Painting Squares

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!

Painting Chevrons

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.

Painting Honeycombs

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.

In Spinning

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.

Patio Spinning

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.

This has a nice gradient color and I do plan to chain ply it to preserve the color changes. It’s also a little thicker than I usually spin so it should make a nice fluffy yarn.

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.

I got it started but by the time I quit it was too dark to take a photo. But it was really delightful to be able to sit outside working on a little spinning after all the heat we’ve been having. I hope for more of the same tonight but the temps are back up today and it doesn’t seem likely.

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!

Painting Columns

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!

This first one I chose to knit is Painting Columns. The majority of this yarn is knitpicks palette I had in stash. I’d been saving that yarn for ages to knit some colorwork mittens or a hat. But, I never got around to it, never became inspired to do it, so I decided that this could be used another way. The faded blue is handspun that I created years ago. It is woad dyed, and a fair amount of the woad dye washed out, or lightened, when I washed the shawl. I knew that it would as I had not rinsed the skein after dyeing it.

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.

Yard Spinning

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.

Painting Shawls, Works in Progress

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.

Quadrangle Spires

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.

It was actually too large for me to photograph horizontally so I chose instead to get a photo of each side.

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.

More Fenced Yard Spinning

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!

Fenced Yard Spinning

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 then plied those singles into a lovely 3 ply sock weight yarn, adding 785 yards to my yarn stash. Isn’t it gorgeous? If the weather holds, I may not get a lot of inside work done this summer. In fact, I am already off and running with my next project.

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!

A Spring Thing

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!

Showcasing Handspun

I finished a little knitting project recently.

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.

Coaster Obsession

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.

Entrelac Addiction

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.

Entrelac

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.

Back to some knitting content

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!

Handspun Strider

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!

And Another

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.

Merry Christmas!

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.

Just doing a little knitting

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.

A New Quadri

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.

Handspun Find Your Fade

I’ve always wanted to knit another find your fade shawl. I really enjoyed the first one I knit years ago and I wear it often to work in the winter. In June of this year I began another out of handspun I had in stash. I used 5 of my own handspun yarns and two of Miss Marja’s handspun yarns. The thing is, I finished the shawl ages ago but the final color I used was not tonally correct for the shawl and I hated it. After blocking the shawl, I couldn’t take a picture of it and blog about it or consider it finished because I couldn’t appreciate the way it looked.

Well, I’ve had this week off, and one of the tasks I put on my personal to do list was to sort out the find your fade shawl. I ripped out the final color that I hated and then picked up all the live stitches. Then I found a new yarn in my stash that I figured would look more tonally appropriate and knit it back in. I was thankful to really appreciate the final product.

This shawl is massive and interesting, a real highlight of all those handspun yarns! I love it. I am so glad that I get to add this to the list of finished objects I created this year.

A Little Brioche

I’ve been rearranging my craft room and decided that I needed a quick and fun knit that would use up yarn that I’d already wound into a ball but never knit with. Mostly because I wanted to reclaim the space. So, I decided on a very simple brioche knit scarf. 2 balls of yarn eliminated from my stash and a pretty nice scarf in the donate bin.

I often knit simple items and donate them to our dog rescue to use in raffles. This is the perfect item for that, it’s simple, lovely, squishy, and will likely be appreciated by someone. Both yarns are handspun. I’d do another right quick, but just can’t manage to bring myself to cast on another quite yet.

Progress and Mystery Knitting

I had determined I’d do the westknits mystery shawl this fall. It started on the 8th. So, I’ve been working on that, though the first clue is not yet done.

Between the time I decided to do the mystery knit and the time the mystery knit started, I decided to focus on my quadri shawl (scarf) in progress. I had been feeling like I wasn’t actually making much progress and not doing much knitting, but then I looked at the previous photo. Most of the turquoise and all of the grey was not there before. So, I did make some good steady progress while waiting for the mystery knit to start.

Now it’s a bit on the back burner while I work on the mystery shawl, but I am super glad to have made forward movement with it!

Projects In Progress

Back when we were about to head out on our white water rafting trip I knew that there would be 2 commercial plane rides and 3 tiny charter flights total in order to access the trip. Plus, there was the trip itself, which would have downtime in the evenings while camping. It had been suggested that some sort of craft would be a good thing to bring along in order to stay occupied.

I did not want to bring multiple projects or anything particularly large. So, I chose some laceweight handspun singles from my stash and began working on a stole. I figured that this would be the best bang for my buck when it comes to high yardage that would also pack small.

I went back through projects I’ve already knit looking for something with interest but that was easy to memorize and something I also wore often enough to enjoy having a second in my stash. I ended up settling on the Quadri Shawl which I knit out of handspun in 2016 and tend to wear regularly in the winter. It’s mostly stockinette or reverse stockinette with a few pops of squares that are “navajo knitting” which, quite frankly, is a term that probably is incorrect. More like chain ply knitting. In any case, I enjoyed it back then and I figured I’d enjoy it this time as well.

Obviously an unblocked lace piece isn’t all that indicative of what a project will eventually look like, but here we are. The handspun is a gradient piece spun from a gradient batt so it’s been enjoyable to watch the colors change. The bulk of this I knit on the trip itself but recently I picked it back up to knit a few rows. The turquoise section is what I’ve done recently.

This is the piece which I will occupy my time with until the new westknits mystery knit along begins.

A Finish

I saw that the next westknits mystery knit along begins in October. I haven’t been knitting at all. But I wasn’t knitting that much last year either but I really loved the westknits shawl. So, I thought maybe this is the opportunity I have to be inspired. I already purchased the pattern and am waiting for the first clue. I still have to purchase yarn.

But, I figured if I signed up for that, I should also maybe give a little attention to my knitting projects. So I finished one.

To be honest, that’s not as big of a deal as it might seem. This project was about 10 rows from being done since June. June!

It’s a sock head slouch hat but knit out of handspun yarn. The yarn is Miss Marja’s handspun. I had knit on it at work off and on but at the point at which the decreases began, I brought it home because I knew it would need double pointed needles which I don’t keep at work. And there it sat not getting finished for months. Never mind, it’s done now! And I really like it. It’s very pretty!

The Quick Long Project

Hi all, I am back again today with another finished object, who would have known?

I started this one row scarf ages ago, it’s Miss Marja’s handspun and it’s a pretty bulky yarn. You would think it would be a very quick project, maybe a week or two worth of work. And yet, I started it at the beginning of February and only just finished last weekend.

Because it sat at work, and I didn’t knit on it more than a few rows here and there. There was a point at which I realized that I was close to finishing, and that was the point I brought it home and finished within an evening.

Anyhow, that’s that, I don’t have much more to say about this squishy scarf that took me far too long to knit!

Finished Cozy Corner

I began a cozy corner shawl at the beginning of March, and it’s really been my only lives at home knitting project for the entire 3 months that it took to knit it. It is done!

This is all handspun yarn, the gray that I used as the main color was spun from a fleece I processed myself. I can say, one thing about fleece processing is that it always gave me loads and loads of yarn even though it took ages to create! It’s tempting to do another fleece some time in the future. It has been MANY Years!

The colors are from yarn Miss Marja spun and gave to me. I ended up using two of her projects in this piece. And I didn’t even finish the pattern, I ended up finishing early because I didn’t have any more appropriate handspun colored pieces to use. The shawl is immense anyhow!

This was a pleasant, easy, fun knit. I did enjoy it quite a lot! I just kind of threw in colors as I saw fit with very little rhyme or reason. If I had to do it all over again, I might just do a solid colored icord edge instead of striping the icord bind off. I would knit it again though, simply because it was fairly simple and comfortable to create.

It is consistently amazing even after all these years just how much garter stitch grows when soaked and blocked. This shawl ended up being so large once complete!

In the end, a large project knit over the span of 3 months now complete. And the hard part becomes what to knit next!

More on Spinning

In keeping with yesterday’s color scheme, I also spun 8 oz. of yarn on support spindles. Then I plied into a 3 ply yarn. I ended up with 1,020 yards which is really a heck of a lot.

This is from the dearly departed crown mountain farms. It’s been years and years since they were in business and yet I still try to grab their dyed fiber from destashes when I can.