Monday, September 22, 2014

Knit In Progress: Sprinkled Skyp

This morning has been a grey and dreary one here on my part of the Island. And if you're living in the province of BC, then it's also the first day back to school (finally!!). So I thought I would start the week by posting something bright and fun! Enter: my 8th pair of socks for the Socks With Sarah KAL and my 10th pair for the year.

I decided to take a break from plain vanilla socks and went with a patterned sock - the Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku of Mushroom Knits. The yarn, I purchased at this year's Fibrations, is Graffiti by Rain City Knits. I absolutely love this yarn and it always brings a smile to my face every time I get the chance to knit a few stitches with it. I love how pink it is without being overly pink - if that makes any sense. I love the flashes of bright turquoise, deep purple, and the oh so fun neon yellow - which my camera can not do any justice as to how bright and neon-y it really is.

The pattern is super simple and feels somewhat like a step above plain vanilla with its easy to memorize stitch pattern. I was hoping to find something that would break up the colours a little and would highlight the colours well. I'm still on the fence as to whether this project is a good match up of yarn and pattern. I like how the yarn is knitting up but I'm not sure if the Skyp pattern is getting lost in all the crazy colours. Yet I love how the stitches are adding great texture to the knit. A part of me thinks I'm just so use to plain vanilla that everything else will just look odd to me. I guess I'll just have to keep knitting in order to find out. I find that it's so much easier for me to rip out my work when it's just a sock, so if I don't like how the sock is knitting up I can always frog and try something else. But I have a feeling that I will most likely keep it as is. It's just a sock, after all.

Surprise! This photo was taken from my Instagram

At the time of writing this post I'm currently at the point where I start the heel flap. I was going to do the Fish Lips Kiss heel but decided last minute to stick with the heel flap that's used in the pattern. I have to admit, I love a good heel flap, and with all the self-striping yarns that I have lined up to knit, I don't get the chance to knit heel flaps that often. That, and I'm quite curious as to how this colourway will look in a slipped stitch heel.

If I didn't have other deadlines to attend to I reckon that these socks would be finished in a flash. Considering that I've rarely knit on this project, in a 2 week span I've got half a sock done. Not bad, right? They won't be finished by the time the month is over but definitely by the end of October. But who knows, if the weather keeps being all grey and gross I just might be more inclined to knit on these to get me out of the colourless funk that fall can sometimes bring.

Any one else knitting on some wildly bright and colourful socks? These past few days I've changed up my sock yarn line up to include nothing but bright, gotta-put-my-shades-on colourways. And yes, I have a sock yarn line up. It's a handful of skeins that I plan on putting on my needles next. There's no particular order, I either just blindly grab whatever or if I'm feeling picky will take whichever one that suits my mood. They all live on the table next to my side of the bed (in a Ziplock bag, of course!) - it's half inspiration to knit, half "they're so pretty I can't bare to keep them buried in the stash". Tell me that I'm not the only one who does this...right?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer Obsessions

It's halfway through the month and I'm only just now posting the newest Obsessions list. Oops! But I should cut myself some slack, after all, this is my second post this week! I haven't done that in ages!! But I'm making it my mission to blog more for the rest of the year. Yay!

Anyhoo, as I've mentioned before, the summer months messed me up a little, time-wise. The teachers' strike and school ending earlier than scheduled (who knew a week could make such a difference?), having the Munchkin home full-time, sewing and prepping for Fibrations, and trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather really took up all my time. Any spare time that I did have went towards knitting. Before I knew it, July was over and August was already halfway in. I had completely forgotten to write up and post a July Obsessions list!!

So instead of trying to rush and churn out two separate Obsessions posts for both July and August, here's a condensed list of the few summer obsessions:

1. Highlighter Tape

Over the past few years I've been trying out different methods of trying to keep track of my place in patterns and charts - pens, highlighters, and Post-Its on hard copies of printed paper, magnetic chart keepers, handmade chart holders, tablet apps...if it was capable of holding a pattern and/or chart, I had it. Every method had their pros and cons and I don't really favour one over another - although I do prefer to go as waste-less as I possibly can. Meaning if a pattern is simple and easy (like socks) I'll keep it on my tablet and refer to it when needed. If I need to keep track of rows/rounds, increases/decreases, and any information required to obtain a symmetrical and/or even length of pieces, then I'll print out or photo copy the pattern so that I can write all over as needed. When it comes to charts, it all depends on the complexity. If it's super easy to memorize and doesn't require shaping and "at the same time" instructions, then I'll refer to it on my tablet or phone. If it's more involved, then I'll definitely print it out. To keep track of my place on charts I use either highlighters or highlighter tape. 

Over the summer I was working on a test knits and knitting up swatches (for inspiration) and found that I was preferring the (moveable) highlighter tape over the (permanent) highlighter. Aside from the obvious keeping track of which row of the chart I was on, I was also using small pieces of the tape over the beginning of the sentence of the instructions I was currently on. Then it got to the point where I was also using the tape in my bullet journal, bills, notes to the Mister, and notes to myself (because who doesn't need to be reminded that you're out of milk?). Before I knew it, I've accumulated a nice stash of highlighter tape - all ready to go for all that fall and winter knitting that's about to commence!

:: TIP :: If you're frugal like me, to prolong the life of your pieces of tape put your chart in a page protector and stick the tape on top. The page protector makes it easier to take the tape on and off. For small charts, use packing tape over the chart as a barrier for the same effect. 

2. Sweetlegs Leggings


Towards the end of summer I was introduced to Sweetlegs leggings. At first I thought they were like every other leggings that were on the market and had bought a single pair without seeing them in person, solely because I loved the skull print (pictured above). When I got them in my hands I was wow'd by the incredible softness of the fabric. When I tried them on I was surprised as to how opaque the fabric remained, even when stretched over my legs, and how the print didn't distort or become 'shiny' (usually from the lycra in the fabric). I completely fell in love after an hour of wear, when I realized just how comfortable they truly are. Seriously, I felt like I was wearing nothing at all (and yet, I couldn't stop molesting my own legs, the fabric is just soooo cuddly soft!). Suddenly my solo pair morphed into five, with a handful more ordered. If you follow me on Instagram then you've already seen some of the prints I have. If not, I'm sure you'll be seeing some of them make cameo appearances on the blog!

3. Tunic Length Tops

Sweater Quantities
Future tunic-length garments

Needless to say I'm going to require some clothes to wear with my Sweetlegs leggings. While it would probably be easier and faster for me to sew a bunch of jersey knit tops, I'm pretty determined to hand knit a few before the winter is over. That, and I really need to get my serger serviced as it is in dire need of a new blade and a good cleaning!

I already have a good idea as to what patterns I want to knit up and as much as I would like to knit them all in neutral colours (re: black or grey), my bank account statement is demanding that I knit from stash. Sadly I do not have any sweater quantities in either black or grey so I'm either going to have to get creative or be content in wearing a lot of colour. On the knit list thus far: Veera Välimäki's Laneway, Amy Miller's Sweet Jane and Isabel, a lengthened Tin Can Knits Harvest, and possibly Joji Locatelli's Boxy Cape (which isn't tunic length, but I think would look awesome over a simple, black, tunic length basic tee or tank - as long as it covers my butt. The cape would merely be a cozy snuggly piece that could possibly cover up the tummy area while offering some warmth).

What do you think? Got any other tunic-like pattern ideas?

4. Cold Brew

I don't think I could have made it through the summer and my Fibrations prep without the aid of Discovery Coffee's Cold Brew (and sometimes decadent donuts!). I used to think all iced coffee were the same - just make simple double strength coffee, chill, and add ice cubes (I like my coffee black, even iced). Boy, was I wrong!! The cold brew method is definitely the way to go!! Cold brew coffee is just soooo smoooooth, clean, bright, and even a non-iced coffee drinker would find this a pleasant and refreshing treat on a hot summer's day. I also love that Discovery offers their cold brew in cool looking bottles that you can return and refill. Because trust me, I refilled mine a lot over the summer. And I mean a lot.

5. Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup


In the May Obsessions post I listed lavender as one of my obsessions. Well, lavender makes another appearance on the obsessions list. But this time in the form of lavender-infused simple syrup. At the start of the summer the Mister and I had made a pallet garden for our kitchen balcony and my two little lavender plants yielded enough buds to soak in a batch of simple syrup. I wasn't sure how long the syrup would keep for and so I was using it in everything. Mainly in tea lattes (fairy tea...oh yeah!) and as the sweetener in lemonades (the winner beverage of the summer!). I tried baking blueberry muffins with the syrup but the lavender was too soft of a flavour to even noticed. I'm going to have to use the actual buds next time for a proper flavour impact. 

I'm sad that my little jar of syrup is almost gone. I think I have enough for a few more fairy tea lattes. But you know what? It's probably for the best. Aside from this syrup I've been cutting down on my sugar intake and I'm sure my body will be happy once this lavender-infused yumminess is all gone! 

Well, that, my Friends, was the gist of my summer. It doesn't seem like much now that I'm thinking back on it, but with all that was going on I'm surprised that I even remember this much! How was your summer? What were you up to?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Off The Needles: A Sock Parade!

In the spirit of trying to get this blog up to date on all the knitty action that has been going on around the Miso household, I thought I would finally post all the sock FOs that have been gracing both my feet and my Instagram account since the beginning of time. Ok. Maybe it hasn't been that long. But seriously, aside from the CaterpillarGreen Yarns Concrete and Tulips socks post from a few months ago, I haven't made a sock FO post since February!! It's been all "here's what's on my needles" but nothing about what has been coming off them. I honestly do finish projects, I swear!!

Now, while my sock knitting isn't as fanatical as it was at the beginning of the year, I'm pretty pleased with myself for having churned out 6 pairs of socks in an eight month span. Especially considering that I've been working on other knits and have been sewing up a storm (or at least tempting to). In the meantime I've been accumulating sock yarn like there's no tomorrow. Does that count? It's guaranteed future sock FOs. Well, it's what I tell myself anyways.

Anyhoo, without further ado I give you a mid-year sock parade!!

:: JECK ::

This pair came off the needles in February and since then I've tried to take an accurate photo of the blues within the colourway. The photo above is the best I can do. The turquoise blue is just so vibrant and bright against the cobalt. I don't know if you can see it in the photo, but there are also some lovely peek-a-boo stitches of cappuccino beige and coffee brown throughout. Mixed together, it's just so, so lovely. 

I hemmed and hawed about the toe and whether I should do my standard toe or the one used in the pattern. In the end I went with what was written in the pattern - only to rip it back twice as I didn't like how the stitches at the side of the leg wasn't lining up with the decorative ones along the toe box. I fiddled around and moved the stitches a bit so that they would all line up nice and neat, and be more pleasing to my eye. For a more detailed account of what I did, check out my Ravelry project page (link below).

:: Details ::
Pattern: Jeck by Regina Satta
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Colour: Cold Mountain
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Jeck

:: HUDSON ::

From my Instagram Hudson socks. Or otherwise known as "Canadiana" - the actual name of this colourway, now currently being dyed by Jo of Fishknits Yarn (it was originally dyed by my friend Em when she was Everything Old, and has since passed on the formula to Fishknits Yarn), and has been made famous by Susan B. Anderson when she knit her pair of Hudson Bay socks last month.

I took my merry little time knitting this pair up. It was just so much fun to knit! Yes, even the plain, cream coloured foot was enjoyable - solely because I still got to see the fun stripes on the leg as I knit along (pun completely intended!!). I didn't even mind that I had to re-do the heel on my second sock a few times if it meant that I got to spend some more time with this yarn. It got to the point where I procrastinated on grafting the toes together on that second sock simply because I didn't want this project to end!

I'm particularly proud of the joins between the heel flap and gusset, which I normally get the tiniest of holes. I'm a firm believer that when something is simple, such as a plain vanilla sock, the item itself demands to be nothing less than perfection. After all, there's nothing there to disguise the mistakes and flaws. Especially when the fabric you're creating is as light as this cream coloured base. So I'm beyond pleased as punch to have produced a pair of socks that don't contain the usual little flubs that hand knit socks generally contain. Just don't expect me to pull this feat off again though. Because the chances of that happening are pretty slim!

:: Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla leg-down recipe

Yarn: Everything Old Signature Sock (dyer no longer in business but you can purchase this colourway via Fishknits Yarn)
Colour: Canadiana
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Hudson


Unikitty 2

Next up on the docket: the highly anticipated Lego kitty inspired socks, Unikitty!! Highly anticipated by who, you ask? Well, by me! I had decided to knit these socks until I ran out of yarn, which meant they turned out to be taller than my usual socks but not quite knee high either. They're definitely an awkward height but you know what? I love them just the same. They'll be great with my rain boots and will always bring a smile to my face whenever I wear them.

I used my usual plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe with an afterthought heel, and had started my sets of increases at the center back when I reached calf height. I took a lucky guess as to when to start the 2x2 ribbing for the cuff and managed to eek out 2 inches of ribbing before I started the game of "yardage chicken" on the bind off. In total I used one ball of yarn for each sock. 

Not only is this the fourth pair of socks for the Socks With Sarah KAL, but I also used them for my Stash Dash final yardage count. You know me, I love a good two-fer! I haven't had the chance to wear these yet but I've gotten a lot of compliments on them while I was knitting them. It saddens me deeply that Knit Picks has discontinued the Felici line and wonder if they have received enough hate emails and messages of concern to make them consider re-introducing the yarn back into their product line-up? I know of several knitters who have been patrolling Ravelry stashes in hopes of snatching up a few skeins of this colourway. If I didn't already have 2 skeins in reserve, I'd be on the look out too!

:: Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici (now discontinued)
Colour: Jellybean
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Unikitty


Positively Pink

This pair of socks have actually been on the needles for years before I finally decided that it was time to just buckle down, knit them up, and get these bad boys off the needles. One of the dangers of having such an old WIP is that over time (and in this case, years) your gauge changes. When I had cast on this pair back in 2011 I guess I was somewhat of a looser knitter than I am today because I was using a pair of 2mm (US 0) needles. I tried to match my gauge in hopes that I didn't have to change needles, which I think I managed to pull off - minus the tight little line that goes across the top of the foot where it meets the ankle on both socks (you can kind of see it on the photo above). 

When I first started these socks I had intended to knit them with a short-row heel, and throughout the years I had picked these socks up and knit a round here and there. This time, I decided that the short-row heel just wasn't working out for me (re: SO many holes!! Ack!!) so I ripped back both socks (luckily only one sock had any real leg progress going on while the other had a mere few rounds after the heel) and went with a simple gusset heel. Generally I'm not a fan of heels that could interfere with the striping action on the top of the foot but this time I gave in and went with the flow. Luck was definitely on my side for this project, as the pinks were sometimes so close in shade that I really couldn't tell that there was one stripe that just wasn't like the others. But let's not talk too much about it...don't want to all of a sudden get stuck on that and get the urge to do something rip out the socks and re-do the heels. Cause only extremely insane knitters would do that.

Moving on.

Once I fixed the heels these socks had knit up in a flash and after three years of being on the needles, these bad boys are finally done, done, DONE!!! feels good!

:: Details ::
Pattern: My usual plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe using a gusset heel
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici (now discontinued)
Colour: Positively Pink
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated Circulars in 2.0mm (US 0)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Positively Pink Striped Socks


Fish Lips Kissing

And finally, the last pair of socks in this FO parade: the stunning (if I do say so myself!) hand-dyed by me, Fish Lips Kissing socks! Aside from the heel everything about this pair is pretty much my usual plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe. I was pretty surprised as to how dead on I already was about when to start the heel on my socks. The instructions for the Fish Lips Kiss Heel has you constructing a template of your foot, and with simple math you find out exactly where you should be starting the heel. My usual measurement was mere millimetres off! 

The FIsh Lips Kiss Heel is such an easy peasy heel to knit up, despite the fact that the instructions are pages long. I became a believer after knitting the first heel and then an official convert after the second after discovering that not only did I not have to count stitches, need to use a million stitch markers, or have to fan-dangle around with an extra set of needles to get a completely hole-less and perfect fitting heel.

Don't believe me? Check out the proof:

Fish Lips Kissing Heel

Awesome-sauce, right??

I don't think I would use this heel on self-striping yarns though, unless I experimented a bit and figured out a way to avoid the "solo skinny stripe syndrome" that I'm not a fan of. I don't mind it on this pair since all the stripes are of uneven widths that I don't think you can tell which stripe was forcibly shortened. But I'll definitely be trying out this heel on non-striping yarns and different patterns!

Because of how this yarn was put-up I had to knit my socks two-at-a-time on one long circular needle. As I've mentioned before, normally when I knit two at a time the socks are on two separate circs and I'll knit either a round or a portion of the sock each. But because the yarn was double stranded in sock blank form, I had to start out and knit the foot of the socks as one. I couldn't take it any more after the heel and ended up dividing the socks onto two circs. Next time I knit from a sock blank, I'll just have to suck it up and deal with twisting strands of yarn rather than have to fight through the minimal elbow room that I had on my needles. Ugh.

I ended up with a fair amount of yarn leftover and while I entertained the idea of just knitting until I ran out of yarn like I did with the Unikitty socks, I decided I didn't need another pair of awkward height socks. I can't imagine knitting up all the leftovers into hexipuffs for my Beekeeper's Quilt, as there's probably enough to knit another pair of socks. I've found another sock pattern that I can potentially use in conjunction with another yarn, I'll most likely put the leftovers back into the stash. In the meantime, I'm planning out what to do with my other sock blank!

:: Details ::
Pattern: My usual plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe using Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist

Yarn: Knit Picks Sock Blank (now discontinued)
Colour: My own dye job
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1) and Knitter's Pride
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Fish Lips Kissing

Well, that's it for this FO sock parade but I'm sure there will be at least one more before the year is over. I've got more sock yarns lined up just waiting to be turned into socks. Seeing all these FOs has really given me that sense of accomplishment that makes me want to whip out my current sock project and knit until the wee hours! 

Hmm...I just might do that.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ending the Radio Silence

CaterpillarGreen Yarns Stacked Up

Hello Friends! Oh wow...has it really been well over a month since I last made a post around here? Yikes! How could I have let that happen? I'm going to assume poor time manage and non-existent planning on my part. The summer has passed by in a flash and I can honestly say that I spent the majority of my time trying to balance prepping and sewing for Fibrations with trying to keep the Munchkin both occupied and as close to having a so-called "normal" summer (re: not stuck indoors all day left to entertain himself because Mommy has to sew) as possible. This was not an easy task for me. Especially throughout the month of August, where I swear I spent most of the month living off of coffee fumes.

Anyhoo, before I get distracted by something shiny (oohh...look at all the new patterns that are "Hot Right Now" on Ravelry...), I'll get you all up to date on what has happened around here. Point form, of course! So here we go...

♥ Several people have been asking me about the teacher appreciation gifts that I had knit up for the Munchkin's kindergarten teachers. I had run out of time in knitting a third shawl and so one lucky teacher received my Follow Your Arrow shawl. I couldn't decide who should get what shawl so in the end I had let the Munchkin decide. All shawls were very well received and appreciated. Due to the sudden teacher's strike and school ending a week earlier than scheduled, it was a mad rush to get all the shawls blocked, wrapped up, and ready to be gifted. I didn't get the chance to do a proper photo shoot of all the shawls and I had about 10 minutes to snap quick pics of all three before I had to rush them to the school. So please excuse the crappy-ness of the following photos.

Swiped from my Instagram feed, photo taken during blocking process

I've always wanted to knit Spectra but knew that I would rarely, if ever, wear it. So, like the other shawls that I've knit for the Munchkin's school, this pattern was never high on the "to knit" list for myself but I took this gift knitting opportunity to finally get this pattern on my needles. This shawl was fun and incredibly easy to knit and memorize. After 2 wedges you can have the pattern down pat. It's that easy. Once you got going and started to see the colours play out, it was hard to put the project down because you just wanted to see what the next wedge was going to look like. When I got to the required amount of wedges needed to complete the pattern I noticed that I still had a ton of yarn leftover. So I decided to keep on knitting and that since this was for a kindergarten teacher and at the time the class was learning to count to 100 and had just celebrated their "100 days of kindergarten" I thought it was fitting to make the shawl 100 wedges long. I wish I had mentioned this little detail in the card to the teacher but because I was under such time constraints I didn't even think of it at the time.

Other than knitting more wedges than called for in the pattern, I didn't make any mods. If I were to knit this pattern again though, I think I would either shorten the border or extend the border edge of the wedges.

:: Shawl Details ::
Pattern: Spectra by Stephen West

Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering
Colours: Pool Party and Black
Needles: Knit Picks Rainbow Wood Straight 14" Needles in 3.75mm (US 5)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Spectra :: A Pool Party

Viciously taken from my Instagram feed

Sadly the photo that I took of this shawl turned out to be pure crap and you really couldn't see any of the details. The colours within this yarn were so vibrant that both my camera and phone couldn't handle it. But if you really want to see it, I've posted the photo of the shawl in its entirety on my Flickr - which you can view here.

There really isn't much to say about this shawl that I didn't already say on my Ravelry project page (link below in the details). I discovered that I'm not really a fan of not knowing what I'm knitting and had to wait a few days after a clue was released so that I could see what others were knitting before I could pick and knit a clue. I finished the shawl within a matter of a week and a bit after the last clue was released but didn't get around to blocking it, so it sat unloved in a pile of FOs that were all waiting to be either blocked, have their ends woven in, or simply needed buttons sewn on. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn't block it immediately or else I wouldn't have had a shawl to gift! While the end knit turned out absolutely beautiful, I'm glad that it went to a loving and appreciative home as I don't think I would have ever worn it if it had stayed with me. The shape of the shawl (half circular) is one that I don't really wear so it would have most likely stayed in that FO pile collecting dust. And how wrong would it have been to let such beautiful yarn knit into a fabulous shawl be? 


:: Shawl Details ::
Pattern: Follow Your Arrow by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Colour: Pomegranate
Needles: Signature Needle Arts Fixed Circulars in 4mm (US 6)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Following My Arrow :: Mystery KAL ::

Another photo shamelessly ripped from my Instagram feed, and yes...that really IS bits of masking tape holding up the shawl

In case you didn't pick up on it with the first Daybreak that I had knit, I'll say it again: I absolutely LOVE knitting this pattern. It's so incredibly easy peasy and therapeutic, and if knit with a gradient or self-striping yarn the shawl will look insanely impressive with very minimal effort.

As with the first Daybreak I had knit the largest size since I had a lot of yarn to work with. I had also learned my lesson and went with a garter stitch border from the get-go rather than try to make the original border work and stop curling in on itself. Also like the first Daybreak, I had a hard time giving this one away. I think it's just so stunning. I still have a fair amount of Knit Picks Chroma in my stash that would look fabulous as a Daybreak, it's just a matter of finding the time to knit one for myself!

:: Shawl Details ::
Pattern: Daybreak by Stephen West
Yarns: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering and Stroll Sock
Colours: Atlantis and Dove Heather
Needles: Knitter's Pride Karbonz Fixed Circulars in 3.5mm (US 4)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Atlantis Daybreak

♥ Things have been a little hectic around here due to the fact that school has yet to start up and so I've got the Munchkin hanging out here during the afternoons still (and trust when I say I'm not cut out for the homeschooling bit...I give major kudos to those of you who homeschool full time as I can barely get my kidlet to sit through one so-called lesson!). For those who don't like in BC, there's currently a teachers strike happening that started the last week of the last school year. I won't get into the details, but if you're really curious about it I'm sure a quick Google-fu will send you in the right direction for more info.

♥ I've also been asked how Stash Dash worked out for me. Well...I didn't win Stash Dash (and no, there were no prizes or even pressure to finish...just encouragement to knit, knit, knit!!). I only managed to knit up half of the 5k required, coming in at a measly 2770m and finishing 3 pairs of socks, 2 shawls, and 1 baby set consisting of a hat and bootie socks. I'm not at all discouraged by my results and definitely have plans to do Stash Dash again next year!

♥ As for the Socks With Sarah KAL, I'm still plugging away on the sock knitting but not as vigorously as I was at the beginning of the year. I've just cast on my 8th pair of socks for the KAL (10th for the year, YAY!!) which isn't so bad considering that we're not even halfway through September yet. I'm pretty pleased with this progress and can see myself getting back on the sock knitting speed train once all these baby knits are off my needles.

♥ Baby knits. 2014 has been the year in which everyone I know has either had a baby or announced their pending arrival of their bundle of joy. Now that I'm not spending every waking moment sewing I'm trying to catch up on my baby knits. Luckily baby knits are small and quick. Sadly, I won't be posting any of those knits on the blog for fear that recipients might see (even though I honestly don't think a single one of them reads this blog), but I have and will be Instagramming it!

Surprise! Also ripped from my Instagram feed :: My Fibrations booth with Rebecca of Nook.

Fibrations was a great success! A HUGE thank you to all who came and visited my booth to either say hello and/or to purchase a bag, or one of the surprisingly (well, surprising to me) popular plastic notions cases that I had in stock (for markets only, sorry online peeps!). And a MASSIVE thank you to my friend Rebecca of Nook. for helping me out all day long in my booth! I couldn't have made it through the day without her!! Thanks Rebecca!!

♥ Now that Fibrations is over I'm (VERY) slowly updating the shop with the bags that I still have in stock. It's amazing just how time consuming taking product photos and editing them is - especially when you don't realize until after the photo session that the camera strap was in the corner of! Blast! So please bare with me as I slowly update the shop!

♥ Updating the shop also means that I will not be vending at Knit City this year. I'm truly sad faced about this. The date for Knit City is a little on the earlier side of October this year and due to several factors, I wasn't sure if I would be able to sew up enough stock and take part as a vendor. In the end I decided that I didn't want to fully commit just to find out that I couldn't make it. But as it turns out, I will be able to go as a customer! So I won't be missing out completely!

♥ Before I forget, the yarns pictured in the photo at the very top of this post are all CaterpillarGreen Yarns. I won the top 2 skeins in the Fibrations Twoonie Fundraising Raffle (that's Concrete and Tulips in the new merino/silk SHAWL self-striping base and the lovely blue, grey, and charcoal is Skyline in the BFL sock base) and I purchased the bottom skein (Spectrum in BFL sock). Aren't they just the loveliest??

Ok, I do have more things to mention but I've got kitchen and chauffeur Mommy duties to attend to. But stay tuned...I've got an Obsessions list to post...'til then...

Happy Knitting!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just Keep Sewing...

Sewing Machine

I've been trying to make the above image my usual sight for the past few weeks. Sadly, it's not working out as I had planned. Unlike last year when the Munchkin had speech therapy, kindergarten prep, and day camps throughout the entire summer that allowed me to work during the typical work hours during the work week, this year the Munchkin is at home. With me. All day, every day. Which makes attempts at sewing pretty much non-existent. Unless you count the few minutes that I'm able to get away to sew a seam here and there - which I don't, since you really can't get into a groove with such sporadic schedule.

It's not like the Munchkin is demanding or that I'm a helicopter parent or anything like that, it's just that it's summer, and well...with summer comes great weather than just insists that you be outside before the wet and dreary rainy weather of fall and winter comes rolling around again. And really, I can't say no to the kiddo about wanting to be outside, about wanting to play at a playground, and about wanting to ride his bike.  I mean, I want to be outside too! Sadly, machine sewing isn't a portable activity.

Crap. I wish it was.

So I've been stressing out to the max trying to find out how to squeeze in the sewing time to make product for both my Etsy shop and for my booth for next month's Fibrations event. You guys, I'm starting to panic. Here I was thinking that sewing up a minimum of 100 bags would be a snap. And it probably would if I was ok with plopping the kiddo in front of the TV all day so that I could sew. But I'm not. I totally didn't take into consideration that I would have the Munchkin at home all summer and therefore would have to do some actual parenting.

I have a feeling that my booth is going to be pretty small this year. Smaller than last year even. I can do this though, right? Just have to keeping chanting to myself "just keep sewing...just keep sewing...just keep sewing...".

If anyone needs me, I'll hopefully be locked up in my sewing closet trying to get some sewing done. With mugs of coffee at my side.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Event :: Fibrations 2014

Hey Friends! So...things might be a little on the slow side this month - both on the blog and on the knitting front, because once again I've decided to partake in my second Fibrations event as a vendor this August! So exciting and yet so stressful, as sewing for my booth hasn't really commenced yet! I foresee a lot of really late nights...and coffee. Plenty of coffee this month! I had so much fun at last year's Fibrations that I decided that I just had to do it again this year! Even if I don't sell a single bag, it's just inspiring to be surrounded by a community of fibre enthusiasts, and I love meeting and talking to people who I only come across online. 

Once again I'm going to have a little booth and will have a small selection of both small and large zippered box bags, drawstring bags, a few small zippy pouches, and if time permits a few other awesome sauce goodies! I've also donated a prize for the Toonie ($2) Fundraising Raffle:

That there is a small zippered box bag AND a drawstring project bag in one of my most favourite prints ever, the "knit stitch" by Betz White. And yes, that's the exact same fabric as the large box bag that the Yarn Harlot has (as seen here) of mine! 

How awesome would it be to score not one, but two project bags for just 2 dollars?! That's a mere dollar each! 

Wouldn't you want to win this set? I just hope that I remembered to set aside some fabric to make myself a bag!

So if you live in the area, or if you're planning on visiting the island on August 17th, or going to be in the 'hood anyways, I hope you will check out Fibrations. Please note that admission is free!! If you do make your way over, I hope you will stop by my booth and say hi!

:: Fibrations ::
August 17, 2014
From 10am - 4pm
The Orchard at St. Ann's Academy
849 Humboldt Street, Victoria BC

For more information about the event and for a complete list of vendors, check out the Fibrations website.

♥ Hope to see you there! ♥

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Knit In Progress: Fish Lips Kissing Socks

Fish Lips Kissing 2

Are you surprised that I have cast on for yet another pair of socks? Yeah, neither am I. After all, this is the year of socks, or so it seems. I know I said I wasn't going to knit the next pair of socks as plain vanilla, but you know what? I've got a lot on my plate and who isn't busy during the summer? I need a mindless knit that I can pick up whenever and don't have to spend 5 minutes trying to figure out where I am in the pattern each time - especially during the off moments on the bigger projects that I'm working on.

To save me from the same old plain vanilla routine, I'm doing something a little different with the heel. As I had mentioned in my June Obsessions post I've been thinking a lot about trying out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist. So that's what I'll be doing with this pair. I thought about knitting these socks leg-down but figured I should try toe-up since the main reason why I'm trying this new heel out is because I wanted to see how they'll work if I were to knit them with self-striping yarns (even though the yarn I'm using isn't really self-striping).

Fish Lips Kissing - Closeup

Without digging around in the stash I had already decided that I should knit with the sock blank that I had handpainted in the Dyeing to Get Some Colour dye workshop that I took 2 years ago, taught by Felicia Lo of SweetGeorgia Yarns. I've never knit from a sock blank before and had actually never seen one until I bought a few from Knit Picks months before the workshop (I just discovered this morning that Knit Picks has discontinued the sock blanks and are no longer on the website!). For those of you who don't know what a sock blank is, it's an undyed, usually double-stranded, loosely knitted piece of fabric that you can dye and then unravel as you knit from it. On my blank there's no cast on or bound off edges so all the stitches are live and needs no cutting to get started. There are several ways you can knit from a sock blank: either 2 at a time, one sock at a time while winding the second strand, or wind up both strands before you start knitting. I thought the last 2 were pointless and so I just started knitting 2 at a time socks.

Fish Lips Kissing - Toes

Normally when I knit 2 at a time it's not your typical 2-socks-on-1-large-circular-needle. No, I like to knit the pair on 2 separate circulars. I prefer more room on my cable and don't like how finicky the knitting can get when they're both on the same needle. So that's what I started to do when I had cast on my socks. After a few rounds I discovered that keeping track of the strands and having to untangle them constantly was getting on my nerves. So I bit the bullet and shoved them both onto 1 circular. It wasn't that bad since the start of toe-up socks are pretty small and so it made the knitting bearable. I have to admit that this 2 at a time business really does yield faster results as I've now knit up both feet and am ready to knit the heels! I've been knitting one sock at a time since the beginning of the year and not the two (for reasons I'm not quite sure), so this progress definitely pleases me. But alas, this 1 circ thing couldn't last long.

Yep. Since taking these photos I've transferred one sock onto another circ and have started the heel on just one sock. I was using a 40 inch circular and trying to manoeuvre the heel on one sock while the other hung out drove me nuts and felt a little claustrophobic. But hey, for a technique that I'm not a fan of knitting, be glad I lasted this long! At least I tried!

Fish Lips Kissing - Crimped Yarn

I'm really loving how the transitions from one colour to the next is working out. The stripes on the blank is far from perfect and so the colours gradually blend into one another with random stitches of colour here and there. Don't think I'm going to get into dyeing yarn any time soon though. I'll leave that to the professionals! Dyeing this blank was time consuming and the most basic of basic, as in I grabbed the bottles of colours that I loved and squirted them across the blank. There was no planning whatsoever. Although you really do have to think it out and make sure that when the colours meet they don't mix and turn brown (unless you want brown). I kind of lucked out and the blended colours turned out either purple or a darker shade of blue, which all goes with the colours that I had used. The idea of trying to replicate this blank is completely out of the picture! I don't have the patience for such preciseness. I would rather knit the yarn than dye it!

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