I’ve been working on the Painting Diamonds shawl since August. A lot has happened since August! This shawl was one which I was keeping at work and knitting on during work breaks. So while it would not have taken quite so long if it were at home, I rather enjoy the gentle progress of a work shawl.
I chose a hot pink main color for this and then used handspun yarns for the contrast colors. Predominately those colors are purple and teal. It is exceedingly cold here right now, and snowy, so I did not take a photo outside.
This is the 8th shawl out of the 13 in the book. I have already started on shawls 9 and 10. This is the second shawl I chose a “hot” or neon color as a main color in order to keep things rather interesting. While it’s a rather bold and wild color, I do appreciate the brightness of it!
I am once again showing off a shawl completed from the Painting Shawls book. This is number 7 out of the 13 in the book that I plan to complete. In this one, I used all handspun from stash. The main color is a red mohair I spun ages ago and I have enough for like 5 shawls probably. Hah. In any case I am glad to have gotten use out of it for this, and I may choose to use this color again paired with something else in the future for another shawl from the book.
This is a very large shawl, and due to the snow I could not just spread it out on the ground so I have Miss Butterfly holding it. To compliment the red main color I chose three different handspun colors all within the warm orangey and brown fall tones family. I think that turned out very well in this case.
I am very close to finishing my painting diamonds shawl as well, though it sits at work for lunchtime break knitting. That’s why it has taken me so long to finish it. I began the painting rainbows shawl for at home and am really enjoying that one as well, but it’ll be ages before it’s done. There aren’t too many shawls out of the book to finish at this point!
Is it a SIP when stitching instead of a WIP? Probably not, work in progress still seems like the right option. In any case, knowing that I have a rather intense obsession with my stitching right now, I carved out Saturday to just be around the house so I could do quite a lot of it.
I was so excited for the weekend! I absolutely have a lot of renewed energy for crafting right now. I am still knitting! But my focus really has been on stitching.
I managed to finish a jar, then finish a pink flower, and then finish a pretty yellow flower this weekend. Then I began another jar. I stitched a ton on Saturday, but Sunday was busy taking down christmas decor and going for a bike ride, another hobby of mine I am trying to focus on again this year. I still got a fair amount of stitching done though.
Our firestick broke this weekend, leaving us without the ability to watch TV, which worked in the favor of stitching. I can’t really work on my stitching without a magnifier and light so I really only work on that in one room. That is not the room we watch TV in, it’s my craft room. When we watch TV, that’s the point at which I’ve been knitting. So, rather than knitting, that time has also been devoted to stitching.
So, much progress was made this weekend and I am absolutely delighted by the yellow flower. 2 more jars of flowers on this left side to work after the current jar in progress. Though honestly, the flowers for the last jar on the left really seem like they’ll be intense! In any case I am really having a lovely time with this project and am not feeling like I really just gotta start something new. Which is good, I’d like to keep it to one project at a time plus my temperature tree rather than having a bunch of projects going at once.
We will see how long this obsession continues, currently what, like 3 weeks strong?
A few weeks ago I finished another shawl from the Westknits painting shawls book. This one is called Painting Lines. I purchased the main color for the project but then used a number of different scrap yarns in my collection. Some were handspun, some were commercial yarns, and a few were even hand dyed by me. I started by incorporating all of these colors into the shawl. Then I used the Tiny Decisions app to create a color wheel of all the scrap yarns. I then used this randomizer to choose the next color. The only rule was that I would spin the wheel a second time if the wheel lined up the same color in a row. This kept the shawl very interesting, perhaps even one of my most interesting knits of the year.
It was rather a long knit but I didn’t get tired of it at all.
So, with that, I have completed 6 of the 13 shawls out of the book this year. My ultimate goal is to knit every pattern in the book and to also use stash yarn as often as is logical to do so. I currently have painting diamonds on the needles, again with a purchased main color but stash yarn as the contrast colors. And I’ve got painting bricks on the needles which is entirely out of handspun stashed yarn. But, I will be unable to complete either of these before the new year. So I pause at 6 shawls from the book thus far.
Another shawl from the Painting Shawls book complete. This is the 5th out of 13 so I am moving right along. Painting waves was a good easy knit that was quite enjoyable.
The main color is jojoland harmony reclaimed from a sweater I never wore. It goes from blue to purple to lavender. The contrast color is handspun yarn, this one:
Working with two yarns that had moving colors was an interesting endeavor. I liked not having to think about a color pattern, instead just using the two yarns and letting them do all the color change work.
I am off and running on the next shawl from the book and looking forward to seeing how that one will turn out as well!
As I have done in past years, I enjoyed participating in this year’s westknits mystery knit along. From the beginning I figured the shawl would be different than other years as it really did seem to use less yarn, or at least fewer colors. That was indeed the case.
I went with a fall theme really, I had been choosing colors that looked autumnal to me at the time. I think maybe I may have veered pretty far into the Halloween direction. But I do appreciate the color scheme.
I enjoyed the different various elements to this shawl and I am glad I knit it!
My absolute favorite part are these icord embellishments woven into the antler cables.
The braided pieces were my other favorite new technique, it really gives the shawl a unique texture.
I’ve knit tons of twisted stitches before but I wanted to get a close up of that element to the shawl as well.
This was a really enjoyable knit, titled Twists and Turns. The westknits mystery shawls are always so well thought out and planned. There’s never a technique that feels unapproachable since there’s entire youtube videos to go with every new technique and transition.
Now that this shawl is complete I am back to working my way through the westknits shawl book titled Painting Shawls. I have two in progress, Painting Waves and Painting Diamonds. I am about midway through both, and it’s entirely possible that they’ll wrap up around the same time.
I finished another pattern from the Painting Shawls book, this one is called Painting Squares.
I used handspun for the accent color. The main color is yarn I reclaimed from an old tank top I knit years ago. I thought it was a fairly decent repurpose of the color. The color scheme is far more muted than I would typically choose but I am really enjoying the result.
This is the fourth out of 13 shawls from the painting shawls book. I have the 5th on the needles but am also working on the westknits mystery shawl so I don’t anticipate being done any time soon with either of them. Nevertheless, I am enjoying all the new techniques and color play happening with all of these patterns!
I finished my third shawl out of the Painting Shawls book. I have decided to knit all 13 so only 10 more to go! To add a bit of interest I decided to use a neon yellow as a framing color. I feel certain that many of my shawls will have neutral or subdued framing colors so choosing something really different appealed to me.
For the other colors I used a combination of my handspun yarns, Miss Marja’s handspun yarns, my hand dyed yarns, and commercial yarns.
This was a genuinely fun knit and I am glad I gave it a try.
I immediately cast on for two new shawls out of the same book, one to work on during work lunch breaks and the other to keep at home. The two I am now working on are painting diamonds and painting squares. They are going well! I’ll have to remember to get some progress photos. But, I do also intend to take a bit of a break once the fall mystery knit along begins.
In my ongoing but somewhat delayed goal of knitting all the shawls in the Painting Shawls book, I finally finished the second out of thirteen projects. This is painting honeycombs (small) shawl.
I used alpaca from my stash, it’s been in my stash for over 10 years. I paired that with a recently finished handspun 3 ply and I just knit the pattern until I was out of handspun.
I worked on this project during my work lunches which means that it’s hard to get sick of it since it’s just a “bite or two” at a time. An hour here, and hour there. But I admit I was pretty glad when it was done as it felt like it was dragging on.
Oddly, the day I finished this I soaked and blocked it and then sat down and finished my third shawl out of the book. I’d been keeping that one at home to work on but have had so much other stuff going on that it took me an equal amount of time to finish. It’ll be a while before I have a place to block that shawl so I won’t be able to post it for a bit.
I did start my 4th shawl from the book over the weekend so that I could bring it to work for my newest lunch knitting project. And, if I have time this evening I’ll start the 5th shawl from the book to have as my at home project. However, I see that westknits mystery shawl info is going to come out soon, and I do plan to take a break and do the westknits mystery shawl again this year. We will see how far I get on shawl 4 and 5 before that consumes my knitting time.
I’ve been doing a fair bit of patio plying over the past few weeks despite the fact that we have newborn puppies in our home. For the first two weeks, Mama dog did the vast majority of the work, we were mostly there for clean up duty and to keep mom hydrated and fed.
I had been working on this large two braid combo spin for ages. I made a 2 ply yarn out of it, and there’s over 1700 yards of laceweight now.
While I had been letting the singles rest for the above project I began spinning the singles of a loop bump I had recently purchased. Once I finished the laceweight plying I immediately chain plied the loop singles so that I could finish a second yarn.
I think this one turned out very pretty even though it is by no means perfect. I took such a long spinning break that much of my yarn feels like I am trying to recapture skills I once had. Which is fine, there’s only one way to recapture that and it is to practice. The yarn is a worsted weight though it does have a fair bit of variation.
The past couple of evenings we’ve had some very decent weather so we have been able to spend a little time outside.
I’ve been working on a loop bump while resting the singles I’d been working on previously. I finished the singles for the loop bump last evening.
Once finishing the loop singles, I set them aside to rest and pulled out the singles I’d been working on in order to ply them for a 2 ply laceweight yarn.
Meanwhile we are still on puppy watch and our Fishbone foster is still cooking them with no signs of giving birth yet. She’s getting larger and doing all that a normal pregnant mama dog does. We can see the babies moving when she’s hanging out on the couch so they are clearly gaining strength as well. We are kind of hoping they keep cooking through the weekend, but I think we’ll likely be cutting it close.
Meanwhile she is doing a great job learning our routines and fitting into our family. She is a little nervous but has gained a lot of confidence in the past week and a half. She’s now happily playing with chew toys and is happy to go outdoors when it is time instead of trying to hide inside. And she’s just so very cute!
I mentioned in a previous post that it is my intention to knit all the shawls in the Painting Shawls book, all 13 of them. And I just finished the first!
I do not typically knit half circle shawls, so I forgot how long the last rows take. They feel like they are flying along pretty well until you get toward the end and then suddenly it’s such a slog! My next pattern from this book will be a scarf or stole, so that I do not have to deal with the increases and then sloginess of the last rows of a shawl. Particularly a half circle shawl!
But all in all, I am pleased with this project and I am glad I started on this 13 shawl endeavor.
Spinning has slowed down some due to a number of factors. First, the storms. We’ve just been having severe storm after severe storm and in between, high heat and humidity. These things don’t leave time for patio and fenced yard spinning.
Also, we’ve been busy! Transporting rescue dogs, getting stuff done around the house, working, volunteering, agility classes. Just busy!
I wanted to spin yesterday but we got hit by another surprise storm that left all the patio furniture soggy, so I did not. I won’t have the opportunity this evening either.
So, here’s where I am with my current project.
This is two different colorways of fiber, but I’ve combined them again as they are close enough to look nice together. I am working on a 2 ply laceweight yarn, and with 8 ounces of it, the yardage will be very high on this one. Since I only have half the singles done, I know it’s going to be a long time until I am done with this project but I am so excited to find out what it looks like when it is plied up! I really do hope I can find some time to work on this project this weekend.
I had such a delightful time with my Quadrangle Spires shawl that I purchased the Painting Shawls book so that I could continue to knit westknits patterns and stash bust with them. My intention is to work my way through all 13 patterns. I have no idea how long that will take but I do know that I have enjoyed my westknits projects more than anything else I’ve knit over the past few years.
Now that I am doing way more spinning than I was previously over the past few years I am already concerned about the potential yarn stash growth. I had knit down and given away my stash to a point of…relative comfort in the room which I am using as my craft room. I really don’t want it to expand, I still want to keep knitting it away.
So, I immediately started contemplating how to choose the first pattern I would knit out of this book. I had some great suggestions from friends on FB. I landed on starting with the small honeycombs shawl since there are two honeycomb shawls and I am unlikely to want to knit them back to back.
It took me some time to land on an appropriate yarn pairing but I ended up using some undyed alpaca as the solid color and one of my most recent handspun yarns as the colorful accent. I really enjoyed knitting this, but ended up bringing it to work to work on during my lunch breaks as I didn’t have a work project.
Then I went stash diving again the next evening to see what I could come up with for the painting columns shawl, and that’s what I’ve been working on all weekend. For this one, the yarns are all knitpicks palette I had in stash except for one handspun of mine which I woad dyed pretty early on in the pandemic.
This one has gotten quite a lot of progress as it rained a bunch this weekend and I ended up indoors more than expected. Since taking this picture I finished the current section and am on to the next. Of course there are a whole lot of stitches on the needles now, so progress is a lot slower than it was! But I am already contemplating which will be the third shawl in this series since this one is knitting up so quickly.
I finished my quadrangle spires shawl and it was an absolute joy to knit from start to finish. I just couldn’t get enough of the pairing of the handspun yarn and the light color framing it.
This project sent me down the rabbit hole-I purchased the Painting Shawls book and have now started two of the 13 patterns out of that book, with the full intention of knitting all of them. These are the shawls that are really inspiring me lately and they are fantastic stash busters as well.
Spinning in my fenced yard has been so enjoyable and productive! I went back and looked at what I’d spun over the previous 3 years and it averaged to one skein of yarn per year. There were many times I thought perhaps I should sell my spinning wheel. But the answer was just to give myself a place to be outside safely with my dogs.
I finished this 3 ply combo spin, 655 yards. I realized at this point that my skills were rusty. Not surprising considering the very long break. This yarn is either DK or worsted weight, I didn’t check. it’s certainly not sock weight yarn.
Over the past year I had been working on spinning some singles onto support spindles but never completed or plied the project. While I was plying the above project I decided to complete the singles so that I’d be ready to ply that skein as well.
This is a sock weight 2 ply yarn, 625 yards. It’s a great blurple color with lovely bits and bobs in it.
I immediately grabbed 2 more bumps of fiber for another combo spin and got started. 8 ounces of fiber spun into 2 ply laceweight will definitely take me a bit longer than these projects have!
At the end of last year I began to ask myself what changed? Why was it that while I used to sit outside spinning for hours on end previously, I never did anymore, and basically only spun about a skein of yarn a year? Why was it that my motivation for spinning utterly tanked?
The answer was a number of things. First of all, I realized at some point last year that my eyesight was failing and getting that taken care of did help me commit more time to the crafts I enjoyed. Second, I do have a lot of hobbies which take away from some I used to do regularly, like spinning. Thirdly, when I foster rescue dogs I do almost no crafting whatsoever as I am busy training and caring for the foster and my own dogs. And fourthly, we got dogs without a fenced yard, and so when Mr. Ink was outside which was all the time since he loves working in the yard, then I was inside with the dogs. This was when we had a discussion about fencing in the yard.
And it worked!
Just as soon as the yard was fenced I wanted to Be Outside, and was able to spin 6 ounces of singles within the first few days.
I am doing a combo spin, with these two colors. It’s a bit of a stretch, I generally keep tones more similar on a combo spin. But I wanted to change it up this time. I have a total of 10 ounces of these, so it’ll be a pretty large project when all is said and done. I have one bobbin out of 3 spun into singles. But, vacation is over, I am back to being quite busy, the weather is cooler again (not sad about that really) and it’s going to rain for a few days. So my progress has slowed. But soon, soon I’ll be back on the patio spinning while my dogs play in the yard!
Over the years, really since 2009, I’ve been making christmas stockings for new arrivals in our family, as well as for decor for our own home and a few other pieces for fund raisers and so on. I was surprised to find out that my brother will be welcoming his fourth child in July and the first thing my sister in law asked for was a christmas stocking for the next baby. So I got right to work on the 29th stocking I’ve knit since 2009. To be honest, the pattern is getting a little old and I would prefer not to be knitting them anymore, but I’ve got a reputation and a tradition to uphold. So, I got to work, with the intention to get the stocking done before my parents arrived for Miss Butterfly’s graduation.
I was successful, and yesterday this stocking headed back to the east coast to be provided for the family anticipating their latest arrival. Done and dusted, at least for now.
And I’ve got so much to blog about, and yet, it has been WAY too busy to get that done. I’ll start with what is likely the biggest news in my life, Miss Butterfly, my lovely daughter, graduated from High School. She graduated with Excellence, meaning that she completed over 100 hours of community service. She did that two ways, she volunteered very regularly before the pandemic at a fairly nearby YMCA camp, and she also earned a lot of these volunteer hours with the dog rescue we work with. To be honest she completed far more than 100 hours but that was the cut off for her “excellence” designation. Here she is, below, at her graduation party with her boyfriend and dearest friend.
I am not entirely sure what her future holds right now, but she’s got herself a thriving little business of pet sitting so that’s what she’s doing at the moment. In fact, she’s so busy with it that she often has to have someone cover her overlapping days. But folks really want to use her services and are very pleased with what she’s able to provide their pets.
In related news, she’s taken up crochet. I taught her to chain stitch and then she took it from there, and she’s created these two items:
There’s a ton more to post about so hopefully I’ll keep up the momentum and get it all written down now that the graduation and party are over with.
Recently there was a spring sale on Westknits patterns. I decided that since some of my most favorite projects over the past 2ish years have been Westknits mystery knit alongs, I’d indulge in one of these patterns. I ended up choosing Quadrangle Spires. I had a nice chunk of handspun I’d created out of Loop! batts years ago and I wanted to knit it into something interesting.
Since I really wanted to use yarn from stash, I went looking for an appropriate pairing. I did not have a large amount of a solid color in the yarn weight I needed, so instead I decided to hold 3 strands of undyed laceweight yarn together. One strand is alpaca and the other two are cotton.
Honestly this combo isn’t the most ideal, but it is using up some of my stash. And that, for me, is a big win right now.
This is the middle section of the scarf. Each triangle is knit building on the previous triangle, and then the square is seamed together in one section. Sort of like piecing a quilt. I didn’t love the seaming, and I did have a nightmare last evening that I had done a very poor job on it, but ultimately it looks great and I have moved on to the next section. And it holds true that I am enjoying this pattern very well!
It’s a cowl, or infinity scarf. I used two different yarns, one is a laceweight alpaca yarn from knitpicks I purchased probably in 2007. The other is an absolutely beautiful handspun with a lot of amazing texture and color. The yarn was spun by Miss Marja, and this cowl will go to her. I wanted to really showcase the amazing yarn, so pairing it with the laceweight really works well.
I am kind of working my way through stash yarn that is already wound into yarn cakes as it frees up more storage space in my craft yarn. Both of these yarns were already wound, so I appreciated getting them knit into something. Trouble is, that something is now sitting in my craft room taking up a different type of space, so I need to get this to its new home soon.
A few years back for my wedding I knit a bunch of coasters out of leftover sock yarn. These served as party favors. We planned out wedding in the span of 3 months so I really had to hustle on knitting them while also doing the hard work of wedding planning. Thankfully it was a very small wedding and I did finish them.
It was a fun project and I am glad I knit them, I still hear about guests who are using them in their home. I only retained one of them but I do still have it.
Recently I donated a bunch of handknit scarves to our dog rescue to be used in gift baskets which will be raffled as a fund raiser. I’ve done this for the past 4 years I believe and was glad to do so again.
I also recently cleaned out and organized my bin of scrap sock yarn which got me thinking that perhaps I should knit a few more coasters for next year’s fundraiser. I think that coasters would be even better in gift baskets. So I started knitting…
I think I can package these up in groups of 4, trying to keep colors fairly consistent, and wrap them in something like recycled sari silk or twine and they should be fun additions to gift baskets.
The obsession has abated somewhat and I am on to my next project but I anticipate going back to these from time to time this year. I think they’ll make a great little knitting palate cleanser.
I am suffering from a bit of an entrelac pattern addiction and it isn’t showing much sign of stopping right now. I recently finished this handspun entrelac scarf, and then went on to finish the handspun entrelac scarf below.
The top handspun scarf is out of my own wild handspun yarn, very bright and goofy. The bottom one is out of Miss Marja’s handspun yarn, much more subtle.
I’ve got yet another entrelac scarf on the needles now, out of Noro yarn. Then I think I can settle down and knit something else.
It’s been about 2 years since I’ve knit anything entrelac. I had been thinking recently that I’d like to do another entrelac scarf. So I pulled out some handspun I spun years ago. It is a 3 braid combo, I combined 3 braids in different colorways that were similarly toned. I mixed up all the colors in all three braids and then spun a 3-ply yarn. I have loved the yarn from the start but never could figure out what to knit out of it.
I am fairly certain I never could figure that out because this is what I was supposed to knit out of that yarn.
When one has been knitting as long as I have, it’s easy to knit to pass the time but not be overly thrilled with the results. We all get jaded over long periods of time. But every once in a while a project comes along where the results are quite thrilling, and that’s the case for this one. I love this. I can’t wait to wear it. It’s rich in color and feel. It’s beautiful and interesting. The color combinations thrill me. It is perfect.
So perfect and enjoyable that I immediately chose two more handspun yarns and case on for two more entrelac scarves. I gotta say, the color situation is not nearly so thrilling in either project! In one, the color changes are longer so the colors are blockier and less subtle. In the other, the color changes are shorter and so each square works through a few different colors making it quite the mash up of color in general. I am going to keep knitting both projects until they are done but it’s definitely a different feel than this project.
This has actually been done for a bit but it took me time to get it blocked and then even longer to get it photographed. The good news is I’ve noticed the days getting longer again, something I am very pleased to see!
This is the knit night scarf which I’ve knit a few times before. I made it out of Miss Marja’s handspun yarn.
I took some artistic liberty with the border on this one, and by artistic liberty I mean that I didn’t bother to follow the pattern and do it correctly, only noticing once it was too late. No matter, it won’t be noticeable to the untrained eye!
This is my last in a group of hand knit items I have finished recently. It took me time to block them so I ended up batch blocking them and then waiting until I was home during the light of day to take photographs. I’ve actually been working on this one for a long time as it was my work project. Now that it’s complete, I need to choose something else for work. Except that I am not working this week anyhow. This is a strider scarf which shows off the self striping of handspun yarn beautifully. This was a handspun yarn of Miss Marja’s.
We have a foster dog coming in a few days. I always notice that when we have foster dogs, I tend not to knit as I am too busy training, worrying, assessing, and intervening. So there will definitely be a slowing of all these things in the upcoming weeks while we have her. And yes, of course I will post a photo as I like to document our fosters at least once on the blog!
After finishing the handspun paintbox cowl I immediately cast on another one. I just had enjoyed the first one so much! This one was made out of two different handspun yarns. The grey was one of my handspun yarns and the accent color is one of Miss Marja’s handspun yarns.
I like the final product on this one even more than the previous paintbox cowl! This one turned out really interesting and pretty. I maintain that this pattern is a joy to knit and I will absolutely do another one.
We’ve had a lot going on this fall, and we are kind of just…not doing christmas this year. It was too much to try to plan for a family who is just on the struggle bus. Next year, if things are going a bit better, we’ll do it up right.
But as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been doing some knitting. I made a paintbox cowl out of a handspun yarn paired with a commercial hand dyed yarn.
The handspun yarn is comparatively chunky so it has an interesting effect compared to the evenness of the commercial yarn. I enjoyed this cowl so much that I immediately cast on for another one.
Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. Turns out when you can see your stitches, your desire to knit might increase again.
I knit this pioneer braid scarf out of Miss Marja’s handspun yarn at the beginning of the month. It knit up super fast but I didn’t have the opportunity to block it and get a decent photo until just now. This is such an easy and pleasant knit that I may do another pretty soon.
Over the summer when I knew we were traveling to Idaho for a wilderness trip, I decided I needed a knitting project to take. I also knew I wanted something with the lightest weight yarn possible and a project that would take a good amount of time. I did not want to stress that I would be finished before the trip was done. And indeed, I did not have to stress about that.
Instead, it took me until last week to finally finish. To be fair, this got set down for multiple other projects since the trip. But I have finally pushed through to finish it up.
The yarn is handspun from a batt which I spun in a gradient. So I took photos of the scarf from both ends, plus one close up shot of the texture.
This is one of those knits where I am kind of like “Yep, good project, glad it’s done.” There’s not that much excitement over it, but I am glad it served its purpose this summer and provided me with a good deal of entertainment value.