Advent Day 2

Advent Day 2

Today’s tea was Mango & Passion Fruit. It was a lovely herbal tea. I enjoyed it this afternoon as part of an afternoon break.

Day 2 Tead

Today”s yarn is a gorgeous blue called Blue Christmas. I know it’s only day 2, but I am really loving the speckled yarn. I’m starting to want to use this for something other than the granny square afghan. May be a light weight scarf? A shawl? Something that really lets the speckles come out.

Day 2 Yarn (Tea and yarn is a lovely combination!)

Also, there was a charming (no pun intended) stitch marker attached to today’s yarn. It is a Christmas tree light bulb charm on a lobster claw clasp. It will make a fun progress marker. In fact I am currently working on a pair of socks in the Holly King color way from Llady Llama Fiber Co. I think I will put it on these. I’m past the placement of the waste yarn for the heel on the second sock on this pair of socks. Love this yarn and I love this color way. I will write more about this WIP in a later post.

Holly King Socks from Llady Llama Fiber Co.

Today has been a wonderful Sunday. I’ve gotten to experiment with some ideas for family presents for Christmas. I was inspired by Pinterest. Ahhhhh…. How dangerous is that? But so far it’s going well. I’ve gotten to enjoy crafting today and spending some time feeling more relaxed than I have in a while. Tomorrow of course, is Monday, and the start of the last week of classes for this term. It’s going to be busy. So I do want to get as much done today as possible. But maybe I can use crafting as motivation for getting school work done. I will have pictures after Christmas of today’s crafting.

Happy Day 2. We’ll talk again tomorrow.

Advent Day 1

Happy December 1st! Welcome to Advent season!

Recently completed Kiwi Christmas Socks from Stray Cat Yarns

A couple of years ago, Laura from the Knit Girllls was showing her Opal Advent Calendar. What?!! A mini-skein of yarn everyday of Advent?!!! That sounded so cool! So last year I made a point of getting my hands on an Opal Advent Calendar.

Opal Advent Calendar 2017

I had a terrific time opening the little doors and sharing pictures with my family and on Instagram. I even brought the box all the way to St. Louis when visiting my family. My mom and my niece both participated in the opening of the the little doors while we were there.

Everyone seemed to be working on a granny stripe afghan at the time and I considered starting one myself. But, I couldn’t get excited about the cast on chain. To be wide enough to make me happy, the chain would have been ridiculously long. So instead, I created a rectangle using double crochet and once I was happy with the dimensions of that, I started the granny square stitch going round and round. Then I just kept attaching the new skeins as they came up. I’m still working on the second to last skein from last year.

Progress on 2017 Advent Blanket – Mostly Opal Yarns but using other scraps too.

The blanket is about big enough to cover my lap and go down over my knees. I love the different color combinations and flecks of colors that go through. It reminds me very much of my mom’s and my grandma’s afghans of many colors (scrap yarn)). My cat Leonard seems to like it very much. He pulls it out of the basket to lay on it…and to chew on it. He seems to have some fascination with the texture of the wool. He likes to suck on the blanket. It’s little weird. But he can be a weird little cat sometimes.

I enjoyed last year’s advent calendar so much I wanted to do another one this year. I started early looking for an advent calendar for this year from Opal yarns. I had no success. I don’t know, maybe there was one, but I never located it. September rolled around and I still couldn’t find one. So I began looking at the offerings on Etsy. I finally picked one from Felicity Yarn Studio. It came with 24 wrapped mini skeins and one special full size skein.

Advent Calendar 2018 – Felicity Yarn Studio

The yarn is a 3-ply 80/20 merino/nylon sock yarn. I am planning to continue adding to last year’s afghan. Eventually, I’ll get it to a proper size. Today’s yarn is a beautiful blue speckle called Icicles. It is really lovely and deliciously squishy.

Felicity Yarn Studio Advent Calendar Day 1: Icicles

I had such fun sharing pictures with my family last year that I thought it would be fun if we all had the same calendar to open. We all like tea so I decided to find a tea advent calendar to share. I chose one from Blue Moonstone Designs on Etsy.

Advent Calendar 2018 – Blue Moonstone Designs

I got calendars for my sisters, my mom and myself. My parents seemed really pleased when they received their calendar. I even got a phone call this afternoon when they opened their first tea package.

I hope everyone has as much fun with their advent calendars as I do.

Happy Advent season! We’ll talk again soon.

WIP #2 – Favorite Scarf Ever

No, seriously, that’s the name of the pattern by a Lisa Bruce (sunshinewalks). And, it is a very nice pattern. It is available for free and can be found on Ravelry. Just put “Favorite Scarf Ever” in the pattern search and it will pop right up.

Close up on WIP. Not yet blocked.

I saw this pattern referenced by Knit Circus Yarns on Instagram over the summer and I thought it was such a lovely pattern and it would make a nice light weight scarf. I started practicing on yarn that I had in my stash, while I waited for the yarn I wanted to use to make gifts for my sister and her wife.

It is a simple pattern to memorize. Well, seemingly simple. There are some decreases and yarn overs and a double center decrease. But it does require more concentration than my vanilla socks. I’m glad I decided to practice this before casting on for real. First, I had issues counting cast on stitches. Yes, I have a PhD in Mathematics and simple counting can be a problem. Then I kept losing track of counting going across the knit row and suddenly my beautiful stitch from the double center decrease would start to wander and then I would have stray yarn overs. Again with the counting! At one pointI had to frog back about an inch of work just to get to the wavering decrease and correct it. This is probably one of those patterns where I should use a life line.

Having said that, since I’ve cast on the Koigu Yarn, I seem to have the hang of it. And, I do try to work on it when I have enough brain cells to devote to the project. We have passed midterm and are heading towards Thanksgiving break at school. My students are exhausted and I am exhausted. So…this project is languishing a bit. Also, I am still trying to finish the Kiwi Christmas socks discussed in my last post: WIP #1 – Kiwi Christmas Socks.

I have finished one half. I’ve started working on the second half. I don’t seem to be getting exactly the same gauge on the second half, but I’m going to keep going for now. I’m just not ready to frog back yet. My gauge isn’t too far off. Keep your fingers crossed.

Side by side comparison. First and second pieces.

Thank you for listening. We’ll talk some more soon.

WIP #1 – Kiwi Christmas Socks

So I’m calling this “WIP #1.” It’s just a starting point for talking about my WIPs.  The numbering is absolutely not related to the age of the project.

WIP #1 is a pair of Christmas socks. Two years ago I ordered some self-striping from Stray Cat Socks on Etsy in the Kiwi Christmas color way.  If you haven’t looked at her self-striping yarn, you really should.  The yarn is lovely to work with and the stripes are gorgeous and so much fun. She winds the yarn into a gobstobber ball which is completely awesome! Also, she offers matching mini-skeins at a reasonable price for contrasting cuffs/heels/toes. Of course, as soon as I say this, I note that her Etsy shop is currently on vacation.

Contrasting heel and toe in the dark green shade

I started these socks last April. As is typical with me and socks, the first sock was like whoosh and off the needles. Then, as is also typical with me, I started working on a different pair of socks and the second sock was put on hold a bit.

Of course, once a project gets buried, there can be many projects that begin to take precedence. This summer was no exception. I had a bit of startitis. I went to the CNY Fiber Festival in June and came home with gorgeous yarn from a number of vendors. It was all crying to get on the needles. Then of course there was the #titsoutcollective going on in July. (Those are the feature socks in the last post, I have too many WIPS!) I started working on a practice scarf to learn a pattern so that I could make scarves for my sister and her wife. More on that later. I made a new bag for my iPhone and an even smaller bag for id/credit cards that I tend to carry with me more than my purse when I am at work.

Ok. So other projects got in the way. But I’m working on these again. I’m even past the waste yarn for the heel and am working on the foot. I’m sooooo close. I really want to finish this soon, so that I can work on other projects to be discussed in future WIP postings.

I should make note of a few things here. First, this pair of socks is my 2 x 2 ribbed vanilla sock pattern. That means, it’s a recipe for a 2 x 2 ribbed sock that works for me. I have found that I really like an afterthought heel. Although, I do place waste yarn where I want my heel. So it’s not a true afterthought. Also, I almost always use a ruffle at the top of the sock as this gives me a stretchy top that is more comfortable on my calves. The ruffle I use is a recipe given in Knit Circus years ago when they were still publishing a digital magazine. I love me a ruffle and use ruffles on a lot of items. But, I have found that on my 2 x 2 ribbed socks, it gives me a cute cuff when I fold it over, which is how I tend to wear my socks.

Also, I usually knit socks on double points. I have used two circulars and I have tried magic loop. Neither really worked for me. I found them fiddly. And, I know what you’re thinking. That’s what many people say about double points. But for me, it’s the other way around. Now having said that, I am happy that I have these skills, as some patterns just work better on two circs. But when it comes down to it, I love my dpns. They just make me happy. And I love that I can get 8 inch dpns in the Addi Flip Stix (which you can see above) and in the Knitter’s Pride Zing. The Flip Stix make me super happy because they are color coded with one accent (red) needle. So I have a good idea how many rows have gone by just by noting where the red needle has landed. This totally satisfies the Mathematician in me.

Finally, I love project bags. Well, I just love bags. But since I became a knitter I have become obsessed with project bags. There are so many styles and so many fabrics. I think there will have be a future post about project bags. However, as can be seen in the top picture I love for my project bag to match my project. In this case, I’m using a Christmas themed bag from Knit Spin Farm as well as a Grinch needle cozy from Slipped Stitch Studios.

Ok, I think that’s all for this project.

Thank you for visiting. We’ll talk some more.

Update: I finally finished these last weekend! Now, I’m waiting for Thanksgiving so I can wear them!

I have too many WIPS!

I am a mathematician.  I am a knitter.  I have been a crocheter.  I have done embroidery as well as counted cross-stitch.  I love yarn.  I love fiber.  Also, I love cats.  I have 4 cats, a calico/tortoise shell, a tabby and two black cats.  Alls of them have strong personalities.  This can be a problem as sometimes yarn and cats don’t mix well.  From my point of view at least. Also,  I have too many WIPS, works in progress that is.

IMG_4764 Ok, not these.  These are done.  I’m rather pleased with these.  They are in the If I want exposure I’ll get my tits out color way as envisioned by Llady Llama Fiber Arts.  This was part of the #titsoutcollective this past summer.  This collective was an interesting story.  When I learn how to add links, I will add links to share information about this charity drive.  It was amazing.

Back to my many WIPS.  This summer, when I started these socks, I also started a spreadsheet to keep track of all the many things I’m working on.  At that time I had 10 projects on the list.  These socks are off the list, but I’ve already added a new pair of socks in a holiday color way.  IMG_8909  I have at least 2 scarves on the needles, not to mention a bag that is in pieces and a Pi shawl started over a year ago!  Also, there are washcloths.  Because, these are handy to have when I’m in meetings or just in the car and I want something I don’t have to think much about.

Welcome to my personal brand of crazy. I’m just learning how to handle this blog. I’m not sure where I’m going yet.   But I’m excited to see what happens.