Knitting

On Progress and Modifications

It's been a while since I've checked in with my knitting progress, so here's a bit of an update for you.

News Flash! I'm still working on squares for my blanket. I actually finished the 10 squares called for in the pattern a couple of weeks ago. I laid them all out, and it looked something like this . . . 

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(That JoJo. Always thinking I need to have a dog-for-scale in every knitting project photo I take.)

It's a nice little blanket. Small. Good for throwing over your lap on a chilly morning. Or displaying on a chair. It would make a perfect baby blanket.

But something about it makes my eye twitch.
Can you guess what?

It's the patterning of the overall blanket. The rows are arranged to show 3 squares - 2 squares - 3 squares - 2 squares. Which is fine. But from a design standpoint, my eyes expect to see the pattern finish with a row of 3 more squares. (Or start with 2 squares.) It's just . . . off. And I knew it would bug me.

So I decided to see if I could add 1 more row (either a 3-square row or a 2-square row) with the yarn I have. I knew I had plenty of yarn to make the colorful centers; it was the neutral border yarn that I was unsure of. So I got out my trusty scale, and started knitting.

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Before starting any extra squares, I "finished" the blanket as designed (as much as possible) first. I added those "half squares" to the 2-square rows, for example. And I seamed the rows together. (That first photo above is after adding the "half squares" and seaming the rows.)  I discovered it takes slightly less of the "border" yarn to knit 3 squares than 2 squares with the "half squares" - which makes sense.

Anyway. After knitting a bit and measuring now and again, I could see that I had enough yarn to add another row of 3 squares. And I wouldn't have to play "yarn chicken" to do it!

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Better, non?

I took that photo above over the weekend, before we headed up north for the week. Since then, all squares are complete, and that last row is seamed. I'm putting it away now . . . until the weather calls for holding a whole blanket in my lap at once.

Which I guess means that . . . The Prodigal Son is going away again.
But only for awhile.

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How about you? What are making these days?

 


Meet . . . The Prodigal Son

A few weeks ago, I explained my strategy for summer knitting (digging through my time-out bin filled with a veritable “dysfunctional family” full of projects) and introduced you to The Problem Child. Then last week, you met The Poor Relations.

This week? The Prodigal Son returns!

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Oh, yes. The Prodigal Son.

You may be familiar with this Christian parable . . . a father is overjoyed when his long lost son returns home and welcomes him with a feast. (Totally pissing off his other son, by the way - the one who stayed home and did all the work. But that's another story - and maybe another knitting project - altogether. . . )

Anyway.

My own Prodigal Son . . . is this blanket, which I started in 2011. Back then, the pattern had just been released as a fundraiser for Mercy Corps following the tsunami in Japan. I loved the design. I wanted that blanket. And I had a bunch of Noro Silk Garden just sitting in my stash with no plans for anything. So . . . what the heck! I cast on.

It was a nice, easy project. I loved the way the squares looked. 

After completing four of the ten squares called for in the pattern, apparently I lost interest or was (more likely) distracted by something shinier. I shoved the whole shebang in a bin and just . . . moved on, forgetting about the project completely.

For. Eleven. Years. 

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When I opened the bin last month, I was pleased to discover the project neatly put away and ready to finally return . . . home. (The most disappointing thing was that, in my mind, I remembered having knit more squares before sending the project packing. But, nope. Just four.)

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So. The Prodigal Son has returned.
And just in time, too.

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Because The Problem Child has settled down and is nearly all grown up now -- able to watch TV and even sip some wine from time to time. And I decided to just put The Poor Relations out of their misery by casting off and calling it done. (Details another day.)

So, it looks like my summer knitting . . . is all sorted.
For now!

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How about you? What are you making this week?


Meet . . . The Poor Relations

Two weeks ago, I explained my strategy for summer knitting (digging through my time-out bin filled with a veritable “dysfunctional family” full of projects) and introduced you to The Problem Child.

This week, allow me to introduce The Poor Relations.

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But first – some backstory.

When I was in high school, there was a boy in our crowd . . . let’s call him Rick (because, well, his name was Rick).  Anyway. Rick had a really irritating way of engaging you in conversation . . . while keeping an eye out for someone “better” to talk to. I’m sure you’ve encountered the type. Rick, who was funny and generally friendly, was always looking to “up” his own “social capital” by seeking out those who might be "cooler" than he was (or we were!). We were well aware of his tendency, and we teased him about it all the time. When he would spot someone he thought might be “better” (in that high school pecking order sort of way) to talk to at a party or gathering or even just at lunch, we’d just roll our eyes and say . . . “Who are we? Your poor relations?”

Yep. “Poor relations.” Good enough to hang around with when you need ‘em, but when someone “better” comes along? Bye bye!

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When the pandemic first hit back in March 2020, my focus and brain capacity were at a real low. I didn’t have the focus for reading. I couldn’t concentrate on my knitting, either. And, suddenly, much of my social life and all of my meetings and classes were Zoom-based. I was desperate for something simple and easy to do with my hands while Zooming.

Enter . . . The Poor Relations.

Just a few weeks before everything shut down for the pandemic, I had gone to a small fiber “event” with a local knitting friend. While there, I picked up a lovely-in-the-skein 750-yard cake of hand-spun and hand-dyed suri alpaca. I had no plan for the yarn. I surely didn’t need it. But it caught my eye, and I bought it. (You know how it is when you’re at one of these fiber things. The fumes. The vibe. The enabling friend.)

Anyway, when I realized I needed something super easy and rather mindless to knit before yet another Zoom meeting, I grabbed that new cake of yarn and this pattern . . . and cast on. (Although I’ve never knit a Hitchhhiker, I think it’s basically a Hitchhiker with “pleats?”

The project lived under my desk, permanently. For years. When I needed it, I picked it up and worked on it. When something “better” came along, I kicked it back under the desk. (Thus . . . The Poor Relations.)

Sometimes, I didn’t work on it for months and months at a time. Some of my (ahem) “better” projects were also well-suited to Zoom calls, so I always chose to work on them ahead of The Poor Relations. But, when I needed them (when there was nobody "better" around), The Poor Relations were always eager to be back in play! Often our re-introductions were a little awkward as I had to recall the basic rhythm of the pattern or fix all the stitches that had dropped off the needle in my neglect. But there they were. The Poor Relations. Always ready for another conversation.

Needless to say, The Poor Relations are still around. (750 yards of yarn can make a really long shawl, y’know?) The project will never be my favorite. I liked the yarn a lot better when it was all caked up. It was . . . prettier. It's a little jarring and abrupt in the knitting.  But it’s . . . okay. It’s super soft and drape-y, and I’m sure the resulting wrap will keep me warm. 

If I ever finish it, that is!

My Zoom meetings are fewer these days. I’m meeting up with local friends in real time, face-to-face, more often now. But The Poor Relations have been back in my life again (always eager for any morsel of my attention) in the evenings while I watch TV. While I'd prefer to work on my “better” and "cooler" project (The Problem Child) I'm afraid it must go to bed early – before the TV comes on in the evening, y’know?

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But, as you can (maybe) see in that photo, I’m past the complicated cable motif section of The Problem Child now. So The Poor Relations? They may find themselves back under the desk again . . . real soon!

How about you? What are you making this week?

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(Stop by next week and I'll introduce you to the final project in my "dysfunctional family collection of knits" . . .  The Prodigal Son.)

 


Two For the Price of One!

How about a little knitting . . . and a little sewing . . . all in one post!

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First, let's talk about the knitting!

It's this shawl . . . and it's pretty wonderful (especially once I got into the rhythm of that linen stitch section). I used Rowan Felted Tweed from my stash. (Kay and Ann over at Modern Daily Knitting are right when they say that any color combination of Rowan Felted Tweed will work together. I had a lot of fun figuring out my color scheme from what I had on hand.)

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I really like the size! I know I'll wear it a lot when it's cold. But I hope I don't wear it much until next fall . . . 

Sometimes Tom and I have a little too much fun when doing these photo shoots. I was whipping that shawl all over the place as he was taking photos and making me laugh.

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In fact, I was laughing so much - and being so goofy - that we never got a good shot of my sewing project! Which is the grey top I'm wearing UNDER the shawl . . . 

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It's a Toaster Sweater (#2) from Sew House Seven, and I really love it. Although we did . . . have Some Moments together. The pattern is well designed (it's very Eileen Fisher-y), and the directions are very clear, but it's for knits . . . and that always ups the stakes. I made mine from a merino wool knit that looks and feels divine. But it was on the pricey side (so I cared a lot), and ohmygod . . . it rolled like crazy, so it was a pain in the patootie to work with. But. I wrangled it into shape and even used a twin-needle to (successfully) hem the damn thing.

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So.

That's two winning projects in one post! I'm hoping, though, that I can pack both of them away until fall. (Anyone willing to make a bet on that???)

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How about you? What are you making these days?


Bringing You Up To Speed

Although it might not seem like I am . . .  
(because I haven't mentioned knitting since finishing the big brown blob) . . .
I am knitting.

I just haven't been talking about my knitting.

It's time to bring you up to speed!
I'm knitting this shawl in this yarn . . . 

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And things are moving right along.
It's been a pretty fun knit so far, including all my most favorite things about knitting:
Color!
Texture!
Wool!

And after getting through that first, rather l-o-n-g slip stitch section (which, I'll admit, did get to be a bit of a slog), I've really had fun mixing the sections up, "sampler" style.

Well.

I was.

Until I hit the last of the slip stitch sections . . . and discovered that it's really linen stitch (which is, technically, a slip stitch pattern). While I really love slip stitch patterns, I am (gulp) . . . not a fan of linen stitch. It's so (deceivingly) simple. But it kicks my butt every time. (PAY ATTENTION, Kym. I tell myself. Just pay attention to what you're doing. It's an easy, every-other-stitch pattern, on repeat. And yet. . . kicks. my. butt!) So things came to a real slow-down over the weekend when I realized I had a linen stitch situation on my hands!

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(There was a rip-back of several rows. Sigh.) I'm in the groove again, though. Ever closer to the finish line.

So. There we are.
Consider yourselves . . . up to speed!

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How about YOU? What are you making these days?

 


And Then It Turned Into a Swan

Big news in the Unraveled department! The big brown blob? 

Well.

It turned into a swan!

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It's a lovely sweater, actually. The fit is perfect. Tom loves it. And he'll be able to wear it tomorrow on his fishing adventure. (Although - surprise - it may actually turn out to be too warm for it later in the day.)

We haven't had a chance for any modeled shots, but we'll do some eventually. There is no Ravelry post yet, but once I get those those photos of Tom wearing the sweater, I'll put one together. (If you're curious, it's this pattern . . . which is fine in a "basic recipe" kind of way, but really lacking in oh so many other ways. And it's this yarn . . . one of my favorites for sweaters . . . in the Meteorite colorway.)

And the song for this project? Why . . . Everlong, of course. (Because it took "everlong" to knit? Because it took me "everlong" to get around to knitting a sweater for my very knitworthy husband? Or . . . because my love for him is "everlong?" All of the above? You decide.)

[YouTunes will not allow me to insert any version of this song, so . . . click here if you want to watch/listen to a great live performance from 2008. (The one I would have loved to just insert, but no. You'll have to click in if you want to see it.)]

Breathe out.
So I can breathe you in.

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How about you? What are you making this week?

 


Ravelling Away

Okay.
I'm back.
Not really feeling all that much more settled, but ready to connect again. And what better way to do that . . . than with knitting!

I thought you might like a Big Brown Blob update. . . 

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We have Progress!

And, actually, we also have Motivation. I want to get this finished so Tom can wear it on a March 17 fishing trip. No problem! (Plenty of time!)

We've been checking the fit frequently, so I'm confident there. I knit the neckband before starting the sleeves . . . because I wanted to make sure we had a good starting point for sleeve length. (I find the sleeves can pull up a little if you don't knit the neckband until later.) And once I got to the body length I think works (before the ribbing), I stuck the stitches on a string while I knit the sleeves. I don't want to commit to a length, and then have to rip out the ribbing to adjust, y'know? (After I finish the 2nd sleeve, I'll probably even block the sweater before making a final decision on the length.) I really do want it to be Just Right.

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So.
There you have it.

The Big Brown Blob is shaping up nicely!

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How about you? What are you working on this week?

 


Tales of a Feather Hat . . . Part 2

So. In last Wednesday's post, I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger. . .

Would the Feather Hat turn out to be a simple-yet-charming hat knit up with some gimmick-y yarn in a whimsical stitch pattern???
OR
Would the Feather Hat end up a Major Disappointment, relegated to complete unraveling?

Turns out the answer is . . . rather a mixed bag!

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On the one hand, it's finished.
And it fits.

On the other hand, it had its Moments. (Trust me, blocking improved the hat immensely.)

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I think there just might be. . .  too many "feathers" (for my liking, at least; Erin loves them and - to my delight - wants the hat).

It's the pooling that's getting me here, I think. I am not a fan of pooling, generally. Somehow, I thought this particular pattern and this particular yarn (specifically designed to work together with something called "planned pooling") would . . . be less pool-y. But, as you can see in my photos, I was wrong. It's VERY pool-y, and all the "feathers" clumped up on one side of the hat . . . with very few on the other side.

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So.

On the good side of the Feather Hat experience . . . It was a fun and quick knit (once I got the hang of the "feathers"). The yarn is gorgeous. I love the way the colors fade in and out (you can really see this in the middle photo, above). And it's really good to try a strange, new stitch pattern once in a while.

And on the bad side of the Feather Hat experience . . . The pattern itself is TOO much (too many words, too many pages, too many useless charts for "everyday" knitting things). Pooling is pooling, even when it's "planned." And I just think there are too many feathers.

I'm not displeased, but I'm not thrilled, either. I do have a couple more skeins of this yarn . . . and I also have two other ideas to try to make it with fewer feathers. But not right now.*

(What do you think?)

Ravelry details here.

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*So, now what?
Big brown blob, that's what!
It is All Big Brown Blob All The Time here, let me tell you.
(I've reached the point where I knit and knit and knit and it feels like I'm not getting anywhere.)
(But I must be. Surely I must be. . . )
(Right?)


Tales of a Feather Hat . . . Part 1

Before I get started on today's Unraveled post (and, indeed, there was some unraveling), I do want to celebrate reaching Divide For Sleeves status with Tom's sweater. There was a bit of Disappointment initially, as I discovered I needed to go up a size after our first "try on." But that's the benefit of knitting a top-down sweater, after all. So it was a Good Thing. Although More Stitches is never something a knitter wants to face when knitting a sweater for a man, y'know? But. Success all the same. (I'll spare you a photo at this point, because Big Brown Blob . . . that you can easily picture in your mind's eye.)

So.

Once reaching that Momentous Step, I decided to dip my toe into the "feather hat" pool and treat myself to (what appeared to be) . . . a simple-yet-charming hat knit up with some gimmick-y yarn in a whimsical stitch pattern. And I'll stand by that: It IS a simple hat. With charm and whimsy. And gimmick-y yarn that will (in the end, I'm sure) do all the heavy lifting.

But ohmygod . . . first I needed to crack the code of one of the most overwrought patterns I've ever seen!

Seriously.

This is a HAT. A basic, stockinette hat with a few options for the brim and the crown. The tricky bit? It's the "feather stitch." And I knew that would be the tricky-bit going in. I expected detailed explanations (and probably some practice) for that part.

What I didn't expect . . . was an overly complicated (24 PAGES, people) pattern that skips around in distracting ways and includes CHARTS for (among other things that don't actually need charts) 2x2 ribbing for the brim. (Oh, don't let me get started on my quibbles with this pattern.) Anyway. The most irritating part of this whole adventure . . . is the need to carefully swatch to even figure out where to begin. (I mean, it's nice to be able to use ANY weight yarn and knit a hat to fit ANY size head, but this is just a bit more work than I want to go through for what is basically a plain, old hat. Y'know?)

So. Once I bought in to the fact that I was going to have to swatch, swatch I did. Which also gave me a chance to practice the feather stitches. And . . . it's a good thing I did practice because my first one? It looked like this . . .

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Not QUITE what I was going for. (LOL)

I ripped. I re-tried. The second one was even worse, but in a different way. I didn't take a picture. I ripped again. And then . . . something clicked (plus I got out a crochet hook, which helped), and my third feather was definitely more . . . feather-like.

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And after a few more "practice feathers," I declared myself ready to move on to the actual hat.

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Doing the gauge swatch helped me figure out my sizing. (Because, yeah. I know. That's why we swatch.) (I just don't usually swatch for hats. A hat IS a swatch, y'know?) For the record, my swatch is 5 stitches/inch on size 5 needles. And I want to knit a hat with a 21.75" circumference. So according to the VERY detailed sizing chart (some might say unnecessarily detailed AND get an eye twitch just looking at it), I cast on 96 stitches. Which seems about right for me, based on my previous hat knitting experience. For the record, I'm knitting a 2x2 ribbing for the brim on size 4s (because I always go down a size for my brims). And I don't feel I need to refer to the chart (just sayin).

The yarn is beautiful. I love the feel and sheen of it (although it is a little splitty). But the pattern? WAY too many words. (And useless charts.) (But maybe that's just me.) I'm sure that, in the end, this will be . . . a simple-yet-charming hat knit up with some gimmick-y yarn in a whimsical stitch pattern.

Even though it's taking a while to actually get to that.

Stay tuned!

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How about you? What are you making this week?


Incentive!

As I mentioned last week, knitting content around here is going to be rather on the . . . slog side for a while.

But I'm making Pretty Good Progress with Tom's sweater. I'm only a couple of rows from that all-important milestone: Dividing For The Sleeves. That's always a huge mental release for me when I'm knitting top-down sweaters. I'm not exactly sure why that is, but with so many fewer stitches on the needles (after The Divide), everything seems to go faster, and I feel like I'm "almost done" (even when I know I'm not even halfway there) (humor me).

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But . . . wait!

What's that in the background there?

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Friends, THAT is what I call . . . Incentive!

It's the yarn for Hunter Hammersen's "Feather Hats" (which is not actually the name of the design; it's actually called Stochastic, but it will always be the Feather Hat to me). (The pattern was released yesterday, by the way.)

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I'm so tempted to just wind one of these skeins up and cast on for my first Feather Hat right this moment! But, instead, I'm keeping these beautiful skeins in plain view while I knit away on Tom's sweater.

Incentive!

Once I get to the sleeve divide, though?
All bets are off and I'll be knittin' me a Feather Hat!

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How about you? What are you making this week?