Fauna

 Fauna

Spring is here. The warm air stirs everything up into a frenzy and suddenly the honeysuckles are about to grow into your window! Everything is covered in ivy; all the flora are racing to multiply, all the fauna straining to grow higher faster. Spring speeds everything up.

I’ve been taking my sweet time knitting this Fauna cowl up. I started at the end of February and carried this half complete cowl around with me for weeks without touching it. I savoured my time knitting it, the same way the daffodils often emerge right before a snowstorm. I wanted to delay finishing this cowl until I was sure spring was here. Fauna is a springtime infinity cowl with a unique seaming method.

The Knit

I cast on for Fauna with the hopes of coming up with a transitional staple. I needed something that could be worn a variety of ways for the fluctuating weather, it had to be breathable and lightweight, but sufficiently warm for cold mornings or restaurants. The vibrant colors shouted for a fun design so I threw in some chevron stripes and accidently created a seaming nightmare for myself. I’d neglected to do a provisional cast on, so now I needed to seam live mohair stitches to a bound off edge…? Nope. I cast off and blocked the piece while thinking over seaming. First, I realized it was huge, 34″ * 18″ (post blocking)! Secondly, I didn’t want to seam the edges together traditionally and lose any length or width. In fact, if I only seamed the tips together, then the open space between chevron peaks would give you even more length and look pretty cute…hm.

Supplies

US 7 straight needles

2 skeins Shibui Silk Cloud (330yds lace weight mohair) *note: my cat assaulted my yarn stash and about 50 or so yards of this was lost. If you use two entire skeins of Shibui Pebble, your cowl will be about 4in longer!*

MC/green: Lime 2024

CC/white Ivory 2004

Blocking supplies: mat, pins

darning needle

spray bottle for keeping your cat away wet blocking

optional: 10 stitch markers

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The Pattern

With MC, cast on  145 sts

Purl 1 row

Row 1: Sl1, m1, *Knit 10, s2k1p2o, Knit 10, yok1yo* dec 1, k1

Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, purl cross, knitting ttbl of all yos.

Repeat these two rows until stripe measures about 2.5 inches (12-14rows)

Change colors on a purl row

Continue in this manner, leaving enough yarn to bind off loosely. The sample has 12 stripes in it, with two full skeins I believe you could have two or three more stripes.

Bind off loosely. Weave in all ends. Pin and gently flat block piece, being sure to make points sharp. 

Now, for the fun part:

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Being ever so dainty with your ever so feltable mohair, line up the tips of your cowl

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Make sure the cowl isn’t twisted! And make sure you’re evenly aligned! OK, moving on.

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Do a basic knot, when you tighten it, be sure to pull from the bottom of the knot to save on fabric. Remember, you want to be able to unknot these later if needed.

Enjoy the snazzy seam! Or discreetly tuck it away! Either way, save yourself the headache of a kitchner seam on mohair.

I really hope you enjoy this pattern! I highly recommend using Shibui Silk Cloud for this project! So soft and warm, perfect for Spring. Please let me know what you think of my design in the comments below! Do you knit transitional pieces for spring or dive straight into summer knitting? How do you feel about mohair as a spring fiber?

Knit on ❤

 

Spill

Spill

I’m new to the Word of the Year challenge. I found out about it last year and started following the hashtag on Instagram. It’s so fascinating to see how a word turns into a theme that lasts the entire year. I finally decided to commit to a word, and to be open to the interpretation of it in every part of life. 

Of course, I started with knitting. 


Nuvem. A 2,000 yard lace shawl is good company for a year long theme. I actually cast on way back in October and carried it with me everywhere. It’s enormous now, nearly 1,000 yards of lace on a US4. I have it on my 80in. interchangable cords. The amazing Maria hand painted yarn by Manos gives so much depth of color to the knit. Sometimes it just looks like a puddle of color.  I’ve spent a lot of time sitting with this knit and casting my thoughts and feelings into the endless waves stockinette stitch. 

 

I decided on the word ‘spill’ because I have a terrible habit of bottling up everything. A pretty typical problem, but at some point it has to come to a head right? Right! How long can anyone go being bottled up and stressed out? I don’t really want to find out, so once again I’m turning to my knitting to therapy me into a new headspace, or at least the start of it. 


It was such a comfort to have this project with me during the holidays. To be able to knit when the people around you are being insufferable is like taking off in an escape pod. To be able to discreetly pull out a project and quietly click away at it while everyone else shouts? Yes please. Pretty soon the rythm of needles and soft fabric allows you to totally tune out. But it’s not just about tuning out (or else I’d pull out my phone) it’s about pouring your frustration and hurt feelings into something beautiful despite being in the midst of ugliness. In the moment relief. 


I’m sure my word will apply to many more aspects of life beyond knitting, but I can’t think of a better way to begin working it in. 

 

 

 

 

Camino Bubbles- Fire and Ice

I have a lace addiction. Truly. I believe most of my stash is made up of lace and fingering weight yarn. I have a sweater’s worth or two of worsted weight yarn, but if you close your eyes and take a random draw from my stash you’ll most likely pull out a 500yd skein of kettle dyed lace. I can’t help it. It’s so rewarding to knit an entire shawl or sweater out of one skein of yarn. And the way light shines through lace? Mm, to die for.

img_5308After finishing my commission, I was really excited to cast on for a “quick knit”. Though, after that sweater, anything could be considered quick. The Camino Bubbles by Kieran Foley is only 89 stitches wide though, so it seemed very inviting. This was a glorious knit and the drop stitch bubbles were addicting!

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The Yarn

I used two skeins of Jilly Lace: Dream in Color. I’m completely sold on this brand. This will be the fourth project I’ve knit using their yarns. The blue is ‘Blue Fish’ and the brilliant orange is ‘Great Pumpkin’. The skeins are 880yds each and 100% merino wool. Yum. There’s actually enough yardage on these skeins to knit two Camino Bubbles! The yarn is a touch sticky/grabby because it’s single ply, however, the bubble stitches were easy to drop. The colors of this yarn are so vivid and saturated that I was terrified they would bleed (especially the blue) from even wet blocking. The yarn claims to be machine washable though, so I went ahead and soaked this shawl and pinned it down. There was no bleeding and I didn’t notice any color leaking while it was in the sink. Nevertheless, I don’t think this shawl will ever be thrown in the washing machine, dab clean only!

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The Pattern

Oh, Keiran Foley, what a beautiful mind you have…I’m constantly amazed by how he uses dropped stitches and lace to create amazing shapes in negative space. If you haven’t already, check out his website and blog it is very drool worthy. Camino Bubbles is a very simple charted pattern. It includes written instructions, but I truly think it would be harder to knit this if you only follow the written instructions. The chart is much easier to use. You have one set up chart(A), chart B is repeated as many times as you want, then a finishing chart(C). That’s all!IMG_2361

The Knit

I was delighted to find that after doing a few repeats of chart B, I didn’t need the pattern anymore. It was very easy to see where dropped stitches needed to go and the only thing I really needed to keep track of was how many rows I did on each repeat.I carried this shawl around with me everywhere and whipped it out if I ever had a minute or two to knit. I could stop in the middle of a drop stitch row and pick it back up an hour later and know exactly where I was! The pattern is very repetitive and self explanatory, which I love. Dropping the stitches was so fun. There was a primal satisfaction in finishing the last chart repeat and pausing to pull and stretch the shawl, watching as the yarn unraveled to reveal a perfect bubble. I goofed a few times and dropped the wrong stitches or one stitch too many, nothing my handy dandy crochet hook couldn’t fix. I would absolutely recommend “popping” the bubbles as you go, to make sure that you don’t have any stray dropped stitches.
As far as alteration go, I  knit this shawl longer than the pattern sample. I believe the sample had 7 repeats of chart B, I did 9.5 for a post-blocking size of 72″ long. I think it goes without saying that this is a must block project. It’s all scrunched up and awkward after casting off. I blocked this to two times it’s size after casting off and the length of the shawl took up my entire balcony. After drying, it settled to a very comfortable size. I love shawls that are at least 60″ wide. I feel like 72″ is just enough extra length to really work with the shawl style wise. The pattern also has an option for a 130st wide shawl.

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This is an A+ pattern, and I highly recommend it! It’s a brilliant use of dropped stitches and the shawl is very dynamic in lace weight. A perfect summer shawl that I will absolutely make again. Also, “Finding Nemo” colors 😉

Fall is fast approaching (see the dead leaves in the background?) and I’m eager to cast on for fall knits. Despite a few more weeks of heat, I’m already in an autumn mindset. I can smell pumpkin and chilly nights on the wind and my fingers are itching for wool and textured oversized sweaters. Have you cast on for fall yet? Or are you hoping to complete one more summer knit? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, knit on!

 

P.S I have a new guest in my home…

Miller’s Daughter

Well, we are well into the New Year and life is already (or rather still is) pretty chaotic. We’ve jumped head first into moving to Kansas City for Jon’s new job and he’s been commuting back and forth for the past few weeks! In the meantime, I’ve been boxing up our life and saying goodbye to friends. Since Christmas, life has been non stop. I did manage to finish all of my Christmas gifts, but I still have a few commissions on the table before I can settle back into personal knitting.

This one time I made everyone Christmas gifts

I say that as if I haven’t been doing personal knitting. Of course I have. My Oranje sweater is slowly ticking along and, if you follow my Instagram, you’ve seen that I’ve been pretty devotedly knitting on Melanie Berg’s Miller’s Daughter shawl. Well, obsessed would be a better word. I finished it in about a week of feverish knitting.

  
I bought the yarn right before leaving to Florida for a work conference with Jon. I was bound to have tons of free time and I just had to bring it with me. I carried it around with me all the time and had a #knittinginpublic frenzy. 

Goodbye #beachside !!! Thank you for the awesome sunny day

The Knit:

Have you guys noticed the garter stripes and lace fad? Its hot stuff right now and everyone at my LYS has jumped on board. Everyone’s been bringing in Lilli Pillis, and Quicksilvers and I had to get in on it. I actually cast on for a Lilli Pilli a while back but fell out of love with in pretty quickly. Then I set eyes on Dream in Color Smooshy and new I needed a shawl out of it. I ultimately  picked the Miller’s Daughter because of the crescent shape; it seemed like a more diverse wear.

The Yarn

In love with dream in color smooshy. I smell a shawl...#knittingaddict #knittersofinstagram #knitting_inspiration

Dream in Color  is, hands down, one of the finest yarns I’ve ever knit with. We’ve got it coming out our ears at our LYS (Worsted weight Classy with Casshmere, lace weight Jilly, fingering weight Jilly, and fingering weight Smooshy). While the others are great, my Entrelac Socks  are out of Jilly, the Smooshy Cashmere takes the cake. The blend of cashmere, merino, and nylon gives the yarn an amazing luster and squish (or should I say smoosh?) that the others just don’t have. The colors are to die for. I used Crying Dove and Lucky Stone for my stripe and the glorious Mermaid Shoes for my lace. Lucky Stone was actually discontinued right after I bought it, so I feel pretty lucky. The blue is a mystery yarn, but I’m pretty sure it’s  Nuble

  
My only complaint? With only 400yds to work with at $30 a skein, most people who aren’t completely insane care about their budgets probably wouldn’t buy large quantities of this. I would have needed 6 skeins of this to knit the shawl for full size, and, even for me, that’s a little much for a shawl. It called for an edit to the pattern

The Pattern

This pattern calls for 1,273 yards of lace weight in two main colors with a few stripes of scrap yarn for contrast. I fell in love with my three color combination of Dream in Color fingering though, so those instructions were pretty much out the window. Instead, I knit this on a US6 and pulled in a third color for my lace section. With only 1,200 yards to work with, I wasn’t going to be able to do all of lace and stripe repeats. The pattern calls for a total of ten repeat sections:

4 repeats of stripes, 2 lace, 6 stripes, 2 lace, 6 stripes, 2 lace, 6 stripes, 2 lace, 6 stripes, 4 lace

Working on a larger needle and yarn, it wouldn’t be hard to get my shawl to the same length with less yarn, but I would have had significantly less lace sections. So, with a little math I figured that this would be the best variation of the pattern:

4 repeats of stripes, 2 lace, 6 stripes, 2.5 lace, 6 stripes, 3 lace

  
My shawl is the same length as the original and I didn’t have to shirk on my lace.
This is easily a new favorite, I’ve been wearing it every day since all my other knits are packed away. It is such a comfort to have during all this transition. We’re officially moved out of our old apartment and while Jon works up in Kansas I’m shacked up with his parents. The countdown to move has gotten very real and the stress levels are on high. Most of my yarn is in Kansas City, but I’ve been carrying around a few skeins, Dream in Color no less, for happy feelings. I’ve never been a “enjoy the journey” type of person,  but the yarn helps. Yarn always helps!

 

 

Ursa

Ursa

May has always been the start of the new year for me. Everyone I know makes New Year’s Resolutions and plans their life changes around the turn of that clock, but for me, newly blooming flowers has been my time to plan all of that. Why make resolutions in the middle of the cold weather? Everything is frozen over and sleeping,the weather sucks, traffic becomes actually impossible (as opposed to the usual exaggerations we often make about traffic), and we’re still sleeping off the turkey. Making a change in the middle of hard weather with more hard weather still to come, or when it’s about to be warm and cozy? Now, we could talk about the personality implications of that..or Mother’s Day.IMG_1324

Along with us, countries all over the world celebrate a formal holiday for honoring mothers. They celebrate new flowers and blossoming seeds and they celebrate their mothers. Here in the West, especially, Mother’s Day is in that cluster of annual life events celebrating transition and change: Prom, High School graduation, dissertations due, time to go to graduate school. And smack dab in the middle is Mother’s Day.

The weather is changing, life is changing; remember mom. In the midst of all this change, a reminder that your original best friend is there for you. Now, I’m not trying to say dad’s cant be best friends, they have a whole day for it, but I’m just saying the one who carried you around for 9 months is special.

What do we do during our times of change while also trying to tell mom ‘I love you’?

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I like to use my hands.

About the Ursa:

I finally finished this thing up a few months ago. I gave it to mom around Spring Break while we were at my brother’s house. For Mother’s Day I sent her Sherris Berries.

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Yarn:

I used Ella Rae Lace Merino, of course:

Blue, Green, and Orange: color ways 10,9,131

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Amazing how these things knit up.

This is another Grace Ann Farrow and it is much more straightforward than the Horizon. Knit up on a U.S 5 and about 2,700yds of fingering weight, you’re in for the long haul. The center diamond goes by really quickly but after that it drags on.  The shawl is knit from the center diamond with triangles picked up along the edges and added on. Be mindful of the slip stitches at the edges of each piece so that you don’t having curling or too much tension on the edge.

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A very easy and rewarding knit that always turns out beautifully! And you can where it so many ways!

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This is my favorite way.

For Mother’s Day I wasn’t able to be with my mother, but we chatted on the phone fore a while and she tells me she really liked the berries. I’m so glad that its finally May and finally time for all the energy that can come with beautiful weather and free time. Im hoping to really get knee deep into knitting and expanding the hobby to different mediums. Hopefully there will be many posts on the endeavor. Until then, happy Friday!

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“Welcome Spring” Leaf and Trellis Shawl!

Did you ladies know I lived in a dorm? Did you know that it makes taking photos of my work REALLY hard? Well…it is.

Most days I’m really ambitious about it. I take a lot of time to set up and get everything perfectly placed then I wait until there is the perfect amount of light coming in the room. However, when shooting something huge like the Leaf and Trellis I find that my space significantly shrinks down. I’m not really a fan of letting all details of my life be seen via photo, which is nearly impossible when you live in a dorm and all your stuff is on shelves and hung up for space. That means I have three to four spots where I can take photos. Have to stand? Two. Giant shawl? One. It was…interesting.

IMG_1282Despite the difficulties taking photos, I hands down love this shawl. Wearing it as I type. Pretty sure I’m never taking it off.

Materials:

I knit this on US 8s. My yarn was Ella Rae Lace Merino 103 Blue-Green for the body and Ella Rae Lace Merino 23 Green for the edging. As usual, this yarn is fabulous. I use it in a lot of my projects and am constantly ogling the tower in the shop. Yes, we have a tower of only Ella Rae Lace Merino.

Warning! If you’re interested in knitting with this green beware of the color. Under florescent light it looks like a very ashy light sage green, almost washed out. Under natural light it becomes a really rich sage and the color is a lot more complimentary to the subtle greens in the body of the shawl. This was a good lesson in looking at yarns under natural light closely. For two weeks I was really insecure about choosing this yarn for the border. Over the holidays I exclusively worked on this inside under kitchen lights. I had it resting on the window edge one morning and the natural light caught it. Instantly in love.

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The pattern:

This was a very easy pattern. Not confusing at all and well written. The body went by without a problem and very quickly. The border is just as easy but takes a while. It turns into a miniature black hole. I kind of winged it while I was going around the corners and I suggest that instead of perfectly following the directions for that, you do the same. I put a lot less triple and double joins around the corner than was called for. When I did follow them exactly, the corner looked very crowded and bunched up. Space it out so your lace can really bloom.

IMG_1309I love this beauty so much. I’m really glad I knit it in fingering weight on larger needles. From other projects on Ravelry, this looks so delicate and fragile in lace. Thats great if you want that look, but to me this is a lot more versatile. I can dress it up or down, which I think is harder to do with lace weights. The fingering weight gives this shawl such squishy, cushy goodness! I love being bundled up in it, you can’t really bundle in lace weight. To each their own!

I couldn’t help but take some fun black and white shots with this; you can really tell how variegated the yarn is!

Photo on 1-19-14 at 10.09 PM #3

All in all this is an A+ pattern. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m naming this one “Welcome Spring” because the colors are so…spring time! When the grass just starts to come back and it’s that shy green color, still pale because of short days and frost in the morning. Bright blue but not yet azure sky. I think it’d be amazing if I had one of these for each season. Bright yellow and dark blue for summer, orange and red for fall, deep purple and gray for winter. Mh, mh, mmm! Might be something for the bucket list 😉

One of my resolutions for this year is to keep projects on needles to a minimum. Right now it’s a little crazy. I have a lot going on. I still have to finish my mom’s Ursa (would have had it done by X-mas if I didn’t have to rip out) and I have a winter sweater to finish. Phew. Thats not even half of it. Not sure what’s next on the list, but today I’m enjoying Welcome Spring.

Happy Knitting!