Spring is green

spring is green shawlette

green on green – not my best photography idea

This gorgeous Cedar Leaf Shawlette is, I think, my fastest shawl project to date. I got the idea for a last minute gift – and it had to be ready within 5 days. While I was still busy with everyday life. And I made my own life harder by deciding to knit it up in lace instead of worsted weight, as the pattern suggests. The construction is quite nifty – you knit the main part of the shawl and shape it through short rows. Once the main part is completed, you add the leaf pattern by knitting along the side, from one end to the other.

I finished this spring shawlette in time, and quickly steamblocked it. It took just over half a skein – 282 yds – of Malabrigo lace, wow.  It was a gorgeous gift – I liked it so much, I was tempted to keep it for myself. But I know it went to a good home.

spring shawlette on a statue

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Color vision

huge Umaro blanket

The ginormous wedding gift blanket – and part of the reason I only managed 19 FOs last year…

[Heads up – this is a image-heavy post. And a long post. I apologize in advance. Thank you all in advance for your visits and comments and views. I really really appreciate it].

For all of you who are looking to take a color vision eye test – sorry, you won’t find one here. Instead, this post is all about color and knitting and stash and the such. Yup, today’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Post tackles color:


Day Four (Thursday April 25th): Colour Review

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal – do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway – if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

Some of the 2012 projects I knit...

Some of the projects I knit in 2012…

I like color. I do. While I have plenty of black and grey items in my wardrobe, I also like and wear clothes in jewel tones. That would probably surprise my mother who is always complaining that I should wear more color. I bet that the Indian woman in her – you’ll just find way more colorful Indian sari rather than black. Western fashion is definitely influencing Indian fashion, but you’ll still find bright colors in combinations that I don’t think many people will wear here. I mean, a bright orange and neon pink shirt here? To wear as everyday clothing? Not my cup of tea. But when I’m in India, in a Sari store it looks just fine and I find myself seriously contemplating if I’d look good in that. Huh. I guess it’s all about the environment.

I’m not as much a fan of pastels… I just prefer the look of jewel tones. There’s something about those saturated colors that make me happy. Pastel colors – meh. Although I do like them a lot in my stash and knitting. I’m not a colorway discriminator 🙂 I’m just more of a color style discriminator. I like semi-solid colorways way more than crazy clownbarfy combinations (for all of you non-knitters, clownbarfy yarn is yarn that looks like a clown, well barfed on it: crazy multicolored). Not that I don’t enjoy funky socks, but honestly I’m much more likely to wear something that isn’t. And I don’t like pooling – especially not in garments. On my feet, ok, I can deal with that, but a sweater with pools color in patches here or there? Nope, I’ll likely not wear it, or overdye it to fix the pooling. And you should wear what you feel comfortable in, IMO.

multicolored yarns knit up

baby cardigan – grey yarn and crazy clownbarf yarn held together, and scrappy linen stitch scarf – ways to ‘break up’ multicolored yarns and avoid pooling…

I took a look at my projects, and as you may remember from yesterday, I knit a lot of gifts. A lot. Which means that the color choice is most of the time determined by the giftee – by their color wishes or by what I think they’ll like color-wise. It’s pretty ironic that a lot of them are grey, black or the dark end of primary colors – like the Struan hat I knit for my brother-in-law. The colorway is called Brothers Grimm (MadTosh, yay!) and it’s a very dark green that could almost pass for black, depending on the light. It makes me think of the woods, where the foliage cover keeps out the sunlight and it’s so green that it’s almost dark, no matter what time of the day. A very fitting setting for fairy tales and thus probably the reason why the colorway is named after the Brothers Grimm.

For me – I go through phases where I prefer one color over another. For the longest time blue was my favorite color, then I went through a green phase. Then I started wearing more red (again) and right now I really feel like knitting something in yellow. And wearing yellow. It just makes me so happy. Overall, I tend to stick to primary colors. Oh, and stripes. Give me stripes any day.

striped projects

some of my stripey projects…

As you can see, I love stripes. I have 21 projects with stripes, with an even mix between self-striping yarns and my own stripe creations. I’m actually joining a striped project KAL with any kind of striped project: socks, sweaters, scarves and shawls etc. And I have plenty of patterns involving stripes in my queue. One of the projects to be cast on within the next 30 days is a striped one. I have about 130 projects with some form of stripe element in my queue – not even counting those that could be modified with stripes.

So – I guess I’m beelike in that I move around between colors and design elements. At the same time, I have a thing for yellow right now and since so many of my gifts are in a dark/grey/black color, I have a bee color scheme going. And then the stripes, well, bees are striped. Ha!

Btw, last year’s knitting and crochet blog week also had us put up a post on the topic of color. It’s funny, I just took a look at what  I wrote, and yes, most of it is still true. I do like color, I still like striped yarns but not crazy color combinations, yada yada yada.

I leave you with a contemplation on my stash. I started putting this together yesterday as part of the Infographic but then decided to save that data for today’s post. (Btw, for all of you who asked, I got most of the information from my Ravelry project page and by playing around with the advanced search feature). The image isn’t  statistically correct – the percentages are different –  but the color sequence does reflect the color preferences in my stash.

Stash Color Distribution

Careless Whisper

Sometimes you fall in love with a color, and then you have to find the project that will make it shine. That’s what happened to me when I saw the Tuareg colorway by Malabrigo. Many many many years ago I read a Young Adult series that took place among the Tuareg. I don’t remember much about the book, but I do remember how vividly the author described the Tuareg and their lives. She described their nomadic treks and their ceremonial drinking of green tea. She talked about their blue garments and their silver jewelry. So the color Tuareg really resonated with me.

Now, I had two skeins of Malabrigo lace in Tuareg. I love Malabrigo. The colors just shine. The only thing is, it tends to felt. I already had problems with felting – both on a cowl, one for my Mom, and one for my goddaughter. It just doesn’t seem that the yarn is resilient for heavy duty use. I’m tempted to us Malabrigo worsted for a sweater, but I’m scared of sweater fuzz and sweater felting. There are other yarn bases like Malabrigo Twist and Malabrigo Rasta that I haven’t yet knit with. And Malabrigo Rios is apparently machine washable! Whoa Nelly, t to try that out.

I had the Whisper cardigan pattern in my queue for a while – it looked like such a lovely and light little cardigan. Perfect for summer, over a dress or a top. The construction is interesting, too. You start at one sleeve, work across the back, and then finish up with sleeve two. You pick up stitches for the ribbing around the edge, and you continue knitting the bottom part until it’s long enough. Fun!

When I wound the yarn before casting on, I got the first hint that the yarn may easily felt. But I still persevered 🙂 Now, the lace is pretty darn thin, so neither magic loop nor dpns worked for the first sleeve. I tried, but I got laddering, and that just really didn’t look in the lace. I ended up investing in a 12” Hiya Hiya needle, and that made the difference. The first part, sleeve to sleeve worked up pretty quickly. The ribbing took a little longer, but then, then came the back part. Oy. Endless, and I truly mean endless, endless, endless stockingette. Can I just tell you, if you’re knitting stockingette in lace weight, it really takes a long time?


But when it was done, it totally was worth it. The finished cardigan is light and whispery. And I used every little bit of yarn. That bind-off had me sweating – I was hoping I didn’t have to tink back. I literally had a few inches left. Phew.

Mom had fallen in love with the cardigan along the way, and since I still needed a birthday gift for her, the Whisper cardigan became hers. Ok, I finished it up way after her birthday, but she loves it all the same. And the color looks really good on her. The Tuareg blue was a really good choice. I’m pretty sure I’ll be knitting with that colorway again.

Cream of Eggplant

I bet you were expecting a post on food, right? Ha! Au contraire! Cream of Eggplant is what I named a project of mine. I’m sure there are great eggplant soup recipes out there, but this post is about a lovely purple scarf that really looks like the purple skin of an eggplant.

The yarn I used for the project was Classic Elite Miracle in the colorway Purple Palace. I forget why I originally bought the yarn for some kind of other project – I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. But I’d wound it at the yarn store, and so I wanted to use it up. I’d already knit a purple scarf and hat for my sister, but they were beginner projects. Well, not beginner projects, but I was brand new to knitting, and I figured I could do better.

The most frequently pattern knit with this yarn was the Cream of Spinach scarf – so now you know why I named my project Cream of Eggplant scarf. The yarn was somewhat fuzzy and splitty, but the pattern showed it up nicely. I’d say that I won’t use the yarn again, but the yarn has been discontinued anyway. The finished project is fine, but it’s not my favorite finished object. That just means I’ll have to knit another scarf for my sister. Yay!

I fail

So, remember how I said that I’d participate in Cheryl Marie’s Knitting Marathon? The one where the goal was to knit 26.2 hours over the course of two days? The duration of the marathon matches the length of a normal marathon. Want to know how I did. I got in exactly 3.22 hours  hours of knitting in. Yes, 3.22 hours, that means that I spent 23 hours of time doing other stuff. I knew that it would be difficult to get in any knitting time on Thursday, but I figured I’d get some serious knitting done on Wednesday. I was moving along quite well, and then I decided to quickly make some chocolate avocado pudding.

Chocolate avocado pudding. Delicious. Don’t believe me? Once I’m done tinkering with that post, how that all works out – it’s a something different kind of post for me, I think you’ll like it. But I had to spend time setting up a photoshooting, photographing and making pudding, and so on. Plus, there were all the  hours spending time doing other life stuff, reducing my knitting time. But that’s realistic, you know? You can’t knit non-stop.

Knitters, unite! Even Shaun the Sheep knits

Do you guys get problems with carpal tunnel or other pains when knitting for a longer stretch? I remember Melissa Wehrle from Neoknits blogging about her problems with tendonitiswhile she had sample submissions due. Fortunately for me, it’s’just’ my hands that hurt – and I’ve developed a callus on my left index finger where the yarn passes over – I’m a continental knitter. I have to say, I’m very very glad to have to  that callus.

I worked on my Erin Go Bragh shawl and I still didn’t finish it. Sigh. I’m in the final stretches. Are you tired of hearing about that shawl? Well, so am I. That thing is gorgeous, but in the end, the rows are. so. long. I do like the pattern, and I love how Veera is able to take the concept of stripes, and come up with new concepts. But I’m ready to be done.

 

Poor Professor Lupin

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spoiler alert if you haven’t read/watched “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Don’t read any further if you want to find out what’s going to happen on your own. I warned you. Even though I think that there aren’t many people out there who haven’t been exposed to Harry Potter.

Poor Professor Lupin. He just hasn’t had an easy time of it. I mean, who wants to deal with being a werewolf. And I’m not talking about the Teen Wolf kind of werewolf. Btw, I think there’s an MTV version of Teen Wolf nowadays? I have no idea myself, I haven’t kept up with MTV in, oh, forever.

Professor Lupin’s werewolf is the agressive kind, having to stay separate from others during the full moon to avoid endangering others. After having been bitten as a child by Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf, he has had a rather difficult childhood suffering from his werewolvism. After graduating from Hogwarts, he has a hard time finding a job due to his affliction. He always looks a bit shabby. Even though he’s a nice, uhm, guy/raving werewolf. He did a good job as Professor of Defense against the Dark Arts, but still had to hide what he was to avoid upset parents descending on the school. Well, and then Harry, Rob and Hermione figured out what he was…

Are you wondering what my point is? Ha! I do have a point. I was looking for a hat pattern – well, I was looking for a hat pattern in February. It was still cold enough that I needed a hat, especially after working out. Wet hair and cold weather easily make for a cold. I was looking around Ravelry when I found a hat. Well, a hat and a cowl. A cowlhat. Or more precisely, a howlcat. Even though cats meow, rather than howl. Speaking of meowing, this little Spongebob Squarepants video is hilarious (from ‘I was a Teenage Gary‘):

Apart from Spongebob and Professor Lupin, I also kept thinking of the ‘Werewolves of London‘ song by Warren Zevon (click on the link if you want to see him performing the song). Well, this werewolf howls, so maybe he would wear this howlcat. Yes, I know, a werewolf is not a cat, but the howling belongs more in its realm. Speaking of the hat, it’s basically a stockingette tube that transitions into a ribbed tube. So the end of the hat is ‘open’ – you basically close it twisting it into shape. Also, the hat is reversible – you can wear the stockingette or the ribbed side on top. It’s a great beginner project, very easy. You just need to be able to join in the round, and the rest is easy peasy.