Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Work-In-Progress Wednesday: Twinkle Kerchief

After finishing of my Arika cowl for the TFA KAL, I reached for my special skein of SweetGeorgia Cashsilk Lace that I talked about here. I wound it up into a ball, found a tube of beads that I had been keeping in my notions bag to try beading one day, and cast on for the Twinkle Kerchief by Sachiko Uemura. I have both never knit linen stitch and never knit with beads. Doing both in dark colored lace weight is a bit daunting, but I am enjoying it so far and am 20% done (in stitch count, not size) after only a couple days of knitting on it. I expect that, given enough time this weekend to dedicate to my new WIP, I may even have this project finished next week! I love how the colors in this skein work with half linen stitch and I love how the beads sparkle on the darker background. The beads are simple seed beads. Size 6 and clear in color. The pattern is simple enough, but dark, skinny yarn has leant justification for a few mistakes and I have been fudging it a little. Still, I think it will be very pretty. And now that I have made a spreadsheet with stitch counts and started using a lifeline, maybe I will have to fudge a bit less.


In book news, I just finished When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. This book has awesome reviews and most people like it. I am going to decline to comment though since I really haven't got anything nice to say. It just isn't my cup of tea. I also just started Helen Oyeyemi's book of short stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. She is one of my favorite writers. I am enjoying the stories so far, but I do like her novels better. Still, prose in Miss Oyeyemi's hand is always flawless. She is hands down one of the best writers I have ever read!

You can find my knitting projects on Ravelry under the user name grafovna. You can find my reading habits documented on Goodreads. Happy Wednesday!

Joining in today, for the first time, with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Finished Objects - Brioche Scarf and Arika Cowl

I have a couple of things off the needles.

First, I did finally finish my brioche scarf. I knit up one full skein of Cascade Ecological Wool. These skeins are pretty big, and the finished size of my scarf is 8" wide and 66" long. I love it in all its wooly goodness and I think it will be a great gift! I am pleased with having learned a new skill.



I also finished the Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond. I made this as part of a knitalong with Tanis Fiber Arts using their supremely squishy Grey Label yarn in the colorway Iris. I had planned to put this in the gift bin as well, but I don't think I can part with it. I adore the fringe and the colors and it just feels wonderful! It was such a quick and easy knit with such a terrific effect. Yes... this one is mine.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Brioche

Finished Objects:
January is over. It looks like I didn't knit ANYTHING, but I did manage to squeeze in a pair of mittens. Unfortunately, the rules are no sneak peaks until the designer releases the pattern, but they are pretty neat mittens. I used a skein of Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool Worsted in the colorway Roasted Pumpkin from my stash to knit them and I still have one skein left. The yarn was wonderful and wooly!

Works in Progress:
I also attempted to knit some Funkasonic Mittens but failed miserably. I ripped out over and over and over and could not get the two color brioche ribbing on the cuff. I followed the designer's instructions and watched the video repeatedly, but got nowhere with it. Throwing my hands up, I decided to set those aside and see what I could learn about Brioche. I happen to have a class on Crafsy taught by Nancy Marchant on Brioche Knitting that I bought a while ago and never watched. Nancy has students practicing the brioche with one color on a swatch first. I pulled out a REALLY old ball of Cascade Ecological Wool from my stash and tried it. I seemed to be getting it! After much consideration, I decided that I needed a single color brioche project first, so I ripped out my swatch and rolled it back up into a ball and cast on for a trusty scarf. I looked at Purl Soho's Brioche Scarf, but I wanted to keep using my yarn and not a fingering weight yarn. I also didn't care for the rolled stockingette edge on this scarf. I did like the selvages though, so I decided to wing it.

I cast on 33 stitches using the Old Norwegian sock cast-on (which I learned from the Funkasonic KAL... at least I got that part!) using my Cascade Ecological Wool on 5.5mm needles. I knit the first five rows in one-by-one ribbing, while maintaining the first three and last three stitches as selvages. Then, I tried out some single color brioche ribbing while still maintaining the selvages. After, some practice, I think I am getting the hang of it! It is a slow-growing scarf, but I am enjoying knitting it. My plan is just to knit until the ball is almost out and then end with 5 rows of ribbing like I did at the beginning.

I am so glad to be learning something new, using up some of my stash, and making a scarf that will likely get blocked and packaged up for a gift to one of my brothers, nephews, or son. The recipient of the scarf will depend on the length that I can achieve from this ball of wool. I will package it up as a gift for whomever it best suits in height.


New Acquisitions:
I am not buying any more yarn this year, but I do have a PostStitch subscription and the February box was pretty awesome. I got a skein of YarnLove's Joan of Arc in the colorway Rhubarb. It is a 50% superwash merino and 50% tencel fingering weight yarn with a good twist, beautiful sheen, and wonderful deep pink color. The pattern that came with the box is Dark Valentine by Ambah O'Brien. There are three sizes available, but our box gives us enough yarn (plus some Chiagoo Red Lace circular needles in the size called for in the pattern) to make the single skein scarf. There were also some lovely pink and gold stitch markers from Dreaming Alice, a sample of SOAK rinseless soap, Anywhere Hand Balm from Love + Leche, and an adorable set of 4 Valentine's Day Cards! What a fantastic box for February!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dwell

My second issue of 6 Bits Storybooks is here and it is called Dwell. From the website: "Our second issue DWELL is all about the dwelling places we find ourselves, places we long to create, experiences we need to share. We adventure together with friends along the shore both in the Pacific Northwest and South Pacific. See how moments to gather with friends looks unique in each place we call home, but share the same smiles and laughter no matter where we are. DWELL also takes readers through moments of quiet introspection through two unique photo story collections in the woods. Knitters can see each knitting pattern sample shown on a variety of sizes and shapes, in different settings and styles. Some patterns are even shown in several yarn and colour combination examples."

Included in this issue are 2 sweater patterns, 4 hat patterns, a shawl, a pair of slipper socks, mittens, fingerless mitts, a kerchief, and a sewing project. I am going to review a few of my favorites.

Many of you are familiar with Melody from the bmandarine's podcast. She has contributed a hat and a pair of mittens to this issue. I love both of these patterns! Both projects use an adorable pine tree motif, would be great for either gender, and appear to be relatively simple to knit. I also bet that most people have a skein of worsted weight wool burning in their stash that would make a fantastic Treehouse Hat. I know I do!


Linden, by Melissa of the 6 Bits Storybooks podcast, is a unisex cardigan. In the magazine, it is shown as equally stunning on both guys and ladies. The story behind this grandpa cardigan is actually about her grandpa! It is a great piece that would be a welcome addition into any wardrobe, I think.


Chittick Slipper Socks by Cate Carter-Evans of Infinite Twist are graphic and fun and would be great to wear in the colder months under boots as well as on a chilly summer night to warm up your feet. I am not sure how easy the would be to knit for an inexperienced colorwork knitter like myself, but I sure would love a pair!


Besides the wonderful patterns, 6 Bits Storybooks is full of wonderful articles and gorgeous photography. It is a pretty new publication, but they have a great podcast to go along with it. I am not being paid to sponsor or anything... but I just want to say that it is one of my new faves in the knitting publication world. Check them out at www.6bitsstorybooks.com.



Thursday, December 31, 2015

Trellis Scarf

I squeezed out one more project in 2015. It is easily the fastest project that I have ever knit. This was a gift to my mother and she adores it. The pattern is called Trellis Scarf by Ellen Huber. It is $9.00 on Ravelry, which is very pricey considering how simple this pattern is. But the results are beautiful, so it was worth it. It uses enormous needles (US 35/ 19mm) and super bulky yarn. It is a two row pattern with no chart. It is easily memorized and the cast on is only 16 stitches, so each row goes fast. I think the whole project took just a couple of hours, and I am the world's slowest knitter! I used Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky in the colorway Jasmine and it was fluffy and soft and divine. I have used this yarn before and have more in my stash to use up. I definitely love it! I took just a couple quick selfies with the scarf before gifting this scarf to my mother. She loved it and said that she thought this stitch pattern and yarn would make an excellent blanket. It would... if yarn budgets were unlimited! But I am so glad that she loves the scarf. You can check out more details on my Ravelry project page.