Tag Archives: knitting

A Quick F.O.

I finished the Tiers scarf in Shibui Twig a couple of weeks ago. I made ii right under the wire in time for the Shibui Knits KAL deadline. I didn’t win the random drawing, though. ūüė¶¬†¬† I enjoyed this quick and sophisticated knit. I made this in the Graphite color.

If there’s one thing I learned from knitting Tiers, it’s that I need to invest in a set of blocking wires.¬† Based on other knitters’ reports on Ravelry, some curling at the edges is unavoidable. The knitters who blocked the hell out of their scarf and used wires had much smoother edges. Sigh. So I placed another order with Jimmy Beans Wool. Any excuse, right?

I’m tempted to make another one in a lighter color, such as Apple. But there are other things already on my needles and in my queue. I’ll add another Tiers in there somewhere…

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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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Yarn Crawl Finished Objects

Back in March, I did the North Shore Yarn Crawl and came home with some yarn to make some small-scale projects. Unlike most years, I didn’t overdo it on the spending and I actually knit most of what I bought instead of letting it sit around the house. ¬†I bought two different yarns for two different¬†cowls, and yarn for one pair of socks. Out of the yarn I purchased, I only have one hank of yarn/1 unknitted project remaining. But I kind of cheated. I liked the yarn I used for the first¬†cowl so much I purchased another ball in a different color and made the same cowl all over again. I think the hank I didn’t use yet became angry with me, because when I went to untie it in order to unwind it, it became knotted up before I could put it on the swift. Now I have a tangled purple mess on my hands whose existence¬†I currently refuse to acknowledge. Two can play at that game.

The first cowl I completed was the Tangier¬†cowl, knit with Cascade’s Tangier yarn. ¬†I ¬†bought one ball of Tangier in Forest Glade in Gloucester, MA during the crawl.

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I still call this yarn “green” even though, once knitted up, the gold totally dominates all the other colors.

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This is a simple yet satisfying one-ball project using a mock cable, no cable needle required.

I meant to work on another cowl after this one, but after the yarn tangled, and because I enjoyed this quick knit so much, I bought another ball of Tangier in Denim Blues in Salem, MA a few days after the crawl.

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I love the pale blues/almost greys and how the bright turquoise pops for a nice burst of color.

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I knit both of these the week after the crawl. Once I was done, I moved on to the Mad Color Fiber Arts sock yarn I bought in Gloucester. The color is called Poison Apple.

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I do love a good sock project.

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About five weeks after the Yarn Crawl I received a phone call from Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem. I won a door prize! It’s a pattern from Toil and Trouble for a lovely pair of fingerless mitts. This is the second year (in a row, no less) that I won a small door prize; last year I won a skein of orange Malabrigo. Hopefully my lucky streak will continue next year, so, you know, fingers crossed.

Now onto spinning for a while, even though my dog is waiting for his sweater and I’m still knitting one for me… *eyeroll*

 

The Knittin’ O’ The Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! It’s 20 degrees out today, more like 8 with the wind chill factor. Hopefully spring will arrive soon. I’m sick of the snow and the low temperatures, even though winter means more time to knit warm articles of clothing. ¬†Everyone’s wearing green today; they’ve been wearing it and imbibing celebrating St. Paddy’s Day all weekend, as a matter of fact. Believe it or not, it’s a mere coincidence that everything I’m knitting currently happens to be green. My green sweater has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s day, since I started knitting it around Christmas. But to tell you the truth, I was hoping I’d have it finished to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. ¬†Once again, the best laid plans…

I have two projects on the needles. I am still knitting Armande. I always linger on the larger projects. I start with a burst of activity, knit hell for leather for a few weeks, and then put it down. I worked on it during the run-up to Christmas; I worked on it while hosting relatives during Christmas. Knitting is a great distraction when graciously allowing houseguests full control over your TV set when their taste in programming isn’t your cup of tea. I was able to avoid a lot of bad movies for a week thanks to this sweater (Steven Segall’s The Glimmer Man, I’m talking to you in particular).

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I plowed past the ingenious method of sewing down the pockets as you knit the sweater and I’m now on the body of the garment, with all its buttonholes, making my way up to the sleeves and neckline.

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It’s a lot of stockinette, but that’s what i like about this project. It’s mostly basic knitting with some shaping here and there, with a great collar at the finish. ¬†This will be an amazing piece to wear when I’m done. In the meantime, I’ve started a quick cowl project, which, coincidentally, also happens to feature green.

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Even the new Knitters Pride circulars I picked up are green. Enough already! This is the Tangier Cowl. ¬†I got the pattern for free during the weekend North Shore Yarn Crawl. It takes one skein of Cascade 220’s Tangier yarn. The yarn is made out of silk, cotton, acrylic and viscose. Tangier¬†seems to be Cascade’s take on Noro. It’s similar to Noro in two ways: 1. it has the same mesmerizing color changes, and 2. it’s kind of rough and knotty. Some people may use words like “tweedy” and “slubby” but I stand by “rough” and “knotty.” Casting on was a little difficult and I didn’t like the way the yarn felt as I cast on. Fortunately, the yarn became much softer once there was some fabric between my hands, and it feels rather nice now that I’m halfway through.

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This is color 10, which contains green, brown and mustard shades. The green looked dominant in the skein when I bought it but as I’m knitting with it, the browns are taking over. In these photos, though, the mustard color is taking over. I think its serendipitous that i’m using this color on St. Patrick’s Day; the colors remind me of the patchwork fields of Ireland, with green grass, brown earth and plowed fields, and golden flowers.

It was very sunny when I took my photos so the colors on both projects look a little washed out.

I’ve been buying the Knitters Pride needles for a while now and I’m really impressed with them. Each size comes in a different color, which makes collecting their needles fun. They’re reasonably priced. The US9 24″ circulars I’m using on the cowl cost $9.50. The bright green needles and the black cable are stylin’. The needles are very smooth, which allows me to knit fast. It’s like using Addi Turbos. Most of my local shops carry them now, and some of the stores that used to carry brands like Brittany now carry Knitters Pride instead.

All of the yarn shops along the local North Shore (of Boston) crawl are fabulous, but one of my favorite stops is Yarns In The Farms, in Beverly Farms, MA. YITF has a devoted local following thanks to its quirky joie de vivre atmosphere, eclectic selection of local and art yarns, as well as its official mascot, guest greeter, and sometime in-house model:

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This is Chucho (the one on the right!) and he stole the show on Saturday (and probably all the other days of the Crawl as well). He jumped up onto the couch and perched there the whole time I was in the shop. He let people fuss over him and pet him. He sat patiently for photographs. Isn’t he adorable?

I brought home a nice selection of items from the crawl without going too nuts this year. I bought three projects home: two one-skein cowls and enough sock yarn for one pair of socks (pattern to be determined). I’ll take pictures of the fun and interesting items in my next post. For now, I’d better hit the Publish button because I only have 34 minutes left to publish my St. Patrick’s Day post before St. Patrick’s Day is over. Till next time!

Does your area host a yarn crawl? Where is it? Do you attend regularly? Let me know!

Knit Picks Dishtowels in Dishie Yarn

The dishtowels are finally done! These ¬†were delayed slightly and at one point almost in danger of not being finished on time for my brother’s birthday. I progressed steadily on this project for a good month and a half, until a nasty sinus infection knocked me flat on my back for much of June. I thought I had come down with a summer cold so I was treating it with over the counter cold and cough meds. When I didn’t improve and my nasty cough got even worse, I finally saw my doctor. ¬†Two rounds of antibiotics later, I was¬†starting to feel normal, but the hideous cough lasted another three weeks. ¬†In addition to the extra antibiotics, I had nasal spray, which I’ve never used before. When that didn’t improve things, I moved on to an inhaler. Not fun. ¬†Knitting, blogging, and fun things in general were thrown to the wind and replaced by wheezing, napping and much grumpiness.

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But everything’s back to normal! Here are the finished towels in all their dishy glory. I loved everything about knitting these; the pattern, the knitting itself and (eventually) the yarn. Dishie, how could I ever have doubted you?

My brother was happy with his gift. The first thing he said when he opened the box was “Wow, these took a lot of work.” Thank you!!¬†

I would love to make these again sometime.

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Happy Birthday, Bro!

Happy Birthday, Bro!

Summer Crafts

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The dish towel set for my brother’s birthday is zipping along nicely. This is towel number three (out of four). The lunchtime knitting has been making an impact and I’m getting through this project a lot quicker than I thought I would. True to my sci-fi knitting heritage, I knit the majority of towel #2 and started towel #3 while watching V For Vendetta on TV last week. For some reason, that movie has been making the rounds on cable television lately. It’s on again tonight on IFC, which probably means it will be shown with no commercial interruptions, unlike ¬†some channels out there *cough*BBCAmerica*cough*.

Today I did nothing but read knitting and spinning magazines in bed, directly underneath my ceiling fan. Has anyone read the summer issue of Spin Off? I thought it was fascinating, with its emphasis on historical spinning. ¬†I particularly enjoyed the article on the unusual spinning wheel that was restored and is displayed at a Jane Austen museum. ¬†All the while I was eating a bag of Fruit Rolls–fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls. ¬†They pop up around Halloween and the holidays packaged along with other Tootsie products, but I haven’t seen them bagged by themselves since I was a kid. So when I saw them at the Special Thoughts Outlet today, I bought two bags. ¬†Does anyone have any childhood favorite candies that are out there but hard to find today? Share your stories with me!

Last week I was complaining that it was unseasonably cool. Now we’re having a heat wave and it’s been 90 degrees every day since Tuesday. And I’m still unhappy. So I guess that means I’m just never happy, weather-wise. What can I say, I’m a complainer! Knitting with cotton is fine for warm weather, but what should I make when the towels are done? I have Ann Weaver’s Partition Cardigan¬†on deck, but I’m not sure I want to knit it during the summer. Yet I want to wear it in the fall. I’ll probably end up casting on for the cardigan next anyway, with thoughts of cool autumn weather and walks in the park among the changing leaves to keep me cool while I knit.

I popped into Beadworks today because I haven’t been there in a while. I wanted to find starfish-shaped beads. Now I have a quick little project shaping up to put me in an a cool ocean mood.

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Stephen West’s Spectra

I can’t believe today is the last day of August. It’s the start of the last weekend of summer. Monday is Memorial Day. I don’t know where the summer went, but I for one am always happy to wave goodbye to summer and to embrace fall. I look forward to some good sweater-knitting weather, but in the meantime, a scarf is a nice transition project to bridge summer and fall, don’t you think?

Today I took my knitting to the park for a photo shoot. ¬†It was glad to get out of the house, and cooperated with me fully while I subjected it to a variety of artsy fartsy, yet always dignified, poses. This is Stephen West’s Spectra, a nice unisex scarf that can be so different from one knitter to the next due to the staggering color possibilities! Why, there are over 1500 projects on Ravelry, if one cares to scroll through all of them. I began knitting Spectra on August 12th in a short-row class at one of my LYS’s, Cranberry Fiber Arts in Hamilton, MA. ¬†I had never yet taken a class at this particular shop and I was eager to do so. I was not disappointed. ¬†The class was small, only four of us, but Laurie gave us the benefit of all her wisdom and skill, making sure everyone had at least one wedge of the scarf done so that everyone understood all the steps and could continue at home. ¬†Laurie rocks!

I am so in love with knitting this scarf. Stephen guarantees that knitters won’t be able to resist watching the colors change, and damn it, he’s right! I’ve become addicted to what I call “wedging.” Wedging is fun! Wedging is fabulous! Wedges are handy because they provide a great stopping point when I put the project down. There’s only one little, teensy, rather daunting detail of this scarf: it requires 86 wedges total. ¬†There’s no doubt the results are worth it, judging by all the incredible photos on Ravelry. It just takes time to get to the end. It’s all well and good to count by hand the first few wedges, but once they accumulate, there’ s no way I’m going to run my hands up the scarf, counting each and every wedge once I get to, oh, twenty? Thirty? ¬†I could use a row counter to count each wedge instead of row, but I opted for an even lower-than low-tech solution to my counting conundrum. Behold. —>

Simple (and sticky) yet effective. I was using the sticky note to cover each row as I knit it when I began the pattern, but the progression is easy to memorize once you get the hang of it.

The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. Laurie knit a sample for her shop in sport weight, so I picked out similar yarn for my Spectra because her sampled used Noro Silk Garden Lite, and I loved the colors. The solid color is Filatura Di Crosa’s Sportwool in medium gray. The variegated yarn is Noro Silk Garden Lite in color 2o38.

I’ve been knitting this for the better part of the past two weeks. I’ve had to put it down a couple of times when the yarn started sticking to the needles because it grew too hot in my sad, air conditioner-less little house. ¬†Autumn can’t come soon enough.

Spectra wasn’t the only one enjoying the last days of summer.

I’m beginning to see wedges everywhere.