Thoughtful Knit Thursday

Hi Knit Friends,

Again I find myself at Thursday and feeling tired. Last week was the same thing filled with navigating work/life balance. I am thankful that I’ve found a new project to calm myself. I may have mentioned a new adventure with writing for publishing. It scares the hell out of me that someone would be interested in my writing. It’s not a hard topic something that I enjoy, but it’s the story telling portion that has me nervous. I value my private life and this writing assignment will challenge me to reveal things that can certainly help others. I turned in my draft last week and received the feedback today. I can’t believe I was so nervous. I guess it goes to show that I need to be more gentle with myself. My new sock project called Patio sock is helping work out my anxieties. I’m using stashed yarn by Dragonfly Fibers and the name escapes me. 

 It has equal parts blue and purple. The pattern repeats are very easy. I am also trying Addi Flip Stix. They are very sturdy and work well with the yarn- not too slippery.

I enjoy reading and listening to words of encouragement. I try to watch Oprah’s #SupersoulSunday shows because they are informative. My reading list has grown so much. One quote from author of Love Warrior (Glennon Doyle Melton) 

I absolutely love this quote because it is confirmation for me that I will be okay. I’ve felt like as a kid there weren’t a lot of messages around to reassure me that life would become bareable. I still have small residual effects of trauma. Knitting helps to sooth those feelings of helplessness and isolation. When I get lost in a new project I feel better. My focus is sharp and the final project is the evidence that I didn’t give up. Just like in life sometimes our circumstances can be one thing, but our optimism and hard work can lead us to resiliency. I am thankful that I no longer rest in stagnation as a safety net. I can rely on books, knitting, and friends to encourage and love me. Friends, what does knitting do for you? Have you used knitting to cope with hard life circumstances? Below is another nice quote I found on IG and the author is unknown (unless someone can find the owner). 

Another exciting project I hope to start this weekend is from my favorite designer/knitter Hunter Hammersen. It’s called Excursion with a discount code until tomorrow. Sorry about the late announcement. I have 2 friends who want to do this. It will be my second cabled project. 

#Humpdayknitting cures the hurt

Hello Knit friends,

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Today is Wednesday, but I’ve renamed it “Hump Day knitting”. I’ll own up to my 2 week hiatus from knitting. I feel like I’ve been avoiding knitting. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been ‘adulting’ with BIG GIRL DRAWERS. Why is this significant?!?! BECAUSE normally it would have taken someone else to draw me out of my funk. Today as I logged on IG, my timeline exploded with beautiful knitting. I’m a big believer in the psychology of color. My discovery of knitting socks last year has been one of the best mood changers. It has lessened my stress level and occupied my mind from negative people. So, I declare future Wednesdays will reserved for “Hump Day Knitting”– where I give shout outs to knit items that tickle my knitting bones. Susan Anderson is a ‘sock knitting goddess’ that I discovered earlier in my knitting sock journey. She has an amazing way of designing and pairing yarns to patterns. Smooth Operator Sock is the name of the pattern being sold at a discount, but well worth full price. The details of the yarn she uses and pictures of each step of sock construction is included in the pattern. This is the best well-spent treasure.

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Other examples of “Hump Day knitting” joy are below. (Top- Jared Flood (untitled vest); Bottom-ArohaKnits (WIP- unsure of name). I have been salivating for six months on Jared’s new design that he’s been working on. This is definitely an item that I’d love to sink my teeth in to push me over the edge for garment knitting. I like Arohaknits’ shawl because of the color work and texture. Give me some colorwork and needles: I’ll be inspired and happy. Knit friends, what do you consider #knitworthy #humpdayknitting

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***notes: all photos shared here are from Instagram and credited by IG handle.

July of Hunter

Hi Knit Friends,

I’ve missed everyone so much. My normal blogging schedule hasn’t been happening. The frequency of posts is largely based on my moods. I try to be positive or at least ‘act-as-if’. This mantra I adopted from a mentor.

My last post I shared my disappointment with a sock pattern. Most of it was my fault and now I have found myself brooding. My knitting juju is low, but I can always count on IG to lift my spirits. The fabulous Hunter Hammersen just posted a mouth-watering knit worthy sock. I don’t even know the name of it. All I know is I’m obsessed with her design brilliance. She truly has a gift of balancing colors and capturing the right vantage point of a knitted object.

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One day I’ll get to meet her. I missed her by a week because I was on vacation. I’ve never made cables…so this sock is a definite potential. I will even take classes just to do this sock.

So July will be the month of knitting a Hunter Hammersen design. I’ve already bought several patterns, but I’m on a yarn diet so I’ll definitely be stash diving. I’ve stalled on the Hermione sock. I love the yarn, I just can’t focus on one project.

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Melanie Berg's Ingwer

I feel so guilty when I pick up another project, but the Ingwer shawl is bothering me. The pattern is well written, it’s the repetitive nature of 2 main stitch sequences. I like the texture of the shawl, but I need distraction of a fairisle sock. Knit friends how do you balance repetitive patterns? Big needle projects, one skein wonders, or crochet?

#MadMay Chicken

Hello knitting Friends,

To say MadMay was fun is an understatement. I’m sad about the lack of “cast-on” for MadMay project, but happy because I’ve extended my cast off project progress from April to May as well. My May has been filled with both knitting shawls and socks.

I even found time to squeeze in a lovely vacation with both my sister and wife. Nothing can replace my love for Georgia. We indulged in sweet tea, Gopher chocolates of Savannah and lovely seafood. I am a picky eater, but am glad that I’ve developed an appreciation for calamari.

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In Savannah we had fun with yummy seafood and our second trip involved badass (good) tacos. My friends can confirm by disdain for the lack of authentic Mexican in the DMV area. My uncle exclaimed in disbelief that “surely Baltimore has to have Mexicans.” Alas no…but they have variations of South American cuisine. My “fickle palette” does not have the courage to try other South American cuisines. Perhaps an upcoming bucket list will do the trick.

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Works in Progress:
I didn’t get as much knitting done during my vacation as I would have liked, but most of knit time was relegated to waiting in the airport. Plus on my last night with comfort for good old cinnamon whisky.

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These lovely socks should have been done, but unfortunately I’m making these for a friend and neglected to get foot measurements. They are almost done, but I need her to try the second sock on for confirmation.

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I also need to make better notes for the socks. I know for the decrease after the gusset does not follow the schematics of the regular s,m,lg formula. Oh well, it will get finished. Average sock knitting for me is 2 weeks. I love the pattern, I just think I’ve had too many knit interruptions. It’s nothing for me to knit for 3 hours straight.

Yarn chicken highlight:
Rarely have I ever lost in a game of yarn chicken. For knit newbies, yarn chicken is defined as the yardage at the end of a skein. The ability for a knitter to chance finishing a new row with the end yardage (playing chicken) or starting the new row with a fresh skein. It’s the equivalent of avoiding breaking a money bill by searching feverishly for loose change in your wallet or car.

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Yarn Diets & Market Day

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Good morning Knit Friends,

It is soooo early in the morning, any time before 10am is too early for me. I had an eventual weekend. You know the weekends where exciting things happen back to back and you feel like you need a break from the weekend you had for double rest? I don’t have children so I certainly should have been okay, but alas it must mean I am getting old as my energy levels are fluctuating. I am super excited to announce that I finished and photographed (one) knit projects. This is a rare occurrence as my normal MO is to finish and take a poor photo with bad lighting. Normally it takes me one month to do finishing tasks with a decent photo.

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MarigoldJen dyed yarns was delicious to knit with. The 80/20 merino/nylon blend is perfect for  my go-to sock yarn. Durability trumps colorway whenever I seek to purchase yarn. The worst thing about sock knitting is when sock reach their expiration date. I’m determined to make handmade socks last and making cashmere-free socks works best for me.

Market day at Cloverhill Yarn Shop is one of my favorite things. Each year I bring my stash of wayward yarn. I brought 2 medium sized bags and left with 3 skeins. I made $75 and took home some swapped yarn. This is the best way to start a year diet. I think 6 month; mid-year yarn diets are most effective and realistic for me. I tried doing a year long yarn diet and only lasted for 8 months. Knit friends, what works best for you?

I ate so much this past weekend that I’ve gone to bed without dinner last night. I went to Foundering Farmers on last Saturday to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I was happy to get a reservation and it still took us 15 mins to getting seating. The food was delicious. Anytime you can get cornbread as an appetizer it’s always “win-win.” I’m not used to having cornbread with actually corn kernels cooked into the bread. The bread was moist with a hint of sweetness. The honey butter was home churned. I really wanted to devour the entire dish, but saved it for home as I ate my Avocado Bacon Cheese burger (sorry no pics).

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#knitpalpitations Thursday

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Hi Knit Friends,

It seems that April has been full of ups and downs in my knitwise world. I think that I’ve handled my polygamous knitting gracefully. I met two project deadlines on time with some time to spare. I am currently fighting with the yarn…not the yarn’s fault (mine). My anticipation for finishing has caused me to make silly mistakes. The photo above shows how I decrease the vanilla socks differently. This has to be skills >> or at least the universe’s idea of telling me that learning 2AAT socks is on the horizon. The red circles above show how I inverted the decrease stitches so the left sock is perfectly finished, but the right sock (in photo) shows the stitches have been inverted. I can put my finger in the seams on the right sock to show that these are absolutely wrong.

What do you do when you forget a technique or don’t write notes to remind you where to go back? I admit to being lazy, but these socks are samples so I have to make them perfect. I dug into my archive of patterns to find the best instructions to decrease cuff-down socks. I always loose track of how to place my needles when I start the final toe decreases once I make the sock length 1.5 inches shorter than the shoe size.

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Rose City Rollers have the best quick reference for making ’rounded’ or ‘squared’ toes. I am a visual learner and the instructions for Rose City Rollers are the best when I’m in a pinch. I like how the instructions include a picture of how the 4 dpns are set-up to keep track of the decrease sequence. I used Vanilla Sock Latte pattern for Marigoldjen Springtime colorway socks. These semi-stripe socks were a beauty to work with. I have to triage the first sock that I knit because the length of the cuff is ‘longer’ than the length of the sock. I have to rework the sock so that the cuff/sock length ratio is balanced? Knit friends, how do you determine cuff/sock length ratio? I despise short cuffs for my big feet, but my sister loves making short cuffs for her size 6 feet. I’m working on my inventory for the upcoming Yarn Market Day at my LYS. Here’s a mashup of my impressive 2016 sock yarn purchases.

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Vesper Sock yarn w/ nylon- Sesame Cha Cha

Tempting Ewe Yarns- Bill Nye 

Tough Love SweetGeorgia yarn – Blood Orange

Marigoldjen Yarns -Sidewalk Chalk

Dragonfly Fibers sock- Orchid Thief

Bye February : Afterthoughts

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Wanderers: Modern Mukluks by Andrea Mowry

Hi Knit Friends,

This year February has an extra day. Lucky #29 is significant, not for an anniversary– more of like beneficial to get knit stuff done. I admit that snow days are appealing, but I preferred to sleep or binge watch the BlackList. I felt proud of myself for focusing on finishing on a couple of projects that have been burning a hole in my queue. I get all twitchy and can’t concentrate when I have too many projects unfinished. Yesterday during Thursday’s knit night, I finished my infamous Wanderers: Mukluks. With the help of supportive friends and the occasional belly laugh sessions, I was able to finish a new technique: Afterthought heels. Two things I learned while working on this project:

  1. I gain more confidence when I work on things that scare me during knit night. And it’s okay to distrust the pattern…leaning into discomfort won’t break you.
  2. Picking up extra stitches on the sides provide better reinforcements and prevent gaping holes on the sides.

 

Final thoughts:

I’m the worst finisher. 1st slipper has side hole (near thumb), 2nd slipper I picked up 2 extra stitches per side to then decreased twice the following row to cover side holes. This finishing business is the pits. I’m not down with the afterthought heel. #knitting #knitproblems #knitlessons #muklukslippers

I am glad that I finally finished this project. 3 months was a long time. This project was sent to the corner several times… once because I screwed up gauge. The second was that I knit an extra repeat (one slipper longer than the other one). The best part of this was that I tried on both sizes and felt the smaller one (right) would work better for the afterthought heel.

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The small perfectionist side of my brain wants to rip out the slipper with the weak (holey) gaps. I will either rip out and pick up extra stitches or do some reinforcement stitching by turning it inside out. I will say that I DID NOT Kitchener the heel closed. 3 needle bind off is my jam. Now that I got this one more project is done…I can re-focus on my other socks.