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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Piecing

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Do you remember all those half square triangles I made?  Well, I’ve been sewing them together and now I’m joining them into blocks!  I’ve got about 25 blocks sewn now and I have to have 110 for my project, but I’m getting there!  Once I get them all sewn and pressed (this is currently the only block pressed), I’ll arrange them on the floor before sewing them into rows and finishing the quilt top.  Before I do that however, I’ll have to vacuum my sewing room floor.  A certain very light Golden Retriever likes to laze about and roll and wiggle in the middle of the sewing room floor.  Charcoal and gray quilt tops don’t really go very well with Logan’s creamy hair.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Loopy Academy, Semester 3, Texture

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I finished my Glace Bay shawl over the weekend and got it blocked!  I decided I needed something along the top edge to keep it from rolling, so I added a few rows of garter stitch after finishing the “pleated” edging.  Depending on your yarn, this might not be necessary, but mine was a high twist, tightly spun yarn, that probably made the natural roll of knitting worse.  The shawl photographed in the pattern doesn’t have anything added to the top edge, and it isn’t rolling, so my guess is that the roll was primarily due to my yarn choice.

I knit this in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in the Big Brain Blue color way.  I used all but about two yards of the first skein on the body of the shawl, so I used the second skein on the edgings.  Both skeins looked identical, and even when they were knit up, I still can’t tell that there were two skeins used.  I was counting on any differences being camouflaged in the textural differences between the body of the shawl and the edgings, but I don’t think that was actually necessary in this case.

After I finished knitting it, I soaked the shawl and after squeezing as much water out as possible, just spread it out over some towels to dry under the ceiling fan.  I didn’t use pins or blocking wires, I just made sure it was spread out smoothly.  The finished shawl is 71 wide by 21 deep, so definitely big enough to snuggle into!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Spun!

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It’s all finished!  This is 8 ounces of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL/Tussah (75%/25%) roving in Rook-y.  I spun the singles on my Kromski Symphony (Giselle) using a 10:1 whorl at 40 wraps per inch.  I plied the singles into a 3-ply yarn on my Majacraft Rose (Arwen), using the jumbo bobbin and flyer.  I ended up with 813 yards of 16 wraps per inch yarn, which puts it at heavy fingering weight, light sport weight.  I don’t have definite plans for the yarn yet, but there’s enough there to knit a Featherweight cardigan.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Loopy Academy, Texture

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I’ve finished the center portion of my Glace Bay shawl.  As you can see, it wants to roll up a bit!  I’ve got to add the pleated edging next and if the top edge is still rolling (which it probably will be), I’ll do something there too.

The center pattern was really fun to knit.  Once I got a feel for it, it was really just a matter of reading my knitting to make sure I was staying on track.  The stitch pattern itself was relaxing to knit and I was able to watch TV easily while I worked it.

I’m using Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Big Brain Blue for this project and while it’s hand dyed, I haven’t been alternating skeins.  I actually almost came to the end of the first skein as I finished up this central section, so I’ll start the edging with the second skein and any color differences should be hidden by the textural differences.  I did look at both skeins very carefully before I started, and at least in skein form, they looked identical.  Whether or not they knit up that way, only time will tell...

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Soft and Fluffy

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I’ve gotten quite a bit done on my new mohair bias loop.  I’ve found that it’s perfect to drag around with me during the day and I can get a row or two done during our little breaks in homeschool.  Those little bits are really adding up!  I’m always amazed, when I’m knitting these, how such lightweight yarn can possibly work on such large needles.  I know it’s fuzzy, but when you look at it, it just looks like there’s no way it’s going to knit up into a fabric.  I realize that it’s at least half air (that’s how it keeps you warm - you have a little cloud of warm air around your neck), but it actually looks like it has some substance, even though it’s being knit on big needles.  I love these things!  That’s probably good because I have yarn upstairs for three more of these!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Plying

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I have begun plying my singles.  I’m hoping to get it all on this giant plying bobbin (making it all a single skein), but I’m not sure it’s going to fit.  I started with 8 ounces of fiber, divided it into thirds and spun the singles.  Now I’m plying from the three bobbins.  I’ve got a few more hours of work to do before I’m finished, but I don’t have hours at a time to devote to the plying right now.  I’m working on it as I can, and then I’m shutting the door on it so Max and Logan don’t mess around with the setup.  Logan already got himself tangled in the singles once.

I don’t have definite plans for this yarn, but it will be a fingering weight, 3 ply yarn when it’s all finished.  3 ply yarns are rounder than 2 ply yarns and fill in the knit stitch better.  Cables and textures are also more defined in 3 ply yarns.  Once I have it all finished, know my yardage and have an idea of gauge, I’ll be able to plan a project for this yarn!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Progress

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I’ve finished the body of my Tea Leaves Cardigan.  I went ahead and knit the front bands as well, but I’m not sure I’m happy with them.  I went down quite a bit on needle size to knit them, but I think they might still be a little big.  On the other hand, I haven’t blocked anything yet and I know the garter stitch at the yoke and hem will relax some too.

At this point, I’m thinking I’ll go ahead and knit the sleeves, then weave in all the ends except the ones from the front bands.  Then I’ll block the sweater and see what’s going on with the front bands, and if necessary, I’ll reknit them.  It’s not like they take that long to do anyway.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

More

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I’m getting along pretty well with my new Tea Leaves sweater!  The body is getting longer and there’s not too much more to do before the body will be finished.  I’m more than halfway there (from the underarm).

There’s something very soothing about stockinette stitch in a great yarn.  I’m using Madelintosh Tosh Vintage in Grenadine, which is one of their color ways that look like one thing from a distance (in this case, plum), but when you get closer you realize that really, there are about twenty different colors blending together in the skein.  I think Madelinetosh dyes this type of thing really, really well, but of course I also like their single color tone on tone skeins.  Unfortunately, Grenadine has been discontinued, but I think it’s similar to Alizarin.  At least in the skein in looks similar, I’ve never knit with Alizarin before.

Yesterday and today have gotten hot again, but it’s going to cool off tomorrow, into next week.  I’m guessing that this is our last little hot spike (over 95 degrees) for the year, and the temps will start slowly falling.  By the time it’s cool enough to wear this, I should have it all finished!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Smoke Ring

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Several years ago I made a couple of Mohair Bias Loops.  One was gifted, but the other I kept and have worn and worn and worn.  Fast forward to a week ago when I was sorting through my stash a bit and I ran across a single skein of Shibui Knits Silk Cloud in Tar.  I had ordered it last spring as an alternate skein for Loopy Academy and had decided to go with my first choice when it came time to cast on.  Since this one little skein had no destiny, it just sat in my stash until I figured out what to do with it.  As soon as I saw it the other day, I knew it should be another Mohair Bias Loop.  I resisted casting on for it until late Tuesday when I decided to go ahead and start it.

The Tea Leaves Cardigan is mindless knitting right now, but it’s a little bulky for taking out of the house.  The Glace Bay shawl is almost mindless knitting, but it involves counting which means I can’t work it around other people who might talk to me.  (I can’t talk and count very well, I’ve tried, and it always ends in disaster.)  The Meditative Crochet Blanket is bulky and involves counting, so it certainly isn’t a portable project.  A new loop is both mindless knitting and is portable, so it fills a gap in my Works In Progress.

I’ll knit until I have just enough yarn to Kitchener stitch* the thing together, and then I’ll have a new, dark charcoal loop!

*Kitchener stitching with this type of yarn isn’t too bad as long as the cat is asleep and you can work uninterrupted for a bit.  I don’t recommend it for your first Kitchener stitching though.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Triangles

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220 gray squares were paired with 220 charcoal squares.  A line was drawn down the center and a seam was sewn on either side of the line, 1/4 inch away.
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Then they were cut apart.  Now I have 440 half square triangles.
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Next I will cut off all the little dog ears and press them open, pressing the seam allowances towards the charcoal side.

That’s a lot of half square triangles!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Texture for Loopy Academy

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I’ve been working along on my Texture project for Loopy Academy.  This is the center of the shawl (Glace Bay) and you can see the pattern much better now.  The cast on edge is rolling more than I really want it to.  Unless I’ve missed something, there isn’t an edging on this edge, but I might add something to help it not roll.  I’ll decide at the end when I can see what’s going on in the finished shawl.

I’ve got a feel for the pattern now and it really is easy, assuming you can reliably count to four.  Usually four isn’t too much trouble but there was a spot last night that didn’t work out quite right, so I had to tink* back.  It helps that you can see the pattern taking shape on right side rows.  On wrong side rows, I tend to peek every so often to make sure things are looking as they should.  Unfortunately, I had the problem on a right side row.  Typical!

*Tink is knit backwards.  It’s a much slower undoing than frogging (where you rippit, rippit).

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Tea Leaves

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I’ve made it past the underarms of this cardigan and  now the body is flying by!  I’m just working in stockinette, back and forth, so this is perfect lazy, brainless knitting.  Perfect for some TV in front of Netflix!  The temperatures are barely starting to drop around here, but you can feel the difference in the air.  By the time I get this sweater finished, it will almost be time to wear it!

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Loopy Academy, Sophomore Year, Fall Semester, Knitting Edition

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I’ve embarked on another year of “studies” at Loopy Academy.  I decided to start with my biggest project which is the Texture project.  I’m making the Glace Bay shawl in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Big Brain Blue (the yarn Logan showed you yesterday).  You start at the top end and work down to the point, so while the first rows are really long, they get shorter as you go along.  I’m far enough that I can barely see the pattern formed by the slipped stitches.

The other day, when my Loopy Academy order arrived, I got yarn for all three knitting projects and fabric for two of the three sewing projects.  I haven’t started any of the sewing projects, but I’m hoping to get a few things figured out later today so I can do some cutting this weekend!  In the meantime, I’ll keep knitting on this.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

I Have Yarn!

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I have yarn for my mommy!  I’m not sure that I’m supposed to have this yarn, so I’m being very careful not to snarfle it and put it in my mouth and all the other things I really, really want to do with this yarn.  In fact, I’m completely avoiding eye contact with it because I don’t want to startle the yarn and make it run off.

Mommy told me that this yarn is for one of her Loopy Academy projects.  She says it’s for the Texture project and it’s Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Big Brain Blue.  She hasn’t told me what she’s knitting with it yet, but she seems to know.  She did say she was going to wind it and start knitting today, so maybe she’ll tell all of us later this week.

Mommy said she got most of her Loopy Academy stuff yesterday so she’s ready to start making things!  I don’t know what Loopy Academy is.  I probably wouldn’t want to make eye contact with it.  I don’t make eye contact with my kitty, Max, and so far, he hasn’t killed me in my sleep.  Kitties are sharp and pointy, but Mommy says I’m a big, cuddly marshmallow.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A New Sweater!

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After finishing my Seashore Pullover last week, I started a new sweater!  (I’ve found that having more than one sweater on the needles at a time is too many.)  This is a Tea Leaves cardigan, which I’ve actually knit before, several years ago.  It’s a great basic cardigan and it works well in solids as well as busier hand dyed yarns.  I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in Grenadine (a now discontinued color).  The color reads as a burgundy or plum overall, but when you look closer you can see purples, browns, and even aqua blues.  As I was winding the yarn into skeins, I realized that this is the perfect fall color for me!

I’m almost to the point of separating off the sleeve stitches (where it will start to go faster).  I’ve already started alternating skeins.  I’m alternating at what will be the left underarm, on RS rows.  Since this is a cardigan and I’m working back and forth, I only alternate every other row.  On my Seashore pullover (knit in the round), I alternated every round.  By alternating skeins, I can blend from one to the other and not have sudden jumps, which is common for hand dyed yarns.  Madelinetosh skeins are different enough, even if they were dyed together, that this can make a huge difference in how your sweater looks.  Once you get the hang of alternating skeins, it’s not really a big deal though.

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Monday, September 07, 2015

Finished Socks!

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I finished my Hermione’s Everyday Socks over the weekend!  These are knit in Malabrigo sock in Lotus.  I worked a Fish Lips Kiss heel instead of the heel flap and I also knit fewer rounds of ribbing at the top (and more repeats in the leg to compensate for length).  This is a great, simple stitch pattern, perfect for a sock that you’re going to pick up and put down throughout the day.

I’ve ordered Loopy Academy supplies for five of the six projects I’ll be working on this fall (all three knitting projects and two of the three sewing projects).  Those should arrive tomorrow, so I’ll probably go ahead and cast on for something new tomorrow evening.  Also tomorrow, Caleb and I will be beginning 9th grade!  I’ll be finishing up some last minute organizational things today so that we’re ready to go tomorrow morning.  We’ve both squeezed as much out of summer as we could - he has built empires, killed zombies, and helped unicorns cross the road on his various electronic devices while I’ve kept my sewing machine whirring and the knitting needles flying.  Now it’s time to get back to work though.

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Finished, Completely This Time!

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Here is my finished and blocked Seashore Pullover!  Isn’t it amazing what a difference blocking makes?  The yarn is Malabrigo Mechita in Natural and English Rose.  I used the same striping pattern I’ve used before (a couple of years ago on my Tea With Jam and Bread pullover):  1 round pink, 9 rounds cream, 2 rounds pink, 8 rounds cream, 3 rounds pink, 7 rounds cream…until you get to 9 rounds pink, 1 round cream.  It’s an easy way to blend from one color to another and all you have to do is count.
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I used some cream pearl buttons I found in my button stash.  I’m pretty sure these came from my grandmother’s button stash because they have slight imperfections and you can see tool marks if you look closely.  The machine produced buttons of today don’t usually have this kind of human evidence.
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Once again, I was captivated by the range of pinks in this yarn.  I think that’s what I love about Malabrigo yarns.  The bases are great, but the dyeing is just amazing.  Yes, the English Rose yarn is pink, but it’s so much more than just a single pink - it’s all the pinks.  The Aguas color does the same thing in the range of medium to dark greens.  I don’t think I’ve gotten English Rose completely out of my system yet, but maybe next time I knit with it, I’ll use a different base!

Until then, I started a new sweater last night.  I’ll show it to you next week.  Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 03, 2015

New Sewing!

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It’s not a Wiksten tank this time!  This is the Sailor Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts and I made it in Nani Iro Double Gauze (this color way is Poppy Trip Ohanashi - the second row down, third from the left) purchased from Purl Soho.  I kept reading about the wonders of double gauze on the Internets so I decided to get some and see what all the fuss is about.  At first I wasn’t that impressed, but then I washed it and started messing around with it and now I understand - it’s soft and wonderful and so, so soft.  Did I mention soft?  I originally planned to make a Wiksten Tank out of it, but once I got a feel for the (washed) fabric, I decided it might do better as something else.  Fortunately, it’s only about 40 inches wide so I had purchased enough to make something else.  A bit of wandering around the Internets and I found this top pattern.  I thought the soft gathers from the neckline might be nice with the softness of the double gauze.

The pattern is super easy and worked up quickly.  I got the pdf version so I could print it up immediately.  I’ll be wearing this with skinny jeans to balance the A-line shape.  I’d also like to take a minute and point out that I was smart enough to cut out all my pieces with the flowers going right side up.

On an unrelated note, the requirements for Loopy Academy are up!  I’ll be doing Sophomore knitting and Freshman sewing this fall!  Join in if you’re interested!  The pace is much slower and more relaxed than Camp Loopy.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

More Finished!

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Yesterday I did what I should have done instead of what I wanted to do.  I sat down and wove in all the ends on my pullover.  Every single one of them.  I will block it today and then I’ll show you what it looks like all finished.  Fortunately, before I started knitting, I washed the pink skeins to double check if the color was going to run.  It didn’t, but now I’m not afraid of blocking it today, which will involve tossing it in the washer on the delicate cycle and letting it dry flat.  (The yarn is a super wash.)

I did also wind yarn for my next sweater yesterday.  It’s sitting in its project bag waiting for me to cast on!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Finished!

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Last night I finished knitting the second sleeve of my Seashore pullover!  I had to make 3/4 length sleeves because I didn’t have quite enough pink yarn to make full length sleeves, according to the scale.  I like 3/4 length sleeves though and they’re really useful in our climate here in north Texas.  I’ve obviously got plenty of ends to weave in over the next few days, two buttons to sew on, and a major blocking job, but the knitting is finished!

I should probably get this sweater completely finished before I cast on for the next one, shouldn’t I?  I’m not sure if I will or not though...

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