Even as I noodle along with my simple socks and stockinette sweater, I’ve been itching to cast on a big lace shawl. I may not wear them very often, but I find them so gorgeous, and I realized I don’t have a big purple lace shawl. Yesterday was a shitty day and I needed the distraction, so I found a pattern, pulled yarn from the stash, and cast on for a shawl called Kassiani by Dee O’Keefe. (I can only find the Rav link so I’ll share a photo of it too. It was in my pattern library from a while back.)
Because I tend to buy yarn in single skeins (“It’s so pretty!!”) I didn’t have any matching skeins to pull, but I got pretty close. I had a dark tonal purple called Prince from LoloDidIt, and some time later I’d found a mystery skein in a destash that was the same colors but with a thread of stellina. I swear it could be the same colorway. I’m going to do the top portion of the shawl in Prince and then do the big swoopy lace section in the sparkly purple. I think it might be magical. Like my own personal superhero cape or something. To remind myself that I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!
You can decide for yourself what the FO stands for in this case!
I shared my socks on Friday, so I don’t have any to share today. I mean, I did get about three inches of a new sock done but that’s not very interesting, is it? And I have an actual finished object to share. This little cowl kind of flew under the radar. I didn’t post about it too much and it hung around for ages and then after my socks were done, I decided it was time to get this done too.
This is the Gris de lin cowl and I used my single special skein of Malabrigo Mora, which is 100% Mulberry silk, and the color is Sabiduria. I wasn’t good about weighing the yarn as I knit and I wasn’t in the mood to play yarn chicken, so I skipped the last pattern repeat and don’t feel the lack of it at all. It’s the perfect little silky cowl.
In exciting home renovation news: we have painters here today! They have been power washing the exterior to prep for paint and at first I was very excited and now after six+ hours of near-constant noise, my excitement has faded slightly. But as soon as they start painting, I know it’ll come back. No word yet on when the demolition will start on the back of the house, but surely it will be soon, if they’ve begun the painting process? All in due time, I guess. Maybe I’ll have a painting progress photo to share by the end of the week!
In my last post, I mentioned one of my new WIPs, the Water shawl that we’re doing as a Blogville KAL. Last night I was able to sit down and start working the lace short row section, and maybe I got off on the one wrong foot because she uses KT= knit stitch twisted and I don’t understand why she wouldn’t just say knit through the back loop (ktbl) if that’s what she means, but whatever. That’s easy enough. I got to short row five and things just weren’t right, I didn’t have enough stitches to complete the repeats before the previous turn, and I knew that wasn’t right. I tinked back two rows and tried again, same result. I messaged my Blogville friends to whine and ask them to see if the chart and written instructions match — maybe there was a mistake in the written rows that I could avoid by using the chart. When I couldn’t find an error in either my knitting or the pattern, I frogged the five rows of lace, back to the end of the garter stitch section. At least I was smart enough at that point to put in a lifeline!
I poured a glass of wine and started again, counting carefully and using stitch markers to denote my turns, and again when I got to the end of short row five, it didn’t match up. At that point, it was 9:15 at night so I put the shawl in time-out and finished my wine and went to bed.
This morning, I printed out the chart and the written instructions. I sat down with a cup of tea and compared them on row five. Yes, they matched. I looked at my row five — it wasn’t wrong. I tinked back my row five and examined row four, and I’ll damned if the mistake wasn’t right there: I’d missed the last repeat in row four. ARGH.
So why did I struggle so much last night? I’d put in a day’s work, I was tired, I had wine, the boys were watching TV, it was darker. This morning, it was before work, I was less-tired (I mean, I’m always tired on some level, you know), the boys were upstairs so it was quiet, I had tea instead of wine, and I was at the dining room table with big windows letting in good sunshine. And, maybe most importantly, I’d taken a break, had some space between me and the frustration. So I guess when they say things like, “Things will look better tomorrow,” sometimes it’s true.
The bonus is that I got to be the guinea pig making life easier for my Blogville buddies, and anyone else wanting to knit the Water shawl (Rav link): KT = ktbl, use lifelines before each short row section, use stitch markers, count carefully, each short row turns two stitches before the previous turn, do a Wrap & Turn instead of just Turning to avoid big holes.
I’m excited to share my latest FO with you today! I got a chance to review some Manos del Uruguay Alegria Grande and I’m always up for that challenge. It’s a yarn I’ve used before, but they’ve released some new semi-solid and space-dyed colorways. I selected one of the resist-dyed colors called Gleam, which is black with purple specks. (Shocker, I know.)
Okay, first of all, what the heck do ‘space-dyed’ and ‘resist-dyed’ mean? I had no idea. The internet tells me that space dyeing is when multiple colors are applied along the length of the yarn which may or may not repeat after a fixed interval. Resist-dyeing is when a substance that is impervious to the dye blocks its access to certain areas of the fabric, while other parts are free to take up the color of the dye. Hm, okay, that sounds fun, and it sure makes some cool yarn. And that cool yarn can make a really cool shawl — look at how the speckles change direction between each section!
For my two skeins, I chose a pattern from Manos called the Serenità Shawl. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry and was designed for two skeins of Alegria Grande. I did the pattern as written and ended up with just a few yards left over. It’s a fun pattern that switches from stockinette to garter to lace.
Knitting with the Grande was a delight, as Manos always is. The Grande is a smooth, thick, squishy yarn. But here’s what I never realized before: it’s machine washable! It’s 75% merino wool and 25% polyamide, which means you could make awesome sweaters in gorgeous colors that are easy to care for! This has opened up a lot of new opportunities for me to use the Alegria yarns in my knitting.
For shawls, I’ll still hand wash, though. This one is a small shawl so I blocked it as aggressively as I could, and wow, the lace opened up beautifully. It’s got a great drape and I’m happy to wear it next to my skin, which occasionally has some wool sensitivities.
I did come across two frayed spots, one in each skein, where the yarn had thinned. I didn’t want to risk it breaking unexpectedly so I did break the yarn to skip those spots. I ended up with a couple of extra ends to weave in but I feel like those two spots are totally within reason. There are so many good reasons to knit with Manos (pretty! soft! colors!) but don’t forget the cool stuff like supporting the skilled women in Uruguay who produce the yarn, or that Manos is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. It’s just a company I feel good supporting, and you can learn more here.
Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me two skeins of Alegria Grande (retail value: $52) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
This could have been a Friday post just as easily, because today I’m sharing a finished pair of socks. I started these quite a few weeks ago, as soon as the yarn arrived, to be honest. But then they were lace socks and I got distracted by other yarns, so it wasn’t until last week that I really focused on them. Once I did, they knit up pretty quickly.
Here’s what I know now: lace socks are stretchy! I normally cast on 64 stitches for my socks. This pattern offered 60 or 72 stitches, and looking at other projects, it sounded like 60 would be too small, but I knew 72 would be too big. So I thought I’d be clever and just add one lace repeat, and cast on 66. It worked fine for the lace, but the heel flap gave me issues. The first time I did my usual 32, but that messed up the lace pattern plus things got weird at the toe when it was time to decrease and kitchener. So the second time I did 30, with made the lace behave nicely, and would have worked fine at the end if I’d moved the right stitches from one needle to the other.
I was trying to have equal amounts on the top and the bottom, you see, but my brain misbehaved and I ended up decreasing the first three times in the wrong place. I fixed it then and it’s not really noticeable when I wear them. But what is noticeable is that they’re loose — I should have done 60 stitches after all. So now you know: if you want to knit all lace socks, be sure to make the appropriate adjustments for size!
Or just do what I’ll do next time and keep the lace on the leg only! Pattern is Mercury Socks and the Ravelry link is here. The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in Stained Glass Menagerie, a special edition that came with a matching project bag. It’s no longer available but they have other pretty yarns on their Etsy site.
Oh and today is Duncan’s Gotcha Day! We’ve had him for three years now.
Today is a holiday in the States so I’ll be spending the rest of the day knitting and puttering around. Hope the rest of my US friends have a good holiday as well!
Today I will share the pretty photos of my latest shawl, the Hundred Acre Wood shawl. I am very glad this shawl is done. This is one of those projects where you look at it and think, “Well, at least the yarn is gorgeous.”
So let’s start with that: the yarn is from Molly Girl Yarn and is a set of Bass Line Minis in Jazz. I love these colors. LOVE them.
And honestly, the pattern was good too! I mean, after the first lace section, I looked at and it was clearly wonky and I thought, huh, I have NO idea what I did wrong. After the second one, I realized I was doing my yarnovers wrong, and on the next row they were sliding to the wrong place and I was knitting them in the wrong order. But I didn’t figure it out until late in the second lace row and by then I just shrugged. Whatever. Little eyelets, nobody around me will know what they’re supposed to look like.
Like I mentioned before, the pattern was nicely marked to show where you should have used certain percentages, so it was easy for me to mark each 20% section for each mini skein. The problem came when I had more yarn than each section called for, and I tried to get creative to use as much as possible. It went fine until the last section, and I tried to use up the pink, and … well, math is not my strongest subject. I added a few simple eyelet rows, all along weighing to make sure I saved enough (5%) for the picot bindoff. It didn’t seem like much but that’s what the pattern said, right?
Wrong. The pattern said 5% of your total yarn, not 5% of that one mini skein. Unfortunately, that light bulb didn’t go on until I had already started the picot bindoff and it was very clear I wouldn’t have enough yarn. ARGH. Of course that’s how this project would end. I unbound my cute little picots and did a normal, plain bind-off, and realized I should have just done a couple of garter rows at the end instead of eyelet rows because now the edge wants to curl even after a good blocking.
Sigh. It’s fine, though, really. Because look that that up there. It’s pretty. No one else will see any of my errors. But just in case you want to see what it’s really supposed to look like, or maybe you want to make your own correct version, here’s the Ravelry pattern link. This is the small size, which does work quite well for mini skeins, if you do it right, that is.
I’ll be casting on a new shawl this weekend; here’s hoping it goes better! Happy Friday, friends!
It’s close, but not finished yet. I made it to the final color of my Hundred Acre Wood shawl, and the pink just pulls it all together and makes it perfect!
The “whatever” theme continues with this color: I over-estimated how much blue I had left, so I wasn’t able to do a baby fade with the blue and pink. And since I used more of the previous colors, I have more pink left over than I do rows in the pattern. I’ve added two rows already and plan to add at least two more. I’ve got my scale handy and will keep weighing to make sure I save enough for a picot bind-off, but I definitely want to use as much of the pink as possible.
Also, I need to show off my new pins! Katrinkles is doing a gift with purchase, where you get a free Vote pin with every purchase until November 3rd. I wanted a Vote pin for my Empower People cowl anyway, so this worked out perfectly.
I love them both! And the sheep pin has a magnet on the back, rather than a pin, which I think is a brilliant idea. I think it’s because they were more or less intended as name tags, but I just wanted a wee bonny sheep for myself.
Today’s project is a KAL I did with Jemma and Under the Olive Tree Knits: her new free pattern, the Stargazer Shawl. She designs a lot of one-skein shawls, which are perfect for my little yarn treasures. At the end of June, I’d pulled out a skein of Andromeda sock yarn in the prettiest pink/purple colors, but wasn’t sure what to do with it, so it sat around until I saw Jemma’s pattern. I’d say the two go together very well!
The pattern is easy to follow, though I have to say it got a bit repetitious for me toward the end. And somehow my gauge is completely different than hers: this is the second project of hers I’ve done where I ran out of yarn quite a bit sooner than she did. Instead of 295 rows, I stopped at 271 rows before doing the garter edging. I probably could have done one more eight-row section, but really didn’t want to play yarn chicken. And I think it still turned out to be a wearable length. Now I know to check my gauge when I knit her patterns … or just have extra yarn on hand, which is more likely!
The yarn is Andromeda sock yarn in the color I Love You Berry Much. It is good yarn with such gorgeous colors. It would have made beautiful socks, but I’m still glad it decided to become a shawl instead.
I’m also glad I got these photos taken early in the morning. It is very hot here so now I can hibernate in the A/C with my knitting for the foreseeable future. Happy Friday, friends.
It is July! And I finished some projects last month! That means I got to cast on two new projects yesterday. They’re both KALs and both should be done by the end of the month. One is a Christmas in July sock KAL that Mildly Granola suggested, and I pulled out my West Yorkshire Spinners yarn in Fairy Lights for that, along with solid red for the cuffs, heels and toes. I’m doing my favorite simple pattern so they can be my mindless fun/travel knitting.
My other new project is a shawl KAL with Under the Olive Tree Knits. Jem released a free one-skein pattern called Stargazer, and it was perfect for a skein of yarn that I’d pulled out of my stash recently, wanting to knit it. You can find download options on her website.
My yarn is Andromeda sock yarn in a fabulous color called I Love You Berry Much and I do love it berry much indeed! The pattern is a fun mix of stockinette and simple lace, and I can tell already it’ll be addictive.
We’ve had a slew of birthdays in our family the last few weeks and have started doing some small social-distanced gatherings. As hard as it is not to hug my nephews and nieces, it’s so nice to get to see my people again. And yesterday was the boy’s birthday: he’s 17 now! How did that happen?? He’ll be a senior this year and it just doesn’t seem possible. He also joined me for a rare live music performance. Our town has always done a community summer band and the girl participates every year. This year they only did one concert, with the musicians spaced six feet apart, and streamed it live on Facebook. Family members were allowed to come, so the boy and I took our chairs and our masks and enjoyed the music in the summer night. I’ve missed live music so much; this was a treat.
I’m not sure what we’ll do when the weather doesn’t allow us to gather outside anymore, but I guess we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!
For my fourth and final FO of June (it felt like more, honestly), today I’ll share my Lydian cowl. This yarn is Delicious Yarns Frosting Worsted in Boysenberry and it’s quite yummy. So soft and squishy, and great drape both before and after blocking. It started out as a different cowl but got frogged halfway through, and it was a bit splitty after that, but I’ll take the blame for that. I still loved knitting with it and I think I’ll love wearing it … when it’s not 90 degrees outside!
This was my first time knitting something using charts, rather than written instructions, and it wasn’t terrible. It helped that I didn’t have to memorize too many symbols, and I wasn’t tracking hundreds of stitches.
I love that main panel that almost hints at cables but isn’t, and I love the back that’s lacy but not a boring simple lace. However, I had a heck of a time with this pattern and I don’t know why. I kept getting to the end of the round and being one stitch off, and then I’d have to tink back. It wasn’t the pattern’s fault; it’s not complicated and it was well-written and clear. I think my brain was just struggling with keeping track of so many things going on. Maybe I’m better off sticking with simpler patterns right now!
The designer is also on Create2Thrive but this pattern isn’t, though maybe it will be added soon. I haven’t done anything with that site yet but I did sign up for an account on LoveCrafts and you can find me as bonnyknits. It’s not bad, but so far it doesn’t quite offer everything I love about Ravelry, so I’m still tinkering and pondering. Have you found any other great fiber community sites?