Saturday, September 20, 2014

Liken MKAL - Clue 2 Done

I finally finished up Clue 2 today, just in time for Clue 4 to come out.  I don't mind being in the slow lane.  I have discovered that I am not as big a fan of MKALs as I used to be - I like being able to make design decisions with full knowledge of the pattern.  On the other hand, I have discovered that I very much enjoy being a test knitter.  Here is a close up so you can see the beads.
They are Berry-lined Topaz.  I like the colors of the yarn and the beads, but they do make a rather fanciful lichen.  I really love some of the other color combinations that folks have come up with and am really looking forward to knitting a second one in the Serenity 20 yarn that I pulled from my stash.

Project:  Liken MKAL by Sivia Harding
Yarn:  Abstract Fibers O'Keefe in Pearl, Smitten and Burnside Br
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Autumn Dress - 3 skeins done

I finished up the third skein this morning.  Actually, it is skein 4 in the set because I started with skein 6.  I have about 50 more rows of lace work to do and then I will be on the bodice.  Based upon my yarn usage, this skein should get me through the lace work and into the bodice.

Project:  Alita Dress by Adrienne Larsen from Knitter's Magazine 116, Fall 2014
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Autumn for Ana
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fred Update

I had a major break through with Fred last week.  Since we found him on our doorstep a little over a year ago he has been a sweet boy, affectionate, purring, but he didn't come looking for attention.  He would sleep in the spot that I had set up for him on the daybed, and sometimes I would catch him looking at me as if he wanted to come over and get some love but he was afraid to.  And when I would reach out to pet him he would turn away, almost shying away.  It was pretty heartbreaking to see that reaction.  It made me wonder about his past treatment.  I kept at it, giving him scritches and kisses and nuzzling him and he has really started to respond.  He actually has started to arch his back when you stroke him instead of going the other way.  Then last week he came over to me while I was sitting on the daybed and he curled up next to me and he has been doing that consistently ever since.  And this past Tuesday I was out in the kitchen looking at a recipe and I felt a bump against my leg and there was Fred.  He had head butted me!  And he is finally understanding and believing me when I pat the bed beside me or pat my chest.  This evening he was looking at me sitting on the day bed and I patted the bed beside me and up he came up using a different path then he usually does and once he got up on the bed he almost got up on my chest.  I could see that he wanted to but didn't quite have the nerve so I picked him up and he lay curled on my chest purring up a storm.  He's curled up next to me right now, and when I'm gone during the day he curls up in my spot (see the photo above).  He is such a sweet boy, I really don't understand how someone could have just thrown him away.  I'm so glad that he found us.

He and Jasmine are getting along pretty well too.  He's still a little afraid of her, but she has gotten pretty curious about him and twice this week I have had book end kitties while I've been sitting on the day bed - one curled up on each side of me and both aware that the other was there, but totally cool with it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Liken MKAL - Clue 1

I decided to take a break from my Autumn Dress and finish up clue 1 of the Liken MKAL.  This is a Sivia Harding MKAL and the design is inspired by a Shelf Lichen that she saw on San Juan Island.  Three color kits of Abstract Fiber yarn were created and I picked this set.  The yarn is O'Keefe, 80% superwash merino and 20% silk.
Not very lichen like, but colors I'm a sucker for - Pearl, Smitten (the purple) and Burnside Br (the variegated).  While I was working the first clue it occurred to me that I had some colors in my stash that would make a nice combination.
This is Serenity 20 from Zen Yarn Garden, one of my favorite fingering yarns.  It is 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon.  The colors, from left to right are:  Divinity, Cherry Garcia and Chestnut.  I'm not going to start a second shawl, though, until I finish the first one.  I have enough projects on my needles.

Project:  Liken MKAL by Sivia Harding
Yarn:  Abstract Fibers O'Keefe in Pearl, Smitten and Burnside Br
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Autumn Dress - 2 skeins done

I have finished up the second skein and started the third.  I would have been a skein further along except that last weekend I had to start all over again, ripping completely back. My first error was not catching an error in the set up row, which left me two stitches short in each section.  I figured that out about half way through the first skein and decided to handle it by just skipping one of the decreases.  Then I was merrily knitting along with the second skein when I realized that somewhere along the line my stitch count had gotten all messed up.  At some point (possibly more than once) I had randomly messed up my rows, decreasing on rest rows I think was the chief culprit.  I counted stitches in my sections and realized how messed up things were so I just ripped back.  When I got to skein 1 I cut the join and then cast on again, knitting while unraveling.  But now that first row is correct and so is everything else.  I'm counting on the lace rows and using a row counter, neither of which I was doing the first go around.  It just goes to show you what over confidence can lead to.  This time around I am also tightening up the decrease stitches, especially the centered double decrease (CDD).  I noticed when I was knitting the first go that sometimes the stitch just in front of the CDD was loose.  Now I give the yarn a little tug after working the CDD and the next stitch as well and things look better.


Project:  Alita Dress by Adrienne Larsen from Knitter's Magazine 116, Fall 2014
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Autumn for Ana
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Autumn Dress - 1 skein done

I have knitted up the first of my six skeins.  Well, actually it is the 6th skein in the order of the set.  I have already wound up the next skein and joined it to my first one.  If you look at the strand of yarn the runs to the ball you will see the join, a little thicker and with two ends.  Once it is knitted in you will hardly be able to see it, and after it is blocked all I have to do is snip those two ends, no further weaving in is needed.  It is a brilliant way to join lace and fingering weight yarn in shawls.  It is not my invention but was shared on The Unique Sheep's Mystery Lace KALs by Steph, also known as Seccotine on Ravelry.  The rest of the skirt is more of the same, with spaced decreases gradually reducing the circumference until you get to the bodice.  Easy mindless knitting, made fun by the changing colors of The Unique Sheep yarns and the magic that they put in to every skein.  I've said this before but I'll say it again, working with their yarn makes me happy in a way that no other yarn I've ever worked with does, not even the softest merino wool or silk or cashmere.  There is special magic in their work.

I didn't bother with a gauge swatch, but when I checked my gauge it is spot on.  Sometimes things just happen that way.  Serendipity.

Project:  Alita Dress by Adrienne Larsen from Knitter's Magazine 116, Fall 2014
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Autumn for Ana
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Serendipity

I don't know about you, but I get several knitting magazines, and their arrival is always a treat.  It is a chance to sit down with a cup of tea and flip through the pages to see if any of the patterns catch my fancy and sometimes I even read the articles.  If I see something I like I check the yarn for type and content (there are some weights and fiber contents that I tend to steer clear of) and if it is something I really think I am going to make I will even order the yarn.  This is one of the reasons that I have such an extensive stash, but the alternative is wanting to make the pattern later and the yarn being discontinued.  These days when I see a pattern I check my stash on Ravelry first because sometimes I have forgotten what I bought that yarn for and sometimes my tastes have changed and the original pattern that I bought the yarn for no longer appeals to me.  The saddest situation is when I look through the magazine and no patterns catch my fancy, fortunately that does not happen too often.

The latest Knitter's Magazine arrived today and there are several patterns that have caught my fancy, and one in particular has inspired me to dig some yarn out of my stash that has been languishing for at least 3 years waiting for the right project to come along.  I've pulled this yarn out a couple of times trying to find a project that would suit it, but have always been unsuccessful, until now.  This yarn, one of the first sets that I bought from Unique Sheep, is going to become the Alita Dress.  The pattern calls for lace weight (Schoppel-Wolle Lace Ball 100 (100% Merino)) held double, but I will be using the fingering weight held single.  When I bought the yarn I remember being a little disappointed in the color because it just wasn't right for the project that I had bought it for, but when I pulled it out again just a few minutes ago I discovered it was beautiful, it just needed the right project for me to realize that. 

Project:  Alita Dress by Adrienne Larsen from Knitter's Magazine 116, Fall 2014
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Autumn for Ana
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm)