Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vacation Knitting

What's the best part of vacation?
A) Knitting
B) Reading
C) Adult beverages
D) All of the above.

The answer is obviously D.  Bonus points will be issued if I can knit & read at the same time, which I've been doing in small bouts lately.  I'll share my reading plans in a later post.  Now, the knitting!!

While I know I won't get all this finished, a girl can dream.  Here is my vacation queue:

1) Hitchhiker by Martina Behm

I love my first hitchhiker and I knew when I finished it that I would knit another!  When I saw this adorable rainbow set from Fibernymph Dye Works, I knew 2 things: 1) I had to buy it; and 2) I had to make another hitchhiker using this yarn!  I'll be adding small clear beads to the point of each 'tooth' as well.

2) Lintilla by Martina Behm

When I bought this little skein, I decided it needed to grow up into something whimsical.  I remembered Lintilla.  Perfect!!  This skein is from Twisted Stitches in Michigan.  Also, this new colorway includes the Pantone color for fall: Radiant Orchid.

3) Brickless by Martina Behm

My Brickless is back in the queue again... Only with larger needles. I washed the yarn and re-wound the ball & I think we are good to go!

4) Nuvem by Martina Behm

This warm, flirty, ruffly wrap caught my eye as the perfect accessory to keep in my highly air conditioned office and won its place in my vacation knitting queue when I realized I had this great gradient in my stash in the right quantity already!  I also picked up 2 pairs of Addi Rockets to knit it on, so there is a lot of potential in this project bag as we speak!

The color changes in these skeins do lend themselves to quite a few ends to weave in, so I am brushing up on my magic knot technique.  Hopefully, I can avoid weaving in those cotton ends that always seem to squirm back out!

Update:  I did eventually let my Taygete out of time out & block it properly.  See?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Oy... the Ennui or Block your lace, people!

Life has been a challenge these last few months.  The biggest thing looming over us right now is that we have decided to move out of our leased townhouse and look elsewhere for a residence.  The management company here just isn't holding up their end of the deal.  And despite diligently looking for a suitable place to live since April, we still don't know what our address will be come July 1.  That is a month away.  29 days, actually.  Oh, and we're going on a vacation with my husband's family for 8-9 days in there.  Oh, and we have to find time to get LaFonda the Honda tuned up to be ready to drive 11 hours each way in the next 3 weeks.  Did I mention that the dogs are coming to the beach with us? Stressed doesn't cover it.

And in the midst of all that, none of my knitting is making me as happy as I wish it were.  I realize that I'm putting an awfully high expectation on my knitting, and it's just knitting after all.  Le sigh.  I have been knitting any way, embracing an 'If you build it, they will come' mentality.  It's only kind of working, but I do have some FOs to show for it!!

Annis by Susanna IC

I loved this shawl - it was quick & the short row finishing made the stockinette body of the shawl whoosh! right off of the needles!

Blocking matters...

It really matters.
Estuary by Tin Can Knits

This was a delightful little knit.  I loved the yarn & this pattern were made for each other!  The yarn actually called out my name from the display table and said, "I want to be an Estuary!"
Oh, and check out Fibernymph Dye Works.  Her colors are amazing and her yarns always turn out well!

Even gentle blocking is still blocking.  And it still matters!
Fibernymph Dye Works Mercy base in the Northern Lights color way
Celaeno by Romi Hill

Seriously.  Block your lace.
This is a good representation of the color!
Malabrigo Sock in Azules
I bought this yarn & beads to match nearly a year ago.  Finally, I made it happen.  There was a small tragedy on this knit, however; I swatched with two needle sizes, decided on the smaller size based on the blocked fabric, and then somehow managed to cast on with the larger needle!  This used more yardage and I ran out of yarn 2 rows before the end of the chart.  I was nearly finished with the shawl when I discovered my needle size error and wasn't willing to rip out all that knitting... or all those beads (almost 1000)!  I am happy with the colors & the pattern and I don't think anyone (except Romi, of course) would know the difference.
The motive in this shawl was so fun to knit - it flowed nicely off the needles.

Tan House Brook Shawl by Boston Jen

Quaere Fiber Super Sock in Chutney
This delightful pattern is by Boston Jen of the Down Cellar Studio podcast (which you should check out, if you're into podcasts - Jen is a great host!).  This is her first published pattern & it was a great little knit!  It was worked with one skein of sock yarn & FLEW off the needles & made me SO happy!

The yarn is by Quaere Fibre on Etsy.  Her stuff is delicious.  Her bases are great & her colors are, well... look at that!  Gorgeous!

 This pattern was SO clearly written and SO cleanly laid out.  Jen shared on her podcast that her intention was to leave white space in the pattern for notes, etc. and it was so helpful!

In retrospect, I should have named this post, "Block your shawls, people. "
Taygete by Romi Hill

Oh Taygete... you're the second Romi Hill shawl that I had to short rows on because of something completely random.  Sigh... but it's done.  Almost.  It has been blocked, but the ends are still hanging out for the world to see.

I loved the garter stitch of this knit - garter stitch soothes the soul - but I didn't like that this yarn dyed my hands and my needles.  The natural birch needles that /were/ nice and blonde, just like me. I did a two color swatch, which looked great - no dye transfer, no ruining the lighter color, no dye on my hands.  But my swatches always lie.
After casting on, I spent two weeks washing my hands after every time I touched my knitting and had to scrub my needles with dishsoap after I cast off for fear the dye would rub onto my next project with those tips.

I also had to soak the FO in a white vinegar/water solution (1:3, changing the water every few hours) for over 24 hours in order to get the dye to set completely and the fresh water to run clear.  Good thing my husband is understanding and didn't mind giving up the half-bath's sink for a day.

One day, I'll actually have to weave in those ends and see how she wears, but for now, Taygete is in time out.

Finished on Faith Baby Blanket

I finished a new design, a baby blanket for a friend, using stash yarn.  Responsible, right?  Yeah, until you want to type up the pattern & share it on your blog and you realize the yarn you used is discontinued.  Sigh.

When I find another suitable yarn, and knit up another sample (SIL is expecting in October - 3 guesses what she's getting! ;) ),  I'll share the pattern here.

Brickless by Martina Behm

I was cruising along on Brickless with this delicious yarn I reclaimed from a crochet project.  I couldn't remember if I had washed this yarn after I frogged it or not.  It didn't look too kinky, so I went for it.  After several pattern repeats, it just wasn't working.  The yarn was crunchy in places, it was lifeless and I decided that I needed a larger needle size.  So, I did what any fearless knitter would do:  I pulled it all the way back, wound the entire 700 yards back onto my swift, soaked the entire hank in Eucelan and cool water for about 10 hours and set it on my laundry rack to dry, right in front of the dehumidifier.  The hank is happy again, and soon, I'll cast on for attempt #2.

I am still knitting away on Bonny, after a failed swatch and a mission to find the appropriate needles. Also, I love Addi Rockets.  I want to buy them all.  And if they make those into interchangeables, I AM SO THERE.  Just putting that out to the universe.

Working on a swatch for the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig and gathering my supplies for vacation knitting.  I don't know how much to take, but I can guarantee that it will need its own bag!  I feel like it may be a very Behm knitting vacation.  Her patterns are just so awesome & brilliant & simple all at once!

Oh, and there are socks on the needles for #operationsockdrawer.  And I found the perfect skein of Malabrigo Archangel for a hat.  Which also means that I fell down on my no buying in the first half goal.  Which I did.  That's happened a few times... But who's counting?!

I may need this yarn to keep me warm at night if we end up living in a van down by the river in a few weeks...

~ d