Packing my BagsReceived my order of yarns from Blue Moon Fiber Arts this week. I ordered Targhee Worsted in Haida, a mostly black worsted with bits of greys, for my His Golden Lair dragon wings shawl and Silky Victoria in Aubergenius, a paleish figgy-plum 85% wool, 15% silk sport weight yarn for a sweater. I hand wound the Targhee into 1 giant ball so I could start on it as soon as I finished 1 full project.
I like hand winding yarn, especially the hand spun, hand dyed types. Yes, it can be a pain both in mental and physical aspects and yes, it takes a while and can at times be frustrating but I find that its worth it. I like connecting with my fiber and I've learned over time to appreciate the materials I'm using. And what better way to get a feel for the yarn, inspect it for imperfections, understand the coloring and impart it with positive energy than by running it through your hands while winding it. I like to use the time to meditate on the intended project, feel the energy of the twist (the physical kind, not the woo-woo kind of energy) and how it behaves off the skein. I feel how it moves across my hand and through my fingers and it gives me a chance to really appreciate the skill of the spinner or dyer who are responsible for the product in my hand. I also like to think that by touching the material and thinking an intention to it as I wind it, I'm imparting some positive energy (here I mean the woo-woo kind) into the project, a pre-blessing to the energy that I'll put into it when I actually knit something with it. And sometimes I'll decide, like I did with my Crave Yarns Filigree, that the yarn didn't suit my purpose in some way and find a better home for it before I spend too much time learning the yarn as I knit and then have to either live with it or rip it out and start over.
First StepsSo since I finished my project (see Final Destination below) I got to cast on one of my two first step ready projects. Since the His Golden Lair is the February pattern the Mega-KAL in which we do 1 pattern a month and it's the first KAL I decided to do and since everyone who is ahead of me on it has been commenting that its a fairly quick knit for its size I decided to cast it on. Since its done in worsted weight yarn and since it's mostly a reverse stockinette design with a bunch of right side only twisted stitches that I can do without cabling (which means I knit across the back side and only purl occasionally on the front but its interrupted by the fast moving pattern) it really does move quickly. There are a bunch of charts but there are total stitch count grids for each row and the pattern is really logical and easy to memorize each row so that it knits up intuitively. I got through the first few charts in one sitting and have a feeling that as soon as I catch up on my February solid sock I'll finish this up quickly.
Morning StrollMy No Purl Monkeys socks, the deep red socks I'm knitting up as my entry to the Solid Sock February Theme Challenge-Fire, are coming along nicely. I've just about finished the first one and the second should be easy enough now that I've figured the pattern rhythm out. My only concern is that this pattern, while written for a medium women's foot, is coming out rather loose on my size 9.5 feet. The heel is very roomy. To be honest, I don't know that its the pattern, it could just be that I'm a loose knitter and need to go down a needle size or two. I don't think they will be too big to wear around the house but I'm prepared with a back up plan to gift them if they don't fit well in the end after washing and blocking. This might be a good reason to try the pattern again with different yarn and on different needles to see where I need to make my adjustments. I might also start experimenting with different kinds of heels and toes to see which style I like best.
Uphill PathLast week's stroll turn into this weeks up hill slog along with a couple of other things, mostly due to me charging ahead with my assumptions and not really absorbing the full details of some of the more advanced pattern elements, ending up with me having to really examine my work hard, tink back, and re-do a lot of stuff. The SolidSock Mystery KAL sock, Buttercup's Heros, moved to the next clue which reduced the cuff cables into a six stranded cable pattern. Since I failed to read it properly I mis-judged a three stitch cable for a 4 twist cable and that threw my whole pattern off. Luckily I was able to figure it out and go back before I got all the way through the 1st row but it took me way longer than it should to figure out what I was doing wrong. Then I kept making similar mistakes in my V-Day scarf end pattern and my ALS Keep Warm wrap on the edging fringe lace. The silver lining was that with each mistake I was able to see what I did wrong and how I can avoid it in the future and with all this practice, I'm getting better at dropping down to fix stitches, re-twisting things and working backwards on complicated patters. I'll take it as a sign that I'm growing as a knitter that mistakes like these don't have me throwing in the towel or ripping all the way back as much as they might have before.
So I finished FO #10 for 2015. These are my first pair of socks finished just in time to gift them to my BF for Valentines Day. He had been watching me knit them and even commented on how quickly they were going from cast on to finished sock in between times he looked over at what I was doing. They aren't a perfect fit but with washing and blocking they should loosen up a bit and now at least I know where to plan in some extra stitches to make the next pair fit better. I'm just so happy to finally finish a whole pair without tossing in the towel. It was the perfect time to give them too as the weather has gotten really cold and he wore them all weekend and said they kept his feet nice and warm..