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!

May The Fourth Be With You

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Happy Star Wars Day!  and May the Fourth be with you! 

My intergalactic amigurumi crochet collection is growing!  I gotta say, I’m happy to see this Stormtrooper killed.  He’s kind of a reject anyway.  If Yoda didn’t do it, Vader would have, soon enough.

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While he does look more like a Stormtrooper than a Village Person, he’s a summary of everything I dislike about making stuffies.  He’s just a bit off.

At least he’s less phallic than when he started.  It makes me wish Rebecca Danger wrote a Star Wars book.  I love her toy design.  Her pieces aren’t sewn together but rather, picked up and worked more continuously.

That said, if you’re good at tiny finishing and you like fiddly bits, this is the book for you!  Rumor has it, you can find it at Costco these days.

I’m not letting the dark side win, I’ll be back to crochet another day.  For now though, I’m just going to enjoy a day filled with nerdy puns—and KNITTING!

May The Fourth Be With YOU!

Friday Photo Dump

Hoooooray for Friday! I’m very excited to get some knitting done this weekend! In the meantime, here’s a random bunch of pictures I took but haven’t shared yet!

First, some yarn my Mom dyed for me recently!  The olivey green is going to become a felted hat with a wide brim.  The color has a lot of depth to it, lots of gold & mustardy tones to it.  Hopefully that’s not lost when it’s felted.

The multi is a special handspun yarn I got in Iceland.  Not sure what to do with it yet.  Something for the torso I think.  It’s the soft part of the Icelandic wool, next to skin softness for sure!


Next, my little Yoda, done he is!

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His friends will be joining him soon.


My latest foray into beading.  The beaded part was lots of fun!  I didn’t even mind the pre-strung business.  It’s tough on the yarn but it’s way less fiddly that stopping to pick up a crochet hook every time you place a bead.  Now it’s just slogging through a regular old scarf.  No bells or whistles to get excited about.  Oh well, that is what I signed on for after all…


And last but not least, the sequence knitting shawl has been getting lots of outdoor love with spring springing so much in the recent weeks!  I’m really looking forward to wearing this one.  If all goes according to plan, I predict I’ll love it!

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend filled with lots of knitting!  Only a couple hours to go, I’m confident I’ll make it…


 

Eyeball FO

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I expected a 600 stitch i-cord bind off to take much longer!

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Somehow, I got it done all in one morning! And so, the eyeball shawl is finished!

It’s so fun!  The garter stitch is so squishy, it’s a lot of fun to wear!  And that color…

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The details:

My Ravelry Page

The Pattern:  Stephen West’s Eyeball Shawl

The Yarn:  MadelineTosh Euro Sock

It’s currently unblocked. I’ll definitely be doing that soon!  It’s currently large but I want extra large…shlanket size even! I have a feeling all that squishy garter stitch will accommodate me!

In the meantime, I’m ignoring all those other WIPs and thinking about the next cast on instead!

 

FO Friday – Marled Hitchhiker

My latest Hitchhiker is finished!  Lucky Hitchhiker number 13 for me!

If you aren’t familiar with the Hitchhiker Scarf, you’re missing out!!  It’s the most wearable scarf, that’s easy to knit, perfect for on-the-go and social knitting and, if that’s not enough, it tames even the craziest of rainbow clown barf variegations!  It’s perfect!

I’ve done a lot of variations over the years.  Seed Stitch.  Eyelets.  Eyelets with Beads. Big One.  Little One.  Sparkly One.   This is my first marled Hitchhiker though!

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I’m quite pleased.  The yarn is Anzula’s Haiku.  Instead of an MCN (merino cashmere nylon) blend, it’s an MBN…merino/bamboo/nylon.  It’s soft and warm but hasn’t made me drip sweat yet!  The garter stitch gives the fabric a delightful squish and holding the yarn double only adds to that.  This is all came together so perfectly!

I predict this scarf becomes a staple as Fog Season approaches!