knitting · wool · yarn

time for social media!

All right!

THE WORLD (or at least the online one):

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.

KNITTING:

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.

A DELAY:

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.

knitting · pattern · photo posts · Uncategorized · wool · yarn

Mina Shawl.

Let’s All Overuse Semicolons Together!

Something new is up over on Ravelry:

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.)

knitting · pattern · son of dog days · wool · yarn

SON OF DOG DAYS

I think my actual goal for the Son of Dog Days project is to create designs that work as little summery kerchief projects—but are also easily expandable, so that you could knit a full-size shawl from the same set of instructions.

SON OF DOG DAYS I: Souvenir

This is a small, textured kerchief; the repeat is standard, so you can easily turn this project into a full-size shawl if you like.

SON OF DOG DAYS II: Oneiros

Working a bias-knit triangle with some tweaks results in a kerchief with a lot more volume, and the combination of garter stitch and stockinette is a nice effect. This one’s also designed with easy customization in mind—there’s extra text explaining how the repeats differ, so that once you know the strategy, you can add as many repeats as you like.

SON OF DOG DAYS III: ???

SON OF DOG DAYS III is closely related to II, with the same basic concept and bias-knit structure. I both wanted to see what this looked like in a garter stitch version, and wanted something extra so I could have a little more promotional flexibility with it. This one follows the same rule of flexibility (add repeats if you feel like a whole shawl project, or knit the small size shown) as the prior two—

but it also struck me that if you attached ties to the sides, you could make an impromptu asymmetric haltertop sort of thing. The ties are a mod—and i-cord might work better—but the size of the kerchief is from the pattern as written, and it’s on a 34” bust dress form. If I were to formally write up a halter pattern, I have a few ideas for addressing that neckline—but for now, I’m trying to resist the temptation to get distracted from all the other things I have on my plate.

Anyway, that pretty much brings the blog up to date with the knitting pattern project for now! I missed updating in late May, but this gathers up most of the things outside the Summer Kitchen 2022 set. (It’s a set of one thing right now.)

knitting · pattern · wool

Garter Scrap Shawl.

(This shawl pattern is from May 2019; it’s a writeup on how to work what is essentially a very simple diagonal-triangle shawl.)

Gather up your soft yarn scraps, coordinate the colors, and get ready for an easy go-anywhere knit! This bias-knit garter stitch shawl consists of two extremely simple lines of instruction, and about three stitches total. It’s a free knitting pattern, though it’s simple enough that you might think of it more as a recipe. Either way, I hope you enjoy!

The color was weird a little weird on this one, so I guess I opted to remove most of it.

The Garter Scrap Shawl can be knit in any yarn, at any gauge.

My sample is shown in worsted weight, mostly Malabrigo Yarns Washted and Rios, in part because the surplus of loosely-related yarns and colorways left over from the Dog Days series is really what inspired this project. But it would look brilliant in light sock yarns, too, and a finer-gauge project might make a better travel knit.

Materials:

  • 500+ yards of miscellaneous scrap yarns. (The sample shown took about 700 yards; the result is a nice big blanket shawl that weighs about 338g.)
  • 1 long circular needle in US7-8/4.5-5.0mm, or size needed for gauge, or size needed to suit yarn.
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge:
Gauge is the great unknowable. You can knit this at any gauge; please choose needles that give you a fabric you like with the yarn you’re using. Gauge in the sample shown is 16 sts and 36 rows in garter stitch before blocking.

Measurements:
Knit until shawl reaches desired measurements. Sample measurements are shown in the schematic below.

In worsted-weight yarn, increasing to a final total of 167 sts, the shawl is about 78”/1.98m across the longest side. It’s almost a perfect triangle, but the shorter sides differ by 2”, something that could probably be lessened by careful blocking.

Abbreviations used:
k—knit
m1r—make 1 right.
p—purl

(I really wasn’t joking; there are three stitches, if you count the increase as a stitch.)

RS/WS—right side, wrong side.
sl1–slip one. Sts are generally slipped purlwise unless otherwise specified.
st/s—stitch, stitches

Begin Work.
Using the cable cast-on method, CO 4 sts. 
Row 1 (RS). sl1, k remaining.
Row 2 (WS). sl1, p1, k remaining.,
Row 3. sl1, k to last 2 sts, m1r, k2 (1 st inc) 5 sts.

Repeat Rows 2 & 3 until shawl reaches desired size, finishing with a completed WS row. The bindoff edge is going to be long. Please make sure you have enough yarn left to work the basic bindoff: sl1, k1, psso, [k1, pass previous st over] until all sts have been consumed. Weave in ends and block lightly.

Gratuitous Notes:

  • If you’ve got enough yarn to equal about 2.5x the current length of the (non-compressed) current row, it should be enough to knit a complete row. You’ll need a bit more than that to bind off.
  • When changing yarns, change them on the right side of work to avoid dotted-line garter stitch effects on the front. It is a shawl, so I mean, the reverse side is probably going to show, but if you like having a side without any dotted-line stripes, this is something to keep in mind.
  • If you’re working with small scraps, and don’t like weaving in ends, consider using them in as part of a fringe instead. If you join all your new scraps on the RS, all the ends will be on the bottom right edge of the triangle. 
  • If you’re working with larger scraps or just dislike fringe, consider going completely crazy and weaving in a few ends as you go. This is sometimes regarded as playing with fire, but if you like how the shawl is coming along, it might be a good time saver, or insurance against spending an hour on the yarn ends when it’s finished.

There are lots of other ways to use your yarn scraps—you could use about 3.25 full skeins of Malabrigo Washted in coordinating colors, use this formula as the base for a temperature shawl, or knit it from a big skein of handspun.

Okay, so that’s it!

knitting · pattern · photo posts · wool · yarn

Agate Cowl & Yarn Recycling.

Agate Cowl! I love this thing; it’s probably my favorite hex cowl so far. The idea and its execution are both fairly simple: agate in cross-section, paired with a just-slightly-more angular knit shape. The angles show off the multicolor handspun yarn, which is just a basic plied (2 ply) dyed wool.

(It’s very like the fractal ply idea, but I am pretty sure I didn’t do that; I am pretty sure I just tried—in a very casual way—to match two evenly-divided vertically-split portions of the wool top. I may have done a fractal ply, though. You can really try either, or just spin singles—anything that results in yarn with long color transitions will work.)

Handspinning is good for this project, but not essential; you can re-create the same striping effect with some commercial yarns like Noro, or use scraps to exercise more control over the color flow.

For me, though, working on this and other handspun projects has meant I’ve been feeling interested in spinning my own yarn again for the first time in a long time. It’s early to be sure where that’s going—embrace it as a full-on hobby that supports my work? Spin the fleeces I have so that I can have yarn or sweaters instead of fleeces and guilt, then bail and sell on my spinning-related gear? I seriously cannot even predict at this point—but for now, it’s not a bad way to feel productive without the same pressures to actually produce.

MEANWHILE, I’m also trying to reclaim & recycle yarn from older projects, which is vaguely fulfilling (I often make multiple samples for even a small design, and I do not need to keep every sample I make. But I always need yarn) but also weirdly opposite: I think most yarn is meant to hold up to reuse, because if it’s not, it won’t hold up to wear, and I also believe that being able to change up the things you make into something that suits you better is one of the most appealing aspects to the skill of being able to knit a garment—but I’m worried about future samples or projects looking shopworn for photos.

All right! That’s it for now. Take care til next time! (There may actually be a next post; I am working on it.)

knitting · pattern · wool · yarn

Update Time!

First business: there’s a new shawl in town, if by ”new shawl” you mean ”downloadable .PDF of the shawl design written as a pattern so you can make your own,” and by “town” you mean ”on my Ravelry page.”

It’s called Iteration. It ends up being a pretty rewarding project; I think the unique shape makes it very wearable. It can be folded in half to wear like a triangle-ish shawl, over the shoulders, but it expands into a hexagon.

Second order of business is increased cost of living and how it is starting to be felt, oh no!

For the time being, I’m keeping .PDF pricing where it is despite inflation. This is probably going to have to change eventually, but for the next 3-4 weeks, I’m hoping to just adjust the nature of my promos and sales a little and see if that allows some room. In the meantime, if you feel like stocking up on patterns, having them remain at the same price point while COL goes up means they’re virtually on sale.

knitting · pattern · photo posts · wool

Hex Key.

So! I’ve only been on social media hiatus for about three days, but it seems, for now, to have been Enough.

(I’m not sure if you could tell there was a hiaturs; I’m not sure I’d expect you to be able to tell, even if you were following any of my media closely. My posting schedule overall is not the most consistent.)

Anyway, today we have Weird Fitted Cowl Thing, officially called Hex Key Cowl. It’s oddly shaped and, unusually for me, involves your choice of mattress seaming or a three-needle bindoff. (I went with the latter. I don’t love sewing knits, although I’m getting better at it, and it’s started to feel satisfying and pro; it doesn’t look like I couldn’t seam a potholder to save a life anymore. So that’s nice.)

I’m actually pretty well pleased with how it turned out! I’m working on a second sample, with hopes to explore some tentative ideas; I had a third finishing option that might be a nice potential addition to the pattern, and some things that are less directly related. (It’s anyone’s guess which are goin

Anyway, meanwhile, it’s spring! Holy crap! I’ve been dealing with subzero cold fronts for the past six weeks, up til recently. I am not used to this. These concepts. Sunlight. Plants growing. It’s weird.

knitting · pattern · wool · yarn

February Hat ’22.

What have I been doing all February? Well, I’ve been knitting a hat. One hat. It literally took me ten days to knit a hat that should’ve maybe taken four or five

I’m never knitting another one, but…you can, if you want.

(Yeah, this is effective marketing copy.)

(Really though, while it is a long hat, if you’re not ripping back the crown decreases to make them more coherent throughout the sizing options, and then pay attention to the changes you’ve made, it won’t be onerous. I hated this hat a little bit so you can enjoy it, basically, and that’s what a significant fraction of this kind of design work is sometimes.)

(And I guess I also knit about 40% of a cardigan, but nevermind that.)

It’s got a liner option. The liner is not the same hat knit again. I couldn’t handle that.

This hat is almost three feet long from hem to tip in the adult medium size, which fits 21-22.5” head circumferences. The sizing is broad, but the pure length on these makes me wonder if a baby size is appropriate: it might be cute for closely-observed babies, as in those fancy baby photosets you do to commemorate a person being a baby, etc., but it’s not ideal for general baby-use unless your baby is old enough to sit up, walk, run, escape traps, make its own sandwiches, and solve simple logic puzzles. You just don’t want the long hat style to give a baby trouble.

And finally, here’s the link to the Ravelry .PDF. There’s a limited-time promo going on now, though that assumes you’re reading this the weekend of March 4th, 2022, and it probably won’t be the case a week or two in the future. Anyway, hat! It’s a good hat. I’m still not sure I want to knit another one, though.

knitting · pattern · photo posts · wool

Yes! New Cardigan & Hat.

This is Caddis Cardigan. It’s knit in sportweight yarn—most of the samples are Malabrigo Arroyo, which is kind of a favorite of mine. (It’s soft, with a nice tonal quality to the dyeways. I think they’ve moved from having dyelots to not, which is probably fair and for the best since there’s a limit to how consistent skeins dyed this way will be even if they’re all from the same batch, but I still want to make a basic pullover for myself from it someday.)

This is a very versatile sweater/vest sort of thing. If you close the front using a shawl pin or similar (it has no attached buttons), it looks very tailored and smart. If you leave it free, it’s very flowing. The shapes are geometric and the cardigan vest overall is slightly asymmetrical, but the eyelets line up.

The shaping is unique! Knitting is easy for the first part, and then requires a little more focus at the end. But once it’s done—and it’s mostly done when you finish knitting; there are no true seams— there are so many options for wearing the finished piece: thick collar, slim collar, no collar, long, or (flipped) cropped with a broad square collar.

Oh, and there’s also a new hat design .PDF up! It’s an okay hat-hat, but a pretty cute baby hat.

So that’s it for October, so far. Pumice Hat and Caddis Cardigan/Vest/Thing.

knitting · wool

Wool Market in a Box: Pandemic Edition (Year II).

So, I have two entire wether fleeces from my favorite Shetland farm, the year I completely overbought fleeces.* They were packed up in a box and the bags and tissue they shipped in. They are pristine. Despite my neglect, I’ve got pounds and pounds of usable wool to process this summer.

They are also disgusting. I cannot believe that I opened this up and felt huge relief there was no evident damage (we’re supposed to be out of range for moths, but there are carpet-beetles who eat stuff at the local museum to make a point about not storing animal fiber museum pieces properly I guess), and thought, “How beautiful,” because it’s gross and dirty and smells (although not as badly as I remembered).

*At the time, I really did buy slightly too many fleeces. Even so, I used all of it but these. Weirdly, happily, they’ll probably end up being what I had originally planned. I’ve been pretty lazy about spinning (it’s not really my thing, or rather it’s sometimes my thing but not really my thing reliably for more than a couple of months at a time), so I am not super looking forward to the washing/processing/spinning this time, but I am pretty excited about not having to spend $80 on eco-friendly low-processing-impact yarn. I like one-sheep sweaters.