Tag Archives: MKAL

Yarning Along – the Mystery Way

And the Ambah Mystery is underway!

Mystery knits are always a crapshoot, but I enjoy them nonetheless.  This time around I’m joining in on Ambah‘s Hale-Bopp Mystery Knit-a-Long, some kind of a shawl, I guess with a comet theme.  As you may recall, I bought yarn, fell in dislike with the yarn, returned the yarn, and settled on this yarn:

The iron blue yarn is from Loop in London, and the rest of the yarn is from Loop in Philadelphia – fun, right?  Anyway, I hope my London souvenir ends up being a part of something lovely.

The first clue was released last Thursday, Friday for those down under, like Ambah.  The waiting, the waiting, the email that the clue is out, and then . . . drat! It’s  Turkish cast on!  Why can’t anything be easy?  Every day I just find myself exhausted because nothing can just be easy.  For instance, why did the Republicans have to shut down Elizabeth Warren?  ELIZABETH WARREN. SHE WHO WILL NOT BE SHUT DOWN.  Now, nothing is something, and anger just continues to seethe.  KnittyD. who is also knitting along, asked me if I thought I would have a snow day tomorrow – we shut down when the city shuts down, and I was like, dang, this city needs it – it needs to shut down for a day, and shake itself off.   I need some rest from this unrest.  And I’m onboard with the unrested – but one down day would be nice.

Anyway, where was I – Turkish cast on.  I had to watch a video, I had to cast on three times – once, because I ended up knitting in the round, once because I screwed up my markers and they were sliding up and down the long cord on my circular, and the third time was a charm:

As you can see, the Turkish cast on begins much like Magic Loop – the stitches are divided over two needles, created by forming wraps over the needles held together.  Unlike Magic Loop, though, you turn the work instead of knitting around – so with Magic Loop, the working yarn is going to finish off on the bottom needle, you switch needles, knit from the bottom needle to the top, and keep going around.  With the Turkish cast on, you turn the work around, so the working yarn is coming off the top needle, and you’re knitting in kind of like a “u”.  That’s my U above.  That probably didn’t make any sense, but I’m really proud of myself that I can actually talk my way through it.

And, yep, that’s a knit on icord edging – which I personally love – it makes everything look finished.

After the initial garter stitch beginning, it moves on to a slip stitch with the speckle, and then to a lace section:

I’m a little meh about it, because the speckle is just not made up of my colors.  I love the grey, I love the blue, and then . . . the speckle.   It says baby to me, but I don’t know, we’ll see. Onward!  The next clue comes out tomorrow.  The next clue is a 2 week clue, so it should be pretty significant.  Hopefully, I’ll love it . . . fingers crossed.

On the reading front, I’m still reading Michael Chabon’s Moonglow.  I just haven’t been reading that much.  I think I was at 10 percent the last time I posted, and now I’m maybe at 25%.  Again, onward!

Happy knitting!

Yarn Along – A New Project

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A mystery complete, a project done.  You know what that means!  Time to cast on a new project.  Ok, it could mean that I pick up a project that’s languishing in the “to do” pile, or the hibernating pile, but nope, today it means, I started a new, easy, relaxing knit.  Voila – I give you Cameo!
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cameoYou may recognize the yarn as the jewely-toned beautiful skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, Farmhouse, that I bought at Maryland Sheep & Wool at the beginning of the month.  Here, let’s take a closer look:

farmhouse2Just the happy colors I’m in the mood for after the basement full of poop disaster this weekend!  In this photo, you can really see the nice twist to the yarn – it’s really squishy, and I love it.

You may be saying to yourself, hmmm, that shawl looks very similar to Color Affection, and didn’t you already knit Color Affection?  Well, yes I did.  But, Cameo is slightly different.  First, I’m doing one of the solid colors in a multi.  The multi will then transition to the striped section, and finally will end with a solid for the lace section.  So, it’s different – slightly.  This pattern also has picots every fourth row.  So, yeah, different.  Lace and Picots, totally different.

But, I do have a devious plan in the works.  I know my mother covets my Color Affection.  I’m thinking that if I finish this, and present her with both Earth and this at the same time, and tell her to pick, there’s a good chance she’ll be seduced by the colors in this one (as opposed to grey which is not really her color), and I’ll get to keep Earth.  That’s fair, right?

I definitely hear a Greek chorus singing, “Right!”

On the reading front, I read another book on Crazy Quilting, but I’m off from work today, and I really want to sink into a really really good book.    I think I’m going to buy this one, since I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry:

Apparently, it’s not exactly a sequel or a prequel, but a story that takes place at the same time as the first book, running parallel in time I guess.  I’ll report back next week because I hit the “Buy with One Click” as I was snatching the link.

And, back to knitting for a moment (because I can always go back to knitting for more than a moment), you know I’ve been on the Mystery Knit bandwagon, and I‘ve offered up my tips and advice for picking one, so I thought I’d throw this one out there for anyone who thinks they might be up for a good mystery – the Shetland Trader MKAL.  Now, it is Gudrun Johnson’s first MKAL, but I have faith in her as a designer that she’s going to pull it off.  I already have yarn for her current pattern Wickerwork in this month’s Twist Collective, and I don’t think there’s a pattern that she’s designed that I don’t love or at least respect.  So, I have it in my queue, I just haven’t totally committed yet.  Mostly because the only yarddage I have in my stash that would work for this is kind of earmarked for something else, but since I’m buying yarn for Water, that starts in July, I don’t know if I want to buy yarn for two projects when I kind of have it in my stash.  I know you get it.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Yarn Along, or Is This Mystery KAL Right For You?

Scroll down for the Moogly link up!

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Hello and happy Wednesday!  This week finds me still chugging along on my Fiddleknits Mystery Knit-A-Long, Earth.

The first Earth Clue was released during the first week of April, and we’re now up to Clue 3, with the fourth and final clue being released Friday.

I’m almost done Clue 3, and by Friday I should be all set for Clue 4 – woo hoo! This may be done in time for Mother’s Day, and wouldn’t that be easy peasy!

I love how unique this design is, how the branches grow and spread across the fabric. Love it!

But, the question really is, how do you know you’re going to love a Mystery Knit-a-Long MKAL before you start it? You just don’t, it’s a crap shoot.

My first MKAl was, I thought, called Spring Surprise – or at least I thought it was, because when the first clue arrived in my box it was called Spring Suprice – because English was not the pattern designer’s first language.  The pattern was rife with errors (some of which were translation problems, but most of which were editing problems), and the second clue ended up being a lace pattern I abhor, with really complicated, unrewarding lacework on both sides.  It was a long time before I jumped on an MKAL bandwagon again.

And that bandwagon came to my door several years later with an Ysolda Teague MKAL, Follow Your Arrow.  I was confident dipping my feet back into the mystery pond because I love Ysolda’s patterns, and I had confidence in her steering the ghost ship safely to shore.  An,d the concept was fun and fresh – two clues each week, you pick which way your shawl is going to go.  I ended up with two fab shawls, and itching to do another KAL.

So, I found this group on Ravelry, KAL Fanatics, which has a calendar, and a forum post for every KAL and CAL out there.   Ok, so I found the list – now what?  How to choose?  I started sifting through my choices, looking at the KAL designers previous work, and asking myself the following questions:  had she hosted a MKAL before? did I like her previous patterns?  In her MKAL forum, did people seem to have problems with the previous pattern? In the shared photos section of her forum, did people seem to be finishing her projects?  The bottom line – could this designer deliver a successful KAL?  And then, if the answer was yes, I evaluated the description of the project.  No mystery sweaters – that was a total nonstarter.  Did I have the yarn in my stash or was I willing to buy something similar?  Lace or cables?  Miles of garter stitch, oh no.

In the end, I went with Fiddleknit’s Bonnie’s Wish, based on her active forum,  her previous patterns. and the description of the techniques used in the project, along with the fact I had yarn in my stash that would work fine.  No investment, other than time.

And, yeah!  I loved it!  There was a bump along the way – the yarddage requirement varied (f you didn’t swatch) – and I couldn’t blame the designer for my failure to swatch.  A lot of people ran out of yarn, I among them.  Luckily, I found a perfect contrast to my discontinued yarn, and my finished shawl was beautiful, and kept me warm and snug all winter.

So, when Fiddleknits advertised her Elements Series – which will be this one, Earth, the next one Water, followed by Air, Fire and the Philospher’s Stone, I knew I was in.  And now that I love Earth, I’m up for Water.  I even know what yarn I’m going to use – another Quince and Co. Yarn, Finch, in Peacock. It’s such a great color!

And that about wraps up the knitting portion of the post.  Maryland Sheep & Wool is this weekend, and I’m plotting my shopping strategy, which involves Miss Babs, so of course that’s always a duke ’em out at her overcrowded festival booth.  More on my purchases next week!  But, if you are interested in my buying plans, or what happened to my purchases from last year, I talked about it extensively in my video post here.

Now to the crochet.

No Sophie this week. This week, I pulled a project out of the WIPS pile. At Christmas, I crocheted a bunch of Elsa’s, and got really overloaded with crocheting stuffies. So, I had started a bunny for my newest niece for her first Christmas. I did the head and the body, and went uch, not another stitch, and back in the basket it went. With her birthday approaching, and no clue from her parents what to get her, I pulled out Miss Bunny, and finally finished her.

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How cute is she. She’s the basic Lalylala pattern, with her free Bunny modifications. I already made a Sheepy, so I had the main body pattern.

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Once she was finished, and I had to part with her (sniff), I put her in a box, and wrapped her up. Here she is unboxed and with her little girl –

First, there was a get to know you process –

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And then she went straight to trying to rip her eyeballs out:

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When that failed, there was a sweet hug, but she was turned away from the camera, and I missed it. Sneaky girl!

As far as what I’m reading – I haven’t made much progress on A Little Life.  Last week, I was signing it’s praises because of it’s fine writing – but now, I’m bemoaning the fact that there’s all there is – rich sentences, no plot.  Nothing has happened.  Nothing.  I feel like by next week, it may have gone into the hibernating pile, we’ll see.

And that wraps up my yarny adventures for the week! Make sure you drop by the Yarn Along!