Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I'm here! With pictures! Shall we go from least complete to most complete? Because that means I get to show you my new yarn first!

I went to the Homespun Yarn Party on Sunday and boy, what a madhouse! Confession time...I don't like crowds. I'm not exactly claustrophobic or anything, but I'm just not in to having to muscle my way through something. 99% of the time if I look at a booth or a store or what have you and it's clogged with people, I'll just walk away. So when we walked in and I looked around at the gobs of people crowding around the vendor booths - I almost wanted to go home. Eventually, though, we worked out a general system, were we sort of orbited around. Almost every booth had lulls, so when we passed one that didn't look too crowded, I popped in, took a look around, and left. But, I have to say I probably would have bought more if the idea of standing crammed together waiting for the register didn't turn me off so badly.

Well, I'm on a budget, so it's good that I didn't spend much. I wanted to take the entire Neighborhood Fiber Company booth home with me, but I stuck to these:



Capital Luxury Sock in Palisades (blue) and Kalorama Circle (pink). I like the pink one because it makes me think of cherry blossom season. There were a bunch of colors I coveted deeply, and I might have bought a couple more if money weren't so tight and the yardage weren't so short - only 375 yards per skein. This 80/10/10 blend (wool/cashmere/nylon) is one of my favorite yarns to work with but it is pretty darn pricey. I guess the yardage is pretty standard for this yarn, though, my beloved HM Casbah is in the same range. Just a little tight for a shawl, though, and I think the pink one especially would make such a lovely shawl. The blue one I am thinking may be destined for mansocks. We'll see - he has big feet and I don't want to run short.

This skein of Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock will make a stunning Sakaki, I'm thinking. Red is a color that protects from illness and demons in Japanese culture, so it seems quite appropriate for the shawl.


There is so much color depth in that skein and it is so rich and beautiful in real life. As stunning as the picture is, it doesn't do it justice at all.

I suffered from serious project ADD this weekend, some of it stemming from laziness and some from disorganization. I finally worked my shawl design charts out last week (I was having some problems), so Saturday, I started out working on my shawl design swatch and I got through the first chart, but then I couldn’t find my printout of the other two charts. Reprinting it would have meant carrying my big laptop from upstairs (because my files are in Word, and the netbook doesn't have Word installed) to the printer which is downstairs, and I decided...NEXT! I picked up my second Taygete and worked on that for a while. I ran out of yarn on my CC, but I thought I had enough of the MC that I didn't need to wind any more of that. So I wound the CC and not more than fifteen or twenty minutes later, I ran out of MC. Now, I could have just gone ahead and wound the second skein while I was up there, but noooo, I didn't, so rather than go back upstairs and wind another ball of yarn, I decided...NEXT! I started working on Spanish Moss. I did that for a little while, but there is so far left to go on that, and frankly I'm having a little trouble getting the yarn to slide across my needles (my beautiful new signature needles! why have you abandoned me? Because I am using the wrong size and refuse to admit it, that's why. Despite the tightness of my knitting and that the recommended needle size is a 5...I kind of thing I may need to go to a 3 for this yarn. which means ripping out what I've done so far. Apparently I would rather write a paragraph of parenthetical statements than plainly admit that I need to do that). My charity shawl was so close to finished, and I loathed the idea of having it sit there staring at me for another day, so I picked up that instead. And, in the process of all this switching around, I picked up at least three other projects but either couldn’t find the needles or couldn’t find the pattern pages. Organizational fail, for sure. So, end results?

My second Taygete (done in Mirasol Tupa) is in excellent shape. I finished Chart A of the lace last night, so I'm hoping I can maybe finish it this weekend, since I am anticipating the release of Asterope very soon (finished test knits are popping up on the Rav page), and Sakaki as soon as Romi can get it ready. I decided after the fact to switch my contrast colors and main colors, which means I had to fudge the end tip of the shawl so that I had the right color with which to pick up stitches, but I think it was the right call. The turquoise was so overwhelming before, and I think the lace is helping to bring out the darker color a little more. Of course, it doesn't show in this picture. But I think it will in the finished product.


I also finished the charity shawl I have been knitting for my shawl ministry group. It still needs to be blocked, which will be an interesting experience for me since I have never blocked acrylic before. This is a wool-microfiber blend and I'm honestly not 100% sure how to approach it. The ends will need to be woven in as well, and there are kind of a lot. I'm trying not to think of that part. I loathe weaving in ends.



I finally feel as though I have conquered my WIP list, a little bit. I cheated a little - put some projects in hibernation, etc. As far as lace goes, I have the Taygete, Spanish Moss, and Galadriel's mirror. Taygete will be finished soon. Spanish Moss and Galadriel's Mirror will still be around for quite a while, I expect. I still have the bulky weight Jared Flood blanket, Umaro (no progress at all), the scarf that's part of the 3 part manly set (I thought I was almost done, but he asked me to put another foot on it, because he does not love me at all, but since he buys me yarn, I agreed, even though I think that having a scarf taller than you are is silly), and a couple of pairs of socks in progress (which would get more play if it wasn't for the stupid scarf). I don't think that's terribly unreasonable.

Of course, when you add Sakaki and Asterope to the list, not to mention the April mystery shawl from the ZYG club, and my Alaska still won't be too bad, right? Sakaki and Asterope will likely go pretty quickly, I'm still not ready to start my Alaska shawl juuuuust yet (must swatch), and I'll hopefully have Taygete finished not too much before those come out, so the net effect won't be horrible, I hope.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bad Blogger

My dear blogees, I am afraid the blog will be a little late this week due to terrible overscheduling and a madness to finish a project that had become so mind-numbing, and was yet so close to completion, that I couldn't stand to let it go unfinished, haunting me, for one more day. Happily, I finished said shawl last night. Unhappily, it was so late by that time that I staggered to bed without taking the bevy of photographs that I needed in order to blog all the stuff that I've been up to. Hopefully, the blog will return tomorrow with all the photographic goodness you actually came here to see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On a roll

I finished Fiori this weekend! As usual, FO pictures will come at the end of this post, but I'm feeling pretty good. This is shawl number 4 for the 11 in 2011 challenge, which makes me feel like I'm ahead of the game. I've been aiming to finish about one shawl per month to make the goal, and this is the second one I've finished this month, so I have a little bit of a buffer now. I'm not resting on my laurels, though. I know myself well enough to fully expect I will need that buffer before this whole shebang is over. But, I am nearly done with the Prayers of Love shawl I was working on for my charity knitting group, and I'm at the halfway point of the second Taygete shawl I was working on, the blue one made of the souvenir yarn. I think I may try to finish the Prayers shawl this week, and though it's made from a worsted weight yarn, I am well over the minimum yardage requirement at this point so it will count towards the challenge.

Meanwhile, with Fiori off the needles, I finally cast on for the January Pins & Lace pattern, Spanish Moss.


The yarn is Yarn Chef Spun Sugar in Wild Sage. It's really beautiful stuff. I couldn't find my crochet cotton so I used some leftover yarn from my Taygete to do the provisional cast on, and it goes so nicely with the Wild Sage! I've only got about two and a half repeats done out of 28, but I keep stopping to admire it. I know, I know, I always say I won't knit things with 8 billion repeats, but I can't help it. It's pretty. And you know how I like to knit rectangles after a long stretch of knitting huge things.

This also has the honor of being the first project I knit on my new Signature Needles. They were a valentine's day gift and I haven't had the chance to use them much, since I didn't want to change needles on anything in mid-project. I really enjoy working with them. I have the stiletto tips and while I was thrilled about the pointiness, I was a bit worried the longer taper was going to make my knitting even tighter (trust me, I do not need help knitting tightly). But, because of the way I knit I don't think it's actually going to be much of a problem. My stitches are definitely falling securely on the body of the needle, and not just on the tip.

My poor Sea Turtles shawl design has really been languishing. I still plan to get to it, I just got stalled a bit with some road blocks and really, I am feeling so satisfied with all my other projects that it may just take me a little while to get back around to it.

I also have some new deadlines to worry about.


We're going on vacation to Alaska in May, and I'm so excited about it. I've wanted to go to Alaska for ages and I'm really thrilled to finally be getting the chance to go. Since I was so happy with my Yellowstone Shawl project, I decided I needed some vacation knitting for Alaska as well so I could end up with similar memories.

The four yarns above will become my Alaska shawl. I went for Handmaiden/Fleece artist yarns again, but this time I got FA Merino 2/6 instead of the Handmaiden Casbah. I love the Casbah but it is pretty pricey and I don't want to spend all my trip money before I even get there. From left to right the colorways are Aurora, Forest, Glacier, and Ocean.

For the pattern, I plan to use the North Star motif from Arctic Lace as the center panel for a sort of Faroese shape. I'm planning to make the whole thing in garter stitch, so I have to swatch the motif and see if I like it in garter stitch, or if I'm going to have to change my plan and either make the center panel in stockinette, or do the whole shawl in stockinette. I liked having nothing but garter stitch to knit for the Yellowstone shawl because it meant I could knit away without having to look at what I was doing, so even though I was knitting through the whole trip, I didn't miss anything. I was also able to knit while doing my pre-trip reading, which I plan to do again.

I'm complicating things a little on this shawl by adding in this north star motif, but I think it's worth it. The center panel won't be all that wide, so I won't have to pay attention for very long at a time. There's also a large version and a smaller version of the motif, so I will need to see which one I prefer for this project. If possible I think it would be awesome to get some fingering weight quiviut to edge the shawl with, but that may be too much to ask. We'll see.

I'm not sure exactly when I'll get started on that. I'll probably do the swatching fairly soon, but I'm going to wait until April at least to get started on the shawl proper. I want to have plenty of knitting still to do when we go on our trip, which won't be until towards the end of May.

And now, may I present, Fiori.


Someone asked me on Ravelry whether the yarn was truly as golden as it looks in the picture. I think it is, and it isn't - if you look at the preblocking picture, it's definitely yellow.


But, stretched out and with the light from the flash reflected off it, it certainly does look gold. I'm expecting the end result to be a sort of combination of the two - it will be more golden than in its unblocked picture since it will be more sheer, but only where the light hits it at the right angle will it really look as gold as it does in the picture.


Happy sigh. It will make a lovely spring shawl, if only spring would make up its mind to hurry up and get here! I'm already thinking through my wardrobe to figure out what I can wear under it.


The end result is about six feet wide and maybe a little over 3 feet tall.


I've wanted to make this shawl for ages, it seems like, and the end result has surely been worth the wait! I can't wait to unpin it and see how it looks up off my drab grey blocking mats. They don't seem to play nice with the camera, so I will definitely be back with more pictures when it's dry and unpinned.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I planned to finish my charity shawl on Friday night.

Still not done, although it is much farther along than this picture shows. Somehow it got left out of my usual Sunday night photoshoot. There are now 7 hearts in the spine panel, leaving me with only the edging chart to do - one last row of hearts that goes across the entire bottomof the shawl as well as the spine. It's something along the lines of 30 rows. The group meets tomorrow, which means that if I really cranked tonight, I might be able to complete it - but I probably wouldn't have time for blocking & finishing. I feel a little bad, because I probalby could have finished it over the weekend if I'd tried, but - I had other plans. Not that those plans turned out to matter.

You see, I planned to finish Fiori this weekend, but instead I spent a large amount of time on Saturday working on this.



This is a second Taygete that I'm knitting out of Mirasol Tupa in Sapphire and Viridian. The rows on Fiori are so long, that I became convinced that my quest to finish it this weekend was futile, which depressed me and made me avoid it. Even though I have a billion things I want to knit and even though I have been working so hard to get some things off the needles, I hauled off and cast on anyway, and then I just couldn't stop. Romi provides a percentage system in the pattern for sizing, making it easy to sub yarn weights. Tupa is a DK weight and I'm knitting it on size 6 needles because - well, those were the only ones I could find. I may try to switch up at the lace section but for the garter the sixes are working fine. As of this picture, I have about 10 more grams to use up before I switch to the decrease side. I may use a little less, just to be safe, but I'm not too worried. I'm more concerned about the colors. This is souvenir yarn I bought at the beach during our vacation last October, and I had wanted to use the turquoise (it's officially sapphire but it looks turquoise to me) as the main color, but the viridian has been so totally overwhelmed by the turquoise, that I think I'm going to do the lace in the viridian in an effort to balance things out. The viridian is a weird color - depending on the light, it looks dark blue, grey, or purple. I love this about it and want it to show up more and I think using it for the lace will really help. Using the turqouise for the picot may bring it back into the limelight somewhat, but I don't think I'll mind. I am still, after all, shooting for a brighter shawl than the last one.

Sunday, I reconciled with Fiori and got this far.


This is about halfway through chart H (maybe just a bit shy of it - I can't remember). I'm impressed that I got so far and it makes me kind of annoyed that I gave up so easily on Saturday. I might not have FINISHED if I had kept working on Saturday, but I probably would have got through chart H and then there's only one chart to go. Sadly, I'm a bit booked up this week, but I fully expect to be done with this next weekend. (Wait. What was that. Did anyone else hear the sound of doom at those words?)

I'm exicted, Fiori is a big shawl and I will feel so accomplished to be finished with it. It's so beautiful, and in such a springy color, that I'm just going to die of happiness when it's done. The Man has instructions as to how to distribute my stash, just in case.

I planned to share my blocked Taygete earlier this week, but though I blocked it, I didn't get around to photographing it until yesterday.


It's 7 feet in wingspan, and something like two feet along the spine.


This caused me some issues in photographing it. It was a challenge to get all of it in the frame without showing too much of my messy house. The ant trap is a seasonal feature. This is right about the time they show up every spring, and now that I have no pets to worry about, I can put out the traps with impunity. They smell like peanut butter. Ella persisted in finding them even when I wedged them under the couch to try and keep them out of her reach. I had to resort to squashing every ant I saw and let me tell you, that is a time-consuming process and not at all good for one's shoes. I tried using black pepper once, but that didn't end well. It worked okay, but cleaning it up later was a total disaster.

But I digress.



The observant among you may note that this stitch pattern is the same one I showed in my sea turtle swatch before.


Clearly Romi and I are soulmates.


Many thanks to The Man for his photographic assistance. I assure you, I am just as tired as I look in these photos. I didn't do much else for the rest of the day. DST is not my friend.



Monday, March 7, 2011


I located the little towel from my last post and finished it.


It's the broken checkerboard pattern from the Vogue Knitting lace stitchionary with the daisy chain edging from the same book.


When I saw how much yarn I had left I was tempted to continue knitting it, but I just finished out the repeat I was on, added the edging, and put the rest of the yarn aside. I might have enough to make a small washcloth to go with it. But I feel better being able to mark this project as completed!

I finished Taygete. That's shawl #3 for 11 in 2011! It needs blocking, which I didn't get around to this weekend, but it's done done done.




Sorry, my fingernail polish clashes with the shawl terribly, doesn't it! It's not that neon in person, I promise, and it's more hot pink than orange (the polish, not the shawl, though the shawl is also not orange).

I moaned about the picot border but it was actually kind of fun, and it's easy to see your progress, which I like. Plus there are lots of little small goals to achieve - okay, I've made it to the center point! Okay, I've made it to the next corner! All that's left is the top edge! I left my safety pin markers in the center stitch on both the point and the long edge, so I was able to note when I passed the halfway mark of the top edge as well. It took me The Devil Wears Prada to get the first two sides done and then I finished the third while watching some episodes of Big Cat Diary. Love that show - if you have Netflix it's available on Instant Play.

I have been very faithful to David's scarf as my lunch and travel knitting, so progress is being made there too.

It's about 3 feet long and stalled, since I left it somewhere on Thursday and will have to go back for it.

I spent most of my knitting time working on the long neglected Fiori.


I am unreasonably amused by the egg crate texture on the back of the shawl right now.


Hee hee.

I'm halfway through my fourth repeat of Chart E. The pattern calls for 5 repeats, but I think I'm going to stop at 4. I like my shawls generously sized but the photos I have seen of completed Fiori's make me think I will be perfectly fine with 4 repeats. I'm also using less yarn than the pattern calls for, so that gives me extra incentive to stop early. I almost never knit things to the smaller options - given the choice between shawlette and shawl I feel like a wuss if I don't go for shawl - but I'm going to grit my teeth and make an exception this time. I'm hoping I can finish the last half of this repeat tonight so that I can go on to the next one and hopefully have something more interesting to show this time.

I feel quite virtuous, having stuck to my commitment to get some WIPs off the list before casting on for the sixteen million other things I want to knit. Once Fiori is finished I think I will be justified in casting on for Spanish Moss, which I would really like to get moving on before the April pattern comes out!!

The one thing I have not made any progress on, however, is my Sea Turtle Shawl design. I worked out the charts for the triangle patterns several weeks ago but I just haven't wanted to knit it. I've been a little frustrated with the yarn I had and so I haven't done my triangular swatch.

But, WEBS had a sale on Jaggerspun Zephyr this week and I got this.


It's, The label says copper, but yeah - I pointed it out to David while it was lying on the ottoman amongst a pile of other yarn and he said, "The orange one?"

I keep telling myself this is okay because a) if you really screw with your camera filters sand is almost orange, right? okay, in the desert, not in the ocean, which is where turtles live, BUT IT'S STILL SAND OKAY b) Zephyr is a really common yarn that isn't hard to find and can be found at an economical price, so if I put the pattern out for sale eventually as I hope to do, people will not go crazy looking for this yarn c) it was on sale so I was able to get enough that I can comfortably swatch the yarn AND knit the shawl without worrying about running out of yarn.

But it is not really okay. I don't like it for this shawl (although I think it would make a great Tibetan Clouds shawl, so it won't go to waste at all). I AM going to use it to swatch, though, so I can decide if I like Zephyr for this project, and if I do I will look at maybe Mushroom or Suede instead.

It may be a little silly to fret this much about it, but I don't want to hate knitting the design because I don't care for the color, so I'd rather do what it takes to make sure I like it.

The non-lace items on my WIP list haven't gotten much love, I'm afraid, and they're all kind of a long way from completion so I don't have as much 'finish it up' motivation. I do think I need to find them all and put them where I can get to them easily so I can work on them when the mood strikes me. I have the Umaro blanket next to my bed and I'm working a row or two on it in the evenings, after I go upstairs but before I really settle down to sleep. I bet if I really put my mind to it I could finish the Simone sweater in a couple of weeks of faithful knitting, but that would mean putting down the lace. DON'T TAKE MY LACE NOOO. Besides...the weather is warming up and I probably won't get to wear it this year at this point. No need to hurry.

I still have Galadriel's mirror sitting here, barely started, and I'm undecided as to what to do about that. Should that be my priority when I finish Fiori? Or should I go ahead and get started on the In Dreams mystery shawl? I'm now three very heavily beaded clues behind. I've been looking at spoiler pictures and they're all absolutely stunning (you can check out Pink Lemon Knits, she's working on one) but oi...the beads.

Really, these two are not mutually exclusive, one being beaded and laceweight and the other one being nonbeaded and fingering weight, so I'm comfortable working both of them at once. I'll have Spanish Moss as my nonbeaded easy peasy laceweight shawl and between the three of them I should have my lace knitting bases covered, but not overwhelmed.

Of course, there is Asterope, the next installment in the 7 Small Shawls book, but those have been such fun, speedy knits, I'm not really worried about it. When it comes out I will drop everything I'm working on like a hot rock, knit merrily through it with the rest of the Rominettes on the Rav board, and then go back to what I was doing as if nothing happened.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Of a Tuesday

I always try to post on Mondays because I usually make the most progress over the weekend, but I just needed an extra day to recover from my marathon of a weekend. Lots going on, not all of it knitting related. I've noticed lots of familiar faces from the Romi Designs Rav Group showing up on the blog - hi guys!! Much love to all my readers. It makes my day when comments pop up. For a long time it felt like I was just talking to the ether, and now there are real people out there!

But that's not what you came here for, right? On to the actual content.

I met Romi!!!!!


I am thrilled to report that she is as sweet and intelligent in person as she is on the internet. I took Romi's Shapely Shawl class on Saturday morning at Eleganza Yarn's Indie Artist Celebration. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, and I can't wait to have a few minutes to study the handout, too. It has a list of additional resources that I will be excited to check out. If I ever manage to get my Sea Turtle Shawl designed, then I do plan to look at some of these other shapes for any future designs. I loved that Romi does not limit herself rigidly to working only with stitch patterns that fit into what she wants to do - if the shape and stitch pattern don't necessarily work together, she fixes it so that they do. I hope I have that kind of confidence some day. I will never have that kind of math skill, but I have Resources. Which is to say, I will make my man do the math for me, or at least check that I did mine correctly. I COULD figure it out eventually on my own (it's not that the little wimmins cain't handle them big numbers), but as he likes math and I don't, it works out just fine this way.

I also met lots of nifty people, some of whom I already knew from the Rav boards, and some that I didn't know at all. It was tons of fun. However, I am exactly as tired as I look in that picture. It had been a long week and Saturday was an early start. Totally worth it, though.

There was a market with Indie artists, with a large variety of stuff available (but only a few things I was really interested in - I'm picky). I bought yarn. There should be a photo here, but I forgot. That happened a lot this weekend. I carted my heavy camera around all day and I think I used it...once. If that. I bought a skein of yarn in a colorway called Minister of Magic, and it is one of the sparkly yarns with silver in it that I have seen used so beautifully elsewhere. I think, after some searching, that it was from Shelby B's Designs.

I also bought a skein of sock yarn from Wild Hare in colors I never buy. It's sort of a pinky yellow orange melon mix. It looks delicious, it makes me think of pink lemonade and other yummy summer drinks (Jeanne, I want you to know that my selection of this skein is entirely your fault). I feel like I have been in a color rut lately, working mostly with dark and muted colors, so I am trying to get a little bit out of my comfort zone and get some brighter tones to mix in. I think it's the influence of February. I'm tired of winter wet and dreariness and as beautiful as my yarns are, they are just not lightening my mood enough. This skein is definitely out of my comfort zone but it made me giggle, so into my bag it went.

I really wavered on a couple of other things but my yarn budget is limited (my car tires didn't pass inspection and unexpectedly had to be replaced, and I wept) and I don't really *need* anything at the moment, so I tried to be restrained.

I cast on Bitterroot in Romi's class with a mohair blend yarn from Kid Hollow Farms that I bought at MD Sheep and Wool a few years ago, but I didn't get very far before I decided that I just wasn't feeling it. I love the Bitterroot design and it's been on my 'to-knit' list for ages, but I just didn't like it in the yarn, and to be honest I liked Romi's sportweight sample so much I am thinking about trying it in something heavier. I ended up putting it away and pulling out Taygete to work some more on it.

I've been working pretty faithfully on Taygete. You see, there's this thing about knitting - when you work on something, it gets finished. Since I'm feeling a little bit of WIP overload, I'm concentrating on finishing some things, which means working on one thing at a time until it's checked off the list. It's been really easy with this project since it's so much fun (I know, I know, there were mistakes, there was ripping, there was fudging, but I'm still having fun). Last night I realized when I went to take a picture of my progress that I had made a slight tactical error. I finished the lace portion on Sunday, and then I spent yesterday picking up the stitches around the edge. The problem is, I didn't take a picture before I started doing that, and now that I have the edges all picked up and I am, essentially, working in the round, it's impossible to unscrunch the things on my needles so that you can see what it actually looks like.


Oops. I guess you will have to wait for the grand reveal when the whole thing is done. All I have to do is the picot bind off.


Yeah...that might take a while. This will be my third shawl for 2011. I have sort of had the mindset that I need to finish one shawl per month in order to make the 11 in 2011 goal (that leaves me a little wiggle room at the end of the year), so I feel quite ahead to have the March shawl finished this early (I mean, it's not done yet, but hopefully it will be done by the end of this week.

I plan to focus on Fiori next in my effort to reduce my WIP numbers. Although it has not escaped my attention that Spanish Moss would be a much faster knit...

I have been a little obsessed with Alaska lately, I would dearly love to visit there, and at the beginning of the year I got an Alaska calendar to hang on the cube in my office. For the last month I've been looking at this:

And now today, I turned over the March page, and I'm looking at this.

Ahhhhhh...much better. (The first picture is Barry Glacier in Prince William Sound, the second is from Harbor Mountain in Sitka Sound.)

Spring is coming (soon to be followed by the oh please kill me now heat of summer, but I'm still looking forward to spring, however brief its visit).