FIBRATIONS Recap!

On the weekend, I got to do one of my very favourite things – attend a local fiber festival! I’m lucky to live in a place that has a thriving, excellent local yarn and fiber culture. Our most awesome local event is called Fibrations, and it’s pretty delightful. Vendors, artisans, and community groups set up at St. Ann’s Academy, and there is tons to see and do and buy (and eat – there are even food trucks)! The whole thing is run by one of our best local yarn shops, Knotty by Nature.

Unfortunately, every year I end up getting sidetracked by all the yarn and fiber and taking too few and mostly terrible photos.

Terrible photo of vendor tents!

Raffle Ticket Tent!

See? You can’t really tell how awesome the event is from those. Oops. This one is a lot better:

Humming Bee Farm's incredible banner

Isn’t Humming Bee Farm‘s banner AMAZING?

Even though I did not take great photos, I had SO much fun :)

Excited Fibrations Face!

I DID take lots of photos of the yarn and fiber that came home with me. Here’s my haul!

Fibrations Haul woooooo!

Let’s break this down, shall we? My first stop was the RainCityKnits booth. I’m a pretty unabashed RainCity fangirl – I even knit a sample sock for them last year in their Local Sports Team colourway. Krista is the mastermind behind the company, and she is SO sweet! She was totally lovely to chat to :) I had planned to get something neon and solid coloured from them (I want to make the Neon Ski Bonnet for myself this winter, and obviously RainCity is the place to go for NEON!), but in the end I was seduced by THIS, which is on a merino/tussah silk base:

Rain City Neons + Vic skyline

RAIN CITY AMAZINGNESS!

AAAAH NEON SPRINKLES!!!! I loved this skein SO MUCH that I kind of walked around the festival with it around my shoulders. Isn’t RainCity’s needle gauge cool, too? I love it! If you haven’t seen RainCity’s full neon awesome line, check it out right now! (Warning, everything is beautiful and vibrant and you are going to want all of it basically.)

My next must-see stop was JOMA yarn, new to me and sooooo full of gorgeousness. I picked up a skein of stunning one of a kind hand dyed sock yarn (the CRAZY BEAUTIFUL colourway is “Wild Child”, and the base is Glam Panda – merino, bamboo, and nylon) – it’s greeney and yellowey and has spashes of teal and bright happy red/pink and yeah I love it. I also got some mini skeins at the JOMA booth, because they were beautiful and super affordable and perfect for my Six’es blanket!

Joma, huge new crush.

The mini skeins are (top to bottom) are Circus Clown, I Fought the Law, and She Wore a Raspberry Beret. So darling!

I also got some spinning fiber. First, from Humming Bee Farm, 2 ounces of green, hand dyed Corriedale wool! This may be a surprise but I am into green ;)

Corriedale from Humming Bee Farm

From Ba-a-ad Ass Textiles, I also got 4 ounces of super pretty Romney wool!

Fiber scores!

The colour makes me think of winter ocean at Dallas Road :)

Even though I’m still only knitting and spinning a tiny tiny bit because of my sensitive, sore wrists, I’m really excited about my new yarns and fibers. Ahhhhh, fiber festivals :) I’m already looking forward to next year!

Hexagons Catchup!

Hi! Happy July!

I’m still not actively knitting. Resting, resting, resting my body (mostly wrists and arms). Well, resting them in the sense that I’m not knitting. I can’t get away from typing and writing and other hand-active activities (I made those terms up, could you tell?), because jobs.

But! I have some hexagon pictures to show you from a couple of weeks ago :)

I’m working sloooowly on the Six’es blanket (pattern by Karen S. Lauger). I want it to be as full-sized as possible, so I’m aiming for 189 hexagons. I’m currently at… (drumroll)…

Hex pileup!

75. Oh.

I thought I had way more complete! Look at the height of that hexagon tower! That’s okay – it just means more fun time knitting hexagons in the future. (Also, look at all these crazy yarn tails!)

One million yarn tails

I also had some new yarn to knit hexagons with – I had a birthday a while ago, and was gifted a Knitpicks gift card! Here’s what I chose: four colours of Knitpicks Palette yarn!

New Yarn!

Let’s zoom in a bit closer…

Happy colours

Oh yeah. LOVE those colours! I started with the pistachio green, and then cast on with the royal blue.

Pistachio Half Hex

Pistachio Hex

Cobalt Blue Potential

Blocking, as always, makes a HUGE difference with these little shapes.

Hexa-bath

Ta da!

Hex blocking

Even though this project is super slow going, I’m still enjoying working up these little 6-sided jolts of colourful happy. Hopefully when my body is back in knitting shape I’ll be churning out more of them!

Garter Chevron Blanket – halfway catchup!

I was looking through some photos from the last two weeks, and realized that I DO have new photos of my garter chevron blanket to share, even though I’m still on knitting hiatus, for now, while my wrists and forearms heal up from overuse.

I actually made a bunch of progress on this project in a short span of time — which is part of how I messed up my stupid wrists in the first place! I had a couple of days in a row where I had to spent 5+ hours sitting quietly, waiting for things. PERFECT for knitting, right? Except, it’s not a good idea to knit garter stitch (knit knit knit knit with no purls or other stitches) for the whole 5 hours with no breaks.

Clover Leaf!

Although I regret it now, because it’s meant such a dumb hiatus, I did get quite a lot knit.

Clover Leaf!

I finished the third colour/second stripe! This was the first really truly green stripe, in a colourway called “granny smith.” I’m still really loving how this is coming out – I know the colours wouldn’t be for everyone, but they’re very me :)

Clover Leaf!

This next stripe is the only non-Cascade yarn. This 3rd stripe/4th colour is Classic Wool from Patons, in a bright medium green called “clover leaf”. Why different yarn? For the most practical reason ever: this yarn in this colour happened to be on super sale at my LYS. It fit into the colour scheme was economical to boot!

Clover Leaf!

I’m super excited about how this blanket is shaping up! I think I’m firmly in “knitted blanket junkie” territory, now.

Garter Chevron Blanket: Yellow :)

Have I mentioned that I really, really like garter stitch? And blankets? And projects that combine those two things? Also STRIPES? Also yellow and green?

I am so excited about this blanket :)

Pictures? Of course!

I used my thematically appropriate yellow and green yarn ball stitch markers.

Blanket nub!

The start of something chevroney

It started to grow really quickly right away!

Crescent!

Triangle!

Because I’ve used a different needle size from the pattern (I’m using a 5.5mm needle), I’ve adjusted the numbers a bit. I continued increasing the initial triangular section until I had a total of 269 sts (134 sts on either side of the center stitch).

Why 269? That’s when I ran out of yellow :)

Next up? Gold heather!

IMG_4478

Yellow, meet gold!

Matching teapot optional! In just a couple of tea-filled evenings and boredom-filled bus rides, I’ve made lots of progress already.

Matching teapot optional!

The rows are so long that they gobble up yarn like nobody’s business. Already, in just 15 rows, I’ve used up 40g of yarn.

Stripey situations getting started

How wide will the stripes be? More on that next time! It might involve a golden rule…

FINISHED Shepherd Hoodie!

Finally! Finished, blocked, buttons-sewn-on, totally dunzo photos of my Shepherd hoodie!

In case you need a recap (or you’re new – hello!!)…

Pattern: Shepherd Hoodie by Kate Davies

Yarn: The Shepherd & The Shearer by Juniper Moon (still available for sale here)

Buttons: Handmade antler buttons from Button & Needlework Boutique

I LOVE this sweater. I would knit it again in a heartbeat! The yarn was right up my alley: a little bit rustic, a lot unique. The pattern was well-written, easy to understand, clearly illustrated, and easy to adjust too. I’ll let it speak for itself from here :)

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Button band

Button and tulip buttonhole

More photos on flickr, if you want all the gory sweaterey details!

I’m sad to be finished because it was SO fun to make, but I’m really, really excited to wear it :)

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 :)

Guess who has two thumbs and two sleeves?

This guy!

Two sleeves and the start of a hood!

Remember, this is Kate Davies’ Shepherd Hoodie knit in Juniper Moon’s limited edition Shepherd & Shearer yarn (which you can STILL GET right here!)

How about a super blurry selfie modelled shot? I’m expecting it to look a bit different once it’s been blocked, but you can see the general shape of the garment.

Blurry selfie!

Once the sleeves were finished, I moved on to the last big knitted element – the hood! Working the hood requires you to collect stitches on hold and pick up new stitches, from the front button band edges, up along the shaped fronts, and across the back. (Bonus cat hair in the photo! Thank you, cat, for spreading your body hair all over everywhere.)

Smooth pickups across the front

Tiniest hood progress!

Then there’s a sea of seed stitch to work!

Seed stitch ocean!

The hood requires quite a lot of yarn, so I ended up unravelling my swatch to reclaim the 30+g it had used up. Here’s the swatch yarn unravelled…

Ramen yarn?

…and after a soak and air dry! Much better.

That's better!

I’m so looking forward to having the finished sweater available to wear, because it’s been quite cold lately (cold for my corner of the country, anyway). But I’ll also be a tiny bit sad when the knitting is done. This piece has really been a pleasure to knit, and the yarn is an absolute favourite. I’ll be looking for more hard-wearing, lanolin rich yarns in the future, for sure: they’re awesome to knit with, and they result in garments that wear and last extremely well.

I admit that I’m looking ahead to what’s next too – a pretty, shiny lace project!

Shepherd Sweater: Sleeves, part 2!

I hope you’re into the Shepherd Hoodie, because it’s all hoodie all the time around here these days :)

I finished the first sleeve!! Aaah excitement! I modified the length and adjusted the decrease placement slightly to fit my actual arm. The cables look so lovely all long and lean!

Sleeve cables!

Here’s what the underside looks like – you can see that the cables in this section get a bit distorted as you integrate decreases into the pattern.

Underside of sleeve - decreasing in pattern

The cuffs are worked in seed stitch, and are designed to make a bell shape, which I find extremely charming.

Seed stitch progress

Sleeve cuff

I bound off my cuff using the plain old “Work 2, *pass second stitch over first stitch, work 1, repeat from *” method. I bound off purlwise, so that the bind off would be less visible from the right side of the work. (You can see how it looks on the inside of the cuff below.)

Sleeve cuff - inside bind off view

It was a pretty exciting milestone to finish the first sleeve. One more sleeve to go, then the seed stitch hood, weaving in ends, and buttons! I can almost see the finish line if I squint!

Seed stitch bell cuff

One sleeved sweater!

Shepherd Sweater: On to the SLEEVES!

The Shepherd Hoodie is really starting to look like an actual garment! SO exciting :)

First, I finished the upper back portion of the sweater body.

Body!

Upper back

Then, I joined the shoulders using the 3 needle bind off, which is a really cool technique. I think it creates a very tidy and pleasing finished look!

Shoulder Seam - 3 needle bind off

Here’s a wrong side view of the shoulder seam:

Shoulder Seam - Wrong Side

And here’s how it looks on the right side!

Shoulder Seam - Right Side

Next up: sleeves! The sleeves are worked in the round, from the shoulder to the wrist, and include a wedge of seed stitch in the armpit that gets decreased away as you work sleeve shaping. I’m working the sleeves using a long circular needle and the magic loop method. It’s my favourite for small circumference knitting! I don’t mind dpns for lighter weight yarns, like sock yarn, but for heavier weights, I prefer magic loop. (What do you use? I’d love to know!)

Shoulder Seam & start of sleeve!

Starting sleeve cables!

Sleeve!

My execution of the decreases in the seed stitch wedge is not as great as it could be; or, more accurately, my integration of the decreases into the rest of the seed stitch is not as invisible as I would have liked. HOWEVER, since it’s in the armpit (and who looks at armpits?!), I’m not going to rip it out.

Bottom of sleeve seed stitch wedge

In order to make sure the sleeves are a good size for me, both in terms of diameter and in terms of length, I’m trying the sweater on as I go. This is one of the great advantages of this type of sweater construction! I do want the sleeves to have some positive ease, so that I can wear other garments underneath, so I might not end up decreasing as much as the pattern suggests.

I feel like I’m getting so close to wearable sweater even though there’s a fair bit left – a sleeve and a half, the hood, and finishing work still to do! How’s your knitting going?

Shepherd Taking Shape!

Since my last Shepherd sweater update, I’ve made some exciting progress!

I finished up the right front, which was shaped with a combination of binding off stitches and decreasing at the neck edge.

Close up of front shaping

Right Front

Then I worked on the left front, shaped in the same way.

Left Front

Doesn’t it look pleasingly symmetrical? I’m starting to see “sweater” when I look at it instead of just “rectangular block of cables”!

Body without top back!

Now I’ve moved on to the center back portion of the body. It’s wider than the front pieces were, so it’s a bit slower going, but no shaping to keep track of! I’m looking forward to finishing this bit, because then I get to join the shoulders and start SLEEVES!

Even for such a large and labour-intensive project, knitting this sweater isn’t at all a slog. There’s constant evidence of progress to keep me feeling motivated and excited! I only wish it was small enough to carry with me on the bus ;)