What to start next

I’ve finished the knitting on my Follow Your Arrow Shawl so I am now in the enviable position of deciding what project to start next. I love starting something new and I have been barely resisting the handspun camel I purchased. However, I’m having a hard time finding a good fit for the yarn. I know I want to make a small cowl so I can wear it against my face. My first instinct was lace. I liked the look of this cowl for a while.

Anna Cowl by Barb Fritz

I started knitting it but the yarn is too thick and thin to show the lace, leaving me back at square one. Now I’m pouring through stitch dictionaries for something that can add interest to a cowl but still show up. Right now, my current favorite is the seaweed stitch pattern. With only 100m of yarn and a small project, I’m not swatching. By the time I’ve worked a repeat of the pattern I will know if it works or not. I don’t normally work with handspun so I’m at a bit of a loss with how to show it off to it’s best advantage. If this stitch pattern doesn’t work the cowl will be stockinette stitch. I know that will work.

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and I missed my normal post on Friday. I’m getting back up to speed but for today here’s my progress on my Follow Your Arrow MKAL. I decided to go with Clue 4 A. I think I just might have enough of the yellow yarn to finish off all the shawl. I’m hoping I’ll have enough of the gray to make something else. I’m thinking of making another one with different clues and a long colour change yarn like Zauberball. But I really should finish the shawl I’m working on now shouldn’t I?

In praise of simple knitting

So many of my projects recently have been complicated. Everything has required at least some amount of thought. It’s also been a while since I made a pair of socks. Last night I decided to start something easy, stockinette socks. I have a ball of Crazy Zauberball in variations on black, white, and gray. A good inexpensive German sock yarn that will wear like iron. These needles a five year old pair of Addi Turbos and happen to be the first needles I ever knit socks on. Since then the cable warped into magic loop formation and the finish on the tips has worn off. I used to make more projects like this. It’s time for some simple mindless knitting again. I don’t feel any pressure to finish these any time soon. I can just let them be there for when everything else is too much. Life is complicated enough.

Another MKAL

I’ve been toying around with the idea of joining in Ysolda Teague’s Follow Your Arrow MKAL for a while. Last night, the last possible day to join before the MKAL started, I purchased the pattern. I’m really intrigued by all the options for this shawl. Each of the five clues has two different options for a total of 32 different combinations. I’m really excited to see all of the different shawls from this one pattern.

The hardest decision was if I was making this shawl what yarn should I use. Since I just got Christmas yarn I knew I shouldn’t be buying more just for this project. I had two options in stash.

The Fibre Company Prairie and Skein Queen Oasis Grande

This option would have more than enough yarn. I’ve been planning on pairing these two together in something since I saw them together. They are two different weights, heavy lace and fingering, and have two completely different hands. The Prairie has a sticky wooly feel and the Oasis is soft and drapey. My only worry about these is that I might be left with an awkward amount of each when the shawl is done. I love both of these yarns and I want to use them up completely.

arrowoption2

Lang Jawoll in Ash and Egg Yolk

The second option would have me knitting with one yarn base in two different colours. I love Lang Jawoll, it is cheap, soft and durable. I would have just enough of both of the colours. Then my husband saw me considering this option. He immediately laid claim to the yellow yarn. It is his favorite and I did kinda promise him a pair of mitts in it while back. He even tried to lay claim to the ash, despite the fact that he technically gave it to me for Christmas. We have a family rule: Thou shalt use thy Christmas gifts for thyself. I had to remind him of that loudly. The ash yarn is mine. He did have a point about the mitts though. I should make those. So I ended up going with option 1. After looking over the pattern this morning I balled my yarn up. Now I just have to decide which option to pick on the first clue.

Hats

This week the weather has gotten a bit colder and I’ve started thinking about hats. When I was little knitted hats came in one variety, tight fitting with a rolled brim and a tassel on the top. Similar to the hat I made my Dad, but with tassels.

 

When I started getting more adventurous I with my knitting I discovered another way that hats could fit: slouchy. I currently love slouchy hats like this one.

hatsidemodel

 

I can wear a hat like this without my hair flattening like it does in tight hats. I’ve even branched out into berets with Ysolda Teague’s Rose Red in a wonderful angora yarn (Adriafil Carezza.) This is the perfect cold weather hat, the edge can be pulled over your ears. The fluffy angora is so soft and absurdly warm.

 

It’s interesting to look back and see how my style has evolved and become ever looser. I think my next hat will be a colourwork tam of some sort. I do love the traditional ones. I am on a yarn diet so I’m not looking at the wonderful patterns that are out there. I know as soon as I look I’ll want to purchase the yarn for one. What is your favorite hat pattern? Has your taste changed over the years?

Kettle Yarn Co.

Look what I have! It’s a skein of Kettle Yarn Co.’s Bloomsbury in a custom orange colour! The base consists of 80% 80% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester and 20% Silk in laceweight with 800m per 100g. The silk really makes it shine. It glows even with overcast conditions today. Even though it has silk the hand is still very woolly while remaining soft. I started some lace with it and that really helped when I had to rip back and pick up stitches!  This is what it looks like knit up.

I don’t have any pictures after blocking because I’m lazy and didn’t knit a swatch. I am enjoying working with this yarn. the stitch definition is crisp and shows off the stitch pattern. I would easily use this yarn again. I wish I had the budget to get enough of her Westminister fingering (50% Camel, 50% Silk) for a cardigan. Someone please do this so I can live vicariously through you! 

I know Linda in person through our local Knit Night and through her blog, From the Purl Side. Her shop opened at the end of August on Etsy stocking a wide variety of bases from lace to aran. You can also find out more about the Kettle Yarn Co. on Ravelry with their own group.

Blocking wires

Yesterday I finally gave in. I had about 300 pins in a shawl and I still couldn’t get the edges as straight as I would have likes. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I went out and purchased a set of blocking wires.

The set includes straight wires, 2 flexible wires, 20 t-pins, and a yardstick

The set includes straight wires, 2 flexible wires, 20 t-pins, and a yardstick

I LOVE these things! I blocked my Brown-eyed Susan today and it took me so much less time with a just as good or better result. Why didn’t I do this years ago? Having the proper tools makes the whole process of blocking so much easier.

browneyedsusan1

I ended up using more pins that I needed. I thought I would try to block the edge into scallops but then I got lazy and just pinned it all to the wire. I made this shawl a year and a half to two years ago out of Artesano 4 ply in three different colours. The body is striped with the violet and coco colourways and the lace edging is in Venezuala with the cast off in violet. This was an awesome stash busting project for me and it’s really nice to get it re-blocked and all set for when the weather gets colder!