Feast or Famine

I have wanted to write a new post so many times in the last week but was too busy in the morning to do it before starting my day and by the end of it, had too little energy to spare. I am now writing to you while my breakfast is cooking, before heading back out for a day at the dye pots once again. In February you waste a sunny pleasant day at your peril when work is to be done outside. We have been fortunate to have most of this week but there is potential nasty winter weather forecast for Monday and Tuesday. fiber-dyeing-02-04-16 (4)

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So last week I started getting the dyes mixed for some yarn to restock my inventory for the coming festival season and to dye for the Bocce Shawl kit I told you I am putting together. As soon as I had completed that and the yarn arrived from the mill and I was prepared to get to work dyeing it all up when I received word from the mill I dye for that they had some business for me. Their order took precedence (from my perspective) so I got right on it. I picked it up on Friday and started dyeing up samples on Saturday. Monday was spent mixing stock. Tuesday I mixed the colors. Wednesday and Thursday I dyed up the whole order. On top of that there is always meals to cook, laundry to do, errands to run, school work to oversee, etc..so you can see why my lack of energy at the end of the day for blogging. Oh and I almost forgot that our hot water heater sprang a leak and needed replaced during all this too. It is all I can do to put on the kettle for a cup of Earl Grey and listen to some music to unwind. Smile

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So one more day out at the pots today should be all I need to get my yarn done. Possibly pictures will be forth coming.

I have managed to squeeze in a bit of knitting as well on the Bocce Shawl and it is really looking nice if I do say so myself. I love these colors together broken up by the natural color. I have three more colors to go and the border.

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Blizzard Knitting

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Nashville got slammed pretty hard on Friday with 9” of snow, which I am fairly certain was not what they were expecting. I had seen the Winter Storm Warnings and we knew something would happen but not THIS much.

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This is the largest snowfall we have seen since 1996 I believe. We are in the mid 40’s finally today (Monday) and while there is a lot of melting going on, there is still snow on the ground a few inches deep.

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I took all these pictures on Friday while it was still coming down in buckets. It snowed all day and into the evening.

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It’s good thing I had finished Elijah’s hat on Thursday because he sure got some use out of it. Smile 

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I took these pictures the day before the blizzard. He likes it and wears it with no complaints. Smile

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So on Thursday I still hadn’t decided what big project to start so I cast on a Honey Cowl to tide me over. While I was knitting on this on Thursday night an idea started formulating in my mind.

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I have been thinking of doing kits with my yarn and patterns and Bocce is a perfect one to try this out. I will give you more details on that when I have it all worked out and in the mean time I have started knitting the booth sample. Briefly, I am using my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn and it will take one full skein of Bare and five 25g mini skeins in five custom dyed colors.

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I cast this on my needles on Saturday morning and have completed the first half of the rows. It goes really fast. Now, the rows are getting longer of course so the second half will be slower but I already have all five colors worked the first time through. You repeat these five colors again and then do a simple edging in the Bare. I am very happy with how it is coming out.

Hope all of you who were also in the path of the storm are getting dug out by now too. Stay warm!

Culpeper Shawl..What’s Next?

It’s mighty cold in these parts which is why the pictures of Culpeper are not stellar. I got a few quick shots out on the porch and high tailed it back inside. So I beg you to stretch your imagination a bit and imagine it much lovelier than it is here depicted. At some point I may have some better ones but this is it while the mercury is reading in the teens and twenties outside. Smile

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I almost forgot that I got a couple shots while it was blocking so I will start with that.

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Here’s a close up of the upper patterns and lower patterns, taken for detail but the color is not saturated enough.

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There is certainly a big change in how the stitch patterns look compared to it prior to blocking, isn’t there? Here’s a reminder of the difference. Below is the pre-blocking fresh off the needles picture from last week. Huge difference huh?

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And here’s the whole thing laid out rather un-artfully I admit, but it’s January. We are lucky the sun was out today. Winking smile

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I am ashamed to confess that I have yet to pick my next big project but I did make good on the hat. It is currently in progress and will soon be a finished object. I expect to finish it tonight. More next time on the “next big thing”.

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Done but Not Quite Finished

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I went only two days over three weeks in completing this project, and that is still a record breaker for me. Yay me!

It certainly doesn’t look like much at this stage though does it? But just you wait…the blocking will bring it all out. I can’t say I am relishing the process of that however. A semi-circle doesn’t lend itself very well to blocking wires, at least not the set I have. I only have 30 or 40 T-pins which is plenty for using wires but I can only use those across the top edge. I will have to make a quick run to Joann’s for more T-pins before I can block this. The only thing that is motivating me to do the job is seeing the finished product. It’s kind of like labor isn’t it? The only way to the end is the pain of going through it. Smile

I am at this moment utterly bereft of any knitting. Nothing is on the needles and I haven’t picked a definite next project. I have plenty of ideas mind you, but can’t settle on any of them. Elijah needs a new hat, so that may be a quick interim project while I mull my options. Main contenders are a few more shawls, but I am sort of itching to do a sweater just for me. I haven’t done one in quite awhile and it’s been ages since I made myself something that wasn’t for the booth. Stay tuned for an update on this soon and of course for the amazing transformation of Culpeper Shawl.

A Shawl in Three Weeks?

After a long holiday break I have made much progress on the Culpeper Shawl that I started just a few days before Christmas.

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I know it’s not a great picture, but it’s kind of cold outside so I took what I could get. At least the sun is out today.

When last I posted I had completed the first three charts and was prepared to do the last increase and the last three charts, which I have done over the holidays and am now doing the border edging which is super easy and fast. I am about 25% done with it in just the few days I have worked on it in the evenings. I can’t believe I am this close to completing a lace shawl that I started only 16 days ago. Unheard of!

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Here’s a reminder of where I was before Christmas.

I can’t wait to get this finished and see how it looks blocked out. It really doesn’t look that impressive right now since the lace work is pretty open and will need the stretching to open it up. I think the increase method plays into it as well. It will need a much more aggressive blocking that I usually do to work it’s magic.

When this comes off the needles I will have nothing going. I had better look through my queue and make a decision about what comes next. Can you stand the suspense? Smile

Iolanthe Shawl

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It is still gray out today here in Nashville but at least it’s not freezing cold, so I managed to get a few finished shots of Iolanthe Shawl this morning.

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It wasn’t easy getting good shots of this shawl. The color is a challenge for the camera on my Galaxy S5 (which is pretty good generally) and the stitch patterns are difficult to capture the texture accurately.

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I measured the shawl before I soaked and blocked it and it was 45” at the top edge and 21” down the center spine. After blocking it measures about 63” at the top edge and down the center spine it is 29”. Those dimensions are pretty close to the pattern specs of 65” top edge and 28” center spine.

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I used 160g (690 yards) of Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn on size 5 US needles. You can use any fingering weight yarn of course but I recommend one with a tight twist since the stitch definition will add dimension to the lace design.

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This was a very fun and interesting shawl to make and I think it will be popular in the booth next year.

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I made some progress on Culpeper which you can see here. I finished the second chart and am ready for the next increase which will take the stitch count from 85 to 165. I will probably go ahead and switch over to my 32” needle when I do that. I cast on to a 24” #5 Addi Turbo Lace because I find it less fiddly working with a shorter length until the work gets big enough to weigh down the cable. It drives me bonkers when the cable is flipping around on me.

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If I don’t see you again before the holidays I will go ahead and wish you a Merry Christmas!!

Longer Days are Coming

The longest night of the year dawned this morning gray and wet. After breakfast a pot of chili seemed a good fix, so I put that on to simmer all morning for lunch.

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I then put Iolanthe in for a soak. I finished the knitting last night. According to my Ravelry project page I started this shawl on November 20 and finished December 20. One month! Really? This thing just fell off the needles. I can’t remember any other shawl that I knit this fast. AND I knit three hats (2 fair isle) and a cowl during that time!?!? Impossible, but there it is. The stitch pattern was interesting and very intuitive so that I only had to refer to the charts to keep up with where I was and then knit the rows. Awesome pattern!

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Anyway I have a few shots of it unblocked which is pretty unimpressive since it is like a wrinkled mess. Wait until you see it later though. That is one of my favorite parts about lace knitting; that dramatic change after blocking.

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The light is crappy but I tried to get you a few blocking shots too.

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Oh, and while all this was going on I excitedly cast on for Culpeper Shawl which I planned to cast on about a month ago but the momentum of Iolanthe knitting and the Christmas knitting kept me occupied and now I can devote my full attention to it.

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This one is also going to be a fun knit. It is a Pi Shawl design, only it’s a half circle rather than a full one. I haven’t done one of these believe it or not and I am finding it challenging only in one aspect. I have to continually fight the tendency to do increases at the beginning and end of the right side rows like you do when shaping triangle and crescent shawls. I have knit so many of them that the habit is very ingrained to expect those increases. With a PI Shawl you are only increasing dramatically every time the number of rows double (IIRC) which on this shawl after the set up section is whenever the chart (stitch pattern) changes. I easily got the set up section and Chart 1 knit while the lunch was cooking.

It is smelling pretty good around here right now so I had better get the cornbread in the oven to go with the chili. Next post will have some progress on Culpeper no doubt plus final off the wires pictures of Iolanthe. It may be a challenge with all the gray rainy weather forecast this week though.