Diamond Gansey begins….

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Swatched the Shibui Sock yarn for the Diamond Gansey Socks and (wonders never cease) got guage with the suggested needle size. I really like this yarn. I love the very soft tone on tone variegation and I love how, tightly twisted it seems but with so much bounce and squishyness.
To be honest, when I bought the yarn I didn’t care for it too very much.  I was very into variegated yarns and bright colors at the time, so this seemed tame and boring in comparison. I boug by it to make a pair of socks for my mother and I just never found the right pattern for them. I decided to make Mom something a little more luxurious,  a blend with some cashmere or alpaca…something fuzzy and oh so soft. Here I am, though, a few years later and I’ve fallen for the yarn completely.  I’m so ready to cast on but I committed myself to at least one repeat of the Bubble Haze Shawl (formerly WendyKnits MKAL) before anything else. I have 8 repeats to go and then I’m done with it. Time to crank out a little shawl knitting so that I can get the Gansey ‘ s cast-on.

Cobweb Lace

First and foremost I have to be a total dork and squee about 14 new followers, this week. Thank you, all of you, for being interested in the things I rattle on about. I hope I will continue to interest you.  Are people more interested in reading strictly about knitting or does a smattering of personal life stories make the blog a little more interesting? Personally I like to feel like I’m getting to know the blogger a little bit better.  I’ve always wondered how other people feel about that. What can I say, lol, I wonder about weird things…
Onto the knitterly goodness.  I’m looking for opinions today.  I was going through my yarn drawers (I really need to do a stash flash) last night. It always cheers me up or calms me down or just makes me happy.  I found myself sitting on the floor fondling my lace weight yarn. It seems to me that there are 2 kinds of lace yarn:  There’s the lace weight that has some substance and feels more like fingering, but it’s finer than that. Then there is the stuff that is SO fine. That’s the yarn I find myself drawn to. I’ve never knit with yarn that fine, but I want to.  I need a 2nd project to work on and I think it needs to be fine lace…after all the Gansey Socks should be my relaxing knit.

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These are the yarns dragging me to the fine side of knitting…lol.

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This is The Great Adirondack Yarn Co.’s Cobwebs in the Pineapple Polly colorway.  It’s 865 yds. of amazing color. I’m in love with it.

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This one is The Alpaca Yarn Co.’s Suri Elegance in the gorgeous Spring Frost colorway. 875 yards of gorgeous.
I’m obsessed now…lol. I’m looking for suggestions for a project worthy of a beautiful cobweb yarn like these. Not a full blown amazing shawl like Shipwreck or Evenstar, not ready for that. I’m looking for something that will give me a taste of working with yarn this fine. My goal, one day, is to complete Shipwreck (I’ve already got the yarn and beads, just not the confidence). Can’t wait to see what you come up with for suggestions. Thanks in advance…

Almost Done and Almost Started

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Here is the MKAL….I’ve started calling it the bubblegum shawl and have no idea why, lol. I’m just starting the 9th repeat of an 18 repeat section and then other than a light blocking it’s ready to be wrapped up for Christmas and put up.  One gift down…actually the only knitted gift unless I get REALLY motivated between now and then.

As I’ve said, I’m on a quest for knowledge. I want to learn (and understand the mechanics of) techniques I use without understanding them as well as completely new techniques. In that spirit I’ve chosen a gansey sock pattern. It’s something I’ve never done, it’s a beautiful pattern that will show off the yarn I’ve chosen (Shibui Knits Sock). The pattern is Diamond Gansey Socks from Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson.  I’m planning to photo document my progress on this project, so here is the first pic of Ancient Coal Ganseys…

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Knitting Epiphanies

I’ve had a knitting epiphany.  I have always been the kind of knitter that follows a pattern exactly as written and never strays from it for design purposes.   Frankly, I think I had/have little to no confidence in my ability to step away from the pattern and try to use what I’ve learned over the years.

That stops now, though.  I was looking for a sock pattern that caught my eye for a particular yarn (Acid and Weed sock) and in the process started looking at the different sock books I have.  Many of which I haven’t looked at since I first bought them, long before I was even ready to knit socks. So I’m reading through the different books and their advice, instruction and explanations for parts of sock knitting and it was like it finally hit me.  I actually UNDERSTOOD parts of the construction and can see a
ETA: I obviously sent before I meant to. The main point though, is that I’m going to spend a lot less time mindlessly saying “ooh…pretty…” and more learning the reason that knitting works like it does. I don’t know that I’ll ever design anything fabulous, or anything at all, but I will understand how design works.

Inspire me

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While working on WendyKnits MKAL my eyes have been drawn to this yarn over and over again. I finally had to look it up on Ravelry. When knit into a plain vanilla sock pattern it seems to have an almost zebra – print like appearance. 
I’d love any inspiration from all of you. What sock pattern, or other pattern, will do this beautiful yarn justice?

Throw Me a Line

A lifeline, that is.  I’ve known about, and used lifelines on and off through my knitting life.  I know how useful they can be and that they can save a project (especially a lace one) but they have always seemed like such a pain in the rear to me, especially on projects that have a ton of stitches.  So I’ve been generally lazy about them and then I make a mistake with a lace row/round and b/c the only lifeline is WAY down at the bottom of the project, I end up tearing the whole thing out and starting over, frogging the whole thing or putting it aside until I “figure out how to fix it” even though I know I never will.

So with this MKAL I’ve been working on, I’m using a lifeline faithfully at the end of every repeat.  Of course I’ve missed a few times, but it’s been okay.  I’ve discovered, though, that even in a fairly simple pattern like this, if you are going to do ANYTHING else while working it, lifelines are not only recommended, but IMO they are necessary.  I’ve had to rip back to my last lifeline at least 4 times during the course of the project. I have never been so grateful as I was the last time.  If I had been my usual lifeline skipping self I fear this shawl would have been gone a LONG time ago.  LOL  I would much rather take the few minutes extra to add a lifeline rather than having to rip out entire sections of this.

It was supposed to be a really quick knit, but it ended up being a summer through fall project.  Hell, it takes me 2 months to make a pair of socks.  I tend to have knitting ADD and I want to work on a million things at once, but then nothing at all gets finished.  So now I’m working on MKAL only until I finish it.  Fingers crossed. My deadline is Novermber 10th and I’m hoping to be able to crank out at least the 2nd sock to the pair I started for Brad almost 2 years ago.  Sadly, it’s sport weight, plain vanilla and only a cuff sock.  I actually finished the pair earlier this year, but the 2nd one came out very different from the first and I am trying very hard to motivate enough to knit it….again.