Block Party

Back from a whirlwind trip to Oregon and the Knot Another Fiber Festival, and not only did I have a very good time working there, I inexplicably got a ton of knitting done. Maybe it was just the flight there and the flight back, but I finished almost everything I was hoping I would. Elliot’s sweater pieces are all finished, and blocking. (I block before I do the making up.  I know that’s not at all in vogue, but it really gives me the best results. I’ll block it again after the sewing is done and the buttonband and collar are on. I’ve conducted an experiment or ten and really, all the knitting books weren’t lying when they said this is the order of operations. It’s a really great little sweater, I’m not going to give in to laziness now.)

I got all the ends (finally, I know) woven in on Russell Street, and that’s had a bath too..

I even managed to bang out a pair of socks… Although those aren’t blocked. They’ll do fine when I find the feet they fit.

(Pattern: I made it up on a plane. Yarn: Must Stash Yarns, colourway:  Not all who wander are lost.)

I even got to start a new pair of socks, but…

That will teach me to cast on late at night on a plane, in the dark.  I’d feel worse about it if I didn’t know the truth, which is that knitting destroys your ability to count reliably, even to small numbers.  I’ll concentrate really hard today, and see if I can make it to sixty-six.

Happy May Day.

67 thoughts on “Block Party

  1. Mother blocked her pieces before she pieced together also.
    Sometimes the easiest tasks become the hardes ones for me—like Casting on stitches.
    It is good to “see” you on the blog.

    • II I

      The only way I can count accurately is by adding markers every ten stitches—and even then I count again to make sure each group really has ten and not nine or eleven.

      • I have to do the same thing! Years ago, after counting 200 cast on stitches 5 times and getting a different number each time, I vowed to use markers.

    • Yes, it’s lovely! Do give us the name of the yarn when you get the socks successfully cast on. I’ve also discovered that getting older ruins the ability to count properly .

  2. Counting stitches sometimes depends on which direction you start. Count in the opposite direction, and you might get a different number!

  3. All of those finished – or nearly finished – things are beautiful! And that last yarn . . . yummmmm.
    With all your travels I keep thinking you probably are singing to yourself that Simon & Garfunkel song: “Gee but it’s great to be back home. Home is where I want to beeeeee.”
    (you are welcome for the ear worm)

  4. It’s so good to see you back. Love your projects. You always give me inspiration. Please keep on keeping on.

  5. Wow! The pieces for Elliot’s sweater look great! He’ll look fantastic in that color. Russell Street also looks gorgeous! The yarn for the socks you frogged is intriguing; I’d love to see how it knits up. As for the finished socks. . .well, they seem to be Joe’s size. Do you get a prize if he wears them?

    • Oh yes, we want to see that colour next to his shiny happy eyes!!

      (haha, ‘touch the eye’…does this program check our content to match the icon??! Happens pretty often…)

  6. Happy May Day! And welcome back! You were really really productive on that trip! Will one of your glorious daughters be coaxed into modeling Russel Street?

    • I just finished a Lopi sweater and realized that, while I have no problem with bigger numbers, like eight or ten or twenty, three is especially elusive. I have an economics degree…one would think that I could count to three, but not so much.

      • That’s because, in economics when asked what is 1 + 2 the answer is always … What do you want it to be?

  7. Yay you for getting so much done! You deserve to feel good and smug about it . . . even though you experienced a fail on starting the blue socks.

    Is that a Fish Kiss Lips heel on the striped socks? I love that heel and learned to do the heel using the other end of the ball in order to keep the stripes on the rest of the socks lined up and matching.

    • She didn’t use that heel in my opinion. If you look at the front by the heel, the gold is next to the green. but in the full sock length gold is followed by red they grey. Stephanie must have fudged the yarn to have one half the heel in red and one half in grey then start the next full stripe in the green. But the main sock does not follow in order around the heel.

  8. I took your Knit Smart and I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful class! I feel like I’m pretty experienced in knitting and didn’t think I’d learn that much. But I definitely did! Lots of valuable information. BTW: You looked lovely!

  9. I always block before sewing a sweater together because otherwise it comes out all wonky for me – and no amount of blocking AFTER the sewing up will help. I’d rather skip blocking the finished item rather than the pieces.

    I also like scrunching it together (or stretching it!) and then pinning so it turns out the correct amount of inches on each piece. It’s like magic!

    Love the socks! Your blog is a happy place for me!

  10. Good to see you again and knitting always. I wanted to have a look to that sock yarn and I am flabbergasted by its price : $35 for a pair of socks ! Here in France I can get a skein of sock yarn for 4 € (that is currently $4.80) and even less. Of course our salaries are not the same, but…

      • If you mean the Must Stash Yarn @ $35, that’s US. Canadian will be about $46 CAD.

        (Touch the flag, pick the country!)

    • there are many less expensive socks yarns in Canada & US too: good old longlasting Kroy, Cascade, and Plymouth; Knitpicks; Valley Yarns from Webs, Canada’s own Briggs & Little for outdoorsy socks… My own favourite affordable really nice sock yarns are the Drops yarns from Nordicmart — European yarn! Would love other suggestions for go-to affordable quality sock yarns.

    • As a dyed, i’m blown away by the amount of time and expertise that goes into dyeing that kind of self-striping sock yarn. I look at it and think how much planning and work (with no room for error) must go into producing each skein. Such lovely yarn!

  11. Lovely colors on all the knitting. A bit of Spring color no matter what weather you’re deal with. How many family members have big feet and wear hand-knit socks?

  12. I gave up knitting last night, after I discovered that the ridiculously simple cotton bias scarf I’ve been working on has inexplicably grown by 4 stitches. You can’t trust knitting, and I’m tired of sucker punches like this. I don’t know what I’ll do instead. Something safer, more reliable – bungee jumping, maybe? Suggestions welcome.

  13. Another vote for always blocking sweater pieces before sewing up. After assembly, though, I usually just give the seams a good steaming. My current sweater has a large collar, so I think I’ll have to block it again after I finish the collar.

    Weren’t the Oregon Gardens lovely? I had a great time! I didn’t take one of your classes, but I spent a day with Gudrun Johnston and screwed up … er, I mean, KNIT … a teeny Shetland hap.

  14. Yes on blocking the pieces, it makes them easier to sew together neatly (I press all the pieces on regular sewing patterns, too, before I start sewing them up). And, seriously, that is going to be one gorgeous sweater when it gets sewn up. Love the socks, too, of course, but I am reading this before my first cup of coffee kicks in- I looked at the picture and saw monster pants! Maybe from looking at that elegant baby sweater? From the sublime to the ridiculous?

  15. It may be that your finishing the sweater for Elliot and a shawl is why it is so warm here in Toronto yesterday and today. Keep it up.

  16. Oh I’m so glad to know that I have the order correct on blocking pieces then sewing up. I use the piece measurements from the pattern to block. I figure it is the surest way to get close to the size I am looking for!
    Speaking of sewing up I am having a deuce of a time sewing up a recently completed sweater. You wouldn’t happen to know of any sweater sewing up genies in the Vancouver area would you? Either for hands on lessons or to do the job on commission. BTW I’m seriously in love with that shawl!!

  17. How productive! Welcome home! Hope the counting works out for you this time! Is that Sea Turtle Fiber Arts yarn for those new socks?

  18. I am very interested to know what that lovely not-yet-socks yarn is! Your blog is delightful to read ☺ i am envious of all the yarn things going on elsewhere in the world – we have a couple of great festivals and weekends here in New Zealand but it seems the Northern Hemisphere has something every weekend!

    • Well…some parts of the northern hemisphere! Here on the Canadian prairies (Manitoba and Saskatchewan anyway) there’s not much, including yarn shops, although there are a couple of really good ones…the closest one to me is a three hour jaunt one way. On the other hand, it makes stash acquisition a TON of fun!!

  19. Well done on those ends! I recently wove in ends as I went and I too was more smug than I’d any right to be! I think in future, I’ll continue to leverage weave in Wednesday to my advantage. Sending wishes of Better Luck next time with the blue socks!!!! 🙂

  20. I’ve learned, through many attempts at ribbing or basketweave patterns, that I am completely incapable of counting to 4. I can do 3. I can do 5. But for the life of me, I cannot count to 4 in a pattern.

  21. Counting! My biggest challenge is picking up edge stitches. I can count to five and I can count to seven, but apparently the magic skill to get five of seven eludes me.

  22. Love, love, love Elliot’s fabulous sweater! But I have a question about blocking the pieces before seaming. I took a class from you (maybe at MakeWearLove? – I have followed you around the US and Canada because you are a wonderful teacher with so much to share!) and I thought you said to wash all of the pieces the same number of times – so that if there was any dye loss (I love hand dyed yarns) the pieces would always remain the same color. That if some pieces were washed and then the the borders/collars then added and washed, that the sweater pieces would always be one shade lighter than the borders/collars. I have been completing the sweater and then blocking, but now I am wondering …

  23. Those socks are just perfect! I block my sweater pieces before seaming them together, too. It makes me feel better to hear that you miscounted your cast on stitches, as well. There’s so much correcting of mistakes involved in knitting.

  24. I haven’t been knitting in a while, for various reasons. But we were going to see Infinity War and I can’t crochet in the dark. So I quickly cast on a pair of socks to take with me to knit.
    The movie was so exciting I got about 6 inches done… in the dark… with only a cast on to start. I got one stitch wrong (a knit instead of a purl) in the ribbing and I corrected it on the next row… As they’re MY socks I don’t care if the ribbing has a little lump… And now I’m digging thru the stash thinking about knitting something again…

  25. I needed a harlot fix last week when you had not posted for a few days…so I went back to the beginning of your blog…2004. Except that some of the links no longer work.
    What a fabulously entertaining read! The family adventures, the Maritime trip & now the Latvian mittens. I did not know what thrumming was until I read your blog but I am going to give it a try in the autumn. Can’t possibly knit in the hot summer heat here on Vancouver Island.
    Thanks for the laughs & inspiration, Stephanie.

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