Secret Knitting

Well hi there!

I thought I would break my radio silence to tell you about what’s been on my needles lately. (Which is quite a bit in the past couple days now that I’m on summer break – wooohooo!)

First up is Beyond the Pines by Audry Nicklin, which I knit as a Mother’s Day gift for my ma. The dark piney-green colour is Miss Babs Katahdin in “So Much to Do”, which was leftover from my Viajante* and the contrast colour is Spincyle Yarns Dyed in the Wool in “July July!) The Spincycle yarn is precious to me because I purchased it at Never Not Knitting in March, when Jason and I did a cross-California road trip. I’ve been a long-time listener of the Never Not Knitting podcast so it was special to make a trip to Alana’s little shop.

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If I were to knit this shawl again, I would make it even bigger. In this case, I was limited by the amount of Miss Babs yarn I had, which was leftover from a big skein and I used up all of it! I might also go up a needle size as I felt that the slipped stitches were a bit tight, although they did seem to relax after blocking.

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Currently on the needles are a pair of socks for Jason’s 4th anniversary present. You may know that I knit him a pair of socks for pretty much every major gift-giving event. I can’t show you a picture just yet as he does read this blog from time to time (hi, Jason!) but rest assured that they might be my craziest colour combination yet.

There’s so much more secret gift knitting/crafting going on that I also can’t post pictures of yet or really talk about… but I’m so excited to share about them once they’re gifted!

*The last time I blogged, my Viajante was still crumpled onto my needles. Here’s a finished pic from my Ravelry project page!

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Welcome Fall

I am so excited for fall. Enough of this hot and sticky summer business, I’m ready for everything autumnal:

  • Colourful New England leaf-scapes
  • Crunchy brown leaves underfoot
  • Tea 24/7
  • Jacket weather
  • Hat weather
  • Mitten weather
  • In which jackets, hats, and mitts are cozy accessories, not a matter of life or death (I see you, winter)
  • MORE KNITTING

Here’s what I’m doing to prepare for my favourite season…

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Who’s that? Why, Viajante!

One of the first patterns I ever “favourited” on Ravelry, much admired since then but never attempted in earnest. I started it in early August out of Miss Babs Katahdin in the colourway “So Much To Do”. This is a 1750-yard skein and I do plan to use the whole thing.

So far, Viajante is a relaxing, pleasant knit! I don’t even mind that it’s an irrational number of stitches in a light fingering weight. I also got these whimsical jingly stitch markers from The Vintage Rose that sing to me as I knit.

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I’m only halfway through, but V and I have been through a lot together already. In August, I traveled through Vietnam and nearly lost her a couple of times going through security. See my project page for more details… But be it resolved that I might not try to take knitting through security in Asia again, unless I’m totally okay with losing my needles (but.. I’m not..)

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All from one skein

I’ve also started my first purely Brooklyn Tweed project: Jaffrey by Michele Wang, knit from Brooklyn Tweed Loft in the “Old World” colourway. Now, look at this insanity. Bavarian cables up the wazoo. This is the pattern photo, FYI:

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Look at this madness! It’s very slow going with all the cables, but I’ve got lots of time to finish it. I’m planning to give it to my ma for her birthday in November.

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I’m not completely sold on Loft yet, though. I know, I know. I’ve been drooling over the yarn for ages, constantly checking out all the different heathered hues online. Finally, I broke down and asked (or, demanded?) that Jason pick some up at Purl Soho when he was in NYC last May. It really is lovely in person. But the rumours are true – it breaks very easily because of its woolen spun Loft-iness. According to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee AKA Yarn Harlot, it’s spun that way because Columbia wool (part of BT’s fibre recipe) is naturally a scratchier wool. They need to spin it very loosely to keep it soft, but this does sacrifice strength. So, it’s a little harrowing knitting these tight little cables but I’m loving the results.

Ah, yes, I casually mentioned some firsthand knowledge from the Yarn Harlot. Guys… my dreams came true last weekend. As you may know, I am a religious reader of her blog and a big fan in general. Her sock recipe from Knitting Rules made me a sock knitter. When I found out Stephanie was visiting Boston to teach classes, I signed up right away! I managed to squeeze into her Knit Smart workshop last Sunday, where she dropped various knowledge bombs to help us knit… well, smarter. And she did it with humour, too. I’m sad that I couldn’t get into her Knitting for Speed class – but I hear she’ll be back next year 🙂

Here we all are at Stitch House Dorchester (a lovely LYS by the way if you are around Boston). PS special shout out to the other Grace I met there, if you happen to read this!

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I had a total fan girl moment when Stephanie complimented my knit shirt and signed my copy of At Knit’s End.

If you need me, I still haven’t come down from cloud 9, so just look up.

Back

Exams are over. Enough said!! I’ll leave it to TI:

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to between studying and… perusing Ravelry (let’s be serious).

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Herbivore is finished! Despite my initial woes starting this project (so many stitch markers) it ended up flying by. I highly recommend this pattern! If I made this again, I might make it a bit longer somehow, but not deeper. I would also need to develop math skills to figure this out.

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Obligatory fancy-hanger-styling-on-a-white-background picture.

On the spinning front: I spun the second half of my merino/mulberry silk Inglenook fibre. This time, I decided to do a 3-ply and gift it to a dear friend who had been admiring the fibre/colour when I started working on the first half. So the yarn is on its way, but here are some photos before I packaged it up.

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~270 yards, sport weight, Navajo plied. My first real Navajo plying experience! I won’t say it started off pretty. I broke that skinny single at least 5 times in the first 20 minutes of plying, but eventually got the hang of it.

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Again, I laud the magic of Macrina at Inglenook Fibers. Despite this fibre being on the “solid” colour side, it’s still wonderfully tonal and has a pretty texture from the silk content.

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As for “on the needles”… there’s a lot. My defense: I am casting on many projects in order to win Stash Dash this year! If you are unaware, Stash Dash is a mega KAL with the Knit Girllls podcast crew. In which we attempt to pare down the stash by knitting max yardage on new projects or unfinished projects. Historically, there has only been one official “finish line” of 5 km of yarn knitted and/or spun. This year, there are 3 levels: 3k, 5k, and 10k. I’m gonna stick with the 5k. I’m not that crazy.

I’m hoping to finish at least the following WIPs:

1. Mara shawl

2. Grace cardigan… yes it’s fingering weight… don’t look at me

3. A secret gift project 😉

4. Socks on a Plane

5. Inkling the Squid

6. Girasole… maybe…

7. Random sock projects lying around

The beauty of Stash Dash is that as long as you finish the project during the KAL, the yardage of the entire project counts. So let’s just say I’m making an investment with all these WIPs 😀

Spin spin spin, both ways

Happy Easter, all!

This has been a busy weekend, mostly in non-fibre ways, although a good amount of spinning got done. Not much knitting to speak of. I’ve been spinning up my 5 oz of Inglenook Fibers merino/mulberry silk blend and have finished half of it. I am only doing 2.5 oz at a time because my bobbin cannot handle much more than that.

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Can you see the little flecks of silk and the eye-popping shades of purple and blue? I plied it into a 2-ply for double the fun. Haven’t found WPI yet, but I think it’s a fingering weight, and is about 400 yards.

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Pre-bath pile of goodness.

photo 2 (41)Post-bath skein of wonders.

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This is my project for the Inglenook Fibers Spring-Along in which we spin and/or knit Inglenook fibres/handspun and ring in spring. If you haven’t checked out the IF boards on Ravelry… you must go… people post the most amazing photos of their yarns and FOs.

I am thinking that this handspun is destined to become an Inner Peace shawl by Joji Locatelli. Picture it.

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I’ve also been busy spinning in other ways. Bike ways. It is true that I used to cycle quite a bit with the McGill team back in The Day, but really not at all since then. I have been reinspired to get back in the game. I even signed up for a road race in May. Last week I jumped in feet-first and did 163 km over 4 rides, thanks to the motivation of Jason (who is an avid bike nut) and a very sporty friend visiting Boston. It feels awesome!! Although, not everywhere… ja feel?

Now: who knows how to hook up a bike trainer to a spinning wheel?

MM 2015 PFATT KAL

Greetings, all!

March Madness 2015 Personal Finish-All-the-Things KAL (it gets a different, apparently longer name each time) is a success! My original goal was to finish three loitering WIPs, and indeed those things were whipped into completion. To recap:

1. Canucks socks for Jason

2. Twigs and Willows mitts

3. Strokkur sweater

What’s that you say…? Strokkur sweater is complete? Yes!! It is. This is the second pullover I have ever knit, and definitely my favourite. I humbly present these unblocked photos.

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This is a pattern by Ysolda Teague, and the yarn is Osprey from Quince and Co. Loved them both! The pattern is very clear and easy to follow with some brilliant little details that I, as an inexperienced sweater knitter, really enjoyed learning. My row gauge was quite off so I made some adjustments (i.e. taking out rows between increases/decreases and removing some rows of the colourwork section).

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After blocking, everything has evened out very nicely. However, the sleeves grew about 3 inches! My plan is to cut off the end of each sleeve and re-knit them in the other direction. Instead of doing the garter cuff, I will do 2×2 ribbing. Even if the sleeves hadn’t stretched out so much in the blocking, I would not have been very happy with the cuffs. I think ribbing will look more polished.

Overall, though: A++ to this pattern and project!

So that’s three projects cleared off the needles. Now what? I am still working on my Herbivore shawl, and I may have picked up an ancient sock WIP. I had abandoned it a long time ago because I switched to a different brand of needles half way (due to my original set breaking) but this caused crazy gauge changes. It even caused the yarn to pool instead of doing the nice striping that it had goin’ on before.

On the wheel: 5 oz of a merino/silk blend from Inglenook Fibres. This is for the IF Ravelry group’s Spring-Along. We are spinning and knitting with IF fibres until May 1st.

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Macrina has a magical eye for colour and texture. Exhibit A above, exhibit B below:

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Any suggestions for what to make with the finished project? It is working up to be a fingering weight 2-ply or (heavier weight?) 3-ply. Let me know!

A Thing for Spring

Spring is officially here, according to the calendar. We are enjoying the balmy temps and sunny skies that Boston spring has to offer. The other night, Jason and I went for a lovely evening walk in the park.

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Yokes aside… it’s not all bad. Just look at the weather in Montreal 😉

Things have been a little hectic around here lately, so not a ton of knitting has been done. Last week was full of exams and volunteer work, hosting friends from out of town, and then I came down with a cold. Boo me! I did get a good chunk done on my Strokkur sweater by Ysolda Teague. Both sleeves are done and joined, and I’ve started working the short rows to provide neck shaping. The patterns suggests wrapless short rows, which are a new-to-me technique, but Ysolda has a great, clear video on this technique here. I have been incessantly sliding my sweater onto waste yarn to check if it fits… so far so good.

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Note that I’m wearing 2 “right” socks. First of all. Why is it necessary to have “right” and “left” socks? Unless maybe you had wildly different foot shapes? Second, I have felt no difference either way.

As expected, my 4 skeins of Osprey were not enough for this sweater (I’m about 15 rows short) so I’m currently waiting on another skein that I ordered from Quince & Co. I maybe also threw in some Tern…

In the meantime, I have picked up my Herbivore shawl again.

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It got put away for a bit after I did the set up rows and placed additional stitch markers for Section 2 of the pattern. I had got to the point with Section 1 where I had it memorized and was just working away on it fairly mindlessly. It’s super lazy, but I didn’t want to invest the brain energy to memorize a new section, so… into the basket it went. I’m happy I picked it up again, because really… Section 2 is basically just repeats of Section 1. It is fine. Already memorized after 2 rows, and I’m happily knitting away on it until my Osprey arrives from beyond.

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This yarn (Tanis Fibre Arts Red Label Cashmere/Silk Single) is insane. Insane!! So soft, and such an amazing colour. This one is “Sunset”. I’m loving the way the twisted stitches look in this yarn.

That’s all for now! Peep this photo I took outside my apartment the other night (my apartment is not the Orthodox church in the photo). I’m pretty sure the super bright first-star-like-object-in-the-sky is Venus. Can anyone confirm? City girl / non-astronomer up in here.

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A Little List

A short post from me today. Here’s what my weekend looked like:

1) 2 people, 4 hand pies at KO Pies in South Boston. Note the side of pineapple ketchup. That’s a thing.

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2) Casting on a new pi shawl on 3/14, specifically Girasole by Jared Flood. I’m using Meadow by the Fiber Company in the Prairie colourway. Currently on Chart B. Let’s just say that I would be a lot further along right now if I actually read the chart instead of just assuming I know what the symbols mean :p Meadow is a sticky yarn and doesn’t appreciate ripping back… I’ve forced it into frogging 3 times already. Sorry!

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3) Finishing Jason’s Canuck Socks, knit out of Tumbleweed Yarns self-striping sock kit in the Lariat colourway. They are currently drying on sock blockers so here is an unblocked photo. Ready with plenty of time to spare before the playoffs. Ehh?

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Now to get crackin on finishing my Strokkur sweater! As the weather warms up… hmm.

Have a great week!

Pi Appreciation

Hi there!

Happy Friday to you and I hope you’ve had a great week. It’s the end of spring break on my end, and I’m desperately trying to hold onto the last couple days I have before Monday. But let’s not dwell on that. Onto the knitting!

I finished my Twigs and Willows Mitts. This is a pattern by the ever-clever Alana Dakos, knit out of Malabrigo Sock in Ivy.

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They turned out so cute and I’ve been getting lots of wear out of them already, thanks to warmer (above freezing) temps lately. I did have to go up 0.5 mm on my needles for the mitts to fit, but I see that many people have knit them in the original needle size and they turned out just fine.

These mitts are my hopefully lucky entry into 2 KALs: Mr. Yarn Malabrigo March 2015 Giveaway and the 2 Knit Lit Chicks Alana-Along. Lots of great prizes to be had, and plenty of time to whip out a quick project before the end of March. So if you are interested, hop on over to Ravelry! Or don’t, and increase my chances of winning yarn 😉

Speaking of fibre community goings-on, I’m not sure if I have already mentioned that I am participating in the NH Knits Soulful Stash Swap. My partner lives in England so I’ve been busily hunting for some beautiful “farm yarn” to send her in time for the deadline. (Deb, if you’re reading this, hello! I found something good!) This led to lots and lots of hunting about Etsy, and I ended up making a purchase for myself too… oops. But it’s totally awesome, and totally Soulful. photo 3 (31)

Hannah of Ewefluffyewe on Etsy is a shepherdess in Kentucky, and she makes the most beautiful hand-dyed yarn from her flock’s fleece (that’s a little tongue-twisty). I love that she included this awesome fibre quote from Proverbs on her business card. She has a nice selection of lace weight yarns in her shop as well as some skeins of worsted weight. I fell in love with a 2-ply wool/silk blend made from the wool of her sheep Annabelle and Barnaby. I love that she names the sheep that contributed to each skein.

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Such gorgeous colours. And it SMELLS amazing. She must use some magical wool wash on her yarns. I really can’t recommend Hannah’s shop enough, even though I haven’t even knit with this yarn yet. She has incredible customer service and super speedy shipping. My yarn went to the post office the day I placed my order! And she even included a little mini skein of undyed yarn to knit a swatch. It’s all about the details, yo.

I have 750 yards of Annabelle + Barnaby, which I think could work for a Trail Jacket.

Finally: tomorrow is a special day, people. It’s PI DAY: 3/14/15 !! How will you celebrate? I admit I’m not really much of a math enthusiast, but Pi Day is kind of a fun idea. Tomorrow, Jason and I plan to check out an Australian pie place for lunch called KO Pies. Then, I will cast on for a new pi shawl – I enjoyed my first one so much that I’ve been itching to start a new one. This time, instead of the classic Pi unvented by Elizabeth Zimmermann, I’m going to try Girasole by Jared Flood, using some Fiber Company Meadow in Prairie. I’m looking forward to a big wearable sunflower in this warm shade of yellow.  meadow_prairie_large

In case you’re wondering, finish-all-the-things March is still going on despite my plans for a new cast on. Jason’s socks are a heel away from finished, and Strokkur has the beginnings of a little sleeve…

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Happy weekend, everyone, and happy Pi Day!

March Things

Greetings!

It’s strange to suddenly be on holiday for a week. I imagined myself spending my days knitting, Netflix marathoning, perhaps visiting a new-to-me LYS, and just relaxing. For some reason it’s tough to actually put this into practice, but somehow I manage. Over the weekend, I got a good bit of work done on my Twigs and Willow Mitts by Alana Dakos.

This photo looked okay when I took it but I now realize that the colour is waaaay off:

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The photo below is closer to their true green. I love these mitts! I will admit that I spent a lot of time today (time measured in Downton Abbey episodes) ripping back the second mitt to fix a messed-up cable cross ~16 rows back. I wish I could have just dropped down to the 4 stitches in question, but I didn’t know how I could recreate the leaf sitting above it. Have you ever done anything like that before or have any tips? I ended up just ripping out those 16 rows and starting from scratch. Here’s mitt #1:

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So although there were some mitten setback today, I should be able to get these done by tomorrow, and enter them in the Mr. Yarn Malabrigo March 2015 Giveaway and the 2 Knit Lit Chicks Alana-Along 🙂

March Things

1) Last year, I created a very informal “March Madness” KAL with some of my Montreal knit crew. My personal goal was to finish 1 lingering UFO per week, although it’s more about the act of finishing things than the actual number of items. The basic idea is to pick some languishing projects and give them a good ol’ spring cleaning – clear off the needles!

This month, my goals are to finish 1) Twigs and Willows Mitts, 2) Canucks Socks for Jason, and 3) Strokkur Sweater. I’d like to also add in 4) Herbivore Shawl, but that might be pushing it. SO: March Madness 2015 KAL – want to join me? Give a shout!

2) Pi Day is coming up, Saturday March 14th. I’m thinking it might be fun to cast on another pi shawl for the occasion (yes I realize this counteracts my goal of finishing projects this month) as my first pi shawl was a lot of fun. This time I’m thinking a sunny shade of yellow – not neon yellow but like a marigold / honey colour in a fingering weight. Something smooth and silky but not too pricy, considering I need ~1400 yards. Preferably an indie dyer and/or locally sourced wool. I have a lot of requirements. Any recommendations?

I hope you all have a great week! In Boston, it looks like springtime is coming around the bend. 8˚C today!

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