Monday, June 23, 2008

Deadline Knitting Again

This weekend, I occupied myself with 2 projects that need to be completed, at least "to a point", by next week. First up, I restarted the sock, and this time it fits. Yeah!
Right now, it is just about 3.5" and it needs to be 8" by next Sunday. I have a lot of knitting to do this week.

I started the second project yesterday morning. It is the Montego Bay Scarf from IK Summer 2007. I'm using a skein of Tofutsies for this scarf.
Right now, I have 2.5" done. I would like it finished by July 3rd. I have a whole lot more knitting to do this week! If I get this finished, it will be my first Seasons of Lace project.

And wouldn't you know that today is the official start of the summer reading season, and I will probably be exhausted until September. This summer is shaping up to be even more stressful than usual. We have one part timer leaving next week to take a full time job at another library. And we are facing very significant budget cuts in the next fiscal year. So I think that I am only going to blog over the summer when I have FOs to show off. Hopefully, that will happen fairly frequently, but you never know.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feeling a Bit Scattered

After I posted yesterday, it occurred to me that I seem to have a serious lack of focus going on right now. I mean, over the past week, I have gone from being all about hats to being all about socks, and now I seem to think the summer will be all about lace. However, it's not as bad as it seems. The sock has to be done by June 29th. I will frog and restart it tomorrow, and once I get past the increases it will become a mindless knit. I will continue to work on hats over the summer. These will be my travelling projects (as well as more mindless knitting) and probably the only charity work I will do. That should free up my quality knitting time for lace. Then, hopefully, by the fall, I will be back to crocheting, and I will ramp up the charity work then.

As a warm up to the summer of lace, I pulled out most of my lace patterns to get them all in one place. I still want to go through my issues of IK and a couple of books, but so far, I have 13 scarf patterns and 5 shawl patterns that I want to make. I was thinking about the 52 Pair Plunge because one of the moderators over at the Stash Knitdown group is participating, and I had this crazy idea that maybe I could make a scarf a week over the summer. I have 13 patterns and about 12 weeks in the season, so it's perfect! (Once you have stopped laughing, just remember that a girl can dream, can't she?! And at least I'm not crazy enough to try for a shawl a week!) I do still have to match yarn to each pattern, although I can already tell that I have plenty in the stash. All I can say is this is going to be a summer of alpaca as well as lace.

It's a good thing I have the sock to keep me busy tomorrow on my day off, because I have to wait until Sunday to start a lace project or it won't count for the competition. And, man, am I ready to cast on!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Think I Might Be Crazy!

The urge to knit lace simply won't go away, so this morning I decided to take the plunge and sign up for Seasons of Lace. I must be crazy to think that I will be able to knit lace this summer, but I am bound and determined to try. And it gets worse. I also signed up for the "most small knit projects" competition, too. Not that many participants have signed up for that competition (apparently preferring "most yardage knit"), so I might actually have a chance if they keep the competition open. (Apparently, if not enough people sign up, the competition won't fly, which is one reason I did sign up - to keep it going.) Small equals 350-700 yards, so I am hoping to use up some of my stash of one and two skeins. Wish me luck! (And if anyone has favorite patterns for lace scarves and small shawls, I would love to hear about them.)

In other news, the sock that I was so excited about on Monday will need to be frogged. Once I started up the foot, my gauge relaxed to 7.5 stitches per inch. While that is still a fine gauge for a sock, I have too many stitches on the needles at the moment, and the sock is too big. So I will have to start over with fewer stitches and fewer increases. I will get this right eventually, and I will have this sock done to the heel by June 29th (which is when I think our class is going to be held).

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Sky's the Limit Now!

So, Saturday afternoon, I was starting yet another preemie hat when it occurred to me that I needed to start a pair of socks immediately. I am teaching a second sock class to some members of my crochet guild at the end of June. This class will focus on heels, so I need to have a sock done up to the heel for demonstration purposes. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that it was also time to confront my gauge issues head on and make this pair of socks out of fingering weight yarn. So I ran upstairs, grabbed 2 skeins of Regia Crazy Color (bought on sale at Webs at the end of last year, so perfect for experimentation), and a size 0 40" circular needle. Crossing my fingers and toes, I cast on a toe up sock.
And lo and behold, as I started to work the toe increases, I got a gauge of approximately 8.5 stitches per inch. Can I get a big, boisterous WOO HOO?! If you have read this blog for a while, you might remember that I made a sock with a sport weight yarn on size 0 dpns (and that was so demoralizing an experience that I may never make its mate). But my sense has always been that the Magic Loop method does tighten up my gauge, and apparently I am right. (I'm using Janet Rehfeldt's method, which unfortunately hasn't been published yet. I learned the technique at her class last July at the Knit and Crochet Show.)

I have made 2 pairs of socks in worsted weight yarn (in addition to the sport weight debacle), and I enjoyed the experience. I learned some new techniques, but I have to admit that it wasn't addictive for me the way it is for some people. But now, using fingering weight yarn, I can already feel an addiction growing! Yes, these socks will be plain vanilla, but I already have plans to try out some of the great sock patterns out there. I have a feeling that from now on, there will always be at least 1 pair of socks OTN at all times.

**OTN=On the Needles

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Inspiration is a funny thing. After I posted yesterday, I got possessed to root around in the yarn room and pull out 2 bags of partial and single skeins. I also pulled out several knitted hat patterns. Apparently I am going to knit hats for the foreseeable future. I really wasn't intending to do this, but inspiration hit and that was it. I cast on a baby hat before lunch. Hopefully I will have some FOs soon.

On another note, today is my 15th wedding anniversary. I can't believe how quickly the years went. It feels like just yesterday that I was a blushing bride. But they have been 15 terrific years, and I am just as much in love today as I was 15 years ago. Since it is only Thursday, we will keep the celebrating low key, but we are going out to dinner tonight to commemorate the occasion!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rediscovering the Joys of Knitting

I'm happy to say that my hand is feeling a lot better, now that I am wearing the thumb brace consistently. I take the brace off to eat and to knit, but I intend to continue wearing it at work for quite a while. It has actually been kind of fun to rediscover knitting. I've really been enjoying the feel of the needles and the rhythm of making stitches one after another.

Here is the scarf I finished on Sunday, with the ends finally woven in. It still looks more blue in the picture than it does in real life, but at least you can see the stitch pattern. It came out to be 48" long, which is a little shorter than I usually like. But I didn't want to use only part of the second skein. Now I have to decide what to do with that second skein. I'm contemplating a pair of fingerless gloves to match the scarf.

I've also made a couple of preemie hats. I have a third one OTN already. These just knit up so fast. I'm going to try and finish this skein of yarn and see how many hats I can get out of 372 yards.

I'm having so much fun knitting that now I am fighting creeping startitis. I really want to start a larger knitting project. I'm itching to knit some lace, although my intention was to finish the crocheted lace shawl first before I started knitting a lace shawl. Or a sweater that would use up some stash. However, reality intrudes into these thoughts, and I remember that school is out next week and summer reading (and my season of exhaustion) begins the week after that. So I think I will try to concentrate on charity work this summer. I already have some items ready for Warm Up Winchester, but I want to make more. And I really need to get going on hat/mitten/scarf sets for the crochet guild's Salvation Army donation this fall. I only have one set made so far. As my hand continues to feel better, I would also like to start a pair of socks for me, and maybe finally conquer my gauge issues with fingering weight yarn. So there you have it - my summer 2008 goals!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back to Work Today

So my week off is over, and I am going back to work today. I enjoyed my week, but I am ready to feel useful again (especially with all the bad economic news last Friday - it feels good to know I have a job to go to today). I didn't accomplish quite as much as I wanted to, mostly because by the end of the week my left hand/thumb really hurt again. I finally decided that I was reinjuring the hand every time I used it to do anything and that I needed to immobilize the thumb to let it heal. So Saturday afternoon I went to CVS and bought a thumb brace. It is helping already, but it is seriously curtailing my crafting for the time being.

At the moment, I can do the knit stitch and that's about it. Even purling is difficult. Crocheting is not even an option at the moment (and believe me, I tried to do it with the brace on). Last night, I finished the drop stitch scarf I have been working on (pictures to come), so now I need to find/start another project that uses garter stitch as a base. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mocha Roca Progress

I'm done with the body, and now I'm working on the band around the body. Next up, the sleeves!

ETA If you want to see a picture of me working on the sweater yesterday morning at Border's, go visit Dee today.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


...Mocha Roca! (Ravelry link)

Since I am off from work this week, I decided that I wanted to do something somewhat impressive that I could conceivably finish in a week. Something from Doris Chan's Everday Crochet came to mind. I started this late Monday afternoon, and by dinnertime yesterday I had finished the yoke and joined the armholes. Now it is straight crocheting until I get to the bolero shaping at the bottom of the cardigan. So I think I have a shot of finishing this in a timely manner. I am using Caron Simply Soft Brites "Berry Blue", and I will use white and yellow in the body and sleeve bands. I did have to go from a J hook to an L hook to get gauge, but so far it fits me perfectly.

If this continues to go well, I will post updates over the next few days to show my progress. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Where did May go?

So I am shaking my head, wondering where May went and marveling that it is already June. Between my sore hand, family events, my mom being under the weather, and then me fighting a cold the end of last week, I really didn't accomplish as much as usual in May. However, I do have a few things to show for myself.
A knitted baby blanket that will be donated over at Homespun Helpers. I used a diagonal garter stitch pattern, and about half a skein of Lion Brand Pound of Love. Now I have to figure out how to use up the rest of the skein to get it out of the stash!

I am off from work this week because I had some vacation time to use or else lose it at the end of the month (which is the end of our fiscal year). So yesterday, I took the time to embellish a child's sweater and hat that I had finished earlier this year.
So this project is finally completely finished!

Since I am on vacation this week, I couldn't resist starting something special for myself. Hopefully I will work on it some more today, and I will post pictures tomorrow when it should look a little more impressive.