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Friday, August 31, 2018

A New Way to Relax

Magical Unicorn Cupcake Relax 
I started another one.  This one is knit in Hue Loco MCN Vintage Sock in Dodecahedron which was the anniversary colorway for The Loopy Ewe this year.  It reminds me of a magical unicorn cupcake with sprinkles, or a three year old's birthday party.  Either way, I love it!
Magical Unicorn Cupcake Relax
I've noticed something about my sweaters this year.  Usually, I knit sweaters in solid colors or maybe tonal hand dyed yarns but they are basically solid colors.  This year, with the exception of the failed Ravello Four at the first of the year (which we will not speak about), there have been multicolored and speckled yarns in all my sweaters.  The Aniversario pullover, the Dragonfly Relax, Ravello Five, and now this Relax.  Apparently, it's a speckled, multicolored year!

Have a great weekend!  I'll probably be knitting stockinette!

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Relax, It's Finished!

Dragonfly Relax 
I finished my Relax pullover yesterday!  The pattern is Relax and the only change I made was to lengthen the sleeves about two inches.  It's the first pattern that I've made that has seams in ages, but fortunately I haven't forgotten how to mattress stitch two pieces of knitting together.  I made the size Small and used almost all of three skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Dragonfly (AKA one of my new favorite colors).

It's too hot to wear it yet, but I did try it on yesterday.  With running shorts.  Probably not the combo I'll go with outside the house, but after double checking the fit, I cast on for a second Relax.  Because that's the kind of knitter/sewist/person I am - if it looks cute and is comfortable, I want more than one!  Fortunately, the first time through the pattern I added imperial measurements to the metric so I can more easily "eyeball" lengths.  This should make the second one go faster.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Autumn Leaves

Maple leaves 
 I almost forgot to show you my leaves!  There was a little Flash KAL last week in the Ravelry ESK group and I crocheted some leaves for it.  I used Malabrigo Mechita in Cereza which is fingering weight and a 2.25mm hook.  I was careful with my shoulder and only made two leaves a day and I didn't have any shoulder problems with that little bit of crochet. 

I'm thinking that I might start crocheting regularly again if I set a timer and I don't over do it.  I think that might help to develop the muscles slowly.  I have noticed that using smaller hooks and finer yarns is easier on my shoulder than the larger hooks with worsted weight yarn (as my sadly, neglected Granny Goes Large blanket can attest).  I should probably also play around with different grips on the hook and see if there's one that's easier.  Is there a crochet grip that's more like knitting?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It Glows!

Ravello Five 
I have seven stripes of Hydroponic now, and it's glowing against the Onyx!  I'm really loving this color combination and I'm so glad I'm using more stripes of it than the original pattern called for.  I've got yarn for another Ravello stashed upstairs (Malabrigo Mechita in Aniversario and Natural) and I'm going to use the exact same striping pattern for that.  That's how much I'm loving the stripes - I'm already planning a sequel!

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Houston, We Have A Sleeve!

Dragonfly Relax 
I've finished the first sleeve for my Relax!  When a sweater is super wide, sleeves take no time at all.  Also, I will be able to finish this sweater with only three skeins of yarn.  There won't be very much left over, but I'm not going to have to dip into a fourth skein.  It's actually close enough, that I wouldn't want to knit this without having the fourth skein available.

I did lengthen the sleeve by about two inches because I have long arms, but they're still 3/4 length.  I also continued to alternate skeins on the sleeves, so they will match the body.  And, continuing with my responsible knitter behavior, I've already woven in ends on the first sleeve! 

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Responsible

Dragonfly Relax 
I've made a lot of progress on my Relax pullover.  After blocking, I've joined the shoulder seams and sewn the side seams.  I also went ahead and knit the neck band.  The pattern calls for a rolled stockinette neck band but I decided to do a ribbed one, matching the ribbing from the hem and sleeve hems (which haven't been knit yet).  Now all I have to do is pick up stitches for the sleeves and knit them.  All the yarn ends at this point are woven in also.  I feel like such a responsible knitter!

I tried it on after the seams were sewn and the neckband was finished so I could figure out sleeve length.  That should save me some time knitting them.  As I expected, I'll be adding some length to the sleeves.  I do like the fit of the sweater so far!

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Let There Be Stripes!

Ravello Five 
I've separated the sleeve stitches from the body stitches on the poetically named Ravello Five!  I'm just knitting around and around at this point, changing stripe colors when I need to.  The Onyx stripes are twice the width of the Hydroponic stripes, but there will be stripes all the way to the hem of this Ravello.

One of the fun things about the Ravello pattern is that it's so simple, you can plug in different stripe or even pattern stitches (although I haven't tried this yet) and it will still work.  Obviously if you change stitch patterns, you'll need to check gauge, but it's kind of a blank slate kind of pattern.  So far I've just messed around with the stripes, although I've done a couple of Ravellos using the stripes in the actual pattern too.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Space Mermaid

Space Mermaid 
 I've added about five more repeats since you saw it last.  At this point, it's big enough that it's just not that impressive when I only add a couple of repeats.  On the other hand, I'm not at the halfway point yet (yarn wise, not repeat wise).  I'll probably still give a weekly update on it, but it may or may not be obvious that I've gotten anything done on it.

It's a fun knit and I'm enjoying it, but I'm beginning to suspect that there might be something going on with the yarn skeins.  I can see progress and feel the weight of what's knitted, but the skeins are still firmly packed with yarn.  I'm not sure where the yarn I've knit has come from.  One of the great mysteries of knitting...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Why Blocking is Important

Dragonfly Relax Pullover 
Do you remember looking at the in-progress pictures of my Relax pullover and seeing how wonky the pieces looked?  Stockinette stitch (which is what this sweater is, except for a narrow ribbing) rolls.  The horizontal edges of stockinette roll to the front while the vertical edges roll to the back.  This not only makes it difficult to photograph, it makes it difficult to seam and it doesn't always hang right either.
Dragonfly Relax Pullover
With this pullover, the front and back are knit, then there's a three needle bind off joining the shoulder seams, and finally the side seams are sewn together.  To finish, I'll pick up stitches for the neck band and more stitches for the sleeves, which are knit in the round.  All of the joining, seaming, and picking up of stitches are MUCH easier when you're not fighting with naturally rolling stockinette pieces.  This is where blocking comes in.  My edges are now lying flat and they will be much easier to work with than if I had left them in their natural state.  Blocking also kind of sorts out the stitches within the fabric, making them all even and straight, which is why there will be a second blocking once I've completely finished the sweater.  It just makes everything look neater and completely finished.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Ravello Five

Ravello Five 
Yes, this is my fifth Ravello pullover!  I cast on this weekend and I've made it to the first stripe.  I'm going to stripe this one differently than the pattern calls for.  I'm loving the way the Hydroponic pops against the Onyx.  The little speckles and spots of other colors are so much fun!

Just in case you were wondering, I did finish the front of my  Relax pullover and it and the back are blocking.  So I haven't completely lost my mind.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Almost There

Dragonfly Relax 
I'm still knitting on the front of my Relax, but I'm almost to neck and shoulder shaping.  For some reason I was thinking neck shaping would happen sooner after the arm shaping started but that would be a pretty weird neckline.  Once I realized that I was delusional and read the actual pattern directions, I settled in for some more stockinette.  Soon.

Speaking of stockinette, the yarn for Ravello Five wasn't quite dry yesterday so I gave it another night and plan to wind it today.

Just thought I'd mention that in case you were thinking I had decided to do the responsible thing and finish the pullover I'm working on before starting another one.  Nope.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Space Mermaid

Space Mermaid 
I haven't forgotten my Space Mermaid shawl in The Quest For More Pullovers, but it's not getting a lot of attention right now.  I've worked a couple more repeats since you last saw it, but I feel like I should be farther along.  Of course I would be if I would stop knitting pullovers, but why would I do something like that?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Look What Happened Yesterday

Onyx and Hydroponic 
Some yarn got washed!  This is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Onyx and Hydroponic.  I decided to go ahead and get it washed because it will take another day to dry and then it will be all ready whenever I decide to start a new Ravello!

(Who am I kidding, I'm totally casting on as soon as the yarn has dried and been wound!)

Onyx will be the main color and Hydroponic will be the stripes.  I will probably be adding more stripes than the pattern calls for, but I've done this before and it works.  I was actually surprised as I was washing it, that there really wasn't very much excess dye to wash out.  I expected to spend most of the day messing with the Onyx, but it only took two washes.  I washed the Hydroponic twice as well, but I think once would have been enough.  Thankfully Madelinetosh uses lots of yarn ties, so the skeins are still neatly organized.  It's almost dry now and I think it should be completely dry by tomorrow morning.

Theoretically, someone could wind yarn and cast on tomorrow. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Thinking...

Dragonfly front 
I've gotten a LOT done on the front of my Dragonfly Relax pullover!  I'm to the armhole area, which on the front means that I'll be doing a front neckline soon.  (Sooner than I did a back neckline at least.)

As I've been knitting all this stockinette stitch, I've been thinking.  I usually have a sweater, a shawl type thing, and something small like socks or mitts on the needles at any given time.  Right now, I have this pullover (sweater) and my Space Mermaid (shawl), but no small project.  I could cast on for a pair of footie socks, or (and this is where it gets crazy) I could cast on a second sweater, I was thinking Ravello.  Ravello isn't oversized, it's top down in the round, and it's stockinette.  I've found that I can get through the short row section in an evening and then it's smooth sailing.  I have yarn for two Ravellos upstairs and while I will need to prewash them (after the colors ran on my last one, I trust nothing!), I could get that done today, get the yarn dried and start on a Ravello later this week.  This could be about the time I'm ready to block the front and back of Relax, so this could be a good thing, right?

I mean, I've got plenty of needles, I might as well use them!

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Wiksten Tank #9

Wiksten tank 
Yes, I've made another Wiksten Tank.  This time in linen.  Same pattern and sizing as the first eight Wiksten Tanks, but since the linen is a heavier weight fabric than the lawn and rayon I've used before, I didn't do French seams.  I serged the seams and then top stitched them down in a fake flat felled style.

The fabric is from Fabrics-Store.com, it's their IL019 Signature Finish in Bleached.  I'd been looking at their linens for a while, and when they offered this one at a steep discount for a five yard cut, I bought it.  I really like it and while I'm not sure if this color is quite opaque enough for a dress, a few linen tops are always useful in Texas.  One of the reasons I started with the tank was to figure out how see through it actually is when it's being worn.  Also, basic white tanks are useful in my wardrobe.

I actually almost put the pocket on this one.  (There is a pocket in the pattern, but in the nine I've made, none have had the pocket.)  I thought it might need something extra since it's a basic, soft white tank.  I also thought about adding a bit of embroidery to it, but in the end, decided to keep it basic.  If I decide it's too plain when I wear it, I can always add embroidery later.

Have a great weekend!  I'm going to wear my new tank!

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

This is Why We Block Things

Dragonfly 
I've finished knitting the back of my Dragonfly Relax pullover and started the front.  Thanks to my notes in the pattern, I won't have to be constantly checking measurements as I knit the front.

Also, if you've ever wondered why blocking is important, this is why.  I'll be weaving in ends and blocking the back (and doing the same to the front) before seaming them together.  At this point, it's a wonky, rolled up mess.  I'll get a photo after blocking so you can see the difference!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Space Mermaid Strikes Back!

Space Mermaid 
It's getting bigger!  Each repeat is taking longer and longer of course and now it's at a pace of just under two repeats per Midsomer Murders episode (the Netflix, full 1.5 hours+ episodes).  Yes, I time my knitting with Netflix.  I'm really enjoying how this is working out and it is an easy knit, even with the two colors.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

I Made A Bralette!

This whole blog post may be TMI, but I'm really proud of my first bralette and decided to show it off.  Fifi has agreed to model because she just doesn't care.

I made the Barrett Bralette from Madalynne which is a free pattern (the link goes to all her free patterns, scroll down for the Barrett).  It wasn't hard to make, but there were a few things that were new to me sewing-wise.  Fortunately, the directions were easy to understand and got me through it.
The Barrett Bralette
Also new to me were the fabrics.  I usually use natural fibers when I sew, but synthetics tend to work better for bras and bralettes.  I got the supplies (fabrics and hardware) from a kit purchased at Tailor Made Shoppe on Etsy (I purchased it).  The main fabric is a scuba which I've never used before and it's lined with a stretch mesh, which I've also never used before.  Both fabrics are slippery and stretchy, but I didn't have any trouble dealing with them as long as I took my time.
The Barrett Bralette
It took me about two and a half hours to make the bralette, but that includes time spent ripping a couple of mis-sewn seams and doing a load of laundry.  The finished bralette not only fits, but it's comfortable to wear all day.  I made the Small size (32C in RTW) and I have enough fabric to make another one, but I'll need to get more elastics and sliders/rings to complete it.  It was really a fun project to make and you'll probably be seeing more of my underwear on the blog!

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Monday, August 06, 2018

I'm Baaack! (Almost)

Dragonfly pullover 
I'm just about ready to start the shoulder shaping on the back piece of my Relax pullover!  One thing about knitting an oversized, boxy pullover (the kind I like to wear) is that you have to knit oversized, boxy pieces.  Those take a while.  On the other hand, I will have row numbers for shaping and everything I'll need to know by the time I start the front, so it should go faster.  (I've gone ahead and made notes in the pattern with Imperial measurements.)  I also know the sleeves will probably take longer to pick up stitches than they will to knit because they're fairly fitted.

All this to say, I think my amusement with the colorway is helping because it keeps me interested as I knit miles of stockinette stitch.  While I'm sure I would wear one of these in a solid color, I'm not sure how easy it would be to knit.  I'd have to plan my Netflix very carefully.

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Friday, August 03, 2018

Space Mermaid

When you participate in the ESK KAL's, you earn stars.  Each KAL has different rules, but basically the more you knit (or crochet), the more stars you can earn, but there's always a bonus star available for doing something extra.  (The team with the most stars at the end of the year wins.)  This quarter the bonus star is earned by using two or more ESK exclusive yarns in a single project.  I've had my small pile of exclusives spread out for several weeks and there were a couple of possibilities but I hadn't found a pattern I wanted to knit.  I had looked and thought and just wasn't finding anything I wanted to make, until Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning I saw the Self Acceptance shawl and while it's only one color, for some reason as soon as I saw it I thought, "I could do that in two colors."  I have no idea why I had the idea, but as soon as it popped into my head, I couldn't shake it.  I knew if it didn't work, I'd figure it out pretty quickly, so it wasn't like I'd commit myself to hours of knitting only to fail.  I grabbed two skeins from my stash and started knitting.  It worked!
Space Mermaid
The tonal dark blue that I'm using for the mock cable section is Squoosh Fiberarts Rapture in Planet 9 from 2016's Space Yarnathon and the multicolored yarn I'm using for the garter stitch is Squoosh Fiberarts Beefcake Sock in Kelp Forest from this year's Under the Sea Yarnathon - hence the Space Mermaid name.
Space Mermaid
Since someone always asks, this is what the backside looks like.  I'm twisting the yarns together the same way I do when I alternate skeins for a sweater (which is the same technique used for intarsia colorwork I believe).

Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Fire Breathing Unicorn

Fire Breathing Unicorn 
I've finished my Fire Breathing Unicorn scarf!  This was such an interesting project.  It was fun to knit as well as easy, but it never got boring.  It's all garter stitch and it's all short rows.  You just use regular wrap and turn short rows, but you don't have to pick up the wraps since they just melt into the garter stitch.  If you can count, you can knit this!
Fire Breathing Unicorn
The pattern was Optical Delusion: Conflagration and I used Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Sunken Treasure, an ESK exclusive for the Under the Sea themed Yarnathon this year.  The pattern calls for multicolored or variegated yarn with three to five inch long stretches of color and this fit perfectly.  This was also my first project for the ESK third quarter KAL, which is based on using ESK exclusive yarns.

I started my second project for the KAL yesterday afternoon and I'll show it to you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Measuring

Dragonfly 
I've been working along on my Relax pullover.  Still loving the Dragonfly colorway.  I'm getting close to the armholes, but looking at this photo it looks like I've got a lot more to go.  I think it's because this sweater is so wide and boxy, it makes it look shorter than it is.  I am adding in a bit more length than the pattern calls for, but probably only two centimeters.  This pattern is written in the metric system which means I get to use the other side of my tape measure!  It's not a big deal, but as an American, I really have no ability to "eyeball" metric measurements.  I could make notes on the pattern (and I probably should as I think I'll be making this pattern again) so I'd have the Imperial measurements, but I just haven't.  It's just such a relaxing knit, I don't mind dragging out the tape measure a little more often.

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