Sunday, March 30, 2014

Year of Projects 3: Kwalla 01

SOCKTOPUS: Totally Vanilla • Kandahar • V Junkie • Kwalla • Farmer McGregor • Shur'tugal • 2luvcrew • Vorticity • Rumpled! • Crowley • Om Shanti • Mince Pie Mayhem • Hundred Acre Wood • De Stijl • Fiori di Zucca • Caretta Caretta • Spring Shoots

That second Shur'Tugal sock was finished up last Sunday evening while Gavin and I watched "Red 2" ...  wow, was that a terrible movie! If you haven't seen it, don't bother. Thank goodness I knit through it or it would have been a complete waste of time! Once the grafting was complete and the ends sewn in, I had just less than a gram of yarn left. Hurray for good yarn usage! This pair has been tucked away for gift giving later this year.

The next sock of the Socktopus KAL is Kwalla. In fact, the KAL for this pattern runs from April 1st to May 31st so I can't cast on just yet. I can, however, have a look through my stash to decide on what yarn to use. At the moment I think this Super Cash Soft sock yarn from Studio June Yarn in a colourway called "All the King's Horses" could be just the thing. It's hard to know how variegated yarn will behave with a pattern until you try it, but from looking at the finished patterns from other Ravelers it looks like the pattern can stand up to some busy-ness in the yarn. I guess we'll know after a couple of inches. There's a more subtle tonal yarn in my stash that can be my "Plan B" choice if needed.

There are a lot of worrying notes in those project pages about sizing. Sounds like a lot of people used a smaller needle size for the cuff ribbing, then a larger needle size for the leg, before decreasing to a smaller pattern size through the heel and foot. Looks like I'm going to have to really pay attention on this one and be prepared to rip a time or two. I guess we'll know more about that after a couple of inches too!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Finished Object Friday

Pattern: Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan

Yarn: Condons 2 ply Quebec Wool, colour 78 Grey

Needle Size: 4.5mm

Comments: The yarn was bought for $5 at an auction held by the Burlington Handweavers and Spinners Guild. As expected it's not soft enough to be worn against the skin, but it's just fine over a t-shirt or turtleneck. Unfortunately, as soon as my finished sweater hit the water in the sink for blocking, a strong smell of mothballs emerged. After searching the forums on Ravelry for advice I threw my sweater into a series of vinegar baths, followed by baking soda baths and finally Eucalan. The sweater fuzzed up a lot but at least the smell is mostly gone.

The pattern is more of a recipe than a pattern. I used the sizing chart to estimate the raglan depth based on my chest circumference, but the resulting raglan is much too deep. As a result the sleeves at the shoulder were too wide and the chest circumference at the underarm was too baggy. It's not unwearable but I'm going to try again with more yarn from the auction to see if I can improve the fit. And I think I'll try a V-Neck on the next go around ... if the yarn's itchy I'd rather not have the sweater tight to my neck.

It's Friday, so you know the drill. Head on over to Tami's Amis to check out the parade of finished objects! I'm headed there now!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

We've snuck away to Florida to find some sun and some spring weather, so I had to plan what project to take on my travels. I'm nervous about bringing knitting along - what if security objected to my expensive carbon fiber needles? - so the safest bet seemed a plastic crochet hook and some acrylic yarn. Nothing threatening there.

The pattern, Retro Circles Baby Blanket, looked ideal for using up some mismatched scraps of DK. I've started with all the bits and bobs of James Brett Marble DK. Too bad I haven't enough to do the whole blanket as the variegation is very interesting, but at least I was able to complete 16 of 64 squares this way, so I can arrange them as an X from corner to corner and fill in the middle sections with solid colour(s).

The stitches of the centre circles are worked in the back loops which create those circular ridges. I think it does give it an interesting retro look. I'm weaving in ends as I go, because the idea of facing that many ends after the last block is crocheted is just too much to bear.

It's Wednesday, so I'm linking up with Tami for Work-in-Progress Wednesday. As always, I encourage you to go visit some of the blogs linked there to see all kinds of things that clever people have on the go!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lucky me!

One of the things I like about Ravelry and blogging is connecting with other knitters and fiber craftspeople. I count the ladies over at Wandering Cat Yarns as online friends. As well as hand-dying gorgeous yarns, they're both talented designers. At times, they've also custom dyed colourways for me when I was searching for a something just so.

I've joined the Wandering Cat Yarns Group on Ravelry and over the last few months I took part in a KAL - knitting Mr. Dress-Up socks in Wandering Cat Yarn. And I was lucky enough to win the grand prize pack, pictured at the right. A skein of 80% merino/20% nylon sock yarn in this fabulous colourway called "Frog Prince", a reversible yarn bag and four little metal charms on the Frog Prince theme. So cute!

You can get in on the action too! Wandering Cat Yarns is hosting another KAL from April 6th to June 8th. Participants are knitting Game of Thrones inspired patterns using Wandering Cat Yarn and/or a Wandering Cat pattern. Quick, go check out the gorgeous yarn prizes on offer there!

Yarn as gorgeous as this is making me feel like casting on, but I think I'm going to save it for the final pattern in my Socktopus KAL. The sock pattern Farmer McGregor is one of my favourites in the book, and I think this yarn will be just perfect! Look at that lovely twist; should make for awesome stitch definition.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Year of Projects 3: Shur'Tugal 03

SOCKTOPUS: Totally Vanilla • Kandahar • V Junkie • Kwalia • Farmer McGregor • Shur'tugal • 2luvcrew • Vorticity • Rumpled! • Crowley • Om Shanti • Mince Pie Mayhem • Hundred Acre Wood • De Stijl • Fiori di Zucca • Caretta Caretta • Spring Shoots

The second Shur'tugal sock for the Socktopus KAL is almost done; just one and half more repeats, the toe transition chart and the toe. With any luck I'll have this pair finished this evening. We're heading out of town next week, so I'd like it off the needles before that.

As I finished up sock one I wondered whether I was going to run short of yarn, but happily sock one weighed a gram less than the yarn left for sock two, so I should just squeak through. Don't you love it when you use almost every inch of yarn?

The pattern is working up beautifully in this yarn - Sydney Sock from Studio June Yarn in a colourway called "Deep in the Forest". In fact I've already had several onlookers try to call dibs on these socks. Too late though, they've been knit with someone specific in mind and exactly to size. This year I'm trying not to leave gift knitting until the last minute. We'll see how self-disciplined I can be about that!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Year of Project 03: Shur'Tugal 02

SOCKTOPUS: Totally Vanilla • Kandahar • V Junkie • Kwalia • Farmer McGregor • Shur'tugal • 2luvcrew • Vorticity • Rumpled! • Crowley • Om Shanti • Mince Pie Mayhem • Hundred Acre Wood • De Stijl • Fiori di Zucca • Caretta Caretta • Spring Shoots

I missed posting a Year of Projects update last week, in no small part because there was scant progress to update. Another week later and there's a bit more sock done. I've finished the leg, turned the heel and started the gusset decreases on sock one. With a Florida getaway planned for later this month, I want to get these done and off the needles before we leave ... after all, disaster tends to strike if I leave a sock project hibernating for any length of time.

The heel flap of this sock is very cool looking - with vertical ridges running top to bottom, created by columns of slipped stitches on the right side rows. Might be my favourite part of this design!

I'll leave you with this video from Rick Mercer ... kinda sums up how I'm feeling about this never-ending winter now!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Finished Object Friday

Pattern: Flower Granny Square by Silja Devine
Pattern: Spring Breeze Afghan Square by Priscilla Hewitt

Yarn: Berroco Vintage DK in Elderberry, Petunia and Natural

Hook Size: 3.5mm (E)

Modifications: I added rounds of SC and DC to bring each square to 8".

Comments: Maybe it's the never-ending snow and the winter that just won't quit, but lately I've been of a mind to crochet blanket squares.

The Flower Granny Square is one of my particular favourites, in no small part because it works up exactly as pictured and it makes a nicely flat and even square.

This is my first go with the Spring Breeze afghan square and it's another great pattern. Worked in one colour it's a bit more subtle, but still a really gorgeous square.

My plan is to get these three squares into the post today for a group blanket project. Gavin and I are away on vacation in just a few weeks, so I want to clear up some WIPs before then. Next up will be a pair of socks that have been on needles for a couple of weeks, and a sweater that just needs a sleeve and a half, leaving me with just a Retro Circles Blanket on the go. That looks like the perfect take-along project for airplane knitting!

Happy Friday one and all. We've just climbed above 0° so here's hoping a whole bunch of snow melts today!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Year of Projects 3: Shur'tugal 01

SOCKTOPUS: Totally Vanilla • Kandahar • V Junkie • Kwalia • Farmer McGregor • Shur'tugal • 2luvcrew • Vorticity • Rumpled! • Crowley • Om Shanti • Mince Pie Mayhem • Hundred Acre Wood • De Stijl • Fiori di Zucca • Caretta Caretta • Spring Shoots

Now that we're in March, it's time to get started on Shur'tugal for the Socktopus KAL. My first idea for this sock was a very pattern-y yarn, but one repeat later it was clear that it was way too busy for the pattern. Instead I've now cast-on with a semi-solid green yarn called "Deep in the Forest" from Studio June. The stitch definition is beautiful and the colourway is not competing with the pattern, so I'm pleased with this.

The yarn is just less than a full skein - when I ran short by 10 grams to finish a pair of socks this time last year I ordered a second skein. I'm confident I can knit a small size of Shur'tugal socks from the remaining 90 grams, and it's nice to get a full second pair from that second skein, isn't it?

I've knit this pattern before - in January of 2010 I knit a pair in Patons Stretch Sock. In my Ravelry notes, I said "These socks are sturdy, practical and comfortable ... but those aren't the most exciting adjectives for all that hard work. Next time, better yarn!". This time round, the yarn is waaaay better. Now hopefully I like the finished socks better too.