Everyone knows those ruffle shawls knit sideways with a short row edging; they may have been done to death, but that’s because they’re awesomely easy and cute. That sort of construction is just my sort of thing, too – garter, short rows, a lovely skein of sock yarn. Sadly it’s getting more difficult for me to find the time to knit OPP’s* or projects just for myself, particularly while in the midst of this shawl series. No point in re-designing what already exists, in plenty. Then I remembered the lovely and maddening skein of Indigodragonfly MCN Sock; the one that I’ve knit up twice and it’s still Not Quite Right. While I’ve certainly been trying, the right design hasn’t been coming – through no fault of the yarn, of course, which is luscious and dark and delightful in the fangy colorway My Boyfriend Had A Bicentennial (Buffy). It’s just the sort of yarn you want near your neck; just the sort of shade that blends many colors into one and shows best in simple garter. . . .
Almost a full month later than last year’s Halloween Snowtober, autumn 2012 segued into winter with an all day light snow here in the Delaware Valley. I was hoping for a shawl photoshoot, but snow days themselves are typically grey and dark. This morning, however, was beautiful. I love when leaves and berries are poking out from under cover. Unfortunately my lovely model is in school during the day, and the sun doesn’t come around the mountain where we live until after 9 a.m. – even if I could convince her to get up early. So a couple unmodeled shots are the best I could do. On the bright side, it’s fun to concentrate on landscape colors and how they can complement the knit; also, no fee negotiation means more dollars toward yarn!
Variegated yarns are an ongoing challenge; they look so appealing in the skein that you cant resist, and yet – what to do with them, really? Socks, maybe; those are mostly covered up and are like a secret crazy. I think that’s why sock yarns tend to have the most numerous, exuberant instances of variegation. But what about something like a worsted weight superwash? My solution was to make fingerless mitts with a K1below stitch pattern. The hand and cuff edge are regular rib, but the long gauntlet arm section transitions to a K1below rib that breaks up the colors and makes a fluffy, less elastic brioche, good for scrunching up. Both pairs use Malabrigo Rios, one in the Candombe colorway, the other in Azules. I made the Candombe pair first as the design prototype, when I was trying to find a way to love all that yellow in my skein. Then I thought I’d try a shaded-variegated with some of the Azules left over from Blue Honey. It may be mostly blue, but . . .
Tucks and folds have been a little bit of an obsession of mine since last winter, and three weeks ago I got a lightning bolt idea for a soft, scrummy tucked shawl for the autumn season ahead. When something like this comes out of the blue, I like to go with it; thinking it might be a good fit, I sent off a pitch to Shannon at Cooperative Press, who is launching the new Knit Edge magazine. And so it comes about that Folderol is in issue 1, due to come out in the beginning of september. This piece takes those textural tucks like the ones used in the Crimp hat and Ruckle Mitts, and exaggerates them into long, deep folds along the curve of a thick crescent shawl. The top edge is finished with applied I-cord, making the entire wrap reversible, and lovely when wrapped around the neck. I’ve had these three skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in Tuareg hanging around in stash forever, and 2.5 of them are now this cozy schlarf (with enough . . .
Seventeen days isn’t a very long time to have knit up approximately 1345 yards comprising three FO, but nothing motivates me like a challenge. I like working with benchmarks such as “40 rows per day” or such. The picture above represents my olympian achievements for the summer games – something secret, as well as the beginnings of a little collection I have in mind. I can talk about the collection idea, which will involve garter stitch and short rows, my ongoing loves, and sock yarn, of which I have far too much. Who doesn’t love mindless knitting back and forth? Even the cabley/lacey people need tv knitting. And there will be interesting edge treatments to keep things from being mind-numbing. So altogether a gold-medal games for me this summer. I certainly hope the IOC doesn’t find me and send out a cease & desist letter.
That’s what I fondly said as I mailed away this package. Inside, a new sweater design to be included in Holla Knits! Fall/Winter 2012, which I cant wait to see in its entirety when it comes out in September. I originally submitted a version of this design for the Spring 2012 debut issue, but Allyson asked if I would consider holding it for fall. Since it’s insulating fiber in a richly saturated color, and plenty warm as I recently experienced first hand, that made total sense. When we discussed it again, we were talking about a swatch in mohair. Lovely KnitPicks Super Kid Mohair & Silk, but mohair nonetheless, which can be, y’know, scratchy. I love looking at it all gleamy and fuzzy, and even touching it briefly with my hand . . . but for wearing next to the skin? Not so much. Apparently I’m not the only one, as Allyson suggested using KnitPicks Capretta, an MCN blend fingering weight. It seemed like a good idea, and it turned out to be fabulous – . . .
The Northeast has been experiencing a wave of freezing temperatures this week, and given my usual aversion to hats, I thought that a hood-esque item would be just the thing. I had picked up some Loops & Threads Cozy Wool at the big box – I freely admit that the almost irridescent purple is what drew me in – and decided that a slightly wider Ring of Sapphire, with ribbed edging to pull it in a bit, would be just the thing. The Cozy Wool is super soft, really nice to work with, and very comfortable to wear; and as a 50/50 blend has a nice wool content AND a nice price. And my head is warm. I used three skeins; two for the seed stitch, and one for the rib. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Who doesn’t need a big, scrushy seed stitch infinity cowl? I certainly, suddenly, do. This one is cast on using the brilliant moebius cast on as demonstrated by the incomparable Cat Bordhi in her moebius cast on tutorial video. It allows you to knit from the cast-on middle of the ring, to the long outer edge, following the infinity moebius shape. And there’s not much more to it than that! Techniques & Skills Used: moebius CO, knit/purl, knitting in the round; this pattern includes written instructions, and a link to the moebius cast on tutorial. Size: 9” width and 60” circumference. Yarn: Loops & Threads Cozy Wool (50% Acrylic, 50% Wool; 90 yards/127g); 3 skeins, shown in Velvet. Other Materials: US 13 (9mm) 60” circular needle, or size to match gauge; Stitch marker (1); Yarn needle or size K/6.5mm crochet hook for weaving ends. Gauge: 7 stitches and 16 rows/4” in seed stitch, after gentle blocking.Gauge is not critical for this project, however a different gauge may result in a smaller or larger finished loop, . . .
Well, not exactly a WIP in terms of the knitting, but then that’s the easy part. These need to be sized and then organized for test knitting, which takes more focus. I’m still loving that tuck stitch, and it’s been turning up in other places too, so it feels like the zeitgeist is right. And with winter setting in, some textural ribbing and ruckling will bring a bit of warmth with interest. Also, maybe it’s the season, but I cant get enough of rich, dark red lately; not my usual type of thing at all, but so engaging. It looks purpley here, but that’s my lighting, trying to get a good shot of the variegation. Malabrigo Rios in Cumparsita, by the way.
The first accomplishment for what will certainly be a very busy month, my Lumina shawl knit in beautiful Madelinetosh MCN laceweight. I had to rip and restart this, and also begin again on the first lace section – some sort of inexplicable trouble with the YOs. Maddening, because I knit the original prototype without incident, but now it’s finished and fabulous. Based on the prototype, I knit approximately half the yardage as the garter body section – but should have done more, probably at least 3/4. So the lace sections are much larger than I expected, but in retrospect I really like the airiness and the drape is great. The Composition Book Grey colorway is definitely my all-time favorite. And now I’m all jazzed to knit up another laceweight shawl! Really, for size and softness, there’s nothing like it. Typically I do more shawls in summer, but this winter may buck that trend. Remind me to show some of the lovely yarn I got at Stitches East; there’s a shimmery tonal grey that is crying . . .