Knitty Keen

Knitting, knitting, and some more knitting

The more things change… January 20, 2016

…the more they stay the same.  I have signed onto yet another Mystery Knit-a-long, this one by a designer new to me called Casapinka.  The shawl is called Welcome Back Garter and looks like it will be interesting based on her other designs.  I won’t be able to start this one for almost a month when funds become available, but I’m sure it’ll be fun.  I’m going to branch out again and use something other than my shawl go-to, Tosh Merino Light.  The colorways just aren’t doing it for me any more so any suggestions for fingering weight yarns would be greatly appreciated.

In other news, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon my Facebook knitting group is on and make myself a pair of Rose City Rollers – only using ribbing instead of the rolled cuff which I know would drive me crazy.  I have 60+ grams of Tough Love Sock in Honey Fig leftover from The Doodler and I was going to do a pair of No Purl Monkey socks with the Pistachio for the cuffs, heels, and toes, but I can easily get a pair of anklets out of what’s left of the Honey Fig, and I like wearing ankle socks anyway.  One of my knitting New Year’s resolutions is to knit a pair of socks a month so even though I finished a pair already this month, I’m not really counting them because I started them back in November.

In the land of UFO’s (another resolution) – the Grass and Bubblegum shawl is two inches away from being finished.  Just in time to since I’m going to need it in the cold weather since my scarf has gone missing.  I still have The Desolation of Smaug (yeah, that’s how old it is) Mystery Knit-a-long to finish, two other shawls that need to be blocked, and to finish weaving in the ends (oh so many ends) on my Doodler so I need to get on the ball.  Lots to do until the funds are available for Welcome Back Garter.

I’m also treating myself to a set of Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries.  I just got the one with charted designs and it’s very nice.  Some beautiful cable designs – not as pretty as some in the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary but much more practical in my opinion.  I’m hoping for another when my birthday comes along next month, but I’ll have the set before the year is out.

I’ve been staying on top of it, so check the Knitty Keen Facebook page for Work in Progress Wednesday pics and the occasional Finished Object Friday.  Here’s the most recent finished object – my Crazy Zauberball garter rib socks.

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TTFN!

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot… December 30, 2015

It’s the end of the year and while I haven’t knit nearly as much as I would have liked, I did manage to get a few things done.  Here’s what’s been doing recently.

 

The Doodler

This was definitely been a challenge for me.  The cables nearly killed me, I think the biggest one had 34 stitches in it.  Then on clue three I kept messing up my count and having to frog and start all over again.  There was the running out of yarn in clue one and again in clue three I was afraid of it happening again, so I did the fourth wedge in Color A rather than Color C.  Here’s how it’s grown…

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The Doodler Clue 1

the doodler clue 2

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Here’s a pic of it blocking.  I’m still working on weaving in the ends.

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I’m really pleased with the results.  It fits over my shoulders perfectly and I look forward to wearing it in the hopefully chilly days to come.  Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Honey Fig, Saffron, and Pistachio on US size 4 (3.5mm) needles.

 

Follow Your Arrow 2 Shawl

This one took me quite a long time to get done.  I started out well but then it just sat for a while without being touched.  I still have yet to block it, but here’s a pic of it off the needles.

Follow Your Arrow 2 Shawl

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Baroque Violet and Grasshopper with US Size 6 (4.0mm) needles.

 

Monkey Jacobus

This one was a year in the making.  Looking back on my project page on Ravelry, I started it on the 23rd of December planning on gifting it on the 25th.  Yeah, right.  Well this year saw me finishing it on Christmas Eve to gift this year.  It was a hit for my nephew who loves monkeys.  Here’s the finished object.

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KnitPicks Stroll Handpainted in Carnival (discontinued color), Palette in Cream and Red, and Stroll Sock Yarn in Black on US size 2 (2.75mm) needles.

 

Grass and Bubblegum Shawl (Color Affection)

This has been languishing in UFO (unfinished object) territory for a while.  I’m going to starting to work on it in earnest again this weekend.  Here’s the most recent in progress pic where you can see how my gauge has changed.  I’m a little afraid to pick it back up again for fear of what my gauge will be this time.

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Crazy Zauberball Socks

Compared to my other projects, these are practically flying off the needles.  Just finished the gusset on the second sock, so there’s not much left to do before the toe and finishing it off.  Here’s today’s Work in Progress Wednesday picture…

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I’m not taking classes this semester so I really want to buckle down and get some knitting done.  I have two sweaters I want to make, two shawls to finish, and I’m aiming for one pair of socks a month this year (although I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep that up come fall with school).  Coming up I’ll be revisiting my review of Chiaogoo needles once I’ve finished my second sock on them and I’m finally going to put in the work and get some patterns published.  Check out the Knittykeen Facebook page to keep up with Work in Progress Wednesday pictures.  I think that’s enough to be working with for now, TTFN!

 

 

Doodling along December 9, 2015

The big project I’ve been working on the past few weeks is Stephen West’s The Doodler mystery knit along.  First snag I hit was running out of color A before I was finished clue 1, so I had to order another skein.

The Doodler Clue 1

Then I went on to clue 2 and all of those cables which took me forever to do because the number of stitches in the cable kept increasing and I’ve never done this type of cable before.

the doodler clue 2

After I finished with the cables I moved on to clue 3.  I had finished 3 wedges of clue 3 and was afraid that I was going to run out of yarn for the last one so I switched to color A for that one.

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I’m about halfway through the last wedge in Clue 3 and then onto the last clue and I’m done.  I’m so looking forward to finishing this and getting it blocked.

While I was waiting for the yarn to arrive to finish clue 1, I found an unopened Jimmy Bean’s package and there was a ball of Crazy Zauberball inside it so I cast on for a sock.

crazy zauberball sock

I’m about 3/4 the way through the heel flap and I have to find my copy of Sock Innovation so I can get the numbers to turn the heel.  I tend to keep this one in my bag so I only work on it in fits and spurts.  Once I’m done The Doodler I’ll work on it in earnest since I really want some wool socks now that the cold weather is here.  I only have another two weeks of school left then I’ll have my days free and I can work on the socks and my hibernating Grass and Bubblegum Shawl.  The only Christmas knitting I’m doing this year is finishing up the second leg of Monkey Jacobus for my nephew which was supposed to be gifted last year.  Not knitting for Christmas this year is liberating in a way, I don’t have to worry about deadlines and whether or not the recipient is going to like it.  If I do Christmas knitting for next year, I’m going to try and be sensible and start in July so I’m not going crazy in the fall since I’ll be in school again.

That’s it for what’s going on at the moment.  TTFN!

 

Back to the drawing board February 8, 2015

Filed under: Knitting,Patterns,Shawl,Socks — knittykeen @ 11:14 am
Tags: , , ,

Well it’s not all bad news.  I’ve been working on the Flirty Shawl this past week and discovered that my numbers were off from the scant notes I took for the first one.  My gauge is off too, because even with sevens and adding 5 more short rows on each side it looks like I’m using less yarn than I did for the one I did on sixes with fewer short rows, my knitting is that tight.  Good news is that I found the perfect spacing for the short rows, so it wasn’t a completely wasted effort.  I’m frogging it this morning and will be using it for a bit of transit knitting while we meet up with some family.  I’m also going to switch up to eights and try a little bit not to knit so tightly (if I try too hard it looks awful).  I should definitely have an in progress pic up by mid week and maybe even have it blocked by the weekend.

In other news, the sock monkey that just wont die only needs another leg to be finished.  The finished object is really cute, don’t get me wrong, but I have not had luck with the pattern, it just not logical for me.  I have several holes I have to repair, there really should have been a wrap and turn when doing the mouth, and some parts are just plain messy.  I of course missed yet another deadline for finishing it (was supposed to be gifted yesterday), but I’ll carve out a day to finish it up and get it mailed out to my nephew.  I made a comment to my husband that the only toys I’ll be knitting from now on are ones that I have designed myself, which isn’t really true but it would be easier.  Some of the problems are in the design but I think a lot is the fact that it was written in German and I’m working off an English translation.  I think there are some things that may be common in German knitting (like the messiness of the pattern in places) that just don’t translate well into American knitting.  I want it done and out of my house so I can chalk up the whole thing to experience.

Never got around to taking pictures this week for WIP Wednesday on my Facebook page, but I’ve worked on Monkey Jacobus, Grass and Bubblegum Shawl (Color Affection) got a few rows done, almost finished the second repeat of my Earth and Sea socks (Pomatomus), and of course the Flirty Shawl.  I’ll take pictures this week, but that’s what’s been doing ’round here. TTFN!

 

WIP’s and an FO January 28, 2015

I’ve been flitting from project to project these past few weeks.  Some of them aren’t portable so I can only work on them at home, other’s only get worked on while I’m riding the bus on Thursdays and Fridays.  Here’s what’s doing.

 

Flirty v 1.0

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Finally wove in the ends on this tonight and got some pictures to post.  This is the first version I did of Flirty way back in December of ’13.  The wing span is 62″ and the depth is 18″.  I’m hoping to get a bit more width out of it by going up a needle size and I also did a garter tab at the top so it looks neater.  Here’s where I am with version 1.1.

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I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Georgia O’Keefe.  When I first looked at the skein I thought it was a dark blue, but knit up it’s definitely more green.  I have one more eyelet repeat to finish before I start the short rows that will add to the wing span, then onto the ruffled edging.  I’m hoping to have the knitting on this done by the end of the weekend.

Monkey Jacobus

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He has a face now and most of an arm.  I’ve been dragging my feet on this one since doing it it fingering is such a PITA, but it needs to get finished so I can gift it at long last to my nephew next weekend.

Earth and Sea Socks (aka Pomatomus)

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These really only get worked on during my commute to appointments on Thursdays and Fridays.  We’ll see how much progress I can make this week.

Grass and Bubble Gum Shawl (aka Color Affection)

Tosh Merino Light Color Affection Colors

 

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I’ve been able to add a couple of more stripes since I started it on the 14th considering I’ve had the yarn for almost a year.  The colors in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light are Jade, Lepidoptra, and Clematis.   It’s getting time to switch to a longer cable so I can stretch it out.  It’s reached the point where it’s not really portable knitting any more so it will probably only get worked on on Wednesdays during Thing 1’s appointment where there is a nice couch in the waiting room where I can arrange the yarn balls around me.  I’d like to get this finished sooner than later but there are other things ahead of it in the queue.

That’s all for this week.  I still have gloves that I’d like to finish before the cold weather is gone, but that’s another at-home project so we’ll see what happens with those.  There’s also a sweater but again I don’t know if I’ll have the time to finish it before winter ends.  Maybe if I can manage my knitting time better I’ll be able to start cranking out some projects.  TTFN!

 

What’s in the works January 8, 2015

Haven’t done one of these in an age in a half.  I’ve been posting Work in Progress Wednesday pics on my Facebook page but I haven’t taken the time to write up what I’ve been doing.

Color Affection

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I started this way back on October 17th.  Started off with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Oak, Nutmeg, and Golden Hickory.  Finished the first section only to find out that I had read the instructions wrong and had to frog the whole thing.  Got through the second section and started the third when I realized the Golden Hickory had too much green in it and blended in with the Oak, so I ordered a skein of Sequoia and that did the trick.  I finished the knitting on it about two weeks ago and am only now getting a chance to block it so I can gift it on Sunday.  Once I got into the rhythm of it it was a great watching/listening to TV knit.  Not super portable once you get to three colors, I had to arrange the balls around me in a certain way so I didn’t get tangles.  I have yarn to make myself one which I’ll most likely be starting next month.

 

No Purl Monkey Socks

 

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These were started about the same time as Color Affection, but they were finished on the Sunday before Christmas.  No real problems with these except for my needle bending which made them painful to knit.  The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Deep Sea Flower.  Despite the painful knitting, the yarn was a dream to work with.  I was worried that they would be too small for their intended recipient since the pattern called to start the toe 1.5″ from the length of foot and I’ve always done 2″, this was one of the first times I was working directly from a pattern and not just a lace chart and my own measurements.  I went with the 2″ and they fit her perfectly.

 

Snowmen

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These were the bane of my existence this holiday season.  The plan was to have the pattern go live the beginning of November with a stock of finished ornaments and kits to make them to sell in my Etsy Shop.  Illness got in the way and that launch date got pushed further and further back until I just decided it wasn’t happening this year and I’ll try for next year.  I managed to get 4 bodies done but only finished two of them to give as teacher gifts.

 

Neck Warmer

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This was a quick and dirty knit for my son who needed something to keep his neck and face warm.  I used my Neck Warmer pattern but instead of the pattern stitch I did 2×2 ribbing since it was for a child.  It does look nicer than this in person since the ends have been woven in and it’s been blocked.  Only problem is that Thing 1 declared that it’s too itchy so he hasn’t worn it.  This is some Patons Classic Wool I had in my stash so next time I’ll have to go with something softer since he does have sensitive skin.  It’ll be a good back up for my husband.

 

Pomatomus

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I call these my Earth and Sea socks.  They are knit from River City Yarn’s Adam & Eve, a merino, cashmere, and nylon blend in a color way called Walnut.  The yarn was a gift from a friend in Canada and the yarn made exclusively for the yarn shop.  I have always loved Pomatomus, but I was afraid that the sock would be too tight on my big feet so I used the advice in Cookie A’s Sock Innovation to alter the leg chart to a 14st repeat and altered the instep chart accordingly.  I was a bit nervous about the instep chart since it has those two bits on either side, but when it came time for me to do the second instep repeat it worked!  I probably could have done another half a repeat before starting the toe, but it still looks good.

 

Monkey Jacobus

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This is the head and neck of Monkey Jacobus.  The first snag came when the Knit Picks Bare Merino Fingering (which they don’t make any more) I was planning to use for the face was moth eaten, so I had to use Knit Picks Palette instead which is a different base from the Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted Sock in Carnival (a discontinued color) that I was using for the body.  Second snag is that knitting this pattern in fingering is a study in frustration.  I’m supposed to gift it on Sunday and I don’t have any real worries about finishing it on time but weaving in ends and using new techniques are that much harder when using US Size 2 (2.75mm) needles.  I’m sorely tempted to see what I have in stash to do this in worsted weight, but I’ve already come so far that I’m going to see it through to the end.

 

Gloves

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This is actually my third go round with this pattern.  The yarn in Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Sock in Kathmandu that I bought last January.  After some searching for a pattern for my larger than average hands, I settled on Ann Budd’s basic glove pattern from her book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.  I decided to start out with a woman’s large at 8sts/inch.  Turns out that I get 7sts/inch on my US Size 2.5 (3.0mm) needles, so I frogged and decided to try the women’s large at the proper gauge.  When I got to the finger I knew that this wasn’t going to work since I could barely slide it on.  I’ve decided to go back to my original 8sts/inch women’s large (basically a men’s medium) knowing everything will be a bit larger because of the gauge difference but I’m sure I’ll get a better fit.

 

There’s a lot coming up – a sweater for me, a shawlette pattern that I need to do one more time before I have it tested and published, two shawls to finish and one to start, and stockings to make.  Due to illness, I didn’t get much knitting done in 2014, but 2015 will be different.  TTFN!

 

Product Review: ChiaoGoo US Size 1.5 (2.5mm) 40″ Circular Needles December 28, 2014

Filed under: Needles,Reviews,Socks — knittykeen @ 1:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

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I received a set of ChiaoGoo US Size 1.5 (2.5mm) 40″ circular needles this for Christmas from my oldest.  I had heard good things about these needles — the joins were good, the cable nice and best of all they were pointy.  When I opened the needles, my first thought was how was I going to get all those kinks out of the cable.  Unlike most needles, the cable on ChiaoGoo needles is a wire mesh cord covered in nylon and I couldn’t see that untangling in a pot of boiling water like I use for my regular needles.  I needn’t have worried, as soon as the were out of the package the cable uncoiled straight as can be.  It reminds me of the old Addi gold cables which you could also use right out of the package.

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The second thing I noticed was the bend at the end of each needle.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but where the bend is makes the needle fit perfectly and comfortably in my hand.  I also thought the bend was going to be a problem with sliding stitches onto the needle using magic loop.  I’m a tight knitter and I always spend a bit easing those last couple of tight stitches over the join onto the needle.  No such problem with the ChiaoGoo.  The joins are so smooth that the stitches just glide past with no struggle.  Some of this has to do with the yarn I’m using which doesn’t have a lot of stretch so I’ll reserve judgement until I use a stretchy yarn, but I have a feeling I’ll get the same results.  Again, the joins are a throwback to the old Addi gold cabled needles with their near invisible joins.

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Perhaps the best of all is that they are pointy!  I’ve been working on Pomatomus all morning and the twisted stitches haven’t given me a problem at all since the point just glides effortlessly through the back loop and I don’t have to do that thing where I stick the left needle in front of the right needle through the back loop then twist the needles around each other to get the left hand needle behind the right hand needle.  I’ve performed this maneuver so many times with my Knit Picks’ needles that doing twisted rib was a major pain.  The true test will come with a M1R of which there aren’t any in this particular sock so it’ll have to wait.

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This is my Knit Picks US size 1.5 (2.5mm) needle after knitting a pair of socks.  It was quite literally a pain to use.  I knit very tightly and the bend shortened the amount of usable needle to half the length which cause a great deal of thumb pain while I was knitting.  I was looking over the Knit Picks page and all it says is that they are nickle plated, but I don’t know over what.  The ChiaoGoo needles are stainless steel so we’ll see what happens to the needle after I’ve been using it for a while.  I expect a slight curvature, but I’ll be very disappointed if this happens with them.

Half a repeat into my first Pomatomus sock I’m very happy with the performance of these needles.  I have no pain in my hands using them, ktbl’s are a breeze, and the cable is nice and straight with no kinks.  I’ll revisit this once I’m done the socks and see how they’ve held up.