Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Released & On The Up and Up

I have been super quiet here on the blog and straight across the social media board. Well, ok...maybe I've chirped here and there on Twitter. But you know what I mean. So what's up? Why the radio static? Well, exactly two weeks ago I underwent carpal tunnel release surgery on my left hand. I kept pretty mum about it leading up to the surgery because I was already breathing into a paper bag I was so beyond full of anxiety about the idea of having to cut into my hand that I really couldn't handle hearing any more about either the surgery itself or who has gone through it or what friend of a friend has and how life turned out for them afterwards. My overactive imagination just couldn't handle creating more worse-case scenarios. I was psyching myself up so much that my nerves almost made me vomit in the hours before the surgery.

I really had no idea what to expect and am ever so thankful that I: 
          a) didn't have to watch the procedure being done (much to the Mister's disappointment)
          b) that my surgeon freakin' rocks. She's seriously SO amazing. 
          c) that the whole procedure was insanely fast. Like, I was in and out of that operating room within ten minutes!!

I contemplated about whether or not to say anything in regards to the surgery but I know a fair amount of knitters have been following my CTS journey and that a number of people have also been looking into or will soon be undergoing carpal tunnel release too, and it would be helpful to give another perspective of what to expect. Or should I say, a realistic, I'm-going-through-this-right-now aspect of what to expect. Because to be quite honest, I thought I would bounce back and be back in the saddle within days. Yes, yes, everyone heals differently and at different rates but I've had a few knitters tell me that they were able to knit hours after their surgery. Hours. And I've had people comment about how the whole surgery was a breeze for them and that they were able to return to their regular life the very next day with no problems. That's not what happened to me. Yes, the surgery itself was a breeze and I was even able to wiggle my fingers, move my arm, and carry on somewhat normally (as normally as one could whilst being down a hand) for the rest of the day, albeit with a box of fancy donuts! But man...oh man...when the local anesthesia finally wore off...that's when things got real. I can't tell you if I was in pain or not because my discomfort levels were seriously through the roof!! My sleep that first week (and especially that first night!) was intermittent and incredibly uncomfortable. Then there's the things that I didn't expect: the major reduction of hand strength, the limited range of motion, the soreness (oh, the soreness!!), and the extensive bruising.

I don't know why I thought I would waltz out of the operating room with my hand all hunky-dory and roaring to go. I constantly have to remind myself (and so does the Mister) that my hand was operated on. It was sliced open and a ligament was cut. That's no small potatoes!! So imagine my surprise when I couldn't properly pull up my pants (yay for pyjamas pants and sweats!!), put on socks, hold a coffee cup, use a can opener, or even squeeze hand lotion from a tube. I felt useless cause I couldn't do dishes or even peel a carrot, and the Mister had to open my meds and painkiller bottles. Putting my hair into a ponytail caused great discomfort and washing my face just felt weird - one side of my face felt normal but the other felt like I was using a mannequin's hand! Sounds weird, doesn't it? My hand strength is still weak, so no opening cans for me, but at least I can grip certain things now. I've been keeping up with the gentle range-of-motion exercises that I was told to do by my surgeon and can proudly say that I can now make a small fist.

While I was incredibly sore, there surprisingly wasn't much in terms of pain from the incision area. If anything, the soreness and intense discomfort came from the massive bruises that cover my entire palm, inner wrist, and extended halfway up to my elbow. I still have the soreness but it's not that bad anymore, I still have the bruises (watching them change from blurple to grellow to a weird jaundice baby-poop colour has been interesting), I still have the discomfort but it's mainly at night or when I get overly ambitious as to what I can actually physically do, and I still hold my hand close to my upper chest/shoulder area because it seems to prevent unnecessary soreness. Within the last week, I've been experiencing tightness around the incision area (which is normal, as the incision is trying to fuse back together and heal) and itching (which is also a sign of healing). For a while there the tightness felt so bad that I was extremely worried that my stitches to rip open if I were to stretch my hand open. I'm happy to report that that did not happen. 

I'm also happy to report that yesterday I got my stitches removed! It's been a while since I've had to have stitches removed and I have to say, I do not do well when it comes to such medical procedures!! I won't get into it but let's just say that my stomach is not as strong as I thought it was. So overall, aside from the major discomfort that's ebbing, I think my recovery has been going well. Although, that doesn't mean I'm looking forward to when I have to get my other hand, my dominant hand, done. Yes, I've had bouts of depression/boredom from not being able to knit or craft, but I've been spending my recovery time reading (Clara Parkes' Knitlandia and a whole lotta baking books), binge watching Riverdale (I'm obsessed!!) and Big Little Lies (also obsessed!), and attempting to play Minecraft with the Kiddo (hint: I suck at it. I just don't get Minecraft). 

I can't wait until I'm able to start doing "normal" things again, like washing dishes without taking five minutes to wash one mug, type on a keyboard with both hands (this post has taken me, seriously, all day to type out - hence the lack of being online much), and most importantly I can't wait until I can knit again!! I've made a couple of attempts but my hand just isn't ready for it yet. With that said, I've had people come out of the woodwork telling me to take it easy and to not do anything for at least a month, lest I want to cause irreparable damage. Uh, say what? Yeah, I've been told horror stories of hands that didn't heal properly due to not letting time and your body do its magic, a few friends and even a family member have come forward to disclose what happened to them/a loved one when they tried to carry on as per usual that involved the busting open of stitches (gag!), torn muscles, and a permanently destroyed transverse carpal ligament.


Trust me, I'll take it easy! 

So that's what's been going on around here. Please bare with me if it gets overly quiet. I was hoping to blog about a bunch of FOs that I haven't gotten around to posting about - like a few shawls, a hoodie, and even the Oracle Space Socks that I managed to finish a few days before my surgery! But alas, resting the palm of my hand on a keyboard currently isn't the best feeling in the world and my hand tires out far too quickly when it comes to holding a DSLR camera (if you can call it holding). But I'm feeling hopeful! 😀

Thank you all for your patience and for sticking around!! ❤️

Friday, February 17, 2017

Randomly on a Friday

I've been sort of MIA this week. I have no explanations or excuses, other than the fact that I've been really exhausted (due to a lot of super late nights which is of no one's fault but my own...kind of...insomnia will do that to you). I've been trying to force myself to take breaks from knitting, which is kind of hard when you're soooo close to finishing a project, but both hands really need it. Because of my high levels of tiredness blogging had to be put on the back burner too until I could properly form sentences that actually made sense when read together in a paragraph. Lucky for me, the past few nights my entire being finally had had enough and I was rewarded with three nights of good sleep!

Buuut that doesn't I'm able to sit here and write all the blog posts I want. I have volunteered to read to my kiddo's class this afternoon and I can't back out now. Not when your kid is extremely excited that you're going to read about the crazy adventures of a loyal but highly flatulent dog and its loving human family to his class. I can't disappoint him now!

So, with my date with a farting dog looming in less than an hour, I give you some randomness that's been floating around in my head these days, on this last day of the work week:

⤷ I recently went through my queue on Ravlery and managed to slim down the list from 14 pages to a mere 12. I'm sure there were a whole lot more patterns that I could have deleted from the list, as a lot of them were there solely to remind me that they existed and to serve as possible inspiration (re: patterns I'd love to knit but the style isn't me, so maybe possible gift knits). But then this past week SO many awesome patterns were released, causing my queue to swell up to 13 pages. Oops!

 While I queued a lot of these new patterns, I'm really forcing myself to figuratively sit on my hands as I know that I should be finishing projects and get a few WIPs off the needles, not on. As I've mentioned in a previous post, not too long ago I had opened up my knitting needle case and discovered just how empty it was - a sign that I definitely have too many WIPs on the go!! A little over a dozen, to be exact...

⤷ But once I get at least two projects off the needles (and I'm talking bigger projects, like the shawls or garments) I'm totally planning on casting on either a Radiate pullover (by Joji Locatelli), a Fast Forward pullover (by Veera Välimäki), or a Flyway Twist shawl (also by Veera) - these are just three of the twelve patterns in the fourth installment of the Interpretations collection co-designed by Joji and Veera. This fourth volume is truly such a beautiful collection!

⤷ As much as I absolutely want to cast on something from Interpretations, I quite honestly think the next selfish knit will be Camaro by Tanis Lavallee. Those stripes! The endless colour combinations! I want to knit several of these! I'm totally envisioning a slim fit black and white, monochromed version; a hip length version in a single colour gradient set on a background of grey; a cropped pink, black, and grey version (surprised?); or even in one of Tanis's handpicked palettes (I love them all but have my eye on the Prism palette), just to name a few of my possibilities.

⤷ Another collection that came out this past week is Heart on My Sleeve by Tin Can Knits. This book of sweaters is actually a collaboration between the ladies of Tin Can Knits and some of their favourite knitwear designers, such as Ysolda Teague, Bristol Ivy, Victoria's own Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook, and the previously mentioned Joji Locatelli and Tanis Lavallee. All of the proceeds (after Ravelry and PayPal fees, that is) are going to the Against Malaria Fund.  

⤷ Most, if not all, of the future projects that I've been thinking about, and even all of the sweaters in the Heart on My Sleeve collection, just so happen to all be knit in DK weight yarn. stash is sorely lacking in DK weight. I'm either going to have to knit like the wind so that I can justify purchasing some, or I'm going to have to destash something in my stash order to obtain the room. Problem is, I love everything that's in my stash! How am I suppose to pick what to get rid of?

 I don't know why I'm thinking so much about selfish knitting when I'm thinking about doing some charity knitting. Once again my son's school will be holding their annual fundraising auction at the end of the year, and once again I'm thinking of knitting something to donate to the cause. I got such a great response and thoroughly enjoyed knitting Sylvia McFadden's Waiting For Rain last year, that I'm thinking of knitting another one of her patterns from her book, Shawl Joy, or her newest pattern, Water. I just have to find something suitable in my stash to knit with AND something I wouldn't mind parting with once it has been knit up!

 Whilst I ponder what I'm going to knit next and with what yarn, I'm trying my hardest to stay healthy. Hence the need to give in to sleep, even when it interferes with my knitting! The first day of Spring is only 31 days away and so far I've managed to stay sick-free all winter long!! Both the Mister and Kiddo had succumbed to sickness a few times but I've survived all the bugs and germs. To me, this is a huge feat!! It's probably all psychological, but I attribute my daily mug of hot water, lemon, ginger, and honey, as well as the abundance of lemon water throughout the day, as the reason why I've endured the season of sick unscathed! Now to make it through the next 31 days...

⤷ Oh! I finished a thing. It's nothing major, but it's still a finished object! A few days before Valentine's Day I felt compelled to knit myself a ring. Using some leftover Harrisville Designs Shetland wool (I seriously used only a few yards!!) and a length of hot pink Patons Classic Wool that I found in a scraps bag, I made myself a Heartfelt Ring (designed by Tiny Owl Knits). My first attempt, I had knit according to the pattern, turned out too long. But since it literally took me 10 minutes to knit AND felt the ring, I quickly whipped up a second. Only this time I made the ring smaller and shorter. Perfecto!!

20 minutes ending in two super cute rings made from yarn scraps? I can totally get down with that! I'm definitely going to keep this pattern in mind for when I need something incredibly fast and cute. I'm thinking these would be great for last minute gifts, party favours, fundraising...

:: Ring Details ::
Pattern: Heartfelt Rings by Tiny Owl Knits

Yarns: Harrisville Designs Shetland and Patons Classic Wool
Colours: Pearl (#45) and That's Pink
Needles: Knit Picks Caspian Interchangeables in 4.5mm (US 7)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Heart.Felt

♥ Happy weekend!! ♥

PS: It would also help if I actually clicked "Publish" on this post...!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fresh Off The Needles: August Socks

Knitters and friends, I am happy to announce that my first pair of socks of the year are officially off the needles!! Wow...I honestly thought this pair would be forever stuck in the confines of my handbag. Who knew dedicating a night to working on them would kick start a sock knitting craze? Nevertheless, I'm happy that I was able to knit up a skein of yarn the same year that I had purchased it. I feel like I've been not only attending knitting events and buying all the yarns but just buying all the yarns in general. Neither of these are true, by the way. But the feelings of going crazy with major yarn consumption has been weighing heavily on my mind. I guess a good majority of fibre lovers out there feel this way. Especially when SABLE status has been thoroughly met and greatly surpassed.

Anyhoo, let's just say that I'm just happy that this gorgeous skein of Caterpillargreen Yarn has been knitted up and isn't hiding in the darkness that is my yarn closet. As you can see, I've knit this pair up in a plain vanilla style. Toe up, of course. I used my usual stitch counts and numbers - such as casting on 12 stitches for the toe (I like a pointier toe because my big toe and second toe are longer than the others and I feel a 16 stitch toe is just too...flat and boxy looking), increasing up to 64 stitches total, knitting the leg for 6 inches and went with a 2 inch 2x2 ribbing just so that I could use up more of the stunning yarn. 

I originally tried to knit a gusset heel but halfway through the heel on the first sock I decided that I really didn't like how the striping and colour transition was playing out. So I ripped out the heel and went with the trusty Fish Lips Kiss heel. I think it now looks so much better and the colours aren't so "choppy" looking from the front of the foot.  

Also, after finishing the first sock, I decided to not make this pair identical. The first sock I had knit started with the reds and oranges at the toe and worked up to the green. I was quite sad that I couldn't optimize the green and make that section longer. But alas, my short legs would not allow for a sock any longer than it already was without turning them into knee socks. Since I couldn't get over the rich gorgeousness of the greens, I decided to start the next sock with it and have the colours go in reverse direction. I really like how that turned out!

Caterpillargreen Yarns made it SUPER easy to accomplish either an identical pair of socks or a pair similar to mine by dyeing the yarn so that the middle of the skein is green with the outer skein starting (ending?) with the red/orange sequencing into the yellows before hitting the green. I probably made absolutely no sense there. But you can see what I mean in this Instagram photo that I posted last month.

The only issue that I had was that I didn't wind off any extra green yarn before starting the toe of the second sock. Instead I had cast on that second sock immediately and it wasn't until I was close to the heel that I realized that I still had way too much green to knit up before I would hit the yellows. So I cut my working yarn and had wound up about a golf-ball size amount of the green before re-joining the yarn. I was pretty surprised to see that the socks turned out somewhat "even" in terms of colour distribution! So this is what happens when I don't overthink things!! 

I can't get over how awesome these socks turned out and they only confirm my complete need to get a skein of Caterpillargreen's Weekend colourway. But I told myself that I'm not allowed to buy a skein until I knit up at least three more pairs of socks. A goal this year is to knit up more yarn than I've acquired (since last year was such an epic bust!!) and I know that denying myself entirely from yarn buying would only result in a binge of sorts. So this is the compromise. 

So...excuse me. I've gots some socks to knit up!!

:: Sock Details ::
Pattern: My usual plain vanilla sock recipe and numbers with FLK heel
Yarn: Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN Fingering
Colour: Fibrations 2016 Limited Edition
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits August Socks 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This Wednesday's WIP

Photo shamelessly swiped from my Instagram feed

I wish I could say that a ton of knitting has been happening lately, but there hasn't. My part of the Island, or more specifically, my part of the city, has been getting copious amounts of snow these past few days. Snow that's actually sticking to the ground. Snow that actually warrants us having to check in to see if there are any school closures (FYI: nope! Not my district...grumble...grumble...). Snow that I actually have to shovel! You'd think with all this snow that I would be able to squeeze in more knitting time. Yeah, no. 

I'm not going to complain about the snow, though, since it's such a rare occurrence here. I grew up in the BC interior and so I spent my childhood winters shoveling never ending amounts of snow, building snowmen and forts, tobogganing down steep alleyways and streets (shhh! Don't tell my parents, but in middle school I used to cover my saxophone case in garbage bags and use it to slide down the hill to get home after school), and plotting snowball fight tactics. Things that seem to be quite foreign to my own kiddo, here on the West Coast.

So, whenever the opportunity arises I've been taking the Kiddo out to play in the snow, to shovel the walkways, to learn the art of snowball and snow angel making (both of which, he's still not sure if he enjoys...since he's a kid with sensory issues), and most importantly, to show him the joy that is flying down a steep hill on a thin piece of plastic that you truly have no control over while the wind whips at your frozen face seconds before you face plant into a snow bank. 

Ah...winter. I honestly don't mind you right now. 

As for knitting. Well, once the Kiddo is in bed and my evening chores are completed, you can bet I'm hitting the needles! Lately I've been multi-tasking it by binge watching Criminal Minds (I'm only on season 7) while typing up Valentine's Day warm fuzzies that the Kiddo's classmates have written up for each other (hi-fives to all volunteering parents out there!!), and squeezing in rounds of knitting between students. 

I'm happy to report that I still managed to finish a pair of socks over the weekend and earlier I completed my first ever toe-up heel flap on my Speckled Space Socks. I'm really surprised with how fast this sock is knitting up and think I just may have this first sock off the needles by the end of the week. As with all my socks, I'm not in a hurry to finish it, but do find the pattern easy to memorize and the yarn just too pretty to put down.

I just might have to though. I have two other projects that are on the verge of being done and I think I better take advantage of this project-finishing-high that I seem to be on. Just hope I can put the needles down long enough to snag some photos to show on the blog! I have a backlog of FOs that I have yet to blog about but haven't been able to nail down the time to snap a few (decent) pics. Oops!

So what's on your needles today?

Friday, February 3, 2017

The First Ones

It's so exciting to be able to start a new year by finishing up some WIPs within the first few weeks. Especially when one of the WIPs is a long-standing one and another is a substantially large one that I've been wanting to knit up for years and finally have. Unfortunately, I can't deem the latter project as "officially finished" just yet. The knitting on it is completed but I haven't woven in all the ends (and there are SO.many.ends!!), I haven't fixed the mistakes I've marked (a TON of super loose stitches from dropping a whack-load of stitches to fix misplaced/missed decreases), and most importantly, I haven't washed and blocked it yet.

So for now, here's the other two FOs that I managed to finish up:

Yes, another crocheted item! I had started this project around this time last year, shortly after making the first and very successful, Hudson Basket. The idea to make a tray version of the basket came after I had stopped to take a look at my work and thought it looked like a tray. I was tempted to stop right there but I was dead set on making the basket (I had plans!!). I liked the idea of the tray so much that the second I finished the basket immediately set to work on crocheting a tray. Not to mention that I had so much yarn leftover that it just seemed logical to make it while I had the motivation and the supplies. Ok, fine. It seemed logical to me.

Anyhoo, I made this tray basket pretty much to the same specs as the basket, except half the height. I actually didn't have as much yarn as I thought I did and ended up franken-stitching together a bunch of bits and pieces from previous projects. In the end, I did have to go and buy another skein of the Hudson Bay colourway. So now I'm entering into that vicious cycle of buying yarn to finish a project, starting a new project to use up the leftover yarn, running out of yarn and needing to buy more yarn to finish the project... Will the cycle ever end? I don't know. But I do have this urge to make a much smaller basket out of the leftovers...


Will I ever learn?

Also, since I've been asked this several times, the difference between the original basket and this new "tray" size:

As I've said, not much, just height. The basket I've been using to hold skeins of yarn that I keep by my desk as a form of inspiration. The tray, I keep on my coffee table, holds all my current, active WIPs and the extra skeins of yarn for them. I have a million project bags scattered around the house that are full of hibernating knits but I'm one of those people who find that if something is out of sight, then it's out of mind. Having the majority of my WIPs all neat and tidy, out in the open in one spot where I see them on a regular basis, and can easily pick one up and start knitting on has really helped in getting projects off the needles a little faster. Having to see all my WIPs has really tamed the need to cast on something new every time I plop down on the couch. Which is good, cause admittedly, there are more empty spots in my knitting needle cases than there are needles! It's definitely time to get those WIPs knitted up!

:: Basket Details ::
Pattern: Chunky Basket by Elizabeth Pardue

Yarns: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick
Colours: Fisherman and Hudson Bay
Hook: 8mm (size L) 
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Hudson Bay Tray

Next up, an unplanned project but one that I felt was a must knit. A pink #PussyHatProject to show my support for the Women's March on Washington, and for the march that took place here in Victoria. I had knit a few by request from some moms at my kiddo's school and then decided to knit my own. Instead of using the actual pattern made for the movement (which you can find here), I used the KitKat Hat pattern since I've already knit it before and liked the fit. 

I didn't have any bulky or even worsted weight yarn in a pink that I thought was suitable and I definitely didn't have any pink yarn that wasn't already designated for a certain project. As a lover of pink, you'd think I would have a stash full of pink skeins! But after some rooting around I did find a wound up cake of pink sport weight that I had purchased years ago from my friend, Em, when she was still dyeing yarn under the name, Everything Old. I had bought the yarn cause it was pink, cause I loved the name (Radioactive Raspberry), and cause it was a pink that she had custom dyed for me way back in the day and sort of named it after me (long story short: I had undergone a radioactive iodine treatment for my thyroid and the Mister felt compelled to Photoshop pictures of my so-called radioactivity. When I had gone to Em asking for a certain shade of pink, I had sent her a photo of a pink Kitchen Aid mixer in a colour called "Raspberry Ice"). I had no real plans for the yarn but I had wound it up a long time ago, getting it ready. Ready for what? Maybe it was destined to be this hat?

I originally started knitting the hat as per the pattern instructions but a few round in I found the fabric a little too flimsy. So I ripped back to the beginning and cast on again with the yarn doubled. What I should have also done was gone up several needle sizes, or at least cast on the full amount of stitches as stated in the pattern. Before I was even halfway done I found the fabric a bit too thick and tight for my liking. But it was too late to rip back and restart now. When I came to the conclusion about the gauge of my hat, I had hours before the march was to take place! 

While the hat fits me, the Kiddo ended up wearing the hat for most of the day. I'm sure that the hat will most likely stretch out nicely after some wear and really if I just soaked and blocked it the fabric would relax a little and be more to my tastes. But for now, I think I'll stick to my tweedy black version. It's a lot more subtle for every day wear than an in your face pink!    

:: Hat Details ::
Pattern: KitKat Hat by Andre Sue
Yarn: Everything Old Lively (now discontinued)
Colour: Radioactive Raspberry
Needles: 4mm (US 6) and 5mm (US 8)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits #PussyHatProject

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Knits In Progress: Socks!

Once again I have failed to mention on the blog what new things are currently gracing my needles. As of today, I have four WIPs that I've been actively and steadily working on. But today I'll just talk about two of those WIPs: the socks!

As I've mentioned a million times already, I always have a pair of socks on the go. I usually keep the socks in my handbag as something small and mindless is perfect to work on while out and about. Back in October I had cast on a pair of plain vanilla socks with a beautiful skein of Caterpillargreen Yarns in a limited edition colourway that was dyed up specifically for last summer's Fibrations event here in Victoria. I wasn't in any hurry to get this pair whipped up and was only knitting a round here and there whenever I had the chance. Last weekend though, I felt compelled to finish the first sock of the pair when I decided to sit out on attending a hockey game with my boys (hockey games and headaches just do not mix!). That large amount of time sitting in a coffee shop waiting for the game to be over and spent knitting on that sock really kicked my love of sock knitting into gear.

I found this photo on my phone.
This is actually the toe of the first sock

I finished the sock and cast on the toe of the second when I felt the urge to cast on a new sock project. Maybe it's the weather? Maybe it's the beginning of another round of Starteritis? Uh, no. Scratch that. If truth be told I'm always trying to fight off another bout of Starteritis. I figured this time maybe I can fend it off by casting on a pair of socks. Something small. No biggie, right? I mean, running errands is a weekly thing so it's not like I'm not going to have the time to work on socks. Yeah...the things we tell ourselves...

Anyhoo, a few days ago I cast on a new pair of socks using my first ever skein of Hedgehog Fibres in their Sock Yarn base. I had purchased two skeins last summer and since receiving them I've been dying to knit them up. But you know how it goes, you get new yarn and you want to knit with it pronto but you've got so much on the needles already that you just have to impatiently wait until you finish at least one project. But by the time you get around to finishing something you've probably moved on to another newer yarn or recently published pattern. Or maybe that's just me and my fickle knitterly ways?

Either way, I cast on what I thought was going to be another pair of plain vanilla socks in the Oracle colourway but after knitting my usual toe I decided that I should really spice things up. A quick glance at my sock pattern queue and I deduced that I should most definitely be knitting the Speckled Space Socks by Amanda Stephens.

So far the pattern has been super easy to memorize and I'm loving how the colours are playing out. I'm still not sure if the pattern and the yarn mesh well together but I've knit the first repeat and there's no way I'm ripping back now. I haven't decided if I'm going to knit the heel as written or if I should go with the Fish Lips Kiss heel. I worry about that when I get closer to that point. For now, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy knitting this first sock.

Until I cast on another pair, that is...

Oh, fickle me.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Last Ones

Oh dear, I just realized something. In the hustle and bustle that is the winter holidays and the days leading up to them, I totally didn't have the time to post about the last few FOs I managed to eek out before 2016 was over and done with. Sadly, one of the FOs has already been gifted and I had finished it on the wire and so the only photos I was able to get of it was from phone. On a really, really dark day. Another of the FOs has been held hostage in the Mister's truck, as the Kiddo constantly forgets to bring the scarf back into the house and by the time I remember that it needs to be brought back into the house the Mister had already left the house. It's a vicious circle that has been happening for almost three weeks now.

Luckily for me, at least one of the FOs is still in my house and is being enjoyed on a daily basis. And by "enjoyed", I mean I force everyone to look at it by placing it right next to the Xbox. Heh heh heh... 

So without further ado, let's get this mini FO train underway! First up:

I had blogged about a review I did on a KPC Yarn sampler box that was sent to me back in December. To be able to use all of the different yarns without having to knit a handful of swatches or little objects, I decided to knit something that involved colourwork. I was too nervous to knit something that had to be worn, for fear that the different yarn weights involved would mess the accessory up completely. I had stumbled upon a super cute planter cozy designed by SpillyJane and thought it was the most perfect pattern ever for my needs.

After sorting out my colours I immediately cast on and before the day was over I was a good three quarters done with my super cute cozy! I opted to knit the "medium" size, which was to fit a terra cotta pot that was about 3.75" in diameter and about 3.25" tall. I just happened to have that size of a pot in my house that was waiting for a succulent to call it home. I really wanted to knit the largest size, as I thought it could use up more yarn. Well, it would have used up more yardage but not more ball of different colours, as I would later realize. Oh well, I didn't have a large pot anyways (yet). But after knitting this nifty little cozy, knitting the large size is now definitely on my to-do list!

I stuck with the pattern completely and didn't do any mods - not counting the fact that I had to switch out a few colours as I didn't have anything similar to the ones used in the pattern in the yarn sampler box. I had read a few project pages in which some people had issues with the bottom curling up too much and wasn't sure if it had anything to do with the type of stretchy cast-on they had used. As in maybe their cast-on wasn't stretchy enough? So I decided to use the Old Norwegian Cast-On. All was good until I was halfway into the cozy when I noticed that my cast on edge was also curling like crazy. I didn't think much of it as I knew blocking would help. Well, it did but I think I could have gone with a less stretchy cast-on still!

Knitting colourwork was a lot of fun, although I doubted myself quite a few times because the piece would look wonky from time to time. I figured the wonkiness had something to do with the fact that I was using different yarn weights and fibres. But after a good steam blocking, I think the cozy turned out fantastically well. I'm so pleased with the results that I would love to knit a few more in all the sizes given in the pattern (there are three). I definitely would like some more medium sized ones but will have to see if my attempts at propagating succulents works first before I start whipping the cozies up. The cold snap we had at the start of winter has killed a few of my attempts as well as one of my prominent succulents, and almost took my little avocado tree too! Of my attempts, only three babies have survived. In the meantime, I've re-potted all my plants in hopes that the new soil will help to rejuvenate them. This little sedum plant was the lucky recipient to get the first of what will probably be many, of the plant cozies.

I think it looks pretty happy already!

:: Cozy Details ::
Pattern: Planter Cozies by SpillyJane
Yarns: KPC Yarns
Colours: Various, unfortunately I've misplaced a few of the tags!
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated Fixed Circulars in 2.75mm (US 2)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits KPC Sampler Succulent Cozy

Next up: the beautiful shawl that I had knit for my kiddo's teacher. I really wish that I got better photos of the shawl before I gifted it, but sadly I was cutting it super close and didn't have the time. This photo collage does not do this shawl any justice whatsoever. But trust when I say that the teacher absolutely loved the gift and I have since seen her wearing the shawl several times now!

A lot of people have asked me if this is The Rain Outside shawl pattern by Sylvia McFadden. No, it's not. But I did use another of Sylvia's patterns from her book, Shawl Joy. This is Waiting For Rain, only with a TONNE of mods to sort of emulate The Rain Outside. Like for instance, instead of a solo colour, I chose to use two greys to make it tonal and stripe-y. I changed the increases at the edge so that it would look neater and not hole-y. I added a yarn over between the edge stitches on the right side and dropped them on the wrong side in hopes of loosening up the edge. I had accidentally knitted more rows than called for before the first lace panel because I got distracted on a knit date but decided that I didn't care and that I wasn't going to rip back. I thought I was going to be somewhat methodical in how I was going to add the stripes but then just started striping wherever I felt like in hopes of using up as much yarn as possible. I also changed the bind-off and went with the same "lace-y picot-style" bind-off that Sylvia used in one of her samples (it was included in the hack sheet that was sent out along with the individual pattern). For a full comprehensive list of my mods, check out my Ravelry page. I made sure to keep notes on all the changes and where I added my stripes, just in case.

I simply love how this shawl turned out and absolutely adore the bind-off. I'll admit that it took me a few tries to figure out the instructions (as per usual I was over-thinking it and once I realized that you were to turn your work after each row, all was peachy once more) but I'm SO glad that I stuck it out and didn't settle for the regular picot bind-off. Actually, because of the awesomeness of this lace-y version, I don't think I could ever knit a regular picot bind-off again! One of my goals for this year is to knit myself The Rain Outside and I'm already looking forward to knitting this bind-off. Sounds weird, I know!

If you're looking for a shawl that's impressive but not too flashy, that's a bit lace-y but not over the top, and that's simple to knit but can keep your interest, I highly recommend Waiting For Rain!

:: Shawl Details ::
Pattern: Waiting For Rain by Sylvia McFadden

Yarns: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light 
Colours: Gossamer (MC, light grey) and Composition Book Grey (CC, dark grey)
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated Interchangeables in 4mm (US 6)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Waiting For Rain

And now, the very last project of 2016. It doesn't involve knitting!! Shocking, isn't it? I had mentioned in this post that my kiddo had been asking for a scarf for over a year. At first I thought a scarf would be pointless since he never wears one (then again, he doesn't own one so how could he wear one in the first place?) but then after some thought figured that a scarf has more staying power in that he could easily grow out of a hat whereas if you make the scarf long enough it would be more of a matter of wearing it out before you would get rid of it.

A week and a bit before Christmas I started crocheting this Adventure Time themed scarf of the character, BMO, and its best friend, Football. I figured I could crochet the scarf much faster than knitting it, especially since the scarf involved just one stitch, double crochet. I had a feeling the limbs, the face, and the sewing up of everything is where the majority of my time would be spent. And I was right. When I say I was pushing it and it was down to the wire, I mean I was up until 3am on Christmas Eve stitching everything up!!

But it was worth it. The look on the Kiddo's face when he saw it was priceless!! And dare I say, mathematical!! (only Adventure Time fans would get that reference)

Since I was in such a rush to make this, I didn't keep any notes. I do remember that I made the arms and legs a little bigger simply to make it easier for my hands to crochet, and that I made the arms a little longer. I think my gauge was tight as the edge was curling so I made the scarf about twelve inches longer so that I could turn the ends into pockets. Cause who doesn't love pockets? They're currently the right size for the kiddo's hands but are small enough to hold a little toy (or a handful of Lego), a little treat, or even mittens when not in use. I also crocheted the white "screen" face instead of using felt. But that's only because everywhere I went was sold out of white felt and the cream just didn't look right to me. Lucky for me, Michaels was offering a "buy 2 skeins of yarn, get the 3rd for free" deal. Perfecto! I ended up using almost one and a half skeins of the turquoise and the white yarn was a freebie.

I thought crocheting the scarf was tedious, I was wrong. Cutting out and then sewing the felt pieces was quite the arduous task. All the pieces were so tiny and I needed doubles. The perfectionist in me was going crazy that I couldn't get my circles round enough, the bars straight enough. Scissors just weren't cutting it (no pun intended). As a last resort I took out my quilting ruler and rotary cutter and just started cutting out rectangles and squares. It worked! My bars were perfect and I managed to get non-oval, perfect looking circles by using scissors to trim the corners of the squares to get my nicely round circles. Then I had to sew the felt pieces on... times like these I'm glad I'm a craft hoarder. I used embroidery thread to sew the pieces onto the scarf using the back stitch technique. SO.tedious. 

But hey, in the end I'm super proud of how the scarf turned out and how cute the faces look. I can't say I would ever make a similar project again, but I did learn some stuff. And the best parts, my kiddo was happy and my hands didn't hurt after all that work. Algebraic!!

:: Scarf Details ::
Pattern: BMO Scarf by Rose Henderson
Yarns: Red Heart Soft Solids
Colours: Turquoise (#2515) and White
Hooks: 5mm (size H) and 3.75mm (size F) for the limbs
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits BMO & Football BFF Scarf

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