The Mystery is Solved

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DSC_0639Pattern: Follow Your Arrow 2 by Ysolda Teague // Yarn: Hazels Knits Artisan Sock in Ruby Love & Sarsparilla // Read my Ravelry Notes here.

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Toward the end of my pregnancy, I was struck with a case of startitis.  I had stopped daily work at the shop, and was enjoying some much-needed rest before meeting our baby.  And what’s a knitter to do with a stretch of free time but cast on all the things?!

I was drawn into the idea of Ysolda’s mystery shawl knit-along as a way to help pass the time as I waited to go into labor.  A clue would be released each week, and my goal was to finish that clue before the next one was released or before the baby arrived, whichever happened first.

I’m pleased to say that I was able to keep up with the clues through week 4 of 5! These clues were challenging to me, with interesting charts and new stitch patterns.  It was fun and kind of fraught choosing between 2 patterns each week; it’s hard to make a choice without knowing where you’re going sometimes!  One clue would build upon the previous and before long I had a substantial shawl on the needles.

I deliberately chose the more textured clues each week, with garter or reverse stockinette stitch, to tie the clues together in my solid yarn.  This was after stalking the spoiler threads in the knit-along group on Ravelry, of course!

I knew going into the project that I wouldn’t have enough of the gorgeous red yarn.  Hoping there would be an opportunity to incorporate some leftover charcoal grey yarn, I forged ahead.  I ended up saving it for the border, which meant it was also at the biggest part of the shawl. So of course I ran out!  I ended up knitting the last row and binding off in another, lighter grey leftover yarn.  I’m not sold on the color combo, but I am pleased with how all the clues came together.  I’m also not thrilled with the size; I would like it to be a bit wider. But, these are things you have to give up control over to a certain extent when knitting blind!

Overall, this was a perfect distraction for me.  And I’m happy to say that I made it through 4 clues before going into labor, and was able to finish the final clue within a couple of weeks of it coming out.  Newborns sleep a lot, which is great news for this knitter!

Now back to some of the other things I’ve cast on since…

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FO:: Dancette

Behind the scenes at Peaceful House, things have been a bit rough.  Toddlerhood has brought its joys and challenges, the most long-running issue being that of sleep and extremely early morning wakeups.  As in 4-5 am early.  For months.  I’m certain we’ve tried every remedy short of locking PB in her room and going to a hotel for the night (joking, sort of). We just made a You Stayed in Bed Until The Toddler Clock Turned Green Chart*.  Stickers hold great power in this house!

All of this is to say that I can only really handle the most basic of knitting tricks right now.  I’m getting my kicks from fiber content and color combinations rather than complicated charts and fancy stitch patterns.  To that end, I recently finished such a fun shawl!

This was something I cast on as part of our Stash Spring knit-along.  It’s made up of some of the most decadent yarn I’ve knit with: merino and cashmere.  Need I say more?  This was a relatively quick knit, considering I was working on other projects at the same time. Something about that cashmere and stripe sequence just made me want to keep knitting on it all the time. It turned out to be a generous size, which is good for wrapping up chilly shoulders or for bunching up around the next on cold spring mornings.  Either way, it’s nice to have around. I had plenty of yarn leftover, so you will likely be seeing these colors again sometimes.  My stash of leftover sock yarn is beginning to rival my new sock yarn stash!

*We’re starting with a 5:30 am green light and hope to gradually move it to 6am.  Sadly, that would feel like sleeping in at this point!

**No, I didn’t knit my sweater. It’s from The Loft. : )

Mystery Solved

The mystery of Stephen West’s first mystery knit-along has been solved.  I’m pleased to say that I kept up with this knit-along and finished on time, both of which may be first for me!

After a lot of excitement at the start, I ended up feeling sort of tepid about this project.  There’s so much build up for this sort of thing: popular designer, mysterious pattern, lots of chatter on the web and in Ravelry groups.  I couldn’t help but get swept up in it all.  Partway through I was a little unsure, however, as I wrote about here.  When the final clue was released, I was not excited about the edging.  I ended up modifying one option and adding a row of contrast color, which I think perks things up just a bit.

Now that the finished shawl has been sitting around for a week, it has grown on me.  Those rows of garter in the acidic yellow.  The stunning colors and zesty parallelograms.  It all works in a way I couldn’t really appreciate after binding off.   I haven’t measured my leftovers, but there’s plenty, and I’m still in love with the yarn.  Maybe I’ll make PB a funky striped hat for fall.

All in all, this was a quick, fairly easy project. The only tricky bit for me was juggling up to 3 balls of yarn at once and weaving in ends for about 2 hours. I’m not joking. Stagger your end-weaving throughout the project or you’ll go mad! I did some after each section and it really helped, but it was still a lot of time spent not knitting. You can see all the details about this project on my Ravelry page here.

That’s the third shawl I’ve finished this summer!  Two of them have been by Stephen West, even.  I suppose I’ve been a little singular in my knitting fantasies lately.  That said, I am starting to lust after some fall sweater knitting…

Secrets and Mysteries

The past week has brought some wonderful mysteries and surprises into my life.  All of them are yarn, sock, and shawl related goodness, which is supposed to be kept somewhat under wraps so as not to ruin the surprise for unsuspecting participants.  So if you don’t want to see this month’s Cookie A. Sock Club yarn, and don’t want to see what Clue #1 of the Westknits Mystery KAL looks like, read no further.

Here is a lovely buffer picture of a mysterious gourd blossom in my garden, a sprout from the compost that I am letting run wild.  Seriously, don’t go past the blossom if you want to remain surprised…

Welcome, curious onlookers!

While at Sock Summit (yes, that again…I’m almost done talking about it, I promise!), I fell hard for the A Verb for Keeping Warm booth.  I had seen their yarn over the winter, and loved  its beautiful color palette, a result of all natural dyes.  This time they had small skeins perfect for multi-color knitting, and I had a real hey day matching up colors for my Westknits shawl.  While there, Cookie A. just happened to be drooling over an acidic yellow yarn dyed with marigold blooms.  I was instantly drawn to the yarn, both because I love yellow and because I think Cookie A.’s taste in yarn is superb.  Suddenly, something inexplicable came over me, and I just had a feeling that she would be putting some Verb yarn in her sock club soon.  Right, Striped Socks?

Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga (left) & A Verb for Keeping Warm Creating (right)

I chose 3 colors of Verb’s Creating yarn for the shawl: Marigold, Barnacle! Matey! and Indigo.  The first clue was a brief but tasty nugget, and Striped Socks and I wound our yarn and cast on the same day (she in the car while I drove us to the beach, I later that evening).  I am loving my color combo and am excitedly working my way through the second clue now.

And then, a few days ago, I got my sock club yarn.  It’s beautiful.  See how this is all coming together?

Am I psychic, or what?

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.