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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Worst Description of Sock Summit Ever

While there might be some knit-bloggers out there STILL blogging about Sock Summit, I’m quite sure that I’m the last knitter to START blogging about it. I happened to move to Portland just in time to be here for Sock Summit however I know nothing about driving in Portland so, with the promise of another crazy hat, my brother (who lives in Portland) agreed to accompany me. His one condition was that I not run around with my camera out taking pictures of yarn like a crazy yarn-obcessed person (which I am.) So I agreed to no camera at the event. We just walked through the market place as I’m way too broke to do any of the activities. It was wonderful but quite overwhelming at the same time. There were so many booths full of beautiful yarn and soft things to squish that after about the first half of the booths I was sort of immune to the rest of the booths and I probably skipped over some really beautiful things because my brain was already full of other beautiful things. I did buy two skeins of yarn both of them Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Artists. Here’s the heavyweight:

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It’s a mill end so it was $10 cheaper than the normal heavyweight. Ever since a friend from my Lawrence knitting group knit a beautiful pair of socks with the heavyweight I’ve been dying to try it. The tag doesn’t give a dye lot or a color name for the skein but it’s a lilac and a greenish-gold. I really hope it spirals a not pools. Here’s a picture of the other skein:

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This is the lightweight version and the color is perfectly named “farmhouse.” These colors are so rich and remind me of a beautiful fall scene.

The rest of my purchases were not yarn, but hopefully it will help me to create some.

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I got a drop spindle and 3.8 oz of wool. The drop spindle is made of maple and cherry and the wool is combed top from Targhee sheep raised in Montana. I’m learning to spin from internet resources mostly and help from people on ravelry. I’m not very good and as of right now I can only spin pretty thickly. Once it’s plied (I’m only making it two ply) it will probably be worsted-bulky. I hope that one day I can spin smaller because I’d love to spin for my own lace shawl.
Here’s what I’ve got so far, it’s about a fifth of the wool.

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So that’s my pretty lame and extra-late description of my Sock Summit experience and the SWAG I walked away with. Soon I’ll tell you about some actual knitting, I promise.

The Same Thing

Remember last post when I showed you this hat?

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Well, my new FO is this hat.

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I promise, those really are two different hats. The gray yarn in the second hat is totally different from the gray yarn in the first hat. If you remember, my dad asked me to make a replica of the first hat so his running buddy could have one. I had run out of the gray from the first hat (Wave by Filatura Di Corsa) and decided to sneakily sub something from my stash for the second hat instead of buying more new yarn and breaking my yarn fast even more. In my stash I found some Knit Picks Palette in Ash and decided to just hold it double to get gauge. When I showed the Palette to my Dad the first time around he said it wouldn’t work, too scratchy. Now that both hats are done (and I told him I used the same yarn) he can’t tell them appart, except that he knows that one is a bit shorter. The first one came out a little big, so for the second I knit the whole hat on size 6 needles instead of changing to 7s after the ribbing. Both hats are Turn a Square by Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed. It’s not a bad pattern, but I really didn’t enjoy making the exact same thing twice in one week.

In other news, I’ve joined the cult of Ishbel and cast on one of my own.

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I have no idea what size I’m going to make because the yarn I’m using was hand spun for me and I got it in a swap. It didn’t come with any label so all I know is that it’s 65-ish grams of lace-weight wool. My friend finished the biggest size with just over 50 grams of lace so I’m hoping I can make the big one. As of now I’m just short of the small stockinette section. I’m planning on putting a life-line in there and then continuing on till I have enough for the large stockinette section (just in case I have to do some ripping back due to yardage limitations). It’s going really fast right now but that’s because it’s just stockinette so far.

The Universe is Against Me

Why, you ask, is the Universe against me? Listen up. First of all, I’m a sucker. I will pretty much knit anything for anyone who asks me. A few posts ago we went over the assortment of crazy hats and other things that my brother has asked for and I know that I’ve related the troubles a certain pair of slipper-socks for my dad caused. Well, my father was at it again this week. It started with a seemingly harmless request: “Melanie, can you make me a hat that will keep my ears warm when I go running?” Um, I am a knitter, aren’t I? What could be easier than a hat (OK, a garter stitch scarf, but what else?) So I open up Ravelry and start showing him the thousands of hat patterns that could be his new hat. He picked the third picture down which happened to be Turn A Square by Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed. Cool. No problem. I have some Noro, I have some neutral colored wool… I go to my stash and pull out the Noro (which is total male-friendly colors) and the plain wool and show it to pops. He doesn’t like the Noro, it’s light blues and greens and he wants dark colors. OK, I don’t have any dark Noro, so I ask: “Do you really care if the stripes are variegated?” Of course he does. Me: “Will this at least work for the solid color?” (as I hold up the good plain wool.) Of course not, it’s scratchy. For the record, no it wasn’t. Then dad says, “Can’t I just come with you down to the store and pick out what I like?” Sure, sure, no problem. Only two weeks ago did I swear off buying yarn for the next six months, but sure, get your coat. On the up side, it’s a pretty rocking hat.

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The Noro is Silk Garden in a bunch of gorgeous neutral shades ranging from cream to gold to light grey. The other color is Wave by Filatura Di Crosa which is a really nice Wool/Silk blend. The Wave knits up just a little bit nubbley so it the hat has kind of a rustic feel… Alright, no joke, as I’m sitting here typing this my dad comes in and says: “Melanie, can you do me a favor?” Me (looking at him out of the corner of my eye): “That depends…” Dad: “Can you make me another of those hats so I can give it to my running buddy?” Me: “Same yarn?” Dad: “Yeah, will you need to buy more?” Me: “Yes.” So I set out to write a post about how the universe is against me and obviously against my yarn fast. Here is incontrovertible proof. In the middle of the post, I’m asked to buy more yarn… Luckily I have enough of the Noro left over, I just need more of the Wave. Really Universe? Really?

Also, I’ve been garter-ing away on my Op Art blanket and have made some progress. I thought I was whizzing right along, it kept getting bigger and bigger and even though my logic center told me that it was because the blanket is knit from the center out I thought it would end up being a pretty quick project. So I call Andrew and ask him to do some math for me… If I start with 4 and I add 4 every round and I need to get to 888, how many rounds is that? Answer: 222. OK, sounds like a lot but I’ve already done over 50 rounds so I’m 25% done already. No says Andrew, that is bad math. Because each round gets bigger the first 50 rounds are certainly much shorter than the last 50 rounds. OK, says I, what percentage have I done. Andrew calculates…. 8, EIGHT! that’s it. Universe, I hate you. Also, Andrew calculated that there will be 99,012 stitches in the blanket, and that I’ve done just under 9,000.

Startitis

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.

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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.)

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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.

The Soul Destroying Monster

I am a good Sister. Scratch that, I am an amazing sister! I will pretty much knit my brother anything that he asks for. Now this may not sound like it makes me an amazing sister since I like knitting. So why is it so amazing of me to acquiesce to a request to knit? Well my brother doesn’t ever ask for normal things like socks, beanies, scarves, no he wants funny hats. Lots and lots of funny hats. In the past I have made him a Jayne Cobb Hat, a Lumberjack Hat with THREE interchangeable mustaches, and a hat shaped like something straight from hell. This is in addition to set of convertible mittens, and a set of washcloths for his new apartment. So when my brother asked me to make him the Cthulhuclava for his birthday, I agreed even though you have to pay for the pattern and as a rule, I don’t like to pay for single patterns. So I bought the pattern, read through it, and promptly shoved it into the very bowels of my knitting bag because it just looked miserable. Look at this:

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That’s not even half of all the ends that you have to weave in for this project. Not to mention the fact that there is more seaming than you could possibly expect from a hat (no matter how silly) and an EIGHT STITCH APPLIED I-CORD! Yes my friends, this truly is the project from hell.
So I told my brother a few little white lies about how I was diligently working on the hat, and that he would have it soon, soon, soon, soon… When, in actuality, I was cowering in fear from the very idea of even beginning. (I know this doesn’t make me sound like I’m an amazing sister, but trust me, the act of knitting this hat, no matter how late it ended up being, make me some sort of goddess, I’m pretty sure.

Here’s what the hat looks like when it feels like you’re almost done but really you have way more to go than you possible care to imagine:

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(The flipping off of the camera was not intentional, though it may have been a subconscious reaction to the hat…)

Finally, here’s what the hat looks like when all is said (read sworn) and done:

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If you know anything about Cthulhu, you know that he is a crazy sea-monster-type creature from the twisted brain of H. P. Lovecraft. If humans hear his call they instantly go insane. The creator of the pattern I’m sure had this in mind when she was writing it because I was feeling a bit wacko there at the end.

In other good/disturbing news, Stash Inventory 2009 is complete. Every ball of yarn I own is now accounted for in my Ravelry stash. It is both a beautiful and terrible sight. After taking a long hard look at how much yarn I actually have I decided that I would not buy yarn until at least 2010 because, really, it’s a bit obscene how much yarn I have. Not two days later, my dad asked me to make him a hat in colors that I don’t have in my stash… Seriously, the world is out to destroy my soul.

STASH!

So I kinda fell off the wagon with the whole, post-at-least-once-a-week thing, but I have good reason. First, I, um, graduated from College!

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So now I guess I’m like an adult or something… It’s weird. I’m going straight to law school in the fall though so I’ll have to give that whole real-world deal a rain check.

Before and after graduation I had to pack! Remember those photos of my room I showed you last post? Well, here’s the end result of all my effort:

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Given all that, there was not much time for knitting. I finished one of my hope socks on the drive from Wisconsin to New Mexico, but I never get as much knitting done in the car as I think I will. I end up staring out the window or sleeping… Here’s the sock just after it came off the needles.

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Now that I’m down in New Mexico I haven’t had time to knit much because my brother and Andrew are both visiting so I’ve been doing things with them before they go. I managed to frog my market bag back to the beginning of the lace section and knit it back to where it was sans errors. They were starting to multiply at an alarming rate to the point that I couldn’t just ignore them.

Just before I left school I knit a pair of fingerless mitts for one of the women I’ve been working with for the past four years. Like the coffee cozy, it came from a yarn sampler sold by Knit Picks last year. It was called the “Victorian” sampler and it came with one skein of all of their yarn lines that contain cotton and few simple one-skein patterns. The mits are the Victorian Sampler Fingerless Gloves and the yarn is Shine Sport in color Willow. It’s just as soft and nice to work with as the Shine Worsted, I’ll for sure use it again. The pattern was easy to follow but I omitted the picot bind-off because it didn’t look very good in most photos so I did three rows of 1×1 ribbing instead.

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The reason that this post is called stash is because since I’ve been home this is the first time in a year that my entire stash has all been together in the same place and it’s a bit overwhelming! I decided to go through everything and add it to my Ravelry stash page and it’s working pretty well as a wake-up call. Check it out. And I’m still quite a ways from done… A good 1/3 of my stash is sock yarn… I knit about 3 pairs of socks a year… I can knit socks for the next TEN years and yet every time I walk into an LYS the first place I go is the sock yarn corner… I am now committing myself to no more yarn buying until after Christmas. I’m counting on you all to make sure that happens.

All in all I accomplished a lot life-wise in the past week and a half, but not really much knitting wise…

Yikes, look at the time!

Holy crap, it’s June 5th! Graduation is a week from Sunday and I have to be totally packed and ready to move by then. Just to let you see what that will entail…






So I’ve been a bit busy with school and working on my honors project and different dinners and activities and send-offs and I’ve kind of neglected to, um, clean… Not all the crap in those photos belongs to me, but a fair bit of it sure does.

I’ve recently finished two super quick, less than one skein projects. The first is from the book Creepy Cute Crochet and Andrew really did practically beg for it.

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It’s a tiny wool Cthulhu. It will eat your soul, but in such an adorable way that you won’t even mind. The yarn is Nature Spun by Brown Sheep in the color Limestone. It took one evening but I don’t really crochet so I had to stop at every new direction and find a youtube video showing me how to do each step. If I knew how to crochet it would probably have gone super fast. I’m not generally a fan of crochet (that’s why I don’t know how to do it) but I love amigurumi so I think I’ll adapt my skills just enough to make more.

The other quick project I finished at 2:00 am today because I couldn’t put it down once I cast on. It’s from the Victorian yarn sampler that Knit Picks released about a year ago. The kit contained one skein each of all of their yarns that contained cotton along with a few one-skein type patterns so you could try out all the yarns without too much time or money invested and see if you liked them. This is a cozy for paper coffee cups like you would get a Starbucks so you don’t have to use the cardboard ones. Yeah for cheap easy ways to be green.

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These are the two different rose motifs that are stranded on the cozy, and here’s what it looks like on an actual cup:

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The pattern is called Modern Tea Cozy and it’s now a free download from Knit Picks. The yarn used is Knit Picks Main Line in Harbor which I haven’t used even though I’ve had the kit for over a year. Of course, since Knit Picks has decided to discontinue the yarn line, I loved working with it and want to make a bunch more things with it. The wool totally balances out the cotton in a perfect way and it’s soft and has stretch and the Harbor color is gorgeous. The color in the first picture is much truer to real life. The red/pink/orange yarn is KnitPicks Shine Worsted in Terra Cotta. I’ve used this yarn before and it is super soft and (go figure) shiny. I know from when I made my spring sweater that the yarn does lose some of its shine and softness after some wear and several washings, but it’s still nice.

The last think that I’ve really been working on this week is the Montavilla Market Tote from (guess what) Knit Picks… can you see where a great deal of my money goes? This also came as a kit and is a way to try out the four shades of Simply Cotton – KnitPicks new organic cotton line. The bottom of the bag is the perfect pattern for a market bag because it’s super sturdy. It’s a slip stitch pattern so it’s basically double the thickness.

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I love the way the colors flow from white to taupe and then drastically go back to white. The body of the bag is a simple 8-stitch lace pattern but I think the color change still obscures the pattern.

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I think when I make the second one I’ll do the bottom the same, then do blocks of color instead of alternating every row. Carrying four strands along the side has been very tedious.

I know it seems like I’ve gotten a lot done this week from all the photos but really two of the projects took me less than five hours total. Here’s hoping I can magically knit down a bunch more of my stash before it’s time to move.

Not much progress…

So last week I felt very productive, knitting-wise, because I used my knitting to avoid a lot of stuff for school… This week, of course, I had to work out all the school stuff (of which there is still much more left) and so didn’t knit much.

I got one sleeve of my Climbing Vines Pullover done, but it only has 3/4 length selves so it went very fast. Here’s the finished sleeve:

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It’s pretty impossible to get a picture of what this yarn actually looks like. It’s definitely not the bright red that this picture makes it looks like. It’s much darker and a little more maroon.

I also finished the Burger and a Movie Scarf that I have been working on all year. It’s blocking right now, but not dry yet. Here’s a picture of it all pinned down.

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My scarf in all it’s Noro-glory. Actually, in three skeins I only found one knot, which, for Noro, is pretty good. I used up pretty much every last inch of yarn. Here’s all that was left.

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Because of blocking, the scarf ended up being about 5.5 feet which for me is a bit short for a scarf, but I figure this will just be a tuck-under-the-coat type scarf. I’ll probably leave it with Andrew since he still has one more Wisconsin winter in front of him.

I got my Knit Picks order that had all the shipping problems today! I had ordered the Montavilla Market Bag kit which comes with four skeins of the new Simply Cotton organic undyed yarn. It’s so fantastically soft, I just keep petting the yarn. I actually cast on for the bag as soon as I opened the package but I only have 4 row knit so I didn’t think it quite merrited a picture… This is going to knit slowly because I’ll just be petting the yarn so much of the time.

How much have I been procrastinating this week?

This Much:

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That’s right, remember last week when the back of my climbing vines pullover was only 1.5 inches… Well, now I’m almost done with the back, and it’s all thanks to the massive number of projects for school I have hanging over my head. Every time I think about how much work I’m going to have to do to get the 4 different papers that are due in the next two weeks done I pick up my knitting. While it doesn’t do much to solve the problem, it has kept me from jumping off the nearly-completed College Ave. bridge. If you’re wondering how I’ve been able to knit on this sweater when last week I posed a picture of my needles broken in several places, the answer is simple–Superglue and nail polish. They’re by no means perfect and my yarn snags just a little every row but at least I can knit. Can you see the chip?

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I ordered some new needles on the 12th from Knitpicks but hit a SNAFU. They printed the shipping label without my street address, only my apartment number. Of course the post office couldn’t deliver the package so I called them and explained the problem. The first customer service person I talked to was a huge jerk and insisted that I must have forgotten to put my address in. I explained that their site remembers my address and that for my past 5 orders I’ve used the exact same address and there has never been a problem until now. She continued to insist that the problem MUST have come from my end but that she would “go ahead” and resend the package. I was so miffed at being talked down to as if I have never mailed a package and have absolutely no ideas about the intricacies of addresses. So a few days later I still haven’t gotten any info about my new package and I call back. This time I get a very helpful woman who told me that lately they have been having problems when customers using the auto-fill function on the address screen. She said that the previous customer service rep. had “noted the problem” but hadn’t actually initiated a new order, so if I hadn’t called back I never would have gotten my package. Now I can see the new order on line and everything seems to have been corrected. I wish I had gotten the names of the two women I spoke to so that I could let Knit Picks know that one was fantastic and the other very rude.

I’ve been pretty focused on the Climbing Vines so the progress on my other two projects is pretty minuscule. If I showed you new pictures you’d think they were the same ones as last week.

Now I really MUST stop knitting and get to work on those 4(!) papers… If anyone knows why Ghana turned to military rule after independence while Senegal became a One-Party State, I’d love to hear it…