Down the Ravelry Rabbit Hole

I’ve been getting tons done on my two main projects right now. My MO is to work on my giant blue rectangle aka Easy Folded Poncho early in the day. Then, once I’ve knocked out a significant chunk, I’ll reward myself by working on my Miller’s Daughter. That way, I make good progress on both of them and I don’t get too overwhelmingly bored.

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It’s getting giant-er!

I don’t have an updated MD pic because…well, it all kind of looks the same now. It’s bunched up on the needles in typical giant shawl fashion, so it’s tricky to see the shape or any change in size. However, as I might have mentioned before, I am madly and thoroughly in love with this thing. Unfortunately, the weather turned around today and it looks like we’re solidly in pre-summer mode here*. I just want to scrunch it up and wear it forever, but I would probably melt or catch fire or something.

On to the rabbit hole. Despite the fact that I’m “booked” several projects out, I keep getting lost in pattern searching on ravelry. There’s so much out there and I just want to knit it all! I keep adding favorites and adding things to my queue. I’m up to 16 items on my queue, which is kind of crazy for me. I don’t tend to queue things unless I’m 90% sure I’m going to make them. I use favorites to earmark things I’m interested in but might never get around to, or things I might want to look at later for inspiration. In particular, I’ve been bitten by the shawl bug pretty badly. Part of it might be the Melanie Berg KAL that I’m doing right now, but several of her shawls are really calling to me.


Photo copyright Melanie Berg. Via ravelry.

Meet Rheinlust. I didn’t realize how interesting this shawl was until I saw a bunch of close up pics on the KAL thread. The wave motif is worked horizontally and is made with twisted stitches. That gives each little wave a very crisp and three dimensional look and adds lovely definition. I think it looks best in a tonal, midnight blue shade. This one is going to have to wait until I’ve whittled down my stash quite a bit. It takes about 950 yards of fingering and I don’t have any solids with that yardage currently.


Photo copyright Melanie Berg. Via ravelry.

Another Mairlynd shawl that has tempted me is On the Spice Market. This one has a main color and six contrast colors. I’ve seen some really lovely color combinations on this one. Amazingly, I have enough stash yarn to do this one–all in Koigu KPM–so this one might find its way to my needles sometime soon! My MC would be this greyish lavender:

I have several choices on the contrast colors, so I’ll see what looks good together next time I dig them all out.


Photo copyright Melanie Berg. Via ravelry.

The last Melanie Berg shawl I’m going to talk about today is The Love of Spiders. Just look at it. Really, need I say more? It’s got gorgeous texture, shape, contrast and structure. I love it!

What are your favorite shawl patterns? Have you knit any of the ones above? What pattern bug has got to you lately? I’d love to know!

Happy knitting!

*I’d say spring, but it’s too humid for that shit, yo.


I Like Big SHAWLS and I Cannot Lie

AKA FO Spotlight: Merinda test knit

I wrapped up my Merinda shawl today. As per usual, I finished the knitting some time ago but dragged my feet on weaving in the ends and blocking it. I hunkered down yesterday and just wove ends in every spare moment I had. I blocked it overnight and voila! Done.

The rundown

Pattern: Merinda by Ambah O’Brien, not yet published.

Yarn: madelinetosh Twist Light in Big Sur (420 yds) and Fathom (355 yds). Koigu KPM in Spring Green 2334 (445 yds).

Size made: One size. Mine ended up being about 120″ long and 40″ deep.

Needles: US5s for the body and 9s for the bind off

Techniques used: Wove in ends using a knit picker a la TECHknitter.

Modifications: None for the actual knitting. I did block it a touch larger (okay, a lot larger) than the pattern called for. More on that below.

Ravelled: Here.

The pretty

It’s a little tricky to tell from the pics, but the colors work together in a very interesting way. I used the Big Sur and the KPM for the stripe sections and the Fathom for the eyelet bands. The Big Sur and the KPM interact in a subtle but very interesting way. The bold graphic effect of the Fathom against the lighter blue greens is dramatic but not garish (IMNSHO). I love how it turned out and it was a joy to knit.

The shape is unique, as far as I can tell. It blocks into a triangle but right off the needles it’s a wonky quadrangle. It ends up being quite long and just slightly asymetrical. It was a bit of a challenge to block as I really don’t have the proper equipment or space. I pinned it to foam mats and/or the mattress on our queen size guest bed. Even laying it out diagonally, I still had to pin the tips to the side of the mattress. The dimensions given in the pattern are 98″ by 29″ but mine is 120″ by 40″!


Couldn’t even get it all in the picture!

I blocked it larger for a few reasons. First, I like a big shawl. I wear them kind of like scarves so it’s nice to have some length to wrap up in. Especially when it’s mostly lovely, silky soft madelinetosh! Second, the yarn just seemed to want to be bigger. I’m glad I listened as I love the resulting drape the fabric has.

The pattern isn’t released quite yet as Ambah wanted to fine tune a few things. I would highly recommend it once it’s published. It’s not a technically challenging knit and the design elements give you a lot of bang for your buck. It is miles of garter stitch but at least it works up fairly quickly. There are so many options for color combinations. I think it would look great with a gradient thrown in there, or a long color repeat yarn like Noro. You could opt for a high contrast pair for the stripes, or use a speckled yarn paired with a solid, and get really neat results. The possibilities are, as they say, endless!

And, because everyone loves a random and gratuitous cat pic or two, here are the latest stripey antics:


Oliver, aka “Kitten Man”, fishing for kibbles under the dishwasher


Sammy trying to retrieve his “fuzzy chicken” toy from under the china cabinet

Ah Sh*t, I Need More Yarn

I didn’t think I’d say that any time soon, but I came to a realization this evening: I need more yarn to finish my Drachenfels. At least, I need more to finish it the way I had planned to. I was knitting away happily at the solid grey section that is supposed to come right before the end when I realized that the longer rows are really chewing up the yarn a lot faster than I thought they would. I’m almost halfway into my third and final skein of the grey, and I don’t think the second half is going to get me through to the end.

I’m adapting a three color design to use four colors. The way I eventually envisioned this was to have two background colors and two contrast colors. I started at one tip with charcoal as my first background color and spruce as my first contrast color. As the shawl is knitted, you end up with a four stitch net increase for every six rows knitted so it grows into a triangle. Eventually you bind off along what has turned into a long edge. So, I eventually added the grey and phased out the charcoal, and the grey became my second background color. Then I replaced the spruce with light blue, my second contrast color. I did the transitions as garter ridge stripes. After the stripes, I had intended to knit 21 ridges of grey then do the 15 ridges of edging, approximately half grey and half blue. The bind off would be blue.

This whole plan developed after I had started knitting. I didn’t think yardage would be an issue. If I had, I might have switched the charcoal and the grey since I have four skeins of charcoal and only three of grey. I don’t have a great way to predict exactly how much yarn I’ll need, but it looks like each garter ridge is around 2-3gm. The original plan calls for 11 more ridges solid then 8 more in the edging for 19 total. I would need at least 40 gm and maybe close to 60. I’m down to 28 gm.

So, options. I could end the solid section early and just start on the edging sooner. I could bring the charcoal back in. I could add a fifth color from my stash. I could scout around and try to get another skein of the grey. I could ignore the issue and just keep knitting, knowing that I will lose this round of yarn chicken.

Let me back up a bit and consider the symbolism of this shawl. I’m going through a rough spot, as I’ve mentioned, and found I was having a hard time coping with everything life was throwing at me. I needed more support and wasn’t sure how to get it. I decided that, while it is important to ask for and receive support from people close to me, I need to be my own primary source of love and positivity. My first thought of how to do this was to knit something awesome for myself as a gift. So, this shawl was born of my conscious decision to pour positive energy into myself. This shawl represents my self-love, my self-care and my adamant refusal to accept less (from myself, at any rate) than I deserve. This is knitted defiance. Maybe that sounds overly dramatic, but it really is a pretty big deal to me.

I think I just talked myself into dropping $14 to see this thing through.


Taking Some Time for Me

Note: This post is pretty strong and a little scattered. I started to apologize for that when writing the end, but changed my mind. Instead, I will just give you this small warning: Radical self love ahead!

Since I am continuing to go through a difficult patch, I decided to put some positive energy into myself. This is counter to everything I unconsciously believe I should be doing. I “should” be somehow muscling through this. I “should” be using my extra time off work (long story) to do things around the house, for my family, for others, etc., etc. I “should” be doing something “productive” and lord knows self care is not generally considered productive. Or valuable. Especially coming from a female queer person.

That’s a lot of quotation marks.

But really, I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure (much of it self imposed) to do a lot of things that just aren’t coalescing. On the knitting front, that would probably be a shawl for the wifey’s mother. I love the wifey, I love her mother, I would love to knit her a shawl. But, I can’t get a good idea of what she would like and it’s just not coming together yet. And I have a lot of pressure on other fronts that is proving difficult to deal with. And I feel like I need still more support right now than I am able to get. And so, I think that taking that energy, that desire to do something nice for someone, and directing it inward is going to serve me best right now.

This is all a long way of saying that I cast on for my Drachenfels a couple of days ago. Actually, I cast on just a little after putting up my last post. My mom was still in town so she helped me look at color combinations and pick out something good. I looked over the pattern and determined it would be easy enough to modify on the fly. I’m using fingering weight yarn instead of sport weight but I want it to be bigger than the pattern says, so I wanted to make sure I’d be able to add some extra yardage. I balled up some skeins and got going.

I love it. I love the pattern, I love the color combinations, I love the yarn, I love that I’m modifying it to suit me. Mostly, I love that I’m doing something positive for myself, something that’s a big deal and that takes some dedication and commitment. This is symbolic for me. The other day, I realized that while life is in the process of handing me my ass, and while I am a person who struggles with depression, I am not particularly depressed right now. I am upset about what I am going through and it is hard to cope with. But, I have not succumbed to it. I have not ignored any of it in hopes that it would go away. I have been proactive about doing what I can to improve the situation. I have not stopped moving. I have not chosen to just go to sleep in avoidance. I am doing what I need to do, asking those around me for what I need, and generally acting in a way that is not consistent with depression. I am hurting, and the car accident last Thursday is only the icing on the cake. But, I am actively coping and actively asking for help. This is not how depression has played out for me in the past. This is just being dealt a shitty, shitty hand.

The other day, I spoke out and stood up for myself about these things, and about how I deserve support even though I am a person with depression. Casting on for this shawl feels the same. It is my way of saying, through knitting, that I am worth caring for, giving to, and being here on this planet. I will make myself an awesome shawl, damn it.

So yeah, that’s where I am right now. On to the knitting details! I am using Koigu KPM in charcoal, dark grey, spruce and light blue:

IMG_3776I have 3 or 4 skeins of each so should have a lot of yardage to work with. I might add in some yellow toward the end, too. I’ve gotten a good bit done so far:

IMG_3777I guess I didn’t include anything for scale, but that’s roughly 160 rows of knitting. Here’s a close up of the color detail:

IMG_3780The row that looks like a dotted green line is actually knitted only holding one color–much easier than it looks. This close up shows that the charcoal really is some grey, not all black, and is more of a semi-solid than solid (which I like, in this case). The other end of the shawl will be the dark grey against the light blue. I think it will look really cool. If I wasn’t already ready for summer to be over and colder weather to come, this would have done it! I can’t wait until it’s done and I can wear it pretty much all the time. I love everything about it because, at the end of the day, I love myself.