#49 Finding New LYSs

IMG_2651Is there anything more fun than visiting new yarn stores???  I personally detest shopping for clothes, shoes, etc.  But shopping for yarn… what’s not to like!!  There is no trying on and having to look at those extra pounds.

So I am thankful that despite southern Florida’s heat, there is a yarn store in Naples, Castle Creek Fiber Studio, and a yarn store in Fort Meyer, Hooked On Ewe.  The Naples store is a 25 minute drive; the Fort Meyer store is a 45 minute drive.  I go weekly to the knit night the Naples store.   I don’t expect to visit the Fort Meyer store often since it’s pretty far away.  I met a Cincinnati knitting friend who is snowbirding in Fort Meyer there before grabbing lunch.

I did see a yarn that I now feel I really need to get. 😆  So in 3 weeks when we take our Cincinnati friends that are spending Feb with us back to the Punta Gorda airport, I’m going to make Tom stop so I can buy the yarn to make a summer top.  Gee, one more project to add to my 2021 project plan.😜. My friend is already making the top on display so I feel like I have someone that might help me with questions.

South Florida has turned out to be good for this northern knitter.  I’m enjoying the opportunities these LYSs are providing.

#48 Naples Florida Social Knitting

One of the things I really was concerned about snowbirding in Florida was missing my knitting friends back in Cincinnati.  I love getting together with them every week.  We share pattern ideas, favorite podcasts, fun tools, yarn info, etc.

While I do miss them (thankful for our Facebook group page so I can continue to interact with them), I’m happy to say I have found two groups that I’m participating in here in Naples, Fl.  One group meets every other Tuesday literally across the street.  This group is crocheters so it doesn’t provide pattern or tool sharing that I like but they are certainly friendly and welcoming so it’s an enjoyable evening.  I found them through a Ravelry suggestion to find them on Meetup.  There are about 8 ladies every week.  They are all locals so I’m a bit of the odd man out as a snowbird but they have been accepting.

I am also attending a weekly open knitting session at the yarn shop in Naples, Castle Creek Fiber Studio.  They have two sessions a weekly, one every Wednesday morning and one every Thursday evening.  The Wednesday morning session is too big for me.  There must have been 40 women there!!!  Even last Thursday evening’s group was about 15 so getting a bit large.  These groups are much more filled with snowbirds and are all knitters.  Again they have been welcoming and I enjoy learning from others about various knitting topics such as knitting “conventions”, tools, and techniques.

The net for me is that I’m willing, and even looking forward to, snowbirding again next winter.  I had thought I might fly home the end of January if I was miserable in Naples.  January came and went with me staying in Florida.  I will be glad to reunite with my Cincinnati friends come mid-March but at least I’m not literally counting down the days like I did last year in Miami.

#47. Knitting an “Advent Calendar” Project

While at VogueLive back in early November, a knitting friend and I discovered an “advent calendar” sweater project at the Mass Ave booth.  The 24 15g balls of fingering weight yarn were so colorful that we couldn’t resist.  I bought the project knowing that I wouldn’t really knit it for advent but instead would knit it in January.  I had some really cute Christmas self striping socks yarn that I really wanted to knit up instead.

So come January I embarked on knitting the advent sweater.  It’s an extremely simple stockinette tunic with raglan sleeves so no seaming!!  I am very pleasantly surprised at just how much fun I’m having knitting it up.  Since I didn’t pick the yarns, the colors are often a surprise.  It is surprisingly to see how the colors display as they are knitted.  I bought the sweater to be a fun splash of color worn over black leggings and it will definitely be that.

My friend has completed hers already.  She started in December and decided to make it a shorter hip length.  It is just as cute and fun as we had hoped.  It looks great on her but I think I still want mine to be longer, upper thigh.  So I’ll keep an eye out in the future for a fun knit like an Advent Calendar project.😁

#46. Prym Needles

While at Vogue Live in Columbus back in November, I bought a pair of circular Prym needles.  These are relatively new needles from a German company.  They are supposed to be better ergonomically.  They are extremely light weight thus easier on the hands and have a nodule at the top to reduce splitting the yarn while knitting.  I bought them specifically to go with a sweater kit I also bought at Vogue Live.  (Yes, I know you are supposed to swatch to find the needle and size to match the sweater gauge.  I have probably too much confidence but am adjusting the pattern to fit the gauge that I’m making with these size 6 prym needles.)

I do like how light weight they are.  The nodule tips though probably does make it harder to do M1Ls.  On the other hand I’m probably splitting the yarn less which made it easier to rip out 40 rows when the colors pooled poorly.

I haven’t done a gauge comparison.  One reviewer found her gauge larger with the prym needle versus knitters pride needles for the same size needle.  This actually could be a good thing as it’s an extra tool when trying to match the pattern gauge.

Unfortunately prym doesn’t sell 40cm circular needles which is the size I need for the sleeves.  Also the tips would need to be shorter in order to knit a smaller circumference.  Since this sweater involves stripes, I want to knit the arms at the same time I knit the body.  I don’t want to do my usual of knitting the body and then going back to do each arm.  So I plan to use my knitters pride dreamz size 6 needle for the arms.  The gauge may not be identical to the body but at least both arms will be the same.


#45. 2020 Knitting Plan

IMG_20200106_221110_hdrAs discussed before, I really liked having a knitting plan last year so I made a plan for 2020. It was helpful among my knitting friends as well.  Kim and I are already working on the “advent” sweater together.  It’s helpful to have someone to bounce ideas and questions off of.

We shared plans on Jan 3 and made modifications so that sweaters we jointly wanted to knit were timed together.  Kim and I (and Collette and Colleen?) will knit the Vitamin B sweater starting in August.  Colleen and I (and Lise?) will knit the Amrum sweater (ITO yarn) beginning in April.  Tentatively I have the Professor Cat sweater for October with Collette but might switch with the Roselle Tee with Teresa.

This year I am not planning to take any classes as I have plenty of projects already on my plate.  In 2019 I took a brioche class that I’m planning to use in 2020 with the Vitamin B sweater and another shawl project.  And I took the argyl sock class that I didn’t finish so it’s a 2020 project.  Not surprisingly my first 3 years of knitting were filled with classes as I learned new techniques and how to make shawls, sweaters, and socks.  Now I’m ready to apply those skills.

I know the owner of my LYS may be insulted as I don’t have plans for classes there not a need for yarn.  I am not avoiding the shop it’s just that I already have enough yarn and desired projects.  In the past my knitting tended to be driven by the classes offered.  Now it’s being driven by my plan with yarns I’d already purchased.

#44. Florida Knitting

IMG_20200107_151244_hdrWell I’ve heard others say it but indeed I did it…. I packed my knitting projects that I want to knit while in Florida weeks ahead of packing my clothes. 😂  I know I’ve packed more than I can knit in 3 months but wanted to make sure I didn’t run out.  I packed a whole carryon duffle bag with yarn projects.

I of course packed the “advent” sweater that I started in December.  Unfortunately it took me all December to get my Christmas yarn socks knitted so I didn’t even get through the first ball of the “advent” sweater.  Kim has gotten a good start on it so I need to focus to catch up with her.  It is a simple knit so with her working and me not, I hope to catch up.

I also packed the shellseeker sweater that I want to knit for me.  I’ve already knit this sweater for Sara.  It also is not a complicated pattern so I’m hoping it knits up fast.  That will be two sweaters in 3 months which is highly aggressive for me.  But that’s not all …. I packed lots I fixation yarn to have a simple sock to knit during any social knitting I’m able to find.  Plus the  difficult argyl socks that are a carryover from 2019.

Plus I have enough yarn to make another pair of fingerless gloves.  So way more yarn than I can possibly knit up in 3 months.  Biggest issue will be focusing and possibly ergonomics issues.  I already have some problems with my thumb getting or elbow getting sore.  So I need to switch between Continental and English knitting, larger needles (sweaters) and smaller needles (socks/gloves) and learning to knit without looking at my knitting.  Lots to learn and make while counting down the days in Florida.

#43 Knitting Challenge Update

IMG_20191206_231928_hdrThis the first year that I created a knitting “plan” .  Previously I just bounced from one project to the next based an a class that sounded good. But now I have sufficient confidence in my ability to make socks, sweaters, shawls, etc.  I can think more along the lines of what do I want to make and for whom.

Turns out my plan for 2019 was a little aggressive but pretty good.  I’m a pretty slow sweater knitter.  I planned a lot of socks and indeed I made a lot (7 pairs).  Argyle socks turned out to be quite difficult so they got delayed into 2020.  They will be a Florida project.  I did make my first pair of fingerless mitts.  They are even easier than a pair of socks.

I did knit two shawls as planned but did change which shawl and yarn once I found yarn I wanted in Miami last February.  The other was difficult for a first project brioche shawl.  It took a lot more time than I had planned.

I did really like the experience of creating and following a year plan.  This way I could make sure I wasn’t trying to do too may projects at the same time.  I did update and substitute during the year – like the shawl.

As I’m preparing my 2020 calendar I created a point system to better estimate how many projects I could realistically do in a year.  Socks are quicker than sweaters.  This helped me realize I was planning way too many sweaters for 2020 unless I suddenly become a much faster sweater knitter.   I already have a sweater that I started this month that will carryover into 2020.  Plus those difficult argyle socks.  I have at least 6 sweaters I really wanted to make but will be lucky if I can get 4 of them done.  Thus I already have sweaters for 2021!!!  I know that I want to have “braindead” socks for social knitting.  Plus I  have some beautiful sock yarn that I really want to knit up.  I know that I’ll have a sweater and a sock project going at all times.

The net is that a yearly knitting plan is helpful for me.  It helps me feel in control of my knitting rather than my knitting is controlling me.  I don’t feel overwhelmed by all the projects I want to make because I have them on the schedule.  I know when they are planned.  They can move forward or back based on how fast a current project is going.  This will also help me to decide what projects to pack for snowbirding in Florida.  I certainly won’t need to buy yarn as I already have at least two years of projects in project bags in my knitting nook.