project

imageNarf! Pinky is one of my all time favorite cartoon characters. Sure he wasn’t all brains, like Brain, but his unique way of looking at the world and his creative intelligence, though a mouse cartoon, is just as important to embrace in society today as a PHD. So I have named my shawl made with Beachy Keen gradient kit by Fierce Fibers the Narf! Shawl.

(note: the shawl is really easy to knit, however my instructions are not detailed enough for a beginner, sorry…this is my first pattern, ever. Please bear with me! If you see anything amiss, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Ravelry.)

Narf! Shawl

Narf! Shawl:

Yarn: 1 gradient kit by Fierce Fibers in the Beachy Keen color way, or any other set of 5 colors of fingering weight yarn.

Yardage: 400-460 yards +- 10 yards depending on how full/long you want your tassels to be.

Gauge: 23 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette

  • Gauge is not important as the shawl is designed to use up all the yarn from the gradient kit. When a row cannot be completed, set aside the remaining yardage for the tassel. =)

Size: approximately 51″ wide x 18.5″ deep

Tools:

  • Size US 7 (4.5mm) 24″ or longer circular needles
  • the Loome tool or 3″ piece of cardboard
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors
  • Blocking supplies

Abbreviations:

  • M1R – make 1 increase right leaning (insert left needle into bar between stitches, back to front, knit into the front loop)
  • M1L – make 1 increase left leaning (insert left needle into the bar between stitches, front to back, knit into the back loop)
  • yo – yarn over
  • ssk – slip, slip, knit
  • k2tog – knit 2 stitches together
  • psso – pass slipped stitches over

Basic Construction:

Start with a garter tab. Cast on 3 stitches and work 8 rows. With 3 stitches still on the needle, pick up 5 stitches evenly along the edge and 3 at the other end for a total of 11 stitches. I went with 3 for a solid garter edge. Just my preference. =)

The main piece is a basic 6 increase shawl – 4 increases on the right side and 2 increases on the wrong side. There is 1 stitch in the center and three stitches each side for the garter edge. Check out the various shawl construction types here on Craftsy for the wide and shallow triangle shawl or if you’d like a different shape.

Row 1: Work garter edge. yo, knit to center, M1R, knit 1, M1L, knit to last three stitches, yo, work garter edge. (inc 4 stitches)

Row 2: Work garter edge, yo, purl to last three stitches, yo, work garter edge. (inc 2 stitches)

Work each color in these two rows until you cannot work a complete row. This leftover yarn will be used for the tassels.

End the 4th color after a right side row, knit row (inc 4 row). Begin wrong side row with the 5th/last color and work as a normal wrong side row (inc 2 row).

If you are using less than 5 colors, note that the lace edging section is worked with the 5th mini-skein being a little under 100 yards.

Lace Edging:

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Set up Row (WS): Work garter edge stitches and purl to the last 3 stitches, you will no longer be increasing for the rest of the shawl. Work last 3 garter stitches.

Row 1 (RS): Work garter edge stitches, repeat (k2tog, yo) across until the center stitch. Depending on how many stitches you have you will either come to 1 stitch before the center stitch, or just the center stitch.

  • If you have 1 stitch before the center stitch: yo, slip 2 as if to knit, knit 1, psso, yo. This should give you a neat centered decrease. Repeat (ssk, yo) to the last 3 stitches, work garter edge stitches.
  • If you have just the center stitch: knit 1. Repeat (yo, ssk) to the last three stitches, yo, and then work the garter edge stitches.

So now you’ve got your first set of eyelets going. The right side should be slanting slightly to the right and the left side should be slanting slightly to the left.

Row 2 (WS): Work garter edge stitches, purl across, and then work garter edge stitches.

Repeat this eyelet pattern across again (rows 1 and 2). (total of 4 rows worked! yay!)

Row 5 (RS): Next, to create the subtle zig-zag effect, on the right side of the shawl work garter edge stitches, repeat (yo, ssk) to the center stitch. Work the center as previously noted in Row 2 depending on how many stitches you have available.

  • On the other side of the center stitch if you did the center decrease: Repeat (k2tog, yo) to the last 3 stitches, work garter edge stitches.
  • If you did not do the center decrease simply continue to repeat (yo, k2tog) to the last three stitches, yo, and then work the garter edge stitches.

Row 6 (WS): Work as Row 3.

Repeat this eyelet pattern across again (rows 5 and 6). (total of 8 rows worked! yay!)

Row 9 (RS): Work as Row 2.

Row 10 (WS): Work as Row 3.

Bind off loosely knitwise. I prefer the double knit method: Knit 1 (knit 1, slip both stitches back to the left hand needle, knit together through the back loop), repeat. This should leave it nice and sproingy for blocking the edge out to points, or giving the shawl a nice curve. Your choice! =)

Tassels:

imageI used my H Loome, you can use any piece of cardboard or pegboard you have at about 3″. If you’re not familiar with tassel making, watch this video! (does not require the Loome)

Make 3 tassels.

For my tassels I did this:

Step 1: Cut off extra yarn from the edges of the shawl, leaving a tail long enough to weave in.

Step 2: Take the two shortest pieces and cut them in half.

Step 3: Taking one of each color of the yarn you just cut in half, wrap them onto the Loom for making a tassel.

I happened to only have three usable pieces of leftover yarn to use for the tassels. If I make this again, I think I will purposely stop each color earlier so that I make sure to have a little bit of each color in all my tassels.

I also made sure to use more yarn for the third tassel and placed it as the center stitch decoration. I managed to make it a little bit longer than the other two by wrapping loosely around my H Loome.

Note about blocking:

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For a subtle wave, I blocked out the top of the shawl as straight as I could, and then every 5 k2tog/ssk column along the bottom edge. (I really need to get my mitts on blocking wires!)

Attach tassels to the two opposite corners and the bottom center stitch, weave in loose ends. Wear and enjoy!

Narf! Shawl


*I am not sponsored to produce this blog post. All products mentioned were purchased with my own money and are things that I enjoy using. *

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The past few weeks have been a bit hectic at work, so I apologize for not updating you on my master plan spinning project. This is probably my most ambitious attempt so far at spinning a large quantity since Noriko and Cory’s visit in which I finally nailed down my drafting technique. Spinning like a boss now. But aside from that what has evolved is an appreciation for the three ply. If you know me, then you also know that I can jump the gun sometimes and just go-go-go on a project. This has definitely been a test of patience and a labor of love.

First Ply: Buckle My Shoe. A semi-solid blue-turquoise colored 100% merino dyed by Knitted Wit. I should have listened to Cindy and Noriko about starting off with a basic fiber. (I still love my first wonky mini-skein~!!!). I started off drafting this fiber the opposite way as my previous spinning projects and boy did it make a difference. Being a left-handed person, I was originally trying to draft with my left hand, which mean that my right hand was doing it’s own thing, aka holding the fiber too tightly causing the cat knappiness at the end of the fiber. But anyways, I switched drafting hands and I totally got this now.

Second Ply: 100% Natural Merino. It’s white, so I feel like it was probably bleached or something regardless of what the tag says. Aside from that this was a practice in precision. I tried to get this to be a smidge thicker and more even a ply than the Buckle My Shoe. What I got was a much shorter ply, at least to the naked eye. I’m fairly certain that I still got a good 200+ yards out of it though! =D

Third Ply: 60/40 Merino/Bamboo in the She Shed colorway by Thoroughly Thwacked. Ok so this is not a measured 2oz, but I think it’ll be enough to match the first two in length fairly decently. I was waffling on whether or not to use the BFL and decided on continuing with the merino trend. My first attempt with the BFL was not so great, though friends rave about it’s soft and silkiness. I repeatedly dropped my Kundert when attempting a ply and barely got a few yards before I gave up. I’ll try again at a later time because it must be plied with another color. I can’t ignore that coffee and cream coloring!

Two vs Three ply: Visually

In theme with being impatient and wanting to experiment I tested the ends of the Buckle My Shoe and the Natural Merino to see what it would potentially look like and got this (Sorry for the blurry pic, but you can see how kinda puffy it is as just a 2 ply):

2-ply

I’m not a fan of how the test is looking. I went ahead and started plying the She Shed and wow does it make a difference!

3-ply

 

Granted this doesn’t show at all what the color changes will look like. She Shed has blue and pink/red sections which I have found blend together much better now that I am finally drafting properly and the ply itself is much skinnier than my first attempt. The color transitions are not so abrupt and the over-spinning that I was doing before is much less of a problem since working with the merino. I’m pretty stoked to get the ply finished, take pictures, and share with everyone the final yarn results!

If all goes as planned, I think I may stick with the plying a solid with a multi-dyed fiber path. 2 ounces seems to be a good sweet spot for me before I get bored of a particular colorway and I really like the way my three ply hand spun looks. The closer I get to completing the third ply the more anxious I am to get my hands on a niddy noddy. Granted that for measuring purposes, my swift works just as well, and also to make a decent sized skein. Just wanting to have all the right, and pretty, tools I guess. =)

And just how am I going to go about plying 6 ounces of yarn? Uh…we’ll get to that when we get to that…hehe

 

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For serious, can’t talk. Too busy.

So here’s a photo of a bunch of Shepard’s Wool. I didn’t buy them all, sadly. But I did manage to get first dibs this time instead of picking off the leftovers. =D

IMG_1500 IMG_1509These two are the ones I got for myself. Not entirely sure what to do yet, but there’s plenty yardage for a cabled slouchy hat or a pair of mismatching finger-less mittens. Unfortunately the skeins I bought are too different to use together easily. That’s why they’re called Crazy!

If I can’t think of anything, they’re likely to be added to my one-off collection aka stash, and then used next year for the mega-KAL.

Why is it so difficult to choose a project?

Generally I have difficulty due to two factors: Color and Cost. First of all, if I don’t like the color of the example project I have difficulty imagining it with a different colorway. If the yarn at my disposal has a uniqueness to it, I’m also less likely to use it because if the nature of it being a one-off purchase. Which comes to issue no 2. If it costs too much in yarn then it is more difficult for me to want to make it. Typically though if the color, size, complexity, and imagery of the project comes together in such a way that I can imagine myself wearing the piece near daily; I am more likely to purchase the pattern and obtain the correct yarn for it.

I live in a town where there are at least 10 different quality yarn shops. And each of these shops overlap in some products, but are also varied in style and stock. I buy Quince n Co. at Twisted when I make their proprietary patterns. I buy Yak and Silk luxury merino blends from independent dyers at Pearl Fiber Arts. When I become wealthy enough, I’ll probably buy Brooklyn Tweed at Knit/Purl. And if I have a baby or finally get a puppy, I’ll probably start frequenting Dublin Bay for their Frog Tree and imported Irish yarns.

I’d probably go crazy if I frequented any of the other ones. So many different millers, spinners, dyers, designers, and notions!

When’s RCYC 2016?…March…right…squee!!

 

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IMG_1495IMG_1493So close to completion! I’ve cast on for the button band, but I haven’t completed it yet. The small size is large enough in length, but super teeny in all other respects. I was hoping that it would be a loose fit, but I guess not.  I will most definitely need to block the arm pieces aggressively once it’s all said and done otherwise I’ll have to give this to someone who is both short and teeny.

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IMG_1491 For a first time making a sweater in months on top of learning a new technique, I’m rather pleased with myself. I like the inset sleeves and the overall construction. Unlike raglan sleeves, the inset sleeve make a nice shoulder area instead of a rounded draped look. The seaming makes me a little worried about the bulkiness of the edge, but I tried it on and it didn’t puff up weirdly like I was expecting! A nice surprise there.

I’ll hopefully get this done by the end of the week and wear it to a friends boardgame party this weekend. It’s gonna be worn a lot this Fall!!


Stash Update!

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Here are my one skein beauties! Ok, there are a few in here that are two skeins, but nothing is over 100gs. Next year’s mega-KAL theme is going to be one skein items. Things like hats, accessories, etc. I’m excited! After collecting them all in one spot I realized that these make up about 1/3 of my usable yarn. Oh small stash, how I love thee.

Here’s what I got:

Top row –

  1. Lace weight
  2. Fingering weight
  3. Lace weight
  4. Fingering weight
  5. Lace weight
  6. Bulky weight

Lower row –

  1. Worsted weight
  2. Fingering weight
  3. Fingering weight
  4. Heavy DK weight
  5. Lace weight
  6. DK weight
  7. Worsted
  8. Bulky weight
  9. Fingering weight
  10. Fingering weight

Some of this stuff you’ve seen before in previous posts about the Stash Sale at Pearl Fiber Arts or on my projects page on Rav (which are now frogged). The dark purple, third in the top row, is a purchase from my first Rose City Yarn Crawl over 3 years ago! I’ve been holding onto two skeins of this squshy beauty unable to decide on a pattern…sigh..

I will do more hunting around the apartment as I feel that I’m missing a few skeins from my recent escapades.

 

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A cheese and wine festival that is!

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So many tasty treats! So many cute fluffy dogs! So much wine to taste! This is the first year we’ve gone and it was super packed! With the addition of a $5 credit and a free wine glass with entry fee of $25 (for cheese and wine) what’s not to love? I got Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog and Truffle Tremmor, which were only $5 each. So I used both our credits and didn’t have to shell out any cash.

Afterwards I headed over to my friend Alanna’s for a game night/birthday party. We played Exploding Kittens, Camel Up, Blank Cards (? I think that’s what it’s called), and Concept. The only game I’d played before is, of course, Exploding Kittens. Out of all the games I’d have to say Camel Up was the top dog for the night.

But the one thing that had me at hello was this washer/dryer combo:

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Just look at this beauty! It’s a clothing washer…and then dryer!!!!! No switching loads, no dropping socks on the floor, all packaged in a chromed up spaceship pod looking thing! And side loading!!! omg….I want..so bad…WAAANT…!!!!!

Le sigh…

And here’s my progress for Noriko’s Birthday KAL.

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And she has also posted the prize skein of yarn on the forum! Super cute! So far I think I’m in the lead for the raffle since no one else has started yet. Granted we have until the end of November…I could probably pump out 2-3 of these guys for Christmas presents this year and win that skein…muahahah….

Yeah…whatever mom…

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Have faith in my knitability, Luce-Purr!!! =/

Heh.

 

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If you know me then you know that my fashion sense is a bit on the subdued side. I like blocks of color, subtle prints, and little accents as opposed to loud and flashy, bold prints, and multi-colored or neon. I prefer subtle elegance that appeals to the eye as a restful place rather than an intricate brain teaser. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs: PurlBee.

Most if not all the knitting patterns on the site are free and include detailed images and a tutorials section to help you through the new techniques. It’s a great place that both beginners and advanced knitters can glean useful information from.

purlbee

Content:

  • Knitting / Crochet
  • Sewing
  • Embroidery
  • Weaving
  • Crafts
  • eCommerce Shop (PurlSoho).

User Interface:

  • Mobile friendly
  • Clear photography
  • Organized content
  • Excellent typography

User Experience:

  • Content driven
  • Consistency between content types
  • Straight forward navigation
  • Quick page load time
  • Subtle javascript

So what is my inner knitting child squeeing over the most about this blog? Well today it is the Caliper Cable stitch. I’ve seen it before, but never thought to look it up until it popped up on the suggested posts from today’s newsletter from PurlBee. Their example project has the stitch repeated horizontally to create a really nice long scarf with the stitch repeats almost looking like herring bone, but better!  Sometimes I feel that cables are just to puffy and don’t create a dramatic enough effect in some yarns. This looks like the perfect stitch to show off on all types of yarns and colorways. The Dream In Color Smooshy I bought over Labor Day may become this scarf. Or maybe I’ll make it into a hat with a ribbon. Or maaaybe an accent on a pair of wrist warmers!

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I haven’t knitted a sweater all year and I’m feeling a serious itch. I’m in need of a nice, soft, squooshy covering that has enough going on that I won’t get bored knitting it, but not so much that it will take over my life. The majority of my knits so far this year have been cowls and shawls, so the pattern would also have to give enough lee-way for possibly wearing them in conjunction without turning me into a sweaty mess.

Pattern:

The result of my Ravelry search brought me to this little beauty: Paloma.

Bulky weight yarn: check.
Textured stitches: check.
Learn a new Technique: check.

Paloma is written by Thea Colman of Baby Cocktails. I’ve made another sweater by her called Baileys Irish Cream. Unfortunately, I wore it too much in the winter/spring of 2014 and it felted/pilled because I didn’t use a superwash yarn (totally my bad). The patterns she writes are very clear and technically accurate.

Yarn:

I’ve been wanting to try a bulky weight pattern for a while, so finding a bulky weight yarn seemed like it would be easy. Except not. I knew I wanted superwash and I knew I wanted something pretty. What I don’t ever want is expensive, heavy, or acrylic. Knitpicks Biggo ended up breaking the tie. This is a 50% superwash and 50% nylon fluffy mix. It has a little bit of a fuzzy halo, but nothing unreasonable, so far. At 100 grams a skein as well, it feels like a light and fluffy newborn kitten.

Biggo - Iris Heather

The color I’m going with the Iris Heather. And so far it’s living up to my expectations. The example Paloma is a solid pinky/peach color, which is fine, but with the texture I wanted something with a bit more depth and feel of luxury. I want a sweater that people really can’t find in the store, but still in style.

Comparing the item to the colors show on the knitpicks website, it is more on the grey side than the purple side. But the heather and nylon give it almost an iridescent glow which I absolutely love!

Swatch:

Biggo - swatchIMG_1314

 
Pattern gauge is 3 stitches and 5 rows per 1″ in double seed stitch pattern on size 10.5 (6.5mm) needles. I measured slightly smaller than gauge using 10 (6.0mm) needles before wet blocking.

The pattern notes that gauge is very important especially when working with bulky weight yarns. Even the slightest bit too big and you’re going to end up with an over-sized garment. Luckly, I came in slightly under! Good enough.

Size:

As usual I will be making the smallest size possible: 36.5″ @ approx 900 yards. I still haven’t quite figured out if the 4″ of positive ease is a part of the pattern or if the model is wearing it that large on purpose. Either way 36.5″ is big on me to begin with. Biggo comes in 110 yard skeins. In addition to the one I purchased for testing, I need to buy 8 more.

Modifications:

Arm length – shorter arms = using less yarn! I will be shortening the arm length and maybe adding a thumb hole.

Shaping – The common theme I see from completed projects, even the example photographs, is that the backside arm hole is fluppy, baggy, and folds in a weird way. In all likelihood I think I will decrease one or two more stitches than called for at the arm hole area to 1 + give my shoulders more space and 2 + keep the back of the sweater from looking frumpy. Based on Thea’s notes though this may not be necessary. The look in the examples is with 4″ of positive ease where the smallest size gives only about 2-3″.

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IMG_1136Date Completed: July 22nd, 2015 RAV

Project: Paulette

Yarn: Vixen by Thoroughly Thwacked

Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Notes: So many purl stitches! This is a test knit I did for my good friend Noriko. Her pattern is being debuted at the Thoroughly Thwacked trunk show at Pearl Fiber Arts this weekend. Super excited to show off my completed project to the crowd!

A number of people seemed to have issues with the total yardage to complete the project and were running out. I ended up with leftovers. Not a whole lot mind you, but enough to not feel the squeeze when it came down to the last of the lace repeats and the bind-off.

By weight I have 0.33oz(approx 9g) of Menthol and 0.20oz(approx 5g) of Royal Blue leftover.

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Since I was using a cable that was too short for knitting shawls I was really shocked when I was doing the bind-off. The shawl itself is very very large. Probably the largest I’ve ever done so far in my knitting experience.  It really hit home after soaking and laying it out to block. I had to remove the middle pad so that I had enough wingspan to get the top edge as straight as possible.  It took up the whole half of the dining table!

Stacey of Thoroughly Thwacked did some new  color dyes for this project and for her trunk show. Menthol was one of her previous colors, but the Royal Blue is a new one. I really love how rich the color is, even the Menthol though it is quite a bit lighter. The silky sheen is best seen in my pictures of the leftovers. Vixen so soft and light you’d almost mistake it for lace weight!

There are some other really great color combinations in the test knit group. I’m not sure if I will knit this one again since it is so large, but I did enjoy the simple repetition.

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The weather is still a bit too warm to wear at the moment. If it gets down to the 70’s…like it’s supposed to this weekend, I could wear it during the trunk show! =D

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