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

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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.

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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.

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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.

WIP Wednesday: June 10, 2015

For the last week, I’ve spent my crafting time working on the two test knits that I cast on last Wednesday.  Both projects traveled to Indiana and back.  On the way there, I knit on the shawl.  On the way home, I knit on the scarf.  I worked on them while I sat in Stacy’s office on Friday.  I worked on them as we drove to and from the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  I’ve made great progress on both projects, and hope to finish both this weekend.

Sand Tracks Scarf

I love this project.  I love the yarn.  I love the pattern.  All the love!  I’m about 1/3 of the way into the second ball.

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Raindrops on Roses Shawl

I’ve finished the first of three lace repeats.  I’m probably halfway through the shawl at this point.

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WIP Wednesday: June 3, 2015

I’ve gotten a lot of crafting done this week!

Cormo

Last Friday, I spent several hours spinning the Cormo while at a demo.  I started a new bobbin at the beginning of the event.  Here’s how it looked at the end of the event:

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Heart Illusion Dishcloths

I’ve knit four more dishcloths this week.

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Raindrops on Roses Shawl

I joined the Testing Pool group on Ravelry and signed up to do two test knits.  This is one of them.  It’s a top down shawl, stockinette with a lace border.  I’ve finished perhaps 1/4 of the stockinette section.

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Sand Tracks Scarf

This is the second test knit.  It is a cabled scarf on a seed stitch background.  I’ve finished the garter stitch border and the first pattern repeat.  I think I’m really going to love this project.

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May 2015 in Review

Since I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d write a quick post re: finished projects and activities.

Finished Projects

Slytherin Houndstooth Scarf

  • Draft: Houndstooth
  • Loom: 15″ Cricket Table Top Loom
  • Reed: 10 dent
  • Warp Stats
    • Yarn: 150 yards (including loom waste) of  Knit Picks Capretta in Platinum and 150 yards (including loom waste) of Cascade Heritage Silk in Pine
    • Loom waste: 31 yards
    • Total Warp Ends: 110
    • Ends Per Inch (EPI): 10
    • Warp Length: 100″
  • Weft Stats
    • Yarn: 153.6 yards Knit Picks Capretta in Platinum and 142.8 yards Cascade Heritage Silk in Pine
    • Picks Per Inch (PPI): 10 – 12
    • Width in the Reed: 11″
  • Ravelry Project Page

I didn’t write a post about finishing this scarf, though it’s appeared in several WIP Wednesday posts (January 22, February 4, March 25).  I had to finish it so that I could weave the Dr. Who scarf on my rigid heddle loom!  Since this is the fourth Houndstooth Scarf I finished (see the posts on Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw Houndstooth scarves), I felt like I didn’t necessarily learn anything new on this project.  I did apply the lessons learned on the prior Houndstooth scarves, so the Slytherin is the most consistent of the four.

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Cotton Candy Corriedale

  • Wheel: Kromski Fantasia
  • Spinning Twist: S (clockwise)
  • Plying Twist: Z (counter-clockwise)
  • Ratio: 8:1
  • Singles Yardage: 978 yards
  • Fiber: Sassy Bee Corriedale in Cotton Candy
  • Finished skein:
    • Ply Structure: 420 yards 2-ply; 46 yards n-ply
    • Weight: 4 oz
  • Ravelry Stash page

This is another project that I’ve been working on for a while and which has appeared in a couple of WIP Wednesday posts (February 4, February 18).  As of February 18, I’d finished plying and had wound most of the yarn onto a niddy noddy.  It then sat around, still on the niddy noddy, awaiting washing.

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Dr. Who Scarf

I did write a blog post about this one!

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Felted Cat Bed

  • Pattern: garter stitch
  • Yarn: 440 yards Patons SWS in Geranium
  • Needles: US 13 / 9.0 mm
  • Pre-felting dimensions: 23″ wide by 40″ long
  • Post-felting dimensions: 11.5″ wide by 19″ long
  • Made for: Pepper
  • Ravelry Project Page

I whipped out a new cat bed to line the bookshelf where Pepper likes to sleep.  Although she wasn’t very co-operative re: posing for the picture, she loves the bed.  It’s now her favorite sleeping spot.

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Semi-finished Projects

These projects are “semi-finished” because I’m making multiple dishcloths from the same patterns, as part of my ongoing Dishcloth Advent Calendar (details in my 2015 Plans post) project.  I’ve finished at least one individual item, but am still working on making more.  I need to make 18 dishcloths in each pattern, and will write blog posts with all the project details when I finish all 18.

Heart Illusion Dishcloths

I finished 9 of these in May.

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Bias Knit, Crochet Cotton Dishcloth

I only finished one of these.  Even with two strands held together, it took about 3 hours to knit one of these, and I didn’t even make it as big as the pattern suggests.  It’ll take me a while to make all 18 of these, but I do like them.

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Activities

I participated in three demos with the Weavers of Orlando.  I’ve written blog posts about two of those: St. Johns River Festival of the Arts and Arts at Audubon Elementary.  The third demo was just this past Friday, and I’m working on writing a post about it!

I also traveled to New England to attend my cousin’s college graduation.  While there, I visited 12 yarn shops, including WEBS!  I bought yarn in all the shops, and will be writing multiple blog posts about the experience.  I needed to take pix of all the new stash for the posts and to update my Rav stash.  I’ve been working on it and I’m just about finished.  I will be posting about these shops throughout the month of June; I plan to get all the posts up no later than June 25 since several of the shops I visited are part of the 2015 I-91 Shop Hop which starts that day.