Storing Those Shawls

Like a great number of people, I binged Tidying Up with Marie Kondo when it premiered on Netflix, and I’ve been slowly going around my house, tidying, asking if certain objects ‘Spark Joy.’ My dresser drawers are a thing of beauty, all folded in thirds and stacked vertically. Where I’ve been struggling (even before KonMari entered my world) is my closet and how to store my knits.  The problem challenge with knitting so much is having somewhere to put all the new lovely wardrobe additions.

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Previously, my completed shawls and cowls were placed unceremoniously into a cube shaped bin, no order, no rhyme or reason. Fed up last weekend, I dumped them all onto my bed and hit the mall.  And this is what I found:

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This container has fifteen pre-divided compartments, and my shawls and cowls were able to roll up neatly and each has a home.  My bigger shawls are also rolled and are placed back into the cube, this time with more order.  I still have some space challenges in the closet, and I think they can only be solved with some sort of new dresser or wardrobe, basically I need more shelves.  For the time being, this solution works well and makes me super happy when I see it!

How do you store your shawls and knits? I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration! Share your solutions!

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Shawl to Cowl Experiment a Success!

I know I’ve already professed my love for bandana cowls on this blog, but it bears repeating, I think.  I love this accessory, so much so that one of my latest projects turned a shawl pattern into a cowl.  Any that I’ve made before have all been patterns for this particular style, but there aren’t a lot of patterns on Ravelry, at least, not a lot of patterns easily found with searches.

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Knowing the basic structure of the cowl, I took a shawl pattern and adapted it to become a cowl.  In a nutshell, I knit flat, increasing 4 stitches every other round until a certain length, then I joined in the round, increasing 2 stitches every other round, at the centre of the cowl.

It worked really well with the Jocassee pattern, a free shawl by Kemper Wray.  It features garter sections and drop stitch sections, and because it didn’t involve any super fancy stitch designs or lace, it was a good shawl to experiment with.  I’m rather happy with the finished cowl but am looking forward to cooler weather before I can wear it more often.  It’s far too hot here in Canada for any extra wool around the neck!

I’d also like to try this again, perhaps with a more complex stitch design and see if I can replicate my results.  

My Perfect Cowl

I have a new favourite knitting project, and I think I’m a wee bit obsessed.  Since delving into this knitting obsession hobby, I’ve become a big fan of shawls, scarves and any other neck accessory (neck-cessory?).  The problem with shawls is that throughout the day, they shift, they slouch, they constantly need to be adjusted.

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Enter the bandana cowl. Guys, they are, in my very humble opinion, the perfect cowl. They have interest with the shape – they look like a shawl, but without the fuss of constantly fiddling with the ends.  If you choose a simple pattern, the yarn can shine, like with my Escarpment Cowl.  The yarn was the fabulous Mineville Wool Project Merino DK Single, named in honour of the Ontario Science Centre, and the colours were truly the star with the rich blues and greens.  The simplicity of the pattern, designed by Shireen Nadir of Blue Brick Yarns, truly showcases the yarns.  It was designed in mind for her Blue Brick gradients – if you haven’t checked out this indie Canadian dyer yet, please head over to her website.  My apologies in advance to your bank account.


Even with a more intricate pattern, like Tipsoo Cowl by britt schmiesing, which somehow just FLEW off my needles a few weeks ago, the yarn still can be the star is naturally is (it’s Indigodragonfly, because I know you were curious) and yet the pattern allows for texture difference and adds interest to a knitter who may not always like the appeal of endless rounds of simple stockinette.

I’ve been endlessly searching Ravelry for more patterns of this structure.  I’m hoping to become comfortable enough with the construction of this accessory to perhaps experience to with my own designs. I end up wearing most shawls wrapped around my neck.  These bandana cowls allow for the same look of a shawl without the bulk and without the fuss.  Like I said, my perfect cowl.

Where were we? Oh, right… Knitting

After an unintentional week off, I’m back at the blog. No real reason why there wasn’t a post last week, unless you count a terribly busy week and a half. What have I been up to?

The week after Canadian Thanksgiving saw two days in the office (co-leading education programs both days), one day at a conference, and Friday the 13th co-ordinating a paranormal investigation on site.  The conference was amazing, for so many different reasons. It was a conference for other Museum professionals in Ontario, and conferences are always great for connecting with colleagues and friends you don’t always get to see because of geography. There are always inspiring sessions and workshops, also making conferences fantastic opportunities. Personally, this conference was remarkable because my co-workers nominated me for an award of excellence, which I received that evening. It was amazing, overwhelming, humbling, nerve-wracking, and truly a gratifying experience.  I feel like I have a lot to live up to, but I’m up for the challenge with my career.

The paranormal investigation was a lot of fun as well.  My museum works exclusively with a local group, and I’d considered many of the team members as my friends; really a great group of guys. We sold a small amount of tickets and increased the time allowed in the museum so the guests really could make the most of the experience. There were some strange bangs and knocks heard, but nothing to really change my septic mind. I’m not completely closed minded on the subject, and I know we’d be happy to have these investigators back. Maybe I’ll be convinced next time.

The following day, my best friend and I were on our way to Kingston to see the Barenaked Ladies as part of their Canada One-Five-Oh tour. Oh my goodness. It was a phenomenal show.  We’ve seen BNL so many times through the years (three this year alone), and this ranks up there as one of the best shows we’ve been to.  Small, intimate theatre, phenomenal set list, great music. There’s a reason they are my favourite band. We ended up meeting three of the four band members after the show, who remembered us because we were the girls in the front row dancing to every song. This was just a great girls weekend away.

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Last week, why I didn’t blog (as if the week before wasn’t busy enough), I worked most weeknights, and Monday evening I went into Toronto to hear Alan Doyle talk about his new book.  My sister and I ended up getting a picture with him as well.

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Whenever I was able, I had yarn in my hands.  I finished the Dodging Rain Drops Cowl I cast on in early October. It’s a paid pattern in Ravelry, and I’d recommend spending the money and supporting the designer of this beautiful cowl.

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I’ve been working on socks which will be a Christmas gift, which I’ve just picked up again after frogging them and putting them into a time out. Turns out my gauge isn’t what it typically is with a lacework sock pattern… we’re on better terms now after I went down a needle size. There were some hard feelings right after the frogging, let me tell you…

And I’ve been very happily working on my Bigger on the Inside shawl, using yarn I dyed myself earlier this summer.  Once I got used to the ‘Time Vortex Lace’ pattern that Kate Atherley designed, it’s easy to memorize and quite fun to knit.

And with this update, I’m back to knitting. The socks are calling my name.

Stash Busters

How do you use up your left overs? You know what I’m talking about: those little part balls, left over from that pair of socks or sweater you finished months ago.

I’m very much a Type A personality (or as a friend says, Type A++), and I’m super organized, so having these odds and ends kicking about my very precious yarn storage space drives me nuts.  When you have a quarter of a skein left, what do you do? It’s not enough to make anything of true substance… but sometimes it’s just enough.

I’ve been on a stash busting kick, trying to clear away those part skeins and odds and ends.

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A few odd balls of DK acrylic are quickly becoming a simple triangle shawl. I may need to buy one more ball to make it a good, proper shawl length.

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The left over Diamond Tradition from the Soper Creek Yarn Challenge are becoming a quick seed stitch cowl.

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Finally, those odd sock ends are becoming squares for a sock yarn blanket. I am ultimately pondering if I make it a true sock yarn memory blanket and only make one square with the yarn, or do I keep busting that stash and just make as many little squares with the yarn that I can. Decisions, decisions.

Happy knitting!