the knitting is good

i got lots of knitting done while i was away—i completed several FOs, including the extra “family” knits i squeezed in and made great progress on the projects i brought from home as well. i’m trying to keep up the pace since i’ve returned home; maintaining a higher proportion of knitting time in my day is a big priority for the new year—i’ve gotta cut back on the time i spend at my desk.

on the road i finished a biggish secret project, then i started and nearly finished the second sleeve for david’s new sweater. the other night, i put that piece to bed as well—basta.

i love the woolen rabbit sporty kashmir and apparently, so does everyone who sees it. i can’t count the times i’ve pulled this sleeve out of the bag only to have a room of knitters go quiet, haha. then they begin to murmur: “what is that?” “that color is, is—wow—that color is just beautiful.” “where did you get that??”

the color, BTW, is enchanted forestso david.

now i’m on to the big body pieces; i’ll probably cast on tonight for the front. this sweater makes for great TV knitting because it’s so mindless, yet it has good rhythm; i can get lots of inches done in a short amount of time and i’m enjoying that immensely. the body pieces will have cable details at or near the side seams and armhole edge (much like the highlander sweater). i just have to pick a cable i like; something smallish and flexible will be best, i think, but a nice twist stitch panel would work, too . . . we’ll see.

i’ve also been trying to decide whether i should work the body in one piece or two. unlike many knitters, i dislike working in the round, especially for david’s garments. they just end up sooo heavy and unwieldy. i’m always sorry when i get to the armholes that i knit them that way. in fact last christmas, i pulled a chest muscle from hauling those rounds over the needles and turning the whole sweater repeatedly.

heh, yeah—i think i’ll stick to my guns and do it in pieces (but a garment like this is easily converted for those who are avid circular knitters)

now that the biggish secret project is off the needles, i’ve been making great headway on the shawlette i’m knitting with hazel knits divine (and believe me, it IS divine; a luscious merino/silk/cashmere blend that makes every stitch a delight.

i’m working with a colorway that i dyed myself when i was playing in wendee’s studio with cookie last march. but actually, it is VERY close to wendee’s arroyo colorway, so i would refer you to that choice if you like this brown/gold/gray blend a lot.

i realized the other day that i haven’t done this piece justice in terms of photographing it attractively. it’s kind of hard because it’s so bunchy on the needles and i’m often traveling with it where the circumstances do not favor styling a photo well.

so today i worked with it a bit to get some nicer shots and hopefully they will show it in a better light. i just love the textures in it—it’s worked from the neck down with the top part in a sort of zig-zag eyelet that includes a garter row here and there.

the hem is comprised of an ornate medallion motif set in a field of garter stitch—very dense where it’s solid, so that the medallions show up like stained glass windows in a stone wall

now that i’ve got a lot more of the hem completed, i’m wondering if i’ve set the vertical columns of openwork too far apart, but i’ll only really know after i block it. i may knit another version with them set closer together to see which i like better. these projects go so fast once i get going that i usually knit a couple of them anyway.

i came home to a couple of really nice yarn packages that i want to share before i end today.

the first was from karen berglund of ilLOOMinated yarns. karen dyes yarn with both natural dyes and jacquard dyes; these examples are from her colors from nature series, in which she uses natural dyes on a variety of yarn bases.

i love this minnesota walnut on the moonstone base—love the shimmer of that BFL and silk in the neutral color.

and this is brazilwood, dyed on the feldspar base, which has glimmering threads of gold stellina spun in (sorry, my photo doesn’t show the glitter that well). it also has a bit of nylon, making it a great choice for socks.

i also got a much-anticipated box from rita at yarn hollow, whose wares i first saw last spring while teaching at the spinning loft spring retreat. beth stocks rita’s vivid spinning fibers (when she can keep them on the shelf!) and had a selection available at the retreat which disappeared before i could see most of it. what i glimpsed poking out of bags carried by other retreat members made me drool, though . . .

rita’s not shy about going right for the silk and luxury blends, the better to display her dyeing talents. above is a seacell and silk blend lace yarn—a nice weight, not too, too fine. it’s got a relaxed twist that reminds me of the nona or kashmir blends i’ve worked with recently.

then there is this lovely skein of 80/20 merino/silk fingering yarn in rich paprika, mmm, with a generous yardage; great for a slouchy hat and/or mitts, or even a nice sweater. lots of merino bounce helps much-worn items to keep their shape nicely.

and lastly another relaxed 2-ply, this time in fingering weight with a more generous proportion of silk to merino—better suited to drapey accessories such as shawlettes, cowls, and scarves. this champagne colorway will look like liquid gold in the right stitch patterns (les abeilles would be brilliant in a color and blend like this).

yarn hollow is now sold in many local yarn shops or stop by the studio if you are in the area (please call first for information and hours)

(sorry, i can’t seem to find links for these yarns anywhere, but here’s the etsy shop and a ravelry link, as well as the website)

ok, that’s it for today. i’m going to go find my knitting and proceed. see you next time.

16 Responses to “the knitting is good”

  1. nathalie says:

    You have no idea how much I needed a blog post from you this afternoon! You popped up on my feed just in the nick of time. Nothing like some yarn photos to get a girl through the last 1/2 hour of work.

  2. Bobbie in AK says:

    I’m loving the look of the new shawl. I cannot wait to see the finished priduct – the color is great too! I agree with Nathalie, it’s been a heck of a morning and your postings are great pick me ups.

  3. Kim says:

    David’s sweater is looking great! I have to say that while I do not enjoy seaming sweaters all that much, I do think that they look better when done in pieces. :-)

    The new shawl is so lovely!

  4. Penny says:

    I have to start spend less time on the computer and more time knitting!!

  5. cherie says:

    I’m such a yarn nerd….I am excited that I actually own some of the yarn that you’re blogging about (it’s a “first”)! I made a Woodstacking out of Yarn Hollow alpaca/silk and have a skein of wool/bamboo here, waiting for just the right pattern! Thanks for the lovely photos, as always!

  6. Linda says:

    Oh, you are making me drool with all of these beautiful yarns. I just want to reach through my laptop and touch them.

    The shawl is gorgeous. Look forward to the finished product!

    Happy knitting. :)

  7. Lara says:

    It’s such a delight to read your blog! I loved seeing your family visit and the videos. Can’t wait to see what you decide on for the body of the sweater.

  8. I LOVE Karen Berglund’s sock yarns! She’s at the Shepherd’s Harvest festival near Minneapolis every year, and I always look forward to my chance to stock up. I knit a pair of Flaming Desire socks in her superwash that are some of my absolute favorites. I’m so glad you’re getting to work with her – I look forward to the collaboration.

  9. Your couch looks like my couch – covered in knitting projects!

    Love all the brown/grey yarns – such rich and subtle colors.

    Thanks for introducing me to even more delicious looking yarns!

  10. Brandi says:

    I’ve never really done to much seaming but I’m sure it’s like any other ability you get better at it the more you do it.

  11. Danielle says:

    I love the description of the shawlette’s edging: “stained glass windows in a stone wall” – that is such an apt description!
    haha, your couch looks like mine – it should fit more than one person, but not with all my knitting projects on it!

  12. Sarah says:

    I really enjoy reading your posts. Inspiring!

  13. josiekitten says:

    I love the colours in David’s sweater – each time I look at it I pick out something different. I like the slate blue seacell/silk yarn – that will make one gorgeous shawl.

  14. Ann says:

    Love the colors of that shawlette & thanks for the yarn review.

  15. Megan says:

    oooh I love the Brazilwood colour & fibre..so very me! another “must have” to add to my Rhinebeck list…

  16. sheila says:

    Wow, you are just AMAZING. And how lucky are we do get to follow you every stitch of the way!