New project!

I’ve been really trying to knit down my number of WIPs. I’ve been doing pretty good actually, and have managed to get from 16 to 8. But guys, I’m starting to get bored. Very bored. The call of brand new projects is strong. My solution:

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You see, weaving is NOT knitting so this really is NOT a new projects. It’s just the thing I’m currently working on.
Back in May I picked up a 10″ Cricket Loom at Black Sheep Fiber Festival. I wove my first project up in a jiffy, but then my loom sat. The thing was, I knew I wanted my next project to be with this yarn, but I didn’t have the correct size heddle.
This lovely String Theory Caper Sock yarn is fingering weight, and I only had a heddle suitable for a worsted-ish sized yarn. (The heddle is the white piece in the middle that you move up and down to weave. The further apart the holes, the bigger the “mesh” that you weave. Finer yarn needs a tighter mesh. Make sense?)
No problem. Saturday and Sunday was Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (Oregon is such a yarn-y state) and I picked up two new heddles. One that will work with fingering weight yarn and one that will work with bulky yarn.
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The green is waste yarn that you weave a bit with at the beginning to even out your tension. It gets pulled out when you’re done.
I wanted to weave this yarn up because I knew I’d never knit with it. In a fit of crazy-pants I had it wound at the yarn shop when I bought it even though I knew I wasn’t going to use it immediately. I hate knitting with yarn that’s been wound for too long, and this has been sitting wound in the stash for over a year. Oops. Wound yarn gets super kinky near the center of the ball when it sits too long and the tension put on the yarn when it’s wound can mess with your gauge if the yarn sits in a wound ball for too long. Weaving solves all these problems.
What new things have you not started?

Heaven

I debated about posting about this since it’s not really far enough to have any good pictures, but this project is so heavenly I thought I would share the love.  I’ve been working on the Dahlia Cardigan for the past few weeks on and off and every time I pick up the project it’s pure bliss.

I’m not very far along because I have other projects that “need” to be done so I’ve been trying to be good and focus on them and only work on this every once a while but just look how lovely it is so far:

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That is almost all of the lace panel for the back of the cardigan.  The lace is pretty simple but you have to keep track of where you are in the pattern since it is repeated 4 times every row.  The pattern starts with this fun bit a lace that is just the right amount of challenge, then changes to easy-breezy stockinette for the rest of the pattern with some interesting construction elements thrown in.

The pattern, as written, has long square fronts which look cute on some, but I’m not really into the flowing -front style that is so popular right now.  I plan to do some short-row experimentation and see if I can get a more typical cardigan style shaping.

The pattern is fun, but the real reason this project is heavenly to work on is the yarn.

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This is String Theory Caper Sock.  Heaven.  This is hands down my favorite yarn.  Better than Malabrigo.  Better than Madeline Tosh.  It’s the perfect.  By clicking that link, and looking at the pictures above, you can see that their colors are absolutely amazing.  Sadly, what the pictures can’t show you is how amazing this yarn feels.  The yarn is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.  It’s so amazingly squishy and soft and snuggly and makes perfect plump squooshy stitches that just look happy.

The other two projects that I’m working on that “need” to be done sooner than later are some socks for my grandma to keep her feet warm this winter (she is having circulation issues and always has cold hands and feet) and a set of market bags for my mother that are long long long over due…  I try to work on those most of the day and just get a few guilty-pleasure rows of this cardigan in before bed.

Damson

This project was very nearly frogged back into a pile of kinky and forlorn yarn. Not because it’s not pretty. Look at it!

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This is Damson by Ysolda Teague. Her patterns are so adorable. I’ve also made her Ishbel shawl (who hasn’t.) The yarn is String Theory Caper Sock in colorway Didgeridoo. This yarn is a luscious 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon blend. And the colors, as you can see, are amazingly deep and complex.

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Why then, you ask, would I come so close to frogging this? Because I ran out of yarn on the second to last row. You see, the patterns calls for one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn. I took this to mean that any 100g of fingering weight sock yarn should be sufficient. WRONG. Malabrigo Sock has 440 yards per skein. Caper Sock has 400 yards per skein. Those 40 yards matter. Don’t be arrogant! If you are making this pattern, make sure you have all yardage required.

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How is it that I managed to finish, you ask. Did I lay down $25 for another skein? No. That would, in effect, make this a $50 scarf, and I’m not OK with that. I went on ravelry and looked at all the projects that had been made with this yarn. Then I narrowed the search to just this colorway. Then I contacted people who had recently completely projects with this colorway and begged for their yarn scraps. CraftyPancakes totally came through for me. She made these super cute socks and had some leftovers, which she kindly sent me. It was just enough to get me to the end. I love her this week.

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Here it is all pinned out. I mostly wear it like in the second picture–wide part in front, tails pulled around the back and hanging down the front. It’s so soft and squooshy that I love having it up against my neck/face. It even smells good (that may be the SOAK.)

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I just think this picture’s pretty.

Yarn Crawl part 2

Yesterday I covered the first 6 stops on my adventure participating in the Portland Yarn Crawl, today you get to hear about the last 6. This should be a shorter post since as the day went on I had to move faster through the shops… believe it or not there is such a thing as wool-overload and by the end of the day I definitely had it.

Stop 7: Make One in Milwaukie, OR (yes Wisconsinite friends out here they spell it with ie instead of ee, it drove me nuts the whole first year I was here.) The yarn selection here was extremely picked over by the time I got here (around 3:00) I don’t know how the managed to get through the whole weekend unless they were rationing their stock.

Make One does happen to be one of the stores that was chosen by Knit Picks to carry the Knit Picks needles–apparently KP is testing out having their needles carried by LYSs. This is awesome! I often feel like I want more cables or a certain needle tip size but don’t want to pay for shipping on such a small order. I got nickle-plated tips in size 7 and 8 and more 24″ cords. I also picked up the KP needle sizer. No pictures of those, go to the KP site if you really need to see what their needles look like. (I am not responsible for any money you spend if you click that link.)

Stop 8: Pico Accuardi Dye Works. This isn’t actually a shop in the strictest sense. It’s the studio where two local dyers create amazing hand-dyed yarn and roving which they sell on consignment through other local shops. For the crawl they opened up the studio (and offered 20% off everything purchased there) for knitters to come see their workspace. I bought this roving.

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It had no label (that freshly dyed!) so I can’t tell you what it’s officially called. I’ve been calling in Blueberry because that’s what it reminds me of. It’s 4 oz. of 100% Blue Faced Leicester roving. It’s so fluffy! Sometimes roving comes all squished down and dense from the dying process that you have to fluff it up and pre-draft a bit before it’s easy to spin. This feels like I can pop it on the wheel and begin.

Stop 9: Knit/Purl. I don’t love Knit Purl. They carry some good lines (they have the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter!) but it’s in the Pearl District (which is sort of a fancy boutique-y neighborhood near downtown Portland) and I usually feel like my smaller purchases are frowned on–like I should always be buying $100s in yarn. Really, I would if I could, but you don’t need to ask me “Is this all for today?” while looking down your nose at my single skein of sock yarn, then rolling your eyes when I say yes. It’s a yarn crawl for goodness sake! I went to twelve shops! How much do you want me to spend in your shop before you are nice to me?! Here’s the offending single skein.

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It’s Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in colorway Grove. It’s that scummy yellow-green-brown that I seem to have been obsessed with on Friday. Lest you think I’m nuts, this one is more green, the Smooshy from yesterday is more yellow and the Eco + from yesterday doesn’t have the “scum” quality… that makes them all completely different.

(You might be thinking: Why if you know you don’t like Knit/Purl and they have *&^$%# customer service, did you go there and spend money? The raffle baskets that’s why. I wanted my shot at a giant basket stuffed full of yarn-y goodness. As for why I spent the money, it IS a yarn store. When you walk in it’s full of yarn. The desire to have the yarn competes mightily with the desire to shun the business. It’s hard for me to feel bitter around that much wool. It’s only after leaving the shop that the rudeness hits me and I realize that, while it is full of yarn, I don’t like those people and can get equally good yarn elsewhere. I figure I won’t be back till next year’s yarn crawl so it’s not like I’m the one keeping them open.)

Stop 10: Urban Fiber Arts. This is the only shop (that I’ve found) with a truly GOOD selection of spinning materials. They also carry yarn–really nice yarn–but I love them for the spinning selection. I got some fiber. This is the last of my fiber purchases from the day. I spin even more slowly than I knit so this should hold me for quite a while.

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This is Black Trillium Fibre Studio Blue Faced Leicester Roving. The colorway is called Emerald City. If you know of my obsession with the Wizard of Oz, you know that once I saw the name of the color I could not resist it. I’ve never actually spun with BFL (though my collection is growing) I basically went from Targhee to a Merino/Silk blend and a Merino/Yak blend. It will be interesting trying to go back to a long-staple fiber.

Stop 11: Dublin Bay Knitting Company. This store has a lot of luscious fibers and lots of good crisp rustic wool that makes you feel like you should be knitting ski sweaters or a gansey. It’s not the most budget friendly shop though, you’re pretty much looking at laying down over $100 for a bigger project (there is NOTHING wrong with this, I would do it all the time if I could, I just can’t… pout.) I did manage to find these though:

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That’s Frog Tree Merino Worsted. The first one is colorway Charcoal, the second is Teddy. This is a single-ply merino. I’m thinking it will make good hats (I have a man who loves beanies) or fingerless mitts for me. Most of my yarn tends to be very colorful so adding some neutrals to the mix is a good thing.

Stop 12: For Yarn’s Sake. I love this shop. I go here all the time. It’s dangerous that it is literally right down the road from me. The customer services was a bit dodgy at first (I think I get more bad service than most people because I am young and sometimes wear a big hoop nose ring… maybe some people think that makes me look unknitterly… I think this is Portland and I look way more conservative that many local crafters. The shop is in Beaverton though, so maybe they don’t get the full brunt of the eclectic Portland crowd.) Now that I’ve been going there for quite a while they know me and are great. They always check in on what I’m working on, ask me what I’m planning, and remember what I said I was working on the last time I was there.

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This is Nashua’s Best Foot Forward sock yarn. The color is called summer sunset. It’s from the color line designed by Kristin Nicholas. It looks nice and fallish, totally appropriate for knit socks. I showed Ryan and he said “ew” and threw the ball. I think you have to have a certain personality type to like pea green.

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This bit of magic is Fleece Artists Peter Rabbit in colorway Ivory. It’s exactly as fluffy and amazing and squishably soft as it looks. I made the fatal mistake of brushing past this on my way to the sock yarn and as soon as it touched my bare arm it was over. I picked it up and didn’t put it down. I had a hard time handing it over so that it could be rung up… what if the sales lady felt it and decided not to give it back? She did. Now it’s mine and I have to puzzle over just the right project for it. It has to be perfect.

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The best for last. (It was really hard to decide if this beat the Peter Rabbit, but I think it does by the tiniest photo-finish-type margin.) This is String Theory Caper Sock in color Tavikki. I just finished my Damson (I will blog it soon) out of this yarn in a different colorway. This yarn is amazing to work with. It has amazing stitch definition. It’s sproingy and wonderful in that way that only wool is. It’s super soft from the merino/cashmere. The colors are so rich and deep. It smells good. It blocks amazingly. In shawl-form it drapes amazingly.

I would compose a love letter to this yarn if I wasn’t afraid someone would have me locked up. (Also, it might start some insane conservative vitriol about how if we go around allowing gay marriage, the next thing you know, crazies in Portland will be demanding to marry their yarn and we don’t want to start down such a slippery slope… I am related to many of these whacked people, I know how they reason. Better not to give them any ammunition.)