I finally cast off a project that has been on the needles for almost 18 months last night. I started my Mojo socks (pattern by Donyale Grant) when I fist moved into my apartment in August 2009. I got past the heel (they’re knit toe-up) of the first one and it sat forever. Then I decided to buckle down and finish them in the spring. I made pretty good progress, got through the first sock and most of the way through the second. Then, for no reason, I stopped working on them.


This is how they sat for almost six months. They’re so close to done! Usually when I get so close to the end of a project I get caught up in cast-off excitement and plow through to the end but not this time. They just sat. Finally, I pulled them out yesterday and knit the last 30-ish rows that were left.


The yarn I used was Regia Silk 4-Ply, which is 55% wool, 25% nylon, and 20% silk. They’re black so as to be manly and also function as dress socks. The yarn is buttery soft to the touch, but it pills like crazy. It started pilling on the ball just from being taken in and out of my knitting bag. I probably won’t use it again. Most pilling doesn’t bother me, and I’m quite comfortable using my sweater stone, but this was truly excessive.

The bind off on the first sock seemed tight (Ryan was able to get it over his foot but he did comment on its tightness) so I bound off the second one using Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which is exceptionally stretchy, but that’s why the two cuffs look different. JSSBO has sort of a ruffly look to it… Ryan didn’t seem to notice at all so maybe it’s just something only detectable to the knitterly eye.


I made these complete opposites. One toe is knit side out, the other is purl side out. The sock with the knit toe has a purl heel and the one with the purl toe has a knit heel. This means not only can each sock be worn on either foot, they can also be worn inside out. I’m hoping this will make them last longer since the wear will be distributed differently depending on how they are worn.

Happy 5th night of Hanukkah.

The estimation game

OK friends I have come up with a crazy game to play with myself to hopefully help me get some of those WIPs off the needs. Here is my plan: I am going to estimate how many days of knitting it will take to finish each of my WIPs. I will try to pick something that is a bit challenging but (hopefully) reasonable. For each WIP that I finish within the allotted amount of time I can spend $15 on yarn. That is a potential of $165 I would allow myself to splurge!

The rules:

1) I must knit some each day. If I don’t knit one day one of my projects will still have to take a strike.

2) Each day will be allocated to one project. If I knit on more than one project I will have to choose which one takes the day.

3) Any new cast-ons (with the one exception I will explain later) will not count. If I waste days playing with new projects I may have to give up getting some new yarn.

4) Finished means completely finished. As in off the needles, blocked, seamed, buttons applied, etc. Ready to be worn/used.

5) No money can be spent on yarn, needles, notions, ect. until this challenge is over, i.e. all the days have been used up.

My predictions:

1) First spinning attempt. I bought a drop spindle and some Targhee wool at sock summit last August and started spinning away. I actually got to the point where my spinning was pretty even but then I got distracted with school and didn’t pick it up for 11 months. Now I am at it again and am getting somewhat even results… For a first attempt I’m pretty happy. Anyway, about 1 oz. of the 3.8 oz braid was used in my thrummed mittens. The rest is on it’s way to becoming yarn. According to my Knit Picks yarn scale (so wonderful to have!) I have 0.78 oz left. I’m going to be a little generous with this one and give myself 5 days to finish since I’m so new to spinning. I think two days for spinning, two days for plying, and one day for washing, drying and skeining.


2) Op Art. I have four stripes left on this blanket. That sounds pretty manageable, until I think about how each stripe contains both more rows that the stripe before and more stitches per row. I’m going to push myself and give myself 20 days here. right now it’s taking me about 35 minutes to do one row. I’m guessing I have 60 hours left on this puppy so I’m going to have to give it 3 hours each of it’s days. This is going to be my biggest challenge.


3) Hope for Change socks. My oldest WIP to date. I love the way this pattern looks, it’s just not my favorite to knit. One sock is complete the other sock is about 2/3 up my instep (knit from toe up). I’m only giving myself 3 days to finish these babies. One day to get past the heel, two days for the leg and cuff.


4) Mojo socks. These are so close to being done I can taste it. I have 45 rows left. These get one day.


5) Yeah for Fall (Green Gable sweater). This went so quickly when I was working on it. I knit the whole body in about a week. I’m going to give it one more week. 3 days to finish the sleeves, 3 days to finish the yoke and hood, and 1 day for blocking.


5) Birthday socks (Air Raid socks). The first sock is finished. The second sock has one repeat of 6 done on the leg (knit from the top down). The first sock went very fast. There is no real reason these have taken so long other than they are my “purse” project and I haven’t had to wait very often (knock on wood). I will give these 5 days.


6) Selbu Mittens. One mitten is half done. These take complete attention because I have to follow the colorwork chart carefully. With school starting on the 30th complete attention is going to be hard to give. I’m going to be a bit lax with these and give them 14 days since full devotion will be hard to muster.


7) Baby Surprise Jacket. This will go quickly once I turn my attention to it, I have just been focusing on other things recently. I am giving this 3 days.


8) Victorian Scarf. Lace, like colorwork takes a lot of attention. Also, this project is pretty huge. I have 3 repeats of 42 done, plus the center panel, which is skinny but looooooong. I am going to give this project 18 days. That is 3 repeats a day for 14 days then 3 days for the center panel and 1 for blocking.


9) Pomatomous Socks. These are fun to knit but all of the twisted stitches are slow going for me. I am 1/3 through the leg (knit top down) on the first sock. I’m going to say 10 days for these socks.


10) Test Knit – Bashful. I can’t show you a picture of this one, but I’m test knitting a hat for Marly Bird aka Yarnthing on Ravelry. The hat is slouchy and DK weight but I can’t tell you anything about it until the pattern is released. So far all I have knit is the ribbing. I’m giving it 2 days since it’s a hat and hats are smallish quickish projects.

11) Test Knit – Whirligig bolero. This is a test knit for Stephanie Japel to help her up-size a pattern that was originally only in baby/toddler sizes. She is going to re-release it with bigger child and adult sizes. I’m testing one of the child sizes. It will either go to one of my cousins’ kids or to charity, but when the pattern is release I will have the adult sizes muahahaha. I haven’t actually gotten the pattern yet or my assigned size (supposed to come out today) but it has to be done within 3 weeks so I’m going to give myself 21 days.

That is 108 days to finish all my projects. That means on November 25 I will be done with this little adventure. That gives me one month to do any Christmas knitting I need… More than enough right…

WIPs march of shame (part five)

So close to the end of showing you all the shameful WIPs I have stashed in my knitting basket. This next one has actually been living in my purse for the past 8 months or so. It is supposed to be my “I have to wait project” so that if I’m ever somewhere with an unusually long line or am unexpectedly delayed for another reason I have knitting with me. The problem is, I haven’t really had to do much waiting lately. I’m not at all complaining about not having to wait, it just means this project doesn’t get a lot of love.


These are Air Raid Socks by Emily B. Miller. I have chosen to make my legs about twice as long as the sample sock because I think wool socks should be long. That is my personal preference since my legs are always freezing in the winter. The yarn I am using is Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi in colorway 101 which is a rainbow.


This blog post would have to go on for miles if I were to accurately describe how much I love this yarn. The first thing I love about it is that it is a single. I know there are some people out there who absolutely hate to knit with yarn that is not plied, but I am not one of them. I love the way stitches look so plump when the yarn is not plied. Next, this yarn is SOFT. It’s a merino/nylon blend (which makes it perfect for socks) but it’s so much softer than other sock yarns. This yarn makes my feet feel like they have gone to heaven. Finally, the color. This yarn has such deep rich colors. The rainbow is very happy, which was much needed in December when I was buying the yarn, but I must have stood over the basket of this yarn in the shop for 20 minutes trying to decide which fantastic colorway to take home with me.


The pattern is also wonderful. I love how it adds some texture but doesn’t get lost in the colors of the yarn. It’s also very simple. I had the repeat memorized halfway through the chart. I am the tiniest bit worried that because this is a single yarn the socks won’t be as hardy as I need them to be, but that is a practical after-the-fact-type matter, and I tend not to think about those when I cast on. If there is some darning in my future, so be it.


Alright, so remember that whole “finish-two-projects-before-you-cast-a-new-one-on” thing I had going… well I might have fallen a bit off the wagon… It’s not my fault! I work in a yarn shop! Who has that kind of will power?!

Remember I told you that in the shop I work in you “make” your own yarn? Here is the what the result can look like.


I know it’s blurry, but I think you can get the idea. That yarn is actually 5 different strands of blue and green wool that have been coned together to make one fingering-weight yarn. This is one of our pre-made cones, meaning someone at the shop picked out the colors and we blended them together and are selling the finished cone. Here is a close-up of the different “ingredient” strands (again, sorry about the blur.)


I have been keeping the cone in my purse, taking it to work every day, in case the shop is very slow and I have some time to knit… It hasn’t been slow yet.

Here is a cone I “made” myself, as in I picked out the “ingredients.”


This cone has two strands of a pearl-colored rayon, one strand of creamy-white cashmere, and one strand of sage-green silk. It is just slightly heavier than a traditional lace-weight yarn but still far from fingering. I love how luxurious this yarn is. We sell our blends by the pound which is a pretty unique way to price yarn. This blend ends up coming to $72 per pound, but a pound of this fine yarn is about 2400 yards. I only needed 5oz to get the 750 yards I needed for my lacy scarf, which ended up being about $23.

I can’t possibly be blamed for casting on with both of these beautiful yarns right away can I? I thought not.

The sock yarn is becoming… yes, socks. I worked the whole cuff of the first one last night.


It’s impossible to tell since all I have is the twisted ribbing so far, but these will become Pomatomus by Cookie A. from the Winter 2005 Knitty. It is completely immaterial that I have three other pairs of unfinished socks already on the needles… Hush up! As you can see by the picture I’m knitting these on one small circular needle, which may now be my favorite method for sock knitting, no joins to worry about so no ladders ever.

The lace yarn is becoming… yes, lace. I have been in love with this yarn and this pattern since Sunday.


This pattern has a long-ass name, it is Scarf with the No. 20 Edging from “The Knitted Lace Pattern Book,” 1850 by Jane Sowerby. That whole thing is the name of the pattern, the pattern is actually in the book Victorian Lace Today. This is so soft and sheen-y and wonderful I spend equal amounts of time petting it as knitting on it. I love that even though three of the four strands are cream, the one strand of sage green tints the whole project.

This frenzy of casting on means that I have to finish 4 projects before anything new can be cast on… Wish me luck!

WIPs march of shame (part three)

This next project was started last August so there is some slim hope that they may be finished in less than a year. Slim, since for some reason I am extremely slow at sock knitting, but a hope none the less. I actually enjoyed knitting these socks while I was working on them, but problems kept arising. First, the cats chewed through one of my knitting needle cords, then they were too small for the intended recipient, then the intended recipient and I broke up so there didn’t seem to be a point to going back and fixing the mistake, then the cats got a hold of one of the balls of yarn and it’s a big old tangled mess that needs to be undone… So they sat unworked on.


These are Mojo Socks by Donyale Grant and the pattern is free. Lots of people on Ravelry have done this pattern in bright happy colors and it looks wonderful. Since I knew I would be making man-socks with this yarn, I decided to pick this funky pattern to make my knitting experience less hellish. I think I will attempt to give them to Ryan as he does not own a single pair of dress socks and has smaller man-feet (which means still huge since I’m used to knitting to a women’s 7.5 for myself.)

In other news, I’ve done a little stash enhancing lately. Something about summer always makes me want to spin. Something about knitting with wool is not so pleasant, but touching wool fiber isn’t as bad for some reason. My spinning is still very bad, I’d love to take a class but I only have a drop spindle and am afraid that if I rent a spinning wheel I will end up falling in love and buying one. Here is my stash enhancement:


This is 100% Superwash Blue Face Leicester from Woolgatherings. A sign in the knitting shop said it is the easiest wool to spin… This may have been a selling tactic, but it worked. I struggled a bit with the Targhee that I bought at Sock Summit last August. You will see what I produced in a later post.


This may never get spun as I can’t stop petting the fiber itself. This is 70% Alpaca 30% silk from Abstract Fibers and it is heaven. (Can you tell there is a certain color family I prefer? The other day, Ryan asked me, “why is all of your yarn pink?” I hadn’t exactly realized it, but I seem to have a penchant for buying yarn in the pink/red/orange family.) I hope this is easy-ish to spin because I really want to start, but it would be such a tragedy if I ended up with ugly yarn…


Just for good measure, and because I want to start right away and my other spindle is occupied, I bought a new one. It’s heavier than my other one so we’ll see what kind of yarn it produces.

Back to the WIP grind…

WIPs march of shame (part two)

OK, so I completed my Pioneer, and showed it to you last post, taking one WIP out of the list, a very good thing. I have made a deal with myself that for every TWO projects I get off the needles, I can cast on ONE new project. Theoretically, this should help me get all the old projects off the needles because even if I start and finish a new project, I’ll have to finish an old project as well to begin another new project… This is what I tell myself. Because I finished my clapotis and my pioneer, I got to cast on for something new. I chose something quick so that I would be forced to return to the old WIPs… aren’t you proud of me?


These are Aran Isle Slippers by Jennifer Lang. I made them from Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the color Calypso Heather. I used just over one 50g ball, so they don’t take much yarn at all. The pattern is a bit fiddly because of all of the picking up stitches and seaming. The Wool of the Andes is pretty fuzzy for plain wool (no mohair) so the cable pattern doesn’t really pop out, but they do keep my feet pretty warm in my cold apartment. They are sized pretty small I think. The women’s size says it fits a 7.5 shoe size, which is what I am, but they are very snug.

That project was finished very quickly, and now I am forced to turn my attention back to the old WIPs. The next-oldest one I have to show you is mind-numbing and may break my will.


This is my OpArt Blanket and it’s only about 20% finished. It’s done completely in garter stitch and it gets bigger every round until there are 888 stitches in the last round. Right now, it’s taking me about 25 minutes to knit one round… It’s not even made out of good yarn. It’s made of cheap Caron One Pound acrylic that I wanted to use up. I love how this blanket looks, but the inanity of it may push me over the edge. Needless to say, this is not the WIP I am currently working on… More WIP shame to come soon.

WIPs march of shame (part one)

Over the next few posts I plan to show you all (nine!) WIPs that I’m currently “working” on. Hopefully getting they all out in the open will shame me into to finishing some of them. I have told myself that I cannot cast on for a new project until I finish two WIPs… we’ll see if it ends up being productive.

I figured I should start with the oldest WIPs first and just get all the shame out on the table from the beginning.

These socks were started November 4th, 2008. This means that I have been working on these for over a year and a half.


The patter in Charlene Schurch’s Small Capitals from the book Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Noro Kureyon Sock, it is 100% wool so I won’t be able to wash them in the washing machine… maybe not the best choice for socks. I don’t have any idea how I managed to pair this pattern with this yarn. Normally I would never pair a highly textured pattern with a variegated yarn, but I love the way this looks. It reminds me of scales. As you can see, one sock is complete. I’m still on the foot on the other one (they are knit toe-up), I have about three more pattern repeats before I can turn the heel then six repeats before the ribbing. That doesn’t sound like that much, but the repeats go so slowly. I love the way the pattern looks, but it’s not super fun to execute.

The yarn is everything that you would expect of full size Noro… It’s not super soft, it’s got vegetable matter in it, there was at least one knot in the ball that lead to a dramatic color change, and it’s as thin as lace in some place and almost sport-weight in others… but the colors are amazing and the yarn has a fabulous “rustic” feeling.

I hope I can get these done before two years go by, but I can’t really work the pattern and concentrate on other things so I’ll have to steel myself against the boredom and crank out these socks.

Dead Dead Dead

is how I have felt for the past three weeks. I’ve been meaning to blog, really I have, no really… On the other hand I’ve been feeling so exhausted from school that when I do have free time all I can handle is sitting and staring at the apartment. Seriously! I spent two hours one day after my classes feeling like I wanted to watch something on TV but ended up just sitting because I couldn’t make myself move. I never thought that hard school work could make your body physically exhausted but, turns out, it sure can. I have done a depressingly small amount of knitting since my energy has been drained. I tried a few times but it really felt like the knitting was WORK instead of the wonderful relaxing calming fantastic activity that it actually is. I think the workload change from my summer of doing nothing (well moving across the country, but that wasn’t draining and I could work at my own pace) to the jump-in-head-first atmosphere of law school was a major shock to the system. Now that I’ve been at it for 3+ weeks I’m adjusting a lot more to the energy expenditure needed to get though day and I’m even starting to have a bit of left over energy… a bit.

Look what I finally managed to finish:


The market bag kit I got from Knit Picks–Montavilla Market Tote. They released the bag pattern plus one ball of each of the colors of their worsted weight undyed organic cotton yarn called Simply Cotton as a kit. It’s a very soft yarn but it does shed while you work with it. I followed the pattern as it’s written but I think if I made it again I would knit the body in blocks of the color from dark to light instead of striping the yarns. The stripes take away from the lace pattern. I don’t really care that much though since it’s just a market bag. I took it to the grocery store the other day and it held up fine to a pretty heavy load of groceries. There is enough yarn to make a second one but I’m not sure if I’ll make another bag or maybe something else… Like all cotton yarn there’s little give, so I think I’ll do a few projects with wool before I pick up cotton again–my hands were pretty cramped by the time I finished casting off 200 stitches.

I also am about half way done with one Mojo sock.


I’m making these for Andrew so that he has some good-luck-teaching-mojo since he’s working on his student teaching this semester. (Side note: it’s so weird that he’ll have a career in 4ish months… jobs are way too grown-up.) The yarn is Regia Silk which is the softest sock yarn I’ve ever touched but the ball is already looking pretty ragged just from being carried around in my purse for the past few weeks. If it’s pilling in the ball it’s probably not going to hold up that well to man-type wear and tear… but for now it’s soft and pretty. I had to change it from 64 stitches to 72 stitches to accommodate Andrew’s giant feet, and I did a short row heel instead of an afterthought heel because for this pattern they have the same effect and I don’t have to go back later or weave in extra ends. That’s really all I’ve accomplished since my last post but hopefully now that I’m feeling like I have more energy I’ll get more done.
Hopefully I have more to post in a week or two.

Some Actual Knitting

Alright, so now that you’ve been apprised of my new house and my major yarn-related outing it’s probably about time for me to tell you about so actual knitting that I’ve done. First, though I know it doesn’t look like it, I’ve made some progress on my Op Art blanket.


The last time I showed this to you there was a giant tail of circular needle sticking out because I was magic-looping it on a 60″ needle. Now the entire needle has stitches around it and it’s not even half the total number of stitches. I’ll probably not show you any more pictures of it until I get it off the needle since it will just look like a bigger and bigger wad of knitting. If you really care a lot you can keep up with the progress on the side bar.

Next are a couple of FOs. The first was actually finished in time for me to wear to sock summit, which was very lucky because they’re probably my “funnest” pair of socks yet.


They are just a basic sock with a short-row heal. I decided to try the short-row heal because it is supposed to be the best kind of heal for striped yarn because it doesn’t screw-up your stripe length like a heal with a gusset does. I don’t much like it but at least I learned a new skill. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in colorway Coney Island.

Finally, I finished my Ishbel shawl two days ago and it finally finished blocking this morning. It’s made from yarn that someone handspun and sent to me as part of a swap. I managed to make the full large size with the yarn and still have about 15% of the skein left. It’s not made from very soft wool but I can wear it with no problem.


I never know exactly how to wear shawls but I enjoy making them and they make good gifts so I guess my lack of fashion sense isn’t really a problem. Next post I’ll tell you all about the new house guests.


So even though I’ve got three very good projects on the needles right now, in the past couple of days I’ve started two more and I know that I’ll be starting a sixth (and maybe a seventh and eighth…) before anything comes off the needles. I blame the fact that I just recently went through my entire stash and cataloged everything. Normally I keep my stash secreted away in various hiding places (and various states) so that I’m never actually confronted with everything that I have. (This is probably the reason I have so much…) The yarn was calling me in so many directions that I had to begin just a few more things… The first is a pair of basic socks. I decided that I needed to have some car-ride knitting since when I’m in New Mexico I do quite a bit of ridding and almost no driving and every car ride is at least twenty minutes long. All of this has been done away from home, riding in the car or in spare minutes waiting for various errands.


I’m just following the Sock Recipe pattern from the Yarn Harlot’s book Knitting Rules. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Coney Island which is a colorway they no longer make. I love how bright and happy the socks are and every three to four rows I get to knit with a new bright happy color.

The other thing I started is a blanket. This may sound weird since the temperature has been in the 90s for most of the time that I’ve been down here in New Mexico, but the fact that in two short weeks I’ll be hunting for my first apartment has me majorly home-oriented right now. I keep thinking of how I’m always cold in the winter and how I’ll have to keep the heat low because of my poor-law-student budget so I have recently been attracted to a lot of blanket patterns. I resisted the urge to cast on a wool blanket (barely) and settled on acrylic. Not exactly luxury, I know, but it pretty “good” acrylic (it will definitely serve the purpose of wrapping around my legs in the winter anyway.) I’m following the pattern Op Art from Knitty. The pattern makes a largish baby blanket, but I’m hoping that by knitting it with bigger yarn and bigger needles I’ll get a smallish adult sized blanket. It’s knit from the center out, so right now it feels like I’m flying along. (I only have about 130 stitches.)


In the end there will be 888 stitches (I know that sounds like a number I just pulled out thin air but it’s not a exaggeration!) The yarn is Carron One Pound in Rose and Off White (creative huh?). I had these two balls in my stash from way way back. I think one of the big box store had it on sale for $3 a ball so I bought these two on impulse and they’ve been sitting around ever since. I love this patter because it’s mindless; long rows of knit or purl with four increases thrown in per round. I’m using it to catch up on all the TV and movie watching I missed during the school year.