WIP Wednesday

The casting on continues with a new shawl!  The photographs aren’t doing it justice.

It’s a classic top down triangle in shape but through a series of short rows, the classic shaping is spiced up a bit!  The sections are more wedge shaped than plain stripes so the design within the shawl triangle is comprised of asymmetric triangles.  It becomes more pronounced as the knitting continues.  I can’t wait to get to that part…I just love asymmetry!

The yarn is knitpicks Chroma Fingering.  The slow fade of the colors is perfect to highlight the pattern, Vee Vee by Mariana Martins.

Hopefully, my excitement for this project continues.  I’ve made it to the cat sweater’s face so it’s kind of hard to tear myself away from that!  More pics to follow!

 

Professor Meow, the First

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Thursday

Just like April showers bring May flowers, a flurry of finishes is always followed by a cast on cornucopia!  First up…Professor Meow!  As you might guess from the name, it’s a cat sweater!

Turns out the phrase ‘cat sweater’ is a bit of a Rorschach test.  Most people have assumed I mean a sweater for a cat.

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Friday

In reality, it’s a sweater with a cat on it.   And it’s another bulky knit so it’s going quickly.

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Saturday

I’m making good progress!

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Sunday

I might even get to the face today!!

FO Saturday. I refuse to be rushed.

ice cream pile

I finished my latest shawl last week.  It’s a bit of sequence knitting that I designed myself.  I LOVE SEQUENCE KNITTING!  I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it.  I really want you to know how awesome it is.  It’s such a simple idea – pick a sequence and repeat it – and yet the possibilities are endless!  Anyone can become a designer with a basic understanding of sequence knitting.

texture

The thing about sequence knitting is amazing reversible textures that look complex but are easy to execute.  My sequence of choice was K5, P5.  With just a few little notes about how to create a shape, a triangle in my case, you’ve got the whole pattern already.

blocking

Of course, I complicated matters by making two asymmetric triangles but taken individually, either half could be a stand alone design.

The first triangle, the green one, I started at the bottom edge on the right side.  I cast on 3 stitches and then worked every row the same:  KFB, (K5, P5) to the end.  If my row ended K5, P1 I just ignored those 4 purls necessary to complete the sequence.  Same thing each time, disregarding the portion of the sequence that was missing.

texture together

To work the second triangle, I picked up stitches along the edge of the first triangle, casting on 6 stitches at the top.  I really wanted to accentuate the asymmetric shaping.

fence

I set my sequence as K5, P5 again but this time the triangle is shaped with decreases instead of increases.   I wanted the top edge to remain straight so I only decreased along the bottom edge.

orangetexture

The result for the orange triangle is a two row repeat, starting from the top edge.

Row 1:  (K5, P5) to end.  Row 2:  K2Tog, (K5, P5) to end.

Last change:  For the second triangle, instead of ignoring unworked portions of my sequence, I carried them to the next row.  If Row 1 ended K5, P2, the next row began, K2Tog, P3, K5, P5…etc.

I know, it sounds complicated, but really, that’s just me doing me.   I like simplicity and complication all at once.  I added lots of little bits to customize it.   All that extra stuff is completely knitter’s choice!  That’s why sequence knitting is great!  Maybe you like lace, your sequences could include yarn overs & k2togs.  It could be a really long repeat, like K5, P1, K3, P2, K2, P1, K1.  If you can remember it, it’s your sequence.

chair

And we haven’t even mentioned the ridiculous color yet.  I dyed the base yarn for this project with my Mom.  It was Halloween.  Maybe I got carried away.  Maybe orange, green and purple yarn is a classic example of variegated clown barf.  So, maybe double stranding it with other orange and green yarn will tone down what could be variegated nightmare?

Hopefully?

selfie

Ultimately, it all works.  I couldn’t be happier with how this knit-on-a-sequence-whim piece turned out.  The yarn, the crazy designing, the sequence knitting, all came together lovely!  I really like it.  I’ll definitely be wearing it lots!

(at least until my cat sweater is done…it’s on the needles!  Stay tuned for an update, it’s gonna be awesome!!)

 

WIP Wednesday Round Up

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Last time we talked about the sweater currently on the needles, it was having some trouble.  Happy to report I fixed the problem and was making good progress.  WAS.

Sadly, I encountered a fatal flaw.  The knitting is perfect.  This problem is a dumbass mistake.  I picked the wrong size to knit.  My size fell between two pattern sizes.  I decided to knit the larger one.  Except, when it comes to bulky yarn, a too big sweater can be a very poor choice.  I have enough bulk of my own.  I don’t need my clothes to add bulk.  And that’s what bulky sweaters do, especially if they’re a size too big.

Ooopps.  To the frog pond we go.

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Factor in the new box of yarn being delivered tomorrow, perfectly timed, just in advance of the three day weekend, containing yarn for the next sweater…this poor sweater had no chance.

I can’t wait!  I’m planning not just one, but TWO new sweaters with this new box of yarn.

Cat Sweaters!

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How am I supposed to resist that?  Especially when my sister agreed to a day of twinning, if I made sweaters for both of us.  I can’t wait!  I’m okay with being a crazy cat lady.  I’ll proudly declare it while knitting my cat sweater.   It’s not like I created the stereotype.  I promise to represent crazy knitting cat ladies everywhere properly!

Of course, I needed a new project in the interim.  I’m always ready to cast on!  This time, in a surprise twist, I cast on a new shawl. (<-not really a surprise)

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The yarn is KnitPicks Chroma Fingering, so it goes without saying, the colors are much better than my late night cell pic represents.  The pattern is Vee Vee by Mariana Martins.  It’s a triangle shawl that uses short rows to created a series of Vs in asymmetric rows.  With the Chroma, I think it’s going to look fabulous!

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Rocky is just glad I’m distracted from cat sweaters at the moment!  He’s trying to avoid the topic entirely!

Happy WIP Wednesday!  Hope you’re equally as excited about your impending weekend!

Me Made May (aka The Pile)

stack of shawls

It’s almost June and I’ve failed to mention ‘Me Made May’.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s a month long celebration for makers and slow fashion.  Participation is easy, wear the fruits of your labor (sewn, knit, crocheted, woven or otherwise handmade) everyday and share photos on social media using #memademay

While primarily geared towards those who sew their clothes, I think it’s a great opportunity for knitters too!  There was a time, when I never wore any of my knitting.  I think this is true of many process knitters.  These days, I’m more of a ‘reformed’ process knitter.  With only a little bit more attention to the product, I’ve been able to knit things I love to wear while still scratching the urge to knit miles of garter stitch.  It was a little shocking to look at that pile and realize how much of it is garter stitch.  I just can’t resist.

a big pile

At this point, I’ve almost amassed a shawl collected that affords me the luxury of a different shawl every day of the month.   Luxury being the key word!  I love my Merino-Cashmere-Silk pile of amazingness!  Which, brings me, finally, to the point of this missive — pictures of the pile!!

My Mom will be visiting me in San Francisco, for the first time in a decade.  I’ve promised her the pick of the litter while she’s here!  I’ll start with the two that I’m keeping.  No chance I’ll part with these two:

Keepers

My Exploration Station (left) and My Doodler (right)

They’re probably the two I wear most.  I’m not parting with them.  Don’t worry, there’s still lots of amazingness to choose from, much of it, I’ve never really worn.

I’m obsessively organized when I comes to project details and notes on Ravelry, I’ve linked everything to it’s Rav page if you’re interested in yarn or pattern info!


transatlantic

(L to R):  Garden Arbor, Lux Adorna Cashmere, Transatlantic, Icelandic Citron, Lefty, Neon Grape Feather & Fan


thendara hitchhiker

(L to R): Thendara, Geysir Stretch, Giant Hitchhiker, Exploration Continuation, Dotted Rays, Granny Triangle


pendulum batad cameo

(L to R): Pendulum, Stripe Study, Cameo, Batad #2, Batad #1


eyeball dotted rays doodler

(L to R): Asymmetric Sequence Shawl, Striped Sequence Shawl, The First Doodler, The Eyeball, Another Dotted Rays, Gradient Garter Triangle


color craving southern skies

(L to R):  Muh-Muhs, Color Craving, Southern Skies, Building Blocks, Another Big Hitchhiker

Oh yes, so much to choose from!  I love having this many options!  The first time Stephen West did a tour with classes, I couldn’t wait to take his shawl class.  He started off by asking everyone what their ideal shawl was.  Most people had an idea…two of the ladies even said Nieblings.  Not me though, my answer was ALL OF THEM.  No one shawl can be perfect all the time, obviously I need about 1000 to choose from.  I’m making good progress!!

And so, the moral of the story is:  Wear your handknits proudly, in May and the rest of the year! Slow fashion has so many benefits, to the planet and to your own health!

My pile of sweaters is growing too!  At a slower pace, but progress is being made!  I want at least three more sweaters this year and another skirt too!  Ready…Set…GO!

 

 

FO Monday

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Not only did I finish weaving ends without a bribe, I got my latest shawl blocked in short order as well! I really love the end result!

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I’m a fan of aggressive blocking with my shawls.  I wanted it to grow, which it did!  and the result is a beautiful airy fabric!

I love it but as usual, there are things I would change.  The ‘pattern’ is a mashup of WestKnits designs…mostly Dotted Rays with a little Doodler and a little Esjan thrown in!  I definitely could exaggerate some elements more.  The Esjan edge isn’t nearly loopy enough!

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It’s a minor change and it doesn’t detract from this beauty at all!  I currently have no plans to take it off!

The real dilemma…what to knit next? or what won’t I knit next?  I’m currently down to six WIPS.  I feel a cast on craze rapidly approaching!  (you know…after all this work stuff…ugh! mondays!)

 

Mother’s Day FO

Happy Mother’s to all the Mama’s out there!  I sent my own Mother a special Mother’s Day package…complete with knitting, of course!

How many times has someone said to you ‘Can you knit this?’  If you’re like me, it’s hundreds, if not thousands of times.  Without fail, my answer is always ‘yes’.  I can knit anything.  The real questions are not can I but Do I want to?  and Will I?

In a shocking first, I answered Yes to both those questions this time!  It started back in October when I was visiting Mom.  We stopped in to a yarn shop I’d never been too.  It was rather dreadful.  Rather than display merchandise like any other retail shop, the yarn was literally in the plastic bags it was shipping in, thrown on the floor.   In some parts of the shop it was wading through calf deep bags.  WHAT??

Once upon a time, someone must’ve cared about this shop though.  They had lots of sample garments and some of them weren’t on the floor!  Including this one…

the model

Mom said she liked this one.  I said ‘yeah, I can make that’, snapped this picture and filed it away in the back of my brain, not actually intending to make it.  I don’t particularly like beading, it’s fidgety and I don’t particularly like wearing beads.  They’re like little icicles hiding in your knitting.  Wool is warm to the touch or, at least, not noticeably cold.   So, beads…whatever.

But Mom liked it and she did drive me all the way over to this yarn shop, so I could humor her for a moment.    That was October.

Then February and Stitches West came.  I had a bit of a splurge at Stitches.  Including this yarn…

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I already had these beads in the stash, for some reason, this yarn jumped out and grabbed me.  It’s from Cozy Color Works, a small indie dyer with a little booth way on the outside edge of Stitches.  There was a swatch of this yarn in Feather & Fan that really grabbed me.  I stopped to touch it, it’s beautifully light & lofty!  I had already declared my shopping finished but thinking of my beads was the only justification I needed to buy one more skein.

and so, I set out to knit an homage to the scarf Mom liked.  The first important note: the beads are pre-strung.  No other way to get them to lay on the yarn like that.  It took me a few minutes to figure out an appropriate cast on.  Again, the only way to make it work…Backwards Loop Cast On.  Definitely not my favorite.

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Once I got past that though, I found the pre-strung method of beading to be super easy, far less fiddly than the crochet hook method!  I really enjoyed it!  I did have to be careful with the beads.  Sliding a lot of beads across the yarn can damage it, if you aren’t attentive, especially yarn as airy as this.  Knowing is half the battle and I knew, so it all worked out.

And Mom likes it!  That’s really all that matters!

beaded knit scar

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect though.  There is something I would change.

beaded knit scarf

Look at the way it curls when it’s ‘worn’.  UGH.  I don’t like that.  I blocked it, honest!  I can prove it!

beaded scarf blocking

It’s superwash.  I hate superwash.  This is part of the reason why.  Blocking doesn’t matter.  The fibers are slippery so they don’t really stay in place when blocked.  That stinks.  Sure you can machine wash it, but if you expect to machine wash my handiwork, I’m not likely to give it to you.  Superwash is completely irrelevant to me.

Unfortunately, it’s the majority of what’s available.  I’d be willing to bet 90% (or more) of what was at Stitches was superwash.  I really wish dyers would stop it with the superwash.  I get that it’s easier to dye but still, I really need to show more resolve and stop buying it.

I suppose it’s not all the yarn’s fault here.  (lemme just put my soapbox away)

I think knitting at a tighter gauge could have helped but I was already on a size 3.  The beads are rather heavy, as well.  A non-beaded project will likely be different.  Certainly a different yarn, a cotton/polyamide sort of tape would be better suited to the beads.   So, there’s things that could have been changed.  I could have made different decisions but still, superwash is deserving of such a rant.

Whatever, Mom is happy with it.  The beads and yarn are pretty fabulous together.  Still, knowing I could do better, I also sent Mom a coupon good for one shawl — ‘the pick of the litter’ — when she comes to visit next month!   So stay tuned, I’m going to pull out the shawls for reviews and pictures!  I expect the pile to be quite large!