FOFri #46: All I Finish Are Hats

I seem to have finished knitting hats, and only hats (ok, except for one pair of gift socks), since November. Eight hats in five months, two of which you can find here, one here (which I knit twice), one more here, and the remaining three in this post.

IMG_4062

Speckles for baby and me.

Happily, all the plain stockinette that’s involved in knitting a Sockhead Slouch Hat (designed by Kelly McClure) is totally worth it, because I adore the finished product. The colors are my favorite, the speckles make me happy, the ribbing is super cozy, and the length is just right for a good amount of slouch. I modified a few things in my version: I used a sport-weight yarn (BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight), cast on fewer stitches (136), and knit to a shorter length (10.5″ total) before the crown  decreases. This removed some slouch and is just right for my head. I will update my project page with measurements later, as I did not get a chance to do so yet.

IMG_4064

For the wee one.

Because I COULD NOT RESIST, I knit a wee baby hat for Hatchling so that we could be all matchy-matchy. I really should have done longer ribbing for the rolled-up brim, but alas I did not. I used the same yarn and needles (2.75 mm) and cast on 88 stitches in a gauge of 7 sts/inch, for a hat that should be approximately 12.5″ around after blocking, unstretched. Newborn heads are typically 13″ or so, but with the stretchiness of the fabric and the fact that I can roll the brim down as the kid grows, I’m hoping the hat will continue to fit for a while, because that little i-cord loop at the top is just too damn precious.

IMG_4053

Frida for a friend.

I had intended to make this hat (Fidra, designed by Gudrun Johnston) for my friend’s December birthday. However, it’s March, and it’s still sitting in my house. It went through a failed iteration with inappropriate yarn, and then waited weeks for a pom-pom, and now I just haven’t gotten around to mailing it. Despite that, the finished product is pretty fabulous. Knit with the called-for yarn (BT Quarry) and needles, it’s actually a little snug, so I hope she likes it as I know she likes her hats on the bigger side. If you’re finding the Quarry yarn difficult to work with (it’s basically unplied pencil roving) I’d recommend going up a needle size or using metal instead of bamboo. Going up a size would give everything a bit more room to move around and the size would probably still work out fine.

So there are my hats! Sorry none of them are modeled, I haven’t had time for proper photoshoots lately. When the kiddo arrives I’ll be sure to take a mommy-and-me shot in matching hats, middle-of-summer heat waves be damned. 😉

Advertisements

More Pretty Things

The stash-enhancement around these parts continues due to holiday/birthday funds, so I figured I’d share the goodies!

IMG_3967

More lovelies from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

I couldn’t resist adding another skein of BMFA Tigger Targhee to my stash, so I grabbed one in the most icy blue ever (Let It Go… Let It Go). I also acquired another skein of Yaksi (a heavenly DK weight blend of 60% wool/ 20% yak/ 20% silk) in Shoqua (in case I run out of yarn on my Yaksi Cancan shawl) and one skein in Tanzanite (because it’s pretty and I want a purple hat).

IMG_3966

My happy mailbox visitor.

My mailbox made me smile for other reasons last week, too. I received a funny card and lovely little holiday sloth from Audry to cheer me up after the rough few weeks I’d been having. The kindness and generosity of knitters and internet friends never cease to amaze me. It makes me simultaneously happy that I get to know so many wonderful people virtually, and sad that we can’t easily hang out in ‘real life’. Perhaps someday. The wee sloth now keeps me company in my office. 🙂

IMG_3979

New birthday spindle!

Finally, the Fiasco humored me with a new spindle for my birthday present. I’ve been eyeing up Meilindis’ beautiful spinning and admiring the lovely Mingo and Asho glasspin support spindle she’s been featuring in her blog posts. Glass-tipped spindles (or glindles) have been notoriously popular and hard to get a hold of from Bristlecone (whom I think were the original makers) so I was very happy to see other artists begin making their own versions.

I especially love the pyrography featured on the spindles. The trees, birds, and sunrise cattail landscape are so delicate and detailed, it’s truly beautiful. This spindle is 11 inches long and weighs 1.75 ounces, and the shaft is birdseye maple with bubinga and mahogany accents.

I’m super duper in love with it. I’ve also come to the amusing conclusion that I think part of the reason I love support spindles so much is that they feel an awful lot like owning a collection of magic wands. I AM A WIZARD.

Ok, we’re done here.

WIPWed #114: Win Some, Lose Some

I feel freeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Freeeeeeeeeeeeee! My huge work deadline is over, and while there’s another one next week, for the moment, I’m freeeeeeeeeeeee! Just in time, too, as this weekend is my [final childless] birthday, and I could really use a break.  My parents were supposed to visit but it looks like that plan may fall through due to impending snowstorm making travel less-than-safe. If they don’t visit, I’m going to try to:

  • Go for a walk outside, despite the cold, because I miss nature;
  • Go shopping for some things I’ve been meaning to get (boots, Lush products);
  • Cook a delicious meal with the Fiasco, perhaps with some pots de creme;
  • Watch some movies / play some games;
  • Join the new gym I’ve been eyeing up since we moved and go for a swim (due to the blood clot, doc has advised against most exercise but swimming should be ok and quite frankly, I need to do something or I’ll go insane);
  • Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit all the thingz; and
  • Spin all the thingz.

My plans are not particularly fancy and they involve mostly alone or one-on-one time but honestly, I’ve been so busy since Thanksgiving (basically) that I’m looking forward to some quiet time doing simple things that make me happy. What would you do with a suddenly free (and snowy) birthday weekend?

Now for WIPs and books…

Christmas Katniss Socks:

IMG_3962

BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

Same ol’ socks as last time, just a few repeats further along. Lack of knitting time has somewhat impeded progress…

Skunky Fidra:

IMG_3961

The Verdent Gryphon Odyseey in Atomic Skunk, click for project page.

I really wanted to love this hat, but unfortunately, I think I hate it. The pattern was fun, and the yarn is delicious, but together they look pretty awful. Part of me is holding out that blocking would help but really, I don’t think so, I think this sucker is getting frogged. In fact, I already ordered different yarn to knit this hat with instead… what would you do?

Merino Mind Bullets:

IMG_3964

Spinning progress! Click for handspun page.

I’m holding true to my goal for 2016 and spinning more than I had been. In fact, I’ve been reaching for this wee spindle more often than my knitting, and I have a fat little turtle of yarn to show for it. I still feel like I’m not even making a dent in the fiber, but at least I’m working on it.

Reading:

IMG_3965

Books, books, books.

I know it’s only January, but “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler is the best book I’ve read all year. I absolutely loved it. She’s funny and charming, as expected from seeing her comedy, but she’s also really smart and emotionally deep and poetic in her essays. She wrote a lot about pregnancy and motherhood which resonated with me right now, and it was all-around fabulous. I think I read it in 3 days, I couldn’t put it down. “Cooked” by Michael Pollan is less wonderful, but still interesting. He’s exploring 4 different modes of cooking (fire = grilling, water = stews, air = bread baking, earth = fermenting) and he’s getting quite loquacious over the symbolism of these kinds of cooking, their roles in human development and society, and their impact on gender roles in the kitchen. It’s a little… pretentious? Honestly, it’s boring at times and his metaphors and social philosophizing area a bit of a stretch. His other books were much better, but I still like to read about his cooking experiments and there are some interesting bits in there.

That’s it from me this week! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

Some Pretty Things

My drafts folder tells me I began this post 11 days ago, which is a good indication of how much I’ve been meaning to blog lately but have not been able to. That said, some work deadlines should be calming down soon and life should be returning to a less hectic level (fingers crossed). On my last post, Audry asked me how I’ve been keeping up with things lately and I must admit, my wonderful talented dedicated selfless husband is the only thing that got me through the weekend. He set up for our Sweet Sheep show so I could sleep, he made lotions and lip balms like a madman Saturday night so we’d have more stock for the next day, and he was an ever-charming salesman when I didn’t have the energy to be on my feet. Basically, he’s the best partner I could have ever hoped for and Knitting Weekend event at Slater Mill was a success for us, largely because of him. 🙂 And, if you’ve been waiting for any re-stocks, we’ve got lots of new goodies (including sheep-shaped soaps) up in the shop.

The marketplace was filled with all sorts of pretty things but I came home with just two items, from a couple of my favorite local vendors.

IMG_3960

Knitting weekend stash enhancement.

I am absolutely terrible at resisting any of Chrystee’s beautiful colorways (Play at Life Fiber Arts), so whenever we’re at a show together I usually have to come home with something. This time I justified my purchase as a sweater for the Hatchling. I think this rainbow set will make a fun gender-neutral striped Babycakes cardi, perhaps with a white or dark green yarn for the trim. And then, of course, I had to get the cutest buttons I’ve ever seen for the baby sweater: tiny turtles from Katy at Katrinkles. Purchase justified.

IMG_3941

Tanis Fiber Arts gift bundle.

While I’m sharing pretty things, here is some of the yarn I received as gifts over the holidays. Above is Raindrops gift bundle from Tanis Fiber Arts. I’ve admired Tanis’ blog and yarns for a long time, but had not yet stashed any so I’m particularly excited to work with this yarn. It’s a lovely skein of 75% Merino, 25% silk fingering weight yarn in pretty pastel purples and blues. I also really love the bag and have hung up the calendar in my office (which my coworker accurately described as ‘yarn porn’).

IMG_3940

Blue Moon Fiber Arts stash enhancement.

And it wouldn’t be the holiday season without a healthy dose of pretty things from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. On the left is a skein of BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight in the special Rhinebeck 2015 colorway that I wasn’t able to snag at the festival itself. The middle skeins are BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Golly, a rich, deep red. The skein on the right is some of the new Single Silky Targhee in Fir-Ever-Green. I have a general idea of what these skeins will become (socks for me, socks for Fiasco, hat for me or sweater for baby, shawl of some sort) but no concrete plans yet.

Has your stash been growing or shrinking since the holidays?

WIPWed #113: New on the Needles

Thanks for all the congratulations and commiserations on my last post! It’s lovely to hear the experiences of mothers who have been there, done that, seen some crazy things, and gotten through to the other side. I’m still intending to write about the holiday gifts I made and the yarn I acquired, but the days keep slipping by and here we are at Wednesday Thursday already, so day-late WIPs it is.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

IMG_3944

BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

The Katniss socks have been my main WIP lately. The cables are fun to work and show up pretty well even in this variegated yarn. What’s been really fun, though, is trying out the brand new Tigger Targhee yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Tina named it ‘Tigger’ since it is an exceptionally bouncy yarn. It’s so bouncy because its construction is fairly unique in the sock yarn market: it’s an 8-ply cabled yarn, made from 4 plies of 2-ply yarn that have been overtwisted and then plied together. All that ply twist means it has lots of spring!

IMG_3919

Comparison of Socks That Rock LW (left) and Tigger Targhee (right).

This photo shows Socks That Rock LW and Tigger Targhee, side-by-side. STR is a traditional 3-ply yarn that also has lots of spring. Both yarns are roughly the same heavy fingering weight, so you can imagine how incredibly thin the 8 plies of TT must be. The colors on TT look a little more muted to my eye, likely because all of the twists break up the way light reflects. I’m looking forward to seeing how they feel when I wear them. Anyway, there’s your dorky yarn deconstruction for the day.

Skunky Fidra:

IMG_3947

Verdant Gryphon Odyssey, colorway Atomic Skunk. Click for project page.

Continuing my recent hat streak, I’ve barely just begun the new bulky weight hat pattern from Gudrun Johnston, Fidra. It’s so pretty! So fluffy! Must have! I’m also still working on my Speckled Sockhead but that lives at the office so I have no recent photos.

IMG_3946

My reading of late.

Two books have occupied my attention lately, one just for fun and the other for research. Mindy Kaling is hilarious (which should not surprise me since she wrote for The Office) and I love her current show The Mindy Project. Her book of memoir-like short essays and stories is quick and fun to read, highly recommend. The Baby Bargains book is essentially a resource where people did all the market research for me already, and just tell me what is best to buy. The authors base it on their own experience as well as feedback from thousands of their blog readers. It’s like reading all of the Amazon reviews for every product I could ever need all at once, without having to sort through the shitty ones that just say “this shipped very fast ” (DUH, IT’S AMAZON). It also clues you in on how to cut corners, stick to a budget, avoid expensive pitfalls, etc. I used their Bridal Bargains book during wedding planning and it saved a lot of sanity.

That’s it from me today! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

 

Five Things Friday – Again

I don’t know if I’m going to keep writing these random list type posts on a weekly basis, but seeing as I have so much to say and no time lately in which to organize my thoughts, you’re getting them all at once, sporadically arranged. 🙂 And I began this post at 11:34 pm, so let’s see if we can publish while it’s still Friday, shall we?

1- I’ve acquired some gorgeous yarn lately. I’ve had my eye on Stray Cat Socks Etsy shop for some time now, but always talked msyelf out of placing an order due to shipping from New Zealand. However, I saw these gorgeous socks on a day when I really needed a pick-me-up, so I caved and ordered the same rainbow colorway (Are We There Yet) and another skein to keep it company on its long voyage (Monavale Rose). Could this packaging be ANY CUTER?!?!

2- I may have also picked up a skein of yarn from a Ravelry destash recently, too. Let’s ignore the fact that Rhinebeck (a.k.a. yarn mecca) is merely weeks away, ok? I couldn’t help myself! It’s a one-of-a-kind, mill end skein of of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in  blue-green speckled colorway that I instantly fell in love with. (Also, notice that strange reversed logo? Weird!) It looks like it might have been a precursor of one of their new colorways, A Speck of Autumn. It’s destined to be a Sockhead Hat, I think.

Five Things Friday - Again | Woolen Diversions

This was clearly made for me.

3- I had a rather hellish couple of weeks at work (deadlines, no time, etc.) but I managed to escape early this afternoon and stole a couple of hours of daytime(!) weekday(!) knitting at a little bay beach nearby. (My Rhinebeck Sweater ain’t gonna knit itself, amIright?!)

Not gonna lie: it was pretty glorious.

I have the hardest time relaxing, sometimes. I was there for maybe an hour and a half in between errands and appointments and I felt like I should’ve been doing something (anything!) else the entire time. Relaxing during daylight hours seemed criminal, somehow. Sad, right? I’m working on it.

4- I just shrink-wrapped 80 bars of sheep-shaped goat milk soap for a special order, and I feel like some kind of heat gun kung-fu master. You’ll have to take my word on this if you’ve never tried it, but shrink-wrapping stuff is weirdly satisfying.

So many sheep soaps!

5- And last but not least, I’m vending at the Fiber Twist & Bead Bash themed weekend of the Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market in Connecticut THIS SUNDAY, Sept. 27th, from 11am – 2pm. Come say hello! The Fiasco and I used to live down the street from it and went as often as we could, it’s a great market. I heard rumors that this might be its last year, which is super sad, but I’m honored to be able to vend there one last time.

And that’s all I got! Looks like I missed Friday by about 15 minutes… oh well. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About that Waist

If you remember from my Five Things Friday post, I was doing just a wee bit of agonizing over how to handle the waist decreases on my Grimm Green Stout sweater. The main issue was that I was knitting at a larger stitch count for the hips, wanted to decrease a few inches for the waist, and then increase back out a smaller amount than I had decreased for the bust. In simple stockinette this would be fine, but the stitch pattern is an alternating rib/cable pattern  with strong vertical lines, so if I didn’t return to the same stitch count for the bust, the pattern would be thrown off for the rest of the sweater.

THE HORROR!

But I’m happy to report that I finagled a solution that will look just fine. Observe!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Mmmmmmm, cable-y ribbing!

Each pattern repeat consists of 12 rows, 6 rows that read “cable column, rib column” and then 6 more that read “rib column, cable column” that alternate across the garment. (Make sense? Explaining this in words feels weird.) The pattern is written so that you decrease 4 stitches on Row 1 and Row 6 of the repeat, for a reduction of 1.6 inches in the finished fabric width-wise occurring over 2 inches of length. My stitch gauge is a little tighter than the pattern calls for and I wanted less fabric at the waist so I decreased 4 stitches on Rows 1, 5, and 9, and 2 stitches on row 11 for a total reduction of 2.6 inches over 2 inches of length. I had planned to decrease a full 16 stitches instead of 14, but I realized that I liked how the ribbing worked out at this stitch count.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Breaking the pattern, but making it work.

Now I need to knit for 2 inches straight before increasing back out for the bust. My plan is to keep the stitches in a *p1, k1, p1* pattern around the waist decrease markers as they are now, and then only increase 4 more stitches (2 more purl stitches around each marker) for the bust, adding back 0.75 inch of fabric. So in this version of the sweater, my stitch count will fluctuate from 244 stitches (for the 46″ pattern size) in the hips, down to 230 stitches in the waist, up to 234 stitches (which corresponds to the 44″ pattern size) in the bust.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Comparing to a store-bought sweater.

These measurements, once added to the 2.5″ that will result from the collar/buttonband, should give me a garment that allows for about 2″ of positive ease in the hips, 2.5″ in the waist, and 1″ in the bust. Should is the operative word there. The patterns is written for 5″ of ease, but I think my adjustments will be more flattering for my body shape. When I compare my knitting to a store-bought sweater of a similar style, the size looks good and the waist seems to land where I think it should, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out in the end. And if anybody looks closely enough under my arms to notice the changes I’ve made in the pattern… well, I’ll just have to smack them for inappropriate personal space invasion anyway.

Squam art fair vendors

Come to Squam this Saturday!

I’m super excited that THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th from 7:30pm – 10pm Sweet Sheep will be vending at the Squam Art Fair in Holderness, NH. Please come and say hello! I’ve heard so much about Squam from other knitter’s blogs that it has obtained ‘magical crafty fairyland’ status in my mind, I can’t wait to see it for myself.