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!

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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!

FO Friday – Southern Skies

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Happy Friday, indeed!  My Southern Skies shawl is finally done!  Each bead & eyelet combo represents a star.  Together, they are an accurate representation of the night sky as seen in the Southern Hemisphere.  Blah, blah, blah…no one is ever going to know that’s Canus Major at the bottom of the photo there but it is!  Only took me 5 minutes to figure that out, with a cheat sheet.

No, the remarkable thing about this shawl is purple cashmere!  I wish you could pet it.  It’s amazing.  The purple strand is one of my favorite yarns, Superior Cashmere.  Yum!  They call it sport weight.  I call it lace weight.   I like to pair it with Panda Silk, for a bit of body.  The photos don’t do it justice.  I love it!

It took a while, a third of the project, to really find a rhythm.  It’s a charted design that is entirely non-repeating.  At it’s longest, each row was 576 stitches or 8 pages of chart.  There’s no other way to do it.  The consolation is it’s very easy knitting, stockinette stitch with ‘YO, K2Tog’ forming the eyelets.  The beads are placed on the following row.  No brainer, once you figure out the mechanics of it.

I made a couple modifications.  I stopped (aka ran out of yarn) around row 120.  The pattern continues to row 160.  Doesn’t sound like much but that’s ~half the yarn necessary.  It would have been huge had I continued.  I was ready to be done though.  I’m not sure pi shaping is for me.  I’ll wear it folded in half most of the time.

I modified the bind off as well, subbing in a beaded picot edge to use the remainder of my beads (because of course I had plenty of those.)  You can find those details here!

Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I may have had an idea that demands casting on…right now?!?  (I last nearly 24 hours!  Wooo!)

Candy Dot Cowl

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I really only meant to swatch.  Honest!  I was feeling good about finishing up some older WIPs.  It was going well, I had my eyes on the prize.  And then, Rainbows.

Rainbows derailed that plan quickly.  The irresistible rainbow-on-rainbow got me though.  I just could not stop!

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It reminds me of Candy Dots.  Such fun!  Who didn’t love tiny bits of sugar with shreds of paper still stuck to the back, as a kid?  Even without the beads, this yarn is amazing…it’s so fun to knit rainbows.  Especially this weekend, it was a classic foggy San Francisco summer Fourth of July!  Just perfect!

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Click on over to Ravelry for the pattern details!

 

 

Southern Skies Expansion

Progress continues with my renewed enthusiasm for the Southern Skies shawl!  I stretched it out on two long cords to check out just how much progress I’d made.  It seemed like a lot…

…until the yard stick came out.  Circle shawls need to be extra huge…this is no where near done.  Except, I’m nearly out of yarn…

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That’s all I’ve got left.  That’s it.

Apparently, I decided 660 yards would be just enough to cover the patterns recommended 1200 yards?!?!

True Story.

And then, just to reinforce how far off I am, I did a little math.  I’ve completed charts A, B, C & D for a total of 17,856 stitches.  I’ve just started chart E , with 576 sts/row, has a whopping total of 31,104 stitches.

Meaning I’m not even half done, I’ve got just over one-third completed but I’ve used half the yardage necessary.  Thank you, loose knitting for reminding me, I’ll actually need 300 yards extra to compensate for my gauge!

What the heck was I thinking?!?  I’m pained to have so many projects run short of yarn lately, knitting from the stash is expensive!?!  (The crochet shawl is still stalled, just waiting on more yarn in the mail.)  This is definitely an argument for planned shopping and hesitant stashing.  One day, I’ll be better at that.  In the meantime, the decision is pretty clear here.

 

This is too gorgeous to abandon now and that’s nothing compared to how it feels!  It’s purple cashmere…there’s no way it’s a bad decision.  It just stings a little, champagne taste on a beer budget, ya know?  So, while I sulk over having to buy more cashmere (really?!?), I’m swatching with these goodies from the stash…

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Some of Mom’s hand dyed Unicorn Farts and rainbow beads I got in a de-stash last year!

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It’s a holiday weekend, why not have a little cast on party?  It’s been 5 whole days since my last cast on!  5 AND a half, if we’re being precise!  What could possibly go wrong?