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.


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.


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 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 15

Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why?

You know, I’m just not going to answer this question, and here’s why: Even though I have high expectations for patterns, and there are plenty of patterns I’ve used and don’t care for, I don’t see the point in singling any of them out here. I try to put honest but constructive feedback about patterns in my project notes on ravelry. I don’t want to highlight a pattern here sheerly to give it a poor review.

So…what should we talk about?

With all this 30 day challenging happening, it’s been a bit since I’ve given a little update on where I am, what I’m working on, and what’s coming up next. Now seems like a good time to remedy that! The name of the game lately for me is finishing. I technically have 11 WIPs, according to my ravelry project page, and I intend to whittle that number down as much as I can. With Miller’s Daughter and the Giant Blue Rectangle off the needles, I don’t currently have a big project going. While I’m trying to decide what the Next Big Thing will be, I’m going to tie up some loose ends*.

Some of this finishing is stuff for other people, mostly fellow clientele of my LYS. I just did a set of shoulder seams and I have two sweaters waiting to be blocked and seamed. Today I re-blocked the Giant Blue Rectangle. I blocked it a couple of weeks ago but wanted to touch up the edges now that I have a good set of blocking wires. It’s now drying in my mil’s basement. I’ll sew it up in a day or two and send it on its merry way! I have three hats floating around that need blocking and a baby cardigan that needs the ends woven in, so I’ll work on those in the meantime. I have two skirts for my daughter that are done except for putting in elastic so, if I’m feeling really ambitious, I might finish those up. Somewhere in all this I need to find two buttons and sew them on the knight’s hat. I’m also going to frog one of the WIPs that’s been hanging around for a while and just not coming together. If (when) I get all of that done, I’ll be down to three WIPs. That’s totally manageable, right?

I finished the knight set diaper cover the other day. Here’s a sneak peek:


Oh yeah, I also have to repair a crochet blanket and knit a sword.

So. What should I cast on next?

Happy knitting! I’ll leave you with a gratuitous cat photo. Here’s Kitten Man looking especially fetching:


Image copyright Callandra S. Cook

*See what I did there?

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.

What To Do

I’m at something of a loss for what to do with myself today. I’m on tenterhooks* while waiting to hear about my (maybe) new job, and there’s nothing more I can do on that front at the moment. I can either worry or just let go…and I’m choosing the latter. But in order to keep the worry from creeping back in, I need to do something with myself. 

Well, why not knit? Yeah, I have been. And I’ll keep at it. The question is what? Here are a few of the options in tossing around:

-Do the finishing for any number of UFFOs** I have lying around. I have three hats that need blocked, a skirt that needs ends woven in and elastic sewed, and another skirt that needs elastic sewed. 

-Start any of four (really?? Four??) overdue test knits. In my defense, I’ve been whittling that number down quickly. Not in my defense, I’ve been leaving the larger projects for last. Unrelated to my defense, I need to rethink my yarn choices for a couple of them as I don’t see my original selections working out all that well. That might be causing some of the delay. 

-Start my next pair of socks for me. I have yarn and a pattern picked out (although it just now dawns on me the yarn is probably in storage, so can’t get it for a few days). It’s not Thursday, so I won’t give you any more details on that front.

-Start a pair of socks for my daughter. I have yarn and pattern picked for these, too. And they’re not in storage so I have no excuse!

-Start a commission hat and diaper cover set. 

-Start a repair job that I’ve been neglecting. 

-Work on my Miller’s Daughter shawl. 

I owe you an update on said shawl. I blogged a while back about my daring repair on one of the lace panels, but never reported back on how that turned out. Well, I messed with the tension on the repaired panel a bunch. I didn’t get it perfect, but I got far enough with it to determine that I think it’s going to be just fine. So I carried on with the stripes and now am ready to start another lace section. 

So, how to choose? Do I fulfill some of my obligation crafting (that my mother, quite rightly, reminded me I brought on myself)? Or do I work on something that will help me feel better in the moment? Well, I worked on the shawl for a bit this am. I’m out of the house for the afternoon now, so my choices are limited to what I brought with me: shawl and kid socks.

But you guys, I really need to do my knitting job stuff. I’ve got another commission piece (kind of a biggie) coming in this week and it would be nice to clear my plate a little more before that. I never really meant to get into knitting for hire because of the time it takes away from knitting for pleasure, but I will say I enjoy it and learn something valuable from each project (even if it’s as basic as charging fairly for my time and skills). I just don’t like getting behind on stuff and then feeling like I need to catch up. 

If you’ve made it this far through my musings, I think that warrants some pictures! 

Not perfect, but it’s pretty durn close!

How’d that get in there? It’s not Thursday!

But since it’s there, that’s the yarn I’m planning making my daughter’s socks out of. It’s closer to sport weight than fingering weight, so they should go really quickly. 

And, here’s some of the wildlife that’s been spotted around my place lately:

Our goldfinches are back! The former next door neighbors had a cat that kept the songbird population pretty much non-existent, but they’ve moved away and we have birds again!

Here we have the elusive tunnel cats!

Happy knitting–whatever project(s) you choose!

*Did you know that word has fiber-related origins? I didn’t. It’s essentially about blocking
**Unfinished finished objects. Come on, we all have them! The fun part is done and the last few bits are just…work!

Clearing Out the WIPs

Holiday knitting wrap up coincided with the end of a number of test knitting projects. Also, hopes that the weather might actually turn colder soon prompted me to finish up a project or two that had been languishing. So, my WIPs and UFFOs are dwindling! More on that later as stuff is blocking. I will tell you that I spent a long time making two very awesome pompoms.

In the meantime, I actually ran out of stuff to knit. So, to ignore the huge number of ends I need to weave in on a couple of projects, I started a new project. I’m making a Betsey shawl using one colorway of Ella Rae Classic Sand Art. I have four skeins of it and have knitted through one already. I’m planning to just keep going until I run out of yarn. So far, I like how it’s turning out:


I have several projects on the horizon, of course. I’m doing a stranded colorwork raglan sweater test knit (for the kiddo), a shawl test knit out of some gorgeous madelinetosh tosh merino light in beautiful filigree, and three (yes, I know) other tests that aren’t due until March. Plus, a few random things for a few random people, some projects I’m interested in for their own sake, and who knows what else?


Happy knitting!



3…2…1…CAST OFF!!!

IMG_3932You are looking at just a snippet of the several miles of I cord bind off I just completed. Completed as in DONE. Except for some weaving of ends, a wash and a block. I am over the moon. I almost want to stay up and start weaving in the ends.


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.

Always the Night Owl

It seems like most of the posts I write are late in the evening. I suppose that’s because the toddler and the wifey are usually in bed and I can clear my head enough to put something together. I’m not much of a multi-tasker. The only real downside to that is that I don’t usually get around to taking pictures until I’m posting, so they’re always in poor light.

In any case, late nights are great for knitting, and I’ve been getting lots of that done! I finished my adult size River District Toque (pro quality photos still pending–the wifey has been very busy this week). Here’s a peek:


The colors are really much closer to this:


More purple, less yellow overall. I love it! I wove in all the ends. I still intend to give it a light blocking as the stitches could use some evening out and the garter stitch edge along the brim is trying to curl under a bit.

I like it so much that I cast on for another one in the toddler/child size:


I love that the small difference in size dramatically changed how the yarn behaved (in terms of color). It’s been a very quick knit and I should be able to finish the crown tomorrow sometime, and try it on my daughter. Earlier today, I showed her mine and put it on to model it. I asked if she would like me to make her one just like it. She said yes, and that we would have “twin hats”. I love that kid!

Once again, I grafted it in pattern. I’ve learned a lot about that process and I think will have some valuable tips to pass on to the author of the pattern, Rachel at welfordpurls. I’d like to try it out in a different yarn, but haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I cast off my Twirly Summerskirt yesterday. I think that’s some of the fastest knitting I’ve done. It’s really just miles of stockinette in the round (especially because I didn’t do any of the purl stitch detailing), but still. The next to last row is, with 340 stitches already on the needles, to kfb every stitch. Then knit one round, then bind off…680 stitches. I think those last two rows and the bind off took about 40% of the total knitting time! Anyway, I still have to (you guessed it) do the finishing. End-weaving should be minimal as I used this technique from TECHknitter for most of it. Other than that, it needs a basic blocking and then elastic sewed into the waistband. The yarn is 80% acrylic so blocking won’t change the shape, really, but some of the stitches would hopefully get evened out. I’m pretty pleased with it so far!


That pic is shadowy but you get the point. In this pic, the skirt is folded in quarters:


I can’t wait to see the toddler twirl in it! I do, however, realize that I now have seven recent projects off the needles that need some sort of finishing. That’s not including old, old projects I intend to finish and/or frog.

Seven. I need to do something about that. These puppies need to go out into the world and be used!

Abbreviation Day: an UFFO, a FO and two WIPs

I finished the knitting for the River District Toque test knit! I haven’t woven in the ends or blocked it yet (of course) so it’s technically an UFFO, but it won’t take much to get it done. It used a total of 139 yds so I am planning on making one in the toddler/child size out of the same yarn. It will look super cute on my daughter. I haven’t gotten the wifey to take real pics yet, but here’s a teaser:

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It’s hard to capture the colors accurately, but that’s reasonably close. It’s very comfortable and soft and squooshy. It ultimately came together pretty easily. I think it’s nice that the yarn I used (Rios) coordinates with the river theme in the title.

I finished my Blueberry Pie dishcloth yesterday and started using it a few minutes later. Surprisingly, the dye bled a lot when it hit the water. I’ve never had that happen with kitchen cotton before. It stopped after a few minutes of washing dishes in hot soapy water, but I want to remember that when I wash it the first couple of times. It’s been nice having it on the needles–it’s a quick knit, easy but not totally mindless, and it’s easily portable–so I just cast on another.


Lastly, I cast on for a Summerskirt last night, too. I’m using some stash yarn that was gifted to me–blue and purple Caron Glencannon Sport. It’s actually closer to DK weight but I’m ignoring that (the pattern calls for sport). It’s a wool/acrylic blend (not my usual fare, but useful in this case) so I’m thinking it will be good for fall and winter with with leggings. It should be a simple knit and wear very well, not to mention be easy to wash. My daughter is very much into twirly skirts right now, so I think she’ll like it.


The pattern casts on at the waistband then continues down to the hem with lots of increases on the way. The original pattern calls for several designs made in purl stitch detail, but I’ve eliminated those in favor of a cleaner look. I’m also just using two colors alternating instead of seven.

The chart on the pattern threw me for a loop initially. I haven’t done many charted patterns before. The ones I have done have mostly been cable patterns that use small charts accompanied by text directions. This one, the entire body of the skirt is charted. There’s a thread on ravelry that brings up some of the same questions I had, and piecing through that helped me understand it better. Basic idea is to start each round at the dotted line, read from right to left, and repeat areas between the bold lines. You will have a partial repeat at the start and end of each round. Ignore the leftmost column past the bold line–it’s meant to alert you to the next stitch up, not be a separate stitch outside of the repeats. Once you get going, it’s very easy but I had a little trouble figuring it out initially.

It’s a lazy, grey day here today, so I’m hoping to get lots more knitting done. Soon I’ll be back to work and won’t have nearly as much time to knit as I have lately. I’m clinging to the time I have even more tenaciously knowing that my summer staycation will have to end soon!

Project Limbo

I’m at a frustrating point between projects. None of the UFFOs are getting finished, and nothing new is really coalescing. I have one dishcloth on the needles that I actually had to frog and restart. I’m not a completely perfectionist knitter, but I try not to leave mistakes that I am aware of or make really obvious fudges. However, my tolerance of dishcloth errors is pretty high, particularly in this case: I don’t love the yarn, so I’m not going to gift it to anyone. I just want it to be knitted into a functional item. But, when tightening the grafting on the two edges, I must have pulled on a YO instead of on the graft. The whole thing got completely out of whack, and I ended up just pulling it out. In retrospect, I realize what I must have done. One mod I made to the Cherry Pie Washcloth pattern was to use a crochet chain cast on. Well, I usually would knit the first row after the cast on to make sure there was a solid row of stitches to work off, but I must have forgotten that this time. I restarted it yesterday and hopefully this time it will go better!


One cool thing about restarting it yesterday was that I remembered the cast on without having to look it up, and was able to knock it out really quickly. Also, I’m attempting a Russian join for the first time. Since I’m not giving the dishcloth away, I’ll be able to see how well it wears over time.

I cast off Quicksilver the other day, but haven’t started weaving in ends yet. I want to do further research on that before I start. It may sound silly–I’ve woven in hundreds of ends on many different types of fibers–but I realized I don’t think I’ve woven in sock weight merino superwash ends before, and certainly not on a project of this scope. I really want it to be a completely secure and invisible finishing job, so I want to learn a little more about it. Basically, part of me just doesn’t believe that superwash ends will stay where I put them!


I started sewing in the ends for my Old Shale blanket, but that is proving to be a monumental undertaking. I should probably put some time in on that.

I cast on for a new project last night, but I am going to pull it out. I’ve had my eye on Rivulet for a while and I have enough Noro Haniwa in my stash to make the medium width. So, I cast on 56 stitches and worked a few rows in 1×1 rib. For this pattern, ALL stitches are worked through the back loops. For knit stitches, no big deal–doesn’t take but an instant longer than a regular knit stitch. But for purl stitches? That was taking forever. I stuck with it for four or five rows, though, then started looking at the work with a more realistic eye. I didn’t swatch because typically a scarf’s gauge isn’t all that crucial. In this case, a scarf that was supposed to be about 8″ wide was easily 12″ and could stretch to 14″ in a pinch. So, I will be pulling that out and rethinking. It would probably look lovely, but would be out of proportion and I would run out of yarn at about 3′ long!

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A 14″ needle is included for scale!


The yarn is so pretty. I can’t get the greens to show up right in the pics. they actually have a much more emerald shade.

I would still like to make that scarf, but don’t have the yardage required in another yarn. I don’t think it’s reasonable to go down several needle sizes to get gauge and still use the Haniwa–the fabric would end up being way too dense. That yarn was not meant to be crowded like that. I have another reversible cable scarf pattern that also calls for aran weight yarn, so I may try that. It’s the His/Hers Reversible Scarf in Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting by Melissa Leapman. I’ve used that pattern before and really liked it. If that doesn’t work out, I will have to go back to the drawing board completely. Or, I could start my test knit!

I do have one other thing percolating, but I don’t have the right yarn in my stash to start yet. I won a free pattern from Melanie Berg a couple of days ago (she designed the Quicksilver shawl). I posted on the weekly topic thread and got chosen at random! I chose Drachenfels, a pattern I had my eye on anyway. Pretty cool, right?

Quicksilver: a New UFFO and a Blast from the Past

I just cast off my Quicksilver! I have to weave in ends now and block. I am hoping that it grows a good bit with blocking as I’d like it to be larger. Other than that, I love it. I will get the wifey to take better pictures of it in the daylight tomorrow. For now, here’s what I have:


Not bad for a first real shawl attempt! More pics and some of my project notes can be found here. I learned a few very valuable lessons on this project. They all pretty much come down to this one: be careful knitting while annoyed at your toddler. Over the past couple of days I’ve had somewhat limited time to knit and twice I was set back by errors I didn’t have to make. Both times I was in the midst of a disagreement with my daughter about cleaning up toys. Once, on the next to last stripe section, I randomly inserted a YO that didn’t belong. No way (that I know of) to fix that without tinking back, so that’s what I did for about three rows. Then, on the last mesh section, I managed to drop a stitch. I caught it and tried to repair it, but I couldn’t get it to look quite right so ended up tinking back another couple of rows. Now, there are no errors that I’m aware of, so I’m planning on getting some blocking wires of some sort and finishing it up.

So, I don’t really have anything on the needles currently. I guess there’s one small thing–another Cherry Pie Dishcloth–but I just cast that on to use up some yarn and to be a more portable project. It’s a little over a third of the way done:


It’s really a darker blue than it looks in the pic. I guess it should be a Blueberry Pie Dishcloth instead!

I read this amazing story on Ravelry about a knitter who often finds yarn at thrift stores in her area. She recently found close to a dozen full skeins of madelinetosh yarn for less than $3 each. So, I was inspired to go to a thrift store near where I live that I’d never gone to before, just to poke around and see what was there. I found a few skeins of yarn, but it was all acrylic. I bought them anyway as they were really cheap and would be fine for some cool decor patterns I have on deck. I also found at least a few yards of some wonderfully hideous material:


The amazing thing about this is that my mom made two comforters out of this same print for my brothers, probably before I was born. The other side of each comforter had an animal print on it. I remember those comforters from when I was a kid, so when I saw this pattern I almost couldn’t believe it. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet, but it absolutely had to come home with me despite the wifey’s protests. I love it!

Hopefully soon I will have before and after blocking pics to post!