Golden garter lace

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I am enjoying every stitch of this shawl.

Technically the name of the pattern is Aether, but In my head, as I knit, I’m calling it golden garter.  Alliteration improves everything, right?

The yarn changes color with the time of day and the changing lighting.  The yarn is Tosh merino light, in the colorway Nutmeg.  In the morning sun it was bright and gold.  Tonight by lamp light it is dark honey.

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Five of seven repeats are done, as is the first skein.  It has become clear that this is going to be a really big shawl when it is blocked!

 

 

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Warm toes

Just what the winter cold calls for – a new pair of warm wool socks!

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I don’t wear my hand knit socks with shoes often.  My feet overheat with wool inside shoes.  Occasionally with snow boats or when camping maybe.  But I wear them around the house pretty much daily in the winter.  The tile kitchen floor is so chilly!  So, it is good to get a new pair in rotation.

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These are from a free pattern called Village Socks. The yarn is Knit Picks bare that I dyed in jars.  They’ve been my tote bag project, carted here and there and knit up a few rows at a time since September.  Progress shots were posted on the blog back when I made my first needle holders.

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I prefer to knit socks from the cuff down to the toes. I like how the heel is constructed in that method.  I’m gradually improving with the kitchener grafting that is always the last step before finishing.  Not my strongest skill and I have to look up the stitch order each time, but when I’m done I do admire the seamless results.

With the socks done, I needed a new tote bag project.  After some time searching Ravelry patterns, I chose a garter stitch lace shawl in a warm gold to add color to these gray days.  Knitting with Madeline Tosh yarns is always pure joy.

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Line Break

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A late night finish – I was so close to the end I couldn’t  stop until I’d cast off, so I’m a little sleepy today.

This shawl, Line Break, is a great pattern for nightly TV-and-reading knitting.  Lots of garter stitch, some easy short row sections, and eyelet thrown in to add some variety.

I had two complementary skeins of Malibrigo yarn, one of my favorite brands. Their construction was very different. The sock yarn is a multi ply fingering weight.  The Mechita is a single ply yarn. It is also fingering, but definitely lighter/airier internally then the sock yarn.  Very similar to Madeline Tosh merino light yarn, another big favorite.  You can see the differences in the photo above and just below if you look closely.

 

The colorways called out to be togetherness.  In the skein they looked the same, though once wound into cakes the sock yarns violet tones showed up more, and the Mechita was redder.

I alternated every two rows, and loved every minute of knitting such pretty colors.

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It looks a little ruffled in this just-finished late night dim lighting shot (that really changes the colors) but it will block out into an asymmetric straight edged wrap of pretty good size.  I can tell it is going to get worn a lot.

My other finish of the day was this also poorly lit TV stand that arrived in a flat pack box yesterday and sat in the rain on my porch for several hours until I got home.  Luckily it was well wrapped inside and the wet didn’t do any harm.

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I immediately went to work assembling it, and then filled the book shelf with knitting and traveling books, along with some other random titles that needed a home.  So nice to have a new stand that doesn’t show each and every wire!

 

 

Tidying up odds and ends

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I went through my project drawers and bins this week and pulled out a lot of knitting projects that were finished, but not yet absolutely finished.  It is a continuum!

They all were fully knit (knitted?) but still had ends to be sewn in or needed to be blocked,

These cowls just needed the ends sewn in.  They are my brioche and eureka cowls.

 

Blocking is sort of an issue since we redid the floors.  I can’t pin quilts or block knitting without worrying about scratching the floors.  It leaves only the rec room for blocking – not a safe place due to all the kids-jumping-during-video-gaming going on, and our bedroom.  The still carpeted bedroom works if the cat doesn’t get too interested, but the largest floor space is between my side of the bed and the closet.  If I forget that something is pinned there, I step directly onto the pins and wires when I get out of bed in the morning.

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But we must suffer a little pain for gorgeous hand knits, right?

The red crescent shawl is the Puaka Shawlette, and the gray zig-zag wrap is Volt.

And I have a lot more to wear now after all this tidying up – two cowls and two shawls added to the quite-full-already drawers of wearable knitting.

 

 

Happy New Year!

Rug before felting

I rang out 2017 with a glass of prosecco and the last rows of my Kiko Mariko project.  My boys stayed awake until midnight for first time on a New Year’s Eve – they were a lot more energetic than my husband and I.  At 12:06 we were all in bed.

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My sister made all the non-knit stockings hanging here. Even the dog got one.

I spent some time on the last day and the first day of 2017/18 cutting up scraps from various vacation projects.  My sister had come over to make a lot of new stockings for us all, I finished one of the charity quilts we’ve been slowly working on, and I pieced the backing for the new living room quilt.  So a lot of pieces were piled up, waiting to be sized.  I cut my scraps into 5″ squares when they are big enough, then 4 1/2″ as a second option.  If they are too small for that, they become strips or 2 1/2″ squares.  The littlest pieces go into a small bin for future tiny scrap projects like the still unfinished blob quilt.

The new year is the time to revisit my 2017 crafting goals.  Last year on New Year’s day I’d pulled out all my yarn.  We’ve moved since then, and both my yarn and fiber stash feel more organized now, so I’m not doing that again!

I went back and reviewed my crafting goal list for 2017.  To be honest, I didn’t do that well.  New shiny things distracted me from many of the older WIPs.  I can knock off maybe four of the things on that list, and a few more that I did away with because I knew they’d never get down (J’s crochet monster for example – he’s in middle school now and would be horrified at the damage to his dignity if I gave that to him.)

My spinning really suffered in 2017.  The urge just wasn’t there unless I was with my fiber friends.  I started and finished a few quilts, but the older ones are still languishing.  I didn’t get the king size bed quilt done, I didn’t knit a whole sweater, I didn’t weave a single length of fabric.  Honestly, it was the worst craft goal achievement ever!

And yet I did do a lot.  Many cowlsPatchwork furnishings.  Some quilts, though many of them were small or smaller.

And we moved!  So a lot of my crafting energy went into creating a new home for us.  House hunting, and getting the old house in sellable condition.  Packing and unpacking.  New floors, new windows, new fireplaces, new furniture, and the list goes on and on.  So many weekends and so much energy were taken up with that, so I’m giving myself a break on the less successful goal finishing.

And, wiser now, I’m not making a long specific list of goals for 2018.  Instead, my goals are to use my stash as much as possible, be judicious with the spending for new additions to the stash, and to try to finish more projects than I start, at least until the WIP pile goes down.  I still need to document that list, just as a memory jogger, but not something to beat myself up about if I don’t accomplish it all.  It is supposed to be a fun hobby, after all.  Not a chore!

I hope you got through 2017 healthy and happy – a difficult year by many measurements – and I wish you all a terrific 2018, with as much fiber, fabric, or yarn as you can handle, happy families, and good health.

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Flannel pants and rug progress

I’m trying hard to complete long languishing projects to clear out some space in my craft storage.

I had two lengths of flannel, bought on sale for something minimal like $2 a yard, that I prewashed and folded away and forgot about.  Time for lounging pants!

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These are about the world’s simplest sewing project.  I spread out  a pair of knit pants I wear to the gym and cut around one leg, adding in a half inch seam allowance and a little extra fabric because the flannel doesn’t have the stretch of the knit pants.  I cut the front down a little lower as fronts don’t need as much fabric as backsides.

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Then it is just a matter of sewing up the legs, attaching them to each other, and adding an elastic waist band.

I do my waist elastic a little differently than most patterns would call for.  It drives me crazy when elastic twists or rolls or folds, and it always seems to.  So I sew the elastic band together in my waist size, stretch it out and pin it around the flannel waist and sew the elastic down in a rollercoaster of curves to keep it in place.  Then I fold under the raw edge at the top of the pants a quarter inch and fold the whole thing over and top stitch the edge down.  The extra elastic stitching is hidden inside the pants – it is a little messy but hey, these are $5 homemade pants to sit on the couch in.  No one is going to be judging my inside waist band.  And the elastic doesn’t roll!

I’m not going to hem them until they’ve been washed a couple times, in case they shrink a bit more.  If my new gym membership pays off, I may add a drawstring later as well.  All in all, each pair took about 20 minutes to sew, and the fabric is gone from the stash, so I’m pleased.  Plus they are comfy!

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My rug knitting project is also progressing rapidly.  Ten big skeins almost gone from the stash!  I have about ten inches to go, which won’t take long on these size 15 needles.  The steek where the tube will be cut open is really obvious now.  And the true joy of steeks is that the color changes happen there, so no ends have to be sewn in.

I’m wondering now why I didn’t put a checkerboard on the ends as well.  Though I suppose most of it will be cut away anyway.

It really is using up this yarn.  Here’s all that was left of one color at the end of the last color change.52A12280-F921-4995-B7F8-8DE74C08F8EA

 

Fuzzy feet

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Now that the presents are all unwrapped I can post the slippers I made my mom.

These are an amazingly fast knit, from a free pattern called Fuzzy Feet.  I have made endless pairs of these for family and friends over the years.  Any thick, feltable yarn works.  For some of them I hold worsted double and they are still successful.

These knit up in a day, big loose stitches on size 10 1/2 needles.  For these I used the yarn called for in the pattern, Lamb’s Pride worsted, a wool and mohair single ply yarn in Christmas green.

I knit two giant footie socks – I ran out of yarn at the very end and had to improvise, which makes them even more Christmassy!

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Then they just get thrown in with loads of laundry for the next few days.  We do laundry endlessly around here – very active boys – so that goes quickly as well.  They felt and shrink and eventually become human feet sized.

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This is after the second of three washes.  I shrunk them to just a bit smaller than my mom’s feet – as she wears them around, they will stretch a little and shape to her feet.

These are replacements for the same type of slippers I made her a few years ago.  They wore long and well, but we were to the darning stage and that can only stretch their lives out so long – it was time for a replacement pair.

Merry Christmas, Mom!

This was really my only holiday gift knitting, which is unusual for me, but we just got so very busy.  They probably all have enough scarves and mittens and cowls from me at this point anyway.  They need time to wear them out before I hand over more.