Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stash beat down!

It's almost Thanksgiving and I can't believe it. My knitting bug is in full swing now that the weather has cooled down and I'm settling into my new job.

I started these socks for my friend Jolyne in early September and finished them a week ago. Normally it doesn't take me 2 months to knit socks but time got away from me. Another reason is that I'm a selfish knitter, meaning when I knit for others I'm not as eager to finish as I am for projects I make for myself especially when it involves fingering yarn. This also isn't my favorite color combination which made it even more boring. My friend will like it though.

Then I went on a worsted weight/easy knit project binge. I made the San Pablo cowl with yarn I bought at Stitches West earlier this year. All garter stitch with diagonal stripes. No photos just yet. 

UntitledTwo years ago my friend (the recipient for the socks above) went on amazing month long Down Under trip and brought me back some yarn. In fact all the yarn was bought early in the trip so she ended up lugging it all over Australia/New Zealand/Tasmania and probably cursing my name whenever she tried to find a place to stuff it in her luggage. I used 2 skeins of 100% Pure New Zealand DK Merino Wool to knit up hopsalot slippers. Since I only had 2 skeins I played yarn chicken. I had to shorten the ears (not shown) to be able to get 4 complete bunny ears. 

This is my first felting project and watched a few video tutorials to get started. Man, I got a serious arm workout. It took over 15 minutes to complete the first slipper. I'm a little worried they could be a smidge too big but maybe after conforming them to my feet they'll be ok. 

Hopsalot bunny slippers in progress    

While these dried I pushed on to the next project: a blanket. Originally I was going to use another endless garter stitch pattern called Garter Squish to use up a bunch of stash. I felt like I didn't have a good combination of yarns to make it look the way I want it to.


I decided to make the Stash Buster Blanket instead. This involves a giant Tunisian Crochet hook and tons of stash. I pulled out all the yarn accumulated over the years that I didn't have a project in mind for and separated them by color. I could open my own freaking yarn store.

See the plaid blanket that I piled the yarn on? At 1am this morning I had this brilliant idea to come up with that color combination...somehow. 

Did I nail it?
Stash Buster Blanket
I almost wish I had a ton more of the shiny glowing green Bambusa yarn I bought from Art Fibers but that shit was expensive...which is why I only had one skein. I had the intention of making this into a larger blanket to cover my queen sized bed. With so much yarn getting tangled up and getting used to handling the giant crochet hook I thought I casted on way more stitches but weirdly ended up casting on the exact amount the pattern called for without knowing it until I was 4 passes in. It'll be a good size for a full size bed or a giant throw. Whatever size it'll end up being quite a cushy thick blanket to keep me warm while I work on it.

The color combination of yarns and Tunisian crochet is actually quite addicting. If I can I plan to cast on another pair of socks and another cowl with Plucky Knitter yarn I also bought at Stitches West. The idea behind all this stash busting is being able to buy more quality yarn at next year's Stitches West. February is not too far from now and I look forward to it.

Happy Holidays if I don't post anytime soon!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Getting ready for summer

Swatching for Ladder Tank

I usually avoid lace patterns but I couldn't resist this one. I'm swatching for the Ladder Tank. It's a nice layering piece for warmer weather. I love the outfit that Interweave styled for it. It's from their Spring 2013 issue.

I have a chevron blue and white maxi skirt that I have no idea what to wear with and this top should work with it...or so I think in my head. I'm using Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy as the pattern calls for as well as the same color in the example.  It will be a nice change from knitting cardigans the past 2 months. Although Hempathy is categorized as DK, it feels more like fingering. It'll be rougher on the hands compared to the silk-alpaca-wool blends I used for Effortless and Rosemont cardigans. 

Speaking of cardigans, here's my unblocked vs. blocked Rosemont:

Unblocked: bound off and ends weaved in
Unblocked Rosemont

Blocking: hurry up and dry!!!

Finished right at the unofficial end of spring. I'll be using it quite a bit during the San Francisco summers. For those of you who don't know, winters are actually warmer than summers in SF. I got it done while pet sitting at my friend's house. It's currently drying next to me as I lay on my belly on the floor of her sun room. I can't wait to put it on so I feel like I'm getting a long warm hug. I should have finished this days ago but I misplaced (or lost track of) a skein of yarn. I was short 3 long rows and a bind off. I racked my brain trying to find a way to avoid buying another skein but I couldn't without unraveling too much yarn. 98 yards of this yarn is not fucking cheap. It was killing me that I'd have to buy more! I lucked out getting most of it at a deep discount from a closing yarn store (I still miss you Bobbin's Nest!) a couple years ago. Being so close to finishing I didn't have the patience to order online and paying for shipping on top of that. After making many phone calls to Bay Area yarn stores between where I live and San Francisco (Peninsula side), I discovered not many carry The Fiber Company's Terra in black walnut. Imagiknit in SF was my savior with one skein in stock.

This new skein was so dark that it wasn't looking good on the edges of the neck/body band. I had to unravel the sleeve ribbing and used it for the band. Then I re-knit the sleeve ribbing alternating the "old" and "new" yarn. I spent half my Saturday doing this. =/ Not like I had much going on anyway. Yesterday looked like a foggy mess until late afternoon so I had no problem staying in. At least that's how I justified not leaving the house. Oh, that and trying to not spend any more money. Yup, still unemployed if you were wondering. Every cent counts these days. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My brain broke

Rosemont Sweater

I started the Rosemont Cardigan over the weekend. I almost quit it as soon as I read the instructions. All I could think to myself was WTF ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!? This yarn is cursed! I frogged it from a different cardigan that I started over twice and figured it would be better for an "easy" pattern...Rosemont fooled me! It's not so much that the Rosemont pattern is difficult but it is really confusing. When there has to be an extensive explanation in a blog post one would think there needs to be a re-write to ease the confusion. If the format was better organized, the pattern would be easier to follow. Plain and simple.

With some research I soldiered on after a bit of studying and reading through. It all made sense when I read the Kelbourne Woolens blog post about the increases.

Rosemont Sweater

Keeping track of all the increasing can be a challenge. It feels a bit like juggling and walking a tight rope at the same time. As long as I tick off each row/increase it should all go well. Easier said than done. I. Will. Not. Fail.

I am pleased that this new polish I purchased at yesterday's beauty show is a nice match to the yarn. The polish is CND's Sage Scarf and this wonderfully soft yarn is Terra by The Fibre Company in Black Walnut. Dusty green is one of my favorite colors. Sweet.

With the temps going up this week I have a feeling I won't finish this cardigan anytime soon and will switch to a more appropriate summery cotton pattern instead. No A/C in this house. Time to break out the floor fan!

Monday, April 28, 2014

What's blocking now?

Effortless Cardi

My Effortless Cardigan is off the needles and slowly drying. I should call this my M&J Cardi. I binged watched 3 seasons of Melissa and Joey (ABC Family). It's very much my guilty pleasure show. More's a pleasure to watch Joey Lawrence. Have you seen his body?! He's been a long time tv crush. Even in the Blossom Days. Whoa!

Sorry...I had to.

The fabric might have stretched A LOT more than I was expecting. I'll give my review and deets in a future post after it's done drying.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm up when I thought I was down

Since the end of February I've burned through 3,235 yards of stash yarn for 5 projects. This only means I have lots of time knitting my woes away during my job hunt. Though I am feeling extremely accomplished I sabotaged the stash burning with one more inexpensive yarn purchase for a warm weather layering tank.  In addition, I adopted stash from a knitter friend. I couldn't resist free quality stash. YAY for knitter friends with yarn snob taste!!

I finished another Leisl (a long tank) and Effortless Cardigan in just a little over a month (apologies for no pics to share yet). Yesterday was a busy day of back to back volunteering and socializing that I'm going to take it easy today and search through my stash and make a decision on which project to start. Another cardi? cowl? socks? tee? So many choices it can be overwhelming. If only I had another set of arms to work on two projects simultaneously. I wonder if anyone else feels the pressure to make as many knitting projects as possible before the warm weather sneaks in. Don't get me wrong. I love hot weather in small doses but love knitting projects in my lap way more. It was useless trying to knit during my trip in the Philippines last year. The heat was too much for me and the project stayed in my bag unless I was on the plane. Anyway...less typing and more knitting. Till next time!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sock Break


I tore through 3 pairs of socks in 3-4 weeks. I'm feeling accomplished! The last pair I worked on (pictured above and below) has got to be my favorite of all 3. I should call these my Sherlock socks. I binged on 2 seasons of the Benedict Cumberbatch BBC version. It's so good I want to watch it again because I know I missed a lot of the dialog. Sherlock is quite verbose...and HOT in a weird way. BC plays him so much better than Robert Downey, Jr. The movie has nothing on the tv show. Watch it. You. Will. LOVE. It. Back to socks...merino/silk feels amazing on my feet! I don't necessarily like how the colors pool, but I adore the colorway.


The pattern I used is my favorite way of working on the heel turn. It's the Gusset Heel basic socks recipe from Socks from the Toe Up book by Wendy Johnson. NO wraps involved in the short rows. Only turns. I haven't figured out the math/numbers for the short rows so I stuck with the instructions in the book.


I didn't include this pair in the last post. It turned out well but I have issues with the end result of the short row method for the heel. It doesn't include wraps in this one either but it's not a smooth heel turn compared to the socks above, probably because of the gusset, or rather lack thereof. You can see that where the heels curl and it feels a bit chunky where the decreases were made. Wearing it on the foot you can't tell at all so it really doesn't matter. I can cross this heel recipe off my list.

I spent most of my Saturday swatching yarn for my next project and binge watching Arrested Development. I can't seem to get through those episodes fast enough like I do with other shows. I'm doing another Liesel top that I hope comes out just as nice as the one I did 3 years ago. I was going through a major life change then and am wondering how I had the mental capacity to finish it. It just proves that knitting really helps me stay somewhat sane.

This time Liesl II will be more transparent/airy/drapey since it's a closer yarn fit to what the designer called for. It should be a nice layering garment for the summer. I might cast on another pair of socks to keep as my portable project. This time it'll take me much longer than a week to finish it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Long time no knit? Hardly!

I've been knitting non-stop in the past year but haven't been project blogging in over a year. I haven't done any large sweater projects, but that's not to say I haven't tried. 99% of the reason is probably because I ran into some problems and haven't been able to figure how to get past it so I put it aside till I could get help to fix it. Frustration isn't something I want to deal with when I'm knitting for relaxation.

Toe up socks with slip stitch flap heel
I'm on my 3rd pair of toe up socks using my old stash yarn that's at least 5+ years old. I must use what I have since I miserably failed to not go over budget at Stitches West last month. Massive F-A-I-L!!! Socks are fairly quick projects least the simple patterns are. I'm still figuring out the way I like to make socks. I know I like to make them toe up and 2 at a time on magic loop to avoid second sock syndrome. It's sooooo nice that once the project is off the needles it is done and I can move on to the next.

I've kept the socks very vanilla and trying different ways to do the dreaded heel turn. The picture above uses Shubui superwash merino sock yarn that is now discontinued. It softened up a lot after the yarn relaxed when I blocked it. It's so nice on my feet that I wish it was colder so I could wear them. I tend to live in flip flops and TOMS when it gets warmer.

I don't have a completed pic of my 2nd sock (used multi-colored yarn of Koigu KPPPM sock yarn) but below is the beginning of the 3rd I started yesterday. It's a wonderfully cushy soft merino/silk blend yarn. Colorway is named "Forks, WA" created by an indie dyer for her Twilight themed collection.  I decided to not split the yarn into two balls. Instead I'm using one end from the inside and another end from the outside of the yarn cake for each sock. Clearly, one end favors gray and the other green...very much like how the movie shows the lush greenery of Forks with a layer of Northwestern fog covering it. My intention was not to use this yarn for socks because my feet did not seem worthy at the time I bought it for silk. Eh, screw it. YOLO! Couldn't think of anything to use it for either. Maybe a fingering weight cowl but I've got enough of those. I'm sticking with the green theme this month due to the St. Patrick's Day holiday and the kick off for Oakland A's spring training...and I have a helluva lot of green sock yarn because it's one of my fave colors. I still have one more set of green sock yarn to go.

twilight forks socks
Alright...back to the job hunt grind. The weather has been so nice out that I don't feel like staying inside but have to or I feel guilty. I want to get in my car and just go somewhere for a week. Sadly, I need money to finance a road trip like that. I'm hoping that I get that chance by this time next  year after I've earrned enough PTO. Send all the well wishes, positivity, and prayers this way so I can be put out of my misery and finally make some money again.