FO: Chickadee Cowl

Chickadee Cowl

This past Sunday, I picked up my handspun Briar Rose BFL, and wound it up to cast on for the March/April project, the Chickadee Cowl.

Approximately 30 hours later, I was done. Wow. Fabulous, instant gratification, assisted by the fun of knitting with handspun, and a totally addictive combination of pattern stitch and color progression.

Chickadee Cowl

Pattern: Chickadee Cowl by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: BFL handspun singles, dyed by Chris at Briar Rose Fibers for the Ply By Night SAL/KAL group on Ravelry.
Needles: 16 inch US size 10.5/6.5 mm circulars.
Gauge: totally off from the pattern, which called for 13 stitches/4 inches. Mine was about 20 stitches/4 inches. Thankfully, it stretches enough to fit over my big head, so anyone who might get it as a present should be ok.

The yarn is lovely and soft, and has a phenomenal sheen. I will definitely be getting more fiber from Chris in the future, since it was so fun to spin and knits up so beautifully.

Hey there stranger!

It's been a while, no? We have made it out of Houston (just ahead of a Flood of Biblical Proportions) and are comfortably ensconced in Vermont at the moment. I've taken advantage of the Grandmothers to get some knitting done. But in order to have at least a few posts over the next few days, I will not talk about all of it here.

First up: ta da! The first of the TdF socks is done in it's first incarnation (the cuff is going to be adjusted when I get to London and the rest of my yarn for this project).


Pattern: my own, to be available in late June.
Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98% cotton/2% elastic), 100 yds/50 gr. For a women's size 10 I used about a ball and a half.
Needles: US 1/2.25 mm
Gauge: 7.5 stitches/12 rows per inch.

These anklets are knit from the toe up, with an easy lace pattern reminiscent of the switchbacks on Alpe d'Huez, one of the most famous and storied climbs in the Tour de France. Easy, peasy and quite comfy for the hot days of summer, whether or not you're riding your bike!

Sad Day

So last night, I finally finished dropping down and picking up all the stitches on the back of Aleita, knit the last inch and a half, and sewed up the shoulders so I could try it on.

Aleita Shell

Where do I begin? I guess the good news is that the length overall is ok (I was worried I would need to add length below the waist decreases). But the bad news is that neckline. Dude. That sucker needs to come up at least three inches. At least.

Aleita Shell

And while I'm at it? A couple inches longer before the waist decreases is probably a good call. Survey says frog pond.

So I guess that week I spent slaving with a crochet hook was worth it, hunh? Grrrr....

FF: A blend

About a year ago, one Thursday evening, I ventured out of my home-bound knitting realm and joined a group of people I didn't know in public to knit. It was the first of many, many Thursday nights spent out of my house ingesting wool fumes with other like-minded fiberholics, and is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I am typically prone to inertia (not to mention being somewhat introverted), and leaving my house after dark doesn't happen often unless IM and I are headed out on a hot date. But all that changed last spring, and now I chomp at the bit every Thursday until I can get out the door.

In the last month or so I've been exerting my powers to convert some of these lovely folks over to the spinning side of things. I've been thinking about handspun giftees for everyone for a while, but felt it my duty to see if I could entice anyone else over to the dark side. There was one spinner already, and I managed to get another convert, but some others have been vehemently against any spinning-type things at all. Hopefully they'll come around soon...

This week I've been working on the last of my handspun giftees for The Ladies (most of whom are grouped over there under a ridiculous jumble of letters). In almost two years of spinning, I've done lots of pure fibers - Romney, merino, BFL, Corriedale - but not so many blends, and certainly never one with three different fibers in it.

LB blend pre-dye

Fiber: alpaca/merino/silk (65%/20%/15%) from Little Barn.
Spun/plied: 9.25:1 (I finally checked the actual ratios on my wheel).

I found this vendor by searching for CVM roving (California Variegated Mutant), and ended up leaving their site with 24 oz of fiber; the CVM, a tweedy wool blend, and this gorgeous green stuff. It was described on the website as a turquoise color, but it is really really green. Kelly green, leprachaun green, bright green. Not exactly a green that I do a lot of, but still gorgeous stuff.

LB blend pre-dye

I spun up the singles really quickly - I managed 2 oz in one night even! - and then plied together with a fair amount of twist. This is intended for someone who likes more of the blue colors, and since I'm in such a frenzy to use up some of my dyes, I tried overdying this with some blue to get more of a teal color.

LB blend post dye

It's lovely soft stuff, and I hope there's enough here for a lacy scarf or something like that. I'll update with final specs once it's dry.

And just to whet your appetites ladies, here's a mosaic (with original fiber and final yarn): any predictions on who's getting what?

WHMU (WHSKAL) handspun

That screeching sound you hear is the brakes

Being put on the Aleita Shell.

I had been cranking along in good style on this piece. Did both fronts, noticing and fixing my annoying edge mistake on the left front before it became visible, successfully negotiating neckline and armhole shaping without too much recounting and/or swearing. So I moved on to the back, feeling quite swell about how things were going.

I had noticed when I started the ribbing for the bodice that my stitch counts did not match the ones in the pattern. I don't know if I cast on a some extra stitches or if there's a mistake in the pattern, but in any event, I had an extra stitch on each front and two extra on the back.

This was not a big deal when working the fronts in pattern; I just kept that extra stitch as a purl on the right front and mirrored it on the left. But for the back, my mind apparently went on vacation stopped working had a serious brain fart, because I started the ribbing as directed in the pattern. It took me longer then I care to admit to realize that this meant that the ribbing on the back was shifted to one side by a stitch.

Being categorically averse to tinking unless there is no other option, I elected to soldier on, figuring that a one stitch shift wasn't going to be noticeable.

Can you see the storm clouds gathering? Yup, me too. Might be hail up there as well - best take cover.

This was the case until I got through the armhole decreases on the back. And I realized that on one side of the back, it looked like this: (I = knit stitch, O = purl stitch, offending stitches are blue):


And on the other side it looked like this:


It may be hard to visualize from those representations, but on one edge it looked like k1 p1 ribbing next to a large purl block, and on the other it was k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, purl block. Not a big difference, but for some reason, every time I did another right side row, it bothered me more and more.

Now the smart person would have stopped there (a couple inches into the armholes) and, either ripped back to the start of the bodice (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh hell no!), or dropped back the offending, miscentered k1 columns on the right side, replacing them with a purl column and shifting over the knit column to the right location. Guess what I did.

Aleita shell repair

That's 12 inches of back ribbing. 12. One.Whole.Foot.

Aleita shell repair

This is going to take a long time. 13 sets of columns to be fixed. I'm on number 5.

My armholes are 7 inches. I am not smart.