Soper Creek’s 2019 Yarn Challenge

Yarn challenge complete. This year was fun! In case you missed what I’m talking about, one of my Local Yarn Stores hosts a yarn challenge every late-winter. The owner chooses a yarn and colour palette, and she makes kits for participants to purchase. From there, each person makes a piece, and upon return to the LYS, she puts the pieces in her front window and people can vote for their favourites.  This year’s yarn was Briggs and Little Sport, and with it, I made this:

 

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The pattern is Raspberry Field by Jana Markova. The overall structure was easy to follow. The confusion started with the lace. I really wanted to include the lace because it added a certain something to the project, but the designer didn’t design the lace chart to account for the increases at the beginning (RS) and end (WS) of each row, and it didn’t account for the decreases happening along the spine. I had to think really hard about how to proceed with this section.  Basically, for the first row, I went for it, started the lace where it should have started as per the chart, and I figured where to start each subsequent lace repeat by counting.

Despite the challenges in making the lace, I’m very happy with the final product. It’s woolly and warm, admittedly a little scratchy (because it is VERY woolly), but so cozy.

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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!

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.  

Is sock yarn ‘stash yarn’?

There are many divisive issues in knitting: to swatch or not to swatch, process v. product, but perhaps one of the most controversial is whether sock yarn counts towards stash. One would think that the debate is settled when the Yarn Harlot decreed that sock yarn isn’t really stash yarn. Maybe I just think of ‘stash’ a little differently.

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Take this beautiful skein of sock yarn. I bought this lovely skein of Indigodragonfly CaribouBaa in the fall of 2016.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but I knew the colours were pretty, and when I bought it, it was my first ever Indigodragonfly, so I was excited. There it sat for almost a year and a half; other projects came and went, but inspiration had yet to grab me for this yarn. And then it did.

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In March/April I purchased two skeins from one of my LYSs (one two separate occasions, as it turns out).  After chatting with a friend about this yarn and how to use these two together, she encouraged me to take a closer look at Stephen West and his brioche patterns.  While brioche wasn’t in the future for this yarn, The Doodler was. I saw the pattern, I saw the skein of Indigodragonfly on my shelves, and I knew these three had to be used together.

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I have a hard time buying more than one skein at a time if I’m just buying yarn. Some of this is budget, and the rest is practical.  I’ve been stung too many times by not buying enough to complete a project that I’m either running out and buying more or ripping back and buying new.  If I have a project in mind that needs ‘x’ amount of metres, then cool, I’ll go out and buy what I need, but to buy ‘x’ skeins just because, that I just can’t do. But sock yarn, oh lovely sock yarn. You can buy one skein of fingering, and you have enough metres to make a plethora of things. A hat, no problem! Socks, duh. A shawl/cowl/neck accessory, done and done. Or, like my lovely blue/green Indigodragonfly, it can just live there until the perfect project comes along.