WiP Weds ~ Triple Threat

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been knitting. It’s been nice to work on projects for me and not for gifts. For the past several months, gift knitting (or crochet) has taken priority over everything else. Now I can focus on my stuff. So I have been! Here are some of the things I’ve been doing. (Though the lighting isn’t the greatest for these pictures. Sorry.)

First up, the 1st square for my 2015 GAL Blanket. I’m almost done with this square! Yay! I’ll be still a long way from a whole blanket, but it’s a start! This particular one was designed to honor Tesla (the person). The theme for this year’s blanket is Mad Scientists, so it should be fun.

The GAL (Geek-A-Long) is something created by the ladies at Lattes and Llamas to benefit the Child’s Play charity. I like the whole concept, so I’m happy to support them while I have fun knitting. And it’s double knitting! Something I always thought I’d avoid forever, because it was twice the work. But… I do like the double-sided blanket squares without having to do any seaming or knit the thing twice. It’s like knitting socks two-at-a-time. And now that I’ve started double knitting, I may have to try that trick of double knitting socks so that one is inside the other and you end up with a pair at the end.

Or maybe not. That still sounds like a lot of work and lots of room for error.

Next up is the Gasteropoda Mitts, which are also nearly done. Yay! I’ve enjoyed knitting these, but I will also be glad when they’re done. I’m in the mood to finish things lately, so when these mitts are done, I think my knee-high socks will come out of hibernation and become my travel knitting. Not that those will be a quick-to-finish item, though, since they are KNEE-HIGH socks and will take longer than regular socks. Still, I’d love to get them finished too.

But I’m supposed to be talking about the mitts. They are nearly done. Yay! However, they would be CLOSER to done if I had paid more attention to how many rounds I needed to knit. Instead, I started my decreases a round early, and got all the way to where I was supposed to pick stitches up for the top ribbing before I realized that I was off. So then I had to rip out a large chunk of the knitting and get set up to knit one more round. (For the record? Frogging Chroma fingering isn’t better than frogging mohair, but only just.)

And the last WiP picture for today is the Cats Will Play shawl, which I’m knitting from my homespun yarn. (I spun the yarn for last year’s Tour De Fleece. It was an art batt from Kitty Mine Crafts, and so seemed appropriate for this pattern.) I love the way it’s turning out. So soft and pretty. I’m looking forward to wearing this one.

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Another Quick WIP Post

it seems all of my WIP Weds posts are quickies these days… but work and theatre prep are eating my brain, so that’s all your’re getting again today. Sorry.

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First up is the Gasteropoda mitts. Mitt #2 has a lot more hot pink (yay!) and the pattern is written so that the mitts spiral in opposite directions. Which saves me the work of figuring it out, since I am particular about wanting my patterns to mirror each other like that.

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We also have my progress on the 2015 GAL Tesla square. Fun stuff! But double knitting is addictive. Uh oh…

Two More Christmas 2014 Knits

Remember when I said last week that I had too many Christmas FOs from 2014 to show them all in individual posts? Well, we’re going to do another two-fer today.

First up is the shawl I made for my Grandmother:

Canyonlands Shawl

This one was like working two separate projects. you knit a basic stockinette shawl, and then you knit the intricate edging on for the cast-off. I thought I was doing great on time, until I realized just how long the edging was going to take. Oops. It is estimated to take half of the yarn in the shawl, so I should have expected it to take half of the knitting time, too. I just didn’t think about it.

Anyway, the pattern is well written. And the lace edging isn’t that difficult even though there’s lace on both sides. It is, however, detailed and you have to pay attention to it. If you don’t… well, let’s just say I did some tinking to make sure I had the edging pattern right.

I used Chroma for this shawl, and I loved the way the color changes turned out. I think it was a perfect yarn for this pattern. My grandma loves it, too.

SPECS (and a link to my Ravelry project page):

PATTERN: Canyonlands Shawl
DESIGNER: verybusymonkey
YARN: KnitPicks Chroma Fingering in Seaweed
NEEDLES: US 6 (4.0 mm)
START/END DATES: November 27 – December 21, 2014
MODS: none

Next up is the pair of mitts that I made for my dad:

Raw Honey Mitts

I bought this Capra yarn a while ago, with the intent that they would be mitts. And wow, this is the perfect yarn for mitts! The cashmere content makes it really soft, but the wool gives it a nice firm fabric and stability. So lovely to knit with, and to wear. (Just trying them on made me want to keep them for myself. I’ll have to get more Capra.)

The pattern is well-written, but it’s deceptive. It’s simple enough to memorize easily. And then you don’t pay attention, because you think you’ve got it. And then you realize that you’ve put the purls in the wrong places and you have to go back and fix it.

SPECS (and a link to my Ravelry project page):

PATTERN: Raw Honey
DESIGNER: Alicia Plummer
YARN: KnitPicks Capra DK in Burnished
NEEDLES: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 7 (4.5 mm)
START/END DATES: September 27 – November 29, 2014
MODS: none?

Christmas FO Two-Fer

I’m going to post two of my Christmas 2014 knitted gifts in this one post, because:

  1. There are so many of them that it will take forever at this rate; and
  2. I didn’t take many pictures of these two knits.

The first one is:

 Man Hands Mitts for my BIL

These mitts were a last-minute knitted gift that I made when I realized that I had a handmade gift for nearly all of my family members, and wanted to make it ALL of them. Also, I had my brother-in-law try on the mitts I was making for my dad (to test the size), and his (BIL) reaction was such that I realized he wanted them for himself. Well, instead of giving him the ones I made for my dad, I made him his own pair.

(an in-progress picture… one of the few I took of this project… and those are Jamberry nail wraps for anyone who wonders)

I made him the first free mitts I found in my Ravelry queue that looked appropriate, and I used the softest yarn I could find in my stash of the correct size. It happened to be a hand-spun yarn that I hadn’t been able to decide what to do with, and I think the result was great. Also, I really enjoyed making these mitts, so I will be almost certainly making another pair in the not-too-distant future. (Maybe for me, since they’re not really a gender-specific mitt regardless of the pattern name.)

My only complaint about the pattern was something I had before I tried them on: you bind off the thumb instead of placing the stitches on waste yarn and adding more later. I thought the thumb wouldn’t be long enough, but it was. And it was much more comfortable than I’d expected. So it was a complaint that I shouldn’t have had, because the designer knew what she was doing and I was pre-judging. Now I know better!

SPECS (and a link to my Ravelry project page):

PATTERN: Man Hands DESIGNER: Shireen Nadir YARN: handspun by me, merino roving from Bonkers (no link found to the dyer) in the Emerald Forest colorway NEEDLES: US 6 (4.0 mm) START/END DATES: December 3 – 15, 2014 MODS: none The second project for today is:

Miss Fanny The Fabulous Fox for my nephew

I won this kit from one of the Yarn Harlot’s karmic balancing gifts from her 2013 (I think) bike rally, and I finally got around to making this fox for my nephew. I’d meant to make it for his first Christmas, but instead it was a gift for his second.

This kit contains wool “hand dyed with walnut + cosmos flowers”. Very cool. The pattern was straightforward enough for a knitted toy. (They’re all a bit fiddley, in my opinion, but this one wasn’t any more so than most.) My biggest issue with this one is that I hate knitting tight things at a small gauge. I always feel like I’m going to snap my needles in half as I’m knitting. (Doesn’t help that I did this with socks once. I haven’t done it since, but I always fear doing it.) The yarn was very nice to work with. I would have enjoyed doing colorwork with it, had the pattern called for that. (Technically, there’s a tiny section of the tail that is colorwork, but that only served to prove to me that I would have enjoyed a larger colorwork project in this yarn.) The pattern was also pretty easy to understand, with the exception being that there were a couple of things I tried to over-think. Once I figured out that I was going about things the hard way, and backtracked and did them the correct way for this pattern, it went much more smoothly. Also, it was my first time double knitting. That was fun, and it was written in an easy enough way for a double knitting newbie to understand.

SPECS (and a link to my Ravelry project page): PATTERN: Miss Fanny The Fabulous Fox DESIGNER: Mary Jo Martinek YARN: not sure… it came with the kit NEEDLES: US 0 (2.0 mm) START/END DATES: August 3 – December 24, 2014 (yup, this was my final present finished) MODS: Because it’s for a 1 1/2 year-old, I embroidered the eyes instead of using the included buttons. I also didn’t put the gingerbread man button in the pocket for the same reason.

FO Thursday ~ Galder and Owlings

(Photo heavy today, sorry!)

It seems I have been churning out the FOs lately. I suppose that’s because I HAVE. It’s the first week of March, and I already have 5 items on my “finished knitting projects” list.

Let’s make it 6, shall we?

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Here’s the latest finished project, my Galder socks. These are the quickest sock knit I have done in a while. I’m not sure if they’ve been a quick knit because I’ve been working almost exclusively on them, or because they just went that fast. I think it’s a little of both, because I noticed they were working up quickly even during knit nights when I hang out with my S’n’B for an hour or two.

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I love the cables on these socks. They’re just so fun, and the way it splits to go down the heel is great. Very well designed. There was only one issue I had, and that was with the needle-specific stitch count on the heel turns, but that could have been because it was written for DPNs and I was using magic loop. I’m not sure, but it didn’t really impact anything. I just needed to reshuffle a couple of stitches here and there, and everything was fine again. The pattern made it very obvious how many stitches were supposed to be where, so all it took was me looking at the sock vs. the pattern, and making it match again.

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It was nicely designed, too. Since the cables mirror each other, it seemed like there would be tons of charts in order to get all the variations, but there really weren’t. Everything was clear and understandable. I would happily knit something else by Mari-Liisa Varila, or even knit another pair of these socks.

(But if I knit another pair, they will be for me. This pair is the first Christmas Knit of 2014. I can’t take credit for starting early, though. They were supposed to be gifted in 2013, but when I realized I had too many other things to finish, they got set aside half-finished. And so now I seem to be “really on top of things” when it’s just polishing up the procrastination to make myself look good. Hmm. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Pretend I didn’t say anything.)

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SPECS (and a link to my Ravelry project):

PATTERN: Galder
DESIGNER: Mari-Liisa Varila
YARN: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Cotton Surf Color
NEEDLES: US 1½ – 2.5 mm (1 long circ)
START/END DATES: August 3, 2013 – March 5, 2014
MODS: I don’t know if this is a mod, but I carried the cable as far down the foot as I could, all the way through the toe decreases. I even kept up the purl stitches all the way down. ALSO – it seems I knit the first sock with a couple extra stitches, and then forgot to do this for the second sock. Hmm. Oops?

Also, I don’t think I ever shared the specs on the Owlings mitts on the blog. Here are the vitals (and a link to my Ravelry project):

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PATTERN: Owlings
DESIGNER: Kerrie James
YARN: Aslan Trends Guanaco
NEEDLES: US 6 – 4.0 mm
START/END DATES: December 19, 2013 – February 26, 2014
MODS: none

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WIP Weds Again… at last

It’s been a while since I did a WIP Weds post, hasn’t it? I guess I’ve been posting too many FO posts, but I didn’t hear any complaining. The FO pictures were certainly better than the WIP pictures I have to share, but that’s partly because of the glamour shots treatment that finished objects get. WIP pictures are more of a spontaneous thing.

Here is the first WIP for the week, and the next that will become a finished object: the Owlings mitts.

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These were part of my mom’s Christmas gift, and once the gift-giving rush was over, so was the urgency to finish the mitts. So the second mitt has taken twice as long (at least) as the first one. Oops. At any rate, they’re nearly done and should be on her hands in time for the next big storm we have come through.

Next up, something for my sister: the Galder socks.

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It might have been a while since these have been featured on the blog, but I knit the first sock really quickly. The second one – when I’m working on it – is also knitting up fast. I’m nearly to the heel already, and I don’t feel like I’ve spent that much time on it. Either I have lost track of time working on them, or they just fly off the needles. I’m not sure which.

And the last WIP picture of the day is something a bit different: yarn.

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This is yarn I’ve been spinning up from a silk hankie I bought at a long-past Stitches West. (I think.) It’s been sitting there, waiting to be spun, for some time now. I actually bought two of the silk hankies, but what you see pictured is one complete hankie.I haven’t started in on the other one yet. I decided that the “Year of the WIP” could apply to spinning, too, and since I just bought some new fiber off of Etsy, I decided that if I want to spin it, I have to first finish spinning what I’ve already got going. And there you have it.

Details on the silk yarn, since I I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here before: it’s from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, and the colorway is called “Dove”. I can see why. It’s a very soft gray, but it’s blended with purples and blues to get there. Very pretty.

Also – when did Ravelry add all those cool handspun options? I hadn’t seen them until I went to add this project to the database. Very neat! I love the additions.