Life, Knitting and the Pursuit of Roller Coasters

Coaster Geek turned Knitting Geek

Indie Designer Giftalong!

Posted on October 31st, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

In coming back around the knitting world and rekindling my relationship with my inner designer, I started lurking in the designer forums on Ravelry again. And when this amazing idea spun up into something spectacular, I jumped at the opportunity to catch even a small piece of it all by joining as a part

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So, for Nov 1-15, use the coupon code giftalong to enjoy 25% off the 3 paid patterns I’m offering, and come play along in one or several of the KAL/CAL threads in the Ravelry group through the end of the year. Its going to be an amazing, crazy, epic ride!

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Two New Patterns!

Posted on October 28th, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

I’m back in the design game!

Introducing my TWO new sock patterns:

Strikingly Striped Socks

and

 

Strikingly Textured Socks


These are companion pieces. I couldn’t find what I wanted in a vertically striped sock, so I pulled together the chart. Once I saw it work so well in two color stranded work, I, as a lover of seed stitch, had to also play with it in texture. So, the two patterns are siblings. Similar in design with a few features that make each unique.

Similar:

Sizes! Both are sized for the whole family in 1 inch increments from 5″ through 10″ foot/ankle circumference.

Both are cuff down, with a heel flap and turn for the heel.

The charted pattern is easy to memorize and easy to “read” on the needles.

Unique:

Strikingly Striped is obviously color work, but it’s simple color work suitable for an adventurous beginner who has some familiarity with sock construction. The pattern is easy to memorize, so the knitter can focus on technique without having to put a whole lot of thought into following a complicated chart. The cuff, heel, and toe are all done in a single color, so there’s no need to do colorwork in anything other than plain stockinette. The only decreases in the color work are on the gussets.

Strikingly Textured is textured. The seed stitch is king of this pattern. It’s continued down the sides of the heel flap and incorporated into the gusset with the decreases moved to avoid interrupting the pattern. The panels lend a vertical feel to the sock.

I’ve had so much fun playing with both patterns, I can’t wait to see how they are interpreted by other knitters. And I’ll be knitting up a bunch more of each too!

Right back where I was

Posted on October 15th, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

I finished the two pair of socks I was working on this weekend.. I also have another finished pair from a week ago I haven’t blogged yet.

Hermione’s Everyday Socks in Socks That Rock Silkie

Embossed Leaves in  no idea what this yarn is

And a pattern I was working on before I stopped knitting, in Claudia’s Handpainted Yarns – Honey colorway

As I was finishing this sock, which I remember loving while I was designing it, I was dreading knitting on it. I think now that I’m removed from it and have come back to it, I was putting too many eggs in the basket. There’s a texture at the cuff, a design down the front, another down the back, another down the side that splits with the gusset and continues down the heel flap. The three don’t all line up with each other, so it’s a mess of charts and even though I was just finishing the foot on the second sock, where admittedly there was a lot less of it all going on, it just still felt like too much. I do love the finished socks, but there’s just so much going on. And while I was thinking all of that, the budding designer in me who pulled this design together was able to step back and look at them more critically. And from this one pair of socks that have so much going on with so little to show for it, she re-planted her design seed in my brain and started disecting it to find the elements I do like, and to pull them out and simplify things. This one-off thing I pulled together on paper 5 years ago just sent me right back down the rabbit hole and has spun off at least 4 other pattern ideas in my head, the first two of which have now taken over the needles free’d up by finishing two of the pairs above.  

I haven’t decided yet if I want to write up the socks that I knitted, especially because the pattern doesn’t show very well in that colorway and to do it properly, I’d have to re-knit them in a more suitable yarn *blech*, but I’m loving the ideas that were spun off and they will definitely be finding their way into writing. In fact, I’m already halfway through a new sock and got a first draft of it’s pattern written up. I might even dive back into that ideas folder I left languishing on my computer and see if there are any gems in there.

Some things never change

Posted on October 12th, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

I had a sock problem before, I always had several in progress and lots of needles in use.

I have started to develop the same problem this time around. I want to knit all the socks and I want to knit them now. Plus, I keep digging through old project bags and finding the ones I didn’t finish before.

So, this is 4 of the 5 pair on the needles now…

3 of the 5 pair OTN, are legacy… pairs from before my knitting break. The golden colored ones on the left were a pattern I was working on designing when I stopped. They are on the foot of the second sock. I’m debating whether to also write up and release the pattern.

Second from the left are the Embossed Leaves socks I started before I stopped knitting. They are also on the foot of the second sock now.

The third is a new sock I cast on when I finished the last pair that came off the needles, They are Archery socks from the Indie Dyer book.

And the fourth are the Katniss socks now just past the first sock’s heel turn.

The fifth pair in progress is the odds n sods socks that are on the foot of the first sock. They’re hanging out in the bag with all the yarn scraps and the blanket starts and I put a few rows on the foot here and there when I remember.

So, I’m trying very hard not to cast on more right now and my plan for tonight is to round robin the four in front of me until the first two pair are done and some more progress is made on the other two. Once those two sets of needles are free, though, all bets are off and it’s highly likely there will be 2 more pair finding their way into a cast-on state…

Indecision

Posted on September 29th, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

So,  I’m kind of known for being indecisive.  So much so that I kinda just froze for a few minutes trying to decide what example to use in describing my indecision.

Anyway, I’ve been eyeing the two prevalent sock yarn leftovers blankets for a while (Shelly’s miters since years ago, and Tiny Owl’s beekeepers quilt since I started knitting again last month) and couldn’t decide which one I wanted to make.

The beauty of this decision is, it’s all on me and it really doesn’t matter which one I choose. But, I still couldn’t decide as I like the look of both, they’re both a ton of fiddly little work that will take forever and they’ll both accomplish cleaning out the scrap basket.

So, instead of making a decision, I chose both and started knitting mitered squares and hexi-flats last night.

 

They’re like potato chips.

So far, I’ve done six for each.

I prefer the knitting on the mitered squares, they seem to go a little faster because it’s all decreasing all the time.

But the hexi’s are fun too if a little more fiddly, especially at first. It’s obviously something that won’t be done for a very long time, but the first half dozen of each have been a fun diversion.

It also makes me want to finish the socks I have OTN, so I can see those yarns knit up in miters and hexis.

So, lots of miters and hexis and miters and hexis are in my future for a long while.

Still plugging away

Posted on September 28th, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

It’s amazing how much stuff gets finished when I don’t post for several weeks!

I’ve been back to work part time for the last week and start full time with some days onsite next week. Physical Therapy finally starts next week and things are starting to get closer and closer to normal around here every day. The doc said I could stop wearing the boot in the house, but still need to wear it when I leave the house, so I’ve been walking around in normal shoes for most of the last week. I’ve even finally started showering standing up instead of using the chair setup we had in there. So, lots of progress!

I’m also still spending the rest of my free time with needles in my hands.

The FLS is done! I still haven’t gotten any modeled shots of it, but it’s been off the needles for a couple weeks now and I love how it came out.

It got a good blocking and some pewter leaf buttons and fits wonderfully. Hopefully I’ll get some pics of it in action soon… it should be easier to get shots of me wearing it once I’m dressing for work and leaving the house a little more often.

In addition, the plain stockinette cotton socks are done.

I have some other literary socks on the needles with a pair of Hermione’s favorites on the second sock

and a start on a pair of Katniss socks

And, once I finished the FLS, I dove right into another sweater that is progressing quite nicely.

I’ve added most of a sleeve since I took that photo. It’s using the same raglan math I used for my first sweater. One of my favorite commercial sweaters is a duster length sweater that’s gauzy from a light weight yarn on a bigger needle. The commercially made one is machine knit, but I went with the same general idea for this one. It’s a dk weight yarn knit on 10 1/2′s, so it’s been going really fast and isn’t using much yarn at all. I did the raglan increases with yarn overs, and added an 8-stitch lace pattern down the center of the back for some added interest, and I’m still debating how I’m going to finish the edges. I’m leaning towards a crochet edging with a button hole or several down the front. It only took 2 balls of yarn to get it just shy of waist length and about half a ball to do the sleeve, and I have 9 balls of this yarn, so I’ll likely let this one keep going to mid-thigh or even knee length before binding off and edging. I’m really liking how it’s coming out so far, and it’s been a really quick and satisfying knit.

Since my last check in…

Posted on September 7th, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

I found a cord that didn’t break.
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I finished the second ribbed sock.

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I started some lace.

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I started some new socks.

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And I finished the body of my February Lady Sweater!

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Still waiting on paperwork and HR, so lots of time means I’m getting lots done. I’ll start the sleeves tomorrow… At the rate things are moving, I may have the sweater done before I’m permitted to work again.

Still here, amazingly

Posted on August 22nd, 2013 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || 2 Comments

A week later, and the grand return hasn’t slowed. Monkey socks, finished.

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Baby sweater in need of a sleeve. Finished.

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New pair of socks started, and half finished.
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I’ve also found and picked at a couple other old WIPs that I don’t have pics of yet. So, it’s back.

On the broken leg front, I’m gradually building up to weight-bearing now. In a boot instead of the cast and working on rebuilding my endurance so I can navigate work at least part time in a couple weeks. I’ve been up and down the stairs every day this week without scooting up but still scooting down.

Home is where the lazy happens

Posted on March 11th, 2010 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

The same realization that caused me to ditch my dresser a couple years ago woke me up again in the last couple of weeks. I’m a very visual person. That saying, “out of sight, out of mind”, that is 10000% how my brain works. But I tend to forget, or tuck that little bit of knowledge away somewhere I can’t see it so it can jump back out and surprise me all over again.

A couple years ago, that caused me to rearrange my bedroom and finally move any and all clothing (including socks and underware) out of my dresser and into the closet where I could see everything in one place. Those items are in one of those hanging shelf things. The point is, I’m no longer letting the things at the bottom of the drawer sit there forever because I can only see the stuff on top (nor am I never wearing the stuff because it’s hiding inside a drawer). It was one of those personal revolutionary moments and once I started using that system exclusively, I wondered “why didn’t I think of this before”.

In addition to being very visual, I also compartmentalize. One of the things that took some adjusting on facebook (and has me slightly uncomfortable with my wedding guest list) is the fact that all my neatly compartmentalized groups of friends get to mingle and meet each other out of context. It’s not that I’m really any different with one group over another, I just mentally store them in context, so my coaster friends and my college friends and my high school friends and my band friends and my internet friends don’t generally have cause to interact amongst themselves. So, visual and compartmentalizing.

So, the grand revelation? I’ve compartmentalized my daily activities, so to fit something like regular exercise into my life it needs a compartment that visually separates it from everything else. Enter, the Y. I finally figured out that everything I try to do at home isn’t working because I’ve spent 32 years training my brain that the primary function of time spent at home is the lazy. The feeding and the sleeping and the tv watching and the web surfing. Lazy. Home = lazy. Home is where the lazy happens.

Instead of trying to change that, I’m just establishing a new x=y correlation in my head. The YMCA = activity. So, my routine for the last week has been to get up with the alarm, weigh in on the wii fit, brush my teeth, pull back my hair, pull on my workout clothes and get out the door before my brain realizes what’s hit it. That’s the hardest part. Once I get to the Y, I put in 20-30 minutes of whatever I’ve chosen to focus on that day, hit the showers and head to work. The advantage is that I’m still not getting out the door at home as early as I could be but instead of being late for work, I’m a little late for working out. I’ve built enough time in for working out that I can still get in at least 30 minutes even when I’m late and since I’m not at home, I’m not motivated to be lazy, so I’m out the door at the Y quicker and I’m only 2 blocks away from work, so I’m on time for work for the first time consistantly since, well, since I started if I’m honest.. (punctuality has been an issue for a loooong time).

Why didn’t I think of this before?

Shhhh…

Posted on February 1st, 2010 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

I’m trying not to jinx it, but I found a set of knitting needles in my hands this weekend for the first time in over a year… I’m holding out to see if this was just, as Mike referred to it, a “retro Bethie” moment, or if I’ll start easing back in.

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