Tuesday, June 4, 2019

bound off at last

OMG! It’s done! Well. Except for blocking. But it’s an exciting day because I put my last stitches into the Shetland shawl I started almost 2 years ago (1 year and 10 months, to be precise).

It seemed like the border would never end, but I finally got into a rhythm and finished it with some serious marathon tennis watching. It feels good to have it off the needles and I’m so looking forward to seeing how it blocks out. It is going to take a lot of pins!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

aidin, finished

After setting this down for vacation, it took me a few weeks to pick it back up again when we got back. Of course, in the meantime my nephew was born giving me the ‘ooh better get this done’ moment I needed. All I had left were the long side borders and it didn’t take me long once I got hookin’! This was a free pattern on Ravelry, and I have to say I’m thankful to the designer who put all the work into this and then shared it. It makes such a nice piece.

It ended up being a good size, about 36 x 44 and quite a hefty weight, which I am really pleased with. Crochet fabrics are denser compared to knitting as it is, and the mosaic crochet adds more density per square inch making for a nice thick and sturdy fabric. That said, this cotton yarn from Scheepjes is not as stiff as the usual balls I get from other brands and that makes for more drape in the finished project. It was a little splitty to work with, but what cotton isn’t? I definitely appreciated the wide range of colors I had to choose from, and I love this combination, which is a slant rhyme to nautical colors and hopefully will stand up to wear and tear. At least being cotton it will be easy to throw in the wash. 

I’m hoping the high contrast in the zig zag section will be good for the little munchkin’s eyes and give him something interesting to stare at as he explores the world around him. Rather than doing the last round in the teal as the pattern called for, I used the gold since I was running low on teal and had the most gold left. I squeaked by using up the last of gold and just a few yards of the English tea. I only have about 20 yards each of the teal and tea leftover, so I’d say I made a good choice!

I’m very happy with this finish and am looking forward to seeing my nephew bundled up in this as he grows up.

Pattern: One Step Beyond Blanket (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Scheepjes Cahlista in ‘ginger gold’, ‘dark teal’, and ‘English tea’
Hook: H (5 mm)
Size: 36”x44”

Sunday, May 26, 2019

a unicorn birthday hoop

Yesterday I took a trip over to Michael's to get some aida cloth for an idea that popped into my head. I've really been enjoying cross stitching lately, and I've been spending way too much time on Pinterest looking at witty sayings in embroidery hoops. Combine those facts with a friend's birthday this weekend and you have this quick little project. 

DMC has a lot of free embroidery and cross stitch patterns on their website. I've spent the spring downloading flower and succulent patterns, which made me wonder if they wouldn't have a unicorn simple enough to make in a couple of days. 

Ta da! I didn't follow the colors in the pattern, though I'm pretty close. I have a pretty large thread stash that doesn't need to get bigger right now, and many of these colors fell under the "close enough" category. I also modified the horn, which was supposed to be a rainbow, to be a swirl of yellow and peach, which I like better. The original pattern also has some starbursts and hearts in the background but all I really wanted was the unicorn head. So there we have it. 

I finished the last stitching and final touches this morning and it is so very cute. I would totally keep it for myself, but it's perfect for the birthday girl. The hoop is a bright yellow plastic one I also got at Michael's. I finished off the back by tidying up the aida cloth with a trim and cinching it closed with a running stitch using white thread. I considered but ultimately abandoned a felt backing because this particular hoop design makes it difficult to stitch on and I did not want to use hot glue on the plastic. 

I envision peppering my walls with little hooped vignettes now... it's probably a good thing that I have a lot of other projects going or else that might actually happen! Hopefully at least a few more will make their way out of my imagination and into real form because this was a really fun and really quick project. 

Now back to the last rows on that mosaic baby blanket.... 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

a vacation project

At the end of April we headed east to Kentucky for a week and a half. I was pretty far along on my mosaic baby blanket and it was too big to really take on the plane and be comfortable. Soooo as has become vacation tradition, I started a new project the night before we left! Pack, start new knitting project. Makes sense, right?

I made a lot of progress on the plane and then had many relaxing moments during our stay in Kentucky to get all but the last lace panel done. I finished up a couple of days ago, about a week after we got back so that makes two and a half weeks from cast on to bind off. Whaaaat. That amazed me. I was always wondering how some of the folks on Ravelry could finish big projects in like two weeks. Now I know.... lots of time to sit and knit. 

I love the stripes but you know what that means.... ends! So many ends to weave in. Were I a more motivated human being I would have that done and this blocked already, but I want to work some more on that mosaic blanket before I tackle this mess. 

Kepler made very important contributions to the last sections of this project by keeping my yarn warm as I worked in the evenings after we returned home. I wonder if I can get him to help me weave in all those ends??? 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

mosaic momentum

I’m making pretty fast progress on the baby blanket. It’s been traveling around with me to coffee shops and hanging out with me on the couch while I watch all the spring tennis. 

It’s not one of those things I can just zone out and work on, but I’ve hit a good rhythm and am more than 2/3 of the way through the center zigzags. I’m still pleased with the color choices I made and believe I am tracking to have just the right amount of yarn. Onward!

Monday, April 22, 2019


The third triangle of the year! This is my second single skein project of the spring and I think I like the way it turned out. I kind of wish it were bigger, but I do like the pattern with this yarn. It was easy to memorize and a fun and relaxing knit. 

Regular bands of stockinette alternate with simple textured bands that increase in thickness down the length of the piece. This makes for a visually interesting fabric that I think works very well with this extremely variegated yarn. I’ll have to spend some more time in the sunshine to see how noticeable the sparkles in the yarn are. They aren’t over the top glitter, but maybe they will shine subtly in the sun. Serendipidye certainly does some lovely dye jobs! The gray is a pretty dove gray, the purple is more on the reddish side, and the turquoise is bright but not so much it doesn’t blend in. All of my favorites in one place. 

I’m not surprised at the size, in fact it’s better than I thought it would be and will make a nice neck wrap. I would like this even more for a “shoulder shawl” in a sport weight yarn and with more repeats to make it larger. It wouldn’t be difficult to figure out how to continue in pattern. Because I liked the i-cord bind off on the Sunwalker so much, I used it on this project. I still like it.

I’ve got a relatively clean slate again, which is exciting. That Shetland shawl is still calling my name, but I think the yarn stash is calling louder...

Pattern: Zilver, free on Ravelry (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Serendipidye Kings Mountain O’Sparkle Sock Fingering in ‘Beatrix’
Needle: US 8
Size: 56” x 28”

Saturday, April 20, 2019


I love this shawl! What started out as a project to get this yarn worked up into something - anything! - has turned into what I think will be another favorite piece. It’s long and wide and drapes wonderfully. 

The pattern was a free one I found on Ravelry that is texturally interesting but repetitive and simple enough that variegated yarns look quite smashing. I find the project gallery feature on Ravelry especially useful in answering the question “will variegation look terrible”. I wasn’t too sure about it as the first inches came off the needles, wondering if I should abandon it and make something less lacy, but in the end that very thing is what makes this single skein of sock yarn a satisfyingly large wrap.

It is an asymmetrical triangle which is another thing I like about it. Triangle wraps are good, too, but I think the asymmetry makes the point hang down in a more flattering way. The orange yarn glittered in the sunshine when we went out to take pictures of it yesterday, and it looks so nice against our lovely spring green plants. Funny that in my first post on this I thought this would still be hanging around months down the road... I've enjoyed many evenings of knitting in April so far and made fast progress!

I'm pretty sure this was the one where I did an Icelandic bind off. I wanted something stretchy because I knew I was going to try to block the pants off of it when finished. I wet blocked it and used my handy blocking wires to get a nice stretch going that really opened up the dropped stitches and yarn over sections. I was pretty skeptical starting out that one skein of yarn plus my tendency for tight knitting would end up being as big as the pictures on the pattern made me think it should be, but I am pleasantly surprised at how large it turned out. And to add even more satisfaction, I used up every last bit of yarn making these tassels for two of the corners. No leftovers! I tested today after attaching the tassels and they help give some weight and make the drape even better. Love.

Pattern: Stormy Sky Shawl, free on Ravelry (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Serendipidye Kings Mountain Sock in ‘Pumpkin Patch’
Needle: US 9
Size: 70” x 38”