November 16, 2015

12 The Wake Shawl Will Keep You Awake Knitting Until It's Done

I always try to be principled, stick to my guns and buy a sweater's worth of yarn when I splurge. But sometimes, pesky magnetizing skeins like this come along.

This is Timeless Tweed by To be honest, the tight spun superwash merino was like any other hand dye, but what grabbed me by the hair and yanked me back was the 15% Donegal Tweed. Who puts tweed in a superwash fingering yarn?! Mmm, someone I love.

I succumbed to this lovely skein in Purl City Yarns (Manchester, UK) after a visit to the Rowan Mill in Holmfirth. I was a good girl about something at least, and also bought a sweater quantity of this.  ;)

A 400 yard skein of yarn languishes in a Dayana Closet. As in, you can only really make a shawl with it, and there are no hooks in that closet, just shelves for sweaters! I had to wait for the perfect little project, and it took a year before designer Kephren Pritchett was testing just the thing I needed: the Wake Shawl. It's named after the wake behind a boat.

You can see what she means compared to my photo from the back of a boat touring around the island I live on in Maine.

(That's Egg Rock Lighthouse in the distance, here it is up close.)

The wake is formed by increasing with yarn-overs every discrete number of rows. Actually, I couldn't predict when the next wake would come, I like that it kept me guessing.

I followed everything to the letter, but if I were to do it again, I'd try to expand that middle section wider... it's the part I really love.

I would also knit more rows (I did the smallest size) because I find it can slip off my neck.

I've been playing with a new photo set-up! I found this ridiculously cheap light set on Amazon, I highly recommend buying one if your best wall is dark.

The Wake Shawl is part of a group of designs with a watery theme, you can buy the Knitting on the Beach e-book here. Kephren keeps adding shawls to it, so buy now and you'll get whatever's left in the collection for free. My next one will be the beautiful Current.

See my Wake on Ravelry


I thought I'd show you a bit of my new screened porch. It is made of orangey douglas fir and corrugated tin roofing. Alas, this furniture lasted about a week before we had to tarp it up for next year. (Reminds me of finishing mittens when summer starts).

To maximize our view of the lea below we decided to add some plexiglass.

That was fall, and now, without the leaves, we are extending the deck completely.

This other end will be a mud room. Right now you open the door straight into the house and lose all your heat in 12 milliseconds!!

Fingers crossed it is ready for the winter.

In other news, I started my new job as Social Media Specialist at The Jackson Laboratory on Nov. 2 and it really has been occupying most of my mind and time! It's the first job I've had that is so fast-paced, it's a game changer.

Don't worry, KNITTING NEVER STOPS. I've got two sweaters done to show you. Stay tuned!

(If you pick anonymous, leave a Ravelry ID if you'd like an answer)

October 28, 2015

17 A Broken Stanza -- Pullover in Rowan Mohair Haze

Sometimes I have all these fabulously evil plans to make a pattern better, but honestly, sometimes I just end up with evil. I have no doubt that you'll read this whole post shaking your head and saying, "what are you talking about, that top looks just fine". I'll blame the USDA Choice photography on that, but I can't deny that I'm just not happy with the process or the result. Boo hoo, it's my knitting pity party, did you bring your party hat?

This is Stanza by Sarah Hatton, from Rowan Magazine 56.

I fell for the 50's cropped frame and those little barely noticeable cables running up the raglans. Also, I wanted to try out Rowan's yarn from last year, Mohair Haze, made of 70% super kid mohair and 30% extra fine merino. Just look at this COLOR!! I couldn't resist.

Ok, I liked it -- but there was one major issue, reverse stockinette. Yes, the outside of this piece is the "wrong side" of knitting and my wrong side is usually pretty ugly and untamed. Additionally, I had a ton of trouble with split stitches using this yarn (pretty unusual for me, so be careful).

The wrong side especially shows fixes badly -- I mean, I had to go down over 60 rows to fix that lowest mistake! So I decided I would flip Stanza inside out and use the nice smooth stockinette side on the outside.

But then that was trouble for the cabled raglan. To show off cables nicely, you usually have a nice bed of reverse stockinette to display it on. Well, look at that, I had removed it. I decided, ok, I'll go subtle and do stockinette on stockinette. It's ok, not great.

And to be really knitpicky, those decreases look like Frankenstein sutures! Happy Halloween, everybody.

BUT NONE OF THAT COMPARED TO THE MISTAKE I MADE ON THE RAGLANS. Look, those cables are twisting the same way! omg! /expletive/ Yes, I thought I was clever when I did the body bottom up and the sleeves top down (to make them as long as I had yarn for)... until I didn't switch the cable to compensate. Ugh.


Also, by this point I was getting pretty disenchanted with this project because of the yarn. It was beautiful to look at, but the hair was flying around everywhere as I knitted. As in, don't wear lip gloss or else. To top it off, it was knit on size US 2.5/3.00 mm needles (kill me now) AND it refused to undo itself, knotting like mad with every stitch.

Nooooo, those cables were going to stay and I was going to soldier on.

I'm like a bulldog with knitting projects, I tend to finish them no matter how much they are pissing me off.

Even this bulldog started walking home though, because after intending to make full-length sleeves, after the elbow I was like, I AM SO DONE WITH THIS.

A note about the neck -- it's nice and square in the original photo. I guess I cast-off too tightly, but then I didn't really mind the roll neck, because it stays put. I bet I would be messing with a rectangular collar all the time. I tried to mirror the elbow to roll, too. My smile says smoothly, I meant it all from the beginning, oh yes. (a.k.a. never trust this smile)

The silver lining is a positive note about this yarn: one of the reasons I was so annoyed with the project was because I was convinced that the yarn flyaways were going to make wearing this top a nightmare. It ruined the inside of my knitting bag -- I had to "wax" it with tape so that I could put another project inside without it becoming Donald Trump's hairpiece.

But wouldn't you know it, after blocking, sewing and 3 days of wear -- not one hair has been flying around. There's a beautiful glow on the shoulders from the fuzz, and the fabric really looks quite delicate and lovely. Even more? It's not itchy at all, I can't believe it. So there you go, it's like a cherry on top of an invisible sundae. Yummy and magical.

And now let's end this pity party early, the whine and cheese is done, onto a much more rockin' after party next week!

See my Stanza, Convoluted on Ravelry

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