WIPWed #125: Back to Socks

I’m starting to feel more like my old crafty self again: I have an active pair of socks on the needles!

Waiting for Hatchling

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering, colorway Royals. Click for project page.

I have been trying to turn the above yarn into socks since before my wedding and honeymoon in 2014. (Yikes!) I knit an entire plain stockinette sock that I then had to frog because it was too small. I did not account for the fact that BFL has less stretch than Merino wool and I should’ve increased my cast on more. This time, I’m using a pattern with texture and ribbing (Aramis by Caoua Coffee) and cast on more stitches which should loosen things up. I started these while I was pregnant but my hands and joints were always tired and sore then and I hated fiddling with the small needles. Things feel back to normal now, though, so here’s hoping I get to actually wear these socks someday soon!

Wine Toasts

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The Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, Kiss of Cabernet and Russian Sage. Click for project page.

These are super simple armwarmers that I’m making extra big and toasty to wear with  3/4 length sleeve sweaters in my chilly office. I am currently in a game of yarn chicken with the deep wine colorway. A friend of mine has a backup skein if this one is not enough, which is a good thing because it appears that The Verdant Gryphon is no more. Gryphon herself is now living and working on a commune with her daughter, and the people she left the business to were not able to keep it going. I feel like a chapter of my knitterly life is ending! I’ve been deeply in love with VG yarns since I discovered them in 2010, when they were still teamed up with Cephalopod Yarns as The Sanguine Gryphon. My first skein was Bugga in the Cowkiller colorway that I knit up into one of my favorite shawls.

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This was 5 apartments ago… ha!

Looks like I’ve always had a thing for Gryphon’s reds. Sigh. As with CY, VG yarns will be missed, but man am I glad I have a nice stash to sustain me for a while. #justified

Tropical Merino

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Wooldancer 19.5 Micron Merino. Click for handspun project page.

I started spinning this fiber way back in 2014 as well (wow, have I completed anything in the last 3 years!?) on a tiny Turkish spindle. Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, I’d still like a Pussyhat of my own (I donated the others) and since I am out of pink yarn, I figured I’d make some. To speed up the process, I’ve also started spinning this fiber on my wheel and on my new Bosworth Mini spindle. The singles are very thin so I’m thinking I’ll 2-ply and then chain ply that 2-ply yarn to get a bulkier 6-ply. We’ll see how that works out!

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Current reading.

I haven’t tracked my reading in a while but since I’m finally starting to read things OTHER than parenting-related, get-my-kid-to-sleep, what-should-his-poop-look-like type books, I figured I’d share. And since the March for Science has got me all fired up, I’m doing some science-y reading for fun. (Because #scienceisreal! It’s not made up! Experts know what they’re talking about! The world around us can be understood!) This book is all about the different forms that sexual reproduction takes within the animal kingdom, so that should be fascinating. It’s refreshing to read a work written just because the author was curious about something, so they went and researched and figured it out.

What have you been reading these days? Linking up for the first time in a LONG time with Yarnalong.

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WIPWed #124: Actual Knitting Content

As I mentioned in my come-back post last week, I’ve finally managed to work on some knitting while juggling my 5-month-old. By the by, props to the people who teach themselves to knit while they’re pregnant or after the baby arrives, I don’t know where they get the energy for that. I’m a seasoned knitter and when I was pregnant, all I wanted to do was sleep. And now that the Hatchling is here… sleep is still a hot commodity. However, he’s starting to settle into a routine and I’ve finally weaned off pumping in the evenings which means I get occasional hands-free time to dally with yarn again. Yay!

Green Gathered

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Cephalopod Yarns Traveler, colorway Wolcott . Click for project page.

This photo is something of a lie as this hat is done and has been worn already, but I haven’t had a chance to take good finished photos yet so I’m still calling it a WIP. 🙂 The pattern is Gather by tincanknits and I loved it. The stitch pattern is easy-peasy but fun to work. I knit the toddler size for my kiddo because he has a big head and it fits perfectly with some stretch for future growth.

Wine Toast:

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Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorways Kiss of Cabernet and Russian Something-or-Other. Click for project page.

Speaking of easy-peasy, this project couldn’t be simpler. I’m knitting the Toast armwarmers by Leslie Friend, which are basically just plain stockinette tubes knit in the round. I often wear 3/4 length sleeve sweaters to work and my arms get cold, plus I’m always warmer with my wrists covered, so these will be a big luxurious (worsted weight Merino-cashmere-nylon yarn, yum!) treat for me. I’m making them a bit longer so they go all the way to my elbow, wider to accommodate my larger forearms, and adding a thumbhole (but no actual thumb) so they can also serve as fingerless mitts when needed.

Hatchling’s Sky Blanket:

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O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in various colors. Click for project page.

I’ve been making very slow progress on my Sky Blanket (<– scroll to the bottom of that post to read the history of this particular project). In summary, I’m knitting 360 square that represent the sky each day (minus 5)  in the first year of the Hatchling’s life. That strip represents the first couple of weeks in July. HAHAHAHA I’m soooooo behind. The worst part is, I stopped recording the weather during the first couple of weeks in November, at least before that point I’d had everything written down. So now I’m going to have to get creative with the almanac or something to figure out what to knit for the missing dates. I WILL COMPLETE THIS BLANKET.

Is there a particular project you’ve been dragging your feet about? Holiday knitting, perhaps? Speaking of, check out the Knitter’s Gift Guide on the KnittedBliss blog. It’s a great collection of gift ideas, including a little shout out to my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe sheep-shaped soaps in the stocking stuffer section (sooooo many S’s in that sentence)!

 

WIPWed #123: More Baby Things

Things have been all baby all the time around here lately, and I expect that will continue now that I’m in my FINAL MONTH OF PREGNANCY, HALLELUJAH. Over the weekend, our generous friends threw us a lovely baby shower and Hatchling received so many wonderful books, toys, and clothes… this kid is all set. We’ve gathered the last of the odds and ends we need, all new items are washed, dried, and folded, and our hospital bags are in the process of being packed. Things are getting exciting! We played a fun game at the shower where we matched up baby pics of our friends to the correct adult… it was harder than it sounds! Here are pics of the Fiasco and me as infants:

I feel like we look SO DIFFERENT as babies that I can’t really imagine what our kid will look like. I’m excited to find out soon.

Sherbet Baby:

I’m 99.9% finished with Hatchling’s 6-month size Babycakes sweater. I am so in love with it, even though it took me three evenings to weave in all 42 yarn ends. I’m pretty sure that’s a new record for me. I don’t usually care much what my finishing looks like on the wrong side of a project, I just do what needs to be done to make it look nice on the right side, but I was charmed by the neatly woven sections on the inside of this cardi. All that’s left now is a good soak and finding the right yarn for embellishing and attaching the ridiculously cute turtle buttons.

Little Green Accessories:

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Using up gradient leftovers.

I’ve started some baby booties and am planning a wee hat to match the newborn sweater I finished last week. The sweater used up more of the lightest and darkest portions of the gradient, so for the socks I’m going to use the three middle hues in a reverse colorblock style. Both socks will use the middle hue for the heel, but they’ll reverse light and dark for cuff and foot. The colors are so similar the changes will probably be barely noticeable but the plan makes me happy nonetheless. And then the hat will use all five shades.

As for reading, I just finished Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, which is one of those ‘not sure how this ended up on my Kindle but I guess I’ll read it anyway’ types of books. It was interesting, and different. It falls in the fantasy genre (wizard on the police force set in modern-day London) and involved ghosts, river spirits, and some sort of lizard demon thing. It piqued my interest, event hough I feel like the storytelling was a little scattered. Now I’ve completely switched genre to Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood. It’s a series of short stories that have (unsurprisingly) started out both beautiful and heartbreaking. That woman is a genius with words that hit me right in the solar plexus every time. What’s your favorite Margaret Atwood book/story/poem?

Linking up with Yarnalong this week.

WIPWed #122: Enjoying the Process

After my previous post bemoaning my strained relationship with time, I’m doing my best to enjoy this current time… which is mostly being spent growing a baby. The third trimester has been surprisingly pleasant so far. Other than a bit of insomnia and the aches and pains that go along with an ever-growing belly, I’ve felt pretty high energy and optimistic lately. I think it helps that we’re getting close: less than 8 weeks to go. (LESS THAN 8 WEEKS?!?!?!) It also helps that I have a very active kid. I like feeling his kicks, it’s a reminder that this whole thing is happening for a reason. Sometimes it’s super distracting, especially now that I can watch my belly move from the outside. And it definitely helps that I’ve had two baby showers in the past two weeks – celebrating a thing always makes it more fun, am I right?

Last weekend was the shower thrown by my mother-in-law and her sisters. I really lucked out in the in-law department, they’re such a fun, welcoming, warm group of people, and they’re always laughing. There were silly games, a diaper cake, aloe plants as favors for everyone, lots of gifts, and a string of adorable onesies, some of which had been worn by the Fiasco and all three of his brothers! My MIL is the best at hanging on to things and passing them down, it’s super impressive. I’ve spent much of the week since doing more baby laundry and organizing the nursery. This kid already has all the equipment he’ll need, a toy box full of stuffed animals, and a basket full of books! Spoiled rotten, I tell you.

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Slooooooooooooooow shawl progress.

Since all my other knits need some attention at the moment, the only thing I’ve been working on lately is my Beholden shawl. It’s growing slowly, but I’m savoring the process because the camel/silk yarn I’m using is straight-up delicious. My needles are doing an annoying thing where they partially unscrew every few rows, but other than that I’m loving this knit. I do need to make a decision soon about when to switch to the edging pattern. I’ve modified the pattern to be slightly wider (increasing 2 extra stitches every other WS row) so I’m wandering into unknown territory yardage-wise. It would be a shame to run out of yarn as it’s from the UK and would be difficult to get my hands on more of it.

Spinning has not been happening lately, but I am planning to go to my spinner’s guild meeting this weekend and I’m hoping I can finish the yarn I’ve been working on since f*&%#ing October. We’ll see…

I’m sort of in between books right now but just finished reading Mink River by Brian Doyle and it was both fascinating and fabulous. The style was unlike anything I’ve read in quite a while: stories about multiple main characters pieced out in little vignettes interspersed with sections of sensory-rich prose poetry. It was both fantasy and realistic fiction, and it had some great naturalist touches. In short: I really liked it.

Hope you’re having wonderful weeks! Now that the sun’s been out on the regular I’m hoping I can get a decent FO picture of the shawl I finished WEEKS AGO to show you all soon. Linking up with Yarnalong.

 

WIPWed #121: Slow and Steady

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement regarding pregnancy on my last post. It’s so great to hear others’ thoughts and have some of my own experiences confirmed. While some days are really hard, the whole thing is still inspiring and fascinating. It’s definitely a mixed bag. Today I had an ultrasound so I got a peek at the little dude’s profile and perfectly-formed toes. He’s already in the head-down position so I’m hoping he stays that way for the next 8 weeks!

As for other works-in-progress, the main one I’m currently knitting is my Beholden shawl. I’m still in the plain stockinette phase, but it’s growing, and the yarn is so incredibly luxurious that I don’t mind all the repetitive knits and purls.

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence. Click for project page.

I finished my Rotted Days shawl last week but have yet to take official, modeled ‘FO’ photos. However, you can get a peek of it blocking on my Instagram feed as I’ve posted it for today’s #craftyblisschallenge prompt.

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Louet merino/silk fiber. Click for handspun page.

I had hoped to finish this spin (and another one!) by the end of April, but I am forced to admit that is not going to happen. Somehow, we’re only 3 days away from the end of the month already, and I’m out of town this weekend! I really don’t understand the flow of time anymore. I need to set myself some sort of sit-down-at-the-wheel schedule but I have just not figured out what works best for me. When do you find time to spin? Morning? Evening? All day long? Weekends only?

As for reading, I’m currently working through ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth‘ and it’s a refreshing change from all the doom and gloom and dire consequences in most baby books. Ina May is apparently the mother-of-all-midwives in the U.S. and the book is about her experiences birthing hundreds of babies naturally, without medical intervention, on what essentially sounds like a hippie commune in Tennessee. Because of the 70’s-ness of it all, I wasn’t sure I would get a lot out of the book, but the birth stories are really helpful to read and Ina May’s guidelines are actually backed by science and align well with what I was taught in my Bradley Method birth class. Worth a read, especially if you’re nearing labor and want to get ta sense of what it might be like without pain meds, Pitocin, or surgery.

Linking up with Yarnalong this week!

WIPWed #120: Ode to My Mitts

After six full years of wear, my favorite fingerless mitts are just starting to give up the ghost. These are a modified version of the Mitt Envy pattern (designed by weezalana) knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn (fingering weight, 100% superwash Merino wool).

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Sad, frayed edge.

I noticed the other day that the bind off edge has frayed and released a few loose stitches on both mitts. I’m not quite sure how to fix it, but they don’t really seem to be unraveling too badly at the moment. Since my knitting this week looks exactly the same as last week, I figured I’d gush about how impressed I am by these mitts, instead.

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Freshly made, back in 2010.

These mitts pre-date my blog, I finished them in March 2010. They were the only mitts I owned until I made a different pair a year and a half later, and even after I made the other pair I wore these primarily for ‘rough and tumble’ work–I did not baby these mitts. They were worn pretty much all fall/winter/spring, came horseshoe crab counting with me during grad school, handled tree branches and fish alike during hiking and fieldwork, and even served as full-on handkerchiefs a time or two.

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Besides the edge, they look good as new.

All that is to highlight that I am seriously impressed with how these mitts have held up over the years. Besides the frayed edge, which probably would have held up better if I’d known about stretchy bind-offs at the time that I made them, they look basically as good as new. The fabric has loosened up some over the years, but the stitches are still sharp and the cabling is crisp, with hardly any pilling at all. I’ll be honest, I did not expect the Malabrigo Sock yarn to hold up so well. It’s such a soft, thin yarn, but it is apparently also strong and hard-wearing. I think it would still be a little too thin for my taste in thick socks, but I’d happily use it for anything and everything else.

Has a favorite piece of knitwear every worn out? What did you do about it?

As for books, this week I’m reading Pink Brain, Blue Brain by  Lise Eliot and I’m loving it. It’s written by a neuroscientist who basically dissects all the research related to sex differences in the brain and development of children from the prenatal period onwards, and how relatively small differences grow into the larger perceived gender gaps in adulthood through societal influences. She debunks a lot of the pseudoscience floating around out there and details which differences are established (i.e., real and biologically influenced) and which are due to cultural bias. It’s fascinating stuff, and potentially useful. For instance, boys on average are fussier and harder to soothe as infants than girls, because their neurological systems lag a few weeks behind due to suppression of development in the womb by prenatal testosterone. WHO KNEW?! I didn’t, but I’m glad I do now.

Despite the lack of new knitting this week, I’m linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #119: Beholden

The choosing of One’s Next Knitting Project can be so fraught with difficulty. It’s never quite as straightforward as it seems it should be, and often involves as much intuition and gut feeling as rational decision-making. I do my best to be sensible but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Last week I discussed the three options I was considering for my next ‘luxurious’ cast on. I then narrowed it down to which skein of yarn I wanted to work with the most, but changed my mind about what pattern I wanted to knit. I even put up a poll on Ravelry to help me decide between the new pattern options:

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So many shawls, so little time.

Then I went ahead and ignored the overwhelming vote and cast on whatever the hell I felt like, regardless.

Beholden:

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence, click for project page.

I ended up choosing Holden (designed by Mindy Wilkes) for my Kettle Yarn Co. skein of 50% camel/ 50% silk loveliness. While I do really love the Antarktis shawl, I think it’s perfectly suited for high-contrast variegated yarns, and since I have so many of those in stash, I didn’t want to ‘waste’ this more subtle yarn on a pattern suited for variegation when I could use it in something more nuanced. I’ve admired Holden for a long time, but worried that it would be too small for me in the single skein size (I like my shawls big). So I modified the pattern ever so slightly by adding 2 extra stitches on every other wrong side row. This should change the shape from a typical triangle to a slightly elongated triangle, but not all the way to a crescent-shaped triangle. We’ll have to just see how it goes!

Rotted Days:

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Handspun BFL and a mystery singles yarn, click for project page.

While I was deciding on my shawl conundrum, I decided to pick up one of my *ahem* seven *ahem* shawls already in progress and give it a little love. The garter stitch short rows on my Dotted Rays (designed by Stephen West) shawl are getting ever longer, but I’m nearing the end of my second skein of handspun which means I might be in my final wedge. I’m thinking of adding an extra slice of purple at the end just to tie it all together.

That’s all that’s happened knitting-wise this week, it was quite a busy one. As for reading, I’m just about done with A Prayer for Owen Meany, which means I’ll need to decide on my next book soon. Thank goodness that decision-making process is not usually as intricate as a knitting-related one… Linking up with Yarnalong.