A Traveling Scarf

I have been knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving away, but have not been writing posts on each of my finished projects.  I received a private message on Ravelry, asking for the details of this project, so thought I’d write it up to share with all of you!

Official Stats

  • Date Started: September 16, 2015
  • Date Finished: September 28, 2015
  • Pattern: as discussed below
  • Yarn: Cascade Pinwheel in Autumn Leaves (#21)
  • Needles: US 8 , 5.0 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: I forgot to write down the measurements; but approximately 6″ x 65″
  • Made for: Charity
  • Ravelry Project Page
  • PDF version of this pattern: A Traveling Scarf

IMG_0833

About this Project

I bought the Pinwheel yarn specifically to knit for charity.  I got two skeins of most colors so I could make matching sets with a scarf, mittens, and hat.  The scarf takes one skein and I can just squeak a hat and mittens out of a second.  For three colorways, I only had one skein because that was all that the shop had.  In September, I decided to knit up a couple of those skeins into scarves.  I looked at the free patterns on Ravelry, but didn’t find anything that caught my eye that I hadn’t already knit.  So I pulled out my Barbara Walker treasuries and found stitch patterns.  This scarf uses the Traveling Rib pattern from page 180 of A Fourth Treasury of  Knitting Patterns.

When I first started this project, I planned to add a couple selvedge stitches, but after knitting the repeat a couple times, I didn’t like how that looked, so I ripped it out and started over, using just the stitches for the pattern.  Ribbing isn’t going to roll and makes a nice stretchy fabric. It doesn’t really need a frame to give the fabric structure.

Abbreviations:

  • K = Knit
  • P = Purl
  • RS = Right Side
  • WS = Wrong Side

This pattern uses a 7 stitch repeat.  I’ve been casting on somewhere close to 40 stitches for all the scarves I’ve made with Pinwheel.  This gives me a finished scarf of 5″ to 6″ wide and 60″ to 65″ long, depending on the stitch pattern.  For this particular pattern, I assumed the ribbing would pull the fabric in so chose to cast on more stitches than usual.  I cast on 7 repeats (49 stitches), using the long tail cast on, which is my default.

  • Row 1 (RS): K1, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K3
  • Row 2 (WS): P2, *K4, P3* 5 times, end K4, P1
  • Row 3. K2, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K2
  • Row 4: P1, *K4, P3* 5 times, end K4, P2
  • Row 5: K3, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K1
  • Row 6: *K4, P3* repeat to end of row
  • Row 7: *K4, P3* repeat to end of row
  • Row 8: K3, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K1
  • Row 9: P1, *K4, P3* 5 times, K4, P2
  • Row 10: K2, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K2
  • Row 11: P2, *K4, P3* 5 times, end K4, P1
  • Row 12: K1, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K3
  • Row 13: *P3, K4* repeat to end of row
  • Row 14: *P3, K4* repeat to end of row

Repeat Rows 1 – 14 until scarf is desired length, ending on either Row 6 or 13.  BO loosely and in pattern.  In this case, that means working Row 7 or 14 as written, and passing the preceding stitch over the just worked stitch as you work across the row, using larger needles if needed to keep your bind off loose.

This scarf is reversible; I’ve only marked a right side and wrong side in the pattern to help keep track of where you are.  If you look closely at the pattern, it may appear that rows repeat, but while the instructions repeat, you are on the opposite side of the fabric when you work it (Rows 1 & 12, 2 & 11, 3 & 10, 4 & 9, 5 & 8, 6 & 7, 13 & 14).  As a result, if you put your work down and come back to it later, it may be difficult for you to tell where you are in the pattern.  If you think you’re on Row 1 and you were really on Row 12 or vice versa, you will find that the direction of your rib changes midstream!  You may want to mark the right side of the work, by hanging a locking stitch marker on that side.

IMG_0834

 

Sweet Summer Shawl

I finished this shawl yesterday, and I’m super excited because it’s the first time I’ve knit with my handspun!

Official Stats

image

About This Project

I loved knitting this project.  I’m happy to finally knit with my handspun.  This yarn is a massive improvement over my prior handspun, but it still has some anomalies.  The Sweet Summer Shawl pattern is forgiving of yarn anomalies, since it is mostly garter stitch.  The shawl is knit from end to end not top down or bottom up.  I was looking for a pattern knit in this manner to maximize the yarn I had.  I managed to use all but 6.9 grams of the yarn.

image

The pattern suggests knitting 10 repeats of the increase section then 10 repeats of the decrease section.  I started weighing my yarn after the 8th repeat and every repeat after that.  I ended up with 11 repeats.  I knew I didn’t have enough yarn to knit a 12th increase repeat plus a 12th decrease repeat.  Now that I finished the pattern, I wish I’d knit one repeat without either increasing or decreasing.  I had enough yarn to do so, and I think I would have been happier with an odd number of points.  Since there’s not a central point in the pattern, it ends up slightly asymmetrical and I would have preferred symmetry.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor quibble.  It’s a fun, easy pattern to knit and I KNIT WITH MY HANDSPUN!!!

image

 

image

 

Raindrops on Roses Shawlette

I’m going to start with this: I love this shawl.  The pattern is beautiful.  The yarn is beautiful.  This pattern and this yarn were a perfect combination, and the results are spectacular.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: June 3, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 27, 2015
  • Pattern: Raindrops on Roses Shawlette by Assorted Musings (Ravelry, blog)
  • Yarn: 495 yards Nice & Knit Fingering in Peony
  • Needles: U.S. 5 / 3.75 millimeters
  • Finished Dimensions: For blocking, I pinned it out to 19.25” deep at the center and 47” wide at the widest point.  When I took the pins out after it dried, it shrank a little to about 17.5″ deep and 45″ wide.
  • Made for: Test knit; I think I’m going to keep this one 🙂
  • Ravelry Project Page

image

 

About This Project

In early May, I flew from Orlando to Hartford, Connecticut.  From there, I was driving to Vermont to attend my cousin’s college graduation.  This is the cousin for whom I wove the Dr. Who Scarf.  My father also flew into Hartford from Ohio.  His flight didn’t arrive until four hours after mine, so I googled yarn shops near the airport and found Creative Fibers (website, Ravelry).  This is a great yarn shop, located only 10 minutes from the Hartford airport.  If you ever find yourself needing to kill time waiting for a delayed flight, I highly recommend visiting this shop.  When I went into the shop, I asked if they had any local yarns.  The woman working that day directed me to this yarn from Nice & Knit.

IMG_9468

Nice & Knit (website, Ravelry) is yarn hand-dyed by two sisters, not far from the Creative Fibers shop.  They have four yarn weights — fingering, sport, DK, and worsted — all in 100% superwash merino.  The yarn was a dream to knit.  It’s so soft and smooth, with no hint of splitting.  Their colors are amazing.  In addition to the skein of Peony that I used for this project, I bought a skein of fingering in Seagrass, a stunning bright yellow-green.  I haven’t knit anything with that skein yet, but after knitting up the Peony I’m dying to find the right pattern for the Seagrass.  The label says the skein is 490 yards / 100 grams.  My skein of Peony was a little overweight, at 103. 8 grams, and that turned out to be a good thing because I added 1.5 lace repeats to the border.   I used 100.3 grams (495 yards) of yarn.  If my skein had been right on the nose or a little under, I wouldn’t have had enough yarn to make the shawl larger!

IMG_9375

The pattern was well-written and a fun knit.  I followed the charted directions, as I always do with lace, but I did read through the written instructions and found them easy to understand.  I think it would be a great first lace project.  If you look closely at the picture above, you may be able to see that a 2-stitch garter column separates each repeat of the lace pattern.  This feature is helpful in keeping track of the repeat, even if you aren’t using stitch markers.  There’s no lace work on the back, but it’s also not a straight purl across because you knit the stitches for the garter stitch columns.  I found myself automatically counting stitches between the garter stitches as I worked across the back, and this helped me as find any yarn overs I accidentally omitted in the preceding row.  The pattern calls for 3 repeats of the lace.  I wanted to use as much of my skein as I could, so I asked Assorted Musings if it was okay with her if I made the shawl bigger.  She said yes.  I was able to get 1.5 more repeats out of my skein.  It’s a fun pattern, and a relatively quick knit; I knit it in about 30 hours, including the extra lace repeats.  Assorted Musings plans to release the pattern on July 15.  You should get it and knit the shawl!

IMG_9454

A Year of Projects 2015, Week 26.5

come-blog_0

For the past week, I’ve been crafting like it’s my job.  I also had an unusually high number of fun activities.  I had lunch in Diagon Alley with Ravelry friends who were in Orlando on vacation from Massachusetts.

image
Of all the items listed for sale here, I most want the never-tangle wool.

I went to my first ever professional soccer game.  It was my cousin’s wife’s birthday and that’s what she wanted to do.

image

My husband and I bought tickets to view last Sunday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from the NASA causeway.  We didn’t want to get up at the crack of dawn and drive over, so we drove over Saturday night and stayed in a hotel.

image
If you look closely, you can see Launch Pad 40 and maybe the rocket on the pad. There’s 4 objects that look like buildings. Pad 40 is between the two right hand buildings. There’s 4 lightning towers surrounding the pad; the rocket is in the middle.  It’s a slightly thicker line than the 4 surrounding towers.

Here’s the video I took of the launch.  The vehicle failed 139 seconds after launch.  I stopped recording two seconds before that because I was using my phone to record video and could barely see anything at that point.  It looked like a beautiful, perfect launch with nothing more to see.  And then the Liquid Oxygen tank exploded.

 

I still managed to get quite a bit of crafting done!  Let’s review the ridiculously ambitious list of goals I wrote:

Goals for June 21 to 30, 2015

  • Finish Raindrops on Roses Shawl (Headmistress Challenge)
  • Finish Grisou Scarf (homework, but which class?)
  • Finish Solid / 1×1 Scarf (OWL)
  • Three more color and weave scarves to meet OWL 50% (highly unlikely to finish)
  • Finish current Heart Illusion Dishcloth, plus 4 more (COMC?)
  • Tier Scarf (Charms or Potions)
  • Crochet Dishcloths (Transfiguration)
  • MHK1 swatches (Divination and / or Charms)
  • Small stuffed bird (DADA)
  • Cast on Sweet Summer Shawl (Quidditch Round 3; due July 8)
  • Liquid Silver Swatch (OOTP; due July 19)
  • Cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl (Headmistress Challenge; due July 28)

Fully Accomplished Goals

I finished the Raindrops on Roses Shawl.  I absolutely love it.  I test knit this for Assorted Musings (Ravelry, blog); the pattern will be released on July 15.  I plan to publish a detailed blog post for FO Friday on July 3.

image

I finished the Grisou Scarf.  I test knit this for Sasoolero (Ravelry, blog) and I’m not sure when she plans to release the pattern.  I will publish a blog post on this project for FO Friday on July 3.

IMG_9439

Partially Accomplished Goals

I started the Solid / 1×1 Scarf.  I’ve woven somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of it.  I have the hardest time taking pictures of weaving in progress.  Since the finished work gets wound onto the cloth beam, it’s difficult to see progress!

image

I finished the Heart Illusion Dishcloth that I had in progress, plus two more.

image

I started the tier scarf and knit about 1/3 of it.

Knitting while waiting for the rocket launch.
Knitting while waiting for the rocket launch.

I crocheted one dishcloth.  In my goal, I didn’t say how many I wanted to knit.  I need 18 for the Dishcloth Advent Calendar, but didn’t expect to get them all done this month.  I was hoping for 9.  I learned how to single crochet increase, single crochet decrease, and crochet through the back loop.

I knit the first 3 swatches for MHK1.  I still need to weave in the ends and block them.  I also wrote answers to several more questions.

image

Unaccomplished Goals

As expected, I did not weave the 3 additional scarves for my OWL.  I did not make the stuffed bird.  I decided to submit the Grisou scarf for DADA instead, and didn’t need the bird for anything else.  I have not cast on the Sweet Summer Shawl.  I will be doing that today.  I have not swatched for Liquid Silver.  I will be doing that today.  I have not cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl.  I think I’m going to wait a couple of weeks and cast on before I go to TKGA in San Diego.  It will make excellent travel knitting.

Other Projects

I made a felted cat bed for Tiger.  I managed to knit 1,047 yards worth of garter stitch in less than 3 days, felt it, and stitch it together!  It wasn’t on my goal list because I hadn’t decided to do it until after I wrote that list.  Tiger’s been sleeping on an alpaca blanket my father bought me when he was in Peru and I didn’t want it ruined.  I needed a quick replacement.

image

Goals for July 1 to 5, 2015

  • Knit at least 1/2 of the Sweet Summer Shawl
  • Cast on Miranda Shawl
  • Swatch and Cast on Bubbles Baby Blanket
  • Swatch and Cast on Liquid Silver Shawl
  • Finish spinning and plying the Cormo I’ve been working on since February
  • Start spinning the 3 Feet of Sheep (8 ounces BFL) on July 4 for Tour de Fleece

I’m tempted to write more, but I think this is more than enough.  My husband is off on Friday and Monday for the July 4 holiday.  I will have less crafting time than usual because I’ll be hanging out with him, and we’re going to the beach for at least one day!

Updated List of Goals for 2015

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
    • First 3 swatches finished by June 24, 2015
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress)
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf, finished June 16, 2015
    • Grisou Scarf, finished June 24, 2015
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette, finished June 27, 2015
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Diagonal Crochet Dishcloths (in progress)

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
  • Other

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

A Year of Projects 2015, Week 25

It’s been a busy week around here, and this coming week will be busy too.  However, there’s always time to craft!

come-blog_0

Here’s the list of goals I wrote last week:

Goals for the Week of June 14 – 20, 2015

  • Finish the Sand Tracks Scarf.
  • Finish the Raindrops on Roses Shawlette.
  • Finish half of the questions and swatches for MHK1.
  • Finish at least one color and weave scarf on the rigid heddle loom.
  • Cast on the Liquid Silver Shawl.
  • Knit the Grisou Scarf (another test knit).

I’ve finished the Sand Tracks Scarf.

imageThe Raindrops on Roses Shawlette is a stockinette stitch body with three repeats of a lace pattern.  I finished that, but did not bind off.  I have enough yarn to knit at least one, possibly two, more repeats of the lace.  Since this is a test knit, I e-mailed the designer and asked if she preferred that I bind off now, per the pattern, or if it was okay for me to knit extra repeats.  She said she’d like to see the shawl in a larger size, so I’m going to knit the additional repeats and expect to finish early this week.  Here’s how it looked on Wednesday, 4 rows shy of finishing the first three lace repeats:

image

I haven’t done anything with MHK1 this week.  I need to make this a priority as I want to finish before I go to TKGA’s Annual Conference in San Diego from July 21-26.

Yesterday, I tied on a color and weave scarf.  This is a solid red warp.  The weft alternates one pick of the same red as the warp with one pick of a tweed.  I’ve woven perhaps 1/4 of the scarf, and plan to finish it early this week.

image

I looked at all the crafting I plan to finish this month and decided to move Liquid Silver to early July.  I do want to swatch for it by the end of the month.

The Grisou Scarf is a test knit.  I am using a different yarn than the designer, so swatched for it.  I ended up knitting swatches with three different size needles!  I’ve just got to finish the border, and expect to finish knitting it today.

image

While I was waiting to hear back from the designer of Raindrops on Roses and for the Grisou swatches to dry, I cast on another Heart Illusion Dishcloth.  I got about 1/2 of it knit.

image

Finally, though this has nothing to do with knitting, I wanted to post a picture of me with my father, since today is Father’s Day in the United States.  I often say that I’ve birdwatched since I was 6 months old.  My father started birdwatching shortly after my parents married, and once I came along, I was in a backpack on his back.  This morning, my father, mother, aunt, uncle, and I went birdwatching for Father’s Day.  We went to a newly opened 11 mile drive that skirts along the northern edge of Lake Apopka, not far from where we live.  We only saw 22 species of birds, all of which are common in our area, but we saw many, many individual birds of most species.  Here’s a picture my mom took of my Dad and I, looking at birds:

image

Goals for June 21 to 30, 2015

I’m writing this set of goals through the end of the month, to cover the class deadlines for the HPKCHC.  I honestly don’t expect to finish all of these items, but I’m going to do my best!

  • Finish Raindrops on Roses Shawl (Headmistress Challenge)
  • Finish Grisou Scarf (homework, but which class?)
  • Finish Solid / 1×1 Scarf (OWL)
  • Three more color and weave scarves to meet OWL 50% (highly unlikely to finish)
  • Finish current Heart Illusion Dishcloth, plus 4 more (COMC?)
  • Tier Scarf (Charms or Potions)
  • Crochet Dishcloths (Transfiguration)
  • MHK1 swatches (Divination and / or Charms)
  • Small stuffed bird (DADA)
  • Cast on Sweet Summer Shawl (Quidditch Round 3; due July 8)
  • Liquid Silver Swatch (OOTP; due July 19)
  • Cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl (Headmistress Challenge; due July 28)

Updated List of Goals for 2015

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress)
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf, finished June 16, 2015
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette (in progress)
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
  • Other

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

Sand Tracks Scarf

As promised in yesterday’s WIP Wednesday post, here’s the info on the Sand Tracks Scarf that I finished earlier this week.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: June 3, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 15, 2015
  • Pattern: Sand Tracks Scarf by Tracey Lee
  • Yarn: 500 yards Swans Island Natural Colors Worsted in Maize
  • Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: 7.75″ x 73″
  • Made for: ?
  • Ravelry Project Page

image

About This Project

In early June, I signed up for two test knits, including this pattern.  These are the first patterns I’ve ever test knit.  I wanted to know more about the process of creating a pattern, and thought this would be a fun way to learn a little more about that.  I really enjoyed both of the projects, and the test knitting process.  I’ve signed up for another test knit and am swatching for it now.

This particular pattern was an interesting challenge.  I’m not a huge fan of seed stitch.  I knit English style (throw the yarn with my right hand).  When I have to switch between knit and purl a lot — and with seed stitch you are switching on every new stitch — it slows me down since I have to reposition the yarn.

Cables slow me down too.  I don’t use a cable needle anymore.  Instead, I pinch the base of the stitches that form the cable, slide them all off the needle, put them back on the left hand needle in the correct order, then work the stitches according to the cable directions.  This is obviously slower than working across the row, but it is quicker than using a cable needle.

In this scarf, the cable is asymmetrical.  In addition, it is partly worked on a seed stitch ground not reverse stockinette, like most cables.  If you look closely at the inner part of the cables in the picture below, you might be able to see that the central diamond shape has the traditional reverse stockinette, but the outer diamonds are seed stitch.

image

In order to form these varying grounds, the pattern uses 5 different cable stitches.  Some are 4 stitch cables and some are 3 stitch cables.  Some of the cable stitches involve purling in the cable.  The complexity of the cables and the combination of cables and seed stitch make this project intermediate difficulty.

The pattern provides both written and charted directions.  While I always use the charts in lace patterns, I always use the written directions for cables.  There’s nothing wrong with the charts in this pattern.  I did compare the written and charted directions to see if they matched and they did.  It’s just that I find the chart symbols for cables confusing.  I have to focus on them carefully to distinguish the number of stitches involved and which stitches are held to the front.  I find the written short hand for cables easier to look at and understand.  Since this particular pattern does have so many different cable stitches in it, I highlighted each one in a different color, both in the abbreviation section at the beginning of the pattern and in the written instructions.  By the time I was 1/3 of the way through the scarf, I could knit without referring back to the abbreviations.

I hope I’m not making this pattern sound so hard that you don’t want to try it, because it was really fun and interesting to knit.  The pattern is a 10 row repeat and, despite the combined challenge of seed stitch and advanced cables, it only took me about 1/2 an hour to knit through one repeat.  The entire scarf consists of 42 repeats and took 23-25 hours (including the borders, cast on, bind off, blocking) to create.

This is the first time I’ve used the Swans Island yarn.  This yarn is custom spun in New England, in one of the four mills in the United States to earn a Global Organic Textile Standards Certification.  It is hand-dyed using natural dye processes.  It is super soft organic merino and an absolute dream to knit.  The yarn is tightly plied and did not split at all.  This particular color was such a good match for this scarf; the softly tonal yellows really make the scarf look like tracks in the sand, as the name of the pattern suggests.  I used every inch of two skeins of yarn.  I just knit the repeat until I was running out of yarn, then did the border.  I underestimated how much yarn I needed for the border, so on my first try I had to rip out 5 rows of border and 6 rows of the last pattern repeat, then redo the border.  The second time, I had the perfect yardage to finish the border, bind off, and weave in the end.

I truly loved every minute of knitting this scarf.  The pattern was well-written (I didn’t find any errors at all, not even a typo) and the yarn was spectacular. When I bound off, I was ready to cast on for another one.  That’s not something I usually say when I finish a scarf!

While I was a knit night at my local LYS, Susan took this picture of me wearing the scarf.
While I was a knit night at my local LYS, Susan took this picture of me wearing the scarf.

The Tale of Pepper and the Emergency Scarf

I finished the Emergency Scarf on June 1, but I haven’t blogged about it yet.  I didn’t write a separate post about it; I didn’t include it in my FO Friday post.  I wanted to write something a little different for this project, and I wasn’t sure how to do it.  I’m still not sure what I’m going to write, but now that two weeks have passed, I think I’m ready to try.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: February 16, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 1, 2015
  • Pattern: 4 rows 1×1 ribbing alternating with 4 rows garter stitch
  • Yarn: 440 yards Cascade Pinwheel in Citrus
  • Needles: US 8, I think.  I forgot to write it down!
  • Made for: Charity
  • Ravelry Project Page
Stacy modeled this scarf for me :-)
Stacy modeled this scarf for me, since it perfectly matched her outfit!

About this Project

Once upon a time, all the way back in 1996, a pretty little tortoiseshell kitten was born.  She had a brother in her litter.  He was black and white.  They had a rough beginning, but then someone found them and took them into a house as foster kittens.  When they were about 8 weeks old, their foster mama put them in a carrier and brought them to a different house.  A man and a woman at the new house petted them and snuggled them.  Then the tortoiseshell kitten and her brother went in a carrier again and went to yet another home, where the new man and woman lived.

The adoptive mama called the tortoiseshell kitten Pepper, because she looked like freshly ground pepper.  She called Pepper’s black and white brother Puck, because he was a mischievous little sprite.  These were not the names the foster mama called them, but Pepper and Puck soon forgot that they used to be called Elvis and Priscilla.  Pepper liked her new mama.  To be honest, Pepper just liked people.  Everyone who came into the house was a new friend.  She ran up to everyone and greeted them with a loud meow.  Most people petted her, and that was nice.

Pepper and Puck moved with their new mama and papa to another place a few months later.  Mama stayed in that house for a while, but the papa moved out.  A while later, Pepper made friends with a visitor to the house.  He didn’t just pet her; he let her climb on him and sleep with her head on his shoulder.  This was how Pepper told mama that he was a nice guy.  Pepper was happy when he became her new papa.  He petted her a lot.

A year passed, and mama and the new papa moved a long way.  Pepper and Puck rode in the car with mama and papa for hours and hours.  The car was scary, and Pepper was happy when she could sleep on papa’s lap, even if he was driving.  The new place was nice.  Pepper and Puck always lived inside before.  The new place had a screened in patio.  Pepper could see outside, and catch little lizards that snuck onto the patio.

Pepper and Puck moved with mama and papa three more times after that. Tiger joined their family after the first of those moves,  and Pepper wasn’t happy about Tiger.  Even when he was little, he thought he was the boss of everyone.  Pepper was really the boss!  She reminded Tiger of this as often as she could.

Mama and papa didn’t move again.  Pepper got to live in one place for a long, long time.  This house had a whole fenced in yard and on really good days, mama or papa would let Pepper out in the yard.  She liked to sleep in the grass, chase lizards, and eat grass.  Sometimes she tried to slip  through the fence and see if the grass was better over there, but mama or papa always picked her up and brought her back to her own yard.

Mama made Pepper nice beds to sleep on.  Pepper was especially happy with the bed on top of the refrigerator.  She could see everything that happened in the kitchen and dining room.  Tiger didn’t usually try to come on top of the refrigerator, so she could stay away from him.

Pepper got older, as happens to everyone.  Her hips didn’t work as well and it was hard for her to jump up to the counter to get to the refrigerator.  Mama and papa put a chair near the counter so it was easier for Pepper.  Eventually, Pepper couldn’t jump on the chair.  Mama and papa moved her bed to a table in the living room.  When Pepper couldn’t jump on the table, they put a chair, and then a step beside the chair.

After a while, Pepper got sick.  She didn’t know what was wrong, but she went to the vet an awful lot.  Everyone at the vet was nice to her.  Pepper talked to all of them, and they pet her and cuddled her.  She liked the massages she got.  Her hips felt a little better after the massages.

One night, Pepper did not feel well at all.  Mama looked worried.  Eventually, mama brought Pepper to the other vet, the one that is open at night.  Mama brought her knitting with her.  Mama often had knitting.  Pepper liked the knitting.  The balls of yarn were a soft place to sleep.

image

After that visit to the vet, Pepper started sleeping in mama’s office at night.  Pepper liked being away from Tiger.  She liked having her own litter box, food dish, and water.  But Pepper didn’t like being in only one room.  When morning came, she was ready to get out of mama’s office and wander around the rest of the house.

Pepper saw mama knit the scarf, and it seemed like it was done.  It was still sitting on Mama’s desk though.  Pepper heard mama say that the end needed to be woven in.  The scarf sat on the desk for a long time.  Pepper never did see the end get woven in.

Pepper’s eye was bothering her, so she went to the vet again.  Mama kept putting drops in Pepper’s eye, and Pepper didn’t like that.  She wished mama would stop with the drops.  Then Pepper started feeling worse, not because of her eye, but because of the other sickness.  The one she’d had for a long time.  She stopped eating.  Mama seemed worried.  Mama put food on her finger and tried to get Pepper to eat it.  Pepper sniffed the food and licked her lips.  It smelled good, but she didn’t want to eat.

Mama brought Pepper to the vet again.  The vet looked worried too.  The vet took tests.  Then the vet put warm things all around Pepper.  That was nice, because Pepper felt cold.

Pepper didn’t know it, but mama was at home worrying about Pepper.  Mama made chocolate chip cookies and ate too many of them.  She wove in the end on the Emergency scarf that had sat on her desk for so long.

Later that day, mama and papa came to see Pepper at the vet.  Mama brought the new bed she’d made last week, the one that was Pepper’s new favorite bed.  Mama and papa pet her and cuddled her.  It was nice to see them, and Pepper purred as she went to sleep for the last time.

FO Friday: June 12, 2015

FO stands for Finished Object.  Since I started blogging, I’ve been posting WIP Wednesdays and posting individual posts for finished objects when I finish one.  Many craft bloggers write FO Friday posts, so readers know when to expect posts for finished objects.  The FO Friday posts I’ve seen aren’t usually as detailed as the posts I’ve written for my finished objects and they almost always include multiple items.

I have so many blog posts planned that I thought I’d go with FO Friday posts for a while.  I’m going to include multiple projects in a single post, but include many of the details that I’ve included in individual post.  The “About the Project” section will be shorter.  If I have a pattern I want to discuss in greater detail, I’ll write a separate post about it rather than including it in the FO Friday post.  I’d like to hear your thoughts on FO Friday posts versus a post per project.  Which format do you prefer?

Clapotis

Official Stats

  • Date Started: March 28, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 1, 2015
  • Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert (Ravelry, Knitty.com)
  • Yarn: 872 yards 100purewool Merino Worsted
  • Needles: U.S. 8 / 5 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: 22″ x 54″
  • Made for: ?
  • Ravelry Project Page

IMG_8960

image

About this Project

Knitty published the Clapotis pattern in 2004.  It seems like everyone’s knit it — Ravelry has more than 22,000 project pages for this pattern.  I’ve had it on my list of things to knit forever, but never gotten around to it.  It’s not a difficult pattern to knit, but as many have noted the middle section seems to go on and on and on.  The pattern has three sections: increase section, knit straight, decrease section.  The “Knit Straight” section is a 12 row repeat and you are supposed to knit it 13 times.  I only knit it 8 times.  I tried to knit it 9 times, but ran out of yarn before finishing the decrease section and bind off.  In order to knit the entire 13 repeats the pattern prescribes, I would have needed at least one more ball of yarn.  The yarn I used is discontinued and the company is out of business.  No one on Ravelry had the same yarn in their stash, so I couldn’t try to trade or buy another skein.  I didn’t want to rip out the entire project, and it looked like it would be big enough, so I forged ahead.  I ripped out the entire completed decrease section (more than 3/4 done) and the 9th straight section repeat so that I could reknit the decrease section and bind off.

Super Secret Shawl

Official Stats

  • Date Started: April 7, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 1, 2015
  • Pattern: Self-designed
  • Yarn: 880 yards Knit Picks Gloss Lace in Winter Night
  • Needles: U.S. 4 / 3.5 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: 23″ x 47″
  • Made for: Me
  • Ravelry Project Page

IMG_8959

image

This is my first attempt at designing anything.  It’s straightforward — a single stitch pattern and a rectangular shawl.  My single biggest snafu was estimating yardage.  I measured and weighed the swatch to calculate the yardage I used to knit it.  I used that information to calculate final dimensions and yardage for the shawl.  These calculations were off by a significant margin.  I probably needed another skein of yarn to get the dimensions I wanted.  I cannibalized my swatch to get a couple extra inches.  I will be doing some research on yardage calculation and trying again!

Woven Doctor Who Scarf

I finished the Doctor Who Scarf while I was in Vermont last week, and presented it to my cousin as a graduation gift.  He loved it!  Here’s all the info about the scarf.

Official Stats

  • Draft: Plain Weave
  • Loom: 15″ Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom
  • Reed: 8
  • Warp Stats
    • Yarn: 369 yards llama yarn, gifted to me by Stacy, produced at a local-to-her farm
    • Loom waste: 42 yards
    • Total Warp Ends: 96
    • Ends Per Inch (EPI): 8
    • Warp Length: 16 feet (no, that’s not a typo!)
  • Weft Stats
    • Yarn:
      • 52 yards Berroco Vintage, colorway 5180 (purple)
      • 63 yards llama yarn (camel)
      • 24 yards Peace Fleece worsted in Sheplova Mushroom (bronze)
      • 36 yards Peace Fleece worsted in Khrushchev Corn (yellow)
      • 70 yards Peace Fleece worsted in Sakhalin Salmon (rust)
      • 69 yards Lion Brand Amazing in Olympia (gray)
      • 44 yards Peace Fleece worsted in Shaba (?) (green)
    • Picks Per Inch (PPI): 7-8
    • Width in the Reed: 12″
  • Dimensions Before Finishing: 164″ x 11.5″ (not including fringe)
  • Finished Dimensions: 153″ x 10.5″ (not including fringe)
  • Made for: My cousin Cooper, as a college graduation present
  • Ravelry Project Page

About This Project

My cousin loves Doctor Who (and many other things geeky), so I decided to make him a Doctor Who scarf as a graduation present.  If you aren’t familiar with this particular bit of geekery, Doctor Who is a science fiction television show produced by the BBC.  It’s been around since 1963, though it was off the air between 1989 and 2005 (If you’d like an overview of the show, check out the Wikipedia entry).  The title character is a time traveling alien who regenerates rather than dying.  So far, 13 different actors have portrayed the Doctor (I’m counting John Hurt as the War Doctor, for those of you yelling that it’s only 12).

Each iteration of the Doctor has a different personality and costuming.  The Fourth Doctor, portrayed by actor Tom Baker, wore a very long multi-colored scarf.  According to legend, the scarf came about because a costume designer picked up some wool and handed it over to a knitter, asking her to knit a scarf.  She used up all the wool she was given, creating a very long scarf.  While this wasn’t the original intention of the costume designer, he liked it and the BBC went ahead with it.  Over the various seasons that Tom Baker was on the show, different versions of the scarf were created, including a stunt scarf.  Many people — including me — have knit replicas of that scarf, and there’s a website recounting the various iterations of the scarf and options for knitting it yourself.

I knit this scarf for my husband back in 2010.  I'd rather poke my eyes out with my knitting needles than knit this much garter stitch again.
I knit this scarf for my husband back in 2010. I’d rather poke my eyes out with my knitting needles than knit this much garter stitch again.

Since I didn’t want to knit that much garter stitch again, I decided to try weaving the scarf instead.  I looked on Ravelry and found woven Dr. Who scarves by the following Ravelers: Jason, Serenova, Littleredmitten, jeen, jeen again, jeen a third time, jeen a fourth time to use up the leftovers from the first three, quiltnknitgirl, rosalynk, and MountainAsh.  Only Jeen has detailed project information.  Some of the others included the yarn and yardage used, but no detailed project notes.  Therefore, I used the knitting patterns at Doctor Who Scarf and created a spreadsheet to figure out the weaving.

When making a Doctor Who scarf, you can decide to be true to the literal representation of the scarf, the spirit of the scarf, or both.  A literal representation of the scarf means picking a season, getting yarn that is as close as possible to the colors used in the scarf in that season, and knitting stripes that are exactly the width of the ones on the scarf.  The spirit of the scarf is going with what you have on hand and making something unexpected.

I knew I wasn’t going for a straight literal representation of the scarf because that would mean knitting it.  I also wanted to use as much stash yarn as possible, rather than buying yarn.  I tried to get as close as possible to the colors in the scarf as my stash would allow, but I wasn’t going to stress about minor color variations (I ended up buying purple yarn because I had nothing in my stash that was close, but everything else came from stash).  On the other hand, I did want to pick a season and replicate the color order and stripe lengths of that season’s scarf.  The Doctor Who Scarf website has a side-by-side comparison of the scarves for seasons 12 to 14, with the total length, stripe length, and total width of the scarf marked.  I decided to go with a season 12 scarf because it is the longest of all of them.

Unlike knitting, weaving shrinks when taking off the loom and wet finished.  In order to adjust for this, I added 20% to the length of each stripe, hoping that by doing so, I would get close to the correct stripe size after finishing.  The scarf only shrunk by a total of 11″, which is about 7% of the pre-finishing length, so I probably could have added only 10% to the length when weaving.  Unfortunately, I forgot to measure the length of stripes after finishing, so I don’t have the data to do an actual comparison.  Since I used 3 different brands of yarn in the weft, I assume the different yarns shrank at different rates, but don’t know for sure.

This is the first project in which I did calculations to determine the yardage I needed for weft.  I used a spreadsheet formula to add the length of all stripes of each color.  I then multiplied that length by 88 (8 picks per inch * 11 inches wide in the finished scarf) and divided by 36 to get an estimated yardage for each color.  This calculation was not particularly accurate.

Total Weft Length Estimated Weft Yardage Actual Weft Yardage
Purple 18.30 44.73 52
Camel 32.40 79.20 63
Bronze 19.20 46.93 23
Mustard 13.80 33.73 36
Rust 22.50 55.00 70
Grey 23.70 57.93 69
Greenish Brown 24.90 60.87 44
154.80 378.40 357

There’s a number of possible reasons my initial calculations were inaccurate.  One is that I did not accurately measure the length of each color as I wove.  Or perhaps I missed weaving a stripe in one color.  I don’t think this is the case — I had a 4×6 card with a list of stripes and I crossed them off as I wove — but it’s possible.

I wasn’t always getting 8 picks per inch as I wove, partly due to tension challenges (more on that in a minute) and partly because of the different types of yarn.  Since I used stash yarns, and some of the yarns were partial balls, I may not have had an accurate weight for the partial skeins before I started the project.  I didn’t weigh each one; I relied on the weight listed in Ravelry, assuming that I had accurately listed information on my earlier projects.

image

The Trouble with Tassels

In the television show, the tassels are made from one strand of each of the seven colors in the scarf.  When weaving, the fringe is usually the warp, and the warp for this project is only one color.  I considered a number of options for finishing the scarf.  I could:

  • Dye individual strands of fringe to match the stripes
  • Cut off the fringe, sew a hem, make tassels, and sew them to the edge of the scarf
  • Needlefelt 1″ or so on each end, rather than hemming, then sew the tassels to the needlefelted edge
  • Leave the warp as the fringe, leaning towards the spirit of the scarf not an accurate representation

I planned to sew a hem, but I ended up leaving the warp as fringe because I ran out of time — the scarf took nearly 15 hours to dry and by the time it was dry I had to pack it.  I don’t think needlefelting would have worked on this project, because I don’t think the llama yarn I used for warp would felt.  I tried wet-felting a join between two skeins and it didn’t work.

Warped Warp

As soon as I started tying on the warp, I knew that this warp was going to be problematic.  This yarn was very stretchy.  The long warp meant that the warp was sagging between the loom and the warping peg, resulting in different lengths for each strand of warp.

image

Then disaster struck — I had one more strand of yarn to bring through the heddle when the warping peg hopped onto the floor.  My entire warp was on the floor, and the loop at the end was in disarray.  Rather than rewarping the entire project, I gathered up the end, shook the warp to even it out as much as possible, then wound it onto the loom.  I stopped regularly to yank the warp and shake out any tangles.  When the warp was mostly wound on, I cut above the loop so that the warp would be even.  Since I had to cut so much off to even up the end, my warp was a little too short for my planned project.  I had to skip the last two stripes.

The llama yarn wasn’t the best warp.  It was strong, but it was very stretchy and hairy.  The stretchiness, combined with the long length of this warp, led to variations in tension as I wove.  The hairiness of the warp meant that it shed as I moved the heddle back and forth, leaving debris all over my floor and table.

Learning Experiences

This was the first project I wove using a boat shuttle.  I have the 9″ Mini Schacht Shuttle (The Woolery, affiliate link), which I received as a Christmas gift.  I wanted that shuttle specifically for this project.  Seven colors, and long stretches of a single color make it impossible to carry yarn up the selvedge.  The price of the boat shuttle plus a couple dozen 4″ bobbins (The Woolery, affiliate link) is a bit more than buying extra stick shuttles, but the boat shuttle is more flexible.

It took me a little while to get used to the boat shuttle.  I discovered that it worked better when the tension was higher.  When the tension was too loose, the boat shuttle tended to slip between the warp strands and fall to the floor.  I also learned that the boat shuttle worked better when I threw it right side up.  The bobbin does not sit directly in the middle of the shuttle; it is a bit closer to the top than the bottom.  If I put the shuttle through with the top side down, the wider parts of the bobbin tended to catch on the warp strands.  The shuttle has “Schacht” printed on the side of it.  It is right side up when that printing is right side up.

This is the first project I’ve done where I cut the yarn for color changes rather than carrying colors up the selvedge.  Therefore, it is the first project where I had to manage ends.  On other projects, I carried the ends along the bottom of the work.  I started doing that with this project and ran into a problem.  As I wound, the cloth beam caught the ends and pulled them vertically.  If you look carefully at the purple stripe in the foreground of the picture on the deck, you can see some wonkiness to the selvedge.  This is the result of the end getting caught in the cloth beam and pulling.  After I figure out what was happening, I brought my ends to the top of the work and cut them short before winding them around the cloth beam.

This project was just about the maximum size the 15″ Cricket loom can handle.  By the time I finished, the cloth beam was full.  I might have been able to get one more turn of the cloth beam — just enough to finish those extra two stripes — but it would have been close.  The yarns I used for this project were heavy worsted weight.  Thinner yarns would make a thinner cloth, so theoretically the loom should be able to handle a longer warp if I used fingering- or lace-weight yarn.

Conclusion

Weaving a Doctor Who Scarf is a lot more fun than knitting one.  I tied on the warp on Saturday and cut the finished project off the loom on Wednesday.  The project took something like 16 hours of hands on time, including the extra time it took to fix the warp after the warping peg abandoned its duties.  While I don’t want to knit a Doctor Who Scarf ever again, I wouldn’t hesitate to weave one!

Cooper opening the scarf while my mother (l) and cousin (Cooper's sister) (r) watch.
Cooper opening the scarf while my mother (l) and cousin (Cooper’s sister) (r) watch.

Felted

Remember the Begonia Swirl Shawl that I knit last year?  Here’s what it looked like when I finished it.

image

image

I lent it to a friend to use as a head scarf, and she washed it before returning it to me.  She’s not a knitter and didn’t know enough to ask about the fiber content before washing.  She tossed it in the washer and dryer.  The results were, for knitters, predictable.

image

image

I’m not sure that she intentionally put the shawl in the washer and dryer.  It might have accidentally snuck into her laundry and she didn’t know until she was folding.  We haven’t talked about it.  I found the shawl in with some other things.  I was heartbroken at first, and couldn’t bring myself to ask.  I guess I don’t see the point of having this type of conversation.  She didn’t do it on purpose.  Hopefully, she’s learned to ask about fiber content before cleaning things.  What else is there to say?  Any time I start the conversation in my head, it sounds accusatory and guilt-inducing.  I see no value coming from that.  So I let it go.

My worse case scenario is that I get to knit this shawl again.  I don’t have enough of the yarn left to knit it in the exact same yarn, but it’s not like I’m lacking yarn — I have a stash that is 63 miles long and contains many appropriate options for reknitting this shawl.  The pattern was fun and not terribly difficult.  It took me less than six weeks to knit, even though I had other projects going at the same time.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the felted shawl.  For now, I’ve folded it and put it away in the drawer with my other shawls.  When I took the pictures for this blog post, the shawl reminded me of a Colonial-era collar, though of course that would have been white and not this bright blue.  I’m contemplating felting it a little bit more and drying it flatter or steaming to see if I can even out some of the wrinkles caused by the felting, then figuring out a way of using it as part of a costume.  I’ve never made a historical costume, but I have at least two fiber events (a Spin In hosted by the Saint Augustine Spinner’s Guild and a Weavers Guild of Orlando demo as part of a Shakespeare festival at a local high school) coming up where costumes are appropriate or expected.  Perhaps I’ll be able to find a way to use this shawl in its felted state!