Briochevron

Yesterday, I showed you what I knit for the knitted gift swap my knitting group does.  Today, I’ll show you the amazing accessory I received!

IMG_7823

Briochevron – for when brioche alone is not complicated enough.   It’s a Stephen West pattern that I wouldn’t have knit for myself.  The awesome thing about knitting for a knitter, it’s sure to be appreciated!  I know how much work goes into making something like 2 color chevron brioche happen!  The technical mastery on display here is not lost on me at all.  I’ll admit it right now–if a random stranger inquires about it, I’m likely to claim I knit it myself!  :)

It’s perfect for July in San Francisco!  Extra thick and cushy to protect against the biting wind!  And I love the colors.  It’s just the thing for a strong fog.  I can’t wait for the next foggy morning if Golden Gate Park!   If you can convince one of your friends to knit you one, I highly recommend it!

Tomorrow:  more secret knitting revealed!  Our knitting anniversary party also doubled as a surprise baby shower!  Baby things are so fun to knit.

Secret Knitting Revealed!

The secret is finally out and I can reveal my secret knitting projects!

 

My weekly knitting group has been together for 7 years.  We’ve done all sorts of yarn swaps & white elephant exchanges but it occurred to us that no one ever knits for knitters.  We put an end to that!   At the holiday party, in December, we pick names and knit something for that person.  We exchanged gifts at our anniversary party last night!

It’s a fun challenge picking the perfect project for someone else.  I picked a long, lightweight stole.  The real inspiration for this project is the yarn, Lace Lux from Lana Grossa.  It’s sadly discontinued but I did stock up on a few colors!  It’s one of those unspun tube yarns with loose fibers blown into it.  The result is super lightweight and airy!   Knit it up on a size 10 needle and you’ve got a gorgeous, shiny, gauzy, elegant garment.

The pattern, Wrapped in Lux, couldn’t be any easier!  It’s just a long stockinette stitch rectangle.  The end result is super versatile.  Perfectly simple or simply perfect?  Either way, it was well received by Harriet.  It fits her style (which is a shame, I wanted her to hate it so I could have it back!).

Tomorrow, I’ll share the gift I got…it’s brioche!  I love it, I certainly wouldn’t have done it myself!

Marathon Bind Off

My Southern Skies shawl has had quite the story.  From it’s humble beginnings as a failed Ponchini, to it’s angst ridden, yarn chicken phase nothing has been simple.  It was no surprise when then prescribed bind off rebelled.  It was downright uncivilized!

IMG_7747

Loose and ugly, just flapping there like a weird afterthought.  I knew it had to go instantly.  Going down a needle size to tighten it up wouldn’t really help.  The perpendicular garter stitch just wasn’t working.

I really like the idea of an i-cord bind off.  It’s one of my favorite.  I like to try different things though, so I’d sort of pushed this idea to the back hoping to find something better.  I wasn’t really feeling it but it was time to try anyhow.

IMG_7748

Nope, another glaring fail.  Hated it instantly.  So now what?  Time to get creative.

I wanted to combat the edge flip.  And have I mentioned how badly I lost that round of yarn chicken?  (No, no I haven’t)  It was brutal but I think I limped along *just enough* that I’m in a completely acceptable place to bind off.

Ran out of yarn, did not run out of beads!  Look what I’ve got still…

IMG_7745

In a flash of brilliance, I decided to aim for two birds with one stone…or bead, as the case maybe!  Add the beads to the bind off, adding weight to stop the flip and stop these pretties from becoming stash (At which point, I’d have to come up with a way to use them, which almost certainly means another project full of pitfalls because I didn’t have enough beads.  It’s a vicious cycle, let me tell you!)

With all of my theoretical problems solved, I set off to do a beaded picot bind off.  It was okay, appropriately pretty and not at all looking like an afterthought.  It was still a bit prone to curling though.  So out came another failed bind off.

I wasn’t ready to give up on the beaded picot though.  It really was attractive.  What’s the point of spending money on cashmere, spending months beading it and then throwing on any old bind off.   You don’t wear an Oscar de la Renta gown with Tiffany jewels and finish it off with Jean Nate.  You just don’t.   I really wanted to make the beaded picot work.

I heard, once, a row of K1,P1 will smooth the transition between the body and the hem of a sweater.  This is a vaguely similar situation.  The alternating knits and purls balance the tension of, at least, that one row.  It seemed like a good idea.  It should tame the tension of the stockinette curl a little bit and I only needed a little bit.  Maybe, just maybe…this would work.

600 stitches later, I had worked my K1, P1 transition row.  This is about the time it occurred to me that I was seriously embarking on a 600 stitch beaded picot bind off?!?  OY!  Really?  Yes.  Really.  and just my luck…

IMG_7752

…it’s beautiful.  I love it.  This is clearly what was supposed to happen.  It just took me a while to figure it out.  Now it’s going to take me a while to execute it.  Funny how this project started 18 months ago without one speck of urgency.  It sat untouched for 95% of 2016 but suddenly, now, I want it done immediately!!  It’s the softest thing ever.  It’s definitely going to be worth the effort that went into it.

Assuming, I make it through the bind off, which requires using two needles and a crochet hook, while balancing a bead on a floppy little picot nub.  Wish me luck!  :)


If you’ve actually made it this far, here’s how I’m doing my bind off…

*CO 2 sts to the left needle (using the knitted CO), k2tog tbl, bead the next stitch, knit the beaded stitch, pass the 1st stitch over the 2nd stitch (the k2tog stitch over the beaded stitch), BO 2 sts, repeat from *

 

 

Rebirth

IMG_7721

I couldn’t resist, once I frogged the unfortunate project, the yarn just jumped back on the needles!

IMG_7725

And so, a new Hitchhiker was born!  There are almost 25,000 Hitchhikers on Ravelry?!?  That’s a lot of garter stitch!  This is my 10th Hitchhiker, so obviously, I get the fandom!  The Hitchhiker is certainly worthy of all it’s praise.

That said, I still love discovering new ways to modify the pattern.  My last Hitchhiker incorporated a row of eyelets on row 8.   I’m taking that modification one step further this time.  I’m beading each K2tog from row 8 on row 1.

IMG_7742

Rainbow on rainbow action!  I’m loving it!  Of course, I’m still setting myself up for problems down the line.  I’m most certainly going to run out of beads before I run out of yarn.  Oh well.  I can’t get more so I’m knowingly accepting this problem.

I’ve also created a right side and a wrong side–or at least a beaded side and a side with no beads.  I’m okay with that too.   In the end, anything is better than curling stockinette.

Easy Come, Easy Go

IMG_7718

It was fun while it lasted but the Candy Dot Cowl is no more.  My enthusiasm for rainbows took over for a few days.  I wasn’t thinking about anything else.  The rainbow on rainbow combo of Unicorn Fart yarn and a rainbow of beads really clouded my vision.  That’s the only explanation I can come up with for this…

IMG_7719

The dreaded Stockinette Curl.  UGH!  It’s not going away.  There’s no fix for that.  Blocking will not cure the curl.  Not even for one millisecond.  Damn you superwash!

If Ben Franklin had been a knitter he certainly would have said “…nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the stockinette curl.”

Total rookie move on my part.  It’s not as though I didn’t know this would happen.  I didn’t expect the results to be any different.  Last night, I had a brief moment of clarity and knew there was only one way this could end.   And so, it’s been frogged.   It’s short life has been extinguished entirely.  Gone.

The good news though, the real reason I love to knit, no harm has been done.  I can start over again!  I’ll get rainbow joy all over again.  And this time, I’ll plan better!  I’ve narrowed it down to two choices, start the cowl over again in Seed Stitch instead of Stockinette.  I love seed stitch so not a bad option.

OR

A beaded rainbow Hitchhiker.  My last Hitchhiker modification was adding a K2tog, Yo eyelet row.  Perhaps my next modification will be adding beads to the K2tog?

Decisions, Decisions!!

Candy Dot Cowl

IMG_7601

I really only meant to swatch.  Honest!  I was feeling good about finishing up some older WIPs.  It was going well, I had my eyes on the prize.  And then, Rainbows.

Rainbows derailed that plan quickly.  The irresistible rainbow-on-rainbow got me though.  I just could not stop!

IMG_7602

It reminds me of Candy Dots.  Such fun!  Who didn’t love tiny bits of sugar with shreds of paper still stuck to the back, as a kid?  Even without the beads, this yarn is amazing…it’s so fun to knit rainbows.  Especially this weekend, it was a classic foggy San Francisco summer Fourth of July!  Just perfect!

IMG_7664

Click on over to Ravelry for the pattern details!

 

 

Southern Skies Expansion

Progress continues with my renewed enthusiasm for the Southern Skies shawl!  I stretched it out on two long cords to check out just how much progress I’d made.  It seemed like a lot…

…until the yard stick came out.  Circle shawls need to be extra huge…this is no where near done.  Except, I’m nearly out of yarn…

IMG_7598

That’s all I’ve got left.  That’s it.

Apparently, I decided 660 yards would be just enough to cover the patterns recommended 1200 yards?!?!

True Story.

And then, just to reinforce how far off I am, I did a little math.  I’ve completed charts A, B, C & D for a total of 17,856 stitches.  I’ve just started chart E , with 576 sts/row, has a whopping total of 31,104 stitches.

Meaning I’m not even half done, I’ve got just over one-third completed but I’ve used half the yardage necessary.  Thank you, loose knitting for reminding me, I’ll actually need 300 yards extra to compensate for my gauge!

What the heck was I thinking?!?  I’m pained to have so many projects run short of yarn lately, knitting from the stash is expensive!?!  (The crochet shawl is still stalled, just waiting on more yarn in the mail.)  This is definitely an argument for planned shopping and hesitant stashing.  One day, I’ll be better at that.  In the meantime, the decision is pretty clear here.

 

This is too gorgeous to abandon now and that’s nothing compared to how it feels!  It’s purple cashmere…there’s no way it’s a bad decision.  It just stings a little, champagne taste on a beer budget, ya know?  So, while I sulk over having to buy more cashmere (really?!?), I’m swatching with these goodies from the stash…

IMG_7596

Some of Mom’s hand dyed Unicorn Farts and rainbow beads I got in a de-stash last year!

IMG_7597

It’s a holiday weekend, why not have a little cast on party?  It’s been 5 whole days since my last cast on!  5 AND a half, if we’re being precise!  What could possibly go wrong?