Overdue Update

Well, Heeeeeelllo!

It’s been a while.  I’ve been busy.  Work, eh?  Takes up all the best hours of the day!  Never fear though…there has still been knitting!  No time to talk about knitting but still time for knitting!  I’ve finished up a bunch of projects too!

Like my Striped Esjan!  It’s awesome.  I’m glad I finally made one!  It’s inspired me to put more holes in my knitting for years now!   The ends aren’t woven and it’s not blocked yet but that has not stopped me from wearing it.  It’s an older WestKnits design.  The big swiss cheese holes have always attracted me to this shawl.  All the increases to create those holes resulted in nearly 1200 stitches in the final rows!  The bind off took an entire day but I’m super stoked to have finished it.  It’s fun to wear.

There’s also my latest nephew knit!  Another sweater for the little man…it’s just a top down raglan with a few stripes for interest.  Hopefully he’ll get plenty of cozy time from it!

The kid is growing like a weed so I had to knit this yarn up quick before he outgrew the 3 skeins I bought!  The yarn is from Swan’s Island’s ecowash collection.  Don’t be fooled by that convenient name, that also sounds like it might be better for the environment than superwash.  This yarn, while listed as washable, is not machine dryable which, for me, negates the whole purpose of being washable.  It behaves like superwash, in that it grows upon washing.  So…poooooooooh.  I should have read the label closer.  As much as I dislike superwash, it’s the way to go for kids clothes.

It’s gonna be a while before I start the next nephew sweater.  It’s going to be a Mini Sunset Highway for his first birthday.  It’s going to be incredibly adorable.  I can’t wait to see him wear it.   But for now it’s on the backburner.  I’m shelving all knitting until May.  That sounds drastic but…

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I’ve been accepted into another street fair, the Bayview Mercantile, April 28th, in San Francisco, at All Good Pizza in the Bayview neighborhood.  Let’s face it, they had me at pizza!  So, no knitting for the next couple weeks while I prep some new cross stitch hoops for the event!

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Luckily, it’s kind of addictive and I’m not upset at this self-imposed ban on knitting.  I have cross stitch ideas faster than I can stitch them so a month long cross stitch binge is just what I need!   My crafty Mom is getting in on the action too..she sent me a big package full of hand dyed aida to stitch on!  The colors are so fun!  I especially love the rainbow stripes!

I love a good pop culture reference.  I still have lots of song lyrics, movie quotes and of course, Game of Thrones quotes on the drawing board…I’m curious about what you’d like to see too!  Leave your suggestions in the comments!

WIP It Wednesday

I’m back in the swing of things with my knitting, which means a classic case of Cast on-itis has manifested.

It’s not enough to finish just finish my nephew’s super cute christmas sweater.  No, I couldn’t just enjoy my beautiful seams.  I had to start another sweater.  Of course, that sweater can’t be knit in a dark movie theater so I had to cast on a movie theater project.  I’m still working on my latest shawl too!

It’s all going well!  Baby’s first ugly Christmas sweater is almost done.  It’s acrylic and I’m thinking of ‘killing’ it.  Not something I’ve ever done intentionally but I think it’ll take this sweater from stiff to drapey.  That should up the cozy factor!  I’m planning to wash and dry it in the machine.  Then, hit it with the steam iron.

I’ll keep you posted!  Hopefully it’ll be ready for a big FO Friday reveal!  You aren’t gonna want to miss this one!

Jimmy’s SmartStix Needle Review

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I’m happy to have my needles clicking again…I don’t have much to show for my renewed efforts though…at least not on my Striped Esjan Shawl.  It’s going to be scrunched on the needles and hard to see for a while longer but I’m transitioning to the border so next to you see it, at least it’ll have new colors to look at!

In the meantime, let me tell you about Jimmy Beans new SmartStick knitting needle + tape measure combo.

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Firstly, because of the recent kerfuffle with Making Things, I’ll tell you, I paid for these needles because I wanted to try them.  I’m not being compensated for this review.  I’m not getting kickbacks.  There’s no affiliate links (or links at all.  If you decide you want the needles, I’m sure you’re clever enough to find them on your own!)

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So, the gimmick here (and yes, it is a total gimmick) is the needle has 1″ segments marked from tip to tip so it can double as a tape measure.

I’m firmly in the camp that says you measure with a ruler.  It’s the Elizabeth Zimmerman camp and she’s never wrong.  The logic here is you want the most accurate measurement and the firm edge of a ruler provides that.  Measuring flat on a table with a tape measure isn’t so bad but there’s still flexibility and wiggle room with that method.   Firm edge = best possible measurement.   Measuring with the floppy cord of a knitting needle (with knitting attached?) on your lap will never give you an accurate measurement.  I will never use this needle in that manner.  Seriously, I’m nixing this idea from the very beginning.

That said, I’ll step off my soap box and acknowledge that is not what the folks at Jimmy Beans are encouraging.  They say themselves on the package ‘for quick & dirty measuring on the go’.  Okay fine.

I’m really just in it for the needles.  I’m a die hard Addi fixed needle user.  I really do knit faster with the amazing Addi Turbo.  That’s not just lip service but I’m open to trying other needles.  One day something better than an Addi fixed may come along.   The SmartStix happen to be Knitter’s Pride needles, which I’ve never used.  There’s lots of things I like about it.

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The join is smooth.  The tip is pointy but not so pointy that I impale my thumb.  I’m an occasional pusher.  I don’t do it all the time but when I do, I don’t want a needle so sharp it hurts.  The 1″ segments along the barrel are joined nicely, they don’t catch or snag.  I like the foil packaging with the sturdy zip top.  I store my needles in their original packaging, clearly the intent of this bag.

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Personally, I prefer my needles a bit more slick.  In my mind, Addi’s are slick, not slippery.  If you think Addi’s are too slippery and you lose stitches off the end, you’ll enjoy the finish on these needles.  The feel of metal without the slipperiness.

The cord is soft and pliable despite being on the thick side.  It’s got a nice suppleness to it. It’s not stiff or inflexible.  I like the cord.  The markings on the needle barrel are engraved so no rubbing off.  I think the marks on the cord could wear off over time.  I tried my best to scratch one of the spots off with my finger nail.  I couldn’t so I think that bodes well for those who are into the tape measure gimmick.  It’ll require a lot of use before those marks show signs of wear and tear.

Ultimately, these are nice needles and the price is right.  I like them fine but they’ll never become my go to needles.  I wish they weren’t pink.  They’re color coded by cord length, 16″ are red, 24″ are blue, 32″ are green and 40″ are pink.  You get what you get.  40″ size 4 is my most used size so I went with it.  I’m sure it will get use…I always want to cast on another shawl.  I’m not rushing out to buy the interchangeable set or even another pair of the fixed needles though.

Now…on to that shawl edge!  I’m ready to tackle those 600 stitch rows!


 

WIP Wednesday

The progress on my Striped Esjan is slow but steady!  I’m nearly ready to make the switch from body to border.  I may have to stash dive again to come up with more color choices.  We’ll see…this sucker is definitely eating up the yarn!

I’m still spending most of my time preparing for the SFEtsy Holiday Emporium!  I feel a Bah Humbug coming on…

Here’s the details, if you’ll be in San Francisco Thanksgiving weekend!

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Now, back to the stitching and the booth building!  There’s still loads to be done!

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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FO Friday – Dragon Fade!

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My Dragon Fade shawl is finished and it’s gigantic!  I love it!  It’s been off the needles since Sunday.  I promptly wore to the park…ends dangling and all.  I don’t care.  I like it anyhow.

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I have managed to get about half the ends woven.  Yes, I’ve continued to wear it.  Fringe is in right now.  I’m going with it!  Of course, I really should get around to washing it and blocking it.  I’d draped it across a lot of Mother Nature’s offerings this week.

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Here’s a few details:  The pattern is Match & Move by Martina Behm.  I used 17 different yarns…no wonder there are so many ends to weave – those details (minus 1 mystery yarn) are all here on my notebook page.  My only modification, aside from gauge changes and the fade, was to increase the size.  I added about 10 extra rows…it’s giant.  It drags on the ground, if I don’t wrap it a couple times.  It’s definitely for cold & windy days.

That is not today.  Today appears to be a sunny day, which is good news for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass!  I’m heading to back to Golden Gate Park again so I’ll leave you with this shameless self promotion.  Just did a big fall shop update!   Check it out at www.FogKnits.Etsy.com!

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Happy Friday and Have a great weekend!


 

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!