Tag Archive | shawl knitting

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!

Two New FOs

It’s been a productive weekend, friends. I mean, I haven’t left the house since Thursday but I’m not mad about it at all. Don’t worry, I’ve showered and done some chores like cleaning a bathroom and vacuuming the floors, but I’ve also gotten to do A LOT of knitting. Oh, it’s been heavenly. I wish it happened more often. I was able to finish two projects, including my long-lingering WIP, the Zomboni!

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Apparently I just needed to be in the mood to work on it, because once I got going on Friday, I couldn’t stop. It made a really long narrow scarf that will be super easy to wear, and the colors are perfect for me. (It will go so nicely with my purple hair!) The yarn is Caribbean by In the Deep Hue Sea, color Snap Out of It, and it’s quite nice.

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My other FO was a quick and easy cowl, my gray Woolfolk LUFT cowl. I chose my favorite cowl pattern, River Deep Mountain High, and cast on a few extra stitches since I had plenty of yarn. It knit up so quickly, and I finished it last night while watching The Wife (which was SO GOOD. Highly recommend and now I need to read the book!).

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I wanted to use all the yarn but didn’t come close. I’ve got about 3/4 of the second skein left, so I think I might get another skein the next time I’m at my LYS (which will be next weekend) and then I can make something else too! I love this yarn so much; it’s so airy and lightweight, but still so warm and cozy. I wish it came in more colors.

Now I’m down to five WIPs and none of them are calling my name today, which means casting on another cowl in either worsted or bulky. We’re in day 547 of cold, gray weather (I mean, it doesn’t FEEL like an exaggeration) and my spirit could really use some sunshine and warmth, and since I can’t get either of that outside, at least I can find some warmth in thick yarn, I suppose. And with puppers.

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Jack says no yarn. Only pet.

Hope you all had a good weekend too, and if you’re like me and have today off, may you find yourself some knitting time!

To Frog or Not to Frog

There is snow in the forecast, could be up to six inches, which means there is knitting in the forecast for the weekend. To prep for that, I pulled out all my WIPs to see what I’ve got to work with. My current WIP count is seven.

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My sweater is growing nicely, thanks to some lunch break knitting this week. I can see this being some good movie knitting this weekend. I’ve got my two travel projects at the top there, which I want to work on but I also want to save for travel projects. (The dark purple on the left is the Sockhead cowl and the one on the right is a new sock, pattern TBD.) The bottom is a scrap cowl I started last year as a mindless project for concert knitting, but I’m afraid it looks dumb now. I kind of wish I’d done more of a gradient, striping in new colors. I can’t decide whether to frog or keep.

My Mermaid cowl is that creamy yarn which is barely started and I don’t know that I’ll get to it this weekend. I definitely still want to make the pattern but it requires more concentration, and I haven’t had as much of that the last couple of months. So this one might float along a little longer.

That leaves two projects that I’m unsure about. The top left is my Warrior Cowl with some Cascade Heritage 150. I’ve already used half the yarn and I’m not convinced I’m more than halfway through the pattern. Plus it seems very large. Plus it’s just not thrilling me for some reason that I can’t explain. So I’m pretty sure this one is getting frogged.

And finally, I’ve got a barely-begun Zomboni in that blue/purple/white mix and I’m really on the fence with that one. I cast on almost three months ago, and haven’t felt the urge to work on it, and usually that’s a good sign that it’s not a good fit of yarn and pattern. But then I look at the finished projects and think I’ll probably like it when it’s done, if I just push through. So maybe I need to give it a second chance this weekend and see if I can get into the groove? And if I can’t, then it gets frogged. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

But still, none of those are exciting me right now. Pretty sure I’ll need to cast on a new cowl!

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.

Moving forward

Thanks for all the kind words and suggestions on my shawl dilemma! As several people suggested, I decided to frog the lace section and start it over with a contrasting color. I have a cream in my stash that will be quite lovely with the green. Last night I threaded the needle through the last row of stockinette (or so I thought) and started frogging the lace. Of course once the lace was gone, I didn’t exactly have one row of stitches on my needle, but it was simple enough to go through and fix that. Tedious and time-consuming, but simple. With that done, I was ready to pick up with my cream and start the lace section anew.

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I love it! I think it’s going to be a perfect Christmas shawl this way, maybe worn with a red sweater, or is that too much?

Also this morning, I made a quick trip to the craft store for felt and safety eyes so I can make this baby sloth. Found the felt easily enough, but can you believe they don’t carry safety eyes?? Craziness. It’s not for a baby, so I can substitute tiny buttons and it will be fine. Still, I couldn’t just buy one 40 cent sheet of felt, could I? Plus all the yarn was on sale! Plus I stumbled across this new jean yarn and it’s awesome, even if it is acrylic.

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I may have bought enough to make this sweater. (And for only $21!!) I know, the pattern is DK and the yarn is worsted, and I’m going to have to swatch and do math and all that. I’m okay with that! I can swatch sometimes, when I have to.

Speaking of swatching, the crochet hat that I struggled with is done. It seemed to grow a little bit in washing but I’m crossing my fingers that it will fit. It is pretty, at least! It’s the Ski Lodge Beanie and you can see my Ravelry notes here.

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I’ve discovered the best part about getting an extra hour today is not an extra hour of sleep (I have three dogs, are you kidding me?) but an extra hour of knitting!

What would you do?

Okay, so I’m test knitting a shawl. I like the shawl; it’s a pretty pattern and it looks very nice in the yarn I chose.

 

 

BUT. I ran out of yarn. I still have two and a half repeats of the lace pattern and I’m down to 4 grams of yarn, just enough for the bind off. I thought about binding off early, so I put the stitches on waste yarn, and I don’t think it’s long enough. I don’t want to spend $25 buying another skein of the green, so what now? I have a few options:

  • Continue with a contrasting color or coordinating variegated
  • Frog and reknit with a different size needle (But what size?? My gauge is right!)
  • Reknit in a different yarn that I have more of
  • Throw it in the corner and forget it about it

So tell me, what would you do??

 

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?