Category Archives: On My Needles

Still Sweatering

I had planned to write today’s post about my Lovenote Sweater that I finished more than a month ago, and that I really love.  Honestly, I’m not sure why I haven’t posted about it yet, other than that I forgot because of *gestures vaguely* all this.  I had really high hopes.  I was going to get dressed in something other than pajama pants, brush my hair, maybe even put on a bit of makeup to hide the stress zits, and have my husband take a couple pictures of me in my (not so) new sweater.

That was earlier this week.  Now, I’m just kinda tired, and don’t feel like it. It just seems like a lot of work to change my outfit.  You get it.

So, instead, I want to share my progress on my Quarantine Sweater.  I’m cruising along, a good 10 inches or so into the body.  I had been thinking about making this sweater cropped, like my Lovenote, but honestly I forgot I was supposed to stop after a couple inches.  So I just kept going.  Now we’re a stripe or two away from a nice long sweater. IMG_2852

I love how the gradient is turning out, though a part of me wishes that I’d gone through the effort to plan it out a little more carefully so that I just did one pass-through for the entire sweater.  And I think it’ll be a good spring-y sweater when it’s done (still, hopefully, in spring).

I’m currently thinking of making it hip length, or longer, but maybe with T-shirt sleeves.  Is that crazy?

(Though, if the sleeves go the way the body’s gone, I’ll probably space out and make them a good 6 inches too long…)

Quarantine Sweater

So, I’m putting my socks (er… sock) in time out for a little bit.  I can’t face ripping out an entire sock, and I can’t face knitting up a second sock that I know for a fact isn’t going to fit.

I also can’t really muster up the energy to dig through my stash and match up a specific pattern to the yarn that I’ve got on hand.  That just seems like way too much effort for right now.

I do, however, have just a ton of Knit Pick’s Alpaca Cloud lace-weight yarn.  Why? I have no idea.  I think the last time I knit with lace-weight yarn was somewhere in the middle of the Obama administration.  (Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice yarn, just not what I usually reach for these days.)

But, I finished my Lovenote (which I just realized I haven’t shared with you yet!), which was knit with finer yarn held double on large needles, which gave me an idea.  I set out my stashed Alpaca Cloud in a rainbow(ish) and started swatching on US10 1/2s.  (See, I learn from my mistakes.  Sometimes.)

IMG_2840

I decided that holding the yarn double made fabric that was still a little too skimpy, so I tripled-up, and came up with something that was light but fluffy, cozy but drape-y.

I busted out my favorite Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd, and started on a raglan sweater.  It’s not fancy in the design; no crazy textures or lace, no weird construction, just big blocks of color.  I’m holding the yarn triple, so every block, I switch out one color, which has left me with a rather pleasant color gradient so far.

IMG_2833

I’d originally thought about measuring out how long the sweater was going to be and making the stripes even all the way down, but… meh.  Instead, I’m kind of just knitting until I get bored, then switching.

What will the rest of the sweater look like? Who knows!  Will it be long or cropped or somewhere in the middle?  I dunno!  Will it have waist shaping or tapered sleeves? Maybe?

It’s kinda fun to go into a sweater with literally no idea of what it’s going to end up looking like.  I always go from a pattern, or at least a sketch of what I want the finished project to be, so it’s a nice change of pace and a nice project to have on my needles in this weird, weird time.

What’s your quarantine knitting?

 

And this is why you swatch.

OK.  Mistakes were made.

I was all stoked last week about making myself a pair of comfy socks.

Mistake 1-  After going on and on about all of those lovely, tried-and-true sock patterns, I decided to go off script.  Why?  Who knows?

Mistake 2- I decided to make the socks cabled.  Why?  When have I ever made cabled socks that weren’t a disaster?  Never.  Cables are the best- I love them.  They make wonderful, dense fabric that’s extra-thick and cozy.  I don’t want extra-thick fabric on my socks.  They have to fit inside shoes.

Mistake 3- I didn’t swatch.  Like an idiot.

Actually, I kinda did swatch.  I swatched the pattern (with different needles and different yarn).  IMG_2820I was thinking about using the cable design in a sweater or something, but I decided after I was finished with the swatch that it would be better for a sock.  I still maintain these are very cute socks.  But compared to my usual sock gauge, they’re way off.

Mistake 4- When I first started thinking I’d made a mistake, I just kept going.

About 3 inches in, I thought “Huh.  These are looking a little slim.”  But did I stop? No!  That would have involved admitting defeat, and having to problem-solve.

Anyway, long story short, I have one sock.  It’s a lovely sock.  It’s tall and blue and has a cute all-over cable pattern.IMG_2828

And it’s nowhere close to fitting me.  I’d show it to you on my foot, but you don’t need to see that.  Just trust that the cables are stretched beyond recognition and it barely stretches over my calf.  It’s real sad.

IMG_2829

Now I just have to decide what to do next.  Do I rip it back, and go back to a tried-and-true pattern?  Do I continue and work up a second one in the same pattern, and give it away to a smaller-footed friend? Do I ball it up and leave it at the back of my WIP drawer until I forget how I made it?

All equally good choices, I think.

What would you do?

Hey! I finished something!

Y’all, I think I might have my mojo back.  Or at least partly back.  Or at least it’s back sometimes. Or maybe it was just back for a few afternoons last week.

Either way, I’ve got a brand-new pair of socks, and I’m beyond excited about them.

Right before the “unpleasantness,” my husband and I took a long weekend trip down to Austin- it was lovely, and feels like it was fifteen years ago.  And, as I’ve said before, when I go on a trip, I’ve got to visit the local yarn shop and get a skein (or two) of local sock yarn.  Some people collect shot glasses, some collect tiny spoons.  I collect locally-dyed sock yarn.

We went to Hill Country Weavers and I picked up two lovely skeins of Chasing Rabbits Fiber Company Fern yarn- which is a really lovely, buttery-soft sock yarn.  I got one skein in purple and one in grey/turquoise.  They’re both lovely, and I forgot to take pictures of the skeins before I broke into them.  Oh well.

Anyway, I got impatient and started knitting my purple socks on the airplane ride home.(Remember airplanes?  Those were fun…) I happened to have the ebook of Splendid Soles on my phone (I have a pattern in the collection, so I’d downloaded it at some point for work).  So, I picked a pattern and… Tada!

IMG_2731

The pattern is Textured Lace Socks by Lori Wagner, and I love it.  It was complicated enough to keep me engaged, but logical enough to let me memorize the lace after a couple repeats.   Unfortunately the hand-dyed-ness of the yarn kind of hides the lace pattern (especially in pictures), but it’s so pretty, I kind of don’t mind.

I’ll be honest, I pretty much stopped following the pattern as written once I got to the heel, but that’s because I like to knit my heels and toes in a particular way, so I just did what I usually do, continuing the lace down the top of the foot.

IMG_2746

I couldn’t be happier with them.  And they’re just what I needed this week.  Nothing to make you feel cozy and content like a pair of new socks.

What are you working on to make yourself feel better?

It’s So Fuzzy!

Oooh, y’all!  This sweater is going to be amazing!

I flew through the yoke (that lace panel was fun!), and I’m cruising through the body (I’m still not sure if I want it to be cropped or not… but I’ve got a couple inches before I have to decide).  IMG_2720.JPG

I’ve gotta say, the neckline looks wild (it looks wide enough to be a waistband!).  But, I’m trusting the pattern.  It has you pick up the provisional cast-on and work the neckline ribbing with much smaller needles, which should make the sweater look more like a sweater and less like a caftan.  Fingers crossed that it turns out the way I’m hoping it will.

But I kinda don’t care how the finished sweater looks, because I just can’t get over how fuzzy and soft and glow-y this fabric is.  I wish you could reach through the computer and pet this yarn.  The combo of the heavy/drapey fingering weight bamboo and the fluffy silk/merino is just a delight.  Honestly, the reason that I haven’t already finished this sweater is that I keep pausing my knitting to pet it.  It’s really becoming a problem.

What is the project that you’re most excited about right now?

New, fun, and fuzzy!

As you know, I’ve been trying to make a point of using up my stash yarns this year.  (With mixed results- my Stonecroft Shawl is still sitting next to my computer, waiting to be frogged and re-knit, and I’ve managed to actually make more yarn… but still.)

I’ve mentioned that I have three skeins of a really nice merino-bamboo blend that have been in my stash for literally years- they might even have gone through a couple moves with me.  The yarn is lovely- soft, lightly shiny, with a beautiful drape.  But, despite the colorway being named “Peacock,” they’re kind of a denim-blue, with gray undertones.  It’s a nice enough color, but not something to inspire me to pick them up and knit something big.

Well.  I have decided what I want to do with this yarn.  If I don’t like the blue on it’s own, why not add something really crazy?  Something that’s beyond out-there (for me, anyway).  How about something hand-dyed, silky (literally) and fuzzy?

And why not jump on the bandwagon and make something completely out of my wheelhouse?  Lace! (Why not?) 3/4 sleeves! (Sure!) Cropped! (Of course!) Girly! (OK!)

That’s right, I’m making a Love Note!TCK-lovenote-01a.jpg

It’s a sweater I’ve had my eye on for a while- it’s so cute, and it looks like it would knit up in about fifteen minutes.  And I like the idea of holding a fingering-weight and a mohair/lace-weight together (so not what I usually do, but it looks fun).  And what a better way to use up my blue yarn?  Might as well have fun while stash-busting.

So I hit up my local yarn store and bought the second-brightest yarn they had.  (I almost bought a legit rainbow-colored one, but then I chickened out.)  It’s Knitted Wit Fairy Floss in Rock Candy Teal (real peacock colors!).

IMG_2705

I wound them up and worked up a swatch, and… it’s so good!  I love how the Fairy Floss wakes up the Classic Merino Bamboo, and the Classic Merino Bamboo tones down the craziness of the Fairy Floss.  It’s the perfect odd-couple of yarn!

Plus, this lace pattern is super cute!

IMG_2713

This sweater’s going to be interesting, I can already tell.  Either I’m going to love it and never take it off, or I’m going to wear it once and find a friend to give it to.  

But, either way, it’s going to be a fun knit!

Do you ever start projects outside your wheelhouse?

Good news/bad news

So, I’ve got good news and bad news about my shawl.

Good news: I’ve made it almost to the end.  I finally decided to stop adding repeats and start the border.  It’s a nice size, and I love how the pattern looks all worked up in this yarn.  I think it’s going to look even more fabulous when I’ve blocked it out.IMG_2611

Other good news: The border is looking good.  I love the way the faux-cable ends so crisply and the border takes over.

IMG_2614

Still more good news: I really enjoyed the stretchy bind-off the pattern calls for.  It looks a bit messy now, but I think it’ll block up like a dream.  I’m going to keep it in mind for future projects.

IMG_2615

And here’s the bad news:  I totally lost at yarn chicken.  And, since this is the only skein I have of this yarn, I can’t just grab a couple yards of yarn from somewhere else.  So I’ve got two options:  undo the bind-off and the last couple rows and re-knit an even narrower border. (The border is already more narrow than called for in the pattern because I procrastinated starting the border in the first place.)  Or, I can rip all the way back to the body of the shawl, remove the last faux-cable repeat, and start the whole border earlier, make it wider and (hopefully) not run out of yarn before I’m ready.  I’m not super stoked about either choice.

IMG_2617

What would you do?

Triangles

It’s been a while since I did a triangle shawl, and I forgot one very important thing about them.

They’re triangles.

I realize this seems obvious; it’s right there in the name.  But it’s one thing to pick out a project and another to actually knit it up.

The thing about triangles is that they start out skinny, then get wider and wider as you go.  (Again, very obvious.)  So, when I started this shawl two weeks ago, it was a breeze!  I flew through the first 5 charts!  It was knitting up so fast, and I was having such fun with the project.  IMG_2585

Then, the inherent triangle-ness took over and the rows slowly became longer and longer, and the shawl started feeling like it was slowing down.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like it.  It’s a very satisfying pattern, and the contrasting lace panels are fun to work.  But it’s getting to be slow going.IMG_2590

Also, I’ve been trying to see how many repeats I can do before I have to start the wide band of edging.  I’ve got more yarn than the Small size calls for, but less than the Large, so it’s kind of a guessing game.  I swear I’ve said “OK, I’ll work one more repeat, then I’ll start the edging” maybe 6 times at this point.  I really like this yarn and want to use every last bit, but I also have very little interest in losing yarn chicken and having to rip it out again.

Maybe I’ll do one more repeat, then I’ll start the edging…

A New Project Emerges!

I’m so ready for this one, folks!

I showed you my stash yarn last week, and have decided to go ahead and start knitting with some of it.  Specifically, this skein of Local Color Fiber Studio Whole Flock.  It’s deliciously crunchy-looking (and a little crunchy-feeling, despite the angora, but in a good way).IMG_2519 It’s something I’ve been looking for an appropriate pattern for since last winter.  In fact, I was almost to the point where I was going to say “screw it!” and just turn it into a simple garter scarf (boring!).

Since it’s so rustic-looking, I decited to pair it with a kind of feminine, lacy pattern.  But I didn’t want the pattern to be too fru-fru, since that’s not really my style.  So, I poked around on Ravelry for a while, and found this lovely triangular shawl.

It’s the Stone Croft Shawl by Judy Marples!DSC_0051.jpgIt’s a fairly geometric shawl, with a wide band of the “netting” that runs along two sides of the triangle, and a pretty column of faux-cable lace in the middle.  The perfect balance of pretty and femme, without tipping over into “girly.”  And, since the shawl is knit from one point, out to the wide end, I think I’ll be able to use every last scrap of my special yarn (or at least that’s the goal right now).

I’ve already got a few inches under my belt, and I can’t wait to see how it looks all finished up.  I bet this yarn is going to block really well- I’m excited!IMG_2563

Have you started anything new lately?

New Year, Old Yarn

I’m not doing any new year’s resolutions this year.  Not for any real reason; mostly because I never can think of a really good resolution.  But, I have been thinking of working on getting my stash down.

I mean, I often (almost always) knit from my stash, but I’ve still managed to end up with a surprising amount of yarn, just sitting there in my studio.  Sure, a lot of it is single skeins, but I’ve got surprisingly large amounts of several yarns, and even some pretty special single skeins.

It seems a shame to leave them just sitting there.

But here’s the issue- I’m completely out of ideas for patterns that I might use for these yarns.  Here’s hoping that one of you have a magical idea to help me use up some of this yarn.

First, I’ve got 360 yards of a super special, sport weight wool-angora blend from Local Color Fiber Studio.  It’s glorious and soft, but looks really crunchy and natural.  I’ve had it for a year or so, and get it out every time I’m looking for a new project.  I still haven’t found just the right pattern for it.  I’m this close to just making a garter triangle scarf, and calling it a day.IMG_2519.JPG

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve got 5 and a half skeins of super soft, super chunky Knit Picks Swish Bulky.  It’s leftover from a sweater I designed earlier this year (keep an eye out!), and I don’t think it’s enough to make a second full-sized sweater.  It’s such a pretty green, though, I really want to use it for something.

IMG_2531

I’ve also got a full sweater quantity of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, a nice wooly workhorse yarn, in sapphire blue.  I’m currently working on a design in the same yarn, so I could just re-knit the same pattern again in blue, but I think I’d like to do something a little more interesting instead.

IMG_2536

Continuing on the Knit Picks jag, I’ve got a giant bag of Hawthorne, my favorite sock yarn from KP.  This is a tricky one, though.  I’ve got about 10 different colors (that don’t necessarily go together), a handful of full skeins, and a bunch of partial skeins.  I’m currently thinking I might use it to crochet an afghan, but that’s really just because I can’t figure out what else to do with it (apart from knitting one thousand socks).

IMG_2554

I also found these three beautiful, peacock blue skeins of Knitting Notions Classic Merino Bamboo, a sport weight wool-rayon blend that is beautiful and shiny, but almost impossible to photograph.  Between the three skeins, I’ve got almost 1500 yards, which has got to be enough to make something wonderful, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it since I was gifted it several years ago.  Will 2020 be the year of the Peacock yarn?  Time will tell.

IMG_2539

Have you done a deep dive into your stash lately? Find anything good?

And, seriously, if you have any ideas for my yarn, I’d love to hear them!