Thursday, October 19, 2017

Finished scarf

Maybe I should lead with the sort of good stuff. I finished something! First, before I get into the picture, or how I feel about it--let me just say that this is HEAVY and WARM and the weather is unseasonably warm for late October and so my plan for wearing this to show school pride on the big crosstown rivalry game is also in question. I'm sure no one sweats to death in the stands at late October football games and I don't want to be the first.

Scarf! Finished but way too heavy

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This is a scarf that I started as football knitting. I wanted a scarf on school colors but As I said in the last entry, this isn't quite the finished product I was envisioning. Yarn choice was really the downfall. And here's the kicker--I really don't have any desire to make the scarf I was envisioning. I mean I COULD go back to the big box craft store (or another one--we have two) and find more appropriate yarn for the project and crank out another scarf. But I'm feeling very eh about it.

Which brings me to kind of the bad news on the blog front. I haven't started knitting anything since I finished this over the weekend.

Seriously.

I'd like to say that it's because I'm so busy with other things, but the reality is--I don't have anything I want to knit. I mean I do have other things too--halloween costumes, which are going to be a major crunch this year as the costumes were decided upon late and I'm making an extra one for a friend so they can all go as a group. But by in large, I am just feeling very uninspired.

I poked around on ravelry for a bit the other day, but it felt like everything was a shawl or wrap and I just wasn't feeling it. I have a small metric ton of sock yarn I could dive into, but after knitting socks all summer, I'm wanting something different. I have yarn for a sweater that would be perfect to knit if I could focus on it (the infamous dollar and a half cardigan that's been on the to be knit list for nearly a decade). Maybe I need to stash dive. Or maybe I need to go the craft store and get the yarn to make the scarf I want (for next year? for playoffs? For basketball season?)

Or maybe I just need inspiration from you--Tell me about what you are knitting!

Monday, September 25, 2017

scarf

I know, I said in my last entry that I had another knitting conundrum and I was going to write about it the very next day. HAH! That is like the funniest thing ever that I would think that I would have time.

First, I do want to mention for future me that I did manage to buy the peaches from the orchard I prefer and I did get them all canned in early September. I've also been worried about tomatoes since I didn't join my usual CSA this year. I've been doing ok with vegetables at farmer's market, but I really miss their tomatoes. I did find a tomato vendor the day after my last entry who had bushels reasonably priced that looked a) ripe and b) delicious. They were good but small and somewhat watery. I canned them as regular crushed tomatoes. I didn't pressure can as the drop in liquid of those wigs me out. I still have a few pints from last year to use up so I think I'm going to be happy with having canned less this year.

Ok, so the conundrum. You see it got cold here (and then hot but that's a whole other story) and I got this brilliant idea in my head: What if I knit a scarf (or two) in gang school colors for the big cross town rivalry game, which is the last game of the season?

I had in mind a scarf in stripes, done in the round. Basically you knit a really long tube and then make it flat by putting fringe on the ends to hold it shut. So off to Joann's to find the right yarn.

I don't know about you, but when I go yarn shopping be it at a LYS, or a craft store, I get a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Craft stores are generally easier for me though because I don't get so distracted thinking about other projects, but when your project calls for something that is in abundance.... well usually that does me in. Joann's had SO MANY different choices. There was already striped yarn, there was novelty yarn, there was just plain red heart in the right colors, and there was Hometown USA which is a bulky but very soft acrylic.

Yes, I did basically choose it because of how squishy it is.

The more astute of you may actually see my problem coming before I even tell you.

Yes, a double thickness in this yarn was WAY too thick.

Yes, I did knit about 8 inches before deciding that

Yes, I did set it aside for nearly a week

Yes, I did rip it out and start over.

So here was my problem. I really really really wanted this yarn. I really really wanted a scarf that looked like stockinette stitch without the curling. I really really wanted stripes that looked effortless.

I could not decide what to do. My choices seemed to boil down to a) continue on and be unhappy b) return unused yarn to the store, get different yarn and be unhappy or c) start over with a garter stitch one layer scarf and be less unhappy. So I chose C. I ripped, and I started over with a garter stitch scarf that isn't perfect. The back shows the color changes, my stripes are so wide, I can't carry up the yarn and am having to do a lot of end weaving. But, I am going to have a scarf that I can knit at the next two football games and wear at the "big game" and it's going to be soft and squishy.

I probably won't make two though. If I decide a second one is needed, I'm getting thinner (scratchier) yarn and making the tube.

School color scarf (no not u of m thankyouverymuch)

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Finished objects

Sometimes when it has been a while since I posted I worry about the fact that I have no finished objects to show off. I mean what possibly could I have been doing?

Today I have two finished objects and a whole quandary that is most likely a post in itself. I'll type that up if I have a chance today too.

In the meantime--on to the FOs!

First up the "secret project I was knitting was a pair of socks for my mom! Back in June when she came to visit, she heaped on me 5 balls of sock yarn (seven actually, but enough for 5 pairs of socks) and said--it would be nice if you (hint hint) made some socks for me. Well one ball is pink, one is purple, one is blue, one is alpaca (and would probably felt immediately) and the other became this:

Surprise socks for my mom! #handmadewithlove #handknit

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The yarn is Cascade yarns Heritage handpaint in dark sunset. Which I can see is discontinued. I'm pretty sure I used my smaller sized ones for these. See this is the problem with knitting something and then waiting to write about it until I mail it, and am sure it has arrived. I can't remember what I did. Mostly I knit these at baseball games--and it is a plain toe up pattern that I've memorized over the years, but is from an article in Interweave Knits that Ann Budd wrote. My plan was to finish these before she came to visit this fall, but then due to scheduling, there is no fall trip planned. So instead I mailed them.

But baseball season wasn't over (still isn't if you follow the majors, but this is high A ball we're talking about and they didn't make playoffs, so over) so I started what I was calling "Rally socks" and they almost worked as our team was one win shy of breaking .500.

I really cranked these out--even though technically I finished them after baseball season. I didn't have enough left to knit on these as my first football season as a band parent kicked into gear. Again, the same basic toe up pattern. Knit on 2.25mm needles. The yarn is Modeknit sock yarn in a limited edition colorway called Purple Rain.

Finished socks in time for the weather to cool down

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I love this yarn. It is squishy and pretty. I'm sad that I finished except that I have a great new pair of socks.

Now that the weather is turning, I'm trying to decide some things about my next project or projects and am running into some issues. I'll write about those in another post.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

purple socks

I honestly have to go look to see when it was that I last posted. I was thinking I had skipped July entirely. I didn't. but I did start working on a project that is now finished that I still can't tell you about... YET.

So I'll tell you what I can tell you.

First the jam/preserving update. I'm struggling this year to get peaches in enough quantity to can. The orchard that I use must have had a bad spring because they stopped cherry sales WAY early this year and I had to find another vendor. And they aren't promising peaches in quantity until MAYBE after labor day. Timing wise that's ok for me. Kids go back to school and I have time to sit and peel peaches. It's the maybe part that is frustrating me. If I wait until labor day, then I pass up other vendors, probably. If I don't, I might miss out on my very favorite orchard. In the meantime, I made one batch of peach vanilla jam with mostly peaches bought from another vendor. I'll be making regular peach jam as soon as the 1/2 peck on my counter ripens. I may can a pint or two too if they get to ripening faster than we are eating.

And knitting... after I finished the secret project, I cast on immediately for a pair of socks for me.

Knitting on the road. Ok the parking lot as I wait.

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The yarn is "Purple Rain" by Modeknit yarn. This was a special colorway designed after the death of the Artist formerly known as Prince. I bought it then and have been admiring it on the shelf where I out it after I wound it (because it was so pretty!).

You can't tell in that picture, but I am knitting this in the car. This has been the week my girls started marching band and I've spent more time waiting for practice to be over this week than I care to admit. In addition, before band season started, I had my knitting time back! Every night we have been watching a little tv again, only instead of this being quiet adult time that it used to be after kids were in bed, it has become family time. We like reality shows like Face Off and Chopped, but are anxiously awaiting the second season of Designated Survivor. I'd also like to share project runway with my kids, so I'm looking forward to that. I think when school starts up again, that will slack off simply because of time. But car knitting will almost certainly continue. Also, I'll need to figure out if I can knit during high school football games. I don't know how cold it will get before I'll need mittens. But I could knit mittens and then I'd be prepared I guess. Heck, I have always wanted to learn to make Thrummed mittens.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

FINISHED SOCKS

Every year I write some variation of "summer is kicking my butt" and I guess I should stop thinking of it that way. Summer is a time for me to be present with my kids (and they are 14 so you know that if they want to hang with me, I should take that!), and just enjoy not having to be up at 6:30 and rushing around until we fall into bed at 10:30.

Summer is also a time when I think many people don't want to knit sweaters or blankets, because they are so big they are hard to drag places, and also it is hot and you don't want a huge blanket ON you when it is 90 degrees. A few summers ago, I declared it to be sock summer--in which I was going to darn and knit only socks. Last summer I finished sweaters.

This summer--I'm just taking things as they come. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Last summer I knit all summer on a pair of socks and boy howdy. The first sock was too narrow. So I knit the second sock a bit wider (and it is still snug), and I ended up ripping the narrow sock out. Then I um put it aside.

Then in November, I started another pair of socks. And this one gave me such fits. After, I finished that I also set it aside...

So with the last two sock projects ending up as single socks, You can understand why I was super excited to actually FINISH a whole PAIR of socks!

Finished #socks swipe for a closeup.

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I actually finished them on the drive to our vacation destination. And was doing the bind off as we decided every morning what we were going to do. But of course that meant that we still had an eight hour drive home (which turned into a lot more because of traffic). Things had been so hectic in us trying to get going on vacation (a mere week after school ended and children were still comatose from the stress relief after finals--and right in the middle of a short strawberry season) that I simply had no time to plan a new project. So I grabbed the ripped sock, needles I thought I had used and went with it.

And I spent 4 hours knitting a sock that was way too big.

So, another rip, another start (which thankfully was all in the car so no options for starting something else) and now I actually have most of a sock. No pictures though because again summer...I'm living it not photographing it. Plus, I have to save something else to write about maybe while girls are at camp. I'm actually thinking about digging out the OTHER pattern for the OTHER single sock and perhaps this can be second sock summer.

So, I also mentioned strawberries. I made 6 batches of strawberry jam this year. And a double batch of strawberry lemonade because I accidentally bought enough lemons to make that happen (go me). Today I picked up sour cherries at farmers market so, cherry jam is happening today! Sour cherry jam is one of the grossest things for me to make, but also it is one of the tastiest.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

second sock

It's Saturday morning, the kids are still asleep because it has been a terribly long week (And I'm letting them so I have time to write).

Last weekend we saw my favorite niece (she's my only niece) graduate from high school. We went a few years ago and watched her brother graduate and I wore a shrug I knitted especially for the occasion . On this trip I did indeed wear a knitted shrug, but one I made a few years ago. While lots of people oohed and ahhed over the sock I was knitting no one said anything about my shrug. I think they thought it was store bought. And yes, I'm still not decided on what I think of that--compliment or not. I'm trying to go with compliment.

It was a long car ride there and back which was great for me because I've been having HUGE issues with "second sock syndrome." You see last summer i knitted two socks, but they weren't a pair. After each I was so tired of knitting that particular sock, that I didn't cast on the second sock. So when I realized I was really close to finishing my current sock, I decided not to pack any other yarn or needles FORCING me to cast on for the second sock.

It worked. When we got to our final destination, I had finished the first sock and cast on for the second. Of course knitting such a tiny toe up sock looks very comical, but it was fun to sit with my niece, her boyfriend, my nephew and my kids while they played exploding kittens and knit and listen to them. They are all great kids (and I say kids even though we are talking about ages 20, 18, 16 and 14) Makes me want to make that a whole weekly knitting get together.

I've been trying too to carry my knitting to places where I might have time to knit. And while I totally failed on the band concert where I had to drop my children off an entire HOUR before the performance (and I snuck a comfy seat in the school library instead of the bleachers), I did manage a break at work.

Had an unexpected break today and amazingly enough I also had my knitting

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I don't usually bring my knitting when I work, because of what I do, the breaks I get are few and far between. But I sometimes find the teachers lounges to be a little cliquey and thought if it was bad, I could knit. Instead the children I was in charge of had a whole afternoon of art, music and gym and all I can think is it must be the regular teacher's usual planning time. Usually one break like gym class just gives me enough time to catch up on what I'm supposed to do after (find papers, grade papers, review math or whatever), three nearly in a row gave me time to do all that and knit.

I also finally tried the first sock on, worried all this time that it would be too big and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually a little snug even. I don't have a picture because I've had some not so great experiences posting pictures of my socks on my feet. And also it has been so rainy and dark here lately that I've not had great light. I'll probably photograph it and post it later this week without hashtags and if I start getting weird comments or favorites I'll take it down.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

sock progress

So I've been terrible both with the knitting and the blog updating, but I have a few minutes while the kids are occupied with homework I can't help with (Spanish--You can only get so far with the phrases I know--mostly to a bar and to the bathroom. ¡Muy bien!).

I also say terrible with the knitting because I was sick for most of April. For some reason, all I wanted to do was sleep and read. So while all the forced time not working (I lost my voice and couldn't do the freelance job I have where I corral kids when their regular cowboy is at a meeting), I mostly read instead of knit. In fact I went through a ton of books, but didn't do a lot of knitting.

Anyway, last I updated, I was closing in on the heel. And I did the heel! and I did it WRONG! No pictures of that because GAH.

What I did was kind of stupid. First of all I made it too narrow because I forget I need to leave 12 stitches instead of 10 between my short row thingies. And if that wasn't bad enough, I actually didn't center it. You see, I hate starting a new DPN on a purl stitch. It always is a little loose and feels sloppy to me, so when I was doing the top of the foot, I moved three stitches over from the insole. and Stupidly, I forgot to move them back and include them in the heel. So, I ripped and started again.

Of course this isn't a written pattern--This is just me finding a stitch I like in a stitch dictionary and going with it--so I wasn't really sure what to do about re-starting the pattern for up the leg. I think I gave it too much plain stitch, but I'm guessing it won't be that noticeable.

Sock progress

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I probably have a problem with the stitch dictionaries. I own a BUNCH. The first two Barbra Walker treasuries, plus a vogue knitting dictionary, plus two Niki Epstein edgings books and "Up down all around Stitch dictionary" Which is where I found this one. It's called Eyelet crescents and is worked over a ten stitch repeat. I like how it looks cablish without having to cable. Plus it is easy to memorize (and if I forget I have a picture on my phone).

I don't have a new picture, but I am about halfway up the leg and probably need to start thinking about what sort of ribbing to use for the last inch or so. I guess time to dig out the dictionaries again!