Finally, I finished something.

It turns out that when you have little time for crafting and you have many many works in progress, finishing things is a rarity. This week I actually really and truly finished something and it feels great. I’ve had these on the needles for a year, so it’s nice to check them off.

I wish I could say I got some super motivational powers that allowed me to finish these, but there were really two factors. One, the Olympics have slowed down my sewing. I feel like I want to park on the couch with my knitting during the Olympics. I didn’t sign up for Ravellenics or anything (too much pressure for me!) but I did get a lot more knitting finished than usual the last couple of weeks.

Second, I needed to throw some frustrated energy into something. After another school shooting in the USA last week, I felt like stabbing something with a needle as many times as possible. And this project is perfect. Literally creating these words with my hands, slowly, was a bit of a solace for me.

Without further ado, here are the beauties:

mittens yarn and coffee

I had never made stranded mittens before, and I learned so much. This pattern is by Bristol Ivy and it’s called Peace de Resistance Mittens. I saw a photo of Bristol protesting at the Women’s March of 2017 on Instagram and I had to have them.

She is also donating all proceeds from the pattern to some very worthy nonprofit organizations such as ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, etc etc. Check out the pattern page for the full list.

I definitely did a better job on the second mitten than the first. I’ve always wanted to make stranded mittens – I adore the traditional Norwegian ones, and especially the Latvian braids!

These are made with Rauma Finullgarn which was a very sturdy, scratchy wool. Perfection for colorwork and will make mittens that will definitely hold up, but if I’m being honest, I didn’t enjoy knitting with it very much. I’m spoiled by modern, soft yarn options! It softened up a LOT when I blocked them so these mittens will be quite comfortable and warm to wear.

I magic looped these on Chiaogoo size 1 needles (my first project on these) and I LOVE the red cable. I’m definitely going to use these for my next pair of socks.

Now I just need to harness the victory energy I have from actually finishing something to finish MORE things… we’ll see.

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!