WIPWed #87: I MADE A THING!

Guys, I’m super excited right now, because I’m writing this while wearing my first ever (completed) handknit sweater!

Even though it spanned almost 6 months, my Overdyed Cypress vest was a pretty simple knit. It’s composed of only two pieces (front and back), with no waist shaping and itty bitty sleeves made by some increases. I was in between sizes so I made a smaller size for the back and a larger size for front, with no trouble joining them together. I was really worried about fit, especially in January when I had finished all but the armhole and neckline edgings and I tried it on and it looked terrible– but it turns out, actually finishing a thing really improves its fit! Now we just need to work on better sweater modelling and photography, those photos make it look a little misshapen and baggy, but I swear it looks nicer in person.

While it wasn’t difficult knitting, the pattern was a little bit fiddly. Jared Flood calls for no fewer than three needle sizes for the edging ribbing (yeah, right) and the tubular bind-off was a bitch. But the pattern was clearly written and is gorgeous and stylish, like most Brooklyn Tweed designs, so I definitely recommend it. There were a few things I’d do differently if I were to knit it again, namely I’d use 6’s and 5’s for the ribbing sections (instead of 6’s and 4’s) as the edges are all just a tad tighter than I’d like. I’d practice seaming on some swatches (my first side seam was so messy!) and I’d be sure to keep the slipped stitch rows of the tubular bind off and cast on extra loose, because my edges are hard and stiff instead of nice and stretchy. All in all, I’m just so happy I made something that’s actually wearable, and from yarn that I overdyed, to boot! That is one satisfying finish.

Somewhat less satisfying was finishing the knitted jewelry holder I’ve had on the needles since last July. After the project bag went missing for nearly 8 months, I was excited to finish the knitting, block it, and get the darn thing assembled this morning… but I couldn’t find the buttons anywhere. WHERE ARE THE BUTTONS?!?!?! So it sits forlorn on its blocking board until I can locate the little buggers.

At least my Tropical Traveler socks are going well. I’m really loving this simultaneous-but-not-two-at-a-time method I’m trying out here. Instead of getting hung up on a part that requires thought (heel or toe) and letting the whole pair languish for weeks until I have time to think about it, I can just switch to the second sock and speed through the easy parts and have twice the amount of sock done before the languishing happens. Then I get the tricky bits done one both socks in the same knitting session and everything just feels more efficient. Plus, there’s less chance of forgetting what I did or losing notes between socks. All in all, I think it’s a win.

My Discworld-themed #MegaSAL spinning is progressing at a slow-but-steady pace, and I was able to find a few minutes to spin up some of my fluffy MalMarch Nube rolags, too. This is the third bobbin, so I’m halfway through the singles.

As for this week’s reading, I’m still working my way through the #KonMarie’s Ode to Tidying and have now progressed to the 7th Outlander book, An Echo in the Bone. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a mildly abusive relationship with these Outlander books. They keep me up at night, they suck up all my time, and they take me on an emotional roller coaster, yet I’m dreading the day when our time together will end. What will I do?!

Perhaps even more importantly, though, what sweater should I knit next?! Ambitions, I have them.

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

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WIPWed #86: #MegaSAL, Here I Come!

Since finishing the Fiasco’s socks and failing to finish my MalMarch projects, I’ve taken embraced sock-knitting-for-me thus far this April.

Tropical Traveler:

I’ve been itching to knit these socks (from the January shipment of the Rockin’ Sock Club) for weeks and it’s been wonderful to pick them back up again, guilt-free. I think my new system of knitting sort-of-two-at-time (by having two pairs of DPNs and alternating between socks as I go) is working rather nicely, for I have not one but two socks that both have heels right now. I wanted to try a different heel out of Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture book, so I went with the square heel for this pair. Flaps and gussets work really well for me (high arches!) and I didn’t want to stray far from what I know already works, but it was fun to change things up a little bit.

Magrat MegaSAL:

WIPWed #86:

Nest superwash Merino, click for handspun page.

Since I couldn’t wait any longer, I just barely began spinning my Nest superwash Merino fiber dyed in the Magrat colorway for the Discworld-themed #MegaSAL that I wrote about previously. Because I clearly never want to finish this yarn, I’ve decided to try spinning it entirely on my Subterranean Woodwork medium Turkish spindle. I am probably the slowest spindle spinner on the planet (I just seem to get so much more done on the wheel) but I really want to challenge myself to make good use of my spindles, and two weeks seems like enough time to give it the ol’ college try. Besides, the spindle is fun to use and the fiber is nearly irresistible to touch (so fluffy!) so I have hope. Are you joining in for this SAL? I’d love to see your projects!

MalMarch Nube:

WIPWed #86: #MegaSAL, Here I Come!

Malabrigo Nube, colorway Persia. Click for handspun page.

Fear not, I haven’t completely forsaken the spinning project I aimed to finish in March. I haven’t sat down at the wheel yet this week because I’m still a little wary of tweaking my back again (damn long draw motions) but I’ve been faithfully carding up the rest of the fiber I have into fluff-tastic rolags. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to find some time to sit at the wheel.

As for reading (to link up with Yarnalong), I’ve been tearing through the sixth Outlander book (nearly done!) and have just started to listen to Nation by Terry Pratchett on audiobook. It’s not a Discworld novel, but I enjoy reading/listening to anything he writes. I recently finished the first book in The Long Earth series (co-authored with Stephen Baxter) and it was really fascinating, I can’t wait until the remaining books become available at the library, although I’m afraid they may not have finished the series before Terry passed away. It’s essentially about people who can step from one Earth to another, if you imagine Earth as a deck of cards with our Earth in the middle and multiple copies of the planet that experienced all sorts of different history, events, and evolution expanding out to infinity on either side. This leads to the existence of nifty creatures, societies, and ecosystems that humans could then have access to. (I love scifi, especially biologically-nerdy scifi.) Highly recommend.

And as for life, tomorrow I’m going to see my new favorite band crush in concert and couldn’t be more excited: Walk the Moon. The single they have out on the radio right now, Shut Up & Dance, is basically instant happiness for me. I think Anna Sun is probably my favorite song of theirs,  however, and this is probably my favorite video:

It’s just so dumb and joyful and fun, it brings me right back to my college days. The main dude looks like he is barely 20 years old, so I’m a little bit worried that we’ll be the oldest people in the room but likely not and I suppose, who cares, right? (This is me trying to get ok with being 30 and no longer the target audience of bands like this. * sob *)

She Lives!

It was touch-and-go for a while there (not really, mind you, I’m exaggerating for effect) but I think I might just live. Basically, as soon as my back stopped feeling like there was a hot poker between my ribs, I was plagued by the worst sore throat I’ve had in years. This was followed by a sinus infection of epic proportions, which conveniently (SARCASM!) coincided with a road trip to help my mom recover from a surgery over the long weekend.

She Lives! | Woolen Diversions

Nest Superwash Merino, colorway Magrat.

I returned home snot-nosed, hoarse-voiced, congested, and emotionally drained… and proceeded to not sleep at all, for an entire night. I laid there staring up at the ceiling straight through to the dawn. I managed to sleep for a few hours this morning, however, and have begun to feel somewhat more human. My mom is recovering well, and despite all that it was a nice visit home, so things are looking up. It didn’t hurt that I had a couple of nice fiber-y packages waiting in the mail when I returned, either. (If you don’t wish to be spoiled for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Sock Club colorway, look away now!)

Pictured above is the one precious bump of Nest Superwash Merino fiber in the Magrat colorway that I managed to grab for the Discworld Mega-SAL being held on Ravelry. I intend to begin spinning it just as soon as I can finish my Malabrigo Nube spin. And pictured below might just be my favorite skein of sock yarn… possibly ever.

She Lives! | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Gran’s Kitchen.

The colorway for the March shipment of the RSC is soooooooooooooo up my alley, I adore it. I love the minty aqua, the gentle gray, the streaks of white. Those soft, soothing, breath-of-fresh-air hues are just what I’m craving at the moment. I don’t love either of the patterns that came with this shipment, however, so I’m on the hunt for the perfect pattern for this skein. It has a rather short, stripey color sequence that is prone to pooling, so the pattern will need some bold lines and/or good overall texture to show up well. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 ideas:

  1. Quartzonite by Rose Hiver – An all-over textured lace that angles the fabric in different ways, which would make thin stripes look all cool and wavy.
  2. Louche by Hunter Hammersen – Twisted stitched interspersed with wide swaths of stockinette that should hold up nicely to variegation.
  3. Smokestack Socks by Tanis Lavallee – A nice texture/cable combo with strong vertical lines that should show up well through striping or pooling.
  4. Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh – Slipped stitches create a fun effect in variegated yarns and since someone is already making a pair, I know it’ll look pretty good.

Which would you make?

P.S. I wanted to say a general THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who participated in the product survey for Sweet Sheep! I received 91 responses and some really great feedback, I’m looking forward to many happy hours of analyzing and scheming. The winners of the giveaway have all been notified by e-mail (check your inboxes) but I’ll also say congrats here to Valerie, Victoria, Lisa, Sweta, Stephanie, Annie, Shelley, Erica, Christina, and Kathy! Your input is much appreciated. And to everyone who participated, please remember that your coupon codes are valid through the end of May!