A Signature experience

A week ago Saturday, I got an insatiable urge to buy a set of Signature circular needles. I’d been stalking their website for months, and I finally couldn’t take it any more. Something had to be done. The credit card magically jumped from my wallet into my hand, and the rest is history.

I decided to order just one set to get a taste, to see if I loved the needles as much as I thought I would. I settled on the size 8 32” circular with a 5.5” needle, as that’s what I need to finish the Green Sweater of Doom.

The Green Sweater of Doom and I started our time together during a lengthy road trip in October. The abundance of stockinette was good company for me over the miles, but after I got home, it got shoved to the bottom of the knitting bag. When I did get it out, I would mindlessly knit the stockinette, and realize 5 inches too late that I was supposed to have started the decreases. When this had happened two or three times, and I did the required ripping back, I started to be disgusted. It was my own fault for believing that I did not need a pattern, for reading too late, but it didn’t matter. This sweater and I were not on speaking terms. But I could just feel that the Signature needles would help me overcome my aversion to finishing the sweater.

Signature needles with the green sweater

I was right.

On Thursday night, after receiving the needles, I did my ripping out (again, ignoring the decreases!) and put the stitches onto my new needles. They were lighter than I expected, and I started knitting, not sure how I felt about them.

Five rows later, I was sold. When I actually started doing the decreases, it was a dream to k2tog, or skp, since the pointy stiletto tips made getting into the tight spaces as easy as pie. The stiletto tips were also a dream when I was tinking back a few stitches (again, not reading!) and then knitting them back. I love these needles. LOVE them.

So, after switching to the Signature needles on Thursday, I finished the first front side of the cardigan by Friday, cast on for the second piece later on Friday night, and finished the other front piece by Sunday.

And now, all pieces are happily blocking on my new blocking mats from Knit Picks, which my mom and dad very sweetly got me for Christmas. These are certainly an upgrade from the cardboard box piece I had covered in a plastic bag and packing tape, which I previously used for blocking. I love my new ones because I can put them together in any shape that I need, and have either a big or small area, depending on what I’m blocking. I’m using every piece of it for these three pieces of cardigan, and it fits very snugly.

Back of Altered Austen Jacket blocking Front of Altered Austen Jacket blocking

So logically, if I buy more needles, I’ll finish more projects… right?

Note: This is in no way a sponsored post, just a personal opinion on some items I have purchased recently.

 

Finished project: Sailor hat

 

I am a little behind with pictures of my second finished object of 2012. I finished this a week ago Friday (always get more done on knit nights!), but have been waiting to have some nice daylight to take pictures of it.

This is yet another Sailor Hat, again using Cascade 128 Superwash and the A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend pattern.

This hat was completely dictated by the leftover scraps of 128 I had left over from other Sailor Hats, but I think the colors look beautiful together.

Sailor Hat with stripes

I particularly like the switch to the blue/green color for the top, which happened because I ran out of cream. However, I think it happened in just the right place. This particular hat looks even better on, and Mr Snips was nice enough to do a modeling shoot for me.

Sailor Hat

With the hat on, you can really see how nice the decreases are, and how every other rib ends early at a nice little point. That’s my favorite part of this particular pattern.

I’ll be adding this to my pile to send away, and will hopefully be able to add two more from my mom to the lovely group I shared with you last week.

This has been a wonderfully relaxing weekend, which has mostly centered around knitting, watching several reruns of Murder, She Wrote, and is being wrapped up with a Sunday night full of NFL Playoffs. As a result, I have made significant progress on my green sweater, and I am hoping to be able to share some exciting pictures later this week where it actually starts to look like a sweater.

I am off now to check on the banana bread in the oven (yum!)…

2012: Year of the Blanket

This has been a busy week for me, with very limited time for crafting. Which makes my crocheted blanket the perfect project for the week.

Every year since  2007, my mom and I have crocheted blankets for the Julian Center, which is a local shelter for victims of domestic violence and other life crises. Enough afghans are collected each year to give every woman at the shelter one for Christmas. I see this as a very important charity project, since most of these women are starting over with nothing, including basic home goods.

I always make at least one, but usually more. Last year, I only finished one, so my goal is to finish at least two.

I’m making good progress – what you see below is 4 feet x 3 feet, which means I only need to finish two more feet all the way around. I’m now off to work a few more rows this evening while catching up on TV.

1st blanket in progress for 2012

Hats, hats, everywhere!

A couple of months ago, I was browsing Wendy Knits, and came across a call for knitters to contribute hats to the Hats for Sailors project. I went to the group on Ravelry to learn more. I appreciate those serving our country more than I can say, and I thought it was a lovely idea. So I did what any good knitter would do – I started my own hat, and then brought the idea to my Friday Night Knitting Group.

I sent my first hat off to Sandra in early November. I have since made 2 other hats, and am in the midst of a third.

Sailor hat in progress

I am a Cascade 128 Superwash addict, so that’s what this is. You can make about one and half hats out of one skein, so I usually make one solid, and then one with stripes to use up the extras. This happens to be a stripe one, and I think it’s turning out nicely. I’ve modified A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend pattern, and cast on only 80 stitches instead of 100, and voila! a beautiful sailor hat! I prefer this pattern, as I think the way the ribbing ends at the crown is very nice and clean, so it’s become my go to. Thanks to Kara for turning me on to it!

And my knitting friends have really taken to the cause as well – just look at all of this beautifulness that I currently have in my house, waiting to send off.

Sailor Hats

Contributions (from left to right): Laurie, Kara, Barb, me. Front: Me

I hope they will keep the sailors very warm, and let them know that there are many Americans out there who are thinking of them, and appreciate the sacrifices they make every day. And in the meantime, we will keep knitting for them.

First finished object of 2012!

At my LYS Open Studio on Friday, I finished the slipper socks for Mr Snips! They turned out well, if I do say so myself.

Slipper Socks

These socks are my first toe-up socks (so already, one resolution crossed off the list!), my first finished project of 2012, and have the added bonus of keeping Mr Snips warm around the house. That’s a win-win-win solution.

Toe-up was easy and quick, especially in this bulkier merino. I still like top-down, and will probably alternate as I do different kinds of socks. But the goal of this year was really just to try some new things and add to my knitting repertoire, which I’m already doing.

The yarn I used is Great American Yarn Merino in the blue/purple colorway. There isn’t too much purple in it (so it’s still manly), but the color variations do make them interesting and lovely. I knit them on size 6 dpns, which still gave me a nice tight fabric.

I’m now off to work on the other four projects I have started. Two of them (a blanket and a cardigan) are ones that I hardly consider in progress; in fact, I’d say we’re just dating while seeing other people. The other two projects (a hat and some gloves) and I have gotten pretty serious, and I’m pretty smitten, so you’ll probably see them materializing on the blog before the others.

Have a wonderful what’s-rest-of-the-weekend before it’s time to go back to the day job!

Slipper Sock, the first.

I completed the first slipper sock on the second of January. I had finished all but the last couple of rows on new year’s day. I felt everything was possible – I’d pretty much finished a sock in a day. I was invincible. These puppies would be totally complete by Friday!

The long and short of it is that it’s Thursday and I’m still working on the heel of the second sock. It could still happen, since Friday is Open Studio at my local yarn shop, but we’ll see. I usually get distracted. 🙂

The best thing I’ve found about toe-up socks so far is how close you can cut it on the yarn. What’s left from my first sock is two very tiny, tiny pieces – one from cast on and one from bind off. I feel like I got the most mileage possible out of my yarn, and that makes me a happy girl.

first toe-up sock

The color isn’t totally accurate in this photo. Since I got home after dark tonight, my options were limited. But I’m loving everything about these, and the best part is that it fits Mr Snips!

Cold.

Today, it was very cold. The coldest it’s been in Indiana so far this year (which is unusual). But I wasn’t worried – I was cozy in my handknits. I was wearing my amazing Hermione’s Cable and Eyelet hat that my mom made me, cozy Me Lucky Charms socks, and my chunky Encompass Scarf made out of Malabrigo (yum!).

The only thing missing is a pair of thick merino slipper socks for Mr Snips. He’s been running around with cold feet for days now. I’ve finished the first sock, and I’m about 5 inches into the second sock. These are my first toe-up project, and I love it. Short rows are so magic! I never imagined that I could start out knitting “flat” and it would turn into a lovely toe pocket! Amazing!

As an added bonus, I get to use one of my pirate stitch markers to mark my row. He makes me happy every time I get around the sock. So I will leave you with a lovely picture of Bob, the pirate, and hope to have a finished pair of socks to share with you in a couple of days.

Pirate stitch marker on sock