fo : clarke, rhubarb show-offs

2017 has been a year focused on a lot of other things, like the surprising turn my career took, the first apartment I moved to (with a partner I never thought I would meet and grow with). I lost a lot of good knitting time this year being swept up with a lot of that but still managed to get a few things off the needles.

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The problem (?) with taking so long to blog about something you've knit is that it's likely that you've already spent some time incorporating them into your life and putting them into use.

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pattern : Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond

yarn : Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Cobblestone Heather and Garnet Heather

needle : US 6, 7 [4-4.5mm]

size : 40

My Clarke sweater's already a little rough around the edges. I haven't really felt the push to block the garment to make this look as attractive as possible for the blog, I hardly even wove the ends in! As soon as it was bound off I wore it and continued to whenever the weather deemed it appropriate to. It can't be that heretical to admit that, right? I don't block that often at all!

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The first pullover I knit was a Jane Richmond pattern. It was such a simple and enjoyable process that I sank my teeth into the Clarke pattern expecting the same straightforward, highly customisable design. I was not disappointed and might make another sometime in the future. So far the Swish Worsted has been soft and very comfortable--no scratchiness at all. One issue I see is that it pills quite a bit. The pilling makes me wonder whether this batch of skeins I bought from knitpicks would suffer the same unfortunate fulling effect post-wash that I read complaints about on ravelry. It would suck to see such a fate from a sweater I love this much.

pattern : Show-Off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell

yarn : Regia Hand-Dye Effect in Rhubarb

needle : US 1 [2.5mm]

size : medium, 10"

This whole sock project was a nightmare, and it was entirely because of the yarn. I had this in the time-out pile since 2014 and didn't pick it back up until 2016. I was determined to finish it. Ignoring the general convention of knitting both socks with the same types of needle to ensure gauge is the same, I just picked some aluminum dpns and sped through the last sock.

With the frustration of the yarn behind me, I can enjoy these gorgeous colors and how the Anne Campbell's pattern has let them shine. To give the pattern a good faith effort once more with less annoying yarn, I casted on once more with a Zauberball skein instead. Anne Campbell kicked ass with this design.

wip: hue shift, bt beanie

Less talking, more knitting, right? A wip post, at long last.

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On the circular needle was (was! finished it recently and haven't taken it off yet!) an improvised beanie using the Brooklyn Tweed loft yarn Nick bought me at Knit Purl..back when we braved unsalted Portland roads last winter for some yarn tourism.

The yarn is lofty and fluffy. The crunchy bits of dry grass between the plies add a touch of..authenticity I guess. I would consider shelling out for a sweater quantity someday, when I think I'm worth it.

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I've had the yarn for this Hue Shift Afghan project for almost a year now. It's nice to finally cast-on and see what the fuss was about. This is my first mitred square project and I'm happy to know that I had little reason to feel as intimidated by the method as I was all this time.

My concern currently? Mostly, running out of yarn before I make it all the way through this blanket. A lot of knitters on Ravelry have complained that knitpicks cut it a little too close to the yardage for comfort. I'm doing what I can by avoiding breaking the yarn as much as possible but we'll see.

fo : manta

This has been finished for quite some time, but I hadn't photographed it until very recently--after some attempts to make it a part of my wardrobe this year I decided this belonged to one of my more fashionable friends for Christmas this year.

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pattern : Stingray by Evan Plevinski

yarn : Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smoky Mountains

needle : US 8 [5mm]

size : a little too large

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I don't really remember what my experience was like knitting it. I didn't encounter any glaring difficulties in the pattern itself, but I did get a little careless at one point and worked to many repeats of a few of the sections. It gave me a larger, prettier fabric but wasn't faithful to the intent of the original design.

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While it's not lacework, I'm happy to say that I've made something that I didn't think I would--a shawl. Thankfully this doesn't need the intense sort of blocking a super lacy, feminine shawl would have needed, I probably wouldn't have made it in the first place if that were the case.

I hope the recipient likes this gift! She and I agree on wardrobe color palettes for the most part, and I look forward to how she makes this a part of her already nice wardrobe.

sin city knit shop, las vegas

The second LYS I visited was the

Sin City Knit Shop

on E. Windmill Ln. From the look of it, this shop has been around for quite some time. I think I recall being told that until Mirage Fiber Arts opened its doors it was the only one in Vegas for a while.

I had the immediate feeling that the people relaxing and knitting were all good friends, and was greeted as if I was a part of that circle too.

I can't tell you how at home I felt here! I said I was looking for some sock yarn, and everyone there sounded off with great suggestions of what was in stock! It may have been for that reason that I wasn't even entirely sure who was the owner of Sin City Knits, it was like everyone was at home, I was a guest, and there happened to be a ton of yarn around. The atmosphere is too charming here.

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I decided to pick up one of Sin City knits' own dyed sock yarns in that lovely blue-green colorway, and a sale skein of Viking Raggen for some Christmas knitting (time-willing). Oh, and some point protectors. They just keep disappearing back home.

Thanks for such an enjoyable visit, Sin City Knit Shop! If anyone's in the area and are looking for workshops, classes, events and the like, or simply a place to knit, chat and find squishy skeins to adopt, the Sin City Knit Shop is a great bet.

​ mirage fiber arts, las vegas

While on my thanksgiving weekend trip to Las Vegas with Nick, I took advantage again of Ravelry's fantastic LYS finder resource and found two shops to visit.

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The first was Mirage Fiber Arts on S. Buffalo drive. The moment I walked in, I was warmly greeted by the ladies knitting on those adorable rocking chairs.

Their full walls suggested a generous and well curated selection of squishy yarns. I spent most of my time there handing skeins of alpaca or mohair to Nick and insisting that he squeeze and appreciate them.

While convincable, I was mostly on the hunt for something more local than the usual staples of Malabrigo or Berocco, and found what I was looking for.

A skein of Nerd Girl Yarns Swagger in "I Ain't Nobody's Bitch", and Ethereal Fibers' Dark Matter Sock, a 70/20/10 Merino/Yak/Nylon yarn, which is unfortunately not the most well catalogued yarn on Ravelry.

I'm learning, however, that the wonderful thing about picking up a yarn without an existing and well-documented record of projects online is that my project will definitely be a nice little surprise to see all knit up. I'm not entirely sure now the Swagger Yarn will turn out, so I'm probably going to let it have its say on a vanilla sock or something. (Or maybe give the Stranded Show-Off pattern another try?) I'll share my second LYS experience with you very soon! For now, I've got an Ease sweater to finish weaving in and blocking.

how ease-y is too ease-y?

After toiling on my NaKniSweMo project, I figured it was safe to actually try this thing on to see how the project was coming.

My first response seeing myself in a mirror in this thing was 'ugh, I look like a bag of sausages under a knit tarp'. Alright, I don't exactly have stellar self esteem here, but really--how big and comfy is too big and comfy for a sweater?

This is a really really comfortable garment to wear and all, but with these wizard sleeves and the waist-decreases that didn't seem to amount to very much at all on my figure, I'm beginning to think there's more to sweater sizing than, idk, carelessly matching the bust measurement in the pattern and just going for it.

Expecting some positive-ease to my sweater, I thought it was safe to do just that and get enough yarn for the Large size. 45" can work well with my 42" bust, but the waist on this thing is 37" (I'm something like a 32), explaining clearly why my sweater feels like a blanket with sleeves.

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So where can I comfortably sit on the scale between snuggly and actually flattering? I can opt for a noble path of (UGH) unraveling this entire thing and casting on a medium size (39" but..I guess I can mod it)?

Or just finish this project that I'm itching to see done, wear comfortably (even if it's not a thousand percent form-fitting and flattering), and enjoy a size down on my next sweater project?
I'm pretty sure I can pull off a cute oversized-sweater + leggings sort of get-up anyway, but I also have this pressing feeling that the Good-Knitter-And-Someday-Maybe-Designer thing to do is to stop whining and just tink and redo the whole thing. Just to learn some weird important lesson about achieving "perfect results" in knitting, buddhist sand mandala style.

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There's still a tiny bit of time left before my self-imposed deadline arrives. I think we all already know what the answer's gonna be.

bummer!

If anybody out there needed a reason why some people prefer metal for their smaller size needles, here it is. Poor needles didn't last more than a month. Rest in Pieces.

wip: nakniswemo2016, slide + knitpicks stash acquisition!

Happy November! I recently made a big yarn purchase from Knitpicks for this special winter month, and now that they've arrived, I can finally show you. But first, a sock WIP update--

The Slide socks by Cookie A are a dream to knit up. I had seen a lot of her designs around ravelry and on various blogs and have wondered why her work has been so popular (besides the gorgeous designs, that is). If this pattern is enough to go by, she's got a way of making simple knitting stitches and conventions into impressive designs, and of explaining them clearly and flawlessly for even an uncertain beginner to comfortably follow along. I might have to queue up those ever-popular Monkey Socks sometime soon.
As for the Zen Garden yarn--it's easily the softest sock yarn I've had the privilege of working with to date, but I think the colorway shifts too aggressively for the purpose of this design. I'll likely keep knitting it, but another go at this project with a softly solid MadelineTosh might be in order in the future.

I'm participating in NaKniSweMo for a second year! This year's choice is Ease, a gorgeous pattern that has been sitting in my queue for a long time. I chose Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes Superwash in Mineral Heather, which looks even better in person.
The colors are faaar more accurate in this photo than in the previous.
I'm happy to know that it's not nearly as rough for me as commenters on the Ravelry yarn profile complained. It feels great in my hands, and I expect it to soften up even more after its first post-bind-off soak. Full disclosure, though: I didn't swatch at all for this. We'll see whether I get out of this in one piece or end up cursing all the way back to the yarn winder after frogging an entire sweater. Living on the EDGE.
This lovely but kinda garish set of Brava Sport is another new addition. I bit the bait hard and shelled out the ~whopping (not) $25 for a Rainbow Hue Shift kit from Knitpicks. This is gonna be my first afghan project (well, one that isn't a sausage project anyway).
Suffice it to say I got bitten by the knitting bug this fall/winter and I'm happily letting myself head where the line leads me, even if it means breaking my Big Rule of WIP Monogamy. See you all soon with photos of these projects!

wip: slide & perfect fit short socks

After completing the Garden TAATs, I made it my mission this Socktober to cast-on two projects: an ankle sock scrapbusting project series, and a more involved sock project from my queue.

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I've made it an idle goal for a long time to own only hand made socks a long time ago (with the exception of Muji's adorable recycled yarn ones), but it hurt my soul to go running or working out with precious merino cabled ones. The solution presented itself the moment I took a detailed inventory of my Ravelry stash. Working on these toe-ups with the help of ArtDesign1's pattern, I intend to find a straightforward and fun method that will comfortably fit. I've enjoyed the nostalgia of knitting up yarns from past projects, and am excited to see how they clash together (though my current one looks pretty deliberate in color scheme).

As for the second list item, I went for Slide by Cookie A. Those socks look absolutely gorgeous and will definitely give this product knitter something to chew on and learn some patience. With these cooling(?!) southern California months, I've really been chomping on the bit for more wool and more FOs, so here's to slowing down and taking it one stitch at a time.

This post is part of Ginny Sheller's Yarn-Along. Click on the image above and share what you're working on!

places : toronto, ontario

With just my iPhone in tow (tried to travel light), I spent a rushed three days exploring Toronto on foot. Naturally I had to ask Yelp where the nearest LYS's were.





First stop was Yarns Untangled. This small shop is gorgeously lit and incredibly well curated, I wanted to bring every one of their skeins home.


I took this yarn lust as an opportunity to manage my stash. I took a good look at the entries in my Ravelry stash section, and carefully assigned the relevant ones to projects on my queue. Once that was done, I had the conscience-clearing parameters needed to make my special souvenir yarn purchase -- it's gonna have to be a skein of super soft fingering wool for the Slide socks by Cookie A.

My choice of yarn is Zen Garden Serenity 20, in a OOAK colorway. (Photos of these stash-quisitions were taken at R2, with a fantastic Spanish Latte).

My next stop was Romni Wools, which was an overwhelming experience. The first floor was absolutely brimming with yarn of all weights and colors!

I chose a Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Sequoia colorway, entirely for sentimental reasons--for Nick and my first year, we visited the Sequoia National Park and had a fantastic and unforgettable experience. This was the perfect yarn to commemorate that experience and I had to get it, even if it betrayed my personal mission to grab local yarns while 'abroad'. Photos from that trip are coming soon for sure.

This skein's perfect and accurate hue is going to become a pair of How Come That Blood socks. With the gorgeous tree-knot like motif, making this match was a no-brainer. I also grabbed a circular needle, so I could get started on this pair on the flight back home, as well as to be able to have two magic loop projects going on at the same time. I'm glad I made that choice.

I also paid Porch Swing Yarnsomniacs a visit, and met its kind and quirky owner! His store was currently in the middle of a move about 6 doors west of the original location, with big plans to become a knit café! I refrained from taking any photos yet because of the hard work underway, but am entirely excited to drop by when I next come to Toronto. The world needs more knit cafe's. If you're in the area, do let me know how it turns out!