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Posts Tagged ‘yarn diet’

The Sock Situation

(apology for the premature post…   edited and reposted)

As of this spring I had six pairs of wearable hand knit socks, plus one pair (my first) which was made from loosely spun merino and is… well,..  still comfy bed socks.  Then the summer hit, and it was quickly obvious that I needed a whole second batch for the warmer months.

So I knit the Picotty (which is done).

Picotty

Despite all the yarn issues I had, I think the colors are just beautiful. Now I’ve got to see if I can get used to the mesh inside shoes…

Inspiration for Next Socks

Argyle Grass

Argyle grass? Who knew?

 

So, avoid the wool.  Cotton is good, but not so springy as wool…  I was thinking of a wool-cotton blend in fingering, which isn’t so easy to find. But I did find this:

CoBaSiCobasi (by Hikoo), in Apple Green.  It’s COtton BAmboo SIlk and elastic.  The color works for sundrenched, freshly mown grass.  I really wanted a bright sunny green for the Mont Royal socks, so now they’ve been bumped up in the queue.

Yes, I know, yarn diet broken.   I was going to knit from stash until I got the yarn for my big sweater projects, but I’ve already ordered the cotton for one of them, so that’s all right, right?  Besides, I can’t make it all the way through the summer on one pair of hand knit socks, can I?  Not when I’ve been wearing the wool ones almost constantly for the rest of the year.

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!Surprise! Plans Change

Works in Progress

Almost as soon as I posted “Doing the Numbers (part 2)” I realized that I’d forgotten an important one.  The number of stitches for the goat motif was, in fact, pretty close to the number of stitches in the first skein of yarn.

Goatless Bag colorworkSomehow I must have thought that having two skeins of yarn involved would mean it was OK.  Since it’s stranded, and the background color will be used on all rows, I’d be cutting it too fine.  Not a big problem, I’ve found some lovely abstract motifs in the same book, they’re just smaller.

it’s going to look fantastic.

The Picotty is coming along fairly well.  I think it’s going to work, but I have two more rounds of crochet ribbing with splitty yarn, so I’m doing a bit at a time, even though I’m almost done.  I’ve really slowed down on it, because I was doing it in my ‘brainless knitting’ time, and the splittiness means it needs more concentration than that.

New Projects

So I started a new ‘brainless’ project.  Tamara Kelly’s Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf, using some recycled sari silk yarn I got on eBay some time ago.  It seems like the perfect pattern to handle the ‘clown barf’ problem and show off the yarn.

Artful Infinity wip

Modeled by my cat Comet, who decided that my photo surface was his…

I was planning on just having four WIPs, really, but I actually found the perfect recipient for a knitted gift I’ve been wanting to make for a long time.  I’ll post pics, and details, at a later time, but the project uses bits of three or four yarns from my stash and one skein of novelty yarn which I’ll have to go hunting for.  Yes, I know, yarn diet and all, but I’ve already ordered the cotton yarn for one of the ‘big projects’ I wasn’t going to buy any more yarn before I got…  and I’m not going to need the novelty skein until the end, so that’s OK, right?

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It Feels like I’m Slowing Down

The Belle Greene was a surprisingly long project.  It took about a month to knit the body of the shawl, then three times that to work the beaded border.  So now I’ve only got two works in progress, and they are both a bit bogged (but more on them later).

I may feel like it’s a slog, but the fact is, I’ve started eleven projects since I cast on the shawl, and I’ve finished eight of them.  Two projects a month isn’t really dragging along.  When I think about it, I’m actually pretty pleased with myself.

Problems With the WIPs

I think what’s irritating me is is that the two projects I’ve got left have both got their own issues.  Well, one has an issue, for the other it’s more like a hiccup.

I’m just about done with the heel of the second picotty sock.  I’ve had to frog a bit (not a biggie) and the TOFUtsies yarn just frayed on me (much more annoying).  I’m not going to be looking for more of this yarn when the project is done.   Even that’s not the issue.  The issue is that the pattern calls for a larger crochet hook for the cuff, and I don’t have the right size.  I could jump three hook sizes, stick with the one I have, or go out and buy a new one.  I’m thinking I’ll try it with what I have on hand first, and if it doesn’t work I can certainly spring for a larger hook, but it’s a bit frustrating, and it does dampen my enthusiasm for the project.

The hiccup is with the Goat Bag.   There’s nothing wrong with the pattern I chose, I just realized I’d be playing Yarn Chicken with it, and I’m not in the mood.  There’s 100 stitches and 60 rows in the ‘base’ (40% of that is pocket).  When I was a third of the way done (about 2000 stitches) I looked at the dent in the yarn ball, and realized it was time for plan B.  So I frogged it all back, cast on 60 stitches (provisionally) and started to knit back.  If I knit 37 rows I’ll have (more or less) a golden rectangle.

What to Cast On Next

So here I am, two projects, four project bags, one yarn diet. It does seem like such a shame to keep both those bags empty. One empty bag feels like I’ve got potential to start a new project.  Two empty bags and I start to feel like I’m lagging behind.

Fortunately, I’ve got some great projects in my Ravelry queue, some challenging and some simple.  I’m probably going to start a new ‘no brain’ project fairly soon.  Here are some of the things I’m thinking about.  There’s a ‘Shawl for the Fall’ group in Ravelry which hosts a shawl knit along every year in August, so I’m going to hold back at least one shawl for that.

Tiger Lilly Swans IslandThis is Swans Island fingering in the Tiger Lilly colorway.  I bought this environmentally minded yarn at an online going out of business sale several months back. I’m thinking that this would look gorgeous in Very Busy Monkey’s Tesla shawl.

 

BOTI yarnI knit a Bigger on the Inside shawl before, then lost it.  At some point I will definitely replace it, using this yarn from Ashton Studios (which I got at Sheep and Wool last May).

The black has some pretty sparkly fibers in it, and will be awesome for the ‘vortex lace’ section and possibly the ribbed border as well.  The blue will be for the TARDIS lace section, although I think I will use the ‘Daleks and TARDIS’ variation.

 

sockbagI have a lot of random fingering weight remnants, and a great pattern called Octopush.  It’s a really neat toy.

I’m pretty sure it’s both a ‘mindless’ project and an ‘endless’ project.  I know I want to do it some time, and it really looks like I have enough yardage in enough different colors to make it work.

zombieyarnThis is another really fun yarn from Bohemia Fibers.  It’s their ‘Potluck Zombie Lace’ – a one of a kind variegated colorway which I found while I was looking for the sock yarn bag.

I had definitely remembered this as more of a ‘clown barf’ colorway, but it’s less vibrant than that.  It might work for a Citron shawl.

Of course, I do have some truly clown barf yarn – it’s recycled sari silk.  Amazingly there’s a pattern called “Artful Infinity Scarf” by Tamara Kelly which could make that work.

I’ve got a lot of beautiful yarn in my stash, but these are the ones I’m pretty sure what to knit with.  Shawls and scarves, so that might be a bit of a rut, but with one skein… I’ll let you know when I settle on the next project.

In Other Blogs

I never heard of Mad Man Knitting; until his recent slashdotting exposure on various mainstream outlets got picked up on Ravelry.  I picked up a copy of his patterns on Craftsy, and may buy his novel at some future time.  He seems like a good person, he’s had more than his share of bad luck, and who wouldn’t love “The Teddy Bear that Saved Me”?

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered a giveaway for a Red Heart Swag Bag sponsored by B Hooked (15 July) and another Mooglyblog giveaway, this time for a Stitchen Stacy crochet hook (27 July)

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Rethinking the Plans

Tapestry Mohair

Flying Goat TapestryI got four skeins of “Tapestry Mohair” yarn from Flying Goat Farm’s booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. Long term readers may recall that I have a complicated relationship with mohair yarns in general, but I also have a weakness for locally produced fiber, and I just fell in love with the colors (I think I’ve been going on a brown-orange kick lately).

FGF tagNaturally, when I got home, I went to add my new prizes to my Ravelry stash page.  Unfortunately, this yarn hadn’t (and hasn’t) yet been entered.  I opened one skein enough to plop a ruler down by it and guestimate 12 WPI, which would make it sport weight yarn.

FGF WPIFair enough.  400 yards of sport weight mohair should make a really cute felted bag.  I did a pattern search, found a pattern for a no-sew felted bag, which called for worsted weight yarn but listed sport, figured it would work,  and popped it in my queue.

The Problem

This morning I decided it was time to at least skein, if not cast on, the project.  So I took out my trusty nostepinne…

The distance between segments is one inch, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t 12 WPI. 16 to 17 is more like it.  Which would make it light fingering to laceweight yarn.  The Ravelry database still hasn’t been updated.  I went to the Flying Goat website, and didn’t find a listing for the yarn, but there was a blog post which mentioned tapestry yarn.   What she describes certainly looks like what I have, and it’s a light fingering. So now I’m not at all sold on using the pattern, at least not as is.

The Solution

I realized I have to swatch and felt before I make up my mind.  I really don’t swatch as much as I should, so something that forces me to do it isn’t all bad.  It’s just a different process.

 

Yarn Diet

There are two large projects I’m considering once my self imposed summer yarn diet is over.  One is a cricket sweater for my husband (he’s a ‘universal’ sports fan, and the Peter Davidson is “his Doctor”), the other is the Aidez sweater for me.  I’ve already priced out the yarn for these projects at my LYS, and planned to use my accrued ‘frequent customer’ discount for both.

Craftsy currently has both these yarns on sale for 40% off.  I was very briefly tempted to break the diet, but when I compared the sale price to the LYS price with discount the totals (for each project) were within a dollar of each other – not counting shipping.  So I’ll stick with plan A.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light from This Knitted Life (3 July)

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Works in Progress

Belle Greene Shawl

Belle Greene Border in progressI’ve been making slow progress on the beaded, knit on border of the Belle Greene shawl.  It’s not that I’m not thrilled with it, it looks beautiful, and I’m looking forward to showing it off.  The beads make it a non-portable project at this point, which is enough to slow it down.

A knitted on border is similar to a K2Tog across, except that you cast on a number of stitches after the end of the shawl and knit those in a lace pattern.  The K2Tog takes place at what would be the ‘cast off’ edge of the shawl, and forms the inside of the lace border.  Then the K2Tog stitch is slipped and the next row of lace knit.

It should be simple, it doesn’t change anything, but at the same time…

I know it’s not just me, because my sister (and knitting guru) has admitted that she finds knitted borders strangely anti intuitive and hard to ‘read’.  I think I have to agree with her.  Here I am, just about at the end of the thing, and only now does this fairly simple four row chart start to make sense.  I don’t know why that is, but it’s been that way for me.

Oh, well.  I do love the look, and I’m looking forward to breaking in my new blocking wires, so that’s something.

Summer Socks

By the time I finished my TARDIS socks it was already too warm to wear them.  Not that I’m above wearing handknit socks with sandals as a matter of principle, but it’s unseasonably warm and uncomfortable, and I don’t want to resent something I’ve spent so much time working on.

So I decided to give cotton socks a try.  Actually, they’re a cotton, wool, soy and chitin blend from SouthWest Trading Company called TOFUtsies (yes, this is yarn from my stash.  I’m still trying to keep to the diet) and the pattern is a surprisingly open mesh for socks.  I have no idea if it will be functional, but it’s fun.  Especially as I’m doing the (solid) toes, heels and cuffs in pink, and the mesh in blue.  Depending on how it works I might start making more socks in summer appropriate fibers, stay tuned to find out!

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the yarn from Agrestal or This Knitted Life or the shawl pin from Michelle’s Assortment.  I entered a Pattern Naming Contest from Fiber Dreams (official deadline past, but she may be open to more suggestions if you hurry.)

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Projects

Doom BagFO

knotI’m very happy with the way the Dice Bag of Doom! turned out.  I had knit two longer tentacles, and ended up twining them together to form the drawstring.  I gave one a bead to ‘hold on to’ and that gave me a nice cord stopper for when the bag is open – it holds itself closed pretty well, because I have one tentacle coiled around another.  It all works very nicely.

Doom Bag with Eyes

WIPs

So that leaves me working on the Belle Greene shawl and essentially nothing else (the Stereo Cuffs are still waiting on a wrist measurement for the recipient).  I love that shawl, and I’m almost done with the knitted on beaded border, but honestly I need a brainless project once in a while.  So I started hooking a mobius hat using some stashed Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  Yes, I am a bit of a yarn snob, and I generally prefer natural fibers, but that particular big box acrylic and polyester brand is one of the first yarns I really enjoyed working with, and I still really like it.  I suppose it’s a ‘guilty pleasure’ yarn, but I can’t work up a lot of guilt for that one.  True,  it’s not putting money into a small, locally owned business when I buy it, but the Lion Brand company is family owned and operated, and seems to have a good reputation within the industry.  What guilt I feel about it is centered around the fiber content – this stuff is unfortunately not at all biodegradable, so I do try to limit my buying of it.

Tools

Yarn ScaleSo I gave in and picked up a new yarn scale.  Actually I just got an inexpensive kitchen scale from Target.  It’s about the same price as a new ball winder or swift, and it is really useful, both to estimate the remaining yardage in a ball and to divide yarn into equal portions for socks, or to figure out when to start work on the border of a shawl.  Basically, the longer I went without one, the more I felt as though I really needed it.

Besides, I think it’s pretty (and I’m always a sucker for aesthetically pleasing tools and equipment).

Yarny News

You may have noticed that Neil Gaiman is on the cover of Knitty. It’s part of a promo for a new pattern book Geek Knits.  You should check it out.  I’ll be ordering my copy very soon…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered the This Knitted Life giveaway for two skeins of yarn (10 June).

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So, I did start with really good intentions, but then the Sandtown-Winchester colorway from Neighborhood Fiber Co hit my facebook feed.  Not only is it an amazing shade of purple, but all proceeds from the sale of this beautiful limited edition color, on any of their yarn bases, will go to the Baltimore Community Foundation Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore.

Please check out this yarn, and this artist.

As for me, I’m going back on the yarn diet starting tomorrow…

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