Good Morning! I arrived safely in Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon. I am here for the 15th annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival AKA Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival now, since it has been expanded to include all kinds of needle arts. We are expecting an exciting year, with lots of fun activities in the new Green Tree location. I will be heading over to set up the booth at noon but wanted to use part of my free time this morning doing a quick catch post for you.
As you see I didn’t quite get my Holbrook finished for the show. I am about 70% done on the border. The biggest set back was due to coming down with some cold/mild flu thing on last Wednesday night. I had a large mill dyeing order that I was trying to get done that I had picked up on Tuesday. I went out Wednesday and did prep work for that and got 4 of the 12 batches dyed before quitting for the night. After a light supper and bath I felt a fever coming on and went to bed early. Thursday morning it was clear not work was gonna get done that day. I was down with a fever off 100. I so didn’t have time for this. UGH. I was not able to get that work done until Sunday due to continual fever. I did manage some less strenuous tasks from my to-do lists that were mainly printing patterns, and other computer oriented stuff. I didn’t even feel like knitting the first two days. I am fine now, just have a bit of a lingering cough.
I did manage to DRAG myself out to Best Buy on Friday when my pre-ordered Samsung Galaxy S10+ was ready for pickup. I tried not to breathe on anyone, LOL. This is the first time I splurged a bit and went for the Plus. It was mostly the 4100 mAh battery that I wanted it for. I love it! I hate taking selfies as a rule but I was playing around with the camera in my room last night and took a couple for experimentation. I was surprised that I managed to not totally hate the results, LOL.
Well, the Holbrook shawl looks good, actually, what I mean is that the chances of being done by Monday so I have time to block it and pack it on the 12th aren’t looking great.
As you can tell, I have started the border edging but I am only about 30% done at this point. I haven’t given up all hope but I am realistic. I have a pretty long list of preparation tasks still and other things keep coming up too. I am trying to keep up and not let anything fall between the cracks. In order to do that I have to keep a handle on prioritizing that at least the most important stuff gets done first. Knitting is important, don’t get me wrong, but unfortunately it’s not at the top of the list.
So that’s my quick update. I have a million things to get to today, so I better get busy. Wish me luck!
I am about 10 days into my Holbrook Shawl and the progress is encouraging. I have only 3 repeats of the main stitch pattern, which means 18 more rows, if I want to end it there and move on to the border. I had entertained the idea of adding two more repeats to make it a bit larger, but I am probably just going to go with the size as written. I would like to have this one finished in time to have it in the booth at Pittsburgh and Raleigh next month.
Speaking of fiber festivals, I have been working through my other show prep lists when I am not knitting or taking care of the household and family tasks. It has been a challenge with all the rain this winter but I did manage to get some yarn dyeing done on Monday. This is about half of it which I put back out on the lines today during a short respite in the wet weather. My next opportunity to get it all dry will be Sunday and Monday.
There are things that can be done on rainy days too. I have some Yarn Boxes I need to wax, yarn labels that need printed, cut apart and color labeled, patterns to be printed, etc. Of course it’s that time of year that we all dread; tax time. I have done my Federal return, first quarter sales tax returns, and local business personal property return, so that’s at least out of the way. Whew! I also need to take my truck to get some scheduled maintenance done before I hit the road again.
I am finished with my Dowland shawl and have begun my next project. I actually have quite a few in the queue, but have selected and wound the yarn for the next two projects. The darker one is Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in color Slate which is the yarn I am using for a new Holbrook shawl in the photo below. The light green is Classic Merino Superwash Sport yarn in color Honeydew which I will be using for a new Kimani shawl. I need to knit new samples of both of these due to inventory changes.
Holbrook should be a quick knit even if I decide to enlarge the original size a bit. It is an easily memorized lace and I remember it being very fast the first time I made it.
So, I was blocking Dowland yesterday and to my annoyance I realized I still need more blocking mats. I thought 18 should be plenty but if I had just ONE more I wouldn’t have had to come up with the work around you see below for that ONE point I couldn’t pin down. Sigh. It worked for this time but I will be buying some more before I block the next shawl, just in case. Of course I won’t need them then, right? :-D
I am quite pleased with how it came out and hope it will inspire many knitters in the booth this year. I can’t believe it’s only about a month until festival season begins again for me. First up is the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival and the next weekend I am happy to be going back to the Carolina Fiber Festival.
I hope to have the Holbrook finished to add to these three new samples. I think it is too much to expect that I can have the Kimani finished before I leave but I should have it on the needles to work on in my down time while I am traveling.
We didn’t get hit nearly as hard by the polar vortex as many of you did, and we are finally warming up into the forties this afternoon. We didn’t get any snow, which I am grateful for, but we had some frigid temps for a few days. It has been gray so much too, but the sun was out this morning and I took an opportunity to get a better picture of the Dowland shawl.
The color is more true here than in the previous ones I took. I am on the final chart at the moment, so I have about 40 more rows to finish this one up. The rows are twice as long now though, so progress is a bit slower.
I apologize for the short post but I just wanted to get this in while I had a few moments this afternoon. I have an appointment to pick up an order of alpaca fiber from the mill to dye this week. See you soon!
I finished the knitting on Usonian but before I get to the report on my new blocking tools let me show you what I cast on next. Dowland is a half-pi (semi-circle) lace shawl. I like this style shawl as they look so elegant and seem so fast to knit. This one is especially pretty I think. I am using my Classic Merino Bamboo again in the Atlantic color. I started it a few days ago and am already on the 5th chart.
Okay so on to the blocking of Usonian; I apologize that the pictures aren’t spectacular. The weather is just gray, gray, and more gray, not to mention rainy so much of the time that outdoor pictures just aren’t happening at the moment. At least it’s not snow, that’s that. ;-)
I attempted to block this on Tuesday, but very quickly realized that what one of my commenters said was correct, I hadn’t ordered enough of the mats or the Knit Blockers. Sigh. So I ordered more and they arrived Thursday evening. So on Friday morning I put the shawl back in water to soak and then spin out in the washer before trying again.
Even with two sets of Knit Blockers I ran a tiny bit short but managed to shift a few around and get the job done. I used 16 of the Blocking Mats of the 18 I have now. That seemed adequate but I could see a larger shawl possibly needing a few more than the 18. I may be ordering more of both in the future. I did really like using them and found them a bit easier and less fiddly than wires and pins. It may depend on the project though. We’ll see how the half – pi shape works. From previous experience with that shape you can only use the wires across the top straight edge and have to use pins only for the round side. It seems like it may be require similar application with these Knit Blockers. Threading the wires through the edges is always my least favorite aspect of blocking and using these as a substitute for that part was a positive experience. It certainly made the job quicker and less tedious.
I love how this shawl came out and can’t wait to show it off in the booth this year. It’s about 2 months until my first scheduled festival rolls around. This year my calendar begins March 15th with the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I have been a part of this show since it’s earliest years and I am very excited about the this year’s show. It is the 15th year and lots of special things are planned to celebrate. It is also returning to it’s roots a bit by moving to a hotel hosted location that is adjacent to but not in the downtown area. Class registration in a huge variety of fiber arts of all kinds are live on the website. I hope to see some of you there!
I predict it won’t be too much longer before Usonian will be complete and I am actually looking forward to blocking for a change. Why you ask? I have been meaning to try out some new to me blocking tools. Maybe you have heard of them? They are called Knit Blockers. My friend Dee O’Keefe uses these and seems to like them a lot so I decided to order a set and give them a try. I ordered mine from Amazon along with a set of blocking mats. I have been using my bed to block on and that can be a bit limiting when it’s only empty for about a fourth of the day since my husband works second shift. ;-) Now I should have some flexibility and not have to wait until afternoon to block out a shawl. Blocking wires work fine and I will probably still find them useful, but I am looking forward to seeing if these work better for most things.
I have progressed on the shawl to chart 18 out of 20. Chart 18 is 40 rows in all and I am on row 14 so it’s one of the larger sections but it’s pretty fast and uncomplicated so I still hope to be ready to block it out within the next week or two.
Since it’s the start of the year there are lots of end of the year bookkeeping tasks breathing down my neck which cuts into knitting time I am afraid. Add to that, school time with my 8 year old and housekeeping, but I am a woman capable of powering through a to-do list. ;-) Never fear!