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).

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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 responsibilities 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!

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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.

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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.

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The next shop that I insisted we visit was Rasmussens, which on the first floor features gifts 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.

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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!

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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.

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.

wip: GD


GD is very slowly, but very surely growing. It's shaping up to be a charmingly ugly piece, and I'm just itching to see it become my indestructible go-to-way of keeping warm. Hopefully this hardworking set of 5.5mm circulars doesn't give out before that day comes.

About 10 months ago I created a thread in the Scrap Happy! Group on Ravelry asking fellow knitters if there are any worsted-weight yarn scraps they wouldn't mind parting with. Willygal, Bigbadbrenda, and Sugarmagknowya very, very kindly delivered! I can't thank them enough! Here I have the what's left of the yarn they donated, all tied together and wound into cakes.
10 months later, GD is measuring up to right about 44 inches (~118cm), meaning it's a little bit less than half the length of my bed. Here's to 50 more inches of double-thick stockinette scrap knitting.

rhubarb socks, take II

This regia hand-dyed sock wip has been in the time-out pile (as its only resident) for over a year and a half. Now that I've finished my last sock project, this might be the time to give this one another chance and see it through to finish. I have some frustration to look forward too with this stupid yarn, but the final result is guaranteed to be absolutely beautiful. So here goes.

fo: lassie

 
So Lassie is finally finished! It was actually finished months ago, but I took my sweet time to get around to posting about it. This pair needed some time to be off the needles, but it turned out alright.

pattern : Lassie by Jennifer Beever
yarn : Patons North America Kroy Socks in Flax
needle : US 1 [2.25mm]
size : 9.5


Solids were definitely the right choice for a project with a pattern that's this busy. I'm glad I went for the Kroy SockFX in Flax. 
It took a sock project to be a little more certain of it but, yeah. I'm probably not a lace knitter. Cables though? That's a kind of work that feels like it really pays off in the end, and with notably less fuss when it comes to blocking (I'm not even speaking as someone who had to deal with something like a wedding shawl either, just a mostly-stockinette sock)!

A NaKniSweMo project is underway currently, I'll post a little about it soon.

wips: lassie and GD + stash addition


The Lass socks are still happening. I thiiink I might not be much of a lace person right now, as I'm a little too nonchalant to make sure the pattern's made as intended. It's just too comforting a think to know that the sock will still be perfectly wearable, even if a yarn-over is off by a couple stitches, or some diamonds don't line up perfectly.

Blanket update! GD's been growing quite a bit! They're at 30cm now (about 12in). I've run out of worsted yarn, so the smaller quantities of fingering weight have been held double for some of the more recent stripes. I've been making a lot of works for shop for the sole purpose of using the leftover yarn in the blanket, so many things are in stock and ready to ship when ordered!

If you have any yarn scraps (anywhere between 1-25m) sitting around your home that you want to get rid of, don’t hesitate to let me know! I’d be happy to repay the cost of postage to you as thanks. At the rate I’m knitting regular projects with my tiny stash, this blanket might not be done for another...decade, so I’d love to help take care of your yarn stash too! Acrylics are preferred but I won’t say no to animal fibers or wool-blends. GD’s already a healthy mix of both so I won’t mind at all. Just no cotton please!
Speaking of stash yarn, I went out and bought a pair of skeins for my first shawl pattern. I’ve been thinking a lot about which yarn to use for a shawl I intend to wear often, and while the fine wools at our LYS’s would be a joy to knit, dryer-ability would have to be the key for me. Heartland seemed like the best bet for now. I’m planning to use the Stingray pattern by Evan Plevinski. This pattern's been sitting in my queue for months now and am excited to start on this once Lassie’s finished (let’s just disregard the existence of my Regia Handpainted sock for now…I'm still trying to forgive its frustrating splitty yarn after all this time).
So this concludes my personal knitting update for now. It has really been one hell of a stashbusting month for me. I’ve been piling up some charity knits from the more obnoxious looking yarns people have been donating to me over time, expect a update about those once I’ve successfully eliminated that stash.

Foray into Crochet + Stash-busting

Yep, still stash-busting that inherited yarn. On Friday, I decided to finally learn to crochet something more than a simple slip-stitch border. I learned about single crochet by name, took to Youtube, and got right to it. After figuring out single crochet I wondered if there was such a thing as double crochet and repeated the process with another skein of my ugliest yarn. Come this afternoon, I'm well on my way to completing a big ol' crocheted circle/hexagon. Thanks Youtube! And thanks most of all to the kind crafters who took the time to make such clear instructional videos!

These massive swatches (well the rectangular ones anyway) measure something like 15" across each side, which happens to be great for a shelter cat or small dog. The lovely Rokoknits commented on my post about this on Instagram suggesting I look into a local shelter that would appreciate this donation, and I think it's just what I'll do. Thankfully cats don't really care about what color their blankies are so I'll have no qualms about donating such garish colors.

What you see here is my stash of 'free' yarn--that is, yarn that isn't attached to a project or plan of any kind.Those tinier wads of yarn on the very left are all cottons, which i'll go ahead and make into a washcloth for personal use. The bright pink cake at the top was given to me without a label so I'm unsure of what exactly it is. It might be Lion Brand sock-ease? If I don't suck it up and make some plain stockinette socks, they might just end up being crocheted held double in another little cat blanket or something.
It's really pleasing for me to have a system put together to handle the yarn stash. The once untouchable pastel acrylics are going to a good cause, the cottons will soon go to good use around the house, and any scraps left over from shop or personal projects will be food for GD.
The fantastic and creative Marie of Frogged Designs made it very easy to choose what to do with my sock-yarn scraps, so I'm just letting that small stash grow for my very own Operation: Sock Yarn.

STASH-BUSTING! ~


For those who are curious: I used this tutorial by theknitwitch to learn single crochet, and this tutorial by Andrea Lemire to learn double.
This page on The Purl Bee helped me figure out circular crochet, so I recommend it.

wip: The Great Devourer


Last week, I was browsing scrap yarn blanket patterns after looking at the overfull yarn basket in my room (as you do), and found just the thing I wanted to try out for myself—Joan L. Hamer’s Mindless Knitting, TV Watching, Scrap-User Upper Afghan.
I didn’t have a needle large or long enough, and I certainly didn’t have enough scraps lying around for an entire blanket. But I casted on. It took 20 minutes to do it, but I casted on and just got started. Since then, this project has really grown!

This project has been really difficult to put down, so at one point I’ve had to lock it in a different room so I can get other projects finished on time. But we are quickly becoming very good friends though! He is—or more accurately, they are, since this project contains MULTITUDES—always here for me during reading time, and is always happy to eat up whatever worsted weight bits and scraps I dig up while doing my cleaning. Which is why I’m going to name my new pet GD, short for Great Devourer.
As of today, GD is about 8” tall and easily at least 85” around (He’s a big ol’ tube shape for now). I’m looking forward to how much GD will grow when I next post about them.

How about you? Do you have a scrap busting project on standby for what’s left of your primary projects? Any plans for one soon? Do tell in the comment section!

fo: bapsi's first pullover

This has been such an indecisive project for me toward the end. Picking the pattern and yarn was a breeze. getting the knitting done? that hardly took a month to (mostly-will explain later) complete. But photographing it? Declaring it truly done? That’s been a completely different story.


pattern : Ladies Classic Raglan Pullover
yarn : Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Nature’s Brown
needle : US 7, 8 [4.5 mm, 5.0 mm]
size : 44"
I finished this sweater in late 2013. Yep. Twenty. THIRTEEN. In November. I hadn’t taken any FO photos, so Jason and I decided to just have a small forest hike/photoshoot while I was over in England. We did hike, yes. We saw miles of forest. We were just a 20 minute walk (if that) away from the woods on any given day. I stayed there for 6 whole months. Still no photoshoot, still no post about this being finished.
The reason for that is tiny, but a nagging one—

I couldn’t decide how long I really wanted these sleeves, so I left that bit of yarn hanging..just in case. Over a year and about 12,000 miles of travel later, I decided to just relax and finally make the decision. The sleeves are absolutely fine, and I’ll just let them be.
World, Bapsi’s first pullover. Bapsi’s first pullover, world.

BFP was a joy to knit if I remember it well. I felt very proud to have such a large WIP in my lap for those three or so weeks. I did have to redo the very beginning bit several times before getting it just right, but it was to be expected since I’d never made a sweater before. The rest was absolutely simple—just one big stockinette tube after another, with very gentle shaping around the waist and sleeves.

It lead me to learn about just how not-a-big-deal sweaters and larger garments really are at their core. It’s the same concept we do with hats and socks and the like. You increase sometimes, you decrease sometimes, you pick up stitches every now and then. The only difference between this and a hat is that you’re working with a much larger stitch count. And maybe you’re seaming a lot more than you might be used to (this particular pullover was seamless—thanks Jane Richmond!), but the core of it's really simple.
If you’ve never knit anything like this before, I highly recommend Jane Richmond’s pullover pattern. The way she’s handled sizing is super approachable and easy to read. I even printed copies of the worksheet well in advance because I’m confident I will knit from this pattern again and again in the future.

As for the Lassie sock, it's practically knitting itself! There are some parts that I completely ruin the pretty lace pattern but I'm just gonna accept those little mess-ups and move on. It's amazing enough for me to see a sock happening in my hands. I can't wait to see these done and in action. Already thinking about which yarn to knit with next.

feature: simple seed stitch coasters projects

It's been a real pleasure to see what people can do with my little Seed Stitch Coaster pattern! It's about as simple as a knitting pattern can possibly get, but the excitement is enough to hopefully offset any anxiety about publishing more complex ones in the future.
Here are some projects recently finished using my Simple Seed Stitch Coaster design from last year.
This photo belongs to Freshwind on Ravelry.
Freshwind's idea for making a coaster for both her mug and her Chemex was a great one. The orange yarn color complements the brewer's wooden feature really well! Here's her project page here.
This photo belongs to Rumbleforth on Ravelry.
I love that Rumbleforth made a set with colors that coordinate really well together. This looks like the pattern served its purpose well as a stash-busting opportunity here. You can find more information on her project here in her project page.
This photo belongs to Amyupnorth on Ravelry.
These coasters here were made with two strands of Brooklyn Tweed held together, and with a needle size down for a slightly smaller gaauge. I think this made for a really pretty effect! You can see more photos for yourself on her project page here.

I look forward to seeing more little projects popping up on my design's page in the future! If you have some worsted (or even fingering) weight scraps lying around, why don't you bust them with this quick knit?

wip: lassie socks + YOH day 1

In the beginning: how did you get into the craft?

My best friend in the 8th grade taught me how to purl using a pair of size 5 aluminum straights and some red heart yarn. After getting a hang of it I purled miles of garter stitch scarves in that size 5 gauge. I remember getting in trouble with some of my teachers while knitting in class because of the threatening look of those needles too. With some experimenting I figured out the knit stitch (which I later learned was actually the twisted knit stitch), and a really really tight bind-off method that didn’t involve knitting a stitch before pulling it over the next one. I don’t think I have any of my knit pieces from then anymore—they were all given away as gifts or to charities. I was the complete opposite of a selfish knitter back in the day!

After some time, I got into other hobbies and the knitting fell by the way side. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that I took an interest in it again after uncovering the stash in my closet. I pulled up a Youtube tutorial, learned about Ravelry.com, made this blog, and got right to it busting the old acrylic stash from middle school.

I’m glad I got into this craft the way that I did. The rediscovery of knitting came during a very difficult part of my life, offering a sort of therapy. Since picking up those needles again I learned a lot more about the process of learning and how to accept it. While it’s still a struggle to really let the mindset encompass the rest of my life, the importance of just getting to work is clear to me when I have a hat being knit in my hands. Any and every project, no matter how daunting, is done just one step(or stitch) at a time. And that blanket (or to take it further than that, portfolio, weight loss, or  song on the viola) just requires a little bit of time every day to see it done.

Speaking of projects—I finally picked what I wanted to see that Kroy sock yarn turn into. I made a point of looking only at my ravelry queue too to be good, and chose Lassie by Jennifer Beever. If you remember, in my previous post I was going to choose the Mr. Pitt’s Socks, but after doing a dozen or so rows of the cuff I realised that this was going to have to be adjusted to fit my smaller foot and ankle circumference (the pattern’s intended for a larger size) and just frogged the whole thing to start on Lassie. After getting as involved as I was about sizing and mods for Jason’s socks, all I want to do is follow a pattern and enjoy another person’s design decisions for a change. And so far it’s been a pleasure to see this pattern progress.

I mean, it may just be the fact that you actually see a motif appearing after a few rows but I feel like these are progressing much faster than the last ones did. When working on an all stockinette sock (even if it is in a self striping or variegated yarn) it feels like the damn thing is never going to get done sometimes. I think Lassie is just the thing I need right now and I think I might try to finish it within this month.

This post is part of Rebecca Bee Designs’ Year of Handmade. Click through to learn more and participate!