All The WIPs and One FO

After finishing my sweater, I’ve found myself shying away from the thought of finishing… anything.  As someone who is usually very methodical in my craft — first you start, then you work through the project, then you finish, and finally start a new project — it’s been a weird mindset in which to find myself. Thankfully, it’s not ledto a wild foray into startitis, but it has resulted into a few new WIPs.

I’m tantalizingly close to finishing this pair of socks…

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Just a little ways to go on the foot and then the toe and this pair will be done. I’ve been plinking away at it since mid-summer, so it’s time to mosey toward the end of this project one of these days.

Shortly after finishing my sweater, I started this shawl project…

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It’s a new-to-me construction (who knew there was such a thing — lol!) as I am knitting in a circle! As so many new techniques are, it was a bumpy start, but I seem to be cruising now. I have no idea how far I’ve left to go before I hit some cool lacework, but I’m kind of slowly working my way into this project. I’m still debating another knitting project as I have yarn wound for hats and really could use some extra hats, especially with holiday company coming in a couple weeks. I think I’ll attempt to finish up the socks and then move on to hats. I don’t want to get too crazy with this multiple projects at once thing!

In spinning news, I’ve been very driven to work on singles. I’m definitely in a “fill the bobbins and worry about plying another day mode.” And so that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with the exception of my latest Top of the Month Club

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Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm and I found ourselves curious how it would look as a traditional 3-ply and really there’s only one way to find out. Spin it!

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It just turned out beautiful! Add it to the list pile of yarn I want to knit into hats!

In the great game of “fill the bobbins” though, I’ve got singles for Nest‘s Damaged Goods…

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Three Waters Farm’s Multifarious Ruse…

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These are all set to ply.

On the wheels — because I’ve been splitting time between my Jensen Tina 2 & Schacht Reeves — I’ve got an Inglenook batt in a braid (I think) in the Hazelnut colorway happening. I’m probably 1/3 of the way through the fiber I have…

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And Three Waters Farm’s Maple Leaf Rag is almost finished.

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Seriously, 5 minutes and I’ll be done with this. I’ve not yet decided what spin will come next on this wheel, but you probably won’t be surprised to know I have some ideas.

It’s really quite weird to not be focused in on finishing anything in particular, especially right before the holidays when most are feverishly knitting on holiday gifts. I have to say though, I’m finding it very refreshing! I’m not sure how long it’ll last — it may end when I hit “publish” on this post! — but I’m going to enjoy it while it does!

 

10 Days of Quiet

I had the best intentions to keep this space up over the last week and a half. “I have a backlog of FOs to share,” I told myself. “I’ll use this time to periodically catch up on all of those,” I said. “I can share bits and pieces of what’s on my needles and my wheel,” I thought. It didn’t work. None of it did. Hence, crickets for 10 days.

You see, I had a private project I needed to work on that was destined to stay behind the scenes and I thought I could balance the secret work with everything else. Truth be told, though, I’m not great with balancing things like this. When I have a deadline, I am nose to the grindstone, a total maniac of tunnel vision. It’s not that I can’t work on multiple projects at a time, it’s just that if it’s time sensitive and there is work to be done I really struggle to step away from a project. It makes for an incredible ability to see projects through, but can really muck up a regular schedule. Add on top of this that my son’s birthday took place over this weekend and we were hosting family for it, so there was planning and cooking and baking involved in that. Hence, those 10 days just slipped past me.  Ah, hence.

Today, on the other side of both the birthday and the behind-the-scenes project, I am sitting here, a little groggy, wondering where exactly to start. After such an unhinged pursuit to finish the other project combined with the clinging chocolate-brownie-chocolate cake sugar coma from yesterday, I have been daydreaming about just turning the computer off and taking a nap. As the blank page stares at me and the cursor blinks unrelentingly, I am tempted. I know that picking up after a break from this space is just like riding a bicycle, but in order to ride the bicycle, you need to — you know — get on the bicycle and start pedaling. I suppose that means I just need to start typing and share a bit of what the last 10 days has involved.

I could tell you about how green it is here now.

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Mr. Knitting Sarah and I stole a quick break for a hike last week. It was serene and beautiful. I watched a juvenile Wood Duck learning to swim with all exaggerated, awkward movements. And I spotted this perfectly imperfect daisy…

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I love how all wildflowers are perfectly imperfect. Sometime after seeing this flower and the Wood Duck swimming, the mosquitoes lifted us up and carried us out of the marsh and back to the car. They are large and they are many this year.

In our own yard, we have at least our one Blue Jay nest and one Robin nest as well as a Robin nest we can clearly see across the way. Whether from one of these nests or some other nearby, Mr. Knitting Sarah caught this photo of a baby Robin who was squawking & hopping about in our backyard…

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Such a proud little one he is!

While the Blue Jay babes appear to be hatched, they remain in the nest, silent and doted on by equally silent parents. Silent until crows or other predators are nearby and then they are relentless in chasing them off. Thankfully, they don’t seem to mind me putzing around a bit in the backyard. I take that as the highest of compliments. In addition to our birds, we also had a fox visit the yard and we caught a glimpse of him a second time the following day.  What a delight, this place where we live is!

In between all the hubbub of baby birds and fox and mosquitoes and birthday prep and celebration, I did finish some socks.

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Nothing outside the norm for me…

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Just a simple pair of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Socks for my husband. I started them back in March and — honestly — after finishing the private project, I just didn’t have it me to start something new yet, so I went to this project and just worked on it. So familiar this mindless task, it was just what I needed.

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Alas, they are done, and it is time to start moving forward again in a real way. Cast-on something new, get plying my spinning projects that are ready to be plied — you know the drill. The spinning has been easy to ease back into, but I’m having trouble finding the right knitting project. The next couple days will be about knocking those cobwebs out and reacquiring that mojo. I am a little stuck with where to start, but I’m sure it’ll come to me…

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Moose, however, thinks I should reconsider that nap, no matter how ridiculous. I think he’s going to have to just accept napping nearby for the both of us though, while I get to work. For I am sure I have yarn to wind, a cast-on on the horizon, and those FOs are not sharing themselves! It’s time to get back at it!

Hey Ho FO

An Instagram spinning friend coined the hashtag #heyhofo on one of her finished projects a while back and it’s become a thing. Not like a worldwide, viral kind of thing, but a thing that brings at least the two of us great joy. OK, I don’t know that for a fact. It brings me great joy. She may be pulling a “that lady seems like she might be crazy so I will just smile and nod” — I really don’t know. But I do know #heyhofo makes me smile every time, so I’m using it today here to share my latest FO, my sock blank socks!

You’ll remember I shared these couple weeks ago…

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I received the sock blank as a Christmas gift and when I finished a pair of socks earlier this month, I cast these on. They are the first sock blank socks that I’ve knit, although not my first sock blank, of course. I have at least 3 others from other dyers in my stash. This one I had not yet tucked in with the rest of the stash, though, so I pulled it out and went for it.

This is a double knit sock blank from Gale’s Art. For those wondering, there are double knit sock blanks and single knit sock blanks. Double knit blanks are machine knit holding two strands together, so when the dyer dyes, the two strands match allowing you to knit two matching socks at a time. Single knit sock blanks are machine knit with a single strand, so generally speaking you knit one sock at a time and the socks likely will not match. Knitters in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry group and here in the comments have shared ways you could get around — for example — knitting two at a time by winding off the blanks into separate skeins. It would totally work, but I can guarantee that personally I have zero patience for that. If I’m presented with knitting I can either knit from directly or wind-off to knit from a center-pull ball, 9.9 times out of 10 I will knit directly from it. I like to think of it as efficiency, but it may in reality be laziness, plain and simple.

But let’s not get caught up in semantics.

As I said, this one was a double sock blank and I — being me, driven by my me-ness —  knit them two at a time with magic loop straight from the blank…

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And so they match!

They were really a fun knit that I actually struggled to put down. I found knitting from the blank a lot like knitting self-striping yarn. The promise of the next color or design really compelled me forward through the project.

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I didn’t block them perfectly, but I did handwash them with a glug of vinegar (just to be cautious about possible bleeding with  the red on white in there) and then used a low heat dryer to get the natural kink out of the yarn from being in the sock blank. The instructions say handwash & dry flat is recommended for washing, but I felt fairly confidant the 75/25 superwash merino/nylon could take the dryer to speed up the finish time and better relax those stitches so I threw caution to the wind.

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They washed up great! I mean, they could use a little steam, but that’s beside the point — the handled the dryer just fine.

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The colorway is named “Christmas Tree” and I really like that it’s Christmas-y, but not so Christmas-y that I can’t wear them year round and not feel like that lady. You know, the one people think seems like she might be crazy because she’s wearing Christmas socks in May so they just smile and nod a lot at her.

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Nope, I’m not that lady… I don’t think. Let’s pretend I’m not anyway. Just for now.

Anyways…

There’s another #heyhofo in the books and another pair of socks is in my sock drawer! I’m super ahead of the game for the holiday season this year with these not-so-Christmas-y Christmas socks, right?! I might be a little over-excited about that little fact and about getting to use #heyhofo on Instagram later today. It’s ok, just smile & nod. I know I deserve it!

You’re Knitting… From Your Knitting?

Late last week I finished up some socks for Mr Knitting Sarah. I’d started them for the drive and subsequent waterpark adventure with the kiddos and then finished them off a few days later. I tend to use DK weight for his socks, so despite his size 12 foot they fly off the needles.

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They are the usual socks I knit for him — Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern, but I use the fingering weight instructions with the DK weight yarn & US 2.5 needles. Every time I try to convince him to let me try a different heel or yarn I am met with extreme resistance, so I bought almost every color of the Regia Musée 6-ply yarn line (this line contains the elusive consistently Mr KS approved colors) and am slowly working my way through it. When I started these, Mr KS looked at them and just said, “Are those for me? They look like my colors.” He certainly knows the score!

For his standard socks, I work about an inch or so of 1×1 ribbing at the cuff, then switch to 2×2 for the remainder of the sock. The pattern has a very basic heel flap & gusset heel. I’ve been working this pattern for nearly a decade so beyond a couple quick references from the screen shots I have of my pattern on my phone, I generally don’t bother to even carry the pattern with me.

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Oh, and I carry the 2×2 down the top of the foot…

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It makes for a more flexible fit and easier on & off for the socks. And that is that, another  pair of standard Mr Knitting Sarah socks, done!

On a side note, last week I actually wound up showing these socks to some of  Mr KS’s co-workers. Whenever we have new people visit our home, the knitting always comes up as a topic of conversation at some point because our living room is filled with yarn and — as one colleague put it — “pre-yarn”. It is kind of funny to try to explain that the vast majority of Mr KS’s socks are custom made. It’s such a standard in our home that sometimes I forget that it’s not the norm. Mr KS had to explain, “Some people have personal tailors. I have a personal knitter.” I think that may be more rare, or at least a little more weird (in an awesome way, of course)!

With these socks sliding into the FO column, I spent a few days just spinning and working on my handspun Brillig.

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I am really loving this project, but I’m also well aware that I’m quickly running out of blue yarn…

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Normally I would just stop when I run out and be done with it, but I want to complete the color repeats of the African Sunset colorway. To do so, of course, I am more than likely going to need more of the Iron Blue (both colors are from Three Waters Farm, by the way). I have more in my stash, but it needs to be spun and I’m currently in my singles yarn mode, so…

 

I started these socks! I got this Gale’s Art sock blank as a Christmas gift and I thought the greens would be fun to knit (did I mention is snowed about 5″ last night here?). This is actually my first ever sock blank — I have a couple in my stash, but I had yet to crack into one.

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I. Am. Loving. It.  

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For those who aren’t aware, a sock blank is basically a skein of white yarn that is machine knitted into a rectangle. Dyers can then easily create stripes, use stencils, hand-paint, or use whatever method is theirs for applying color.

They can be single knit or double knit to make matching or fraternal socks and you just knit from the ends of the fabric, like so…

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Some people will wind the yarn into a ball first, but I’m way too impatient for that. I just cast-on my stitches and – zoom! — off I went! I’m finding it super addictive as I’m so excited to get to the next color or to see how each stencil plays with each stripe of color.

As I was knitting away the other night, Mr KS walked past me and cocked his head, confused. True, this happens a lot, but that’s beside the point. Looking at the blank and then my needles and back again, he said, “Are you knitting… from your knitting?”

“Why, yes. Yes, I am,” I responded and proceeded to explain the concept of a sock blank to him.

“Well, this is new,” he replied and kind of chuckled to himself, clearly amused and perplexed by this development. “Way to keep things weird.”

It just goes to show that after 15 years of knitting I can still find new and weird things to bring into the house. You thought custom knitting socks was novel, now I’m knitting… from my knitting. I can’t wait to try to explain that to some poor, unsuspecting non-knitters soon!

 

The Finishing Mission Continues

It’s official. I’m definitely on a WIP finishing mission. First, it was my Find Your Fade. Then, I finished a bunch of handspun yarn (that I’ll be sharing here soon). And by a bunch, I mean A LOT. Most recently, I’ve finished some socks that I started last July! Indeed, I am definitely on a roll!

I fell in love with Dyeabolical‘s Clever Girl gradient yarn the moment I saw it. That was a little over a year ago if I’m remembering correctly — it could be 2 years… I’m not entirely sure. In any case, I knew the yarn had to be socks and I knew they had to be toe-up so I could get the full benefit of the gradient yarn. Unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of toe-up socks. So — as is too often the case — I let the yarn sit while I worked myself up to it.

Finally, last July I began…

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I found this photo in my media file and I find it really perplexing. I don’t remember starting these with DPNS, but apparently that was the case! I go back and forth with magic loop. I love my DPNs and am very comfortable with them, but there are certain instances where I like magic loop and toe-up socks is one of them. I can’t explain why — it’s just one of those personal preference things.

I do know that I switched to magic loop by the time the pink started to come into play…

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Somewhere around the time I got the new spinning wheel last summer I finished the first sock of this pair and then they went into hibernation. I don’t often get second sock syndrome, but I definitely did with these. The sat, untouched until last week.

It was time, you know? Time to finish them up and get them into the FO column. There was no good reason not to other than the oodles of stockinette and the seemingly endless cuff — that’s what gets to me with toe-up if I let it. Mentally I just feel like the cuff will go on forever. It’s not rational or logical, but it’s 100% true. Lately though, I think since I started using the Fish Lips Kiss heel, I’ve warmed to the whole toe-up idea. I don’t understand why it’s made a difference, but it has and thus I cast-on last week…

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For anyone curious, I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On to cast on 16 stitches and increased with a simple make 1 left/make 1 right pattern until I had 64 stitches. These days I lean more toward lifted increases for toe-up increases, but sock #1 had make 1s — I think to save my eyes a bit the strain of trying to do lifted increases on black fingering weight yarn, so I just made them match.

And then I pretty much breezed through sock #2…

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And today, I have finished socks!

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Please pardon the lack of blocking — our winter has taken another turn to the subzero so these will be going directly into my sock rotation. It may be unprofessional to share these unblocked, but I think it’s important to share my knitting realistically, as in what my knitting is like in real life. It is used and worn and gets worn when it should be blocked. That is just reality! Rest assured that through wearing and the first wash, the lines betraying where my magic loop break was will be invisible. I just don’t mind wearing them like this the first time.

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I do love the subtle fade of the colors and — of course — I’ve come to know and love that FLK heel. As this is fingering weight yarn, I did my standard 64 stitches for the foot and leg of the sock, but since I knit these quite a bit taller than my normal handknit socks in order to use the full extent of the gradient, I added a couple increases about an inch before the cuff just to give myself a bit extra room in the calf.

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Don’t you love that pink fading into gold?! I cast-off with Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (my stretchy toe-up bind-off of choice) and voilá! Finished socks!

Have no fear, the finishing mission is not yet complete as I’ve got 2 more knitting projects still in the WIP column and I’m not leaving any WIPs behind in this grand sweep of my Ravelry queue! I’ve been happily knitting away on one of them and I will share it soon. For now though, my toes are going to be nice and warm and my WIP list is one piece shorter. And that makes me feel pretty darn great.

And The Winner Is…

I hope you’ve enjoyed the showcase of the awesome Three Waters Farm yarn I’ve shared with you the last couple of days as much as I’ve enjoyed knitting these projects up. Perhaps you’ve been inspired to try it out — I really do hope you have and that you’ll pop into the Three Waters Farm Ravelry group to share your projects when you get working with it. We’d love to see what you create with this super fun yarn!

As promised, I’m here to share the lucky winner of the giveaway. As I mentioned on Monday, Mary Ann & Stephen of Three Waters Farm have generously agreed to send one lucky winner a skein of the Self-Striping Storm’s End.

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

And the winner is…

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Congratulations, Rachelle! Mary Ann would like you to contact her via Ravelry — her Ravelry ID is Threewatersfarm — and from there she’ll get the ball rolling.

Many thanks to everyone who commented and has taken the time to read up the last couple of days. I’m just so excited that my knitting friends have the chance to see first hand the magic of Three Waters Farm colors.  And a reminder that pre-orders for the fantastic Three Waters Farm Self-Striping Sock yarn and the Mini-Skein Set will be open through Sunday, July 23rd. I hope you’ll try it out and pop into the group to share your yarn-y adventures!

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm