Block party


Yesterday was a good day for a little bit of blocking. I’ve got the Ellybob Cardigan on my Knit Picks foam blocking boards, and Ishbel on my larger board from WEBS and blocking wires on the straight edge. I’m pleased to be at this stage on both.

I feel like my edge elephants on the Ellybob could have been a little neater. Their trunks seem a little out of sorts, even with blocking, and I think my tension was a bit tight overall on the Fair Isle portion of the pattern, but it’s not extremely apparent, so I’ll call it good enough and move on. I found some cute little square buttons at my LYS that match the elephants pretty well.
blockingAs soon as these were secured to the blocking boards, I picked up Matt’s cardigan and began shaping the sleeve caps. I hope to block that today or tomorrow. It will have to be blocked and sewn before I can add the shawl collar.

Hmmm…what shall I cast on next?



Four of a kind

This is my fourth Ishbel in less than 12 months, if you count this one that I eventually frogged. I’m bartering with my lovely and amazing friend Natalie for some family photos next month. She likes the pattern, happened to like this lovely shade of Araucania Ranco (#108) in Teal. She also knits, but is more of a beginner, so she requested something she couldn’t make herself. I happen to believe she will conquer anything she sets her mind to, but I also don’t mind making her a little bit of lacy shawl.

ishbel 4

I’m making the smaller size, as I have on this one and this one. To me, smaller shawls are a little more wearable, because they can serve as a fun neck accessory more often in the year. It gets very warm in the south! Ok, really more like scorching. The lace repeats are a little like “potato chip knitting,” according to the Knitmore Girls. It’s hard to put down when you get going.

I cast this on when I came to an impasse on the Ellybob Cardigan. Since the designer responded so quickly, I can work on both! The other night I had both in front of me and I would switch off every couple of rows. It’s nice to have projects with different needle sizes going to give my hands a break if they fatigue on one size of needles.

I’m putting this out here on the blog, so I’ll do it, really. When I finish either this shawl or Z’s cardigan I will finish the sleeve caps on Matt’s cardigan and block the pieces so I can seam and pick up that shawl. I at least want to get the sleeves and blocking done before I move on to another project. It doesn’t bother me to have so many UFOs going at once, but I know as the weather warms I will not want to touch heavier sweaters.

I love getting into the rhythm with this lace pattern. I’d better get back to it.

Summer knitting in Arkansas is sock and shawl time

I was thinking about knitting during the summertime. Most people associate knitting time with the winter. It’s cold then. You want to be with some snuggly wool, knitting it as fast as you can to make something to keep you warm. It makes sense. Well, I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which is pretty far south in the United States and it gets hot here. This week the temperatures are in the mid 90s Fahrenheit, which is about 35 degrees for you Celsius folks. This feels like no fun at all for my rapidly growing personal human-incubation-station. I have been staying indoors, with the air conditioning pointed at me, while knitting the time away watching mindless TV or listening to past episodes of The Knitmore Girls Podcast. Right now I only go outside when I have to, to get somewhere else that is probably air conditioned. The heat is also a reason why mornings are my favorite time of the day in the summer. The world has been slightly cooler and dark for about 8 hours and takes a little while to heat up.

Well, I made another Ishbel! This one is for my lovely friend, Susan. She has a birthday coming up next week. I’m really bad at waiting for the actual events to give gifts to people when I’m excited about it. The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Strange Harvest (color 130). Obviously, this pattern has been a little addictive for me. I was feeling uninspired a couple of weeks ago when I got to work at my LYS and after walking around the store a couple of times this yarn started yelling at me and saying things like, “Hey, remember how much you admired this color before? Your friend, Susan, loves this color! Make another Ishbel.” So that’s how it all went down.

Susan is a woman that has a great appreciation for handmade items, so it’s very fun to give her knitted things. Susan, I hope you have a FANTASTIC birthday next Friday (the 6th).

While I might not be knitting on heavy sweaters, this seems like the perfect time for socks and other light garments. Maybe the heat is why I so often crave knitting socks in the summer and can’t pick up the Endless Baby Blanket all that often. That same day at work some of the sock yarn started talking to me, and that’s how these got started. I’m at the cuff ribbing, so they’ll soon be a finished object to be posted!

*Edited to add: I meant to note earlier (for those that like to know more exact amounts about yarn) that I had 27.3 grams of the Smooshy left out of the 113 gram ball.

Sunset Ishbel

Last week I was lamenting about the other Ishbel I was working on. After hemming and hawing over how much or little I like the variegation in the yarn with this pattern, I have decided not to rip it, but it can stay in my UFO (unfinished objects) drawer for awhile while I work on some other things. Since I only have about 14 rows left to finish it, so ripping it seems like a waste. I really appreciate all of the input from readers on that post.

Instead, I pulled a partially done Ishbel in Araucania Ranco Solid sock yarn (color 105) out of my UFO drawer and decided to work on it so I could satisfy my need to have an Ishbel in my hands sooner than later, and I could get something out of that pile.  I wasn’t sure where I was in the lace pattern so I ripped back to the stockinette and got going. I was off work that day, so I finished all of the lace portion in one day and got it on the blocking board. I love it.

I don’t knit with a lot of red yarns, but I like this shade since it’s more on the orange-red than blue-red spectrum. I made the smaller version of the shawl, doing the lace repeat as A,B,A,C,D,E. Some folks opt to do the small stockinette portion with the larger lace or large stockinette portion with the smaller lace, but I just stuck with the pattern. I have some leftover yarn. I sort of hate having leftovers, but I’ll get over it.

I actually even got to wear this at work one day last week since they keep it pretty cool in this library. The temperature is climbing to the upper 90s and 100 this week, so I’m pretty sure all things wool are eliminated from my wardrobe for now.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrripppppppppp? Or not?

Apparently, this Outlast fiber in my skein of Lorna’s Laces Solemate is some kind of miracle fiber. According to this press release about it, it can help control body temperatures, has high wind resistance, resists wrinkles and fading, is very durable, and can do your taxes for you.

Um, just kidding about that last one.

The yarn is not Malabrigo Sock soft by any means, and it could be a wee bit springier for my taste, but it is lovely, nonetheless. The thing is…I’m not really sure I like this amount of variegation in the color as I’m doing the lace. I know I was all cocky about the subtlety of the contrast, etc. a few days ago, but now I’m having doubts. I’m not afraid to rip this, but I can’t decide if I like it or hate it right now. I’m not getting a good gut reaction. There is a bit more splotchiness in the color than I would like.

In desperation, I pulled out that old Ishbel I was making out of the Araucania Ranco sock yarn from years ago. Now that I seem to have no troubles with the pattern at all, I thought about ripping back to the stockinette portion (not much at this point) and starting that one over. Everything was on gauge, and though not my favorite yarn in terms of softness, the color is a magnificent red-orange (colorway 105–good approximation here) and I could still get this thing done fairly soon so maybe it won’t occupy my brain at 5 am and make me get out of bed to look at yarn in my stash. Hmph. Basically, I’m eating all of my words from earlier this week.

Opinions are most welcome. Rip? No? I’m going to switch to the Araucania version for right now, but I’ll wait to decide on this Solemate version for a few days so it can simmer.

Keeping calm and casting on.

The Featherweight Cardigan has been blocked. I still need to weave in the ends, and take a picture of course. It’s a little snug in the arms, but that’s to be expected, given that I made my non-preggo size and preggo-arms are bigger than that.

What’s next you say? Well, as much as I should be plugging away on the baby blanket (which is now somewhere in the 720+ stitches in a round range), I have decided I must cast on for something lace. I’ve decided on Ishbel, a lovely shawl that has 11,355 Ravelry projects. Whoa.

I started making this a couple of years ago and then quit on it for no good reason. I’ve chosen a different yarn, because I was previously knitting it out of some Araucania Sock that was a gorgeous color, but didn’t feel that great to knit with. Oh, and if you ever try to wind a ball of that stuff by yourself on a swift and ball winder…BEWARE. At the shop we’re always joking that it had to be put together by children. It’s a tangled mess. I even wrote the company about it once and got no response, after I struggled to wind three balls of the sock yarn and had to cut them in order to make them useable. I still haven’t knit up a single one of them.

Regardless, it seems I’m fairly long-winded this morning. This is the yarn I’ll be using for Ishbel.

It’s Lorna’s Laces Solemate. It’s color 310, Catalpa. The fiber content is 55% Superwash merino, 15% Nylon, and 30% Outlast. This is definitely more synthetic than I normally use in a project, so we’ll see how that goes. I was charmed by the color, and it’s definitely still very soft.

Since it’s a project with a good amount of lace, I wanted to check and see if the color changes would outshine the lace. An easy way to do this is check the color contrast in a black and white photo. I saw this a couple of years ago in the book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns and was reminded of it again in this post.

From the picture, it looks like there won’t be hugely dramatic color changes, so I’m going to forge ahead.

“I’m feeling raw in the prime of my life.”

Hello. I discovered some knitting therapy in the form of Ishbel. We’re in love, even though I had to tear back most of the project just as I got to the lace because my numbers were off. Why oh why don’t I count sooner? Blind knitting confidence. She is red, a color I don’t usually choose for much knitting or clothing, but I’m loving it so far. I need to post pics, I know. I’m sure these posts seem lifeless with no color. I have only my banter to rely on. Notice I didn’t claim it was witty…

The socks and hat are on hold. I just can’t seem to get back into them. I think I do that with socks. I make three or four pairs and then I’m burnt out on them for a good long while. I need to start thinking of summer projects. Any suggestions? I’m thinking the Razor Cami will have to be toward the top of the list, perhaps with some silk or bamboo sock yarn.

In other news…I got accepted to the PhD program at the University of Arkansas for counselor education. I’m very excited! Four more years…I could also be crazy. Very glad to have the inteview process over. Now I just have to look into those fellowships. They didn’t keep me in suspense very long. I got an email within an hour of my interview saying I had been accepted. Great for instant gratification lovers like me.