Dreaming of Mittens

Before I went to bed last night, I did a Ravelry search of stranded mitten patterns.

When I woke up this morning, I thought about stranded mittens.

When I walked to school, I thought about stranded mittens.

I may have looked up yarn to purchase to make stranded mittens.

It’s an obsession and I have to stop! I have too much other knitting to do… For starters, basically an entire sweater, as well as all of the Christmas presents that are left.

Speaking of, I’ve made some good progress on my Dad’s socks. I’m at 4.5 inches out of 7 inches for the cuff/leg. I’ll be finished in no time. Tonight may not be the night though… I have a midterm tomorrow in my Agricultural Production Systems, Health, & Industry class (I know, it’s a mouthful). I’m hoping it won’t be too bad, as its my first midterm this semester and I’m totally out of practise.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the library, about to start studying, and I’m reminded of last year. It was first year, and I mostly knitted baby hats and socks.

I haven’t knit a pair of mittens in over a year.

I think I’m going to make mittens next.

Conflicted

The most shocking and unexpected thing happened to me last night…

I couldn’t decide which project to work on. Clearly, this demonstrates the fact that I have way too many projects on the needles. I sat last night, and considered each of my four projects, and simply couldn’t choose which one I should work on.

The Fuzzballs are simple stockinette, boring but also annoying due to all of the fibres. I find that they tend to shed all over my clothing as well, and I was still wearing my work clothes.

The Hat Heel Socks are also boring old stockinette. I haven’t measured the recipient’s foot, so I’m not sure how much longer I need to make them.

The scarf is totally addicting, but not so good to work on while you’re trying to do other things. It knits up quickly and is close to being done, but the concentration aspect of it doesn’t make it good for knitting in the dark.

The sweater is now 6 rows in, but each row seems to take so long to finish! Having 87 stitches in a row may not be a struggle for some, but when you’re used to doing simple old socks, it’s a bigger deal. Also, knit one purl one involves some iota of concentration, so I can’t carry on a conversation and continue knitting without looking down.

I finally decided to knit on the scarf for an hour and the sweater for an hour. I just can’t believe that I had to decide!

What is this blurry mess?

However, when you’re late for work it’s not hard to choose; grab the first thing you see. This mess of colour is in my bag, ready for break. It’s my third last day of work, and one of my last chances to knit on break. Who knows… Maybe this will mean that a finished object post is on the way!

Splurge

You would think, on a student budget, I would have learned by now how to control my debit card. Apparently not.

Yesterday, I visited the yarn store. They have moved to a new location, and I haven’t really talked to the owners much before. They turned out to be really nice and extra helpful. I explained that I wanted to knit a sweater, but I didn’t have the pattern with me. Sure enough, the owner pulled it up online, then ran around the store and pulled every blue or purple yarn that she had in stock. Eventually, I picked a nice blue one, and she got me 15 skeins of it. FIFTEEN SKEINS.

I have never bought that much yarn in my life. I actually left the store with 17 skeins, because I bought two skeins for scarves. She gave me a good deal, thank god, but I still can’t believe that it happened. She also said I could come back anytime for help if I needed it. This is why I love small towns, independent small businesses, and knitters. They make the yarn shopping experience so much better.

Since you’re wondering, the pattern I’m going to be knitting is Victoria. It seems like a pretty good first sweater project.

Here’s the yarn… It’s called Click, and the colour doesn’t have a name.

A better shot of the colour.

I’m excited to start knitting it… I need to do a little measuring and some gauge, and I should be good.

I also got some cool scarf yarn. I only photographed one of the skeins (the other is pink, for my best friend for Christmas), but this is seriously the coolest stuff ever.

The scarf

This is the yarn for the scarf, when you unfold it. It’s tricky to knit, but really cool! The brand is just the house brand for the store, so you can’t get this exact stuff anywhere else.

A closeup of the scarf

I love it.

Oh yeah… All of the other WIPs I currently have on the needles.

I’m a knitting machine lately.

In the public eye

I’m a closet knitter. I tend not to knit in public places, and I don’t knit in front of anyone except my family, my boyfriend, and my very close friends.

I haven’t always been this way. I remember when I was younger, and just starting out, I would bring my knitting with me everywhere I went. I was probably around 10-12 at the time. I will never forget someone looking at me a little funny in a waiting room once, then another lady saying “She’s knitting… What is she, a grandma?” And from then on… The knitting stayed in the bag.

Then I went to highschool. I had to be very careful about knitting. Anything I made and wore in public had to be extra-cool. I made mittens in grade 11 that were red and white houndstooth pattern (I still wear them regularly) and I remember some of my classmates ooh-ing and ahh-ing over them. Inevitably, the “where did you get them” question came up… I told them I made the mittens. There were looks of confusion, but in the presence of knitted items that they clearly approved of, they were decently supportive. None-the-less, I maintained my knitting in secret status.

Since I’ve moved away to University, my perception has changed a little, but I’m still a closet knitter. Am I afraid to show people that I am successful at an age-old craft? That if all of the clothing production in the world shut down one day, I would still be warm? That instead of sitting on the couch and eating a bag of chips every night, I sit on the couch and make socks? I’m more productive than the average human, that’s for sure. And there are millions of knitters in the world. Without knitters, during World War I and World War II, our soldiers’ feet and hands would have frozen solid. (I can’t scientifically back that up, but I’ve always thought the propaganda about knitting for the soldiers and supporting the war effort was pretty cool).

I think that if I brought the knitting everywhere I needed to go, I would get a lot more done. How often to I have a weird 10 minute wait for something? Could have been knitting. Lineup at the gym? Could have been knitting. Waiting for a class to start? Could have been knitting. Bus ride home? Could have been knitting. You get the picture.

I carted my super-scary-pattern-sock-knitting around with me yesterday, and I have before and after pictures to show just how much work you can get done.

Heel and gussets done; just a big mess of stitch holders, needles, and cut yarn

After an hour break at work, and a movie last night, part of the foot is complete!

See what I mean? Progress, by using all available time, public or no.

(Since you’re wondering, these are Hat Heel Socks in Paton’s Kroy Sock yarn. I’ll have to check the colourway.)

A realization, of sorts

I have been browsing yarn shops, knitting stores, and patterns all morning. I have realized a number of things:

1. Drooling over knitting bags (that I really don’t need) is only wasting my yarn budget.

2. Ravelry doesn’t understand what I mean by tunic. I want something sort of like this, but with sleeves. Not a sweater dress, but not a sweater. Something just long enough to wear with tights.

3. My sister will always need mittens. She always has cold hands, and she has a tendency to go through at least one pair of mittens per day… The perks of having a sister with a disability & therefore bad circulation. Knitted things are always necessary and welcome.

4. There is no way I will ever be able to knit everything in my “Favourites” list on Ravelry.

5. All of the things that I have favourited from magazines, with the hope of creating a pattern just from the picture, will probably never be made. I don’t know the first thing about creating patterns (unless it’s for hats), especially not for the brutally complex sweaters that I’m fond of.

6. Thinking about knitting does not mean I am actually knitting, nor does it get the knitting done any faster. I’m still slow, no matter what I do.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to bring knitting with me to class starting in the fall, so I can knit in my awkward 50 minute break between classes. I can also knit while I’m waiting for things, and as a study break. That will get things done. This conclusion means that I need a small, packable knitting bag. I’m sure I could make one, but it’s way more fun to look at them online.

Clearly, I have a problem with stuff. I’m forgetting that the actual act of knitting is what I enjoy.

I think there will be a trip to the yarn store tomorrow… There goes the yarn budget, right out the window.

An Obsession

Clearly, knitting is my obsession. It’s not all I think about, but it definitely occupies a lot of brain space. I think about patterns and I think about yarn. I want to knit all the time. I love to see the progress, and I have a soft spot for self-striping yarns.

All of this is true, and I’m a dedicated sock knitter who loves to see progress quickly. That being said, my heart is sending me in another direction lately.

I want to make something big. An afghan, a blanket, a sweater, a wrap, even a big scarf! Something other than socks. Something that can be knit flat on straight needles (I don’t even know what those are lately).

I don’t know what is making me feel this way. I’ve never had this urge before. I’ve never felt the need to do something so vastly different than what I have done before. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve made my fair share of scarves. I made a baby blanket once too. I have never, ever felt the need to knit a sweater though.

I know I’ll be heading in to town to my local yarn shop towards the end of the week to grab some yarn for my next pattern. It’s going to be a big one, and I can’t help but feel like it’s a sign. It’s going to be my winter project, and it needs to be a big one, because this is going to be a long winter (what winter in Canada isn’t long?). This sweater is also a sign that putting one stitch in front of another is going to get things done.

I don’t know what has gotten into me. I’m stuck between two patterns, and I have half a mind to just go and get the yarn for both. I caught myself dreaming about snow today… Winter fever has definitely set in. We just have to get through a couple of months of cold, drizzly fall first.

Who needs spring fever when they’ve got sweater fever?

Knit-uation

Folks, we have a knit-uation.

What is a knit-uation, you may ask? It’s a situation. Involving knitting. Or lack thereof.

In this case, it’s the latter. It has just occurred to me, after getting up to do chores this morning in 12 degree (Celsius… around 54 Fahrenheit for my American readers) weather, that fall is coming. I’ll be moving back to school in about two weeks. This means that there are four months until Christmas.

Now, perhaps you don’t understand the gravity of the situation. I’ll make a list for you. These are the things that are currently in progress, or need knitting, or haven’t even got yarn purchased for them yet… These are the things that must get done.

  • Fuzzballs for my sister
  • Hat heel socks for a yet unnamed recipient
  • Socks for boyfriend
  • Socks for dad
  • Socks for brother
  • Socks for mom
  • Scarf for best friend
  • Scarf for self
  • Mittens for sister
  • Cast on for sweater for self
  • Sunglasses case for self
  • Rubber boot toppers for self

Those are just the things that MUST get done. There are more. Many more. Things that I have been dreaming about, things that I would like to start but haven’t yet got the time or inclination to purchase the yarn.

Now. I am a slow knitter. Granted, when I move back to school my time to knit will actually increase, but still, by all accounts, I’m a slow knitter. If it takes me a month to finish one pair of socks, that means I can do four pairs of socks by the time Christmas rolls around. That doesn’t even include what’s currently on the needles.

Not to mention I have to get yarn, patterns, needles (and make those needle rolls, damnit).

Folks, we have a knit-uation. I’m going in. I’ll keep you posted. Over and out.

De-stashing the stash

The other day, I de-stashed the Stash. I don’t think de-stashed is a verb. Or a word for that matter, but I digress. It gets the point across; I took apart the stash. I photographed some of it, as you will see in a few moments. I didn’t photograph everything (there would be too much) but definitely some. Why would I do such a thing? In preparation for today, for this exact post. This is a BIG BAD PHOTO POST. Haven’t had one in a while, so I figured that I might as well wow you with lots of pictures.

First up: The Zoomobiles. It’s been a while, but here they are:

 

The heel flap remains half finished, but tonight I’m going to be working on them. It’s the hottest day of the year so far (and I’m at work with no air conditioning again) so I’ll be relaxing with a cold beer when I’m finished work.

They’re looking pretty good so far; I love how the stripes ended up on the heel flap.

Next: I have the coolest hair today.

This was taken with my cell phone, so the quality isn’t great. I’m not usually very adventurous with my hair, so I’m very proud of this style! I french braided it to the side, then flipped the braid over itself in a kind of knot. Then pinned the whole thing!

Now, this next photo may be confusing until you read the text.

 That’s right – if you read closely, it states “make the heel with the Eye of Partridge pattern”. Kill me now. How lovely. Not only is this new pattern toe up, it’s got my favourite heel flap pattern, Eye of Partridge. I’ll reveal the pattern a little later, when I actually start knitting it… But for now, you’ll have to wait and wonder why I’m putting myself through this torture.

 

 

 

And that right there, is a whole lotta stash. The bottom picture is my newest addition – manly sock yarn. See the green! I’m so proud. I figured that all were suitable manly. The rest of that stash I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but I know I’ve got to do something quickly, because it doesn’t fit in the bins and I don’t know how I’m going to transport it to school with me. I like having a stash problem – it means I’ve usually got too much yarn.

 

Why the photos of my cat? Simply because they are too cute, and I’m planning to make labels for my books with those particular pictures. I couldn’t resist sharing… Who knew that my yarn-wrecker cat could be so cute?

There you have it: a big, bad, disorganized photo post. I’ll try to be more coherent next time… No promises though.

Got Green?

I sure do! Got green, that is.

I am successful. After scouring yarn stores and online catalogues, I have finally found green sock yarn. It was a tough haul; I’ve been looking for a month. I visited one yarn store on Thursday, but to no avail. They had a “camouflage” colour/pattern, which was more brown than green. That was all. I left that yarn store empty handed, as I mentioned in Thursday’s post.

The online stores had gorgeous yarns. I loved them all… Until I saw the price tag. I’m a student so I’m on a budget. It’s tough but that’s the way it is. One day, I’ll be able to afford whatever yarn I want.

So yesterday I visited the other yarn store in my area. This one has excellent owners; they have a huge variety of yarn and they said that they can order in anything that I want. I searched the shelves and I found two different balls of green sock yarn! I was ecstatic and shocked at the same time; even online the selection is scarce. I grabbed both and checked the price tag as well as the washing instructions. I first one was all right – machine washable and only around $9 per ball. The other? Hand wash only, $20 per ball. Ouch! I put that one down right away.

Why machine washable? These socks are gifts, and those who remain uninitiated in the knitting arts have a tendency to assume that knitted items can be washed the same way as normal clothing. Felting, here I come. I also tend to use synthetic yarns. I know, I know, I hear your gasps of horror. Seriously though, they make some pretty good acrylic yarns nowadays. It’s also much cheaper than the “real” yarn. Maybe one day I’ll splurge on something nice to make a sweater. Or a wrap. Who knows.

No pictures today, but how about a big post involving photos tomorrow? I’m going to be having a relaxing knitting evening tonight (I went out to the beer tents last night down by the beach… I’m tired) so the Zoomobiles will see some progress, and I have new yarn to photograph! I’ve already got one pattern picked out… My knitting mojo is back!

 

Stumped

I went through the stash last night, and I’m stumped. I don’t know what to knit next; nothing is really screaming “Knit me! You know you want to!”

This is just plain weird. I want to run to the yarn store and get something exciting, but then I look at the stash and think “I already have way too much yarn”.

Here it is, in all of it’s wooly glory. The Stash.

Now, I know most of you are looking at this photo, thinking “Wow. That’s such a small stash”, and I would agree with you. I have inherited most of this yarn too, so some of it is really old (look at the labels in the bottom bin!). Yes, I would like the stash to grow, but that being said, I also have this really annoying tendancy to want to clear everything out! I hate keeping things around longer than necessary, and I really like to use up what I have before getting more.

And I was planning a trip to the yarn store. I’ve just talked myself out of it. Darn.

So here we have some options. Nothing is really striking my fancy at the moment, but I’m sure once I’m a bit further on the Zoomobile socks something will grab my attention.

Option 1: Patons Kroy Sock yarn; Christmas knitting for my mother

This is Option 1. It’s the most likely option, since I just purchased the yarn in May and I don’t want it to get buried in the stash. That, and I have an awesome pattern that I want to try out: Hat Heel Socks. My mom really likes stripy/patterned yarn, but she doesn’t like to waste said yarn on complicated patterns. This one is unique enough not to be boring, and it will still showcase the pattern of the yarn, though it a different way. I’m really excited about this pattern, but also sort of dreading it. You see, I started it over a year ago with a worsted weight yarn, and promptly ripped it out since the fabric was way too stiff. But I remember starting the heel… It was so difficult. Youtube videos, here I come.

Option 2: Patons Carmen; Christmas socks for my sister

Here’s option 2. I blogged about this yarn before, though I didn’t read the ball band then because I wrote that I didn’t know what it was. Clearly, it’s Patons Carmen. Anyway, I was going to make tube socks for my little sister with this. I’m not sure what it’s going to knit up like, but she doesn’t walk much so it will definitely work for socks for her. These are going to be really simple, so I’ll probably make up the pattern myself and get to it when I’m done with the Zoomobiles. Definitely some zone-out-watch-a-movie-or-have-a-deep-talk knitting. 

Option 3:  A whole bunch of leftovers for some chunky socks. I have the pattern picked out and printed off from Ravelry (so prepared!) but I don’t really want to knit myself another pair of socks at the moment; I’m feeling guilty about not knitting for others. 

Option 4: More leftover yarn. My mom would wear crazy socks like these, but some of the yarn isn’t the same gauge, so I would have to double it up… As you can see, I don’t really feel like going to the trouble of figuring it out right now. 

There you have it. After some struggles with the computer, I’ve given you some options. Guess you’re going to have to wait to see what I pick, but it probably won’t be for another week. The Zoomobile socks are still my main focus, and they knit up quickly. I have yet to be bored by their stripes, but I bet once I get to the heel I’ll be yearning for something else. Heel flaps bore me, but I find the gussets strangely satisfying. Probably because the sock is finally getting some shape. That’s all for now folks. Look for some Zoomobile progress tomorrow, as well as some fabric selections for needle rolls (I didn’t get that far last night… I was in bed by 10:15 pm!).