Warm feet

I think I forgot to post my finished slippers from a while back.  You can read about their making here.

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I’ve been throwing them in the wash whenever we did laundry.  It took more loads than I thought it would to shrink them down.  On the last load I took them out of the dryer a little early so they were still damp.  That way I can wear them around and they conform to my feet a little better and any pressed in wrinkles smooth out more easily.

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They are comfy and warm.  I might make them a little less wide around next time, but they will do the job as is.

The pattern is Fuzzy Feet, free on Ravelry, and the yarn is Lamb’s Pride, worsted weight.

Spring break in Surprise

We’ve just finished up spring break in Surprise, Arizona, where my mom has a winter place.

I took my usual plethora of cactus photos.

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We were very lazy this trip, spending much of the time hanging by the community pool during the day and playing games and working on puzzles in the evenings when we could pry the boys off their electronics.

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They finished a lot of puzzles, mainly because they kept buying easier and easier ones.  They wanted the sense of accomplishment rather than a challenge.

I walked a lot around the trails and neighborhoods with my sister, trying to build my endurance back up after a horrid chest cold that had taken down all my family members throughout March.

We did go overnight to Sedona and took one of the pink Jeep tours through the red rock area.  Rough roads but gorgeous scenery.

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On our way back we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle National Park to see the remains of the cliff dwellings.  We needed to sneak at least a little education into the vacation.

EE913583-DA59-490B-B431-65F9D633B256I got just a bit of knitting done – I brought my sock to the pool every time, but the water called me away from the yarn.

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This may be our last year here, as Mom isn’t sure she is going to come back.  Having two places is getting to be a bit much for her.  If it was our last trip, it was a very relaxing one.

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Sweater and slipper progress

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I’ve finished the body of the Woolford sweater.  The last skein was rather a mess – multiple knots in the yarn mean I’ll be sewing in many ends.

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After a few trials and redos, I settled on a sewn bind off.  It flares a little now, but the lower half is supposed to widen, caused by a gradual increase in needle size rather than stitch increases.  So I think it will settle in during the blocking.

It is a comfy, slouchy sweater due to the rather loose gauge I ended up with because of my yarn and needle choice, but I’m still feeling good about it and the fit.

I also suddenly remembered the slippers I was making and pulled them out of their knitting bag.  I only had one toe left to graft, so I got that done in a couple minutes.  I’ve been throwing them into various loads of laundry and they are just about there.  The yarn is Lamb’s Pride Bulky, and it felts really well.  I’ve made many pairs of slippers from it.

Before – knit on size 10 1/2 needles:

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After the first washing and drying:

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Definitely felting happening (fulling, really, if I’m going to get the terms correct):

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A couple more loads of laundry should do it.  Luckily (?) my children generate a lot of laundry.

It’s getting close to the time where I need to look around for what the next knitting projects are going to be.  I’ll need a work lunch time project and a home project soon.

WIP status report

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Progress is being made, with minor setbacks.

My at-work knitting, a ribbed cowl made from wool and silk handspun is a visual joy to knit, though I ripped it back three times until I got a width and stitch pattern I liked.  The yarn gleams and there is so much variation in the green.  I’m loving every row, and it makes the meetings go faster.

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My Woolford sweater is proceeding as well.  I’m really looking forward to wearing it sometime soon.

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My row gauge doesn’t match well with the called for gauge so I’ve made some changes in the rate of increases and decreases and I eliminated most of the lower back short rows that would have dipped the back hem as I prefer it straighter.

I’ve reached the wide lower border, which means a lot of ~300 stitch rows that I can crank out during TV or book time.  The needles are getting progressively larger as well.  I’m speeding through the yarn, which is a little worrisome as I have only eight skeins in the same dye lot.  I’m hoping the difference won’t be as noticeable if I use the different dye lot just for the sleeves.  So the first has to hold out through the lower part of the sweater.

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On the quilting front , I finally faced facts and threw in the towel on the Growing Up Odd quilting.  I paid my very broke son $5 to take out all the pins (he wanted a milkshake and I wanted to save my fingers!) and called up a local long arm quilting service.

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I made the backing larger, ironed everything, and dropped it off yesterday with a nice man named Charlie who is going to cover it with blue thread meandering squares and get it back to me in a couple weeks.  He is far better equipped to deal with a nearly king sized quilt.

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It is a very impressive machine.  My plan for my non-existent lottery winnings has a new addition.

 

 

Row by row

My work on the Woodfords cardigan continues.  I’m still amused and amazed by how it grows out in all directions.

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To get to the current stage involved joining provisionally cast on stitches at the top of the back that form the neckband to the body, then knitting down the right front panel, complete with increases marked with safety pins. ( I can’t remember what these kinds of safety pins are called, but they don’t have the little circle, coil, at the end so they don’t get stuck in the yarn.)

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Then I unraveled the crochet at the start of the provisional cast on, picked up the live stitches, and knit in the other direction for the left front, still in progress.

Because of the nature of provisional cast ons, the stitch pattern is half a stitch off where I changed directions in the neckband.  You can see it in the pic below, but when I’m wearing the sweater and the neck scrunches up some it shouldn’t be noticeable.

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I’m still having fun, and the directions are very clearly written, so I haven’t run into any problems so far. Although, as usual, I’m a little worried about the gauge. I’m using a size 5 needle with this Silky Wool yarn, but I’m wishing that I had used a 4. I think this sweater may grow over time.

 

 

Madrona

1A84D652-93E3-4291-9AB5-B597BEEC1C7EI spent the weekend with friends at the annual Madrona winter fiber retreat in Tacoma, Washington.  Four days of classes and vendors and hanging out with people who understand that knitting is an appropriate activity pretty much anywhere.

There were opportunities to see all sorts of examples of the crafts, from the stylish sheep in the pic above to even more intricate samples.

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The inexhaustive options offered by yarn were inspiring.

The Murano hotel where the retreat is held is within walking distance of the Museum of Glass and the decor is all about glass – which is similarly inexhaustive in its varieties.

55CDAB07-5148-4A8D-B60D-620A4A5A9B0AOur favorite was the kind that came with a drink in it.  I highly recommend the Murano’s chai vodka sidecars.

I didn’t take classes this time and I didn’t arrive until Friday afternoon, but I learned a lot from my friends and spent time knitting and spinning.  I also spent a lot of time wandering the vendors.  So many beautiful colors and ways to display them!

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I kept my head and came home only with a new bobbin for my wheel.

But I also found a pattern I loved that I had enough yarn for in my stash.  I cast on as soon as I got home Sunday afternoon, even managing to coordinate my tea mug with the yarn.

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The pattern is a cardigan called Woodfords, and the yarn is Silky Wool.  The construction is very interesting — I’ve had to trust the pattern rather than understand it in advance and just dive in to each section as the sweater grows out in various directions.

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So far I’ve cast on with long tail and provisionally, picked up stitches, knitted in three different directions in two different stitch patterns, and added a braid in what will become the upper back.  It all seems to be working so far.