Next up

Remember how I said that the current mailing list goody was about to go away so I could bring out something new?  Well I have it on good authority that you’re going to want to be sure you’re in on that…the new piece is rather fetching.

Here it is on my patent-pending (this is a blatant lie), super nifty (that part’s true) cowl blocking device.  Yes, I do call it the frilly lampshade, and yes it is the best way I’ve found to block a cowl without getting any pesky wrinkles.  You should totally be doing this to all your cowls (this part is also true).

And here’s a peek at how it looks after blocking (wasn’t it clever of me to find a house with a mossy tree stump in the yard…makes for great photo backgrounds).  I’ll show it off more fully on Tuesday when it goes out to mailing list folks!

So, one last reminder to grab the current pattern while you can.  (This last warning is mostly so I can assuage my guilt when someone comes along in a few days and says ‘but I didn’t know…and now it’s gone‘…I’m trying to walk that line between giving everyone who might be interested in getting it sufficient notice and beating people over the head.)  It’s going down some time this weekend, so move quick.

And, if you’re on the mailing list, you’ll also get this lovely new bit of business on Tuesday when it comes out.  So go give the stash a little bit of a toss and see what might be calling to you.  This one’s made with Anzula’s Cricket (which is an absolutely delightful yarn).

The Bucket…

I think I’ve explained before just how much of my organizational scheme depends on buckets.  When I start a new book, it gets three buckets.  As yarn comes in, it goes in bucket one.  Once I’ve swatched it, the swatches and tags go in bucket two (while the yarn itself usually goes out to Super Stunt Knitters for the actual knitting).  When the pieces are finished, they go in bucket three.  Once bucket three is full and bucket one empty, it’s photo shoot time!

I have a similar situation for individual patterns, just a bit less structured.  That less structured bit is the potential downfall here.  It explains how I found a done-save-weaving-in-the-ends set I finished damn near a year ago.

Let’s say I finish that up and get it blocked, hmm?  The weather is certainly perfect for cowls right about now…

And we all know I’m unreasonably fond of mitts.

The yarn is Ysolda Blend 1, which is currently out of stock.  I’m not sure if it’s coming back or not, but if it does, I’m buying a whole bunch.  And in the meantime, I should turn those from unblocked bits of fluff to blocked and take some proper photos!

Magic

So the cowl grew and grew and grew.

DSC_6138And then at some point, it was done.  Bound off, flippy as all get out (as you’d expect from stockinette), and ready for a soak.

DSC_6146And here’s where the magic happened.  I soaked it, squeezed it out, and flopped it on my desk.  No pins.  No wires.  No tension at all.  Just soak and plop (it will get a more formal blocking later, I was just testing a theory).  And look at that.

DSC_6174It laid down flat.  Not a bit less flippy, not more or less ok, but flat.   Now part of that is the bind off (I used a yarn over bind off, I think it helps with flippy edges), but most of it is the yarn.  It’s clearly magic.

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Yes please

Well that’s just unreasonably lovely.

DSC_6136And yes, yes it’s simple.  It’s just leaves, and leaves are easy to knit.  But there’s something rather delightful about these.  I can’t quite decide if I want to hurry up and be done (so I can block it and pet it and generally admire it) or if I want to take my time (so I can have the pleasure of knitting it for a while longer).

You’ll just have to trust me

So some things are awfully hard to photograph.  The difference in texture between the pre & post blocking version of this yarn is one of them.  Part of that’s my fault (I didn’t take a picture of the actual swatch before I soaked it, so you can’t quite compare like with like just yet), but part of it is just yarn magic and not to be questioned.DSC_6098It looks like this before blocking.  Pay special attention to the stretches of stockinette.  See how there is a good bit of space between the stitches and between the legs of each stitch?

DSC_6100But on the blocked swatch, that’s all filled in (especially on the bottom section, which was done with the size needles I’m using here).  Everything puffs right up and nestles in against its neighbors.  It turns the whole fabric into something much more cohesive.

If I hadn’t swatched this and seen it do this, I’d have been tempted to use smaller needles on my project (and then would have freaked out when it puffed up and became too dense).  But now I get to knit along knowing it will do its magic trick for me when I’m done!

Oh, and yes, it’s another cowl. Apparently I’m not done with them quite yet.  I blame the (delightfully) chilly spring we’re having.

Faith

We’re in the ‘wait, what’s going on here? Are you sure this is right?’ stage of the project.  But if my swatches can be trusted (and they usually can), this is going to be marvelous in a few more rounds.

DSC_6092We’re going to have to talk about yarn floofiness soon (that thing some magic yarns do where they puff up and become even more cohesive after blocking).  This yarn has exceptional floofiness, and it’s a topic that needs to be explored.  But first, a few more rounds…

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the yarn is Blend 1 from Ysolda.  Which no you can’t get right now.  But I suspect there will be more in the future!

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That was quick

This was supposed to make the snow stop.  The traditional approach is ‘it’s snowing, I’m cold, oh I know, I’ll knit something, oh look spring came long before I finished the knitting.’  It’s usually foolproof.

cablesBut not so much this time.  I started it Saturday, finished it Monday, blocked it this week (still loving the lampshade approach to blocking cowls), and still the snow hasn’t melted.

cables 2So maybe the final step is to show it off here.  Perhaps that will take care of it.  I do note that the forecast today puts the temps well above freezing!

Uncharacteristic

This is not like me.  Not at all.

cabled cowlIt’s thick yarn (Capella by SpaceCadet).  It’s huge needles.  It’s bright colors.  It’s a very mellow, unstructured cable.

cabled cowl 2This is more or less the complete opposite of my normal approach.  And I’m more or less smitten.  I’ll be over here petting the pretty.  Try not to be too jealous.

Extras

There was just enough yarn left after I finished the first cowl that I couldn’t quite justify letting it go to waste.  So I figured I’d play a nail-biting game of yarn chicken and see if I could squeak a shorter cowl out of what I had left.

second verse 2Totally worked!  Much more of a ‘light chill’ version (as compared to the first one’s ‘arctic blast’ rating), but still totally the sort of thing that lives happily in a coat pocket for when you find yourself wanting a little something warm.

Oh and if you’ve been waiting, Changeful will be available to everyone tomorrow (they were initially exclusive to folks who preordered Fine Things).  If you want a heads up (and a shiny coupon) when they come out, be sure you’re on the mailing list.  Someone always asks, so full disclosure, the discount code the mailing list gets is different/bigger than the one I post here, so do sign up if you want the extra spiffy one.

yellow 1 small

Second Verse

I did have to break into the second skein to finish up the first cowl.  But I didn’t really need much of it at all, which left me feeling like I should make a second, smaller piece as well.  I wasn’t feeling the cuff vibe (the yarn is a bit thick for that).  And lovely thought that stitch is, it’s not really inclined to be a hat.  So I thought I’d see if I couldn’t do a second cowl, just at the other end of the size range.

second verseIt’s a slight variation on the same stitch (amazing what happens if you nudge half a pattern repeat over), and it’s coming out quite nicely (once I remembered how to count to five, which is apparently sometimes harder than you’d think).  I might even get it finished up this weekend.