10 Question Challenge

Happy Years Eve!!

Picking this up from NothingButKnit’s blog. For crafters this year here are a few challenging questions you can have fun answering, followed by my Q&A:

  1. Your earliest memory of sewing/crafting?
  2. What is your most beautiful make?
  3. What is your most challenging make?
  4. Your most unpractical make that you like but can’t really wear/use?
  5. What is your most worn/used make?
  6. If you had no limits, what would you like to create?
  7. What is your favourite material to work with?
  8. What is the next technique you would like to learn?
  9. What is the topmost item on your sewing/crafting wish list?
  10. What is one sewing/crafting challenge you want to take for the year 2018?

Try posting it on your blog!

  1. Your earliest memory of sewing/crafting? – Knitting garter stitch slippers when I was 6 years old for my parents for Christmas.
  2. What is your most beautiful make? – My George Hancock out of Tosh DK in worn denim.
  3. What is your most challenging make? The third pair of socks I knit, which have since been frogged.
  4. Your most unpractical make that you like but can’t really wear/use? A beaded hitchhiker scarf out of scratchy sock yarn on the recommended needles. No drape whatsoever. Whenever I put it on, I take it right back off. Beautiful and pointless. If only I’d gone up one needle size I’d probably wear it more.
  5. What is your most worn/used make? My 16 cable hat which is why I don’t understand why I gave the first one away!
  6. If you had no limits, what would you like to create? A arm knitted afghan out of roving about 3-4 times the size of this pattern. I want a KING sized one–not a throw.
  7. What is your favourite material to work with? Superwash Merino wool in DK or worsted weight. Totally forgiving while knitting and washable–especially Zen Garden Serenity DK.
  8. What is the next technique you would like to learn? Weaving. I even have a loom, but I haven’t set it up yet.
  9. What is the topmost item on your sewing/crafting wish list? Better yarn storage.
  10. What is one sewing/crafting challenge you want to take for the year 2018? I’d like to: A. knit more yarn than I buy and B. Give away all of my circular needles.
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Is It Done Yet?

I remember the long car rides of my youth riding unseatbelted in the back of my dad’s Lincoln Continental. He always thought seat belts were “dangerous” that they’d cut you in half in a car accident (we are talking about waist belts). He’d had the car lovingly restored, painted a darkish silver, high-polish chrome handles on the suicide doors and reupholstered in white leather.

Though my father knew little about fixing cars, it was his love for them that instilled a similar passion in me. I could name any car on the road—especially the sports cars. And I got fairly adept at looking after them myself before they got so complicated.

Later, when I started racing, driving to the track, I’d get that same feeling, the impatient “Are we there yet?” I’d anxiously grip and ungrip the wheel anticipating the fear and fun to come.

run channel

A few years back I sold my racecar to a collector and doubled down on knitting and kayaking. Both are safer and considerably cheaper habits!

I’m ¾ of the way through another project and sadly I’m gripped with the desire to put it down or get it over with. And that feels like the wrong way to look at the situation. I know I’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment when it’s done, but right now, I’m in the doldrums of a 1×1 rib to the finish line.

I wish I were a faster knitter!!

Fool Socks

One might get the idea that I only knit socks these days. Not true! I’ve got another George Hancock on the needles (a merging of Georgetown and Hancock patterns by Hannah Fettig). Since it is for me, it’s been resting for a while. I was finding such variation in Dachshund Tosh DK, that I’m alternating three skeins at a time instead of two each row after I noticed the obvious striping.

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And speaking of stripes…

When I was growing up, my father always seemed to love wearing the colors of bright red and blue *together*—particularly in longitudinal stripes. I remember several shirts and even a pair of red-blue striped jeans he wore to threads.

When we visited his parents, his mother used to tell him he looked like a fool—so in my mind, the colors and stripes were linked. I used to think he went out of his way to find striped blue and red pants and shirts just to irritate her. But he’s kept it up (mostly buying bright red shirts to wear with his blue jeans) even after she passed away so it’s clearly a genuine preference.

“Fool socks” were born based on a Vogue Knitting Boot Socks pattern by Ruth Tobacco with added stripes in alternated toes and heels to just give it a bit more tomfoolery.

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It was an overnight ship to get them home to Idaho in time for his December 23rd b-day and I’ve knit little else due to my work and teaching load this past Fall. To me they look a bit cat-in-the-hat (like my Dr. Seuss Capelet).

What can I say? We are a crazy lot!

I didn’t have time to snap a picture before I sent the completed pair off to him. Here’s hoping my mom with snap a pic while they are afoot!

Any crazy knitting for the crazy people in your life?

Lurid Socks?

The sock saga continues. With the titillating toe-ups done, I have another notch on my sock blocks. The only trouble with them is that they came out a bit more mottled than I expected—but they turned out beautifully. I’m now a huge fan of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK. So soft! So snuggly. So warm. I wish they fit me—but they don’t.

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The bee is in my bonnet now that I’ve found a pattern that works and is easy to follow. It’s worsted weight, so they go fast, but that also means they are not for daily use. Nick still wears the heck out of them–usually as socks around the house, now that things are a bit chilly.

I’ll probably revisit the fingering weight later since he’s wearing quickly through the two pair I knit a while back. For now I’ll try to knit a few of these for Christmas/birthday presents since I’m feeling a bit more confident about them as a project.

And to think… Some people use sock knitting as a place to start learning how to knit.

My first knitting project was garter slippers similar to these, which are vastly easier than sock.

What was your first project?

Black Friday Yarn Buying Binge

I like to shop local. Knit Fit gave me that chance and I did break the piggy bank.  And it didn’t help that there was a huge close out at my local JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts the same weekend. And though some of my purchases seem a bit mainstream–you must remember—Cascade Yarns are based in Seattle.

I’ve been telling myself that they are for Christmas gifts and for the most part that’s true. But the reality is that most of my recent purchases are serendipitous (I have no project in mind) or because the yarn was sumptuous. I just had to have it. Given I skipped all of the other yarn events this year, I suspect it was inevitable.

Let’s just call it a bit of retail therapy.

😊

A Really Useful Gift for a Knitter

My mind has been on gifts for Christmas. In fact, I’m a bit worried how I’ll complete all the presents I’ve planned to make. I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of some yarn for some of those gifts–hoping it will arrive before Thanksgiving when I’ll finally have some time to knit.

This past weekend I went to Knit Fit in Seattle and picked up a few of the skeins I need, but some are still in transit. Meanwhile I took a master class on decreases and increases, because I’m always struggling to know which one to use when and what each one looks like and is best for certain projects.

On the wrist of the instructor, Andrea Rangel, had on a tool I truly coveted. It’s the one thing I’m always wanting close to hand, but isn’t handy—a measuring tape. Instead of it being in a toolkit there it was as a fashionable bracelet on her wrist.

When I got home I made a quick search and discovered they are made in Oregon by a company called ILOVEHANDLES. For a mere 19.95, I think it’s a beautiful, affordable gift for any knitter in your life.

What a Week I’m Having!!

Work has been tough lately. I mean it’s always challenging, but lately the kitchen has been getting a really, really hot. All week I’ve been telling myself that I have something to look forward to. Knit Fit Seattle!

Even though I worked super late last night, I stayed up even later to make sure I had all my supplies lined for my classes. I even activated a new credit card, in spite of needing no new yarn whatsoever! In fact, I’ve been debating another donating.

Last night I was sleepy, and many mishaps ensued, including dropping 32 ounces of water into my bureau drawer, but by midnight—I was ready! However, this AM I went to look for the address and see if there was nearby parking (a perennial Seattle nightmare) and on my registration in BIG BOLD LETTERS was the date—November 10-12. *sigh*

I REALLY need a break, so I’m making lemonade. I wound all my remaining Madeline Tosh DK into cakes in anticipation of making another George Hancock (combination of Georgetown and Hancock sweaters in Home and Away) and took photos of my latest FO—a Sixteen Cable hat in mohair.

I hope you are having a great week, or better yet, weekend!

A Yarn Weight Key for Holding Two Strands Together

Holding two strands of yarn together can make some beautiful projects. I came across several blogs and lovely patterns on Ravelry which show some spectacular outcomes of holding two yarns of the same weight together.

I’ve got it in my head to do a gradient sweater with a set of Miss Babs Fingering Weight yarn and I’m not too keen on knitting it at a fingering weight. I once knit a sport weight and it took me over a year to complete it (of course not knitting monogamously).  And yet, patterns like the Happily Sweater by Katy Banks, the Progressive Pullover by Faina Goberstein and the Gradient Pullover by Amy Miller are calling my name!

     

I’ve been looking for a key to holding two strands together and couldn’t find a definitive source. This won’t be one either, as this is not an exact science. But after researching and testing I came up with what you could use as a good rule of thumb. After that, swatching should get you the rest of the way.

First to the Craft Yarn Council to get the “standard weight” categories, including a “new” knitted yarn weight called Jumbo—which I often get by hold three worsted weight strands together. The table below is a modified version of what you’ll find at their site. I encourage you to look there for the full table.

Category
Fingering 10-count thread
Sock, Fingering, Baby
Sport, Baby
DK, Light Worsted
Worsted, Afghan, Aran
Chunky, Craft, Rug
Super Bulky, Roving
Jumbo, Roving
Gauge Range Over 4”
33–40 stitches
27–32 stitches
23–26 stitches
21–24 stitches
16–20 stitches
12–15 stitches
7–11 stitches
6 stitches or less

In general, from standard yarn sources (e.g., Quince and Co, Lion Brand or Cascade Yarns, in general I find the following is true:

  • 2 strands of thread weight = Lace weight to fingering
  • 2 strands of lace weight = fingering to sock to sport weight
  • 2 strands of sock = sport weight to DK
  • 2 strands of sport = DK or light worsted
  • 2 strands of DK = Worsted or Aran
  • 2 strands of Worsted = Chunky
  • 2 strands of Aran = Chunky to Super Bulky
  • 2 strands of Chunky = Super bulky to Jumbo

Always check your gauge, since your mileage may vary. I’m selfishly sharing so I could put the list in a place I could find it. 😊

Maybe next time I’ll do some tests with mixed weights, since I do an awful lot of those combinations too. And after that maybe three strands.

Like so much with knitting, the possibilities are endless!

Titillating Toe-up Socks

This weekend I looking for a way to make sock knitting a bit more bearable. My husband has gone crazy for them! I did I test run with some worsted acrylic I had lying around in a bright variegated yarn called “Lava”.

The "hole" truth
The “hole” truth

As I’ve mentioned before, they were just a prototype. I never thought he’d wear them, but on completion–he HAD to have them. In a few short months he’d loved them to death and demanded a replacement pair–in the same “lurid” color. It wasn’t worth knitting them in that same bad yarn which will only wear out quickly again, so I hunted up a similar color scheme in wool. Cost a pretty penny too!

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Since this is expensive yarn I want to use it wisely–making them as long as possible. That requires then to be toe-up. So I’m at it again—looking for an easy way out—so frustrated by the toe-up patterns that cause me nothing but heartache.

Enter Staci and VeryPink.com.

  • Want to learn how to knit two socks at once on two circular needles? Here’s how: https://youtu.be/i4iD77aJCAw
  • Want to do a provision cast on for magic loop socks (because I can’t seem to get other method to work)? She’s got you covered: https://youtu.be/eQgxMypJlXA
  • Want to make sure the socks don’t get holes? Reinforce them! https://youtu.be/OJPZVswnVxQ. And this will come in handy so that I don’t have to knit another pair so soon.

 

It’s still in the early hours of knitting these little follows, but I’ve come a lot further in a much shorter time with a little help from Staci.