knitting

fo : slide socks

Slide was a treat to knit. The non-identical but symmetrical pattern was knit using dpns, which offered a nice change of pace from my usual TAAT magic loop method. The easy flow from section to section in Cookie A’s pattern kept second sock syndrome at bay.

pattern : Slide by Cookie A
yarn : Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in an OOAK colorway
needle : US 1 [2.25mm]

size : M, 10”

These long lines were what drew me in. I was curious about what made Cookie A such a popular knitwear designer, especially for socks. The pattern was concise, with a clear and lovely layout. As a very visual person, layout is most of a pattern PDF’s value.

Little things like the inclusion of special stitch descriptions in the pattern were much appreciated for moments where I needed to remember how the hell to pull off a m1pR. Thanks to cookie’s conscientious design, I suffered no confusion or discomfort…except of course for that time that my needle just snapped in half and i had to move projects…but that’s not her fault!

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I enjoyed using the zen garden yarn, it’s an impossibly soft wool nylon blend. The subtle variegation of this yarn challenged this sock’s long lines but without bossing them around too much. It felt like an even push-pull of visual busy-ness.

If only this wasn’t so plushy and soft! I would wear these around much more often if I wasn’t so sure that these would just felt after just a dozen wears and washes.

wip : ski bonnet

This ski bonnet is a stash-busting project using up my remaining Ease yarn. Lacey Volk’s striking neon hat caught me, and I wanted to try my hand at making one of my own.

I managed to make it as far as the first section, having loads of fun in the process. The last real cable project I worked on were those Charcoal Angler’s Loop Socks, so this little repeating cabling pattern was exactly what I needed to feel giddy again about the neat things knit fabric can do.

But after finishing that first portion? I got stuck. I was intimidated by the ‘pick up stitches except for 5, evenly distributed’ direction. So I left this project sitting in time-out. I plan to unearth this project this weekend to tackle that silly fear—really, they’re just a hundred or so stitches, what’s the big deal? The math? There’s hardly any!

I’m thinking, if picking up 102 stitches is scary, maybe I shouldn’t have taken on the hue shift, right? I will need to get to the massive border of that blanket eventually. So what’s the deal?

fo : ease pullover

I took the path of least resistance on this one. I decided to just accept that my third hand-knit sweater's gonna be one of my more loose, comfy ones. The color's gorgeous (not one I'd expect I'd like so much,) and the pattern was easy enough to follow. 


I'm also happy to report that a friend reached out to me, letting me know that my WIP inspired her. She started an Ease sweater of her own, with Knit Picks Hawthorne!

Knitting-evangelism +1.

pattern : Ease by Alicia Plummer
yarn : Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Superwash in Mineral Heather
needle : US 6,10 [4mm, 6mm]

size : Large

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Alicia Plummer’s thoughtful design elements in this pattern were much appreciated here. The use of a purl ridge to encourage a crease on the stockinette knit fabric was a nice touch and made a pretty effect.

I used Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off method for the end of the body and the sleeves—Highly recommended.

After the first wash this garment bloomed…a lot. I’m reserving this sweater for days like this one in Lithia Park where bundling up and keeping warm is more important than doing my silhouette any favors.

fo : seahawk and rogue nilla socks

This pair of socks took a year to get off the needles because I was eyeballs deep in my projects at work. I still put the couple hundred odd stitches here and there to decompress when things were especially stressful, but it definitely did not progress as quickly as I had wanted.

pattern : Improvised
yarn : Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Fondo del Mar
needle : US 1 [2.25mm]
size : 10"

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pattern : Vanilla Latte Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes
yarn : SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Rogue
needle : US 1 [2.25mm]
size : 10"

My rogue nillas marched at a much faster pace but I was still pretty impatient about it. I cast these on while moving across the rogue river valley. I just had to start something, sitting shotgun on a road trip would otherwise have felt like a waste of valuable knitting time.

Recalling the experience of knitting these two pairs is almost embarrassing. It’s like I’ve become this results driven careerist about something that was initially supposed to be an ongoing process to feed my soul. When did my yarn stash and project queue become such a to-do list?

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While caring for and photographing these projects, I got to take in details I didn’t really notice as much when I was in the process of rushing to the finish line.

I had a chance to appreciate the little lightning bolts that took shape against the blue and lime green backdrop, like some storm on a little alien landscape.

The army-green and gem-violet spiraling up from toe to cuff remind me of sedimentary rock, taking ages to fall in line but always seeming to know the right place to sit—just like each one of these little colored stitches.

The simple texture of these knitting patterns allowed the variegated yarns to take center stage. Plain socks and multicolored yarns go together like milk and honey. No matter what you do, it pays off—it’s beautiful as a hank, and the result when knit up is inimitable.

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I also was very giddy about finishing with a rounded toe tin the Magic Loop style. Anyone close to me while I was wrapping up the toe became a captive audience to my lecture about how I’m basically knitting two little hats for my toes with this method. Sorry, friends. I owe you something for that.

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What if I honored these details while in the process of crafting them?
It probably wouldn’t have hurt to observe more while making them instead of rushing to mark something as done. I guess I knew that at one point in the process of crafting and documenting, I’d have that nudge again to be a little more present while turning fiber into wearables.

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A little bit of yarn is left over from these socks, and instead of being an angry completionist about it (I should have made the cuffs longer!) I might store them for a scrap blanket project of some kind to be able to cherish this lesson of mindfulness one more time.
That blanket project idea is a little further off in the future since I’ll need some more sock yarn in my stash to begin, but I’m open to learning about some pattern favorites. For now, Severien’s beautiful work in progress definitely comes to mind.

wip - hue shift afghan

And just like that, I’m a quarter of the way through my hue shift afghan project.

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Mitered squares turned out to not be too difficult to work on. I admit that this wip spent a few weeks in time-out here and there because of some absentmindedly picked-up stitches on the wrong side.

Or at one point, a completed mitered square using the wrong color combination. After those speed bumps though? Yes. This can be smooth sailing now.

Many knitters of this particular Knit Picks pattern kit suggested that I break the yarn as few times as possible to compensate for such tight yarn rations. I’m still unsure if I’m doing well on that front, but we’ll see soon enough.

new home!

I’ve recently made the move here from blogspot. Pardon the dust while I correct any broken image links on previous posts!

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A quick update on the knitting front while I’m here—my Rogue Latte socks are progressing, and I just might have these done before the month is over. Just in time for the weather to get a little colder. This is being knit with SweetGeorgia Yarns’ Tough Love Sock, which seems nicely sturdy while still being soft on the hands while I work. It looks like I’ll have plenty left over after this pair is finished.

See you all next time!

wip: seahawk nillas, garter squish blanket

Here's what I find are hands-down needs for me as a knitter, at least for right now anyway.

  1. I absolutely need a pair of socks in progress at any given time.

  2. I need a mindless scrap-eating blanket knit going on in the background.

These are two such WIPs I've got going on to preserve the natural and right order of life in this apartment:

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This would be a pair of plain stockinette socks made from my first-ever purchased skein of Manos Del Uruguay yarn that I bought a year ago in my new favorite LYS, The Nifty Knitter. It's in Issaquah, WA which is decidedly not local for my Los Angeles-based self but the pleasant, inclusive spirit of that shop is enough for me to hold off on certain purchases until I make the flight/drive up there. I LOVE the place.

The hank of Alegria used

was full of surprises. I initially bought it as sort of a joke. In Seattle, I show myself up as an Angeleno in a lot of ways, like calling it The 405 instead of I-405, or sporting the accidental tan that one gets just from working so close to Venice Beach.

My plan was to make a Seahawks cowl or hat or something with this squishy yarn to help camoflauge me a little more effectively while in this city. I liked the concept for this fun little knitting project but wasn't really in love with this yarn at first--it looked cute as a hank but...as a sock or hat? I...dunno.

But then I had it wound into a skein. and then I casted on.

As someone who's a bigger fan of more muted looks, even for things like socks, I might have to eat my mean words about yarns like these. Variegation and stockinette go together here like --this project is gonna be really cute, and when done and worn, I might pass as a Seattleite from 100 or so yards away in them (but not much closer than that).

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This guy over here is a Garter Squish Blanket in progress, right now being made with a combination of gifted red heart worsted, and some other big-box craft store yarn. It feels really hypocritical to cast on such a thing after reading something like Slow Knitting, but I don't know! They're gifted! I'm filled with knitter's guilt, and they need to be something!

On top of that it just feels good to have something mindless to work on while watching something in the living room. This blanket will probably need to have the crap kicked out of it in a dryer before it's amenable to touch, but I respect and value its role in the WIP rotation. The mindless trash blanket will probably be here to stay.

fo : clarke, rhubarb show-offs

2017 has been a year focused on a lot of other things, like the surprising turn my career took, the first apartment I moved to (with a partner I never thought I would meet and grow with). I lost a lot of good knitting time this year being swept up with a lot of that but still managed to get a few things off the needles.

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The problem (?) with taking so long to blog about something you've knit is that it's likely that you've already spent some time incorporating them into your life and putting them into use.

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pattern : Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond

yarn : Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Cobblestone Heather and Garnet Heather

needle : US 6, 7 [4-4.5mm]

size : 40

My Clarke sweater's already a little rough around the edges. I haven't really felt the push to block the garment to make this look as attractive as possible for the blog, I hardly even wove the ends in! As soon as it was bound off I wore it and continued to whenever the weather deemed it appropriate to. It can't be that heretical to admit that, right? I don't block that often at all!

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The first pullover I knit was a Jane Richmond pattern. It was such a simple and enjoyable process that I sank my teeth into the Clarke pattern expecting the same straightforward, highly customisable design. I was not disappointed and might make another sometime in the future. So far the Swish Worsted has been soft and very comfortable--no scratchiness at all. One issue I see is that it pills quite a bit. The pilling makes me wonder whether this batch of skeins I bought from knitpicks would suffer the same unfortunate fulling effect post-wash that I read complaints about on ravelry. It would suck to see such a fate from a sweater I love this much.

pattern : Show-Off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell

yarn : Regia Hand-Dye Effect in Rhubarb

needle : US 1 [2.5mm]

size : medium, 10"

This whole sock project was a nightmare, and it was entirely because of the yarn. I had this in the time-out pile since 2014 and didn't pick it back up until 2016. I was determined to finish it. Ignoring the general convention of knitting both socks with the same types of needle to ensure gauge is the same, I just picked some aluminum dpns and sped through the last sock.

With the frustration of the yarn behind me, I can enjoy these gorgeous colors and how the Anne Campbell's pattern has let them shine. To give the pattern a good faith effort once more with less annoying yarn, I casted on once more with a Zauberball skein instead. Anne Campbell kicked ass with this design.

wip: hue shift, bt beanie

Less talking, more knitting, right? A wip post, at long last.

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On the circular needle was (was! finished it recently and haven't taken it off yet!) an improvised beanie using the Brooklyn Tweed loft yarn Nick bought me at Knit Purl..back when we braved unsalted Portland roads last winter for some yarn tourism.

The yarn is lofty and fluffy. The crunchy bits of dry grass between the plies add a touch of..authenticity I guess. I would consider shelling out for a sweater quantity someday, when I think I'm worth it.

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I've had the yarn for this Hue Shift Afghan project for almost a year now. It's nice to finally cast-on and see what the fuss was about. This is my first mitred square project and I'm happy to know that I had little reason to feel as intimidated by the method as I was all this time.

My concern currently? Mostly, running out of yarn before I make it all the way through this blanket. A lot of knitters on Ravelry have complained that knitpicks cut it a little too close to the yardage for comfort. I'm doing what I can by avoiding breaking the yarn as much as possible but we'll see.

fo : manta

This has been finished for quite some time, but I hadn't photographed it until very recently--after some attempts to make it a part of my wardrobe this year I decided this belonged to one of my more fashionable friends for Christmas this year.

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pattern : Stingray by Evan Plevinski

yarn : Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smoky Mountains

needle : US 8 [5mm]

size : a little too large

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I don't really remember what my experience was like knitting it. I didn't encounter any glaring difficulties in the pattern itself, but I did get a little careless at one point and worked to many repeats of a few of the sections. It gave me a larger, prettier fabric but wasn't faithful to the intent of the original design.

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While it's not lacework, I'm happy to say that I've made something that I didn't think I would--a shawl. Thankfully this doesn't need the intense sort of blocking a super lacy, feminine shawl would have needed, I probably wouldn't have made it in the first place if that were the case.

I hope the recipient likes this gift! She and I agree on wardrobe color palettes for the most part, and I look forward to how she makes this a part of her already nice wardrobe.

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.

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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.

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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.

bummer!

If anybody out there needed a reason why some people prefer metal for their smaller size needles, here it is. Poor needles didn't last more than a month. Rest in Pieces.

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!

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.

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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!