Two Sweaters at Once? I Must Be Mad!

I have had my first regular day off, with no catastrophes or major events to handle, in weeks. It was glorious. I still did not complete nearly half of my to-do list, but I did get some much needed R&R while still able to take care of a few things. Meanwhile, I was also able to accomplish a good deal of knitting.

Since I’ve bought my Addi Clicks, I’ve been able to speed up my progress on the Hartford sweater tenfold. I’ve polished off my fourth skein and am at least half-way through my fifth in a matter of days. I took it with me when my mom and I went for a nice long walk on the beach. She drove, so I got to knit there and back and polished off that fourth skein. I only have about another inch and a half left before I can start the shaping.

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I also managed to get a little headway on what I’ve titled my Worn Down Glories jacket. This one I’ve named after a line from James Vincent McMorrow’s song “We Don’t Eat,” which is one of my primary comfort songs. Debbie Bliss’ Generous Jacket is one big, slouchy cloud of offset ribbing and I’m making it out of a cozy, no-nonsense kitchen cotton. I feel as if this is destined to become one of my comfort cardigans that I wear the same rainy days that I listen to “We Don’t Eat.”

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Since Mom’s Hartford is my top priority, I haven’t made much headway on this yet, but I hope to finish it before autumn sets in.

Not only have I made headway on both those larger projects, but I finally finished off my original scarf, Gold Across the River. I bound of in kitchner and wove in the ends last night, then I blocked it this afternoon. It’s already delightfully cozy and looks great, but Manos del Urugay always looks and feels even better after a nice long soak. The blue dye bled a little, the water in the tub turned a brilliant shade of turquoise, and it might have stained one of my white towels, but I think it’s done bleeding. All in all, I’m quite happy with it. I think I will get three more skeins and whip up one more sample before I share the pattern though, make sure I’ve got it down.

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Well my dears, that is all I have to share with you tonight. I’m off to bed and I will hopefully have some progress to share tomorrow night on that new shawl that I started. We shall see.

 

 

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.

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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Onward and Upward

After a harrowing six-day work week, I finally got a day off today and made a trip to my LYS for supplies for my next two big projects. I ordered some of Rowan’s Aran Tweed in Dent for a birthday present from my mother and picked up some Spud & Chloë Sweater in Grass.

It is great to have a new big project to start. I finished my Swallowtail Shawl last week and had all weekend to kill. So I picked up my Block of the Month and got caught up on that. Basically Block of the Month is a year-long project where you knit one square foot block of an afghan every month. At the end of the year, you have a nicely sized afghan. At my LYS, Amy writes the pattern every month and gives it free to anyone who buys their material for it from her shop. We all meet on the second Sunday of every month get started on the next month.

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I’m using Green Mountain Spinnery’s Mountain Mohair. Since we’re knitting the blocks in columns of four, I am knitting them in a repeating pattern of three colors; Elderberry, Moss, and Raven. This month was honeycomb stitch, which is a pleasantly mindless motif after all the grief and frustrations of Swallowtail. Cables are my comfort zone. They are the first moderately advanced technique that I learned, and the repetition of CB4, CF4 had a soothing rhythm to it.

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Now that I am once again stocked, I’ve started plugging away at my scheduled pieces. First up is Wool Leaves a new baby that is due to one of my oldest friends. She’s due in September, but the baby shower is at the beginning of July, so I’m trying to get it done by then. Wool Leaves knits up so fast, I don’t think that will be much of a problem. I just started today and I’m already a full rep in. Holding a worsted cotton/wool blend double on US 13 needles makes for a quick knit.

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In fact, I may have time for a little side project for myself. Remember that Manos del Uruguay that I picked up while on vacation? Well, I have a plan for it. I found this lovely etude by the talented String Geekery, who is pretty genius, if you ask me. I think it will transform it into a long, skinny scarf. S.G. was thinking of it as an edging pattern that repeated horizontally, but I want to work it into a vertical pattern. I am trying to work out some variation of Jared Flood’s tubular cast on and slipped stitch edging that I loved so much on Afton. I’ve done the cast on and the broken ribbed border, but my math was wonky and I’m finding it difficult to blend this seamlessly into the etude. I’ll probably have to frog and recrunch the numbers… math… hmpf…

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The Unforgiving Delicacy of Lace

This one is going to be fairly short, because I have a lot to do today. But, since I haven’t updated you all in a while, I felt I needed to at least post a few thoughts.

First thought: lace is rough. I knew there was a reason I had avoided it for so long. This Swallowtail Shawl is kicking my butt every inch of the way. I got a little mangled in the edging for about two reps, but now I’m back on track again. It doesn’t look too tragic, so I’m just going to leave it. I could spend the rest of the summer frogging and reknitting this stupid thing. At one point you just have to say good enough and keep on knitting. I just finished my first skein and it is beginning to take a coherent form. I can finally say, I’ve grown about an ounce of pride in this thing about halfway through that first skein. Now, only four more to go…

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In other news, I am attempting another pass at a baby blanket for my little cousin. She’ll be a year old in September, and I didn’t finish a blanket for her in time for her birth, so she’s getting one for her first birthday. I chose Jared Flood’s Wool Leaves pattern, which I think is very pretty. I am a tad nervous about the material though. I bought it back before I knew better and it’s Bernat’s Softee Baby. It’s all acrylic and all salmon pink. The mom helped me pick out the color though, so I will struggle through. Hopefully the end result will do justice to the pattern. One of my best friends will be having a baby around the same time, so I’m actually off to the yarn shop to pick out a soft, fluffy cotton for my second pass at this one.

ImageAnd final thought, I happened to drive by the little town where I lived during my undergrad years. The Island Weaver in Winona Lake, IN is a sweet little shop. I only visited it once or twice during my college years, but it was worth stopping in again. The owner is a delightful weaver and she has her shop set up in thirds. The front room is for FOs by various local artists. The middle is full of yarn and pre-dyed and un-dyed roving wool for sale. The final back room is her own studio where she weaves beautiful blankets, scarves and rugs on her various looms. It is an absolute delight and she is super friendly. I picked up three skeins of Manos del Uruguay in the Tanager color way. This is an artisan’s collective of women all over the Uruguayan countryside that spin and dye wool for sale in the US. The proceeds feed directly back to them and help them support their families. The wool has a fun, raw texture and a bit of a thick and thin nature to it. And the colors are just glorious. I think these are going to be made up into a pretty little scarf.

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So much for being brief…