Moving along, gaining meters

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As many of you know there is an event going on right now called Stash Dash, I hinted to it a few posts back. This event every year is to challenge yourself to knit as much of your stash and complete projects languishing on the needles. It’s not just knitting, spinning, weaving, and even machine knitting make an appearance in this event. While listening to one of my knitting podcasts a few weeks ago while driving up to Berkeley (I do this every week), the KnitMoreGirls talked about stash dash. I remember them talking about it in years past, but never really decided to participate. This year when I heard them talking about it, I decided this was the year to do it. My stash has grown so much recently (the past 2 years or so) that I am out of storage space. With the looming reality that I will be moving out and the idea of having to move the stash freaked me out a little, I knew I needed to knit it down. The machines will play a part in this of course, but I need to do some spinning and hand knitting too. The socks I just finished count towards this, about 340 meters. That’s a good start but I need more meters to get through more of the stash.

Remember The Joker and the Thief I started recently? It’s going quite nicely, I’m really hoping that it grows like I think it will when I block it. I think it will but it has about 900 meter potential when it’s done. That’s pretty good, I have the rhythm of the pattern going and it’s pretty good autopilot knitting, except for two rows I have to pay attention to. Super happy with how it’s looking though and I’m doing something I always try to do with multi color knitting, weave in ends as I go. There are a lot of ends already, I’m really glad I started weaving in the ends as I go.

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But that’s not enough meterage, I’m falling behind in how much I want to have done by the end. I think I’m going to need to get the machines going again. I haven’t used them in a while, but they’ll blow through yarn like crazy. The sweater I started a while ago just needs the collar made and then attached. Also needs a sleeve added into the body and the ends woven, but that is almost 6 skeins of yarn to count towards the goal. Maybe with the remaining bits I can make some socks and get the full meterage.  I think I’ll have some good ideas to get a lot of meters for this challenge.

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Moving Forward

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When we last left off I was working on some swatches for fun and for some other purposes.  I can tell you they are all done and I like how they all turned out, except the first it needed to be redone.  I don’t know what it is, but I like to swatch, maybe a future project will be just to swatch everything in larger blocks and make a swatch blanket.  That sounds like a great idea to have something useful and functional in multiple ways.  I get the swatches I need and then over time I can have a blanket, I would need to coordinate the colors a lot to do this.  With those done I could concentrate on some other knitting that I have wanted to do.  Remember those socks I forgot to photograph?  Well here they are in all of their sock glory, yarn is Stray Cat Socks in their Denim and Dandelion colorway and it’s such a fun color.  I am glad I chose this pattern to knit this into, though I think for the next few pairs I might make a few vanilla is the new black socks, something about that pattern makes me happy.  I think it’s the stockinette paired with that ribbed heel that makes me excited and a great pattern for grab and go knitting. Enough talk about patterns and socks, lets see these happy socks.

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The yellow is a little brighter in person, but all of these colors are just so happy and cheerful.  The heels are a little pointy, I know but they do fit over my heels.  That’s what counts and maybe one day I will actually wear my hand knit socks, instead of just making them and storing them away.

I did start something new, I don’t think I told anyone about that.  When these socks came off the needles, I knew I needed to start something else.  I was still burned by the Nelson Pullover, which when people saw the photo of the surgery they freaked out.  Not to worry, it is still ready for it’s sleeves.  I just want to take a break from it and I will pick it up again shortly.  The weather is still holding as much as it can, I might have a chance to wear it. That we will just have to wait and see what happens at this point, I am really enjoying working on something else right now. Oh did I not mention I have already replaced this project on the needles? Well yes I needed a second project, one that was not so large, so I started a The Joker and the Thief out of some Canon Hand Dyes Bruce I bought at Stitches this year. I’m really trying to knit through my stash and what I bought at stitches. This yarn base is delicious to say the least, with a blend of 70/20/10 Merino/yak/nylon, what isn’t there to like. It feels so good when you just grab a skein or when you’re knitting it. I’m using the natural as the background color and a set in 80s dance party for the 6 colors.

Isn’t this pretty? I think this will be a nice addition to my scarf collection. I’ll have it just in time for summer.

Stash dashing

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I have finally recovered from the attack of knitting, that I can look at the sweater without cursing under my breath. I know it was mainly my fault but still, it still stings a bit. But it’s fixed and before you ask I have not touched it since. I figured it would be best to let it rest to get rid of all of the negative knitting mojo is had. I think it is almost out of the bad knitting mojo, but to be sure I let it sit a little longer then I should have. It is getting warmer here and I still want to wear it before the weather gets too warm, but that probably won’t happen so I’ll just have to make due with having it for fall this year.

What have I been knitting in the interim, I’m glad you asked. I’ve been working on some secret projects, I’m hoping at least one of them turns out. They’re at the way beginning stages but when I have more information on them I will let you all know. Besides that I’ve been working on the geek socks, more accurately I finished them. They are not just finished, they are washed and blocked and ready to be worn, I mean put into the sock drawer. Again too warm for wool socks right now, even though there have been some cooler days.

I am participating in Stash Dash which I’m hoping will help my stash loose some weight. Basically if you have not heard about it before it’s an event/competition to see who can use up the most meterage in a given time. I think it’s about two and a half months. I’ll talk more about that later, but I have some to add since the socks are done. I was going to add some photos, but forgot to when I had the lightbox set up. I’ll post pics soon.

What the….

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Well it was bound to happen, my knitting has been fairly well behaved lately. I knew it was up to something, when it’s quiet and being nice I know something must be brewing. Yes, I admit there are times when you think something is brewing and the knitting is just being nice and perfect, nothing bad happens. And then there are times when you have no clue something is wrong and then bam it hits. This was not either one of those cases, this project has been giving me grief for no reason. You may remember the whole issue with knitting too far, not too bad of a fix. Then the whole oops I have too many stitches on the front and it would seem I’m making it for someone with a more female body, not a bad fix. This one takes the cake, a really bad error and I’m still dumbfounded by it. When I was working on my Nelson Pullover I made the correct pieces first, which are for the shoulders in a nice cable pattern. I worked the front and back, joined in the round, and through all of my now small errors, knit all of the way down the body. I was so excited on Monday that I grabbed the now empty needles and started to get ready for the first sleeve. I had to pick up more stitches then was called for but I can deal with that quite easily I think.

So I picked up the first half of the stitches around the sleeve and then I needed to get the stitches from the saddle on the needle. Once they were on I needed to knit them in pattern and pick up the rest of the stitches. I looked at the chart and then the saddle and just stared at it. There may have been a copious amount of cursing in my head when I saw what I had done. This cable is not reversible, it has a wrong side and a right side. What I had done is I had oriented it so that the wrong side was facing on the right side of the sweater. I immediately looked at the other shoulder and I had done that one correctly. I looked back at photos I have taken of the sweater and there it was clear as night and day that this error was there but I just didn’t see it. I didn’t notice this until the entire body was done!

After I was done banging my head against the wall and almost throwing my knitting I needed to create a plan of attack. One thought was quite drastic, to rip out the entire thing to the shoulder pieces and re-knit the whole sweater. I quickly dismissed that idea, since I didn’t want to have to re-knit the whole sweater. The other option I knew would be the one was to perform surgery on that piece, dropping down all but 2 stitches to the cast on.  So then I decided maybe I should drop each section of the cable and work it up so I wouldn’t have to do the whole thing at once.  So I dropped the first section of crossed stitches, everything went so well or so I thought.  I got the stitches back on the needles and I was about to drop the next set and I saw a loop.  A loop of yarn about 20 rows down, so I did it all again.  Then I saw another loop, what is going on?  I remembered seeing a post from the great Romi Hill of her showing a technique she uses on fixing mistakes in lace.  So I attempted it, if you have a weak stomach look away, the image you will see may be frightening (and because it was 9pm at night and I had just gotten home from work, so I didn’t want to do all of the nice photos).

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Scary looking isn’t it?  But trust me it was super easy to do and I was able to get this all laddered up.  I am super happy to report that the shoulder is fixed the way it should be, but I have not been knitting on that.  I needed a break and maybe a glass of wine or maybe whiskey.

I’ll talk to you more about other things later, I need to not think about this.  I promise there will be more fun things on the next blog.

Loss

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I have been holding off talking about something because I have not really wrapped my mind around it.  It’s a topic of something we all have to endure but is hard to discuss.  This something is sometimes expected or unexpected in the way it just hits without any warning.  One of my friends I have from knitting passed away late last month.  She was always at the table on Fridays when we would all be there, laughing, knitting, and giving her opinion (which was always welcome) in a multitude of topics.  I remember clear as day some of her stories, like when she traveled to a variety of places and their version of tea was not something she could drink (too much sugar or citrus), her disdain for coffee (understandable, I did not like it either when I first tried it), and her story of her pinhole film camera.  She was not afraid to do anything she put her mind to and she was an accomplished knitter, weaver, jewelry artist, computer scientist, photographer, and with all of that, one of the most humble persons you would meet.  Whenever we would ask her what she was making she would say, “Oh I’m making this pattern out of this yarn, but I’m making all of these modifications because of these reasons.”  She would almost never knit something exactly to the pattern and would make some really good changes.  She knit prolifically on socks and had a very impressive hand knit sock collection, which she used.  I even got her to purchase an antique sock knitting machine (one that was already refurbished, because I told her the process and how when someone good does it, it’s worth the money) and she did start to use that machine.

I received the notification when I was taking my 10 days off from work and spending some well needed rest, it was the first day of my vacation.  I had to stop what I was doing and just sit there, dumbfounded.  I could not believe this happened so suddenly, even though we all knew she was going through some difficult health issues.  We were all optimistic, as was she, that she would be around to laugh and knit around the table.  I just could not believe that she was gone.  I had to sit there and cry, which I am not afraid to admit to anyone.  One of our knitting friends told me that she was helping our friends husband go through her stash and to arrange a yarn buying event.  I considered it for a second, started looking through her stash on Ravelry, which was meticulously photographed and documented, and I lost it just in the “Bs”.  I knew a lot of the yarn and I was there when she purchased it.  I just could not bring myself to go through all of her yarn and purchase anymore, besides the fact I have a lot myself (not as much as some others).  So I told my friend that I just could not do it, it would be too hard for me.  She messaged me back and told me of something in her stash, that her and another friend of mine had to re-assemble that they thought of me.  They knew that not many people would attempt this pattern with the yarn and knew I wanted to make it, missing out on the opportunity to buy the kit (the dyer has discontinued dying).  I told her that yes, if no one else wanted it, I would gladly take it.

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When I went to the memorial this weekend, there was a mix of her husbands friends, neighbors, and of course the knitters.  We all talked about her, her life, and it was such a beautiful way to remember her.  My friend handed me a bag, which contained the yarn in question.  I was keeping it together fairly well through the whole thing and I was going to loose it again, but I did not.  That yarn is from ColorShift Yarns and its the kit for Atlas by Kieran Foley, which is stunning.  They knew that I would make this and I plan on making this as one of my next projects.  It will be my way to remember her and do something that she would have done herself.  Though this is not the exact kit, because she didn’t like the pinky flesh toned yarn and asked for more of the darker gradient.  So that’s what I’m going to do, knit it just like she would, which surprisingly will be as written (besides the main color).  Once I get the sweater off the needles at the very least, I am going to wind this yarn and knit on my memory Atlas.  She will be missed by us all, but she will always be with us.

Need more crafting

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I have a feeling that I need to branch out more in what I am knitting. I think it might be a little boring for you all to read for a while just about two projects, even though I’m enjoying knitting them. I could start a new project or keep going with a few designs, but I can’t talk about designs as easily. Or I could just get off my lazy butt and do some other crafting, since I do more then just knitting. Yeah I think that’s it, besides I need to gear up for Stash Dash which is coming up. I need to get some machine knitting ready, some spinning close to having singles done and ready for plying, and maybe some weaving. Not sure about the last one, but I know some of my hand knitting will be ready to be counted for it.

The sweater, as you remember, is going very well, much faster then I thought it would have gone because of being so used to fingering weight yarn. The body is almost done I think I’m just about ready to add in the ribbing, then the sleeves. The sleeves will take a little more concentration since there will be a cable down the top of it but that shouldn’t be too bad. It will be a nice bit of complexity to add to my knitting and I will enjoy wearing when it’s done. Which hopefully it’s soon, since the weather has decided to stay relatively cool for this week. I don’t think I’ll have it done in time but I’ll try to.  No photos of that again, it does not look too much different then the last photo, just longer.  Same with the second sock, it is growing, but I think I’ll do some more photos of those two projects once I have a little more progress on them both.

I was going to be doing some bits of spinning today, but something else had to take precedence.  Some minor (not really but for me it wasn’t too bad) computer repair, my laptop needed a new part added to it.  I will not bore you with too much of the details, but my desktop does not get used during the week normally and my laptop does a lot of heavy lifting.  So I needed to take the time to get it working.  Now that the new part is in, I am writing this on my laptop and I am pleased.

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Oh and a little bit more knitting wise, I have a bit of yarn I picked up.  This is a design submission, hopefully I’ll be able to get that done and ready for that.  Since this is time based I am hoping I can get the yarn quickly wound, swatched, designed, and submitted.  Lets see what happens.  And before you ask, no these all will not be all used together.  I just wanted a nice variety of weights in order to better swatch.  Yes the colors are kind of dull, but I needed them to be nice and neutral to figure things out.

Worsted is fast

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There has been some knitting, which should come as no surprise to anyone. But what might to you all as a surprise is that both of my projects are making some fairly decent progress. The socks have been going fairly well, I think about a third down the foot so far and I still really like this pattern. It is super easy, except for the matching the color changes to an appropriate spot in the pattern repeat. Which is not hard if you can count to 4 (sometimes I can’t do this, I blame brain fatigue) but otherwise it’s going well. I have been cramming in little bits of knitting here and then on them as time allows.  My main project right now has been the sweater.

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The sweater is going very well too, I’m sorta cruising still down the body. I forgot something about worsted weight, in particular on sweaters. There is something to be said about anything knit on worsted weight, they go much faster. I knew this to be true but since I usually stick with fingering weight, I forgot just how much faster size U.S. 7s and some good worsted weight will go. Granted I have two knitting machine that can churn out fine knit fabric with worsted weight, hand knitting anything in fingering weight takes a lot of time. I think I’m having a bit of a love affair with this worsted weight sweater. I have not put a lot of time into it and I’m already more then halfway down the body, which is even closer since blocking will change my gauge slightly.  I know this from past experience with swatching, if any of you remember the vest I made.  Yes the same one that could have doubled as a dress because I swatched, but did not block it.  Because of this I know that for every 4″ I will go down one row/round, so I need to compensate for that.  I think for now I will continue down the body until I reach around 14″ then I will re-calculate it’s actual length, compensating for gauge.  For now I just get to keep knitting, I’ll measure again in a little bit.  Maybe I should measure again now.  I’ll do that shortly, I think I’ll just take in the awe of how fast this is and how soft the yarn is too.

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Knitted too far and more

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I would say that the Nelson Pullover is going very well, which is sort of is.  I was working on it the past two days, chugging along on the front of the sweater.  I thought everything was going well, measuring as I went.  Well that measuring was to the front, which I forgot about something very important.  I don’t know why this slipped my mind, this is something kind of important. So I kept diligently working, working the neck stitches and adding in the shoulder stitches, more on that in a bit. I started to cruise down to where I thought I needed to knit or so I thought. I looked down and decided it would be a good idea to measure, that was a good idea since when I mean sure I knit about half an inch or 6 rows more then needed. So I ripped out the 6 rows and began the increases for the underarm. After that I went to bed and knew I was able to start the joining of the front and back, then cruise down the body of the sweater.

I decided in the morning as I was having my coffee I should look at the directions and count my front stitches, since I knew my back was good. I knew if I had a really off number of stitches then this would look funny and not fit. Sure enough I counted, not once, twice, but three times and I had almost 10 more stitches then I needed. I just stared at my knitting for a good 5 minutes in disbelief. I thought this was a simple project, should be quick and easy. Thankfully it is quick and easy and this mistake would not set me back too much. So after composing myself, I pulled out the needle, ripped back to the correct section, and started the section again.

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I double and triple checked my numbers as I was increasing for the neck, I did not want to make this mistake again. After that was done I sped through the front down to the underarms and I stopped. Counting was needed yet again, so I started counting, holding my breath while I diligently counted three times. The numbers were working, so I could proceed to the next instruction. I’m past the underarm joining row now and can cruise down the body. Hopefully it’s all smooth sailing from here.  I did take some waste yarn, thread it into the live stitches and tried this thing on.  Looks pretty good, it will be even better once it is blocked.  And I think some try it on tubing is something I’ll need to pick up sooner rather then later.

Stay tuned for more, when knitting goes wrong because I still can not read a pattern.

Something New

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Now that the Rhinelust is done, I needed to figure out what to knit on next.  If you remember I had two patterns and yarns picked for next products.  One needed to be swatched, while the other I knew the needles I would need to use.  So I grabbed the needles I hoped would fit to the gauge required (especially because I had no clue where my U.S. 8s were, don’t judge) and then went to town.  I was so enamored with the yarn, enjoying knitting with it, I have not knit with this yarn in a while, or ever.  If you remember, you saw that swatch in the post, Knitting Voodoo, and it’s glorious.  But I had my reservations since this fabric was a little looser then I usually liked.  After the swatch dried I felt it again, it was even softer if that was even possible.  I decided that I need to test it against a decent amount of wind (a strange sounding test, but bear with me on this), since the weather has been decent here recently I need to work on a solution.  So I turned on the ceiling fan pretty high, put the swatch on my arm and waited.  I could not feel anything going on my arm, it felt pretty good.  So I made the decision and cast on for the project.

I was a little confused when I was looking at the instructions for the first time.  I thought it was going to be a standard bottom up or top down sweater.  Nope, it is saddle shoulder top down that is not in the round.  I don’t want to give away the secret sauce, but its not what I expected at all.  With that said, I read through the pattern and finally understood what was going on, so I pressed forward.  I am on the front now, working down to the underarm, while the back is already there.  Yes I am alternating two different balls just in case there is a variance in the dye, but so far they look really even.

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Still loving how this yarn feels working with it.  Oh and remember the socks I said to not remember?  Well I am finishing the after thought heel on the first sock now and I am liking it.  It is a little tight, but with a little blocking it will be a little better, I think.

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Yes I did match up the colors on the heel to the rows before and after, yes it does look better.  I sometimes will do this when the yarn or pattern call for it and this one did. I’m super happy with how it is coming out. Hopefully I won’t get second sock syndrome, stay tuned.

A thing of beauty

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Done! I thought i would never see the day in which my Rhinelust would ever be done. Of course I knew it would get done at some point, since I was knitting on it as much as I had the brain power for it. But it just seemed like a black hole, no matter how much I knit on it, it was not getting bigger. Which for the record, yes I could tell it was getting bigger because I could see the chart progressing, but it did not feel like it. When I was finally on the garter decreases, I just had to get it done. This last weekend, I wove in all of the ends and dutifully split the yarns plies and wove those in (I know it sounds a little nuts, but as a gif it wanted it to look perfect). It was blocked with oh so many pins, it felt like I was voodooing this too to stay in place.  Once it was dry, I removed all of the pins, and trust me there were a lot of them (about a package and a half of t-pins, but who’s counting).  Then the ends were cut, gave it a good flick, and admired it.

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It’s a thing of beauty, I had to get some pictures of it right away, since it was going to it’s recipient today.  I handed off this to it’s recipient who was ecstatic, kept saying it was so pretty, and how soft it was.  She immediately took off her scarf she had on and then put this one on.  She told me it kept her nice and warm, even being so close to an AC vent.  I am so happy that she liked it and that she asked how to care for it.  I might get her some good wool wash to use with it.

I am happy that it’s done and it’s something I wanted to make.  But I’m glad I get to work on something new, once it’s more then looking like a swatch I’ll fill you in more.