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. ūüėÄ

Dreaming in Neon

wp-1485208177913.jpgwp-1485208146587.jpgBright, happy colors have always been my favorites. In particular, I love, love, love neon colors. They seemed to make a comeback in Fall 2012. I remember the day because I went to visit my friend to help her choose bridesmaid dresses, and when we were at the mall, I found this delightfully bright neon yellow sweatshirt and a neon pink purse to go with my neon blue and yellow shoes. I made such good use of them too. Eventually the yellow sweatshirt lost its color and my neon pink purse was retired in favor of a more sensible black purse. Still, I loved them so much.

wp-1485208273398.jpgThe next Spring (2013), madelinetosh, my favorite yarn dyer, introduced their line of neon yarns. Fluoro Rose, Push Pop, Edison Bulb, Neon Lime, and Ultraviolet. Also a variegated one called Neon Crush. I loved them. I bought them all on a base called Feather, which is a single-ply merino wool, alpaca, and nylon blend. My plan was to make hundreds of little “hexipuffs” (hexagon-shaped and stuffed) and sew them together to make a Beekeeper’s Quilt. So far, I’ve made around 35 puffs. I need to get to work on them…eventually. They have since added more neon-like colors, and I am just in love with all of them and have quite a few stashed away.

One way to keep on top of a project is to join a knit-along (KAL), where several other knitters work on the same project. This year, Eat.Sleep.Knit is hosting a KAL for an afghan called Persian Dreams. The afghan is made up of hexagon-shaped tiles, which each have a colorwork design. I’ve done very little color work (the hat I mentioned in my last post and a pair of socks that I never finished) in my knitting life, but I could just *see* the afghan in neon colors.

I had a few skeins of different neon colors on madelinetosh Twist Light (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon fingering weight yarn), so I just needed a couple of complementary colors and a background color. After some input from the lovely Eat.Sleep.Knitters, I decided on a dark gray for the background.

The idea for the KAL is to knit two hexagons each month, then by the end of the year we will have a completed blanket. I got a bit of a late start this month since I was finishing up my husband’s socks, but I did manage to get the first one done, and I’ve already started the second! Each round is new and interesting, and I just want to knit the next one to see how it goes or get to the next color! It’s so nice to have the encouragement and answers to questions from the group of knitters participating in the KAL.wp-1485208360420.jpg

It’s definitely going to take the whole year, so check back to see my progress on this afghan! I am lovingly calling it Dreaming in Neon!

Knitting and Fishing

wowscrnshot_011317_220237The two go together pretty well, I think. Both require a lot of time and patience, and for fishing, at least the kind that I prefer, you don’t need to pay much attention.

For those of you who know me, you might be thinking, what in the world is she talking about? I am not exactly known for my love of the outdoors. I prefer climate-controlled, bug-free locations. And, as my husband reminds me, I once mused, “I like the outdoors in theory.” Beautiful landscapes, grass, trees, the oceans, all that jazz.

But there is one place that allows me to fish and knit and be comfortable. And that is in the World of Warcraft. Joel introduced me to WoW in 2013, not long after we started dating. I already had a penchant for video games: I grew up enjoying and playing a Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and later a Wii, and I was quite adept at some mobile games. Shortly thereafter, he gifted me with my very first gaming PC, complete with a Haswell i5 processor, a GTX-660 Ti videocard, Razer Naga and, very importantly, a pink case and green LED fans. It was beautiful. Maybe a little tacky. It was the only pink case we could find, and I loved it.wp-1484797565458.jpg

Fast-forward to 2017, and I’m still an avid WoW player, but with a more powerful computer with a sleek black and green case and color-changing accessories (of course). We raced the clock with the birth of my daughter, who was due just 5 days after the launch of WoW’s most recent expansion,¬†Legion. She was born three days late, giving us about a week to experience the new content. We took a short hiatus, and recently our precious girl has blessed us with an earlier bedtime, allowing us to resubscribe to the game.

There’s a game mechanic that allows you to fish, and you can listen for your bobber to splash in the water. It’s quite relaxing and entertaining for me. And best of all, I can knit and fish at the same time.

I’ve just completed a pair of WoW-themed socks for my husband, at his request. I used madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Ink and Liquid Gold to represent Alliance colors. Early last year, I made him a WoW-themed hat with the Alliance crest on it, so now he has the set!

 

My next project is an afghan using fingering weight (sock) yarn (i.e. it’s going to take the whole year), and there’s an achievement for catching all the rare fish in WoW, so I will be doing a lot of fish/knitting in the next few months!

Eat.Sleep.Knit: My Local Yarn Shop

wp-1483638763885.jpgAs my husband and I searched for homes in the Atlanta area last year, we checked Google Maps for the commute time to and from work. Pretty normal, right? Well, I took it one step further with an additional consideration: how far was the home from my favorite yarn shop? As it turned out, the answer was “not far” for our new home.

Of course, Eat.Sleep.Knit has an awesome website with amazingly color-accurate photos of the yarn (great work, Jess!), and I have been an ESK customer since well before I moved to Atlanta, so I’m sure I would have been OK shopping online. There’s just no feeling like being able to hold the yarn in my hands, choose just the right skeins, and hang out and chat with all of the ESK kitties and my fellow knit-nighters. I’m glad everything worked out so well!

On New Year’s Eve, as my husband and I waited to watch the crystal ball fall in New York City, I was wondering what the new year would bring for the Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon. As has become custom, I was not disappointed when the 2017 Yarnathon was unveiled!

I’m a new member of the Taffy Giraffes, and I couldn’t be more excited! ESK has an incredible marketing team, and of course I want to buy more yarn, but the Yarnathon is so much more than that! I get to participate in knit-alongs, earn badges, reach new milestones, test my knitting skills, and share my love of yarn and knitting with a wonderful community of people.

I’ve also learned that my favorite yarn dyer, madelinetosh, is dying exclusive colorways for ESK this year! You’d better believe I will be hitting ctrl+R until I can order mine! *squee*

If you are living or shopping in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend stopping by Eat.Sleep.Knit’s storefront, and if you aren’t, be sure to check out their awesome selection of indie and hand-dyed yarns!