Happy Halloween!

Today I am Wonder Woman!

I mean, clearly I am Wonder Woman every day, but today is the day I let everyone know. We never get trick or treaters at our house and my kids are old so we’ll have the porch lights off, the TV on, and a bag of Halloween candy to share in between us. As cute as little kids in costume are, I don’t really miss the hectic chaos that is Halloween with small children. And while we relax, I’ll be working on my newest sock.

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It’s Knit Picks Felici in Goth Kitty. Perfect for Halloween!

FO: Test Sock

I finished my test sock! There was a lazy part of me that wanted to switch to stockinette for the foot, but I was good and followed the pattern like I was supposed to, and it came out quite attractive.

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As I mentioned, this was a test knit so I have no pattern to share…YET. But I’ll definitely make sure to post it when it’s live.

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The yarn is KnitPicks Stroll Handpainted. It’s my first time using it and I really like it. It feels very soft and squishy, so I’m eager to see how they wash and wear. I’m guessing they’ll be nice and toasty!

Two of a Kind

I have two shawl projects on my needles, one fingering weight and one sport weight. One is garter stitch and one is stockinette. But both started with a few stitches and a garter tab, and increased six stitches every two rows to just over 260 stitches. And both seemed to take FOREVER. At first it was relaxing, just la-di-da knitting along, but then it became very OMG am I there yet?? Well! After this weekend, I am there on both of them!

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Now I get to move on to the fun lace sections! The top is my test knit, so no pattern to share yet, but the yarn is Araucania Huasco. The bottom is Late Harvest in the new Manos del Uruguay Feliz yarn, color Wildflowers.

I was outside photographing a different project and took the time to snap a few photos of the dogs too. Jack may be my favorite but Duncan is so photogenic and handsome!

Grace didn’t stand still long enough for a good photo, and Jack…well, here’s Jack.

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After a couple of hours outside, we’re all happy to chill on the couches for a while. I wonder how much lace I can get done tonight?

A New Craft

Last week my work team went on a team-building outing. We do one maybe once a quarter, where we have lunch and then do an activity together. The first time we played pickleball, which was super fun, but this time we were more crafty and less sporty. (I may have played a part in that, since I was in charge of planning!) After lunch, we spent the afternoon at a studio called Paint, Glaze and Fire. It has all the pottery pieces you can paint yourself, but it also has glass mosaic supplies, and that’s what I thought was cool.

Nine of us descended on this place, where we took over the back of the room and commandeered all the bottles of glass pieces. We may not have been working together, since we each had our own project, but there was a lot of interaction and conversation, and it was nice to spend time with the group in a non-work context. Anyway, I knew I wanted to do something knitting-themed, and this is what I came up with:

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Then I had to take all that glass off my square so I could start gluing it all down! It was a pretty tedious process, daunting for a perfectionist, and some of the pieces were tiny and hard to work with, but after a couple of hours, I had an almost-completed project.

I say almost because it still needs the firing process, so it’ll be a couple of weeks before I see the final result. But I can’t wait to hang it up in my craft room…and go make some more glass mosaics!

Testing, Testing

I have my selfish knitting, my commissioned knitting, my review knitting, and now I have test knitting! It’s kind of cool how each type feels kind of different, and I enjoy each one for different reasons. But my selfish knitting has definitely fallen by the wayside thanks to all this knitting with deadlines. I’ve finished my commissions, I only have one review project in the works, and I have my two test projects. And one test is almost done!

This Paddington Station sock just needs a toe, which I should be able to finish tonight, and then I can pass on my notes and let the second sock wait until I have more selfish knitting time.

My other test knit is newer, a shawl for Under the Olive Tree Knits. I found Jem on Instagram and have been following her for ages, and her designs are gorgeous. Even though I wasn’t sure I had the time, I really wanted to test one of her shawls. I haven’t gotten to the really fun lace section yet, but I adore the top edge already with the slipped stitches and big yarnovers. As soon as the sock is done, this project moves to the top of the list.

The yarn for this one is Araucania Huasco in a divine dark green.

The only downside to all this knitting is that I’m pretty sure I won’t have much time for gift knitting this year. Sure hope my family isn’t expecting anything!

Delicious Yarns Review: Yum!

A couple of months ago, I was offered the opportunity to review Delicious Yarns‘ newest offering, their pairings of two complementary colors. I was going to skip this one, since I had so much going on, but of course I had to take a peek at the yarn. Oops! That first glimpse of the pink and orange sealed the deal: I needed to knit those yarns!

 

The first impression was charming, with that cute ribbon around the skeins and the tags like nutrition labels. Then I was impressed by how vivid and saturated the colors are; they’re gorgeous. I chose Pairing 1, and while the site doesn’t specify which colors are in each pairing, these colors are Raspberry Swirl and Burnt Orange Frosting. I also received the pattern for the Piece of Cake shawl, designed specifically for these pairings. I love the jagged teeth and that lace section the best!

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The pairings are available in Fingering, Sport, and Worsted. I chose the fingering since I’m all about shawls these days. The colors make this a perfect fit for my wardrobe. The yarn is crisp and smooth, making it a pleasant knitting experience and giving good stitch definition too. It has a little bit of spring to it, so the drape is a bit more firm, if that makes sense.

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The yarn is 100% superwash merino, hand-dyed in California, and each color is designed to create different patterning when knitted or crocheted. I especially liked watching the Raspberry Swirl shift from dark pink to light pink to white and back again. There are short sections where you work two rows of each color to blend the colors. That plus the short row sections make for a nifty effect when you stand back and look at it, almost wavy. It makes me think of candy, for sure!

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I only have two small caveats. One: as the tag warns they might, the yarns definitely bled when I blocked the shawl. They recommend steam blocking if you’re concerned about bleeding but I wanted to open the lace aggressively. Fortunately it didn’t seem to affect the white tones, but I’ll handle it carefully in the future. And two: the pattern had a couple of small errors. I was able to work past them pretty easily, but they did make me stop and think and scratch my head for a little bit. Still, I liked the yarn well enough that next I’d love to try their Speckles Chunky!

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The colors were absolutely the best thing about this project for me, and they have so many other delicious colors on their website too. Plus I can’t help but be enchanted with the “delicious” theme and the idea that each skein is one marvelous sweet treat! The fingering runs around $31 for 450 yards, making this comparable to many of the other high-end, small-dyer yarns I buy, and the high quality is comparable too. I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn!

If you’re tempted to partake, you can use the code DYBK2018 for 10% off all online orders through the end of November. And if you sign up for their newsletter here, you’ll get two free patterns plus a “sweet surprise” within a few weeks of signing up.

A very special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Delicious Yarns, who generously sent me 1 pairing (2 skeins) of Superwash Merino ($61) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Weekend Knitting

I don’t have as much progress to show as I should; my knitting was hampered a couple of times the last few days. Part of it was my fault, part of it wasn’t. I had my day-long computer course on Friday, and it was fun to learn stuff again but a lot of the info was review, and the class moved a lot more slowly than I would have liked, so I picked up my hat knitting after I’d finished the exercise, or while we watched short videos. By the end of lunch, I’d made it to the end of the knitting I’d brought. Once again, I was not thinking like a good knitter, and I have now learned to bring much more knitting than you think you need!

That brings us to yesterday. The boy had a marching band competition in a small town about 40 minutes away, and we were going to be spectating for at least two hours, maybe three. I brought three projects. I was ready! I was prepared! I was…COLD. It was sunny and 60 out, so I wore a short-sleeved tee and a hoodie, not realizing that the wind was super blustery and chilly. I was too cold to keep my hands out and knit. The husband was even kind enough to go to the nearby Walmart to get us a blanket, and that helped, but still, I would have needed my nice wool fingerless gloves to be able to knit. Sigh. The best laid plans and all that jazz. Still, with some knitting here and there, I’ve gotten my sock project into the gusset. Plus, we stopped at an antique mall on the way and I found these awesome handmade crochet hooks for $6!

I’m also very close to the end of my first hat commission. I’m on hat four of four, and I’m onto the easy section of plain stockinette in the round. This one will get finished either today or tomorrow, and the hats will be delivered and out of my hands! These are my pombe yeast hats for some friends at work, and you can check out the Ravelry page if you want more info.

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My other hat commission isn’t going as well, and it’s totally my fault because I’m so stubborn about not checking gauge. As always, I got overconfident because almost every time I’ve checked gauge for a hat, knitting or crochet, it’s the same as the designer’s. So I started this project without checking, and got about halfway through and realized it was too big. Frogged and started over with a smaller hook. Got a little farther and it still seemed a little big. I could either go down yet another hook size, or adjust the stitch count. Since I like the density of the fabric, I decided to drop my stitch count and omit the last increase round, which meant frogging back about half my progress. This is the current state of this hat.

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You might think it’s frustrating, but crochet goes so quickly that it’s not painful to frog back that much and start over. And I’d forgotten how much I enjoy crocheting, so it’s been fun to let my hands settle into that rhythm again. Plus the yarn (Expression Fiber Arts Pearlescent Worsted, with SILK!) is heavenly, so I don’t mind spending more time with it! Still, I’m hoping to get this project finished in the next few days too. I’ve got too many other projects waiting in the wings!