Knitting

Fa Fa Fa Socks WIP

Fa Fa Fa Socks - WIP

Nearly one Fa Fa Fa Sock down. Yeesh, these socks are high-maintenance! I think I finished the full pair of Honey Badgers in the time it’s taken me to do nearly one Fa Fa Fa sock. Though, to be fair, I did have to frog about 4″ worth of sock and start over: the cables in this pattern pull in the fabric so, so much more than I expected. I thought I took that into account when picking my needle size, but I couldn’t even get it over my heel. The fuss is so worth it though, I love uber-cabley-ness of them, and it makes them so cuddly and thick. Yum.

But hey, why isn’t there such a thing as a sock cable needle?! I was using the smallest cable needle of my wooden set and even that is a full millimeter size larger than the needles I’m using, so the stitches are a big pain to slide on and off. I had to order a new (plastic) one which is thinner, but what I’m imagining is a shorter cable needle, maybe 2″ long, so it’s not in the way for the small diameter of socks, and about 2.5mm-ish thick. It’d have to be out of some kind of strong-ass wood, but I think it can be done. Hey, KnitPicks / KnitPro: make it so and send me one, k? Thanks.

FO: Honey Badger Socks

FO: Honey Badger Socks

Another obsessively knit FO to show today, though I actually finished these Honey Badger Socks on Sunday – a speedy, wonderfully mindless knit. The yarn is Red Heart Stardust, which was a gift from my Aunt in the States and I love it. It’s not a fancypants yarn, but the color is lovely and it sparkles, yo! Who doesn’t love sparkles?! Besides, I need the 25% nylon to help protect my handknit socks from the evil carpeting in my house, so I hoard up sock yarns with the nylon content. And I love being able to throw my socks in the wash with the rest of my laundry – any yarn with nylon content always comes out of my normal, not-at-all-gentle wash looking good as new.

FO: Honey Badger Socks

So anyway, laundry tips aside, this project pretty much rocked: fast, easy, addictive, fun yarn. You know how sometimes you watch a movie and you enjoy it so much, you really want to follow it with something exactly like it? I’ve already cast on for for a pair of Fa Fa Fa Socks in the hopes that it’ll be just like the Honey Badgers!

FO: Zilver

Zilver FO

Blocked, and ready for … well, the long-awaited emergence of Spring. Ah well, I’ve never really one to be practical about knitting timing. I usually just knit what I feel like when I feel like it, and then wear them when I get around to it. What are you gonna do? The heart wants what it wants.

This project was exactly what I was looking for when I cast on last week – it came from my drawer of quick, no-stress projects and it did its job beautifully. The pattern is Zilver by Lisa Mutch – I really can’t recommend it enough! It’s the perfect balance of mindless and clever, which I totally think is the secret to the best knitting patterns. I suspect that most knitting is done in search of that balance – wanting to achieve the knitting calm with enough interest to keep the knitter entertained or learning something new. And that’s also the secret, I think, to the most wearable handknits – something fairly simple, but with a touch of unique detail.

Zilver FO

I knit the first two-thirds of this shawl in a day, then the last sections over about two evenings. My single problem with the project was in my yarn choice: I decided to use my own hand-dyed yarn (a fingering weight alpaca / merino blend dyed specifically for a project that didn’t work out) and only remembered that its yardage was quite short when I’d already gotten too far to turn back. Knitter’s denial made me think I might make it to the end anyway; of course, I did not. I had to skip the last stockinette section, so my shawl is smaller, and I used a similar sock yarn to do the last two rows and bind off. If you look closely, the substitute yarn is thinner and a different gray, but I really doubt it will be noticeable when I wear it.

Zilver FO

I also bound off too tightly (rookie mistake, I really do know better!) and had a tricky time with blocking, but whatever. I was determined not to let this project get stressy in any way so I just rolled with it and, whaddya know?, it worked out fine. It’s pretty and drapey and snuggle-licious, and that’s what’s really important in life, right?

Zilver FO

A Small Bout Of Knitting Startitis

I don’t know if you guys are all knitters as well as stitchers, etc, but I find there to be an especially relaxing, hypnotic quality to knitting that just can’t be beat when you need to not think about things. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my needlecrafts, but in times of stress, I always crave knitting above anything else.

Zilver shawl - FO, unblocked

I think this is somehow similar to the way I’m drawn to really trashy books when something big is going on – I couldn’t put down Valley Of The Dolls when I moved and had no idea what I was going to do. When my father was in the hospital (he’s fine now), I read a thriller bestseller that was so stupid, I don’t even remember the title. There’s something about really dumb books that allow you to become completely absorbed and forget the rest of the world.

Zilver shawl - FO, unblocked

And so it is also with knitting – once you get into a pattern, your muscle memory takes over and you can knit away for hours without thinking about it once. Not that things have been *bad* stressful exactly, just that there’s a lot going on and I’ve been wanting my crafting to allow me to zone out. With Oscar’s surgery (he’s now healing beautifully), my knitting submissions, getting a cold, a problem with my laptop, being overtired from my (awesome) holiday, etc. It’s just been a lot this week! And all I’ve wanted is for my evening crafty time not to be.

So on Monday I allowed myself a day of self-pity, wallowing in the fact that both of my knitting patterns submissions were rejected (sigh), and I missed out on another opportunity I desperately wanted. I just sat and knitted and felt sorry for myself. I’ve bounced back fine, but it was nice to wallow.

Honey Badger Socks WIP

And the knitting was nice, too – relaxing, exactly what I needed. So I knit some more. I finished a sock that’s been neglected for six months. I started its partner. And I just couldn’t help myself, I cast on for another pair of socks as well.

And now? I’m off to nurse my cold and do some knitting.

(The patterns above are Zilver by Lisa Mutch and Honey Badger Socks by Irishgirlieknits. You can see more about these projects on Ravelry, but I’ll also do proper FO posts when they’re finished / blocked.)

Real Life.

Crashed the heck out in my lap.

I share so much of the everyday regular-old-life stuff over on Instagram and Twitter that I really neglect it here. If you’re one of the few readers that I don’t know for real or that I chat with on either of those places, I suppose I’m just a never-ending stream of half-finished projects. Which I kind of am. But there’s other stuff sometimes too, and these last two weeks have been a bit of a doozy.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a lump on the back of my darling Oscar’s (pictured above) back. I didn’t worry about it too much right away, but I knew I had to keep a close eye on it. When it didn’t disappear after a week or so, I thought he better get it seen to since I’m going to be going away for a week and didn’t want to leave it until after that. I dreaded it though, because we’ve come to not really trust our usual vet, suspecting him of tacking on costs that aren’t really necessary, or put your little creature under too much stress, taking advantage of your concern.

As predicted, that vet did exactly that, so we took the estimate away and decided to get a second opinion. The dear Mrs. Suzy Sewing gave me an awesome recommendation for a new vet who I felt immediately comfortable with.

So my gorgeous little bear had surgery on Monday and since he’s an older gentleman – 16 this spring – it’s always a scary thing. Oscar’s been with me for so long, I can’t bear to think about life without him – we do everything together. He sleeps in a ball next to me, sits on my lap while I knit, waits for me at the door when I come home. We’re inseparable. But he did great! He’s remarkably healthy and strong and came through the surgery like it wasn’t no thang, and is now recovering with barely a change in his normal behavior. What an amazing boy. (The photo above is him totally crashed out last night, getting good rest in after a long couple of days.) It was a terrifying few days that I’m still exhausted – physically and emotionally – from. But so so so relieved. I wish I could just spend the next three days scratching his brave little head and giving him snuggles.

At the same time, I submitted two knitting pattern proposals to be considered for publication! Eep! I don’t know how it’ll really feel if they are rejected, but at the moment I’m thinking it’d be ok. If they are, I’ll keep working on them and stick ’em up on Ravelry anyway. But I had to just jump in and give it a go, because if I stick with the crafty world, there’s going to be submissions and that sort of thing in my future and I can’t get anywhere being afraid of them. I don’t know if the pattern ideas will be what they’re looking for at all, but I can at least say that I’m really proud of the quality of my submission itself, and that’s something, right?

Phew. So how have you guys been?

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