Not exactly a mid-year check-in because I stopped blogging when the Moderna vaccine knocked me on my butt and I spent a month sleeping while my immune system did its thing. I’m fine now but got out of the blogging habit when I needed more naps. But when you check on after nine months instead of six, progress looks extra great!
1. Knit something famous.
Despite frequently looking at patterns with this in mind, I’ve only knit one!
My one famous pattern is actually only part of a pattern: the Fish Lips Kiss heel. It did require a whole bunch of measurement (and optional math) that I’ll be reusing, and i really liked the doubled stitch style of short row so I’ll be using it elsewhere. (And I may rip back and reknit the first sock because I liked my second sock slip stitch mod!)
I’ve got one more famous pattern in my plans for the rest of the year, but even if I only knit the one I feel like I’ve learned a lot from having this goal by looking at how many people have knit a pattern. A lot of patterns I love and thought for sure would have gotten lots of love only show a few people knitting them on Ravelry! Maybe I need a challenge for patterns that have fewer than 20 finished projects? That would be a great knit-a-long theme if I were in to running those.
2. Self striping stuff
Okay, obviously I knit the socks above, but also…
And I’ve got one big self striping project to come probably starting in September.
I’m definitely happy with how this goal has worked out. And I’ve still got some self-striping stash for more to come next year!
3. Kits in Stash
I did two that were full kits with a pattern:
And a few more that I had yarn earmarked to go together but weren’t explicit kits made by someone else:
I’d say this was pretty successful although I still have lots of stuff kitted up in my stash.
4. Crochet cables
This was definitely the easiest goal! I didn’t do more cables but I got into doing a big Tunisian crochet shawl so I feel like I got some serious crochet in this year.
I could probably mark everything on this year’s list as done right now! I do have one partially finished project related to the list, and one not yet started, so there should be some new stuff to show at the end of the year, and I’ll talk about whether I did anything on the other ideas I had when I do the final wrap up. But basically, go me!
They kindly let me talk about anything I wanted, so I decided to give a little master class on machine learning as an excuse to tell some of my favourite stories about machine learning and artificial intelligence gone wrong in funny ways.
PS – I do intend to get a transcript and the slides up sometime for folks who don’t love video; if that would be helpful to you I’d love it if you let me know!
My mom paid me the ultimate compliment a sock knitter can receive: she let me know that some of the socks I made for her were starting to wear out! It’s going to be a while before I can go do some darning for her, so I cast on another pair instead.
The yarn is from the well-named Must Stash (they do a weekly drop off colours and while they do revisit colourways it can take months so if you love something you kind of have to snag it when you can). I stashed this one with Mom socks in mind because it’s just so beautiful!
Okay, the colour is maybe not the best for showing off tiny cables, but they’re fun.
You can tell from the photo above that my mom’s foot and mine aren’t exactly the same size! I don’t mind knitting bigger socks when I know they’re going to get worn, though!
It’s funny: when I started knitting, I thought I’d never really do socks because it seemed like so much work for something you’d wear out. (Plus I lived in New Mexico then where wool socks aren’t always the most desirable.) But I decided to do Socks on Vacay one year and I’ve slowly but surely fallen in love with wearing them. Especially this year where I’m out walking the dog in the cool wet, they’re very suited for our damp winters. They’re just… Really nice? I don’t even know how that happened, but I don’t really mind.
The Dread Pirate has definite opinions about my finished object photos, so this was his composition. Then he did a little dance and I think sang a song about grandma socks. Bringing joy even before they made it to my mom, for sure. 😉
The yarn is amazing. It looks like a perfectly elegant tonal in daylight and brilliantly variegated under black light.
The pattern is full of twisted stitches that really pop. It’s both charted and written, and it’s well described but the repeats are long enough and the pattern just unpredictable enough (particularly around the top of the butterfly wings) that I had to put in extra coloured section dividers and stitch markers to stay on track. Definitely not an easy knit!
The end result is worth the effort, I think, but I was very relieved that I was doing the small size and wouldn’t need to repeat that last chart again!
Overall, great yarn, great pattern, and a really beautiful knit. And it proved to be the only “smaller shawl” I made from my 2020 goals (and i didn’t finish it until 2021!)
Normally I travel in December, which limits the amount I can participate in advent or countdown type stuff that all happens at the end of the year. But with covid-19, there was no travel to be had, and I might have gone a bit overboard as a result. In the end, I did 3 knit-a-longs and opened both a 12 day and a 31 day countdown calendar on top of that!
BySarahS mystery sock knit-a-long
I did a BySarahS mystery-a-long in May and September and they’re very fun. Simple sock knitting, mystery colours, cute surprises, and a friendly bunch of folk mostly on the other side of the country. This year’s socks were super cute:
And here’s one of the clever extras:
This was as usual pretty relaxing knitting at not too much of it, so I knew I’d be able to take on more than one advent thing.
Attitude of Gratitude
This was a fun kit from Knitted Wit and Shannon Squire, two of my favourites for yarny things. A rainbow shawl in many mini packages, plus a daily deck of gratitude cards to get us thinking about the good things. I recently learned that my grandmother used to keep a gratitude journal, and while my daily thoughts were definitely not as detailed as hers apparently were, it was kind of fun to feel that connection to her.
I learned that I *really* love some of those rock candy colours that Knitted Wit has.
The finished shawl:
This one has been one of my most worn shawls since I finished it, and I try to think about something I’m grateful for every time I wear it.
I loved the summer gnome-a-long but had been planning to read the emails but maybe not knit this one because I already had two advent projects on the go. But then my friend Marlene got me a kit as a present so I had no excuse!
This was more interesting knitting, nicely spaced out, with some story and recipes and stuff. I learned that I stress out too much about variegated colourways in small circumference knitting, but everything worked out beautifully despite my nerves.
Since I had time after the two knit alongs ended on the 24th, I also finished my Symphony Shawl. This was a kit from Sweet Georgia that I did as a year long project.
J somehow failed to notice that the shawl was stuck on my fleece when he was taking the picture, but with the toddler and puppy frolicking around it’s hard to blame him. Definitely a good photo to sum up a 2020 project!
A Twisted Year’s End
This was a countdown to the end of 2020 calendar of minis from a variety of indie dyers, put together by Indie Untangled.
Lots of new-to-me dyers! I’d kind of expected to want to go buy full size offerings, but that didn’t happen because honestly I just wasn’t in a shopping mood by the time their marketplace opened, especially with all the shipping problems folk were having. But I followed a few new folk on Instagram so I’ll no doubt find a skein I’m in love with eventually.
Katrinkles 12 days of tools
This is the one I didn’t post about, because I opened it early in the month and some people saved it for post-Christmas so I didn’t want to post spoilers. Also, to be honest, I was feeling kind of weird about having all these calendars especially in such a year. But these were fun, and I use some of them regularly. Particularly this little personalized box which holds my yarn needle and some removable stitch markers.
And also this yarn width tool which has become my spinning companion.
The Katrinkles and BySarahS packages had matching flamingos. 🙂
I didn’t have too much trouble keeping up with the knitting, but it definitely *felt* like I’d overdone it on the calendars.
I’ll play it by ear next year depending on who’s offering what (and whether I’m traveling again!) but I don’t think I’ll do the Katrinkles or Indie Untangled boxes again. They’re both great, but I think I got what I wanted out of them. I’ll be making less mystery purchases from them both for sure, though.
I’ll definitely do mystery gnomes and bysarahs mkals again, but maybe I’ll skip the Christmas ones next year and do something new? I already skipped the Temperature blanket kit that followed Attitude of Gratitude, but I *did* get a rainbow without planning to do a blanket. (I’m thinking shawl but not ruling out having cute tiny stripes in a sweater or socks.)
Next year I think I’ll stick to one or maybe two in December. But in keeping with the Attitude of Gratitude, I’m going to say that I’m very grateful I could afford all these, that I got to support so many women-owned small businesses in a year that was hard for many, and that I had time to knit and enjoy so many beautiful things.
I really want to design my own daily package kit, too. Maybe one day I’ll do it!
Turns out the blog problem was solved on the app side after I spent all that time poking server settings. Augh!
Anyhow, here’s some tiny embroideries to test that upload is working ok now. These are from another random chinese kit (multiple sellers have them on etsy and amazon).
I made the blue one with slightly more complicated stitches than it called for. It’s nice to be at the point where I know enough stitches to change things up. I guess I should work on some of the bigger kits I have, but these were a nice break while my hands couldn’t take more knitting on the Mando gloves.
The yarn is a real winner here because it’s so perfect for colourwork. Very forgiving, blocks like a dream, easy to felt in ends as needed since it’s non-superwash, and the colour palette was perfect for this project.
This is not a pattern for the faint of heart: I found it easy to get caught up in the chart and miss the written directions (which are NOT “just follow the chart” but have increases/decreases/ribbing). And honestly, it’s just complicated non-repeating stranded colourwork. Plus I somehow managed to hurt my hands in the middle of knitting them and had to take a few days off to recover.
The results are cute, though! I did them to be larger, with no decreases and a larger (US 2) needle size so that they’d fit my husband. I rarely knit him anything but we actually made time to watch the Mandolorian together, one of few adult TV shows we’ve watched (though we also loved Carmen Sandiego, which is suitable for watching with our 3 year old although he’s not as excited about it as we are.) I managed to finish them the week we had snow, so at least they got a day or two of use before going away as spring starts here!
2016 Fiber goals are in bottom of 2017 post above.
1. Knit something famous.
I’ve never knit a Find Your Fade or anything by Stephen West. But I did try something by Casapinka and some Imagined Landscapes Mystery Gnomes this year, and I had a lot of fun! I’m not going to bother to categorize what “famous” means, but I have a few things in my queue I’ve seen shared or knit or just talked about a lot. Maybe it’s time to try a few more things: they must be loved by others for a reason, right?
2. Self striping stuff
I’ve put together a nice little cache of self striping sock, but I’ve been doing sock knit a longs that don’t use those yarns. Time to give that self striping some love. Probably mostly in socks, but I’ve been eyeing that Sock Arms sweater (though I’d have to cardigan mod it). I’ll probably allow some gradients too. I just got a cool book for my birthday to help with this one!
3. Kits in Stash
Revisiting a 2018 goal: I love buying kits and making my own preplanned sets of yarn for projects but I have a habit of saving these for travel, which obviously didn’t work out in 2020 and 2021 isn’t looking so hot for that either. The queue searching this year was really helpful, so I think pulling out some of those preplanned kits (and maybe putting some in my queue if they’re not) might similarly get my mind going. And if I don’t think I’m going to do them, maybe it’s time to earmark some for gifts or release the yarn into the general stash.
4. Crochet cables
I’ve seen a couple of beautiful designs with crocheted cables, and I was sorely tempted to pick up this year’s Jimmy Beans Wool Craftvent box because I loved the design. But by the time it came around, I already had two other advent-y things in mind, so I’m putting it on this list instead. There are so many neat crochet techniques, maybe I’ll learn a few more if I get back to picking up my hook!
Other goals I’d considered:
Learn some new spinning techniques, but I’m pretty sure I’ll do that without putting it on a list. Core spinning is the next technique I think I want to play with (not because I think I’ll love it but because I have a batt to use and it seems like a fun thing to try!) I also got some new equipment to learn so I’ll start with that in 2021.
I’m also considering being more intentional about what I buy, but I don’t really want to resolve to have a “yarn diet” because (a) no fun and (b) I have money and many small businesses in this industry could use it. But I’m low on physical space in my office for more yarn, so I need to figure out some changes that feed my love but takes up less space and still helps the fiber world. More yarn as presents? Buy ridiculously expensive fancy fibers? Make sure every nth purchase supports minority businesses? Upgrade tools? Buy more patterns? (Ok, that last one is definitely good.) But since I’m not sure how yet, this didn’t feel like a full goal yet. I’ll experiment, I guess.
I still want to spend more time on dyeing, since that was fun, but I may stick to food colouring so it’s still toddler friendly. My order of undyed yarn is apparently gone astray, though, so it may be a while.
I got the $2.49 Craftsy subscription, so I’m going to explore that some. Maybe learn some dye techniques as well as the spinning I’ve enjoyed this far.
I debated an embroidery goal but honestly, I’m kind of happy to just muck around and try to find my style(s). So far I know it involves a lot less satin stitch! Maybe I’ll try to do some embroidery on clothes? Learn to use the embroidery machine a friend gave me when he moved? I don’t really want to put pressure into this one.
I’ve got design and design tool goals in mind, but I don’t want to put them on the list because I’m trying to find space in my day for them that doesn’t take away from family time or sleep. Most of my goals I can do without isolating myself (eg, I knit while toddler finishes lunch) but not these ones.
Basically, I wanted to stick to goals that were fun for me without too much deep thinking. So that’s what made the top four. Here’s to 2021!
The big work in progress for me this time was my 2018 Little Box of Crochet Advent. I still haven’t finished it, but I made it further and I’m pretty happy with that. I may turn the rest into my year-long project because they’re good palette cleansers, but if I crochet too much at once sometimes I get a cramp in my hands and have to take a while off.
I didn’t hit the queue as hard, but I *did* finally finish the Aspen Leaf scarf, which was the design that inspired me to give brioche another shot!
2. A Bit of Brioche.
I did petit brioche, then the Heliotrope hat and made it to the Aspen Leaf scarf that was my brioche goal, but I’m definitely not done.
I took a second PDXKnitterari class and started her Syncopation Shawl, which I put on pause to do seasonal things but intend to finish in the new year. I may restart it, though: I’d been thinking about doing the thinnest width but after rescuing a shawl end from puppy mouth today I’m thinking the wide one might be safer to wear right now!
3. Top to Toes
I did a few more top down socks! The top down version of my favourite Sundae Socks:
And two more Made By SarahS knit a longs:
So definitely a success!
4. Some Smaller Shawls Sweaters!
As well as finishing my Pocca sweater, I did a Hazelwood sweater:
And the Stepping Stones cardi:
And I bought some lovely yarn for the california poppy one from By Hand Serial (though I got the blue colour, because having just completed a yellow sweater I didn’t think I was in the mood for a peachy one). It’s going to be my first adult sized fingering weight sweater!
It wasn’t the goal I’d planned, but I’m pretty pleased with how it worked out.
And I *did* cast on for one single-skein shawl, but it got dropped in favour of end of the year knitting, so it may be my first finish of 2021.
Plus, as I mentioned in the mid year update, I did a bunch of the goals I’d considered but hadn’t chosen too. Pretty good for a very unusual year!
I know a lot of folks have had more time for hobbies, but I’m doing a full time job in 4 hours per day and being the solo parent on duty for the other 4. So I’ve got a lot less time to craft than I used to and I spent a month pushing burnout before we got my workload right (mostly I had to drop projects that needed a lot of meetings or weren’t in good time zones, and I took up more training and documentation instead). So I’m really happy we managed to find ways to do things like the yarn dyeing as a family, and glad that kiddo is starting to enjoy more independent play so I can knit and help him build/do/pretend when he wants to do it himself.
I mentioned in August that I seemed to be doing some unsettled knitting. Fast forwards a few months, and I’m entering a bit of a pattern: one big project for sitting, one tiny project for knitting on the go, and a few more complicated things for my “nights off” (where I’m not in charge of getting kiddo to sleep). Pre-pandemic, I typically had one on the go project and (sometimes) one bigger home project but since they’re both pretty simple right now, I’m enjoying rotating in a few other things that engage my brain differently.
Big project right now is the Stepping Stones Cardigan.
It’s a boxy open front sweater with nice lace detailing on the front, hem and cuffs. The pattern has a lot of options for customization of the sleeves and I really appreciated those. The lace made knitting the body seem not so repetitive.
I love the yarn, which is Arranmore Light from The Fiber Co in the colour Finian. It’s kind of got a rustic handspun 2 ply feel. It’s also unfortunately easy to tear a single strand if it gets caught on something like a zipper or an over-enthusiastic 3 year old who wants to be in my lap. So I got a new tool to help with that!
This is a yarn ball holder from Hansen (better known for their espinners). I’d coveted it since Tina from Black Sheep Fiber Emporium showed me hers, because it is a beautiful piece of engineering: perfect smooth wood, balanced bearings, thoughtful design. But it didn’t fit into my life then. I’m happy to say that it does now!
Small project right now is socks for my Mom.
It’s the usual Sundae Socks pattern with some mods. I’ve been keeping the yarn colour a surprise, but it’s a matched pair from Must Stash Yarn.
More complicated knitting is the Butterfly Dream Catcher shawl.
This is done in this great special yarn from Black Squirrel Berkeley called ‘sup witches. It glows under black light!
Other alternate night off projects:Crochet
I’ve picked up my Christmas ornament advent from Little Box of Crochet. I got this in 2018 and didn’t plan to finish it all in December, but two years later and I just finished day 6. Whoops. But I need ornaments this year and I didn’t before! Probably should have started earlier than November, though.
I’m still spinning but less regularly mostly because I’ve been getting paper books from the library and I can’t read those and spin! I need some more audiobooks. I usually enjoy podcasts but they’ve been kind of getting me down lately.
Craftsy sent me an email offering a full year for $2.49 and I’d wanted to try more of their spinning content so I did that and it’s helping keep my interest up because sometimes I watch spinning videos while knitting. I’m still not blown away by Craftsy. The content I’ve watched is good but the site itself makes it hard to find and doesn’t help you keep track of what you’ve watched, which gets more annoying the more I watch. But for $2.49 I already feel like I got my money’s worth out of it, so that’s ok.
I got a cute Christmas tree set from Dropcloth Samplers, but I haven’t gotten much further than the day I took this picture.
I also finally finished a wooden marble run kit I got to make with my toddler (who I guess is more of a pre-schooler now?). It wasn’t the easiest to do with his help, but we got out the washable markers and he coloured while I built. He coloured most of these not just the scribbles, but sometimes he told me I had to help fill them in if he got bored (and sometimes i did the first scribble and he filled in).
I feel like I have so many things I want to do and so little time before December hits and I switch over to the advent style packages I plan to knit. I might have gone a bit overboard on the advent things this year since I won’t be traveling: I got the ShannaJean Gratitude box, the BySarahS Christmas mkal, and I signed up for the Gnome one too. Plus I got the Katrinkles tool one, though that’s shorter and I don’t have to knit anything.
But on the bright side, Mom’s socks are the only ones I actually “need” to finish in the next couple of weeks if I want to mail them off in time for the holiday! And I don’t have to finish any of the advents on time either!
Pattern: Half the Knit Sky by @pdxknitterati inspired by photgraphic star trails. It’s such a great concept!
Yarn: Gold cache gradient in “Bleeding Heart” from @fiercefibers (bought at @pearlfiberarts) and silver twist in “Good Silence” from @madelinetosh (bought at @foryarnssake)
I always enjoy Michele’s patterns. They’re clever and often have stunningly beautiful results with easy to memorize patterns.
This one I stuggled with a bit not because it was hard but because I was so bad at counting anything over 9 stitches for some reason! Thankfully some stitch markers helped keep me on track without to many further incidents.
That gradient from Fierce Fibers nearly steals the show. I really loved that there were instructions and tips for using as much of the main colour as you could. I don’t usually mind some yarn leftovers, but splitting up a gradient this gorgeous was just not going to happen!
For a while there it matched my much beloved Hydrangea.
I was worried about the single ply (off-white) because I don’t always love it especially with colourwork, but it actually worked quite well in this pattern.
Of course the Dread Pirate wanted to get involved when I started taking pictures. He actually is getting some skills at styling and taking photos. But this time he just wanted to squish that beautiful yarn and who could blame him?
And I even won a finisher prize: a beautiful bee themed needle minder and a lanyard holder that says “vote” in beads.
This one’s going to get a lot of wearing as the weather cools down. Those dreams of clear skies and summer colours are a must for our rainy winters!
This time, I dragged my friend M into it. We’d been talking about doing something a little more epic together for her birthday this year, but then covid-19 hit and birthday in person had to be postponed. A sock knit a long is not at all the same, but at least it was something we could do together safely?
This time was a choose your own adventure sock on a camping theme: the pattern came with a little story about what you did, so you’d choose to, say, eat or swim, and open that package. Plus the colours weren’t the same between kits, so we didn’t have to worry about spoilers.
Possibly the cutest thing in the whole kit was the stitch marker from WeeOnes. I got a squirrel! ?️
We had huge wildfires with smoke during the first week of September, so it was maybe a bit too campfire-y. But with us all trapped in our houses and even mail delivery largely suspended due to unsafe conditions outside, it was really nice to have some tiny packages to open. I let the Dread Pirate open most of mine, though that did often mean I had to share my treats.
Sock 2 pictures below.
Lots of things around me weren’t working out, but this pair of socks was a bit of joy in a hard month in a hard year.
I suspect these socks may remind me of all the politics, the disease, the wildfires…
But also all the extra time with my kid, playing with all the tissue paper and shaking all the tiny yarn.
And also how even in the midst of awful, we found out we were prepared for a lot. We owned bedroom air filters (for my husband’s allergies), we had plenty of food on hand for a week of not going out, and I was doing a knit a long that helped us add some new treats and play to our routine while trapped.
So yeah, another successful pair of socks, but one with so many stories attached. Here’s to resilience and socks!
The Sharon Show was a mystery knit a long for a very long square shawl, easy knitting combined with some light hearted cat themed entertainment. I don’t actually love the long wraps, but I’d never tried a Casapinka pattern and I liked the pitch of $7 worth of entertainment.
It didn’t start off so well: my needles were too rough and the yarn colours weren’t thrilling me. The needles are the short ones from Knit Picks, which I love, but the finish on them wears off and the layered wood sometimes wears down at different rates. I temporarily fixed them with nail polish (the theory works but I think I’d like to sand and refinish them properly), and in the end I invested in some new tips from Chiaogoo. I love the Chiaogoo metal-core cables, and had recently learned that they made a shorter bamboo tip (4inch to knitpicks 3ish). It’s a bit pointy. I can knit with it but I have a toddler who launches himself into my lap, so the blunter can be a serious safety improvement! Still, these worked out well and hopefully I won’t have to replace/refinish them every few years.
My colour B just didn’t look good to me: the contrast was fine but I didn’t like it, and as a result I was finding any excuse not to knit it. So out it went, and I was a clue and a half behind.
After that it went a lot better, though!
Not all of the drinks appealed to me (when your body hates both alcohol and fizzy drinks, sometimes by the time you’re done substituting you don’t have much of a mix) but I really enjoyed The Floofy Tail enough to make a few variations.
What I really enjoyed later in the game was going off script, sometimes with the help of pictures people had posted in the forums.
This shawl and I made it though the wildfires, several books, and several other projects as I needed a break from it.
I started getting worried about how long it was getting and started shortening things up and wondering if I should skip the last clue. But I’d come so far! I took out some repeats and kept going.
Honestly, it was too much shawl for me, and though I enjoyed it, I was seriously wondering why I hadn’t committed that time to a much more useful sweater. Especially when it blocked out to 7 feet long and I thought “oh no, I’m never going to be able to wear this.”
But then I put it on and it fits perfectly!
And not *just* on my kids toy car. 😉
I’m going to need a selfie stick to show you those ends, though. 😉
Overall: very fun and what I was hoping for from the pattern. But I’m also very glad to be done, and next time a pattern tells me it’s going to be 5 feet long in the “small” size, I’m going to seriously consider doing a sweater instead!
I started the month planning to do a gnome mystery knit (because I’d never tried one) and The Sharon Show (because the pitch of $7 for cat themed entertainment appealed to me).
I did manage to finish the gnome, and it was such a delightful little thing that I’ll probably sign up for the next. The pattern was clever and even in something relatively small, had a few new techniques to try. (The slip-stitch cables in the beard, and the knit-on-purl-bumps applied hoodie/bunnyhug pocket.)
The Sharon Show did not go as well. I didn’t love my yarn choices, so I wound up casting something else while I was deciding if I even wanted to do it. Enter the Heliotrope hat.
And then I found a mistake many rows back and nearly put that project in timeout too. In the end, with some encouragement, I ripped back the brioche and kept going. Emboldened by that, I also ripped out the shawl and was so much happier with it that I made a token attempt to catch up.
But then I went on vacation this week, and it reminded me that I hadn’t really been doing the Socks on Vacay knit a long this year. So I abandoned the shawl again to cast on a sock and even took it to the beach so I could pretend for a few pictures that this was a normal kind of vacation (and not an exhausting week of strong-willed toddler parenting).
I finished the sock last night, and I haven’t even mentioned the spinning I’ve been doing!
I’m still a full clue behind on the shawl and haven’t finished the brioche, and I didn’t finish my second “intermission” spin before the Tour started today, but… It doesn’t matter. I’m loving the shawl pattern now. $7 *was* a good price for cat-based entertainment. The pattern is simple but the drink suggestions and catty section names make it fun. The brioche will keep giving me a break when I need something different. And the spin will just continue through to be my first skein of Tour de Fleece 2.0.
I think I’m even going to cast on another sock. My vacation may be drawing to a close, but I’ve got enough time to finish the second before labour day for socks on vacay! And then maybe I’ll finally get back to my very long delayed Geek Sock, which has been quietly happening as a tiny purse project on my self-care walks and other times I wanted something small.
Also happening this month was a tiny sewing project because my kid wanted a doggy bone he could carry around in his mouth.
And I also finished Half the Knit Sky, which deserves its own post but I’m just going to post a finished object here in case it’s a while before I do that.
And also Hazelwood, which was mostly done much earlier but I had a big fight with my sewing machine and had to order more yarn. It also deserves a full post, but for now, here’s just a finished photo!
I’ve been feeling unsettled a lot this month, and I think I’m knitting in a slightly unsettled way as a result. But in a world where we’re not going to solve a pandemic or US politics or racism any time soon, I guess I have been finding it reassuring to finish knit/spin/sew stuff even if I’m not doing it the way I normally would and instead flitting from thing to thing. The unsettled knitting, at least, is a thing that I think will pass.
This has been really successful! I finished up my Poca sweater that had been languishing for two years, the Cascadial Wrap that had been in there nearly as long (no blog post yet because it was finished in a tough week), and it’s kept momentum on things like the Craftvent shawl and Geek Socks that ran into snags and could easily have ended up abandoned.
The queue part hasn’t gone as fast as the WIPs, but I did get the Geek Socks from deep queue and honestly I feel like looking more often has helped me know and plan.
But I’d still like to get some next steps patterns in. I’ve got some yarn ready to go, but once it got hot here I didn’t feel like knitting brioche so much. (But sweaters were fine? Brains are weird.). I don’t see any point in fighting it so I’m going to resume briocheing once it cools off. I’m excited about what I’ve got planned next!
3. Top to Toes
Success! I did my first Geek Sock and used the top-down pattern in the Made BySarahS Mystery Sock Knit a Long. And it turns out I like top-down just fine. I did have to learn some new measurements for the afterthought heel, but I know those now so I’m good to go.
To be honest, learning that afterthought heel has left me dreaming of owning a sock knitting machine and churning out tubes and tubes and tubes. They’re so expensive that it’s hard to justify just for fun, though!
But back on the top-down topic, I’m probably going to make a few more top down socks this year and going forwards. And I won’t try to steer away from top down patterns due to my lack of experience, which I tried not to do but was probably totally doing. To be honest, most of my sock patterns came from a single designer, so just knitting other people’s patterns was a bit out of my comfort zone! I have learned that her rounder toe is still my favourite for my foot, but I know how to adapt toes and practiced it now so that’s not a barrier any more.
I’m hoping to join the next BySarahS Mystery which I’m guessing will include a top-down pattern! But I’ve got a few other beautiful things in mind… Once I finally finish the second Geek Sock.
4. Some Smaller Shawls
This is the goal that I thought would be easiest, and it’s the one that’s gone by the wayside! It’s a casualty of the pandemic: I’ve been using working from home as an excuse to focus on bigger projects that I would normally have trouble finishing. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and I may let this goal go by the wayside this year as I adapt.
But small projects still still nice for me to have on backyard toddler adventures (especially when sweaters get too big for my toddler adventure shoulder bags). So I’m thinking maybe I’ll just downgrade it to *one* shawl and pull something out of my queue to make it happen. I’ll definitely wear whatever I make!
I listed a few more things at the end of my 2020 fiber goals post that I wanted to quick mention because although they hadn’t made my top 4, I actually did them!
Sweater — I did Poca and am nearly done a Hazelwood sweater
Dyeing — I turned food colouring dye into a family art project and we had a lot of fun with it. I’m hoping to do more, but I’ll need more undyed yarn.
So… The year is going really well, from a crafting perspective. Don’t ask me about politics or my sleep patterns, though! Still, it’s nice to see how much I’ve accomplished against this one metric. Hurrah!
As I’ve mentioned before, I love advent Calendars but not so much the fact that they happen in December. But by chance I heard about the Made BySarahS MSKAL in time to join in for a nice May mystery (This post was written at the end of May right after I finished, but it’s been queued for a few weeks.)
This mkal was even more fun than I’d hoped, because it turned out I’d also accidentally joined a mostly Rhode Island-area knitting group full of lovely people. My own Saturday knit group has been out of commission since the pandemic, and I don’t even have contact info for most of them to set up an online thing. I hadn’t realized how nice it would be to have a regular group again, even if I was a weird odd one out on the other coast.
The pattern was a simple cuff down sock (look, another check mark on my 2020 fiber bucket list!) with stripes so there was an excuse to have yarn every other day. The socks matched the beautiful succulent/cactus project bag.
The non yarn days had a variety of teas, sweets, stitch markers… the usual small stuff you can fit in a yarn related advent. The Dread Pirate helped me open some packages and shared some sweets and shook a lot of yarn. One big treat for me: the kitchener stitch keychain, which is definitely a useful tool and one I’d coveted but hadn’t bought for myself.
This kit was exactly what I needed as I was starting to get my feet under me again: Cute little packages, a friendly community, and a simple project that I’ll definitely wear. I’m so glad I did it, and glad I managed to go to many of the happy hour calls even though I didn’t know everyone. It was really lovely.
Zoom is an interesting tool for this. I really liked the “debugging” part in this format: normally a teacher will bend over the work with a student to fix things and the rest of the class works on their own pieces, but because we were all sharing video, we could *all* see what the problem looked like and watch as Michele figured it out. This was super helpful to me for later, because there was so much more for my brain to latch onto since I’d watched and tried to guess myself as we did the class. And it’s always fun to watch a master at work.
I really appreciated the bit of advice that it looks like of like a mess for the first few rows. I definitely would have assumed I screwed something up and probably ripped it back a few times without that hint!
And, of course, it helps to have a great instructor who’d put a lot of detail into the pattern *and* had videos for us to watch later if we got stuck. I didn’t need them for the brioche for this piece, but I really appreciated the one on the Russian bind off.
Of course, now that I’ve gotten a little taste, I’m already trying to figure out what brioche thing to make next! And maybe what class to take next?
I splurged on the recommended yarn this year. It’s spendy and I have trouble justifying that without actually touching the yarn, but I wanted to try it *and* just as I was trying to talk myself out of it I came to the part of the book Vanishing Fleece which talks about the dye process and I guess I kind of wanted to be part of that story? (The book is about yarn production, specifically in America, and what we might do to save what’s left of the industry here. But it specifically includes A Verb for Keeping Warm.)
I love the complexity and beauty of Romi’s patterns, and in that respect this did not disappoint. But as I said, I didn’t know I was going to be doing this in quarantine with a toddler who is incredibly mum-centric. I pulled the stitches off more than once dropping my knitting to deal with toddler emergencies. This has two sided lace! This was not easy to fix! And it was hard to keep up with the knitalong pace, especially since I was still struggling to run a global mentoring program, do my day job, and provide my own child care trading back and forth with my husband to make it work. (Things have settled now, but there were a few rough months and some of the worst days happened while I was working on this shawl.)
That said, this was hard but tractable. I was up to the challenge of fixing the dropped stitches, and I mostly stayed on schedule. It was deeply satisfying to finish. But I was also very glad to finish and move to something easier!
The finished piece is just perfect. I am so glad I splurged on the yarn; it really does feel like it’s floating on my shoulders, and it’s got this lovely alpaca halo that makes it warm and perfect for spring (Recall: Oregon winter feels like spring to Ontarian me, so this will get a lot of use in my wardrobe). I kind of want a whole lacey cardigan made out of Floating now.
My yarn subscription for this year is the Made Here Yarn Club 2020 from Sincere Sheep, which was a splurge but one I could afford and one that focuses on local makers. Pretty cool!
I decided to make up my own pattern (after getting partway through a lovely hat and realizing I wasn’t feeling it). I haven’t written the whole thing up yet, but I have a chart and some basic instructions. So… here’s a little preview. But I promise I’ll be making something finished eventually!
Patio Stones (pattern preview)
This asymmetric triangle shawl was made with 300 yards of Sincere Sheet Covet (dk weight) and a US-5 needle. It would probably be just as lovely (and not quite as heavyweight) with ~400 yards of fingering on whatever needle size you prefer.
co 4 stitches
RS: kfb, k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k
WS: k2, p to last stitch, kfb (increases 1 stitch)
repeat until you have 15 stitches, ending on a WS row
Follow chart 1. Blue section is repeated, but for first run it will be repeated 0 times.
Note that the chart starts from the bottom, I just haven’t flipped the numbers over yet because this is a preview and not a completed pattern yet. The pink stitches can be replaced with k1, k2tog if you prefer. If you know how to cable without a cable needle for these little 1 over 1 cables, do that. It’s so much easier.
When you’re close to your desired size (or running out of yarn) repeat the eyelet section (rows 5-3 on the chart above) and then bind off.
I know, I know, it’s got some work to go before it’s ready for publishing, but it’s been sitting in my drafts for weeks and I wanted to put it out there in case my toddler poured coffee on my computer before I got it finished!
Since a few e-learning craft sites were offering free stuff to help amuse people during quarantine, I decided to try a couple of courses on Bluprint and Knit Stars. This is mostly notes for myself in case I decide to subscribe to either of these later.
What did I take?
Bluprint: Spinning Dyed Fibers with Felicia Lo
Bluprint: Drafting from Woolen to Worsted
Knit Stars: Meghan Fernandes’ Finishing Workshop
Knit Stars: Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibres on Colour
Knit Stars: Meet the Alpacas
I had the run of all possible courses on Bluprint so I focused on spinning, where I think I have a lot to learn, and I’ve been practicing a few times a week so I’m not too out of shape to apply the knowledge. Knit Stars it was just whatever they’d chosen to run on a week when I had a bit of time.
All of the videos I watched were a real step up in video quality from my usual free youtube stuff. Good focus, editing, colour, lighting, sets. The production quality was really lovely.
The courses were well designed. There were obvious spaces for practice, and especially in the spinning the instructors explained things in multiple ways with different visual aids. Lots of best practices in evidence.
Obviously the courses that I selected myself were more relevant to what I actually wanted to learn. And while that’s definitely true right now because of the way Bluprint offered everything free at once while Knit Stars offered specific courses per week, it’s also true generally because Bluprint you choose each course or subscribe for access to all of them (streamed only?) while Knit Stars has them bundled into seasons.
I learned something new from every single one I took, though! And it was pretty cool to have something more like an instructor led experience even in the middle of social distancing. I’d *rather* take a class when I can, but… I could do this at random hours without taking away time from my toddler. And that’s pretty neat even if I wasn’t in the middle of a global pandemic.
Bluprint was, I think, severely overloaded by the free trial. I had to load videos multiple times before they’d play, the interface was so slow that I resorted to editing the url to go to the next video. It was frustrating. Plus, their video player only had a tiny play/pause button in one corner, which is particularly annoying when you’re watching and spinning at the same time and may have fiber in one hand! I don’t know if the downrezed videos were a load issue or settings or what, but they definitely were bad enough to be noticeable and make it hard to see what the spinning instructors were talking about.
Bluprint also constantly touts their “platform” which I guess is kind of comments/forum with the instructor expecting to participate regularly for a live experience. I’d mostly known about this because they screwed up a bunch of notifications and upset a lot of instructors (back when they were Craftsy, I think?), which made the constant exhortations that one should share photos on the platform seem kind of sad. (Especially since these courses were likely recorded before the technical snafu.) I didn’t use it because I didn’t have enough time for that, but I guess it’s a neat idea?
Knit Stars has nice big next/previous buttons that actually work, fewer loading problems, and didn’t tend to downgrade the resolution as badly, but it was a bit hard to tell because I wasn’t looking for the same tiny details in those courses.
I think Knit Stars also does live stuff when the courses are on, but again, I didn’t have time for that so I didn’t investigate if any of that was a thing for the older recordings.
I liked all the courses I took and learned a few new things from each one! I’m particularly excited about practicing the spinning techniques and had to go out and buy more fiber.
I disliked the Bluprint technical blips a lot, enough that if all else were equal I’d check Knit Stars first for any courses. But the Bluprint selection and lower pricing really does makes it appealing despite the tech problems. And honestly, next time wouldn’t be in the free trial period so it’s possible that a lot of the site’s sluggishness wouldn’t be an issue any more.
But will there be a next time? Probably not any time soon. Honestly, finding time for videos in my day was kind of a pain right now: I’ve got full time childcare for an active toddler, a full time job, and a pretty busy volunteer job (that will quiet down in a few weeks, at least). It worked out well on days where I’d set aside time to do something like dye my hair and had to sit still for 20 minutes or so. It worked less well when I was feeling cooped up and instead used my every-other-evening toddler-free hour for a walk. And even learning spinning while doing my complicated lace mkal wasn’t great. But it was cool to do courses without having to travel or coordinate schedules with my husband, so “not soon” is not a polite “never” in this case. I’m not sure when life might change to make this work, but I can definitely see that it could eventually. If I loved video learning it might be a sweeter deal, but it’s not my preferred learning method even with better production quality.
Overall, I’m really glad I tried it out but I think maybe this isn’t the best pandemic activity for me!
I started this sweater for the knit along when it was first released in August 2018. It wasn’t my oldest unfinished object (that’s likely the crocheted bobble baby blanket I was making for no particular reason in 2011 or so) but it’s probably the oldest I intended to finish!
I forget what got me off track for the knit a long. Travel or it got too big to carry easily, likely. Thankfully, neither of those is a problem in pandemic-land.
It’s an unusual sideways construction, but one I’d done before on the red Baby Novus sweater for the Dread Pirate so I knew what to expect. It’s very well written; the hardest part was remembering what size I was making when I picked it back up most of the way through the second half. You then knit the halves together (see photo above) then close the sleeves and sides
The yarn is KnitPicks City Tweed, bought originally with another sweater in mind, but I figured it was better to use it and buy more if I ever wanted to make the original plan. This is the third adult sized sweater I’ve ever made (and the first was for my sister, who’s barely adult sized), so chances are not good that I’d ever go back to the original plan!
That said, the pandemic has made sweater knitting easier to fit into my day because I don’t have to lug it around (previously, most of my knitting time was at work during lunch or the odd dial-in meeting). So I’m super tempted to cast on another one soon. I’ve got 3 or maybe 4 different sweater quantities earmarked for future sweaters, so it’s only a matter of some winding… But I also don’t want to get off track in my current mkal and who knows if the urge will have passed by the time this clue is done? It’s certainly getting hot enough here that sweaters seem a bit overkill once the sun comes out.
Anyhow, this sweater is great and I love it. I haven’t even blocked it yet because I keep wearing it every morning! So there might be a few more glamour shots to come when I do that and put a clasp on the front. But just like I wanted to wear it right away, I didn’t want to wait too long to write about it!
I like advent boxes, even though it’s a busy time of year and normally I’m traveling so they’re not really convenient. Jimmy Beans Wool makes one they call Craftvent and I enjoyed it in 2017. In 2018 I bought it to save for later but then I got a lot of great travel opportunities and it’s still unopened (Maybe it’ll be a quarantine project for April?). But I finished the 2019 one only a few months late!
This year’s kit came in little magnetic metal tins, which is brilliant and more reusable than previous ones which came in giant cardboard boxes.
As usual, the tins either contain yarn, a notion, or a small treat. A larger namaste snap project bag and their “smart stix” needles were also included not in a tin. Loved the bag, though you have to be careful not to get the snaps caught on the lace.
They’ve made a big effort to have more yarn than in the last box I did. It’s still not a good value in pure retail cost of the stuff, but you’re paying for the experience and packing here is significant, so I feel that’s reasonable.
Since I was busy and opened the first many boxes before starting to knit, I spent time contemplating the colours and decided to sub in some more purples in place of the teals that came with the kit. It makes for a less striking shawl, but one that I was pretty sure would fit better with my wardrobe. I used one of my minis from Yarn Indulgences for the first colour.
Many people on the associated Facebook group hated the main colour, a fluffy mohair style yarn (Fyberspates Cumulus). I love it in the final piece: it’s light and warm and lovely. But it combined with the metal needles left me with sore hands. Part of why this was months late was the multiple breaks I had to take from knitting at all because it was hurting me. It got better after I switched to my preferred short wooden needles, but it didn’t entirely stop. I’ve got some of the yarn left, but I think I’ll have to try holding it double with something if I want to use it
The “wrap” is a weird shape. It uses short rows so that it’s long, thin on one end and wide on the other. Kind of like a scarf with one really flared end? It sounds odd but it’s pretty wearable!
Overall, despite the literal pain involved, I really like this shawl. It’s so light and yet so warm, it’s interesting, and with my colour alterations it goes with many of the things I wear. It wasn’t quite the experience I was expecting with the breaks in between, but I used the time to work on my embroidery skills and that was pretty fun.
Will I do Craftvent again? Maybe. I’ve finally got enough notions to kit out a few bags so it might be better to do a yarn-only option. Or maybe Must Stash Yarn will do another advent sock-along, which is much more manageable for me at that time of year. But I had a good time this year, even if it wasn’t mostly in December!
I decided to take part in the Rose City Yarn Crawl mystery-knit-a-long (MKAL) again this year!
I’ve had mixed results with the patterns, so now I wait until I’ve seen clue 1 and sometimes 2 before I join in, which means I can make more educated yarn choices. This pattern is from Marie Greene of OliveKnits, who I’d heard of from her 4 Day Sweater KAL, but I’d never knit any of her patterns myself so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The first clue had some mosaic and a lot of people were having contrast issues, so I dug into deep stash for yarn that I’d bought with colourwork in mind.
Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma in white and “Prism” This is an old ball from before they started mirroring all their colours, which is a decision I don’t really understand because wow these older yarns were stunning.
I really love the colours but am only so-so on the yarn because it’s single ply, a bit variable in thickness, and completely not durable. I wish someone would make a plied short gradient like this that didn’t pill so much! It wouldn’t be easy to do with this yarn, though; the colour is spun right in with the gradient made by adjusting the mix of yarns. It’s really quite neat to see the fiber mix change if you look closely at it.
In clue 3 I had to go off pattern because I would have ended up with a yellow-white colourwork section and I didn’t like the look. So I added a bunch more rows of moss stitch (not my fave!) and extended out that mosaic chart. I’ve been fiddling with my own mosaic designs which haven’t gotten finished but have taught me a lot about the technique so extending a chart was no big deal.
I debated chopping out some stripes but I liked them too much.
Then I extended the lace section too.
It left a bigger “border” in the lace but in practice it doesn’t bother me. However, come clue 5, I decided to chop out a bunch of the stockinette so that I could go back to the mosaic chart as written and end on the correct number of stitches.
This left me with a very close to symmetrical shawl. I read a bunch of people’s posts on the Ravelry forums and debated for a while about adding more on, but in the end I settled on a picot bind off (cast on 2, bind off 8, so you wound up with multiples of 6 to match stitch count).
I actually did wash a swatch so I wasn’t worried about colour bleeding! (Though I’d have been surprised if it were a problem with a KnitPicks yarn.)
I really loved this one, mostly because I chose such perfect colours. I’m very much looking forwards to wearing it on the crawl — I like to think that I’ve got one of the most recognizable versions of this year’s MKAL!
And if anyone knows of anyone doing shorter repeat gradients like this on other yarns, please let me know! I’d definitely like to try some others.
Sweet Georgia Yarns made this lovely set of yarns as a holiday kit, and I loved it so much I bought two: one for me and one for my friend M as a Christmas present. It has 15 yarns, so I figured I’d do it as if it were a monthly yarn subscription, and maybe double up a few months. But as it turns out, the pattern has 12 sections if you count the setup one, so I haven’t even had to divide it up myself!
January’s up was teensy tiny but since I had advent projects still on the needles and the Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL to start, that wasn’t a problem.
The yarn feels like a standard sock yarn to me. Did you know that there’s only a handful of yarn wholesalers in the US so most of our indie-dyed stuff uses the same bases even if they give them different names? Sweet Georgia is based in Canada so they may have some other options, but I bet not *that* many. It’s a solid base, and after my overdose on single ply I’m very glad to have a more durable sock yarn. And those colours! Saturated jewel tone tonals. Beautiful.
I debated doing the colours backwards just to be different but decided I liked it too much to mess with the order. I’m barely started — that’s only one extra-mini down, 14 to go — but it’s already interesting and fitting nicely in as a shorter break between projects.
I had been planning to go subscription-less this year, but at the very end of the year I decided to try one that seemed particularly interesting. I’ll write about it soon!
This was very similar to the Fetish cuff I did this summer, and in a good way! I wasn’t sure if the neutral colour was the right choice, but it’s lovely and very wearable. It’s a very easy kit with a simple beading pattern, yet very satisfying.
The Loquita Necklace was harder than the Mudra one, but it’s so carefully explained that it was complicated but not really confusing. The clasp isn’t great at staying closed on me so I have been tucking the hook into the knitting instead of the eye so that there’s a bit more friction there. I love the yarn, but if you look up close it’s a surprising choice: it’s got long alpaca hairs that stick out and make the stitch definition a bit less clear.
It feels so soft and blocks perfectly, though, so I guess that’s worth a few stray hairs.
Both kits come with floss loops for stringing beads, and Loquita also came with floss for placing beads during knitting but I’ll admit that I used my Bead Aid for the Loquita stitches because it was nicer than the floss. I do love the tin that Loquita came in: it’s a bit bigger than the one I use now and I think a bit harder for my toddler to open as a result, so it’s probably going to see a bunch of use in the future!
It was really nice to have some quick projects to fit in now that the Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL has started so I’ve often got a little gap at the end of a clue where I need a bit more to do before the next one is released.
Overall, fun kits that are nicely put together, and beautiful finished pieces. Plus I’ve got a new beading tin now! Happy birthday to me!
First off, surprisingly, isn’t knitting! I started and finished this Kiriki Press embroidery kit in 2020 after I got back from Ottawa. This one was a lot faster than the spring one because there was no time-consuming satin stitch. I’m still having fun learning new stitches and also giving my hands a break. I’ve got one more sampler, but I’m finally feeling confident enough to try some of my more free-form embroidery panels. I’ve been collecting some from the Fireside textiles kickstarter for ages now and I’m so excited to start them!
Second, my advent socks! These clever colours are from Must Stash Yarn which is kind of the worst because they drop new colours every Tuesday and you usually have only a few days to buy them before they sell out. It’s… Much too addictive. They do matching pairs which is nice because I’ve lately been enjoying having half skeins in my little purse, and this way I don’t have to break out the scales. And it’s cute if they match, but I’m weirdly more excited about not having to split the yarn cakes myself!
Anyhow, the Hobbit Christmas colours are 24 stripes and if I’d been doing it right I’d have been doing a few per day every day before Christmas to get them done in time. I aimed for only one sock, because who needs deadlines, and finished that one on time!
The yarn does most of the work for you and the pattern, “Walking into Winter” by Sivia Harding, does the rest with an alternating knit/purl per stripe, and some cute garland-stylings at the top. I love the photography in this one.
The one thing I might change if I do this pattern again is the toe. My toes are definitely not that pointy! Socks are stretchy so it’s no big deal when I wear them but hey, what’s the fun in slow fashion if you can’t custom fit stuff?
Up next: I’m still working on my other advent project, the Craftvent project from Jimmy Beans. I had to swap out the needles because the full sized metal ones that came with the kit were giving me wrist twinges, but swapping to my favorite short wood seems to have eased my ergonomic problem and I knit on and off today while taking my turns with a very sick toddler. (Don’t worry, his fever seems to have broken now, but we watched a lot of tv today.)
I’ve also got a necklace as a purse project. But it’s nearly done! I don’t have another small project on the go and I’ve been debating what’s next: cast on a small shawl or top down sock for my 2020 fiber goals, or size up my purse and go to town on a few more works in progress that got too big for the small one? Or start my new year-long project and do the first colour? I’ve been loving going through my queue and making plans.
I never really loved new year’s resolutions until I started making them related to fiber. I think it’s because my fiber goals are more like little yearly bucket lists. So here’s this year’s set!
1. Whittle down the WIPs and Query the Queue.
I’ve got a few works in progress that have been languishing, like the Flickering Light shawl I started in New Zealand. Cleaning up my queue also unearthed some neat things I even have yarn for that haven’t been cast on yet. I don’t plan on avoiding spontaneous “I saw this and have to make it right now!” moments entirely, just making sure I do a more regular look through the things I saw and loved and seeing which ones still grab my fancy.
2. A Bit of Brioche.
I know how to do brioche, but the only project I’ve ever done is the cowl I made while my father was dying. That makes it sound like A Thing but I don’t think I’ve got big emotions tied up in it, I just haven’t made time. So this is the year, I hope. I’ve got a few patterns queued up and we’ll see if it grabs me more this time around.
3. Top to Toes
I usually do socks toe up, one at a time, magic loop. I’ve tried two at a time: it’s fine but it’s so much easier to fit a half skein in my current little purse. I’ve tried dpns: I actually love them but I drop them a lot. I’ve tried flexi-tips: love them but they’re still too easy for a toddler to tug (and I’m not quite committed enough to replace all my dpns yet anyhow). But I’ve never tried top-down. Now that I’m making socks for my mom, my usual “but I like trying them on!” isn’t even a good excuse, so it’s time to try it out. Maybe I’ll love it! I even bought a beautiful top down book to inspire me (though I’ve also got that queue…)
4. Some Smaller Shawls
The shawls that see the most wear in my wardrobe are the smallest ones: my fern shawlette and my little fucshia one. So let’s try to make sure I put a bit of focus on the single-skein size this year. They don’t have to be actually one skein, but around 400 yards of fingering weight seems to be about the right size when I’m searching my queue. I’m always tempted by these beautiful giant wraps but I only wear them a few months a year in Portland.
It was really hard to choose 4 goals this year: I want to try my other embroidery sampler I wouldn’t mind getting back into a regular spinning habit and try tour de fleece again. I still want another sweater for me. I want to learn some dyeing skills… But I chose those 4 because I think they’re ones that benefit from me looking back at this list a few times and not forgetting this year.
2. I blogged a couple of times every month all year, and I’ve made sure to put photos into Ravelry. So not only is it better than last year, but it’s what I consider a perfectly reasonable amount of documenting for now. I used to aim for weekly, but with a toddler who’s learning new stuff daily, I’m happy to de-prioritize my blog. Once or twice a month plus photos and ravelry is plenty.
3. Sweaters are hard to finish, especially with extra travel this year. They’re too big for the way I pack to travel, and we went to Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Bulgaria. Plus some smaller trips to Seattle and Cleveland. So I cheated with a toddler sweater. To be fair, he needed a new one more than I did. I’ll try to keep working on mine in the new year, and I have plans (and yarn!) for the next.
4. I definitely played with mini skeins, including finishing my Tosh shawl, Oregon sky, an unfinished design project, my Lucky Star, and my unfinished advent shawl. But I only used one from my yarn subscription. Mostly I took photos. I did buy both Knitted Wit collections that make use of minis so I’ve got lots of ways to use them now.
So, I could do better on sweaters, and I should use my yarn subscriptions more. I’ve decided to accept that no matter how much I love these subscriptions, it’s a yarn collection and photo project, not a knitting thing. I have very few photo projects right now, so that’s not even a bad thing for a subscription to be, just a different one.
But I managed to sort of accomplish all the goals even if not in the way I expected when I set them, so I’m going to call it a successful year. Stay tuned for 2020 goals tomorrow!
While I was sick over Thanksgiving, I suddenly thought it would be a good idea to knit a toddler sweater. I had a grand idea of doing it in a weekend, which wasn’t very likely, but a fun thing to try. It might have been doable if not for the toddler himself!
Yarn: Bumblebirch worsted in Paprika
The yarn is glorious. Thank you past me for indulging — this was probably bought on yarn crawl with some vague idea of future toddler in mind, but I think it’s maybe the last batch I have prepared so I guess it’s shopping spree time again this year?
Pattern: Antler by Tincanknits
This is the 2-4 year size, and it’s a bit long on him but considering that he keeps saying his “tummy hurts” when his clothes ride up and he gets a cold back, a little length is good. Plus maybe it’ll last to the 4 year mark?
Close up of the Antler cables.
Like all the the Tincanknits patterns, this is well-written and easy to follow. This one is bottom up and seamless (well, if you don’t count the underarms!) I didn’t get it done in the one long weekend, but it only took another couple of days later in the month to finish it up.
The Dread Pirate toddler in question is very pleased with his new sweater, since he likes cardigans. (And his previous ones are all pullovers — even with wide necks he’s suspicious that his head might not fit.)
We haven’t tried to get much of a photo shoot going (too much more fun stuff to do over the holidays!) but here he is in the Ottawa airport trying to reach his favourite airport feature, the courtesy telephone.
Tried a new way to keep my toddler entertained on a holiday weekend: we made play dough together!
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
(Mix these and set aside)
(In a glass 1C measure)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Fill rest of cup with water to 3/4 cup mark
(Microwave to hot: 1 min or so)
(Mix with flour/salt)
Food colouring if desired
1 tablespoon oil
(Stir more, let cool. Don’t add flour until it’s mostly done cooling, even though you’re gonna think it needs it)
Adapted from https://stayathomeeducator.com/absolutely-perfect-no-cook-scented-play-dough-recipe-without-cream-tartar/ but made shorter so I don’t have to try to scroll through a giant blog post while my toddler is helping next time. He’s getting better at measuring and stirring!
The most expensive part of this, without cream of tartar, is the lemon juice, but I had some old stuff on hand so it wasn’t a big deal. I might try vinegar to see if that is a good substitute next time, because we have more of that on hand.
– Woollywormhead’s 2019 mystery hat. It’s blocking right this moment.
– my Lucky Star shawl (blocked, photographed today, but not worn yet!)
– Mom’s Christmas sock #1
Works in progress:
– Mom’s sock #2 (cast on this afternoon)
– Cascadial Wrap (maybe 3/4 done? More? Abandoned again for travel last month, poor thing)
– crochet advent calendar (still going very slowly, by design. I’m planning to do maybe one or two more, just enough to cover our current tiny tree.)
Coming up soon:
– an advent for 2019 has arrived! I haven’t decided if I’m waiting for the 1st or not, but I’m leaning towards the December start.
– maybe that toddler sweater before we go to Ottawa? I’m thinking Antler by Tin Can Knits but it will depend on what yarn I have.
– maybe pulling out my own sweater that’s been hibernating since last year?
My gift knitting this year is just the one pair of socks, unless I suddenly think of something neat (and small) to do, so I’m nicely on track to be able to start that advent calendar. Finishing a toddler sweater might be too ambitious, though.