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.