Blockhead

It only took me a month and a half to getting around to blocking the Ruffles shawl. In my defense, it's been 90 degrees here, and I can't wear it anyway.

At any rate, I got it washed and pinned out this morning.

I just did a “down and dirty” blocking. This yarn and the garter stitch makes for a really squishy comfy fabric, and I didn't want to change that too much.

This is the first time I've used those blocking pins. They are from Knitter's Pride, and it really makes getting a straight edge easy. I would need a ton more of them to do a bigger lace shawl, but I might just fork over the money for another set. They aren't cheap, and I have a huge set of blocking wires that work just fine, they're just fidgety. I went to a local welding shop several years ago and bought a big pack of thin wires. They work just like the expensive fancy blocking wires and were dirt cheap. I'll probably think about it for a bit, it's around $25 for one set of those**, and I'd probably need a couple more for a huge shawl. I think I might rather spend that on yarn. Not that I need that either.

I'll show a modeled photo once it's dry. And maybe once the temperature here drops into a reasonable range for woolies.

**Update. Amazon has them for 20 bucks, with free Prime shipping, so they're on their way.

Ahhhh.

Sunday afternoon on the lake, me, my knitting, and the cat. It doesn't get much better than this.

I'm still working on the same projects, slowly but surely. The lovely stuff in the photo is the Afghanistan cashmere, I'm knitting 22 Little Clouds with it.

For those of you following my attempts at not buying yarn, I caved yesterday and made a purchase. I'll post a photo when it gets here, but here is where I got it from. I'm sure you would have given in as well. I made it a few days past 8 months this time. Go sign up for her newsletter, and you'll be tempted too.

 

Ooooh!

After I finished the Ruffles shawl, I needed to cast on another semi-mindless project. I mentioned in my last post that I might do another Hitchhiker shawl, so I started rummaging around in my yarn stash for the perfect yarn.

I found this.

I bought this from Peace Fleece about a year ago, and it's been sitting in a lonely yarn box ever since. The Peace Fleece owners contracted with a group of women from Afghanistan and bought some of their hand spun cashmere to sell. I snapped up two skeins of this lovely ivory yarn. It is 500 yards of about sport weight.

This stuff is just dreamy. It's like knitting with clouds. I've never knitted with 100% cashmere before, this may be a dangerous discovery.

I didn't think this would necessarily work for a Hitchhiker, so I pulled out another Martina Behm pattern, 22 Little Clouds.

The yarn and pattern are a perfect match. This is simple stockinette with a ruffle at the end (I guess I'm into ruffles this year!), with nothing to distract from the softness and beauty of the yarn.

As I'm sitting here knitting, thoughts of Maliknoz are on my mind. Her life is undoubtedly much different than mine, but I'd bet that she gets just a little bit of the same joy in spinning this beautiful fiber as I do in knitting with it.

 

Ruffles!

Project Details

Pattern: This started out as a Wool Peddler shawl, by Cheryl Oberle. I got a dozen rows into the lace section and hated how it looked in this yarn. I ripped it back and just knitted many more rows of garter stitch.
The border is a ruffle, when the shawl was “big enough”, I increased every third stitch (knit 2, increase one) across the row. then I knit more garter stitch, and then did a bind off.
It's not blocked yet since I'm not home, but I think this will be a nice snuggly shawl. Sweetpea certainly likes it.
Yarn: Sirdar Balmoral, color Corgi. Yes, that's why I bought it.
Needles: 4.00 mm Holz & Stein ebony circulars
For: Me
Started/Finished: Started 10/11/16 Finished 6/25/17.
Modifications: See above
What I Learned: Don't keep knitting if it isn't working. And don't dump yarn that isn't working. I bought enough of this for a sweater, but it has enough alpaca in it that a sweater would be much too warm for me where I live. Also, despite the color name, it really isn't my favorite color. A whole sweater of this would be a bit blah. I had it in the box to go to charity, and pulled it back out to do this, since it really is very nice yarn. I have enough leftover for another medium project, perhaps it would make nice hats to put in the charity box at church.

So now I need another mindless-but-not-a-sock project. I'm thinking of starting another Hitchhiker-like shawl, since I've got tons of sock yarn that would work. The other three shawls in Martina Behm's Hitchhiker series have been on my to-do list forever, so perhaps one of those.

Here is my Winter Solstice shawl.

I have been in Minnesota for a big family reunion since late last week. Great big fun was had by all. We stayed at a lake resort in Minnesota, and had a pretty big bunch that showed up. My generation had 25 cousins, with all but 6 of us still living. About half of the cousins made it, plus spouses/partners, children, and grandchildren. Here's a group shot:
 
And me with Fritz. He was the youngest family member present.
 
 
And one with my sisters and Dave, Fritz's dad:
 
 

 

Twin Sweaters In The Wild!

And there they are, modeled by two beautiful little girls! Our neighbor, their proud grandpa, sent us this photo this morning.

I finished those back in March just after these two were born. They are just now growing into them.

Here are the sweaters as modeled by Fritz and Sweetpea.

 

Sometimes…

Patterns sometimes just don't match the yarn.

I've wanted to knit the Wool Peddler shawl for a long time. I finished the garter stitch part and started the lace section earlier this week. It is just not doing it for me. In this yarn it just looks like a sloppy mess. I gave it a bit, since crappy looking lace can sometimes block into a thing of beauty.

I'm going to take it back to the garter stitch and do a modification I found on Ravelry. Well, it's not really a modification, since it leaves off the lace altogether. When the main garter part gets big enough, you do an increase row (knit, increase in the next stitch, do it over and over to the end), then keep knitting more garter stitch on twice as many stitches for a ruffled edge.

I know, I know. I said I was tired of garter stitch. I guess I was wrong.

Now to get that mess unraveled and back on the needles.

 

New Socks!

And they're done.

 

Project Details


Pattern: My same old vanilla sock
Yarn: Lang Jawoll Superwash Solids, Black Watch. I think the real color “name” is actually a number.
Needles: 2.25mm sterling double points
For: John
Started/Finished: Started 1/23/17 Finished 5/28/17.
Modifications: None
What I Learned: I keep tinkering with my sock formula to fit John's feet better. He has very high arches and a genetic foot thing called Charcot Marie Tooth syndrome. With these, I did the gusset decreases at a slower rate to provide a little more width around his ankle. These are a bit snug but are better than just the standard gusset shape.

Yes, he has weird feet.

Now I get to pick my next sock yarn!

 

Weekend Goal

I'm a believer in setting achievable goals. Finishing those socks is my goal for this long weekend.

These are for John. The yarn is Lang Jawoll superwash. It is really nice yarn, if a bit boring. It knits up into a nice dense sock fabric that will likely wear forever.

I'll post progress reports over the weekend. The reward for finishing will be that I get to pick a lovely new sock yarn out of my endless sock yarn stash.

 

Endless Garter Stitch

That's my Wool Peddler shawl. I finally finished the bazillion rows of boring garter stitch and have moved on to the lace part. Lace always seems like frosting to me. You eat the boring white cake just so you can justify getting the chocolate frosting.

It's a pretty easy lace pattern, and in DK weight yarn (moose lace!), so it is still mostly a mindless project.

This is really squishy soft yarn, and the color is growing on me. It's a nice neutral that will go with almost everything I own. I might not over-dye it after all.

It's finally warming up enough around here to get outside without being bundled up in wool. We had our first brunch on the deck this morning. This is my afternoon project:

Baby herb plants! Those will get planted today.

 

Sock Magic

No matter how many dozens of socks I've made, I am still amused by turning the heels. It turns a three dimensional piece of knitting into a two dimensional thing, then back into three dimensions.

For those of you who aren't sock knitters, the cuff of the sock is at the bottom of the photo, the heel flap (the part at the back of your heel) is at the top. You knit the cuff around until your sock leg is long enough, then knit the heel flap back and forth (the two dimension part) until IT is long enough.

Then the magic happens, where you turn the heel into the little part that goes around under your foot.

Then you pick up all the other half of the stitches and knit the foot.

Magic!*

*I didn't really finish that sock that fast, the last photo is the first of the pair.

 

Souvenirs

After a long travel day Friday, we're back home from our cruise. Getting through Seattle traffic back home was the worst part of the trip. We got off the ship around 9:30, and didn't get home until around 5PM (usually about a 4 hour drive). We stopped in Bellingham for lunch, which accounts for part of that, and also picked up Lewey, which was a bit of a detour, but the whole trip back was just painful. Traffic around here is painful at best, and on Friday afternoon turns into horrifying.

I did stop at one yarn shop in Bellingham, but I swear I didn't buy anything. I wasn't really even tempted. Next week I'll hit 150 days with no yarn buying, and the six month mark is coming up.

We didn't do any significant shopping on the trip. I bought a few books in a shop in San Francisco. How can you NOT buy books in a nice bricks and mortar book shop with real people running it? Of course, I don't need those any more than I need more yarn. It's those little personal recommendation cards written by the book shop staff that get me every time. And yes, I have a Kindle, and use it, but there is something about “real” books that I adore.

Here are the other things I bought. We did a tour of the Queen Mary in LA, which was a bit cheesy, but fun.

A Queen Mary tea mug, and Queen coasters!

And what is that little blue thing peeking out in that photo? Could it be a finished Hitchhiker?

Why, yes!
Project Details

Pattern: Hitchhiker, by Martina Behm
Yarn: Wollmeise Pure, color Bluebell
Needles: 3.25 mm Knit Picks Harmony
For: Me
Started/Finished: Started 2/16/16 Finished 4/20/17. Yes, I know that's ridiculous. It was in time out for months.
Modifications: None
What I Learned: I am likely the last person ever to have made one of these. As of right now, there are 26,921 projects listed on Ravelry. I can see why. This is a great pattern for fingering weight sock yarns, and it's very easy.
I also learned that my drug dealers scale doesn't work on a rocking and rolling cruise ship. I was trying to use as much of the yarn as I could, but my scale wouldn't give me a readout so I just guessed at how much yarn I needed for the bind off. I thought it might be dying on me, but when I got it home and tested on a solid surface, it works just fine. As it turned out, I could have knit a few more repeats, but it's long enough.
Pattern Rating: ***** This is a well written pattern, no errors, and very easy to follow. I will definitely make more of these, since it's not like I don't have any sock yarn hanging about here.

You aren't getting an action photo with me wearing this for now. The other fun souvenir that I brought home was a wicked upper respiratory infection. I've been sick for the past 4-5 days, and I look (and feel) like something that a grizzly bear dragged around the back yard a few times. I'm just hoping this is better tomorrow, since I'm supposed to be back at work. I'm one of those people that tries to drag myself to work even if I don't feel good, but if it's something infectious like this, not so much. All my little old people patients really don't need to catch this. It sort of figures that I'd make it through our horrendous cold and flu winter season and then get this in April on a cruise.

Sigh. I'm off to make a cup of tea for that pretty mug up there.

 

Muir Woods

We landed at our last stop yesterday afternoon, San Francisco. Yesterday we walked around and played tourist in town, and had dinner out. Today we took a tour to Muir Woods and Sausalito. Muir Woods might be my favorite thing about the whole trip. Even with all the other tourists, it was a very peaceful place.

Of course, the sock got in the act.

We leave here in an hour or so, and have two lovely sea days headed back home. We won't have internet access, so I'll see you on the flip side!

 

Cruising

John and I signed up for a Princess cruise several months ago. This one leaves and arrives back at Vancouver, so we were able to drive up instead of flying, which made it a bit more economical.

It also had the attraction of four and a half sea days, which as you all know, means four and a half KNITTING days. I was very excited to see “Knitters and Natters Get-Together” on the daily program. There are a half dozen or so crafters on board, mostly knitters. We've been meeting every sea day morning and having a great time.

Our ports of call so far have been Long Beach, Catalina Island, and Santa Barbara. My favorite has been Santa Barbara. Catalina is lovely, but I'd been there once before so knew what to expect. Santa Barbara is a gorgeous city with miles of beach front. We were lucky enough to have a sunny day yesterday and took a trolley tour of the city.

We land in San Francisco this afternoon, and will be here all day tomorrow as well, then two more of those lovely sea days to get us home again.

I apparently am knitting all blue things. The projects that Sweetpea is helping me with up there are my Hitchhiker, which I may finish one of these years, my new lace shawl, and a pair of socks for John. I finished the first one earlier on the cruise and am well into the second one. I have a spare ball of Opal sock yarn “just in case”, but that's likely optimistic. I also brought two spindles with me.

Here's a photo from our day in Santa Barbara.

Old Ben is an even slower knitter than I am. He wasn't much help.

We're off to lunch, then an afternoon in port!

*And no, I haven't done any yarn shopping so far.

 

Thirteen!

Blogiversary!

Thirteen years ago today, I hit the “save” button on my first blog post. I've had lots of fun and learned a lot about knitting in that time. Here's to at least a few more years blogging.

There's not much new going on at Chez Knitting Doctor. I haven't gotten alot of knitting done this past week, but finished adding length to one half of John's sweater. I'm working on the other half. It makes good basketball knitting.

Is there any question who we're for in this family? Go Heels!