Fruition delayed

Things have been crazy enough recently that I have greatly appreciated instant gratification knitting. In other words, anything in bulky wool, on large needles, that knits up in hours rather then days or weeks. It's incredibly satisfying, when you've been pushing through a deadline knit in heavy laceweight to be able to bang out a sweater sleeve in four hours.

But sadly, all good things must come to an end. And so it is with my Automne, by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud.

The knitting is done - hooray! However, the biggest challenge lies ahead: the sewing up. Seamless top down patterns are a godsend for people (like me) who have no trouble finishing the knitted part of a project, but may get waylaid by other sparkly pretties along to the way to sewing up/finishing button bands/piecing together sweaters.

Not only is the knitting done, but all the pieces are blocked - surely a finished glorious cozy sweater can't be too far behind?

Sadly, this one may not be finished until, if you'll pardon the pun, the Autumn. It's sunny and lovely here, the kids are running around in shorts and it's half term. We are trying to figure out where we are going to be living after the end of the July, and what jobs we're going to be working, and mattress stitch is at the bottom of my priority lists. In fact, I really think it's better for my sanity if I cast on something else ASAP so I have something to do with my hands to combat life's stressors. Maybe something else orange...

Check back on Thursday for an introduction to my latest pattern in Knit Now, and a chance to win the materials to create same.

The Other Sweater

There's lots of knitting going on in my world right now, but sadly most of it is not for public consumption (yet). But I do have a project to share that I've been working on in fits and starts for the last few weeks, feeling guilty about it all the time.
Automne in progress
This is Automne by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud, from Knit Edge Issue 4, worked in Elann Highland Chunky.The yarn arrived and I cast on for a gauge swatch, I mean sleeve, immediately.

After a fingering weight sweater, working with chunky yarn is instant gratification. I've finsihed both sleeves and made it through the waist shaping, which is done with cable crosses.
Automne in progress
This is the Other Sweater because I was cheating on the Unravel sweater with it, and I will continue cheating on my current deadline projects with it whenever I get a chance or can carve out a moment for it. I think the back will get finished this weekend, and then it will be on to the fronts...

My weekend unraveled

So, I spent this past weekend ensconced in the sweetgeorgia booth at Unravel at Farnham Maltings. This is my second experience with this particular show, and I enjoyed it just as much this year as last year, although in a very different way.

I've never worked a show booth before, and as someone much more comfortable talking to people via characters on a screen then in real life, I was a little bit apprehensive. But armed with much caffeine (thank you Woking train station),
I ventured forth to vend. Once again, there was strategic and appropriate yarn bombing of the streets of Farnham,
and when I reached the Maltings, there was Alli, in a gorgeously set up and ridiculously colorful sweetgeorgia booth.
There was yarn, there was (absolutely luscious) fiber, there were kits and samples and gorgeous colors everywhere.
This was how the booth looked first thing Saturday morning, including Alli's gorgeous (and just finished!) version of Bear's Rainbow Blanket, done in all 53 semisolid colorways of sweetgeorgia yarn.
Here we are right before the doors opened, ready for customers!
Saturday was madness - nonstop people, nonstop yarn and absolutely fantastic conversations. Despite my concerns about (gasp) having to talk to strangers ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!!, everyone we chatted with was lovely and friendly and enthusiastic and just having such a good time. It was fabulous.

Sunday started off very busy too, and I was a bit worried about how long our stock was going to last.  But after an initial rush, it calmed down a bit, which was good because that meant that I got to finish my Unravel sweater. Finally...
Here it is in all its unblocked glory (although the ends are woven in). Seconds after this photo was taken (at about 2:30 on Sunday afternoon), I headed over to the Textile Garden booth and came away with buttons for (ehem) four sweaters. Including two sets that might work for this one. Stay tuned for a final post-op as soon as I get some ribbon and sew the damn buttons on.

The other exciting thing that we had were the UK exclusive Soakboxes, including a pattern by Boo Knits - the Mimosa Shawl. Which means that now I can share photos of the sample I knitted for the booth.
Mimosa shawl
Mimosa shawl
This is a lovely, fast, fun and straightforward pattern which works up very quickly in SG Merino Silk Fine, a heavy fingering/sportweight yarn. I did mine in Melon, which is a new color for spring, and it's just glorious.
Mimosa shawl
Mimosa shawl
Mimosa shawl
There are a limited number of these Soakboxes available, so keep an eye out at Unwind Brighton this summer if you'd like to snag one. They may also be available at the Purlescence open house coming up in a couple of weeks on 8th March.

Did I get anything at Unravel? Well, I lusted after the SG fiber, but managed to restrain myself. However, we were next to Rachel Coopey's booth and she had a crate full of baa ram ewe Titus on her booth. I finally broke down after the umpteenth time I saw someone pick up the last skein of the Bramley Baths colorway and had a mini-panic attack, thinking to myself "How dare she touch my yarn???!!!" And of course, it needed a friend..
I think these two are going to become Catkin at some point before next winter. But in the immediate future, my two color knitting time is going to be consumed by the Porpoise Fur two color Shawl SAL/KAL - if you're feeling bereft that the Ravellenic Games are over, you should come join us!

The Unravel Sweater

So there's this lovely yarny weekend coming up - Unravel in Farnham Maltings. Last year was my first visit, and this year I'm going back to help Allison with the SweetGeorgia booth. I'm really looking forward to going back to the festival, and since I just happen to have some SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine yarn, I've decided to jump in and knit myself an Unravel sweater.
Here it is, in all it's purpley glory: 4 skeins in "Mist". It is so my color.

You may recall a few weeks ago I posted a lovely collage of potential sweaters to knit with this yarn, and you'll be pleased to know I picked...none of them. Instead, I ended up choosing a pattern that I think will perfectly showcase the variegations in this yarn without obscuring any of the design. This is what I'm knitting - Georgia by Jane Richmond.
Photo (c) Jane Richmond

This sweater is perfect for the yarn - mostly stockinette, with some fab little details, like a purl ridge with a few gathers just above the bust.
Georgia in progress
I'm loving how it's coming out. I'm not sure how well the yarn will wear (and I suspect I will be wearing this all the time), but I think it's going to be great. A good basic. And hopefully it will be a) done by the third weekend in February and b) I won't run out of yarn. Here's hoping!

I'm really glad I didn't wait until the Opening Ceremonies to cast this on - maybe I'll be done by then and can start something else...

Building momentum and the next project

Usually I end up doing a series of posts that recap the Christmas knitting, but this year I'm feeling fairly blergh about that, so I'm going to move onward. Maybe I'll use them as filler over the next few weeks, but I'm much more excited about some other ongoing things.

I've been working alot recently on a shawl of my own design that grew out of the P3 retreat in October 2012. I first did a version in some lovely DK weight purple yarn that was in my goody bag, but after finishing that off I decided it needed to be a) bigger, and b) in laceweight. That particular bout of madness led me to a skein of Gleem Lace from Fyberspates, purchased at Unravel last February, and has landed me here, approximately ten months later, finally at the edging of this particular piece.

Some design projects fly off the needles. Some move in fits and starts, but make steady progress. This is/was a project that has been like pulling teeth without the benefit of anesthetic. I feel like I've been working on the body of this shawl forever, without any end in sight. It's more then a little demoralizing.

But today, o today! Today I finished the body of the shawl, and started the edging. And all of a sudden the inertia has shifted from molasses trying to flow uphill in the Northeastern United States right now (with some ridiculous polar vortex freezing the bejeebers out of everyone) to water flowing down the Thames at ebb tide. The 500+ stitches are flying along, and I'm optimistic that it's going to be off the needles very, very soon. I'm beyond thrilled. I can't show you any pictures yet, but it's going to be glorious.


I'm also at a very dangerous point for any knitter - the end of a project is a weak spot, an opportunity for the knitter to suddenly resemble a frantic magpie, bobbing and weaving and investigating every shiny thing that comes along. I've been distracted by four skeins of Sweet Georgia Yarns Merino Silk Fine in "Mist". I've got enough for a sweater for ME!!!!!, and a deadline of this year's Unravel to finish it. But I'm having a lot of trouble deciding on what sweater to make, and here's where you come in.

Here are the current candidates (left to right, top to bottom): Vitamin D by Heidi KirrmaierSmaragd by Svetlana VolkovaMyrtle Cardigan by Snowden BeckerMendel by Carol FellersLeaving by Anne HansonJuno by yellowcosmoHoneybee Cardigan by Laura Chau (I'd do the full length version, not cropped), Audrey in Unst by Gudrun JohnstonAfterlight by Amy HerzogAbigail by Cecily Glowik MacDonaldBrigitte by Jennifer WoodCushman by Amy HerzogIsabelle by Jennifer WoodAtelier by Heidi Kirrmaier, Vitamin D again.

Clearly I'm leaning towards a cardigan, but a good friend of mine made Mendel and it is absolutely gorgeous in real life. The twisted stitches in Isabelle make me weak in the knees, but I'm a bit concerned about how long they might take. I have the pattern for the Honeybee Cardigan and Leaving already, but I am completely incapable of making a decision. Help? Please?...