FO Friday, In Which I Turn Into My Mother

IMG_2059

I’m making lots of knitting progress…The Friday FO trend continues! The yarn was the motivator here, hand spun and hand dyed by a friend!  Upon further inspection, I seem to have stuck to the original plan?!?  A top down hat with a dark i-cord bind off!

I went top down to use up every inch of the yarn and to avoid doing a real swatch with math.  I just worked increases on alternating rows until the top of the hat looked big enough. I added a few purl ridges and spirals to the body for visual interest.  And then, I went all the way with the i-cord…provisional cast on for first 3 stitches, then grafting them to the last 3 stitches for a seamless finish! I usually take the lazy way out but this practically fell off the needles on its own, it was worth a tiny bit of effort for the one little detail!

And then I turned into my Mother.  It happens to everyone on occasion.  I’ve learned to just go with it until the feeling passes.  In this case, it wasn’t going to pass until I made a flower for my hat.  I’ve made a lot of different flowers over the years (most of them for Mom, she likes flowers. a lot.)  This one is just about the easiest!  You cast on, work one row that’s mostly binding off and then cinch your remaining stitches into a cute little flower! Done!

You can customize this flower in several different ways cast on more stitches to make it larger, cast off longer segments to make the petals longer or even cast off in shorter segments to increase the number of petals!

Here’s what I did:

Cast on 45 stitches. I used the long tail, it’s a good one because it has enough structure.  Knitting On would be a bit floppy and weird.

Knit the first stitch, then bind off the next 7 stitches, this leaves one stitch on each side of the bound off segment.  Knit another stitch, then bind off the next 7 stitches. You now have 4 stitches on the needle.

flower1

Continue down the row in this fashion, at the end, cut yourself a tail, pull it through the remaining live stitches, give it a cinch and you’ve got yourself a groovy little flower!

IMG_2090

flower2

Of course, if one tiny little flower is cute, then two is even better!  I have a feeling Mom approves!

flower3

24 Hour Cast-On-Palooza

It happens.  Sometimes I can’t fight the urge to cast on as many projects as possible.  I gave myself 24 hours after Stitches to start as many projects as I wanted.  I thought I was going to start 4 new things, instead I started two new projects BUT I started them both twice…so mission accomplished, I guess!?

 IMG_2133

The first project is a selfish one.  I’m making myself a cassette tape vest.  I’ve made a few cassette tape hats and now I’m hooked!  I want all my clothes to have cassette tape in them!  This time I’m going with one strand of Noro Silk Garden Solo and one strand of Maxell XLII 90!  It’s so fun!  Plus, if I’m ever an extra in a post-apocalypse movie, I can bring my own costume!

This one got started twice because of a gauge problem.   Turns out Silk Garden and Silk Garden Solo are not the same, despite being labeled the same!   The Solo is more consistently spun, no thick & thin to it, that bulked up my gauge significantly!   I swatched with Silk Garden, 4.5 sts/inch but the reality of Solo was 3.5 sts/inch.   A bit of math, a quick frog and I was back in business!   This is gonna be so awesome!   I can’t wait!

The second project may very well end up a selfish one.  In theory, it’s for a friend but I may not be able to part with it!  I’m not gonna tell you what it is but I will tell you it’s Panda Silk (drapey bamboo with a silky sheen)  and Superior Cashmere (lace weight Cashmere!)…Yum!  It’s an awesome combo!  This project will hence forth be called the Purple Haze.  This is also going to be awesome!

IMG_2134 This one was started twice for gauge reasons again.  Seriously, when ‘they’ tell you to do a gauge swatch, it’s actually for your own good.  One day I’ll heed their advice.  I did a few rows and realized I didn’t have quite the amount of drape I wanted, so I frogged and restarted a size larger.  It’s almost like I did a gauge swatch.  I just like calling my gauge swatches ‘casting on’.

WIP Wednesday – Planned Pooling

IMG_2054

Planned pooling is something I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time! I’m finally getting the chance thanks to my friend Bambi and a bet I won.   Bambi paid up in glorious fashion, with a skein of Wollmeise in colorway, Sultan!   Thanks Bambi!   Yarn collectors go nuts for this stuff and I can see why!   The colors are lively and vivid, photos don’t do it justice!

But lets be honest, if the variegation is left to it’s own devices, the end result is a truly horrible mess.   Planned pooling, on the other hand, showcases this yarn in all it’s glory!   And this yarn is dyed in the just the right way that the color sequence can be laid back on itself with each new row, stacking the color into columns!

image_medium2

After deciding that this yarn would indeed work for stacked pooling, I fiddled around with swatches and decided my magic number is 48.   The magic number is the number of stitches required to use exactly one repeat of color per row.    The rest is conceptually simple and with a little practice, it’s easy to execute!   Cast on your magic number and knit away, using one full color repeat on each row, the colors should line up, red on red, blue on blue, all the way down and back again too!  I practiced a bunch in plain old garter stitch, just to get a feel for it.   It came easy with a bit of practice, just modulate the tension a bit if things aren’t stacking exact.   It becomes second nature as you watch the colors slip through your fingers and match up!

IMG_1712

Ultimately I decided on the One Row Lace Scarf.  I think the lace provides a bit of wiggle room with the way the colors stack.  Once I got started, it’s been smooth sailing!  I can tell already, this is going to be a great travel project!  It’s certainly not going to languish at the bottom of the queue anymore!

IMG_2089

Stitches Stash Enhancement

IMG_2076

I stuck to my budget at Stitches…the cash in my pocket only!  Didn’t even go to the atm to fill the pocket first! I got lucky and won a door prize, so that made the budget seem a bit larger (a lovely skein of sport wt irish wool from Black Water Abbey!) My theme for the weekend was clearly Rustic Wool!  Having just finished a Lopi skirt, I was on the hunt for Brooklyn Tweed! 100% American made wool!  The return of the American textile industry is pretty exciting and I have yet to sample Brooklyn Tweed’s offerings.

After my visit with Stephen West (where I picked up the mix tape tour book!), it was off to A Verb For Keeping Warm.  Seems a little silly to travel 40 miles for a Verb booth, when the real thing is only 15 miles away but I did it anyhow.  Fiber addiction is not logical.

IMG_2086

My budget allowed for two skeins of Loft, in Old World (L) and Sweatshirt (R).  I can’t wait to use this yarn!  It’s lofty all right!  It’s got all those words we love…squish, bounce, spring.  And, it’s pretty affordable all things considered.  Made in the USA and under $15 a skein AND it’s amazing!  I’m accessory minded for these two skeins but I can tell already I want sweater quantities!

One slight problem there, I usually flash the stash pre-Stitches to remind myself of the unknit sweaters I’ve already got.  Time got away from me and I didn’t flash the stash until this morning.  I’m pretty sure, I won’t need the sweater quantity of Loft for a couple years.

The stash, as of today, no WIPs, no partial balls, no Loft.

IMG_2091

Lopi in the front, loads of MadTosh behind that, two sweaters worth of Miss Babs’ Yowza behind that.  Noro has developed into an entire section of the stash instead of just a random skein.  Cephalopod, Vice, Kauni, Frog Tree Alpaca, Misti Alpaca, Unspun Lopi, Taria Tweed, Sweet Georgia.

Don’t bother me, I’ll be knitting!

:)

Rainbow Monday!

hanging

tl;dr:  Find the pattern recipe here!

Another Stitches West has come and gone!  As always, this one was a big success!  The stash was enhanced, inspiration abounded and I got the Seal of Approval for my newly finished rainbow welted skirt from Mr. Welt himself!

westknits

WestKnits selfie!  Dude has long arms!  It’s always a pleasure to chat with Stephen, especially when he’s admiring my work!  I was pretty excited!

Actually, everyone admired my work…that was even more exciting!  I go all fangirl over Stephen West, in every situation, that was a given.  The compliments from the Market Place masses are more encouraging though!  I love talking to knitters!  I emptied my wallet of cards, I was so excited about the skirt itself, I didn’t actually occur to me to bring more!  So, welcome to the Knitters of Stitches! I’m glad you’ve found your way here!

As promised there will be a pattern recipe in just a moment!  First some details!

marketfloor IMG_2051 I’m completely in love with this skirt!  The lopi provides a firm fabric to begin with, add in the welts and it’s got great structure, quite like a hoop skirt!  It just begs to be twirled and wiggled and shaken.  It’s just so fun!  And it’s hit the Goldilocks sweet spot, not too hot or too cold!  It’s just right!  and it’s hasn’t been too itchy.  It’s one thing to say you’re okay with rustic wool, but I’ve really put it to the test this time, so far, it’s all good!

The best of everything though…I made my own clothes!  That is pretty cool!  I love to make hats, but at the end of the day, hats are trivial in comparison!  I love my skirt and can’t wait to make more, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment!  (plus I really hate shopping!)

Details:

My Ravelry Page

The Yarn:  Lett Lopi, ~650 yds Main Color, ~50 yds each Contrast Color

Pattern Outline, plug in your own measurements and I walk you through the calculations you have to make to customize your own skirt fully!  I would love to see pictures if you give it a try!  Eventually I’ll get this fully formatted and onto Ravelry.  In the meantime, enjoy it here!

As always, I have no problem generating knitting content…I’ve got lots planned for this week!  Stitches Stash Enhancement and a full Stash Flash, a Planned Pooling WIP, a 24 hour Cast-On-Palooza and another FO already!  Assuming of course, I don’t get lost in the stash pile!

11021270_10206053934490022_4970208448391415974_n

FO Friday – Cameo Shawl

Another Friday, Another FO to share!

IMG_2042

I was very excited to bring this fun neon variegated yarn home.  It sat in the pile for quite a while before I cast on though.  I was afraid of pooling.  Good yarns frequently turn bad when Ugly Pooling decides to visit, especially when it’s a loud yarn to begin with!   And this is a very loud yarn!  Pairing the neon with something to tone it down a bit was a great idea…so the stately El Greco was invited to the party and the other guests loved him!  Perfect Match!

IMG_2040

Next decision:  I knew I wanted a shawl but which one?  I decided on Cameo after seeing a friend’s in solid colors!  It was stunning but the lace was pretty basic!  Just my kind of lace–minimal work with big impact!  The lack of a themed motif worked perfectly!  No leaves or pineapples to get messed up by the variegation…just a simple K2tog/YO sequence for visual interest!  I fell into a nice groove working it, to the point that it became my go-to travel project.

IMG_2041

Pairing yarn with the right pattern is a lot like pairing the right wine with dinner.  You may have the finest Chianti around but don’t serve it with tuna.  It just won’t work.  (Everyone knows Chianti goes with fava beans and liver.)  Sometimes you don’t know until you try.  I’m pleased to say, I think I got it right this time!  I got it so right, that I’m actually excited to wear pink.   (I have never said that before!)

IMG_2043

I had a few mods:  I attempted to follow the directions regarding stitch count and number of stripes, I couldn’t get there with the El Greco though.  I started the stripes sooner than the pattern called for and still only ended up with 11 contrast stripes.  No biggie, I just extended the lace when I got to the end.  I did the two lace repeats called for and then did an additional 12 rows of lace to use up all my yarn!  I’m very happy, it still looks appropriately balanced.  I’m calling this one a win!

IMG_2039

Details:

Pattern: Cameo Shawl

Yarn: MadelineTosh Pashmina in Magic (the neon) and El Greco (the grey)

My Ravelry Project Page

Newton’s First Law

IMG_2037Knitting needles in motion tend to stay in motion.  Okay, maybe that’s not what Newton meant…but it’s true for me this week!  Nothing is more motivating than seeing a project I’ve designed, come to fruition, even better than expected!

I’ve finished the green welt and the blue stripe is a welt-in-progress!  This leaves me 10 rows of stockinette, a row of welting and a 3-needle bind off! Sew a tad of elastic, weave ends and I’m done!

The yarn fumes must be getting to me…I’m having visions of wearing my skirt tomorrow!  I’m nearing the fine line between motivated and delusional.  Tomorrow may be a double FO Friday!!