Crushed by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits

Crushed Shawlette

Crushed Shawlette

This post is long (LONG – yes, I am screaming!) overdue. I finished this lovely knit ages ago and it has languished along with my knitting mojo in a bin in my atelier (studio in French).

IMG_4202I have had a gorgeous skein of a gradient yarn in my stash for a couple of years. It was gifted to me by my sister-in-love and brother. Every time I stuck my fingers into the sock yarn bin in my atelier I would see it and think about what it would like to become. Yes, I really do think that way. If you force a design on a skein of yarn (or several skeins in the case of a sweater, etc.) it tends not to work. At least that’s my experience. The yarn and pattern speak to me (not literally, of course, but I hope you know what I mean) when they’re ready to pair up … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

In the case of my Vice gradient yarn, it seemed to want to become “Crushed” by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits. (Pattern is available for $6.00 US on Ravelry.) Crushed is described as a heart shaped shawlette and if I have one complaint, it would be that it isn’t big enough. I loved knitting the pattern and would have liked to continue it a bit more for two reasons: first, to make it a little bit larger and second, to use up all or more of my yarn. With that said, I did create a few more repeats of the pattern so that the beautiful bright yellow was more prominent in my scarf because I love all the colors of this yarn so much.

Edge Detail

Edge Detail

I blocked the heck out of this little shawlette *with my added rows* and it measures 62 inches from tip to tip and it’s 27 inches long at the widest part.

The yarn was Blurred Lines by Vice in the “Loki” colorway. It’s a fingering-weight yarn with a wonderfully soft hand and slowly changes from black to bright yellow. The in-between colors are fabulous near-dark forest green and grey with a tinge of yellow. The fiber is a merino and nylon blend and would have made fun socks but I felt that it would be a shame to “waste” such a beautiful gradient on socks – This yarn was screaming to be something much more “public”. I love the way this yarn knitted up with no splitting and it was even and smooth despite coming off the cake in a crimped form. At first I thought maybe it head been knitted and then tinked before being wound but it was consistent throughout so I figure it must have been intended to be that way. Or maybe it was a “sock blank” in a former life. I’m not sure why but it’s so pretty I’m not askinIMG_6530g any questions.

I wanted my shawl to be black up by the shoulders and near my face and the yellow to be along the edge. I rewound the cake to make it a center-pull cake with the black in the middle. It makes the yarn stay put when you’re knitting.

The pattern was wonderful and simple to follow. I mostly used the charts to knit from and on occasion (when I hit a snag – my brain’s fault, not the fault of the pattern) I would refer to the written instructions. I enjoy chart knitting and I think it’s good for my brain to be challenged to think differently when I am knitting. Charts feed that part of the challenge for my brain. And since we are knitting flat, the charts read right to left and left to right which is another challenge for our brains. Another reason that knitting is healthy!

I’m not sure whether I’ve shared this with you before but my mother died having suffered 10+ years with Alzheimer’s Disease. I am working quite intentionally on doing things that challenge my brain. Eating healthfully, cutting way back on sugar and carbs, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, plant-based oils and as organic as I can possibly do. It was painful to watch someone you love do a quicksand-sink into their own world. This fact makes my efforts to be healthy and challenge myself ever more vital as I age (and I’m aging quickly!)

I am looking forward to cooler weather so that I can wear my beautiful Crushed shawlette. And when you live in Maine, it could be later on today even though it’s June! Meanwhile, I’m challenging myself with more knitting and quilting. Stay tuned!

Gone knitting.

Girasol

Girasol by Jared F

Girasol by Jared Flood

I’m so in love with this project that I want to marry it!

Three of us in the Wednesday night knitting class (plus our teacher) decided to knit the Girasol Shawl in the worsted weight version which makes an afghan. I really (REALLY!) loved knitting this and it wasn’t difficult. I loved knitting it so much that I absolutely will knit another one.

Girasol by Jared Flood is written for fingering/lace weight or worsted weight yarns. I think you could knit it in any weight of your choosing with appropriately sized needles. And they will all be gorgeous! The pattern is available on Ravelry.

The pattern itself is clear and well written and a cinch to follow. The most “difficult” part, in my opinion, is the cast on which is Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast On. I’m sharing Jimmy Bean’s Wool’s tutorial with the ever delightful Jeanne. Watch it a couple of times before attempting this cast on. It’s a beauty – for starting any project in the middle of a circle (hats from the top down, lace shawls, etc.) Sheer genius and it sits flat when pulled closed.

This cast on is originally in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac (a wonderful book, by the way. EZ had a most unique and visionary knitting technique.) It’s available on Amazon.com … click on the image below and you’ll be magically transported! (You’re welcome, of course!)

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If you’re serious about knitting, you have to read EZ. Seriously! Anyway, back to Girasol …

I used Cascade 220 Superwash (because who wants a huge, wool-stinky, wet afghan to dry? Although, truth be told, I’m thinking of using wool for the next one. I may be crazy!) in a light grey tweed-y colorway. I love grey as a neutral and this will, theoretically, live in my atelier where I can throw it over my legs or fold it in half and wear it over my shoulders on a cold evening. Mine took nine balls (the pattern asks for eight and I may knit a bit loosely.) The edge stitches were (a little bit) boring – it’s knitted on the edge as you bind off and three stitches are “eaten up” when you knit six rows. There are 640 stitches. Got it? 🙂

The pattern calls for a US 9 circular needle and DPNs. I started with the DPN and then went to a 24 inch wire and then to a 32 inch wire and ended up with a sixty inch wire which was really a little bit too long. But it worked. I used my fabulous Dreamz interchangeable needles by Knitters Pride. I love them.

If you choose to knit this gloriously beautiful shawl/afghan, watch out and be aware when you start the edging. Just saying. I was in the car and everything was all bunched up and I started with the wrong side facing me and the edging on my blanket is “backward”. I think it’s very fitting, actually, and I chose to leave it that way.

Knit this pattern. I’m not kidding. You’ll love it. I can’t wait to see what mine looks like after it’s blocked … which will have to wait until our house is finished and furnished. Soon enough and I will be using it unblocked until that time. My knitting group is doing a Girasol for one of our members’ mother-in-law who recently lost her husband. I’m looking forward to my turn knitting!

Gone knitting.

Mukluks

imageI bought a pattern earlier this summer to make a pair of slipper socks for a former student to whom I had become very attached. I knitted them up and sent them off to Florida. A few days later I got a picture on Facebook with her wearing them. Mom reports that she loves them. I’m so glad. Recently I made a pair of baby booties for my new niece Lilah Wise and I wanted to make something for my niece Faye Carleton, the big sister. When her mom told me that her feet were pretty big, I decided that these mukluks were a good idea. And I had the yarn in my stash in the cabin. (I totally miss my yarn stash that is in storage and I can’t wait to get it back and organized in my new studio in our new house. But I digress.)

The Childrens Mukluks pattern by Diane Soucy are really cute, quick to knit up in a bulky yarn, and I think they’re a.so super toasty. The pattern is a classic with clear directions to follow. Starting in the center of the sole, the foot is knitted first from the sole and then the toe with a seam sewn at the very end. The first part is done on US 7 straight needles. Once the foot is finished, the cuffs are knitted in the round on DPNs. Several rounds of knit and purl make up a cuff that looks like Alaskan mukluks; a little bit poofy as if they were made of animal hides in the good old days. I think I’m good with knitting mine!

There is a similar pimageattern for adults and I would suggest that if you want to knit a simple and warm winter gift for someone else or for you, pick this one. It’s quite remarkable. I plan to buy and knit the adult slippers for at least one adult this Christmas!

The colors of the yarn don’t really show up as they really are but as I was knitting the tiny ones for Faye, I realized they were in “Frozen” colors (think Elsa and Anna) and these have started a very dangerous Frozen-themed gift buying spree. I am heading to California on Thursday to meet my nieces for the first time. I’m so excited!!!

Gone knitting!

Holiday Knitting

Knitting Project #1

Knitting Project #1

I’ve had this yarn in my stash for years. Yes, years! I bought it at the Fiber Frolic from Oasis Bunny Farm … it’s angora yarn. I wanted to make something for my college roommate. And I thought it was so soft and neutral … I’ve just had a challenge finding something that I really love as I get knitting. This is the third or fourth time that I’ve started a project with this yarn and I hope this one will finally be one that I love.

Noro Nadeshiko

Noro Nadeshiko

 

The second project, one that wasn’t necessarily planned, is my slouchy beanie. The pattern was one that my knitting girls in Maine had been knitting – with chunky yarn so it was a quick knit – and I had no hat and it was 16 degrees! So I picked out a skein of Noro Nadeshiko (color way 29A) and the pattern Relaxed Beret by Denice Sharp and off I went.

 

 

Bermuda ShawlBermuda Shawl

I also finished my second iteration of the Bermuda Shawl with my Noro Silk Garden Sock. I have to hunt for the yarn label and update my Ravelry projects. For some reason, I didn’t write it down. Oops! I love the shawl and have worn it as a scarf for the whole trip! It’s light enough that I can wear it in Florida and adds warmth in Maine. This is a wonderful pattern and one that I highly recommend for someone who wants to learn about short rows! It’s quite a wonderful exercise in short rows (which I love!) I’ll add more pictures soon.

(Queen Bee’s Note: I’ve “frogged” the angora scarf. Yet again! Just wasn’t feeling the love for the pattern that I was knitting. I’ll try again … maybe something in a nice herringbone?)

Gone Knitting!

Wonderful Wallaby – Pattern Review

Image 4I taught the Wonderful Wallaby pattern by Carol A. Anderson as part of the classes that I offered at the Yarn Nook in Lafayette, LA earlier this month. This pattern is so great that I want to make one for myself (and so did the owners of the Yarn Nook … another uniform piece?)

The pattern reads a bit like a story and has cute illustrations. I had a bit of difficulty finding the place in the pattern booklet where they told me what I needed to get gauge and others did, too. But it is there. You may have to “hunt” a little. Once you’ve gotten your gauge swatch knitted and are set to begin, the pattern is clearly written and well written. I have had no difficulty following most of it. I did do and re-do the part where you pick up stitches at the bottom of the “pouch”/pocket. If I had actually READ the pattern, however, it would have been done properly the first time!

I decided to add a bit of a different yarn to my sweater (I knitted the smallest size, a 2T) and make the pocket/”pouch” a different color and I also started the sleeve ribbing in the coordinating yarn. Once done with the body of the sweater, I also decided to use the coordinating yarn for the collar ribbing and on the 5 stitches that border the hood. I wish I had added the coordinating yarn at the first row of the neck stitches in the yoke. (For the children’s sweater, this direction is on page nine at the bottom.) I’d have begun the coordinating color yarn at the place where you purl the ten center stitches between the markers on the front of the sweater.

Students who took this class made good progress and each sweater was very unique. One student was making a green sweater with a pink pouch. Another was making a baby blue sweater with blue and pink stripes on the pouch. They were all cute! One poster on my Facebook pages said that this was her favorite children’s sweater pattern ever. I might be willing to agree with her after knitting this pattern.

The yarns that I used were Berroco Comfort Solid in a beige color (3 skeins for my size) and Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool in a beige/lavender/grey/green colorway. I love knitting with both yarns on this sweater. The Berroco yarn is not too heavy and is washable. It’s worsted weight and not too “splitty” (my pet peeve for yarn!) I think for a child’s sweater, it has to be washable … what mom wants to wash their child’s sweaters by hand? As with all knitted items, I’d suggest drying it flat. Liberty Wool is a soft wool yarn and I love the colorways. I wanted to take home a couple of balls of each just to play with. This yarn is a looser wrap and can split so be careful knitting with it but you’ll love the way it feels. And the way it looks, too!

I am totally pleased with my Wonderful Wallaby and will be sending it on to a very special little girl in our family … she’s going to have a bunch of hand-knit sweaters from her auntie when she is a little bit bigger! Her collection keeps growing … because I keep finding sweet little patterns to knit for her! I have another project all lined up for when I finish one or two!

You can purchase the pattern at your LYS (local yarn shop) or online at Amazon.com or Cottage Creations. You can also call Cottage Creations at 641-324-1280. The pattern is around $7.00 … a great deal considering you get from size (child) 2-T through an adult XXL or “super size”! Trust me, you’re going to want to knit one of these for every member of your family! And don’t forget to check out the different styles and colors that have already been knitted on Ravelry!

Gone Knitting!

 

Ta-Da!

My Vintage Velvet scarf is finished! And felted. And blocked (well, dry.)

Vintage Velvet

Vintage Velvet

I first saw this pattern a decade or so ago and I fell in love with it way back then. I loved the way the yarn felt and I loved the way it looked. Truly like vintage velvet. Mine is no exception.

The pattern, from Scarf Style by Pam Allen, is pretty much perfect. The directions are clear and well written. The reversible cable pattern is simple to follow (even I learned it by heart) and the Meunch yarn, “Touch Me” is delightful to knit with. It feels so good in your hands while you’re knitting, it’s hard to believe that yarn could be so soft. I was fortunate to find the yarn, after all these years, on sale at 50% off so the scarf isn’t worth a small fortune. But even at full price, this scarf is so beautiful, it’s totally worth it! You do need 5 skeins (and I think I used six to use up all that I bought – I was shopping without the pattern) and at $16 or more per skein, this is not a “cheap” project. We all know, however, that it’s not about the price. Right?

Cable Close-Up

Cable Close-Up

The scarf has a beautiful reversible cable right down the middle and when it’s felted at the end – Yes! Felted! I washed mine with a load of towels in hot water and then put it into the dryer for about ten minutes as directed – it truly does look like velvet.

I only have one complaint about the yarn and that is that my dye lot seemed to have a lot of  knots and that meant that I had a lot of stops and starts … and a lot of ends to weave in at the end which is not my favorite part of knitting. But I loved watching the scarf unfold and am so pleased by the end result. It was worth waiting for!

Gone Knitting!

Orlando Distaff Day 2013

IMG_0830 I took one picture today at Orlando’s Distaff Day! One! (And it was as I was leaving to head to my car and home.) But who wouldn’t wonder & follow a sign like this?

The whole day was fun. Not a minute when I thought, “It’s time to go home” or “Ugh, why’d I offer to demo” or anything like that. I had so much fun mingling with knitters and spinners and weavers and felters of all ages! It was also fun to catch up with some of my “old” knitting friends and meet some new ones.

I arrived at 10am thinking I’d like to catch some great bargains at the “Garage Sale” or find something wonderful that I just can’t live without on the “free table”. While I did see things I liked, I reminded myself of the shopping binge in Mississippi and suppressed the urge! Next on the list was a chat with James the needle felter. This guy is super talented and fun to chat with … loved his sample of felted camel hair – who has a camel?!

IMG_0833I got some fun yarn from the gift swap! I was asked to be the “carrier” of the traditional gag gift (a horribly bright crocheted purse and bikini bottom that has been added on to over the years and now contains a bikini top and some fuzzy flip-flops!) and was glad to present my gift to a (horrified?) recipient of the gag. She was a super good sport! Lots of laughs during the game which was new this year and a lot of fun! (I hope she liked my gift!)

IMG_0832I won a door prize – some yarn from Four Purls Yarn Shop! (And I never win prizes, it was  a happy moment!) The demos were super! Needle Felting, Kumihimo braiding, and my weaving in ends as you go, weaving and more. You can always learn something at Distaff Day! You can also see what everyone’s knitting at the fashion show. This year’s “biggest hit” was a woman who had knit socks to her panties! Yes, I mean it! She started to knit a pair of socks with her left-over bits and pieces of sock yarn and ended with a pair of hand-knit pantyhose … attached ever so carefully to a pair of panties! She was showing them off in their best light, of course, by wearing flip-flops and shorts. Knitters have such great senses of humor!

I loved the “make ‘n’ take” this year, too – a pair of earrings or stitch markers made of tiny fabric squares and beads. Thanks to a really great manicure and gel nail polish, my fingernails are so long that I struggled with tying the last knots but managed after a couple of attempts!

A fun fiber-y day with friends old and new. If you missed it, you’re no doubt sorry today but  don’t worry, there’s always next year!

Gone knitting!