Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Picot Love

I have been trying to finish up some projects and not start new things quite so often because my UFO bin is getting a little out of hand again but every so often, you just have to listen to your quiet inner voice. Sometimes it's just not quiet at all and in this case, it shouted.
With the way my wrist had been feeling I was really trying to go easy on the knitting to let it rest but since knitting is my normal resting state, it was difficult. I finished spinning my blue laceweight and I was working on finishing the spinning on a sweater quantity of brown wool. It's turning into lovely yarn but I was thoroughly sick of looking at it and I decided I needed a new knitting project. As soon as my brain settled on the skein of handspun I had in mind, I knew it needed to be a shawl and I needed to start right away. I even tried to quiet that little voice and dug out a shawl I had been working on and tried to work on that. It would not be stilled.
I had struck upon what I thought was a great idea. Awhile ago, quite awhile now that I think about it, I had spun a skein of merino. It was chain-plied and lovely colors in almost a gradient and I had been so excited to knit it into a shawl. Then, distracted by whatever projects I had going at the time, I tucked the skein into the handspun storage area and forgot about it. When I struck on the idea of knitting it, I also struck on the perfect pattern. Holden Shawlette. I have it in my Library from back when it was free but it's been updated, improved and is now a purchase pattern.
I cast on and started knitting. My wrist started feeling better and I just kept knitting. I was getting close to starting the edge pattern and I just kept on knitting. Then I was on the edging and I still just kept on knitting. Last night, I finished.

Don't the colors look great? I had more than the called-for 400-450 yards so I kept going on the pattern.

The edging was bright blue. (I manage to run out of yarn too and finished the picot bindoff with some other blue handspun, the epic laceweight as a matter of fact. I think it matches fine and came out lovely.)

Then at 1 am I blocked it. I pinned out almost every single picot to make them look right. I pretty much hated the picots while I was knitting them. I pretty much hated them while I was pinning them but now? Now, I adore them! I think they make it look fancy and beautiful. I love the look of this shawl and the (much more subtle in person) shifts of color. I can't wait to wear it everywhere and I plan to.
I was also really surprised that it came out as a large as it did. I only had the one 4-ounce skein which was about 600 yards but it's huge. I love that about it too.
It seems like it was a pretty quick project. I started it less than 2 weeks ago and it's finished now. I didn't even really have the time to blog about it earlier. That little shouting voice in my head telling me to knit this? You were right, I'm so glad I did!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's Start Documenting

I finished plying my lovely blue yarn and I've forgiven it almost everything.

After washing it's pretty well-balanced and it came out to be about 850 yards. I'm pretty happy with that.

I am doing better with my wrist but I'm still going fairly easy on it so I've been focusing on doing more artwork. I've missed it so much and it's wonderful to be getting to it! I joined a group on Facebook called the Documented Life Project. (The challenges are also posted on so even if you don't have Facebook, you could still participate.) The group recommends using a Moleskine yearly planner and then they provide weekly prompts. I started out using my lovely giant notebook that I use for everything but quickly found that it's not realistic to use as a planner anymore. It's gotten so stuffed full and bulky that I really can't carry it everywhere any more and so I was considering options.
Then the magic happened. Someone in the lovely Documented Life group offered to send someone a Moleskine planner that she had purchased. She didn't really go into if it was extra or if she decided to use something else but it was meant to be. She sent it to me.

It's slim and sleek and lovely. I'm very excited to get going on using it and getting caught up on the weekly prompts. I may decorate the cover, as so many lovely others have done, or I may not but I will be updating here with information about my take on the weekly prompts. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Trouble with Laceweight

Spinning warms my heart and I find my lovely wheel is rarely allowed to sit empty. Even if it's just a few minutes break here and there, I love having something on the wheel to spin for a bit.
The trouble comes when you get ambitious of course. I've had a hankering to spin a lovely laceweight and I finished the first bobbin the other day. Then I spun and spun and spun and thought about how sick of this lovely bright blue semi-solid I am but I wasn't done yet so I kept slogging along. Finally, finally I finished the second bobbin.

My love for it and excitement at the prospect of something lovely and blue and possibly lacy was almost restored. I mean, check out the gauge of those singles.

That's an American Dime for scale. You can't beat it.
I'm usually not one to wait the required time to ply but I wanted lovely yarn so I forced myself to wait. This morning when I woke up for no reason at the utterly awful hour of 6 am (when you have no reason to get up that early why would you?) I could resist it's siren song no longer. I would just ply it up quick....
Anyone else see the flaw in that logic?

It's not quick. Plying laceweight takes a long time. A really, really long time. A "movie marathon" length of time. I'm ready to be done but as you can see, I'm not done. There's a long way to go and real things I would also like to get done today.
We'll see if the real life things get done. Who can resist laceweight? (I'm starting to think about exclusively spinning bulky two-ply. I don't think it will take though, this yarn will be lovely and renew my desire for lovely, tiny spinning to accompany lovely, tiny knitting.)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Experimental Confetti

This week has been weird and stressful in odd little ways. It's mostly related to personal things that I don't talk about here, so I won't. I found days slipping by with little or no knitting in them though and it meant I kept forgetting that I wanted to get a blog post up.
A couple of weeks ago I wrenched my right wrist somehow and while it's not really "injured" it is exacerbated by knitting. I'm absolutely terrified that I will do something to make it seriously injured and keep me from knitting as much as I like so when I have had free time I haven't done much knitting this week.
All the knitting I've done has gone into the hat for my Handsome Husband.

I changed the colors around on it so it would match his coat which is gray and blue with yellow piping. I think it looks pretty good and I look forward to finishing it soon. Hopefully today or tomorrow.
Since I wasn't knitting I tried to keep my mind off of it by doing other things. Spinning is okay and so I managed to finish the first bobbin of the Polwarth I'm spinning into a laceweight.

It's really beautiful and fine and I'm completely in love with it. As much as I like it though, I needed a little break from spinning so fine so I pulled out a braid of my Gritty Knits Merino of the Month

This is Confetti Experiment which is from October 2013 and I didn't have any specific plans for it so I decided to spin it into a quick two-ply sportweight that could be added to my stash for the Mitered Crosses Blanket. The braid is 5 ounces instead of 4 so I knew I could get a great amount of yardage out of it. I split the braid in half the long way then split the second half again to maximize the color changes. Technically that's a fractal spin, although I normally split the second half in thirds and only split it twice this time. Then I spun the singles onto two bobbins and plied it up.
As predicted, it spun up quickly and I ended up with something lovely.

It almost looks pastel in these pictures but there's a more rich color palette to it than pastels.

So far it looks like it will be a lovely addition to the background colors for the blanket, although it does need to be washed yet. That will happen this afternoon and hopefully it can be added to the blanket stash in a day or two when it dries.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Ravenclaw Riot!

Happy New Year! Is everyone making great New Year's resolutions? I have made a very few and none of them are very outlandish, mostly ones I've been working on awhile. Like trying to do something artistic every day. I even joined a group called the Documented Life Project that gives us weekly prompts.
Enough about that though, I'm also a brand new Harry Potter student! The Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup sorting has taken place and the new assignments are up. I participated last term (Fall 2013; September, October and November) as a NQFY or Not Quite first year. I had a blast and when the time came to sign up and be sorted again, I did and was sorted into Ravenclaw! It's very exciting and I'm greatly enjoying getting to know all my fellow Ravenclaws.
I even have a Detention all ready to turn in; the second square on my handspun Mitered Crosses blanket.

Detention is a project that was started previously and finished during the term. I can count one square as one "project" since they are made separately and to maintain your sorting status you just need to complete one start-to-finish project and turn it in for a class per month. I didn't find it difficult at all last term since it can be as simple as a dishcloth or small project. Now that I'm sorted into a house I am competing with my fellow Ravenclaws to earn points for our house towards winning the house cup so I definitely want to try to turn in as much as I can.
I had plenty of knitting time yesterday while celebrating Christmas with my in-laws and I even finished another square!

This is the third square and will be turned in for my homework on my first class, I haven't looked particularly closely at the prompts yet so I haven't decided which class. Hopefully I can get another one or two classes done since I have cast on something else too.

Yup, another double-knit hat. This time for the dear Handsome Husband. He seems to have misplaced his other hat and it's been very cold here so he needs something to keep from freezing off those ears. That plus the two pairs of socks I cast on when the Christmas knitting was done mean my hands should be plenty busy this month.