Pulled in

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Remember I was talking about the mystery knit a long? Well I went through all of the stash and I couldn’t find the yarn I really wanted to use. And I picked out yarn that wasn’t good together. So I had to go through the stash again to find the right yarns. Thankfully I had looked through the stash and I knew of a few yarns that would work. I pulled the original yarn during the night so I didn’t have any natural light to look at the colors together. But that didn’t stop me when I picked them to say that these would be fine together. So armed with a white light and stash knowledge I went again through the stash. The yarn I wanted for this I couldn’t find for some reason but I still kept going. I remembered a yarn I bought at a LYS north of me and so I had to see if it worked. It looked good but I needed more solid yarns too to pull this off. So I kept diving and found some more solids and very subtle variegated yarns. As I dug through the stash again I kept finding yarn that I forgot I had. I kept finding yarn that wasn’t in my stash page on Ravelry. This made me a little concerned that I have more yarn then I thought.  I think I’m going to have to go through all of the stash again and make sure I put all of it in.  Maybe I’ll do that today.

 

Regardless I found two combinations that would work.  The four that are the same are Tosh Merino Light in Silverfox, Tosh Twist Light in (Looked at ravelry stash and it’s not there.. case in point) Spectrum, Lisa Souza Hardtwist Petite in Portsmouth, and Wollmesise Twin in Dornröschen.  The two that would change are either Sanguine Gryphon Eidos in Siddhartha or some handspun Pigeonroof Studios in a colorway I have no idea I lost the tags.  I think both would be a good match, but I’m still unsure.  I’m going to have to take a look through the stash and see what else I can find.

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Option 1 with the Sanguine Gryphon yarn.

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Option 2 with Handspun.

I’m still thinking of what I want to do for the mystery.  I want to see if I can find the yarn that I originally wanted and maybe make a better combination.  Unless these are what I go for.  I guess we will have to wait and see.  For now I need to go through the stash and add everything that I have into Ravelry.  Yikes.  I might need to put things up for destash.

Yarn Embargo

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Well it’s time again for something that I should have known would be coming.  I’ve been cleaning through all of my belongings trying to slim down a bit.  I’ve been using a Japanese technique (“The life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo, if you were wondering) and I’ve done a few areas now.  I’m really happy with the technique, makes me really think about what I need to keep and what is just taking up space.  But with that I’ve been doing some other tidying up and I saw how much yarn that I have.  To be fair in contrast to some stashes, mine would be considered a baby stash.  But for me and the space that I have I don’t think I can sustain it anymore.  With that being said I realized that I need to start getting the stash under control.  It’s the one area I’m not looking forward to going through with the method in the book.  But I know it’s going to need to happen soon, though I will need to put a stop to buying.

 

I had to sit and think about what I was going to need to do.  First I needed stop buying any yarn.  I thought about yarn for a design series being ok to buy, but then thought against it.  I have yarn for a few designs right now and I need to knit those up first.  Then my LYS got a shipment of Apple Tree Yarn in and I knew that I wanted a skein, just one.  That would be the final skein that I can purchase (maybe until Rhinebeck) and then I would be on a yarn embargo.  But I couldn’t resist the colors and there were two skeins that I wanted, but I settled on just one.  I picked out the pattern for it and I bought the yarn.  I’m thinking of a Reverse Psychology, which is a perfect pattern for this yarn.  But I need my U.S. 4s for it and for a design, one set is in Viajante and the other is in Love of Spiders.  So one of those needs to be finished before I start it, which is most likely going to be Love of Spiders.  Viajante has a long way to go before I can reclaim the needles from a finished project.

 

With that being said I need to knit more then I have been, I’ve been having way too much fun with my new computer I built.  It was such an amazing experience and I learned a lot, but now I’m kind of obsessed with playing games, watching movies, and doing other things on it that I couldn’t do before.  But with that it’s taking away from my knitting time and that’s not a good thing.  I have so much yarn and so many ideas that I need to get things done.  So I will need to limit how much I use the computer and if I can have it run tasks while I knit.  Another thing I thought about was bringing out the machines again and going through my yarn like crazy.  I’m good with the sock machine, that’s no issue.  I might even start selling socks from it again, let me know if you’re interested, it does some nice plain knit and ribbed socks in a 72 stitch configuration.

 

But I’m not that good with the flat bed machine that I have, not to mention that one piece isn’t working and I just keep forgetting to send it off to get looked at.  Then I remembered Craftsy so I took a look at the catalogue, which I haven’t done in a long time.  I saw some machine knitting classes that I think I could benefit from, so I think over the next few weeks I’ll get those up and running so I can knit some amazing things quickly.  I have a few sweaters I wouldn’t mind getting a lot of the knitting done on machine first.  But that’s still not enough for me I think, I want to knit a lot of projects that take a lot of yarn, but needs a lot of time.  Yesterday I was at my knit group and a few of them are working on the new Mystery Shawl by Joji.  I have to say I’m not much for mysteries anymore, but this one intrigues me.  5 colors of yarn, around 350 yards each (but I’d make sure to have more then that), knit in garter, some lace, and some interesting construction so it seems.  I had an idea for some colors that I think would be good for it, starting with some Wollemeise that I was given by a good friend of mine.  It’s in the color Dornröschen (Nobody is Perfect) and it’s this vibrant Pink with hints of red orange.  I think I know what yarn would pair with it just nicely, but I need to remember were I put it in the stash.  I need to stash dive pretty hard today, better get started.  I also need some US 4s to knit this project, which means I need one of those two projects mentioned earlier to be completed.  Maybe I’ll just use a US 5 for this one.  I’ll decide that when I find the yarn.  Which by the way, I couldn’t find the yarn that I wanted… Another reason I need to thin the stash down quite a bit.  I have discovered stuff that I have that I completely forgot about.  Not to mention it’s not documented in my stash page.  No photos today, I need to knit feverishly.

The laws of knitting 

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I was driving home on Sunday and I was listening to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Cast Off on Audible.  Side note if you haven’t read her books I would highly recommend them, I like listening to the author read their book too.  Anyways without giving away the book (which you should totally read for yourself, hint hint) I was listening to a section about knitting law.  No there are no official laws in knitting, but I think there are some laws/rules that are there that we all can accept.  No these laws are not just for the knitter, but the knitting itself too.  As I was driving I was thinking about it, there are some things as a new or experienced knitter you need to know.  I figured why not expand on their idea and start a list knitting laws.  So here are what I call “Conexos Iuris” or latin for knitting law.  Keep in mind these are kind of guidelines that I follow with my knitting and should not be taken as real law.

Conexos Iuris

  1.  All that partake in the act of knitting should knit whatever makes them happy.  If you just want to knit hats, sweaters, scarves, or a mix of everything, there’s no one stopping you but you.
  2. Mistakes will happen, we are only human.  Learn from your mistakes and know when you need help.
  3. Knitting takes a lot of time.  New skills can be learned and will take time as well before you feel comfortable with them.  Remember all knitting is based on Knit and Purl stitches, nothing is impossible just something that you need to practice.
  4. Yarn is a personal choice, choose whatever makes you happy.  Natural fibers or acrylic, choose what speaks to you (and your wallet).  Remembering that other knitters may not like your choice, but you’re the one knitting with it.
  5. Straights or circular needles do the same job, but up to personal preference.  Also DPNS, two circulars, or magic loop are all personal preference as well, try a few different tools and see what you like.  Metal, acrylic, wood, or plastic needles are also up to your preference.
  6. Stash is a personal choice as well.  Stash as much or as little that makes you happy.  Keep note of limitations of budget, space, and others that live with you.  There are non knitters that will not understand.
  7. Stash should be kept away from the eyes of non knitters, they will judge you for the amount of wool (or whatever material your yarn is) you have.  Knitters will marvel at the amount of beautiful yarn that you have.
  8. Local Yarn Shops or LYS are a great place to learn new skills, meet other knitters, and of course enhance the stash.  Treat the shop with utmost care and respect, which includes the staff.
  9. Gauge is an important factor when making a garment or anything that needs to fit the recipient.  Even knitting a gauge swatch can lead to false hope, it’s still highly recommended that you make one.
  10. When gauge fails you on a garment and it’s going to be ill-fitting, bad colors, or anything that makes you unhappy with it.  Set it down for a little bit of time, come back to it later when you have a more level head.  Ripping out a section or the whole project is a possibility when you’re sure that the knitting isn’t pleasing you anymore.
  11. Remember we are knitting with yarn and yarn is reusable.  You can rip out mistakes and ill-fitting garments to make something that tickles your knitterly fancy.
  12. Patterns are fantastic, designers are clever, but if you need to make changes for yarn, gauge, or sizing, there’s no knitting police to stop you from making those changes.  Those changes are for personalization of the knitting, but keep in mind if you do alter the pattern, you will need to do your own problem solving or consult help from your knitting circle.
  13. Go forth and knit as much or as little pleases you, taking breaks to avoid injury.

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list or anything that anyone else should follow.  These are just the “laws” or guidelines that I keep in mind when I knit.  Knitting is a personal, social, and creative venture that you should do with it as it pleases you.  Speaking of, I’m going to go back to my own knitting, lots and lots of knitting in the round on a circular needle, with some nice super wash merino lace yarn.  Oh Viajante, you have a long ways to go.

Crawling along 

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This does not feel like May at all to me right now. This year is going by so quickly I can’t believe that it’s May already. Not to mention it’s been in the high 80s the past day or two which makes large knitting difficult. Even though I have a fan on me at all times it still gets warm. Thankfully I’m not working on large wool blankets or sweaters, but I’m working on a large tube of wool that isn’t big enough to sit in my lap yet. And I’m working on a silk shawl as well which doesn’t sit in the lap either.  Thankfully the weather has calmed down a bit now, down to a more normal temperature for this time of year. I’m not ready for the summer, I really don’t like the hot weather especially because I run super warm as it is.   Regardless I have been doing a little bit of knitting, mainly on the Viajante but I have put some time into the Love of Spiders.  Have you ever brought your yarn and projects with you to knit night and then discover you left the second ball of yarn you needed at home?  Well I did that last week, I was ready to work on a little bit of silk but come to realize that I left it at home.  Well isn’t that fantastic, but no loss I worked on another project, bet you can guess which one that is.

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Time to start getting some more progress on that silk project so I can get the gauge from it.  I know I could just knit a gauge swatch and block it faster then the project, but that’s besides the point.  I want to have a finished object and a gauge swatch in one.  It may take a little more time but I will have a finished object at the end too.  I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.  I’m hoping that the gauge does what I expect it to do when it’s washed, so that I can make the necessary calculations.

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Looking pretty good if I do say so myself.  And I’m surprised that I’m not that bored with the Viajante just yet, but I know I have a lot of knitting to go.  It is a large tube after all.

 

Juices Flowing

No I didn’t spill anything, even though I’m quite a klutz.  No this title references my creative juices flowing with my knitting.  I have a lot of idea with all kinds of projects that I want to knit.  I’ve been almost knitting on one project with a few exceptions for about a year.  Things like the 36 Daisies (no I haven’t worked on it, it’s looking at me right now…) mean I would need something else to work on when I need a break from a complicated project.  With all of these juices flowing I think I’m going to branch out to two projects at a time being worked on.  This is due to projects that were set to the wayside that need to be completed and partially some of the projects that I want to work on.  Bolt is done, blocked, and I’ve worn it.  It’s fantastic, I think it’s the yarn that really gets me.  I can’t sing enough praises about this yarn, La Droguerie you have vexed me. 
Now that project is done I needed to get something else going. Well the pair of the Mind the Gap socks were being worked on as well. But this post comes with not one but two finished projects.  Those socks are done and what can I say but they’re vibrant. They fit well, wish I did a little less short rowing on the heel but it’s ok. Washed and blocked now, they’re fantastic. They were an off and on again project, the first sock was knit on the way to London and Paris, and while in the UK. The second was all here at home. But it’s the memories that they bring when I see them. 
Now that I have those off the needles I needed to get something going again. I want to make something out of silk, a design. But I wanted to make sure I get the right fabric. So I needed to search, but even better a full project swatch. So I pulled out my silk The love of spiders shawl that went to the way side too. I’m now on the pattern before the border. It should block nicely but we will see. But that’s not the only thing on the needles. I got vexed by some yarn recently. My LYS got a shipment of the new madelinetosh colors and I found one i knew I had to make something with. After contemplation someone mentioned a pattern I made before. I dismissed it, because I didn’t want to make it. But then I thought about it and I gave that one to my mom. So then I made the decision to make this for myself this time, another viajante. 

Post vacation

It’s been 10 days since I’ve been back and it feels like an amazing dream. I can’t describe what I felt vising Paris, it’s a feeling of being home for me.  I’m having a big case of Ennui being back in California, but I have a lot of photos to remember the trip by.  Something that will have to carry me over until I can go back and see that amazing city again.  Finally after being back for 10 days I have all of my photos edited and ready to be printed into single prints and books.  Actually right now in another tab I’m uploading my photos to my favorite place for prints and I’m getting ready to turn them into a photo book.  If you asked what was my favorite thing that I saw while traveling I just couldn’t narrow it down to just one thing, everything in it’s own right was spectacular.

 

I also did buy yarn when I was there and looking back on it I think I was just a little too good.  I had to choose just one shop to visit and I might have been able to visit another, but I chose to visit La Droguerie.  This is not just a knitting store, they have buttons, beads, fabric, and all kinds of fun things to look at.  However if you are visiting from a “conventional” yarn shop view, it’s nothing like that.  You need to know what you want before you come in and if you don’t you need to pick exactly what you want.  Once you have your yarn and color choices, you then need to select how much you need.  The reason is you tell the staff exactly the yarn, color, and meters that you want and they will wind it exactly for you.  You can walk out of the store and immediately start a new project.  When they ask you if you want to watch them wind it, you tell them no you will browse their beautiful store.  While you browse if you need buttons, look at them, beads same thing.  Or if you want to put ribbon in your garment as the backer for your buttons, they have that too.  For what you get in the quality of yarn that I believe is all from France and dyed by them, the price is so amazing.  When I return to Paris, you can bet that I will return to the shop and pick up a lot more yarn then I did.

 

My sharktooth that I brought with me I was able to finish last weekend and I still haven’t blocked it.  That is on the to do list for today.  I did start knitting with some of the yarn that I picked up from my trip and let me tell you the yarn is magical.  I don’t say that lightly, but for being just a wool yarn (not sure on breed or anything) it’s is soft, nicely plied, and a pleasure for me to work with.  I’m using the yarn Benjamine in the colors Chocolate Glace and Muirs to knit on Bolt.  I didn’t realize it until I got back, but this will be a perfect addition to my new leather jacket that I got there as well (not at La Droguerie).

 

Right now I just have to wait for the first batch of photos to upload and then I can make my book.  Until that’s done I’m going to make some more progress on Bolt and show off a little bit about the trip, via photos.  I don’t think you’ll mind.

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Incredible

Well it sure has been a few days since I last spoke to you all, there is a good reason for that however.  Tuesday/Wednesday I spent most of the day on planes and airports to go to Paris, France.  Leaving early Tuesday morning the flight came into Paris early Wednesday morning, which gave me time to get a few things from the airport, get to the flat which meant some traffic, and finally put all of the luggage down.  Once inside there was no rest for anyone because all of us had to stay awake until at least 6pm that night so that we could get onto Paris time.  So we walked around, bought things that we needed for the week, and took a trip to a famous cemetery.   The first day was exhausting and completely amazing.  It didn’t hit me until Thursday that we were actually in Paris.

But we have walked all over the city, taken the Metro and RER to some incredible places.  There was food that would make you cry from happiness and lots of photos to be taken.  But there is one thing that was missing for me, knitting.  I hadn’t knit since the plane, which I started another Sharktooth but this one is for me.  I got about half way through that when my arms and hands needed a break.  I also did get one sock of the London Tube Socks all the way done.  But once we landed, the knitting did not come back out until Saturday morning.  I finally pulled out the knitting and everything felt perfect.  Even though I had been looking at ravelry and making my list of yarns I wanted from one of the shops here, I just hadn’t knit.  I think I was just too distracted by all of the food, sights, and the over stimulation.  But with the looming bit of reality that is coming rapidly I knew I needed to finish this knitting. Since Charles de Gaulle airport doesn’t allow knitting needles in carry on luggage I had to get my knitting as complete as possible.

 

Well I started packing this morning and I found out in my dazed in flight state I decided to put the socks away and make sure they were the right.  So I had to do the bind off, which didn’t take that much time to be honest.  But now I’m looking at the remaining bit of yarn and the rest of the pattern and I might run out.  Well I know I don’t have exactly enough to do the pattern as written, I adjusted out 4 or so rows to get the other two to work.  But it’s looking like I’ll be even shorter this time around.  I’m not sure if I’m going to need another skein of the yarn or not.  But I’ll knit as long as I can with my shortening and if I run out earlier then anticipated then I’ll just figure it out.  But that’ll have to happen state side.  Time to have dinner and finish as much packing as I can before bed.  I get to fly for 12.5 hours without knitting, wish me luck.

 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.