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!

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!

Sweater Complications

Sweaters are complicated beasts!  Anyone who’s ever tried to knit their own sweater knows this.  There are many phases and emotions involved.  Finally, I think all of my sweater pains have been addressed sufficiently and are coming to happy resolutions.

The big one is this…

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I have officially reclaimed my needles & notions.  This sweater is no more.  It’s been a work in progress since June but I’m over it.  It’s a duplicate of this sweater, that I finished in the spring…

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I love this sweater.  I wear it all the time.  It’s almost perfect.   Almost!  It’s so close.  There’s just one thing that has stopped it from being perfect.  Unfortunately, much of it’s charm, also, comes from this not perfect part…the yarn, Pluto-Lopi, the Icelandic unspun pencil roving.

It’s delicate.  It’s not fragile.  The fabric is quite sturdy but I’ve managed to rub it thread bare in the armpits already.  img_1829

I’ve got spots on both arms and both sides, where pilling and rubbing have nearly eliminated the loose unspun fibers.  Hope is not lost for this sweater.  I’m embracing it’s wabi sabi and patching it.  I don’t have any of the matching yarn left but I’ve got plenty of the Noro I used for the stripes.  I’m down with funny duplicate stitch patches in my armpits.

The Noro yarn is a thicker anyhow, more fiber in the problem areas is exactly what this sweater needs.   I’m happy to keep patching it as needed.  I might even love it more as the armpit patches continue to develop and take over.  It’s a lightweight sweater, both in mass and in wearing, and yet it is incredibly warm.  It fits perfect.  It matches everything in my closet.  It’s only 8 months old…there’s no chance I’m ready to retire it yet.

But, I don’t need two sweaters like that.  So, Plutolopi sweater #2 has been halted.  I understand why this yarn is commonly held double now.  That’ll definitely help with future sweaters, maybe even held double with Einband, the Icelandic lace weight yarn.

And, with that big bag of guilt officially retired, I can, legit, think about an RBG inspired sweater!  I’ve been saying it’s going to happen since Christmas but with two sweaters on the needles, I just couldn’t bring myself to start a third.    I’ve finally got a clean sweater slate because, oh yeah..I finished the sweater I’ve been working on for Mom!

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It’s WestKnit’s Outer Space, another favorite of mine.  The yarn is an assortment of Lopi & Lettlopi.  Yes, I have a thing for Icelandic yarn.  At this point, it’ll be no surprise that my RBG inspired sweater is going to be Lettlopi.

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I spent at least two days, last spring, futzing with variations of this palate to find a fun peacock fade.  I had the sweater all planned out.  It was going to be lovely side to side number that faded from light at the cuffs to dark in the center.  I knit the whole thing…in my mind.  I had high hopes.  Somehow that all got derailed though.

Turns out, I was just waiting for the right idea.  RBG Peacock Fade…Hello 2019!  Let’s do this!    (right after I spend two more days futzing with colors again…)

It really is happening this time!  I’m ready for a new sweater!  It’s a new year.  The moons have all aligned.  I’ve cleared out all the 2018 knitting baggage.  It’s on…


 

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 – 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?