Project Planning

How much time do you spend planning your projects?

For me, not a whole lot, but I think that the projects that I spend more time planning end up being more likely to be finished. One thing that has really helped me with project planning is the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.

The HPKCHC is a very welcoming, open community, and I’ve had a blast playing along for the last couple of years. It has been really good for helping me finish projects since I get imaginary internet points for finishing things in a timely manner.

One of the activities in HPKCHC is an Ordinary Wizarding Level (OWL) exam. There are prompts, similar to writing prompts, for the types of projects you can do. If you are very clever, you can fit almost any project into almost any prompt. For the upcoming term, which goes from May to the end of July, I am planning to study Care of Magical Creatures and hatch a Fwooper egg. A Fwooper is a magical bird whose song will drive the listener insane, so make sure you have your Silencing Charm at the ready if you ever encounter one.

I am planning to knit Justyna Lorkowska’s Shifted pullover. I have already knit this pattern before, and my plan is to have a whole rainbow of these sweaters by the time I am done.

My Shifted pullover in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Mars | Life on Mars. Finished November 2019.

I currently have Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Barb Deserved Better (solid/light pink), Seaglass (kelly green), Great Gray Owl (a blueish cool gray), Sun Rose (a purply red), and Pop (a bright coral pink). Of course I will need more colors to complete the rainbow, but these are the ones I have collected so far.

For this spring/summer, I am going to go with the Pop color. This is a gorgeous hot coral pink color with splashes of orange. It is going to make a beautiful sweater.

Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Pop

Part of the OWL proposal and planning phase includes making a gauge swatch. Now, I’ve made this sweater in the same yarn (different color) before, so I could have probably gotten away with not swatching, but it is always good to make sure that your color is going to work with the pattern when you are working with hand dyed yarn. I am also using a lighter weight of yarn than what the pattern calls for, so it would have been especially important for me to swatch if this was the first time I was making this pattern in this yarn.

Shifted Gauge Swatch

Part of my project planning also includes an estimation of the 50% mark. To do this, I employ some spreadsheet wizardry using Google Sheets. I go through the pattern that I’m planning and calculate how many stitches are in each row in each section and how many there are total. From there, I can determine what percentage of the project has been completed as I reach certain milestones. I really like this activity since I like making little check marks and crossing off each section as I complete it. It also helps me with pacing. This project has about 73000 stitches for my size and gauge. I have just under three months to complete the OWL project, so I need to work approximately 800 stitches per day. I can knit about 20 stitches per minute in a lightly patterned project (the last time I timed it), so I need to work on this sweater for around 45 minutes per day to make sure that I finish on time and am able to block and photograph the project by the end of July! Totally doable!

I am super excited about this project, but I won’t be able to start it until the first week of May so I can get my 200 internet points. I can’t wait! For now, I’m finishing up some socks and working on an MKAL (more on that soon)!

What are you working on? Are you planning any new projects? Does anyone else love the spreadsheet magic and crossing things off of lists?

New House, Not A Lot of Knitting

The last time I posted, TechnicoolDad and I were on our last week of only one of us working from home. The next week — the third week of January, I think — he and I were both working from home, and by Tuesday, we were on the phone with Grandma begging her to come help. Because working full time while also taking care of a baby and a pre-schooler (not to mention trying to teach them things) is not really possible. For me, anyway. If you can do it without help, you’re a superhero.

Anyway, queue the cascade that was February + March + April. Our baby was almost ready to move into his own room, but we had quickly converted the nursery (that he never actually slept in) back into Grandma’s room, and we were in need of some more space. So we decided to buy a new home and sell our old home. Everything went really well and smoothly for us, but it was a lot of stress and busy-ness, and saying goodbye to the home where our little ones were born was not easy.

Fortunately, we are now in a new home, baby is in his own bedroom (AND SLEEPING 11.5 HOURS AT NIGHT WHAT WHAT), and Grandma has her own bedroom on the ground floor. Life is good. Plus there is a playground in our new neighborhood, and my daughter is loving that.

So what have I been knitting for the last three months? Not a lot, to be honest.

Jaina has a new sweater! This is the Bean & Olive sweater by Andrea Mowry. This was a collaboration with Adella from Lolabean Yarn Co. For my version, I used Hedgehog Merino DK in Crystal for the main color and Lolabean Yarn Co Soy Bean in Felted Forest for the hearts. I purchased both from Eat.Sleep.Knit. I lucked out with a recent restock of more of the gray to make myself a matching Bean & Olive Grown Up eventually. I still haven’t blocked hers. Fortunately, this should fit for a couple of years.

J modeling her fresh-off-the-needles Bean & Olive pullover.

As a side note, this photo was taken in our old home. I miss the floors already, haha. We had just finished getting them just the way we wanted them with that gorgeous gray tile. Because as it turns out, TechnicoolDad and I both love gray. Who would have thought?

As it turns out, that sweater is the only actual finished project on my Ravelry notebook since the Hug Time Bracelets that I talked about in the last post, haha. That doesn’t mean I haven’t started anything.

On the contrary, I have several pairs of vanilla socks in progress and have been practicing with the circular sock machine. Here’s an interesting one:

These sock fragments were all cranked using my circular sock machine from the same skein of yarn. This colorway is All My Love, the January club colorway from Katie at Yarn Love. The interesting thing is that gauge changes dramatically altered the pooling effect. On the left, the spiral is 7 sts/inch and goes in a clockwise direction. On the two right-hand sock fragments, the gauge is 8 sts/inch and the spiral goes in a counter-clockwise direction. The second from the left sock is 7.5 sts/inch, and the colors pool together completely differently. I also thought it was cool that the two sock fragments on the right have a different density, even though they were made at the same gauge, one right after the other. Long story, shortened: You have to make gauge swatches even on a CSM.

My inner organic chemist came out to play on this one: The far left and far right sock spirals are enantiomers. They are non-superimposable mirror images, like your hands (you can’t face them the same way and stack them on top of each other). So cool.

Anyway, after fiddling with trying to make the heels and toes on the CSM, I finally called it and am in the process of hand knitting the heels, toes, and cuffs. Both heels and cuffs are done and are just waiting on the heels.

Other things I am currently working on: a pair of socks for TechnicoolDad, a gauge swatch for a new sweater, and a new MKAL.

Now that we are settled into our new home, we have a little bit more downtime than the last few months, so hopefully I’ll actually finish some projects. Both of us were able to get our COVID-19 vaccine first doses this past weekend, so we will be fully vaccinated in just a few weeks. Woohoo!

Hug Time

Good evening, friends!

This was the last week with just one of us working while both kids are at home. It’s been crazy, to say the least, while I got as much work done as possible. Next week, we embark on a whole new adventure: both of us will be back to full time work from home, and now we have two children to care for and teach something!

Our tentative plan is to divide and conquer. Since our youngest’s crib is still in our room (he will be 5 months this week), we have semi-converted his room into an office. Since baby boy is learning how to roll from front to back and how to reach for toys, he will be well occupied in his room with a parent supervising.

Daughter’s flower garden.

For my daughter, I am currently planning for lots of Circle Time with Ms Monica and activities making beaded necklaces and flower gardens. She received the necklace and flower kits from her aunt and uncle for Christmas, and they have been a big hit.

I have gotten almost no knitting done this week. I don’t think I even picked up my needles until Friday afternoon. I am currently working on a The Snuggle Is Real cowl. The pattern is my Maxim Cyr, and I’m using a mishmash of yarns: Western Sky Knits Simply DK in New York for the main color and Madelinetosh Vintage in Tybee Island Inn for the contrast color. For the lining, I am planning to use Shibui Knits Cima in Tar held double.

Yarn for my The Snuggle is Real cowl. From left: Madelinetosh Vintage in Tybee Island Inn, Shibui Knits Cima in Tar, Western Sky Knits Simply DK in New York.

The New York and Tybee Island Inn colorways were exclusives for my local yarn shop, Eat.Sleep.Knit., a couple of years ago, and I am knitting this project as part of their Q1 Mosaic Colorwork Craft-Along. It’s going to be so squishy and soft!

Progress on The Snuggle is Real cowl.

For this project, I swapped the main color and contrast color in the mosaic part of the cowl so that the gray would be more prominent, and I’m also staggering the contrast color purl bumps instead of having them lined up. I used a crochet provisional cast on at the start.

My daughter’s new favorite movie is Trolls. Every morning she is up before dawn asking me to play “Get Back Up Again” on the hallway speaker so she can dance.

Today, she asked me to make her a “Hug Time” bracelet like the one Princess Poppy wears. I’m afraid I’m not clever enough to make it close and open when it’s time for Hug Time, but I was able to make a cute little bangle bracelet with a flower closure. It took less than half an hour to knit and crochet this little project, and it is so adorable. The whole family is getting Hug Time bracelets at her request.

Hug Time Bracelet. Pattern by me, yarn by LolaBean Yarn Co.

I used some leftover yarns for this little Cold Sheep project: LolaBean Yarn Co Bean Sprout in Cast Off Castle (pink) and Felted Forest (red). I held the fingering weights yarn double to get a DK gauge and used just under 3 g total of yarn. I’m very pleased with how well it turned out! What do you think? Shall I write up the pattern for this?

Hello, 2021!

Hello, fiber friends and readers! It’s been a bit, hasn’t it?

A lot of things have changed in the past two years, but not much has changed at all. We have a new baby boy! He is four and a half months old now, and he is just precious! He is starting to grab at things and hold toys now, and he loves rolling over onto his tummy, but he isn’t quite able to roll back to his back yet. He loves sitting in his Baby Bjorn Bouncer (totally unsolicited and unpaid: this is my favorite baby gear that I didn’t have with my daughter).

Me and my baby boy. He is wearing a Beloved bonnet. Pattern by TinCanKnits, Yarn by LolaBean Yarn Co.

My sister and my BFF also had new babies this year. My niece was born in April, and my “nephew” was born just two days before my son (how cool is that??) in August. I knitted a Beloved bonnet for each of them (and one for my daughter). I can confidently say that this is my favorite hat pattern ever, and it’s only a matter of time before I knit one for myself. The pattern is Beloved by TinCanKnits. For all of the ones I knit this year, I used LolaBean Yarn Co. Soy Bean (shown in ESK exclusive colorway “The Magic Yarnstalk.”) He is wearing the “baby” size, but this hat pattern ranges from newborn to adult.

My daughter is four years old, and she is growing and showing us how clever she is day by day. She knows all of her letters, lots of shapes, and quite a few numbers. She’s been following instructions to build Lego sets and showing us her creativity in building with her Lego bricks, artwork, dramatic play, and making up songs, stories, and characters. She will be starting Pre-K in the Fall, and I am sure she is looking forward to going back to school and being around other children.

I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with TechnicoolDad and our children over the last year, and we have been very privileged and able to work from home and keep the little ones at home with us. The last year certainly had trying moments for us, but nothing on the scale of what I know so many others are experiencing. Like so many others, we’ve avoided social gatherings, missed out on family weddings, and had birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations with just the four of us. We are eagerly awaiting the COVID-19 vaccine trial results for children, and we are waiting for when the vaccine will be rolled out to us. We are ok with it being a little while since there are so many other people who need to be a higher priority than us right now.

You can expect more frequent posts from me for the foreseeable future. I know you’ve heard that before, so I’ll have to prove it to you this time. I won’t keep you for long today, but I did want to share a couple of my favorite finished objects from 2020.

These are a Boxy sweater for me and a Little Boxy for my daughter. This is her second Little Boxy and my first Boxy, and I definitely plan on making more for both of us! Both patterns are by the super talented Joji Locatelli. I used Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in the bright red “Sin” colorway. I love how these turned out. I wear mine all the time, and my daughter pulls hers out of her drawer whenever it is clean. Yes, we have run hers through the washing machine and dryer, though I know we shouldn’t. I knit the size 36/38″ for myself and the 4 yo size for her. The adult pattern goes from 28″ bust to 54″, and the child version goes from 6 months to 12 years.

Me and my daughter wearing our matching Boxy/Little Boxy sweaters. Patterns by Joji Locatelli, yarn by Hedgehog Fibres.

I started these in September 2020 as part of the Joji Fall KAL 2020 and for the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry, where I play as a Ravenclaw. My yarn was purchased from Eat.Sleep.Knit, which is local to me but has the best online presence of any LYS that I’ve experienced. I finished both of these in November 2020 in time for the KALs after staying up until 3:00 in the morning on each of them…I tell myself I’m not doing that again!

Note: Links are provided in case you want to see more about any of them. They are all unaffiliated, and I don’t currently make any monies off of you reading or clicking. It’s just for funsies, but I love that you’re here with me!

Frog or Finish: Part 1

Pairs two and three for January! Bicycle Socks (yellow) and Creeping Kudzu (purple).

I am a process knitter. That means that when I knit, I do so for the enjoyment of the project. It also means that I end up with a few unfinished objects or works in progress that end up languishing in a project bag or my yarn dresser for a long period of time, some never to be finished. I’ve just lost the motivation, or the joy, or whatever it was that made me start knitting that project to begin with.

I’d like to change that. I’d like to either finish the project or free the yarn and needles so I can use them for something else. My husband, Technicooldad, and I have differing opinions on this — he thinks that I should just finish it so I can move on to the next thing. After all, I can always buy more yarn. I struggle with this. I want my knitting experiences to be fun, relaxing, and engaging. If I’m bored, frustrated, stressed out, or not having fun, then why am I even doing it?

My goal here is not to force myself to finish projects. Instead, I’m hoping to remember why it was that I cast on that project to begin with. Each month, I’ll select a project from my pile of WIPS and decide what to do with it. Some of them will be easy. I have a couple of pairs of socks that literally just need to have the ends woven in. Some just need photos so I can feel like my Ravelry page is complete. But some will take more work. (Here’s looking at you, Hue Shift Afghan!)

Things I’ll consider:

  • How much of the project is complete vs. not complete?
  • Am I able to finish the project? Do I still have the materials required for it? Does the project even live with me anymore?
  • What will I do with it once I’m finished?
  • Why did I start the project to begin with? What did I love about it?
  • Why did I stop? Was I frustrated with it, or did I get distracted?
Finished Bicycle Socks!

For January, I’m pulled out my Bicycle Socks. I started on these August 1, 2018 as part of the 2018 Tour De Sock, which is hosted on Ravelry. The Tour raises money for Doctors Without Borders. Designers donate patterns, knitters pay an entry fee, and everyone has a blast in the competition. My socks were over 75% complete. The first one was done, and the heel had already been turned and gusset decreased on the second.

I still had all of the materials, Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in Cian that I had purchased from my LYS, Eat.Sleep.Knit. I’m planning to gift these socks to an aunt whose favorite color is yellow for her birthday. I love the cable details in the pattern. So why did I stop? Well, I didn’t finish them in time for that stage of the tour, and the next stage was starting, so I needed to move on to another project. That’s ok, because I picked them back up this month on January 21, 2019.

It didn’t take me long to finish these (January 24, 2019), and I’m so glad that I did. Aren’t these so cool? You can find the Bicycle Race socks by Heidi Nick pattern on Ravelry. This is definitely a focus-and-pay-attention type of knit, but the end product is worth it!

My Chiaogoo 2.25 mm 40″ fixed circulars and my green ESK bag have officially been released back into the wild! Will you join me in choosing to Frog or Finish? Do you have any languishing WIPs that need to be finished? Next month, I’ll be working on my Lagertha Socks (pattern by Melissa Beyer) and freeing up my blue ESK bag!

Friendship is Magic Sock KAL

Hello, fellow knitters! I’ve been loving everyone’s #makenine2019 posts on Instagram. I haven’t been able to choose just nine projects to make for the year because I want to cast on ALL the THINGS, but there is one set of items that I know I’d like to knit up this year: the My Little Pony – inspired self-striping colorways by String Theory Colorworks.

My plan is to knit up the socks inspired by the Mane 6 during 2019:

  • Rarity – Gemology
  • Twilight Sparkle – Crepuscular
  • Rainbow Dash – Dispersion
  • Fluttershy – Signalling Theory
  • Applejack – Malic Acid
  • Pinkie Pie – Salvinorin A

And a little bird told me that she is working on a Celestia-themed colorway as well.

Apple Jack’s colorway: String Theory Colorworks in Malic Acid

Friendship is so important, and I’ve felt like the knitting community has been a huge source of camaraderie and fun for me. I want it to be that way for everyone! So, let’s share the kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty, laughter, and magic with everyone.

I would love for you all to join me in this endeavor! You don’t, of course, have to use the String Theory yarns (Yarn Cafe Creations has a set as well), but I would love for you to choose a colorway or pattern that you think represents each of the Ponies and their Elements of Harmony: Generosity, Magic, Loyalty, Kindness, Honesty, and Laughter and knit a pair of socks with it.

We’ll plan to run the knit-along (KAL) from now until December 31, 2019. You can enter as many or as few socks as you’d like, so long as they fit in with the Ponies and their Elements! Works in progress count as well, as long as you still have some knitting to do. To enter, share your finished object on Instagram with the tag #FriendshipIsMagicSockKAL2019 and tell which Pony or Theme you are representing. You’ll get an extra entry for sharing a collage picture of all of your Mane 6 socks together. (Feel free to use the tags for your in-progress pics as well and tag me @technicolormom in your posts!)

Here’s my first pair for the year: Rarity! Rarity is my spirit pony. She is generous, creative, and doesn’t really care for camping or getting dirty. I used Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks pattern for mine. This is a great basic sock, and excellent if you are looking for a vanilla sock with an afterthought heel. The mini-skeins in the String Theory Inertia sets are quite generous (25 g), and I was able to get an extra-long cuff and toe out of mine and had about 3″ to spare.

Rarity Socks in String theory Colorworks Gemology

Prizes! For this KAL, I’ll put together a little prize to include a skein of Celestia’s themed sock yarn, a coordinating mini skein, and some other goodies.

What do you think? Will you join me for the Friendship is Magic Sock KAL of 2019? Any questions? I’m happy to answer them!

Where to shop? I purchased about half of my friendship yarns directly from String Theory, and the other half from Eat.Sleep.Knit (my LYS with super-fast shipping). I use the Inertia Sock Sets for all of mine. Again, you can shop anywhere you want and use any yarn/pattern you like, as long as you follow one (or more) of the friendship themes.

You’ll Always Find Me Knitting

I set some pretty lofty goals for myself earlier this year, and while I have somehow managed to find myself in possession of 30 skeins of yarn that I didn’t own at the start of the year (all paid for, of course, but some were gifts!), I’ve already knit 11 of the skeins!

I’ve finished up six (SIX!) pairs of socks already, and of course have my Hue Shift Afghan, which will eat up another 15 skeins of  yarn at least.

It doesn’t matter what I’m working on, but I’m always knitting. Minnie Mouse’s little song at the start of this short pops into my head whenever I sit down to knit!

If you remember, last year I signed up for Tour de Sock 2017, a Tour de France style knitting contest in which contestants knit a pair of socks in each 10ish day stage. I didn’t make it very far last year. My first stage was a disaster and resulted in a pair of socks that don’t fit anyone, and my second stage missed the deadline. I still haven’t woven in the ends on that pair or taken finished object photos, but they are super gorgeous colorwork. Eventually I will weave in the ends so my husband can actually wear them.

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Sadly, I didn’t end up finishing any of the other stages either.

So, why did I sign up for this competition again this year? When, arguably, I’m having the busiest semester e.v.a.r. at work? Well, because I like knitting socks! And I love competitions! And it will be fun!

I am pleased to report that I am off to a fantastic start so far. I am joined by 1696 other racers for the Tour de Sock 2018. All proceeds from the race go to Doctors Without Borders, which is so cool. I finished my pair of socks for Stage 1 in 301st place and earned 6 points for my team! Woohoo!

I used one of the sponsor yarns, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Super Sparkle in Plumpy. This was also an exclusive Eat.Sleep.Knit colorway, so here’s some double dipping for their Exclusively Exclusive Q3 KAL!

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For the tour, we don’t know what the pattern will be until the stage starts, so they give us clues and some ideas for what kind of colorway to use. For this first one, they suggested using a crazy or variegated colorway, so I thought this one would be perfect. Here is my ravelry page for the socks. This pattern is Plan A by Adrienne Fong. Unfortunately, I’ve already managed to wear holes in both toes of these socks. I’m not sure what happened here — if it’s because the pattern on top of the foot wanted to twist or because the yarn doesn’t have any nylon or because I made them too short, or just because I wore them around the house in the evenings for several days. I guess it’s time to fix some of my socks, so I’m in the process of washing all of the ones that have holes so I can sit down and do some mending.

For stage two, we had a gorgeous cabled pattern by Suzanne Sjögren called Odensjön Socks. I’ve already finished these as well! I used Madelinetosh Twist Light (which has some nylon!) in Seaglass. This was originally a colorway chosen by my husband (technicooldad) for socks for him, and I had intended to make these for him, but the cables drew in a little more on the leg than I had anticipated, so I made a last minute switch and knitted them for my feet. They are just gorgeous! I guess that means I’ll need to buy another skein of yarn to replace his?

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Here’s my ravelry page for these. Both of these patterns used a new gusset that I’ve never used before called the riverbed gusset. I really like how this gusset hugs my heels, so I will definitely be using it in the future!

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I am eagerly awaiting Stage 3, which starts tomorrow at 9:00p. I’m not sure which yarn I’ll use for it yet — I think I’ll wait and see the pattern first, but we do know it has beads, so I’ll likely go with a solid or tonal yarn again.

In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on my Hue Shift KAL afghan and I’m swatching for some new sweaters to be knit from my stash! I’m a bit behind on the Hue Shift, but definitely planning to catch up soon.

All the KALs!

I’ve been pushing off writing this post since I wanted to finish up my February Hippo socks first. But…February 28 came and went, and I was about an hour and a toe short of finishing the socks, and I had resolved myself to just write the post without the socks, but…I finished them! I used Lolodidit’s Hippo for Valentine’s (2018) and Amazed colorways.

These are an original design, and I’ll be writing and publishing the pattern after a few modifications. These were my #HippoForHolidays2018KAL entry for February, but alas, I missed the deadline. I think they’ll fit in for March, but I’ll not have entered every month this year. Oh well, I’ve got a million things I want to knit!

 

I don’t think I shared the photos of these previously, but I also finished my January Hippo socks using the colorways Hippo for Hanakkuh and Elba Island.

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My entry for the Eat.Sleep.Knit Hue Shift Afghan KAL is going along swimmingly. Maybe too swimmingly. Jaina has taken a liking to my afghan, and I thought how cute it would be to make a matching blanket for her! Hers will be exactly the same as mine, except I’m starting the squares with fewer stitches, so it will just be smaller. Both are looking awesome! We made a trip to FL for my sister’s wedding, so I made great progress on my afghan.

ESK also recently hosted an FKAL (Flash Knit-along) for the Song of the Sea cowl, and I finished mine with four days to spare! Woohoo!

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In April, I’m planning to continue working on my Hue Shift Afghans and maybe get started on an afghan for my new niece and a hat for me. I had postponed knitting the hat since it was supposed to be warmer outside, but as my husband said (or read somewhere?), “Georgia’s free trial of spring has expired.” Also I need to finish his Droids socks! I’m also hoping to finish a pair of socks or two for ESK’s Q2 KAL: Summer of Socks!

Knitting Plans…with Spreadsheets!

I’m not really good at New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve got one this year that should be fairly easy to do: knit more yarn than I buy. So far I’ve bought 11 skeins, so I’ve got a ways to go.

I’ve made a spreadsheet to track how many skeins I’ve bought versus how many I’ve used, and I’ve got another spreadsheet to track my KAL goals and deadlines.

This last year, I started watching some knitting podcasts, and they are just so much fun! They’re also pretty inspiring. I find new yarns to try, new patterns to try, and it really just makes the knitting world seem just a little smaller and like the podcasters are my friends. Anyone else get that feeling? A couple of my favorites are the Yarnhoarder and the Grocery Girls. Unfortunately (fortunately?), they have also introduced me to new yarn dyers, which is not helping my resolutions knitting goals.

So here are my plans!

Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon

  • Hue Shift Afghan Year-long KAL: 14 skeins fingering weight yarn, 13 of which are from stash. I’ll be making 196 squares, so ~16-17 squares/month at least. I should probably do 17-18 squares/month and then leave December for the border.

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  • Q1 TinCanKnits KAL: at least 2 skeins DK weight yarn, both from stash. I’ll be making matching hats for myself and Jaina. Jaina’s will be in Hedgehog Merino DK Pucker (a skein she keeps pulling out of my yarn stash because it.is.the.best.colorway.) and mine in Juniper. Bonus! Little baby hats are super quick knits, and ta da! First hat done! Now, of course, that led into needing matching mittens to go along with her hat, so I’m working on those now. Deadline: March 31, 2018.

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  • Q2 Summer of Socks KAL: at least 3 skeins fingering weight yarn, likely from stash (unless, you know, I find something I really need to have before then, which is likely). Patterns are a mystery! Potential for double-dipping here.
  • Q3 Exclusively Exclusive KAL: I’ll need to use some of their exclusive colorways for this, so likely more socks! I’ve got several exclusive colorways so far, so I’ll have a bunch to choose from, plus they always have new colorways each month.
  • Q4 Charted Waters KAL: Something! Hopefully from stash! I’ve got a few sweater quantities that need to be knit up, so I’ll plan to dive into those.
  • Badges: I’ll try to double-dip with some of the other KALs for some of the badges this year.

Lolodidit #HipposForHolidays2018

  • The KAL is to knit something using the Holiday Hippo colorways each month. And there’s a special prize if you have one for each month. So, I’ll plan for 12 pairs of socks, one pair to be completed each month. My first pair is using the Hippo for Hanukkah 2017 colorway. Up next, I’ve got Hippo for New Year’s 2018 and Hippo for Valentine’s 2018.
  • These do not double-dip with the ESK KALs.
  • I’m starting out with Vanilla socks so I can try to find the best sock fit for me. It turns out I’ve been making all of my socks too big for ever.

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Grocery Girls Sock Bash 2018

  • Knit a pair of socks each month, or as many socks as I can knit! For this one, I can double-dip all of the other socks I’m making!

CostumeSandy #HusbandSocksKAL2018

  • The goal here is to knit one pair of socks/two months for my awesome husband, who supports my yarn addiction and loves to wear the socks I make him. Now, if only I could make myself weave in the ends on the socks I made for the Tour de Sock last year, he’d have another pair already! (Those don’t count for this KAL, of course.)
  • I’m going to start with a vanilla sock with a heel flap using Lolodidit’s Droids colorway. I’d really like to find a good sock fit for him.

That’s it so far! I’m sure I’ll jump on some more KAL trains as we go. What are your plans for the year?

Competition Pushes us Forward

Not just in business and innovation, but also in…you guessed it! KNITTING. Since July 15th, I’ve been participating in a community knit-along competition/fundraiser called Tour-de-Sock. Styled after the Tour de France, this competition sets teams of knitters in a speed sock-knitting race. There are six stages that are nine days each, and for each stage, you and the other racers knit one pair of socks. All entry fees for the race go to Doctors without Borders, and the group has raised $32k since it started a few years ago!

The first pair of socks didn’t go so well for me — I finished in the 366th spot (out of approx. 1700 knitters), and my socks ended up not fitting. This is most likely my fault — I decided to make these for my husband, so they are super long, and I even added extra room for the heel, but I ended up making the leg too tight in an effort to have a smaller number of stitches on the needle (so I could finish faster). So for the second sock, I made the smallest allowable measurements. So I’ve got one long and one short sock. *facepalm*

Anyway…for the next stage, which starts today, I’m hoping that the socks are knit top-down. Then I could throw a lifeline in just before the toe, and I could go back later and make them as long as I want.

I’m still waffling on color choices, but as I’ve learned from quilt making, it really doesn’t matter, since things end up looking pretty good in the end. Hopefully these turn out better than the last pair and I will actually feel confident enough to share a photo. I’m thinking I’ll use the Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Astrid Gray as the main color, and either Esoteric (the dark teal) and Hosta Blue (the light teal) with a splash of Pop Rocks (the pink) or the Astrid Gray with Ink (the dark blue) and Liquid Gold. I’ll go with the first option if it is a more feminine pattern and the second option if it’s a more masculine pattern.

In other news, I am diligently working on Joel’s Forest Moon of Endor socks. I showed him pictures of a bunch of different patterns, but for that pair, I included the name of the pattern. And of course he chose that one for me to make! I’m using Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock (an incredibly soft 80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere blend) in the colorway “Creeper.” (This is a Minecraft reference for those of you who don’t know.) I’ve used this yarn before and have even accidentally run the socks through the washing machine, and it has held up wonderfully and is soooooo soft! I’ve got one sock finished and have finished the leg on the second one. This is a super easy pattern, so it’s perfect for when I’m stuck in traffic and stopped at red lights.

I’m also starting a knit-along with my BFF (for 20+ years so far!), who is making her first pair of socks! We are making Please and Thank You Socks. I love the simple elegance of these socks, and I envision making several pairs of these! The pattern also comes with instructions for making them starting at the cuff AND for starting at the toe. My friend is using Nerd Girl Yarns Bounce & Stomp in the Blue Box Exploding colorway, and I am using Madelinetosh Twist Light in Tern. I am stepping out of my comfort zone with these and trying to knit using 9″ circulars. We’ll see how it goes! So far, so good. I’ll definitely have to get my hands used to working on such small needles.

Also, my daughter is almost walking. She has an elephant toy that she walks behind as she pushes it around the house. Knitting time has definitely decreased now that she is mobile. I can knit about three stitches before she gets to the fireplace and tries to open the glass panels (after she crawls over to it, turns around to look at me, shakes her head “no” with a big grin, then turns back to the fireplace). SHE IS SO FAST. And AMAZING. I marvel every day at how awesome she is. Also, she likes to help me knit. 😀