Back in 2017, I fell in love with a book called The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb. It’s about a descendent of the Little Mermaid from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and it’s unusual and engrossing and I loved it. There was one description of the main character going into the sea and how the colors changed as she went further down, and I needed to make a shawl based on that. So in 2018, I found five colors from Dream in Color that were perfect.
It took a while longer to find a pattern, and when I did, I cast on twice, starting with different colors, but it just wasn’t right. So the yarn waited patiently for another couple of years, before I found the Sea Swell shawl (Rav link) by Westknits in May. And now? Now it’s DONE!
I don’t have a lot to say about this shawl except that it’s massive and it felt like it took forever to knit, much longer than five months. I wish the darkest blue/purple at the edge was more prominent but overall it’s what I wanted. The swells are great, and I think the short rows where two colors fade together are really cool.
I’m really glad I knit this but I’m also really glad it’s done. I’m not sure five-skein shawls are my jam!
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.
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!
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!
Okay, first things first: this is my first time trying the new WordPress editor and it’s weird. I mean, it’s fine, but it’s different and I’m a little slow trying to figure it all out. Hopefully we’ll get it all done right in the end.
Right, then, shawl? Yes, shawl. Yesterday afternoon my SIL texted me a photo of a shawl pattern she’d found that she was thinking of using with some of her amazing thrift-store yarn. And honestly, my first thought was that it would be perfect for the yarn I just got yesterday!
This is from Lyrical Knits and It’s done with slipped stitches, which I can totally manage, and it’s even free if you sign up for her newsletter. Since I’m trying to find new places to get patterns, I was more than happy to sign up for the newsletter. Follow this link to find links to the pattern on Rav or Payhip or instructions on getting the pattern for free.
Just what I needed, another project to add to my large pile of WIPs!
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.
Yes, it’s Monday and that’s supposed to be sock day here in Blogville, but weird monogamous knitter me doesn’t have any sock progress to share. I finished my Olive Pink shawl on Saturday morning, blocked it that day, and yesterday took it out for a photo shoot. It was a challenge because it is so BIG.
This isn’t even the whole thing. From tip to tip, this baby is over eight feet long. I have no idea how that happened, except, you know, gauge. If you don’t count the angled ends, it’s about 70″ long, which is much closer to the pattern’s 73″ length. Also, I used less of Color B and more of Color C than the pattern said I would, and again, no idea. Whatever. That’s kind of what I love about this pattern: it works really well with “whatever”. I made some mistakes? Whatever. I added an extra two rows to that section? Whatever. I did the final border wrong for the first two rows? Whatever. It’s all good!
Because it doesn’t really matter! There are so many patterns and textures and colors that no one knows what it’s “supposed” to look like, and no one is going to look closely to try to find mistakes. And if anyone where to do that, that would be weird and I don’t really care what they think anyway.
This was a fun pattern to knit, at least for the first 75% of it. By section 16, I was getting a little tired of it, but it was fun to use so many colors and stitches. The yarn is SoLo from LoloDidIt and I really like it. It’s 100% and has a little bit of a halo, which was only a problem when I was knitting with two colors and the yarns would get wound around each other and stick together. But it’s super soft, doesn’t bleed, and blocks out beautifully.
The original pattern was a collaboration between Casapinka and Lolabean Yarn Co. and you can find it here on Ravelry. Note: I do have Classic Ravelry turned on. (Side note: I’d had NuRav on since they switched and it didn’t bother me, though Rav’s reaction, or lack thereof, to all the issues others were having bothered me a lot. This morning I turned on Classic Rav before adding the link here, and it was like a sigh of relief. I hadn’t realized how much I preferred the look of the original!)
With this done, I’m off to finish an almost-complete cowl now. Hope you’re all staying mostly well and happy!
My Dowland shawl got blocked this weekend, and after the boy mowed the backyard I went out for a photo shoot. It posed beautifully, too. Prepare yourself for a photo-heavy post because it was hard to choose which ones to omit!
I’ll start with the obvious: this is a huge shawl. I used all but 14 grams of my two skeins of Kitty Pride Fibers’ Ocicat Fingering in the color A Bonny Lass. The pattern says you can repeat section eight up to two times to use up more yarn, so I repeated it once. I didn’t want to risk running out of yarn, though I think I could have squeaked through just fine.
The last lace section gave me fits. I had to rip out thirty rows of lace the first time I knit it. The second time went better, but I still had three rows where I ended up off by one stitch, and I just fudged it. I couldn’t stand any more tinking or frogging. I did spot one of the errors when I was pinning it out, where the yarnovers didn’t line up just right, but no one will ever notice it while I’m wearing it, and it doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the lace pattern.
After I had it all pinned out, I realized I did not pin the scallops correctly, so there are more scallops and they’re closer together than the designer intended. But by then, it was mostly dry and again, I wanted this shawl just to be done, so I’m calling it a design feature.
This was not an easy knit for me but it might be one of my proudest knitting moments. It turned out to be exactly what I wanted from my Bonny yarn, and I can’t wait to have somewhere to wear it to show it off!
Painting the dining room didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would: I got it all done in one day! Two coats plus the edge by the ceiling on the six-foot ladder, which was definitely not my favorite part. Yesterday I pulled off tape, washed the trim, gave it a final vacuum, and called that room done.
We chose a slightly darker gray for this room and it’s really hard to photograph. There’s not enough sunlight and the hanging light gives off too much yellow. But I think this is a good approximation. Mostly I’m just delighted that it’s clean and patched and smooth. We’ll see how long it stays that way, what with three dogs and all.
My other big finish is the Dowland shawl! I bound off Friday night. I had three rows in the final section that were off by one stitch but by then I just couldn’t deal with any more tinking or frogging so I pushed through. I could see a couple of the spots as I was pinning it out, but they’re minor and I won’t notice them as I’m wearing it, for sure. I need to get outside to take some pretty photos, but here’s a preview of the finished, and massive, shawl. (Dog included for perspective. And because he wouldn’t move.)
After finishing the dining room yesterday morning, I really thought I was done painting for a while. It’s been hard on my back, elbows, wrists, hands — everything, really. But the work and the final products are really good for my mind, so by last night I was pulling pictures off the walls in the living room and starting to dust and spackle. I’m going to take it slow, though. I’ll do bursts of prep in between spurts of knitting today, and take my time. The boy asked me last night what I was going to do when I ran out of rooms to paint, and I had no answer. After the living room, I have a stairwell to paint, and that’s it for painting. I could be done by the end of the week. Then what?
My knitting mojo seems to have returned (knocks on wood). I don’t know if it’s connected to finishing the puzzle and needing something else to occupy me, or if it’s coincidental, but I spent quite a while yesterday working on my Bonny Lass shawl and she’s growing nicely. I’m on Chart five of eight now.
The yellow strand is my lifeline, which I have been using faithfully and makes me feel more secure. Now watch, the one time I have a lifeline, I won’t mess up and need it! Actually, that would be great. This pattern is pure lace and I have no desire to tink or frog any of it.
It was a good weekend overall, really. Got some much-needed cleaning done, spent some time outside, got some knitting done, watched some Twilight movies for comfort, and the husband made bread for the first time. It was delicious, and made enough for pizza crust too. I have to say, there are some things about this enforced time at home that are not all bad. I mean, it sucks that we have to worry about whether we should use up our flour or milk on baked goods, but it’s lovely that we’re taking the time to do that baking, and it’s probably good for us to learn to appreciate what we have. I am very very lucky. I have a large, unopened bag of flour, three gallons of milk, and probably 20 rolls of toilet paper. (Don’t fret: we shop at Sam’s regularly. I had bought a package shortly before the pandemic started. I’m not a hoarder.) The boy is feeling restless and bored but oh, he’s being so patient and understanding about everything. He gets it, gets why it’s necessary, and he’s making the best of a hard situation. I’m so proud of him right now.
I am lucky, and if it weren’t for the background worries of infection and recession and deaths, I might be pretty content with this peaceful life at home. Maybe it just bodes well for retirement!
Happy Monday, friends. Hope it’s a good one for you.