Knitting along

BC93F0DE-9912-4FE1-978B-60BEA0CB8497

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.

548F6553-7C4E-4662-ACE5-095A810FE1FC

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.

B92156F0-17FD-4CF0-ACAD-7C02E55770F8

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.

EE09F5FF-E76A-49B1-B474-92EA5364E212

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.

900AB111-A658-4703-8F88-296D2653E205

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

 

Golden garter lace

6450E0E1-50B9-4CEE-A34C-78DB6B97A5D6

I am enjoying every stitch of this shawl.

Technically the name of the pattern is Aether, but In my head, as I knit, I’m calling it golden garter.  Alliteration improves everything, right?

The yarn changes color with the time of day and the changing lighting.  The yarn is Tosh merino light, in the colorway Nutmeg.  In the morning sun it was bright and gold.  Tonight by lamp light it is dark honey.

B3B53BF7-571F-4114-99FE-FF712C761BE8

Five of seven repeats are done, as is the first skein.  It has become clear that this is going to be a really big shawl when it is blocked!

 

 

It takes a village

Or at least a determined friend and a deadline.

In March of 2009 (!) I started knitting a shawl pattern called Aeolian.  It is a popular pattern – Ravelry currently has 4385 projects linked to the pattern.  And I was deep in the throes of my lace knitting addiction.  The thinner the yarn, the more complicated the charts, the more I loved it.

And boy, Aeolian had 6-7 charts, it had beads, it had nupps (soon to become my nemesis), it called for size 2 needles, and I knit it from a cone of the finest yarn I’d ever cast on, a 50/50 linen and cashmere cobweb weight thread-like yarn.

It went so well for quite a while.

img_6724

Then, at some point, I wandered off.  Squirrel!  And I didn’t pick it up again for two years. By then it was taking 30 minutes a row, but progress was happening and I could see it grow, and I worked through more of the charts and though I still detested doing nupps, I got better at them so I didn’t dread those rows.

But something shiny must have caught my eye again because back it went into the dark hole of hibernating projects for two more years until I had a brief burst of working that got me to the last chart and the beading.  It took nearly an hour a row by then, but I got to the last chart, and then it went back into the drawer.

2013 was the last time I pulled it out.  My Ravelry project page reminded me of my neglect occasionally, but it stayed shoved in the back of my fiber dresser.  Lurking.

Then this summer my friend talked about how she needed to start a wedding shawl for a niece whose wedding was relatively soon – close enough to make it a bit of a speed knitting slog – and I had a eureka moment that would solve her deadline issues and get me out from under the Aeolian forever.

So I sent off the pages of pattern printouts, the vials of beads, the needles, and that 90% finished Aeolian to Leslie and sat back, relieved.

She finished it!

img_6718

And it is so beautiful!

img_6723

It is going to make a wonderful bridal shawl.

img_6722

 

Crafting at the coast

This weekend was a long planned crafting weekend at the cabin.  A lot didn’t go as planned.  My husband’s new job erupted with emergencies, meaning he had to work late on Friday and on Saturday.  Luckily, Grandma stepped in to kid watch.  Then my sister got sick and couldn’t drive up on Friday with me.  Sort of creepy to arrive after dark at the cabin lot – no street lights there!  One of the two friends who was arriving Saturday also got sick, so our retreat of four became a retreat of two.

But it was very crafty anyway!  I finished my silk mohair shawl, despite running out of yarn half way through the edging chart.  It goes on the blocking pile (with too many others – must do a lot of blocking soon!)

Mohair silk Nypon shawl

There was a lot of spinning, Paige on her Ashford Joy, me on my Kromski Sonata wheel.

Spinning at cabin image I finished the last of a green and blue merino I’ve been spinning occasionally. I’m trying to relearn spinning thicker singles after years of spinning thinner and thinner yarns. This one was going to be a two ply, but I decided I wanted to blend the colors more and have a bulkier yarn, so I sent each two ply through again adding lots of extra twist, and then plied the two together to end up with a four ply crepe yarn. I love the texture and look of the resulting yarn!image image I started a new pile of green polwarth and silk yarn next, again trying for thicker singles.  There are actually two different dye jobs in that pile, one with a lot more variation in shades, but the plan is to ply them together.  Still sticking with the green theme of my recent yarn work, obviously.

Paige’s yarn had a green tint as well, but a lot of other colors too.  I really envy the huge bobbins on her wheel.

Paige spinning at cabin

There was other knitting in addition to my shawl.  Paige continues to work on her socks of many colors:

Paige's socks of many colors

Paige's sock yarn

And I started a simple pair of garter stitch slippers with some leftover handspun, though I haven’t quite figured out how this rectangle is going to become a foot shaped slipper.  I’m going on faith and following the row by row directions.

Knit slippers

When not spinning or knitting socks, Paige also worked on fingerless mittens that she sells, along with the socks, at a holiday craft fair.

Paige's mitten in progress

There was also pizza, and catching up on family and friend news, and quilting talk, and a lot of needed sleep, and generally a really good time bookmarked (pun alert) by a weird but engrossing audio book that I listened to in the cars during the hours there and back.  If you aren’t squeamish, I can highly recommend Stiff by Mary Roach, the history of cadavers.

I’m back home now, in the storm of chaos we call bedtime, happy to be back with my family, but also really ready to get the next fiber retreat on the calendar.

Dye lots really matter!

Muir wrap knitting project in progress

Recently I started knitting Muir, a Knitty.com pattern that I’ve long had on my Ravelry favorites list. But as I knit repeats and weighed yarn balls, it became clear that no matter what the many people who’ve made this project with Malabrigo lace yarn have said, my knitting gauge wasn’t going to be able to stretch only two skeins of yarn to all the repeats and the borders. So I went online and ordered another skein of the colorway VAA from the fast and friendly people at Jimmy Beans Wool.

Which is where my neglect of dye lots comes in.

Malabrigo lace yarn

My plan to switch skeins every couple rows is not going to save this, not when I already have four repeats done with just the original, darker yarn. The differences are too drastic. The new yarn has a third color completely dominating it, a color not even present in the first skein.

I think this is going to be another navy-is-my-friend overdyeing project. Navy acid dyes have saved me many times. I’ll feed the new yarn in here and there and then plunk the whole thing in the dyeing crockpot when I’m done.

Color changes aside, I love this yarn. Malabrigo lace is one of the softest yarns I’ve ever come across, and it is a joy to knit. I’ve been knitting a lot of worsted and thicker yarns lately, so the soft, weightless slip of this through my fingers is pure joy.