Decisions, decisions

Got February’s plain socks done by the end of the month, no problem. Haven’t been able to take any photos of them because the grey, rainy days have been making my apartment too dark to get good shots.

I did get a couple of shawls that I finished awhile ago finally blocked and looking good.

Moon Shadows
Moonshadows shawl

Ashton Shawl
Lace shawl

Meanwhile, I’m not sure what to do about this month’s socks. It’s a pattern and yarn that I cast on about a year and a half ago. It’s toe-up and I stopped just before where I believed I needed to start the gusset (I’m not as schooled in toe-up socks as I am top-down). One of the issues is that the yarn I’m using is knitting up at 9 stitches and 14 rows per inch while the pattern is written at 8 stitches and 10 rows per inch. So, I had originally cast on enough stitches to make the sock fit rather than what the pattern called for and now that I’m beginning to do the increases I have a feeling the difference in gauge is going to be a headache.

I’m seriously considering ripping the sock out and starting over. If I do that I need to decide if I just want to use the same stitch pattern but knit it top-down (it’ll look different from the pattern as it’s a slipped stitch pattern and the stitches will be pointing in the opposite direction), or I could just pick a new pattern. Right now I’m leaning towards just doing it top-down because I do like the stitch pattern.

Personal Stash Sock Club

  1. January: Finish Thujas
  2. February: Plain socks in Yarn Pirate Superwash BFL, Calamity
  3. March: Finish Scylla socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 4 – Sock, Baroque’n Hooker
  4. April: Absinthe socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 3 – SOCK,
    Hoar Crux
  5. May: Cersei socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls’ Yarn Club Ep. 6 – Fingering, Wineaux
  6. June: Primavera socks in Trekking XXL, 168
  7. July: Ziggy socks in Noro Silk Garden Sock, S87
  8. August: Finish Broken Chair socks in Blue Ridge Yarns Footprints, Wild Cherry
  9. September: Transitions socks in Blackberry Ridge Silk Blend Sport Weight, Campfires
  10. October: Socks for the husband in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 4 – Sock, Hoar’s Yer Buddy
  11. November: Monkey socks in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight, Pink Granite
  12. December: Plain socks in Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Socks, Marine

Personal Stash Yarn Club

Socks for JoshI got the socks for the husband done and blocked, and he likes them. They are a variation of the Thuja socks from knitty.com. I knit them out of Rabbitworks Fibre Studio Toe Jam (70% Merino 30% Silk) in The Gathering Storm colorway. I originally started these back in August and they were my commute knitting, but I found myself not really wanting to knit on BART, so they languished. Then, the socks I knit the husband last January developed a giant hole in the ball of one of the feet seemingly out of nowhere (Was a little sad about that because it was an 8-ply sock yarn that was supposed to be rather sturdy). Thus, the first month of my personal stash yarn club is complete.

New sockLast week I sat down and plotted what I wanted to knit, sock-wise, for the rest of the year. I’ve mixed some WIP socks into it so that I can get them off the needles, but it’s mostly all unballed yarn I’ve been wanting to knit with. February’s personal stash yarn club sock is just a plain knit sock out of Yarn Pirate Superwash BFL in the Calamity colorway. I’m already passed the heel on the first sock and it’s not technically February yet. I figure if I get these done quickly, I’ll pick up a larger project that’s been on hold and try to get some work done on it.

Selected Personal Stash Yarn Club Projects
I wanted to try to get some of the socks that have been hanging out on needles for a long time done so I can wear them. I also wanted to get some of the sock yarn that has been in my stash for quite awhile knit up.

  1. January: Finish Thujas
  2. February: Plain socks in Yarn Pirate Superwash BFL, Calamity
  3. March: Finish Scylla socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 4 – Sock, Baroque’n Hooker
  4. April: Absinthe socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 3 – SOCK,
    Hoar Crux
  5. May: Cersei socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls’ Yarn Club Ep. 6 – Fingering, Wineaux
  6. June: Primavera socks in Trekking XXL, 168
  7. July: Ziggy socks in Noro Silk Garden Sock, S87
  8. August: Finish Broken Chair socks in Blue Ridge Yarns Footprints, Wild Cherry
  9. September: Transitions socks in Blackberry Ridge Silk Blend Sport Weight, Campfires
  10. October: Socks for the husband in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 4 – Sock, Hoar’s Yer Buddy
  11. November: Monkey socks in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight, Pink Granite
  12. December: Plain socks in Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Socks, Marine

Happy New Year!

I don’t believe I’ve talked about it here, but a few years ago I began treatment for a thyroid disorder.  I had had all the classic symptoms: exhausted, freezing, hair loss, memory problems, and weight gain like you wouldn’t believe.  Over the course of about 4 years, I’ve worked with my doctor to find the right levels of medication to get me back to feeling like myself.  Finally, in July, I think we got to the right point.  It feels like almost suddenly I’m doing all sorts of things that I remember doing but for a long time couldn’t bring myself to do.  I’ve read more books in the last 6 months than I think I did in the last 2 years.  And now I want to really get back to knitting again.

I had done some cold sheeping while I was unemployed, but the knitting and the spinning weren’t happening except when i felt they really needed to, such as for gifts.  So, thankfully, lots of yarns hasn’t been coming in, but it also hasn’t really been getting used.  I’ve decided that this year I should try to keep myself knitting on a regular basis.  I’m going to do that by making up a personal sock club — one set of yarn and pattern for each month.

Rabbitch Toe Jam sock yarnI’m going to start by concentrating on a pair of socks I started for the husband back in August but hadn’t really been working on.  Thus, my January sock club is a pair of Thuja socks knit out of Rabbitworks Fibre Studio Toe Jam (70% Merino 30% Silk) in The Gathering Storm.  The fun and excitement will come when I try to figure out how I did the heel on the first sock.

Commute knitting

New commute socksAfter 2 years, I am working again.  It’s a part-time job in Berkeley, which necessitates commuting via BART.  Fremont to Downtown Berkeley is about 50 mins, so I have plenty of time to do things like knit or read.  One of the neat things about my new job is that it’s only a few blocks from Cakes & Purls.  Since I got my first paycheck this week, I decided to treat myself with a new skein of sock yarn for my BART knitting.

Normally, I’d knit my socks on circular needles so that I don’t rick losing a needle on BART, but I’ve been really enjoying knitting with my set of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz DPNs.  The yarn I picked out yesterday is Blue Ridge Yarns Footprints in Wild Cherry.  It’s 2 skeins of yarn — one 300 yd skein of variegated colors and a 100 yd skein in a matching solid color.  The main skein of Wild Cherry is a blend of really pretty deep jewel tones, and the smaller contrast skein is a dark purple that I’ll be using for the cast-on, heels, and toes.

Trying Out Design

I’ve been knitting for something like 12 years now.  Somewhere along the line I started planning out some patterns on my own as well as adapting others (e.g., the Little Sailor Girl saga from a couple years ago).  Last year, my friend La, who runs Dizzy Blonde Studios, asked if I’d be interested in designing something for the Mean Girls’ Yarn Club.  I got the yarn from her at Stitches West in February and got to work.

I knew I wanted to do socks, and La liked that because most of the patterns that have been designed for the club so far have been shawls and mitts.  I knew that the theme of the package I was designing for was Single White Female.  I saw the movie so long ago, the only thing I could really remember was that the mean girl killed a guy with a stiletto heel.  Ah, the seed of an idea…

Given that the yarn La gave me was high contrast, I decided to do something with slipped stitches.  So, I knew I wanted a single stream of slipped stitches, stiletto-like going down the foot.  After playing around with a couple of ideas, I settled on this:

 

The pattern is currently only available to Mean Girls’ Yarn Club members, but will be available for purchase in about 6 months.  You can find more information at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stiletto.

Anyone home?

Have I really been away from my knitting blog for almost a year?  I have no idea how that happened… well, maybe a little I do.  The funding for my job was cut at the beginning of November, and I was let go.  I pretty much stopped knitting or spinning for several months as I descended into a funk.  I knit a couple of things that were requested, but otherwise I lost all love of the things I love for awhile.

I got through the holidays and the new year and started to come back to myself.  The knitting started up again.  The photo taking has been woefully inadequate, but I hope to be rectifying that soon.

Meanwhile, just here to remind myself I have a blog before things get to crazy with the training I’m starting next month.

Little Sailor Girl, Finale

The knitting went ‘round and ‘round.  I’m not entirely sure why one of the smallest elements of the sweater seemed to take the longest.

Now that the striped garter stitch edging is cast off, I must admit that I am very glad I decided to knit it on rather than sew it on as called for in the pattern.  By picking up and knitting the stitches I was able to switch directions at the collar turning, which allows the striping to be right-side out on the collar as well as the body of the sweater.  It also saved me from going loony trying to sew the edging on, trying to make the corners match up correctly with the corners of the sweater.   I am quite proud of how my corners turned out; they’re nice and corner-y, gently rounded rather than wonky, which is how I was afraid they’d turn out.

Sewing on the sleeves went pretty much the same way the whole sweater has.  The armseye seemed to be a little bit bigger than the sleeve cap, so I knew the easing in of the set-in sleeve would involve a lot of easing. Thankfully, there were a couple of points that needed to match up, which made figuring out how much sleeve there was compared to armseye easier.  I had to redo the seaming on the first half of the first sleeve 3 times.  In the end, I determined that a 1 sleeve stitch to 2 armseye rows until reaching the armseye decreases would be what was going to work rather than doing the standard 3 sleeve stitches to 4 armseye rows ratio.  This made the second sleeve go much faster.  The underarm seam seemed easy-peasy in comparison.

Blogaversary

I just realized that Friday, September 28 was the 6th year anniversary of this blog.  Oh, sure it hasn’t always been at this location.  And sure, I may have gone one of those years and only blogged a couple of times.  But it’s a little hard to believe that Knitting from Outer Space has been in existence for that long, or even that I’ve been knitting for 10 years.

It’s kind of interesting to consider how things have changed in that time.  Some of the knit bloggers that I first started reading back in 2004 are still around.  Sadly, many aren’t; they either simply stopped updating, or in some cases, deleted their blogs all together.  Ravelry sort of had the same effect on knit blogs as Facebook had on Livejournal; everyone abandoned their separate little islands to be part of the bigger whole.  I’ll admit I was one of them.  Ravelry had so much more interaction (especially after they added the Forums), then an average knit blogger like myself saw in their comments section.

I don’t know why I recently decided to try my hand at it again.  I think part of it is trying to reconnect with my own knitting in a way.  I feel like I’ve been spending so much time reading about others’ knitting or searching for patterns that just lengthen my ever-growing queue that I don’t actually sit down and enjoy the feeling of needles and yarn in my own hands.  I recently started taking a spinning class at my LYS, and it’s made me slow down my process and examine what I’m doing rather than dashing off headlong and being disappointed that things don’t work out quite as I was expecting.  It’s made me remember that I feel calmer and more relaxed when I work with wool at least once a day.

I have no idea if anyone out there is still even reading my blog anymore.  I know that as I stopped blogging, I stopped reading other blogs as much (especially when Bloglines was going to go away* and I switched to Google Reader, which only stores the previous month rather than up to 200 posts per feed like Bloglines did).  I’m working at getting back into the habit of checking my blog feeds at least a couple times a week.  Then, I’m going to work at commenting more so that other knit bloggers know there’s someone out there reading them.

Meanwhile, I’m also going to start working on my blog revamping project again.  When I first started blogging at Blogger.com they didn’t have tags or categories, so none of my posts had that information when I transferred over to WordPress.  When I moved my blog, I had to go through and change photo links (because I changed photo services at the same time); after all that work, it seemed hard to go back through and tag things.  But, now the compulsive archivist in me wants everything to be nice and tidy.

 


*Apparently, Bloglines did not go away like they said it would.  It looks like it changed hands.  Unfortunately, it’s been so long they don’t have my information anymore.

Little Sailor Girl, Part 5

The end is so close.  All that’s left is stitching on the sleeves and knitting on the striped border.

Originally, the border was supposed to be knit in a big long strip and sewn on at the end.  Personally, I just thought that was stupid, especially because sewing on the border causes the portion of the border that goes up and around the collar to be reverse and not look as nice.  I picked up the stitches from the provisional cast on I did, then picked up stitches up the front using the 3 stitches to 4 rows method.  When I got to where the collar folds over, I switched the picking up so it left the pick up seam to the back.  I’ve put stitch markers in place to show the divisions between back and sides, front corners, where the collar switches from the body, and the corners of the back collar flap.  The most important ones being the corners (so I know where to do corner increases) and the collar markers (so I know to switch from purling to knitting or vice versa).

At least it only took me 4 tries to work out the buttonhole placement.  *sigh*

Little Sailor Girl, Part 4

Little Sailor Girl’s sleeves were relatively easy.  I knit both at the same time to ensure they were the same length and the like.  Then, I had to rip one of them back to the end of the increase section because I had dropped a stitch and left it behind for 6 inches.  So, I finished the sleeve that was good to clear it off the needle before ripping back on the other.

I washed and gently blocked the body as I was finishing the sleeves so that it would be ready for the next step.  And here is where I must say that I am quite proud of myself.  :)  Because I had the shoulders and the neckline to join together, I decided to do it all together.  (And here is where I say I regret not just picking up the collar stitches from the back’s neckline to prevent one more seam, and I think it would probably lay a bit better.)  I used snipettes of waste yarn to tie together the shoulders at 3 matching points – beginning of shoulder, middle of should where the second cast off section began (i.e., the step of the shoulder), and the end of the should at the neckline.  I found the center of the cast on collar stitches and the center of the cast off back neck line stitches, and taking a long piece of matching yarn, used half the yarn to stitch on half of the seam and the other half of the yarn to do the second half of the seam.  So what, you’re thinking, it’s a woven seam.  Yes, but this one changed right sides twice and the center section joined right side of stockinette stitch to reverse stockinette.  *dance of celebration*

So, body is joined together and the sleeves are gently blocking.  Next is the border… oh, border.