WIP-Cracking Wednesdays: Block Party

It’s a Christmas miracle! I’m back to blogging AND I’ve been working on finishing things! For the past few days I’ve been blocking up a storm. I started with the Black Friday socks since those were on a deadline.

yarn: Canon Hand Dyes Lewis Self Striping MCN - The course of true love never did run smooth (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

yarn: Canon Hand Dyes Lewis Self Striping MCN – The course of true love never did run smooth (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

I ran into a slight snag with the boyfriend’s socks when I discovered that a good length for the leg on me is more like an ankle sock for him. Luckily I was knitting his socks toe-up though, so I was able to just rip out the cuff, add another 6 stripes, and re-knit the cuff. I still want to take better photos of the finished socks – the colors in these photos aren’t doing Amy’s yarn justice.

I also finally blocked the fingerless mitts I made for my mother and sister. I finished knitting them both months ago. I still haven’t taken finished photos of them so they are still WIPs, but here are some hints at what those look like:

yarn: indigodragonfly MCN Worsted - Yo, Chillin'pattern: Mitts of the Dystopian Future by Kim K.

yarn: indigodragonfly MCN Worsted – Yo, Chillin’
pattern: Mitts of the Dystopian Future by Kim K.

I didn’t stop there! I cleaned out the playhouse (again) and set up the blocking mats so I could block a shawl or two. First up was Flavia from last December’s indigodragonfly Smart-Ass Knitters World Domination club package. Here’s what it looked like pre-blocking:

yarn: indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk - Young Helpless Damsels in Damp Climates

yarn: indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk – Young Helpless Damsels in Damp Climates

And here it is all pinned out:

IMG_9631

There was still a bit of room on the blocking mats, so I gave Finnegan’s Cat Hoodie a quick soak and laid it out to dry too. Here’s a peek at what that will look like:

yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted - Pine Shadows and Fresh Moss

yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted – Pine Shadows and Fresh Moss

My dad came over to set up the extension cord to the playhouse and put in a light and a fan. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve I laid out both projects to dry, switched on the fan and waited. And waited. And waited.

Flavia finally was dry enough to unpin this evening, but Finnegan’s sweater is still pretty damp despite being directly in front of the fan. What gives? I know it’s cold and wet out, but I remember having trouble getting things to dry in the playhouse this summer when it was dry and hot out too. That’s why I added the fan this time. STILL things are not drying in a timely fashion. When I’ve blocked similar projects in my bedroom (after temporarily rearranging furniture to find enough floor space) they typically only take a day or so to finish drying.

I’m not quite sure what to do about this. Since I’ve rearranged my room there isn’t enough floor space in my there to do much blocking. The rest of the house is overrun by super-playful and curious Ragdolls who would tear up the blocking mats (and whatever was pinned to it) in 10 seconds flat. I’m not sure what else I can do to solve the airflow problem in the playhouse to make it a suitable blocking location. I really don’t want to put a space heater in there to leave unattended and start a fire. I have many more shawls and such that need blocking, but I’m putting them on hold until I can come up with a solution…

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WIP-Cracking Wednesdays: Black Friday Socks

I’m taking a break from my weekly woecake to show a couple of WIPs that are actually going well. Remember the Black Friday KAL socks I cast on a couple of weeks ago? Well, they’ve grown.

IMG_9553

I made a lot of head-way while watching Game of Thrones (only 2 episodes in and I’m HOOKED) and re-watching Lord of the Rings.

The brown and black one on the right is the boyfriend’s. It’s made from Canon Hand Dyes Charles Self Striping and the colorway is called Aragorn. I knit them toe-up on DPNs and used a k2p2 rib for the cuff. I still need to put in the afterthought heel, but since I’ve never done one before I’m going to set it aside for a few days while I work up the nerve to try it.

The red, pink and black one on the left is mine. It’s made from Canon Hand Dyes Lewis Self Striping MCN and the colorway is called “The course of true love never did run smooth” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s my very first Magic Loop project!

I have to say, I rather like this Magic Loop method. It seems to go faster than using DPNs, it’s easier to knit without looking, and I never have to worry about the stitches falling off the needles when I set the project down! The only parts that I didn’t really enjoy were casting on, the heel, and the toe – they all seemed a bit fiddly to me, but perhaps that’s just inexperience.

I knit this one top down and started with a k1p1 rib for the cuff. I used a heel-flap style construction with a slightly different slip stitch pattern than I’m used to using. When it came time to start the foot I made sure to decrease it by 2 sts from the cuff because my foot is thinner than my leg. I did run into a slight problem with the toe…

The instructions I was following were written for DPNs and I was having a hard time translating it into Magic Loop. My first attempt had to be ripped out because it puckered so badly and the increases seemed to spiral around the toe. I asked for help from the lovely Raveler who sent me the circular needles and encouraged me to try Magic Loop and my second attempt with her instructions turned out much better. Now I just have to do it all over again for the second sock!

 

The verdict is in…

I cast on for the Black Friday socks today! I got through the toe of my boyfriend’s socks first.

Then I tallied up the votes to determine which yarn I would be knitting my socks in. Here on the blog there was a tie between Zombie Hello Kitty and Unicorns, but I also posted a poll on Ravelry in the Canon Hand Dyes group, and there “The course of true love” was the clear winner. When combining the results, they beat out every other color by at least 6 votes! There was a fairly good case made for them – with the pinks and reds “The course of true love” would make the perfect Valentine’s day socks, and with the KAL ending on January 1, they would be done with plenty of time to spare!

I successfully wrangled the circular needles and cast on top-down socks using the Magic Loop method.

Yarn: Canon Hand Dyes Lewis Self Striping MCN Sock – “The course of true love never did run smooth” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In other decision-making news, after downloading the free trials I decided my brain is just too complex for 2Do to handle. There just wasn’t enough control over hierarchical tasks and grouping tasks into projects vs. contexts. OmniFocus is much better suited for taming the chaos that is my life. The interface isn’t as intuitive as I would like, but so far I haven’t been stumped by anything. It will just take a bit of practice before I remember how everything works and then it will be perfect. Which makes me a bit sad because it’s $50 more than 2Do. Oh well. Managing my brain is a big job, so of course only the expensive software can do it properly.

I’m giving thanks a day late this year.

While most people will be out participating in the bloodsport that is Black Friday, I will be knitting. There is a Black Friday KAL in the Canon Hand Dyes group on Ravelry, and I am planning on making two pairs of socks. One pair for me, and one pair for my boyfriend.

I am extremely thankful that I will be able to knit these socks, because a few weeks ago it wouldn’t have been possible. All of my sock-knitting needles were in the computer bag that was stolen. That meant I couldn’t knit socks, hats, gloves, or any other small circumference item that required small needle sizes. When I posted about the theft in the forums on Ravelry, other knitters really GOT IT. I received a lot of moral support, which was very appreciated, but a few people went above and beyond words of comfort.

Two separate people messaged me offering to send me some of their needles! One had a stash of DPNs she was planning on getting rid of, and another had some circular needles she hardly used that were perfect for Magic Loop – a technique for knitting small circumferences in the round that I have never tried, but REALLY want to. Between the two of them, those wonderful Ravelers have replaced every single needle size that was lost, and I CAN KNIT SOCKS AGAIN!!

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, one day a surprise package showed up in the mail containing a set of 2.25mm Signature DPNs – which is the super expensive brand of needles that were stolen! Amy Lee Serradell, the talented dyer of Canon Hand Dyes, had sent them to me!

So, out of gratitude for the wonderful people who have restored me to full knitting capabilities, I will be knitting socks out of Amy’s yarn. One pair will be knit on the lovely Signatures from Amy, and the other will be my first attempt at Magic Loop using the circular needles.

My boyfriend requested his socks to be knit with the Aragorn colorway, which is a self-striping yarn in black and a woodsy brown. The smaller skein in black will be used for the heel and toe of the sock so the striping pattern doesn’t get interrupted.

Mine will be knit with a self-striping Canon Hand Dyes yarn too, but I’m having trouble deciding on a color…

From left to right:
Canon Hand Dyes William Self Striping Sock – “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” – King Lear
black heel/toe skein
Canon Hand Dyes William Self Striping Sock – Zombie Hello Kitty
black heel/toe skein
Canon Hand Dyes Lewis Self Striping MCN Sock – “The course of true love never did run smooth” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Canon Hand Dyes Oscar Self Striping – “I will believe that there are unicorns” – The Tempest
gray sparkly heel/toe skein

On the far left is “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” which is a lovely blend of deep blues and purples with a black stripe, and I have a black heel toe skein next to it that I could use. Next in line is Zombie Hello Kitty which looks exactly like you would think a zombified hello kitty should.

There’s the light green zombie flesh with a healthy amount of blood, striped with a super dark green. I’ve seen socks knit with this color using black for the heel and toe which turned out great, so that’s what I would do too.

After that is “The course of true love never did run smooth” which is a lovely gradient stripe that transitions from black to red to pink and then starts over again with the black with only a few rows of each color. There’s a black heel/toe skein to go with that.

The last two skeins on the right are “I will believe that there are unicorns” which is a pale gray striped with light purples and pinks and came with a gray heel/toe skein. It’s a sparkly yarn too, cause you know, UNICORNS.

I will be casting on at midnight on Friday while the rest of the population is busy re-enacting scenes from Fight Club in the aisles of Best Buy, so you have until then to vote.