Monthly Archives: April 2013

Two Squares Down, One To Go

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a beautiful evening and the sun is still shining. The days are getting a little longer. This means I can still go outside and snap a few pictures on my porch after dinner. Spike likes to come with me. Tonight we went outside to  document the progress on my Albers Cowl. As you can see by the title of this post, I’m in the home stretch. The Knit Pick Palette colors for this square are, from the outer edge to the center, Fairy Tale, Rouge, and Cosmopolitan.

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I’ve used Fairy Tale in previous projects and it’s quickly found its way into my heart. What can I say? I’ve always been a purple and pink sort of gal, even when I was a kid. I’ll point out the obvious flaw here: the row of holes along the bottom of the center square. That’s where I cast on, and where the holes formed when I picked up stitches. I don’t know if there’s a different technique to picking up stitches along garter stitch than there is for stockinette, but I’m too lazy to redo it, and it probably won’t be visible when worn anyway. In other words, I’m OK with it.

Knitting this square took me all of last week, and what a surreal week it was here Massachusetts after the Boston Marathon bombing. I spend most of my knitting time in front of the TV anyway, but last week there was nothing on any of the local networks but bombing coverage, literally, all week 24/7.  All I could do was sit in front of the TV, glued to the non-stop coverage as the story, events, and the week grew more and more unbelievable.

It was a hell of a week. Boylston Street opened today for the first time in a week.  Boston is trying to get on with life and return to normal. Normalcy is something we’ll never take for granted again. And normalcy is something that many bombing victims will never experience in quite the same way again.

So here’s my Albers Cowl, 2/3rds of the way complete.  Notice how my first square is oddly slanted. I have no idea how that happened. I can be so ignorant about my own knitting sometimes.  So yeah, I’m going to block the hell out of this thing.

Sigh. All those ends to weave in…

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Albers Cowl, Part Deux

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Here I go again. I’ve called a do-over on the Albers cowl. I have new yarn, a new colorway, and the first square out of three is almost complete. Reknitting this project has made me realize two things:

  1. I’m really OCD about color.
  2. I really hate garments that are knit entirely in garter stitch.

Let me elaborate. Didn’t someone once say the proof of insanity is doing the same thing over and over? Does returning to the same colors over and over again count? Well, it should. My attraction to the whole aqua/turquoise thing has been well-documented on this blog.  I think we can add magenta/fuschia to the crazy list.  As soon as I started knitting with my new pinks and magentas, I realized these are virtually the same colors in the Noro Silk Garden Light yarn I used for the Spectra scarf I recently completed. I also have quite a bit of yarn and spinning fiber in my stash in similar colors.  Sure, it’s OK to have a favorite color or two, but seriously, what gives? I’m beginning to scare myself.  At least the first Albers square I knit was in a completely different palette.  The newest Knit Picks catalog came in the mail recently and even though I just placed an order for Palette, I was mesmerized by the two-page spread of all the Palette colors.  I’m thinking of buying a bunch of yellow/burnt sienna/brown yarns just to break out of my rut.  I know–Harvest Gold again, right? But what am I to do?! Professional help may be in order.

Not only was I unhappy with the colors on my first attempt at this cowl,  I didn’t like the way the square turned out, either. Because it’s all garter stitch.  All-garter stitch garments bug me because to my eye they look like something that something that someone would knit because they haven’t learned any other stitches yet. There. I said it. There are so many wonderful stitches out there that create such beautiful fabric; why use only the most basic one? The first square looked lumpy and uneven, and this pink one is shaping up in a similar fashion. Clearly this project is one that will benefit greatly from blocking, so I Won’t Stop Believin’ just yet. The cowl pictured on the pattern is beautiful, and of course that’s what made me buy it in the first place.  The projects on Ravelry are equally gorgeous, so blocking is the key. I bought some blocking mats from Knit Picks when I bought the Palette yarn. I figured with a serious lace shawl attempt in my near future, these would be useful things to have. I’ve made my peace with blocking. Weaving in ends, however, is another story, and this project has tons of ends to weave in.

Remember last week when I broke my Denise interchangeable needles? I ran to my LYS to buy a fixed set of circulars to complete my project and the saleslady there told me that Denise replaces their needles.  I emailed the company and sure enough, they told me to mail them the broken set and they would send a replacement.  I mailed my busted set to them last Saturday.  This is what came in the mail today:

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It’s exactly one week to the day that I mailed the broken set out. Thank you, Denise!

I passed this sign today outside a local restaurant proclaiming free beer!

shanty

Only there wasn’t any. Viewed from a certain angle, they had me fooled.

Good one, Shanty!

My Completed Cambrian Cowl

…is no longer cursed. Blocked, steam-pressed, and buttoned, my cowl is finally happy and I’m ready to hit the town with some style and outside element protection. Amount of time it spent sitting in a project bag: 356 days. Amount of actual knitting time involved: 8 hours. This should have taken me a weekend to knit.

It’s supposed to be spring but there’s a definite chill lingering in the air. I put the cowl on as soon as I finished sewing on the buttons and wore it while I took my dog for a walk. It’s getting chilly now that the sun is going down and I was very glad to have an extra layer of warmth…and FABULOUSNESS!

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The buttons are the Celtic Blue Ceramic Buttons made by Irihana Arts over on Etsy. They came in a set of three. I had a lot of fun shopping for buttons for the cowl.  It’s funny, because ceramic buttons are something I don’t normally give much thought to, but once I wanted some nice buttons for my cowl, they were all I could think about.

So that’s two UFOs finished, and two to go. But I’m not in the mood to finish those just yet. As always, I’m eager to cast on for something new.  I’m ditching the Albers Cowl…sort of. Remember this Seventies-tastic colorway I started to knit? Here’s a little reminder:

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I’ve fallen out of love with this.  I guess you could say I’ve fallen out of love entirely with the Knit Picks Palette Warm Color sampler kit.  I hate to say that, because I am a big Knit Picks fan, but together, the colors in the kit started to look dated.  I’m giving up the ghost on this one, but I’m starting the Albers over in a fresher, more sophisticated palette. Some happy pinks and purples are just the thing for spring, don’t you think?

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Clockwise from the top the colors are Fairy Tale, Cosmopolitan, Peony, and Rouge. Already I can see that Cosmopolitan and Rouge are very similar in tone so I’ll have to separate those two. I’m using only 4 colors to keep it simple and affordable. Knitting starts tonight.

Once I went on to Etsy to look for buttons, I couldn’t stop.  I knew right away the Celtic buttons were the perfect match for my cowl, but there were so many other pretty, pretty buttons vying for my attention.  I couldn’t pass them up, so I bought them in the hope that someday I’ll find the perfect project for them.  Meet the runners-up:

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They’re all from Unique Buttons. I especially love the starfish buttons, although I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet.  Maybe I’ll make another Cambrian Cowl in a natural sand color and put the seafoam blue starfish on it. Yes, I wouldn’t mind knitting another Cambrian Cowl at all–without a year-long gap next time.