On my needles

Since finishing my latest cardigan, all my attention has been given to my Samwise Cowl. I get like that with lace patterns, where at first, it takes everything in me to get moving on it, but once I get used to the pattern and the repetitions, I cannot put the projects down, and this is indeed the case with Samwise.  The anticipation of the colour changes in the yarn certainly is helping as well, and I can certainly say that it is well and truly into the blue colour!

The pattern has three different charts to follow, and I’m at the point in the pattern where I have only one chart repetition to complete before edging garter stitches, but I still have quite a bit of this yarn left and am hoping to make it into the purple before I have to bind off.  I figure I have two options: work more repeats of this chart, or make the garter section super long.  I can’t even turn to other project examples on Ravelry because there is only one other person who has added this to their projects! I think my game plan will be to finish the chart repeat, add a lifeline, then repeat one more time.  If I don’t have enough yarn to do that final repeat, I can rip it all out knowing my stitches are held safely on the lifeline.  If all goes to plan, the cowl will be a little longer than the pattern itself calls for, but you should be able to see the beautiful fade this yarn is doing.

Le Pouf is Le Finished, and other adventures

I am so happy with my latest cardigan, the Le Pouf by Beata Jezek. Using fingering yarn held double, it really did knit up quickly, but the stress with this project, oh man! The pattern is free and all in all a good pattern, but, it is a faded pattern and it does not advise exactly when to fade. My kitchen scales and I got very well acquainted while I was working on this sweater, fearful that I would run out of yarn as I was working on it.  Four of the skeins I used for this project I purchased from Knitter’s Frolics in years past, so buying more would be very, very challenging.

I kept my project notes on Ravelry full of detail, because as I was working on my sweater, other’s notes were very helpful for me. Hopefully mine may be of some use to knitters working on this sweater in the future. I will say, this pattern was a great way to use skeins of sock yarn that have been kicking around a stash for some time! Try it out, play with different colour combos!

On Saturday, while my cardigan sat drying, a few friends of mine and I went to Burlington to the latest yarn launch for The Blue Brick. My one friend in particular absolutely adores this dyer, and really, can you blame her? The Blue Brick’s yarns are all dyed inspired by photographs she takes, and they are typically tonal or ombre and simply stunning to see.

I’ve been working on the Samwise Cowl, designed by Shireen Nadir of Blue Brick, using her Luxe DK in Moscovy I bought back in the summer.  The fade is very subtle but it is indeed fading into the blue!

At the yarn launch on Saturday, I was good to my bank account and my stash (which I’ve resolved to be very choosy about adding to) and I bought one of the shawl cuffs she made; I’m in love.

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As part of the launch, there were door prizes, four given away in total. A few guests who left early gave my friends and I their tickets, so I had three for the afternoon; I was off by one number for the second draw, and off by two on the third.  The final draw was a sweater’s quantity of yarn, an ombre DK sweater kit. This time, it was my number that was pulled! The day before was pretty low for me, so to have February start with good friends and winning yarn, it was a much needed pick-me-up. I am beyond thankful for this generous prize and cannot wait to start a sweater that will hopefully be worthy of this beautiful yarn.

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Travels Through Space, Time, and Along the I90

How far have you travelled to see a concert? A few weeks back, my best friend and I, who love seeing live shows, travelled from the east end of the GTA to Cleveland, Ohio to see the ’90s band Crash Test Dummies. It may not be the ’90s anymore, but CTD are still playing and put on a great show! When the show was announced, it was being opened by another Canadian band, an alt-indy group from the East Coast called Port Cities, but due to some shifts in the band, they had to cancel (another East Coast musician opened and was amazing). Despite half of our reason for the travels not being there, we still had our four days in Cleveland and had a blast.

BFF did the driving, and as I sat in the passenger seat, helping the Maps app with navigating, I kept my hands busy with knitting.  My 4th Doctor Sock Yarn had been sitting in my stash since this year’s frolic, and I wanted something simple to work on while road tripping.

After over 10 hours in the car and extra time at home afterwards, my lovely cowl was finished just last week.

Can you tell I really love these bandanna cowls?

The pattern I used was kind of ‘by the seat of my pants.’  One of my favourite ‘back to basics’ knitting books is Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot, because she has a number of ‘recipes’ contained within, the basic steps needed to create a thing.  I followed her Triangular Shawl Recipe #2: Increasing Triangular Shawl until the cowl was 20″ across the top, joined in the round, and continued the increase at the centre spine but ceased the side/now back increases. It was a wonderful plain stockinette project until the bottom rounds, where I switched to the contrasting skein (intended as heel/toe contrasts) and used the brown to work 10 rows of garter.

Before we left Cleveland, BFF and I did some shopping, and naturally, I asked to stop at a yarn shop.  We ended up at Around the Table Yarns, a fairly new shop in Shaker Heights.  My budget was basically blown by this point, so I was good and only bought a skein of worsted for my travel afghan, but I couldn’t resist this branded stitch marker.

Sometimes, it’s just the yarn

Back in January, I lamented a pattern I purchased because it was lace but not charted.  It was for the Lace Eyelet Cowl, comprised of three lace sections.  I got through section 1 and then it essentially stayed on my needles without much progress, one of those UFOs getting stale at the bottom of a knitting bag. It just wasn’t wowing me enough to keep going.

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Pic from January – note the space heater going and the blanket draped over my legs.  What I wouldn’t give for a blast of January weather in the middle of this July heatwave!

Well, it turns out it wasn’t the pattern, and it wasn’t me; it was the yarn.

I originally cast on with Robosheep Yarns Sock in their Zombie Face colourway. It was purple and green and lovely. It wasn’t right for this pattern, however. Last week, I frogged it back and cast on again with Log House Cottage Squishy Sock‘s Sweet Orange colourway (a fun orange speckled yarn), and I couldn’t stop knitting it.  It was simple enough to work on while camping for a few days but exciting enough to capture my attention and get it finished in a week.  One week.  After sitting for six months untouched, this cowl was finished in a week.

Now, I haven’t completely changed how I feel about the lack of charts. I do love me some charts, and lace knitting is SO much easier for me when charted, but sometimes all a project needs is a little change in order to get it done.

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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!