Like a cheesecloth

Just a quickie today to show you what’s finally off the needles now.

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It looks like…well, it really doesn’t look very impressive yet. But this is just the before shot. We’ll get a real glamour shot when I block it. Alas, it’s a bit late in the day for that, and I don’t particularly fancy sleeping on a damp bed (as that’s the only room I have for blocking this beauty). But I have the wool wash and the pins and I’m raring to go. The shawl will have its day.

I’ll do a full and proper FO report once the blocking is done and we get some good modeled pictures. Funnily enough, this was supposed to be a Mother’s Day present (and it still is, don’t misunderstand me), but I just thought that I’d have to start it now if I ever wanted to finish it by then. I really miscalculated how entertaining the lace would be, how quickly I could finish it, and how the shawl pattern wasn’t as complex as I imagined. It was a very good starter shawl with just enough challenge to keep it interesting, but enough ease so I didn’t have to rip, scream, and throw it in the corner.

It rhymes with “Soup”

I’m making good progress on the shawl.

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The second chart is completely finished. It was a bit of a slog towards the end, I admit, but now I’m onto other charts that only need repeating once. I think it’s going to block out really nicely.

On this leg of the shawl I’m trying my hand at nupps, which are in fact pronounced like soup, not like supper. It’s…interesting. From everything I’ve read and the tutorials I’ve watched on YouTube, I think I have the hang of them. I’ve been extremely careful to make them loose, and when I think they’re loose enough I make them just a tad looser. This, I believe is making them much easier when I purl them together later on.

They’re so cute. I got comments as I was knitting on it earlier to the effect of “How do you do that? I wouldn’t have the patience” (there were also comments calling my craft crochet, but that’s a rant for another time. Needless to say, the non knitters in question were gently corrected). I don’t think people really understand WHY we knit. The reasons are varied, but I can only suppose that non-knitters think that we just sit in rocking chairs, eschewing all company and other forms of entertainment for our knitting. For me, it’s because I don’t have patience that I knit, I think. If I have to wait, I find waiting much more pleasant if I have something to occupy myself with, therefore, knitting. I suppose I could ask these same people how they have the patience to play a video game to completion, how they manage to get through long car trips, or how they have the patience to read lengthy novels.

In other news, as my current location was near, I made another trip to the yarn store.

Ta-da!

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I have a thing for neutrals, me thinks.

The lace weight was a previous acquisition, but it hadn’t been shown off yet, so here it is. A nice baby alpaca 2 ply laceweight. I also got more Shepherd’s Wool, this time in off white and a big chunk of roving. They didn’t have any color combinations I liked in the small 1 oz bags, so I said fuck it (if you’ll pardon the expression), and just bought a 40z braid suited for spinning. It’s a nice hand dyed merino, and I love the different purples. It will make many nice thrummed items I am sure. I picked it because my boyfriend’s mom really liked my blue thrummed mittens and I figured I didn’t want her to steal them, so I’ll make her her own pair. I also, on perusal of the clearance section, found some lovely, soft chunky baby alpaca yarn from Cascade. It’s only just the one skein, and only 108 yards at that, but I felt like could give it a suitable home. It’s so soft and pretty, how could I tell it no? Not really enough for mittens in a chunky weight, possibly enough for a hat, but I think it will make me a very nice thick headband.

I might also add that this is the same yarn store that I acquired the Crystal Palace Allegro Lace, and heard them discussing how one of their employees had put a certain yarn with the lace weights when it was really a light fingering (which I have since surmised), and how just because it says “lace” on the label, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a laceweight. I intimated how I had purchased said yarn here, and they replied “See, the very same! A customer has already had a problem!” Not necessarily a problem, but at least the weight explains why I was only getting 225 yards per skein of the so called “lace” yarn. Just my luck to pick the only misplaced yarn in the store.

Startitis

I told you all it was here, didn’t I? Sure enough, as soon as Christmas was done and the socks were distributed (disregarding that the boyfriend’s socks are still on the needles), I started a slew of new projects. It started innocently enough, just a quick pair of mittens, I told myself. Then I figured I had better get started on those pillows. And of course how could I forget the sweater languishing in my bag? And now this.

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I wonder if anyone can place it.

It’s my first real piece of lace work. I’ve done odds and ends, a motif here or a dishcloth there, but this is my first honest to goodness lace project. I’ve compared it to the newly acquired 2ply laceweight in alpaca, and this merino seems to be a little on the heavy side for lace. Maybe a light fingering weight. It says it’s a lace yarn, so what do I know. It would explain how little yardage there is compare to weight, however.

I think I’ve been itching for a good long project, and this is really scratching the itch. It’s nice, difficult enough to need a chart, but easy enough to follow. Not too complex for the first time lace knitter, but enough of a challenge to keep me interested and satisfied with what’s coming off the needles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still charmed by the sweater, and I’ve been working a row here and a row there on it, but this is really just enchanting. I’ve been listening to “Jane Eyre” (a personal favorite of mine) on audiobook so I have some background noise to occupy me without having to constantly look between the screen and my chart.

This is going to be a nice shawl for my boyfriend’s mom for Mother’s Day this year. At the pace it’s going it’s really working up quite quickly, but I know that could change at any second as I keep adding more and more stitches.

I’m also pleased to announce the addition to my tool kit of these puppies.

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Finally, my own ball winder and swift. Granted, the swift is sort of cheaply made and I’m sure I’ll upgrade it eventually, but at least it’s mine. No more volunteering someone unwillingly to hold my yarn or draping it around my knees and hoping that it doesn’t fall and become tangled. The ball winder is sort of standard issue, so no problems there. Now just to find a suitable set up for the pair in my apartment.

Beginnings

The old year is officially over, and the new has already started. We caught the ball drop last night after wrestling with the remote, and it was a close one. And by close one, I hope you understand that we only got it on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve when they were on the last ten seconds of 2015. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

I did finish my mittens before the new year, so an FO for you today seems fitting.

Pattern: Yarn Harlot’s Thrummed Mittens
Fiber Used: Shepherd’s Wool worsted weight in Pewter from Stone Hedge Fiber Mill (133 yards) and a little under an ounce of assorted wool roving I had.

I’m really really happy with how they turned out and they’re super warm to boot. I feel like I’m going to be making more pairs of these for everyone around me who realized that these are probably the best winter accessory they could ask for. The looks have already started. Maybe I’ll make a pit stop when I go home and acquire some more roving for the purpose.

I have finally got around to casting on the aran pillow case. I’m pretty happy with it, even if the cabling is pulling even more than it did in the swatch.

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I figure that it’ll stretch out when I put it on the pillow form. The cabling isn’t too hard, but now I really do wish I was working this up in wool. The acrylic just doesn’t have the same kind of life, and I can’t even block it to make the stitches a bit more even. I think it looks ok, though, regardless.

I’ve also done some more work on MFS 2.0. It’s been needing some attention and I couldn’t resist it’s soft alpaca charms. No picture of that one again until I have some more substantial progress to report. It’s an absolute joy to work with though, so I’m hoping once my other knitting is down I’ll have some time to really enjoy working it up. It’s great mindless knitting, so movies are a favorite past time for me with this project.

Almost had it

Winter, that is. We are now adrift in a big pile of snow that got dumped on us. A few days late for my tastes even. Here I thought all this winter knitting was going to put the whole thing off, so I’d never even need my knitting. The irony of it all. But alas, I am not a strong enough knitter to keep winter at bay for too long.

Which is why I’m glad these are coming along quite nicely.

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There’s one completely finished, and the other is already halfway done.

As others before me have taken note, there is a special joy in looking at the inside of thrummed mittens, thrummed anything, really.

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And I love the roving as well. My favorite is one of the middle chunks of roving. It looks like unicorn hair.

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Well, at least these mittens nearly being done means that even though the winter is really and truly here, my hands will be superbly warm.

The Aftermath

Now Christmas is good and over. For another year at least. It leaves me with the sense that I’ll really have to start next year’s knitting now. Or maybe next week. This one is going to be a bit picture heavy to get everyone caught up, since the holiday meant a bit of radio silence.

The good and the bad. I didn’t end up finishing all of the socks. I did get the grey pair wrapped up and gifted for Christmas day, and the gloves from forever ago also went to their respective home. The blue pair is now, however, finished.

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I finished these bad boys yesterday. I’m just glad to have them off the needles. Another pair on now, though.

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Although, these ones are interesting, since there’s a lovely chart I get to follow. So it keeps me on my toes. I’m also kept on my toes by the learning of the magic loop method. I sort of dove into the deep end with this one and decided that upon first learning the method, that I’d go ahead and just do them two up. It was a bit more fiddly than if I’d tried to learn the magic loop with just one sock, but I definitely have the technique down now. It’s a good go to for sock knitting, but I honestly still think I prefer my double points. I do like this method for hats or other type of circular objects that I don’t want to get fifty million different lengths of circular needle for.

I got a nice little haul for Christmas as well.

Some Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks and three books I’ve been eyeing. I’m getting my knitting library rounded out. Nothing like a little EZ for some light reading.

Another project has made its way onto my needles as well.

I’m making thrummed mittens with my Shepherd’s Wool merino, and the roving I got last month. They are so soft. And it’s keeping me interested in my other knitting since I get to take mini breaks to thrum more floofies. I’ve been treating the floofies as a reward for getting a set amount of the chart knitted up.

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All this sock knitting has also given me splitty fingers. It only hurts when I accidentally stab a 2.25mm needle into the split, then start shrieking in agony. I also managed to get a lovely amount of green food dye into one of the splits that only just recently all came out, no matter how many times I washed my hands.

Tomorrow, I intend to go to the yarn store and procure some more lace weight, I think. Or perhaps more roving. These thrums are growing on me.

Never Tell Me The Odds

That’s what I’m thinking when people think I’ve gone crazy with the Christmas knitting. And perhaps I have. The biggest set back I had was all of the homework. Damned school. I mean, it’s not like I’m paying to go there and have all my knitting time squandered, right? Wait…

Regardless! Here is an update on the sock front.

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Exactly three socks totally done. This last one is testing my patience, however. I’m only 25 rows from finishing the leg though. I don’t think this one is going to make it for Christmas, but I’ll have one sock under the tree at least. Right?

This last sock has committed some pretty egregious crimes. First the damn skein took a dive on a plate of leftover ranch. I managed to perform emergency surgery and isolate the ranchy parts, saving everything but the outermost layer from contact. Then I took a damp paper towel and got off what had gotten on the skein, then patted it down dry enough with a clean paper towel. I was even able to keep knitting with it that same night, aside from the occasional crunchy bit. You can’t see it though, so it’ll wash right out the first time these go in the machine.

Next, the sock decided to test my patience by having an entire row that I needed to ladder down and fix because for some reason I went space cadet and instead of 3×3 rib I decided to just knit all the things.

And today when I picked it up, the working yarn decided to play a fun little game that I didn’t notice until I worked a full round and found this

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The working yarn decided to wrap around the needle and leave a nice little loopy that meant that I had to tink back the whole row.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this sock didn’t want to be knit. We’ll see about that. I will not be bested by a damned sock.