Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Episode 20: Coping Mechanisms

My focus was off. I mean the camera focus, literally, was off in the beginning. I think my dog did it with her nose as I was setting up. Geez.  It's not terrible but I'm not doing it over. If it bugs you, close your eyes and just listen... Other than that, I ramble a bit. But stick with me and hear my idea for a new Knit-along and let me know what you think.

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog:
On instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife
On Ravelry as mamatronic:
On Flickr:

My question for you: How would you feel about doing a #WingItKAL where we do something, even if it's small, to modify an existing pattern or create one of our own. I'm talking anything from a dishcloth to a sweater. Are you up for that?

Oak Crest Hat pattern by Vanessa Townley:

mine knit in Knit Picks Capra, Thicket:

Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter:

mine knit in Tosh Merino Light, Chicory:
Hawthorne Fingering Multi, Cully:
Voolenvine Yarns Footsie, I am No Bird:
with a bit of Peepaloo Fields Sensible Sock, agave:
A Homespun House Soft Sock, Digital Bath:

BSF International:

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman:

Her Podcast Episode on Calf stretch:

Yoga with Adrienne:

An article on Chinese medicine's take on grief:

Dami Roelse:

Floozy by Libby Jonson:

knit in YarnFloozy yarns:

My test knit is in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, currant and bare:

Lovebird Lane Yarns, Michelle:

Smooth Operator by Susan B. Anderson:

Alterknit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel:

My modified Eased by Alicia Plummer:

My Seamless Yoked Sweater Recipe by Elizabeth Zimmerman:

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman:

My Rockefeller Sweater by Wenlan Chia:

My reverse engineered cardigan:

My StripeEd Cowl pattern:

Mindful Shawl by Libby Jonson:

Ewe Hues, Mmmm...chocolate:

Friday, November 2, 2018

Cardamom Coffee Hat

Cardamom Coffee is a good for soothing Sleeve Madness, an ailment from which I constantly seem to suffer. I knit this hat for the Ramblin Rhinebeck Knit-along with Caitlin Hunter, the designer, and The Farmer's Daughter Fibers.

The whole feel of this KAL was 70's Country/Americana. Caitlin's Ramblin Woman pattern debuted at the end of it and was inspired by country glam legends, like Dolly Parton. The Farmer's Daughter Fibers was the perfect for this because their inspiration is often found in Montana's history, comprised of both ranchers and Native Americans.

She had some awesome kits for Ingalls and Tecumseh.  But I had my Sunset Highway that still needed sleeves and yarn ready for Guthrie, not to mention a test knit and Floozy, all needing sleeves, on my needles. I knew I couldn't do a sweater for this KAL. Instead, I chose this hat and I'm so glad I did because it gave me a chance to try a new fiber- Soka''pi.

Soka'pii is a yarn that I have been dying to try.  It's a Rambouillet singe ply yarn from Montana and Wyoming sheep. It means "good" in Blackfeet. I love Wyoming. Our family backpacking trip thru the Tetons and traveling through the Black Hills has given me a tender spot for it's history in my heart.

I've always heard people say that tightly plied yarns are best for colorwork,  so I was unsure if it would be good for this project. I did notice Caitlin's sample used Tosh Merino Light, which is a super wash merino singles base and lots of FOs used it too. Then, Candace encouraged me that it would work out, via instagram, so I started.

It felt like real wool. You know what I mean- woolly, nubby non-superwash wool that doesn't take dye as vividly, but just feels real in your hands. I loved every second of working with it. It was actually very soft to begin with, but it bloomed into more softness after blocking.

Details: I used US size 1 needles for the ribbing and size 2.5 for the body. My colors were Rank Bronc, Napi, and Monarch. Oh, and I could have knit with Monarch all day. The CC2 portion is so small in this hat that, though it does shine, I was a little disappointed to not use more. Good thing I have a ton of the skein left.

In fact, I have a whole unused skein of Rank Bronc and a third of the other left, too. So I added another skein of Napi when I placed my order for the Ramblin Rhinebeck KAL patch. Now I should have enough Soka''pi for another hat.

I topped this hat with a faux fur pompom by FFFabuknits on Etsy. They are a great price and come in all sizes.  This is not even the largest size.

If I'm honest, I have been interested in using Candace's yarn for some time and Caitlin's patterns are always "must knot." But access to this patch/ pin that Caitlin designed was the biggest motivating factor in my joining the KAL. I'm so glad I did because...Willie!!! and I've found a new favorite dyer.

I see that Hill Country Weavers is now carrying The Farmer's Daughter Fibers, too, so maybe next time I visit my daughter we can swing by the "yawn" shop.

Did I tell you?!? My daughter joined Ravelry. She went to HCW with me, picked out some yarn for a hat and scarf, started it, then got angry with it and quit. But, the point is: she joined. I'm okay with her addiction starting slowly.

(more on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)

I talk about this hat some on my podcast episodes 17, 18, and finished on 19.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sea Glass and Driftwood

Is it wrong to be prideful about something I've made? The word prideful has such negative connotations, but "full of pride" is the only way to describe how I feel about this test knit. It just seems so intricate and the tonal colors blended so perfectly.  Then, there's the fit, which I got exactly right. That never used to happen on my first try.

Now, get ready for photo overload.  I loved Sea Glass and Driftwood so very much that I wanted to take a million photos of it.  Unfortunately, I had to be wearing it, so most of them were of me looking stoned with  half-closed eyes.  I swear that's the only reason you aren't scrolling through a mile of sweater pics.

It's Sea Glass and Driftwood by Annie Lupton.  You may know her better as Boho Chic Fiber Co online. She has designed some pretty big hits in the knitting world, like Navigate (from Rib Magazine), Kerrytown, and Indie Mash Up.  Those are some of her more popular knits, but really, she has an incredible body of work for someone who hasn't been designing all that long. I scroll through her patterns, on Ravelry, and I cannot understand why there are not more FOs of Nadia,
Macomb, Madame George, and Wild Mystic! How can Pi shawls be all the rage and there aren't more Wild Mystics being knit?! I mean, I know my excuse: I am collecting enough washable worsted to knit this as a giant throw/ coverlet for my bed. This will let me use it year round, rather than my usual month of winter. I also have some stash yarn earmarked for both Madame George Pullover and Lunaria.  I just need time...

When Annie started teasing photos of her newest colorwork design on instagram, I really wanted to be a tester. I figured I had a good chance of finishing it before it got cold here (I did.) and I would easily be able to finish it before the test knit deadline. (I didn't.) But she was understanding of our family emergency and had plenty of testers who did finish by mid October. You can see their glorious finished sweaters here. Several used tonal or variegated yarns, like me. Nikki, of Forest Fiber Arts, dyed her own and those can be found in her shop.  And that shop is full of rich, autumnal colors right now. 

Anyway, most of the testers knit fairly fitted versions of this. I did too, but only because I lacked enough of the Hawthorne Fingering Multi, in Nob Hill, to make a size medium. I was planning on this, so it wasn't a problem. I employed a little blocking magic to get something between the fit of a small and medium. The Hawthorne is super wash and grew beautifully.

Here's the thing- it looked great as a fitted sweater too.  I was tempted to keep it as such, but I know myself and how I almost always opt for baggy.

Some things I love about this sweater, beyond the obvious allover colorwork, is the visible seams at the shoulders.  It gives it a slightly deconstructed or homespun look to me. I just love that detail. Not sure if I'm saying that right, but I like the result.  

I also love the boxy fit (should you choose to knit it oversized). Then there's that colorwork pattern.  It looks so complicated but really only involves a few rows repeated at a time.  This could even be knit in the round, up to the armholes, to facilitate speedy knitting. I did things as directed, since it was a test, though.

Details: I knit this with US size 2.5 needles and 3 skeins of Hawthorne Fingering Multi in Nob Hill (a discontinued colorway), with 2 skeins of Stroll tonal in Pearlescent.  All of these skeins were bought on sale, but the Nob Hill was a very good deal. I was so happy to have a special purpose for that colorway. I had always wanted it but didn't actually pull the trigger on buying until it was discontinued, then I only got a small amount.

I wasn't sure it would be appropriate since it is more variegated than tonal, but it was fine. Pretty soon, I quit alternating skeins and just used one at a time for most of the body. Alternating skeins with two color Fair Isle would be murder. Why make myself hate my favorite hobby? Thankfully both colorways were consistent enough to make that unnecessary. 

My only mods: I added two extra stitches on each sleeve because it seemed to help with gapping at the underarm.  I also made them three-quarter length because I was running low on the Nob Hill.  Remember only three skeins, people!

I also worked the first I-Cord bind off on the neckline and it seemed like it would roll and show the inside of the sweater too much.  After trying a couple of times, I decided to try one purl round, then knitting 6 rounds of stockinette to create a rollback neckline, before binding off.

When I got to the sleeves, I did the regular I-Cord bind off and it worked fine, maybe because there wasn't the bulk of Fair Isle just above the edge, encouraging it to roll upward. I then did an I Cord bind off on the bottom. It is a little roll-y but it doesn't look bad. I don't think the fix I used on the neck would have worked any better than I-Cord did at the bottom edge, so I left it as-is. Maybe I just haven't found the proper tension for I-Cord bind offs. I have much to learn. But did you get that I got the fit right on the first try. That's happened on every sweater I've knit the last year or two!!

Oh, and here's my nose:

(more on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)

If you're interested in more complex colorwork, or at least complex-looking stranded knitting, try this pattern. I cannot say enough about it and I don't want to bore you with more exclamations and photos of me reveling in my perfect Fair Isle knit.

This knit also on my podcast Episodes 17, 18, and 19.