Tag Archive | knit shawls

New yarn from Manos!

Manos del Uruguay is one of my favorite brands, has been for a while now. I’ve used the Maxima and Alegria with great success. Their colors are gorgeous, the yarn is soft and wears well, and it’s all certified Fair Trade. Plus the yarns are made by artisans in cooperatives located throughout Uruguay, and each skein is signed, so you know who made your yarn and which village it came from. That makes it so much more personal for me, and I feel like I’m doing a good deed just by buying yarn.

So, when given the opportunity to review a new yarn from Manos, of course I jumped at the chance. Feliz is 70% superwash merino, 30% modal. Modal is a man-made fiber from vegetal pulp, and I was familiar with it from my past life in retail: I knew it was smooth and had fantastic drape. I could only imagine it would be equally delightful in yarn. It’s available in several of the gorgeous Manos hand-dyed colorways; I chose Wildflowers.

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Doesn’t it make you swoon? Yum, it does me! I cast on almost as soon as they sent it to me! It’s listed as DK on Ravelry, and has about 350 yards per 100g skein. Fairmount Fibers, their North American distributor, was generous enough to send me two skeins. I selected a pattern called Late Harvest, which was written for a different sport weight Manos yarn. It has a really unusual slip stitch pattern.

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Guys, I love this yarn. It felt like premium merino, all bouncy and supple, but even smoother, almost silky. There’s almost a hint of a sheen to the yarn. I didn’t have any issues with splitting, and it tinked back nicely when I made the inevitable mistake.

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It was a happy yarn for me, a happy knit. It felt soft and comforting in my hands, it slid smoothly on the needles, and the colors were perfect for the pattern. I keep coming back to the smoothness, because honestly, I prefer that to the fuzziness you get with some yarns. I can’t wait to see how it wears long-term, because if it doesn’t fuzz and pill as much as all-merino yarns, it will make some truly fantastic sweaters! Plus, I’m sensitive to some wools against my skin, and this feels like a yarn I might be able to wear without a layer underneath.

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Even though it’s mostly superwash merino, it does say to hand wash, which I did. It blocked out beautifully without much work, and the water was still clear after the soak, so the dyes didn’t bleed. I didn’t even pin it, just laid it out and nudged the edges into the shape I wanted, and now I’ve got a big, gorgeous shawl that will go with so many things. You can see my Ravelry project page here.

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You can see Feliz in all the pretty colors on their website, including their special 50th anniversary color, Cincuenta. It looks like Feliz sells for around $26 a skein, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. I’m happy to pay that for yarn that looks good, feels good, and helps women support their families!

Many thanks to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, who generously sent me two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Feliz (retail value $52) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

WIP Progress

I haven’t shown much off but I have been knitting and knitting over the last several days so I thought I’d share what I’m working on. My top priority is my Late Harvest shawl with the Manos del Uruguay Feliz yarn. Loving this yarn, and liking the project more now that I’ve moved on from the endless garter stitch. This is really cool:

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I’ve got three more pattern repeats and then it’s done, so that’s only about 21 rows. I can do that easy this week if I work on it every night. But I’ve been distracted by my new sweater project. I’m making a Clarke Pullover with Lion Brand Jeans yarn and I’m in the newlywed phase where I want to knit on it all the time. I just made it to the join-in-the-round point.

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It would be awesome if I could do this as a NaKniSweMo project but since I need to finish Late Harvest, I’m not optimistic. We’ll see. If I can be monogamous after I finish the shawl, it’s a possibility.

During the work week, I’ve been knitting on my Goth Kitty sock, done with my favorite Vanille Latte pattern and Felici yarn.

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I don’t love the way the stripes fell–I wish I’d had a gray heel and more of the purples on the foot, but I can always do the second one that way and have fraternal twin socks instead of identical.

And this post really brings home the fact that I need to stop saying “I’ll never…”. I said I’d never get into making sweaters, and though I don’t do them often, I’m liking it more with each one. I said I’d never want to make socks, and now they’re my favorite thing to knit. I said I’d never love knitting with fingering weight yarn, and now I have more of that in my stash than anything else. I need to remember that every time I say I’ll never do brioche, or cables, or intarsia!

Before I run off to knit for the rest of the morning, I want to share something the mother included in an email yesterday. It expresses some of the darkness I’ve been feeling in my head:

“And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said
          For hate is strong
          and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men.”

 

It was written in 1863 by Longfellow, and as she wrote, “The country survived then and we’ll survive this.”

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!

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!

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?

Supernatural Kindness

So I cast on a new skein of sock yarn last weekend. It’s beautiful sock yarn, pink and orange and green with a thread of sparkly stellina throughout. In fact, it’s so beautiful that I thought it could not become socks. As much as I love socks, this yarn was too pretty, too sparkly, to go on my feet.

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I browsed through shawl patterns on Ravelry for ages and nothing looked right, so I went to Instagram and asked for suggestions, and got a good one right away: the Kindness KAL Shawl! It had lace, which I wanted, and it’s free, which is always good. I haven’t had as much good knitting time in the evenings as I’d like, but I’ve gotten most of the way through the stockinette/eyelet section.

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Such pretty colors! (Yarn is Supernatural Yarns Gryffin Sock in color Listen, Dammit!) And it’s so lightweight and airy, especially knit with the size 6 needles. I have no idea what I’ll wear it with…maybe I need to buy a shirt just for this shawl. That’s not weird, right?

Working on WIPs

I’m actually knitting things other than socks right now, can you believe it? I mean, yes, I do have two pairs of socks on the needles right now, but I also have two other projects! One is my brainless knitting, and it’s appropriately called Easy, by Martina Behm. I had two skeins of gorgeous Madelinetosh DK and I wanted to be able to appreciate the colors, and enjoy the feel of it as I knit along in garter stitch. I’m maybe halfway through the first skein; this is what I pick up at night when my brain is tired but my fingers want to knit.

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When my brain isn’t tired, I pick up my Arya wrap, which is more complicated with lace color changes and repeats. It’s not difficult, but I do have to concentrate. I love the shape of this one, asymmetrical with pointy ends.

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This yarn is Bamboo Pop and the cotton/bamboo means it will be the perfect wrap for late spring, and cool summer nights. Plus, in black and white, it will be striking and versatile. I’m a little bit concerned that it will be shorter than I want, because the pattern is telling me to start the decrease sections now, but it doesn’t seem long enough. I know blocking will help, but I’d hate to knit the whole thing and then not be happy with it. What do you think: trust the pattern, or try to modify for extra length?

While I ponder the Arya problem, I have a second sock that’s coming right along and is just about ready for a heel flap. These have been my lunch break knitting and I’m eager to have them done for spring.

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Yarn is Madtosh Sock in Seaglass (LOVE!) and pattern is Mapleridge. I think I can get the heel and gusset done this weekend so that they’re ready for easy foot knitting next week.

Happy weekend, friends! I’m looking forward to lots of knitting and laundry! (Okay, no, not looking forward to doing the laundry. But looking forward to an excuse to stay in PJs, and having clean clothes.)