Shelter in Place: Day 32

Shelter in Place:  Day 32

It’s FO Friday!  WOOO!  After a couple aimless weeks, my knitting mojo is coming back!  I’ve been wearing my new shawl all week.  I finished my first Tensfield hat too!

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This hat is super fun…it’s a no swatch necessary, any gauge you want pattern with an incredibly unique construction.  I love it.   The knitting starts with the striped chevron bit as a flat triangle.  You then join and through a series of short rows, create the crown shaping.

I color blocked the short row sections, for no particular reason but it gives you an idea of how the shaping is working.  The green block that’s off the left side was first.  Then, the large blue section across the back.  Finally, the small green section at the top right.  I’ll definitely be playing with this shaping more!  It’s a great pattern.  I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!

I’m thinking rainbow stripes for the next one…

Pulled a few more projects out too…a scrappy pile for a shawl and some mini skeins to turn into a ‘quiet book’ for my nephew!  He’s currently loving books, so time to get going on that project.  I’ve been thinking about it since he was born!  Of course, I’ll probably change all of these plans before Monday but at least I’m having fun making piles today!

Have a fun weekend…or don’t.  No pressure.  You do you.  The last thing you need right now is some internet weirdo pressuring you into doing something you aren’t feeling, ya know??  :)

All the Shawls

I’m taking a little shawl breather before I start the next round of sweaters!  Finished one for mom, finished one for me and the next one is on the needles already!

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First up, the Corona Shawl, a free crochet pattern from Universal Yarns.  I had fun with this one, despite never really getting  accustomed to the pattern.  Unlike the knitting I do, there were lots of different stitches and the patterning changed nearly every row.  This has definitely given me the confidence to crochet more complicated shawls but I will be looking for charted designs in the future.

I took lots of detail pictures with future crocheters in mind.  In the absence of charts, having Ravelry’s database of photos was incredibly helpful.

The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala.  It’s surprisingly nice for highly affordable acrylic.  The softness is great and the colors are super.  My one complaint though…I wish I could block it.  I’m missing the crispness I could give all these details in a nice, natural wool.  That said, I’m glad it’s crochet and not knit.  I don’t think knit lace would be as forgiving without a blocking.  Ultimately, I think I lucked into this pattern and yarn combo being a winner!  And, as my dentist says, it’s better to be lucky than good!

My second shawl finish is another scrappy, striped Dotted Rays.  Yes, another Dotted Rays.  The first six are not enough.  A 7th was necessary.  I’ll still be saying the same thing when it’s the 10th, the 15th and even the 20th.  I love this pattern.

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It works with any & every yarn.  It’s easily committed to memory.  It’s got about a million options for customization.  It’s easy to wear.  And now I’ve got one for every day of the week!

I wasted no time casting on my next shawl.  Another Stephen West, this time his newly release, Spring Cleaning Shawl.  It’s got all my favorite components, garter stitch, short row wedges and lots of options for yarn customization!

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I’m going fade with this one…starting off with this light color that will eventually fade from the light green with bits of yellow into the blue you see at the i-cord edge.  I’ve got new project excitement at the moment so progress should be quick!  This pattern has modular construction…I think that’ll help it along too.  Fingers crossed because I’m excited about this one! These colors are swoon-worthy!

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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WIP Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and I have progress!  There’s not much of a story here, but that’s kind of a story itself.  It’s my favorite kind of knitting, miles of nothing but knit.  Perfectly relaxing, stress reducing,  stash busting, striped, garter stitch.

 

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AAAAAaaaaaaahhhh.  yes.  I’m loving the dueling Dotted Rays.

They’re keeping pace with each other pretty well.  AND, I’m keeping up with the end weaving.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out.  At this point, each shawl has grown so large that it’s mostly relegated to a large crumpled pile until it comes off the needles, revealing it’s true beauty.  At least that’s the way I’m hoping it goes…

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I’ve made a couple questionable decisions in the pink/red/orange/purple stripes.  It’s completely possible to balance it out down the line though, so I’m putting faith in the process.  I’m not expecting to be unhappy at the end.  I’m sure it’ll work out.  It always does, after all.


 

FO Friday – Connect the Dots

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New hat for the weekend!  Nothing fancy, just a plain stockinette beanie with a little stripe.  Easy Peasy.

The real story of the week is a bout of Castonitis.   With all this finishing lately, I’ve been contemplating new cast ons.  I may have gone a bit overboard once I got started.

First, a little Peanut Warmer for the impending nephew.  It’s so tiny, size 0-3 months.  It’ll be done in no time!

After that, I sorted my stash picking blues, greens and purples for a new Dotted Rays.

Of course, as I sorted all the cool colors out, a pile of warm colors that was just as appealing formed.  And so, Dotted Rays #2 joined the cast on party.

Needless to say, this completely obliterates my strict 6 project limit.  I’m currently at 10 and I’m not ruling out #11 this weekend.

Whoops.

I am imposing one rule, though.  There needs to be, at least, a tiny bit of order.

If I want two scrappy Dotted Rays at once…I have to weave the ends as I go.  So far, so good.  It makes photos nicer and it actually helps with the knitting too…no extraneous tails to get tangled with the working yarn.  Totally practical!

Now let me see what else I can cast on…

Happy Friday!

WIP Wednesday: Marled Magic

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My Marled Magic Shawl has reached the halfway point!  I’ve finished clues 1 & 2.

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And I love it!  I dunno if it’s the colors or the textures or the construction or the stash busting…

 

But I want to make about six more of these!  I love everything about it!  The construction is so unique.  The marled effect from double stranding is so fun!  Mixing colors and fading stripes are so satisfying!  This is a lot of fun to knit!

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Clue 3 picks up the free edge of the mesh section.  Contrast is recommended.  I think I’m going for purples.

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I’ve still got plenty of stash left!


 

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!)

 

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!


 

 

Method to the Short Row Madness

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Yesterday’s WIP is today’s FO and today’s WIP will probably become tomorrow’s FO.  That’s the way hats work, the train just keeps rolling on.  I had fun with this one!  I kept the short rows going all the way to the top.  It’s got the perfect bit of asymmetric wonk happening.  If there’s anything I appreciate it’s intentional wonk.  Yeah, I meant to do that! :)

I kept the purple hat balanced, I keep my repeats regular.  For the next one, I’m going completely irregular.  It’s an experiment.  You know those ice breaker games where everyone says their name with an adjective beginning with the same letter and then you have to repeat the people’s names prior to you?  I was always Experimental Emily.

I’m still Experimental Emily.

So let’s see if I can explain what I did.  Once you allow yourself some wonk, the pressure of perfection is gone.  No need to match a pattern or even use one.  Whatever happens…happens.  and it’s okay.  And it’s easy!  You can do this, honest.

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I drew a color coded picture, maybe it’ll help.  ha!

1 – Cast on & ribbing, starts the same as any hat.  There’s no reason you have to use ribbing.  Insert your favorite beginning.  Knitter’s choice!

now onto the body of the hat…

2 – The first wedge,  I start by knitting one round.  Next round won’t really be a round, it’s going to be a row.  At this point, I’m going to start knitting flat, back and forth for the short rows.  I’m starting with a long row, almost the entire round.  I decided to use 5 stitches as the number for my short rows.  Each row, I knit to 5 stitches before the last turn.

Find the red 2 on the picture, that’s the point I’m at.  I knit across that first red line.  I stop 5 stitches before the end of the row.  That’s the first wrap and turn.  By turning you’re now working the hat inside out.  Work almost all the way back to beginning, stopping 5 stitches short.  Wrap and turn.  Now you’re back on the outside of the hat, work to 5 stitches before the last wrap & turn.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Just keep going back & forth until you don’t have enough stitches left between your wrap & turns.

Why did I pick 5 stitches for my turns?  I dunno, seemed like a good number.   Higher numbers mean fewer rows.  Lower numbers mean more rows.  Higher numbers & fewer rows mean skinny stripes, lower numbers/more rows mean fatter stripes.  5 seemed like a nice mid-point.   On my current WIP, I’m not even keeping that number consistent.

3 – the next wedge.  At this point you’ve got options.  Wedge placement and maybe you don’t do a wedge at all.  In the purple hat, I worked a few rounds of straight stockinette between wedges.  In the current WIP, I’m working from one wedge to the next directly.

The diagram shows a regular wedge rotation, which is what I did in the purple sample.  I did the same wedge repeat each time rotating it 1/4 of the way around.  To do this, I simple cut the working yarn and slipped the first 1/4 of the stitches to the right needle unworked.  Essentially I just changed the place where the round begins.  Why not?

This is a liberating decision!  My row can begin anywhere!  So the purple hat is the regular, planned approach.  The current WIP is completely free form.  I’m just sort of plunking the beginning of round marker down where it seems like a good idea.

I didn’t draw wedges 4 & 5 but labeled their approximate starting positions.

and then closing the top?  Good luck explaining that.  I just did it.  I incorporated standard decreases in the stockinette sections.  K6, K2tog around, K5, K2tog around, etc.  But I kept my short rows going and did some decreasing in the short rows.  The whole point was asymmetric shapes, so I didn’t get to hung up on regularity.

Really, if you’ve read this far, my point is…just try it.  Forget ‘the rules’ and just try whatever you feel like.  We all know what shape a head is.  Hats can really be any shape.  Hats don’t really have to head shaped.   (<- the beginning of my rationalization for really weird shaped hats!)

Stay tuned…the hat binge is not over yet!

 

Ravellenic Round Up

The Rio Olympics came to an end last night and along with it, the Ravellenic Games (aka the knitting olympics).  My final medal count is 5 — a sweater, a cowl and 3 hats!

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My main event was the Sweater Triathlon.  Much to my own surprise, I successfully crossed that finish line 6 days into the competition.  It seems so long ago, already.  With San Francisco Summer in fully swing, I’ve been wearing my new sweater almost daily!  It’s been a fully integrated part of the wardrobe right from the start!  I always hope that happens with a new sweater, but you just never know.  This one is definitely a keeper!

Week 2 produced a hat and a cowl.

The final push brought two more hats!  Back in July, Woolly Wormhead had a scrappy hat knitalong, seeing those hats definitely brought me inspiration!  I’ve got enough odds & ends for a hundred hats!

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The knitalong didn’t feature a pattern but a set of options to pick your own.  I was especially drawn to the use of short rows.  My sweater, up top, called for the use of Japanese Short Rows, which I’d swatched years ago but never incorporated into a project.  It’s a fiddly technique that seemed unnecessary for that particular project.

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Japanese short rows are the ones that eliminate the wrap and instead use a locking stitch marker.  The idea is to use less yarn when closing the gap left by the turn and thereby create a neater fabric.  It’s not really necessary when working with garter stitch so I skipped it with the sweater.  A hat is the perfect place for it though, especially if it’s stockinette!

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I was pleased with the result.  Without blocking, the short rows are very neat!  I suspect once I’ve blocked it, the short rows will be invisible!

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I’m definitely not done messing around with short rows and hats.  It’s, surprisingly, not something I’ve done much.  Rest assured, there will be more short rowed hats!  This particular hat binge is just getting started!  I’ve got lots plenty of hat yarn in the stash!

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