Sometimes Weekends Are For Knitting

saltarello shawl

It’s not often that I get weekends off but sometimes weekends are for knitting. I was home and my work was caught up so I took the weekend off and did lots of knitting. It was wonderful!

Knitting Saltarello

I will get to my current knitting projects that I began this weekend in a moment, but first let me share my finished Saltarello (Ravelry project page) with you. I cast off on Friday morning and took some before and after blocking pictures. The transformation is always so amazing!

I am thrilled with how it came out! I used 160g of Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in color Obsidian. That calculates to about 690 yards. I used size 5 US needles. I measured it the day after I took it off the blocking pins, and the relaxed size is 72″ x 31″. So, mine is a bit smaller than Dee’s sample. She notes in the pattern that hers is 75″ x 35″.

saltarello shawl

I think I want to wear this in my booth this coming weekend at SAFF. It is a good size for me and I am excited to show it off. I hope it will be an inspiration for knitters to want to make it. I just love lace knitting. It is fun and interesting to make and looks so elegant.

New Knitting Projects

Mingling Daisies

Speaking of interesting knitting, I decided to go with the Sea Coral for my Mingling Daisies shawl (Ravelry project page). It is definitely interesting to knit. I had a rough start, which is mainly due to the inflexibility of the I-Cord edging I think. I started 3 times before I got everything going right.

Once I got past the setup and worked it bit of length it started to get easier. The daisy stitch is fun now but I hated it in the first rows. I am also used to working pattern stitches and lace from charts. This is not charted, but it’s pretty easy to memorize so it’s not too big a deal. I am adjusting and using my progress keeping app (Row Counter) to chart my place in the pattern. I really like how it is looking so far and it is fun to work on now.

Knitting the Geogradient MKAL 2023

This is an impulse project that I cast on this weekend along with the above. I can’t explain why I felt compelled to knit this shawl (Ravelry project page). I have never done a Westknits MKAL for several reasons.

  • I don’t generally like surprises in my knitting.
  • Despite his obvious gift for designing, I am rarely tempted to knit them. They are not typically to my taste.
  • I don’t care for garter shawls in lots of colors, but here I am making one. Who knows why?

I think what intrigued me was the colors. I have been watching and even helping some of my customers pick out the colors for theirs and it just seemed like such a fun knit. I dragged out almost every color I have in my Classic Merino Superwash sock yarn and started playing with sets.

I took dozens of pictures and looked at them in gray scale. I narrowed the sets down to three. The greens and the blues/teals fit the gradient criteria the best. It should come as no surprise that I settled on the greens. I love green.

I have completed a bit less than half of Clue 1. I am not going to stress about the time table. I am not concerned much if I fall behind or see clues before I get there. I got started a bit late anyway. I just hope I like where it goes and plan to have fun with it.

Present and Future Knitting Plans

Present Knitting

Today’s post is focused on my present and future knitting plans.

I have progressed, in my current knitting project, to the last chart, with fifteen rows and the bind off to go. I am excited to soon be adding Saltarello to my booth samples. I think it will be a popular one. I am confident that the color I chose in my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn is going to look great after it is blocked. I was thrilled to see Dee’s Saltarello on Saturday. It’s the one in the link above. She came to the Fall Fiber Festival and we had a lovely chat. I am kicking myself that I forgot to get a picture. I can share a few booth pictures though.

Fall Fiber Festival

The festival was great as always. It rained a bit Friday night and Saturday morning, but it wasn’t really much of a hindrance. The rain stopped and the sun came out by 11:00 am. It was lovely cool fall temperatures after that.

Tent shows can be wonderful when the weather cooperates. The natural light makes the yarn look great!

There are some challenges, like condensation in the tents overnight, but that is easily compensated for by covering everything up at night. There is also no electricity at this one, so no lighting in the booth, but that also saves time on setting up and tearing down. Fortunately, like I said, the sun was out so it really wasn’t a problem to leave off the lights. I have battery packs for keeping my devices charged.

Future Knitting

While I had all the yarn out on display, I took the opportunity to pick out some potential candidates for my next knitting project. I am planning to use my Classic Merino Bamboo to make a new design that Stephen West released last month.

I have only made one of his designs before, his work is unique and interesting but not usually styles I care for. A customer last month at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival was buying some of my yarn for the Mingling Daisies Shawl. I immediately knew I wanted to make it.

I purchased the pattern and decided that my Merino Bamboo base was a very close match to the original yarn. That was the easy part. Now, I have to choose a color.

So far I have narrowed it down to these five colors. From left to right they are: Tea Rose, Sea Coral, Fern, Lichen, and Winter Sky. I believe all will show off the stitch patterns well. That was my main criteria.

Next important is colors that are not already in a current booth sample. Technically, only the Tea Rose and Sea Coral qualify here, and the other three are only shown in other bases, so they are still a consideration.

The third criteria is which one will look amazing and be fun to knit? That is, of course, a very subjective question. Dee thought the Sea Coral to be a good choice. What do you think?

Catching Up on the Last Two Weeks

Knitting Updates

It’s time to do some catching up on the last two weeks. I am going to start with knitting stuff this time.

I have made good progress on Saltarello since my last post. I am pleasantly surprised that the color isn’t difficult to read as I am working. Good lighting is a must but it’s going pretty well.

I also got the second sock finished that I began ages ago. This is what I took along with me for booth knitting at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. I have been wearing these a lot since I got home. They are just the right thing for this time of year. I made this pair from a basic sock pattern in remnants of discontinued colors of my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn. I use 68 stitches and US 1 (2.25mm) needles.

Travels and Festivals

In my last post I was in Ohio for the Wool Gathering festival. I am happy to report that fun was had by all and the weather was fabulous. I came home for a couple days and then left for Virginia. The drive up and the booth set up at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival was great. No problems and weather was nice. However, that was about to change for the worse.

Friday night Ophelia arrived in Northwest Virginia and it was not pretty, LOL. When you are in the midst of weather with a name it is never good, am I right? It was chilly, windy and soggy all day Saturday. Sunday was a bit improved, it warmed up some and rain was lighter. It mostly stopped raining by mid afternoon. God bless every one of the festival goers who braved the weather to shop. I also want to extend a special thank you to my customers who couldn’t make it to the festival who placed orders on my website. (((Thank you!)))

I am home at the moment and will be until Thursday. I am heading back up to Virginia for the Fall Fiber Festival in Orange, VA on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier. This show is all in tents so we are really hoping for good weather this year. It had to be cancelled last year due to more named weather. I forget which one it was but it was also a hurricane.

Good Morning From Ann Arbor, Michigan

I am writing to you this morning from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I am going to be setting up the booth today for the Spring Fiber Expo. This will be the third festival for us this year. The first two, Carolina Fiber Festival and Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival, were fantastic! They met and exceeded our expectations. So, the year is off to a good start.

I wanted to write a post so many times in the last few weeks but you know how it is I am sure. So, here I am with a couple of hours before set up time and finally the energy to get it done. The weeks have been filled with the usual tasks. I have done a bit more dyeing to restock a few popular yarns that were already getting low. We have some more Shawl and Hair Sticks on the website. Thanks to my husband’s diligence and hard work, we have eight different woods available.

I made the drive up to Ann Arbor yesterday. I had a bit of time last night to knit on my shawl. I am into the second skein of yarn now. Here’s a picture I took this morning in the hotel room. It’s gray and rainy at the moment so it’s not a great one.

I need to get my lunch packed and head over to the fairgrounds in about an hour. See you soon!

What a Great Week for Dyeing

With the exception of Saturday, we had a great week for dyeing. What is even more exceptional is that it is still only February. The daffodils are in full bloom too. Of course it’s in the upper 40’s today, after a high of 84 degrees yesterday. Yep, that is totally normal for middle Tennessee.

Saturday morning had a very chilly start of 24 degrees, but work must be done. So, we got out there early and got the largest batch of yarn dyed. I forgot to get pictures while it was drying so here’s the buckets after taking them off the lines. The colors were the warm greens, purples, greys, pinks and teals.

We took a day off between batches to allow for drying time and to prep for the next one. Monday was much warmer and we got the second large batch done. The colors we did were cool greens, black, yellows, oranges, reds and neutrals. We took a day off again to let the yarn dry and prep for the last day’s work.

Wednesday was blues day and the weather was even better.

I am very pleased with how great they came out. I am also so glad to put away the dye pots for awhile. LOL!

I am working on labels today while Jerry is back at work in the shop on some new Shawl and Hair Sticks. We are adding back some exotic woods like Purple Heart and Mahogany, as well as restocking the domestic woods.

I have been working on my new design when I can, which is not as much as I would like. Progress has been made though. I completed the edging on the cast on end and have knitted 4 and one half repeats on the main body. The edging will look much better after blocking.

I apologize for the time between posts and for the brevity in this one, but labels await my attention. See you soon!

It Has Been a Good Week

It has been a good week. Last Saturday, I was at The Yarn Patch in Crossville, TN doing a trunk show. It is a very lovely shop. You should definitely stop in and shop if you are in the area. There’s a bit of my Classic Merino DK there now too. I had a great time meeting knitters and crocheters, helping them select yarn for their projects, and knitting a bit on my latest design. I will get to that in a minute.

On Monday, the weather was finally improved enough to get back out to the dye pots. We dyed the remaining color for the order I showed you last time. It was even dry by the end of the day. That is a bonus this time of year. Once again the color looks a little bit distorted here. It’s actually much greyer in person.

I mentioned above about a new knitting design. I did some preliminary calculations and planning and then cast on with the Classic Merino Bamboo in Ironstone.

The shape is a stole knit from end to end with knitted on edging at each short edge. I began with a provisional cast-on onto a spare circular needle. I dislike this process but it was necessary in order to have live stitches for the edging later. I find it less tedious using a spare needle than using waste yarn when need to use those live stitches later. It saves the effort of putting them onto a needle, which is tedious to me.

I recorded the weight before and after knitting the first two repeats of the body lace chart. That let’s me know how much yardage it will take for a given size shawl. Then, as you can see, I joined a new skein to knit the edging. I want to know how much yardage will be used to knit each edge. I weighed the skein before starting here too. It is a little fiddly with two skeins attached, but it won’t take too long and it is worth it for the information gained. I am happy with how this looks and lace knitting is my happy place!

Guess What’s Coming to Wisconsin With Me?

I arrived home safely from Pittsburgh last Sunday. It has been enjoyable spending the last week at home. After three weekends in a row, it is a nice break. I’m packing up the truck again tomorrow and leaving Wednesday for the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Can you guess one of the things I will be packing? Do you give up? It’s my newest booth sample, Bensusan.

I took this picture before I put it in the sink for a soak. I used almost all of the three skeins of Classic Merino Superwash DK in Cypress. I came close to running out of yarn. I weighed the finished shawl and it is 297g. I finished the last bit and bound it off last night while Jerry and I were relaxing on Sunday and watching a couple movies.

It is blocking at the moment. It took every one of my Knit Blockers, and I have three boxes. I used a half dozen or so T-pins in addition, to get it all pinned down. I didn’t measure it yet to see if it’s the same size as the one in the pattern for the large directions. It is written for worsted weight yarn and size 8US needles, and I substituted DK weight yarn and size 7US needles.

Now that this project is done I don’t have anything on the needles for my trip. I have the second Gridiron sock that I can start. Maybe that is what I will do.

Tomorrow is a busy day of packing. I plan to get some pictures of my shawl done then. I will be driving all day Wednesday. It’s a 560 mile drive, but at least I stay in my own time zone. Thursday is booth setup day. If I have time in the afternoon or evening, I will write a blog post with a few pictures of Bensusan in the booth. See you soon!

Quick Knitting Update

I am having a busy week, so this will be a short and sweet update on Midlothian shawl.

I just finished chart 3 and am starting the second skein of Classic Merino Superwash Sport in Cerulean.

I am getting ready to begin restocking my yarn inventory asap. I have several days of preparation to do. I am also wrapping up the end of one school year and preparing for the next. We will probably take a couple of weeks off from school starting next week while I work on yarn. I’ll keep you posted as I can.

Simple Gifts

Well I was going to try and get better pictures of my Simple Gifts shawl but who are we kidding? It’s January and these are about as good as it is going to get right now. I don’t want to do a photo shoot outside even on the better days, so here we go with what I could manage inside.

This pattern is written for DK weight yarn in two sizes. I decided to use my Classic Merino Superwash Sport instead though. I used a size 6 needle. I would have used a size 7 if I had used the DK weight yarn.

My plan was to go ahead and make the larger size and see if that would be big enough since I assumed my gauge would be a bit smaller. I had a third skein of yarn reserved in case I needed it, which as it turns out, I didn’t. The yardage estimate for the large is 680-730 yards. Two skeins of my sport weight yarn is 680 yards. I ended up using 190g for this which is 646 yards.

The interesting thing was that when I measured the dimensions after taking out the blocking pins, it was pretty close to the large size after all. I kind of expected it to be maybe somewhere between the smaller and larger sizes. I am actually happy it turned out this way. It’s a nice size for wrapping you in warm wool but it’s lighter in weight than the same size would be in DK weight yarn. I think it will be a popular sample in the booth this year. I really like how this Emerald color knit up too. I think I will have wear it if we end up going out on my birthday next week.

Ok, that’s a wrap for this post. I’ll catch you up on my current projects in my next post.

Solstice Day Knitting

I am not a huge fan of Christmas to be honest, but I do like Solstice Day. This is not for any religious reason. I just like Solstice Day because the days will start lengthening and the darkness is receding. It’s only by a minute or so each day but it cheers me just knowing that. 😉

I got all the new yarn labeled and it is stowed in the trailer for next year. I only had one sad skein that may be beyond hope. The ties all came off in the dye pot. I will do what I can to salvage it but it may sadly be too far gone. I’ll let you know. 😬

My knitting projects are coming along. They both have grown but don’t look much different from last time. Here’s some pictures anyway.

Ok, Merry Christmas if I don’t post again until after the holiday.