My current work in progress:

1. Woodfords, designed by Elizabeth Doherty, knit from Madelinetosh Merino Light in the "paper" colorway on U.S. size 3, 5, and 7 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

At Dawn

I finished my At Dawn wrap Sunday night.

AtDawn100114 240x114 At Dawn

I knit this from two skeins of Wollmeise Blend, in the Lavendel and Grunfink colorways on a U.S. size 4 needle. No mods to the pattern, and I have a decent amount of each color left over, enough for a pair of colorwork fingerless mitts to match, perhaps.

There was some confusion in the comments about the yardage of the Wollmeise Blend yarn. The label states that there are 364 yards per 100 grams, but the skeins are 150 grams in weight, so have 546 yards per skein.

This project was pure pleasure: a fun pattern and yummy yarn. The resulting wrap is incredibly soft and darn pretty!

Chunky Knits

Last week I got a review copy of this book in the mail:

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This is Chunky Knits by Ashley Little and the subtitle is “31 Projects for You & Your Home Knit with Bulky Yarn” which describes pretty well the focus of the book! It does not seem to be listed on Ravelry yet. The publication date is October 14, so it will likely show up there soon.

Now, I’m usually not a big fan of knitting with chunky yarns — give me a nice fingering weight and a 2mm needle and I’m a happy girl. But this book has a lot of really cute and creative designs in it. There is an index page with thumbnail photos in the front of the book:

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As you might expect, there are hats, cowls, and scarves, as well as a pair of fingerless mitts  and a pair of boot toppers. But my favorites are, I think, really inspired!

A knitted hassock:

Hassock100114 224x240 At Dawn

A cool thing about this — it is stuffed with a queen size comforter. What a clever way to store bedding!

A cabled pillow:

Pillow100114 223x240 At Dawn

A great practice piece for someone who wants to hone cabling skills.

“Sachet” balls:

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These would make great gifts! You could stuff them with cedar chips or potpourri, or just plain old fiberfill if you wanted to use them as ornaments.

There is a good resource section in the back of the book with nicely illustrated techniques.

Most of the projects in the book are knitted from bulky yarns that are widely available and are knit to a gauge of 3 to 4 stitches to an inch. There are a few projects that are made from super bulky yarn, or bulky yarn held double.

All in all, a very nice book with a good variety of projects. You could whip out a lot of holiday gifts using this book.

Who’d like my review copy?

To be entered in a drawing to win my review copy of Chunky Knits by Ashley Little, leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern time Wednesday, October 8, 2014. I’ll choose a lucky winner at random at that time.

Loki is celebrating the arrival of October with . . . no big surprise . . . a nap.

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Look at those plush little bunny feet!

 

 

Blend

Did you know that Wollmeise has a new yarn?

Labels092414 240x183 Blend

It’s called “Blend” and it is a 70% Merino, 20% Cashmere, and 10% Nylon (Polyamide) blend. Each 150-gram skein is 546 yards of pure pleasure. Here are the skeins those labels came off:

WollmeiseBlend092414 240x134 Blend

And here is the start of what I am doing with them:

WIP092414 240x134 Blend

This pattern is “At Dawn” by Joji Locatelli. I’m actually more than halfway done with it:

WIP092414b 240x134 Blend

The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn and Wollmeise Blend is listed in Ravelry as sportweight. I would call it a light sportweight, though, like halfway between fingering and sport. I did do a gauge swatch for the piece, starting with a 3.25mm needle, what I usually use for one of these garter stitch wraps. The fabric I got was a little on the firm side, so I went up to a 3.5mm (U.S. size 4) needle and am happy with the results.

I purchased my Wollmeise Blend yarn directly from the Wollmeise online store, by the way.

It’s possible that I am a little obsessed with garter stitch wraps right now.

Loki thinks there is nothing nicer than a nap while Momma knits.

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In other news, here is a pumpkin hat my new knitter just made for a friend’s baby:

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She completed this in under a week. I am so proud of her!

Strandwanderer

My Strandwanderer is complete.

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As I’ve already said, this was one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever made, and a great use for a skein of variegated Wollmeise.

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I had 2.9 grams left over from my skein.

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I did 16 stripes, which I think is smaller than the designer said she did on hers, but I used a larger needle.

I purled backwards on the short rows — got lots of practice doing that so I’m a pro at it now! icon biggrin Strandwanderer

Finished size: 80” long along the top straight edge, and 13” deep at its deepest point.

FO092114 240x63 Strandwanderer

Now I’m trying to get Loki to relax.

Loki092114 240x188 Strandwanderer

Low-Stress Knitting

Sometimes I really enjoy a high-stress knit: a complex colorwork or heavily cabled design. And sometimes a low-stress project is exactly what I need.

Strandwanderer is to me the definition of a low-stress knit. It is so much fun to knit, and there is almost no counting or memorizing required.

WIP091714 240x134 Low Stress Knitting

It is never boring because I am constantly changing what I am doing. And even though I keep changing what I am doing, I was able to commit the pattern to memory very quickly. And once I figured out purling backwards, that became fun. By sheer repetition I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the backwards and am now looking forward to the short row sections. There’s nothing like lots and lots of practice to really get a handle on a new technique.

WIPCloseup091714 240x135 Low Stress Knitting

I think it would be fun to knit a larger one using a heavier yarn. The designer points out that the pattern works best with yarns that have color repeats of 20 – 35 cm in length per color — that’s an important consideration to keep in mind. Almost all the projects in Ravelry are done with fingering weight yarns. I’d love to try it in a DK weight yarn. It’s easy enough to check how the pooling will look — knit a swatch of the short-row section. And it could be adjusted slightly by adding a  stitch or two to the length of the short rows. If I did that, I’d have to fiddle with the rows at each side of the short row stripe. It would be fun to try!

Book Giveaway

The winner of a copy of Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale is Bobbi, who has been emailed. As always, thanks to everyone who left a comment to be entered in the giveaway, and a very big thank-you to Sixth & Spring publishers for their continued generosity in not only sending me review copies of new books but offering a second copy for a giveaway!

Loki

Loki is working on his winter coat, so he is getting daily grooming so I can stay ahead of mats. It’s a good think he likes being groomed. He is also into keeping his life as low-stress as possible.

Loki091714 240x206 Low Stress Knitting

No anxiety there!

Backwards

Here is what I am knitting with the skein of Wollmeise “Pure” I pictured in my last blog post:

WIP091414 240x85 Backwards

This is Strandwanderer, a pattern designed by Lea Viktoria, and it is, in my opinion, the best use for a skein of Wollmeise that I have ever seen. I think it is brilliant, and I don’t think I’ve seen any similar construction in any patterns.

WIPCloseup091414 240x135 Backwards

Doesn’t it showcase the variegated yarn beautifully?

This effect is achieved by working many, many, many very small short rows. The pattern has a nice photo-tutorial that comes with it that shows you step-by-step how to work the short-row sections of the shawl and advises you that if you don’t want to be forever turning your work back and forth, it is a good idea to learn how to purl backwards.

I learned how to knit backwards many years ago. I was at a TKGA convention back in the 1980s and someone mentioned knitting backwards in some context or another. I had never heard of doing such a thing so was mystified by the idea. That night I figured out how to knit backwards by deconstructing how I knit . . . well . . . forwards. Very proud of myself I was, too.

But I’ve always considered knitting backwards more of a parlor trick than anything else. Then when I started working on Strandwanderer, I quickly realized that yes, turning my work over and over again was going to be very tedious. But because this is worked in garter stitch, I would need to purl backwards. Knitting backwards results in stockinette stitch and purling backwards gives you garter stitch.

So I once again deconstructed what I do when purling normally, and figured it out.

Of course, if I had bothered to actually read the tutorial that came with the pattern. I would have seen that she included step-by-step instructions for purling backwards as well. After the fact I also googled and checked out a couple of YouTube videos on the technique and have confirmed that it is somewhat awkward. Awkward though it may be, it is still faster than continually turning my work!

Speaking of working backwards, I received a new book to review.

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This is Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale, a follow-up to her first book on the topic: Entrelac. I do not have a copy of the first book, but from what I read on Amazon, it looks like a great book for learning the entrelac technique.

(I did learned how to do basic entrelac way back at that knitting convention in the 1980s and that’s where I put my backwards knitting to good use!)

Inside091414 240x135 Backwards

Entrelac 2 takes things a lot further. There are 85 stitch patterns incorporating cables, lace, color,texture, and even beads! — stuff I’d never dreamed you could do in entrelac, along with 25 patterns for garments, accessories, baby items, and home décor projects. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry.

There is basic “how-to” information.

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And patterns for individual stitch motifs. I love the star.

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And how about some beaded entrelac?

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The publisher, Sixth & Spring Books, has kindly offered a second copy for me to give away on my blog. Who’d like it?

To be entered in the drawing to win a copy of Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale, leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. I’ll select a winner at random at that time.

No Loki, you are not eligible to enter.

Loki091414 240x158 Backwards