Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wee Little Flaxes

For a few months I enjoyed a brief respite from baby knitting and got to do some selfish knitting. Well...guess what? It's time to break out the baby knits again. Yep. Another round of baby announcements have happened and while I like to think I'm prepared, something in the back of my brain is saying "man, you're going to be SO busy in the next few months". Experience has taught me to pay attention and listen to this part of my brain and I'm thinking I need to get a reverse calendar going and start keeping meticulous lists or else I'll start feeling like a chicken with my head chopped off. Again.

I do have a slight head start though, in that I have a few things all ready to gift. Months and months (and months!) ago I had knit a few baby items meant for my cousin's little one. I had finished the knits well before she was due and so these knits just sat there. Waiting. Then she had her little one but by then life and time got the better of me and I ended up not sending her some of these cute wee things and now they probably won't fit, and if they do, it's the wrong season. Oops! Bad, bad knitter!! I completely vow to knit her mini one something über cute for this fall and I promise to send it to her before the summer is over!!

In the meantime I have these really adorable sweaters ready for the newest ones to arrive. They haven't been sent to their new owners yet and I'm not worried that this post will ruin the surprise, as I'm pretty sure they're not reading knitting blogs at the moment (they're not knitters). So let me show you what some little cuties will be sporting this fall.

Baby Flax!

It's so darn cute! I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this sweater and I absolutely love how it turned out. The pattern is Flax by Tin Can Knits. It's such a great, quick knit and the smallest size uses only a single skein of worsted weight yarn. But since I'm weary about knitting newborn sizes, I decided to knit the 6-12 months. I had a random solo skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in my stash and knew that I would have to either buy another skein or supplement with a contrasting yarn from my stash. I had the leftovers of Steam Age in Vintage on my desk from my Harvest cardigan (pattern also by Tin Can Knits) and decided to use it for the collar, cuffs, and hem and hoped that it would look ok. 

Oh man. The outcome? I LOVE it. I love it so much that I'm thinking I need to do something similar on a sweater for myself! It's a very subtle way of adding in pops of colour and I think overall would be great for either a wee lad or lass. And it was a great way to use up the leftovers of a colourway that I simply cannot get enough of! 

Aside from the contrasting collar, cuffs, and hem, I didn't do any mods. I did knit the sleeves two at a time because I was nearing the end of the skein and wanted to use up every last inch of the Tern. I ended up having to knit a few rounds in the Steam Age before starting the ribbing, but that's ok. I had knitted a few rounds of the body before starting the hem too, just in case, and I'm glad I did because now it all looks intentional.

A part of me wishes I was having another little one so that I can keep this. That's how much I love this sweater! Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time gifting this?

:: Sweater Details ::
Pattern: Flax by Tin Can Knits
Yarns: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage
Colours: Tern and Steam Age
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel-Plated Fixed Circulars in 4mm (US 6) and 5mm (US 8)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Baby Flax

I really enjoyed knitting the first Flax so much that I had immediately cast on for another. I also really liked the idea of using a contrasting yarn that I decided to do it again. This time I'm using a skein of SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Worsted in Blackberry for the body and leftovers from a cowl in the Rosebud colourway. Due the major contrast of colours, I decided to play it safe and knit up the 0-6 months size so that the pink is more crisp and defined as the collar, cuffs, and hem.

There's really not much else to say about this project, other than the fact that I can't get over the wee-ness of it. I'm also quite positive that I will be knitting up more little Flaxes in the future. The pattern is so easy peasy - I highly recommend it!! - and every little kiddo I've seen sporting one looks insanely adorable in it. 

Hmm...with that said I think I should knit another...

:: Sweater Details ::
Pattern: Flax by Tin Can Knits
Yarns: SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Worsted
Colours: Blackberry and Rosebud
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel-Plated Fixed Circulars in 4mm (US 6) and 5mm (US 8)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Baby Flax v.2

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Spring #Craftyblisschallenge

The warm weather is finally here! Well, on the Island, that is. Today and the past few days have been absolutely glorious - so beautiful and sunny. And HOT. Quite honestly, it feels more like summer than spring. I don't want to complain about this gorgeous weather, but it's totally obvious when I get dressed in the morning that I'm so NOT ready for this heat!! Eep! I definitely have some warm weather shopping to do! How about you? Are you prepared for the warmer months?

While I do some planning on my "warm weather capsule wardrobe", how about we do a Spring edition #CraftyBlissChallenge? Sounds like fun, yes? I'm pretty excited! The first challenge that Julie (of Knitted Bliss) and I ever hosted was so fun and so inspirational that we decided to do another! If you're new to my blog you can read about the challenge we had last fall here. If you've just joined or never participated in an Instagram challenge before it's a challenge that spans for a set number of days and each day you are given a photo prompt that you can interpret in any way you want, then take a photo and share it on your Instagram account. Our prompts are broad and not knitting specific, which means anybody can join in on the fun!

Like our last challenge, the Spring edition will also be 10 days long and will commence on Friday, April 22nd and will wrap up on Sunday, May 1st. Julie and I would love it if you could join us!

Check out the prompts:

To participate: Obviously you will need an Instagram account, it's free to sign up! Then for 10 days all you have to do is get creative, take photos daily, add captions (or not, it's totally up to you!), tag each photo with our special hashtag - #CraftyBlissChallenge, and share! To make life easier on yourself, you can save the image above or bookmark this post in your web browser and come back every day of the challenge to help you remember the prompts. 

Please note: if your account is set to private, neither Julie or I will be able to see your images!! So if you want to participate please set your account to "public" so that we can enjoy your photos and comments, and then when the challenge is over you can switch back to private.

Julie and I will be popping in a few times daily to share our own photos and to check out what people are posting via the hashtag feed. Follow both of on Instagram: Julie is @knittedblissjc and I'm @misocraftyknits to see our takes on the daily prompts (or to check out our feeds in general). Even if you don't want to or simply can't participate, I hope you will still follow along on the challenge and see what everyone is posting. A great little community forms and it's fun to get inspired, meet new people, follow new accounts, and yes...possibly add to your stash and queue!   

To add to the fun, two randomly selected participants who have completed all 10 days of the challenge will be chosen to win some knitterly goodies!! Who doesn't like goodies? Especially when it involves yarn? So remember to tag each photo with the hashtag #CraftyBlissChallenge so that Julie and I can see your photos and follow along on your challenge progress.

We hope you join us!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Knits In Progress: Breathing Space(s)

From my Instagram feed

I realized a few days ago that I've been knitting away on a few WIPs that I have yet to mention on the blog. I've posted numerous photos of them on Instagram, even all the swatches of the different colour combination possibilities. Somehow though it totally slipped my mind that I haven't mentioned a word of these WIPs on the blog. Oops! I have a feeling that I did what I typically do with emails...in that I think up and write the email in my head, with the intent of actually doing so at a later time when I'm able to sit down for longer than five minutes or when I don't have the Kiddo yapping (and yapping and yapping...) away in my ear non-stop. In this particular case, I think I've written the blog post in its entirety in my head shortly after separating for the sleeves on one of the tunics. And then promptly forgot to actually type up said blog post. All I can do is roll my eyes at myself.

At any rate, here we are and here I am finally telling you what's on my needles! It's Breathing Space by Veera Välimäki. Times two.

That's right. You read that correctly. I said two.

What??...How??...Why?? Wait...what?

Well...this is what went down. Back in February when Veera Välimäki and Joji Locatelli released their third collaboration, Interpretations Vol. 3, the Breathing Space tunic immediately caught my eye. It was love at first sight. I schemed for days thinking about what yarns and colours I wanted and could use. I was really hoping to use stash yarn and didn't want to have to go to my LYS to buy any. I've been obsessing lately (in case you haven't noticed) about using as much stash yarn as possible. I like to think of it as "stash appreciation". I mean, I bought the yarn because I love it. Why not knit it up before bringing home new yarn?

Anyhoo, even though I'm not a fan of using variegated yarns for garments (I don't like the idea of not being able to control how the colours play out), I liked how a speckled yarn was used in the Breathing Space sample and that the colours were broken up with alternating stripes of a solid colour. I can handle that. I tossed the stash and came up with only one skein of speckled-like yarn that I wanted to use: Captain Lovely by Lynai Yarns. It took me quite a while to find a complementary colour to go with Captain Lovely and I was so incredibly tempted SO many times to just run to my LYS to pick something up. But I resisted. 

My first swatch I tried using Madelinetosh Tosh Mo Light in a super vibrant purple (Ultramarine Violet) that I got during one of the Tosh sweater club rounds (pictured above at the top of photo), but thought the overly vivid colour took away from the speckled yarn. The second swatch was with Wollmeise Twin in a "We're Different Versuchskaninchen" colourway (meaning "guinea pig") that I think looks extremely close to Wollmeise's Admiral. At first I didn't like this combo because I thought the navy was too dark, but at the same time I liked how it sort of looked Breton shirt like and definitely nautical inspired. The more I looked at the swatch the more I thought about pairing Captain Lovely with a grey. Several people on Instagram thought the same thing too. The first grey I tried was Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Composition Book Grey (I think) and immediately knew it was too light (pictured above). I found a skein of Wollmeise Twin in a darker grey called 47Ag but it was too...flat? If that makes any sense. Either way I didn't like it. Four swatches later and I decided to go with my second choice, the navy.

From my Instagram feed

So I cast on and all seemed to be going well. Until I took a step back and realized that I didn't like the way my short rows were looking. Ugh. Riiiiip! On the second try I decided to use Cat Bordhi's method of short rows instead of the version used in the pattern. MUCH tidier. I continued knitting along, pleased as punch with how the colours were working up. Then to my horror I discovered that my gauge was looking a bit off. I measured several times in different areas and realized yes, my gauge was off in the striping area only by two stitches!! I have a sneaking suspicion that two factors are at play here: 1) Captain Lovely is thinner than the Wollmeise; and 2) my hands were on the achy side when I started the stripes, which I've noticed has been causing havoc with my gauge. Instead of doing something completely and totally drastic I decided to just take a deep breathe and set aside the project. 

Then I fumed. For several hours. 

Then I did something crazy. I grabbed two more skeins of yarn and I cast on for a second Breathing Space. Yeah. Super crazy. Rather than sort out my gauge issues I thought "meh, let's just cast on another". Because that's what sane knitters do. Right? Don't answer that. Regardless of whether or not if my sanity is intact, I've been wanting to knit a "neutral" coloured (re: black or grey) garment for quite some time now. Since I have a good number of solo skeins and two skeins of the same colour in Wollmeise I thought this would be not only the perfect opportunity, but also the perfect pattern to use them up with. So for the second version I'm using Schwarz (black) as my main colour and Maus Jung (tonal grey) for the contrast. 

BUT guess what? Tragedy strikes. AGAIN. Sweater knitting mojo, where are you?? This time my gauge was way too loose, even though I was using the same needle size as I had used for the last swatch. Thankfully I didn't start the striping yet, but I did get a huge chunk of knitting accomplished on this in a very short time span. I like to think a normal person would've just stopped. They would've taken a break from knitting or at least cast on something completely different. Not me. I'm stubborn like an ox. Instead I frogged it all and re-cast on seconds later with the needle size I had used for the first three swatches. Much better.

You'd think by now that all my bad luck has run out. Nope. I'm one of those knitters who thinks they know the pattern without actually reading it properly. Even though I printed out the pattern, read through it thoroughly (obviously not thoroughly enough), and highlighted numbers and a few very important instructions, I still carried on like I knew what I was doing. Have I not learned from the many mistakes I've already made with this pattern?? Guess not. On this second attempt on this second version I accidentally did an extra increase round on the yoke, then totally forgot I did that when I was finishing up the short row shaping on the body. It only dawned on me after I had tried on my work and thought the armholes felt a little tighter than I would have liked. I was perplexed but opted to keep the armhole as is, banking on the final weight of the tunic to help stretch it out in the long run. As I was knitting along, it hit me. When I divided up the sleeves from the body I didn't add the two extra stitches on each sleeve, so the body had an extra four stitches. Makes sense why I had to extra short rows to make the stripes meet up close enough on the one side. Man, you'd think I was a garment knitting noob. 

Once I got the second tunic all sort and well under way I decided it was time to tackle the first version. I laid it out and stared at it. I brought out my trusty knitting ruler and measured my gauge all over. Hemming and hawing ensued. A few minutes passed and I finally had a plan. The yoke was perfectly fine and I didn't have gauge trouble until I started the stripes. I took a pair of circular needles in a size smaller and picked up all the stitches in the round before I started the first stripe and then frogged back to that needle. Since the 4mm (US 6) was too big for Captain Lovely, I thought I would give 3.75mm (US 5) a try.    

From my Instagram feed

Now, you're probably thinking, would going down one needle size make a difference? Here's the thing, if I went down to a 3.5mm (US 4) the navy stripes would be too tight and dense. I figured I could make do with a compromise and use the size between. So I started knitting, divided up the sleeves from the body, started the short rows, kept knitting...the fabric seems fine to me. There's a one stitch difference between the two yarns, but overall I'm happy with what I'm producing and most importantly the tunic fits. Hopefully, all issues have been sorted out. Fingers crossed.

After weeks and weeks of stupid little mistakes, I'm happy to report that both tunics are now under way and have been smooth sailing. I just finished the waist decreases on the first tunic and have picked up the second to do the same. I think to make the knitting go faster, and so that I don't get bored, I've been knitting a section on one tunic and then knitting that same section on the second. I expect that by knitting these tunics this way I'll get them done roughly around the same time. Or at least that's the thought process behind this method. It's like knitting socks. 

Except with more crazy.

Please don't judge me.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5 Shawls, 5 Days

A few weeks ago I participated in a challenge hosted by Francoise of Aroha Knits. It was a challenge in which you knit five shawls in five days. Mini shawl samples, that is. The point of the challenge was to knit, learn, and demystify the basic shawl constructions and techniques of the five most common shawl shapes. The rules of the challenge were pretty simple: each day spend thirty minutes knitting a mini shawl using the shape construction designated for the day, which was emailed to you each morning. You were allowed to use whatever yarn weight and composition that you wanted with whichever needle size that suited that yarn. Francoise really encouraged knitters to try different increases or decreases, to try a stitch pattern, to try knitting another sample in a different yarn weight, to try anything - just experiment and most of all, have fun. It was the perfect challenge for aspiring shawl designers and for those wanting to learn more about shawl construction. 

I signed up for the challenge because of the latter, I really did want to learn more about shawl construction and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Francoise's daily Periscope videos in which she gave tips and advice on each shawl shape and even explained how to use a spreadsheet to figure out stitch counts. I liked that the challenge didn't feel at all stressful or like I had to have the day's shape done before midnight. Probably because there were two groups of knitters: one in which participants in the official challenge was entered to win an eBook copy of Francoise's book, Forming Shawl and Their Charts; and the second group were for people who signed up late. Even though I was in the first group, we had an extra few days to get our samples knitted up and posted. Seriously, no stress. At all. 

The shape for Day 1 was the triangle shawl with the popular garter tab cast-on:

I personally think this is the most popular shawl shape. I used some leftover yarn from a baby knit (The Sanguine Gryphon Sea Sock in Canyon Flower, in case you were wondering) and opted to do a garter stitch border before binding off using the Icelandic Bind-Off method. I had several "a-ha!" moments, especially when figuring out numbers on a spreadsheet, and can see why this shape is so easy to design for. The only problem that I had with this sample was the yarn. Love the colour, didn't care for the texture it created. Even after a soak and being blocked, the stitches looked wonky and uneven. So not a fan of that!

On Day 2 the shape was crescent:   

I absolutely love this shape. Of all the shawls I have in my wardrobe, this is the shape that I wear the most. I wear my shawls "bandana style" and find that there's never enough of a wing span with a triangle shawl to wear comfortably around my neck without feeling like I'm being choked. And most of the time if the wing span is wide enough, usually the height is way too long and the point of the triangular shawl is well past my belly button. 

Crescent shaped shawls though, have the wide wing span I love and need, and covers enough of my chest without overwhelming my frame. I think this is why my Color Affection shawl is the most worn shawl out of my entire collection. For this sample I used yarn that has been sitting on my desk shelf for years, for reasons completely unknown (Zen String Lotus Toes Fingering in Georgia). I absolutely loved knitting this sample and would like to take some time to explore more with this shape. I didn't do anything fancy with this sample, other than using a Russian Bind-Off (also called Lace Bind-Off), because I got so caught up in how the yarn was knitting up that by the time it got to a certain size it was too late to try anything decorative. While there was no regulation as to how big the samples needed to be, I wanted mine to all be relatively the same size. I'm just weird like that. 

Next up, Day 3: asymmetrical:

Francoise had mentioned in her Periscope video that she noticed that asymmetrical shawls were a huge trend that didn't seem to be going away any time soon. I happen to agree. The first patterns that came to my mind were pretty much all of Martina Behm's, especially the über popular Hitchhiker and Trillian shawls. I absolutely love knitting this type of shawl shape but find that I have a harder time trying to wear them because I tend to tug at them trying to make the ends even. Sometimes, just like in triangle shaped shawls, there's just not enough of a wing span for my liking.

With all that said, I would still like to explore this type of construction more. There has been such a rise of shawl patterns using this construction as a guideline (Match & Move by Martina Behm and Zsuzsika by Taiga Hilliard both come to mind) that the design possibilities are truly endless, and the more I think about it, the more design ideas I get. That's not a bad thing at all! I have no idea what yarn this is, it was an un-labeled mini skein that I found in my bag of minis. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is Sunshine Yarns Merino Sport in Alice's Porsche. It's much thicker than your typical fingering weight and yet it didn't look right next to the strands of DK weight that I had put it next to. Also, a quick peak at my Ravelry project page and I discovered that I had used this yarn for Stephen West's Akimbo shawl way back in the day. I definitely had a fair amount leftover (and back then I didn't record in my notes just exactly how much I had leftover), so by deduction, I think this is what the yarn is.

Day 4's shape, half-pi, was a really hard one for me. After several attempts I finally achieved something passable:

My very first attempt looked like a cone and I tried to block it while it was still attached to the ball but it simply refused to block out of its cone shape. So I frogged it and tried again with a much larger needle. No dice. I switched yarns thinking something thinner would help. It sort of worked, it now resembled one of those hand-held fans. Riiiiiiiip!! I cast on the garter tab once more, this time with an even thinner yarn (Sweet Fiber Yarn's Sweet Merino Lite in Sapphire) and I was going to make increases like no tomorrow. Yeah, at this point I was mad at this shape. Some very un-lady-like language may have been uttered under my breath.

Now, the construction was half-pi but I think it looks like a crescent. Quite honestly, even though I favourited and queued several patterns using this shape on Ravelry, I highly doubt I would wear them. I might knit one for the sake of knitting it, and then donate or gift it, but I don't see this shape as one that I could wear comfortably. Cause you know...yep. Wing span. Or lack thereof, I should say. And I'm not at all graceful enough to be one of those knitters who can casually drape a shawl over my shoulders and have it actually stay put. Nor am I the kind that can wear shawl pins without stabbing myself a million times before I yank it off in frustration. I'm the type of knitter who is so klutzy that the casual draping of the shawl around my shoulders would fall off, causing me to trip, step all over the shawl, and thereby destroying the knit somehow. SO not graceful. I give major kudos to those of you who can pull of this shape!

And last, but not least, Day 5: square:

This shape was hands down my most favourite to knit. So.much.fun! I used some leftover Knit Picks Bare Tweed (which is now discontinued...sad face!) that I had dyed with some cherry Kool-Aid to match the rest of the tweedy yarn that I had used in a pair of Climb socks. While knitting this mini sample I genuinely didn't think I've ever knit this shape before in my life. 

Lies. All lies. I have.

Twice. In my Nuvem shawl and in the still unfinished Dahlia cardigan. While I've gotten a fair amount of use from my Nuvem, this shape is not as versatile to me as a knit I'd wear, but moreso one I'd like to use as either a detail (like in the Dahlia cardigan) or as decoration...like in a blanket. I now have a very strong urge to knit a Vivid by Tin Can Knits...

Anyhoo, in summation I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and look forward to the next one. I learned some new things and am eager to test out my new knowledge and try my hand at shawl design. It's probably not an intention but this challenge also pinpointed exactly what I like and don't like in a shawl and hopefully will help me make better pattern choices in the future. Thank you so much Francoise/Aroha Knits!! How about you? What kinds of shawls do you like to knit and/or wear?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Getting Social

In the past few weeks I've noticed a shift in my social media. I'm not sure if it's just my imagination or if it's a result of Instagram's new algorithm changes, but I've observed a slight decline: people weren't posting and/or my feed stayed the same (especially on Facebook), and views and likes were down. Sometimes some posts were barely viewed, if at all. What gives? Is there a new social media platform that I'm not aware of that people are jumping on board for? Have I become a dinosaur and just no longer know what's hip any more? Hmm...

Out of curiosity as to whether or not if other people have noticed this occurrence, I decided to scroll through my blogroll (I'm SO behind on my blog reading, it's not even funny!) and see if anything has been mentioned. While nothing specific was commented on, I did note that quite a few bloggers posted about what current or new social media platforms they could be found on and were were using the most, in case others decided to or were thinking of jumping ship on a particular social media. What a good idea!, I thought. So I took a look at all the social media platforms that I dabble in...and realized that I really needed to update a few of them!! Yikes! I really need to be more on top of these little details and put down the knitting needles from time to time to take quick peeks of what readers see when they land on these pages, rather than sticking to the ones that I see as the person who posts the content. Note to self...

Anyhoo, so here we are. I've complied a list of all the different social media platforms that I actively take part in. You can also find the "shortcut" buttons on the sidebar for easier access at a later date. Of course, you don't have to follow me on all these platforms, pick whichever is easiest for you to use and to stay up to date. I thought by using several outlets it would be easier to connect with fellow knitters and makers. 

Instagram ♥ @misocraftyknits
This is by far my most favourite social media platform. I post quite regularly, almost daily. This is definitely where you can find the most up to date info on what I'm working on, what I've finished, and what I'm planning on next. Because Instagram has changed to an algorithm system, you might not get to see all the photos I post. To change this, please feel free to turn on the notifications for my posts by clicking on the three dots in the upper right hand corner when you're looking at either my profile or one of my photos and select "Turn on Post Notifications". 

FacebookMiso Crafty Knits
I post a fair amount on Facebook: new blog posts, shop updates, knitty related photos I've found online, sales and updates from my favourite dyers and designers, and sometimes the photos I've shared on my Instagram. I try not to repeat myself too much or plaster the same photo(s)/content over and over across all the platforms so not everything is shared here. Recently Facebook has changed how I'm allowed to use my page and I discovered that I don't get all the notifications, but I do check-in often and try to be as prompt as I can in responding to comments and questions.

If you want to know absolutely everything, Twitter is the place to go. I automatically share every blog post, every Instagram photo, almost every single item that's been added to the Etsy shop, and even whatever random thought that pops into my head (that is, when I'm close to an actual computer. My smartphone is considered super old so I don't use Twitter on it). It's usually knitting related but don't be surprise if I'm talking about kombucha, true crime podcasts, or my frustrations with my lack of tech savviness. I'll also re-tweet things of interest, like other knitters' posts, yarn/pattern sales, funny anecdotes, giveaways and contests, and awesome manicure photos, to name a few. I'm not on Twitter 24/7 but I do make a point to check-in in the morning and in the evening and do try to interact with any tweets left for me that isn't spammy. Twitter makes it really easy to connect and post with other platforms (hence why everything is posted here), but without all the fuss and excessive chit chat. It's completely short and sweet and to the point.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not that active on Ravelry. Mainly because it becomes a massive rabbit hole for me and before I know it, five hours have gone by and I've done nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even knit a single stitch. I do, however, keep my project pages very up to date and try my hardest to keep diligent notes. I will confess that I'm incredibly behind in my messages though. I have that horrible habit that I know a lot of people suffer from, in which I read a message with the intent of responding later when I have more time to string together a proper response. Then effectively forget all about it the second I close the browser. I'm SO sorry to anyone who has sent me a message. I'll get there!

This is a new platform that I just signed up for. I still don't quite understand how to use Ello but I'm loving the fact that you can make posts directly from your computer. I signed up for Ello in case I needed an alternative to Instagram. So far the posts have been the same photos that I post on Instagram but plan on taking advantage of the fact that you can have as many photos as you want in a single post. Perfect for when I (finally) have an FO to show and want to include detail shots. 

I'm all over the place when it comes to pinning stuff and truthfully, I use my boards more for my own purposes and as a source of inspiration rather than as a place to gather more readers and blog clicks. If other people like what I pin, then cool. If not, I still think what I pinned is awesome enough for me to pin. I honestly had no idea you can send messages on Pinterest and don't know if there's any other ways of interacting with other Pinners, other than liking their pins. I have no idea if I'm even using Pinterest properly. So with that in mind, I don't interact on this platform. I'm just here to pin things I like.

Bloglovin'Miso Crafty Knits
This is another platform that I'm not quite sure I understand or know how to use "properly", but I'm on there! Bloglovin' automatically posts any blog posts I make onto Twitter, but other than that, I mainly use Bloglovin' as one of my blogroll readers (I also use Feedly, it really depends on what device I'm using).

Well, that's it. I think I'm pretty easy to find on social media, as you can pretty much type in misocraftyknits anywhere and 99.9% of the time it's me. If all else fails, there's always email, which is misocraftyknits at gmail dot com. 

Which social media platforms do you use? I hope we can connect!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Knit In Progress: Vanilla Is The New Black

Spring Break is over. The Kiddo is back in school. It has been over a week and trying to get into a routine has been hard. Well...for me, it has been. The Kiddo needs and thrives on routine, like most kids do, and so he was able to jump back into it pretty darn quickly. I, on the other hand, have been struggling. Despite my perpetual list making, I've been feeling like a chicken with my head chopped off. There's so much that I need and want to do, but just can't seem to get down to it and at the end of the day I'm left disappointed in myself and wondering what in the world am I doing with my time. 


Luckily I'm able to knit my frustrations away. Sort of. But I did start a new sock. I had no idea what I was going to knit, I just knew that I wanted to knit with my skein of Prairie Dye Studio Wild Rose sock yarn (in the Prairie Sage colourway, in case you're wondering!). Without thinking, I cast on my usual amount of stitches (64 sts) and started knitting a 2x2 ribbed cuff.  I guess I was going to knit something top-down. While scrolling through my Instagram feed I noticed that a few people were knitting a very interesting heel on what appeared to be an otherwise plain vanilla sock. I also noticed the phrase/name Vanilla is the New Black kept popping up. So I decided to check it out.   

I immediately fell in love with the heel and before I knew it I was already completing the check out process on Ravelry with the pattern! Guess what sock pattern I'm now knitting?

Fortunately for me, 64 stitches was one of the size options in the pattern so I don't have to do any increasing or decreasing once I get to the heel. Since it's a plain vanilla sock the pattern is pretty basic with 90% of the instructions dedicated to the heel. I don't foresee myself finishing these socks quickly or any time soon as they've been designated as my official purse knitting project. As of this post my first sock measures three inches tall - two inches for the cuff and one inch of stockinette.

So far I'm thoroughly enjoying knitting with the Prairie Dye Studio yarn, it's so incredibly soft and sometimes I forget that it's not an MCN base - yes, it's that soft!! I'm also enjoying watching the colours build up and have concluded that my favourite bits are when I hit the stretches of the deep, vibrant green. I'm really looking forward to knitting up the heel and think the best part of all that the finished sock will be reversible!! Yes, reversible!! Sounds cool, right? I absolutely love the idea of this and can't wait to see it in person for myself. You'd think this alone would be enough for me to knit the sock up on the quick but alas, no. With the weather warming up the need to wear socks is dissipating and so my knitting priorities lie elsewhere. Like lightweight tunics. Baby knits. And charity knits.

But you know me, I can not have socks on the needles. How about you?


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fresh Off The Needles: Cheesecake Socks

Hey Friends!! After a mini two week hiatus for Spring Break, I think it's time to get back into a routine (finally!) and back into blogging. It was quite obvious from the get-go that trying to get anything done with the Kiddo around was not going to happen. Having the Kiddo around made my days feel much shorter. Probably because the days during the break were filled with making as many memories as possible while the nights were utilized for much needed quiet "me time", which was spent knitting and listening to true crime podcasts. I took advantage of the Mister's early nights off and tried to meet up with friends for knit dates as often as I could and even got my butt to a knit night. It's amazing how much you crave adult conversation after spending a day with a 7 year old! And it's weird to think how I once couldn't wait for my son to start talking, and now I just want him to be quiet long enough for me to have a proper thought. Ah, parenting.

Anyhoo, whenever I tried to sit down and blog something always came up and interrupted my train of thought - neighbours demanding to know who parked in their spot, the Kiddo dropping an entire box of cereal all over the floor, family or friends popping by unexpectedly or an hour earlier than planned, a bottle of kombucha exploding all over the kitchen...you know, life. It's actually amazing that I got as much knitting accomplished as I did. One of the things I finished up: the fourth pair of socks for the year!

Yes, I finally got my Regia "Cheesecake" socks off the needles and added to my handknit socks collection!

I honestly didn't think I would get these socks off the needles any time soon as I had reserved them strictly for purse knitting, but last Friday's knit night gave them a real big boost. It had been a while since my Friday knitting group had a beer night so one of the lovely ladies took it upon herself to organize a beer and music bingo night. Past experience has taught me to not bring a project that involves too much thinking and the only knit that I had that was truly mindless were these socks.

While I didn't win at music bingo, I did whip up the rest of the foot and half of the toe decreases in between guessing 50s and 60s tunes, classic rock, and American hits. Since I only had a few more rounds to go I decided on Sunday to just finish the sock so that I could cast on something new. And so I did.

I really love how this pair turned out. At first I wasn't quite sure how I felt about starting the heel so quickly after the last stripe, as I was a bit worried about the sock being too tall and my cast on was a little on the tight side on the first sock. But now that it's all done and there's nothing I can do about it now, I like how the foot looks like a footie sock over the stripes. I think the leg could have been half an inch taller and I now realize that I probably could have pulled off a traditional heel flap without messing up the stripes and ending up with socks that were too tall for my short legs. I like how the Fish Lips Kiss Heel look with this yarn and how it doesn't take your attention away from the main attraction: the stripes.

The battery for my scale died so I couldn't weigh out my remnants but I did re-wind them and came away with two golf-ball sized leftovers. I knew going into this project that I was not going to use up the entire skein, I never do when it comes to socks for me. I have one more ball of this yarn in a beautiful "Cinnamon" colourway that I plan on either knitting up with a typical heel flap or, if I'm feeling it at the time I get around to knitting it up, to weigh a leftover ball and try winding that much off of the skein so that I can knit a toe-up pair and still have the stripes on the leg. It sounds like a lot of work and it's quite possible that I'll be too lazy to make the effort, but it's an idea. Just to switch things up a bit. Variety, it's the spice of life. Right?

You can't tell but one of the socks fits a smidge more relaxed than the other. The tighter sock was the first of the pair to be knit up, when my hands were feeling great. My gauge became increasing loose the more I knit on other projects. Hopefully it won't affect how the socks wear over time. To date all of my socks are still in great, wearable condition and out of the entire collection there is only one pair that fits fairly loose and bags - and that pair was one of my beginner pairs, knitted in a thicker sock yarn than I was used to at the time. I like to think I've got my sock game down pat to the point where I can almost guarantee a fantastic fit. But that might change as my hands heal and I can keep the CTS at bay.

Even if these socks do loosen up a bit I feel certain that a quick tumble in the dryer will shrink them back up nicely without sacrificing the overall quality. Of all the yarns I've ever used for socks, whether it was cheap or expensive, I've found that Regia has always knit and held up beautifully. Seriously. Regia can do no wrong in my eyes!

And I think this fun stripey pair just confirms that! 

PS: I haven't washed and properly blocked these beauties yet!

:: Sock Details ::
Pattern: My usual plain vanilla sock recipe and numbers with FLK heel

Yarn: Regia Pairfect
Colour: #7117 "Cheesecake"
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Cheesecake Socks


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