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Startitis: The Viajante and The Mohair Bias Loop

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Knitters know of the curse of “startitis”, the irresistible impulse to start many projects all at the same time.

I most definitely have a healthy case of this, the moment I came home from Stitches West I started these:

I have in progress:

All I want to do at lunchtime is work on the Viajante and, when I get home, knit on the Mohair Bias Loop! It is like an irresistible compulsion.

But the Viajantes is so wonderful and simple, I am making it out of the dreamiest Malabrigo Silkpaca, a silk-alpaca lace yarn that is soft and airy, it’s going to be gorgeous to wear.

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It is a fun design and I have wonderful support from the LSG group on Ravelry. LSG stands for Lazy, Stupid and Godless, and I just love these ladies.

The Mohair Bias Loop is the simplest pattern that I found at the Claudia Handpaints booth at Stitches West. Years ago I made a pretty spiral scarf out of Alchemy Haiku, and it had a tragic end. I made another and it’s pretty but I missed the airy loft of the silk mohair thread of the Haiku yarn.

At the booth I saw this gorgeous, glowing fluff of the Haiku knitted up into a pretty, simple cowl shape. I have cones and cones of silk mohair yarn from Artfibers, but I coveted a skein lying next to the sample Bias Loop that glowed like cranberries roasted on butter at Thanksgiving. They were meant to be mine.

I started it last night after I finished my embroidery and thought about it all day.

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After a few hours I was more than halfway done.

Mohair bias loop

It did not take long to finish it and I wore it to the book reading by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the “Yarn Harlot”. She complimented me on it, which thrilled me down to my toes. She’s a tiny lady and I crouched down as far as I could so spare her from yet another “Mutt and Jeff” photo.

Me & @yarnharlot - such a fun night.

Despite all my projects lurking in the wings I am really tempted to pull our the cone of palest lavender or the cone of vibrant burnt orange and make this according to the pattern, which fits around the shoulders like a shrug. The gorgeous Haiku skein did not have enough yardage . I think I might have to cast on one immediately!

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Knitting Green Leaves

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At Stitches West this year I found a beautiful pattern for the Cedar Leaves Shawlette. The model was knitted in some sort of wool/silk combination but nowhere in the vast hall of yarn booths could we find anything remotely similar. I purchased the pattern in the hopes a perfect yarn would find me. And it did!

Knitpicks had a very nice sale on their Andean Treasure 100% alapca and the heathered green colorway was absolutely perfect. I knitted up the shawl body on Sunday in between my frenzied cooking, and then that evening  started knitting leaves.

Leaf after leaf grew on the shawlette, bursting open like the spring that is upon the Bay Area.

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

I should be finished with it in time for the weekend, when colder, more San Francisco spring-like weather, is predicted.  Knitting this little shawlette, or scarf as it really should be called, is part of my quest this year for knitting for myself, to heap love upon myself in many ways, including wonderful fibery creations.

Bring it, fogbank, I will be covered in leafy green alpaca and laughing at you.

Stitches West and a Gentle Return to Knitting

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A weekend ago or so was Stitches West, the giant yarn, fiber and notions conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. For quite a few years I have been attending with E___, my friend and knitting mentor (and also my fellow baseball buddy), and lately with my artist and crochet sisterfriend L____ and A____ have been joining us for shopping and ramen afterwards.

This was my first real weekend post flu and post ankle surgery where I felt almost like a normal person. Walking and standing is still cranky but we scheduled lots of tea breaks and the gals brought lots of snacks to keep our energy from flagging.
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This year the convention center seemed rather quiet, we went on a Sunday, which is the last day of the conference and perhaps people were done for it but the crowd was thin and the shopping was even thinner. It might be a sign of the tightened economy, or perhaps because it was nice weather out but there wasn’t much going on that day. We all were on tight budgets and that never helps with shopping, but we enjoyed being able to visit every booth and have time for breaks.

E____ and I both found some great sock yarn for the San Francisco Giants games, a cutely dyed sock yarn from Miss Babs in a colorway called Pumpkin Apocalypse. E___ might be making a shawlette but I am going to make socks.

There was a very pretty pattern for a Cedar Leaf Shawlette in a green silk and wool blend but sadly there was no yarn anywhere within the convention center that was right weight with a little silk in it and in the right verdant green. I will need about two to three skeins to make the shawl and will save this pattern for when the budget allows more yarn shopping.

We spotted a simple sweater by Olga Jazzy, the Sakasama Jacket. I would like to try this pattern since I have boatloads of kid mohair but the booth was out of the pattern. I can get it online however.
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At another stall was selling mink yarn in jewel-toned colors at mink-like prices, but ooh, so very soft and lovely. All animal fiber yarn is from animals where they are either shorn or combed for their hair/fur, how does one shear a squirmy mink? It doesn’t bear thinking about overmuch.

This stall also had a sample scarf by Alchemy using their paper yarn which is surprisingly soft after washing. The scarf is combined with Alchemy kid mohair yarn that I’m obsessed about but the scarf is felted or washed vigorously after knitting to shrink the mohair part. I’ve seen it before at the Interweave Knitlab marketplace. I am still tempted to try this someday. The coir palate is pretty on me and they have a longish bolero which would be very nice to wear over all my inevitable black wardrobe pieces.
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(the ubiquitous Feather and Fan pattern again!)

It was always great fun to see Tina Whitmore of KnitWhits and I snatched up a ball of her Freia ombré yarn that changes from a deep grey-black to an Aegean teal. Tina explained it was a new color direction for her ombré yarns. She had only made a little for the New York show she attended and they were snapped up, I wish I could have seen all the colors she had made! Hopefully, in future, she will make more. The winking green-blue eye for this yarn really called to me and I couldn’t wait to make something with it.

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We putzed around for a little while longer and then went out for dinner at Ramen Club. This is the second best ramen I’ve found in the Bay Area.
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It was a lovely, full day!

The moment I got home I pulled out my two purchases plus the pretty pattern and I did not resist the incredible urge to start knitting.

Happily a quick search on Ravelry led me to the adorable Elk Tooth pattern by Caitlin ffrench. The talented knittingnurse on Ravelry had made up this pattern in Freia yarn in the same weight and a slight modification to use up one ball of yarn. I am about halfway done now and simply love the look and feel of this yarn. I can’t wait to wear this scarf.

Finished Objects: Santa Fe Eyelet Shawl

This shawl went off the needles and around my neck almost instantly, it is so gorgeous.

Eyelet Shawl, Stimulus Package yarn

The Eyelet Shawl using Dyelot Yarn’s Stimulus Package yarn in the colorway Santa Fe is a superbly simple knit. The yarn comes in a big fat skein but is really six smaller skeins of yarn, all dyed the same but with gorgeously different textures.

Tres Santa Fe by dyelot yarnTres Santa Fe by dyelot yarn

The pattern came free with the yarn but it makes a hugely long shawl. I am almost 6′ tall and I have to triple wind it around me for a loose cowl effect. I might like to make another one that is about 2 feet shorter! But regardless, I love this shawl and am so grateful for the gift of the yarn from E___. I am going to be cozy and very stylish all winter long.

Thank you!

Cream of Chocolate Wings

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While I’m healing from surgery I realized my brain just isn’t up to any kind of complicated patterns but yet I crave the solace and comfort of knitting.

Behold the perfect answer to my needs: the Wingspan scarf. My new friend from Twitter, Carol-Alyce from Wales and my knitting buddy Chris from Vermont, were chatting about this pattern and Carol-Akyce shared a particularly beautiful one she made in a shaded black-charcoal-white Zauberball yarn trimmed in crimson.

It was so fun to explore on Ravelry and
see all the colors people had used to knit their Wingspans. My heart was smitten by Carol-Alyce’s though, and then I found Zauberball made a colorway of shades of chocolate yarn and ZING!

I treated myself to a small purchase from Simply Socks Yarn Co and it arrived my first day at home after my fab weeklong sleepover at D___’s – aka post surgery recuperation.

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The Wingspan is very simple to knit, just garter stitch, and it is a truly beautiful and yet mindless pattern. I could knit this when cranky and uncomfortable from pain, on pain medication and half asleep. It’s perfect!!

After one day I had gotten this much done:

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A close up of the fabric, the color changes in this yarn are gorgeous:

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By last night I was done, with 7 1/2 pattern repeats. I found some scarlet Kauni 8/1 yarn in my stash and did a quick border to add a splash of brightness to the scarf, just like Carol-Alyce’s.

How I love this scarf, and so does my dear friend A___ whom I feared would never take it off when she helped bring my home from my post-operation doctor’s visit. It looked divine on her, and I’m hoping she will make one, or I will!

She took some pictures for me. Here is my new footwear for the next six weeks, and my pretty scarf:

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And more…

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I have already started a new Wingspan in Kauni 8/2 in EQ, the rainbow yarn, and it is so much fun to knit while watching goofy tv and movies while I’m stuck at home.

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Knitting is such a relaxing activity for me, and yet it feels very odd to be knitting something that my darling Pogo hasn’t tried to lie upon or sniff out the yarn, I miss him so. It’s a good thing yarn is absorbent because I’m using it to sop up my tears that just flow and flow. The rainbow color shifts reminded me of the sweet poem about the Rainbow Bridge and so that’s what I’m calling it – Rainbow Bridge Wings, wings to help me heal my heart from missing my sweet Pogo.

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I am just going to keep knitting simple projects like this one until I can finish the Clapotis and try not to think. The pretty colors are nice and distracting.

Here’s to another six weeks filled with knitting and physical therapy and more knitting.

Clapotis Knit-A-Long

I am starting a Knit-A-Long for the fun and easy Clapotis shawl / scarf starting on May 1st!

It seems the entire planet has already made a Clapotis, but if you are a rebel holdout like me or just want to knit another one please join us.

Please share this invitation to your yarny friends, we already have three members!

The pretty Clapotis pattern is here.

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I started one last year but had to frog it, the skeins were flash-dyed and didn’t match!

My new yummy yarn for this Knit-A-Long is the color of buttery sunshine and sparkly with real silver thread spun inside!

I have never wanted Spring to show her sunny face more.

Keeping Busy – Lettuce Slide Scarf

After I finished a super secret knitting project for a family member I realized that I had two additional projects to go and felt despair fall over me.

Most of the knitting I do are gifts for other people and I realized suddenly that I need some selfish knitting.  I wanted to make myself something fun and pretty that would keep me busy and that I would keep just for me.  SELFISH!

I just happened to have the Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book out, a gift from my mOm, and many of its pages are tabbed with colored post-its, and noted with comments like “make this one for me” or “good for A___” or “find a cute baby to give this to”.

The Lettuce Slide Scarf looked so cute and sounded easy enough, but of course I did not really read the directions through very carefully.
Ruffled Scarf

Do you see all these pretty ruffles? First you knit the body of the scarf using 213 stitches, then you bind them off. Then, you pick up 330 stitches along one of the scarf’s edges, double them, and then increase by half again, and bind off 990 stitches in a knit one – purl one bind off. And then, you repeat for the other side of the scarf. Aaack! Am I insane?

Fortunately this week I have plenty of patience and tenacity and so I started the scarf and just powered through all of these tiny stitches and finished one side of the scarf. Right now I am almost done doubling the stitches for the second side of the scarf. I must say it is very absorbing work!

I like the yarn a lot, it was from a lace sampler from Knit Picks called Shadow, a heathery medium lavender called Foxtrot.   The ruffles look really pretty and I hope to finish it today so I can wear it tomorrow.    And then, perhaps, I can finish off another super secret Christmas knitting gift.

Or not! I might make myself another pair of socks! Scandal…

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