12 January 2018

Final FO of 2017 and Grand Finale Mosaic

If you had told me that during 2017, I would finish one sweater and make another from start to finish, I would have wondered what you were smoking.  But I managed to surprise myself by doing just that.  As you know if you've been reading a while, the long saga of my Cranberry Custom Fit Sweater was finally completed this past October.  That was amazing enough.  But then, I started another one - that makes TWO items of clothing - who am I???

So before I move on to 2018 knits (which so far do not exist), I wanted to show you the FO of the aforementioned second item of clothing.  

(lace detail of lower hem)

Project:  For the Birds Top (why do I call it that? You can find out here.)
Pattern:  Main Street, by Megan Nodecker
Yarn:  Quince & Co. Tern, colorway Dusk, 4.25 skeins
Needles:  US size 4 and 5
Modifications:  I did make the sleeves a tiny bit longer than the pattern directed.

Notes:  I have absolutely nothing but love for this project.  From start to finish, it was a happy event.  Granted, I had to cast on 200+ stitches several times, and I got about 1 inch into it when I realized it was twisted, but once I got back on track, all systems were go.  

I'm not sure where I first saw this pattern, but I immediately loved it, and decided I was gonna give it a try.  The little bit of lace detail at the bottom would be a challenge, but I decided I could do it (and I did!).  The pattern is really clear, really well-written, and at no point do you have to say, "Wait - where was I" or "OMG this is sooo confusing!" - which for me, happens way more than it should!  

The yarn was just lovely to work with, so soft, never splitty, never knotted.  And the skeins were easily windable, which sadly, is not always the case.  The color is a kind of lavender gray - I think it will look slightly different depending on the light, but also what you wear with it.

I will definitely knit this pattern again.

When I went to buy needles to use, the only in the cable length I needed that they had in stock were the Lykke needles that everyone has been talking about.  They were reasonably and comparably priced, and I liked them a lot.  They were smooth and the joins to the cable were not in any way problematic.

The absolutely best part - the FO fits me perfectly!  To quote The Tim, "It looks like it was made for you. [brief pause ] Oh, wait ..."  It's really comfortable, and I can see wearing it quite a bit.

I'm adding the photo below because it's my favorite of the ones taken, even though it's blurry.  Jack didn't want anything to happen where he might be left out!

2017 was a pretty amazing year for me, knitting-wise.  I knit more things than ever in my life - 11 pairs of socks, 2 shawls (WHAT??)), 2 sweaters (COME ON!!), a hat, and a pair of fingerless mitts with individual fingers.  I also tackled lace and some colorwork, and lived to tell the tale.  :-)  Here is a little photo mosaic I made of my projects.

(From left to right:  Box o' Socks, Baa-ble Hat, Annoying Pumpkins, Mixed Berries Socks, Bridget's SS# Socks, Fradentical Holly Berry Socks, Summertime Solar Socks, Ms. Dumbledore Socks, Park Slope Blackbird Shawl, Hannah Socks, Cranberry Custom Fit Sweater, Texture Blue Socks, Tim's Fingerless Mitts, Mojito Socks, Scattered Wishes Shawl, Weird Colorblock Socks, Winter Berries Socks, For the Birds Top.  All details for these on Ravelry.)

I'm pleased that I challenged myself, and that I kept going.  I learned some new skills and tricks, and gave myself a real boost in confidence with my knitting.  I have to tell you, this was the best part of 2017 for me, which was otherwise a questionable year (at best) overall.  

How about you?  Was last year a good knitting year for you?

I hope that 2018 makes me as happy to think about by this time next year.

Have a good weekend!

08 January 2018

In Which I Decide To Try For Another Box o' Socks in 2018

Apparently, the Box 'o Socks activity - whereby knitters try to knit at least 12 pairs of socks that they keep in a box until January of the following year - has been around for a while now; however, I only heard of it once I started watching the Yarngasm knitting podcast.  (The link takes you to Kristin's review of everyone's 2017 efforts.  She manages the official KAL.)

As you know, I seldom participate in any "official" KALs, because inevitably, I feel [my own self-imposed] pressure, and have even occasionally failed to knit anything at all related to said KAL.  But this one just sounded like fun, and I enjoyed seeing everyone's socks, both on Ravelry and on podcasts.  So for 2017, I decided I was going to give it a try, but "unofficially."  And I surprised myself by completing 11 pairs over the course of the year, which are now out of the box and in my sock drawer (except for the holiday pair, put away with my other Christmas socks for next December).

Two of these pairs (the Winter Berry socks on the far left and the Fradentical Holly Socks wouldn't have qualified for the official KAL anyway, since that requires socks knit from fingering/sock yarn only.  They qualify for me, 'cause I did my own thing, which is what you can do really with any knitting endeavor, but I digress ...

So anyhoo, I've given it some thought, and I'm gonna unofficially participate again this year.  For one thing, it really motivated me to do more knitting in general; it provided a great opportunity for using stash - only the Mojito socks (top, third from left) were knit from newly-purchased yarn; it made me try more patterns also in my pattern stash, which allowed me to learn some new things; and, possibly the best of all, it was so much fun to have 11 new pairs of socks, and the reminders of what/when/where I knitted them, that it made my really happy!

I've also decided that I'm going to do my own thing again this year, and even add another factor:  I'm going to try and make at least two pairs for The Tim.  Not just because he deserves them, but because it will mean I'll knit them without waiting until the last minute for his birthday or Christmas, and they'll be right there and ready.

I know Dee said she might give the Box o' Socks a try, so it will be fun to see what she knits.  I really had fun with it last year, and hope to enjoy it all even more this time around.

Will I make 12 pairs this year?  Will any actually be for The Tim?  Will I make even one pair?  Will I ever learn?

You'll just have to stay tuned ...

06 January 2018

Another FO With a Mistake, But It's For me So That's Fine

Well, apparently this was the Christmas Where Bridget Was Distracted While Knitting, because today's FO has a couple of weird mistakes.  However, since I was making these for myself, I decided not to sweat it.

Pattern:  Simple Holly Socks, by Mary Dominski
Needles:  Size US4
Yarn:  Blackberry Ridge Woolens Northwoods (discontinued, I think) in the colorways Blackberry, Green, and White
Modifications:  None that were intentional ...

Notes:  I bought a kit for these a LONG time ago, when I first learned to knit, and decided that if you could knit Christmas socks, I wanted to learn to knit socks! (And the rest, of course, is history.)  The kit sat for many years; last year, I actually wound the yarn, but did nothing about it.  Then I decided this year was the year.

First off, let me say that I do really like this pattern, and will likely make it again.  But OMG, the yarn in the kit was the WORST.  It is a 50/50 cotton-wool blend, with absolutely no give, and really hard  on the hands to use.  I also suspect it will not wear well.  Also, in the kit there was a HUGE amount of the main color, and the white, and barely enough to make sure you could do the sections with green.  

As you can see, one sock has two white rounds at the top that are noticeable but nothing near the foot.  That's the one I knit first, and I think I was so anxious to get it finished, and be closer to being done with the yarn, I completely forgot to do the final rows of white.

The other sock has the white rounds at the top that are barely visible, and I know what happened with both of them.  The first round (above the holly) I was doing as I was watching the Army/Navy football game, which ended up being a nail biter to the very end!  The next day, I was knitting while watching the Eagles/Rams game, also a nail biter to the very end!  However, I didn't notice that I'd done one round instead of two until I was at the heel.  And no way was I ripping back!  I did, however, remember to do the two white rounds near the toe.  

So, they are not quite fraternal twins, nor are they identical, hence the name "fradentical."  They are the final pair for my 2017 Box o' Socks, and I'll have them for Christmas next year.:-)

I do have another FO from 2017 to show you, once I get some photos of it, which will hopefully be this week.  In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend, and the last day of Christmas!

05 January 2018

An FO and Ruined Christmas Averted!

As I'm sure you could tell from reading my blog over the past month or so, or if you had talked to me in person, awfulness and stress at my work increased a hundredfold during the month of December.  To the point where, if I dropped my comb in the morning while getting ready, I'd have a ten-minute crying jag and just want to get back into bed. 

The only thing that saved me was that it was Christmastime, which you may also have noticed, is a time I really do love.

Anyway, by the time I got into December, the only 2017 projects that I had waiting to be finished were the fingerless mitts I was making for The Tim, my Holly Berry Socks, and my For the Birds sweater top.  I was really hoping I'd get them all completed, but I *definitely* wanted to finish the mitts, since they were a gift.  With everything else going on and other preparations, I didn't get to them as soon as I'd thought I would.  But since I only had the thumb on the second one to do, and then weave in the ends, I wasn't really too worried.

Well, I did successfully finish them, gift them, and they have been admired and already worn a lot.  All's well that ends well, right?  

It was *getting* to that ending that is the story ...

Project:  Tim's Christmas Mitts
Pattern:  Iron Horse Mitts, by Emily Butzi
Needles:  US size 2 (cuff ribbing) and 3 (remainder of mitt)
Yarn:  Reflections at Roclans Out of the Dyepot Merino Fingering; no colorway or dye lot listed, but the color is (obviously) green.  I think I received this yarn a while back in a swap.
Modifications:  The pattern is written for US size 2 needles throughout; I wanted a tight cuff, so I used the size 2 for that and size three for the rest of the mitt, so they would be comfortable but not restricting.

Notes:  Well, as you can see, they fit The Tim's hands and look just fine.  (You will also notice he is incapable of having a photo of a knitting project that he is wearing just be a normal photo.  No, that won't do.)  I will say from the get-go that the pattern is worth purchasing, and is really, really well-written and understandable, making it an enjoyable project.  And the yarn is truly wonderful - soft, strong, not splitty at all, and just lovely to use.

So ... back to getting these finished.  Saturday, December 23, I woke up at my usual time, which is hours earlier than The Tim gets up.  The last day of work had been the day before, and I was feeling so great, and so happy, and so relaxed, that I decided I would knit that last thumb right then.  That would give me time to weave in the ends, give the mitts a mist to block them, and then later that day or the next, I could wrap them up.  

I pulled out the first one, so that I would have it at the ready and not frantically start looking for it at the last-minute.  Then I pulled out the one that only needed the thumb.  

The second one was SO SMALL and SO TIGHT that it wouldn't have even fit one of the cats!  I kept setting it on top of the other one, and putting my hand over it, like somehow that would make it grow.  I really couldn't register what was happening.  At least not right away.

Apparently, I was so distracted, anxious, and depressed when I had been knitting the second one, I had made a fingerless mitt for a gnome, or leprechaun, or any other tiny character you can imagine - and I didn't even notice it!

Now - even two days before then, this would have caused me to spiral downwards quickly, lose my s**t altogether, and it would have ruined ALL of Christmas for me.  But given when it happened and my state of mind, I just laughed really hard until I cried.  And I couldn't wait to tell The Tim the story.

I wrapped up the one mitt, put the other one out of my sight, and just forged ahead.  When he opened it on Christmas Day, he said, "Oh wow, this is great!  I'll admit I'd hoped for a pair, though."  We had a good laugh over it, and later that afternoon I cast on the second one again.  In two more days, it was completed, correctly sized, and without any drama.  

So far I haven't been able to find the mini one I put out of my sight.  I know I didn't toss it, because I wanted to show it to him eventually, but right now I have no idea in the world where it is.  

And that, my friends, is the story of this FO, and how it happened at a time when it became a funny story, rather than a tragedy that ruined Christmas ... :-)  A true example of how timing makes all the difference.

Have a good last weekend of Christmastime!

04 January 2018

Three Happy Things

Getting to work today was a true challenge.  Conditions were really treacherous, and my usual 20-minute walk took over an hour. Fortunately, there were *very* few cars on the road, so that was definitely a plus.  I know it's gonna get worse before it gets better, so I am already not treasuring the idea of making my way home later.  Windy snow in the face is painful, you know?  

Having said that, I will say that I am glad we are not having another wimpy winter.  I don't want people to be killed, etc. as a result of the snow and ridiculously low temperatures, but as a person who was aggravated by temperatures in the 70s during November, I feel like at least things are the way they should be now, if a bit extreme.  What can I say, I'm not a warm/hot weather person ...

In any event, today I am sharing a post for Three on Thursday, and it's about three things that were especially pleasing to me during Christmastime.

I very seldom purchase something myself and then give it to The Tim to wrap up as a Christmas gift, but this year was an exception.  I saw these two yarns and this project bag in two different Etsy stores, and decided that I really wanted to have them.  So I bought them, and then gave them to him to wrap up for me.  The best part was, between then and Christmas, I'd completely forgotten about any of it, so it was a complete surprise when I opened the box he'd put them into together.

The Rudolph project bag is from MollyKleinDesign, and just seeing it makes me so happy.  The yarns pictured are both from SweetSparrowYarns, and I'm sure you will understand why I ordered them when you see the names.  On your left is Rudolph and Clarice, and on the right is Yukon Cornelius.  It's like she got into my brain and made yarn based on one of my most favorite things in the world!  I saw the colorways in her shop after the holidays last year, and sent her a note asking if she made them every year.  She responded yes, and that she was even considering down the road adding more based on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" - be still my heart!  So this year when I saw the listings, I got them as soon as I got paid.  Right now, I'm thinking that Rudolph and Clarice will become a pair of Christmas socks for me, and I'll make a pair for The Tim in the Yukon Cornelius colorway.  Happy happy happy!

I don't remember where or when I first hear about this book, but once I saw it and read about it, I knew that it was something I wanted to have.  It's a small book in physical size, but oh, the treasures inside!  She writes about books and libraries, and how they helped to inspire the patterns included.  I mean, come on, how could I not love this book?  Even just looking through it makes me feel happy and calm, as the settings for the photographs are gorgeous.  I pre-ordered it, and coming from Europe, it took a while to arrive even once published, but it was well worth it.  Karie Westermann seems like someone who would you could sit and drink tea with while discussing books and knitting - throw in an animal for company, and I would be in nirvana!

The third thing that is happy to me has already been mentioned here, but I'm including it nonetheless.  I had bought some yarn at Loop a few months back with a particular project in mind.  It hadn't been wound into balls, or even taken  out of the bag, since I didn't want to even consider getting started on said project until after the holidays were over, and I'd finished my 2017 knitting.  Last week when I pulled it out to prepare to get started, I realized that although I still liked it well enough, I didn't feel the love, you know?  So I returned it!  I now have a gift card to use for whatever I decide to buy in the future.  This is really exciting to me, because even though I did in fact spend the money already a few months ago, when I want to use the gift card, I'll feel like whatever I am buying is free!  (Yes, that's how my mind works.)  The anticipation is as much fun as eventually using it will probably be.  :-)

Have a good day, everyone, and stay as safe and warm as you can!