About a month ago, I received my Autumn mystery yarn box from Chestnut Hills Studio which included a skein of Pumpkin Patch fingering yarn dyed by Laughing Cats Fibers. It was so gorgeous and so perfect for the season that I cast on immediately, and after a couple of distractions, yesterday I blocked the finished shawl.
The pattern is Autumn Falling, which is free on Rav. I did at least three more pattern repeats than it called for, trying to use up as much of the yarn as possible and make it a wearable size. I think it’s perfect. I don’t like warm colors and I never wear orange but for whatever reason, I adore this yarn and this shawl. I might wear all black tomorrow just to be able to wear this!
Also I adore bank holidays especially when it means I get a day off. Happy Monday, friends.
You may remember that I recently finished a fabulous rainbow shawl called Rock Candy Mountain. And if you remember that, you may also remember that I wanted to knit a purple version. Getting the yarn for that was my primary goal at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, and I’m happy to report that I was successful, with much credit given to my knitters who helped me pick colors!
I was so excited that I got started while we were in Wisconsin, and I got the first wedge done. But the Leading Men had to be ordered so I set this project aside while I waited for it. Now it’s here and the yarn is all wound and I am ready to GO … as soon as I finish this one quick hat, I mean.
Knitting has not been my focus for the last month or so, sadly, but I did cast on a new shawl a couple of weeks ago. This is a one-skein project, not another huge lace project. I’d wound the yarn months ago, picked out a pattern and put it in a project bag along with the required needles. By the time I stumbled upon it recently, I no longer wanted to knit that pattern, so I had to pick a new one. I found Peacock’s Tail on Lovecrafts and it seems like the perfect fit for this yarn.
The lace pattern in the middle is hard to see but it should block out well. This is a fun pattern, with just the center section requiring brainpower, and even then it’s limited brainpower needed. I’m knitting the medium size of this shawl and crossing my fingers that it’s a wearable size.
So if I haven’t been knitting, what have I been doing? Yep, still packing and painting. Everything that can be boxed has been boxed, and many of them have been carried upstairs. Shelves have been removed from bookcases. Every large furniture item has been cleared off except the TV stand, because we’re still using the TV. We’ll move it all out to the portable storage container over the weekend and then Monday the crew arrives to refinish the floors, hooray! We’ll be staying in a nearby house we own — we’ve rented it out the last few years but are getting it ready to sell, so it’s empty and means we don’t have to pay to stay anywhere else, and there are no issues with having three dogs there. We’ll have a bed, a couch, and a kitchen table and chairs. No other furniture, no WiFi. No Wifi means I’ll be going into the office to work for four days, so that’ll be a big switch. I’m purposely not thinking about having to reverse this packing/moving process, except that I know we need to get the storage container empty over two days next weekend. Bah. And the husband wonders why we haven’t refinished the floors before now!
The silver lining is that this has forced me into getting a few more areas painted. I’ve now painted six rooms and a stairwell since we’ve been in this house, with just the craft room and a tiny bathroom left. We’re still thinking we might sell this house and move in the next year or so, so I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. After this house, I’d really like to get out of the “sweat equity” business and let other people do the hard work!
Oh yeah, and the back of the house is done! We’ve got a couple of guys outside doing some touch up and putting storm windows back up, and a couple others inside doing the interior trim on the new windows. With any luck, the paint crew will be done today. After that, we need a tiny bit of tile repaired in the kitchen and some debris cleaned up in the backyard, and then I think the project will be DONE and we can just enjoy the fruits of the labor.
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!
This was a BEAST. I used a set of five 250-yarn skeins, for a total of 1250 yards/300 grams. And of course I didn’t check my gauge first because who does that for a wrap, so mine ended up 138 inches, which is 11 1/2 feet. For comparison, the pattern shows the longest edge to be 114 inches. So I ended up with an extra two feet, whatever.
The pattern is Walls (circus) and it’s simple, alternating garter sections with easy eyelet sections, but doing that over and over for 11 feet does get rather monotonous so I’m delighted to finally have this off my needles. And I’m happy that I used up all of the beautiful gradient set from Neighborhood Fiber Co.
Now I just have to figure out how to comfortably wear this much wrap — or maybe I’ll hang it above the windows in my craft room like a valance!
Okay, this is not a recent finish. I finished this shawl a few weeks ago at least, even blocked it at the time. But the weather was never good for me to take pretty pictures, what with a polar vortex and all that, plus life gets in the way sometimes. So today I thought I would share the final photos of my We Belong Together shawl, cast on in honor of Inauguration Day.
I loved this project. DK weight shawls knit up so quickly, and the pattern was interesting without being too taxing for pandemic-brain, so I just wanted to keep going and going. It blocked out wonderfully, too. The teal is Boss Babe from Forbidden Fiber and the purple is Orchid from Old Rusted Chair. Both are awesome!
Even though I didn’t share anything current today, I have been knitting a lot lately, a lot of stress knitting. I’m a bit in the weeds emotionally at the moment, maybe have been for a little while, and I’m at the point where I’m tired of myself so I’m sure the people I’m venting to are tired of me too, even though most of them have given no indication of it. But since I also get more emotional when depression is winning, I’ve lately found myself so full of gratitude and love for the people who do listen and offer love and support, and for my knitting groups which are so much more than “just” knitting groups. Knitting, guys. It’s just the best. And in that vein, here’s an article I saw this morning, an article about knitting and friendship and healing and all kinds of cool things. It’s written by Barbara Kingsolver, whose books I love. I had no idea she was a knitter; now I love her more.
Happy Friday, friends. Hope life is treating you well!
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.
Today is the last day of February and that’s a little bonkers — how did this month go so quickly?? I’ve got one more finished object to share, my Mad Mini Wrap, and there was a bit of madness there at the end!
That final color, the green, was just for the border, and when I got to where the pattern told me to bind off, I still had quite a bit left. I didn’t want the yarn to go to waste so I added a few more rows. Sadly, I misjudged the amount and I was about 3/4 of the way through the bind-off when I admitted to myself that I didn’t have enough yarn and had to unknit the bind-off and the last row. It’s done now, though, blocked and everything. Blocking definitely helped this one get to a wearable length, though it’s still a tad shorter than I usually prefer. The pattern is the Mad Mini Wrap (Rav link) and I used the same yarn, same colors used in the original design, the 5 mini-skein pack of Mad Hatter Sport from Frabjous Fibers in Mice in the Tea. I found the yarn quite delightful, all supple and bouncy, and the colors are gorgeous.
I was hoping I’d get my sock done before the end of the month too, but spent too much time yesterday doing stuff around the house, preparing for some renovations. A necessary evil, I suppose, but today is for fun!
My second finished object of 2021 is another carryover from last year, my Hopes & Feathers shawl. I started this in September and at first I was addicted to it, but then like many of my bigger WIPs, it got set aside when I got bored. Thank goodness I have these bouts of finish-itis!
It has a fun zigzag pattern done with slipped stitches. Mine isn’t super noticeable because my yarns are so close together in color; I think it would be fun to use two yarns that contrast a lot. But it was fun to knit and it made an enormous shawl!
The yarn is from LoloDidIt but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten which base. They’re sparkly so I’m guessing Sparkle Sock, and the colors are Wonka (purple) and Beetlejuice (purple/gray/green variegated). The yarn is gorgeous, a treat to knit with, and blocked out beautifully. I’m learning that the sock yarns with stellina make my feet itch, so I’m very glad I made a shawl with these instead! And I used 792 yards, enough left over to add some to my scrappy blanket.
My other shawl got done sooner than I anticipated, and was blocking by late Saturday morning. Did I then wind my Rasta? Nope. Did I start my LEGO set? Nope. I was good and heeded the hint of finish-itis that’s starting to bloom, and I picked up my Mermaid Shawl. I’ve been working on it all weekend and today I faded in the last color. But good grief, this shawl is killing me.
It’s endless. I have two more short-row wedges left to knit, then an I-cord bind off. So the next time I think I want to make a big five-skein shawl, just slap me, okay? Or at least tell me to use purples and pinks! The silver lining is that the last color is the best, the deep blue-purple meant to represent the deepest part of the ocean. And darn it, I do love an I-cord bind off once it’s done.
I also managed to bake peanut butter chocolate chip bread and start the new Jodi Picoult book this weekend. If only we could squeeze in one more day before Monday!