Second Fade

Let me show you the second fade and third color in find your fade!

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This was the photo I grabbed just after work yesterday. I immediately wound the yarn for the next section so that it would be ready to go when I needed it. I got my house chores done, and then began a marathon find your fade session. After dinner I still wasn’t quite done with the lace. Mr. Ink asked what I’d like to do before bed. I’d suggested a movie, and we got a look of consternation from Miss Butterfly, indicating that she’d asked for a movie night a couple times and we hadn’t done it yet. I argued that she was up late with Bestie overnight. Mr. Ink argued in Butterfly’s favor, saying that the girls had gone straight to bed exhausted from all the screaming and dancing they’d done, and he hadn’t heard another peep out of them. Not to mention the fact that she’s on spring break. So, I was quickly overruled, and we decided on Princess Bride. Miss Butterfly hadn’t seen it before. I told her that when I was her age, I’d been absolutely terrified by it, but of course she was not, thinking it quite funny. (Seriously, as a kid who watched nothing at all that was scary, the fireswamp was absolutely traumatizing.)

I continued on find your fade, assuming I’d get to add my fourth color, except that I ran out of the current color with 4.5 rows remaining on that color. I have the second skein, but I hadn’t wound it, and I wasn’t about to stop a movie to go do that. So, my Big Waffle shawl got a few unexpected rows knit on it. This morning I wound the second skein of color 3, and was able to get to the point where I added a row of color 4. That was quite satisfying. Of course, the third mystery shawl clue came out this morning, so Fade will take a back seat as I rattle off the next fun sections of the mystery shawl. Seriously, I CANNOT WAIT to get home. And I am crossing my fingers that Mr. Ink does not feel an overwhelming need to grab our bikes and go find the bike crew that will have been partying all day on bikes together while we were at work.

In other extremely exciting news, it’s official. Spring has sprung in our yard.

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I went out to take a look around yesterday, and found this gorgeous, fully opened crocus. I planted some bulbs in the fall, and they are popping up all over. It’s so exciting! I have some yellow crocuses beginning to bloom as well, and a daffodil that has almost bloomed. This is actually 2 weeks late for the daffodil, so my consternation about our mild winter actually seems to be somewhat unfounded? Though I have a different theory, I believe that I’ve disturbed and replanted those daffodil bulbs so often in the veggie garden that they had a bit more trouble this year. Actually, it looks like some tulips may show up in the veggie garden. We’ve never had tulips there before, and I did not plant them there. So, I can only imagine that they were in there, laying dormant, and waiting for that garden bed to be cleared out enough to grow. We shall see! There’s also far far more daffodils this year than there were last year, despite the fact that I spent last year digging them up and moving them to different gardens!

I’ve also noticed that one of my garden beds is far behind the others. I think it just gets too much shade this time of year, even though it won’t get a ton of shade throughout the summer. It’s just perfectly placed for the garage to shade it this time of year. The exciting part of that means I’ll have another whole crop of crocuses and springtime flowers after the first initial blast I am seeing now.

Happy Friday my friends!

Lintilla Again

Last Christmas I made black alpaca batts with pops of colored silk in them for Miss Marja’s christmas gift.

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I think there ended up being over 7 ounces or something, but I admit I didn’t pay too much attention. Since alpaca turns out not to be my favorite thing to spin, and I really can’t wear it too easily either, I was happy to make my stash of black alpaca fiber into something pretty to pass on. Miss Marja spun it into a traditional 3 ply yarn. And then I got it back, in order to knit it into a large Lintilla scarf for her.

Thing is, there were actually two skeins. One of the traditional 3 ply, and the other the remainder of the singles chain plied. Well, I really wanted to use up ALL the yarn. So I weighed my skein, and then began with the chain plied yarn. Here’s how far I got:

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And that’s when I stopped. Because I could tell that the pops of color were not going to mimic the rest of the shawl in any way. So we’d have this start with these large pops of color, and then the rest of the shawl would have well blended silk colors. I hated it. And, really, I didn’t think Miss Marja would love it either. So, I put it down and knit her reversible circles of lace, because I needed Lintilla to have a time out.

Over the weekend I yanked out this bit of knitting, balled it up, and added to it the rest of the chain plied yarn. I then asked Miss Marja if I could add the chain plied bits to my crazy mystery shawl, which she quickly said yes to. Then I got started on the latest lintilla, which looks exactly as I’d envisioned, and I am very well pleased with the project now. The photo is not the greatest due to the lack of decent light at work. But, I think you can get the idea of the blending and much more subtle color shifting that is happening now.

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In other news, Mr. Ink purchased tickets for Miss Butterfly to go see Panic at the Disco for a christmas gift. The tickets were for the three of us to go as a family. But, as the date of the concert drew closer, she decided she’d much prefer to bring a friend, and so she asked Mr. Ink if he’d be willing to take her and Bestie, rather than her and me. He thought about it for about 24 hours, and decided indeed he could do that if it would make her happy. So, I got an evening at home alone, which I promptly used to take a long, hot, relaxing bath and Miss Butterfly got to see her band the way she wanted.

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First of all, I love these two lovely, excitable, screeching, intelligent, fun girls so much. For real. They are amazing children. And the man who would take those screeching girls to see a band he doesn’t even like is pretty fantastic too. I mean, I would totally be rolling my eyes if I had to do it, but I said to him “Have fun!” a bit sarcastically, as the girls were bouncing all over the house and being loud. And his extremely genuine response was “You know I will!”

I was asleep by the time they got home, so I’ll have to hear how it went today.

I am into the third color on the find your fade shawl, so I’ll be able to grab photos of that tonight. And then tomorrow? The next clue of the marled mystery will be revealed, so you know what my weekend will consist of! I know me, and I know that I am going to be just giddy to get home on Friday to work on it! In part because it’s a Friday, and in part because the shawl has been way too much fun. Happy Thursday Friends!

Beginning to Fade

I got home a bit late yesterday, but I was definitely looking forward to it as I knew my family wouldn’t be home at that time. I needed 2 more rows to complete the lace section I was working on in Find Your Fade, and I really wanted to get that section done prior to grabbing a photo. Unfortunately, I also fell asleep on the couch in the sun. Sometimes that’s just irresistible. After a quick nap, and thanks to the fact that it’s light later now, I grabbed a photo.

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I am so pleased with this so far! I worked my way into the third color last night. Surprisingly, I really don’t love knitting the lace sections. I think it’s because they aren’t charted, and I really love to be able to “see” my lace and how everything should line up. But, thankfully, after two sections I am pretty sure I can see if I am going wrong quite a bit earlier than I could in the first section.

Other thoughts of note. I began this one with the size needles called for in the pattern. I hate how it looked, my stitches were loose and sloppy, the garter stitch looking so messy. I went down one needle size and got the above gauge, which is entirely appropriate, tidy, and pleasant. It’s so amazing to me that such a tiny difference in needle sizes could make such a dramatic difference in end product.

How did I end up with this yarn? Well, for the first time ever, a facebook ad got to me. Somehow it popped up in my feed, I fell head over heels for the color combo, researched the company Expression Fiber Arts, and found the color combo on their site. It was a pre order, it had a date listed about a month in the future as to when my yarn would be ready. It was indeed ready and shipped on the very date listed. The yarn is merino and tencel. It’s super shiny, soft, and slippery. Mr. Ink says it almost looks metallic, but that’s just the high shine of tencel. I can just tell already that this is a shawl I am going to get a ton of use out of.

My additional story of the day is about work. My boss has rheumatoid arthritis. Her shoulders often hurt. I can always tell when she’s having quite a bit of pain, though she always hides it so well. Yesterday it was cold in the office. She was out talking to us, with her suit jacket thrown over her front, holding it up to her neck with her hands. She mentioned she was cold, and I gave her a bit of a funny look, she immediately knew I knew, and she said “I am in so much pain I can’t even stand to wear my jacket, it hurts too much.” So, I pulled my insanely HUGE handspun shawl I keep at work off my chair and handed it to her. She immediately looked relieved, put it over her shoulders, and went and sat at her desk. She quickly looked so much more relaxed. The power of a hand knit, I am telling you! It’s a big deal. I told her to borrow it any time, as it just sits over the back of my chair and I rarely use it. But, now that I am thinking it through, I may eventually just make her one of her own. We’ve worked together for a good 10 years now, and have always been friends. Furthermore, her mother is a knitter and she wears her mother’s  handknits frequently, she’s certainly knit worthy.

The shawl in question:

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In any case, it felt great to be able to provide someone with a little bit of comfort during her long day. I guess that, as a knitter, is something I hope for when I give handknits away.

Circles of Lace

Miss Marja’s reversible circles of lace scarf is complete!I used every last bit of her handspun on this one, one of the distinct advantages of this particular pattern.

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Not quite sure what else to say about this one! The knit was completely unremarkable. It went perfectly smoothly. I knit it almost entirely at work during lunch breaks, and the reason it took so long is that I go out at lunchtime far more often than I used to, for my sanity. My current coworker/coworkers don’t seem to be able to exist at work without being disruptive, so headphones in and knitting isn’t a sign they read as “Leave Shells Alone.” In any case, the knit turned out fine, the yarn is lovely, and the project is finished. I think I won’t jump at doing this particular pattern again, even though it’s a very nice one. This was two circles of lace scarves in very quick succession, and I am not eager to knit it again right now.

Miss Butterfly got her best friend playing pokemon now too. Yesterday, Buterfly and Bestie were at my place, and we had to run out and get some snacks for a class party they have happening today. We headed off to the store and went shopping, of course this was punctuated by stopping frequently for Bestie to catch pokemon, along with much screeching. We then went out for coffee as well, and then did a little drive around to continue to catch pokemon. It ended up being a pretty fun afternoon with those two. I can see why Bestie’s mom always takes them shopping. It’s a great way to actually spend time with them, when at home they are just off doing their own thing. The reality is, they are both such super awesome kids that spending time with them is great fun!

The rest of the evening was completely unremarkable and quiet, which is just fine with me. I’ve got a find your fade shawl start that I will be able to show off tomorrow. I am very excited about it, and the yarn choice is downright amazing. My entire family has off work tomorrow, and I am feeling quite irritable that I still have to work. Ah well, I guess I took extra time off when I really needed it, and now that things have slowed down slightly, I am not feeling too overwhelmed anymore.

Happy Tuesday blogland!

And Again

And again with the inability to follow pattern instructions. I got almost finished with the brioche section of the mystery shawl when I realized I’d been decreasing at a rate that was double what it should have been. That was ok though, as I also wasn’t digging what I’d done with some of the colors. Ripping and restarting was a setback, but resulted in a section I prefer over what I’d had. In this section I held a grey stand of yarn throughout, adding other colors for 4 rows. I chose every 4 rows the second time around simply because it meant it was easier to keep track of my decreasing.

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The grey yarn I had been using was a gradient that ended up green, and that transition is seen at the tip of the shawl. I also used as one of my colors some silk hankies I had spun. Those are fairly textured, so it adds some interesting texture to that section.

Now, I know I said that I was only going to be using handspun for this project. But, here’s a little story. Yesterday, Miss Butterfly was very happily playing quietly in her room. It was one of those moments where I refused to disturb her as it was such quiet and productive play and she was being so good. So, any of the morning activities, chores, and errands I had planned flew right out the window. I did my own around the house chores practically tiptoeing around the house in hopes not to disturb this beautiful moment in which I was completely undisturbed. Mr. Ink was at work, so that was even less distraction than usual. At some point, Miss Butterfly had said “Mom, do you have any string I can use?” To which I laughed and said “Do *I* have any string??!?!!” And she laughed, and said “Well, I mean that I can cut up and use.” Before I was even able to stop what I was doing and get her some, she’d remembered that she has a bag full of her own that I’ve given her over the years. She showed me her bag full, and I noticed some old Noro Taiyo in there, in shades of orange, yellow, and brown. I was like “Butterfly, can I take this?!?” And she quickly said yes, they weren’t really colors she was interested in.

And that is how I ended up adding commercial yarn to my mystery shawl. I decided that my handspun yellow would work very well with the noro leftovers, and so that’s what I used for section 4.

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Definitely an interesting departure from what I had been doing. At this point, this shawl is so westknits that I am ready to call it a monstrosity. A monstrosity that no one but me would ever wear. But, there are times we knit something just for the process of knitting it, right? And this is certainly one of those examples. And honestly? The yarns I’ve used in this are entirely yarns I’ve had small bits of all skeined together waiting for something to do with them. Except every time I tried, I’d get annoyed that they weren’t all precisely the same thickness/texture. And then I would quit knitting on any pattern I began. Holding yarns double really does solve that problem. I can achieve fairly similar thickness by choosing which yarns to hold together, and I barely notice the different textures.

We did go out and see our movie yesterday, after Mr. Ink got home, and he took us out to lunch as well since he’d noticed I was in the middle of a deep cleaning of our stove. All in all, a pretty relaxing and comfortable day in our home. We’ve gotten a lot of those lately on the weekends, and I am ever so grateful!

Oh, here’s a photo of the shawl in it’s entirety so far!

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I’ve pulled out Miss Marja’s circles of lace scarf, and am hoping to find time to complete that today in between our other chores.

Fading

Well, with the westknits mystery shawl on the needles and my find your fade yarn in, seems like all I am doing is projects where colors fade into each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

I finished the first clue of the mystery shawl this morning, and grabbed a quick photo.

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I ended up grabbing a bunch more colors out of my stash. Stuff I’d thought of as usable, as well as stuff I’ve had balled up but never used and really am unsure what to do with. Adding them in as well has been great fun. Still all handspun! The next little section is brioche stitch, which I enjoy knitting quite a bit so I suspect that little section will go quickly. Then we are on to garter stitch.

I also received my find your fade shawl yarn in the mail, let me show you it!

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I saw these colors together and it was love at first sight. I kept avoiding purchasing them, but they needled me until I did. So now they are here and technically I could start this weekend if I manage to get the second clue of the mystery shawl done.

However, I am very close to being done with Miss Marja’s circles of lace scarf as well. So much so, that while I’ve been knitting on it at work, I threw it in my work bag after lunch yesterday to see if I could get it finished up. I think I’ll focus on finishing that scarf before starting find your fade shawl. I could really use a different work project, circles of lace was starting to get really old. Next up for her is a lintilla shawl out of her handspun, and I think that’ll also be  my next work project. After all, that’s a shawl I love knitting, and I think it’ll be very pleasant to have at work.

Mr. Ink ended up having to work this morning, and then decided since he has to go in anyhow, he’ll get some work done on our civic. So no movie this morning. Also, no snow this morning, the storm didn’t bother to hit us at all. As for me and Miss Butterfly, I think we’ll spend the morning getting chores done so I can feel free to knit at leisure for the rest of the weekend!

Happy Saturday friends!

Section Two

You know, for a gal who keeps saying “I am going to go straight home and knit” I don’t actually DO it very often! Yesterday was a little nutty. I’d indicated that I’d like to walk Miss Marja’s puppy Max at lunchtime, a task I do about once a week. It gets me out of the office at lunchtime, it forces me to take a walk and get fresh air, and it keeps Max comfortable with my presence, something that I expect to be helpful to Miss Marja over the years.

Well, this week and last have been so nutty that I’ve done things like switching vehicles, switching purses and work bags, etc. All to try to accommodate my busy schedule. What I failed to do yesterday was put my house keys in my work bag. Which meant, when it came time to walk Max, I didn’t have the keys to get him! So, instead we agreed I could go home after work, pick up Miss Butterfly, and then we’d head over to get Max and take him to a local park for a walk. Win win, right?

What we didn’t quite anticipate was the traffic. There was a major accident on the interstate that blocked off the interstate completely. It was causing major issues getting home, it caused major issues getting back to Marja’s, and it caused major issues going to the park. I’ve never seen traffic like that for so long without snow on the ground!

But we did make it to the park, and I think Max enjoyed both the car ride and his time with us.

We sure enjoyed our time with him! We had some trouble getting back to Miss Marja as well due to traffic, but once we left her place, the trip home was fine. And in the end, it was worth it! You can see the progression of Max’s comfort level. When we headed to the park he was like “I’ll just sit in the back, ok?” On the way home, he had his head sticking up between the front seats, so when Miss Butterfly offered a place on her lap, he hopped right up there quite contentedly.

By the time we got home it was getting a bit late. Mr. Ink headed to the store, and I had to assist Miss Butterfly with homework. Not a task we often have to do, but this time we did. I was still assisting when Mr. Ink returned home, and I was assisting when dinner was begun. After that, I worked on my part of the meal, we ate, and I looked at the clock and realized it was 9:30! So, basically after putting Miss Butterfly to bed, I fell in bed too. I’d really had enough. I am so glad today is Friday!

I did manage to get a photo of the shawl in progress though. Section 2 is seed stitch and I am nowhere near done with it. I doubt I am even halfway. But, it’s still fantastic and pretty and Clue 2 came out today and I am looking forward to figuring out what to do with colors next!

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I plan to work on weaving in the ends this weekend in addition to making progress on it. I did see a post by the designer saying that if my right side looks ok even with the yarn ends over there, it’ll be ok to leave it that way, so I did decide that I wouldn’t restart the thing.

And that’s encouraging, because you know what is scheduled to show up tonight? My find your fade shawl yarn.

So, a weekend of knitting for me. Mr. Ink wants to take us to see a movie this weekend. I suspect I’ll be bitter about heading out of the house for that too. Maybe I can take my sock and work on that during the movie to ease the pain. 🙂 We are supposed to get some snow overnight as well. I doubt it’ll stick around for any time at all, but it’s nice it will be happening at a time where we don’t have to worry about cleaning it up to get to work!