Queue Check — August 2105

Queue Check — August 2015

It’s a bit late in the month for my monthly queue assessment, but it’s also crazy to me that in the weeks since my July Queue Check — in the midst of the move and all — I knitted a whole turtleneck sweater that wasn’t even really on my radar at that point. (Which I finally added to Ravelry, by the way.) As promised, I’m working on a second version, with not discontinued yarn, and will be publishing the pattern as soon as I can make that happen. I’m thinking of doing this one as a marl, as seen in that swatch up there. But I want to do one more swatch in another yarn (not marl) before I commit.

The marl swatch is Lark — two crows and an egret — and it seems like Lark might be all I’m knitting with for the foreseeable future. The colorwork swatch, also in Lark, is for this fall’s big Fringe and Friends Knitalong! (And yes, there is a mistake in my swatch.) I’m keeping that a secret a little bit longer, but will tell you for now that it is a bit of a weird choice — in a good way. It does involve OPTIONAL colorwork, is a fantastic first sweater if you’ve not knitted one before, and I have an amazing panel lined up. This one is a much quicker, simpler knit than last year’s Amanda cardigan, but offers lots of great meat for discussion and room for people to get creative and so on. It’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait to tell you more! Just be ready for a really fun knitalong announcement in mid-September. (Here’s one more hint, it has to do with that green sweater I knitted in the spring.) Meanwhile, I’m swatching and deciding about colors. I like this grey/black/ivory combo but what I really want the finished sweater to be is navy and black. I just fear for my eyesight and my sanity if I decide to do that!

I also think I’m giving up on the idea of having a Rhinebeck sweater in my queue. The colorwork sweater will have be my Rhinebeck sweater. And why shouldn’t it? It will be totally worthy.

In addition to the big turtleneck and preparations for the big knitalong, I’m still working on my Hermaness Worsted (in Shelter, which got neglected during the move — no brain for lace — but has progressed quite a bit since this photo) and about to cast on my Laurus (in Lark) (Marsh and Egret). Telling you: it’s a Lark-fest over here right now.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2015

The sweater that practically knitted itself

The sweater that practically knitted itself

Sleeveless, superbulky and stockinette. Apparently that’s the magic formula for being able to create a whole garment in tumultuous times! This thing must have knitted itself, though: It took so little time, in such small chunks, so far apart (in the midst of such chaos), that I have almost no recollection of doing it. But it’s so good! When I first seamed it a couple of weeks ago, I decided to do exposed seams on both the sides and the shoulders, but I wasn’t sure if I liked it so hadn’t woven in the ends. Once the neck was finished, I decided I did like the shoulder seams — the bound-off stitches along those edges have the same character as the slipped stitches along the armhole selvage, and the seams are so fat they look almost like epaulets. But the side seams weren’t working. Had I gone into it intending to do exposed seams, I would have slipped all of the selvage stitches, but since I had kept them in stockinette, that seam looked out of step with the other details. So I pulled out the mattress stitch, reworked the side seams to the inside, and voilà, I love it. (Although it does still need its final blocking.)

This one was knitted with the Shibui Merino Alpaca I bought when I heard it was discontinued. Held triple, it makes for the most gorgeous stitches — can you even deal with how beautiful that ribbing looks? But it is decidedly dense and heavy. There will be lots of times when that feels perfectly marvelous, but I also decided along the way that I want another one in something light and cuddly. And that when I knit that one, I’ll write up the pattern. So look for that down the road a bit.

>> Ravelry link

(Linen bento bag via Fringe Supply Co., of course.)

Then just like that, a sweater

Then just like that, a sweater

This felt like a miracle, after all the stress and distraction and feeling so disconnected from my making. While I was writing Friday’s post about not knowing what my next sweater project would be — about not knowing what my Hole & Sons yarn would be — I pulled my copy of Rowan Pioneer off my shelves, which is always a joy to spend time with. The leading contender for the H&S yarn is Dwell, from that book, but I have concerns about the armholes and wanted to look at the pics vs the schematic. On the next page is a sweater I hadn’t really taken note of before, Hearth. I don’t like it much — the waist shaping and the little ribbed cap sleeves and the cowl-ish neck put me off — but it brought to mind that Elizabeth & James sweater I praised here awhile back, and then I couldn’t get those photos out of my mind. Friday afternoon I had a much needed few moments of calm and focus, gazing at the various photos, imagining my own version and how I would wear it. And sketching it into the queue in my beloved Fashionary notebook, knowing for certain what my next sweater would be.

Friday night I wound three skeins of my camel-colored Shibui Merino Alpaca into one giant cake and cast on. At first, I thought I might loosely adapt Hearth, just leaving out the sleeves and the waist shaping, but after closer inspection I realized the only part of it that works for me is the cast-on count. So I’m winging it — working straight to my desired dimensions and writing shaping for almost slit-like armholes and a turtleneck that’s big but not enormous. The photo above is the first pass at the armholes — too cut in for what I want here — so I ripped back and redid it. I had knitted that entire back piece in two evenings, so I didn’t mind a bit.

Queue Check — July 2015

Queue Check — July 2015

It’s possible I spoke too soon about that house we have under contract. We got a not-so-good inspection report this week and now the whole thing is up in the air. So instead of marching through the steps toward closing, I’m in limbo, daydreaming about it. All I can think of when I think about that house is that it will be Fall there. It’s almost like I think that will somehow be true on the day we move in! I imagine the leaves turning on the all the big trees, and picture sitting out on the covered patio (in the rain!) when the temperatures get milder and the humidity packs its bags and shoves off. For when it gets colder, I have visions of knitting in front of the fireplace. A fireplace! Then there’s that screeching sound in my head as I remember the fireplace needs extensive repairs before that can happen. Anyway, somehow that house and Fall are inextricably entwined in my mind, and it makes me want it more than I want to want it when it may not happen.

Between all of that and the fact that Fall really is coming soon (it is! it is!), I’m rethinking my knitting queue. June mayhem didn’t allow for that summer sweater to get cast on, and now it seems too late to start. Time to start in, instead, on the sweaters I want to be done with in time to wear them on that covered patio, right? But my plans feel a little scrambled. All of this secret and required knitting the past few months has amplified my aversion to knitting that feels in any way like an obligation, to the point of making me a tiny bit allergic to my own to-knit list. Next up was supposed to be whatever that dark grey Hole & Sons is meant to become, but I haven’t solved that riddle yet. And next after that was supposed to be my Channel Cardigan, finally and again, but there too I’m on the fence about yarn. My latest theory has been that I would use the camel Shibui Merino-Alpaca I stocked up on when it was discontinued, but I fear it will be too hot and heavy with all that fisherman’s rib and textured stitch. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s not to cast on a sweater before really knowing it’s right and worthy, but these past couple of months without a sweater on the needles have been agony! So for the moment, I’m enjoying my Hermaness Worsted (have you seen all the #fringehatalong hats?) and pondering the notion of turning that Merino-Alpaca into a Linda. A big cozy fringed scarf might not satisfy me in the knitting like a sweater does, but it would in the wearing.

I hope you all have a magnificent weekend! We got a fresh batch of Yarn Pyramids in this week, and there are tools allegedly arriving this afternoon — bonsai scissors and counters and crochet hooks, among other things — so if you’ve been waiting, check in later today or tomorrow morning! xo

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2015

Crazy days of Summer

Crazy days of Summer

It is really crazy days around here right now, emotional rollercoaster days, with events both tragic and thrilling tossing me around. So today I’m taking a deep breath and hoping for one whole day of productivity. The most time-sensitive thing demanding my attention is the deadline (er, yesterday) for my pattern for the undisclosed item pictured above — which I did not knit, by the way. I wish I could tell you all about it, but I’ll be able to later this year! Assuming I actually finish it, that is … so off I go. Wish me luck!

Finishing what I’ve started

Finishing what I've started

I managed to carve out a couple hours yesterday afternoon for doing whatever I liked, and as I was trying to decide how I would use that precious chunk of time, I was a bit tormented by all the stuff piled up in my workroom. Like a lot of people, I like starting new projects and tend to lose focus at the end — my attention wandering off toward whatever is next. As a result, things pile up and bog me down. Which meant part of my precious chunk of time was spent going through the piles, sorting out what really needed attention and what could be eliminated from the mix in whatever way. In the end, I was left with a short list of to-do’s:

1. It’s been my plan to dye my Audrey hat. There’s a bag of avocado pits in the freezer that I’ve saved up for this purpose, but since I won’t have need of a hat for several months, this one can wait for a rainy day.

2. That skirt. While there’s only a 50% chance I’ll like it after it’s modified, I have to know. So one evening when I don’t feel like knitting any of things in my bag, I’ll sit down with my seam ripper and set this in motion.

3. One of my favorite shirts — a linen/cotton button-up from Madewell that I cut the sleeves off of last summer — has reached the threadbare stage. Holes have formed at the corners of the pockets, and I’m wondering if a little visible mending would extend its life a bit, or if it’s too shabby looking to be worn anymore anyway. I hate to let it go!

4. The top-secret green sweater needs buttons and blocking. One of these days I need to photograph it in anticipation of the time I reveal what it’s all about. And I’d really like to wear it! So I guess that’s the top priority on the list.

5. Not pictured is a dress my friend Alyssa made me two summers ago that I never wear as a dress and need to hem to tunic length. Meanwhile, it’s hung in the back of the closet, out of sight and mind.

I’d like to tell you I proceeded to knock one or two of these items off the list right away — progress toward a clean slate! But as happy as I am to have them written down in tackle-able form (out of my head and off of my tables), my life is ruled by lists. So with those two hours I had saved for myself, I started something new. :)

Queue Check — June 2015

Queue Check — June 2015

It’s a weird experience for me to make things I can’t talk to you about, and extra weird that there are multiple top-secret knitting projects going on at the same time right now. Going back to my May queue check, the green sweater is off the needles and awaiting its moment in the spotlight. The grey yarn up top is in the process of becoming. (Becoming what, I still can’t tell you.) The charcoal Hole & Sons and I are still having deep, meaningful, late-night discussions about its destiny. And I still plan to knit Channel this year, but haven’t settled on yarn. So that leads me to that stash of beautiful Shibui.

For the summer cardigan I keep whining about needing, I’ve been imagining some combination of the finer-gauge Shibuis and finally got to swatch for it in the car last weekend. After knitting and blocking the 3-part swatch above, I’ve settled on the combination at the bottom: Ivory Pebble + Ash Twig. The resulting fabric is 45% silk (about half recycled), 23% linen, 18% merino, 8% cashmere, 6% wool — very lightweight and soft and, well, pretty much perfect. So what will it be?

It needs to be the most basic and timeless of grey cardigans, basically, and I’ve been thinking it would be Carrie Hoge’s Uniform, but A) my gauge is quite different, at 23 sts and 30 rows per 4 inches, and B) I’m really craving top-down. Been knitting too many pieced sweaters lately, and I really want to fit this one as I go. Now that I’ve struck on the whole basted knitting approach, I have no reason not to knit top-down. And since my top-down tutorial remains wildly popular (despite photos which really need to be updated!), I figure it might be useful to knit a cardigan version and share my notes. I’m not planning to do a blow-by-blow of blog posts like the original tutorial, since most of the information is the same whether you’re doing a pullover or cardigan. So most likely what I’ll do is post abbreviated notes for each stage on my @karentempler Instagram feed, and then do one comprehensive post here on the blog when the cardigan is finished.

At 23 sts/4 inches (and with another Fringe Hatalong coming up very soon!) it could take me a little while to get there …

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: One, two, shuffle my queue