Archive | November 2018

Unusual FOs!

I have two fun things to show you today! And they’re not even knitted! Remember how my work team went to a glass fusion studio and made mosaic tiles? I finally got mine back!  It’s a little more see-through than I expected, don’t know why, but I’m happy enough with it. If I were to redo it, I’d do the letters lower and closer together and maybe use an opaque base instead of clear. But it’s hanging in my craft room and makes me smile.

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And my other FO is a SUPER CUTE crocheted baby sloth!!

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I love him so much. He’s a gift for a work friend who loves sloths, but I like him so much I ordered more safety eyes so I can make many more. I want to make ones with long arms that have snaps on the end so he can hang from things too. The pattern is Zippy the Baby Sloth, and it’s free on Ravelry, and took me maybe two hours to make.

Now my focus is apparently shifting to gift knitting, as two of the young men in my life would like yarn gifts for Christmas and I am always happy to oblige! What about you, are you deep in gift knitting at this point?

 

Yak Yarn! A review

When I think of fiber for knitting, obviously wool is the first to come to mind. Then silk, alpaca, cotton, nylon, acrylic, bamboo…there are so many options! But I confess that I had never thought about knitting with yak fiber. So when I was given the chance to review the Lhasa Wilderness from Bijou Basin Ranch, and I saw that it’s 75% Tibetan Yak and 25% bamboo, I thought it would be a great way to broaden my horizons, and maybe yours too!

I’d heard of Bijou Basin Ranch before, but never knew that it’s a small family-owned yak ranch in Colorado. I mean…yak? For yarn? Who knew?? Not me, anyway! They have registered, full-blooded Tibetan yaks and they harvest their coats once a year. I had to google “Tibetan yak” to see what they look like, and they are impressive animals!

Anyway, enough about animals: BBR supports other small businesses by using indie dye houses for their yarns. I chose a colorway called Fantasy, dyed by Colorful Eclectic, and I was so excited when my package arrived! It was beautifully put together with several extra goodies, including a mobius scarf pattern, a handy To-Do list, a sticker (which I immediately put on my Ikea knitting cart) and a pretty stitch marker. The presentation made a great first impression. To me, it shows that they really appreciate their customers.

The colors were lighter than I was expecting, based on the photos on the website. I thought the pink would be a darker fuschia; overall it seemed a bit watered down from the colors I saw online. But I know that colors can vary with hand-dyed yarn, and can look different in person than online. Plus, it is still beautiful, and so soft! I don’t know what I was expecting from yak, but it felt very much like a premium cotton, only even softer. It’s very smooth, feels silky running through my fingers. I’m guessing the bamboo is what reminds me of cotton, and the yak provides that delicious silky softness.

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Though they generously sent me a pattern, I chose a shawl/cowl pattern that I knew I’d wear more often called the Lace Eyelet Cowl. It calls for fingering weight, and while Ravelry lists the Lhasa Wilderness as Sport, it’s definitely a light sport and can be substituted for fingering without much trouble. My 250-yard skein was plenty of yarn and the knitting sailed by without a hitch. The yarn knits a bit like cotton, so it did sometimes split more easily than wool, and there’s less give when you’re working lace like k2tog, but neither hindered my knitting at all. And then it was done, and I washed it and pinned it out, and…BAM. Amazing! 

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The lace opened up so beautifully; is it fair to say it bloomed? And you know how cotton and silk yarns have a wonderful drape? This is the same! It lays perfectly, and is nicely lightweight and breathable. Plus, I think it will hold its blocking really well too, so it won’t need much attention as long as I keep it clean.

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In a nutshell, this is wonderful shawl yarn. Though it feels like a strong, durable yarn, I wouldn’t use it for socks or garments because of its similarities to cotton (less stretch) and because it’s hand wash/dry flat. But I would absolutely make more lace shawls, and they have a wide variety of solids, semi-solids and variegated colors to choose from. The $22 price tag is more than reasonable, in my opinion, especially when you can get a gorgeous project from just one skein.

What do you think? Ready to try some yak??

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Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Bijou Basin Ranch, who generously sent me one skein of Lhasa Wilderness (retail value $22) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

WIP Progress

I haven’t shown much off but I have been knitting and knitting over the last several days so I thought I’d share what I’m working on. My top priority is my Late Harvest shawl with the Manos del Uruguay Feliz yarn. Loving this yarn, and liking the project more now that I’ve moved on from the endless garter stitch. This is really cool:

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I’ve got three more pattern repeats and then it’s done, so that’s only about 21 rows. I can do that easy this week if I work on it every night. But I’ve been distracted by my new sweater project. I’m making a Clarke Pullover with Lion Brand Jeans yarn and I’m in the newlywed phase where I want to knit on it all the time. I just made it to the join-in-the-round point.

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It would be awesome if I could do this as a NaKniSweMo project but since I need to finish Late Harvest, I’m not optimistic. We’ll see. If I can be monogamous after I finish the shawl, it’s a possibility.

During the work week, I’ve been knitting on my Goth Kitty sock, done with my favorite Vanille Latte pattern and Felici yarn.

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I don’t love the way the stripes fell–I wish I’d had a gray heel and more of the purples on the foot, but I can always do the second one that way and have fraternal twin socks instead of identical.

And this post really brings home the fact that I need to stop saying “I’ll never…”. I said I’d never get into making sweaters, and though I don’t do them often, I’m liking it more with each one. I said I’d never want to make socks, and now they’re my favorite thing to knit. I said I’d never love knitting with fingering weight yarn, and now I have more of that in my stash than anything else. I need to remember that every time I say I’ll never do brioche, or cables, or intarsia!

Before I run off to knit for the rest of the morning, I want to share something the mother included in an email yesterday. It expresses some of the darkness I’ve been feeling in my head:

“And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said
          For hate is strong
          and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men.”

 

It was written in 1863 by Longfellow, and as she wrote, “The country survived then and we’ll survive this.”

Yarniversary

Today is a special day. Six years ago today, I bought my first crochet hooks and yarn and started teaching myself to crochet! It’s been a long amazing journey since then, with plenty of frustration but so much more joy and peace. Yarn has been with me through so many hard times, allowing me to focus on something other than stress or anxiety or grief or sadness, at least for short periods at a time.

Yarn brought me many friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise, amazing friends who support me online and in person.

Yarn brought me this blog, which lets me work through things in words, a form of journaling after I’d walked away from journaling years ago.

Yarn opened up this huge source of creativity in my life, something I’d been searching for through other hobbies until discovering this one. It balances out the rest of my life so well, giving me an outlet for beauty and experimentation and art.

Yarn has given me confidence, though that one isn’t constant. The other day a woman saw me knitting a sock and told me “You’re so gifted!” And my response was, “You’re sweet, but really it’s the yarn doing the work.” I still struggle with being able to take credit for what I create, but in my heart, I really am proud of what I’ve done, what I make.

Yarn introduced me to a huge number of inspiring women who are doing what they love, being who and what they want, without apologies and with great joy. I have so many role models in the yarn world, and I’m happy and grateful to be a part of this community.

I don’t remember what I did before yarn came into my life, but I’m glad I don’t have to find out now.

This week, depression is kind of winning in my head, for a variety of reasons. Some are identifiable, but then there’s that weird inexplicable depression fug that takes over and makes you all dark and numb and twisty without explaining why. I’ve been here before and I know I’ll get past it like I have before. It just sucks in the moment, and all I want to do is enjoy the comfort of yarn in my hands, and be grateful that I have that comfort available.

So, thank you for six wonderful years, Yarn. I look forward to many more.

 

 

Moving forward

Thanks for all the kind words and suggestions on my shawl dilemma! As several people suggested, I decided to frog the lace section and start it over with a contrasting color. I have a cream in my stash that will be quite lovely with the green. Last night I threaded the needle through the last row of stockinette (or so I thought) and started frogging the lace. Of course once the lace was gone, I didn’t exactly have one row of stitches on my needle, but it was simple enough to go through and fix that. Tedious and time-consuming, but simple. With that done, I was ready to pick up with my cream and start the lace section anew.

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I love it! I think it’s going to be a perfect Christmas shawl this way, maybe worn with a red sweater, or is that too much?

Also this morning, I made a quick trip to the craft store for felt and safety eyes so I can make this baby sloth. Found the felt easily enough, but can you believe they don’t carry safety eyes?? Craziness. It’s not for a baby, so I can substitute tiny buttons and it will be fine. Still, I couldn’t just buy one 40 cent sheet of felt, could I? Plus all the yarn was on sale! Plus I stumbled across this new jean yarn and it’s awesome, even if it is acrylic.

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I may have bought enough to make this sweater. (And for only $21!!) I know, the pattern is DK and the yarn is worsted, and I’m going to have to swatch and do math and all that. I’m okay with that! I can swatch sometimes, when I have to.

Speaking of swatching, the crochet hat that I struggled with is done. It seemed to grow a little bit in washing but I’m crossing my fingers that it will fit. It is pretty, at least! It’s the Ski Lodge Beanie and you can see my Ravelry notes here.

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I’ve discovered the best part about getting an extra hour today is not an extra hour of sleep (I have three dogs, are you kidding me?) but an extra hour of knitting!

What would you do?

Okay, so I’m test knitting a shawl. I like the shawl; it’s a pretty pattern and it looks very nice in the yarn I chose.

 

 

BUT. I ran out of yarn. I still have two and a half repeats of the lace pattern and I’m down to 4 grams of yarn, just enough for the bind off. I thought about binding off early, so I put the stitches on waste yarn, and I don’t think it’s long enough. I don’t want to spend $25 buying another skein of the green, so what now? I have a few options:

  • Continue with a contrasting color or coordinating variegated
  • Frog and reknit with a different size needle (But what size?? My gauge is right!)
  • Reknit in a different yarn that I have more of
  • Throw it in the corner and forget it about it

So tell me, what would you do??