Well Hi There (& it’s KAL Time!)

Yes blog, it’s been a while. I’m so sorry. There was that little water leak in our house in early December that turned out to be a major disaster and between one thing and another,  I haven’t been around much.

But we’re starting to get past the worst of it. Just this week, the new rinsing sink (it’s huge!) was installed in my studio and the countertops are being finished tomorrow.

Before you know it, I’ll be back in the studio dyeing again! I was even able to put everything back in place in the area where I mix dye and prepare yarn, and it’s fabulous to be close to finished in this part of the house!

Unfortunately, the upstairs isn’t nearly this far along, and we’re going to have to move out for a couple of weeks while our hardwood floors are refinished, but I’m awfully excited to be seeing progress at long last! So with that explanation, and promise to be back in the world of the living, on to the most important part of this post: It’s time for the annual knit along I host on the Elliebelly Group on Ravelry, Adventurous April. If you’ve knit with us before, you know we’re committed to fun & accomplishment in a low-stress environment. If you haven’t, you should come on over, just the Elliebelly Group, and sign up to knit with us!

The first thread for the KAL, discussing pattern choices, is up now. If you reply on the thread, I’ll earburn you when sign ups for the KAL open this weekend. And, in the meantime, you can look at patterns and order some Elliebelly Yarn if you like. So head on over to Ravelry, and get ready to knit it April!


New Year, New Project. Welcome 2018!

I’m kicking off 2018 with a new project, a Shooter Shawl. This clever pattern is designed to take advantage of small skeins of contrasting yarn and a main color. I’m using an Elliebelly Tapas Set, along with some fingering weight Baby Willow. I think the contrast – Willow is a single ply silk merino blend while the Tapas skeins are a merino/nylon plied yarn – will add to the textural look of the shift from lace stitch to stockinette as the project progresses.

I hope you’ve got some new knitting planned as well to carry you into the new year! 2018 is off to a cold blast of a start, which has to be nature’s way of encouraging us all to knit.

If you’re new to Elliebelly, please join us on the Ravelry group. And if you’ve been around for a while, you know that if it’s the new year, it’s almost time to start thinking about our annual April knitalong, as well as participating in the Take A Picture Tuesday and Chat threads. Can’t wait to see everyone and their new (and old) projects there!


Never Knit With Black Yarn

I am that point in my 50’s where I’m constantly looking for the good light to knit in. And darker yarns, especially when knitting cables, are a real challenge. 

But Black is (Still) my favorite color and sometimes, you’ve just got to knit cables. Airplane lighting can be pretty good, and I got a nice start on Aspyn, in The Plucky Knitter’s newish Sweater Aran yarn, while flying. But it was a bit more of a challenge in hotel room lighting, although the view may have made up for that a bit!

I’m currently knitting my way through breakfast, apparently to the amusement of the servers. They gave me the good natural lighting by a window. 

And a fabulous, healthy breakfast to go along with it. 

Power breakfast for a burst of knitting this morning, before I get to work. 

Aspyn is a great choice for “hats for today” kind of knitting. At this Aran gauge it goes fast and you’ll have the pattern memorized after the first repeat. The smaller cable uses an approach I haven’t seen before, leaving the stitches on the needle but knitting them out of order. Trust the pattern and follow the clear directions. What looks like a mess for the first few rounds turns out to be a thing of beauty. But consider knitting in a color other than black if you want to go easy on your eyes. 


Almost, Almost Done

At six and one-half skeins in, I’m ready to start the final garter border and finish this shawl. I’ll be playing yarn chicken and have my swatch, which I’ve already unraveled, washed, and reskeined, handy. 

I love the pattern, based of feather and fan lace. It has a simple rectangular shape and very clean edges, produced by slipping the last stitch of every row and knitting the first stitch of each row through the back loop. 

It has taken me quite awhile to knit this and I’ll be finishing up just in time to wrap myself up and ward off chilly fall weather. 


It’s Fall Y’all!

Maybe that headline is a little bit misleading. It’s not quite fall, at least not in the deep south. But, it feels like it should be. And that means it’s serious knitting time around here. I’ve been working on a big, bulky cashmere shawl in The Plucky Knitter’s Groovy  yarn in the Highland colorway for a long time. It’s an easy feather and fan lace pattern and a lot of fun to knit, so it has been my constant companion on my travels this summer, and since it’s easy to memorize, I’ve been able to get in a row here and there even with a busy schedule. I’m working on the last 26 row lace repeat, and then it’s just a wide garter band and casting off.

With the end of this project on the horizon, I’ve had two things in mind: reorganizing my knitting studio and planning my fall knitting. I’ve spent the day cleaning and reorganizing my basement room, adding a new comfy leather chair and generally repurposing the room so I can use it as my home office as well as for knitting and dyeing. It was a disaster in there for a bit this afternoon, as I pulled out all my baskets of yarn, books and tools, but I’m well into sorting it out now and hope to be more or less done by the time I go to bad.  Appreciated this quick visit from the Judge who measured and has promised to get some of the screws that will let me hang a picture I got this summer onto the drywall.

The best part of reorganizing is that I’ve pulled all of the needles, stitch markers, and leftover yarn out of my finished project bags and I’ve reorganized the armoire that holds them all. Once I decide on my fall projects, it will be really easy to grab the needles and notions I need and be all set to go.

My knitting is my constant companion and I’m really grateful for it, whether it’s 4:30 am on the way to work in NYC or the more reasonable hours I keep when I’m at home. I’m planning on devoting my free time this week to winnowing down my Ravelry queue (a mere 3 pages/87 projects at the moment) to only the projects I intend to knit in the next 12 month or so. I want to swatch for my fall projects this week and be ready to cast on – I know I’m going to knit a couple of hats, I’m thinking about a sweater or two – I want a big cozy turtleneck, and some fingerless mitts. So, looking forward to the excitement of choosing, the agony of swatching, and the fun of fall knitting.




Summer Yarn

Summer knitting always calls to me.  There was that summer I knit a huge infinity cowl at the pool.  It will be small, I told myself.  Portable.  It won’t be hot.  But really, it was.  Four worsted weight skeins later, it was a thing of beauty (I just pulled it out of my cedar chest for a trip to cooler weather late this month) and worth every minute of rather humid poolside knitting that went into it.  Finally, a few summers back, I succumbed to the joy of knitting with summerweight yarn.  I knit a sweater from Chemise, Elliebelly’s silk & linen blend, and revolutionized my summer knitting.

Chemise is a wonderful yarn for summer knitting. Over recent hot, humid Alabama summers, I’m increasingly drawn to knitting with it, recently adding a fingering weight “Baby Chemise” to the original sport weight offering. Along with other yarns like Sea Silk, it forms a great base for summer knitting, as well as for finished items you’ll wear in summer.

In addition to the fingering weight version of Chemise, I’ve added a new range of colors this summer, including this gorgeous green, Interregnum and a whole new array.

And most recently, a gently colorful version, for pretty summer shawls and accessories.

As you prepare for your July 4 BBQs and summer trips to the beach, don’t leave your knitting behind! Grab some Chemise or some Sea Silk, and take advantage of all the time you spend talking with friends and sitting poolside. The Elliebelly Shop is fully stop with linen and silk for you summer knitting needs. And if you need a quick fix in anticipation of a last minute trip, don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know you need especially quick shipping. Happy Knitting!



Playing Catch Up

I’ve been doing absolutely everything other than knitting and dyeing yarn for the last month. Family, friends, travel and even beginning to settle at my new teaching job for the fall. Also, in a really bizarre this-can’t-be-happening sort of moment, there was a sudden interest in information about the kind of work I did in my former job as a federal prosecutor and I spent some time commenting on TV news. It was fun and interesting, and I have new respect for the people who bring us the news every day! Definitely not planning on quitting my day job.

As an added plus, I found a lot of knitters who read the news on Twitter, so it’s all good.  This week, I’m back to knitting.  Actually, unknitting. First, there was this sweater, my Rhea, in my beloved Plucky Groovy in Highlander.  I was about a third done with the sweater when I realized I really wasn’t happy with my knitting.  There were some errors in the lace panels and because the yarn is slightly felted, it was almost impossible to drop 15 or 20 rows back and fix them.  I tried it for the first few mistakes, but finally hit one I really couldn’t fix, so I ended up ripping the whole thing out.  I love this sweater and want it to be perfect.

Once you rip out one project, you may as well go for broke, so I also pulled out two pairs of socks in progress that had been lingering, one because the yarn was a bad match with the pattern and the other something that hadn’t held my interest.  I think I’ll repurpose both skeins and need some of the Janina Kallio one-skein shawls in my queue.

This week, more knitting, and, moving into my new office.  I took the important things in on the first run – favorite books and a knitting project (that’s my Drachenfels, that had been languishing until I picked it up last week). Looking forward to getting back into my knitting groove this week. It’s about time!