Chadwick

I stayed up late one night last week to finish up this shawl, tucking in the ends and blocking it the next day.  I finished it with almost a week to spare before Sock Summit, and have been dying to share it with you ever since.  Timing (and styling) never quite lined up over the weekend, so we’re just now getting to it.

What a fun knit!  Chadwick is classic Stephen West, with its colorwork, assymetry, and simple stitch patterns.  It was easy to work on while chatting at knit night or watching over a busy toddler; it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. At one point I was juggling 3 balls of yarn, which got a little tricky, but overall it was great fun.  You can see all the details on my project page.

 

During the photo shoot I played around with all of the different ways to wear this shawl.  Typically I like to wear my shawls bandit-style (with the point in the front, ends wrapped around the neck), but I think that really hides the features of this one.  I’ll have to go traditional with this decidedly untraditional shawl.

So happy to have this finished for Sock Summit!  I know that in most parts of the US having a new wool shawl for an event in July sounds ludicrous, but around here it’s necessary.  Mornings and evenings can be a bit chilly, and a small shawl over one’s shoulders is just the thing. Plus, what knitter doesn’t want to wear something hot off the needles around other knitters?

I’m heading off to the mighty summit tomorrow, picking up my bestie at the airport in the evening.  This is my first real amount of time spent away from PB, and I am filled with a mixture of emotions.  Elation, excitement, trepidation, and a touch of worry.  Everyone will be fine, I know this.  And in a sense, this time apart feels like a bit of a trial run for when I start working at the shop. Granted, I won’t be gone for a 4 day stretch very often, but it will go a long way for all of us to know that we can function outside of our normal routines.  Besides, I get yarn and she gets swimming lessons.  Win win!

Please come say hi if you see me running around in Portland, I love meeting new people.  And for those of you staying home I will have a full report and lots of photos to share upon return.

 

 

Trust. Knit. Understand.

I cast on for Chadwick Sunday afternoon and spent a nice amount of time knitting on our back patio.  This is an asymmetrical shawl, and it’s taken some getting used to.  Much like the infamous Baby Surprise Jacket, the best thing is to just trust in the pattern and go with the flow.  For what you see below is not the center back of the shawl as you may have thought.  That Mr. West is a clever kniter, indeed.

It seems to be growing rather quickly, but then again these types of shawls always do in the beginning.  Talk to me when the rows have a significantly higher stitch count!

*My new stitch markers are from Plover Designs and I am loving them.  The best part? They’re hand-made from recycled aluminum in Portland.

The Yearlong Shawl Project

 

 

When I started this shawl last June, I never imagined all that would happen in the year it would take me to finish knitting it up. There was a big move cross-country, old friends to say goodbye to and new friends to meet, a baby who would learn how to crawl, walk, and talk…

The bulk of the knitting happened in the last month and a half or so, as I envisioned the gardens, barefoot babes, yarn festivals and backyard shenanigans of summer 2012. There are a lot of light, happy thoughts knit into this scarf, and I have already been enjoying wrapping myself up in them.

Despite the length of time this was on the needles, I had a great time knitting it.  It took me a while to fall in love with the chart, yet once I spent some solid time getting to know it, the knitting flew by.  Kirsten Kapur never ceases to amaze me with her designs, and I’m already thinking about knitting another of her shawls.

What can I say about the yarn that hasn’t already been said?  Madelinetosh is known for its beautiful colorways and deliciously soft yarn.  I knit my first Ishbel in the Lettuce colorway a while back, and was thrilled to get more on the needles.  One drag I feel compelled to mention: there were 2 knots in the yarn that turned out to be ends. That made me hulk-angry mad. Okay, maybe not turning green and splitting my pants mad, but irritated enough to think about sending an email to Madelinetosh and Webs. I briefly thought about teaching myself how to do a Russian join, but in the end I just made doubly sure to weave in those extra 4 ends nice and securely.

The details:

With this shawl off the needles, I am in search of The Next Big Knit.  Suggestions?

 

A Birthday Shawl

I finished the knitting of my mom’s birthday shawl just in time.  I knew it could take a few days to block, wrap and mail, so it was good to have a cushion.  This yarn, wild and colorful, is perfectly suited to my mother.  She is a beautiful, funny, free-spirited creative woman, this kind who could pull off wearing a chunky hand-knit shawl out of recycled sari silk.

I wasn’t sure how to block this since the fiber content was part silk and part something else.  Should I dunk it in the tub, steam it, spray it, what? A quick internet search led me to one of my early knitting homes, Knitty.com. This article does a great job of explaining blocking and lays out some basic recommendations for how to deal with a variety of fibers. For silk, it seems like pinning out your piece and then spritzing it with water from a spray bottle is the way to go. I couldn’t stretch this shawl out to be perfectly triangular; it’s more of a misshapen Superman emblem.  After a couple of days on the mat, it seems to have blocked out alright.

I thought I was finished and was about to wrap this up and send it off when I remembered.  When I first started knitting it, my mom told me she thought it needed fringe.  Happy to have her input and enthusiasm for the porject, I agreed.  Fortunately, I had a small ball of yarn left, so I measured the remainder out into 4-inch pieces and started attaching them to the edge of the shawl.  There was just enough, not a strand to spare!

  • Pattern: La La’s Simple Shawl by Laura Linneman (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: a mystery.  Recycled silk from India.  I lost the ball band, but before doing so discovered the yarn was not listed in Ravelry.
  • Needles: US size 11
  • Mods: I left out the garter stitch and made this all in stockinette.  And then there is the fringe, of course.

This was a fun, simple pattern, just like its name says.  I can see that its simple stitches paired with eyelet rows would do justice to many a hand painted or novelty yarn.  My friend stripedsocks knit a gorgeous version with her own handspun yarn.  I’ll definitely be keeping this pattern around as a go-to for fun and crazy yarn!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Summer Shawl-along

My Stitch ‘n Bitch group is doing a shawl-along this summer.  It’s an informal gathering of knitters in which we are simply knitting something lacy at the same time.  No deadlines or matchy-matchy shawls for these b!tches.

I cast on alongside some other great knitters on Tuesday. This is my budding Hamamelis shawl by Kirsten Kapur.  And that lovely yarn?  That would be Madelinetosh Sock in Denim, a sumptuous, silvery blue merino.  The pattern is coming along fairly quickly during stolen moments of knitting throughout my days.  Of course, these triangular shawls always go quickly in the beginning; it’s when you get to the point of having hundreds of stitches on the needles that it really begins to drag.  But I choose not to think about that moment just yet, instead plodding happily along on these short, lacy rows.

Happy knitting!

Ishbel the Grape

Ishbel is finished!  I had enough yarn!

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I bound off the last of the stitches on Monday night, just before the season premiere of House, and put her in the sink to soak.  After a while, I pinned the shawl out on my yoga mat (a little narrow for this project) on commercial breaks.  It was dry by the next morning!

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  • Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, size Large (see my Ravelry project page here)

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Sock Yarn in color 853; 1 skein or about 440 yards

  • Needles: US size 6/4 mm Addi Turbo Lace needles

  • Mods: None.

This project was everything I had hoped it would be the second time around.  I wanted a darker, more moody colorway.  Check.  I wanted it to be larger than the first version so it would stay put when worn as a scarf.  Check.  And I wanted to get it all done with one skein of great yarn.  Check.

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The Malabrigo sock yarn was a dream to knit with.  The color variation is subtle yet saturated, moving from deep indigo to grapey purples and everything in between.  All without stripes or pooling colors showing up in the final product.  It is soft and sturdy too, which means it should work great for socks as many knitters have already reported.  I have another skein in chocolate brown that hasn’t decided what it wants to be when it grows up yet.

Turns out taking self-timed photos of yourself wearing a shawl is pretty tough.  First all I got was a picture of my butt.  Next it was more shawl and less butt, but it was out of focus.  Finally I got something that wasn’t too blurry or butty (helped along with a little cropping, of course).  Here it is:

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Oh, I’m just in love with this!  Not only do I want to knit more lace shawls immediately, I want to go out and buy a new, more neutral coat to show off my hand-knits this winter.  Is that so wrong?

In the Works

This week I have been a monogamous knitter.  This rarely happens, and I’m enjoying the benefits of focusing on one project.  I can see progress much faster than in the past when I set this project aside to knit other, quicker projects.  I started this back in July, just before heading off on vacation, thinking it would be a quick knit.  After all, I had knit this once before relatively quickly! This version has been on the needles about 2 months, and the weather is getting cooler; I felt motivated to finish this up so I can add it to my wardrobe asap!

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The pattern I am speaking of is Ishbel, a viral knit that has enchanted knitters across the globe.  It is enticing for several reasons: it’s knit with fingering weight yarn; the lace is interesting yet manageable; the size is right to wear as a scarf.  I’m sure we all have our own reasons for knitting one (or more) of these lovely woolen accessories!

I am knitting this version out of a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in Abril.  The first version I made was the smaller size, and I have been hoping to eke out the large from this skein.  Today I finished up the last repeat before beginning the edging, so I am well on my way to finishing up in a couple of days.  Fingers crossed that I have enough yarn!  I think I’ll add a life line at this point; that way if I run out of yarn, I can do the edging in a complimentary color and it might make sense.

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When I haven’t been working away on this shawl, I’ve been at the sewing machine.  This week I’ve added a few more finished items to the baby pile: flannel receiving blankets!  I lucked out on a 40% off sale at JoAnne Fabrics a few weeks ago and really stocked up on flannel.  The fabrics really run the range of colors and patterns, and I picked what I liked regardless of gender implications.  So no, I don’t know what’s brewing in there!

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I haven’t been following a pattern, as such.  Each blanket is made from a yard of fabric, with about 4 inches cut off from the selvage edge to create a more square shape.  Then I’ve been ironing the edges into a 1/2-inch fold twice and then sewing up the sides.  Easy-peasy and much faster than knitting a blanket!

Ishbel is sitting on the ottoman across the room, just staring at me… better get back to work!

For the Love of Ishbel

Ishbel turned out to be one of those projects that was impossible to put down.  Once I cast on last Sunday, I was a knitting fiend, putting in some time on a row or pattern repeat whenever possible.  It must have been the perfect storm of yarn and pattern, because both were equally pleasing to work with.  Ysolda writes a wicked clear pattern that was a joy to follow, and the Madelinetosh sock yarn kept me smiling throughout.

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  • Pattern:  Ishbel by Ysolda Teague

  • Yarn: Madelinetosh sock yarn in Lettuce Leaf, approximately 300 yards

  • Needles: US size 6/4mm Addi Turbo Lace

  • Mods: None.  I knit the size small as written.  See my notes on Ravelry.

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When I finished binding off it seemed small.  I knew that it would grow during blocking, but I wasn’t sure it would be big enough to wind around and wear like a scarf.  The pre-blocking measurements were 13 x 35 inches (depth x wingspan).  I soaked it for a few minutes, then pressed it in a towel and pinned it out on my yoga mat.  The dimensions grew to 18.5 x 38.5 inches.  It’s still a bit skimpy as a scarf, but I am really enjoying it as my new spring accessory!

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If I were to knit this again (as I am feeling wont to do) I would probably knit the large stockinette pattern with the small lace section, or vice versa.  First, I only used about 3/4 of the skein, and I loathe having that much yarn left over.  Secondly, it is just a little bit shy of wrapping around so that the ends dangle without sliding off over my shoulder.

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I love this scarf and would totally marry it if I weren’t already spoken for!

This was my first lace shawl, and I couldn’t be happier with the experience.  In the past when I saw lace charts I would instantly feel intimidated.  But there was just something about this pattern that spoke to me and said: “Don’t be afraid.  You can do this!”.  Maybe it was that the pattern called for sock yarn and started out in stockinette.  Or that I knew what all the symbols meant and simply needed to pay a little bit of attention every other row.  Most likely I’m just a more experienced and less fearful knitter than I once was, especially when it comes to lace.  Now I’m looking at some of my sock yarn with a certain lace lust that wasn’t there before…

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Now that it’s off the needles I can admit this out loud without ramifications: when it came to the lace section, I didn’t count stitches or use life lines!!!  ‘Cause I like to live on the edge like that.

Weekend Knitting Progress

It was a good weekend for starting and making good progress on new projects.  I love the feeling of excitement when I get interested in a new pattern.  I start dreaming about knitting it, stalking finished objects on Ravelry, imagining what yarns I could make it in…

Sometimes this process is satisfying enough that I already feel like I have knit the pattern.  More often than not, however, it only creates a need to knit it immediately, no matter what else I already have on the needles.

Such was the case for the past week with Ishbel, the lovely new shawl from Ysolda Teague.  I love much of her work, but have never actually knit one of her designs.  Yesterday, after days of dreaming and planning, I finally purchased the pattern (okay, I got the ebook and the hard copy…Easter present?).  I immediately wound up a skein of Madelinetosh sock yarn in Lettuce Leaf, a bright acidic green perfect for spring knitting.

I thought I could wait to cast on, but decided about to do so about 1/2 an hour before going to my Sunday afternoon knitting group.  And after a few hours of knitting, I have finished the stockinette section:

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Ishbel is my first shawl, so it’s fun to watch it grow from a tiny 3-stitch cast on to something resembling a shawl.  Now I’m gathering my wits to get started with the charted lace pattern.  I’m not exactly a novice in this department, but still green enough to have some reservations.  Thank goodness for the help of those who have gone before me!

On Saturday (pre-Ishbel frenzy) I sat down with my Hemlock Ring blanket.  I started this a week or two ago, but didn’t get very far.  It requires a bit of focus, and I just wasn’t in that sort of mood.  I knit a stockinette sock instead, much more my speed at the time.  But on Saturday the mood struck, and I made a few inches of progress.  It’s so fun!

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This should be an interesting project to watch change and grow. I have 4 balls of Malabrigo yarn to devote to it, and will cast off when I’m about out of yarn.  It’s only once the whole thing is off the needles that I will know exactly how big it has gotten.

So, that’s what I’ve got on the needles at this moment.  Something about the sunshine, blooming flowers, and feeling like a fresh start has me wanting to cast on about 87,000 new projects!