Elektra off the needles and blocked

Somehow I managed to go five months without a post even though I actually have been knitting and have a few things to show off. I could resolve to do better, but you know how effective that’s been in the past… This July I finally cast off the Elektra I’ve been working on since October of 2012.

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This Romi Hill pattern is from her 7 Small Shawls Year One collection. I started it, like so many other projects, because it was part of a knit-a-long that I joined. The knit-a-long only lasted one month and when it was ended I didn’t really continue to give the project any attention. My finishing kick this year made me pull it out and finally get it off the needles.

Elektra

The pattern is beaded down each of the “spines” and around the lace motifs. I used cheap size 6 seed beads from Michaels. The match the yarn color I used very well so they blend in and just add a bit of sparkle. The yarn is Dream in Color Baby which is unfortunately discontinued. The yarn is 100% merino lace weight and has an interesting “crunch” in the texture. It’s still quite soft but also somehow a little rustic. The colorway is called Aqua Jet and has an overdyed kettle quality to it.

Elektra

I used the crochet method to attach my beads, and while it definitely makes the project go slower than normal but it was much more manageable than stringing hundreds of beads in advance. Like all of Romi’s patterns this one was very well written and easy to follow and I had no troubles with it at all. Now I just have to wait for fall scarf weather to reach us. We’re having a long summer here in Portland and even though it’s October its still reaching the 80s here on the regular. Soon enough.

Dashing

This knitting year doesn’t seen to be off to any better of a start than last year. It’s already May and I’ve completed 2 projects so far this year. Granted, one was a blanket, but that is still a woefully small number of projects for me. Sometimes I’m able to knit on the trail while I commute, but often in the morning I’m too exhausted and at the end of the day the train is packed and I have to stand… lame-o!

Luckily (?) I was terrible at blogging last year (not that I’ve done great this year…) so I still have a back log of projects from last year that you all haven’t seen yet. Almost a year ago now, I finished a pair of fingerless mitts for my best friend Bob. Because, you know, July is when you have a serious need for gloves… See.


They are Dashing by Cheryl Niamath from the Spring 2007 Knitty. I’ve intended to make them since the pattern was published but I never really had a push to cast it on. Until 6 years later when Bob said something like “I think those gloves that let you still use your fingers are cool” and WHAMO time for some knitting.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern. I only knit 10 rounds before the first cable and 9 rounds after the last cable to shorten them a bit. Also, I used the Jenny’s Stretchy Bind Off around the fingers and thumb to make sure it would not be too tight. Other than  that I followed the pattern as written.
I used the absolutely amazing Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere to knit these. The colorway is Grey Tabby. It is so fantastically soft. It’s also spun nice and tight so I don’t think it will pill much even though it’s a merino-cashmere blend. In my mind that makes it a pretty heavenly yarn.
While they didn’t get much use in July, I did see them in the wild several times over the winter. I suppose I can’t rule out that they were being worn for my benefit, but it seemed genuine. Every knitter knows that’s a win.

Portland Yarn Crawl

This past weekend was the Portland Yarn Crawl. It’s exactly what it sounds like–a bunch of crazed knitters hopping from yarn shop to yarn shop and getting drunk on yarny-goodness. There were 20 (yes TWENTY!) yarn shops in the greater Portland area that participated this year. The point was to try to get to all the shops in one weekend. Each shop had a basket full of awesome goodness that they raffled off (no, I didn’t win) and most of the shops had special sales and door prizes going on as well.

I had to work at Yarnia (it was packed!) on Saturday and Sunday so I had to get all my crawling done on Friday. I hit TWELVE shops in one day. It was amazing! There was so much yarn (and I bought bunches of it) and so many knitters. If you don’t want to see what I got, stop reading. This post is all about the new stash I acquired.

Stop 1: The Naked Sheep. I got this bag. I can’t believe how cute it is. I love the color, I love the sheep, it’s wonderful. The shop was small, and the selection was small, and this bag is blatant advertising for the shop (which was only a mediocre shop) it’s so cute that I just don’t care if I lead people there unintentionally, at least they can get a super cute bag.

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And this Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama (it’s so soft!) I’m thinking a slouchy beret type hat. Or a cowl. I don’t know. I think Alpaca is super soft on the skein but next to my skin sometimes it drives me nuts. Since llamas seem pretty close to alpaca a cowl might be risky. We shall see, I may throw caution to the wind.

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Stop 2: Close Knit. I got this yarn. It is called BFF B Sock. The color is called Anzu (which means apricot.) It is hand-dyed by a woman in Vancouver, WA (just across the river from Portland) and it’s so springy and happy and it was a gray drizzly day and I could not let go of this yarn once I picked it up. The dyer was there and I chatted with her and she was wonderful and you should check out her etsy shop.

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I also got this Malabrigo, colorway Cypress. It’s malabrigo, do I need to justify this purchase any further? Ryan has already claimed it as “beanie yarn” (the man loves beanies). It’s greener than it looks in the picture–basically a black-green (such colors can’t normally exist but in Malabrigo they can.)

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Close Knit is one of those yarn shops that’s stuffed with yarn. There’s so much yarn that there’s not much room for people (especially on a day where all knitters in the greater Portland area are out hunting yarn) It’s all the way across town from me, but if I lived closer I would probably stop by to pet the yarn frequently, it’s basically jumping out begging to be petted.

Stop 3: Gossamer. This isn’t what I would call a “yarn shop” in the strictest sense. It’s more of a “craft shop.” It’s got a little bit of everything. I do mean a little bit. Very small selection. They do have fiber though and there are not that many shops that carry spinning fiber (which is weird since it feels like there are a ton of spinners in Portland.) I was one of the first 20 customers so I got this skein of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece as a door prize. It’s a good thing I like pink. I think I’m going to make one of the Rebecca Danger Monsters with it.

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I bought this fiber. It’s 3 little 1.5 oz batts of corriedale wool in a natural-undyed brown. I’m going to try to spin it for socks. We shall see if I can make a nice Navajo-plied 3-ply.

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Stop 4: Twisted. The sock yarn wall is pretty impressive (it is an entire wall covered in luscious hand-dyed sock yarn.) Maybe this store has just been so built up by all the ravelry hype about it, but I was sort of disappointed. I was expecting some sort of knitting Mecca based on the way I’ve heard this store described by adoring patrons, but really I didn’t think it was any more special than some of the other perfectly wonderful shops I hit. That didn’t stop me from picking something off the sock yarn wall though. This is Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway Strange Harvest. I’m always so drawn to this scummy yellow-green-brown color. I think it’s pretty and ugly at the same time.

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Stop 5: Happy Knits. Easily my favorite stop on the crawl. This really is a happy place. It’s a very good thing I don’t live closer–they only carry the pricey stuff. Here I got Stephen West’s new pattern book. West Knits Book Two. I also spent about 15 minutes gushing with the man behind the counter about how awesome Stephen West is and how amazing his patterns are. Oh, and I bought this.

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A cardigan’s worth of Cascade Eco + in colorway Butternut Squash. Can you see what kind of a color mood I was in on Friday?

Stop 6: Yarn Garden. I’ve decided I don’t really like Yarn Garden. This is the second time that I’ve been there, and each time the shop has felt very unwelcoming. That didn’t stop me from buying something though. This is… I’m not quite sure, the label is in German. It seems to say Järbo Garn Gästrike 1-ply. I can tell that it is 100% wool and that it is 600 meters of laceweight.
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That is half of my adventure. I will post about the second half later in the week. If you found this post incredibly dull, don’t bother reading that one either.