Archive | July 2018

Denim Sprinkles Shawl

This is my last new cast-on after clearing off all my needles last weekend. The Ancient Arts T-shirt and Jeans yarn was still high on my list of “must knit” but I didn’t want it to be socks. Partly because white socks never seem like a good idea, and partly because I wanted it to become something more visible than socks. While going through my Ravelry queue, I found the pattern for the Sugar Sprinkles shawl, which I’ve been wanting to make for quite a while, and it checked off all my boxes: Long narrow shawl, variegated yarn, lace, right yarn weight and yardage. I bought it, downloaded it to my pattern app (I use Knit Companion) only to discover it was already in there! I think I must have downloaded it when she did a short free period, but I forgot about it. Oh well, the $4 is totally worth it.

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This is a really fun knit! I love making eyelets, and the pattern switches back and forth often enough that I don’t get bored quickly. This was my progress on Monday night, and it’s been my evening knitting (when I’m not too tired to knit). This morning I took it outside again to get a progress photo.

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It’s so fun! I think it’s going to be a great addition to my shawl wardrobe. But here’s the thing: it’s gotten long. Like really long. There are over 250 stitches on the needle, and when I tried to spread them out to show the size of the shawl, about 10 stitches jumped off one end! And you know yarnovers just love to spring free. ARGH. I managed to catch most of them, and I got it kind of fixed, but I’m pretty sure my stitch count is off now and I’ll have to do some fudging to get it back. Thankfully this is a forgiving pattern where being a stitch or two off doesn’t really hurt the look of it.

So now I have three projects on my needles, and that seems like a good number for me, at least for now. What’s a comfortable number of WIPs for you?

 

I’m a Ravenclaw

Family Fun Day was a hit, I think. We toured the American Jazz Museum at 18th & Vine, which was really cool. Best part for me was the Ella Fitzgerald exhibit, complete with one of her gowns!

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We had bison burgers at a fun restaurant, bought too many records at the record store, and saw Ant-Man and the Wasp at a fancy new theater which had leather recliners, complete with seat warmers! It was quite a day, but by the end I think we were all tired and ready for some quiet time.

I did take some knitting in the car with me, of course. Once I’d finished Jungle Boogie, I had to cast on a new pair immediately. Apparently I’m unable to go without at least one pair of socks on my needles at all times. It was hard to choose which yarn, though! At first I thought I’d use my Ancient Arts T-shirt and Jeans, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized it needed to be something even better than socks.

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I set it aside and rummaged through my self-striping yarn, finally deciding I needed to make the Biscotte Yarn Ravenclaw socks to go with my Gryffindor socks. I cast on Monday during my lunch break at work, and this will be my lunch/car knitting. Can’t go wrong with a vanilla sock in self-striping yarn! I did manage to get a few rows in while at the movie, but once I dropped a stitch I decided to set it aside until I had some light.

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I don’t know that I’ll make the full set of houses. Yellow is my least favorite color, and do I really want to wear Slytherin socks? Okay, yes, some days I would totally wear Slytherin socks. But then if I make those, I have to make Hufflepuff just to have the complete set, right? Right. Bring on the yarn!

 

Sha-ZAM!

With empty needles, I happily poked through my stash to see what I should knit next, and four pretty little skeins jumped out at me. The first was a skein of Malabrigo Rios, an aberration because I’ve been knitting so much with fingering weight yarn. I had an urge to make a cowl, one of my favorite things to knit. I love to knit on circular needles, I love the feel of merino wool in my hands, and I love to play with different patterns. And best of all, I love having so many cowls to wear when it’s cold.

This skein is the color Aniversario. I’ve bought this colorway before but it’s one where there’s huge variations in colors. I made a Hitchhiker Beyond in this color, but it has a lot of blue/indigo. This skein is mostly red. I chose a fun, free one-skein cowl pattern called Sha-ZAM! and it’s going very quickly.

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I’d forgotten how much I love Malabrigo. It’s so soft, with that yummy squish factor. I definitely need to make my next sweater in Malabrigo!

Two weeks from today, we leave to take the girl to college in Colorado. (EEK!) I’m freaking out a little, but I’m also super excited for her. And I can’t wait to visit my mountains again. Anyway, before she leaves, I decided we needed some family time, so I declared today a Family Fun Day and we all took the day off work. We’ll visit the Jazz Museum, have some lunch, go to a fantastic big vintage record store, and who knows what else. Maybe a movie? I won’t get much knitting done, but that’s all right. Knitting can wait.

FO: Jungle Boogie Socks

This is the final finished object from my busy weekend of knitting. Finishing the sweater and the Easy shawl felt so good that I wanted to wrap up the last project on my needles, the Jungle Boogie socks. I was just past the gusset decreases so it was easy stockinette in the round for a few inches. I watched some Fixer Upper and read some of An American Marriage (it’s super good so far) and grafted the toe late Sunday morning. Time to boogie!

Here’s the one tiny flaw in these socks: I can’t figure out how to photograph that bright, almost glow-in-the-dark green! I tried in different places, with different light, with different camera settings, and it just stumped me. Suffice it to say it’s really really bright, and these are amazing socks! I absolutely love the color combo.  I’m especially proud because these are my first socks where the stripes match almost perfectly.

The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in color Jungle Boogie. Their yarn has quickly become my favorite sock yarn. The colors are vivid and fun, and the yarn is soft in my hand but still sturdy and firm, making socks that feel durable. It washes wonderfully and feels great on my feet. I’m sad that I only have one more skein in my stash. The contrast color is Amethyst Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids.

And with these socks done, my needles were EMPTY. That is a rare occurrence, and it felt so refreshing. But the best part about it was feeling free to cast on all the things!

Oh, and good news: my sweater has been washed and dried and it relaxed so beautifully! The yarn is much softer, and it has a lovely drape. The sleeves are way too long but I ended up with a sweater I can wear, so I call that a win.

FO: Easy Shawl

The last week has been a productive one for my knitting: I finished three projects over the weekend! The biggest was the sweater, which I shared yesterday, but I think the prettiest might be my Easy shawl. Once I picked it back up after a long hiatus, I zoomed along, eager to see the finished piece. It did not disappoint!

I love how the knitting goes in two directions, with that pretty little seam in between. I love the shape of it, long and narrow with tapered ends; it’s my favorite kind of shawl to wear. I love how the simple pattern lets the gorgeous colors be the highlight. And I love how soft and squishy it is.

There was a slight hiccup in the knitting of it: the pattern said to use half the yarn in the first section. Okay, did that, assuming the second half would be enough to finish the pattern as written, right? Well, it didn’t work out that way for me. I got toward the end and my yarn was going too quickly, so I had to decrease faster than written to make it work. The last row I had to purl four together so I’d have enough left to bind off. I ended with less than a yard leftover. I’m not sure why it happened. No, I didn’t swatch because I figured I didn’t need to, if I’m knitting  based on the amount of yarn. My only thought is that my tension was different for the second half, since I’d done the first half about three months ago. In any case, it worked out fine. I can’t see any problem with the end of the seam, and it sure won’t be noticeable when I’m wearing it!

Pattern: Easy by Martina Behm

Yarn: Madtosh DK by Madelinetosh, color Gosla

FO: Tea with Jam and Bread Sweater

I finished my sweater yesterday! I’d set it aside while we were the throes of a heatwave, as many of you are too, but since it’s relatively tolerable right now and I’m in Finish Everything Mode, I picked it up yesterday. Only one sleeve was left, why let it linger in the WIPs for one little sleeve?  In between laundry and taking the girl shopping for dorm supplies, I knit around and around and around. After dinner we watched Troy, and I knit around and around and then somehow I was binding off even before the battle between Hector and Achilles. It needs washing and blocking but it’s done!

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I ended up liking the color combination a lot, even if the tonal stripes seem a little unusual. And I like how the navy stands out. Really, I think they all play well together. And best of all?? It has pockets!

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The two main colors are Berroco Ultra Alpaca and it’s not my favorite. It does play nicely on needles, not slippery at all, and has great stitch definition. It’s a more earthy yarn, with a rougher texture, so not only does it grab and hold onto dog hair, but it’s also scratchy against my skin. I tried it on to make sure it fit, and it does, but I definitely won’t be able to wear it without something long-sleeved underneath.

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It’s not a perfect fit. There’s not as much positive ease in the body as I’d wanted; the result of swatching flat instead of in the round. The sleeves are long, maybe even a tad longer than I like, and I’m not convinced they match each other, but I’m also not convinced you can tell by looking at it. The bottom edge has a terrible urge to fold up, and I really hope blocking takes care of that. But even with all of that, I look at it and I love it. I made this pretty little sweater! And now I feel confident enough to make a sweater with better yarn, maybe Malabrigo, that won’t be itchy against my skin!

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Pattern: Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirmaier

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Ultra Alpaca Tonal, Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Worsted

I Don’t Like Short Rows

Seriously, I’ve never liked short rows. At first, when I was a new knitter, I was scared of them. Turn your knitting in the middle of a row? What madness is that? Like knitting socks, I thought they were complicated and hard and a sure way to mess up your knitting if you didn’t do them right. But they’re also hard to avoid completely.

I think my first project with short rows was Martina Behm’s Fractal Danger. Like a lot of patterns, I bought it because it was pretty without looking too closely, and it wasn’t until I was partway in and invested that I found the short rows. Fine. I’d do them just this once. And it was fine, they weren’t hard, but a bit fiddly, and I’ll be darned if that shawl didn’t come out as one of the most wearable pieces I’ve made.

Then I knit my first sock, and realized the magic of turning heels is due to short rows. But those are super easy, and it’s just a few stitches, and it’s like they don’t even count as short rows.

Oh, but then came Wonder Woman. How many of you have knit the Wonder Woman wrap? It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? I had to make it, regardless of what it took. Well, as you can guess, it took short rows. And not the simple short rows I’d done in the past, but wrap and turn short rows. These short rows actually lived up to my expectations: they were tricky, and it was hard to find the wrapped stitch you were supposed to knit into. But for Wonder Woman, I pushed through it, and it’s one of my favorite shawls to wear. Now, I don’t think I’d want to make another one, but I learned I can do short rows if I have to.

Guess what else? Lots of sweater patterns use short rows for neck shaping, to make the back of the sweater a little bit bigger than the front. Both sweaters I’ve made did that; I guess I was getting used to short rows because they weren’t a big deal.

And now, here I am again, knitting short rows. I picked Martina Behm’s Easy shawl because of course, it has Easy in the name and when you want mindless knitting, easy is good. I floated through Part I, doing so much garter stitch in a haze of happiness. But then came Part II. The second triangle was made from…short rows? Dang it. I don’t like short rows. Except…maybe I do? Because look at this:

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They’re not hard at all, and there’s that beautiful little seam going in between the two triangles, and they’re coming together so neatly and magically and I kind of love it.

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So there you have it. I actually do like short rows after all.

Except wrap and turn short rows. Those still suck a little.