My love for Rowanspun Aran…

December 30, 2010

A year or so ago, I acquired a small lot of 6 skeins of Rowanspun Aran in a dark blue color. It was initially going to become a Garter Yoke Cardigan, but after I increased way too much on the raglan and I had to ripout I decided to put the yarn aside for something else. It was one of those moments of realization that while you love the yarn and love the pattern, it wasn’t coming together right. I’m trying to listen to those realizations when they happen, instead of ignoring them until the project is almost finished, or finished, and all I have is regret and the need to rip.

Rowanspun Aran

Along came Idlewood, and I knew that would be the right pairing of pattern and yarn. I cast on shortly after Rhinebeck and finished before Thankgiving. A quick knit that when bound off filled me with the realization that yes, this was perfect and I would be wearing this sweater all the time.

another shot of my finished idlewood

I have been. I wear it at least once a week. It’s the perfect layering sweater for the cold we’ve been having, and the yarn is so crunchy yet soft. Rowanspun Aran has won my heart over. It really sucks that it’s discontinued and only a few people are destashing it on Ravelry but not in quantities or colors I really want. The texture of the yarn reminds me of Manos Classica in it’s subtle thick-thin and the fabric it knits into is gorgeous. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it. In fact, I really need to wash and re-block it today so I can continue to wear it ad nauseum. I really need to knit another one of these sweater, with a little longer of sleeves. Perhaps elbow length or even 3/4 length? But what yarn to use?!

Details:
Pattern: Idlewood by Cecily Glowik Macdonald
Size: 40 but at a smaller gauge
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, colorway 965, used ~4.5 skeins
Needles: US 9 | 5.5mm
Mods: My gauge is a tad tighter, so I am knitting up a size and fitting it to me as I knit. I used size 9s for both the cowl and the body since the fabric was fine enough, and drapey enough. And I didn’t notice that I was supposed to use a larger needle for the cowl. Heh. I didn’t follow the directions for the increases, as I am not very curvy. I did 2 sets of increases spaced accordingly, since I tried on the sweater to place them. I added 2 inches to the length of the body, since I am a long person and the length in the pattern didn’t hit where I wanted it to in order to get more of a tunic silhouette.

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I also used the left over half skein to knit a winter hat for my dear brother. He doesn’t usually wear winter hats but has been this past season since upstate NY has been mighty chilly. Poor thing is wearing the hat I made him years ago when I started picking up knitting again and I know that hat is too small. I’m sending off this warm treat to him soon to keep that smart brain warm.

Rowanspun hat for my dear brother

Details:
Pattern: Kim’s Hat by Kim Hamlin
Size: Largest (my brother is 6’3”. That’s a big human.)
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, colorway 965, ~.6 of a skein (~160yds)
Needles: US 8 | 5.0 mm
Mods: ribbed brim is 2 inches long and the body of the hat had added length too. Wanted to make sure he could fold over the brim and keep most of his ears warm still.

OH…AND…both of these projects came totally from stash so they count for my Stashdown project! How exciting!

FO 2010 | Ulmus Shawl

September 28, 2010

Well, this shawl is simply fantastic. Why it took me so long to finish it is beyond me.

FO 2010 | Ulmus

According to my project page on Ravelry, I started this little number in May 2009 when the pattern was released. I was immediately enamored with it, since stripes are kind of a passion of mine and this would give me a chance to utilize 2 skeins of sock yarn from stash to make something so cute.

Ulmus

I went with a skein of Madelintosh Sock in Norway Spruce (oh look. teal. what a surprise) and a skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in Obsidian (I do love brown), with plans to knit to largest size. And I cast on and knit knit knit for a little while. And then I put it down to start something else, with all intentions of returning to Ulmus shortly…

YIP 2009 | 6.26.09

…and then all of a sudden it’s 2010. I put this project on my stash down list because I really wanted to get it finished and around my neck. That plan proved successful because now it is finished, in all its choqua glory.

I ran out of the Norway Spruce yarn at the end of the border, so I had to omit 2 rows and bind off with some Louet Gems in teal. See? Having a lot of teal yarn really does pay off, eh?

FO 2010 | Ulmus

Details:
Size: Largest in pattern
Needle: US 6 – 4.0 mm
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight (Colorway: obsidian)
Madelinetosh Tosh Sock (Colorway: norway spruce)
Louet Gems (Colorway: teal)
Mods: Omitted last 2 rows before the bind off

Fall is slowly rolling in. Since summer is my least favorite season (I belong in cold weather), I am so pleased that the days are still warm but in a different way. There’s something about 85 degree heat in September that feels drastically different from 85 degree heat in July or August. Maybe it’s the cool nights. Maybe it’s the lack of the humidity. Regardless, nothing but smiles over here.

As the temperatures drop to more humane standards, I find myself continuing to wrap my arms around my possessions and my relationship with material items. As all you crafters can understand, this naturally leads to thoughts of how to manage the yarn and fabric and other crafty detritus acquired over many years of making things with your hands. Sometimes I have fleeting thoughts of dumping everything and starting from scratch, stash-wise, but then I remember how much I love the yarn and fabric I’ve lovingly picked out and purchased and how I want to be able to use it and love it as a garment or quilt. I had many crafty goals in January 2010, but sadly those are long forgotten. I still have piles of things half knit and half sewn. Many projects stalled out mid-way. And enough yarn and fabric for many more. Thus enters the 6 month Stashdown.

Starting September 6, 2010 and ending around April 6, 2010*, I have a list of projects I want to knit out of the yarn I currently have in my cupboard. The list is not really prioritized or to be followed in any real order, other than to try to accomplish the whole thing by early Spring 2011. There are some gifts, some socks, some scarves, some WIPs, and many things I’ve been wanting to have for myself. So here it goes, friends. Wish me luck! If you want to check in and see what the list is or the progress made on it, you can check out my ravelry page for finished items and items in progress or my blog page which houses the whole list.

If you find yourself embarking on a stash-down goal of your own, tell me about it in the comments or leave a link to your blog so I can cheer you along as well!

And there are some other non-crafty items to share with you, from this past summer. To whet your appetite, here’s a lovely sunset from a recent trip to Vermont. More to come soon.

Sunset driving

*Depending on how this plan goes, I may want to extend the deadline and add more projects to the list.

I recently completed my second Shetland Triangle, so felt it was about time to blog about both. What can be said about this pattern that hasn’t been said already? Ravelry boasts a total of 3169 projects, and counting, and I already know I’ll be making at least one more. Let’s get on to the details!

Shetland Triangle One

Ready to be blocked

I had initially purchased 3 skeins of Socks that Rock heavyweight in Grawk (one of those awesome Raven colorways) for a February Lady Sweater for myself. Since that time, many moons ago, my plans for the yarn changed. I destashed one skein and then in a fit of unable-to-get-rid-of-you-cause-you-are-so-pretty, I cast on for the Shetland Triangle with the other two.

353/365.2 | can't get enough

Socks that Rock heavyweight is more of a sport-weight yarn, so I knit this up on US 7 / 4.5mm needles. Heeding the advice from a fellow knitter, I made sure to leave enough yarn for the edging, since the cast off takes up a fair amount of yarn. From start to finish, this took 11 days and I got 13 repeats done before the edge chart.

Shetland Triange

I wet blocked but not aggressively enough. After a couple of hours off the pins, being completely dry, it started to pucker up again. Do you think it has to do with the yarn or does it need a more vigorous blocking? Any tips are greatly appreciated!

I made no modifications and absolutely adore this knitted triangle. Once it was finished, it became my go-to neck warmer during the end of the long winter in Philadelphia and it has become my throw-in-my-bag scarf this summer in case air conditioning is particularly frosty in some establishments.

Sadly, I haven’t gotten a good FO picture of it yet, but I blame that on the shoddy blocking. There is nothing but love for this little knit!

361/365.2 | forty-five degrees

Details
US 7 – 4.5 mm
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Heavyweight (1.8 skeins = 630.0 yards)
Colorway: grawk
Ravelry Project Page

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Shetland Triangle Two

I’ve been quite enamored with the Swan’s Island Fingering that Rosie’s Yarn Cellar has been stocking for a little while now. I dream of one day knitting a cardigan from this lightweight yarn, but know that will never happen due to the expense and also in preservation of my sanity. Instead, I purchased one skein of this whopping put-up (580yds | 530meters) in the Indigo colorway, with plans of making a gift Shetland Triangle.

I knit this one on US 5 / 3.75mm but probably should have used one size bigger. The fabric is lovely, not too dense and not too loose, but I was hoping to get a larger shawl out of this. More of a scarf-size, I’m still pleased with the outcome. I think I got 14 or 15 repeats before the edging, but truthfully I forgot to write down the number before gifting it.

Shetland Triangle #2

Gifted to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Laura, for her June birthday, it was received happily. My mom wants one too, since this is the perfect blue and the perfect pattern for what my mom invisions for herself in terms of a classy, yet casual, shawl to throw on when the temperatures dip. I need Rosie’s to get 2 more skeins of this Indigo, and then I’m going to town on a third, but this time with over 1000yds of amazing yarn.

Shetland Triangle #2

Details
US 5 | 3.5mm
Swan’s Island Certified Organic Fingering Merino (1 skein = 580 yds)
Colorway: Indigo
Ravelry Project Page

I’m playing catch up on some early 2010 finished items, since I’m currently in the throws of knitting some super-awesome-super-secret projects for future consumption. Sure I have a lot of things in progress I can show you, but I’d rather clean the slate of lingering un-blogged finished things before we get to that.

The first thing I did in 2010, as you may recall, is make some crafty goals for myself, one of which being to finished anything lingering as a work-in-progress, and the other big one being to knit down and donate down my stash.

Well, within the first month of the year I finished a long lingering almost finished sweater. The infamous Drops cardigan.

blocking

I started this sweater in October of 2008, with hopes of it being a quick knit to become a staple for cold weather that year. Well, yes. It is a quick knit if you don’t do what I do and get antsy to cast on once you get so close to the end.

In December 2009, I picked it up and saw that I had it completely finished except for the ends of both sleeves, a collar, and seaming/blocking. Wow. How silly of me to leave it in this state for so long.

blocking

So, I finished it up and took it for a wet block. Wow. That Drops Eskimo really takes a long time to dry! Using some gray Cascade 220, I seamed this puppy up and put it on…

348/365.2 | a sea of shades

…and am not all that jazzed on it. I think it’s mostly due to me being a bit heavier than when I picked the size to knit. Luckily, since January I’ve lost some more of that finishing-grad-school-thesis-writing weight and think that this winter the sweater will be a bit more flattering.

A close up of the buttons, in case you were admiring them –
69 | 365 : Green and gray

I have often thought of reknitting this sweater, but in a worsted weight and as a top-down raglan, a la the modifications found on Canary Knits. I think her style of the sweater is much more suited to my personal wardrobe style. Regardless, having this Eskimo yarn sweater really does come in handy when the temps drop in Philadelphia and in our very lowly heated house (for environmental reasons).

setting up the camera

The Details:
Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Really? You don’t know? It’s the 103-1 Drops Cardigan. Everyone has made one, it seems.
Needles: US 11 | 8mm
Yarn: Garnstudio Drops Eskimo in Gray (the called for yarn in the bulky version of the sweater) – 10 skeins used. Used a smidge of gray Cascade 220 for seaming
Buttons: Awesomeness from Rosie’s Yarn Cellar
Mods: Only thing was the collar. I picked up stitches and knit it on, prior to blocking the pieces. Since I had seamed the fronts to the back (only the shoulders) before blocking, this wasn’t too difficult. I also made the collar a bit shorter and asymmetrical in the front.

I recently self-published my first design. Inspired by the Socks Revived Contest that Elinor was holding, I got the bug in my brain to design and write a pattern that Kasy would like.

When asked what kind of socks Kasy would like me to design for him, he replied with cables and knee high. Well, I got the cables down, but knee high will have to wait for another design.

Angler's Loop Socks

Knit with 2 skeins of The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, these socks are pretty awesome…if I do say so myself. Kasy is a fan of all things wool, as anyone really should be, but I thought it would be nice to knit a pair of socks for him in a yarn blend that was a bit fancier than a pure wool. The Canopy Fingering is such a treat to work with, and he is very pleased with the feel of the fabric it makes. I’m guessing that these socks will keep his toes warm on his long bicycle commute (22 mi round trip, 5 days a week) come winter time.

Angler's Loop Socks

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The Angler’s Loop is a sailor knot that forms a fixed loop. Inspired by my partner, Kasy, a man who loves a good cabled sock and a good solid boat, the Angler’s Loop Socks are inspired by the long tradition of sailor knots…and Kasy’s stories of life on a boat. 2X2 ribbing moves seamlessly into this knot cable panel along the back of the sock, giving enough ease in the leg to allow for taller socks with less need for numerous calf increases. An asymmetrical ribbed panel runs the length of the front, creating a space for additional cables or not, as the knitter sees fit.

While every effort has been made to write clear directions to knitting these socks, if you have never turned a
heel and are completely new to socks it might help to read a bit about sock construction and gussets before
casting on. Recommendations are found at the end of the pattern.

Gauge is 9 spi and the pattern is written for a small size (7.5” circumf.) and a large size (8.5” circumf.) and is a free pdf.

Pattern pdf found here
Or queue it on Ravelry

Quick hello!

April 13, 2010

Loving the possibility of the future

Just popping in to say a quick Hi! to you all! Things are a whirlwind of crazy over here as I finish one job and move on to a new one, in the environmental sector. I’ve been so busy finishing up oldjob tasks and learning about newjob projects, but that hasn’t stopped me from finishing some projects and starting some new ones. As always, a more current update on knitting and crochet are on ravelry, but here are a couple shots of 2 things that are currently being knit and crochet for sanity sake during all my life changes.

swatching
A top-down raglan cardigan, striping Cascade 220 in gray with Madelinetosh DK (new name for her worsted weight wool) from the Magnolia Society a few years back (colorway is Carmine, I believe). I just split off the arms from the body this morning.

Hexagon Blanket, part deux
Coming to terms with the fact that my tiny hexagon scrap blanket would take eternity to finish, I finished it off at the size it was (more of a throw rug…which is what it will be used for in my studio space) and started a different kind of hexagon blanket. This time using Nova’s Ruby Hexagon Blanket pattern, a palette of blues/greens/browns from the worsted scraps, and edging in a light gray Cascade 220 (not pictured).

So for now, I am keeping busy, busy, busy, counting down to April 21st and looking forward to the unknown future and where it takes me. I’ll be back in a week or so with some FO news. Until then, more knitting, crocheting, workworkwork, working on decluttering the house and continuing momentum on renovating our lovely home, and hanging out with Lolly when she is in Philly!

You know what, friends? Life is pretty great.