Tying Up Loose Ends

Six projects on the needles—that’s where I was last weekend. I’m excited to say I’ve pared it down to three in just one week. And getting there wasn’t easy.

Big pillow Shams--still of WIP
These big garter stitch pillow shams are still a WIP

It’s been a busy few weeks—lots of travel, deliverables at work, and hardly any time for knitting. That, coupled with a setback, had me putting my creative self on hold—or so I thought.

What setback? I made a mistake I was careful not to make on my last sweater for Nick—I assumed that a single dye lot of a particular hand-dyed yarn, would be consistent enough to knit without alternating balls of yarn. Not so.

So there I was on a flight to Alabama and I lifted the window shade to discover that the back of my Woolful KAL (my first knitalong ever!) had a huge variation across skeins. Not only was the color off, but the sheen was completely different—a matte versus shiny in the Worn Denim Tosh DK. I’m going to keep mum on which project I’ve chosen because I’ve done “the usual”—many variations. This is partly because I loved so many patterns, I grabbed elements from more than one.

Obvious color change when I changed skeins
Obvious color change when I changed skeins

The upshot is that after nearly finishing the back panel, I had to tear it out and start over. This killed my motivation to work on it. I was so irritated at myself for making such a basic error. The project was going more quickly than expected, and I was thrilled until I discovered I was going nowhere fast. *sigh*

Finished Seahawks Wurm Hat
Finished Seahawks Wurm Hat

Though at the time it can be hard to see them, there are benefits to hitting a roadblock on a project. You can look at other projects, until you are ready to get back in the saddle again.

For instance, I finished my Seattle Wurm hat after first putting it in hibernation when I decided the blue yarn I’d chosen was just too itchy for a hat. A skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and I was off to the races again. This is presently acting as wall art in our home on Orcas due to the lack of pictures on the wall and the warm weather.

Sea-going Man Mitts
Sea-going Man Mitts

Then there are the Sea-going Man Mitts. I finished those today after quite a hibernation. This is a project, if I’d worked monogamously on it would have been finished in a couple of days. I just kept picking up that KAL instead—drawn to the softness of the yarn and beauty of the fabric. The acrylic feel of the Softee yarn from my grandma’s stash—a necessity for the project—just felt so foreign in my hands.

Knit basket. It's nice when a project holds its own materials!
Knit basket. It’s nice when a project holds its own materials!

I’ve also made good progress on another gad-about-bag, but after seeing the Triple Baskets pattern on Ravelry I decided to knit the top rather than crochet it. I’m hoping it will go faster and be more consistent than the one I showed in my last post.

I’ve got some dedicated knitting time coming up this week, so here’s hoping I can knock off at least one more this week.

Happy knitting!

My First Crochet Project

My Gadabout Bag
My Gadabout Bag

I know somewhere in the distant past I made a few granny squares in Junior High. So you might argue that this isn’t my very first crochet project. So perhaps a better way of describing it is that I’ve just created my first ever *usable* object.

The not-so-little Gad-about bag (I used 64 stitches instead of 48), designed by Dot Matthews, is my newest project bag. The Seahawks colors are unintentional. This is just what I had lying about of similar weight and composition. Though it could be that I’m subliminally drawn to the local sports team colors. I like to think I already liked this combination and that the correspondence is a coincidence.

The bottom of the finished bag inspired my wish to see what more
The bottom of the finished bag inspired my wish to see what more “mistakes” might look like.

My LYM (local yarn manufacturer) is Warm Valley Orchard (WVO) on Orcas Island. When I’ve bought a sweater’s worth of yarn I’ve been allowed to make a free selection from a hank ends pile. So between leftovers from various projects and these hank ends, I was building up quite a stash of unstashable yarns. I find WVO yarns to be stiffer than other yarns. Perfect for a sturdy bag.

I didn’t follow the directions exactly for the bottom, but I followed pretty closely for the top. And though it is clearly too tight in places, I must admit, I prefer the fabric from the not followed section better than the followed. The coil outward reminds me of a Panamanian hat. I wondered what it would look like if I just kept on going…

Bottom of the bag in progress
Bottom of the bag in progress

I was so pleased with my mods, I decided to immediately start on another bag. However I stopped work quickly after the bottom section because I really am anxious to get on with my next big project—a cardigan for me. Finally!!

You might also notice that the colors match fairly well the first project I put into it—my Woolful Summer knit-a-long Home and Away project, which is a combination of a Georgetown and a Hancock sweater from Hannah Fettig’s Home and Away book.

Georgetown-Hancock from Home and Away
Georgetown-Hancock from Home and Away made from Tosh DK in Worn Denim

If you’ve seen this beautiful book, you’ll know that Hancock calls for a sport weight yarn and Georgetown calls for worsted. One is cropped and the other is hip length. One described as a bottom up knit and the other top-down (though directions are provided in both styles for each). About the only thing they have in common is they are cardigans. I love design elements from both, so onward I go.

And as for the yarn. I’m officially madly in love with Tosh DK in this colorway.