Blasphemy

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I have committed a knitting sin: I. Did. Not. Block. This. Scarf. And I will not apologize. The yarn: it was 100% silk. Blocking kills silk; it becomes stretched-out, limp, inert. With this piece I wanted texture, all the lovely texture you see in the above photo.

The lovely yarn is Sundara Sport Silk, in the “Worlds of Unknown” colorway. Most of the yarn I impulse-buy these days is from Sundara; I’m a sucker for the dyer’s “daily dreams” email format. The pattern is Hunter Hammersen’s Infuscate, from her Curls book, which I adore, and to which I recently learned there is a new sequel. Here’s a zoomed-out photo, so you can see more of the piece in all its glory:

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The 3-D texture is 3/4 of the appeal for me with this thing, and it’s plenty big without blocking. So here we are: blasphemy.

While we’re at it, here are two more projects from my backlogs:

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Ok, so maybe I’m a sucker for variegated purples. You did notice how I dyed my hair purple this summer, right? This yarn here is Pride from Forbidden Woolery, in the “Spellbound” colorway. It was produced specially for my LYS, Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, for the 2016 LA County Yarn Crawl. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it has silver threads woven into it, so it’s sparkly.

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The pattern is Ardent by Janina Kallio, whose simple designs I have been into lately. I picked this pattern because I thought it would hold up well to the variegation in the yarn, and I was not wrong. I made this a bit larger than the pattern in order to use up most of the yarn; I added another lace section at the end.

Here’s a REALLY old FO:

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I finished this at least four or five years ago, but I didn’t block it until a few weeks ago, because when I don’t have the blog going I sometimes just… don’t really have an end point in mind for a piece, and it slips my mind. The yarn is Tosh Merino Light; I’m not sure of the colorway. The pattern is the Augustine Shawlette by Valdis Vrang, a variation on the once-ubiquitous Clapotis.

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Clapotis is perhaps the first pattern that I remember “going viral;” it was back in the bad old days before Ravelry, when the only online knitting community that I was personally aware of was the knitting group on LiveJournal. I was still just learning my knits and purls in 2004 when Clapotis hit the web, so its drop-stitch technique was beyond me, but I remember that EVERYONE ON EARTH made one, and there were jokes to be had about “catching the clap.” Later in my knitting life, when I came across this triangular version, I decided I would give it a shot to see what all the fuss had been about. It’s very easy to knit, which is nice, and I get it now: there’s a certain magic to dropping your stitches at the end and ripping out those entire huge columns to create the final effect. I’m glad to finally have this thing in my wardrobe, at any rate — thanks, knitting blog, for getting me off my ass!

Leftovers

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This scarf, like this post, is made of leftovers. My previous catchup posts had at least vague themes, and this one’s theme is “everything else.” In fact it won’t quite catch us up to the present, because there’s only so much I feel like I can cram into a single post, but it’ll get us pretty darn close.

What you see here is a linen-stitch scarf made from literal leftovers — scraps of yarn from various other things I’ve made over the years. Unlike some other things that I “saved for the blog” and didn’t wear until I could photograph them, this thing has gotten a lot of use and even been washed a few times — I love it to pieces!

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You may also notice that I’m in — gasp! — a new location in these pictures. Pat and I spent a weekend in Idyllwild to celebrate our anniversary, and I brought all these pieces up there to photograph them. However, the other three pieces are all brownish-grayish, and I totally neglected to bring any outfits that would go with them, so this is the only one that we actually photographed up in the woods.

For the rest of them, it’s our beautiful driveway yet again! And sorry to fans of my (very faded) purple hair, but it’s gone now; I have to start being a stern 9th grade teacher again next week:

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This scarf is also (half) made out of leftovers. The gray is leftover merino/yak/silk yarn that I spun for my Starshower Cowl, and the gradient yarn is the merino/silk handspun that I talk about making here. The pattern is just a simple two-row stripe & one-column rib, made famous by Jared Flood. This is one of those times that I wish you could reach through your screen, because this scarf is SO soft and lovely that you would not believe it.

Next up is an unbelievably large shawl whose knitting took up most of this past fall:

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No lie, this thing like like 9 feet from end to end. This is Sunwalker by Melanie Berg. The yarn is Sundara fingering merino, in the “Seaside Storm” colorway. This took most of two skeins, which I did in fact alternate to make sure the color stayed relatively even. It’s a pretty gorgeous autumn-y blend of browns and grays up close:

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Lastly, a project in a mystery yarn:

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The pattern is Lintilla by Martina Behm, and I love how everyday-wearable it is. The yarn label, though, is lost to history. But look how pretty it is!

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Here’s what I know about it: 1) I bought it at an LYS in Seattle. 2) It’s not a major nationwide brand that I’d heard of anyplace else. 3) It’s a springy two-ply merino sock yarn, not unlike Koigu. 4) I’d swear that the colorway was called something like “copper penny” or “bad penny.” I distinctly remember thinking that was a weird thing to call it, as it’s only sort of copper. I’ve done a lot of googling and am really coming up short here. Does anyone out there have any leads?

One last leftover: I need to post this photo somewhere so it will have a URL so that I can put it on the front of my blog. Sorry!

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Am I Blue?

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Today’s catch-up post is dedicated to neckwear in my favorite colors, which are blue and purple — I sure knit a lot of things on this end of the spectrum! First up is the fabulous All Paths Lead Home shawl by Melanie Berg, whose designs I’ve been super into lately. This was a BLAST to knit; it was super addictive and it kept changing things up. The striping is achieved through slipping stitches, so that part is super easy with a stunning result. Here it is in all its glory on the blocking mat:

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My LYS (Alamitos Bay Yarn Company) does a one-time discount during your birthday month of (I think) 20%, so I make a point of making a birthday yarn present to myself every year, and this was last year’s: three skeins of Baah La Jolla, a wonderfully springy sock yarn that I’d been wanting to worth with for forever. The three colorways here are “Over the Moon,” “Pecan,” and “Burgundy.”

I want you to appreciate that it was 85 degrees out last week when we took these photos, but I cheerfully put on jeans and my cutest booties and made believe it was fall:

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However, it was pretty unpleasant. So this week I decided to get more bang for my buck and have Pat photograph three pieces in one shoot. Next up is a piece I’ve been dying to wear with jeans, because just look how perfectly it goes with denim!

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This is Pavonated, from Hunter Hammersen’s genius Curls book, where all the designs are in this unique curled-triangle shape. This shot on the blocking board is totally inaccurate to the color of the yarn (one thing that’s going on is it’s very wet), but it will let you see the shape:

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One thing I really like about this design is the reversibility of the stitch pattern; both sides look really good! However, I will admit that I had more success in the mirror than I did arranging this thing on myself blind for this photoshoot. The below picture would have looked better if I’d tucked that dangling end up, I think:

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But let’s talk for a minute about THIS YARN. It’s Sundara Sport Merino Two, in a colorway called “Contarini Palazzo,” inspired by the Monet painting by the same name, and I’m just wild about its subtle shifts between green, blue, and purple, and also about how they all add up to something that goes so well with jeans.

The next piece also features a really amazing yarn:

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Sorry for the boob close-up, but I wanted you to see the amazing range of colors in this yarn! This is a 100% tencel yarn by Prism called Delicato Layers. As a fiber snob, I’d been suspect of tencel, but I really liked working with it, and I love the drape of the finished product! Here’s the whole piece:

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The pattern is Lale Lace Shawl by Alina Apposova. You can see now why we needed that close-up though, right? From here this mostly just looks purple.

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This is one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately; it’s stunning but very everyday-wearable! Here it is on the blocking board, so you can see the lace pattern more clearly:

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Lastly, we have a cowl that I knit from yarn I spun myself:

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The pattern is Appia by Hillary Smith Callis, and it works really well for handspun yarn! The fiber I bought at my local Renaissance fair, and all I can find on those ladies online is this website, which doesn’t give many details about the actual fiber they sell. I actually have no idea what kind of fiber this was apart from “some kind of wool” — the label doesn’t specify; it just calls is “Colonial” and says that the colorway is Burgundy. While this cowl looks pretty cute, it feels pretty scratchy, so I don’t know how much wear it will get.

Believe it or not, I do knit in colors other than blue and purple, and next time we’ll cover some of those other projects. By the way, if you are friends with me on Ravelry you may have noticed that not many of these projects that I’ve been blogging are posted there yet — they will be soon, I promise!

New Favorite

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I’m not kidding — this piece has shot to the top of my favorite handknit scarves list! I couldn’t have asked Verdant Gryphon for a variegated blue more suited to my taste, and Corrina Ferguson’s Creedence couldn’t be more perfect for showing off its shifting colors. I also like that the yarn is sturdy but soft, and the pattern isn’t too fussy — this is a real “everyday” piece in a wonderful way.

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This is definitely a versatile piece. I see myself wearing it more as a scarf than a shawl, but it could work either way. Since it’s knit in a heavy worsted weight yarn, it’s significantly larger than your typical 440-yarn fingering-weight piece of this general shape — which I didn’t really process before I started knitting this, but I’m happy about it. I should also mention that I knit this using size 7 needles rather than size 8s as the pattern calls for — I didn’t actually swatch (I rarely do for shawls), but after a few rows I decided that my gauge just looked too big and kind of sloppy. I’m super glad I did, because at the halfway point I only had a few yards left over in the first skein — so do check your gauge with this one if you don’t have much extra yarn!

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This knits up super fast, and because of its heavy weight is probably more of a cool-weather piece than a spring/summer knit, but I highly recommend putting it in your queue! Corrina Ferguson is a designer who’s really hit her stride in the last year or so — just check out all these gorgeous, unusual shawls! You’ll definitely see some more of them on this blog in the future.

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Yay!

Check Out These Curves

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I’ve finished my sparkly Summit wrap in time for Valentine’s Day, which I wasn’t even really aiming for — but won’t it make a dramatic date night piece?

I had only 400 yards of this Sparkle yarn from Twist, Yarns of Intrigue on hand, so I knit a smaller size (8 columns of waves) that can work as a scarf as well, and I think I like it better at this size anyway:

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I found the pattern ridiculously difficult at first: just to get my mind around it was tough, and then the first few nights it seemed to require all my concentration to count correctly, so I felt like I could only work on it when we were watching documentaries or other things that didn’t require me to look much at the television. I also taught myself to knit backwards for the purl rows, which the pattern recommends — and while it wasn’t hard to learn, it wasn’t nearly as natural and practiced as knitting the regular way and I soon lost patience with it and just started purling. I didn’t actually find it all that onerous to flip the piece back and forth every six stitches, though writing it out like that makes it sound crazy. After I was forced to spend hours and hours with this piece on a plane ride, though, the pattern became second nature and actually quite fun, in part because it grows so quickly and I got a sense of satisfaction from finishing each individual curve as I went along.

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I look super washed out in this picture, but it’s great of the wrap — I love the shadows that it casts on my left side there! A word about the yarn: Twist Sparkle has bits of silver throughout it, much like Dream In Color Starry, but unlike Starry it’s 20% silk, which helps contribute to the drape in a piece like this. Blocking this was a pain in the butt, by the way — each edge curve needs to be pinned out individually.

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I’m including this picture just because it’s cute, and also because it sort of shows how this piece can work in a less-posed, more everyday sort of way. I really do recommend the pattern despite my initial difficulties — it’s not actually that hard; it just requires a little concentration to learn. Don’t be afraid! All you need to know how to do is knit, purl, and yarnover.

And finally here we have my whole ensemble, complete with my lovely red Fluevog shoes:

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Doubling Down

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So much sass! Shield your eyes!

I have finally finished my handspun Lilac Wine cowl. The fiber (100% merino from Weaving Works in Seattle) started its life like this:

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… was spindle-spun into this yarn:

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… and is now this lovely cowl:

ImageI deliberately chose a very simple pattern because I loooove the color of this fiber and I wanted it to become something easy to wear that I would reach for over and over. This pattern fit the bill, though it’s secretly not quite as easy as advertised. It’s just 1×1 rib, but it also involves the sewn tubular cast-on and bind-off, neither of which I’d ever done before and both of which took me a million hours and are really fiddly and annoying. Ultimately I don’t think either one of them is really worth the effort, particularly over so damn many stitches. To make matters worse, opinions seem to differ in different tutorials about how exactly to execute them, and TechKnitter, who I usually trust with my life, leaves a crucial step out of her bind-off instructions (namely that you need to be moving the yarn to the front when you’re slipping the purls, and to the back when you’re slipping the knits). In all seriousness, the bind-off took me three hours and it’s not even as stretchy as I’d like. I’m seriously considering undoing it and just doing my standard lace bindoff, so that I have a little more breathing room when wrapping it double:

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I also finally roped Pat into allowing me to take some shots of him in the Deliah Scarf I knit him for Christmas:

Image“… Ladies?” We’re both pretty psyched about how this came out. The blue (“Deep Space Blue” in Alpenglow Sporty Rambo yarn) is a great color for Pat, since his eyes are blue and he wears a lot of dark, saturated colors.

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So jaunty! The Rambouillet wool is completely perfect for cables; super springy and very soft. Did I mention the scarf is completely reversible?

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He looks pretty pleased with it, huh?

Thelonius

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My usual photographer managed to get stuck in rush hour traffic on his way home from running some errands today, so I decided to awkwardly photograph these socks on my own feet. Hooray! They are Thelonius Socks from Cookie A’s beautiful book Knit. Sock. Love., which I was lucky enough to buy from her and get signed at VogueKnitting LA last year. (Judging from the ridiculous prices on Amazon, I guess it’s out of print now! But you can still buy the e-book or individual patterns on Ravelry.) I’m a big fan of the traveling lace-panel in this sock, and will probably knit another pair of socks with this design feature sometime in the near future — Cookie has lots of great patterns that use them!

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The yarn is Sundara Sock in the Antilles colorway, which I received in a deep-discount grab-bag sale that they ran a few months ago, where the color of the yarn you were buying was a surprise. While I’m happy with this color and generally love turquoise, I have to admit that I was hoping for a skein of something that would push me out of my color-comfort-zone a little more. But the yarn was a good match for this pattern, which called for Koigu, and Sundara Sock is very Koigu-like in its weight and texture. As you can see in this photo, there’s quite a bit of color-pooling, but I don’t mind very much since I basically just wear my hand-knit socks as super-fly slippers around the house.

I started a new project recently, seen here:

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It’s not very photogenic right now, but this is the beginning of a chuppah which I am honored to have been asked to knit for my friend Amanda’s wedding this summer. There is all of one chuppah pattern readily available on the internet and I wasn’t a big fan of it, but I found a square blanket pattern which I liked much better: Serenity. The motif looks hilariously vaginal in this picture, but trust me: once it’s stretched and blocked, these will be beautiful, intertwining, only-slightly-vaginal cables.

I have also continued to work on my sparkly Summit scarf/wrap:

ImageIt grows very quickly because of all that negative space, but it’s also been neglected for awhile. I’d say it’s about halfway done at this point. The pattern was a little mind-bending at first, but I’ve made friends with it now and it’s actually quite easy to execute.

Soon — later this week, I hope! — I’ll have not one but two new finished objects to show you. Stay tuned!