Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Emergency hat

My g'daughter lost her primary winter hat, so g'ma to the rescue with a quick pink knit. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it before gifting it. If I someday do get a pic, I will post it, just for reference. (Editor's note: added photo.)

Pattern: Basic Hat Pattern, by Ann Budd
Yarn: Cascade 220, colorway 9478 (pink)
Needles: US8
Modifications: I didn't follow the pattern directions very closely - details are here on Ravelry

Which brings me to a dilemma. I try to keep track of project details on Ravelry, then use those notes to create a blog post. It feels like a duplication of effort, so I am contemplating just using Ravelry in the future instead of blogging about my FOs. Still contemplating this issue. Any thoughts on the subject?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

3 days until xmas

This is the LAST handknit xmas gift for 2014. It is blocking as I write. I need to give the xmas socks a good soak to plump up the stitches, but otherwise I am DONE (unless I decide to whip up something extra for the g'daughter, like a hat, as she lost one).

Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf, by Jared Flood
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, colorway 357
Needles: US9
Modifications: I used only one colorway but knit from two skeins at a time, staggering the color shifts. Also, I used a provisional cast on and joined the ends to make it a moebius. Grafting instructions for ribbing may be found at Techknitting.

I draped this around my neck while preparing to soak it - MMM! Very soft and warm and cuddly. I may have to make one of these for myself. When I am done with my fiber diet. Which right now appears to be NEVER. Many stash-busting projects are lined up for 2015.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Do you get stuck at certain points of knitting projects? I certainly do, which is where I am right now. Most of these sticking points are repeat offenders: seams on sweaters, thumbs on mittens, grafting ribbing or garter stitch, buttons.

I have a sweater that I started in 2008, finished knitting and blocking, that has yet to be pieced together. There are three sweaters I wear despite having no closures; I recently purchased a zipper for one and buttons for another, but the third defies a definitive solution. My granddaughter's belated birthday sweater lacks only buttons, which I have but have not sewn on. My first colorwork, a pair of mittens, lacks one thumb. Another pair has not gotten past the first mitten, which also awaits a thumb. Then there is a ribbed moebius scarf that has yet to become an endless loop.

I hit snags when knitting socks - casting on toes, turning heels, binding off ribbing - but with a little peace and quiet, I can get past these. Projects that require a lot of counting can also grind to a halt, but eventually they move on. Anything fiddly, however, is my Waterloo.

What are your UFO hangups?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

13 days until xmas

Sometimes the finishing is the hardest part. I use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off for toe up socks, but for some reason I could not get into the rhythm right away. Eventually it came, but struggles like this make me feel like I am getting dumber and dumber.

Pattern: none to speak of
Yarn: ONLine Supersocke 6-fach Milano Color, colorway 1616 (grays)
Needles: US3
Details: Turkish cast on (12 stitches, increased to 56 stitches), stockinette for foot, gusset heel, stockinette for leg, 1x1 ribbing for cuff, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off

I refer to socks knit in DK as "boot socks" and made the legs a bit longer than usual. The foot came out a bit long, and the toes have "bunny ears". Not perfect but perfectly wearable by the intended recipient.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

14 days until xmas

We are coming down the homestretch now for homemade/handmade xmas gifts. I didn't so much as plan ahead as simply start early. Consequently, things are looking good on this home front.

Pattern: Slouch 0-906 Hat by Drops
Yarn: Colinette Cadenza, colorway 72 Tapis
Needles: US7
Modifications: I knit until I had seven garter stitch ridges, then performed the decreases over stockinette only

I was hoping to get my granddaughter to model this hat to show how it slouches at the top, but she has been very contrary lately. You will have to use your imagination or check out the other photos on Ravelry.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Finishing an already finished object

Last March I deemed the Fibonacci Vest as complete, even though it lacked buttons. Not that we didn't search for buttons, but finding the perfect buttons proved elusive. Then summer came and meh, who cares about buttons on wool vests? With winter pressing down upon us, though, buttons once again seemed imperative. And we found some at Joann that satisfied that need.

Meanwhile, I *still* have not completed Tuckernuck. I got stuck on the set-in sleeves, then on the button band, and now on the button hole band. Plus a severe case of startitis hit (coinciding with the creeping crud - two weeks of misery) which led to some WIPs: a scarf, a pair of socks, and a hat, all requiring next to no brain power. I'm finally feeling better, so it's time to tuck Tuckernuck into bed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Free yarn!

Three years ago I knit a couple of Schmattas, then never got around to sewing buttons on them. Yesterday I pulled them out of the WIP pile with every intention of adding the buttons, when I wondered, "Why bother?"

No offense to Mason-Dixon Knitting, but no one I know would want to wear one of these, including me. Do I go ahead and sew on the buttons, then tuck the neckerchiefs into the gift drawer, never to be gifted? Or do I salvage the yarn and make something someone would actually wear, like felted slippers?

Do you have items in your gift drawer that you knit reflexively but that will never see the light of day? Or items that served their usefulness in a few short weeks, never to be worn again? In the latter category are some infant outfits I knit my g'daughter. Seriously, knitting infantwear other than booties and hats is a bit of a waste because babies grow so fast; better to make a blanket that will be used for years to come.

So I'm thinking of recycling the yarn from some of those ungiftable knitted objects. The baby outfits were knit from fingering, but since it is 100% merino (no nylon), I don't want to make socks with it. Maybe gloves? Or a fine gauge scarf? If this frigid weather keeps up, underwear is definitely an option.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another watch cap

Last spring, while visiting Massachusetts, I shopped at Webs in Northampton and grabbed a few skeins of Encore for knitting hats. I like to have a few extras around because sometimes people forget theirs or (ahem) some people lose theirs. I've knit this pattern before, so no surprises there. It's easy and quick and produces a perfectly serviceable winter hat.

Pattern: Watch Cap, by Judith Durant
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted
Needles: US8
Modifications: none

Hand knit hats always seem much warmer than store bought. Some would say it's because they are knit with love, but, as my stepmother once pointed out to me, you can buy hats with love. I think it is because the process of hand knitting traps more air in the fabric. What do you think?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Who needs needles?

I was in some store like Walmart or Meijer when out of the corner of my eye I saw something about "arm knitting". Have you ever heard of this? I had not, so of course I Googled it.

Are you going to try this? I might. Someday. When I don't have anything else to do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Warm hands, warm feet

That should be the new motto for knitters. Mittens and socks for little ones are fairly quick projects, and since little ones grow, mittens and socks are in frequent demand.

Pattern: Basic Mitten Pattern, by Ann Budd
Yarn: Cascade 220, colorway 9478 (I'm on a fiber diet, so I stole the yarn from a UFO)
Needles: US7
Modifications: None

Question: When a pattern says to do something like "increase every x rows until stitch count reaches y", what do you do when you reach the stitch count? Do you knit the extra rows before continuing or do you just carry on with the next instruction? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deja vu

These socks are not the same as these socks. I used the leftover yarn to make g'daughter a pair. These have been finished for a while, but I forgot to take photos until just recently.

Pattern: None to speak of, just Turkish cast on, 40 stitches around, gusset heel, taller than usual for wearing with boots, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off.
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply, colorway 1617
Needles: US3
Modifications: I did the toes on two circs, then switched to DPNs for the rest.

I thought about saving these for xmas, but after repeated "fittings" to make sure they were sized correctly, it seemed unfair to hold onto them until then.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Laura Ricketts came to town

Indiana is a state most travelers pass through on their way somewhere else. Fort Wayne is even more so. Consequently, when someone worth seeing hits town, you go, because unless it is B.B. King, the opportunity might not come this way again.

Even though I had never heard of Laura Ricketts, her encounters with the Sámi people and her efforts to collect their mitten patterns sounded interesting. Last night I attended the talk sponsored by Knitting Off Broadway.

Laura's presentation included a slide show, a description of her recent journey through Sápmi (a.k.a. Lapland), and a pile of mittens she had knitted using the designs she collected along the way. As intriguing as the mittens were, after a while my eyes glazed over. I wish I could take the class she is offering tomorrow, to learn more about the actual techniques, but it's full. Maybe next time.

As she talked, Laura mentioned this knitting museum and that folk art museum, which gave me pause. When I travel, I frequently check out local yarn stores, but it hasn't occur to me to look for museums that specialize in fiber arts. I don't need more yarn or roving, but I could certainly learn something new by visiting these places, especially if my trip can coincide with a class or workshop. Must make note to self.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In the mean time

While Tuckernuck has been drying after a good soak (sweaters are easier to assemble after the pieces are blocked), I've been experimenting. Pre-retirement, I didn't have much time to just play with knitting, so this is something new for me.

So is colorwork. My goal for the winter to to learn to knit with more than one color at a time. The easiest first step is to knit a check pattern, one stitch per color, across an odd number of stitches.

Since I now know how to knit with either hand (Continental with the left, Irish cottage with the right), it's not too difficult to hold one color in each. The stranding on the back is manageable with single stitches. Next I'll graduate to two stitches of color at a time.

Serendipitously, TECHknitting is publishing a series of posts on color knitting. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Back on track

I have a slight reprieve on the Tuckernuck sweater, as g'daughter's birthday will be celebrated several days after the fact. Still, I know how these projects go: you get the bulk of the knitting completed and think you are nearly done, but the finishing almost finishes you off.



Coming together

There will be blocking, of course. And buttons! I hate sewing on buttons!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Another detour

My daughter put out a call for doll clothes, so I could not resist whipping up this poncho out of leftover yarn.

Pattern: 18 Inch Doll Poncho
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, colorways 340027 (blue) and 340202 (light blue)
Needles: US4
Modifications: None. Instructions for a jogless color change found here.

Now back to our regularly scheduled knitting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Almost monogomous

With my gdaughter's birthday closing in, I have devoted all my knitting time to her sweater. I finished the sleeves, more or less. They are knit in the round using DPNs, no problem there, but they are then to be set in. I have never done set in sleeves before, so this should be interesting, plus a pressing reason to get the rest of the knitting done in a timely manner, to allow for do-overs.

Originally, I started the body on circular needles, but when I had to start the body over, I switched to straights, the better to cable with. I eschew using a cable needle (using this technique - scroll down) and find it easier on straights.

The pattern is not difficult, but for some reason I cannot do anything else while knitting it - no audio books, no TV - without messing up. Consequently, this project is relegated to the home front. Needing something portable, I started gdaughter's xmas socks, using the same yarn as the ones for her mom.

And because my purse was too cramped for carrying even small knitting projects, I just had to buy a new one.

The designer is Donna Sharp. Not only are her purses attractive, they have lots of pockets inside and out. And this style has room for a bit of knitting.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Off to a slow start

The Easy as Pie blanket notwithstanding, I decided my next knitting project should be a sweater I have been dying to knit for *years*. It's not for me, but for the granddaughter, who turns four next month. Since the sizes for the pattern go up to only age 5, there is not much time left. So off I went.

The Tuckernuck Cardigan has cables, and there began my troubles. Cable stitches pull in, so how does one measure gauge? I made a halfhearted attempt at swatching, then dove in on knitting the body. There arose another problem: despite the swatching, my gauge felt too tight however it was measured, due no doubt to my still relatively new devotion to using the Irish cottage (lever) knitting technique. As I knit along, I kept telling myself the usual lies we knitters tell ourselves when something is not going quite right, one of which is "I can fix this with blocking." Then I remembered I had deliberately chosen a superwash yarn as my daughter is known to wash the bejesus out of everything, felting even the unfeltable. With this in mind, I eventually came to the conclusion I should knit looser.

So I started anew, on a sleeve (which first involved a trip to Joann - not my favorite store - for some US9 DPNs). Actually, I prefer to start sweaters with the sleeves, to avoid the dreaded one-sleeve syndrome that tends to occur oh-so-close to the end of a sweater project. I also performed an experiment on a sweater of my own, one knit in Wool-Ease. The fabric felt too loose, so I machine washed it (on the gentle cycle), then put it in the dryer. That did tighten up the fabric without sacrificing the size. I am hoping the same will occur for Tuckernuck.

A side note: I wish I had chosen the Karabella yarn the pattern called for, as it has better stitch definition than Cascade 220. My usual source for this elusive yarn no longer sells it, though, plus I was literally at Webs when I selected this lovely lavender that seems perfect for a little girl. Oh, well!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

105 days until xmas

While visiting my dad in the hospital, I knitted socks. My sister-in-law gushed over them. I never know what to say when someone does this, especially when what is making the knitted item so special is not the knitting but the yarn. In this particular case, the knitting was as plain as can be, but the self-striping nature of the yarn provided a very pleasing result. All I contribute is an OCD-like persistence. At least she did not ask me to knit a pair for her (although I just might).

Pattern: None really, just Turkish cast on, 52 stitches around, gusset heel, taller than usual for wearing with boots, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off.
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply, colorway 1617
Needles: US3
Modifications: I did the toes on two circs, then switched to DPNs for the rest.

I didn't try to match the stripes this time other than start at the beginning of a color run so the striping at least lined up. For winter socks, these colors are surprisingly summery looking, like watermelon. Hopefully, there is enough yarn leftover for a pair for my granddaughter; then she and her mom will match.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Third time's the charm

I just could not let that orange hat get the better of me. Once I gave up trying to be clever, all went well. At least, until I was ready to turn the hem and could not find my US8 16" circs, misplaced during the remodeling. I bought new ones, finished the hat, and *then* found the missing needles. Isn't that the way it always goes?

Pattern: Basic hat pattern, by Ann Budd, hemmed edge, size large
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted, colorway 479
Needles: Started with US7 circs, switched to US8 after turning the hem.
Modifications: Cast on 112 stitches instead of 114, eliminating the first crown row which decreases by 2.

There is still a bit of a ridge that I expect will be less so once the hat has a good soak. Doing the hemmed edge has given me the idea of making ear bands with partial skeins. And now I have an FO to tide me over while I continue with this:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second guessing

I am *finally* getting back to the Easy as Pie blanket. So much time has elapsed that I am having trouble remembering the difficult bits, like how to graft garter stitch. I had figured out how to do it myself, but my notes no longer made sense to me. I looked up instructions online, but they did not seem right for how the stitches were set up on the two needles. Still, I tried it "their" way, only to have the contrasting colors intermix. Then I checked the finished projects on Ravelry for a clue, testing out one of the methods recommended by several. Still wrong. And *then* I found these instructions on lethalknits.com. My situation calls for grafting reverse garter stitch, which I have never heard of but which is what I was doing in the first place! The graft just looked wrong because I pulled the stitches too tight. So now I am equipped to carry on. Huzzah!

Friday, August 15, 2014

February Little Lady sweater DONE

This sweater took exactly two months to knit, from casting on to attaching buttons. It was a surprisingly painful journey for such a simple knit. Somewhere along the way, I screwed up the stitch count in the yoke and, rather than starting over, I added a placket. Other mistakes were made along the way as well, including an attempt to cap the sleeves which was rapidly abandoned, and then there was the massive procrastination in buying the buttons and another one in sewing them on. But finally, FINALLY, it is finished.

Took long enough, huh?

Pattern: February Little Lady sweater, adapted by Paula Fletcher from EZ's February Baby sweater
Yarn: Elan Den-M-Nit Pure Indigo Cotton
Needles: US7
Modifications: Intentional: short sleeves; unintentional: mistake placket

Goofy face

Despite the setbacks, I am happy with the results. The gull stitch did not get all wonky from the denim yarn shrinking in the wash. There is plenty of room for growth horizontally but I can add to the sweater vertically if that becomes necessary. And there is no way my daughter can felt this sweater in the laundry. Win, win, win!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This yarn stinks

While shopping for buttons for the February Little Lady sweater, we took a quick cruise through the yarn section of JoAnn. Mistake. My granddaughter glommed onto a ball of Sugar n Cream cotton in multiple pastels. I am not short of cotton yarn, not at all, but I still added it to our basket. After all, it was pretty, and I figured I could make a couple of wash cloths to make up for the orange hat debacle.

At the checkout, the clerk pointed out that the yarn was scented. If you have ever stood in line at JoAnn, you will understand why I did not interrupt the checking out process by fetching an unscented yarn. Plus the same colorway might not have been available in a non-scented version. Plus, how bad could it be?

I'm not sure what the manufacturer was thinking when deciding to add a scent to the yarn. It wasn't a fresh scent like "clean linen" or citrus or lavender, but a decidedly perfumey one. Knitting with it actually gave me a headache. I hope the smell washes out quickly.

I was able to knit a couple of wash cloths in short order, though, which restored my knitterly balance.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Moebius hat?

The bright orange hat was supposed to be a quick and easy project, something I could pick up and work on here and there, an object to give me a sense of knitting accomplishment while also working on the Easy as Pie blanket. But no. Sometimes nothing is ever easy.

The first problem cropped up when, instead of following the pattern instructions, I tried to do my own thing. This hat has a hemmed edge, and the directions suggest starting out with a smaller needle for the section that gets folded under. I did not see that suggestion (because it came late in the pattern, not at the beginning), so instead I cast on four extra stitches after the "fold" row, then later decreased by four stitches to align with the rest of the instructions. This resulted in a ridge, a ridge I told myself did not matter, it was just a HAT.

Of course, by the time I neared the crown, that ridge was eating away at me. It glared at me, it yelled at me, it told me I could do better. So, despite being nearly done, I started over. And instead of redoing the hat on DPNs (stitches kept falling off the ends) or a 16-inch circ (which has a short needle length that is a challenge for my man hands), I decided to use two circs, just as I have used on some toe-up socks.

So away I went, fat, dumb, and happy, for about an inch, then tried to admire my work by unrolling the stockinette. That's when I realized there was a twist in the stitches. In disbelief, I kept trying to flatten the stockinette, thinking surely, *surely* I had not made that newbie error. But alas, it was true.

So the hat is in a time out. Me, too. Gonna move on, at least for a while.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Drawing a blank

I have absolutely no memory of attending this class, no idea of what we knit or what happened to it. My short term memory is a sieve, but my long term memory has giant holes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Don't try this at home

I would have a finished February Little Lady sweater to show you except I knit the second sleeve INSIDE OUT. I was not drunk at the time, but this is the kind of thing that drives knitters to drink.

Monday, July 14, 2014


The body of the February Little Lady sweater is complete, so all that is left are two short sleeves and buttons. I've been complaining on Ravelry about my struggles with the math of the pattern, with one correction by the author so far. But I am still bugged by the stitch counts I ended up with at the end of the yoke. A few others have knit this pattern without complaint, so I fear the fault is with me. Despite drawing pictures, I just can't see where I went wrong; a spreadsheet is next. I'm also worried about my yarn choice, as the denim will shrink lengthwise; what will that do to the gull stitch?

The hunter orange hat is more than halfway done. I decided to do a hemmed version and wish I had read the part of the pattern (at the END) that suggests using a smaller needle for the inside part of the hemmed section before I had knit three inches of the thing. Instead, I increased the stitch count by four stitches after the turning row, then decreased three inches later when joining the two sections of the hem. The hat won't look perfect, but wabi sabi.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Not so monogomous

The February Little Lady sweater is coming along. I was right about the gull stitch being easier on my body, but I still can't do more than one pattern repeat at a time. My left shoulder is what complains the most.

As I approach the end of the body, I'm debating about the sleeves. The February Lady sweater I knit myself is rather bulky in the armpits, so I think I will start the sleeves on this sweater as capped using short rows, then add a couple of pattern repeats before cuffing them. That will work, right?

Meanwhile, since I can't knit for long on this project without pain, and I'm a bit tired of the counting required for the Easy as Pie blanket, I started a simple hat. This one will probably go into the hat bin in the closet, to be grabbed for hikes during hunting season. Even though hunting is not permitted in the nature areas I visit, one can never be too careful.

Think it's bright enough?

Monday, June 16, 2014


Me: You need a summer sweater.
Granddaughter: Gran'ma, will you make me one?

Hence, a detour from the Easy as Pie blanket. I found a pattern for the February Little Lady sweater, like the February Lady sweater I made myself and the February Baby sweaters I made granddaughter when she was wee. For some reason, I like the gull stitch. Also, no seaming.

For a moment, I contemplated taking granddaughter to a LYS to pick out some Spud & Chloe, but I didn't feel like going out and I didn't feel like spending money. So I decided to check the stash. The first bag I opened contained more than enough Den-M-Nit to proceed forthwith.

What I (keep forgetting that I) don't like is knitting with cotton. It has no elasticity. It makes my shoulders, wrists, and hands hurt. I hope when I get to the gull stitch, it will go a bit easier. And hopefully I will get this done in time to be useful this year.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

199 days until xmas

Another xmas gift is done, another pair of "boot" socks, knit toe-up, extra large for my son, a.k.a. Big Foot.

Matchy, match!

Pattern: ad hoc (see below)
Yarn: ONLine Supersocke 6-ply (DK) in 1619 colorway
Needles: US3

The heels look funky because these are unblocked. I'm rethinking the need for blocking machine wash socks.

Using instructions from Socks from the Toe Up, I cast on using the Turkish cast on, knit 64 stitches around, made a gusset heel, waited until the top of the leg before adding some 2x2 ribbing. Using instructions from Cast On, Bind Off, I bound off using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off.

Initially, I worked the first toe with US3 circs knitting continental, switching to DPNs and Irish cottage knitting for the foot, but even though the gauge was the same for both, the continental stitches looked fat and lazy while the Irish cottage ones were fit and trim. Now reminded *why* I made the switch, I redid the toe Irish cottage, although I still switched from circs to DPNs once past the toe. I just don't like knitting socks with circs.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I should know better

One of the primary reasons I have not tried weaving is the expense of a loom. Well, Saturday my granddaughter and I visited the Salomon Farm Fiber Arts Festival where I saw a loom made from cardboard. Ruh-roh. I could barely wait to get home to try this.

I know - not a pretty sight. In my defense, I was babysitting an increasingly restless pre-schooler at the time. It is an inexpensive way to get a taste of weaving, though.

I referenced this site for detailed instructions (which I failed to follow very well), in case you are tempted to try this at home.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Now we are six, plus toes up

I'm still making sporadic progress on the Easy as Pie blanket for my granddaughter. Six squares are done, not sure how many there will be total. That will depend on how the yarn holds out.

The problem with the pattern is there are too many reasons to pause, starting with the provisional cast on and ending with squaring the circle. I'll be marching along, and then have to change cadence, so to speak. Plus, I get distracted by socks.

These are toe-up "boot" socks for my son, knit in DK. Since they are heavier, I also try to make them taller, so they can be worn with boots. Since my son has big feet, I decided to do them toe-up, so I can make them as tall as possible before running out of yarn.

For a while, I was concentrating on toe-up socks. Then I took the Yarn Harlot's "Grok the Sock" class and reverted to top-down. Now I'm tired of that, so it is back to toe-up. One of these days I will try EZ's sideways socks. I know - I am one wild and crazy gal.

Friday, May 16, 2014

222 days until xmas

Have you started your holiday knitting yet? Well, why not?!? I have one gift finished, a pair of what I call boot socks for my son-in-law.

Pattern: Sock Recipe, by Stephanie Pearl-McFee
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply, 1615 colorway
Needles: US3
Modifications: cast on 60 stitches for the top, decreased to 56 for the foot, my own avoid-the-gusset-gap trickery. (For detailed instructions, see Ravelry post.)

My new resolution re socks is to try to get them to match. I almost made it this time - you can't tell from the photos, but the tips of the toes betray me. If asked, I will say that the difference is so the wearer can tell his right foot from his left.

Or wabi sabi.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The secret is to have a plan

My SO and I spent a week or so in Massachusetts in the very recent past. The primary intent was to visit family, but we also wanted a bit of a vacation, so spent a couple of days in Springfield. While planning our very loose itinerary, I realized we would be within spitting distance of Webs in Northampton. And they are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a sale. Ruh roh!

First, I set a yarn budget, then created a project list, then spent an inordinate amount of time online, scoping out the sale items and tentatively selecting colors. Otherwise, I knew I would be overwhelmed with the sheer volume of choices available and either buy one of everything or not a single skein.

A subset of all the yarn available.

I pictured Webs being a giant warehouse, but the warehouse itself is separate from the store. Yarn is arranged by weight, which helped me avoid the sock yarn. (I have enough sock yarn to last me several years, plus Simply Socks is located in my hometown, so no need to visit those aisles.) They also have books and buttons, so my SO selected buttons for his Fibonacci vest and I was able to confirm the number needed by referencing Knit One Below.

These look black but are actually dark green.

One project I have in mind is a Danish-styled tunic sweater for cross country skiing, for myself. Other than wanting worsted weight yarn, my only criteria was the color, which had to be the perfect shade of red. I found it, and while I was not specifically looking for Superwash, that was a bonus.

Cascade 220 Superwash in the perfect shade of red

Another project idea is a sweater of my own design. I had already selected the yarn and color, so just needed to locate it in the store. Alas, there was not a sweater's worth there, but the helpful staff offered to find it in the warehouse and ship it to me free. It arrived home before I did.

Cascade 220 Heathers, in 'Cordovan'.

I knew I wanted Superwash for a sweater for my granddaughter, but did not know which color until I spotted this one.

Cascade 220 Superwash, in periwinkle

And then, because I like to have a selection of spare winter hats for visitors, I picked out some single skeins for that.

Plymouth Encore, in gray, hunter orange, and brown.

Some of my sweater projects are going to be knit in the round, and since I am rather round, I added some long circular needles to my purchase. (FYI: buttons and needles fall outside the yarn budget. Just saying.) The selection in US7 and US8 sizes was meager - very picked over - which is why one of those sets is "cubics".

Knitters Pride Nova circular needles.

And then we got the hell out of there. I had planned to visit another yarn store, over the border in Connecticut, because it features locally hand-dyed yarns, but I was out of money plus I probably would have selected fingering weight yarns in single skein doses, just right for MORE socks. All in all, I am very proud of myself for sticking to my budget. Different yarns are on sale in May at Webs, if you dare look at the website.