Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More Socks

I've been knitting away on my Captain Hastings Socks, and I'm enjoying the outcome.  The traveling rib creates a swirl of stitches down the leg toward the toe.  My only issue is the counting.  I don't know what it is about this pattern, but I'm always second-guessing myself and the numbers.  That only leads to counting and recounting the stitches.  I don't mind patterns that require diligent counting, but it's not a positive attribute in a project designated as on-the-go knitting.

Since I'm on the move so much these days, I reassessed the situation.  I've supplemented my out and about knitting with - you guessed it - another sock project.

Simple Skyp Socks.  I need a design that doesn't require much thought, and the pattern says simple.  I hope it lives up to its name.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Element of Surprise

Sometimes when I'm about to start a new knitting project, I skim the pattern to get a sense of how everything comes together.  Some designers are really clever, and I'm often amazed at their construction concepts.  By reading through the pattern ahead of time, I have a better grasp of what's coming down the knitting pike.  It's like reading the end of a book before you actually get there.  It takes the element of surprise out of the equation, but it prepares you for what's coming.

Sometimes I'm curious how everything comes together, but I don't read ahead.  I want to be surprised.  When you think about it, knitting requires a certain amount of faith that it will all work out and that your finished garment will, at the very least, faintly resemble the one pictured in the pattern.  We won't discuss how pattern errata can lead you astray.  That's a discussion for a different day.

My strategy with Itineris was one of blind faith.  There are stripes all over the place with some twists and turns that create stripes at right angles.  I thought of reading ahead but decided to sit back, enjoy the ride and hope that everything would work out in the end.  So far, so good.

I turned the corner.

Now I'm striping in the other direction with a new set of stitches and incorporating the old stitches as I go.  Yes, I'm curious how this will all come together.  No, I haven't read the ending.

Friday, July 25, 2014

July Giveaway

I tried to take pictures to post project updates, but life has conspired against me.  I have my work cut out for me, but I should be able to straighten things out over the weekend.  

All is not lost.  We'll go into the weekend with another monthly giveaway.  Leave a comment. Tell me what's growing in your garden, where you went on vacation, what's on your knitting needles.  Is anyone planning fall knitting projects?  The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks - winner's choice.  The contest closes on Friday, August 1, 2014.

I have Nezinscot Farm to thank for this week's color inspiration.  I saw this fiber art at an event this spring, and it made me smile.

I need a pair of red shoes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I realize it's summer - that time of year when schedules and routines go by the wayside - but the last few days have been extra topsy turvy. After a mad dash early this morning that included a frantic stop for coffee (why is the line always so long when I'm most desperate?), I decided to pull over at a favorite park.  I could enjoy my coffee, knit a couple rows and take a deep breath.

I found a nice spot in the shade and pulled out my knitting only to discover this.

No needles.  Instead of needles, both ends of the cable had stoppers to keep the stitches from jumping off.  Usually I love my interchangeable needles, but this morning I had a few choice words for them.  As soon as I saw the stoppers, I remembered that the needles were in use on another project. I could even visualize the project just as I had left it, sitting on a dining room chair.

No, there wasn't any knitting in the park, but I did enjoy my coffee.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quick and Easy

I spend a lot of my work time dyeing yarn and knitting booth samples. Both of these tasks are time consuming, and they don't produce immediate results.  I love the process, but every once in a while it would be nice to start and finish something in one sitting.

The other day I needed a little boost in the productivity column.  I took these.

And made these.

Making mini skeins was the perfect work break.  They are always in demand, and I never have enough.  Now back to my regularly scheduled work . . . 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Warning Sign

When I can't rattle off the names of all my active knitting projects, I might be in trouble.  A few days ago I was considering another new project and couldn't find the right needles - even though I have duplicates of many sizes and a couple interchangeable sets.  I decided it was time to clean up a few loose ends.  

One of my "loose ends" is Washington Square.  I've been working my way up the yoke.  I'll start decreasing soon, and that usually kicks the knitting into high gear.  After that I have to knit the button band and graft the underarms.  That's it.  I'm close to the finish line . . . so close that I decided to consider button options.

As I was sifting and sorting through my button collection, I realized I don't have enough of any one button.  I guess I'll have to go button shopping.  

Since I already had my buttons out, I used it as an opportunity to try different colors.  Right now I'm leaning toward something yellow as opposed to the more neutral tones, but you never know.  I might come home with something altogether different.

This week's color inspiration is a variation on the yellow-orange-red theme. 

Colorful carrots.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Finding Rhythm

So much of life is built around routines . . . a certain ebb and flow day in and day out.  I have to have coffee first thing in the morning. Without it, I'm lost and stumble through the morning until I get my fix. The caffeine is a definite must, but I think it's just as important to go through the mechanics of pouring that first cup.  There's a certain comfort in the ritual.  

I don't have a designated laundry day, but I do have other routines. I teach a knitting class on Mondays, but I've felt oddly out of sync because there aren't any classes over the summer.  Knit night is on Tuesdays.

My schedule includes dyeing at least 5 days per week, but in the summer I have to make adjustments.  Some days I can't bring myself to add to the heat and humidity.  That's been the story the last couple days, and I'm anxiously waiting for the weather to break.  My routine has been interrupted.

There is a certain rhythm to knitting a heel flap.  The back and forth goes quickly over just a few stitches.

I was so mesmerized by these tidy columns that I could have kept going.  I don't know what I would have done with a 6 inch heel flap, but it would have been pretty.  Instead I caught myself before I went down that road, and now I'm in the midst of the turn.  Back and forth, back and forth . . . somehow the same but with a different rhythm.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adding Variety

Variety is the spice of life . . . and knitting.  I always have several knitting projects in progress.  That way I don't have to lug a worsted weight sweater to the beach, and it keeps things interesting.

The other day I noticed that all my focus projects right now are fingering weight.  While I dearly love fingering, I felt I needed a little more balance.  And so I started this.

Penny had been hovering near the top of my queue for a while, so it feels good to finally have it on the needles.  I'm working with Edna Extra, colorway Tide Pool.  

Knitting with heavier weight yarn can be a bonus.  The inches are adding up quickly.  I like this kind of variety.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Looking for Distraction

Something is in the air.  Or maybe it's the impending full moon.  My family is out of sorts in so many different directions.  First, my son came home from his trip to the Midwest with an ugly summer cold.  I can't remember the last time we had a cold this bad floating around, and I'm afraid it's going to run rampant through the rest of the household. 

Then, as if on cue, both my daughters are down in the dumps about boys.  My advice is to take a break from the boys, but they don't want to hear that.  From the endless sneezing to the drama and tears, my patience is wearing thin.  

Today I woke up and realized I can't fix these problems . . . they just need time.  So I'm turning my attention to something else.

I'm prepping for weekend dyeing - the perfect distraction.

My color inspiration this week is a bowl full of cherries . . . cherry tomatoes.

Assorted shapes and colors.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Socks to the Rescue

One of the benefits of juggling multiple knitting projects is that when one creates chaos and confusion, you can simply set it aside and pick up another one.  Such was the case over the weekend when my Itineris went wonky.  Eventually I did get the wayward shawl back on track but not without a little break from the stripes.

And that little break was productive. 

Longjohn Sock by Anne Hanson.  This design is knits and purls with a simple 4-row repeat that makes it an easy on-the-go project.  The finished fabric is cushy and elastic, and I'm sure this pair will get plenty of wear.  The yarn is Lucia, colorway Tomato Soup . . . part of an effort to add more red socks to my collection.

Disregard the healthy weeds growing in the pot.  My green thumb is confused.

Since this is the Summer of Socks, I didn't delay in casting on another pair.

Captain Hastings.  More knits and purls - this time the traveling kind.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Keeping Stripes in Sequence

I'm back from the holiday weekend and ready to get to work.  My weekend knitting included Itineris.  Garter with stripes.  It seemed like the perfect combination for the weekend.  Sad to say Itineris encountered a slight mishap.  Well, maybe not so slight since I had to rip it all the way back.  

I didn't let that stop me.  I got got back on the horse that threw me and knit my way back to where I was and then some.  The stripes are back on track. 

Often it seems that as soon as you get comfortable with a pattern and settle in, it's time to move on to the next section.  After knitting and re-knitting this part, I'm intimately acquainted with the striping sequence in this design and have committed it to memory.  That must mean this section is almost finished.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Holiday Blues

We have a soggy holiday in our forecast, and people are changing plans to accommodate the weather conditions.  The first wave of storms rolled through last night and left many without power.  Today is not a good day for a bike ride, cookout or fireworks.  

And it's not a good day for the beach.  I've already shifted gears . . . it will be a good day for knitting.  My Longjohn Socks are almost finished, and I'm considering colors for my next pair of socks.

With the choice of either Beach Bum or Sea Breeze, I'm creating my own beach day.  

I found this week's color inspiration at the farmers' market.  So striking.  Even if I didn't like beets, I would have bought them.

Perhaps colorwork mittens . . . 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Picking Colors and Winners

Between Canada Day and the 4th of July, it doesn't feel like it's going to be a very productive work week in this part of the world.  While I'm waiting on return phone calls and email replies, I've hatched a plan for a new booth sample.

I've narrowed down the color selection to five.  My job this morning is to pick just one.  Eeny, meeny, miny, moe . . . 

It was much easier to pick the winners from last week's giveaway. The randomly chosen winners are Nuna Knits and Your Future Rebbetzin. I'm sorry to say I can't find contact information for either of you. Please drop me a note, and we'll work out the details.  

I'll be doing this again later in the month.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  Special thanks to Rhonda for the comment, "Knit like no one is watching."