Swallowtail

So the stashdown is not going exactly as planned. As of February I have increased my stash by 191,969 – 191,682 = 287 yards. Now, when you take into account that I acquired TWO sweater’s worth of yarn in January, it’s clear I actually moved a lot out of my stash, to only increase by 287 yards.

Also, I should point out, I didn’t pay for any of the yarn. One sweater’s worth was part of my birthday present from Ryan. The other was purchased by my dad because the sweater will be for him.

One of the projects that helped me move some yardage out (about 500 yards) was my Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A Clark. I loved every minute of making this.

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I mentioned before, the first time I made this pattern early in my knitting career, it was a bit too hard and I found the experience unpleasant because I was making so many mistakes and having to tink back hundreds of lace stitches fairly often.  This time it was completely smooth sailing.
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Forgive my bleary face, I had just woken up.
 
I prefer to wear this pinned with one of my shawl pins. The one in the picture is my favorite. It’s from Plover Designs, a local Portland craftswoman. I have several from her.
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The yarn I used is Malabrigo’s new Rastita line. It’s made the same way as their super chunky Rasta, but in a DK weight. It’s a 100% merino wool single ply, but the single has been slightly felted to cut down on fuzziness and make it a bit stronger. The color I used is called Cereza. It was a complete joy to work with.
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Now I’m working on a heavily cabled cowl. It’s slow going because of all the cables, and also not going to move that much yardage out of my stash, but after it’s done, I’ll be starting a sweater and that should clear a good 1,200 yards. On the other hand, our Madelinetosh order is due in at the shop any day…

Up to date

If yesterday was about physical cleaning and marshaling my stash, then today has been about electronic organizing. I spent the day getting a bunch of networking set up for my (seemingly never ending) job hunt. When I was satisfied with that, I got my Ravelry notebook in order. I now have pictures and stash information for all of my Projects.

I’m pretty good about getting photos of finished objects (thanks Ry!) but terrible at the in progress photos. At least for the moment, I’m all caught up. Would you like to see one?

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I know that lace never really looks good until it’s blocked, so it’s probably not that interesting to you yet, but this is my current obsession.  It’s Evelyn A. Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl done in Malabrigo Rastita.  I have made this before in lace weight, and have been meaning to make it again in a heavier weight ever since.
The lace weight version I made came out rather small. I decided to follow the directions for the DK weight version this time so that my shawl will be nice and big. So far it’s coming along nicely.
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The first time I made this, it was my first lace project and I remember thinking it was very hard. This time it’s giving me no trouble at all. Just goes to show what 4 years of experience can do for you. I’m hoping to have it done by the 17th so I can show the students in my Garter Tab knitting class. I have 5 of 14 repeats done… we shall see.

Two Long-Term Projects Off the Needles

So I told myself that I would not buy any more yarn until I got all my current WIPs off the needles. The projects I have to finish are the Halloween socks, the Swallowtail Shawl, and Andrew’s sweater. In the past two weeks two of them have been finished. The socks were finished first. I had them almost completely finished before spring break and I cast off in the middle of the flight from Wisconsin to Oregon. Of course that mean that I had nothing to do for the rest of the flight but I got to wear my new socks all around Portland and I got SO many compliments from random strangers. They were knit from a knitpicks sock blank dyed for me by UPBarnGoddess on Ravelry. Here’s the original blank and the very beginning of the toes.


And here are the finished socks. I really love the way the colors worked up on the blank. Until the calf, the the colors were comming up pretty randomly but as I increased more and more it started to pool a bit. One of the beautiful things about knitting with a sock blank is that both socks are knit at the same time and the colors are identical so even when it pools the two socks still look exactly the same. I wanted to see just how long I could make the socks so I kept going until I only had a few inches left. I was about 3.5 inches short of knee-highs which means they’re fat-part-of-calf-highs so they tend to fall down arround my ankles. I kinda like it because they end up serving as socks and leg warmers.


The other thing I finished last night is my Swallowtail Shawl. I ended up working on this all day yesterday because it was comming along so beautifully! (Honors Project-Shmoners Project) I was up till 3:30 am when I finally cast off, and when I looked at the clock I was shocked. I thought it was maybe midnight… Time flies when you’re knitting lace… This morning I work up and blocked it and it was dry after about 2 hours so I took it outside for some pretty pictures. Here it is.




I don’t know that I’ll ever have an occasion to wear this, because it’s much more fancy that my day-to-day style but it’s so beautiful! I figure if I haven’t found a use for it by December I can gift it to someone for Christmas. It took less that one skein of Malabrigo lace to make the shawl and the pattern was free so total cost was less than $9. Pretty perfect I think.

Finally (mostly) Back to Normal

Well I’m finally walking again. The Dr. let me start hobbling around on Friday, I’m still pretty slow and a bit shaky but it’s walking and that’s something. All in all I was on the crutches for 7 weeks and needless to say the muscles in my leg (small as they were to begin with) are considerably weaker. The best thing is being able to do things for myself again like get up, get a something to drink, and carry it to the family room all by myself–something that’s difficult to do when both hands are busy with the crutches. It feels really nice to be able to do all the small stuff again. Also, I was able to finally get my camera and take some pictures of what I’ve been working on (again YEAH for free hands!) I wanted to knit Andrew’s sweater for the Ravelry knitting Olympics and I got quite a bit done but not nearly enough to finish in time. In my defense I started reading a book by my favorite (living) author Chuck Palahniuk and then was unable to stop until I’d read four of his books so I basically fell off the face of the world for a week and didn’t get any knitting done. With those extra six days I could have come really close. Here’s how far I got:


The pattern is just called “Unisex Irish Pullover.” I found the pattern on Ravelry when looking for something aran like to make. The pattern knits up surprisingly fast, I thought the body would take me forever but it was interesting enough to keep me going round and round. I’m making it from Cascade 220 Heathers in a really sharp brown/maroon color with little flecks of green in it. The body is about 2 inches short of the armpits and the sleeve is about 8” give or take. I converted the pattern to knit in the round. It’s a basic raglan shape so it should be easy to attach the sleeves and finish off… should be. The pattern was also written out completely in words so I got some graph paper and charted it out. The pattern is written so that the two cable panels on the side go the same way they aren’t mirrored. Looking back I wish I had fixed that but that’s just my random picky-ness popping up. Since I didn’t finish for the knitting Olympics the project has had to go on hold since there are some projects for my family that I want to finish up before I head back to school on the 11th (very excited to be heading back by the way!)

The first thing I needed to finish were some slipper socks my dad asked me to make for him. The pattern is from The Little Box of Socks and it’s called the “Double Basket Socks.” It’s a very easy knit/purl Pattern done in DK weight yarn to make nice thick slipper socks. I was initially pretty unhappy that my dad asked me to knit him socks because during the school year I knit him a pair of fingering weight green socks and when I gave them to him he said “I only wear white cotton athletic socks, wool is to scratchy and green doesn’t go with any of my clothes.” Needless to say I was a bit miffed but I let it go and gave them to Andrew who was a very gracious recipient and who wears them frequently. So, I bought The Little Box of Sock and was looking at it at home when my dad came up and started flipping through the cards. He held up the Double Basket pattern and said “These look comfortable, can you make me these for around the house socks? My feet are always cold and some wool socks would be so nice on the tile and hardwood.” I glared at him and of course he had no idea why. When I asked him what color he wanted he didn’t even think about it before he said “Well I really like green, how about that?” Dutiful daughter that I am, I didn’t punch him. I did make him buy the yarn though and since I was placing an order with knitpicks for his yarn I may have added a few balls for myself to the total… After the socks were knit I sewed on some suede slipper pads to the balls and heels of the feet so he won’t fall and crack his head on our slippery floors. I have already seen him wear them around the house so hopefully they will be appreciated.


The next project is a gift for my brother who is starting his freshman year of college this year at Portland State University in Oregon. I found this Pattern on knitty and thought it was cute and quick. They are seven washcloths (think days of the week) 5 say “study” and 2 say “party.” The pattern calls for duplicate stitching the letters but I stranded them on so they’re a bit more secure. It’s pretty easy except that because it’s a flat pattern I have to strand on the purl side as well. It confused me at first but I’m much better now. They’re a bit wobbly as of right now but after I get them wet and let the fibers relax they should square up. I have three done and am about 1/3 of the way done with another. I need to finish by the 10th which shouldn’t be that big of a stretch as it only takes about 3 and 1/2 hours to go from start to finish on each one. These are the three I have finished so far:


 

Way before the knitting Olympics I started the extremely popular Swallowtail shawl in some beautiful Malabrigo yarn but stopped for the Olympics then for the family knitting so I haven’t picked it up in a while. It’s took me quite a while to get used to the fine yarn. I didn’t think it would be that hard because I’m used to fingering weight yarn for socks and stuff, but the lace yarn just feels so fragile I have to remember that it’s OK to handle it. I’ve only finished 4 of the 15 repeats for the body of the shawl so I’ve got quite a ways to go. It’s very hard to photograph this yarn the color almost never comes out right but it’s a beautiful semi-solid golden color that screams fall. I love it:


Another family knitting project (that will probably not get done before I go back to school) is a pair of socks for my mom. At the beginning of the summer my mom said she really wanted to learn how to knit socks so I dug up an old ball of lion brand magic strip yarn and two circular needles and started to show her how to knit toe-up socks. She didn’t even get past the toe increases before she decided she didn’t like it and asked if I would finish them for her. Here’s how far she got, I haven’t had a chance to work on them but it’s one more WIP.


This is probably my longest running WIP. I started these socks for myself during the school year but have kept putting them on hold to work on other projects. These are the infamous green socks that I’ve mentioned several times before. I have one sock finished I’m I’m working down the leg of the second one. The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura and the pattern is “garter rib” from the Sensational Knitted Socks book. I couldn’t get a good picture of the pattern but for how simple it is it looks very nice.