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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.

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Ceramic Flowers. Chart Two.

I’ve finished the first chart for my Ceramic Flowers Cowl and have just begun the second.  It’s a fun pattern to knit, and reasonably quick, since I’m knitting at a worsted weight.  Although the chart contains three floral repeats, a number of projects have stopped after two and liked the design better that way.  I’ll assess when I get to that point.  I’m about halfway through the second chart now and haven’t quite exhausted the first ball of yarn, so I should be able to do a full size version with two balls of yarn, if I want to go there.

The yarn is Elliebelly Pussy Willow, which is available in very limited quantities in my shop.  It’s a 50 wool/50 silk single ply fiber that works well for spring and summer knitting and feels get slipping through your fingers while you’re knitting with it!

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Adventurous April Knit Along — Game On!

It’s April 1, and that means it’s KAL time!

I cast on for my first two projects last night.  That’s Ceramic Flowers on the left and my Mirren Hat on the right.  I was so excited that I stayed up until midnight to get started.  I’m well into the brim of the hat now, and looking forward to getting started on the cables.  If you’re keeping track, the yarn I’m using is Elliebelly Pussy Willow on the left and Talia Bulky Merino on the right.  Also in the works is a bulky Maya Shawl in Basilisk and a pair of socks in BFL Constant.  I’m enjoying all the yarn and the different colors!

If you haven’t joined in yet, I hope you will.  You’ve still got time to peruse the project threads, pick a project or two and join in.  Although some of us will complete one or more projects during April, others will be CASTING ON ALL THE THINGS.  You’re welcome to join us at any time, and to knit with any yarn you like.  This year, you can score some Elliebelly in my Etsy Shop, but because the KAL started in the years when I wasn’t dyeing for sale, I’m continuing the tradition of making the KAL available to everyone.  We’re knitting for the fun and the fellowship, and it’s always a great chance to make new knitting friends.

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Back To Fairisle

I picked up my Sjølingstadkofta sweater last night, after a long hiatus.  And, I immediately fell in love again.  I’ve now finished the second (and shortest) of the three charts that make up the fairisle body of the sweater, Roses.  Next up is Oak Leaves, a 60 row chart that repeats over 198 body stitches — a nice little step down from the 300+ stitches in Roses, because I’ve now separated the sleeve stitches from the body, and won’t be working them until I go back to knit the sleeves.  The yarn, Plucky’s Oxford, is a dream to knit with.  And I love fairisle.  Absolutely love it.  I can’t wait to set up for Oak Leaves and get to work!

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The Cashmere is Mine

I’ve had to fend off attacks from various cats to maintain a claim to my blue cashmere mitts.

kitty with knitting

But, they are mine.  All mine.  I love them, and I love knitting with this fine Mongolian Cashmere.  It’s über soft, even for cashmere.  Although I am bad to get a case of second sock (or in this case, second mitt) syndrome, I cast on for the second one as soon as I finished – minus the thumb – the first one.

Second mitt in progress

I’m hoping to finish them up today.  They’re just right for some late winter hiking over the weekend if the weather cooperates, and the cats keep their distance.

another kitty with the blue mitts

[Mitts knit with one skein of Elliebelly Coventry Cashmere in “Lady Mary.”  Available here.]

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Luxury Knitting: Cashmere Fingerless Mitts

I’ve been meaning to get started on this project for some time now, and finally picked up the yarn to cast on over the weekend.

This is Tin Can Knits Paddle Fingerless Mitts.  The yarn is Elliebelly Coventry Cashmere.  After going back and forth over what color to stripe it with, I decided to use some Melted Crayon, also in Coventry, but a lighter weight, that came out much more muted than this colorway typically does (it’s a cashmere thing).  This is the second time I’ve knit Paddle, and it’s a well-written, straightforward knit, perfect for the whiny knitter who is in bed with the flu.  It’s just right for knitting and napping.  So I did.

The ribbing looks a little bit wonky – I’m not sure what caused that, but I’m hopeful a nice, gentle steam block will do the trick.  Here’s a closer look at the pretty stripe.  I’ve been a fan of mixing my Paint Brush and other variegated colorways with solids ever since knitting this quirky little hat for one of my kids, almost a decade ago.  Admittedly, the look is a lot more elegant here, because, cashmere. As pretty as the solids are alone (and the multicolored yarns alone as well), there’s something lovely and fun about mixing them up.  I think the hat I knit last earlier this month inspired me to variegated stripe again with these mitts.  Hope you’ve got something in your stash to inspire you to try it!

P.S.: I’ve added a bit of this yarn on Etsy in case you’d like to knit your own pair.  I’ll even add in some yarn for stripes if you would like!

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More Than Halfway There

The only good thing about the flu is all of the knitting time once you get to the point where you can hold your head up and watch bad tv for a couple of hours in between naps.

The whole deal on this sweater is knitting miles of stockinette. The front and back on each side grow out from the side seam.  Each piece needs to measure 12.5″ from the side seam to the end, so a total of 25″ for each piece, before I can start the necklines.  After a day of on and off sick person knitting, I’m at 14″ & 16″ and I figure I’ve knit about 8″ today, so I’m hoping the whole sick but able to knit thing holds up and I can make progress on this sweater over the next few days.