Ta-Da! Tuesday and WIP Wednesday # 23

Hello all!

Well, we sprung forward last weekend.  Yes, it is the time of year again when we change our time to “save” daylight.  I do not mind falling backwards but springing forward always throws me off my game for a week or two.  It is hard to sleep, and my internal clock is all wonky — leaving me rather…. disagreeable.

However, I have had time to complete the Stained Glass Seaglass Cowl – a pattern recently released by Linda Dawkins aka Mamma4Earth on Ravelry.  It is a wonderful knit, was a great test-knitting experience, and I hope you will take a look at it…

That would be this week’s Ta-Da!

I am now back on the boot socks.  They are, as I noted before, nearly completed.  At about 80%, I think they can be completed soon.

I am still spinning the fiber from last week.  I have spun up 50% of it already and I cannot wait to ply it!

Let me know what you are currently working on!

Happy WIP Wednesday Everyone!

Joining Steph@WoolythymeGinny@SmallThings, Linda@NaturalSuburbia, and TamisAmis for Yarnalong and WIP Wednesday!

Oh yeah!  I would like to introduce you to Cash, our latest Foster Schnauzer:


Ta-Da! Tuesday #19

Hello All!

It has been a while since I have posted for Ta-Da! Tuesday but I am happy to be doing so now…

Back in December I was wasting some knitting time browsing patterns on Ravelry and I ran across a group requesting test knitters for a male intended cowl.  It was not, at first glance, a pattern that would blow you away or anything but it was arresting.  I thought about it for a day or so and decided that I wanted to make it — and so I joined the group of test knitters for the pattern.  (This is one of the reasons that I love Ravelry!)  A day later I had the pattern and ordered the yarn.  By the end of the week I had cast on.  Now this pattern has changed my outlook on knitting…

The pattern was The Other Million by Brenda Burrell ( brendadada on Ravelry ).

As you can see the sample is very handsome, fun and simple.  Through color choice it could be flashy or conservative…

Having only been knitting for about 4 years now, my progression in skill as a knitter has been about the “next” thing — progressing from simple knit stitches early on to cables, charts, fair isle, mosaic, double knitting, lace, etc…

Not until this pattern did I begin to see the appeal of simple colorwork.  Simple colorwork can be beautiful, infinitely customizable, showy or conventional, the list goes on and on.  I could not see that before because I was on a path to conquer knitting.  Does that make sense?  I wanted to attain the skill to do anything in knitting.  Being a “good” knitter is not defined by being able to design and work your own Guernsey sweater.  What I have come to realize is that I already have the confidence to do anything I want to do in knitting and so I should focus on making myself happy.

The thing with being a male knitter is that very little is designed successfully with men in mind.  Men’s apparel generally has a limited set of color choices… This is not the result of societal pressures so much as personal taste.  I mean if I wanted to wear pink, I would wear pink. In fact I have a pink shirt — but if you stand back from my closet and eye it you are going to see a lot of blue.  Successful men’s knitted apparel is not only limited in color, however, it is also limited in the variety of stitches.  Usually, this means little or no lace, no yarn overs, no bobbles, certain cables, and the list goes on and on…

Colorwork, therefore, can provide a refuge from most of these perils.  It can be simple and interesting to knit.  It can be successfully wearable for many men and add a bit of extra color to their wardrobe.  Many people do not want to knit men’s socks because they are usually black, navy or brown and they consist of a lot of stockinette stitches — again I am not saying they have to be bland, just that most men prefer them that way.  Colorwork will let you add variety in simple stitches.

I am probably singing to the choir or nobody at all…  Most of you have probably already figured this out or knit for men who wear bright colors all the time… But for me, this changed the game in terms of my knitting goals.

Sorry for the rant.  You are here, after all, for a Ta-Da! moment…

For my version of The Other Million I decided to work it in five colors rather than nine.  It is originally designed to be worked in four blocks of two colors (eight stripes) with a random stripe somewhere between blocks.  Something like the following:


However, I chose to work it as follows:


This meant that at any given time, if you saw two blocks together, they would share at least one color.

And here it is:


The Other Million by Brenda Burrell.  The yarn is Cascade 220 Sport Wool in colors Ginger, Straw, Navy, Silver Grey, and Walnut Heather.  It was knit in the round from a provisional cast on and once the knitting was done, the ends were folded and grafted together (so as to create an inner tube).  Let me tell you, that is a long graft!

It was so much fun — I highly recommend the pattern…

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Fiber Fever Friday # 18

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope everyone has plans to stay in, keep warm, and knit the weekend away — especially those of you enduring SNOWMAGEDDON this weekend!  I wish we were getting a snow in Memphis this weekend, but, alas, it is going to be a dreary wet 50 degree weekend.

Oh, well…  It should be a good weekend for baking gingersnaps…

…and for working on the THREE (Count’em !  There are only 3!!!) WIPs I have on the needles right now.  I shall try my very best not to cast on another project this weekend.  Even though I really want to because Stephen West just released the first set of patterns from his new KAL book, “Westies Besties” and also because I have recently acquired this:

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces, Helen’s Lace in the Sand Ridge colorway and it came to me through my LYS during a half price New Year’s sale (I had been looking at this yarn for 9 months but couldn’t justify the $50 per skein price tag).  
It goes with these:

…to make a Shipwreck
So send strong willed vibes my way — I’m not sure I can resist casting this one on much longer…
Knit Happy Everyone!
Please stay safe and warm this weekend…
Linking with Tamisamis, Small Things, Natural Suburbia, and Woolythyme for the Friday rounds!

WIP Wednesday # 18

Wow.  What a start to the new year.  If 2012 went out like a lamb, 2013 has come in like a lion.  Lots of stress, angst, responsibilities, new friendship, fiber, group agendas (and did I mention responsibility?) — so far it has been a roller-coaster.

Last week, I was voted in as President of the Memphis Knitting Guild and R is the new Social Media Coordinator.  We’re excited about the changes we can bring to the Guild and I hope the membership will be open enough to embrace them this year.  So far, so good.  🙂
April will bring about the first Gathering of the Guilds (of the West Tennessee area).  We are all getting together for a meet and greet.  Hopefully we will be able to work out a social event between guilds for the fall.  Unfortunately the Gathering takes place the same weekend as Stitches South so we cancelled our plans to attend and registered for the Gathering.  If you live within driving distance of Jackson, TN and are a member of a Guild — join us!
On to the knitting :)….
So last month I undertook a massive Knitting organization and cleanup for the stash, tools, and pattern library.  I am still working on completing some of those tasks but the work is coming along nicely.  I frogged a couple of WIPs that were started, literally, years ago and now I am down to a crochet afghan, a knitted scarf, and a pair of knit socks.
The afghan is a long-term project.  It is a duplicate of my previous Alaskan Nights throw for my in-laws and need not be finished until November…  
I’m on row 5.  If I learned anything from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s lessons I would be worried… But I guess they were just too entertaining to be instructional.  🙂
The scarf is a simple foray into Entrelac knitting:
They are being worked in Noro’s Silk Garden : Colorway 252…  I am really enjoying the yarn.  I had heard mixed things about Noro’s Silk Garden but in my opinion — despite the vegetative matter — it is a beautiful yarn with a nice hand and a wonderful drape.  I can’t wait to finish this WIP.

[Image from the KP pattern.]
Finally, the sock pattern I am working came from Knit Picks.  It is my first true pair of socks.  I have made baby socks/booties, but this is the first adult sized pair.  It is the free Boot Socks pattern from KP, knit in KP’s Swish Worsted Marble Heather for the MC and in their Wool of the Andes Worsted Fedora for the CC for extra durability in the heel, toe, and cuff.  The pattern is plain enough to be manly in the right colors, endlessly modifiable, and (best of all) it was free.  You might think endless knit rows in grey and brown would be boring, but it is worsted weight after all so the progress is fast and this is my first ever 2 socks on 2 circulars project so I have that to keep me entertained!
*** Hint: These would make a GREAT Christmas present for any man in your life.

As for reading, well, I have had little time for reading for so long now that I cannot remember what I last read.  I have, however, been listening to a great deal of books.  At the moment, I am revisiting a favorite from years ago — Thunderhead by Douglas Child and Lincoln Preston.
There are also lots of WIPs from Christmas to reveal in the coming weeks so check back next week for Ta-Da! Tuesday!
What are you working on?
Happy Knitting Everyone!

A New Year’s Knitter : Part 4 – WIP Boot Camp

Okay, so this is the last installment of the ‘A New Year’s Knitter’ series.  So far, we have discussed cleaning up (and out) your stash, your needles, and your patterns.  Today we will discuss the what is perhaps the hardest clean out of all — the WIP pile.  You can do it, however, because we’ve built up your ruthlessness over the month.  You have steeled your heart to rid yourself of Stash that you no longer like, Needles that no longer have a mate, and Patterns that you admit you will never get around to knitting.  Be strong — this one will be like a bandaid — do it quickly and the it will hurt the least. I promise.

Nearly every knitter on the planet has more than one Work In Progress at any given time.  It seems impossible to work on one project in every circumstance.  That sweater you have been slaving away on at home is impractical to work on in the line at the bank, or at a red light, or on the commuter train — so you start another project.

That is fine — it really is — but eventually, in the process knitting those boring manly stockinette tan socks that you thought you would not mind working on, you get the itch.  You need something more [fun, colorful, intricate, NOT TAN] and those socks end up tucked away somewhere out of sight.  Occasionally you find you need your size 3 DPNs, but when you realize you left them in that sock, you back away slowly hoping that particular WIP won’t see you.  You needed another pair of size 3 DPNs anyway…

Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of knitters — and it happens a lot.  Projects get stored away for another day for all kinds of reasons — they’re boring, or the color is monotonous, or you realize that baby is now in middle school and no longer needs a baby blanket.  Whatever the reason, they are stored somewhere.  In your house.  Taking up your needles.  And your yarn.  And they make you feel guilty when you see them.

Well today you will cut yourself free.

Step 1 – Gather up all of your WIPs.  Search the house this one last time.  Pile them all together somewhere and then go get yourself a big glass of wine, or scotch maybe…

Step 2 – Be honest with yourself as you go through each and every WIP.  Why did you put this away in the first place?  Did you hit a wall?  Was there a mistake you couldn’t face correcting?  Will you really finish this?  Does your son still have size 4 feet?

Divide these WIPs into two piles: One you will finish, and one that needs to be Frogged.

Step 3 – Steel yourself!  *Take a WIP from your Frogged pile and RIP IT OUT.  After you’re done, go wind that yarn back into a ball.  Repeat from * to end of pile.

Step 4 – Make sure you add that yarn to your Ravelry Stash and remove the WIP project from your active projects.  Also be sure you counted these needles when you worked Part 3 of A New Year’s Knitter — if not, add them to your Ravelry Needle stash.

There now!  That WIP never even existed!  Feel the guilt of that project just melt away…  🙂

Step 5 – Sort and queue your remaining WIPs.  Then be sure to work on these until they are complete.  This should not be a problem — remember that you have determined they are worth completing!

Step 6 – It’s worth identifying where these WIPs should be kept — in the car, at work, by the bed, or in your knitting chair.  Place them each in their own WIP bag along with what you’ll need to work on them (scissors, cable needle, etc…) and put them in their ‘spot’.

I like the variety of WIP bags on Etsy.  These are my favorite:

They are handmade by Knitterbag in Lithuania and they come in small medium and large…

Congratulations my friend, you are now
 a New Year’s Knitter!