Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, April 29, 2016

WIP: Nusa

Since there's just a week left in the Nusa KAL, I thought it would be nice to check in. This has been going so quickly since I got to the stripes-the lace border is charming, and I did enjoy knitting it, but it's nice to have something almost mindless. It still requires a bit of focus, because this yarn really wants to split, and I really don't want it to, and the silk content really just wants to snag on my gross rough crone hands.

Up until I actually started the stripes, I was really nervous about my color combination. I love both of these colors a lot-I wanted colors that would work with a lot of my wardrobe, which these definitely will, but I wasn't sure how they'd look together. Fortunately, now that there's enough of the stripes to see how it's working out, I'm loving everything about these colors. There's just enough of a pirate-punk thing going on, which I was kind of going for, but didn't want to be overwhelming, and I think I totally nailed it.

This has been my lunch knitting for the past couple of weeks, and hopefully I'll be able to get a couple more stripes done this weekend, too. It's going to be a busy one-the high school is putting on Beauty and the Beast and the university is doing The Marriage of Figaro, so I'm going to be spending a whole lot of my weekend in auditoriums.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Que Sera, Sera Fini

Because I have little self-control, and you're my favorite accountability system, I will finish Que Sera this week. Look at it-a beautiful, pink sweater, lacking only half a sleeve, languishing in its project bag. There's no reason for this to still be on the needles (except for the 406 other projects I have on the needles).

So, I swear on all that is woolly that this sweater will be finished this week, and that seams will be sewn and buttons will be attached and blocking will happen, and if there's not an FO post next week, please publicly shame me. Because it's a shame that I was so enthusiastic for this project back in January, and now that I'm practically done I don't want to touch it. And it's literally the perfect weather for this sweater right now, and I want to wear it at least once before summer's here and it's constantly a billion degrees out.

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, April 25, 2016

I Have a Fever, and the Only Cure is More KALs

So...I appear to have been bitten by some kind of radioactive KAL bug. I really loved participating in the KALs for Great Northern, and I've had a blast with the Holla Knits KAL, and I'm well on track to finish my Nusa KAL cowl on time (two weeks left and I'm almost halfway through the stripes!), so clearly it's time for me to jump into two more.

I watched several bloggers do the Tops, Tanks & Tees KAL last year, and I thought it looked great, so I decided to jump in this year. After some deliberation, my project for this KAL is Make Up Your Mind in a couple of skeins of Colinette Jitterbug. I'm loving how it's knitting up so far, and since this project has been in my queue for years I'm really excited to finally be working on it.

I'm also jumping on board with The Perfect Crop Top KAL. I've loved seeing all of Teresa's crop tops on her Instagram, and I feel like I've been waiting for ages for this pattern to come out! I had planned to buy yarn for this at my retreat, but I didn't find anything that grabbed me, so when I got home I went stash diving and found these two perfect skeins of malabrigo sock that weren't already assigned to a project. So now I just have to get around to setting up my swift and winding these.

What about the rest of you? Anybody else participating in these or other warm-weather KALs?

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, April 22, 2016

Our Common Thread: Part Three

As I mentioned on Monday, I managed to get TWO finished objects while I was at my knitting retreat. I spent most of Friday working on my Cherry Pie skirt, because I knew if I didn't get it done last weekend, I ran a dangerous risk of not ever getting around to it. I hated having to rip out the folded hem, but it really ended up being worth it, and re-knitting the moss stitch border really only took a few hours.

Construction notes: after checking gauge, I cast on for my exact waist measurement, knit a 6-round folded casing for an elastic, then continued about 6 inches, increasing 4 stitches every 6 rounds or so. Once that section was done, I doubled my stitch count by knitting into the front and back every stitch for one round, and knit until I was almost out of my main color. Then I did the colorwork chart from the sweater (I had to increase just 3 stitches before starting the chart) and continued on in my contrast color for another 11 rounds, then did 12 rounds in moss stitch and bound off in pattern.

I'm so happy with this skirt now-it really hangs and drapes much better, and I feel so great wearing it. It's a great length, and it breathes well enough that I think I can definitely wear it through spring-maybe not well into summer, but overall I think this is going to be a really flexible skirt.

Ravelry Page: Cherry Pie Skirt
Pattern: Cherry Pie, by Teresa Gregorio
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted, "Squirrel Heather," and Brights, "Hot Tamale"

I also finished my Springtastic Socks for the Holla Knits KAL on Saturday night! These really flew off the needles once I went up a needle size and added the contrast cuffs, heels, and toes. These came out absolutely perfect-and I have just enough of the striped Patons left over to add a square to my sock blanket.

These are so comfortable, you guys. Once these were done, I didn't take them off for the rest of the retreat. The lace and cable pattern was a bit overwhelming to keep track of at first, but starting over really helped a lot-it's amazing what a simple gauge change can do (although becoming more familiar with the chart certainly didn't hurt)!

Ravelry Page: Springtastic Socks
Pattern: SpringTastic Socks, by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks Stripes, "Sailor Stripes," and Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, "Pearlescent" 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Our Common Thread: Part Two

Woot! Today we're all about dyeing, and I'm super excited! We had two days of dye workshops and I dyed a whole bunch at the retreat this year. I feel like every retreat I dye a little more, so in a couple more years I should be coming home with an entire yarn store's worth!

The first night's yarn was my biggest project-I wanted four skeins of fingering-weight for a special project (I'll be able to tell you all about in a couple weeks!), and I chose a new base to work with. It's a royal gray 100% wool, non-superwash. I had originally thought about using a blend, but I decided that plain old sturdy wool will be perfect for what I have in mind. I tried for a reddish-purple, but I knew it would come out darker because of the gray yarn, and we didn't have samples of this base on the dye cards, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark. This color is absolutely perfect, though. Not quite what I expected, but it turns out to be exactly what I wanted.

The second night we used the snow cone maker to do snow dyeing again, which is more unpredictable, but a lot of fun. The other big project I had in mind was yarn for a top. I decided on this 50/50 merino/tencel base, which has an amazing drape and will breathe beautifully in the summer. I wanted either a light purple or a pinkish, and I'm super happy with how this one came out. It's a bit more variegated than I planned, but I love the color so much, and I think it will go with a lot of things in my wardrobe.

Of course, I couldn't do a dye weekend without dyeing up some corriedale, so I grabbed two skeins and threw some green dye on them. I love how these came out-a bit swampy and foresty, and I'm really looking forward to knitting them up. I know I want a big shawl out of them, but I haven't decided on a pattern yet, so for now they're just going to hang out in my stash and look pretty.

Finally, I snagged up the last skein of 50/50 merino/silk fingering weight. I always like to try an orange skein during dye workshops, because orange isn't a hugely popular color and I struggle to find good orange yarns. I threw a couple of different orange/gold dyes on this one, and I'm so pleased with how it came out! This yarn is so soft, too, so it really has to wait to become something special.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Our Common Thread: Part One

Hello friends! It feels like it's been forever! I had a total blast at my knitting retreat this year, but I'm super excited to be back and ready to share with you! I drove up on Thursday and got to the lodge at about 4:30 pm, which left plenty of time on Thursday night for knitting (I honestly don't think I went to bed before 1:00 am any morning of the retreat!).

I'll have an FO post later this week, but during my retreat I managed to finish my Springtastic Socks and reknit the hem of my Cherry Pie Skirt! I also finished the first sleeve of my Que Sera, and made it to the stripes on my Nusa. Not too shabby, although I have to admit I was knitting for at least 12 hours a day!

I also fed the stash juuuust a little bit. I dyed a ton of yarn (dyeing post to come!), and I bought a few things too. I do have plans for most of what I got, though so it's not really feeding the stash, right?? Up first I have three skeins of The Dyeing Arts Lush in "Frog Pond," which is sadly not a regular colorway. I love how light and happy these are, and I'm planning to turn them into Low Tide.

I also got these three skeins from Daria of Cloud 9 Fiberworks. I'm thinking about using two of these for a Color Affection, but I need to figure out the third color. I'd planned to use all three of them, but now I'm not so sure. I'll have to look at other people's projects and see what I think-either way, I absolutely love the colors in these skeins!

Finally, I got a skein for plain old socks-this is another one from The Dyeing Arts, in "Ectoplasm," I'm not usually one for light-colored socks because I'm so afraid of getting them dirty on my floors, but I can't help but imagine how fun these light green and white stripes will be!

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, April 15, 2016

Packing List

I'm at the Our Common Thread retreat right now, but I planned ahead and have a blog post for you anyway (+50 awesome blogger points)! I thought I might share the projects I decided to bring, so that when I write up my recap post(s) everything will be pretty familiar.

1. I haven't quite gotten around to ripping back and re-knitting the hem of my Cherry Pie Skirt, so I definitely wanted to bring this and just get it done. I need to wear this skirt RIGHT NOW, and there's no reason for me to have avoided fixing it for this long.

2. My Springtastic Socks! The Holla Knits KAL ends on April 29, so these definitely have to come along, and hopefully I'll get pretty well into the second sock this weekend.

3. Similarly, the Nusa KAL for Indie Knits ends May 6, and I'm just a couple rounds into the second lace repeat, so this needs some serious love as well.

4. Finn: I had initially wanted to avoid bringing any design work along, but this is just plain stockinette, nothing to keep track of, and I definitely need a totally brainless project to work on.

5. I decided to bring my Que Sera along as well-I had about half the first sleeve knit before I decided to rip it out and do it a little differently, and since then it's been a bit stalled. But it's a nice familiar project, and we're just about at the perfect time of year to be wearing it, so hopefully I'll get some work done on this.

I really can't know before I get there what I'm going to feel like knitting on any given day, so I tried for some real variety! Of course, I'll be spending plenty of time in the dye room as well, so who knows what I'll have to show you all next week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Design WIP: Finn

I've had this cardigan floating around in my head for a few months, and back in January I got the yarn for it and wrote up a schedule to get it done. Mid-February, I cast on, right on schedule, and finished the upper back and started the left front. Then I promptly became ill and spent the next couple months not feeling quite myself and not wanting to work on a fingering-weight sweater.

Over the past couple of weeks I've begun feeling better, and Sunday afternoon when I had the house completely to myself, I realized that all I really felt like doing was watching several hours of Say Yes to the Dress and finishing the top of this cardigan. So I turned on Hulu, pulled out this project bag, took a look to figure out where I was, crunched a couple numbers, and I finished the upper fronts of this cardigan.

I'm so excited to have the top of this sweater done-I let myself get really intimidated by arm and neck shaping, just because there's so much that can go wrong and make a sweater look unflattering, but the rest of the body is nice, soothing stockinette, with just a little waist shaping to keep me on my toes.

My projects right now are mostly of the "keep your eyes on the chart!" variety, with a couple of plains socks thrown in, so I'm really glad to have a bigger project that's just plain and easy to work on. I've got a few projects earmarked for my retreat this weekend, and I definitely want to bring this along as a palette cleanser and for something easy to work on when it's 3am and I can't keep my eyes open but we're all still knitting, because it's retreat weekend, and curfews are for babies.

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, April 11, 2016

No, I Didn't Break My Stash Diet

I've got just a couple more days left for my stash diet, so of course it's the perfect opportunity to show off some new goodies. One of the most fun parts of working with Tara of The Dyeing Arts is that I can get paid in yarn pretty much whenever I want. And boy, do I want.

Up first is a skein of her Splendiferous Sock base in her Hobbit-inspired colorway, Land of Smaug. I love this skein so much, and after seeing one of her samples, I think this just has to be a plain pair of socks. I'm a huge sucker for anything inspired by Middle Earth, so hopefully I'll get through some of the other sock yarns I have queued up quickly and be able to play with this skein.

This next one is her Lush base, which is the base we used for Nelumbo, but this time in the colorway Nebula. I saw this skein hanging out in a basket, kind of tucked behind some other stuff, and my first thought was "Lisa Frank Snow Leopard!" So I had to have it. This skein is so soft, and I know from experience that it drapes really well. I might make up a Nelumbo of my own with it, but I'm not committed to it yet. I think this skein and I just need to hang out and get to know each other a little better.

Finally, I have a Dye Goblins skein-these ones are non-repeatable colorways, and every time I look in the Dye Goblins baskets I always find amazing things that I wish I could get more of. This skein has the evocative colorway name Bluddie Goblinz #3, and I just fell for that rich color. This is her Noble base, which is a sport-weight merino, so I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet.

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, April 8, 2016

Knitting as Calm

I feel like I've been juggling a lot of different things lately-lots of different projects on needles, lots of books in progress, lots of half-baked ideas. The past couple of weeks have been a little overwhelming at times, and it's difficult to see what exactly is stressing me out because there's so much of everything going on.

I've been keeping my Rios Scraps Cowl next to my bed, in easy reach to do a row or two as I need. I recently picked it up for an entire hour and finished this latest section, and I'm trying to decide which color to add next. It's by far the easiest and most soothing project I have going right now, my own little oasis of calm.

I finally have my knitting retreat next weekend, and it couldn't be coming at a better time for me. I have no clue what projects I'm going to bring to work on, but I'm really looking forward to getting away and just hanging out with my fiber friends for a few days.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sock it to Me

Out of curiosity, I decide to pull out all of my sock WIPs. I usually have a pair of plain socks on the needles, and sometimes a pair of patterned socks, but not more than that. So I'm feeling a bit crowded with five pairs on the needles right now-and they're all still on the first sock!

I've got plain socks for my mum, plain socks for me, the Knitty Twist socks for mum, Darjeeling for me, and Springtastic for me for the Holla Knits KAL. That's a lot more than I'm used to, and it's a bit overwhelming. I used to be a huge sock knitter in college-I'd knit in all my classes, so it was easy to churn out a pair a week or two, but now I find more often that I'd rather work on bigger projects.

I certainly never intended to have five pairs of socks on the go at once-the Darjeeling socks have been in progress forever, and Knitty Twist's been on the needles for over a year as well. I started mum's plain socks around Xmas to work on at a concert, my plain socks in January to kill time before meeting a friend for coffee, and by then the whole sock thing had just totally spiraled out of control.

(Also, check out my new rug! It's awesome and squishy and I totally love it, even if it took a year and a half for me to pick one out.)

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, April 4, 2016

Springing Again

Yup, that's the same sock I showed you on Friday, and yup, it looks different. As I mentioned before, I'd gone down a needle size from my usual to knit these, and I wasn't loving the smaller needles or the fabric I was getting, and when I tried the sock on to see how the fit was, it was just a bit too tight. I could get it on, but it was just not going to be comfortable to wear. So I ripped it out.

I've been planning to do contrasting toes from the beginning, but I weighed my sock so far before I ripped it out, and at the rate I was going at least half the foot was going to have to be in the contrast yarn. So this time, I decided to do contrasting cuffs and heels as well, and I am so glad I did. They look so much lighter and springier now, and I was able to get a little extra length in the leg-just an inch, but it's really making a difference for me.

I'm loving knitting these on the larger needles-and now that I'm familiar with the chart, they're zooming along. I'm already past where I was when I ripped out the first time, and it fits perfectly so far. I was nervous starting over from scratch in the last month of the KAL, but I should be able to get these done with just a couple focused knitting days (knock on wood)!

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, April 1, 2016

WIP: Springtastic Socks

For a couple weeks I'd managed to misplace the bag that my Springtastic Socks are hanging out in, which wasn't so bad, considering I have a million and five other projects I've been juggling. But now there's less than a month left in the Holla Knits KAL, and I really ought to be working on them, and that's when I was struck with the reality of how lost that project bag was.

(This is why I don't like cleaning. It's very hard to misplace a project bag when it's on top of a pile of stuff, instead of put away in a closet, or on a shelf, or in a drawer.)

As you can see by the picture up there, I did manage to find the elusive bag, and I plowed through the remaining gusset decreases on sock #1 during my lunch break yesterday. I'm hoping to get these mostly powered through before my knitting retreat in two weeks, but we'll see how much I can handle. I went down a needle size from my usual, and my hands aren't quite used to the smaller needles yet, but I'm really excited to see how these turn out.