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. 😀

Where Does the Time Go?

For real. It’s just been zooming by these days! Baby Jaina is now 9 months old, is crawling (super fast!), can pull up on the coffee table, and has three teeth! She is happy, laughs all the time, and sleeps very well at night. We are just delighted with her. 😀 She has also started daycare since my last post, so we have pretty much had a constant cold in the house for the last two months. I think daycare has been harder on mommy than on Baby J, though. She loves playing, and as one of the oldest kids in the room, she has the run of the place to herself. She is very interested in music and anything that makes noise, all types of electronics (phones, printers, modems, xbox, computers, etc), her board books, and empty water bottles.

She loves crawling over and investigating things that mommy wants her to stay away from. Here she is exploring mommy’s computer tower (daddy’s is up off of the floor, so she can’t get to that one).

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Jaina & Daddy exploring Mommy’s computer

I’ve been working on a few knitting projects over the past few months, joined a guild in World of Warcraft (and am now raiding on Heroic level as a tank! go me!), transitioned back to being in the office at work (as opposed to working from home), and have generally been enjoying life.

I’ve fallen a bit behind on my Dreaming in Neon blanket, but I did manage to finish a couple of hexes. One of these days I’ll get caught up, but this is definitely a long haul kind of project. I switched to working the “pointless” charts for the hexes, and I get a lot less of the dome shape in the middle — they now lay almost perfectly flat. I’m thinking that for my next hex, I’ll use the gray main color and use a single color for contrast instead of going through all of the rainbow. For science. Then, if I love that even more, I can make blanket hexes with just two colors!

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Unblocked Pointless Hex

Eat.Sleep.Knit hosted a KAL of my Speckled Space Socks pattern, and now there are 500+ projects! What is life??? How cool is that?! It was a Flash KAL to finish the socks in a week. I got close, but then we had company over, and I fell behind. Anyway, I did manage to finish mine. I went with Madelinetosh Twist Light in Electric Rainbow, with Edison Bulb toes, Robin’s Egg Blue heels, and Hedgehog Fiberarts Sock in Harajuku for the cuffs. I love them so much. My husband chose the colors for these, and they turned out amazingly. I called them my “Speckled Easter Egg Socks.” I used a Fish Lips Kiss heel instead of the pattern’s toe-up gusset & heel flap in order to not interrupt the variegation/change the pooling.

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Speckled Easter Egg Socks — Original Pattern by Me! (Called “Speckled Space Socks”)

I also started four-ish projects, including a skirt, two more pairs of socks, and a hat. Eventually I will finish them. Eventually. The skirt, which is a pattern by Lauren Riker called “She’s Electric,” is coming along quite nicely, and I’m already to the waist decreases after only a week. It is fitting in the Q2 Summer Yarns KAL! I can’t wait to get the skirt finished so I can wear it!

And, of course, there’s no shortage of projects I would like to cast-on. I’m planning to participate in the Tour-de-Sock event later in the summer and the Q3 Rhinebeck Sweater KAL starting in July. I also am daydreaming of knitting “shortie” socks of the Rose City Rollers variety. Baby J needs some new booties and cute outfits too, so I need to get on those as well! You know, in my spare time.

Finally, I had a mini sock blocking/washing party this weekend. I’ve made lots of socks for myself, and I have yet to complete a pair of vanilla socks. My husband’s first pair made an appearance, too.

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Sock Blocking Party!

I don’t know how I did it, but my Senna socks turned out to fit me the best of all of the socks I’ve made so far. (I’m wearing them now!) I think I made them a little smaller than usual, so I’m going to have to count rows so I can make sure my future socks fit too! This weekend was the first time I blocked them since I made them…last year. LOL

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Senna in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, Esoteric

How many projects are you working on? Tons? Share them in the comments!