Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Not so Magic Loop

2016 has been the summer of trying different sock techniques, after-thought heel, and now the magic loop method. Working at the yarn shop, I try to master and know as many knitting skills that I possibly can; I may not like all of them but I want to be able to use them and be able to explain the technique. In London I bought 80cm 2.25mm KnitPro Zings to try magic loop, I cast them on in Europe so that I had an easy sock to work on for that day of travel (all my other socks were at the heels or toes).

I used a Regia design line by Kaffe Fasset with random stripes (mine is the colorway Sizzle). I adore the color of this yarn! This screams hot tropical days, perfect to knit in the summer. I used my go to toe up sock pattern, Toe-Up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D. Johnson.

I didn't find using Magic Loop any easier or harder than double points or my 9 inch, but I wasn't able to get into a good rhythm. I didn't have any issues once I got past the cast-on, it wasn't any different technique wise than knitting on the 9 inch.

The socks ended up a smidgen loose in comparison to my other socks. I think this is due to the fact that US and MM don't exchange exactly, there is a degree of different between my US 1 and my 2.25 mm needles. I will wear my socks regardless, I just need to remember that I should be going down a half size when I buy needles in Europe.

Funny story, I had quite a few issues buying needles because I didn't know any of the mm sizes! I only knew US needles sizes, I always had to ask for a needle gauge because LYS workers in Europe didn't know the US sizes! I found it funny and frustrating so I am now learning the conversion, I don't want to have to scramble for what needle size I want to buy.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SOS Afterthought

As most people know, Susan B. Anderson put out a new afterthought heel sock pattern this summer. I've only knit a few pairs of sock with the afterthought and none of them have fit me quite correctly. They kind of slip of and pinch at the end of my heel.

One of my podcasts talked about how the heel for this pattern was deeper than a traditional and fit them much better. I decided I needed to try because this method doesn't break-up my stripes and there was a KAL, big surprise there. I started these on a beach day with my mom on new KnitPro Zings I bought abroad. Zings were nice to use but the size etching was a little bit catchy for me. They don't win out over my 9in Hiya Hiyas, these have a special place in my heart for just how freaking amazing they are.

I knit the original heel and toe that was provided in the pattern. I found that I still had a pucker from the kitchener stitch that poked out from each side of my heel. The deepness was perfect but the pucker was annoying. (Pucker Picture below) 

This top photo is the original heel. You can definitely see the pucker of the kitchener stitch along the edge. It's just as prominent on my foot as it is in the photo. I think if I had less rounded heels then this heel would have fit better. But my heels are circular and kind of fat.

By the time I made it to the second sock Susan B. had already added extra heels and toes adjustments. I made the adjusted heel which had a variation of the kitchener stitch to help get rid of the pucker. As seen in the above photo this version has less of a pucker, but for me still not the perfect fit. 

While I love my socks, this version of the afterthought heel still doesn't work for me. I need to try something a bit more rounded. I think the sweet tomato heel may work for me, or maybe a star heel. Let me know if you have any suggestions for a rounded afterthought heel! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SSKAL Update

As I talked about in my last post I'm participating in multiple KALs this summer. Two that I'm participating in are double dip, the Summer Sweater KAL and This Knitted Life Olympic KAL that just finished up with the Olympics Closing Ceremonies. My sweater for the KALs is Chimney Fire by Melissa J. Goodale using Blarney Woollen Mills, Aran Weight, yarn I bought in Ireland!

I bought this yarn specifically for this pattern, I needed to have a cabled sweater as a reminder of my trip to Ireland. I'm working on this sweater specifically for October because I'm going to Rhinebeck! Ahhhh! So excited! This is the sweater that I wanted to be able to show off at this fabulous fiber festival.

I had to make a few adjustments once I swatched. I was knitting with the recommended needle (US 8) and gauging a bit large, to adjust I went down a pattern size. I was a tad worried about fit but so far it's perfect. For the Olympics KAL I focused more on heavy weight yarns which means I made it through the arms and part way into the body in 16 days! I'm definitely going to make my October deadline.

I'll write another post in a week updating on my progress. Once my tallies are done more details will be shared about the TKL Olympics KAL!

Friday, August 19, 2016

I've Become a KAL Person

I've never really felt the need to be part of KALs. Social media isn't a large part of my life so I had never been drawn to participate. Then podcasts came along and I fell down the rabbit hole, I am in FIVE KALs this summer. A few are double dips but still, damn. I'm a bit of a junky now. I'm just going to talk about my FO's for one, the Hey Sister Podcast hat KAL!

I cut my hair last summer from about 2 feet to way above my shoulders. Turns out, when you cut really kinky curly hair from extremely long to fairly short it goes crazy.


I haven't had to wear hats to cover up the 'flat' portion of my curls all year long! Meaning, I haven't needed to knit any more hats for my wardrobe. This makes me sad and miss my quick hat projects. So this KAL was perfect!

I finished these two charity hats within a week. I got into my hat groove again and knit right along on these. The red is Keaton in Cascade 128 Superwash which was kind of a trial for me to see if I enjoyed the look of this hat. I did, so more will be made soon. The purple is TCS Simple Hat made from yarn left from my Leslie sweater! This was the first adult sweater I had ever finished and wore to Stitches West!

The #heysisterhatKAL is still going strong so I knit more! I have had this Malabrigo Rios in stash for quite some time and I just really wanted to be able to wear this in the fall. Look at this color! Wow!

I am in constant search for the perfect hipster slouch, I used the numbers and needles sizes from the Graham hat but only using 1x1 rib. I like, but I still don't love. Let me know if you have the perfect single rib slouchy beanie pattern. I think the weight of the yarn is important, sock yarn is the key. I'll update on my other KALs in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

England Adventures

The last leg of my trip! We left Edinburgh by train in the midmorning, leaving us with the middle of our day traveling to London. London was definitely a city, I'm from a very small town so being in the hustle and bustle was culture shock. I didn't realize how city it would be, but never the less I did enjoy myself.

One of our first days there we visited I Knit London and we got tickets to see Mamma Mia!

What an amazing performance! Small theater, great voices, and my sisters favorite musical. I don't think there was a better way to start our trip. We laughed through the entire performance and had a blast comparing the language difference between US English and UK English.

Our next big adventure while staying in London was traveling to Stonehenge! OMG! AMAZING! This was so surreal. I actually turned to my mom and said "we're at Stonehenge," I can't believe that I am lucky enough to world travel.

While on our tour we found Cornish Pasty's! 

The next day we took another tour to Canterbury Cathedral and Dover. The cathedral was stunning, more massive than even Notre Dame! But what I really loved was Dover Castle, it was staged to look like a medieval castle, King Arthur style. We had a blast, running around like children exploring all the nooks and crannies it had. It was similarly decorated to the BBC show Merlin so I fangirled a bit, but so did Logan. 

Our last two days were spent exploring and being tourist in London. We watched the changing of the guard and dashed our way across Run London, made a stop to hear Big Ben and pose with the London Eye. 

Our last day was spent visiting Borough Market, walking across Tower Bridge, and taking a hilarious tour on the Thames River. I really wish we had open air markets in the US like there is in Europe. I would grocery shop every day if I could visit a market similar to Borough. On each trip my mom and I like to take a night tour of the city to get a different perspective, I loved London at night!

After having such a wonderful adventure I can't wait to go back! I'm thinking in the spring, Spain is calling my name! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Obsession Continues

One of my recent posts was about my Aureola shawl, using a lovely merino silk blend fingering weight. I just couldn't get enough of that blend so I cast on another! I bought the most beautiful 80/20 Merino silk blend at my local fiber festival in a green gradient. The dyer is Invictus Yarns in the Tenacity base; Green Segue colorway, it was so luscious to knit with. Somehow this yarn was even softer than the blend I was using before, it felt like butta.

I love watching the Grocery Girls podcast, plain and simple, they are freakin hilarious! Tracie, one of the co-hosts, recently finished test knitting Mina Philipp's new releases Sugar Plum Shawl. I fell in love as soon as I saw the pattern, it's simple yet elegant with a fun and unique shape.

This pattern and yarn are a match made in heaven. I mean, look at these colors!

I followed the pattern for a medium size shawl (10 eyelet rows and 4 repeats of lace) but I cut the pattern one row short because I thought I was going to run out of yarn. So I used nearly all the 600 yards my hank came with, I would have used all of it had I completed the full pattern.

I may or may not have been able to knit one more row. I don't like yarn chicken, it doesn't give me a high; it gives me anxiety.

And while I love the look of my finished shawl I didn't fall in love with the pattern. The transitions in each wedge in the lace section were not smooth. There are definitely some wonky YO's in the lace, and while it doesn't detract from the shawl as a whole I wasn't all that pleased. If I knit this again I will have to make some adjustments of my own to find the transitions that I like.

I love my finished product and I adore the gradient, it's a bit more elegant that what I've been knitting lately. This dainty shawl will look lovely with my wardrobe when the California weather decides it's finally time to cool down.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Back on Track

I've been a little remiss on knitting my new years resolutions. I planned to knit one pattern from each the knitting books that I owned at the beginning of 2016 as well as knitting some of the sock patterns that I had been avoiding. I dubbed the sock knitting 12in2016, one pair per month of the year. I wasn't avoiding the patterns because they weren't good, they weren't easy knitting and would challenge me. I don't always want the challenge but sometime I know I need it.

My most recent sock FO fit both my resolutions! These socks are from 101 Socks and one of the patterns from my 12in2016!

The multi yarn I picked up while on vacation in Hawaii a couple of years ago, both colors are Cascade Heritage. The pink is Heritage Paints and the green is Heritage Solids, I love how they knit up together!

The construction was interesting, I knit each roll separate first and then knit them together when they reached the correct length. I had a bit of trouble understanding what the pattern wanted because the translation into English was not the best. Once I understood they were a piece of cake.

Instead of following the book pattern for the heel I used my favorite Eye of Partridge heel and wedge toe combo. This combo fits my foot like a glove! They were a fun easy knit that helped me get back on track with my 12in2016. And they're just plain cute!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Scotland Adventures

After leaving Rachael in Germany I flew to Scotland to meet my Mom and sisters for another two weeks of adventure! We started the trip in Inverness in the northern part of Scotland. We had pouring rain on our first day and we loved it!

While there we took a couple of day trips to see different parts of the country, the first one was up into the Highlands! We traveled by small bus to see beautiful castles, coastlines, puffins, and sheep... lots of sheep. My mom really wanted to make it into the highlands because she is a total Outland fan and she just had to be able to say she'd been there. The main stops on our tour were the Stacks and John O'Groats; the Stacks were amazing! I've been to Cliffs of Moher and I found these impressive to see!

We were able to visit Culladen Battle Field while staying in Inverness. The site had a wonderful and informative tour that discussed the fact that the battle was a civil war, not a war between two countries. I loved how interactive the exhibit was and having an insight into a part of history I had never studied. 

Our next tour was the Isle of Skye; I could spend my entire vacation on the island, one week on each North, South, East, and West coast of the island. Not only was our tour guide terribly funny and knowledgeable but his love for this part of his country showed throughout the entire tour! He made this day so amazing, but honestly I would have been stunned even without the great commentary. 

Look at how beautiful this island is! The weather was excellent while we were there, our guide kept commenting on how great the light and weather was. Near the end of our trip we ran into a rain storm. We saw firths, fairy glens, and floating sheep! The rain had trapped these poor sheep on what used to be a piece of land! Our driver actually turned the bus around so that we could take some pictures, we watched as another group swam across so we weren't worried. 

After Inverness we headed to Edinburgh, which as cities go was pretty great! We had quite a few adventures, staying in our first hostel and being very intrigued with the fact that the Queen was in Edinburgh at the same time! We spent the 4th of July visiting the Edinburgh Castle, which was very imposing and had amazing views of the city! 

I was able to visit the Elephant House where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter! Ahhhh! Obviously you can tell I was very excited! 

This was one of our last days before moving on to London! We absolutely adored Scotland; it was beyond words stunning, the people were crazy nice, and we had great weather! Our trip into London will be up next week!