Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tropical Bird

I've been having fun digging out old UFOs and working on them. Since they're already partly finished, it makes it quicker to get them done. I finished a few things that need blocking before I share them but in the meantime, I can share something I've been working on that I'm really enjoying.
I fell in love with the Pincha Shawl pattern on Knitty from the first time I saw it, but I tried it in several different yarns and I just couldn't find the right one.
Eventually, they got ripped and the yarn was shoved back into the stash. Finally, I got the idea to try it with some self-striping yarn. I have a good deal of it since I've been in love with Vesper for ages and have been buying it faster than I can knit it. So I chose a skein I knew I wouldn't like as socks but that I thought would be fun as this shawl.
I find the pattern to be pretty fiddly to knit as I have to pay close attention but I absolutely love how it's coming out!

It reminds me of the feathers of a tropical bird. I'm trying to knit one "feather" a day and the original pattern calls for a total of 12 feathers. I will continue if I have more yarn which I'm not sure about at this point. But hopefully, I will be able to dress as a tropical bird in the near future. That should be a nice addition to a winter wardrobe which will combat the dreary gray days nicely.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Maple Leaf

After the great feeling of accomplishment when I finished my Find Your Fade, I decided to take out another languishing project and get it finished.
I dug around until I found my Maple Leaf Knit Shawl.
Thankfully, I was also able to find the original printed pattern where I had marked every row I had done. So I was able to pick it up again and get going on it.
It wasn't long until I was ready to finish it.
Doesn't look like much right off the needles though.
I should say this isn't directly off the needles. I also wove in the ends. ALL the ends. There were a lot. I had been doing a few as I went along but the end of the last three points led to a total of 25 ends to be woven in. That was not my favorite part!

So I dug out my blocking boards and after a good soak, pinned it to within an inch of its life.

I love blocking, it's like a special kind of magic.
The best part though, is when you get to unpin it and enjoy it!

So pretty and just perfect to finish now as we head into fall.
I'm not entirely thrilled with the gradient but that's my own fault because I decided to use all of the first color and then guessed at where to start the third. But it looks like a colorful leaf so that's what I was going for.

I wonder what other projects I can find to finish.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Just a Small Hello

2018 Tour de Fleece was a complete bust for me. With all the family things going on, which involved lots of travel, I just didn't get much done.
I literally did not finish one braid of fiber. It's sad but it was what needed to happen this year. Hopefully, I will have a chance to rock the tour next year.
Instead of dwelling on how frustrated I am about not getting any new handspun from this year's tour, I have been in the mood to finish things. It doesn't come around very often, new projects are much more exciting than boring old projects but I dug around in my current UFOs pile and came up with several things I hope to finish.
The first was my Find Your Fade and I'm happy to report that I did finish that. It's huge and cozy and I love it already, although I haven't blocked it or taken any photos yet. I'm very glad I wove in the ends as I went because that meant when I cast off on Sunday afternoon, I had only one end to weave in, the very last one. And I took it to Knit Night. It turned out to be perfect timing because we sat under an air conditioner vent and it was freezing at Knit Night! I was so glad to have my cozy Fade to wrap around me.
There's several other things waiting for my attention and I'm working on a couple of them already so hopefully I will have some lovely new things to show soon.
In the meantime, I thought it was a good idea to at least get a post up to show that I'm still here, still knitting and still planning some cozy fall projects.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tour de Fleece 2018

Things are a bit rough right now as my husband and I deal with some heavy family stuff. I don't really want to go into details here but suffice to say that I'm spending much of my time driving back and forth to his family. 
I am trying to participate in the Tour de Fleece this year though so Saturday morning when I got up I wiped down my wheel, cleaning off at least a year's worth of dust and dirt and re-oiled it then prepped my fiber and started to spin this lovely bit of business that has been in my stash for ages.

It's Freckle Face Fibers Superwash BFL in Guinevere. I purchased it from someone's destash years ago and it has been languishing ever since. partly because I am not particularly fond of spinning BFL anymore. I liked it when I was first starting and the longer staple length made for easier spinning but I tend to make it too dense now and I'm always disappointed by the yardage I get. Since this is Superwash I decided to give it a try anyway and split the braid lengthwise, then drafted one of the balls I wound up from the split and started spinning. I'm thinking it will make beautiful socks and I am hoping for something that will work to knit into socks. We'll see how it shapes up.
The biggest trouble for me right now is time. When I am at home I'm often too tired to do anything more than wash my face and collapse into bed. But I am trying to find a few minutes to spin here and there. And maybe that's all my goal needs to be this year, just try to find a few minutes for spinning each day.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Knit Night Trillian

My fiber-related mojo lately has lent itself more to my spinning. Which is good because I have lots of fiber and may have brought home some fleece from Shepherd's Harvest recently too. But because spinning takes time and I haven't actually finished anything completely, I don't really have anything to show off. I am considering it training for Tour de Fleece though. So far I'm just joining my local knitting group's team but that may change as time goes on. I've been thinking about digging out my supported spindle again lately. I miss supported spindling and I can do that even when I want to just sit quietly with my feet up after a long day.
Meanwhile, I went to knit night last night and I decided to start something new. None of the projects I have on the needles were really calling to me. Partly because some are big and bulky and I didn't want that heavy weight on me and partly because I just didn't feel like knitting some of them.
Since I decided I wanted something new right before I left, I decided to grab something that was already wound up. I ended up with this beautiful skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino DK that I got at Darn Knit Anyway last summer.
They wound it up for me in the shop. I also grabbed a needle I thought would work and hustled out the door.
Once I got to knit night I knew the trick would be to find something that would work with the colors in the yarn, be easy enough to start and knit at Knit Night while chatting and work with the single needle I had grabbed.
Thankfully that part was easy. I searched Ravelry and found a pattern in my library that I hadn't knit yet that I had been wanting to. It seemed simple and would look good with this particular yarn. So I cast on. It's Trillian by Martina Behm. A beautiful part of the Hitchhiker's Pattern collection.

I am in love with it! The pattern is simple, just a two-row repeat once you get it established and it's turning out so great. I think the needle I'm knitting it on is a little small but I'm liking the fabric and I'm looking for more of a decorative scarf than a warm bundle around my neck so I think I will be fine size-wise too.
The best test is that even after knit night last night, I didn't want to put it down and go to bed. I think this one will be a definite win!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Sometimes

Sometimes I say things to myself like: I should wait to make a new blog post until I finish that project and have something to show.
Then I don't, so no post gets written.
Or: You should really do the dishes before you sit down to knit. And then I don't get any knitting time at all.
It seems to be a recurring theme with me. The feeling that I have to have things done before I can "reward" myself with some down time. But the thing is, there's always more to do. There's always 10 more things to add to my to do list and 15 more things I "should get done" also.
At the end of the day, I still find myself sitting down for a bit and listening to an audio book or reading or watching TV. Something where I enjoy a bit of time but I guess I'm not allowing myself to use that time for knitting if I don't feel like I got "enough" done that day.
I really don't want to be that way to myself. Knitting is soothing to me (mostly, there are those frustrating projects that make you want to shred the yarn with your teeth of course) and something that helps me relax and rest. Which we all need. You can't do the work you need to do if you are so exhausted you can't move or end up sick because you haven't gotten enough rest.
So I'm going to try to remind myself this week that sitting down to knit is a good thing. A necessary thing for my mental health. And something I want to do. So I'm going to do it.
Especially since May is Mental Health Awareness month and I know all of us, even those who don't suffer with mental illness, could use a little focus on ourselves and doing something that makes us happy once in awhile.
How about you? Is there something you're keeping from yourself that you use as a mental health break? Is there a way you can change your thinking about it so you don't feel guilty about taking that time for yourself?
I will be focusing on allowing myself to rest when I  need to rest and often, that will include some knitting.

Friday, April 20, 2018

New Pincha

As I've mentioned before, I've been feeling very lackluster when it comes to projects. I've always got my purse sock going and while I love the simplicity of a plain stockinette sock (almost always in self-striping yarn) I sometimes crave something more. 
We're going to be traveling this weekend to visit my in-laws and some friends. My husband will be doing the driving. That plus some down-time while we're with said friends and in-laws led me to wanting a new project. I briefly looked through everything that was on the needles and nothing really fit so I decided to go ahead and start something entirely new.
I've had my eye on the Pincha shawl for some time. (Linked to Ravelry but it's available on Knitty really.) It seems like such a unique shape and a really fun and unusual knit.
So I went stash diving. I found it difficult to find something that I thought would work for this pattern. I wanted something with some contrast between the colors in the variegation but not too much that it was shocking every time the colors moved. 
I finally settled on this skein of yarn in my stash. To be honest, I've lost the tag so I'm not absolutely sure what it is but I think it might be Schaeffer Anne. It was already wound into a cake so I thought it would be handy to grab and work with and I loved the jewel tones in it. I do have a little issue with mohair but I've worked with this yarn before so I hope it won't be too bad. If nothing else, maybe I can knit the shawl and give it as a gift.
I sat down yesterday afternoon when I had a little time and knit the first section which is called the first feather. I really tried to reserve judgement on how it was working until I had finished the first feather and I'm still not sure what I think.
It's difficult to tell in photos. It really just looks like a bit of a jumbled mess of garter stitch. It doesn't look quite so...wonky in person. I don't know that this yarn is quite right either though. The stretches of color are so short. If you look at the pattern pictures, it seems like their color repeats are longer and that might make a difference for how it looks knit up.
It's unusual, that's for sure and I do like the colors but I'm not sure it's right for this pattern. I will have to make a decision soon because we leave this afternoon.
The construction calls for a ton of short rows so it's all counting and turning. I'm not sure it will be the right project for this weekend either so I tossed another skein of sock yarn into my bag just in case I finish my purse socks and need to keep knitting. 
I am a little fascinated by how it works and I'm interested to see how the next feathers will work now  that I'm done with the first one so I definitely think I want to knit this pattern. Possibly in this yarn, possibly in something else. I looked over the project pictures on Ravelry and there's one knit in what looks like self-striping yarn that looks really fun. That gives me something else entirely to think about.