Tag Archives: merino

On The Needles – November 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

Changes in the line-up.  Hoping to get some serious knitting time in over the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Diadem– I’m so close to being done with this it’s silly its not done – all that’s left is the knitted on border.  Unfortunately, I’m not happy with it.  I’ve barely used any of the yarn and it is a very small shawl.  So I’m going to rip it out via the skeinwinder (so I can count yardage) and pick something else.  Brief reminder – this is the shawl I’m knitting for my friend Patty in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald. PS – the photo color doesn’t do it justice at all.  It’s actually a deep midnight blue with a lot of sheen.

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  • Alpaca Cape – A big, heavy, warm, snuggly cape, that’s what I want(ed).  My yarny Christmas present to myself was several skeins of Cascade Yarn Baby Alpaca Chunky for a cape, which I promptly started over the Christmas holiday.  I’m three skeins in, with a couple more left.  This is my HOT RIGHT NOW project so I can wear it this winter.  I don’t have a pattern for it – I’m just knitting it like a top down raglan without ever dividing off for sleeves.  I plan to knit until I’m into the last skein and then stop to do a nice wide button band.  The yarn is amazing and squishy – and very warm!

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  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo.

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor.

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Finished Object – Botanic Broncos Hat

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What a quick knit! I finished this in under a week and I’m ready to cast on one for me.  Last January a friend mentioned she might like a Broncos hat. We looked at a couple different colorway combinations and then put the idea on hold since football season ended.  After I finished my most recent shawl I needed a little “bite of chocolate” before switching back to my next large-ish project.  A hat seemed perfect and so I ordered some yarn and figured out gauge. She also wanted a two-color pompom, which I did make.  I had the project done and washed in a week and was able to give it to my friend in person (she lives in another state).  I don’t have any pictures of her wearing the hat but she’s going to a Broncos game later this month and I hope she’ll take one then!

Moving on.  My Rav project page is here.

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Pattern – Botanic Hat (Ravelry pattern here) from Stephen West (website here).  This is a beanie style hat worked in two colors by alternating row colors and slipping stitches.   Two contrasting colors would work best.  My only critique of the pattern is that, for the price of the pattern, there is only one size available.  The designer states you can adjust sizing by using different weights of yarn but that’s pretty limiting. Pattern is $6.00 on Ravelry.

Yarn –  I used Malabrigo Yarn Rios (Rav link) (Malabrigo website) in the colorways Glazed Carrot (orange) and Azul Profundo (navy).  Rios is a worsted weight 100% superwash merino plied yarn that is kettle dyed.  It’s wonderfully squishy and soft, maybe even moreso than the unplied Malabrigo Worsted.

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Pattern Mods and Notes

1. Circumference – the pattern indicates the hat will fit a 22 inch to 24 inch head.  Even with the smaller needles I used, it’s a bit big on a 22 inch head.  Not so big it’s unwearable but definitely loose.

2. I used 0.45 skeins (94.5 yards) of the orange and 0.30 skeins (63.0 yards) of the navy, which means I could get a second hat out of the two total skeins (one of each color) I bought.

3. Pattern calls for US 6 and US 7 needles.  I could (kinda) get gauge with US 5 and US 6 but to get the hat smaller, and make the fabric look better, I used US 4 for the whole hat.

4. The pompom.  I don’t particularly love pompoms.  I don’t wear them and I was honestly surprised my friend wanted one.  I made a couple test pompoms using the second smallest pompom maker out of my set of four.  The pompom still seemed a bit lopsided, even after trimming.  I finally quit trimming because I was worried there would be no pompom left.

5. I added some length.  The pattern says to knit until you have 6 inches before starting the crown.  I want hats to cover the ears so I went to 6.5 inches.  Much better.

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Knitting Pattern Release: Cathay Williams Shawl

I’m pleased to announce that I just released my cozy new shawl for fall, The Cathay Williams Shawl!  It features a crescent shape with long wings, perfect to wrap around you., and uses just under two 100 gram skeins of fingering weight yarn.  Each row of the shawl is worked across different sections: mesh, a texture section and then mesh again.   I’m sure you’ll enjoy curling up to knit, and wear, this shawl.

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You can buy it and read more about it on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member!).  Click here!

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You can adjust the size of the shawl (the length/depth) for the amount of yarn you have on hand.  The pattern has been tech edited.

Who is Cathay Williams? In a time when U.S. Army regulations forbade the enlistment of women, Cathay Williams enlisted under the name William Cathay on November 15, 1866.  She told the recruiting officer that she was a 22-year-old cook.  An Army Surgeon examined her and determined she was fit for duty.  Cathay Williams then became the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army.  She was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry and traveled throughout the West with her unit.  She was discharged in October 1868 when an Army surgeon found out she was a woman.  She is the only known female Buffalo Solider.

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  • Yarn
    • Approximately 825 yards fingering weight yarn. Shown in Fresh From the Cauldron Schoodic Sock (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon, 460 yards, 3.53oz) in the colorway Poe’s Absinthe Induced Dream.   Other suggested yarns include Destination Yarns Postcard, Cascade Heritage Paints or Knitted Wit Victory Sock.
  • Needle
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 32″ or 40″, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 2 stitch markers
    •  Tapestry needle
    •  Blocking pins

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  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 32″ wide
      • 44″ height (or depth)

The shawl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. 

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The Wool Gathering Festival 2017

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It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to this show and its grown even more!  The Wool Gathering is near Yellow Springs, Ohio and is held in middle September of each year. The show runs Saturday and Sunday and there are no classes due to space limitations. It is on the grounds of a dairy farm and vendors are set up under tents. WARNING: Picture heavy post.

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I went with several friends and we got there right about the time it opened on Sunday at 10am.  By noon it was crowded and hot (hot being almost 90 degrees in mid-September).  We shopped, ate, then shopped some more.  I had a couple items I was on the hunt for but otherwise wanted to spend time looking at yarns from vendors I hadn’t seen in a while.

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The non-fibery stuff:

  • Chocolate Cherry Lip Balm from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  This stuff is like dessert for your lips, minus any calories.  Goes on smooth.  Go check out her website for some amazing photography and cool products.
  • For Feet Sake by BarMaids in the Peppermint Plus scent – This stuff is amazing for your feet, especially if your dry feet tear up your knee high hose (yes, I wear knee high hose with my dress shoes).  I like that you apply it like a stick of deodorant, leaving your hands mess free.
  • Lotion from Amazing Grace Farms – I love this stuff.  It is by far my favorite lotion.  No dyes and its very hypoallergenic.  The proceeds go to support her animal rescue, which makes it all the better.  Please check out her website and consider ordering.  The peppermint and lavender are my two favorites.  I bought one bottle of apple cider and have two more bottles of the peppermint cream coming to me via mail.
  • Pattern for Rookwood by Mindy Wilkes.  Ravelry pattern page is here.

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One of my favorite vendors (of many favorites) at the show was Destination Yarns.  I met the owner, Jeanne, at Stitches Midwest the first year I went and love her saturated dyeing.  She also uses the most scrumptious yarn bases.

  • (left side) Suitcase base (a worsted weight merino yarn that I swear feels like it cashmere in it) in the colorway Underneath the Christmas Tree
  • (top) One skein each of her Note base in the Miracle and Stormy Skies colorways.  This is aiming to be a two-color shawl such as Quicksilver or Blackbird.
  • (right) A mini-skein set on the Postcard base in fall colors.  It’s a merino yarn and each mini (there are eight) has 92 yards.  This, and a solid, will become the Take It All shawl.
  • You might also notice I got a couple bags, including a Game of Thrones themed drawstring and a Destination Yarn tote.  I’ll just keep telling myself one can never have too many bags.

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Long-time favorite dyer – Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns.  She was really one of the first doing gradient yarns (as mini-skein sets) and I used to see her every year at The Fiber Event in Greencastle.  She has a background in chemistry and has a very good eye for color.

  • (upper left) Two skeins of her Kashmir yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon base) in Citron and Wicked Good.  This bright of colors is wayyy outside of my norm, which was my goal.  This is likely to become either the Cypri shawl or the Fallston shawl.
  • (lower right) A mini-skein set on the Footnotes base in the colorway Fire and Ice and a full skein of Footnotes in the colorway Ft. Knox.  I tried matching the mini-skein set with a gray but could not find a combo that made my heart sing.  The gold one did though.   This is for the On the Spice Market shawl.

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A new to me dyer – Ewetopia, out of Wisconsin.  The yarn base is called Pashm and is merino/cashmere/nylon and the colorway is Country Fair.  Given the cashmere content this will become fingerless mitts.

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A second new to me dyer – Betwitched Pigments.  I’m a sucker for tonals and her’s have a lot of depth.  I actually got an aran weight yarn (I know, not my norm) in the colorway Surprise!  These are pretty springy and soft so I’m hoping they will make good legwarmers.

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Last one, I promise.  A third new to me dyer – The Fibre Art Studio at Yarns to Dye For. This was the last yarn I bought, even though I had been looking for a bright rainbow gradient with over 500 yards of yardage.  The base is Fifty Shades of Gradient (funny pun) in the United colorway.  This and some black will become my Lambton Panes shawl which I’ve been lusting over since Sarah of Yarn Geek Fibers finished hers.

 

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Stitches Midwest 2017

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I know what you’re thinking – Courtney, you didn’t go to Stitches Midwest this year, how do you have goodies from Stitches.  Well, my wonderful friend Erika (and her sister) offered to do a little personal shopping for me. I’ve linked to each vendor, just in case you’d like to check them out.

Some Non-Yarn Goodies

From Erin Lane Bags – one of her new Sheeple prints, Larry.  I’m also planning to get the Dr. Who prints/

From KnitBaahPurl – a shirt that says “I’m Only Fluffy on the Outside”

The YARN! Sorry I didn’t take the yarn out of the bags for the pictures.

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From Dragonfly Fibers – A gradient set of DK weight Traveller (100% superwash merino) in the colorway Starry Night.  The set consists of six 2-ounce skeins for a total of 840 yards.

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From A Hundred Ravens – A set of Yarn Poppers, which are small mini-skeins of coordinating colors on the Aesir (DK weight merino) base.  There’s a total of 75 grams in the one set.

 

 

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Malabrigo Knitting Pattern Release: Bryce Canyon Cowl

I hinted last winter I was up to something with one of my favorite yarn companies.  I’m happy to announce today that I’m designing some knitting patterns for Malabrigo Yarns.  My first design for them was just released, a cowl called the Bryce Canyon Cowl. It features a fun texture created by slipping stitches up multiple rows.  The cowl uses one 100 gram skein of fingering weight yarn such as Malabrigo Sock or Malabrigo Mechita.  This was my first time working with Mechita (a single spun yarn) and it was a true delight.

Bryce Canyon Cowl

The pattern is offered for sale by Malabrigo on Ravelry.  You can read more and buy the pattern here

The Bryce Canyon cowl is knit in the round and uses one skein of sock yarn, perfect for that single skein you can’t decide how to use. You can wear your cowl as a single looped long scarf, double looped as a casual mid-chest cowl or triple looped for a snugly neck warmer. The slipped stitch texture plays well with highly variegated yarns as it shows off the color changes.

Bryce Canyon Cowl

Yarn

    • Approximately 375-400 yards/343-366 meters fingering weight yarn. Sample shown in Malabrigo Sock  (100% merino, 440 yards/402 meters, 3.53oz/100g) in the coloway Diana.
  • Needles
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 24″/60 cm or 32″/81 cm, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 1 stitch marker (additional stitch markers to notate repeats optional)
    • Tapestry needle
    • Blocking pins

Malabrigo sample knit using Malabrigo Mechita in the Aniversario colorway. Photo Credit: Malabrigo Yarns

  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 58″/147 cm circumference
      • 7″/18 cm height
  • Gauge (all over 4”/10cm)
    • After Blocking:
      • Pattern: 20-22 stitches & 60 rounds

The cowl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. Stockinette gauge is provided to assist with determining an appropriate needle size for you.

 

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On The Needles – July 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

Lots of changes in the line-up.  Luckily I have some serious knitting time coming up next month (hellloooo vacation!)

  • Diadem– I’m so close to being done with this it’s silly its not done – all that’s left is the knitted on border.  Unfortunately, I’m not happy with it.  I’ve barely used any of the yarn and it is a very small shawl.  So it might yet get ripped out and restarted as another shawl.  Brief reminder – this is the shawl I’m knitting for my friend Patty in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald. PS – the photo color doesn’t do it justice at all.  It’s actually a deep midnight blue with a lot of sheen.

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  • Alpaca Cape – A big, heavy, warm, snuggly cape, that’s what I want(ed).  My yarny Christmas present to myself was several skeins of Cascade Yarn Baby Alpaca Chunky for a cape, which I promptly started over the Christmas holiday.  I’m two skeins in, with a couple more left.  I still plan to finish it (and before the fall) but it’s just not my “hot project” right now.  I don’t have a pattern for it – I’m just knitting it like a top down raglan without ever dividing off for sleeves.  I plan to knit until I’m into the last skein and then stop to do a nice wide button band.  The yarn is amazing and squishy – and very warm!

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  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo.

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  • Slipped Stitch Shawl – Well, sneaky, sneaky, this is a new design I’m working on so no details quite yet.  It will use two skeins of fingering weight yarn and include mesh and slipped stitches.  If you’re interested in test knitting, please email or message me on social media.  Sample yarn is Fresh from the Cauldron Schoodic Sock in the colorway Poe’s Absinthe Induced Dream.

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor.

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  • Caprica Socks – More socks.  This has gone into hibernation.  I might pull them out after my Whovian socks and keep knitting or I might rip them out.  Yarn is Knit Picks Felici, a super soft merino/nylon blend, in the colorway Caprica.

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Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2017

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping.  I was slowed down, just a bit, by my broken foot and made an effort to keep it elevated as much as possible.

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I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic (and returning!) students.   Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures. So here’s a sheep from the day.

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On Friday I taught Beaded Wire Bracelet and DIY Stitchmarkers and on Saturday I taught Cables 101.  One of my Cables class students from April took the Beaded Wire Bracelet class and I got to see two cabled handbands (a pattern exclusive to the Cables 101 class) she made. Saturday morning I got to Franklin early so I picked up my mini-rug hooking kit and sat at the edge of a friend’s booth working on that.

Of course, I did a little shopping. Yarny goodness:

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  • (Upper left) This actually just came – I loved the colorway but requested it on a different base (superwash merino rather than a merino bamboo mix) and they dyed it up this week.  It is a “shawl ball” from Brenda and Heather Yarns (aka BAH Yarns), a local dyer. This is 645 yards of fingering weight in a single gradient colorway called Sunset. 
  • (Upper right) Yet another large gradient, this time Arial Evolution (100% merino) from Twisted Fiber Art.  This is a new to me dyer so I’m excited to start on this soon.  Colorway is Downten.
  • (Lower left) This was a dyer I specifically wanted to buy something from this year as I’ve never tried her yarns.  This is sportweight 100% merino (superwash) in the Plum Drum Weekend colorway from Oink Pigments.  It’s actually not the softest merino but it feels like a very sturdy merino that won’t fuzz or felt so I’m planning to use it for socks.
  • (Lower right) Another yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns but this is a self striping DK yarn.  I love self-striping for socks but given I’m a crazy slow sock knitter, DK weight yarn is perfect for me.  Colorway is Sunshine on a Cloudy Day (or as I call it, Grellow).

 

 

 

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Finished Object – Chomatic Cowl

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I actually finished my first brioche knitting project.  I’ve had learning brioche as a goal for about two years now and tried learning via YouTube with no success.  So, when a brioche class was offered the day before the Knitting Pipeline retreat started, I jumped at chance.  Once I got the rhythm of brioche down it was actually an easy and fun knit.  Only reason it took two months was because I had to stop in between and work on knitting for classes.  But it’s done!

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My Rav project page is here.

Pattern – Chromatic Cowl (Ravelry pattern here) by Amy Detjen (who taught the class).  It’s worked in the round with two colors.  I think its important to note that the pattern itself doesn’t teach you how to do brioche – it assumes you know this.  You use a solid color to start and end with a curled border.  Normally I dislike edges curling as an intended border but on this it works out well.  Pattern is free on Ravelry.

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Yarn –  I bought a kit at the start of the brioche class that was designed specifically for the cowl.  The yarn is Greatest of Ease from KnitCircus Yarns and is a fingering weight 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon blend.  The kit included two 50 gram cakes, one in a solid (cream in my case) and another in a gradient (I bought the Over the Rainbow colorway).  I really liked the feel of the yarn (squishy and soft) but I did have some spots where the yarn had frayed a bit (as in it was becoming unplied).  The rainbow colors are very vibrant and it became “potato chip knitting” to get to the next color. 

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On The Needles – April 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

How is it March already?!? I have several projects nearly completion and even more lined up next in the queue.  Luckily I seem to have caught finish-itis so maybe some of these will get done!

  • Diadem– I’m so close to being done with this it’s silly its not done – all that’s left is the knitted on border.  Unfortunately, I need to knit it at home, in good light, with minimal distraction. And the border is slow going and fiddly.  Brief reminder – this is the shawl I’m knitting for my friend Patty in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald. PS – the photo color doesn’t do it justice at all.  It’s actually a deep midnight blue with a lot of sheen.

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  • Chromatic Cowl– Remember I mentioned learning brioche knitting at the Knitting Pipeline retreat? This is the pattern we used for the class.  I’m now through color number four with two more to go (blue and green).  Now that I have the brioche “process” in my brain this is actually pretty brainless knitting.  I’m using a Chromatic Cowl kit from Knit Circus yarns and the pattern is Chromatic Cowl by Amy Detjen (it is free on Ravelry).

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  • Alpaca Cape – A big, heavy, warm, snuggly cape, that’s what I want(ed).  My yarny Christmas present to myself was several skeins of Cascade Yarn Baby Alpaca Chunky for a cape, which I promptly started over the Christmas holiday.  And I knit on it A LOT in January.  Then it got warm in February and my interest waned.  I still plan to finish it (and before the fall) but it’s just not my “hot project” right now.  I don’t have a pattern for it – I’m just knitting it like a top down raglan without ever dividing off for sleeves.  I plan to knit until I’m into the last skein and then stop to do a nice wide button band.  The yarn is amazing and squishy – and very warm!

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor.

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  • Caprica Socks – More socks.  This has gone into hibernation.  I might pull them out after my Whovian socks and keep knitting or I might rip them out.  Yarn is Knit Picks Felici, a super soft merino/nylon blend, in the colorway Caprica.

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