Boxy Revisited

So, after I finished the boxy tunic (dress) I decided I hated the length it was at. I wore it for a day that way, but I still didn’t think I’d wear it in general.

Fortunately, there was a Peter Gabriel movie. Or, to be more specific, Mr. Ink and his best buddy wanted me to go with them to a showing of a Peter Gabriel movie. One night only. The thing is, I really don’t know his music at all, and as it is with so much from the ’80s, connecting with it in 2014 just isn’t going to happen. I went because they paid my way. However, I sat through the majority of the movie eating popcorn and thinking about my boxy sweater. I realized that I could deconstruct it from the bottom up. All I’d have to do is cut off the ribbing, which wasn’t laying flat anyhow, and then I could rip up the stockinette, pick up the stitches, and knit the ribbing back on.

I cut:


I ripped. I ripped a lot!


And I reknit. I don’t yet have pictures. However, I also knit about double the amount of ribbing it requires in the hopes that it will lay flat. It is no longer a tunic, it’s a sweater. BUT…it’s a sweater I like and will wear, so that’s a win in my book.

In other news, yesterday Mr. Ink and I participated in a local mud run. As it takes place at a ski hill, it was a fabulously hilly course. This was his first mud run, but my second. It was nice, this time, to have someone with me helping me with obstacles I struggled with, and to wipe the dirt out of my eyes. We had a great time, and while I said this would be my last mud run, I suspect it might be something we do together once in awhile. We had a great time.


Selfie after our first attempt at cleaning up. I might add that my shirt used to be white.

I got a bit burned, and of course my entire body aches today. Add to that the fact that I am coming down with the cold and cough Miss Bug has had for the past week, and it turned out that revisiting the boxy tunic was the perfect activity for today. Not to mention all the rain we had. So, Boxy pictures after the weather clears.



I did it!

I finally finished my Boxy tunic. At a point, I was worried it was more dress like. I worried I would run out of yarn, and I basically did seeing as I had 3 strands of yarn left at the end, none of them in useable lengths. When I tried the finished item on, I hated it. I tried belting it. It didn’t work for me.

I thought it over for awhile. I figured, if I really hated the length, I could change it. I’d take off the ribbing at the bottom, and rip up to a length I liked, then knit the ribbing back on from the bottom.

It seemed like a lot of work, but perhaps less work than trying to unseam the entire thing, and remove length from the top on down.

I threw it in the water for a soak. This did not help anything. An item that was at my knees upon finishing, was now lower than my knees. But, I figured, hey, superwash wool sometimes REALLY loves the dryer, so I threw it in there. And ended up with a length I could live with.


The biggest issue now is the curling of the ribbing at the bottom, but perhaps a careful steam block will help that. I am totally wearing this tomorrow! Oh, and I already purchased my next Joji pattern, and anticipate starting it tomorrow.



Quite Boxy

We’ve been hit by a fever here at Chez Shells. Miss Bug has had one for 2 days now, causing two days off of work for me. I think she’ll be ok to go back tomorrow, as her fever broke just about an hour ago.

This has given me a bit of extra knitting time, however. On the first day off, I finished the front of the boxy tunic, which we should really now just call a dress, and seamed the shoulders. Today I knit the collar/neckline and seamed the sides. I also wove in almost all of the ends.


The way it looks right now, it is boxy indeed! All that is left to knit is the sleeves now. However, I’ve got this to work with:



Really not much. But I don’t love the idea of ordering one more skein of yarn, so this will have to do. Or I’ll make do. One of the two, and probably a little of both.

Then it’s on the blocking and wearing and starting the next!

Continuing the Trend

This is the last of the undyed BFL wool, so I don’t know when you’ll see more dyeing from me. I do have another pound of merino/silk, but I’ve also got a sick kid, and I use her to help separate and then chain the 4 oz. bits for dyeing.

My idea with this one was to do tones of brown. I’ve purchased fiber with tones of brown before, and always loved the result. So, I pulled out all my brown tone dyes and gave it a whirl. It was commented that the result looks like a calico cat, and I’d have to agree.


I think it is quite amazing that I’ve consistently liked the result of my dyeing lately. I’ll certainly have no business purchasing fiber in the near future!

In other news, Mr. Ink (my favorite name for the man in my life) and I headed out for an overnight trip to Des Moines this weekend. He attended the Volbeat concert while I hung out with the dog at the hotel. Sunday morning we got up early, and headed out to do some biking. I took a few pictures of what is possibly some of the nicest signage I’ve ever seen at a trail. One I took because it is my dad’s name, which I thought really fun.

20140421-085646.jpg 20140421-085639.jpg

In the end, we weren’t on these trails, there’s some mountain biking trails in there as well and we had fun exploring them. We hope to get back out there at some point, since I tend to be very cautious on my first run through. I’ve also been doing so much biking, that my muscles are just all exhausted, which didn’t help matters since this trail was a step up in difficulty from what I am accustomed to riding. Even so, it was a very successful little trip, and a nice way to get away and out of a routine for a bit.




Tunic Update

I’ve been knitting away on my tunic all week. I am working on the front, and have now reached 28 inches. I need to work to 37 inches before I can start the shoulder shaping. You’d think that all this stockinette would be killing me at this point, as I’ve been working on this almost exclusively for 3 weeks. But it still holds my interest even now.


It is true that I could be farther along on this, but I’ve been doing a lot of biking. I’d venture to say almost too much biking. But, the weather is improving finally and thus my desire to bike is higher. So, I am going to push on, despite the sore muscles and lungs, and the feeling that I just can’t quite get up to the speeds I’d prefer. In the end, I’ll be stronger for it.

Have a glorious weekend everyone, I hope the weather where you are is absolutely divine.

Dye Week

I’ve been continuing on with my dye week. I throw some fiber in the dye pot if I’ve got an evening “off.” It’s been an effective way to continue. My current method continues to work well.

First up is 4 oz of BFL. I dyed this on Monday actually, but I didn’t think it had enough color, so I threw it in the dye pot again last evening and added the purple. It’s still going to be on the lighter end of the spectrum when it is done, but I like the addition of the purple quite a bit.


And then I tried another. This one turned out far better than I could even imagine. I absolutely LOVE it. All the colors here, and the combination of them, totally trip my trigger. Plus, perfecting my method has added to my happiness with the fiber overall.


I plan to continue this trend since it seems to be working so well. And I keep having ideas. So, that’s refreshing!



Dye Day turns into Dye Week

Having realized I had more fiber than I thought, dye day continued. On Monday evening, I dyed two braids of BFL wool. One does not please me yet, it needs an additional color. So back in the dye pot it goes tonight. However, the other turned out fabulous. It is truly something I would  purchase for myself given the opportunity.


I am not sure what else to say about this, except that I’ve finally found a wool dyeing method that seems to work for me. I think I can continue to tweak it, but I am overall happy with it and appreciate the results. I’ll keep going now, and see what else I can come up with.


Tunic Progress

Sunday morning, before dye day, I finally finished the back of my tunic. It is HUGE! So large. It will resemble a dress more than a tunic I fear.


There was actually a fair bit more to do at the shoulders than I expected, but because it was a break from the stockinette stitch, and involved short rows, it was a welcome challenge.

The back took just over 4 balls of jojoland melody. I have now started my third ball of yarn for the front of the tunic. So, hopefully I’ll be able to finish the front within a week. I can usually manage to knit about 2 balls of yarn in a week. Then I’ve just got a whole mess of seaming, 2 sleeves, and a collar band to do and I’ll be all set.

Since the yarn for my next tunic arrived this week, the timing seems appropriate!

Dye Day

Yesterday was our annual easter egg, yarn, and fiber dyeing event. I had a few friends over and Miss Bug had a friend over. The weather was spring like, in the sense that there was torrential downpour most of the day. Eventually, even that took a turn for the worse and we ended up with snow.

But, inside the house, it was all spring all the time. Our overall count was 7 skeins of yarn, 2 braids of wool, and 41 eggs dyed. I’d say that’s pretty good for a small group. Oh, and a bunch of silk hankies.

I stuck with solid colors, kettle dyed yarn. It’s my favorite method for producing results I actually want to use. The yarn is a wool/silk blend and I’ve got a lot of it in my stash that I have already dyed. I think this will be great  weaving yarn, if I ever get around to it again.


I also dyed a bunch of silk hankies in similar colors. I wasn’t going for precision, but just wanted to make sure I had the same 4 colors used throughout. These were a lot of fun.


I left my dye supplies out because I’ve got an overwhelming desire to continue, getting some more done. I’ve got quite a bit of undyed fiber hanging around. I think I may just keep at it, it has been a pleasant distraction to the tunic, but doesn’t overwhelm my time.




What I’ve been up to

I know it’s been quite a few days since you’ve heard from me. I think I mentioned that the boxy sweater I am knitting into a tunic has been occupying my obsession and I cannot do any other crafting. That has continued. I am now a couple rows and some shoulder shaping away from finishing the back of the tunic. And as a bonus, I am already more than one ball of yarn into the front. So, my project monogamy is really and truly paying off. I can’t wait to wear this crazy piece!

It occurs to me that I rarely knit baby blankets. And that this is as much knitting as two baby blankets in fingering weight yarn. I do hope it all pays off.


I am calling this cowl extraordinary.


It all started with extraordinary yarns in extraordinary colors. The fuzzy stuff being Shibui silk cloud, a combination of mohair and silk, and the smooth yarn is Sweet Georgia cashsilk, a combination of cashmere and silk. To say this cowl soft is an understatement. It is extraordinarily soft, so soft I don’t want to work with merino directly after working on it.

I knit it for a friend of mine, who was willing to trade knitting for childcare. I call that extraordinary as well.

I knit with laceweight yarn on large needles. Despite this, the cowl took a very long time to finish. It was looking extraordinarily wide, so I decided to end it. Rather than staying wide, it lengthened, making it a very normal narrow size, and extraordinarily long. It wraps comfortably 3 times around the neck, and hangs all the way to my knees when only wrapped once. And I am tall.

It is also extraordinarily light. There’s so much that it is not. So much air. It can easily be worn in the summer, but will also be quite warm in the winter. It would even wrap up around the head quite comfortably.

An extraordinary project that I am extraordinarily pleased to be done with and on to something new. Sorry about the extraordinarily poor pictures. It is spring rain and darkness season, and this heads to its new owner in a half hour.