Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Smooth Operator Socks

Whoops!  More new yarn. 

Of course I already have several other pairs of socks in the works already but I just love this yarn. I got it at my local yarn shop - The Yarn Shop at Words of Life. The yarn is Patons brand Kroy Socks in the Sunburst Stripes colorway. I am using a new pattern by Susan B. Anderson. The pattern came out about a month ago and it's called Smooth Operator Socks. The design calls for an afterthought heel and Susan includes some tips and tricks for the heel portion which I've not seen before. These socks are working up quickly; the yarn is rather plump like Kroy Socks yarn typically is. I only have 48 stitches per round. 

I'll try to snap some photos as I work on the heel portion to show how that all comes together. Until then... happy knitting!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Finished Pillow and Finding Balance

Finished Pillow: Entrelac Square from The Great American Afghan Pattern

My goodness!  I have NOT posted a lot on this blog lately. 

A lot of my creative energy has been going into healthy cooking over on my cooking & baking blog; you can read more HERE.  I also recently shared quite a bit about my cruise to Alaska on that blog, so check it out if that interests you. 

I did finish up a pillow with in the past few weeks (or months?) but never got around to showing the completed project.  Above, you can see the pillow top.  This was a challenging square from The Great American Afghan pattern.  I posted about this square way back in March (see it HERE).  My, time sure is passing me by quickly.  I finally made a back for the pillow and got it all sewn together. 

For the back of the pillow, I knit a square on the diagonal using the basic "Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth" pattern.  I just kept increasing until the square was close to the size of the pillow top (on the diagonal) and then I started to decrease.  Both the pillow top and the pillow back have a crocheted edge.  I whip-stitched the top to the back and inserted a pre-made pillow form.  Viola!  A finished pillow.

Currently, I am working on my Skew Socks (see pair #2 HERE).  My goal is to finish up this pair of socks this weekend so I can move on to other WIPs/UFOs.  I recently took a class to make a highly embellished felted bag and look forward to sharing more about that soon.

One of my biggest goals since I retired back in October 2015, was to find better balance in my life. I think the fact that I am NOT knitting a ton is a good sign I am finding better balance.  I have been taking advantage of the time I have to exercise more, but I am also enjoying reading more.  This summer, I have finished up some great books, which you can see below.  I got a bit bogged down in "The Goldfinch", but over all, it was a very good book and an excellent story.  I could not put down "Unbroken" and "The Girl On The Train".  I enjoyed the storytelling in "Unbroken" so much that I am now reading "Seabiscuit" by the same author. 

Otherwise, in my knitting world... I am still teaching my monthly classes using the "Building Blocks" pattern by Michelle Hunter.  The students are currently working on Block #8 of 12.  In mid-September, I am teaching a class at my local knit shop called "How to Use Ravelry".  In October 2016, I am looking forward to participating in a Mystery Knit Along, also by Michelle Hunter.  Sounds like we will be knitting socks from the toe up and the socks incorporate cables, but that's all I know since it's a Mystery Knit Along. I better finish up some of my WIPs/UFOs so I can get cracking on another new project in October!

Can you believe it is already mid-August?  How did that happen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Skew: Pair No. 2

I had so much fun making my Skew Socks that I've cast on another pair.  I have actually had sock #1 done since Memorial Day which means I need to cast on sock #2. For this pair of socks, I am knitting the socks one at a time (obviously), but I am knitting each sock on two pairs of circular needles. 

This is a new-to-me technique, but I really like it. The needles are 24 inches long. When I knit socks two at a time on one 40 inch circular needle (Magic Loop), I found I was always fighting with the long cable. This is not the case with the two shorter circular needles. 

Here is sock #1. I love it! I took this photo at my local knit shop. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Yarn Shopping in Seattle


I think knitters have a some sort of "Yarn Radar" or rather some sort of "sixth sense" that helps them find yarn.  After our cruise to Alaksa, Marilyn and I spent the day in Seattle, Washington.  We were smack dab in the middle of bustling, crowded Pike Place Market and Marilyn stopped dead in her tracks and said, "Oh, there's a yarn shop near here!"  Truth be told, she had been there before so she already knew of the yarn shop's existence. We stepped out on the street and I used my phone to determine the shop's location.  It was just a one minute walk from where we stood; Marilyn had sensed YARN was near! 

"So Much Yarn" was open on Sunday and we spent a number of hours (and a number of dollars) there. The shop is beautiful and has windows overlooking the Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay.  Here are a few photos from the shop.

There were three ladies working at the shop on Sunday and they were all so nice, friendly, and helpful.  We had shared with them that we were disappointed with the hotel we had booked in Seattle; we paid $200.00 for the room for one night and the place looked worn out and dirty.  We dropped off our suitcases at the hotel when we got off the cruise ship first thing in the morning, but of course our room would not be ready until later in the afternoon.  The good thing about the hotel was that it was a great downtown location and it was nice that they would hold our suit cases so we could enjoy our day in Seattle.  I think the gals at the knit shop were sympathetic and they invited us to bring our knitting to the shop so we could have a place to rest our feet and hang out for a bit. We took them up on that offer after we had a nice lunch at the Pike Place Market.

If you are ever in Seattle, definitely check out this great place called "So Much Yarn".  I did buy two skeins of sock yarn there and I'll certainly knit them up soon and show/tell you more about them.  I should mention that Marilyn and I also went to a yarn shop in Skagway, Alaska, but neglected to take any photos there. But of course... I did buy some yarn.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Alaska or Bust

Well, shoot!  I intended to post this over a week ago but neglected to do so.  I was going to share my big news about going on a cruise to Alaska.  I've been back since the 4th of July and have been very busy since then. 

Of course while on the cruise, I did a little knitting and also visited a few yarn shops.  I went on the cruise with my friend and fabulous travel companion, Marilyn.  I've referred to Marilyn a lot of times on this blog as she is my "Knitting Guru". 

I will also be sharing about my cruise experience on my other blog so you can check it out HERE if you'd like.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Skew Socks Success

Skew Socks (AKA: Jerri's Crazy Socks)

It took me quite awhile to finish up sock #1, but I got sock #2 done in about a week.  

I really recommend this sock pattern. It was challenging but fascinating. If you download the pattern, you can read more about the designer. I always wonder about the folks who create such ingenious designs!  The designer of the Skew pattern is a mathematician. 

The pattern is free on Knitty. The pattern link is HERE.  Also, you might get a kick out of seeing this pattern knit up in a variety of yarns.  As I was finishing sock #2, I was already thinking about other yarns in my stash which might look great in this design. I've already cast on another pair. If you'd like to see this pattern knit up in different yarns, click HERE.  You'll find over 5,000 pairs!  The designer says the pattern looks great in hand dyed yarns, but I love how self- striping yarn shows off the diagonal stripes.  

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jerri's Crazy Socks

These socks are affectionately known as "Jerri's Crazy Socks" at my local yarn shop. They ARE really crazy. The construction and shaping are incredibly creative!  Jerri is the instructor at the shop who teaches folks how to work up these socks. 

This sock has been on my needles for probably two months?!?  I am not sure. But since I am focusing on finishing WIPs right now, this is the next project I want to focus on. I finished up sock #1 this weekend. It fits pretty darn well. 

It's hard to describe this pattern but I'll try to break it down. 

There is a right sock and a left sock. The pattern calls for knitting on two circular needles but I am using one 40 inch long circular needle (2.25 mm).  Each sock starts at the big toe and the socks grow on the diagional. When the sock is long enough for the foot, a gusset is formed; it kind of reminds me of how a thumb gusset is created in mittens. Several stitch markers must be used to keep track of the increases for the heel shaping. At one point in the heel shaping, some stitches are placed on double pointed needles and grafted together. The grafted area is at the side of the heel on the outside of the foot. The leg portion is made from a series of short rows. The pattern is like a puzzle with one surprise after another: super creative, somewhat challenging, and so much FUN!

Above and below, you can see the heel gusset being formed. 

Above. The pattern calls for right leaning and left leaning increases which were new skills for me (different from "make 1" increases).  The increases look nice and tidy along the inside of the foot. I love the look!

Above and below:  Yay!  One sock is done. 

I took a class to learn how to make these socks, but the pattern is free on Knitty. Here is the link: