Okay – I’m just going to get this out of my system…

CAPER SOCK! CAPER SOCK! ERMAHGERD!!

Whew! That was intense. But seriously, this is seriously soft, squishy yarn. I’ve kind of steered away from cashmere for socks because I never felt that it was durable enough. This stuff might prove me wrong. (I hope so because I’ve told my feet about it and they are going to mutiny if they don’t get some).

My only previous experience with cashmere was with Handmaiden Casbah. Lovely yarn. I had gotten a skein as a bonus add-on during a sale at an online store. The colorway was called Glacier – lovely aqua blues that went to grays. I made a cowl and matching mitts (I love fingerless mitts – that’s where most of my ‘extra’ yarn goes when I’ve finished a project). It’s so soft and luscious! But very limp. Perfect for a cowl as I don’t like thick stuff around my neck, but would never stand up to socks:

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I love this little cowl so much! I’m going to have to make this pattern again – maybe out of some of that lovely Raven Ridge… But I digress…

The Caper is the same blend – Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, but it just feels a little beefier to me. Maybe I’m wrong- my hands are notorious for lacking feeling (all those surgeries – but that’s for another time), but it just feels a bit more substantial. Could be the twist.

The reviews for it seem very mixed – while everyone loved working with it (save for a few folks who had problem skeins) there were some whose socks wore well and some that did not. And the newest review is almost a year old. But, one thing I’ve learned about online reviews – there are generally more negative reviews than positive ones. For some reason people think of it as a forum to log complaints – but rarely for compliments.

So I’m torn. Socks, yea? or Socks, Nay?

I’ll keep you posted (after I finish the current crop of 7 sock WIP’s)…

 

 

I used to think I was a little nuts…

Now I know that I’m certifiable. Off the deep end. One-flew-over-the-cookoo’s-nest gone.

Why would you say that about yourself, Jude? You may ask.

I don’t know if you remember this sweater:

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Not a great photo, but you get the idea. This is destined to be my next favorite sweater. I rarely knit pullovers – I like the option of stripping a layer or twelve when I get one of them ‘power surges’, but this one is not so heavy. It’s knit in a lovely DK weight Berrocco Vintage that is very soft and has great color (I’m still waiting for light to take a decent shot – every weekend has been gray and cold).

This was a test knit for one of my favorite designers. I love that her sweaters have nice shapes and textures – not just a couple hundred acres of stockinette. I love her details – like the pockets (which I may have to line because they do look a little droopy). I also like that, in the right colors her garments would feel just as at home in a bowling alley (although I doubt that Lori bowls :D) or as business casual. I actually plan to wear this with a button-down shirt to a meeting next month.

So why does all this make me crazy?

Because – on the very throes of finishing this test knit sweater I’m doing another!!

HOLY CRAP, BATMAN! You really ARE nuts!

The new one is by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts. I’ve always liked her designs and I just couldn’t resist when she put out a call on Instagram for test knitters. You see – this is what I get for following so many knitwear designers on social media! Designers and yarn companies – indie dyers, too. Remember a couple days ago I was bemoaning my tendency to buy random skeins of sock yarn? Well, I also have a sad habit of buying sweater quantities of clearance and sale yarn. I swear that, if my LYS knows I’m coming they pack the clearance shelves with all my kryptonite!

So, when I saw the call, I quickly checked my stash to find 2 sweater lots of Cascade 220 just waiting for a sweater. Now all I need to do it chose pink or blue (yes – I actually said that). The pink is a really pretty marl called Cameo – I don’t think they make that line anymore (it was called Quattro) and the blue is a beautiful hue with a hint of lavender called Delphinium.

Nice problem but geeze! I need to knit faster!

 

Oh, and there there was that thing about Sock Club…

fullsizeoutput_72dThere are 27 skeins of sock yarn in this holder…. For socks. Only socks. And that ain’t even all of ’em….

I get a little out of control when I’m confronted by pretty yarns (or sales). I figure – well, it’s just a skein of sock yarn and I always need socks.

I started wearing only handknit socks about four years ago. They were the first thing I learned to knit properly and I had a goal of getting rid of all ‘production’ socks. I did that – and as a result I have healthier feet!

Plus, when I go into a yarn shop, especially a new one, I feel a little guilty if I don’t buy something. I mean – I want to support the local business and, since most Yarn shops are also women-owned enterprises I also support women in business. Win-win.

But, at ~$25 a pop I can’t buy enough of one yarn to make a sweater for me. I’m not exactly a toddler two! I’d love to be able to be one of those people who only needs 900 or so yards of fingering yarn to make a sweater. At an average of 425 yds per skein that’s about 2 skeins. Expensive, but well worth it. I need more than double that – so it quickly goes out of the realm of possibility.

But socks are another story! I probably have the most pampered feet in town. I wear cashmere. I wear silk blends. I wear pure, soft merino wool. But, my feet are mostly slogging around the house all day in moccasins. I work form home, so I wear slippers or soft shoes most of the day. So I indulge myself when it comes to sock yarns.

And it has turned me into an addict! ‘Hello, my name is Jude and I’m addicted to Sock yarn…’

I’ve been told that there’s no cure.

 

 

Baby its cold outside… but I’ve got knits!

Not even as cold as some places around the country – and we aren’t having the snow, but with the wind chill still below zero!

The problem this poses for me is that I need to take ‘glamour’ shots of my new sweater for the designer and its way too cold to pose outside. And I don’t have a nice indoor spot – unless I go to a public place like a library or something. If I still worked in an office I’d go there, but I don’t really know any place I’d like to go to this time of year. The sweater is really nice (quickly becoming my favorite) and deserves a nice setting. Plus the designer asked for ‘professional’ photos…

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And not only do I like to keep warm, I like for others to stay warm also. That’s why I no longer own this little hat:

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My stylist, Patrick mentioned last time I was in that his head was cold. So he was gifted a hat… 🙂 Not like I don’t have enough yarn to make another (and one is already on the needles!)

But I don’t give them all away. This pair of gloves (my first attempt at gloves) are all mine! The gray is a special yarn that’s spun with silver – so you can operate a touch-screen with them on. I’ve tried with the fingers that I have complete and it does work!

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And finally a scarf that I’m making. I had this lovely yarn, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. I’m not a fan of singles – they just seem really delicate to me – I’m a twist sort of girl. But I so fell in love with the colors that I had to have it. So, it’s going to be a scarf. It’ll keep me (or Becky) warm without getting a lot of torque.

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The colors look almost metallic…

But today its all about snuggling with the kitty. We slept in this morning because he was feeling especially cuddly and just borrowed in, paws wrapped around me. I just couldn’t get up…

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Sometimes the important things are not the biggest….

 

 

Ahhhhhh Silk

My, aren’t they pretty?

I LOVE silk! I love to wear it, I love to sew it, but I’ve never KNIT with it before. For some reason, though I was drawn to these.

These are some yarns that I got on my Montana trip. They are incredibly soft and have such a lovely sheen that I’m almost afraid to knit with them! If you’re not a maker you may not understand, but it’s that thing where something is very beautiful and has so many of the attributes that you enjoy you’re afraid to mar it in some way by altering it’s form. Afraid you’ll ruin it.

And besides – what would I make??

Hats – a possibility, but it would not be an especially warm hat as these are fingering weight yarns… But, since I have so little hair I could make some summery hats.

Mittens/gloves? Um… no. Probably not durable enough for that.

Socks? Probably not. They would feel wonderful but again, see above.

Sweater/top? At ~400 yds each not enough for anything like that. At least not to fit me! 🙂

Which leaves the shawl/scarf category. That’s what my Ravelry friends are suggesting. And it seems like at least one of these will wind up as a shawl, it’s just – how many shawls does a girl need? Of course, how many knits does anyone need (outside of socks – you can never have enough hand-knit socks)?

I suppose Hitchhiker would be a pretty one for the pink… But it calls for more yarn than is in that skein. Hmmmm. That’s usually my problem, though. I like big shawls that I can wrap around myself. I wear a shawl if I’m cold – not as a fashion statement. In fact I completely pass over pretty much ANY pattern that has ‘-ette’ at the end of the description! Shawlette? Give me a break! I couldn’t wrap most of those around my left arm!

I’ve already selected Skein of Geese for the blue one from Raven Ridge. It reminds me of the patterns that geese make as they fly though the autumn sky. I like that triangluar eyelet detail.

Then there’s the blue from Mountain Colors. That’s a bit heftier than the ones from Raven Ridge – those might be okay as house or bed socks. Three years ago I would never have said the words ‘Sock’ and ‘Silk’ in the same sentence and now I’m contemplating that very thing!!  But I have really tough toenails and, even though I keep them trimmed and filed the toes would be a major concern for me. (although I could do a turbo toe but, with the silk content I don’t know if it would be stretchy enough)

What should I knit with my silks? Or should I just pet them for a while and see what they say to me?

Good problems…. I like good problems.

 

The bright promise of new yarn

See those three pretties? Those, my friends are NEW YARN!

New yarn is like a new day – full of promise and excitement. Will it be soft on my hands as I knit? Will it work up into a lovely new garment? Will it be full of drama (not the good kind) as I wind it or tame as a goldfish (no – kittens and lambs are NOT tame, sorry)?

These are already destined for a project – a Drachenfels Shawl. It came as a kit from Craftsy. Ordered because Becky wants one and I thought I should test the pattern before I ‘go live’ with it for someone else.

Do I NEED a new project? Um… that would be a no. I have 8 projects currently on needles, four in hibernation and a further 44 in my Ravelry queue. So, no – I don’t need another project.

But… NEW YARN!

A Red Herring – or why I don’t like cables

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I have to admit it – I’m not a big fan of knitting cables. Don’t get me wrong – I love to look at them and I’d love to have an Aran sweater. But please don’t ask me to knit one!

Why, you might ask? When sweaters with cables and all manner of twisted goodness seem to be all the rage and the one thing most knitters aspire to?

I can sum it up in one word: fiddly. Cables are fiddly. Slip x stitches onto a cable needle, hold in back (or front), then knit x stitches from left needle. Then knit the x stitches from the cable needle – then do it all over again. Fiddly.

Give me lace, lots of lace under starry skies above…..

Well – I do like knitting lace. BUT – not Granny lace. I like it chunky – like this one:

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Pardon the dog hair… that was Max. I worked on this when I was dog-sitting.

I also like this:

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I love this one but all those Vikel Braids like to have killed me!

Or the one at the top – which I don’t really consider lace – just a simple net pattern. But it works, y’know.

I even knit lace on the legs of my socks.

Funny thing is – I didn’t realize it was ‘lace’ when I did the first one. I had made the foot of the toe-up sock and was looking for something a little more interesting to do for the leg than a rib and I just picked out a pattern from one of my books. Then, when I took it to my next sock class my instructor smiled and said something to the effect of ‘oh, you’re a lace knitter…’ and the appellation kind of stuck. To me its just a series of knits, yarn overs and purls – nothing complicated. I guess that’s why I don’t fear it. Especially once I learned to read knitting charts, then it all fell into place for me.

Also when my instructor ‘gave me permission’ to use markers in between the pattern repeats – can I tell you that was an ah-ha moment??  At first I thought it was a sign of weakness to have to mark your pattern repeats. The sure sign of a novice. Now I don’t care! Look askance at me if you will, but I love my markers. More than once they’ve saved me when I wasn’t paying close enough attention.

So, when I saw that pattern at the top – called Herring by Lori Versaci, and saw the bright red Malabrigo worsted in my stash it was, for me a match made in heaven. Chunky fishnet lace set off by a ribbed border – fun! And no need for markers this time because it’s just a two-stitch repeat!

And not a single cable in sight…..

I’m home for the holidays… but nobody else is

Its been a very bizarre holiday season for me. and it’s getting stranger by the day.

In November for Thanksgiving I went to Missoula, MT to visit Becky. We had a grand time, even though the elevation and dryness challenged my asthma in ways I didn’t know were possible. That and the fact that the lives on the THIRD FLOOR… 🙂 But it was all good and, in the end I truly hated to leave her.

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This is us at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. I’m a Park fan and I visit them whenever time and travel allow.

But, imagine my disappointment when, on a Face Time call with the family in Wisconsin I found that they were having their Christmas present opening on Thanksgiving Day. I have to say I was mighty bummed. I understand the reasons they decoded to do it, but I wish they would have told me. I could have sent my presents for the boys along with my brother and sister-in-law and I could have watched them open them over the phone. Not ideal, but that’s what you do when relatives are at long distance. You don’t just have the event and not tell them so that, when you see them opening their presents from Grandma and Grandpa you aren’t totally blind-sided.

Granted – I’m Great Auntie and, if I’m there or not the boys won’t remember, it’s just the consideration that I miss. It felt like slap in the face.

Okay – I said it and it’s off my chest…

But now Christmas Day is going to be weird, like I said. For some reason my brother decided he needed to go to Montana to spend the holiday with Becky. It’s her first Christmas out there and all. I get it. And that’s why they had the gift opening on Thanksgiving.

So that means that there’s no Christmas holiday this year. Oh, my sister-in-law is going up to see Nick and his family. She’s staying the whole four-day weekend, in fact. But she’d move in with them if given the chance. Honestly, I think she’d sleep in the basement if it meant she could see her grandsons every day. It’s like nobody else exists. And I secretly think that’s the reason my brother went to spend the holiday in Montana.

So, no dinner – I even offered to buy pizza but, no. No gift opening (I don’t buy them stuff – I give them money because, with two growing kids and a limited budget there are always things you need). No watching stupid holiday movies or TV Christmas specials. It’s just going to be Nick and I going to see the new Star Wars movie while Grandma plays with the boys.

Hence the gray toned photo. I don’t like this holiday season at the best of times, but at least I used to feel like I was part of something.

Not any more…

 

Crafting Small

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I finally have a little time for reflection after the craziness of my move and the push to get a working office and kitchen. Time to go through the rest of my boxes at leisure and sort, weed, organize and store a bit more thoughtfully. One thing that’s occurred to me was about my craft stash. Not yarn – that’s a completely different animal… But the other stuff.

Besides being a knittist and yarnie I also sew, bead, weave, paint and digitally scrapbook – and those are just the main ones! I also dabble in the occasional paper craft. All these activities has its own STUFF.

Sewing: sewing machine, serger, buttons, measuring implements, thread, needles (hand and machine), machine attachments, fabric, binding tapes, scissors…

Beading: beads (lots and LOTS of beads), beading wire, beading thread, tools (lots of different tools and all unique to beading), findings (if you’re making jewelry), bead looms

Painting: paints (yeah – lots of ’em), canvases, brushes, easel, paint knives, prep chemicals (don ‘t know what else to call them, gesso and that stuff)

Paper Crafting: I got rid of most of this (gave to my sister who does scrapbooks and cards) but I still have a few stamps and stamp pads, some paper

Digital Scrapbooking: scanner for the mountain of photos I have that are NOT digital, and said photos awaiting scanning.

So its time to pare down. Get rid. Donate.

I realized that I have 12 boxes of crafting stuff – not including yarn. That’s excessive – and compulsive. I like tools. I like gadgets. But nobody needs as much as I have.

I’m guilty of taking on STUFF from other people – like after my sister-in-law’s mother passed I somehow came into possession of a lot of her fabric, laces, buttons and basically stuff that nobody knew what to do with. This stuff needs to leave my place because I will never use it.

I’m guilty of buying a new thing when I couldn’t find the original thing (totally due to poor organization). Or buying a new thing because the old thing was somehow lacking – it was bent (although still usable), it was stained (yeah, like that’s going to affect how a tape measure measures), it’s paint had worn off (although the etched surface markings were still visible)… you get the idea.

Well, now I have a very different space. It’s large, yes, but I don’t want to have it swimming in stuff I don’t need/will not use. I want to be able to find what I want quickly – without having to dig through a lot of bins and deep storage pieces (like Yule/holiday decoration deep).

I have a large work table under which will nicely fit 3 IKEA carts. These will contain the sum total of my craft supplies (maybe 2 after I weed it down) with the exception of fabric, which will still need a bin. The aim is to tame!

From this:

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some of my craft stash

To something more akin to this (this is still a WIP, but it really is much better than it was. I also had a lot of duplicate spices!):

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spice and tool organization for a kitchen with wonky cabinets and drawers

Untangling

tangled yarn

Neon Birdsnest

This is how I’ve been feeling lately. Tangled. All mixed up. Confused. Also torn apart and depressed and unmotivated.

Why? Lots of reasons. I’m moving – the day is coming up faster and faster – yet I feel no motivation to pack my stuff. Not sure exactly why that is. Am I excited about the new place or not? Am I worried about paying the rent? Yeah, a little, but I know I can afford it so why am I so ambivalent? Why am I finding so stinking hard to pack? Maybe because I’m doing it all alone?

Like I will be pretty much everything from here on out?

That’s the reason for the depression, I know. One of the by-products of working from home is that I’m alone. I don’t go to an office, don’t interact with people. I’m here in my house with my cats – end of story. I’m turning into my mom – I no longer know how to make friends or where to do to do it.

And my best friend is leaving. The one person that I share so many likes and loves: we like (mostly) the same movies, she loves musicals, we like the same foods and we’re both willing to experiment. We love the outdoors – although is different ways, but we can relate to each others differences. We speak the same language on many different levels.

And she’s leaving the state.

And that makes me sad.

So sad…..