Tag Archive | handknit shawls

Almost Done

This morning I had some waiting room knitting time, and I took my Delphia shawl with me, hoping to get through a few rows. I did better than that, though: I’m ready to bind off!! Now the question becomes: is a picot bind off really worth the time and effort? I mean, I’ve got over 365 stitches here.

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With any luck, I can get through the bind off tonight and start weaving in ends. How long does a picot bind off really take, right? I’m ready to be done, yes, but I also have my next shawl project planned and I want to use these needles!

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I’m doing another test knit and needed over 500 yards of fingering weight yarn. I was worried at first since all of my fingering skeins are 3 oz and between 400 and 450 yards. Then I found these two skeins of Araucania Huasco that have been in my stash for over three years, and I think they’ll be perfect. I just need my shawl needles now!

Delphia Progress

As I said yesterday, I have been getting a bit of knitting in here and there this week. The weirdest thing is that I’ve been a monogamous knitter. I’m not sure that’s ever happened in my knitting life. But I’ve just been merrily going along on my Boca Chica Delphia shawl, enjoying the mindless garter stitch with a few stockinette rows thrown in for fun, and what do you know? It’s grown a lot!

fullsizeoutput_2097I’m loving this pattern, and the colors of the yarn. I’m also really glad I didn’t try to use these yarns for Straight and Arrow because it definitely wouldn’t have been enough contrast to do it justice. The color changes are super subtle.

fullsizeoutput_2098See those stockinette rows? Those are the ones with Color B (aka the solid pink). They don’t stand out as much as I anticipated, but it’s fine. I’m starting the big lace section now, which means this won’t be my mindless knitting anymore. Pretty sure that means I need to cast on some new vanilla socks today!

New Shawl

Thanks for all the feedback on my next shawl choice! I really do love both patterns so it was hard to choose, but I finally decided Delphia was the better pattern for this particular set of skeins. As I was winding the gray/pink skein, there was more pink in it than I originally realized, and I want more contrast when I knit Straight and Arrow. I’m almost through the first big garter stitch section.

fullsizeoutput_208aSoon I’ll start striping in some of the solid pink, and then eventually I’ll get to the big pink lace section. I’m loving the colors in this yarn! (Which is Boca Chica by A Good Yarn, a brand new yarn!) I’m also loving the comfort knitting of squishy garter stitch.

But fans of Straight and Arrow, do not fret, for I have also picked out the yarn I want to use for that pattern, and it was even from stash!

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The only problem with spring knitting is that all I want to make are shawls and lightweight sweaters, and those are bigger projects that take more commitment. I guess that’s what socks are good for, right?

WIP Epiphany

I was finishing up the toe of my Granola sock this morning, just some easy knitting that let my mind wander, and it wandered to the Mermaid Shawl that I started almost six months ago and then ignored. I thought about how I’d planned to order the colors, and I thought about the book that inspired it and how the book made me feel, and suddenly I figured it out: I was doing it wrong! I had my colors backwards!

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I’m doing an enormous half-circle shawl called River of Time, and I originally decided to have the lightest color on the outer edge, like seafoam on a beach, and progress into the deepest part of the ocean. But that was wrong, and I think that’s why I got stuck on the third row.

The book is about the main character, Kathleen, accepting her deep love of the sea, accepting that it’s her destiny. It’s about her being in love with the water and desperately wanting to be down in the blue-purple depths. And the way the author wrote that longing was so clear and powerful, I could see the colors as Kathleen went deeper. I could feel the chill and taste the salt. And that’s why I wanted to knit this shawl. It’s about embracing your fate, your desires, and diving into that ocean. The shawl needs to emphasize the depth, not the surface.

So this morning I frogged what I had, which wasn’t much, and cast on anew with the darkest color, the Dream in Color in Galaxy, and it feels right. It starts out with 426 stitches so it’s slow going, but I’m loving it.

If you’re interested, the book is The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb and it’s easily in my top ten all-time favorite books, if not top five!

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?