Reducio Sock Swap

2015-06-01 20.28.51-1We are on our way to summer.  The end of May was almost all dark brown (upper 80s) with a few pink stripes (lower 90s)!  I love the brown and pink together!

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Here is a close up of May (between the white stripes).  You can see it just getting hotter and hotter.  I expect next month will introduce the next color (red)!

I also got my Reducio Swap package!  The theme was the TriWizard Tournament!  The outside of my package was so cute!

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The inside was even better!

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There was a cute little Ravenclaw mini sock, a golden egg (which Millie has claimed and plays with), gillyweed (both as a cloth/doily and in a little vial), a copy of the maze (with 4 champions marked), some tea to keep me warm after a trip into the lake, and 4 mini skeins of handspun yarn for my sock yarn blanket!  So lovely!  I love the Reducio swaps. They are so much fun!



It is September. That can only mean one thing this year.  That’s right…all Christmas knitting all the time.  I am in the Christmas spirit. I have been working on Christmas dishcloths, Christmas tribbles, Christmas laundry soap, Christmas blankie squares, and a Christmas scarf!  I have gotten a couple more dishcloths done. I have also gotten a couple of tribbles done. These will go in baskets with some “kitchen” goodies (measuring cups, hotpads, etc).  I also found a great recipe for laundry soap, so I have been making batches of that to give away in pint jars!  My laundry soap is 1 Bar of Kirk’s Castille soap finely grated, 2 c. washing soda, 2 c. baking soda, 3 c. Borax, and a small amount of fragrance (about 30 drops).  It smells wonderful and cleans better than anything I have ever tried. It is also diaper safe (a big deal in our house).

In working on the Christmas blankie squares I have learned a new skill.  Cabling.  I haven’t just learned to cable, but I have discovered that I hate cable needles.  I learned to cable without a cable needle!  I feel so daring!  The May square was my first attempt at cabling. I decided that I was not brave enough to cable without a needle.  I fumbled with the needle for two really badly done repeats. I decided that there had to be a better way. I had only ever seen cabling without a needle where you drop the stitches you would normally put on the cable needle, knit the others, and then pick up the dropped stitches. I decided I just wasn’t that daring.  Then I saw some reference to doing it the way that is described in the Confessions of a Knitting Heretic.  Well, I just got the book. I looked up how she did it.  Taking the example of a 4 stitch cable, she takes the first two stitches and slips them to the right hand needle. Then she knits the next two stitches. Then she puts her needle into the two slipped stitches (into the front if the stitches were to be held in front or into the back if they were to be held in back). She then slips all four stitches off of the right needle.  The two slipped stitches are now on the left needle. The other stitches are “dropped”. You then pick them up on the right needle.  They don’t hang out there. They are only off of a needle for a few seconds. That didn’t seem so dangerous.  I tried it out, and discovered that I love to cable that way!  For some reason, it is much neater and easier for me.  Not to mention that I don’t risk losing the cable needle. I ripped the first cables I tried and started over. The square came out great.

I have now done three cabled squares without the cable needle. It is making me feel so clever and daring (and as you know, that always makes me love a technique…when it makes me feel smart)!!  I am so glad I waited to do the May and July squares until after I bought that book.  I am thinking of writing an ode to Annie Modesitt since she has so transformed my knitting (or maybe that would just be weird)!!

I also got a great present in the mail, which made me think it was Christmas for a day!  I got my package for the Reducio 7 swap.  Included were a lovely little Hufflepuff sock, a travelling bag (which is lined and has a little bumblebee sewn into the lining…my pal’s patronus to protect against lost items), a train whistle, and some candy. It also had the Ribbit pattern, yarn, and a tennis ball to make a cute little frog!!  She did such a fantastic job on the package!!

Lately, the mail has been very kind to me!  A week or so ago, I got my Loopy Ewe package for July.  It had a pattern, a skein of Bugga sock yarn, a Namaste Buddy case, and a sheepy stitch marker. The yarn is red and burnt orange.  I don’t really wear those colors. I have decided that it should be a shawl. It is soooo soft.  I am going to make it into an Ulmas shawl. I just need to figure out what I want to combine with it. I am thinking of either a charcoal yarn or a camel color. I am leaning more towards charcoal since I wear a lot of black.

Yesterday, I received my package for the Reducio Swap (round 6).  It is wonderful.  I got a little Gryffindor sock, a tapemeasure that looks like a pocket watch, a tiny stitch marker, an owl button, two lion buttons, sock needle point protectors, some stickers, and some bookmarks.  It is such a wonderful package!  LB already has claimed a few of the stickers. He kept saying, “That bluebird sticker is so very beautiful.” I finally took the hint and let him have one of the sheets!

Today, I got my box from the Flat Rate Box Swap on Ravelry. The theme this time was “Local”.  My pal was from Kalamazoo, MI.  The box was packed full of goodies.  The card was a picture made by a local artist.  The card is also a magnet (already on my fridge).  There are matching Avani cards.  There were some preserves made in a nearby town, a candle that is inspired by a nearby community, cherry wafers to represent the cherries in the area, liquid handsoap that is locally made, goats milk soap that is locally made, a Michigan lighthouse pad and pen, a Michigan wooden ornament, a Petosky stone (the state stone), maple sugar candy (which we have already eaten…yummy), and postcards.  Also, there were two skeins of Kindred Spirits yarn (one worsted and one sock yarn). They are so beautiful! I am already thinking about what to make with them! 

CB has been climbing… a lot. The other day, he climbed up to my laptop (it was on a desk…I had pulled the chair away from the desk, but he found another chair to drag over there). He popped most of the keys off of the keyboard. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, excpet that some will not pop back on.  On the back of the keys are really tiny (very flimsy) plastic pieces.  Unfortunately, the broken keys are R and K.  Two keys that I use a lot. I have not been able to post. I am posting from work (on my first light day in over two weeks). The good news is that I am getting a new keyboard and my lack of internet connection has allowed me to get lots of knitting done!

I knit two things for my Reducio Swap pal.  One of those things is a mini Ravenclaw sock (it looks just like the others that I have knit).  The other is the leaf bookmark!  It came out great. This appears to have started the garter stitch glut that I have been on lately. The leaf was super easy. I just made the I-cord long (to be a bookmark) and followed the Mountain Laurel Leaf pattern on Ravelry.

Then I decided to make booties for a friend at church who is having a baby.  I took a long time to decide on these. They don’t know if they are having a boy or a girl, so whatever I make has to be gender neutral.  I thought about trying another bootie pattern, but ultimately decided to make more Saartje’s booties. They are just too cute. To make them gender neutral, I decided they needed to look like frogs.  I used some of my Sunshine Yarns mini-skeins (I think this one is Algae).  I found some cute jet buttons (I looked for googly eye buttons, but didn’t find any small enough).  I really like how they came out. DH says they are still girly, but I think a baby boy could wear them.

Next I did another pair of Saartje booties. A girl from church asked if I could make a pair for a friend. They went to UM. That is my alma mater, so I felt like it would be fun.  I told her I would make these, but if she wanted more than I would teach her to knit!  These are made with random white acrylic yarn and Knit Picks Essential in Pine. The buttons were yellow, but I used some permanent stamping ink to make them a bit more orange.  They also came out cute.

Besides garter stitch booties, I have also made a lot of progress on my garter stitch Shawl that Jazz!  I love how this is turning out. The colors are amazing. I am still in awe of the cleverness of the design as well. It is knitting up so beautifully. My only (very small) complaint is that the yarn still smells like vinegar!  As I was knitting away, I had the sudden feeling my stitch count was off. I realized that I cast on 10 stitches too few.  I decided just to let it go. I was going to try to add them in, but I was worried about how it would affect the shape. I thought about ripping back, but decided that I was too far into it (I had about 3 inches done).  I think it will be plenty big despite the mistake.

Besides all the knitting I have done, I have also gotten some great mail.  First, I got my Loopy Ewe Sock Club package!  It has a great tote, a pen, candy, a beautiful pattern, and really gorgeous yarn!  It is called Luster Sox by Dye Dreams!  I love the greens. This yarn is so soft and has a sheen that pictures can’t do justice!

I also got my Reducio package from my pal. It has a mini-sock, a bookmark for wand tree identification, a journal, chocolate, Soak, two mini skeins (one Ron colorway and one hand dyed by my pal), and some tea.  My pal is so wonderful!  I can’t wait for the mini-skeins to join my blankie!

It has been a long time since I have done a Wee Block Wednesday. I really put the sock blankie aside for a while (that is the beauty of that project…no deadlines).  I have started working on it again.  It now 58 has squares (only 57 are pictured…I did another one last night).

Here is a summary of the new ones:

1. This is the yarn from my Raphael Monkeys.

2. This is the yarn from my Reducio Pal. She dyed it herself and won an award on the socks she knitted with it.

3. This is the yarn that I got from my Sock Yarn from Stash Swap Pal.  I traded the rest of the yarn in the Easter one skein swap.

4. This is some of the yarn I got in the Easter one skein swap.

5. This is yarn from one of the swaps from the BlankieMania group. I am not sure what it is.

6. This is also yarn from a swap from the Blankie Mania group. I am not sure what it is.

7. This another yarn from a swap from the Blankie Mania group. I am not sure what it is.

I am going to be adding a random bigger square in there. I wasn’t going to add any bigger squares at all, but I have a yarn that demands it.  Who am I to go against the will of a yarn?

I have been participating in the Reducio Swap on Ravelry. When I went on hiatus, the group was taken over by some very enthusiastic knitters. They have kept it going wonderfully, so I get to just be a participant (how fun!)!!  This is one of my favorite swaps.  I got my package from my pal.

Do you see all the goodies?  There is a mini-sock (I was in Slytherin this time), a snail, a slug, tea, drinking chocolate, chocolate bars, M&Ms, scrapbooking stickers, Fort Dodge Magazine (which my pal does much of the photography and writing for), a scrapbooking calendar, and a cat toy.  There are also scraps for my blankie. It is yarn that she dyed herself and the socks she knit with the yarn got second place in the state fair!  What a cool memory.

Here is a close up of the “Care of Magical Creatures” themed knits (just ignore the dirty window sill):

I have also been doing some knitting for my own pal.  I made a mini-sock for my Slytherin pal.  It is using the Knit Picks Essential sock yarn (so soft). 

For my Care of Magical Creatures item, I made a dragon. He is supposed to be a finger puppet, but he came out small.  Now he is a “wand pal” (or a pencil pal or a knitting needle pal).  He is pictured on a knitting needle.

I have also gotten two January Squares done. These are part of Hanks 2009 Year of the Afghan.  I plan to do three squares a month.  For Christmas, these will be gifts for DH, CB, and LB.  I have ordered some more yarn to make the third square for January and the three February squares.  As soon as the yarn gets here, I will get caught up.  I am making these with Knit Picks Swish Worsted. I love this yarn!  It is super, super soft.  I also like the colors.  It is a pleasure to work with.

I made a mistake on the blue square. It has a repeat over 6 rows instead of 8.  As a result there are 10 repeats (instead of 7). I think I like the green one better.  They both came out about 9×9 instead of 11×11.  I am going to wait to do any blocking until I have a few more squares done.  I want to see if the squares for the other months will be the same size or larger.

The mail lady has been very good to me lately! I got a card the other day from my Secret Pal. It had a picture of a gnome inside. The gnome is Gnitgnome! He is cute. My pal says that she will send pictures of the little fellow throughout the swap to give me clues as to her identity. In this picture, Gnitgnome appears to be in front of a cow pasture! LB and I are going to put them in an album.

I also got the yarn from the June Yarn Ball Swap from the Blankiemania group. The scraps are so wonderful! I can’t wait to get a chance a knit up some squares!

Today, I got my package from the second round of the Reducio Swap. It had a cute little sock made of handspun. So pretty! There was also a mini crochet scarf inspired by Luna. I will probably use it as a bookmark! Luna would have been proud to wear it! The package also included some sock yarn scraps for my blankie!! I think that is so special! My pal will always be a part of that blankie! I love that thought!

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