Vogue

I still have two more projects from my summer backlog to show you, but I just took my Rock Island shawl off the blocking wires this morning and was eager to photograph it! This pattern seems to have a hypnotizing effect on people: I knew the minute Jared Flood posted it that I would knit it — and soon — and that I already had the perfect yarn for it. I witnessed this pattern have the same effect on my friend Julie at Vogue Knitting LA this past weekend: we saw one of these on display and she bought yarn for it on the spot. More about Vogue Knitting LA in a minute, though — let’s talk about this shawl!

The yarn is Dye For Yarn‘s 100% Tussah Silk Lace, in a colorway called “Withering Aquilegia Black Barlow.” It looks like their online shop is currently in hibernation, but I highly recommend bookmarking them & checking back later: their colorways are lovely, and all of them have delightfully baroque names. I bought this yarn without much of a plan — I was just bewitched by the color, a dusty dark lavender — but it turned out to be perfect for this project.

As you can see here in the obligatory batwing shot, this came out pretty huge. It’s a large shawl to begin with, and silk is notorious for growing. I blocked this as lightly as humanly possible — I soaked it, and then basically just lay it flat. I did thread the top on blocking wires and pin the points out for definition, but I did not stretch it at all — and it’s still this enormous.

I think my favorite way to wear it is centered on a shoulder like it is in the first two shots, but it does sort of work in scarf-configuration here. Knitting this, well, it took a long time. The edging feels like it takes a million years, and picking up stitches from the edging was a minorly insane exercise: you have to pick up 291 stitches, a number I miscounted the first six hundred times I tried (even with stitch markers!), and the edging stretched all the way across my living room as I was doing so. But once you get through that part, it’s relatively smooth sailing: the Rock Island chart isn’t difficult, and then it’s garter stitch for miles.

So, Vogue Knitting LA: I forgot my camera! Bad blogger, no cookie! Except for, well, this Cookie:

Fortunately Julie’s cell phone had a camera, so the one thing we documented was my meeting with Cookie A, one of my knitting heroes. I had decided long ago that I was too poor to actually attend any of the classes or lectures at the convention, so I hadn’t paid very close attention to the event schedule, but as soon as Julie and I walked in we heard an announcement that Cookie was going to be doing a book signing. I hadn’t bought her new(ish) book yet, so I jumped at the chance to get one signed and chat with her. She was delightful!

But yeah, no more convention photos. All I have to show you are photos of my haul:

This pile of autumn-colored amazingness is Twist Alpaca, a sport-weight 100% alpaca yarn from Twist: Yarns of Intrigue, a shop I plan to get to much more often now that I live much closer to it. The shop owner dyes the in-house yarns herself, and I just love her work! I’m going to be casting on with this pretty soon, since it’s so autumn-appropriate!

This is a small skein of ribbon yarn made from recycled strips of silk saris sewn together, from Leilani Arts. I sort of wish I’d bought two of them, but I’m sure I’ll figure out a use for this. I love the colors!

These are two coordinating skeins of laceweight silk yarn that I got from Redfish Dyeworks. For some reason, the camera registered these as bluer purples than they really are — these colors are warmer than they appear here, and hopefully they’ll photograph better when they’re knit up and/or when it’s not cloudy outside. My plan is to make something striped or otherwise two-tone.

And last but not least, the fiber. There wasn’t much fiber at this event, but I was thoroughly impressed by the Sincere Sheep‘s offerings and had a really hard time choosing what to take home with me. The brown fiber is undyed — that’s it’s natural color! — and it’s a blend of merino and alpaca, both of which are ranched locally here in California. The lavender is a 50/50 blend of merino and silk. Props go to Julie for insisting that I take the lavender home with me — I love it to pieces!

More summer projects to come, soon! I’m also nearing the finish line on some other “live” projects, so there ought to be a lot of activity here over the next few weeks.

Curatio

I started Kirsten Kapur’s Curatio shawl in late June, when I was deep in the trenches of my last dissertation chapter and very much in need of a cure-all. I’d had these two skeins of Koigu in my stash for ages and never quite known what to do with them — I’d deemed the color too pretty for socks, but it was a pretty small amount of yarn for a scarf or a shawl. While daydreaming through my Ravelry queue one evening, I suddenly realized that the fingering-weight version of this shawl only took 375 yards of yarn and was still quite large, given all its openwork. The geometric pattern looked pretty easy, and I definitely didn’t need more complication in my life. And I knew it would knit up fast — unlike my dissertation chapter — and provide me with a much-needed sense of accomplishment. And furthermore, the yarn’s bold, bright color seemed appropriately summery.

The day after I cast on, I learned that Kirsten Kapur was holding a Summer KAL with prizes and everything. Awesome! I’m just managing to squeak in under the deadline by finally posting this today — but posting it was past due, anyway. This knit up in just about two or three weeks, but as we’ve already established, I had no time for blogging or knit photography this summer. This shawl did everything I wanted it to do, in terms of being fun, fast, and fulfilling. What a great pattern!

Here’s a blocking-board close-up of the “bubble lace” pattern, which I think is pretty cool-looking:

And speaking of cures, I’ve been gifted some yarn recently that is feeding my post-grad-school soul. Here’s some yarn that was sent to me by my friends Heather and Steve, spun and dyed on Bainbridge Island, their new home:

I took this picture on the orange-red dresser that Pat & I bought recently to expand the storage space in our new kitchen. And the mango seemed like an appropriate companion! I think I’m going to make these into linen-stitch pillow covers — we’ve got some seriously ugly throw pillows that need some sprucing up, and these colors will look great in our living room.

And if that wasn’t enough fabulousness for you, my friend Julie recently took a trip to eastern Europe, and brought me back some authentic Estonian laceweight yarn!

I was originally thinking, of course, of knitting some outrageously complicated Estonian lace-thing out of this, but the more I think about the high level of variegation between the blues, the more I think that something simpler might be a better idea, so the variegation doesn’t detract from a complex lace pattern. Right now I’m leaning towards Kieran Foley’s The Sound of Waves, which would be appropriately maritime, but I’m going to think about it awhile longer.

I’ve got several more summer projects to share with you, and some current projects nearing completion, so stay tuned!

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Sorry to disappear for so long, but I’ve been a little busy. In the last three months I have: hunted for and found a new job, hunted for and found a new apartment, moved into said apartment and started said job, all while finishing and filing my dissertation. That’s right, you are being toasted by Dr. Doublepointed, Ph.D.

Raise a glass!

I’ve been knitting, but I haven’t been blogging about it– so I’ve got some catching up to do. I’m going to spread it out over the next few days/weeks, since most of my summer projects haven’t even been photographed yet. I stuck virtuously to a yarn diet all summer, aided by being too busy to browse for yarn and being too worried about my financial future to buy unnecessary items. So everything I knit this summer was knit from my own handspun, or from stash yarn. Yay!

What you see in these pictures is my finished Montego Bay scarf. As you may recall, I spun this yarn from merino/silk fiber that I bought on sale from A Verb For Keeping Warm ages ago. I’m really pleased with how this turned out, and I highly recommend the pattern for handspun yarn — it’s very forgiving of uneven texture, and it makes color-pooling actually look pretty good. I ended up getting about 400 yards out of 4 oz of fiber, and that made a lovely long mesh scarf with braided fringe.

Watch this space — I’ll have more FOs coming at you soon, with my exciting new city as the backdrop!