Posts Tagged ‘projectmarriage’


September 7, 2012

When things go horribly awry, you learn which of the people in your world really care.  I am so very fortunate … other than BFF KnittingKittens, my dear ones are an Internet connection away, but they are there.  With endless support and encouragement.

It takes my breath away.

Like the package that showed up yesterday.  A puffy package from Spirit Trail Fiberworks.  Only I didn’t order anything.  And it’s too early for a club shipment.

Dyed and spun with love

This is no retail therapy.  This is love.  974 yards of hand-dyed, hand-spun support just waiting to be turned into a cashmere-merino hug I can wear.  In my favorite shades, of course (which I found the iPad camera wanting at capturing).

Can we talk over-achievers here for a sec?  Okay, not one to waste a minute, no, she had to combine the meditative aspects of spinning with exercise:  Jennifer spun it on the treadmill, for EZ’s sake!

I hope this can help me find my knitting mojo, for like Peter Pan’s shadow, it has utterly deserted me.  In the month since Owl Manor burned, I have managed to:

  • bind off a shawl;
  • drop stitches on one mitt while adding an extra stitch to its mate (requiring massive frogging of beading);
  • knit 4 rows of garter stitch.

That’s it.  Most nights, I just don’t have any stillness anymore.  There is sourcing and searching and seeking and reading and researching to do.  It is hard to roll it up and Put. It. Away.

But now I have something else to search for: the perfect pattern to marry to this very special delivery.



June 23, 2011

Alcea in the garden

‘Tis the season for hollyhocks.

Here, in the garden this morning, where they have self-sowed and come up annually …

… and this year, on the needles, in this fun little crescent-shaped shawl from the talented Susanna IC.  Her pattern is called Alcea, the Latin name for hollyhocks.

Inspiration comes in many forms, and rather than questioning my yarn choice, I just went with my gut.  It is Sundara Fingering Merino Cashmere in Flower Studies #45.  Sort of a Crayola

Flower Studies #45 starring in Alcea

orange meets pink and coral.  Frankly, I didn’t really like it much.  If someone had wanted to buy it from me, I’d have been happy to sell it.

I don’t know that I see myself wearing a screaming coral-and-orange shawl.  Maybe it will become a wardrobe staple.  Maybe it will become a gift.  At this point, I haven’t a clue.

Just a compulsion to knit this yarn into this project.  Away we go.


March 16, 2011

If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Kilkenny Cowl

That credo prevails in my knitting.  Thus, my recent frogging and complete re-start of the Quince & Co. Kilkenny Cowl.  I was not pleased at the Knitting Time Lost.  And having knitted what is essentially the body of a sport-weight sweater ~ twice ~ I was bored.

Chickadee in Gingerbread

When I was finished knitting, I liked it.

Now that it’s blocked ~ it is delicious.

The difference is all in the blocking.

I’m rather finicky about blocking cowls.  In order to get the shape I want without a crease, it involves working in three dimensions.  Often, inverting my trusty old tin vase works fine, but this one took a modicum of creativity.

I put a sleeping pillow into a large plastic bag, lining the inside with tall pieces of recycled cardboard.  After soaking the cowl in Eucalan, I blotted it, then put the bagged pillow/cardboard inside the cowl to hold it up.  I pinned the cowl into the plastic and cardboard where the ribbing and the knitting meet ~ not at the bind-off: I did not want the edge to develop points.  (Yes, I thought about photographing this, but it was not aesthetically pleasing and looked rather jury-rigged.)

Toasty Gingerbread

This allowed the cowl to dry quickly, suspended gently, with no creases.

The Quince & Co. Chickadee in Gingerbread blocked out wonderfully without any special pinning out ~ the lace sectioned opened nicely.  The yarn bloomed and softened a bit.  The colorway looks a little washed out in these photos ~ it is richer IRL.

For the record, although I did not stretch this in any way, the yarn did relax for a much larger circumference after pinning.

Finished dimensions:  Height: 14.5 inches   Circumference: 38 inches.  Used 3.5 skeins.

Project marriage score: 9.5

No cable needle needed

This version of the cowl includes eight chart repeats, not seven, so that I can pull it up over my head in case of need.  (Thanks for that suggestion, Luann!)  My row gauge tends to always be shorter than my stitch gauge, so the additional repeat compensates, too.  And, BTW, I knitted the whole thing without a cable needle.  About time I learned how to do that …

I am rapidly entering the WIP wilderness where it may be awhile before I have much to show you.  There’s a little personal designing going on for this month’s Babydoll Southdown wool-along.  We’ll see where that goes.  If it’s worth looking at, I’ll show you.  If it’s not, I’ll probably show you anyway.

All thumbs

December 21, 2010

My week in a nutshell.  Thumbs.  Messing things up.  Forgetting things.  Not knitting.

Except, of course for thumbs.

Thumbs on fingerless mitts for gifts for Darling Bebe’s teachers.

First, Eve Mitts by Gina House.  The originals were made using just one skein of Elsebeth Lavold Angora.  I was test-driving a skein of AslanTrends Invernal with almost 50%

Eve mitts in AslanTrends Guanaco

more yarn, so I did make significant modifications along the way for a more comfortable finished pair.  I used a US 7 needle for a fairly dense gauge, as I knew the yarn would relax a lot with blocking.  (It did.)

Because my yarn

Ribbed palm side

was less elastic than a 100% wool, I changed the stockinette palm to a ribbed one, merely continuing the ribbing from the bottom edge all the way up.  I’m not crazy about stockinette palms in a mitt.  Full mittens are different, but even so, as one who wears hand coverings from October until April, I like a little texture there.

I added a full repeat of the right and left cable crosses to the hand before breaking the afterthought thumb stitches.  In addition, I inserted one extra cross at the top of the hand to cover the knuckles.  I like mine covered – most of us do.  If these had been for me, I would have made them even a little bit longer at the top, but the recipient has shorter fingers, so I quit there.  And I like to use the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off for mitts for elasticity.  In addition, I continued the ribbing around the thumbs for sake of a good fit and visual interest.

Humanity in Sundara Worsted Merino

Next up: Humanity by dlotter.  Inspired by Jared Flood’s Habitat hat – Mr. Owl’s favorite hat, these worked up quite nicely and quickly.

Yarn: Sundara Worsted Merino in Mint Julep

Needles: US 7

Modifications: I continued the pattern all around the thumb, which was a nice effect.

Not a successful project marriage

I thoroughly enjoyed this yarn.  It was plump and springy and only became nicer after a bath.  However, if we are talking project marriage, this was not a match made in heaven as far as the colorway was concerned.  The variegation took away from the pattern.  Too bad, but no big deal when all’s said and done.

In any case, both sets have been finished, blocked and gifted.  Check!

I am happy to report that my mom has granted me absolution where my nephew’s stocking is concerned.  No way that was going to happen.  Unh unh.

Still too much to do …

Nothing special about that, I’m afraid.

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer …

Baby, it’s cowl’d outside

December 8, 2010

I went nearly six days without knitting.


Certainly not by choice.

I am trying to get some life-mojo back, and to recover the illusion that I am in any way organized.  Working 70 hours in a week does not help this effort.

So it’s time to clear the decks with a couple of recent projects.  They have something in common, other than the obvious … both are examples of ways to incorporate shaping into accessories to achieve a better fit.

We’re talking about cowls.

Knitspot - Spiraluscious

I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing remotely swan-like about my neck.  Stubby as it is, it does get cold.  Cowls are the single best way to feel toasty warm without putting on the bulk.

You may remember this project from the first post about project marriage, Spiraluscious by Knitspot.

The yarn is Sundara Sock in my favorite colorway, Hot Chilies.

This cowl differs in construction from many others, in that it is knitted from the top down.  I used that for some shaping flexibility.

In flat view, shaping is apparent

Mods: I started at the top on US 4, at the appropriate gauge.  I wanted this not to crush down on itself into a smoosh on my squat neck.  After 2 repeats of the spiral pattern, I bumped up to a US 5.  I added no pattern repeats, but when it came time to knit on the edging, I went up again to a US 6.

Edging detail

The pattern instructs the knitter to not pin it out while blocking.  I went a different route — as evidenced in the first photo, using a vase to give it a little structure, which allowed me to open up the edging a little bit.  Ultimately, this means no breezeway where the cowl ends, which would defeat the purpose of the cowl entirely.

It being a gifting time of year, I also did a test-drive of AslanTrends Guanaco in colorway Blue Jeans on the Ridged Lace Cowl for a dear co-worker who likes to walk at lunchtime.

Ridged lace cowl

Again, I incorporated some shaping, though it’s a little hard to see in this shot. This one is knitted in the more traditional bottom-up construction.

Mods: Cast-on using US 9, through first repeat of pattern.  Changed to US 8 to purl ridge of 3rd repeat; changed to US 7 for 1.5 repeats and top edge.  I had less yarn than the pattern called for, so I knitted a total of 4.5 pattern repeats before the top edge.

I found this bulky merino-alpaca blend to be a little bit hairy ~ more than I would have liked.  It did soften up with a soak, and I know that subsequent wearing will make the finished piece softer.   (I knitted at slightly tighter gauge than I would have on a different project, knowing that the alpaca would relax with a bath.)

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