Flax and a Finish

I’m happy to report that I’ve held true to my word to put down the phone and pick up the knitting more often, and lo and behold, we have progress!

First, I finished Pussyhat #3 that I’ve had basically done for quite a long time. It was languishing because winter was over, but I recently participated in a swap on Ravelry and I realized my swap receiver would be the perfect recipient so I stuck a Nasty Woman button on there (from Katrinkles), took a quick pic in bad lighting, and off it went to my swap receiver.

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It is the 8th month of the year, and that is my 5th finished object of 2017, and the 3rd Pussyhat. That should tell you something about the rate of knitting around here!

From my swap giver, I received many amazing project bags and gifts that are right up my marine-bio-loving alley, along with some lovely maroon-ish BFL fiber to spin. It was Hatchling-approved.

And finally, I have actually been knitting (even swatching)! This is my Summer Flax sweater for my little guy in a new-to-me colorway of Malabrigo Rios: Hojas. It’s such a great green! I was indecisive about the size, he wears 24 month clothes right now at 14 months old, and the pattern had either 1-2 years or 2-4 years for size choices. When I swatched, I liked the fabric I got with one needle size down and slightly tighter gauge, so I decided to go with the larger size, hoping that my firmer gauge will help snug it up a bit, and if it doesn’t, he’ll grow into it eventually. Length probably matters more than width at this point, so I’ll have to do some trying on when the time comes to make decisions.

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WIPWed #120: Ode to My Mitts

After six full years of wear, my favorite fingerless mitts are just starting to give up the ghost. These are a modified version of the Mitt Envy pattern (designed by weezalana) knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn (fingering weight, 100% superwash Merino wool).

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Sad, frayed edge.

I noticed the other day that the bind off edge has frayed and released a few loose stitches on both mitts. I’m not quite sure how to fix it, but they don’t really seem to be unraveling too badly at the moment. Since my knitting this week looks exactly the same as last week, I figured I’d gush about how impressed I am by these mitts, instead.

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Freshly made, back in 2010.

These mitts pre-date my blog, I finished them in March 2010. They were the only mitts I owned until I made a different pair a year and a half later, and even after I made the other pair I wore these primarily for ‘rough and tumble’ work–I did not baby these mitts. They were worn pretty much all fall/winter/spring, came horseshoe crab counting with me during grad school, handled tree branches and fish alike during hiking and fieldwork, and even served as full-on handkerchiefs a time or two.

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Besides the edge, they look good as new.

All that is to highlight that I am seriously impressed with how these mitts have held up over the years. Besides the frayed edge, which probably would have held up better if I’d known about stretchy bind-offs at the time that I made them, they look basically as good as new. The fabric has loosened up some over the years, but the stitches are still sharp and the cabling is crisp, with hardly any pilling at all. I’ll be honest, I did not expect the Malabrigo Sock yarn to hold up so well. It’s such a soft, thin yarn, but it is apparently also strong and hard-wearing. I think it would still be a little too thin for my taste in thick socks, but I’d happily use it for anything and everything else.

Has a favorite piece of knitwear every worn out? What did you do about it?

As for books, this week I’m reading Pink Brain, Blue Brain by  Lise Eliot and I’m loving it. It’s written by a neuroscientist who basically dissects all the research related to sex differences in the brain and development of children from the prenatal period onwards, and how relatively small differences grow into the larger perceived gender gaps in adulthood through societal influences. She debunks a lot of the pseudoscience floating around out there and details which differences are established (i.e., real and biologically influenced) and which are due to cultural bias. It’s fascinating stuff, and potentially useful. For instance, boys on average are fussier and harder to soothe as infants than girls, because their neurological systems lag a few weeks behind due to suppression of development in the womb by prenatal testosterone. WHO KNEW?! I didn’t, but I’m glad I do now.

Despite the lack of new knitting this week, I’m linking up with Yarnalong.

FOFri #45: This Did Not Take 2 Weeks

Friends, I have been in a knitting-blogging-creative rut. I finished the hat I will show you below over 2 weeks ago, and am just now getting a chance to blog about it. All my other knitting feels ‘stuck’ for one reason or another. I seem to have lost my crafting mojo and so have been majorly procrastinating the following:

  • making the pom-pom for my Fidra hat,
  • knitting my current socks because I lost the index card on which I drew the chart and I can’t be bothered to draw another,
  • knitting my sockhead hat because I need to look up how long to make it before decreasing and I feel like I’m almost there,
  • knitting my baby sweater because I need to wind yarn for the trim color
  • winding yarn because I lost an integral piece of my swift when I moved a couple of moths ago and have yet to locate it,
  • organizing my yarn bins, in hopes of finding that piece of my swift, which would also clean up my room, and
  • spinning, because I’m too lazy to not sit on the couch in the evenings.

There are things I want to do, and the impulses to do them are there, but by the time I get home from work, I would just rather curl up on the couch and read or watch TV or sleep. This is not normal for me. Prior to pregnancy, that sort of blatant inactivity wouldn’t happen before 10 pm, and TV-watching was ALWAYS accompanied by crafting. Now it’s happening at 7 pm and I’m feeling too physically tired to do anything crafty, so I’m losing all of my productive evening hours, and going to bed early to boot. I’m just going to go ahead and blame the fetus, but still. I feel like I’m wasting away my last few child-free months of crafting time!

Anywho, onto the hat.

 

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Malabrigo Mecha in Vaa, click for project page.

I started this simple, waffle-stitch hat when my coworker announced that he was moving on to bigger and better things. And since he was my science buddy at work, he got a hat. I used Malabrigo Mecha in Vaa, one of my favorite thicker-weight yarns for gift knitting (the other is Malabrigo Chunky). Mecha is a single-ply, superwash Merino wool that is (in my opinion) thinner than the bulky weight  at which it’s listed (and definitely thinner than Mal Chunky). I cast on 72 stitches and used size 9 needles, which gave me a nice tension and a perfect size, and the hat took me about .

I’m particularly enamored with the way the decreases worked out. Since I couldn’t be bothered to write down what I did, I will probably never be able to replicate it, but I know that I decreased later than I typically would and more often per round in order to get a very fast, concentric-looking decrease.

And that’s all I’ve accomplished lately! My Fidra hat is nearly there, though (just one pom-pom away…) and I’m hoping I can find that swift piece soon so I can wind yarn more easily and get moving on some other projects I have in mind.

What do you do when you’ve lost your crafting mojo? How do you get your groove back?

 

FOFri #40: Malabrigo Nube Chain-Py Yarn

We’re going to go ahead and forget the fact that I was aiming to finish this skein for Malabrigo March because it’s finally done now (yay!) and it’s lovely (double yay!).

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MalMarch Nube, click for handspun page.

This skein began life as 100% Merino top from Malabrigo, colorway Persia. The fiber is gorgeously soft but often a wee bit compacted, so I chose to card my fiber into rolags and spin them with a long-draw draft for a nice fluffy single (S twist). I then filled two bobbins with 2-ply yarn (Z-twist) and ran the them through my wheel again in the same direction to add some extra twist before the last step. Finally, I plied the two 2-ply yarns together to create a 4-ply cabled yarn (S twist, click the photos below to enlarge).

Cabled yarns do interesting things with variegated colorways, and if plied tightly have lots of spring. My skein is a bit loosely plied so it’s fairly relaxed, but it’s pretty nonetheless. I ended up with 236 yards of approx. DK weight yarn (923 ypp, 12-14 wpi). It should be the perfect amount to make a nice pair of mitts for the Fiasco next fall.

Final cabled yarn

Final cabled yarn

Have you ever tried a cabled yarn? What other fancy plying techniques have you experimented with?

WIPWed #84: Pretty Things

I really have no words to adequately describe how much I’ve been loving my knits lately, so I’ll just show them to you.

Yaksi Cancan:

WIPWed #84: Pretty Things

BMFA Yaksi DK, colorway Shoqua. Click for project page.

That right there is just about the prettiest cable I’ve ever knit. It’s a simple French braid-style, 9 stitch cable but damn is it pretty. Combined with the lacy bits and the sort-of-picot sideways edging, I’m basically in love and am feeling the urge to cable all the things.

MalMarch Sundry:

WIPWed #84: Pretty Things

Malabrigo Yarns Dos, colorways Turquesa and Indigo. Click for project page.

My main Malabrgo March project is moving along rather nicely, only 10 days in I’m about a third of the way done, so I expect that finishing it this month will be no problem (way to jinx myself). But honestly? I can’t stop knitting it. The combo of easy garter stitch, fun slipped stitches, and incredibly omg soft fabric is addicting. Even the Fiasco, who has actually uttered the words “I’ve always thought Merino was a little scratchy” and for whom nothing but baby alpaca is ever soft enough, thinks this stuff is the bomb. Oh, Malabrigo, why did you discontinue Dos?!?!

Alchemy:

WIPWed #84: Pretty Things | Woolen Diversions

BMFA STR HW, colorway Tea & Alchemy. Click for project page.

My favorite thing about this project is that it’s almost done. And if it lets me win the game of yarn chicken within which we’re currently embroiled, I’ll love it forever.

Earth & Sky Stacks:

WIPWed #84: Pretty Things

TwoSistersStringworks Gotland, colorway Rhime. Click for handspun page.

After my previous art yarn exploration, I wanted to try another style. I have two braids of this Gotland fiber from when I first began spinning back in 2012, one blue and one green. I’m spinning each as its own single, and the green single is going to be interspersed with bits of white or grey. Then I’m going to ply them together and turn the grey/white bits into stacks, which are kind of like a lazy person’s beehive. Tough to explain but hopefully not tough to do.

And as far as reading goes, I’ve pickde up the Outlander series again, I’m on “The Fiery Cross”. Since I watched the first half of the TV series on DVD in about 3 days flat, I couldn’t help myself. That’s all I’ve got going on, what have you been up to this week? Linking up with Small Things and Gracey’s Goodies.

Checking In

Happy Monday, folks! I hope your weeks are off to a good start. In a surprise twist (that should surprise exactly no one), not only did I fail to resist the call of the Malabrigo March KALs, but I ended up choosing a completely different pattern than the ones I discussed in my last Inspiration Saturday post.

Beginnings of a Sundry shawl. Click for project page.

This is the beginning of a Sundry shawl, designed by Jennifer Dassau. I’ve admired the simple shawl/scarf hybrid for some time, and I think the two-color houndstooth section will be smashing in the Turquesa and Indigo colorways. I decided against the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl because I do believe I would like to knit that out of a lightweight cashmere yarn someday (vs. my sport weight Merino) and I wanted something a little more mindless than the Katana shawl (which some knitters said was difficult to track). Plus, the designer of the Sundry shawl is a Malabrigo Junkie herself, so it felt extra appropriate.

I think 2-year-olds are always blurry, am I right?

I visited my little niece-by-association over the weekend and attempted to snap a picture of her wearing the Troll hat that I made. This was the best I could do. I made the toddler size, but am thinking I should have made the child size as this one just fits (I knit at the pattern gauge and the unstretched circumference was around 16″). Since the hat was super quick and adorable, I have no doubt another will hit my needles eventually.

I was a busy bee this weekend re-stocking sold out items for Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe. Sandalwood Vanilla, Green Tea, Winter Gardenia, and Fresh Snow (hands-down my most relevant scent right now, am I right? #nomoresnow) lotion bars have been re-stocked, as well as my popular Winter Clementine lip balms. I’ve got a new lip balm flavor coming as soon as I can take some decent product photos (French Macaron, swoon!) and hope to spend much of March developing whole new lines of products, so keep an eye out for those, as well!

Are you participating in Malabrigo March this year, or any other fun KALs at the moment?

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