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On the Needles Tour -- Spring 2014

A lot of people ask me how many WIPs (Works in Progress) I have on the knitting needles at any given moment.  The answer used to be 3.

  1. A travel project (small)
  2. A movie/book project (doable with eyes closed)
  3. An insanely complicated project (for knitting-only time)
But this list has expanded over the years to include two more common items:
  1. A test knit (helping a designer out with a pattern before publication)
  2. A more complex project, but not in the "completely insane" category

Well, I have been a bit crazy with my cast-ons this Spring and have really not conformed to my norm.  I have 6 projects on the knitting needles:

  1. NO travel project, they are all ginormous and I'm like a knitting bag lady on the bus, FAIL.
  2. Movie/book project, CHECK.
  3. Insanely complicated: see this post for news on my 5-year old WIP, CHECK.
  4. Test knit, CHECK.
  5. More complex #1, CHECK.
  6. More complex #2, FAIL.
  7. More complex #3, FAIL.

Oops.   Now, too many WIPs won't kill you, but they will give you great heaps of guilt.  You know what I'm talking about, the dreaded Knitter's Guilt.  That nagging feeling that you've got more than you can handle?  That you've started a project you'll never finish?  That one or two of them will have more dust bunnies knitted up than wool?  I may be feeling it.  So, this post is really as much for me as for you, a bit of organization and forecasting to make sure these beauties get done!

Test knit -- Catskills Cardi -- 95% done

All that's left is the neckline and blocking

Sheila Toy Stromberg is testing her Catskills Cardi in the Free Pattern Testers group I help moderate on Ravelry.  Here is her prototype project, which uses a drop stitch pattern for a lacy effect.

I am using a beautiful sparkly mohair yarn, Filatura di Crosa's Gioiello, a generous gift from my mother-in-law from Geneva, Switzerland.  I hereby challenge you to find a yarn with more vowels in a row!

What drew me to this project:  This is almost a full cardi (no front) yet uses very little yarn!  Also, the drop stitches are really something to look forward to.  If you've made the famous Clapotis by Kate Gilbert, you know what I'm talking about.  Of course, using mohair has made these drop stitches a pain, I've definitely added a few hours to this project trying to rip them down.  

I fully recommend the pattern and will be posting details once it is released!

Complex project #1 -- The Queen of Pop -- 35% done

This pattern is Madonna by Marie Wallin from the newest Rowan Mag 55.  I've chosen some crazy colors as you can see, and have started to call it "Queen of Pop Madonna" to distinguish it from the virginal original:

What drew me to this project:  Stashbusting!  I have so many single skeins of Kidsilk Haze, I thought I could use them for this.  I'm also using twice-frogged bamboo to replace the Cotton Glace and a bit of the new Rowan yarn Truesilk. 

 I also fell for the oversized light-weightedness of the top and thought it could be a good beach cover-up for when the sun went down and things got chilly.  BUT IT LOOKS REALLY BIG.  We shall see!

Movie/book project -- Wharf -- 35% done

Before I go into the project, some of you might be saying, "book?!".  Yes, you can definitely read while you knit, it's no different from watching something!  I never used to read and knit because of two problems: 1) putting down knitting to turn the page is too difficult, 2) you need a good stand for all the different-sized books you will read.  I've solved this smashingly by using a Kindle Touch to read, held in a stand.  The great thing about the Touch is that you can still hold your knitting while you lightly brush the screen with your pinky to turn the page.  :)

All right, the Kindle is off and you would be going to the previous page, but.... because camera.

Wharf is one of the many striped patterns in Rowan Mag 55 (Spring/Summer 2014), by a newer designer on the Rowan team Gemma Atkinson.

What drew me to the project:  First, the shoulders.  I'm really into highlighted shoulders, as you can see with my recent finished project, Sunshine and Bobbles.  Second, stripes!  I've been having fun playing with color lately.  The original is in Rowan Wool Cotton 4-ply which is beautiful yarn, but I wasn't too keen on the color choices.  I wanted to use a yarn with an unlimited palette, and the obvious answer was Madelinetosh Merino Light.  

I am not quite sure how I came up with such, may I say, AWESOME color choices... this is going to be a lovely little sweater.

Complex Project #2 -- Balkan for Him -- 15% done

This was a totally unexpected project that jumped on the needles after a precipitous visit to a new local yarn shop.  B. wanted to take a walk, and I kept pushing the walk's trajectory towards La Maison Tricotée.  My "punishment" was B. falling in love with a rather lovable yarn, Shepherd's Wool.

Balkan is a free pattern available from Rowan by Brandon Mably that uses Rowan Colourspun.

Yes, I know some of you aren't looking at the sweater at all!

 B. wanted to use a big stash of Noro Silk Garden displayed in a living room bookshelf as a slow-striping contrast.  There is a great story behind this yarn, I can't wait to tell you more!

Stay tuned for an über-romantic story

Complex project #3 -- La Boheme, Blinged -- 5% done

We have finally reached the end of my pile of unfinished knitting!  The knitting magazines might all say "Spring" on the covers right now, but it won't be Spring anytime soon in Montréal.  This lovely pattern is La Boheme by Marie Wallin, from the Autumn/Winter Rowan Mag 54.  The pattern is sadly too low-contrast in the original example.

What drew me to this project:  The intricate tapestry-like colorwork pattern, of course!  This is one of those patterns that is so pretty it is just begging for me to show people what it really looks like.  :p  I've picked some major sparkly yarn, Rowan Kidsilk Eclipse, with some Madelinetosh Merino Light (yes, again and again and again).

What didn't draw me to this project:  The shape of the garment, yikes.  A boxy top with skinny sleeves is great for thin knits, but not for bulky stranding!  I've revamped this completely, so I'll have a lot to tell you when it's finished.  Stay tuned my friends!

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  1. are you a real person with two hands and two feet that walks this earth? Really, a human that talks makes such unbelievable hand knit objects? I mean, Really. this work is possible? but must be only by you because you are amazing. Just in awe of these pictures.

    1. Ha, thank you!! Now I realize I must take some pictures of my feet so that everyone knows I am not a mutant with 4 hands who can knit twice as much as anybody else, haha. :) The answer is: I knit at least 3 hours a day, and on the weekend at least 5 or 6!

  2. Excellent choices of project and yarn, all of them. Mr. Balkan is indeed fetching. (Is that Silk Garden color 252 in your Balkan, by the way? I have a sweater's worth of that in my stash, waiting to be deployed).
    -- stashdragon

    1. Yes, it's the famous color 252, the best of all of them for men! This is mostly because there is no "poopy" brown (as I like to refer to the color that seems to appear in every Noro colorway)... and no pink, which also seems to always pop up in many of them. I have 20 balls and realize I will only use 4 or 5 for Balkan. I must think of something else! There are a few dud balls though, one with only black and gray, another that has almost no green and tons of blue... you know how it is.

  3. I think you must be one of those people who survive on 4 hours sleep per night. Or can you knit while you are sleeping as well?

    1. I am working on that technique Una, when I figure it out, I'll let the world know! ;)

  4. Oooh, I love Shepherd's Wool -- it's dreamy stuff! I used it for a February Lady Sweater when that pattern first came out. Shepherd's Wool wasn't very well-known yet, so now I get to feel like a cool "early adopter". ;)

    1. Oh wow, it's been around that long?! Thanks so much for this info. I will definitely crown you the Queen of Shepherd's Wool, the one who knew how awesome it was way before the rest of us. :)

  5. Whew, I knew what I was going to comment on, until I got to that male Rowan model. Now my brain is all over the place. :)

    Alright, seriously you don't just have projects on the needles, you have huge projects on the needles! Seeing all those lovelies made even me (serial WIP'er), tired. Must say they are all so amazing. Looks forward to the FO post.

    1. It's true, I have some big projects going... this Madonna is really killing me, ugh! As for the Rowan model, I think it's time I really use my Rowan Ambassador "powers" and ask that he get featured again next season. :)

  6. It would take me years to finish all the sweaters you have on the needles!

    Shepherd's wool is one of my favorite worsted weight sweater yarns.

    1. So great to hear more support for Shepherd's Wool. I can't believe I have only just heard of it!

  7. These are all gorgeous. I particularly love the Balkan; using the Noro is inspired.

    1. Thanks, it's really not going to make it into my husband's side of the closet, poor dear. Also, after all this fingering weight nonsense, it's so much fun to work with the Noro because it feels so "huge" compared. I had no idea it was an Aran weight, Balkan might be done next of all of them.

  8. Gorgeous projects. Love your color choices!!


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