Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Cotty FO, Hey Teach, TDF Day 2, and Thoughts on Socks

Today I have an FO to share with you! I finished the Cotty socks yesterday and was able to get a few decent pictures of them despite our lack of lighting in the house. We have 7 actual light fixtures and 2 lamps for a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, house with living room, dining room and den. The 7 actual fixtures are in the downstairs hall, upstairs hall, bathrooms (2 full, 1 half), kitchen and dining room. We have the two lamps in the bedroom and office. Neither give much light. We need to go on a light buying spree! I’m getting a little tired of the lack of light in the house in the evenings. Anyway… I got the best pictures in the dining room which seems to have the most light aside from the hallways and downstairs bathroom. (Have I mentioned I love this green paint we picked? I really do and green usually isn’t a color that appeals to me!)

This is my first WIP down for WIP Wrestling and my 4th pair of socks for the 52 Pair Plunge III.

Cotty, Complete
Oh, hello, we are ready to wear now!

Pattern: Cotty by Irishgirlieknits (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 26, 2009
Completed: July 5, 2009
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock mediumweight in Dreidel (gifted to me by Laura)
Needles: Knit Picks US 2 DPNs
Notes: I made some intentional and unintentional modifications. The pattern is written for top down with picot edge. I’ve really fallen in love with toe-up socks and short row heels, so I decided to modify the pattern to toe-up with a short row heel. I’ll admit I’m too lazy to bother with a picot edge on toe up socks because that means I can’t just do a provisional cast on and then knit the folded edge over when the time comes and that I’d have to sew it down instead. I don’t trust that I could sew it down loose enough to be able to still fit, so that went out the window and I did 1×1 ribbing instead. Those were my intentional modifications. My unintentional modification ended up being from my lack of really reading the pattern. Once you do the leg, you are supposed to have 4 repeats of the lace (two columns on each side of your leg). Well… I didn’t notice that until after both socks were done!! So, instead, I just have two repeats of the lace on the front half of the leg instead of four. Whoops. It’s alright, though, because I love them all the same! I think that if I hadn’t moved recently, these would have gone a heck of a lot faster, but there were other things that needed doing first 😉

Cotty, Complete

Yesterday I got in an hour of spinning time and ended up filling my bobbin. This time I drafted all my fiber before I started spinning instead of doing a little at a time like I did on Saturday. This made it a lot easier to keep the flow going! I noticed that it was coming out a lot more consistent this time and less super bulky/not so bulky/super thin like it was. I’m still getting bits that are really thin and a bit thicker, but nothing like it was. It’s so great to see improvement already!! It’s been keeping me motivated to keep at it.

Tour de Fleece, Day 2
Getting better!

Yesterday we went over to Matt’s mom’s to do some laundry. We did get the washer and dryer set up, but the dryer requires a gas hook up, which Matt’s dad needs to install. We were running low on clean clothing, so we brought two loads to his mom’s. Since she only has one washer and one dryer at her apartment, it took a while to do. I’m sure you know I did some knitting while waiting, right? Since I’d finished my Cotty socks by then, I was working on the back piece of Hey Teach. I got really close to being done with the back piece while there. When I got home I just had to put the 35 center stitches on a holder and knit the little shoulder bits. This didn’t take long to do and now I have a finished back piece.

Hey Teach, Back Complete
Back piece of Hey Teach complete!

Today I cast on for the left front. I think this will be the only thing I’m working on until it’s done, so I’m hoping it goes by quickly like it did the first time I knit it. I’m hoping it will be WIP two down for WIP Wrestling!

Hey Teach, Left Front
Small beginning of the left front

I’m sure many regular readers have noticed how many socks I knit. You can pretty much bet on the fact that I’ll have at least one pair on the needles at any given time. Did you notice something else? I always use DPNs. ALWAYS. I just prefer them. I did try magic loop once and hated it. Since then, I’ve never gone back to try it again and really don’t find the thought of giving it another go very appealing. I have to admit, though, that since I’ve been helping mod the Socks from the Toe-Up KAL on Ravelry, I’ve noticed I seem to be a minority! Well, I’ll also admit that this seems to be the case with most sock knitters I know, too. They all seem to prefer magic loop over DPNs. I know loads of people who think DPNs are fiddly and I’ll even admit that they can be (especially when you first start out a toe-up sock, but this doesn’t seem to deter me at all), but I just don’t get the magic loop love. I’m sure I’ll have a number of comments from folks that love magic loop and I know that many wouldn’t be knitting socks without having discovered it and I’m happy for all who love it so much – really, I am! 🙂 It just makes me feel a little “out of the loop” for not being in on this magic loopin’ love. I’m considering giving it another shot. I mean, let’s face it, had I not given socks another go, I wouldn’t be knitting as many as I do now!

Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my first sock attempt here. I don’t even have the socks anymore and I’m fairly certain that they were lost in the move from Connecticut to Ohio, but good grief they were AWFUL. I was maybe 6 months to a year into knitting and I was seeing people all over the internet going crazy over knit socks. I wanted to knit them too! This was at the point in my knitting that I really didn’t know what an LYS was and I was getting all my yarn from Big Box Craft Stores. So, not knowing much about yarn weights still and thinking I could us any old yarn I wanted, I went down to AC Moore, picked up some US 2 DPN’s and two skeins of TLC Cotton Plus yarn. For those not familiar with TLC Cotton Plus, it’s worsted weight yarn that is 51% cotton/49% acrylic. Yeah… and I was going to knit socks with it on size 2’s!! Can you guess how my attempt turned out? The socks were knit at such a tight gauge that they were like iron. They did fit, but they were incredibly difficult to get on and once they were on, they were almost painful to move around in! Talk about a knitting fail – this is probably my biggest one! Of course, at the time I had no idea what I was doing and was just blindly leading myself into something I wanted to do, just like when I first started sewing and later when I started knitting.

That first pair was so awful, I thought all sock knitters must be crazy to spend time to knit such an uncomfortable thing that I put them away in a box and decided to never try that again. Then I kept seeing all these lovely socks. I learned about yarn substitutions, found an LYS in my area, and learned a load more about knitting. So, I tried again and I found the second pair to be much better then the first since I’d used fingering weight yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock) and I think size 1’s. It took a little while longer to really get hooked on sock knitting, but if I’d never given it another go, I wouldn’t be knitting socks now. Knitting has been one big learning curve for me and continues to be. I love that about knitting!

I think the next pair of socks I knit, I’ll try magic loop again. I have a pair of plain socks on the needles right now and once I finish those, I’ll cast on for another plain pair trying it magic loop. I can’t promise I’ll like it or even finish the socks, but trying it again only seems fair. Just because it didn’t appeal to me before (and I’ll be honest, it still doesn’t), doesn’t mean I won’t like it when I try it again! 😉

What sort of knitting or crafting thing have you tried, found you didn’t like, then tried later and loved? I’m curious – leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Posted in Spinning

Tour de Fleece!

Today is the start of Tour de Fleece! This is my first year participating since I’m still a pretty new spinner. My goals for the Tour de Fleece are to: spin at least an hour per day, spin up at least one braid worth of fiber (no idea how “fast” I am at that), and to get better at spinning. I’ve already found that the more I spin, the better I am getting, but drafting is still the hardest part for me.

I wasn’t sure what I’d start with at first, but decided on a braid of BFL I purchased from Zarzuela’s Fibers in her “Thinking of Fall” colorway. I’ve never spun BFL and I absolutely adore this colorway. I had been “saving” it for when I was a better spinner, but decided that’s just silly and I will love my yarn regardless of how it comes out. Besides, I can always get more 😉

Tour de Fleece - Ready!
Fiber and wheel at the ready!

This morning I was up around 8 am and after showering and settling into the day I figured there’s no better time then now to get going on my spinning for the day. At 9:25 am I got out my wheel, drafted some fiber, and got to spinning.

185/365: Tour de Fleece 2009 Begins
Look at me go! Hehe🙂

I spun for an hour and 5 minutes today and the end result was about half a bobbin full of yarn.

Tour de Fleece 2009: Day 1
I made yarn!

It started out a bit on the bulky side, but as I went along, I got better at being able to draft a bit more as I was spinning. Just two months ago I thought I’d never get to that point, so it was really good to start to see my spinning coming together a bit more 🙂

Day 1 of the Tour de Fleece down and 21 more to go!

Are you participating in the Tour de Fleece this year? What are you working on for it? I’d love to know, so feel free to share in the comments 🙂

Today is the 4th of July here in the US. Do you have anything fun planned? We’re headed out with Matt’s mom to some get together with her family. Hoping the rain holds off, but it’s already started sprinkling here. We’ll see how it goes. Happy (and safe) 4th of July to everyone!