Something different

I love my Loomettes. Weave-its are lovely of course, and I have a half dozen of them in various forms including the highly coveted Catalin Weave-it, but my very first Loomette feels more natural in my hand and I really appreciate the little slot at the start of the loom to hold the yarn.

Immediately after my small continuous loom buying binge on eBay a while back, where I went from zero small continuous weave looms to about a dozen (from four different manufacturers and spanning 4o years of small continuous weave loom manufacture) I made a lot of squares and many grand plans and one tiny placemat (or large blanket for a doll.) I’d planned to do a vest and pinned the basic shape onto my dress form and then promptly abandoned the project.

By the way, between then and now (somewhere in the middle-ish) I was actually officially diagnosed with ADHD and have been on medication to help improve my focus. I guess it’s nice to know that I don’t just have craft related ADHD but it spans through each aspect of my life.
Saturday morning I raided my studio for garage sale materials and while doing so realized that this vest project has been haunting me. How long has it been pinned onto my dress form: Two years? Almost three years? More than three years? When you forget how long ago you’ve started a project that’s probably a sign that it’s too long of a time for a project to occupy real estate without any progress at all.

loomette vest in progressNow seems like the right time to level up and either finish the vest or completely scrap it. Finishing it seemed like the best idea since I’m kind of on pause with other projects at the moment and I definitely need to clear my queue and make more space for actual work in my studio.

After the squares are all together in the basic vest shape, I’ll put it back on my dress form and baste some shaping into place. I have not tried machine sewing the squares together but I’m guessing that I will need to use one of my sergers for just the shaping. When that’s finished and I’m satisfied with the fit then I’ll start contemplating some nice borders (probably crochet, I’m keeping my options open) in the same navy blue yarn I’m using to sew the squares together. Fortunately I have a small bosom so absolutely square necklines suit me and I won’t have to fuss with the front.

The scary part about this is really that it sat for so long. In one night and part of today I’ve managed to get over half of the squares sewn together and I don’t want to say that I’ll be done with this in a week because that would be inviting some emergency that will demand all my time and attention (the universe and I have an understanding about how these things work) and make a liar out of me but I might be done very soon.

I’m in a rut

Lately all I’ve been hand knitting has been socks. That’s it, just socks. On my knitting machine I’ve knit lots of tams, a single (awesome) long ski hat, and a sweater vest. But hand knitting has all been socks. I think my knitting button is stuck on the default (which happens to be socks.)

I keep thinking I’m going to knit a sweater or a scarf, but I haven’t made or purchased yarn for either and I haven’t found a pattern or any inspiration for a pattern that’s grabbing me in the way it should.

Knitting in the ivory tower gets lonely

Because I’m pretty good at figuring out my average knitting dilemmas I didn’t really participate in a lot of different knitting forums and communities. And because I don’t know every little knittin’ thing I felt sort of helpless when it came to answering questions, especially because there are so many expert knitters that are far more articulate than I am.

Then comes along machine knitting which has sucked me right into the beating heart of Ravelry by dangling the largest most knowledgeable group of living machine knitters ever in front of me and forcing me to interact with them.

So that’s where I’ve been, figuring out how to post, upload photos and tag my projects, and realizing that pretty much everyone knows their way around the site better than I do. I know enough to know I don’t know a lot. When I’m not doing that I’m fiddling with my machines and trying to figure out what I don’t know I don’t know about using them. Try as I might to keep up with everything like blogging and vacuuming things that aren’t yarn related (like floors and window blinds) sometimes some things fall by the way side until I can get myself into a routine of some sort.

I’m just not there yet. I’m going through therapy and getting treatment for my ADHD and it does help, but it also brings to the fore that I am playing catch-up in a LOT of different areas now that my brain sort of functions.

Tension issues

tension issuesI knit the leg of the second sock too tight as the pattern repeats in my two skeins of yarn aren’t all that far off from each other and there’s a healthy 1/2 inch gap between the leg of the first sock and the length of the second.

The only way I’ll know for sure is to frog what I’ve knit and try again.

If you look closely you can see that the stripes on the sock in progress are almost two rounds wider in spots than the stripes on the first sock.

Lame.

So very lame.

 

Something different

knitting the toe

I managed to write and post from my iPhone over at YarnPorn this morning, but as soon as I logged in here I kind of lost the mojo. I’ve written and deleted this mornings post at least five times and my thumbs are getting sore, my eyes are straining and my spellcheck wants to change perfectly cogent ideas into perfectly cromulent ones.

Case in point, it thinks “cromulent” is more legit than “cogent”. I’m not sure I can handle this kind of criticism from the spellcheck any more and I can’t seem to access the drafts of this post that I saved.

While I don’t want to lose my momentum blogging, I’m at the point where I have to think about preserving my own mental health. To that end I’m going to post a picture and go have a nice frustration cry over a cup of tea.

I haven’t knit a sweater in a while

Knitting books

I’m running out of excuses for not knitting a sweater. I have pattern books. I have knitting needles.

My most valid excuse is that it’s difficult to buy yarn here and that only goes so far because I’m a spinner. I could legitmately claim a lack of time though; I do have Christmas gifts to finish, a whole craft room to unpack and organize.

Before I commit I am going to think about it for a while, I’ve been very good when it comes to finishing projects and don’t want to wind up with a UFO.

Second verse, same as the first

ircarus shawl in shetland wool

Gads, I just remembered that I hadn’t taken pics of my second Icarus shawl. It’s been a while since I finished it so I guess it’s time to remedy the situation.

This one is knit in 2-ply hand spun moorit Shetland wool.

It took me forever to spin that wool too. Forever.

Actually, it took about a month because my spinning wheel was being uncooperative. Considering that I can go through about two pounds of fiber a month with daily spinning and plying, to spin only 4 ounces of wool in a month is painfully slow.

My wheel is currently being far more cooperative so I’m back to a more regular spinning routine.

2nd teal tease sock being knitI’ve started the second sock in Serenity yarn and thinking I’m going to have to stock up on sock yarn soon, because I’m almost through my little stash.

I still have a couple of skeins of Paton’s crappy sock yarn but I don’t really want to go there. I kind of like having socks that match.

I only have it because JoAnns had a ridiculous sale price on the sock yarns a few months back and I was like “Oooh!” Even crappy sock yarn is a good deal when it’s less than a dollar a skein which is cheap enough for me to buy it knowing it’s horrible yarn so if nothing else I can use it to practice spinning core spun yarns.

 

One sock down, one to go

ready to graft toe of sockWhen I cast on a sock I usually knit with both the working strand and the tail for 3-4 stitches so I can avoid weaving in the tail. It’s a cool little trick that I think most knitters know, even if they choose not to use it.

I have a second trick for grafting off in order to avoid a lumpy loop at the side of the toe, I don’t knit that last stitch. I just slip it onto the needle after knitting all the others and start the Kitchener stitching through it.

Sneaky huh?

It works like a charm though and I don’t need to wait for time and wear to redistribute the freaky large loop yarn into the rest of the toe.

But wait! There’s more–

the finished sockWhen I get to the end of the open loops I go down a row and pull the working yarn in a little then go back up to the grafted row and weave across to make the seam just a little stronger. In solids the graft and then the weaving over are pretty much invisible, but with variegated yarns I console myself with the fact that no one except another knitter will closely inspect the toes of socks.

We will always turn knit things inside out and look at how they were made, that’s because knitters are crazy people.

Even more sock knitting

Socks are for the most part my perfect go to project when there is craziness. The yarn is easy to find and affordable. I know where my dpns are at (almost) all times. I don’t need a pattern. Socks travel well as unfinished objects. And I never have to worry if a finished pair of socks will ever find a new home.

long leg on sock

Hand knit socks will always find someone to wear them.

The yarn is another one of the Deborah Norville Collection “Serenity” sock yarns, this colorway is Teal Tease. The content is 50% Merino wool, 25% nylon and 25% bamboo. Because I wanted to take advantage of the self striping I knit the leg long (16 rounds of 2×2 ribbing and 108 rounds in stockinette.)

One thing that I should mention is although it’s in the same price range as Paton’s and Lion brand sock yarns when you account for yardage– this is a much friendlier yarn overall. It’s not splitty during the knitting. It handles frogging like a pro. It doesn’t pill while being knit, it launders well, it wears very well.

Of the less expensive yarns out there this is the one I would definitely recommend for first time sock knitters.

 

Creative sock photography…

… is exactly where rule #34 could collide with knitting in horrible ways that I don’t want to imagine. I’m probably tempting fate by even mentioning it but for the record the model feet are plastic so no actual tootsies were exploited.

1-DSCN1106It’s kind of nice not having to subject people to all manner of odd camera angles in order to take a decent photograph of my socks. Also nice is not having to use the ceiling or walls as background to my sock selfies.

Although I was technically counting sock photography as my personal form of modified yoga. So now I’ll have to go back to feeling guilty about not doing actual yoga.

Who am I kidding? No one feels bad about skipping actual yoga. That’s why God made yogurt, it’s like yoga except it’s Greek, induces less sweat and tastes better with strawberries.

This is the kind of blog post you get when gin is involved.

Sock

I forget the name of the colorway, but it’s one of the Deborah Norville “Serenity” sock yarns. I dig the Serenity yarns for the softness, not the consistency of the stripes, unfortunately the cool spiral pictured here doesn’t happen at all on the other sock, which is a shame. Also with the coupons that JoAnns sends out in their mailers, it’s dirt cheap to grab two skeins of the stuff and have a nice pair of socks with enough yarn left over for a pair of smaller socks.