Castonitis?

I gave into it last night. How pretty are these?

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on a sock. I justified the cast on because these are a long overdue knit for my sister. I’ve been meaning to cast on for them for almost 18 months. Long time to put something off… but the original yarn I picked up was not what I had hoped ,and I had more recently picked up a similar colorway that is much cleaner and less muddy looking. It took me awhile to find a good pattern to pair with it. Thus, they are being called the Overdue socks. Her birthday was 01 October and I hope to have these finished before Giftmas so that they may be a 4th quarter of the year gift for her.

So far, I am loving this pattern for highly variegated sock yarn. You know, the kind we all can not resist but then once we get it home and try to find a pattern for it, very few work beside the basic vanilla sock and a few that have been made specifically for variegation. (CookieA’s Monkey Socks and Grumperina’s Jaywalkers jump immediately to mind. There are some others, even an entire book of patterns dedicated to them. Note: I have not read the book nor do I own it. Looking through the Ravelry page, it didn’t strike me as anything too terribly different then patterns already offered…)

The ones made for variegated yarn all seem so…similar. I think that’s why the Aquaphobia socks have grabbed me; they stand out from the chevron patterns and biased stitch patterned socks that are usually offered up. The speckles are fun and allow colors that wouldn’t usually touch in a colorway to be right next to each other. I can definitely see myself making a pair of these for my mother out of the yarn I have leftover from her first pair, and at least a pair for myself. I bought some LE Lorna’s Laces from JBW last month that would be lovely in the pattern. It’s orange, brown and a lovely reddish purple. I can think of at least two more sock yarns I have in stash that would work well for this.

Anywho. Back to the specific colorway of the socks I’m working on… portions of it remind me of the colors from Starry Night. Love it. It hurts a bit to use this yarn for my sister since I bought it for me, but I keep telling myself there will be yarn leftover. Her feet are the same size as mine and I rarely use more then 210yds for a pair of socks. Which means I could very likely knit myself a shorter pair out of the same yarn or use it for another smallish fingering weight project. I am already mourning the “loss” of this yarn when it leaves my home. However, I think my sister will be thrilled with the colorway as blue and yellow are her two most favorite colors.

On the other hand, it feels great to know that once these are done being knit, the FO will not be sticking around in my house taking up space. As it is, I have to be honest and clear out FOs that do not fit quite right and either toss them or reclaim the yarn. It’s funny how when you make something, at the time it seems great and you have no complaints. But as you gain experience and have something to compare to, you realize that maybe that sweater/socks/hat/etc isn’t quite as great as you originally thought. Suddenly, it goes unworn sitting in a drawer taking up valuable real estate. (If it wasn’t already doing so from the time it came off needles!) I have a few pairs of socks that definitely fall into this category as well as a couple of sweater knits. Green Gable without the HBD I should have put in, I’m lookin’ at you.

Because, really, the true testament of how successful a knit was is if you wear it and how often you go to it. (Process knitters might take offense to that, but I’m a bit of both. I find flubs and flops to be important learning opportunities as well as entertainment. However, the ultimate success of a knit is in the finished object and its wearability.) Out of all my my FOs, only a handful get worn on a regular basis. The rest have just been sitting in the closet. I’ve been hesitant to clear out the “duds,” but really, why should I be? They are more personal in that I made them, I put time into them, but at the end of the day, is a sweater I made that I’m not wearing any different then a t-shirt I haven’t worn in ages? I have pictures of all my FOs; even without the actual knit, I have evidence they existed that I can reference. (And the photos do not take up physical space. Only on my hard drive and my Ravelry page/Flickr account.)

Definitely something to think about as I’m working on decluttering the rest of my life.

Overdue post about my trip…

I lost my blogging mojo for a few days here as I’ve been trying to get past the torso o’ doom on my husband’s sweater. I am pleased to say that it is finally off needles and I am now about to start on the part I consider worse then the torso: the sleeves. I am not a fan of knitting those at all. And once again, he has the longest arms known to man so they are going to take a bit. That, and I am fighting Castonititis. I’m hoping I can resist until this current sweater is off needles.

Anywho! Trip…

Overall, it was rather uneventful. Nice quiet drive, nothing much on the back highways to get down to San Antonio. Despite nommy food bribes, The Husband did not get off of work early enough to ensure we’d reach Comfort in time for me to properly explore The Tinsmith’s Wife, though I did end up stopping in. I arrived 10 minutes before store closing. (We learned the hard way that A] one does not speed AT ALL on the back highways around small Texas towns and B] make sure the insurance card you printed off makes it to the car before leaving. Yes, we got hit with a speeding ticket and a citation for lack of up to date insurance that we are now dealing with. UGH.) I did manage to find the size of Addi Turbos I needed for class–but really didn’t, I would have been fine with straights or any old size 9’s from my current needle stash, might have liked that better, actually as my Options have sharper tips–and I spent a few minutes in the store looking around and trying to take a mental stock of what they carry. If I’m still in Texas when it comes time to restock my tote, (hey you out there, stop laughing! It’ll happen…) I will definitely make the trip back there to give them business. Very nice little shop filled with lovely yarn, cute accessories and a HUGE stock of Addi needles. They have an incentive program as well, to keep you buying. I doubt I’ll ever fill my card, so I may have to pass it on when I’m finished with it. This was all on Thursday.

Friday was spent in San Antonio for The Husband’s physical–10 whole minutes, totally worth that ticket…–and finally meeting a friend I’ve had for 5 1/2 years but have not seen in Meatspace. Late afternoon, we made our way up to Austin. Nothing knitting or yarn related here, so no need to put too much detail into it.

Saturday, we bummed around until my class at 2:30 at Hill Country Weavers. Where I got to meet…

Jared Flood, in the wild.
Sadly, this is the only picture I took. I would have thought that a class with Mr. Brooklyn Tweed would have brought out the cameras, but I was the only one and questioning the appropriateness of taking pictures in class. SO, this is the one that I quickly took and then put my camera away. I did not want staged photos either, just something candid to show what was going on in class.

He is just as nice and easy going as I’ve seen mentioned in other blogs. Sweet guy, cute as a button and very helpful. The class was full of information on the topic (Designing your own Aran Sweater) as well as information related to it. I learned how to cable without a cable needle, how to do a crocheted steek, and a bunch of information about the amount of ease needed depending on the yarn weight one is using in a sweater. The last bit of information is left very vague in most books I’ve read to date. For some reason, it always gets glossed over and no one mentions that the heavier the weight of yarn one is using, the more ease should be built into the garment. It makes sense and I’m amazed that never occured to me before. (Because DUH, heavier yarns will take up more space and the inside circumference is not going to match the outside measurement you take…because the yarn is taking up more space.) It also explains why I’ve had such abysmal luck with the Central Park Hoodie, where I have both yarn weight and cabling working against me. If I decide to try it yet another time, I’ll be sure to get 0″ ease or maybe just a touch of positive ease in the size I pick. Third time is the charm, right?

Related to this, he also touched on the very popular notion that to decide how much ease one likes in a sweater, we’re told to measure our favorite storebought one for measurements. Since yarn weight is almost never taken into account, it is never mentioned that store bought sweaters are often made of very fine thread, rather then bulkier yarns. So while the sweater you choose may have 5″ of negative ease–like my favorite one I picked–it will not work for DK, Worsted, or heavier weights. Which, once again, makes total sense and should be somewhat DUH, but it is never mentioned anywhere. Very enlightening class and I have renewed confidence in trying out a heavier yarn weight project for myself.

I’ll get back to my projects soon, folks.

Wherein I apologize for being a toolbag…

Before I blog about my weekend and class, I wanted to post this up on my blog just in case the woman who talked to me at HCW reads it. (And I’m hoping she does so she can message me on Ravelry.)

It took about two minutes after you left for me to realize that I had been gauche and rather rude and I feel terrible that I did not quite catch your username so that I could send you a message. It was so sweet of you to come up after class and talk to me; I was so surprised someone knew who I was based on one of my sweaters. Thank you for being so nice, even if I’m a tool sometimes.

How could I forget to blog this??

There will be some silence from me until the end of the weekend, cats and kittens; I’m going out of town.

To Austin…Hill Country Weavers, in fact.

For…

a class with Jared Flood!

I’ll hopefully have some pictures and notes to blog about when I get back. I’m all kinds of excited.

So while I’m disappointed that I’m unable to travel to be at larger wool gatherings like Sock Summit or Rhinebeck, I can at least meet the random knitting superstar here or there. It’s even better that I can learn something from the ones I’ve met.

“See” you Sunday-ish!

The First Batch of "Catch ups"

The Children’s edition, perhaps? By the time The Husband got home, all the light was gone. I hate the time change; it’s going to make it very difficult to get pictures of all of my knits. (I did manage to tackle that pile and only Whisper has ends left to weave in.)

Pattern: Gooseberry Hat (Ravelry download)
Needles: US size 5–2 circulars
Yarn: Yarntini Variegated Sport–Black is the New Yarn
This was a one day knit, started and completed on 01 September. Which doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, but it has already been two months. Anywho! Pretty much left this pattern alone. I went up a needle size from the recommended one since I’m such a tight knitter, and then added a stitch to each section to compensate for my gauge. (104 stitches vs. 96 called for in the pattern.) I also made the body of the hat 1/2″ longer then called for as my children tend to have large heads, and as written, the pattern is for 6-9 month olds, not a toddler like The Girl. I love how the yarn striped and pooled for this. Too much fun! (I used this same yarn for my improvised mitts and was disappointed that they did not stripe like this hat did.)

Needles: US size 9
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted- Marine
This knit was put on the backburner for awhile and took about 6 times as long as it should have. This was really easy and straight forward to knit. Overall, I’m happy with it, but I have a small list of “should’ves” for it. I should’ve gone up a needle size instead of winging it and modifying the numbers. Or else I should’ve left the numbers as they were since my son is very thin and it would have fit anyway. Though I am glad that I messed with the neck opening and made it much larger because of the aforementioned large head. Since I knit so tight, I did not bother changing needle sizes like the pattern called for. Once again, good thing I didn’t, especially with the neck. I will need to block the sleeves just a touch longer on this. They’re great when The Boy is standing with his arms down, but they ride up when he’s moving–which is all the time.

Two down, five more to blog in the coming days.

November is off to a good start…

Though I will admit this is less then encouraging to see. That pile is sitting next to me as I type.

To date, I have finished 26 knit projects this year–#26 was cast off this morning. Which is great, but maybe 1/2 of them have been properly finished. I suspect that 2009’s being the Year of the Frog has made me cautious to fully finish a knit, just in case I’m going to rip it back out. Perhaps I’ve just gotten lazy about the last steps in the knitting process. One of my goals for today and tomorrow is to weave in the ends of everything in this pile (and there are more sitting around the house but I need to round them up…UGH), get it photographed, and finally start blogging them. That’s a lot of unblogged projects. In the pile pictured, there is my son’s sweater, a shrug, my Whisper, 3 shawlettes, and 2 hats. A fair amount of work.

As the title says, November is off to a pretty good start, knitwise. I started the month with 4 sweater projects on needles, and I am now down to 2. All this only three days into the month! I’m excited, are you excited?! More exclamation points! AHEM. I should be able to finish my husband’s sweater and cast-on something small for myself so I can keep combatting random fingering and sport weight stash. Then it will be just me and my Coraline. I hope to have ‘er done before December is over so I can then work on a birthday gift for my mother to start off my tentative sweater dodecathon. (BTW, dictionary.com is telling me that this word does not exist. Shame.)

Wait, I lied. There is a too-cute-to-be-true little girls’ jacket and coat pattern (ravelry link) that was released yesterday that I want to make for The Girl before we take our Giftmas photo and head back to Wisconsin in February. Can’t imagine a knit for a 12-18 month old in Aran-Bulky weight yarn would take all that long, however. It shouldn’t distract me for more then a week at most.

I also want to get started on some sewing projects soon, including a new quilt for our bed. ( I have purchased some awesome books I should do reviews for in the future.) I ordered enough Kona Cotton solid to do the top and back and hope it will arrive shortly. I should prewash and start cutting out the parts that I already have. I’m doing a custom size–The Husband is the biggest cover hog so I have to make our blanket extra wide–and already worked out all of the details and math. Really, the cutting and deconstruction is my least favorite part of quilting, so I may as well get a start on it since I will drag butt during that phase. I’m keeping things very simple this time around, so it shouldn’t take too long once I get the worst part over with.

This is looking to be a good month.

Redesigning my blog…

I’m hoping to pretty it up some more and make it a bit easier on the eyes. Oh, to have my own domain and some more style sheet know-how!

You all will have to let me know how it’s looking. 🙂 Sometimes it is hard for me to tell; I have a widescreen moniter and very little stretches it or displays oddly for me.