Another Blogiversary!

Time marches on!  Unbelievably, another year has passed.  It’s Bob Marley’s birthday again.  It’s my Mom’s birthday again and it’s yet another blogiversary (5 years!! woo!)  So many happenings for one, otherwise, nondescript day.

Despite my absence here, my needles are still on the go! I have a couple fun finishes to share!

Like Mom’s birthday knit!  She sent me some very skinny cashmere for Christmas.  Thread weight maybe?  Even using size 0 needles, I had to double up the skinny cashmere and add a third strand from my stash to get a reasonable gauge!  It was was worth it though!  Yes, triple stranded on size 0 needles and yet look at that drape!  The fabric here is just perfect!

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I love the marled look, the lightweight fabric and the fun color blocking.  I worked this hat top down, which really helped me design on the go so I didn’t even need a pattern.  I cast on without a real plan and just let the hat tell me what to do.  For example, I ran out of that pink strand of cashmere.  I didn’t lose at yarn chicken.  It was just the hat telling me what it wanted.  The color blocking was meant to be!

Best part:  it even fits right!  Woo! (Details Here:  itty bitty stitches project page)

Then, there’s this beast of an FO:

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Westknits 2019 MKAL, The Starflake!  I love it.  It took forever and spent a lot of time being ignored but once I bound off, it didn’t take long to weave the ends and block it.  I used two yarns both MCNs, (Yoth Little Brother and Sun Valley Fibers fingering weight) so the softness can’t be beat!   And the shape is very wearable.  It situates itself nicely around the shoulders with the tips creating anchors in the front so it’s no-fuss.  I really like that.

I love it.  I was hesitant to join this year’s MKAL but I’m glad I got talked into it!  This is a great shawl.  Westknits really are the best knits!

Way back during Clue 1, I cast on a second version as well.  I’m mid-brioche section on that one.  I can tell I’m going to love #2 even more!  I’ve got a sweater I really want to finish first though.  And I’m working on my first pair of baby longies for my nephew.  and I want to knit a bunch of hats for a trip to Tahoe next month.  And I’ve got a couple other shawls on the needles too.

I’ve got plenty of WIPs to get into shape!  That story will never change…so much knitting, never enough time!  And so, with that, I’m getting back to my needles!  Stay tuned for a Stitches West update…it’s only two weeks away!   I’m going to attempt a second year in a row of no buying yarn?!?!

 

 

Happy Halloween!

IMG_6610Happy Halloween from Baby Freddy Krueger!

Hello Friends!  Long time no talk, eh?  My nephew dressed as Freddy Krueger in a little sweater I made him, was too good not to share!  I’ve tried to post a couple times recently but after having such a long absence, I needed something worthy of a triumphant return.  This fits the bill.  Big time!  He’s the cutest little Freddy Krueger ever!

If you’ve been a long time reader, you might remember when I knit this sweater a couple years ago…The Baby Freddy.  I knit it well before I knew I was getting a nephew.  I hit the knitter’s jackpot though…it just happened to fit him perfectly in time for Halloween!  Wooo!

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I worked up a quick crochet hat when I saw the sweater fit so perfectly and now, he’s auntie’s little serial killer!  LOL.   The cutest little Freddy Krueger ever.  I might be biased…I think he’s cute even when he’s not wearing my hand knits.

I’ve already started thinking about next fall…maybe a little Dude sweater or a Ferris Bueller sweater vest?  I’m all about the baby sweater cosplay!

Before I get to that though, I’m doing a little knitting for myself.  It’s WestKnits fall MKAL time.  I really like this year’s design.  I’ve got two versions on the needles currently.  This means you should be hearing from me again soon.  It’s been slow going but I’m looking forward to making some good progress this weekend!

I’m loving the solid green & grey but I’m really looking forward to the brioche section with the speckled version!  Stay tuned for progress, hopefully it won’t take four months this time :)


 

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?


 

FO Friday – Instant Classic

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The second in my pair of Dotted Rays is now finished!  This is my sixth Dotted Rays so obviously, I like this pattern.  My most worn project of 2017 was this Dotted Rays…

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I knit many shawls a year, it’s pretty unusual for one to be my favorite for so long.  That prompted me to start a new ‘favorite’.  You can’t guarantee something will become a favorite but I stacked the deck as much as I could.  I picked a pattern I love wearing and knitting equally and I picked all my favorite colors from the stash.  It turns out, setting yourself up for success really works!

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Judging by the number of pictures alone, this has to be a favorite.  I just couldn’t stop.

I’m sure it helped that Golden Gate Park is dressed in gorgeous spring green this week!

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And now, it’s time for the weekend! After being virtually monogamous with the Dotted Rays, I plan on fraternizing with ALL the knits the weekend!  My old pal crochet might even get involved!

Happy Friday!  Hope you’re looking forward to your weekend as well!


 

 

 

 

 

Back in the SF groove

Took a few days but things are just about back to normal around here.  Re-entry is always harsh after vacation but it took me a few extra days.  It was really nice being in New Mexico where the population density is zero.  Coming back to the crowds of San Francisco has made me cranky.  It’s like I forgot how to suppress the urge to slap people while saying ‘get it together, idiot’.   So, it was a rough weekend but, I’ve got it under control now.  Getting back to the knitting routine was imperative!

I knit in public, on several buses and even managed a few FOs. The purple hat is just a basic beanie with a little garter ridge relief kind of design.  Something for the gift box because invariably when a random birthday arrives, everyone’s favorite color is purple, yes?

I put the sleeves on my nephew’s first sweater.  He’s due in July, so he doesn’t even need them.  They were really just a few rows of formality.  I washed it and got ready to block it.  Definitely didn’t need all the blocking mats for this wee sweater.  It’s so tiny!  They call this size 0-3 months.  If it fits him on day 1, I’ll be amazed!

My current WIP is the other dotted rays.   Of the two, this one is definitely my favorite.  I knew it wouldn’t languish, alone, in a corner, after vacation and it hasn’t.  It’s been growing at a rapid pace since I got back.

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So, with all that progress, it’s definitely time to cast on something new.  Here’s my pile of vacation yarn…

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The first thing I grabbed to wind was the Dream in Color.  I got Jilly & Smooshy both with Cashmere.  Obviously.  With Cashmere is always the answer.

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I wanted to cast on the Local Yarn Shawl from Local Yarn Store Day but I don’t think I’ve got the right colors.  At least not right here.  I’ve totally got the right colors somewhere…I just need to get the yarn out and spread it all around.  Any excuse, right?

Any excuse!!


 

Home Again

I woke up last week and a switch had flipped!  It was time to go home.  I did manage a few more tourist stops on the way out though.  New Mexico is a terrific place to drive around.  Especially if you like avoiding interstates!  The landscape is beautiful and there’s nothing but wide open spaces.

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I really loved the drive.  There were a lot of surprisingly perfect places to stop along the way too.  Like the home of Smokey Bear.  Who doesn’t love that bear?

I still remember all the visits from the local fire department when I was a kid.  They’d bring the firetrucks to school and probably told us not to play with matches.  That’s not the part I remember.  I remember the guy in the Smokey suit.  He always said ‘only you can prevent forest fires.’  That’s the part I remember.

Whoever came up with the Smokey campaign was brilliant!  I’m not the only one who got the message…turns out Smokey Bear is the second most recognized international figure, behind only Santa Claus.   Woodsy Owl is totally jealous.  And of course, Smokey was a real bear, rescued from a forest fire after being badly burned.  The marketing campaign came before the real bear, believe it or not!

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It was the perfect little stop.  Visit the Smokey museum, stroll through the little park to stretch the legs.  They even had a picnic spot with a playground for the kids.

My next stop was another science stop.  It was a no-brainer once I saw on the map it had a visitor’s center.  The VLA…Very Large Array.

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It’s a series of 27 satellite dishes each 83 feet across that monitors deep space radio waves. You may recall seeing it in movies like Contact or Independence Day.  Of course, the VLA mission is not to look for alien life but I’m pretty sure they’d find it before anyone in Roswell.

No, their actual mission looks more like this!  They’re responsible for lots of cool deep space images.  This is a recent visualization of the Hercules A galaxy to come from the VLA.  Yay Science!!

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And just to bring it back around to knitting, I did finish my road trip WIP (mostly a WestKnits’ Dotted Rays, I put my own edging on it though).  I thought I found the prefect spot for a quick pic at the Smokey Bear park…

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Looks good, right?  I even picked a bird-poop free spot along the wall!  Turns out, I didn’t even notice the tree sap.  D’oh!  Got home and discovered two sticky spots on the back of the shawl that definitely smell like sap.  I can’t imagine where else they would have come from.  Of course, one of the spots is right in the middle of an angora stripe.  How the heck does one remove tree sap from angora??

I’m going to start with a eucalan soak.  I don’t usually use soap on my knitting but I think it might be necessary this time?

I also visited one last yarn shop, I’ll save that for tomorrow!  :)