I don’t know about you, but this has been the hardest April I can remember. In fact, I dont think I’ve ever experienced such a difficult start to the year. In December I got a promotion at work. I was in a job I didn’t like, and now I have a job that I enjoy a lot. But the job comes with more responsibility, and with responsibility comes stress. Cue knitting to save my sanity.
A few months ago I finally bought the Knitter’s Almanac. I walked through Elizabeth Zimmermann’s fabulous “unventions” and sage advice, and decided that now was the time to cast on a Pi Shawl. Sometimes you start something and you’re not sure why, but it just seems like the right thing for the time. This shawl is what my brain and my heart have needed over the last few months. I sit down to work on it and it helps me to slow down and stop worrying. The yarns are beautiful and make this knitting a very tactile experience.
Earlier this month I got a call that my grandma was very ill and might not make it for much longer. I bought a plane ticket, packed a bag, and went to be with her. This shawl was such a comfort as I travelled and sat in waiting rooms. I showed it to her and she thought it was so beautiful. And then as she started to recover I knit on it in joy, so pleased that I was not knitting in mourning.
So often in my knitting I try to be smart. The easy solution or the obvious solution are not good enough, I have to do it the hard way. But sometimes I need something easy so that my brain can stop working on overdrive. That is what this shawl is for me.
Earlier this year I made a goal to finish my WIPs, which I then proceeded to ignore. New projects are just so much more beguiling! I did manage to finish one thing though.
While digging through my spinning stash, I found a partially filled bobbin and a few ounces of superwash BFL. The bobbin went back on the wheel and I busied myself with spinning the singles. When it cane time to ply I wanted to do something a little different, so I pulled out my bead stash and decided to add peach glass seed beads and a few rose beads from my wedding.
Do you see the problem in the picture? I strung about 8 ounces of beads on a single. It was bound to be unmanageable and eventually break. Once it did break I changed my tactic: I only strung an ounce (ish) of beads at a time, breaking the single every time I needed to add beads, and rejoining as I plied. It wasn’t the most enjoyable of plying adventures, but look at the resulting yarn!
So lovely! I ended up with 280 yards of DK weight yarn, and it is oh so soft. I would definitely recommend spinning with superwash BFL. It is a dream to work with, although you do end up with quite a lot of fiber stuck to your clothes. I don’t have a plan for this yarn yet, but for now I am content to leave it as a skein of innocence.
I am excited to tell you that I’ve just published a new pattern! And this time, just to change it up a little, it’s a crochet pattern!
Meet the Balai shawl, published in Knotions Magazine. This shawl is worked in Broomstick lace, which I learned from my husband’s grandmother. Now I am not a super-experienced crocheter, but that just means that the pattern is simple enough that anyone can do it. All it takes is a little practice. The shawl is worked by increasing every other row, so you can make it as big as you like. And, the pattern is written to work with virtually any yarn and hook (bulky, super bulky, and jumbo weight yarns are not suggested as they may not drape well). So what are you waiting for? Grab a hook, some yarn, and a dowel (Broomstick Lace requires a dowel or stick to hold your stitches open across the row…kind of like a giant knitting needle), and get started!
For more information on Broomstick Lace and a free bracelet pattern, read this post.
Do you remember when you were a kid and life seemed to go by so slowly? A single day lasted forever, let alone the length of time until it was until Christmas or your birthday. Lately life seems to be going so, so fast and just speeding up every minute. I’ve been in desperate need of something to slow me down. Crafting does just that.
I started spinning some superwash BFL quite a while ago – long enough that I forgot about it. I never thought I would be the kind of person who would forget about a project. I finished spinning the singles, and decided this yarn needed some beads.
It turns out that if you add scads of beads to a yarn, it takes a lot of effort to slide them all down the yarn as you ply. The tension and abrasion from this broke my single, so I took most of the beads off, and I’m periodically adding more to the yarn in more manageable amounts. Won’t the finished yarn be gorgeous, though? I’m thinking of using it for a shawl.
I have shawls on the brain right now, and beads, it would seem. I’m reading through the Knitter’s Almanac again, and have come to the conclusion that I desperately need a Pi Shawl. A little search through the stash, and I came up with my Rumpelstiltskin yarn that I finished last year. I love this yarn so much. It’s recycled sari silk with beads every few inches. The drape of this yarn is incredible! Every time I see it I can’t help but think of a pile of treasure!
So that’s me, slowing down. I have a kitchen to clean and laundry to do, but yarn is just so much more interesting!
My husband commented the other day that we had run out of washcloths. *Gasp* how could this be? I immediately cast on for a washcloth with the half-ball of Peaches and Creme that I had in my stash and ran to the store for more.
Then I commenced washcloth knitting hard-core. Ok, hardcore may be a bit of a stretch, but I had a goal to prevent the Washpocalypse!
The first washcloth was the simplest garter stitch square. Cast on 50 stitches, knit 50 garter ridges (100 rows) bind off. Pure zen.
I like a generous washcloth, but this one was a little too big. The next one was log cabin, and I aimed for a 40 stitch/row square.
This was oh so satisfying! I really wasn’t sure about the log cabin pattern until I picked up the 4th log, and then I truly began to love it. I see more of these in my future.
The 3rd washcloth is the Ballband Dishcloth from the first Mason Dixon Knitting book. I’ve been meaning to knit this for quite a long time. It was such a fun knit! I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! Stripes, with slipped stitches. Instant colourwork!
I think I’ve begun to amend the problem (it turns out doing the laundry also helps with the washcloth situation), so I think I’ll take washcloths off the “must make now” list for the time being. But I still have a few balls of dishcloth cotton in my stash. You know, just in case.
What is your favourite washcloth pattern/recipe?
I don’t want to alarm you, but it is February now and Valentines Day is creeping up on us. There are a lot of people who don’t like Valentine’s Day because they think we should express our love every day and not just on a Holiday. I completely agree. We should express our love to the people that matter to us every day. But why not take a holiday that’s focused on love and use that as an excuse to do something extra special? Go out to dinner. See a movie or a show. Do something nicer than you normally would. Every relationship needs those times when you do more than usual.
Now, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t bring yarn into this discussion (that is why you read my blog…right?). Hunter Hammersen recently released a pattern for the most adorable heart stuffy. The genius of her design is that you can use any yarn and needles you like. If you haven’t made a heart yet, stop what you are doing, get the pattern, and knit one right now! They only take a few hours to knit, and they are so sweet! And the pattern is 10% off with the code SMITTEN through February 14th. Hunter is running a knit along right now, and it is so wonderful to see all sorts of hearts popping up, and especially to see all the people making multiple hearts.
My heart was a great stashbuster. I used aran weight yarn, so it turned out quite large. The cream background yarn was the cable plied BFL from this month’s breed study. The pink is a sample of Miss Babs, and the purple was a handspun sport weight yarn held doubled. I used all the pink up, and had only a few yards left over of my handspun yarns, so I used them to stuff the heart along with some poly-fill and a lavender sachet.
What is your favourite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
My husband was looking for a washcloth the other day. Apparently he was having trouble finding one, because he told me we need more (We used to have piles and piles of washcloths. I don’t know what happened to them…). Instantly I went into knitter mode. Must. Find. the Cotton. Yarn!!
It turns out I had precisely 1 ball of washcloth cotton, and it was only a partial. What a pity. I just had to go buy more yarn. That really broke my heart.
I am really loving the simplicity of garter stitch right now. I have so many plans and projects and thoughts in my head that I need to just slow down and knit one stitch after another. Since I have lots of colours now, maybe I will join the Fringe Association LogAlong bandwagon. Everyone keeps saying how fun and addicting log cabin is. And I do need washcloths….