Cocoon Cardigan

It’s a knitting miracle! I actually finished the cocoon cardigan. I am incredibly shocked to find that I love it. It is so cozy. I actually like the color, as it is a neutral that will work with anything.20180218_111742(0).jpg

There’s only one problem. Can you tell what it is?20180218_111744.jpg

How about now?

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Does it look a little big?
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Just a smidge big. I mean, a lot of sweaters go down to your knees, right?

OK, OK, the sweater is more than a little big on me. I accept that. Now to address what happened that led to a sweater that doesn’t fit.

If I were to start the sweater today I would start with a smaller size. Over the course of knitting this sweater I lost 25 pounds, so that accounts for some of the difference in sizing. But only a few inches in width, not height.

The bigger problem is that I never got gauge when I started, but decided to forge ahead because I figured if a baggy sweater was a little baggy it would be ok. I even did the math with the difference in gauge and thought that at most it would grow four inches in width. I never even looked at stitch height, and that (clearly) kicked me in the butt.

So now I have a sweater that is too big for me that I love. This entire time I thought I was making a sweater that would fit that I would hate. It’s a funny world we live in.
20180218_111756_001.jpgI’m going to have one of my best friends try the sweater on the next time she’s over to visit. She’s a few inches taller than me, and I think it would work for her. If she doesn’t want it I am going to be sad, but I’ll pack it up and mail it to someone in my life that I think has the right body shape to fit the sweater who happens to be going through a tough time. By golly, I’m going to find this sweater a home. It just isn’t going to be mine.

Please tell me about your gauge screw ups so I don’t feel alone in my mistakes.

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WIP Wednesday: 6/52

Happy Wednesday! We’re enjoying a warm day in Iowa. It is in the mid 40s, which feels like shorts weather after the past two months. I have been trying to get outside as much as possible with the kids. My attention span for playing outside is shockingly short, so I end up daydreaming about future knitting projects while the kids play.

I’m still putting in time on the cocoon sweater most days. I have six rows left before I start the shawl collar. I am hoping to finish the sweater before the end of the month. I’m getting so close to finishing I need to start thinking about my next sweater project. I know I’m going to make a sweater for Elliot, but I still need to decide on the pattern and colors (I have the yarn for 4 color combinations).

I finished the monkey socks. They are such a fun knit. I don’t know why I haven’t made them in eight years. I ended up giving this pair to my mom, because she asked for them. I usually give her what she asks for.

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I told her she can’t ask for my next pair of socks. I’m making a pair of St. Patrick’s Day socks with yarn I bought at Heartland Fiber’s Fiberpalooza last year. It’s dyed by Born in  a Barn Fiber Arts. I love the color. I love the yarn. I am going to love these socks.

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I made up the pattern I’m using for these socks. I’m knitting a 3×1 rib and shifting it one stitch every 5 rows. That makes a slow spiral. It’s just what I needed for this yarn – something simple, but not so simple it’s boring.

In the next week I’ll be working on the socks and the cardigan. If I finish the socks I’m going to start a hat for myself. I’m going to make the Gretel Tam I made earlier this year in a beautiful Bluefaced Leicester yarn I got in my fibreshare box last year. I’ll also cast on a pair of vanilla socks to pick up when I need something mindless to knit.

Are you as ready for spring as we are? What do you like to knit when the weather is warm?

WIP Wednesday: 6/52

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been busy knitting this week.

I’m actually making progress on the cocoon sweater. I bound off the bottom ribbing yesterday. I have yet to pick up the 192 stitches for the collar. I’m not looking forward to doing that. I don’t mind picking up 80 stitches or even 100, but 192 is intimidating. It isn’t mindless knitting – you actually have to think when you pick up that many stitches. I’m going to do it tonight because John is going to a movie. I will have plenty of time for quiet concentration once the kids go to bed. Honestly, I might celebrate picking up the collar with some hot chocolate or a glass of wine and a bubble bath. I feel like I will have earned it after picking up all of the stitches.
I am done with the first monkey sock and about halfway through the leg of the second. I should have that sock done by next Wednesday. My plan is to not cast on any additional projects until I’m done with that sock. We will see how that goes.

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I couldn’t help myself last week and I cast on a slouchy navy hat.  I decided to bang out a The Favorite Knit Slouchy hat. The pattern calls for a thin worsted weight, but I went with a thick worsted because that is what I had in my stash and I knew I wanted an extra toasty hat. I love it. It is like my head is getting a hug.

My plan for knitting this week is to spend 15 minutes each day on the collar of the cardigan. It will probably take me about a month more if I’m knitting on it every day. If my thumbs ever heal completely I’ll spend more time on it, but until they are healthy the acrylic yarn really bothers them.

Once I finish the monkey socks I’m going to cast on a pair of St. Patrick’s Day socks. I’m probably going to do a very simple pattern on them. Maybe SKYP or School Pickup Line Socks. I haven’t decided yet. I am using sparkly green yarn I picked up last year in Winterset at the Heartland Fibers Fiberpalooza. If I’m going to buy any yarn there this year I need to knit with at least some of my yarn from last year. The festival is on St. Patrick’s Day this year, so I thought it was only right that I use that yarn.

What are you planning to cast on next?

WIP Wednesday 5/52

Happy Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week, and I already feel like I’ve accomplished a weeks worth of knitting.

Why? Because I finally finished John’s Christmas socks. I am thrilled to be done with these puppies.
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On the huge cardigan I have completed 4 inches of the six inches of bottom ribbing. I’m knitting two rows a day on it.  I would pick it up more often, but the acrylic yarn bothers my thumbs. I no longer hate it. I now think it will be really cozy to throw on over a t-shirt on extra cold days when we don’t bother to leave the house.

Do you remember a really long time ago when I told you I cast on Monkey socks? And then I pulled the stitches off the needles by accident? After I finished John’s socks and the Fingerless Mitts I picked them up. I only had to pick up few stitches that had dropped down three rows. They were in much better shape than I assumed they would be. I’m getting close to the heel on the first sock, so I should be able to be done with the first sock by next Wednesday.

I am now thinking about what to make next. I have the yarn to make a sweater for Elliot, and I should probably do that soon. I know I have enough yarn for a 2 T sweater, but I hope I have enough for a 3 T sweater. He is wearing 2 T now, and I hate to make him a sweater that he can only wear for two months. I’m also going to make a few hats. I keep losing my hats, so I could use a new one. I also think they are a good late winter present to send to friends. Who isn’t perked up by a new hand knit hat?

Disclaimer: I may be convincing myself to knit hats because they burn through yarn quickly and I have a coupon for 20% off at my LYS this month. I would like to be able to use it to buy 2 skeins of Rowan Cashmere for a hat for myself and some Regia Pairfect for a new pair of socks for John. I want to stick to my yarn diet, but 20% off at Yarn Junction is really tempting.

That Time the Fingerless Mitts Went Awry

Do you remember last Wednesday when I told you about the pretty fingerless mitts I was making? I had one finished and had just cast on the second one.

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Well, yesterday I was close to finishing the second mitt when I lost at yarn chicken. I ran out of yarn before I finished the thumb or the top ribbing on the second mitt. IMG_20180129_161849_473.jpg

I was not pleased. I was tempted to tear them out and put the yarn away for another project. I thought about just adding gray to one of the mitts. I asked Instagram for advice. It was one of those situations where I knew what the right thing to do was, but I needed someone else to tell me. The overwhelming response on Instagram was to tear back the first mitt and make both match.

I hate tearing out knitting once it is bound off. I find it so persnickety to pick out the bind off stitches. I considered throwing this in the bottom of my knitting bag for a few weeks, but decided to just get it over with.

On Tuesday mornings I have a 30 minute chunk of time to knit in the morning. Audrey is at swim lessons and Elliot is in the Learn and Play center at the Y.  This morning as Audrey hopped in the pool I started the ribbing at the top of the second mitt. When that was done I had 10 minutes before class was over – just the right amount of time to get the cast off stitches undone and get the mitt on the needles.

I had just torn out the bind off and was ready to pick up all of the stitches when my calm, pool side project fell apart. Audrey said she had to go potty. I started to bundle up my knitting and carefully put the project with live stitches dangling in my project bag. It was then that I looked up as a screaming Elliot and a frazzled Learn and Play worker came into the pool area. At that point I gave up being careful and just shoved everything in my purse. Elliot was fine – he just hadn’t stopped screaming and crying in the half hour he had been in the center so they came to find me.

Luckily I had nap time knitting this afternoon. I was able to untangle the mess of live stitches and get them on to the needles. Once the stitches were on the needles it was a fast fix. IMG_20180130_172830_300.jpg

I love how they turned out. I think I like the gray tips even more than I liked the plain pink. I look forward to getting these to my friend. I hope she loves them as much as I do.

What have you knit that you needed to change on the fly? Were you happy with the results?

WIP Wednesday 4/52

I’m back to knitting! Most of the last week was spent catching up on daily squares on my blanket. I was a week behind, so there was a lot of catch up knitting to do.

Once I was caught up I got down to business. I finished the gusset on John’s second sock last night. I’ll post pictures of them next week.

I actually picked up my cocoon cardigan this week! I’m done sewing in the ends, and I hope to pick up the bottom band and start knitting it this week. In addition to being mouse brown and acrylic it is also HUGE. I keep telling myself it will be cozy, but I still kind of hate it.

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So big there is lots of room for a hoodie under it.

I’m also making some fingerless mitts for a friend. It is nice to have a quick project. It would be a lot quicker if I would focus on making them instead of having so many active projects.20180123_212541.jpg

I might be overdoing the knitting, as my thumbs have started to bother me again. I’m going to slow down and work on other things (like, I don’t know, actually cleaning my house or something). I’m still going to knit, just not as much as I would like to.

Happy knitting!

Yarn Diet

For the past three years I have resolved to end the year with  less yarn than I started the year with. I did not do well with that resolution. I had all sorts of rules around it that allowed me to cheat. Yarn from fiber festivals didn’t count. Yarn from local producers didn’t count. Yarn for projects I had to cast on right that minute didn’t count. Yarn that was on sale didn’t count. It got out of hand.

Last year I bought way too much yarn. I know that it is too much because I have two new places that I store yarn. They are both places that make me a crazy yarn hoarder. I have a plastic bag that my pillow came in tucked away under my bed. I took the pillow out of the plastic and immediately filled it with yarn. That is a sign that I have a problem. The other new storage spot is my wine cabinet. At one point last year I pulled a bottle out of the cabinet to make room for yarn. That is a sign that I need to buy less yarn. It’s also a sign that I don’t drink as much wine as I did before I had kids.

Saying I’ll end the year with less yarn that I started with isn’t working. Even if it was working it would be deemed a success if I ended up with one skein less than I started with. I would still have too much yarn. I need to get my stash under control.

I could say that I’m not going to buy any yarn this year, but that will be a lie.

I needed to find a structured way to manage the reduction of my stash. While scrolling through Instagram earlier in the week I was inspired. I saw a picture of a chalkboard where someone was keeping track of the yarn she used as well as how much yarn she had earned. I regret that I don’t remember who posted it, and a search through my feed to find it again came up empty (if it was you, please let me know so I can give you proper credit).

I decided to borrow that idea for my own use. For every 500 g of yarn I use I can purchase 100 g. That will give me the ability to buy yarn occasionally while working through my stash. I put together a spreadsheet to keep track of my yarn. I can access it on my phone whenever I’m tempted with a skein of luscious yarn.

I’ve linked to the spreadsheet below. If you use it, please let me know. It should be easy to change the formula to meet your stash busting goals.

 

Yarn Diet Spreadsheet