Knitapalooza

Football season has started, which for me means lots of knitting because I watch lots of football. And I cannot sit in front of the TV for long without either knitting or spinning.

First things first, I finished the Gray Vanilla Socks I was knitting for my DH.

I know, the picture is crappy. What can I say? I’m a lousy photographer, and I’m too lazy to try again. I’d probably just end up with more lousy pictures.

I had 3 50-gram balls of Socka, but I managed to knit these socks with only one ball per sock and even had a few yards left over. Usually 100 grams of sock yarn isn’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks for the DH. He likes the cuff to be a little on the long side–about two inches longer than what I knit for myself–and the foot is about an inch longer than mine, and I usually cast on 8 more stitches than I do for my own socks. So whereas 100 grams of sock yarn is plenty for knitting a pair of socks for myself (and for the other sock-worthy women in my life), it’s usually not sufficient for a pair of socks for my DH.

These socks are just plain, old 2 x 2 rib with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel and a round toe, utilitarian rather than decorative, so I’ll have to dig around in my sock yarn stash and find something a little more splashy for the next pair I knit for him. He rather likes socks with a bit of flair.

Socks are just the beginning of my knitapalooza. For me, football season and hockey season are knitting season. September 5th was the first Saturday of the college football season, and although it wasn’t as productive as it normally would have been because we had a wedding to attend and didn’t get back home until mid-afternoon, I did get a good start on a pair of fingerless mitts knitted with Cascade 220. I used the Center Ice Mitts pattern, a free download on Ravelry, but with Steelers colors. I really like this particular pattern. It’s well written and includes options for using either two or three colors, so it can be adapted to just about any team in just about any sport. I prefer Brown Sheep Nature Spun to Cascade 220 for knitting hats and mitts, but I had Cascade 220 in white and yellow in my stash already, and only had to buy one skein of  black.

Unfortunately, after knitting about half of the first mitt, I tried it on and decided it was a little too tight. I ripped it out and started over with a needle one size larger. Don’t tell me that I should have swatched first; in the time it would take to knit a swatch, I can knit half a fingerless mitt, so the mitt is my swatch. Anyway, during football weekend #1, I finished the first mitt sans thumb and got a good start on the second mitt.

Steelers on Ice Mitts without thumbs

The second Saturday of college football was shaping up to be a very productive knitting day, but we ended up having the DS and DIL here to watch football, and the DIL and I decided to walk up to the boulevard to get tacos, and then we got caught in the rain and thought we’d wait it out in the library. But after about 10 minutes in the library, we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up any time soon, so we walked back in the rain, the whole time kicking ourselves for not bringing an umbrella. But I still got Steelers mitt #2 completely done, and got the thumb knitted on mitt #1.

Steelers on Ice with thumbs. This pattern is quick and easy. The most difficult and time-consuming part is weaving in all the ends.

These mitts should be nice and warm.

But that wasn’t the end of my Saturday football knitting. I also got a skein of my handspun wound into a cake…

A lovely cake of handspun yarn made from Bee Mice Elf “Rustle” BFL

and I cast on for another pair of fingerless mitts.

Mitt #1 early on

I love the pretty autumnal colors of the yarn, so I am calling them Autumn Leaves Mitts. I got the first mitt sans thumb finished on Sunday while watching NFL games, and even got a good start on the second mitt.

Mitt #1 just needs a thumb, and mitt #2 is off to a good start.

I’m trying to get the mitts as close to matching as I can. With handspun yarn, the color repeats are not as precise as they would be with mill spun, commercially dyed yarn, or even with mill spun, hand dyed yarn. I don’t expect total matchy-matchy identical twins, but I would like to end up with obvious siblings.

The pattern I’m using for the Autumn Leaves Mitts is Braided Mitts by Tera Johnson, and it’s a free Ravelry download. The pattern as written makes a mitt that is too small for my hand (and I have fairly small hands), so I had to make a couple of modifications to the pattern. I knitted a 2 x 2 wrist cuff for 24 rounds instead of 12, and I did the thumb gusset repeats at a rate of every 4th round instead of every 3rd round because otherwise, the thumb gusset would be too short. I could have just knitted a bunch of plain rounds after completing the increases before putting the thumb stitches on waste yarn, but I like the look of the diagonal lines the increases create, so I changed the rate of the increases.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that the designer took great care to place the beautiful braided cable so that it is in the center of the back of the hand when the mitts are worn. All to often, a cable will be placed so that it is in the middle of the mitt when the mitt is not being worn, but when you put the mitt on your, the cable will be off center.

I’ll work the thumbs when I have both mitts finished. I want to try to use a piece of yarn for the thumbs that will match the hand. I will probably have enough yarn left from this skein to make another pair of mitts. And I have a whole other skein, so I could knit a hat to go with the mitts. Or I might use the leftover from skein #1 along with skein #2 and knit a scarf using Yarn Harlot’s pattern for a scarf knit from handspun. This yarn is BFL, and it is incredibly soft and would feel wonderful around my neck.

I’m happy to be knitting again, and it will only get better because in just a few short weeks, hockey season starts. And hockey means more knitting!

Where’s My Hockey?

The NHL lockout is dragging on and on, and it’s dragging my knitting down. With college football winding down and the NFL heading for the playoffs, I’m spending less and less time watching television. And less time watching television means less time spent knitting. If the NHL and the NHL Players Association would just settle their differences, then I would be knitting up a storm. But with no hockey games to watch, I’m spending my knitting time doing other things, like spinning, reading, and playing the piano. I WANT MY HOCKEY!

But in spite of limited television/knitting time, I am making progress on the two socks I have OTN, and I expect to get them finished in short order once the college football bowl extravaganza starts up on Sunday. The bowl games are played over the course of three weeks or so, and there will be some pro games played, too, so I should get a lot of knitting done in the next few weeks.

Here’s where my current knitting WIP stand at this very moment.

My Sparkly Garter Rib Socks sock #2 is well underway. As you can see, I have just a few more inches of foot left to knit, then I’ll be turning the heel.

Sparkly Garter Rib sock #2 posting beside it's older sibling

Sparkly Garter Rib sock #2 posting beside it’s older sibling

 

These socks will not be identical twins, but they will look enough alike the everyone will recognize them as siblings.

The Sunshine Rib Socks project is moving a little more slowly, but it is progressing. Sock #1 now has a heel, and I’m chipping away at the gusset stitches.

Sunshine Rib Socks sock #1 is well underway.

Sunshine Rib Socks sock #1 is well underway.

I had originally planned to simply carry the 4 x 2 rib down the heel flap, but it looked too plain, so I went with the EOP (eye of partridge) heel instead. I think EOP was an excellent choice because it looks simply brilliant in this yarn. I think this colorway and the EOP were made for each other, don’t you?

Close-up shot of the Eye of Partridge heel

Close-up shot of the Eye of Partridge heel

Since it’s been a rather slow sports week what with the NHL canceling games left and right, I’ve been doing a lot of spinning.  I’m plying a small amount of the gorgeous Falkland top from Unwind Yarn Company in the O Negative colorway that I spun on my Golding Micro Ringspindles. This fiber is an absolute dream to spin. It wanted to be spun very fine, and the singles are mostly the thickness (or should I say thinness) of sewing thread. I wound the singles into a plying ball and I’m plying the yarn on a Kundert.

Falkland singles plied on a Kundert spindle from a plying ball

Falkland singles plied on a Kundert spindle from a plying ball

I’m being careful not to over-ply the yarn because I’d like to produce a nice, drapey yarn for a lace project. If I’m pleased with the sample I’m making, I’ll spin and ply the rest of the braid the same way and use the yarn to make a lovely shawlette of some sort. The yarn is so fine that I have yards and yards of it so far, and I’ve only spun about 14 of the 110 grams of fiber in the braid. The color is simply too gorgeous for words. I love anything red, and the color of this yarn sets my little heart to thumping.

Another spinning project is resting on the lazy kate awaiting plying. I spun up the rest of the undyed BFL that I bought when I first started spindling. I had spun some of it on various spindles; it’s lovely to spin, soft and easy to draft. I was curious to see how it would behave on my wheel, so I spun up a couple of bobbins on the Ladybug, and the singles are now ready for plying.

Undyed BFL patiently awaiting plying

Undyed BFL patiently awaiting plying

I’m going to do a simple 2-ply and try to keep the twist on the softer side. This fiber is next-to-the-skin soft and will probably become a hat and matching or coordinating cowl.

And last but not least, I decided to play around on the Ladybug with the Cotton Candy fiber I have left from the November spindling challenge.

Louet Northern Lights Cotton Candy on the Ladybug

Louet Northern Lights Cotton Candy on the Ladybug

It’s surprising how differently fiber behaves when spun using different equipment. When I spun this fiber on spindles, it wanted to be drafted and spun very fine, but on my wheel, it wants to be spun thicker. Part of that might be how I have the Scotch tension set, and part of it might be due to the difference in my wheel drafting as opposed to my spindle drafting. But regardless of the why, I’m getting a beautiful singles on the wheel, and I have a ton of this fiber yet to spin. I am envisioning a 2-ply, but the yarn will tell me what it wants to be when it grows up. It may prefer to become a 3-ply. 😀

So, that’s what I have cooking on this WIP Wednesday. Thanks for looking in.

 

Solace In Socks

It wasn’t the best of weekends for my favorite football teams, but at least I can look back and see all the progress I made on my socks. I love to knit while watching football–and also hockey, but I don’t want to go there–so weekends in the fall are very productive knitting time for me. And here’s proof:

I worked a bit on the Vanilla Candy Corn Sock #2.

Vanilla Candy Corn Socks sock #2 in progress

As you can see, these socks are going to be fraternal rather than identical twins.

Socks #1 and #2 posing side by side

With self-striping yarns, I often go to the time and trouble of starting each sock at the same point in the colorway, keeping my fingers crossed that there are no knots in the yarn to throw the color sequence off, but the stripes this yarn produces are very small and the color changes are subtle, so I didn’t bother to make the socks match exactly. I like the variation between the two socks. 😀

Remember this sock?

I took this picture before cast off the sock.

It’s sock #1 of Em’s Boot Socks, which I finished a few weeks ago. I sent it to Em to try on via my private, personal couriers, i.e., my DH and the boy, and I got it back yesterday via the same method, although for the return trip, the DH got the sock directly from Em. Because I knew I would be getting the sock back on Sunday, I started working on the foot on Saturday and worked on it yesterday, too. As of last night, I had already completed the first increase round on the leg of the sock.

Sock #2 done to the first increase round

I want to have the sock finished by next Sunday so that I can give it to the boy to take back to the Burgh for Em to start wearing now that the weather is getting more on the wintry side.

If, dear reader, you are wondering why I had to wait until I got sock #1 back before knitting sock #2, it’s because I sent sock #1 for a fitting without having bothered to write down how many rounds there were between the toe increases and the beginning of the heel. I also hadn’t written down how many rounds I knitted between the end of the heel and the first increase round on the leg, or how many rounds between the last increase round and the beginning of the ribbing. I didn’t write down how many rounds of ribbing I did, either. So I needed sock #1 back because for some strange reason, I want sock #2 to be the same size as sock #1. Go figure. LOL

Em’s Boot Socks sock #1 and sock #2 side by side

I’ll admit it. Sometimes I’m not the sharpest needle in the case, but it will all work out in the end. 🙂

FO Friday

Ta-da! The Show-Off Stranded Socks are ready for the wearing.

Show-Off Stranded Socks in CTH Supersocks “Birches”

I really like this stitch pattern, but I don’t care for the heel the designer uses, so I made a traditional heel-flap-and-gusset heel instead. I kept the heel flap in pattern except for knitting the first two and last two stitches to make a garter-stitch border to ease the picking up of the gusset stitches. Also, I made a round toe, which is my usual toe. I had just enough yarn to complete the socks, which fit my gunboats quite nicely. The Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn is very soft and wonderful to knit with. And the stitch pattern used for the sock is a good one to use for hand-painted sock yarns.

The Spider Queen hasn’t been blocked yet. I’m planning to stretch her out tomorrow while watching football. Yes, I’ll take pictures. 🙂

Here’s a shocker. It was about 12:56 am when I snipped the last woven-in end on Show-Off last night (technically early this morning, LOL), and because it was so late (or so early, depending on your perspective) I didn’t cast on a new project. At this very moment, I have nothing OTN.

Well, sort of. I have a second sock in my knitting basket that hasn’t been touched in at least a year, but I need to dig out the pattern so I can finish it.

I also have an afghan that is in the middle of being put together that I should finish up.

And then there’s St. Moritz. I don’t want to talk about St. Moritz. And we won’t even mention Melanie, a lace shawl from Sharon Miller, that needs frogging.

But the sock and the sweater are in time out for the foreseeable future, so they don’t count as OTN; the lace shawl is destined to be frogged, so it doesn’t count as OTN, either. The afghan is knitted; it just needs finishing, so it cannot be classified as OTN, either.

Therefore, I currently have NOTHING on the needles. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Something must be done to correct this horrendous situation! I have a plan brewing, and it involves some of my handspun as well as some commercial sock yarn and at least 3 different projects. I’ll let you in on it all tomorrow. 🙂

 

FO Friday

In addition to WIP Wednesday, Tami also gives us FO (Finished Object) Friday.

Alas, I have no finished items to report, although I’m close to completing the knitting on Her Royal Highness, The Spider Queen.

A weekend of football knitting should do the trick.

My ball of yarn is running pretty low,

but I still have another full ball stashed away, so there’s no fear of running short. 🙂

Maybe next Friday I will be featuring a knitted and dressed Spider Queen. Wouldn’t that be something!

The Itch

Yes, I’m getting “the itch,” that feeling virtually all knitters get that they just HAVE to start a new project. I’m doing my best to resist scratching that itch, but I don’t know how long I can hold out.

I’ve been working on The Spider Queen for a while now, although it’s been maybe a week since I have knitted a single stitch on her. I am determined to finish the regal arachnid before I cast on any new projects. And it really shouldn’t be very long before she’s done. After all, college football starts Saturday. (Well, actually, it starts tonight.) And that means that on Saturday, there will be college football noon to midnight, and that means knitting noon to midnight. 🙂

Fortunately, socks do not count as new projects, so I can cast on as many socks as I like. I’ve been working a little on my Show-Off Stranded Socks and I’m nearly finished with the gusset increases of sock number one. I have to admit that I really don’t understand the “Stranded” in the name of this sock pattern. There’s no stranded knitting whatsoever in the entire sock. But that’s neither here nor there. The pattern is fun to knit and I think it shows off my Cherry Tree Hill Supersock to the max.

Show-Off Stranded Sock #1 in CTH Supersock in Birches colorway

I hope to finished these socks in less time than it took me to complete the Brown Garter Rib socks.

As much as I am enjoying the socks,  what I’m really jonesing to knit is a sweater. One might think that I would satisfy my craving for a sweater-knitting project by resuming work on the Dale of Norway St. Moritz that has been waiting patiently for my attention for many months. But you’d be so very, very wrong. If only!  Believe it or not, there are visions of a raglan-sleeve cardigan dancing in my head. Really? A raglan cardigan?!?!?!?!? Yes, a plain, stocking stitch raglan-sleeve cardigan. In red. Yikes! If I ignore the voices in my head, maybe they will go away. 🙂