Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: It’s purple

At either Thanksgiving or Christmas 2018, I told my mother and sister I would make them a sweater and asked them to choose a pattern.  I finished Mom’s pullover (blogged here) and gave it to her at Thanksgiving 2019.

I’ve been working on my sister’s cardigan ever since.  The pattern is See You There by Joji Locatelli.  It’s a top down design with lots of cabling, so it’s fun to knit.  It calls for a worsted weight, but I’m making it in a fingering weight held double because purple is the perfect color for my sister, and I had sooooo much of this Araucania Itata Solid that I wanted to use as much as possible. (Yes, gauge issues meant math was required.)

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I finished the body the other day.

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Do you see what I see?  Yes. I didn’t notice it until I took the photos.  Some of the skeins are a deeper purple color than the others.  And they’re all in the same dye lot.  *sigh* The subtle striping isn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I’m hoping a good soaking wet block will help even the coloring out.  Isn’t it awful to actually wish for the dye to run?

I’m working on the sleeves now. Then there’s the hood and the button band to make. The end is in sight. Sissy might even get her sweater before winter’s over.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Life in general, Yarn stash, Year in review

2019 in review: Yarn

2019 wasn’t a terrifically productive year for finished projects, probably due to the fact I did four plays. But I did get some things made.

100_5070 (2)First thing finished was the Lochlan Cardigan in February, briefly blogged here.  I wear this cardigan a lot.  It’s really warm; I often throw a sleeveless vest over it, and away we go on weekend errands. No heavy coat needed unless the wind is really sharp.  This was my first project with zipper installation, and it was easier than I expected.  Fear of zippers will no longer restrain me!  It’s also the first time I doubled a fingering weight yarn instead of using a DK as the pattern requires.  My gauge was a little off, but math fixed that, and the fit turned out great.

100_5139 (2)After getting home from Stitches United in June, also briefly blogged in the link above, I made a swimsuit coverup from a pattern I’d had in my queue forever.  The blog entry for this project is here.  As I suspected it would, the coverup shrank in the wash, and now fits much better through the neck and shoulders. When I wash it, I tumble it until it’s damp-dry and then lay it flat and block out the length.

MicheleMeAtAvilaI took the coverup to California with me in August, completely forgetting how cold Northern California beaches are.  I wore it with my swimsuit, shorts, and a denim jacket against the chilly shore breeze.  Although we didn’t get a picture of me wearing it, the coverup actually got used in the way it was intended when the spouse and I went to Sandestin (Florida) for Labor Day.

100_5168The Cabled Yoke Cardigan, finished in July, was part of a Vogue Knit #19 in 2019 Challenge. The Vogue Knitters group on Ravelry does this challenge every year: knit the corresponding pattern number for the last two digits of the year out of any Vogue Knitting magazine.  The blog entry for this project is here.  I was still mildly unhappy with the size after wearing the cardigan several times. So the other day I ran it through the washing machine in a mesh bag on the handwash cycle, and then laid it out flat to dry.  The sweater did exactly what I thought it would do: felted just the teensiest bit, just enough to make it fit better and not be so loose and long.  Yes, I was gambling.  Yes, I got lucky.  Don’t try this at home, kiddies.  Now I need to re-sew the buttons.

Mom'sPullover1 (2)My mother’s pullover was the final project for the year.  We picked out this yarn last Thanksgiving, and I gave her the finished sweater this Thanksgiving.  I haven’t blogged about it yet, so here are the details.

Pattern: Delsea Pullover by Lisa Shroyer (click here for link to project page)

Size: 56

Yarn: Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash, colorway 917 Steel Cut Oats, 1143 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size7

Mods: None, except for giving the bottom ribbing the same number of rows as the ribbing on the sleeves.

Satisfaction with end product:  My mother loves it.  She plans on wearing it over long-sleeved tees and turtlenecks to keep her toasty warm throughout the winter.

This pattern is easy television knitting, and I would have finished it much sooner had I not gotten bored with the endless endless stockinette and taken time out to make the swimsuit coverup and cabled cardigan mentioned above.  No matter: I always intended to give it to Mom around Thanksgiving and that deadline was met.

100_5146 (2)In the acquisitions department, 2019 was a year of extreme stash enhancement.  I’ve blogged about a lot of the new pretties, but not all of them, and I’m not going to take the time now to chronicle everything I skipped writing about.  Suffice to say, between January 2019 and December 2019, I added 86 new skeins, and a total of 23,468 yards, to stash.  A few (a very few) of those skeins were gifts or prizes, but most of it was purchased. I know I’m lucky and privileged that I can afford to buy yarn of such quality and in such quantities. Believe me, I’m grateful.  And I refuse to feel guilty, but dang, I really need to get to work on reducing this stash.  It’s damn near unmanageable. Especially considering this year I used only 7,122 yards in completed projects.

So, without making any resolutions, because those are doomed to fail, I’m going to set a 2020 goal of using two skeins of yarn for every skein I might buy in the coming year.  So far I have used four skeins (I’m making a cardigan for my sister), so that means I can buy up to two new skeins.  A secondary goal is that any skein I buy will be something really special — like cashmere or silk or some other luxury fiber.  The cost of such yarn will be a secondary deterrent to willy-nilly fiber acquisition.  We’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Posted in Knitting, Life in general, Movies and TV

Look, Mom, I’m on TV!

Well, actually, on Seeka.TV in a web series called “Black on Both Sides.” You can find it here.

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Blurb:  Anansi Moor looks like the poster child for a post-racial America. He is intelligent, witty, and well-spoken—and just black enough to fill a diversity quota without being threatening. Yet behind his carefully curated song and dance is a game that grows ever more dangerous as the quest for justice drives tactics that will either free the caged bird—or scorch its wings.

Before anyone gets too excited, I have to tell you, mine is a teeny-tiny-if-you-blink-you’ll-miss-it part, but the rest of the series is cool, so watch it anyway.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stop me before I buy more yarn

I’ve mentioned before that I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts.  Here’s another reason why that’s true.

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Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in the colorway “Herbalist.” I couldn’t resist this amazing handpainted work of art.  1200 yards should be enough to make a plain tee or simple cropped cardigan so the variegated dyework can stand out.  Hasina is a possibility. Or maybe Amya.

Then there’s the souvenir yarn from my recent trip to California.

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That’s Llama Lace by Queensland in the colorway Vanilla Cream.  It’s a lusciously soft sockweight (despite the name) with the faintest of halos; 1260 yards of decadence that is destined to be a lacy longsleeve cardigan, like Joy, maybe, or Balada.  I already have the perfect glass buttons for such a creation.  This heavenly stuff came from a tiny hole-in-the-wall LYS in San Luis Obispo called Yarns at the Adobe.

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Next, we have Mrs. Crosby’s Hat Box in the colorway Merida.  This is an incredibly soft superwash merino/silk/cashmere blend that says it’s DK, but in actuality it’s closer to a fingering weight.  This gorgeous stuff came from Ball & Skein, a wonderful LYS in downtown Cambria.  Eventually, this will become a tee: perhaps Miss Molly or Hemmed in Hollow.

And finally:  today I made a detour on my way home from a Pride event in North Georgia.

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Vocabulary Yarn’s Ethereal in the colorway Dia de los Muertos.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a working website, Facebook or Instagram page for this yarn company, so either they’re so new they don’t have anything set up (?) or, more likely, they’ve gone under.  Too bad, it’s lovely stuff — a 100% superwash merino single ply fingering — and I would like to have bought more.  But….here’s why I didn’t. Buy more, that is. This was purchased at Yarn Junkees in Hoschton, Georgia.  Apparently, according to the conversation I overheard while checking out, the owner and most of her clientele are unhappy about Ravelry’s recent banning of posts supporting Trump.  They failed to grasp the concept that Ravelry did not ban the people who support him, just banned posts supporting him and his administration.  (You can read the rationale for yourself by clicking the link above.)  So, at this store they’re either Trump supporters themselves or they’re stupid.  Either way, they’re off my list.

Okay, that’s it. I’m putting the credit card on ice for a while.

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

Progress on Mom’s sweater

The Delsea Pullover is knit side to side, and will be grafted together in the center.  I finished the left half, and cast on for the right half.  Although it’s not pictured, I’m currently working on the increase section of the sleeve.

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I think it’s going to turn out well.  So much stockinette…I’m actually bored with it and itching to cast on something new. But I promised my mother I would have this done for her birthday.  That’s in November.  Since rehearsal for my next play starts in two days, my knitting time will soon be severely limited, so I must exercise (gasp!) self-discipline.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Freshly finished: Cabled Yoke Cardigan

A few months back I committed to a mini-knit-along with another Ravelry member.  We both decided to knit the #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan from Vogue Holiday 2016 as part of the Vogue Knitting forum’s “Knit #19 in 2019” challenge.

Here’s my completed cardigan:

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Pattern: As mentioned above, #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan by Kristen Ten Dyke, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016. Click here for my Ravelry project page.  This is knit from the top down, with no seaming at all.

Size: 38″

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, colorway 79 Thundercloud (a deep deep gray) (discontinued), 1175 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size 4 and 5; Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina DPNs, US size 4

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Mods: Not many. The sleeves are an inch shorter than the pattern called for. I also used beads in the yoke instead of bobbles.  I wasn’t happy with how loose the seed stitch cuff turned out on the first sleeve, so when I knit the second sleeve, I went down a needle size when I got to the cuff. That was better, so I re-knit the first cuff.  Otherwise, knit as written.

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Beads: 32 Toho 6/0 glass seed beads, color Metallic.

Buttons: 7 vintage buttons from stash. Glass/metal/bakelite. Non-matching but similar. Purchased at a Stitches event some years ago.

Hair:  Courtesy of brutal Georgia humidity

We’re always our own worst critics, so when I look at it, I see all the flaws.  For example, the 38 turned out a trifle big, but it’s not so big that it’s unwearable. It’s too long for me because I didn’t shorten the waist shaping to accommodate my height — well, lack of height, to be precise.  And the button band and cuffs are still a little loose and gappy for my taste, despite using a smaller needle. I don’t care, not really. Still, if I ever knit this again, I’ll make it one size smaller, shorten the torso by about two inches, and knit all the seed stitch edgings with a size 2 or 3 needle instead of a 4.

Despite its imperfections, I’m happy with it overall. It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, and it looks pretty good.  The color will coordinate with multiple items in my wardrobe for work and casual wear.

Come on, autumn weather!

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Sunday: LYS closing, online madness, and visiting mom

So I may have gone a little overboard in the new acquisitions department recently.  Ever since I got home from Stitches United at the beginning of June, I haven’t been able to stop buying yarn for more than a week or so at a time.

Here’s the proof I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts:

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These two beauties (above and below) are Seacoast Fingering: mostly cotton, with a touch of alpaca and a hint of nylon. Two skeins each of Salt Water (the blue) and Sun Hat (the beigy-yellow). At 489 yards per skein, they are destined to become a striped pullover at some point in the future. The yarn is ripply and textured; I may knit it at a DK/sport gauge rather than a fingering gauge. We’ll see what happens when I swatch it.

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The sumptuous stuff below is Twisted Tweet Sport, all wool, in the colorway Mallard.  Four 384-yard skeins, meant to become a cardigan or pullover.  These skeins came with about a kajillion buttons as a bonus (one package of buttons per skein).  I didn’t shoot a pic of the buttons, but they’re really cute.

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When I visited my mother over Independence Day weekend, I had to stop in at the LYS near her, The Taming of the Ewe. I love that store.  Not only do they sell gorgeous yarn, they sell a wide variety of tea and will happily give you samples to taste.   I was in the mood for cotton while there, and picked up these cheerful skeins of Juniper Moon‘s Zooey, a 60% cotton/40% linen blend: two skeins of Aquamarine and one skein of Chartreuse. Each skein is 284 yards, so these are destined for a summertime tee.

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Sad news: Cast On Cottage, one of my favorite LYSs in the Atlanta metro, is closing.  This makes two Atlanta metro LYS closures that I know of so far this year.  Happy news: everything is on sale.  Everything.  So I went shopping yesterday and came home with more lovely stuff.

Below is Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Fibers, a 50/50 blend, in the colorway Raisin. Five skeins at 146 yards per skein equals a luxurious future short sleeve tee.

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Next I discovered Mayu from Amano Yarns, a simply sinful alpaca/silk/cashmere blend that must be felt to be believed.  Three skeins of colorway Green Glass…

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Three skeins of the colorway Yellow Grass…

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And two skeins of the colorway Frost White. I see another striped pullover/cardigan in the making.

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I also bought a pattern book: Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. Simple and elegant designs, not fussy or overly ornate.  My kind of stuff.

Whisper

This seems to be a year for intense stash enhancement.  I haven’t blogged everything I’ve bought (and won’t because yipe!) but a look at Ravelry reveals there have been 33 different colorways (many of multiple skeins) added to my stash since January.  Yes, that last sentence was passive voice. On purpose. Because the yarn just magically appeared, you know?

Anyway, considering all the yarn already in stash, I think we can safely say I have achieved SABLE status (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). Oh well. At least my heirs will have nice yarn.  Life’s too short to buy or use bad yarn.

Just don’t tell the spouse.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

It’s A Blue, Blue Summer

I finished my beach tunic in plenty of time for the scheduled trip to California. Take a look!
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Pattern: Summer on You by Svetlana Volkova. Click here for my Ravelry project page.
Yarn: Isager Strik Japansk Bomuld, colorway 10. No actual color name, so I’m calling it Sea Glass. Used just under 2 skeins (630 meters/689 yards, total).  This is a 100% cotton laceweight tape that feels almost like paper.  It’s really cool and crisp and a little hard on the hands, but it has amazing texture.
Needles: US 6 and US 7, Addi nickel-plated circulars
Size: 41.3″ bust
Satisfaction with end product:  Mostly good.  It turned out larger than I expected, but I knit it three sizes larger than I usually wear, because I was using laceweight yarn rather than the sportweight the pattern calls for.  I also didn’t do a gauge swatch.  Oops.  So I’ll consider this my bi-annual reminder to NEVER SKIP THE GAUGE SWATCH, ANGELA!

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So, yes, it’s big, but big isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a beach cover-up, which should be loose and light and breezy. Achievement unlocked. Now, it may shrink some once I’ve run it through the washer and dryer, but if it doesn’t, I’m still okay with it.

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I added a few extra rows of stockinette and eyelets for length, since I was going for coverage to about mid-thigh.  Other than that, knit as written.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely do a gauge swatch and I’ll take a good hard look at that neckline, since it turned out so wide and deep (again, that may be due to the size I chose, but some mods may be in order).

I have two skeins of the yarn left, and the yarn store where I bought it is closing, so they’re not taking returns.  Thus, a summer tee or tank may be forthcoming to use up the rest of the yarn.

Okay, ready for my trip to California now!

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

On the needles: three projects

I’ve got three projects going right now (and am fighting the urge to cast on/start crocheting another).

The oldest WIP is a pullover for my mother. I intend to have it done by her birthday in November.

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It’s knit from side to middle, and then side to middle again, with the center seams front and back joined by grafting, if I remember right. I set it aside a while ago to work on something else, so I don’t recall exactly.

Mom’s pullover got thrown over for this cardigan, as part of a Ravelry Vogue Knitting group KAL.

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It’s top down and mostly seamless (there will be a short seam under the arms, and that’s it). But I set it aside, too, because it’s summer and I desperately need a new bathing suit coverup.

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This is also a top down knit in a tiny cotton tape that’s so crisp it almost feels like paper.  It will soften up once washed.  I love the sea-glass color.  I need to have it done no later than the end of July because I’m going to California the first weekend of August.  And I’ve promised myself that I will spend at least one of those days in California on the beach.

While at Stitches, I bought some linen yarn and a pattern to make another bathing suit coverup, but I decided to go with this one instead.  I may repurpose the linen, or I may use it for the coverup at a later date.  Won’t hurt to have two.

Posted in Book stash, Books, Knitting, Project planning, Reading, Technique, Yarn stash

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time

This Led Zeppelin moment brought to you by… YouTube

Of course, it’s my blog that was lonely, not you all. You went about your days in ordinary fashion, never even noticing the eight-month absence here. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t really expect anyone to actually pay attention to my ramblings. It’s one of the reasons I feel only marginally guilty when I don’t post for weeks and months at a time.

But I finally found some time to catch you up, the three of you who still read this thing. 🙂

Since we last met, I made two shawls:

The Reyna

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and Arroyo;100_5067 (2)

And one hooded cardigan, the Lochlan.
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I performed in two plays:

The Vagina Monologues
TVM

and A Round-Heeled Woman.
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I read all of 34 books and portions of eight others. Three of those are “did not finish” and five are still being worked on.

And I just got home from Stitches United in Atlanta, with lots of new goodies.
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At Stitches, I took some great classes, learned how to customize a pattern’s fit to suit me, tackled brioche stitch and Irish crochet, won a door prize, made two new friends, and (as you can see above) went a little crazy in the Marketplace. I had an absolutely fabulous time, and came home inspired and ready to tackle some new challenges.

This summer will include taking a dance class, learning an Irish accent, surgery (nothing major), and traveling to California for my 40-year high school reunion. My intention is to be a little more present around here, post a little more frequently. You know what they say about intentions.

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know you’re still here too!