Looking for Progress

January 29, 2016

Progress is quite slow on most of the knitting this week. It will continue to be slow on the socks, though they are knitting up to be quite refined. I finished the second half of the chart repeat tonight and am playing the game of “How long until I get to the toe?”

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Still working towards the toes…

Progress is quite slow on most of the knitting this week. It will continue to be slow on the socks, though they are knitting up to be quite refined. I finished the second half of the chart repeat tonight and am playing the game of “How long until I get to the toe?”

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Tonight’s helpers…

My money will be wagered on not before Spring Break(sometime in March, here).

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Mariah’s sock monkey, as inspected by Briannag

Allow me to explain…there was this stocking, full of hand spun wool…and that provided an adventure(more details of the frog puddle soon). Then there was an actual commission of another, wait for it–I promise it’s not a sock, really–it’s a sock monkey. My Little’s grandmother recalled that I knit Mariah a sock monkey for a gift some time ago while she was helping said youngin’ clean her room. The next thing I knew, I was commissioned to create a sock monkey by March. Um, I still have to do homework, too.

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Sock Monkey on Briannag…with Scamp and Squib…

The sock monkeys are not hard, but did take about three weeks to knit up previously. Here’s hoping I work a little faster with experience, and I will be taking parts of this monkey to class…Photos of yarn to come-it did finally arrive. Though it’s simple acrylic, I had to get the colors shipped. Jo-Ann Fabrics was out of the gray. I was kind of disappointed, but I did get to check the Pink Candy colorway I wanted and I liked it, so I had them shipped together. I can’t wait to show you, because it’s not stash yarn until it’s been used.

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The new Sock Monkey colors…

Now, allow me to get back to this pretty wool yarn that landed in my stocking, then created a small frog puddle. I decided to knit my dear James an ear warmer. I even decided to knit his before mine, though he’s currently wearing every hat he owns except the one I knit for him. If that’s not love, it’s some form of insanity, I think. Let’s call it love, this week. It’s also dedication-but I’m American, dedication may be a symptom of mental illness. That’s for another week as I’ve digressed.

I decide to knit dear James an ear warmer. I measure his head. i decide on a simple stockinette stitch since it’s a variegated yarn. I do vary the stitches near the ear on each side to make sure to cover them. He also wanted a thinner forehead band. I take the knitting to class and I knit when I have spare time between classes.

There’s only one problem with this plan. I don’t have dear James’ head there to wrap the ear warmer around. So, I knit on and on in stockinette stitch. And I knit on and on.

Then I brought the ear warmer and dear James’ head together. Perhaps I should have taken a photo of this, but I did not. Sorry, dear friends. Alas, the twelve stitch strip went down past his right ear, when measuring from just behind the left. So, I put the ear warmer back on his head, pulled the knitting needle out of the section I’d increased to sixteen stitches (horrified gasps are expected) and inserted the needle back in the ear warmer a little above his ear and ripped vigorously, and carefully. (We’re working with wool, after all).

Then I quickly went about the business of increasing to eighteen stitches for the ear section, and asked how thick or narrow he wanted the back section. Since I’d started with fourteen stitches, I expected to return to fourteen stitches, once I finished the ear section.

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Current ear warmer progress. I think I’ve knit a fair amount of the rip-pitting frog pond

I don’t know if it became easier or harder, but this dear man(who was not stabbed with the knitting needle in this process), asked for a thicker back half of the ear warmer. So, I’m sticking with the eighteen stitch rows and will decrease when I get closer to the other ear, then I will join and hopefully be done. Famous last words, right? Perhaps those words are “Pictures to follow.”

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Current Sock Progress….Still wanting to meet the toe…

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To Study Or To Knit…

January 22, 2016

…is not a choice I ever want to have to make. But sacrifices must be made. However, I’m also quilting. Perhaps I’ll get more time for that next week.002

Briannag, snuggling while I’m knitting.

I was going to read those ten pages tonight. They’re only ten pages. Over the weekend, I’ll read the stories and write the critiques, honestly yet nicely, like I’m supposed to. I hope the stories are good. I also have to write a two page story about a character that’s fun to write about. How on earth am I going to stop at two pages? Most of you are familiar with my work. I do that a minimum of twice weekly, if not more. I might join Nano in April, just because I’m in a creative writing class, so I’ll get off my butt and write the ten-minute play. But mine’s due first. It might be due before the class is over. We’ll have to see.

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Scamp, helping me knit…or at least inspecting the knitting needles…

This has been a week of adjustment and indecision. I still wish to move, but the right place isn’t coming along. My home hasn’t been right for some time either. I’m not sure how much less I’ll make as my schedule changes either. This could be rough. I have backup plans, but this could still be rough.

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Current cabling progress…I didn’t want to stop at half-way, but I’ve spent enough time not studying tonight…

In the meantime, sure, you’re studying Beowulf and Creative Writing, which sound great, but what about the knitting. It hasn’t entirely fallen by the wayside. I can study after the blog is written and my shower is finished, right? Perhaps I can study while cooking a meal for the next two days of ten hour shifts at work. After all, I strive to be Wonder Woman, right? Don’t we all. She did make it into my fiction piece this week, along with some butt-shaking(not twerking, I promise) and Monsieur Reliant…but that might be another blog. I hope there’s enough surprise factor. I have to finish this story one day. I’m at the killer’s frustration at not completing the third murder. I may need to utilize p.m.s. to finish this story.

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Current progress-side view…not my favorite view, but here it is…one day, this will be a sock…

So, let’s see my needles…I have two projects going. I only finished ten more rows(I think), of the chart pattern for the cable knit socks. I can do more Sunday night, and perhaps Monday night, when I’m getting more studying done as well. However, I’ve cast on an ear warmer from some of my handspun yarn I received for Christmas. This one’s for dear James, so I really need to measure his ear and the back of the neck to finish it. But I’ve been making progress between classes. So, knitting hasn’t fallen entirely to the wayside.

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The ear covering…only 18 stitches across, so I can knit this between classes…

This is a very simple pattern. I’ve pretty much worked it myself after looking at other possibilities. It’s easy to knit while waiting for class once I’ve eaten lunch. I’ve enjoyed it, and the next one is mine, and to be knit a little shorter with a little cabling worked in. I can’t wait to get started on it and show you.

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Dear James’ Ear warmer…perhaps I’ll get a photo of it on him. I’ll have to block this.

OH! I almost forgot to tell you: I’ve had a sock-monkey commissioned in gray and pink. It’s for a friend, so I’m doing it mostly as a favor and simply charging for the yarn. It’s in the mail tonight. I looked at Jo-ann’s and they didn’t have the main gray in the yarn I needed. I ordered it online, but I will share it with you as it doesn’t have to be kept super-secret. It’s for my little’s relative. It’s also been a couple of years since I’ve knit a sock-monkey, so I won’t feel as if I am only knitting socks all the time. It will also be easy to take to class, which is another factor I’m going to love about it. I can’t wait to get the yarn, start on it and share it with you guys. In the meantime, enjoy the half-chart progress I’ve managed to complete this week.

Are My Socks Too Small?

January 15, 2016

Confession time: I switched needle sizes…quite by accident. However, I’m a bit concerned that seventy-six stitches of simple, elastically ribbed cable knit socks will not be enough. I attempted to try the socks on my left foot, and dropped a stitch as the needles tried to stretch over my ankle/heel area. I thought of a photo, but I couldn’t see anything good coming of this. You may have to rely on your imagination for this.

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Squib helping me knit…with the smaller needles…

I will admit, I’ve made good progress on this sock. I will likely know shortly if this sock is really too tight. I’ve made some minor adjustments to fit my wider foot, but I’m not sure if it will be enough. Then I’m faced with the knitter’s dilemma…do I rip out the sock and re-knit it to make it the right size? Or, do I make the second sock the same, gift them to my niece with some minion stuff for her birthday and buy another large skein of the dark purple painted yarn to knit another pair?

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Squib getting cozy as I finished up the cable-work repeat this evening…

It sounds a little on the devious side, but I will tell dear James what happened, and he will get a good laugh if I end up knitting two pair of these socks…or perhaps I’ll pick the pattern he suggested next with the size 2 needles instead of size 1. In the meantime, I’ll be buying some new yarn to add to the stash this week(for socks in my colors one day, that match another sweater and shirt…perchance to dream) and I will likely be buying some yellow sock yarn to work with the blue I have, hoping the blue is enough or I can find more of the same dye lot…to make my niece a minion hat for her birthday. I think she will enjoy this.

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Current progress on the smaller sock…

I bought it this evening, planning to make this for her. You can find the pattern here:

http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/knitting/accessory/minion-beanie-hat/167185?_ct=cucruh-xecu-sedjydkyjo-emd-sbysa&_ctp=1,PID%3A167185

I chose this pattern for the ear flaps. It looks like I will be learning to crochet in the near future…or I will email this eye pattern to my sister-in-law and ask for her help in completing this hat. I did see a pair of fingerless gloves, and might try to make her a set, but I haven’t decided, and with studies I do not know if there will be time for it as well, or if that will become part of next year’s Christmas gifts.

That shall be all for this week. Please forgive the choppiness of this post, if you notice it. I am running on nights of up to four hours sleep for over half of this week, due to starting classes way too early in the afternoon…However, my shift has been switched to a bit earlier, so I hope getting to class will get easier in the near future…003 Current progress-side view on the sock, perhaps I can make them work on my feet after all…

…perhaps it’s the energy of expectations for a new year; perhaps it’s all that time spent inside drinking hot tea to soothe your cranky throat. Oh, heck with it, by the time I get to writing down the blog, I’m on to the wine. This is especially true if I’m taking on all that I can handle and more.

I’m going back to school, hopefully for an accounting degree-but that’s another story. I’ve started a new, slightly complicated knitting project, and I still have to sew down the underbelly of a mama horse. The horse will come, and is much easier than it sounds, but it’s not crossed off so it’s still on the list of things I haven’t done today. Part of me wants to be done.

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Knit 1, Purl 1 rib stitch…I forgot to complain about this. The longest consistent stitch in this pattern is knit 5. Focus, focus, focus…(what a girl gets for desiring a challenge…) Knot socks by Nancy Bush in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd

I’ve started studying for classes and hope some of the classes go better than the books promise. I’ve become quite the book critic since I’ve returned to college. I have a How to Study class I have to take due to extenuating circumstances and misunderstandings. It’s partly my own fault, but I don’t like one of the books and feel as if I needed this as well as “How to apply for Scholarships” as an English requirement in my junior year of high school. Alas, that could be another blog, but I should get back to studying before I attempt any more.

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The purple yarn, that is one or two shades above black…it is knitting up pretty, but I need new glasses soon…

Allow me to segue to the knitting we came here to discuss. I got this pretty purple and brown and blue yarn that is one shade above black from Dear James for Christmas. One day, I will train him to buy the yarn I want. I do not want to take all the mystery out of it and make him a list, however. I told the shop owner I trust him. I foolishly thought he was paying attention as he wandered through the shop asking questions about sweater yarn while I was shopping the sock yarn. I also suggested it should match one of my sweaters/shirts I wear often. (I’d better pay more attention to what I wear between Thanksgiving and Christmas next year.) I’ve offered to teach this man to knit many times this Christmas season (fortunately, he hasn’t taken me up on it yet).

So, I got out the beautiful, purple(not black) yarn, and began to pick out a pattern for it. I was hoping for openwork, but couldn’t find the right one for this yarn, and decided on cabling. Perhaps if I make a pair of socks it has to be really cold to wear, he’ll consider buying me pastels next year. A girl can dream, right?

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(*Ack..horrid photo)…In Dear James’ defense, he did try to match a turtleneck I wear frequently.

Right, got it. Make the list or give him a sweater to take with him, maybe even the outfit. Better yet, my new year’s pay is in next week, I’m making a stop at the yarn shop. Okay, that’s settled. So, we’re down to a couple of patterns and I choose the one I think is prettier. I’ve found a wee problem with the pretty patterns. There’s nothing vanilla about them and classes start Tuesday for me.

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7 inches…to be or not to be…enough…here goes hours of knitting time;-)

I’ve made good progress and have knit a repeat each night this week, before I go back to school and studies take over my nights. I didn’t even stop for photos until I got to the heel flap. Yes, I made it to the heel flap. I work the next two nights and will focus on the sewing as it’s far easier to walk away from at work. I may get some more knit Sunday or Monday night, but I hope I haven’t hit a major snafu. When I got to the heel flap, the pattern tells me I should be at 8 ½ inches. I’m at 7 inches. I’m hoping my 76 stitches are enough to go around my foot when I’m done with this sock.

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Vanilla Latte socks that would be easy to knit between classes;-)

Part of me wants to check the gauge and is debating starting over(I’d only be ripping out a few thousand stitches and finding bigger needles). Part of me wants to cast on the black yarn (okay, you can laugh at me now) for a pair of Vanilla Latte socks I can do from memory to create a second pair of work socks big enough for comfort and gift the ruffled black-hearted socks to my niece for band concerts. Part of me wonders if I’ve totally gone bonkers. Then I reach for my wine and decide to figure it out later. Though I’ve noted the vanilla latte socks just might travel well for in-between class in case I’m ever caught up on my school work…or my brain refuses to function in a studying capacity.

Also, I did receive the knitter’s graph paper journal from: http://www.fringesupplyco.com/product/knitters-graph-paper-journal (where I purchased it) or the designer’s website: http://rowanmorrison.com/products/knitters-graph-paper-journal

I’m slightly disappointed that it is soft cover, but it is a good cardstock soft cover. I’d like a hard cover option, as I’m not gentle on many things. I like the information presented, especially as I sometimes have to educate a non-knitter on knitting information. I believe I like the paper, but I have not put it to the test yet as I have an idea for a design, but it is still percolating, and I didn’t want to rip out my pretty(not black) Christmas stocking yarn three or four times as I tried to make open work butterflies work on socks. I may sneak it in my bag with some colored pencils and doodle one day when my brain refuses to accept any further knowledge. I will keep you updated.

New Year…Short New Post

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is better than your 2015;-).

 

I had promised photos of some super-secret gifts. I have gifted them, but hours are long and many this week and time off is short and highly limited this week. The good news is, though I didn’t quite get the knitting colors I wanted, I got new sock yarn that I just adore(even if my feet may sweat a little in it) and my needles are no longer naked.

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Some of my stocking stuffers…now I have to go pattern searching in the New Year…The darkest sock yarn is getting cabled…

The quilt did not get finished, but I’m back to making progress. The fuzzy dice are done, and I used brass thumb tacks for the pips on the dice. I believe I got some decent pics of this one.

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David’s fuzzy dice. Though he’s concerned about the stability of the tacks, he did try to test them on Lizzie’s ear…

However, I do not have pictures of Lizzie’s happy feet, but her first word when she saw her socks was “Pretty.” I’m glad she enjoyed them. I hope she continues to enjoy her hand-knitted socks.

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My Christmas tree, with the mini Christmas tree, which hid the soda in which I used the box to wrap marimba mallets (tightly wound yarn balls with a stick-I could make a fortune if I had more patience), fuzzy dice and a spare can of soda to add weight.

And my baby brother(don’t tell anyone I still call him that;-)), enjoyed his “t-shirt” re-created as a worded painting. It’s not by any means a masterpiece, nor is it stenciled, but it is a gift hand-made, that he can enjoy every day and made from the heart. That for me, is more Christmas than I see when giving semi-personal gifts bought at the store.

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“My t-shirt,” says John (a.k.a. baby brother;-))…oops, there I go again.

Though I admit, I bought Jessica’s gifts, but she’s highly into baking. I bought her baking supplies and put them into tins. She conned dear James into leaving the pan with the seven-layer or magic bars in it because she could return it with cookies in it. (It wasn’t like I didn’t give her four tins that would work for this!). But kids have their own methods of craftiness.