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Another WiP Wednesday

Have I mentioned before that my rule is not to have more than 5 WiPs going at a time?  5 project bags, 5 WiPs.  Well, I’m at 4 now, and I’m stretched a bit thin with that…  Still, it’s nice to give myself ‘permission’ to start one more project if I really have to.

1) Mont Royal Socks

Still working on (and loving) these. They’ve  been in progress for nearly two years now – no sock should ever take this long.  Believe me, it’s not an issue with the pattern or the yarn or even the combination.  I’ve just been really distracted.  Still, I’m plugging away, and looking forward to wearing them.  I’m less bothered by my choice in toes than I was.  I just haven’t decided how long to make them, and how much to increase to accommodate canckles…img_2284

2) Ex Libris

I’m not usually that bad in general.  This is my next oldest WiP, and I started it a bit more than two months ago.  Then again, it’s a small project.

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Duplicate stitch is not my strong suit, but I’m comfortable with how this is turning out.  I’m close to done here, but this one, too, keeps getting put aside for other projects.

3) Coming (Back) To America

Abby is coming home in late November.  She’s coming from Senegal, and although November in Baltimore isn’t that cold, I’m worried about the transition from equatorial Africa might be a bit much.  So I’m knitting her a sweater.  Because of the inordinate amount of time some of my recent projects have taken, I’m starting now.  Actually, I started about three weeks ago.

img_2282The pattern is Viva by Signe Strømgaard.  The yarn is Lion Brand Heartland.  I usually go for animal fibers for projects like this one (cables, warmth wanted, not being worn by a small child…) but Abby has an issue with itchiness, so I wanted to go as non reactive as possible.  It’s a stunning pattern, (though it could use tech editing) and I’m making good headway.

4) His Pewter Lair

Not that I haven’t been distracted by the next shiny.  In this case, it’s literally shiny.

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“His Golden Lair” by Kourtney Robinson has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I picked up the yarn for it (Berroco Lustra in colorway 3107) in October 2015.  There’s a ‘designed in Canada’ knitalong running now, with the deadline by the end of September.

So that’s what I’ve got going now.  There have actually been a bunch of FOs since I last posted (three baby+big sister gifts which were done before the baby arrived and a needle felted notions pouch to name a few).

Wish me luck, I’ve got things to get done on time…

 

WIP Wednesday

On The Hook (or Needles) for 24 May, 2017

Mont Royal Socks

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I’ve actually been making progress on these.  As I  know I’ve said about this pattern before, even looking at the (yellow) sample project on the pattern, I’ve always known they have to be apple green.  This in-progress picture leaves me feeling completely vindicated in that.

This project has been on the needles for 1 year and 11 months (as of yesterday).  It’s spent a long time in and out of hibernation, for absolutely no reason pertaining to the pattern, or the yarn, or anything other than my own being distracted by other projects.  I enjoy it a great deal when I do work on it, and it actually knits up fairly quickly when I am working on it.

I’m a bit further along than the picture shows.  I am now at the part where I have to decide what to do about my own (too massive) cankles.  My choices are:

  1. Change to a bigger needle and start the ribbing (super shortie sock because big cankle)
  2. Change to a bigger needle and keep knitting (longer sock, hopefully not crazy tight).

Such are the trials of a big-girl knitter.  I’ll let you know what I decide and when, because I’m still rotating through other projects.

Kindle Cozy

Kindle cozy

Abby gave me a Kindle for my birthday!   I absolutely love it.  I love it so much I’m knitting it it’s very own sweater. I’m using Sharon Fuller’s “Ex Libris” pattern from “Stitching in the Stacks“.  Which means I’m (slowly) learning duplicate stitch.  I expect that I’ll be comfortable with the stitch somewhere in the middle of the typography, and it will probably show, but I don’t mind that.  It’s for me, not for a gift, so it’s OK if it looks a bit wonky.

Dolly

Standing Doll

Yes, you’re seeing that right.  At this stage in construction the doll (Wee Fairy Bluebell by Melissa Mall) stands up by herself!  I’m very impressed.

The pattern is from Inner Child Crochet.  It was one of a series of patterns I downloaded from them when I won 9 free download codes (back in 2014).  This is a reminder to myself that I should start entering blog contests again.

This particular doll will be a big sister present for my niece when my nephew is born, which will happen sooner rather than later.

And One FO

Hedgehog

This hedgehog (called Prickles, pattern by Emily Wolowiec) will be going to her younger sister on the same occasion.

This might possibly be the cutest thing I’ve ever knit.

Featured FO

Super quick post today, as I have a job interview this afternoon.  I actually finished Aidez back in January.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  I’ll be looking for more patterns by Cirella Rose.

Yup, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted.  My attention has been diverted by other things (like the job hunt, my daughter graduating from college, and preparations for a soon to be niece or nephew).

It feels as though I’ve been juggling like crazy, trying desperately to keep dozens of little life-balls in the air.  Yesterday I came to the realization, not only have I been doing it for a couple of weeks, I’ve also picked up one or two previously dropped balls, wiped them off, and thrown them into the mix. For one thing, I’m starting research on a possible NaNoWriMo novel for this year.  We’ll see how that goes.

So, yeah.  Busy.  Productive even.  I’m torn between wanting to congratulate myself and being afraid that everything is going to come crashing down all at once.  Fingers crossed, I’ll add more regular posting here into the mix.

Wish me luck.

Calling it

Still Not Dead

Once again, there has been a spell of not posting that stretched to months (after I told myself I’d post once or twice a week).  My apologies to anyone who was concerned about my health and well being.  This was simply a case of ‘life gets in the way’.

Changes Have Come

My part time gone has evaporated.  The company I worked for (Cosi) has decided to close the location I worked in.  This is a serious disappointment.

My Mother-in-Law and I have really stopped working on the Etsy store.  This is a bit sad but really not a surprise.  We had very different ideas about what we wanted to do with the store, and how to manage being in business together.  It pretty much withered away from neglect.

Changes in the Future

So right now I’m looking for another job.  I’d accept another part time and/or retail gig as long as it was very close (preferably within walking distance), but I really need a full time position which pays a ‘grown up’ salary.  I’m concentrating in administration and customer service positions, but if anyone knows of a job in the Baltimore-Washington corridor which might be hiring and which I might be qualified for, please let me know.

I’ve also been thinking about why the Etsy shop didn’t work.  I was concerned about potential problems from the beginning, and I didn’t fully commit.  If I had the right partner (or partners), it would be easier to get behind it.  At least someone who has the organizational skills I am weak in and who sees the value in a written agreement.

So that’s what I’m musing about.  Next post should come soon, and will be more in the ‘what I’ve been knitting’ line.  There’s some good stuff.

Notions in Motion

I have a new toy

I’ve already gotten the “Experimental Tool” from lesliewind.

experimental-tool

I think it looks even better than the Etsy picture.  It’s a lovely piece.

This is one of Leslie’s early takes on a combination knitting pin/cable tool.  She has a number of styles of knitting jewelry, which are all really elegant but out of my price range at the moment.   I’m not very experienced in Portuguese (or Andean, or Egyptian) style knitting  (where you tension the yarn in front of the work, by wrapping it around your neck or on a hook suspended on a pin or necklace), but it’s been on my list of techniques to master for a while.  When I saw that Leslie had an experimental tool at a reduced price I thought it would be a good time to give it a go.

aidez-cables

Aidez seemed like a good candidate, as it has areas of reverse stockinette ground for cables.

There were no directions with the necklace, so I tried slipping the yarn through in several ways for the pin knitting.  There were several workable ways, but I think I liked ‘underhand’ with the yarn through the large loop best.  I found it much easier than the last time I tried this method.  It’s comfortable and I was soon able to zip along even faster than Norwegian purling.

Leslie has it listed as the equivalent to a size 0, so I wasn’t sure how it would work as a cable needle for aran weight yarn, but I gave it a go, and I find it easier (and smoother) than the KnitPicks needle I was using.  Of course, this project just has a 2×1 cable, I wouldn’t want to try it for something much larger.  I also found it awkward to work a back cable while wearing the necklace (though it was fine when I removed it).  Still, it is a pleasure to use and attractive to wear.

The necklace was well packaged, and came with a nice note and a very generous selection of thank you gifts.

 

bag-o-swag

There’s an attractive gift bag, a ‘care’ tag which pays homage to handmade gifts, and a shawl pin (which was similar to, but distinct from, what she had in her shop at the time I placed my order).

heart-shawl-pin

It’s a simple and elegant design which holds securely.

I am very pleased with my purchase, and impressed with this Etsy shop, it’s an excellent source for premium knitting supplies.  Go take a look, and let me know what you think.

Lots of Knitting!

Walderton

I finished the test knit of Michelle Stead’s Walderton.

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It’s a beautiful project.  I think it would have worked better with another yarn, the Neigborhood Fiber Company hand dyes are glorious, but they’re also heavily variegated, and the cabling gets lost in all the color noise, even if the texture of the main body is picked up beautifully.

The yarn is beautiful, but I was disappointed with the Rustic yarn.  It seems to have been cut (sometimes partially, others fully) into lots of segments.  My sister and friends have bought from Neighborhood Fiber Co and haven’t had any trouble at all.  Yes, I could have returned the skein, but it was a limited edition colorway*  which I had picked up over a year ago.  I didn’t discover the issue until I wound the ball, and so I decided to make do.

I probably should have stopped the project at 36 pattern repeats, which is what the pattern calls for.  At that length it hangs down in front, with the thin and thick ends layered to make a nice piece with the teeth on both sides.  As Michelle said she was curious to see it longer I kept going.  It’s a more conventional shawlette at this point, still very pretty, but not as neat.

I recommend the pattern when it comes out.

The final frustration with this project is that I seem to have mislaid my blocking wires!  I ended up just pinning it out.  I would have liked to run wires through the edges, then really pin the points out hard.  I will probably re-block this in the future when I find my kit.  In the mean time, I do like the way it turned out.

Aidez

I’ve had Aidez by Cirila Rose in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I bought the yarn for it (Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool) almost a year ago.

Yarn Choice

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It has a delicious odor, which much be what a freshly washed sheep smells like.

I don’t know why I got it in a tweedy colorway.  Especially after my experience with Walderton I’m concerned, but it’s lighter in color and I’m pleased with the visibility of the garter stitch in my swatch.

aidez-swatch

New Tools/Toys

finishing-needle

As you can see from the above picture, I decided to leave the ends unfinished and weave them in after blocking.  I also decided to try a new tool to work them in with.  I picked up a pack of Susan Bates finishing needles.

It’s a nice design.  The super giant ‘eye’ means you don’t have to try to turn the needle when you’re weaving super short ends (like if you find you’ve inadvertently played yarn chicken while doing a long tail cast on).   I usually end up re-threading the needle after each pass in those cases, but this makes that unnecessary.

They come in a pack of five, to suit yarn from bulky (pictured) down to lace weight.  My only criticism is the material.  I would have preferred recyclable plastic.

I’ve also ordered an “experimental tool” from lesliewind on Etsy.   This is a fingering weight combination cable tool and Portuguese (Egyptian) knitting hook.  I’ve been curious about the front-yarn method for a while, and she makes absolutely beautiful stuff.  Besides, I’m always interested in beta-testing (even if I am a curmudgeon at times).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Kate Spade giveaway.  No new giveaways entered.

file_medium2*The Windchester-Sandtowne colorway was introduced for a limited time in 2015, proceeds went to help rebuild neighborhoods damaged in the Baltimore Riot (insurrection), which took place in early May (right around the time of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival). Another reason I decided not cause a fuss, even if I was annoyed enough to post about it here – it’s a good gesture, and a good company – I know these things happen, I’m just going to whine a bit.  (back)