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.

Still Chugging Along

I’m still here, still pregnant, still slowly working on tiny baby knits. Thus, I finished a pair of (rather large) baby socks!

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Not-so-tiny booties.

I made these socks to match the Newborn Vertebrae cardi I finished last month. I took a wild guess at the number of stitches to cast on (40) and the lengths of all the various bits. I figure if they’re too big, they’ll fit eventually, and I used them basically as a gauge swatch to figure out how big to make a coordinating hat.

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Coordinating hat.

Since my gauge on the foot of the socks was 8 sts/in, I cast on 104 sts for the rolled stockinette brim of the hat, then increased to 112 sts for the body. This should give me a 14″ circumference hat when all is said and done. That might be a tad large for a newborn head, which is said to be about 14″ and I usually like negative ease in hats, but he should grow into it in time for cooler weather in the fall. Knitting for someone who doesn’t yet exist in a measurable way is hard, yo.

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Calypso demonstrating her impressive size.

Speaking of measurable sizes, at 39 weeks the Hatchling is supposedly the size of a domestic shorthair cat. How freaking terrifying is that, right? Let’s hope the cat in question was not quite as chubby as Calypso above!

An Active Hatchling

Our Hatchling is having an exciting week. Tuesday afternoon, we went for a walk and then spent the rest of the evening experiencing a series of what I assume were Braxton Hicks (non-productive, ‘practice’) contractions… all. night. long. That night we also went on a hospital tour and got a glimpse of the labor & delivery rooms. (Eeeeek.) Then yesterday we had an ultrasound to check out his growth and turns out that the little fella is doing just fine… too fine, in fact. At 35 weeks and with another month of growth to go, he’s already measuring at 7.1 lbs which is above the 99th percentile. HAHAHAHAHA GIANT BABY, HERE WE COME. Those measurements can be off by a lot, though, so I don’t think any birth decisions will be made off of them at this time. And finally, this morning we had our regular OB checkup and Hatchling’s heartrate was higher than they liked so we got to sit hooked up to a monitor for an hour because he just wouldn’t stop kicking and hiccuping and rolling around, which kept his heartrate elevated above 170 bpm, when they wanted to see it around 150 bpm.

Exciting times. I also finished a baby sweater.

This is Little Green Peanut, my gradient version of the Newborn Vertebrae open-front cardi designed by Kelly Brooker. The body went super fast and I enjoyed the whole thing. I had a little trouble picking up stitches for the edging cleanly, but it looks just fine in the end, and the sleeves were a breeze. This knit took me less than a month start to finish, which is pretty quick for me. The worst part was weaving in the ends! Because I used a sweet little gradient set by Black Trillium Fibre, I had 26 ends to weave in, which took hooooours. I have enough yarn left to knit a matching cap and booties, here’s hoping the whole set will still fit the not-so-little fella when he’s born!

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Sherbet Baby sweater, click for project page.

Finishing one baby sweater has inspired me to get back to the Babycakes project I’ve had on the needles since February. This week I’ve knit the neck edging and one front band, I’m working on buttonhole placement for the remaining front band now, then I’ll just have the sleeves left. This will be another many-ended-stripey-sweater when it’s done, but at least this one is a 6 month size so it should DEFINITELY fit the kid at some point!

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Waiting for Hatchling, click for project page.

Inspired by all the waiting around I’m bound to do over the next month, I started a new pair of simple textured socks to keep my hands busy. This is the Aramis pattern by Caoua Coffee and it’s a lovely, elegant, simple knit. I think it will be just the thing to work on when I’m frazzled in busy doctor’s offices, being surprise!monitored, and waiting for labor to really kick in. Some of you may recognize the yarn (BMFA BFL Fingering in Royals). I knit with this yarn for some of my wedding pictures and during my honeymoon. Sadly, the resulting sock was way too tight (BFL has a lot less stretch than Merino, duly noted!) so it’s been frogged and is getting new life now as we wait for our baby to arrive (poetic, no?).

 

WIPWed #108: Socks Again

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve really worked on socks. I was on a roll for a bit there, then got sidetracked by Rhinebeck-related knitting and a couple of hats (that I’ll show you on Friday, finished, woot!). But the holidays are approaching, and while I’m not making any concrete gift knitting plans, there are a few things I could picture knitting for a few people, so I’m going to work on them as time allows. Thus, I have only one WIP to show this week.

Berrylicious Socks:

WIPWed #108: Socks Again | Woolen Diversions

Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These very simple socks are knit with one of the Rockin’ Sock Club colorways, and their simplicity is just what I need right now. I turned both heels last night. I still can’t believe that it took me about 6 years of really serious knitting before I realized that knitting socks “simultaneously” on different sets of DPNs is most productive and satisfying for me. No more second sock syndrome, no more languishing at the heel turn, no more forgetting what I did for the first sock and making silly mistakes on the second. This process of knitting bit-by-bit has turned the whole sock thing into an entirely stress-free enterprise because I don’t have to keep track of notes or try to remember whatever little tricky thing I did later on for the second sock. YAY STRESS-FREE KNITTING!

As for reading, I recently listened to Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth on audiobook, but the third wasn’t available from the library so now I’m reading Allegiant on my kindle. If you’ll remember a few months ago my kindle suddenly imploded, and when I called customer service, their response was “Well, it’s an old model, and our cheapest one, it’s basically dead. Here’s a $20 credit for your trouble!” Thanks a lot. I didn’t want $20, I wanted my kindle to work! But, since I’m super lucky and have an aunt who is an avid reader, she took pity on me and just gave me one of her old kindles to use, which is super nice. Take that, Amazon! You can’t make me buy a newfangled contraption!

I think I should stop my babbling there. I’ve been working like crazy filling a few wholesale orders for Sweet Sheep so unfortunately haven’t been able to update the shop as much as I’d like. I did, however, get to make some Cranberry Orange Embed soap recently, which smells yummy and tart:

The soap is a cranberry-scented honey soap base, with pieces of Orange Cream whipped soap embedded within. And don’t forget, you still have a few days to receive 20% off your order with the code INDIELUV20. Use it before 11/15!

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

FOFri #41 : Socks & Swatches

After a couple of busy weeks, I’ve finally had time to sit down and wrap up the toes of not one but TWO pairs of socks!

FOFri #41: Socks & Swatches | Woolen Diversions

We sort of match, and it’s adorable.

I think it’s safe to say that my sock mojo is officially back. I’ve finished 6 pairs of socks thus far this year! That’s almost a pair a month, which is way faster than my sock finishing rate of the last few years. Plus, I knit the exact same pattern, twice, simultaneously. If that’s not fortitude, I don’t know what is. It probably helps that I adore both of the colorways and the slipped stitch patterning feels like it flies by.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

These are, indeed, my favorite socks ever. The pattern is Dalekanium by Dena Stelly. In truth, I didn’t actually follow the pattern (which is toe-up). I just borrowed the stitch pattern and stuck it on my typical 64-stitch cuff-down sock and tapered away the slipped stitch patterning just before I began the toe decreases. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (my faaaaaaaavorite) in the club colorway Gran’s Kitchen.

Stealth Socks:

And while I got brand new socks, the Fiasco did, too (so he can’t complain of neglect). His birthday socks were just about a week late, which isn’t too bad by my standards. The nice thing about his is that they went just as quickly as mine, despite his larger feet. That’s because I used BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight on size 2.75 mm needles to size up the socks instead of casting on more stitches. (Good thing he likes his socks cushy!) This is the Grimm colorway, and it’s fabulous.

Now that those socks are off the needles and I have a few trips in the near future, I’m itching to cast on some small, quick-but-interesting, portable projects. Which to me, means HATS.

FOFri #41: Socks & Swatches | Woolen Diversions

Swatches, all wet and wonky.

I’ve had two skeins of yarn begging to become hats that I want in my wardrobe like right now since mid-winter, but I just didn’t get a chance to knit them last season. Knitting them in August should give me a solid jump-start on accessories for fall, though!

Black Tea:

Photo copyright BabyCocktails. Click for pattern page.

I’ve been completely in love with this slouchy Black Tea hat pattern since I handled the sample during a class with the designer, Thea Colman, at a knitting event in January. I loved the sample so much that I even hunted down the exact yarn used in the pattern through a destash because I want to replicate the look and feel of the luxurious fabric. The yarn is Bello fingering by the Plucky Knitter (55% Merino wool, 45% cashmere), held double while knitting. Once dry, the swatch will help me determine if I want to use 6’s or 7’s for the main body of the hat. While I could’ve just followed the pattern, my head is a little smaller than most and I’ve never worked with this yarn before so I wanted to get a feel for it and my gauge before I jumped right in.

Paravel Hat:

Photo copyright Megan Goodacre. Click for pattern page.

The other hat will be made with a skein of BMFA BFL Superwash in their fun Sadie Sue Tipsy colorway. The blue in that colorway is the exact same shade of blue as my jacket (and my glasses, and my lampshade, and my wristwarmers…) which makes the color-coordination-lover in me very happy. I knew it wanted to become a hat, but I was debating between the Norby and Sockhead patterns until last night, when I found Paravel (designed by Megan Goodacre) and thought that the simple texture with the interesting lace panel would work well with the specks of color and keep my interest while knitting. Plus, I love the tidy decreases at the top of the hat and appreciate that kind of attention to detail in the patterns I buy.

Photo copyright Megan Goodacre.

So that’s my trip knitting all sorted out! Two hats (and let’s be honest, probably a new pair of socks) should hold me over for a 3-day Cape Cod trip and a week-long conference, right?

(And in case you missed it, check out my Indie Business Interview on the Knitted Bliss blog! There you’ll find a coupon code for free shipping on all domestic AND international Sweet Sheep orders over $10 through August 7th.)

WIPWed #100: That’s a Nice Round Number

I’ve reached 100 WIP Wednesday posts, woohoo! Now, that’s not 100 weeks in a row or even 100 weeks of knitting, as there has been plenty more knitting than that, but 100 weeks of cataloging my knits in a systematic way, at least! (You can see all WIPWed posts here, if you’d like.) This week, I have spinning and socks.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

My favorite socks are currently in the toe stage of development, which means they’re almost done! I’m going to wear the bejeezus out of these things come fall. Also, I thought I should illustrate how difficult it is for me to get good blog photos sometimes; I have to fight off kitties for space and light (especially the yarn-hungry Darwin) through the entire photo-taking process.

Stealth Socks:

WIPWed #100

BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight, colorway Grimm. Click for project page.

The secret stealth socks are progressing, but not nearly fast enough. I’m on the heel flap of both but need to put some serious time into them this week.

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #100

BeeMiceElf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

Even though they are a pain in the butt to wind neatly, my favorite part of Turkish spinning is the fat little turtles of yarn you get when you take the cop off the spindle. That’s only about 0.5 oz of fiber, so I have a bit more to go *eye roll*.

TdF Dusky Greens:

WIPWed #100

Three Waters Farm Falkland, colorway Greens at Dusk. Click for handspun page.

As I am on the Three Waters Farm Tour de Fleece team, I figured it was about time I started in on some Three Waters Farm fiber. In one evening (!) I spun up 1/3 of a braid of Falkland wool in lovely green shades. I’m planning to make a 3-ply yarn to coordinate with the pound of Falkland I spun up when I first got my wheel. Now if I just had more time to spin… Work is going to be insane through the end of the month and the first couple of weeks of August will be busy with a vacation and a conference, so chances are my posts will be a bit spotty until later in August. I will do my best but if I disappear for a while, that’s why!

As for reading, I started a new book:

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Definitely worth the read.

Some of you may have already heard of the Whole30 program, and even if you have, this book is worth reading to better understand the reasons behind it. The idea of the program is to stop eating certain unhealthy foods for 30 days and see how your body feels. Then you reintroduce them and observe any changes, so that you can make well-informed decisions about your diet in the future. I love this idea. The book does a good job of summing up the very complicated and unclear science of how food interacts with your body. Admittedly, the authors overuse analogies waaaaaaaaaaay too much, but the science they describe is pretty sound and clearly explained. They define unhealthy foods as those that do one (or more) of four things: 1- have an addictive or unhealthy psychological effect, 2- unbalance your hormones, 3- disrupt your gut health, and 4- induce an immune system response. For the most part, these foods include all grains, dairy, legumes, and seed oils. It essentially encourages a Paleo-style diet of protein, veggies, and fruit. For people struggling with their health or their weight while eating what seem like healthy foods, giving this program a try might be worth it. I haven’t done it quite yet, but the diet I did last year was very much like it and since I’ve been slowly-but-surely regaining some of the weight I had lost (despite calorie-counting, yoga, weight-lifting, and walking regularly) it’s worth a try to see if it can get my metabolism-related hormones back in balance.

Also, if you’ll allow me a moment on my soapbox, I think people should read this book so that they realize that obesity is a real biological problem. It’s not just mental (put down the fork!) or about willpower (get up off the couch!), it involves overcoming real biochemical challenges (genetics, metabolism, stress, hormones, brain chemicals) as well as societal pressures (restaurants, ads, easy junk food, peers) at every turn. And for some people, it’s a lifelong freaking struggle, despite doing everything right. It’s a legitimate disease and as far as I can tell, it’s one of the few left that people feel justified in openly mocking and belittling. Next time you have unkind thoughts about a fat person, take a beat and remember that there’s a pretty good chance they’re working on it and it’s not all their fault.

Soapbox done, back to your regularly scheduled knitting! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

Since I missed blogging on Wednesday and we’re halfway to Friday, I’ll post both my finished socks and my works-in-progress today!

Camelot Socks:

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

Finished, huzzah!

I have finished another pair of socks, huzzah! (I hesitate to claim to be on a roll, but with 4 pairs of socks finished since January, I think I can officially say that my sock slump is broken.) I used a new-to-me yarn for these (from Barking Dog Yarns) that is dyed in colorways that are basically the inverse of each other. I love their coordinating mis-matchedness.

The pattern is Monkey by Cookie A., which I modified to add a purl stitch between repeats for a 68 stitch cast on. These socks are actually quite roomy, I could’ve either left the purl stitch out (although I like the extra bit of sculpting it gives the stitch pattern) or used 2.0 mm needles for a tighter gauge. However, I was unsure how sizing would work out using a 2-ply yarn that’s a bit thinner than my typical 3-ply Socks That Rock and I wanted to make sure they weren’t too tight. Overall, I’m quite pleased with these and glad to have them off the needles, since I began them 6 months ago (!) in December.

Aqua Sock Experiment:

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

A sock that is no more.

I was itching to finish my Camelot Socks so I could cast on with the gorgeous yarn I received in my Rockin’ Sock Club March shipment. The colorway, Gran’s Kitchen, is basically the color of my soul. However, it pooled something awful in the first pattern I tried with it, the Turritella Socks from the May shipment. I was seriously not a fan, so I’ve frogged what you see above and am going try the Jaywalker pattern. I’m hoping for some nice stripey action with a different cast on and stitch pattern.

Colinton Mohair Cowl:

Camelot Socks and Other WIPs

Colinton Cowl. Click for project page.

I got into a nice rhythm on my Myra cowl and was really enjoying the mohair lace yarn, until I dropped a couple of stitches. Normally I’m pretty good at fixing lace mistakes but this is a garter-based lace and garter stitch is always a bit trickier to fix. So this project will have to wait until I have time to focus on it when there’s good light (hopefully this weekend).

Other fun things:

I had a fun mail day recently so I thought I’d share. I’m one of the moderators of the Etsy Shops Ravelry group (come join!) and noticed that there was a sweet sale running in JulieSpins shop, so I treated myself to a skein of Glimmer Lace: 75% SW Merino wool, 20% silk, and 5% stellina (sparkle!). It’s a lovely, deep green/grey mix of shades that should make a dramatic lace wrap. I also received a perfect project bag that I custom ordered from Christine of Third Floor Studios when I vended at the RI Fiber Festival this year. It’s the large size bag in cheerful blue prints that I adore. She was super sweet in person, too, and I highly recommend her bags.

Finally, I’m about halfway through reading Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner. This, friends, is a super interesting book. At first, I thought I was going to hate it. The intro talked a lot about upper middle-class mothers with wealthy husbands and lovely homes who were able to stay home from work to raise their children and were anxious, miserable, and unhealthily obsessive over incredibly small details of their children’s lives. There is almost nothing that irritates me more than a lack of reasonable perspective and I feared this book was going to try to validate the plight of these mothers. In a way, it does, but it creates its case by describing the history of behavioral science and society’s views of motherhood in America and how it’s changed over the decades. From the 1920s when mothers were told they’d damage their children by cuddling them too much to the 1970s when mothers celebrated the ability to go back to work to the millennial mothers who are devoted to attachment parenting and a vision of perfect domesticity. It’s truly fascinating to read how the research has changed over the years and often horrifying to read how the media interpreted its messages. And of course, through all of it, feminism and its issues are deeply entwined. (Not once in any of the mother judgement is a father deemed the cause of a child’s problems.) It’s a fascinating read that I can’t put down. If you’re interested in issues of social justice, feminism, or understanding the real societal drivers behind the so-called ‘mommy wars’ (hint, it’s not the moms) you should check it out. Fair warning: it’s pretty depressing, and a bit pessimistic. However, I’m taking it as an example of what not to do, how not to be, what negative thinking traps to avoid, and what societal influences to look out for whenever I become a mom. So, there’s that going for it… a little bit of perspective after all.

Linking up a bit late with Yarnlong and Stitch Along Wednesday.