Pattern buying

As much as I tell myself I’m going to cut down on buying patterns and yarn, I keep on doing it. I still have a ridiculous amount of optimism on what I think I can get accomplished.

I never really take into account how much stash I already have that I’m not using. I am always like, “Ok, well, this will just be the pattern that makes me more stash conscious and the prolific knitter I keep coming across on Ravelry.”

It’s never going to happen, but I can dream, I guess. If you take into account how many projects I have frogged and fixed and restarted, I am very prolific. It just doesn’t show up as finished items.

Another thing about patterns that has creeped in is I feel like I am supporting amazing designers the best way I can by buying individual patterns. There are some patterns that are so awesome, I can’t not buy them. Even if I may never knit them or use them in something I’m making.

I am loving my Linda Marveng patterns. She releases so many, and they are all so striking. She has written one book, and is running KALS for the next one being published.

I have only bought about 3 of her patterns. Two of my favorites were gifted to me. She has 175 patterns and counting. And she has some dedicated knitters who show up in her Rav group and complete multiple sweaters (prolific knitters for sure!), while I am stalling at one.

My current goal where her work is concerned is to fully participate in a knitalong. I am not fully participating in her finish-along in that I don’t knit everyday, but I am still working on the sweater.

One future goal of mine concerning her patterns is that one day I will fully participate in a knitalong for one of her test knits and finish it before the KAL end date. Over the past year, she has had about a test knit a month. Some run concurrently. One day I’m going to be a contender. lol

Here’s a photo of Saga, one of her designs that I’m making a version of:

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© Eivind Røhne

It only goes up to a large, and I am 2X, so I’ve had to reknit the fronts so they will fit me.

I am making it in a green Malabrigo Rios yarn that it’s hard to get a picture of.

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I am so bad about another designer, Susanne Daum, that almost whatever she is working on, I want to buy it. And I have. Celtic blankets, involved sweaters and wraps. They are amazing!

I first came across her designs when she released the Beastie Celtic blanket, and I had to buy that too. It is complicated looking, and I felt like it was one of those I am never going to be able to do myself. After watching other test knitters go through it, I think I can do it, but it is going to be a while. I am going to try something simpler first, the Glencoyne Dale  Celtic wrap. I may use the Cotton Viscose yarns in purple and black that I was using to knit a Juliet sweater. I hope my purls come out all right.

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A useless-for-knitting day

I made a to do list of all the things I wanted to get done last weekend. One of the items on the list included clearing out a drawer that I wasn’t able to shut all the way because it was disorganized.

I started taking stuff out, and one of the items was a beaded knitted bracelet that I’d had in time out. It was 90% finished, and coming across it made me forget about clearing the rest of the drawer for a little while.

I thought, “There’s only a little left, I can finish knitting this and be done with it today.”

Wrong! Not only did I not finish it, I frogged it back down to about 10 percent before putting it away in disgust 3 or 4 hours later — and for the same reason it was in time out in the first place.

When I couldn’t knit tight enough that one of the beads I’d place would sit properly, I frogged a row or two and knitted them back up.  The yarn is a fine strand knitted into a worsted weight tube, and unfortunately, it gets caught up in the current row and the bracelet edges. So it keeps unraveling itself, and will eventually unravel the beginning rows of beads.

So the bracelet will soon be frogged from both ends. lol. I am definitely going to have to use another yarn, same beads, and maybe even different needles. It is a mess, and it is so irritating.

 

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In other news, my Saga sweater is coming along pretty well. I am at the beginning of the armhole decreases. I just need to reference a short row sweater bind off tutorial (this one, https://youtu.be/ur30NRtsB4U, by Cheryl Brunette) to figure out what I’m doing.

I tried binding off like I would for a shawl project. The right hand side would look good, but the left hand side looked all weird, so I’m going to try her sloping bind off technique.

I finished a shawl and need to block it again so I can give my friend her blocking wires back.  (I semi blocked it once, but couldn’t locate my yardstick for measuring.)

I don’t know why I have been dragging my feet and putting stupid conditions on getting this done once and for all. It just seems like it has been thing after thing after thing happening, which makes me not want to deal with any of it, I guess is the problem.

It looks okay here, but one of the edges will not lay flat, and may even need to be steamed or ironed afterward.

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About 140 balls of yarn

I think my closet is very well insulated with yarn, except for some of the more flammable acrylics.

I plan to start seriously addressing it after this year is up.

Work-related stress makes me want to come home and not do anything that looks the least bit tedious.

I’m a project-oriented knitter, not a process-oriented one. I finish complete objects so slowly I lose interest before I get started good, most of the time. I hope over these next three months the stress goes down and I enjoy working on projects more.

Current projects, Sept. 2018

  1. Finish the scarf test knit I’m working on. I am about 1/3 done. I keep making myself work on it when I’d rather be knitting on something else. (Reminder to myself to never sign up for another test knit. I can no longer guarantee that I will finish the item, no matter how much I love it initially. That’s not fair to the person I offered to do it for. I made a cowl for the same designer that turned out great, and I was able to stick with it and finish it by the deadline. Which made me think I was able to handle a larger project. Stress from work got in the way and made me not want to do anything at all.)
  2. Finish the Speckled Space Socks. I am about 1/4 done with the foot, and have to reknit the part I frogged because I made a mistake reading the pattern. I love the pattern though. I also need to verify that I frogged both parts to the same particular row.

Here’s the list of other projects calling my name when these are done:

  • spin the rainbow batts I bought from Blue Barn Fiber on Etsy. They’re so gorgeous, OMG! Still haven’t taken a pic, but one is a black version, and one is a fleece white version of batt, and they have rainbow-colored bits throughout, and some sparkle, I think. Photo of the white batt from their website:

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  • Spin the rest of the blue fiber gifted to me. I don’t know yet if I want to spin it as thin as possible and ply it with the thicker plies I finished years ago, or try to match the thicker ply and make a 2-ply that will wind up sport weight or heavier.
  • Knit a vest from the Cheryl Oberle Folk Vest book I bought from another Raveler. There are more than a few vests in there that I absolutely love, and I can use up some of the random fingering weights in my stash.
  • Send off a box of unwanted yarn to another Raveler. It is huge, therefore probably expensive as hell to send, and needs to be wrapped before I can send it off.
  • Spin the braids of fiber I ordered last year and never got to, especially since it helps take down my stress levels more than knitting does. I just want to get better informed about the details of spinning when I start them. There are terms like grist, s-spin and z-spin that I really want to get the gist of for my spinning from now on.

Back to stashing down for the new year

Current projects:

Lime & Violet green socks:

The foot and ankle sections are complete. I am going to add a couple of increase stitches to continue up the leg in ribbing. The foot is plain, the ankle section is in waffle stitch.

I was going to continue waffle stitches up the leg but I want to be able to knit these without constantly changing the stitches I am doing, so I have done increases and will begin 3×1 ribbing stitches soon.

I haven’t been knitting much, but I have been working on swatches to test yarns and whether I could actually do a pattern.

Swatches:

Potential sweater:

Knitting an enjoyable big swatch for the Idunn sweater by Linda Marveng. I think I’m using a size 7 needle with bronze metallic yarn. While the yarns not just right for the pattern, I think it would make a nice blingy cardigan on a slightly smaller size needle.

There’s only one row of cable moves to make and the only difference in the cables is the length of rows knit before you do a cable crossing row.

It just looks difficult. I have begun to appreciate easy things that look hard, very much.

Swatch test of Alice Starmore yarn:

I like the Hebridean 2 or 3 ply, and I love the colors. I do worry that I am nowhere near careful enough with my handknits to use non-superwash wool, considering I have ruined more than a few outfits and knitted items over the years accidentally.

I’m going to knit another swatch at the gauge required by the project, but I have to get some needles free.

I loved getting that order in the mail though. Loved it.

In January, my and a few of my friends are going to do six months of cold sheeping. So naturally a spoiled myself with two bundles of yarn in December. I’m going to have to start back knit way more often.

First step: Start knitting first thing early Saturday mornings when no one else is up. I used to enjoy this and maybe that will help me get cranking on some other things.

Second step: Go to more knit nights. Even if I don’t knit the entire time, going gives me a necessary break from other things.

Minor re-evaluation of knitting to-do list

Overall stash management

  1. Cull the stash. There’s some stuff in there I just don’t want to be bothered with any more. It involves packing up some stuff I know I’m never going to use and giving it to someone who will; tossing some stuff; and use-it-or-lose-it on other items.
  2.  Evaluate/toss some of the handspun. Can some of the test spins be used as bits of interest in a larger skein? Some of them are just big enough for me to learn what fibers I have no interest in spinning.
  3. Organize individual knitting needles and give them a dedicated space.
  4. Make a list of spinning braids and fibers I have on hand for days I could be spinning.
  5. Get sturdier tool storage bins. (Bolting together plastic containers, maybe?)

Projects in progress

  1. Lime n Violet small gauge socks, small needles.
  2.   Larger gauge black rainbow socks. Damn I wish I knew what sock yarn this was, because I would buy some more. It is so soft, and slightly thicker than most of the fingering weight in my stash.

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Projects to repair

  1. Noro seed stitch cowl. Frog the section in the back where I increased in the black yarn section to make it slightly drapier, which really didn’t help.

Projects to frog and rework

  1. Highlander sweater. I lost interest in doing the math and row-by-row counting to make it top down. Just start from the bottom up instead. I’ll be happier. Also, it will be way easier to use stitch markers on, since my notes weren’t all that great.
  2. Born of Fire scarf. I screwed up and washed it, along with a black ink pen, which kind of muted the pink. I’m kind of bummed. Not only was that a problem, but the pinkish yarn bleeds a lot. Then the black yarn is skinnier than the pink was, so the knitting’s kind of unbalanced there. I want to tighten that up some. I have been waffling on knitting it up anyway so I can check it off the list, and changing out the pink for another pink in my stash that is more kettle-dyed and muted. I hope the green doesn’t run too. It’s a great color.

I don’t think the pink part I hadn’t knitted yet was damaged much. I’d made it past row 100-something, and it looks like about half a ball is left, so I’ll use the unknitted half and unravel whatever I need from the old first half. (I guess blogging does lead to decisions on some stuff. I’ve been thinking about this off and on for about 2 months.)

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My knitted items have to be tough to survive living with me. I have felted stuff, ripped stuff, cut ends so short the project started unraveling, and if I’d been a smoker I probably would have set more than one project on fire.

Projects to resurrect

  • East Meets West purse
  • Marcasite Mehndi Shawl
  • Juliet Sweater: I am a size or 3 larger right now than when I first started knitting it. I’ll have to frog what I’ve done. I think I’ll just pull out the Knitting from the Top book and work out a way to make it a mock turtleneck with beads. I love the beading on it. Still the most gorgeous thing ever.

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Re-evaluating other hibernating projects

  • King Charles Brocade Cloth: Frog it when I get back to it. That’s just not going to happen.
  • Girls Best Friend Poncho: I don’t think the yarns I picked for it will work out like I thought. Swatch and see.
  • Curlicue Coverlet: Frog and restart.
  • Poinsettia Shawl: Frog and restart.
  • Geology, Tellum, and Brandywine shawls: Pick another yarn and/or restart.
  • Lady Eleanor stole: Did I give the book away or loan it to someone?
  • Tumbling Deco: Figure out the pattern so I can use the beautiful yarn I have for it.
  • Shirley Paden Design: Make a sweater using the Shirley Paden book.
  • Jultomtar Gnome Kit: Again, where’s the pattern? I think it’s saved to my old laptop that died.
  • Light blue washcloths: moved to the frogged section. Won’t be recreating those.

Naturally there are a lot of half-formed plans, wishes, and dreams tied up in all this. Lately, I’m wanting to start something new every day, and it’s happier for me to think about the possibilities than not.

Casting on all the things and LOLs

I moved recently and I am still sorting out my stuff. Some stuff, I know exactly where it is. Other stuff, not so much.

For instance, I have 2 sets of socks on the needles and I know where those are. I have a couple of swatches for things started and I know where those are. I know where all my yarn is.

But where is my set of Knitpicks needles? No idea. It has been weeks of no idea. Today, I think I figured out where I stuck them for the move, so hopefully there will be some success there. UPDATE: Found them where I thought they were, and was able to refrain from casting on yet another thing.

Why do I need them? Swatching, more swatching, and casting on all the things. I pulled out some sample yarns to see if I could follow instructions for the butterfly dress. A few rows into the edging, I had a dropped stitch, when means I have to tink back two rows to get back on track. There’s so many yarnovers and double yarnovers, and no resting rows, lol, so I can’t just frog a row with abandon and pick the stitches back up.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be making a waist-length butterfly dress/tank starting with red yarn, and switching to a darker yarn when that red runs out.

I also want to do a brioche pattern sample to figure out the method, and swatch for a pair of soldier socks. My gauge and penchant for knitting on larger needles has changed over the years, so I’ll probably have to go down a size or two. (That’s another thing I can’t find, my needle gauge. If I ever get my knitting tools and bags sorted back out, it will be a miracle.)

The black rainbow socks are coming along. I have half a foot knit on them and they feel great when I try them on. The Lime & Violet green socks, I have just looked at them and put them back in my purse or in the car for when I’m stuck somewhere.

Today, I pulled up a Knit Girllls episode that cracked me up from the very beginning.

Episode 49:

Leslie: Okay, I’m ready.

Laura: Are you? (I am.) I was born ready.

Leslie: I know. I know you were. I’m always trying to play catch up to you. I’m totally leaving this in as well.

They crack me up!

I have this fantasy that I’m going to go through their list and figure out where I left off listening and watch them all from there. They’re up to episode 347 or something, and I think I left off somewhere in the 300s, just before Leslie moved back to Mississippi. So they’re back to being in the same room when they podcast instead of different states. I’m so happy for them, too.

Forest path stole update

I did a few seed stitch test rows to see if I could handle working with the skinny yarn. I found I actually didn’t mind it.

As a travel project however, the ride to North Carolina was way too bumpy for tiny stitches on tiny needles, so the project is back on hold.

I began working on a sport weight yarn pair of socks though. The colors are very encouraging, in a black rainbow sort of way.

I started out increasing to 24 stitches, which was way too many, so I have cut them down to 20. I may have to go down to even fewer. It seems a little too big across the toes.

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Working on old things

I have a couple of patterns I was dying for when I first came across them: the Black Olives stole; the Forest Path Stole; and the Butterfly dress or vest.

The yarn for the Forest Path Stole, an almost entirely entrelac project, is some of the oldest yarn in my stash, and it’s still on my must make list. I’m going to test knit on it a little and see if I can handle working with the laceweight I bought for it.

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That yarn is a story in itself. It’s a chocolate pink blend and I spent months looking for an equivalent in dark burgundy, dark green and/or cranberry — no luck. So I bought a second skein and my friend Melissa and I overdyed one of them cranberry. It was more like tinted it cranberry, I think. I had such high hopes and an even higher fear of failure that I never actually tested them together. Nothing that freaking lightweight should be so important. lol

If it works well together, I’ll have a whole week to knit on it without a lot of distraction. Here’s hoping


That’s me, staying on point. What I meant to say was I have a pair of plain toeup socks I’m working on currently in Lime n Violet yarn. (I’ll work on those in conjunction with the entrelac.)

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That L n V podcast was cra-a-a-zy, and while it blew up in a bad way, I have very fond memories of it, so working with the yarn is kind of a throwback to good times for me. One other skein or so left in another colorway. I’ll probably make a cowl of some sort out of this red/white/blue one.

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I have a few goals for 2017

I spent a couple of hours picking colors for the Inara Wrap by Ambah Designs. I had to. The designer’s ads pop up a lot on the Ravelry threads I visit, and the last time I got so I WANT THIS about one of her designs, I decided I’d better knit the first pattern of hers I’d bought before I upped and bought another one. (I’ve been buying a lot of patterns lately.  The most recent ones tend to be ones I can use for stash knitting, so hopefully that will help me use up some of the older yarns I’m not crazy about.)

Since I don’t have a gradient set and no current funds to buy one, for this pattern I got some of my variegated and solid yarns together. Hopefully they’ll work well and complement each other. If not, I’ll go back in and pick all solids.

While I was picking yarns for that one, I also picked yarns for two versions of the Rikaart Cowl. One is a going to be a mix of tweedy yarns; the other is a bunch of worsted solids. I made two or three failed attempts on the solid one. The first time I lost track of where I was in the pattern. The second and third time, I dropped a few stitches and had to start over from the beginning, at which point I put them in time out for a later day. Next time, I will go in with a  pen, a row counter, and a different type of needle. I was using a non -lace Addi turbo, which was a little too blunt to me for this project. A friend of mine may also knit it along with me. Maybe that will get me off to a better start.

I turned the heel and have gotten past the ankles on the rainbow socks. I still have a lot of yarn to use up. I will probably get to at least mid-calf.

I may pull out the Gracious Cowl I knitted a while back but never finished the bind off on. It is a striking, beautiful cowl, and I plan to make another in different colors. I haven’t been able to do a good-looking i-cord bind off, but I will give it another shot.