I find this strangely satisfying, even though the basic idea had me stuck for a while—I wanted to use shapes that don’t tesselate as well (and I still might for a future design! Stay tuned!) and I wanted to avoid finishing seams, but ultimately my (attempted and discarded) solutions for that felt a lot more fiddly and potentially frustrating than the technique I ended up with. The handspun yarn really lends itself well to this. I’d like to be able to use superwash commercial yarn here, but I think it might not hold up as well; it’s best to use soft wool with a little bit of natural texture.
(Nothing came up when I searched for a knit design called Blocky. So I published Blocky. When I went to add my own projects to Blocky, there was another Blocky, but it was very different to mine.)
Here is mine:
You can knit this project at least two ways: as a shawl, or as a cowl. Finishing for either one is pretty easy, and although I went with the cowl option, I felt that wet blocking took away a lot of the bouncy wool-yarn vitality of the thing, if that’s not too strange a thing to say. Garter stitch grows, but it also felt like it went kind of flat on me and I preferred the unblocked version pretty strongly.
For my second project, I’m doing the shawl (or trying to get close; I am having to kind of play fast and loose with yarn requirements and will probably end up with something a little different to what I had in mind color-wise) in a two-ply non-superwash wool, in hopes it kind of keeps more of the loft and bounce. The yarn I used in the cowl sample is one of my all-time favorites (Malabrigo Sock), but it’s just not quite as satisfying here as it is usually.
The photo above doesn’t show much—just yarn—but it’s probably the best yarn photo I’ve taken all year. There’s about five minutes of really nice light in this little alcove in the afternoon in January, apparently.
Anyway, there’s also Revenge of Pup Patch Hat and Cowl in this series. Please check them out if you’re interested or like mitered squares (these aren’t mitered squares, but they’re kind of mitered-square adjacent in some ways).
I have a Twitter account, but have never really felt comfortable there. (My niche isn’t one of the functional ones, so I got put off a bit by the rage-cycle-for-engagement technique I was seeing and that influenced my whole perception of the thing.) In the Year of our Lord 2022, Twitter is imploding somewhat, and this has a pretty dramatically different impact on your life depending on whether you were using it to organize a revolution or were avoiding it because you didn’t want to see manufactured drama about lace knitting (literally; this is an absolutely real example), and it is a little stunning to observe, but I do not have a lot of personal insight or pithy observation, although I am going to miss seeing that guy who does the really high-end animations of velociraptors squaring off while wielding anime weapons.
I’m wrapping up a cowl and a shawl design, but nothing is going to be up soon. (One’s been four years in the making; the other is on a more normal time scale, but it still doesn’t feel fast.)
I cannot actually find the original files for the current cowl’s schematic, so I can’t edit them and bring them up into line with my current style. If I could erase the handwritten text just by pulling off a layer or two, it would be so easy and simple to relabel the elements—but that’s not how it’s going to be, I guess. (UPDATE: I found them! Or rather, I figured it out, but the app is discontinued and I am a little disenchanted with the app creator, so I am not going to download the suggested new thing that would recover the files. Unless making a new schematic turns out to be really hard, I guess. Or inconvenient, or tedious.)
Shawl is done! It’s a bit of a mini-shawl situation, though. (I ran out of yarn. It takes about 550 yds.) I’ve been really enjoying the textures on it, but I’ve been feeling torn between sticking to my budget/yarn requirements (you’re throwing a substantial amount of your time and at least some of your entertainment budget into this. Do you want to knit a $40 shawl or a $60 shawl?) and just throwing all my ideas into this one. I think I want to work out a way to do both, but I want to make sure it’s fair to everyone; right now, the best way seems to be to go forward with the pattern as is (I have put it on the dress form, pre-blocking, and it’s a really nice-looking shawl), and then add a Surprise Update later if I can pull it off—but without promising anything, or even talking about it after this.
I HAVE TO KNIT A MONSTER by request. The monster keychains were really popular, but they weren’t super effective as tissue holders, at least not for the style of tissue and the way it’s packaged in my country. I’m planning to switch them into being a handkerchief pocket, which is ridiculous, a little,* but will make me feel better about the lacking function of these things as tissue holders. Anyway, I’m trying to make that a) request-fulfilling, and b) useful for me to do, in that I can write down clear instructions and have a pattern to offer up.
*Or is it???? Because I definitely own at least a lens-cloth that has a pretty similar keychain/pocket structure. So if you sewed the handkerchief into the monster, a little kid could use it and not lose the handkerchief, and wouldn’t necessarily be cramming a damp handkerchief back into the keychain after drying hands, etc.
The upcoming cowl pattern is now finished, but I’m going to have to push back publication so I can offer decent yardage estimates (cowl was finished, partially unraveled, and has now been reknit—but it’s still damp and weighs 3.5 oz. I am pretty sure a bit of that is water-weight, literally, and I’d also like to have a better grasp of the colorwork yardage, since it would be pretty cool if you could use this design with one of the manufacturer’s pre-chosen colorwork kits. (Which you could anyway, but it would be neat if you didn’t have to adjust anything, and if I knew that to be true.) That’s going to be a little rough, since I used up the rest of those skeins (again literally!) years ago, so I’m probably going to have to knit a pointless partial repeat of this—one I know I won’t finish! I do not have enough yarn!—just so I can unravel it and weigh things).
On the up side, it is all done, apart from that (and a spacing issue on some text on the schematic), so I may finally be catching up on November, just in time for the week when no one in the US will be on Ravelry. I am so great at timing.
Mina Shawl! Obvious reference, slightly questionable taste (I only knew Dracula from pop culture and memes before this year; I did not expect Mina to be so affecting as a character)!
The colors on this one were inspired directly from some speckled and solid Malabrigo Arroyo I was working with for a sweater pattern. There wasn’t really enough left from the skeins I had to get the effect I wanted, but I really liked how the speckled combined with the more traditional hand-dyed yarn. Lazy gradient, kind of.
Anyway this is the best shawl I’ve come up with in a long time. It might be the full-on best, but I’ve also been looking back through my photos, and now I think some of my other ideas were stronger than they felt at the time. (I took a screenshot for a joke about a video game—it’s very important that I find this and actually post the joke somewhere—but this was around the time of Conduit Cowl and Iteration, and those are a lot nicer than I remember.)
I have a lot to do this month: either I update the Sample Shop page here for the upcoming winter holidays, or I don’t; I have a lot of upcoming design projects I’m excited about; I want to knit little animals for the kids. (It’s a whole weird thing. I’m still excited when I can afford to buy a cool present; I want to buy Lego; and yet kids have started to specifically request knitted things. It’s perplexing but not all bad, and also not all good, since it is very hard to knit a 4-foot-long caterpillar and have it turn out well. I should’ve just learned to crochet and done a space millipede from Projectarian. Mine’s okay, but it’s not a space millipede, so it feels like a missed opportunity.)
The other is very simple, but has more intermediate finishing techniques, plus it’s knit in the round, plus optional finishing makes it convertible, so that it can be worn as a hat or a collar. (Plus) I have a couple more ideas to work out that are similar, but I need to brush up on cable terms and possibly learn to chart a design effectively for the one.
It’s a sack hat, but I’m not sure how obvious that is from most of the photos, since part of what I like best about it is the neat-looking edge when it’s in hat form. It’s so simple! So easy to knit! But you get this sleek double fabric at the end!
The new yarn is already here! It is splendid. The reds are earthier than I expected, which makes them much more up my alley. (Relatedly, I’m now a couple of days behind in Dracula—I’d been a few ahead of the serialized version, and kept wanting to write about these little moments, so I stopped to keep myself from spoiling it, and now have the opposite issue—but this section is just intense for its turns of phrase. Got a bit heartbroken over Mina’s last few lines in the 2 October journal entry:
I hope I have not done wrong, for as sleep begins to flirt with me, a new fear comes: that I may have been foolish in thus depriving myself of the power of waking. I might want it.
I also like it a lot when Van Helsing says something on the lines of Quincy’s head being on a plane with the horizon. Yes, that is how you describe it in Texas. What a good, sensible guy. I wish my head seemed reliably on a plane with the horizon.
This seems like quite the departure, but it’s relevant! I needed the red colors to be spooky/deep/earthy for upcoming shawl purposes. It is very important for this yarn to tie in, at least obliquely. I am trying pretty hard to do a spooky season theme this year, and I had enough done and set up in advance of, well, now that there’s no excuse to just fail completely, per tradition.)
Anyhow, this yarn is directly the result of the late September sale. It’s going to immediately result in a more coherent shawl sample for a pattern that’ll be up this month. So: pretty exciting, immediate, tangible results! Goal achieved! Yarn purchased and acquired! Thanks very much to anyone and all who contributed, on purpose or coincidentally!
I usually get a little self-defeating regarding goals or advancement, and I really didn’t expect much from a last-minute sales pitch, so I’m genuinely pretty stoked about this. I’m hoping to be able to wind this and cast on this evening.
(Just between you and me, on this very private forum, I spent a small part of the morning putting together a yarn order wishlist, and this is directly related to that. My social media presence is pretty small, so I strongly doubt that this little weekend sale will fund the whole planned yarn purchase, but it’d be nice to offset it a little.
This is actually going to be the first yarn purchase I’ve made this year—right now, I’m still working through yarns from 2021—so the ideal Wishlist Palette feels and looks overwhelming. It’s hard to keep in mind that it’s almost a year’s worth of yarn purchasing (and would technically be less than the cumulative 2021, even if I were to make the whole purchase at once), and that it covers at least 6 formal project samples, plus whatever the scraps compel me to do.
Anyway! The concise version is that right now, most of your pattern purchase from now through this weekend goes straight into supporting the next ~6 patterns (or technically, the next ~6 patterns after the next ~3-4, since I try to work a little ahead), and you get a free pattern when you purchase 3. So if you’ve been thinking about putting together a mini-collection of mouse army patterns, this is a pretty good time to do it.)
Until next time, in about 8 weeks probably. Here’s the official “look, it’s reversible!” photo for the Auks Cowl.
There are a few Son of Dog Days and Summer Kitchen projects left to wrap up, but we’re heading directly into September in a couple of hours, so I’m not sure whether I’ll have those out late, but still this year (it’s technically still summer for the next ~21 days where I am!), or if I’ll save them for next summer. The farmer’s market bag is probably the most exciting one to me, but I haven’t been to the farmer’s market yet this year.
So! That’s the August update! I will catch you next month (probably?).