I went to a quilt retreat and didn’t get any knitting done this week. I also have a ton of reading and homework. Yeah. However, I came across a sentiment I can still discuss with you this week. We were discussing quilting, and while a beginner class, or a parent or grandparent teaching a child to quilt on an easy, straight-lined pattern, there are two of us in this small group that are self-taught quilters. We came the conclusion that one thing we love about being self-taught is that you often don’t know enough to know better.

Ah, the tools of an avid beginner…I knew nothing…and yet…I feared little…

This can get you in trouble…but it can get you great results without someone saying, “No, you have to do it this way.” I’ve decided learning to knit on your own is similar. No one told me I had to only knit across in garter stitch. That is good. I get bored easily.

Watch for the improvement…the green were more interesting than the purple, and better (having learned better)

No one told me I had to knit one direction, turn it and purl the other direction in stockinette stitch. That is good. I get bored, well…yeah, easily. No one told me anything. I looked at stitches and patterns and decided I needed something a little challenging. I promise, I didn’t start with a cable needle in my hand, nor even dpns. I began with the flat knitting aluminum needles from goodwill with stoppers on one end and Caron Simply Soft acrylic yarn in a burgundy tone.

 

Meeting that pain of ripping out your work to create something more beautiful.

No one had to tell me to yarn over or how…I think most of us figure that out on our own…we just have to told what it’s called. I did have to figure out how to decrease after including all of my yarn overs in my first knit since I was ten years old. I used pictures in a greatly detailed small book I found at the J-store. I then learned how to increase, which comes easily.

Though not everything I knit comes out as planned, many of them turn out beautifully.

Then, I learned to decrease, out of necessity. When a panel that could become a blanket goes from 33 stitches to 51 stitches, or even as many as 80, if I recall correctly, one must learn to decrease. I didn’t rip out stitches until I was on my second or third pair of socks. It was one of these two pair…alas…I’ve since moved on and conquered many projects, mostly because no one was there to tell me it was hard, and if someone on Knitting Paradise said it was hard, someone said there was nothing to fear. That fearlessness has taken me on many journeys which I get to share with you. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

 

 

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One of my favorite knitting phrases is “I’m halfway there.” The project starts to take shape and really look like what it’s supposed to become in this half. In addition, I know the end of any monotonous rows will come…I can hope. When you’ve cast on 216 stitches, you keep wondering if you’re ever truly close to halfway or if you need to count all the way to three-quarters of the way there.

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Beginning of the crossover stitches…this is what happens when you begin to knit, wrap the needle three times, complete the stitch and drop the elongated stitch in the next round.

But I like still having something to knit, while seeing it take shape. I like finishing and casting on a new project…but there’s a sense of sadness in finishing…even with the Ta-da moment. There’s a nice since of new as you steady the needles in the beginning. But the real magic happens at the halfway point…the design takes shape, the pattern shows through and you feel as if you are creating something special. Considering the number of stitches you put into each piece, you are creating a labor of love.

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This is how it looks once you cross four stitches over the other four stitches (yes, you are counting to 8 27 times), then knit them…it is a pretty effect

This week’s labor of love is pretty simple, a little fun, but not my style. It’s crossing over elongated stitches to make a great pattern called the Indian Cross Scarf. I did figure out what I was doing, and the knitting became smoother and easier after that, but it’s just not my thing. I’d almost rather cable across a total of 144 stitches any day. But I’m enjoying making this for a friend and wondering what in the 101 Designer One Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant I shall knit next.

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Half-way there on the Indian Cross Scarf…

I’m considering felted bowls or some matching hat, scarves and mitten/gloves patterns. Oddly, there aren’t many matching patterns out there. I’m a little surprised at that, but then, I haven’t taken the time to simply sit down and actually work out and design a pattern to create my own matching hat, gloves and scarf set. (Gloves may mean mittens, I’m undecided on knitting fingers yet.)

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This is another angle of what half way there looks like. It is turning into a lovely scarf.

In the meantime, on those stealth argyle socks, I’ve begun to make the toes for the second sock and can knit up to the size 3 needle point. Then I have to measure yarn and divide and hope for the best.

…not once, but twice, Dear James got me some new needles.

 

  • Chiaogoo Red Lace Steel Circulars 40"  - 1
  • This could get exciting;-) He’s so good to me;-)

 

In the meantime, I’m playing “Are we there yet?” with the sock pattern, and hoping for the best for making two pair so large…I just may cast on a second sock shortly…but that will take some work and another gift finished and marked off the books before that happens.

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Need to work on settings…those are supposed to be green and purple…looks blue in this light…Perhaps as we knit on…p.s. one set of the new needles are covered.

I’ve also gotten this lovely large pair of knitting needles in size 10 (which are substituted for a size 9, because I’m a tight knitter). Since I have them, and I took the time to wind the skeins the hard way(the skiff is hiding, and the skeins weren’t sure they’d work with it anyways), I went ahead to cast on the Indian Cross Scarf by Marci Richardson from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. It’s an interesting pattern requiring 216 stitches to be cast-on…This is probably the definition of love…in case you were wondering.

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Still…casting on 216 stitches is a lot of love…

“It’s only a few rows,” she told me. The first time I looked at the pattern, I thought it was twelve rows…anyone can put up with this, I thought. Then I read the pattern. Wait, you want me to knit 4 rows before I begin the pattern…okay, not bad. But that makes sixteen rows. Then I read the pattern…after row 12, it says “repeat rows 1-12 one more time.” It’ll be fun they said…but that’s 28 rows total. Then I read rows 1 and 2…you want me to do what?!?…I get to wrap the stitch three times every other stitch…in the next row, I get to drop it…This should be fun, she thought…see why I’ve spent so much time quilting. Alas, maybe it will knit up easier than it looks. It’s a lovely scarf, but I suspect it’s going to be a challenge to knit up…

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Almost there…just a couple more rows…then, more knitting;-)

So, while I knit up three more rows and work towards a needle change, I also got another pair of needles in a surprise shopping experience…yes, I’m broke…but dear James and I have a tacitly quiet agreement, and he’s given approval. If I put something in his amazon.com cart for a reasonable price…he checks out before he notices it and buys it for me…So, when I need new knitting needles (that week, not that day), I simply click on the pair to add them to his cart, and let him surprise me with them. I like this system. One day, I’ll remember to add a second set of rechargeable batteries for the camera;-).

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Getting to the heel of the matter;-)

In exchange, I promise to occasionally make him a tasty bacon covered meatloaf surprise on my nights off or other tasty dishes he likes. I earned those knitting needles this week, really.  It was a good meatloaf…and photos are not possible as it was a little too good to wait to take photos…Now to bag up the chicken soup for when I get sick.

 

Picking a Good Join…

February 8, 2018

The CopyCat C.C. (Colorado Chick) Beanie  by Emily Ingrid is just over half-way done. Yeah! I’m getting there. But this weekend, likely Sunday morning…I’ll probably be looking at You-tube videos of how to do a join. I’m leaning towards a Russian Join. I’ve tried it once with a video and liked it. I tried it a second time, and missed something. So, this is only my third time joining without a knot…Weigh in fellow knitters. What is your favorite join?

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See that tiny yarn ball…I’ll be working in a join soon…Have a fave? Tell me…

Someone asked this question on the Addicted to Sock Knitting Facebook page and there was a multitude of answers. Is there a join for each type of yarn? Perhaps some research is due as well. Though I’m up to my ears in research, and about to be up to my ears in Virginia Woolf. I won’t have much time for more than a good five minute video that tells me exactly what to do…not why they love something.

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That means less progress on the Stealth Argyles sock, by Eunny Jang but it’s coming along…

So, I need to hit the books once again. I’ve made some progress on the Stealth Argyles socks by Eunny Jang in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd. When I checked the pattern about when to start increasing for the heel, I was a little surprised, but I’m getting there…later, not sooner. The socks will come once I get this hat finished…only twenty rows until the decrease! Wish me speedy ribbing and purling, please! And feel free to chime in with your favorite join technique or good video.

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Rather nicely, too. I need to find more time for knitting…

Wonder if I can get my college books put on tape so I can listen while I drive…though it would be hard to take notes. Until next time, Happy Knitting, & Joining!

Bring On the Toes…

December 21, 2017

That’s right, I’m at the toes…I may have four disappointing rows of stockinette stitch(I’ll find out when I recheck the pattern,) but I hit my goal to be at the toes tonight, so I can get these knit up by the weekend…I know, I know…get back to the needles.

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Do you see these babies;-)…they’re ready for toes!

I found the painting I thought I’d misplaced…my boyfriend knew where it was, which is good–because I don’t have time to make another…and while it would likely be better, I wouldn’t feel that way, until it was done. Instead, I would stress. But I’m feeling pretty good today, for two reasons.

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Almost there, can’t wait to gift these babies…Fraternal twins…

I got one gift finished this afternoon, and while I wish I’d done it a little better, and if I’d known how my week was going to turn out, I’d have focused on this one more. Alas, that’s not how it goes around here…but, but, back to the knitting…and some tears…I picked up Maeve’s ashes yesterday, and received a paw print they didn’t tell me about. It was sweet, as I watched six other people bring their mostly healthy and still alive pets to the vet and pretended to be okay. I’m not, I nearly lost it while running my errands, but we’re each allowed a little crazy (or normal grieving) at yuletide, right? I bake a little when grieving…here’s some of last night’s haul.

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Oatmeal cherry chip cookies…scream now if you really, really need these…perhaps I can message a recipe. Though I will need to send some to a fudge gifting friend.

Okay, okay, back to the knitting…so the emotional roller coaster of this week will be complete…

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We’re almost there. I think my favorite part is the gifting;-). (except for when I get to put them on my feet;-)).

See what I mean. Now I have to go knit the toes, and get these done in time to gift and hope her feet still fit them. Afterwards, which socks do I focus on? (Yes, I remember I need to get back to the hat for a friend, and I will), but do I go for the stealth argyle in teal and purple or create mock cables with burgundy and black…which matches a favorite shirt;-)? Decisions, decisions…but enjoy the gifting process this year, and the family that chooses to be with you. Happy Holidays…and to those who think I should say different, I say, “If your holidays aren’t holy, you’re doing them wrong.”

 

Dropping the Ball…

November 17, 2017

…not the yarn…thankfully…

…not literally, thankfully, as this yarn would likely roll everywhere…But it’s been a heck of a week, missed important appointments, meltdowns over assignments…work for assignments always feels off or late…but has been somehow good enough to get me by. I’m appreciative of my instructor’s flexibility at this point.

However, the knitting continues…although with my crazy week, I got nothing done on the hat and will need to return to it one day…maybe. In the meantime, I’m still finding time to knit between classes, when I’m not memorizing poems for performances…I became a fluid tree for about two seconds today…but none of the trees I represented were truly fluid…though they dance in the winds of a pale sea-green breeze. There are no pictures of this performance, and I’m okay with that…

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Scamp, inspecting my knitting bag for goodies to run off with…

Okay, okay, I performed “For C.W.B.” by Elizabeth Bishop.  There are tree lines, and statements of beginning a life together and mention of a stork. I ensured it was presented rather sensually. Only one person thought it was too much…the instructor did not. In fact, when the tree branches swayed in that pale sea-green breeze I saw their smile…which just encouraged me.

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Backside of current sock with first sock for comparison….I was getting more color play on the second sock for a bit…

Now, let me get back to the knitting. There was some…I mentioned on a sock knitting facebook post that I just about had my pattern memorized, but still carried it with me just in case. So, I looked at my pattern and said, “Oh, I’m knitting row 12, it goes like this…” and proceeded to knit it half wrong. I simply worked my bridge stitch early. It is supposed to be in row 13.  Previously, I think I worked it late…so now I have slightly wonky bridge stitches…see if you can find them.

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Front side of the second socks…with back side for comparison…enjoy… 

Yes, I know the stripes are off..I’m going with it. Sometimes, socks get to be wonky. I hope you enjoy them…as well as the recipient, so I’d better get back to knitting. I will say, to some extent, I can knit and rehearse lines if I do so carefully, but then I will end up with socks that veer off course more than I do.

Simple, but effective…

November 10, 2017

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Sock progress this week…it’s been considerable…

It’s been quite a week, and I’m skipping the details, as they’re not mine to tell. I’m not sure how much I got done on the hat this week, but I think there may have been progress. However, the proud moments involve the sock. I’ve been taking it to classes and for studies…and a musical. Spring Awakening is quite a musical…my favorite moment involved a fellow theater-goer. We got to a risque scene in the play and the lights abruptly go on for what I recognize as intermission…and the young man next to me says, “What?!” I looked at him and assured him, “There’s more.”

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Scamp thinks this is her knitting bag…or there are treasures in here she can run off with…I caught her in time…

In the meantime, I need to get back to knitting, quilting and schoolwork…ugh…If you want to know what a psychological study looks like, send me a message. Otherwise, I need to get to bed, and compile data and…never mind…my brain needs a rest. Enjoy my baby kitten(not so much anymore) Scamp, trying to claim the knitting bag…I think she wants to learn to knit.

Knitting While Scheduling…

November 3, 2017

…in my world almost means less time for knitting. Unless you schedule that in too. How do I explain? Two weeks ago, my instructor said, “You seem stressed. Why don’t your turn your study into an online study?” I said, “I’ve already prepared for the traditional method.” Him: “Look into making it an online study.” I felt my stress(which was high,) go through the roof. I didn’t know how to tell him changing this in the middle of class was not a good idea. I tried, I really tried. He wasn’t having it. So, I went on one of those newfangled survey websites and set up an online survey. I put it in the system…I went live…and nothing. No data, though I had a subject. Maybe it takes time I thought? So I looked into it…How long should it take? Finally, I contacted said participant through email. She couldn’t get to the survey.

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Current progress on the Grayfields hat…part of me cannot wait to see how it knits up.

I contacted the instructor, who thought I should visit him in class (while I still believed things were going well and I was collecting data, like he told us to do). Long story short…study was reverted to traditional method, and now I’m playing the timeslots/book a room game. The rooms get booked for an hour or two at a time. The students show up for a ten to twenty minute experiment…a simple one…no real cruelty here, promise…except the frightful weather they sometimes have to traipse across campus through. Scheduling fun…and I can only carry so many books. So, what’s lightweight and simple to carry: Knitting! Can you believe it? .All that to tell you I was knitting before my study tonight…but the second sock is cast on and the first two rows are knit.

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Second sock cast on…we up and running…these are probably a Christmas gift…

I’m calling that progress…because I also made progress on the winter Gray Fields hat …at least I think I have…If you know any Russian knitters, send them my way (via internet, of course). Otherwise, I’m continuing with this pattern as I interpret it. But I have made pretty good progress on the hat as well…the pattern rows cover 126 stitches, feel like they take forever and are complicated…but the knit rows work up pretty quickly…after I note my progress…it’s almost like knitting two socks at once, but that was 144 stitches….I’m going to need an attention grabber if ever I attempt an afghan or a shawl…or some tricks….In the meantime…feast your eyes on these and hope my scheduling goes better this week.

 

One of Those Weeks…

October 19, 2017

Maybe I angered the knitting fairies…I’m not sure how, but I must have committed some grave error there. Today, I forgot all my knitting, so my extra time at school was spent setting up social events (mostly for end of semester) and reading poetry..mostly good poetry today. I also had a kind of fun assignment in which I was to pick out five events that were poetic beauty. You guys know what I picked…I’ll share them:-).

  1. That one red tree in the midst of the still green trees, like only one person got the memo that it was fall and you were to wear your fall colors.
  2. Juxtaposition on gold leaves against a brick building, in which we are reminded it’s fall and there is time to reflect before winter sets in, stark and unforgiving.
  3. A hot bath, a good book, and your favorite beverage…if this needs to be explained, try it.
  4. Hand knit socks-like 10,000 little hugs for your feet.
  5. Listening to Elizabeth Bishop discussing her friendship with Marianne Moore, specifically a trip to the circus, in Efforts of Affection while I was sewing. Check it out…you’ll want to hear the whole thing, but if you are truly pressed for time, skip to the Circus part, at 9:00 in. I really recommend the entire video.

Okay, guys, here’s the part that could cost me…I told my Oral Interpretation of Literature Instructor to trust me and assigned him this homework…I know that could work against me, but he seems to have a sense of humor. The poetry instructor would have simply said “snaps” or “Bravo!”

Ready to knit the toes…(I’m actually almost done with the toes…)

Since I forgot both knitting bags today, I was knitting-less-GASP! The horror! Good thing I asked for a book of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems so I had something to read between classes, that was somewhat class related. I had text books too…but who wants to read those between classes. Somedays I have to. I also used the time to plan out a survey for my psych class. But it was fascinating to read more of Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry.

However, I think reading poetry may have been my (glad to do it) penance for angering the sock fairies. I cannot find my Terpander socks that I finished up only a month ago. It was too warm to wear them when I finished them. So I set them aside until it was cool enough to wear them. Problem is: I cannot remember where that aside is, or the knitting fairies thought they were a gift. I’m going to have to find these, but they are currently behaving in a quite elusive manner.

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Has anyone seen these socks? Can’t recall where I stored them!

In the meantime, I have about seven more rows on this sock…then i get to do another cast-on. If anyone has seen my lovely socks, please let me know;-). I miss them.

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Maeve’s idea of how much poetry I get to read…

Update on Maeve: she’s hanging in there. I just hope she’s comfortable, but she’s never suggested otherwise, and if she’s in enough discomfort, she lets me know. In the meantime, I’m keeping her snuggled and comfortable, and hoping she doesn’t demand my socks.

So, I hear there’s a concept called balance. I’ve yet to come close to mastering it. This week is seeming like a roller coaster ride, and I have more to come. The challenge is not taking everyone with me, and knowing when to tell my friends I need them to jump on.

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One of my favorite knitting helpers, deciding I should snuggle her rather than read poetry.

Let me explain the low, slow climb to the top. My cat was diagnosed with bone cancer this week. I thought it was an abscess or tooth infection. A couple of shots…a vet bill, and it would be fine. I missed class, bought a scale and soft food instead…and came home to snuggle my cat. She is my snuggle kitty too…She’d let me knit her a sling and attach herself to me permanently, so long as I didn’t jump around or up and down too much. Beware the knitting ideas we knitter’s come up with when the going gets tough.

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Full length view…isn’t there a magic knitting formula…that whatever one knits, it works?

In the meantime, I’ve been making short headway on the socks while I’m waiting for circular knitting needles to arrive in the mail. Then I get to knit a kickin’ hat pattern(that’s written in Russian, of course…because I can, and it’s kickin’). I’m getting excited to start it.

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So close, yet so far…

Unfortunately…I know, I promised we were done with those sorts of words…but I just tried to try on this sock…it’s too small…I’m not sure it will fit over my heel. I’m wondering if it will fit my niece, and if I can get it done in time for Christmas (or if it will be a birthday gift). The good news is I wasn’t in love with this yarn. I think Lizzie will like it better. The bad news is, I finally got the pattern close to what I wanted it to be…only I need it on bigger needles if it’s to be for me.

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Backside of the too small sock…

I’m debating If I will knit this pair of socks for myself again, or if I will simply gift these and move on…part of this decision will depend on how much yarn I have left and how excited I get to knit other patterns…for now, I will be finishing this sock, and repairing the cuff…Drat!

Alas, one sock almost down, one classmate encouraged to knit (I hope she listens…1 poem equals 1 row of knitting), and we move on to the next pattern which i hope is big enough…but it starts out toe-up, which will be a bit easier to work with…though I love my dpns still.