Tag Archives: yarn along

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!

Yarning Along- A Crochet Catch Up and the Fresh Stitches Ami Club

I know, I know, I was all smug about really truly posting yesterday, but I figured that if I waited a day, I could link up with Small Things yarn along – rationalization will get me every time!  If you are popping in from the Yarn Along, and want to read about knitting catch up and the new Kate Davies club, click here.

But, now, crochet!

So my knitting bud KnittyD, she of the knit hippo, who doesn’t want to learn how to crochet, ordered a crochet kit.  And guess who she asked to do her crochet bidding?  You got it, crochet hippo girl.  Eh, ok – I love me a good amigurumi!

How cute, right?  Who wouldn’t want to spend their hygge evenings crocheting a Bumble??  By the way, I’m all about the hygge and the hygeligg after reading this article in The Times.  I feel secretly Nordic in my soul, actually, as if what I’ve known all along is finally going mainstream.  I’m sure it’ll be wrecked now.  Darn that secret sharing!

Anyway, you can get kits like these – Rudolph, Star Wars, and Marvel Avengers at your local BJ’s – I picked up a Star Wars kit – and now, of course, I’m going to have to make a memorial Princess Leia  – damn 2016, really.  Soooooooo ready for 2017!

Let’s forget 2016 and take another look at Bumble and Rudolph –

I had a lot of trouble with the felt that came with the kit – a stingy stingy little square – and of course, I didn’t have any felt in my stash, so this is actually quilt batting.  It got the job done, so it’s all good.

Anyway, Bumble and Rudolph put me in the ami spirit, so I went off to the Fresh Stitches website to poke around, and discovered that she has a new club as well, the Ami-club.  A few years ago, I was in the first iteration of the ami club – every month you got a pattern, yarn, and a goodie, like stitch markers or tiny scissors.  I have to admit, I didn’t love it.  I ended up tossing most of the kits aside, not motivated to make a leaf, or a snowflake, or a maybe a fish, and I eventually cancelled my subscription.  This time around, the club is completely digital.  Each month you get a pattern, a few e-guides (this month we received a guide to traveling with crochet, a guide to crochet hooks, and a guide to charity crochet), access to a club forum, a crochet-a-long, and a swap.  For I think $6/month I was in – no worrying about not liking the pattern, or the yarn that came with the kit – if I don’t like the pattern of the month, there’s still plenty to do for my $6.  Unlike the Kate Davies club, to which its forum calls Ravelry home, Fresh Stitches is trying to move her base from Ravelry to the Ami-Club Forum hosted on her own website.  I’d say there’s a bit of resistance – the Ravelry forum is still much more active than the club forum.  I’m not sure what she’s going to do to about it – the Ravelry forum is pretty much self-sufficient, organizing it’s own swaps and cal’s.  I think she’s going to have to release some really special club exclusive patterns and sales if she wants to put a nail in the ravelry forum.  But you know, I have no idea what her business model is – maybe she wants the Ravelry forum to keep on keeping on, and selling her larger patterns through Ravelry.  Maybe her business plan accounts for both bases.  I really don’t know.  But, I do know that I’d like to see more activity in the forum, and more people participating in the events.  For instance, the first swap was an easy one, a holiday card.  I made this:

The card pops open, and there’s a hanging circle in there stamped with Cheers and a message.  I mailed it last week with my own holiday cards, and I know that the card was delivered because it has tracking on it, and no one has even gone on the forum and thanked me.  It’s a handmade, crocheted card!  Now, I don’t make cards to get a thank you – that’s not my meaning.  My meaning is that if this were a truly active community, there’d be tons of cards and thank you’s posted.

And, while I loved the first pattern, Bentley bear:

I don’t know if this was the super special thing you wanted to get the club started with.  But, again, what do I know?

The bottom line is I really like the concept – I loved the bear, I like the new forums, I like the organized swaps – everything – I just hope more people get on board once the holiday season is over.

So, that’s the crochet in my world right now.  Once I finish the Kate Davies cardigan, I’m going to spill out my Lotus Moon Tiles , figure out what yarn I need to get moving, and well, get moving.

On the reading front, I’m reading The Nix:

I love this novel.  Its about a failed novelist, bored college professor, who is addicted to a game that is essentially World of Warcraft, as he’s sucked back into his own life when his mother, who abandoned him at 11, suddenly becomes national news when she commits an act of political protest, sort of.  Anyway, the novel moves in time, and the characters are really richly drawn.  The chapters are not stand alones, but are short stories in a sense – I read this book a chapter at a time, and when each chapter is done, I feel really fulfilled – like a just ate a piece of really good chocolate.  Anyway, that’s what I’m reading now, and I highly recommend it.  Hope it doesn’t have a crap ending, like this year.  Buh bye 2016.

Thanks for stopping by!

Yarning Along – It’s All Over But the Neckline

When last we left the cardigan, I was still mad at it.

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Darn you sweater for making me run out of yarn and lose my place in the chart.  Oh, and make mistakes, that made me rip out, and back and . . . whatever, I’m mad at you, into the closet you go.  I’m seriously considering ripping the whole thing out and making the sweater I originally planned to make, Dirty Martini, but Baby Cocktails.

And then I made the mitts.  But, still mad at the cardigan, I was looking to be distracted, and you know, email can do that to you.  I received an email from my LYS, suggesting I knit this, Boardwalk by Heidi Kirrmaier, from Wool People 3.

And, I said, thanks LYS, I think I will knit that.  Of course, LYS also suggested I go to said store and plunk down big bucks on Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft, but I said no thanks to that.  Maybe this is sacrilege, but I hate Loft – I’ve attempted to use it twice, and both times the twist was so weak it broke – again and again.  So, instead, I went right back to the fingering weight, Davidson’s yarn that I used for my mitts, and cast on – and one week later, I have this:

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I just love those little cap sleeves.  The true color is a bit more purple than above, but I’m in my office, and I’m not going to get a shot of the true color.  I just have to finish up the mitered neck placate and block it up, and it’ll be done!  And, we finally have the perfect weather for it.

On the reading front, I just finished Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family?

 

When this book was long listed for the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize last year I poo poo’d it – why on earth would I ever want to read something so incredibly depressing?  The premise is that a woman loses her family in a house fire on the eve of her daughter’s wedding.  Not a spoiler – it’s the springboard for this really lovely meditation on what it means to have a family, about love, and loyalty, choices, and legacy.  It’s about forgiveness and connections, compassion and humanity.  I really enjoyed it; it’s not often a novel can move me to tears, but this one did, and in a wholly genuine way, unlike last year’s other manipulative tearjerker, A Little Life.

And now, I’m reading Bruce Springsteen’s “heart-stopping, pants-dropping, race-riot-creating, oddball-hating, soul-shaking, love and fear making, heartbreaking” autobiography, and so far, which is not so far, just a couple of chapters, it’s just like going to one of his concerts – he brings you into his stories, mesmerizes you, and leaves you wanting more.  Some sentences read like pure poetry, others kind of go clankety clank, but it’s all very real, just like he is.

So, that’s it for this week!  Knit on and knit well, my friends!

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Yarning Along, Quickly!

Holy Moly, I completed a project with yarn from circa 2007-8!!!  Now that’s a deep plunge into the stash.

Frustrated with my Islay Cardigan (recap – I ran out of yarn, bought more yarn, waited for said yarn, forgot where I was in the chart, realized I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had done the decreases for the wrong size, unknit the additional decreases, and I still had the wrong number of stitches, oy!), I decided I wanted to knit something quick quick quick and get a finished project under my belt.  Get my knitting mojo back, you know what I mean?  I feel like it’s been awhile since I finished a knit project.  So, I went looking for something small, something modest.  Every year I admire the dooable projects in Ysolde Teague’s Knitworthy e-books, patterns perfectly designed and timely released for gift knitting.  These patterns are released bi-weekly until the ebook is complete, and while from the start you can preorder the entire ebook, and get the patterns as they are released, you can’t buy the individual patterns until after the subscribers get their full ebook.  So, I usually like the first pattern, don’t want to commit to the whole book until I see the whole book, and then I forget about it.  So, when I really liked the first pattern this year, Belyse, I just decided to go for it, and I subscribed to the whole book.

So, because I needed immediate gratification, I wasn’t going to buy anything, and I started going through my stash.  Dig dig dig – and I ended up finding a nice, tweedy Rowan 4 ply Tweed, which came out sometime between 2006-2008, and is now discontinued.  For the main color, I picked this purply pink tweedy yarn from Maryland Sheep and Wool, from Davidsons.

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Unlike traditional glove patterns, Belyse starts at the fingers, not the cuffs.  Interesting.  The fingers are actually pretty ingenious – they’re knit like I-cord, and then you make a stitch from the tail, ladder it up the back, and close up the circle.  Crazy.  And then the fingers are joined to start the palm.

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Here’s the first one in progress.  Sorry about the crappy photos – I knit these through Saturday and Sunday football – not to much movement out of the blue chair.

The back (yep, with some dog butt) –

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And front (sans butt!)

I really did mean to take better photos – but I forgot.  Oops.

And of course, as soon as I finished these mitts, I saw these –

 

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OMG I love these! They’re from Ann Kingston Tup Knits (tups apparently refers to sheep mating, learn something new everyday!), and I love the mitts, the hats and the cowl – although I think all three is a bit much.  I think I’ll make the mitts and the hat and call it a sheep.

So, that’s where I am in my yarning!

And the reading!  I finally secured the digital download of Dark Matter, and read it in a day and a half.

The beginning is edge of your seat exciting, the middle starts to read like a traditional time travel novel (although its not about time travel), and then there’s a twist and bam! Gotta find out what happens!  I enjoyed it, and obviously it was quick, like my mitts.  I guess that’s the theme this week!

Back next week with probably a return to the cardigan, or the start of something tuppy!

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Yarn Along – Head to Head Hippos

Of course, you’ve already met my Ravellenics Hippo, and now meet the knit version, Knit Hippo!

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How cute are they? KnittyD did an excellent job with her knit hexagons and pentagons – the colors are really beautiful in person – they really sparkle like the jeweltones they are.

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As you can see, there’s quite a size difference, but I don’t think that’s the pattern so much as the yarn choices and gauge. Both are fingering weight yarn, but KnittyD knit hers on size 1 needles. I don’t remember the size of my hook, but the fabric is like the equivalent of being knit on a 3 or a 4.

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Photos don’t really do these guys justice. They are so squishy! Someone at the yarn store asked what we were going to do with them, and we just stared at her – what do you mean, what are we going to do with them? Love them, duh.

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What are we going to do with them, please.

On the current knitting front, I finally wound the Miss Babs that perfectly matched my already underway Islay cardigan.  Unfortunately, when I tried to figure out where I was in the pattern, I had no idea – totally lost.  When I had some non-t.v. quiet time to spend with my knitting and the pattern I realized that I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had knit the decreases for the wrong size, and I didn’t have enough stitches between markers.  Oospy.  So, I unknit back to the right number of stitches, and I should be able to go from there, hopefully.

On the crochet side of things, as predicted, I did run out of yarn.  I thought I had enough to get through all of the Lotus Moon Tiles, but alas, I ran short on the second to the last row.  So, I have 9/12 Tiles complete.img_2014

 

And, in a moment of success, Dark Matter finally became available from the library.

The beginning, at least, is edge of  your seat excitement.  The only reason I put it down last night is because I just had to go to sleep, I was head bobbing into my Kindle screen.

So, that’s that the fiber/reading report for the week!

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And the Yarn Goes On

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December through the end of February I knit like a mad woman, faster than the wind. I don’t know if its because I ran out of gas, or because it’s a crazy 70 degrees, or maybe I really want to be crocheting or perhaps needling around with some embroidery, but I’m definitely in a meh knit period. I pick up my current knitting, and say, meh.

Here it is – I feel like it’s sapping my energy just posting a photo of it –

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It’s a cabled, short sleeved hoody in bulky Valley Yarns – its soft, it’s easy, and I don’t know why I’m so ambivalent.  I have the back, one front, and half another front done, and then there’s just the button band, and the hood.  I know that if I were conscientious about knitting it, it would be done.  But instead of knitting in front of the t.v., I find myself dropping my knitting in my lap, and scrolling through pinterest, or Ravelry or my Feedly feed.  Maybe it’s because I had yarn in my stash, and I found a project that worked with it, rather than finding a project I loved, and then buying yarn to suit the project.  In any event, let’s take a look at one pleasing, one not so pleasing finished objects:

First the pleasing finished shawl.  This is Ashby in Berroco Vintage.  I bought this yarn when I was sort of broke, and I really wanted new yarn, but I really didn’t want to spend any money.  Berroco Vintage is a great compromise – it’s 50/50 wool/acrylic blend, and it’s really inexpensive – $9/220 yards, something like that.  And, while it doesn’t feel like the pure wool Shelter, it does feel nice – it’s soft, the fabric is squishy, and the color really pops.

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Funny I should mention Shelter – the sweater I’m wearing in the below photo that you can’t really see is Shelter.

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As you can see the cable reads well, the modified seed stitch looks good – a really nice bargain yarn.
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And, now the just ok pleasing finish – this is Marsa Alam by Isabelle Kraemer in Briggs & Little. If you want cheap – Briggs & Little is a Canadian Company, the yarn is pure wool, it’s totally itchy scratchy, and I think I bought it for $4/200+ yards/skein at Maryland Sheep & Wool last year. After finishing up Wickerham in Miss Babs, and then this – I think I’m over the yarny yarns, the itchy scratchy’s, for a little while. I love being a purist, but there’s nothing wrong with soft merino. Anyway, this ended up being not the most flattering fit, and I fudged a bit too much knitting the shoulders, and they ended up coming to a point as if they had had hangers shoved in them. I tried to round it out in the blocking process, but it’s only so so.

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Horizontal stripes were probably not the best idea, but oh well.

On the reading front, I’ve been lost in Italy since the beginning of January, committing myself to reading and finishing Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. I’ve finished the first two, My Brilliant Friend, and The Story of a New Name. Now, I’m reading, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the third book of the four. I can’t even tell you why I’m reading them – I can’t say that I love them, but I must know what happens. The novels are the story of a friendship between two women, who’s lives have gone their separate ways, but who will always be intertwined nonetheless. There are endless chapters about Elena studying hard at school, about Lila working at the grocey, about meeting boys day after day at the beach – it really is an Italian telenovella. Obviously, there’s more going on than a simple soap opera, but there are days in my quest to finish their story when that’s about what it feels like.

So, with two months to go until Sheep and Wool, hopefully my knitting mojo will come back.  Oh it won’t, and maybe I actually won’t spend a small fortune in Maryland.  Right.

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Yarning Along the Stephen West Way

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I have jumped on the Stephen West bandwagon, and I’m riding high on the #WestKnitsKal2015 knit-a-long, The Doodler!

As I mentioned, I watched Stephen’s class on Craftsy while doing the Craftsy binge, and while I’m still raising an eyebrow (or two) at some of his designs, I’m trying to embrace his wild and free aesthetic.  I knit Daybreak in a flurry to wear to the Chargers game last week in Baltimore:

The Chargers, of course, managed to lose in the last 18 seconds, as they did again on Monday night football, but at least I do really love my shawl/scarf.

Even though I had just finished a successful WestKnits project, I was on the fence about signing up for the KAL because the last time I was onboard for a WestKnits mystery, the mystery was a big bummer – intarsia!  Ick.  So, hesitantly, I hit the buy now button on Ravelry, but I didn’t cast on until I saw a few wedges popping up on Ravelry, and I thought, ok, I’m good with this, and here’s my Clue 1:

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As you can see, I tried my hand at a “flat lay.” Flat lay?  I’m so not hip – I had no idea that those highly stylized, collage photos you see on Instagram actually have a name, but then I stumbled onto Emily Quinton’s feed, and her video, Styling a Flatlay.  Even during the height of my photography frenzy, I never really styled a photograph – I was more into slice of life photography, and I still am, I guess, even though my Project Life is totally at a standstill.  I’m so far behind, I’m frozen.  But, I digress.  The flat lay.  When I posted my first snippet of my Doodler on Instagram, I went to sleep, and woke up with 60 likes!  For me, that’s like being picked not last for the kickball team!  I decided to step up my game a bit, and try the flat lay.

I have to admit, I had some troubles.  I just don’t see what flowers and leaves have to do with my knitting.  And, while so many of these photos use lovely wooden backgrounds, my wooden background just looks like my kitchen floor to me.  But, I embraced the concept – it’s all about pretty I guess, and I went to work.

Here’s Olive – of course, she has an opinion!

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In any event, my stylin’ needs some work.

But, back to knitting – My Doodler is part Cascade Heritage Sock, part ToshSock.  That unwound skein of orange is going to be my color 3 for that big wow color pop that is so characteristic of WestKnits.  So, I await Clue 2 on Friday, and I’m curious to see where it goes.

On the reading front, I’m reading the new Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strike novel:

According to the Kindle, I’m 25% in, and I’m enjoying it as much, if not more than the first two.  I love a consistently good detective series, and J.K., er I mean, Robert Galbraith, does not disappoint.

Knit on everyone!

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Yarn Along – Post Traumatic Knit Disorder Cured!

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So, as I mentioned on Monday, I’ve been doing some serious Craftsy binging as a result of a crazy $10/all you can watch month of October.  So much so, that I even started to feel guilty that I was watching too much . . . but then I got an email from Craftsy reminding me that I only had 11 days left of my open month, and that I should eat up.  So, there you have it – more Craftsy!

As part of  strategy to get the most out of my $10 (and believe me, I’ve definitely gotten the most of my $10), I decided to watch the classes that were not on my wish list, but classes I woudn’t have thought to buy – and for the purposes of this yarn alongy post, I’m just going to talk about the knitting classes.

First I dove into Cut Your Knitting, Strand and Steek with Confidence.  Now, I’ve cut my knitting several times, but the last time I cut a steek, it went horribly awry, and I ended up having to cut an extra inch out of the cardigan to straighten up the I don’t know how it got so crooked cut I made.  Huh, maybe I’m not the clever knitter that I thought I was.   After that bad experience, I developed a little post traumatic knit disorder about cutting my knits, and when I finished Kate Davis Bliathin well over a year ago, I put it away to cut another day.  And, that day came after watching Strand and Steek.  I immediately turned off the Craftsy and pulled out my burried cardigan -thinking, it’s now or never.

The class covers three different ways to secure your stitches before cutting – sewing with a sewing machine, and two different crochet methods – a slip stitch crochet method, and a single crochet method.  I opted for the single crochet method.

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Success!  At this point it was 10:30 p.m., and the common sense knitter in me said, it’s late, cut tomorrow.  The devil knitter on my shoulder said, no! it’s now or never!  Get the scissors!  So, I did:

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Ta da!  Easy peasy!  I sighed with relief, and undertook the rest of the finishing the next day.

Stranded and Steeked then goes over three methods of finishing the steek, including sewing decorative tape over the folded back edge, securing the edge with an overcast stitch, or tacking it down with a blanket stitch.  Kate Davies, however, provides her own method of securing your steek, which she calls the sandwich.  So, I went with her method, figuring she’s the expert.

For the sandwich method, you pick up stitches on both sides of the work, first the front, then the back.  You knit 6 or so rows, and then, when the fabric has  grown over the crocheted edge, you knit the two flaps together, sandwiching the cut inside.  This took a long time, and I’m not sure it was worth it.  The stitches are definitely secure, and the edge is very neat, but it seems a little bulky, since there are now three layers of fabric – the two pieces of “bread” and the steek filling.  If the edge had been folded back and sewn, there only would have been two layers.  But, it’s a bulky sweater (Bartlett Worsted yarn), so it’s all good.

And, here it is:

There’s that bulk I was talking about – and the icord bind off.  Kate Davies loves her icord.  The entire cardigan is bound of with applied icord.  I definitely had a repetitive wrist injury (I was just stiff and sore) after finishing it.
  
Because the sweater is so heavy, it took forever to dry.  But, once it was, I bought some nice wood buttons, and I’m ready to sew them on.

But, um, where did they go? I have misplaced the buttons I just bought, darn it! I’m sure they’re going to turn up. Right? They’re just in the house somewhere. Yes, they are.

Anyway, Steeked and Stranded definitely put me back on the cutting horse.  I have to admit, I didn’t watch the colorwork section – I know how to read color charts, and how to knit with multiple colors and get a nice fabric.   And that doesn’t mean I’m doing it the “right’ way, I’m doing it my way, and I’m happy with my way.  I know that there are faster ways, but I’m ok with my pace.  In fact, there are a few classes on Craftsy about knitting faster – one on continental knitting (I pick and throw) and one on Portuguese knitting – but you know what, I don’t need to knit faster.  It’s not a race.  I’m not test knitting for anyone anymore, and I’m not on any kind of deadline.  I don’t need to knit faster, it’s all good.

So, once I finished my project, it was back to the binge.  Here’s a run down of the other knitting classes I slurped up:

Design Your Own Cowl.  In this class, Laura Nelkin explains how to design cowls that are knit flat, cowls that are knit in the round, and moebius’s.  I have to say, this class is filled with generosity – she not only does she provide the  math for you for every type of cowl you want to knit, she provides templates for creating a pattern, so that you can use her math with your creative idea, and sell your own patterns.  If you’re interested in design, and what goes into creating your own pattern, this class is for you.  This class lead me to two other classes – Moebius Knitting with Cat Bordhi and Getting Gauge, Perfect Knit Fabric Every Time.

First, Moebius Knitting.  I really had no idea that moebius knitting had its own cast on.  I thought, it you put a twist in kntting in the round, you had a moebius.  I am wrong, as Cat explains.  In Moebius knitting, you learn, and visual understand the construction of moebius, the moebius cast on, and applying moebius construction to not only cowls and scarves, but baskets.  The biggest a ha moment however, came when Cat was demonstrating how to bind off a continuous edge on a cowl, so you don’t get that nubby thing when you pull the yarn through the last loop.  She reveals that that method is really a crochet thing, not knitting, and to finish knitting, it’s no more complicated than pulling open the last stitch, and pulling it tight – because only your working yarn is actually moving – and you can pull it into a knot with the last stitch.  Voila!  It was really a miracle like moment.   Anyway, I am totally motivated to design my own moebius now,  and I’m definitely going to watch the moebius cast on part of this class again before I lose my access to the class at the end of the month.

To further supplement and reinforce what I learned in Design Your Own Cowl, I took Getting Gauge.  This class was just ok.  There are a bunch of little projects designed to show you what a pattern looks like in different weight yarns, different size needles, etc. to give a visual demonstration of gaugue.  This, to me, is a waste of yarn.  The only section of the class that I really had a lot of takeaway from was the actual lessons on measuring gauge, which included two different methods and accompanying worksheets.  So, I got what I needed from the class to help me overcome my magical/wishful thinking getting gauge nonmethods, and get the right size fabric.

Sticking with the design classes, I then took Amy Singer’s Plug & Play, Custom Scarves and Shawls.  So, I didn’t like this class, and I can’t really put my finger on why.  Amy Singer is the editor of Knitty, and I really respect how’s she’s managed to stay afloat with a free online publication in the age of Ravelry.  I just didn’t like it – I don’t know, maybe her snarkiness that I didn’t find funny.  I watched the whole class though, and there are valuable lessons in the material, and I think, based on the class, I could pretty easily use her plug and play method to something  make a straight scarf, but that’s about it.

I followed Amy Singer with Stephen West’s Shawlscapes.  First, I have to say, I’m not sure what they were aiming for in this class.  It’s kind of a how to class, it’s kind of a technique class, but at the end, it’s really a showcase class.  What I mean is this – it was a showplace for Stephen West’s shawls, a little insight into how he designs, and a geometry based analysis on how his elongated triangle shapes grow.  I came out of the class with a new respect for his work.  Before the class, I just thought his stuff was frankly ugly.  After the class, I thought, you know what – you be you dude.  You’re dragging knitting into modernity, and you’re stuff is unique, and special, and not for everyone, but its fun, surprisingly thoughtful, and knit with love an excitement.

Next up Knitting on the Bias.  If math is not your thing, this class isn’t for you.  So, it wasn’t for me – mind numbing math right out of the get.  Onward.

Then, Custom Knit Yoke Sweaters.  Eh.  The teacher is a disciple (assistant) of Meg Swanson, and everything is Amy says this, or Elizabeth (Zimmerman) says that.  It’s an ok class.  You can definitely design and knit a yoke sweater by the end.  But, you could also save your money, and read Elizabeth Zimmerman as well.

Slipstich Colorwork, Mosaics and Beyond.  I took this class after Shawlscapes because almost all of Stephen West’s shawls incorporate slip stitches, and he never really explains how they work.  This class was simply a survey of different slipstich patterns, and I think I finished the class because I didn’t want to admit that I struggled with the instructor’s thick accent.  Faina Goberstein teaches the class, and I am a big fan of her designs.  But, it was hard . . . and I felt like a really bad person.

I finished up my knitting class binge with Wee Ones Seamless Knitted Toys.  I watched over a half hour of it, and Susan Anderson hadn’t stopped talking about herself yet, so I turned it off.

And, that’s where I am.  Currently, I’m watching some embroidery classes, and before my 11 days are up, I’m going to hit up the crochet.  I also watched a few of the photography classes, but since I was a member of Scott Selby’s site for a good two years, these classes were so similar, they were repetitive.  So, free form crochet, here I come!  Also, I know there are two classes starting on Monday that I’m going to have to squeeze in before the end of the week, and my $10 is up – Sew Sweetness has a handbag class, and Maureen Cracknell has a quilt as you go class – definite must takes!  Hope I can squeeze them both in under the gun!

And, what am I reading – that would be a big nothing – I have Craftsy coming out of my eyeballs, and I will resume my regularly scheduled nonprogramming in November!

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Yarn Along – A New Relationship

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As you know from Monday’s post, my knitting and I broke up. I was done done done with that project. And of course, it was all the knitting’s fault.

And, without shouldering any of the responsibility for the failure of that relationship, I have moved on to another one – 

Meet my new knitting, Antartkis in Wollmeise.  I am in deep like with Wollmeise, although I wouldn’t call it love.  I love MadelineTosh, I love Quince and Co., I love Miss Babs – Wollmeise, though, there’s something a wee bit missing.  I think it’s the twist.  The twist on Tosh Sock, Finch and Miss Babs is very similar, and the fabric is really squish.  Wollmeise doesn’t have that squish.  It feels much more practical, less luxury.  But, I really like it.  It’s soft, with great stitch definition, and it doesn’t split.  The color is great, and I’m settling in for a long, rewarding knit – it is 900+ yards after all.  I’m committed.  Again.

So, that’s what’s up on the knitting front.  As far as reading goes, I feel less stupid now that I’ve finished a book.  I had started A Little Life because my favorite book podcast, Books on the Nightstand, recommended it – with a higher recommendation than I think they’ve ever given anything, devoting an entire episode just to this book.  So, when I felt “meh” about it, I thought I must not be getting something, that it was me, not the book.  But no, I really think it was the book.  Nothing happened and it was boring.  There, I said it.  Boring.  Snore.  And 200 pages is plenty of time for something to happen, even in an 800 page doorstop.  So, I put down the book, and started, and timely finished, The Love Song of Queenie Hennessey, which was a prequel/sequel/contemporaneous story as it’s predecessor, the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (which is a $1.99 on Amazon Kindle today – so worth the two bucks!).  Looking at the story from Queenie’s perspective was interesting, yet, going back and rereading bits and pieces, particularly the ending of Harold Fry, which does give a glimpse into Queenie’s head at the very end, but implausible.  It just didn’t fit with what we knew about her from the first book.  But, problems with consistency aside, it was a light read, and a lovely read, and it got me back on track.

Now, I’m reading Judy Blume’s new book, In the Unlikely Event:

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I can’t help but love this book. The voice is pure Judy Blume, and I feel as if I am revisiting my childhood. She, Marilyn Sachs, and Louisa May Alcott shaped my reading aesthetic, and I couldn’t be happier visiting with new Judy Blume characters. While ficitional, the book centers around the true story of three airplane crashes that took place in Elizbeth, New Jersey in the 1950’s.   While the book’s premise begins with death, as with all Judy Blume books, it is completely uplifting and life affirming. And that is the power of Judy Blume. A little over half way through, and I’ve slowed down, because I just don’t want it to end.

So, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, my new yarn relationship will last through the week, and if not, we can hug it out next Wednesday!

Yarn Along – To Replace, or Let it Go?

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So, remember I showed you this last week, and I gushed about how happy I was about all of the jeweltoned, bright colors?

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I’ve come to my senses, and accepted the fact that it looks like Sesame Street just vomited up an avenue. So, it’s getting ripped, and I’ll probably make a pair of socks out of it, because I do still love the yarn, I just don’t want to wear it around my neck. So much for tricking my mother into swapping the Earth Shawl for this.

After all of that – because I did knit all the way to the stripe section before I decided that it looked like rainbow barf – I cast on a sure thing. Here is the beginning Wickerwork in this Summer’s issue of Twist Collective, by Gudrun Johnson,  in Miss Bab’s Yowza:

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It’s starts off with a provisional cast on, which evolves into a hem. So much work, but I really like this finished edge:

And, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m going on another Gudron Johnson adventure, her first Mystery KAL:

Another mystery!!  After reading her forums, I decided to go with this laceweight I have in my stash.  Based on everyone’s questions, and her answers (she has been very active in the forums, commenting on people’s yarn choices, answering questions, etc. – I think it’s a really good sign for a good Mystery KAL!), I think it’ll work.  If not, I’ll just rip out the first clue and start again in my skein of Wollmeise, which I was going to use as the contrast color to my above failed Cameo, but I’ll be happy to use it alone in this project.

The shawl is knit in three parts, and she recommends either using one color or three colors.

So, as I’ve clearly let the Sesame Street regurg go, what is my title talking about?  Well, I need some advice.  Here is my dilmena.  I invested in a set of Knitter’s Pride interchangeable circular needles, sizes 4-11.  I knit a project with the fours and loved them.  Then, when I was twisting my needle off of the cable, my needle snapped.  Drat!  So, I ordered a replacement set from Webs.  I took the set out of the packaging, assumed they were fine, and put them in the case.  But, they were not fine – it turns out the screws inside the tip are stripped, and they won’t screw on the cable.  Fine, I’ll call Webs, they have great customer service, no problem.  In the meantime, I’ll cast on on a five.  So, I set up my five’s for Sesame barf, and wouldn’t you know it – I sat on the needles, and totally broke the tip.  So, now I have to get replacement tips for the 5.

Or do it?  Maybe these needles just aren’t worth all of the trouble.  While I love the join (where as I hate the join on the Hiya Hiya set that I have), and I loved the 4’s, I didn’t love the 5’s so much – I thought the tip was really blunt.  And, there’s the issue of the breakage.  I didn’t sit on the needle in some crazy position – the wood is just really soft, and it snapped like a twig.  Is it worth replacing?  Maybe I should just let this set go, and maybe get a set of Addi’s for my birthday.  But I do really like the join . . .

Any thoughts?  All advice welcome!

Hope everyone’s knitting is going smoother than mine!

On the other hand, my reading is back on the right track.  I mentioned last post that I was probably going to start this book:
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And, indeed I did.  I’m really enjoying it, but I think I’d be enjoying it more if I remembered the first book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  I remember the first book well enough – a basic outline of the story, the characters he meets on the way, the revelations he has, the ending.  But, I don’t remember all of the minute. finer details – so while I see that Queenie sees things much differently than Harold, I feel like I need to go back to the first book to get the full effect.  But, I like it, and it feels to good to be in the middle of something, not slogging through the beginning of something I know I’ll never finish.

Thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you think about the Knitter’s Pride Needles!