On the needles : Spring update

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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.

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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…}

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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!

Off The Needles

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Jeweled Cowl

Project details and mods here.

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Chambord Pullover

 Project details and mods here.

Last week I finished two projects!

Both the Jeweled Cowl and Chambord Pullover were quick knits, in different ways.  With the cowl, that fresh spring green and the sparkly beads kept me wanting more.  It was definitely a “one more row” type of project.  This is a pattern I probably would not have gravitated toward on my own; I started it as part of a knit-along at Stash, and I’m so glad I did.  Beading with a teensy tiny crochet hook isn’t so awful, did you know that?

I chose to knit Chambord as part of the Stash and Burn group’s Use It or Lose It challenge.  This is a challenge meant to inspire us to use that deep stash yarn in concentrated periods (13 in 2013); if you don’t love it after trying to use it, you get to lose it.  I got excited to use a deeply stashed sweater quantity of Plymouth Tweed, and thus a sweater was knit.  I love the finished result, but the yarn wasn’t all that pleasant to work with.  I can appreciate a sheepy, rustic wool, but for sweater knitting I think I’ll stick to more smooth, plump yarns from now on.

In any case, that’s a ton of yarn out of the stash, and it feels really great to have these 2 project off the needles!

Here are some outtakes from my low-key impromptu play room photo shoot.  It was directed by PB, and she took all the photos of Chambord in this post.  Love!

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Yarn Along:: Mysterious Cables

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Chambord by Thea Coleman in Plymouth Tweed

Chambord by Thea Colman in Plymouth Tweed

I picked up this book on an impromptu trip to the bookshop recently.  I had been in a full on grumpy-mama mood and was essentially banished from the house to clear my head.  It was for the best, and after just a few minutes browsing the aisles of one of our local book stores I felt much better.

While at the store my mind was completely blank, however.  The titles of all the books I’d been meaning to read fled my brain, and the handy list of notes I keep for such moments was uninspiring.  Having seen a recent post on Katie’s blog about what she had recently read, I turned to her for a recommendation.  Her praise for Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore made the decision easy, and a few minutes later I left with the book.  It has proven to be a fun thrill ride through the mysterious stacks of Mr. Penumbra’s book store, filled with codes, adventures, quirky characters, and intrigue.  I’m down to the last two chapters and can’t wait to see how it ends!

On the needles this week is a new project: the Chambord Pullover.  Excited after my recent sweater win, I decided to excavate some deep stash yarn and cast on another.  This tweedy yarn and cozy sweater are such a good combination that I couldn’t resist.  The knitting has been fairly straightforward, which is always nice. I only just noticed a mis-crossed cable that must have happened while I was knitting with friends during the Oscars on Sunday.  I’ve decided to leave it.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

p.s. Yarn Along is inspired, as ever, by the delightful Ginny.

p.p.s. The cover of this book glows in the dark.

Yarn Along:: Beginnings + Endings

I’ve been reading a new book, the sweeping sequel to The Passage.  It’s complex and moving, even a little sad and scary at times.  It’s epic and will probably take me a bit to get through.  And that’s okay, especially with the help of a before-work-mocha and reading moment from time to time.

My fall sweater is nearly finished!  I am actually ready to start the ribbing on the second cuff and will hopefully be done tonight!  Just in time to jet off to Hawaii for a long weekend with Sweetie to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

Which brings me to the subject of travel knitting.  As you know, a lot of careful thought and planning goes into strategizing vacation knitting projects.  The amount of sedentary travel time directly affects the number and complexity of projects I take.

This time I am excited to unearth some single skeins from deep stash and will be attempting a small project on each flight to and fro.  I’m thinking this and this.  And I might also throw in a sock-in-progress for good measure.  I only took one project with me to New York and I finished it on the flight over!  Better to overpack, I say.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

Thanks to Ginny for the Yarn Along inspiration!

Yarn Along:: Out of Hibernation

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. 
We went to the beach over the weekend with Sweetie’s parents. Knowing there would be a 4 to 1 ratio of capable adults to curious toddler, I figured my chances of getting some knitting done were pretty good. So I pulled out my Hooray Cardigan from last winter. This sweater was off to such a good start, and then something happened with the cables and it went into long-term hibernation. It did require about on hour of cable surgery (again), but now I am back on track and have divided for the sleeves. I seem to have a case of the sweater knitting lately, as I plan on casting on the Rocky Coast cardigan this week as part of our fall knit-along over at Stash.

I just started reading wild and am really enjoying it so far. I am not a backpacker by any stretch (there was that one time in Glacier that ended in me staying awake most of the night with fear and indigestion). Three chapters in, I am a loving Strayed’s writing and look forward to seeing where her adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail takes her next.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?