Friday, June 23, 2017

Falling Leaves Shrug - Finished!


 
I finished up my Falling Leaves Shrug this week and finally got some beauty shots this afternoon.
Now I just have to finish writing up the pattern and release it!

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Funky Skunks

I took some time off from knitting last week to do a little bead work.  It seemed appropriate as I had just returned from Bead & Button.  I have been accumulating kits of designs by my sister Virginia and decided it was about time that I started making them.  This is a design from 2012 and is called Funky Skunk.  The bottom one came in the kit, the top one is made from beads that I picked out at the same time as I acquired the kit.  They were in a little bag in the kit zip lock.  The design is pretty simple - a base of single needle right angle weave using size 11 and size 8 seed beads, topped with loops of small daggers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Falling Leaves Shrug - Knitting Done (mostly)

I finished up the knitting and the shrug is blocking before I join the edges and then bind off the rest.  I used up all of my yarn and the remains of skein 6 from my Verdandi test knit.  I'll scale things back a little when I finish writing up the pattern, but also put in some instructions for adjusting the size.  Now I have to get back to my sample knit and pattern write up for Biscottie.

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Stegosaurus Cowl - Finished!

I finished up the cowl on Friday, and it finished drying this morning so I was able to get a beauty shot, such as it is.  The variegation of the yarn makes it a rather busy cowl, but it is done and uploaded to the Loopy Ewe and the photo has been approved.  Phew!
The cowl is long enough that I can pull it up over my head like a hood if I want to.  I received my yarn for the second project - the challenge is to knit something that was published in 2014 or earlier.  I went through my queue to find mine and came up with Desert Arrows Vest by Jean Clement.  It was published in November 2014, so it should just squeak in under the wire.  The yarn I picked is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Cloud Nine in Taste the Rainbow.
I will confess that I was drawn to the colorway first, and then made the final decision on the pattern.

Pattern:  Fine Art Cowl by Kelene Kinnersly
Yarn:  Into the Whirled Pakokku Sock in Stanley Stegosaurus
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm), US 3 (3.25 mm)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Stegosaurus Cowl - Camp Loopy 2017 Project One

I'm late getting started on my first Camp Loopy project.  Last year I took my project to Bead and Button with me, but not this year.  I also had to change my project plans.  The challenge was to make something that was reminiscent of scales or feathers, the texture of the dinosaur.  I was originally going to make Azure Dragon, and I purchased the called for yarn during Camp Week - Malabrigo Rios in Aniversario, but during Bead and Button I took a bad fall that could have been much worse (nothing broken, but bruises and strains) and my hands and wrists are just not up to knitting Worsted weight yarn at a tighter gauge, so I scaled back my ambitions and pulled out the Camp Club yarn, pictured above, and found a simple cowl to knit up - the Fine Art Cowl.

Pattern:  Fine Art Cowl by Kelene Kinnersly
Yarn:  Into the Whirled Pakokku Sock in Stanley Stegosaurus
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm), US 3 (3.25 mm)


The Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Alongs

It has been a long time since I've posted about The Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Alongs.  I started test knitting for the MKALs back in the fall of 2014, and it just seemed kind of strange to blog about the project so long after it was done.  After The Once and Future King, in the summer of 2015, we did Wrinkle in Time in the Fall of 2015.  The colorway is Silverlode on Luxe, with a little bit of gold for the bind off because I ran short of yarn.
And then Heidi in the Spring of 2016.  This shawl ended up going home with my sister Virginia.  She put it on with this elegant black dress and it just looked so great on her with her white hair.  The colorway is Wild Blue Lupine on Selene.

Next we did The Velveteen Rabbit in the Fall of 2016.  This was the first time I used a 12 skein set.  These are pretty cool because the colors wrap - they are a circle and you can start anywhere in the circle and go in either direction.  The colorway is Enchanted Garden on Luxe.

Here is the yarn in skeins.
Our most recent MKAL was The House at Pooh Corner.  I used another 12 skein set - Realm of the Faeries on Nimbus.
Our next MKAL is Beauty and the Beast.  It begins on August 25.  I have my yarn and will soon begin the test knit.  I'm using Tulip Festival on Eos.  I think the bold colorway will work well with the pattern construction.


Bambara Wrap - Beauty Shots

I finally was able to get some beauty shots of my Bambara Wrap - it came out pretty large, but then there are almost 1600 yards of yarn in it.

Pattern:  Bambara Wrap by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Superfine Fingering
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bambara Wrap - Finished!

I finished up this shawl on Monday - while I was home from work with a migraine - the pattern was simple enough to work even with my brain on the fritz, although blocking was a challenge.  I tried to make sure that the diagonal lines of central double decreases were straight, and that the edges were parallel.  Bruce helped me with the fine tuning.  Taking a picture of a shawl this size is a bit challenging.  I'll try to get some beauty shots at Bead & Button.

I've spent most of the past week re-arranging my yarn stash by fiber weight.  I started with the lace and light fingering, and then did the super bulky, bulky, Aran and worsted and then I tackled the fingering, which makes up the largest portion of my stash.  I've been working on the fingering all weekend and finished up this evening.  I still need to do the DK and Sport weight, but I did some sorting while I was doing the fingering weight, so they should go a little quicker.

Pattern:  Bambara Wrap by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Superfine Fingering
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bambara Shawl - Two Sections Done

I have been focusing exclusively on this project lately because I really want to get it done.  I love the colors and the shape and I want to finish it so I can take it to Bead & Button with me.  I always take a trunk show of the things that I have knit over the past year.  I usually end up giving a few things away to friends and family, but this shawl will not be one of them.  I've been laying it over my legs as I work, just so I can admire the colors.
The design makes me want to make something similar as a one-shouldered dress or tunic.  I've always liked bias sewing, and now I'm really liking the bias knit patterns.  I'm actually almost done with the shawl at this point - having knit on it most of the weekend.  I am on the last lace section before I start the garter stripes with the pink.

I also did some stash diving to come up with colors for another Ambah shawl - her latest release - Kimba, and in the process decided that I really need to reorganize my stash to make it easier to find things.  So I'm reorganizing it by yarn weight, and then within each weight, by yarn manufacturer and then the specific yarn.  I am almost done with the lace weight.

Pattern:  Bambara Wrap by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Superfine Fingering
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Liken II - Ladders Fixed.

I really love the colors of this shawl and I love wearing it, but I don't love the ladders that I have between my double decreases.  You can pick up an entire column of stitches in those ladders, and that is exactly what I did.  But how do I anchor them?  I had thought about adding beaded kinky fringe through the last loop, but that would require a lot work and I just wasn't up for it.  Instead I decided to use jump rings.  I got the idea from folks making stitch markers out of jump rings with beads placed on them.  So, I ordered some jump rings and on Saturday morning I sat down and fixed those ladders.
The nice thing is that if I lose one I can easily replace it, and if I change my mind and want to use different beads, or jump rings, I can change things out easily and quickly.  My kind of fix.

Pattern:  Liken Shawl by Sivia Harding, modified to be a circular cape rather than a semi-circle
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Divinity, Cherry Garcia and Chestnut
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bambara Shawl - One Section Done

I decided to focus on this project for a little while.  I discovered a mistake in my Falling Leaves Shrug and I'm going to have to rip back and start the second side over again and I just haven't felt like dealing with it.  This pattern is easy, and at times a little boring, but it makes good TV knitting, and I just love the colors. 

Pattern:  Bambara Wrap by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Superfine Fingering
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pippi Short-stockings - Cast On

You know how I hate having leftovers - so after finishing up the Morphology Cowl I decided that I would make socks out of the leftover yarn.  I had to wait to cast on until I had finished my most recent basic toe up socks.  I actually cast on a week and a half ago, but I didn't know what to call the project, so I couldn't create a project page.  I thought about calling them "Fire and Ice Socks" but that just seemed a bit pretentious.  I thought about calling them "Hot and Cold Socks" but that just seemed nonsensical, without being funny.  I thought about calling them "Sprinkles and Shannanogins Socks"  after the color names, but that was just too hard to say.  Then, today while I was knitting during a break in a meeting I suddenly thought of Pippi Longstocking, and I knew I was close, but these were not going to be long stockings, they will probably turn out to be ankle socks, so I had to flip the name.

Pattern:  Basic Toe-Up Sock from Custom Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Sprinkles and Shannanogins
Needle:  US 1 (2.25 mm)

Bambara Wrap - Cast On

A week and a half ago I dropped into Ambah O'Brien's forum and noticed that there was a knit along starting up for her latest pattern - the Bambara Wrap.  I get her emails so I knew it had been released, but I hadn't bought it yet.  As I was looking through the thread I really liked some of the color combinations that were being posted  and it occurred to me that I might have some good colors in my stash.  I had picked up some single skeins of Zen Yarn Garden recently and decided I should collect them and catalog them and see if any would work and came up with the set above.  The two outermost skeins actually came as a pair, and the two inner skeins are Magic Dye Pot skeins I picked up a while ago.  Once again it seemed to me the universe was sending me a message.  I purchased the pattern, posted my yarn choice to the thread, and caked my yarn.
The colors are, from left to right:

C1 - Pink Orchid - 101.9 g
C2 - Confetti - 101 g
C3 - Magical dye pot 21 - 100 g
C4 - Magical dye pot 19 - 99 g

I don't really need another work in progress, but I couldn't resist casting on.  I've knit a bit more since this photo was taken, but haven't gotten another photo.

Pattern:  Bambara Wrap by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Superfine Fingering
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Virginia's Charivari Shrug - Finished!

After finishing up the Salvia test knit I picked up this project again and finished it up - these are great projects to work on while reading, although when you're working on the second half there is a fair bit of fabric in your lap.  I had to set my Kindle up in a stand in order to use it.  I weighed my skeins after every row and captured all of the data so I could get yarn usage numbers and continue to refine the pattern.  Now I can make some yarn usage predictions and check them with my next shrug.

I also managed to get a beauty shot of the Watermelon shrug.

Pattern:  Traveling Zebra by Louise Robert
Yarn:  Bis-sock by Biscotte & Cie
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm) & US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Watermelon Shrug - Finished!

I finally got around to re-blocking my Watermelon Shrug.  I thought about adding cuffs, but I really like the scalloped edge.

Pattern:  Traveling Zebra by Louise Robert modified to be a shrug
Yarn:  Bis-sock by Biscotte & Cie
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm) & US 4 (3.5 mm)

Basic Toe Up Socks 6 - Finished!

I've been getting a bit of knitting done at work lately - reading documents, and listening to training videos, so I managed to finish up my second sock, binding off this morning.  I deliberately did not try to make them match - in the past I've gotten a little obsessed with them matching, but I like the way they are complimentary, rather than matching.

Pattern:  Basic Toe-Up Sock from Custom Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn:  Biscotte & Cie Felix
Needle:  US 1 (2.25 mm)

Salvia Sample Knit - Finished!

After a week of steady knitting (and reading) I've finished up the Salvia Sample Knit.  I didn't get any progress pictures because I was knitting on 32 inch circulars and the project quickly became a bunched up pile of yarny-lacy-goodness.  The yarn was wonderful to work with.  Great body, and knit up on the US 7 needles, a wonderful fluid drape.  I think this is a yarn that takes being knit up a little loosely very well.  The yarn itself is nice to handle, 4-ply, but not so tightly twisted that it is hard, and not so loose that it lacks structure.

Because of the shawl construction, blocking was a bit of a challenge.
I laid the wet shawl out on the blocking maps and pulled and pushed it gently into shape, but given the way it is constructed there is a bump at the neck edge where it was started.  This doesn't seem to affect things too much once you take it off the blocking wire.  That section just sort of collapses on itself.  The design calls for two colors, but this one was done with 5.  The bind off is supposed to be in the contrast color (the color of the lace sections).  I just picked one of the colors for the bind off - in this case the green.  I think the design would really look great with a picot bind off - maybe even a beaded picot bind off to give the shawl a little swing.

Pattern:  Salvia by Heidi Alander
Yarn:  Not really sure, the label says The Unique Sheep Rare Breed, it's a silk wool blend with 4 plies
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Salvia Sample Knit

I was contacted this past week to see if I would be interested in knitting a sample for the Unique Sheep using a new yarn.  The pattern looked like an easy and quick knit, so I said yes.  The yarn arrived on this past Thursday and I caked it all up yesterday morning and got the pattern all set up in knitCompanion.  I started out knitting on US 6 needles, but decided after looking at the pictures and checking my yarn usage to go up to US 7 (the pattern suggests either size - it also has a garter stitch swatch, ugh).  The pictures indicated that the shawl was more loosely knit and more drapey than I was getting with US 6.



Pattern:  Salvia by Heidi Alander
Yarn:  Not really sure, the label says The Unique Sheep Rare Breed, it's a silk wool blend with 4 plies
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Falling Leaves Shrug - Skein 3 Side 1

I finished up skein 3 on the first side this week and have just started skein 4.  I'm getting some interesting pooling instead of the more typical striping that occurs when knitting a narrower piece.  It is a real challenge getting a good picture, the knitting tends to scrunch and I can't stretch it out too much for fear of the stitches coming off the needles.  This was the best that I could do today.

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Falling Leaves Shrug - Skein 2 Side 1

After finishing the central panel I continued on with the remains of skein 1, joining skein 2.  I worked the initial pick up and then my increase row, did some counting, did some math, and started working the Falling Leaves lace pattern.  I am not quite half way through the second repeat of the chart and am about to join the third skein.  I think I have figured out what I want to do to enable folks to make their own adjustments.  It will most likely mean that I will have several charts to choose from, depending upon how many stitches are picked up and how that works out with the pattern repeat.  I thought the rows would go pretty slow - after all, I am working across 235 stitches, but the lace pattern is simple and easy to memorize and it goes pretty fast.

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Falling Leaves Shrug - Central Panel Done

I finished up the central panel tonight.  Not the best picture, but I had to use flash.  I did 26 repeats of the Lattice Lace chart, which equates to 313 rows.  When I did the first pick-up in the side loops I picked up 157 stitches.  I still have a few feet of skein 1 left.  I'll join the second skein and work the increase row, and then figure out the numbers for the Falling Leaves chart.  I'm going to have to modify the chart to be adaptable depending upon the number of stitches picked up.

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Virginia's Charivari Shrug - One Side Done

I finished up the white stripe on the first side, so the shrug is basically half done.  I have figured out an easy set of modifications to enable folks to utilize as much of their yarn as possible while minimizing the risk of running short.  Basically there are three variations of the garter and stockinette stitch combo that can be worked:

20 rows:  6 rows of garter, 8 rows of stockinette, 6 rows of garter
16 rows:  4 rows of garter, 8 rows of stockinette, 4 rows of garter
14 rows:  4 rows of garter, 6 rows of stockinette, 4 rows of garter.

On the second side I will be keeping a row by row record of my yarn usage so I can determine a stitches per gram for both the garter and stockinette sections so that folks can figure out their approximate yarn usage depending upon how many rows they knit on the central panel.

I also have to provide a formula for determining how many stitches you need to keep for the opening to make sure that the shrug fits properly.  I'm thinking that it should be based upon the width of the shoulders plus the distance from the nape of the neck to the natural waist.

Pattern:  Traveling Zebra by Louise Robert
Yarn:  Bis-sock by Biscotte & Cie
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm) & US 4 (3.5 mm)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Virginia's Charivari Shrug - Three Stripes Done

Third stripe done.  These actually go pretty fast, despite those long ruffled rows.  I worked the two extra rows of garter before the ruffled section again.  I've got some ideas on easy modifications to use more or less yarn depending upon how long the central panel is that I'll put into the shrug pattern write up.  It'll mean folks will need to weight their skeins and keep track of their yarn usage, but it is pretty straightforward and should prevent any awkward surprises.


Pattern:  Traveling Zebra by Louise Robert
Yarn:  Bis-sock by Biscotte & Cie
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm) & US 4 (3.5 mm)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Virginia's Charivari Shrug - Two Stripes Done

My brain wasn't up to working on lace on Sunday so instead I worked on Virginia's Charivari shrug and finished up the second stripe.  I did a slight modification of the pattern on this one.  It had always bothered me that the garter ridges on either side of the ruffle were not the same - 4 rows below the ruffle, 6 rows above, so I took a little gamble and did 2 extra rows before I started the ruffle.  I really like how it came out - I am a bit of a symmetry nut.

Pattern:  Traveling Zebra by Louise Robert
Yarn:  Bis-sock by Biscotte & Cie
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm) & US 4 (3.5 mm)

Falling Leaves Shrug - Central Panel Started

After swatching on Friday I cast on the central panel on Saturday.  The lace pattern is from a stitch library, but it was only given as written directions, so the first thing I had to do was chart it.  This wasn't quite as simple as it sounds as the stitch count varies.  When I charted it just based upon the written instructions the chart didn't really look like what was coming out in the knitting.  After working the pattern for a few repeats I realized what was going on and was able to add in the non-knit stitches in the appropriate places to make the chart look like the knitting.  I was pretty well chuffed with myself for figuring it out.  My plan is to basically use up the entire skein for the center panel, but in the pattern I'm including directions for adjusting the size and figuring out what you can do with the yarn that you have.

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Falling Leaves Shrug - Swatching Lace

The really exciting development is that I'm working on a design.  The basic construction is inspired by the Traveling Shawl pattern, but I wanted to do it in lace, and a Unique Sheep Gradiance.  I've been looking for suitable lace motifs for a little while now, and finally found them this week.  Interestingly enough, I found them in the very first knitting book that I bought How to Knit by Debbie Bliss.  I pulled my copy out to give to a friend that wants to learn, and ordered another copy for myself after leafing through it and reminding myself what a nice book it is.  Last night I pulled out my bag of leftover balls of Verve yarn and knit up a sample.

There were a couple of things I was figuring out - the biggest was how to work the pick for the lace panels that come off the sides of the central panel.  The bottom panel was knit after picking up a stitch for every other row (one stitch per slipped stitch side loop).  That was obviously too tight.  When I started the top panel I initially picked up two stitches in each side loop - knit-front-back - but after working a couple of rows it was obvious that there would be too many stitches to block out properly so I frogged and redid the start.  This time I did an initial pick up of one stitch per side loop, then on the return wrong side row I increased every other stitch, but using the knit-front-slip-back.  I also played around with my double decreases.  I like the central-double-decrease as it gives a more distinct line.  I'm not sure if I'm going to include any beads.

The yarn I'm going to use is the first shipment for The Unique Sheep's Mythical Shawls Club.  I had done the test knit and didn't feel like knitting the shawl again, but I love the colorway, and it was, in fact, part of the inspiration for this design.

Pattern:  Falling Leaves Shrug by Carolyn Blakelock
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Verve in Verdandi
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)