FO: Rock Candy Mountain

I bound off my Rock Candy Mountain shawl last night, wove in the ends and everything like a good little knitter, and I’m obsessed with this shawl.

Knitting this was so addictive — each stripe had short rows so they got shorter and faster, which made me want to keep knitting to get to the next color. I love the i-cord edging. I love the squishiness of the garter stitch. It’s just all so good.

I did make a couple of modifications. The blue I had wasn’t a full skein, so to make sure I had enough, I did an extra stitch between each wrap & turn, which made the stripes a little narrower. I also went down two needle sizes, from the suggested 8 to a 6. That was partly to try to conserve yarn, but also to make the garter stitch thicker and squishier. It worked! Maybe even too much. The final product wasn’t quite as long as I was hoping.

It has now been soaked and pinned out as long as a I could stretch it, while still preserving the squish in the depth, and I think it might end up pretty close to perfect. We’ll see. I definitely want to make this pattern again — without modifications — but in shades of purple. Wouldn’t that be cool, to go from the palest lavender to the deepest violet? I’m headed to a Sheep & Wool festival next month and that’s definitely at the top of my wish list!

Happy Saturday, friends!

I hit a snag

Or rather a snag hit me. I wore my new sweater to work yesterday and when I got home, the dogs were so excited to see me that they were jumping and of course a claw hooked into my sweater and pulled out a loooooooong snag. I’ve stretched it out as best I can but there’s still plenty left. I guess now I sit with my trusty Ott light and start working it back in.

Anybody know some fabulous snag fixes?

Update: I spent about twenty minutes with a tapestry needle and managed to work it back in. It’s a little loose right now but if I reblock it, that should disappear. Hooray!

FO: Riprap Top

My Riprap top is blocked and dry and I even managed to get a couple of photos! They’re not great photos, mind you, but they’re photos. Voilà!

I used Malabrigo Arroyo, which is superwash, which grows when it’s soaked, so I knit the smallest circumference and extended the length by about four inches. I meant to extend it by two inches but things happen and it’s four and I’m not mad about it at all. As far as yardage goes, I didn’t need the fifth skein I purchased, but I’m glad I got it and mixed it in so the color changes are more subtle. It’s designed to be cropped, which is not the best look for me, and I love the length now. I soaked it in Eucalan, put it through the spin cycle of the washer, and put it in the dryer for five minutes before pinning it out to dry. And the nice thing is that if I decide it’s too oversized, I can just soak it again and dry it for longer!

I had it on for the photos and didn’t want to take it off. I think it’ll be great for late summer/fall with a sleeveless tank underneath, and then in winter with a long-sleeve tee. I kind of want to knit another one now! Maybe in non-superwash worsted weight? That could be interesting!

Happy Monday, friends.

Big Rock Candy Mountain

I have finished my Riprap top! Hooray! It has been washed and blocked and waiting to be shared another day, once I’m able to get decent photos of the completely-finished sweater. And now that it’s done, I’ve moved on to the other bigger project I’ve been obsessed with lately: the Rock Candy Mountain shawl. I came across this on Instagram and immediately began stash-diving. I didn’t want to just make the pattern, I wanted to make THIS shawl, exactly as she did. (I could only find a ravelry link.)

My stash dive yielded five of the seven colors, and Sarah from Mildly Granola generously offered a skein of reddish-orange from her stash. After that, I had superwash wool in gray, pink, and turquoise, and silk in green and purple. The pattern calls for either DK or fingering weight held double, and I had a mixture. The green silk I had was either a heavy fingering or a light DK but I figured it would be okay. I searched destash yarns on Etsy and soon I had a yellow wool fingering to complete the set and I was off to the races!

Everything went swimmingly until I got to the green. It was indeed lighter weight than the previous colors, which visibly affected the gauge. The silk also felt different than the wool, which I’d expected but didn’t think I would mind. I minded. Luckily for me, this was my main travel project when the husband and I went to Omaha, and among my trips to yarn stores I managed to find a good replacement yarn! I bought the same yarn in purple, since experience had already told me I wouldn’t want to use the purple silk I’d pulled from my stash.

Only two colors left and I can’t imagine they’ll take too long. It’s not exactly the stashbuster I’d planned, since I ended up buying three of the seven colors, but it cleared out four skeins and I sure love it. It’s going to be HUGE and squishy and cozy!

Christmas in August, Part Two

My gift hat has been completed and has its pompom. Though I loved the suggestion of a pink faux fur pompom, I remembered I wanted to do these gifts completely from stash, and I didn’t have a fur pom that worked. What I did have was exactly enough yarn left over for one good-sized pompom!

That literally used up all the yarn, and a I had to use a scrap of another yarn to attach it. I’m calling that a big win! It was so satisfying that I moved right on to my next gift knit, a pair of fingerless gloves. I chose a pattern called Felicity Mitts (free on Rav) and some creamy Malabrigo Sock from the stash. The first mitt went so quickly and I was in love, convinced I’d found my new favorite mitt pattern.

I do love it! Look at the dainty lace that will block out so nicely! But now I have a huge case of second-mitt syndrome and am having the hardest time casting on for mitt two. Thank goodness I still have plenty of time before Christmas!

Happy Saturday, friends.

Christmas in August

I am not someone who counts down the days until I can put up my Christmas tree. I’m not eagerly awaiting fall and all things pumpkin spice. I love summer and would much rather be warm than cold. However, I do enjoy knitting for people I like, so I cast on the first Christmas gift of 2022 yesterday.

This will be a waffle beanie in Supernatural Yarns Fairy DK, color Amortentia. I’m pretty sure it will have a pompom, but I’m not sure yet if it will be a matching yarn pom or a coordinating faux fur pom. It partly depends on how much yarn is left! Which would you go for?

After spending so much knitting time on big projects, it’s a treat to knit something as small and quick as a hat. Here’s hoping they appreciate it!

Happy Sunday, friends!

Adventures with Malabrigo

While in Omaha last weekend, I happened upon some Malabrigo Arroyo in Lavanda, which just happens to be what I’m using to make my Riprap, the sweater with the unfortunate color change. I took a chance and bought the skein that looked the lightest, just in case I could use it to balance out the shift. In skein form, it looked lighter but once I wound it, I wasn’t so sure. Was it worth frogging over 4 inches of lace? Eh, what the heck, it’s DK weight and I knew the line would bother me forevermore if I didn’t at least try. So here’s where we’re at now:

As you can see, it’s not a huge difference but it’s enough that I’m glad I did it. At this point, I’m very glad this sweater does not have sleeves, and I’m looking forward to being done soon!

Happy Saturday, friends.

A Weekend in Nebraska

Yesterday was our 25th wedding anniversary and to celebrate we spent a long weekend in Nebraska. Our hotel was in Omaha, which is where we spent Saturday and Sunday. On Monday we drove to Lincoln for a few hours. We went to so many bookstores and record stores and yarn stores, plus several other fun little shops. We got confused with Omaha road signage and had several mostly mediocre meals, with a couple of exceptions (mostly the breakfast places). We turned off notifications and spent the days just enjoying the time together, and I felt very refreshed and relaxed afterward.

Now, I did not take photos of the yarn I bought. I kind of forgot but I’m also kind of embarrassed to show you the extent. I’ll just say, my stash is VERY well-fed this month. I went to four yarn stores. Five if you count the one that had a note on the door that said ‘We will be closed August 8th. We apologize for the inconvenience.’ Okay, fine, things happen, except this is the second time this has happened at this same shop. I won’t try them again. Thankfully there was a fantastic yarn store five minutes away that WAS open and was very happy to sell me lots of yarn!

My favorite yarn store was Wooly Mammoth in Omaha. She dyes yarn herself, lots of gorgeous rich solids and tonals, plus she carries indie dyers like A Whimsical Wood Yarn Co. and Cornbread and Honey. PLUS! She has a HEDGEHOG. Yes, a real live hedgehog, named Hank, and I got to meet him and pet him! He was prickly (shocker, I know). She offered to let me hold him but I was afraid I’d drop him.

Also in Omaha was Imagiknit, and that was a delightful store too. She had Emma’s Yarn plus other indie dyers plus some good bigger names too. It was a charming shop with great variety and fun little extras. I did go to one other store in Omaha but the vibes were off at that one. They had a lot of Koigu, Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, and Noro, and not much else. It was on the second floor of an art gallery, just tucked away on one side. It felt…strange. It felt like someone had decided to jump on the “knitting is trendy” bandwagon without really knowing the community. Anyway, I did find two skeins there but it didn’t inspire me so I didn’t take any photos.

Of course I found other things besides yarn — books mostly. I found fun things that made me laugh. The husband wants to get into leatherwork a little bit so we went to a leather store that smelled delightful and had so much gorgeous leather. I tried to convince him he could make project bags as good as Joji’s but I’m not sure we’re there yet. I’ll keep working on it!

We came home late Monday afternoon and spent our actual anniversary enjoying the peace and quiet at home. We marked the occasion by planting a Japanese maple and a purple hibiscus, and the husband cooked us a delicious dinner. I’m hoping we can do these short getaways more often now that we’re empty nesters — as long as I’ve got the boy to dog-sit for us!

A chip off the old block

Many moons ago, when my dad was a teenager, he got interested in photography. He worked for his high school paper, both writing and taking photos, and somewhere in there he got a camera. It was a Nikon F Photomic, and he had multiple lenses and two flashes and a fancy leather carrying case, as well as the hard case to pack it all in. When he died, it all came home with me. I knew I’d never actually use it, but I do like photography and I liked having that little connection.

This past summer, the boy took a road trip with his roommate. They drove out west, all the way to LA and back, and somewhere in there he found a vintage SLR camera from the 1970s at an antique store. He bought it and ever since has been talking about how fun it is, how cool it is. He bought film and took pictures during his trip and sent it off to be developed, but it takes weeks these days.

You probably know where this is going. Last night he came for dinner and after dinner I brought down the case so he could see my dad’s camera and equipment. We were all amazed at how well-maintained it all was, given that it was probably from the early 1960s. But that was my dad — he believed in taking good care of your things. We all had a great time poking through all the accessories and smelling the leather (that was mostly me) and trying to figure out how the camera worked. I even found a few rolls of film — we’re hoping those aren’t as old as the camera! He got one loaded into the camera and took a few shots.

It was a lot of fun, but the whole time, I kept thinking how much of himself my dad didn’t share. We never saw him use this camera. I don’t remember ever hearing him talk about it, or about the time of his life when he did use it. I don’t remember him ever doing anything with photography — he worked, a lot, to support our family of several kids and on the weekends he did stuff around the house and the yard.

But mostly I kept thinking about how much I wish he was still here to teach my son how to use the camera. I wish I could watch the two of them nerd out about cameras and photography. I think my dad would be absolutely delighted by him.

Of course I told my son to take the camera home with him. It never felt like it was mine anyway. I like to think I was just the caretaker, holding onto it for the right time and the right person.

You’d think I would know better

I’m disappointed in myself. Some of you may remember that I’m a big fan of Malabrigo yarns. Love their colors. I KNOW that they don’t do dye lots, that their yarns are kettle dyed in small batches. I KNOW that when you knit a larger object with multiple skeins, you really need to alternate skeins for a balanced color. I know all that and yet this is where I am right now:

Nothing subtle about that switch! I had four skeins of this, bought at three different times, and one skein is obviously quite a bit darker. Now here’s the thing: this sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up and then you split for the front and back and knit those individually back and forth. I did pretty well with the first side — I alternated skeins until the last inch or so of ribbing. One skein ran out and I figured I could get by with just the one color.

The darker color is there, but not quite as strikingly obvious as the other side. The problem is…well, the problem is me. I chose this pattern (the Riprap Top) because I could make it with just four skeins, but as I knit, I realized it was designed to be rather short. Oh, I can add a couple of inches to the length, no problem, I thought. And it probably would have been fine…if I hadn’t also accidentally made the front two inches longer. All of that means I now have one skein of yarn remaining, and it’s the disturbingly dark one. I don’t even know if it will be enough to finish the darned thing. Once I finish the back, all that’s left is ribbing around the armholes and seaming the shoulder closed, so those might not look quite as bad with the stupid dark yarn. I do have a small bit of a partial skein, so one option is to rip back those four inches and reknit, alternating as much as I can to at least ease into the dark and just assume that nobody cares what the back of my sweater looks like.

Another option is to buy another skein and try to color match the lighter skeins, but that defeats the stash-busting purpose a little bit.

The option I have currently chosen is to put it in timeout and work on something else. Before I choose either option for moving forward, I’m going to sort of try it on and see if I even like what it is so far.

So friends, if I have taught you nothing else, I hope I have taught you to alternate your skeins of Malabrigo if you didn’t buy them all at once!