Stitch by Stitch

The first clue of the Westknits Mystery KAL was released this past Friday, and with it a flurry of intense excitement.  I started waiting anxiously on Thursday night to see if the clue would be released at midnight EST (9pm my time). Even though it wasn’t, I was happy to see the update in my Ravelry library Friday morning.  So excited, in fact, that I cast on at work.  Shhh…don’t tell my boss!

Spoiler pic coming up, so stop here if you don’t want to know.

This little fan of knitting is just filled with interesting techniques: attached i-cord edging, short-row shaping, carrying a color up one side, and more. It immediately grabbed my attention and the attention of knitters worldwide; there are over 2,300 projects already!  There has been a lot of photo sharing a discussion in the group about preferred methods of creating short rows, the pros and cons of various color combos, and plenty of general good cheer amongst participants. While I cannot keep up with all the chatter, it is comforting to know that should i have a question there is a pool of knowledge there to help almost instantly.  The joys of a knit-along!

I’m happily knitting along, one stitch and one wedge at a time, hoping to finish my homework in time for Friday’s clue.  And yes, that means all other projects have been sidelined for the time being.

Are you playing along?  Leave a comment and tell us what color combo you’ve chosen!

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…

Yarn Along:: Mysteries & Plagues

Yarn Along-ing with Ginny this week…

Sweetie recently picked this book up for me at the Borders going out of business sale. I had heard good things about it (and their tv show) from some of you. While I was curious, I just didn’t think I had another city-dweller-turned-farmer memoir in me at the moment.  I binged pretty hard on the genre earlier this spring/summer!

In between library books I decided to pick it up, and have been enjoying it ever since.  Part of the allure for me is the author’s unflinching look at the struggles of building a farm on weekends while trying to maintain a relationship and two full-time jobs. It’s also his writing style: wry, honest, witty, and full of personal anecdotes about Martha Stewart.  I have my own Martha story, did I ever tell you? It involves making pistachio brittle for her show, feeling the chill as she walked into the room behind me, and later sneaking a hold of one of her Emmys.  But I digress… This is a fun, interesting read, a perfect compliment to my days of working on starting a business and playing in the garden with PB.

The first two clues of the Westknits Mystery knit along were very small, leaving me wanting more.  When the third clue came out a little early, I was delighted, and have been working away on this larger chunk of knitting every chance I get.  I love this yarn and my color combination, but remain a but uncertain.  Bold color combinations don’t bother me, but not knowing how it’s all going to turn up leaves me a little nervous! I am reserving judgment for now, choosing to trust in the design and hoping for a spunky yet wearable shawl when all is said and done.

What is on your nightstand and needles this week?

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.