Caught the Bug

Admittedly, I’ve been off knitting lately. I’ve had zero desire to pick up the needles in the last few months, and even less to cast on for something new. No longer were skeins of soft merino calling out to me. I don’t know what it was, but my brain had checked out of knitting.

Until last week that is. Frankly I’m not sure what happened. I logged on to Ravelry for the first time in months and was immediately hooked. Within the first 5 minutes I had found a pattern the I HAD TO KNIT. My reaction was not, ‘hmm, that looks nice. Let’s queue it up’. No, no. This was an urgent need. That pattern had to be mine. There would be no waiting around.

Sure enough, before I turned in for the night I had the beginnings of the project on my needles.

What was the pattern that had me so enamoured? None other than Viajante. That’s right, a plain stockinette pattern. Me. Interested in that? There’s hardly a YO or cable to be found. Sure, there’s a bit of lace at the end, but that’s assuming I’ll make it that far without caving into the monotony.

Something has changed. Yes I’ve caught the knitting bug, but it’s a whole new entity. Before my hiatus, I used knitting as a way to occupy and challenge myself. Give me a project with cables or mind-numbing lace and I was all over it.

Now, I’m seeking out simplicity in my projects. I feel pretty fulfilled in my current pursuits (riding, running, anything that starts with an ‘r’ apparently), which means that knitting doesn’t have to serve as entertainment as well. Instead, I want it to soothe. I need it to be something I can come home and relax to. Something that takes little brain power, and for that, I couldn’t have found a better pattern.

Early progress on my Viajante

No matter how long you stay away, knitting will always welcome you back, in whatever capacity you can handle at the moment.

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!

Promise Kept

Holding true to my promise, I made time for the Summer Solstice shawl yesterday. This section is only a 6 row repeat, but when each row is 277 stitches long those  6 rows can take a while!

The image doesn’t really do the colour any justice. It’s a lustrous plum colour. Hopefully one of these photos will capture the true colour.

I chose to do 5 stitch nupps, however they aren’t showing up very well. Once the shawl is blocked I think they’ll really pop.

Part 2 will be released next Tuesday.

Falling behind already

In my last post I told you about the Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL . I was  am really excited about it. The pattern was sent out in the wee hours of June 20th. I was so excited that after opening the new pattern, I had to do this before I went to work:

That’s 277 stitches quickly cast on.

I have to say I think it was the most efficient I’ve ever been when casting on.  Normally I cast on, get frustratingly close to the final number and then run out of yarn (the long-tail cast on is my normal method of choice).  Usually – after re-casting on with a better estimate of yardage necessary to finish the job – I’ll count, re-count and then count again until I’m fairly certain I have the right number of stitches on the needles.

Not this time. I was determined to get it done right the first time, so that when I came home from work my knitting would be right there waiting for me, all ready to go. I made generous estimates for how much yarn the tail should be; I counted deliberately and placed stitch markers every 50 stitches and voilà! 277 stitches cast on in 15 min or so. (The impressive part is I made it to work on time).

All day at work the lace-y pattern was in the back of my mind. My fingers itched to get at it. Nupps, no problem, I’ve got my method worked out.

Then something happened.

Something wonderful, indulgent and expensive.

I crossed the threshold into the Apple store. (It was sort of on my way home…).

I’ve been thinking about making this purchase for a while. However, I managed to talk myself out of it since it was originally released. (Being a student with a limited budget really “helped” talk me out of it).

Student no longer, I bit the expensive bullet and purchased an iPad.

Almost immediately my need to knit my shawl melted away.

I will get to it tomorrow. I’ve promised myself.

Summer Solstice

Summer knitting should be light and airy; something to give a little warmth on cooler nights and not be too warm when while you’re knitting it. A shawl is the perfect solution.

Despite having a few other things on the go, I’ve decided to take part in Wendy Knits’ Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL (knit-a-long). The pattern is a ‘mystery’ because it’s released in five increments over the next month. Rather than seeing the final product at the get go, the pattern unfolds as you go along.

The yarn I’ve chosen to use is Cascade Heritage Silk, 85% merino, 15%s silk.

The initial package includes a materials list, techniques and a swatch pattern, which I’ve knit up.

The pattern also calls for nupps or beads, but after the Advent KAL, I’ve had my fill of beads, so nupps it is. The pattern includes detailed instructions for making nupps, but I thought they came out more bobble-like than a nupp. I much prefer Nancy Bush’s technique, best demonstrated in the video below.

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The first pattern increment will be released tomorrow. Stay tuned!

FO: Westport Shawl

I’ve finished my first project since starting work. Looks like knitting and being a productive member of society can co-exist! I was having some trouble finding a balance between the two at first, but now I’ve settled into a nice routine.

Pattern: Westport Shawl by Sarah Wilson
Yarn: Araucania Ranco Multy

I only did 14 repeats (2 less than recommended) for the middle section, mostly because I was anxious to finish. It turned out to be the perfect size.

Here are some photos.

Blocked Lace Edge

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Button Stitch Detail

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Lace Edging