Unraveled

Replenishing

My mom used to knit dishcloths . . . for herself, for my sister, for my kids, for her friends, and for me. She got me hooked on using hand knit dishcloths decades ago, and I have purchased very few "store-bought" dishcloths ever since. Having a ready supply of dishcloths from my mom also meant . . . I never had to make them for myself.

All that has changed, of course.

My mom might not be around to make them for me anymore, but I still prefer them to any other dishcloth. So I've had to resort to knitting my own. . .

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Every 18 months or so, I go on a little dishcloth knitting tear . . . and whip up a new supply for myself. (I find they last for a good two years before they really wear out and unravel, so this keeps my inventory steady, with "planned turnover.")

They aren't my favorite things to knit (it's the cotton), but they're quick and easy -- and if I'm focused, I can knit a new supply fairly quickly. (Especially if I'm working a slow election.) (Did you know you can knit two Ball Band Dishcloths over the course of a slow 15-hour shift?)

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My favorite pattern is the Waffle Knit Dishcloth (link is NOT a Ravelry link). It's quick and effective, and it's fun to add the little blocks of color (although you certainly don't need to). Sadly, these will also be the first to fall apart, so I usually throw in some Ball Band Dishcloths, too (link is also NOT a Ravelry link). My Ball Band Dishcloths outlast all others, every time. This go-round, I also added a new pattern - Sarah's dishcloth "recipe" she recently shared on her blog (again, NOT a Ravelry link). I think Sarah's riff on the dishcloth will become another go-to favorite for me.

There you have it: What I've been knitting lately. I'm happy to have refreshed my dishcloth inventory, and I'm also happy to be finished with dishcloth-cotton . . . for now.

I've moved on to something a bit more . . . complicated. Certainly bigger. And from wool. 
Stay tuned!

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How about you? What are you making these days?


Perfection in Sweatshirt Form

Not much knitting going on (and what I am knitting is very slow these days), but I've been doing some sewing.

A couple of weeks ago I made a super simple something that I've been wanting to sew for a couple of years now.

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It's this pattern - The Sidney - from Merchant and Mills . . . a super oversized sweatshirt that is perfect for cozy layering (which is my preferred "style" of dressing, don'tchaknow). 

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I used Merchant and Mills' Makers Jacquard Cotton for my sweatshirt. It's divine stuff . . . a layer of cotton backed by a layer of gauze with yarn-threads in the middle - and then quilted. I love it (although sewing with it was kind of messy - lots of lint; just sayin).

As spring (slowly) arrives, and I pack my wool sweaters away for the season, this sweatshirt will be a constant, comfortable companion out in the garden and around the campfire up north.

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It's truly perfection . . . in sweatshirt form!

(And for all of you showing off your daffodils? You can see mine . . . just poking up in my garden now. Those little green bits.) (Yep. It'll be awhile still. . . )

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I got a comment yesterday from Linda . . . about Young Mungo . . . pointing out that it's currently available for Kindle for $9.45. I just wanted to pass that along in case you're interested. (And thanks, Linda!)


Not Many Words; Mostly Pictures

Today I've got a quick and dirty post covering  a LOT of ground. 
Let's begin.

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First up, the modeled shot of Tom wearing the (no longer) big brown blob. Which was finished in plenty of time for him to wear on his fishing trip with Brian last week. By the time he caught this steelhead (SO shiny!) . . . 

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it was too hot for a sweater. But he assures me it was good luck anyway . . . as he and Brian caught several of these babies. And Brian caught the brown-trout-of-a-lifetime (until he catches one bigger, that is).

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So. It was a good sweater . . . AND a good day fishing.

(And if you're looking for sweater details, you can see them here on Ravelry.)

What NEXT? you ask.

Well. Color. Lots of color.
You could say . . . I'm rolling around in color!

I'm painting. . . 

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(This is based on this famous painting, The New Novel, by Winslow Homer.)

I'm sewing . . . 

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(Yet another Remy Raglan. . . )

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(And a soon-to-be Merchant and Mills 'Sidney'. . . )

And even doing a little knitting . . . 

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(Just getting started on one of these. It doesn't look colorful at this point, but it will be.)

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(And thinking about this combo for a Humulus; the raspberry for the main color, the neon green for the contrast.)

In other words, I'm saying . . . Goodbye, Big Brown Blob!

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How about you? What are you making this week?


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?


A Plain Brown Wrapper

Many, many years ago . . . at least three decades ago now, but maybe four . . . my mom gave Tom a sweater for Christmas. It was one of those workhorse kinds of sweaters . . . nothing fancy. But it was . . . 

Wool.
Lightweight.
Very basic.
And a heathered maroon color that Tom, being color blind, probably couldn't actually see accurately, but that he really liked.

He wore it all the time. While fishing. While snow-blowing. At probably every one of Brian's hockey games. Whenever he was cold and needed a light layer, you'd find that sweater in the picture.

Until . . . he lost it.
(And that is a story unto itself, but not for the blog.)

Anyway, the sweater has been gone for a very long time. Maybe even another decade? And Tom still grieves it.

It also turns out to be the kind of sweater that is hard to replace. 

Unless you're a knitter.

So, after years of Tom talking about his lost-sweater-that-he-wishes-he-still-had. And years of my trying to find a replacement that I could purchase . . . to avoid knitting a man-sized, plain-no-frills 100% wool sweater . . . I'm knitting a man-sized, plain-no-frills 100% wool sweater.

In brown.
(Because when you're color blind, you always choose brown.)
(He may actually have thought the heathered maroon sweater was . . . brown. Just sayin.)

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It took us awhile to decide on a pattern. Tom wanted . . . very basic. Plain. No frills. I was hoping for . . . a few frills? Maybe a basic gansey? But it's not my sweater, and he wants plain, so we're going with this one (which is as basic as one can get when knitting a sweater). And I'm knitting it with Shelter (in the Meteorite colorway; brown, to be sure . . . but with interesting flecks of color in there for some excitement).

I'm afraid the knitting content here is going to be a bit dull for a while.


(Until, of course, I get my Gauge Dye Works yarn for the soon-to-be-released Hunter Hammersen "feather hat." That will spice things up for me and provide a little reprieve.) (Please note . . . it is not actually called the "feather hat," but it will always BE the "feather hat" to me. Thanks, Bonny!)

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In the meantime, I'm knitting a man-sized, plain-no-frills 100% wool sweater.
It's a plain brown wrapper!

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How about you? What are you making this week?


Right On Time

Yep.

I'm right on time with my annual January knitting "jag." It seems to happen to me every year . . . After the holidays are over, I just start knitting one thing over and over and over. One year it was little gnomes. Another year it was dishcloths. Last year it was little hearts.

This year? I've got a Musselburgh jag going.

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Once I finished my own Musselburgh hat, I immediately cast on another -- this time for Tom. And I gotta tell ya . . . despite essentially knitting two-hats-in-one, these things fly off the needles! They are endlessly entertaining - especially after a busy December.  You don't have to think (once you get started, that is). Just knit. It's also a pleasure to use up some lovely skeins I have tucked away deep in my stash.

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Like this one from Kim at Woolen Rabbit, which had been "marinating" in my stash for a very long time. It's Opal in the Speakeasy colorway. Very luxurious with a touch of cashmere, although I'm not sure Kim is offering this yarn anymore.

Anyway. According to Tom, it's his New Best Hat.

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And now . . . well. I'm clipping right along on another one!
This one's for my sister . . . 

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I can see myself churning these out for a while yet. . .
January jag, indeed!

How about you?
What are you making these days?

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Don't forget to check out other Unravled posts over at Kat's today!