A Triumphant Return!

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Etsy Holiday Emporium weekend is over!  The show was a big success!  I had a really great time talking to all the people who came by.  It was so fun to see people connect with my brand of snark and laugh at all the same things I laugh.  It’s nice to have your art appreciated but this went a step beyond that.  It was a big helping of personal validation and who doesn’t like that.  Even better than that though, now that it’s over…I can get back to my knitting!

It’s been a month of virtually no knitting, in prep for the show.  I was excited to get right down to it, casting on a hat to work on throughout the weekend.  I picked a fun little slip stitch pattern that’s easy to memorize but has a big impact.

And, it’s reversible!  Spotted on one side, striped on the other…super fun!

Here’s how it works, in the round…

Round 1: With color A, K1, P1

Rounds 2 & 3:  With color B, S1 wyib, P1, K1, P1

Round 4:  With color A, K1, P1

So, really only two rows, just knits, purls and an occasional slip stitch.  Super easy!

The other noteworthy feature of this hat, is the cast on.  I’m going to tell you about it and hope you’ll try it out too.  I really love it.  This is the Alternating Cable Cast On.

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I use it as a stand in for the Tubular Cast On.  The Alternating Cable Cast On is a lovely stretchy alternative that is easier and faster to execute.  I first learned it from Wooly Wormhead and she’s the goddess of hat, if there ever was one.  Here’s her tutorial for it, because she can surely give you the steps better than I can.

The basic explanation is this:  It’s the Cable Cast On with one change.  Instead of ‘knitting’ every stitch (inserting the needle from the front) you alternate between knit and purl (inserting the needle from the back).  It’s aptly named, the Alternating Cable Cast On…just a cable cast on that alternates between knits and purls, perfect for ribbing!

It’s a minor detail but I love minor details.  It’s the sort of thing that elevates homemade to handmade.  It’s a little bit of finesse that add to the polish of the finished hat tenfold!  I highly recommend it.

Of course, one hat didn’t last me long.  Day 2 of the show required another cast on…this time, I added a third color and went for a spiral knit stripey hat!

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And, just like that, Christmas knitting has begun.  Next up, an ugly Christmas sweater for my cute little nephew and a whole slew of new stuffie animal friends for him.  It’s gonna be so good!  So, stand by as we have now returned to our regular knitting agenda!   Wooooo!


 

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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Sweater Weather

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Once I got beyond the sleeve divide, yesterday, it was smooth sailing.  I made it through the body of my nephew sweater no problem.  When I got the bottom, I added another feature, designed to aid in long term wearability.

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A split hem.  Hopefully this will allow little man to wear it longer.  I’m also going to extend the sleeves, so they can be rolled up and then unrolled as he grows.  Hopefully he’ll get to wear this one into the new year.   Fingers crossed!

Of course, it’s time to knit all the sweaters!  Sweater weather is the best.  I’ve got a holiday sweater in mind and he’s definitely going to need a grandpa sweater for the winter.  Maybe something with elbow patches.  I love a good elbow patch.

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For Throwback Thursday, I submit this photo of my favorite elbow patch sweater (taken 20 years ago next week, on my 21st birthday)!  You can’t see them, but rest assured, they were the perfect leather patches, soft and just the right color.  I loved this sweater…a lot.  I lost it at a blizzard party a few months after later.  I didn’t knit it, but still, I was saddened by it’s loss.  It was a great sweater.

Here’s another sweater with an interesting use of leather.  I spied it while watching Kingpin, the second best bowling movie of all time.  I’m undecided on whether it’s a great sweater but there is no doubt, it’s got an interesting construction.

 

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It’s got the leather panels down the front.  They evoke a certain time period, which is what they’re going for.  This is supposed to be a scene from the 70’s.  That’s not the interesting construction though.  Those cable bands are what caught my eye.  I think, they’re an appliqué, sewn on after the fact.  The band looks rather stiff.  The sweater shows folds from movement but the band is solid.

The close shot really confirms it for me.  You can see the base sweater and the cable band are distinct from each other.  The usual tension you’d see at the cable row is non-existent.  You get a clear look at the band too.  It’s not even really cable knit.  It’s two pieces twisted together and then sewn on.

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That is an interesting design choice.  Why would they do that?  Would a hand knitter do that?  No, I don’t think a hand knitter would.   I think it must be a decision based on industrial production.  I can’t imagine it’s a feature of design.  I’m going to assume it’s a feature of convenience.  What else could it be?

The longer I look at this one, the closer I get to declaring it a great sweater.  It certainly makes me think I should be checking goodwill for sweaters more often.  This would be a great vintage find!  Perhaps I’ve found my afternoon adventure…


 

 

WIP Wednesday – Tweed Season

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It’s only one tiny thing, in a long list of things but I fixed my knitting!  Wooo!  My tweedy nephew sweater is back on track!

It’s not often that I rip out all my progress and just start over but in this case, I’m glad I did.  The sleeve cap on this little sweater is so much better today than it was yesterday.

The good one is on the left.  The one I ripped out, on the right.  The difference between them is a matter of fit.  On the left the sleeve cap is a bit ‘puffy’ and on the right, it’s more sleek.  For myself, I’d pick the right sleeve cap but for a wiggly little baby, a roomy shoulder is a good thing.

With the raglan shaping done and the sleeves divided, it’s just stockinette in the round from here on out.  Happy place knitting!  Yaaaay!

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I’m really enjoying this yarn.  It’s KnitPicks (relatively) new yarn, Provincial Tweed.   It’s a superwash Highland Wool but I’m not hating the superwash.  There’s really no way around superwash when it comes to baby clothes so I’m just enjoying the softness of the yarn, it’s lovely sheen and the fun tweed.

I’m not convinced the tweed bits will last through a machine wash cycle.  They’re very loosely spun, in most cases.  I’ll definitely get my sister to report back to me on that.  She’s a maniac when it comes to doing laundry.  When we were kids, the washing machine broke one day and it never got fixed.  We spent the next decade carting our laundry to a laundromat…10 miles away.   And, we never had a dryer.  Line drying was the norm.  I think the ‘novelty’ of having a washer and dryer right in the house never wears off.   At least, for me, it hasn’t.  There are loads of chores I hate but I don’t mind doing laundry.  Doing laundry is mostly sitting around waiting for the machine to finish.  I am very good at that.

So, tangent aside, I’m confident this sweater will get a trip through the washing machine and I’ll get a report on how well it wears.  It could certainly be a contender for more fall sweaters as the nephew grows.  It’s not fall, if you don’t have a tweed sweater to wear!

 

As for my wordpress/photo problem…That’s a work in progress too.  It seems like lots of people have tech issues when it comes to image display and loading.  I’ve now done all the basic re-boot stuff, cleared my cache, etc.  Hopefully some of that helps.  I’m gonna work my cross stitch gallery a bit this afternoon, should be a good test.

Work in Progress Thursday

‘What have you been up to?’ is such a generic question.  It’s in line with ‘How are you?’…it’s hard for me to be anything but dismissive, when faced with such questions.   I haven’t been at work at all week.  I don’t know what I’ve been doing.  Am I supposed to actually stop and think about it and then recount all the things I’ve done this week?  Funemployment is different every day and remembering is hard work, okay?

Thank goodness for the iPhone…how else would I know what I’ve done?  Photo stream to the rescue!  I don’t have to remember what I’ve done…there’s pictures of lots of it!

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And, that’s not all…My Dragon Fade shawl is finished!  Mostly…I’ve still got a few ends left to weave but I’ve been wearing it anyhow!  Pics tomorrow!  It’s gorgeous…I love it!


 

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!