Wrapping It Up

Or at least I’ve really been trying to!! Jeez! I’ve been on a crazy bender trying to wrap up as many projects on my needles as possible and I finally caught up reading my backlogged blogroll. I didn’t realize how much I missed while entertaining family. No worries, I’m all caught up and so excited to read all the wonderful posts people have been writing.

I’ve read lots of posts where people are like me, feeling the urge to finish up their projects in preparation of the new year and new projects. I’ve made a good effort, and I’ve waited a few days since the first to really sink my teeth into those new projects.

I thought as a good way to stay accountable and fight the urge to cast everything on I could share a few more of the things I’m trying to finish or frog…

I’ve got 2 pairs of socks going. One I’ve been knitting on for a few days (Squishy Socks) and one I’ve put into hibernation until I can weigh the yarns (Technicolor Socks).

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I’ve also got 3 scarves/wraps going. The first is a lace pattern (Jabes’ Flurfy Scarf) in some Silky Alpaca Lace. The second is a diagonal sparsely striped one (Skinty Stripe Scarf) also in Silky Alpaca Lace. Last is the Never Ending First Project with some Artful Yarns Vineyard.

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There is also the Catkin Shawl I started in some tasty MadTosh Light during a KAL at Knitorious. I love this thing and I am excited to have it finished (eventually) but the rows are getting longer and it takes a good deal of attention. Translation: Not suitable for TV watching or conversation knitting and is thus limited in the time I choose to work on it.

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Last project on the needles is that crazy Copper Twist Vest I started so I would have another garment to wear to Vogue Knitting Live back in October. I’m using Inca Gold by Berroco. I started this in a frenzy and it went pretty quickly. I was having some reservations when I picked up the fronts/neck and it looked small. On a great suggestion by a reader, I put the thing on waste yarn and tried it on. Just as I suspected, it’s smaller than I would have liked. I think it could grow a little with blocking but I did not knit a swatch and wash it to find out. Bad knitter. So I’m considering frogging it.

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Or I could finish it and gift it. This is something I think is right up my mother-in-law’s alley style-wise and I think she would like it. I don’t know.

Hopefully I can wrap up some of these by this next week and then I’ll share all the things I want to start 🙂

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

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WIPs & Plans

WIP Wednesday

Yay! A real WIP Wednesday post! I’m pretty proud of myself as I’ve whittled down my WIPs to just 10. I’ve been working pretty hard on my Whispers sweater (which I will wear to Vogue Knitting Live!) until I finished it. I will be sure to take pictures of me wearing this! I love it!!!

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My needles have been going so fast, they are smokin’!

I’ve been making some good progress on my Twist Vest. I’m hoping to knock it out so I can block it and weave in the ends before we leave on Friday morning.

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I need to do about 6 more inches on the collar portion. I’m hoping it will fit and be long enough when I finally cast off…my needles have been keeping it too tight for me to try on. Cross your fingers!! If not, I’ll just have to rip it out and try again 😦 That is one nice thing about knitting vs. other crafts where you don’t really need to cut anything and it’s all able to be undone.

My Technicolor Take 2 Socks haven’t seen much love since they were cursed for the Cardinals games. I guess now that they’ve lost and the Royals/Giants are facing off in the World Series, I can pull them back out. I am still really liking the yarn and pattern and my Karbonz!!

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I am questioning if they will be too big…I have skinny ankles but long feet so I traditionally make the bigger size. However, my 2 pairs of socks I have made for myself are both pretty slouchy. After reading so many blogs and posts about socks and Socktober, I am inspired to knit myself socks I will love. Ripping may commence if I can try these on 🙂

Not to worry. I have been doing a little unselfish knitting as well. In the name of a few gifts.

First up is my Flurfy Scarf for Jabes. It’s coming along. It takes a little brain power. I’m into the solid section of the 3rd of 4 colors.

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And the Array Cowl for Lyndsay. Taking a while since it has a bunch of slipped stitches. I know initially I was a little hesitant about the color combination, but I’m really liking it in the daylight. I’m not sure that the picture here does it justice.

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And the Skinty Stripe Scarf for Deana. Also taking a while since it is on US size 3 needles.

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On to the planning stage for my super fun trip!!!

Last year, when I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, I rode the Megabus early in the morning, spent about 3 hours in the giant marketplace, spent way too much money buying impulse yarn, took a class on cables from Amy Detjen, had delicious deep-dish pizza with my husband (who was an insane trooper through the whole experience), and took the Megabus back to Louisville that night. I spent roughly 24 hours on this trip and around 12 hours were spent on the Megabus.

I think this is the haul from last year. I tried to pull it all out of my yarn cabinet from memory. I’ve got a couple skeins of sock yarn, a few skeins of some bulky Malabrigo Rasta, some Shibui Cima for a scarf, and some Neighborhood Fiber Company to knit the Monomania sweater. I’m pretty sure I haven’t made anything from my haul last year. What a shame!! Pulling it all out makes me want to cast on something right away, but I’m trying to stay disciplined and finish up what I already have on the needles.

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When I received the email this year about year’s event, I knew I wanted to go back. I also knew that St. Louis had a train that went to Chicago which would be more enjoyable than a bus (public transit is a way better option for me than driving because I can knit on the way there and not worry about driving or paying an outrageous amount to park in Chicago). I also knew that I wanted my mom to go with me. Plus, I knew I wanted to stay overnight and not be rushed. And staying overnight gave us the opportunity to take more classes!!!

This year, I’m looking up patterns I want to buy yarn for and trying to make a list of some unique dyers and companies that I want to look for. Also going to keep on the look out for a few books. I just don’t want to come home with a bunch of random single skeins that I bought in the throws of “ooooooooh that’s so pretty and soft and squishy.” So I’ve made a few lists. I need to finalize these in the next day so I can go in with a solid plan.

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So the lists are coming together…

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Nicole.

 

WIPs on WIPs on WIPs…

WIP Wednesday

You guessed it! It’s WIP Wednesday. I was worried I wouldn’t have time to do this post because it’s my husband’s 30th birthday!! But I have been wanting to show what I’ve been working on.

First up:

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Since it is Jordan’s 30th birthday, I thought I would try to finish up this scarf for him. I started it back in the spring sometime. It’s made out of Mountain Colors Twizzle in the Harmony Softrock colorway. I’ve used up 1 skein and am a good ways into the second skein, which I bought simply for emergencies…emergency averted 🙂 I’m using Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s One Row Handspun Scarf pattern. I keep having him try it on so it’s long enough. I have about 9 more inches to go 🙂

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You may be asking yourself what this is and why this is the first time you are seeing it. Well, a few weeks ago I saw this pattern for a “fried egg” potholder. At the time, we were trying to buy rugs for our apartment which has all hardwood floors. Lightbulb! I could make a cool rug for the kitchen that looked like a giant fried egg! I used a full-size yellow bed sheet, then 1 queen-size white bed sheet. That wasn’t enough so I bought a king-size. I blew through that. Man, does crochet eat up some yarn! So I bought 2 more king-size bed sheets to cut into strips to finish this thing up. I totally love it and it is really squishy!

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This should look vaguely familiar. It should also look relatively stagnant. It’s the Whispers top I’ve been “working” on. We’ll say working is a loose term here. Mostly it gets shuttled from one place to another for me to knit a round or two on. The stockinette has become boring. But I want to finish it so I can wear it in Chicago at Vogue Knitting Live!

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This should also look vaguely familiar and also stagnant. It’s the back of the Twist Vest. I did a “provisional cast-off” to hold the stitches at the neck and I should be picking up around this to make the sides, armholes, and collar. Instead, it’s been languishing. I think it’s like the Whispers top in that I’m close to switching to another ball of yarn on both projects and I just haven’t picked them back up. I know there is such a thing as “Second Sock Syndrome”…is there a “Starting a Second Ball of Yarn Syndrome” as well???

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And there is this lovely, soft, fuzzy beauty. It’s the HPKY Bias Shawl I started knitting. I’m ignoring a portion of the pattern about only doing a certain number of rows alternating the 2 colors and I did more so I could use up more of the yarn and make a bigger shawl. I hope it is big enough to wrap around my shoulders. I will be sorely disappointed otherwise.

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Finally, here is my Catkin shawl. I’m at the place to start Chart 1 and I had to place markers to mark the quadrants and the chart repeats. I placed said markers only to encounter I have 4 stitches too many. Knowing that to solve this problem will require some brain power, it has been hibernating for about a week. I have been working on brainless things, like the scarf for my husband, instead of sitting down to do a little problem solving. I think I’m just going to “place” those extra stitches where I am supposed  to do increases on the first row instead of ripping back or doing any sort of decreases. I just need to determine the right place for those and do it.

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Finally, looking out over my landscape of WIPs, I’m feeling like I should be knitting instead of typing! I am also realizing that several of my projects are in a similar place…about halfway. I am not completely sure what my hesitation is. I do enjoy working on them, but I think I would enjoy them as finished pieces more than I like working on them. I also want to start a few new pieces and I’m going to Chicago for the Vogue Knitting show which is sure to be filled with inspiration. All I know is I better get knittin!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Tami & Nicole.
You should head over to their pages to see other blogs where people are participating in Tami’s WIP Wednesday & Nicole’s Keep Calm & Craft On.

 

Every day is a winding road…

I know lately all we’ve been seeing here are Confessions, WIPs, and Stash Dives. I realize I haven’t posted a Technique Tuesday in a good while. Partially because I haven’t had any cool techniques I’ve wanted to talk about or that I felt I could demonstrate.

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So for today, as I am running out of wound yarn for my Twist Vest, I thought I would show you how I wind more yarn using an umbrella swift & ball winder.

Step 1: Remove adorable Sis from your work space.

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Even if she protests.

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But for real, you need to gather a few items first like your yarn, ball winder, swift, and some scissors. Be sure you have a table that is not too thick so you can easily clamp the pieces onto it.

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Step 2: Clamp your swift and ball winder to the table.

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I usually have the swift around the corner from the ball winder. I like to have about 2 feet in between the swift & winder.

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I like the keep the winder about 18 inches from the corner of the table to give me enough room between the swift when it is opened up and the leading arm into the ball winder.

Step 3: Prepare your yarn.

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I like to open up the hank and make sure there aren’t any weird surprises like lots of little ties with tricky knots. Also, I like to keep the ties in place until I have the loop on the swift. This helps keep it all together until you are ready to wind and prevents any stray loops from getting wrapped up in the base of the swift or from getting tangled up with other loops.

Step 4: Place your yarn on the swift & open it.

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I like to have the swift slightly opened when I drape the loop of yarn over it. I keep a decent amount of tension on the loop so it doesn’t slip down too low. Try to keep your loop near the center of the swift where the sticks cross over each other.

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While maintaining tension on your loop of yarn, “open” up the umbrella by pushing up. I like to push up on the bottom part of the umbrella and then raise up the little piece that keeps it open to the right width. I don’t open it too much so that the yarn is super stretched out. I leave just a touch of slack in the loop so that the umbrella will spin freely.

Step 4: Find the ties and eliminate (!) them.

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I like to find the knots in the ties and pull them out. Usually, ones like this with 4 strands leading into it will contain your ends of the loop. I have seen hanks that only have ties with 2 ends leading in that contain the ends.

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I usually try to untie the knots. These were pretty tight so I simply snipped them off. I pulled out the little tie part and found the ends.

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I continued around the loop and found another tie. It only had 2 strands leading in. I snipped this one and removed it. I try to make sure that my loop is lying flat and the strand as it unwinds will not have to go inside and outside the loop. I work my way around the loop ensuring there are no twists and the strand is coming from the outside of the loop.

Step 5: Thread through the leading arm of the ball winder and secure on the bobbin.

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I usually rest my elbow on the table and put a light amount of tension on the strand as it is coming off the swift and onto the ball winder.

Step 6: Wind!!

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I always turn the handle away from me. I’m not sure why. When I worked at McNeedles a few summers ago, I was taught that way and have never had any troubles when I turn the handle away from my body. Throughout the process, I keep light tension on the yarn and turn the handle at a steady rate.

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If you turn the handle at an unsteady rate, you can get loops that form waaaaaay below the bottom of the ball and that will give you weird-o loops when you remove it from the winder. Those can get tangled with your working yarn when you are knitting. If I notice these when I’m winding, I usually pull back to where they were formed and rewind the yarn.

I tried to shoot a video of this. It’s not awesome but it can show you how I try to keep a steady pace when turning the handle and tension on the yarn between the swift and winder. Just follow this link. (The noise from the leaf blower outside and the ball winder are a little loud :D)

Yarn Winding Video

Here is the Twist Vest so far that I needed to wind more yarn for. I’m loving the way the Inca Gold is knitting up. It’s sooooo springy!!!!

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Hope this was helpful!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna