Wk of 7/4 – 7/10

FO

Yea!!! An FO!! I did finish my Hermione anklets. I love them. I used The Crazy Sock Lady’s idea of using the contrast yarn for only the final few rows on the cuff since I really like the main color yarn. I didn’t want the whole cuff in contrast color. I plan to use a little of the colorful Deep Dyed yarn in one of my Advent Sock stripes. Then I’ll knit another pair of anklets with contrast toes, heels, and maybe cuff to make sure there is enough yarn. Next year!!😁

Didn’t quite get my Fixation anklets done this week but they will be done in the next day or two. I’m knitting the heel and just have short legs and cuffs to finish.

Duh Department

After spending a little more time swatching this week I remembered that I used this same yarn for my daughter’s top last summer. Hence I already had swatch info!! Arg! 😣 Well at least now I’m ready to cast on. Grocery Girls have a summer tee/tank KAL going on so I need to focus and get this done by the end of August.

Vacation Ends

Heading back home this week. We had great weather while at the beach. But I’m looking forward to getting back to my kitty, some yard work, and hopefully some deck knitting. Unfortunately, July and August tend to be very hot and humid in Ohio so not sure how much I’ll be outside. (Photo – that was supposed to be a dog bed but the kitty claimed it.)

Wk of 6/28-7/4: Second Half Goals

Second Half Goals

Socks: A pair of Christmas 🎄 socks completes my ’21 plan but I have 2 more pairs already on needles. This goal should be met and exceeded.

Sweaters: My plan calls for 4 more to be completed but that will not happen. I definitely want to complete a tank top for my son’s girlfriend and another Sailormoon for my daughter. Hopefully I’ll start a sweater for my husband or more likely a summer weight cardigan for me.

That sums up my goals as I set them at the beginning of the year before “life happened”. As I said in last week’s post I’m happy with changes I’ve made.

This Week’s Knitting

I have been trying 9″ circulars for sock knitting. I have a pair of DK on size 4s and a pair of fingering on size 0s. I don’t particularly like 9″ circulars and likely will go back to 2 at a time magic loop socks. I will only do socks on 9″ when I want an extremely small project to carry with me. I still want to try the 9″ for my colorwork socks. Fixing a stitch is nearly impossible and I don’t feel I’m knitting any faster as it’s hard to move the stitches around the needle.

Hubby and I are enjoying two weeks at our friend’s beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It has become an annual trip. Lots of sun and good food. We are very fortunate. But writing this blog on my Kindle is a challenge.😵

Outer Banks

I have made progress on both my Vanilla Fixation anklets and my Hermione Deep Dyed Yarn anklets. I’m at or nearly at the heels so at least one pair should be a FO by next week’s post. I do so love the Deep Dyed yarn!!😍.

I also started swatching for Caitlyn’s Heldig Tank. This hot pink yarn is going to be so fun to knit. I hope to get the top cast-on this week.

Swatching

Hope you are having a fun week crafting.

This is a Year Of Projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group. Make a plan for the coming year, update your blog weekly, and share the link to the group’s Ravelry page. YOP is just tarting it’s 11th year!! I’m starting my second in the group.

YOP – Chicago, Knitting, and Cicadas – Week of June 7-13

Well, this weekend included a surprise trip to Chicago. My son and his girlfriend left yesterday to spend a week in northern Minnesota with her family. 4+ hrs out I get a call that her car has broken down just south of Chicago. After confirming her car would require costly repairs and couldn’t be done for over a week, I drove the 4 hrs to give them my car. Of course my oil light came on as I reached Chicago. Hopefully the quart of oil we added tides them over until they return to Cincinnati. Then I flew back to Cincinnati today on frequent flyer miles I had from a long time ago. Gotta roll with the punches.

BABY BLANKET FO

I did finish the baby blanket for my stepdaughter. I’m happy enough with it and glad it’s done. Now off to make projects with yarns that bring me greater joy.

FUN SOCKS

As always, the blanket took longer to finish plus the unplanned drive/flight to Chicago. I did get to start a pair of Fixation yarn socks. I think the colorway is Tutti Fruiti. I am trying out the 9″ circular needles (US Size 4) instead of my usual 2 at a time magic loop. Making the toe was much to fiddly with 9″ so I had to do that magic loop. Once I finished the toe increases I moved the sock to 9″. This was great to work on in the airport and on the plane. I’m going on another plane trip in two weeks so the 9″needles will be getting plenty of trial over the next month.

I got my yarn wound with a mini selected for the heel and toe stripe. Again, I will cast the socks on with magic loop and knit the toes before transfering them to 9″ circular needles. This time I’ll be trying out US Size 0 9″ circulars. Can’t wait to cast it on later today.

L

ADVENT SOCK

When my size 2 needle proved too tight for my colorwork advent sock I went up to size 4. While I planned to make a fairly tall sock, I still think the cuff may be too big. Only have one cuff done since it was my first attempt with 9″ circular needles. Plan to frog and start the cuff again with 3″. I’ll go back to using the Size 4 9″ circulars for the colorwork once I finish the Fixation yarn socks.

17 Year Cicada Update

The air, and ground, is thick with 17 year cicadas. We are at the peak point. You can’t walk outside without one landing on you. The driveway is covered with dead bodies as they only live 3-4 weeks. Here’s what hubby’s windshield looks like after a short drive.

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fiber activities, then update your blog every week. Plans can be calendar year (like mine) or mid-year start (like many). Following the plan is optional and creates some of the fun of posts. YOP is in it’s 10th year although I’m in my first in the group.

#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.

#60 Beach Knitting

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I’m not really a beach person despite that our family vacations were always to the beach on St. Martin.  We no longer go there after Hurricane Irma destroyed the island a few years ago.  Even when we went to Naples this past winter we never went to the beach.

But our good friends, Jim and Barbara Cleary, own a wonderful beach house in Duck, NC.  It is literally on the beach.  So much like what made the resort in St. Martin tolerable for me, I can easily walk back to the house for a bathroom break or a drink.  We are so fortunate that they invite us for a visit each summer.

Now that I’ve become a knitter, I enjoy knitting on the beach.  I even created a “beach” knitting bag.  I found that the wine bags that grocery stores give you when you buy 6 or more bottles of wine, never a problem, is perfect for storing a project on the beach.  It keeps sand from getting in and on my “real” knitting bag, a quilted tote.  The ball of yarn can unwind easily in it’s section of the bag.  It also stores my wireless ear buds and an old phone I use as an audiobook player.  It’s a perfect beach tote.  It’s also a little fun to do something different for vacation knitting.

#50. First Sweater of 2020

IMG_20200220_140706_350I have deemed 2020 to be the year of the sweater for me. I’ve only made three sweaters so far in my knitting career.  The first one was a simple tunic of worsted weight for me.  Then I made two more sweaters but made them for my daughter Sara.  Even though she lives in Charleston, SC, it gets cool enough in the winter months that she can wear a sweater.  I decided I needed to make some for me.  It would help me understand fit better if I actually wore some sweaters I knitted.

I kicked off the year with an “advent calendar” kit.  While technically I started it back in Dec 2019, I only knit about 20 rows so that I could start it with my knitting friend Kim.  I put mine aside as I had a pair of Christmas socks I was hoping to finish by Christmas.  That didn’t happen but I did get them done in time to be put away with the Christmas clothes for next year.

So once we got to Florida I focused on the advent sweater, a simple tunic of fingering weight yarns.  I’m happy to say it’s done and I am tickled with it.  The sleeves are a bit too blousy but not bad.  I had to rip out the I-cord bind-off of the body.  Blocking might have fixed the curling but I wasn’t sure.  I’m happy with the ribbed edging and simple bind-off which blocked well.  While we were told to knit one ball after another, I learned that I should have used half balls for the yoke as the yoke is too much of the same color instead of the thinner stripes of the body.  I’ve used leftover scraps of body yarn and double knitted rows to bring some of the body colors up to the yoke.  Plus I’m making a cowl out of the 3+balls that I didn’t use for the sweater to bring some color to the neck.I

So 2020 is off to a good start.  I was afraid a sweater would take me three months so I only planned 4 for the year.  This one took me 2 months.  So I’m hopeful that I will complete all 4 I have planned.  Now to put the next one, Shellseeker, on needles.

#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.😁

#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.