Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work-in-progress Wednesday

from the tweets of Steve Martin:

Can't decide if the word "awesome" even needs an exclamation point. Answer: Yes! It becomes even more awesome!!!!!

@brad9778: I think you were looking for awesomer.

I can't exactly explain why I find this so hilarious, but reading through Steve Martin's collection of tweets and the back-and-forth with his twitter followers had me laughing so hard I cried. It's a short collection and it starts off slowly but there's comedic gold in there.

This work-in-progress Wednesday finds me at the gusset of my second New England sock. When I get to this point in a sock I always feel like it's just a short sprint to the finish. Today's schedule includes lots of transit time for knitting so maybe I can finish it up by end of day? That's my goal - one more February finish. Awesome(r)!!

Happy Leap Day one and all! Check out the links at Tami's Amis to see all the great work being done.

Monday, February 27, 2012

FO: Sirdar Snuggly 3149 Hat E

I've knit a second baby hat, this time following a pattern from Sirdar to compare to the Baby Koolhaas hat I knit last week. Now admittedly I chose the 6 months size rather than the newborn size, but this hat finishes a couple inches wider in circumference and almost an inch deeper than the Koolhaas hat. My suspicions that the Koolhaas hat turned out on the small size have been confirmed; going forward I think I'll move up a needle size to bring the finished size more in line with this Sirdar hat.

While tidying up over the weekend I came across three more balls of white acrylic baby yarn, so there will definitely be several more hats over the coming days. My plan is to knit up all this baby yarn as part of my Surmount the Stash 2012 challenge; it'd be nice to get a bundle of hats ready by spring.

The original Sirdar pattern instructions for this hat include a round of embroidered flowers just above the brim but I'm undecided about that. There's no doubt they're cute - you can see them in the photo in the link above - but I wonder whether adding flowers changes the hat from unisex to feminine. What do you think? Embroidered flowers? Or no flowers?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Year of Projects - New England 02

instead of an Easter Hat,
how about a pair of Easter Socks?

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

When, after three tries, I finally got the central diamond pattern established correctly, progress on these New England socks took off. The first sock is done and the second sock is on the needles. And barring anything unforeseen I expect that the pair will be done by the end of this week.

Usually when I photograph knitting I avoid direct sunlight because of the way it bleaches out the detail in the highlights and also because of the harsh shadows it creates. But after days and days of wet snow and rain, this sunshine is entirely welcome and I'm embracing it! With sunny skies and milder temps, this morning feels like a hint of spring. Bring it on!

This pair is number 11 out of 17 pairs, so by the numbers I've completed about 60% of my Year of Projects challenge. I'm confident I can complete the remaining six pairs in the four months remaining. So far the challenge has been a good experience for several reasons:

  • The challenge has encouraged me to knit some patterns that didn't immediately appeal to me - those have mostly been pleasant surprises. 
  • By committing to knit these patterns no matter what, I've been forced to problem solve and modify to work with my yarns and needles. Otherwise I probably would've given up and moved on; I think that's made me a better knitter.
  • I've learned several new cast-on techniques, as well as other fancy stitches.
  • Rather than purchasing whatever patterns caught my fancy, the challenge has restrained me to knitting patterns from a book I already have.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

FO: Baby Koolhaas

This morning I looked around for something appropriate to model this baby hat - knit as written in Brooklyn Tweed's Koolhaus pattern but with baby yarn on 3.75 mm needles. My finished hat is 12 inches in circumference unstretched - it'll stretch comfortably to 15 inches - and 5-1/2 inches high from brim edge to center top. There's no newborn baby handy and I haven't come up with any other ideas to check the size and fit except to compare the measurements to this chart. Seems like the size is about right based on that.

The finished hat weighs 21 grams, leaving me with 57 grams of white acrylic baby yarn. I guess I can make a couple more. Maybe for the next one I knit I'll follow an actual baby hat pattern to see how the size compares. And then go back to the Koolhaas pattern if everything looks copacetic.

Before starting the pattern as a baby hat I reflected about whether the pattern was too "ridge-y", whether it would be uncomfortable against a newborn's skin or leave marks in a lattice pattern. The second picture shows the knitted fabric on the inside of the hat; as you can see the pattern is quite muted on the reverse and the fabric is fairly smooth. I think it'll be okay.

At least I have a definite plan about what to do with these hats. My sister-in-law is a labour and delivery nurse at one of our local hospitals. Mom used to donate hats through her, so I'll do the same with these. Maybe she can let me know how well they fit and work?

Friday, February 24, 2012

FO: Irish Rose Square for SIBOL

like a vintage teacup

On Wednesday afternoon I finished my Koolhaas hat but before casting on anything else I figured I'd better turn my attention to the blanket square I had promised a few weeks ago. SIBOL announced that they were collecting squares for an Irish Rose blanket and I decided that I had the perfect worsted scraps in my stash to make one. As it turns out, this square used every last inch of bordeaux red. Perfect!

It's a very interesting square to crochet because the finished project is so three dimensional. The rose petals sit atop the square in two layers. The leaves are crocheted above the square as well, but their tips are pinned down to the square to keep them organized - probably for the best since my leaves were curling up on themselves before that. The red hdc border is a modification of the original pattern for the SIBOL squares, and I think it's the perfect thing to add a bit more of the petal colour and to finish the square with a firm square edge. Presumably all the squares will be crocheted with white backgrounds and joined with white borders. I can't wait to see the entire blanket assembled.

I hesitated over the colours before deciding on these. After seeing the sample squares shown on SIBOL's website I wondered whether I should go with lighter, more pastel choices. But these colours really do put me in mind of vintage tea cups and fancy bone china sets that the ladies used to collect when I was a child; I just had to try them. Although I was prepared to make another if I was uncomfortable with how this square turned out, now that it's done I couldn't be happier. It'll be in the mail to SIBOL this weekend.

If you enjoyed this post and want to see more fun and fabulous finishes, please check the links at Tami's Amis!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FO: Koolhaas Hat

The crown decreases took no time at all, so I was able to finish my Koolhaas hat yesterday afternoon. I absolutely love this pattern, but it's finicky alright! Some Ravelers mentioned in their notes that they worked the crossed stitches without a cable needle but when I tried that the work seemed too tight and it was very hard to work the stitches properly and neatly without splitting the yarn. So instead I decided to just knit it as written using a cable needle. Other Ravelers mentioned that they found the hat knit up on the large size - based on those comments I knit the smaller size and it seems a good size to me.

The yarn is Bernat Satin - machine washable and dryable, 100% acrylic. It is very soft and smooth so I think it suits a chemo cap very well. And what about that gorgeous colour? I'm not sure the photos do it justice; it's actually quite a turquoise-y blue. For this first hat I've used most of one ball, leaving me plenty to do a second.

It won't be a blue hat that I cast on today though. As I knit this hat I was struck by the idea of trying it with baby yarn on smaller needles for a newborn hat. With 104 sts cast on I can't see why that wouldn't work. Wouldn't it be the coolest newborn hat ever? There's a bunch of white acrylic baby yarn in my stash; time to put some of that to work.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

With all those stitches crossing back and forth I thought this hat might take longer than it is. Jared Flood describes his Koolhaas hat pattern as an architectural beanie informed by the work of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. It's really interesting and dramatic, isn't it? Both the architecture AND the hat I mean. This pattern has been in my queue for ages; it's about time I got to knitting it.

The yarn I'm using is Bernat Satin - a very smooth and soft acrylic. The yarn was originally purchased for my Wool-Eater blanket but when I started a round with this colour I found it too much for the other colours. So it's destined to be hats now: chemo caps for Halos of Hope.

I'm excited to get started with the crown decreases. That's really the impressive part of this pattern, the way the crown decreases work while maintaining the integrity of the diamond lattice. If I finish this hat on my train ride into work today, maybe I'll cast on another. It's working up really nicely and I have plenty of yarn.

With this post I'm taking part in Work-in-Progress Wednesday hosted by Tami's Amis. Take a minute, have a look and prepare to be impressed with all that's going on in the craft world today!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

problem solved

After all the trouble I had paying attention to the charts for my New England socks, this highlighter tape that I came across at Knit-O-Matic seemed like the perfect solution. With two strips applied to the pattern indicating the start and end of the diamond pattern repeat, I could easily follow the chart even when distracted by the TV.

It's available in a variety of colours and it's low tack - meaning it can be easily removed without damaging my pattern book. Although the pink, yellow or orange might have been better matches for the Peeps colourway I'm knitting with, I opted for blue instead. It works perfectly. In fact, it's made this so much easier that I finished the first sock last night and will start the second later today.

Right now though, I've cast on a Koolhaas hat in an icy light blue. Lately I've been enjoying working on smaller, quicker projects at the same time as working on socks. Could be the instant gratification of starting and finishing things within a day or two? Or maybe the satisfaction of whipping through worsted weight stash yarn on bigger needles? Whatever the case, it's this new blue hat that's got my attention now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Year of Projects - New England 01

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Each and every time I look at the sock on my needles I'm amazed by the yarn. Based on what I saw in the skein I had expected a more stripey effect, and to be honest I thought this "peeps" colourway would be too much for this complicated lace pattern. I really did think I'd be ripping out and starting over in a solid colour yarn. And I'm very relieved and excited as to how well this is working out!

That's not to say that I haven't ripped out twice, but that's got to do with my own problems with reading and following charts. I laughed out loud yesterday when I reread the introduction to these socks in the book Knitting on the Road. Nancy Bush remarks "You may have to watch the chart while knitting these socks, especially while working the center diamond, but the results are well worth the effort." She's absolutely right, I should have been watching the chart more closely. All's well that ends well however; it looks like I've got the pattern down now that I'm into the third repeat.

This weekend is a long weekend for us Ontarians; on Monday we celebrate Family Day. My sister is picking me up to drive out to my brother's family for lunch - sounds like a couple of bonus hours of knitting time for me. With any luck I should be able to finish the leg and turn the heel before my work week starts.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

FO: Windschief Hat

Turns out this Windschief hat takes no time at all to knit. I've made two in the past two days, since after knitting one I had enough yarn leftover for the second one. It's a simple pattern but very effective I think. And the result is an interesting but still masculine hat.

The yarn is Bernat Satin - a pleasure to work with not just because it's soft, but also because it gives very crisp stitch definition. Because the yarn's acrylic it's not suitable for donation to the Warm Hands Network, so I'm considering donating these hats to instead. Halos of Hope is another option, but in a worsted weight maybe these hats are too warm for use as chemo caps?

I've knit exactly as written for the medium size, but if I do a third I think I'll start the crown decreases a half inch sooner. Right now it's falling into Gavin's eyes. There are lots of worsted remnants in my stash, so there'll definitely be more hats but I think I might try Jared Flood's Koolhaas hat pattern next. It's pretty cool looking too! And Jared's patterns are always really well written and thoroughly tested, so I don't mind buying it.

Now I'd better get back to the socks I've got on needles. Tomorrow I'm supposed to post my progress update for Year of Projects and unless I get motivated, there won't be much to report!

Friday, February 17, 2012

what about worsted

Now that my Wool-Eater blanket is finished I'm left with several hundred grams of assorted worsted weight leftovers. And in order to Surmount the Stash I need a plan to use them. My plan begins with knit hats for charity from any colourway where I have a couple hundred yards or more.

I've made a start with 240 yards of Bernat Satin in this deep Bordeaux red. Last night I cast on for Windschief - a clever little pattern from Stephen West. The design is super easy and really effective, resulting in a striking but still masculine hat. I've seen this pattern from quite a number of other bloggers and have had it in my queue for ages. A really fun knit!

From a stash-busting point of view it's also quite refreshing. Working my way through light fingering weight yarns on 2mm needles has been slow going. Munching through worsted weight yarns on 4.5mm needles is comparatively speedy! As well it's a pretty mindless knit which, after ripping out the current sock-in-progress three times so far, is just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

FO: Susie Rogers Reading Mitts

One of my cousins saw these mitts when I knit them for myself before Christmas and asked if I could knit her a pair in grey. Of course it's always a pleasure to make something for someone who has chosen it and who is sure to appreciate it. My only dilemma was about the grey yarn. I didn't have anything suitable in my stash.

A couple of weeks ago Dutch Hollow Acres posted about some yarn that she was spinning. In thanks for helping her local humane society find a new home for alpaca they gave her several bags of wool sheared from their sheep. She skirted the fleeces and then sent the wool to be processed at a nearby wool. Once the yarn was returned she rewound it into skeins, dyed it, dryed it and put it up for sale with the profits going back to the humane society. Now that's pretty generous on her part even before you learn that's she's allergic to wool and suffered weeks of allergies, rashes and hives from handling the fiber!

Would she dye a skein to a light dove grey for these fingerless mitts? I enquired. She agreed without hesitation and within a week or so the yarn arrived. It's a rustic yarn - lots of lanolin and the occasional bit of vegetable matter - but it's lovely to work with. And the colour is exactly what I had hoped! The only thing is the knitted fabric is a bit stiff and not very soft; I think I'm going to give the mitts a hot wash and then a soak in hair conditioner to soften them up a bit.

Now, slightly more than a week after receiving the yarn I finished the mitts. These are the medium size of the updated pattern posted by the designer Susie Rogers and I've knit them exactly as written without modification. They fit perfectly! I couldn't be more pleased.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

After waffling for a few days about which sock pattern to choose and what yarn to use, I've made a start on New England socks for my Year of Projects. It's a lacy sock with a central diamond motif down the leg and instep.

After looking at other Raveler's projects I concluded that a solid colour was best to show off the delicate lace pattern. But after looking through my stashed yarn I didn't find one that I liked. In fact I nearly cast on this sock in a creamy white - it would have been fine but a bit boring, right? Instead I decided to give it a go with this "peeps" colourway from Wandering Cat Yarns convinced I'd be ripping it out after an inch or two.

I will be ripping out but not because the yarn colourway is too busy for the pattern. It's knitting up beautifully, isn't it? Nope, I'm ripping out because I've misread the chart for the second time! The first time (shown above) I got ahead of myself without referring to the chart and finished the diamond pattern without realizing the next diamond should overlap. The second time (not shown) I followed the chart carefully but I missed the fact that Chart Two is not a separate chart but a continuation of the first chart on a separate page. Two steps forward, one step back!

All this ripping out is really putting a damper on my progress. Hopefully the other crafters at Tami's Amis are having a more successful week! Please consider checking out some of the links!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

love is in the air (or sink)

In honour of Valentine's Day I crocheted this "My Heart Dishcloth" from some Egyptian cotton in my stash. It's cute, isn't it? And it's a bit funny to think that we should now use this to wash dishes, isn't it?

We don't celebrate Hallmark holidays like Valentine's Day around here. We've discussed it and we've agreed to it - that's not how we roll. So it was entirely unfair on my part when I surprised Gavin this morning with a card and a milk chocolate heart filled with mini Rolos. THAT created a stir. Gavin feels like the rug's been pulled out from under him. He thought we didn't do that sort of thing. Hadn't we discussed it and agreed to it?

He's right. But in my defense when I saw the card at the cash register at the bookstore I couldn't help myself. It featured a bottle of hot sauce and it was just too perfect. And I couldn't help myself when I saw the Rolo-filled heart either. He LOVES mini Rolos. Oh dear, what have I done!

Monday, February 13, 2012

FO: Miss Doolittle Scarf

Although I mentioned it in passing yesterday, I thought that this nice little scarf deserved it's very own post. I bought the Miss Doolittle pattern last year but found it didn't suit the yarn I had intended so I put the pattern aside. After signing up for Surmount the Stash 2012 I knew I had to make a plan for a handful of fingering weight yarns with no nylon content. I'm not really comfortable using those for socks. And that's when it hit me; this scarf is a perfect one-skein fingering weight project.

The yarn I used is Malabrigo sock in a colourway called Aguas - it's 100% merino. I knit the larger size of the scarf exactly as written and was left with about 10 grams of yarn. The hem flounce features a kind of diamond rib pattern. The main part of the scarf is knit in what the designer calls "snowdrop" lace ... although I think it looks more like arrowheads. After blocking the finished size is 54" x 10", exactly as specified in the pattern instructions. So pretty!

Now that it's finished the scarf is going into the gift pile; there's a birthday girl later this year who would suit this to a tee. One more thing? The Miss Doolittle pattern also includes a buttoned neckwarmer option which is just as attractive. I'm considering it for some Jojoland Melody Superwash fingering that I have. If it turns out as pretty as the pictures there's another birthday girl on my list who may like that. Not to mention the coordinating Eliza mitts!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Year of Projects - what next

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Last Thursday I finished my Spey Valley socks bringing my completion total to ten out of the seventeen patterns in the book Knitting on the Road. I'm still deciding which pair to start next.

The Friday Harbour pattern calls for 50 stitches on 2.75mm needles - I don't have any yarn on hand that would suit that. I'd prefer to modify the pattern to make it 70 stitches on 2.0mm needles but I haven't come up with a strategy for that yet. Looking through other Raveler's note suggests that most people are just adding more rib at the back of the leg. Hmm, not sure that's what I want to do.

I could start Huron Mountain but I'm not really in the mood for a black and white colourwork sock with large stretches of stockinette. After all I just finished a pair of grey socks that were mainly K5 P2 rib. Ho hum.

The most promising pattern is New England - an elegant lacy sock with a central diamond lace pattern. Over the last couple of days I've considered casting on, but I'm hesitating over my yarn choice. I really like this sock in a solid colour but do I want to do it in a creamy white? What do you think?

In the meantime - while entirely failing to make any decisions about the next pair of socks - I've been working on other things. I finished Miss Doolittle last night and blocked it over night. And this morning I made a start on a pair of Susie Roger's Reading Mitts in a lovely dove grey yarn. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a decision about sock patterns.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Finished Object Friday

Last night I ran out of purple yarn about half way around the scallop row. Given that it was to be the final round I didn't want to re-crochet it tighter, so I ripped it out and called it done. This morning I wove in the last few ends. So that's it ... voilĂ , my finished Wool-Eater blanket! I considered adding pompoms around the edge but my informal poll on Wednesday's blog post showed pretty uniform disagreement with that suggestion.

It's aptly named, this Wool-Eater pattern. The last few bands of colours ate through more than a ball of yarn each, and the entire 48"x48" blanket weighs three pounds! It's been a great stash-busting project. I've used up almost all of the red, orange, yellow and green that were left over after I crocheted some Angry Bird softies this time last year. The dark green, dark blue and maroon were purchased for this blanket, but there's very little of them left; maybe enough to knit a hat or two.

The pattern designer, Sarah London, has very clear instructions on her website - clear enough and well enough illustrated for even an inexperienced crocheter like me. I chose to make a giant square, but there is an oblong option as well. In the Ravelry Group and the Flickr Group I've also seen crafters choose to make up their blankets by assembling smaller wool-eater blocks. It's interesting to see all the variations through other people's project based on the same pattern!

Please take a minute or two to check out some of the links at Tami's Amis. Lots of fabulous finishes to ooh and aah over!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

FO: Spey Valley Socks

Gavin's Spey Valley socks are done and he seems pleased with them. In fact I suspect that they are now his "good" socks to be worn on special occasions. Maybe after the newness wears off, he'll wear them regularly? Only time will tell. I suppose it is flattering that he thinks so highly of them that he doesn't want to expose them to hard wear.

It's a very straight forward pattern with some interesting details like lateral Vikkel braids which ring the leg and divide the three different rib patterns. The real glory of these socks is the yarn: Wollmeise. Now that I've knit my two skeins of Wollmeise I can affirm that it was an absolute pleasure to knit. It's soft but sturdy at the same time. It's got lovely twist and spring and yields perfect stitch definition. It's got fantastic yardage. It's the ideal weight for sock knitting - a bit heavier than most light fingerings but not bulky. It's the least splitty wool yarn I've ever knit. The socks launder beautifully and are wonderfully comfortable. If I could find a reliable source it would become my go-to yarn immediately; in fact, I'm already stalking it in other Raveler's stashes to see how many are willing to sell or trade. Can you tell I really really like this yarn?

In our photography session this morning I struggled to get a good picture; I wanted the photo to look natural but still showed the detail of the socks. Now that I've reviewed the photos I think it's the flatness of Gavin's feet that bothers me. His feet are really flat, always have been. And contrary to prevailing wisdom it proved no impediment to his military service in his native country. If you ask him, he'll tell you that flat feet are better - more and better contact with the ground. He's got the best balance of anyone I know, which he puts to good use surfing, paddleboarding and windsurfing; it certainly seems to work for him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Work in Progress and Wool-Eater Wednesday

Last weekend I found myself cutting through a WalMart in Mississauga to make my way from the parking garage to the mall when I found it - the royal blue Red Heart SuperSaver yarn that I needed to continue with my Wool-Eater blanket. Hurray! I've finished that round and added the dark blue colour as well. From start to finish the last round, which is the 17th colour comprised of 68 stitch clusters including the corners, took 126 grams or 265 yards of yarn. Wow! That's some wool-eating! To this point the blanket now measures 48" x 48". I have enough yarn ... I think, maybe, fingers crossed, just enough, barely... to complete one more round in purple but then that's it, it's done. Or is it?

I've been thinking about adding pompoms to the tip of each diamond shaped cluster of stitches. It could be a nice finishing touch, I'm thinking. But what kind of pompoms?

  • One colour (dark red) all around?
  • Different single coloured pompoms all around?
  • Multicoloured pompoms all around?
  • Or is the whole idea of pompoms over the top?

What do you think? Please leave a comment to let me know which way you think I should go with this.

All those bright colours of the blanket are in stark contrast to these grey Spey Valley socks. There's been good progress with them as well, with just a couple more hours of knitting to finish the foot and toe of the second sock. Switching to larger needles was just the ticket! Just as well, since I was quickly running out of ideas as to how to make this pattern work with that yarn for those feet.

This post is part of Tami's Amis link party for Work-in-Progress Wednesday. Check out the list of participating crafters for more inspiration!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miss Doolittle continues

Although it's been mostly ignored in my blog, I have been making steady progress on my Miss Doolittle scarf. The first half is done and waiting on a stitch holder. On the second half the hem flounce is done as well as a handful of lace repeats. The lace pattern is really easy to knit because it's really easy to read the knitting and detect quickly if a yarn over has been missed. As well, the lace repeat is just 8 rows =  4 pattern rows and 4 rest rows; that's easy enough to remember without referring to the pattern.

As I neared the finish of the first half of the scarf I weighed my remaining yarn just to make sure I had enough. And yes, I should be able to squeak through with just a couple of grams leftover. It's a relief; there's something luxurious about a lengthy scarf, isn't there? I'm targeting a finished object Friday for this project. These unblocked wip pictures just aren't doing the pattern any justice - the miracle of blocking is definitely called for!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Year of Projects - Spey Valley 01

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor •Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Are you ready for some football? Today's Superbowl Sunday of course and the hype has been ramping up all week. Here in Canada TV coverage starts at noon - a full six hours before the football game starts! A bit over the top, isn't it? Oh well, I expect the coverage for the Stanley Cup will be about the same, won't it?

My Spey Valley socks are proceeding without delay now that they've been restarted on larger needles. After I finished the first sock last night Gavin tried it on - hurray, it fits! So it's all systems "go" on the second sock. At this point it's just straight K5 P2 rib to the heel. Sounds like the perfect project to knit while watching a football game. This Spey Valley pattern makes a very handsome sock, I think, masculine but not too plain. Nancy Bush is an absolute master of those fine little details - like the Vikkel braids that encircle these socks. It's fun to knit and it looks great.

Friday, February 3, 2012

some good news

The groundhogs around here have proclaimed an end to winter - not that we've even had a winter to speak of - and I can happily proclaim an end to the uncertainty surrounding these Spey Valley socks. A larger needle size has done the trick. The reknit sock fits perfectly and the density of fabric is completely satisfactory. If you had asked me on Wednesday I was fully expecting to be ripping out again, but now that Gavin's tried it on my doubts have vanished. What a relief!

One thing to be said for larger needles, this sock is just zipping along. Well, that and a very simple rib pattern across the instep, I suppose. The gusset decreases are done and I expect to be kitchenering the toe later today. Don't let Gavin know that the pattern is simple, though; he remarked that it looked quite "fancy". The real test comes later ... it remains to be seen whether he ever actually wears them. Socks aren't generally his thing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Surmount the Stash February Update

With one month down in my year long commitment to Surmount the Stash in 2012 it's time for a report card. I set a number of goals for myself, so let's see how I did.

Monthly budget of $50 for all knitting related expenses: In January I spent $11.68 on dyes for a project planned for next month + $9.81 mailing costs for socks, hats and squares + $4.49 for one ball of yarn for my Wool-Eater blanket + $25 Loopy Ewe gift certificate donated to an online contest = $50.98. Although I'm slightly over my target I feel good about how I did, particularly as I did not buy any yarn except for a specific project and I stuck to the hooks and needles I already have and patterns that I already have.

Manage my WIPs: This month I've been disciplined about starting and finishing things. Four pairs of socks, two hats and one square were completed and shipped to charities. And I've already started knitting a July birthday gift from stashed yarn and have plans for another for a September birthday. I'm determined to stay on top of this to avoid last minute shopping or inflated shipping costs for rush delivery.

Plan projects to work through my inventory of yarns in my Stash: Here's where I think I've been really successful. I completed three pairs of socks from scraps and two more from full skeins. That's about 350 grams of sock yarns used - about 10-15% of my stash. I completed three dishcloths, using about 10% of my dishcloth cotton stash. The big win is with the wool-eater blanket - by the time I finish it (next week hopefully) I will have used about 60% of the acrylic worsted weight yarns in my stash, leaving just enough to make a few hats and a dozen or so squares.

Definitely a passing grade on this report card! Let's see if I can keep up the hard work for eleven more months!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Work in Progress and Wool-Eater Wednesday

My Spey Valley socks are treading water. I've ripped out and reknit on larger needles to make the sock a bit larger but I'm not sure I'm happy with the resulting looseness of the knitted fabric. If Gavin gets home early enough tonight I'll try it on his foot and then decide. At the moment I'm leaning towards ripping out again and trying something else.

My Wool-Eater blanket is also treading water. I've run out of royal blue without completing its scallop round and this colour is out of stock at my local Wal-Mart. It's Red Heart Super Saver with no dyelot so I'm going to try other Wal-Marts this weekend. Although this is meant to be a stash-busting blanket, I think it's worth the four buck investment. After all, once the royal blue is completed I have enough yarn to crochet the next three colours for a net win on the stash-busting score card.

So at the moment the only thing making any progress is this Miss Doolittle scarf that I started last night. The yarn is Malabrigo sock in a colourway called Aguas. There's no nylon in this yarn so I was hesitant to use it for socks. A scarf seemed like a better idea. I purchased this pattern last year but the yarn I had in mind then proved unsuitable; I'm glad to have found the right match for it now.

Over at Tami's Amis there's a link party where a ton of bloggers are just waiting to show off their progress. Why not have a look? Also have a look at the Keep Calm Craft On link-up for more!