My current work in progress:

1. pour moi, designed by Lori Versaci, knit from Wollmeise Merino DK in the "Stella Polaris" colorway on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
2. Outlander MKAL Shawl, designed by Rachel Rodin, knit from Lornas Laces Shepherd Sport in the "Beauchamps" and "Fraser" colorways on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
3. Myriad stealth projects.

So Much to Knit, So Little Time

The title of this blog post sums it up. Lately that’s the way I’ve been feeling. I see so many things I want to knit but the pesky day job is really getting in the way of getting a lot of knitting done. Of course, it is the pesky day job that pays for the yarn . . .

Here is my Brickless in progress:

Brickless080614 240x158 So Much to Knit, So Little Time

It is in a pile in that photo, but spread out, it is getting very, very long. As I knit it I was having doubts about it, so I took out my iron and steam-blocked the completed portion so I could get an idea of how it would look completed. Much better! This design is knit in strips of lace, garter stitch, and ribbing, so it really needs to be blocked to smooth out the lumps and bumps.

I am very happy with the Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag yarn, too. It is a lovely soft single-ply silk wool blend. It’s only 20% silk, but feels to me like more. I would have guessed it was a 50/50 blend. It steam-blocked beautifully too. I think a wrap like this is the perfect use for the yarn. It is very soft so seems like to wouldn’t work as well for a fitted garment. I don’t think it would hold its shape in a piece that required structure, or that it would wear terribly well, being so soft.

On Monday, I received this from Jimmy Beans Wool:

Outlanderyarn080614 240x220 So Much to Knit, So Little Time

This is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in two special colorways, Beauchamps and Fraser. (Fans of the Outlander series of novels will recognize those names immediately.) This yarn is for the Outlander MKAL that I plan on joining. Yeah, I typically have no interest in joining Mystery Knit-alongs but I looked at the designer’s other work and liked what I saw, so decided to take the plunge. I really love the colors of the yarn.

(The first episode of the new Starz “Outlander” series premiers this Saturday, August 9, but Starz made it available to watch free online and “on demand” last weekend. I watched. I enjoyed. I look forward to more!)

The other day I saw this on Ravelry. I am, of course, now obsessed with the idea of knitting shoes.

My New Knitter

I started my new knitter on the Easy Diagonal Scarf pattern I designed for her first project. Look at how great her knitting looks!

JenniferScarf080614 240x168 So Much to Knit, So Little Time

This was done after maybe a week of practicing by knitting a swatch. I’m so proud of her! Look at how even her gauge is! The yarn is some Koigu Kersti that has been marinating in my stash for 10 years or so. She is using a U.S. size 6 needle.

The Loki Report

Loki is featured as the Ragdoll of the Week over at Floppycats.com. Check him out there! Meanwhile, at home, he has a new playhouse.

Loki080614 210x240 So Much to Knit, So Little Time

I purchased it from Amazon.com (it’s this one). It’s made of cardboard and is shipped flat, so you put it together. No glue or tools needed, it’s all tabs and slots. Very cute, and Loki seems to like it. And it is roomy enough for all 13.5 pounds of him to fit easily inside.

Asymmetrical?

It’s August, and that means it is time for Camp Loop project #3! Here’s mine:

WIP080314 240x135 Asymmetrical?

This is Brickless, designed by Martina Behm. I am knitting mine from Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag, a DK weight 80/20 merino/silk blend, in the “Boston Fern” colorway.  I’m using a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.

This wrap is rather oddly shaped. So far it is long and skinny. This got me thinking — when did the asymmetrical triangle become an “accepted” shape for shawls? That is, a pattern where you start out at one side with just a few stitches, and increase as you kit, then bind off when you are out of yarn (basically).

The first one I can remember seeing is Martina Behm’s “Hitchhiker” which was published November 2010. When I first saw it, I wondered why it was so popular — it’s a misshapen triangle, for gosh sakes! But as of this writing it has well over 15,000 projects listed in Ravelry, so clearly people like it.

But I can’t help thinking: pre-internet, say 25 or 30 years ago, would anyone look at this twice? I wonder.

But now, this type of pattern is perfect for a single skein of a beautiful handpainted yarn. Thirty years ago you would have a hard time finding much in the way of handpainted yarn.

I knit a Hitchhiker out of handspun that was a gift from friends. My friend Stacy handpainted the fiber, and Leslie and Laura spun the yarn for me. So it is a precious item to me.

There are many, many scarf and shawl patterns out there now based on this shape. I think another reason for their popularity is that they are pretty easy. For the most part, you don’t need to know a lot of advanced techniques. And they make a great “blank” for experimenting with striping sequences.

What’s the point of all this? No point, really. Just musing on how styles and trends change.

Wee Ones Raffle

Remember Wee Ones, the Etsy purveyor of adorable stitch markers?

Jillian, the amazing artist behind Wee Ones has always been very generous, donating sets of stitch markers for giveaways. Now she needs our help.

In her own words:

I was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer in 2008 when I was 29 years old. At that time it had already metastasized to my liver. I went on to have major surgery and eventually gave birth to my beautiful twin boys in 2010. Since the carcinoid was caught after it had spread, it is now a chronic condition that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life.

We need more funding and research for this rare cancer.

On September 21, participants of the 2014 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai will take steps to change the odds for patients facing cancer.
The funds raised through the Walk enable leaders at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to apply monies rapidly when promising new research opportunities arise. Your gift enhances the programs and initiatives that serve patients and their families who come to Dana-Farber for its signature “total patient care philosophy.” These gifts provide the most forward thinking form of support.

The money I raise will go directly to fund the neuroendocrine/carcinoid program at Dana Farber.

Jillian’s funding page is here.

But there’s more! Jillian is doing a raffle. She has a great prize pot and anyone who donates at least $5.00 is eligible to win. She is running the drawing through August and will choose a winner on September 1st at random. The WeeOnes Facebook page shows the prizes and includes all the details. If you can possible help, please do so, for one of our own.

Loki!

Loki and I have been celebrating our one year anniversary. When I came home from work on Friday, I found that he had opened a closet door and helped himself to a new feather wand toy. (I keep several new toys on hand at all times so I can replace them as he destroys them.)

Loki080314 240x147 Asymmetrical?

Loki sez: “So what?”

Gradients: The Obsession Continues

It’s true — I might be just a little obsessed with gradients right now. I just finished another fast project knit from Freia Handpaints, this:

Cowl072914 240x233 Gradients: The Obsession Continues

This is a cowl knit in a broken rib pattern, using Freia Handpaints Ombre Worsted in the “Blue Velvet” colorway on a 5mm (U.S. 8) needle. I really, really love this colorway.

In the photo above, the cowl is doubled.

Cowl072914a 166x240 Gradients: The Obsession Continues

It’s about 55″ around and 8.5″ deep. It’s a simple knit, can hardly be called a pattern, but I wrote it up anyway, in hopes that it might be of use to someone l0oking for a fast and easy cowl to make. You can download it free from Ravelry.

Barbara asked a good question in the comments about the yarn I used for the scarf in my last post:

Wendy, how did you shuffle around your 2 colorways to begin/end with the same color?  Did you use half of the purple, then reattach towards the end?  I read through the pattern, trying to determine how far to knit with one or the other.

One of the things I love about Freia Handpaints: when you order more than one skein of a colorway, you get skeins that work together. In the case of the scarf, I bought two skeins, and where the first skein ends in the color repeat, the second one begins. The same is true of the yarn for this cowl: I bought three skeins and after scrutinizing the yarn to put the skeins in order, I was able to work from skein, to skein, to skein without any gap in the color sequence.

What next? I can’t start working on my Camp Loopy III project until after midnight tomorrow, so I’ll do some swatches of future ideas between now and then.

Loki

This Saturday, August 2, is the one year anniversary of my adopting Loki. It’s hard to believe that he has lived with me a whole year! It’s funny to remember how timid and unsure of himself he was when I first brought him home. That did not last long. icon wink Gradients: The Obsession Continues Now he acts like he runs the place. And I suppose in a way he does.

Loki073014 240x230 Gradients: The Obsession Continues

 

Loki is going to be featured as the “Ragdoll of the Week” over at Floppycats.com on Monday, so be sure to check him out there. And I’ll of course post a direct link to his article after it goes live next week. icon smile Gradients: The Obsession Continues

Easy!

First off, the winner of a free copy of 60 Quick Luxury Knits is Carin Glick. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Second, I finished my easy diagonal scarf.

FO072714 158x240 Easy!

 

I knit to use up all the yarn, saving a bit to add some fringe at the bottom.

FOCloseUp072714 240x195 Easy!

I taught a colleague how to knit last week, and designed this pattern to be her first project. Since I was writing it up for her, I thought I’d make it available for download on Ravelry as a freebie. So here it is!

Third, it looks like Basil found a little friend!

Basil072714 240x135 Easy!

And fourth, Loki is waiting to “help” me with chores, so off I go!

Loki072714 240x135 Easy!

 

It Never Rains But It Pours

I have yet another book to review for you!

This is the latest in the “60 Quick Knits” collection from Sixth & Spring: 60 Quick Luxury Knits. All of the patterns (60 of them) in this book are knit from Cascade Yarn’s Venezia yarn, a 70/30 merino/silk blend that comes in both worsted and sport weights. While I have no personal experience with the Venezia yarn, I can see that it gets very good reviews on Ravelry. It comes in a wide variety of colors and is quite reasonably priced compared to other merino/silk blends.

You can view all the projests on Ravelry, here. There’s quite a nice range of items, including hats, collars, cowls, scarves, shawls, mitts, and more. There are patterns for colorwork, texture, cables, and lace. Definitely something for everyone.

A few of my favorite projects . . .

This adorable clutch:

BowClutch072314 230x240 It Never Rains But It Pours

A lovely fair isle beret:

Beret072314 217x240 It Never Rains But It Pours

And a cute cabled headband:

CabledHeadband072314 210x240 It Never Rains But It Pours

This book is a great source of patterns for gifts that will be quick to knit but will not fail to impress the recipient.

The publisher has kindly offered a second copy of the book for my giveaway. Who’d like it?

To be entered in the drawing for a copy of  60 Quick Luxury Knitsplease leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, July 27, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random then.

Speaking of choosing winners at random, the winner of  A Knitter’s Gallery of Mitered Squares – 45 Unique Designs in Color, Texture and Lace is Sue H., who has been emailed. Thanks to everyone who left a comment!

Meanwhile

I needed a short-term project because I am still in-between Camp Loopy projects. So I am working on this:

WIP072314 240x134 It Never Rains But It Pours

This is a diagonal garter stitch scarf being knit from Freia Fine Handpaints Sport Ombre in the “Grapevine” colorway, on a U.S. size 6 needle.

I love this yarn. I am using two skeins of it, and where one skein ends, the second skein picks up in exactly the same spot so there is no break in the gradient.

I will likely make this pattern available as a freebie once I am done. While I am knitting mine in sportweight wool, you could use pretty much any weight, and make it as wide as you like as well.

Loki

This is what Loki is usually doing after I get home from work in the afternoon.

Loki072114 240x179 It Never Rains But It Pours

I have to wonder what he is up to all day while I am gone to get so tired?