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Archive for March, 2017

Color Correcting

Much seed stitchIf I thought that my stars were turning out too skewed towards pink/purple/blue… well, two of the projects on my needles are going to add some greens into the mix.

The first is my Margit in the Wind hat, which is proceeding… very slowly. That is what happens when you are working on size 0 needles, I suppose – I’m almost to the place where I fold over the brim. The second is my Sunwalker shawl, which is certainly moving along (except that it is going to use over 1000 yards of fingering weight yard, so moving along is really a relative concept).

So textureIt starts out with a lengthy section of seed stitch, which isn’t fast going but is giving the shawl a beautiful texture. I’m using Knit Picks Palette for this one as well, in the colorway Rainforest Heather. It’s a dark green with heathered spots of teal and red, which is much more beautiful than that description makes it sound. I like the use of a heathered yarn in a situation like this – it lends visual interest, but doesn’t take away from the design elements of the piece. I purchased it during a Knitpicks sale a couple years ago, intending it for a sweater, but I’m happy with this use.

I’m really excited about this one! I love the combination of seed stitch texture and lace, and for my wardrobe the dark green color will be very versatile. Like many office dwellers, I work in a building which is approximately as warm as Siberia in January, so a nice wool garment is always appreciated.

This is my second project by Melanie Berg this year, and I’m starting to think that it will not be my last. (The first project, a Drachenfels shawl, was finished just before I started back up with blogging again. I’m including a picture here for illustration and because I love it). Rustic chair bonusI have the yarn for an Ashburn  (Purl Soho Linen Quill in Turmeric and Salt + Pepper, plus an unknown third yarn in natural white/cream – I’ll be swatching to see which one works best out of my stash) and during the yarn crawl  that I’m going on with my mother I’m going to keep my eye out for yarn for a Rikochan or Solaris. Her patterns are well edited, fun to knit, and so far have turned out really, really well. Consider me a fan.

I find this shape of shawl (asymmetrical triangle/boomerang) to be very wearable – they stay on well for me and look more modern to my eyes than traditional center increase shawls.

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A difference between how I knit now and how I knit in grad school is that I have become much more of a product knitter instead of a process knitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still highly unlikely to knit something if I don’t think that I will enjoy doing it. But at this point in my life, I really am knitting for the finished product. Which means that I want measurable progress on my WIPs and I start to get frustrated when I go a while without it.

This is probably why it is a really bad plan for me to have three projects going at once, one of which is at work (with maybe half an hour a day to work on it, not a whole lot gets done), one of which is on size 0 needles, and one of which uses nearly a sweater-worth of fingering yarn (and starts out with a veritable ocean of seed stitch).soooooooo tiny

I only have one photo for this post, which shows the tiny amount of progress I have made on a new project. Pattern is Margit in the Wind, knit on size 0 needles with Knitpicks Palette yarn. I saw the pattern and knew immediately that I wanted to knit it, in nearly the same colors shown in the example photo (the blue and green variation, though the pink one is nice too). The color in the photo is Lichen, but I will also be using Shoal, Opal Heather, and Sea Grass. I started this particular project because my other two main WIPs, the beige and stripey shawl of this post and a different shawl which I will write about soon, are getting too big to haul around and I want to be able to take things to knitting group with me. I think it is going to be a great spring and fall hat, in contrast to some of my heavier hats that I wear in the winter, though with the lined brim and double stranded body it might actually end up quite warm.

When I finish a project – mostly likely the seed stitch shawl I am working on at home – I might drop down to two WIPs. It would be nice to see measurable progress on each.

 

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Back in 2013, I knit my younger sister, K, a Luxury Holiday Garland. It was a clever pattern, which used some simple short rows to create little six-pointed stars, and the end product was appropriately oohed and aahed over at my family’s Christmas Eve gift swap. I loved it. It seemed like the sort of Christmas decoration that might come out year after year, colorful and cheerful. K's garland - a charming rainbow pileThe issue was that I started it far too late in the year. I was knitting stars up until 12/20, blocking them until 12/22, and stringing them together on 12/23, cursing my procrastination the entire time. It was one of those projects that I enjoyed knitting for somebody else, but knew I wanted to knit again so I could have one of my very own. Of course, it took me just over three years to get around to doing it, in part because I was pretty burned out after that initial garland. Each star isn’t particularly time consuming on its own, but to get a good garland – apparently I’m a garland maximalist, because I feel that they are incomplete without at least 15-ish stars – is not an insignificant feat, and doing it on a time crunch was less than ideal.

My garland - skewing heavily towards blues and pinksSo this year, I had a brilliant idea – every time I finish a project, I’m knitting a star with the leftover yarn. Done a couple at a time, it should never feel particularly onerous, and when holiday season comes around all I will need to do is string them together before I have myself a lovely garland. An additional benefit is that I will be able to look at it and think of all the projects that went into its making – already I have the yarn from multiple hats, a Drachenfels shawl, and a pair of thrummed mittens.

An interesting side effect of this plan is that it throws my color choices for projects into sharp relief. I’m up to 8 stars at the moment, and they are skewing heavily towards the blue/purple/pink end of the spectrum. Pink is especially understandable this year – I have knit an inordinate amount of pussyhats, for myself and friends – but seeing them together and imagining how I want my garland to look makes me realize that I either need to branch out on colors or decide to knit some stars out of stash. Bring on the yellows and greens! It also makes me consider my yarn weight choices a bit – my natural inclination is towards fingering weight, but now that I have a couple worsted stars in the mix I feel like I need to balance them out.

Updates will be forthcoming.

 

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Beige and Stripey

img_2209My early attempts at knitting during breaks at my current job were, in hindsight, probably cursed.

On paper, I have a great commute. A pleasant walk to the subway, a fairly brief ride to downtown, a quick stroll to my office. There’s a bus I can take instead of the walk if I feel like it, and if one subway line is misbehaving (in winter, especially, always a possibility) there are two more within a reasonable distance.

My commute is cursed when it comes to knitting.  There was the time that a pushy fellow passenger bumped me and my bag into the wall hard enough that it snapped a wooden dpn. There was the time that I bumped myself and my bag into the wall hard enough that a metal needle pierced my bag and almost stabbed me in the process.

And knitting in the break room wasn’t much better for concentration. I’m in IT. People come to find me at all times. So anything that included lace, colorwork, or anything else that could be considered tricky inevitably got mangled. And when the goal of lunch time knitting is to relax, needing to carefully frog rows of mangled lace just doesn’t hit the spot.

All this to say that I have decided to have an office project, and that this project is a simple little garter stitch number in baby alpaca, which is lovely to knit with during my all-too-brief lunch breaks. Pattern is Swedish Lines by Caroline Wiens, knit in Cloudborn Fibers Baby Alpaca Fingering. I couldn’t stand the fabric I was getting on the called-for size 8s, and I don’t need a shawl that large anyways, so I’m using size 4 circs. Progress is slow, but I like what I’m seeing so far.

And as a bonus, I haven’t destroyed any needles or bags on the red line recently. And my rates of accidental needle stabbing have gone way down.

 

 

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