Reconnecting and a New Tool

Back in town this month for our monthly gathering of Knitted Knockers of Silicon Valley. I love these gals, they are fun, but care about the world, and they have gotten to know me and all my idiosyncrasies.

I turned in some Knitted Knockers (38 knit for this year so far):

got some new yarn, and had fun with our group:

 

I’ve been working on the Phobos scarf, and like most simple knits, I managed to screw up somewhere and have to rip out several inches. Despite this, it is coming along well:

One item that I decided to get (even though the Revknits budget has been blown by unexpected vet bills, my vacation, and tax stuff), is something simple but really useful. It’s a square swatch gauge by Akerworks:

 

The gauge has little teeth at the corners to help it stay on knitted fabric, and having it clearly helps orient it. Measurements are in both metric and english systems. I think this is going to get a lot of use!

Weather-wise, it has been a great season to wear my knits, and I’m working on a small hat for little Lu – but whether he will get to wear before fall is questionable – the weather is expected to reach 70 today!

Our rain has done wonderful things here in the Bay Area, and having beautiful camellias in bloom around our apartment complex is one of them:

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No Stitches West for Me

This year, I had intended to go to Stitches West for the day to hang out in the marketplace and see some knitters and vendors. Unfortunately, unlike past years, it was not to be. I had gotten sick, and then my cat Brandy got pretty sick, so I had to use my energy and funds to help her recover (she has!).

Before Stitches, I had heard Jasmin from the Knitmore Girls podcast say, “I really don’t need anything,” and that’s how I feel right now about all my yarn – I have a LOT of yarn, pretty much all the necessary tools – although I may order some swatch-measuring tools that look useful. I have over 2,000 patterns in my Ravelry library, a shelf of stitch dictionaries.

So in the end, missing Stitches this year was about not getting to socialize with the knitters and see what was new and fun. Given the circumstances, it was the right call, and my knitting has not stopped because of it.

So what is cooking in Chez Revknits, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

First, I saw that @Ysolda had put out a new scarf pattern that was from one of her clubs last year, called Phobos. As I looked at it more closely, I realized that the custom yarn that Ysolda had made for it was very similar to a yarn from the 2015 shawl club (the Crockern Tor shawl) I had participated in, and for which I had purchased an extra skein because I really liked the yarn so much. It’s a British yarn with wool and Zwarbles, and it’s woolen spun lace and just so lofty. I think it is very similar to the newer Ysolda yarn, and the same yardage.

Praying I could find it:

And then I just purchased the pattern online, and away we go!

The beginning is a bit fiddly and complicated, but soon the pattern emerges, and there is a satisfying long stretch of “cruise” knitting where you don’t have to think very hard.

I am also wanting to get back to my idea of a very cute vest for the very cute little boy in our family. There’s yarn colors to use and some basic swatching. Time to dig deep and figure this little garment out!

Finally, last night I was texting with my friend Nhien about making plans for getting together, and she mentioned that she had just finished the wash, and had six pairs of handknit socks that I had knit for her husband Curtiss. Sweety that she is, she sent me a photo of the stack:

Curtiss is most appreciative of the hand knit socks, they are his favorite ones to wear! By my projects page, I’ve knit 8 pairs, one each year, and it’s pretty impressive that 6 are still ok to wear!

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Lost knits: to replace or not?

It happens to every knitter – a hand-knit item goes astray.

Sometimes a lost knit is a heartbreaking one, like the scrap shawl I made from all the fingering weight yarns I had used:

But other times it’s not a big deal. I lost a hat at the very beginning of my last trip (I blame having to get up at 5 am in the morning). There’s no good photo of it because was knitted in the pre-Ravelry days. It was a VERY warm hat – it was doubled Cascade heather yarns, with a fun decorative yarn for the edge of the brim.  I live in Northern California, and there’s very little need for amazingly warm hats. So I’m letting that go.

A few days after I came back I went up to visit my cousin Marie, who was a little ashamed to admit that she’d been on a walk with her daughter and grandson, and they had put a cowl into the stroller, but it had fallen out and gotten lost. It was this one:

Now this was indeed a lovely cowl made out of Lux Adorna Fun Size Bundle – cashmere! She wears it a lot too. Fortunately for Marie, I happen to have bought another bundle about a year or two back while I dipped into Imagiknit as I was passing through – as one does, right? When I got back home, I found it, and started to think about how this one might be designed.

The original one that I knitted for Marie added more stripes to the chevrons, because I could see how the contrast would get punched up by doing so. This little bundle has softer colors and less contrast,

so I did the Lila pattern just as printed

and I think it turned out great!

The replacement cowl got knitted very quickly because I got sick – a bad cold that kept me out of the office for a few days, and the cowl was about as much knitting as I was able to contemplate. In addition, poor Brandy was down with a kidney infection:

at the vets and not happy

She was so weak that I took an improvised kitty bed in the living room and snuck a heating pad into it so she could sleep and be warm, but apparently Izzie had other ideas about who this bed was for!

What, you mean this wasn’t for me?

Having now knit another Lila out of the Fun Size Bundle, I decided it was time for me to get one too – and all the color ways have changed over the intervening years, of course. So I decided to go on Ravelry and find an older color way that someone was willing to sell, and I did!

Which was a lovely thing. Even though Stitches West was a light-rail ride away, I was too sick and accumulating vet bills, so that was not in the cards this year. Fear not, the stash is there and I have plenty to knit with, as I’ll explain in the next post!

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On the other side

So, I went on some trips, and then I got sick. Sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve posted!

Along the way I saw awesome sunsets from the plane

Finished a cowl on the plane and then got to wear it then and there – CoPilot in Knitpicks Capretta

Learned some stuff in Princeton, where I lucked into a warm-up so I didn’t need the hat that I lost before I even got to the airport.

And then flew across the country to see figure skating in Anaheim

There was sun and palm trees

and snow on the local mountains

The skating was amazing!

And then I got to see family friends that I haven’t seen in way too long.

When I returned, I dove into work, and then got sick and have been at home the last three days, which has been odd, because that hasn’t happened in a while. Tomorrow (probably today by the time I post this) I’ll be well enough to work at home and go in for a bit, because the work doesn’t stop.

It turns out that the Recoleta sweater was the perfect garment to wear on the trip – thick enough to keep me warm, lacy enough to wear inside, a good layering piece. I wore it almost every day, but still have not got a shot of me wearing it yet.

The CoPilot cowl was also good – it’s another light piece that layered well, especially in a cold arena.

And now I am replacing one of two lost knit pieces. More about that in the next post! Question: when do you decide to replace a lost or worn knit item? I’d like to include others’ thoughts on this!

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Ready to Wear

My challenge to finish my Recoleta sweater is done – and I finished! Last night I worked the cuffs with the needles that I had left at home, although it took two tries to get the same number of rounds of ribbing to match.  Cast-off, and decided I was tired enough to simply block the sweater and deal with the ends in the morning.

In this case, “blocking” consisted of putting the sweater into the wash (with another Yowza sweater that I wear a lot) on cold water with an extra rinse, then putting it into the dryer to the damp dry cycle. See, the yarn is super wash, and wetting it makes it stretch out like crazy. The dryer brings back everything to be tidy. I popped it out of the dryer, and it looks great. Here it is before ends were woven in:

and after:

One technique that someone had done on their version of the sweater, which I liked, was to take  the back lace section down to the edge to match the front, and then do a bit of fudging to get the section to a knit one, purl one, setting, which then allowed the whole bottom of the sweater to be cast-off with the tubular bind-off. It looks great, and provides just the right amount of stability.

In retrospect, I would have knit a smaller back to the sweater – it’s ok the way it is, but I have a little more fabric in the back than I really need. When I get to wear it, I’ll get some photos with it on!

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Knitting Deadline

Early in January I started a lace cardigan sweater, no, not the Fancy Cardigan one of the knitting disaster. I’m knitting Recoleta by the same designer, which is done in a worsted yarn – I’m using Miss Bags Yowza, which is a little finer, but it seems to be working.

It’s a top-down sweater with a shawl collar. You begin with a provisional cast on for the back collar, knit some inches in lace one way, then go back and put the stitches on the needle and go the other way for the same inches, then you pick up stitches for the front, sleeves and back on one edge and begin knitting down in a raglan style, oh, and by the way, remember to knit that big back chart for your specific size as you also continue the lace collar down the front. And you have two charts to track and you’ll be on different rows the whole time. I know some folks use software to solve problems like this – I was pretty old school with page protectors and highlight tape. It worked!

But the back is pretty cool:

 

It’s now the end of January and I’ve gotten this far:

 

So I only have a sleeve to go, and the sleeve cap is already knitted. Of course, for the first sleeve I adjusted the width because folks said the pattern had sleeves that are too narrow. Then I went according to pattern with a slow decrease, which turned out to be too slow – the sleeves were very loose and with an already loose body, it was not looking good, so I ripped out about 10 inches of sleeve and reknit to decrease faster, and now it looks good.

The deadline is that I leave town for 9 days on early Sunday morning, and this sweater is going with me one way or another, hopefully it will be knit, blocked and ready to wear. A sleeve is only like a hat and a half, and it’s mostly all stockinette, and the math is done to make it fit. Except that I am away for a couple of days starting tomorrow afternoon at a pastor retreat-like event except that they keep you busy all day so it’s not a retreat really. But somehow I managed to book a hotel that is within a block of the place we’re meeting, so it would be possible to slip away and knit for a bit, right? Because it is called a retreat.

Stay tuned for the adventure of the knitted deadline…

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We did it again


Long time readers of the blog will know that I’m not a KAL kind of knitter for the most part. Everynow and then I participate, as I did with this poncho pattern with the Sheeper Than Yarn gals in the Fresno area – it was a retreat project one year. Apparently I don’t have the group photo of our ponchos together:



So it is fun and not common to see another knitter with the same/similar finished item. Last month, Pam, who is in the Knitted Knockers of Silicon Valley group, wore her Leftie shawl, and so did I! The pattern is Leftie by Martina Behm.

This past Saturday as I was leaving the house, I was trying to figure out which cowl/scarf/shawl to wear, and changed it out at the last minute. And lo and behold, Pam was wearing a very similar one to mine. We twinned again with our knits!

They are not the same pattern – mine has a different way of making the holes than Pam’s, but it was quite the coincidence to be wearing the same kind of item again, and this time, we picked similar gradient yarns to use. The pattern I used was the Spindrift scarf by Lucy Neatby. I’m not sure what Pam’s pattern was.

When have you been “twinned” with a knitted thing in the wild?

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Startitis

Despite all the knitting that happened over the year, toward the end I began to lose my knitting mojo a bit. I knit myself a dishcloth like the ones I knit for my staff, and then, well, things mostly sat.

I made a bunch of knitted knockers (will get to 28 by the end of the week) because I really wasn’t in the mood to figure out what to knit next.

I did swatch a little for a vest for Luis – but didn’t get far.

This past weekend all of that faded. I began to hatch a couple of new things though. First, because my knitting friend Nhien is super generous, I got a skein of Knit Picks Capretta in a couple of hand-painted color ways. This yarn is super soft – it’s a super wash blend of merino and cashmere, with a touch of nylon. The color way I’ve started with is Springwater which has lovely blues, violet, and periwinkle colors:

I’m knitting the very basic CoPilot cowl (free on Ravelry), which is basically the Reyna shawl (also free on Ravelry) converted to a cowl. I tried first to use a draft pattern of my own  that I had done years ago, but the yarn is too busy for it, and really I am looking for an everyday item. I love that I don’t have to do a lot of math to get this to work!

Apparently I cannot be relied upon to knit in the round – because while the initial joining was good, about a round later I twisted it up, and then didn’t discover that until about an inch was knit. By then I was not going frog it, so I twisted it back because this is cowl in variegated yarn and no one will care.

I also remembered that I had frogged the Wisteria sweater after reading that it didn’t really fit people very well. Apparently after that I had made another plan to knit the Copperplate cardigan, but when I looked at that pattern, I realized I’d be using a light worsted yarn for a pattern designed for sport weight yarn. The sweater would be way too heavy for the floaty look that the designer had in mind. So that plan got tossed (I’ll hold the pattern for another yarn someday), and I found a fun sweater by called Recoleta by Joji Locatelli which has been successfully knit in the Miss Babs Yowza several times.

Swatching went well,

so last night I cast-on for the lace collar, and by the third cast-on, I finally figured out how to knit it! Here’s half of the collar before I pulled out crochet provisional cast-on.

Onward and upward on two projects.

Next up: more serious swatching for the baby vest!

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Christmas Knitting or Not

For a number of years, I have spent a lot of time planning the Christmas knitting – as in gifts for family and friends to be given at Christmas. Some years there is a theme – like socks or hats – and at others, it’s individual for each person. Some years, I started knitting for Christmas in August because I am a pastor and leaving things to December would be a really bad idea. Other times it’s been later.

This year, I knit for many in the friend/family network during the year. There were baby shower gifts, and birthday sweaters and cowls, and when I got to the fall, I realized that most folks had already gotten a knitted thing this year. And I mostly bailed on the Christmas knitting.

But not completely. I have a couple of friends, Nhien and Curtiss, who are completely knit worthy (as in sending photos wearing the knitted item, lovely handwritten thank you notes). Nhien is a knitter, and Curtiss is a muggle who appreciates the socks I knit for him.

For Nhien, I made a shawl to replace one that had gotten eaten by the moths. It’s Wilhemina’s shawlette (from the fabulous book What Would Madame DeFarge Knit). The original was in a now discontinued color from , and the color was pretty cool, so I made a lace-weight version in ShiBui Lunar, which is a merino/silk blend. I did a couple of more repeats to make the shawl big enough, and love how it came out:

For Curtiss, I knit him his annual pair of knitted socks – this out of some vacation yarn I got at The Swift Stitch in Santa Cruz. The yarn is Candy Skein Yummy Fingering Sock and truly a lovely yarn, The pattern was mostly a toe-up ribbed sock but I added a small Twisted stitch cable on each side of the foot running up the leg.

And finally I knit some dishcloths again – only six this year – and I verged on burning out on them. These were for the staff at my church:

In mid-December, I went to an event where the Knitmore Girls were hanging out. They offer a truly fun way of knitting in the holiday period – they call it the Grinch-along, which means you don’t knit anything for the upcoming Christmas after December 1st. That sounds good, although I’ve never followed it. But Jasmin and I chatted and I told her about knitting things for people through the year, and she loved the idea of taking this further by making a calendar so that you just follow that and not stress at the holidays.

It’s too far away for next year to make any predictions, but I have enjoyed making-the-things through the year instead of giving everything all at once!

So, tell me, What is your Christmas knitting approach?

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