Rules for Feeding the Stash

Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Experiment

Hope you all had a marvelous weekend, my loveys! (Speaking of lovey, the US Supreme Court ruled on Friday that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional! I am so excited for this ruling, so proud of my country, and so happy for all my friends who have been and will be affected by this ruling.)

Other than that, it's been a pretty slow weekend at la casa wayward. I finished my orange tee and worked on the pattern most of Saturday, and it's been sent off for editing. I also started the first hat for my collection, and I even got a few rows done on my mum's Rocky Coast.

Remember these? These are the skeins I dyed using dandelions a while back. I was torn about what to do with them-the color wasn't as saturated as I wanted, although in some spots it really seemed to pop! Ultimately I decided I wanted more color in these skeins, so I'm over-dyeing them with turmeric. I did like the color from the dandelions, though, so I'll have to remember to use more flowers next time. Hopefully I'll get a nice, bright, saturated yellow. It's all an experiment, so we'll see how it turns out in a few days.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Collection: Planning

I bought three skeins of yarn last year, with the intention of doing a mini-collection of three cowls. The idea was ephemeral, at best, and I could never quite pin down what exactly I wanted to do or what I was looking for in the individual designs or even in the collection as a whole. So I let them sit for a few months.

Then, a couple of months ago, I bought another skein of yarn for a mitt project that I ended up deciding not to do. And after a couple weeks, this skein started feeling like it should be a hat-not just any hat, a very specific looking hat, that reminded me very strongly of the mountain where I spent several formative summers growing up. At the same time, I was thinking about another potential hat, and I knew it wanted to be knit from one of the three skeins I'd bought several months prior. I pretty quickly fell down the inspiration rabbit hole, and ended up with something really exciting.

Four hats, all inspired by places that were important to me growing up. I've got sketches, I've got swatches, and I am super excited to start working on these. This is a bit different from my usual creative process, but I'm so excited-everything works out on paper, so I'll get to start knitting these up next week. I am so excited-a collection has been one of my goals since I started designing, and I am so thrilled to finally have this much already put together. I can't wait to see how this creative journey turns out :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pattern: Tessa

My newest shawl pattern went live yesterday, and I'm so excited about this one! This was a lot of fun to knit-garter stitch, textured eyelets, no complicated counting, bright yarn-I had a blast putting this shawl together.

Tessa is knit from the top-down, with 100g of fingering-weight yarn. I really wanted to play with texture with this one, and I love how everything came together. We've had a couple of cool mornings the past week thanks to some overnight cold fronts, and this has been great for throwing over my shoulders to walk the dogs before work.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A White Lace Emergency

One of my friends is getting married soon. I've known this for months, I am enormously happy for the couple, and I definitely did not forget about it. I may have, however, postponed remembering that a wedding means I need to knit something until the announcement for the shower came in the mail this weekend.

As I've mentioned before, my go-to for weddings is a white lace table runner. They're all different, and range in size from a full runner to a small bureau doily, but they're all white, and they're all lace. I like trying to fit the size and pattern to the couple, so I am adamant about never using the same pattern twice.

Which means I have a little bit of figuring out to do, since I haven't quite decided what this is going to look like when it's done. But I have just over two weeks, and if there's one thing that I find irresistible, it's white lace. So, fingers crossed, yarn wound, and here goes nothing.

Friday, June 19, 2015

WIP: Cinema Socks

Oh man, I thought I'd never get the first sock of these done! I haven't really been going to a whole lot of movies this year, and while I took the sock with me to Minnesota back in March, I hadn't really gotten much more work done on it. Last weekend my brother and I went to Jurassic World, though, and the end of the first sock just flew off the needles.

Then on Wednesday night, my mum and I went to see Spy, and I got half the leg of the second sock done! See, when I actually go to the cinema, I make progress on the Cinema Socks. I don't mind having these drag on in the background, though. If I don't have a good cinema project already started before I go to a movie, I'm rushing trying to get a couple of rounds done before the lights go out so I can just cruise along in the dark. And while sometimes I lose interest on projects that I haven't worked on in weeks, I know that these are just for working on at the movies, so there's no pressure to work on them any other time.

I'm still in love with this yarn-I love how Patons Kroy works up in my favorite needles, and I absolutely love the stripes in this colorway. Since I started the first sock right after last Xmas, I should be pretty set to have the pair finished sometime in the next six months :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WIP: Mottled Daydream

Sometimes I'm really surprised by how yarn behaves once it's taken out of it's skein. For example, I knew that my Zen Garden Serenity Lace would have short color changes, but I thought that it would be about half white, with distinct bits of gold and purple. I got a little nervous when I wound it, and it looked really light-like the white would be overpowering. But I had made a plan, and so I kept going, and I am really pleased with how it's knitting up so far-the color blend together almost magically, and the resulting fabric is so incredibly light and airy and delicate.

This yarn is really fine, and the cashmere content made me a little nervous, but it's really enjoyable to knit so far. It's not as delicate as it looks, and the way the colors blend together almost makes it look like a variegated neutral-this shawl is definitely going to go with a lot, and I think I'll have enough to add some repeats of the final lace border. I'm hoping for a nice big shawl, that I can wear several different ways. I'm almost done the first texture section, and this pattern is just as enjoyable to knit the second third time around (for reference, the first time, and the second time). This yarn is definitely more well-suited to the pattern, and I'm glad it's finally getting knit up.

I'm halfway through the final border chart on Flower Market, so once that's done, Mottled Daydream will replace it as my lunch break knitting. As I've mentioned before, my summers get crazy busy, so it's nice to have something straightforward and familiar to work on.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Battleship Saga

Oh hey, remember how I was knitting a top? Yeah, that seems like forever ago. Battleship and I had a few setbacks along the way, but he's finally ready now and I love him so hard. (Please tell me you all gender your knits, too. I feel like most of the time I default to female, but Battleship is definitely a he.)

To refresh your memory, Battleship and I had a bit of a rocky start to our relationship. I didn't check gauge, and we had to start over from Point A again. After that, things went pretty well, except I was playing chicken with my yarn (Pro Tip: discontinued yarn gotten from a swap might not be the best choice for a yardage-risky project such as, say, a heavily modified blouse). I forged on, knitting to the end of my yarn, bound off, blocked it, and realized that recovering from skin surgery meant I couldn't wear pretty new shirts for a while.

So he sat, sadly, in my bedroom for a few weeks. Once my back was all healed, I tried him on quick, and was so unimpressed. He made me look a little barrel-shaped. Like a dumpy, short-torsoed barrel. If you have any hesitations about the importance of necklines, let this serve you. That neckline is not flattering on me. To reinforce the neckline, I'd picked up stitches all around the neck, knit one round, and then bound off. It certainly made it stronger, but it tightened up the neckline so much that it seriously compromised the drape of the fabric-and the drape was what I really wanted. So I picked out the reinforcing rounds, gave Battleship another bath to coax all the picked-up stitches back into place, and tried again.

Ah. Well, that certainly won't do. At this point I was starting to get nervous-with the neckline undone, the length of the top was perfect, you can see the curve of my underbust and waist, and the way the skirt of the top skims my lower belly is incredibly flattering. The neckline is a little, er, low, however. I'm not really anti-bosom-but that is an awful lot of bosom going on up there. And you know how I always say clothes ought to first and foremost be comfortable? Having a particularly acrobatic breast escape the confines of one's bodice is not comfortable.

I couldn't give up. So...I turned the tank around and tried it on backwards.

Guys, I love Battleship so much. Look at that new neckline! And it scoops so elegantly in back! And it's the length I like! Oh my goodness, he's just absolutely perfect, and I'm so glad I put him on backwards before just throwing him in a bin to forget about. I'm having so much fun coming up with different ways of incorporating this top into my wardrobe, and while I was nervous about the color during the knitting, I am so pleased with how it looks on me. Me and my Battleship-we had our issues getting here, but I think we're pretty good from here on out.

Ravelry Page: Battelship
Yarn: Universal Yarn Summer Linen, "337 Steel Blue"

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Sweater in June

Here we are, almost halfway through June. Wasn't it just February? This weekend is the Shakespeare Festival, so I needed something to work on that was simple enough to knit while watching the play. The play this summer is Macbeth, and I'm hoping to see it a couple of times before the weekend is over.

This is my mum's Rocky Coast Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, and I can already tell it's going to be a fun knit. I fell hard for this pattern as soon as it came out and queued it instantly. Last fall though, I went through and did a really massive de-queueing in Ravelry, forcing myself to be honest about what I wanted to knit and what I would actually wear and use. I probably wouldn't wear this cardigan very much, but I still wanted to knit it. Fortunately, Mum liked the pattern, and I get to knit it for her! So far it's been a straightforward little knit, and once the raglan increases are done it will go even more smoothly. And since I'm starting it now, it will be ready and waiting for her when fall hits. Am I good at this planning thing or what?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Almost Ripe

I finally figured out the neckline for the Orange Tee, which is a relief. Since I took this picture, I finished the front, and the back is in good shape as well-I'm hoping to get the knitting on this done this week. I'm so excited to get this finished-I'm not really letting myself play with my swatch project until it is.

I'm so glad this finally has some more visible progress. I kind of let myself get into a funk about finishing the front, so I'm glad I got most of the back done while I re-evaluated my design plan. I'm totally thrilled with how it's coming out so far-just a few more inches on the back, then seams, a collar, and sleeve bands! Fingers crossed, the next time you all see this bad boy he will be done.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Canine Interlude

Well, I'm back in town now, but I didn't plan ahead for today's post, and when I got home last night I promptly took a nap. So for now here's a picture of the dogs. It's a couple weeks old now, but they're cute, and I don't post enough puppies here.

(Mystic's on the left; he's a cairn terrier. Abby, on the right, is a Papillon.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Numbers on a Friday

1. I'm not sure switching the laundry soap is helping as much as I hoped it would.

2. Even though my skin isn't totally cleared up, I'm loving the chance to go through all my clothes. I've got a pretty serious pile going for donation, and I'm letting myself throw out a bunch of ratty tank tops.

3. I have a lot of clothes. Really, they'd gotten out of hand. I love them, and I love putting together outfits, but my wardrobe needed a serious purge. In fact, going through and clearing out feels so nice (once I get over the overwhelming exhaustion) that I want to spread out and go through all my stuff. I haven't read Marie Kondo's book, but I know a lot of people who have, and I'd like to try to be more mindful about my things and hopefully will be able to get a lot of stuff sorted this summer.

4. I've been working more on my Flower Market this week! I'm on the final body repeat before I get to start the border charts, and this is still so enjoyable to knit. Of course, this means that I haven't been working as steadily on my Orange Tee as I'd like, but that's okay, because:

5. I'm going west for work this weekend (in fact, I'm leaving about an hour after this posts), and I'm bringing the Orange Tee (and only the orange tee!) along to work on in the hotel room, so I'll have to get a serious chunk of it done.

6. I got a new computer! I love my old one, but it's been crash dumping like crazy lately. Hopefully the new one and I will get along all right-it's got a nice clicky keyboard, but the touchpad is different from what I'm used to. I have a ton of stuff to transfer over though-all of my design work, thousands of photographs, dozens of ebooks, several months' worth of music-it's going to be quite the undertaking.

7. Maybe this is shallow of me, but my new computer is black instead of red, and it makes me a little sad. I've been browsing Etsy for fun decals to spice it up a bit (or a lot).

8. Maybe it wouldn't be the end of the world if I brought something besides the Orange Tee for hotel knitting.

9. Nope, I'm definitely ready to have that thing off the needles and on my body. No distractions this weekend, just me, a hotel room, and a pile of orange. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

FO: Socks for Mum, and a Free Pattern

My mum's birthday is this week, which is why I wanted to get these socks done. There was a bit of a rough start for a while, until I decided to just go my own way. I wanted something just a little more tailored looking than plain stockinette, and I absolutely love how much those two purl columns add. For me, the purl columns added just enough to pay attention to while knitting that these never felt like a slog, and I really love the finished look.

I'm so pleased with these socks. I got the yarn in a stash swap, and I instantly tagged it in my mind as "Mum Socks." This yarn is so delightful, so of course it's discontinued. But it was amazing to work with, and it made a nice, soft pair of socks. They're exactly what I wanted, and hopefully they'll end up being a favorite of Mum's as well!

As I was knitting these, I decided to write them up as a blog freebie, so if you want a pair and you don't want to make it up yourself, click on over here for the pattern. The pattern's written with DPNs in mind, but it should be pretty straightforward for all you circular and magic-loop types out there :) I'm really impressed with how it looks with the striping yarn, and it should dress up a solid sock yarn too. Enjoy!

Ravelry Link: Cherry Tree Hill Socks
Pattern: Acton Socks by Kat Riddell

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Lot of Laundry, Plus Some New Books

Happy Monday and Happy June! I hope you all had good weekend and are ready for summer, because apparently it's here to stay. I have identified several cool spaces that I can retreat to, and I've cut off three old pairs of pants into shorts, so hopefully I'll survive the next few months.

I've been fighting some weird hive-like rash the past couple of months, and after several weeks of tracking it and a little bit of research, I'm hoping it's a reaction to my laundry detergent. So I mixed up some homemade laundry detergent on Saturday, and spent most of yesterday laundering pretty much everything I own. I got through about half of the clothes, and most of the bedding, and hopefully my skin will start clearing up this week. For the curious, here's the link to the recipe I used-we've used it before with great success, and then fell off the wagon mixing up more (no excuses, really-the hardest part is grating the soap). But I have no complaints about its performance, and it doesn't leave a scent (at best, it smells vaguely like soap, and it all rinses out).

We also went on an epic thrifting adventure Saturday afternoon! I got a couple of skirts, a hilariously dated orange flower wall hanging, and some books-especially short story collections (pardon my dog's butt in the picture up there, he was napping and I didn't want to disturb him). I got really into short stories in high school, when my English teacher turned me on to Neil Gaiman, and half of his books that the library had were short story collections. Since then I've branched out to find a bunch of authors and editors I love, and I especially love them for reading before bed, so I won't be tempted to stay up late after a cliff hanger. I haven't been reading too much lately, but hopefully work should slow down some the next couple of weeks and I'll feel more like reading then.