Neck cloud

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I am knitting the softest imaginable scarf/shawl thingie. (The official term for this type of neck knitting.)

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Malabrigo silkpaca lace yarn.  Wonderful stuff.

It is just row after row of garter stitch, increasing one at the start of each row – a truncated triangle because I started with 75 stitches.

I worked on it during our weekend camping trip, the last before work and school officially start next week.

Yarn and dog both spent a lot of time at the river.  I was the Official Photographer for Teens Jumping Into Glacially Cold Rivers. Theo was Official Barker at Boys Jumping Into Freezing Water.

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Of course, they didn’t always jump voluntarily.

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While they swam and splashed, I knit rows and rows of cloud-light alpaca and silk.  I’ve 800 yards of the yarn, so it is going to go on for a while.

I did stop for hikes and s’mores, but then was back at it.

This is actually replacement knitting as I’ve ransacked my house several times and can’t find my other on-the-go knitting project.  It has to be somewhere, but it continues to elude me.

I did unearth other neglected knitting projects and pulled one out to be the home knitting project.  My purple sweater now has a sleeve. So close to done!

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I’m sad to be nearing the end of camping season, but so glad that we bought the little pop-up trailer last spring.  We haven’t traveled far and wide, but we’ve discovered and revisited some great corners of Washington and Oregon nearby.  The boys complain a little bit before hand (generally due to the lack of WiFi) but they mostly have a great time once we are out there.

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Even when it is really, really, really cold.

 

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

 

Shawl progress

As I showed at the end of my summer vacation post, I didn’t get a lot of knitting done this summer.

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That trend has continued.  There has been progress made on the shawl I started at the beginning of July, but it has been very slow.  Now the cooler, wetter fall is upon us, I think that it will speed up a lot.

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Pattern:  Lochlyn Shawl — Yarn:  Tosh Merino Light, in Whiskey Barrel and Cove.

 

A finish, a start, and a revival

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My finish this week is my Aether shawl.  I’m sad to have finished it.  I loved the yarn, loved the pattern, loved the process.  And I suspect, if the trend continues, that I will love wearing it.

The before and after shots show the magic role blocking plays in lace knitting!  This shawl has a six foot wingspan, and that is after I skipped the final pattern repeat.

I finished it up in Seattle where I joined my fiber friends, Paige, L1 (AKA Seattle Leslie) and L2 (AKA Oregon Leslie).

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(A sample picture of the necessities for a knitting weekend. Plus wine.)

We spent most of the time hanging out with our knitting, but we did take a break at one point to drive over to Carnation, for a first time visit to Tolt Yarn and Wool.

It is a warm, friendly shop, and a sweater knitter’s dream.  So many beautiful yarn lines, worsted and woolens in a rainbow of solids and heathers.  Whole sections provided enough colors for any fair isle project.  It made my fingers inch to take up a project with lots of cables or complicated multi-color patterns.

There were less of the highly varigated or speckle dyed yarns that are the recent craze.  It fell into more classic styles in the yarn and in the samples.  It made for a very pretty shop.

So what did I buy? Yarn made of nettles. Not soft, not pretty, but it intrigued me. I think it will someday become placemats, or a table runner. They should be hard wearing and drapey after repeated washing.

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My new knitting start is another pair of socks, to become the tote bag project.  There always needs to be a portable project in my tote bag.  These will be made from another skein of Knit Picks Bare that I dyed in jars, this time in turquoise, gray, and a gray-blue.  The free pattern is called Petty Harbour, and I have knit it before.  It is a simple four row repeat, which is what on-the-go, frequently interrupted knitting needs.

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My revival is my handspun sweater that has languished in a bag in the craft closet for months.  I’m not sure why, other than it has so many different balls of yarn attached that it takes some effort and space to keep untangling them all.  The pattern is simple, the yarn wrangling is not.

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Just a simple raglan cardigan-to-be, made entirely from my handspun yarn.  It is using up a lot of the single skeins that had been piling up.

Overall, a yarn filled week.  That’s never a bad thing.  🙂

Line Break

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A late night finish – I was so close to the end I couldn’t  stop until I’d cast off, so I’m a little sleepy today.

This shawl, Line Break, is a great pattern for nightly TV-and-reading knitting.  Lots of garter stitch, some easy short row sections, and eyelet thrown in to add some variety.

I had two complementary skeins of Malibrigo yarn, one of my favorite brands. Their construction was very different. The sock yarn is a multi ply fingering weight.  The Mechita is a single ply yarn. It is also fingering, but definitely lighter/airier internally then the sock yarn.  Very similar to Madeline Tosh merino light yarn, another big favorite.  You can see the differences in the photo above and just below if you look closely.

 

The colorways called out to be togetherness.  In the skein they looked the same, though once wound into cakes the sock yarns violet tones showed up more, and the Mechita was redder.

I alternated every two rows, and loved every minute of knitting such pretty colors.

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It looks a little ruffled in this just-finished late night dim lighting shot (that really changes the colors) but it will block out into an asymmetric straight edged wrap of pretty good size.  I can tell it is going to get worn a lot.

My other finish of the day was this also poorly lit TV stand that arrived in a flat pack box yesterday and sat in the rain on my porch for several hours until I got home.  Luckily it was well wrapped inside and the wet didn’t do any harm.

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I immediately went to work assembling it, and then filled the book shelf with knitting and traveling books, along with some other random titles that needed a home.  So nice to have a new stand that doesn’t show each and every wire!

 

 

Blocking

My mom needed a present for my cousin so I finally got around to blocking a handspun scarf I made a while back.

I checked my Ravelry projects and couldn’t find this knit anywhere, so I’m not sure of the pattern or the yarn.  It was one of the few times I’ve spun a single ply yarn, and I know that I didn’t like the original dye job so I overdyed it with blue.  I think there is mohair in it from the sheen and the halo.  Other than that, a mystery.

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I know more about the next project, which I just made with some wonderfully soft yarn I bought at OFFF.  Yak and silk and merino from Alexandra’s Crafts.  The pattern, hard to see in the lines of my wooden blinds, is Silverwing.  A fast, easy pattern that I think really does look like a wing.

As a reaction to all that gray, I’ve started a deep red project for my next knit.

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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.

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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!

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And it is so beautiful!

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It is going to make a wonderful bridal shawl.

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Two steps backward

I started a new at-home knitting project (not to be confused with my at-work knitting project) but didn’t get very far before I realized that I had messed up the increase pattern completely.  I was doing the repeats from my last project instead of my current one.  Sigh.  I ripped it all out and started over.

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The yarn is Tosh Merino Light, my all time favorite yarn.  It glows in every colorway and this picture does it absolutely no justice.  These two color ways are Ink and Betty Draper’s Blues.  The pattern, now that I’m actually knitting it instead of just thinking I am, is In a Word.

Warm stitches

I started a new knitting project this week.

The pattern is called Drachenfels, by Melanie Berg, and it is a simple knit, increasing on one edge while decreasing on the other, creating a sideways triangle.  I just have to remember not to do the decrease every 6th row, and other than that it is pretty mindless knitting, so I can keep reading or talking or watching TV or all of those in various combinations while it grows.

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Three yarns are all really different from each other in texture and content.  The dark cone yarn is a marked two ply wool in two different browns.  The dirty white coned yarn is a raw silk, very nubby and splitty.  The golden brown is Madeline Tosh merino light, a soft luminous yarn – Tosh merino light is one of my all time favorites to knit with.

I’m trying hard to knit from my stash, both as a money saver (though I just spend it all on fabric instead, so it is net neutral in the long run) and to reduce the sheer volume of stuff in my craft storage.  These three yarns wouldn’t normally go into the same project, but it seems to be working so far.

I was a knitter long before I started quilting, and though larger blocks of time are usually given to quilting, the portability of knitting can’t be replaced.  If I sit too long without having needles in my hands my fingers get itchy.

We also got our tree up this week, so I can knit in the glow of the colorful lights, with the Hanukkiah candles also adding in their flickers.

Those are my sons, post decorating the tree, and pre-redecorating it after the cat tried to climb it and pulled the whole thing over.  Sigh for my Swarovski snowflake ornaments.   We also went with two Hanukkiahs this year as it cuts down on the candle lighting arguments.