Green, Green Knitting Grass

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Colour-wise it is interesting that to survive the last rounds of the big red granny, I have been breaking things up by knitting some bright green socks. For those in the know about such things, red and green are on the same cone in the eye (which is why you can be red/green colour blind) and subconsciously I have followed this in my desire to distance myself from the sea of red.

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However, the big red granny is now (finally) done – just in time for high summer! But it is nice to know that it will be ready and waiting for me come September, or perhaps earlier judging by last summer

 

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I have also now finished my green on-the-go socks (basic no cuff, rib leg and plain foot). Another outing from the ever lovely JitterBug, bought this time from the “Norfolk yarn shop“ in Norwich. This is a relatively new (but thoroughly lovely) yarn shop in the centre of the town (in one of the side streets) and handily located near a very nice coffee shop. It was a struggle to only buy two skeins but I was strong and (technically) as I cast on straight away only one skein went to stash so really it only counts as one…… honest!

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So, two projects done and now to stick to my plan of clearing up my WIP box for summer.   Or at least my more honest plan of getting to the point that I can actually close my WIP box! I am still feeling the heat, so I think I will crack on with some floaty shawls, only three on the go to choose from….

LouBug

A Small Matter of Casting On #knitting

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Oh dear, I might have gone a little nuts. Even Cat is face-palming at the horror. I have now accidentally cast on all my spare row counters (even I am not sure how many I have) and I also broke the rules and solved the problem of running out of knit pro 3mm tips by buying more. Basically a large casting off bomb went off last week and I am still dazed and confused as to what happened.

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It all started off innocently enough. Knit-knit-knitting at my log cabin blanket. Cro-cro-crocheting at my big red granny. And generally picking at other projects. Then I started strolling though some yarn books and accidentally started another Calmer cardi (to join the purple and green one). Lovely shade of pale teal and will look lovely with a wavy border, reliable yarn and the self-designed pattern for the body already a proven success (it will even be made with the same needles). Logically it does make sense to make a start on an autumn weight cardi now so that it is going to be ready in time. So far, so reasonable.

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The pair of socks was also an accident, I wanted a simple pattern but also some lace, and I have been meaning to use the yarn for a while. Just ignore the other four pairs shall we. Between them they cover plain, lace, colour work and simple rib. The moody grey/teal is nice with the mock cables though!

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As previously mentioned I have been chain knitting shawls recently and looking through my brand new Sock yarn Shawls II book it would have been rude not to try one. The first book has already proven to be a firm favourite and I will admit to a loud squeak when I spotted number two in the Amazon pre-order list of temptations. The second book builds on the first and has a good mix of classic triangle shawls and long and skinny sideways ones. It has also included larger two skein shawls (some in contrasting colours, some in the same), which are based on 70g balls.

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The yarn doesn’t photo well, but it is basically a pale mushroom grey with a sparkle thread running through it. And it will look awesome next to my big white dress (dum dum di dum), or alternatively on exotic location for the honeymoon. The yarn was bought from Olympia a few years ago (it was apparently dyed to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee) and I have been saving it for something worthy. And people, this pattern is gorgeous! Luckily I have 150g of it, so I should be able to make one long enough to wear as a proper shawl (opposed to the triangle forward style) and I might dip into my bead collection when I cast off to give it a bit of extra bling.

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I also accidentally cast on this blue shawl (I was comparing book 1 and 2 and fell in love with it) which basically means I am now making both cover photo shawls. I absolutely love this Tardis blue yarn (and had to put my foot down when Mr LouBug tried to claim it for socks). I need to come up with a suitable Dr Who name for it, (perhaps River’s Song, or Timey Wimey). I regret nothing on this one and I am impatiently getting to the lace section, to the point where I will start it 12 rows early (to allow an extra repeat). Wearing my Blue Yonder shawl, I have found that the large triangle does make it bunch up a bit under the chin, lace tends to sit better (as seen on my Purple Happenstance) so there are practical as well as impatient reasons behind this.

Blimey, I had better get knitting.

LouBug

 

 

Following The Knit Winds

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My knit winds are still blowing due “finish up” and flush with success from my mitre cushion I knit on and resist the urge to cast on. I am trying to concentrate on one project at a time (which is crazy talk from me as I usually run between projects like an ADHD kitten on a sugar rush). It has the bonus of getting things knit quicker, but the down side that big projects don’t get nibbled at and still remain big.

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Currently on my radar is the green cardigan. This stalled as I was stuck on the trim (the cuff pattern didn’t really work for the trim) and I am still unsure of the current plan. I am tempted to do a simple k2p2 rib (like the purple version) and add the cuff trim to the last 10 rows to link it together. This will involve ripping out the current trim (which is about a quarter done), and I am even tempted to combine the old trim on the neck line and the new plan for the front. We shall see.

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My on the go sock is creeping along (helped by a few sneaky lunchtime knit sessions), and I am tempted to make a quick pair of sock finger-less mittens with the needles afterward. These are light weight open mittens to wear when driving, as I can keep my palms warm while having a good grip with my fingers on the wheel. I am looking thoughtfully at purple and grey leftover yarn (a Christmas knit from a few years ago). I tempted to use some fluffy sock yarn (which I wasn’t a fan of on my feet) to make some super snuggly cuffs. But (of course) I am committed to finishing things up first!

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I also want to finish my log cabin blanket, mainly because I want to start my crochet kit from Ally Pally! There is about half left to do, but it does chug along quite easily as it is all garter stitch which makes it a good TV knit. It would be good to finish this in the next few weeks before it gets too warm to want it on the bed. The downside is that each round is getting longer, therefore more of a job to get done, which does feel like running uphill. In heavy boots. In the rain. Carrying a big bag. This might have to be one of those knits where I break up the repeats with other knits.

Unless, of course, the knit-winds change and the lure of casting on grows too much.

LouBug

 

I Couldn’t Resist!

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I will admit it, it is starting to nag at me. But I will never power through finish-up February if I don’t stick to the “no casting on” rule. For those that don’t know, finish-up February is an annual (self-imposed) task aimed at finishing or frogging long-term projects. Each year I attempt to end February with six free row counters and a spring cleaned project box. Not casting on is the real toe curling, mind bending, teeth suckingly difficult part. The only exceptions I make are to ensure that I have my “ready to go: easy sock” knitting (as there is no way I am knitting a blanket on a train or trying to knit lace at knit-night). Even then I have to be strict about when I knit it.

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Winners so far have been my orange socks, green mittens, shawl/blanket and Hooty the owl. So with those fresh under the “done!” banner, my eye now turns to the sad pile of forgotten and unloved project bags. I have already gone through these and I was pleased to find that there were no projects so far gone that the only hope would be to frog and return the yarn to the tender embrace of the stash. The downside is no easy row counter wins! However, I am pleased that I have racked up four so far.

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So, the remaining projects have been aired and ranked. The plan is to focus on one at a time and power through. With a half term holiday’s boost, the current next-to-the-sofa knitting is this silk shawl. You might remember it from last year, as it went along in fits and starts (the chart is a bit eye watering). I picked it back up ready to finish and then threw it at the wall. It hit a tiny little whale sized snag that basically involved frogging the whole damn thing and restarting. Yep. A big time rookie error meant that I forgot that lace charts traditionally only show half the chart (it is repeated to make two identical triangular parts).

I realised a problem was brewing when I tried laying it out flat and the stupid thing pointed at the top not the bottom. Perplexed, I looked at the picture and with stomach dropping dread I realised that the book had two triangles meeting in the middle and I only had one.

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Such was my horror, upset and anger that there are no photos to mark this horrifying discovery. Please enjoy a photo of Cat looking cute instead. You might have heard the unearthly howl. That was me. I am feeling much better now.

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I ripped it back, had a medicinal glass of wine and Let It Think About What It Had Done for a week. I have now restarted it and have only just reached the point where frogged yarn meets new yarn (the crimped curl starred at me every time I looked at it).

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Thankfully, the chart seems much less daunting and with my unintentional practice go, knitting quite quickly. The silk is hard to see in the picture, but it does have a really nice sheen to it that should block like a dream and whisper soft kisses to me every time I wear it. Fingers crossed I should have it done in the next week or two!

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I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on…

LouBug

 

 

When The Going Gets Tough… The Tough Knit Socks

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A new job is always a stressful transition. But factor in the emotional roller coaster that is teaching (and that is on a good day) and welcome to a stress work-nado (like a sharknado but with fewer chainsaws) of my life. Start of term is always a bit mad, as there are a billion things to do (we are talking a six Post-It note to-do list, people). Some of this has been hampered by me needing to learn new systems, find out who the “go to” people are and the actual location of meeting rooms. Luckily, everyone has been super nice – even the kids!

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But let us sidestep all of that and fall face first into the woolly loving embrace of knitting!

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With work cutting into my knitting time, socks are the best project to work on, as it is all about the visible progress. Both the red jumper and green cardi are still getting the odd row added, but due to their sizes it doesn’t feel like I am doing very much for my time, which can be disheartening. However, my on-going attempts to use up my sock yarn scraps has resulted in a burst of activity and I have finally started to knit the summer socks I wanted (yes, I know it is October). These ‘just cover the foot’ will allow a summer evening cosy toe moment with a lower risk of heat exhaustion. Happily, one pair can be made just from my left over Jitterbug (mmmmmm Jitterbug) and as I need to tweak the cast on down to 56 (opposed to 60) I can play with patterns I cannot usually fit into.

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The pink socks knitted up quite quickly, but they were a bit of a photo finish (50cm of yarn left eek!). When I cast on the next pair, I included a well-placed stripe of blue to ensure the yardage wouldn’t be such a headache. I figure I can then include any left over from this pair as a stripe in the next (and so on). These are now heading happily to the second toe with a comfortable amount of yarn still to go.

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On a more ambitious note, and in a foolish burst of activity at the start of term, I have also cast on these beauties. Stranded colour-work. Sheep. Cool colours. Plan! They look massive (70 cast on looks like a sleeve) but I have faith that it is necessary as stranded work is notoriously non-stretchy and can shrink a bit on the first wash. Naturally being 70 in a round it makes every round take longer and with the added slowdown of stranding which has made it fall from favour. But I keep adding the odd row here and there so it might be one of the surprise creeper projects.

LouBug

Mighty Brighty Knitted Fluromania Socks

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My love of fluromania continues, with the soon-to-be completed “Refresher” socks. After the pink and blue “Slush Puppy” socks, I decided that the long colour stripes needed a bit of a lift to help them show themselves off in all their glory.

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So I decided to do a candy cane cuff-less 2×2 ribbed pair. And then suddenly I wasn’t. I am not even sure how it happened, but the more I looked at the 10 row of rib, the less inspired I felt towards them. So, I finished another 10 rows, called it the cuff and then it was time to hit the books and find something more zappy.

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It was a hard balance to find, the bright colours and stripes would “noise” out any complex cables or lace and so I hunted high and low for the perfect balance. Goldilocks has nothing on my search for too hot, too cold and finally just right. But my ridiculously well stocked book shelf served me well and a happy hour was spent weighing up the various merits of different patterns.

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I found in this quiet little pattern (which I had considered in the past for man socks) in Charlene Schurch’s “Sensational knitted sock”. It is a nice two row repeat, with a little tbl action to keep things interesting. I like the way it gives a texture without changing the stretch or stripes. I have tried on the first one and it also feels quite nice as the bumps add a nice texture. It reminded me of a pair I once wore to death when I was junior school little (and knee high socks seemed a good idea). Obviously my love of socks embedded in me from a young age

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I decided to name these “Refresher” socks as they really reminded me of the 1980s packaging, and 1980s me wearing those long-gone (but not forgotten) socks. Fingers crossed the colours stay bright for a while (Regia is quite good with that) and I can glow my way through winter.

LouBug

Toys In A Million, All Under One Roof

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Yes, it is that time of year again! The leaves are starting to turn brown, there is a nip in the air and I get up super earlier on a Saturday to brave the crazy-town driving in London and (over)indulge in yarny goodness.

So here it is, my big hoard! Which has two points of note, firstly I managed to spend less this year (sadly, even my yarn budget has had a trim down) and oddly I seem to have come home with more.

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Some of this is because these two (irresistible) skeins of Jitterbug represent all the sock yarn I bought. I know; this is an impressive show of self-restraint, up there with not eating the last biscuit.

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As part of my pre-Ally Pally prep I emptied out all my yarn and inventoried what I had. I then drew up a list of things I wanted, rather than my usual approach (which is a five-year-old in a sweet shop). Part of this yarn sort revealed the full extent that my sock stash has, well, exploded in size. Stress buying over the summer, day trips to places with yarn shops and a general sense of “but it is only one more skein” has made its impact felt. So I had to stay strong as I walked past the sale sock yarn, and keep reminding myself of the yarn mountain I already have. The flip side of this is that I shocked myself at lunch by still having well over half of my cash left (those pesky £15-£20 skeins normally burn through my wallet).

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I am also impressed that I avoided adding to my fat quarter pile (and believe me there was plenty of temptation) and lace weight yarn. Both are so very easy to buy and both are slow to use, and so I shall have to be contented with using up the fabulous things I already have. On the other hand, I did give (and keep to) a cross stitch kit budget. The goldfish is my favourite (I shall try to get a better photo later).

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This Rowan Calmer yarn was my best bargain (£20 down from £80!), and was even on the list! I had to be cruel to myself at Blacksheep Wools, the pile was just as inviting as usual. The temptation to burrow inside and build a yarn fort was there, but my yarn inventory had showed me exactly how many unused packets from previous years I still have. It is all good stuff, but there is a limit to how many jumpers I can finish in a year!

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On the other, I can always use a scarf! Especially one with a light reflecting thread. The original plan was to make the light one into a hat, but I keep looking at them as a pair and thinking some kind of striped scarf situation may need to happen.

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Another plus side to not going mad with the sock yarn is that I could totally justify going nuts on beads. I think I pretty much got something from every bead stall there, and I have got some lovely things (a bit too small for my camera to do justice to). My best surprise buy was from a £3 lucky dip bag of charms, in which I managed to get a pumpkin coach (perfect for my fairy tale stitch marker set). Alas, I also have 6 random rabbits with tennis rackets to find a home for….

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This was also the year of the kits (feeding into my aim of buying with a purpose, not with a giddy child approach). This little cutie was my “show special” gift for renewing my Let’s Knit subscription! I am already planning on knitting him/her a little hat and coat. Paws off diddy Knitwitlets, aunty is keeping this one.

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This next kit was a Stylecraft bargain (£25 for 15 balls) which will make a “Coast” ripple blanket by Attic24. I have already decided to trim it with light blue sparkle yarn and I also got a cute keyring as I managed to impress the stall holder by fashioning a handle out of a second plastic bag to help contain the yarn-splosion.

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Saving the best for last, I got this Latvian mitten kit (£10!) which I fell in love with. I was not alone in this mitten love and believe me, a set of 1.5 DPNs could not be found anywhere in Ally Pally for love nor money. I am a little daunted to knit on that kind of gauge, but I have been dancing around the edges of knitting a pair of these style mittens and seeing the kit made it seem too perfect to pass up.

But first I will need those pesky 1.5 needles…

LouBug

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