Tag Archives: shawl

Almost as planned

5

Yesterday was my birthday. I’m lucky enough to work somewhere that believes your birthday should be a holiday, so I had the day off. It was lovely. I knit, I watched some TV, I baked a cake (chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese icing – delicious).

My original plan, as you may remember, was to have my Happy Street shawl finished by my birthday, and I have to say, I almost made it. By the end of Friday I was finished all the repeats and only had the border to go. I figured that with the weekend to knit 12 rows and cast off, I’d be home free. Then I got sick. I barely knit four rows on Saturday (24-hour flu) and then had to work on Sunday. I got really close, but I still had to finish the last row, bind-off and block the shawl on my birthday. The bind-off row was nearly 600 stitches.

sweetstreet8

This is a big shawl. I knew it was going to be big, but this is really big. After blocking, it’s 85-inches long and almost 16-inches deep. It dwarfs my Colour Affection and I can comfortably wrap it around my neck twice. The garter stitch is soft and squishy, and the short row turns tightened up nicely.

I haven’t had a chance to get proper FO shots yet, but in the meantime, here are the specs.

Details
Pattern: Happy Street by Veera Valimacki
Yarn: Sweet Fibre Yarns Super Sweet Sock in Luna (MC), Early Spring (CC1), and Spanish Coin (CC2)
Needles: 4mm
Modifications: None. I knit in my ends (at least at the leading end of each stripe), which was a great time saver. Also, on my last WS row (I bound off on the RS), I didn’t do any increases. My shawl is ravelled here.

More photos to come.

Very looooong stripes

8
At this gauge, the garter stitch is so wonderfully plump.

At this gauge, the garter stitch is so wonderfully plump.

I have been knitting my Sweet Street shawl very diligently since I cast on last Saturday night and managed to finish repeats three and four this weekend, despite spending most of the two days outside enjoying the glorious and unseasonably warm temperatures. Despite all my hard work and attempts at focus, though, I am slowing down.

sweetstreet5

As with all top-down shawls, the more you knit, the more there is to knit, because the rows get longer and longer as you progress. In the case of this shawl, where each repeat adds 84 stitches to the overall count, that meant I finished section 3 with 350 stitches on my needles. Now, the finished wingspan of this shawl is listed as 3 metres, which is basically enormous. My gauge tends to be a little tighter than Veera’s, but even if I only have it to 2 metres, that’s still a pretty big shawl.

sweetstreet6

I have no idea how big it is.

So, while I’m not surprised by the length of each row, I am a little dismayed at how long it’s taking to knit them. I have one repeat and and the edge to knit before I’m done and a week until my birthday, when I’d like to be wearing this, and I’m honestly not sure if I can make it. I’m going to knit like the wind, but these rows aren’t getting any shorter.

Sweet Street

4

I have been planning to knit a second Colour Affection for a while now. I wear mine all the time and every time I wear it someone compliments it. Since I knit the fingering-weight one last time, I thought I’d knit it in laceweight for the second go round for a little more versatility and so it isn’t just the same thing again. Then, Veera Valimaki went and released Happy Street and, well, my plans sort of changed.

Super Sweet Sock in Luna.

Super Sweet Sock in Luna.

Like Colour Affection, Sweet Street is a striped, garter stitch crescent shawl in three colours, but that’s basically where the similarities end. These stripes are wider and, because of some seriously clever short-rows, this shawl looks more like two colours striping over a solid background.

Super Sweet Sock in Early Spring.

Super Sweet Sock in Early Spring.

Saturday was the DKC Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto, so I hit up the marketplace with this shawl in mind. My original plan was to do the bright stripe in chartreuse and then choose contrasting colours based on that, but when I arrived at the booth for Sweet Fiber Yarns, that plan went straight out the window.

Super Sweet Sock in Spanish Coin.

Super Sweet Sock in Spanish Coin.

Sweet Fibre is new to me, and I was totally taken by their colours. I honestly wanted one of each, but I was very controlled and only bought three – all for this shawl. I was very tempted to go with a cashmere-merino blend, but then I remembered that there was a whole marketplace to shop in, so I needed to be smart (the rest of my purchases will get their own post). I was, of course, immediately drawn to the gold colour, and then to the smoky purple beside it. For the third colour (the background) I went with a grey that seemed to have some purple undertones. My Colour Affection is bright, and I wanted this one to be more subtle while still offering a pop.

Sweet Street

Sweet Street

I am in love. The purple and the grey are a little closer in tone than I was imagining, but I think as this grows they’ll gain better definition. The gold does exactly what I intended. I’m finished one fifth of the shawl (in repeats, not size), and the rows are already really long (over 200 stitches, I’d guess), but there’s something hypnotic and addicting about garter stitch stripes. My goal is to have this finished for my birthday, which gives me two weeks. That is rather optimistic I think, but who doesn’t like a challenge?

Serious startitis, shawl edition

8

For weeks now, I have been panning through Ravelry looking at shawls. Almost all my recent favourites have been shawls and I have been looking at my stash strategizing which patterns to match with which yarns. Why didn’t I just cast on? Well, I don’t know. I was knitting that baby sweater (which I still haven’t mailed! dammit) and then I wanted to get those socks done so I could cast on a pair for my mom, and, really, I don’t know.

This weekend, though, I broke down. I finished the socks. I finished a hat (details to come). I knit on my sweater. I even cast on for my mom’s socks and knit to the heel of the first one. I had earned a new shawl! (Since when did knitting become about earning new projects? What is going on in my head?) I went back to Ravelry and went through my favourites, and then added more, and finally settled on Shaelyn as the perfect shawl.

 

Two repeats in and I'm smitten.

Two repeats in and I’m smitten.

Perfect how? Well, it has a nice rhythm to it, with its bands of lace and bands of stockinette. I also had the perfect yarn in my stash – Handmaiden Casbah in Lupins, which I bought in Nova Scotia and have two skeins of, meaning I can make this shawl as big as I want.

I'm not actually sure which of these skeins I started with, but I think it might be the one on the left.

I’m not actually sure which of these skeins I started with, but I think it might be the one on the left.

The colour is a little more variegated than I would normally choose for lace, but because of the stockinette portions, I think it works. And this yarn is so soft (who knew 9% cashmere would make such a difference).

I mean, it looks crappy right now, but when it's blocked it should be okay I think.

I mean, it looks crappy right now, but when it’s blocked it should be okay I think.

All in all, I think this is solving my shawl restlessness for now, although I’m not sure one shawl will do it, so be prepared for a lot of shawls over the next few months. Lace, it seems, is making a comeback. Is it just me? Is it spring? Tell me you’re feeling the startitis bug too!

So long, perfect record

4

Let me just start by saying that I have not been sick in about four years. I mean, I get hit by allergies in the spring and fall, and I get a cold every now and then, but I haven’t been stay-at-home sick in years. Well, until this week anyway. This week ended my no-sick streak in a big way. I missed three days of work; I went through multiple boxes of Kleenex; L made me soup; I even got to the pathetic point in sickness when you wonder if this is just going to be how it is now. I hate being sick, but as a knitter, it has its advantages.

On my first day home, I actually couldn’t knit. I spend the day wrapped in an afghan, intermittently reading and sleeping. I drank lots of tea and hot lemon (a family staple), and the next day I thought I was better. I went to work on Tuesday, feeling mostly okay. Then I went to work on Wednesday, and by the end of the night, I felt awful. I spent the next two days at home.

But, thanks to be brief uptick at the beginning of the week, I managed to make the week pretty productive. To whit: I am halfway through the first of my Christmas socks (a gift for my sister), I started a new shawl and am through the first chart, and I made a little headway on the much loved, though equally neglected, Spruce Jaywalkers. I wasn’t really planning this as a productive week obviously, so I don’t really have before pictures, but here’s what I managed to get done between sneezes and naps.

First, Christmas socks. I actually wanted to get these started a month ago (I swatched for them in August, for heaven’s sakes), but there always seemed to be something else on the needles. Anyway, on Monday night, when I was feeling a little better, I cast on the cuff for Cookie A.’s Daphne sock pattern. I fell in love with these socks when she first released the pattern, and knew it would be perfect for my sister, who always looks longingly at my handknit socks, and especially at the lace ones.

One of my favourite things about lace socks is that they’re a surprise when you put them on.

I’m knitting these in indigodragonfly’s Merino Silk 4-Ply Sock, a 50-50 silk merino blend that is very soft (and a little slippery) and perfect for the pattern. Although this is a fingering weight and the pattern calls for sport, it’s working out just fine. The colour is not quite as bubblegum as Cookie A.’s, but it’s certainly feminine, which you’d expect from a colourway called Don’t You Have an Elsewhere to Be? (Cordelia).

Here’s the expanded lace pattern. (I know this will be a good gift because I want to keep them for myself.)

Surprise!

I guess it makes sense that I started a few things this week, given all the finishing I did last week. New project number 2 is The Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia (hilarious name, no?). I’ve had my eye on this one since she released it a few weeks ago. It’s a free pattern, written for a worsted weight tweedy sort of yarn, and honestly, how perfect is that leafy lace for fall? Well, on Tuesday when I was in the shop, Claudia (the owner) mentioned she’d like it if I wore more garments knit from yarns we carry (I knit with shop yarns all the time, but socks and things are harder to see). I was trying not to shop for myself before Christmas, but this seemed like the perfect excuse, so I snapped up some of The Fibre Company’s Acadia – a merino, baby alpaca, and silk blend – in Douglas Fir and cast on on Wednesday.

The other reason I cast this on was because I needed something to break up all the sock action I had going on.

I just finished the first of three charts (the others are about half as many rows each) and although it looks small, I have faith in the powers of blocking. I’m thinking it will be a sort of warmer, wintry shawl, and chose the colour because it will go nicely with my dark red winter coat.

Finally, the Spruce Jaywalkers. I actually finished the first one in Nova Scotia, casting on the second during the plane ride back to Toronto. I fully planned to just buckle down and knit the second, but then other projects came along, as they do, and it just kind of stuck around. Usually a sock taking this long is an indication that I’m bored with it, but that is not the case here. I continue to delight in the colour changes and watching how they stack up, and this sock has been faithful TV and travel knitting when I didn’t have something else more pressing to work on.

One and a half socks.

The pattern is easy, but not so mindless as to be numbing, and the yarn is fun and nice to knit with. I was an inch or so above dividing for the heel when I picked these up, and now I’m into the gussets, so it probably won’t be long before this is a completed pair, which I’m quite excited about. I have another skein of this Fleece Artist BFL Sock already wound and destined to be a pair of plain socks once these one are off the needles – truly, I love this yarn.

And there you have my week. I’m feeling much better now, which probably means my knitting productivity will dip as I go back to my normal routine, but that’s okay – I’m over being sick.

Thanksgiving shawl

3

Last weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and we spent it with L’s parents. They live about four hours away by car, which is a bit of a ways, but great knitting time. I brought the wedding mittens with me, but between the finicky knitting and the tiny chart, they proved too much for the car. Luckily, I also brought Oaklet, which was perfect car knitting.

After all my previous indecision, I decided to stick it out. I trust that the Fleece Artist knows what she’s doing when she dyes her yarns, and wouldn’t you know it, she does! As the rows became longer and the colour repeats changed length the shawl opened up and turned almost caramel in colour (it looks a little like a chocolate bar, to be honest). Once I got into the lace, the purples and the greens started to pop, and even though I still ended up with light and dark pooling, I don’t mind one bit.

The colours are perfect for fall, no?

The finished shawl is 49 inches across the top and 18 inches deep, which is – surprise surprise – smaller than I would have liked, but still an entirely comfortable length to wear as a shawlette under a jacket, which is perfect for fall. (I should note, perhaps, that I’s actually longer (though not as deep) than the pattern measurements, which is a first.) On the pattern notes, Megan Goodacre makes specific mention of the fact that her shawl took an entire 350 yds. Although I had two skeins of this yarn, I decided I only wanted to use one, so I stuck to the pattern notes precisely – and ended up only using about 3/4 of the skein, despite going up a needle size. If I were to do this again, I would absolutely add four or eight more rows to the stockinette section, just to gain a little more length. But oh well, now I have enough Earth to knit any fancy pair of socks I want!

I also kind of wish I’d added more lace.

Details
Pattern: Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Earth
Needles: 4 mm Addi Turbos
Modifications: I went up a needle size because I may have finally learned that I knit more firmly than most patterns. Other than that, nothing!
Notes: If you decide to knit this shawl, when you get to the lace portion make sure to read both the written instructions and the charted ones, because they don’t entirely match at the beginning of the right-side rows. I kind of fudged this a bit and then just made sure my first set of leaves matched up so everything could flow from there, but you do have to pay attention to avoid ripping.

A trick of the light

0

So, I conquered the mitten. I’ll tell you all about it later, but suffice to say it involved graph paper, ripping, laddering down to repair colour order, and some neck strain. However, as you will see, it was worth it. But that’s not what this is about. This is about the shawl.

This is a gratuitous leaf photo because I’m excited about fall.

Last week, before the mitten waved its stranded little palm at me, I was going to knit a shawl. Anyway, I was all over the place and couldn’t choose a pattern and it turns out that the problem was just that I hadn’t found Oaklet yet. Luckily for me, Kristen saw it and, when my plea went up, she thought of me, and bam. I made myself finish the first mitten before I cast on, though, and then I spent a chunk of Sunday gloriously knitting nothing but stockinette and eyelets and it was just what my mind and shoulders needed.

And then I looked down at what I was knitting and I wasn’t so sure anymore. The thing is, I was originally planning to alternate between the two skeins, so when I cast on, I didn’t pay any attention to which ball I was using. Then, though, after inspecting the pattern a little further, I saw that I actually only needed 350 yds (the amount in one skein) and decided not to bother alternating because that would be annoying both now and later, when I will probably use the second skein to make socks (maybe these ones). So, my plan changed, I kept knitting, not thinking about what I was doing, and then I looked down and realized I should really start planning ahead better.

See these two skeins (the smaller one on the left is the one I’m knitting from). See how the one on the right has all these purples and greens laced through the brown? See how the one on the left (the one that I’m knitting from) doesn’t? Yeah. I didn’t see it right away either, but when I realized it, it did explain why my shawl looked more, well, Earthy than I had expected. Here it is:

I’m about two-thirds of the way through the stockinette/eyelet portion

When I realized my mistake (namely, that the skein I feel would work best as a shawl turned out to be the one I wasn’t using for a shawl) my immediate reaction was that I needed to rip it back and start over. I wasn’t totally crazy about the way the dark colours are pooling, and it was very brown, and it just wasn’t the shawl I’d been picturing in my head. That is, it wasn’t when it was in the house. When I took it outside to get a nice photo to show you all and ask your opinion, a strange thing happened: I started to see flecks of green and purple and shades I liked.

To be clear: I’m still not totally crazy about the way the dark colours pooled over the shorter rows (I’m also not sure it would be any different with the other skein), but seeing the shawl outside did change my perception of its colours. Honestly, I was in the 100% going to rip this camp until I took these photos. Yes, I was probably dazzled by the fall colours, but I will be wearing clothes with this shawl, so presumably they will bring out some of these same colours, right?

So, unless you think I’m setting myself up for a shawl I’ll be only mostly happy with (it may just be that I subconsciously don’t want to rip), I think I’ll keep going and see how it turns out. Thoughts? (You and I both have time to think about it since my week is dedicated to the second mitten, about which, more later.)

Indecision

8

It’s fall. Even though it has been a few years, fall always feels like the start of a new year and, thanks to years and years of back-to-school shopping, it also feels like time to overhaul my wardrobe. Not that anything much changes, but it is one of the few times of year I don’t feel guilty spending some money on new clothes.

As a knitter, fall is also the time of year when my needles start to get itchy. Suddenly, a million projects flood my imagination and it seems I can’t cast on quickly enough. Usually, that’s no problem, but this year, I can’t quite seem to find my groove. Partly this is because my knitting for the shop has taken up time that would otherwise be used for personal knitting. Partly it’s also because I stil haven’t cast on the wedding mittens I swatched for weeks ago, and I’m feeling a little guilty about that. Mostly, though, I think it’s because I can’t find the perfect project for the yarn I want to use.

These two skeins come in at about 710 yards, which should be almost enough to knit whatever I want.

The more I look at the Fleece Artist Earth, the more I want it snuggled up around my neck. I thought for a while it could be socks. But no. I want it to be a shawl or scarf or cowl. And honestly, I want it yesterday. I wear a ton of blue, and the browns and greens and almost-purples that ripple through this colourway are made for my wardrobe. Plus, how perfectly fall is that colourway?

The trouble, though, is that I can’t find the perfect something, and I’m in too much of a hurry to design something myself (although I do sometimes lie in bed at night envisioning what I will do with this yarn if something better doesn’t come along.)

What I’m saying is: I need help. I need help picking a pattern, because I really want need to cast this on soon. I can’t believe how antsy it’s making me. Usually, I am a pro at waiting for things, and delaying my satisfaction, but not this time. (I suspect this is due both to the cooling temperatures and the fact that working in a yarn shop and wearing my knitwear all the time have combined to make me crazy.)

So, here’s what I’m looking for: Something with some interest (lace, eyelets, slipped stitches, whatever) but that won’t demand my full attention for the entire time I’m knitting. It also needs to work with a very variegated yarn, so lacy-lacy is out – I’m thinking something with a stockinette or garter middle, and fancy edges. I would also like it to be long enough to wear as a scarf/kerchief under a jacket. I don’t really think this is too much to ask.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to:

  • Of the Moon – has potential because the samples are all knit in variegated yarns, and it’s customizable in size, but the font of the pattern is crazy annoying to read.
  • Damson – I suspect this would work, but I also wonder if I should maybe save this for the purple Handmaiden Casbah that I bought. Tricky.
  • Shark Tooth – I like the body of this shawl, but not the titular teeth along the top edge. Maybe I can work a little modification in there?
  • Multnomah – Simple, basic, with a feather and fan lace edge. I’ve come back to this one several times, but I’m still not sure.
  • Simple Things – I like this, but it’s also very similar to Doublish, and I’d like a little variation in my wardrobe. Also, I have two skeins of the Fleece Artist, so I feel I should save this for something pretty that I only have one skein of
  • Surprise entry: Woodstack – yes, it’s a cowl, but it sits more or less the way I like my shawls to sit, and knitting with the Fleece Artist held double would solve any skein matching issues. I am almost prepared to give up my shawl dream for this. Almost.

Okay, there’s my list. What do you think? Have you knit any of these? Do you have a pattern that’s perfect for variegated fingering-weight yarn? Help an antsy knitter out.

August? Paging August.

4

I don’t know how it is where you are, but over here I’m a little disoriented. I mean, it was just July wasn’t it? What the heck happened to the last month? This was how I felt about November and March when I was at university – two months that were so jam-packed that they sucked up your life and didn’t spit it out again until you were already on the other side.

That’s when I realized where August went: work. All month, I’ve been working two jobs. I’ve been in the shop or doing shop stuff in the morning, and then come early afternoon I get ready and head off to the Post, where I stay until it’s too late to do anything but go to sleep when I get home. My weekends, while mostly work-free, have also been full. It has been a month of fun and learning and newness, but definitely not a month I would describe as restful. Clearly, this calls for a holiday, and lucky me, tomorrow L and I are getting on a plane and heading east: Nine days in Nova Scotia. Oh heck yes.

We’re going to spend the first four days in Cape Breton, hiking and camping and (hopefully) visiting Baadeck Yarns (I’ve already planted this seed in L’s ear, so he’s prepared). After that, it’s back to the Annapolis Valley for five days of hanging out at my parents’, visiting friends, and being relaxed. There will be sight-seeing, there will be friend-visiting and shopping and all that, but there will also be free time, and unscheduled hours, and oh my gosh, I cannot wait! (Yes, yes, there will be blogging too.)

Because of the camping portion of the trip, packing is a little trickier this time than it was the last time I went. Nonetheless, there will be room to bring some knitting with me, and also to bring some wool home with (we all know what happened last time I went home, after all).

This is a very accurate depiction of the colours in these socks. I love them. I wouldn’t even rip this back (despite my Jaywalker desire) if I wasn’t already feeling they were going to be to big. Sort of serendipitous really.

I am bringing my Fleece Artist Spruce Socks – which I cast on as regular socks and, despite being three inches in, have ripped back so they can become the Jaywalkers they want to be – and something else as-yet undecided. I can’t bring the Christmas socks, because my sister will be visiting home at the same time we’re there. I was planning to bring the wedding mitts, but the yarn still looks like this and I’m not sure I’ll have time to wind to before we leave.

This will be mittens. It will. I’ll wind it just as soon as I’m home.

I feel fairly confident that the Spruce Socks will take more than a week, but there’s a lot of driving and flying built into this trip (L and I will split the driving though) and I don’t want to run out. Considering my yarn-buying plans, this seems like a silly worry, but still, I think I’ll pack an emergency skein just in case. The only question is, where to put it?

One thing I will definitely find room for (and, let’s be honest, I will definitely fit in that extra wool) is my finished Georgian Bay shawl. I cast on in the car on the way to Tobermory the first time we went this summer, knit on it for four days, got home, and promptly got distracted (we talked about busyness, yes?). The weekend of the baby shower, though, I was so filled with productive glee (read: caffeine) that I stayed up and finished it. That was two weeks ago, but since we were going back to Tobermory, it seemed only right to take pictures in the place it was meant for.

This is kind of a little shawl, I admit, but under a light sweater or jacket it’s perfect. I already want to make another one (though maybe slightly larger).

While it’s slightly smaller than I’d choose (dear self: go up a needle size; just figure it out already), I love it. I love the colour, I love how soft the wool is, I love the eyelets, I love it. I was convinced I wasn’t a triangle-shawl person, but I take it back.

Details
Pattern: Doublish, by Alex Tinsley
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Nebula
Needles: 3.25 mm Addi lace circulars
Modifications: None! I can hardly believe it either. It’s ravelled here if you’re into that sort of thing.

I bought two skeins of Nebula because I was worried about yardage (I am always worried about yardage, but the pattern was pretty specific on this point) and have an entire unwound skein leftover. I was thinking about exchanging it for another colour – unless you have a better idea?

Tobermory weekend

3

Last Thursday, L and I took off for a four-day weekend in Tobermory, on Ontario’s Georgian Bay (which is itself a bay on Lake Huron). Our good friend has a cottage there, and we consider ourselves very lucky to have been invited – trust me when I say it was very hard to make ourselves return to the city last night. We swam (it was cold!), kayaked, ate great food, hiked, played lots of games, and of course, I knit.

As often happens when you take a holiday, I now have a million things to catch up on, so here’s the weekend (more or less) in photos. I’ll write a proper post later this week.

Gin and tonic may be the ultimate cottage drink.

The shore in the evening.

Very strange rocks at the water’s edge.

Sunset, night 1.

Sunset, night 2.

Sunset, night 3.

This looks like the Caribbean, but I assure you it’s in Ontario, and that the water is freezing.

Oh yes, the knitting. This is Doublish by Alex Tinsley, and it’s going very well, if I do say so myself. More on that later.

Needless to say, the return to reality has been a little jarring.