A bit of lace

talavera-4I’m so pleased to be finished with this project, and I got it to come out just the way I wanted. While Talavera was beautiful just as it was written, I made a few modifications to suit my needs. I love the original neckline, but I wanted it to be more open for summer wear. I also wanted a bit more of a sleeve and some extra body length. The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering in Teal and I used barely over 3 hanks of it. talavera-2This pattern is well written and the lace is very enjoyable to knit. The repeat becomes natural after a few times. It wasn’t something I didn’t have to look at well enough to read, but it did become rhythmic and natural, and had rest rows (a solid knit or purl row) between the active rows.

It took me awhile to decide on the neckline. I hemmed and hawed and eventually decided that I would replicate the neckline from Waterlily since that worked well with lace. I began the neckline decreases after the third repeat of the lace pattern on the sleeve. I think a slightly deeper neckline would have also suited me. I could have started the neck after the second repeat as well, but I like the way it turned out nonetheless.

talaveraI wanted the sleeves to be a bit wider, so instead of following instructions for sleeve increases, I decided to just cast on enough extra stitches for an extra lace repeat when it was time to add sleeve stitches. My sleeves ended up with 33 stitches across after I followed the neck decreases. I really like the way this part came out.

As for length, I did 13 repeats of the lace pattern before dividing for front and back. After blocking (oh, magical blocking!) this came out to be a 15.5″ length. I think even one repeat longer would have been fine, but this is a nice length to work with a variety of clothing items. talavera-3Best of all, for this photo shoot, Zooey was a fantastic helper. She was a stand in when I needed to focus the shot, and she worked the remote for me for most of the time so I could avoid the remote in hand pictures I often end up with when I take photos alone.

I’m thrilled to have this piece finished! I’ve already cast on a new top for myself, and I’ll post more about that soon!

Excuse the wrinkles

This top has been finished and blocked for some time now, but it’s been hard to find the time to get some photographs. It’s been a hectic week with a sick and cranky 1 yr old. These could be better, but I’m trying to let go of perfectionistic tendencies, so here’s today’s result. notched hemI made a few modifications to the Notched Hem Top pattern. I made the back about an inch and a half longer than the front. There is plenty of sloping after the back short rows, so I don’t know if I would repeat that action if I make another. I also started with the 40″ size at the bottom and reduced to the 37″ size by adding in extra decreases. notched hem-2The yarn is Juniper Moon Farm in Zooey. The color is Sloop. This is a wonderfully soft yarn. notched hem-4I made the neckline deeper and wider than the pattern specified. I didn’t take notes. I just winged it as I went along, and I like how it turned out. I wanted a bit more open neck to keep things cooler since this is such a long piece. notched hem-3One side of the front and of the back is looser. I think this is due to the nature of the slipped stitch on the knit sides vs. the purl sides. If I could do it over I would use an edge stitch that makes both sides a bit firmer for consistency. It doesn’t really bother me, but it’s a detail I’d pay attention to next time.

Now I will wear the heck out of it! I’ve finally decided how I will do the neckline of Talavera, so that’s getting some much needed love. I also needed another Whispers and deemed it the perfect project for the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Saffron, so that will be in the works soon as well!

Steady on

I know this is a knitting blog, and I almost never get political, but it feels like I couldn’t write a post in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando without saying something. There are families shattered by unspeakable horror due to ridiculous gun violence right now. There is no reason one human being needs an assault weapon that can end the lives of 50 others in minutes. It’s 2016. We as human beings can come up with a better way to live that doesn’t involve guns being readily accessible. I have hope that we can come to grips with this as a society and better ourselves, but that doesn’t take away the present pain of the friends and families of those that were slaughtered. My thoughts and prayers for peace are with them. Please send them thoughts of peace and love if you feel so inclined. No one should have to face such horror and my heart goes out to you, Orlando. notchedThe Notched Hem Tank is still living on my needles. It feels like I’m making very little progress on any one project because I keep jumping around from project to project with little concentrated focus on only one. I’m working on a baby/kid design that’s been taking a good deal of mental energy and revising to get just what I want. For that project I designed then knit an entire piece then decided it needed to be a bit different. So I started from scratch. And then ripped. And then ripped again. So this Notched Hem is lucky it’s gotten attention at all, but I really want to wear it, so I’m hoping to finish it up this week. I’m on the upper back and will likely make some slight revisions to the front, starting the neckline at a lower point to keep this a cooler summer item.

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From tragedy to triumph

A couple of weeks ago I was diligently prepping winter knits for the summertime, washing them to store in the cedar chest. I was in a bit of a rush and not remembering that my new Still Light hadn’t really gotten all of it’s color bleeding out in the wash yet, and it ended up next to my Damask shawl, a much loved piece that I made in the first few days of Zooey’s life. I knitted this shawl almost entirely with her sleeping on my chest while I did it. The result wasn’t terrible, but left a green tinge on the beautiful saffron color. You can see some of it directly to the left of the Hazel Knits skein.shawlAs you can see, I already ordered a replacement skein. I ADORE this color and need it in my life. This is probably my most worn shawl. I will not likely make another Damask in saffron, but another lace shawl in this color would be wonderful. I mourned my Damask and was just going to hand it off to the kiddos for a dress up item and then I remembered over dyeing! I asked Jane, one of my intrepid knitting mentors from my LYS what to do and she suggested Kool-aid dyeing. It had been years since I did that and I had to refresh my memory with this article.

I settled on pink lemonade and got seven packets. shawl-2Zooey helped of course with this fun science experiment. After boiling one time I wasn’t convinced the color was even enough or would cover the messed up areas to my liking. I went and got another seven packets of pink lemonade and two of orange. The Knitty article suggests at least one packet per ounce of wool, but I wanted this color to pop! shawl-3After a second round of mixing and boiling the water was milky white, rather than the clear I expected, but the result was fantastic. shawl-4I’m a fan. This is a bolder orange than I’ve worn as a shawl before, but I’m embracing the result and the fun process. Now, what beautiful lace shawl should I make with 400 yards of the saffron? Ideas welcome.

Beautiful distractions

As predicted, I’ve been taking a break from the TTTKAL Talavera. I don’t know if that KAL was extended or not, but I doubt even with the extension I’d get things wrapped up in a timely fashion. I’ve been enjoying the comfort of this tank: notched hem tank-2

The pattern is Notched Hem Tank and the yarn is Zooey in the color Sloop. I’m blending two sizes for this one. I’m starting with the size 40″ instructions at the bottom, and I’m working toward the 37″ at the top. I might end up in between. I also made the back piece two inches longer than the front for a little variety.

notched hem tankI had a little help while taking pictures.

Even more distracting knit-wise was an idea for a baby/toddler/small child tunic that popped into my head yesterday and had to be written down today. I did a little math during my lunch hour and have most of the numbers for a variety of sizes and I’ve already put yarn to needle for one in Charlotte’s size. More soon!

Too few hours in the day

I’m moving slowly on this TTTKAL project. The knit along is supposed to end on the 27th and I’m woefully behind. The weekends have been packed with fun family time that doesn’t allow for knitting, and some of my evening downtime is spent trying to get Fitbit steps like a madwoman to fight more sternly with the post-baby pudge that’s so very settled on my bones at this minute. talavera-4The pattern is Talavera and it’s lovely. I’m going a bit off the cuff after the armholes. I ignored (by accident) an increase that was there and elected to just cast on enough stitches on each side for one lace repeat to give this a bit more of a sleeve. I’m also considering scrapping the funnel neck in favor of something that will be slightly more open and hot-weather friendly. It’s a work in progress. Luckily the back and front are mirrored right now so I can turn this into either the front or back if inspiration strikes and I suddenly need a deep scoop neck. talavera-3The temperatures here are climbing, then falling, then climbing again. I guess I’m in no real rush to finish this, but I like to have projects to write about so I’ll probably get distracted by something else again soon. talavera-5What about turning this into a halter top?

Just kidding.

Just another pair of socks

Last week I got a cold and I needed some comfort knitting. I turned to these simple striped socks made with Knit Picks Felici in the color Mosaic. felici-3The yarn is soft and soothing. I was at the heel flap when I picked them up last week and they felt so comfortable and meditative that I just carried on until I was done. feliciI haven’t forgotten about my TTTKAL project and I’m back to working on it now, but sometimes you just need to knit socks. felici-2Know what I mean?