Emerald Progress.

I’ve made it to my favorite part of a seamless raglan sweater – the giant row of doom!

Hello, bad-dye job.

 

Usually, I knit both sleeves first, so when I get to this point at the body, both sleeves are already ready to go. I don’t know why I veered away from that this time. I had worked about six inches of the body before I took a break and started the first sleeve. I finished it at the beach last week, and went back to the body. Now that the body and the first sleeve are attached… well, it’s sleeve #2 time.

 

I dyed this yarn myself – it’s Cascade Eco-Wool, which is nice because it has some massive yardage, so I was able to get through almost the entire body of the cardigan with one skein. One skein! I dyed four skeins of this yarn, and each one is a little different. Not too good for a sweater – and working from alternating skeins was too much of a pain in the ass for me.

 

(The pipecleaner is holding the underarm stitches of the sleeve)

 

In that picture, you can see the three different skeins – the sleeve is one, the bottom body is one, and the top body is one. I dyed this all at the same time, but since it was such a massive amount of yarn in a not large enough pot, they didn’t take the dye evenly.

 

The fourth skein? Like the one I used for the body, but a little darker and a little splotchier. Every skein is different. Every skein is a suprise.

 

I’ll have to see how it looks when I’m done, but I have the feeling I’ll be over-dying the entire sweater when I’m done. Eek.

 

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What else do you do… other than knit?

I quilt. I haven’t done it in what feels like years though (other than a few commissioned pillows along the way).

But I’ve been playing with fabric and layouts for what will be Lindsey & Ben’s wedding quilt/chuppah. It’s going to be 60″ x 60,” which I read is the traditional size for a chuppah. Five of these blocks with a 5″ border on each side. The block is called Lighthouse Stars, which is cute because they got engaged on the shore of a lighthouse. I found these vintage inspired fabrics called “Old Sturbridge Village” – which is the reproduction village down the road from where they are getting married. I took this fabric, the color purple (their wedding color is shades of purple), and the block and ran with it.

Dan and I played with a lot of different color combos last night, and this was the one that worked the best. I love the way switching the darker value with the lighter one makes the quilt almost… glow. I love how the more modern look of the batiks/hand-dyed update the more traditional border. The very thin beige border is the binding, and the backing will be a slightly lighter shade of the binding.

The backing is going to be plain because they’re going to use the quilt as their guestbook! After the ceremony, they’re going to lay it out and have everyone sign the back, which I think is super cool. After the wedding, they’ll hang it on their wall with quilt hangers, and whenever they want to see who came to their wedding, they can just peek under it!

Another activity I do, other than knit, is perform weddings. Well, it’s more like “wedding,” and will probably stay that way. As a joke a million years ago, when Ben & Lindsey first started dating, and Lindsey was already planning their wedding, I joked that I should marry them – that is, perform the ceremony. About two years ago, briefly before they got engaged, I told Lindsey I was really excited to be her maid of honor – and she said she was really excited that I was going to perform her wedding ceremony. So basically, it’s a private joke that I can no longer trace the origins of too well that we’re actually following through with.

I’m very excited (and not just because I get to wear a green dress while the bridal party is in purple!). I’ve started doing research, bought a few books, and am beginning to put the ceremony together. In Massachusetts, you can be designated to perform weddings for one day – so that’s what I’m doing!

PS: Lindsey recently starting blogging, and you should go visit her!

This is how I feel.

 

That blue blob of yarn is a big ball of Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton that I decided I wanted to roll into a ball from a hank on my commute Sunday morning. It got tangled and knotted (of course) and instead of taking the normal ten minutes it would have taken at home, it took my entire commute, along with a few minutes of down time at work.

 

And then I didn’t even end up using it as the contrasting color in the scarf I was knitting.

 

Sometimes, I feel like my life is like that big mess of tangled yarn. If I had somehow taken the easier road, it would have been no time at all to wind it into a ball at home. But I decided to make it complicated, and it took me ten times as long to take care of it.

 

It all boils down to the fact that August is my least favorite month, and I am honestly amazed that it is August 23, and I am just beginning to feel this way – usually, at midnight on August 1st, my spirit falls and I don’t feel normal again until I can smell fall in the air.

 

But, as this is a knitting blog, I will return later this week with my progress on Emerald (one sleeve down! almost down with the body before my favorite part of bottom up raglan knitting!), plans for Holiday Knitting (it is almost September, after all), and perhaps a peek into the other crafty endeavors that have recently popped up in my life.

 

For now, a three year old photo, taken at my favorite place on earth on a cold summer day (the perfect kind).  This was right before my senior year of college – I had just broken up with my long-time boyfriend for the third and final time, recently lost 40 pounds, went on a mini-roadtrip to my favorite restaurant with three of my favorite people in the world, and finished knitting a sweater at the beach.  It was a good day.

 

July 31, 2004. On the beach in Connecticut.

Summer Camp Care Package!

I’ve avoided signing up for the plethora of secret pal swaps that float around the knitting blog world for a few years – I did Secret Pal 2? 3? three years ago, and I got burned. I did have a Secret Pal Angel come in towards the end, but it always left a bad taste in my mouth.

I guess I must have been in a good mood the morning I came upon the Summer Camp Swap on Ravelry (sorry that it’s a Ravelry only link, imaginary blog readers), ’cause I got really excited and immediately signed up!

I sent out my package last weekish and had a lot of fun picking out the yarn, yarny items, and random yummy items to go in the package for my pal. And then I got mine today! It’s amazing! It’s green! It’s full of fibery goodness I love!

Where to start? From the bottom left corner, and working clockwise: Little notebook, Dream Swatch Pattern, Lime Blue Malabrigo (with green stitchmarkers on top), card, wool-wash, lovely BFL roving, J keychain, Wollmeise sock yarn in the most beautiful lime, and peach jelly rings. Not pictured: cheese straws living in the kitchen.

 

Vicky was my upstream and downstream pal (that means we sent each other packages), and I can proudly preclaim that she has restored my faith in these swaps. Thanks again!

I’m thinking the Wollmeise might turn into the Clementine Shawlette from the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. Or Elegant Gauntlets from the Purl Stitch!

Sometimes you need a little change of scenery.

Beach
Boat.

 

 

Beach
Dunes.

 

Dan's feet, my feet, sand.
Wet, sandy feet.

 

 

Ocean meets my feet
Ocean was too fast for me.

 

 

Emerald Sleeve in progress
Emerald sleeve in progress.

 

 

Emerald Beginnings, Queen Elizabeth, and Purple Veggies.

I went to Boston last weekend for my best friend’s engagement party. I got to visit with my favorite cat:

Q-Face is pretending not to see me.

Who was pretending not to know who I was.

There were cheese plates

Cheese plate!

 

And purple cauliflower

 

Purple Cauliflower

And I don’t have any pictures of the actual party because I’m a loser.  I was really nice to see friends I haven’t seen in months, as well as meet people who are in their bridal party.   It was a great weekend.

Hand-Dyed Cascade Eco Wool Swatch

This will be Emerald, from Winter 06 Knitty.  It’s a semi-chunky seamless raglan cardi with a short-rowed shawl collar and cable details at the raglan decreases.  I’ve changed the gauge – I’m using hand-dyed Cascade Eco Wool, and on got 4spi on US9s, and really liked the fabric – I didn’t want to aim for 3spi and go up any more needle sizes.  This difference in gauge meant I had to sit down with a calculator, my mediocre algebraic skills, and re-write most of the pattern.

I thought maybe I would just be able to knit the largest size, and the gauge difference would make it work out to the size I wanted to knit [1x].  No dice – way too small.

I’ve knit raglan sweaters before, I’ve read “Knitting Without Tears,” and I’ve knit raglans knit by Amy Swenson before, so I’m not worried about it, even though I got bored about 3/4 of the way of re-writing it and decided to play the rest by ear.

I’m loving the subtle color variations, the texture, and the fabric I’m creating.  I have four skeins of this yarn, which is a lot (Cascade Eco Wool is 440/yards per skein), but one of the skeins doesn’t match up with the others as well, since I dyed them myself.  I think I’m going to use that one for the collar (I used it for the gauge swatch).  If when I’m finished, I’m not happy with the color, I’ll probably just over-dye the whole sweater, as I was originally trying to get a much darker green, and the current mottled look is just a happy mistake.

 

Love the fabric. I’m about nine inches into the body (knit in one piece!), and decided to start a sleeve ’cause it’s more portable.  I’m going to finish it with more than one button, though I just saw the designer’s second version of the sweater on Flickr, with no short row shaping and no buttons, and really like that too.  Hmm.  Which one should I go for?

 

 

Jersey Represent! Buttons

I had some buttons made for the Jersey Represents group on Ravelry. How great did they come out?

Over-Dyed Paton's SWS

I over-dyed a skein of Paton’s SWS (Natural Slate), to make this cool dark green/grey self-striping colors.

 

I don’t know what I’ll use it for yet, but I saw someone who made a Lizard Ridge afghan with SWS, and think that might be the perfect project for my over-flowing stash of single SWS skeins.

 

OK, seriously? I have a problem.

I’m sorry that all I talk about in this blog is Paton’s Soy Wool Stripes. But I haven’t been knitting very much lately – partly because Dan’s sweater is all seed stitch sleeves all the time and partly because I’ve been reading.

 

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This is what it looks like. Sad projects waiting for me. Messy piles of yarn.

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There’s my distraction – see it in the corner? I’ve never really read the Harry Potter books, so I started them from the beginning last week, and it’s taken up most of my knitting time. I’m onto the fourth book, which was the last one I’ve read (like a million years ago), so I’m excited to finish it and read The Order of the Phoenix!

I also got the new Interweave Knits, and am trying very, very hard not to put all of other projects aside and cast on for the cover sweater, the Tilted Duster.

Now the SWS news. I went to Michael’s, and they had the new SWS colors! Both solids and stripes. I didn’t like any of the solids very much, but I picked up some of the stripes to play with.

Is this the oddest color name or what? I know they like to put Natural in front of everything, but couldn’t it be Natural Cream?

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Natural Violet

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Natural Crimson

 

I’m going to make a shadow striped scarf with the Crimson and Violet!

 

 

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Natural Slate, which I’m going to try over-dying

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Natural Garden, which has no purpose yet.

I don’t know what I’m going to make with those two random skeins – maybe Calorimetries?  I’ve made them with SWS before, and have good results.  I would make wristwarmers or something, but I find that it’s not soft enough to go against my wrist.  Any suggests for a single ball?