Adventurous April 2018

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.]

Adventurous April 2018

Vacation Knitting — A Wrap Up

Knitting on vacation is a joy.  And an agony, when you don't have the right tools.  Midway into our trek through Glacier National Park, with nary a yarn store in sight, I realized that the 6" DPNs I have brought along to knit Vitsippa, my fairisle hat, on, were going to be too short to accommodate all the stitches once I finished up the ribbing and added additional stitches called for in the pattern to begin the stranded portion of the hat.

IMG_2191

So here I am, rather unattractively sweating and knitting away, trying to recover from the hike up the Highline Trail, whilst coming to the sad realization I'm going to have to put Vitsippa away until our return to civilization.  The view was compensation (and if you've read my earlier post, the knitting really liked the view too).

Next, I pulled out my Oak Park, renamed Glacier Park in honor of the trip.  Oak Park is a triangular shawl, knit in a devious pattern that is constantly shifting.  I had been looking for a pattern for my three skeins of The Plucky Knitter's Cachet (aran weight cashmere) in Slumber, my most prized yarn, for a really long time and was so happy when a friend suggested this pattern.  I was one repeat in when we emerged from hiking the Swift Current Trail in Many Glacier and made our way on up to the Prince of Wales Lodge on the Canadian side of the park, only to discover that they served a very nice tea.

IMG_2410

IMG_2406

I knit away on Oak Park/Glacier Park for the rest of our hiking time, and ended up just shy of three repeats in at the end.  It's an absolutely lovely pattern and precisely what this yarn wanted to become.  I'm going to be so happy with it as soon as it isn't 90` that feels like 100` degrees with the humidity in Alabama.  (Let me digress and say it was 40` when we flew out of Kalispell, Montana, and I really wish I was still there!)

Amazingly, there was a yarn store when we made it to Whitefish, Montana, our last stop.  And, a day of rain that was perfect for exploring town, eating some delicious crepes, watching the huge logging trucks roll in filled with freshly cut timber, and stoping by the local yarn store, Knit 'n Needle where the lovely proprietress encouraged me to pick out a circular rather than longer DPNs. I fell in love with the store yarn, Polka Dot Sheep, and engaged in a little stash addition.  And we discovered that the fabulous Huckleberries we had been picking and eating along the trails were used for all sort of pastries in town.  What a wonderful place to end our trip!

     IMG_2577

IMG_2581

Armed with my new 16" circular needle, I returned to Vitsippa on the flight home.  After picking up a few stitches that had dropped off the overloaded DPNs, I was back in business. Sorry about the bad airplane lighting on the picture, but I'm so excited about the colorwork on this one that I can't wait to share it.  That's The Plucky Knitter's Oxford in Waxing Poetic (the gold) and Bedrock (the gray).  I love knitting fairisle and am really enjoying this one!

IMG_2582

Truth be told, I love my day job and our life in Birmingham, but there is a little part of me that would love to remain under Montana's Big Sky, knitting and hiking.  It was a wonderful vacation and it reminded me of decades ago trips with my grandparents, which not too surprisingly, featured hiking and knitting, along with some fishing.  It's fun to come full circle like that.

I can't end this post without a few trip pictures.  First off, this lousy camera phone picture of a BEAR who was swimming casually across a LAKE about 40 feet away from us as we drove to the trailhead to hike Bertha Lake in Canada.  It was a moment — we could see him skimming through the water, magnificent and large.

IMG_2547

Hiking in the alpine meadows was spectacularly beautiful.

IMG_2357

IMG_2471

IMG_2182

And being able to see the waterfalls and lakes, as well as the animals and flowers, made it worth several of the more challenging, steep portions of the trails.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, knitting and all!

IMG_2322

Adventurous April 2018

New Yarn: The Plucky Knitter’s Cachet

Cachet is The Plucky Knitter's brand new 100% cashmere yarn.  Although it's listed at an aran weight, it knits up in the worsted range for me, with 18 stitches/26 rows to four inches on size 6 needles.

Swatch

It knits up like a dream: a soft cloud of stockinette.  And, the gauge is perfect for some of the patterns in my queue I'm longing to knit the most, including Carol Feller's Portulaca, Thea Coleman's new sweater, Rye, and Mailin and Monte Rosa, both by Isabel Kraemer .  Decisions, decisions.

I'm also going to swatch this yarn a couple of needle sizes down to see what the fabric looks like.  Originally, I planned to knit Alana Dakos Cabled Leaf Pullover in this yarn.  Since its gauge is 20 stitches/26 rows, it seems like that might be doable.

I know it's obvious, after years and years of being a polyamorous knitter who carried a torch for a lot of  different brands of yarn, when I discovered Plucky last year, I fell deeply in love with the wonderful custom spun, hand-dyed yarns they produce.  All of the yarns I've used so far, from Snug Bulky, to Bello Worsted, to Cashmere Sport, to Primo Aran, to Crew, to Scholar, have made me really happy.  Each new project makes me think I've found my favorite yarn of all time.  And truly, they are all my favorites.  I adore this yarn, and the new heavy weight Cachet cashmere is like knitting with a dream.  If you haven't discovered Plucky yet, it's worth the effort.  Although the yarn is sold in an unusual fashion, there is lots of advice for newbies here and a very nice group of helpful knitters on the Ravelry group.  You'll be glad you took the time to figure it out!

 

Adventurous April 2018

Elliebelly’s Adventurous April KAL 2015 Begins

The Knit Along isn't actually beginning just yet, but I'm winding my yarn and gathering my notions so I will be all ready on April 1.  Looking for a KAL to join?  Our pattern, Antarktis, is a one skein project that is beginner appropriate and we are lots of fun to knit with!  You can use any yarn you want, and, if knitting a scarf/shawl isn't your thing, we also have a stuffed animal and a "learn a new technique" category.  Sign up for the Elliebelly group on Ravelry here, introduce yourself in the threads and feel free to join in with us!

Mcnladymary

I've selected my yarn after lots of back and forth.  It's Elliebelly's MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) High Twist in a fingering weight.  It's a pale robin's egg blue called Lady Mary (if you watch Downton Abbey, you'll remember the dress that inspired the colorway!)

Seasilk

My runner up choice is this Elliebelly Seasilk  in Jabot.  I went with the Cashmerino blend because the Seasilk doesn't grow as much when blocked, and pattern designer Janina Kallio stresses the importance of selecting a yarn that will block well.

I'm all set.  I've got my new Darn Pretty Needles all ready to go, along with my yarn in a pretty linen bag from Churchmouse.  See you on Wednesday for the start of knitting nirvana as we all cast on.

 

 

Adventurous April 2018

A little progress on Drachenfels

Feb22

I wanted to share the introduction of color onto Drachenfels.  It's so much fun to knit!

I've deviated a bit from the pattern to have all three colors show on each of the ends, so the green bit is my own addition.  Knitting with cashmere is awfully, awfully fun.  This project is more guilty pleasure than work.

The whole carrying the yarn along the edges to avoid weaving in all those ends thing is a challenge for me. I'm only going to be able to carry where there is a two row change in color.  I'll need to spend some time looking for a better way to do it on longer runs, but for now, I've decided to be old fashioned and weave in my ends on those pretty pops of color!

Adventurous April 2018

Works in Progress

The week I go back to work after the holidays is always a bad week for knitting (as much as it is good to be back with good friends and getting the job done).  I manage to get in a bit of knitting when I wake up and a bit at night, so this week wasn't a total knitting loss.  But progress was slow.

Vodka

Thea Coleman's  Vodka Lemonade pattern is my most challenging project at the moment.  It's a sweater pattern knit in The Plucky Knitter's delicious Crew yarn, a merino/cotton blend.  That is the collar that you see above.  It's knit in seed stitch. I'm in the decided minority of knitters who enjoy knitting it.  It's slow going and time consuming, but it's very pretty.  At this rate, it will take me quite some time to finish the collar before I get on with the body of the sweater, but I don't mind at all.

Ogrepaddlemitt

Paddle Mitts are a Tin Can Knits pattern.  Like the other patterns I've knit from this designer, the pattern is straightforward and the finished item is utilitarian.  And I have managed to create a small disaster with what should have been a simple project.  I decided to use my favorite skein of yarn, this beautiful skein of Plucky Scholar, which is a worsted weight blend of cashmere and merino in a rustic spin.

Ogre

That would have been just dandy, had I seriously contemplated the fact that Scholar was a bit heavier than the yarn the pattern was written for and sized down, but no, I did not.  That was okay in the body of the hand, where the ribbing made it work.  But there was drama with the thumb and I overcompensated with rapid decreases after picking up the stitches for it.  I've pulled that all out and am starting over for a thumb that works with the rest of the mitts. This will go into the man-sized pile for gift giving, darn it.  I hope I have enough yarn to do a second pair for myself.

Inprogressclose

When The Plucky Knitter introduced her first collection of patterns, All Bundled Up, last weekend, I enjoyed looking them over and admired several enough to add to my Ravelry queue of patterns to knit this year.  I even contemplated buying yarn for one of the sweaters in the near future.  But then it hit.  The Sugarloaf Infinity Scarf pattern was so tempting.  It was written for my favorite yarn, Snug, and it just so happened I had the perfect colorways for it in my stash.  So on my needles it went, and it's unusual little rib was an enjoyable knit while we watched a move on TV last night (The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou, which you should watch if you haven't seen it and like slightly snarky, self-indulgent humor).

Yarnchoices

I have plans this weekend to work on my Olivia wrap, and I wanted to get in more work on Vodka Lemonade's collar, but I'm afraid Sugarloaf has captivated me, and may end up as the attention-getter in whatever time I have this weekend.  Fortunately, it's cold outside and there is a lot of appeal to sitting inside where it is warm and this is hot tea and I can knit.

Adventurous April 2018

Another Knit Nevermind Hat. Subtitle: Why I Love The Plucky Knitter’s Snug Yarn

I'm sure I sound like I have lost my marbles to anyone who is not passionate about knitting.  But, I have a new favorite yarn, and I really don't care who knows about it.  Snug.  I love you Snug.  I love you for your cashmere content and for your beautiful, smooth, round, bulkiness.  And I love how you take color.  All of them.  I loved you right out of the box, even before the first time I put you on my needles.

Snuginabox 

I love you even more, now that I've knit a second hat out of Snug, my second using the Nevermind cabled pattern.  It is what you were meant for.

Transfer

Forgive me for the glamour shot.  I'm rather partial to the model as well.  But she still doesn't get to keep the hat!

The colorway is Fisherman's Wharf, a neutral with just a hint of a purpleish undertone in the right light.  So subtle that you're not even sure it's there.  So beautiful that I'm kicking myself for not getting a sweater quantity.

Light

Nevermind2

Nevermindhat

Here is the obligatory cat photo.  I was chided, after the lovely photo of our baby cat Juliet earlier this week, for not including our cats in more photos.  So here is Harry, who is skilled at photobombing, but agreed to pose just this once.

Harryandthehat

In case I haven't been clear, if you don't have any of The Plucky Knitter Snug in your stash you need to RUN not walk and get some.  You can buy it at her periodic updates or through destash on Ravelry if you're lucky.  It's amazing yarn.  You need to knit with some now!