Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pine Haven Shawl and Brooklyn Tweed Arbor: Quite the Arboreal Match

This shawl.

I have wanted to knit it since the day it was released.  I don't know WHY the Pine Haven Shawl, designed by Alicia Plummer, has so few project pages, as it's so pretty and rather classic, yet woodsy-looking all at the same time.  I imagine wearing it whilst working my land in a lovely, tree-filled setting - hauling logs or somesuch... you know, like I do!  


I knit this gigantic shawl up in Brooklyn Tweed.  For my first knit with BT, I chose the Arbor base, because I knew I'd love it so much - surely because it's worsted spun, which I am traditionally more naturally drawn to, though I do like woolen spun yarns, too, these days.  I had help from Matt and a friend when it came to choosing colors.  We went with Butte, Treehouse and Degas, though I'd really wanted to throw a purple into the mix, aha!  I purchased from one of my favorite Portland yarn stores, Twisted.  (By the by, they always have size 00 and 000 DPNs in stock, if you need them!!!)

The pattern itself was lovely and well-written, short and to the point.  The major issue for me was with gauge.  I strangely, for ONCE, may have needed to use the needle size called for OR may have needed to size up.  That never happens.  But that would have given me a fabric I didn't love.  I will clearly admit Arbor is a DK weight yarn, and the shawl calls for worsted, so, it was a bit of a conundrum.  I just stuck with my size 7 needles I'd swatched on and knew I'd have to make changes.  And boy, did I EVER!  (Did I just say that???!)  I added one extra set of crosses to the top section, an additional two or three stripes in the next section then additional stripes and a bit more made-up colorwork below the called-for colorwork.  I had to go nuts, in order to make sure my shawl was wide/long enough.  What I knew would happen, though, in the doing of this, was that the shawl would be too deep.  Thankfully, my row gauge is always pretty tight, because the shawl didn't come out TOO dreadfully deep, though I could honestly do with a few inches shallower.  I was killing myself with back pain by the end, and I wanted it off the needles, though I really did try hard to get through most of the yarn, which makes me pretty happy.

A thoughtful boy helps with blocking - wearing Camden's old Abate
Overall, it's an awesome shawl.  I questioned how much I'd like it as I got further and further in, but it came out perfectly!  Go knit one!!!  And don't be afraid to modify like a lunatic in order to get what you want/need out of a pattern!!

Naturally, some January days in the life:
Table saw injury :O  And it felt AND still feels way worse than it looks

Sometimes, you tell them to pick up outside....and.....

Getting her knit on.... for a couple minutes
A girl in curlers - and a weird brother
Week 17, I believe, of the school year for Camden, wearing her Tallulah and a skirt she made
A flaming gas leak in the neighborhood gets you booted from your home, which means library time

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Evergreen Socks, Gift Knits and Christmas!


I did TRY to have my Evergreen Socks (designed by Madeline Gannon) done for the Advent-along in This Old Knit's Ravelry group....but then gift knitting got in the way!  I did some crazy December knitting that involved tight gauges and a million Barley Hats.  I don't know WHAT I was thinking, aha!  Anyway, all of this meant my socks were finished on the first of January! 

The Evergreen sock pattern was super easy and delightful.  I used Marigoldjen Yarn in the Chip colorway on the BFL Extra Long Sock base.  I LOVE that base!!  I actually DID whip through the leg portion of each sock super fast and had those complete before any of the gift-knitting began.  I am not honestly a huge fan of knitting the Eye of Partridge heel.  I think it is pretty, but I'm too lazy, generally speaking.  I did put forth the effort this time, but I'm such a weirdo in that I like to count the rows of my heel flap, rather than the slipped stitches  - in order to get my heel flaps to match, etc.  It is more work to count the rows, because you don't have one column of straight knit stitches to count. 

I discovered something crazy when I knit these socks, though:  I have been using a size 00 needle for sock knitting lately, because I am able to tighten my tension when I wrap the yarn around a finger.  However, apparently, that isn't tight enough for this lace pattern.  I did cast on 64 stitches, per the pattern instructions, so, maybe 60 would have been better (and I used 60 in the last pair or two I've knit).  So, after SADLY discovering this mistake, I had to rip out, from completed gusset decreases all the way through the gusset pick-up.  I picked up maybe 21 or 22 stitches (because, again, I am a LOOSE knitter, but when I have to move down so far in needle sizes, my ROW gauge tightens up like nobody's business), which is more than most people would do, I believe.  I tried to not be too sad, though, LOL, and I finished the first sock up pretty fast.  I did knit the toe three times, though, because I was making an effort to knit a toe that was more specific to my foot.  I decreased quicker on the left side of the left foot and sort of did some nonsense on the other side.  I then did the same thing...almost...with the right sock, and as always, with the right sock, I added four stitches, to accommodate for my bunion.

So, they're cute, and they fit pretty well!!

As for my gift knitting, I knit a total of six Barley hats, using all scraps from my stash.  I also knit two pairs of Stars and Stripes mittens.  In the end, it was a bunch of dense knitting, which really pains my upper right back, especially.  Ah, well.  They are done and cute!  I do NOT have a photo of the mittens, but I'm hoping my sister comes through with a photo!  As for the hats, I don't have a photo of a green version, but the others are pictured below.  I also have a duplicate of the pink, which is Dashing Dachs Stallion Organic Merino yarn I was given years ago, here at home to give Camden's Seattle cousin.  I am also working on a seventh Barley hat and a pair of baby mittens connected with an i-cord, aha!  SOOOO much knitting!  I love, though, that it uses up remnants/scraps/whatever, and I get to see tiny things all over again!

Lastly, I knit up a Bonbon Bunny, designed by Susan Claudino, for Camden's Seattle cousin.  It is SO cute!  I may have slightly overstuffed it, but whatevs!  I did stuff it with yarn scraps, which was good!  And I used eyes I thankfully had from 6060 Eyes.  I actually want to order some more, as I recently purchased a couple more of Susan's patterns!!!  I again used stash yarn - a fingering weight blend which included bamboo.  So, it's cute and tiny, like Camden's Bonbon.  I have a couple photos of the wee thing.

As for our fun holidays, the kids had fun, I think, and we did the usual exchanging of letters with Santa, which is always a good time.  The fairies had it out for him again this year, but they reached a silent agreement one evening, just so Santa could deliver gifts before we headed up to visit Matt's parents for Christmas.  We also saw a fun tap-dancing musical version of Cinderella, at the Northwest Children's Theater.  I love our little tradition of seeing a show the day after Christmas!  Matt also worked hard on finishing up projects around the house....we now have baseboard trim and a fully framed and trimmed window in our room, but there is a LOT of painting ahead of me....yikes.

As for the new year, I get to see a concert this month, and we will still be working on house projects!  I hope to fit in more reading.  I just re-read the Hunger Games trilogy, but I need to be better about reading NEW books way more often.  I used to be such a reader, but I can only do so many things at once, and knitting usually wins ;)

Replacing the front door!

Hoof prints?!

Oh, this silly Santa

Working on bath bombs
We have an island of belongings in our room right now

Aha....finally getting this window done
Grandma made Camden and Tiberius pajama pants!

I'd call these a success!!!  LOLOL