I found inspiration for this week's colorways in the trees' reactions to the cooling temperatures. It still amazes me that such colors are possible, and I always find myself wishing the leaves could hold onto their limbs just a little while longer.
The day after I captured these photos, a wind storm came through and blew off most of the leaves!
This week's theme is Hard Candy! I was inspired by my first skein, which I just dyed because I wanted something pink. In trying to discover its name, hard candy flitted through my mind, and I thought, "That's it!" Let's make a trio.
Here's the one that started it all - Watermelon
Then - Green Apple
And, finally - Lemon
These "candies" will be available in our shop tomorrow!
This shawl is thusly named due to the insane amount of strings on the back that had to be woven in. I had hoped to wait to weave the ends in until after I had blocked the shawl, but could not take the strings everywhere. Thank goodness I was weaving in as I went, or otherwise I would have really hated finishing this shawl at the end. Just imagine: two ends per fan(module), plus two for each half module at the top and two ends for the garter stitch edge. That's easily 100 ends! NIGHTMARE!!!
Now, in the pattern's defense, I could have done things a bit differently by knitting diagonal columns and sewing those columns together. However, I wanted to be able to manipulate the colors and put them where I wanted them to go, instead of waiting to see where they fell on their own. I should have just done it the other way.....
As much as I really loathed this shawl, and as much as this shawl almost killed the joy of knitting for me, I still learned a few things from it that were somewhat surprising. For instance, I have surprising discipline when it comes to finishing knitting projects. Now, don't get me wrong, it may take me years to do it, but, by golly, I will get it done! Also, I found out that I do like wide shallow shawls just as much as I like wide and deep shawls. I guess as long as it's wide, I like it!
This is the Panda Silk DK Fan Shawl by Gail Tanquary using Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in the colorway Spring Blossom. The yarn worked out pretty well, sometimes it was a bit splitty due to being single ply. I'm not sure what will happen to the ball and some I have left over. I don't want to look at it right now. I am so relieved to have this shawl done. It was a great chip on my shoulder; now I am free and back to knitting with glee!!
Now that the newest Farina is a bit more independent and regulated, I have finally been able to start dyeing yarn again!! I have missed this so much, as it is a great creative outlet for me. I have always loved painting, but I am no good at it; dyeing yarn combines two art loves of mine - knitting and painting. What could be better?!
I recently chanced upon my latest inspiration for my dye-works while searching for inspiration for a project involving my barren living room wall. Artcyclopedia featured an article on tilt-shifting pieces of work by Vincent van Gogh. It was stunning to see those vibrant paintings manipulated in a way that made one's eyes see them anew. I definitely recommend checking it out!
Here are the three paintings that called to me the most:
Starry Night on the Rhone
Snow-Covered Field with a Harrow
Landscape at Auvers after the Rain
These will all be available in our shop later today!
Here's the replenishment of the original sock yarn PeachesNPurls carries. I'm so excited about working with this yarn more. In fact, I am so excited that I've already dyed a skein. It's baking in my oven as I am writing this. I can't wait to show it to you!
And here's the new line making an entry. I'm thinking of calling it Blue-te-FuL. What do you think? It's 4-ply Superwash BFL (75%) and nylon (25%).
I have finally gotten the time and energy to sit and write about my long-completed shawl. (Previous post concerning this same shawl can be found here.) I know, I know; you're probably wondering, "How much energy does it take to sit at a computer and mash some buttons?" But, let me tell you, sitting down to "mash some buttons" can be quite time-consuming and exhausting when you have three little ones who always wait until you've sat down and typed one letter to start coloring on the walls, or throwing toys, or screaming, or pooping in their pants, or having to go potty, or, or, or....and in half-an-hour's time you still haven't formed a coherent sentence on the screen. Needless to say, it is a daunting experience. Well, not today!! Today, I have absconded with my husband's laptop where I can sit and watch my children, and they know I'm watching, so they are little angels now. It's so lovely.
Anyhow, onto the shawl.
The thing I love the most about this shawl is that you can turn it to the wrong-side, and have no idea what is going on in the front. Just look at this:
Who would think that boring lump would have all this going on in the front?
This shawl was fun for me to knit, since it was like knitting a shawl backwards for me. You get the hump at the beginning with the long rows, but the top just flies by! However, I was disappointed by the very top of the shawl where it is ended. There is a divot in mine; I'm not sure if I was supposed to sew it together, or what. I am hoping that practice will make perfect in the instance. I'm sure I will come up with something as I continue to go along with shawls. One thing I have learned from this shawl is that I am a lover of big shawls. I love to wrap myself up in them. There is no wrapping up with this shawl, unless I only wrap it around my neck. So, lesson learned; I am sure I will still use it, and I still have enough yarn left over to make myself a pair of socks or fingerless gloves! All the possibilities...
The yarn is Stella by Omega (though the label says the brand is Tamm); purchased at Hobby Lobby for $5! It only took one skein to make what you see here. I am super impressed with that! You can't beat a hand-knit cardigan for your little girl for $5!
I made one modification on this cardigan: I made the eyelet rows carry across the back, which I probably will not do on the following two I am going to knit.
This is the Cobble Shawl by Kitman Figueroa. So far it hasn't quite spoken to me as far as naming it. I've been uninspired with names, lately. I'm knitting it with Stricken Smitten's Smitten Merino Nylon Twist in the Espresso Glazed Rose colorway. The yarn is nice and smooshy; the colors are great! I will definitely be purchasing more when I have the excuse to! I am alternating between two skeins and getting a bit more striping than I was expecting, but I still don't think it is too noticeable.
I have modified the pattern a little bit. In the cobble sections I have gone with seed stitch instead of garter stitch. And I have changed the pattern as written when the decreases get close to the cabled stockinette stitches. The designer has you stop cabling the stitch once it gets close to the decrease side; it is just knitted until the decreases reach it. I didn't like the way this turned out (shown in pic below). It ended up warping the stitch line a bit, and it wasn't pleasing to my eye. So, I changed it.
What I ended up doing once the stockinette stitch got close to a decrease I would just continue cabling as the pattern would dictate if not for the decreases. When it came time that I would basically be cabling into a decrease I did just that. I would switch the two stitches without actually knitting them, knit the decrease, and continue on in pattern. This continued the pattern quite nicely, I think.
I can understand why the designer didn't bother putting this into her pattern. Quite frankly it would be a big pain in the rear to try to word out. So, it doesn't detract from the quality of the pattern for me. It's just that I can sometimes be picky about my knitting.
There are some pluses and minuses to this pattern, but overall I am pretty pleased with the finished product.
Pluses: I really like the look of the pattern.
I think this pattern makes for a comfortably droopy sock.
The lesser stitch count made for a nice-fitting sock around the foot, with the exception of the toe.
Minuses: This sock was designed (I think) for a narrow foot(which I do not have), and it created a problem for me when I got to the toe. The first sock I completed hit a major snag there, and I had to rip back three times to try to fix it. It still came out horribly, but I will live with it as I am the kind of knitter that just wants to finish something after having redone it twice. So I just forced my way through the decreases in the toe by adding an extra row between decrease rows. The result was a very tight and pointy toe.
It verges on the ridiculous and uncomfortable, but I'll still wear it. I fixed the problem on the second sock by knitting half an inch more in stockinette, leaving me with only one and a half inches left to knit for the decreases. That did the trick perfectly and the second sock came out much more to my liking.
Because I switched out different needles sizes to get a more custom fit, these socks turned out looking more like deformed, shrunken Christmas Stockings. Oh well...it still fits really well.
So, these socks have definitely proven my lack of infallibility! Really, my only problem was a measuring mishap. I'm still not exactly sure how it happened. One row I still had 2.5 inches left to knit (so, half an inch 'til I needed to start decreasing for the toe), next row I had an inch left; and as I am not one for undoing knitting, a.k.a. frogging, I just decided to do custom fitted toes for the "right" and "left" socks, as pictured here: Also, the pattern has a written mistake for which row to end on for the different sizes before starting the top foot chart. You should end on row 8 for the small sock, row 4 for the medium, and row 8 for the large. This mistake led to a late start on the top foot chart, and it is one of the reasons the last point is all the way at the toes. Oh well...
I'm not ecstatically (for some reason I always pictured that word as spelled with an "x", well it's not, according to spell-check!) pleased with how these socks turned out, but I still really like them. And, despite the color saturation difference between the beginning and end of the skein, I am still really pleased with the yarn. I still have at least a quarter of the skein left over. This yarn is worth it for the money you spend.
Here is the finished product:
And here is what I did with changing out needle sizes. CO with US 1 1/2. Knit ribbing and one repeat. Switched to US1 for 2 repeats. Switched to US0 for 4 repeats. Switched to US1 for 1 1/2 repeats, heel turn and gusset. Switched to US0 with 41 sts on the bottom of foot, completed gusset decreases, and knit 5 repeats (starting with row 5 of the pattern) 'til starting foot chart. Obviously I should have done a few less.
So, Erin always tells me I pick out the best patterns for my yarn or vice versa. That was mostly true, til I hit this pair of socks. These were to be my project for my knitting night get together and started off as the Twinkleberry socks, but the pretty pattern was completely lost in the colorway (as shown below). Betcha you can't tell WHAT that pattern's supposed to look like!
The yarn is from Creatively Dyed Yarns and is the colorway Big Figure. I love, love, love this colorway. It has spots of hot pink, white, and purple red so deep it looks black, on a backdrop of a dark pink. I love how girly it is!
I was so excited about that pattern. It was really easy to remember, having a short pattern repeat, and it produced a lovely look. However, the colors of the yarn just weren't working for it. So, I checked out my favorites on Ravelry and came up with NOTHING that looked like it would go with this colorway. Seventy something faved sock patterns, and not-a-one that screamed "Pick me! Pick me!". Onto another search for sock patterns I went (the tally is now 85 faves), looking for something feminine but not lacey. I found this pattern and knew it was the one! This pattern is not on any website other than Ravelry, so if you like it you'll have to have an account (it's free) with Ravelry. In my opinion, the selected colorway for the pattern's featured photo does an injustice to this pattern; I almost passed it by. However, at the last minute I decided to check it out anyhow.
I printed out the pattern, did a gauge swatch, got started and have had a hard time putting them down ever since! I am really digging this pattern. It's another pattern that has short pattern repeats and is super easy to remember! And, I think you could pull off making this as a man's sock, if you have the right colorway. There is one thing, however, that has rained on my parade, and it should be pretty obvious from the above photo. The yarn on the inside of my caked yarn (sock on left) is a lot less saturated in color than the outside of my cake (sock on the right). Bummer....
Onto the knitting technicalities!
I am in between the small and medium size for this sock. So, instead of knocking off some stitches, I decided to just use a smaller needle size in some places. I got gauge with US 1. I cast-on using US 1.5 to get me a bit more give at the top and knitted one pattern repeat with the 1.5's. I then switched to the 1's and knit two pattern repeats, then to 0's for four pattern repeats. Now I am back up to the 1's, completed one and a half repeats for the right sock and am ready for the heel flap. I plan on returning to the 0's after I have completed the gusset.
So, my A-Froggin' We Shall Go cardi has been put on hold yet again. (And, quite frankly, I don't mind this time as I have had a big set back with it.) Now I am working on my gift to my mother for Mother's Day. I told her I would make the Catkin Shawl for her. I then left the choice of color and yarn options up to her and soon found myself hard-pressed to find what she wanted.
My mother wanted two shades of turquoise or teal, plus I had to be careful with the fiber content as she didn't like the wool piece she recently nicked from my sister. Hee hee. At first I regretted my decision of offering to knit this for her; I could not find anything at all that had two shades of the same color let alone that was more plant fiber than animal. I was ready to pull out my hair. Then, just as I had given up, a complete and total fluke led me to Knit Picks' Comfy fingering yarn, and I was saved! Really, who would have thought....
Anyhow, here's how far I've gotten:
Not so far, considering I've actually spent at least four hours on this thing. I have been doing a lot of tinking, and this is cotton yarn. All I have to say!
Here are my finished sleeves. It's not the best picture, but I figure I will have more opportunities later to show them at their best. They are blocked and ready to be sewn up! I've now moved onto the right front piece and am really close to starting the decreases for the neckline!
So, I have finished the back of the cardigan, but I forgot to get a picture before placing the stitches on a stitch holder. That pic will have to wait. I've started the sleeves, and this is how far I have gotten with one ball of the Suri Merino. The gray yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas' Sport-Medium Gray.