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A Big Move & the Final Knits of 2016

A few weeks ago, I had posted about my plans for knitting from my stash in 2017.  But what about the remaining month in 2016?  December is mainly filled with last minute gift-knitting, and a few projects that just need finishing up.  The main project on my needles right now is a second Hop Brook Shawl worked in Elsa Wool Fingering for my previous manager Karen.  I had been wearing mine in the office one day and she requested one for herself, so we ordered up the yarn and I started working on it mid-November.  I’m just about done with it, I just need to sit down and focus on finishing it.

For gifts, I’m working on a few surprise projects for my SIL for Chrismakuh, mainly a couple of hats and a set of fingerless mitts.  To complete these projects I’m dipping into the stash again.  From Left to Right we have (all Quince & Co) Puffin in Maple, Osprey in Audoin, and Chickadee in Caspian.

And I need to complete a scarf for Jason that is over 2 years in the making.  The scarf is worked in garter stitch on the bias with intermittent silver stripes (similar to the Purl Bee’s Diagonal Stitch Scarf).  The light-fingering weight bamboo yarn on size 2 US needles is just taking forever but Jason has been asking for it for so long I feel so guilty that I have yet to finish it.  Maybe this will be the month for that.

But now for some fun news – trip knitting!  One of the things I love the most about trip knitting is the amount of dedicated free time available to knit.  This weekend Jason and I are headed to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate our 4 year dating anniversary for the last time, choosing just to celebrate our wedding anniversary moving forward.  For that trip I’m planning on bringing Jessamin with me, as I have just enough Quince & Co Kestrel in Sand at home.

A second trip in December will be used to drive our car from Southern California to South Carolina.  Charleston to be exact.  Jason and I are up and moving from the West Coast to the East Coast, and will be moving into our new house in February (yikes!).  So, for road trip knitting with hours and hours of driving I’m going to want two projects: one with simple St st for when lighting on the road is poor, and one with a little more interest just so that I don’t crazy with endless amounts of St st.

For the simple project, I’m thinking of Hayward by Julie Hoover.  I have some Loft in my stash in Postcard & Cast Iron, and I’d like to do some cute stripes to add a little something extra to the pullover.  I’ll probably make a few other mods as well, but I just haven’t decided what yet.

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For the project with a little something extra, I’m debating between either the Channel cardigan or a project of my own design, which I’m calling Semilla.

It’s scary to think that we are leaving everything and everyone we know behind and moving across the country so that Jason can take advantage of a really cool opportunity at work.  I’m lucky that my job is on board with this adventure, and letting me work remote from the new home, but that means new challenges for me – making friends without having an office to go to, learning to work successfully from home, etc.  We’ll see how I do!

 

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A Quick Little Hat

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I finally had a few moments to take some selfies of my new hat, and I am SO in love with it!  It only took 2 days to make, and it is incredibly soft.  Holding the Maai and Pebble together creates such a great fabric.  Warm, soft, and the perfect amount of texture with the tweed-like nature of the Pebble.

 

I’m already thinking of the other colors that I’d like to make this hat in, like the same white Maai held with a burnt orange Pebble, or Maai in black, and Pebble in a midnight blue.  The options are endless.  If only it were colder where we were I would be living in these little hats.

And just for fun right before the weekend, a clear example of why outtakes are so important:

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Night Watch

Churchmouse Yarns released a newsletter yesterday showcasing a simple beanie knit with one ball each of Shibui’s Maai and Pebble yarns.  A quick project on size 7 US needles, this was the perfect stash buster project to get me started with my new stash goals.

I have the Shibui Maai in Ivory, and the Shibui Pebble in Abyss and I thought holding the two together would create a neat marled effect, and I was please to find out that I was right!

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I’m hoping to finish this up this evening, make this a quick 2 night project (I’d estimate it takes about 5 hours to make this up) and I’m already wishing I had more color combos to make it with, but I’m learning to be more content with what I have, so this will have to do for now🙂

Project Details:
Pattern – Watch Cap
Yarn – Shibui Maai, Ivory – 1 skein; Shibui Pebble, Abyss – 1 skein
Needles – Size 7 US circular

I’m doing a fun photoshoot this weekend for an upcoming pattern release, so I’ll post some fun teasers of that early next week!

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Stash Plan 2017

Recently I partook in the Crafy Bliss Challenge on Instagram being sponsored by X and Y.  On the second to the last day we were challenged to “Flash Your Stash” which spawned an immediate desire to organize my stash, and remind myself of what was actually in there. One of the first things that stuck with me was simply how much I had collected over the years.  As I’ve grown awareness into the perils of fast-fashion, it hasn’t completely escaped me that the yarn industry is not guilt-proof; several yarn companies are known for mass production yarns at very low price points, and I’m not guilt-free in my purchase of several of these yarns.

But with knowledge, and movements like Slow Fashion October, the ability to change bad habits has gotten ever easier.  Add a reduced disposable income budget (tends to happen when you’re building a house!) and change is not just inevitable, it’s mandatory.

I’ve made a commitment to no longer purchase any new yarn until a significant amount of this stash has been worked through.  There are a few caveats to this:

  • Yarn sent to me for commissioned designs – most new publications like to use yarns that are still readily available to the knitting community.  Several yarn brands and lines can be discontinued, which makes this a bit tricky when knitting from stash.
  • Purchase of additional skeins in order to complete a project sourced mostly from stash.
  • Special request knits for family & friends that require a yarn that I can’t produce out of stash, or with any kind of color requests.

To start knitting from stash on the right foot, I took a hard look at all the skeins in my possession and began to formulate plans for things I could knit, skeins I could donate, just something to do with all that fiber.

Much to my surprise I found a healthy stash of Rowan Kid Silk Haze in 4 colors (clockwise: Shadow, Majestic, Meadow, Heavenly).  Normally I am not a fan of mohair, so to see this much of it in one place made me realize that I probably purchased them just to have them.  No more.  No more buying just for the sake of buying.  It’s time to take a standard towards more conscious purchasing, both for sustainability of the environment, and to make an effort to re-evaluate what truly matters in my life.

Now on to the lighter side of this post – what are my plans for this stash?!

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First up are those mohair skeins.  The Shadow I am going to knit with O-Wool’s Fingering in Pasture Rose to make the Liv Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge.

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As I continue to sift through the stash, I’ll keep you updated on these Stash Plans for 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment

Normally, I would have posted about my knitting – what I’ve been working on, new colors, stitches, or styles that I have been into lately.

But today I can’t.  Today I am sad for my country, and sad that so many voices were capable of drowning out the good.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

~Emma Lazarus

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A Blanket for Slow October

I’ve always appreciated the bounty of Slow Fashion October posts on various blogs and instagram accounts, though I’ve never really participated as much as I should.  But this month I’ve been participating without actually even realizing it until last night.

Several months ago (and I mean several) I had been killing some time at a local Barnes & Noble and came across this picture of a JoSharp crocheted Granny Square blanket/wrapand I decided that I wanted to make a throw blanket for Jason and I.

I purchased 10 skeins each of Knit Picks’ Comfy Worsted Heathers in Finnley & Badger.  The squares worked up pretty quickly, and before I knew it, I had 9 squares done.

But then something unexpected happened.  I used some of the light grey skeins to make a sweater (Camden, published by Holla Knits) which meant that I only had 1 ball left of the light grey, and a lot more squares to go before finishing a throw blanket.  So I bagged it up, and put it in a basket in my yarn room to be forgotten.

Last weekend I was attempting to clean up the apartment a bit and stumbled upon the squares and then I suddenly couldn’t get them out of my head and I was scrambling to come up with a way to create something out of what I already had.  (My first option was to purchase more skeins, but alas, they were out of stock!).

But, it turns out I still had several balls of the Badger heather, and so I started making solid squares in the darker color.  And now I have a pretty good-sized lap blanket.  I’ve started seaming my squares and will work on a border of sorts with the remaining 4 balls of the Badger heather that I have.

So there we go folks – I almost have a lap blanket!

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Introducing the Trekal Tank

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Get the pattern here!

I am so happy to announce the launch of my Trekal tank on Ravelry.  Now I know you might be wondering why I’m launching a linen tank right at the beginning of the fall and winter season, but here’s why:

  1. It is blistering hot in Southern California right now, so I might as well capitalize on that last little bit of heat wave for some easy knitting
  2. This thing knits up SO fast it will make a great last minute knitted gift for that special someone
  3. It actually looks pretty cool knit in a wool/alpaca blend as well (see below).

In the linen version, this is a great summer layering piece, and if you were to make it with the wool/alpaca blend, its a nice warm layer for fall & winter.

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The asymmetric shape of the top is created using short rows, though the garter stitch lace pattern eliminates the need for any kind of complicated stitch wrapping.  Just turn the work, and slip the 1st stitch of the next row.  Great for advanced beginners!

The front and back pieces are worked separately and seamed after blocking.  A few rounds or garter stitch at the armhole and neck opening keep the piece minimal and structured.

Hope you enjoy Trekal!

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Old to New Favorites

This weekend I was scouring through my Ravelry queue, trying to decide what I would actually knit someday, and I re-discovered some of my old favorites.

5thThe 5th Avenue Shawl would be such a great design to use up some lace weight yarns that I have hanging around the house.

The pattern calls for holding together two strands – one with a touch of mohair to lend the soft as air feeling with the exceptional warmth it provides.

A neat aspect of this design is that it incorporates a moderate level of beading.  Beading experts will love this, and those that are trying it for the first time, this will be a neat first-time challenge.

This open-front cardigan, Stranger, has bstrangereen on my must-knit list for a very long time.  The interesting construction, the amazing mix of textured stitches and cables, who could say no?

The sample on the right was created with Brooklyn Tweed’s Worsted Weight Shelter, though I could easily picture this worked in Woolfolk’s latest yarn, Tov.

If I were to make any mods, it would be to create slimmer sleeves that are full length, and possibly a longer body.

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Another beauty born of the Brooklyn Tweed brand is Cusp, a specially released design by Olga Buraya-Kefelian in the Capsule release by BT.  There is something so feminine about this design, and it will haunt me until the day that I can actually cast on.

It’s another design with a unique construction, and a lovely play on cables within the shaping of the garment.

What are the designs that are in your queue that make your heart sing, no matter how long they’ve been in there?

 

 

 

 

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Upcoming Pattern Releases

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I have been working pretty quietly in the background lately which is why you haven’t seen as many posts as I usually try to push out.  Life has been pretty hectic what with getting married, buying a house, and starting a new job (when I want to change it up, clearly I feel the need to change everything!)

But, in the midst of all these changes, I have steadily been knitting away and working on some designs under the Klever Knits umbrella – a linen top, a lightweight cardigan, and an even cozier cardigan.  You can see the linen top above, and then the two cardigans have some sneak peaks below:

I can’t wait to share some more photos, and release the patterns!

 

Let's Talk Gauge

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There are a million posts on the internet regarding gauge, and why it’s important for getting that perfect fit with your knits.  Which is great, but what happens when the gauge is different within the different pieces of your design?  This can come up when you’re mixing stitch patterns within a garment, or if one part has colorwork, etc.

I’ve been designing a sweater with Woolkfolk Tynd – which is probably one of the best yarns I’ve worked with – where the front is knit in Stockinette stitch, and the back is an intricate yet easy Arrowhead lace pattern.  The front hem is worked on size 4 US and the body is worked on size 5 US.  The back also uses the size 4 US for the hem, but I went down to size 2 US in order to get as close to the front gauge as possible.  My stitch gauge was a match, but my row gauge was off:
Front – 8 rows/inch
Back – 9 rows/inch

At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be a big difference, but it does when it’s expanded over several inches.  If my desired body length is 16 inches, that converts to these number of rows:
Front – 128 rows
Back – 144 rows

So, you knit each piece to the desired length, but then how do you seam the two together so that they line up?  Normally when you seam, it’s a 1:1 row match.  But in this case, I have more rows on one side, than the other – my lace back has 1.125 times more rows than the front  (144 rows / 128 rows = 1.125).  What I ended up doing was for every 4 rows on the front, I seamed with every 3 rows on the lace side (4/3 = 1.3333 which was close enough to the ration I previously calculated).

The result?  The neat seam you see up top!  Granted, I’m going to do an additional block after all pieces are seamed just to smooth this out even more.