What’s On My Needles

Yes, I did fall for the fade. I’m four colors into my Find Your Fade kit from Lichen and Lace, and it’s so sweet to knit. It’s comforting and simple, the alternating garter and lace keep it from becoming overly monotonous, and the colors are to die for.

I switched a couple things up for the shawl. Really just one thing.

Something that happens when you buy hand-dyed yarn is that colors vary from skein to skein. While the images I expected were a medium-value yellow-orange named Daylily and a medium value yellow-red named Rhubarb, I got a lighter yellow with bits of dandelion and orange and a dark red with streaks of a darker golden yellow. Both are gorgeous. The issue is that now my values are quite different and they’re right next to each other.

Solution? I found this post on instagram by following #findyourfadeshawl on Instagram. (Side note: Stay motivated doing your project by following it’s hashtag. It’s like a never-ending knitalong for every project you’re doing. Magical.) Lauren faded her shawl a little differently, using Mara Catherine Bryner’s How I Roll pattern. After knitting the standard fade with Daylily and Rhubarb, I wanted to try something different, so I ripped back *gasp*, and I tried it out.

Knitting at my day job.

It’s more forgiving and less pattern-looking, which I appreciate. It did throw my stitch counts off, so my shawl will be wider than the pattern specifies. I’m not worried. 

Additionally, I have the collar and the beginnings of shoulders knit for my Fireside Pullover. (Again, follow the hashtag for your project.) I overcame my gauge woes by knitting English style in the round and by rereading the pattern. The genius Jane Richmond has written her pattern with measurements as opposed to row counts for length, so as long as I calculate my row gauge after blocking into each measurement, I should come out with a sweater that hits right where I want it. 

Granted, I’ll probably finish the sweater in June or July. Maybe I should take a summer vacation north.

Watch and Knit: February

Marie Antoinette

Every February, there is only one movie that I want to watch. Between Valentine’s Day and my birthday, I want to fight the dreary nature of February’s days with opulence and lace and pink and too many sweet treats to count. You know where I’m going with this. We’re all going to watch Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Bethany, that’s great, but there is no knitwear in that movie. You’re right. The silk in this movie seems completely at odds with any hand knits, but I think you’ll find this movie has a soulmate in the knitting world. His philosophy, “more is more, less is a bore,” seems like it fits right in. So grab your brightest speckled yarns and your champagne and settle in to ignore the grey skies and the never-ending snow. We’re knitting Stephen West’s knits all day and all night. Don’t look at me like that. You know you want to.

Marled Magic Shawl by Stephen West

 

Going Swatchless: Knitting for times when gauge has got you down.

Some days, no matter what you do, you just aren’t going to get gauge. You can knit swatch after swatch after swatch and nothing you change will get you where you want to be.

(For those of you that are supportive friends and family reading this, know that a swatch is a small rectangle of knitting used to find the combination of needles and yarn that produces a fabric with the right proportions of stitch width to row height (gauge). This step makes sure the project you are about to knit will be the size and shape you intend. When most people hear me talk about this process, they ask me what about knitting is fun. Whatever, people. I’m having a great time.)

Except right now. Except when I can’t get gauge for the sweater I’m due to knit next. My stitches are to big, but my rows are just right, or my stitches are perfect, but my rows are too small. I’ve tried knitting flat. I’ve tried knitting in the round. I’ve tried knitting English style. I’ve tried knitting continental.

So far my solutions are as follows: Rework the math to match my gauge. Yikes. Or. Work the collar in a gauge I like and improvise the rest of the sweater a la the lovely and skilled Karen Templer.

But maybe I’m not ready for solutions. Maybe I’m just ready to daydream about a project where gauge doesn’t matter. Let’s go there.

Baby Blankets

All babies need a stylish new blanket for stepping out in the world, right? And who doesn’t have a million baby showers to go to where everyone will be asking you when you expect to be having a baby shower of your own? Just me? Ok, maybe just me. Regardless, these are fabulous, and junior doesn’t care if your row gauge is a little off.

Four Corners Baby Blanket published by Purl Soho

For the child of your artist friends.

 

Honeycomb Stroller Blanket by Terry Kimbrough, Susan Leitzsch, Lucie Sinkler

For the sweetest baby you know.

 

POP Blanket by tincanknits

For those baby showers where you need to bring a book instead of a card. Pairs well with The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

 

 

Shawls

This is possibly where I spend most of my daydreaming time. Shawls are so beautiful, and they make me feel so chic to think about wearing. If I had a million hours in the day, I’d knit every triangle shawl, crescent shawl, and pi shawl in the universe.

 

What the Fade by Andrea Mowry

What if I jump on the fade bandwagon and spend all my money on all the gorgeous yarns in the world? That’s acceptable, right? It’s for professional research. If you go this route, I completely support you. Nothing has captured my fancy quite as much as Andrea Mowry’s colors in her line of fade knits

 

Capella by Isabella Kramer

I may have lost my mind. Such beautiful lace is way out of my league. Unrelated. Why is it snowing again?

Birdhouses

For the Birds by Laurie Parrish

You heard me. Birdhouses. Sure, the neighbors will think I’m nuts. And sure it will probably house mice as often as birds. Don’t trample my Disney princess dreams. I will knit a birdhouse, and it will charming. And that’s that.

Well, now that I’ve gotten all that out of my system, I’d better get back to swatching this sweater. Fireside isn’t going to knit itself.