Sweater (and sock) Time!

Dear Lindsay,

Since last I wrote, I have completed things and started new ones.

First we have the wee sweater and hat for That Boy’s best friend’s baby (soon to be born). You know how I love the BSJ, and this variation on an “umbilical cord” hat worked in fingering weight yarn goes well with it. Those are waiting to be given to the expectant daddy, I believe today.

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Then we have “our” knitting. I finished the first of the Knot Socks, and I have the second on the needles. I have 1 full pattern repeat done on leg, but the tiny needles and yarn are killing my hands right now. I find I’m knitting these really tightly for some reason, and that’s making the achy hand worse. It’s really weird, you’d think with my constant fear that I’m going to snap one of the 2 mm Harmony DPNs that I’m using for these, I’d ease up my grip, but it’s not working out like that. So knitting on these continues at a slower rate. I can do about half a pattern repeat (so about 10 rounds) before my hands tell me it’s time to do something else.

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The other night, that something else was playing with a swatch from Miss Babs (sent with my HiyaHiya interchangeables). I had forgotten about the tiny skein of yarn that was sent with the needles until I went looking for the Krydda pattern so I could start it. For some reason, I had tucked the skein into my 3-ring binder o’ printed patterns. Since it was DK weight, I grabbed US 4 (3.5 mm) needles and made a tiny swatch (it’s 10 yards of yarn, so very tiny swatch). The yarn is pretty amazing; it kind of reminds me of BMFA Socks that Rock in terms of roundness, smoothness, and bounce. In a solid or semi-solid, I could see a great textured stitch pattern sweater in this yarn. In this sort of colorway, you’d lose a pattern, but the colors are really nice, even though when I was knitting it up, it was later in the day, and I swore all the blues were actually green. I couldn’t see the actual color until the next morning when I took the picture.

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And for what I did yesterday, I finally started Krydda. The Dream in Color Classy is, as you know, really delightful to knit with. Softy, smooth, bouncy, and the colors blend really nicely. I was a little concerned when I was swatching because I thought the swatch colors were kind of jarring, but over a larger stitch count, the different shades of blue and purple are blending much more subtly, which is especially important since there’s going to be lace incorporated once I get to that point in the pattern.

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In other news, Christmas has come and gone with my usual amount of fanfare (that is to say, none), and I’m not officially doing anything with school until next week when my second term starts (there are rules about how late in a term you can add a class or take a test, and since That Boy is home, I’m not pushing myself too hard).

I can’t believe it’s almost 2015. Where did this year go?

Love,

Connie

Project Surrogate Sock

Dear Connie,

On Monday night (Knit Night), one of the ladies in my knitting group arrived visibly upset.  She had two pairs of socks started (toe up, two at a time) and hadn’t gotten much past the increases.  They were her first socks, but their unfinished nature was starting to wear on her.

She’ll be leaving the island next year, and I can completely understand the frustration inherent in moving long-term UFOs.  Sometimes we knitters can ball up all our life’s frustrations into a knitting difficulty, then grow to fixate upon and despise the project (Lingerie sock melt-down, anyone?).

Together, we frogged both pairs of socks.  They had been worked at too large a gauge and with too many increases so it was best to start fresh.  I gave her a brief rundown of Stephanie’s marvelous Good, Plain Sock.  After a bit of pleading and a bag of bribery yarn, I took the yarn for one pair home with me.

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Meet the Surrogate Sock.  I don’t have any idea what the yarn is, but it’s a thickish fingering/sport weight.  She likes short-legged socks and is only a size 8, so this practically flew off the US 3’s.  The bribery yarn was insane – more on that later – but the long and short of it is this:

I know how it is to look at a failed project and mentally ascribe all the incompletes and inadequates that our lives can fill up with.  This is a small thing to me, a week or so of knitting, and it will make a woman who has been kind and friendly to me happy.

***

I haven’t done much with my own knitting.  We’ve moved into the house, received our first shipment of goods, and managed to slog through Christmas.  This is a crap time of year to move house with a little kid, but she seemed to have a very good holiday.

Now if I can only make it through her birthday…

Love Lindsay

Bulletproof

Dear Lindsay,

Over the weekend, I took some time to work on the Knot Sock. I finished the heel flap, turned the heel, and completed the (surprisingly few) gusset decreases and am working my way down the foot. After a I turned the heel (and noticed that it might well be bulletproof; that is some dense fabric right there), I had momentary concerns about fit. Actually more than momentary, almost pure panic. The heel construction, as you know because you’ve done it already, is not the way I’ve turned heels in the past, and it looked so small, partly because of the way it’s turned (I seriously read the instructions 5 times saying to myself, “where’s the K1 after the decrease before the turn?”) and partly because of the S1 K1 construction of the actual turn. I slipped it onto some waste yarn and popped it on my foot to make sure I wasn’t going to have to start over. Normally I’d slip it on with the needles still in, but these are 2.0 mm Harmony DPNs, and frankly I’m worried about snapping them most of the time while I’m knitting these. The good news is that they do fit me; the bad news is that I probably spent 30 minutes wrestling them back onto the needles from the waste yarn. I should have put them on a big circ.

Anyway, we have the heel, and in this picture you can see that the yarn is every so slightly and subtly hand-painted and not 1 uniform color.

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And here’s the front of the leg/instep. I’m halfway through the fourth total pattern repeat. I’m not sure how many it’s going to take to get to the toe, but I’m willing to do the work to find out.

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I showed you this last week, but I have actually put a button on something, which is cause for celebration, so here is that button. I decided on transparent pink sparkles, just because I could

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In other news, school continues to go well. I have 23 days as of today left in my term, and I’m working on Introduction to Geography right now. Hoping to be done with it by this time next week. Then I’ll go back to the class I’ve been putting off and hopefully find time to get that done while Tony is home for the holidays. Before he gets home, I’ll need to get the BSJ shoulders seamed and get buttons on it. Apparently that baby is also coming soon.

Meanwhile, I loved all your pictures this week, and it’s hard to pick a favorite, since I am a big fan of Maggie and The Pickle, but I did especially like to see Leah eating the hot dog. I can’t believe how fast she is growing up. And I’m really glad that you’re all settling in over there. It’s good to embrace new things.

Love,

Connie

Substitute Content

Dear Connie,

There has been an awful lot going on, but not much of it was knitting.  The cats came in Thursday night and are living in the kennel here.  One or more of us has been going to the kennel every day to get them out of their VERY tiny shared box and let them stretch and play.  No one seems the worse for wear as a result of the trip.

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The Pickle gets very nervous about the sounds of dogs barking outside.  Well, he’s just nervous in general.

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Maggie has been exploring the cat furniture in the kennel’s “Cat Play Room.”

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We’ve been trying to branch out a bit and explore here.  This weekend we went to a tree lighting festival on-base, shopped at a craft fair where some friends of mine had a table, explored a Japanese grocery store, and tried the local curry.  All wonderful!  This picture is the tail end of Leah DEVOURING a hot dog, which would not be noteworthy except that she wasn’t eating a hot dog unless it was cut up before I left earlier this year…

Hopefully I will be able to post some actual knitting soon.  Life is very hectic (but good) right now.

Love, Lindsay

How did it get to be December?

Dear Lindsay,

Yeah, how did it get to be December? Since I’ve had my birthday and “my” holiday, I’m ready for spring, but since that’s not happening right yet, I do have some knitting to show off. Just like the semi-finalists at the Miss USA Pageant, these are in no particular order.

First up, a Calorimetry for Cassaundra. I made her one several years ago, and it got misplaced in one of their moves. I knit this last night while watching 2 episodes of Wonderfalls, a Doctor Who (The Impossible Planet, in which we meet the Ood), and an episode of Scrubs. It’s Plymouth Encore, and I need to weave in the ends and go through the button stash for something that will work.

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Next we have the BSJ for Kyle’s baby. Apparently I started working on this on November 9. The knitting part has been finished for a few days, but I need to weave in ends, sew the shoulder seams, and sort out buttons (story of my knitting life). Oh and make a hat to go with it, but I’ll get there. The yarn for this one is Fluoromania Color in Neon Beach. I just love this yarn with this pattern; I think they’re an excellent match.

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Finally (but again, we’re in no particular order, so it’s certainly not least), we have my Knot Socks. I noticed well after I picked the yarn that I have considerably less yardage to work with than the original specified by the pattern (although wouldn’t it be nice if the books/patterns told us, “hey, I had about X number of yards left over” so that we could plan?), so I did one less repeat on the leg. Right now, the leg is done, and I have the first couple of rows on the heel flap. The tiny needles and the really super cold snap are slowing me down a bit with this one. I have to break more frequently to stretch out my hands, particularly my right thumb, but man I love this yarn, Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in color Terrywinkle.

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And I think I’ve solved my problem with the Twisted Stitch Stockings for this KAL (that problem being where was I going to get 720 yards of matching yarn). I received a very generous gift card to WEBS for my birthday, and I was able to order a 3-pound cone of Franklin Undyed Sock Yarn (which has 5400-ish yards). I may knit those straight off the cone and let them be natural colored to show off the pattern. The rest of the yarn, I’ll skein off in sock amounts and dye as needed. In theory, I should be able to get 14 or so pairs of socks out of the cone.

Meanwhile, when I’m not knitting, work is going as well as it ever does, and school is going very well. I’m in the last month of my current 6-month term, and I’ve completed more than a year’s worth of courses so far, and I’m going to complete at least 1,  if not 2, more courses this month. Currently working on Geography and then I plan to go back to the Literature, Arts, and the Humanities Interpretation course that I’ve been putting off.

I’m so happy that you’re settling into your new life on Okinawa. Think of me when next you eat some really good sushi.

Love,

Connie