Silver Spoons is on my needles at the moment. And I've been singularly devoted to it, which is unusual for me.
It's so beautiful that I'm hoping to finish it up quickly, even though it's gotten quite large.
Each row is taking me a L-O-N-G time. Have you noticed the hoard of videos cropping up on knitting blogs and Instagram lately, where knitters are taking video of themselves knitting up close? And, fast! I look at these videos and they look like light speed to me. I am not a fast knitter. But this cashmere feels so lovely as it moves through my fingers, that I will try not to bemoan my slow knitter status and devote myself to enjoying the process.
Suzb626, a/k/a my sweet real life friend Suzanne - the very last skein of KAL Giveaway yarn for Adventurous April 2016 is yours. You can thank the random number generator gods and lucky #3 on your Instagram comments. Please message me and let me know the best way to get this yarn in your hands for the April 1 KAL start.
I'm looking forward to casting on for socks on April 1. I'll be midway through a trip to look at a few colleges with my junior, so I'll be happy to have the prospect of socks and a nice cup of tea at night after trudging around during the day! I hope everyone is in the final stages of getting ready for the KAL. See you in our chat thread on the Ravelry group as we finalize our plans.
Swatch. Um, not so much. (It was a bad travel incident that I don't want to think about)
It's getting close. April 1 will be here before you know it! If you haven't joined us yet, take a look on the Elliebelly Ravelry Group. The rules are simple, starting April 1 and ending when we're through, we're going to knit socks. We've selected a couple of patterns but you're also free to knit one of your choosing. And although many of us are knitting with Elliebelly yarn this year, you're free to knit with any yarn you choose. Make sure you tag your project page with ElliebellyAdventurousApril2016.
Still need some Elliebelly yarn? I've got one last giveaway. (Yes, for old hands, that's Pop!) Go on over to Instagram and follow Elliebelly_Knits and leave a comment on the most recent post. I promise to add a lovely picture of my knitting or yarn to your feed a couple of times a week. I'll randomly pick a winner on Tuesday and get the last yarn off in the mail in time for a little bit of quick swatching before our April 1 start.
Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but it has been a long week for me! I've been away from home and sick at the same time, which is never fun! I can't remember the last time I felt too sick to knit, but that was me. Coming home to my family seems to have been a wonder drug and I'm feeling much better.
Since I don't have knitting of my own to show you this week, I thought I would share a project I've been undertaking with a cohort of amazing knitters. The old Elliebelly website had a page called "What Can I Knit With It" that helped you match patterns with yarns. When I moved my website hosting, there were a couple of glitches, and all of that data was lost. It was time to freshen up those recommendations in any event, so I spent several weeks dyeing yarn in some of my favorite bases, and for the last few months, a group of talented knitters have been knitting with it. Their projects are amazing!
We are on track to have a photo shoot with them at the end of this month, so I can have a new and improved page that helps you match your yarn with projects. Until then, you can take a look at all of the projects on Ravelry by clicking here. Judi's Waiting with Rain, the photo above, is knit with Elliebelly's BFL Sock and illustrates one of those elusive principles of yarn selection.
You can typically make a good substitution of a yarn in your stash for a pattern yarn by focusing on the weight of the yarn, in other words, substituting a dk pattern yarn for a dk yarn in your stash. But this isn't the exclusive consideration. You also need to think about drape. 100% wool yarns are "sprongy." They hold their shape. They are more likely to cling -- in a nice way. Yarns with silk, bamboo, cotton, linen, etc., may be more drapey if the content of the not-wool fiber is high enough. Think a drapey shawl. A summer tank top knit out of linen will be loose and drapey but the same pattern, at the same weight, knit in wool, will have a different, more fitted, shape. Of course, it's not an exact science and sometimes, you just have to knit with a yarn to see what it does. The 100% Blue Faced Leicester (sheep's wool) content of Elliebelly BFL sock turns out to be really perfect for shawls. It blocks out to show off the lace patterning perfectly. And, it's warm enough for a little comfort on a cool day without being too heavy. The new "What Can I Knit With It" page, when it's ready, will help knitters make these kinds of selections.
As long as we're on this topic, I'll note that one final factor to consider when substituting yarns is that not all yarns categorized as fingering (or sport, or dk, or worsted, or aran, or bulky) will be the same. Example: a quick perusal of Ravelry shows commercially produced dk weight yarns can run anywhere from 214 to 260 yards for a 100 gram skein. It's important to be aware of differences like this when substituting a yarn for the one recommended in the pattern.
Of course, once you understand these concepts, your ability to substitute yarns in endless. You may deliberately choose to knit a wool cardigan in linen for a looser summer look. A good example is Ishbel, pictured above. If you click on the link to the pattern, you'll see it was written for a 100% wool fingering yarn, although the pattern page also shows a 50 wool/50 Silk blend as an option. The wool version has a lovely drawn in look that emphasizes the lace. The Ishbel shown above is knit in Elliebelly Panda, a 50% silk, 50% Bamboo blend. You might not have thought it would be a good fit for this pattern based on the yarns the designer used, but knowing that her beautiful, complex lace would be shown off to perfection by a drapey, non-wool blend, I chose Panda for this project. Understanding the way the yarn base will work is a key to making a yarn substitution that is quite different from the recommended yarn, but still a success.
Thinking about the results a yarn will give you with the pattern you select is a key to ending up with finished projects you will love and wear over an over again. And as with the time spent on swatching, it's well worth engaging in this exercise before you invest your precious knitting time in a project. I hope that when the new "What Can I Knit With It" page is ready, it will be a really helpful resource for everyone.
I'm into the third repeat of my Silver Spoons Shawl, hopelessly in love with the pattern, hopelessly in love with the yarn. There are some projects where you don't want the knitting to stop. This is one of them. It's a simple enough pattern to knit while meeting a friend for coffee or talking with family at the end of the day.
Many knitters are making this with a contrast color on the border. My current plan is to knit mine as a solid, although it's tempting to edge it in black or perhaps a pop of color. If this one isn't in your queue, it should be there. And, rumor has it, there is a sport weight version of the pattern coming out next month.
With two weeks left before the start of our April Knit Along, it's serious time for project planning and yarn acquisition. On the yarn acquisition front, we are an inclusive KAL and welcome knitters who show up with any yarn they choose. But, I know a lot of you like knitting with Elliebelly yarn, so I've tried to get a bit of it out there for you. This week, I drew three random yarn winners from among those who have their KAL Project Page set up on Ravelry, using the tag ElliebellyAdventurousApril2016: Frucat, Pegmcc, and TeddyandNick. Depending on the project on your page, you've got either two skeins of Pixie Worsted for your Rye Socks or a skein of Decadence for Zigzagular on the way to you!
If you're new to the Elliebelly group on Ravelry or to our annual knitalong, I hope you'll decide to join us. You will find all the KAL information there, but it's a friendly group that will jump in to answer any questions you may have. We start on April 1 and are knitting several different sock patterns in different weights this year.
I'll do one last quick yarn giveaway later this week to make sure I get the yarn into the hands of the knitter in time for the start. Has anyone started swatching yet? I keep meaning to, and have wound my yarn, but so far, I haven't gotten there.
Friday seems like a good day to share some recent dyeing pictures. Several of these yarns are headed for the Adventurous April KAL (if you are looking for the details for this week's yarn giveaway, which ends tonight, Friday, at midnight, they are HERE) and they've been a lot of fun to dye.
This first one is Coppelia, on Tree Sock, the replacement for my old favorite Sea Sock, which is not longer available from the mill. Tree Sock has that same wonderful sheen.
BFL Constant. I love this yarn. Crossword Clue is a really nice blue/blue purple colorway, with a little bit of a pale lavender surprise in the undertone.
I've been all about deep, rich reds lately. This is House of Voodoo on the left and Mulberry on the right. I like Mulberry so much that I'm contemplating a sweater later on this year on Aran weight Cloud Soft. It's a really pretty, rich, layered red.
Cyndi. Because the girls just want to have fun. If you know me, you know I love a complex, variegated sock yarn. Cyndi is a riot. Small boy-children will love their socks so much if you knit them from this colorway that they won't lose them. But I've got a nice thick pair of socks in mind for myself to wear with hiking boots this spring.
Last up today is Goldilocks, on the same Tree Sock base we started out with. This color is right where grunge meets elegance. It's layers of color that shine through in the most pleasing way. Is it brown? Is it green? Is it yellow? Everyone I've asked seems to have a different take on it. But they all, even people who say they aren't yellow people, seems to like it. Me too. I'm contemplating an Icterine for spring.
That's my dyeing from the last month or so. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you get on with Friday and into the weekend!
[If you are looking for information on the Adventurous April Knit Along or this week's yarn give away for the KAL, click here]
Glacier is almost done. No mind that it has been almost six months since I startedknitting it. I've knit 12 other projects while it was in progress, including an Arlo cabled sweater for my son, and I currently have four shawls in various states of progress that I've worked on along with Glacier. But Glacier is really the love of my knitting life. It has all of those cables, and that buttery soft Plucky Knitter Snug yarn with its Alpaca and its Cashmere. It makes me smile just to think about it -- even during that dark time when I realized I had missed a cable cross on a nine stitch cable and I was four pattern repeats further up the back.
Glacier is almost done. The pieces are all knit. I'm going to block them this weekend and then hope for a good long day the following weekend where I can weave in ends, seam (always my arch-nemesis), and knit the collar. The pattern designer, Martin Storey, is a cable artist. They are simply beautiful.
I've spent so much time with these cables that I'm not quite sure what I'll do without them. I've even dreamed about knitting them. The pattern is one that sears itself into your brain is easily memorized, and I catch myself wondering how it would look in linen, or in a summer white version with pale blue stripes around the bottom. I think Glacier, which comes in one of those big beautiful Rowan pattern books that are full of eye candy and inspiration, is a project I'll revisit, at least once. But for now, it's on to finishing.
I have to share this photo from KTell on Ravelry, a long time knitting buddy who has taken up weaving.
Kathy decided to weave with this BFL sock yarn and this picture of her start was too pretty not to share. I love the almost plaid effect that she is getting. If you want to follow her work in progress, her project is here. Weaving is an unknown frontier for me, but my local yarn store is doing some classes this month. Looking at this, I'm seriously tempted to give it a go!
The current yarn give away for the Adventurous April KAL is on Instagram (because I'm trying to mix it up). I'm Elliebelly_Knits. Follow me and comment on the current photo to get a chance at wining a lovely skein of an Elliebelly Paintbrush Colorway, Friends, on Juliet Sock Yarn.