2KCBWDay4 - Where Are They Now?

Today's prompt is to write about the fate of a past project.  I have found myself doing this a lot anyway, so in the spirit of the blog week I am modifying this prompt to write about something different -- my longest standing UFO.

Back in 2009 I discovered that knitting magazines are not all about kittens and toilet paper cozies (hey, I was still new to the concept of an actual knitting community ).  I bought the summer issue of Interweave and was immediately overwhelmed by all the projects and the many kinds of garments people could actually knit.  Even though I had seen all sorts of projects on Ravelry it was still like opening an entirely new world of knitwear.

The first project I decided to make is still the only Interweave pattern that I have attempted (I've since discovered I prefer Vogue, but that's another story).  Something about the Great Gatsby Dress just appealed to me

Even though I worked on it all summer, and even though it got me through a flood and life on the fringe of homelessness, when I finally started the semester it somehow got put away.

I used to be a little ashamed that I never got past the second hem.  The bag sits in the back of my closet hiding.  But I've decided to no longer be embarrassed by my giant UFO.  Instead I view it as insurance.  In this economy you never know where your next yarn money will come from.  So against that day I have at least a month's amount of knitting to fall back on.


2KCBWDay3 - Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches, Or So You'd Think

Let me premise this post by saying that I love my yarn.  I treasure it, care for it, and if there's a fire it's got top billing with the family photos and out of print books.

I like to think I keep my yarn organized, but like many of my possessions, it is contingent on where I currently live and what kind of furniture I have there.  I move a lot, so the yarn moves around, but I tend to keep at least some by my bed with my current small projects.

The real stash is stored in the drawers of this tower, which will sadly be converted back into a dresser when I move after this semester.

I also have a few bags that hold large in-progress items or the occasional sweater's worth of wool.

But there are always a few run-away skeins hiding out in odd places.

My thought is that if I am working from home I should be able to reach out and squeeze fiber when I'm stressed.  So the leftovers have ended up in different parts of the room.

My goal for this next move is to find a large cloth-lined wicker basket to corral all of this yarn.  Though I like the occasional comforting scrap of fiber in an unexpected place.


2KCBWDay2 - Skill + 1UP

Today's prompt: "Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year."

Over the past year I have transitioned from person who knits to Knitter.  I have learned how to knit socks and sweaters and have truly become obsessive about carrying a project with me at all times, no matter what people might think.

I am posting later in the day because I am still trying to decide what skill I have actually learned.  And honestly, I don't know what that might be.  I could point to my love of the short-row heel, or my first projects knit in more than one color, or the utter glee I experienced when I figured out how to knit on the sleeves of my first raglan sweater.  But honestly, I don't see any of these as a particular "skill," just a deepening of my understanding of the way knitting works.  I've always viewed knitting itself as the skill and the different kinds of knitting as more techniques that build on it.  But maybe that's simplistic of someone who is only a few years into her knitting life.

One skill I have learned in the last year is to be fearless.  While certain techniques may require more concentrated time than I have available, I have developed this "I can knit that" attitude.  I decided that I am done waiting to ease myself into some kinds of knitting and will just jump in and hope I don't end up cocooned in my own yarn.  It is the reason I knit a sweater entirely on dpns last summer.  It is the reason I knit my first sleeves in laceweight.  If there is something I want to knit, I decided just to do it (within the constraints of time, money, and attention span of course).

This has unfortunately also had its drawbacks, most notably when last May I decided to do the right thing and block a newly finished halter top.  It was so cute and I loved the color and wanted it to be perfect.  Everything looks better blocked, right?  Well, not 100% alpaca laceweight.  After giving it a good soak and laying it out to dry I saw in horror what I had done.  It was huge and still sits in my sock drawer, mocking me.

And that is why my next skill to master is caution.


2KCBWDay1 - A Tale of Two Yarns

It's the first day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Most of the blogs I now read religiously I found during last year's event, so I am very excited to participate. If you would like to read more information about this year's blog week, check out Eskimimi's blog (she's our illustrious coordinator who also made all the cute graphics and banners you'll see around the blogosphere). If you would like to read more posts, you can search using the special tag used for each day to find other participants.

Ok, on to the main event . . .

Today's prompt is to write about two yarns that I've either worked with or have or wish I had. This will probably be the most difficult post for me because I still believe I have not worked with enough yarns to have an opinion. It would be easy to write about the nice yarns I have been fortunate enough to work with, like Malabrigo, or that one time I got Socks That Rock as a personal reward for surviving my first semester of grad school, but I think that instead I'm going to share with you some of the yarns that have taught me some things.

I have been blogging here for over two years, and have been knitting seriously for not much longer. The first project I ever completed that made me think "I am a knitter" was my Bella Mittens. These were based on the mittens worn by Bella in the original Twilight movie, so I wanted them to be the perfect shade of grey. I was a new knitter and did not live near a good yarn shop, so I ended up buying some Lion Brand Jiffy Solid from A.C. Moore (it's a craft store chain if you are unfamiliar). After knitting my mittens several friends asked for pairs and I ended up knitting seven pairs, all in the same grey, 100% acrylic yarn.

I recently revisited this yarn when knitting for a friend. With two years of distance I find myself reacting to it quite differently. When I started using it I was alone in my knitting endeavors. I didn't know any knitters and only had these craft stores to source from. I couldn't imagine dropping two week's grocery money on a sturdy 100% wool or soft baby alpaca. I just knew I needed a sturdy yarn that appealed to my color palette and tiny wallet. But I am glad I chose to use it. This last time it made my hands feel a tad itchy and I could actually hear the acrylic squeak, but every time it snows (a fairly unusual sight here) I still reach for those mittens. The yarn has softened over time and I think of it fondly because of all the things I learned when using it (knitting in the round, dpns, cables, decreasing, picking up stitches).

My friend Amanda looking stunning in her self-portrait. Nothing I have knit has ever looked that good.

The other yarn I picked is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Knit Picks Imagination sock yarn is one of my favorite yarns of all time. I've knit two pairs of socks and a pair of mitts out of the four skeins I bought last year. Not only is the yarn named after fairy tale characters, it includes alpaca in the blend. It is not splitty, or squeaky, and is amazingly soft while still standing up to a lot of wear. It says a lot about a yarn when my sister begs until I give her my newly completed pair of socks. I have not knit with a lot of sock yarns, but this is my favorite. It doesn't hurt that it was the yarn with which I knit my first pair of toe-up socks and thus fell in love with the short row heel (nothing is as much fun after a stressful day as a short-row heel).
These are not toe-up, but I love the way the colors turned out. Even if my sister got me to knit them too big.

Ok, now I have to go talk myself out of placing a giant Knit Picks order.


FO: Cabled Highway Socks

I think I officially weirded out my neighbors today sitting outside taking photos of my feet. I just couldn't help myself. It's been rather dark and almost stormy since I finished my new socks.

That's right. I had more than enough yarn to finish the Cabled Highway Socks! (So named for the hours and hours and hours spent on the road while I was working on them, they're actually Wendy Johnson's Lace and Cable Socks)

I absolutely love these socks. I think I've finally found my ideal foot and cuff length. I did not want to have a fold over cuff because of the lace panel on the front, so I just knit them to the length I would fold them down to. My favorite way to wear my hand knit socks (the one pair I've kept for myself) is with a short skirt and a pair of simple black shoes, so a fold-over or tall cuff is not an aesthetically pleasing look.

This pattern was a ton of fun. I feel like I say that a lot, but I knit for fun, so I should enjoy it. I'm now casting about for some more cables to knit. Maybe I'll pull out a pair of socks I started last summer while I was living in Pittsburgh.

All of these pictures were taken on my new phone! Sorry, I'm still a little spazzy about it, playing around with the settings and such. Here's a glimpse of what I sat next to while taking pictures of my socks.

I call it "Portrait of Life in The Land of White Trash".


FO: Tardis Quest

We have a storm blowing in over the mountains today and it is making everything stand out very vividly.

Seriously, can there be any way to better spend spring break than out here? It's so beautiful. The colors that are popping up everywhere are amazing.

Last night I finally finished my Malabrigo March project, Quest, designed by Laura Nelkin in the latest issue of Knitty. I used about 3/4 of a skein of Malabrigo Worsted in Buscando Azul, aka Tardis Blue.

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern. I made the plain version in size large and it is a perfect fit. I'm pretty sure everyone who has seen me knit this got the "it's the color of the Tardis!" explanation of the hat, but I stand by my assertion. I was going to put a button on the side like the pattern calls for, but I've changed my mind. At least for now.

In addition to being in love with the color, I am a big fan of the fit of the hat. It has short row shaping to make the front longer than the back, which makes a nice cloche shape that I honestly would never have tried before this pattern.

Now I'm off to find my raggedy doctor and his blue box!


FO: Mom Socks

One of the things I love about visiting home is getting to photograph knitwear around flowers.  Over the years my parents have worked hard to cultivate a yard that is full of fun photograph opportunities (like making my sister pretend to be an elf on Christmas).  It is still rather chilly here, but there is definitely spring in the air, so what better way to photograph obnoxiously bright pink socks then next to a box of pansies?

These socks have been almost a year in the making.  My mom bought the skein of Wendy Happy last May for me to knit for her and it literally took earlier this week for me to finish and block them.  The poor yarn has had many false starts and missteps, but I finally decided to forgo patterning and knit a fun pair of blinding ankle socks.

I knit these toe-up using Judy's Magic Cast-On and a short row heel.  These are the socks that officially made me a short-row toe fan.  The toes just turned out too pointy and I don't really like the look of the increases.  But Mom loves them and that's really all that matters.

I'm especially partial to this heel because the striping worked out perfectly.  Sadly not to be replicated in the second sock but it was still cool!


WIP Wednesday: So Fast It's Love

I have not worked on the second sleeve for the Salem Hooded Jacket at all this week.  It's a combination of second sleeve syndrom and that crazy mad dash trip involving 20+ hours in the car this weekend.  So instead I knit an entire sock in four days (Very fast for me. I'm not really a sock knitter).

I made my mom take a picture of me and the sock in the snow on the way home.   I'm weird like that.
This is the Lace and Cable Socks pattern by Wendy Johnson.  I don't know if it's the cable pattern or just the stress of the past few days, but it went really fast.  I'm pretty sure some of the credit is due to my new Addi Turbo Lace needles.  I'm a huge fan of double point needles.  I absolutely love them.  I actually knit my Runaways Sweater on dpns because I did not have any others in that size.  But lately I have been feeling the harsh realities of the problems of using dpns for travel knitting -- several of my dpns have run away.  So when the yarn shop sent their weekly email letting us know that they had restocked their Addis, I decided to give them a try.  And I have to admit, I am a convert to the magic loop.  At least for socks.

My one concern is that since I'm using leftover yarn I might not have quite enough yarn for the second sock.

While you are reading this post you might as well go check out all the other WIP Wednesday posts over on Tami's blog.  You'll be glad you did.


The Problem with Potato Chips

I am supposed to be getting ready to leave at a moments notice to go to a funeral.  It's a mad dash sprint from here to the heart of Pennsylvania and back again in the course of a weekend.  I'm almost ready to go, I just have to get dressed and throw a few more things in my suitcase.  But instead . . .

I'm working on these socks that I cast on for the drive.  At this rate I may be finished with them before we get out of North Carolina.  Boy would that land me in a pickle.  I'm just hopelessly addicted.  Not just to the lace panel, but to the tiny cables running up the sides of the foot.  It's been so long since I knit cables that I forgot how much fun they are.  They really are potato chip knitting.*

*For hints on this reference check out the Knit More Girls Podcast


WIP Wednesday: Red Sleeve on Faith

All of my qualms about the Berroco Remix that I am using for the Salem Hooded Jacket have fled.  I finished the first sleeve on Monday, immediately cast on the second.  The yarn is soft, and has just enough drape, and has these cool little moments of plant-like fiber bits that give it that tweedy look.  I really could go on about it forever.

I'm very thankful that my first 18.5 inch sleeve is knit in worsted weight on US 9s.  Of course, the weather here was 80 over the weekend, so I'm not sure how much I am going to love it for much longer.

And before you say anything, no, it is not too short.  Have you ever tried to take a picture of a lone sleeve on your arm in decent lighting with a cell phone?  It's hard enough just getting the whole sleeve in the picture.  And then there's the whole, what do you do with your arm?  It bunched and slid and then I remeasured it just to be sure.  I'm sure.  Now it will magically be too short after I've finished and woven in all my ends.

If I haven't scared you off from knitters all together, you should check out the other, much more interesting WIP Wednesday posts over on Tami's blog.



It is the first day of March and man does this month have a lot of group activities included. At midnight last night/this morning, anxious knitters around the globe cast on carefully planned and strategized projects for Malabrigo March (kind of like March Madness here in the States only better, because it's yarn not college basketball). Malabrigo is a highly valued and hoarded yarn that the knitting community celebrates every year by knitting as much as possible in a single month. I didn't think I was going to participate because I don't really have any Malabrigo in my stash. But last night I was playing around on Knitty, as I am wont to do at times, and noticed Quest for the first time. It's a really pretty cloche pattern that I instantly realized would be beautiful in this one lone little skein I had sitting in the closet.

I have not really had this yarn for very long. It was a Christmas present this year that my knitterly friend bought for me because she could not justify buying it for herself. She told me she could not leave it behind because it is the perfect shade of Tardis blue.

And it totally is! I have been saving it for something special and that something special has appeared! So now that I'm suddenly participating in Malabrigo March I think I'm going to pull out my leftovers and see what else I can knit up.

March is also a big month in the world of Dollhouse fans. On Wednesday March 30, the first of the new Dollhouse comics will hit stores. In celebration of this fact, we over at Echo Alert have issued a challenge -- to watch both seasons in 4 weeks. So, maybe if you're like me this isn't really a challenge because I often go through a tv season a day. But this is a community effort. Frank and I will be tweeting as we watch the episodes and are encouraging listeners to tweet and email in their thoughts no matter if it's their first viewing or fiftieth. Then every Saturday I will write up a blog post incorporating everyone's thoughts on that week's episodes. If you'd like to join us, you can find all the information in the shownotes of our latest episode.

Speaking of community efforts, March 28 will mark the kick off of the second annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week!

I discovered the knitting blog community through last year's blog-a-long and so am very excited to participate this year. If you are a knitting or crochet blogger you can find all the information on the ever lovely Eskimimi's blog and in the Blog Hub Ravelry group.

Ok, so March is going to have a lot involved in addition to my normal writing and midterm grading life. But it's going to be soft Malabrigo and the stunning Eliza Dushku, so I think I am up for the added "work" load.