Sneak Peek

I got a new project on the needles about a week or so ago, and I’m liking how it’s turning out so far. The pattern is Easy Goes It, a free shawl pattern by Finicky Creations that came out last month. Lately, I’ve been working on matching up stash yarns with patterns and building up my queue. That way, when I feel like starting a new project, I already have pre-planned choices to pick from. So, when I found this pattern, I went through my stash to find an appropriate yarn. It just so happened that the yarn I picked was sitting within arm’s reach, so I decided to just cast on.

I’m using Phydeaux Designs Beurre: Superwash Merino Fingering Wool. I got this yarn from a rather fortuitous Goodwill score (that’s a story for another post).

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It’s a light fingering weight, 100% merino yarn that’s plied a little on the loose side. Despite the name, which means “butter” in French, the yarn is a little on the crunchy side. It’s still plenty soft for a neck garment. Its texture is pretty close to Koigu KPM but it has a touch less loft. The colorway is OOAK (one of a kind) Pumpkin. It’s got different shades of a lovely yellowy pumpkin orange mingled with brown and bronze. I thought it would work well with the garter stitch and mesh lace panels of the shawl, and so far it looks like I wasn’t wrong!

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I’ve been working a lot of night shifts lately, which mostly sucks. One benefit, though, is it’s usually pretty quiet and I’ve been able to get some good knitting time in. Above pic courtesy of my work desk and fluorescent lights.

The pattern is, as the name suggests, very easy. It’s not without nice details, though. The edge treatment is simple but effective:

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I have a little more yarn than the pattern calls for, so I’ll just go until I run out. My only worry is that the yarn came to me wound into a pretty tight ball. If I were being more conscientious, I would have re-skeined it, washed it and let it air dry. Over-stretched yarn can do some wacky things when knitted up and blocked. However, it’s not a project where fit and gauge are crucial, so I decided to just wing it. The rest of the yarn from that Goodwill batch is mostly also balled up pretty tightly, so I may have to address that with future projects.

In other news, I will be traveling to Rhinebeck again this year! Feel free to say hi–I love meeting other knitters. I’ll wear an easily identifiable shawl, provided it’s cool enough!

Happy knitting!

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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!

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

The State of the Knitting Union or My First Blogiversary!

WordPress will likely not recognize my blogiversary until tomorrow. The reason for that is that, one year ago today, I posted my first post…just on a different platform (blogHer, specifically). While that’s an awesome platform, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So, one day later I moved that post to WordPress: And So It Begins.

Rereading that post now, I’m struck by a couple of things. First, why are the pics so small? Second, my year did not consist of nearly as much stashbusting as I had anticipated. Everything else seems pretty much on point!

I thought it would be nice to start something of a tradition for this day. However, since I like to keep my options open, I’m going to go on record and say that I reserve the right to change my own traditions based on my own whims, so who knows what I will post on July 4, 2017! What I do know is that for the past year, this blog has been very important to me. I’ve used it to build new community, talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) about all the nerdy little knitting details I want to discuss, and to channel my knitting mojo. By that I mean I’ve been able to gather up all the great energy and inspiration I’ve gotten from my interactions with people here and on their own blogs, and shunt it into my own knitting and back into my blogging. The knitting karma just keeps coming ’round!

So, let’s do a round up of sorts! In the past year, I have finished 68 projects. I did my first test knitting and completed 20 test projects. I knit with all different yarn weights and fibers, and made a ton of different types of things: my first knits for my daughter, my first shawls, my first socks, lots of hats, mitts and mittens, baby clothes, dresses, a few cowls…basically the kitchen sink. I did my second ever intarsia project and my first ever stranded colorwork projects. I even got almost all the way through my first original design. I grew so much as a knitter and, I think, as a blogger. None of this was based on goals or intentions as much as it was fueled by a drive to just keep knitting. Along the way, I felt compelled to talk about it, too.

Because of that, I hesitate to set hard and fast goals for my next year of knitting (and blogging). I value the rather organic nature that my drive to knit has: I do it because I feel compelled to, not because I have specific things that I want to accomplish. Even when I’m starting a new project I often find I end up casting on for something completely different than I anticipated, and I like allowing myself that flexibility. It does mean that sometimes things happen on a different timeline, but I’m okay with that. For instance, I’ve been thinking for a few months now about opening an Etsy shop. I have a list of things I intend to stock, an idea for a name and a banner, and a general idea of pricing and turnaround time. If I applied myself more to making the shop a reality, I could probably have it up and running by now. As it is, I haven’t made any of the stock for it yet!

So while I’m not setting specific goals, there are things I am interested in trying out sometime soon! Those things include (more) brioche and double knitting, for starters. I’m planning on continuing to learn more about sock knitting. I want to try TAAT and toe-up socks, and learn some more heel and toe constructions. Also, there are approximately 15 million shawls I would like to make. I think I need at least one for every day of the week, if not month! Lastly, I have plans to make my first adult-sized sweaters and vests. Things I want to continue to do are to knit from stash, knit for family and friends, and continue to connect with other knitters through this blog, ravelry and my LYS/local community.

I won’t bore you too much with blog stats. While every single like, comment and follower makes me (very) happy, it’s never been about the numbers for me. I appreciate it so much that people read and respond and that I have a handful of knitters I consider friends that I’ve just never actually met. That community was really what I was going for when I started this a year ago, and I haven’t been disappointed! I have some blog plans for the upcoming year, but I don’t think I’ll get into them yet…we’ll just see how things work out!

I will leave you with a brief update on my knitting progress at the moment: I’m almost done knitting my sword! At some point I will write up the pattern and publish it on ravelry, but for now I’m celebrating the fact that the darn thing is almost out of my hair!

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I’ve decided to call it Baby Broadsword

Hopefully I will have an FO Spotlight post up about it soon! Happy 4th of July to my US readers, and happy knitting! I will end with some joint Independence Day and 1st Blogiversary fireworks:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.