FO Friday – Batad

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In a surprise twist, I’ve got an FO Friday this week.  This is my new Batad.  It’s unexpected because I thought I had more yarn.  Turns out, I don’t.  This is what happens when you let gorgeous yarn languish in the deep recesses of the stash.  I completely forgot, I poached the other skein of Deep, the dark blue color, for a Doodler, way back in 2015.   Fortunately, I still love that shawl lots so no knitter’s remorse here.

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Of course, it also helps that the Batad was at a perfect stopping point.  I was able to bind off with no ill effects whatsoever.  I was only going to add one more wedge, so no harm done really.

This is one of my favorite patterns both to knit and to wear.  It’s Stephen West, of course.  I love it’s no fuss nature.  It stays put with no fiddling and no shawl pins.  I tend to wear it on one shoulder but it’s great as a sort of cape, worn to the back as well.

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It doesn’t hurt that the yarn is MadTosh Pashmina…yay for merino-silk-cashmere blends!  The white speckled color is Cosmic Wonder Dust, my favorite color name ever.  I brought this yarn home for this specific project in 2015.  I have no idea why I didn’t get to it sooner because I can tell already, it’s my new favorite.

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I wore it out last night…complete with ends hanging.  LOL.  At least they were on the inside (unlike the Schitt’s Creek sweater!)  I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who noticed.  I was surprised how many people commented on it.  I shouldn’t be though…I was at a drag show.  Those queens know fashion when they see it!

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And so, my Batad collection has grown.  I still want another one though!  I should probably weave the ends on this one before I wear it again.

“probably”

 

Me Made May

Now that the month is nearly over, let’s talk about ‘Me Made May’.

The idea is to encourage people to wear their handmade wardrobes proudly.  Turns out, I’m good in that department. I live in a place that is sweater weather, year round.  I haven’t bought, or really, even worn any jackets, hoodies, fleece or other miscellaneous outerwear in a decade.  I like wearing sweaters.  I wear my sweaters constantly.  I love the sweaters I’ve made.  I am definitely not deficient in wearing my handmade wardrobe proudly.

 

I did get me thinking about the usefulness of my knitting though.  What would it look like if I were to sort all my knits into two piles, the pile I wear and the pile I don’t?  I couldn’t bring myself to start a project of that magnitude but I did take stock of my sweater collection.

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I’m happy to say, most of them fall into the useful category.  Even novelty pieces like the Bill Murray sweater and the Cassette Tape vest, while gimmicks, do get worn out of the house.  So, the moral of the story is…knit more sweaters.

Which brings me to my weekend dilemma.

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The Askews Me? shawl.  It’s a beauty but it’s not going to be a useful garment.  It’s going to be huge and bulky.  That’s the stuff that falls into the never worn pile.  Even if I trim the size back, there’s no way around the bulk of it.  I like looking at the pretty colors.  I love the brioche squishiness it’s got going on.  I don’t even mind knitting it.  I’m just a bit hung up on this question of usefulness, at the moment.

I’m stuck on the idea of frogging it?!?  Fortunately, I had a small moment of clarity.  I realized I was talking crazy talk and I put it away.  Getting it out of sight was a good first step.

Step two:  distract myself with new USEFUL knitting.
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Aaaahhhhhh!  That’s so much better!  This is yarn I’ve been sitting on for years.  I’m not sure why I’ve put this project off for so long.  It’s MadelineTosh Pashmina, in colors Deep and Cosmic Wonder Dust.  The pattern is the WestKnits’ Batad.  I love the two Batads I’ve already got.  It’s a no brainer!  This is destined for greatness.

I’m still kind of thinking about that frogging though?!?!  I’m not sure.  How do you decide when to frog?


 

2018 Stash Flash

It’s that time of year again.

January.

Time for selfish knitting, setting goals and looking ahead.  Looking, in particular, at Stitches West.  I’ve been going to Stitches since before it needed ‘West’, since the days it was held in Oakland.  You know all those ‘most wonderful time of year’ sentiments people attach to Christmas?  That’s only because they haven’t been to Stitches.

There are many time honored Stitches traditions.  The first is denying I’m even going to go.  I got over that pretty quick.  The next is casting on a new sweater, for the express purpose of debuting it at Stitches.  Yup, Check that off the list!  I think it’s gonna be a good one this year too!

And, perhaps, the most important tradition of all…Flashing the Stash.  I know what yarn I have but seeing all, together, in one place really helps drive home the mantra:  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m REALLY not buying yarn this year!

I’m really not buying yarn this year??

Yes.  and here’s why:

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This is the stash, in January 2016.  I skipped the 2017 Stash Flash.  So we’ve gotta go back two years.  As a reference, I put my blocking boards down.  It’s a good size reference, this is 18 square feet of yarn.   Everything blacked out is gone.   That leaves a lot.  And, it goes without saying that the Stash grew in both 2016 and 2017.

Here’s what the stash looked like yesterday:

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Unsorted, just in a pile.  There’s a 12″ ruler planted in the middle as reference.  It’s nearly buried.  The yellow bag in the back, that’s my Lopi.  This year’s Stash Flash officially needed a phase 2.

After sorting, it looked like this:

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It broke free from it’s 18 sq ft boundary and it’s still about 8 inches deep throughout.  I took my job as a yarn collector pretty serious the past two years.

Phase 2, the Lopi phase:

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The Lopi behaved well.  I spread it single layer so I’ve got an exact accounting of it.  With yoke sweaters being so on-trend in 2018 I think my next sweater may be a lopi-peacock-fade sort of thing.

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Yes?  Yes!  That sounds awesome and clearly, requires no new yarn!

The rest of that giant pile holds even more awesomeness.

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My YOTH.  Those beautiful greens are destined for a shawl…one day.

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My Quince.  Clearly, I went through a teal phase.  I really need to get these guys on the needles.

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A stash of Road to China Light, the teal phase was still going strong.  This yarn is a phenomenal blend of alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere.  One day, I’m really going to love wearing it.  Hopefully that’s soon.

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I’ve got at least a sweaters quantity of Zooey from Juniper Moon Farms, acquired when cotton seemed like a good idea.

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The section of yarns dyed by my Mom.   Definitely getting some of these on the needles in short order.

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An assortment of speckles and other fingering weight hand dyed yarns.  So many happy hours of knitting in this shot!

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Sparkly yarn, self striping yarn, barber pole hand spun yarn.  At this point, it’s all good stuff.  Nothing big box or acrylic about it.

I’ve got tweed, I’ve got solids, I’ve got blends, I’ve got chainette, I’ve even got one skein of chartreuse mohair.  What more could I possibly even need??

As much as I love new yarn, I really love my old yarn.  This collection has been carefully curated.  The junk is gone.  The colors are perfect.

AND, I’ve got a whole month to make a dent before Stitches.   Ready, Set, GO!


 

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!

 

Shawl Progress

All this talk of sweaters, you may have forgotten about the pile of shawls I’ve got in progress.  There’s still a long way to go but I’ve made sizable dents!

With so much fabric scrunched up on the needles, it can be hard to tell what’s going on.  I think I’ve got some visible progress though.

Of course, this one is new all together.

It’s a Hitchhiker.  The yarn is Anzula, Haiku.  I had a different plan for this yarn.  A plan that didn’t pan out.  I was holding the yarn double then.  And so, now, I must also hold the yarn double.  Frogging a project back into single skeins after it’s been held double is a serious pain in the butt.  I picked the easy solution, winding it double as I unraveled my work.   While that decision limited my options going forward, it’s also created an amazing squishy lovely huggable fabric.   Plus, I haven’t knit a Hitchhiker in 5 months?!?  I was way overdue!

My Dotted Rays – Doodler mash up has made some lovely progress.  I’ve added a few new stripes to this WIP, which is quite a task given how long the rows have gotten.  I still have plenty of scraps to add in, so it’s just going to keep going.  Although, it seems I’m heading for the neutral zone.  Not surprising that those are the scraps I reach for last.

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I also decided to omit all my variegated scraps.  That’ll be the next one!

The real progress though, and my current favorite, is the Eyeball Shawl.  You can’t really tell it’s an eyeball yet.  It’s going to have a very dramatic reveal at the bind off.  I haven’t dared to look but I’m guess at the point of bind off, it’ll have 650+ stitches.  It’s a lot of fabric.  Even if I can’t spread it out, it’s still lots of fun to photograph!

 

The yarn is MadelineTosh.  Those colors!  I just can’t resist.

With fingers crossed and just a little bit of discipline, I think this could be the next big thing off my needles!  Only time will tell!


 

 

It’s looking at me!

 

I have not touched the languishing (and growing) pile of WIPs.  Pretty sure I won’t be getting 12 pairs of socks done this year.  And that sweater steek I was going to finish for Christmas dinner…obviously I meant Christmas 2017.  and those two Stephen West shawls I have on the needles?   Heck…why not make it one more?  Three shawls in progress are definitely better than two!

A friend gifted me two skeins of MadTosh for Christmas.  Another friend sent me a MadTosh gift certificate.  And then, the first paycheck from the new job arrived.  It was the perfect storm of yarn addiction.  I meant to get just a couple skeins but ended up with these 8 beauties and a desire to knit Stephen’s Eyeball Shawl.  I couldn’t contain myself.

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I was egged on by the fact that the friend who gifted the first yarn, also a knitter, bought herself the same yarn!  And she agreed, the eyeball is completely necessary.  And so we had a little cast on party.  It can’t be a completely horrible idea if you can convince someone else to do it.

It begins from the center, a complete pain but after a short knit, it’s just pi shawl shaping.  Lots of stockinette in the round, one of my happy places.  Despite not having much knitting time, this has become my sole focus, I’m loving it.

 

I’m not sure why I picked this crazy color, Electro Magic.  It’s way more pink that I usually go for.  I’m drawn in by it’s iridescent quality.  It’s an amazing color.  Even for an eyeball.

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Find all the details on my Ravelry page!

Building Blocks Clue 4

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The final Building Blocks clue is out.  I started making my own mods at the beginning of clue 3.  Why start following the pattern now?  I’ve gone way off track here.

Stephen has written the pattern with no edging.  Somehow I decided I really wanted to pick up 700+ stitches and do some sort of edge treatment.  After a little swatching, I’ve decided to go with what I’m calling a ‘stacked i-cord’.  I have no idea if this is actually a thing.  It seems like a good idea so I’m doing it.

 

There’s my first i-cord bind-off, up against one of the cast on i-cords.  I’ve got plenty of yarn to do ridges of each color.  I like the result so far.  I’ve just picked up stitches and done an i-cord bind off.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  I’m just gonna keep picking up and binding off i-cord style until I can’t take it anymore.  (which could be very soon.)

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Even though I opted for the small sized shawl, It’s still plenty big.  If I wove in those last few ends, this shawl is done!  I’m fighting the urge the call it finished.

I have enough yarn leftover for a really pretty Dotted Rays!  I think my stacked i-cord could be really cool though?!?  It’s a toss up.  I’m really not sure what’s going to happen.