Sunday, September 16, 2018

Year of Project 8: Week 14

Last weekend we returned from a few days in New Hampshire, but rather than posting I spent my time on Saturday and Sunday tidying, doing laundry and catching up on work. Things have been busy   and hot to the detriment of my knitting progress.

Although I split the driving with Gavin, and I was required to pay attention to road signs and directions while in the passenger seat, I did get make some headway with the test knit socks. The first (left) sock is done and the second (right) sock is mostly done... I just need to finish the foot and work the toe. The patterning is subtly different from right sock to left sock so the designer has asked that both be knit at least past the heel turn before the end of the testing period on September 21st. I'm further than that already so my plan is to complete the pair and provide modelled photos before the end of the test period. That will be my focus over the next few days.

There's some progress too on my Instagram KAL #monstersockkal2018. Although I wasn't loving the sock when I was randomly mixing browns and bits of orange into mainly yellows, after adding a series of brighter stripes I'm happier with it now. The FLK heel has been completed and now I'm onto the leg of the first sock. This will take over as my main focus once the test knit socks are complete. If you're on instagram you're welcome to join up. Just pick your scraps or minis and post with the hashtag #monstersockkal2018. That's all there is to it!

My Nain socks have been completely ignored. They're going to remain on the back burner until the other socks are done and off the needles, after which I can give them my undivided attention.

New Hampshire was beautiful as evidenced by this drone photo Gavin took of a sunrise at the ocean. Of course he's used HDR setting and tweaked the vibrance, but lovely still. We spent most of our time in the ocean or in the pool to escape from the crazy heat. Cell coverage was sparse to non-existent and the motel's wifi was very poor, so the vacation was restful and unplugged. Unfortunately we timed things poorly and Gavin didn't get much surfing in... the storms and hurricanes were making their way up the coast after we left.

When I returned from New Hampshire I started volunteering one morning a week at a local cat shelter. It sounds more fun than it is - in my four hours a week I spend about three hours and 58 minutes scooping out cat litter boxes... sweeping, washing and disinfecting kennels... washing out and refilling food and water bowls... there's always more that needs doing, so just a scant few minutes a week are actually spent playing with cats. Still, I feel good about doing it and it's nice to get out and meet some new people, so it's well worth the time and effort as far as I'm concerned. At any given time there appear to be about 60 cats and kittens at the shelter and many more in foster care. And so far it looks like about 10 cats a week are adopted and another 10 or more are rescued or surrendered. If only more people would spay or neuter their cats!


2018 Paper Bag Project - September, October, November and December

      Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
      Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
      Test Knit Socks - using unknown variegated red yarn
      Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Full Skeins from stash

      Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
      Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
      Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
      Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
      Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

    Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

          Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
          Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
          Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
          Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
          Bill Huggins - in various scraps
          Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
          Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
          Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
          Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps
          Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
          Nain - using large scraps of Stretch Bamboo in light blue
          Jelly Rolls - using all the leftover Stretch Bamboo in various colours


    Sunday, September 2, 2018

    Year of Projects 8 - Week 12


    As planned on the first of September I pulled a paper bag for my 2018 Paper Bag Project and tore it open to find a caked skein of variegated red yarn - no surprise there.

    Without delay I cast on a test knit for a designer through The Testing Pool group on Ravelry. I've knit the cuff, the colour work/cable section that tops the leg and made a start on the waffle rib that comprises the balance of the sock. I had worried that the red would be too busy for the pattern, but I think it looks fine. The waffle rib is very simple making these socks ideal travel knitting for our road trip to New Hampshire next week. With any luck I'll have them completed by the end of next week. 10 hours there and 10 hours back in the car should give me plenty of knitting time. And nowadays the GPS takes care of the directions; I don't have to watch road signs and follow along with the map book.

    On the spur of the moment I also signed up for an Instagram KAL #monstersockkal2018. I've cast on and made a start using a bunch of yellow/beige/brown/orange scraps from stash but I'm finding the combination very meh. So much for my vision of a subtle shifting autumn colour feel! Now I'm trying to decide what to do about it. This morning I pulled out some really bright orange, bright red and light natural scraps from stash with the idea that they will brighten it all up and break up the same-same yellowy-brown-ness. I'll knit another inch to introduce the new colours and then make a decision after that. If I still hate it then I'll rip it out and go with brightly coloured stripes instead. The KAL runs until Halloween (October 31st) so there's no rush.

    If you're on instagram you're welcome to join up. Just pick your scraps or minis and post with the hashtag #monstersockkal2018. That's all there is to it!

    My Nain socks weren't completely ignored either. I hope to finish sock one before we leave for our road trip on Tuesday morning. With a forecast of unending rain punctuated by the occasional thunderstorm I expect that lots of knitting will get done through the rest of this long weekend. Whatever happens Nain won't be coming along on the trip - it requires constant attention to the chart, and with all those yarn overs and twisted stitches I don't think it'd be very forgiving of any dropped stitches or errors from inattention. I'd better just leave that in my knitting basket until I get back!


    2018 Paper Bag Project - September, October, November and December


          Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
          Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
          Test Knit Socks - using unknown variegated red yarn
          Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird

    Full Skeins from stash

          Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
          Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
          Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
          Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
          Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

      Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

            Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
            Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
            Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
            Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
            Bill Huggins - in various scraps
            Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
            Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
            Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
            Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps
            Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
            Nain - using large scraps of Stretch Bamboo in light blue
            Jelly Rolls - using all the leftover Stretch Bamboo in various colours

      Sunday, August 26, 2018

      Year of Projects 8 - Week 11

      After ripping back and restarting the heel of the second Venetian Blinds sock, I got on a roll and finished the pair. I was able to squeak out an opposite but matching sock two with a scant few yards remaining. Although my plan involved knitting toe up so that I could weigh my starting yarn and calculate exactly where to bind off in order to maximize efficiency, that plan was derailed when I forgot to weigh the yarn at the very beginning. Luck was with me though; i wouldn't have done much better by calculation!

      They are lovely finished socks, despite all those ends to weave in! A fellow Raveller remarked about the colour combo looking "beach" which I can totally see. Both are muted shades but there's still enough contrast for the graduated stripes to pop out. The Shelridge 80/20 Merino yarn is quite smooth and nicely twisted so the stitch definition is very good.

      So that's my Paper Bag Project for August complete. And that's me caught up in that group too. By this time next week I'll have selected my September bag and made a plan for that. I'm tempted to cheat and make sure it's that unknown red yarn as that would suit a test knit I've signed up for. I wouldn't even have to look since the remaining bags are so differently shaped that it's not too hard to guess what's inside. The fullest bag has 4 balls of Lang Jawoll Superwash. The emptiest bag has 2 balls of CoBaSi. The flattest bag has an uncaked skein of Songbird Fibers. Yeah, I think I'm gonna select the red yarn... and now it seems almost silly to wait until August 31st but rules are rules.

      With nothing left on my needles, I went ahead and cast on Nain. The plan here is to use 90-95 grams of the remaining 160 grams of Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock yarn from my stash, leaving myself enough scraps to knit some very colourful ankle socks to finish it all up. I've cast on the medium size (72 sts) and am working the leg on 2.5 mm needles. Based on the suggestions in the pattern and after reviewing other projects on Ravelry, I opted for a larger needle size than my usual for the leg. This pattern definitely bunches up and the fabric is somewhat contorted, so I think the larger needles are needed for ease. Even so, the leg looks quite small and the pattern is proving to be very yarn-hungry. That's okay - these are intended for a thin-legged, tiny-footed friend. Maybe by next week I'll have a completed sock for her to try?

      2018 Paper Bag Project - September, October, November and December

            Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
            Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
            Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
            Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird

      Full Skeins from stash

            Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
            Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
            Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
            Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
            Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

        Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

              Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
              Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
              Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
              Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
              Bill Huggins - in various scraps
              Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
              Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
              Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
              Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps
              Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
              Nain - using large scraps of Stretch Bamboo in light blue
              Jelly Rolls - using all the leftover Stretch Bamboo in various colours




        Sunday, August 19, 2018

        Year of Projects 8 - Week 10


        ... sock two should be easy enough with sock one under my belt

        Yeah, I said that last week, as if to jinx myself. I was making good progress on my second Venetian Blinds sock until I looked more closely at the heel cap and noticed that I was one stitch off across the left side resulting in an eye of partridge look rather than slipstitch rib look. I tried tinking back but it was so many rows back that it was just painful. So I tried to drop back on just those stitches without much luck. Next I tried to just rip back to the error, but I wasn't able to cleanly pick up and re-wrap the short row wraps. Splitty yarn, remember? That sock was then thrown into a corner while I tried to convince myself that I could live with some untidiness at the heel.

        Nope. I cannot live with untidiness at the heel. This morning I ripped all the way back to the gusset and started again.

        Honestly, I didn't have a very successful day yesterday.

        A few weeks ago at the local farmer's market I saw a woman selling Microwave Bowl Pot Holders. When I cook, I usually cook in quantities and then we microwave leftovers for days. And when we microwave the Corelle dishes even for a minute or two those dishes are crazy hot. We usually have to put a cold plate from the cupboard under our bowls to keep from burning ourselves. Microwave Bowl Pot Holders? That seems like a good idea to me.

        I could make those, I said to myself. I have a sewing machine and enough scraps of fabric to throw a couple together. After all, the instructions do say they are "easy to make".

        I'll give my results a C-. They get a C because they are complete and functional. Also, I learned something that saved me from hacking apart my sewing machine with an axe - jammed bobbins are usually result from trouble in the upper threading of the machine. I can't tell you how much time I lost opening the bobbin area, cleaning everything out, dusting, meticulously rethreading the bobbin, only to finally google it, rethread the upper section and have the problem solved.

        To be fair I am not an experienced sewer. I had hoped that some of my knitting skills would be transferrable... I was more careful in measuring, marking and pinning than I used to be. I am more circumspect in following instructions rather than winging it the way I used to. And I am more inclined to rip out a seam I'm not happy with to do it again.

        On the other hand, my seams are not very straight. My thread tension needs adjustment since my stitches aren't perfectly smooth. My corners don't line up perfectly. And my top-stitching looks drunken.

        All in all, the project took me more than two hours and ended up quite frustrating, so buying them at the market might have been the better solution. Let's chalk this up as a good practice at my sewing machine. I really need to take some lessons and get a firm grounding.

        I also made Salsa Verde. From Friday am to Saturday noon we had over 120mm of rain, with one particularly violent storm accompanied by heavy pounding rain that shredded my tomatillo plant. Rather than let the not-quite-ripe fruit go to waste, I decided to collect up all the fallen fruit to make a batch of Salsa Verde. It's not very good. Honestly it tastes more like cucumber relish than salsa. I didn't have enough tomatillos and they weren't ripe. I didn't have any jalapeños so I substituted with cherry bomb peppers. I didn't have any fresh cilantro so I substituted with those freezer cubes. There's no sugar at all in it, but it tastes sweet with a slightly hot aftertaste. Oh well. I like cucumber relish so I'll use up the three small bottles I made. Maybe it will be nice mixed with regular store-bought salsa?

        I did enjoy at least one success last week. I successfully scrubbed an upholstered chair that had been horribly stained with cat sick. Spot cleaning had failed and the chair looked appalling, so nothing ventured, nothing gained... I mixed a pail of dilute carpet cleaner, pulled on some rubber gloves and scrubbed from top to bottom. It looks like new!

        And Gavin made this gorgeous Tic Tac Toe game with a small piece of live edge Black Olive Wood that I had impulsively purchased at a reclaimed wood shop's open house. We've finished it with Tung Oil - sealing and hopefully preserving the live edge - and affixed a cork mat to the bottom. It looks really nice! A few more projects are in progress with the remaining wood. so I'm glad we've put it to use.

        The plan for this week is the same as last week: finish the Venetian Blinds Socks and start Nain.

        2018 Paper Bag Project - August, September, October, November and December

              Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
              Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
              Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
              Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
              Venetian Blinds Socks - using Shelridge Yarns 80/20 Merino in Mint and Linen

        Full Skeins from stash

              Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
              Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
              Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
              Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
              Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

          Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps
                Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                Nain - using large scraps of Stretch Bamboo in light blue
                Jelly Rolls - using all the leftover Stretch Bamboo in various colours

          Sunday, August 12, 2018

          Year of Projects 8: Week 09


          I'm having a love/hate relationship with the Venetian Blinds pattern....

          I had a rocky start, first with the "Magical" cast on for toe-up socks on DPNs. It's just so fiddly. I find a Turkish cast on easier and tidier. So I tried it as written, got annoyed and ripped back to restart.

          Next up were the toe increases which are written as lifted increases. Again, I found this very fiddly especially in my first few rounds with somewhat splitty yarn, so I tried it as written, got annoyed and ripped back to redo them as M1s.

          On the other hand the gusset, the heel "cap" and the heel are fun as written and quite different than anything I've done before. I was also very relieved to find them all charted, because at 16 pages long the pattern is kind of tiring. The heel architecture is inspired by Cat Bordhi from her "New Pathways for Sock Knitters". I HAVE this book and haven't knit a single thing from it, so I'd better start thinking about that too.

          A 16 page sock pattern?!?!? Yeah, it caters to beginners with lots of tips and tutorials but my goodness there's a lot to wade through just to get at the actual pattern. And even when you find the pattern, the instructions for different sizes are written out in separate boxes rather than standard form of indicating sizes by parentheses.  If it were up to me the instructions would be much simplified and abbreviated; the rest would be shifted into an optional "tips, tutorials and tricks" download.

          Ah well, I'm more than half way through sock one, and sock two should be easy enough with sock one under my belt. Aside from the gusset and heel it's a pretty vanilla pattern which knits up pretty quickly. Seems to me that I may just be able to finish this August project within the targeted calendar month! Even better if I manage them a bit quicker, because Nain awaits!

          2018 Paper Bag Project - August, September, October, November and December

                Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                Venetian Blinds Socks - using Shelridge Yarns 80/20 Merino in Mint and Linen

          Full Skeins from stash

                Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
                Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
                Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

            Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                  Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                  Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                  Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                  Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                  Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                  Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                  Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                  Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                  Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps
                  Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                  Nain - using large scraps of Stretch Bamboo in light blue
                  Jelly Rolls - using all the leftover Stretch Bamboo in various colours

            Sunday, August 5, 2018

            Year of Projects 8 - Week 06



            I'm very late in posting today. What can I say; the day got away from me! Maybe because it's a holiday weekend here in Ontario, I'm all off schedule?

            My knitting, on the other hand, is right on schedule! I finished my July Paper Bag Project: Gladys in Painted Fleece Merino/Silk/Cashmere. It's a very nice looking sock but all that seed stitch is a slog. Seriously, I had to really push myself to finish it.

            The only thing that got me through was the urge to cast on the next pair of socks. On Wednesday I opened a new Paper Bag for August to discover two 50 gram skeins of Shelridge Yarns 80/20 Merino. SURPRISE. That wasn't on the list; I didn't even remember them! Of course it makes sense in retrospect that there couldn't be one bag with Lang Jawoll Superwash and a second with leftovers of the same! Where's my brain?! I amended my lists below.

            But what pattern to knit? Colourwork for sure. And opposite socks to use it all up. Toe-up would help too! Time to dive into an advanced pattern search in Ravelry. And there it is... Venetian Blinds socks. All the boxes checked! I'll cast those on tomorrow.

            As well, I've been pondering what to do about 150 grams or so of Stretch Bamboo leftovers, and I think I have a plan. The lion share of that is a similar shade of blue (90 grams or so) so I'll use that to knit Nain in the smallest size written. Seems to me that pattern would benefit from stretchy yarn. And then I'll use up the leftovers knitting ankle socks - Jelly Rolls, maybe? BUST ALL THE STASH!

            So yeah, I finished a pair of socks and despite that my lists got longer. SIGH.


            2018 Paper Bag Project - August, September, October, November and December

                  Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                  Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                  Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                  Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                  Venetian Blinds Socks - using Shelridge Yarns 80/20 Merino in Mint and Linen

            Full Skeins from stash

                  Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
                  Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
                  Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                  Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                  Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

              Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                    Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                    Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                    Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                    Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                    Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                    Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                    Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                    Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                    Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps
                    Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                    Nain - using large scraps of Stretch Bamboo in light blue
                    Jelly Rolls - using all the leftover Stretch Bamboo in various colours


              Sunday, July 29, 2018

              Year of Projects 8 - Week 05


              My Afshari socks are done and they knit up exactly as I'd hoped. So pretty! This pattern has been in my favourites forever, which is a bit surprising considering that it's a lacy cuff pattern which isn't really my thing, not to mention that it's modelled as an ankle sock, which isn't my thing either. But just because the model is ankle height doesn't mean I can't add rounds to lengthen the leg! Isn't that the great thing about making things? You can alter them to suit yourself!

              I'm really pleased at how well they fit in Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo. The stretchiness of the yarn really comes to the rescue of the not-very-stretchy cuff patterning. The "Tropical Sunrise" colourway is a very pretty pink/orange/yellow and has a very summery look. And the bamboo fibre makes it a very cool sock to wear. Really, I couldn't be any happier with the result!

              The pattern is included in the book Silk Road Socks which I was thrilled to receive as a birthday present from my birthday twin Frieda at RestlessNeedles. The book includes are sixteen sock patterns  of which I hope to knit several through this Year of Projects. It's beautifully photographed with interesting background information about the inspiration for each pattern so it's lovely to just flip through as well.

              With everything else off the needles, I spent the remainder of last week working monogamously on my July Paper Bag Project: Gladys in Painted Fleece Merino/Silk/Cashmere. I finished up sock one this morning. It's lovely but wow, is this pattern ever yarn hungry! Sock number one weighs 61 grams! I've got about 58 grams left for sock two, but I've pulled out a 15 gram leftover bit of sock yarn from stash that's a very similar variegated green so I'm confident I can make this work without a glaring yarn substitution. With any luck I'll have another finished pair of socks by the end of the coming week.

              So the plan is to finish Gladys this week. Wednesday brings the start of a new month so I'll have another Paper Bag to open and another sock project to start. Geez! August already?! Where did the summer go?!?! Beyond that I've got about 145 grams of Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo left in several different shades that are destined to be knit up as scrappy socks... one really long pair? or two smaller pairs? Decisions, decisions! Whatever I decide they'll definitely be toe-up socks so that every last yard is used up. No point in small amounts leftover as the yarn would not really play well with typical merino-nylon sock yarn.


              2018 Paper Bag Project - July, August, September, October, November and December

                    Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                    Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                    Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                    Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                    Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                    Gladys - using Painted Fleece in Fundip #1 Greens

                Full Skeins from stash

                      Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
                      Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
                      Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                      Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                      Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

                  Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                        Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                        Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                        Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                        Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                        Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                        Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                        Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                        Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                        Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps



                  Sunday, July 22, 2018

                  Year of Projects 8 - Week 4


                  For the last few days I've been working monogamously on my July Paper Bag Project: Gladys in Painted Fleece Merino/Silk/Cashmere in beautiful tonal greens. The yarn is knitting up beautifully - no pooling  just lots of interesting variegations and subtle contrasts. The pattern is beautiful too but goodness, that's a lot of seed stitch!

                  My Afshari socks haven't been ignored. I have knit the cuff of the second sock and started on the plain knitting of the leg. Well I had to, didn't I? Those 2.25mm HiyaHiya sharps were the needles I wanted for the Gladys socks. The rest of Afshari is plain vanilla so it'll be just the thing to knit for the next couple of evenings.

                  I learned a new trick this week! I discovered that I could take a photo of the charts for Afshari from the pattern book on my iPad - Silk Road Socks - and then share into iBooks as a PDF in order to import from there into KnitCompanion. I'm the first to admit that KnitCompanion has entirely spoiled me for knitting from books or printed patterns; it's just so much easier to keep my place in charts on my iPad. Being able to bring the charts in without needing to fire up the desktop computer, scan the pages and so on? Game changer!!

                  This week might be quite a productive week knitting-wise. We are finally getting rain which is a relief. We've had several weeks without and things have been dry as a bone. We ran out of water in our rain barrels ages ago so we've been hauling buckets of water from the Lake to water my raised planting beds. The cilantro has bolted, the radishes have bolted, the beans are looking leathery, the tomatoes have withered and none of the seeds I planted have germinated. Too hot. Too dry. Northern Ontario has a number of ongoing wildfires and we've been under complete fire bans in Haldimand County and all the neighbouring counties. The forecast is for rain on and on off for the next few days so hurray for that. I hope Northern Ontario gets some relief soon too!

                  On Wednesday we'll be home all day without power while we have a whole-home generator installed.   The hydro around here is all delivered by overhead power lines and we are very vulnerable to power failures due to downed trees and branches from storms. Given that our community is sooo small, we aren't a priority for the utility company when they are addressing outages... the crews are sent to larger centres with larger numbers of subscribers first. So natural gas generators are commonplace around here; better safe than sorry. No doubt the weather is likely to be more extreme with climate change de-stabilising the jet stream.

                  So the plan for this week is to finish Afshari then work on Gladys. I'm resisting the urge to cast on scrappy socks until these two projects are done. Besides, August is coming fast and I'll have another Paper Bag to open and another sock project to start. Time to get some projects on the list done!


                  2018 Paper Bag Project - July, August, September, October, November and December

                        Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                        Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                        Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                        Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                        Diamondback Socks - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                        Gladys - using Painted Fleece in Fundip #1 Greens

                    Full Skeins from stash

                          Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
                          Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
                          Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                          Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                          Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

                      Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                            Afshari - Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock yarn in Peach
                            Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                            Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                            Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                            Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                            Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                            Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                            Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                            Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                            Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps

                      Sunday, July 15, 2018

                      Year of Project 8 - Week 3

                      I did finally finish my June Paper Bag Project - a very simple ribbed vanilla sock loosely based on the pattern Vanilla is the New Black in Nordlys by Viking Yarn in a blue gradient. They are lovely finished socks but oh man, knitting that yarn was painful. I'm very happy they're done. I also very happy to have finished these with a scant three yards remaining so I don't need to be bothered about finding a use for leftovers.

                      A few days ago I selected another random paper bag for my July Paper Bag Project, and opened it to find a skein of Painted Fleece Merino/Silk/Cashmere in beautiful tonal greens. For a couple of days I played with a design of my own, but it's not knitting up the way I hoped, so now I'm considering ripping out and knitting Gladys instead. As I'm behind in this group, selecting an existing and thoroughly tested design strikes me as a wise plan.

                      While I pondered all that - and wasted much time mooning over patterns - I've continued working on Afshari using Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock. This really is the perfect yarn for high humidity heat wave knitting! I added 35 rounds of plain knit to lengthen the leg, as the pattern is shown as an ankle sock but I prefer my socks longer. The stretch bamboo yarn is ideal for this pattern as the cuff might otherwise be somewhat inflexible. Even so I knit the cuff on larger needles then switched down to smaller needles as soon as the last purl row of the chart was complete. I've knit the heel flap as written; it features a charming slip-stitch pattern with 2 plain stockinette stitches between each column of slipped stitches.

                      For the coming week my plan is to finish the first of my Afshari socks and knit at least the cuff of the second sock. I'm wrestling with the notion that I ought to cast on that July project, but I'd much rather knit the bamboo yarn, at least while the heat and humidity stretches on. The forecast is for a break in the weather on Tuesday, so we'll see what happens.


                      2018 Paper Bag Project - July, August, September, October, November and December

                            Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                            Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                            Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                            Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                            Pattern TBD - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                            Gladys - using Painted Fleece in Fundip #1 Greens

                        Full Skeins from stash

                              Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
                              Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
                              Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                              Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                              Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

                          Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                                Afshari - Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock yarn in Peach
                                Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                                Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                                Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                                Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                                Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                                Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                                Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                                Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                                Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps





                          Sunday, July 8, 2018

                          Year of Projects 8 - Week 2

                          Vanilla Ribbed Socks in Nordlys yarn
                          A couple of people enquired in comments last week about the 2018 Paper Bag Project mentioned in my list for Year 8, so let me explain: it's a challenge within a Ravelry Group called "Canada Let's Swap!" At the beginning of the year participants created 12 paper bags containing projects - new or unfinished - and each month we select one bag at random to complete. I fell behind so I'm still finishing up my June project and have yet to select a project for July.

                          My June Paper Bag contained a skein of Nordlys by Viking Yarn in a blue gradient. It's a bit of a difficult yarn to work with - single ply, lots of halo, pills easily, thick and thin in sections, very splitty, sticky, impossible to frog and easily torn - so I opted for a very simple ribbed vanilla sock loosely based on the pattern Vanilla is the New Black.

                          When I started these socks I planned to make them matching however I've abandoned that now. The first sock took 48 grams of 101 grams available so I really don't have any additional yardage to make that work. Besides there was a knot in the yarn resulting in a hard break in the gradation about an inch from the toe of the first sock. Matched socks are not to be! I'm at the heel of the second sock and hope to finish these by the end of the week.

                          Although I don't generally like to have multiple WIPs, last week's extreme heat made knitting that Nordlys yarn with sweaty fingers extra unpleasant. As an alternative I cast on Afshari using Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock ... a very smooth shiny yarn that was much nicer to knit as the temperature and humidity soared. This "Tropical Sunrise" colourway is very summery and fun! The patterned section at the top of the leg of the first sock is done and now I'm trying to decide how much plain stockinette I want before starting the heel. Fingers crossed that the stretch in the yarn helps that top section stay up!

                          By next week I hope to make a start on my July Paper Bag and, if time allows, maybe turn the heel on my first Afshari sock. But if the weather stays as beautiful as it has been for the last couple of days, I might be spending all day outdoors in the lake or in the garden instead of knitting!


                          2018 Paper Bag Project - July, August, September, October, November and December

                                Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                                Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                                Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                                Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                                Pattern TBD - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                                Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated green yarn

                          Full Skeins from stash

                                Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set
                                Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect
                                Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                                Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                                Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

                          Large (more than 50 grams) and Small (less than 50 grams) scraps from stash

                                Afshari - Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock yarn in Peach
                                Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                                Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                                Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                                Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                                Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                                Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                                Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                                Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                                Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps

                          Thursday, July 5, 2018

                          Once Upon A Sock - July 2018


                          This morning I'm linking up again "Once Upon A Sock" group...

                          Once Upon A Sock consists of sock knitters who post the first Thursday of every month about sock work in progress. Check out the link party throughout the day today to see the group members who have posted and linked-up. Feel free to join the fun!

                          I've got two sock projects on the go at the moment, but the one that's getting the most attention is this one.


                          The yarn is Viking of Norway Nordly's sock yarn. It's not the nicest yarn to knit. It's single ply which makes it fuzzy, sticky, splitty, prone to pilling, easily torn and entirely unfroggable. I've encountered yarn that feels similar - Katia Darling. I knit a pair of socks from that in 2011 with the same problems, but the resulting socks were amongst my favourites. They turned out super comfy and surprisingly hard wearing. They were my first choice from the sock drawer each week and lasted 5-6 years. On that basis, the pain of knitting them might be worth it.

                          The pattern is Vanilla is the New Black, although I've been terrible about actually following the pattern. I've substituted the stockinette with a K6 P2 K2 P2 rib throughout. And I just noticed that the pattern instructs for increases on either side of the centre of the heel whereas I've done the increases on the outside edges of the heel section. And I'm carrying more stitches than instructed over the instep to keep the ribbing symmetrical and why not, it's ribbing! So yeah, I pretty much didn't follow the pattern at all.

                          I'm knitting cuff down as that's how the pattern is written, but I think I might invest in the Vanilla Reversed pattern for future use. Knitting toe-up means I can make best use of the yarn to maximize the leg length. With this sock I lucked out though - sock one is 48 grams and I have 51 grams left for sock two so I should make it with very little to spare. Hurray! This isn't a yarn that I want to have leftovers in stash!


                          Sunday, July 1, 2018

                          Year of Projects 8 - Week 01

                          Over the last year I've been an inconsistent knitter and an inconsistent blogger so I had some thinking to do before I signed up for another Year of Projects. After some reflection I decided to commit to the group once more and endeavour to be more consistent in my participation.

                          When I started in Year 1 (2011)  I knit all the patterns in the book Knitting on the Road. I followed up in Year 2 by working through the books Folk Knitting in Estonia and Knitting Vintage Socks. For Year 3 I knit through most of Socktopus and in Year 4 I knit through most of Knit. Sock. Love. For Year 5 I continued with Knit. Sock. Love. plus I worked through the 12 patterns from the Cookie A sock club. In Year 6 I took a bit of a different path - I committed to one pair of vanilla socks from scraps per month and one pair of fancy socks from a different designer per month with mixed results. This past year - year 7 -  I worked from a list of 20 patterns which I wanted to attempt and for which I had yarn in stash. The specificity of the list worked pretty well for me. Despite being an inconsistent knitter and blogger, I completed 15 of 20 patterns from my list.

                          Which brings me to the upcoming Year 8 and this year's list. My starting point is the intention to knit entirely from stash. So here goes:

                          2018 Paper Bag Project - July, August, September, October, November and December

                          Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue
                          Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate
                          Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                          Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated red yarn
                          Pattern TBD - using Songbird Fibers Sock in Ruby Throated Hummingbird
                          Pattern TBD - using unknown variegated green yarn

                          Full Skeins from stash


                          Somewhere Socks - using Mountain Colour mini set 
                          Pairfect Socks - using Regia Pairfect 
                          Mood - using unknown variegated blue yarn
                          Kazak - using unknown tonal purple yarn
                          Harris Tweed Socks - using Wollemeise self-striping green/gold/red yarn

                          Large Scraps (more than 50 grams) from stash
                          Small Scraps (less than 50 grams) from stash



                          Afshari - Dye-Version Stretch Bamboo Sock yarn in Peach
                          Salor - in various tan, orange and brown small scraps
                          Vanilla Bean Striped Socks - in various colourful small scraps
                          Squircle Socks  -  in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                          Escape Reality Socks - in various colourful scraps plus something neutral from large scraps
                          Bill Huggins - in various scraps
                          Mosaic Marbles socks - using Langwoll Magic Dégradé scraps with black (or white)
                          Checkbox Socks - using large scraps
                          Stash Buster Spiral Socks - using various scraps in green?
                          Hearty Stripey Socks - using various scraps

                          Even if I manage all those socks, there'll still be leftovers - based on that almost 2800 gram total there's enough for at least two dozen pairs of socks - but if I get even half way through my list it's a good start. A Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf or two are still being considered - they're always popular gifts! The end goal is to knit through most of this before I even consider buying anything else. To that end I have been and will continue to avoid yarn shops and fibre festivals; I'd never be able to control myself! But first things first, I need to finish a pair of socks already on my needles.

                          Sunday, June 24, 2018

                          Year of Project 7 - Week 52





                          Not Started:
                          Twisted Flower Socks - using Hikoo CoBaSi yarn in Egyptian Blue 
                          Feny Socks - using Lang Jawoll Superwash in turquoise and chocolate 
                          Double Heelix Socks - using leftovers from Feny Socks
                          Somewhere Socks - using various shades of blue scraps 
                          Glass Slippers Socks - using stash yarn TBD 


                          I've been a bad blogger... 10 weeks since I last posted an update on my Year of Projects and about six weeks since I blogged anything at all. May and June got entirely away from me! Things were so hectic that very little knitting gone done either. In light of that I really had to think about whether it made sense to rejoin the Year of Projects group for Year 8. I've even been considering giving up blogging altogether.

                          After thinking it through over the last few days I'm hopeful that the crazy busy-ness is behind me and that I might be able to relax and catch up on things a bit over the coming weeks. So I'm going to keep on with both - Year of Projects 8 and my blog - and see how it goes.

                          My seventh Year of Projects wraps up with this post. Despite sporadic absences I was able to work through the majority of my plans. This past year has seen a variety of socks knit and almost no yarn purchases whatsoever. I'm quite pleased with that. Expect more of the same for next year. It'll be all about knitting from stash! In that vein the unfinished projects will likely be rolled over onto the new list as I have yarn for them.

                          Here's one last finish for the year: Alfrick Socks by Rachel Cooper knit in Sandes Garn Sisu Solids in Grey Heather and White. In fact, I ran out of yarn several rounds before starting the colourwork band at the toe, so there's also some Kroy in Gentry Grey and Sydney Sock with Nylon in natural. I'm quite impressed at how well matched those colours were. I can't even see where the Kroy starts!
                          I pretty much knit the pattern as written, except that I started with the largest size - 84 sts on 2.25 mm needles - until the end of the colourwork chart on the leg, then decreased to the smaller size - 72st on 2.25mm needles - for the rest of the sock. I'm really happy with the fit as a result. I don't like it when the cuffs are too tight!
                          The pattern is really well written and the pattern photos are gorgeous. I've been infatuated with this pattern from the day it was released and I'm super thrilled with my finished socks. The only think I struggled with momentarily was the heel chart which begins with a wrong-side row. I had to rip back once and redo it to get the pattern established correctly.
                          At this very moment I don't have a single WIP. I guess I'd better figure out what to cast on next!