Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WIP Week | Insouciant.

...the first of two sweaters and another project inspired by my "day job" for the shop. The pattern came out three years ago...at the height of my "I'm never going to sew another seam again" thing. And I didn't seriously consider knitting it until last month when we featured the pattern in a newsletter. Yep, fast forward three years and I've lost my fear of seams (some might say I'm loving them with all the fervor of the newly converted...but I digress)...and this simple silk tee stole my heart*.

So I swatched and got gauge (had to go down a needle size), cast on and made swift progress through the back and started the front ... before I took the project to Florida two weeks ago. I made it to the front neck decreases and stopped. Still not believing I'd actually be able to knit the whole sweater in just three cones, I wasn't prepared to deal with knitting with two strands of the silk when I had just a single cone (cone #3) and what appeared to be a very little bit of the second cone left.  I set the project aside and wondered how to tackle it.

I considered knitting a third Color Affection using whatever would be left of cone #4 - it would coordinate great with my sweater :-)  I should've trusted Julie (the designer) and wound cone #3 into two balls before I left.
today's photo prompt was a great inspiration!
Because this morning when I finally got back to it, it worked out fine. I finished that first side of the front with about a yard of cone #2 left. I split cone #3 into 2 balls (easy when you have a scale - I wound the cone into a ball and weighed it - 41 grams - and then wound 20 grams of that ball into another ball...you can see them in the photo below).

Then - with the wonderful company of Last Tango in Halifax - I finished the front and knit the first sleeve. I typically knit the sleeves together so I can be sure they match, but that would mean four tiny balls of yarn and really, that was too much! (it's also just 68 rows and I plan to knit sleeve #2 tomorrow...before I forget anything).

So... much pleased with today's progress. And feeling like this one is nearly finished!

*but not my wallet. Habu's Tsumugi Silk isn't expensive, and the smallest size takes just three cones. That means a hand-knit short sleeved silk tee for less than $55 - and most of the other sizes would be under $70. I think that's a bargain!

Monday, August 18, 2014

WIP Week | Shallows.

...I finally counted my WIPs. There are eight.

I guess that explains why I keep forgetting how many there are (I'm not a monogamous knitter by any stretch, but eight!!??)

And why I haven't finished a project since July 25th (remember Katie did the bind-off on the lap robe I posted about last week!). My Ravelry pages are dreadfully out of date - I hadn't even shared photos of that last July project. It's Carthamus, that I knit for the Summer Shawl KAL in Kirsten's group using yarn I bought in Madison (that cute little yarn shop across the street from Sara's apartment). Here's a peek (there are more photos and notes on Ravelry).

And now I'm tackling the rest. I figure I can update one project a day with photos, notes, etc. I want to have time to knit, too, so I'm going to spread all these updates into a whole week of blog posts. Wish me luck on that - I don't think I've posted eight days in a row...ever!

First up is Shallows. This is the shop's summer knit-along. The pattern calls for about 340 yards of fingering weight on a size 4 needle to make a finished piece 7" wide and 52" long.

I wanted something a little heavier and bigger, so I treated myself to a Shibui Mix - Cima (laceweight alpaca/merino blend) and Silk Cloud (laceweight silk/mohair blend - similar to Rowan's Kidsilk Haze, but IMHO, much nicer). Holding them together makes a sport or light DK weight...that is a dream to knit.

I went up to a size 6 needle and cast on 14 extra stitches to make the garter stitch edges one stitch wider and the lace panels one repeat wider. I've just started the 4th (of four...so the last one!) vertical repeats and think my finished piece is going to be about 10" wide and 60" long. Hopefully it works!

I've just joined the second skein of Cima. So I'm going to have a good bit of yarn leftover. My plan is to add a skein of Pebble (in the same color way) to get a light worsted fabric and knit mittens to match. The lace pattern seems like it would be perfect for a pretty little cuff and the Pebble would add silk, cashmere and a little more merino...nice for warm hands, no?

Have you ever gotten so far behind on something it seems daunting to catch up? Do you have any tricks for staying on track?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Currents | August 2014.

(dew-covered lantana ... in my front yard this morning)

choosing simplicity and more free space on my calendar.

looking forward to the baby - he's due in less than four weeks!

planning newsletters and a new KAL for the shop. Fall is coming quickly (holiday knitting, too!)

enjoying Marc's instagram feed while he's traveling in Asia.

needing to visit the eye doctor (and I'm bummed about it!)

wanting a new makeup look. I've been wearing the same beige palette for months.

knitting ... a lot! (promise a full post on everything on the needles next week!)

watching nothing. I haven't even turned on the TV since Marc left Thursday morning. I do want to see Outlander, and I have hours of Masterpiece (I can't even remember all the shows) recorded.

reading Life after Life (on Audible; it's absolutely wonderful) and The Proposal (by Mary Balogh - this will be my last Bingo book!)

listening to Max Richter. Thank you to Sara for the recommendation. I LOVE it! His Recomposed Vivaldi's Four Seasons has been on repeat (when I haven't been listening to Life after Life).

eating bookclub leftovers. I hosted Thursday evening and way over-estimated how much vegetables & dip and cheese & crackers eight women could eat. I've invited friends over for knitting this afternoon, so hopefully I won't have too much left after that.

drinking stovetop coffee from the Bialetti. With hot frothed milk, this is my special treat when I'm by myself since the pot really only makes enough for one.

wearing a skirt and camisole with an orange scarf (one of my before and after scarves). and sandals.

what's current with you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | White and Gold.

Daddy with the laprobe, standing in front of his "Georgia Tech" shelves; it's quite a White and Gold collection!
... my dad's favorite color combination! and therefore the perfect ones to choose for this special laprobe. My sister-in-law Lydia cast-on and knit the first six inches or so. Then she handed it off to me. Next Sara had a turn, and my niece Jillian, my sister Karen and then it came back to me. I added a little more and Katie finished it. It takes a project like this - big stockinette stitches (we held Berroco Vintage double) on size 11 needles - to work across so many knitters. Different gauges, different skill levels...it was all fine once I gave it wash and laid it flat to dry.

He says he can feel the warmth and love knit into each stitch. Knitting is wonderful that way, isn't it?! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Hugo's.

...from Sunday brunch. None of us had oysters, but the fried green tomatoes (and the bread pudding) were delicious.