FO Spotlight: Third Time’s the Charm

I’ve got another one!

The Rundown

Pattern: Textured shawl recipe by Orlane Sucche

Yarn: 719 yds/240 gm malabrigo Silky Merino in colorway Pradera. It’s about half silk, half merino and it’s a lightly spun single. It’s fairly splitty, but I expected that.

Size made: Until I ran out of yarn! I had about 3 yds left over after binding off. I’d call that a yarn chicken win. It measures about 90″ x 42″ after a fairly aggressive blocking.

Needles: Addi Long Lace Clicks, US10s.

Techniques used: Garter tab, russian joins, k2tog tbl bind off.

Modifications: I fiddled around with the textured stitch a bit before getting it how I wanted it. The pattern doesn’t specify how many sts to cast on. I found that my first garter tab start gave me 2 extra sts, one on each side of the center spine. I thought that diluted the textured panels a bit so reworked it to eliminate those extra sts. The way I did it also helped the textured panels line up the way I wanted (stitches offset by one instead of stacked). Exact notes on what I did are on my project page.

I also changed the number of rows in each section and the total number of sections. The first was because I wasn’t really paying attention and the second was because I wanted to make it larger than called for as well as use up all the yarn. I didn’t do as many rows of garter st at the end as my yarn didn’t make it as far as I’d thought.

Difficulty: Medium, but with a caveat: the actual knitting was very easy. The “pattern” is more of a loose recipe. It has the textured stitch pattern, but leaves the nuts and bolts up to interpretation. This would not be a good first shawl project as you need to have some understanding of how a top down triangular shawl works.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

This colorway was tricky to photograph. The actual colors are somewhere in between.

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When blocking, I worked hard to get the top edge flat and the center spine straight. Since a top-down garter tab triangular shawl comes off the needles in more of a diamond shape, that can take a little doing. I used wires on the top edge and pinned the spine, but didn’t do anything to the cast off edge.

Pre-blocking:

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You can kind of see how the top center has a little extra bulk there. Also, the garter st border flares a bit since the gauge is different.

Blocking:

I didn’t want to pin the bottom edge out because I didn’t want to risk increasing the flaring at all.

I had a helper again:

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I think the textured stitch works well with the colorway. I don’t love the stockinette portions, but they do help keep it from getting too crazy. It’s soft, has nice drape, and should be easy enough to wear. Bottom line, though: if I made this shawl again, I wouldn’t. There are a ton of awesome shawl patterns out there that are much better written–and that don’t require you to reinvent the wheel.

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I’m excited for the weather to cool off so I can start wearing shawls again!

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FO Spotlight: Paris, Je t’aime!

The rundown

Pattern: Paris Toujours by Isabell Kraemer

Yarn: 922 yds/471 gm madelinetosh Tosk DK in Saffron. It was four full skeins which were slightly over yardage (I think). Madelinetosh yarns are sold by yardage and not weight, so it’s tricky to tell just how much you have.

Size made: Rather large. I added more lace sections but then didn’t have enough yarn to do as robust a garter border at the end. I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. Literally–I had to pull out two and a half rows or I wouldn’t have had enough to bind off. I ended up with less than 1 gm of yarn remaining. After a light blocking, it measures around 120″ long and 50″ deep.

Needles: Addi Long Lace Clicks, US9s.

Techniques used: As written in the pattern, I think. I didn’t take note of the bind off and now I’ve forgotten. I believe it was a k2tog tbl kinda deal. I used russian joins throughout so I only had two ends to weave in at the end. I knit the whole thing in about three weeks and then took six months to weave in two piddly little ends.

Modifications: More lace sections, fewer rows of garter stitch at the end. I used just over the top end of the yardage range listed (750-915).

Difficulty: Easy.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

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The color is tricky to capture accurately. It’s a lovely red rust with gold undertones.

I liked making this shawl a lot. The pattern is clear and easy to follow, and the knitting is simple but with enough variation that it’s not mind-numbingly boring. Also, there are some great details, such as the selvage edge:

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It’s super easy to do and looks clean and finished. I’m definitely filing it away for future use.

Not surprisingly, I like the yarn a lot. I haven’t met a madtosh yarn yet that I didn’t like. In this case, I love the depth of the colorway. There’s somehow a lot going on there without having extreme variations. The result is a luscious and deep color that doesn’t fight with the pattern texture. It’s squishy soft and easy to work with. It’s actually a little less soft after blocking, but still easily soft enough for neck wear.

The yarn does, however, grow significantly with blocking in true superwash fashion. As usual I forgot to take pre-blocking measurements, but you can bet it wasn’t ten feet by four feet. I’m going to leave it as is because I like some real estate in a shawl, and I’m planning on keeping this one for myself. If I were giving it to anyone else, I’d probably dampen it and give it some time in the dryer to pull it in a little.

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I’ll get more modeled pics when it’s not 80F out! However, since I said in my last post that I could possibly lose my child in a shawl this size…POIDH*:

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And she wanted me to keep taking pictures of her, so here’s some gratuitous kid pic spam!

I’m very happy with how this shawl turned out. It’s the best kind of project, really–relaxing but not boring, and a great match of pattern and yarn. The result is an accessory that’s easy to wear and looks more complex than it is.

Since my last post, I wove in the (two piddly little) ends on another of the four shawls. I’m thinking I just might be able to block it today. So, who knows? Maybe there’s another FO Spotlight post in my future! In the meantime, I’ve been matching up yarns and patterns on ravelry to try to get a handle on my stash, and putting in some serious work on my Feathery Lace Stole. What are you working on?

Happy knitting!

*Pics or it didn’t happen

A Smorgasbord of Shawls

I think I might, in large part, be a process knitter as opposed to a product knitter. I think most knitters have at least a little bit of each side of things and I’m no exception to that–I definitely love having knitted things to use and wear. I just can’t come up with any other explanation for the ever growing pile of projects that I’ve bound off but never really finished. You know, my UFFOs*. Well, the stack on the end of the sofa was getting a little out of hand, so I figured I’d tackle it.

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I have four–count them, four–bound off but otherwise unfinished shawls. If you count my Volga, a giant cowl/shawl hybrid, I guess it’s actually five. Two of those are completely understandable: my Frabjous Karee (bottom left corner) needs approximately 15 billion ends woven in and my Elephant’s Pants (top left corner) needs approximately 15 billion buttons acquired and attached. Any procrastinator worth her salt can rationalize those away. However, I have two single color, non-buttoned, no seams required shawls just waiting to have ends woven in and to get blocked and photographed. I used russian joins for both of them, so there were only two ends left. I had a little energy this afternoon so I’m now well on my way to getting that total down from four (five) to three (four). Imagine my surprise when I sat down with my knit picker and my Paris, je t’aime! (top right corner above) and found I had already woven the ends in.

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I’ll give a full rundown on this project once blocking’s done. It’s currently spread out on the porch, using all the blocking mats I own just to pin it out lightly. I was worried when I was knitting it that it wouldn’t be big enough. I should have had faith in the magical growing abilities of superwash wool, because it’s going to be giant.

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For reference, each mat is about 24″ square. So, it’ll have a wingspan of close to 10 feet and a depth of four. It’s big enough to lose my child in. I’ll have to wrap the ends around five times or else they’ll drag on the ground. Why, exactly, was I worried? I might have to throw it in the dryer to shrink it back up a little!

In any case, I’ll soon be able to take it off the WIP list. In anticipation, I think I’ll get the next one ready to block. I really am worried that this one won’t be big enough..

Happy knitting!

 

*UnFinished Finished Objects

Cleaning House, Knitting Style

For the past couple of days, I’ve been working on wrapping up some projects I have on the needles as well as getting some UFFOs finished and blocked. I have the secret project as well as the wifey’s Quicksilver (at long last) currently blocking, both with all ends woven in. I’ve been slogging away at the Clapotis for my MIL (just started skein #6 out of 7 last night) and that shouldn’t be too hard to finish up and block once the knitting is done. I’ve been using Russian joins the whole way so I’ll just need to weave in the first and last ends and trim up the joins. That will be three projects completely done! I also picked up buttons for my garter yoke baby cardi the other day so will grit my teeth and finish that up so it can be gifted away and off my to do list. Of course, I will attempt to get good photos of all these so I can blog about them properly.

I’ve also been doing a lot of work getting yarn ready to use. Usually this isn’t something I have to deal with but…I received some yarn I’d ordered a couple of weeks ago, and the bag and everything in it reeked of cigarette smoke. While I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s personal liberties, I will say that I really can’t stand cigarettes or tobacco smoke of any kind and to have a stale smoke bomb hit me when opening a bag of otherwise really lovely yarn–yeah, total bummer. I couldn’t just throw it away because, well, malabrigo! Also, while I didn’t buy it at anything close to retail price, I still did pay for it. So I’ve started the task of washing and drying all the yarn in the bag. Of course it was six skeins of non-superwash malabrigo wool and three skeins of hand wash Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece…no superwash in the lot. I’ve washed two of the skeins of malabrigo and am a little concerned that they started to felt. I’m not sure what to do for the remaining four skeins as I was as gentle as I could be with the first two. I’m going to try to wind them into balls today as they’re finally fully dry and see how it goes. As for the cotton fleece, I’m laughing at myself for what I did. I wasn’t really thinking clearly and just submerged two of the skeins without unwinding them. That was fine for washing them as it didn’t seem like the smoke had permeated past the outer layer (I think the malabrigo was the real culprit) but it wasn’t the best plan for drying them! So I washed them, waited until they dried out enough that I could unwind them into loops, and hung them to dry.

You might be wondering where I got yarn that was smoky. I got it from DBNY, which sources their stock from stores that go out of business, overgrown personal stashes and overstock. There’s no guarantees that anything will be in perfect condition since it may not be new or it might have been stored improperly before DBNY got it. However, I did send an email to their customer service department since this was such an ordeal. I’m waiting to hear back on whether or not they will try to make it right.

So I have the rest of that batch of yarn to unskein, wash, dry, ball, photograph and log into ravelry. I also have a small batch of yarn from Goodwill that I haven’t added to ravelry yet, so I’m going to try to knock that out this afternoon. If I have time and energy, I’ll sort through some of the last random stuff from my stash–mostly stuff without ball bands that needs to be identified and added to ravelry. Then, I’ll put any newly categorized yarn away in its proper bin.

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my latest Goodwill haul

How do people store their yarn? I used to sort by fiber type, but now my stash has so many different blends that’s not really feasible. I reorganized all my yarn recently (I don’t think I blogged about that, now that I think of it) and decided to sort everything by weight. So, I have separate bins for everything (lace, fingering/sock, sport, DK, worsted, aran, bulky and super bulky). A few categories that don’t take up much space are sharing bins, and a few categories that have a ton of acrylic are further separated that way. It’s all in airtight bags inside bins with lids. I think there are eight or nine large bins, all told, and they’re all full or close to it. Time to get knitting!

Anyone else doing some fall “spring” cleaning? What’s your strategy?

I Have Some Real FOs!

I’m really working on chipping away at both the stash and my pile of UFFOs (see my previous post for an explanation). I’ve made great progress on both fronts this past week. For starters, I actually blocked something!! It’s true! I blocked my two River District Toques, adult and toddler size. Unfortunately, getting them wet also made them enormous and they didn’t shrink back with air drying. So, I tossed them in the dryer for about 15 minutes in a lingerie (i.e., knitting) bag. Don’t worry, it’s superwash. That did the trick but also reversed some of the blocking…oh well. I knew it was a possibility. The only thing I really would want to fix is how the garter stitch edges along the brims want to curl up a little. I suppose I could just moisten that part and block them that way, but I will probably just live with it instead.

I do have new photos of both hats, but not pro quality nicely lit ones, yet. Hopefully the wifey will have time for those tomorrow. In the meantime, the first is the toddler/child size and the second is the adult:

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I showed them off to the wifey’s family today and my SIL put in a request for one. I have just enough yarn left for one more adult one, so I told her I would make her one.

I also wove in the remaining (very few) ends for the Twirly Summerskirt. It needs elastic in the waistband and a wash/light block and it will be done. Look at all this finishing I’m doing! I still have two larger projects to block (Quicksilver and Old Shale kids blanket) but I need a larger free space open before I can do those.

Now, a small confession: I lost two UFFOs. I actually kind of wanted to finish them, but couldn’t find them in order to do it! I unearthed them today in our rather hoarder-esque guest room, so they should get done soon. They are my Not a Buff and Stashbuster preemie hat #2. I know, I know, preemie hats take about zero yarn so don’t really bust a lot of stash. But, it was quick and easy and the yarn was baby yarn. And I did make two of them so far. Little steps, folks.

I have a couple of larger projects percolating. The first is Drachenfels by Melanie Berg. The issue with this one is that it calls for sport weight, and I really don’t have anything on hand that would be appropriate. I’m thinking about doing it in fingering weight instead and modifying the pattern to make sure it’s large enough. But, I’m still not sure what yarn to use. Thanks to online sales I have a good bit of Koigu KPM that I think would work well. But, I don’t know how the colors I have would play together. I basically have yellow, oranges/golds, light blue, royal blue and purple. I like bold and all but I think that might be a bit much. Thankfully, I stumbled across some on sale the other day and I’m pretty sure I ordered some (I honestly can’t remember). If I didn’t, I might try to pair it with something else already in the stash. We shall see.

The other project in the wings is a shawl for my MIL. That is on hold for a bit until I can be more clear on what she wants and what color(s) she’s looking for. The other other project in the wings is Henry’s Sweater for our friends’ new baby. Quick, highly scientific opinion poll: lemon yellow superwash wool for a sweater for a baby boy? The wifey says no but I think it would be awesome. In any case, that’s really all I have in my stash that is a) enough yarn for the job and b) vaguely machine washable. As it would happen, said wifey was at Goodwill today and kindly scoped out their yarn for me. All there was was a sealed bag with four skeins of yarn. Three of them were Caron Simply Soft in black tweed and the fourth was Cascade 220 Quatro. Since I linked to stash pics, clearly I had her go ahead and get them. I really wanted the Cascade, not so much the Caron…I have a lot of acrylic stuff I might never use. But, since it was literally a package deal, I figured I could just make a hat and scarf for charity with them or something. But, the Caron would technically meet both requirements a and b from above. So I might just make the sweater out of that.

New parents don’t need to be handwashing stuff, right?

One more 100% finished FO for you: my Valentine Helix Hat for the kiddo. This was a quick and kind of fun project! It’s odd because over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about the concept of helical knitting, but didn’t realize it was already a thing. Then a couple of days ago I stumbled across this pattern, thought it would look even cooler in three colors, remembered I had three colors of the same yarn in my stash, and an idea was hatched.

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I wove in all the ends and everything! The yarn is Jil Eaton MinnowMerino from Classic Elite Yarns. It’s very soft and has a nice, subtle shine to it. I think the kidlet will like it. I’m thinking I’ll try to make some mittens to match it with the remaining yarn.

Moving Forward–Quicksilver, Lovely New Yarn and Test Knitting

I am still plugging away at my Quicksilver. I have two mesh sections and one garter stitch section to go, and then it will join my collection of UFFOs (see this post for an explanation). I am hoping it will not stay there long as I’m very excited to see how it will transform once blocked. I’ve been looking at this brilliant thread on Ravelry and so am very excited about the blocking process. This project should benefit particularly because, even though the mesh isn’t really what I’d think of as “lace”, it’s still got a lot of stretch to it. And, the striped sections are in garter stitch, so there’s a lot of room to grow there. I’m hoping it will expand in size quite a bit!

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I revisited another skill that I’ve used in the past but not for a long while: dropping a stitch on purpose to fix an error in a previous row. I made it maybe ten rows without realizing I somehow purled one random stitch in a striped section. So, when I got to that spot, I dropped the stitch above it off the needle, pulled it out until I got to the purl stitch, and reworked up the ladders. It got a little fiddly and took a long time, but I know that it would have otherwise bothered me forever. So, I consider it time well spent. Also, it’s good experience!

I discussed in Quicksilver and the Importance of Good Knitting Needles how I was going to transition my shawl onto a longer pair of circs. Well, that didn’t end up working out. It was great to see the work spread out instead of completely scrunched up, but my gauge with the other needles was much looser. Even though the needles were the same size! I guess there was something about the texture that cause me to knit looser. So, I crammed it all back on the shorter ones. If I have a chance to buy another circ before I finish the shawl, I will…but it’s looking like that might not happen.

Other knitting news: I will be doing my first test knit! I’m really excited about it. More on that later! Also, I actually started sewing the ends in on my Old Shale kids blanket yesterday. That will be slow work but is necessary and totally worth it.

Yarn news: I got my hands on my very first Madelinetosh yarn yesterday. It is very, very pretty and I love it. I also got a couple of skeins of Malabrigo (not my first on that one, but only my second) which is also downright beautiful. You can see them both in my stash if you like. They are both squooshy and delicious and I want to knit them right away and save them forever, at the same time. Hopefully for my storage space, the knitting will win.

I can’t help sharing a glimpse here:

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One aspect of depression (remember that? depression?) for me has always been procrastination. One great way I’ve found to procrastinate is to become thoroughly engrossed in something else. Well, sometimes knitting becomes that “something else”, as knitters everywhere will be shocked to learn. I have (had) several very important things to do for work and the deadline for many of them happens to be today. Over the past few weeks, I have done a good bit of knitting, but have not worked on these things at all. I am proud to report that I spent a good bit of this morning doing all those things due today. I took a break to knit a little and have some lunch…and maybe write this blog entry…and am determined to get back to work afterward and knock out the last outstanding thing that needs done. And then maybe do some more knitting!