Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Friday, July 18, 2014

Neutrals, with a twist

I've started an Albers Cowl.
Can I start by sharing that I am obsessed with knitting, but more than ever before? And that I have taken the summer off from teaching for the first time in four years, so I have time to spare, more than ever before? And that I am devoted to reducing the stash, so I started this Neutral KAL? (This year the stash grew, more than ever before).

A number of my more distant friends and relatives have contacted me after seeing the flood of recent Instagram and FB posts. They are concerned for my mental health and well-being, and my tan... Why all the knitting they ask? It's summer, save the knitting for cool weather?
Nope, not gonna happen, that is my reply. And maybe, if you have the knitting bug, you will see why....

Garter stitch on size three needles
Pattern: Albers Cowl by Anne Weaver
Yarn: MerinoGold by Grignasco Knits

Here is a photo of the latest project that I have cast on. The yarn is MerinoGold by Grignasco Knitting, an Italian washable wool in a DK weight. WEBS has a good supply of colors and at $5.99 per skein, I urge you to consider trying this yarn. It is soft, round and plump, and the stitch definition, well it kinda takes my breath away when I stop and stare.

This past Wednesday, when I went to WEBS, (for the first time ever....!!!!) I had a list of projects and yarns needed, and I stuck to it. If the Knitting Police come to my house to take evidence pictures of the towering stash, you may understand why I feel compelled to hold back on yarn shopping. (De-stashing and going on a Cold Sheep diet of no expenditures isn't really going all that well, but I have not shared photos of all that has crossed the threshold this month). (For shame). (And for future posts).

MerinoGold by Grignasco Knits
My list included four neutral tones in a DK or sock weight yarn for the Albers Cowl. Believe it or not, (I swear) I don't have much in the DK weight, and none of what I have in the stash was going to work. The theory behind the Albers is to use up sock yarn stash and make a powerful accessory as you sort through and play with vibrant colors. Check out Anne Weaver's project page for examples.

My purchase may prevent me from adding this project to the Neutral KAL, because of the peacock color, but I just couldn't get psyched for the neutrals alone, no punch of color. I cast on last night and I am having trouble putting the needles down; I like this garter stitch pattern that much! I did Google "Picking Up Selvedge Edge Garter Stitches" and followed the video from KnitPicks. I thought I knew how to do it, but for the sake of desiring perfection, you know I just had to check in with an expert.

So, join us if you'd like, at the East Coast Knitters Neutral KAL, either with a project or an open mind as you lurk on the photos and project pages in order to save pattern and yarn ideas for the future. Details on how to join in on the group link.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Neutral Knit Down- Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang

Ridged rows of wool
I now have two Neutral projects going, this one was chosen as something I could work on while riding passenger with my friend Gina as we made our way to WEBS yesterday. I am in love with this pattern, such delicious potato chip knitting, and it showcases the yarn so well!

Pattern: Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang by Susan Ashcroft
Yarn: Cascade Rustic
I couldn't fall asleep Tuesday night.... a trip to WEBS, with Gina (yay) and what should I bring to knit??? I tossed and turned, (the heat and humidity were definitely factors!), and when I woke up at 4:30 AM on Wednesday (as I so often do) I decided this would be my car knitting. I cast on and had about eight inches before I even got out to Riverside where I was to meet Gina. It is an easy pattern and such a relaxing knit.

If you'd like to join my KAL, grab some neutral yarn and a pattern and sign into the East Coast Knitters Neutral KAL. There will be photos of prizes soon, I promise. I just need to finish this row....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Onward, Neutral KAL

Onward by Shannon Cook
 I can't show you all of the details of this project, as it will be a gift to be given shortly. Sorry, but you will need to wait to see the whole she-bang. I cast on this past Saturday and it has been flying along. I just started skein three so I am at the half way mark.

Pattern: Onward by Shannon Cook, from the book Journey
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby's First, size 11 needles

The pattern calls for different, smaller gauge yarn and smaller needles. The fact is, my daughter wanted to knit a blanket from these skeins but never did get to it. I am trying to de-stash and it conforms to the Neutrals palette, so I started knitting a swatch early Saturday. Once I arrived at the drape that I liked, I cast on. The pattern is very well written and after each set of six rows, you are given the stitch count. By doing that, there have been no mistakes or tinking backward. I like when it runs on this way, don't you?

So leave a note if you have been inspired to go through your stash to knit something in a Neutral. I'd love the company!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Neutral KAL, shades of cream and grey

Found on Pinterest
This pin has inspired me. I almost always knit with colors, jewel tones, bright and deep. I choose these colors because they make me happy and add an accent to my wardrobe. After looking at this Pin, I pondered... why don't I ever select a grey or a cream or brown? It could showcase the stitch design in a pattern, rather than having the two elements competing with each other. I do love looking at the collections of scarves in this Pin, it creates a calm elegance for me, and a desire to see what I could do with my yarn on hand. Always the push to knit from stash, right?

Natural and cream colors
Brown family
Black yarns
Light greys
Dark greys
I dragged out all of my stash and collected the small number of skeins in cream and grey, fewer than I would have guessed. I am including brown in my challenge to self, watch out I may add navy, I do think of them as neutrals too. But first, I will begin with the cream or natural yarns. Here is the collection.

Using a neutral color allows the stitches to have maximum impact. The patterns you will see below are just a few of the many I have in my Favorites, I tried to post only those that were in the spectrum of neutrals but a few colors snuck in. Please look at the photos with the mindset of how beautiful it will look in a cream or grey or natural color. I have a voluminous number of patterns I would like to knit, patterns with interesting stitches or design elements. Here are just a few. Please add your pattern suggestions to the comments section.
Big Herringbone Cowl, Purl Soho
Linda K's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers
Scalene by Carina Spencer
Coastal Fog Cowl, Annie Rowden
Cadenza, Terri Cruze
Wavelength, Kate Ray
That Nice Stitch, Susan Ashcroft
Ripon, Rachel Coopey
Epidome, Cecilia Flori
Rippling, a side to side knit, Sarah Punderson
Podcaster Cowl, Susan Ashcroft
Bridesburg, Erika Flory
Rosa, Anne Schultz
Paperbag Princess Toque, Lynette Meek
Goldie, Amanda Lilley
Sister Bay, Paula Emons-Fuessle
Amari, Marie Grace Smith
So, I am a solitary knitter and I have set this challenge for myself, would you care to join me? It would be fun to check in on your knitting and be inspired by the patterns you have chosen to pair with your yarn. I have set up a KAL thread on the East Coast Knitters Ravelry group page and I am looking forward to seeing what you do with a neutral. There will be prizes!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thorn and the Common Cod Fiber Guild KAL

Back in March, during the Common Cod Fiber Camp, we had so many designers and their patterns for inspiration, and a number of us admitted the need to add Thorn to our wardrobes. Thorn is a shawl pattern by Bristol Ivy, she wore her's during the fashion show and we fell hard for the unique drape and fanning rows of stockinette. Here is an image of Bristol displaying the shawl at Fiber Camp.

Bristol Ivy and her Thorn shawl, Fiber Camp 2014
So, there is a tale behind this knit. A couple of overlapping tales actually. First, I have a knitting girl crush on Bristol Ivy. I love her design esthetic and her ability to make such interesting patterns. I was fortunate to meet her in person when she attended the Common Cod Fiber Guild's Fiber Camp fashion show.
Meeting Bristol Ivy at Fiber Camp was such a treat.
Among the many designs modeled that day, I found seeing Thorn in person made me crave it for my own. I had added it to my Ravelry Favorites back when the Brooklyn Tweed Wool People look book 4 first came out, but seeing how gracefully it draped and flattered made it an irresistible project to knit.
Loft Yarn, fingering weight
The other tale involves my curiosity about the Brooklyn Tweed fiber. Bristol's Thorn was so airy and draped beautifully. Loft is an American sourced and processed yarn. It is a two ply, fingering weight yarn with 275 yards and 50 grams. There are so many beautiful colors that selecting Almanac took some time.
At the beginning...
I have wanted to try Jared Flood's yarns but none of the LYS carry it. As a gift to myself on Mother's Day, I went to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas online store and placed my order. What an experience! I urge you to visit their page and peruse some of their kits and patterns. So many delectable images to enable anyone who can't find something they MUST knit! Like any of us have THAT problem! My package arrived quickly, the yarn was enveloped in lilac colored tissue paper. There was a note card for me to use and a hand written note from the person who picked and shipped my order. I will definitely shop there again.

Pattern: Thorn, by Bristol Ivy From Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People, Vol. 4
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed, Loft in the Almanac colorway on size 4 needles

As for the Thorn project, the Common Cod Fiber Guild is doing a KAL (knit along) for this pattern. If you are interested in joining us, look at the thread and post a photo of the yarn you choose to use.  Create a Ravelry project page and use the tag CCFGThornKAL.

The CCFG Ravelry thread will close on August 31. There will be random number generator picks for the prizes including a skein of Dirty Water Dyeworks, a project bag from my KnittinginBeantown Etsy shop and a Bristol Ivy pattern of the winner's choice. The prizes will be given out at our September Common Cod Fiber Guild meeting (or they can be mailed to you if you don't attend the event). We will feature a show and tell before Amy Herzog's lecture to the group so you can see the different shawls we will have created. Please, join us in this KAL!

Thorn is not a difficult pattern to knit but it is a commitment of time. Here are my suggestions for smooth knitting.
  1. Plan on using a lifeline after each section. I found that if I wasn't mindful I made silly mistakes. Tinking back was easy enough, but replacing the central marker was problematic because it shifts on every right side row. In using the lifeline, I found it served as incentive to get that section done and looking back over my progress, I could see the sections clearly marked by my thread. 
  2. Read your knits and purls as you go. When doing the evenly spaced increases, I sometimes got a bit distracted and knit the purls and purled the knits. Some remain, but I got better at checking where I was and my mistakes became fewer.
  3. Use a lace needle with good tips to make the purl through the back loop parts easier.
  4. Count stitches at the end of each section before putting your lifeline in. I also found counting as I went helped me. I am a distracted knitter most of the time.
I am at the end of my third skein and nearing the part where I will pick up almost three hundred stitches to make the border.  I have spent a few hours each day working on it and I am enjoying the summer vacation freedom to do just that.