Sunday, January 18, 2015

Okay, So Maybe I Like It

I should have realized I’d have to eat my words about not liking Magic Loop knitting.  After the way I did an about-face on the DPN issue, it was likely to happen again. 

Maybe I actually like Magic Loop.  A lot.

I finished my first ever pair of toe-up socks - Scott Base Toe-Up by Sarah Ronchetti:

I didn’t even realize it had happened until I pulled my DPNs back out on the first sock in order to do the cuff ribbing with a smaller sized needle, as I don’t have many 40” circular sizes.  Suddenly, my beloved DPNs weren’t as friendly as I remembered.  Once I had finished arguing with myself about the fact that ML was indeed easier than DPNs, I immediately ordered a couple of 40” needles in smaller sizes.  As for the socks, Sarah’s well-written pattern did not disappoint (thanks Sarah!). 

It looks like this whole toe-up/Magic Loop thing may be working out.  In order to make sure I’m not just in some sort of crafty honeymoon phase, I cast on another pair of toe-up/ML socks.  Here’s an early picture:

No particular pattern this time, just plain ol’ socks.  I stopped at our local Hobby Lobby and picked up some inexpensive sock yarn so I could practice toe-up.  I have to say, this is the first time I’ve used a self-patterning sock yarn and I am SO hooked.  I’m over half way done with the first sock and, like the complete knitting dork that I am, I keep looking at the lovely little stripy pattern and smiling to myself.  I mean, holy cow, what the heck was I waiting for??  Colorwork without the work!  What’s not to love?  The yarn is Red Heart (I know, right? Yarn snobbery can be fleeting) Heart & Sole with Aloe in color way Faded Jeans.  The yarn is a light fingering, which I normally don’t use for socks and I am not very hopeful that they’ll hold up with use, but it really doesn’t matter because I’m having so much fun.

Back to my developing Magic Loop fetish…

I like it so much I decided to cast on a wee hat for my soon-to-come grand using ML.  Haven’t made much progress yet as I tend to procrastinate on things that I’m unsure of and this little hat (pattern to be shared at some future date) entails color work.  No matter how loose I think I’m leaving my strands, I tend to knit too tightly so my friend Deanne recommended knitting the little thing inside out to help keep the tension looser.  A brilliant idea but I don’t purl in the round particularly well, hence the procrastination.  I’ll get there though.

How about you?  Ever go from dislike to love with a technique or method before?


Thursday, January 8, 2015

What's Being Needled Right Now

Time for an update on all that's currently on my needles.  Since I can't seem to manage a WIP Wednesday post, this will have to do.  As always, I wish I had more time to knit (read: would love to quit my day job).

First, my Scott Base toe-up socks are progressing.  One sock done and the other on the way.  Love this pattern, love this yarn and I can't wait to wear these when they're done.

I've got a sweater in the works using some yarn I picked up in Indianapolis nearly two years ago.  The yarn is Good for Ewe Claddagh which is a fun donegal and the pattern I'm using is the Steampunk Pullover by Julia Farwell-Clay that was in the Fall 2014 Knitscene.  I am determined to work on my stranded color work and this fits in with that goal nicely, plus I love it.  If I have enough yarn, I'll extend the sleeves full length.

Of course, there is baby knitting!  But things are still under wraps for the first project knitted for my first grand-baby on the way, so here's just a little sneak peak - a wee little sleeve-->

Then there's this:

*crickets chirping*

It's technically still on the needles. 


P.S. - The pictures are rubbish.  During the week, I leave for work when it's dark and get home when it's dusk, so no natural light.  These were taken on my kitchen counter with the overheads on as well as the under-cabinet LED lighting.  The are still rubbish, but you get the idea...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Things That Scare Me

Exciting news - I've managed to finish one of the Scott Base toe-up socks and have a good start on the second (pictures next post).  I'm even becoming quite accustomed to the Magic Loop method of knitting.  It may be growing on me.  

All of this to-do about learning how to knit toe-up socks got me thinking about other knitterly things that scare me, so I decided to make a list and share them with you.  Perhaps you either relate or can give me some encouragement that may spur me on to get past my fear at some point.  

In no particular order, here are my current fiber-related frights:

© Lion Brand Yarns

Intarsia - This one I truly want to conquer at some point simply because I see too many lovelies I'd like to knit that require intarsia.  But at this point, I haven't come close to mastering stranded color work which seems like it should be easier than intarsia somehow.  I'm not sure that's accurate, but that's my impression.  Besides, all those little balls of yarn to juggle. Yikes.

Cute intarsia scarf pattern from Lion Brand yarns -->
Get it here FREE.

The thought of purposefully cutting into something I've knit gives me shivers.  I know it is very useful, but it seems like steeking mistakes would be quite costly both monetarily and emotionally.  I'd have to practice on some cheap acrylic before attempting something else.

Steeking?!?  EEEEK!!

Alpaca lace:  SO pretty...and scary.
Lace-weight yarn - It's lovely.  It's perfectly suited for the warmer climate I live in.  It can be maddening.  I've had a previous adventure with an alpaca lace shawl.  But I have at least three patterns in my queue that require lace-weight yarn that I simply MUST knit.  I've even purchased some ridiculously fabulous 100% silk lace-weight yarn from Lost City Knits that I am too afraid to even wind.  I get this vision of my beautiful, expensive silk tangled around my swift and ball-winder and me sitting in the middle of the room sobbing hysterically.  

These are the biggies.  On a related note, there is one particular stitch that annoys me a great deal, not because I don't love how they look but because I am so dismally horrible at them:  cables.  They are so beautiful when done well.  I have several patterns in my queue that use cables and I have a slew of Celtic cable patterns in my stitch dictionaries that I want to incorporate into something.  And yet, I don't proceed because I come up with holes on the sides of even the simplest cables and I have some sort of wonky thing going on with ones that lean to the right.  This cable handicap makes me incredibly sad.

What are YOUR worst knitting fears?



Sunday, January 4, 2015

It Mocked Me

You may have noticed that this year, I didn't write about my Christmas knitting.  The reason for that is because I didn't really have any Christmas knitting.  Since my knitting time had been severely limited for months due to working a boatload of overtime, I didn't want to stress out over a knitting deadline.  The only knitted gift I gave this year was a vest for my mom.  I'm still waiting on pictures of her wearing it, so...another day.

However, you may recall that I did some knitting for the holidays last year and one project that I'd intended for my daughter just didn't work out well at all.  My daughter got a last minute gift card and as of my post last year, I was pondering what to do with it.  For the entire year, this half-done sweater has been slung over the back of a chair in my craft room.  

And it mocked me.  

Every time in the last 365 or so days that I would enter that room, my eyes would scan over my messy, lovely yarn stash and land on that chair.  That blasted chair with that blasted sweater.  I tried throwing another sweater or two over it.  A couple of scarves.  Yet no matter what, a small sliver of that  beautiful blue would peek out from under my attempted camouflage and I was reminded of my failure.

So I decided to do something about it.  

We went from this:

These pieces look so innocent...
To this:

Night-time lighting in my house.  Bleh...

To this:

Takin' a swim in da tub!  (Again the lighting...eesh)

To this:

Just hanging' out after a
good thwacking*

And finally to this:


I had the last laugh.  And that beautiful blue will become something else.  Something lovely that fits. Something that sings, rather than mocks.



P.S. - If you have a large amount of yarn to reclaim as I did here, I strongly recommend you invest in a niddy noddy.  You can get an inexpensive one here or here.  I don’t have one yet but it’s next on my list.  You wouldn’t believe the gyrations I had to go through to get my uber-long skeins wound (it would also help to be smarter about how long you make your skeins).  Live and learn…

*Thwacking yarn is striking the skein forcefully against something while still damp - I used the side of the tub that I soaked the yarn in.  This helps restore the twist on yarn you'd like to repurpose.  Spinners are more familiar with the practice.  The previous definition comes with no warranty, express or implied...

Friday, January 2, 2015

When Being A Heel Is A Good Thing

Well, look here:

What a heel...

What is it you ask?  Let me tell you, my friends, THAT is a successful heel worked on a toe-up sock and that successful heel was worked by none other than ME.  That’s right, I set aside my fear, put on my big girl pants and followed Sarah’s instructions.  Before I knew it, I was looking at a heel.  A very decent and acceptable short row heel.  Yay!  

I know this may not seem like much of an accomplishment to all of you well-seasoned toe-up sock knitters, but since this was my maiden voyage into such things - one that was undertaken with no small amount of angst - I feel like celebrating.  

Okay, so maybe I need to get out more…

Anyhoo, I managed to do it all using the Magic Loop method which as you’ll recall is not currently my favorite method of knitting socks.  I’ve become more comfortable with it but I have to admit that at one point just past the heel, I was tempted to pull out my DPNs to finish the leg.  Then I realized that I’d kick myself if I came this far and didn’t press on.  I may never love ML, but by golly, I’m gonna finish these socks with it.

Or I may change my mind half way through the second sock.  Maybe.  :D