On the needles : Spring update

IMG_1496

It’s full on Spring in Oregon now.  The crocus and daffodils have come and gone, the tulips have peaked, and now we’re eagerly anticipating the first unfurling of a peony bud.  With the help of a friend, I’ve recently prepared our raised garden beds for planting.  We’ve already got broccoli starts happily nestled in their new homes, and the pea seeds G planted last month are rapidly growing.

My knitting has also been growing quite quickly.  I’ve kept it to two projects for the past month or so, and it’s remarkable to see them grow at a steady pace.  Especially since they’re both in fingering weight yarn!

I’ve always loved color and pattern, and am not one to shy away from either in my knitting.  And yet this year something has inspired me to work a bit more in neutrals, especially when it comes to garments.  This will give me some new pieces that I can mix and match with all the store bought color and pattern in my wardrobe.

IMG_1447IMG_1314So when perusing the stash for options for True Friend, a newish sweater pattern by Veera Välimäki, I was drawn to the many shades of grey I’ve been stashing.  These hand-dyed yarns have so many lovely transitions between light and dark, I think they work really well together. {Ravelry notes here}

This pattern has a bit of an unusual construction, but it’s simple at the same time.  Which makes this the perfect knit for my still slightly baby-fogged brain!  The stripes make up the body and sleeves at the same time, with every other row adding stitches.  I’m well over 600 stitches per round now!  The end of this section is in sight, which is thrilling.

IMG_1190

That is my at-home knitting.  When I’m out and about, I have this pair of socks tucked into my bag.  Neutral black and white that I’m popping with neon accents on the cuff, heel and toe.  I’m loving knitting with the Victory Sock by Knitted Wit. It’s soft and sturdy, with just the right amount of sproing! for socks.  I’m about halfway down the foot of the second sock, so these will be off the needles very soon.  Time to start thinking about my next on-the-go project!

{as much as I’m absolutely loving knitting with all this grey and black, I think it’s time to cast on a new project with some color…}

IMG_1357

IMG_1493

Speaking of next projects, I just cast on for the Stash Spring Linen knit along.  In the spirit of working with neutrals, I chose this sumptuous silver grey linen by Quince & Co (colorway Porpoise).  Togue Pond is a sleeveless top with a high-low hem and some subtle shaping details that make it very special.  I’m looking forward to working with a new to me yarn on huge needles (10.5, whoa)!

What’s on your needles this Spring?

Also, I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of my knitting with cups of coffee and tea. If you’re often stitching with a cup of something nearby, consider sharing over on Instagram with the hashtag #knitsandsips.  I’d love to see what you’re making and drinking!

FO: Green Tea

After knitting through a few sizing hiccups, making modifications, and pushing through all that delicious stockinette, I’m pleased with this tee!  This was a learning experience as usual, and while I like the finished piece, there is room for improvement next time.

  • Pattern: Rayonnant Pullover by Romi Hill, Winter/Spring 2011 Knitscene (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Rowan Belle Organic DK by Amy Butler 5.5 balls (about 790 yards), color 05
  • Needles: US 6 & 8/ 4 & 5mm
  • Mods: Made short sleeves and added some bust shaping.

This sweater pattern had its share of frustrations, mainly in the generous proportions as I wrote about here.  After knitting and ripping out the yoke and sleeves, I modified the sleeves and bust to fit my body.  You can see the detail of these mods on my Ravelry page, but the gist is that I created a customized size somewhere between 34 and 36.  Then I jumped back on the pattern bandwagon and knit it straight down to the hem without any shaping.  I tried it on multiple times and thought things were going great.  Then I wore the tee all day and looked at these photos and realized I didn’t need as much positive ease in the body as I thought I would to be comfortable.  Oh well, knit and learn, right?!

I love how the leafy lace yoke turned out.  The combination of pretty lace and casual fit is what initially drew me to the pattern, and I’m happy to say I still like it after all the work and changes I made!

The yarn was very nice to work with, as far as cotton blends go.  It’s soft, has a decent amount of stretch, and the wool content will hopefully help the tee retain its shape.  If I had one gripe, it’s that the yarn could be a bit splitty at times, but not so much that it was a headache to work with.  I’d knit with it again, although as I’m writing this it occurs to me that it feels a lot like Lion Brand Cotton Ease, which is a heckuva lot cheaper (no wool, though). Interesting.

Now that I’ve finished up a fairly large prject, I’m all set to tackle my knitting to-do list!  I’ve already cast on for Windschief, and it is coming along very quickly.  It’s the perfect antedote to a project that was on my needles for about 2 months.

Happy knitting this weekend, friends!

Planning and Knitting and Sniffling, Oh My!

I spent most of the weekend fluctuating between excited bursts of activity and sniffling in bed as I tried to fight off a spring cold.  Fortunately for me, it’s not an incapacitating cold, so I was able to get a little knitting accomplished.  I am pleased to say I’m almost finished with my first warm-weather knit of the season!

As always seems to happen when I round the corner into the home stretch of a project, I start dreaming about what to cast on next.  I like to dangle a little wooly carrot in front of myself, something to motivate me to keep on knittin’.  It’s an attempt to maintain focus while still allowing myself to feel that rush of excitement that comes from browsing patterns, shopping the stash, and putting the two together.

I have a small collection of summery yarns I purchased last spring that I never got around to knitting.  There are a couple I picked up for PB and a couple I picked up for myself that I am motivated to use this season.  Cotton blends are the name of the game, and I have these lovelies to choose from: Rowan Purelife Revive, Be Sweet Cotton Candy, and Cascade Luna Paints.  I have enough of the Revive to make myself a top or large shawl of some sort; I’m thinking thisthis or this.  The other two are for PB and her soon-to-be-born cousin, and I’m still browsing patterns. Ideas?

Of course, I couldn’t neglect a couple of the newer wooly additions to the stash that keep calling to me from behind the closed doors of my yarn cabinet: Becoming Art’s Agave worsted will be Windschief, and the String Theory Caper sock yarn is for a Cookie A. sock club pattern.  Neither is in the most seasonal of colors, but I think that’s what makes them good counterpoints to all that aqua and purple cotton.

And finally, because I have been wanting to knit a high-contrast Stephen West shawlette for some time, I’ve been playing around with my sock yarn, creating color combos.  I think I’ve settled on knitting Chadwick with this peacock-blue and raspberry red, out of Shu Bui and Plymouth Happy Feet, respectively.

The best part of all this planning is that the yarns are all from my stash!  I made the informal commitment to myself that I wouldn’t buy any new yarn between February (after my Stitches spree) and the end of July when I plan on going to Sock Summit.  With all these goodies lying around, it shouldn’t be a problem.

What are looking forward to knitting this spring and summer?