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Updated: 5 days 18 hours ago

FO | Herlacyn Breeze Afghan

Sun, 08/11/2019 - 13:00
I'm delighted to report my Herlacyn Breeze afghan is finished. Blocking worked its usual magic, so stitches have relaxed, small bumps have disappeared, seams are straighter, and the borders lay flat.

Worked in Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep), this version features a cool gradient with six shades ranging from rich purple to mint green set against a neutral off-white background. The colors are arranged on the diagonal from the lower left to upper right, and they were worked in this order:
  • Left strip: Sugar Plum, Lapis, Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Sky
  • Center strip: Lapis, Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Sky, Light Sage
  • Right strip: Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Sky, Light Sage, Mint

From the beginning, Herlacyn was designed as a stashbusting opportunity, using scraps and partials leftover from other projects such as Lucben TidepoolValere Summer Rainbow and Valere Vivid Rainbow

Herlacyn BreezePattern: Coming soon!
Yarn: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
Needles: US 8 (5.5 mm)
Size: Small / baby
Dimensions: 27 x 35 ins
Yardage: ~670 yards
Twisted stitches create a subtle texture on the front and an interesting texture on the back, while the colored triangles almost appear appliqued rather than worked as part of the fabric.

Much like its sibling Herlacyn Heatwave, Breeze has fantastic drape. It's also the ideal weight for chilly weather, so it will be perfect as we transition into fall, when a soft, light lapghan is welcome on a cool morning.
This project lingered way too long in its almost-done state, so it's exceptionally satisfying to finally have it completed. With one long-standing WIP now officially a finished object, it's time ot tackle the others skulking in the background!

Looking for the pattern? It's with the tech editor for a final review, so it's coming soon!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Let the Finishing Begin

Sun, 08/04/2019 - 21:21
Turns out, there's nothing quite so potent as making a public promise to finish a few WIPs to prompt some action. It also helps that like a parent waving a lollipop in front of a wayward toddler, my reward for keeping that promise is the opportunity to cast on the rainbow shawl I've been craving. 

This week, I buckled down and wove in the last of the ends on my Herlacyn Breeze. It's soaking now in preparation for blocking, which I hope to tackle this evening.

Dazzling progress? No, but for a project that's been stalled for far too long, it's a start, and I'll take it.

Looking for the pattern? It's in my tech editor's capable hands, so it should be ready for release soon.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Let's Make a Deal

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 20:29
Under most circumstances, I'm a semi-monogamous knitter who prefers to limit the number of fiber projects active at any given time. My rules, such as they are, are pretty simple. I strive to have no more than three projects on the needles, ensure one is small and portable to grab and go, and focus and finish before launching a new project.

Lately, I've been ignoring these guidelines, and not only is it driving me crazy, it's time for a reality check. Last fall, I started a simple little cowl that should have been a fast finish, but I allowed myself to get distracted. There it sits, waiting for just a bit of time and attention to bring it to completion. 

To complicate matters, I have another cowl and the better part of a full shawl sitting on the needles. I don't have a good overview shot, so we'll have to make-do with a picture of the swatch. 

All would be well if that was my full project lineup, but it's not. There are three afghans in various WIP stages. Herlacyn Breeze is off the needles, but there are still a few ends to weave before it can be blocked.

The Ohio Star afghan is seamed and ready for a border.

A third, unnamed afghan is also more than half done, but it's currently in timeout while I think about whether or not I like the overall effect.

That's a total of six active projects, or twice as many as my ideal max. Nonetheless, I'm still itching to cast on another shawl and start putting this silky rainbow yarn to good use. 
With all that in mind, let's make a deal. I'm going to stiffen my spine, do the grownup thing, and focus on turning these WIPs into finished objects. Once at least two of them are finished (or frogged), I can succumb to tempation and cast on the rainbow shawl. What do you think, does that sound fair?

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Winding the Rainbow

Sun, 07/07/2019 - 22:41
We've had so much rain lately, I can't recall the last time we had a clear, sunny day. To combat the gloom, I've been gradually winding the rainbow yarn. 

The rich, saturated shades are the perfect antidote, and the touch of silk imparts a sheen that's especially appealing when the skies are gray.
This yarn is destined to become a shawl or wrap or cowl or some combination thereof, so while I wound, I took the opportunity to play a bit with color options. The assortment above features five colors (no magenta), for example, while the others feature six. 

I freely confess I lingered over the caking process, partly to simply wallow in this soothing task and partly to think through some issues I'm having with one of the designs I'm working on. Now that all the yarn is wound, I'm chomping at the bit and eager to cast on, but hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Several projects either on the needles or in the final finishing stages could in a relatively short period of time go from WIPs to FOs, if I could simply muster the discipline to make it happen.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Touch of Rebellion

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 21:06
It's a busy week in North America. Monday, our neighbors to the north celebrated Canada Day, and today, Americans are celebrating Independence Day. 

In the US, red, white and blue are the unofficial colors of summer, so through the years, I've managed to build a rather substantial collection of coasters and cloths suitable for these occasions.

It's been quite awhile since I've added to this collection, so this seemed like a good time to rectify that oversight, plus the prospect of a quick FO was difficult to resist. The simple color-block heart from several years ago has always been a favorite, so I knit another to keep it company, using the Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots pattern. 

Has my guage radically changed? Did I grab the wrong needle size? Was the yarn simply feeling quixotic?
I truly couldn't say, but there's no denying the new heart (foreground) is noticeably larger than its siblings. And that's okay. A tiny touch of rebellion seems perfectly appropriate for Independence Day.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

No Regrets

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 20:36
Not long ago, I ordered yarn for what will hopefully become a light-weight, season-spanning shawl worked in a rich rainbow of vibrant gemtones. (Charlemont by Valley Yarns)

Because the price was right and online color selection can be tricky, I included a safety skein of a subdued purplish shade in case some skeins refused to play well together. It's a perfectly lovely color, but as you can see, it's significantly softer and less saturated than the ones above.

While I have no clue what I'm going to do with this lone singleton, I have no regrets. With 439 yards to play with, there's plenty of latitude to either use it on its own or pair it with another wayward orphan or odd ball from stash. I'm willing to live with that uncertainty for now, while I focus on swatching and casting on the next big thing, my rainbow shawl.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

The Check is in the Mail

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 13:00
Thanks to your response to last week's pattern sale for tornado relief, the check is in the mail (metaphorically speaking).

Every cent earned through that sale (plus a bit extra) has been donated to the Dayton Foundation, a solid regional organization that has created a centralized fund designated specifically for tornado relief. I chose this option because it helps ensure funds stay local and are disbursed more rapidly to those who need them.

It's been almost two weeks since Memorial Day, when the Miami Valley was hit by a record-breaking 15 tornadoes. A series of subsequent storms have continued to hamper efforts, but power and water service has been restored to most areas and cleanup is underway.

Rebuilding and recovery are going to take a very long time, but thanks to you and people like you, that process will be faster and easier than it would be without your support. I'm grateful for many things, including generous knitters like you. Thank you!

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pattern Sale: Tornado Relief

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 18:00
As some of you know, a record-breaking 15 tornadoes hit this region on Memorial Day. Winds up to 170 mph caused such extensive damage, some areas were completely decimated. 

If you've never experienced a tornado or seen the aftermath, it's difficult to imagine. In a matter of minutes, people are injured or dead. Homes, apartments, businesses, shopping centers, eateries, schools, government facilities, and houses of worship are leveled. Roads are blocked with trees and debris. Power lines are down. Cell towers are gone. In our area, the primary water distribution system was so damaged, it was shut down. 

To add insult to injury, a week of rain and storms contributed to the damage and caused significant delays. Cleanup is underway, but recovery and rebuilding are going to be long, drawn out and grueling. 

To help with that effort, I'm running a quick sale to fund a donation for tornado relief. All you have to do is purchase one or more patterns in my shop. You'll save 25% and do some good at the same time, since all proceeds will go to local agencies assisting families with recovery and rebuilding. This offer lasts through Saturday, June 8 (EDT).

If you want to browse patterns or read more about them before you buy, click here to go to the Patterns page.

If you want to buy now, click the link below and it will take you directly to my Ravelry pattern shop: 

   Pattern Sale | Save 25% on any pattern through Saturday, June 8 (EDT).
   No coupon required. Sale price will automatically be applied at checkout.
   All proceeds will be donated for tornado relief efforts.

My family and friends were lucky, everyone emerged shaken but unscathed. Many others weren't so lucky, so let me thank you in advance, your support is greatly appreciated. 

PS: It's true. An approaching tornado sounds exactly like a runaway train heading straight for you at top speed.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knit the Rainbow

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 21:55
Our weather has been all over the place. Gray and gloomy. Violent and stormy. Cold and damp. The occasional mild, sunny and inviting days have been so rare, it's clearly time to take matters into my own hands.

When this lovely yarn (Valley Yarns Charlemont) went on sale, the cosmic timing was too perfect to resist. I'm going to knit the rainbow.

I've worked with this yarn before (Dojeling Wineberry wrap), and it has a nice hand, soft sheen and wide range of colors. It also has a healthy 439 yards per skein, so the six skeins below offer loads of options.

While I've not yet decided on a specific design or pattern, I'm certain of one thing. This yarn is destined to become a shawl or wrap, because next to fingerless mitts, they're the handknits I wear most often. In this yarn weight and fiber mix (merino, silk and nylon), the finished piece would be the ideal weight for spring, summer and fall.

Even better, when back-to-back gray days become too much to bear, I can wrap myself in a rich, vibrant rainbow and chase the gloom away. 

Want to see more posts on rainbow knits? Click here and your wish will come true.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Binge Swatching

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 18:59
For better or worse, my binge swatching streak has continued. It's not that swatching isn't productive, it is. But couple that with a fondness for color play and what-if scenarios, and a full-blown obsession can't be far behind.

In other words, I'm still preoccupied with the syncopated slipped rib stitch in all its forms. It handled the highly variegated Happy Feet so well, I found myself scouring the stash for similar short-print yarns. Eventually, I discovered a single skein of Panda Cotton (Crystal Palace), which rapdily cycles through several shades of blue punctuated with a stretch of black. 

Since one key to taming busy variegateds is to add a closely related solid, I first tried pairing Panda with black Tajmahal (Filatura Cervinia). This combo created interrupted stripes, a look I initially didn't care for, but it's grown on me. I can see how over the course of a larger piece, the irregular stripes could make a simple shawl or cowl dynamic and visually interesting. Working the variegated Panda with a solid blue (Zaffiro by Madril Yarns), minimized pooling but caused the vertical stripes to virtually disappear.

I could've cheerfully continued working through every variegated yarn in the stash, but decided instead to experiment with some color blocking. I've always loved purple and red together, so I combined black (Tajmahal) with violet Aspen (Baah) and burgundy Charlemont (Valley Yarns). The slipped stitches produce an interesting notched or serrated transition from one color to the next, an effect I rather like.

And therein lies the problem. From jewel tones to neutrals, my stash is filled with many lovely skeins that might lend themselves to this technique, which means my fingers are itching to start (yet another) series of swatches.

Perhaps it's time for an intervention.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Swatch Stories: The Saga Continues

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 18:24
In retrospect, it was totally inevitable. What began as a quick experiment turned into much, much more. 

It started quite innocently, as these things often do. My initial objective was to work a series of  small swatches to demonstrate how very different the same stitch can look in various yarns and color combos. The swatches featured the syncopated slip stitch which can be used to create vertical stripes.

One swatch was worked in the two deepest shades from the ombre mini-skein set above (Mad Hatter Shillings & Pence by Wonderland Yarns). The result was attractive but understated, because the vertical stripes were almost indiscernible in such closely related colors.

And this is where things began to go sideways. There are plenty of projects on the needles clamoring for attention, but I simply couldn't resist taking the experiment just one step further. So, I paired the medium shade with the lighter of the two deepest colors, and worked another section.

Uh oh, that new section looks rather appealing. Surely I should try just one more combo and blend the medium with the second-lightest shade, just to see what happens?
Well look at that, the third section is also attractive, perhaps I should just keep going? For one full day, I held firm. Then I buckled and started working the last section with the two lightest shades.
The good news? I love the overall effect, and for sheer versatility and stashbusting potential, this stitch is definitely a keeper. 

The bad news? The Mad Hatter yarn is technically slated for a different project, but I may have to rethink that plan. Meanwhile, I'm already searching through the stash to see what other yarns and combos might lend themselves to this approach. 

The reality? The saga continues. (And I see lots of swatching in my future.) 
Categories: Knitting Feeds