wip : gd

GD is 53" wide and about 57" long now! I'm getting so impatient about finishing this blanket that I'm closing up the bottom edge and single crocheting the sides to feel like more 'finishing' is getting done I found a few skeins in an old plastic bag in a closet, so it's not time to bind off just yet.

how ease-y is too ease-y?

After toiling on my NaKniSweMo project, I figured it was safe to actually try this thing on to see how the project was coming. My first response seeing myself in a mirror in this thing was 'ugh, I look like a bag of sausages under a knit tarp'. Alright, I don't exactly have stellar self esteem here, but really--how big and comfy is too big and comfy for a sweater?

This is a really really comfortable garment to wear and all, but with these wizard sleeves and the waist-decreases that didn't seem to amount to very much at all on my figure, I'm beginning to think there's more to sweater sizing than, idk, carelessly matching the bust measurement in the pattern and just going for it.
Expecting some positive-ease to my sweater, I thought it was safe to do just that and get enough yarn for the Large size. 45" can work well with my 42" bust, but the waist on this thing is 37" (I'm something like a 32) , explaining clearly why my sweater feels like a blanket with sleeves.

So where can I comfortably sit on the scale between snuggly and actually flattering? I can opt for a noble path of (UGH) unraveling this entire thing and casting on a medium size (39" but..I guess I can mod it)?
Or just finish this project that I'm itching to see done, wear comfortably (even if it's not a thousand percent form-fitting and flattering), and enjoy a size down on my next sweater project? I'm pretty sure I can pull off a cute oversized-sweater + leggings sort of get-up anyway, but I also have this pressing feeling that the Good-Knitter-And-Someday-Maybe-Designer thing to do is to stop whining and just tink and redo the whole thing. Just to learn some weird important lesson about achieving "perfect results" in knitting, buddhist sand mandala style.
There's still a tiny bit of time left before my self-imposed deadline arrives. I think we all already know what the answer's gonna be.

wip: gd, slide, scrapsocks

I haven't posted about GD in a little while, and it's mostly been because I work on it extremely infrequently. I'm extremely grateful to the two kind ravelers who sent me their scraps, because therapy-knitting them these last few weeks (last week especially) had been a simple process. GD has grown to be 53in(~135cm) thanks to all your yarn scraps! That's about underarm height for 5'9" me, so I've still got a ways to go before it reaches a good enough length.

I'm only a tiny bit anxious to see this bound off, but it's for three little reasons here:
  • it's getting cold, and a trusty blanket we already use has had to be retired because it's disintegrating
  • the wealth of interesting stash projects out there to cast-on
  • I think I might be a product knitter
If it doesn't happen for another while, I won't sweat it. It's entirely gratifying to see how little stash I have to my name now (not counting planned-and-spoken-for stash). I've been unravelling the less relevant Bapsicrafts items (remember Ipod sleeves?!) to free up that kind of room. Also, needless to say, I broke my No Cotton rule eons ago, so this thing is gonna be interesting to see out of the dryer.

Updates of my other WIPs: (I know, I'm a bad non-monogamous knitter right now)
My scrap pair #1's done and has been bound off! I didn't weave in those ends yet, because one of the socks needs to be re-bound with something a little more stretchy. This is my remaining fingering-weight yarn (minus the 78 yards of my eggplant Regia), which will transform into my next scrap pair once the WIP-count's gone down a bit.

That last photo of my NaKniSweMo project here was completely frogged! I thought I would luck-out without swatching but I absolutely didn't. When I tried that WIP on over my shoulders to gauge how far I'd gone, the sweater fell through to the floor--it was absolutely massive. So after frogging the thing, I swatched like a good knitter, and sized down to a 5mm needle. Today marks finally reaching un-crinkly, brand new yarn, so it might be smooth sailing from here on out.

The Slide socks have unfortunately been ignored. I reached the heel flap on the first sock, and might not really attend to it until I'm on-schedule again with this sweater project.

With the holidays around the corner, I might consider going for a hand-knit round of gifts for my loved ones. An example: my Cocoon hat knit in time for Canada turned out to be too thick for comfortable on-ear headphone use for me, but will definitely be perfect for a friend of mine who lives somewhere cold (and prefers in-ears!)

I'll have to see how I'll handle other gifts, but I'm looking forward to joining the rest of the knitting community in a rush for midnight Christmas.

wip: nakniswemo2016, slide + knitpicks stash acquisition!

Happy November! I recently made a big yarn purchase from Knitpicks for this special winter month, and now that they've arrived, I can finally show you. But first, a sock WIP update--

The Slide socks by Cookie A are a dream to knit up. I had seen a lot of her designs around ravelry and on various blogs and have wondered why her work has been so popular (besides the gorgeous designs, that is). If this pattern is enough to go by, she's got a way of making simple knitting stitches and conventions into impressive designs, and of explaining them clearly and flawlessly for even an uncertain beginner to comfortably follow along. I might have to queue up those ever-popular Monkey Socks sometime soon.
As for the Zen Garden yarn--it's easily the softest sock yarn I've had the privilege of working with to date, but I think the colorway shifts too aggressively for the purpose of this design. I'll likely keep knitting it, but another go at this project with a softly solid MadelineTosh might be in order in the future.

I'm participating in NaKniSweMo for a second year! This year's choice is Ease, a gorgeous pattern that has been sitting in my queue for a long time. I chose Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes Superwash in Mineral Heather, which looks even better in person.
The colors are faaar more accurate in this photo than in the previous.
I'm happy to know that it's not nearly as rough for me as commenters on the Ravelry yarn profile complained. It feels great in my hands, and I expect it to soften up even more after its first post-bind-off soak. Full disclosure, though: I didn't swatch at all for this. We'll see whether I get out of this in one piece or end up cursing all the way back to the yarn winder after frogging an entire sweater. Living on the EDGE.
This lovely but kinda garish set of Brava Sport is another new addition. I bit the bait hard and shelled out the ~whopping (not) $25 for a Rainbow Hue Shift kit from Knitpicks. This is gonna be my first afghan project (well, one that isn't a sausage project anyway).
Suffice it to say I got bitten by the knitting bug this fall/winter and I'm happily letting myself head where the line leads me, even if it means breaking my Big Rule of WIP Monogamy. See you all soon with photos of these projects!

fo: garden TAATs

pattern : my own
yarn : Schachenmayr Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos in Garden
needle : US 1 [2.25mm]
size : 10"
Another sock down! I'm excited for this project to finally be done. I'm also taking this opportunity here to feature the new wooden sock blockers by The Loopy Ewe! I've wanted a pair of wooden sock blockers for a while and the little cut-out sheep design won me over instantly when I saw them. It also helps me share FO news, because it's no longer a requirement to model these things and take awkward selfies to make blog posts happen.
I had the bright idea to not only go for a 3-to-1 rib leg, but also to try to knit until all of the yarn ran out. This thing bored me to death. My slide socks currently in progress are doing great work of keeping my interest as a contrast.
Unrelated but very exciting-- I've committed to two big knitting things for myself beginning this fall/winter. Last week, I ordered not only a sweater quantity of yarn for my NaKniSweMo project (more info on this next time), but I've also purchased my kit for a Hue Shift Afghan, which is gonna be a lot of fun to sink my teeth into! I've never knit a mitered square before, so I expect to really level up in knitting those things by the time that blanket's finished.

Do you have any challenging/exciting fibercraft things going on this season? Big NaKniSwemo plans? Stashbusting projects?

wip: slide & perfect fit short socks

After completing the Garden TAATs, I made it my mission this Socktober to cast-on two projects: an ankle sock scrapbusting project series, and a more involved sock project from my queue.
I've made it an idle goal for a long time to own only hand made socks a long time ago (with the exception of Muji's adorable recycled yarn ones), but it hurt my soul to go running or working out with precious merino cabled ones. The solution presented itself the moment I took a detailed inventory of my ravelry stash. Working on these toe-ups with the help of ArtDesign1's pattern, I intend to find a straightforward and fun method that will comfortably fit. I've enjoyed the nostalgia of knitting up yarns from past projects, and am excited to see how they clash together (though my current one looks pretty deliberate in color scheme).
As for the second list item, I went for Slide by Cookie A. Those socks look absolutely gorgeous and will definitely give this product knitter something to chew on and learn some patience. With these cooling(?!) southern California months, I've really been chomping on the bit for more wool and more FOs, so here's to slowing down and taking it one stitch at a time.

This post is part of Ginny Sheller's Yarn-Along. Click on the image above and share what you're working on!

places : toronto, ontario

With just my iPhone in tow (tried to travel light), I spent a rushed three days exploring Toronto on foot. Naturally I had to ask Yelp where the nearest LYS's were.

First stop was Yarns Untangled. This small shop is gorgeously lit and incredibly well curated, I wanted to bring every one of their skeins home.

I took this yarn lust as an opportunity to manage my stash. I took a good look at the entries in my Ravelry stash section, and carefully assigned the relevant ones to projects on my queue. Once that was done, I had the conscience-clearing parameters needed to make my special souvenir yarn purchase -- it's gonna have to be a skein of super soft fingering wool for the Slide socks by Cookie A.

My choice of yarn is Zen Garden Serenity 20, in a OOAK colorway. (Photos of these stash-quisitions were taken at R2, with a fantastic Spanish Latte).

My next stop was Romni Wools, which was an overwhelming experience. The first floor was absolutely brimming with yarn of all weights and colors!

I chose a Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Sequoia colorway, entirely for sentimental reasons--for Nick and my first year, we visited the Sequoia National Park and had a fantastic and unforgettable experience. This was the perfect yarn to commemorate that experience and I had to get it, even if it betrayed my personal mission to grab local yarns while 'abroad'. Photos from that trip are coming soon for sure.

This skein's perfect and accurate hue is going to become a pair of How Come That Blood socks. With the gorgeous tree-knot like motif, making this match was a no-brainer. I also grabbed a circular needle, so I could get started on this pair on the flight back home, as well as to be able to have two magic loop projects going on at the same time. I'm glad I made that choice.

I also paid Porch Swing Yarnsomniacs a visit, and met its kind and quirky owner! His store was currently in the middle of a move about 6 doors west of the original location, with big plans to become a knit café! I refrained from taking any photos yet because of the hard work underway, but am entirely excited to drop by when I next come to Toronto. The world needs more knit cafe's. If you're in the area, do let me know how it turns out!

fo : first TAATS + garden TAATS wip

pattern : Two Toe-Up Socks on One Circular Needle by Kristin Bellehumeur
yarn : Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect in Stone needle : US 1 [2.25mm]
size : 10"

I did go a completely different direction than initially intended with this particular design of yarn, but I'm not gonna sweat it here. I adore the concept of these socks, considering my preferred way to sit. It should only mean that I'll get to experience the joy of picking up another one of these from A Major Knitwork to have a chance to use this yarn properly. Besides, my socks are siblings, not clones. It's perfectly alright if they have their own personalities, right?
I don't know why I thought the Two-At-A-Time Magic loop method was so scary. The name is impressive and intimidating sure--but so is knitting when you don't remember that the craft is just hair and sticks. Am I gonna let sheep hair and sticks get the best of me? I used Silver's Sock Class for the easy to follow tutorial, opting instead for a fingering weight yarn instead of her suggested worsted weight. Piece of cake.
I know I say this just about every time post an FO featuring a new-to-me technique, but it's always worth repeating:
Stay the course. Try it out. It's just yarn and sticks and will be fun anyway.
Now that I've got the newly minted skill of TAAT Magic Loop knitting down, I will never be forced to hear the loud clang of my needle on an auditorium floor, or feel crumbs stick to my sweaty hands as I fish under a car seat for that god damn lost needle. Life's better now.

wip : garden TAATS + teamlab

My garden TAAT socks are moving very slowly as usual! I cast on in May on our way to Silicon Valley, with the grand expectation of completion before our return to Los Angeles 4 days later. When there's a lot to see up there, sitting down long enough to knit a pair of socks is too tall an order to complete, no matter how long you're expecting to be in transit.
Lesson learned (and due to be re-learned).

Now, I'd be thrilled if these socks were finished in time for a brand new Socktober project. As of this moment, I'm past the heel turn and on the cuff, so with a good book and a heat pack for hand soreness, I just might make it.

Speaking of the quick trip to the bay area, here's a tiny sample of what all was photographed there. The experience at the Teamlab exhibit was absolutely magical.

See you next time, and let me know what your plans are for Soctober and NaKniSweMo.

places : solvang, santa barbara

Nick and I decided to celebrate our 6-month weekend by making a two-hour drive over to Solvang, CA. I took on navigating and shotgun-knitting responsibilties for the ride. An absolute burden, I know.

Coming along with me were my Two-at-a-time Toe-Ups on the magic loop bought while on my stop in Ashland, Oregon. (I regret not properly documenting that awesome little LYS adventure!) It's awesome to not have to worry about a tiny DPN falling right out of my project and falling into the crumb-filled crevice between the seats! Seriously people, if you are a victim of stopping mid-project to fish through crap for your lost DPNs, learn magic loop. It just might change your life.

I've only been to Solvang once in the last decade or so, but distinctly remembering getting to feed ostriches. So when I saw this big obnoxious OSTRICHLAND! sign, we had to stop to feed those god awfully ugly yet fascinating living dinosaurs. The feeding bowl + dust pan combination is a little high-tech for my tastes, but I did my best to grasp that we were living in an advanced age.

Anyway. Solvang! Big beautiful horses! Delicious food! Walking!

And, wait, did I just hear you say there were yarn shops here? Fuck all else, let's go there.
Village Spinning and Weaving would be number one of two that I knew of in Solvang. The moment I smelled that wool I knew I was home.
Despite the cosy space of this particular shop, there was quite a nice selection of yarns at Village Spinning and Weaving. I was most impressed by the gorgeously cushy skeins of local undyed alpaca offered by the shop itself. Next time I come around here it's in my plan to get at least a sweater quantity's worth of the stuff. Those colors are what I'm all about for garments.
Because of my recent interest in my very own Operation: Sock Drawer, I had only an interest this trip to acquire nice fingering weight stuff.

Wildfoote is a very new line to me, so I opted for a pair of skeins in each of these two lovely muted colors here. I promised Nick that I would make one of these into a pair of socks for him, but I haven't decided which color to reserve for myself (or, let's be honest, whether or not these both will just end up as selfish knits).

I also learned about the wealth of locally sourced alpaca available here. Here was a gorgeous palette of undyed sweater quantities just calling my name. Some even had the name of the animal sheared for the skein. These I will have to come back for when I make the room in my stash bin.

The next shop that I insisted we visit was Rasmussens, which on the first floor features gofts and toys, but offered fabrics and crafts supplies upstairs.
The modest space was put to good use--everywhere I turned there were gorgeous linens and colorful yarns, as well as many vintage pattern books and magazines.

I was dead-set on whatever sock yarns there were on offer, and came across a little basket right in the center of a glass display labelled SALE. I think two out of these three were discontinued. They're gonna make great additions to my future collection of self striping/scrap ankle socks.
After those two yarn-shops were checked off my list of must-see places, we just strolled around until we were tired. The day ended with lounging on a beach in Santa Barbara to watch the sun set.

fo : zwerger nillas

FO Zwerger Nillas This has been a long-overdue post but here are my Zwerger Nillas all finished. I mostly worked through this pair while on the holiday road-trip to Washington with Nick and it's been a relaxing, if at times boring project to have had at hand.

pattern : Zwerger Nillas by Susan B. Anderson
yarn : Zwerger Garn Opal Ladies & Gentlemen in Significant
needle : US 1 [2.25mm]
size : 9.5

I revisited Susan B. Anderson's very trusty (and free!) cuff-down sock pattern for this one. I think I'll memorise the pattern after just one more future sock project. As always it is an absolute pleasure to allow a self-striping yarn express itself in such a minimal sock pattern. I believe in hand-knit socks relating to each other as siblings rather than twins, and the look of this sock yarn all knit up holds up really well as evidence for my conviction.

The yarn is Zwerger's Opal (hence the very creative name), an unfortunately discontinued yarn I bought as a souvenir from the cozy Ippikin in Much Wenlock. Holding these socks take me back to my walk in the rain to that little shop and how much warmth was felt through their lively conversation and helpfulness. Thanks again, Lesley for being such a fantastic host!

To finally have these finished is to be able to fully commit to seeing these naughty Rhubarb socks see their end on my needles. Expect a post soon announcing their long-awaited status as an FO.

fo : thurman


pattern : Thurman by Lidia Tsymbal
yarn : Patons North America Kroy Socks in Flax
needle : US 8, 9 [5, 5.5mm]
size : Large
Thurman would be my second sweater ever knit (not counting baby sweaters), and was, like the first one, a very fun and enjoyable experience. I'm happy to have finally found the time to photograph it. Because of my smaller budget, I opted for skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease instead of a pure wool or wool-blend. I think it resulted in a different fabric density than intended for the pattern, but the extremely low-maintenance washability is a huge plus for now. Finances permitting, I intend to work through this pattern one more time in something like a brooklyn tweed.
The big feature that attracted me about this particular design was the ribbing and how that played into fitting the shape of the shoulders and wrists. I'm a very big fan of ribbed knitting! It was a joy to see how much give that particular pattern gave to this sweater. Unfortunately the price I pay for having used such a cheap and easy-care yarn is that the 'bounce' of the ribbed parts will go lax and disappear after a few washes, but it'll be fun while it lasts.
As far as the sweater goes as a wearable item and not just a finished knitting project? My Thurman is warm-and-a-half, which hasn't meant many opportunities in the California springtime to wear. I personally don't think it's the most flattering fit on my figure, but that's probably the result of knitting the size I'd go for when buying a sweater, rather than fitting to my measurements and trusting the ease. It's to say, Thurman II is likely gonna have to be a medium rather than a large.
Thurman is a very well thought out and straightforward pattern. It took trusting what Lidia was intending to do with certain parts of the process to really see that she knew just what she was doing and that you were in good hands. That said, there are two possible reasons why such a nice pattern has so few completed projects up on Ravelry:
• The $8 price point seems too steep to the beginner knitter,
• The one website where you can purchase this pattern is a total pain in the ass to navigate and purchase from, and was also previously only buyable as part of a much more expensive kit.

I can't do anything about that weird site problem, but let me assure you as someone very recently graduating from checking the 'free only' box while browsing patterns on Rav, that this pattern is well worth the price and the headache. Just go for it. Cast on Thurman and let me know how you like it.

wip: rhubarb + another stash acquisition

GD is a joy to see progress and all, but it's past the point of being really hot and cumbersome now, so I've been gravitating hard toward this nice and portable kindle-friendly sock project.

The Rhubarb socks are slowly growing, I'm pretty sure I'll hit the 75% mark by the end of this coming week. I'm aching to get these off the needles and on my feet already. Metal or plastic needles might help lower the frustration level of this project, but I have this entirely irrational need to finish these socks with the same needles with which they were stared. That way it'll know who's the boss, right?

Oh, and about that new Regia skein! A good knitter friend and I were driving over to a café for some sketching and she reminded me that A Major Knitwork was just a block up from where we were that very second. We just had to check it out. I saw that particular skein in those particular colors, and just needed to see those become a part of my sock drawer. Me and this yarn? We're meant to be. That's all to really say on the matter.