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FO Friday: Water Shawl

Oh happy day! It is Friday, it is sunny, and I have a new shawl to show off! This was our Blogville KAL led by Alissa at Headknits. It started on March 1 and even though we have until the end of … um, June, maybe, I finished mine Wednesday and blocked it yesterday. It was greatly helped by two things: I am currently a monogamous knitter, and the boy has been re-watching Doctor Who in the evenings. I’ve seen those enough that I can focus on the pattern and just half-listen to the Doctor. (Tennant is my favorite but Matt Smith is a VERY CLOSE second. And Smith with River and the Ponds is probably the best combo ever.) Without further ado, here is my Water shawl:

I know, it looks nothing like water, being this dark pink color, but it called for two skeins and I had two skeins of this that needed a pattern and I couldn’t justify buying two new skeins just for this. The yarn is from The Periwinkle Sheep. I don’t remember the base name but it’s 100% merino and the color is Fuschia Agate and it’s gorgeous, so rich and vivid. It didn’t lose any color when I blocked it, either!

The pattern is Water by Soft Sweater Knits. Though she has several patterns available on Payhip, Water is only on Ravelry at the moment. There were a few tricky bits in there for me, a couple of instructions that weren’t clear for me, which is why I was so glad this was a KAL and I could ask the other girls what I was supposed to do! The lace sections are lace short rows, which was only tricky the first time around. I did use stitch markers each time I turned, and I definitely recommend lifelines before each lace section. But once I got into the flow of it, I sailed along smoothly! (Hee hee, see what I did there?) Well, until the bind off, which is apparently a knitted on bind off or some such nonsense and took ages but my goodness, it sure is worth it in the end. Look at those little loopy bits!

I used around 600 yards and probably could have gotten another pattern repeat in, but it’s plenty big enough as is, very close to the ideal shawl size for me. It is kind of hard to show the full size of it; I don’t have a great way to display it stretched out.

But the branches of my beautiful magnolia tree seem as good a place as any! Happy Friday, friends.

Life besides knitting

Let me just tiptoe back into my little blogging space here, see if my mojo has actually returned. I haven’t been knitting as obsessively as usual the last couple of weeks. Instead, I’ve been obsessively playing with LEGO. I say “playing” but I really mean sorting and bagging. The boy used to love LEGO as a child, so we have A LOT of sets, and over the years the blocks got all mixed up. We started sorting them all by color a few years ago, and finished that job last year at the start of the pandemic. Since then, I’ve slowly started putting together the pieces for various sets. Some of them I assemble and display (Harry Potter, Indiana Jones), some I assemble and then bag up (superheroes), and then some I just bag up (City, Creator, TMNT). So the last two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time combing through tubs of LEGO bricks to make complete sets, and bagging them up in little baggies for each color. It takes forever but it’s so stupidly satisfying for me. It’s also satisfying to know that some of these sets will now be going to new homes and out of my attic!

Last weekend was gorgeous weather, so I took a break to play outside. I repotted a few plants, planted a new one in the planter in our front yard, cut back some dead blooms, and watched the husband cut down a small tree. We’re getting closer to our renovation project and I’m getting so excited to have a prettier house! Along the way I also found some pottery shards and other interesting bits in the yard. I think I’ll save them and put them in the bottom of my next potted succulent.

And I have been knitting, just a bit. My Water shawl is almost done so I’ll share that soon. I’ve also got two easy socks on the needles, both second socks, which are perfect for work Zooms.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Purple makes me happy, did you know?

Saturdays always seem a little happier, don’t they? Time to relax with an extra cup of tea, or putter around the house doing whatever I want, a bit of knitting, a bit of LEGO, a bit of reading. Last night the husband said he’d had enough screen time for a while and he wanted to read, so instead of watching TV while I knit, I pulled out my little silk lace cowl. It’s made with Malabrigo Mora, which is 100% silk that’s supposedly fingering but it’s very much a light fingering, so the project feels all delicate and fiddly and I haven’t worked on it in ages. It’s looking good though!

I think I’m through four of nine 12-row pattern repeats, so almost halfway. I might spend more time with this one over the weekend, because a lightweight silk cowl might be just the thing I need for spring. Two other happy things from yesterday: some absolutely gorgeous yarn from Pandia’s Jewels arrived and I have no idea what they’ll become except maybe just happy desk decorations for a while, and I got more purple back in my hair. I’d been taking a break from the Overtone purple conditioner for a while, mostly to see what my natural hair is like at the moment. Well. It’s rather dull with 2-3 inches of bleached hair at the ends. It’s fine, it’s good hair, I like the little silver hairs I have. The real problem is that it wasn’t purple, honestly. So the “purple for brown hair” came off my shelf and into the hair and it makes me happier when I look in the mirror.

Happy Saturday, friends. I hope you have time to do something you enjoy this weekend!

FO Friday: We Belong Together

Okay, this is not a recent finish. I finished this shawl a few weeks ago at least, even blocked it at the time. But the weather was never good for me to take pretty pictures, what with a polar vortex and all that, plus life gets in the way sometimes. So today I thought I would share the final photos of my We Belong Together shawl, cast on in honor of Inauguration Day.

I loved this project. DK weight shawls knit up so quickly, and the pattern was interesting without being too taxing for pandemic-brain, so I just wanted to keep going and going. It blocked out wonderfully, too. The teal is Boss Babe from Forbidden Fiber and the purple is Orchid from Old Rusted Chair. Both are awesome!

Even though I didn’t share anything current today, I have been knitting a lot lately, a lot of stress knitting. I’m a bit in the weeds emotionally at the moment, maybe have been for a little while, and I’m at the point where I’m tired of myself so I’m sure the people I’m venting to are tired of me too, even though most of them have given no indication of it. But since I also get more emotional when depression is winning, I’ve lately found myself so full of gratitude and love for the people who do listen and offer love and support, and for my knitting groups which are so much more than “just” knitting groups. Knitting, guys. It’s just the best. And in that vein, here’s an article I saw this morning, an article about knitting and friendship and healing and all kinds of cool things. It’s written by Barbara Kingsolver, whose books I love. I had no idea she was a knitter; now I love her more.

Happy Friday, friends. Hope life is treating you well!

Happy Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and it also happens to be the girl’s 21st birthday! We’re not able to be together today (darn that growing up business) but we did FaceTime this morning and we’ll see her next week. I feel both as young as I was back then and also like I’m kind of old, but not in a bad way, more of a wise badass away. And she’s well on her way! (To being wise, I mean. Not old. Though she’s on her way with that too, I guess.)

Here’s to strong women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!

I do have a sock to share today, too. I started a pair of shortie socks last week with some leftovers and finished the first one yesterday. Short socks are so much fun to knit!

Pretty sure the second one will be cast on today. Happy Monday, friends, and Happy Women’s Day to all my fellow wise women!

There’s a lesson in this

In my last post, I mentioned one of my new WIPs, the Water shawl that we’re doing as a Blogville KAL. Last night I was able to sit down and start working the lace short row section, and maybe I got off on the one wrong foot because she uses KT= knit stitch twisted and I don’t understand why she wouldn’t just say knit through the back loop (ktbl) if that’s what she means, but whatever. That’s easy enough. I got to short row five and things just weren’t right, I didn’t have enough stitches to complete the repeats before the previous turn, and I knew that wasn’t right. I tinked back two rows and tried again, same result. I messaged my Blogville friends to whine and ask them to see if the chart and written instructions match — maybe there was a mistake in the written rows that I could avoid by using the chart. When I couldn’t find an error in either my knitting or the pattern, I frogged the five rows of lace, back to the end of the garter stitch section. At least I was smart enough at that point to put in a lifeline!

I poured a glass of wine and started again, counting carefully and using stitch markers to denote my turns, and again when I got to the end of short row five, it didn’t match up. At that point, it was 9:15 at night so I put the shawl in time-out and finished my wine and went to bed.

This morning, I printed out the chart and the written instructions. I sat down with a cup of tea and compared them on row five. Yes, they matched. I looked at my row five — it wasn’t wrong. I tinked back my row five and examined row four, and I’ll damned if the mistake wasn’t right there: I’d missed the last repeat in row four. ARGH.

So why did I struggle so much last night? I’d put in a day’s work, I was tired, I had wine, the boys were watching TV, it was darker. This morning, it was before work, I was less-tired (I mean, I’m always tired on some level, you know), the boys were upstairs so it was quiet, I had tea instead of wine, and I was at the dining room table with big windows letting in good sunshine. And, maybe most importantly, I’d taken a break, had some space between me and the frustration. So I guess when they say things like, “Things will look better tomorrow,” sometimes it’s true.

The bonus is that I got to be the guinea pig making life easier for my Blogville buddies, and anyone else wanting to knit the Water shawl (Rav link): KT = ktbl, use lifelines before each short row section, use stitch markers, count carefully, each short row turns two stitches before the previous turn, do a Wrap & Turn instead of just Turning to avoid big holes.

Happy Friday, friends.

WIP Roundup

We are four days into the new month and I’m making good progress on two new WIPs. I had to cast on a new sock of course, and I cast on for the Blogville Water shawl KAL. Last night I made it to the end of the first garter stitch section and I’m ready for the first short row section. Before I dive into that, though, I need to make sure I know how to do the special stitches. Hopefully I can get into that tonight!

But I also have new things on deck! With warmer temperatures arriving, I’m discovering that shortie socks are my favorites for spring, and I only have four pairs. That’s not nearly enough, so I dipped into my bag of leftovers for a couple of little balls and I’ll cast these on later today. The rainbow yarn is my happy mail from today and my first yarn from Desert Vista Dyeworks! It’s Rainbows Run the World with colors inspired by all the women we saw on Inauguration Day. Why do I have two skeins? I don’t know, I just loved it so much I wanted enough! I know one skein will be socks, maybe the other will become a cool cowl or something.

What’s your favorite non-sock thing to make with self-striping sock yarn?

It’s March! And Monday!

Hooray hooray, it’s March today! That is happy because it means that spring is coming. We could very well still get another cold spell, possibly even some snow, but somehow it’s easier to endure in March than in February. Plus this is the girl’s birthday month and she will be coming home for a visit and that is also very happy. Another happy thing is that I did manage to finish that sock yesterday, adding one more FO to my February total. (No, I don’t know what the total is. More than two and less than 10, that’s all I got.) These are my Sorry Not Sorry socks from Hedgehog Fibres, with contrast yarn from Less Traveled Yarn.

The first thing you may notice is that one heel is solid pink. That’s the annoying thing about this sock. See, I had a 20g ball of that contrast yarn but once I got past the second cuff, I only had 5.5 grams left and I wasn’t convinced that was enough for a heel and a toe, and I wanted a contrast toe more, so I went the safe route. Of course then I got done and I’m pretty sure I could have done the heel too. Next time I do contrasts, I think I will weigh as I go so I know how much yarn each little contrast element takes.

Now it is March and I carried over only two WIPs, a lace cowl and the gradient shawl. That means I can cast on all the new things, right? I have to have a sock on the needles and I don’t think I can resist my newest yarn, from Kenyarn and inspired by the Ella Fitzgerald Barbie doll. But I am also ready and eager to cast on the Water shawl (Rav link) for the Blogville KAL that Alissa is running. My yarn isn’t very water-ish but it is the only two matching skeins of fingering in my stash and there’s no way I was buying new yarn for this, especially since this gorgeous yarn (from The Periwinkle Sheep) was waiting for a project.

I might also cast on for a hat for the husband, and maybe the cowl with the Woolfolk. I have all these project bags, I might as well put them to good use!

Happy March Monday, friends.

Final FO of February: Madness!

Today is the last day of February and that’s a little bonkers — how did this month go so quickly?? I’ve got one more finished object to share, my Mad Mini Wrap, and there was a bit of madness there at the end!

That final color, the green, was just for the border, and when I got to where the pattern told me to bind off, I still had quite a bit left. I didn’t want the yarn to go to waste so I added a few more rows. Sadly, I misjudged the amount and I was about 3/4 of the way through the bind-off when I admitted to myself that I didn’t have enough yarn and had to unknit the bind-off and the last row. It’s done now, though, blocked and everything. Blocking definitely helped this one get to a wearable length, though it’s still a tad shorter than I usually prefer. The pattern is the Mad Mini Wrap (Rav link) and I used the same yarn, same colors used in the original design, the 5 mini-skein pack of Mad Hatter Sport from Frabjous Fibers in Mice in the Tea. I found the yarn quite delightful, all supple and bouncy, and the colors are gorgeous.

I was hoping I’d get my sock done before the end of the month too, but spent too much time yesterday doing stuff around the house, preparing for some renovations. A necessary evil, I suppose, but today is for fun!

FO Friday: Gray Socks

The boy’s gray socks are finally done! I looked back and realized I started them three months ago. And while they are very long, they’re also very simple, just plain ribbing. I think it was the boring gray that made them take so long.

The legs are 10 1/2″ long and I knit to 8″ on the feet before starting the toes, so yeah, these are quite a big bigger than what I make for myself. But he put them on the next day and seems quite pleased with them, so I’d say it was worth it.

I’d have another FO to share, my Mad Mini Wrap, except I tried to use up all the green and lost at yarn chicken. So now I need to undo most of a bind-off and the last row. Darn it all.

The good news is that I’ll definitely get it done by the end of the month, taking me down to three WIPs that I’ll carry into March. That’s not bad at all!