Sunday, January 21, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 30

As expected, my Mad Mix Socks are done, and from the moment the last end was woven in these socks have been on my feet. They are my favourite socks at the moment - no contest. And I'm not even sure why; it's not like they're my favourite colour(s) or anything.

Besides, they don't even match! Can you see there on my right foot that I ran out of the most vibrant purple about an inch before finishing that section?! Not surprisingly I couldn't win every game of yarn chicken. That berry red above my ankle? I finished that section of sock two with mere inches of yarn left! Let's count that as super-efficient stash busting.

I will admit that the pattern I used in that section above the ankle was poorly chosen. It has very little stretch to it and ends up baggy during wear. I'm having to pull up these socks a lot. And of all the patterns incorporated, it's my least favourite - kind of meh really to look at.

The middle pattern on the leg is probably my favourite - it's Mad Colour Weave from the sock pattern of the same name. It's fun and easy, and would be a very good choice for a busy yarn, I'd think. I'm not sure it's got a lot of stretch either.

Never mind all that hindsight... they are what they are, they're done and I love them.

So what's next? As I was organizing cupboards I came across a boxed kit from Louet North America - a hand dye your own sock yarn kit. It was my last birthday present from my Mom before her passing, and I've been afraid to attempt it... afraid I'd wreck it, I suppose. But enough time has passed now that it just seems a shame to see it still in the box in the cupboard so I summoned up my courage and hand-dyed my yarn and cast on some Ringwood Socks. More on that next week!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 29

  • Mad Mix Socks - 60%, using various stash yarn scraps 
  • Gschnitztal Socks - ripping and restarting in Tanis Purple Label Cashmere sock in papaya  
  • Mojo Socks - using stash yarn frogged from Gschnitztal

The other day I finished my Crenate socks, knit from Sydney Sock from Studio June yarn in a blue-grey colourway. It is a lovely pattern that looks beautiful knit up and is very nicely fitting. As mentioned last week I knit them smaller than fit my feet so that I can give them away. Personally I prefer my socks without lacy holes and with a longer leg.

And with that pair off the needles, I turned my undivided attention to my Mad Mix Socks. The first sock is done and I just love it. It's all I can do to keep myself from wearing that one finished sock while I work on the second. Isn't that great motivation to work away at sock two?! As for sock two, the cuff's done, the first two colour sections are done and I hope to be at the heel by end of day today. So far sock two is an identical twin despite a close call at yarn chicken at the end of the first colour section below the cuff. No new pictures again this week... after all, I fully expect to be able to present them to you as an FO next week.

Besides all that, I've been pondering what to do with Gschnitztal. Oh the thinks you can think! As I was considering which pattern to select for my birthday yarn - a very cheery orange Cashmere Sock yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts - I found myself eyeing the Mojo Socks pattern, but wondering whether the pattern wasn't a bit vanilla for this yarn. At the same time I was internally bemoaning the fact that the yarn for Gschnitztal wasn't as light and bright. Err, yeah... new plan. Rip out Gschnitztal from the purple yarn and restart it in the orange yarn. And while I'm at it, knit it toe-up on larger needles to maximize the leg length and add ease. And then knit Mojo socks from the purple yarn originally intended for Gschnitztal. Yup, I think this will all work out nicely!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 28

I'm finally back to my Mad Mix Socks. I had trouble before the heel where I attempted a travelling pattern that was just too much work with dark yarn and blunt needles. I just kept dropping stitches when attempting the SSSKs and K3togs and finding them back in dark yarn was too frustrating. Eventually I ripped back and switched to a simpler pattern before the heel. That did the trick!

Not that I plan to let that pattern kick me in the *ss! I've just joined a light purple and will revisit the problem pattern on the instep. I'm guessing that I'll have an easier time of it now with a light coloured yarn and not having to worry about how the pattern travels around the leg. Also, I switched down a needle size at the heel, so I'm now knitting on pointy metal needles. Should do the trick!

The sock is odd looking, isn't it? When it's not on my foot, I'm not a fan; in fact, I've considered ripping out more than once. But as soon as I pull it onto my foot, I love it. Weird, huh? I guess I'd better plan to keep these for me. It is nice to knit through some of these oddments of sock yarn.  For sock number two I am planning to match sock one, but if I run out of any colour then I'll switch to the next and carry on. I haven't been very scientific about this. I didn't weigh the yarn before I started and I haven't been precise about how much I've used on sock one.

On New Year's Day I pulled my first mystery bag for my KAL: 2018 Paper Bag Project Year Long KAL/CAL. Inside was a skein of Sydney Sock from Studio June yarn in a blue-grey colourway. It's a very subtle tonal so I matched it up with Crenate pattern and cast on. As you can see, I've made good progress. I really like the pattern - the charts are simple enough for TV knitting, but involved enough to keep it interesting and there's enough ribbing to make for a good fit. Just two things I'm not so happy with: the pattern bulges at the top of the heel flap and the leg length is not easily adjustable. I generally prefer my sock legs longer. With that in mind, I'm going to knit these smaller than my foot and gift them to a friend with smaller feet (and shorter legs).

So the plan for the coming week is to make progress on both pairs of socks. Not sure I'll have time to finish either pair for the next update, but I guess we'll see. It looks like the extreme cold has finally lifted so I'm hoping to get outdoors a lot more in the coming days.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 27

So my Brigit Socks are done and aren't they lovely?! This is exactly the sort of sock pattern that I love - lots of ribbing for a nice snug fit with some added interest from cable sections.

I did modify the pattern somewhat - as I mentioned in an earlier post - to eliminate puffiness at transitions from cabled patterns to stockinette, and, to centre the pattern on the leg.

The yarn is unknown MCN from stash, although I'd guess it's either Wandering Cat yarn or Studio June yarn. Either way it's gorgeous. I find MCN is a little thicker and loftier than plain merino/nylon blends which works nicely with this pattern to avoid holes at the crossed stitches. Although it's beautiful to work with, these days I don't buy much MCN as I find it doesn't wear as well as plain merino/nylon. I've got a lot of very pilled socks in my sock drawer! They're still comfy but it'd be nicer to see the stitch pattern still :)

Back to the yarn... I only wish I had another half skein. To my way of thinking both the leg and the foot of this sock could use another repeat. Unfortunately, with my giant feet in mind, there's never enough yarn for that. I read somewhere that socks look best proportioned when the leg is at least as long as the foot, and I've found that to be true. For this sock I lengthened the foot by adding 12 rib rounds (similar to the cuff) as I didn't have the yarn for another full repeat. I'm happy enough with the socks but they're a bit small for me. They'll have to go on the gift pile.

A little more progress on my Mad Mix Socks but not enough to justify another photo. The last couple of weeks have involved a lot of travel knitting, which was better suited to a simple chart like Brigit than multiple charts like Mad Mix. Not to worry, now that Brigit socks are off the needles, I can turn my undivided attention to Mad Mix.

Er, did I say undivided attention? Well, that's not really true. I celebrated a birthday a couple of days ago and unwrapped some lovely yarns. From my brother I received some Ploome Fiber Arts DK Merino Single yarn. Mark met the yarnie, Anna Matthis, at the Boyce Christmas market in Fredericton and picked out a couple of lovely skeins for me. I couldn't help but wind one skein and cast on a hat just to see how it would knit up! The yarn colourway is quite busy so I decided on Violet Waffles hat -  a simple, straight forward hat. At the moment I'm about an inch away from starting crown decreases. If I'm not mistaken I'm going to have enough left for a matching scarf or cowl. Pretty, huh? It's a gorgeous base too - really nice hand with lots of sheep-y lanolin - an absolute pleasure to knit. Right now I'm picturing it with one of those big, fluffy faux rabbit fur pompoms; once it's done I'll see what I think on my next visit to Lens Mill Store.

Not shown is another skein of birthday yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn in a bright and happy colourway called "Papaya". Mmmmm, Tanis + Cashmere!!!!! I'm spoiled and I know it!

On Ravelry I'm part of a "Canada Let's Swap" group. I don't participate in the swaps but I have signed up for a KAL: 2018 Paper bag Project Year Long KAL/CAL. You take 12 month-long type projects you’ve been meaning to knit/crochet, and put each in a bag you can’t see through. Each month, you pick a bag and get knitting (or crocheting)! My 12 projects are bagged - they'll all be socks and they're mostly from my YoP list above. So we'll see how that goes, but I think it'll be fun. If this sounds interesting to you, and if you're a Canadian 18 years or older, well then you're welcome to join us.

That's it for me for today. Have a great New Year everyone. Gavin and I will be toasting the new year at about 9:30pm and calling it an early night shortly thereafter. Gone are the days of staying up all hours!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 25

Today finds me in that happy place where I've got a couple of pairs of socks on needles, and I'm loving both! First: Mad Mix Socks. These are not so much a pattern but a patchwork of other patterns, where you knit a couple of inches of one colour and one pattern, then switch to a second colour and a second pattern and so on. Switching patterns every couple of inches keeps the knitting interesting. And switching yarns every couple of inches is fun and great for using up those sock yarn leftovers! I've started sock one after selecting a range of purple semi-solid leftovers, but I'm still undecided whether to match that colour scheme on sock two or go in an entirely different direction.

Also on the needles are Brigit Socks. When I came across a full skein of unknown cocoa brown MCN it seemed the perfect choice for the pattern and for the December SolidSocks KAL on Ravelry. After reading through the helpful notes amongst the Ravelry projects for this pattern I've made a few modifications. Like other knitters I shifted the heel to centre the pattern across the instep. And instead of a plain stockinette heel, I decided to continue the ribbing down the heel flap. The pattern is written and not charted, but thankfully another Raveler created the missing chart and shared it - the designer has added a link right on the project page.

It's a sunny winter-y morning here, but the coffeemaker has given up - which constitutes an emergency around here - so we're headed out to pick up a new one, along with a few other errands. Happily the plow went through yesterday so we're no longer snowed in, but I think I'd better stock up on canned goods while I'm out shopping!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Year of Projects 7 - Week 24

Happily, I finished the knitting of Gavin's Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf on Wednesday. Unhappily, when I took it off the circular needle it was clearly too long. I had knit one many years ago on 400 sts and recalled that it was shorter than I'd hoped. So, I reckoned 500 sts might do the trick this go round.  NOPE. And the more I think on it, the more I think the first one on 400 sts was probably just right. But now what to do?!?! After sleeping on the matter it occurred to me that there was no good reason not to cut a steek (or two) to shorten it. I machine stitched to reinforce up and down through two adjacent columns of stitches and snipped off the excess. PERFECT. At the same time I conveniently snipped off all the ends awaiting finishing. BONUS. Gavin loves his new scarf and it suits him to a "T". Also, he's trying out this new beardliness - what do you think? 

Earlier this aft, I finished the latest pair of vanilla socks. The yarn - Sweet Skein O'Mine Sock - was souvenir yarn from New Brunswick from a local dyer. It's a very light fingering so I opted for an improvised pattern. Cast on 84 sts on smaller than usual needles, work K4P2 rib for a lengthy cuff, worked a decrease row by purling together those 2 adjacent purls, and then carried on for a vanilla sock on 70 sts. It all worked out fine, but there's quite a bit of yarn leftover which makes me wish I'd made the leg longer. Oh well, better leftover than short, right?

Poor Gschnitztal Socks ... still on the sidelines. I'd like to make some promises about getting back to them, but I'm just not feeling it. The light is poor and the pattern's finicky. Gah! I'd just rather knit something else. Maybe something like Mad Mix socks will fit the bill? I've cast on and we'll see where that goes. It's week 24 of this Year of Projects - nearly half way - so I'd better stop messing about and get to working at that list!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Tuesday and Yarn Canada

What is "Giving Tuesday"? This excerpt from explains:

Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday … now we celebrate GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017.

It is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Black Friday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it’s a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for favourite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners - nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals - to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness. Across Canada and around the world, GivingTuesday unites communities by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.

This year is getting involved. They're giving away yarn to groups and individuals who knit or crochet for good causes. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF YARN!!! One of the groups I knit for - The Warm Hands Network - has applied. And I've applied as an individual asking for yarn to knit children's sweaters for my local knitting group - Warm Up Haldimand. If you or your group can put donated yarn to good use, then you'll find the link below the screen snapshot below for the entry as well as an excerpt from YarnCanada's website with all the details.

We're Giving Yarn To Your Good Cause

We know so many wonderful people knit and crochet for good causes. We'd love to hear your stories and help out! We'll be choosing 12 individuals and groups to get a total of $2000 worth of yarn to use towards their projects. Since we get requests from all over, and we'd like to do something nice for our neighbours, this is open to Canadians and Americans.

Here’s the yarn we’ll be giving away:
  1 x $500 of yarn to a Canadian group who knits or crochets for a good cause
  1 x $500 of yarn to an American group who knits or crochets for a good cause
  10 x $100 of yarn to Canadian or American individuals or groups who knit or crochet for a good cause

All you need to do to apply is fill out the form... and tell us your story. What will you use the yarn for, what impact has this or previous projects had, and anything else important to your story. If you have any photos we’d love to see them too.