FO Friday – 3 Color Cashmere Cowl-esque

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My 3-Color Cashmere Cowl is done!  Whoo Hoo!  It’s a knock off of Joji’s cowl pattern.  The original is fingering weight and my yarn was dk weight.  I figured if I was adjusting gauge, I might as well adjust a few other things.  I started with a little diagram of the original cowl and used that as my guideline.

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The farther along I got, the more I diverged from the plan.  I think I captured the feel of the original cowl though.

Too bad summer has finally come to San Francisco…it’s nearly 80 degrees out! Oh well, it’ll get cold again soon enough!  I’m thinking chilly thoughts, if nothing else.

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Etsy put out a trend report for the coming holiday season.  After reading it and listening to the Etsy trend expert on a podcast, I’m feeling rather festive.  I worked up a couple Christmas cross stitches.  The trend expert called out ‘Christmas Clutter’, bold fonts and 90’s nostalgia.   I don’t usually go out of my way to be trendy but I’ve been working on the fonts already, so why not add a little Christmas flare, too.

Happy October, eh?


 

This Week, In Review

You’d think since I spent the week blathering on about VKL instead of showing off WIPs, I’d have a lot of progress to show.  My dragon fade Match & Move pretty much looks the same though.  I really am closing in on the end though.  I keep saying it but this time, I really do mean it!  16 rows plus the bind off.  It will be finished soon and it will be gorgeous.  Until then, it’s like wrestling an octopus.  It’s incredibly unwieldy.

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I’ve got lots of things I want to start on but I’m trying to clear the slate first.  I did need a project to carry around at VKL though.  Enter my 3-Color Cashmere Cowl.

It’s not done but I couldn’t resist trying it on!  I don’t think I’ve been giving this project the proper presence of mind.  It’s just a stashbusting, quickie.  It was trivial.  Until, I put it on.  Now, the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  I really like this.  Duh…there’s a reason it’s been so popular!

I’m frequently a late adopter when it comes to the hot, new pattern.   The original 3-Color Cashmere Cowl was released more than 3 years ago.  There’s over 6000 of these cowls on Ravelry.  I shouldn’t be surprised at all.  These things are always popular for a reason.

Of course, I’m not actually following the pattern.  I’m using DK weight yarn instead of fingering and I’m just making up my own patterning as I go, using the original as a roadmap.  So far, so good…it helps that I’m using cashmere, I did keep that part the same!  100% Noro Cashmere…it’s yummy!  I can’t wait to block it and bloom the cashmere.  It’s going to be amazing!

Have a great weekend!  I’m hoping to squeeze all this finishing in.  Woo!


 

Vogue Knitting Live SF Recap

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What a weekend, I barely know where to start.  There’s so much to tell you about…classes, shopping, fashion shows…and lots of yarn!  Let’s start with the fun stuff…here’s my shopping.

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I went over budget but I knew that was going to happen.  I say unrealistic things like ‘I’m not going to buy yarn.’  Obviously, no one believes that.  Not even me.  I did leave my credit card at home on days 2 & 3 though, that helped.  The vendors were quick to be helpful, telling me about apple pay and other banking apps they’re equipped to deal with.  Nice try, vendors.  Nice try.

My shopping started at Neighborhood Fiber Co.  They were the end of their row, a perfect crossroads to find friends.  Perhaps, for me, the best part of the event was it’s small, even intimate size.  It was so easy to run into fiber friends.  Having worked in local yarn shops, I know a lot of knitters.  There were lots of people to stop and chat with! So, I stood next to the Neighborhood Fiber Co booth, eyeing their display shawls and chatting it up.

I happened to say ‘if they had a kit for that shawl and it was in my hands, what are the chances I’d put it down?’  A helpful friend said ‘oh, you mean like this’ and the rest is history.  I’m not sure what exactly I’ll knit with the yarn.  It’s a kit for Joji’s Fading Point shawl and the display model is Joji’s Starting Point shawl.  I like triangles more than rectangles but also, how many triangles (asymmetric or otherwise!) does one person need?

With that in mind, my next purchases were for sweaters.  Franklin Habit’s class definitely gave me the finishing touches I was looking for.  A nice woolly cardigan with a zipper is now in the queue.  I picked up a 7 skeins of Swans Island sport weight from the ‘All American’ collection.  100% American grown, spun and dyed, NON-SUPERWASH Rambouillet…It’s perfect!  I’m going to pair it with the Mountain Meadow Cody, I got in Flagstaff.  It’s very similar in it’s 100% American grown, spun, dyed origins.  They should pair beautifully.

I’ve got a range of colors and no clue how they’ll become a sweater.  The next part of my process is making a pile.  When I’m asked ‘what are you going to do with that yarn?’, which is frequent at these events, my answer is ‘put it in a pile’.  It’s funny, in the moment, but it’s also the truth.  I buy single skeins in large quantities.  Figuring out how they all fit together, is the fun part.  First thing I did when I got home last night was put them in a pile.  (Also referred to as ‘playing Barbies’.)

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Here’s a couple piles!  The best piles ever!  A gorgeous squishy real wool cardigan with a zipper…yes, please!!

And then, that green pile…oh yeah!  I’ve been collecting green fingering weight yarns all year.  This pile is just beginning.  There’s going to be lots of arranging and rearranging.  Whatever happens, it’s going to be good.  I might be saying the words ‘Westknits Marled Mania Cardigan’ but I don’t think I mean that just yet.  I’d consider the short version, in one color family…I’m waiting to see some real world examples pop up.  Given my current queue, I should have no problem filling that wait time up with other knits.

And cross stitches.  When the cash for big yarn projects was depleted I still had a few dollars left for beads!  The bead booth is so fun!  And beads are so tiny.  No space issues when you hoard beads.  Those three on the left came home with me.  They’ve got an interesting bias cut that could make for interesting leaf, scale or feather textures.  We’ll see what happens.

And then, there’s all the stuff I didn’t buy.  Sadly, I can’t cram everything from every yarn shop into my small apartment.  I didn’t buy most the stuff.  I showed restraint and only brought home pictures of all these beauties…

Overall, I was happy with the marketplace.  Anyone expecting Stitches West level of shopping was in for a disappointment.  There was one small ballroom full of vendors.  I’ve not been to VKL in New York but apparently, it’s four times larger than this was.  There were complaints.

The interesting thing for me was the dominance of our local shops.  Many local shops had booths and many (most?) attendees were local.  This did not feel like an event full of people who traveled great distances.  It felt like a local event with a few out of towners.  That’s not what I was expecting.  It also felt undersold.  It wasn’t crowded.  The economics of it all is certainly questionable.  I hope the vendors made a bit of money.  The tentative plans for 2020 include another VKL SF.  I think they need to change things up a bit, if it’s going to work.

More about the complaints tomorrow!  I got a lot out of my class but not everyone did.  Franklin is an excellent teacher.  He was so well organized and together.  My class was a well oiled machine.  Unfortunately, I heard more bad class stories than good.

I’ve got lot of pics from class to share but enough talking, it’s yarn:30 in the crafternoon.  I must knit!  There is a 3-color cashmere cowl calling my name!

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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

I’ve been on a cast on kick recently.  My goal is to cast on some easy knitting, something I can work on in a dark movie theater.  I’ve been failing miserable but at least that means I’ve got interesting knitting on the needles!

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I showed you my baby blanket progress yesterday.  It’s super fun to knit.  I’m loving the progress.  Here’s an alternate view…

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The beauty of this project…it’s worked in the round.  I’m essentially knitting a big tube.  This is a view of the seam, aka the spot I plan to cut open.  This is such a brilliant idea.  I love it!  Once I’ve cut it open, it will lay flat and these plain stockinette bits will be unraveled into fringe.   And, as the icing on the cake, I’m not purling at all!  To get those purl ridges, I’m simply turning the piece inside out and working those stitches as knits!  Yay for all knits!

Sadly, this next project, has entire rows of purls. The HORROR!

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It’s been tough but I’m managing.  Mostly because the yarn is so incredible!  This is the qiviut I was recently gifted.  It’s going to be a simple feather and fan cowl.  This yarn is absolutely wasted if it’s not next to skin.  With June Gloom right around the corner, timing could not be more perfect!

I’m making progress on my Askews Me shawl as well.  It’s slow going though.  I’ll miss the June Gloom but with a bit of luck, it’ll be ready for Fogust.  Here at FogKnits, we really love Fogust.

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I’m just about to add my first stripe!  Assuming I don’t get distracted by another cast on, which is highly likely.  I’ve been looking at this neutral palate for weeks.  I think it’s time for a Black Panther wrap!

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Christmas Surprises Revealed

I knit less and less for Christmas as the years go by.  While it was always hard to make it to the top of knit-worthy list, it’s become even more challenging!  Not only do you have to appreciate what I do with genuine enthusiasm but the spirits have to move me.  Still, it happens more often than planetary alignment.  There’s always hope.

I managed a few Christmas gifts this year.  It’s tough to have knitting secrets in the age of social media and Ravelry.  A good detective will find parts of this years gifts in my digital wake but still, a few surprises were had!  I’ll start with the easy one…

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First is BB-8.  You saw him a few weeks back but it turns out being a knit-worthy friend does not require one to read my blog!  I don’t think he’s changed much.  I added a few details.  Now that I’ve seen the movie, I think I’d add a few more details.  And I’d make his little eye blue.  Seeing him in action gave good insight into which features read and which don’t.   When he was zipping around and engaged, his little eye turned blue.  Making it blue would set it apart from the big eye and give the details around it more depth.   I have yarn for another.  I suspect this is going to be a one-of-a-kind though.

Next up, an alpaca cowl in Mom colors.  This was a travel project so you’ve seen this one before.  I tried to camouflage it.  You were supposed to be looking at the pagoda, not the knitting!

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I used the sequence knitting technique for this one.  I’m still a big fan of sequence knitting.  It was super easy.  I cast on ~150 and worked K5, P3 until I ran out of yarn.  Complete no brainer.  The real star here is the yarn.

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It’s from Skacel and called Concentric.  It’s a 4 ply yarn where the plies are just held together rather than plied.  The gradient effect comes from one ply changing color at a time.  4 plies of cream becomes 3 plies cream plus 1 ply of beige.  That become 2 plies of cream plus 2 plies of beige.  Etc, etc.  Super fun.

The other amazing thing about this yarn:  100% alpaca that did not shed all over my clothes!  I think alpaca is lovely but I never seek out it out.  Shedding stinks.  This yarn drew me in with it’s pretty cake.  I bought it without thinking of the consequences.  I’m happy to report…there were no consequences.  It was awesome.   And Mom liked it too. Everybody wins!

And now, for the real star of the FogKnits Christmas Collection…

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Mom is always asking for hats with big flowers.  I’ve tried to be accommodating.  It’s never enough.  Way back in 2016, I starting knitting flowers, with this hat in mind.

Things were going good.  I had a biologically accurate garden developing.  I started with a California poppy, an hibiscus, a daffodil and a Calla lily.

Then came the hat base.  It’s actually from yarn Mom dyed herself.  Nothing like making your own Christmas present!

Just a plain stockinette fabric for the hat and around the bottom brim, this funny marshmallow yarn from a yarn swap.  At the time, I thought I got the white elephant but it turned out to be the perfect cobblestone path into the garden.  With those parts assembled, it was time to sew flowers.

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I realized pretty quickly, I had no where near enough flowers.

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I started making more.  They became less likely to be found in nature though.  A blue pansy.  a fuschia water lily.  a blue cherry blossom.  a lavender rose.

and whatever this thing is…

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I made a few leaves and even started adding a bit of fauna to the garden…a hedgehog, a lady bug and a couple dragonflies all joined the party.

And now, Mom can never ask for another flower hat again.

I can’t imagine why she’d need another one!  This is, without a doubt, the warmest hat I’ve ever knit.  It’s a fun blast of spring for those extra cold snow days!  Mom is happy.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the hand dyed yarn she sent to me for Christmas.  In the meantime…I’ll be knitting!  The latest sweater is on the needles!!  I’ll share pics soon!


 

FO Friday – Jury Duty Sucks

I’ve had jury duty this week.  I started the week thinking I enjoyed the process and I was not opposed to being on a jury.  And then, reality set in.  Four days of being called to the courthouse, four days of zero progress, four days of bullshit from lawyers.

Despite the knitting time provided by constant waiting, I’m still rather hostile.  Especially because it’s not over and I have to return on Monday.  UGH.  Not happy.

Instead of focusing on the bullshit that makes me hostile, I’ll focus on the knitting.  I was able to knit an entire bulky brioche cowl, so there’s that.

This is two balls of the yarn that shall not be named, in two different colorways.  I wish I was knitting with something less squeaky and splitty.  Nicer yarn may have improved my attitude.  I wasn’t sure about security though.  Might as well have it be the yarn from the time out corner get confiscated, if that was necessary.  The good news of the week:  courthouse security doesn’t mind knitting!

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Another bright spot:  the colors really look fantastic in brioche!  I didn’t like either of these colorways individually.  The sum of the parts is certainly greater than the whole, in this case.  I’m pleased.

And it was a great way to interact with my fellow hostages jurors.  After day one, people starting coming to check on progress at each break.  It’s interesting to see relationships developing in the gallery.  Crisis really does bring people together.

The cowl is generously sized so it even pulls down over the shoulders.  This yarn really pains me because it’s not bad to wear…how can the process be so horrible but the garment not?   I actually think this is going to get some wear.

There’s my courtroom selfies.  I was trying to avoid being seen by the bailiffs.  They never stopped me from knitting but they were definitely busting people with phones.

While we’re talking FOs from yarn that shall not be named, I finished this scarf a while back.  It’s a ‘shawl in a ball’ yarn and this is the recommended pattern.  An easy garter stitch boomerang.  Again, not a fan of the yarn but the FO doesn’t necessarily reflect that.  That’s just how good I am.  LOL.

And now, time for work.  I’m really happy to be going to work today.  Perspective is everything!  Happy Friday!