Category Archives: Shawls

These are the kind of stitches I like…

The only upside to my recent downtime has been…lots of knitting! I finished a pair of socks, knit an entire shawl in under a week, and knit the next shawl in 2 weeks… And I’m halfway through a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband, too.

Today I’m just sharing the second shawl- still no good pix of the first.

I bought the yarn years and years and years ago. (Also known as Jan, 2009.) I had it in my Rav destash section, but then, I saw this blog post from Fancy Tiger, and I had to cast on one of my own ASAP. The original yarn I tried fought with me- first by tangling horribly while I was trying to wind it (took 2 days to untangle) and then by not at all looking like it did in my imagination 😦 So I had to go back to the drawing board/stash- and this 5 year old skein was just the ticket.

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Not too overpowering, but still fun. Rabbit Ridge Designs sock yarn in Petal, in case you were wondering.

The pattern, Antarkis, was a bit of a splurge, but after I saw it I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I bought it, and got started. Had I not dropped a stitch, and not noticed, at the very end, I would have been done a week ago. But I ended up ripping back and redoing the end of the shawl- and it was worth it. The error would have made me furious had I left it in, and I never would have worn the thing…

So without further ado, ta-da! The new shawl- and ME! Because I felt well enough to be in a photo and let you see me…

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If I ever make it again, I’ll go up a needle size (from 5 to 6.)  I’ve been known to knit very tightly… especially when stressed! I had enough yarn left at the end that I repeated the final section one extra time.

I wore it to work today, and got loads of compliments- a nice ego boost AND bonus distraction from the house/healing stress! Now to finish the second mitt for my husband, and then decide what to cast on next.

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She’s aliiiiive- no, really (aka blergh part 3)

Last time I dropped by here to chat, it was just a few days after my fun and exciting emergency gallbladder removal.

August was a hell of a month.

The leaking roof, the gallbladder- those you know about. But we had a few family issues that I’m not going to share here- you’ll have to trust me when I say that they were/are super sucky. While I was still working on physically recovering, our microwave decided to die (or rather, to only work on the popcorn setting, and also, to come on all by itself. Freaky!) And then, after I went back to work, my car battery died. Thank goodness the awesome facilities staff were able to give me a jumpstart so I could get to the shop and get a new one installed… That day, when I finally made it back home and to my bed, our satellite TV was out.

Speaking of going back to work, I didn’t pull that off very well. At one week post-op, I went in for 4 hours. And woke up in agony the next day. I stupidly went back anyway, and made myself worse.  Cue a 3 day stint in bed, the only pro being that I watched the final 2 seasons of True Blood in an epic binge. At least by this point I was able to knit again.

Speaking of knitting… this illness and knitting didn’t mix at first. Post 1st ER, pre 2nd ER/surgery, I tried to work on my Drogon socks. (Pattern from April Cookie A Sock Club, using my own yarn purchased many years ago.)

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I had one sock done, and was ready for the heel flap on the second. I diligently plowed thru the heel flap, perhaps while on Percocet. And the next day I realized I had counted my stitches incorrectly and had to rip the whole thing back. I was so frustrated, and worried about screwing up again, that I put it down. Apparently knitting on narcotics is way worse than knitting drunk, at least for me.

Then came the surgery, and the pain. Aside from the fact that for the first week, I was on some potent pain pills and was afraid to risk another heel debacle, it also hurt to hold my arms where I normally would when knitting. D’oh. I plowed through my entire Kindle backlog, averaging a book a day. Finally I felt like I could handle knitting again, but I was afraid to go back to the sock until I was significantly better. So I dug through my Ravelry cue and stash pages until I found a super simple project that I could make with yarn that I had on hand- and even better, yarn that didn’t need to be wound. I cast on the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West on 8/18, and finished it on 8/24. (The pattern repeat is literally 2 rows until you get to the final border…) You don’t get any pics yet as I’m not feeling up to being in them, or letting you see me…

After I finished the shawl, I felt brave enough to go back to my socks. And now they’re done. 2nd time was a charm on that heel…

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The left and right socks are mirrored. The pattern is meant to evoke the scales of Drogon, the most fearsome of the dragons from Game of Thrones. I’d had this Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Korpii color way sitting around for literally years- and it worked perfectly in this pattern. Because the yarn is a bit thicker, and the yardage a bit shorter, I went down a size from normal for me. I also eliminated one pattern repeat… They fit perfectly and I finished with just a bit of yarn to spare.

So it’s a new month. I’m really hopeful that September will be kinder to me and my family. My recovery is back on track. I’m not sure if for some reason I’m having a rougher time than is normal, or if I underestimated the impacts of surgery, even if it was laparoscopic. Regardless, I am now taking it verrrrry easy. I am back at work. On try #2, I went back 3 hours on monday, 4 on tuesday, etc. Today I basically made it an entire work day! My pain is overall way more manageable, and in a week I’m allowed back in hot tubs. If only we owned a hot tub… My car is fine now that it has a shiny new battery, and we got a new microwave on sale over the weekend (bless the internet- we shopped and bought it online, with store pickup, done by my husband, and I didn’t even have to get out of bed.) The contractors should be starting the repair work next week- they would have started this week but I couldn’t handle it while still feeling lousy. They say it’s a one week job, so I’m thinking 2?

I’ve missed you all terribly. While I was feeling lousy, I didn’t even look at my bloglines feed. I’m hoping to start making the rounds and visiting you all again very soon.

Thank you again for all the kind comments and well wishes. They were a comfort when it felt like everything that could go wrong, was…

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Color Craving, Complete

Finally!

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2013 was the 3rd year I signed on to take part in Stephen West’s Mystery KAL (Color Craving). 2011 was fun, and I wear the finished product all the time. 2012 required a restart- I hated the way my first color options were playing out- but when I finished it, it rapidly became one of my favorite knits ever. So of course I bought the pattern for the 2013 project, and rapidly ordered some yarn…

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(Knit Picks Palette in Sil er, Cosmopolitan, and Ash)

It took me a while to get into the resurgence of neon, but I finally did.

I started the project in September, 2013. And I ran into one problem after another. I accidentally skipped changing colors for a stripe, which I didm’t catch until a few stripes later, and then I broke a needle, and tried to sub in a different size, and it made a crazy huge gauge difference that was completely noticeable. Did I mention all these issues occurred in Clue #1? Out of 4 clues? And I got cranky, and I put the project down.

Yeah.

And then in January, I finished a pair of socks, and had no other project ready to go. I realized I felt guilty about my abandoned project. I picked it back up, and frogged it completely. I rewound the yarn, and started from scratch, this time with the larger needles from the start. I paid much closer attention to the color changes, and I finished Clue #1 in just about a week. And I felt good! So I kept going, all the way to the over 100 inches of picot bind off.

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I finished the final picot bobble just as the women’s olympic figure skating ended…

I was so excited to finally be done that I soaked and blocked it ASAP.

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The shawl was longer than my dining room table, with both leaves in. I had to get creative with the blocking matts and build them out from the table… But the yarn is so light, it dried overnight, and was ready to wear!

So now, the many, many photos… This is the strangest thing I have ever knit. The process was odd, and the shape is unique to say the least. But I’ve actually fallen in love with it. I wore it to work on Monday, and got so many compliments that it darn near made the ordeal of knitting it worthwhile.

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And the other best part of finishing it? I cast on my first socks from the 2014 Cookie A Sock Club!

Did you have any finishes this week? I was planning on showing you a gorgeous, completed skull quilt- but I had a major sewing machine malfunction on Wednesday night. I won’t know how bad until I can get into the repair shop on Saturday. So the quilt is stuck at 1/3 of the way quilted- and the baby is due any minute. Sigh. Cross your fingers for my poor little Viking…

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If it’s really going to snow on May 1st, at least I can wear this…

Colorado is officially in a drought, so I shouldn’t be whiny that we’re getting an absolutely nutty amount of spring snow. But I am. Driving to work in the snow is one of my least favorite tasks. Scraping the car off? I’d rather do nearly anything… And it’s even worse now, as I broke my good scraper during the storm that accompanied the meet & greet with Amy Butler 2 weeks ago.

It was 80 degrees this weekend, which made Annie’s birthday trip to the zoo truly awesome. I broke out my flip flops. That made me happy. But the temperature is supposed to drop 50 degrees from that high and be in the 30s tomorrow- and the weather folks, who have been very very wrong this season, are still saying that we’re going to get actual snow tomorrow. Maybe even 7 inches worth.

My only consolation is that if it is indeed cold and nasty, I’ll have a reason to wear this.

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This gorgeous new shawl just finished blocking tonight, and since the yarn is a 95% wool/5% silk blend, it’s not a light piece. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I’d get much use out of it before fall came around.

Pattern: Glacier Sweep by Stephen West/ Westknits, part of the ChoreoKal series.

Mods: I used size 5s instead of the called for size, and the yarn itself was worsted rather than fingering or heavy worsted, as called for in the pattern. I followed the fingering weight directions.

Yarn: Plymouth Mushishi, used 1.75 skeins, as well as a tiny bit of leftover Lamb’s Pride worsted in a hot pink for the i-cord bind off. Purchased 2+ years ago at the Lamb Shoppe, with a gift certificate and on sale, so it ended up coasting me next to nothing- the best kind 0f yarn!

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I love this shawl. I love the color, the texture, the stitch pattern, the size, the contrasting i-cord bind off. All of it. But you know what I love the most? That Stephen West himself was at Fancy Tiger when I stopped in to buy some yarn a few weeks back, and I happened to have this particular WIP in my car, and he kindly posed for a photo with the shawl, and Annie and me!

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I love his shawls the way I love Cookie A’s socks. I love to follow his patterns. And he himself is just a fabulous guy. In fact, this wasn’t even the first time I got to meet him- at Fancy Tiger no less. He was in town for the first time ever back in September 2012, but, it was while we were at the beach. Our only annual vacation, planned nearly a year in advance, no way to switch it up. I was so sad. And then, he loved Denver and FT so much that he hung around for an extra week, including craft night, where I totally got to meet him after all! And that time as well, he was super gracious, and posed for a photo with me and my most recent Westknits finish, which I just happened to be wearing…

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So, if it really is cold and snowy tomorrow, May Day, at least I can bundle myself up in my latest creation, while I wait to bring the flip flops back out…

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Ice Ice Baby

We took a teeny tiny road trip this weekend, up into the mountains…

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Our goal was twofold, and cold art based- first, to see the Ice Castles in Steamboat Springs, and then, to see the 23rd International Snow Sculpture contest in Breckenridge.

But wait, Sam, don’t you HATE snow and cold?

Yup- but somehow when it is turned into art, I love it. Just don’t make me ski on it… Or clean it off of my car in the morning.

We went to see the Ice Castles last year, when they were in Silverthorne, which is about 2 hours closer to our house… We wanted to go again, especially because last year we didn’t get to see them after dark. With them moving further afield this year, we found the perfect excuse to stay overnight and see them both in daylight and in darkness…

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Never one to let a crafty moment pass me by, I realized I could finally take some cool (heh heh) photos of a recent finish! I completed this fabulous shawl, Pogona, by the wonderful Westknits, back in October, but it took me forever to get around to blocking it (and it REALLY needed it.) I was already wearing the shawl, so I seized the moment for an impromptu photo shoot…

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I realize you can’t really see the colors, but I still love the photos… The shawl is knit w/3 skeins (with only abt 6 inches to spare!) of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in the limited edition colorway Eclipse. This was the first time I have ever been let down by this yarn- while all 3 skeins were the same dye lot, the 3rd turned out to be much much much darker. That’s NOT a trick of the light in the first photo! Oh, well. By the time I realized the color difference, I was almost done with a month of knitting, and I was not about to rip back. Sigh.

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The Ice Castles are truly magical- they literally change by the minute, as they melt and refreeze, and then they are added on to every night after closing time… There’s an icicle farm! The castles must be magical- because from that photo, you’d think my kids actually LIKE one another. Rich actually asked me if I had downloaded a special app that made siblings appear happy 😉

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I could bore you with hundreds of photos, but I’ll stick to just a few more- you do want to see it at night, don’t you?

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The lights change constantly, meaning that the ever-changing experience is even more so… We had a wonderful time.

After a night of poor sleep in an especially lousy hotel bed, and a quick dip in the hot tub, we packed up and got back in the car. At about the halfway point home, we stopped in Breckenridge to check out the 23rd International Snow Sculpture Contest. Being non-mountain folk, even after 13 years in Denver, we’d never heard of this event before. But it’s really neat! 20 ton blocks of snow are carved into amazing works of art over a week by teams from all around the world. It was a rough year for the contest- the mild winter we’re having meant warm temps and faster melting than normal… By the time we got there on Sunday, 2 sculptures had collapsed completely, and some others were showing  signs of stress.

But here’s the best part of all- one of the teams was from Iceland, and their sculpture was inspired by the Lopi sweater tradition! Snow art inspired by fiber art! Considering how of the moment Lopi is in Denver right now, this was extra awesome. Check it out!

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All in all, it was a wonderful mini-vacation, and perhaps I could be lured into the moutons during the winter again. Perhaps.

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It’s a finish. (Almost.)

I’ve been working on this shawl for what feels like forever, but Ravelry tells me has not even been 5 full weeks. In that time, I also knit 2 santa hats for some adorable little cousins of mine…

ImageThen I completed not one but two scarves that look like bacon, one for each of my own kiddos…

Image(You can visualize the exact same scarf on Henry, right?)

And I have finished 1.25 socks from the December 2012 Cookie A Sock Club Kit. (Look back to New Years if you need a refresher…)

But even though I accomplished all that, I still felt miserable about how long this shawl was taking. It seemed like the last 20 rows took an hour each. I took this thing everywhere- to work, to play, to the movies (in case you were wondering, I LOVED The Hobbit, and enjoyed Les Mis…) and more.

And today, with the help of a 2 hour presentation at work, I was finally able to plow through the final rows of the border. I bound off once I got home… and I am done. Okay, I need to weave in the ends, and for sure to block it, but I don’t need to knit so much as one more stitch!  Whee! I’m free!

ImageIt’s not much to look at right now- this is one project that will truly benefit from a good blocking. But before I get to that, it needs a bath. In white vinegar. This yarn, La Lana Dos Mujeres purchased last year in Taos NM just days before the shop closed forever, bled like crazy. It turned my hands a horrid shade of purply-grey, and also left a nasty feeling residue on them. Yum. Not. I have high hopes that a good soaking in some vinegar water will cure the color bleeding, and a further soak in some Soak will cure the icky texture.

That soaking will happen some time this week, and then, the blocking. Meanwhile, I’ve got a 2nd sock to finish, a pair of mittens to cast on, and a crocheted afghan to complete.

(PS- Wondering what the pattern is? Geysir Stretch by Stephen West…)

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Same old different stripes

I did some knitting-as-barter recently for a friend. She works somewhere that my family loves, and to which our membership had recently expired… So a few months back we had a lunch date- I introduced her to the joys of both Fancy Tiger AND Sputnik– and she picked out some luscious Malabrigo. A skein of Sock in Primavera, and 3 of Silky Merino in Redwood bark.  That Silky Merino was heavenly to work with. I think I may need some for myself…

The colors were not my usual cup of tea, but they were stunning, and together, even more so.  My friend loved the asymmetrical stripes of Different Lines I made for myself earlier this year, so that’s what she got. That’s an awful lot of stockinette stitch for one year…

I finished it right before Halloween, and then there was the blocking. Finally got to hand it over this week- and I think she’s happy!  What do you think? (Pardon the crappy camera phone photos in the lousy lighting of a conference room…)

t and her new shawl

T and her new shawl

Now, back to selfish knitting!

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Wordless Wednesday: not a bad day at the office!

My day at work

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What do my mystery shawl and my vacation have in common?

They’re both done now.

(Ba dum bum…I’ll be here all week ladies and gentlemen.)

I had the best of plans to finish my Westknits mystery shawl before I left on vacation.  But it turns out my decision to make the largest size, including the optional extra repeat, made for a very very very long knit.  When we left for the airport, I was still on the final repeat, and had the border in front of me as well. Oi.

So the shawl came with me on vacation, not on my shoulders but still on the needles.  If you scroll down, you can see my beachside knitting in action. I finished weaving in the last ends on Friday night, the last night of the trip, and I wore the shawl home.

Shawl and vacation, both done :-(

You can see that the large size is truly large!

Shawl and vacation, both done :-(

My dear husband took the photo on the balcony of our timeshare down in Hilton Head Island. We’ve been going down to the lowcountry ever since my folks moved there in 2003. Even though my mom now lives here, we still have the timeshare on the island, and for one blissful week every September, we escape there. We’re back now, but it was great while it lasted.

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Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Edition

the shawl travels

wish you were here...

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