17 February 2017

Another FO pour moi!

With all the goodies on my needles, you'd think I'd have more than two finishes for the year LOL But yea!!! Another finish pour moi!  These knit up super quick too considering I spent most of last week sleeping :S.  This was the first pair where I used the shadow heel method and let's just say, I'm a HUGE HUGE HUGE fan!  I've found my heel!!  It knits up super quick and the one thing that I liked the most - no gaps or holes from my yarn being stretched from here to Kingdom Come.  Nope - that's not an issue with this heel - no siree bob!  Sorry - I'm just giddy because they knit up so fast and they fit like a charm.  They are a wee bit loose above the ankle.  I was speaking to the lady that owns my LYS and thinks that maybe changing my needle size to a smaller one after the heel, could make the difference that is needed.   Actually, I could likely knit on US1 2.25mm and it would fit and that might solve my snugness above the ankle issue .. I'll try it and then I'll know for sure :)

I so want to do my next socks on magic loop two at a time either toe up and cuff down - who knew that finding US 1 or US 2 on 36 - 40" circular needles would be so bloody difficult .. pfft.  I can find them online - but I really do NOT want to pay shipping and have to wait for it.  It appears that even Joann Fabrics doesn't even have them in store from what I was able to see when I went online.  I could buy them online and have them shipped - but ya .. shipping and then having to wait.  I would've bought them online and then went and picked them  up instore - but nope - not an option .. grrrr.  I'll keep my eyeballs open - I might get lucky .. hey stranger things have happened!

I am back to working on my Spiral Cowl and yup .. it's still slow going.  Even though I've a good rhythm going - it's still slow.  I'm at row 24 and only have to go to row 56.  It seems soooo far away from this point LOL  It's going to be worth it though and it's going to look great and be toasty warm.  Although we seem to have a spring like winter.  I'm not complaining, but not looking forward to all the bugs we get after a mild winter.

I might take a break and either finish up my Enya socks, or cast on my new 'fancy' yarn - I can't wait to get my fingers on that and start playing.

I'm eyeballing sweater patterns and more shawl patterns - I will be making a shawl using the Alpaca yarn I've got - I'm excited about it, but still not to sure how I feel about.  Not sure I'm a shawl girl, but I'll try at least two and go from there.

So back to my cowl so I get some work done on it and then I can count that as another finish for the SelfishMe KAL that I'm in on ravelry.  My socks count towards that as well as a few other KALs that I'm doing.  I think I'm seriously addicted to socks.  My goal is to have a drawer full of handknit socks.  I think that would be soooo cool!

08 February 2017

Sock Math Success

It's such an awesome feeling when math actually works - no wonder how convoluted you may think it is.  In my last post I went through the math for two different sites that help you calculate how many stitches you need based on foot measurements and knitting gauge.  I went through the calculations for both and once I made an adjustment based on understanding what resting weight meant, they both agreed.  For US2 size needles, I need a sock pattern that requires 64 stitches. Yea!!!  *knitterhappydance*  You have no idea how relieved I am.  There are way to many choices for sock needles from US000 to US3 and unlike larger garments which can be fidged sizeways in may different locations - sock construction doesn't allow to much fidging.

All the while I was knitting these, I kept trying them on - At first I thought they were to snug, then to loose - the to loose feeling kept on until I turned the heel.  I kept telling myself - don't make any judgments or decisions until you turn the heel.  That will pull the sock into shape and let it cover my foot properly rather than just pulled on over the toes.  It was a pretty agonizing and tenseful knit until I finally got to the heel turn.

I was looking for alternative heel turn methods, for several reasons - I kept having gaps because my first stitches on the needle were generally pulled and stretched that created gaps, and I like to learn new methods.  I tripped over a heel that didn't involve wraps.  It's called Shadow wrap heel turn.  That really peaked my interest.  It's done all at once so to speak, no wraps (yes, no wraps), and looked really easy to do.  I don't mind wraps, but if I'm using a dark yarn, it's difficult to see them to pick them up.  I've been super excited to try this method.  In the picture to the left this is where I've got it set up and am ready to start the rest of the heel turn.  If you notice, my stitches aren't pulled at the beginning, so I had high hopes that I would have no unsightly holes - yes I was getting super excited!  And since there are no wraps, there are no stitches to pick up - just knitting the 'twins' together and making a triplet for the next row.

I could barely wait to try them on, and I use my left foot as that is my larger foot - If it fits on that foot, it will definitely fit on the right.  And O M G - it fits!  No unsightly gaps - there is a hole at the top where I joined back with my knitting, but I'm thinking it was based on having an extra row before I joined back in the round again - easy fix.  I'm SUPER pleased with this heel - I mean .. look at that - and it's the same on the other side too!  I totally recommend this heel and I used the tutorial from Eddie's Room where the Super Sock Calculator lives.

I've gotten up past the top of my ankle and will do one more pattern repeat then start my ribbing.  I'm super pleased with these socks and am beyond tickled that I have my sweet spot for needles and stitch count.  I'm telling you it really gives you a huge boost of confidence knowing that I can cast on my stitches and my socks will fit - I'll do another knit in a Patons sock yarn to use it up and then I'll get into my 'fun' yarn, if I can wait  if not - I'm thinking the Debbie Bliss yarn I won, or Knitpicks Freemont in the Hawthorne Kettle Dyed - I might just have to do the blind reach and grab.

Now I have to find the to that speaks toe me - the wedge type toe isn't my favourite, I'm thinking I might do that spiral cast on - we'll see where my sock journey continues to lead me.

Pattern Info:
US2 (2.75mm)
Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings with
Super Sock Calculator
Patons North America Kroy Socks FX - Celestial Colours
KALs these socks are in - #selfishmeKAL #BoxoSox2017 #23HPKAL2017 #ANADIOMENA 

04 February 2017

Finished Object and Sock Math (Weird Math warning)

It happened! Yes, it finally happened! I've a finished object! Based on the law of averages, something had to give eventually LOL And I'm so glad that it did.  This was an exceptionally easy and well written pattern that included both chart and written directions.  You'd think that with as long as I've been knitting that I would be a chart goddess, but no - for the most part, I follow written directions.

The #ValanarCowlKAL on ravelry hosted and written by Elena Nodel was a great deal of fun and a lot easier to knit that you would think.  The pattern was very intuitive and a pretty quick knit.  All said it probably was 5 days of knitting to get this done.  I was hit by some sort of critter that left me feeling decidedly not in knitting mode, so it languished for about a week.

This was knit on US7 (4.0mm) with Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smokey Mountain colourway.  The yarn is 100% acrylic and I only used one skein for this project.  I picked this yarn for ease of care as this is going to my step dad and I didn't want him to fret on wash and care of it - I want him to wear and enjoy it.

While this was an easy knit, I want to do a super simple knit now, and I want to use some of my new Knitpicks yarn that I've never used before so I want them to fit right - I was thinking a vanilla type sock would be perfect - my concern is that I've not found MY sweet spot for needles and number of stitches for socks - I could continue to cast on willy nilly and hope I hit it with various patterns in different needle sizes, but that would drive me a wee more bastsh!t crazy - so I did some research,

On ravelry there is a Super Sock Calculator that tells you stitches to cast on, stitches for heel and this is a toe up, two at a time calculator.  Sounds super awesome - but still doesn't tell me what needle I should use .. **sigh**

So back to google I went and I found this site:  Sock Math and Sock Chart  And this one included a formula that makes sense!  I think I might have found the sock math holy grail!!!  Their formula states thus:

1. Measure around ball of your foot (at widest part near toes) with foot resting on it’s weight.
2. Multiply # of inches by the gauge. (gauge will need to be determined from measuring a swatch made with intended yarn and tools).
3. Subtract 10 % of this number for negative give for fitted socks.
4. The result is the number of stitches to cast on in stitch used in swatch.

So using US2 with Knitpicks Hawthorne Kettle Dyed fingering weight yarn  So let's do some math - no swatch has been done as of yet - but that doesn't take long at all to do up

Width of my foot - 10"- yes I've a wide foot
Foot width x Gauge from my swatch -  10x8 = 80 ... I've not done my gauge swatch yet, but I tend to knit to gauge and this is based on pattern gauge for the time being - just to play with the numbers
10% negative ease - 80x.9 = 72 stitches

I'm not to sure about that as I've used 72 stitches in one pattern and the socks are largish on me with a size US2 needle.  hmmm The super sock calculator says a total of 64 stitches, and there is yet another pattern for 56 stitches that follows to my gauge.

Here are the numbers that are used for the Super Sock Calculator off their website

Length of Foot - 9
Width of foot - 8 (non weight bearing)
gauge - 32 sts / 4"

My results are:
C:7.5 inches

Which translates into 14 stitch magic cast on (toe up version) increasing until 32 stitches on each needle (64 stitches) and I start my heel at 7.5 inches from toe - I've not had an issue really with length of sock - more like what needles and how many stitches.

I think I'll do a quick swatch and see what I get - I bet if I change the foot width from weight bearing to non weight bearing, the results would be more acceptable.  I just can't agree with 72 stitches for me.  I'd almost rather have a sock a smidge to snug on my foot than swimming like my Midnight oil socks do - well they don't swim exactly, but I would like them to be much smaller.  I"m thinking that the Super Sock Calculator will be my best bet - 64 is following the Enya sock pattern and while that is on smaller needles, it fits me way better than my Midnight oil Socks.  My Sunset Scale socks were a 64 stitch sock and that is acceptable.  Having a super wide foot is a real trial LOL

I did a quick remeasure of my foot and with just my weight 'resting' it measured 8.5"
Width of my foot - 8.5"
Foot width x Gauge from my swatch -  8.5x8 = 68
10% negative ease - 68x.9 = 61.2 rounded to 61stitches

That makes more sense than previous numbers - seems like a really snug fit, but I can adjust the ease numbers or not use them at all

All this for a vanilla easy peasy knit LOL  Good lord, I could complicate a wet paper bag somedays LOL   Once I find my sweet spot for needles, I plan to return the skein I didn't use for the Valanar Cowl and exchange it for whatever size in 40' circs.  Maybe US2 as I seem to use them most.  My circs are all older with much stiffer and unforgiving stiff inflexible cables so magic loop has never been my method of choice.  I think I'll use my Patons Kroy FX yarn instead for the vanilla test knit.  I can grab that at Michaels anytime I want / need it.

That being said, I'm still working on my cowl for myself.  I picked the Spiral Cowl by Betty Narducci, and for this one I am follow a chart - not much choice on this one as there is no written directions.  I chose the Red Heart Unforgettable in the Echo Colour and black as my contrasting yarn.  Not much has been done and I hope to get back to this soon so I can wear it before spring LOL

30 January 2017

Finished Object Please??

A finished object is so close to happening! I can't wait! I know i make it sound like forever, but it honestly feels that way.  You'd think with 4 different projects on my needles, that I would have something ready to show LOL.  I have been steadily working on the cowls in the past bit when I was in a knit mood.

Clue 3 has been presented and been finished for the Valanar Cowl MKAL - Clue 4 is supposed go live sometime today and I'm waiting with bated breath!  With the new cables being added, this cowl feels like it's taking forever to do a round now.  Not sure how many more rows this is going to take.  The yardage for the pattern says 350-400yds; my skein is for 251 yds and I'm still on the first skein - I knit to gauge so ... not sure how much Clue 4 is going to take considering I've not even reached 350 yds - esh I could be knitting til spring!  LOL

While waiting for clues, I worked on my cowl - it's slow going as I'm doing colour work.  I was thinking how long it had been since I've done colour work, and I'm pretty sure that the Kid wasn't born the last time I did it and he's 21 now LOL  oh vay!!!  So, ya - it's been a few years LOL 

I was a wee bit irked by the yarn I picked for my cowl - when I was doing the first 10 rows, it started light then went to dark colours, light and almost black - considering my contrasting colour is black, my eyes were going a wee bit crossed.  I did not it to be that dark - I really couldn't even see the difference in colour while knitting it and the colour difference wasn't apparent on the needles either as you can see in this pic.  It slowed me down even more (if that was possible LOL) just because I had to count each section and checked each colour section and count every stitch at least twice.

I managed to blunder on through it and am maybe - MAYBE a quarter of the way through.  My cowl is half the size of the one I'm making for my step dad and it'll likely take me longer LOL  I'm okay with that, I am enjoying the process and watching the pattern emerge with each row.

I hope that the rest of it will be heading towards  lighter colours that I see in the skein.  I wanted the pattern to pop instead of be subtle.  I think it's going to look great either way, so I won't be disappointed.

I do have another cowl for myself planned  - Cat Lover's Cowl that will use black yarn for the contrast with another Red Heart Unforgettable in the Dragonfly colourway.

In early January I won a contest on Instagram that was hosted by Brownberry Yarns (located in the UK). It was loaded with Hiyahiya accessories; kitty snips, stitch markers, a tape measure, bamboo dpns, a skein of Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock yarn colour 02 and a pattern.  Josie from Brownberry Yarns included a wonderful handwritten note and was a joy to work with and is very personable.  I've been wanting the Hiyahiya kittysnips for the longest time and I just love Hiyahiya accessories.  Thank you again Josie for hosting the competition and thank you for being such a wonderful person :)  I keep looking at the yarn and am wondering what it wants to be.  It looks gorgeous and I love the barberpoling.

No progress has been made on my Enya socks or my stash buster KAL blanket - Once I get the cowls down - I'm thinking I'll be casting on another pair of socks - or force myself to finish my enya socks - either way - I have a few other pairs of socks poking at me or else starting the shawl instead .. hmmm decisions decisions LOL  eeeeep

22 January 2017

All the Things

There has been so much going on fibre-wise since my last post when I talked about dyeing yarn.  Never one to sit still when I can learn more fun things, I took my thoughts a step further and thought - I want to try and spin my own yarn!  Yes I said that . spin my own yarn LOL

I've done a lot of research and want to eventually do fingering weight yarn that has been plyed.  It's going to take me a LOT of practice to get there, but I definitely want to learn.  So I found a drop spindle starter kit that included top and bottom whorl spindles, with an ounce of practice roving, and then three ounces of a gorgeous purple green roving that is for when you are better.  From my first attempts, I'm going to say I need more than an ounce of roving to get to that point.

Now to be fair to myself, I only did a little bit of spinning and I didn't do all that bad.  There are spots it's over spun and other where it's under spun.  Spinning has really spoken to me.  Just think, I can make my own yarn and then dye it!  I went to do a bit more spinning last night and I learned that I did NOT leave enough of a 'tail' left to attach more roving, so the first bit I spun is not something I think I can add to - not sure - I'll have to do more research to see if I can, but I think not.

The practice roving fibres are much longer than I expected them to be and it put me off my stride a bit - I think that if I can just get a good rhythm going I should be okay.  The fibre length is called 'staple'.  I want to specialize with the top whorl spindle as that's the one that spins faster and makes the finer yarn, while the bottom whorl spindle goes slower and is great for heavier weight yarn and plying your 'singles' together.  What you see to the left is referred to as a single.  The first initial spin that is only one ply.  I am really happy with this kit as it included both spindles and the price was very reasonable.  I got it from an Etsy shop called The Wooley Whale located in Maine.  Their description was very informative and educational as well.

I've got a few things on my needles.  I know I generally prefer to do one project and finish it before moving on, but certain things conspired so that wasn't possible.  I still have my Stash Killer KAL that I'm working on - I've not touched it in quite a while and I should consider getting back to it soon  I'm almost halfway done with the blocks.  I'd still have to block, then join them - and as this yarn is acrylic I need to do a bit of tap dancing to get it done.  But I've done my research and am ready for it!

Stash Killer KAL
Blossom FIngerless Mitts KAL
Gina;s Owl Mitts
Enya TozUp

Then there's my Enya TozUp that were put aside for the Fingerless Mitts KAL, and then Gina's Owl Mitts - I've been working on them and am halfway thru the foot.  I had a bugger of a time casting the last sock on - I must have made ten attempts at least!  They are knitting up nicely and I'm at the point I just want them done - they've been to long in the making and are almost at the point of hibernating forever if I don't get them done - altho with winter coming, other projects are clamoring for my attention - Like my blog title is .. All the Things!!! LOL  I think I might try knitting two at a time for my next pair of socks.  That requires a magic loop technique and I'm not sure I've circulars that are that size.  I used to do socks with two circulars, but I'm not sure where those went.  I'll keep my eye out for them, but not a bit deal to purchase a US2 in a long enough circular.  I'm still trying to find my perfect stitch count and needle size for socks - I might wait until I find that BEFORE I pick up the circular.

While watching one of my podcasts, there was mentioned the Afterthought Everything Socks - basically what you do is knit a tube, then 'cut' for the heel and toe, pick up the stitches and do an afterthought heel and then the toe.  It's a purchased pattern on Ravelry that is a whole $2 - I figured that she deserved the $2 for thinking of it and putting it to paper!  That is on my list for one of my new colourways where a vanilla sock is better to show of the yarn and let the yarn do the work.  I got a whole bunch of yarn on Knitpicks last 40% off sale, and there's definitely a few skeins that would be perfect for this technique.

The last thing that's on my needs is called the Valanar Cowl MKAL.  It's a mystery KAL that is a non mystery LOL.  It's a cowl for men.  It's gorgeous!  I instantly thought of my step dad.  It's done with worsted weight on US7 needles and should knit up pretty quick.  I did the first clue of 4" of ribbing - clue 2 comes out tomorrow.  He seems to be feeling the cold more since he got out of hospital on January 12.  And the worst of bitter cold is yet to come.  I hope that this will help to keep him warmer - and the yarn I picked it simple put in the washer and dryer with no fuss.

It has beautiful cable work that I'm going to love doing.  It's not a surprise so to speak, but I've not told him about it and have asked the kid to hush about it as well LOL  Granted he has read my blog so if he gets bored he might be reading this.  If so he needs to stop now LOL   I wanted to use a tonal yarn for it and kept eyeballing a green, but it was the wrong hue for the winter coat that he wears and I didn't see a blue that spoke to me - the yarn available was more for feminine projects.  His coat is a dark charcoal with a burgundy ish liner and the green didn't quite fit - so grabbed Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smokey Mountain for ease of care for him.

While I was picking up his yarn, I grabbed a skein of Unforgettable for myself for a cowl - I've been eyeing it every time I see it  With the sale at Michaels - it was a good time to pick it up and it's destined for a cowl for me - I'll be doing colourwork for mine and I'm down to 3 or 4 patterns that I will have to sift down further - it all depends on what's in my stash to go with it - I'm either going to do 2 or 3 colours - been a long time since I've done stranded colourwork and it's starting to speak to me.  Yup  All the things .. I want to knit all the things!!

Ravelry ID - gquilts
IG - g.quilts

10 January 2017

Yarn Haul - Dyeing

Oh the joys of Instagram - I used to think it was a waste of time, but I am having a blast on it with being able to follow my vape stuff and even better yet - get overdosed on knitting goodstuffs - including giveaways.  It was one such giveaway that I entered where one of the prizes is a sock blank.  I've never heard of that before - so off to Google I go.  I think these are the best thing since sliced bread!
Sock Blanks are pre-knit tubes of undyed sock yarn. You dye the pre-knit tube with the stripes that you want, then knit your socks directly off the tube. Somehow this seems like cheating, but in a good way.” - Yarn Scoop.
Neat eh?  But what is happening is that indie dyers are dying them or painting them with various designs and you can get them in 1 or 2 strand blanks.  1 strand is one 'sock' at a time and 2 strand is 2 socks at a time where they are likely to be identical. I started to dig a big further and saw where some people are making their own blanks at home on crank looms or knitting machines, and then dyeing them.  Oh the ideas that are skittering through my brain!

I've been very successful with dyeing my own fabric for my quilts - I've done discharge dyeing where you remove or lighten the colour with "bleach"; I've had the most fun with resist dyeing where you use wax to block off parts of your fabric, then dye or paint, then remove the wax.  

I don't think it'll be to much of a step for me to dye yarn.  Granted I won't be resist dyeing as wool definitely is NOT the same as cotton; altho on a sock blank it could work.  I have a lot of the supplies on hand already from my fabric dyeing.  I've been watching a lot of videos on how to do it.

I grabbed a two skeins of a yarn that is 50% superwash Merino wool, 25% rayon from bamboo and 25% nylon.  I did some research on whether the bamboo is considered natural or not.  If this company used chemicals to remove the bamboo it is considered to be not natural opposed to the process that spins it down.  But rayon is considered a cellulose fibre and that 'should' work well with my current dyes and paints.  As for the nylon part of it, that will likely be lighter in colour as the polys do not hold this dye well at all.  Which is actually okay because I do prefer tonal yarns - less stripy.  There are a several ways  can do this; paint on the dye or  paint, do a pot dye; or even use a mason jar.  I'm going to have to do some more research, but the dye bath or pot dye is likely to be the best choice.

At the end of December Knitpicks had a sale that had me drooling LOL  I got a haul and a half considering what I spent.  When I ordered they had a promo where if you spent $50 you were eligible for free shipping and a free tote.  I was hard pressed to reach that level, but I did

I grabbed 3 different yarns to use; Hawthorne Kettle Dyed yarn (2 hanks), Chroma (2 skeins) and at the bottom corner is what they refer to as Alpaca Cloud Fingering yarn.  Wow, but it seems so light and airy - almost like I'd be knitting with cobwebs!  If there's enough I might put that to a shawl instead of socks, it seems that delicate!  FINALLY got my needle gauge for US sized 000, 00, 0 and 1 needles.  *knitterhappydance*  To reach my free tote bag - I added Sock it to Me and locking stitch markers :)  I think what I've got is going to keep my busy for a while now.  I can't wait to get into the Hawthorne skeins - those have such a solid hefty feel to them!

I finally won my first contest on Instagram.  This company is based in the UK - It was shipped to my cousin who lives there and he's already gotten it.  It'll be on its way to me soon :)  Once I get my prize in, I"ll post a pic and share it with you.  The package included a set of Hiyahiya bamboo needles, a skein of yarn, Hiyahiya stitch markers, kitty snips, tape measure and a pattern that I've no idea what it is :)  oooohhhh I'm so excited!!

Ravelry - gquilts projects
Instagram - g.quilts

04 January 2017

December ... poof gone

This is one of those posts that sounds like the beginning of confession LOL Rather like .. Forgive me Blogger for I have sinned - it's been almost a month since my last post LOL.

It's been a rather stressful month for me as my stepfather had a series of small heart attacks that landed him in hospital for various procedures since December 8th - he was in hospital until Dec 21.  He went to a rehab facility for post hospital therapy and monitoring.  On Christmas Day when I was driving him back he suffered another small heart attack.  He's back at the rehab facility and we hare hoping to have answers soon to the second heart issue and looking forward to his continued improvement.

With all that was going on, I only managed to knit a pair of fingerless mitts that were a gift for my friend. I'm hoping that I can get back into my knitting stride now as I took advantage of Christmas money and great sales!

My friend LOVES owls - and I saw these adorable owl mitts by Amanda Jones.  I totally fell in love with them!  And this sort of project fits my poor awkward stash.  I actually ended up using one of my mum's skeins.  It felt really good to be able to use her yarn!  I've no idea what brand it is or where she got it, but mum only used wool.

My only issue with this pattern is that it is worked flat and I didn't want to mess with a bunch of seams.  Luckily for me (and my research / nosing around skills)  I found another knitter had converted it to in the round!!  YEA!!!  Many thanks to Snuva for doing this :)  I could've done it, but didn't have to now.   I picked up some new bamboo Hiyahiya needles to work this and it did worked up super quick - when I was able to concentrate on it.  I did add a thumb to this pattern as it didn't come with one.

We were finally able to get together last night to visit and I was happy to walk in with pressies for her.  She suffered a loss just before Christmas and I hoped it would lift her spirits a bit.  That box contains various types of chocolate bark that I made for Christmas. There was white chocolate with cranberries, pistachios, walnuts, peppermint, and pretzels.  Dark chocolate with salted caramel.  I have a lot of fun making these for everyone.  I personally think I'm going to hell for the salted caramel.  Cripes but it is RICH!!

I decided to add eyes to these mitts and found the most perfect pair at joannes - they are just buttons that truly look like eyes .. if they were just a smidge or orangy yellow in the colouring then they would look like owl eyes spot on!  She was so happy with them.  During the visit, she kept putting them on and taking them off, looking at them, picking them up - yep I'm glad I made them for her to see the smile on her face!

Now to get back to my Enya socks .. I've been stalled at one sock done since before everything happened in December.  I'm glad I was able to get the KAL done that I signed up for - that was fun and I look forward to joining in many more KALs.