In the last decade, things happen to make me realize I’m the “grown-up” in the room. The Fish is my favorite character in the Cat in the Hat. I don’t get drunk and attempt to climb water towers in the middle of the desert anymore. I have a favorite grocery store. I own multiple pairs of sneakers for SPECIFIC activities and don’t wear them for situations beyond their intended purpose (like I would NEVER wear my lifting sneakers on a bike ride!). Well yesterday, I got a new desk chair delivered. And let me tell you, IT’S REALLY EXCITING.
I’ve been contemplating a new desk chair for months. The chair I had, I never actually liked; it was a gift. It had arms that didn’t fit under my desk. Recently the bonded leather started to separate, in little schmutz all over the floor and my clothes. It was sad looking, and annoying. I hope my cat doesn’t destroy the fabric- literally my only holdout on replacing the chair. Bonus points for it not adding to the messy appearance of my “office” corner.
Don’t get me wrong, I still do things that make me question my ability to function as an adult. Like last night, there was A BUNCH of leftover candy from making up the kids’ Easter baskets. In my infinite wisdom, I ate SO MANY Reese’s’ Pieces Eggs that I’ve had heartburn since LAST NIGHT. Well played universe, well played.
I’ve also made progress on the baby blankets. I finished the body of one this morning (Saturday) and started the second (or ripped out and restarted the original) this afternoon. I’m still on track to make my goal of next weekend completed and delivered!
The striping pattern is somewhat random. Which is a REAL struggle for me. I like pattern, I like predictability. I want things to have a balanced look, but still have a spontaneous feel. Also, I already purchased 2 balls of yarn for the project. I want to maximize the use of the yarn with as few leftovers as possible (I’m sure another blanket is on the horizon to make use of all this yarn). Finished dimensions about 40″ x 40″. The original bobble blanket is being frogged for this current blanket. I like it, but I don’t love it. Its too heavy and between the first set of bobbles and the last I misplaced 8 stitches. So much for being good at crochet! I may attempt a similar pattern in the future, but not striped like this one was.
I’ve been talking about the baby blankets for twins that I’m crocheting for a couple months now. I made the first, a bobbled pattern and was completely underwhelmed with the result. SO much that I haven’t woven in the ends and I was dreading making a second that coordinated. Now I have less than two weeks to deliver the goods to my friend. What does a life long procrastinator do?
If you said learn a new crochet skill, you guessed right. Because nothing says looming deadline like changing course on the project, COMPLETELY, at the last minute.
I’ve been seeing other sing the praises of C2C (corner to corner) crochet for months now. I’ve seen some really beautiful blankets (shout out to the C2C graphgans!!). Yesterday afternoon I popped open Pinterest to look for a picture tutorial. Honestly, I’m not a video skills kind of person- finding a text/photo/chart based tutorial is not always easy. The first tutorial seemed to leave out a pivotal step, and I couldn’t figure out how to start row 2. The second tutorial was from Winding Road Crochet, and was everything I wanted! It had photos, text, charts, and video. It also has LEFT HAND specific video, my lefty pals, no excuses now!
In 24 hours (4 hours of actual work) I completed the first 29 rows. Based on my rough calculations, I will increase until 47-50 rows before I start my decreases.
If I can finish the project by 4/10, I’ll deconstruct the original and make a C2C. I think it will use A LOT less yarn, because I won’t be making 7 (or was it 9) loops for each bobble!
SO, if you’re on the fence about learning the C2C technique- JUST DO IT. Its super easy, and yields a really modern looking finished product. I also highly suggest the tutorial from Winding Road Crochet, she makes the whole process super easy.
I may be one of the few people who feels OVER-SOCIALIZED right now. Quarantine with little kids is intense, they are always where you are and pretty loudly too. 24/7, we are together. I love them. I truly do. But I miss being ALONE. Time when I lift heavy things, or sweat until I’m lobster red. Time when I drink over priced corporate coffee. Time when I don’t have to talk, or listen, or DO anything. Time when I don’t have to be “on”. I’m so fortunate to have a spouse that is willing to absorb some of the emotional work in child rearing right now (and always). He also tries to take them outside daily and give me a few moments alone- and it helps!! But there are some REAL positives to consider. My house hasn’t been this clean since BEFORE kids. I have all the time in the world to complete my tasks; I don’t have to worry that I’ll run out of time before its finished. My house is by no stretch of the imagination spotless, but I have dusted the baseboards on the first floor.
I haven’t had to brain-space this week to tackle anything too cerebral. I’ve been plugging away on a baby blanket. I started another Wide Garter Stripe Shawl the other day. Mostly because I can work on it while I’m supervising my daughter’s home school process. This version is being knit from the balls of Lion Brand Re-Tweed I have. 2 Balls of Slate, then 1 ball each Arctic Ice, Plum Perfect and Dutch Blue. Its going to be significantly larger than the original. I want a huge shawl I can wrap up in blanket style. Once I figure out how much larger 1000 yards will make the shawl, I can update the pattern to share!
I hope to post progress on the baby blankets (all three) because the deadline is in about 3 weeks. My “dresser sock” should be complete this month- I work on it while my spouse reads bedtime stories to the kids. I also have a bunch of patterns that need to be formatted and published. Hopefully I find better ways to manage my design work while the kids are home.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate marketing links. I make a small commission for purchases made from the links contained herein, at no cost to you.
Originally I designed this shawl for a tips and tricks class I taught at my local big-box craft store. It has an optional provisional cast-on, which I thought was important to introduce to my students. The small amount of provisionally cast-on stitches make this a great way to learn a new technique with low stakes. If you don’t want to do the provisional cast-on, feel free to work the regular garter stitch tab. The small resulting seam will be unnoticeable when wearing. The construction is an easy knit for afternoons binge-watching whatever you currently are obsessed with. Adventurous Beginners will be able to tackle this project with ease. If you can count, knit, purl, and yarn-over: you can absolutely work this shawl up. (Feel free to contact me with any questions!)
The Great 2020 Quarantine is giving many of us a unique opportunity to shop our stashes and stash-bust partial skeins. Use any Worsted/Aran/Size 4/Medium Weight yarn you desire or have on hand. This project would be beautiful solid, variegated, color-blocked, or randomly striped! Since this project does not require aggressive blocking to lay flat or to show lace work, any fiber content is suitable. My class samples were both acrylic. I’m currently working on another sample to display for the fall version of this class in a wool blend.
Start with either the provisional garter stitch tab or the regular garter stitch tab. Paired increases on the sides and at the spine give this shawl the triangular shape. Large garter stitch sections make it squishy and allow it lay flat without aggressive blocking.
CH: Chain S1P: Slip one stitch purlwise (with yarn in front) K: Knit P: Purl B/O: Bind-off YO: Yarn Over PM: Place Marker SM: Slip Marker
Tips: The increase rows are the front of the work. The rows with no increases (and the slip stitch center) are the back of the work.
Provisional Cast-On Garter Tab:
Using waste yarn and crochet hook, loosely CH 10. You will only be using the back bump of the center 3 chains. Extra chains are cast on for security.
Using your project yarn, Pick-up and Knit 3 stitches from the back bump of the chain.
Knit 12 rows.
After knitting the 12th row do not turn., rotate your work 90 degrees, along the long side, Pick-up and Knit 5 stitches.
Undo the chain, Pick-up and Knit the 3 stitches from the provisional cast-on. The first provisional stitch you cast on will look a little “weird” when un-zipped. Don’t worry- it works out just fine. You now have 11 stitches total.
If you do not want to to the provisional cast-on this method will yield similar results. The only difference, the garter tab will have a small seam. Which no one will ever notice.
Regular Garter Tab Instructions: Cast-on 3 stitches. Knit 12 rows. DO not turn work. Rotate the work 90 degrees, pick up and knit 5 stitches from the long side (as shown above). Do not turn, Pick-up and knit 3 stitches along the original cast on edge. Continue to the next section and work as written.
You guys. This is huge for me. I finished TWO things within 24 hours (Thursday evening/Friday afternoon). Not just two random things. But TWO PAIRS OF SOCKS. Not the long languishing socks of years past. Socks that were finished in UNDER a month of cast-on. You may say, “But Cinna, LOTS of people finish socks quickly” and “Many knitters finish the projects they start” or “Imagine how fast they could have been done if you weren’t working on 15 projects in the last month”. Yeah, but not me. Not this lady. I have epic cases of 2nd sock syndrome (and start-itus). Last year I finished a pair of socks I started in 2012. This year, I might actually finish a pair of socks I started in 2013 (I had one sock and most of the cuff completed of the 2nd before I tossed them aside).
About the Socks
Thick Boot Socks
Now if you want to get into technicalities, one of the pairs had an unfair advantage. It was knit on size 4 needles with the yarn held double. AND they were for a sock class series I’m teaching. To be honest, the pattern was AWFUL. Since I want my students to be happy with their finished project, I literally re-wrote the pattern from the toe-up. I changed the cast-on, gave expanded stitch count options so the sock would fit an actual adult (instead of a child), re-tooled the short-row heel so it wouldn’t have holes or be too shallow, modified the leg and ribbing ratios (who want to knit 5.5 inches of ribbing, ugh), AND fixed the cast-off (because a regular cast off doesn’t actually work for socks).
About the yarn: Sometime between 2010 and 2014 my spouse purchased two huge balls of sock yarn from a random (not yarn) shop while on a work trip to Germany. I’ve managed to lose the ball bands. Both of them. I know its a wool/nylon blend. I know there’s a bunch of yardage. I made 3 socks from the yarn, and there’s still a bunch left! Yes, 3 socks. The one sock might be ripped out, its absurdly long and narrow. I am using it to illustrate that socks will stretch to accommodate a larger width, given additional length.
Say Yes to Pie Socks
Last month, one of my favorite local dyers (AT Haynes House Yarns) did a Trunk Show at my LYS. I picked up two colors of their awesome sock base: “You Say Yes?” and “Pumpink Vs. Sweet Potato”. I designed a toe-up sock. Which I love. And I was CRAZY EXCITED to finish (because I’ll be releasing the pattern this summer). BUUUUUT, I made them a little long. And didn’t make them with enough negative ease (I like a really snug sock). SO while I could wear them, I wouldn’t be thrilled with them.
There is a silver lining: They are the perfect size for a man’s foot, and the pattern is ABSOLUTELY UNISEX (bonus because now my pattern will accommodate more feet). Spouse doesn’t wear knit socks (they are too warm for him), but his dad has a birthday coming up and has constantly chilly feet since his heart surgery 8 years ago. Now for the bright side, I still have 2 ounces of the purple left!!!!!!! I can RE-SIZE THEM AND KNIT ANOTHER PAIR! In the name of pattern design perfection and testing, of course. I have enough of the orange to make socks on their own too. I’m winning all the way around.
Finishing 3 baby blankets, finishing those socks from 2013, then I can start on a sweater design from the AT Haynes House Worsted base! AHHHH- I’ve got IDEAS. But I REALLY need to finish those blankets in April. Like REALLY REALLY.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate marketing links. I make a small commission (at no cost to you) for purchases made from links contained herein.
The best laid plans of mice and fiber artists.
I had every intention of this post being my victory lap regarding my “Say Yes to Pie” socks. Instead, I’m going to switch it up and give some advice about keeping track of your rows.
Why do I need to keep track of my rows?
Very good question. In some instances, you don’t. If you are making a garter stitch or double crochet scarf and every row is the same, you don’t. All you need is a measuring tape. But are you making a pair of something? How about utilizing a pattern repeat of more than 2 rows? Are you adding shaping? These are all instances where you need to track your rows; where you want precision. You could guess or count from the beginning row every time, but this is not precise of efficient.
I will discuss three of the ways I keep track of my rows; this is not exhaustive simply methods that work best for me.
The Paper Method
Honestly, this is the method I use the most. No tech, no fancy tools. Tremendously portable. Just paper (sometimes the pattern, an index card, or a random scrap of whatever) and a pen (or pencil, marker, crayon). I encounter frequent distraction (I have a kindergartner and a preschooler at home) so I easily lose my place.
I use this method to track my place in a pattern repeat and also for my total number of rows/rounds. I am sure to have clear delineation between the items I’m working on (see below).
Cons: Easy to lose. Easy to forget to mark your place. Your pen cap may come off and leak all over your project (this hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’m aware that it could). If enough time passes, you may forget what your marks mean or which project they are for. I find random slips of paper with row and pattern counts all the time; I have no idea what project they go with.
The Stitch Marker Method
I generally use this for socks without a pattern (plain stockinette, ribbing, 2-row repeats), sleeves (straight OR shaped), shaped waists, armhole shaping, button hole placement. With the “Stitch Marker Method” I prefer to use locking stitch markers. This way they are less likely to become lost. I purchased THESE recently; I am happy to report they are working as intended. If you prefer the non-plastic variety: these are the ones I THOUGHT I was going to order (don’t shop at 11:30 pm is the take away). I have used them in both knit and crochet. Although I do not have any crochet projects utilizing them at the moment.
Currently I have them tracking my total rows for a pair of beginner socks. I use them to mark the beginning of the round, but I place them in row increments of 10. This way I don’t have to guess if my socks have equal rounds: I KNOW. I have 50 rounds from the end of my toe shaping to the short row heel, 26 rounds from above the heel shaping to the ribbing and so far 7 rows of ribbing. The yellow marker denotes the first row of my heel shaping. These are teaching socks, so there is a bit more information to read from them than if I was making these from personal use.
Cons: They are a little obtrusive. If they get caught, the might cause a snag. You need a lot of locking stitch markers available. Solid ring markers are unsuitable for this task.
The Stripes Method
Here is where you allow your striping pattern to make it easy to count your rows. It can be simple or complex, but the end result is an easier to read project (than a solid or varigated). This way you can know at a glance exactly how many rows you have.
Other Methods You Could Use
There are dozens of apps and ingenious row counting devices. Yet I always go back to the ways I find easiest for me. If you have an app you love, or a row counter (like THIS pretty piece) that you can’t live without, keep on using it!
Whats your favorite method for keeping track of your rows?
You guys! I’m SOOO jazzed right now, I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to share my excitement. My “experimental” “Say Yes to Pie” socks are entering the final stage!I added the heel row on the second sock. Only 31 rows to go until I can start the (new-to-me) HEEL!! I’ve opted to complete both heels at the same time.
Other project updates: I finished the crochet portion of the 18×18 pillow cover, and have sewn up 3/4. Will finish tomorrow. I’m considering attaching some fanciness. Stay tuned. I ordered more yarn for the Ranclaw Blanket (Disclaimer, this link is an affiliate marketing link). 3 skeins won’t be enough, but 5 will! I’ve been making some progress on it the last couple days; when I really buckle down, it goes really fast (the yarn and the completion of rows). I’ve lost some steam on the other set of blankets I’m making. I’m not in love with the stitches I’ve chose. Lucky for me, I’m the artist and I can rip it all out and make it BETTER!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate marketing links. I make a small commission for purchases made from links contained herein.
Time has lost all meaning. I haven’t driven my car since Monday, and then it was just over 2 miles round trip. Since days are all kinda blending together, I don’t mind that I am home with the family. I’ve been somewhat productive with household chores that I frequently shirk (because I don’t have the “time”). I removed extra clutter from the hall closet, COATS can actually hang without hitting a box of kid created detritus (in the form of literal scribbled on sheet of paper crammed into a box).
I FINALLY tackled the space I keep extra coloring books, crayons, watercolors, and apparently educational workbooks. Between the closet (see above) and the storage bench (which houses the kids’ extra art supplies) I amassed quite a pile of said education workbooks. Both kids worked on books with stickers this afternoon for almost 45 minutes, without losing interest. My son lost interest first and wanted me to keep him on task, of course I obliged. My daughter did one of the short workbooks in its entirety; she didn’t want to stop until she completed it! She didn’t need much help, I’m very impressed with her reading ability and tenacity to complete her task.
I also decided to make soft pretzels with the kids today. They were a huge hit. I modified the recipe from Gather for Bread as follows: I added a teaspoon of salt to the dough so they didn’t rise out of control, filled my stock pot half way with water and added a lot of baking soda (that I didn’t measure, likely 1/2 – 3/4 cup), batch boiled 8 pretzels at a time for 2 minutes, brushed generously on all sides with a butter/egg/water slurry, sprinkled generously with course salt, “bagel seasoning”, or Fox Point Seasoning and baked for 12 minutes (the first batch wasn’t quite as browned as I like my pretzels). My shaped sticks were pretty shaggy/sad looking, as I made my dough a little too dry and didn’t try too hard to make them look better.
Regardless of how they looked, they tasted REALLY great! No need for sauce or mustard: they were flavorful plain. The kids did NOT hesitate to gobble them up once they were cool. My son had at least 2 and tried to snag a third! My daughter decided to eat the biggest one.
But lastly, what this blog is supposed to be all about: FIBER CRAFTS. I feel I haven’t made much progress this week. In order to be honest with myself on the amount of active WIPs I have going, I literally brought all the projects that I have worked on in the last 24 hours together. No wonder I feel like nothing is getting accomplished! I’m only working on each piece for a little while, bouncing between projects, dependent on where I happen to be in the house at any given moment.
Right?!?! No wonder nothing is getting finished “fast enough”. Disclosure: The dresser socks are from 2014. They will be a lost knits file feature in the coming months. I hope. Realistically, I can finish 3/5 of these in the next week at the scattered pace I’m working. Which means I can start on designing and knitting the fall sweater I’m dreaming about! I’m so excited!
In the midst of it all, I am getting some quality reading in. A couple months ago I purchased Make Your Home Among Strangers, by Jennine Capó Crucet. Honestly, I am really loving this book. It echos so many of my own experiences; it resonates with me in unexpected ways. I don’t want to put it down.
I’m curious to hear what everyone else has been up to. Tackling a backlog of chores, relaxed knitting/crocheting, reading that ever growing pile of books?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate marketing links. I make a small commission for purchases made from the links contained herein.
When I work on numerous large and long-term projects, or have a couple of finishing set-backs, I start itching to finish something I LIKE. I’m also trying to minimize the number of partial skeins I have floating around my life.
Today I solved a handful of problems with one solution a “Done-in-a-Day” project. I’ve been inspired by the number of absolutely STUNNING scrapghans that knitter and crocheters have been putting out this year. In the spirit of finishing it now, I decided to cast on for a pillow. I tried the size 50 needles, but they were just too big. I dug out my 15mm/19s. They were perfect. Chunky stitches. Not too unwieldy. Yarn Piggery abound.
Now knitting with 9 strands at once is great for using a bunch of yarn. But inevitably it gets all tangled. I think a full third of the time spent on the project was removing the biggest tangles! Ball management is rough, but hey, that’s what happens when you just dump the working yarns into a pile and work from the tangle.
Regardless of inspiration striking at 1:30 pm, choosing the right yarns, untangling them constantly, reading my book, dinner, kids’ baths, watching TV with spouse, the project was finished and sewn by 9pm! Winning! I finished it fast.
Hopefully this will inspire you to make a matching pillow for your really awesome Scrapghans! See below for the “Pattern”.
Done-in-a-Day Knit Pillow
Suitable for all skill levels.
Finished Dimensions: to cover an approximately 10×18, (18×18) pillow. A slightly larger pillow will squish to conform to the the internal dimensions yielding a firmer finished product.
Yarn: 9 (18) x 100 yards of worsted weight. Yardage need not be continuous, join new yarns/colors as needed/desired.
Yardage: Approximately 900 – 1800yards of worsted weight yarn total. You will need more or less depending on the size of your pillowform
Holding 9 strands of worsted weight yarn together:
Cast-on 17 (28) stitches.
Row 1: Knit all stitches.
Row 2: Purl all stitches.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for36 inches or required length required to cover your pillow.
Weave in ends on the “wrong side”; either side of the fabric is suitable for this.
Sew the short ends together: stitch around the base of the cast-on and bind-off stitches. Position the pillow inside the loop. Using mattress stitch, seam up one side, then the other, enclosing the pillow completely. Weave in seaming ends.
This is how I closed my pillow; I wasn’t sure where I wanted my short side seem at the side or at the center. This allowed me to position (slightly off-center) exactly where I wanted my seam to fall. Feel free to finish your project any way you want.
Today was not the day I envisioned. The confluence of my allergies and lack of sleep was not a good combination for doing my normal activities.
But the combination was good to hang about and work on my “Say Yes to Pie” (working title??) socks. I am going to do the heels together, so I’m going to call this pair 45% complete.
When I initially wrote about these socks a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to be doing a bunch of new techniques. Well, today I tried Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off in pattern (2×2 rib). I think it should be called Jeny’s Surprisingly Tedious Bind-off; it felt like it was never going to end. I USUALLY do a knit-two-together bind-off. I’m fast at it and I don’t need to think. Jeny’s technique is slightly stretchier than my “usual” stretchy bind-off. Looks about the same.