Planning

Spring has sprung here in Iowa in many ways. I’m starting to think about our garden (and Doc planted some radishes and onions already), our bikes have made their way out of storage for the inevitable and somewhat painful first ride of the season, and I’m starting to think about casting on new knitting projects.

My eyes continue to be bigger than my stomach in this department. I wasn’t able to complete a pair of socks in April despite being practically monogamous with the project. Nevertheless, the urge to start something new is great.

Several patterns have my eye, and many of them seem to be shawls. I’m considering Canopy because I have had some Road to China Light languishing in my stash for far too long.

canopy shawl knitting pattern

Continue reading “Planning”

Books for Knitters

Over the years I’ve come into contact with a LOT of books about knitting. Often the plots are pretty similar (and I’m sure you can find this plot within many other “hobby” subgenres – quilting, weaving, heck I’ve even seen titles related to crossword puzzles…)

It starts with a woman, usually middle-aged or better, who’s had a major life change. (Husband dying suddenly seems to be the most common…) Usually the husband has left the woman financially insolvent in some way and she has to open a yarn shop somewhere to stay afloat, and of course, in doing so, finds a part of herself she never knew (and usually a new, handsome man, to boot).

Now, just because there are cliches, doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy curling up and having a little entertainment in my reading. And titles several stray from the path of this basic plot. Plus, there are many nonfiction options that go in a completely different direction. Here are a few options – starting with those nonfiction choices. Continue reading “Books for Knitters”

Time flies…

Hello! I’ve been sick this week and dealing with sinus crud, but the good news is the weather in Iowa has turned and it’s officially springtime. It’s been just lovely out and we’ve been enjoying getting outside more and even enlisted little Doctor’s help for yard work over the weekend.

Doctor in a sweatshirt and boots
Doctor’s yard work outfit

Last Friday I ended up having a late work shift, meaning Doc went to school in the morning and I had some free time. Of course I was having a blast, pulling out my knitting and getting to sit and plan some upcoming projects.

But of course, about an hour later I was dealing with this:

Well, f#@<. #knittingfail #brandnewneedles #firstproject #noseriously #knitting

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And yes, I’ve contacted the company and I’m getting a refund. And yes, I have other size 2.25mm (US 1) needles. But I lost my groove on the mittens. It’s temporary, we don’t need to be concerned, but I decided to put them down for a bit. I’ll pick them up and finish them soon.

But I still had all this free time – luckily I have no shortage of crafty projects that call for my attention. So I finished up this mini quilt top that I cut out forever ago:

This is the Moda love quilt pattern (FREE!). I love this pattern because it’s written for layer cakes, or sized down for charms and even mini-charms! I did the mini-charm sized one, but instead of using mini charms I cut up scrap fabric and a couple of fat quarters.

I started this because I had just finished two huge (for me) quilt tops and I really needed a smaller, quicker project. I’m also thinking of quilting it free motion on my machine, which I’ve never tried before. (I’ll definitely practice on some scrap fabric first!)

I have one other finished object this week and it was a quick knit baby hat made with leftover Berroco Vintage from my stash. This is the Basic Baby Hat pattern by Heather Tucker. This is a gift for Doctor’s teacher who’s expecting in July. I used magic loop on this (I’m hooked!) but also because I couldn’t find the right dpns to do it otherwise.

red baby hat, knitted

So one more thing, I’ve cast on a new set of socks! I just got two skeins of White Birch Fiber Arts a couple of weeks ago, and I very nearly cast on the Sunny Day colorway but at the last minute I saw Jasmin from Knitmore Girls had cast on a baby sweater in this color. I need to see what that looks like before I decide what I’m making with mine, now.

So because it matches the weather outside perfectly, I cast on my other White Birch Fiber Arts skein, Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow.

These are toe up, two at a time, vanilla socks. It took a ton of fiddly work to get them matching, but I’m hoping against hope that I’m ready to just go on these. I really needed a purse project that I can mindlessly work on. Finally!

She comes in colors everywhere

I’ve got an FO to share! It’s a big deal for me to have my drachenfels shawl done and then another thing so close behind. I had really lost my knitting mojo as I was working through the groove of becoming a mom who works and freelances, but lately I’ve been more dedicated to taking time to knit because it rejuvenates me.

I cast on this project as an emergency. I usually keep a sock project in my car. Often our family loads up to head somewhere and I’ve been distracted trying to pack up goodies and supplies for my kiddo. As soon as we get on the road, I say, oh shoot, I should’ve grabbed some knitting! So I started just keeping a project in the passenger door all the time. Problem solved!

So my day job has an inservice day each year for employee training and continuing ed stuff. Several people bring knitting for the day and I had planned to do so, but this year I forgot to grab it! Luckily I had my emergency knitting in the car.

Unfortunately, I only had the toe of one sock left to go on that project (and I had about 8 hours of knitting time in front of me)

Pink Cashmere Socks
Vanilla socks in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere – One of a Kind colorway from their retreat in 2012

BUT by some miracle I had stashed a ball of this Knitpicks Felici in the project bag as well. I think I had been tempted to cast it on before doing the second sock in my other project and then thought better of it, and the extra ball just lived in there. Success! I made it up the cuff nearly to the heel.

Since then, this sock has gone all over the place with me. It’s been my purse knitting for about three months. It even went along on our recent trip to Phoenix.

I cast it on as a plain vanilla but by the time I reached the heel I decided I needed to have a look at Susan B. Anderson’s new Smooth Operator sock pattern that I’d been hearing so much about. And then… a game of yarn chicken presented itself. I won!

Finally these socks are in the done pile. 

Final thoughts: I love the Smooth Operator pattern. I love its comprehensiveness and clarity. I think maybe it’s more relevant to a newer sock knitter, but I did love the new technique for picking up corner stitches. It took me three tries on my sock to get matching heels – I think I pulled a much longer tail for my first sock than on the second and I really wanted the same purple dot on the bottom of each heel – that’s my favorite part of these socks!

I got them matching perfectly… eventually. This is my second try at afterthought heel socks and I was hopeful that I would like the fit better than the last time I did them, but they’re just not my personal favorite. As you can see in the above photo, the heel tries to slide back and stick out on my foot. I hate hate hate knitting heel flaps so I think I’d like to try a short row heel sometime soon. I’ve done one before and it fit my foot very nicely. Imperfect heel or not, these socks are already in my regular wearing rotation, and they bring me so much joy!

So, I’ve cast on a new project. Stranded mittens

These are the Peace de Resistance mittens from Bristol Ivy knit with Finullgarn Rauma. I’m being SO monogamous with this project. It’s my first time doing Magic Loop in several years. When I tried it the first time I was a new knitter and took advice from someone on how to do it. I got a super quick tutorial and I ended up trying it with too short cables. Of course I got awful jogs and decided I “hated magic loop.” But I finally came around to the idea that maybe it wasn’t my fault but rather the fact that I relied on a 30 second schpeel for a new technique and I actually went to youtube and watched how to do it. I’m hooked! I want to start knitting socks this way immediately. Hence, my current monogamy with these mittens. I’m using my one long cabled sock needle on the mittens and I don’t want to cast on anything else too big or complicated. (I’m on kind of a roll right now and I don’t want to stall out). So, as soon as these mitts are done it’ll be socks a-go-go.

Trying to decide whether I want to do two color sparkly shorties or another pair of stripeys. Luckily I’ve got some time – I’m only about half done with the first of these two mittens. Stranded colorwork takes a bit longer. I’m having so much fun making them, though! The pattern is simple and engaging. Can’t wait to show these off!