Big Plans

Have you seen the new 2018 Ravelry Project Challenge?  Once again, Casey has added an absolutely brilliant feature.  I never knew I needed it but shortly, I’ll be wondering how I ever lived without it?

You can find your personal challenge page on a notebook tab labeled ‘challenge’.  It’s the very last tab.  When you get there, you’re asked to set a personal goal (which can be modified at any time).  The goal is simply the number of projects you want to complete this year.

 

I set my goal at 40 projects, 2 more than 2017.  It was an arbitrary decision.  The project challenge for me is not about metrics.  I pretty much hate the word ‘metrics’.  I would never judge my knitting by metrics.  Quality is vastly more important to me than quantity.

I love the tracking features of the project challenge though.  Here’s what my Challenge tab looks like so far.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 8.17.53 AM

It shows my progress to date, meaning the projects I’ve marked ‘finished’ in 2018.  It also tracks my plans, meaning the items in my queue I’ve assigned a deadline too.  I use my queue as a general catch-all for any pattern I may, possibly want to make.  I try to keep it a manageable size, you know, only 30 pages.  When I go looking for a pattern, I search my queue first.  If I don’t find something I like there, then I go to the full database and look for something new.  As a result, my queue isn’t a list of what’s next.   The project challenge, fills that hole perfectly!

You can see, I’ve finished two projects this year.  That’s 5%.  I’m on my way!  Unfortunately, it’s been raining so my usual spot on the fence for FO photos is too wet.  I’ll have photos to share soon enough, though.

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In the meantime, rainy days are perfect for winding yarn and planning new projects.  I’ve set deadlines for 3 projects.  Of course, they’re arbitrary.  I wasn’t really convinced I liked the project challenge just yet.  Once I set my deadlines though, the projects were pulled over to the challenge page and that was it. I officially love the project challenge.

And, if it’s on the list, it’s time to cast on!  First pick:

Striped Asymmetry.  I found it flipping through a magazine over the weekend.  Imagine my surprise to discover I had the suggested yarn, Woolfolk Tynd, in my stash, in the exact quantities needed even.  That’s a win requiring immediate cast on, if I’ve ever seen it!

The real draw to this project, though, is garter stitch short rows and a clever key hole.  There’s a hole left on one end of the shawl to tuck the other end through.  Perfect!  No more lost shawl pins!

After that, it’ll be a pair of WestKnits.  A pair of repeats, but you know what they say…if it ain’t broke…

The grey gradient skein is a self striping yarn from Gauge Dye Works destined to be a Dotted Rays.  The yarn pair on the bottom is MadTosh Pashmina in Cosmic Wonder Dust and Deep…to become a Batad.  It’ll be opposite the one in the picture…white/speckly wedges with gorgeous blue welted stripes.  I’ve wanted that Batad since I brought this pashmina home, 2 and a half years ago!  It’s time!

Yes, I think this should keep me busy until February!  If nothing else, I’m organized!  Thanks Ravelry!  Definitely check out the project challenge tab if you haven’t yet!  It’s awesome!


 

 

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday – A New Sweater

Before I show you my new sweater project, let’s take a moment to bask in the glory of this amazing yarn!

This is a DK weight, 100% baby llama yarn my Mom dyed and sent me for Christmas.  I absolutely love it!  Mom used an ice dying technique that I don’t think is common among yarn dyers but seeing the results, it should be!

You prep your yarn as normal and then pack it in ice.  You sprinkle dye powder on top of the ice.  As it melts, the dye is solubilized and trickles down to the fiber below.  The result is all kinds of unexpected fun!  The chartreusey green dye broke into it’s base components giving an amazing array of gold and yellow tones while still maintaining much of it’s greenness.

I love it.  So much complexity from one dye and some ice.  I can’t wait to use it.  It’s 220 yards.  I’m thinking cowl.  We’ll see.  Maybe even some sort of lace leaf motif.  Just as spring starts springing, I usually have a fit that only this color can calm.  It’s gonna be good.

In the meantime, this is my palate…

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Thank you Noro!  This is the Noro Rainbow Roll, a 100% wool pencil roving.  It’s surprisingly soft for a Noro yarn.  It’s certainly softer than the yarn I’m pairing it with, Plutolopi, an unspun Icelandic yarn.

I’m pretending they’re the same gauge, even though they aren’t.  The lopi is distinctly thinner.  I think it works though.  I like the swatch.  I’m going with it.

The plan was generic top-down, raglan cardigan.  The gauge worked out perfectly for Vivido, though.  My two favorite cardigans are this pattern.  One of them is well past it’s expiration date.  I keep repairing it but it really should be retired.  So, in the spirit of if-it-ain’t-broke, my new sweater is another Vivido.

It’s going well, but the plan has definitely changed already.  My original intention was a striped cardigan.  As I work these stripes though, they’re a little busy.  I’m not sure I need that all over my body.

The new plan is striped yoke, solid brown body.  That’s a totally fair compromise.  Plus, I wouldn’t mind having some of this Noro left over.  It really is soft.  I’m feeling the urge to stash more!  (it’s only $11 at Webs right now!?!?)

(and Noro is prone to discontinue this.  It’s definitely a specialty item.)

(I’m gonna try really hard to resist.)

(I should probably use this pile first!)

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(I think I’ve talked myself off the ledge.  For now.)

 

Work In Progress Wednesday

All signs point to new project cast ons this week!  The holiday knitting is done and I’ve only got 4 WIPs on the go right now.  I can start two new projects and still be within my strict 6 project limit!  Woooooooo!

The secret holiday projects have been hats.  Specialty hats, definitely not every day hats and definitely not enough to scratch the hat itch.  It’s time for a hat binge!

First up, I’m digging into the stash for yarn from Rhinebeck 2016.

rhinebeck-round-up-gradient-kit

I’ve been holding on to this fun gradient kit, waiting for the perfect pattern.  I think a lot of us have this ‘problem’.  Awesome yarn, languishing in the stash, unused because it’s ‘special’ and needs to be ‘perfect’.

I’m here to say…PSHAW!  That’s nonsense.  ‘Perfect’ is not about excellent execution of something so precisely correct that there is not one single flaw to be found.  Perfect is about adjusting one’s mindset.

For me, in this case, perfect was the idea that I wanted to use all of this yarn, to its fullest, in one single project.  The yardage isn’t really enough for my ideals of a scarf or shawl and it’s too much for a hat.  It’s too nice to use for a baby garment.  Always too something…

All I needed to solve this problem was a simple attitude adjustment.  Who cares if I use it all in one go?  I love scraps!  My favorite thing is having leftovers to add to the scrap pile!  Hat binges and scrap piles go hand in hand!  Why have I spent 15 months hung up over a few scraps??

And so, with a little bit of soul searching, I decided, I would be happier to knit this yarn into several hats than I would be watching it sit, lonely and untouched, on the shelf.   Duh.  Obviously.  I bought it to use it.

And so, the hat binge has begun in earnest.

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In a fortuitous moment, I remembered this neon green, fur pom-pom.  Another bit of stash being saved for the ‘perfect’ hat.  In this case, perhaps perfection will be achieved, after all.

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In the most bizarre turn yet, this could be perfect AND trendy?!?  If I’m doing the big fur pom, I might as well go all the way and make it a fade too.  These stripes are just too fun.  I sat down for one brief moment, to just finish turning the hem and here I’ve nearly finished it.  I do love a good hat binge.

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I started with a provisional cast on and a turned hem.  It’s a finish I love but don’t do often enough.  If I’m selling a hat, it’s a lovely detail that slows the process down, unnecessarily.  If I’m keeping it though, this is just the type of detail I want to wear.  An uninterrupted field of stockinette stitch at the brim of hat makes me so happy.

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Even the jobless stripes are making me pretty happy today!  My preferred technique is to knit into the row below, at the first stitch, of the second round of each color.   Once the ends are woven and it’s blocked a bit, I think this will be as near to perfection as possible.

And then, I’ll get to do it all over again because I’m definitely going to have enough yarn left over!  Perfection, Indeed!


 

WestKnits Fade Along

westknitsfadealong 2017 stash yarn collection

Stephen West’s latest knitalong is Fade themed.  It’s not a mystery knitalong.  It’s a pick any WestKnit design and fade it.  Although, with so many choices, it is still a bit of a mystery what I’m going to do.

I pulled a bunch of skeins for consideration.  There was a lot to consider.

Colors?  Speckles?  Solids?

find your fade

Even if I could narrow it down to which skeins, deciding the order can still be scrutinized for days!

fadealong color choices

And of course, which pattern I wanted to knit changed just as often.

exploration station speckled fade

^This^ particular set really grabbed me.  I think it’s going to be Exploration Station inspired.  Pulling those skeins from the pile and setting them aside for that project helped narrow things down a bit!  And it left 3 skeins of Hedgehog Fiber in the pile.

Obviously those beauties have WestKnits Fade Along written all over them.  I finally settled on, at least, the skein I wanted to cast on with and a pattern.

westknitsfadealong knitting ravelry

I spent so much time making decisions I didn’t cast on until after bedtime last night but it’s a start!  No one will be surprised to hear, I didn’t decide on anything else.  Even after all that thought and attempts at planning, my best plan is to wing it!

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, eh?

Where ever this goes, I can tell already, it’s going to be awesome! 


 

24 Hours Later…

…It seems like it’s been much longer though!  I’ve gotten a lot done.   It started with cat sweater sleeves.

Sleeves

I’m STILL following the pattern!  It’s on the verge of completion and it’s perfect!

Knitting ADD kicked in though.  I wanted to do some relaxation knitting.  I pulled out the Spice Market Shawl.

spice market

Frankly, this project isn’t going to get far.  It would be gorgeous if I had the desire to finish it but I hate the stitch that makes that little flower dot thing.  It’s m3f3 – make 3 from 3 – essentially you K3tog, yo, K3tog all into the same three stitches.  It’s a pain.  I’m not feeling it.   It’s in the time out corner so I can think about it for a bit but I’m pretty sure my mind is made up.

By then it was about 5 o’clock and I was thinking about what I was going to bring to knit night.  The mailman came and saved the day!

mail call

A box of yarn from my Mom arrived!  While I’m certainly a yarn snob, I like to try new things.  And here’s a whole bunch of stuff from Lion Brand, I’ve never tried.   The lower right hand corner is their Ball in a Shawl.  One Ball = One Shawl and they have several pattern choices on their website.   I chose a simple garter stitch, boomerang shawl.

square needles

I did rewind the Lion ball…it was dreadful and destined to be a tangled mess otherwise.  So far, this yarn is okay.  I see why people with a small yarn budget would be drawn to it.  It’s a cotton/acrylic blend with a metallic thread.  Aran weight, 518 yards.  I’m using a size 8 needle, so it’s going quickly.

shawl in a ball

I even took it for a little bus ride today.  My favorite kind of knitting is the kind that be successfully executed on the bus.

shawl on a bus

The six skeins on the left are Landscape, another aran weight yarn.  It’s soft, sure, but it’s also barely spun making it a tangly mess, despite being 100% acrylic.   I kind of hate it already.

landscapes

I’m thinking maybe some quick cowls in fun stitches…herringbone, brioche, linen stitch?  If you hated Lion Brand Homespun, I don’t recommend this one at all!  Consider yourself warned!

And the rainbow Mandala, I think that’s destined to become a crochet mandala circle vest.  It’s the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love here in San Francisco.  Every local institution is pushing it hard.  A rainbow crochet vest seems completely appropriate!

But first, a cat sweater.  Fingers crossed, the next time you hear from me it will be with news of a finished sweater!!

FO>CO

When one door closes, another opens.  The end of one chapter is just the beginning of the next chapter.  And so it goes with knitting, as well.  Binding off one project leads to casting on for the next.

I’ve finished the Vee Vee shawl, complete with my own modifications to the edge & bind off.

vee vee shawl modified edge fogknits

It’s hard to see the details since I haven’t blocked it yet.  In addition to the stripes you see, I added a series of YO holes that increased in size.  Then, I bound off with a crochet hook!

crochet bind off

I thought maybe I wanted to continue with the loopiness and a crochet picot seemed easier than a knit version.

crochet bind off ruffle

Turns out, it was!  Far less fiddly than a knit picot.  I enjoyed doing it.  After a short while I decided, perhaps, just maybe I was going too far with all the loopy bits.  Ultimately, I finished the rest of the bind off, in a plain chain bind off, still with the crochet hook.

ends to weave

There’s a section bound off with the grey yarn as well.  That was my attempt to make my frankenstein bind off look planned.  Until it’s blocked, it’s hard to tell.  And, I was in no mood for end weaving.

miss babs gradient kit 2 ply yummy rainbow yarn knitting

Instead, I started something new!  This is a Miss Bab’s 2-ply Yummy Polydactyl kit!  Yay rainbow!  I’ve had this in the stash for several years.  Being Pride weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to finally but it out!

miss babs gradient kit rainbow 2 ply yummy madelinetosh void eurosock

I’m pairing it with a skein of MadelineTosh Euro Sock in color Void.  Turns out I actually have two skeins of fingering weight yarn in black?!?  I guess I never counted this one because it’s got some variegation going on.

spice market on the needles

The pattern I picked is Melanie Berg’s Spice Market Shawl.  I’m very excited!  Rainbow yarn knits faster than non-rainbow yarn.  Fact!   Much progress has been made already!

spice market rainbow

I really do intend to finish my cat sweater soon but for the meantime, I’m stuck in rainbow-land!  I’m loving this so far!  Hope you’re enjoying your weekend just as much!  :)

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!