Fresh Off the Needles

cowlblockMy lacy cowl/capelet is blocking.  I cast off while at my daughter’s robotics competition in DC this weekend.  Sitting elbow-to-elbow in a large arena with blaring music, cheering, and horns for three days just about sent me over the edge.  It was such a relief when the noise ended and we were in the car heading back towards Richmond.

The before-and-after blocking of lacy pieces is one of my favorite parts of knitting.  I had my shriveled up piece of knitting in the sink and on my blocking mat before I ever unpacked our suitcases.  🙂

cowlcowlblock2During some down time, I talked my hubby into visiting some of the local yarn shops.  Knitters are awesome!  I had some great conversation and found a few things to take home.

stashenhancement My hubby picked out a beautiful tweed yarn for a scarf.  I picked out the super soft grey alpaca blend for a summer wrap.  And, the cone of sparkly lurex will add a little bling to a knitted project.  (I found some Becky!!)

Currently on my needles is another lacy cowl project.  blankknit2This cowl uses the bee stitch again with yarn from a dyed sock blank.  While the sock blanks are beautiful, I find knitting from them magnifies the beauty of the coloration.  I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

BlankKnitFor years, I’ve knitted on needles from Knit Picks.  They have been work horses and have stood up to the hours and hours of knitting but I’ve been itching to try out a “luxury” needle.  I found a set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables in an Etsy shop at a great price and ordered them.  My newest cowl is on these needles and I’ve got to say that the difference is noticeable.  The joins are smoother.  They feel better in my hands.  The cable has a better feel.  Not to say that there is anything wrong with my Knit Picks needles, but the ChaioGoos are definitely a delight to knit with!

needlesI’m looking forward to trying on the freshly blocked cowl/capelet tomorrow for fit.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that it works out and will be wearable.

Scrappy Neck Warmers

What is a person supposed to do with their leftover scraps of hand painted yarns?  You make neck warmers, of course!Cowl6My newest project has been cast on.  It doesn’t look like much yet as it’s only a couple of inches along but it will eventually become a double-wrap cowl made from 5 different leftover hand-painted worsted weight yarns and a little bit of sparkly lurex (thank you Becky!).   I’ve cast on 200 sts and used a garter stitch edge.  The center pattern is a slip-stitch puckered diamond motif which gets lost because of all the color changes occurring.  I’m switching yarns whenever suits my fancy because lining up all the yarn breaks makes it more difficult to weave in ends.

Cowl5In the past, I’ve successfully combined disharmonious sock yarn scraps to create a eye-catching (in my opinion) scarf.  So, I’m hopeful that my newest project will work out in the end.  It may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit.yarnlifescarfIhitchhikern other news, I did wrap up my Hitchhiker shawl.  I decided against tearing into a new hank of yarn so my scarf is the 100g version.  It’s long enough to wear but I wouldn’t call it a shawl.  More like a scarf.  I love how the pattern discourages color pooling and shows off hand painted yarns to their very fullest.  It creates a lovely arc of ridges and the garter stitch means no purling and fast knitting.  I may try this one again with more yarn in the future.hitchhiker2

One Skein Wonders

cowl2Ten hanks of bare yarn and a bunch of dye led to ten mismatched balls of hand-painted yarn.  It was exciting to experiment with color and go wild.  But now it’s time to figure out what to do with it all.  None of the yarn matches the next.

Two balls of yarn did become seed-stitch cowls this week.  (And one became a cat-eared beanie last week.)  The first cowl was cast on for a 24 inch circumference and color-pooling just naturally happened to create swirling stripes.  Yay for that!

For the second cowl, I chose a more color-intense hand-painted yarn.  I thought wouldn’t it be awesome to line up the color repeats exactly and create vertical stripes?  So, I laid out my yarn in large loops to find the repeats in the color and then knit up a sample in seed stitch to find the exact number of stitches in a color repeat and then cast on the appropriate number of stitches to get them to line up perfectly.  Then knitting row after row in anticipation of the striping, I got just a random dispersion of color.  No stripes.  Oh well.  I still think it’s pretty.  I’d forgotten how much I love the beauty and simplicity of the seed stitch. colorpoolingcowlI’m not sure what is going to become of the rest of the lone balls of hand-painted yarn.  Maybe some mittens and chunky socks will be on the horizon.  What else can you make out of 110 yards of worsted weight yarn?  Maybe stripe it with a solid into a scarf?

For those who would like to make a worsted-weight seed-stitch cowl, simply cast on 125 stitches (or appropriate odd number of stitches to get the circumference you want) and join in the round, being careful not to twist. K1,P1 around and around until you have just a few yards of yarn left.  Bind off and weave in ends.