fingering weight


Sock yarn blanket update (aka. slower than cold molasses going uphill)

I’ve been pretty distracted knitting hats and various other smaller things lately that my sock yarn blanket has sort of hibernated.¬†In the living room it waited, judging me for not working on it, but finally I have resumed working on it. I’m enjoying it, too. It continues to be a very satisfying, enjoyable project to work on. It ticks off almost all of my “fun knitting” boxes:

  • fairly straightforward knitting that doesn’t require a ton of concentration
  • not TOTALLY mindless, takes a bit of focus to do the center decreases to make the mitered squares
  • doesn’t need a lot of constant stitch counting or stitch markers
  • frequent feelings of having finished something (I feel good after I finish each block)
  • I get to use lots of fun colours/yarn, and get to choose a new colour/yarn every 20 minutes or so
  • I can see my progress

I would LOVE to finish this blanket this year, and it would take so little to make that happen. Right now I’m at 264 blocks. If I knit just one block a day I would hit 400 blocks on June 24th. If I want to get to 500 blocks that would be done October 2nd! I can definitely manage 20 minutes a day to work on this, or alternatively (and more likely) I can sit down and knit a few a couple days a week. Suddenly this all seems so much more doable, eh? So I think that is my new plan. Knit at least 7 blocks per week.

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Back down the sock knitting rabbit hole

I’m grown up enough to be able to admit when I was wrong, or at least to admit that maybe I was a bit hasty coming to a particular conclusion. Back in February I declared that I did not like knitting socks and that it wasn’t something I had any interest in doing ever again, and at the time I suppose that was correct, but lately I’ve been rethinking this.

HaveAYarn.ca

image courtesy of HaveAYarn.ca

When I was in Nova Scotia visiting family my mother-in-law and I went on a little day trip to Mahone Bay and visited “Have A Yarn” yarn shop. Not my first time visiting this yarn shop – last summer my husband took me there as a special treat. They have a fantastic selection of different sock yarns and have a little knit swatch of all the different yarns so that you can get a sense of what the self-patterning yarn will knit up to be like. I actually had to laugh – when my mother in law was looking at the sock yarns with me she made the comment “Oh, what beautiful and detailed colourwork!”. It took me a second to realize that she didn’t know the yarns were all self patterning, and that the “detailed colourwork” was just the yarn! I explained it to her and she thought it was pretty nifty how the yarns do that. I have to agree – it is awesome knitting with a self patterning yarn because it oftentimes makes it look like you’re way better and meticulous than you actually are! Instant knitting swagger. ūüėČ

But I digress! On the Wall ‘o SockYarn I saw one particular swatch… Anyone remember Wayne’s World when he saw his dream guitar? Here, let me refresh your memory…

 

Regia 4-ply Design Line by Arne & Carlos "summer night"

Regia 4-ply Design Line by Arne & Carlos “summer night”

Yeah, that was me when I saw this one particular yarn. It is Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos in the Summer Night colourway. I don’t really get where the name came from, it looks FAR from “summer night”-y to me. More “Christmas at the Ski Chalet”. Seriously, the swatch had a real 70’s ski lodge vibe that was (to me) super campy but still really beautiful. To me it was/is too nice to use only in my sock yarn blanket, and I didn’t think the awesomeness of the yarn would really come through in one little square, so there was nothing for it…

Time to try knitting socks again!

I’m cheap and didn’t want to buy two balls of the Regia¬†so I bought one ball of the patterned and one (less expensive) ball of grey to go with it, the plan being to make the toe box, heel, and upper cuff of the sock in the complimentary grey. In general I like to do a contrasting toe/heel colour when using self patterning yarns, just to break it up a bit and add a bit of contrast.

Well, I don’t know if it is because I have gotten VERY comfortable using teeny tiny sock needles thanks to my sock yarn blanket, but knitting these socks is going very well and turning out awesome! The yarn is exactly as awesome as I hoped it would be, and the actual knitting of the sock is way more fun and way faster than I remembered. The heel is already turned in the first one and is pretty solid too. Over all this sock is going great!

Oh, and I may have bought another fancier more expensive skein of hand dyed sock yarn as well, but that is the subject of a later post… ūüôā

 


How do you knit a sock yarn blanket? One square at a time.

174 blocks!

174 blocks!

Slow going. Sweet mercy, is it ever slow going! And it isn’t for any reason other than I haven’t been spending much time knitting lately (as I said previously), and when I have done some knitting it has been mostly on dinky little filler projects, like my dishcloths or a knitted headband thing I threw together to keep my bangs back when the humidity was making my hair frizz and tickle my face. I have done some work on my sock yarn blanket, though, and I am creeping ever closer to the 200 square mark. Since I’m now thinking it will be about 800 blocks to finish this blanket at the size I want, crossing 200 squares and hitting the 25% done mark will be significant.

Yarn Chicken 
Noun
Knitting with a very limited amount of yarn and risking that you won’t¬†be able to finish it before the yarn runs out.

  • 174 blocks! 26 more and I’ll be at 200!! Whee!
  • I still continue to be way too hung up on yarn randomness, and spend way too much time choosing the yarn for the next block. On one hand¬†I think taking the time to ensure the yarns are well randomized and ensuring I don’t create pockets of similarly coloured blocks is well worth it. But then, on the other hand this is a SOCK YARN BLANKET, not some sort of oeuvre d’art¬†upon which I shall be forever judged against. But then back to the first hand I know that if I DO end up creating too-closely repeating pockets of colour/yarn I will forever see it and it will drive me absolutely bonkers and I will be angry with myself for allowing it to happen while I was making it.
  • I played yarn chicken this week and lost. See that big square at the top of the blanket, going from chocolate brown to pink to a greeny yellow? Yeah, I started knitting that big block from one of my small balls hoping that it would be enough for a big one. About half way through I started getting very worried, my little ball of yarn was dwindling quickly. Sure enough, with only a handful of rows left, the ball was done. I finished the square off with some beige (trying to keep with the earthy tones), and I think it looks alright. I don’t think you’d know it was a different yarn unless I pointed it out.
  • My step son (who out of the blue picked me a super pretty bouquet this evening) continues to be impressed to hell by this blanket. He thinks it looks really “tricky”, and I totally blew his mind when I explained that the stripes and patterns in all of the squares were super easy to do, that the yarn did all the work by changing colours. I showed him one of the balls of yarn and how the colour changed, and then showed him a block I had done in that yarn. He was pretty¬†shocked (for lack of a better description). He did the whole mouth agape scrunch eyed “WTF!” expression and everything. ha ha

It’s been two days since I last picked up my needles

Home Alone ScreamSee, THIS is why knitting should be the driver behind most of my decisions! I based my decisions upon other things, and look! Look what happened! I haven’t knit¬†for two whole days!!! I mentioned this fact to my husband last night in bed and he was pretty surprised, and he even did a fairly respectable impersonation of Kevin from Home Alone.

Anyway, I don’t have much to post about because of this, but here is a picture of the progress I have made on my Fellowship of the Shawl. Took out a couple of the now unneeded lifelines so that they aren’t cluttering up the lace design. I’m about a third of the way through Aragorn and loving how it is looking!

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Spotlight: Shirley Brian Yarns

I am always keeping an eye out for new and fabulous gradient yarns, and, as I have said in the past, I do have people in my family who are allergic to wool, so non-wool gradients are pretty appealing.

Flashdance - Shirley Brian Yarns - http://shirleybrian.com/

Flashdance – Shirley Brian Yarns (http://shirleybrian.com/)

Today I discovered Shirley Brian Yarns – it is 100% cotton fingering yarn and it comes in quite a spread of different colour gradients.¬†It looks pretty similar to¬†Wolle’s Color Changing Cotton, a yarn that I have experience using and like rather a lot, though if I have one complaint about Wolle’s it would be how limited the supply is, and therefore difficult it is to get your hands on the nicest colourways. You also have to place your order by email and just sort of hope your selection is still in stock. Shirley Brian Yarns sells their yarn directly online so (presumably) you’ll know immediately if you’re placing an order for something in stock. On top of that¬†it is made in Canada and there seems to be a larger selection of colourways.

Speaking of colourways, I am absolutely in LOVE with a couple of them. Wolle’s has some really nice colourways, but I am really drawn to¬†the colourways Shirley Brian Yarns offers. The bright, super saturated, high impact¬†colour transitions appeal to me more than more subdued ones, and Shirley Brian Yarns has some pretty phenomenal colourways (especially Flashdance (acid green – mauve – jeweled purple)… LOVE IT!).

The one thing I am unsure of is whether they offer smaller balls of end colour in case your project takes a bit more than one ball. It is one thing that Wolle’s does that I find pretty hugely convenient, so if Shirley Brian Yarns doesn’t that would be the only downside I can see.