Boom, Baby!

Boom shawl #3 finished

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This is the third Boom! shawl  that I have cast on…it is only the second one that I have finished.

I had started a second one using Lion Brand Mandala yarn in the unicorn colorway, using size 10 US needles…and it was going smashingly…and so much faster than the first one I made using LB Mandala in Chimera on I think size 6 or 7 US needles–I use that one as a scarf.

I frogged the unicorn one before starting what I am calling the chunky boom (pictured above).  That is a lot of thin yarn, even on size 10 needles…at one point I tried to work on it at night–when I am tired and I know I shouldn’t do anything–and I dropped a stitch three rows down…it’s an a;; garter-stitch shawl–when I got up the next day and looked at it–I had a nicely picked up row of stockinette stitches there where I had dropped that stitch–but I had then worked about two inches farther one…and no way was I ripping back for that…but every time I picked that shawl up, I saw the three stitches of stockinette stitch…so frogging the whole thing out was not that much of a hardship for me…and with this chunky boom, the two skeins of unicorn that I have will now be used…for something completely different…I have no idea what.

So, how this chunky shawl came to be was…we were at a thrift store…and there were loads of bits of skeins of yarns in one bin.  I think one actually had a label…I recognized at least two of the colorways from Loops and Threads Charisma collection.   With R’s help and his knife (which we ended up not using because he is good with knots), I pulled out at least ten skeins, mostly partials, but two or three that look and feel like full skeins.

I like Charisma anyway.  I’ve used it before, several times.  Just not lately.  These colors appealed to me…so I stood there and worked out every skein I could find…and brought them home.  I wound every single multi-colored skein into one huge ball…and then…frogged the unicorn so I wouldn’t feel bad about yet another project abandoned on the needles until something else that was newer was finished…

Now, I had a good eight to ten inches of the unicorn shawl done when I frogged her–this after weeks and weeks of working on her here and there.  I cast on the chunky shawl, using size 13 US needles…and within five minutes was a gleeful creature as I had at least ten inches of shawl worked up already…and I wasn’t even really getting into it or anything.

I usually knit in the car when we go places…sometimes at night if I don’t think I will mess things up too much…I try to knit during the day when I am trying to finish something (strange brew sweater–nope, not done yet–working on the yoke now–so getting closer, yes) –so when I say I have worked on this shawl for maybe two weeks…that means a great deal.  This shawl is longer than I am tall (so more than 6 feet–I would measure to tell you for sure, but right now the shawl is in the wash–but somewhere between at least 7 and 8 feet long) — it’s thick; it’s squishy; it has a lot of different colors in it randomly and beautifully.  I didn’t weave in the ends, except the cast one and bind off tails.  So there are nine little fringes hanging off the shawl in random places…I had to work to keep each fringe tied onto the same side instead of tying them off wherever they fell every time.

There was just something calling this shawl to be more rustic, more raw.  I like that.  And I am not really a fringe person, so me saying that means a lot.  It feels good, this shawl.  It worked up wicked quick.  I had forgotten how nice it could be to work with thick yarn on big needles.

Now, back to my strange brew sweater.  🙂

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Process: A New Hat

Please note before continuing on: this is not a hat pattern in and of itself. This is my process for how I want to create a new hat for myself. If you don’t knit, you probably won’t be interested. Then again, this is my process; you might not be interested anyway.

 

 

A New Hat

My favorite old hat is … well, it is rat nasty at the moment. It’s not all that old, but the yarn has frizzed and fuzzed and frayed and at times, this poor thing just looks awful. Other times, I don’t look at it, so, it’s fine then, right?

I need a new hat. (never mind I have tons of hats all over the place, ones I’ve made and ones that have been bought or given as gifts…)

I go to some questions to help percolate and generate ideas for a new hat.

What hats do I have now that do work for me?

What hats do I have now that don’t work so well?

What’s working for me in the good hat?

What’s not working for me in the good hat?

What am I looking for in a new hat?

What do I want in a new hat?

What do I need in a new hat?

Colorwork? Colorwork compatible? Plain? Cables? Lace? Cool stitch patterning?

The first thing I look at it: what’s wrong with the old hat?

I love it. I used the Rikke pattern found for free here on Ravelry. I have made this pattern a few times now, in different yarns. Different yarns react in different ways. The red cotton/acrylic version I made of this hat is still in fine condition—although it droops a bit much for my liking.

The bad thing about the hat I am replacing…is the yarn. I used a yarn that isn’t holding up all that well under not much pressure. And no, I am not washing the bejeebers out of the hat. The yarn is simply wearing out, erm, wearing poorly. Since I can’t tell you which yarn I used for this project, only where I bought it from, I shall refrain from naming names at the moment…

I also need to learn how to work garter stitch in the round without the seam-like line running up the back. I know there are tutorials for that…I just have to make the time to find them.

So, cons: the hat looks ratty…and it is not as versatile as I would like it either. Come to think of it. If I fold the brim up…it’s not covering enough where I want it to cover…if I don’t fold the brim up, now especially, it can tend to look goofy.

Now, moving forward…what do I want in a hat?

I want it to be warm. I want it to cover the back of my neck, with extra protection for my ears, since I am fighting a lot of ear issues lately. I want it to look good. And I want it to look good for more than a year or two.

I am in a colorwork mood, so that would be good—however, I want a four-inch foldable brim as well. That much of a folding brim would mean…either I start the colorwork higher…or just do it the way I usually do (2-4 rows up after the ribbing ends) and not worry if the brim covers it or not.

I would like a nice thick fabric when it is completed, but not too thick. I am leaning towards wool, or a wool-heavy blend. I am not sure on what color. Sometimes I move towards neutrals. Sometimes I move towards bright colors.  ANd worsted weight yarn, or maybe even DK if I like it.

The hat can not be tight or form-fitting…I don’t like that…and I need room for my hair—or at least I did when it was longer, so I am going to keep that in mind since I am working on that.

What sort of ribbing do I want? 2X2? 3X1? 4X4? 5X1?

The next thing I will do is…browse Ravelry and all the hat patterns I can manage in a given allotment of time. How much time depends upon the needs of my family and the needs of my body. I may have five minutes to skim. I may have twenty minutes to peruse. I may do this over a day, over a week, or longer…because I already have three projects OTN (on the needles) and I don’t like starting a lot of things that never get finished…it makes me feel defeated. I knit to knit…but finishing things makes me feel better about having plans and having stash for those plans…and it means I can move forward to a new thing.

Whether I decide on a pattern or not, the next step is stash-diving…because I have yarn for hats…for days…I have a lovely heathered grey cashmere wool blend, two skeins of it, that for years has called to be turned into a hat and scarf combo…maybe this is the year. I have many…many…many single skeins of yarn floating around…because buying just one skein means I have a small quick and easy project in my hands…if ever I figure out what to make…it comes in handy making hats.

Right now, I very much want to create my own pattern and work outward from there, even though Ravelry has an incredible number of free hat patterns available – not to mention the paid ones as well.

So, there’s my process.

In the end, I have decided to work a colorwork hat, quite possibly in a deep magenta yarn, with a bright yellow yarn pattern. I want a four-inch brim, and it will probably be 2X2 rib strictly because it is so stretchy…although until I knit it up it is not writ in stone. I found my 2013 Branson notebook, so I have a ton of sketches for colorwork patterns…I will begin looking through them before moving forward.

That’s my process.

Thanks for listening.

Because I Am Tired…

I will give you the knitting pattern I have been working on for this month.

This is a washcloth/ dishcloth.

Gauge is not that relevant.

I used size 5 US knitting needles and a worsted weight cotton yarn.  It was left-over Sugar and Cream or Peaches and Cream yarn.  No label, and not much of it.

The beginning of a test knit

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I am calling this my Adam Ant cloth…because the stitch is called the Ant Stitch in the pattern book that I am working from.

Here is a picture of my piece in progress…as yet, I do not have a completed cloth…so I can’t give you fixed final measurements.

I just wanted to make sure I got this up by the end of the month…so here’s what I have.

 

The pattern is thus:

 

Cast on 32 stitches using whatever cast on you are comfortable with.

Row 1: K2, Sl2 pw*

Row 2: P2, K2*

Row 3: Sl2 pw, K2*

Row 4: K2, P2*

 

repeat these four rows until your cloth is as long as you like.

Bind off loosely using your favorite cast off method.

 

Abbreviations used here:

K = knit

P=purl

Sl=slip

pw= purl-wise, as if to purl

*=repeat these stitches to end of row

 

Any questions?  Please feel free to email me.

 

 

Boom! Boom! Pow!

So, I love Lion Brand Mandala yarn and their colorways…heck, I love the NAMES of these colorways…

I knit my sweater in Sphinx.

I have some Gnome here somewhere.  I have Chimera.  I just bought some Unicorn last week.

I have it written down somewhere when I started this Boom! scarf.  I know it was around the beginning of last November because I worked on the scarf and the Strange Brew sweater interchangeably, depending on where I was and what was going on…

The first one … which I worked on all the way to my mom’s in December…and bound off not long after we got back…was made using Lion Brand Mandala in Chimera.  I used a US 8 needle and followed the pattern exactly.

Working on the shawl today

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Mountains in the distance

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I wore it a week, maybe two, because I finished it before New Year’s…and then, my youngest decided he needed it because it is so cold outside.  He took it.  He has to have it wound around his neck before we leave the house.  Once in the truck, the first thing that comes off is his mittens…and then the scarf…which he refuses to put back on….so, the scarf gets dragged all over the place, but I can’t wear it…

So, I started a new one…using Lion Brand Unicorn…and size US 10 needles…I cast on a new one.  Same pattern…and I am following it exactly.  Just larger needles…and it is going so much faster, for which I am grateful…I just started it this weekend…no pictures posted of it yet…but I will get there.

I am debating knitting a hat to match each of the Boom! scarves.  My old Rikke hat is getting ratty…

I’ll keep you updated…

FOUND IT!

So, like, about a thousand years ago, we went on a family trip to Branson…it was probably about the time I learned I should not knit hats anywhere near anyone in my family ever…but I was making colorwork hats for everyone at the time.

In fact, I can tell you now, since I found a totally different notebook from  (August 4) 2014 with my to-do list #1 item being “find Branson 2013 notebook” that the trip was in June of 2013.

I found it.

That *&(#%$^&# notebook from that trip to Branson in 2013 that I have seriously been looking for ever since … I swear ever since the very day we got back…because I put that thing somewhere safe and the safe place ATE it for me.

I found that notebook–and a whole bunch of other stuff…because we moved out the old computer desk that had become storage only and poor storage at best and I pulled everything off of it…and it was all very safe…and totally inaccessible… which was the whole issue with why that desk had to go in the first place…not to mention the desk is unnecessary anyway in the grand scheme…so it all worked in my best interest…and the best interests of the house.

Why I have wanted this notebook so badly is because the original intention was to knit up all these hats using the patterns I created based on the bathroom and floor tiles throughout the condo we stayed in…even after I figured out I needed to not knit hats near my family again…I wanted those patterns because making these people hats is what I did…and what I need to do again…

I don’t even think there is anything else in the notebook anymore because I have a tendency to tear pages out after I have used the information on them…or tear them out and file the pages elsewhere to condense things down and not take up so much space, and to keep similar things together…

Now, I have a stack of yarn from then that I had intended to use to make everyone hats…and I have the patterns I wanted to use to make said hats…and I now have a method to do increases that seems to work around this house full of monkeys…

And I am busy knitting other things…because I have some issues with some of the yarn sitting there–a lot of it was bought for Dylan and I am still not over the loss of Dylan.  So, when I am capable of working on the hats, using any yarn, and not having issues because of Dylan…I’ll let you know.

I can’t remember now, but I know I meant to release at least one of the colorwork pattern for free and to sell the rest.  I was designing a lot of knits back then…and it is my goal to get back into that once again.

I’ll keep you posted.

Duncan’s Hat

I started this before Halloween, but put it on the backburner once NaKniSweMo began…

It is ready for the decreases…I am using the Clayoquot Toque pattern as my basis…and I LOVE this pattern.  It is the first one in a long time that has helped me manage decreasing without going nuts around here…because decreasing around the people in this house is madness…the trick is–there are stitch markers involved…for which I am so thankful.

New hat for Duncan in the works

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Now, the pattern calls for DK yarn…and I used two colors of Caron Simply Soft.  That bright bright yellow that the boy loves SO much and demanded…as well as a color-shifting orange…the original plan had been to use a solid orange and a solid blue to create a pattern on the hat…but I had the color-shifting orange in my stash, so I decided to go with that…plus, I love how the orange shifts and moves over the hat.

It is not a complicated pattern at all, as you can see.  I was actually far more interested in making sure the boy’s ears have extra padding and insulation than anything.

Now, since I am using simply soft here, my gauge is larger than the pattern…I sized down the hat because of that…although the hat is still plenty roomy, which I consider a good thing with the Little Mister because of all his hair.  His hair is very important to him.  I always knit my own hats a bit looser than called for because I have these curls to contend with…so it’s a thing around here.

I got excited working on my Boom! shawl and set the hat aside this past week…after I get my second sleeve started for my sweater, I will finish off his hat.  It shouldn’t take but a couple hours.  And then…I will have to face off with the boy who will want his matching scarf right that minute…I am still debating on knitting a scarf in the round and doing colorwork for him…or just knitting him a lovely yellow scarf…maybe with orange fringe.  I’m not sure on that yet.

 

Boom!

My easy go to, knit in the car, knit when I need to not really think about it (although I actually DO need to think about this one much more than I thought because I am apparently easily discombobulated and get switched up) for right now is the Boom! shawl.

I am using Mandala yarn in the Wizard colorway.

Working on the shawl today

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The pattern is super simple–just two rows…and I keep one side marked so I know where I am…that doesn’t always help me…but it is a nice and simple shawl, which is what I was after.  I started this because the weather here has been so nuts…I mean 80 degrees one day, 50 the next.  I hadn’t pulled out my winter stuff yet…hey, the first day it went from I think 70s to the 30s the next, we had to take the youngest out and actually BUY him a winter coat that day because he had outgrown last year’s and I had thought I had some time to transition with lighter jackets before a full-on winter coat was required…I have hats where I can get to them…but I had taken all my scarves and whatnot (that I used to keep hanging on the back of the door) and stored them away for the summer…I’ve made sure the kids’ wardrobes are all switched out and they are ready for colder weather (if ever it comes and stays for more than a day or three), but I am still working on sorting my wardrobe out.

So, I pulled out my needles (size 8 US) and set to work…

I love how this thing is turning out.  I love the shape.  The colors are lovely.  I have another ball of Mandala in Chimera that I am thinking of turning into another shawl, maybe using the similar but different pattern of ex boyfriends, or maybe going with something completely different with close to you (because this was what I intended to make at first instead of Boom!, but my printer decided to have a snit that my husband finally fixed last night…)