Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Monsterpiece Doily, Round 6: Complete!

Sorry for the delay in posting. I didn't mean to go quite this long without a post. I finished the socks I was knitting and felt the desire, probably more of a need to get back to the Monsterpiece Doily. I wanted to finish the round before I posted again. I didn't want another knitting only post. I realized after I started working on the doily again, that while round 6 was easy, it was very boring. I think that's why something else caught my eye, and fingers.

I'm happy I finished this round, finally. Here is the doily as of early this afternoon:

I haven't blocked it yet, though I think it could actually use it. Or at least a quick shot of steam. I might do one or the other later in the week. I started the next round already, as I wrote out the round last night after I finished tatting round 6. For anyone curious, the blocking tile the doily is on is 12 inches (30 cm) wide so the doily is about 11 inched (27ish cm) in diameter. Not much else to say right now. Thread stats: Manuela no. 20 colour #a055.

Finally, here is the latest pair of socks off my needles.

I think these are probably my best pair of socks yet. The colour is pretty close compared to the previous photo. However, the size is a bit off. I guess my original thoughts were wrong about the size for these. I probably should have cast on a couple extra stitches per side to make the circumference a little bigger. I want to thank those of you who commented on my last post and left sock knitting advice. It is very helpful, and I'm sure I'll get better as I go. I didn't specify last time, but it's not the length that's the problem. All of the socks I have made (for me) are knitted to the correct length for my foot. The pattern I'm using has us knit the toe first, then you knit until the sock is 1.25 inches less than your foot measurement then you work the heel. The heel is knit exactly like the toe. On this pair, the top of the cuff is a little tight and a bit hard to get over my heel. I'll keep knitting socks though. Practice makes perfect! All the socks I have knit are still wearable, so it's all good. The yarn is Patons DK Wool in Welsh Coast

That's about it for now. I do plan to continue working on the Monsterpiece Doily since it's interesting for me again. I do plan on getting back to knitting socks as well. My next pair is going to use actual sock yarn! Till next time.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Post of 2015, And It's About Socks

I can't believe how fast 2015 has been. I've been through a lot, much like many other people. As with other years, I'm not making any resolutions. I do have a few personal goals that I plan on working on. I've been working on controlling my anxiety, and some of the goals I want to accomplish do require me to face my anxiety and other fears. And of course lots of tatting and other crafts. I see a lot of knitting in 2016 in particular. I haven't really touched the Monsterpiece Doily or any other tatting for that matter. Since I plan on staying home tonight (I got home from work around 5:30pm and don't feel like doing anything), I'm going to try and spend some of the evening tatting. Well, tatting, drinking beer and watching Star Wars movies-I've only got three more to go!

I finished the black pair of socks over the weekend. If I had taken them with me when I went to see my family for Christmas, I could easily have finished them then. I finished them Boxing Day, back at my house. I decided not brave the crowds and shop that day. Although, I think I may have missed out on some yarn I wanted. It amazes me at how expensive yarn can be considering you may need many balls of it to finish a project. I guess I'm used to buying a ball of thread and making numerous projects from it. I found a knitted blanket I want to make using Bernat Blanket yarn. It's a bulky weight yarn in a largish ball and I would rather get it on sale than pay $10-12 a ball when I need 5 balls. When I went to Michaels on Wednesday, the colour I wanted was out of stock. So I'll have to wait for the next time its on sale. Anyway, back to the socks.

I really like how they turned out. I made this pair a little differently than the blue and purple pair. After making the heel, I continued knitting in stockinette stitch for several inches then switched to the 2 by 2 ribbing. The yarn is Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT University yarn. The socks are a little big though. Either my feet are smaller than I thought or the pattern is made for a larger male foot. I think the next pair of socks made in worsted weight yarn will be made in the "medium" size (which the pattern calls "womans"). The pair I am working on confirms my suspicions that the mens size is larger than I need. I'm sure if I had measured my feet and not just the length I would have figured that out earlier. I'll still wear the socks though.

I started another pair of socks Sunday. This time I used a DK weight yarn. This is the first deviation I have taken from the pattern. I am using a set of circular needles between the sizes needed for the worsted weight and sock yarn weight ones. I used the mens size as I wasn't sure what I should do. Despite the slightly smaller needles and yarn the socks, so far, still fit fine.

The socks are not this brightly coloured. The flash on my camera makes them look much brighter. They are darker in person and I love them too. Nothing really special to mention about them. Same techniques as before: two-at-a-time toe up magic loop socks. The only difference is the needles and the yarn weight. Knit Picks do not offer needle tips for their interchangeable cables in sizes smaller than 4 US, I had to get a pair for each sock weight and DK weight yarn in fixed circular needles. I like these too. The cables are finer than the interchangeable ones. The yarn is Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash. I bought this yarn as a replacement for the awful Wool to Wash yarn I returned. I didn't see any other heavier weight. It is soooo much better to knit with.

That's about it for now. I want to wish everyone out there a Happy New Year. I hope everyone had really Happy Holidays, no matter what you celebrate. I look forward to a brand new year since this one has been a little weird. Cheers!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Still Knitting

Yeah, I'm still knitting. And I'm still enjoying it. I still find it weird considering how much I haven't liked knitting in the past. I'm guessing the new needles are the main reason. They're just so smooth to knit with. Better yarn makes a difference too. I returned the two balls of yarn I mentioned previously and got a couple better knids; one of which I using right now and lovin' the result. I share a photo in a moment.

I finished the pair of socks I was knitting last time I posted. Considering that I didn't care for the yarn (Wool To Wash by Loops and Threads), I think they turned out pretty well.

As you can see in the first photo, I am using a two-at-a-time method to knit this pair. I love this method of knitting socks! The socks are the exact same size, and binding off one sock, then the other one immediately after is so satisfying. No Single Sock Syndrome for me! These are for my mom for Christmas.

I started another pair of socks shortly after finishing the purple pair. These ones going to be for me. As I said above, these were made using some of the new yarn I bought after returning the terrible Wool to Wash yarn. I think they're going to look great when they are done.

They look way better in person. I'm quite a bit further along than the photo shows. I'm about an inch or so away from doing the heel. I love this toe up sock method. I definitely am getting faster at knitting. The yarn I'm using is Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT University yarn. It's a washable wool, acrylic, and nylon blend yarn. It knits pretty well, as long as you don't catch the coloured nylon (I think) ribbon that runs through it. It's made by Premier Yarns and I think it's a Michaels exclusive yarn. I may be wrong on that though. Anyway, I was hoping to have them finished by Christmas so I can wear them when I visit my family Friday, but I don't know if that will happen. I got distracted by a crocheted hat pattern that I just had to make for myself and that's what I spent most of the afternoon working on. I have all the parts crocheted, I just have to put it together. I won't get it done today as I need to pick up a couple of large buttons tomorrow after work.

That's about it for now. I have to work until Thursday, but I'm trying not to let that ruin my mood. I'm sure the store I work at will be insanely busy by Wednesday and/or Thursday. Till next time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More Knitting

I can't believe how quickly December is flying by. I haven't done much tatting. I was working on the Monsterpiece doily yesterday evening but that's about it. I finished the second sock I was working on so I will be sharing that today. The second sock is definitely harder to do since I had to constantly go back to the first one to count rows in order to make them both the same size. I started another pair on Sunday, but this time using a two-at-a-time method. They are still toe-up Magic loop socks since I am really enjoying knitting socks that way. I still can't believe how much I am enjoying knitting right now.

Actually I would enjoy knitting the current pair of socks more if I was using a better yarn. I bought several balls of Wool To Wash by Loops and Threads (it's a Michaels brand) and I gotta say I do not like it very much. It's a super wash wool (washable wool), which is what I wanted but is one ply and doesn't seem to be very well twisted. I keep splitting the yarn which slows me down which sucks 'cause I am getting faster at knitting. I think I will be returning the two balls of this yarn that I haven't used yet. I did order some yarn from Knit Picks during their Black Friday weekend sale, which should hopefully get here by early next week.

Here is the finished pair of socks:

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I accidentally used the wrong needle size when knitting these. I realized I mixed up the US / metric sizes about halfway though the first sock. I was supposed to use a US 5 needle and I used a 5 mm. They seemed to work so I kept using them. The socks fit fine and are nice and comfy to wear. The cuff is just a little short for my liking. I am using the right size needles for the current pair. The socks are also pretty warm since they are made using 100% wool yarn. They aren't machine washable though.

Just in case anyone out there doesn't know what interchangeable knitting needles look like, here is a photo of some of basic parts:

Pictured above are one set each of wooden and nickel plated needle tips, the cables, end caps (used to make a "straight" needle if you use one or to hold the stitches on the cable without the tips if you use both) a joiner and the key used to tighten everything together. I got my set from Knit Picks. I really like this set and very happy I bought it. I haven't had any issues with the cables coming undone after I have tightened them up. Like anything that can be added to or upgraded, I want to get more tips and cables now. But that will probably have to wait until next year.

I'm going to keep knitting for a while. I do want to make several knitted gifts for Christmas. I will try to work on the Monsterpiece doily when I can. I will have a very busy week next week as I have a couple suppers to go to, a social group meeting and maybe a dance (don't know about that one yet) and I'm sure work will be hectic. You gotta love working retail during December. I'll hopefully get a chance to post again before Christmas, but I won't make any promises. I'll try to visit and comment on everyone else's blogs at least. Till next time.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bentley Snowflake

I didn't mean to go quite this long without a post, it just sorta happened. I haven't done much tatting since my last post. I think I've only tatted a couple more rings and chains on the Monsterpiece Doily. I've primarily been working on a few crochet projects: a late birthday gift for my mom, and a scarf for me. Even knitting has been put on hold right now.

I received my interchangeable circular knitting needle set on Wednesday.  I carefully transferred the current sock onto the new needles, but haven't knitted more than a couple rows. I took a few photos of the needle set but I'm feeling kinda lazy now and don't feel like editing them for the post. Their nothing fancy. Since I am a pretty tight knitter, I opted for a set of nickel plated needles which are the "slickest", instead of the very pretty multicoloured laminated wood ones. I did buy one set of needle tips in the coloured wood to try out. There were a number of reviews on Knit Picks about the metal parts of the wood needles coming off and decided I didn't want to deal with that. I do have a set of their coloured laminated wood crochet hooks which are awesome. The cables are really nice though. They take a bit of getting used to, but they are much more flexible. The cable lengths are a bit wonky though as a few reviews pointed out. Apparently Knit Picks sizes their cable lengths to include the needles tips, so a 24 inch cable is the total length of the needle tips and the cable. They may be a bit too short for some projects. It's a good thing I bought the cable connectors and the longer cable!

As I mentioned previously, I was lucky to be asked by Frivole to test tat her Bentley snowflake. I love her snowflakes!

I didn't bother with using crystals on this snowflake, but I will definitely give it a try next time. It's a pretty quick snowflake to tat and no really fancy techniques. There's a couple extra threads in the photo because I broke a thread while trying to undo a tiny ring. I guess I forgot to trim them before I took the photo. I expect to tat several of Frivole's Bentley snowflake, and Snowdrop snowflake before the year is over.

I was going to post a picture of the finished sock I talked about last time, but I forgot to take a picture of it. The sock doesn't look much different than the photo I posted shows, since I bound off after a couple additional rows. I really need to get the second sock finished now. I picked up a few balls of washable wool yarn today from Michaels, among other items. I took advantage of some Black Friday sales there. I would like to (ideally) make a few pairs of socks for Christmas gifts. Though they could become gifts for next year if I don't get started soon!

That's about it for now. For anyone interested, I am running a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale at my Etsy show, located here. Everything is 25% off until midnight Monday. I wasn't going to have sale, but decided to at the last minute. I figured it couldn't hurt. Till next time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Monsterpiece Doily: Round 6, And a New Distraction

Round 6 of the Monsterpiece Doily is easy to tat, but I haven't done as much as I had hoped I would. That's because of a new distraction I seem to have found. I will talk more about that one later. I am hoping I will get more tatting done on the doily this week. I do have a few evening engagements I plan on attending this week too, and I don't think I will be able to tat during them. The Monsterpiece Doily isn't a take-along project anymore anyways. Snowflakes are possible, however. I do have a snowflake I could share; I was lucky to be able to test tat Frivole's Bentley snowflake, but I'll save that for next time.

Round 6 is simple rings and chains, so it's easy to tat-you just have to remember to stop and join at the right place.

I don't know if I'll finish tatting this round by next week or not. That will depend if I continue with that new distraction I mentioned above. Not much to say about this round. Thread stats: the thread is Manuela no. 20 colour #a055.

Now, about this new distraction, I really don't know what ultimately started it, but I'm kinda glad I have started doing it again. What is it? Knitting.

I know right? I have said it in the past that I don't like knitting, but it's really not that bad. I've always been a bit envious about people knitting socks and mitts and gloves but crocheted version don't always match up. But, I've never been fond of using numerous double pointed needles. I discovered "Magic Loop" knitting last weekend and I really enjoy it. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is using circular knitting needles and using them instead of double pointed needles. It does take a bit of time to get used to since you are not simply knitting in a round-the diameter is too big. You do need a circular needle that has a very flexible cable for the best experience. The one I have isn't that flexible-it's a rubber tube that has memory. I actually went and ordered an interchangeable circular needle set from Knit Picks. I also ordered some cable connectors and an additional long cable so I can try knitting two socks at a time. Here's a few photos of the sock I was knitting:

I'm using a toe up knitting pattern, which in itself is a genius idea. It used a cast on method I never thought of; it started with a crocheted chain. The pattern I'm using uses worsted weight yarn and thicker needles than other sock patterns which makes it easier to make. I actually finished the sock before I started writing this post, but I have to hide the ends first. The pattern is available from Very Pink here. I'll show you the finished sock next time. Now I just have to make the second one.

It just fascinates me that I enjoyed knitting the sock. I wonder if it is because knitting for me is really an undeveloped skill and there is so much more I could learn. I want to learn other crafts/arts but there is so much I could make using knitting. I noticed my speed increasing as I knitted the sock. With Christmas rapidly coming, I actually want to make some socks for gifts and who knows what else. I'm hoping this desire to knit, and learn more knitting skills continues. Till next time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Monsterpiece Doily, Round 5: Complete!

Sorry for the delay in posting. I've actually been going out several times in the evenings lately and as a result my blogging has suffered a bit. I will continue to tat and post as much as I can, but it may remain once a week or so for awhile. Hope no one minds too much.

I did manage to finish round 5 of the Monsterpiece Doily Saturday evening. While I did enjoy tatting the motifs right to the end-the last one was definitely a bit of a pain to tat- I am glad I'm done tatting them.

I've got a few ends to sew in but I'm pretty happy with how this round turned out. Like I said, I finished tatting the final motif Saturday evening. I don't think I have anything else to add here. Thread stats: the dusty rose thread is Manuela #20 colour #a022 and the cream/off white thread is Manuela #20 colour #a055.

I haven't started the next round yet. Don't worry! I'm not going to stop working on it. I've been working a couple pairs of crocheted slippers for myself. I guess I was inspired to take a quick crochet break after going to a craft evening last Friday where I crocheted three afghan squares-they are going to be used for a charity afghan. Since I should finish crocheting the last slipper tonight, I will start the next round of the Monsterpiece Doily tomorrow. Till next time.