Category Archives: Random Geekery

What’s On The Needles?

…I hear you ask.  Lots of stuff, I reply. Plus two projects that just came off the needles, finally. Today’s post is a hodge podge of projects in various stages of completion. I’m working with a lot of yarn lines that I’ve never tried before, and I’m having a great time using these new-to-me yarns. There are lots of photos ahead. Join me, won’t you?

WORKS IN PROGRESS:

Cable-Brim Hat.

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I recently came across Malabrigo Rios worsted weight in my local shop, and I fell in love instantly. This is my first time using Rios, and it’s wonderful to work with.  it’s lovely to handle, soft to the touch, and beautiful to look at. This hat is in the color Teal Feathers.

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Each colorway is a subtle gradation of one shade, from light to dark and every shade in between. I’m doing a made-up pattern, just a cable brim and stockinette top.  I knit the cable band with a 4-stitch front and back cable.  I seamed it up, turned it on its side and picked up enough stitches to fit around my head. I will knit it a little longer than usual before decreasing near the top for a little bit of slouch.

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I wanted to give this hat a name, so I decided to call it the Seafarer Slouch, because the cable reminds me of nautical braids that sailors make with rope. I think the electric blue will pop against my red hair.

Now that spring is here, my winter hat is almost finished. I bought 2 more skeins of Teal Feathers so I can make a matching pair of gloves. I might put them on hold once the weather gets hotter. I think I can safely say that we’ll have no more snow in New England for several months.

Firefly Socks

This pattern is by Jennifer Hagan, and comes from Clara Parke’s The Knitter’s Book of Socks. I was happily zooming along on the first Firefly sock, when we had an unseasonably warm day last week.  As I knit with fingering weight yarn, the yarn was sticking to the wooden needles I was using. I put it down when I started to feel warm. I’ll pick it up again after a quick break to knit with a linen and silk blend, though, because this sock is incredibly fun to knit. I’m eager to wear the finished pair.

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I chose Knit Picks’ Palette yarn in Turmeric. I don’t gravitate towards yellow much, but I like the rich, warm mustard shade. Who else thinks this color could also be named Taco Shell?! In my opinion, these socks are best knit in a solid color, so the alternating cable pattern can stand out.

Tiers 

When it comes to understated yet elegant, Shibui’s beautifully organic designs are a pleasure to look at and to knit. I seem to gravitate towards their scarves and cowls rather than garments. During a trip to my local shop, I picked up some of Shibui’s newest yarn, Twig, which was recently introduced as part of the Spring 15 line.  The Spring 15 collection include Tiers, a drapey drop-stitch scarf. Shibui is hosting a spring KAL for Tiers until May 22nd. The pattern is free with purchase of the yarn during the KAL, no matter where you buy it.  I bought my yarn locally and received my free pattern. Time’s almost out on this KAL, but there is a Shibui Knit-Along Ravelry group where knitters can join in Shibui’s seasonal knit-alongs. Participants are entered in a drawing for a complete Shibui project; the more photos you post in the forum, the greater your chances of winning.

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Tiers can be knit in two different lengths and in two different yarns, Twig or Cima.  It takes two balls of Twig for the shorter length, which is over five feet long.  I purchased two balls of Twig in the graphite color. This photo doesn’t do it justice; in real life it’s a deeper blue/gray color. Twig is a cool linen/recycled silk/wool blend. It’s a little coarse and a little stiff, and it’s slippery as hell on my wooden needles. I switched to metal but the yarn was still slippery. I have to knit a little more carefully than usual, but this project is simple and fast, and it’s working up beautifully. The fabric is light and airy. I love the color I chose, but once i saw the projects in the Ravelry group, I regretted using grey yarn, just a little bit.  I’m tempted to make a second one in a brighter spring color. But I need to finish this one first!

FINISHED OBJECTS

Chevron Knit Throw

The pattern for this throw is available for free on Red Heart’s website. The instructions for Row 2 say to knit all stitches, but the throw is knit flat, so that should read purl instead of knit. I used Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply in four colors: Bottle (dark green), Oats (beige), Light Denim (light blue) and Soft Cream (off-white).

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I wanted the colors to represent the seashore: the water, the sand, the sky and the clouds. The Pure Wool was a joy to work with, and after I blocked the throw, the yarn became even softer. I used Soak knit wash for the first time, and it really made a difference. The Fig scent is lovely, and my blanket smelled delicious. Until the wet wool smell took over. Blocking flattened my cast-on edge, which rolled a little bit.

I started the Chevron in October, put it down for a few months, and picked it up again with just a few inches to knit–200 stitches at a time–in April. I enjoyed making this so much, I’m going to knit another one as a Christmas gift for my brother. I have certain colors in mind, so I’ll take my time searching for the right yarn.

and finally…

Ying Yang Gauntlets

This is a Plymouth Yarn pattern that uses 2 colors of their Merino DK weight yarn. The shop didn’t have any colors I wanted in stock, so I bought 2 balls of Cascade Venezia Sport. One ball of Deep Sea and one ball of White Heaven.

Ying Yang Gauntlets are supposed to coordinate rather than match. Color A for the main color and color B for the wrists on one gauntlet, with the colors reversed on the second. I wanted them to match, though. The yarn I bought came in 100-gram balls, so I had enough yarn to do both mitts in the same style.

Once again, a winter project dominated once the weather turned warmer. And once again, New England weather decided to screw with all of us. I got in some outdoor knitting on a warm spring day…

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…and wore them a week later on a blustery, fall-like day in late April.

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The weather made fingerless mitts–and a mocha chai–absolutely essential that day.

But it was a beautiful day nonetheless.

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Fiber Revival 2013

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Stitched By Jessalu bags on one side, Mad Color spinning fiber on the other.

Part One: The Purchases.

What more do you need to hear? There was a fiber festival, there was shopping. We all love reading about others’ expeditions and what they came back with, so here’s my annual Fiber Revival post.  This yearly event takes place on the serene Spencer-Pierce-Little farm in Newbury, MA, in the beautiful Merrimack Valley. It’s a comparatively small event sponsored by the Newburyport Spinners.  Every year vendors and fiber enthusiasts spread out over the farm’s grounds with their wares and their chairs; it’s a BYOC (Bring your Own Chair) event! People fan out in groups under the trees with their projects, enjoying the scenery and the company while waiting for the Ipswich Ale truck to roll in.  I love being exposed to so many knitting and spinning products, wandering around the farm, peeking in on the people who brought their spinning wheels and seeing what’s on the bobbins. Oh yeah, and the farm animals–I love visiting the farm animals. I started going in 2009, and so far the weather cooperated with us–each year the day of the festival has been sunny and beautiful.

I got an early start because I desperately wanted to stalk shop at two tents in particular: Stitched By Jessalu and The Woolen Rabbit. I love Jessalu’s fun and funky project bags, and I was on the hunt for one in particular.  As for the Woolen Rabbit, I’ve purchased spinning fiber from her, but I’ve never bought any of her hand-dyed yarn. I wanted to buy some of her yarn and one of the cute hat patterns featured on her blog, to cast on later that night.

My project-bag problem has been well documented on this blog, and I’m afraid it’s not disappearing any time soon.  I discovered Jessalu’s bags a couple of years ago at Spunky Eclectic’s tent, and I’ve noticed them popping up around me ever since. In particular I noticed a couple of people at the North Shore Yarn Crawl last March carrying around small box bags with the Tardis from Doctor Who on it, and man, did I ever want one. They never seemed to be in stock whenever I went on to her website, so on Saturday I planned on arriving at the festival when it opened at 9:00 AM. in hopes of scoring a Tardis bag. My early start paid off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATraffic was light (well, it’s pretty light anyway once you hit the country) and I got there a little earlier than expected. People were already inside the gate when I arrived at 8:55 AM. The vendors had set up so I walked over to Jessalu’s stall. Success! There was one bag with the Tardis fabric that I wanted. The little Dalek notions bag was a delightful find and the perfect compliment.  There were a lot of bags with cartoon renditions of popular sci-fi characters such as Doctor Who and Star Trek, (OS and NextGen). There may have been some superheroes or Avengers fabric, and believe it or not, BBC’s Sherlock has its own fabric pattern.  You gotta love a woman who has a healthy respect for all the fandoms. I was happy that I found what I wanted, but were two bags enough for me? No. Because then I saw this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m a sucker for kawaii sushi. I don’t know why. I hate seafood, cooked or raw. But there’s something about cute food with little happy faces on it that melts my heart every time. I should take a photo of the interior fabric because it’s even more adorable–smiling shrimps! This bag is quite a bit bigger than the small box bag and can fit a mid-sized project like a hat or scarf or small shawlette, perhaps.

I was Jessalu’s first customer of the day. You won’t hear me admit this again, but I may have come off as a bit of a stalk-y weirdo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn to The Woolen Rabbit. This is her Kashmir yarn in the colorway Clara Bow. Clara Bow was a 1920s movie star, for you youngsters out there. 🙂 I bought one hank of this and the pattern for Amy Herzog’s Fellowes Cloche, an adorable ’20s style hat. This is the color shown in the patterns photos, and I think the deep red is deliciously perfect for a hat that’s both ladylike and a little jaunty at the same time. The other colors of Kashmir were beautiful, but I couldn’t picture the hat in grey or OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdark green, so red it shall be. Who doesn’t want to be a lady in red sometimes? I also bought two braids of merino and tussah silk spinning fiber. I adore a wool and silk blend. I’m the type of spinner who buys fiber because it’s pretty without knowing what to make with it or how much yardage I’ll end up with once it’s spun. I love the delicate variegated shades of pink, mauve and chocolate. I’m not even going to think about what this will be once it’s plied, I’ll let the yarn tell me when it’s ready.

I took a workshop on Russian spindle spinning from Linda Scharf of Stone Leaf Moon. It was a wonderful and eye-opening introduction to the world of supported spindles. More of that in Part Two. For now, please enjoy some more photos.

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