Friday, August 18, 2017

Picking Those Needles Back Up

Sometimes, there comes a time in a non-monogamous knitter's life, when they realize that they really can have too many projects on the needles. I know, right?? This sentiment rings even truer for *this* knitter, when discovered, upon opening interchangeable needle set case after interchangeable needle set case, that there were no needle tips or even cables available for use. Um...what??

Thinking that maybe, just maybe I simply didn't put them away when I finished a project, I checked all the usual spots where I typically leave needles, notions, and measuring tapes. Nope. I checked all my knitting baskets and went through all my project bags because sometimes laziness takes over and I just want to keep knitting, so I'll leave needles in a project bag and over a span of a few projects the bag can accumulate practically half of a set of interchangeable needles. Yeah, no dice. But I did notice as I was going through all my project bags just how many projects I have yet to finish.

It was overwhelming.

I always tell myself that I can't cast on a new project until I get a WIP off the needles first. Obviously, that's not what's been happening here. And I have no one to blame but myself. So what's a knitter to do in a situation like this? Well, for one, I quickly closed the PDF for a newly purchased pattern and then I went to my pile of WIPs and grabbed one. The lucky WIP that I'm determined to get off the needles before the summer is over: my Exploration Station shawl that I had cast on about a year and a half ago.

I have absolutely no idea why I stopped knitting on this project. I remember how excited I was to finally be able to knit this pattern up. Looking over my WIP, there was nothing that was stumping me, I was and still am liking how this pattern and the colours are knitting up, I didn't run out of yarn, basically, all lights were green. Even more perplexing to me was that I had stopped knitting mid row. What was I thinking?

Luckily for me, this shawl involves different colours and sections so I was able to easily and quickly figure out where I was in the pattern and continue on knitting without any issues because I didn't even leave myself a note as to what I was doing. I know I have several WIPs where I won't be this lucky. And a part of me knows that's why I'm dreading and avoiding picking up some of those WIPs.

So the goal for this weekend: to keep knitting away on my Exploration Station...and to not think about the millions of ends that will inevitably need to be woven in if I want to consider this project completed when the knitting is all done. 

Just keep knitting...just keep knitting...just keep knitting...

What are you working on this weekend? Are you guilty of having way too many WIPs on the needles as me? Do you have any rules, tips or tricks to keep your WIPs at a reasonable number? Please let me know!

♥ Happy weekend knitting! ♥

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Summer of What?

A while ago I declared that this summer was going to be the Summer of Socks. Something that I thought, for a split second there, that I had come up with that no one else had. Yeah, no. Not even close. The Mister and I always say, whenever you think you've come up with something original just Google it and you'll find out that it's already been done (FYI: in case you're wondering, the first thing to pop up for me when I Googled it was Wendy Johnson's pattern page on Ravelry for her Summer of Socks 2008 KAL).

Regardless, I think I may have spoken too soon. Yes, I've been knitting away on socks since the start of summer but I haven't been churning them out as fast as I thought I would, or as fast as I would like to. For a moment I felt like I was on a sock knitting roll. I mean, I had finished my magical Rainbows & Unicorns socks, a pair of Rose City Rollers, and then last month a pair of (unblogged) Skews. I had ripped and re-started another pair of Skews that I had started over five years ago and was making some good progress on (as seen above). I also have a pair of plain vanilla socks on the go that's currently living in my handbag and feel like they're knitting up faster than I had originally anticipated.

But then the sock knitting madness swiftly died down. I had cast on, then two weeks later bound off, a shawl (that was sort of unblogged but you can catch a bit about it in this post), and soon after I cast on a pullover AND a blanket. Sock knitting had somewhat taken a backburner to the new and more exciting projects. And did I mention new? With that said, over the weekend I did, however, get some renewed sock knitting motivation after I had finally finished the first sock of the aforementioned rainbow stripey goodness that is this knee-high version of Skew.

This sock had turned out much better than I had hoped. Especially since I didn't plan in advance on how I was going to make these knee high length and to accommodate my meaty calf. The ribbing section is a bit longer than I would like but deem it a necessary compromise for not distorting the stripey visual had I continued on with trying to make the leg longer. I just hope that I made my notes sufficient enough so that I can replicate this for the second sock! To make sure that I don't take another five and a half years to knit the second sock, I made sure to cast it on the moment I wove in the ends of the first.

Hopefully, I can keep this sock knitting momentum going but we'll see. My new blanket WIP has taken over my brain (it's new! and exciting!) and I just recently found a long forgotten shawl WIP that I would like to finish - preferably before Andrea Mowry's What the Fade MKAL starts at the end of the month...which I've decided to join in on (more on that later). Not that finishing the shawl before starting a new one matters too much at the moment, as I haven't figured out colours or yarn yet. And who knows if I'll even get that sorted by the time the KAL starts. Surprisingly, I'm ok with that and with not casting on the second the first hint drops.

For now, I should really concentrate on finishing these magical rainbow knee-high Skews. And maybe getting a square finished on that blanket...and maybe try to figure out where I left off on that shawl WIP...

Oh, right. The socks...

Friday, August 4, 2017

Don't Blink

Oops! Too late. I blinked. And now it's August. I'm not even going to attempt to explain what happened to the time and how we're already halfway through the summer. All I know is that "rollercoaster ride" doesn't quite describe how these past few weeks have been. There was a death in the immediate family and shortly after it was my brother-in-law's long anticipated wedding. Our truck decided to stop working and the mechanic's bill still makes my jaw drop. Although there was a ton of travel time peppered throughout, I surprisingly didn't get much knitting accomplished. Aside from the weather being way too hot, especially in a vehicle, my navigator duties just didn't allow me to get that many stitches in.

But that's ok. I think my hands fully welcomed and appreciated the big break from knitting AND I didn't feel like I was "wasting my time" (which I usually feel when I watch TV or something and not knit at the same time). There was a lot of time spent with family, socializing, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones at the same time. Consuming copious amounts of wine and champagne and trying to learn a dance routine for the quasi-flash mob like dance that was to take place after the grooms dance with their mothers to get everyone on the dance floor (it sort of worked, I think guests were more in awe).

I did, however, cast on a new project. Out of need, you see. I realized, once again, that all of my WIPs were either too big to carry around or required way too much brain power and therefore rendered it a non-mindless knit. When I travel I like to pack along easy peasy projects and/or something that's straight up stockinette or garter. I usually like to bring two or more projects because you never know what kind of situation you'd be in and how discrete the knitting may have to be (for instance, having to wait in a deli for your sandwiches to be made versus spreading out on a patio as you enjoy some tunes at sunset). I always bring socks and either a shawl or a sweater. For some reason, everything that's on my to-knit list just wasn't cutting it for me. 

After a dive into the stash, I finally settled on casting on a V-neck Boxy by Joji Locatelli. I've been wanting to knit this pattern up for months now but always made excuses as to why I shouldn't. Oh right...because I have a lot on the needles already...


I wear my Boxy Pullover so much that I keep meaning to knit up another. So when Joji released the V-neck version last year I knew I just had to knit it up eventually. And I say eventually because I have my eye on the worsted version too. I honestly believe that you can't have too many Boxy pullovers in your wardrobe. Especially when you have a good amount of sweater quantities in gorgeous colourways in your stash.  

Speaking of stashes, I've decided that I MUST go on a yarn diet. Pronto! My stash is getting out of control. Correction: my stash enhancements is getting out of control. As I've mentioned several times before, I keep a spreadsheet of how much I knit up (WIPs don't count, just FOs), how much I added to the stash, and how much I take out of the stash. I won't say exactly how much I've added to my stash but I will say I've barely knitted up 6,000 metres. The past few months I've taken advantage of sales, free shipping offers, and joining friends on group orders. Various members from one of my knitting groups have been downsizing their stash, and who am I to turn down free yarn??

From my Instagram feed
Taking advantage of Sea Turtle Fiber Arts' epic summer sale

So, with all of you as my witnesses, I hereby declare that I will not be purchasing any more yarn. For the month of August. Unless I destash a whole whackload, then it's ok IF I want to purchase a skein or two. And yes, I'm only saying that as a safe guard in case I am able to make it to Fibrations this year (up island travels are on our summer bucket list this year). Hey, I'm only human! And yarn fumes can be so, so dangerous!

How about you? How's your summer been? What have you been working on? Have you been adding to your stash as vigorously as I have?

Happy Knitting! ♥

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Lately in July

Summer is officially here! Which means we're trying (not that hard, I might add) to find a new routine and settle into it. This generally means getting me and the Kiddo out of the house on a daily basis to enjoy the summer sun while doing something remotely active, because you know, being parked in front of the TV all day playing Xbox really isn't my idea of a great summer (regardless of what the Kiddo thinks!). Not to mention that it has hit me again that the Kiddo is getting older and I need to enjoy as much of the kiddie stuff as I can before he outgrows it all and before it's no longer cool to hang out with your mom so much.

That said, we've done absolutely nothing these past two weeks, even though I've been insisting to my family that we need to go out and "make some memories!". I'm pretty sure the Kiddo appreciates the more relaxed pace, though, and not having to do any writing assignments!! I'm enjoying slowing life down just a smidge too, and it's not like we haven't been doing anything. We've enjoyed Canada Day celebrations, attended free concerts and the Pride parade; we've met up with friends for play dates, knit dates, and Pokémon Go raid battle dates; we've spent time at the public library, time by the harbour, and time at the park...and there's still over seven weeks of summer left to go! Woah!

I'm only looking forward to the cooler months solely for knitting purposes. For now, I'm savouring the warmer weather. Which is rare. Cause I never savour warm weather. Warm weather and I just do not mesh well together. For some reason, this summer is different. I'm not sure why. I was hoping to get a lot of sewing accomplished this summer but alas, my hopes were dashed when it was discovered (in a not so fun and stinky way) that the majority of the electrical outlets in half of my house need to be replaced. On top of the other handful of maintenance work that needs to be done. I live in a tiny townhouse and so having all of my sewing stuff out just isn't feasible. Ugh.

Knitting it is then. Lots and lots of knitting. I'm currently working on three pairs of socks and just a few days ago I had cast on the most wonderful shawl, which you can see a little of in the photo above. This morning a box of yarn arrived on my doorstep and it's taking every fibre of my being to not cast on the blanket I've purchased the yarn for (pun, totally intended!!). Or the slippers that I've been eyeing since last winter...which there was also yarn for in that aforementioned box. Or to cast on one of the many new skeins of yarn that I've added to my stash recently...that's not part of that arrived this morning box. So.mucgh.yarn. We won't go there today. 

While the feelings of casting on all the knits are pretty strong, the feelings of finishing a few WIPs are equally strong, too. I just need to stop looking at pretty pictures of yarn and all the beautiful snapshots of knits on social media, cause my willpower is weak. It would also probably help if I actually sat down and took the time to do some knitting too...instead of looking at pretty pictures of yarn and all the beautiful snapshots of knits on soc...oh wait. 

Vicious circle.

Ok, I'm going to close all my browsers and settle down with some knitting. I hope you get the chance to do some knitting today too! 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fresh Off The Needles: Rose City Opal Rollers

I finished another pair of socks! Surprised? I'm not. From the looks of the WIPs that I've been keeping with me or near me, it would appear that this will be a Summer of Socks. This warm summer weather is making me want to knit alllll the socks. And yes, toting around a small sock project is much, MUCH easier than a sweater or even a shawl project. Especially now, when you're hauling around bottles of water, sunscreen, various snacks, an external battery pack charger for your smartphone (cause you know, playing Pokémon Go can really kill your battery!), possibly a book or two, and whatever extras you carry around when you've got a kid, it's hot out, and it seems like someone is always hungry. Socks are just too easy to not have in your handbag. Amirite?!?

Ok, fine. I know that not everyone is a sock knitter. Some knitters hate knitting socks (say what??), and some knitters have no use for hand knits socks as they either have issues wearing them with their shoes (I totally get that, I only wear my hand knit socks with my rain boots) or their feet are already pretty darn warm without the extra woolly layer. But for this knitter, knitting socks are a total must. They're small, usually mindless, and a knit that I can put down and pick up without having to sort out where I am in the pattern. Easy peasy.

These Rose City Rollers socks are no different. If anything, they are easier than my usual go-to plain vanillas. There's no ribbing and they're half the size of a typical sock, which means less knitting and no need to constantly measuring the leg length or cuff. These socks practically knit themselves up! 

For this particular pair I used three minis from my Opal advent calendar. Although, I kind of cheated a little and used a few yards of the same blue yarn I had used for my Miss.Matched socks for one of the toes. I don't think you can tell the difference since this is already a fraternal pair. I'm sure I would've had enough yarn to knit this pattern without having to dip into some leftovers had I started out with three full mini skeins and had I not used a tiny of bit of yarn from one of the minis in the aforementioned Miss.Matched socks. Oh well. 

I found that my gauge and the fit of the Miss.Matched socks were a little looser than I would have liked, so I decided to go down a needle size for this pair. I think the fit of these Rose City Rollers are a smidge tight, which I don't mind at all and in the end, I don't think it would make a difference if I used my usual sock needle size or the one down. The only mod I made was to decrease the toes until there were only 20 stitches left (instead of the 16 stitches as written in the pattern) as I didn't want my toes to be too pointy.

I highly recommend this pattern and love just how little yarn is required to knit up a pair. I have small feet and find that I always have a lot of yarn leftover after I knit a pair of socks, so I'm pretty excited to finally have a use for all these bits and bobs of sock yarn! I've already pulled out all the larger leftover skeins from my stash to specifically knit more Rose City Rollers. Cause trust me, this Opal mini pair will not be my one and only pair of Rose City Rollers!

:: Sock Details ::
Pattern: Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner

Yarn: Opal 4-ply Sock minis
Colours: Unknown, colours used were days 4, 5, and 7 as they came out of the advent box
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated Fixed Circular in 2mm (US 0)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Rose City Opal Rollers

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fresh Off The Needles: Rainbows & Unicorns

How excited am I to finally get these beautiful and super fun socks off the needles? I wish I could wear them right now but even with the random days of rain, it's still too warm to wear such woolly goodness on my feet. Oh well, another reason to look forward to Fall and the cooler weather! I know, I know...summer hasn't even officially begun and already I'm wishing it was Fall? Simply put, I don't do well in warm weather! Spring and Fall weather is when I thrive...and oddly enough when you can layer on the hand knits!

Anyhoo, back to these socks. I thought I would be knitting on these socks for months and months since I wasn't having any luck with the first sock and all the ripping back I had to do every time I had attempted to knit a heel. My original plan was to knit a toe-up gusset heel but after several attempts, it was quite obvious that this heel was not going to work out for me. Either I made the foot too long or too short, and after the last attempt, I realized that the heel looked too baggy around my overly narrow heels. Fine. How about a slip stitched heel instead? Yeah...that was a no go too. Somehow the heel came out too stiff with this bouncy yarn and it made the extra room a bit more prominent looking than I would like it to look. I was started to feel quite defeated. Have I lost my sock knitting mojo?

I ripped out the heel in sheer frustration and decided to just sleep on it. The next day I caved and went with my usual go-to heel that has yet to let me down, the Fish Lips Kiss heel. And lo and behold, all was good in the sock knitting department once again. Phew! But at the same time, I'm a little bummed about not being able to use a different heel technique. I feel like I'm always using the FLK heel (because it fits my heels just so darn well!!) whenever I knit a plain vanilla sock. I promise, the next pair, the next pair I'll knit a different heel!

It feels like it took a really long time to knit this pair up (three months, to be exact) to the point that someone on Instagram even commented on one of my photos that I was taking a long time and that they were obviously sick and tired of seeing the same sock WIP show up on my IG feed. At first, I felt really bummed out and wondered if my photos were starting to get boring and predictable. After a few days I told myself that I was being silly for letting someone's careless and ridiculous comment affect me so much. Why would you leave a comment like that in the first place? Screw that negativity!  

Aside from the aforementioned heel issues, these socks weren't my main project. While I was knitting these socks I had cast on and finished a Water shawl to donate to my son's school fundraiser and I whipped up a pair of Miss.Matched socks. I had also worked on my Fireside Pullover and a few other shawls WIPs (that are still WIPs...let's not go there). I was trying to be a little more monogamous with my projects, since obviously you can finish a project that much faster when you concentrate on one knit at a time, but my right hand is still all about the carpal tunnel and achiness. Knowing what I know now about healing from carpal tunnel release surgery, I sort of don't want to have to go through the surgery again. At least not right now. So with that said, I'm trying really hard to be extra, extra good to my right hand.

I had knit these socks using my usual toe-up plain vanilla sock recipe (24sts for the toe, 6" leg measuring from the top of the heel, and a 2" 2x2 ribbed cuff) because I wasn't sure how the colours would play out, even though I had seen a sample of this yarn when I had bought the yarn. But you know, needle size, stitch count and stitch gauge can change the outcome of how variegated colours can stack up upon one another. These socks are a true testament of that!

I started the first sock before I had my CT release surgery, and then finished it and its mate after the surgery. I didn't change needles, I didn't change any stitch counts, and I had cast on the second sock from the same end of the yarn cake that I was using for the first sock, and yet the foot came out completely fraternal! I really loved how the colours pooled and then started flashing on the first sock (as seen on the left foot in the photo above) and was quite surprised that it didn't happen on the second sock. Well, not as noticeably, that is. You can see a thicker band of the rainbows happening just below the toes on the second sock. I was also a little surprised that the striping continued almost evenly even after the heel on the second. Usually the heel messes something up and I find colours play out a little differently once you start knitting back in the round after the heel.

Sock's just so magical.

After binding off that very last stitch I weighed my cake and discovered that I have almost a quarter of the skein leftover. Lately I've been giving my leftovers to a good friend, who uses them to knit up little toys that she either gives to charity or uses as a cute yarn bomb, but not this leftover! I'm definitely keeping this little morsel of a yarn cake! I have visions of using it on the neck, cuffs, and hem of a baby sweater. Or maybe as an i-cord edge on a baby item. Or maybe I'll use it to knit another pair of Fennel fingerless mitts (I have exactly enough for a pair!!) since my original pair has been worn to death. Hmmm...that would be such a fun accessory to have on hand to liven up my usually monochromatic wardrobe (pun fully intended!!). Or maybe I should acquire a few more skeins from Sea Turtle Fiber Arts, in colourways similar to this one, which is called Rainbows & Unicorns, and then use all the leftovers to knit a crazy pants rainbow universe pair. I've had my eye on a few skeins ever since last year's Knit City (Rainbow Brite and Dark Side of the Moon, to name a few), I just need an excuse to get my grabby hands on them...


If any one needs me, I'll be looking at some yarn...

Please excuse the extreme ladders along the side seams - these haven't been blocked yet!

:: Sock Details ::

Pattern: My usual toe-up plain vanilla sock recipe with FLK heel

Yarn: Sea Turtle Fiber Arts Ridley Sock
Colour: Rainbows & Unicorns
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Rainbows & Unicorns

Friday, June 2, 2017

Knit In Progress: Rose City Opal Rollers

Even though I'm incredibly determined to get a few WIPs off the needles, I felt deeply compelled to cast on a pair of socks yesterday. Most likely because I didn't have a portable pair of socks on the go (my Ulti.knit Socks are too fiddly for my liking to carry around and the Continental part of the knitting makes my hand cramp up too much...not fun!) and I hate leaving the house without a knitting project tucked away in my handbag. Would you believe that I didn't have a sock WIP on the needles for TWO weeks?!? Surprising, I know!

I've had my eye on the Rose City Rollers pattern ever since it was released but put off knitting up a pair simply because I wasn't sure if I would wear handknit ankle socks. Since fracturing a couple of toes a few months ago (they're healing so.slowly!!) I've discovered that I haven't been able to wear the same footwear as I used to. Since I have to buy new footwear, I figured I might as well buy something that will be big/comfortable enough to allow me to wear handknit socks with (other than my rainboots, my other shoes feel too tight when I wear them with my handknit socks). 

The idea of being able to wear handknit socks with regular footwear totally excites me! So yesterday while overseeing my kiddo's recorder practise, I finally cast on my first pair of Rose City Rollers. Oh yeah, I can tell you right now that this will not be my one and only pair! As I write this post, I'm already knitting the last few decreases on the gusset!! And get this, I'm knitting this pair with some of the minis from my Opal advent calendar but so far I'm still on the first mini!!

I'm actually torn between sticking with and working on this sock or putting it down long enough to start the sleeves on a pullover. Depending on how my right hand is feeling, I just may have a pair of socks completed by the time the weekend is over! So if anyone needs me, I'll be parked on the Lazy Boy knitting endless stockinette in the round. What are you up to this weekend?

♥ Happy weekend knitting!! ♥

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