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!