Stitches West & Beyond

February has been a total whirlwind!  I knew going back to work would happen quickly, when it did happen.  I knew my creative time would take a hit but man, I forgot what a disaster everything else becomes too!

I used to laugh at the parade through my building on Saturday mornings.  First thing…take out the garbage.  Without fail, every Saturday morning, half the building takes out it’s trash.  Then they all parade through the laundry room.  Then it’s the parade to the grocery store.  As you can imagine, it is with great reluctance that I re-join this parade.  It’s all coming back to me though.  I’ve usually gotta work a trip to the post office in there, too.

I’ve been forcing myself to knit at least a few stitches in the evenings.  Slowly, I’m getting back into the swing of maximizing my time.  I’ve finished a bunch of small instant gratification projects recently, hats and toys.  I’ve got a new Dotted Rays shawl on the needles, too…but I’ve had no movement on my steeked sweater.  It is still zipper-less.

 

And then Stitches happened!  Phew!  I’m nearly recovered.  It was a good time and, I’m happy to report my ‘Carrying Coal to Newcastle’ approach worked.

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I filled my bag with stash yarn from home, just as little reminder that I have plenty of great yarn and there’s no need to buy anymore.   It totally worked!  I did not buy yarn at Stitches!  I did buy a couple trinkets…a Willie cool patch and a cute tin with a few little stitch markers.  The flying alpaca-corn became the perfect zipper pull for my notions bag!

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Check out this slideshow to see all my Stitches pictures.  Without serious yarn shopping to do, I took a lot of pictures and looked at lots of samples.  I doubt I even saw half the market floor though.

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And so, another Stitches is in the books.  I’m looking forward to next year when, hopefully, I’ve lifted my self imposed ban on stash acquisitions.  I’m super inspired and motivated to do lots of knitting in March!

Ready…Set…GO!

A New WIP

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It’s been a busy week!  Without my cell phone camera roll, I’d never be able to remember it all!

Partially because I’ve imposed a ‘no knitting at home’ rule for myself as I prepare for the upcoming Etsy Holiday Emporium.  I’ve got lots of cross stitching to do and that doesn’t travel well.  It made the divide seem easy…cross stitch at home and then get my knitting fix with a travel project whenever I’m out and about.

Turns out, I really still want to knit and I’ve been able to come up with lots of excuses to leave the house!  LOL!

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When I left you last, I was contemplating this swatch.  It’s not bad but I wanted something better than ‘not bad’.  In a rush out the door, I grabbed a few half balls that were calling to me and this swatch was born.

It’s perfect – irresistible fall colors!  I could not wait to get my needles clicking on this one!  It’s a Stephen West shawl (of course!), Striped Esjan.  It’s been in my queue for a long time.  I’ve emulated it’s loopy edge is several of my own shawl explorations.  I’ve certainly thought about it enough.  It’s about time I actually knit one!

It’s been a great carry along project.  Once I got started, I couldn’t put it down.  I’ve taken it to the movies, to the beach, to the park, several bars.  Yes, I’m finding plenty of excuses to take it out of the house.  So much for rules, eh?

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VKL SF

It’s time!  Vogue Knitting Live is finally here.  Nearly a decade after Vogue started hosting these events, San Francisco is getting it’s weekend.  Woooo!

 

And I’m ready…my homework is officially done!  Blocked, ends woven…the whole shebang.  I’m taking Franklin Habits steek & zipper class.  No chance I’d show up to meet Franklin Habit with unblocked homework?!?  I’ve done both zippers and steeks successfully, so it won’t be anything new to me but I’m hoping to pick up some finesse from Franklin.  He’s a detail oriented fellow, known for recreating intricate vintage knits.  He’s got an interesting blog, hopefully one day he revives it.

I’m looking forward to his class.  It seems like everyone loves him so the bar is set high!  I’ll also be attending a sheep to skein talk by Clara Parkes.  She’s no slouch herself…as the author of the Knitter’s Book of Wool (among many other’s), she’s clearly an expert.  I have a feeling she’s not going to disappoint either.

Now that my homework is done, I feel deadline-free for the first time in nearly a month!  I can knit anything I want!  Wooooo!  I’d like to finish my Dragon Fade shawl, but it’s huge at this point.

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I’m 60 rows or so from the end.  I really want to finish it but it’s become a bit of a wrestling match.  Two balls of yarn attached, all the unwoven ends, the 8 feet of fabric attached to the needles.  I need to leave it at home.   It’s too much.   I’m ready for something new.

This time I reached for the bag of cashmere.  I’ve got some 100% cashmere, DK weight, from Noro.  A single fiber and a single color…very unusual for a Noro yarn.  I’m messing around with a swatch, I’ve got a few other cashmeres I could add in.  Ultimately, I’m heading towards a cowl, inspired by the 3-Color Cashmere Cowl.  I’m changing the gauge and I expect I’ll make some other modifications along the way.

It should be the perfect convention knitting!  Bring on the weekend and VKL!  Woo!

WIP it Wednesday

Happy WIP Wednesday!  That’s so much better than thinking of it as Hump Day, especially when there’s new WIPs involved!

This week I’m all about new travel knitting.  Easy stitches and simple patterns are the name of the game.  And of course, a bit of stash busting.  I just love a pile of half balls.

First up, a quick mitered square baby blanket.  It’ll be done before I know it (largely because I don’t have enough yarn, I’m ignoring that though.)

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I weighed the yarn I did have and divided it up into four equal portions, one for each mitered square.  I’ve got almost 3 squares finished!  Gotta love size 7 needles.  These squares are practically knitting themselves.

It’s really just a palate cleanser while I pondered my next shawl, which started with a pile of oddballs.  At first it’s just throwing yarn in a pile.

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Over the course of a few days, it gradually figures out a color scheme.

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And then the fine tuning begins.  Colors are added and subtracted.  More stash is pulled out from the depths.  I start to wind up new skeins.

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I really love where these colors ended up!  I think I’ve found the perfect progression for a fade!  It’s a bit of a dragon in my mind.  A splash of green for the tail, then fading purple through the body, up into a grey head.  I love it!!

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Yes, this is going to be fun and it’s garter stitch!  Wooo!  The pattern is Match & Move from Martina Behm (of Hitchhiker fame).  The ultimate result is a triangle, worked sideways.  I’m excited to really get this one under way!


 

WIP Wednesday

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After months of threatening, my next sweater is, finally, on the needles!  It doesn’t look like much yet but it’s gonna be perfect!  I can say this with authority because it’s a nearly identical copy of my last sweater.

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The pattern is Vivido by Carol Feller.  It’ll be my fourth one.  It’s a cardigan with raglan shaping and a shallow v-neck.  Nothing fancy, just a sweater that is comfortable and looks good.  It’s easy knitting and easy math when doing gauge conversions.  I really couldn’t ask for more.  Unless maybe someone wants to knit it for me?  :)

As for the yarn, I’m keeping the same stripes (Noro Rainbow Roll) but changing the main color (unspun Icelandic Plutolopi) from brown to navy blue.  I’m actually expecting it to be significantly different.  You never know what’s going to happen with Noro stripes, after all.  I can’t wait to see it develop…the ‘stripes make you knit faster’ phenomenon has definitely kicked in!  I’m making good progress.

Of course, I am easily distracted and this also fell onto my needles yesterday…

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It’s been 3 months since I knit a Hitchhiker.  It’s definitely time for another one!  This is my 15th Hitchhiker, one of nearly 30,000 on Ravelry.  I assume you already know how awesome this pattern is but in case you don’t…it’s awesome.  There are literally 29,670 Hitchhiker projects on Ravelry.  Imagine the people who don’t maintain Rav Notebook pages?!?  There could be 50,000 Hitchhikers in the world!  It’s amazing!  That’s just how perfect it is.

Here’s the pitch, just in case you need it…

It’s garter stitch, gotta love no purls!  The pattern is committed to memory easily.  It’s perfect for difficult yarn…that variegated skein you just couldn’t resist but turns into a horrible nightmare every time you attempt to knit with it.  The Hitchhiker’s continually growing rows in combination with the garter stitch tame those hard to use yarns.  From horrible pooling and clown barf to lovely scarf in no time at all.  And, perhaps most important, it’s easy to wear and always looks great.

Be warned though:  this is knitter’s crack.  You will be hooked.  Once is not enough.  The addiction is real.  ;)

 

 

Qiviut FO

I’ve finished my qiviut cowl!  It’s amazing!  It’s the softest thing I’ve ever knit.  It’s warm.  It’s fuzzy.  AND, I don’t have to feed it or clean it’s poop up!  Yes, I’d say qiviut is worth it’s price.  I’m not rushing out to buy more, but if anyone wants to send me some, I’m happy to give you my address!

I used a simple 18 stitch feather and fan repeat.  It’s about as close to lace as I get.  Given the halo of qiviut, it was the perfect choice.  The one thing worse than knitting lace is knitting lace only to have it obscured by the yarn.  I’m happy to have avoided that pitfall.  It might be the most perfect little accessory ever.

And, of course, let’s not forget, the best part of finishing…starting the next big thing! Despite constantly threatening you with a sweater, I’ve started another accessory.  This is going to be a Wonder Woman Wrap.

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I’ve foregone the classic colors in favor of something more wearable.  I’m not into the ketchup & mustard color scheme and I had this gorgeous Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Fine languishing in the stash.  It’s a 50/50 merino/silk blend and an absolute treat to work with.

I mean, it’s not qiviut, but it’ll do…


 

WIP Wednesday

My funemployment craftcation is rolling along nicely.  No chance of boredom setting in here.

I recently finished yet another cross stitch hoop and a little fob thingy, maybe it’ll be a luggage tag.  I always feel weird about monograms.  I did it anyhow.  Sometimes you feel like a nut…    I’m pleased with the results.


I’m quite chuffed with the latest bit of knitting as well.  My textures are all playing nicely with my colors.  One would almost think I planned it that way.  Almost!  It’s great advocacy for the planning department, actually.

I try to plan.  It’s so boring though.  Remember this?

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I planned my “next” sweater, way back in March.   I have the pattern.  I picked out the yarn.  The yarn the pattern calls for, no less.  I decided on my colors.  I was good to go.

That sweater is still not on the needles, though.   No, instead, I’m staring this pile down.

 

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The well-planned but never-executed Lopi sweater, the brioche shawl I want to frog and enough yarn for only 80% of a sweater I want to knit.  Two hot messes or a plan that just needs basic execution.  I still don’t wanna do it.

Following a plan sounds like torture.  UGH.

I really want to get a sweater on the needles though.  It’s a real quandary.  I have a feeling I’m going to make a hot mess decision.  I’ll keep you posted! :)