Vanilla socks, two at a time, cuff down. Regia 4-ply Pairfect Design Line

Where are you knitting today?

Every knitter has heard it: “You must have so much patience.” But I don’t. I have very little patience. That is why I knit. I don’t like to wait so I knit. I knit when I’m in line. I knit when I’m waiting for others to be ready or to arrive. I knit whenever I need to be quiet and to be still. Without my knitting, I am impatient and irritable when not busy with something else.

I enjoy knitting complicated patterns. Patterns that take concentration. Patterns that are challenging. Patterns that make the time go by more quickly. Otherwise, I’d be tapping my foot and sighing. Perhaps even offering an eye roll.

Knitting has not taught me patience. It has provided a way for me to calm myself. When the rhythm of the pattern is pleasant and smooth, I can relax my jaw. I can slow and deepen my breathing. I can think of nothing. Is this “zen”? “Meditation”? “Flow”? Does it matter?

Knitting has taught me to break up an overwhelming task into small steps. A pair of socks: Knit 15 rounds of k1, p1, and then knit until it is long enough to shape the heel. Shape the heel and then knit until it’s long enough to reach my small toe. Shape the toe. All the while, I’m watching the pattern of the specially dyed yarn work its magic as colorful stripes and dots emerge.

Not a bad way to spend stolen moments or even an afternoon binge-watching a series.

Happy knitting!

I have been organizing and culling my stash these past few weeks and finishing up some forgotten projects. When we adopted two kittens last summer, I moved all my yarn from the open cubbies and boxed it up to keep it safe. Consequently my stash is in a jumble. Poring through the boxes, I became obsessed with sock yarn remnants and trying to find projects or homes for all those little balls. To be honest, I find it quite frustrating so I’m slowly cutting the emotional cord to the ones that don’t make me happy or inspired. It’s hard though. It’s also difficult not to start new projects when I discover an especially delicious yarn.

Yesterday morning, this appeared in my Facebook newsfeed:

I went right over to the closet where this sock has been hiding in plain sight for the past year. Because it had been abandoned, I knew there must be something wrong with it. I was pleased to see that one sock was completed and the second sock had been knit to the heel. There was the problem… The yarn is Regia Pairfect which results in a perfect matching pair of socks. You knit the solid color for the ribbing, when the yarn changes to a striping pattern, you knit the leg and then when you reach the solid color again, you knit the heel. You should have enough solid color to knit the heel and then the yarn changes as you knit the foot and end with a solid toe. Well.

I must knit longer and wider heel flaps than the average knitter because I didn’t have enough green to complete the heel. Ugh. This is why I put it away. It occurred to me that the manufacturer must have a vanilla sock pattern and they sure do. They even had directions for a boomerang heel! I tried it out on the second sock.

Success! I really like this heel. I’ll rip the first sock back to the heel and reknit it with the boomerang heel. I have two more balls of this yarn and I’m keeping them. This was just the jolt I needed to make me like sock knitting again, at least for a little while.

I’m still planning on knitting some sweaters for me. The first candidate is a coat. I’m going to swatch this yarn and see what it tells me.

Happy knitting!

The 1980’s-ish vest is finished and I must admit that it does look a bit rough on the mannequin. The yarn fulled a bit after soaking and a spin dry in the washing machine. It was so dry when I took it out of the washer that I’m convinced that there is not much wool in it. I am pleased with how it fits me though.

I did an unusual shaping for the armholes. I bound off two inches at each armhole and then decreased one stitch at the armhole every third row up to the shoulder consequently there is no straight edge along the armhole. This gives the illusion of an unstructured drop shoulder without the bulk. When I knit the ribbing, I decreased 25% of the sts along the top four inches of the armhole so the ribbing wouldn’t “wing” out.

It fits into my coffee-shop-wardrobe. Really, that’s how I choose clothing now. Will it look nice at a coffee shop? Yes. OK. I’ll wear it. I can see it paired with black knit pants, an oversized blouse and a button cover. I still have some of those! Or paired with a slim black skirt, a black turtleneck and boots.

This was a yarn rescue project born of sentimental attachment. I’m glad it worked this time but there have been occasions when I have spent far too much time coaxing a yarn that refused to be coaxed into anything pleasing or useful. I need to do some self analysis on why I try so hard to rescue. Perhaps set some boundaries? Recognize incompatible Qi?

I’m going to finish a few languishing projects before I start a new sweater.

Happy knitting!

Well, I am making progress. It seems that whenever I plan to knit something simple, I run into unforeseen issues. This despite knitting most days for the past fifty years. Knitting can be so humbling. Sigh.

It all starts nicely enough. I have 10 skeins of a bulky weight that I bought unlabeled so I don’t know the yardage or the fiber content. I untwiddle a bit of it and am surprised to find that one of the plies is an eyelash yarn! This is so 1980s.

The other two are plied and I’m making an educated guess that they are at least a wool blend but they may be all wool. I say this because of the way the fiber took the dye and I don’t feel any synthetic in it.

I’m getting 3 stitches to the inch on a US#11 (7mm) needle. I really like the drape of the fabric. It holds together well and is soft, not stiff. I suspect the yarn will bloom when washed so I am knitting it at this slightly loose gauge. A more persnickety knitter (not a criticism) would wash the swatch to find out. I take so few risks nowadays that I’m going to go for it and see what happens. It’s good to get the blood up once in a while.

Pretty tweedy fabric. There is a bright blue/green running through it that annoys me though. The colors are very changeable depending on the light. Sometimes everything is bright and sometimes most of it is subdued. I like mercurial things so I’m proceeding.

I decide to knit a pullover in the round. With a US#10 (6mm), I cast on the number of stitches equal to my circumference in inches times 3, making sure I have a multiple of 4. Then I knit 10 rounds of knit 2, purl 2 ribbing. I switch to a US#11 (7mm) and start knitting around and around mindlessly.

As I knit, I’m seeing a round yoke rather than a drop sleeve so I begin planning how to accomplish that. Perhaps stop an inch sooner than I normally do so that it has a more modern silhouette? Now my original plan for a V-neck is out. A ballet neck? How many short rows? How far apart? How deep will the yoke actually be?

BAM! Reality hits! I pick up the third ball of yarn. I’ve only knit five inches so far. I usually knit to twelve inches and then add the sleeves. I’m not going to have enough yarn for sleeves! Oh dear.

Time to pivot. At this point, my plan is to knit the body to my usual 12 inches. Then cast on the required number of stitches for the sleeves. I might do this provisionally and then add ribbing later if I have the yarn. Then I’ll knit a round yoke and make the other decisions as I go.

The simple ones always surprise me. There are many more decisions to be made than I can anticipate when I begin. Sound familiar? Sort of like life, right?

Happy knitting!

I’ve never been one for making new year resolutions. It seems like so much pressure and what’s important to me in January, may not be as important in August, or June, or even March. This year feels different though. As we come out of a difficult 2020 and look forward to perhaps an easier 2021, I’m taking stock in the things around me. Like many others, I’ve been purging clothes and housewares. It’s not as much fun for me to wear pretty things or set a pretty table when I’m not sharing the experience with family and friends. Not to worry, I’m still dressing and eating each day. I just don’t need as much variety in my clothing or on my table.

I have been knitting for decades, consequently I have far more sweaters than what I wear each winter. I’ve boxed up the ones that I don’t intend to ever wear again and now I have lots of space on my closet shelves. I also have a huge stash of yarn that has been boxed up because I adopted two rambunctious kittens during the summer. They’re starting to settle but I am still finding balls of yarn all over the house each morning. This led me to thinking of my personal knitting plan for the coming year. Yes, I have a large quantity of yarn but stash reduction is not really my goal. Organization is more important right now. And I’ve been itching to knit some sweater patterns that I’ve been meaning knit since the 1980s. What? The 1980s? Why would I want to do that? Well, despite our recollection (if we’re old enough to remember) or our perception (if we’re not) of the 1980s, there were some classic designs being offered. There was the big “preppie” fad after all. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to use yarn that I have to knit sweaters that I’ve been meaning to knit. Let’s see how that goes.

As I approach my 63rd year of life, I’m also finding that my personal style is evolving. My attempts at being “edgy” have always fallen flat. So no more sweaters with pointy bottoms or asymmetrical construction that I won’t wear. I’m going to knit garments that appeal to me as the wearer. I’m going to knit garments that flatter my healthy crone body and my gray hair. I’m going to knit garments that have a pleasant song as they are knit.

Here’s my first inspiration. This lovely bulky boucle yarn that I purchased in 2008 in southern France. I have no idea where we were that day but we ended up in a village in the mountains where there was a small yarn warehouse. It was overseen by a very introverted man who seemed quite surprised to see a small group of American women on a knitting tour. A very friendly German shepherd was also keeping sentry. The dog may have been why I bought so much yarn. I also found a pretty tweed that became a small stole and a bulky rose wool that became a felted bag. I had planned to make a drop shoulder cardigan with this yarn. I’m not sure if I want a cardigan anymore but I do have some toggle buttons that might convince me to knit a cardigan.

I admit that I’m curious as to what it will become. I’m off to swatch.

Happy Knitting.

Some progress was made this past month as I managed to get through the first layer of my knitting basket.

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Starting at the bottom of the picture: my take-along knitting bag.  I always have a sock on the needles that I can take along whenever I leave the house.  It takes the edge off when I need to wait with the bonus of getting a pair of socks in the bargain.  I finished one sock this past month and started on the second of the pair.   This little bag also comes in handy when I travel.  I can tuck two more balls of sock yarn in it and have enough yarn with me to keep me busy and sane on my trip.  It doesn’t take up too much of my suitcase, either.  When we’re both at home, I keep it in my knitting basket because it has an extra pair of reading glasses in it too….  and you know…. I can’t always find the pair that’s perched on my head or tucked in my shirt… so….

Next up, is this lovely:

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Stephen West’s Daybreak in Knit Circus yarns.  Isn’t it beautiful?  It’s a shop sample so you can see it person at Knit Circus or when they’re at a show.  I can’t say enough wonderful about this yarn.  It’s a dream to knit and to block and to wear.  Love! Love! Love!

The black project on the needles became these:

Knit with vintage Brown Sheep sock wool from my stash and a fun free pattern The Dark Side.  Aren’t they great?  They were very well received and I’m thinking I might need another pair for me.

The tweedy ball of sock yarn became this pair of socksimg_6897

I played around with texture on the leg and top of the foot for a manly looking sock.

Hidden below the first layer was a ball of striping sock yarn knit into theseimg_6896

where I slipped every other stitch on the round where the color changed.  I like the effect but I’d like to try purling the stitch instead of slipping it next time.

I hopped out of the basket to participate in a KAL with some friends and knit up

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this owl hat with stash yarn and buttons.  The patterns is all in one color but I jazzed it up a bit by stranding the orange and green and using intarsia for the blue.  I embroidered the pink afterwards and also embroidered the green nose.   I also added 10 rounds after the owls and before the crown shaping.  It was a bit tight, due to the stranding, when it was done, but after a soak and a stretch, it blocked out enough to fit on my head.

And hot off the needles,img_6891

a pair of slippers for the husband.  I made Charlie’s first pair four years ago and sewed them into leather moccasin soles.  I need to replace the knitted soles each year,  but this year, we decided the whole slipper needed redoing. I was able to reuse the leather moccasin soles though and knit an extra sole to sandwich in between the knitted slipper and the leather sole.   I always use Lion Brand Thick and Quick for these.  It’s cheap and machine washable.  The leather soles are machine washable too.

And now the knitting basket looks like thisimg_6895

A KAL sweater that I just started.   A forgotten sweater.  Some white sock yarn frogged from a unsatisfactory shawlette that is now destined to be a pair of owl-y socks with beady eyes.  A kit for Santa socks and a kit for snowman socks that just might sift to the bottom of the basket.

Pretty good month, knit wise.

 

 

 

Three plus weeks in to the new year and I have a quiet day in which to pause and reflect, as the saying goes.

It was busy year knit-wise.  It is all I want to do.  I think I want to blog, but blogging surely took a back seat to knitting in 2015.

  • Slippers – 2 pairs (1 crocheted pair)
  • Neck Warmers – 6
  • Hats – 11
  • Toddler Sweater – 1
  • Baby Sweaters – 8
  • Baby Hats – 6
  • Bootliners – 1 pair
  • Socks – 7 pairs
  • Scarves – 3
  • Fingerless Mitts – 1 pair
  • Shawls – 16
  • Cardigan – 1
  • Coat – 1
  • Boxes – 4 (3 crocheted and 1 knitted and felted)
  • Knee Warmers – 1 pair
  • Baby Blanket – 1
  • Hood – 1 (crocheted)

Looking forward to 2016, there is more knitting to do. I’ve decided to concentrate on WIPs (works in progress). The living room workbasket taunts me daily.

What a mess! I took this pic on NYE as motivation to get organized. The white sock yarn on the left is for a pair of child- sized socks with enough yarn left over to knit another pair. The bright stripes is KnitCircus yarns on its way to being to becoming Stephen West’s Daybreak. The open mustard pouch is the most current take-along sock that I carry with me so I have some knitting with me in case I’m stuck waiting somewhere. Why it is open and spilling out, is anyone’s guess. I see another ball of blue-striped sock yarn for a child’s pair of socks, some black and white sock yarn for a pair of Darth Vader mittens and a kit for Santa Claus socks. So much for the top layer……

I don’t have the strength deeper just now.

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. In my little world, it is always the most relaxing week of the year. The Christmas frenzy is over and everyone is pre-occupied with football. The world seems to slow down during this time, spinning so slowly that we rarely see the sun. This year was especially slow-paced because I got the flu. Consequently, I had more time to reflect on the waning year and plan for the year ahead. When I wasn’t sleeping… Or moaning…

From a knitting perspective, 2014 was an exceptionally good year. I challenged myself to knit 30 hats in 30 days and I did! Thanks so much for all of your encouragement and wonderful words! It really helped me along.I’ve received such wonderful feedback from so many people that I’ll be offering the patterns for the hats in the near future. They may be in a book or they may be sold individually. I haven’t worked out the details yet but I’ll keep you posted. Also, people have asked if I would knit specific hats and I would love to do that. I’ll be setting some of them up for order on etsy.

I learned a few things too.
Knitting is so much quicker when you have a plan. The more complicated hats were easier to knit because everything was planned out before I started. The plain hats took much longer because I was making decisions on the fly and often had to rip back and try again.
It’s easier to knit a hat when you don’t have a particular head in mind. I’m always overly concerned about the fit when I’m knitting for someone specific. Surprisingly, each hat fit all sorts of heads in all sorts of sizes.
Blogging everyday is practically impossible. Even if you have the time, the desire is not there. It’s difficult to stay fresh. But it’s also difficult to start blogging again when you’ve been away for a while.
I have more ideas stored in my head than I thought. I was really surprised how one idea led to another. I didn’t get to ideas that I had in the beginning.

2014 was also a productive knitting year. I kept track this year of everything I knitted or crocheted. Not everything was begun in 2014. I found a few things that had been forgotten, including a vest from 1985 and a baby sweater from 1991. So happy to finish those and get the needles and project bags back into the light.

11 Shawls
1 Afghan (Tunisian crochet)
2 pairs of Socks
3 pairs of Slippers
40 Hats (including 2 baby hats)
1 Christmas Stocking
2 pairs of Fingerless Mitts
7 Scarves
1 Ottoman Cushion
2 Vests
8 Baskets (crochet)
1 Baby Sweater
1 Market Bag (crochet)
7 Sweaters
1 Poncho
4 Potholders (crochet)
1 pair of Legwarmers
1 Big Foot (my favorite project)
2 Sweaters (kid sized)
5 Cowls

If you want to see pics, check out
my ravelry page
; I’m duquette on ravelry. Feel free to friend me up.

Here’s a pic of gwampa with Big Foot so you can get an idea of Big Foot’s size.

There a few pics of Big Foot under construction on the project page
in ravelry too.

I’ve been planning for 2015 as well. I have some things on the needles that should be done in a few days, some warm things for Mom and Dad, some Christmas gifts for some family member who are celebrating in January, and some fun things for my new baby grand-nephew.

And things to figure out

The blog’s bells and whistles Like links – I’m missing a step. Guess I should go through the tutorial.

The hat patterns

Etsy

I need a dose of discipline and a dose of structure. But this has been known since kindergarten.