It all started because my boyfriend and I both have a thing for watermelons. Almost two years ago, I bought some superwash fiber in a very clever configuration, where you could split it down the middle and have two identical pieces of roving.. Yes, you read that right, this is a post that was years in the making. And somehow, I feel like I need to do it justice, (which means I’m completely tongue-tied, naturally.) Anyway. Heather, the lovely genius behind Mad Color Fiber Arts, dyes beautiful roving that looks like other things. (she had some in all the colors of a Blue Tang that still occasionally keeps me up at night.) But the one that immediately stole my heart was one that looked like a yummy slice of watermelon translated into wool. I snatched it up like a greedy child stealing sweets. Also, she was super nice and sweet, and that’s one of the easiest ways to get me to buy things from you. So I turned that into yarn..
Two skeins of nearly matching chain plied sock yarn, but then they just had to sit for a while. I don’t like to use my handspun yarn right away. It makes me nervous. I like to set it on a shelf and walk by and smoosh it occasionally, until I figure out what it wants to be. I feel like I’m not alone in this, handspun is too precious to waste on any project other than the perfect one. So they went into hibernation. Greg also may have threatened to steal the socks I made even if they didn’t fit him, but I told him that he’d have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands.
A good long while afterwards, I was engaged in one of my hobbies. I call this one “trying to convince Greg that knitting is actually cool.” He likes to tease me by begging me to just accept that I am extremely dorky. I accepted that long since, but his counterpoint when I say knitting is cool is that doing anything as much as I knit makes you a geek. Even if it’s. breakdancing or flying fighter jets. Anyway, I was once again engaged in this most noble of pursuits, and this time I was showing him the yarny stylings of Yarn Enabler. Her stuff is way cool, her biggest claim to fame being that she makes sock yarn that knits up to look like other stuff. Like blue ones with rainbow toes, strawberries.. or watermelons. When Greg saw those, he lost his freaking mind. He had to have them. He made grabby hands at the screen. Any yarn thing that produces that kind of reaction in Greg (who is knit friendly but definitely in no way obsessed) is sure to be a present for him sooner rather than later. So I sneakily ordered the yarn (as well as some for myself too. If you’re paying for postage from Canada anyway..)
Those socks were my traveling companions for months. They were just way too fun. The yarn itself was gorgeous, smooshy and soft and tightly plied, and I knit on them constantly. On the subway, on the bus, during my lunch break, these socks really got around! They were finished pretty quickly too. Greg has smallish feet, and he doesn’t like his socks super tall. So before long they were finished. (we will ignore the part where I let them sit around for several weeks when all they needed was a bind-off, because I hate doing stretchy bind-offs.)
And then, well, I started feeling envious. Greg’s watermelon socks were super cool.. So I started knitting some of my own! My handspun sock yarn was considerably thicker than the commercial yarn for his socks, more like a sport/DK weight. so I cast on..
And I had a finished pair of socks in nine days!!! It would’ve been a week if I hadn’t made them way too big at first and needed to rip back. They’re still by far the fastest pair of socks I’ve ever made. It felt like they took longer to dry after blocking than to knit. So now? Finished semi-matching socks!
I know that there’s a completely gratuitous number of pictures in this post, but I’m really quite proud of these. That’s a lot of time and effort wrapped up in those two pairs of socks!
And maybe the best part? I asked Greg if we could take a picture of our feet next to each other in their matching socks, and he thought it was a great idea! He’s usually anti matching because it’s too cutesy, (although we do both have purple jeans that we sometimes accidentally wear on the same day) but matching watermelon socks are so seriously awesome that they’re immune to his hate of matching. Woooo! He loves them and I love mine too. One pair closer to wearing only hand knit socks during the winter.
Friends, all has been rather quiet on the blog front lately, but that’s mostly because I’ve been knitting only at a medicinal level. (That means enough to take the edge off of some stress, but not enough to have much to talk about.) However, I’m still working on my crazy sock plan, and I finally got the last skein to finish my plotting!!! It’s some prettiness from Desert Vista Dyeworks!! Now, the yarn is lovely, squishy and soft and tightly plied. However, my monitor was a BIG FAT LIAR about the colors of the yarn. I contacted Susan about it and she offered to re-dye it for me, but.. I felt kinda bad. Self striping yarn is super labor intensive, and I didn’t feel like making her redo everything was at all nice when differences in color are just part and parcel of ordering online. Desert Vista Dyeworks has great customer service and loads of awesome colors, and I will definitely order from her again, so I don’t want you thinking that I’m blaming the artist. But the yarn was definitely much more Halloween than the roller rink/Pop Rocks colors I had planned on. So I hatched a Plan.
I decided to overdye the pale green stripe to make it a turquoise blue (my favorite color!) but I’m also totally cheap, so I decided to use some food coloring. I went to the store and got some of the McCormick’s neon colors, because after doing some searching online it looked like the neon blue was just the ticket! I wound the yarn around a plastic egg carton, wrapping the stripe I wanted to overdye at the bottom and all the other colors on top. I really should’ve used something else, because the heat from the dye solution warped the plastic a bit. Fortunately it didn’t melt :P After getting it all arranged, I soaked the part of the yarn that I wanted to dye in water and vinegar for about half an hour. Vinegar helps open up the wool so it can take in the dye. I then put a pot of water on the stove on very low heat, and added dye until I had the color I wanted. It took almost nothing! I got two packages of dye because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough.. and had way too much. Oh well, guess I’ll have to do it again! I dipped the yarn into the dye bath, and separated the strands of yarn with a wooden chopstick so the dye would cover all the yarn equally. It seems like dye needs some encouragement to go on evenly, but after a little fussing with it, I was pleased with the consistency of the color. My dye bath was still a very pretty blue, so I decided to try dyeing a few other things too! I had a little skein of handspun silk, which had a delectable sheen but was a rather boring shade of cream. I also had a mini-skein of a polwarth/silk blend that I had spun up as part of a color blending experiment, and it came out a pretty uninspiring shade of greyish yellow. Into the dye bath they both went!
And here’s the final result!!
Are you shocked? I’ve been working on the same thing for a WHILE. I had reached the point of acceptance. Without a word of a lie, I thought I was going to be spinning this for the rest of my life. There was a small logical part of my brain that knew that wasn’t the case, but the rest of it was completely convinced. Part of the reason why it took so long is that the fiber is absolutely lovely. I didn’t want to mess it up. Then I messed around a lot with the colors so that I could get a near-perfect gradient. (I love being obsessively controlling about my spinning.) I knew I wanted to chain ply, and I wanted a very lightweight yarn, so that meant that I’d be spinning three times the final length of the yarn, with very skinny singles. And then when you’re chain plying, you have to pay particular attention to the evenness of your spinning so you don’t get those dreadful unsightly lumps.. All that goes to say that I’ve been spinning on this fiber for over 10 weeks (*sigh* I’m terrible.)
Here’s the gorgeous fiber:
It’s superfine merino from Melissa at Hey Lady Hey, in her Laguna colorway. It’s speckled, and there’s a ton of depth to all of the colors in the braid. There’s deep plummy purple and vibrant blood red, a pretty pale green, a grass green, and an aqua green color. It’s beautiful as it is, but me being me I decided that I needed to rip it up and organize the segments by color (which I did with actually pretty remarkable success.) What I ended up with is a gradient that starts in deep purple, progresses through blood red to pale green to grass green to aqua green at the end. To make it even more fun, all the green sections have at least a small amount of red speckling. I love it.
The superfine merino is perfect for spinning really thin. It’s CRAZY SOFT even with tons of twist in it. Don’t you love all the colors in the finished yarn? They blended and mixed in the coolest ways. I was originally thinking that I’d knit a Zuzu’s Petals with this, but I now think that the colors are too vibrant and would obscure the lacework. Plus I have way too much yardage and I want to use the whole gradient. I’ve got just over 400 yards, so I’m going to try to knit a Citron instead. So many people have knit one that I’m feeling left out :P I also think that the half-circle shape would perfectly highlight the shifting colors of the yarn, and the gradient will make it look like a really wild slice of citrus, something you might find in Willy Wonka’s factory.
I love this yarn. I think that it’s really one of the loveliest things I’ve ever spun, and it’s definitely my best effort so far as regards chain-plying. I still have to do that on my spindle in order to get it to work for me. I think that I could eventually teach myself to do it on my wheel, but I’d have to ruin a fair amount of fiber in order to figure it out. So the spindle works for now :) I would also like to point out that this skein hasn’t been washed, so its imperfections are more obvious than they will be after a bath. (I have my pride, you know. Don’t want to seem like a worse spinner than I actually am :P) So I really have been working! I’ve just been overly meticulous and it took me a long time to finish this pretty. I want to cast it on soon, which is usually the opposite of what I do. I like my stash to hang around for a while as I figure out what it wants to be. This just wants to be wrapped around my neck right now!! It’s so soft and squishy and the colors are awesomely fun. Also, you should know that the prep was AMAZING. I could’ve spun it right out of the braid, and I’m terrible at that usually. So go forth and buy stuff! I might cast this on tonight and ditch all my other projects (and they are legion.)
So I have frequently waxed poetic on the blog about shawls and my love for them, but my love has doubled, perhaps even tripled.
Everyone loves Hitchhiker shawls, right? You see them everywhere! I think it’s probably because they play so nicely with those variegated yarns that we feel compelled to buy and then have no idea what to do with. Well, they work just as well with crazy handspun.
I very frequently buy roving because I’m compelled by the colors, and then I spin it and it’s pretty yarn, but I know I’ll be mad about how it knits up. It turns out that I’m really bad at just letting things happen and feeling the zen. I like to know how things are going to work out, and I require balance and proper color mixing and well. I may be just the teensiest bit controlling about my knitting. (This is probably good actually, because it enables me to let stuff go in life. Knitting is probably responsible for how much I don’t pester Greg.)
Anyway, I bought some of the Malabrigo roving that everyone seems to have such strong feelings about. A lot of people have complained about felting, but I didn’t have that problem myself. Merino can be fussy though, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to get some felting in an industrial dyeing operation. I got the Archangel colorway, because it’s stunning, but it was all crazy sunset colors so I didn’t want to ply it and muddy the gorgeousness. So I decided to spin it as fingering weight singles, with the idea of eventually making a scarf or shawl.
Then I saw someone else’s handspun Hitchhiker and its destiny was revealed. I wish I could remember whose it was, but all I know is that it was on Instagram about four months ago. I have been working on it for a while, and now it’s finished!! Isn’t it beautiful? I totally love it!! The colors are lovely together, which is very typical of Malabrigo. I feel like it looks like a tropical sunset or the wings of a phoenix. It’s also incredibly soft. The slight unevenness in the yarn combined with the garter stitch makes it look like the striations of a rock formation in the desert, or the grain in a piece of petrified wood.
I do have one quibble. I ended up with one side of the shawl being longer than the other. The point definitely isn’t right in the middle. That may be because I knit until I ran out of yarn, and I had more than 500 yards. Has anyone else had that happen with their Hitchhikers? Is there a way to get it to come out more balanced? Mine has 48 teeth and the pattern recommends 42. I don’t really care that much, I still love it, and it will look TOTALLY SLAMMIN with my purple biker jacket. (yes, my shawls have their own wardrobe. why do you ask? 😝)
Until next time!
Remember how I promised to show you all of the yarn that was distracting me from my current socks in progress? I couldn’t wait, I’m doing it today. It involved another trip to the park across the street for yarn photography, but my neighbors already think I’m odd so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice.
I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog dedicated to self-striping yarns. I have a bit of an obsession with them, and I’m going to fill my sock drawer with handmade woollies that will cradle my tootsies in cozy warmth and insane colors. I purchased quite a few skeins with my birthday money, and I had a few hanging around already, but I’m having the hardest time just taking the plunge and knitting with them! They seem too precious. So I’m confessing here on the blog, and promising all of you that I will actually knit with my precious self-striping skeins. They will become my travelling socks for the foreseeable future. I’m going to compare and contrast all of them, so you can decide what you might like to get for yourself. )I’m nothing if not an enabler.)
I want to start with a baseline for comparison. I know that it’s discontinued, but I think that Knit Picks Felici is going to be my baseline yarn. It’s self striping and pretty, and it’s a commercial yarn. All the others in the series are hand dyed in small batches, and I’m interested in highlighting the differences between commercial yarns and yarn from indie dyers. So I’ll probably start with these skeins:
It’s Felici in the Jellybean colorway. They’ll be my basis for comparison.
I’ve got Yarn Enabler:
This should knit up into nice fat stripes, which I totally prefer to skinny ones. I can be seduced into knitting skinny stripes by lovely colors, but wide stripes charm me more.
I have this joyful amazingness from Fab Funky Fibers:
Appropriately titled The Big One, it is a 24 stripe rainbow. My love for it is pure. These socks are either going to be so loved that they have holes immediately, or so cherished that they only get worn once a year. Only time will tell, but I’m totally doing an afterthought heel so that when it wears out I can replace it. They may only be worn when I need exceptional good luck, because I have a firm belief that rainbow socks are lucky, and handknit socks made from hand-dyed rainbow stripes must be extra lucky.
I have this neon brightness from String Theory Colorworks:
This is their Orbit base, a nice tightly plied sport weight sock yarn. I’ve never knit sport weight socks, so I’m interested to see how much more quickly these knit up than my typical socks. The colorway name is Strontium-90, which I am enchanted with. Doesn’t it actually look radioactive?
No list of self-striping yarns would be complete without a spot for Turtlepurl Yarns.
I absolutely had to get this set. It will stripe in the colors of Burberry plaid. That in itself is totally enough, but I am a little obsessed with Burberry. I can’t afford it at this point in my life, but at least with these socks I can pretend to be posh. The coordinating red is for matching heels and toes and cuffs. These will be some tall socks!
I couldn’t decide on simply one, so I got two skeins from White Birch Fiber Arts.
The skein on the left will alternate rainbow stripes with stripes of blue sky, and the skein on the right will be all Dark Side of the Moon style and alternate rainbow stripes with stripes of black. Very styling.
I got some lovely and coveted Vesper Sock Yarn:
It’s all peaceful blues and greens with a little bit of sand and a dark rich brown. I love these colors together, they’re perfectly harmonious. It looks like a forest spirit was trying to disguise itself as a skein of yarn. Doesn’t it seem just perfect there, nestled in the grass?
Last, but certainly not least, I got some yarn from Twisted Limone Designs.
Isn’t it perfect? Don’t you totally want to come over and fight me for it? The colors are, according to the shop description, blackcurrant, raspberry, dark charcoal, white, grass green, lime green and sea green. If that doesn’t charm you, I don’t know what will. (also you might need to look up some cute pictures of kittens, because your crankiness might be terminal.) I also love the presentation, the hand-wound ball feels like a special gift. I also know that it’s super labor intensive, but it’s so beautiful, opening the package was thrilling.
So that’s everything! A few other skeins may eventually join the party, (I’m currently stalking Coloring Book Yarns, I want some BMO sock yarn because I love Adventure Time.) One last picture with all the yarns together:
Doesn’t it look like almost too much fun? I feel like this will really motivate me to knit socks more and faster. (Also, I so desperately want to just be done with the socks from my last post so I can just enjoy all of these. Maybe they can be short socks. Ankle socks anyone? :P)
Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide.
I know that I must have previously rhapsodized over the lowly hand-knit sock. I absolutely ADORE wool socks. I feel like they keep my feet extra cozy, and with ow cold it gets in Boston, they’re actually a necessity for much of the year (and still wearable in summer, especially when camping, as Greg and I often do.) I like them as travel projects, because they easily fit in my purse or shoulder bag and don’t take up much space. Why is it, then, that my current sock project is leaving me thoroughly unexcited?
Reasons why I should be loving this sock:
1. It’s a new sock yarn to me, Yarn Pirate superwash BFL. I like the BFL sock yarn, it feels quite sturdy, but still lovely and soft.
2. It’s in three of my favorite colors, turquoise, green, and purple. (and somehow it’s doing perfect one row stripes, despite being a variegated yarn, not a self striping one.)
3. It’s in a pattern that I am finding quite interesting (Rye, by Tin Can Knits, but in a sock weight rather than worsted.)
However, it’s all to no avail! I want them to be done. I think some of the problem is that I knit up part of a sock in this yarn before. Unfortunately, it was a bad match between yarn and pattern. I picked a very complicated Cookie A pattern, but with the variegation the pattern was obscured, and honestly it was way too much work for a sock that was going to look mediocre at best. So those hit the frog pond, and now I’m working on these. It’s a much better match, and I like the socks a lot more. However, this sock yarn is pretty fine, so instead of knitting them on my normal size 1’s, I went down to a 0. And there might be the real problem. The smaller needle is making progress seem SO SLOW. I ditched these socks for Christmas presents, then I ditched them for projects I liked better after Christmas, then I ditched them for a pair of socks for Greg, and then AGAIN so I could knit myself a DIFFERENT PAIR OF SOCKS when I was feeling grumpy about not getting to go to YarnCon. (which I finished in nine days. I’ll tell you more about that later.)
The worst problem of all? My grandparents sent me money for my birthday and told me to spend it on YARN. (yes, they deserve a thank you note and knitted presents. I’m totally working on both.) I totally spent a bunch of it on yarn. Self-striping sock yarn, to be exact. Squee!! So I’ve got a pile of delicious yarn on my coffee table, taunting me. Waiting for my needles to be free so I can knit it up.. I’m determined to be virtuous and finish these socks first, but it is SERIOUSLY DIFFICULT.
(I’ll show you the pretty yarn later, once the last of it has arrived.)
Hello darlings! Just a quick one today, but it should be exciting for you guys. Having thought about it long and hard, I’ve decided to give you control over my sweater destiny. Two posts ago, I listed out all the sweaters that I have waiting in the wings, with the yarn for each one. I can’t decide which one I should start first, so *gasp* I’m going to let the hivemind decide for me! That’s right, I’m taking a poll, and whichever sweater option gets the most votes is going on the needles first. So go back two posts and take a look at all the possibilities. Choose wisely..
So I seem to be all about the quick projects lately. My attention span is short, what can I say? I think it’s spring, and the feeling of infinite possibility that you get when you feel the sun on your face and an actual breeze in your hair (as opposed to a freezing arctic blast.) I want to KNIT ALL THE THINGS and then organize my leftovers. Odd, that, since (as my mom will tell you) I rarely feel the need to organize anything. But recently I wound up all my leftovers by hand into pretty little balls, and got a basket and giant mason jar to organize them. (and, incidentally, cruelly tricked my boyfriend into thinking that the jar was full of candy. Sorry Greg.) That is so terribly unlike me. I have been making an effort in my life to be more put together, and it actually appears to be working? I tidy my house more, I’ve started doing HAIRSTYLES occasionally (instead of just going with whatever wildness my mop of curls intends to dish out that day) and I’m gradually getting rid of the clothes I have that don’t fit. Seriously.
As I said, I think it’s all the energy I have from not being confined inside all the time. I’m totally a hippie earth-loving lying on the grass and absorbing the sunlight kind of person, and winter is brutal for me. So now that it appears to be over, I’m crafting up a storm and loving it! Case in point: these slippers.
These are crazy-sauce thrummed slippers for my Aunt Kelly (who isn’t my aunt by blood but I’ve adopted her. My mom was sensible enough to become best friends with her before I was born and I love her.) I’ve been wanting to try thrums forever, and since Kelly lives in a drafty (but beautiful) old house here in Massachusetts, and even better, she’s Canadian and I’m pretty sure they invented thrums.. I had to make her some slippers. Also? She’s a knitter and appreciates knitted stuff. I have a glorious red and cream fair isle sweater she made me that is so warm I only wear it in the dead of winter. (it’s somewhere in my Instagram feed actually, if you want to see it) She knit it for me my freshman year in college because it was my first time living in a place as cold as Mass and she was worried that I would be homesick.
She totally loved them, and put them on right away and wiggles her toes around in the glorious squishy merino goodness. Then her cats climbed into the gift bag. It was awesome!! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, thrums are little bits of spinning fiber that you knit into things for extra insulation and coziness. I started with this:
The slippers were really quick! (for knitting, that is.) I really enjoyed making them, and kindof want a pair of my own now.. I used the Thrumbelina pattern by PDXKnitterati, and it was very clever and enjoyable. She has you incorporate an I-cord edging into the top opening of the slippers and it’s very sneaky and cool! (it took me forever to figure out that that’s what the instructions were having me create. At first I was just extremely perplexed.) I used a leftover skein of Ella Rae Classic Heathers, but I knit it at a much tighter gauge than I did last time so hopefully it won’t pill as much. The sweater I made out of it pills way more than I would expect from a 4-ply yarn. >:(
That’s pretty much it!! I seriously loved making these, and she’s never going to take them off, which delights me to no end ^.^
Friends, you might or might not know this about me, but I have kindof a lot of yarn.
(Greg is laughing like a hyena right now. Stop that Greg. It’s not cute. *cackling continues*)
ANYWAY, interruptions aside, I have a well aged and curated yarn stash at this point. Most of it is single skeins or pairs for accessory projects (shawls and socks mostly, with a few hats and cowls thrown in). I like knitting accessories, because I think that you get the most use out of them provided you live somewhere cold. You can wear the same few scarves every day for the entire winter and no one bats an eye. Also, I’m a wee bit on the impatient side, and I like to have the thrill of the finished thing reasonably often. However, lately I’ve been coveting more lengthy projects, eyeing everyone’s beautiful sweaters and feeling as though I should have a few of my own.. Plus, my Rhinebeck sweaters from the past two years are absolutely my two favorite sweaters. I absolutely ADORE them, and I wear them all the time when it’s cold out. I actually took out my sweater from two years past, and I decided to add a few more inches onto the bottom. I was getting annoyed with it riding up, and so I took destiny into my own hands and unpicked the cast off edge. I’ve added about two inches so far, and I think I’ll add maybe two more. It’s so much better already.
I think that fixing that sweater to make it perfect for me got me to thinking more about handknit sweaters and how superior they are to the purchased kind. So I started rifling through my yarn stash, and pulled out all of the yarn I have in sweater quantities. Surprisingly enough, it’s rather considerable.. I’m going to make a list of my yarn and the plans I have for it (if there are any. My plans are usually pretty loose and changeable.) I like to have yarn in the stash for a while before I knit with it, even if I have a strong idea of what I want it to become when I purchase it. I mull things over, consider them, and see if my idea is perfect in every way. Knitting is far too slow to rush into a project that becomes unsatisfying due to lack of forethought. When I finish something, I want it to be utterly fabulous. I know some of you are shaking your heads at me right now. It’s okay to do things a different way! This is just my style and I know it’s what gives me results I’m happy with, and however you get the results you want is fine for you. You do you, is what I’m saying :P
So, without any further ado, here’s my sweater yarn stash!
This is some Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool and it’s going to be a Millisande, by Ann McCauley. (all photos will be shamelessly lifted from the Ravelry page for each sweater. I did not take these pictures, as you can probably tell by the quality of my yarn photography :P)
I absolutely love this sweater. It might just be the fabulously squishy shawl collar of awesomeness, but that all-over texture is equally amazing. I’m not usually all about cables on the whole sweater, but I’m a total fangirl for everything Brooklyn Tweed. (As you will see from the rest of the list.) I think that in a heathered tan, I could wear this sweater all the time. Plus it would totally look awesome sauce with my new hunter green skinny jeans. It was meant to be. I also love the less fitted silhouette. I have a lot of really fitted sweaters and I love them, but I want to branch out a little bit because looser sweaters look SO COMFY.
The next sweater quantity of yarn I have is *swoon* Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label in Seabreeze!
Isn’t it just utterly and insanely beautiful?? It’s going to be a modified version of a Beatnik Sweater by Norah Gaughan.
I had seen Beatnik before and liked it a lot, especially the really cool boatneck. However, I saw this modification by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts using some of her yarn in the same color, and I fell in love! I knew that I needed some of this yarn for a sweater, and I would put some of my own favorite cables on it instead of the ones in the pattern. I showed the modified one to Greg and he told me I should make mine exactly the same. I told him that that would make me super unoriginal, to do the same sweater in the same yarn and in the same color, and he countered with the fact that a) her sweater is basically perfect and the cables look much dressier than the ones I was considering and b) they sortof look like scales and so I could pretend to be a tropical fish, and who doesn’t want to do that?? He makes some good points (though he did concede that he was having a hard time picturing the cables I was thinking of using on the sweater). I’ll need to mull this one over for a while longer :P
I love Knit Picks. I like that they provide natural fibers for those of us with pretty tight yarn budgets. The TFA yarn aside (which was a Christmas present from my parents) all of the options on this list are not too terribly pricey. It’s really quite a good deal, and when they do sales, wheeeeee!! (all my sweater quantities are bought on sale, because yeah.) This batch of lovely colorful goodness is going to be a Foxy Sweater by Natalie Moreva. (I love her colorwork, it’s too cute.)
I don’t even really need to say much about this sweater. I love foxes, and it’s just insanely cute. I will never take it off, once I finish it. I mean, seriously. It’s amazing. It’s going to be one of those sweaters where people walk up to you on the street and ask you where you bought it, and then you get to say that you made it and be all smug. (Don’t act like you don’t do that. I’ll know that you are lying.) Seriously though, every knitter needs at least one item like that, because it helps other people value our art form. Knitting isn’t just a craft, it’s a way for people to creatively express themselves, and I wish that more people realized that!
Alright, on to the next yarn! This is also from Knit Picks, but it’s their Palette yarn (which comes in a completely crazy number of colors.)
I love this pale lavender. And I have so much of it because I’m making Oshima by Jared Flood.
Beautiful, isn’t it? I’ve coveted this sweater for a while, but I’m a little afraid of seaming. However, I may be getting over that. I learned how to mattress stitch for my mom’s christmas present, and it turned out quite nicely! I think I may be ready to tackle this sweater soon. Plus, every time I see someone else make one I feel jealous and think about my yarn just waiting for me to turn it into this awesome sweater. It will also take less time than I think, because the lightweight yarn is held double and knit at the gauge of a worsted weight. There’s nothing wrong with that! I also need to learn to brioche.. But it’s so popular now, there must be dozens of tutorials online. I mentioned before that I loved Brooklyn Tweed (that styling tho! The photography is just gorgeous and totally suckers me into thinking that I would be that cool if I had that sweater.)
Next on our list, we have more Wool of the Andes Sport in a beautiful heathered dark green! I just have to point out that Knit Picks knows me. If you discount something so steeply that I can knit myself a sweater for less than twenty-five dollars, I will buy a lot of it. I will be compelled.
I don’t actually know precisely what I’m doing with this. I think I’ll probably end up designing the sweater I want, because I haven’t found the right one yet. I know that I want cables, but not all over, and probably fitted or at least body skimming, and dense for the gauge so it’s nice and cozy. It’ll be a pullover almost certainly, because I prefer them. It’s odd, because I wear cardigans constantly, but I like to snuggle into my sweaters. There are, however, a few exceptions, and I’ve saved them for the end.
Oh, how shocking, more Knit Picks!
This, however, is fancy Knit Picks yarn. It’s their sock weight merino yarn with just a touch of lovely cashmere.. It’s soft like kittens and I love it. It’s going to be a Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fettig.
Those of you with good memories may recall that I made one of these for my mom for Christmas. I love the pattern, I think it’s very practical and goes with basically everything. I need a black cardigan/shrug that’s a little heavier than my stash of cotton ones I wear to work. It’s also a different shape, and I like that. The Wispy Cardi originally calls for a laceweight knit at about a sport weight gauge, but this is a heavier weight yarn than is required. I labor under the delusion that this will lengthen the life span of the sweater, since it will be knit a little more tightly and thus be more resistant to pilling. In reality, it has cashmere in it, so I have no right to expect anything of the sort. I still love it though. I’m not actually hugely enthused about knitting it, because, hello. Miles and miles of stockinette in black yarn? It’s not exactly going to be thrilling. But I think this will be a “knit while reading” project, which should make it okay.
Last, but most certainly not least, more Knit Picks! It’s the same color in both a worsted and a fingering weight yarn.. (And yes, I totally took advantage of their most recent sale on Palette.)
It’s a lovely dark ruby red, isn’t it? As an aside, I love heathered yarns, or very subtly variegated ones. I think that they add a lot of depth to a piece of knitwear, and it’s somehow more fun to knit than a solid color. It’s going to be another Norah Gaughan sweater (and another entry for Brooklyn Tweed too!) the Marshal sweater.
Don’t you love it??? I totally do. The pattern has you use the lighter weight yarn for the body, and then the heavier weight for Brioche stitch collar, cuffs, and pockets. I think that that is crazy brilliant. (Though if you’re at all familiar with Norah Gaughan’s designs, it’s not in the least surprising. That lady is clearly not thinking like the rest of us, and I like it.) You get a little extra coziness on your extremities, which is always a plus. However, this simply smashing sweater isn’t for everyone. I showed it to Greg, thinking that he would be as enthused about it as I was, and he just said “hmmmmm…” I asked his what his objections were to the sweater, and he said that they weren’t OBJECTIONS per se, but in his opinion, and I quote: “I think that if you wore that, you would look like a lesbian cat lady professor.” he paused for a moment “Not that I’m saying that that’s a bad look.” I laughed and laughed. I’m going to make it anyway. I think that it will be lovely in red, and perhaps he was moreso reacting to the very military-inspired palette of the photos.
So that’s it for the sweater madness friends! If you’ve stuck with me thus far, wow. I’m impressed. This has got to be one of my longest posts ever! I’ve actually reached over two thousand words, which is crazy! Who knew that I had so much to say about sweaters?? I’ve got a few more list-style blog entries percolating up in the old noodle, (Wow that was a weird phrase. But I can’t change it now, it amuses me too much.) and we’ll just have to see how long it takes me to get around to doing another. It’s funny, all of these pictures were taken out in the park by my house, and although quite a few people walked by (and a couple of them were completely unable to hide their curiosity) not ONE PERSON asked me what I was doing. They totally wanted to, but I think they were afraid of the answer. This tickles my funny bone immensely. Until next time!
Knitting friends, I think I’m in love.
But not with some mysterious stranger who has swept me off my feet (he would have to work EXTREMELY HARD to match the awesomeness that is Greg.) No, I’ve fallen in love with beaded knits.
Now I’ve seen them before, and always thought that they looked super snazzy. Adding a little bling to shawls seemed totally awesome. Especially dark colors with that hint of silver glitter like a night sky. Yum! But it seemed super difficult and time-consuming and I was just too intimidated. BUT THEN! My friend Rachel aka allnightknitter, a fellow knitting insomniac, sent me a voucher for Sundara Yarns that she had won in a contest. (aren’t you jealous??) I was THRILLED. I had long coveted the beautiful bright and saturated tonal colorways, but there was no way I could afford yarn that nice. However, with a pretty steep discount, I was able to snag two beautiful skeins of their sport weight merino yarn.
That green!! It has little glorious hints of turquoise too. Just divine. Once I opened the package with the yarn in it, I knew that it needed to be an enormous shawl. And it was so stunningly beautiful that I decided it needed beads. So I went hunting, and I found some that were a perfect match! They’d give a touch of glamorous glitter, but not so much that I would look like I had a bad run-in with the 80’s.
Some of them are even matte rather than sparkly!! They’re very exciting.
I searched endlessly for the perfect shawl pattern, but in the end I decided to do the Holden pattern again, but GIANT this time. I like shawls with a stockinette body and a reasonably easy lace border. I think they look a bit more modern than shawls with lace all over. Also, it was very easy to add beads to the lace, so it was good for a first project. Only mildly intimidating instead of insanely so :P
I knit this shawl while I was working on applications, because I wanted something that was REALLY nice to take the edge off the stress. Then I ran out of beads and couldn’t go get more for a while, so I started my Light and Up shawl, which also gets a lot of action around here. But eventually more beads were obtained, the shawl was finished, and then I had to figure out how to block this monstrosity. (The end result involved two towels on the ground and positioning it diagonally. It’s big.)
But now that I’ve blathered on about it for a significant amount of time, you want to see it, right? I figure I really owe you all pictures, because I wear it all the time. It’s beautiful, and the color fits perfectly into my wardrobe.
And now a closeup so you can actually see the beads I worked so hard on!
They’re really lovely and subtle, but they give it a fantastic weight and drape. I will definitely be using beads again. I already have yarn and beads for the next shawl, but that’s a story for another day. I used the crochet hook method for placing the beads, and I loved it. I most certainly do not have the patience to thread hundreds of beads onto the yarn before casting on the project. That sounds to me like a swift road to crazy town.
I only made a few small mods to the shawl. It’s not totally triangular. For the plain portion in the center, I increased four stitches on every right side row, and two on every wrong side row until I got to the correct stitch count to begin the lace. I find that doing that makes the ends you wrap around your neck longer, and I was worried that since this shawl was going to be a behemoth, the point would drape unattractively down to my crotch when worn in the front (which is really the only way I wear my shawls, so that was a non-starter.) I switched to the regular rate of increase when I got to the lace portion. It makes a subtle but positive difference to the shape of the shawl, and I think it helps it stay on my neck better. I also left off the picot bind off. I started doing it, but it looked strange and chunky in the sport weight yarn. I did a stretchy sewn bindoff in the style of Elizabeth Zimmerman instead. I love the edge this bindoff produces, so I almost always do it if the edge is going to be visible. It’s lovely and I like the scalloped edge just as much without the picots.
One last pic of me wearing it-I promise that I adore this shawl, I just look unhappy because it was far too cold outside when I took this pic. Spring has clearly not sprung in my neck of the woods.
This is how I always wear it, bunched up around my neck, and I love it. It’s huge and cozy! It keeps the chill out when I wear it under a coat, which has happened more often than I’d like lately. I love this project so much!! I didn’t want it to end, and usually I’m a total product knitter. The yarn was just so lovely to work with, and the beads were so much fun, and now I have something that I adore that I get to wear all the time!
I think that’s pretty much it! Until next time knitting friends <3