Wrapping Up

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Everything is going by so quickly here, that happens I suppose when you are as busy as I am. It feels like yesterday was still summer and school was just about to start again. It’s now nearing the end of November and time has slipped away from me. My knitting has had something like that happen to it as well. If you haven’t seen my last post, I was knitting the newest Stephen West mystery and I was starting clue 4 and really looked at my colors against the pictures he posted of his. I really didn’t like how my colors were trying so hard not to look bad together, but they failed. I still haven’t ripped it out yet, but it’s on the list of things that I need to do. It’s going to have a lot of knots in all 4 skeins, but that’s the price I pay for not stopping sooner.

On a happier note, I have been pulling out some of the design yarn. No I don’t have any hints for anyone, but I’m able to get some of my designs up and running again. Currently swatches are all that I have going on some of them, but that’s the start I need to get me putting up more designs. Some of these I can’t wait for you all to see when they’re done. I have models lined up for some of them and the one I’m currently working on swatching, I can’t wait for the final product. I think that it will be quite spectacular, if I do say so myself.

I promised pictures of something that I purchased didn’t I? Sari is such an amazing pattern, ever since I saw it I thought it was beautiful, but when someone at my LYS brought hers in (done in miss babs) I knew I had to make it. But I had to find the right yarn to knit this spectacular design in. I saw on the pattern page that it was made with Color Shift Shift Yarn and I just had to take a look at the yarn. I went over to their Etsy shop and I knew that was the only yarn that I wanted to make Sari out of. Two of my friends at the LYS bought their own custom kits from the shop, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted the colors as it came, red is one of my favorite colors. I placed my order, thought I wouldn’t see it for a little bit, since she does say in the The kit’s description that it will take 6-8 weeks to dye and ship. I don’t know what happened, but about a week after my order I got the confirmation that it was being shipped.

It arrived and what the box contained I thought I was prepared for. The yarn was stunning, beautifully packaged, and the smallest details were thought of. There are no words to describe the beauty that the boxed held, but maybe a picture can help with that.

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You can tell how much the dyer cares about what she does and the talent she has in order to dye colors that are so perfect. The shift from one color bridge to the other, is just about unnoticeable, there is no abrupt jog, just a smooth transition. Each bridge and color progression is labeled to what colors they contain, yardage, etc. There’s even a page that is included with some information from the dyer, care instructions, and all. I have not seen this level of dedication and attention to detail in yarn, it’s incredible. I told the dyer this and that I want to design something with her yarn in the future, I just need to figure out what to do in order to do justice to her yarn.

For now I will be knitting that swatch, with the kit sitting close to me, wanting me to start it. That will have to wait till I’m done with school for the semester, and then a knit against will begin.

Color frenzy

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The last month has been kind of insane, I didn’t realize how much time had gone by. I am still alive, busy, and chugging down coffee like its water. It’s when you get to that point in the semester you know it’s coming to a close, only 3 weeks and then finals and I will be done with this semester. I will be glad when I have a reprieve from the crazy schedule I have been sustaining. Which I’m guessing is in part due to the amount of coffee I’m drinking. But that’s besides the point, which reminds me I should have another cup right now. Have to study, write a paper, finish a coding assignment, and so much more.

Knitting wise, I have been knitting all that much, just here and there when I can. I recently started the new west knits mystery knit along. I liked the first clue, the second and third I’m on the fence about but I guess I’ll have to see if somehow it’s pulled together on the last clue. The colors I chose were all from stash. This is a good thing due to the stash getting a little bigger then I wanted it to be. I’m using some of the Tosh stash, some more “vintage” then the others. That and the colors that I chose are pretty bright, which is very me in some ways. But in some ways, it is not me at all. I choose Dalia, Tomato, Maple Lear, and Norway Spruce. I’m curious to see what all of the colors will look like once the final clue comes in and wraps everything up (hopefully).

I received something really pretty in the mail, which will wait till next time. I have to take good photos of it to do the product justice.

For now I don’t have much, since most of my time allocation is for school and work and not for much fun things. Posts will be coming as much as I can.

And I’m goi to end it on this note, I finished the 3rd clue on the mystery, saw what the original looked like and I like it, with more subtle colors, but you loose all of that texture work. I’m not happy with the my color choices at all, or the pattern for that matter. I’m not even going to take pictures of it, it’s going into the frog pond, rip rip rip. I’m going to cast on a new design now.

Knit faster

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Here the seasons are starting to shift, Summer is slowly changing into fall, my allergies kicked in a few weeks ago which meant the season shift. The trees here may or may not change colors, nothing like on the east coast, but still it’s something. The air gets cooler now at night and in the morning, the days are getting shorter, and all of that summer knitwear you are working on you have to rush to finish so you can wear it before it gets too cold to wear. Here in California it doesn’t really get that cold, but to us here it is (unless you are me and always run warm so the concept of long pants instead of shorts is mind boggling).

My mom saw a cardigan and asked me to make it so I said of course. She wanted it before the weather got too cold for her to wear it (keep in mind California cold). I got the yarn earlier in the summer and i started it with plenty of time for me to complete it. Well you know how things go, life gets in the way, other projects, etc. Now that the weather is threatening to be cooler, I had to really quickly get this thing knit. Well I saw that the ball I had was getting smaller and smaller, I worried. I knit faster and i hoped yet again that I would out knit the ball of yarn. Well now the sleeves and the body are knit. But I don’t have enough to do the collar, just enough for assembly.

Thankfully I know my LYS will still have it in stock. So I ventured to get it, which was the same lot, and I proceeded to block the pieces. Now this yarn is soft when you first get it, slightly splits, and when you hand wash it it doesn’t feel that great. I forgot about that fact when I blocked the pieces. I felt them after they dried like, this is not what I was hoping for. But I remember the search I had that I threw into the washer came out soft and beautiful. I pressed forward, wanting to get this done.

I have been afflicted by the liking to sew seams together, this is not like me. Previously I would avoid seams like the plague, but now they are magical and wonderful. I just can’t get enough of them, I can blame one of the knitters I know for giving me the seaming enjoyment bug. I seamed the sides and shoulders together with much enjoyment and awe at the beauty of a good seam. Getting the sides to line up perfectly was a challenge, vertical to horizontal knitting seaming is tricky but when it’s done right it’s beautiful. Now all that remains is the final seams for the sleeve caps, then knitting the collar. After that I’ll be finished just in time for the weather shifting downwards to 70s.

Pink Panther

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You know when you just feel so clever and so sneaky?  I’ve had one of those feelings very recently. I haven’t been able to post this till now and this is what I have been working on primarily. So now that it’s no longer a sneaky thing, let’s have some knitting to talk about.

About 2 years ago one of the knitters I know had a birthday, she loved one of the yarns the LYS got in, but was being good and didn’t buy it. Another knitter looked at me and we made a sneaky deal, she buys the yarn and I would knit a pair of socks. The deal was made, the yarn purchased sneakily, and the recipient didn’t know this went on. She didn’t know until she was presented with the gift of a skein of yarn and a this will be knit into whatever sock you want. She excitedly chose a pair of skews, that I knitted like a fiend on, due tot the fact that they knit up pretty quickly, and I gave them back to her.

Now fast forward 2 years and those socks are faded and well loved, but I thought it would be a good time to replace them since she will be moving for a little while to a different part of the world. So again I made a sneaky plan, with the help from the staff at the LYS. I grabbed the yarn for the socks and had them out it behind the counter. We looked like we were talking but really she was ringing me up and then after I went over with a project bag to show her what I was working on and to get the yarn secretly over to my bag so the recipient wouldn’t see.

I cast on and knit on them as much as I could, having school and work the amount of time that I knit was extremely limited but I pushed through it. And then it was Friday, the last day I would see her in a while. The socks were almost done. I just had the short rows at the top of he sock to complete along with the ribbing. At lunch I showed her the socks that she knew she was getting and then I pulled out the secret pair. She was surprised and said I thought you were making those for yourself. I told her nope, I wanted to replace the other ones that you have almost worn out.

We all went back to the yarn shop and I finished the socks and fixed a mistake I made in the other pair.
The ones that she expected were the Skew Socks that are quite interesting to knit and the first of the socks from the book that I decided to knit. The yarn she gave me to knit then out of was Canon Hand Dyes in the color Cheshire Cat.

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The other socks that I made are one if my favorites to knit Skew socks. The yarn I used was Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Birthday Cake. They are vibrant and colorful, I have a second skein for me cause I want socks out of it.

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She is now in new Zealand and we are all sad to have her not here but it will bd good for her. And now she has a total of 4 pairs of socks that I knit for her. So she should be set for a bit longer.

We are going to need a bigger blocking area

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You know you are going to have a fun interesting time blocking something when you have to do a pre block check. What do I mean by that? Well generally I can eyeball how many blocking mats and space that will be required to block something. I can say, yes this sweater will take 8 mats because it’s for me and requires a bit more room. I have that spacial ability, which comes in handy sometimes. Though I admit driving with very little wiggle room still scared the living daylights out of me, but I digress. So for the most part. There is no need to plan my blocking, I just allocate some time and then just do it.

Here it is… the monstrous bit of knitting and wool…

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Leaves of grass proved to be slightly challenging in the way that on the needles it didn’t seem that big. Off the needles however you see just how massive it could be. Which the amount of blocking space I would need was unclear. So I did a pre-blocking check to see how many blocking mats I would need to block it and so I could make sure I out it in a place where I could block it and that it would finish blocking quickly. With the area cleared, I proceeded to soak the big bit of knitting.

I pinned out all of the tips of the shawl, trying to make sure not to make the circle an oval. Which you would be surprised to find out how hard that can be.  After a bit of time, concentration, and sweat (it was hot when I was blocking, which helped), the shawl was dry.  I pulled each pin out, hoping that it would stay the way it was…. And sure enough it was perfect.

I’m very happy with the result.  Just a fair warning school has started for me, so I apologize for the late post.  There will be some mini posts hopefully coming soon, once I can get everything going again.  As for the pictures of the finished shawl, you’ll just have to come back and see them.

Around and around

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If you’re like me, you know when a pattern has a firm hold on you. When you can’t or refuse to put it down because you just want to finish it. When you’re so close you can see the end is in sight, you feel that almost finished object rush. It makes your heart skip a beat and beat a little faster, while your hands feverishly work as fast as they can muster. You become so intent on finishing that no one wants to talk to you. And if they do they see your look and they will back away slowly. Currently I have that going on wither leaves of grass I started, which is going very well. The edging has been taking shape around the shawl/blanket, just repeating the edging chart for what may seem like miles.

The edging chart isn’t very long, I can do a repeat in 15-20 minutes no problem, unless I get distracted. Which you would think wouldn’t happen that often, but when the pattern just repeats as much as this does your kind can wander. When I hit that middle of the round marker, I stood up and declared I was halfway done with the edging. Luckily I was around other knitters when this happened they completely understood. I knew I was probably behind the others in the knit against but I had to press on.

I knit like a fiend, knitting those repeats as fast as I could manage. Back and forth working the rows and consuming stitches off of the body of the shawl/blanket. With each repeat I could see how big the actual thing was. Which I knew it was going to be big blocked, but what I didn’t realize is that unblocked mine would be huge. Near the end I found out that I could use it as a blanket that could cover me from feet to mid stomach, no stretching…. But I’m jumping ahead slightly. So then one of the other knitters came in and we looked at each other and asked where the other was. She was 9 repeats away from the end of the shawl. 9 repeats… I was about 30 repeats away from the end of mine, 21 repeats difference when the week before I was ahead. The knitters around the table asked how this could happen and I said work/life got in the way, which it did.

So I knew there was no way I would be the first to finish but I wouldn’t be the last, so I kept going. About 5-9 repeats left I looked at the remaining ball of yarn and my heart dropped, I didn’t have enough to finish. I panicked, thought I could knit faster, so that I would be fine before the ball could run out (don’t deny that you haven’t done that before). I looked on a few online stores and only one had it in stock, but definitely would stand out. No one on Ravelry had a full skein they were willing to part with. So I figured I better buy it and hold off on knitting the rest it till then so I pull blend. Then I thought I might as well knit as much as I could until I needed more.

I pressed on and watch the ball carefully, I noticed that each repeat didn’t consume as much yarn as I thought. I kept going, still watching, and I ended up on my last repeat, I stared at the ball and thought, I have enough to finish and a bit left over. Why was I panicking so much? I think I would have been devastated if I spent the amount of time I did and how fast I tried to get this done, to come up short. I had over the number of yardage required and it proved that I shouldn’t have doubted myself.

The last repeat is complete, now it just needs the Kitchener of the beginning and end of the edging, ends woven in, then the blocking of this massive thing. I’m wondering what it will look like when it gets blocked or how but it’s going to be…..

Through the leaves

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You never realize how much knitting something takes until you actually get to it. I know that sounds very intuitive, but for some reason I thought that Leaves of Grass would be such a quick knit. That’s how it started anyway, it was fast, quick, fairly straight forward, but now it’s become a beast of knitting. I just didn’t think ahead enough for when it got to the largest stitch count, I thought “Oh it will knit up in no time at all.” At the ending 580 stitches in a lace pattern that is the largest in the whole shawl/blanket, I must have turned off the part of the brain that says “this will take longer then you think.” I was blinded by the knit against, it creates that rush to make you want to knit things super quickly, and you believe you can knit them faster then you actually can. I know that now while I’m trying to churn out the last repeat of Chart D. This will be perfect when it’s done, a night light weight blanket for me, since anything thicker and I would roast in a few seconds.

There was no Tour De Fleece for me this year, for a lot of reasons. It was right before my Portland trip and I would be there in the middle of it. I had a lot of knitting that needed to get done so spinning had to go to the way side. And I’ve been working on fixing an issue that I have with one of my designs that should have been a quick follow what I wrote. Speaking of Portland, here’s the yarn I told you I would take pictures of.

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That’s one of the reasons I’ve been so absent here, the yarn which I bought for it a year ago and started the design on, was discontinued. I was working it in Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in the color way Mineral, which was just perfect for the design. Now that the yarn was discontinued by Madelinetosh I had to find some replacement and fast. I have a model lined up, but she is leaving in September, so it would have to be done before then. I’ve looked at lots of possibilities, commercial yarn, indie dyers, etc, but with no avail. I have finally found a substitute that will hopefully not be discontinued in the next month of so. It shouldn’t since it was just released this year, so here’s hoping.

When things just happen

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I have been back home for a while now and I have not been posting anything. I appologize, my mind is still in Portland right now. The city for me is very captivating, great public transit, ways to feel like you’re out of the city, great food, the list could go on and on. That’s not the point, the point is I’ve been distracted and I should have posted before now.

On the trip I did a little bit of knitting, not as much as I could have but oh well. I did go to my favorite knitting store while there, Knit Purl. Which I was surprisingly very restrained while there, once of my friends asked if I was feeling well… I avoided buying any Tosh, which for me is a feat itself. I was looking at getting some of the Brooklyn Tweed yarns in Long Johns, but they didn’t have enough in loft or shelter for what I wanted. I did get a sweater quantity in artifact. And I picked up a skein from a local dyer, Blissful knits, in a merino cashmere nylon yarn. I’ll have pictures of the yarn to come.

Since I have been back I have knitted on a few things, but one thing did get finished right in time for my addendum deadline. The color affection is done, blocked, and just need some ends woven in. It’s so light and airy, the colors subtle but perfect for me. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, now I just need to actually wear it. Those pictures will happen a little later too.

Finally, I know most know what a knit a long is, but most have not heard of what a knit against is. It’s the same thing as a knit against, but it’s a friendly competition between a group of knitters making the same project. The goal is to finish before everyone else has. This first started with a Romi Hill shawl and since then we have done a few of them (knit againsts and her shawls). Right now there are 3 of us working on the leaves of grass shawl by Mr. Brooklyn Tweed.

I must get back to my knitting, have to try to get ahead.

To travel or to travel

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The first thing I always think about is what knitting am I brining. It’s something that all of us face. I think about it, go through my queue, stash, design ideas, and still I find it difficult to figure out what I want to bring. So many things that I want to bring with me but some if them aren’t conducive to traveling at all. I have shawls I want to knit, but lace or beads probably not a good idea. That sweater that needs just sleeves, yeah you could but you have to bring so many balls of yarn for that. Or what about that design I have been working of or the past year, probably not, you shouldn’t need to think while on vacation like that.

So there enters that age old question for traveling with your knitting, what should I bring? So I went again through the stash and looked and remember that yarn I got a few weeks back, I figured skews would be a good idea since they’re fairly straight forward and they’re quite fast too. Not so fast that it wouldn’t keep me for a few days but not so slow that if they weren’t close to being done when I come back that I wouldn’t pick them up again. So those got cast on and I’m pleased how they’re going.

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I also found a pattern that I wanted to do but just needed to find the right yarn. So in stash I pulled out yarn I bought the last time I was in Portland, so Madelinetosh Merino Light in Terre Verte. It’s becoming an iron maiden, and it’s quiet fun to knit so far.

It’s now day 3 of the trip and I have been doing some knitting, but there’s too much to do and not enough time. I’ll be happy to have a sock and a 1/4 of as shawl.

Tour de Fleece…woops

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Time seems like it’s just flying by these days.  When I think to myself, oh yeah I’ll work on that one thing in a little bit and that little bit turns out to be a few days later, it’s mind boggling.  I’ve been working on a few blog posts, none of them actually got published for one reason or another, so this is a fresh one.  I haven’t said that much about my knitting so I should have a bit to talk about with this post.  Lets get started shall we?

First off the wedding shawl is nearing completion, I have about 1.5 repeats of one chart and the final chart to do, weave in the ends, block, and it’s done.  Then I just have to set up a time to drop it off with it’s new owner, who I think is very excited to see what it’s going to look like.  She saw the yarn and approved of it, but I didn’t show her what it will look like once it’s knit up.  I think it should be a good surprise when she finally sees it.  I’m so close to finishing, yet so far from actually working on it.  I did quite a bit on Friday, but after that I just couldn’t work on it anymore.  That much lace in such a concentrated sitting made me pick up something else that I just recently started.
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The LYS I go to just got in more of some gorgeous yarn from a new company for the store.  The only reason they got this line of yarn from the company is because one of my knitting friends did a special order for some of it, so the owner decided to start carrying it.  It’s pure silk, one of my weaknesses, aren’t you surprised?   But I thought to myself, no I shouldn’t be buying any new yarn, I don’t have yardage to support this.  I knew I wanted it, but decided I couldn’t add it in as an exception.  There was another idea that I had, it was bold and dangerous, but after holding the yarn for a day and having it torture my thoughts Friday night, I bought it Saturday (this is all last week mind you).  The addendum I added to the Social Pressure Experiement (and yes I know I’m using a fancy word) is that I must finish the project within 1 month of the purchase otherwise I would have to give up tripple the amount of yardage purchased.   I could of course subtract yardage earned to help with it once it is out of the “contract” if you will.  But tripple the yardage, I figured that is just enough to make me really think about it.  I bought it, it’s gorgous, it’s Ito Yarns and is called Kinu which is a gorgeous pure silk.  I bought enough to do a third  color affection, but this time I will be keeping this one for me.  I hopefully will be able to actually wear this one.

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Right now I’m waiting near the door waiting for my blocking mats to come in. I had to check to make sure if I needed more of them and after only getting 45% of the shawl to fit on the ones that I do have I knew I needed more. Lets hope it comes soon.

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