Cast-On Monday: Catching Up

I honestly don’t know when I last posted about which new projects were leaping onto my needles …  let’s just say it’s been too long?  For a while, I was purposefully holding off on new projects, because I had a weekend retreat planned with my knitting circle, and I wanted to cast on a whole bunch of projects AT the retreat. Because of the way my brain works, every time I work on a project (or touch a finished object) I can recall all the places I worked on it, with nearly photographic intensity.  Often I can hear any music or conversation or (let’s be honest) the TV show that I heard while I was working on the project.

Every once in a while this backfires — for example, I had a really hard time finishing the socks I was working on at the Emergency Vet’s office while Gromit was getting a stick surgically removed from the roof of his mouth.  Every time I touched them, I was instantly back in the chilly waiting room, sitting on a hard plastic chair and shivering, waiting to hear how Gromit was.  I can smell the antiseptic, not really covering up the faint odor of blood and other bodily fluids.

But, most of the time, my “mental souvenir” in the form of knitting projects is a boon! I think everyone in the group cast on at least one new project, for a total of 17 new WIPs!  Of these, seven were mine. Whee!

#1: Renaissance Spring

I’m using my handspun for this — I’m insanely pleased with this handspun, and it needed a special project! The highly textured and lacy Renaissance Shawl (by Anne-Lise Maigaard) is just the thing.  The pattern has optional beads, on which I am opting out, because the handspun is a little crazy color and doesn’t need any gilding. As of today, I’m about 25% done with this one.

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#2: Twill Flower Cowl (was: Hat) — FINISHED!

Technically, this started life as a hat, but I was knitting a tad loose and the brim was clearly too large. Rather than rip and try again, I used the most excellent suggestion of Marilyn to just make it a cowl instead.  It turned out awesome — soft and squishy and just the right size.  I gave it to my friend Judy :).

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#3: Sweet Spring

Some of us are doing Boo’s Sweet Dreams shawl as a casual KAL … I haven’t made much progress on it, because I was knitting like mad on a different Boo shawl … I’ll post about that on a future FO Friday. My KAL yarn is from Vogue Knitting Live … I totally love the bright green springy colorway.

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#4: Rainbow House Socks — FINISHED!

I used a skein of self-striping DK yarn from White Birch to make some squishy house socks. They came out a tad large, but still totally wearable in slippers or boots.

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#5: Impatien Mormorio

I paired a skein of brightly-colored “Impatiens” with a skein of leftover “Mist” to make a cheerful shawl … as of this writing, I’m about halfway through the two-tone garter-stitch body

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#6: Willow Angst

My oh my, the pattern for these socks is high concept! And, alas, kind of painful to knit. And I’m starting to worry about fit. So, this WIP wins “most likely to be frogged,” but for now it is still on the needles.

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#7: Bella Hornburg

A big fluffy skein of super-bulky yarn in bright yellow-green? I’m turning this one into a upsized Hornburg.  No slipped stitches, fewer stitches and fewer repeats … it’ll be done lickety-split.

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CO Monday: a pair of design projects, and a bonus FO sweater

I have been disciplined lately, and have hardly cast on anything!  Woo.  But, I do have two new design projects share. One is for Classic Elite, which means I can’t tell you much; the other is an indie design project with splufty yarn from New Zealand, and I can tell you alllll about that one.  Also, I have gift project to tell you all about, because I cast on and finished in two short weeks.

First off, the least informative project: a shawl design in Alpaca Sox.  I can show you a closeup of the yarn:

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… but I can’t say much else.  The finished design and pattern will be available sometime in mid-2015.

Second, I have some sumptuous new yarn all the way from New Zealand. Outlaw Yarn’s Bohemia Sport is 45% Polwarth, 45% Alpaca and 10% Possum fibre.  It comes in 15 keen colors (or colours, as the NZers say), including two that I’ve seen in person:

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Here’s what they have to say about Bohemia Sport:

The Polwarth provides excellent stitch definition, stitch memory and sheen, the Alpaca gives a silky drape and the Possum content is perfectly balanced to bring a subtle marl and soft halo to the knitted yarn. Possum has similar qualities to mink. The fibres are hollow, light, non-itchy, extremely warm and (unlike angora) Possum is pill resistant. Alpaca is an extraordinarily fine fibre with microscopic air pockets creating unique thermal properties. Its durable, non-flammable and non-itchy containing no lanolin with a smooth cell structure.

I’m designed a mobius-based cowl with Bohemia Sport.  Think garter stitch with some slipped stitches. The mobius will transition into a flared tubular cowl so it will lie nicely around the shoulders while still being snuggly around the neck.  Here’s a sneak peek of that:

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Last but not least, I made a sweater in just two weeks!  Ok, it was a Julian-sized sweater, and it was bulky yarn on size 10 needles … but still!  I bought three skeins of Wynter in Crimson, and two skeins of MountainTop Blackthorn (one each of Seal and Beaver Grey).  (Oh, I also got myself some #10 Signatures, so now my set is complete!) I ended up needing a fourth skein of Wynter, but that is only because I changed my mind about how much striping I wanted to do.

Here’s my youngest boy, Julian, who commissioned the sweater and collaborated on stripe placement:

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He asked for a red sweater, I asked if I could add some stripes.  Halfway through we agreed that stripes on just one arm would be cool!

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I used Ann Budd’s Top-Down Sweaters book as guidance — I added some short rows to shape the neck, and altered some lengths to suit my actual child.  (Fab book by the way! Super useful.  Saved me much math.)

I love how the sweater came out, and especially how much Julian loves it!  I think he’s worn it every day since I finished it.

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CO Monday: Colubrida and Through the Woods

I cast on two new projects this week.

The first is part of an impromptu KAL with my regular knit group — Kate showed me the pattern for Colubrida, and I admired it and thought about making it too, and then one thing led to another and now a bunch of us bought yarn at NEFF to make snake wraps!

I’m using two skeins of Stonehedge Fiber Mills Worsted in “berries”:

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I’ve also started a “Through the Woods” hood with the yarn gifted to me by Skacel last year, after the end of The Fiber Factor competition:

CO Monday: a green hat and a blue-grey shacowl

Time to use some handspun! I had an underplied bright green skein of handspun yarn from quite some time ago.  I decided to run it through the wheel to ply it properly, and then took it up to Kate’s for a bath in some black dye.  It’s not superwash, so the black dye just toned down the Oscar the Grouch green a smidge.  Good enough for me!  I’m making a lacy cap out of it:

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I bought some local-spun (is that a thing?) from Long Island Livestock at Stitches East — a gorgeous blue/grey alpaca blend.  I’m making a Starshower with it — this item starts out like a semi-circle top-down shawl, but joins into a cowl at some point. Interesting!

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CO Monday: Emo Enough (or, frogging a lot when I’ve just begun)

I bought two skeins of awesome DK self-striping purple-and-black yarn from White Birch at Stitches East.  My yarn looks like this on the skein …

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Knit up, it looks more like this (from the dyer’s site):

I tried three different patterns out before settling on one that made me happy.  It is an entrelac pattern (my first time doing entrelac!) with cables, because you know I can’t do it the easy way.  I’m using Knitted Scarf Butterflies (by Svetlana Gordon).  So far so good — I may make it a cowl in the end, but for now my self-striping entrelac butterflies are destined for scarf-dom.

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CO Monday: Phoenix Wing on Fire

I picked up a second set of This Yarn is On Fire minis from Kate, along with two skeins of Polar Bare (just undyed yarn), because I want to make something amazing ….  Phoenix Wing!  I’ve completed the pattern through “Field 6” (of 36), but these are the little fields — it gets a lot bigger!

There is an “English” version of the pattern, but only the first page general instructions are actually translated.  The bulk of the pattern is written line-by-line using German knitting abbreviations.  The pattern includes a page of explanations, but it is like learning my knitting abbreviations all over again: Ma means CO, Ak means BO, b3vE means knit until three stitches before the end of the row, 2z is k2tog, etc.  I’m doing ok now, but it was a steep learning curve!  Not for the faint of heart.