Plotting for a handspun handknit shawl

I say “plotting” but I really mean “obsessing.”

I am finishing up my current spin (I’m about halfway done with the plying, which I think I’ll finish tonight), but after that, this is going on the wheel:

FLUFF

FLUFF

That is 4 ounces of Merino/Silk in the colorway “Lost,” from FLUFF (which, sadly, no longer exists – but, happily for me, I still have quite a bit in my stash). I have hung onto this fiber for almost four years now, not sure exactly what it would grow up to be. Sometimes I spin fiber just because I love it, and I decide later how I will use it. Other times, I wait until I have a sense of what I want to knit the fiber into, so that I know how I want to spin it. That is the case with this.

Earlier this week, Kirsten Kapur released a new shawl design, Saranac. I am totally obsessed with this pattern, y’all! Crescent-shaped is currently my favorite shawl shape, and the design of this one is so fun. I love the border and the inventive way it’s designed. I immediately imagined knitting it in some sort of blue or blue-green handspun, something with silk in it, to wear on vacation this summer. I went stash-diving and was thrilled to find this fiber.

yum

yum

I think it’s going to be perfect! The pattern calls for 550yds of fingering weight, which will be a challenge for me to get out of 4 ounces. I could do it if I just spin the fiber as singles, but I was really wanting to do this spin as a 2-ply. We’ll see how it goes.

Would anyone be interested in spinning along with me for this project? I’ve started a thread on Ravelry in the Through the Loops group, for anyone who might want to spin for this. I’m super-excited about both the spin and the knit.

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Of course I can’t cast on for anything until I finish Little Buddha’s sweater. He is policing my every crafting effort at this point, so I’m sure I’ll finish soon, right?

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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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Three years later, a sock

It’s actually a little astonishing how many works-in-progress I have languishing in nooks and crannies around my house. And I never know what might actually motivate me to pick an old project up. It’s sort of a nice surprise to find myself suddenly finishing up a very old project.

In October of 2010, I participated in one of Kirsten’s wonderful Mystery Sock Knit-alongs. A lot of stuff happened that month, and I never actually finished the pair of socks. I conveniently solved Second Sock Syndrome for myself though, by breaking my ankle:

solved: Second Sock Syndrome

(not how I would recommend getting yourself out of finishing a pair of socks)

By the time I was out of my aircast, I had moved on to other projects, and I never managed to pick those socks back up. In the meantime, the yarn got terribly tangled, so every time I considered the project, I was daunted by the untangling that would ensue.

Then all of a sudden this past Friday night, I wanted to finish those suckers up. I was ready to cast on for this year’s Through the Loops Mystery Sock Knitalong, and I guess I wanted to clear the decks, so to speak (though in all honesty, I also still have my 2012 TTL Mystery Sock still in progress as well!). So I picked it up and was stunned to discover that I was totally done with the gusset – all I had left was the foot and the toe. You know, basically four inches of knitting. Yes, there was untangling to be done, but even that took less time than I had expected. And before the weekend was up, I had a new pair of socks.

TTL Mystery Sock 2010

TTL Mystery Sock 2010

I love the texture of the socks – the cable pattern is fun to knit and so pretty to wear.

sock toes

sock toes

And the cables flow into a beautiful toe, too.

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The yarn was great, too – Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Luxe Merino Fine, in “Dram.” I mean look at the lovely depth of color:
in progress :: TTL Mystery Sock 2010
Kitchen Sink Dyeworks, by Mercedes Tarasovich, is now closed, sadly. This is a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend, so it definitely is a little “luxe.” But the truth is, I’ve decided I prefer to work with just straight-up wool. Cashmere-blend yarn is just a little too drapey and soft for my taste, at least for socks.

a little slouchy

a little slouchy

And I had trouble with gauge. I’m a loose knitter, so I always knit my socks on size 0s (unless I’m knitting with worsted weight yarn, in which case I typically knit them with 3s). I made the size Medium but probably should’ve made the size Small, because these are actually quite loose and slouchy on me. In fact, they fit my husband perfectly, but he felt they were a bit too feminine for him. So I will happily wear them. The color is perfect and the pattern is glorious, and if the worst thing I have to deal with in a day is slightly loose socks, then I have a pretty good life.

Now I am moving forward with this year’s Mystery Sock Knitalong with an almost clear conscience!

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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 :: 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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