Tuesday, June 30, 2015

FO: When You Wish Shawl

I first heard about the When You Wish Shawl pattern from one of my online knitting communities.  The shawl was designed in honor of grieving mothers.  Proceeds from the pattern sales were going (might still be -- I'm not entirely sure?) to SHARE, a group dedicated to pregnancy and infant loss support.

I have been incredibly blessed that I have not had to deal with this particular tragedy personally, but I have many close friends who have dealt with miscarriages and long, drawn-out, and frustrating attempts at maintaining a viable pregnancy.

Which, okay -- all of that is pretty much buzzkill city.  I'm glad I was introduced to the pattern though, glad that I was able to support SHARE, and glad that I now have this beautiful shawl that will represent that simply, "I grieve with thee."

This project has a lot to recommend it.  It took the variegated yarn and handled it like a champ, it has a great, crescent shape, interesting construction, and it changes the stitch pattern often enough to stay really interesting.

There are three different star motifs (hence, "When You Wish), separated by a section of ruching.

My favorite part of the project, and this is gonna make you laugh, is the fiddly-ass bind-off.  It involves a three stitch, knitted on edging, a bobble (or a nupp?  one of those), and -- and this is the best part -- knitting backwards.

I'd never done that before, so I was excited to get to try a new technique.  And counter-intuitive as it might seem, it was kind of cool that the bind-off was totally part of the design element, not just a final step to rush through since the project is pretty much already done.

Check Out that Nupply Action!
Since the backwards-knitting was a new technique that I'd never tried before, I headed straight for trusty Google.   I found just the thing at the New Stitch a Day website.

I did try to get some modeled shots. I changed my shirt and everything.  I drafted my husband to be my photographer, which, okay, never really quite works out. This is me trying to get him to hold the camera straight.

This might be the best of the lot
And then there's this one.

There's a lot going on back here
Oh well.  The shawl is pretty great either way.

Project Notes

Pattern: When You Wish by Amy Kenagy
Yarn: Into the Whirled Manchester Sock, in the il tramonto colorway
Total Yardage: 361 yards
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm) 24" Hiya Hiya circulars
Started: May 10, 2015
Completed: June 27, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Heck Yeah 'Merica!

We're about to embark on another crazy couple of weeks of home improvement -- painting, ripping up carpets and installing hardwood flooring in our living room.  The timing of all of this meant that our normal 4th of July shenanigans had to be rescheduled a week early.  So yesterday my two besties, Jess and Koren, came over and we watched 1776 (like ya do), both Captain America movies (like ya do), and listened to last year's recording of NPR's annual reading of the Declaration of Independence.  

Like ya do.   

We didn't do fireworks, because I don't want to be THAT NEIGHBOR.  But we hit all the other high points (including charred meats and fermented beverages).  It's a lovely tradition we have and it is as much or more my Mid-Summer ritual than anything that happens on the 21st.  

This weekend I am particularly proud to be an American.   The news of the day made the timing of our celebration even better.  I'm glad that we decided to do it early instead of skipping it altogether. 

I cast on a pair of rainbow socks to commemorate the day.

I also finished the fancy-pants bind-off of my When You Wish shawl yesterday while watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier.   I'll talk more about the bind-off when I do my FO post, but early indications are that it's fiddly, but worth it.

I've got it out blocking now, so I should be able to get final FO shots and the post up this week.

I'm finally taking my playmat tiles out for a test drive.
My Dark Rainbow Cowl is also coming along nicely.  I'm farther along now even than this picture indicates (I took pictures this morning, and have gotten some knitting done in the mean time.)  I have maybe half of the last purple to go, and then I'll block it and kitchener it shut.  My current plan is to block first, then kitchener, because I think I'll get a better result from blocking it flat.  More on that as it unfolds.

I love all the rainbows I'm knitting right now.
I haven't really done any more on Morgan's second purple sock.  I think I'll concentrate on that next, once my cowl is done.  Apparently even my scattershot approach will come through if I just keep at it long enough.

My current Stash Dash standing is still under 1K, (949 yds/867 m to be exact), but the cowl will put me back in the game.  Then it's Morgan's socks, and who knows what'll be next?  Maybe Rowan's sweater, while it still has half a chance of fitting him.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


So I was all set to complain about how I'm not finishing anything and my "Stash Dash" is more of a "Stash Mosey," but then I took what I've been working on outside to take pictures.

Well, that explains it then.
I've spent most of this past week working on my Dark Rainbow Cowl.  I went on a business trip and over the course of two days and four planes, a lot of progress was made.

I originally cast on the number the pattern calls for (following the advice of the shop owner whose sample I was inspired by), but once I'd finished the yellow I realized it was both too short and too wide.  So last Tuesday I ripped it out and started over with 20 fewer stitches.

Much better.

It's nothing but plain stockinette for miles (with a wee bit of increasing and decreasing to get the bias effect), but that makes it perfect for knitting while reading, watching the husband play video games, or TV.

I'm nearly done with the red, and after that it's two colors to go.

I've also been working on When You Wish by Amy Kenagy.  It's coming along nicely.  I have another 10 rows or so of lace, and then I have to parse the knitted bind off.  I've never knit backwards before, so that should be fun.

I've also got Morgan's second sock in my purse for emergencies.  You know... knitting emergencies.

It does occur to me that some concentrated effort on my part would probably yield better results than my current scattershot approach.

In my defense, that's only three of the 15+ projects I currently have on needles or hooks.

In light of that, I'm being practically monogamous.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Summer of the "along"

There are so many alongs going on this summer, I can't even.

Gradients.  Beautiful, luscious, gradients
Not sure what an "along" is?  It's when a stash of knitters (I just now decided that the plural descriptor for knitters is "stash") all decide to work on the same thing - more or less - at the same time - more or less.   How strict, structured, or scheduled participation is will vary from group to group.

Anyway, they are busting out all over the place and I got a fever.

Now I know, I know.  I swore off alongs.  I said I was tired of allowing social pressure to harmoosle me into knitting things that I don't like or that make me look like a psychedelic gila monster, exiled from the 60s.

No really.  Psychedelic Gila monster. Terrible.
I've learned my lesson though, and this time all of the alongs I'm considering are much more "choose your own adventure" and less "you must knit this specific pattern."   Which means that I can still get my social-lemming knitting groove on without another travesty like the one above.  (What was I thinking?)

Without further ado:  the alongs under consideration this summer.

Stash Dash 2015

Michelle from Actually Knitting observed that if you were the drinking sort, and you took a shot every time a podcaster mentioned Stash Dash you'd be in a world of hurt by now.  She ain't just whistlin' Dixie either.  It is EVERYWHERE.   Hosted by the Knit Girllls, Stash Dash is a summer long event where the primary goal and focus is to knit a bunch of stuff.  Specifically enough stuff to add up to a 3K, 5K, or a 10K worth of meterage.  (I confess, I have been converting everything to Imperial, because I am that way, and because I speak yards not meters).

Stash Dash runs from May 22 - Aug 14.  You can learn more about it here.

This is like February is for Finishing on steroids.  Absolutely perfect.


My online knitting community is hosting a very low key, join when you want, knit what you want Gradient-along.  The only rule?  Knit something out of yarn that you can convince yourself qualifies as a gradient.

I'm using this for my first project (there might be two, we'll see how it goes).

This is the same yarn I showed above -- I used Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls' trick to wind all of the minis into one cake.

The Gradient-along runs from now until we all get bored and wander off.

Outfit-along or OAL

This one is jointly hosted by Andi Satterlund (link to her Ravelry designer profile)  of Untangling Knots and Lauren of Lladybird.  It's a sewing-and-knitting-to-create-an-outfit-along.  The rules are that you sew one garment, knit another, and they should go with one another.  There is an official sweater pattern (designed by Andi) and an official dress pattern (that Lauren will provide pattern support and tutorials for) but you can knit or sew anything you want.

I ran across this just as it was wrapping up last year, so I'm seriously considering giving it a go this year. I've been wanting to get back into sewing and this seems like a great excuse.

The OAL runs from June 1 - July 31, so if I'm doing this I'd better get a move on.  More details can be found here.

And last but not least is the:

Colors of Fall 2015 KAL

Every year Pantone announces to the world what colors will be trending in up-coming seasons.  (I know they do it for Fall and Spring,  Anyone know if they do Summer and Winter too?)   This is another along that I caught too late last year to join.  

The idea is to use the Pantone Fall 2015 color palette to knit something and then create a "look" (read: outfit).   If I play my cards right I could totally double dip this one with the OAL.   Although, I have a summery dress with a light sweater in mind for that, so we'll see if the colors work.

My favorite color is "fall" so I'm all over this palette.
The Colors of Fall KAL is hosted by Gayle and Sharlene of the Yarniacs podcast.  (This reminds me, I really need to do a blog post on knitting podcasts).  

It runs from June 21 - Sept 23.   That would make the timing tricky if I did try to combine it with the OAL, but if I did the sewing first (before June 21) and then cast on the knitting after June 21... I could make it work, as they say.

More on the Colors of Fall KAL here.

So what are you into this summer?

Thursday, June 04, 2015

FO: Giraffe Neck Warmer

My 3 Color Cashmere Cowl is done, and I love it.

I bought the yarn this year at Stitches South, and cast it on the very next day.  I'd been scouting for yarn for this pattern for a while -- and had even gone so far as to buy some Knit Picks Capretta for it.  But the Capretta turned out muddy and subdued, and not at all the crisp, beautiful colors that I was looking for.  I wanted a blue with some POP, and I think I found it with this silk/cashmere blend.

Also, can I just say that there is very little about knitting with silk and cashmere that I do not love?  It just feels so decadent, so elegant.  And it has that raw-silk smell to it.  Divine.  My only complaint is a mild one -- the nature of the yarn led it to be splitty, and I found that the more I knit with it the more it unwound itself.  So there's that.  I don't know that I would buy this exact yarn again if I ran across it at a show or festival, but I'm not at all sorry that I tried it.  (More to come when I actually wet block the cowl.  That could potentially change my opinion in either direction, depending on how that goes.)

I had to get a little creative at the last minute, because I completely ran out of the tan-beige yarn.  So the lace is quite abbreviated and I subbed in the blue for the last two contrast stripes.

I aaalmost ripped the lace out, with the intention of re-doing it in the dark brown and then I'd have enough of the lighter color left for the final stripes, but in the end I decided to roll with it the way it was.

I think it works.

Project Notes

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli
Yarn: Artisinal Yarns SilkyB Cashmere, 3 skeins in Beige, Brown, and Blue
Total Yardage: 532 yds.  I used up all of the brown and beige, but I had nearly a third of the blue left
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm) 24" Hiya Hiya circulars
Size: Giraffe
Started: April 26, 2015
Completed: June 2, 2015

My Stash Dash total is 532 yds (as this is my first finished object.)  And yes, I updated my spreadsheet.