Monday, January 21, 2008

Stash Anxiety and Frogging Projects

I finished the second wool/silk Blackberry Ridge Sock. Love them lots. I wore them yesterday when it was sub-zero, and my feet were very happy.
I also started these Garter Rib Top-down (I'm a chicken with toe-up) socks. I estimate that I can get a pair of socks out of the 2.2 oz I have. Hope that works out (yikes).

I frogged another finished project from years ago and am contemplating doing that to a few more. The sweater in question was an ill-fitting Cottage Creations Tunic from 2000 in a Galway Colornep Light Green Wool. I've made many of these sweaters over the years in tot-adult XL sizes. However, this one was too short and wide, which made it flare out in the back. I had plans to try out Ann Budd's Set in sleeve sweater. I think that style or the raglan are going to flatter my small-ish shoulders better than the massive drop sleeves of my early knitting days. Now you see it....

Now you don't....
I'm all so thinking about frogging another tunic in Cotton Fleece (again too big) and a Noro vest. With all of this yarn liberated from projects, my stash has increased slightly. After listening to Stash n' Burns podcast, I realize I'm not a big stash kind of person. It gives me anxiety. I think of all of those projects and I get a bit twitchy. That seems to make me enjoy each project less because I feel like I'm trying to work my way out from under a huge burden of yarn guilt. So, I think I need to keep the yarn to a moderate amount. I even feel bad about all of the leftovers from other projects, and need to get those used up as well. So, to get a few more yards and ounces out of the bins, I made these yesterday during the football games. A blanket for Lamby and a sweater for Baby Jason doll, as requested by my older boys.

I'm really wishing I could start one of these Northern Lights Shawls. Be still my beating heart. No yarn for it on hand, so must work on some current projects before I can even consider buying the yarn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Surprised and shrimp

I'll admit it, I'm an animal fiber yarn snob. I love wool, cashmere, alpaca, and quivit yarns dearly. Cotton and silk, not so much. I think it has a lot to do with the feel of cotton and silk (sort of dry?) and how badly my hands and wrists feel after working with them for any length of time. So, much to my surprise last night when I tried on the first sock made from the Blackberry Ridge Wool Silk sport wt blend I had in the stash (purchased as part of this kit) and I loved how it felt on my foot. Stunned. I was forcing myself to knit up the yarn from these well aged Blackberry kits (from my B.K.=before kids days) before I dove head first into my new Socks that Rock yarns. Now, I may just have to give silk a second chance. Who knew I'd like it so much? Here's a picture of the sock:I started off thinking that lots of cables would look nice, but ended up just with them at the top cuff. Reminds me a bit of my Fetching mitts. I kept the rib through the foot because the yarn isn't very elastic and needed the structural assistance.

Also in the surprising category, the Tofutsies socks. I will not buy this yarn again, but the socks are very nice (currently wearing them as I type). Do you think people with shellfish allergies can work with this stuff or wear it? I really respect the ethics of used waste products from industries to make new yarns, but the feel of the yarn did not wow me as I worked with it.
After the second silky sock is made, I'm going to crank out a third BBR sock in the green and blue mix. Perhaps I'll try toe up, because I don't have a whole lot of yarn and want to make matching socks (lengthwise). I have white and various other BBR scraps that can be used to stripe the leg if need be. Thinking cap will be required for that project; I'm not a fan of toe up and will need to proceed with caution. After these socks are done, I'm going to take a hard look at that Bird in the Hand Mitten and see if it is going to the frog pond.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Broken record...I'm making socks

As new snow is falling gently outside, I am working diligently at keeping myself toasty today. A pair of socks were finished last week and the second (Tofutsies) is about 10 rows short of being done. The finished Broadripples, Blackberry Ridge 100% wool, sport wt in kool-aid colorsThey were fun, so I dug up some more of my Blackberry Ridge former sock kit yarn and made plans. I overdyed some white/lime green yarn with blue food coloring to make some more socks. Here's the before (a bit too electric for my tastes): and after (muted with a touch of light blue).I also have some of their taupe wool/silk blend sport wtwhich may be turned into a pair of cable socks. That is largely dependent on the napping situation today.

I reexamined my Socks that Rock haul and noticed that my Count Cluckula is light wt (as is the Lucy, Backstabber was medium). The are all so fun, but now I'm obsessed with trying to find the perfect pattern for each. I discovered I can search on Ravelry for projects by their colorway too, so I was able to see some of the socks already made up. Very cool. However, I didn't know that Lucy was named for Wendy Knits cat. I'm not much of a cat person, but I do like Siamese cats in general, so I guess it is ok.

I nearly ripped up my Bird in Hand mittens, because the size 2 wood needles with worsted wt yarn was making me excessively crabby. However, a quick trip to the yarn shop to pick up a set of metal 2s made all the difference. I've done 10 rows into the palm and they look nice. My tension with the left hand is kind of bad, due to the crazy gauge issue. No picture, they look strikingly similar to the last post about them.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Out of the fog

We are living in a cottony world today, again. A week ago we were surrounded by days worth of winter foggy weirdness and it has returned. I thought fog was pretty cool in the past. I used to teach meteorology and have found it beautiful. Now, I'm just tired of it. Plus, driving in it is very dangerous; case in point...a huge pile up on the interstate near us yesterday. Trying to shake the winter blahs, I cast on for these socks.
Blackberry Ridge 100% wool sport wt. hand dyed by me with some Kool-aid. The pattern is Broadripple and adjusted to sport wt gauge. I like this pattern a lot, as it seems to play nicely with the multi-colored yarns. Easy to remember too, which is nice.

So, where were the other projects I had going. Hmm, they must be around here somewhere....
Oh, the Tofutsies socks. Making progress, but the yarn is doing a number on my hands and wrists. I somehow was too distracted by the tofu and seafood fiber contents to notice that they are 25% cotton. Ugh. Cotton yarn will be the death of me, or at least my wrists. The socks feel nice, but I need to spread out the knitting a bit so I'm not cringing in pain.

The Bird in the Hand mittens were supposed to be my carrot for all of the gift knitting I did last month. Unfortunately, they are a pain in the hand to knit. No offense to the designer. They are lovely. However, knitting worsted wt on size 2 needles is a bit rough. I'd much rather do this with a nice sport wt in the future, but what is started is going to continue. Let's just say they are very, um, sturdy.

Perfect timing was experienced today when I pulled out a package from the Socks that Rock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Lovely! I got Lucy in light wt: Backstabber in light wt and Count Cluckula in medium, but the camera seems to have eaten that picture. So pretty. I'm forcing myself to knit up the Broadripples first before I cast on one of those newbies. I think I'll just leave them around the house to enjoy.

From my recent fall down the felting hole, the SWS bowl and the BBR boxes.The SWS bowl is just wonderful. I especially like the pentagon in the center. It is now spending some quality time with my dining room table. The boxes were immediately put into use by my older boys for wearing as mini fez hats and ferrying toys around the house. I also gave them some felted pouches made from Galway scrapes from years ago to be used as sleeping bags for stuffed animals. One is striped, the other is dark green. Both being put to good use.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A new start

Happy New Year! 2007 ended with little fanfare, but that was ok. We were all sick with colds or recovering from colds, so our plans to head out for a night of family fun were replaced with a trip to Target for a new light saber instead.

Looking back, 2007 was a good year for knitting. I realized that with taking care of my family, I really needed the outlet, mental activity, and sense of accomplishment I feel from knitting. I was pretty productive too: 9 sweaters/vest, 6 pr. socks, 12 hats, 1 pr. mitts, 1 scarf, 10 household objects, 3 felted bags, 3 doll outfits. I really got the sock mojo back, which was fun. I stopped making them for a while, but all of the new sock yarns called me back and I realized how much fun they were to knit, tiny needles and all. Here's the last pair of 2007: finished these as we were pulling into the garage from our holiday travels. Half Jaywalkers in Socks that Rock Medium Wt-Valkryie. I only did the pattern on the leg.The yarn left dye on my hands and birch needles as I knit, but left very little in the water when washed by hand. Hoping that my feet don't turn color when I wear them. It was a very Star Wars Christmas, so the force is definitely with these socks.

I had a felting episode again and whipped out 3 boxes/bowls in about 36 hours. The rainbow ones are leftovers from a non-used Blackberry Ridge sock kit (100 % wool, sport wt doubled). I followed the general principals from Mason-Dixon's book for one, and improvised for the other. The third is Soy Wool Stripes using info from this pattern, but modified to be worked bottom up and larger. They are drying now, so pictures to come. The SWS felted great and the stripes are very pretty. I usually don't buy yarn from Michael's but this one is a lot of fun.

Update on the Monkey socks: the yarn was too busy for the pattern, so I'm just making a plain sock. We'll see if the Monkey pattern will work with some of the new STR yarn I ordered (as a gift certificate) or I'll look for a plain Knit Picks yarn.