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!

 

Brilliant or Insane?

Oh my. I got a wild hair this morning and figured I'd share it here. I did start that pretty lace shawl Thursday, it's coming along nicely. I'm about 35 rows into it. Of course, there are about 344 rows in the whole shawl, which doesn't sound like much until you realize that by the last of those rows, there are 693 stitches on the needles. This one will be a long, albeit pleasant, slog.

That wasn't my wild hair. Here it is.

This is a Peace Fleece sweater that I knit for John a couple of years ago. It has always bugged the shit out of me, since it's an inch or two too short for him. Every time he wears it, which is a lot, I notice it and it annoys me that I didn't fix this at the time.

I have plenty of that yarn left, so this morning I started it. After a little googling, I found a video by Eunny Jang that shows how to lengthen or shorten a piece after the fact. Since this is just straight stockinette, it shouldn't be that complicated, right?

You start by undoing the seams at the sides. I'm pretty enthusiastic about weaving in ends, so this took a bit of work to get started.

Then you pick up a row of stitches where you want to add length. Eunny shows it in her video, but basically you pick up the right side of the “v” on each stitch, making sure you stay in the same row.

Once you have all the stitches on a needle, the fun begins. You snip (CAREFULLY) the stitches in the row above the one you just picked up, pulling off the ribbing piece as you go.

Which leaves you with live stitches on your needle. Then you just join the new yarn, and knit it as long as you need, knit new ribbing, and Bob's your uncle. Do the same on the other half (remind me to make them the same length), fix the seams, and you're done.

I had a brief thought to save the ribbing piece and just graft the two together, but came to my senses on that one. I could probably knit a whole damned sweater in the time it would take to graft that much neatly.

I'll let you know how this goes. I might need whisky before the day is done.

 

Twin Sweaters!

Finished! I still need to wash and block them, but they are done done done. Fritz and Sweetpea were happy to model, since I don't have real babies in my house.
Project Details
Yarn: Cotton Ease
Needles: 5.00 mm
For: Our neighbors have new twin granddaughters
Started/Finished: February 17, Finished today.
Modifications: the pattern calls for picking up stitches along the sides and knitting the sleeves down to the cuff. I knit them separately and sewed them in, since I think it looks neater. I also forgot to put in buttonholes on the first one, so I used snaps and just sewed the buttons on top. I made the second one the same.
What I Learned: Baby sweaters take longer than you think. It also helps if you don't wait to start knitting until after the babies are born.
Pattern Rating: 5 Stars. It's a very simple pattern, with only one minor error. After you pick up the stitches for the hood, you increase for a bit in the back center, then knit straight and do a three needle bind off. There is one extra stitch if you do the increases as directed. It was easy to fix.
NOW, I get to go cast on that pretty shawl I showed in the last post. I've been looking forward to that all week!

 

Reward Challenge

All done except for the seams and buttons.

I've been getting myself through the last bit of this with little rewards*. On Friday, John and I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer AKA Major Knitter for dinner. We had a fine time, and she brought me a yarn** gift as a party favor.

Here's the yarn:

That is 1600 meters of stunning lace weight yarn, enough for a huge shawl. And I have just the pattern for it.

I've had that shawl in my pattern library for years, waiting for the right moment and the right yarn. It is Longest Night, by Lori Law.

I've been rewarding myself for each little step of that baby sweater with a little teaser. I now have the pattern all set up in Knit Companion, ready to go when I sew on the last button. I don't really “need” a new lace shawl on the needles right now, but I'm doing it anyway.

Jennifer and I did wear our Faery Ring sweaters to the restaurant. Here we are.

 

I'm off to sew seams!

*Sort of like “Survivor”. “Wanna know what you're playing for?”

**No, that doesn't mean I fall off the Cold Sheep. Unsolicited yarn gifts don't count. Now, if I gave my husband a list and said “why don't you buy me a yarn gift”, THAT would end the no-buying streak.

 

Baby Sweaters

Or,

Why I'm Such A Slow Knitter

I'm still knitting those baby sweaters. I've finished the first one, and just have sleeves and a hood to finish for the second one.

You wouldn't think that two worsted weight garter stitch baby sweaters would take this long to make.

I've been having some upper back problems for the past couple of months that are really getting on my last nerve. I don't make a very good patient, since I'm not very “patient” with not feeling well. It finally got bad enough that I started getting regular massages, which are helping, but it's been a slow recovery. My massage therapist isn't one of those that gives you a feel-good spa massage. It's deep tissue/muscle work, and I'm wiped out for a whole day afterwards. It is releasing the knotted (knitted?) up muscles though. I haven't been able to be on my Peloton bike as often as I'd like either since it hurts. You have no idea how much THAT pisses me off.

I've been trying to be careful with how long I sit hunched over my knitting, so that's my excuse for how long these sweaters are taking to finish.

Also, for those of you doubters out there, I made it to 90 days without yarn shopping a week ago. It's actually been a little easier this time around. It helps that I dropped my work hours from 0.8 FTE to 0.6 FTE the first of the year. That obviously* correlates to a 20% salary drop, so I do have an incentive to shop from my very deep stash instead of the internet.

And in other news, I get to have dinner tonight with Jennifer AKA Major Knitter! She is flying in later today, and we're picking her up and heading up to Seattle for dinner. We're both planning on wearing our Faery Ring sweaters!

*That first paycheck after cutting back my hours was a bit of a reality check!