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Alaskan Yarn and Life Update

Hey Everyone!

Last week a new to me indie yarn dyer came across my Instagram. Some of the colors, I couldn’t resist buyer. This yarn shop is called Bad Sheep Yarn and is based in North Pole Alaska.

My order arrived today. The colors are even better in person than pictures could show. It makes me want to go to Alaska that much more.

I am so excited to get to work up all the new yarn I have picked up recently. With the way that Gas prices and inflation keep going up, I need to work on the yarn I have. Since I am wanting to go to Rhinebeck, I am saving my money so I can go. We will have to see how the next 15 months go.

Besides the inflation and rising gas prices, the area I live in is apparently back in the high covid risk. Masks are being highly encouraged in indoor spaces and non essential public gatherings should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status. While I don’t know what to make of it all, I am pretty ok with staying home for the most part besides going to work and my doctors appointments. I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually see another mask mandate here in my state. Since I currently work at a grocery store as my primary job, I do most of my grocery shopping at work, so I don’t have to make too many extra stops.

With that being said, with spending a lot more of my free time at home again, thanks in part to dealing with a chronic health condition, I will hopefully be posting more and have more content for you all.

Hats, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Skills, Socks, Winter, Wool, Work, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Choice to Make things that Last

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When I started making socks, I was like “what if I get a hole in a sock? Does that mean I lose that pair?” While that has yet to happen (thank goodness), I learned about this nifty tool called a Speedweve. They came about and were popular in the 1940’s & 1950’s (makes sense in the Post War Era). It is exactly what I have been looking for and need to add to my collection of knitting tools. I would hate to have to just toss a pair of hand knit socks if one gets a hole. Once I get a speedweve I will be able to fix it and get more wear out of the socks. If it were a pair of store bought socks, I wouldn’t think twice about tossing since they are cheaply and poorly made anyway. Hand Knit socks I have a harder time being willing to toss, as more time and money went in to the creation of said socks.

In today’s modern culture, a lot of things are made poorly and cheaply, which means the items don’t last as long as they once did (thanks fast fashion). Back when my grandparents were children and young adults, maternal items were made to last longer, and if it broke, you fixed/mended it, if it couldn’t be fixed you did without (either completely or until money could be saved to replace it).

Over the past couple years, I have been trying to incorporate more of that philosophy into my life. Learning how to knit things for myself, I prefer doing, as I know that what I make is if a better quality than can be bought at the local department store. My socks are definitely of a better quality than buying Nike/adidas/other name brand crew socks at the store. I still use those kinds of socks for my current job since I am active there and it is easier to throw those socks in the washer.

What I am working towards is to live a more sustainable and self sufficient life, away from the city life. I would ultimately like to homestead and more from scratch. Making my own socks, hats wraps and such is part if that.

I had started the second sock of the pair I am working on last week, but ended up ripping out what I had done on Sunday as I had dropped a stitch and it ran too far down to get it. I restarted the sock, and yesterday I finally got back to the point of where I had been on Sunday when I dropped the stitch. It was nice it only took me a couple days to get back on track (among doing other things around the house). I am back to making progress again and I am almost done with the cuff. The first version of the second sock definitely was looking different as far as striping was going from the first one, but it’s reknit is looking much more like it’s mate, while using the exact same amount of yarn as it’s predecessor did.

The desire I have to live a simpler life, I know takes hard work and delayed gratification, and that is definitely part of why I want to do it. I also believe the final product is of better quality. It’s also more satisfying for me to see the final product knowing I did it myself or had a part of making it happen.

I am also trying to support the smaller yarn dyers who create some of the most beautiful and interesting yarn colorways as far as sock yarn goes. I still have some Knitpicks sock yarn to knit up. I am really trying to use Knitpicks for supplies and yarn for bigger projects, where it is more practical to buy from them. To me, Knitpicks is akin to the Montgomery Wards or Meyer and Frank Catalogs of decades past, and the “indie” dyers, while still having an online presence are the mom and pop stores on your local Main / High street. It’s the premise of shopping on Main Street when possible, but sometimes when what you need / want isn’t available locally, you order it from the Catalog. Then again even from the time I was a teen I enjoyed looking at old catalogs and magazines from the 1940’s and 1950’s. I was also fortunate to have Grandmothers who were young adults / young wives during that era who could actually tell me about that period from their own experience.

goals, Inspiration, KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Projects for Myself, Socks, Whats on My Needles, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

When Work Slows Down

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I have gotten a lot of knitting done this past month. I still can’t believe I let a month lapse between posts.

So much has happened in the past month, that isn’t work related. Work totally slowed down after the holidays.

Since my last post, I completely finished up the pair of socks I started using KnitPicks Stroll hand painted yarn in Koi Pond.

This pair is currently out on the line drying with the Thunderhead Tonal pair of socks as the first pair of Hawthorne Fingering socks in Tie Dye Speckle, beings that it turned out to be a beautiful spring day. It has been a sunny to partially cloudy day, where it is currently 56 degrees outside (13 Celsius).

I just cast on the second sock of the pair, for the second pair of Hawthorne Fingering yarn tie dye speckle socks. I had to order another hank of the tie dye speckle yarn, to finish up the first pair, which I had talked about back in January. I went ahead and ordered two Hanks of the tie dye speckle yarn to make a second pair of socks with the yarn once I finished up the first pair of socks. I had finished up the first sock of the second pair, this morning.

A couple days ago, once I finished the Koi Pond socks, I cast on another first sock for a pair of socks, using KnitPicks Stroll Tonal Fingering yarn in Frozen. It literally looks like the colors from the blue Elsa Dress.

I have also been working on the Tuckamore Wrap that I am working on.

I finally got the second repeat done yesterday.

In the past month, I have also fit in a trip to IKEA as well as a couple of adventures, one of which included going out into the Columbia River Gorge. The other was just out to Estacada, and by the Pioneer Church at the baker cabin.

It was to icy to go much further:

The Pioneer church:

IKEA:

I should also mention that I stocked up on my favorite tea, and found some new shows to watch while I work on my knitting.

Two weeks ago I also submitted my passport renewal application, so I can hopefully be doing some traveling in the near enough future. I would love to go to a fiber / fibre festival in the UK among other things.

Even though work is super slow and I am not getting many hours, I have been able to get a lot of other things done.

Inspiration, KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Patterns, Personal Projects, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

That Wednesday Afternoon Work Session

Hey Everyone!

Wednesday afternoon and evening was very productive. I had a knitting work session all afternoon, working through figuring out a new pattern and how it was going to work.

I have started working on the Tuckamore Wrap out of the Crossings pattern book, which was just recently published, as in the copyright is 2019, and it’s now only February 1st.

Wednesday I worked through some of the issues I had encountered early on, and made some notes. I also ripped out my first attempt. I used the size needles recommended, and it was just way too tight. That is saying something since I knit with a looser gauge. I had started out with the size 6 and 7 needles, and that wasn’t working. I have bumped it up to size 8 and 9 needles. One thing to remember with knitting cables, they always come out tighter than straight knitting and knit/purl. Whoever thought that size 6 needles with worsted weight yarn was a good idea, I have no idea what how that worked for them. Let alone size 7 needles with cables and worsted weight yarn is a nightmare, and just way too tight. I can’t imagine having a tighter knitting gauge and trying to do that with the smaller needles. I was questioning it before I even started, figuring maybe since I knit looser anyway it might work, yeah no. I should also mention that I am using Wool of the Andes Tweed yarn for this project.

Since I recast it on, and got it going on the larger needles, I also have added an extra RS and WS to the set up rows before I dive into starting the pattern. I like having a little extra room in between the border and when the pattern starts, to help the border stay flat and not get warped with the pattern being too close to the edge.

I knew going it to it, that this project was going to be one that I would have to devote my full attention to while working on it, and I cannot work on it while also trying to pay attention to a show or video of some sort.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Finishing Projects and Washing Wool

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Earlier this week, we had a few very hot days (90 – 96 Fahrenheit / 32 – 35 Celsius). Because it was so hot, I took advantage of the heat and washed a wool shawl I had finished a while back as well as the three pairs of socks I had done and needed to be washed.

Earlier this month I had gone to a couple stores searching for this white wash tub to use to wash shawls. I found it at the second store I had gone to. The first store had nothing similar which I found odd, because I would have expected Fred Meyer to have these types of tubs. Maybe I was looking in the wrong areas, but I looked in the bath sections, the kitchen sections and the cleaning sections, and nothing. I found what I was looking for at BiMart. That’s what I like about BiMart, besides being a locally owned chain of stores, they have a lot more in the way of “old school” household basics that other stores don’t carry, and for a decent price. BiMart is the place to go locally for canning /home preserving supplies and for the essentials.

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I had washed my shawl using the Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo. It has a really nice cedar scent, and I love using it to wash bigger items that I only wash when necessary, which is not nearly as often as socks. I had pulled out my blocking wires, T-pins and blocking mats to dry my shawl. I had put the wires through the increase holes that are along the edges, as well as the bound off edge. I realized that at some point I need to get another box of blocking mats, as I don’t have enough to properly dry these larger projects.

 

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Earlier this week I had finished up my pair of Hollyberry colored socks. The yarn I used for this particular pair of socks is the Stroll Fingering yarn from KnitPicks.

This pair I had worked really hard on to finish up by this past Wednesday, so I could get them washed up and dried outside while it was so hot outside.

The past few pairs of socks I have been knitting with a longer knit leg, just to try something different and see how I like this pattern, and if I like it any better than the shorter all ribbing leg. I do like the fact that with the longer leg, they protect more of my ankle and lower leg from getting blisters when I wear them with my hiking boots.

fullsizeoutput_1befThese are the three pairs of socks that I washed the other day. The hot pink pair and the grey pair are both knit up of KnitPicks Palette Yarn, the pink color is called Rouge, and the Grey is called Finnley Heather. The darker red, cranberry color is the pair I know up from KnitPick Stroll in Hollyberry. The Hollyberry color reminds me of Christmas. Its name is aptly fitting as it is similar to the color of the color of the berries on the Holly bush. It is also similar to the color of Cranberries.

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I had also finished up the second (the longer one) of these two dishcloths this week as well. I had finished the first one a couple of weeks ago. The yarn I used for this was one of the balls of the KnitPicks Dishie yarns I had bought. The colorway is called “Cabin”, which is fitting since the colors are a bit more rustic and fitting for a cabin. I had enough yarn leftover that I probably could have made the first dishcloth a bit longer to be about the same length as the second one. But you don’t always know how something is going to work out when you are using a particular yarn for the first time.

goals, KnitPicks, Knitting, Socks, Sweaters, Wool, World Vision Knit for Kids, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Preparing to Make the Most of Summer

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Over the weekend I finished up knitting the pair of Rouge KnitPicks Palette socks I had had been working on. They are currently sitting in my to be washed basket, as I really didn’t feel like washing them today because I am waiting until I have more socks knit up before I wash socks. Beings that it is only still May, and we still have all summer ahead of us, I don’t have to use every 80+ degree day we get at the moment, as we still have all summer to be able to wash socks and have the hot weather to put them out on the line.

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I had knit a 20 round cuff for these socks plus a 50 round leg. The 50 round leg is a bit shorter than the leg I have switched most of my socks to now. I had made the legs of these socks a bit shorter than I am making my other socks now because of having to split one of the balls of yarn in the winding process. Beings that I was working with a solid color I didn’t want to have to tie on any yarn in the knitting process. I like having it all be one strand without any knots or tie-ons when I am working with solid colors.

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My longer legged socks, I am making the length of the sock blockers that I have so the cuffs will sit along the angled part at the top where I have yarn strung through to be able to hang the blockers from the clothesline outside. I am liking the longer socks because they give more protection and coverage. They help keep my legs and feet warmer in the colder months and also help protect against blisters in more areas while wearing my hiking boots.

Once I finished up the Rouge socks I had been working on, I cast on a pair of Finnley Heather Palette socks, which you can see to the left. I am loving how these socks are turning out. I have definitely fallen in love with the Heather yarns. I love the variation in the colors. While the variation is not so obvious in the ball, it becomes very obvious when you are working with it. I love how it looks, and how unlike stripes or true variegated yarns, the variations are within the same color shade and are just lighter/darker of itself, but doesn’t change from one color to a completely different color.

Here in Portland, we have already had quite a few days over 80 degrees, several close to 90 degrees, and a couple at or above 90 degrees already this month, and summer doesn’t officially start for another month. So if this summer is going to be as hot as I am thinking it is going to be, I need to be pumping out the socks so I can get them washed this summer, and put away. I am kind of tired of having a ton of sock yarn sitting around and feeling like I am not really making any progress on knitting through it. It doesn’t help that I have kept adding to it for a while. Now I am in stash busting mode and trying to knit up as much of my yarn as possible. I would like to go back to knitting sweaters for kids in need, but I have way too much sock and shawl yarn sitting around to get knit up first.

Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Whats on My Needles, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Frogging

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I quickly realized that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish the sock I was working on and then knit up the second one. So I frogged this sock and restarted it, to make the leg section shorter.

So I wound it from the end that had been on the outside of the ball of yarn, which was the most colorful, so now this sock has the most colorful part at the top.

The pink sock is coming along great, I got the heel turned and the gusset done.

With starting two new sock back to back, the second grey sock I have had in the works has been sitting. I really want to get it done so that I have another pair complete. Having three pairs of socks and like three shawls going all at the same time is crazy, but that is how I roll. Not to mention all the yarn I have stashed, waiting to be knit up into something amazing. I guess that is how life is for a knitter, a zillion projects going and a plethora of yarn waiting in the wings for its turn to be used.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Creating more Work for Myself

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I was finally able to order some more of the KnitPicks Simply Wool worsted weight yarn in Wordsworth. I had only ordered four Hanks of this color when it first came out, and it sold out quickly. I had also quickly realized that four Hanks of the worsted weight yarn would not be enough to knit up a shawl that would fit me. I had gone in and went through the process to have them email me when more of the color I needed became available.

What had happened with the Simply Wool had also happened with the Autumn Heather Wool of the Andes Tweed worsted weight yarn I had ordered a while back, and I knew that I wanted to have 10 balls of each of the Wool Of The Andes yarns I am wanting to use to shawls in my stash. I would rather have extra and have to make a matching hat or fingerless gloves than not have enough yarn for the shawl.

When I was in the process of ordering these two types of yarn, I had also seen one of the Dishie multis that I liked, it’s the colorway Cabin, and I added one to my cart, then I got looking at the bulky yarns, and saw that there was a Wool of the Andes bulky yarn, so I also added six Hanks to my cart, which also got me to over $50 and got me free shipping.

So, this order arrived today in the mail.

And now I have enough yarn to keep me knitting for a very long time.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Ironing Out the Kinks

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Over the course of the past couple of days I have finished up two projects.

The first project I finished up, I was up into the wee small hours of the morning finishing up this shawl.

This shawl is about 38 inches from the tip to the cast off edge. I used four balls of KnitPicks Simply Wool Bulky yarn in the color “Wilbur”. I used a pair of 10.5 (6.5mm) straight knitting needles.

Last night (Thursday night) I finished up the second sock of the pair of socks I knit up out of KnitPicks Palette Yarn in Ash.

I used my set of size 1 (2.50mm) KnitPicks sunstruck double pointed needles.

I have come to love using the 2.50mm size 1 needles versus the 2.25mm size 1 needles for both the Palette yarn and the various Stroll yarns I have been using. The socks come out a little looser which is fine, the gauge is still tight enough that there are no real issues with the tension or being too loose. I also haven’t had the issue of my needles breaking either. Which makes me think that the 2.25mm needles were just too small for what I was doing, and I have also gotten better at knitting socks.

I definitely wanted to get the shawl done, as far as getting it knit up anyway, this week. I have some more bulky yarn coming in, in the next few days. I only have the one set of size 10.5 needles and I wanted to get the big project off them before the new yarn comes in, so I can get it cast on pretty soon. I do still have one ball of the bulky Simply Wool left, which I am using to make another pair of fingerless gloves.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Houston; We Have a Problem

Hey Everyone!

Today, I had another KnitPicks Package arrive (and have two more that will be coming in the next week or so). I definitely am a yarn addict. I have enough yarn to keep me knitting for years, which is a good thing.

In my order that came today, I got four balls of Stroll Fingering weight yarn, two balls each of Ash and Cobblestone Heather. I also got ten balls of Flagstone Heather Wool of the Andes Tweed worsted weight yarn.

Yes, I am well aware that I am ordering a lot of Grey yarns. I love grey yarn. Greys, natural tones and blues are my favorite colors at the moment. These are the colors I love to work with.

Most people are not a fan of grey, especially around here where we get so many grey, overcast, rainy days. That is exactly why I love grey. I love the grey, overcast, rainy days. I love them because (at least in this part of the country), they are cooler, and you don’t have the sun in your eyes. For me they are more enjoyable. As someone who doesn’t handle heat very well – it’s currently about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and I am about at my upper limit for being comfortable – I prefer the cooler overcast days. As long as it’s not pouring down rain, I enjoy going hiking when it it is cool and overcast as well as just getting out and doing stuff.

The days that it is pouring down rain, are best spent inside with a nice hot cuppa tea and knitting. Or going and getting lost in my favorite yarn and craft stores.

Earlier this week, I had to go and run a couple errands and decided to get out of the city. I wound up in the foothills of the cascade range (the mountains that divide Western Oregon from Central and Eastern Oregon). I started seeing snow at about 1400 – 1500 feet. That day I would have given about anything to live out that way, and be able to have a fire going in the woodstove, a pot of soup going, a nice hot cuppa tea, Call The Midwife on the TV and my knitting.

While I grew up in the city, the older I get, the simpler / more old fashioned kind of life I want to live. The kind of life where I have a nice big garden in the summer, and some chickens, maybe some goats, and so much more.

When I started knitting when I was 10, I had no idea how learning a craft out of boredom would become a passion.