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more tiny things

The knitting of teeny tiny things  continues unabated:

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I. Can. Not. Even. Can you also not even?

I mean, they’re so cute. They kinda broke all my words.

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Here’s my Ravelry project. The pattern is the classic Saartje’s Bootees. I stitched down one strap and added actual buttons to the second. I’m deluded and think this will help keep them on baby feet (don’t try to argue that with me.)

The yarn is from Fireweed Dyeworks. I’d never heard of it before this, but I spent a lot of time scouring Etsy for short-repeat rainbow yarn and this stuff looked perfect (look her up: Alaskan Nancy on Etsy). The colors in Russian Rainbow are also perfect. And in a moment of pure synchronicity the booties knit up using EXACTLY one repeat of color. Which is to say, I didn’t actually try to make identical booties. I just got really REALLY lucky.

But the knitting of tiny things is shifting already. Next on my needles? An Iona blanket. I (of course) am making some changes and working the pattern in DK yarn. We’ll see what that does to my gauge. I do not have a great track record for actually finishing baby blankets. But I’m hopeful, because this one is knit in squares, and because each square can use different colors, that I have a fighting chance. Also, just check out the cables. How is this NOT already an FO? It’s so ME.

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© Lucy Hague

Teeny tiny sooo little

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned my little Fernboro hat project, and now it’s done!

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Feather and fan stitch patterns are one of those things that has grown on me over the years. I didn’t love them (any of them, in any form) when I was a new knitter. I don’t know why. But these days I love how the stacked increases and decreases can change the hem line of a thing. And I LOVE how this design uses cleverly placed fans to create wee little earflaps.

After that I finished up a much bigger hat that had been languishing (pattern is the Garter Earflap hat from Purl Soho). I knit the whole thing back in October, except it wasn’t nearly deep enough for Windsor’s head. Then she asked for a new pompom hat (she calls them “pony hats” like a pompom is some kind of pony tail) so I ripped this one back to the earflaps knit a new crown, and tada!

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And AFTER THAT I started in on a new project, a pair of little chausses: baby booties in quick, speedy worsted weight. Because apparently I’m on a finishing spree.

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What’s up with all the teeny tiny knitting? Well, we have a new teeny tiny soooo little baby on the way! That’s how Windsor describes the baby, “our baby is sooo small, teeny tiny, little, like this!” – every time. She’s more than a bit excited. Then again, so are the rest of us!

Taking stock

I have great plans for keeping my knitting notions organized. Of course I do! A needle roll, baskets, zipper bags for the little stuff, a whole craft nook with shelves and a dresser and a big table. But I don’t KNIT in my craft nook, just store stuff there. And in knitting bags. And other baskets all over the house. And eventually it looks like this:

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And while I’m usually pretty good at keeping my yarn stash updated in Ravelry (usually) entering my needle collection has been sporadic at best. And the worst part is they sometimes wear out. Not the metal ones, mind you, but the wooden ones can get splintery tips, and the skinnier sizes eventually break.* This was brought to the front of my attention when I recently tried to knit these orange socks, only to discover I no longer own ANY US 1.5 dpns. That, combined with the toddler mittens I knit on splintery US8’s late last fall has me thinking it’s time to take stock of my DPNs and figure out where the gaps are.

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This is almost every set of DPNs I own. I know there are size 0 square metal ones in the sock project in my drawer at work. And I suspect that 2 of my size 7 signatures are around here somewhere because a set of 3 would be pretty useless…

What have I learned? I do, very much, need a backup set of US8’s. That’s one of my favorite sizes and I own the signatures and the splintery brittanys that really need to be replaced.

I have a sticky note somewhere in my brain saying I need more 4’s and 6’s. This is a lie. I have FOUR sets of 6’s and THREE sets of 4’s. It’s possible I keep buying more because I think I need them, but clearly I need to stop that.

I have complete coverage for every size from 000 through 11 which is pretty good! But I definitely need second sets at a couple of sizes. That statement would’ve seemed crazy a decade ago. But I cannot tell you how often I have two or more projects going on size 7’s at the same time. And sure I have four sets of size 6’s, but I pulled three of them from three separate parts of my house because they’d come out of various projects and never gotten put away.

Also, I have a gift certificate left over from Christmas and, believe it or not, I don’t feel like I need more yarn** right now…

*we won’t talk about the entire set of US4 ebony DPNs that I snapped, one at a time, by using them as hair sticks.

**well, only because I just bought yarn yesterday. But that’s different! It’s for a specific project!!

I still hate cars

… but I may be willing to make some exceptions. This weekend I picked up my very first all electric plug in car. So far I love this little beauty. She’s zippy, she’s super efficient. And I never have to worry about an emissions scandal since there’s NO INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE.

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This is not the first time I’ve blogged about cars. Back in 2010 I bought my first diesel, and I was so excited to be cutting fuel use and improving the environment. (I don’t blog about it often, but hopefully you’ve gleaned that this is important to me.)

After five good years (ok, 3 good years, and 2 years of increasing repair costs. But that’s what you get with an old car). I upgraded to a shiny new 2011 TDI. I was thrilled. I was one of those VW owners who bought the car specifically because I wanted high mpgs with low emissions. I bought it in July 2015 and the honeymoon lasted right up until September when the freakin’ VW emissions scandal broke (summary: cheat device; cars emit far more pollutants than they’re supposed to; something like 450,000 recalled TDIs – including mine)

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I did my research and determined a certified, pre-owned Nissan Leaf was in my price range. The certification was key for me, because if I’m going to own a car with so many new-fangled systems that only the dealer can work on it – I need to know the dealer is willing to back those systems up. These cars are supposed to be low maintenance. They have no spark plugs, no timing belt, no oil to change. Pretty much the only things owners need to maintain are the tires and windshield wipers.

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The biggest challenge so far was driving the car home. There were none of these cars available for sale in VT, so I bought mine in MA and then I had to make the 233 mile drive on a car that only gets 70 miles per charge. I planned my route carefully, and with an overnight charge at my parents I made it home without incident! I did drive the longest leg (69.1 miles) without heat in order to save electrons. But I made it, cold toes and all! That’s my dashboard at the end of the longest leg home, where both the miles ’till “empty” and the battery remaining indicators have gotten so low they just show little — marks. But hey, I didn’t hit turtle mode, so I wasn’t dead empty (literally, when the battery is gone there’s a turtle-shaped dashboard light) 

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Since this is nominally a knitting blog, let’s talk about what is on my needles right now, shall we?

Firstly, those knitted leggings are still moving along. I’m into the gusset increases (aka, the crotch) and so everything is pretty squished onto my circular right now. I can’t wait to get to the first leg, it’s gonna feel like the project is zooming by when I move down to half as many stitches.

Next up, I’m knitting a little Fernboro hat. It’s a simple thing, but I love how the feather and fan stitch creates those little ear flaps. I made some good progress on a long car drive last weekend. And I have another long car drive this weekend. More on all this driving later. (oh the things I have to tell you, dear blog, I’ve been so busy!)

Finally, I pulled a sock project out of deep (DEEP) hibernation so I could work on it in meetings. The title of this post was almost “zombie sock” because this project was started back in 2012. (that’s right, I have WIPs older than my three-year-old).

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But here’s the really big problem. Sometime in the last three years I needed those 1.5dpns, and I put the sock on a random set of size 0’s so as not to loose the stitches. And then I forgot. And also, those wooden 1.5dpns have broken. And I knit a whole ‘nother inch on the foot of the sock before I accepted that my gauge was WILDLY different than the fabric in the cuff. And then I went back to Ravelry to see if I could figure out what had gone wrong. I mean, I know my gauge can change over time, but I thought this seemed like a whole-different needle size. Which, apparently wasn’t quite right. It’s a needle and a HALF different.

So, sometime before next month’s round of meetings I need to buy myself another set of DPNs. And frog over an hour’s work. Two steps forward, one step back, right? At least the sock is out of the deep stash. For now.

Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

-The Shortest Day, Susan Cooper

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An important lesson in yarn types and gauge

And a new project! This weekend I cast on for my Fair Isle PANTS! A pattern I’ve been eyeing for ages…

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(Photo © Holla Knits)

The pattern calls for Knitpicks Swish Worsted. A worsted weight yarn sold in put-ups of 110yds per 50gm. I’ve worked with Swish (I even have some leftovers in my stash.) It’s a lovely, soft superwash yarn. And I totally see the sense in making leggings out of superwash yarn.

But I’m not always the most sensible knitter. Also, I decided THIS was the project I’d be shopping for at Rhinebeck. You may remember I picked up a sweater quantity’s of Harrisville WATERshed. Check out the details, watershed is also worsted weight, also put up in hanks of 110yds per 50gm. I felt brilliant. I spent a lot of time comparing colors in person in their booth, and picked four colors I absolutely love and was sure would play well together.

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Yesterday I did my usual (foolish) first step and skipped the gauge swatch so I could just cast on already! Nevermind that these leggings are knit top-down and the first step is to cast on 172 stitches.

I worked most of the waistband while ignoring that silly little voice that said something looked too big. When I finally got out my measuring tape I was getting a very obvious 18sts to 4 inches on the SMALLER needle size. The important note here is that the pattern gauge is 22sts per 4 inches on the *larger* needle size. How could my gauge be so far off? Let’s look at both yarns side-by-side.

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Well there’s your problem, right there. Swish is a worsted-spun, smooth, machine washable merino worsted weight. It prefers to knit up densely. Watershed is a woolen-spun, airy, nubby, hand-wash wool. If I’d taken two seconds to look at the yarn label on Watershed I’d have noticed the recommended gauge is 4.5sts/in on 6-8 needles. AKA exactly the gauge I’m getting on the needles called for by the pattern.

SO.

Tonight I guess I’ll knit an actual gauge swatch. I need to check my row gauge carefully because apparently I’m gonna be doing some math to figure out which size of this pattern I really should knit. My other option would be to go down a couple needle sizes and try to get gauge with Watershed, but I think that’ll compress the airy, soft nature of the yarn in a way I just can’t accept.

This. This is why I never end up following patterns as written…

Gift Along 2016

It’s just about thanksgiving which means we, the few, the crafty, are already thinking about holiday knitting. For the (third? fourth?? I can’t keep track oh well) something-th year running I’ll be participating in the Indie Designer’s Gift-Along! That Ravelry link will give you all the details. But in a nut-shell it goes like this:

  • Participating designers have patterns on sale from tonight to November 30th.
  • Knit Alongs will be hosted for all types of projects with prizes for participation, random give aways, and other special categories.
  • Prizes! Digital patterns, physical yarn, books, notions. This part is big because we’re pooling our resources. You should really check out the prize list.

To find which patterns are on sale for the next week(ish) you can check out the group bundles and pinterest boards (here). Or see the designer’s bundles (here).

I’ve got 15 designs which will be 25% off as part of the sale! From 8pm (EST) tonight through midnight on the 30th use the code giftalong2016 to get the discount. This is my biggest annual sale and I hope you like the selection this year. I tried to mix old and new, small and large projects so there should be something for everyone! 

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So warm up those needles, dig through your stash, and happy knitting!

What is greatness?

I will work to make America great. My definition may be a little different than that of others. But oh well.

I will work to help the poor, shelter the weak, feed the hungry, build my local community from the ground up.

I will take the high road. And I will hope for the best. I’m scared. But I also believe that most of us simply want what is best. We want a world with less corruption and less hate. We just see very different ways of getting there at the top level.

But let’s not forget that we live at the bottom level. In our communities we can work together, stand up against bullies, and make sure our ideals shine through. On a day-to-day level don’t forget those ideals are not so far apart.

More knitting tomorrow, I promise.

WIPs and FOs

I’m mostly knitting accessories these days, and a (not?) surprising number of them are for Windsor. I mean, how can I say no when she asks specifically for me to knit slippers?

And then, of course, she needs a new hat this year. This one is the classic garter ear flap hat from Purl Soho:

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Next up, a collection of mittens. I’m considering lanolin-izing these just like I used to for the diaper covers. I’m thinking that’ll help them keep her hands warm and dry on the playground. Sounds good in theory, anyway:

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And I whipped up some pretty fingerless mitts too. Because what is fall without a new pair of mitts for myself?

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