Tag Archive | handknit shawls

Meet Me at the Station Shawl

I have a finished shawl to show you, and the best part is that the pattern is now live and you can knit one too! This is the Meet Me at the Station Shawl by Under the Olive Tree Knits, and I loved testing it.

img_8116It’s designed to be a one-skein shawl, but as you may remember, I had issues and ran out of yarn too soon. To be fair, I did not check gauge before I started knitting, so I accept full responsibility. And in any case, I’m glad it happened because the cream lace is perfect with the dark green body.

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The pattern is clear and well-written, and Jem provides plenty of photos and tutorials as well. My knitting experience was smooth and happy, and I’d love to knit this again, maybe in one color like I intended!

Pattern: Meet Me at the Station by Olive Tree Knits

Yarns: Araucania Huasco Multy Botany Lace in Hunter, Cascade Heritage in Snow

See my Ravelry project page here.

Yak Yarn! A review

When I think of fiber for knitting, obviously wool is the first to come to mind. Then silk, alpaca, cotton, nylon, acrylic, bamboo…there are so many options! But I confess that I had never thought about knitting with yak fiber. So when I was given the chance to review the Lhasa Wilderness from Bijou Basin Ranch, and I saw that it’s 75% Tibetan Yak and 25% bamboo, I thought it would be a great way to broaden my horizons, and maybe yours too!

I’d heard of Bijou Basin Ranch before, but never knew that it’s a small family-owned yak ranch in Colorado. I mean…yak? For yarn? Who knew?? Not me, anyway! They have registered, full-blooded Tibetan yaks and they harvest their coats once a year. I had to google “Tibetan yak” to see what they look like, and they are impressive animals!

Anyway, enough about animals: BBR supports other small businesses by using indie dye houses for their yarns. I chose a colorway called Fantasy, dyed by Colorful Eclectic, and I was so excited when my package arrived! It was beautifully put together with several extra goodies, including a mobius scarf pattern, a handy To-Do list, a sticker (which I immediately put on my Ikea knitting cart) and a pretty stitch marker. The presentation made a great first impression. To me, it shows that they really appreciate their customers.

The colors were lighter than I was expecting, based on the photos on the website. I thought the pink would be a darker fuschia; overall it seemed a bit watered down from the colors I saw online. But I know that colors can vary with hand-dyed yarn, and can look different in person than online. Plus, it is still beautiful, and so soft! I don’t know what I was expecting from yak, but it felt very much like a premium cotton, only even softer. It’s very smooth, feels silky running through my fingers. I’m guessing the bamboo is what reminds me of cotton, and the yak provides that delicious silky softness.

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Though they generously sent me a pattern, I chose a shawl/cowl pattern that I knew I’d wear more often called the Lace Eyelet Cowl. It calls for fingering weight, and while Ravelry lists the Lhasa Wilderness as Sport, it’s definitely a light sport and can be substituted for fingering without much trouble. My 250-yard skein was plenty of yarn and the knitting sailed by without a hitch. The yarn knits a bit like cotton, so it did sometimes split more easily than wool, and there’s less give when you’re working lace like k2tog, but neither hindered my knitting at all. And then it was done, and I washed it and pinned it out, and…BAM. Amazing! 

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The lace opened up so beautifully; is it fair to say it bloomed? And you know how cotton and silk yarns have a wonderful drape? This is the same! It lays perfectly, and is nicely lightweight and breathable. Plus, I think it will hold its blocking really well too, so it won’t need much attention as long as I keep it clean.

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In a nutshell, this is wonderful shawl yarn. Though it feels like a strong, durable yarn, I wouldn’t use it for socks or garments because of its similarities to cotton (less stretch) and because it’s hand wash/dry flat. But I would absolutely make more lace shawls, and they have a wide variety of solids, semi-solids and variegated colors to choose from. The $22 price tag is more than reasonable, in my opinion, especially when you can get a gorgeous project from just one skein.

What do you think? Ready to try some yak??

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Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Bijou Basin Ranch, who generously sent me one skein of Lhasa Wilderness (retail value $22) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

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?

Mermaid Shawl

I couldn’t wait any longer–I had to cast on for my mermaid shawl! This is the one inspired by a book which will use a whopping five skeins of yarn purchased at the Loopy Ewe. After pondering several patterns, I settled on the River of Time. I like the massive size, the suggestion of waves, and the mythological inspiration of the pattern. I decided I wanted the deepest purple as that small inner half-circle, so I wound that color first, then found the recommended needles. The pattern said I needed 36 stitch markers (eek!) so I pulled out all the cute little beaded ones I’ve made. Then I started reading.

The pattern starts at the outer edge. Not only did I have the wrong color wound, but I would also need to cast on 426 stitches! (EEK!!) That’s kind of a lot of stitches. I guess the silver lining is that the shawl will be getting smaller as I knit, making it appear to go faster…right? Here’s hoping.

I wound the color I’d chosen for the outer edge, a seafoam color called Ivy Snowbell, and started casting on. I put in a marker at every 50 stitches, which made it so much easier to keep track of how many stitches I had. As I knit the first row, I pulled those markers out and added in the markers specified in the pattern. I got about halfway through that first row and couldn’t help but admire how pretty it was with all the little beads dangling from the cord.

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But I also couldn’t help but feel how heavy the beads were making it. One or two of these beaded markers isn’t a big deal, but you get up to about 20 of them and you definitely feel it! I switched to plain plastic circle markers, which aren’t as pretty but also don’t add extra weight and stress to my hands and arms.

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere and it’s as marvelous to knit with as you might imagine, so soft and warm. But since each row is so long, I’ve only managed to get about six or seven rows done. It’s not much but I can already see the scallops of the border. I’m so excited to knit this shawl! It might take me three months, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it!

Hitchhiker photos

I can’t believe I never shared any of the glamour shots of my Nerd Girl Yarns Hitchhiker! It’s such gorgeous yarn that I must rectify that immediately. Behold, this is Nerd Girl Yarns Mutiny in the color The Wise Build Bridges, inspired by Black Panther.

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I adore NGY yarns. The colors are beautiful, they’re inspired by and named for clever nerdy themes, and yarn itself is top-notch. Plus it’s made by a small indie dyer who’s a badass chick, so of course I love supporting her.

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The pattern is Hitchhiker Beyond by Martina Behm, and I like it better than the original, but that’s just me. This is what I knit for the NGY Hitchhiker KAL during July and August. It creates a longer, narrower shawl than the Hitchhiker, which I find easier to wear. And I also enjoy having the rows get shorter rather longer as I knit! Which Hitchhiker do you prefer?

 

 

ShaZAM! It’s done!

Wow, that was like magic: this project flew off my needles! I cast on three projects last Sunday, and suddenly I’m back down to one (a sock). You needn’t be too impressed at the speed of this one, given that it was a one-skein cowl in worsted weight on size 8 needles, with a very simple lace pattern that was really barely lace. It was my comfort knitting last night. It’s not been the best week, or two weeks, or summer, to be honest, for a lot of reasons, but yesterday I was in a serious funk. I escaped for Mexican food and a margarita with the sister, which was a lovely treat that helped a lot, and when I got home I picked up the cowl and turned on an old episode of ER. I didn’t expect to finish, but suddenly I was at the end and binding off before the show even ended.

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The pattern is sha-ZAM! on Ravelry. This was a fun knit. I love these one-skein cowls; they’re so easy and fun to wear. And it was a treat to get back to some squishy soft Malabrigo. Makes me look forward to fall, when I can actually wear things like this again. (NOT winter! Note the difference, please, Mother Nature!)

And now, with almost empty needles again, I am eager for my next shawl project, and it’s going to be amazing! I have 3 skeins of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Fingering in a gorgeous Vivid bundle that I’m itching to cast on. I mean, it’s a whopping 1200 yards of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, with 10% nylon.

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I’m pretty sure this is going to be my first WestKnits project, but I’m debating between The Doodler and the Dotted Rays – Speckled Fade. Have you made either? Both? How do I choose??

Denim Sprinkles Shawl

This is my last new cast-on after clearing off all my needles last weekend. The Ancient Arts T-shirt and Jeans yarn was still high on my list of “must knit” but I didn’t want it to be socks. Partly because white socks never seem like a good idea, and partly because I wanted it to become something more visible than socks. While going through my Ravelry queue, I found the pattern for the Sugar Sprinkles shawl, which I’ve been wanting to make for quite a while, and it checked off all my boxes: Long narrow shawl, variegated yarn, lace, right yarn weight and yardage. I bought it, downloaded it to my pattern app (I use Knit Companion) only to discover it was already in there! I think I must have downloaded it when she did a short free period, but I forgot about it. Oh well, the $4 is totally worth it.

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This is a really fun knit! I love making eyelets, and the pattern switches back and forth often enough that I don’t get bored quickly. This was my progress on Monday night, and it’s been my evening knitting (when I’m not too tired to knit). This morning I took it outside again to get a progress photo.

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It’s so fun! I think it’s going to be a great addition to my shawl wardrobe. But here’s the thing: it’s gotten long. Like really long. There are over 250 stitches on the needle, and when I tried to spread them out to show the size of the shawl, about 10 stitches jumped off one end! And you know yarnovers just love to spring free. ARGH. I managed to catch most of them, and I got it kind of fixed, but I’m pretty sure my stitch count is off now and I’ll have to do some fudging to get it back. Thankfully this is a forgiving pattern where being a stitch or two off doesn’t really hurt the look of it.

So now I have three projects on my needles, and that seems like a good number for me, at least for now. What’s a comfortable number of WIPs for you?