Friday, August 29, 2014

Block party

I'm quite sure I'm not the first person to make that pun. Still, I like it, so I guess I'll just be unoriginal.

I finally got around to blocking two of the three finished things that have been sitting idle, waiting to be fully finished. I did the purple short-sleeved sweater - which, by the way, I just barely had enough yarn to finish - and a cowl I knit while in BC. Still waiting for its turn is a grey sweater.

And, um, three older sweaters that need to be handwashed. Eh, I'll get there.

Getting those two items off the couch makes me feel a whole lot better about the brown sweater that will be cast on very soon - the yarn is all wound up now. And maybe I'll make another cowl.

Plus I've been putting some time into a hat for the resident Mister. Oh, and Sock Sniper is starting up soon - I'm non-combatant, but last year my sister picked one of the patterns and got another pair of socks, and I think that will be happening again this year, provided at least one of the patterns isn't lacy.

I still haven't had that filing party I need to have, so the appearance of disaster still abounds. I did make some good progress on real work things, though, so there's that. At least there's a good reason why I haven't tidied up around here.

Well. I would say that Had to knit stuff is an excellent reason not to tidy up. Other people, however, seem to have differing opinions on that.

Monday, August 25, 2014

One way or the other

I may have fallen down the rabbit hole at Little Knits in the past week. Not just once, but twice. In fairness to me, I was starting to slip, and then my sister slipped, so we took a couple of combined tumbles. So even though it's not all mine, there's still a couple of boxes of yarn on their way here, and that always makes me look around at what's already here. Gotta make room for the new arrivals.

Around here is a complete sty right now - we're about to embark on a renovation journey, having recently completed a house purchase journey, so there are property listings and mortgage paperwork sort of strewn all over the table in the living room - I need to have a filing party somewhat soon - and boxes of things for the new place like bathroom fixtures and a new bed frame are also being piled up wherever we can find the space. Add this chaos to the fact that while I appreciate clean and tidy places, I lack the sort of diligence required to maintain a clean and tidy space, meaning I tend to leave my stuff in the places I usually haunt, so there's also a lot of yarn in the area surrounding the living room table. A couple of things are all knit up and waiting for blocking, some stuff is in progress, some is wound up and waiting.

Like I said, though, I did some assessing of the current state of affairs, and when I moved a pile of real estate paperwork off the couch, I discovered this underneath:

That's a nearly complete sweater right there. Why did it get buried?

Because I'm playing yarn chicken with it.

Apparently, the game of yarn chicken can go two ways. Sometimes, it makes me especially obsessive with a project - I try to knit faster, which really means I knit on it whenever possible, as if it were possible to finish the project early and in doing so not run out of yarn. As if yarn has a lifetime based on days elapsed since cast on, and not actual yardage. But other times, when I start to worry about running short, I go the other way - I back right off, almost as if I'm trying to give the yarn a bit of time to grow so that I will be sure to have enough to finish.

Of course, if you think about it, neither approach makes any sense whatsoever. But there they are.

There's very little left on this sweater - it's a short-sleeved one, the pattern only has me work about 12 rounds on each sleeve, and I think I'll do another 1/4" or so on the body before doing an inch or so of ribbing. Really, I should pick this up again and just get through it - I could plausibly get it done before classes resume next week!

Besides, then I would feel less guilty about having started to wind up this:

At the very least, I should probably finish the purple sweater before I cast on the brown.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

K'done: Plain Socks

I finished these ages ago. Ages ago.

Pattern: None, just a plain ol' stockinette sock, cobbled together from my experience
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in Blackwatch Plaid
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Honest, according to my Rav notes, I finished them in May - on her birthday, actually, and I do have a vague memory of flinging them at her or tucking them into the gift bag her actual gift was in. (I did say the memory was vague.) I just never blogged them until now because I only took that picture of her wearing them last week, while we were out on Vancouver Island.

There's not actually much for me to say about these socks - I wanted to try out my new Sigs when they arrived, and plain stockinette seemed a good first run, which meant I could reach for a crazier colourway. She added this yarn to an online order I was placing based primarily off the name, and neither of us was quite sure what to do with it when it arrived. Plain socks seemed a good match, and once she was on board, I was off and running. Well, off and knitting.

Not in any super zippy way, though. Just a round here, a few stitches there, most of the knitting was accomplished as I waited in the car. But that's the great thing about this craft - a little here, a little there, and you'll get to a finished object.

I know I've been silent for a while. We were away. Again. I've got more stuff to show you. It needs blocking, though. So, you know. It might be a little while.

Monday, August 4, 2014

DNF: Tour de Sock 2014

The Tour is over, the dust has settled, and I am here to sheepishly confess that I did not finish. I didn't knit the last pair, a pair of double knit socks.

What happened? Well, timing was the major player. The sixth pattern was released while I was on holiday with my parents and siblings in London, England. I had taken all my supplies with me, fully intending to knit during our down moments, with the plane ride home and the last day of the Tour available for a mad sprint to the finish line as needed.

The thing is, there weren't many down moments on this particular vacation - which is sort of unusual for my family, we usually holiday as a pretty laid-back bunch - and I've never done double knitting before. I cast on, worked the first toe, and realized that there was no way. No way I would ever finish by the deadline. I was too slow with it, and there weren't enough moments for me to make much headway before the flight and the final sprint day, which would mean the best case scenario would have me knitting the second sock in a single day - and I have yet to do that with non-double knitting (single knitting?).

I considered persevering, as a learning experience. Then I fiddled with the doubly thick fabric I was getting, and considered that I wouldn't be able to wear these socks with shoes, which means I'd hardly wear them, and did I really want to use up two skeins of precious sponsor yarn on a single pair of socks that wouldn't see much use?

So I heaved a sigh, and pulled out what I'd done.

In fact, once the haze of the race had cleared, I had to face the fact that I'm not wild about the way my Wye socks were fitting, so once we were home again, I pulled those apart too.

So this year's Tour has me in a three-way tie for 82nd place, and I have four pairs of socks to show for it.

I have a glint in my eye to do better next year.

Until then? I have other things to turn my attention to. Like this:

That there is an Owlie sock, the second in a pair I started for my sister last summer, flailing about between stages of Tour 2013. I got the first one done, and about half of the leg of the second, and then I put them down for rather a long time. Knitting them rapidly became rather chore-like - the needles are the 'new' Knit Picks Sunstruck DPNs, a batch of the made in China ones, and wow I do not like them. They feel sort of plasticky, and the stitches seem to stick more than with my other KP needles - all of which were from made in India batches. I could have switched the needles, but at the time when I set the sock aside, I was thoroughly sick of the whole thing, and when I finally picked it back up again to take as in-flight knitting to London, I was a bit worried about needle confiscation at the airport, particularly leaving Heathrow to come back, and left these ones in, reasoning that I wouldn't be terribly upset if they were taken from me. As an aside, there was no problem at all in either direction. (I didn't really expect to lose them departing from Canada.)

Anyway. They're nearly done now, I'm just playing a bit of yarn chicken. I've only got a few rounds left of the foot before starting the toe decreases. Will the yarn hold out?

Admittedly, this is not a particularly high-stakes game of yarn chicken - I have more, there's a remnant cake of this yarn from the first sock...somewhere. I have a pretty good idea of where it is, but I could be wrong. Either way, my life will be easier if this yarn makes it to the end.

Which would be good, because my sister wants these socks, and running out of yarn just before Kitchenering will force me to put the sock down while I search out that remnant cake, and if I am feeling frustrated, who knows how long it will be before I pick it up again...

Friday, August 1, 2014

K'done: Arch-Nemesis Socks


Pattern: Arch-Nemesis, by Sarah Bordelon
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Unconquerable Sole, in Grey Flannel
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Rank: #76

Well. I actually finished these well before the cut-off (but not early enough to score more than minimum completion points) - way back on 15 July. So why has it taken me so long to blog them? Because I finished them, took my required pictures and emailed them off to the Tour Director, then tossed some clothes in a suitcase and made a dash for the airport to catch a London, UK. I then spent two weeks doing the tourist thing with my family, with little time for Internet access, never mind blogging my socks!

So. These socks. What do I remember about them?

I remember enjoying the knit. There's a bit of cabling, but most of the patterning is accomplished using lacework techniques - yo, k2tog, ssk, and the like. The architecture involves some arch-shaping, which I'd never done before, and I quite like the result - stockinette on a bias snugs the fabric around the foot up a fair bit. The yarn is a BFL/nylon 80/20 blend, and I enjoyed working with it, though in all honesty it's a tiny bit scritchier than the Invictus merino/nylon blends - I'm not sure my neck would tolerate a scarf or cowl worked out of it. Socks should be no problemo, though. I especially heart this colourway, though it may be a tiny bit too variegated and obscure the fancy work a bit. Or maybe it just doesn't photograph well. Or maybe me using my iPhone 4 camera for FO pics really isn't the way to go. Sigh.

Still, a successful Tour leg, and another pair to restock the sock drawer.