2017 Project Cha Cha – January Check-in

Dear Connie,
My new year’s resolution for 2017 is to get some of the growing mountain of UFOs completed. I started at the end of December by counting up all the projects I currently had on the needles. As I unearthed more project bags and remembered hidey-holes, the scope of the job ballooned.

I had 19 projects on the needles, at various stages of completion! Naturally there was a spreadsheet, and some tallying of the various stages of completion…but that’s a little too clear a view into my neurosis, don’t you think?

The rules for the next year are: two projects from pre-2017 must be completed prior to casting on anything new. Two projects down, one new one – hence the “cha cha”.

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Completed Pomatomus socks

The first thing off the needles was the Pomatomus Socks. I used SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Pistachio. They’re just a little bit loose on me, but it’s a very stretchy stitch pattern.

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Five knitted knockers!

Next I finished my kit’s worth of Knitted Knockers. I ordered 5 of these kits last year and some of the other ladies in my knitting group are working on them. This is such a great charity, and a very speedy project.

So, with two down I got to pick something new:

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Beginnings of a Constellate hat.

This is the Constellate hat by Hunter Hammersen. The yarn is madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in colorway Nighthawk. I thought the slipped stitches would show off the color changes in a fun way, and I’m not disappointed so far.

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Close-up of the Constellate stitch pattern.

2017 Stats as of 1/31/17:
18 projects on the needles
17 from before 2017, 1 after
Overall % completion 1/1/17: 46%
Overall % completion 1/31/17: 52%

Slowly but surely!
~ Lindsay

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Pomatomus Knit-Along

Dear Connie,

Who put the Pom in the Pom-a-tom-a-tomus?

Who put the Knit in the Knit-a-long-a-ding-dong?

Sorry, this sock name just makes me giggle!  I know it’s after fish and their scales, but it’s funny-sounding.  So…in the wee hours of the Japanese morning I contacted you to let you know I was “feeling sock-y” and we decided on a Cookie A pattern.  Specifically this one!  First up: yarn selection.

I pulled my 3 skeins of SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock and picked the bright green, Pistachio.

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After a cursory review of the pattern, I knew I had to use my Signatures!  These wicked pointy size 2’s are my go-to for most socks, but as soon as someone says “through the back loop” they seem like the only choice.  (Plus, they didn’t have anything on them and I didn’t want them to think I didn’t love them…)

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Pictured here is almost a full repeat of Chart A – I wanted to catch the good light while I could!  This is one day’s work (this sock is addictive).  There are some mistakes:

  • I jacked the set-up row by misinterpreting the repeat instructions.  Instead of “yo, k2tog, (*p1, k1tbl)”, I did “*yo, k2tog, p1, k1tbl”.  There are a lot of extra yarn-overs!
  • Then I repeated the first row of Chart A unnecessarily…
  • And later I found a spot where I had neglected to decrease and I had to finagle a k3tbl.  Only with Signatures!!

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But here I am at the end of two repeats of Chart A and going like gang-busters.  Considering I have a complete repeat of Chart A before the heel flap, I think this sock is going to be quite tall.  Which is good, because I’ll be able to wear it with my boots without them rubbing on my shins.

Anywho, I’m so excited to be working on something with you again!

Love, Lindsay

All I can make are idiot socks

Dear Lindsay,

As I write this, it is Saturday morning here, but it’s a couple of hours into Sunday where you are, so I want to wish you a happy birthday. Enjoy that breakfast sausage; you’ve earned it.

As you can see, I’ve gotten nowhere trying to keep up with our KAL, but I have managed to do a bit of knitting. These are socks for my lovely friend who sends me the Advanced Reader Copy of books by an author you don’t read. She sends me the new book every year, several months before it’s published, and I read it, send it back to her, and periodically I knit something as a thank you. These are pretty standard top-down, 64 stitches around, on 2.25 mm DPNs but with a short-row heel (wrap and turn method) because I like the way W&T looks in self-striping yarn. She hasn’t said if they fit her yet, but I’m really hoping they do; I had to go by her shoe size.

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These are new socks for me. I broke down and got past the hyperbole and spent $1 on the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern. I dutifully made my cardboard foot tracing and used the formula to determine when to start the heel, and what do you know? It actually worked well. This sock is toe-up on a 2.25 mm circular needle, and I hit the sweet spot in length because I finished the bind off about 24 inches from where is started the toe, so I can make the stripes match.

(I’ve now edited and added the picture of the heel. It fits very well, and it meets my need for symmetry by looking virtually identical on both sides, something that most other short-row heels do not).

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In looking at my Ravelry notebook, I’ve completed only 4 projects this year, none of them particularly challenging. I would love to be able to knit more, and I’ve started some other projects, only to frog them, and I’ve swatched a few things as well, but nothing’s come of any of the swatches. Someday, though, hopefully within the next 6 months, I will graduate with my BS, and I will have more time to knit and to read for pleasure. In the meantime, I’m making socks that do not require me to think and knocking off the occasional dishcloth or baby sweater. I will, someday, be ready to finish our epic KAL.

Did I mention that I’m starting to think pretty seriously about getting an MBA in Healthcare Management through WGU?

Anyway, I miss you a lot, and I wish you the happiest possible birthday.

Love,

Connie

The Agony of Defeat

Dear Lindsay,

I give up. I just can’t make the Slip and Slide socks work. I’ve changed yarn, changed needles, and changed my expectations, but no matter what I manipulate, either the socks are going to auto-amputate my feet just above the ankle, or the stockinette gauge for the sole is going to be such that I will walk holes in the soles within approximately 2 wearings. Neither alternative is acceptable, so I think I have to move on. Someday, I have high hopes that I will find a (possibly sport-weight) yarn that I can use and make these socks work for me, because they really are pretty and very fun to knit, but until that time, I think we should move to another sock in the book. I can’t have nothing on the needles for too long; I’ll get cranky.

How do you feel about The Mock Cables and Lace socks?

Love,
Connie

P.S. It feels like it’s about a million degrees here lately, and no rain at all, and yet I still want to play with wool. I may be a knitting addict. Obviously, though, the only 12 steps I need are the ones that lead me to the LYS.

Finished Baby Items

Dear Connie,

Actual knitting content!  Wonders never cease.

A woman in my knitting group here, the Okinawa Yarnies, is expecting her second baby later this month.  Remembering how much I loved the one you made for Leah, I decided to finally try my hand at the Baby Surprise Jacket:

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Now, because this is the recipient’s second child, I wanted to make something for the soon-to-be big brother.  The way I see it, it’s kind of a raw deal when you’re used to being an only child, then you get a new baby in the house that gets all the attention PLUS a whole bunch of presents.

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These projects were so much fun to knit, and the recipient was very surprised and touched when I gave them to her, which is so gratifying.

I also got my Ruby Red off the needles and blocked, but it needs buttons before it’s ready to present to the world.  Soon!

I miss you a ton.

Love, Lindsay

Finally Finished

Dear Lindsay,

Today, the skies opened, the sun shone, and choirs of small children sang, because I finally finished the Knot Socks! Here they are in all their glory.

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They are very pretty, and the yarn is just delightful (Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Terrywinkle), but the best word I can think of to describe these is tedious. The pattern is deceptive because when you look at it, you don’t immediately see that large chunks of this sock are 1×1 ribbing on soul-crushingly tiny needles. It’s a scam, I tell you, a scam!

I finished the second one last night while I was watching Miracle (again). It’s a surprisingly good movie to knit to, partly because I’ve seen it a bunch of times, and not in small part because I know how it turns out (having been a teenager when the actual Miracle on Ice game was played). It does make me a little sad at how badly it fails the Bechdel Test, but you can’t have everything.

This morning, I did the little photo shoot for the picture above for the sock and then went to try them on, and they’ve gone to live in Amanda’s room because they are simply too tight for me. I worked on those socks for 99 days (yes, I just found an elapsed time calculator on Google so I could check), only to find out at the end that they don’t fit me. Fortunately, Amanda’s feet are just that little bit smaller than mine that they fit her beautifully. If they had been too small for her, I might have just burst into tears.

In other news, I’m deeply immersed in IT classes and preparing for the first half of the test that will get me A+ certified. In fact, I’ll be taking practice tests for several hours today before I wander over to my mom’s house to watch the Oscars tonight. I’ll also be thinking about the yarn I’m going to use for our next sock in the KAL, and I’ll let you know when I’ve got that picked and am ready to start.

Love, Connie

Robbed by the Wind: the True Non-Story of the Flight of the HMS Auspicious Kanji

Dear Connie,

I’m feeling pretty hateful toward all my knitting right now (and a number of other things) so instead I will describe a recent adventure on Okinawa.  Please bear in mind that I have no idea how many of the traditions described below are entirely fabricated by a bored coworker.

New Year is a pretty huge deal in Japan.  One of my coworkers said that on January second, the kids paint Kanji words with auspicious meanings.  He brought in a bunch of stuff and we did a lunchtime art project.  Mine says “wealth.”

Then you’re supposed to burn your paper on January 14th.  The person whose paper goes the highest while burning is meant to have good fortune.  At first this was taken to mean that we would be rich in the words that we had painted, but it ended up that you were just supposed to have good handwriting that year?  I don’t know.

I took the burning idea to another level, and built a hot air balloon out of my paper:

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Meet the HMS Auspicious Kanji.  The bottom part holds a votive and is constructed out of a toilet paper tube and washi tape.  (Holy crap, washi tape is awesome.)

As January 14th approached, we struggled for locations to burn our Kanji.  We ended up going to the beach.

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I have extensive (humiliating) video and photo documentation of the utter failure that my balloon ended up being.  I burned the paper top, blamed the windy beach on its flight issues, and decided to sell my story to Lifetime.

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Look for it this Summer, “Robbed by the Wind: the True Non-Story of the Flight of the HMS Auspicious Kanji.”  I will be played by Juliette Binoche, I have no doubt.

Other things that are happening:

  • I knit Leah some doll dresses for her birthday.  She loves them and demanded more!Dresses
  • Leah also got her first yarn and needles and we’ve been having a row or two of knitting lessons in the evening.  Maybe next time I’ll post a video of her chanting, “In through the front door, once around the back, peek through the window, and off jumps Jack!”
  • Only 4 out of 5 crates of our stuff arrived, but soooooo much is missing I’m wondering how it could all have just been in one crate.

Hope everything is good in WA.  I’ll try to be more knitterly next time.

Love, Lindsay