I Might Have a Yarn Problem…

Once again, I have spent far too much money at the yarn shop.

I happened to find myself up north in St. Joeseph, MI yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t resist checking out the new location for Ivelise’s Yarn Shop. This is the favorite stomping grounds of my grandmother, who prefers slightly cheeper yarn to the heirloom quality stuff at Red Purl. Don’t get me wrong, Cathy has some terrific stuff, and she has a much wider variety to choose from.

I ended up walking away with two new projects. The first is that I finally chose some yarn for Seacoast, which I’ve had in my queue for a few weeks. First, I ran into a lone skein of tosh vintage in a variegated red, orange, and gold. It was just too good to pass up. But I didn’t want to just make a hat or cowl out of it. So, I bought some matching deep red Cascade in a heather texture. My master plan is to work the body and arms in the Cascade and then top of the ballet neck with the madtosh. I think it will be a nice effect. Fingers crossed.

Cascade and madtoshThen I also picked up some lovely green laceweight for my attempt at the Limberlost Trails Shawl that I found on Ravelry. I’m calling mine Three Tree Town after a Ben Howard song. I’ve been dying to try this shawl for ages and I finally found the right material for it. Lace and I have a love hate relationship, but I think I will love working with this Araucania. It’s one of the softest things that I’ve ever held in my hands.

IMG_1206Then, finally, because I had apparently not spent enough money, I picked up an Addi Click set. Oh my word, it is the most wonderful knitting experience that I’ve ever had. The knitting is smooth and comfortable. The yarn flies through my fingers. The tips are easy to switch on and off and the connection isn’t noticeable in the least once they’re in place. I wish I had bought these months ago. I’ve already transferred the Hartford sweater to them and as a result, I am flying through it again. I think it just might be ready in time.

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I’m Back!

I’m terribly sorry for dropping off the face of the planet as far as blogging is concerned. I had some personal things to take care of that kind of got in the way of sitting down and getting any writing done. Then I took off for a long weekend to Electric Forest, up in Rothbury, MI. Now that the festival is over and my life seems to have found a new equilibrium, I thought it was finally time to sit down and chat to the dear void of the blogosphere.

I haven’t been able to get much knitting done either, so this post will be more about some odds and ends that I made for the festival and all the cool inspiration that I found there as well. Firstly, I made a garland of gingham rags that we hung up at the campsite. It was massive and caused the front seat of the van to look like Jo-Ann Fabrics barfed in my lap, but it ultimately gave the campsite a nice touch. (Aside: I will never go camping again. EVER! If I go to EF next year I’m definitely laying down the extra cash to get a cabin.)

Then I also made these ribbon necklaces for my brother and some of the others in our group. The boys ended up stringing them from their ears and using them as beards. They proved to be quite popular and got a lot of compliments, so they wore them the entire weekend. I even put bells on them to make them jingle. 

But my work paled in comparison to some of the other ingenious things others made. The thing about Electric Forest is that the line between artist and audience is a little blurred. There are paid performance artists that wander around, but there are also audience members that just show up in costume and sometimes you can’t tell the difference. The producers build really cool installations in the forest, but the people wandering through add their touches as well. There are official performances, but then you’ll find three kids sitting beneath a tree, singing along to a ukulele. It’s one of the most unique experiences that I’ve ever been a part of. 

In knitting news: Gold Across the River is almost done and I’ve completely another skein on the Hartford sweater. 

Here Goes Knitting

Well, I’m making a bit of a gutsy move. I’m going to try this thing on US 5 needles. It is still quite a bit longer, even on the 4s than what the pattern calls for. But here’s my concern, 4s were already super dense. If I use 5s for the body and 3s for the detail work, it will be dense but not impossible. I am concerned that it will through the shaping out of whack, but I can always reknit. Rowan is very forgiving. So if it all goes to hell, I can always visit the frog pond. Here goes nothing.

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Now, I have a question for you all. I am heading up north to a music festival next weekend. What kind of knitting does one take camping? We’ll be roughing it in tents and it’s bound to get a little dirty. I probably don’t want to take the sweater or any lacy things. I thought maybe I should take my cotton sweater… but it’s white. Still, infinitely more washable when all is said and done. I have a bunch of green cotton that I could do something with. Should I cave in and bring something cheep and acrylic just to keep me busy? Any thoughts?

Good News/Bad News

Good news first. The yarn for my mom’s birthday sweater came in, and it’s gorgeous. It is even better than I expected. The texture, the color, the weight, all perfect. And there’s a lot of it…

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Now, here’s the bad news. My gauge is all sorts of wonky. The pattern recommends US 8 needles. I’ve ended up on 4s. Honestly, it’s not that bad of news. The yarn still looks great and that means the weave will be nice and dense, which usually means durable. I just don’t happen to have a pair of circular 4s lying about, so I’ll have to order them. Also, since my main needles are 4s, I’ll have to go two sizes down for some of the details… That means knitting aran yarn on 2s… Somehow, I feel this won’t go well.

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Another pro, though. Belle seems to like it and cat’s have very discerning taste. 😉

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I Swear I’m Not Crazy

I feel so neurotic whenever I pull out Endpaper. My knitting guru (aka Amy from Red Purl) recommended I store it in baggies to keep the kidsilk clean and soft. It gets tangled and bedraggled rather easy until it’s knit up. Still, carrying around little plastic bags full of yarn makes me feel even crazier than I already know that I am.

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Despite all that, I am finally making progress. I’ve got to the point in the pattern where it flips and mirrors itself. I can’t wait to see how that turns out. For right now, it just looks like scalloped edging. Eventually it will be the Ostrich Plumes motif from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting. I am loving the pattern so far, even though it gave me a little grief. I’m calling it Endpaper because I hope that when all is said and done it will be slightly reminiscent of the marbled endpapers in old books.

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I am still plugging away at Gold Across the River. It’s a nice piece to bring back and forth to work because it is small, but sturdy and can ride along in my bag with all the other various bits of things that commute with me to work. I’m about a third of the way and I am discovering that I am loving the back just as much as I am loving the front. When I actually publish this pattern, I plan on making it completely reversible.

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Last note, the yarn for Mom’s sweater is in and I’ll be heading to the yarn shop some time next week to pick it up. I’m sure I’ll post pictures on Instagram right away, but I’ll also be sure to write a bit about it as well.

Back to the Grindstone

Well, it’s back to work for me today. I’m feeling worlds better, though I still find myself very fatigued and achy. I think I need to start doing yoga or something to get my body back into balance. There is something funky going on and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

In spite of the distraction of boyfriends and car searches, I did manage to get a few rows of Endpaper done. Then I promptly tore it all out because my count was off on the first row. I’m about six rows in at the moment and it is finally starting to take shape. Have I mentioned lace frustrates me to no end?

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Whenever I get to frustrated to touch the darn thing, I run through a calming row of my Generous Jacket. It’s mindless. The cotton is very forgiving. It’s everything Endpaper is not. Then, once I’ve detoxed, it’s back to the grindstone again. I’m glad I have until August to finish this.

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I Know I’m Sick When I Don’t Even Want to Knit

I’ve hardly accomplished half the things that I wished to accomplish so far this week. My body has been rebelling against me in a big way. I even had to go home ill yesterday. Normally when I call off, I lay in bed and get a fair bit of knitting done. Not so this time around. curled up in bed and immediately fell asleep for FOUR HOURS!!! And then I still slept soundly all night. I don’t like this game.

I picked up a little of Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze while I was at the shop on Sunday. I plan on making a light wrap for my grandmother for her birthday, and it will keep me busy until Mom’s yarn comes in. I started on US 13 needles for a super loose gauge, but I hated how it looked, so I ripped it out (not easy in Kidsilk, let me tell you). Then I recast it onto 5s and I like the look a lot more. I’m debating whether or not to throw a little lacework into it. I’m already doing random striping and I don’t want it to look too busy. I might just add a little edging or something.

ImageI did manage to get Wool Leaves on the blocks this morning. It looks so terrific. I am quite proud of this one. I get the feeling that this will be a staple project for me. There will be a lot of babies in my family with one of these. Just saying.

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In other news, the boyfriend is coming over today and may drive me around to look for cars to replace mine that broke down. Might get some work done on the drive.

Keeping Busy

I actually get a Sunday off for once in my life and it happens to fall on Block of the Month day at my LYS. So, guess where I’ll be spending my afternoon?

Speaking of Block of the Month, Amy has asked me to try my hand at designing and write the pattern for next year. I think I’ve finally decided on all the motifs that I want to incorporate. We decided on a “potpourri” theme so that I can do a kind of sampler of all my favorite techniques and patterns. I’ve got a sketch of the order that I think I will want to do them in. Of course, that order is subject to change at any moment. My ultimate goal is to have a balanced blend of fancy show-off squares and a few mindless textures that the knitters can just whip through quickly.

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I am still waiting on the wool for my Mom’s birthday sweater. In the meantime, I thought I would start something for myself. I decided on a soft-ribbed oversized cardigan from a Debbie Bliss that I’ve had for ages. I finished the gauge swatch last night and got a few rows of the back done. I’m just using a cheep Lion Brand cotton, but it knits quickly and has a nice fluff to it. I don’t know how well it will wear, but it will be a nice, simple, easily washable cardigan for everyday use.

ImageWell, my knitting bag is packed and the dog needs a quick walk before I leave. For once, I’ll actually keep things brief. Happy knitting!

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All the Things! Finished Things!

Welp, I managed to finish Wool Leaves before the yarn I ordered for Mom’s sweater even arrived. It turned out even prettier than I expected. The color is perfect. The yarn is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see how it blocks. That’s on my schedule for tomorrow. Right now it’s about two foot by two foot. I’m hoping to get a little more stretch out of it once it’s soaked. I know it’s for a newborn, but I want it to be large enough to be useful for more than just the first year. Even if it stays small, I am still really pleased with the result.

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Swallowtail just came off the blocks as well and it is looking gorgeous. Rowan Fine Tweed definitely softens a bit after blocking and feels much better next to the skin. I’ll hopefully get a few action shots of it later to show how nicely it drapes around the neck and shoulders. I am in love with that tweedy texture.

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I only have one thing on the needles right now, which feels very strange. It’s that Manos del Uruguay scarf that I was struggling with in my last post. Well, I ripped it back down to the border and started again with Barbara Walker’s seaweed stitch. It’s turning out a lot better than my last attempt. I’ll have to write out the pattern for you all and see what you think. I keep wavering between naming it “Come Rain or Come Shine” after and Ella Fitzgerald song, or “Old Pine” which is a homage to my favorite singer-songwriter, Ben Howard. Oh, or I could call it “Gold Across the River” in reference to Laura Marling’s song “Alas, I Cannot Swim.” We shall see.

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