Tag Archives: Twisted

Still Winter….

…despite Daylight Savings Time starting this morning.  (Ack.)  Well, a little more time to wear my newly completed handknits, right?

My Big Herringbone Cowl, made out of dreamily soft and lustrous single ply 50% silk/50% merino Catnip yarn from Twisted Fiber Art, in the Intriguing colorway (sorry, a club colorway), dyed Evolution-style.

This cowl is a long circular loop that can be worn like a long scarf that can’t slip off, or can be worn doubled around the neck as above.  It took a while to make, but was fairly straightforward once the stitch was mastered. (Though a warning:  If there is a way to drop a stitch down and fix, I can’t figure it out. I had to painstakingly and carefully undo the pattern stitch one at a time, which was not necessarily easy, to undo any mistakes.  There are a couple wonky stitches in there which remain, to teach me humility.)

At the link above to the pattern is a great photo tutorial about how to do the Herringbone Stitch in the round.  This stitch (also found in Barbara Walker’s Stitch Treasury volume 2, I believe) works up very densely, so that it needs to be done on large needles to have drape.  For this worsted weight yarn, I used US size 17 needles (12.75 mm), just as called for in the pattern!  And the fabric is perfect, to my way of thinking; drapey, but with a bit of structure, as you can see, I think.

The needles were a bit of a challenge. My Addi Turbos seemed so dull for the maneuvering called for in the pattern stitch, especially with slippery silk being knit on huge needles.  So I dug out a Susan Bates circular needle, bought some time ago and never used.

The tips were hollow plastic (light-weight is good, with huge needles!) and nicely pointy and smooth.  But the cable! (The part between the tips.)  Initially SO curly! A double curl, and stiff!  I foresaw fighting the memory in the cable the whole project.

However, I bethought myself of a trick I’d read about and never really had to use (being spoiled by Addis and KnitPicks cables, which are more flexible).  I boiled some water and carefully dipped just the cable part into the very hot water.

The cable went limp just like cooked spaghetti.  MAGIC!

I dangled it straight while it cooled, and the needles and their cable behaved themselves for the rest of the project.  Amazing.  Wonderful!

Other notes about this project: the Herringbone stitch has horizontal elements of what look almost like stockinette columns turned sideways on the ‘wrong’ side, as seen on the ‘on the needles’ photo just above. The wrong side thus also looks good, which is definitely hugely desirable in a scarf/cowl like this.  This is especially beneficial because the cowl does tend to curl.  Granted, I didn’t take the time to block it….but being essentially stockinette based (the pattern stitch is based on knit 2 together or knit 2 together through the back loop, on every row), it will curl up at the top and bottom edge a bit no matter what,, I believe, even with blocking.

Another note: the instructions say to cast off in pattern.  I found that when I did this on the project needles, the bind off was outrageously loose, floppy and sloppy.  So I switched to the approximate size needles (US size 8s, 5 mm) that the yarn would normally be knit on, for the bind off, with good results visually.

Still wants to roll, though.  The roll looks fine, so I let it.   It flips like a little turtleneck.

So:

an amazing yarn and dyeing tour de force (as always from Meg of Twisted Fiber Art), a cool and unique stitch pattern which works well with the color-changing Evolution colorway, and a great pattern combine to create a practical yet pretty winter accessory that goes with my winter-pale skin and my black winter coat.  What’s not to love?

That certainly seems to be the RockStar’s opinion too.  She asked if she could borrow this a week ago. I haven’t seen it since….

Winter Weather, Fall Shawl, Dreaming of Spring

Though it’s snowing again, and though spring by the calendar will be here in less than a month(HA!), I recently finished a small shawl that evokes autumn.  Majorly.

I haven’t showed you this shawl yet.  I’ve knit it in stolen time here and there.  It’s a quick knit, but I waited until after the holidays to start it, and have been knitting the Peace and Love mittens and other projects also.

The backstory is that I received some amazing yarn from Meg at Twisted Fiber Art as the last shipment in the fall Survey Club.  It was a completely luscious merino/cashmere/nylon (MCN) blend in a worsted weight, dyed in a club colorway called Maple that sang to me.

Madrona shawl in the snow

The colorway starts out with fresh leafy green, shades through rich golds and deep oranges, then through all shades of reds to end with an almost-black. Fittingly, it’s called “Maple”.

I found out later that the colorway was inspired by some color comments I made on the club survey. No wonder I love this colorway SO much!

I pondered the perfect project. The yardage wasn’t enough for many shawl projects. But I didn’t want to make a scarf. And it was generous for a typical cowl.

Ravelry
to the rescue!

On Ravelry, I could search by yardage and yarn weight and project type, among other parameters. I narrowed down hundreds of patterns to one: a lovely little shawl by Orianna Eklund called the Madrona Shawl (Ravelry link; the pattern is only available on Ravelry). The weight and yardage were close to what I needed, anyway.

I ended up modifying the pattern slightly by extending the second leaf lace section by a half repeat, to make sure I used all my yarn, given the gorgeous color changes (I wouldn’t want to miss out on any of the amazing dark red!). To good effect. Here is the final result!

Maple Madrona Shawl

It’s lovely, hanging, laying out, with the sun shining through it, any way you look at it.

Maple Madrona Shawl full view

Maple Madrona, sun shining through

Maple Madrona Shawl in the corner

And it feels AMAZING on. Mmm, MCN.

Maple Madrona Modeled

It may be autumnal in color, but I think I’ll be wearing this well into the spring!

Four Shawls and Two Socks

It’s a gorgeous weekend here, at least for early November (we could have had snow by now), and I may need to go out for a walk in a bit.  Today looks like yesterday did

maybe a little cloudier, though warmer.

But I thought I’d first show you that I have been knitting, during my blog quietness (this being due mostly to work, and a bit of travel).

This isn’t everything by any means, of course!

But: currently I am on a shawl kick, having begun the lovely 22 Leaves Shawlette (Ravelry link) for an acquaintance who recently lost her mother:

(who said prayer shawls have to be boring knitting? By the way, the yarn is Sanguine Gryphon’s Skinny Bugga! in Cowkiller colorway (it’s an insect…).)

and also a shawl of my own design with my usual addiction, Twisted yarn.

The yarn is Arial yarn base (a fine superwash merino 2-ply) in Angst Evolution colorway, with coordinating yarns Drama (blue) and Mope (brown) (the original colorway was named by a preteen….).  I will continue the 2-row stripes for a while more until I run out of the slow color-change yarn  — seen better here:

and then I will add a knitted-on edging in blue.

Finished shawls since I last showed you knitting, are two shawls that went off to new owners:

The first, a special birthday present for a friend celebrating a special birthday: someone who likes warm colors but also wears a lot of black.

(this is me, not Kathe, but I did see her wearing it, and looking stunning!)

This is a modified version of the Annis shawl from knitty.  I modified for the yarn weight and yardage I had, and also left out the nupps (not because of anti-nupp prejudice, but because the nupps would have changed the rate of color change on those rows, which I did not want).  The yarn is Twisted Kabam! in the Ember colorway, one of my favorites.

Overall view:

Lastly, a shawl for a friend going through even more of a life-changing and stressful time than a ‘special’ birthday: yes, more of my Twisted yarn (it is my special yarn for special people.  Including myself, I guess.)  For Lisa, the Tsarina of Tsocks:

A soft hug shawl in merino-silk Muse, in Lagoon colorway: also one of my very favorites.

Here in close-up, and here on the recipient, who graciously took modeled pictures (since I had none) and let me use them.

This is modified slightly from the very cool Bermuda Scarf pattern by Ilga Leja.  It is suitable for any yarn weight; for my vision of this yarn (hills rather than waves), I took out the scalloped edges of the original and free-formed a bit.  (But you should see it in a self-striping or faster color-change yarn, too, in the original form; follow the link to check it out.)

I got to see both Lisa and Kathe, plus another knitting friend, Nancy, during a recent trip to New York City!

Here, my photo from the plane on approach, showing you the gorgeous pre-hurricane weather we had.

Would you believe that I’d never been?  At least, I’d never gotten to stay there: I’d only been through the city on my way elsewhere (and stopped at Kathe’s place for a couple hours once en route).  I had a big meeting there in early September, and delightfully enough, my husband could join me for a couple days around his birthday, and Kathe and her husband put us up the day after my meeting ended.

Before that, I got to walk around Manhattan with Kathe, and eat sushi with my knitterly friends.

(I didn’t ask K about putting her on the blog, so I shall restrain myself from posting her picture…especially the post-sake pictures.  Which I instigated, truth be told.)

Lisa gave me some gorgeous handspun to play with, and I promptly started….a shawl.

(Ooops, the title should be five shawls, I guess!  I barely started this one, though, which is Anjou, and then goofed up on the plane so put it aside.  It’s beauteous, though: the fiber is Spunky Eclectic merino/silk, in the Rhubarb colorway.  (But as dyed on the silk and spun up by Lisa, it reminds me of apple blossoms.)

I could tell you oh, so much more about my wonderful trip to New York, but that would be several posts in itself, so I will stop and finish up with one more FO.

I knit on this in New York, as I have been off and on since this spring….and finally subsequently finished socks for my mother, in another Twisted colorway, Vintage (also in Kabam!, a great sock yarn, being a superwash merino/bamboo/nylon blend).

Pattern is Circle Socks (Ravelry link), a free pattern by Anne Campbell.  These are very fun, and a great pattern for self-striping yarn!

Proof of two socks.  No Second Sock Syndrome this time.

(Not entirely coincidentally, Anne is a talented knitter closely related to the talented dyer of the sock yarn!  As in, her mother.  The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree!)

Whew!  I am sure that’s not all I’ve knit since I last posted knitting, but it’s what comes to mind.  Enough for one post, anyway!

Luscious Lace Yarn Eye Candy Friday

Not my usual Eye Candy, but I think knitters and others may appreciate it.

This incredibly dreamy yarn, which arrived a week ago in the mail, has been intermittently seducing me away from some of my other projects:

Yes, surprise, it’s Twisted: a newer dyeing ‘invention’ of Meg’s called Evolutions, which is a very gradual color shift from beginning to end of one skein.  I’ve been trying for another Evolution skein (besides the Buxom that came with the Big Needle Club) for a couple updates now, and got lucky this time.  This is in the Lagoon colorway, which is fairly new (and which I love), and in the Kabam! base, a smooth, soft, lustrous merino/bamboo/nylon fingering weight yarn.  I’ve knit Kabam for socks and baby garments, but never for lace, and wow, is it wonderful in how it catches the light!  Especially in the Fir Cone stitch pattern used in the Shetland Triangle Shawl (Ravelry link, or here’s Wendy’s) (from the book, “Wrap Style“. 

Which is exactly what this is.

Though the sinuous swells here, especially in this colorway, remind me of shells or ripples rather than cones.  Along with the colorway being called Lagoon, that’s why I’m calling this my Shetland Seas Shawl (at least for now).

I deliberately chose to knit this lace at not too overly airy a gauge, because I wanted the emphasis to be on the stockinette swirls rather than the ‘holes’; and also because, with the nature of the yarn, I’ll be knitting to the end of the skein, thus a fair number more repeats than the original pattern called for, I’m sure — so wanted a shawl that was not gigantor.  One can always block a bit  (or a fair amount) bigger, but not smaller!  I was astounded at how easy this particular lace pattern is to knit; it’s almost (but not completely) mindless knitting (which is one reason it’s getting knit on; my two projects requiring chart knitting are languishing, because that kind of protected, mindful knitting time just hasn’t happened for, um, months….) Normally, then, I would have been a little bored by now, with the simple repetitive stitch pattern, given that I’m knitting it bigger than written (I’d be two rows away from the edging if I were knitting it as written).  But the very gradual color change is keeping me quite engaged knitting, just to see it continue to progress! Right now, I’ve progressed from the original pale muted green to a rich medium green which is just starting to darken further.

Tomorrow, plans are for a road trip with knitting friends to a city I haven’t visited since I was 18, and a yarn shop that I’ve never been to!  Driving time should be shared, so I expect to make some progress.  I wonder if I could be starting to knit blue waves soon?

Coronation

I finished Coronet a couple days after the Inauguration:

and it was just too big.  Too tall.  (Not too wide,  I had sized the braided brim to my big ol’ head before finishing it.)  My fault, not the pattern’s.

So I partially frogged and re-completed it today.

I have still to block it (and weave in the last two ends) but had to take pictures while I and the sun and the camera were all in the same plane of existence.

Here it is with its coordinating Moebius scarf.

coronet-and-moebius-togethe

Notice they don’t ‘match’; though the yarn is exactly the same for the main body of the hat and the scarf (with a coordinating colorway for the braid of the hat and the I-cord trim of the scarf), the different number of stitches in each row, and different stitch patterns, give a very different visual ‘read’ to the colorway, which is “Minstrel” by Meg at Twisted Fiber Art.  (Yarn base Duchess [Slow Repeat], DK weight superwash merino.)

But I’m happy with it (now!)

Here I am, admiring an out-of-frame contrail so you can see the back of the hat, as well as the lack of blocking (soon to be remedied).

coronet-looks-at-contrail-o

And freezing my buns, but you can’t see that either.

A semi-side view:

coronet-backview

And a detail shot, so I can blow my own horn a little.

Though the weaving got a touch funky right on the edges where I had been slipping stitches and couldn’t quite weave the same way, I still am very proud of the grafting I did on the cable.

coronet-braid-grafting

You can tell by the edges where I grafted, but it would be fairly hard to tell by the cable alone, I flatter myself.  (It did take me a little quiet time with a good light, I must admit.  No TV watching during that part!)

I did modify the pattern slightly, as the yarn I used is DK weight rather than worsted/aran, so I knit 21 cable repeats, which was more than the original pattern.  (I fitted it to my head before grafting.)  I also chose not to pick up stitches on the wrong side/bottom of the brim to make a double thickness, which is what the pattern calls for, as I thought it was bulky enough already (I added in an extra purl stitch or two on each side of the braid, to balance the hat better, but it really just closed the braid/edge stitches up closer together due to stockinette curl; so it was already fairly thick).  If I knit it in the weight called for, I would follow the pattern, I believe.

All in all, I’m happy with my commemorative hat!  Warm, elegant, hand-dyed; just my style.  And particularly special.

X is for Xavier

This is the last day of X-posting (no, not cross-posting): we are to the challenging letter X in the ABC-Along.

Who is Xavier?

Well, other than being the surname of a Jesuit priest and Catholic saint (if you ever meet anyone with the initials F.X., it’s a pretty good bet the initials stand for Francis Xavier and he was baptized a good Catholic boy):

THIS is Xavier.

xavier-solo

See, here’s his nametag, below.

xavier-and-blue-house

Xavier is representing a certain portion of my yarn stash, and an addiction of mine.  To Twisted Fiber Art, being the creation of Meg, a dyer with mad math and dyeing skills as well as an eye for color, which allow her to hand-craft some of the most gorgeous self-striping yarn anywhere.

Although you can see the beautiful saturated colors above and below, and how they pick up the blues of the sky (and the house across the street) and the golden browns of the fall vegetation (right before the snow started the next day):

you have to see it knit up to really appreciate it.  I have not used my Xavier yet, but you can see a preview on the store site here.

xavier-looking-south

Why do I love Twisted yarn so much?  The wonderful yarn bases are important, in fact, essential; but it’s the amazing gradations and blends and combinations of colors that have me hooked.

Here’s a mini-gallery of Twisted projects I’ve put on the blog in the past:

moebius-warms-my-ears sweet-baby-cap-head-on pioneer-braid-scarf-cropped braider-baby-hat flower-in-the-floozy-hat hat-on-a-railing tonks-posing meeting-sock-natural-light beaded-necklace-2 saartjes-booties-with-scorched-kabam1 walking-socks bacterium-on-the-front-steps orbit-scarf

(Click on any you’d like to see bigger.)

And that’s just since May!

The amazing color changes are simultaneously limiting and inspiring in designing, or in incorporating the self-striping yarn into existing patterns.  Any significant lacework or pattern stitches will tend to be lost in the colors.  (Which is a lot of wasted effort and shows off neither the pattern nor the yarn to best advantage.)  The color-change yarn absolutely sings in stockinette, just a little less so in garter stitch, and can be shown to advantage with simple or slip stitch patterns.  Also, the number of stitches it’s made on makes a huge difference to the final look of the stripes.  (See the difference between the Scorched booties above, and the baby hat in exactly the same yarn, the orange/brown/green/yellow colorway.)  So, it’s rather like writing a poem in a very constricted style.  (Think haiku; or a long poem with multiple verses in the haiku form.)  The constriction of technique can be very inspiring.

Plus, it’s always nice to have a simple stockinette sock (for example) on the needles, for travel, walking, meetings, etc.; the color changes make it more interesting.  (I seem to have trouble keeping it simple stockinette, see the last two socks above, but that’s another issue.)

Fortunately, however, I’m delighted to report that for those times when one wants to do more complicated patterns (much of the time, apparently, for me, despite my Twisted addiction),  Meg has (by popular request) started dyeing semi-solids.  They started out as coordinating heel and toe skeins (see the earth-tone sock above, which is knit in Netherfield Kabam; the cuff is in a coordinating yarn).  Now they’re available as whole skeins.  (I used this on my Minstrel Moebius I-cord bind-off.)  And in the most recent update, Meg dyed “Subtles” that were ‘stand-alones’ — not necessarily coordinating with another of her yarns.  Wow!  See this page for a sample (scroll down to the bottom); I just received my order, and among the loveliness was two skeins of Inevitable in Arial, a fine merino light fingering weight yarn which I am going to use, in this case, essentially as a heavy laceweight.

So many ideas!  So much beautiful yarn!  So little time!

No wonder I haven’t knit my Xavier yet!

Biker Monday and Weekend (Knitting) Update

Inspired by all the bikers around this weekend, as well as the perfect June day today, I got on MY bike (the non-motorized kind, however), and set forth on an adventure.

Weather permitting, I often ride my bike to work (or walk, when time permits, which allows bonus knitting), as I live just under two miles from where I work.

Except one half day a week, I work at an office in an adjoining small city. I rode my bike there only once before, which required travel along a highway; much of it has sidewalks, but part of it doesn’t. Also, there is a stretch in the (rather suburban) adjacent city with no sidewalks, around a shopping mall, which got a little crazy.

But they have constructed sidewalks since then. And today was gorgeous. 64 degrees F (18 C) in the morning, very little wind, high temperature supposed to be low 80s (28 C) in the afternoon. If I didn’t ride my bike now, when would I?

So 16 miles round trip, with a few significant hills; I have this sinking feeling I’m going to feel this tomorrow, and even more the day after. But it was beautiful. There was only a short stretch without sidewalks, and I cut behind the businesses there to stay off the highway, to find this:

with Great Egrets flapping back and forth. Wow. On the way back, I took an alternate route through the marsh (yes, the area where I apparently found a deer tick, or rather, it found me; but I promise you, I didn’t go in the bushes this time, and if I do in the future, I’ll ask for a tick check. I’m sure my husband will help!).

The marsh is doing its job of soaking up the excess water like a sponge, and releasing it slowly, so it looks less like a lake now:

though the water is still a bit high in places.

The trail, however,

was dry and smooth other than one low area that was shallowly water-covered.

The ride was such a refreshing mental interlude in the middle of the day (though it took almost an hour). I’m not sure my thighs would endorse the word “refreshing”, but hey, it’s good for them!

After all that, though, I felt totally justified (rightly or wrongly), in relaxing with my knitting tonight. (I cleaned a lot yesterday, not as much knitting time as I would have liked. But I have a couple vacation days coming up, so there will be knitting!) First in the backyard, with some buddies:

but the gnats were obnoxious in the shade, so I relocated to the front porch, in the relative sun.

That’s Wendy‘s Kay’s Diamonds & Purls shawl on my lap, though my knitting of it kept being interrupted by daughterly inquiries, needs and phone calls (the other adult member of the household was working). My wrist having recovered, I also cast on for Tonks Hypnosis sock #2; here’s a better picture of #1.

Blocking seems to have tamed the bulgy bits some, but if I were to knit these all over again, I would do an extra half repeat of the charts, so as to bring the ‘convergence’ parts in front & back of the ankle, rather than at the sides. The ‘divergent’ parts bulge outward due to the topology of knitting, and that creates a bulge right where the ankle flexes, which is not very attractive. Again, blocking helped, I think; I don’t usually block socks necessarily, especially my own, but I would definitely recommend it with these. Or one might modify the pattern to decrease the bulginess, but the pattern would be less cool and hypnotic.

In other knitting news, here’s the results of curling up with my pet orange yarn this weekend while the girls cuddled with their orange pets:

Baby hat for the coworker, for whose baby shower I made the modified Saartje’s booties

in the same yarn (Twisted Fiber Art’s Kabam! Bamboo/merino/nylon blend in the Scorched colorway).

The hat is my “Grow-with-Me” Baby Hat, on my free pattern page.

I was thinking about making the baby an Elizabeth Zimmermann Tomten jacket, but it was turning out rather big and taking too long, so I pulled from the other end of the ball and quick knit up the hat.

We’ll see when the Tomten gets done. (Now that’s good meeting knitting; loads of garter stitch.) Of course, one loses the full effect of the gorgeous striping in the Tomten, which I expected, but it’s interesting to me that I perceive the jacket as brown, but the hat as orange if I had to pick one color to describe each.

I also made progress on Forest Canopy, which is visible progress to me, in that I’m on the second skein of yarn! Woo-hoo! Now back to no visible progress!

And, lastly, the former meeting socks are coming along well, to the point that I have *almost* reknit all the frogged yarn. (Sigh.)

Natural (evening) light.

Flash.

(The truth, as usual, being somewhere in between.)

Wow, I guess I have been accomplishing something! It feels as though I’m knitting and knitting and nothing’s getting done. (The baby hat was satisfying to finish today.) There are so many things I want to cast on — like the next (few pairs of) socks for the Summer of Socks, and I’m designing a lace project or three in my head. And, and, and….

You know, if I WALKED to work at the other office, that would be a LOT of sock knitting!

(We’ll overlook the fact that it would take me two and a half hours to get from one office to the other, possibly longer if knitting, it does slow me down from my usual brisk pace . . . no, just let me live in my fantasy world a little longer. . . .)