05 April 2017

A time of Firsts ...

Knitwise, I feel like it's been a bit off the hook, insane busy. Mind you, it's all self-inflicted, but I wouldn't have it any other way LOL. When I'm busy knitwise, I'm learning and challenging myself, and that's my preferred way.  There is so much going on that I've had to write it down to make sure I don't forget something, and I feel like I am forgetting something - as always LOL

I was working diligently on my shawl, I've had to rip it back several times as in my infinite wisdom, I decided to do bed knitting and dropped a few stitches ... several times and then the hunt was on!   LOL  I get the chart details now - at least until I start the edging.  I understood the basics of reading a chart - but as always there is so much more to learn, and learn I did.  It's for the intermediate knitter (which I am) and is heavily charted.  Heavily charted took on a whole new meaning LOL  It's written okay, but not all intermediate knitters are ones that are chart readers.  Yes I love a challenge LOL

I've had to vow not to do this shawl if my eyes are a bit fuzzy or my ability to focus is not what it should be.  This pattern requires my 100% attention and sharp eyes.  With all the gorgeous lace in this shawl, if you drop a stitch it's having itself a wonderful little journey.  I got almost to the end of chart B (main body shaping) when I realized that I had some holes that didn't belong.  All I gotta say is Thank God for lifelines!!!  They have saved me a few times.  I have also discovered that sharp lace needles would be better for this project.  I have some Addi Turbo Lace Needles ordered and they are enroute.  They should be here hopefully by the end of the week.  I just might frog back the entire shawl and start again with my new needles.  I'm not sure.  The yarn I'm using is #Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud Fingering yarn and this stuff is amazing!  It is handling the abuse of being frogged back several times and maintains it's integrity.  No untwisting, no breaking, no knotting up and getting super fuzzy and unworkable.  It's 100% alapaca - I can't say enough good things about this yarn!

I've also volunteered to do two test knits for Elizabeth Ravenwood Designs and I'm super excited about these.  One is a pair of socks and the other a handkerchief / doily.  

The socks have a deadline of June 30, and I should get the pattern in the next few weeks.  She wanted us to get our scraps together from previous sock / fingering weight projects and use them.  As I was looking at these bright bits from my knitting, I realized that nothing in my stash was telling me it wanted to be the main colour.  I remembered that I bought some yarn back in January I think that I wanted to try my hand at dyeing yarn.  I've dyed miles of fabric, so yarn should be a somewhat similar process.  I love to learn and I love a challenge so .. I decided to dye the fabric for the test knit :D  And I just love the result.  I wanted a tonal pink and with the content of the wool along with the fabric dye I was using reacted exactly the way I expected.  They yarn is 50% wool, ,25% rayon from Bamboo, and 25% nylon.  The nylon wouldn't take the full colour of the dye, while the wool would take 100% and I wasn't to sure about the rayon - the manufacturer said it would take the full dye, but since I hadn't used it before, I was hedging my bets LOL   

This picture here does not do the colour justice.  It's  much brighter and a deeper pink.  I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and canNOT wait to knit with it.  

I know there's a lot more to learn about dyeing yarn.  There's quite a bit of information out there on the web and youtube videos.

I love a tonal yarn, and a variegated yarn.  With this yarn I got lucky with the tonal effect as the nylon wouldn't take 100% of the dye and it would give me a tonal effect.  A wool / nylon blend is a cheat with this particular dye.  That isn't going to work very well for a yarn that is 100% wool LOL

The other test knit is for a handkerchief as I mentioned that could double as a doily.  This will be done in lace weight and I think the deadline for that is July 15.  I picked up the yarn for that already.  A gorgeous pink Malabrigo - it was the last one she had in the shop and it was on sale, Of course I got it LOL

This is going to be my first lace weight knit and my first Malabrigo.  I'm super excited about this one too!  I am also on her test knit for a cabled hat test knit for the Olympics next year :)

I've gotten back to my Stash Killer Blanket and it's now my bedtime knitting project.  That way I can knit in bed, and it will get some work done on it.  I don't make a lot of progress, but more than it just sitting in my bag in the dark, all alone - it now lives in the project tote, next to my bed  :)

I've used a bit of math to make sure that my yarn is going to be enough for the blocks.  I weighed out each block and took an average of what they needed, ,then I balled up and weighed my yarn and that way if I don't have a full skein, I know what blocks I can do with the yarn I have left.  While a good game of yarn chicken can get the blood flowing, your nerves singing and your toes curled,, it's not something I want to do for every bit of yarn and block I do.  I already saved myself time with the lighter coloured yarn I'm using now.  I would have had to rip 2 blocks and switch the order I had done them.  Glad I avoided that.  My OCD does come in handy somedays LOL

I've discovered ArneCarlos tutorials on Youtube and I'm just totally in love with these guys.  I want them to adopt me, or let me be a roommate or a neighbour.  These guys totally inspire me and motivate me - I could listen to them for hours.  I just love them.  My LYS has a bit of their Regia line and the Pairfect.  I didn't particularly care if I got the Pairfect because I'd rather have a pair of socks that doesn't exactly match, but you know they go together.  So I treated myself to a skein of their sock yarn.  My LYS isn't getting these right now so her supply was limited to 4 skeins, and I grabbed the one that the colours most appealed to me.

And with all this going on, my April socks are waiting for me to cast them on.  I'm going to use my Hawthorne kettledyed fingering yarn for these.  And these I am planning to do toe up, two at a time on 40" needles.

I was doing my socks on US 2 / 2.75mm with 64 stitches, but that's just a bit loose.  My options are to drop down a needle size or go to 60 stitches.  First I'm going to try on US 1 2.5mm needles.  I've a set of ChiaoGoo I'm itching to use

I tried to do them before with casting on my toe and then transfering them to my circulars, but that didn't end well - so I did them one at a time.  I'll try again using these videos.  I use her heel and its just awesome!  Her whole process is awesome.

So yes, I'm overloaded with a lot of first's and I couldn't be happier.  I'm also doing a design challenge and am having a blast with that.  My muse has been kicked awake.  I think I'll do my homework on my blog that way I can think out loud while talking to you.  It really does help!  With all that's been going on, I've not put many stitches on the needles expect for my blanket.  I am happy to be working on that again :)

Well I've homework to do for my design challenge.  Off I go!