Tour de What?

So, here we are more than a week into the Tour de Fleece and I have spun ….

Pretty much nothing.

This is less than an ounce of fiber … yeah not exactly volume.

While last year’s tour had me totally engaged, this year I have zero interest in spinning.  Maybe it’s my current work schedule that takes two perfectly good hours out of my day, (well more than that because I take a lunch and work a slightly longer day, making my work day an hour longer than my last job), maybe its the really interesting knitting projects I want to get done before the Ravellenics, maybe I just don’t want to spin right now.

I think spinning is a Fall winter endeavor for me, I don’t know but I seem to engage with it better when the weather is colder and the evenings are dark or something.  To me its something to be done fireside, not poolside.

But knitting, I have been having a fantastic run with knitting.  Between the time I write this post (1:30pm) and when I will probably get around to posting it, (after dinner) I will be finished up a pair of socks, my July socks, Don’t Blink.

So I did finish the socks, and they are awesome.

Also, I’m more than halfway through my Spectra scarf and my Secrets of Change shawl.  If I time this right I will only have my purse socks and the Muir shawl left on my needles on July 27th when it’s time to cast on for the Ravellenics (formerly the Ravelypmics). Then I can just work on these long term projects, and weaving before the mass cast on, because I want to have a clean queue so I can get through some serious knitting during the Ravellenics.

Summer is getting to be pretty nice here in Parry Sound, it is much easier to knit and watch the sunset than spin and watch the sunset.

So don’t weep for me Tour de Fleece, I’m having a very fibery July, and maybe I will dedicate November to spinning, a much better month to be at my wheel.

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FO: Lettucefrog Socks

It’s on projects like these that my identity as a process knitter is  solidified, I preferred the look of my original pattern for this yarn, however I disliked knitting those socks, so I frogged, and in one of the quickest turn arounds on a pair of socks for me, I found one that was more fun to knit.

For me knitting is about the act of making the stitches and making the item.  I do really enjoy wearing my knitting, it is warm, beautiful and gives me a deep sense of pride, but the act of making it is far more important than the finished object.  I would not  have ever finished the first pair of socks, they weren’t something my fingers wanted to make, however, I found something that was a blast to knit and turns out look pretty awesome on my feet too.

So with this pair, I have finished five pairs of socks this year, so I’m still on track for my Sock of the Month plans.

– Details –

Project Name: Lettucefrog Socks

Pattern: Leapfrog Socks by Debbie O’Neill in Sockupied, Spring 2012

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarn, Tough Love Sock in Lettucewrap

Modifications:

  • Shortened Cuff and Leg: I don’t like super tall socks, my calves are too big for most sock patterns without shaping so I shortened up the leg and cuff to make these more wearable.

New Skills:

  • The stitch pattern was new to me, but for the most part I’m getting really comfortable with the base sock patterns so I’m going to have to go out of my way to try different constructions to expand my sock knitting skills.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: What can I say, I’m in Love with Tough Love!  A great yarn to knit the color is fabulous, it is mostly a solid but with some depth without seeming too multi.  And it washes beautifully, I machine wash and dry all my socks, and the socks are even nicer after a trip through the laundry.
  • Pattern: Overall, a good pattern. I enjoyed the Sockupied iPad format, although the patterns are stand alone PDFs that are linked to the app. But the app itself is really quite fun and takes advantage of the interactive nature of the iPad.

Re-Knit?: Nope, nice socks, but the 20 sock patterns in my queue are ahead of a remake on this pair, however I do like the way this pair fits.

Where I’ve Been Sunday: July 1st

(Note: this was originally a WIP Wednesday post that I changed the tense on and posted on Sunday)

Oh wow, the days are flying by.

Between my new job, and finishing up the website for my old job (I did the content, real designers did the layout and logos and coding) and knitting like the wind blogging has fallen to the bottom of my to do list.

However, this knitting like the wind thing has been great.  I finished my Through the Loops Mystery Shawl KAL on Wednesday night.  I also finished my Sweet Georgia KAL socks (the previously frogged green socks), I have my loom rewarped and I think I know what I want to spin for the Tour de Fleece.

Now I that it is the long weekend (still have two more days of vacation) I have finished my mystery shawl, and by the end of the weekend I will be halfway on my Spectra scarf, maybe get the toes knit on my new Time-y Wime-y socks and into the fourth short row section of Secrets of Change in some Tosh Sock in Opaline.  Also, since finishing my green socks, I have been working on my latest plain Felici pair of socks and lunch, and maybe I will manage to get to the heels soon, but I’m not all that hopeful.  It won’t be sport weight sock weather here till mid-Septeber/early-October, so I have lots of time, and three other pairs of Felici sport socks (and another skein waiting in the stash).

Also, I would love to get another scarf woven, mostly because the last one had a warp thread snap and now I’m wanting to get an adult size of the herringbone scarf done (rather than the kid sized one I made last time).

So I’m getting a bunch of FO posts to publish during the week, and I will try to stay on top of this blogging stuff, I do enjoy blogging and hopefully after a month of commuting I will finally not finding it not so deadly.

Splashing in the Frog Pond

These used to be socks!

Most knitter’s know the sound that ripping back stitches makes.  Sometimes that sound makes you sick to your stomach as you are undoing so many hours of work, sometimes it is a freeing feeling, that you are being released from a burdensome project.

(Generally this activity is known as frogging, mostly because knitters are pun-ny and the rip-it, rip-it mantra is much like that of a frog.)

For me this time, it is a freeing sort of frogging.  I cast on my Pseud0-lettuce socks at the beginning of the month with the intention of them being my May Socks.  However, as the month wore on and I finished a pair of plain socks, a test knit lace cowl, two woven scarves,  crocheted cowl, and spun two yarns and filled 5 bobbins with singles I started to get the feeling that I was intentinally ignoring these socks.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t fibering (my new word for when I either knit, spin, crochet, or weave), I just wasn’t working on those, so maybe it wasn’t me, it was them.  So last night I made the executive decision to frog.

They were nice socks, but I just wasn’t enjoying knitting them.

Releasing myself from this project feels almost as good as getting my hair cut yesterday, there is something about starting fresh and with the new job on Monday (which I will have lunch breaks for knitting, unlike my last job), I’m feeling like it is time to free myself from unnecessary burdens.

P.S. If you want to watch the new pair from this yarn grow, they are going to be Leapfrog Socks (seems fitting considering how I came by the yarn for them).

FO: It’s Sunny Being a Kid

Ahh, plain vanilla socks, they are great knitting a comforting friend in times of stress and boredom and with with stripe-y Felici they become something greater than just vanilla socks.

I have been enjoying working with Felici, I have made 2 other pairs of Felici socks (Groovy and Recess) and I wore them all winter.  While I have enjoyed the pattern I was working, I wanted to try different heels, and when I ran across the garter short-row heel of the Up + Down Socks in Simply Sockupied eMag (which as a side note is a great publication for learning basic sock stuff and a great format) I was sold.  However it has a short-row toe and wasn’t designed to be two-at-a-time so I decided to hijack the heel and act like old Frankenstein and make myself a hybrid/mutant sock.

I think this, with a modified slightly more roomy heel that I just figured out yesterday, might be my new go to vanilla sock.

In addition to being awesome, these are my May entry to my Year of Socks. I have a pair of patterned socks on the go, but with my lacy test knit cowl (that I hope will be released soon-ish), a crocheted cowl, some handspun yarn and two woven scarves, I’m only on the leg repeats of the patterned socks right now.  So these will be my May socks and hopefully I will get my patterned pair done for June.

– Details –

Project Name: It’s Sunny Being a Kid

Pattern: Proto-Casserole Socks (a plain sock pattern I have been designing), but are a hybrid of the Up+Down Socks and the Kid Stuff

Recipient: Me

Yarn: KnitPicks Felici Sport in Sunny Day, a 2011 Color

Modifications:

  • Well, these are hybrid socks, so I took the toe and leg from the Kid Stuff and the heel from Up+Down Socks.

New Skills:

  • Short Row Heel: LOVE IT!  I find that the arch/instep fit more tightly than a heel flap sock.
  • Garter Short Rows: LOVE IT TOO!  I’m finding myself more and more in love with Garter Stitch, I may feel differently about Garter Short Rows after I make my own Color Infection Affection Shawl

Feedback:


  • Yarn: Felici Sport is one of my favorite yarns, it makes for interesting plain socks and is so soft and wonderful. No knots or big jumps in this one, so that is a good thing.
  • Pattern:  I want to make the heel cup bigger, and I have my proof of concept so my next pair will have deeper short-row garter heels.

Re-Knit?: Yep, next pair is already on the needles and I have an impressively large stash of Felici.

FO: Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?

Four months, four pairs of socks.  I’m still on track to complete 12 pairs of socks in 12 months.  After the complex cables of my Staked Socks these were a nice shift with the subtle patterning and interesting color shifts.

 

They did turn out a bit small, I think for a 64in sock I need to be using a 2.75mm needle more often than not.  I find that all the different Merino Nylon sock base from my fave Cdn dyers seem to be pretty similar so I’m not surprised that I use similar needles for all of them.

So I have cast on for my next pair, I will be doing lace which is again a nice change from the plain, cables and texture of the last three months of socks.

– Details –

Project Name: Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?

Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder from Dreams in Fiber

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Fleece Artist Trail Socks in Sugar Plums

Modifications: None

New Skills:

  • Different Gusset Pick-up: I was reading the new Simply Sockupied eMag and Ann Budd had a cool technique using an extra DPN to twist the picked up gusset stitches, which for me resulted in a bit of extra work but a really attractive “seam” with no gaps.
  • TAAT Magic Loop on a 32″ needle: I didn’t have a longer one and I tried to do Two Socks on Two Circs and it made me want to cry so I figured out how to do two socks to 1 circ. It has inspired me to get 40″ circs to do my TAAT socks as 47″ is a bit too long feeling now.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I am quite impressed with how Fleece Artist does a multi, while it did swirl around the leg both socks striped identically and the slipped stitch heel looks really amazing.  My aversion to multis is being reduced thanks to this yarn.
  • Pattern: Nice, clear, simple and free.  My only issue is the author doesn’t tell you how long the toe is at gauge.  Although the shape is really nice and now that I know how it works I may use it again in future.

Re-Knit?: Nope, although I may steal the toe for a default top-down pair of franken-socks (ie. my default sock made of parts of all sorts of different patterns).  There are way too many socks out there to make the same pair twice.

Check-in on Year of Socks

April, January and February

So back in January I committed to making 12 pairs of socks this year, now that we are in April, 1/4th of the way through the year I though I would check on my status.

With the completion of the Staked socks a week ago I have managed to finish three pairs of socks, however, not quite by the end of March.

I do have two more pairs on the needles and one of them should be done by the end of the  month. But both are nice plain socks, after the tiny twisted cables on the Staked socks I need some nice easy socks.

April Fancy & Purse Socks

So I am on track, with the latest pair of purse socks and fancy socks, I should be fine, but my list of patterns have been blown completely out of the water with the release of such amazing sock patterns all winter, like The Knitter’s Curiousity Cabinet by Hunter Hammersen and also discovering the trove of sock patterns hidden away in the nooks and crannies of Ravelry.

At the rate I am making socks, it would take me 4 years and 7 months to get through all the patterns I have in my queue (and not counting plain vanilla socks) .  And to knit all my superwash fingering weight yarn into socks would take about 3 years.  Yikes!  I guess I need to get knitting.

FO: Cranberry Juice Does a Slayer Good

Isn’t it amazing when a pattern and yarn comes together in a perfect storm of knitting perfection.  For me the combination of a sock designed with a vampire slayer in mind and a yarn that is delightfully bloody in color (if not in name) was just perfect.

It does seem fitting that I use one of the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Color club yarns with a Glenna C. pattern to make socks, as it was the March 2011 shipment of the club that inspired me to finally make socks.  When the Marching On Socks, which paired Glenna C.’s fun bobble-y sock pattern with TFA Purple Label in a color that is perfectly named Clover arrived I realized that socks weren’t lame (and so ridiculous as SmartWool socks were the best thing going), but rather totally awesome little canvasses to try out amazing stitch patterns and to wear art every day.  I remember reading Glenna’s blog post over a year ago where she talked about how her sock drawer was filled with handknit socks and how happy it made her, and I thought, how silly why would anyone want handknit socks when you could have a drawer full of SmartWool socks.

Now I know why.  And I look forward to wearing my handknit socks every week, and at the rate I am going I will be replacing a good number of my SmartWools with handknit socks, which is very exciting.

– Details –

Project Name: Cranberry Juice Does a Slayer Good

Pattern: Staked by Glenna C. for the Indigodragonfly: Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination 1 Skein Club

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Cranberry (YIC November 2011)

Modifications:

  • Shortened the leg, my calves are really quite large and I would rather err on the side of too short rather than too tall (and not able to stay up)

New Skills:

  • One at a time Socks – And I need to get a second set of needles so I can at least work on them in parallel, getting one done and then having to start the second so didn’t work for me.
  • Cable without cable needle – Not the first time for this skill but this one really solidified the skill for me.  My fave tutorial is Glenna’s which you can check out here.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: As always TFA Blue Label is TFA Blue Label, a good yarn in a great color.  No pooling and a touch of attractive striping that doesn’t distract from the knitting.
  • Pattern: A great pattern, there is a bit of a hiccup in the size L left foot chart but if you follow your gut (decreasing on the inside and increasing on the outside) everything works out exactly as it did for the right foot. I understand there are new charts in the works, so don’t be discouraged, just patient.  I appreciated that Glenna had done a proper set of charts for each size (rather than greying out stitches to knit or not depending on size) and the full page of stitch info (including on how to cable without a cable needle).  The file was quite a few pages but they all seemed useful.  Also she made it for both Magic Loop/2 Circ knitters as well as DPN knitter, the best of both worlds.

Re-Knit?:  Probably not, so many socks so little time.  When they wear out and I have gone through my queue they may pop up again.