Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I've got the blues

At least you would definitely think so by looking at my knitting lately. It didn't happen on purpose, but there is definitely a theme. (Sorry for the uninspired and poorly lit photos....it's evening, and my desk is pretty much the only clean surface...and only this half!) First off, there are the very naughty Bleecker Street sleeves from last week. (Also, they are naughty not due to the pattern, but due to me and silly mistakes.) I've made a bit of progress on them, but I'm not quite back to the point I was before the giant RIP.

Totally by accident, and out of a completely different yarn, I'm also working on a Wonderful Wallaby toddler sweater. It has a hood and a pocket, which I think are pretty much universally loved by the pre-kindergarten set. This has been less troublesome than the sweater for me, but I do wish I'd picked up the pocket differently than the pattern calls for. It's kind of cool though, because the pattern ranges in size from 2 all the way up to XXL (the WISCONSIN wallaby, of course. It was slightly less insulting when I saw the designer is from WI, but still!) so this means I can work out any changes I might want to make for future sizes while testing it on a mini version.

I've been toting around a pair of simple toe up socks for a few weeks now. Technically these are in shades of gray, but there are definitely hints of blue in there as well. I've just been picking away a few rows here and there on lunch breaks, during chatter at book club, today getting an oil change...I'm about 3/4" away from turning the heels though, and then it's straight on till I run out of yarn. (And at least two more squares for my sock yarn blanket too! No recent progress to show there though.)

And if that weren't enough blues....I snapped up this destash yarn from one of our knitting group ladies. I feel a little bad about scooping up pretty much everything she was getting rid of...I'll have to take a back seat for the next couple. But she had several full skeins and I couldn't resist!

I've had an idea swimming in my head for a couple of weeks now, but I'm low on funds with a few unexpected expenses and couldn't justify the splurge on picking up yarn for myself. I weighed out the balls of this Berroco Lustra wool/tencel blend, and only 1 oz was used! So that's just under 400 yards of aran weight...it's a little thicker than I was thinking, but it just might work anyway. It's going to take me a couple of weeks I think to get into it, as I'd like to have these other two sweaters I'm working on off the needles before I really get started. We'll see though!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

That sinking feeling

So last night, I'm knitting on the sleeves of my Bleecker Street cardigan, and it's going pretty well. I just finished the first ball of yarn, and I had also finished the fifth of ten repeats.

Then....I noticed something.

The texture stitch is supposed to make sort of a checkerboard effect with straight stockinette columns and purl bumps every other stitch of every third row. Except, well, my stockinette columns looked drunk.

Even closer, you can see why I just couldn't handle looking at this on my forearms. Nope.

So, being evening, I made the wise decision to put it down and deal with it again in the light of day. I had a very bright idea about dropping down the columns and turning the problem stitches.

While I was pulling up that first stitch, I could see that technically, yes, it would probably be possible to fix my mistake this way. However, it was taking a long time, it was making my tension pretty wonky, and I was going to have to do it on every. single. stitch.

I knew what I had to do. First, some liquid courage.

Then I ran my needle into the row of stitches just below the beginning of my drunken, wandering column.....and......RIIIIIIP.

Yes. I ripped my sleeves out AGAIN. This is starting to get ridiculous. This isn't even hard! I know exactly how I screwed it up, so I won't make that mistake again. I should have been incorporating the pattern into my "make one" row, and rather I started it up again after the make one, which was definitely not right.

Sigh. So here we go. Sleeves. Take three....

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yarn Yarn Basket

When I make these tall slipper socks, I use one skein of yarn per sock so there aren't any joins or knots in the sock. This means that over the years, I've amassed a whole bunch of little balls of scraps like this:

As they got to a point where they would topple out on me every time I opened my stash closet, I wanted to think of something I could do with them. I tried out a few headbands and a slouchy hat, but I didn't really love the results. The super bulky yarn creates a really firm fabric if you knit it tightly, which does keep the cold out, but makes the ear warmer headbands not quite stretchy enough. The hat was done at a looser gauge which meant it looked really cute, but the wind went right through it, which is not ideal for a hat. Then I came across an idea...I could make it into a basket! It would use up a bunch of it, and joining scraps together wouldn't be a problem since it's not a garment and I didn't have to worry about knots being irritating. The yarn is washable, so if (when) my pets get ahold of it I can toss it in the machine. And best of all, it would be useful! See - useful even during construction, already holding the yarn:

Right now I've got it holding the start of my Bleeker Street Cardigan, so this large size basket is easily corralling a sweater's worth of yarn in sport weight.

I tend to knit and decorate with a lot of the same colors, so it fits in to my home pretty well. Oh, and a yarn yarn basket and a dog using a stuffed dog as a pillow? Is that meta?

The sweater itself is going pretty well. I'm working with a yarn I got from a ravelry destash, so I got it for a steal, and it turned out to be cashmere! Nice! Especially since I can't count to 6 (the number of rows in the texture repeat) and I had to knit a few inches twice.

I'm back to the point that I ripped out now. I'm starting with the sleeves and working them two at a time so they are identical. I'm also counting now, so they aren't messed up identically as well. Then I plan to work the body in one piece rather than three as called for, so I hope I don't regret that later. It's knit bottom up, but I like my sweaters to be as long as possible. I'm going to start above the ribbing with a provisional cast on, knit up to the shoulders as directed and do all that finishing (the button band is worked at the same time as the body), and then go back and knit down the bottom until I run out of yarn.

I'm hopeful it will be ready for fall! What do you think of the yarn baskets? I'm thinking about listing them in my Etsy shop in the future. I think I could fold the whole thing down and ship it pretty easily in a flat rate box. For the smaller sized basket I might be able to ship it first class if I can find the right sized box.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Oh hey, it grew!

Well look at that...visible growth! Seeds+dirt+rain+moderate neglect = plants!

So here's what we've got growing:

Everything is coming up pretty nicely (probably needs to be thinned actually), but alas, nothing edible just yet. I could probably clip some of the green onions, but they're a little on the skinny side right now. The lettuce and spinach should have been ready, but about a week and a half ago...we had a little bit of this going on.

That's about 3/4 weeds, 1/4 plants. Argh. (skinny onions on the left, choked out lettuce on the right) I had some personal issues in the beginning of June that really knocked me for a loop (ugh, good riddance June 2014 - you were mean), and then we went out of town for 5 days, so weeding wasn't a top priority. Looks like my garden neglect hit at sort of a key phase of development!

This was taken about a week or so after the previous image (and from the opposite direction - bad blogger). The lettuce has recovered a little bit, so maybe I'll have about one salad in two weeks. The peas on the left are sticking to their cages nicely and not overrunning the place, but haven't blossomed yet. This is slightly disconcerting as we picked a bunch of peas at a farm last weekend. I assume they got theirs in the ground before Memorial Day....I'm hoping that our unseasonably cool weather will be on my side with them, and give me at least a few peas!

Because we have such a small sunny area, I've grabbed a few other areas of our property to grow food as well, some more successfully than others. That bunch of green ground cover in the front of this rainy picture?

Strawberries!! Yummiest groundcover ever.

This back corner of our yard is actually nice and sunny, but gets crazy overrun with weeds creeping over from next door. I've tried going the natural route, but this year I went nuclear. I protected my sort of crazy large stand of oregano, little bit of thyme, and moderately successful rhubarb plants from the poison and went scorched earth on the rest. I'm hoping that I can use a spray along the fence line to fight off the creepers and pull any strays the old fashioned way in the future.

See the crazy mess beyond the crappy white fence? Yeah.

That's probably the end of the rhubarb for the year....so I turned it into a cocktail I pulled from our paper a few weeks ago!


It was nice to enjoy at least SOME of the spoils from my garden, although they are the ones that I have the least to do with. They sort of take care of themselves! As for the drink, it was yummy. But I'm not as much for the cocktails as I was in my younger days, so I think I'll skip the vodka for my next one and just enjoy the rhubarb and the sparkling water with a twist of lime.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the never ending project

And I mean never ending in the best possible way. One of the women in my knitting group has been working on a sock yarn blanket for a few years. It's basically a time capsule - it's little squares of bits of yarn from every pair of socks she's ever made. I believe she's a 30+ year knitter, prolific at socks to boot! There's something about projects like that, that are a piece of your life, your history, that I just love. Like the quilts made from baby clothes, or concert t-shirts, or denim scraps. (A lot of those are on my lifetime project wish list too.)

Here is the original project. Cool, right?

I favorited the project on Ravelry about three months ago, but I've been thinking about it for longer than that. It looks like the original was made with an end in mind, and the knitter solicited yarn donations to make that happen. That's kind of cool too, the community contribution. But for me, the project will be personal. It's the kind of project that I'm not sure will ever end. I don't plan to buy or acquire anything specifically for this project. I want it to grow organically from yarn I've already used, or plan to soon. Just a little piece to keep, as so much of my knitting doesn't end up staying with me. So the other night, with yarn leftover from my toddler socks, I started a square.

Each one only seems to take an hour or so. It's pretty mindless, and will probably go quicker now that I've memorized the simple pattern. Once you have two squares, you start joining them together.

The blue yarn is for some preemie hats that I intend to knit. I have for some time, but I haven't been able to get myself into a baby knitting place recently. I wish it had done a color transition in the square, but it didn't. I'll have to add another one when I've made a few hats. As you can see based on the scale of my (slightly overexposed, slightly actually that pale) legs, this is going to take awhile. And that's cool with me. I don't have a plan for it at all. I plan to let it grow sort of amoeba-like, in whatever direction. I plan to leave it out once it gets large enough, to actually be used while under construction. I'll just knit a square now and then when the mood or the materials strike. This one is going to be around for a long while - I'll post an update in a few months and see where it's at!