Share Season: Juniper Moon 2014 Spring Share Time!

Hi! It’s been a hot minute since I last posted! The last month has kicked me right in the butt.

I got the BEST mail recently: YARN MAIL! My 2014 Juniper Moon yarn share arrived! YEAH!

(Are you familiar with Juniper Moon and their yarn CSA? 2015 is the last year they’ll be offering shares, so if you’re into it, get one while they still exist! There are other similar systems now, but JMF is the original and, in my opinion, the best.)

Anyway – my share yarn! Ooooh :)

YES!

This is 100% cormo wool – cormo is a breed of sheep, and they grow wool which is squishy and soft and amazing. I love it. The 2014 share is the 5th annual share I’ve had the pleasure to receive (mostly as gifts from my amazing family – Hi Family!). This year, the share came with a super cute stamped project bag and a customized measuring tape! It also shipped in a box, which my cat was very interested in.

Bonus awesome bag!

Feline yarn supervisor.

Shareholders have the option to have their yarn sent to them undyed (I did that last year!), or to have it dyed in a very limited range of colourways which change each year. This year, I went for the Orchid colourway, which is this gorgeous gray-toned mauvey colour.

Orchid gorgeousness

Oooh purpley

Mauvey

Soooo pretty. Yes.

I have some fairly firm plans for this yarn. Every year I’ve had a share, I’ve knit a sweater out of it. (Here’s 2010 (blue), 2011 (pink), and 2012 (green) – I still have last year’s undyed 2013 share waiting to be knit up, because I focused on finishing Shepherd last winter!)

TRUE BLUENANTUCKETMy new favourite sweater! High quality tags :)

The 2014 yarn share in Orchid is, I think, destined to be a cardiganized version of Knitty’s Beatnik pattern. I am a huge fan of the Beatnik cables, but am also a committed cardigan wearer. (Check out this amazing version!) I may not have it finished this winter, since I have such drastically reduced knitting time (to keep my wrists healthy), but knitters are patient people, right? ;)

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Shepherd Progress!

I have some actual exciting progress to show you on my Shepherd sweater! (Design by Kate Davies, yarn by the amazing Juniper Moon Farm — you can STILL get kits to make your own Shepherd or Shearer sweater right here!) This post is pretty photo heavy :)

Since my last update, I finished all the knitting and wove in lots of ends. First, I finished the hood knitting! Soooo much seed stitch.

Shepherd Hood

Then I handled all the yarn ends lurking on the inside of the sweater. Some people don’t enjoy finishing work and find it kind of a chore; I actually really love it! It feels so tidy and orderly, and the results are super gratifying.

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Tools for end-weaving

Next up, blocking! I ran into a little speed bump… the sweater was way too big to fit into my sink, where I usually wash handknits.

Uh oh... not fitting in the sink

The solution? The bathtub of course!

Shepherd bathtime!

After a nice, loooong bath in warm water and Soak wash (I have the special Ravelry scent, and I love it!), I squeezed it out, squished in a towel, and laid it out for blocking. This sweater needs a fairly firm blocking hand, to make the cables really stand out properly and to get the right size. I blocked to a combination of pattern measurements and my own modifications (for example, I made the sleeves shorter, because my arms are shorter :) )

Blocking!

Button band blocking

Sleeve blocking

Since the sweater is kind of hefty, it’s still drying. (Well, also because I live in a very damp rainy place, and that’s not helping it to hurry up and dehumidify.) Hopefully in a couple of days I’ll have a dry, finished sweater to show you, with buttons sewn on and everything! I did get buttons, and I looooove them. More on that next time :)

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.

Ease Progress! And some normal sweater doubts.

So, almost always when I’m knitting something, I’ll have at least one period of doubt about the project.

If it’s a garment, I’ll eventually worry that it won’t fit the way I way hoping it would. Sometimes I second guess a colour choice I’ve made, or a modification I chose. Often my worries are totally irrational, and rationally, I know that the project will very likely end up being great in the end.

Ease-neck1

Sometimes blocking will make all the difference, sometimes I’ll remember that garments will look better on my body when I’m wearing regular clothes (instead of “hanging out at home clothes”… I hope I’m not the only person who has those).

Ease-neck2

Anyway, despite making good progress on my Ease sweater (and therefore making NO progress on the work I’m actually supposed to be doing), I’m feeling a bit worried about it. Irrationally so, of course :)

Ease-rib

Do you ever have mid-project doubts?

An Ease-y Update!

Hi friends!

I have sweater progress to show you! I’ve been knitting a (modified) Ease sweater (design by Alicia Plummer) in Juniper Moon’s Moonshine yarn, and I’m making good progress!

I’ve finished the body, which was a lot of plain stockinette. I know some people find that boring, but I find it relaxing. I like listening to the radio or podcasts while I knit!

ease-body

I customized the exact number of rows, increases, and decreases, although I stayed fairly true to the original look of the tailoring in the pattern. I adjusted it so that the sweater has about 1.5″ of positive ease on my body. For example, the sweater’s bust measurement is about 38.5″ around, and mine is 37″. It’s going to be a cozy, drapey sweater!

ease-waist

I eliminated a section of stockinette in a smaller needle size at the bottom of the body, as some other Ravellers have done, because I wanted to eliminate the sort of foldover effect it produced. I love that look on other people, but didn’t want it for my own sweater. Instead I went right into what will be deep ribbing at the bottom of the sweater.

ease-rib2

I often find 1×1 rib tricky to work tight enough, but this pattern makes it easier with a smaller needle size. I’m hoping that blocking at the end will make my stitches more even and less stretchy looking! Ribbing is something I almost always obsess over while I’m knitting, but then completely forget about once I have a finished garment in my hands :)

ease-rib1

What are you knitting this summer? I’d love to hear about it!

Self-control vs. Soft & Shiny!

Hello! Happy Thursday :)

One of the projects I’m working right now is an Ease sweater (designed by Alicia Plummer) in Juniper Moon Farm‘s Moonshine yarn. Moonshine is a single ply yarn, 40% alpaca, 40% wool, 20% silk. That means it is HELLA soft and shiny and SO lovely to work with!

Ease is a simple top down raglan sweater with, as the name suggests, some positive ease built in. It’s supposed to be kind of slouchy & loose-ish and cozy. I am really loving knitting it, and excited about the finished piece, which I think will be the best for hanging out at home (which is pretty much my jam).

sore wrist

Buuuuut…. I’ve been having some pretty persistent wrist pain the last few weeks, and it’s interfering with my knitting. I know it’s been brought on by a combination of near-constant keyboard, mouse, and trackpad use, as well as a couple of projects with lots of plain garter or stockinette in the round (meaning, knit knit knit knit knit knit…). I’ve been exercising lots of self-control and didn’t even touch my knitting for almost a week.

Then this morning, I felt so much better, that I knit a few rows on Ease. Nope. Still pinchy-tingly-sore.

So, instead of making progress on my soft, squishy, shiny sweater, I’m icing my wrist and trying to type a bit less. I’m too young to have aches and pains!! ;)