Knitting as a reward for knitting

I am fully obsessed with working on my handspun pi shawl, which is a problem, since I really, really want to finish up my sweater. Solution? I’ve made a reward system out of it. Knit a round of my sweater yoke, spend a few (okay, several) minutes on the shawl. (exception: I don’t have to earn time knitting on the shawl while out-and-about – the shawl makes much better on-the-go knitting than the sweater does).

Reis yoke

Reis yoke

Is it sad that I have to make these kinds of deals with myself? Perhaps. But whatever works, right? Plus, knitting as a reward for knitting? YES, PLEASE.

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Mystery Solved :: Through the Loops Mystery Socks Knitalong 2014

Hey look, I broke out of my purple/gold color rut:

Through the Loops Mystery Socks 2014

Through the Loops Mystery Socks 2014

And went with another combo I adore: purple+red!

TTL MKAL

TTL MKAL

These are the Through the Loops Mystery Socks, a knit-along I joined in January. I made these with The Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet in “French Twist” (the red) and “Dancing Queen” (the purple). As usual, TTL+TPK=total win.

TTL+TPK=happy feet

TTL+TPK=happy feet

As usual, Kirsten’s pattern was a joy to knit – always straightforward, always beautiful. I just love the lace and twisted stitches of this pattern, not to mention the striped toes and picot cuff. And of course working with TPK yarn is always a pleasure, too. None of my photographs really captured the depth of color in the red (or in the purple for that matter). (Capturing the color red accurately is my photography holy grail, it seems.)

I shortened the socks by about 20 rounds (basically an entire lace motif). I have narrow heels and narrow feet, and I find that handknit socks tend to slouch on me if I don’t make some accommodations. As it is, these socks are still a wee bit slouchy on me – but I couldn’t go down in needle size, as I was already making them on size 0s. I probably could’ve gone with fewer stitches, but that’s hard to do when the pattern is a mystery.

I love how these turned out, and it’s fun to have some red socks to wear on grey days.

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handknit in situ :: purple on purple (Germinate)

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I don’t have anything to show you tonight except what I wore today – my Germinate (Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2013) made its debut. I think this shawl will look good with gold, with grey, with brown. But today, I loved wearing it on purple.

I really enjoyed knitting this in June, and I am LOVING wearing it now.

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Knitted :: for summer, er, fall (Cape Cod)

Oh, sweet summer, where did you go? Here in Michigan, it is actually state law to not start school before Labor Day – a sane and civilized approach, in my estimation – but even this relatively late start to the school year cannot forestall the inevitable. Summer break always ends, and in our house this time that meant tears. But I’m thrilled to have a new sweater to ease the pain…

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

In April, I fell hard for a new design from babycocktails. Thea totally has my number and her Cape Cod was no exception. Sweet, simple, and slightly slouchy, with gorgeous lace details – LOVE it. I immediately envisioned it in a slammin’ lime green – The Plucky Knitter’s “Chlorophyll,” and I was lucky enough to score some in destash on Ravelry. YES! I was fast on my way to a great summer sweater.

love that neckline

love that neckline

And then life and other projects intervened, and I didn’t manage to finish until nearly summer’s end. When I got to the end, I ran out of yarn for the bind-off of the last sleeve! I swear I have another skein around here somewhere – I really thought I only used four skeins of this yarn, not five – but I cannot for the life of me locate the yarn. I’m distressed to think I might’ve lost a skein of precious TPK in my crazy summer travels, but it’s either that or I’m losing my mind. Which is a distinct possibility.

Anyway, with my yarn shortage crisis, I had to jerry-rig the sleeve bind-off, which involved tying a series of knots and crossing my fingers (which makes it hard to knit). Messy, but it worked out okay.

messy sleeves and all

messy sleeves and all

I also learned from my last sweater blocking escapades. That time a full blocking stretched the sweater beyond what I had anticipated or wanted. So this time I did a spritz blocking.

Cape Cod, blocking

Cape Cod, blocking


Seemed to work out fine!

I had imagined wearing this sweater during my travels up north this summer, where the weather dips into the 50s even during August.

front lace detail

front lace detail

I had imagined lolling around on cool summer nights in the perfect pullover.

summer nights

summer nights

But alas. Once I finally finished, my travels were over and the cool summer suddenly turned hot and muggy.
Cape Cod

But spring and summer will come again. And what’s more, I’ve realized I can make what I thought of as a spring/summer shade of green work well for autumn with the right styling. Right?

Good-bye, summer. I loved you very much.

Good-bye, summer. I loved you very much.

I ADORE this sweater, y’all. The pattern is perfect, as I’ve come to expect from Thea. The yarn, too, (Plucky Sweater) is total perfection. And the color is everything I’d hoped it would be.

Happy Girl

Happy Girl

This is a fantastic knit and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I so look forward to my next TPK/babycocktails mash-up. Happy end of summer, y’all! It’s almost FOR REAL knitting weather!

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In praise of Plucky :: Happy Plucktember!

For me, it all started with Narragansett.
knitted :: Narragansett
A pattern by babycocktails, knit in The Plucky Knitter Merino Lite, “Narragansett Gray.”

I purchased the kit from The Plucky Knitter in the summer of 2011 but didn’t get this sweater knit until this past May. I can be slow like that. But in the meantime, I had become completely obsessed with The Plucky Knitter (TPK).

There was my first Color Affection Kit:
to knit :: Color Affection
The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering MCN Neopolitan Kit
Oatmeal, Bashful, and Smokey the Bear

This resulted in my ginormous and yummy shawl:
Color Affection
(full details on my original blog post)

I was completely smitten, and immediately ordered another Color Affection Kit:
The Plucky Knitter Color Affection Kit
“Family Farm” Kit (Lincoln, Grandeur, and Barn Door)

Then I fell hard for Plucky Rustic, a delicious aran weight yarn that resulted in one of my favorite cardis:
knitted :: Zelkova
Zelkova, a Through the Loops Design. (Full details of that knit on my original blog post.)

And I had enough yarn leftover to knit a little cowl:
knitted :: Irving Cowl
Which I knit, donated, bought, and gave away.

This summer there was this yarn:
ready :: yarn for TTL Mystery Shawl KAL
Plucky Feet in Flannel, Princess Phone, and Dancing Queen

Which resulted in another Through the Loops winner:
knitted :: Germinate (2013 TTL Mystery Shawl)
(full details on my original blog post)

This summer there was also this:
Stuck on sleeve island, but at least there are copious amounts of coffee here #knitting #coffee #limegreen #summer #sweater #crafting
Cape Cod, a babycocktails design, which I hope to show you in full this week.

There are other Plucky Knitter yarns hanging around in my house. There is this gorgeous green waiting to be knit up this fall, if possible:
yarn :: The Plucky Knitter

And my favorite purple of all time:
My favorite purple #thepluckyknitter #purple #dancingqueen #yarn #knitting
Dancing Queen, which I have on multiple bases

And there are, shockingly, a few Plucky yarns in my home that haven’t even seen the camera yet.

All of this is to say: I Love The Plucky Knitter.

And did you know that this month has been declared Plucktember? This whole month is a festival of The Plucky Knitter, with fun KALs, contests, giveaways, new patterns – all in celebration of Sarah’s gorgeous yarn and amazing workwomanship. You can read all about it in the Plucky Knitter group on Ravelry. In celebration of Plucktember, a number of designers are offering their patterns at a discount. I decided to join the fun. I’ve been itching to design something in TPK yarn for a long time, and haven’t yet gotten my designs out of my head and on the needles yet. But in the meantime, my Shameless collection would be perfect in Plucky Sweater, or any of Sarah’s DK to light worsted yarns.

Don’t you want a pair of mitts for fall?
designed :: Shameless Mitts
And a matching hat and cowl? Hmmm? Yes! You do! You know you do.

For all of September, purchase any of my designs (or the entire e-book of three patterns) for a 20% discount when you use the code plucktember. You can purchase the patterns easily through my pattern store on Ravelry. I would love to see these little knits in some sweet Plucky Knitter yarns. Meanwhile, I couldn’t keep my finger off the Paypal trigger – I bought from a few other designers’ Plucktember sales. I have become completely obsessed with Ann Weaver’s Traffic Furniture, and already have an assortment of TPK Plucky Feet lined up to go. Oh, if only there were more days in the year, to fill with all the knitting (and yarn buying!).

Happy Plucktember, y’all! And happy knitting.

knitted :: Germinate (Through the Loops Mystery Shawl Knit-along 2013)

“Truth is the strong compost in which beauty may sometimes germinate.”  – Christopher Morley

Truth #1 – I love Through the Loops Designs. To wit:

TTL knits
That’s 21 TTL designs right there, and I left out a couple of hibernating knits. Kirsten’s designs are beautiful, her patterns are easy to follow and enjoyable to knit, and the finished product is imminently wearable.

Truth #2 – I love The Plucky Knitter yarn.
ready :: yarn for TTL Mystery Shawl KAL

Sarah’s colors are gorgeous, rich, and luscious, and I love her yarn bases. (Also, her customer service is exceptional!)

Truth #3 – I love knitting shawls, apparently. I also really love purple and gold together, it turns out.

Truth #4 – I love a good mystery.

Truth #5 – I have amazing and generous friends, who give me yarn, just because. 

If truth is the strong compost in which beauty may sometimes germinate, then I have good soil indeed.
knitted :: Germinate (2013 TTL Mystery Shawl)
This is my finished Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2013. The pattern has since been named Germinate, and as you can see, it has a gorgeous leaf theme to the lace.

knitted :: Germinate (2013 TTL Mystery Shawl)
Casting on at the beginning of June, and finishing up four weeks later, I adored knitting this. As usual, Kirsten’s pattern was clear and easy to follow (with both written and charted directions for the lace). As usual, Sarah’s yarn was perfection. The mystery component of this knit – four clues over four weeks – made it so manageable and so much fun. It’s always exciting to receive the next clue, and to see how other people’s shawls are progressing as well.

knitted :: Germinate (2013 TTL Mystery Shawl)
Watching the stripes and the lace play out together was magical, and it was also super-fun to see the color combinations other people chose. Everyone’s shawl looked so different, all based on color choices.

I do seem to have a thing these days for purple and gold together. It definitely puts me in an autumn frame of mind.
knitted :: Germinate (2013 TTL Mystery Shawl)

I went through hilarious shenanigans trying to get this blocked and photographed in early July. It was so humid in Georgia, where I had taken it for its photo shoot (what? do you not travel several hundred miles to photograph your handknits in beautiful settings? yeah, me neither. I was down there for a class and brought the shawl along). First, the shawl wouldn’t dry because of the humidity (even after two days on my parents’ screened-in porch, it was still quite wet). Then I pulled it outside, spent several minutes in the blazing sun pinning it back out again. It only took about twenty minutes to completely dry with the sun directly on it – and then a thunderstorm sprang up suddenly and soaked it. Fun times! I think it rained at least a little – and sometimes quite a lot – every day I was in Georgia; it was actually still drizzling while I modeled the shawl for these pictures (hello, frizz!).

But I digress. The point is this. I loved this pattern, I love this yarn, and I am so happy with how this fall shawl turned out.
Untitled
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