Queue Check — the UFOs of 2018

Queue Check — the UFOs of 2018

Somehow tomorrow is 2019 — which means the start of the Steekalong — so I’m here today to confess about the knitting projects that were spontaneously started and not finished this month. While Bob’s vest parts were blocking, and again when it was awaiting seaming and I had a flight to catch, I unintentionally cast on two more black stockinette projects. So this is also known as The Tale of the Black Blobs.

The first (upper one) is the evolution of the idea of knitting another dickey in the black Wookfolk Luft. Rather than simply knitting Grete again, I got inspired by the Flying Solo, plus a simple funnel shaped stockinette cowl I made and gave away the first year I was knitting, plus my neverending thoughts about dickey possibilities. And what I originally cast on has grown and changed and seems not done changing yet, so I’m not sure where it will wind up. Maybe it will be a garment before I’m done! But wow this yarn. I wasn’t sure I would like it and I don’t — I love it.

I took the first 8″ of it with me on my flight to Palm Springs for my birthday, only to realize I had brought everything but the yarn. Fortunately, I had brought a back-up knit: a Carbeth Cardigan to cast on. My hope, honestly, was that the cowl-dickey-whatever project would occupy me for the trip and I’d have packed the back-up unnecessarily. But as soon as I sat down on the plane, I discovered my mistake. So really, I had no choice!

If you’ve been reading, you know how much I’ve been debating with myself about the color and yarn for the Carbeth. I so loved Shannon’s off-black one, but I have a cropped black cardigan (but I’m forever on the fence about that one) and it would be so gorgeous in the toffee OUR Yarn, but then would I hate myself for not making it black? And if I made it black, what yarn? There’s the OUR Yarn in black, but for this particular garment, I wanted it less black. One night it struck me that I could hold something together with it, and that in fact I had enough black Pebble left from my striped sweater to do the job. So I knit a swatch and it’s lovely. The Pebble lends a bit of lightness and heatheriness, and I matched row gauge and am only slightly off on stitch gauge. So whether it’s defensible or not, it is now on my needles.

I’d hoped to finish one or both of them before the year came to a close, but my workload has not allowed for it — not to mention the difficulty of limited late night knitting time with three black stockinette projects to choose from! Needless to say, my Sólbein will not be black.

(Fringe Town Bag and Lykke needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: November 2018

Queue Check — November 2018

Queue Check — November 2018

I did that thing where I convinced myself I was going to come home from my Thanksgiving road trip with nearly finished front and back pieces for Bob’s sweater vest. (Details on the pattern and yarn here.) Instead, of course, I knitted about two inches on the drive to Atlanta, an inch on the drive back, and not a stitch while we were with my family. Too many meals to prepare, kids to fling around, dominoes games to lose. But I have, at least, done my alt-gauge math and made it into the armhole shaping on both pieces, so it’s downhill from here!

Which means it’s about time to decide what I’m casting on for myself when this is done. As you know, I’ve been deliberating. And deliberating some more. Based on the notes in my mood board post last week and an assessment of my stash — as I continue to make slow but steady progress on my cleanout — I’ve got three yarns vying for my attention.

LEFT SKEIN: While I was at Tolt a few weeks ago, I bought a skein of black Luft to swatch with for another Grete, and when I got home a box arrived from my sweet friends at Woolfolk with enough to finish the job. This one is pretty much a sure thing, so very likely the next project on my needles. All there is to think about is the mods I want to make this time, beyond what I did with my first one.

MIDDLE SKEIN: The Our Yarn I’ve been saying I want to use for a Carbeth Cardigan, amplified by my trying on Shannon’s on that same trip. Shannon’s was knitted in the soft black Quarry and it really felt like a sweater that belonged in my closet, so as confident I am that I would absolutely love it in the toffee, I’m questioning whether I’ll regret not making a replica of the sweater that felt so entirely perfect to me. Especially since I also have other ideas for the toffee.

RIGHT SKEIN: The other sweater quantity in my stash that’s crying out the loudest is the YOTH Neighbor I bought at Stitches West back in February. I really love this nubbly, heathery wool and am dying to knit it up, but I’m also being mindful about my quest for less warm sweaters, which led me back to Kram, which has been on my shortlist for three years. I’m leery of these kinds of sweaters (basically triangular garments meant to sit on a square frame), so I still regret not trying on Tank’s when I had a chance at Knitting With Company two years ago, but it looked great on her and the fact that I’ve had it in mind for so long is a good sign. I’d probably need to hold this yarn triple, and believe I have just enough to pull that off, but I’m also considering holding an ivory or lighter blue with it to brighten up the color, since this is a pretty grey blue.

And then there’s the sewing queue. Writing about my wool muscle tee the other day made me think I might want to make another with the toffee-colored wool I have in stash, which was actually woven from the same yarn above. And fueled by the winter mood board, I pulled this purple fabric off my shelf. It’s a gorgeous deep eggplant with patterning in a lighter shade of lilac, woven in Thailand. I bought it a few years ago at Craft South when they had a pop-up with a woman who buys indigenous textiles on her global travels. (I can’t remember her name or brand!) I’ve been waiting for it to tell me what it wants to be, and I’m now thinking a pretty little sleeveless top of some sort. This fabric will go with every cardigan I own (including the to-be-steeked purple lopi) as well as my army and denim shirtjackets, and a little sleeveless top is of course useful year-round. I don’t know what exactly, but I’m picturing something feminine, with maybe a little gathering or pleating at the waist? If I can find the right pattern, I might have the time next weekend, and it would be my idea of a perfect little #sewfrosting project, just in time for the holidays.

(Fringe Town Bag and Lykke needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: October 2018

Queue Check — October 2018

Queue Check — October 2018

Raise your hand if you thought I would go another month without casting on a sweater. Anyone? Not me. I contented myself with that dickey for a little bit, and have been test-knitting my own mitts pattern — the Cascara Mitts they’re called — which Tolt is publishing on Saturday as part of their 5th-anniversary collection. (I’ll be at the store/party on Saturday and am actually teaching this pattern on Sunday but the class is sold out!) And I think Bob recognized an opportunity and rushed into the void, requesting a sweater vest for himself, and even picking out the yarn — the skein of Plucky Knitter’s Yakpaca that I bought at Stitches West earlier this year. He’s convinced that since it’s a vest, it won’t be overly warm for him; I’m dubious but I love the man so I’ll knit the vest and hope! I’ll be using Churchmouse’s simple little His Vest pattern, but probably raising the neck a tiny bit.

I do think I’m narrowing in on a final decision for my next sweater, but in the meantime I want to focus on Bob’s vest and on finishing up the unfinished:

My Hozkwoz hat is within an inch of done
My blue Bellows just needs a couple of seams and some buttons
My lilac pullover-to-cardigan-conversion is just one fun steek experiment away
– And I have a pair of Log Cabin Mitts awaiting their thumbs

It had been my plan to do these things for Slow Fashion October, but I have had myself stretched wayyyy too thin for that. Fortunately, they’ve all been waiting patiently for both me and the weather, which has more or less arrived, so I’m excited to tackle it all.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: September 2018

Queue Check — September 2018

Queue Check — September 2018

Confession: I’m in jeopardy of not finishing my Hozkwoz Hat for the Marlisle Knitalong on time! (Speaking of which, review the prize instructions on that if you’re participating!) After a botched first start, I got the top of it squared away (literally!) and blocked before boarding my flight to SF, thinking I would knit the rest of it on the plane. Then it occurred to me that it would be the perfect thing to knit during the trip — you know, those times when you’re visiting with people and participating in the goings-on but your hands still want to be knitting? So I concentrated on my purple Anna Vest on the flight out there, finishing the back and starting the right front, and then I didn’t knit another stitch until my last day, when I got to spend the afternoon knitting with Mary Jane — and briefly with Anna Maltz! I knitted another good chunk of the right front that day, finished it on the flight home, and blew through the first half of the left front, which is the stage at which it’s pictured above. I’ve since finished the left front and returned to the hat, but it’s surprisingly slow going for a seemingly simple tube of knitting. So while I thought I would be done with it too quickly and likely casting on a second Marlisle project, I’m instead feeling nowhere near done! Of course, I’m not eligible for prizes and we’re nowhere near hat weather here — plus it’s fun to knit — so there’s no need to rush. And I’ve been so enjoying all of the creativity on display in the #fringemarlislekal feed this month.

There is some urgency about the vest, though. I’ve been promising you guys for too long that the pattern would soon be available for individual download, but now it really is coming! Here’s the hard evidence. The point of knitting this new sample was to recheck the pattern (which has been graded and edited since I first wrote it) and add an alternate button band option. And I’m aiming to have it published in the next few weeks!

So that’s it for me for now — just finishing up these two little gems, unsure what’s next.

Has there ever been a Queue Check that’s really so purely just a WIP Check? I’m not sure there’s been a minute since I started knitting in 2011 that I haven’t had a list of things I intend to cast on (or an assortment of things already on the needles). Don’t get me wrong: There are obviously plenty of patterns I love and think would fun to knit and all of that. But I will likely only make one more sweater this year (if that) and I want to be more deliberate than ever about making sure it really is a good mate for the rest of my clothes, suits my climate needs, and rounds out my existing sweater inventory. And I haven’t quite decided what that is yet! So next up is the plain little hat my husband has been patiently waiting for, while I decide on a sweater. Or perhaps I’ll cast on a Grete, if there’s a suitable yarn for it in my stash.

Hozwkoz Hat in Sincere Sheep Covet and Kelbourne Woolens Scout
Anna Vest in Kelbourne Woolens Germantown
Drawstring bag, blocking board and Lykke needles at Fringe Supply Co.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: August 2018

Queue Check — August 2018

Queue Check — August 2018

Y’all, I have been doin’ some KNITTIN’. The past two weeks, I’ve had quite a few nights in a row where I actually got some knitting time before bed, during which I sailed through the sleeves on this aran-gansey mashup of mine and then returned the body stitches to the needles. I knitted on it both Friday and Saturday night, and then had all of Sunday afternoon off. So I curled up on my couch with a candle lit next to me, this sweater in my lap, and The Guernsey movie (whose title I can’t bear) playing for the second time, pretending that the slightly gloomy day outside was actually chilly rather than swampy. And I knitted and knitted and knitted. About 8:45, I found out Pose was expiring from On Demand that very night and I had four episodes to go! So I stayed up past my bedtime, binge watching and knitting — around and around and around. And as it turns out, I will almost certainly be done with the knitting before Summer of Basics comes to a close, although whether it will be blocked and seamed by then remains to be seen. Regardless, the next time you see this one, it will be on me. And there will be a grin on my face.

(Speaking of Summer of Basics, you’ve seen how to enter for the Grand Prize(s), right? Don’t miss that!)

The next thing I cast on will be my  project for the upcoming Marlisle Knitalong, and since it will be small — and in theory the “swatch” for a next sweater — I’m not rushing to get another sweater on the needles right now. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the assorted tidbits of to-do’s that came up during my great sweater inventory of twenty eighteen.

And then, with all of those inventory learnings and assessments in mind, I’m going to take stock of the sweater quantities that live in my stash and make some hopefully wise decisions about how best to make use of them. Which means there’s a very forward-thinking Queue Check a’brewing …

(Lykke needles, stitch markers and leather stitch marker pouch from Fringe Supply Co.)

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Speaking of the Marlisle Knitalong: It kicks off this Friday! Are you ready? There are some people already popping up on #fringemarlislekal, and you can get the full scoop on the kal here. Anna is also teaching at several locations in Europe and the US over the next month or so — I’m SO bummed I can’t get to Fancy Tiger to take her classes there! — so check this list to see if you might have a chance to learn from her.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: July 2018

Queue Check — July 2018

Queue Check — July 2018

Last week I took the yoke of my Summer of Basics sweater off the needles and put it through the wash before I went any further, since I was still a little bit on the fence about it and wanted to see if the washed fabric would win me over. One of the many joys of this yarn, O-Wool Balance — and why I knit with it so often — is that it’s not superwash (it’s an organic wool-cotton blend) but is machine washable, and I like the fabric better when it’s machine-washed and slightly machine-dried than I do when it’s just soaked and air-dried. It fluffs and softens and melds really beautifully. I definitely liked the yoke better post-wash, but it took adding the folded neckband to really get me excited about having and wearing this sweater. I’m not totally in love with my raglan placement, but I’m hoping it won’t bother me any by the time I separate the body and sleeves. So, y’know, onward! But as slow as this is going, I’m starting to question whether I’ll be done with it by end of August.

[UPDATE: I put a video tutorial for this neckband technique in the @fringesupplyco profile at Instagram.]

Meanwhile, I finally started the cutting for my other two SoB projects. To recap: Those are supposed to be some sort of eyelet-y version of the Tessuti Alice top plus a set of Carolyn Pajamas. That’s technically four things, if I make both the top and bottoms of the pj’s, and my thinking has been that I’d concentrate on the top, and if I got to the bottoms they’d be a bonus. At this point, I’m starting with the bottoms, since a little pair of pj shorts like that for when I’m at home is one of my biggest wants right now — and I’m counting them! They’re all cut and ready for the sewing part, which I should be able to finish before July is out, which leaves all of August to see what else I can finish.

Even if you’re not actively participating in SoB, I encourage you to follow along with the #summerofbasics feed. So much great stuff happening. And if you are participating, make sure to post a progress update! I’ll be choosing July winners in just over a week.

Related: How to improvise a top-down sweater and How I do folded neckbands

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2018

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Queue Check — June 2018

Queue Check — June 2018

I’m back from Portugal with SO much to tell you — and about 2700 photos to sort through. But this morning I can at least tell you about the state of my knitting from the trip! For the first few days, I was still finishing up a secret project, but then I finally got to do the math and get started on my Summer of Basics sweater. This project was cast on in the back of a van on a particularly twisty drive in the Porto region (one epic excursion among many) but caught a foothold on our one and only sit-still day, mid-trip, at a super chic mountaintop hotel called Casa das Penhas Douradas. While four of us went for a long hike that day, the other five made ourselves at home in one of the common rooms, which had half walls of sliding glass so the whole room opened up to the mountain breeze, and I know I’ll remember that day and that room every time I ever wear this.

That is, if it works out — I’m not yet 100% sure about it. To recap: I’m making an aran-gansey mashup, heavily inspired by the traditional Staithes gansey from the whole Daniel Day-Lewis hullabaloo, and its “seeds and bars” patterning. But figuring out the best version of that for an ivory, worsted-gauge, raglan situation isn’t as simple as it might seem. I’ve swatched it a few different ways — different “seeds” and different “bars” — and this yoke is sort of a bigger swatch, which may or may not be the winner. I won’t know for sure until I knit a couple more inches (at least to the next bar), add a neckband, and see how it looks after a wash. But it’s pretty promising, and it’s been perfect company while traveling.

Rosa mentioned while we were knitting that day that Portugal also has a gansey tradition, so you know I’ll be digging into that. And now that my whirlwind June is drawing to a close, I’m eager to start on my other two SoB garments.

Improv sweater in O-Wool Balance yarn in Natural
Jen Hewett x Fringe Field Bag from Fringe Supply Co. (available tomorrow morning!)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: My Summer of Basics plan

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