Summer 2014 knitting projects: non-sweaters

I really wanted to keep up some knitting/spinning content here so I am going to let ‘er rip with a quick summary of what I’ve been up to knitting-wise.

First, a quick note…I just wanted to record here for posterity that I entered a few handspun yarns in our area fair. I was so gratified to find that they won 4 blue ribbons! (First place, but in the Danish system, which just means the judges didn’t feel the need to deduct more than 10 points for faults — there were many blue ribbons, on many beautiful yarns.) I also won a Merit Award, which I believe was the only rosette given to a handspun skein this year. I was pretty pleased.

Okay, but knitting content. So, my knitting stalled right along with my spinning and blogging this year. But when I inventoried my fiber stash in June, I also poked around in my yarn. I remembered the dreams and plans I’d had for yarns and patterns, and started to feel inspiration well up. Before I knew it, I’d unearthed WIPs, frogged projects that had no hope of being finished, and cast on like a mad thing. When I began, I was mostly motivated to knit down stash since I didn’t want to go through the hassle of selling. But along the way I think I’ve rekindled some serious knit love, as well as shedding a lot of negative feelings (about knitting for myself, about having multiple WIPs, and so on.)

Of particular note, after 10.5 years of semi-regular knitting, I have finally cast on some sweaters for MEEE! It’s extremely thrilling.

But in the process I’ve also found that it’s pretty important for me to have a sock on the needles for every member of the family. It keeps me in mindless portable projects, which is terrific for car rides and swim lessons and doctors’ offices. Here’s the current family of socks.

july-socks-progress

For DD, some purple striped socks that *barely* fit her now, I started them over two years ago so it will be a miracle if they go on her feet at all, but I am ready to close the toe on the second one now so I soldier on. For DS, he selected this red/green/brown McIntosh colorway from Huckleberry Knits, because “it will be Christmas by the time the socks are done,” but admonished me to add plenty of growing room — his last socks had to be frogged because he outgrew them. D’oh. The Willow BFL/nylon sock base is delightful to knit. For DH, the infamous husband socks. I bought the Fiber Optic merino/cashmere/nylon at Sock Summit 2011, modified Priscilla’s Dream Socks with a manly mock cable rib, and have been working on them on and off ever since, getting bitten or attacked by the knitting as well as suffering from bouts of apathy. And then the socks for me, which are mostly handspun, yay! At Sock Summit I took a class from Judith Mackenzie called Fleece on your Feet, and took four wool samples home. For Tour de Fleece 2012 I combed and spun them all up into 3-ply worsted-spun sock yarns, but there they have sat subject to my indecision about how to incorporate them into socks: all in one pair? In several pairs? Scientific analysis with variables controlled or just something I can wear? Finally in June I cast on, planning four separate socks with the handspun covering as much as possible of the ball of the foot and the heel while the rest of the sock was made up of Damselfly Sturdy Sheep or Gnomespun Phouka (high-twist 4-ply merino/nylon that I think might actually be the same base.) In the photo is sock #3, from Wedding Cake the Lopez Special Romney X, with Gnomespun Ouranos.

I also started a little scarf with a lace border, Chic Knits Alby from Huckleberry Knits merino/bison that’s been in stash for…ugh, nearly 3 years. This may be a gift or it may not, I refuse to spoil the knitting with deadlines. I just know it will be good to have this lovely yarn used…to the right of the photo, on top of the natural colored ball of yarn, is my blocked swatch. This yarn blocks BEAUTIFULLY. The pattern is pretty clever, you knit the lace border and then pick up along the side to knit the center of the scarf/shawlette in a modified crescent. It’s designed for alternating stripes but I’ll make it solid with the natural wool, or Fibonacci stripes, since I have less colored than natural wool.

alby-scarf-wip

In the name of stash-busting, I gathered together all the Cascade Eco Wool I’d picked up from my local yarn store before it closed, and cast it on for a giant cozy Elizabeth Zimmermann Garter-stitch Blanket (inspired by Jared Flood’s Big Squishy Lovefest). It’s so squishy! And the garter is going fast on US15 needles. I’m nearly done with the first modular piece.

garter-blanket-wip

And I think that will have to suffice for today! I will add more about my 3 started and 3 planned sweater projects in another post.

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