Tangible love

As in previous times of struggle for people I care about, I have responded to the personal events of the last week by grabbing yarn and needles and casting on. The act of knitting for someone else is never so weighty and meaningful as when you can't physically be there yourself.

Fyberspates Scrumptious (55% merino/45% silk) in a gorgeous deep dark cool red (Cherry), in the process of becoming Green the whole year round by Anna Yamamoto. I am enjoying the pattern except for the fact that the charts don't use the symbols I'm used to (and there's no key) so I keep having to go back and forth between the written directions and the chart to see what's going on. Thankfully there are written directions!

The yarn is definitely living up to it's name. I'm about halfway through the lace section now, and should be done by the end of the week so it can go off to it's new home. With much love.

FO: Cornflower Grace

Cornflower grace (2)

Now that this baby has been delivered to the recipient, I can finally blog about it.

Pattern: Cinnamon Grace by Katie Harris
Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Sock Art Forest, 70% wool/30% Tencel, 400 yds/100 gr - this scarf used about 80 gr, so approximately 320 yds total.
Needles: US 3/3.25 mm circulars
Start/finish: 6 April - 9 April 2013.
Comments/modifications: This is a very nice pattern, despite some issues that I will discuss farther down. The center panel is knit from tip to tip, then you pick up stitches along the long side and knit the edging downwards.
Cornflower grace (3)
Cornflower grace (4)
There is a large increase in the number of stitches for the edging within the first couple of rows, giving it a bit of a ruffled effect.
Cornflower grace (7)
The final dimensions were 76 inches long and 8 inches deep (including the ribbing) , making it long enough to wrap nicely around the neck.

I did have a couple of issues with the pattern, however. Some portions of the directions were very confusing on first (or second, or third) reading, but I was able to figure it out eventually. To be completely fair, this is a free pattern, so I don't expect tech editing, but some careful editing and a bit of clarification would have been very welcome.

Cornflower grace (5)
My only other issue was that I expected the scarf to end up a bit wider - the pictures in the pattern show it worn more like a shawlette then a scarf, so I was expecting a slightly wider final project. I did work the ribbing a bit longer then called for, but if I knit this again, I will keep increasing on the center panel until it's wider.

An aside: The events of the past week have thrown me for a loop, having grown up in Boston, so that's the reason for prolonged blog silence. I am researching the charities available, but I plan to donate 100% of all sales of the Boston Toque (Ravelry link), and 50% of sales of the Travelling Hats ebook (Ravelry link) from now until 15 July to a charity focusing on the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings on 15 April. I'll have a decision on the charity, and more information on Monday, but if you feel inspired to go buy either the pattern or the ebook right away, feel free. And thank you!

When all you can do is pick up the needles

I've been knitting up a storm recently, but it hasn't been a particularly happy experience. A dear friend is dealing with her father's just-diagnosed late-stage metastatic cancer. We've been lucky enough to get to know her dad, Himself even more so then me, and the news about his cancer has been very difficult.

I don't set much store in prayer, but my immediate reaction to the news was “I must knit him something”. After consultation with the daughter, I decided to knit him a nice, warm jumper to ward off the post-chemo chills.
DGR Sweater
I did a bottom-up, saddle sleeve sweater all in one piece, á la Elizabeth Zimmerman – a technique I've wanted to try for a while. I did a simple 2x2 cable up each side and along the outside of the sleeve up to the collar. The yarn is Colorado Yarns Durango, a wool/acrylic/viscose blend I've had in stash for a looong time. The finished sweater is cozy and warm, easy to care for, and hopefully will help keep him comfortable and warm in the coming months.

After finishing that off, I knew I wanted to knit something for Mum as well.
Cornflower Grace
This is Cinnamon Grace, and since that picture was taken, I've knit the border and started the cast off. Once I've got it blocked, I'll take some better pictures and give some details.

They have a hard road ahead, and I knit every stitch of these pieces with good thoughts and hope for them in what is statistically a pretty hopeless situation. I hope they'll wear these and feel us close to them, sending mojo and strength across the miles.

Warning:some patterns may be infectious and designated as biohazard

I usually avoid really popular patterns. I'm not exactly one to keep on top of the most popular patterns on Ravelry, and if something becomes really, really hot, my inclination is to avoid it like the plague. I'm just not that in to knitting something that everyone else is doing. In other words, I'm contrary and don't like bandwagons.

The thing is, sometimes those really, really popular patterns? They're popular for a reason. And everyone's knitting them for a reason. A really good reason. Cue Color Affection by Veera Valimaki. I first saw this shawl on the Yarn Harlot's blog at the beginning of the summer. Then they were everywhere. People were spending endless hours debating about color combinations, then vendors were selling pre-chosen sets so people didn't have to agonize over color choices (there are reasons why it takes a special kind of crazy to design Fair Isle sweaters...), and my general reaction was meh. I like garter stitch alot, and I can get behind stripes in certain circumstances, but I still wasn't on board with this pattern.

Then I saw, not one, but two in person. First Brenda's (which she talked about in length on a recent podcast), which is just the perfect combination of autumnal colors. Then there was Jane's, which I sat next to over the entire P3 weekend, and lusted after. So at the P3 marketplace on Sunday afternoon, I fell down hard at Countess Ablaze's booth and ended up with these lovelies,
Countess Ablaze Lord of Silk
and I cast on my own Color Infection. Things did not go swimmingly at first, as I forgot the trick of doing a YO between the first two stitches of every row to ease the edging a bit. I ripped back most of section 1 to fix that.
Infectious in progress
I'm now 7 repeats into section 2 and looking forward to adding in "Only When Invited" for section 3. And I'm plotting the colors for my next one, of course...because this pattern is contagious.