Avail (plus giveaway)

Do you ever get a mental block about something…you tell yourself it’s going to be hard, or fiddly, or you’re going to feel like an idiot while you try it?  Well I had that mental block about short rows…but then I had a hat in my head that just flat out required short rows…and then I decided to get over it.  Avail is the result!

Now if you’re where I was and thinking short rows are hard, here’s the part where I say that they’re not.  All you do (for this hat at least) is stop knitting in the round for a second and instead knit back and forth for a little while.  That’s it…that’s really all there is to it.  I’ve seen new knitters do that as a mistake…  I can do that, and you can do it too.

And if you’re one of those clever folks who got on the short row train a long time ago, then I’ll congratulate you.  And we can talk about how cute this is instead of how easy it is!  Because really, that’s sort of adorable.  I swear it’s just the right amount of slouchy (enough to be easy to wear…not so much as to look faintly ridiculous).  And the wavy hem has been super cute on everyone I’ve tried it on!

And if you’re still feeling timid, you can start with the cuffs instead of the hat.  You can’t be scared of anything that tiny.  Once you’ve done one and you see how nifty it is, you’ll be itching to tackle the hat.

And of course you’ll have all the fun that comes with picking yarns.  I used Swans Island’s Pure Blends Worsted for the background (it looks like they may have changed the name of this to Sterling since my tag was printed…that seems to be the same fiber content and yardage and structure, just different colors) and Shibui’s Silk Cloud (held double) for the contrast.  But this is super flexible (especially in what you use for the contrast yarn), and I suspect you’ve got something in your stash you can use.  And if not, I’ve got yarn to give away over on Instagram!

And for everyone I can’t send yarn to, I’ve got a coupon for Avail.  You can use the code AVAIL to get 10% off between now and Friday.  Just put Avail in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code AVAIL.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

So give it a shot.  Either you’re already a short row pro (in which case you’ll have fun and end up with some adorable pieces) or you’re a short row novice (in which case you’ll feel oh so much better about them when you’re done, plus have fun and end up with some adorable pieces).  There’s really no bad outcome here!

 

Two at a time

Cuff the second is well underway.  And it’s actually gotten seasonably cold around here, so I’m eager to have them done (and photographed…around here ‘done’ also includes ‘has had proper pattern photos taken’) so I can wear them.

I’m totally holding the green yarn (it’s Silk Cloud by Shibui) double as I work it.  That’s both to make it a bit more substantial (though really, it’s pretty darn sturdy even with just one layer, I love how these cuffs worked with just one strand came out) and to give me a bit more of that delightful halo you get with mohair/silk yarns like this.

I just pull from the inside and outside of the ball at the same time, and I don’t have any problems with that.  But a few folks have looked at this aghast and informed me the ensuing tangles will bring the whole world to an end.  So if you’re worried, you’re totally allowed to divide your ball in two and work it that way instead.

 

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Faith

No really…I totally know it looks funny.  I do.  But I’ve been trying it on and I have faith in the powers of blocking, and I am pretty darn confident it will work out.

I sort of love the way it sits on my hand.  I’m finding myself fond of asymmetry these days.

And I’m also sort of loving putting it on inside out and folding the top part back and giving it a bracelet feel.

And yes, it will look much better after I weave in the ends and block it properly.  But I totally think it’s going to work out!

 

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Chicken

So the hat needed some cuffs to go with it (this pretty much always feels like the go to move in my world…I love having matching head and hand things more than I can possibly explain).  But I knew I was rather short on yarn.  So I carefully carefully divided the yarn in half (if you don’t have a scale, do yourself a favor and get one, I have and love this one).  Then I cast on and distracted myself as I slogged through a tube of ribbing.

Then came the ever so much more entertaining swoopy bits.

And the gleeful realization that yes, indeed, I was totally going to win the game of yarn chicken…just barely.

Next up, green bits!

 

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So worth it

Done!  And all the ripping (yes, even of lace weight mohair) was totally worth it.  The wobbly lines wobble in an ever so much more pleasingly rounded way.

The whole thing has retained its endearing rocket ship vibe.

I expect it all to mellow out a fair bit with blocking.

And even the crown (admittedly less energetic than most of mine, but still satisfying) is amusing me.

Now, of course, I think we need some cuffs to match, don’t you?

 

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Version 2

So the good news is that last time’s mistakes mean I knew just what I wanted for this iteration.  The green was too pretty to use such narrow stripes, so those are wider.

And the curve wanted to be much more evenly rounded.

Decreases are underway, and the rest won’t take long at all.

 

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All’s well…until it’s not

Things had been going along swimmingly.  The green yarn came (Shibui Silk Cloud in Apple, and yummy stuff it is), wobbly bits continued to wobble, and all was well.

Until I took it off the needles and laid it down to really look at the shape of the curve.

At which point I decided the bottom was too flat and the top too pointy and had a bit of a sulk.

And then had a bit of a rip (anybody else think it looks like ramen when it’s ripped?).

And then shortly after that had a bit of a reknit, which you’ll see next time.  But allowing time for proper sulking really is vital, don’t forget that part.

 

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Take me to your leader

So the hat is looking something like a space ship.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing…but it is a bit unexpected.

Now that’s mostly because I’ve got a short row panel jammed onto a long, straight needle, so the fabric is all bent around.

But if we put it on more accommodating needles, it doesn’t look too much more normal.

It will round out once I knit a few more straight rows, I promise.  It’s almost time to add in some green fluff!

 

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Sequels

You know the cool thing about sequels?  Scratch that, there are lots of cool things about sequels (not least of which is that the list of decisions you have to make in producing them is way, way, way shorter than for first books in a series).  You know a cool thing about sequels?  You don’t have to be all secretive about them.

You all know I’m working on Curls 2 (gray, gray, all glorious gray).  So instead of being alarmingly coy and discreet and saying ‘a project for a new book came in’ I can just ‘holy yarn fairies, the first of the new curls came in, and wow is it pretty.’  So much more direct!  I can even show the projects off a bit if I get the urge.

DSC_0793I think that will do quite nicely, don’t you?  And that’s straight off the needles, it will be even more irresistible when it’s blocked.

It’s Swans Island, it’s reversible, and it’s making me want to curl up in its comforting embrace and take a nap.

 

Caesious, First Curls KAL

So, I think we should do a knitalong for the patterns in Curls, don’t you?  And I’m a fan of doing things in order, so we’ll start with the first pattern in the book, Caesious.

1 swans island smallNow, I’m also a big fan of relaxed knitalongs.  I am not a fan of stress or hard deadlines, so we’re going to make this easy.  All the details for this one are over the KAL thread in my ravelry group.  But the gist is knit this pattern over the next two months, show it off and talk about it in that thread, and some time after the KAL ends I’ll send someone who posted a picture of a finished project something fun in the mail.  Pretty simple really!  We’ve already got folks started, and their projects are amazing.  We’d love to have you join us!

Oh, and for anyone wondering, the word Caesious means having a blue gray color.  All the patterns in Curls are interesting color words.  (It’s also used in botany to mean having a waxy blue gray coating, think the stuff on plums, but I’m in it for the color meaning.)  There are two pronunciations (British and American) and you can hear them over here.  And yes, it does excite my dorky little heart that it has all five vowels in order.

Will it make anyone feel better if I promise that the book coming out later this year has all easy-to-pronounce, easy-to-spell pattern names?  I thought I should try one like that, just for the novelty.