Ah, knit alongs

I love knit alongs. They come with a feeling of community and connection to people far away. They inspire me to stay on track and complete a project in a timely fashion. And best of all, they give me a lot of knitting inspiration! Check out some of this gorgeousness on Instagram for the Tops, Tanks, & Tees Knit Along. I’ve participated in this knit along for the past couple of years and it’s a fun way to jump start spring and summer knitting. In 2014 I managed to do two projects! talaveraThis year I settled on Talavera by Amanda B. Collins. It’s a lovely pattern from Pom Pom’s summer 2015 issue. Even though it’s so last year, I just felt compelled to make it.

talavera-2I’m using Louet Gems Fingering in Teal. The top is not worn as shown above. I’m knitting from the bottom up, but I wanted a way to show off the lace, and pushing the top any further down on the dress form would have required some frantic work getting the lace back on the needles.

The pattern is great. The lace is fun to do and is almost easy enough to do while drinking wine at knit night. I did give up doing just that yesterday, and switched to a mostly stockinette top that I shall describe in more detail in another post. I’ve had to back track a few times when I was particularly distracted and chatty, so it’s good to have back up projects.

So far this is going quickly. I started it on Tuesday night and I should be able to finish in plenty of time for the knit along deadline (May 27th). Anyone else knitting along? What are you making?

Silken spring sweater

My latest Featherweight Cardigan is complete! featherweight-2The yarn is Speck silk, by The Loom, color 11. I used about 6.5 balls of the yarn. I made the body to about 13″ total and the sleeves that long as well. featherweightThis is a wonderfully light piece. Though it’s my third time to knit this pattern, this is the first time I did stockinette stitch at the collar, and I really enjoy the way it rolls. featherweight-3This is a very easy knit to execute. I think it would be a fabulous first sweater project for beginners that want to dip their toe into sweater knitting. The pattern is well written, but also very easy to customize if you want more length or different stitch patterns as accents. featherweight-4I am so very often drawn to boring soothing stockinette projects, most of the time because that’s also what I want to wear. This style and color will fit into my wardrobe handily.

My work hours and family hours have kept me from the blogosphere much more than I want to be and I nearly forgot about one of my favorite knitalongs that’s going on right now! The Tops, Tanks, and Tees Knitalong by Shannon started at the end of April and continues through mid-May. I made myself finish this cardigan before casting on a project for it, but I have something on the needles and I will report back more about it soon! If you feel like making some summer tops, join in!

Sneak peek

The Featherweight Cardigan is coming along. The last two versions I made were longer, but this time I decided to go with something that hit closer to my natural waist, as intended by the pattern. I made it a total of 13″, which is not a cropped sweater for many, but I have an overachieving torso, so this is how I roll. featherweight-4So far I think my only mod is adding an additional two underarm stitches to hit between the 35″ and 38″ sizes, sleeve wise. This sweater is made out of Speck silk yarn by The Loom. It’s as light as air, which seems appropriate for a cardigan named after a feather.

Now onto the sleeves!

In the mood for shawls

ashburnAshburn has been a delightful project so far. I knew I wanted to make another shawl while I was working on Marin, so I perused Ravelry for some inspiration. As soon as I saw the pop of colors and drape of Ashburn, I knew it had to be mine. It was also a great excuse to get more Peppino in another color I coveted. I took the Peppino home and studied my stash to come up with this color combination. The orange is Malabrigo Sock in Terracotta. The speckled yarn is Peppino in Lake of Bays, and the light turquoise is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Aventurine. ashburn-2

As soon as I got to the color changes and studied the pattern a bit I realized if I didn’t carry the yarn up the sides for the stripes I would have many many ends to weave in, which is not a favorite thing of mine. I looked at the projects on Ravelry that met the criteria “helpful note” in the search dropdown option and added “carrying yarn” in the search box to arrive at this helpful video linked in one of the projects. It made the yarn carrying look clean enough to work for this project. You can still see a bit of the contrast color being carried at the edges but it’s much more favorable to weaving in end after end. ashburn-3

I am fully into the second color and I love the texture of this part. Below is the “wrong side” but I think both sides look equally great. It will likely be too warm to wear this when it’s done, but I will try to find a way anyway! ashburn-4

All of the colors of Spring

marin-3The Marin shawl in Rhichard Devrieze Peppino (color: Flowers) is finished. This feels like the perfect thing for spring. The weather has been mostly lovely here with cooler mornings that require longer sleeves and some afternoons that don’t. Having a cadre of colorful shawls is handy for adding a bit of light warmth that can easily be removed if the weather warms. marinThis was a fairly quick project, finished in a little over a week. This is my second Marin and this time I didn’t run out of yarn. I used a size 5 needle, rather than a 4 like last time. I like the slightly looser drape of this version. It stays around my neck more easily than it’s sibling, with less fussing. marin-4The colors make me happy. As an added bonus, this piece will work with many outfits. marin-2I didn’t make any mods to this pattern, aside from adjusting to a size 5 needle to get gauge. Now I’m on to the next shawl. More soon.

The third Featherweight is the charm

featherweight-3Once again, I’m making a Featherweight Cardigan. I made one when pregnant with Zooey, and another soon after I had her. Both of those are no longer in my sweater collection. The first one was made with Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca lace weight. The yarn is gorgeous gossamer flossy stuff, and well, I had an armpit felting issue with it. Warm weather + sweaty armpits = we’ve got felting. It wasn’t ruined, but I could see that if I continued wearing it, things would be heading that way swiftly. I gave that one to a friend. The next one was made from a sock yarn that should have been washable due to the 25% synthetic content, but sadly, it was not, so that version was destroyed by much more intense felting.

This time, I believe I have truly learned my lesson and I am knitting this one out of Speck 100% silk yarn by The Loom. The color is Lichen and so far I love it. Will it be an easy care item? Not exactly. But it won’t have an armpit felting issue and I know exactly what I’m getting into up front. I have never knitted with 100% silk before. This version is pretty raw and has a dry crepey feeling to it. I love the feeling of it in my hands. It’s light and feels like it will be the perfect layer for spring. featherweight-2

 

Another 1.1 miles of knitting down

still light-9Sometimes I like to think about the mileage my hands traverse with skeins of yarn. Ok, so I don’t have the exact mileage on this one, but I know I used four full skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino in Dark Teal (1840 yards) and I probably used at least 1oo yards of leftover Ella Rae Lace Merino in color #9 for the pockets, rounding out to about 1.1 miles of knitting. That’s a workout for the hands over many many hours. I don’t keep track of those hours. Sometimes non-knitters are completely shocked by the time that goes into a piece. While this one required almost zero thought, it did require a substantial chunk of time. I’d say maybe 80-100 hours. But that’s just a guess. still light-6I’m incredibly pleased with the result. This was just what my wardrobe needed. I love my first Still Light Tunic immensely and wear it often. I think this one will get weekly wear (or maybe more) as long as the weather has some cooler days. still light-8I did a contrast color in the pockets because I thought it would be pretty and I really wanted to avoid breaking into a fifth skein of Ella Rae so I could exchange it for another yarn I’d been obsessing over in my LYS. still light-3For me, this pattern is pretty perfect as written. I don’t think I made a single change to the instructions at all, which is really saying something. I knit this in the small size because that’s the size of my first one. My first version was still flattering on my post-baby-dreaming-of-all-my-smaller-clothes body, so I went with that again. Plus, superwash yarns like this have a tendency to G-R-O-W when they get wet. I still haven’t wet blocked this baby. I was to eager to wear it so I put it on a dress form, gave it a quick steam, and wore it the next day. still light-4Just one tiny button. still light-2And I’m doing weird things with the pockets here, but whatevs. This is a dress with pockets. Not so functional that they can carry a heavy cell phone without drooping in a weird way, but pockets that give you a place to put your hands when you want a place to put your hands. You can dress this baby up or down. This is going to be one of my new favorites.

I am dreaming up (and now have the yarn for) some fantastically fun things coming up. I can’t wait to share more projects soon!