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?


FO: Socktoberfest Prolonged

You’ve heard of Christmas in July, right? How about Socktoberfest in April?

  • Pattern: TTL Mystery Sock 2010 by Kirsten Kapur, Ravelled here
  • Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Semisolids in Mango, 1 skein
  • Needles: US size 1 / 2.5mm
  • Mods: I knit the size Large, using a size Medium heel flap

This was my first time participating in a mystery knit along, and it had its pros and cons to be sure.  The main asset of this type of knitting is the anticipation and excitement, particularly when knitting along in a group.  As each clue was released, a flurry of knitting and chatter would erupt on Ravelry, and it really kept me motivated to push on through knitting that week’s clue on both socks.  The clues were released roughly as the pictures flow below:

Then, once all the clues were released and I was left with two half-knit socks, I felt discouraged.  I was tired from all the excitement, and the now-garish orange yarn was irritating to look at.  Naturally, they got set aside for new projects and would get worked on in fits and starts for the next several months.

It’s funny how finishing up a long-lingering project can feel so great!  My creative workload has been lightened a bit, and any ill feelings I had toward these socks have vanished.  Instead, I feel excited that I have these new, vibrant orange socks to wear as the weather warms and colors outside brighten.  Taking six months to knit a pair of socks also has me feeling (in a misplaced way) that they were very little work.  Strange, that.

In any case, I get to cast on a new pair of socks now!  Hopefully they will get knit up at a slightly quicker pace. Or maybe I should pull out that shawl I started in a knit along last July…

Birthday Boy Vest

This was a project I decided to make for my nephew last fall, well in advance of his first birthday.  I printed out the pattern right away, even went out and bought the yarn.  Then it sat all winter and spring.  I suppose I was waiting to see what size I should make, and for the knitting deck to be clear, so to speak.  About two weeks before my nephew’s birthday I cast on for this sophisticated cabled baby vest.

  • Pattern: Pembroke Vest by Kirsten Kapur for Petite Purls. 18 month size (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 wool, 3 balls + a few yards of a 4th
  • Needles: US size 5 for ribbing, 7 for body
  • Mods: I changed the cable crosses so that they are mirrored.

This was such a fun pattern to knit.  The cables are simply delicious, all plump and twisty in this wool.  I would definitely choose this yarn again for its great stitch definition and bounce.  Plus, it comes in a gorgeous range of colors.  Kapur’s pattern and chart are well written and easy to follow, which was a pleasure.  I could pick this up and put it down several times a day and have no problem finding my place and knitting on.  It’s knit in two pieces, seamed together, and then you knit up the ribbing around the arms and neck.  I knit the 18 month size which does not call for a split neck opening with buttons.  If only I could go back and add them…

When I finished this vest up, I was so excited to pop it onto PB and take some photos.  Can you just picture it: a cute blue-eyed baby in a blue knit vest?  unfortunately the only picture that exists is in my mind, because it wouldn’t fit over her head!  I picked out the bind-off edge, pulled out 3 rows of ribbing, and bound off again very l o o s e l y.  Then I crossed my fingers, made a wish, and sent it off to my nephew.

It still doesn’t fit over his head.

I guess I’ll be attempting some sort of sweater vest surgery next time I visit!  Oh well.

Birth Announcement & Weekend Knitting

I sat down this morning with the intention of writing about knitting.  But something else is on my mind, something decidedly unrelated to knitting in any way. I’m so excited!

Some of you may remember that back in August I was able to set up a new 45-gallon freshwater fish tank.  This was a big step up from my 10 gallon tank, and I have been having so much fun with my fish.  This weekend I went out and bought 2 breeding pairs of mollies, and one of the females was very pregnant.

These fish belong to a group called live bearers, which means the eggs hatch inside the body and the fry are born fully developed.  I have been watching the female very closely over the past two days.  This morning when I got up, I noticed that she was much less bloated than before.  So I started looking around in the plants and gravel and immediately started seeing little fish fry looking back at me!  They are miniature versions of their adult parents, about 1/2 an inch long.  So far I have discovered somewhere between 3 & 5 babies.  Cross your fingers that they make it; these fish are carnivorous…

Okay, so you’ve made it this far.  I suppose you deserve some knitting after reading about my new additions!  I decided to take a break from craft fair knitting this weekend and cast on a new project instead. My first beret, and first top down hat:

This is the One Day Beret by Kirsten Kapur.  What’s great about this pattern is that it is more of a recipe that you can adapt to suit any yarn or gauge.  You kind see it on her blog or on Ravelry.

I originally started this with a hot pink skein of Cascade 220 Superwash, but didn’t like the solid color.  One of the things I loved about the photos I saw on Kapur’s blog was the variegated yarn she used.  So I went to my stash and waited for something to catch my eye.  Out popped 2 skeins of Claudia’s Hand-painted merino sock yarn in Passion Fruit.  I’m holding 2 strands together and using size 4 needles for my beret.

This is a great stashbuster for any odd skeins you have lying around.  And if you don’t have any particular need to knit a beret for yourself or as a gift, consider donating it to Stash and Burn’s project for 7 Long Knits.  Scroll down to episode 58 for details on how you can help comfort some pediatric oncology patients through knitting or crochet.

And because I was going through sock withdrawl, I also cast on a pair of basic socks using Sockotta’s self-fair-isle yarn.  It’s a very relaxing knit, simple stockinette, but the yarn keeps it interesting.

I love smart yarn!

Time to go check on my little Fry Guys.