Yarn dithering

The newest shawlette, not yet blocked

I can’t settle on a new knitting project.  A finish of a complex multi-chart lace shawlette led to a binge knit of three identical cowls that are destined to be Chrismukkah presents.  They were about as simple as a knit can be – stockinette tubes.  The excitement was in the yarn.  A fluffy mohair silk strand held together with a linen cashmere.  It made for an almost weightless piece of cloth.

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The unblocked presents-to-be

Since then I’ve been scouring my Ravelry favorites, trying to match yarn and patterns without success.  The two just aren’t meeting up.  I’m not sure what I really want to make.  Nothing too complicated, but not just another cowl or scarf.  It needs to be something I can knit while watching TV.  It needs to be from stash yarn.  I’m leaning towards thin rather than thick yarn.  The yardage isn’t right, or the pattern is too expensive, or the color doesn’t work.  I’m stalled.

I even started a scarf tonight, but ended up unraveling it all.  The yarn combo I came up with just didn’t work.  I will have to keep trying.

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The failed scarf yarn choice heading back to the bins

In digging around I did come across a handspun silk scarf in progress that I last remember knitting on six years and two house moves ago.  It was really buried!  I will add a few inches to it while I ponder my next start.

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Knitting along

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I recently finished a two color shawl that I really like. It’s a triangle that grows from one side point across to a wide edge on the other side.   It is mostly garter stitch, but with just enough variations and slipped stitches to make it interesting to knit.

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I haven’t blocked it yet, so it is bound to grow larger.

Shawl: Lochlyn, in Mad Tosh Merino Light; colorways Cove & Whiskey Barrel

The shawl done, I needed more to knit, so I went stash diving and came up with two very different skeins.

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The first is some of my handspun, polwarth wool and silk in a DK weight two ply.  I dyed it turquoise and brown before spinning it, and while I’m not crazy about the final color, it is springy, cheerful, and quick to knit with.  The cowl pattern I chose is a good one for mindless knitting in meetings and easily interrupted, so it has become my work project.

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For home, I pulled out a very shiny tencel yarn that I bought at OFFF a couple of years ago. It is slick, and has absolutely no give, but I love the color and sheen. I chose a lacy shawl pattern with a bunch of charts, so I’m working on it in the evenings at home when I have time to concentrate.  I’ve never blocked tencel, so I will have to do some research into methods.

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It makes for a messy looking wad of yarn on the needles, but lace knitting becomes magically different once it is stretched.

Tencel yarn: Teresa Ruch tencel 5/2; colorway Sedona

 

Yak and silk and potatoes

Before I start on the fiber talk, Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it!  Bring on the latkes!

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Our dog Theo turned out to be a big fan of both latkes and suvganiyot (jelly filled donuts).  This is his first Hanukkah.

My finish this week was my Eureka cowl, made from aran weight handspun yarn.

The gray single is a 60/20/20 merino/yak/silk, and the cream is an ultra soft 50/50 yak/silk.  It was such a joy to spin!

The cowl has a unusual shape, more of a bandana than a cylinder, narrow in the back and triangular in the front.  The triangle dipping down means it will block more drafts when worn with a v-neck or a slightly unzipped coat.

I modified the pattern’s ridge rows somewhat, but the shape is just as the pattern dictated.  It still needs blocking, but I’ve tried it out and it is warm and soft.

Two finishes and a fail

Despite all the remodeling construction and Thanksgiving, I did manage to finish a couple of projects recently.

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The first is a cowl I made from a yarn kit ordered from Craftsy, using the Toolbox Cowl pattern.   The yarn kit came with five colors, so I added a few extra rows to make each stripe wider, as the original pattern called for six colors. However, I didn’t calculate that extra rows in the garter/slip stitch section wasn’t going to really add much height.  So before I got to the mustard yellow, I dug out some cream yarn and added that in as well. I’m really pleased with the way it ended up. It’s a very comfortable, soft cowl.  And there should be enough yarn left to make the matching hat!

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The next finish was my Noro scarf-turned-cowl.  This is the one that I ripped back four or five times and changed my mind repeatedly about how to knit it.  Then I had to graft together ribbing, which isn’t a smooth process when you are connecting top to bottom.  The stitches end up off by a half stitch which really complicates grafting even without adding in knits and purls.  There was more ripping out, and I learned not to graft on a light color row as every wonky bit shows more, but it is a circle now, and when it is doubled up around a neck the grafting isn’t going to show unless someone really looks for it.

If I’d had the yarn I would have immediately started another one, I was so happy with the results after all that ripping and indecision.  I think it would have been too short as a scarf, but it is perfect as a double wrapped cowl.

After that came a really quick fun knit that I can’t show yet as it is a Christmas present.  My mom sometimes reads this blog. . .

Then the fail.  More of a mechanical problem than anything I did, but it still meant I didn’t get the finish I was hoping for.  Sewing has really been on the back burner as we worked on the house, so I was really excited to start working on a quilt again.  And it is a simple brick pattern, already pinned in a sandwich, so I thought I could get it fully quilted and maybe even bound in one day.

I should have known it wasn’t going to go smoothly when it took 40 minutes of intense searching to find my walking foot in the one craft related box that somehow didn’t get unpacked and was hidden away in the rec room closet.

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And then my sewing machine came apart!  I had stopped in mid-line to change a bobbin, and it wouldn’t start back up.  When I checked, the power cord had fallen out of the machine.  When I put it back in, it just fell right back out.  Further investigation showed that there was nothing to plug into – the internal prongs were gone.

I unscrewed the panel and found that the plastic housing for the plug had broken in two, dropping the prongs into the casing.

I probably should have stopped working and taken it in for repair, but I didn’t want to give up, so I grabbed the gorilla glue and some pins to poke things with and dropped glue in to put the pieces back together.  After it dried overnight, it seems to be holding, so I will use it very carefully until I can find a period of time where I am willing to live without it and take it in to have the part repaired.

But the quilt didn’t get finished as the next day I had to clear out the dining room because we were having company.  Sigh.  It has been a long time since I finished a quilt and I really thought it was going to happen this time.  The list of sewing WIPs is not getting any shorter.

At least I’m having more success with the knitting.  A new start with some handspun is coming along really quickly.

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Yak and silk – yum!

 

 

 

Squeezing in fiber

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot, but there has been a real gap in my fiber time lately.  I haven’t touched the sewing machine in nearly a month, or the spinning wheel, and the knitting has been pretty sparse as well.

The time just seems to be racing by and there are too many tasks.  We’re making a big change in our lives – really, our location – and it is exciting but also a major time suck.

We bought a new house!

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We are moving back to Washington state.  Just a 30 minute shift north, but it will make a big difference in our commutes and put me a lot closer to my mom and sister.  So, very much looking forward to it, but also overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.

First a lot of spare time was taken up with house hunting, particularly weekends which were prime crafting time before.  Then all the mortgage paperwork gathering ate up most of our evenings.  And now we are getting the current house ready for renters while getting the new one ready to move in.  Walls are getting painted, fuse boxes replaced, decks fixed up.  We’ve had a tile floor redone, and popcorn is getting scraped from ceilings.  During all of this, some unexpected problems have erupted.  Plumbers have been here at the current house often enough that we’ve got a frequent flyer discount on Tuesday’s visit.

But it is coming together slowly and we plan to move at the end of June when the boys and I are done with our school years.

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The new living room, without the grungy graying popcorn ceilings. So much better!

This all means, on the crafting side of things, that after weeks of blog silence the only thing I’ve finished is a brioche stitch cowl.  I’m just relieved I have one accomplishment I can point to!

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The cowl is long wide enough to wrap around twice.  I paired two commercial yarns, one a multicolor sock yarn and one a single ply that I kettle dyed blue.  The edging is a simple stockinette roll, and the whole pattern was easy peasy.  Increasing the number of stitches cast on was the only real change I made to the pattern.

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My first brioche stitch project but definitely not the last.  I really like how the two sides have different dominate colors, and it is a very squishy, stretchy result.  The actual brioche stitch turns out to be just as easy as slip stitch, another of my favorite stitches, so this one is definitely going to happen again.

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In the meantime, with everything else going on, I needed another very simple project to putter with in odd moments, so I’m finally making my brother the hooded scarf he asked for, using baby alpaca yarn that a friend brought me back after a trip to Peru.  Absolutely yummy soft.  And while it is rather odd to be making such a warm project as we head into summer, it will be perfect for a bitter East Coast winter next year.

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