A Scrappy Update

What to do with those leftover bits. We all have them in our stash: those remnants from pairs of socks or shawls that didn’t need the whole skein. I’ll be honest, for my Type A (plus plus) personality, these little balls of yarn, not big enough to make anything with, drive me a little crazy.

One way to use them up is my Sock Yarn Memory Blanket.  I started it in May 2016, and now it’s 25 squares big – not large at all considering how big I’d like for it to eventually be.

As of today, this is what it looks like:

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With the exception of two, every skein of fingering weight yarn from a completed project will be on this blanket. If you were to take a look at my WIPs and stash, I’ll be able to add many more squares. Because I’m a bit crazy detail-oriented, I’ve also started a journal for this project, and in it I’m adding the yarn tag with a snip of the yarn, noting where I bought it and what project I made with it.

Slowly but surely, this blanket is growing, and part of the excitement when finishing a new pair of socks or a shawl is not just the FO, but being able to add to the blanket.

Don’t discount those bits and bobs from skein remnants, because you never know when they might just come in handy. My latest shawl is a perfect example of this.

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The MC is a newly purchased skein of Sweetgeorgia, and the CC is left over Madelinetosh that I first used for a pair of Erica Leuder Socks.  A simple asymmetrical garter stitch shawl, but the contrast makes quite a statement.  For those keeping score at home, the pattern is Graphic Kerchief by Ce Persiano, with some modifications.

Summer always leads to a sporadic posting schedule, but I already know I’ll be offline next week. When I return, I’ll hopefully have completed projects, new WIPs, and new yarn to show off.

Happy knitting!

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Get off my needles, or the tale of the never ending shawl

I’ve hit that moment of a project. You know the one, that moment where you’ve been working on a project for what feels like forever, you think you’re getting close to casting off, but the project just keeps going and going.

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Meet my Pendant Purls Shawl (the yarn: Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch Ultra Solid in Peacock colourway). I started it on New Year’s Day, and I’ve worked on it sporadically since then.  The first few rows went rather quickly, then I hit Chart A: 32 of rows of lace work, knitting and purling through the back loops, and different increases and decreases. It could only hold my attention for a few rows at a time, but then a few weeks ago, I got determined and have been working diligently away, finishing Chart A last week. Chart B was a series of knit and purl stitches over 8 rows, and they flew by in a few afternoons. Chart C, four rows repeated, and the end was in sight, or so I thought. The shawl is shaped through short rows, and these short rows are the four rows repeated a total of 10 times, increasing after every chart repeat; so it the nature of short rows. I felt so close to the finish by the time I started Chart C, but it just keeps going.

I’m stubborn and determined. This shawl will be finished before the end of the week. That is if the short rows don’t get the better of me.

Stay tuned…

 

Changing habits and accepting the compliment

I was perusing Pinterest a few weeks ago, as one does, and this meme caught my eye:

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Naturally, it made me laugh because of how accurate it is. I don’t know about you, but this is certainly a habit I’m guilty of. I’m not comfortable merely accepting the compliment with a simple thank you, but I always feel like I have to follow it up with something.

Person: Wow, those are great socks!
Me: Thanks, the yarn is self patterning. It makes it look fancier than it actually is.

Person: Wow, I love that shawl.
Me: Thank you, the yarn is ___________. The colour is lovely.

Person: I really like that hat.
Me: Thanks, the pattern is ___________, you should check it out.

Person: What a great sweater.
Me: Thanks, but I messed up here and here, and I would have done ________ differently.

These are fairly standard responses I know I have given in the past. Why do we do this? A knitted object can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 months (or more) to complete. Time is spent choosing the yarn, knitting the object, and finishing it to the specifications. A knitting object is truly a labour of love, and yet I will constantly downplay the work that I have put into it. I’m sure I’m not alone in this habit.  It’s time to change my attitude and accept the compliment. After all, I made the thing. I’m inwardly proud of the thing. Time to accept the love of the thing.

The Mixed Wave Cowl, or the ongoing ramblings of how it was made

February 14, 2017

Made my way to LYS and purchased the Yarn Challenge kit. The yarns are lovely: red, taupe and beige. Now comes the hard part, what to make with it.

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February 15, 2017
4:30pm

Awesome! I’m so glad I found the Mixed Wave Cowl pattern on Ravelry. It’s perfect for this yarn, a fantastic way to truly highlight the three yarns of the Yarn Challenge.  I have the yarn, the needles, the pattern; I’m ready to cast on!

4:45pm

Okay, we’re cast on! Let me just read the pattern… oh… huh. Well, this is… huh. Okay, so it’s not written like other patterns. This designer’s put a lot of thought (and math) in this pattern. I’m impressed. Cool. I can do this… I think…

4:55pm

Gah, so that didn’t go as planned. Here’s a tip, Lisa. Read the whole pattern. Like, all details.  Let the frogging commence.

5:12pm

Frogging complete. Cast on complete. First row knit. Now onto short rows… wait… huh… I still can’t visualize what to do here. I get the general idea – you’re using short rows and alternate colours to create this really interesting and unique striped pattern. That I get. These instructions, though… Maybe it’s just because I’m not comfortable with the wrap and turn method. Yeah that’s it.

5:14pm

I still don’t get it. There are over 100 people who have this in their Ravelry projects. What do their notes say…

5:18pm

So many of these project notes say “Just do it.” “Trust the designer.” “It all makes sense once you get going.” Yeah, I’m not buying it… Maybe this will be clearer after dinner… mmm… food…

6:03pm

Just do it, huh… okay, here goes… Wrap and turn abandoned, going with German Short Row method instead, a tried, tested and understood method. Maybe that will help…

7:54pm

Well whaddya know? Those Ravelers and the designer were right… just do it. I’m doing it, and a few repeats in and it looks like it’s supposed to look! Maybe all that math the designer did actually makes sense… almost foiled by math once again, but not this time!

February 17, 2017

A day off work and four hour car ride = lots of knitting time. Mixed Wave Cowl, let’s do this. I’m actually feeling so confident with this pattern, a pattern that only a few short days ago I had no faith in, that I’m now able to work it without referring to the written directions. Lesson learned: read all instructions. Trust the designer. Trust other Ravelers.

February 20, 2017

Mixed Wave Cowl grows, both in length and in my overall love for it.

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March 6, 2017

And grows…

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March 7, 2017

4:40pm

Couch, knitting, Law and Order. I see you, Mixed Wave Cowl.

6:35pm

Break out the measuring tape. 55cm! I’m at the right place in my pattern to justify casting off. It is 5cm shorter than the recommended length but it’ll stretch.

6:42pm

Stupid provisional cast on. Grumble grumble.

7:55pm

So this happened:

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Why yes, that is the cowl, grafted, ends woven, and blocking!

I’m sorry I ever doubted you, designer. The initial frustrations I felt three weeks ago was worth pushing through to get this as the final result.

March 8, 2017

4:34pm

Just trying it on for good measure. Yup, still in love with the final result. So much cowl love.

Works in Progress

Why hello.  Good to see you all again. Although I last posted mid-February, I feel like I have been absent from the blogisphere.  I’m trying to catch up and read all of your lovely posts (great job, everyone), and I’m trying to get a few posts out of the ‘draft’ phase into the published phase (stay tuned, they’ll be worth the wait).

I’ve also been keeping my hands busy and attention given to my works in progress.  I’ve figured out how to read and knit at the same time (thank you e-reader), and knitting and watching TV goes together just like peanut butter goes with jam, but I haven’t figured out how to write these blog posts while turning a heel on a sock.  If someone does figure that one out, please pass the secret along.

I’ve been feeling the time crunch for the Soper Creek Yarn Challenge, only have 10 days or so to finish my project (eek deadlines!!), and the constant need to start different projects, a need I wrote about earlier this year, hasn’t seemed to subside as I think I have more started projects on the go than ever before!

Just a glimpse at what has been keeping me busy, minus the yarn challenge, because, secrets guys. 

In this picture, there are three shawls, two sleeves, a scarf, a sock, and yes, another Sontag. Busy needles indeed! 

It truly has been good catching up with all of you. Let’s not wait so long between visits, shall we? 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some knitting to do. 

Tools of the Trade

What do you need when you first start knitting? The simple answer is two needles and yarn.  When I first started this addiction hobby, that’s all I needed. I had a project in mind (a simple cozy for my e-reader), so I bought a ball of Red Heart Super Saver (I know better now!), and two 6mm needles.

Almost six years later, my collection of knitting accoutrements has grown substantially, and there are a number of things I couldn’t do without. In my very humble opinion, these are a few tools every knitter should have.

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Row Counter

For my first project, I was improvising an e-reader cover. I was making a long rectangle which would be sewn together at the sides.  It was simple enough that I knew I would knit it as long as needed and then cast off.  Not all projects are this simple. I would be at a loss for lace patterns or cable patterns without a row counter. Row counters track where you are in your project.  They are especially handy when you have several detailed projects on the go. Didn’t touch that lace shawl for months? No worries! A quick glance at your row counter, and that bad boy is ready for knitting!

The best part: they are cheap! Don’t spend more than a few dollars on a row counter – I think I can get four in a pack from a LYS and it’s less than $10.


Measuring Tape

Again, another inexpensive tool any well stocked knitting bag shouldn’t be without. Many patterns tell you to ‘knit for ## of inches.’ Unless you have an extremely good eye for measurements, your measuring tape will become your knitting BFF.


Needle Cases

Needles, of varying sizes and types, may seem like obvious tools knitters need, so obvious that they don’t need including on this list. What becomes necessary after accumulating these assorted needles is a way to store and organize them. I have three needle cases: a roll for my straights, an expandable file (intended for receipt organization) for my circulars, and I use a pencil case to store my DPNs.


Knitting Bag

Once you’ve collected all the tools, bits, and bobs that will make your knitting life much simpler, you’ll need somewhere to keep it. I love my knitting bag, largely because the message on the front speaks so many truths, but also because it’s big enough to keep all my knitting accessories, plus a few different in-progress projects.  Find something that works for you: want to buy the biggest and best with pockets for everything you have and more? Great! Want to use one of those re-usable canvas bags that very quickly accumulate in a closet somewhere? That’s great too! Organization methods are very personal, just find something that suits what you need it for and ultimately something that makes you happy, because if it’s like my knitting bag, it will get a lot of use.


What knitting tools are your must-haves? 

A Few Finished Objects

Last week, I wrote how I had a major case of start-itis – symptoms of which include being unable to stop casting on new projects, despite how many WIPs a person has on the go. This start-itis isn’t showing signs of being cured, having started three new projects last week.  Seriously, I can’t stop finding new patterns and going through my stash to see what I can use.

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The good thing about so many projects on the go is that I was able to finish three objects last week.  The first were these Cableship socks.  I started them in October as a knit-a-long by KnitPurl Hunter.  The first sock was finished early November, but this second one was put into hibernation until after Christmas knitting was complete.  In the week after Christmas, I struggled my way through Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a few weeks later, I was able to wear the newly finished pair of socks.

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Also finished was a slouchy hat for my dad. Fun story -the wool is 100% Peruvian Alpaca, and we ventured to a local Alpaca farm to by the yarn. My goodness, alpacas must be some of the freaking cutest animals around. When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by a herd (is that right, herd?) of Border Collies who were obviously working dogs, and we also got a peak at their pigs. They had to be the fattest pigs I’ve ever seen in my life. So that’s the story of they yarn for this hat.  Dad received it yesterday. It fits and he’s happy.

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Finally, on Friday, I bought yarn and cast on a Pussyhat.  Have you heard of this? If not, I HIGHLY recommend heading over to their website and reading more about this movement. In a nutshell, there will be a women’s march on Washington on January 21, and marchers are encouraged to wear these knit hats, the name taken as both a play on on the word pussycat and as reference to how the US President-Elect brags about sexually assaulting women. As stated on their Ravelry page:

The PussyHat Project aims to:

  1. Provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.
  2. Provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent them- selves and support women’s rights.

A Facebook friend of my sister’s asked for a hat to be made, and I happily obliged.  It knit up VERY quickly; I cast on Friday evening and by Sunday I had it finished and ready for my sister to give to the recipient.

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Please visit their website and read more about this initiative.