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Thursday, February 27, 2020

February Blocks

Last night I finished the second blanket block for February and immediately blocked them both.  In fact, they were still a little damp this morning when I went up to get their blog photos.  Since I block them together on the same blocking wires, I had to cover up the edge of the one I wasn't photographing.  I know, first world problems.

Anyway, here is Horsham Circle:
Horsham Circle. Sherlock block 3
And here is Goodge Corner:
Goodge Corner. Sherlock block 4
This makes four completed blocks out of a total of 12.  This project is probably going to be the only time you ever see me knit bobbles, so enjoy it.  I know some people like bobbles and I've noticed that bobbled sweaters seem to be showing up again lately, but I'm not a fan.  I just don't like the way they look, but I decided for a blanket they wouldn't be too bad. 

Whatever your stance on bobbles, I hope you have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Finished! (Sort Of)

Nardoo 
Back in September of 2019 I started knitting the Nardoo Shawl from some handspun yarn.  Last night I finished it.  I can't tell you how good it feels to get this off the needles.

I knit it as the pattern was written, but I'm pretty sure I worked a few extra repeats.  The yarn is a light fingering weight, 50% Merino/50% Mulberry Silk from BeesyBee in the Dark Chrysalis colorway.  It kind of blended from gray into the colors and I chain plied it to attempt to make a gradient yarn.  It sort of worked but not as well as I had hoped.  There's an article in Ply Magazine about carding to make a gradient yarn that I'd like to play around with and try again sometime.

It hasn't been blocked yet (hence, the "Sort Of" in the title) and I'm hoping to block it to a longer, narrower shape.  There's a lot of bounce in it so that will probably work.  Blocking should also open up the lace pattern.

I'm not 100% happy with this project, but I did learn something from it, and I know what the issues are that made me not completely happy, so hopefully I'll be successful next time I attempt to spin a gradient!

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

More Spinning

I've been trying to spin some every day, and it's really paying off!  Some days I only have ten minutes and some days I have more time, but I've kept going and now I have four bobbins of singles of the Fireworks fiber!
Fireworks spinning
This means I'm two thirds of the way through the singles.  I'll be starting the fifth bobbin today.  When I started this spinning project it seemed huge.  I probably bought more fiber than I really needed (I'm spinning for a sweater), but I knew I wouldn't want to run short.  I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem, but I'm also slightly surprised that I'm already this far along on the spinning.  There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

I haven't gotten as far as planning my next spin yet, but I don't want another textured project immediately.  I'm ready for something smooth next!

Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

One Block At A Time

Every year the ESK Yarnathon has both quarterly KAL's as well as a year long KAL (and random Flash KAL's too).  The year long KAL has been a blanket for as far back as I can remember, but I think the only one I participated in was the Carson throw back in 2016.  This year they're doing a Choose Your Own Adventure Stitch Sampler and I've decided to jump in with this one and make Caleb a blanket.  He loves blankets and takes care of them, so I showed him a couple of patterns and the ESK page of Cascade 220 Superwash and let him pick!
Sherlock blanket- Lauriston Gardens
He chose the Sherlock's Great Afghan Adventure, Mystery KAL pattern (it's not a mystery anymore, it's a regular pattern with photos) and Cascade 220 Superwash in color 904, Colonial Blue Heather.
Sherlock Blanket- Briony Lodge
There are 12 blocks in this blanket, plus a border.  I might change to a crochet border to finish it at the end, just to add some stability, but I don't have to make any decisions yet.  I have until Christmas Day to get it finished for the KAL, but I'm trying to get it done faster than that.
Block 3
I made two blocks in January and I've started the third block.  The first two are blocked (they blocked to 15 inches square), but the third is still in progress at the moment.


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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Happy Pink Sweater

In January, when I was casting on all the things, I decided to knit a new sweater.  I wanted it to be thick and snuggly and soft.  Something big and slouchy I could just cuddle into.  I had a sweater quantity of Blue Sky Fibers Extra (55% Alpaca/45% Merino) in the Lei colorway so I cast on for a Worsted Boxy.  I decided to try to finish it in time for Valentine's Day and I finished it yesterday!
Worsted Boxy pullover
It's just as soft and cuddly and bouncy and warm and big and comfy as I had hoped it would be!  This is my first time using Extra but I don't want it to be my last.  It's such a soft, bouncy, thick yarn and it feels great to knit.  I'll probably use it for a cardigan next time because there's a limited use for thick pullovers in Texas!

Since this sweater is knit bottom up, I decided to start with a provisional cast on so I could check the length at the end.  I usually add a bit of length to most sweaters (I'm 5'8") but I wasn't sure how much if any I would need.  Also, alpaca can drape and lengthen when it's being worn, so I definitely needed to double check the length.  I knit the smallest size, but being a Boxy sweater (she wasn't kidding when she named it), there's room enough for three of me.  I knit the entire sweater, finished the neck, and knit the sleeves before trying it on.  As it turned out, the length was fine, so I picked up the live stitches from the provisional cast on, worked my lower ribbing, and wove in the ends.  It got a steam blocking to finish it, and now it's ready for Valentine's Day. 

Now I'm going to get back to all the other things I've cast on and work on them before I start another sweater!  Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, February 06, 2020

Socks

I've been knitting a pair of socks this year.  Actually, I'm still on the first sock.  When you cast on everything at once, it's hard to get any forward momentum on a single project.  Anyway, the first quarter's KAL for ESK (the Yarnathon) is Tiny Owl Knits.  If you're not familiar with her patterns, they're adorable and whimsical and just fun.  Tiny Owl Knits is responsible for the Beekeeper's Quilt that everyone was doing several years ago.  I know I still have a few bags of hexipuffs around here, although I can't tell you when I last knit one of the little things.
Fairy Legs
Anyway, I really liked her Broom Rider socks when the pattern came out, but it was initially only available in the ebook, and that was the only thing from the ebook I knew I'd knit.  I've always wanted to knit a pair of long socks, so when this KAL was announced on January 1 and I realized the pattern was available individually now, I went stash diving!  I decided on some Malabrigo Sock in Indonesia (the dark) and Madelinetosh Twist Light in Dopamine (the light).
Broom Rider Socks
I've had to make a few adjustments because I prefer my socks knit at a tighter gauge than the pattern calls for, but I'm checking fit as I go and trying them on to make sure they work.  I've also weighed my yarn before starting so I can get a pair of matching socks - I don't want to run out of one of the colors halfway through the second sock!
Broom Rider Socks
I'm not cutting my yarns between colors, I'm just bringing it up from the previous stripe.  The pattern gives some tips about this and it's working pretty well.  I know this first sock is taking much longer because I'm adjusting for the fit as I go, but I'm keeping notes and I hope the second sock moves much faster.

Oh, and just to answer a question about the spinning from Tuesday, I will be plying the singles when I'm done spinning them (I've finished two bobbins of what will be six), but they will just be a regular three ply.  The color bits are so small that there's no point in chain plying* them.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

*Chain plying is the type of plying with a giant crochet chain that will keep the color flow intact while you ply.  The technique has been known as Navajo plying but apparently the Navajo people have pointed out that they've never used this technique, and since "chain plying" is much more descriptive (and apparently much more accurate), you'll see this term used more often now.

(This was not meant to be lecture-y, but more of an FYI kind of thing.  When I started spinning about 15 ((?)) years ago, everyone called this Navajo plying, so it must have been fairly recently that someone spoke up and mentioned that's it's really not at all a Navajo thing.  I'm probably worrying about this way too much but I didn't want anyone to read this and think I was being condescendingly explanatory.  It's hard to convey intent on the Internet sometimes without tone of voice, facial expression and body language cues.  Also, I'm not ready to include emoji in blog posts.  Nope!)

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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Spinning

So I realize the blog has been silent for the past few weeks, but I have been making things over that time.  I've also done some frogging, but I think that's been mostly to change needle sizes or fix mistakes.  I've had an impressive case of Cast-On-Itis so I thought instead of making one big, monster post with everything in it, I'll just blog about things as I go, so you won't get to see every step of each project, and you might see something for the first time in its finished state, but this seems more doable and makes more sense to me.

Fireworks bobbin 2 
I have been spinning through these last few weeks and I've actually gotten quite a lot done.  I started working on this Fireworks fiber (black Merino with Sari Silk waste) last fall and I finished the first bobbin in October.  I got the second bobbin started but then put the spinning wheel away for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the end of year rush to finish things, so it really was just barely started.  I got the wheel out again while Daddy was hospitalized and actually spent several mornings spinning before we left for the hospital.  I've continued spinning into this new year and this past weekend I finished this second bobbin (the one with the gray ends is the second one if you're curious).

I've started the third bobbin and I'm hoping to stay in the habit of spinning almost every day, even if it's just for 30 minutes or so.  I've been listening to podcasts while I spin and that seems to keep me focused better than just listening to music, at least for right now.

I also want to say Thank You to each and every one of you for your kind words and thoughts.  It means a lot to me.

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