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.)

Dracula · knitting · photo posts · yarn

aw yis

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!

The red colors also have just enough of that purple undertone. Plus orange. I like it a lot.

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.


knitting · pattern · photo posts

September Sale!

O Hie Thee Forth

You can currently buy any 3 mouse army patterns and get the fourth one free! It is easy to do! You only have to be sure you have all 4 patterns in your cart at checkout to take advantage of this offer.

This is the autumn mood photo of Auks cowl. Auks cowl is reversible!

(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.

It’s reversible!

Uncategorized

dinosaur bones

The title is misleading clickbait. There are no dinosaur bones in this post. I am not really even sure why past-me thought that was a useful heading. Was it going to be about dinosaur bones? I cannot remember.

I haven’t actually posted about any of the recent design projects! I haven’t posted for July!

The main Summer Kitchen (well, loosely: Summer Kitchen has become home decor/organization/housewares in general, and wool boxes are maybe not kitchen-related specifically) project is Little Boxes. (The one above is shown pre-felting. It gets its shape from the yarn it’s holding, but after felting, this particular sample didn’t get as small as the others I’ve done in the same yarn—one even from the same skein. I probably need to up the agitation.) There are some others in the works, but it’s probably going to feel too early to talk about them up until the last minute.

Isurus is the latest shawl. I haven’t been this excited about a shawl in a while, but this was pretty rewarding to design & knit, and finally got me using the fancy Hedgehog Fibres yarn I’ve been holding on to for two years. Two years!

That’s probably going to be it for July, since it’s the 30th now and all. Cheers!

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 · 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.