Back in the Comfort Zone

As lovely as yesterday’s lace is and as exciting as binding off is, I’m pretty stoked about being back in my comfort zone today…aka short row garter stitch!  I’m not even that upset about the yellow?!?

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So far, this is Exploration Station.  I’m nearing the point of divergence though.  This shawl was originally a MKAL, this portion is Clue 1, six garter wedges.  The other clues continued with a variety of stitches and textures.

My Exploration Station knit as the clues were released
My Exploration Station knit as the clues were released. The next sections are brioche stitch, slipped stitches, garter stitch and a chevron lace stitch for the border.

It was a lot of fun to knit as a mystery!  Especially because so many of my local friends were knitting it at the same time!   That is, of course, until we got to clue 2–Brioche Stitch.  The collective groan was not unjustified.  Brioche can be uncooperative.  One friend even started referring to it as the Stephen King KAL instead of the Stephen West KAL.  I’m still laughing at that!

That was the genesis of this shawl…can’t we just do the fun clue on repeat and avoid the brioche nightmare??  Well, yes!  Yes, we can!  I’ll be finished with the official clue 1 today.  Then it’ll be time to put my money where my mouth is…wedges 7, 8 and 9 just follow the pattern we’ve already established.  Should be a no-brainer!  Fingers crossed!

I’m Knitting Lace?!?!

I finished the striping section of my Daybreak!  It was smooth sailing into the border and bind off until…(it’s always something, eh?)

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Until, I decided that my self-striping yarn was not appropriate for the garter ridge edge.  The long rows (~600 sts) mean my colors appear more variegated than striped.  It could be distracting and messy and I didn’t knit all this way with yarn my Mom dyed for me to have a distracting mess on my hands!  No big deal though, I’ll just change the border.  I didn’t want to knit 15 more rows of 600 stitches anyhow.  I was ready to be done!  I-cord bind off was the answer!  It would match the body and have a nice slow color change along the edge.  Perfect!  Off I went…(until)…

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Until, the i-cord bind off started to curl.  No bueno.  I have a shawl that I love, except for it’s curly i-cord edge that doesn’t lay flat and won’t block out because it’s superwash.  The exact situation I have here.  Two superwash yarns.  Drat!  Now what??  A sideways border bind off??  But that would be many, many rows of work and all that turning can be fiddly.  Meh.  Garter Stitch seemed too plain and I don’t knit lace, don’t even suggest it.  Officially out of options.  Double Drat!  I guess I could work the original border in my solid color, I think I could get another skein.  I didn’t really like that option either.   And then this happened…

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It must’ve been an out of body experience because I don’t knit lace??  How did that even happen?  In a last ditch effort to get out of doing an applied lace border, I test blocked a little bit, convinced that it would probably be horrible and I’d have to find yet another solution to this problem…Until…

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…Until it came off the blocking board looking awesome!!  So apparently, I do knit lace and will be knitting lace for the foreseeable future.  It’s only 1000 rows to get this sucker bound off.  I can’t say no to beauty like this but I can complain about it!  The whole time! Seriousleeee?  Who am I?  I wanted to knit socks on Friday, today I’m knitting lace?!??  Tomorrow I’ll probably decide to knit a brioche dress at the rate I’m going…

FO Friday – Someone Else’s FOs!

I imagine every knitter out there has knit a gift at some point.  On the other hand, how many knitters receive knit gifts?  Not nearly as many.  Every year, my knitting group throws a little anniversary party celebrating the group’s beginning.  A few years back we started picking names out of a hat and knitting each other anniversary gifts!  It’s not a party without presents!  Turns out, I love getting knit gifts as much as giving them!  Handmade gifts of any sort really but I have an extra special place in my heart for knit gifts!

It’s a lot of fun every year, trying to guess who’s picked who, stalking each other’s Ravelry queues and favorites to pick the perfect gift, trying to consult with a third person to get opinions on colors or patterns without getting caught.  The truly brazen bring their gift swap to knitting night and play it off as a gift being knit for Great Aunt Jean.  I actually blogged about my gift knitting, saying it was for me.  (I totally wish it was…)

The party has now come and gone, and all that secret knitting was totally worth it.  I have color preferences, fiber preferences, knitting technique preferences… it’s refreshing to see how other’s interpret those preferences.  I have to say, my gift knitter, Vanessa, totally nailed my style and knit items I love but would not have knit for myself.  This is actually the second time she’s knit for me.  The first time was also a smashing success.  She’s set the bar exceedingly high for anyone who ever knits for me in the future.  So this FO Friday I’m featuring Vanessa’s FOs!

First up…Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow!

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My very first pair of handknit socks in White Birch Fiber Arts ‘Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow’ colorway!  I wasn’t at the first day of Stitches this year but I received 4 messages from different people when they hit the White Birch Fiber Arts booth saying ‘Wow, you need this yarn’…well, everyone needed this yarn so it was sold out by the time I got there and my yarn money was ear marked for Brooklyn Tweed, anyhow.  I think I’m the only one from the knitting group who didn’t buy this yarn…we’ve seen arm warmers and 3 or 4 pairs of socks so far.  I love them all, we all do!  How much we love them seems to be a constant conversation! Just as the party was starting this week, I actually declared that I finally decided I like the rainbow with blue clouds better than the fade to black colorway with rainbows and black stripes but if they’re at Rhinebeck, I’ll probably get one of each because I think I really need to knit myself a pair of these awesome rainbow socks!

And then Vanessa showed up!  Boom!  Done!

These socks are pretty awesome, I’m torn between wanting to never take them off and never putting them back on for fear of tarnishing them.  They radiate good vibes!  I’ve got the happiest feet in the zip code. Probably even the area code.  I don’t know how I’ll ever put store bought socks on again?!?  Hand knit socks are a luxury I’ve been missing out on completely.

As if that wasn’t enough, I got something else too!  Vanessa the Amazing also knit a Traveling Woman scarf for me!  She picked the yarn based on the name again…Shenanigans!  If there’s shenanigans, I’m gonna call you on it.  Be warned.  I have an eagle eye for shenanigans.

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Deadlines being what they are, I ended up blocking the scarf myself.  It turned out to be the easiest blocking and fastest trying project ever!  My apartment is tiny.  Blocking boards hanging around for 3 or 4 days is a big inconvenience.  This project was dry in less than 16 hours!

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I think the yarn played a big part in that, Lorna’s Laces Solemate.  Solemate, literally, has space-aged polymers in it!  Yeah Science!  It’s 55% Merino, 15% Nylon…standard sock stuff.  The last 30% is Outlast, a fiber with heat regulating and moisture wicking properties!  It’s been used in space suits and nascar suits and now…hand knits!  It’s super fun to talk about but this is the first I’ve ‘worked’ with it.  I really love the results!  There may be a sock knitter in me after all.

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Before I start knitting socks though, I really need to make a decision about my Rhinebeck Sweater.  I thought I had decided to use the purple on the right, it’s a bulky weight so it would go quick but I have to call Shenanigans! because it just doesn’t match my new Traveling Woman…the brown on the left however, looks quite lovely.  I think it’s time to get serious about swatching.

Another Pair

My favorite ‘guy on top of a building’ William Penn wrote “Patience and diligence, like faith, move mountains.”  With that in mind, I  cast on two more projects yesterday!  My queue is now full at 10!  Now it’s time to patiently and diligently knit away.  I have faith at the end of it, I will have a mountain of knitting!

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It’s more of a mole hill right now, but have faith…I can knit it into a mountain!  Patience and diligence are the cornerstones of knitting!  This should be easy!

Both of these hats are repeats, they’re filler knitting, really.  Another Tapehead hat, knit from an old cassette tape.  Not just any old tape though, this one is special!  A Grateful Dead bootleg I picked it because it says Set III!!  That’s unheard of…who plays 3 set shows anymore??  Fillmore East, 1971, always worth a listen...This show eventually became the commercial release ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…’ Gonna be a fun show to wear.

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The theme today is, apparently, pop culture because my second hat is another Dude hat.  The first one was a hit (it really tied the outfit together), so time for another one!  I’m just tweaking a few things and working on the pattern write up!  Look for the pattern release soon!

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Hit & Run Wednesday

Some days I carefully pose my yarn and WIP for photos.  I talk to it and tell it how beautiful it’s becoming, how much fun it’s been to work on, how excited I am for it to be finished.  We have a lovely time.  Today is not one of those days.  I stayed up too late, got up too early and generally have not made the progress I wanted to with this one.  I couldn’t even be bothered to finish the row before taking a picture today!

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This is Daybreak and while progress is being made, the rows are very long now.  They take a long time.  Factor in a little marker snafu…(somehow I dropped two markers and trying to replace them I dropped a third.  Thanks to the dark corner of a bar that made it all possible. By the light of day, it was still not right and it’s still needed a bit of TLC at the markers…) and progress is going slow!

At the last update, I had 17 stripes.  That half row up there, is the end of stripe 19.  I don’t have much of the beige yarn left, I think I’m nearing the end.  I think 21 or 22 stripes should get it done!  Fingers crossed that this is the last time you see this WIP and next time it appears it will be an FO!  I’m ready!

Garter Madness

I love garter stitch!  I love short rows!  I love shawls!  I love casting on!  So imagine my excitement starting not one but TWO new short-row, garter-stitch, WestKnits’ shawls this weekend!  It was knitterly paradise of the highest degree here at FogKnits headquarters.

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They’re very similar, my inner process knitter is apparently my outer process knitter these days!  First up…a second Dotted Rays!  It’s unusual for me to cast on a second so soon after the first, but stripes are so hard to resist and I love all the scraps I found in my stash.

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The classic ‘stripes make you go faster’ thing is happening here! Can’t wait to see how the next stripe changes it.  It’s all solids after this so I’m hoping it’ll become a bit more harmonious!  Frankly, I think I should be given a prize for stashbusting, regardless of the outcome! Maybe a new skein of yarn (or 8!) I’m closing in on Rhinebeck Sweater decisions!  More on that at the end of the week!

My second weekend cast on is starting off like Exploration Station, last fall’s WestKnits’ MKAL.  I’m going to work clue one and then skip the other three clues in lieu of a clue one expansion!

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So far, so good!  The yellow is a bit outside my normal palette but I’m going with it!  It’s Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in Bike Bell, straight from Stephen & Penelope in Amsterdam!  It’s a vacation souvenir from a friend!  I’m playing it pretty safe pairing with grey, but grellow is a thing for a reason so I’m loving it!  Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is an important exercise, after all!

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Rocky, expressing his disdain for the end weaving situation.

Gone Jellyfishin’

Shaking things up this week with an FO Monday!  Sometimes you feel like a nut!  That’s the only explanation for this hat!

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It’s a jellyfish inspired tentacle hat!  This yarn is more of Mom’s hand dyed yarn.  I tried to make it a shawl  but clearly, it wanted to be something else.  I saw a picture of similar hat and thought, I can do that!  I really like the texture from this goofy puff stitch…

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It’s a K5B, knit 5 below, you knit the stitch in the fifth row below the needle after dropping the stitches above.  It’s an awkward manipulation to trap the dropped stitches as you knit that lucky 5th stitch but the result is fun!

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Trying to photograph it is also an awkward manipulation.  It’s super fun to wear though!  I really don’t want to take it off!  I *almost* want to visit a snowy place and go sledding so I can have tentacles and pom poms trailing behind me!  Okay, not even close to almost, but it’s fun to think about!