Archive | March 2019

Am I crazy?

Yeah, I think I might be a little crazy. After thinking about fade sweaters recently, I was idly going through my stash to think of other yarns that might make good sweaters. And it hit me that I have a large quantity of yarns that all go together beautifully:

img_1496Now, maybe you’re thinking, Hm, I think I’ve seen that combination of yarn before! You have! This is the yarn for my Mermaid Shawl, which has been on my needles since September 19.

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And that’s pretty much where I still am. I’m on row 18 of the first color. That’s slow progress for me. I worked on it last weekend and only managed about three rows. I’m not sure I like enormous shawls that start at the outer edge. Each of these rows takes an eternity, and clearly I’m not loving this project or else I’d be itching to work on it.

What if…I frogged it?

Eek! Scary! This mermaid shawl idea has been in my head for ages, but…what if it was a Mermaid Cardigan instead? I think I’d wear it more often, and it would be the same gorgeous fade of colors. I’m thinking something like Gelato, though mine would have to be a little shorter, but I suppose I could find any cardigan pattern I like and make it a fade.

Tell me: Should I frog? And if so, what’s your favorite fingering-weight cardigan pattern?

Yak Sock Yarn: Bijou Basin Ranch Review

The wonderful people at Bijou Basin Ranch gave me another opportunity to review some of their yarn, this time the Tibetan Dream fingering sock yarn. Like the yarn I reviewed previously, this is a yak blend. (I mean, they’re a yak ranch. That’s kind of their specialty.) They have a wide variety of solids and stripes, but perhaps not surprisingly, I chose Purple Dragon, a gorgeous limited edition color dyed exclusively for Bijou Basin Ranch by MJ Yarns. And guys, okay, BBR is one of the best at first impressions! Look at this assortment:

 

Tibetan Dream is 440 yards, 85% pure yak with 15% nylon. Their website states that yak fiber is warmer than wool and softer than cashmere. I can’t say for sure that it’s warmer than wool, but it is warm, and best of all, yak fiber is hypoallergenic, so it doesn’t make me itch the way some wools do. And yes, it is indeed very soft! I chose a simple pattern for my socks with a ribbed leg and stockinette foot. The colors really are so pretty.

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It’s a very smooth yarn, a texture reminiscent of a premium pima cotton. I noticed it the last time I used their yarn and wasn’t sure which fiber to attribute it to, but it must be the yak. I really like the feel, but it is a little splitty, as cotton is, and it doesn’t feel quite as elastic as wool. However, I have worn and washed and worn the socks, and they’re wearing nicely. These photos are after a wear and a wash, actually. And they are indeed comfy to wear, as soft and smooth as they are!

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The yarn retails starting at $39.95 and goes up to $49.95, so it is more of a splurge yarn, for me at least. As much as I love my socks, I might be more inclined to use this yarn for shawls and wraps, especially gifts for special people. The yak does block out beautifully, making it an ideal choice for lace patterns.

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Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Bijou Basin Ranch, who generously sent me one skein of Tibetan Dream (retail value $49.95) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Quick donation project

It’s not Friday but I do have a couple of finished projects to share. The daughter of a friend of mine is going through her second bout with leukemia, and they’re doing a silent auction fundraiser. Of course I wanted to donate, and since we’re in the land of the Kansas City Royals and baseball season is just kicking off, I went with Royals colors for a hat and mitt set.

img_3532The yarn is more of the Lion Brand Jeans yarn, this time in Brand New, Faded, and Vintage.  The hat is based off the Seaman’s Cap, but I made it a little taller. And I’m wondering about the brim: it’s my first hat with an intentional brim, where there’s a knit row to turn it up. Do you guys ever stitch the brim in place turned up, or just leave it loose?

The mitts are the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts, which is my favorite mitt pattern ever. They’re so fast; I made these in just a couple of hours. I’m pleased with how they came out, now I just hope someone bids some money for them!

Planning a sweater

I loved wearing my new sweater so much yesterday that I’ve decided I need more handknit sweaters in my life. And since we’re heading into spring, I thought it was time to try a lighter weight sweater. All my others have been worsted weight. I’m a little worried that it will take forever using fingering weight, and that I’ll get bored, but I won’t know until I try. I also figured it was time to make a sweater out of really good yarn, a fine merino instead of a rougher wool or an acrylic. Unfortunately, I don’t have the budget to buy a sweater’s quantity of yarn at the moment, and I haven’t bought with sweaters in mind. It looked like I was stuck and wouldn’t be able to plan a new sweater for a while…but then, I had a brilliant idea: a fade!!

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This set of four yarns came home from Colorado with me last year, and it’s been in the queue for a fade shawl. But what if it became a sweater instead?? I could find a solid purple, which I wanted to do anyway, if I need more yardage. Plus, when I knit stripes or fades, wanting to get to the next color keeps me motivated, so this might help with the boredom issue too. I’m leaning toward Drea Renee’s So Faded, but if you have another fade sweater pattern you love, let me know!

FO: SWEATER!!!

It’s done it’s done it’s really really done!!! I finished my Clarke Pullover last night and I’m quite pleased with myself, I have to say! The stripes look so nice and even, and the bust measurement came out the way I expected it to, which is even more amazing given that I used worsted instead of DK and had to do math to figure out which size to knit!

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It got a little rough on my hands toward the end, because I had to use smaller needles than recommended for the yarn to get the right gauge. Plus I used 12″ circs for the sleeves, which was kind of amazing because they’re faster than DPNs, but my hands were feeling it by the end, just feeling kind of cramped. Still, totally worth it!!

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And I’m totally wearing it today, unblocked, because spring is coming quickly and I wanted to wear it at least once before I had to pack it away! My only minor complaint is that it’s a little shorter than I’d like, so when I wash it, I’ll lay it out flat and try to encourage it to stretch out a bit. I’ll let you know how that goes!

The yarn is Lion Brand Jeans in Classic and Vintage, and the best thing about it (besides being really soft) is that I can wear it without a layer underneath and it doesn’t itch!

Stuck on sleeve island

I really need to clear out some WIPs. My knitting is not inspiring me lately but I can’t bring myself to cast on anything new right now. It’s dumb, because I only have four WIPs on the needles, but my brain won’t let me accept more. Really, I’m a little blocked with my knitting. I recently had a big load of dirty handknit socks, so I decided to be bold and try to machine wash and dry them, partly to save time and effort and partly to get rid of most of the dog hair stuck to them. And for the most part, they’re fine, or so I thought. A couple of pairs might have felted a tiny bit, and a few looked a bit smaller, but hey, they’ll stretch. Then I found a solitary sock that didn’t make it into the dryer.

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That is…not ideal. Maybe they shrank more than I realized? I guess I’ll find out when I wear them. I think I’m just feeling a little defeated with my knitting. I love knitting socks, but they’re high-maintenance, they don’t stay snug, the heels felt, and they shrink. I don’t wear hats, you can only have so many fingerless gloves or shawls or scarves, I have yarn in my stash I won’t wear now that I have purple hair (I refuse to wear red and purple together) and what’s the point even of having so much yarn and making things?

Oof. That’s not a pretty thought. I mean, maybe my head wasn’t in a great place yesterday anyway, but I had to fight this because in my heart I know there is value in making pretty things, so I picked up my sweater. I love to wear my handknit sweaters, and since I wear a layer underneath, they don’t need to be washed with each wear like socks. Sweaters are useful and practical as well as fun. So I knit a sleeve yesterday.

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This morning I picked up for the second sleeve and I’ll work on that while watching movies I love, and with any luck, I’ll feel better about my knitting by the end of the day.

And I’m not going KonMari my whole stash, but if you’re interested in a gorgeous skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk Single for $30 including US shipping, let me know. I would much rather have a skein of this yarn in a color I’d love to wear all the time.

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FO: Waverly Weekend Cowl

Okay, so I actually finished this cowl a few days ago, but it needed a bath and desperately needed blocking. Blocking made a huge difference for this one: it evened out the edges, opened up the lace, and made the beautiful wavy edges!

IMG_8327I blocked this one more vertically, since I wanted a taller cowl. I could have easily done it the other way and made a wider cowl, which would have opened up the lace more. Heck, I could do that in the future if I wanted too. But we’ll see how it goes like this. I will say it’s harder to see the lace and waved edge when you’re wearing it.

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But you can’t miss the color, which is my favorite thing about this cowl. Have I mentioned how much I love Malabrigo yarn? They always have such swoon-worthy colors.

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The pattern is Waverly Weekend Cowl and I did seven repeats of the lace pattern, no modifications. The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Magenta.

My Blogiversary

WordPress reminded me that yesterday was my blog anniversary: I started this blog FIVE years ago! I love my little blog, I love the blogosphere I’m a little part of, I love having this outlet for writing and sharing things. So much has changed since I started writing here.

Five years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom to a 14yo and a 10yo, now I work full-time and one kid is off at college and the other is about to start driving. Back then, I had ZERO dogs! Can you believe that? That part has definitely improved. In 2014, I had dark blonde hair and was just starting to explore the idea of purple hair, and now it’s been purple (for the third time) for seven months and I have no plans to ever stop.

Even my knitting life has changed. A few years ago, I sold all my fingering weight yarns, thinking I’d never want to knit with such tiny yarn and tiny needles. Oof. I regret that a little bit, now that I love knitting shawls and socks. I never thought I’d want to make socks; now I always have one on the needles.

But a lot is still the same: I knit as much as possible, all the time, everywhere. Knitting is my comfort, my stress relief, my happy place, my creative outlet. The knitting world is where I feel the most accepted, the most connected, the happiest, the most myself. And I still love color! The first project I shared was a rainbow hat (which I still have and love), and my most recent FO is a neon rainbow sock.

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Thanks for being here, friends! Here’s to another five years!

Emotional Support Cowl

My furry cowl is done and I just want to carry it around so I can pet it and rub it against my face whenever I feel anxious or stressed. That’s not weird, is it?

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I used all three skeins of Sirdar Alpine and it is long enough to double, barely. It is very snug around my neck, which means it’s extra cozy, I guess.

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I cast on 15 stitches and did stockinette stitch until I ran out of yarn. Though to be honest, I’m pretty sure it got switched with the second skein and the “knit” side became the purl side. Thankfully, it’s nearly impossible to tell, which is the one upside to knitting with yarn that’s very hard to read. I’m not sure I loved knitting with this yarn, but I bet I’ll love wearing it. I was right, though: I finished it just in time for spring, which officially starts tomorrow.

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My emotional support cowl will have to suffice when I’m not home with my pups!

 

Frog and start over

Recently I wrote about a project that was not behaving in an appropriate manner, the Heart Check cowl. There was an error in the written instructions and after knitting the first section twice, I realized I was now holding a grudge against the poor pattern and I didn’t want to knit it again. But I still wanted a cowl in the beautiful magenta Malabrigo, so I went browsing until I found a worthy candidate, the Waverly Weekend Cowl. It says it can be made in a weekend, and maybe it can, but certainly not in a weekend like mine with two family parties, including one at my house that required a bit of tidying up. (Okay. A lot. I have three dogs and I hate housework. And also, in the future, I either need to have leather couches or no dogs. And no dogs is not an option, so leather couches it will be. Vacuuming couches is a terrible thing to have to do.) Anyway! I have at least made some progress and it’s enough to know that the pattern appears to be error-free and I’m liking the lace.

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It’s also enough to know that this vivid pink yarn is next to impossible to photograph well. This was in my backyard, in the shade, late in the day when the sun was on the other side of the house. It’s usually my best light for photos. But this pink, wowzers!

The sixteen rounds on that cowl were pretty much the extent of my knitting for the weekend, but I also got to celebrate the girl’s 19th birthday with our family, plus the brother’s college graduation, plus I went to a local symphony concert with the girl Saturday night.

The dogs all partied pretty well. Jack got a sedative so he wouldn’t bark constantly, and each dog got their own empty peanut butter jar to lick clean. But after a couple of hours socializing, they were pooped and wanted to sack out on the couch. I have to say, I felt the same way! It was a good weekend, but exhausting and I feel like Monday came much too quickly. I need a spring break like my kids!