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FO: Autumn Falling Shawl

About a month ago, I received my Autumn mystery yarn box from Chestnut Hills Studio which included a skein of Pumpkin Patch fingering yarn dyed by Laughing Cats Fibers. It was so gorgeous and so perfect for the season that I cast on immediately, and after a couple of distractions, yesterday I blocked the finished shawl.

The pattern is Autumn Falling, which is free on Rav. I did at least three more pattern repeats than it called for, trying to use up as much of the yarn as possible and make it a wearable size. I think it’s perfect. I don’t like warm colors and I never wear orange but for whatever reason, I adore this yarn and this shawl. I might wear all black tomorrow just to be able to wear this!

Also I adore bank holidays especially when it means I get a day off. Happy Monday, friends.

My First MKAL

I have decided to do my first mystery knit-along! I’ve never been tempted before — I typically like knowing what something’s going to look like before I spend hours and hours knitting it. But this time, one of the yarn kits drew me in.

That’s from Miss Babs’ website and oh my gosh isn’t it stunning?? That’s the link to all the sets for this MKAL but of course none of them come close to matching the beauty of this one. Even after seeing this, I thought I’d be able to resist, but I could not stop thinking about it. I thought about just buying the yarn and not doing the MKAL, but I knew it would be more likely that I’d never find a pattern as well-suited to the set as this one (hopefully!) will be.

So what am I knitting? It’s a Winter Wonderland rectangular wrap/shawl with “easy texture and simple lace” and no colorwork or brioche, so fingers crossed it won’t be anything too tricky! I’ve already convinced one knitting friend to play along with me!

Have you done a MKAL before and if so, do you wear the finished item?

And best of all: HAPPY FRIDAY! FINALLY!

Is it Friday yet?

I got so much great feedback to my last post about planning a new sweater! Nothing feels quite right to me yet, so I’ve decided to put that project on hold for now. Those purple/blue sparkly skeins are quite special, so I want to make sure I use them in a project I’ll love. Instead, I cast on a new cowl with some of my yarn from Wisconsin, and it was so addictive that I finished it within a few days.

This is the Fino Shadow Cowl done in five miniskeins from Four Crows Fibers. I adore the yarn, love the pattern — but for some reason I don’t love how it all came out. I did mess up my color sequence at the beginning, when I didn’t read the pattern carefully enough and grabbed yarn A when I was supposed to grab yarn B, and then the whole sequence was off but I didn’t want to frog and start over. It’s pretty, and soft, and squishy … and I just don’t love it. However, I showed it to a friend who does love it so it already has a good home waiting for it! That’s a happy ending.

This has been a weird and hard week. I found out Monday that two people I knew were murdered last weekend. I didn’t know them well, had only emailed each of them a couple of times about two years ago. But they were young — only 24 and 25 — and brilliant and kind and compassionate, and it’s heartbreaking that this happened to them. The world sucks sometimes, or maybe America sucks sometimes. It’s just put me in a funk and all I want to do is knit but that’s not really an option. So, just keep swimming, right?

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Sweater Planning

A while back, maybe a year or so ago, I bought four skeins of navy blue fingering weight yarn to make a Doctor Who shawl. I ended up not liking the pattern so I gave up and frogged it. Recently I thought it would be nice to use that navy blue for a sweater, so I cast on a simple pullover. After a month, this is what I had:

It was knitting up nicely, was very soft … and VERY boring. I had zero motivation to work on it. That got frogged this morning and now I’m trying to figure out if I can do another sweater where I hold a solid with a variegated, and use up four variegated skeins along with the navy. Fortunately, both purple and pink look marvelous with navy, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough coordinating skeins to make it work.

The one on the left is amazing and I love it, but I only have two skeins of the pink sparkle yarn, that dyer has gone out of business, and I can’t find anyone selling any remaining skeins. Only 800 yards of that probably would not make a sweater that would fit me! So the skeins on the right are the more likely option, and I love 3 of the 4. But that one on the far right just sticks out to me, and I don’t know how well it would knit up with the others, even if I did alternating skeins. What do you think?

FO Friday: Four New Things

Yay it’s Friday! I love Friday, don’t you? Plus it’s the end of the month and I always like the anticipation and possibilities of a brand new month, so even though I’m not looking forward to moving from summer to fall, I am looking forward to October. To wrap up the month, I thought I’d share my final four finished objects for September.

You might recognize that first pair of mitts as the gift mitts from the Destination Yarns yarn. I’m delighted with how they turned out! I even blocked them and feel like they came out as a good man-hand size. (That sounds weird now.) Pattern is Mmmalabrigo Glovies and I followed it exactly.

The hat is another gift knit, a simple 1×1 ribbed beanie in some squishy chunky merino superwash. I do love making hats!

The cowl is a special one. The yarn was a gift I received in Wisconsin. One of our friends commissioned Alissa (from Chestnut Hills Farm & Fiber!) to hand-dye a custom colorway for us and isn’t it gorgeous?? It’s soft and squishy too, and I used as much as I could to make a Zig Zag Cowl, which is free on Ravelry.

The other pair of mitts I started a few months ago and set aside before even doing the thumb of the first mitt. But good grief, they’re so simple and with the brushed suri alpaca on size 5 needles, I finished them in two evenings. They’re so furry and cozy too. Can’t wait to wear them. And that pattern is also free on Ravelry!

So there you go: four more skeins used from stash! It barely makes a dent in what I brought home from Wisconsin but it’s a start.

Oh and I used the last bit of my gift yarn to make a wee scarf for a furry friend!

Happy Friday, friends.

WIP Wednesday: Blankets

I really want a knitted blanket, like a good-sized blanket. Not bed-size, but big enough to snuggle under on the couch.

On a related note, I have a LOT of sock yarn scraps. I’m kind of a sock-knitting fiend, and each pair uses a little more than half an average skein. Yes, I could make shorties from the leftovers, and I have done that. But I also have a LOT of socks. You see where I’m going here, I’m sure. And I’m guessing your brain (if you’re a knitter) immediately went to “You should make one of those square-a-day sock yarn blankets!” Great idea!

Yup, I started one of those over a year ago. I do love it, but I don’t have the willpower to make myself actually knit a square a day and each time I set it aside for a couple of months, I have to look up how to knit the square. Plus, the squares use little scraps, and I have big balls … of leftover sock yarn. (heehee) The other thing is a Cottagecore Throw I started a few months ago. This one is worsted weight, but I could start another one with fingering weight. But again, I don’t work on it regularly and then have to remind myself of the pattern. Plus it’s crochet, not knitted.

So I’m going to start a third blanket project. Because I’m crazy. I’m going to do a Garter Scrappy Blanket, except that pattern calls for a size 6 needle which seems like it would make a blanket that’s more loosey-goosey than what I want. I’m not sure what needle size I’ll use. Maybe a 3? I bought 47″ and 60″ cords for my interchangeable needles, and I’m guessing I’ll use the 60 because like I said, I want a good-size blanket. Here’s the yarn balls I’ve collected so far, housed in my lovely new project bag.

Now I just need to figure out how many to cast on. I typically prefer the long-tail cast-on but I’m thinking about one that allows for some flexibility and doesn’t make me try to guess how much yarn I’ll need. What cast-on would you use?

Sock It To Me Monday

September started off as “buy all the yarn”, moved into “cast on all the things”, and has now morphed into “finish as much as you can!” Yesterday I finished and blocked two projects, and it felt so good that I decided to see what else I could finish by month’s end. Realistically, that was just the second DK-weight sock that was sitting at the heel.

These super-squishy socks are Desert Panda Fiber Arts Sturdy DK in the color My Favorite Leggings. I’m still new enough to DK socks that I don’t know how many yards a full sock takes, so I knit shorties to be safe. Of course now I have almost half a skein left, so maybe I need to knit shorties for someone with small feet?

Today was also a very happy mail day for me. I’d been coveting the hot pink Joji bag that she did for Ewe & Me’s 10th anniversary, so when she announced she had some in a seconds sale, I was all over that. I got a good discount for a gorgeous bag with one tiny dark spot on the back side.

I’m starting to think I need to unfollow Joji & Co, to be honest. It’s becoming a problem!

Happy Monday, friends.

Rock Candy Mountain, Take 2

You may remember that I recently finished a fabulous rainbow shawl called Rock Candy Mountain. And if you remember that, you may also remember that I wanted to knit a purple version. Getting the yarn for that was my primary goal at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, and I’m happy to report that I was successful, with much credit given to my knitters who helped me pick colors!

Although I was kind of hoping to get the yarn all from one dyer, that wasn’t an option. They are at least all DK weight…okay, except for one sport but that’s close enough. I got the gray and two purples from Hook & Shuttle, two purples from Sun Valley Fibers, one purple from Leading Men Fiber Arts, and the lightest purple from Northern Bee Studio.

I was so excited that I got started while we were in Wisconsin, and I got the first wedge done. But the Leading Men had to be ordered so I set this project aside while I waited for it. Now it’s here and the yarn is all wound and I am ready to GO … as soon as I finish this one quick hat, I mean.

Happy Sunday, friends.

It’s a small world, after all

The other day, I showed you some yarn that I was thinking about using for a gift for a guy friend. I decided to go forward with it, so I pulled up my all-time favorite fingerless glove pattern, Mmmalabrigo Mitts, and cast on. As I knit, I realized I’ve probably made a dozen pair of these mitts over the last several years, which made me wonder how old the pattern was. I looked at the blog archive, saw the pattern was from 2008 and the most recent, and final, post was 2016. When I clicked on that, the post was about how quiet she’s been on the blog because of all the yarn, and if you were interested, you could check out her website.

Guys. Guess what the yarn business was? YES! It was Destination Yarn, the SAME yarn I pulled out of my (very full) stash to make these mitts! What are the odds?? Slim, I tell you.

Once I’d made the connection, there were other things on the page that should have clued me in, but I’ve looked at this post so many times over the years that I go immediately to the pattern and ignore everything else. And of course, that connection sealed the deal on this project — they had to be made, even if I decide they’re not right for the intended person. I’ve got one mitt done and the other cast on. Gotta love small Aran weight projects!

Happy Saturday, friends.

What have I done now

Welp, I did a thing. I think it’s a good thing but it’s also a new and different thing which means it’s a nervous-making thing for me. My company has what they call Employee Resource Groups, which are designed to offer community, support, and resources to different groups. There’s one for LGBTQ people, one for multicultural groups, one for women, and one for young professionals. Allies are welcome of course, and the groups are a great way to build connections throughout the company with people you might never meet otherwise.

Anyway, there’s a new one being established for veterans. I was interviewing the people in charge for a newsletter article, and I was just so moved and impressed by how they spoke about their motivations and desire to help this community. My dad was a veteran, though he rarely spoke about it, but I’ve never really been committed to help the cause before. But I know this group needed support, and support with things I could provide as a communications professional, and apparently I like to offer help when it’s needed. So yeah, yesterday I emailed them and let them know to count me in if they needed help. I meet next week to talk to one of them about possibly being the Communications Committee co-chair, or whatever role is best suited for my experience and skills. It won’t be a huge time commitment, but I’ll be meeting with lots of new people and just stepping into unfamiliar territory. I’m hoping it’ll be a good growth opportunity for me as I get to know more people with a much different perspective! Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and been glad you did? I hope so!

In yarn-related news, after I got my autumn mystery box from Chestnut Hills Farm & Fiber, I saw that Marilee got both colors of yarn and the other one was just as gorgeous as the one I got! I reached out to Alissa and managed to snag two skeins of Pickety Witch and I’m quite delighted I did.

Happy Friday, friends!