Better & Better

I finished my Sixareen Cape three months ago. I have since been waiting to remember to get my husband to snap a few photos of it on. This morning, I am thinking it’s time to just share it without photos of it modeled in the interest of not letting any more time pass without acknowledging its completion.

sixareen1Here it is!

(Just humor me and overlook that it needs to be reblocked — the edges aren’t quite all they could be in this photo, but I really wanted to get the finished cape up here)

I really love how the colors came together (hats off to the ladies at Cream City Yarn for helping me make the final decisions on them).  The Quince & Co Finch was also an inspired pairing for this pattern. I highly recommend this yarn for colorwork — not as ‘grippy’ as a more rustic fiber, but the crispness of the stitch definition is beautiful for showcasing the colorwork stitching.

fixed detailNope, not kidding at all on that point.

Overall, this was a joy to knit & turned out beautifully. Anyone who is interested in the challenge of a large-scale colorwork project will love the Sixareen Cape. I really enjoyed the knitting. My only trouble is one that has nothing to do with the yarn, design, or pattern writing.  My problem is that from the time I started this project in March to today my swimming routine has drastically slimmed and reduced the size of my upper arms (we’re talking over an inch shaved off per arm) & upper body, so the fit leaves something to be desired. Admittedly roomier than I would prefer — it’s clear my new measurements would require at least one size down, it takes a bit of work to style it so that it looks right on me. While not ideal and despite the fact that I’m pretty fussy about my work & how it turns out, I’m willing to take the trade on a slightly less than perfect fit on this project for better health. And you really can’t deny that it is beautiful & cozy regardless.

sixareen wavingWith the temps dipping below freezing nightly now this cape will be getting a lot of use especially when I’m sipping coffee in the mornings, so perhaps my taking my sweet time posting this is more time appropriate than I originally thought. Oh, and did I mention that if I calculated correctly, I should have enough yarn leftover to be able to whip up one of Kate Davies’ colorwork hats? Yeah, it does just get better & better.

For details on my Sixareen Cape, check out my Ravelry project page.

Slippery Slopes

I find weeding the garden to be a very slippery slope. It all started earlier in the week when a playdate for my daughter resulted in the acquisition of some sedum plants that my friend wanted to be rid of. I planted them immediately — so excited to speed the landscaping project I’ve been slowly working on as my own plants get big enough to split. This led to added garden ambition yesterday.  I started by removing a diseased apple tree that had to come out. Then I had a big hole in the bed it was at the edge of so I transplanted some native flowers from the back yard to fill the space. Then I started weeding out the grasses that had been overtaking that bed. That made it look empty (there were A LOT of weeds), so I transplanted an echinacea. While walking the weeds back to the compost, I saw that hosta I’ve been meaning to split on the side of the house & the Russian sage I’ve been working on wrapping around the corner. So I split the hosta and spread it out to where I have been intending to move it. And monkeyed with that sage a bit. Then I started thinking about just diving in and doing a bit of a big wildflower transplant I’ve been planning. Thankfully it was dinner time, so I managed to step away from the shovel.

Another slippery slope – of course — is knitting. While I didn’t knit a ton this weekend, I did check off some big items from my to-do list that have been on said list for much too long.

First, I finally  worked up a small test swatch for my Sixareen Cape to be sure the bright pink would not bleed when I wash & block. I have had this project finished for well over a week, but it has sat. I have been dragging my feet on blocking not wanting to know if the pink would bleed, terrified that it would. This project definitely needs blocking and I have been kicking myself for the last month knowing I should have done a test swatch early on — you know, like back when pre-washing yarn would have been an option — to know if bleeding would be an issue.  Hindsight is 20/20 though, isn’t it? Especially when I have the ‘new project’ goggles on. This weekend though I finally worked up a small test swatch made from the pink (rosa rugosa) and white (egret) figuring this would offer the clearest indication as to whether or not I would have a problem. To my delight, there was absolutely no bleeding. I am officially set to wash & block this big project. I will probably throw in a good glug of vinegar just to be on the safe side, but I should block it within the next day or so, so it’ll be ready to share soon.

Next, I rewound & weighed my odds & ends leftovers from the Sixareen Cape. I was happy to discover I should have enough leftovers to knit up Kate Davies Peerie Flooers with them. Yay!

Then, of course, I finished up my Shalom Cardigan.shalom close-upWhile I certainly have the yarn left to do it & I have been considering adding sleeves since I began, I decided it would be much nicer as a vest. Perfect to just throw over a long-sleeved shirt to run the kids to school this fall. It is just a smidge more snug than I would have ideally liked, but I am fairly certain I will gain what I am looking for in washing & blocking. If for some reason I don’t, for a vest, it is just fine.

shalom-1I will share more photos once I get it washed & dried.

Having finished this sweater, I started another. Partly because that was the plan & partly because I couldn’t find my US1 to start a pair of socks (I found the needles this morning while cleaning my desk).

beginningThis is Rusted Root by Sarah Johnson (or Sarah Moore — the pattern says ‘Johnson’, Ravelry says ‘Moore’). This is a new designer for me & so far the pattern is just fine. I am a little bummed at the lack of a chart with the lace portion. I find charts make lace work much easier for me. Written instructions take me at least 3times as long to work from because — as silly as it sounds — I very easily lose my place with written instructions. I definitely prefer having a visual. I realize I could write my own chart from the written instructions to use, but I am apparently not that desperate to use a chart. But I digress.

This project is also my first time using yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery. Not normally available to me locally, I acquired this yarn in the find of the century at a thrift shop a few years back. Normally sold for almost $15/skein, I bought this yarn for $0.60/skein — the thrift shop’s designated price for a skein of yarn.  Yes, this sweater should cost me about $3 to make whereas if I bought the yarn today it would cost $72 + tax & shipping. Having spent some time with it now, I would gladly pay the $72! This is Mountain Mohair in the Raspberry colorway. This yarn is very comparable to Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride worsted  as it is a single wool/mohair blend.  The difference is how the color is blended. The best way I can describe it is to explain via pixels — if we were comparing pixel sizes, the Mountain Mohair would use larger pixels than the Brown Sheep. Instead of relying on the dye to create the raspberry color, I can see the blending of purples, mauves, pinks, white, and bright red. The resultant color is just lovely — rich with variation to add personality, but masterfully blended. I am not sure if this is blending is characteristic of the yarn or just the colorway, but I will definitely be looking closely when I can see it in person at the WI Sheep & Wool festival where Green Mountain Spinnery is slated to be a vendor.

Finally, I popped in at my local yarn shop, FIrefly Fibers to pick up supplies for two upcoming projects.

henrie's yarnFirst, some Cascade Pima Cotton. My in-laws will be visiting later this week & I have promised my mother-in-law that I’d help her get started on a Capitol Square Market Bag. The plan is that I will work on the bottom before she arrives so she can dive right into the openwork section.

riptideSecond, I picked up an extra 2 skeins of Sweet Georgia Superwash DK. I’ve had 2skeins sitting in my stash since earlier this year & have started two different projects with it. The reason I failed? Really, I just want to make a particular sweater, so nothing else is measuring up. So, I finally just succumbed to the reality of the situation, bought the pattern & extra yarn necessary (while the same dye lot is still available) and am ready to go with it. I’ll tell you more about this project another day though.

For now, I must go as there are many preparations which need attending. Cleaning, washing, scrubbing, and — most of all — trying to avoid starting a monster gardening project 3 days before house guests arrive. It’s all a slippery slope though and the temptation to just keep tidying EVERYTHING is strong…  Wish me luck!

Today on my needles…

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I stayed up past my bedtime last night in order to bind off my Sixareen Cape. Now I have to face down this mass of ends to weave in — I am telling myself it is nothing compared to what I’ve already knit here. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

Today on my needles…

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Today I had this dull headache for most of the day. I know this makes me terribly weird, but when my head hurts – unless it’s a full blown migraine – all I want to do is knit. It’s just really comforting to me. So I took my kids I the library, stocked up on a ton of new books for them and settled in to knit my headache away. And now, I am moss stitching the final 12 rounds of my Sixareen Cape. Oh yes I did!