A New Scart

It’s funny how a little change in the weather increases my knitting time. I’d actually forgotten that I’d started a new project this summer prior to starting the sweater until a chill in the air reminded me that winter is coming.

I have mittens and a hat that I finished last winter, but I hadn’t gotten to the matching scarf.

Start of Monkey Bread Scart

The pattern is Monkey Bread, and I’m knitting the infinity variation which explains the contrasting yarn at the beginning. The yarn (Great Northern Yarns Mink-Cashmere) is fluffy and soft, but the pattern is very repetitive so I loose interest after a few rows of knitting and switch to another project. So it’s going to take a while! Of course, I think if I found just the right TV show or movie to watch, I could make some rapid progress. We’re due a warm-up this week, but if it gets cold again that might spur the needles on.

In the meantime, it’s nice to be back to the knitting!

in need of…light

I needed neither the fresh snowfall nor the weatherman’s enthusiastic welcoming of the Winter Solstice to remind me today that it is indeed the darkest time of year. (Or indeed the shortest day, which took on new meaning at work today, as I’m quite sure 8-1/2 hours passed in the span of about four. At least, it seemed that way =D.) It is generally still dark enough–and gloomy–when I go into work that headlights are required, and always dark enough on the return trip home. Short days are compounded by overcast skies. Sunlight is a rare and cherished commodity.

This gloom and darkness are generally less noticeable during the Holiday season–there are so many lights and other decorations, that the world somehow stays cheery through the New Year, until at last January arrives and winter hits full force. That is, the darkness is less noticeable unless you are trying to take pictures, especially indoors, without resorting to electronic flash or other lights.

That is to say, plenty of knitting, no photographic proof! Either I haven’t been home during daylight hours to snap pics, or–worse yet–I’ve forgotten. Gulp.

I did manage to get a decent picture of one project which came and left in just about a week. I kept reading about the need for scarves for the Orphan Foundation of America’s Red Scarf project, so I bought some wool and knit like crazy in an attempt to get it out by the deadline.

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Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, “Really Red,” approximatly 2-1/4 balls
Needles: US3 (3 25 mm) (Yes, really. I think I could have gone up a size or two and been fine, but this was the needle I found first. I think my hands would have been happier with a larger needle.)
Modifications: I didn’t think the scarf was wide enough with three repeats across, so I made four.

I’m not a big fan of knitting scarves–they go on forever and ever and ever. This wasn’t really an exception. Sixty inches (a requirement) is a long way. Adding cables always helps though, and I really like the pattern. If the occasion called for it, I could probably knit this pattern again, although hopefully with more time than a week to knit it in!

I have other knitting waiting patiently to be shown off as well–two nearly finished projects, in fact. The good news is that I have from Christmas to New Year’s off work, (Yea!) so hopefully I will not only have two new finishes to end the year, but pictures to share as well. Here’s hoping for some sun!

something new!

I must confess to being a lazy blogger. Or perhaps, more accurately, a lazy photographer.  I had knitting to talk about and no motivation to capture it on camera. It doesn’t help, of course, that we’re still in the midst of the winter blahs and the only chance I have to get decent pictures is on the weekends.

For those of you despairing at my recent spate of finishitupitis, the end is near!  I started something new! I’m also running out of WIPs and UFOs that I am definitely not going to send to the frog pond.  I’ve been evaluating my project list on Ravelry and have realized that I would really rather reclaim the yarn from some of the “sleeping” projects for patterns that have since grabbed my interest.  Well, that and the socks were destined for frogging anyway, as they were victims of a severe gauge issue. After the evaluation,  the only for-sure projects I have left are Alhambra and the Braided Pullover I started this fall.  And um.. Alhambra is almost done.

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I’ve actually finished the knitting since the picture’s been taking, so all that remains are ends to be woven in and blocking.  Severe blocking – this thing really pulls in on itself. Finished project coming soon.

Braided Pullover is coming more slowly. I’m still in the midst of the 4-1/4″ of ribbing, so I only pull it out when I need something pretty mindless to knit.

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I will admit, I was becoming a bit worried by my finishitupitis – that I wouldn’t be able to start anything new.  Then came the arrival of a fortuitous combination: new yarns by way of Colourmart and a really really rough week at work (that particular Monday was a true “Monday” and things went downhill from there…). I needed comfort knitting, I had cashmere, I had an internet connection…

Welcome “Girasole,” my newest obsession.

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Of course, I’ve made a good bit of progress since this was taken.  I fell in love with the pattern the moment I first saw it on BrooklynTweed, but hadn’t really thought about it again until after this yarn arrived.  It’s a cone of 100% cashmere laceweight (oh so lovely – although more so after the spinning oils are washed off), in just the right amount for the pattern.  I like the warmth of the color for this pattern too.

This is my first shawl knit “in the round,” which necessitated learning new technique – a circular cast on.  At the pattern’s suggestion, I went to TECHknitting™’s instructions.  And promptly encountered an issue I had not run into before:  I’m left-handed.  My right-handed grandma taught me to knit “English” without any difficulties.  I later taught myself “Continental” without any real problems.  But I just could not catch on to that cast on – until I gave up, held the yarn in my right hand, needle in left and just tried something.  It worked – I had a perfect mirror of TECHknitter’s images, so I just had to flip the knitting over.  Since I never had a left-handed knitting issue before, I was a mite surprised, but now that I have it figured out, I rather like the method.  Although the first few rows were a bit fiddly, casting on circularly seems to work much easier than casting just a few stiches and trying to join them in a round.  I’m really enjoying Girasole, too.  There’s just one little problem…everytime I see the name, I get the song stuck in my head…!

Last of the summer lace

At the beginning of the summer, I signed up for Seasons of Lace.  And, for once, I’ve had a successful KAL!  Despite past tradition of not knitting along with KALs, I manged to knit lace (and only lace!) successfully all summer.  I even managed to sneak in one last completion before the deadline:

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Pattern: Pear and Trellis

Yarn:Colourmart Cashmere/Silk 3/45NM Laceweight, worked with two strands together

Needles: 3.0mm/ U.S. 2-1/2

Yet another Knitspot pattern.  This one was very easy to take with me and work on I was able to memorize the pattern easily.  To be honest, it’s not one of my absoulute Knitspot favorites (Morning Glory and Wing-o-the-Moth are in a neck and neck race for that position.  So far.), but when I saw the pattern, all I could think of was Delft pottery, and I knew I had the perfect yarn.  So I had to knit it…which means I now have yet another delicate and airy scarf for my collection, and was yet again entranced by the magic of blocking.