Cast-On Monday: Handspun Twist & Shout, Farfalla in Fall

I’ve been doing a lot of spinning since the New England Fiber Fest — I’ll save the details for a FO Friday post, but for now feast your eyes on my long-draw woolen 2-ply from Spunky Eclectic’s hand-painted Targhee roving:

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This was my first time with a new spinning technique, so the finished product is a bit unevenly spun and is definitely “thick and thin” in weight.  I chose a simple pattern for bulky yarn that would let me wear the sumptuously soft, pretty blue yarn right by my face: Twist and Flounce by Sharon Dreifuss.  I love how it’s working up so far:

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I also started a project with the test skeins from the gradient dyeing day with Kate.  I met Christiane Burkhard (of Lismi Knits) at Fiber Festival, and got to see her Farfalla in person.  It had been in my queue for quite a while, and seeing it in person made me bump it up in my queue.  I had had plans to knit some faux-isle mittens and hat with the coordinating/contrasting skeins of bright fall colors and slate gray, but the yarn was perfect for a Farfalla.  The design here is so clever, and it’s an enjoyable knit so far:

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CO Monday: Levade Prototype

This week I cast on for the fourth and final one-skein shawlette for the Airs Above the Ground collection.  I’m using a purple-blue skein of Barefoot Bohemian Sock.  “Levade” is heart-shaped, worked from the bottom up. No nupps, no beads — just pretty-pretty lace.

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Cast-on Monday: Blue Boxes

Way back in March, I brought some lovely Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere — two skeins in this gorgeous blue:

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I didn’t have any plans for it, but it was just too pretty (and too soft) to languish, alone, at the yarn shop.

Then, later on, I queued Bigger on the Inside (by Kate Atherly). I mean, Dr. Who, right? Who doesn’t want a TARDIS shawlette? I even made a note in my queue that I should knit it “in TARDIS blue, obviously.” This week I connected yarn and pattern — voila!

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I know lace doesn’t look like much until it’s blocked — so don’t be too judgey about it’s somewhat lumpish appearance. I promise you it is verra pretty when I stretch it out and admire the pattern.

FO Friday: Yggdrasil in Blue

I finished this about a month ago, but I think it slid directly off my needles onto my lap. My Yggrasil lap blanket is so warm and cozy!

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Project: Yggrasil in Blue

Pattern: Yggdrasil Afghan

Designer: Lisa Jacobs

Available: FREE! at Interweave Knits

Yarn: Knit Picks  City Tweed HW in Dungarees

You might remember this blanket from my “Finish it or Frog it!” post back in January. I’d already made some progress then, because it was my “neglected project KAL” target for January.  I won’t say it was “easy” to finish, not exactly, but I did eventually get into the rhythm of the border cables.  I do not think I will ever do this pattern again, and although I admire the finished full-size Yggdrasil Afghans out there, I have reason to doubt the sanity of those who accomplish such a gargantuan knitting feat.

The pattern itself is well-written and clear. Plenty of good charts.  I think this might have been my first knitted-on border, back in the day.  I also have a niggling feeling I may have grabbed the wrong size needle when I re-booted this project … the “old” border (right edge, upper right corner) looks a wee bit tighter than the rest.  However, this is invisible when I’m using it, so I am doing my best to let the slight difference go. I am definitely not going back and fixing it, ooooh no.

I continue to love, love, love City Tweed.  What a wonderful soft yarn with gorgeous colors, and it shows cabling so nicely! And it’s so warm and cozy!

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New Pattern Release: Flurry Sweater

Introducing my latest pattern: the Flurry Sweater! This two-color pullover features a band of colorwork snowflakes at the waist and elbow, waist-shaping, flared sleeves and hem, and i-cord finish on all edges.

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Pattern: Flurry Sweater

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $3.99 through Knit Picks IDP

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed

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Inspiration: I have this old sweater, a favorite that I’ve had a long time.  It’s pilled and felted from incautious laundering, but I still love to wear it. I picked the things I liked best about it (grey on top, blue on the bottom, colorwork band) and improved it a bit too (more fitted waist, set-in sleeves).

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Design/Skills Needed: The body is knit in-the-round until the armholes, after which the front and back are worked flat, separately. The sleeves are also knit in the round until the sleeve cap, which is worked flat. Knitters may select their preferred in-the-round method (DPNs, one circ, magic loop, two circs, etc.) throughout.

For the colorwork section, I recommend going down one needle size, as many knitters find their colorwork to be looser than their stockinette. However, it’s possible that you may need to stay with the same needle, or even go up a size, to maintain consistent gauge between the stockinette and colorwork portions. Please work a gauge swatch in both stockinette and the colorwork pattern to determine the best needle size for you, for each section.

When working stranded colorwork, take care to keep the floats loose behind the work. When gaps larger than 5 sts must be bridged, catch the float halfway through the gap to keep things tidy. The colorwork sections are charted.

Yarn: Almost any worsted-weight yarn will work with this pattern. I recommend the darkest color for the bottom, a medium value for the top, and the lightest for the snowflakes.

I would be delighted to answer any questions or help any knitters working on this project.

FO Friday: Summer Rain (AMS KAL 2011)

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For the third year in a row, I was a happy member of Renee Leverington’s “Anniversary Mystery Shawl” group.  The KAL began in May, but I made the project even bigger by doing four panels (instead of three) and adding beads throughout the shawl.  The last few rows were taking me 1-2 hours each, but the finished project is 100% worth the effort! I love the weight of a beaded shawl, and the click-clack the beads make as the shawl swings.

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Project: AMS 2011

Pattern: Summer Rain

Designer: Renee Leverington

Available: $6 at Renee’s shop

Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk in Blueberry — my first time knitting from a cone!

Beads: size 6 in “gunmetal iris”

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“Summer Rain” was another creative and flawless pattern, just as I’ve come to expect from Renee.  The pattern called for three triangles, blocked into a half-hexagon.  I decided I wanted more shoulder coverage and added a fourth panel and blocked it as a 2/3-hexagon.  I also went a little crazy with beads!  Near the top beading rows were few and far between, but I systematically increased the amount of beading until it was nearly every row on the final “clue” of this mystery shawl.

Did you know that beads are hard to photograph?

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This year four members of my knitting group worked on the mystery shawl. The first person to finish entered her shawl in a local ag fair and won 2nd place!  I’m the second person to finish — two more to go!

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I was surprised by how nicely the Zephyr lace yarn stretched out while knitting.  Silly me, I thought it “barely” needed blocking.  Here is a before shot — you can see how dense and crumpled it is compared to the blocked photos above.

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Here’s the pinned-out shawl! I used Knit Picks cables (from the interchangeable set) to block the top edges, and I pinned out points along the bottom edges.  The shawl dried super fast — completely done in just one afternoon.

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