Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Did It, and It Was Spectacular

When you read this, I'll be on my way to Rhinebeck, N.Y., with Amy and Scooter Pie of the Ross Farm with my new (and very much finished) sweater, which I finished in the nick of time on Tuesday evening.

This is the best photo I can take at 5 a.m.

Pattern: Copperplate by Elizabeth Doherty
Yarn: Yarn Hollow Tango (85% Polwarth, 15% silk) in Garnet, approximately 3.5 skeins
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) and US 2.5 (3.0 mm)
Started/Completed: September 4/October 17

I started this sweater right after I found out I was making the pilgrimage to the New York Sheep and Wool festival, and I think I knit it rather quickly considering I took an entire week off in the middle to focus on Spinzilla. I'd been meaning to make the pattern for quite some time and had actually swatched for it way back when I bought the yarn, which my Ravelry stash page tells me was last May. My past self was very smart and made a note of my pre- and post-blocked gauge (as well as the needle size I used) on the pattern, so all I had to do to cast on was wind up a few more skeins.

The pattern itself was great. There are a lot of things to pay attention to, such as separate charts for the faux-cabled front bands and shaping, but I was able to knit on this while watching all sorts of TV and movies without making any serious errors, so I'd rate it somewhere in the middle of the difficulty scale. The construction is really genius, though, and it looks like it will fit really well.

Because I was using a hand-dyed yarn, I did alternate skeins for most of the sweater (the exceptions are the beginnings of the faux-cabled bands and the sleeve caps). That meant quite a few ends to weave it, but I decided at the outset to weave them in as I went along knowing that I'd probably be rushed to finish this in time for the trip and I didn't want to have a couple dozen ends to deal with at the last minute. I did use significant less yarn than the pattern estimates, and while I did make the sleeves a bit shorter than called for, I don't think that alone accounts for it. I have an entire skein untouched as well as remains of the last two skeins I was using, but that's not a bad thing, as I loved working with the yarn and will be happy to have some leftovers to play with.

The weather forecast for Rhinebeck is not entirely suitable for sweater wearing (it's supposed to get to the mid-70s on Saturday and Sunday), but knowing how I tend to run cold and that mornings and evenings are likely to get chilly, I'm sure I'll get some time to wear my new cardi.

I won't be doing a spinning post this weekend, as I haven't been at the wheel since the end of Spinzilla, but I do promise a full recap post (or maybe two!) of my Rhinebeck experience when I'm back. If you'll be at the festival this weekend, do come and say hi if you see me! Be forewarned, however, that if I'm wearing my new sweater, I may make you pet it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Can I Do It?

I'm in the home stretch on my Rhinebeck sweater, with just a portion of the second sleeve to go. I tried to work on it as much as possible over the weekend, but of course we were busy with errands and things like housecleaning and laundry, so it wasn't quite the knitting marathon I was hoping for. Still, I finished the first sleeve and got through the sleeve cap and upper portion of the second. My goal is to finish this sleeve by tonight so I can quickly block it in time for it to be dry for my early morning departure on Thursday. I have about 45 rounds (some involving decreases) and an I-cord bind off left to knit -- wish me luck!


In other news, thanks to some knitting time at lunch on Saturday and in the car going to and from dinner on Saturday and Sunday evening, I finished my socks!


These were such a quick knit, in large part because I worked them on size 1/2.25 mm needles instead of my usual size 0/2.0 mm. The pattern is already with my tech editor, so I likely won't think about it again until after Rhinebeck.

On Saturday morning, Rainbow and I took last trip out to Knitsburgh Yarn Shop, which is sadly now closed. There wasn't much stock left in the shop, but we picked out a few things. I grabbed a couple of circular needles and a set of crochet hooks as well as a skein of Neighborhood Fiber Co. Rustic Fingering in an acid green, and Rainbow picked out a skein of BMFA Plushy for a hat and mittens and some ONline sock yarn so we can have matching socks (the colorway might look familiar because I used it for a pair for me earlier this year).


I am really sad that the store is closing, but to be honest I haven't been there much because I have so much in my stash already and a lot of the knitting I've been doing for my patterns has involved yarn support. There are still other LYSes relatively close to me if I need yarn, but I'm going to try to stick with what I already have for the time being (plus whatever follows me home from Rhinebeck, of course).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

An Official Quickie

I have a very quick post today, mainly because I've done no spinning since the end of Spinzilla and I have one sleeve to finish on my Rhinebeck sweater, but I did want to share a final picture of the yarn I spun and my officially yardage. Here's the entirety of my week of crazy spinning:


The six unicorn skeins (all fingering weight and chain plied) totaled up to a little more than 500 yards, while the larger skein on the right (a two-ply fingering spun from 4 oz. of Frabjous Fibers BFL) is about 346 yards. All told, my final Spinzilla yardage was 3,071.8 yards -- not too shabby!

I'm obviously taking a break from spinning at the moment, but I'll be ramping it up once again as soon as I get back from Rhinebeck in order to add some more skeins to my Indie Knit and Spin booth. I got some new fiber in this past week, thanks to a KAL prize from the 90% Knitting podcast group.


This is Polwarth from Gale's Art that Lisa got in her SSK goodie bag in a previous year she attended. Polwarth is my favorite to spin, so I'm looking forward to having fun with this braid!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pattern Debut: Calamosca Cowl

And now for something a little different!

Usually when I post about a new pattern, it's one I've published in my Ravelry store or that's been printed in a magazine. Today, however, I'm very excited to share a new pattern with you that is part of the beautiful Color Shift collection from Knit Picks! This is a design that's been hiding behind the scenes for the better part of this year, and I've been dying to share it with you -- so I'm so excited that the day has finally arrived when I can!

The Color Shift collection is all about the slow fade from one color to the next. For my design, I worked with Knit Picks' Chroma yarn, one of my favorites for stranded colorwork because the color changes happen in the yarn, without the need to actually change the color. I took full advantage of this in my design, the Calamosca Cowl.


This pattern has two stranded colorwork parts. First, the chevron-y pattern of the outside of the cowl is worked. Then, after working a purl turning row and switching to smaller needles, a simple dot pattern is worked to form the inner lining of the cowl. Finally, the smaller section is folded to the inside and the two parts are joined with a three-needle bind off. This construction not only conveniently places all the floats on the interior of the cowl, thus keeping all the pretty part of the colorwork where it can be seen, but it results in an extra warm fabric.


Using a solid with a gradient really helps the colorwork to pop, and short floats make this an excellent project for someone new to stranded work. The sample in the book uses Black and Weather Vane, but there are many possible combinations. I happen to love Chroma because it's so snuggly in addition to having such beautiful colors, and it's not the first time I've used it for a cowl. The worsted weight version knits up so quickly and makes such a squishy fabric.

While you can't get the pattern in my Ravelry store, you can buy it individually from Knit Picks or as part of the whole collection (and you can get it as a printed book or an e-book). There are 15 beautiful patterns in the full collection, so it's a great deal!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On a Mission

Now that Spinzilla is over, I have one primary mission for the next week and a half or so: finish my Rhinebeck sweater. I think it may be a nail-biter, but I'm going to do my best to make it happen. Last night I picked up the stitches for the first sleeve and worked a good bit of the short-row sleeve cap shaping. I'm hoping to get through the rest of that tonight so I can start working the whole sleeve in the round -- I have a feeling that part is going to fly.


Short-row shaping means that there's really no good place to stop, hence the disheveled look of this sleeve. Once it gets going, it's fairly fast, but of course getting to this point is always a challenge. Any time I have to pick up a very specific number of stitches I invariably end up ripping and redoing at least once (I think it took me three or four tries with this sleeve). I actually have an extra stitch somewhere in there that I'll need to hide because I had a slight gap when I finished picking up the last section and had to pick up one more stitch to fix it.

The sweater is a bit too big to bring to work for my lunch break knitting, so I've been working on my new sock design again -- and I finished the first one today! I'm very pleased with how this knit up.


I've already got a draft of the pattern mostly written, which means that I can likely take a couple of photos of the completed sock and get the pattern off to my tech editor this weekend (given that sock yarn usage is so variable, I don't need to finish the pair to determine yarn requirements). I'll still knit the second sock, of course, but I have some yarn support on its way to me for a new pattern that I'm hoping to debut early next month, so it may have to wait.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sleeve to knit!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Thank Goodness It's Only a Week

Spinzilla is coming to a close tonight, and I'm very happy to see it end. Not that I haven't enjoyed spending so much time spinning, mind you, but my body is not very happy with me right now. Somehow the limited time period makes it easy to push myself to keep spinning even when things are hurting, and that could do some serious damage in the long term.

That said, I did get everything done (or will, as soon as I post this) that I wanted to. Yesterday, we did a spin-in at the HipStrings studio. I managed to finish spinning up all the rest of my unicorn sampler singles, and as of this morning, they were all plied.

Top to bottom: Unicorn Fluff, Baby Unicorn, Soulmate, Unicorn Seeks Soulmate, Space Unicorn, and Dark Magic

While these have been skeined up, they have not yet been washed; I'll do that tonight just as soon as I finish plying the last skein (which I'll get to in a minute). As long as I was there, however, I decided to make a pretty sizable fiber purchase. I've been wanting to knit a Boxy sweater, and rather than buying more yarn, I thought it would be fun to spin for one. I spent most of the afternoon pondering colors but had a lot of trouble deciding because there were three that I really liked. Then my friend Anna came up with the brilliant idea to do a fade, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.


These are all the HipStrings Buoy blend, which is 37.5% BFL, 37.5% Shetland, and 25% Manx Loughtan. The three colors I picked are (left to right) Sky, Bay, and Mussels. The colors will fade from light to dark from the top of the sweater to the bottom, assuming I do it right. I'm excited to get spinning, but I'll likely need to put it off for a bit to get some other things done.

My last skein for Spinzilla will be finished up as soon as I post this. It's the BFL that I was spinning on my Turkish spindle for the week; I got a little more than half of one ply done on the spindle, but in the interest of actually finishing it, I spun the rest on the wheel.


I finished the last of the singles spinning and plied most of the skein over at the Steel City Fiber Collective this afternoon. Luckily one bobbin ran out just when I needed to leave and go home, so I'll wind off the rest of the remaining singles and Andean ply them. I'll skein this yarn up and then all the skeins will go take a bath. As soon as they're dry, I'll be able to determine my final Spinzilla yardage!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

At the Halfway Point

We're more than halfway through Spinzilla now, and I'm feeling it. As much as I envy those who get more spinning time because they don't work full time like I do, I'm not sure my body could handle it. I definitely overdid it on Tuesday, so I spent the evening working on my Rhinebeck sweater instead of spinning more. It turned out to be a doubly good thing, as it gave some of my joints a bit of a rest and enabled me to finish the body of the sweater!

Sorry the photo's so dark -- it's a gloomy day here.

I'm getting a bit nervous that there won't be quite enough time to finish the sweater, especially given how much knitting time I'm giving up to spinning this weekend, but I'm going to do my best. The nice thing about this pattern is that after the sleeves are done, I'm done -- there is no finishing to be done other than weaving in ends (which I've been doing along the way so I don't have to do them all at the end) and blocking. If I have to, I'll have a bit of a knitting marathon next weekend, when all we have planned is a family dinner on Saturday night.

But let's get back to the Spinzilla recap. As of last night, I have finished up the third fiber blend in my unicorn sampler and moved on to the fourth. This one, Unicorn Seeks Soulmate, is probably the easiest to spin because it's just merino with a bit of sparkle.


I'm also continuing to work on the BFL I've been spindling, but I think a wheel intervention might be in order to get the entire 4 oz. spun and plied before the end of Spinzilla. I split the braid up into 16 little bundles of predrafted fiber, and I'm managing to get two into a cop. Considering the first cop took me two days to spin (well, two lunch breaks), it's unlikely I can manage it all on a spindle alone.


I think I will have to play things by ear and see how far I get by the weekend. I'll be heading up to the HipStrings studio on Saturday afternoon for a spin-in with the team, and if I've gotten all the stuff done on the wheel by then, I'll just take my spindle. If the worst that happens is I don't find the stuff on the spindle this week, I can live with that.