Friday, January 30, 2015

Pattern: Vera

As promised, a new pattern for you all. Vera is a super warm cowl-stranded colorwork in a bulky wool/alpaca blend will do that. The colorwork pattern is easy, and every row is exactly the same-great for people who want to try stranded knitting but are intimidated by keeping track of a pattern.
And, of course, stripes! I've been on a bit of a stripes kick lately, although I think I may be getting over it soon. My sample was done in neutrals (apparently I've been on a neutrals kick too?) but I can't wait to see what color combinations people come up with.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Preparing for Launch

I leave tomorrow for my knitting retreat, so I'm a bit all over the place today. I'm still not packed (surprise) but I do have at least most of my knitting for the weekend picked out (no surprise), although I still need to wind some yarn for the weekend (and find my spindle, and make sure I have clean laundry, and get snacks for the road).

For those of you holding me accountable to my vintage medallion shawl, may I present medallion 7/16. Yes, it's the same one I showed you last Friday, but there are a few more rounds done on it now. If I'm especially productive, I'll get it done before I leave tomorrow, but it can wait until I get back if I don't.
I'm also trying to get things pulled together for a new pattern on Friday. I know they've been coming out pretty quickly lately-I got a whole bunch done back in November and never got around to releasing them, so I'm just trying to get caught up. After this one, I have one more, plus a special one. But more on all that later.

If you're not already checking out my Instagram or Twitter, those are the best way to see what I'll be doing this weekend. But if that's not your thing, I'll have a whole big recap post for you on Monday. Hope you all have a good rest of your week!

Monday, January 26, 2015

FO: Purls and Seaweed

Remember last week when I said I had something blocking that was either absolutely perfect or laughably messed up? Fortunately for me, it came out exactly how I intended.
My Purls and Seaweed scarf, inspired by Cory's. I was nervous about the length of this-I wanted it short enough that I wouldn't mind wearing it as a single loop, but long enough that I could still wear it doubled. It's a fine line for me, and I was nervous that I'd been overly cautious and made it too short.

Hopefully I didn't use up too much of my knitting good mojo on this, but I couldn't be more pleased with how it came out. The Road to China Light is sport weight instead of fingering, but I didn't size up the needles at all. I love how it came out-perfectly soft and just the right thing to wear against my neck.
Ravelry Page: Purls and Seaweed
Pattern: Purls and Seaweed Wrap Scarf, by Jennifer Chase-Rappaport 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Taking It Slow

I wondered last week if I was getting into a knitting funk, and I think I may have. There is still knitting getting done, to be sure, but not as much as usual. I just haven't felt like it very much, or I've only felt like getting a couple of rounds of something done instead of a full chart repeat.
There's a part of all of us, I think, that struggles with not feeling like doing something we love. On the one hand, knitting is a huge part of my identity. On the other, it's my hobby and no one is making me do it. So when I feel like taking it slow for a while, the only person I'm letting down is myself, and I need to let go of that and be happy with where I am.

I did get several new books this week, all by my absolute favorite author of all time, Caitlin R. Kiernan. I have some other stuff out from the library, but I'm looking forward to moving on to these soon as well.
I'm also not feeling bad about taking less time to knit, because next week I am headed off to a three-day fiber arts retreat. There will be knitting, and spinning, and some dyeing workshops, and it was a blast last year. I'm really looking forward to it, and I want to be in tip-top shape when I go. So if that means taking a couple of slow weeks in order to get the most out of next weekend, I can be okay with that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

FO: Tubularity

As promised, I have FO pictures of Tubularity:
I finished this the day after Christmas, but it took a while to track down buttons for this: the cashmere is so light, I didn't want the buttons to be too heavy. I ended up with purple buttons from JHB made from coconut, that I think look fantastic.
This thing is so soft, I love it. Because I made the yarn substitution, mine came out a bit shorter than the sample, so I made my buttonholes 3.5 inches apart instead of 6, and I changed the placement a little bit.

I don't have too much else to say. I love how this knit up, and I love that I finally got to use this yarn for something fantastic.
Ravelry Page: Tubularity
Pattern: Tubularity, by Martina Behm
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply, #004 "Taos"

(Um. Do me a favor and please ignore the unintentional middle finger in that last picture. Totally didn't realize that until I started uploading these. Whoops.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Pattern: Jeyna

I have a brand-new pattern for you all, and it's one of my favorites so far:
Meet Jeyna, a super warm, super soft, wide shawl with stripes and a ribbed border. I've been on a neutrals kick lately, so mine is knit in oatmeal and grey, but I might need to knit another one in more wild colors.
Basic top-down construction includes spine increases on the right side and edge increases on every row, for a nice, wide wingspan.
It's available for $5 on Ravelry now.
I've been working on some other stuff, too. I finally got pictures of my finished Tubularity, and I have another project blocking that is either absolutely perfect or laughably messed-up. We'll see.

I've also started the process of preparing to apply to graduate school. I finished my bachelor's degree in 2012, and I've been meaning to go back and get my master's in library and information science since then, but I've been putting it off for several different reasons. But now I'm in a place personally and financially that I'm prepared to take the leap and embark on this new adventure. First up: registering for and taking the GRE (yikes!)

For those of you interested in my progress on my vintage lace medallion shawl, I have 6/16 medallions done, and a buttload of knitting still ahead of me.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Happy Knitaversary

It's been a bit of a weird week here-there's knitting going on, but in my effort to keep my number of WIPs down, I'm afraid I got myself in a bit of a funk. And started an impulse project (I have really good justification for it, and it's my hobby so I don't have to explain myself to anyone) which means my grand plan for 2015 lasted all of a couple of days. C'est la vie. I have some new stuff to show you, but I have to wait until the weekend to take pictures, since it's still dark before and after work.

And then I checked my Timehop app yesterday and saw this gem:
I distinctly remember deciding to learn to knit. It actually happened in November or December, I think, but I waited until I actually got my first knitting book to actually announce my intention to the internet. So sometime over the next couple weeks, five years ago, I started knitting.

It's a weird sort of feeling. I remember not knitting, and I remember learning to knit, and when I meet new knitters and the question invariably comes up, I learned how to knit about five years ago. It's amazing that we can make choices like that which have such an impressive impact on our lives. I haven't been knitting since childhood, I didn't have a beloved aunt or grandmother or neighbor teach me how to knit, I just decided as a 19-year old that I was going to learn how to knit.

(Disclosure: I did "learn" how to knit as a small child, but only garter stitch, and only for a week, and so when I re-learned it was learning from scratch. But I remember being unimpressed with knitting then, and hating garter stitch, and hating scarves, and thinking it was the most boring thing ever. So when I decided to learn how to knit as an adult, there was an impetus to learn how to knit more complicated projects.)

It's a nice reminder, in some ways, that we can always make the choice to learn or do something new and different. I couldn't have imagined when I decided to learn how to knit that it would become such a huge part of my life, but now it feels like it's always been there.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January

I go a little crazy in January.

It's a mix of getting done with Christmas, and feeling the shiny newness of the new year, and of getting the house cleaned after packing away all the holiday decorations. There's just a lot going on that makes me feel like I can do everything better and more efficiently.

These aren't bad feelings, per se. In fact, it's good for us to take stock of our habits and find ways to make our lives easier or more fulfilling. But sometimes when I sit back and evaluate things, especially knitting things, I go a little overboard.

For example, I have two dozen projects picked out, with stash yarn already assigned to them. The yarn for my next five projects is already caked up so I don't get distracted by something else. I plan to keep small projects in my purse, and bigger projects at home. I have birthday and Christmas presents planned already. I even have the yarn for Anemone's birthday present, and it's not even due until March. I have a balance of plain projects and cabled projects and lace projects so I always have knitting that's appropriate for any given situation. I'm organized and I have a plan and it's a solid plan, which means when it goes wrong it's going to go spectacularly wrong.

Not that anything technically has to go wrong, but I know myself well enough by now. I like structure and plans, but I also like getting distracted by shiny stuff. And yarn. And I really like disregarding deadlines (even especially self-imposed ones). So who knows what the plan might look like in a month or two.

But for right now I really have my shit together. And it's fantastic.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Operation WIP

I hope you all have had a good and restful weekend. One of my goals for this year was to get my two longest-suffering WIPs under control and out of their misery, and I'm happy to say that so far, Operation WIP is on track:
This is my Vintage Rose Medallion Shawl, aka "Pretty Stuff." I started this back in February 2012 and really haven't worked on it too much since then. I have four medallions mostly done, so I only need...twelve more. And the medallions all need corners knit on, and they all need to be grafted together, and then I need to knit a freaking border all around the whole thing. And the blocking. I am so not looking forward to blocking this beast.

It's a huge undertaking, which is why I let it fall by the wayside almost two years ago. I love the yarn, and I love the pattern, and I'm really excited for the finished object. Even knitting the medallions isn't so bad-they're charming in their own modular way. It's nice that the project breaks itself down into a bunch of sections, but it's still a large project. I wasn't quite fully prepared for it when I started, but I'm a much better knitter now.
So for now this is my sitting-in-front-of-the-tv knitting. Most of the fifth medallion is already done, and I really think as long as I don't let myself drop it again, it can probably be done in the first half of this year. I have a lot of other stuff going on in my life right now (good things!), and a whole bunch of things I want to be working on, but I am going to feel so good to start making serious progress on this again.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cleaning Up

I have the last two FOs of 2014 to show you today (there is one more-my Tubularity was finished in 2014, but still needs buttons, so you'll have to wait to see it). I knit these two hats the week of Christmas, while I was on a bit of a vacation, and they are absolutely delightful. First up, we have Tidal Flats;
I knit this out of Cascade Highland Duo-because it's such a dark color and the yarn is only a single ply, I was having a difficult time figuring out what to do with it. Fortunately, I think it plays very nicely with this pattern. The only modification I did was to add a pompom-I have a weakness for them, and surprisingly I hadn't made myself a pompom hat yet. Given the length of the hat and the drape of this yarn, I think the pompom adds some nice balance to it.
Ravelry Page: Tidal Flats
Pattern: Tidal Flats, by Melissa Thomson
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Highland Duo, "Espresso"

Up next, we have Pip, out of Malabrigo Rios:
This was my first time knitting nupps, and I really enjoyed it. I made no mods to this hat whatsoever, and I'm absolutely thrilled to bits with it. I love this yarn too-as soon as I saw it in Athena Fibers, I knew it was meant to be this hat.
Ravelry Page: Pip
Pattern: Pip
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Rios, "Piedras"

The last hat I knit was the sample for Cecily, and that hit so many different road bumps that it wasn't the most enjoyable experience. Both of these hats were very straightforward and a lot of fun to knit, and reminded me how much fun it is to start and finish a project in just a day or two.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pattern: Fingercuffs

Okay, I'm really excited about this one. Fingercuffs are my version of the perfect fingerless mitt.  I designed them to be as warm as possible, even though they're only made with fingering-weight yarn. The deep cuff over the fingers is extra long, hugging as much of your fingers as possible, and can be folded and unfolded to various degrees, depending on how much of your fingers you need available. Simple 1x1 rib at both ends keeps the mitts looking classic and neutral, and conforms perfectly to your hand and wrist.
The sample was knit from Malabrigo Sock in Natural, but these are easy and classic enough that you might want to knit up a pair in every color.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The First FO of the Year

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are staying warm wherever you are! The temperatures have dipped here again, and we are hovering right below zero. But I still braved the cold to get pictures of this beauty:
 Yes, I know it's hard to see, all tucked into my coat like that. But I want you to appreciate that it felt like -13 with the wind chill when I took these pictures. And now for real pictures:
I'm really pleased with how this came out. I knocked out pretty much the whole second half of it over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, with just a few rows of the border left for Friday evening. I blocked it on the futon over the weekend (oof-blocking giant circles is a real test of stamina and character!) I was hoping it would get just a teensy bit bigger when I blocked it, but I'm actually pretty pleased with its final dimensions (final size is 47" across-not too shabby).

Now that it's off the needles, I'm really pleased with how all the colors play together. The fabric is just light and ruffly enough to be feminine, but the colors still feel minimalistic and neutral. I think the effect is pretty cool, and I've been enjoying wearing it so far (since it's -13 out and there's no such thing as too many layers).
Ravelry Page: Pi Shawl
Pattern: from my head, courtesy of Elizabeth Zimmerman and Glenna C
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Handpaint Sock, "Maple Grey"

Friday, January 2, 2015

Intentions

I don't really like New Year's Resolutions, and I am usually overcautious when setting goals. That being said, I do have some things that maybe aren't "goals" per se, but more like intentions:

-I want to get better about accepting that there are things I'd love to knit that I wouldn't necessarily love to wear. I want to knit things that I enjoy knitting, and instead of removing something from my queue because I'll never wear it, I want to get better about finding it a perfect home. That being said, I used to be really bad about getting bogged down making things for people who were unknitworthy, and I don't want to fall back down that hole.

-I want to seriously start spinning. I've done a couple of singles, but nothing really big. I'd love to finish a skein of handspun this year. I think I ought to set aside a set time-maybe just once a month for now-to work on my spinning.

-I also want to embroider and cross stitch more. I barely did any in 2014, and I love it so much that I can't stand that I let myself avoid it for a whole year. As with spinning, I might need to set a day or two a month aside just for embroidery and cross stitch.

-I want to paint more! I haven't painted since the watercolors workshop I went to a few months ago, and I really want to do more of it. Most of my trouble with this is scheduling-I don't really do things unless I'm planning on doing them and have committed to them in my head, so perhaps as with spinning and embroidery, I need to set one day a month aside for painting.


-I'd also like to read more next year. I've already shared with you all my struggle to reignite my love for reading, and while it's much better than it was a few months ago, I still find myself willingly putting off books I know I'll love so I can do other things.

All in all, most of my intentions have something to do with scheduling. I'm really good at settling into a routine, and my week feels disjointed if that routine changes too much. So if I haven't mentally committed to something far in advance, it's difficult for me to not just turn on Netflix and knit-not that there's anything wrong with that, but eventually a year goes by and I haven't done anything else!