One Track Needles

Last weekend I took a short break from all the natural undyed-ness and cabley-cabledness of my Shepherd sweater to knit… a natural cream cabled hat. I like what I like! ;)

There had been a cold day that week, and I realized that I don’t own a single hat of my own! What?! That seemed completely ridiculous to me.

So, I knit Alex Tinsley’s Snowdrift pattern with half a skein of a singles, bulky weight alpaca wool blend from the Alpacas at Southey Point Farm, Salt Spring Island, which I bought on a fun trip over in the Gulf Islands a few summers ago. The yarn came from Stitches Fiber Arts on Salt Spring!

Pre-hat hat

It was a super quick knit, and I really love the way the crown decreases are worked into the cables.

Half hat!

But, it’s also winter… and it was way too dark to take photos when I got home after work every day this week! So, I have this one sad photo, snapped hastily in the morning before I ran to the bus.

Hastily snapped hat

The hat is cozy and cabley, but it might also be a teeny bit small for my (apparently big) head. I haven’t decided yet whether this is a for-me keeper or a gift for someone with a smaller head, but either way, a really fun knit!

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Cables, cables, everywhere!

I LOVE cables.

Cabled path!

Are you a cable knitter? It’s one of my favourite techniques. I’m not much for colourwork (yet… I’m waiting for that special project that makes my heart go pitter pat.), but texture, especially cables, just thrill me.

A big squishy cabley hug

I’ve made some good progress on my Shepherd sweater, still working on the body section.

Check out my buttonholes, too!

Buttonholes!

 

Did I mention that this yarn is my new favourite? It is. I love it. I know, I’m gushing. This project feels like a once in a lifetime privilege :)

This yarn is my favourite, for real.

The Shepherd is delightful!

I am SO excited to be knitting Kate Davies’ design for Juniper Moon’s The Shepherd and The Shearer projectTHE SHEPHERD! Here’s how it’s going so far…

After I washed my yarn and swatched, I started the sweater. I LOVE starting a new project, don’t you? There’s such a feeling of potential and adventure :)

The Shepherd is worked bottom up, and begins with a seed stitch bottom band. I used the cable cast on for this project, because I want the bottom edge to have a little bit of stability to help it lay flat. The cable cast on is also very tidy and clean looking, something I value highly in my finishing and edge techniques.

Casting on!

Then on to seed stitch! Truthfully, I like how seed stitch looks much more than I like working it, but getting a feel for this yarn made it a very pleasant task.

Seed stitch all over the place

This sweater has also allowed me to learn a new skill already – the Tulip buttonhole! Each individual part of the buttonhole creation process is fairly simple, but the result seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. The Tulip buttonhole is extremely tidy, sturdy, and symmetrical.

A Tulips buttonhole!

Finally — CABLES!!! :D

Shepherd progress!

Probably the prettiest cable around

Here’s what the wrong side looks like, just in case you’re curious about things like that.

Cable wrong side

I am so excited to be chugging along on the cabled body. It’s a lovely, rhythmic cable, and I think the results are just stunning. I’m already thinking about which outfits I’ll wear this sweater with! It’s one of those knits that has entirely captured my imagination  :)

Loving the Shepherd :)

I felted!

Have you tried felting? It is MAGICAL. Really, I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation and everything, and to be honest I do understand the rudimentary mechanics of how a wool fiber is shaped and why felting works… but it still seems like total magic to me every time I try it. (Every time I try it on purpose, that is. Felting in the armpits of my sweaters does not feel magical.)

A few days ago, I made a couple of felted dryer balls. I roughly followed this tutorial, and plan to use them instead of fabric softener sheets in my dryer. I find that things get pretty staticky in the winter, otherwise!

I used tightly wound wool yarn to form the base of my felted balls.

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I covered the yarn balls in some leftover bits of wool roving,

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and then popped them into the leg of a pair of old pantyhose, with tight knots between them and at each end.

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Then I just tossed the whole weird package into the washing machine on hot! After a few washer-dryer cycles, I cut away the pantyhose to reveal…

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Finished felt!

So far they’re working great with my laundry, and they’re not bad looking either! If you’ve never felted, you should totally try it. It’s easy and magical!

One hexagon, two hexagon, red hexagon, blue hexagon…

You know what makes waiting for things completely and totally welcome? Knitting.

Every row counts!

I’ve been carrying just enough yarn in my purse to work on hexagons for my Six’es blanket, which means that every little scrap of time I have to wait for something, I can pull out my instant patience needles. Knitting makes bus travel totally pleasant! It makes waiting for appointments no problem at all! It makes a long lineup no sweat :)

Sunny hexagon afternoon

The leftover yarns in my stash are being used up fairly quickly, so I’ve started to use new stash skeins that I just don’t have a project in mind for, too. This lovely bright blue is Knitpicks Stroll Tonal.

Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in Blue Yonder

Even though it’s still quite a long way away, I’m already feeling pretty excited about how the blanket will look when it’s finished!

Hexagons galore!

Do you carry knitting with you all the time? Or just when you know you’ll have the chance to squeeze in some stitches?