My Eagle Has Landed

Actually, it was done over a week ago, but weather and life have prevented pix until today, which looks like a gorgeous spring day, but has a definite bite in the somewhat stiff, but irregular breeze.I dearly love this sweet little shawl! I love the yarn I dyed for it. I loved knitting it, simple as it was. I love the way it looks finished. I love that it took barely a week from dye to done. I love the way it settles gently on my shoulders and stays there as if it loves being with me. I love the way it makes friends with so many people it meets.And to think… it’s lemonade! It was born of the painful mistake I made in grabbing two different species of yarn when I was knitting my snow dyeing blank. I was near tears when I discovered what I’d done, and now it feels like an error that planned itself. 😉This is the darker of the two skeins from my Triumph and Tragedy post two weeks ago – the wool/nylon blend ball. I’ve since named the colorway “Alaska,” since I recognized where the feeling of familiarity with the colors was born. The pattern is Eagles Rest by Stephanie Rodger, and it can be purchased for a very modest price on Ravelry – a price perfectly reflecting the simplicity of the pattern, and well worth the small investment.One of the things I love about this garment is that it snuggles delicately around my shoulders and stays there. I’m currently just flipping a little half knot into the tails, but it’s become such a special member of my wardrobe that I’m in the process of obtaining a special little gift for it. Shhh!!! It’s a secret! 😀I had my Eagle done and blocked in 6 days, and I loved every addictive, relaxing moment of the knit. As much as I adore brain-bending knitting challenges, somehow this shawl fit my current mental set just perfectly, and I could barely put it down. The extremely simple lace design was built just right for a busy yarn like my Alaska dye – a rare find indeed! I very strongly suspect I’ll be tapping this pattern again  someday, perhaps with a finer yarn or longer skein, which is a very easy adjustment with this pattern.

It honestly feels strange to say this with so many lovely, complicated lace shawls to my credit, but my little Eagle shawlette is one of of my very favorite pieces, and it’s definitely a recommended knit!

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Changing of the Guard

Nine months ago, in preparation for our trip to Alaska, I cast on Jared’s Noro Striped Scarf. My primary purpose at that point was to have a good piece of knitting for airplane time – dimly lit cabin, etc – and it was perfect. In the months since I came home, this scarf visited Chicago and Pennsylvania with me, kept me company during a 12 hour visit to the emergency room, visited hospital patients, kept me sane during the early months of settling my father-in-law into a retirement village apartment, attended meetings, and more. In short, it’s been the perfect travel companion. However, even a 7′ long scarf eventually comes to an end, and this afternoon while coaching my Knitogether gals, who were blocking their Concertos, I finally ran out of yarn and bound off. Of course, this would have happened a long time ago if I’d not so frequently found myself frogging a few rows here and there. 😉I’m really going to miss this piece of knitting. It was such a pleasure to work, and if I had a dollar for every person who commented that it was absolutely gorgeous, I’d have enough Noro to knit at least 3 more. I don’t think I’ve ever knit anything else in public that has garnered so much feedback! The camera didn’t do the colors justice on that first picture, but I like the way it showcases the color play. This close up gives an accurate sample of the warm, earthy tones of this colorway. It’s wonderfully mellow in person.I used all but 1 gram of four balls of Noro Silk Garden making this scarf, all four being the same colorway. I carefully chose two pairs of twin balls to be relatively sure that there were no color change knots hidden within the balls. If the color order stays the same from the outside of the skeins into the inside, then there is likely not a knot joining two colors abruptly – a frequent problem in long repeat yarns. Next, in preparation for this being a travel project, I wound the Noro balls into two cakes on my ballwinder, with each set of twins wound together into one cake. One skein of the twins I wound center out and the other skein from the outside in, creating a felted join between the two as I wound them. This resulted in two finished cakes that had echo coloring from the outside of the cake into the middle, and each of the two cakes started at a different point in the color repeat, so the stripes were constantly shifting, but still within the same colorway. I like the look, and I felt more confident in using just a single colorway instead of mixing two. By using the twin method as I did, I also avoided the potential problems of finding myself with the same colors knitting at once, and there are NO jarring, abrupt color changes messing up the finished project. It was a little extra effort, but it paid off in both the knitting and the final project, so I think well worth it.Completed measurements – 83″ long and 5.5″ wide. It would be equally suitable for guys and gals. Start one now for social/travel knitting, and you’ll have a Christmas gift finished in free time! 😉

Just realized as I was proofreading this post that this scarf was started before July 1, 2010, making it eligible as a completed UFO for my Goals 2011 list. How cool is that? Painless checkmark on the list, and only one more UFO required to have that goal accomplished. 😉

So, with this scarf off my needles, I need another item I can pick  up and put down without a thought, so… Yep! I cast on another project. I’ll be really honest, though. I’m not at all sure this is going to work as well as the Noro scarf did.

Yes, once the lace edge is worked, the entire center of the scarf is garter stitch, so that part of it is definitely perfect. The only thing that has me concerned is that the yarn is laceweight as compared to the Noro aran, so it’s definitely not as touch sensitive. That could become a problem in situations where a lot of eye contact is needed or the area is underlit. I like Motley well enough to try it though, and if I end up having to start yet another project and kit Motley at home, then so be it. 😉

I’m using Knit Picks’ new yarn, Aloft, which is an obvious copy of Kidsilk Haze. It doesn’t feel quite as wonderful as the Kidsilk Haze I’m knitting into Horai, but it isn’t too bad. The camera is again abusing the colors, making it look like I’m knitting purple and neon raspberry, or even red. That’s not the case at all. The two colors are a dark, blue purple, very appropriately named eggplant, and a red purple, with the color depth being nearly identical. It’s resulting in a subtle, deliciously rich fabric, and I hope I can eventually find a way to accurately portray what a great combination these two shades are. For now, I can tell you that in the photo, they are laying on a very rich turquoise background. Agree that the camera is a wee bit colorblind? 😉

Determination Dyeing

First – thanks for the lovely comments. It helps – even when it’s backhanded sympathy. 😉 I really am glad I’m not the only one who does dumb stuff like this!

So… I’m not sure where to start today… Perhaps with what I just finished doing? I figured stewing about the problem with my green yarn wasn’t going to make me feel any better, but winding it would give me answers and a direction to turn. Quite frankly, it appears that I made the mistake in a series of worst possible decisions. It’s not that I can’t work with what I have, but I’ve definitely made it as hard as possible on myself! I have one skein of undyed yarn left, and I thought I could use it in a two color pattern with its dyed mate. I spotted Daybreak and knew it would fly, then I found another pattern, Eagles Rest, that would be great with the single ball. So far, so good. So then I wind the balls. The darker ball is definitely the one I want for Eagles Rest, but wouldn’t it figure? It’s the wool/nylon ball, and that’s also what the undyed skein is. The lighter one I would like better for Daybreak, and I don’t have a twin ball undyed of that. I turned it into the other blank and already dyed it! This is definitely a Murphy’s Dye Job!

Anyway, I did wind my blank into the two respective skeins of yarn, and not surprisingly, they are definitely different – more so in person than in photos. The truly good thing about this is that I unquestionably succeeded in what I tried to do, even though the results were a little bit of a surprise. I love what I made! I WILL try this again! I wound the yarn into cakes so that the graduation shows. First the wool/nylon blend, which was laying at the top of the stack and came out quite a bit deeper in color:

And this is the merino/bamboo blend:

It surprised me because the bottom layer picked up quite a bit more dye than I’d expected, wicking it up from the bed of snow under the blanks. I knew I put snow on the bottom for a reason! It’s a much lighter, brighter green. I think the darker parts of the dyes tended to strike quickly, thus being trapped in the upper layers. I’ve wound both cakes with the darkest part of the fiber on the outside, so the place where they were actually joined would be the ends one would use if knitting center pull from the cake.

So, I do love my project; I’ve just lost the original dream.

Now, about yesterday’s teaser… 😉 I mentioned that the wet snow cake had melted down very quickly, and that turned into a major blessing for me. When I looked out the door, I could still see bits of snow out on top of our cars, and I had one more blank prepared – this one also done on my Innovation Knitting Machine, but with one skein of yarn four stranded. I created this by winding the skein into a center pull ball, then winding it a second time with the two ends held together. When I knitted the blank, I again pulled from both the middle and outside, thus working with four strands at once. It was pushing the maximum capacity of the machine, and it was hard work! Unlike the previous blank, which I was trying to dye with major changes along the length, this blank was designed to create the most evenly variegated project I could with snow dyeing.In a mad race against the bright spring sunshine, I managed to build something similar to another snow cake, but in all honesty, it was actually a slush cake! What a nasty, sloppy mess! And by the time I had it built, I’d used every remaining bit of snow/slush on our property! Waste not; want not… 😉

And no, I wasn’t THAT desperate! That’s the slush cake with the first color on it. I forgot to take a picture before I started adding dye, and I really wanted to memorialize my soggy pile.

This one I dyed with more varied assortment of colors than I normally employ, using my patented unscientific method and Jacquard Dyes – Russet, Chestnut, Pink, Burgundy, Salmon, and Aztec Gold. I had a pretty good preconceived notion of how this was going to come out.

All I can say to that notion is that I was rather dramatically surprised! The colors came out much more intense than I expected, not dimming nearly as much as I’ve come to expect, so I’m wondering what I did differently to cause this? More vinegar? More dye? I do love doing this via the lick and a prayer method! I’m not sure I’d like it as much if I always knew what I was going to get in the end.

At no point has my camera captured a truly accurate rendering of the color, but trust me on this – it’s really a cool skein of yarn. The pictures really hype the red, but in person, it’s stronger in the burgundy and brown realms.  In addition to the color being a surprise, I also hadn’t expected so much of the yarn to be undyed. There were several places which, despite the rather significant amount of dye that went on this snow cake, had no dye on them whatsoever. Also, this was a much denser blank , and the machine twisted the yarn as it knit, so there were some spots that the dye just didn’t soak through an entire stitch. I’m considering that a good serendipity, and I think it’s going to make this yarn knit up with a very interesting visual texture.

This method definitely worked very well to accomplish my desired end of even color distribution through the entire skein. The shortcomings would be that it was harder to crank out the blank, and it’s definitely NOT fun to reverse the four strands back into a single strand, especially without help. However, now that’s done, and I’m back to really loving this yarn again. 🙂

Oh… and despite the fact that I’ve now accounted for every flake of snow, there’s another installment coming on the snow dyeing. 🙂 Any wonder I was so dead tired last night?

Triumph and Tragedy

Sorry about the torture. I didn’t mean to make you wait this long, but today became a little bit intense, and although I still have things happening on the stove, I’m finally able to sit down for a while and actually start enjoying (most of) what has happened in the past 20 hours or so. 🙂

With good reason, I’ve been in agony wanting snow! I had some neat new ideas to try out with snow dyeing, but once I was prepped, we started getting nothing but rain. It seems far longer than the 5 weeks I actually waited, most likely because the weather clock was ticking toward spring, and everyone was getting blessed except for me. I’m terribly glad I thought of the car trick last night when the snow came. It’s definitely not as nice working with “warm” snow, and it seemed to respond a little differently than the brutally cold stuff I used last year, but the unpredictability is something that makes this process so dear to my heart. In that regard, I most certainly wasn’t disappointed! Before you read too far into this post, there are very detailed instructions on my very first snow dyeing post from last year. Click HERE if you want to read it. If you click on the “Dyeing” option in the topic cloud in the right hand sidebar, you will see several other experiments with this technique.

So, what’s the new technique I thought up? Well… One of the things that keeps snow-dyeing unpredictable with acid dyes is that the component colors of dyes strike at different speeds. You might put on purple, and all the reds run through, leaving you with yarn that is more blue than anything else. Thinking about this, I started wondering what would happen if the dye had a lot more layers to traverse before ending up in the washer. Would other colors strike in the lower layers? The more I thought about this, the more interesting the concept became to me. Then I thought of the perfect way to experiment. I made a very long, open meshed blank on my little  Innovations knitting machine (purchased for this purpose) using 2 skeins of sock yarn single stranded. Suffice it to say, I had a very long tube when I was done, and my arm was aching! This machine does what it’s supposed to do, but it doesn’t do it quickly or easily. I watched 3 movies the night I knit 2 blanks! It’s a lot easier to bear if I keep in mind how much faster it is than doing the project by hand. 😉My goal was to create yarn that would graduate through some sort of changes from one end of the 800+ yards to the other – awesome shawl yarn! In order to do this, I accordion pleated it back and forth on top of the base snow pack, ending up with a stack that was actually 28 layers deep, if you consider that the tube was double layered. Then I capped it with a good dose of more sloppy snow, and poured on the colors. For this project, I decided that greens would be good. I hadn’t experimented with those shades yet, and as much as I love it, it wasn’t hard to find 6 different greens in my Jacquard Dye tub. I used Brilliant Kelly Green, Chartreuse, Teal, Olive, Emerald, and Spruce, mixing them very unscientifically by putting a splash of cold water (Hot melts the snow instantly – not a good thing!), a glug of vinegar, and a shake of dye powder into the mug and stirring well before spooning randomly over the snow cake.One thing about it… warm, wet snow melts very quickly, and by the time I woke up 6 hours later, all that was left across the screen on the washer was my very soggy, very green blank. I wasted little time wrapping it up and tossing it into the microwave.Once it was out and cooled enough to rinse, I got my first really big surprise. I don’t know whether it had something to do with the extremely wet snow, which packed totally different than dry snow, if it was the haste with which I was working, beings as I was up well after I wanted to be in bed, or if it “just happened,” but regardless of what caused it, the inner layers of my blank had been exposed to very little dye at all, and interestingly enough, much of what it did pick up was sky blue! I definitely achieved enough of what I wanted to accomplish to consider the project a success, but I’m also feeling driven to try it again with a better snow than I had to work with this time around.

However, the finished yarn is awesome! I let it partially dry before I thought to skein it, so it’s wavy, but that doesn’t bother me enough to wet it down a second time. It will knit just fine. 🙂So my title alludes to a tragedy, and so far, everything has been pretty positive, so what gives? Well… After I was totally done with this yarn, I pulled out the ball bands and looked at them. Did I ever have a terrible shock! I bought this yarn in a bit of a rush. I needed undyed, and there was a heap laying there in the shop just waiting for me. I picked up a skein, checked the fiber content, feel, and yardage, grabbed 3 more skeins and headed over to check out. Unbeknownst to me, there were actually two different yarns in that pile, then only difference in label and appearance being the name, and I bought 2 of each – 2 merino bamboo blend skeins, and two that were wool and nylon. Because things happen the way they happen, when I knit up the blank, still not noticing there were two species of yarn, I managed to use one of each in the blank. I didn’t even bother doing a burn test to confirm my fears, because the two sides of the skein feel totally different now that they have been soaked and nuked and rinsed and are dry again. This means that instead of having one long variegated skein nearly 900 yards long, I have two shorter ones of about 450 and 435. Quite frankly, I could cry! I had plans, and they didn’t include two small shawls from the same colorway! With the great difference in fiber content, I really can’t use the two skeins together as planned. The drape, feel, sheen – everything – just don’t match.  I’ll have to wait until they are totally dry to see where the break between skeins is in the color, and until then, I won’t have a solid idea as to what I really have now. All I know is that it was a terrible jolt, and a lousy way to end an otherwise exciting experiment.

Thankfully, there is Ravelry, where I spent about 2 hours looking at patterns, trying to pick out some options, and depending on how the individual skeins look, I think I have at least one good option. Sort of needed that to soothe the pain, but it meant that this post is going up quite a bit later than I’d planned. And also thankfully, it wasn’t the end of my experimenting today, but the rest of the story is going to have to wait until tomorrow… 🙂

Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 8:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Cold Hands; Warm Heart

Just a teaser post…

Last night as I was coming home from the Knitogether, looking at the late spring snow that wasn’t going to amount to anything, I had a brainstorm. Many of you know how I’ve been whining and complaining about our lack of snow this winter – starting with the blizzard that didn’t happen – while the rest of the U.S. seems to be inundated with far more than anyone wants. After weeks of early spring and rain, I’d given up hope and packed away my snow dyeing plans for the season, and then, I’m suddenly looking at snow, with flakes big enough to qualify as snowballs and 32 degree temps. Of course, it was melting almost as soon as it hit, but I started thinking. If I left the car out, would the metal surface be cold enough to store sufficient snow for a dye project? The answer was a resounding “YES!” When bedtime rolled around, I had a satisfactory supply of rather damp, sloppy snow…

To be continued…

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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(Almost) Instant Gratification

Early in February, my Thursday night knitting group picked out the project they want to start next, planning to work on it concurrently with their Celtic Totes. Since there is so much new for them to learn on Celtic, they need to do a lot of that project in class, leaving them wanting more to do at home during the week. When we found Angela’s Fabulous Felted Bag, which is available for free HERE, I knew it was the perfect answer. Again they would have things to learn, but it would be a much more independent project. Keeping budgets in mind, we decided to use Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky to knit it, but much to our disappointment, only 3 lackluster colors were in stock – certainly not enough to suit our eclectic group. We waited impatiently all month long until the “in stock” date came around, only to find it had been pushed back 3 more weeks. Being the leader of this group, I really wanted to make one ahead of them, as it seems even the best of patterns seem to have idiosyncrasies, and I like to find them before I teach a pattern instead in the middle of a group project. 😉 That is how I found myself staring at the three colors that had been in stock at Knit Picks all month long, trying to convince myself that I liked one of the three potential color combinations that were available to me.

And then it hit me – I wasn’t limited to those three colors! With a quick and decisive series of clicks, I ordered 6 skeins of Porcini before I lost my courage, and here’s what happened next…

Tuesday, 4:00p – Knit  Picks order arrived! Porcini is just as uninspiring as I expected. I know colors like this are necessary and useful from my quilting experience, but on its own, it’s just plain icky – about the same shade as those really chintzy corrugated boxes you find sometimes. Not surprising it was still in stock while everything pretty was sold out.

Tuesday, 9:00p – I’m not going to waste any time! I open the first three skeins of Porcini, add figure-8 ties in two more places on each, and toss them in hot water with a dab of Synthrapol to soak. I’ve stewed over color options with my best friend on the phone, and she suggested black and pink. I tweaked the black to Jacquard’s Gun Metal, not sure how that is going to look over the Porcini, and decide to hold off on a final decision for contrast until I see what happens. Pulling the yarn out of the water, I’m amused to see the dye bleed from Porcini is more interesting than the original color of the yarn.

Tuesday, 9:45p – I knew going into this that my dye pot was far too small to get a good, even color on 12 ounces of bulky wool yarn, but for the project I’m doing, I don’t think that will matter. Still, in order to encourage some degree of evenness (I hope), I put the yarn into the dye bath and don’t add the vinegar until it’s been in for about 5 minutes. Instead of just letting it stew, I move it around as much as I can – which is definitely not much!

Wednesday, 2:00a – The pot has finally cooled off enough to rinse the Gun Metal batch.Love it!I decide I want the second color to be a pinky purple, so I mix the dye bath with Hot Fuchsia and Purple 3:1. The Gun Metal has come out with a lovely kettle-dyed look, but I’m wondering if I can get a more even color on this second batch. I squeeze the soaked yarn as dry as I can, and I don’t add the vinegar until 15 minutes after the yarn is in the vat. Loving the color – as in it’s perfect! Of course, my camera doesn’t think so and persists in rendering my colors blue and pink instead of slate and pinkish purple…Wednesday, 8:27a – All rinsed and hanging to dry, and I really couldn’t be happier with my color combination. Camera does a little bit better on the colors with more contrast in the photo. And the purple is definitely dyed more evenly than the gray, though it’s still not perfect. What I have discovered from this venture so far is how to make a rather appealing special effect. 🙂Wednesday, 5:00p – Finally dry! I wind it all into cakes, eager to start knitting.

Wednesday, 7:00p – Realizing that my daughter is likely to call tonight, I stop what I’m doing long enough to cast on and make sure I know how the first part of the pattern is worked. Sure enough, she calls shortly, and by the time we hang up, I have the bottom knit. Even with a lot of research time to figure out what the best way is going to be to make jogless stripes when some of them are single row, by the time I go to bed, I’m almost halfway up the sides. This is flying! It was a great night to watch a movie with subtitles, as I certainly didn’t have to watch what I was doing. 🙂 BTW, I did my jogless stripes by knitting one below. I started the new color at the appropriate spot, and when I came around to that stitch the next time, I inserted the needle into the stitch below that stitch, effectively knitting the two stitches stacked together as one. It’s odd, but it even worked on the single rows of color, despite the fact that I was now knitting with the other color again.

Thursday, 4:00p – I put my project up on Ravelry, christening my colors Regal Raspberry and Slate Roof, then squeeze in nearly and hour of knitting before heading off to the KniTogether, knit like crazy there, put it down long enough to drive home, then knit while I’m reading my email, then talking to my daughter. I’m both driven and excited to be doing something like this in such a compressed time frame. I’ve not done a challenge like this since I did my One Day Wonder a couple years ago.

Thursday, 11:58p – I’m nearly to the top, so I stop to check the pattern to be sure I know where the changes start at the top edge. Something isn’t right. It takes me 5 minutes to figure out that I managed to put one extra row in a stripe just past midway up the side, throwing my count off for everything since. I resist the impulse to cry, deciding it would just waste time, and I frog 30 rows – the equivalent of about 1/3 of the entire height of the finished bag. OUCH! Gonna hear more of this book tonight than I expected! Even worse, it’s midnight, and I don’t have anyone to whine to!

Friday, 7:00a –  I do the handles 3 times before I decide to use the cable cast on to re-add the bound off stitches that create the hand hole. (Note: If you do this pattern, the easiest way to achieve this cast on is by turning the bag around so you are looking at the inside when you cast the stitches on. I also made the connection firmer by casting on 19 stitches instead of 18. When I turned the work around to continue knitting the top, I knit the last cast on stitch together with the next knit stitch.) The way the pattern is written, there are two consecutive rows of knitting on the handle section. I do the entire handle in garter stitch, an easy enough switch. Sewing in the ends is fairly quick and painless since this is going to be fulled (felted). All I’m really concerned about is encouraging the stripes to remain jogless and not sewing gray ends into purple areas and vice versa. Grand to be done with the knitting! About now, I shock myself. When I reach down for the Purple ball to put up out of kitty reach, I discover I have just 2 yards left on it. I’d have really been sweating it if I’d bought just two balls!

It looks so impossibly huge and floppy at this point that I have to fight the urge to think I’ve erred. It reminds me of a puppy that hasn’t grown into its feet yet. My measurements, much to my shock, match those of the designer perfectly! I suppose it would be too much for that to happen so easily when I’m knitting a sweater or something…

Friday, 8:15a – I have a love/hate relationship with this part of the process! I’ve hardly had but a few minutes to admire my finished knitting before tossing it into a washer full of hot water and agitating it like mad. I get several chapters read while keeping an eye on it, twice rescuing it from handle around agitator fin distress. After 30 minutes of abuse, it seems to be pretty solid and no longer changing, so I take it over to the sink for a bitterly cold hand rinse, just to harden it up a bit – or to harden me up, perhaps. My hands are complaining loudly before I decree the process complete. I don’t want to put it into the washer for a spin cycle, as I’m concerned about producing permanent fold marks in it, so I squeeze it the best I can and flop it over the sink divider to drip off a bit while I prepare my blocking form. When I get out the tape measure, I’m thrilled to find it’s again a perfect match for the designer’s bag, and even better, it will block perfectly over the box Knit Picks used to send me the yarn in the first place, providing I stilt it. As I suspected, the fulling (what most people call felting these days) totally eradicated any appearance of the uneven dye job, so I’m glad I didn’t obsess over it at the time. On the other hand, I’m somewhat sorry to see it gone, as I really did like the way it knit up. Will have to duplicate the process at some point in the future on something I’m not fulling…

In the photo below, you can see a darker purple area at the top of the handles (which is currently at the bottom of the picture. That is water pooled and dripping, and even 12 hours later, I will find these spots dripping!

Friday 8:30p – Okay, I can’t wait! This is going to take several days to dry. Then I’ll decide what finishing touches to add to it. You really don’t think I can wait that long to blog about this, do you? 😉 I’m definitely grinning from having this neat bag go from yarn to dye pot to knit to fulled in 64 hours! I’m really looking forward to knitting another one of these with the class in a few weeks!

To Market, To Market…

To buy me some wool.

Home again, home again;

This tote is cool!

Only took me two months to get photos of this great little bag posted, and I was afraid I was going to totally wear the thing out before I got them taken! Right after Christmas, my brain still wasn’t functioning very dependably, but I was yearning to start a new project – for ME! One of my older daughter’s Christmas gifts was sufficient yarn to make two market totes, and I’d picked up yarn for myself to make a Green Grocer bag at the same time. I hadn’t crocheted anything for several years, and it just sounded like fun – not to mention that this pattern is pretty much brainless. It turned out to be a perfect fit. 🙂

To be honest, I wasn’t happy with it when I was working on it. The bottom of my bag was too small, but there was no way I’d have wanted to work it at a looser gauge, so I resigned myself to having a bag that was too small to carry much of anything. In an attempt to make up some of that problem, I did work substantially more rows in pattern than was suggested, guessing how much I’d need for the top band and handles.

I was off. It wasn’t by much, but I ran out of yarn about two inches before the final tie off, and I was fit to be tied. 😦 After some rather frustrated pacing, I started thinking about a dishcloth I’d made with Cotlin a while back. Wasn’t it light green? The leftover twist of Cotlin was just slightly different in color and lighter weight, but it was close enough. I raveled the handle back, since it was worked double strand, and reknit it using one strand of the Red Heart Eco-Cotton Blend and one strand of the Knit Picks Cotlin together, then finishing the top edge with the Eco-Cotton, which now reached just fine. I have to really study the handles to see which has the Cotlin strand, so I’d say that worked. 🙂

One other change of sorts… This pattern is in crochet, so the designer used crocheted i-cord to make the handles. Trying it was an interesting experiment. It’s an experiment that I’d had enough of after about two inches, and I’ll NEVER try it again! Crocheted i-cord is one of the best examples of making a very simple task extremely difficult, and since I’ve been able to sit a 7-year-old who had never seen knitting needles in her life on my lap and have her making i-cord in about 5 minutes, I’m guessing pretty much anyone could knit it. 😉 I knit an entire handle in less time than it took me to make two lumpy inches with a crochet hook.

So anyway, I said I was disappointed by the finished size of my bag. That would have been before I actually used it. First time out, I dropped in a knitting project and a bottle of pop, and it looked about right. Next time I added something else. It looked about right. By the time I stuffed 4 projects, a bottle of pop, and some paperwork in it to go to knitting guild, and then came home with 5 additional skeins of yarn in it, I rechristened it. It’s now my Bottomless Pit Bag. The photos here show it with 13 fat skeins of worsted weight wool tucked loosely inside. They would have all fit down into it, but that wouldn’t have been so picture pretty. I’m convinced that there’s some sort of magic going on inside this thing, and I love it!

Could That Be the Sun?

WAY back on February 18, I finally found weather almost good enough to block the shawl I finished on the 6th. Today, I finally saw the light – that is, that big shiny thing one occasionally sees drifting across the heavens when it’s not being obscured by leaden clouds, drenching rain, and February tornadoes. Finally I could take pictures, so I could share my excitement! 😀

This is my Jade Garden, and I so love this shawl! Knit with Dream in Color Baby in the Good Luck Jade colorway, using Sivia Harding’s Shetland Garden Faroese, it’s a treat from cast on to bind off and beyond.

I won’t repeat all the details here, as I discussed the adventure of creating this shawl, along with the changes I made, including a totally new border, a few weeks ago in my Double and Done post. Just wanted to finally share the pictures. 🙂

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