loop needles because I want to make sure the left sock and the right sock match. If I make a mistake, too many rows in the cable, I want to be sure to make the matching mistake on the other sock. Trying to record any deviation and then repeating on the second sock is too stressful. But I’ve never done two at a time with sweater sleeves even though I find trying to match my decreases similarly stressful.

My knitting friends recently suggested I consider doing my sleeves two at a time. I’d never considered this since all my sweaters are raglan. I know you could do two at a time when knitting a sweater in pieces that need to be seamed. But knitting sleeves two at a time with the yoke/body hanging between the sleeves??? I was particularly motivated with the sweater I’m working on, Amrum, because I plan to put a little of the pattern at the bottom of the sleeve just prior to the cuff. Thus it would be especially helpful to knit both sleeves at the same time to make sure I start on the same row.

It’s hard enough juggling two balls of yarn when knitting two at a time but the yarn I’m using for my sweater is on cones. No big deal but I use a yarn butler to make it easier to pull the yarn off the cone as I knit. It’s taking a while but I’m starting to get the hang of moving the cones back and forth from left to right as I change sleeves and putting the active yarn cone on the yarn butler so that it unwinds easily. Typically when I make a raglan sweater, I finish the body before starting the sleeves. With doing two at a time sleeves, I did about half the body before starting the sleeves. In the future I’d probably do even less of the body, maybe 2″, so that I don’t have so much weight in the center. Arguably, instead of putting the sleeves on waste yarn and knitting the body, it makes sense to put the body stitches on waste yarn and knit the sleeves. Things to try in the future. I’ll let you know in a future blog what works best.

TRAVEL KNITTING

I’ll be heading to the Smoky Mountains for a long weekend this week so I have to plan my knitting. We are meeting friends at their cabin. There is no TV and not a lot to do so I’m hoping to have lots of knitting time. I do recall last year we managed to talk a lot just catching up with each other. It’s also a 6+ hr drive so I’m hoping to get in at least a few hours of knitting on the drive. My husband’s health frequently makes me the driver so I may not get much car knitting done. The pair of Fixation socks that I started last week will be my car knitting. The yarn is large making it easier on the eyes and less likely to fall off the needle while in a moving car, especially since I’m using square Addi rocket needles.

Then I’ve just cast-on a pair of Christmas socks for my daughter with Lollipop self striping yarn. I’m using the “brain dead” pattern of alternating rows of K1P1, K3P3. Thus I should be able to knit while enjoying a cup of coffee around the firepit each morning. I would have loved to cast-on some fall colors sock yarn I have from Redbird Yarn studio, a local dyer, but I know me and how long it takes me to get even socks knitted up. If I want these Christmas socks done by Thanksgiving, they need to get started now. With 3 WIPs, I still need to focus just to get my Fixation socks done by the end of October, Christmas socks by the end of November, and hopefully my sweater done in there as well.

We will be a little early in the season but I’m hoping for a bit of fall color in the mountains. I do have to laugh at myself in that my knitting projects are always the first thing that I think about when planning a trip. Well….. I have downloaded some audio books to listen to so maybe knitting isn’t the only thing on my travel mind.

#69 Grafting

Well, I had to learn about grafting. I was so excited Thursday evening when I finished a pair of socks I’m planning as a gift. It wasn’t until I put them on blockers and went to take a photo that I noticed one sock had a stripe around the ankle. Seems about a 30″ (3/4 m) section didn’t get dyed so it was simply the yarn’s base color. Thus I had 4 rows of bland yarn instead of the speckles of all the other yarn. Grrrr. I have made many pairs of socks with Cascade Fixation yarn and this was a first. I’ve certainly been disappointed with Cascade Fixation for having knots in the ball, which these did as well, but never an undyed patch.

Finally I realized that I could cut the yarn and rip out the 4 rows. Fortunately I had 1.4 gr of yarn left which was just barely enough to replace the 4 rows. Cutting yarn within a project was also a first for me. After replacing the rows, I had to figure out how to get the leg reattached to the sock!! Searching on YouTube, I found a video for a modified Kitchner. I definitely should have followed the advice of making a swatch of large size yarn (worsted) to practice the grafting but of course I didn’t. I only had to restart twice. Turns out I did need to put lifelines in the stitches just so I could better find the stitches as I was weaving them back together. It’s not perfect but it is good enough, especially for a sock.

So now it’s knit the third and final pair of socks for this family. I am so ready to be done with these especially since my Amrum sweater keeps calling me. More on that next week.

#68 Charms for Stitch Markers

I love stitch markers!! I have written several blogs about various stitch markers I have found that are helpful to my knitting. But recently on a trip to Hobby Lobby to get machine oil for my sewing machine, I happened to think that charms would make beautiful and fun stitch markers. I might have been motivated by my current project where I’m using lots of stitch markers to track where I’m at in the ever growing lace pattern. I have various purple markers on the ssk side of the pattern and various green and white markers on the k2tog side. So I have a purple sheep marker on one side of the pattern and a green sheep marker on the other side. Same for yarn ball markers, flower markers, etc. I’m running out of pairs of markers as the pattern keeps expanding as I knit down the body.

So I checked out the jewelry section at Hobby Lobby. They really do have quite the collection of charms to my surprise. Plus as typical of Hobby Lobby, they were all 50% off. I finally could not resist a set of markers that were a colorful stack of books. Indeed I am happily using them on my sweater.

Last year my knitting friends did a small gift exchange at Christmas. Creating a set of markers from charms that fit their different personal interests would be so fun. Unfortunately it is likely that Covid-19 will continue to keep us from meeting in person this Christmas. We will have to do Christmas in July!! I’m also hoping my children might see my Instagram post of the book stack charms so that they get an idea of an inexpensive gift to give me for Christmas. Is that a passive-aggressive thing to do??

Ravelry Disappointment

I really enjoy using Ravelry. I even sent emails praising the site when there was a bunch of backlash against the new website remodel. I am one that tends to keep notes as I’m knitting my projects. I’m learning to do a better job of reporting my gauge so that in the future I know what needle and yarn creates what gauge. I don’t tend to update stash very much as I try to have projects already identified for yarn when I purchase it. Thus I don’t need to “stash dive” when I find a pattern I want to knit.

I also check out “hot right now” patterns on almost a daily basis. I look for free patterns to add to my library as well as purchasing several that I’ve got in my queue. Image my surprise and disgust when on Friday I saw a “hot right now” pattern that used a disgusting curse word to describe police officers in the pattern title. The pattern description goes on to denigrate police officers. I knew the staff was quite liberal since one of the original operators is transgender going from Casey when the site started to now Cassidy. The site has labeled all conservative stance as “hate speech”. But apparently it’s acceptable to denegrate police officers.

This is so contrary to what I thought Ravelry is supposed to be, accepting of everyone, not making generalizations, etc. Yet when I posted a question about why Ravelry was allowing this pattern, my post got taken down by the administrators. The pattern on the other hand is still in the “hot right now” list. So for me this means I will no longer purchase patterns through Ravelry. Thankfully Ravelry does allow me to block designers so I no longer have to see this disgusting pattern when I visit the site.

#66. Stitch Marker Holders and Socks

Part of the fun of knitting is having fun knitting toys. I found a colorful, and cheap, way to hold all my O-ring stitch markers. I use these as stitch count markers and use different colors to designate different parts of a sweater (front, back, right sleeve, left sleeve). These are pill containers so they are sold in the health section of my local mass market store. I have one for my small rings and one for my medium and large rings. Since I mainly knit with size 4 or smaller needles, I mainly use the small rings. Thus I have more colors of the small rings. It’s easy to drop the cylinder in my knitting bag when I travel. Since they screw together, I can chose to pack anywhere from 1 to all 7 of the containers depending on how many colors I think I’ll need while away from my knitting nook.

As far as projects go …. this week I did finish one pair of socks. I finished the cuff and ripped out the toes as the foot was too long. I took out about 1/2″ and then reknit the toes. So these are ready to gift. I also completed the foot and heel on the second pair. Now it’s straight forward to knit the leg and get them finished. I have one more pair of these to make before I can send the 3 pairs of socks to the family that hosted my daughter last spring. I warned them that they wouldn’t be ready until Christmas.

I continue to make progress on my Amrum sweater. Apparently Amrum is a German island in the German North Sea. That makes sense since the pattern designer is German. Seeing how we just spent 2 wks this summer at a friend’s beach house followed by spending last weekend at a beach house near my daughter, it is appropriate I’m making a sweater named after a tourist beach island.

#65 YoP Aug 17

Didn’t get as much done as I thought I would which sadly is not a big surprise. I always envision I’m going to get LOTS of knitting done on trips and it rarely works out that way. On the other hand I’m SO thankful for the day long conversations at the beach I had with my daughter and stepson while visiting my daughter for her “virtual” graduation. I’m feeling a little melancholy as our relationship changes from my daughter being a student to my daughter being employed fulltime with it’s new restrictions on her time.

Here’s a picture of my daughter in the top I made her. As previous blogs note, I had to rip it out twice due to not reading a very simple pattern correctly. But I’m happy with how it turned out and so is she. I’m really glad I modified the pattern to have a garter edging instead of the all stockinette the pattern is designed with.

My knitting for the week focused on completing some pairs of socks I’ve promised. The foot is too long on the blue socks and I was thinking I had to rip out the entire leg and heel. Duhh!! I just need to turn it inside out and unravel the toe. That will take much less time!! Boy, when I get focused on the toe up process I was almost blinded to alternatives. Thankfully I figured it out before ripping out the leg. So hopefully at least the blue socks will be a FO by next week’s update.

I also worked on my Amrum sweater. I’m making slow but sure progress. I can see mistakes but since it’s for me, I’ll live with them. (Yes the red and gold pins means there is a mistake that I will have to “fix” with a sewing needle). I do love this yarn so I’m enjoying knitting the sweater.

#64 Rearranging Knitting Nook

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I am lucky to have a wonderful “nook” off our “toy room”.  We finished the area above our garage to be a “toy room” for our kids while they were growing up.  The kids are grown so I’ve taken over the “nook” that used to house their tv, movie videos (then CDs) and eventually video games.  I had a small TV in the corner but this week I “upgraded” by putting my oldest son’s TV, that he left behind when he moved to Florida, just outside the nook thus making my knitting nook a little bigger!!  As you can see when I took this picture, I was enjoying this week’s Grocery Girls YouTube Live broadcast.  I am loving my wall of yarn, candles, and pictures.

Many of the wooden boxes are actually crates that wine came in.  For the two boxes on the left (one fits nicely under a small endtable), I use the cardboard dividers between the wine bottles to be dividers for the skeins of yarn.  This is where all my single skeins (socks) of yarn go.  In the middle and to the right you see my many “prepackaged” sets of yarn for projects in my queue.  When I buy yarn I do like to have a project in mind.  It doesn’t stop me from changing my mind but at least I have a starting point of what I was thinking when I bought the yarn.  I print out the Ravelry page of the pattern and put it with the yarn in a zippered clear bag.

Under the window you can see the quilted bag that I use to hold my current project, the Amrum sweater.  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amrum  You can even see the green knitting sticking out the top of the bag.  I adore this space.  The colors of my yarn plus all the wood is so cozy.  I have a lovely window to enjoy the trees on our property (we live in the woods). I feel “snug as a bug”.

Check out my queue on Ravelry if you want to see my plans for all this yarn. 🙂

YEAR OF PROJECTS UPDATE

I did do a little knitting this week too.  I’m making progress on the second pair of Fixation socks I’m knitting.  I’m going to have my daughter do a “test fit” before I make the heel.  I’m pretty sure I made the foot too long on the first pair of Fixation socks and I’m expecting to have to rip out the leg and heel to reduce the foot half and inch.  Fortunately with the thicker Fixation yarn, it doesn’t take long to knit the socks (if I focus).  In the mean time I’ve enjoyed getting back to knitting my Amrum sweater.  As long as it’s done by October, I’ll be happy.  One of those project bags on the shelf is a Sailormoon sweater that I want to start by October.

Mask Making

When 2020 started I had no idea how many masks I’d be making.  I don’t particularly like to sew but I do have a 30 year old machine that gets used occasionally to fix a seam.  After making masks for everyone in my family that wanted one, I’ve started making masks for my church to give out.  We are using the fabric that would normally be used by our quilting group.  Just this week I have 11 children’s masks and 9 adult masks ready to be dropped off.  This morning I cut the fabrics to make 9 more children’s masks and 9 more adult masts.

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