Mesa Wingspan and Fingerless Gloves

I finished the latest Wingspan shawl, in KnitPicks Chroma Fingering weight yarn.  The colorway is Mesa.  I love the way it turned out, but I was absolutely on the edge of my seat as I finished, I was quite uncertain whether or not I’d have enough yarn.

Ravelry has a lot of these shawls made in the same yarn, with comments by the knitters about having 6 inches of yarn left.  I just can’t take that kind of stress!  I ended up with 3.3 yards of extra yarn.

Someone who loves the desert southwest would really enjoy this!  Many folks who saw me knitting this at Panera this week stated “that reminds me of New Mexico”.

I also put up a new Etsy listing this morning.  It’s a super snuggly pair of fingerless gloves.

The yarn is a wool, alpaca and silk blend, slightly nubbly.  Very toasty and soft, some lucky buyer will be very happy with them.

The entrelac scarf I put in the Etsy shop just the other day sold today to a lovely lady all the way in Australia!  I know she’ll really love it and treasure it for years. We are already planning another one in a different Noro yarn.  Cheryl likes doing entrelac and we both love the results (as do so many fashionistas).  I will be learning entrelac soon.  Stay tuned for that drama.

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Frosty Times Two

It’s that time of year again, we had our first frost of the season Sunday evening.  It was mildly surprising to wake up see frost, it’s just a bit early for us this year, our usual frost date is Oct 11, we were three days ahead of schedule.  I guess that a pretty average date for the first frost, after our horrendously hot and dry summer.  Nice to see things are back to normal (I hope).

This weekend’s project will be cleaning out the garage so at least two cars can get in.  Craig was already complaining today (second frosty morning in a row) that he is tired of scraping his car.

Cecily will have to learn to get up a bit early and go out and start her car so she can see to drive to high school.  I remember the days of stumbling out of bed (college days for me), going out into the freezing Chicago dawn and getting the car going.  Don’t miss that at all!

Garage tidying is a good kid project, there is always a teenager around here looking to earn a buck or two!

My second frosty item is my Frosty Scarf in my Etsy shop.

Here are a couple of pictures showing the lovely color transitions and texture.

It’s a beauty and I’m very happy with it!

I’m hoping to finish the Wingspan shawl (although it is really more of a large scarf) today.  Then I plan to finish up something I dropped in mid-project, a mohair scarf.

I don’t really enjoy working with mohair, it can be  a bit tricky to see the stitches. In the past I haven’t enjoying wearing mohair as I find it a bit tickly, but it is very pretty and ethereal in a garment.  I adore the way it floats around the wearer!  I believe I will try to wear it again and see what happens.

HoHo and Milo Mitts

Here is my next Wingspan, using Knitpicks Chroma Fingering, in the Mesa Colorway.  Loving it!  These are like potato chips for me, I can’t make just one.  I wasn’t very happy as I was knitting along early in the shawl and came to a knot where the color changed very abruptly and the direction of the color changes started going backwards.  Not sure how this will look, there’s just no way to tell until I knit quite a lot more.  Very annoying.  Otherwise, I do like this yarn, it’s super soft!

HoHo decided he needed to supervise the photography.  He is another rescue, from the first litter of kittens from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control that I fostered for reTails.  He was very, very sick with distemper as a baby, I had to syringe feed him for over a week (what a mess that was), so he’s kind of my special boy now.  His official name is Hermes, but that group turned into HoHo, PoPo (Poseidon), FroFro (Aphrodite), and NoNo (Apollo), the other two kittens, Zeus and Artemis, died of distemper.  The four survivors were also sick, but pulled through.  There were a lot of tears shed (by me) during this time!  The whole month of June 2010 was given over to kitten intensive care, including several meds, nebulizer treatments, force feedings, cleaning three times a day horribly frightening eyes that I was sure were going to be removed in the end (none were, unbelievably).  NoNo was never in good health, we adopted him also, he developed FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) this time last year and died.  I can’t believe it’s been a year!  He was 18 months old.  It was heartbreaking.  But, I’d do it all again in a minute.

According to the reTails database, I have fostered over 100 cats for them in the last 2.5 years.  Many litters of kittens have grown up a little bit here.

Almost all of my fosters have been darling, loveable cats with great personalities, I never had another litter do as poorly as the first one, thank heavens.   Fostering has been one of the best experiences of my life.

I have only one foster right now, he is Milo Mitts, around 12 years old, very sweet, even though his gene pool is a bit shallow (as we joke), he has a very odd build, a very awkward walk and crazy staring eyes that seem to look in different directions.  He’s very, very sweet and just spends most of his day napping – no trouble at all.  He likes laps and being held like a baby!

There is an animal rescue group near you that needs fosters badly.  Please consider saving a life if you can.

Beginnings and Endings

I’ve been looking at a newish knitting book (published 2012), Cast On, Bind Off, subtitled 54 Step–by-Step Methods, by Leslie Ann Bestor.

What a great cover! This book contains 33 casts ons and 21 bind offs.  It seems it’s easier to begin a knitting project than to finish one!  I know I start more than I complete.  My UFO pile (unfinished objects for you non-knitters) grows continously.  Maybe someday I will take a couple of hours and rip all that stuff out, as I’m obviously not going to finish most of them.  I have good intentions, but if something sits incomplete for over a year, the bloom is kind of gone for me.

The first cast on I learned, the Backward Loop, is in this book, of course, as it’s probably the cast on everyone used to learn first – although it’s certainly not the “best”.  It’s easy to do, but really shouldn’t be a commonly used beginning for almost anyone, it’s main use is adding stitches to a work already in progress.  I didn’t learn that for a while and my early projects have pretty cruddy beginning edges.

For a long time I used a plain Long Tail cast on, and that became my very favorite, until I began making a lot of items for which the pattern began “cast on 307 stitches” or some similar number.  I quickly got tired of running out of yarn before I got all stitches cast on, so I knew some other method had to be more appropriate for things like this. Nowadays  I almost always use a Knitted cast on, which I find easy to do, depending on the yarn, and I also like the edge it forms.  It’s not terifically stretchy, but for scarfs, cowls, shawls, etc. I like it very much.

I am intrigued by the Old Norwegian cast  on (which I had never hear of) presented in this book .  It’s very elastic and had a neat edge, it’s recommended for cuffs, mittens, gloves and hats – places where a stretchy start is ideal.  I did try it, but I did not find it very easy to do, it’s quite fiddly and will definitely take some practice for me.

For socks (which I always knit toe up), I use the Turkish  cast on, also known as Middle Eastern cast on, which is also outlined in this book.  I find it easy to do and I love the way it looks on the toe of a sock.  And it makes me feel so clever!

There’s a good section on provisional cast ons (which I truly hate because I find them so difficult).  Maybe I’ll eventually get to be an expert at those also.

Bind offs are also here, including my new favorite for lace, the every so boringly named Elastic bind off.  I tried it when finishing a shawl and liked the way it allowed the edge to expand and really look it’s best.

I just wonder how necessary this book really is in a knitter’s library, thanks to YouTube, there are even a lot of videos there of the Old Norwegian cast on out there.

If you are a book lover like me, maybe you will enjoy having a book with all this information on your shelves.

I finished the Wingspan shawl.  I knit this from 2 skeins of Noro Silver Thaw, which gave me enough yarn for 7 “wings”, instead of 8.  I did make some changes to the pattern, see my Ravelry project page  for details. Here’s a picture of it blocking.

I love it very much and plan to keep it for myself, which is a bit unusual for me, normally I give away or sell most of my knitting.  Can’t stand the thought of parting with this one, though!  Maybe I’ll grow tired of it, or someone will admire it enough that I think they need it more than I do.  It’s been known to happen!

I really like this pattern, I think it’s brilliant actually, and I plan to knit a lot more of these (or variations thereof) in the future.  It’s easy to understand and memorize, no need for a pattern after you choose a yarn, decide how many stitches to use, and get it cast on.  That’s my kind of project.

I have a gift card for a local yarn store burning a hole in my pocket (many thanks to Sandy S for her wonderfully generous birthday gift last time!), maybe I’ll stock up on yarns for Wingspan.  I’m thinking Mini-Mochi, more Noro, Zauberball….

Current knitting is a scarf for sale in Rowan Colourscape, Frosty colorway.  It’s gorgeous – how can it not be with that fabulous yarn?  Should be done in just a couple of days.  That’s another pattern type I love – quick ones!

I leave you with a picture of the next yarns I plan to knit.  I’d love to hear any pattern ideas anyone has for these wonderful yarns.  This group includes 3 skeins of Noro Transitions (in a cream, tan, blue, green colorway), 1 skein of Rowan Colourscape (Heath colorway), and 6 skeins of Noro Blossom (in a blue-y colorway).