A little piece of heaven

Last month I received my first ever yarn club shipment, and as of last weekend, I finished my first yarn club project with an exclusive one-of-a-kind skein of yarn!

As per my previous post, I’ve been working on Jared Flood’s Guernsey Triangle using Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label yarn in a soft grey colourway: smoke. Because it’s Red Label it’s a blend of merino, cashmere, silk. Translation: this yarn is so incredibly soft. So soft that I didn’t want this project to end.

Textural Pattern
The pattern and the yarn are so perfectly paired. Because the yarn is just a single strand it really makes the textural pattern pop, but gives it a very soft look.

As I progressed through the pattern it was clear I wasn’t going to use up all the yarn so I made a few modifications. I added another 11 rows to the end of the pattern in the alternate textural band. I wanted to make sure I used as much of the yarn as possible, and I can safely say I was successful!

Leftover yarn
That tiny skein is all that was leftover from 385m: less than 1 gram of yarn.

I bound off after just one welted edge instead of two, as the pattern called for. For the bind off I used the suspended bind off method, which isn’t quite as tight as a traditional bind off.
Guernsey Triangle

The finished shawl was just so squishy and soft that I couldn’t even wait to block it before I showed it off.

I can see more of this pattern in my future!

Yarn Club

Yarn clubs are awesome. Every month (or two depending on the club), a wonderful treat arrives on your doorstep, in this case, a skein of yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts dyed in a colourway unique to the club and an exclusive pattern.

My first shipment included four skeins: three from the previous months and the yarn and pattern for July. July’s offerings were by far my favorite. The yarn, a merino, cashmere, silk single ply yarn is so soft!

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The pattern is a Guernsey shawl pattern, appropriately named Guernsey Triangle, by Jared Flood. What a treat! I love Jared Flood patterns. I’ve knit several including Rock Island Shawl and the Beaumont Tam. This one doesn’t disappoint.

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This is my first project in the guernsey style, which means the pattern is created entirely out of alternating knit and purl stitches. As I go along it’s amazing to see what interesting patterns can emerge from two simple stitches.

Another thing I’ve noticed, it’s much faster than lace!

Mr Beaumont.

Okay, so it’s not a boat. I didn’t unknowingly bid at a silent auction and it wasn’t so far out of my budget that I couldn’t afford it. But like Friends‘ Joey, I have a deep, possibly irrational desire for this hat. I’ve admired it from afar for a while. I’ve fondled (in the loving, not erotic sense) the suggested yarn many a time. It had taken all my will power but I managed to walk away. There comes a time however, when you can’t keep ignoring it. Jared Flood’s Beaumont Tam made with heavenly Fresco yarn would eventually end up in my lap. That day has come.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of touching Fresco yarn, it’s a delightful blend of wool, alpaca, and…wait for it, Angora, to give it an irresistible halo (proof that it really is heavenly).

Here are my colours of choice.
Classic Elite Fresco

Classic Elite Fresco

So far they’re knitting up beautifully together.

Despite the fabulous-ness of the yarn and they beauty of the pattern I have run into several problems:

1. (minor) My printer refuses to print out anything unless it’s straight text. That’s my colouring work above.

2. (possibly significant) I get too excited when it comes time to cast on, thereby causing me to realize that I’ve cast on (and knit 30 rows) with the needles suggested for the beanie version of this hat.

3. (avoidable) I didn’t swatch.

4. (saving grace?) My stranded tension is so incredibly loose (despite being a very tight knitter in all other cases) that I still am a little off on gauge.

5. (impossibly) Even though my tension is very loose, (looser than suggested) I am having doubts that this will fit on my head (and I have a really small head).

Despite these problems I have soldiered on (either bravely or very stupidly) and have almost finished the first chart. I’m hoping that by some strange miracle my too small needles and too loose tension will somehow balance out; combine that  with the miracle of blocking and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to wear this hat.

Otherwise, some child may be receiving the softest, most grown-up looking hat for Christmas.

Now time for your two cents.

Finished at Last! Rock Island Shawl

Done! I can’t say how pleased I am that I’ve finished my Rock Island Shawl. The pattern is by Jared Flood and it was a dream to knit. The pattern is written extremely well. It lays out the entire process from start to finish, including tips on how to block it. I wouldn’t hesitate to knit something else by this designer, (in fact I have my eye on this Beaumont Tam). So without further ado, here is my own version of the Rock Island Shawl.
complete

 

This is my first lace shawl and I couldn’t be more pleased. That is not to say that I didn’t have a few obstacles to overcome. I had to start this about 5 times because I just couldn’t get the pattern right. Thankfully the shawl starts with only a few cast on stitches and having to redo the first six or seven rows wasn’t a big deal. Once I got going on the lace edge it was pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the edge.

The construction of the shawl was intriguing and designed to get the tricky stuff out of the way first.
Edging
The lace border is knit separately. From there you pick up the edge and move onto a garter stitch band and then the rock island motif.
Rock Island motif

Once that is complete its straight garter stitch. While that may seem like an endless sea of boredom, the saving grace is that the rows get smaller as you go. There’s no better incentive to do a few more rows than that!

I got to try my hand at blocking with wires. After my experience blocking my Hemlock Blanket, this was a much better experience. I don’t think I used more than 10 blocking pins. The result was a much more even FO as well.

Blocking 

I’m amazed at what a good soak and stretch can do.
Lace pattern
The lace edging before blocking.
Edging
And after.

Lace Everywhere

I’m not sure when it happened, but I know that it finally dawned on me last night. I’m going through a phase; a lace phase. All of the projects I’m working on (or want to cast on) have a lace element, with the exception of the Nimbus cardigan, but I didn’t choose the pattern. The Heart to Heart socks (more on that ordeal later), the Dahlia Cardigan, and Jared Flood’s Rock Island Shawl.

Here’s my progress so far on the latter.

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