Tag Archive | handknits

Fastest Shawl Ever

I bound off my Denim Sprinkles shawl on Monday night, just eight days after casting on. I have never finished a shawl that quickly before, but the combination of the gorgeous yarn and addictive pattern meant I wanted to work on it all the time, and BAM! It was done!

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I did have to improvise though: the pattern calls for 380 yards of fingering weight yarn on size 5 needles. My yarn was 437 yards of heavy fingering/sport, so I went up to a size 6 needle and assumed I’d have more than enough yarn. Oops. I ran out with three rows and a bind off left. Luckily, I had some sock yarn in white that matched perfectly, so the eyelet edging is all white, and I think it’s absolutely perfect. A happy accident, as the husband said. Even unblocked, I could tell this was going to be an awesome shawl, and it needed blocking badly.

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In that before shot, the edge is undefined and wavy, and the shawl itself sort of squishes all together. But then you wash it and pin it out and let it dry and it becomes a whole new thing of beauty!

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If you like lace shawls, I highly recommend Sugar Sprinkles. It’s easy enough for beginners, interesting enough to not be boring, and makes a wonderfully wearable shawl. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this one again! The yarn is Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts Passion 8, in the color T-Shirt and Jeans, and I loved it. It’s definitely heavier than I would use for socks, but it’s perfect for shawls, and I bet it would make an amazing sweater!

I probably won’t ever make another shawl so quickly! What’s been your fastest shawl?

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?

 

Sha-ZAM!

With empty needles, I happily poked through my stash to see what I should knit next, and four pretty little skeins jumped out at me. The first was a skein of Malabrigo Rios, an aberration because I’ve been knitting so much with fingering weight yarn. I had an urge to make a cowl, one of my favorite things to knit. I love to knit on circular needles, I love the feel of merino wool in my hands, and I love to play with different patterns. And best of all, I love having so many cowls to wear when it’s cold.

This skein is the color Aniversario. I’ve bought this colorway before but it’s one where there’s huge variations in colors. I made a Hitchhiker Beyond in this color, but it has a lot of blue/indigo. This skein is mostly red. I chose a fun, free one-skein cowl pattern called Sha-ZAM! and it’s going very quickly.

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I’d forgotten how much I love Malabrigo. It’s so soft, with that yummy squish factor. I definitely need to make my next sweater in Malabrigo!

Two weeks from today, we leave to take the girl to college in Colorado. (EEK!) I’m freaking out a little, but I’m also super excited for her. And I can’t wait to visit my mountains again. Anyway, before she leaves, I decided we needed some family time, so I declared today a Family Fun Day and we all took the day off work. We’ll visit the Jazz Museum, have some lunch, go to a fantastic big vintage record store, and who knows what else. Maybe a movie? I won’t get much knitting done, but that’s all right. Knitting can wait.

FO: Jungle Boogie Socks

This is the final finished object from my busy weekend of knitting. Finishing the sweater and the Easy shawl felt so good that I wanted to wrap up the last project on my needles, the Jungle Boogie socks. I was just past the gusset decreases so it was easy stockinette in the round for a few inches. I watched some Fixer Upper and read some of An American Marriage (it’s super good so far) and grafted the toe late Sunday morning. Time to boogie!

Here’s the one tiny flaw in these socks: I can’t figure out how to photograph that bright, almost glow-in-the-dark green! I tried in different places, with different light, with different camera settings, and it just stumped me. Suffice it to say it’s really really bright, and these are amazing socks! I absolutely love the color combo. ¬†I’m especially proud because these are my first socks where the stripes match almost perfectly.

The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in color Jungle Boogie. Their yarn has quickly become my favorite sock yarn. The colors are vivid and fun, and the yarn is soft in my hand but still sturdy and firm, making socks that feel durable. It washes wonderfully and feels great on my feet. I’m sad that I only have one more skein in my stash. The contrast color is Amethyst Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids.

And with these socks done, my needles were EMPTY. That is a rare occurrence, and it felt so refreshing. But the best part about it was feeling free to cast on all the things!

Oh, and good news: my sweater has been washed and dried and it relaxed so beautifully! The yarn is much softer, and it has a lovely drape. The sleeves are way too long but I ended up with a sweater I can wear, so I call that a win.

FO: Easy Shawl

The last week has been a productive one for my knitting: I finished three projects over the weekend! The biggest was the sweater, which I shared yesterday, but I think the prettiest might be my Easy shawl. Once I picked it back up after a long hiatus, I zoomed along, eager to see the finished piece. It did not disappoint!

I love how the knitting goes in two directions, with that pretty little seam in between. I love the shape of it, long and narrow with tapered ends; it’s my favorite kind of shawl to wear. I love how the simple pattern lets the gorgeous colors be the highlight. And I love how soft and squishy it is.

There was a slight hiccup in the knitting of it: the pattern said to use half the yarn in the first section. Okay, did that, assuming the second half would be enough to finish the pattern as written, right? Well, it didn’t work out that way for me. I got toward the end and my yarn was going too quickly, so I had to decrease faster than written to make it work. The last row I had to purl four together so I’d have enough left to bind off. I ended with less than a yard leftover. I’m not sure why it happened. No, I didn’t swatch because I figured I didn’t need to, if I’m knitting¬† based on the amount of yarn. My only thought is that my tension was different for the second half, since I’d done the first half about three months ago. In any case, it worked out fine. I can’t see any problem with the end of the seam, and it sure won’t be noticeable when I’m wearing it!

Pattern: Easy by Martina Behm

Yarn: Madtosh DK by Madelinetosh, color Gosla

FO: Mab Shawl

My Mab shawl is done! It might be my favorite thing I’ve ever knitted, thanks to the perfect combination of yarn and pattern. I have no idea what the name means, but you can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

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I absolutely loved knitting this pattern. The lace wasn’t difficult, but I did have to keep track of what I was doing. I think I’d been craving some intricate lace knitting, and this definitely fit the bill.

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For this one, I even tinked back when I made mistakes, rather than just fudging things like I usually do. I really wanted the lace to line up from top to bottom. I knit the pattern exactly as written, no modifications, and I made sure to bind off loosely so I could get the gorgeous points along the lower edge.

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As I was knitting, I worried it would be a little too small, but thankfully it blocked out beautifully into a very generous shawl.

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I tried very hard to photograph the sparkle in the yarn, but it was a challenge. I’m afraid my photography skills are still lacking in some departments. The yarn is Canon Hand Dyes Oscar Sparkle Fingering in the color Isobel Crawley and it was marvelous. Soft in the hand, not splitty, clearly has wonderful stitch definition. I’m sure I’ll be looking for more of her yarns in the future! And in the meantime, I’ll be eagerly waiting for a chance to wear my new shawl!

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Summer Knitting?

I did indeed finish my Mab shawl as I said I would, so it is currently pinned out and drying. (And it is stunning, if I do say so myself. I’m hoping to do a photo shoot tomorrow.) So what am I doing with my pruned down stash and fewer projects on the needles?

I’m planning a sweater, of course.

It’s over 90 degrees outside. Our downstairs A/C isn’t working so it’s 86 degrees in my living room. (Thankfully we have two units and it is blessedly cool upstairs in the bedrooms and my craft room.) You get the idea: it’s hot. So why in the world would I be working on a sweater, a wool/alpaca sweater even?? Because while I was going through my stash to pull out unwanted yarn, I found four skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, all the same color and the same dye lot. What are the odds, right? Especially since I know I bought it back when I thought I’d never knit sweaters. It was probably on sale, and since it was purple, I probably just bought what they had left.

Sadly, four skeins isn’t quite enough on its own to make a sweater that will fit me. So I dug through the stash a little more and found two more colors, two skeins of each, and the three colors together easily get me enough yardage for a pullover. I’ve got four skeins of the top color (Berroco Ultra Alpaca in this unusual light purple), two skeins of the middle (Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted in Navy), and two skeins of the bottom (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Tonal in … magenta?).

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I’m planning to make Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaier (I even have my gauge swatch already laid out and drying too!) but I’ll alter the stripe pattern a bit. I don’t think I’d like the navy as the bottom stripe (can’t tell you why, just my brain saying no don’t do that) so I’m going to do the top stripe navy, and then the bottom stripe and the bottom sleeve sections in the magenta.

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(LOOK! It even has POCKETS!)

And if I get to that bottom stripe and don’t like the color variation of the magenta with the lighter purple, well…I’ll figure something else out. But until then, I’ll be working on my wool sweater in June in the midwest!