It Was Him All Along

You know how frustrating it is when you just can’t find something? You know you had it, but you can’t remember the last time you’ve seen it, and you desperately want it back, but you have no clue where it could possibly be? I admittedly get that feeling a lot, usually for something small that I’ve put in a very obvious place, and the Fiasco prides himself on always being able to find what I’ve lost in about 2 seconds flat. In fact, he put finding-my-lost-things in his wedding vows, that’s how often this situation occurs. But this time, this time… I had lost my brand new favorite project bag, along with a nearly finished knitting project, for EIGHT ENTIRE MONTHS.

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It is found, huzzah!

The last time I saw that thing was just after my wedding in July. I had knit up a bunch of lovely jewelry frames as gifts for my even lovelier bridesmaids, and I wanted to make one for myself with the leftover yarn. I searched high and low, on and off, for the last several months to no avail. I even put out a plea on Facebook to see if I perhaps left it in a relative’s car or something… nada. This weekend, the Fiasco decided to do a bunch of laundry and rearrange his closet and this morning, I found a trash bag he had placed near the bed filled with a few things including a purse and the missing project bag! How the heck this project ended up in a trash bag in the depths of his closet for 8 months, I’ll never know, BUT OH BOY, RICHARD, YOU’RE LUCKY YOU’RE CUTE.

It Was Him All Along | Woolen Diversions

Malabrigo Nube, colorway Persia.

In other news, I attended the monthly meeting of the Rhode Island Spinner’s Guild yesterday and learned how to make proper rolags with hand cards. I’d been fumbling along with a half-assed technique I had cobbled together from articles and videos, but it was something else altogether to have some watch me card and correct my form. Which is great, because carding has always been hell on my wrists and I’d suspected I’d been doing it wrong. Part of the problem is likely my super heavy, flat-backed hand cards that I’ve hated since day one. So I caved and ordered a new set of Strauch curved wool cards from The Woolery and am anxiously waiting for them to arrive so I can continue my Malabrigo March spinning project. I’m clearly insane, as I’ve decided to both card rolags and make a 4-ply yarn using longdraw drafting for this project, which has a deadline of the end of the month. But see how thinly the Nube is spinning up? That’s the thinnest I’ve ever spun on a wheel, and the combination of fluffy rolags and rhthymic longdraw is making me happy, so I’m going for it anyway.

So tell me, where is the strangest place you’ve found a previously lost item, and how long did it take you to find it?

(P.S. Please check out the bottom of Friday’s post for details about a Sweet Sheep product survey and giveaway I’m currently running, and thanks to all who have responded so far, you should have received your coupon codes via e-mail over the weekend!)

(P.P.S. This post contains affiliate links to The Woolery, an excellent spinning shop that I am happy to support. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small percentage that goes towards the running of this blog, but all opinions are honest and my own. That said, check out this crazy sale on BFL fiber they’re having… $11 for 8 oz, must resist!)

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IS #87: Malabrigo Temptation

It’s that time of the year again, when the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry hosts an epic, multi-pattern KAL complete with creative contests and generous prizes. You don’t need to knit one of the ‘official’ chosen patterns to take part in the KAL, there are threads for general KALs where the only requirements are that the project uses Malabrigo Yarns and is not cast on before March 1. All KAL projects must be complete by March 31st to be eligible for prizes.

Malabrigo Temptation | Woolen Diversions

Malabrigo Yarns Dos, colorways Turquesa, Indigo, and Lettuce.

Mal March snuck up on me this year, but I recently purchased some hard-to-get Dos through a destash, and I must admit I’m itching to use it. I knit a pair of cuffs out of it back in 2013 and it’s the most buttery-soft sportweight Merino wool 2-ply yarn I’ve ever had the pleasure to fondle. (My pattern notes say “THIS YARN IS AMAZING, I WANT TO MARRY IT.”) When someone was destashing for half price, I picked up 2 skeins each in Turquesa and Indigo. I had a skein of Lettuce that I had been using to test out a design idea (since there wasn’t enough yardage to do much else) but now that I have more yarn, I’m thinking of combining them in a project (and I’ve totally lost the design notes by  now anyway). I took a poke around the discussion board and am finding a few of the patterns chosen for the official KALs to be quite irresistible. 3 Color Cashmere Cowl:

Photo copyright Joji Locatelli. Click for pattern page.

This simple, sweet cowl designed by Joju Locatelli has been quite the talk of Ravelry lately (660 projects cast on already, when it was just published last month!) and I think the softness of Dos rivals that of cashmere (truly). I’d have to go up a needle size, and it wouldn’t be quite as drapey, but I think the colors I have would work well here. However, it would leave me with a couple of skeins leftover (and the goal is always to use them up). Red Katana:

Photo copyright Bellylaugher. Click for project page.

This shawl is a fun play on chevrons of different sizes and would look absolutely smashing in the colorways I have. I love the version pictured above, knit by Bellylaugher on Ravelry. She modified the original pattern (by Svetlana Volkova) to add a third color stripe and it really elevates the design. Clincher:

Photo copyright ashkearns. Click for pattern page.

I think this little shawlette/kerchief design by Ash Kearns is just the cleverest. Seriously. It’s so simple but brilliant. The main body is knit as a long side-to-side triangle, from the bitty end to the big one, and then a contrasting color is used to knit loops through which the tail of the shawl can be pulled to keep it in place while wearing kerchief-style. I probably won’t make this for Mal March as it doesn’t use up enough yardage, but it is super cute and has been duly queued. Dotted Rays:

Photo copyright westknits. Click for pattern page.

This shawl pattern by Stephen West is not part of the official Mal March KALs, however, I could knit it under the General Accessory category. I’m not sure how well the yardage would work out, but I’ve been really tempted by some of Stephen’s designs lately and have been admiring April’s handspun version on Instagram. Molly Hat:

Photo copyright Erin Ruth. Click for pattern page.

For those of you still in the clutches of this winter’s knit all the bulky things mode, this hat designed by Erin Ruth would be great in Malabrigo Worsted or Twist or possibly even Chunky or Mecha, with a little finagling of cast on numbers. I’ve admired it for some time, but don’t have any appropriate yarn in stash. However…

Malabrigo Nube, colorway Persia.

Perhaps I should spin some! They do have a general spin-along going for Mal March, as well. I spun some up for the October Stockpile event in 2013, and turned it into one of my strangest, squishiest hats, so I’m really liking this idea. As you can see, I’m full to the brim with last-minute ideas for Mal March, which are likely to totally derail my First Quarter Plans… the question now is, do I care, or should I Mal March to my heart’s content? What would you do? Share this week’s inspiration with us in the comments below! IS

IS #80: NaKniSweMo, For Real!

If you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you might have heard of NaKniSweMo which is the knitterly equivalent. The goal is to knit an entire sweater, start to finish, during the month of November. According to this ancient post on the KnitGrrl blog, it needs to be a sweater of 50,000 stitches (like the novel length requirement). You can check out the Ravelry group here. And this year, for the first time ever, I’m joining in!

Copyright Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood. Click for pattern page.

I’ve finally begun the Cypress vest I swatched for a few weeks ago with my overdyed yarn. I’m actually rather surprised at how well the cast on went. After working ridiculously late last night and coming home to ALL THE HALLOWEEN CANDY BEING GONE ALREADY (the horror!) and too late to see a single tiny person dressed up like something fierce, I consoled myself with a couple of seasonal bourbon drinks that I had found on the internet. Turns out that hot buttered bourbon is rather horrifying, no matter how lovely the bloggers make it sound. So the Fiasco made me some sort of pumpkin spice liquor drink instead while we played a board game into the wee hours. He conked out and I decided that a post-midnight sweater cast on with a belly full of bourbon and pepita brittle would be an EXCELLENT IDEA.

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Overdyed Crypress. Click for project page.

I guess the sugar high and alcohol buzz canceled each other out, because the tubular cast on (which I’d never done before and still don’t really understand, it was like magic) went swimmingly and I’m already a couple of inches into the ribbing! I’m actually not sure if this sweater will fulfill the 50,000 stitch requirement, I’m still too fuzzy-headed to do the math, but considering it will be my first completed sweater ever, I think just finishing it during the month of November will be achievement enough for me.

Are you planning to join in with #NaKniSweMo this month? Is there another KAL happening that’s been inspiring you, lately? Share with us!

IS

WIPWed #56: Where Did May Go?

Wow, guys. I can’t believe that I haven’t done a single WIP Wednesday post since April 30th! Crazy. This month is seriously flying by. I have made a tiny bit of progress on some knitting projects and started a couple others, so let’s take a look!

Blue Loasa:

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BMFA Socks that Rock Mediumweight, colorway Blue Moonstone. Click for project page.

I’m nearing the toe of my Socks that Rawk! Q2 KAL socks. It has been an extremely quiet KAL so far… I appear to be the only one knitting! Seeing as I’m the slowest sock knitter ever, that is particularly sad. Oh well. Still a pretty pattern!

Linen Bryum:

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Shibui Knits Linen, colorways White and Graphite. Click for project page.

Inspired by all the graphic shawl patterns out there, I cast on a Bryum by Cailliau Berangere with some new-to-me linen yarn. I’m not convinced that the linen will soften up much after blocking, considering I blocked a swatch and it still feels pretty rough. I think the garter stitch might be a bit too textured to give the fabric a really smooth hand. However, I find myself compelled to keep knitting it anyway and just see what happens… so I guess I’m doing that!

Secret Swatch:

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BMFA Marine Silk Sport, colorway Ramalaba

This project is currently a secret, but I wanted to show off the pretty silkiness of its stitches nonetheless, so there it is!

Spinning:

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Turtle!

Besides the pretty silk I just spun up, I’ve been spinning some angora on my Tibetan spindle and am still chipping away at the Nunoco batts on my Aegean Turkish spindle. It’s been slow and steady with those spins, they’ll be around for a while I bet.

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Sample sized gift sets at Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe!

As for Sweet Sheep, I’ve just added themed gift sets (florals, fruits, sweets, etc) of three sample sized bars to the shop. Also, if any of you are local, you can come by the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market & Spinner’s Picnic this Saturday (May 31st) in Bristol, Rhode Island to sniff some lotion bars in person!

Oh, and one more thing! You have until tomorrow (Thursday 5/29 11:59pm Eastern) to enter the Karbonz needle giveaway in this post. Good luck, and check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis!

WIPWed #54: Sweet Sheep, Open for Business!

FINALLY, after months of preparation, my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe is now open for business!

grandopeningYou might remember from a while back my request for lotion bar testers. Well, with their helpful feedback, I’ve finally perfected my custom combination of beeswax, mango butter, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, meadowfoam oil, vitamin E oil, and lanolin! I think it now has just the right consistency and moisturizing effect that I wanted out of a solid bar. It is truly a lotion bar made by a knitter, for knitters (and anyone else who wants nice, soft hands). I currently have 10 different scented lotion bar options, 2 unscented options, and 1 custom order option available in the shop. Custom orders will take a couple of weeks to produce before I can ship out as I’m currently waiting on more supplies to arrive. The shop is certainly a work-in-progress as there are several scents I’m planning to add (lemon cake! green tea! cinnamon chai!) as well as sample sized bars and lip balms when I get the packaging for those little guys sorted out. I just didn’t want to wait any longer!

My favorite scent at the moment is Turkish Mocha:

turkishmocha1Does that not look delightful? It’s a warm, spiced scent of coffee and cinnamon with chocolate-y undertones from the non-deoderized cocoa butter used for these bars.

Although a close second is Spring Meadow:

springmeadow1It’s a completely different kind of fragrance: a sweet, light floral that smells exactly like a field of flowers blooming in the sun. For all of the non-chocolate-y bars I used deodorized cocoa butter so the fragrance wouldn’t be compromised by the natural scent of the butter.

As a special thank you to all of my blog readers, I’m offering a 10% discount with the coupon code BLOGLOVE. The code is good through the end of April. Just add what you’d like to the cart, enter the code in the appropriate place, and it should automatically deduct! Please let me know if you encounter any problems or see anything on the site that’s confusing or unclear as this is my first Etsy rodeo and there could’ve been some fumbles during setup. Now, back to knitting…

Kelp-y Kelpie:

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Brooklyn Tweed Loft, colorway Sweatshirt. Click for project page.

After a few weeks of avoiding working on this due to a dislike of the metal needles I was using, I’m happy to report that after switching to the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles that I’m testing out for an upcoming review, my progress became quite speedy and comfortable! I hesitated to switch because I thought that such a grippy yarn like the woolen-spun Loft would work best on metal needles, but the stitches slide along just fine on the Karbonz and I’m thinking the metal tips probably help things go smoothly. Huzzah for progress!

Blue Loasa:

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BMFA Socks that Rock Mediumweight, colorway Blue Moonstone. Click for project page.

Despite all the preparation going on, I’ve made some decent progress on my Loasa lateritia sock. I zoomed through the lace cuff (which doesn’t look like much in the photo above since it is inside out) and am now about ready to start the heel. I’m really loving this color, Blue Moonstone, right now. It feels so bright and cheery for spring!

That’s it from me this week. Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

Winner, Winner

Congratulations to Jordyn, the winner of the Eucalan wool wash giveaway! You should be contacted shortly regarding your prize.

woolwash#We had over 40 entries in the giveaway, which is really exciting! It was fun to read everybody’s comments on the scents they like best and whether or not they’ve tried Eucalan before. And thanks to all who shared the giveaway via Twitter, Facebook, or Ravelry. It earned you an extra entry and made this little blog feel quite loved. We’ll certainly be doing more giveaways soon!

In other news, I (temporarily) couldn’t find the old sock I was working on, so I started a new one:

BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight, colorway Blue Moonstone. Click for project page.

This is the start of Hunter Hammersen’s Loasa lateritia pattern for the Socks That Rawk! group’s 2nd quarter KAL. I’m super excited because I nominated this pattern for the KAL and it actually got chosen! It’s rare that a pattern I already wanted to knit gets picked so I’m pumped to get this one done. This pattern involves some of my favorite sock features: a little bit of simple lace at the beginning, a turned-down cuff, and then easy-peasy ribbing for the rest of the sock so it can fill two distinct roles of interesting couch knitting AND easy travel knitting throughout its lifetime. Call it a knitting-related ontogenetic niche shift, if you will. (That’s eco-dork jargon, don’t worry about it.)

Anyway, all you really need to know is that I love this colorway (which I rescued via frogging a long-abandoned sock), I’m thoroughly enjoying this pattern, and I hope that these factors combine to mean that I’ll finish the socks in record time for the KAL (which goes through June). What new project are you excited about? What are your favorite sock pattern features?

Failure Is Humbling

Y’know, I really thought I was going to make it for this Gryphon Games challenge, at least with one project (I always knew multiple entries would be unachievable). I figured since I was halfway through the lace edging chart of my Deep, Dark Stellaria shawl, two weeks would be plenty of time to finish and enter it into the WIPs category. I failed to consider two things: 1) I cast on more stitches and modified the shawl to make it deeper, which also meant much longer rows by the time I hit the lace section and 2) I didn’t even consider the possibility of mistakes.

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Trouble spots.

It’s difficult to tell in the photo, but the lace in the box on the left does not match the lace in the box on the right. I seem to have missed some yarnovers somewhere and have completely lacked the time and mental energy to figure out where I went wrong and how best to fix it. I’m definitely not going to frog back entire rows, I’ll have to drop down stitches and MacGyver some sort of solution, but that takes effort and I have sadly not had time for it**. Thus, while finishing by 3pm today would’ve been a close call to begin with, it’s now an impossibility. Sigh.

But then I thought to myself, “No matter! At least I’ll get to turn the heel on these socks this weekend so they’re ready for easy, portable knitting during the week.”

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Yet another mistake!

I’m not sure if I should blame lack of decent note-taking on the first sock or lack of proper attention on the second sock, but now that I’ve turned the heel it’s become apparent that these two socks will not be the same. The instep of the first sock begins and ends with a purl column while the instep of the second sock begins and ends with a knit column. The Fiasco thinks I should just finish them because I’ll be the only one who knows. However, I’m a super strict stickler for symmetry and logical flow in patterns and this oversight will likely drive me nuts.

Some days, man, you just can’t win. My solution? I’m going to go wind yarn for an entirely new project and give these suckers a little time out.

** The reason I’ve been lacking knitting time involves a bunch of errands (boring) but ALSO (the exciting bit) on Friday night we saw Alton Brown live on his Edible Inevitable tour — and it was awesome. I’m a huge fan of his Good Eats show but had no idea what to expect on a live tour — I mean, a cooking show? On stage? But it wasn’t really a cooking show. A little bit of cooking happened but it was mostly Alton being hilarious and playing music (the man can play the sax like nobody’s business). While it’s hard to describe, I definitely recommend it if you like his style.

February Focus

I’m not quite sure why I’ve never taken part in the Ravellenics events in the past. It could be because I wasn’t in a group that was really into it or because I don’t have cable TV (we’re a Netflix and Hulu household) or because I’ve never been fond of watching sports (although the Olympics are definitely more interesting than your average sportsball game). However, this year, I’m sort of taking part. In The Verdant Gryphon group on Ravelry we’re hosting The Gryphon Games. There are three categories you can enter: WIPs, small projects (under 400 yards), and large projects (over 400 yards). Finish any of those items by 3pm on Sunday Feb. 23rd and you’ll be entered to win either a $25 or $40 gift VG certificate.

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VG Codex, colorway Devil’s Dictionary. Click for project page.

I’m planning to enter with 2 projects. For the WIPs category, I’m trying to finish my Deep, Dark Stellaria shawl that I started back in August. The garter stitch section whizzed by but of course since the lace edging requires concentration, it has languished. I’m now almost halfway through the edging but man those rows are long.

Copyright Robin Ulrich. Click for pattern page.

For the small projects category, I’d like to knit a Bosc Hat by Robin Ulrich using Mondegreen in a lovely pale green color to match the Taygete Shawl I finished a while back. Those 2 projects alone would likely be doable over the next 2 weeks… but of course, they are not the only 2 projects I’m trying to complete in February.

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February goals. No big deal, right?

Here’s everything I’d like to get through this month (of course, the shortest month of the year). To the left, we have the Christmas socks I was hoping to finish by Valentine’s Day, which is not likely to happen over the next 4 days. In the back are 2 secret projects I was also hoping to finish this week. (Note: was.) Then we have the shawl and skein of Mondegreen for The Gryphon Games. And last but not least, to the right is 6 ounces of alpaca fiber I’d like to turn into yarn by the end of the month for my Mom’s birthday in early March. And let’s not even mention all the design swatching I need/plan to do.

I better get crackin’. Are you participating in any crazy deadline knitting? How do you handle your priorities/knitting whims?

IS #57: So Very Mysterious

I’ve never been really into mystery knit-alongs, but my friend Jeremie is really into them and he might have just talked me into doing one. I’m still deciding… but I’m leaning heavily towards jumping in. (There will be spoiler photos a bit further down, click away if you don’t want to see!)

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Copyright ysolda. Click for pattern page.

If you haven’t heard about the Follow Your Arrow Mystery KAL by Ysolda Teague yet, it seems to be a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure knitting experience (like this other KAL done by Lee Meredith a while ago) and results in 32 possible shawls. That’s a lot of combinations! There are already over 3,000 projects on Ravelry, which is mind-boggling and inspirational all on its own.

 

 

(Ok, prepare for spoilers.)

 

I’m going to stalk other people’s projects on Ravelry and wait another clue or so before I make my decision (I’m lame like that) but I really like the way clue 1A and 2B look together using different colors.

Photo copyright Bella-B. Click for their project page.

Isn’t that a gorgeous example? The fishtail-looking stripey part is clue 1A and the asymmetrical garter stitch swoop up the side is clue 2B. I like it. It’s funky. I even have two yarn ideas for it.

SG Bugga in Grey Scalloped Bar Butterfly and leftover bits

If I deconstruct this hibernating (and sadly boring) WIP, I can use the yarn for a super-stripey version of the mystery KAL shawl. The difficult aspect of this plan would be choosing which colors to use for which sections. Before I saw Clue 2B, I thought I’d use grey for the stockinette and the multi-colored remnants for the garter stripes. But in Clue 2, the multi-colored bits would constitute much of the fabric in that big garter stitch swoop, which might get visually overwhelming and difficult to plan out.

SG Bugga in Archy and Mehatibel

A second option would be to ditch the leftover bits and pair the pale grey Bugga with this fun magenta/teal/purple/blue skein. That pairing had been my original plan when I purchased this skein way back when, so I’m sorely tempted to make it happen. We shall see!

What about you, do you like mystery KALs? How do you deal with giving up control of the look of the finished piece? Does this choose-your-own-adventure style KAL make you feel better or worse about not knowing what’s coming next? As always, if you’ve got some inspiration to share this week, link along in the comments below!

 

 

 

WIPWed #45: Steady On

Before I get to my WIPs this week, I want to remind you to check out this post from yesterday (in case you missed it!) about two fun things: 1) my spinning-related guest post on the Crafts from the Cwtch blog and 2) a pattern sale. (Exciting times, yes?) As for WIPs, mine look pretty much the same this week as last time, but I’ll show them off anyway.

Scummy Cedar Grove:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts De-Vine, colorway Pond Scum. Click for project page.

My lovely, chunky shawl is definitely growing, but not nearly fast enough to be finished by my birthday on Friday. I’m only about halfway done. That’s ok, though, I now have something else I’d like to finish by this weekend (of course).

Lord of the Loch:

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The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga, colorway Lord of the Flies.

My new project goal to have finished by this weekend is a Loch hat designed by Tin Can Knits and knit in that pretty Bugga skein above. My mom had her second round of chemo yesterday and a nurse told her she’ll probably begin losing her hair any day now. I’m going down to visit my parents this weekend and I’d love if I could finish this hat by then so I can give it to her straight away. I’m deluding myself a little with the logic that hats are fast and lace is fast so a lace hat should be pretty fast, right? However, it is a sport weight hat, so it may not be as zippy as I’m accustomed too. And I haven’t even wound the yarn yet… But despite all that, I’m still going to try!

Festooned Joy:

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BMFA Socks that Rock LW, colorway Comfort & Joy. Click for project page.

I’m being a good sock KAL-er and knitting at least a round or two on this sock every day. This means I’m now ready to start the toe! I love how just that little bit a day can make it feel like socks grow overnight.

That’s all I have this week, folks. Visit Tamis Amis for more WIPs!