Friday, October 25, 2013

FO Friday: Mittens!

It started with pretty fiber.

Fat Cat Knits Variegated BFL in "Let's Go Crazy"

The fiber became lovely squishy yarn.

275 yards of 2-ply

An impatient knitter bored with all her projects combined with an impulsive cast on and a few hours of knitting, and you get...mittens!

Pattern:  Warmest mittens on Raverly

I know I said I would work on WIPs for the next couple of months, but I really think these mittens need a matching hat.

Happy Friday all!  Visit Tami's for more FO Friday!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Trellis and Vine Sweater

I thought that after eagerly finishing socks and mittens I would be on a roll to clear out more works-in-progress projects.  I was determined to finish stuff, and when I came down from my knitter's high of finished socks, I diligently turned to a sweater-in-progress.  My interest in that lasted only about a day.

Then I cast on a new Honey Cowl.

I cast on 240 stitches, very very carefully joined in the round, and started knitting. About six rows in I finally admitted that I had twisted my join.  I had tried to be so careful, but the cowl will have to be ripped out. 1500 wasted stitches. Obviously not tragic, but I'm taking it as a subtle nudge from the knitting gods: "go back to your WIPs".

Okay, done.  Back to my sweater project. 

This is the Trellis and Vine sweater by Carol Feller from an old Interweave Knits issue (Fall 2009, to be exact).  This sweater and I have already been through a lot of ripping and re-knitting. In August I ripped and re-knit about 5-6 inches of the body, and that finished sleeve you see?  Well, that's the second time I knit it. I think I've finally got all the issues fixed now, and with only half a sleeve left, this one is almost wrapped up.

Maybe a finished sweater will earn me new project blessings?  

Visit Tami's for more WIP Wednesdays!  And see you on Friday with mittens!

Friday, October 18, 2013

OppAtt Socks

All week I've been planning to post mittens today.  The mittens have been finished for days, and while I may not be doing back flips over them, they are very nice mittens.  Nice, but at least for today, neglected.


Pattern:  OppAtt by Jeannie Cartmel
Ravelry Project Page
Yarn:  Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Lubber Grasshopper
Needles: 2.5mm
Cast on: Oct 2
Bind off: Oct 18

I finished grafting the toes and weaving in ends during a conference call this morning.  Even though the second sock had been going rather quickly, I didn't expect to finish the pair until this weekend.  I was so excited to wrap them up this morning that the mittens had to take a backseat.

Happy things:
  1. I finished a pair of socks in 16 days.  That's huge for me.  The last time I knit a pair of socks in two weeks was probably 2010.  These were a nice reminder of a time when I used to get super excited about knitting socks.  I doubt I'll jump right back to busting out 10 pairs a year, but still, it's always nice to remember the good old days.
  2. The finished socks are all one color.  Even after the scale confirmed I was being ridiculous about envisioning socks with half the foot in different yarn, I was still convinced I would need to use different yarn for the toes.  Nope. Finished socks, plenty of yarn.
  3. I really never liked the first socks I knit with this yarn, and I hate waste.  Those socks in my drawer were a constant annoyance, and yet if you're a product knitter like yours truly, ripping out perfectly good finished socks is not easy to force yourself to do.  But I did it.  I have way better socks to show for that perseverance. 

Pattern notes:  Very little to say about the pattern.  It's free, clearly written, and straightforward.  I haven't had patience lately for complicated patterns, so this fit my mood pretty well.  There was enough going on to keep things interesting but nothing that required much thought.  The pattern is another one that's been in my Ravelry queue for years.  I'm loving clearing some of these out of there. Almost as satisfying as knitting down stash. Now that the socks are finished, I realize there are a few things I don't love about the design.  Like the way the cables merge together on the side into a tree trunk looking thing.

Or that narrow strip of reverse stockinette on part of the heel flap.  But, whatever.  Teeny tiny quibbles not worth wasting energy on.  Instead, I'm smiling just thinking about finished socks.  Buttery soft finished socks in luscious yarn.

Visit Tami's for more FO Friday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It turns out that the cure for my personal problems with startitis is posting a pile of half-knit projects to this blog.  One minute all I wanted was to find new projects to start, but the second my last post went public, a light switch flipped somewhere in my head. Now I want to finish stuff.  Finish all the knitting!

With my new found determination, I forced myself to confront what I believed to be impending doom for my sock project.  I was sure I was running short of yarn, knew I didn't want half the foot in a different color, and was starting to warm up to the idea of just ripping the first sock and putting this project out of its misery.

I really should have weighed the sock and remaining yarn before freaking out.  The scale changed everything.

The first sock (about 2 inches away from starting the toe): 33 grams.

The yarn still left on the this first skein: 13 grams.
The second skein of yarn: 34 grams.

Well, hell, that's not so bad. I still expect to need different yarn for the toes, but I can live with that.  I decided to put the first sock aside and start the second so I can get both socks to the same place before dividing up that remaining 13 grams of yarn.  I expected slow knitting and slogging through little by little. In fact, the whole idea of my finish-by-the-end-of-the-month goal seemed ridiculously optimistic.

I was wrong.  Really wrong. I cast on the second sock Monday afternoon.  It's, uh, going pretty well.

Two days = three-quarters of a sock.  I can't explain that at all.  All I know is that I can't put the sock down. Must. Finish. Socks.

The important lesson for the day--blogging keeps my knitting on track.  It would be good for me to remember this lesson.  But right now I'm going back to my sock.  I've been getting twitchy if I'm away from it for too long.

Visit Tami's for more WIP Wednesday!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I got a flu shot last week so I'm apparently safe from the flu for the next year, but what I really need someone to invent is a cure for startitis (come on brilliant medical researchers, the knitters of the world need YOU).  I've got a wicked case.

One day I was happily knitting away on my new sock project, and then BAM, I hit the gusset decreases (my least favorite part of socks), and everything fell apart.  In two days time, I cast on three new projects.

In my defense, I did finish one of them the same day.

Pattern:  Calorimetry. Yarn is some of my handspun (Ravelry linky)

I'm not thrilled with it. It's a little big, the fit is awkward, and I'm fairly certain I will never use it.  It's probably only a day or so away from disappearing into a drawer for years.

Despite the finished headband, my flurry of new projects is still not a good trend.  Yesterday, I cast on a new cowl in the morning. I was unhappy about it almost instantly.

Yarn is a recent handspun skein.

Those few rows have already been ripped, the yarn is back in the closet, and last night, I started new mittens instead. Less than 12 hours later and already decent progress.

Also knit in some recent handspun.

Speedy project to be sure, and believe it or not, but that is actually an adult-size mitten.  Unfortunately, I'm not exactly in love with this project either.  I put it aside before starting the thumb and went back to the original sock.

I managed to finish the gusset decreases, but I'm getting more and more concerned that I'm going to run out of yarn. The skeins from the ripped socks definitely looked small but I figured the leftovers I started the project with would make up the difference, and the plan was to stop knitting before the toe so that if I'm short on yarn, I can knit the toes in a different color.  I'm worried now that I won't even get that far. Impending yarn shortage and the possibility of socks with half the instep in different yarn makes me want to bury this project away and forget about it.  Forever.

So I've worked on four different projects in as many days, and I'm disgruntled with all of them for one reason or another.  I'm seriously considering forgetting them all for the night and cruising Ravelry for patterns because clearly if you hate all your projects, the only solution is to start MORE.

The practical side of me will probably win out and I'll go back to the socks or mittens.  Especially since I just remembered all the other languishing projects.

Uh, ops?  Not feeling proud of myself at the moment....maybe some finished mittens will help that?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Finished Object Friday: Brainless Socks

Trying to get back in the swing of the whole blogging thing.  This time with yarn!

Pattern:  Brainless by Yarnissima
Yarn:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight
Needles: 2.5mm

Not the best project to rejuvenate the blog though.  There's very little to say.  The most exciting thing about this project is that I used up yarn I bought in 2009.  That's probably only exciting to me, huh? I'm determined to knit up some of my older stash yarn. But I've been determined for a few years.  Still, progress is progress, and there is one less skein in the sock yarn drawer now.  Not much else to say about this project. They're socks.  I knit them.  The end.

Moving on.

It's October (although I'm not sure Mother Nature got the memo) which usually means that I'm in full "knit down the all the WIPs" mode. I do really really want to finish up the half-knit projects lingering in the knitting drawers, but I suspect this year will not be as productive as last year.  After finishing the Brainless socks, I did not pick up other socks that are half done.  Or one of the sweaters stuffed in project bags.  Instead, I cast on a new sock.

I can't even claim to be using up stash with this project.  Although I'm not using new yarn either. I started the sock with a small ball of leftover yarn from these.

I really never liked these socks and the yarn is just way too yummy to waste on socks that didn't leave the sock drawer all year.  I've been thinking I should rip them out for months.  Yesterday I finally did.  It's amazing how fast a finished sock can turn into a heap of curls.

Even more amazing is what a little water will do.

I'm off to soak the second skein and wind up the first so I can continue on with my new project.

Visit Tami's for more FO Friday!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ragnar Colorado

Sorry knitters, no yarn or knitting to be seen here today.  Today is about running in Colorado.  Indulge me.  

After using most of my 2012 vacation time to travel to running and triathlon events, I made Mike promise that we would take a non-sporting event vacation in 2013.  Early in the year, we were just starting to plan a week-long trip to England when a friend invited us to join his Ragnar Colorado relay team.   I was dying to do a Ragnar event so I completely went back on what I said, the England trip was cut down to a long weekend, and now instead of having visited Scotland, I can say I've been running in the mountains in Colorado at 3:30am.

I admit that it's entirely possible I need to rethink my priorities.  Maybe.

For those unfamiliar, Ragnar is a 200 mile team running event.  Teams consist of 6-12 members, and the team runs the 200 miles relay style.  So it goes something like: runner 1 leaves starting line and runs to an exchange point (anywhere from about 3-10 miles away).  The rest of the team scrambles to vans and drives to the exchange so that runner 1 can pass a “baton” (but really slap bracelet) to runner 2 who heads out for his or her mileage.  The team then heads to the next exchange.  Rinse, repeat. About 34 more times.  Everyone runs at least 3 relay legs (teams with fewer members run more often or longer distances) and the event is continuous, which means nighttime running.  So Ragnar Colorado = running in the mountains at crazy high altitude sometimes in pitch black darkness and spending 24-36 cramped hours in a van.  

And yes, something about that screamed “OMG, YES, WE HAVE TO DO THIS. SO. MUCH. FUN”.

The only problem was that my 2013 running sort of went like this:
  • Winter/Spring:  Ongoing foot tendonitis problems and not running. In my head: Whatever, Ragnar is going to be awesome! 
  • June: Strained left ankle and in a cast for 2 weeks.  Uh, not good, but come on, I'll be healed up, trained, ready to kick ass at Ragnar by September.
  • July: Ankle still painful so still no running.  Hmm, starting to get concerned about Ragnar, but team captain switched me the to shortest run mileage position on the team so of course I'll be fine to pull off just 3 3-mile runs.
  • August: Still not running.  Well, crap.   
With my ankle refusing to heal, I forked over lots of yarn money and had several dry needling treatments at a physical therapist in late August and finally started to see some improvement.  Too little too late though.  The reality was I arrived in Colorado without having run in 3 months and with still painful foot and ankle tendonitis. I didn't care.  I was determined to have my Ragnar experience.  My motto for the weekend:  tape that foot to oblivion and gut it out.

Mike and I flew into Denver on Thursday evening, and early Friday morning (Sept 6) we arrived at Copper Mountain Resort in Breckenridge.  Having never been west of Chicago, I was getting my first good look at gorgeous Colorado mountain scenery.

Our first runner went off at 8:30am.  Because of the way the team is divided, the whole team doesn’t have to be at every exchange and my van consisted of runners 7-12.  We still headed out to the first few exchange points to cheer on the rest of the team, but there was a lot of waiting around for us this first day.  I was runner #11 and finally laced up my running shoes for my first run sometime around 7pm.  It was dusk when I headed out for my 3.6 mile run, so I was suited up with headlamp and reflective gear.

A good look, yes?

I headed out full of energy.  I was running again. Wheeee!  In a Ragnar relay. Yay!  In Colorado. Amazing!  In the mountains at like 9K feet elevation.  SHIT. I. CAN’T. BREATHE.  Less than half a mile in and I was gasping for air.  And I mean seriously gasping.  My first thought had been “damn, I really am out of shape” but it quickly dawned on me that elevation was probably catching up to this East Coast flatlander.  I slowed my pace and took deep breaths and got into a decent rhythm by mile 2, which was good because by that time, dusk had turned to pitch black.  

I found Mike amidst a sea of reflective vests and blinky lights, handed over the bracelet, and sent him on his way.  His first run was short too, and the next several hours were spent hunting up food and trying to get a little rest on a gym floor at an exchange point before my van was back on and we starting driving to exchanges again.  This second rotation was tough.  Everyone stayed positive but I know I was hungry, tired, and starting to get cranky.  We all got lazier about getting out of the van to cheer each other on, and the whole event seemed to be turning from something fun to something we were just trying to survive.

My second run was sometime around 3:30am.  It was a short 2.6 miles on a bike path along a river.  I’m sure it was beautiful but it was pitch black so pretty much impossible to appreciate the scenery.  Physically, this run felt better than the first, but I'm so out of running shape that nothing was coming easy.  I consciously noted the uniqueness of what I was doing and tried to enjoy the peace and soak up the experience.   With a throbbing ankle, I pushed up a small hill at the end excited to hand off to Mike, but when I jogged through the exchange and shouted for him, no answer.  The small crowd at the exchange let out a collective “awwww…”.  Well that was anticlimactic.  Mike came trotting over a few minutes later, and I sent him on on his way.

With Mike's second run finished, our van went on “break” again.  We all got a little sleep, and I took my time changing and cleaning up at the next major exchange point where we would meet up with the other half of the team.  I felt better in fresh clothes and with brushed teeth, but I was weary of the whole Ragnar thing by this point.  Really, this is what I chose over more time in London?  My ankle was aching, my calves were full of knots, and I was not really looking forward to climbing back into the van or grinding out another 3 miles.

Daylight helped with that.  A lot.

Once the sun was fully up and we were back on the road, I got a second wind.  So much more to see and appreciate in daylight.  

My last run was beautiful.  It was along a valley between the mountains and I could finally enjoy the scenery surrounding me as I ran.  These last few miles were the toughest though.  My left foot and ankle were throbbing, and I’m pretty sure I had a golf ball lodged in my right calf so I took it easy running a slower pace on the flats and walking up the hills.  With the whole team cheering at the last exchange, I soared in and handed off the bracelet to Mike for the last time.  

Mike had a tough 8 mile trail run for his last leg, which finished at the Snowmass resort in Aspen.  The team met him at the top of a ski slope and everyone ran down together to the finish line at the bottom.  I was hobbling a little by this point and had to focus to keep my footing down the hill, but I managed to stay upright long enough to cross the finish.

 And with that, the Ragnar journey came to an end.  A few hours later….BEST. SHOWER. EVER.

Final thoughts on Ragnar?  Amazing but exhausting.  A complete blast sometimes but really tedious at others.  During the event, I said I thought I would be one and done with Ragnar (I think I had been awake for about 36 hours at that point).  But when Mike and I got home and starting looking through the pictures everyone posted, every second of the hungry, cranky, cramped minutes seemed worth it.  Yes, I was in crap running shape and running injured, but the experience was still pretty awesome.  I had to bail on a lot of events this year because of my injury issues, and I'm so grateful my body held together enough to let me participate in Ragnar.  I doubt another Ragnar event is my near future, but I think I would definitely do it again one day if the opportunity comes up.  For now, resting my foot and ankle and getting it fully healed is priority #1.

Big plans for 2014. Big. Huge. And I need two healthy feet.  Maybe I'll take up knitting in the meantime.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm Baaaack

Knitting projects are languishing, spinning is not happening, and this blog has obviously fallen by the wayside for months. So yeah, 2013 crafting could definitely be going somewhat better. Along with several other corners of my life. Clutter is slowly taking over my house, home improvement projects keep getting put off, and it seems every spare minute is spent in the kitchen or grocery store as my already ridiculously restrictive diet recently crossed into a whole new dimension of crazy.

Some people spring clean, but fall has always been the season to jump-start me into action. All it took was a walk with my dogs a few mornings ago when the temps were blissfully in the 50s instead of the 80s, and I started to get inspired to get stuff DONE. But where to begin the blog catch up? With the piles of handspun from Tour de Fleece in July? The top I finished months ago? The handspun laceweight sweater I started last month? Nope. I'm going to start slowly and keep things simple. That roughly translates to: I’m going to post the project that is currently within arm’s reach of the computer.

Pattern:  Brainless by Yarnissima

Just some humble socks I started earlier this month, but with sportweight yarn, these babies are flying.  It helps that the socks accompanied me on 2 long plane flights and almost 2 straight days in a van driving around mountains in Colorado.  People do a lot of weird things for fun.  Mike and I decided it would be a good idea to fly to Denver so that we could then get up at 5am and drive up to Breckenridge with 1 friend and 9 strangers in order to spend the next 30 hours doing a relay run for 200 miles to Aspen (aka Ragnar Colorado).

So you can probably guess what the next blog post will be about.  Hint:  lots of pictures but no yarn.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chock Full of Hoot, Just a Little Bit of Nanny

March?  Yeah, let's just pretend that month didn't happen.  First half of April?  I'm still trying to figure out where those 2 weeks went.  For now, let's forget about that stuff and focus on some socks!

Hoot!  Hoot!

Pattern:  Hootenanny by Amy Herzog
Yarn:  Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Blue Metalmark and Bugga in Bess Beetle  (yes, I mixed skinny and regular Bugga, which was not ideal, but not too bad either)
Needles:  2.25mm and 2.5mm
Size:  Custom--bigger than the small; smaller than the large.  I guess that makes it a medium, but pattern only lists sizes XS, S, L.  See my Ravelry project page for specific stitch count modifications.
Cast on: Feb 1, 2013.  Bind off: Feb 26, 2013
Mods:  Nothing except the sizing.  Oh, wait, I changed the 1x1 twisted ribbing on the cuff to regular 2x2. I'm such a rebel.

This project is full of win.  I finished a pair of socks in under a month (given my lackluster sock knitting in the last year, this is HUGE.  And yeah, I know it took me longer to post them than it did to knit them).  I finished a project that's been sitting in my queue for years.  Leftover yarn was put to good use (the blue was from my Damson shawl, the brown from Oranje).  And, well, cute owls!

Cute big owls

And cute baby owls

I'm a little obsessed with owls lately.  A couple days after I started Hootenanny, I bought a second owl project bag.

The bag is from a new Etsy shop:  Kicks and Giggles.  Go check them out--the bag is beautifully made.

And go check out Tami's for more Finished Object Fridays!

Hopefully I'll be back without another 6 week hiatus.  A few new projects and lots of finished yarns to share!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

FO Fridays: Skid

Skid has been done for awhile but laziness (and lack of decent light for photos) kept it from the blog last week, so without further second finished knitting project for 2013!

Pattern:  Skid by Stephen West
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Vintage in Composition Book Gray and Butter
Needles:  US size 6 and 7
Size: Large
Ravelry Project Page

Not too much to say about this one.  It was pretty easy and fast.  The pattern is somewhat confusing about moving the start of round stitch marker--never really tells you how to work in your color changes.  I tried a few rounds of moving the color change with the marker but that looked like crap so I gave up and changed colors at the same stitch every round.  I eventually stopped moving the stitch marker altogether because I couldn't see the point.  I'm sure I'm missing something totally obvious, but whatever, it looks fine.  And it is, as advertised, totally reversible.

Thank you helpful balloon model

It's a little roomy so I might chuck the whole reversibility thing by sewing in some fleece lining to make the hat warmer, but that is still to be decided.  Most likely it will be spring before I get to the fabric store, and I'll have plenty of time to decide.

Thank you all for your support (and encouragement) of the Stephen West addiction that I wrote about when I started the hat.  Sounds like I'm good company!  I expect Chadwick will hit the needles pretty soon!

Visit Tami's for more FO Friday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Project-of-the-Month: Hootenanny!

Hootenanny has to be one of my favorite words.  And really who ever gets a chance to use it?  Unless of course you're quoting an old Buffy the Vampire episode ("chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny").  Sorry, inner nerd showing again.  Moving on quickly to my February project-of-the-month: Hootenanny!

I changed my mind 12 different times (okay, maybe more like 3) about what should be this month's project.  In the end, Hootenanny won out because it's been sitting in my queue for over 2 years with yarn at the ready, and I'm finally determined to get moving on a few of these poor projects that I've always passed over or put off because I'm too busy trying to finish other WIPs. Hootenanny was first mainly because the yarn was already wound, and I was in the mood for a sock and some stranded knitting.  Not to mention, the owls are just plain cute (matching owl project bag a nice bonus).

Who can resist cute owls?  Or the word "hootenanny"?  Not me. Another favorite word: "shenanigans". Definitely going to try to figure out ways to work "hootenanny" and "shenanigans" into more blog posts.

Now go check out Tami's for more WIP Wednesday!

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Spinning

So once a month, I've decided I'm going to get over my whole "finished-spins-aren't-really-finished-objects" hangup and post my spinning for the previous month.  If you came to see a finished knitted, crocheted, or woven item, I'm sorry to disappoint.  Today is about spinning.  Here's why:

Another of my many fiber-related 2013 resolutions is to put a significant dent in the spinning fiber stash. Somewhere between the goal of spinning down the stash and finding the 13 in 2013 group on Ravelry, I completely lost my mind.

That would be 13 pounds of fiber in 2013.  Seriously, 13 pounds. You'd think I'd want to start out with an easier goal, like say, 13 braids, 13 spinning projects.  Something, anything, more manageable than 13 pounds.  Nope, some part of me said "hey, that sounds fun, I'm totally going to try to do that".  To add to the ridiculousness of this goal, even though I may think my stash is getting too big, relative to most spinners in the group, it's tiny.  Barely visible.  I don't even currently own 13 pounds of fiber. Details, people, details.  I'm going for it.

January spinning got me off to a pretty decent start.

4 oz Bee Mice Elf Merino Silk in Warm Welcome, 300 yards, singles, 11-12 wpi
8 oz alpaca from Nobella Alpacas, approx 175 yards, 2-ply, 6-7 wpi
4 oz Misty Mountain Farm BFL in Victorian Rose, 155 yards, 2-ply, 10 wpi (for the epic afghan)

Add to that pound, another 2 ounces of fiber that I spun up while practicing learning to draft long-draw, and I'm at 18 ounces for January.  Plus I've got a nice head start for February.  Right on track for 13 pounds.  We are not going to discuss that those are all pretty easy, fast spins and that once I want to get back to thinner yarn, I'm totally screwed.  Hopefully posting my spinning here monthly will help keep me motivated.

Visit Tami's for more FO Fridays (and probably, like, actual FOs)!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Skid

I'm still inching along on Vivian, but somehow I doubt anyone wants to see a picture of the almost-finished second sleeve that looks pretty much just like the first one or read my whining about endless seed stitch.

Instead, I have a new half-knit hat for today.

I planned this hat for Mike back when I thought I would have plenty of yarn for Low-Tide Ripples.  I chucked the idea when I saw there wouldn't be much leftover, but once I had to order an extra skein, well, why not two? So Composition Book Gray arrived on my door with a bright yellow companion--Butter.  The color combo idea came from Mike admiring the Chadwick sample (I covet this too and am still a bit obsessed with duplicating it).  MadTosh Butter is really bright though.  Even brighter than expected.  Almost highlighter yellow bright.  Mike seemed okay with it though so once I finished Low-Tide, I threw more money at Stephen West and started Skid.

I might be developing a Stephen West problem.  This is the third hat pattern of his I've knit, and while I was about to say I've been able to withstand the lure of his shawls, I just remembered Clockwork and Flamboyan were his too.  Plus the plans for Chadwick that have been in the works for awhile.  And when I went to his Rav patterns page to grab the Skid link, I discovered Gullfoss.  A vest?  A poncho?  A scarf?  All in one?  I'm intrigued.  Throws Skid aside to start pondering stash....

Visit Tami's for more WIP Wednesday!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Know what happens when you boast Friday morning about your strong immune system and that you haven't had a cold or virus in years?  Yep, I'm sure you can guess.  Less than 10 hours later you are lying in bed with chills and body aches and your weekend plans go right to hell.

Too wiped out to deal with Vivian, cables, and sleeves, all of my weekend knitting was on an older, even more neglected project.


Two days in bed and at least 10 squares later, my immune system seems to have gotten the better of whatever struck, and I'm on the mend and back to the spinning wheel and Vivian.

I just screwed myself with that last sentence, didn't I?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Low-Tide Ripples

My first finished knitting of the new year is a big one!  Yay, new sweater!

Pattern:  Low-Tide Ripples
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Vintage in Composition Book Gray, 6.25 skeins, 1250 yds
Needles: US size 6
Started:  February 2012 (damn, really?! doesn't feel like it was that long ago)
Finished: January 24, 2013
Ravelry Project Page

This is yet another project with a long history.  I queued it immediately after it was released in that great Fall 2009 Twist Collective issue and finally bought yarn for it a year later.  When I cast on with that initial yarn, a pale dusty pink, I got halfway through the yoke before deciding that the pattern really cried out for a semi-solid not solid-solid yarn. Sigh. RIP.  I had bought the MadTosh at the same time during a pilgrimage trip to Webs, intending it for a Dark and Stormy, but once I lost motivation for that pattern, it was shifted over to Low-Tide last winter.

I think I made it though the yoke fairly quickly but then put the sweater aside for a break.  The cables are the simplest of cables, but there are a lot of them.  Every. Other. Row.  Can you say aching hands?  Less than happy knitting combined with some lingering doubts about the fit and fabric meant that break lasted all spring and summer and a decent chunk of the fall (I think I can blame Laika for some of that).   As usual, it took my  end-of-the-year WIP clean house goal to jump start me back to it.  The rest of the body went by pretty quickly, sleeve one flew (seriously, I love my 12 in circs for sleeves), but then I hit the yarn shortage problem.  The pattern calls for 1125 yards for the 34 inch size.  I had 1200 so thought I would be fine even though I was adding a few inches to the body.  Nope.  Happily, MadTosh still makes this color, and once the yarn arrived, the rest of sleeve two flew by in a couple of days.  A few more days to block and sew buttons, and yay, a finished sweater only three years in the making!

The Good:
Super comfy 
Sweater quantity of stash yarn used up
Buttons from button stash (see, it sometimes pays to buy options!) 
Super cool sleeve cuffs

The only thing I'm not so sure about is the length.  I added an extra cable repeat in the body because I was afraid of it coming out too short, and while the length is okay, I think I might like it a little more had I not added that extra few inches.  An easy fix if I had the motivation to rip and reknit the hem.  But I don't.  Maybe one day.

Final verdict--Pattern:  
Happy with the sweater.  Even happier knitting it is over.  It wasn't the most enjoyable knit, and those super cool cuffs are fiddly as hell.  But that part is behind me and Mother Nature is even cooperating by giving us a few cold days in Maryland so I can actually wear it.

Final verdict--Yarn: 
Yum!  I love the yarn, especially after being blocked.  It’s a great weight and has a really tight twist.  I worried that I was knitting it at too tight a gauge and that the fabric would be too dense.  Nope.  After blocking, it is soft and amazing and even a hint drapey. Love!  Unfortunately, although I would love to use it again, it’s not a great value at $19 for 200 yards (I was lucky enough to buy it with a discount and gift card).  If I catch a sale though, I would totally snatch up another sweater quantity. 

Finally,  I wasn't able to get many good pictures since I attempted to take them myself this morning with the timer.  I did, however, get many amusing "outtakes".  That will teach me to try to incorporate the puppies.  

And yes, I am having fun playing with collages on Picassa lately.  Visit Tami's for more FO Friday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January Project-of-the-Month: Vivian

I have loads of 2013 resolutions. Loads, people, loads.  Way too many to list, but there is a main knitting goal that is sort of relevant to WIP Wednesday--my project-of-the-month resolution. Basically I'm planning to prioritize one project each month.  Doesn't mean I can't knit anything else (yeah, I'm not delusional with my goals) or even that I can't start anything new (good thing, since I started a hat last night), but I'm hoping having a "priority project" will translate into some more consistent progress.  Especially on those projects that tend to get buried away and forgotten.  Like, say, my blasted Vivian sweater.

I started Vivian in 2010.  I finished the main body sometime in 2011, stumbled when I started the sleeves, and managed to not knit one stitch on this sweater in 2012.  It's time I got rid of the dark Vivian cloud that has been hanging over my head.  On January 1, 2013, Vivian became my first project-of-the-month, and I've knit at least a little bit almost every day since. One sleeve is finished, the other almost halfway.

Still nowhere close to finished but definitely a step in the right direction.  The goal was never to finish the sweater this month (again, realistic expectations) but forcing myself to keep Vivian front and center all month means it's a whole lot closer.  It also means that instead of knitting my new hat project, I will dutifully go back to the second sleeve and what feels like never-ending seed stitch now.

Visit Tami's for more WIP Wednesday!

Friday, January 18, 2013


I really do have tons to share from January already, just nothing finished. Nevertheless, my procrastination about photographing and posting an old finished project means I have something to share for FO Friday.

Pattern:  Clockwork by Stephen West
Yarn:  Three Irish Girls Kells Sport in Roisin and Winter Birch
Needles: US size 6
Cast on:  August 18, 2012
Finished: October 2012
Ravelry Project Page
Mods:  10 garter stripes instead of 12

Ah, Clockwork, you were a long time coming. You threw off my plan for awhile with that that pesky 420 yards of main color instruction, but it was only a year and a half later that I realized the way around that was just to make you thinner.  I managed to squeak by with my paltry 330 yards of main color (and about 220 of the contrast) by reducing the number of stripes in each section from 12 to 10.  The scarf is still plenty wide, methinks.

All in all, not the scarf of my dreams, but it's fine, already been worn several times, and used up a skein that had been sitting unloved in the stash drawer for the last several years. Not to mention, I really did enjoy knitting this scarf.  I have a new-found love of garter stitch--so plush and squishy!  Forget the cables and fancy lace, I just want to wrap up in garter stitch.  Hmm, maybe I should knit a garter afghan or two

Visit Tami's for more FO Fridays!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

December Catch Up

As usual, I have weeks to catch up on so let’s skip the whole 2012 year-in-review thing and the inevitable 2013 resolution post (at least for now) and go straight to the yarny stuff.

No, I have not been gone for weeks because I died under a pile of smittens, but I did keep going with them for at least a few more days.

After smitten #10, I was able to conquer the obsession  (okay, fine, I started running out of appropriate handspun leftovers).  A day or so after I cleared my head from the smitten haze, I started back on my WIPs and the rest of December actually ended up being rather productive.  First up, I almost finished a sweater.

Yes, it's an odd picture, but the sleeve cuffs (can you call 8 inches a cuff?) are the coolest thing about the sweater so there ya go.  I totally could have been wearing this one for Christmas had I planned a little better when I bought this yarn for a completely different project over two years ago and psychically realized I was going to change patterns and probably needed one more skein.  For a couple of nights, I played the "maybe if I knit fast enough, I can finish before the yarn runs out" game.  Then I came back to reality, weighed my yarn, and admitted there was no way that what I had left would get me through the second sleeve.  I hunted up and ordered an extra skein, but was forced to put the sweater aside to save my remaining yarn so that I could alternate it with the new skein.  MadTosh is not exactly known for consistent skeins even when you buy them together, and two years apart?  Yeah, I was just hoping it was still some shade of grey.

Forced to abandon the sweater, a funny thing happened.  I was hit with strange motivation to knit my heart out and finish a pair of socks that were intended to be a Christmas gift--an idea I had long ago given up on since the first sock wasn't even completely finished.  This motivation hit on Dec. 22nd.  Nice timing, right?  Here is what the next three days looked like:

Yup, I said it, BAM!  I knit the entire second sock in two and a half days.  Yes, I know there are awesome knitters out there that can bust out a pair in the same amount of time, and yes, I realize these aren't exactly tall socks, but whatever, a sock in three days is about as good as it's ever going to get for this fickle knitter.

With the socks finished, I had the drive back from Connecticut to Maryland free to turn back to the handspun projects.  Relaxing on the couch after we got home, I finished up the Lacy Baktus scarf.


A few days and three different bind-offs later, Mike's socks made their way to the finished pile.

Then I threw some handspun on the loom and busted out a scarf for no particular reason.

And yet, I still wasn't quite finished.  I managed to squeeze one more skein of handspun and most of a hat in before the calendar hit 2013.

I tried to spin bulky yarn.  I mostly failed.  And while I love, Love, LOVE the hat pattern (Squall by Glenna C.),  I do not love how it looks with the color variation so the yarn is destined for another project.  Still, I enjoyed the hell out of myself knitting it, so it's all good.

And there's the December crafting.  Phew!  I'll try to get January in before we hit February!