Packing

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Well it’s that time again, making lists and checking them three times. That’s just how I am when I travel. I always make a packing list, make sure I added everything and even when I start packing I adjust it as needed. Pack as little as possible with room to bring stuff back. But I always want to be prepared for what may happen weather wise. But on top of that I have to make sure I’m occupied while flying, I’m not a happy flyer.  Knitting keeps me from freaking out that I’m in a metal contraption 1000s of feet in the air. But I have to pack first to get there. 

Making a packing list is the first part, I also have to charge everything, triple check everything, and make sure I have enough knitting. That is no easy task, you have to have enough projects and yarn to keep you occupied. But not so much you have no room for anything else and too many that you can’t finish. That’s the balancing game I’m facing but I think I have the right stuff planned. First will be a easy Romi Hill Lace shawl, the London tube socks, and a pair of slide socks with some extra yarn. But now that I’m looking at available space and time I have to rethink the knitting. So instead of the shawl I’m going to make a sharktooth for me this time. The socks will stay and that should be enough knitting. Especially because on the way home I most likely won’t be knitting because the needles aren’t allowed. 
Patterns printed, yarn wound, electronics charged, bags packed for the most part. Time for a quick break, then dinner, and right to bed. I have a 8am flight tomorrow that I don’t want to miss. Today I woke up at 3:30 and had to think for a second and said its not tuesday so I slept in until 5:30am. Tomorrow I get to be up at 4am… 12 hours of flying, 3 hour layover, being up for 36 hours when I finally get to bed, it’s going to be a long day tomorrow/Wednesday. I’m already tired. 

Interim projects 

Well now that the Tamarack cardigan is done I had to figure out what I should knit next. I mean I’m still putting the buttons on the Tamarack but that does not take too long. Yes I thought of the 36 daisies, but I think I’m needing a little bit more of a break from it. So I went through the queue and the stash to see what I could come up with. There’s projects that I want to start but they’re going to be for travel. So then I am not starting those just yet, but I found two projects that need to be finished. 
Anyone remember the London tube socks? I haven’t touched them since I was in the UK almost 2 years ago. They’re s good plain knitting project that I just need to get off the needles and it doesn’t take too long to make. I turned the heel and am going dutifully up the leg. But that’s not all, I know good your gasps for a little bit. This is another project from right before the UK trip, socks for my mother. She wore the other pair I made into submission. Though I think this yarn which is the same, needs to be relegated to hand wash only. Thead I picked back up are the sure socks. Which I lost the instructions to so I had to reprint them and figure out where I was. To my surprise I was just at the point to remove stitches for the heel and knit a little more and have a completed sock. So I did the heel stitch removal and then knit a little on it and had my mother try them on. 
They turned out a little tight but they should grow a little during blocking.  Finished the first one Thursday night.  I have the second one close to the second heel.  But I’m also weaving the toes on some machine knit socks so that some can be given to my mom and the others sold. She tried on the pair for her and they fit perfectly. They’ll be good for the trip in 10 days. 
Once those are done I’ll do some socks for me. I already have yarn and pattern picked. And alternate yarn just in case. I think I’m on a sock fix now. 

Oops

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I’m actually a pretty good knitter, I’ve been knitting for 13 years. I would say I’m decently skilled. Even though that may be the case some recent events got me rethinking that. We all know by now I have some issues when it comes to patterns. Not that I can not read a pattern, but there are sometimes I have lapse in comprehension. Sometimes I think I know exactly what the pattern says. Just like the girasole when I thought I only needed to do one repeat of one of the charts instead of two. But this is one where I added a bit of instructions in my head and I decided to “trust the designer.”  Normally a good idea, most designers are good with their patterns. But not when the knitter has just woken up and is starting the final bit of a pattern. I mean I can knit lace first thing in the morning, fair isle, cables, you name it. But following a collar instructions and make sense of it, apparently not.

 

If you don’t know by now my normal wake up routine is pretty simple, get up (cursing at the morning), get coffee (no speaking to me until one cup has been consumed), sit down with some youtube and knit.  Well on Monday I was working on the short row shawl collar of my Tamarak cardigan and I read the instructions and they didn’t seem to make sense to me.  I wondered why I would start the short rows here and not up there, but I decided that I should trust the designer.  I kept going knitting away until I was about half way through the first section of short rows.  I looked at it and things didn’t seem right.  So I then looked back at the instructions and realized that I made a mistake.  This was of course after I had my two cups of coffee and was awake enough to actually follow instructions.  I then realized I added a single word to the set up row for the short rows that threw the whole collar off.  Just one “more” changed the whole collar and I proceeded to rip out everything that I had worked on.  I then flew through the rest of the collar that day and another project came off of the needles.  This was not the only mistake that I made that day.

 

I then blocked the sweater that night, into the sink it went with water and wool wash and let it soak.  I prepared the blocking mats as normal and proceeded to get rid of as much water as I could by hand.  Laying out my blocking towel I went ahead and squished out more water.  I thought during this process that I might need another towel since this is chunky yarn and it might need a little more water taken out.  But then I thought I wouldn’t need it, mistake number two.  I put the cardigan on the blocking mats, put it into shape, and let it sit there for a little bit before I went to bed.  Thankfully I didn’t go to bed right away.  The blocking mats were at a slight angle and about an hour later I noticed a small puddle on the floor.  The sweater was dripping onto the floor!  I proceeded to curse myself and quickly mopped up the excess water and grabbed another dry blocking towel and got rid of the excess water.  Since it hasn’t been too warm or dry here the last week it took about 4 days to dry in total.  But that was fine I had a new cardigan that I was excited about.  Even though it is chunky weight it is still light enough for me (in weight) and doesn’t overly burn me up.  Another big plus of the yarn that I chose.

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Now it came time to get buttons, I wasn’t sure until it was dry what size I would actually need.  Yesterday I went through the buttons at my LYS and I found a perfect set of 5 buttons that just screamed, “we are the ones.”  Now I need to just add those buttons with their backing buttons and I will have a completed sweater.  Except I really don’t like putting buttons on, but hey it’s a small step to have a complete sweater.  I better get cracking and *knock on wood* that I don’t have a third mistake looming over my head.

 

So close

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As of two weeks ago the three of us that are knitting on the 36 Daisies shawl were at almost the same point in the knitting.  That’s quite fantastic, since I was behind and one of the others was far ahead of the rest of us.  I’m still very happy with how mine is coming out, the yarn that I used is quite nice to use and it’s not a very difficult pattern to work on.  It’s just following 4 pages of charts and making sure you don’t make any mistakes.  Like all of us thought on the second section of charts that the middle of the charts would be the same as how we had been working.  We all make the exact same error and had to correct it to make sure the pattern was right.  I ended up knitting the next row and fixing as I went.  That did take me a while and I kept working after that keeping mind to the pattern.  I kept pressing on two weeks ago, hell bound on pulling ahead and winning this knit against.  I’ve been putting off blogging because I felt like I was just talking about the shawl and something else happened too.

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Last Friday however something snapped in me.  I don’t know what exactly happened, but I just couldn’t get myself to pick up the knitting on this.  The pattern is not hard at all, as I’ve stated before, you just need to pay attention.  It’s not that I don’t like the yarn, I do like this Merino wool that I chose.  I even didn’t mind knitting with that much cream colored yarn, I knew this going into it.  For whatever reason I just snapped, I couldn’t knit on it any more.  I sat there at knit night and I just stared at it, talked with people around the table, but I didn’t knit on it.  I didn’t bring anything else with me to knit on because I planned on knitting on just that.  I had to get up from the table and look at all of the yarn that was around the shop.  I needed to see something that wasn’t cream lace weight.  I fantasized about the yarn that is in my stash, in beautiful hand dyes and begging to be knit.  I fantasized about quickly knitting some hats, getting projects fast off the needles.  I broke down and bought 3 skeins of yarn, two for a two color hat, and one for a very fast knit hat.

 

I still haven’t knit a stitch on the daises since then.  I’ve actually been making some progress on my Tamarack Cardigan.  The sleeves are attached, after I blocked them to make sure my blocked gauge was still correct and that the amount I knit would be sufficient.  I’m on the shaping for the neck and decreasing the sleeves down to get up to the finished bit.  It is out of chunky weight so it’s not very time consuming, but it does take me a little longer then normal because it’s using size U.S. 10s.  Not my normal knitting size but for this it’s perfect.  I really want this to be done soon too so I can wear it while the weather is still a little crisp.  For now I need to keep working on that, wound up two more skeins of yarn today along with the other two skeins of hat yarn.

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And guess what, none of it is in (insert profanity here) cream lace weight and that makes me so happy.

Back on Track

Being behind in a knit against is not a great thing to be.  Getting the High Dessert done in the short amount of time was quite impressive, if I do say so myself.  I was pretty surprised that I was able to do the whole shawl in about two weeks.  In true knitting monogamous fashion I only knit on that until it’s completion, which really helped get it done faster.  Now that it is done I have picked up the 36 Daisies again, I only had three teeth done at the time I put it down.  Now that it is my only knitting concentration, besides having my bulky sweater I have too to give my hands a quick break from the smaller needles.  Or when having little brain power, it’s good to have sitting around.  However my main focus is the 36 Daisies, working to catch up to the other two.  Yes this is the next knit-against, yes we are making the largest size of the shawl, and yes we might be a little crazy.

 

If you don’t remember what a knit-against is, lets do a quick refresher.  It starts as a knit a long, but you get competitive.  Whenever you see the other people you ask them where they are in the pattern and others start keeping tabs on where everyone is in the pattern as well.  It’s become something of a spectators sport at my LYS, having people watching where all competitors are.  And having people be glad that they are not making what all of us are making.  It’s quite fun and a great way to get some projects done.  But the key to the knit-against is that you knit on a project that is the exact same size, so a level playing ground.  If we did sweaters, everyone would be making different sizes and have to do different shaping.  Same with socks, I would have to make the largest socks because I have big feet while some of the others have tiny feet.  So that is not a level playing ground, which is why we choose shawls/scarves that are just one size, or agree on the size of the shawl.

 

Since I was behind I had to motor a bit on the edging so that I could start the main large chart.  I finished the edging almost 3 weeks ago and I’m just about to finish the first set of charts.  I really need to motor on this so that I can get this done before stitches west.  I have a few days off which I’m hoping that I can get some more momentum on it.  But I’m going to have to take some breaks, due to knitting fatigue with such small needles and yarn.  So I’m going to alternate a bit between the chunky sweater I’m making and that.  Of course I’ll take some other breaks, give my hands and arms a good break.  Better get back to it.

Mischief Managed 

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Wednesday was an interesting day for me, not just in knitting but life in general.  I had plans to do a few things outside of the house, but over slept so that didn’t happen.  So I stayed home and did the bind off for the secret project that I have been working on.  Because of that decision someone backed into my car while it was parked in front of the house.  Nothing too major thankfully, but a bit inconvenient.  I’ll be dealing with it more next week, when it goes in for repairs.  But lets not talk about such things, lets talk about that super secret project.  Well it wasn’t a secret to a few people, just the recipient.

 

A knitting friend of mine that I know at the LYS is retiring and moving back to her home state with her husband.  I knew she would never make anything like a Romi shawl, so I decided that would be my gift to her.  I got the yarn wound by her, since she works at the shop, and she told me that she liked the color.  Unknown to her that the yarn she just wound was for her.  The color is an old but good color called Boxwood.  It was my sneaky test to make sure the color was good.  So then I got to work finding a pattern that I could make with a skein of Madelinetosh Silk Lace.  I landed back on the page for High Desert and thought it would be perfect.  So I cast on in the last month of the semester.  I didn’t work on it for a bit because of the sheer load of all of the end of the semester tasks.  It sat for a little bit until I could work on it again.  But I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to get this done before she left.  Friday this week was her last day at the shop, but I knew she would be around a little longer just in case I couldn’t finish it in time.  So I got to work, every spare second I could muster was working on the shawl.  I of course had to take breaks for my hands and arms would get a bit tired of working on silk lace.  It was finished Wednesday and immediately I blocked it, stretching it to an impressive size.  I only knit the small version just for sake of time and I thought the larger one wouldn’t fit her as well.

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It was then wrapped up in a wrapping style I only use for special occasions.  Then I snuck it into the shop on Friday, then sneaked it to her.  It was well received and she was surprised that she didn’t know I was working on it.  I’m very glad that she liked it and she wore it the rest of the day.

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Now I can get back to the 36 Daisies, I’m a bit behind on that now, but it was worth it.

 

 

New Year, More knitting

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I know, I know I said that I would be posting more.  Even though I have a lot more time, time has seemed to slip by me really quickly.  The holidays were quite enjoyable for me, seeing family, enjoying time to relax and get some needed sleep, sort of.  That’s a whole different story, I will not get into the details here.  I’ve been doing my best to get some needed R&R, which of course takes into account knitting.  Something that came with this holiday season is me finishing my B.S., something that I’ve been working on for the past 8 years.  This for me is something, since I figured out 2-3 years in that I didn’t like college, but kept going and now I’m glad that I did.  My degree is going to open up a lot of doors, but that’s not what I’m going to be talking about.  As some of you know I’m a photographer and so is my father, which comes with a tradition.  When someone on his side of the family graduates, they get a camera.  Even though I told everyone no gifts, my dad upheld this tradition.  My normal camera for digital photography is a Olympus EM-5, which is fantastic, it came with me to the U.K. and it held it’s own.  I am super happy with mine, so I received the updated EM-5 MKII.  Once I have samples of it’s capabilities I’ll show them.  But lets get to the knitting.

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I’m working on more then one project which makes me a little on edge, I really enjoy working on only one project.  I can get things done fairly quickly and have lots of finished objects done really easily.  There is just something about having one dedicated project, something to enjoy from start to finish.  I haven’t had that recently, only with the finish of the Longfellow cardigan, which I have worn.  And I wore it to work, because a coworker saw me working on it and asked when it was done that I bring it in.  Even the non knitters were impressed and wanted to feel the sweater.  I was told that’s my new pick up line, “hey feel my sweater, it’s cashmere.”  Anyways, I have been knitting a little bit on the Tamarack cardigan, I really want this to be done for me to be able to wear it.  But I am working on my mom’s sweater, I haven’t touched that for a while.  I’m working on two other things, one I can’t really talk about just yet.  The other is the next Knit-Against that three of us are working on.  It’s a traditional Orenburg lace shawl, maybe you’ve heard of it, 36 daisies.  It’s quite massive with an accompanying massive 20 page chart.  I started it on December 28th, the official start date, but haven’t picked it up since.  I am trying to get a few things done that are a little time sensitive at this point.

Going with the theme of having more time on my hands, I can actually write up patterns and design more.  I haven’t done very much of that lately because of the limited brain power and creativity, but rest assured a big project I’ve been working on will get some more work done on it.  I’m very excited about this and I hope that everything will be done soon, how soon only time will tell.  But lets not get distracted by that, lets just take a look at what I’ve been knitting.  This picture is a little older, but shows off the knitting fairly well.  I’ll have more pictures of it’s current state soon.

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Wait what?

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I’m sorry to everyone who reads this, since it’s been over a month since I last posted. This semester has been a Rollercoaster, taking up all of my spare time. But this is my final semester, I am finally graduating college with a degree. Changing majors set me back but in the end I have a major I actually like and will use. So now I am actually done as long as all of my exams go according to plan, I just had my last one today. Now it can move ahead with my life and all of the things that I’ve wanted to do.

 

Enough of that, lets get down to the knitting.  I had glorious plans on knitting my mother a pullover for Christmas, that probably won’t be happening.  I had so little time and such little brain power that following any kind of chart would have not ended well.  I’m still going to make it for her, it might just be a little late.  I was insane thinking that I could knit it during the last month of the semester, so much had to be done with school.  But never the less, she knows that I had a really rough semester and that I haven’t had a lot of time.  She’s definitely knit worthy.  It was very interesting however, last month when I asked her what she wanted me to knit for her, she wasn’t sure.  She told me that she had a lot of scarves and such, that she wasn’t sure she wanted more.  I asked if she wanted socks or a sweater, which her response was, “oh a sweater is too much work.”  Which then I had to tell her that it definitely wasn’t, especially when making it for her.  I have to knit the smallest size of most adult patterns, for them to fit her.  Lucky knitter that I am, which is a contrast to knitting a sweater for myself.
I did finish my Longfellow Cardigan out of Hand Maiden Casbah in the color Nori.  I am so pleased with it, everything just fits.  Though it is a difficult color to photograph well, so I’m going to try to snag a picture of me wearing it in good lighting.  This was the perfect project for my mind this semester, auto pilot all of the way.  I even have a different yarn to make a second one, but I think this time that one is going to be designated to the knitting machine.  I know, I know, a knitting machine defeats the purpose, or it’s not “real” knitting.  But damn it, if I can make this sweater in 2-3 days instead of 2-3 months, I’m ok with that.  Especially if the sweater is all stockinette stitch, which means perfect machine knitting.  Speaking of machine knitting, the sock machine is going to be pulled out of hibernation and I’m going to bust through some sock yarn stash.  I will probably sell the socks as well, for just a little over what the yarn cost.

 

Now that sweater is off of the needles its time for a new project.  I have already started it, two sleeves done, and the body is started.  I’ll tease you with this picture.  Hopefully next time will come a little sooner.  I have more free time now.

 

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Just a bit of cashmere makes the medicine go down

How time flies…

 

Having the My Cryptonite done felt really good, it had taken me a bit longer then it normally would have if I had more time on my hands to knit it.  That’s life however and I did the best I could.  It looks pretty good on, it’s still not cold enough for me to wear it, which here in California it really never gets that cold.  Well at least where I live and for someone who has a cold tolerance of a Canadian, but I digress.  I’m hoping that soon the weather will turn and start to get cooler, instead of going cooler and then deciding to go back into the 70s.  In any case I have a ok picture of me wearing it, I’ll take better ones when I wear it outside.
My new Longfellow Cardigan is coming along smoothly.  I couldn’t get the gauge that was in the pattern, but with a little math I’m knitting the size above the size I would normally wear.  This is my second sweater in a fingering weight yarn and I forgot how long it takes to knit.  It’s not a bad knit by any stretch of the imagination, but on size U.S. 4 and fingering weight yarn, it just takes time.  I’m about halfway to the underarms at this point and I have to resist the urge every so often to pet it.  I’m not big into 100% cashmere yarns, too warm for me, but the little bit in the Casbah does wonders.  The fabric should be perfect for me wearing during the “coldest” months here.  And the color is nice and neutral-ish too.  The back is currently completed, I’m working on one of the fronts right now and I have to say having less stitches makes it go by much faster.  It’s starting to get a little bit “cooler” here, so I can hopefully have it in time for that.

But in the mean time I did get another sweater’s quantity of fingering weight.  Not sure what I’ll make with it, but if I like the longfellow enough I’ll make it again.  I’ll have pictures of the yarn later.

On to the next

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Well this has been an interesting week or so.  Lots of big assignments and exams due in the same week.  But on a good note I finished My Cryptonite, it’s done, and with minimal yarn chicken.  Well a bit of yarn chicken, ok more then just a bit.  I had to buy another skein of color A and it came in handy.  I should have chosen a yarn that wasn’t a little smaller then the requirement.  Color C started to freak me out enough that I checked my friends stash to see if they had that same color and lot.  She did, but I didn’t need it thankfully, I had plenty of B and C. The decision to cut in between a lot of the big sections meant a lot of ends, lots.  I thankfully wove them in while I went.  I just need to block it soon and get that going.  
I did start my Longfellow cardigan out of Casbah in Nori.  I’m really liking how it is working out so far.  I keep feeling the swatch on my arm, feels so good.  Makes me want this cardigan even more, but it’s going to take time.  Hopefully I’ll have it done next month, but that depends how much time I have to knit.  
Check out the add for the newest design, Spring Iris.  You’ll see it on the patterns page under the featured patterns on the right.