When I sat down to write this, I felt like it had been ages since my last blog post. But it turns out that it was only 8 days ago, which, for me, is actually quite good. I'm thinking that it's because we've had several very busy days in between now and then.
I started this project. But, since it's a commission knit this is all you'll get to see until it's done and has been sent off to its new home! I will tell you about the yarn though:
It's Cascade 220 Sport in the "Christmas Green" colorway. I think it's an excellent green. The stitch marker was handmade by a friend. I used the Turkish cast-on for this project. I've only used that particular cast-on a couple of times. I'm quite partial to the Long-tail cast-on, but this project called specifically for the Turkish cast-on instead, so I gave it a whirl.
Some of you may know that I am a children's librarian. I work for a public library in Central PA and we have had to make some big cuts this year in order to make the budget work. So last fall, we took a vote about what the staff thought we should do to help make ends meet. Lots of options were on the table like layoffs, cutting hours, a whole staff furlough, etc.
I'm very proud to say that not one person on staff voted in favor of someone losing their job. Instead, the vast majority voted to do a library furlough where we would close for a week and everyone on staff (from the director to the pages and everyone in between) would not be paid during that week. So that was last week. My husband decided to take vacation during my furlough week so that we could spend time together. We decided to take a small trip to Washington, D.C. for a few days.
One thing that is totally depressing is that I am unable to knit in the car. However, I discovered that I am able to wind up balls of yarn with little trouble! So that was my project during our drive. The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks in the Blue Ragg Shades colorway. It's a self-striping yarn and I just love the colors. This is the first time I have knit with this yarn and I really like it so far.
I've made excellent progress so far - I'm at least halfway done with the foot of the first sock.
Of course, we couldn't go to D.C. without making a trip to Fibre Space! This yarn shop is located in Alexandria, VA in Old Town (which is an adorable part of town if you've never been there!). I've read their blog and followed their Instagram feed for a while, and I was so excited to actually see it in person.
It took a while, but I finally decided on these lovely hanks of yarn. This is the Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock in the "Rockit in Space" colorway. It's a fingering weight superwash merino yarn.
I think the colors are just amazing. I'm thinking of knitting a striped infinity scarf using a dove gray as the solid base between these colors. Still debating on that. I thought of using a solid cream color, but I'm thinking that won't work because there are sections of the Dragon Sock that are cream. But, so pretty!
We did a bunch of touristy things so I'll just show you a few of my favorite pictures.
I found out that you can take guided tours of the Library of Congress. I love libraries, but this one was just exquisite.
We also visited the Botanic Gardens where I discovered the Orchid Room. Amazing purple.
So many different varities. I just loved the colors.
We also happened upon a whole room filled with different colors of Hydrangeas, another one of my favorites.
After we got home, I managed to finish this pair of socks.
My husband brought them home as a surprise yesterday. :) It's amazing how much they brighten up the living room.
I'm currently trying out a new-to-me yarn: Opal sock yarn. I'm using the Feen & Elfen fingering weight. I love the colors and am already past the heel on the 2nd sock. This pair will be for Molly's "A Homespun House" podcast May Sock KAL.
Next on the needles: a new stranded/fair isle knitting project. I finally got around to blocking the red and white stocking and am now on to green and white!
Yarn: Cascade 220 Sport in #8894 ("Christmas Green") and #8505 (White).
I recently finished my Hitchhiker Shawl and I'm really pleased with it. I had found some really fabulous black and white yarn during a visit to Little Owl Knits in Camp Hill and I went searching for a pattern that would go well with a variegated yarn.
I happened upon the Hitchhiker pattern. It keeps variegated yarns from pooling by switching up the stitch count of every row. Genius.
I've really gotten into watching Molly on her Homespun House podcast and she has been making a Cozy Memories Blanket out of leftover balls of sock yarn. I thought the idea was really cute and who doesn't have a million tiny balls of sock yarn stashed away that are too small to make an entire project but too gorgeous to just throw away?!
So I cast on for my Cozy Memories Blanket and I've been hooked ever since. My socks in progress are being very neglected right now. But can you blame me? Look at these colors!
It's really neat to be able to look at these squares and remember each project I made with a particular yarn. Even the hubby thought it was kind of cool - he even picked out which squares were made with yarn I had used for his socks.
I started with the purple square at the bottom of the picture and then each square is knitted onto another square by picking up stitches and casting on as needed. It's really a neat idea and so easy because you don't have to do any seaming this way.
Here's what the back looks like:
The pattern is the Knitted Patchwork Recipe by Martine Ellis. It's a free pattern on Ravelry and is very easy to follow.
Check out my project page for a list of the yarns that I've used so far.
There's a new little one in our family! My sister-in-law and her husband welcomed little Emerson Adele into their family a few weeks ago. She's so tiny and cute! I always feel the need to knit something to welcome babies and I know a lot of other people feel the same way. It's nice to have something handknit to give to them.
Emerson is an Arizona baby, which means she's not going to be needing to many wool sweaters. But I just love to make little baby sweaters, so I hunted down some soft yarn that was a nylon blend and washable, which is a nice perk for her mom!
Pattern: Chloe by Alana Dakos of NeverNotKnitting
Yarn: Berroco Comfort in "Vintagy Light Green," "Chalk" and "Purple"
Buttons: Little duck buttons from JoAnn Fabrics
Size: 3 months
Here's the back. Love that ruffle!
This should give you a better look at the buttons. Aren't they sweet?
My sister-in-law, Julie, was kind enough to try to get some pictures of Emerson in her sweater and send them to me. Apparently she's a little wiggle worm! But you definitely get the idea. It's a little big, but she's not quite a month old yet so she'll grow into it.
That's all for now! I'm working away on another pair of socks - just plain ones for me. I have a new ball of self-patterning sock yarn that I'm dying to try out, but I'm trying to finish this pair first.
I think the variations of color in this yarn are really lovely and they work well for a men's sock, too. This pair now belongs to my husband, who is not able to model them for me right now. He's sick, and I think asking him to stand about and model socks when he's feeling badly is a little mean (even if I did just make incredibly nice, new socks for him). Perhaps I'll manage to get modeled pictures later on.
Even the color of the socks was a big hit. I may try something even more colorful in the future!
I've been thinking a lot about what to do with my tiny bits of leftover sock yarn. I always seem to have at least a small ball left over, but can't seem to part with it. The fingering weight yarn leftovers I have are beautiful, so I'm trying to find a way to use them.
One option in contention is the Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl by Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline podcast. She teaches how to attach the leftover yarn together to make a striped shawl.
However, I'm also intrigued by the possibility of using the leftovers to make some sort of knitted blanket or quilt, like the Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits or a mitered square blanket like Molly from A Homespun House is currently making. Both sound like really good ideas and they're both really beautiful. I'm just not sure I'll have the attention span to follow through and actually finish the blanket!
Perhaps the Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl is the way to go.
Last Friday, I got to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!
My mom, my husband's aunt, Nancy, and I drove down to Baltimore to hear her speak at her book signing event in Baltimore. The talk wasn't until 7pm, but we got there early to get good seats.
Here's our group patiently waiting at 4:30pm. We were in the 4th row!! By the time Stephanie got there, all of the seats were filled, plus people were standing in between the bookshelves. She is definitely loved.
Here she is taking a picture of her sock in progress with all of us in the background. I would imagine that getting the angle right is a bit tricky.
The wait was totally worth it. Stephanie was amazingly funny. She made us laugh so much! If you haven't had a chance to read her new book, "The Amazing Thing About The Way It Goes," I totally recommend it. She read a chapter from it that had me in tears from laughing so much. You'll know what I mean when you get to the part about the skunk.
After her talk, we all got a chance to get our books signed.
I brought the sock I had knitted for my hubby from her "Socks for Old Joe" pattern. Stephanie wondered where the other one was. (It wasn't quite done - I actually just finished it tonight!)
I seem to be having a problem lately. In the past month, I knit a sweater that could double as a tent and a little dragon stuffed animal whose hands, feet and wings will have to be a different color because I ran out of yarn.
I'm usually much better about this. Playing "knitting chicken" makes me nervous, so I always get more than enough yarn. But the dragon is knit from the stash - leftovers from a shawl project. I thought it would be ok. I weighed the yarn and had 20 grams more than the pattern recommended. Great!
But after knitting the body I started to get the feeling that it wouldn't be enough. I knit faster. (Because knitting faster will totally make the yarn last longer?!) Once the body was done, I looked at my little pile of yarn and wondered what had gone wrong.
I started the head, hoping that it would magically take less yarn than expected. It did not. I took stock of the situation. Is it possible that this is an optical illusion? Maybe I'm wrong and the yarn balls just look like they're shrinking at a freakish rate? What parts of the dragon absolutely had to match in color?
I decided that his tail was the most important part to match the body so I skipped over a page of instructions and started knitting. Honestly, I thought I was doomed. There was no way I was going to get a whole tail out of this tiny amount of yarn. But somehow I made it and even managed to make two tiny little dragon ears to match.
This is all that was left. No was was I going to be able to make arms, legs and wings with these sad little scraps.
I took stock of the situation. The pattern called for 40 grams of yarn. I had weighed my yarn and had 59 grams - more than enough. I even used the recommended needles. Clearly the yarn was at fault.
I decided to go in search of the yarn on Ravelry to see if anyone happened to have a random skein that they would share with a desperate knitter. A few people had it in their stash - but none were listed in the "willing to trade/sell" area. I went to the yarn vendor's site to see if they would have any more of this yarn/colorway - and they did! Happy day. And that's when I noticed it - this yarn was listed as worsted weight...and my pattern called for fingering. Suddenly it all made sense. OF COURSE I didn't have enough yarn. Worsted weight yarn weighs more so I would get fewer yards per gram. (In my defense, I would definitely classify this as a light worsted weight...)
Since this was supposed to be a stash-busting project, I've decided that it's ok for my dragon to have appendenges in a different color rather than purchase an additonal skein that will also have to fit in the stash. As my husband so wisely stated - "Sweetie, he can be any color you want. After all, dragons aren't real."
I wanted to pop by and show off some pictures of my first pair of fingerless mitts. I actually finished them some time ago, but just haven't managed to get pictures on the blog.
Pattern: Spring Foliage by Alana Dakos, found in her beautiful book, "Botanical Knits." (I can't wait for her new book, Botanical Knits 2, to be available. The photos look amazing!)
Yarn: Hermes Alpacas Autumn handspun, a gift from my aunt & uncle in Virginia. The yarn is an alpaca, merino, silk blend that is just lovely.
They fit pretty well, although now that I've tried them out I think that I could have shortened them by about half an inch as they're just a little too long on my fingers. Either way, they're nice and cozy and are currently living at my desk at work.
Today I helped out at my knitting guild's fiber festival, For the Love of Fiber. I met a lovely shop owner from Main Street Yarn in Rebersburg, PA. She had a few things that I just couldn't resist.
A little felt needlecase - design by frabjons fibers (handmade in Nepal - fair trade). I just love the colors and design!
She also had some lovely hand-dyed yarn. The yarn on the left will be socks for me (I think) and the yarn on the right will be a new pair of socks for the hubby. I'm planning to use the "Old Joe" pattern by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
Here's something I didn't plan on getting:
I just couldn't leave without the guy! The mug is by Christine Stangel, of C S Stangel Pottery, located right here in State College.
Overall, a successful trip. Unfortunately, we got another several inches of snow this morning so that slowed down attendance quite a bit. Hopefully people were able to venture out this afternoon. There were a lot of great things to see!
Thanks for stopping by! I plan on snuggling up to the fireplace, watching the Olympics and knitting. A perfect Saturday.