A Long Overdue WIP

After years of waiting, I finally cast on a pair of slippers for myself. The first one is so cosy! #knitting | withwool.com

Have you ever not started a knitting project because of the inertia of your couch? I have, last Saturday in fact. That morning I decided it was finally time to cast on for a pair of slippers while it was still cold outside, and I was going to do it that night. My cold feet have pleaded with for a pair of slippers for long enough. Later though, after putting the Mini to bed and cleaning up the kitchen, I plopped down on the couch and did not want to get back up. Printing the pattern, finding the yarn, and digging out the right needles seemed more like work than fun. The couch and a very cozy blanket had me trapped. So I watched a movie instead.

After years of waiting, I finally cast on a pair of slippers for myself. The first one is so cosy! #knitting | withwool.com

Sunday was a different story. I pulled out everything I needed before the end of the day when the couch sings its siren song. Casting on felt so good. I’m making the Prairie Boots by Cocoknits and using Malabrigo Chunky. The first slipper is speeding along too thanks to the bulky yarn. I finished the first sole and a good chunk of the foot that afternoon. Over the past few days I’ve finished the foot and am speeding my way up the leg. A single row squeezed in during the odd moments of the day really adds up.

After years of waiting, I finally cast on a pair of slippers for myself. The first one is so cosy! #knitting | withwool.com

I couldn’t resist trying it on and the slipper is as cosy as it looks. There will be no cold feet here…just as soon as I finish the second one. And pick out the right buttons. And sew on the suede bottoms. Okay, so it might be awhile before my feet get to bask in the warmth that is this pair of slippers, but it’ll be worth it. I’ve waited at least a year to pick out a pattern so a few more weeks is nothing my toes can’t handle.

After years of waiting, I finally cast on a pair of slippers for myself. The first one is so cosy! #knitting | withwool.com

FO: Vertigo Scarf

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

How long it took me to fall in love with the pattern: 5 seconds. 

How long it took to buy the yarn: 3 years

How long it took to knit the scarf: 4 months

How long it took to block and sew on the buttons: 3 weeks

I think it’s safe to say that this scarf has been a long time in the making. Mostly because it took me years to get the yarn even though I knew exactly what yarn and what color I wanted. I’ve got absolutely no excuse for that. The yarn would probably still be sitting on my shopping list if I hadn’t ended up winning enough store credit at Eat.Sleep.Knit to cover a couple of skeins. Plus I wanted to treat myself after not being able to knit for a month. 

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

The pattern was pretty fun to knit, and I even got used to working “purl 2 together through the back loop” several times a row. And the Malabrigo was it’s usual lovely self to work with, but I still got stuck with knitting ennui halfway through. The thought of have a big, cosy new scarf to wear through the winter got me to finish the rest of it. Binge watching tv helped too.  

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

Binding off that last row was pretty awesome. Blocking the scarf and seeing the pattern open up was even better. It went from smooshed and rippled to the large and beautiful vision I had in my head. I didn’t have as sure an idea of the buttons though, and it took some time to decide. Contrasting blue was definitely the right decision.

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

It may have taken me a few years but I’m just glad that I finally knit this scarf. And I’m going to wear at the first sign of cold weather because I am not waiting for snow. 

Pattern: Vertigo by Jamie Thomas

Yarn: 287 yds Malabrigo Yarn Chunky - Frank Ochre

Needles: 7.0 mm circulars

Dates: May 3 - September 15, 2016

@Ravelry

WIP Parade

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Finishing the Turtle Purl socks a couple of weeks ago has put me in the mood to finish the rest of my lingering works in progress. Add on plenty of nights spent watching movies and catching up on tv, and I’ve been a very busy knitter. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

I picked up the Vertigo scarf again thinking that it’d be nice to have a new scarf/cowl thing for the winter. Temps are still in the 80’s, but there’s going to be snow on the ground soon enough. And I will be ready. I’d probably still be working on this thing and working lots of “p2togtbl” if this weren’t knit in bulky weight yarn. I mostly work with worsted weight yarn and finer, so it’s always a pleasant surprise how fast bulky yarn knits up. 

The stitches are bound off and the ends are woven in. Blocking the scarf will be simple (and entirely necessary) which means there’s just one more difficult step before I get to wear it. Which buttons do I choose? Do I go with the earthy, neutral buttons that will blend in or the bright blue buttons that will stand out? I cannot make up my mind. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com
Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Now that Vertigo is bound off, I’m back to adding squares to my Garterlac kitchen towel. It’s not growing as quickly as the scarf, but entrelac is addicting to knit anyway. I can’t knit just one square at a time. Plus, it’s a simple project that I can pick up and put down without loosing my place so the towel is great for keeping my hands busy. I haven’t decide how long it’s going to be yet, but I don’t think that I’m far from binding off. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Here’s another pair of socks for purse knitting. I pulled the yarn out of deep stash, #coldsheep, and started a toe. I wanted to knit a slightly more involved pattern since the last two pairs were basic ribbed socks. The stitch pattern for the Escalator Socks caught my eye so I gave it a try. While I liked the pattern, it didn’t mesh well with the yarn. Plus, I like how the colors knit up in stockinette much better. Ripped back to the toe, and going with a 3x1 rib this time. I’m will knit a complicated pair of socks eventually. I hope.

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Knit All The Things!

There was a terrible, no good, absolutely rotten time when I could not knit or spin because of stitches and doctor’s orders. Thankfully that time is now over! To make up the two weeks when all I do was longingly pet yarn and plan what to do with it, I’ve been finishing and casting on for all the things.

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

My almost finished Fructose Hat was the first thing I picked up after my stitches came out. I was working my way through the crown decreases when I had to put it down. Knowing that I was so close to a finished hat that I could’ve been wearing was incredibly annoying. All that was standing between me and a finished hat was a few rows of decreases. It was so tempting to finish the hat during my knitting hiatus - doctor’s orders be damned - but I didn’t. Thought about it though. 

Anyway, the hat and I went out to lunch Friday. I was 4 rows away from cutting the yarn and pulling it through the last stitches when my food arrived. Hunger and tasty Indian food won out so the hat had to wait until I got back home. Worth it. I still need to wash and block the hat but at least the knitting is done. 

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

With the hat off the needles, I pulled out a cone of cotton and cast on for the Garterlac Dishcloth that I’m modifying to make a kitchen towel. I’ve knit this pattern before and it does great things to variegated yarn. The last cloths were a gift and it’s past time to make some for my own kitchen. 

This is only the second or third time that I’ve knit entrelac and it’s still addicting to make square after square. I don’t even mind picking up stitches to do it. Shocking, I know. Plus, each square has been pretty good bribery. Whenever I cross something of my to-do list, I get to knit a square. Makes for slower knitting, but a completed list at the end of the day.  

This time around I cast on using the increasing base triangle method which starts with just one stitch. It’s not any easier than casting on all the stitches for the bottom edge in one go, but it is a lot more flexible. 

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

These socks have been hanging out in my purse for way too long. They’re still purse knitting for the time being because there’s still a few inches to put on the second cuff. If I can put in a few rows between garterlac squares, this pair should be on my feet soon enough. 

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

And the most recent cast on. I’m swatching for a secret project so this is all I can show you for a bit. I can say that it involves some fun cables.

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

I might be going overboard with the knitting to make up for the two week hiatus, but I regret nothing. I had a winding party Monday night and wound these three skeins of Malabrigo Chunky in Frank Ochre. The plan for them is to knit the Vertigo Cowl; I feel in love with the shop sample years ago but didn’t get the yarn until last week. Once I finish that green swatch, casting on for Vertigo will be my reward. Sounds like good bribery to swatch right?

Free Download: Handknit Handspun Wallpapers

I started the #handspunchallenge because I’ve spun lots of yarn and only knit a few skeins of it. Grab your handspun and knit, crochet, or weave it up! Handspun is too precious not to use. Read about how the #handspunchallenge got started here.

For #handspunchallenge this week, I’m picked out my favorite photos of handspun in action to make into desktop and mobile backgrounds. The first is of my Dotted Rays Shawl and the second is of my Present Cowl. Since we’re talking about handspun, the first wallpaper set I made featuring Texel singles is a perfect match to this set too. 

I’ve also got plans to cast on for a handspun hat but I haven’t picked out the lucky skein yet. Or a pattern. Yeah….

Spinning Malabrigo Arco Iris

When this skein was freshly dry from its bath, it was my absolute favorite. One Tour de Fleece and a few more skeins of handspun later, it’s still my favorite. The colors are amazing, the yarn is ridiculously soft, and it has great density.

Way back in June, I was ready to spin Arco Iris but had no clear vision of how. So the fiber got to lead the way. Once I unbraided the bump, it was clear that was absolutely no chance of spinning identical singles. The colors were randomly dyed without a single discernible repeat. Spinning a 3-ply was out because it would muddy the colors. Chain-plying was out too because I wanted as much yardage as possible. Instead of going through some fiddly process, I decided to keep things simple since the colors were complicated enough all ready. Split the fiber in half lengthwise and spun the 2 pieces from opposite ends. Then I plied, let the yarn rest on the bobbin, and dunked it in the sink with some Eucalan. The only handling the wet skein got before hanging up to dry was a few pops over my hands. No thwacking against a shower wall or other stress relief.

The soak plumped up the yarn considerably. Before the bath, the yarn averaged 9 WPI, basically a worsted weight. The bath turned into an aran weight with an average of 8 WPI. It’s still a much denser yarn than I usually spin. The past few months have seen me trying to spin thinner and thinner yarns which usually meant double-drafted woolen creations. For whatever reason this bump of fiber wanted to be heavy and smooth. I’m not one to argue with wool so I went with it. Spun it inchworm style and went against every screaming urge I had to draft it finer. Sometimes I let to much twist into the fiber and snapped the single. Sometimes I had a good flow going. Drafting inch-worm is definitely something I still need to practice. The resulting yarn is a bit thick and thin but plying fixed many of its ills.

The yarn was content to sit on the shelf for the past few months but no longer. I might gotten a little distracted from writing the first draft of this post looking at cowl* patterns. After an exhaustive search through Ravelry and Pinterest, Present by Mademoiselle C wins by a landslide. The cowl looks like fun travel knitting and a great showcase for handspun. Not going to wait to get started.  


The Specs

Fiber: Malabrigo Nube - 4 oz Merino

Color: Arco Iris

Yardage: 202 + 29 yds

Dates: June 22- July 2014


 *I’m a little late joining the cowl party.

Prepping Arco Iris

Tour de Fleece is rapidly approaching. I’m still trying to figure out my plan for the 3 week challenge but, in the mean time, I’m going to squeeze in one last skein of handspun. Malabrigo Nube has been at the top of my spinning list since the Bearded One gave me a bump of Arco Iris for our anniversary. It’s hard to resist soft merino and beautiful colors. But how to spin it? Should it be a fat single or 2-ply? Maybe fractal spun or chain-plied? Only way to decide was to unbraid the bump and get a better look. The colors were mottled and fairly random without a discernible repeat. Fractal was definitely out. 

Nube-Arco-Iris-Colors.jpg

Since the dye job was so wild and all over the place, I’m going to keep things simple and spin a 2-ply. I split the roving in half lengthwise with the idea of spinning the singles from opposite directions. Aiming for maximum barber pole action here. Because the colors are so mottled, I’m going to spin a thicker yarn than usual and attempt a worsted or aran weight. If the diameter gets any smaller than worsted, the colors might turn to mud during drafting.

Nube-Arco-Iris-Nests.jpg

Now that all the pesky details are decided and the fiber is prepped, it’s time to start spinning. Pretty sure I can finish before Tour de Fleece starts. 

Surprise Stash

Last week, entirely of his own free will, The Bearded One went to a yarn shop to buy me an anniversary gift. That’s love for you. The people working there made sure he knew all about the shop’s return policy. Don’t worry, yarn shop people, he knows what I like and I’m not returning a single thing.

The first thing I unwrapped was a bump of Malabrigo Nube in Arco Iris. It is unbelievably soft and the colors are lovely. Can’t decide if I should spin it up as soon as the current proto-yarn is finished or wait until Tour de Fleece. Should probably figure out what I want the end project to be first. Cowl? Shawl? Hat?

Next up, 2 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino. Just like the Nube, it is ridiculously soft and the colors are wonderful. The added silk gives the yarn a beautiful luster. Couldn’t help perusing Ravelry to find the perfect pattern and I didn’t need to search long. The Duotone Cowl is a simple striped cowl that’ll show off the yarn and be great mindless knitting. Really, I’m surprised I haven’t cast on already.

Stash Documentation

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In February, I signed up for the Spun Right Round Fiber club as soon as it popped up in the Etsy shop. Doesn’t hurt to obsessively stalk a shop’s RSS feed, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this. Joining the club was a consolation prize, albeit an awesome one, for not being able to make the trip to Stitches West. Eventually, the shipping notification arrived in my inbox and I waited none too patiently for March’s shipment to show up in my mailbox. The fiber is soft and the colors are definitely outside of my usual color spectrum. Riotous neon pink doesn’t often make it into my stash but this bump makes it look fun. Can’t wait to start spinning it up. 

When I went to add the fiber, appropriately named Color Bot, to my Ravelry stash, it looked it was the only fiber I’ve bought in months. Definitely not true. I was also pretty sure that I’ve made more than 21 skeins of handspun. Oh, Ravelry, I have not forsaken you! I’ve just been a little distracted by spinning and writing and websites and knitting and video games and…you get the point. Over the past few days I’ve been adding to, photographing for, and updating the stash catalog. The whole process can be slow going but it’s worth it and I recommend it. A happy, up to date Ravelry stash let’s you see all your fiber at the click of a finger. Makes it easier to decide what to spin next. No need to drag it all unless you want to. Plus, it’s a great reference when you’re trying to decide how to further enhance the stash. 

I almost forgot I had some this stuff. Shame on me. 

Malabrigo Nube - Glitter Colorway. This Merino is ridiculously soft and the colors are everything you’d expect from Malabrigo. 

CosyMakes Falkland - Flight of Fancy

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More CosyMakes Falkland in Honey Bear. Before and After.

Gale’s Art Corriedale Top - Limited Edition Color

6 oz of un-dyed Corriedale Cross. Sometimes you just need a few neutrals to balance out all the color. Thinking about about pairing it with the purples, greens, and blues of the Corriedale from Gale’s Art. Maybe I’ll try spinning my first skein of sock yarn. 

Surprise Stash

Every so often, I get The Urge. The Urge follows not the logic that I have plenty of yarn already. Numerous visits to my obsessively cataloged stash page on Ravelry mean nothing. More often then not, there's no project to buy for. Just the want, nay, need for more yarn. Most of the time I can fight off the beast but Thursday was hard since I happened to be at knit night and sitting next to the wall o' sock yarn. Thankfully, I managed to get out the door with less yarn than I came in with.

When I got home, The Urge was far from squelched but it didn't last too much longer as I got several, belated birthday presents. The first was 2 skeins of Fingering 55 by Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. Eventually, you'll see this yarn again as a pair of socks.

Claudia_F55-MardiGras.jpg

The second gift was two skeins of Plymouth Happy Feet. I've really enjoyed this yarn in the past and am beyond thrilled at having enough for another pair of socks. The colors are a bit out of my normal range but they've really grown on me. Now, I just need to find the right pattern.

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Now, the coup de gras, two skeins of Malabrigo Sock in Stonechat. This yarn is not destined to be a pair of socks but rather a shawl of gigantic and cosy proportions. The problem with this is that I'm having a hard time choosing a pattern. On the top of my list is the Textured Shawl Recipe and Stephen Wests' Pogona. Neither of them are heavy on the lace and I can easily make them larger which is what I like about them. I still can't make up my mind though. Any suggestions for a fingering weight shawl that'll use 880 yards? I could really use the help.

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Before I go, Thanks B! The yarn and all of its potential is awesome. Plus, you've silenced The Urge and I can't thank you enough for that.