drachenfels

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!

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A New Pattern For Elliebelly Yarn!

I’m so excited about this! Knitwear designer SKnitsB is working on for Elliebelly Basilisk and it’s almost done!

Spoiler alert: Susan is using four skeins of Berlin Flea Market on Basilisk. There are several colorways stocked in my Etsy shop and more coming. You could also knit this pattern using Elliebelly’s bulky weight Cosmopolitan Merino yarn. 

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New In The Shop

Just in case you find yourself in desperate need of pretty new yarn this holiday weekend, I’ve just started stocking the shop.  There will be some Basilisk (hint: SKnitsB has a new pattern in the works that takes four skeins of this lovely yarn), a new colorway of Smitten 120, and some farm sourced roving in different blends. I’ve also got a few of the Tapas mini-skeins, like those that were offered as prizes during this year’s KAL to add to the shop.  And, I’ve just finished redyeing the almost completely decimated stock of Himalayan Sock Yarns in all of the colors I dye on the Yak bases, with the addition of Purple Rain.  Please stop by!  I hope you’ll find something you love.

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A Little Roving

I’ve been playing with some direct-from-farm Roving this week, trying to figure out which fibers I like best and playing with some new colors. 


I’m pretty crazy about this ball of wool! It’s an untreated organic Roving that takes the colors beautifully. Hoping there are some spinners and felters out there who can find some good uses for this pretty stuff!

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At long Last, New Knitting

It’s just a small start, but I’ve finally found the perfect project for my favorite new yarn from the Plucky Knitter.  I’ve got six skeins of Groovy, dyed in her Highlander colorway. I’m more than just a little bit excited about the colorful yarn, but after looking and looking (and swatching and swatching, I couldn’t find just the right project for it until I came across the Rhea Cardigan.

It was clear to me immediately that this was the right sweater, even though the pattern is written for Quince’s aran weight linen tape yarn and its show here in a solid.  I wanted a comfortable, wear over anything cardigan, because I know all of the colors in Highlander will be just right with the simple patterning.

The pattern, which is well-written, has given me a bit of trouble at the start.  Note to self: knitting with a really bad sinus infection does not bring out your strengths.  And dropping down stitches to fix mistakes with Groovy, which is a felted cashmere yarn, was a little bit dicey.  Fortunately, issues are resolved and once you finish the first pattern repeat, you have a pretty good guide for what is happening in each of the ten rows in the repeat.  Despite my silly novice mistakes at the outset, I think I’ll get to the point where I can memorize the pattern and carry this one around with me to work on.  Here’s an early photo – you can see how incredibly lovely the color variation is on this wonderful, unique yarn.  Groovy is definitely a favorite for me!

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Time Flies!

Time (and yarn!) have been flying around here lately.  We’ve been on the west coast for our oldest son’s law school graduation and are now back home for child #3’s high school graduation.  And all sorts of stuff in between!  Allergy season and a heavy dyeing schedule (there is a lot of new yarn in the shop for you to check out) have cut into my knitting time, but I wanted to share a couple of projects with you.

I’ve finished my Ceramic Flowers cowl and am in love with it!  It’s long enough to wear doubled for warmth (which I was surprised to need in San Francisco last weekend) but really pretty and decorative in a long loop in Elliebelly Pussy Willow, a 50 silk/50 merino yarn.  It also doubles as a convenient cat warmer.

We knit Ceramic Flowers as part of the Elliebelly KAL this April, and it was hit across a wide variety of base yarns.  You can also knit it in different weights, and could move up to an aran or even a bulky version by doing two pattern repeats instead of three (I chose to do two with my worsted weight version and am really happy with the result).  You cast on the long number of stitches and work in the round from top to bottom, so adjustments easy.  Some of my other favorite Elliebelly versions were Elizabeth’s version, also in Pussy Willow, Kate’s in Elliebelly Silky Wool, and Eleanor’s in Naiad Organic Merino (I had to include one of her early pictures, because I love her Liberty Fabric bag so much!)

 

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We’re Blocking!

I’m blocking Maya.  And it turns out, it’s huge!

This is my Adventurous April KAL project, knit from Elliebelly Basilisk. I added an extra repeat onto each side of the shawl (breadcrumb: if you knit this pattern from Basilisk or a comparable yarn, don’t increase the size like I did.  It forced me to go into a fourth skein of yarn for about 4 yards of yarn) so it would be big enough to wrap around completely and it is definitely that! I loved knitting this pattern and I’m particularly impressed by how the yarn performed.  I had not used it before for a big swatch of stockinette, and I’m so impressed by it that I’m already plotting a sweater out of it in the Dear Theodosia colorway.

Maya is one of those projects that demands a good block to open up the lace pattern.  So I let it soak for 30 minutes in a no-rinse soap, sent it for a two minute spin in my spin dryer, and then aggressively pinned it in place until I could see the lace pattern clearly.  It should be dry by tomorrow — the spin dryer is amazing.  It cuts drying time by at least one-half and makes caring for hand knits much easier.  I have this one, but there are a number on the market and they all seem to get good reviews.

As strange as this seems, really counter intuitive for a bulky weight yarn, I plan on wearing this all summer.  Basilisk is 50% silk and as a result, it’s lofty and has lovely drape.  It’s going to be my go-to all summer.  I can’t wait!