Knitting

The Shawl Society

One of my favorite knit-wear designers is Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.  She designs fabulous socks and shawls.  I loved participating in her MKAL last year – my first ever mystery knit-a-long!  So much fun!  Every year, Helen puts out a Sock Society where she releases, usually, 6 sock patterns throughout the year.  And she does the same thing for her Shawl Societies.   I’m so excited for this year’s Shawl Society! What It Is To join in the fun of this Shawl Society, you can buy the patterns before ever seeing them, in a pre-sale, for a very low price.  Then, you get alerts every time Helen Stewart releases a pattern – and your Ravelry library is updated with the new pattern.  For extra fun, Helen gives you hints about what yarn a pattern will use before the pattern is released. You can also buy the collection after the initial pre-sale, for a higher price.  Or, later in the year, Helen releases the patterns for individual sale.  I’ve always bought the pre-sale to a) support this fabulous designer and b) to get the lowest price. This Year Shawl Society sign-ups begin May 7th this year, so mark your calendars!  This is when the price will be the lowest.  The first pattern will be revealed on May 20th – and Helen has already let us know what yarn to buy for the first shawl! Yarns You never know what weight of yarn or how many skeins you’ll need until Helen releases clues before a shawl’s release.  It’s great fun seeing what yarn dyer she spotlights for her designs.    For the first shawl, Helen uses Skein Yarn’s Merino Silk Sport in a lightly speckled colorway.  Skein Yarn has pre-orders up on their website – and the yarn is beautiful! Conclusion I can’t wait to see Helen’s designs for this year’s Shawl Society.  There are still patterns from her previous Societies that I want to knit!  I even have the yarn for one of them!  There is never enough time to knit all the patterns!   But if you need some good shawl patterns, I can’t recommend Helen Stewart’s enough!

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The Shawl Society 5

Ambient Socks

Late last year, my mom asked for a pair of shortie, airy socks.  Living in Texas means that we don’t always want or need the standard knitted wool sock.  My preference is almost always for shortie socks, but sometimes I just can’t pass up knitting a normal leg with beautiful, hand dyed yarn.  Anyway, when I got this request, I looked to Helen Stewart and found a lovely pattern to knit – her Ambient Socks. Let me tell you more…. The Yarn Long Dog Yarn used to dye a monthly colorway and I just had to have this one, back in May of 2018.  I don’t often gravitate towards blues but aquas sometimes appeal to me, and this one sure did, with pink speckles!  You know I cannot resist speckles! When talking with my mom about colorways I had in my stash, she mentioned turquoise/bluish green and I knew this one would be perfect for her.  After all, she loves pink as well! The Pattern When thinking of a lacey sock pattern, I knew I had only to look at Helen Stewart’s Sock Society patterns to find the right one.  I had knit one for myself not long ago that would work, but I always like trying new things.  So I settled upon the Ambient Sock pattern as it looked especially lovely. Details Pattern:  Ambient Socks by Helen Stewart (Sock Society 3) Yarn:  Long Dog Yarn Bounce Sock Colorways: May 2018 colorway Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) Made for: my mom Time to Completion: 3 weeks This pattern was a lot of fun to knit.  It was just enough involved to keep you engaged and happy.  Plus, since I was knitting shortie socks, I only ever had to worry about half the stitches being knit in pattern.  That’s always nice!   This Long Dog yarn was lovely to knit with.  In fact, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t knit a pair of these for myself!  That’s the beauty of shortie socks – you can usually get two pairs from a skein of yarn!   I can’t recommend this pattern and yarn enough!

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Ambient Socks

WIPs

Wow, this has been one crazy month.  I cannot honestly believe that it is still March.  So many things have happened that I would think the month would have flown by…but it hasn’t.  I almost feel stuck in the mud.  Thankfully, my knitting mojo is not stuck and I’ve been having so much fun with my projects, it’s ridiculous!  Alas, I have many, many WIPs to share with you today! Blurry Cowl When I first saw Joji Locatelli’s Blurry Cowl, I knew I had to knit it.  Multiple times.  I went out and bought yarn – because I have no DK in my stash – to knit three of these lovely cowls.  And I’m so glad I did!  I’m about halfway through my first Blurry and it’s so beautiful….I’m sad it’s not for me.  But not to worry, I’ll knit one for myself, as well. Habitation Throw I can see the finish line of my Habitation Throw!  I’m down to two mini skeins from my October House Advent Calendar!  I may need a bit more yarn so I’ll have to dig into the stash but I’m so close….. My Hat This is my design of a colorwork hat.  Unfortunately, since I was working on my own sock pattern as well, this project has stalled. Battenberg Blanket To read all about why and how I’m knitting the incredible Battenberg Blanket, read this post.  But as of now, I have 9 tiny, gorgeous, crocheted squares with which to begin this blanket.  This project will take years!  But I’m already ecstatic about my progress.  Because crochet!!! Have Wool Socks I’m past the heel on these socks and working on the foot.  Now that I’ve finished some other socks, I can pull these out more frequently.  I still love this yarn and can’t wait to see how these look in the end! Powder and Dust Shawl I was itching to cast on a shawl and decided to go with Veera Valimaki’s design, which I’ve been eyeing for years.  It’s so lovely and I can’t wait to see the yarns I’ve chosen, all knit up together.  I’m almost ready to join the second color! FOs I finished my sock design!!  I’m so excited!  Now I just need to take photos and actually write the pattern, which I think may be harder than designing the thing.  Ha! And, amazingly, I also finished my Must Stash socks.  These turned out great and I put in my second afterthought heels!  Yay!  I’m still not sure of the fit of this heel but I’ll give myself more time to decide once I wear these. What’s Next With so many projects going on, I’m not thinking much of future projects.  Socks are always on my mind, especially shortie socks.  I need more of those!  So that may be my next cast on.  And I have a few gifts I need to start… So much knitting, so little time!  What’s on your needles?

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WIPs – March 2021

Antler Mitts

In December, I decided to finally tackle a thumb gusset.  Or, mittens.  I’ve made my share of fingerless gloves but I thought it was time to knit a finger.  Thumb gussets didn’t seem too daunting, though knitting actual gloves  scared me to death.  Too many fingers!  And so, baby steps.  For a pattern, I turned to the ever-trustworthy Tin Can Knits and their Antler Mittens. Here’s the story…. The Yarn This project actually began with the yarn.  While in Colorado in October, I visited the LYS in Estes Park, the Stitchin’ Den.  There, they had a local yarn from Willow Creek Fiber Mill.  I was instantly intrigued by their Everything Yarn base, which uses leftover fibers from the milling process to produce a very unique yarn. But what to make with such a bulky, uneven yarn? The Pattern Thankfully, the lovely knitters at the Stitchin’ Den had a sample of the very yarn I wanted to buy knit into Tin Can Knits’ Antler Mitts.  So there was my answer.  This pattern would teach me how to knit a finger, a thumb gusset, and test my cable powers.   Details Pattern:  Antler Mittens by Tin Can Knits Yarn:  Willow Creek Fiber Mill Everything Yarn Colorways: 13 (Grey with a hint of lavender) Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) Made for: me Time to Completion: 2 weeks This pattern was a lot of fun to knit.  I handled the cables well, I thought, even though I usually don’t love cables.  I think they work well with this pattern, though!   The thumb gusset was a breeze but the problem I had was closing up the thumb tip.  The yarn is so bulky that it made the fingertips a bit too pointy.  But that’s the yarn.  And speaking of yarn, this Willow Creek yarn is very warm.  I wore these mittens several times in January and February and my hands were nice and warm.   This pattern definitely made me believe I can knit mittens – and eventually full gloves….though the thought of all those fingers still scares me!  But this is a great beginner mitten-knitter pattern!

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Antler Mitts

granny square

I’m not a crocheter.  I’m sure I’ve said this before but I have no interest in crocheting.  I don’t like the way the stitches look, generally, and I don’t like handling the hook, even for minor changes to my knitting.   But there’s one thing I want to make that requires skills in crochet: the Battenberg Blanket.  That Blanket You’ve heard me talk about it before and my obsession has not waned.  I love the Battenberg Blanket, a pattern by Sandra Paul.  Most scrappy blankets look too messy to me, but this one, with the neutral yarn throughout, is just beautiful, in my opinion.   Scrappy blankets – any of them – are great for using up those scraps of yarn that all knitters and crocheters have.  For the Battenberg, you only need to have enough natural color (or whichever color) yarn to use throughout the blanket.   Crocheting I tried and tried to learn how to make these squares by watching Sandra Paul’s YouTube video (and referencing other videos to re-acquaint myself with the various stitches).  But my square never turned out right. And then my mom decided to take up crocheting late last year.   She had learned as a child and decided it was a good thing to do in the evenings while watching television with my dad.  (I’m ecstatic, by the way, that we can now buy yarn together!)  I immediately told her to learn how to make these squares so she could teach me.  And she did!  And now, I can make them – almost without watching the video!  In fact, give me a few more squares and I won’t need the video anymore!   And these little things are so much fun to make!  You get to play with yarn you’ve already used – and loved – and they take no time at all.  And they get faster the more you do! Conclusion Give me 10-15 years and I’ll have a finished Battenberg Blanket!  Ha!  Yes, I have my first two official, mistake-free squares in the bag!  Only a hundred or two hundred more to go!  That sounds daunting but I honestly don’t care!  I’ll find some natural colored yarn whenever I can – no rush! – and will keep on using my scraps in the meantime.  I never thought I would want to learn to crochet.  And, despite taking  a class years ago and crocheting these little squares, I’m not by any means a crocheter.   But I love to learn new things; it gives me such joy!  Just like these little squares bring me great joy!

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Crochet Adventures

Powder and Dust

You remember how I wanted to cast on a shawl?  Well, I finally made a decision and cast one on!  It helped that I was super close to finishing not one, but two pairs of socks!  I love finishing projects, almost as much as I love knitting them!  Since I had so many socks going, I was just really wanting to knit another shawl…. So here we go…. Powder and Dust Shawl After looking at all my choices of patterns, I finally decided on Veera Valimaki’s Powder and Dust Shawl.  Several reasons led me to choose this pattern… First, I wanted something simple for TV knitting.  Second, I wanted something that would showcase the three skeins of yarn I’d chosen from A Homespun House, La Bien Aimee, and ThreadHead Knits.  And this simple, yet beautiful pattern will do just that!   Yarn I have several kits of yarn in my stash for other shawls, and yet I put together a fade for this shawl because I wanted to use these beautiful yarns.  Sometimes, you have to go with what your gut is telling you to do instead of what your brain is telling you you  should do. All of these skeins of yarn are dear to me and most have been in my stash for quite a while.  I’m glad to be able to use them in a shawl that will bring me much joy to knit and to wear.   More Projects I thought long and hard about knitting a shawl by Joji Locatelli but I also really want to cast on her Blurry Cowl…  And to do so, I just bought a ton of fabulous yarn.  (Of course, I have no DK yarn in my stash!)  I now have two Christmas presents to knit with that yarn – plus a Blurry Cowl for me!   There is truly not enough time in a day to do all the knitting I’d like.  What’s on your needles and bringing you joy?

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Shawl Cast On

Yarn Love

I started following Yarn Love on Instagram a long time ago.  Katie, the dyer behind Yarn Love, has a wonderful talent for dyeing yarn.  Her colors – beautifully variegated! – are works of art.  When I needed a skein of yarn to match another one to make my Travelers Loop, I found a lovely coordinating colorway in Katie’s shop.  And it is delectably soft!   Let me tell you more… Bases Yarn Love comes on a variety of bases, including… Catherine of Aragon – Lace (75% Suri/25% silk) Elizabeth Bennet – Fingering (65% Merino/25% bamboo/15% silk) Jane Austen – Fingering (96% SW Merino/stellina sparkle) Goldilocks – Fingering (80% Merino/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon) Marie Antoinette – Fingering (80% Merino/10% Cashmere/10% stellina) Mr. Darcy – Fingering (60% Merino/20% Yak/20% silk) Goldilocks DK (80% Merino/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon) Elinor Dashwood – Sport (80% Merino/20% Nylon) Audrey Hepburn – Sport (80% Wool/20% silk) Amy March – Worsted (100% Merino) Amy March – Bulky (100% Merino) Availability There is always yarn to buy on the Yarn Love website.  Katie also offers clubs, like Yarn of the Month clubs.  So if you want a monthly dose of beautiful in your mailbox, look into the clubs! Ease of Shopping The Yarn Love website is super easy to use.  And I’m always appreciative when websites have a search option.  I frequently see a colorway on Instagram and love being able to just search for that color on the website. Shipping Costs When you order from Katie on her website, shipping is very reasonable if you’re in the United States. Conclusion  Katie always surprises me with her gorgeous new colorways.  It’s so hard not to buy every single thing she dyes!  Be sure to follow her on Instagram to see what she’s dyeing and knitting.   And go look at her website!

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Yarn Love Yarn

Travelers Loop

Cowls are hard for me to wear.  There are few months in a Texas winter when I need a cowl…..  But I love knitting cowls.  When I heard about learning to do helical knitting by making a relatively simple cowl, I was sold.  I love learning new techniques!  And with this pattern, I could use yarn from my stash…  It was a no brainer!   The Yarn I had some yarn that I’d been wanting to use, which I received in a FibreShare: a lovely warm pink from Campfiber Yarns.  I’ve wanted it to use it so badly that I actually bought a coordinating color from Yarn Love called Misty Sunrise.  The pale pinks, mauves, and yellows all on a soft off-white worked really well with the Campfiber. Though it’s a knitting no-no, I used two yarns with two different fiber contents.  The Campfiber fingering was an 80/20 sock yarn and the Yarn Love base contained 10% cashmere.  This didn’t bother me and it ended up making a really lovely fabric. Knitting Helical knitting is a way to alternate skeins of yarn while avoiding an awkward jog  that happens if you just drop a yarn and pick up another mid-row.  It’s a great skill to have for knitting garments when you need to alternate skeins of yarn. If you’re a sweater knitter or a want-to-be sweater knitter, I highly recommend picking up this skill! Details Pattern:  Travelers Loop by Dawn Barker Yarn:  Campfiber Yarns Sleek and Strong Fingering (Tulip & Sunshine); Yarn Love Goldilocks Fingering (Misty Sunrise) Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) Made for: me Time to Completion: 3 weeks So…helical knitting is super easy.  It’s just a matter of slipping stitches and changing yarn.  That meant that this cowl was a breeze – and a joy – to knit.  The fabric of the two yarns combined was just lovely.  The touch of cashmere adds the perfect amount of squishy softness.   This cowl took me only about three weeks to knit and was perfect for TV knitting.   If you have two skeins of yarn that go well together, cast on this pattern and enjoy!

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Travelers Loop

WIPs knitting

Wow, this month has been crazy!!  We had a week of being snowed/iced in – with various utilities going on and offline.  Normally, that would be excellent knitting conditions.  But let me tell you – it’s very hard to knit in a house that’s 49 degrees.  Your fingers don’t move very well!  But despite that, I’ve made some good progress on my WIPs and I’m anxious to finish several of them!!! Habitation Throw I guess this qualifies as my thirty-minutes of knitting a day, which is something a lot of knitters do to try to habitually work on a project that may seem never ending.  This gets lots of love during the week on my lunch breaks and I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel – as I have very few minis left from my Advent calendar!! Must Stash Socks I’m knitting these socks on tiny circulars and I’m now done knitting my tube.  I just need to do the toes and afterthought heels.  I’m really curious to see how my second time with these heels goes! My Hat I’m designing a colorwork hat.  But I haven’t worked on it this month at all.  Instead, I’m focusing on the sock pattern I’m designing…. My Socks I’ve finished the heel flap and gusset on these so I’m now knitting on the foot.  Yay!  These are turning out even lovelier than I expected, given the beautiful yarn from Melinda of Chrysalis Yarn.  I definitely don’t have any comparable colors in my stash so I’m glad I splurged on this skein of yarn! Have Wool Socks I got a little cast-on happy when I decided to work on another pair of socks.  Actually, I originally was going to use this yarn for my own design but it just wasn’t working with the pattern.  So these are relatively vanilla socks with a simple pattern of knit 9, purl 1 all around. What’s Next I’m itching to cast on so many things!  I’m definitely going to take a break from socks after I finish the three listed above.  I want to knit some gifts and shawls….well, all the shawls!  With so many socks on the needles, I’m definitely dreaming of other projects!  

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WIPs – February 2021

dream knitting

I recently finished a pair of socks and immediately cast on two more pairs!  All the while, I’ve been dreaming of knitting my next shawl.  I haven’t done any shawl knitting since I finished my Slipstravaganza, which was a doozie, for sure.  But I can’t wait to knit another shawl!  I’ve been dreaming of all kinds of designs and patterns…..  But what to choose? The Yarn I love digging into my stash and coming up with yarn combinations.  It’s very therapeutic!  On a recent stash dive, I came up with the combination above.  This includes yarn from (left to right): A Homespun House, La Bien Aimee, and Threadhead Knits.   I love all of these skeins of yarn and think they will work well in a faded shawl.  I’ve been wanting to knit with these so much and wanted something a bit more special than socks for them….  So maybe a shawl! Three skeins of (fingering weight) yarn for a shawl seems like the perfect amount.  A one-skein shawl is too small to cover much; a two-skein shawl is almost big enough; but a three-skein shawl is perfect!   The Patterns I’m torn between three patterns…. In Interpretations Vol. 7, the Transitions Shawl is just lovely.  Joji Locatelli’s design is shown in a sample that fades from green to pink… So pretty! Joji’s friend, Veera Valimaki has a pattern called Powder and Dust that I’ve wanted to knit for a long time.  The fade is lovely and I think my yarn would be very nice.  Both Joji and Veera’s patterns are relatively simple to knit, which is good!  My stress level can’t handle too much knitting complexities these days!   The third pattern that caught my eye features brioche knitting – Anna Johanna’s Shake It Up.  I’ve wanted to try brioche for a long time.  It’s a stitch that makes your knitting extra squishy and bouncy.      And I think a fade would be lovely for this, too. Thoughts Do I play it safe or try a new skill?  I love all of these shawls but I’m really torn…. Thankfully, I have enough yarn to knit them all, so whatever I choose to do this time does not exclude the possibility of another one at some point…   There are some advantages to having a big stash!   What are you dreaming of knitting?

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Shawl Dream Knitting