Saturday, March 21, 2015

Red

I know I don't usually post on Saturdays.  Okay, I pretty much never post on Saturdays. I'm kind of irked that I've blown off the blog this month, though, especially since I need it to help me keep track of what I'm doing (i.e. how I've faked something).  And fine, first there was the frenzied shower knitting, then there was the week with meetings and assignments every day, then there were the days spent pulling life back together after the frenzied shower and meeting weeks.  Just because I know why it happened doesn't mean I like it.



I was made aware of this in particular last evening as I attempted to knit my way through Frozen - which, by the way, is the lamest thing Disney has come out with since Toy Story 3. ( It was the Pirate's movie night; he gets to pick the feature).  I picked up Knitting Rage and confounded myself when I reached the marker on the eyelet row I was working with a k2tog instead of a k1. KR being an improvisational piece, I just went with it.  The same pattern worked out for each of the 4 sections, so I decided to give up puzzling about it and call it a design feature.


Then I got to puzzle some more when I couldn't remember what I did next.  I was pretty sure it was the purl row for the garter ridge, except it was also an increase row and I didn't remember doing a pfb increase on the previous eyelet section.  Having just completely lapsed on the eyelet row, though, I bulled on forward only to find, when I compared the two eyelet sections, that I had indeed not done anything so complicated as purling and increasing on the same row. 

The rule for this blanket, then, is clearly Keep It Simple, Stupid (may need to rename the project, yes?).  Given how I 've been assuming complications, I evidently need to store the recipe somewhere.  I am, after all, going to be doing additional eyelet sections on this thing, not to mention future blankets.

All of which means you get an extra Saturday post.

Rectangle Blanket Recipe:

Math to figure out the difference desired between the length and width of the blanket. (This involves choosing yarn and needles.  A good person would swatch.  I am not a good person. Therefore I guess.)

Tunisian cast-on for the number of stitches set by the Math.

Knit first round.

Place markers for corners.  For reasons I'm not sure of, I started the project with kfb, place marker, kfb, so the first stitch of the row is actually the stitch before the first marker. I find myself cognitively dissonated by this every time I knit an increase row and may have to re-orient my mind so next time the increase before the first marker is the final one instead of the first one.

KFB on either side of each marker. Next time remember to try twisted yo or m1l and m1r increases.

Knit the first skein, increasing on alternate rows. 

Join next skein using Russian Join or Magic Knot.

Work eyelet sections  -
Knit an increase row. Purl the next row. Knit an increase row. K1 *yo, k2tog* to marker (or possibly K1 * yo, k2tog* to last stitch before marker, yo, k1), repeat for all four sections. Knit an increase row.  Purl next row. Knit 3 more rows - one increase, one even, one increase.  Repeat eyelet pattern. 

Return to stockinette knitting.


Which is as far as I've gotten. We'll see what happens next.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pink

Good Heavens, how did it get to be this late in March? What have I been knitting?

Well, knitting Rage progresses.  I've added some eyelet rows to break up the stockinette a bit.  The jury is out on using the side-by-side kfb for the increases.  I'm starting to wish I had used twisted yarn overs.  I am not, however, so sorry that I'm going to rip back and begin again.  I'll just hope the note here reminds me when I go to knit the next in-the-rectangle blanket (and we know there will be a next one, don't we).

The Lord Protector's Blanket proceeds apace.  In fact, I have reached a major milestone.  I finished the last grey section.  One more skein of the navy and it's done.  I'm trying to forget the close inspection I did on the beginning section where it looks like I introduced a row or two from the odd lot skein.  If I did, that means I won't have enough yarn to make the ends match.  Although, come to think about it, I'd actually hit a similar snag in the knitting on the previous navy section, and the fudging I did there may stand me in good stead for this bit.

I'll write about them in more detail and with pictures another time.

Because then there was pink. I think I've noted in various places that I'm not a big fan of pink.  It's not my least favorite color - that dubious accolade might belong to orange.  Or maybe some shades of brown. It is not, however, ever the first color I would pick to knit anything from. For a gift, though? A gift for a bride-to-be?  Yeah, I'll suck it up for that. 

This particular young woman is quite dear to me.  Shopping from her registry was important.  Even 37 years later, I remember that I didn't get some of the things I really wanted and needed.  Shopping from a registry, though, seems so unimaginative.  I also remember that some of my most favorite and used gifts came from people who shopped off the registry. 

Anyway, duty done, I was casting about for a way to make the gift more, what? Personal?  Individual? Hand-made? And thought of my first Stitches and the felted oven mitts.  Mine have been in daily use for the last almost 7 years.  They are only now beginning to wear out.  There are thin places near the tips and if I'm not careful the heat from the pan penetrates. I have my two new skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky in Blue Flannel, but I've been putting the knitting off because it involves dpn's and a thumb gusset, and a thumb (ever notice that there are no mittens on this Blog? Not one, much less a pair).  All that, and the original class was an all day class.  Six hours of knitting and I came home with one almost finished oven mitt.  Twelve hours to knit two?  For a shower on Saturday when this was Monday? And me without a skein of pink bulky, or even worsted, yarn in the stash and not a yarn store open.

Hoping that the felting craze was still on, I tried the two crafting giants.  I would like to take a moment here to report that apparently the felting craze is over.  Not a single skein of non-superwash, all wool at the one store.  The other did have real wool worsted, but the closest thing to the color I needed was a light pink/blue/purple heather. Beggar that I was at that point, I bought it.  Three skeins just to be safe.  Got it home, dug out my size 11 dpn's -- that I don't believe have been used since that first Stitches class -- and found I'd lost the pattern. Two copies of it, in fact, since there should have been the original from the class and the one I bought the year I contemplated making the oven mitts for Christmas gifts (I didn't, so there's no point going looking for the post).

All I can say at this point is, thank God for Ravelry.  I downloaded two or three free patterns and between those and the Blog posts from the original set, I've cobbled together a pattern that is at least a close relative.  I cast on, and here's the thing.  When you've been knitting for 7 or 8 years, you get better at it.  I had the first mitt finished, except for the thumb, and the second almost to the half way point by the time the Princess got in from work.

She took one look and got very quiet.  As a rule, this is not a good sign. Looking at them through her silence, I knew what she was trying to get her nerve up tactfully (since I was a bit wild-eyed at that point), trying to draw my attention to.  Pale pink/blue/purple heather is not this bride's shade of pink. 

The whole thing dragged to a halt while we considered our alternatives.  No place nearby carried Lamb's Pride Bulky.  That Tuesday, for me, was out for a yarn hunt anyway. The Princess, however, had gotten pretty invested in the idea, or at least in the idea of humoring the crazed look in my eye.  She stopped at Loopy after work and came home with four skeins of Cascade 220 in the perfect shade: 7805, Flamingo.


Compare that there on the right with the bit on the left. The Princess' silence becomes understandable, doesn't it.

I cast on Tuesday night.  Switched from the dpn's to a 16" circular almost immeditately, and finished the knitting Wednesday afternoon.


This with several corrections and rip-backs as I fine-tuned the pattern (Cascade 220 doubled isn't quite as thick as Lamb's Pride Bulky, so I had to adjust the stitch count. The first thumb came out looking like an onion.).


They felted down (two hot water wash/cold rinse cycles), but I never got a chance to take pictures.  You'll have to take my word.  Three dishcloths (pink,white and green) and two tawashi's (pink-and-green and green-and- blue), rolled up and attached to barbeque skewers made a kitchen utensil bouquet in a flour sifter vase.  No pictures of any of that either, though. Sorry. It was down to the wire knitting and frenzied day-of-the-event gift assembly.



Pink Yeti mittens.  I'm so proud.

The photos with the ruler are to help me the next time I have to reinvent these.  The mitts themselves, unfelted, measured about 12.5 inches (little longer than the ruler).  I held the Cascade 220 doubled to make up the bulky weight. Knit on Addi Turbo 16" US 11/8 mm needles, switching to bamboo dpn's for the tips and the thumbs.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Coming Up Short

After serious and deep consultation with the Princess, we decided to go with the Silver, Kansas and Provence combination.  Some good knitting fairy prompted me to weigh the skein of Silver that was already wound.


That is not a full skein of yarn.  I'd forgotten I'd used it, along with some scraps of Provence, for my Stitches Midwest class with Franklin Habit two years ago.

We went back to the drawing board, or in this case the dining room table, and started playing with colors again.  None of them worked as well together as the original three.  I did not, however, want to buy another skein of yarn when all I needed was 30 grams. 

We did some serious stash searching. We dug through my stash, her secret stash, odd corners and old knitting bags. Nothing. At which point the Princess got inspired.  She has a grey sweater, not a hand-knit, that came with a belt she never wears.



 It looked darn close to me, even in the bad winter light of a February afternoon.


Raveled, it looks pretty close to worsted weight.  I've wound it around the backs of a couple of chairs, wet it down to get the kinks out, and started knitting the Silver.  Of course, now I'm knitting dark blue and gray in the middle of winter again, but I have yellow and red to look forward to.

I feel so proud, Eco-friendly and frugal.


Friday, February 20, 2015

What I Know

Because I never posted about these and because now, more than a year later, I can't remember all the details. 

I know all the yarn was superwash wool - because these were gifts and I don't give non-knitting people huge swaths of wool that they can't wash if, say, a bottle of orange pop overturns while one is wrapped up in a hand-knit afghan during a particularly exciting episode of Dr. Who.

I know the pattern is Stephen West's Garter Squish Blanket from Ravelry.  The pattern calls for US 15/10 mm needles, and while I can't put my hand on any right now, I know I had them to knit the pumpkins, and I know that when looking at the Original Garter Squish that I thought the gauge was too loose, which is why I'm knitting the new one on US 13/ 9 mm.  So we'll call the needles Addi Turbos, US 15.

I know the yarn was Lorna's Laces, Dream in Color and Squoosh Fiberarts.  In fact, the one color I am absolutely sure of is the red. It's the Squoosh Superwash and the color name is Velvet. I think.  I'm pretty sure the gold, the navy and the pink-ish peach are Lorna's Laces.  And I think they are Harvest, Cookie A's Deep Dark Secret and Brick, respectively. I know I recognize China Apple and the green version of Cloud Jungle and I think that brown must be November Muse, all from Dream in Color and the really dark whatever just might be DIC Black Parade. I just don't think I can sort them all out.


I know I knit three more of these, but never took pictures.  I really wasn't thinking like a blogger back then was I?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We're Having Weather Here

It's cold here. It's been cold here. It is going to continue to be cold here. As we approached record-setting low temperatures last night, The Princess and I were noting how useful wool blankets are. In fact, it occurred to us that a couple more couldn't hurt.

I went stash diving today. Turns out I have 8 skeins of Cascade 220 in 9336 Lapis. I also have two skeins each of 2437 Kansas, 2425 Provence, 2448 Mallard, 8400 Charcoal, 8401 Silver Heather, 7818 Blue Velvet, 9326 Colonial Blue Heather and a grey-ish green that I think is either 4011 Sparrow or 2446 Bronzed Green.

I feel a Garter Squish coming on.  I'm thinking I'll double-strand like colors on this one and make a seven stripe, that way I'll have Lapis on each end.

That leaves me with only one decision.


Colors?


Or neutrals?

Either way, I'll end up with a lapful of wool.  Which, in this Artic environment, is a most desirable condition.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Multiples

In the Seven Per Cent Solution, there's a Sondheim song called "The Madam's Song". It has a line, "I Never Do Anything Twice." Once I would have said that line was the theme of my knitting life.  Then came last Christmas with the Garter Squish Blankets and the Inspira Cowls (neither of which ever got their whole story - must do something about that).

This year, though in addition to two more Inspira Cowls (knit at the request on those who had not gotten one last year) I discovered the Piega Cowl.  At Thanksgiving dinner my Knitting Sister showed me the ones she was knitting for her girls ( She knit hers in Malabrigo Silky Merino - I think - and I can't remember if she used Silk cloud or if she went with Kidsilk Haze.) Anyway. It's a Shibui Knits design, and so the pattern calls for Shibui Baby Alpaca and Silk Cloud double stranded. My problem was the color options in the Baby Alpaca didn't sing for me.  Truth be told, I thought they were a little washed out looking.

I used Fibre Company Acadia instead of the Baby Alpaca for this set.  There are actually two more, one in Fibre Company Acadia Poppy and Cascade Kid Seta Syrah, but I never took pictures of it.  The other is mine, still Fiber Company Acadia, but with Kidsilk Haze.  Mine was the original and it's still not finished.


The construction was quite clever. Two stockinette rectangles with holes that you join and braid with a series of three needle bind-offs.



Blocking makes a difference.


Top to bottom, that's Acadia in Blue Heron with Silk Cloud Fjord. Then Acadia in Egret with Ivory Silk Cloud and on the bottom, Acadia in Bog (I know, awful, muddy name fore such a pretty color) and Silk Cloud in Fog. (Special thanks to Veronica for modeling)



So soft, shiny and pretty.  So clearly worth repeating.  Maybe I'll go finish mine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Rose by Any Other Name

I'm not convinced that Rage is a good name for this yarn. Yes, it's red over-dyed with black. Okay sure, I get it.  Yet, it is the most un-enraging red over-dyed with black you could imagine. Maybe it's the cashmere. Maybe it's the fact that I really like red.  Maybe it's that the knitting did its work by the end of the first skein.  Whatever it is, I really like this yarn.  I look forward to knitting with it.  I put aside all sorts of other things I thought I wanted before winter is over.*

This is a center out rectangular blanket. It started out with the Turkish cast-on.

Well, it started out with a little math and a WAG about what my gauge might be. I decided an 18 inch difference between the length and the width would be good.  I decided I'd probably knit pretty close to the recommended gauge, if I used a larger needle, multiplied my expected gauge by 18 inches and cast on that many stitches.  I say cast on. All you do is wind the yarn around two circular needles. You pull the bottom one so the stitches are wrapped around one needle and the cord, kit across those stitches, pull the top needle through and the bottom needle into the stitches and knit what are effectively the same stitches, just the bottom of them.  Trust me.  It works.  Most often for toe-up socks that you don't want a seam for, but just fine for center out blankets when you don't want a square one.

The tricky part was going to be the increase.  Generally, and this is the method recommended in Circular Knitting Workshop, you mark the first and last stitch on each needle for your corners, then build the blanket using yarn-overs on either side of that stitch.  I did that for the HPKY Navy Blanket and was never really happy with it. I'm also lazy, and I lose track of whether I'm doing a right or left leaning increase, and where and when and why I'm supposed to do them. I wanted something easy, in keeping with the simple, straightforward knitting I was planning.

More math.  Also maybe some very basic sketches. Also maybe some consultation with The Princess.

I set up my markers, but did KFB on either side of them.  Interestingly, I still seem to get a spine stitch.  It's actually the KF of the second KFB.


It seems to be working.  I'm almost to the end of the second skein, though, and now I need to make a decision.  Do I want to keep churning out the stockinette, or do I search out a pattern stitch and start alternating stitch patterns with every new skein?  If I go with all stockinette all the time, do I want to end the blanket with a broad garter stitch border, or something a little fancier?

Who knew knitting rage would be such fun?


* Partial list: Piega cowl out of The Fibre company Acadia and Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Color Affection in Malabrigo Silky Merino and Manos Silk Blend, To Eyre with Fleece Artist River in Raven.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Pumpkins

This is really a Stitches story. It's also a sisters story. And possibly one about how willing I am to follow along like a sheep in the wake of the stronger personality.

It might have been Stitches Midwest 2011, but I only think that because that was the first year I didn't write about Stitches.

Whatever year it was, Yarn Mountain  came to Stitches Midwest that year.  I noticed the knitted pumpkins in their booth right away.  I kept walking by and thinking how cool they were.  But the yarn was huge - roving wrapped with a thin nylon strand.  The yarn and the thought of the size needles I would need to knit it, between them, talked me out of it. Repeatedly. Then I walked into the booth with MySister.  MySister was also charmed with the pumpkins.  So charmed, that she bought a couple skeins of pumpkin-appropriate color yarns, and one purple and green combination that looked like Frankenstein's Monster to me. But she was planning one for each of her girls, and any girls there got to pick their own yarn.  I'm not quite sure how it happend, but I left the booth with three skeins of the yarn myself and the link for the pattern.

Then I somehow ended up with a set of US 15 circulars from the HiyaHiya booth.

And then I got home and stared at my purchases and wondered where my brain had gone during Stitches.

The needles got buried.  The yarn eventually worked it's way down to the bottom of the stash.  MySister knit her pumpkins. They came out fantastic (she even figured out a pattern for leaves). But mine stayed theoretical and I was happy to have it so.

Until this past fall.  I don't know why I decided I needed these this year, but I did. The construction is really quite clever.  You divide the skein in half and alternate skeins in the same row to make the lobes.  The inside looks like a spider web.


They need to be stuffed.  I got all green and ecological and used plastic grocery store bags.


The pumpkins are different sizes based on the number of bags I crammed into each section.

Details.

Yarn: Kraemer Yarns Bear Creek in (counterclockwise from the left) Peach Cobbler, Spice and Pumpkin.
Needles: HiyaHiya circulars and ChiaGoo bamboo DPNs in US 15/10mm (ouch!).
Pattern: Bear Creek Pumpkin by Clara Masessa for Kraemer Yarns (scroll down to Miscellaneous, it's free!)

For the record, these were every bit as much not fun to knit as I expected them to be.  On the plus side, the misery doesn't last long. And now I have these cool knitted pumpkins that can come out for Halloween and stay out through Thanksgiving.

So there you go. Pumpkins

Monday, February 02, 2015

Knitting Rage


Long, long ago, I bought a super-wash merino/cashmere worsted blend by a small company called "Have You Any Wool"  (aka as knitmommy on Etsy) from Eat.Sleep.Knit in a colorway called Rage.  I like red and it looked like a good one.  As it happens, it's more of a strong red over-dyed with black. 


I've had this for at least 4 years (knitmommy went on hiatus in 2011 and hasn't been back that I can find). Over those years, I would pull the yarn out for whatever project I was contemplating, and put it back. Every time. I began to realize I was superstitious about the yarn.  After all, did I really want a sweater or shawl filled with Rage?  How could I bear to wear it? Why would I ever want to knit such a thing?  Who wants to knit in a rage?  Think of what it would do to your gauge.

It's been a tense time here at Chez WoolGathering.  It's political, in the sense that you put a group of people together and you get politics, and affects, not so much work I enjoy, as work I do in support of work I love. It's nothing that has anything to do with knitting or the Blog, or most of life for that matter, except that it's sucking time and joy like a sump pump and I resent it.

I'm a great believer in knitting to overcome the garbage that life can hand out, but I was finding myself hating everything I started as I try to deal with this stuff.

Saturday evening, I got an idea.

It was time to knit Rage.  A lot of it, since I have way more than those three skeins (I bought the whole dye-lot). No more soft silvers.  No more warm golds.  No more calm blues. I will knit through Rage and come out the other side in a better place.



It's going to be a blanket and it's going to be cathartic, by Harry, or I'll know the reason why. 

Well, the stash-busting part isn't to be sneezed at, either.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I'll Do Better Next Week

Ack! How did it get to be the end of the week? Time to finally post that September entry about Summer.

I really will do better next week. After all, I've never told you about the pumpkins.




Friday, January 23, 2015

Sabotaging Myself?

I actually can think of a number of other things to title this post.  "What Was I Thinking?" would be one.  "Why Do I Do These Things To Myself?" was another.  "Insanity" was yet another.  All would have been appropriate, they just wouldn't all fit in the title box together.

I've joined another Mystery Knit-along.  Let's review my  history with MKALs, shall we?  In the gaps in last year's blogging, I failed to mention that I have fallen for been suckered into joined several such things.

Failure #1 -
About this time last year I decided to try Ysolda's first MKAL, the Follow Your Arrow Shawl.  That didn't end well.  Keeping up was not a problem.  I tried to make sure I would like the ultimate result by waiting for others to post spoilers of the clues so I could choose the one I liked best.  I even added it to my Ravelry projects. No go.  I think I made it through clue 3. Maybe clue 4.  Then I faced the music, 'fessed up, and admitted I hated it.  It was a sad waste of some fabulous (and now discontinued) fingering weight yarn.  I listed it as frogged on Ravelry, but it is in fact, still on the needles.  I'm toying with the idea of binding it off and calling it a scarf.  Once I've lost all my other scarves, I'll probably (maybe?) be glad to have it.

Failure #2-
It took me until this past Fall before I let myself try another.  This one was Kaffe Fassett's for Rowan Yarns.  My arguments to join were much the same as the ones I used to talk myself into Follow Your Arrow, starting with how much I liked and admired the work of the designer involved.  Plus, this was Rowan.  It was a blanket and I love knitting blankets.  The knitting here was simple, a series of striped squares knit on the bias, because the focus would be on how to use color and I am weak at combining colors.  I didn't even pretend I would keep up this time, but figured I would be so glad to have the pattern and the notes and did I mention that Rowan had Kaffe do a series of YouTube videos on the project? The problems started when people stared posting photos of their squares in various combinations.  They all made my eyes hurt.  When we got to the final clue and it confirmed that the most painful possible combinations were the ones we were supposed to use I lost it. They were like optical illusions, or Pop Art where all the lines fly off in different directions and nothing makes any sense.  I like my blankets to make sense.  So now I have a huge collection of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted Super-wash, in a lot of colors I will never use again. 


Failure #3-
I only got as far as buying the pattern this time. Well, that and the yarn (Malabrigo Mechas in Pocion).


Had I read the notes on the group MKAL page, I would have known the project was a poncho and I do not do ponchos.  But it was, again, a designer I really like (Laura Aylor, she of Lizard Ridge Blanket and Faberge Shawl fame)(I begin to see a pattern here) and it was the end of the year and the end of the year had been pretty sucky, so when offered a MKAL  called "Just For You" what was I supposed to do?

Which bring us up to this year, and what have I gone and done?  Signed up for Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow 2 Mystery Knit-along. Only the first clue has been released, and I've finished it already.  But, and here's a big but, much as I like the short-row shaping, this clue calls for a picot edge.  Have I ever mentioned how much I despise picot edges?  It's a chicken and egg thing.  Do I hate them because I'm bad at them, or am I bad at them because I really, really, really hate them? 



Why did this take me by surprise?  What did I think it was going to be when I had to bind off two stitches at the start of every row?  Or when the designer stated that the garter tab would be 118 rows long and I would have 59 "points" when I had finished it?

Isn't one of the definitions of insanity to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Physics

For every action 



 there is an equal and opposite


reaction.


Newton's Third Law.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finding Inspiration

I really thought I'd have this sorted by now. I think I'm a person with reasonably good taste. I like to knit.  I like to knit with pretty yarn.  I have lots of pretty yarn.  And yet.

I've given up on the Mrs. Crosby shawl.


In fairness, I should mention that the yarn is superwash worsted with a very - firm  - twist.  Springy doesn't begin to describe it.  While I may have been unduly harsh in my previous assessment, I'm still not enjoying it.  I think it's the pink.  Technically "Vintage Port".  The more I knit with it, the less I want to.

So I switched over to the regular Lorna's Laces.  The original Heart Shaped Shawl is done in neutrals.  Even the green used for the contrast is muted.  Heaven knows, the LL Ravinia is muted.  It is also variegated.  I thought I'd try using it for the single garter stitch ridges as well as for the yo/k2tog rows (the Winter Wheat and the Vintage Port sections in the above shawl) and use (can you see the train-wreck about to happen here?) the Manzanita (yes, the pink) for the contrast band. 

Strangely, I like the pink in the Shepherd's Worsted, just not in this shawl.  Or perhaps just not with this color.   Or perhaps just not in combination with anything else.

I don't think I was distraught about this development.  Yet, the Princess felt the need to take pity on me, or at least to offer up her own stash of Lorna's Laces.  I was thinking about switching out the Manzanita and using the cranberry instead.  



Then I came across this phrase in the novel I'm reading "Dawn over the marshes was grey and gold, a severe winter beauty all it's own."  And a few paragraphs further on, "The vast expanse of water gleamed like steel."

 

So maybe I should be substituting the Cedar (marshes)?  Or the Pewter (metal)?


Or maybe I just want to knit another one, using Pewter and Denim with the Ravinia.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Even My Changes Come Out the Same

This all started with this latest Midwest cold snap. I decided enough with the fingering weight shawlette/scarflet/shoulder-cozy thing. I want a big worsted weight shawl and nothing in the stash was inspiring me. Which is sort of ridiculous, because, even continuing to ignore the long-neglected Fenna shawl (Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester anyone?), I have three skeins of Madelintosh in Tart, which has to be the best red out there and when do I ever not want to knit with red yarn? You'd think either would galvanize my knitting, but not so. I decided I needed to step out of my comfort zone. Try something new. Be brave. Be daring. So how did I end up with these two extremely unexciting sets of skeins?



That there on the left is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Ravinia and Manzanita. I'm not terribly fond of golds and beiges. And yet for my first foray off my beaten track, I bought yarn that's gold and shades of beige. I'm not sure that it's being called "Ravinia" is enough of an excuse. What was I thinking? I decided it needed something to liven it up. Something that would make me look forward to reaching the end of the third skein (yes, there is a third skein). Hence the Manzanita.

I don't knit pink. Yet I decided that the Ravinia had some pink undertones and that perhaps the Manzanita would bring them out, lifting the whole thing up into something warm and cheerful (recall that cheerful was one of my criteria for new knitting.) It may work out, but I had my doubts.

I set the project aside and looked for new inspiration, in other words, I went back to internet yarn shopping.

This latest foray led me to Mrs. Crosby. I've been reading the praises of Mrs. Crosby. It's one of the current Power Boost yarns at Eat.Sleep.Knit. Which means I get extra yardage credit in my Yarnathon account. Ordinarily, extra Yarnathon points are not enough to make me buy a particular yarn. Apparently, this winter isn't ordinary, because here I am, stuck with more beige-gold and more pink. Worse, it's purplish pink. Then there's the green -- which I do like quite a bit -- sticking out like a sore thumb. 

I actually started a project with this set, and I don't even despise the way they're knitting up.  I love the pattern.  It's Brian Smith's (a.k.a. "ravelryguy") Heart-shaped Shawl.



I hate the yarn.  It's like knitting with kitchen string.  Not, note, kitchen or dishcloth cotton.  Kitchen string.  What you would find in the housewares section of the grocery store. Coarse, hard, and ungiving.

Maybe I should try it with the Lorna's Laces?