Sunday, July 16, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 3

That's the first pair complete for this Year of Projects! Petty Harbour is a very nice, simple vanilla-ish sock pattern - exactly what I wanted for this Khaki green Bamboo yarn. My sister-in-law sent out a call for more hand knit socks for my brother a few weeks ago. Coincidentally I was trying to decide what to do with this yarn as it hasn't the necessary wool content for charity knitting. Perfect timing!

The pattern is super simple - just a four stitch and four row repeat - no charts necessary and very little attention required particularly if you can read your knitting to see where you are.

I knit the socks toe up. Like me, my brother has big feet so I wanted to make the legs as long as possible from the available yarn. Each finished sock weighs 49 grams, so there was very little yarn leftover! I've become a fan of the FLK heel, so that's what I did here. It gives a very neat result and is well worth the $1 price for the pattern and tutorials.

The yarn is SRK On Your Toes bamboo. I've knit it before and liked it. It makes quite a comfy, breathable pair of socks, but it's missing the spring-y stretchiness of merino. Hopefully there's enough ribbing through the pattern and in the cuff to keep these socks up!

Once this pair was done I decided to cast on my Vanilla is the New Black socks. I'm headed to a Weaving Conference in PA next week, so I wanted some mindless travel knitting. This really is a vanilla sock but it's got an interesting heel - a Strong Heel. The heel is knitted in the round with increases on either side of the centre back of the leg. You never need to pick up stitches and you won't have any holes or gaps. It's quite neat looking and very easy to work.

The yarn is a cheap-ish self-patterning printed yarn from Germany... H&W Comfort-Wolle Sockenwolle. It's shades of grey and black with quite subtle patterning. I quite like it for a simple masculine sock. The texture of the yarn feels a lot like Kroy sock yarn, so hopefully it's just as durable.

The cuff and leg of the sock was knit from yarn that was frogged twice before - once because I didn't like the pattern I'd started, and a second time because it was knitting up too small so I had to restart with more stitches. The yarn held up surprisingly well to that much frogging and wasn't overly splitty considering.

So, all in all, it's been a couple of good weeks on the knitting front. My Somewhere Socks have seen no action but they're a bit chart-y with lots of colour changes which isn't the best for travel and mindless knitting. I am struggling to find good light for knitting in the evenings in my new digs, so that's slowing me down a bit as that's about the best time to knit.

It's unlikely that I'll manage a post next weekend as I'm away at a weaving conference. My friend is a weaver so she suggested this trip. We're taking a 4 day course in Saori Weaving which should be way outside both our comfort zones so that'll keep it interesting. Hopefully the weather cooperates too so that the driving is fun. We're planning a stop at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, and then a layover in Corning, with an outing to the Corning Glass Factory. If time permits, we may also stop in Hershey for a chocolate factory tour. Will it make me crave chocolate? Or will I be overwhelmed by chocolate sights and smells?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 1


This is it! The beginning of Year 7! That means it's time for a new list....

This year is a very different year for me. We've moved from the city to a small rural community. I resigned from my full-time job and am negotiating to work part-time remotely (from home). As a result, I'm not really sure what my days will be like and how much knitting I'll be doing. One thing's for sure - there won't be much travel knitting because I won't have a commute any more. Working remotely there may be times while I'm waiting for files to upload or download, so there's potential knitting time there. I guess we'll see.

I'm left really unsure about how to construct my list for the upcoming year of projects. I definitely want to finish the socks that are currently on the needles. And there are a handful of patterns for which I specifically purchased yarn so I want to do those. I work better to a specific list rather than loosely defined goals, so a list it is. As well, given that we've downsized our living arrangements, I definitely want to knit down the stash this year. So maybe it's time to start working through all the patterns I've faved on Ravelry!

Will I knit 20 pairs in the coming year? I guess we'll see. I tried to mix up the pattern choices to include some quite vanilla choices for mindless TV knitting, some fancy chart-y patterns because they're fun, and some choices that would suit colour scraps and/or variegation to use up what's in the stash.

In the meantime, job one is to tidy up the two pairs of socks that are in progress. Ideally I'd like to finish the Petty Harbour socks by end of day Tuesday, in time to hand them over to my brother when I see him Wednesday morning. Because being frugal with shipping costs is another goal for this year!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Year of Projects 6: Week 52



So yesterday was moving day, leaving me surrounded by totes and furniture in the wrong rooms. It's taken most of the day to get the two bedrooms and the living room sorted out (mostly). And finally there's a clear path to my computer so I can write a post!

Still it's nice to have all our stuff here. And it's nice to finally have a proper living room. Over the next few weeks we'll have to cull our excess stuff - we have waaaaay too much stuff - and find homes for this and that.

With all that's been going on I haven't had much time to knit. My first Petty Harbour sock is just past the heel. So clearly these won't be done in time to enter the June KAL on the SolidSock Group on Ravelry!

We did see the birthday boy last week, but, wouldn't you know it, I forgot to bring along the Syncopation socks that I just finished for him. He sounds excited to have the socks. Years ago I knit a pair of socks for his wife, and he told me he keeps stealing them from her sock drawer as they're the only things that keep his feet warm without sweating. I think that makes him knit-worthy, so I think I'll plan a pair for him and a pair for his wife for Christmas. It was certainly nice to hear that my hand knit socks are appreciated.

Speaking of plans, I need to spend the upcoming week putting in some hard though about how to construct my list for the seventh Year of Projects. It's hard to know how to plan, as I don't really know what the upcoming year is going to look like for me. On the other hand, the more concrete and specific the list, the more rigorously I follow it. Hmmmmmm.

Gavin is pacing behind me - we've been invited out for dinner - so I'd better stop here. I hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Year of Projects 6: Week 51


The moving truck has been booked for next Saturday. At this point almost everything has been moved to Lake Erie; we're just living without our large furniture! It sure will be nice to have a rug in the living room, along with a couch, ottomans and recliners. At the moment we're living on patio furniture with a bare floor! Takes me back to my student days :)



Both "Syncopation Socks" are done. It's a lovely, super simple free pattern which I highly recommend. It's easy to read your knitting to keep track of where you are, so you really don't need to reference the pattern much at all. And the resulting knitted fabric has an interesting sinuous look to it which makes it very attractive. Because the pattern is sort of ribbed, the finished sock is stretchy and fits well. Nice! I hope the birthday boy likes them!

Immediately after finishing them I cast on another vanilla-ish sock - Petty Harbour Socks - for my brother who is apparently in desperate need of more handknit socks. The yarn is a non-wool bamboo blend sock yarn - SRK On Your Toes Bamboo - that was given to me some time ago. The Warm Hands Network prefers socks with 75% wool content, so this yarn was no good for them. I think my brother will like it though. It's a very inoffensive khaki colour. And if I happen to finish these socks in June, they would qualify for the June "Green" KAL in the SolidSocks group on Ravelry. That might be overly optimistic though!

Thanks one and all for your kind comments about my Etsy shop. Response to the Canada Day bags has continued to be strong, so now I'd better plan so more designs to feature once Canada Day is past. I have a few fun ideas :)

Now that we're downsizing into a smaller home I thought I'd better start a yarn diet and knit through much of the stash that I've moved to Lake Erie. Of course, that was before I dropped in at Creative Yarns in Scarborough. They are moving - the bakery next door wants to expand into their space - so much of the yarn was on sale. I picked up several 50gr skeins of Shelridge Farms 80/20 merino/nylon in solid colours. There are several colourwork sock patterns in my queue, and maybe I'll get to some of them in the next year of projects!

Just two weeks left in Year 6 of A Year of Projects. If you're interested in joining the group, then please check us out on Ravelry. The idea is that you make a tentative plan for your knitting for the upcoming year, and then work through that list and blog your progress on Sundays. Your list can be detailed (or not) and there are no knitting police. My tentative plan last year was to knit a pair of socks for charity every month and check out more intricate sock patterns from a variety of designers. I'd pretty much give myself a C- or a D on my performance last year. I did better when my lists were more structured - like knit every pattern in a pattern book. So that's food for thought for next year's list.



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Year of Projects 6: Week 48

What a bad blogger I've been! It's been a struggle through the last several weeks of moving back and forth. Seems like most Sundays were finding me somewhere without access to a computer and/or internet. I tried blogging from my tablet but couldn't get the pictures to upload. *sigh*

All that being said, I think the worst is behind me. These days we're in Selkirk at Lake Erie pretty much full time with all our gear. We still need to move a couple of totes of small stuff and then the large stuff by moving van from Toronto before the house sale closing at the end of June.

Still, there has been knitting. I did cast on Somewhere Socks in a variety of neutral coloured sock yarn scraps. So far I'm loving them! The colourwork pattern is achieved with slipped stitches rather than stranding which really snugs up the pattern so be warned - cast on a larger size than you think! And all those colour changes will leave me with a ton of ends to weave in but I think this sock is so fun that it's worth it! Knitting this pattern is completely satisfying my urge for colourwork. And don't you find colourwork addictive? I'll be thinking of putting my knitting down and then I think, wait, let's see how the next colour looks.... and then the next, and the next.

Those socks were interrupted by a special request from Gavin's best friend who asked for a pair of hand knit socks in my choice of a masculine pattern in "KLM blue". I was lucky to find this light blue yarn on sale at Studio June's Etsy shop and decided on "Syncopation Socks" - a pattern that's been in my faves for quite a while. It's a free pattern and super simple that knits up to quite an attractive effect. I highly recommend it. I need to get a move on with sock two, as these will already be late for the actual birthday. Not that the birthday boy would know as he's been travelling out of the country for the last few weeks and we won't likely see him for another ten days at least.

Speaking of Etsy, I opened my very own Etsy shop quite some time ago but never really had much time to devote to it until now. I've started adding project bags, particularly bags in celebration of Canada's upcoming 150th birthday. As well I started running an ad on Ravelry in some of the Canadian knitting groups. The response has been overwhelming! I'm thrilled to see things start to take off and hope to devote a lot more time to it. At the moment I only ship to Canada, however, if you really want something let me know through an Etsy conversation and I'll ship it anywhere in the world. And if you want something specially designed for you or you group I can do that too. /end shameless self promotion

So that's it for me this week. In the coming days my focus will be on completing the Syncopation Socks in time for our next meeting with the birthday boy. Gavin is surfing world class waves in Costa Rica next week, so I'll have lots of quiet time to knit!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Year of Projects 6: Week 44


It's possible that I'm catching up. Although it's tenuous and things could go off the rails at any moment. The house was cleaned, staged and listed. Now we're at the cottage while the realtor schedules showings and Open Houses. At least now there's enough of our gear at the cottage that we can function normally. Pretty soon I'll have to stop calling it "the cottage" ... it'll just be home!

Last night I finished my Fidget Socks. It's a nice little pattern, perfect for busy yarn and super easy. A bit yarn hungry though. I knit these toe up as written, and used every last bit of yarn. The legs are not as long as I'd like but that's all she wrote. It'd help if my feet weren't so long.

And if you're wondering, no that's not a trick of the light - one sock is dramatically darker than the other. I noticed when I caked the yarn that the light shades and the most contrast in the variegation was concentrated in the first half of the skein. I am somewhat annoyed by this. Am I right to think that a knitter ought to be able to make a matching pair of socks from a skein labelled as "sock yarn"?

It's the first time I've made a Fish Lips Kiss Heel with adjustments to increase the stitch count on the bottom of the foot in order to lengthen the heel cup. It works really well and fits very nicely. I increased 10 sts - my heels are POINTY - but I think 6-8 sts would have done the trick. Still, they fit well, so it's all good.

I'm happy to have these off the needles because the knitting was getting a bit boring. Now that I've moved all the yarn stash to the cottage both Gavin and I have had a chance to see exactly how much sock yarn I have. LOTS. Not many full skeins but three shoeboxes full of sock yarn scraps. Now I'd better get knitting it! I plan to start with Somewhere Socks. I spread all the yarn out on the floor and have organized two possible colour combinations. One combination is made up of six different shades of light to dark neutrals. I'm going to start with those. Another combination is made up of ten different shades of blues and greens. If I'm not bored of the pattern after the first pair, then perhaps I'll make a second blue/green pair.

It's a cold, windy and rainy Sunday hereabouts. Is that good for a real estate Open House? Or are people likely to stay home? I guess we'll see. Fingers crossed that the home buyers are out today!



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Year of Projects 6: Week 41


As expected Albert de Moncerf socks are done. I couldn't resist the morning sun so I took photos in the front hallway - lots of sun and contrast and glowing white winter legs! Eek!

It's a really, really nice pattern. Just the right amount of cabling. Just enough chart to keep it interesting but not so much to require full attention. A really squishy resulting fabric that clings snugly. And it's free! I highly recommend it!

I've knit this pair exactly as written and the resulting pair weighs 86 grams. Considering that I started out with slightly less than a skein - 90 grams - it couldn't have worked out much better. If I'd had more yarn at my disposal I'd have added more length to the leg. The leg is stretched out in the photo but tends to squish down lower towards the ankle when left to its own devices.

The yarn is Red Sock Blue Sock Basic Sock yarn. I picked it up at the Toronto Knitter's Frolic a few years back. The base has since been discontinued. Although I loved the dye job on the yarn I didn't enjoy knitting it and wouldn't have purchased it again. It's quite thin resulting in a thin-ish fabric even when knit on 2mm needles, so that's not good. As well, it's not very smooth and it has a lot of twist so the stitch definition isn't great. Oh well, I've knit all of it up now so that's water under the bridge.

I'd definitely consider buying from Red Sock Blue Sock again because the dye job is lovely. The photos don't do it justice, but the colourway is a lovely tonal blend of blues and greens that I just couldn't resist. I picked it up, snuggled it, put it down, picked it up again, walked around the shop with it, put it down again, and then I gave in and bought it. Nicely semi-solid so it doesn't pool or compete against the pattern, but still gorgeous and interesting. Maybe I'll like one of their new bases better?

With this pair off the needles I've been devoting my time to my Fidget Socks. Another free pattern, but this one is so simple that it's on the boring side. The first sock is coming along nicely; I'm nearly ready to start the heel. But I'm tempted to cast on another sock. I happened across this pattern for Somewhere Socks and was thrilled to find a coupon code to download it free on the first day it was released. I think it'll be fun to knit up with yarn scraps, so I just need to look through all my oddments and make a plan. Mostly I'm trying to avoid starting them so that my concentration remains focussed on the socks already on the needles!

That's my knitting update for this week. The next several weeks are going to be super busy. We're planning to list our house at the end of the month so I need to deep clean, de-clutter and stage room by room. Fingers crossed the process goes smoothly and quickly!