Friday, January 27, 2012

Sunday Funday: January 22nd

This past weekend's Sunday Funday took place at an illustrious and annual event: Pie Day! Check out the run-down of our over-achievement on this post by Leah, who was our wonderful hostess for the afternoon. All I can say is the pies were amazing, and thank goodness we are starting to remember to bring tupperware.

The event started at 1pm, and I worked dutifully until 2 on work projects, then joyfully brought out Ursa.

I'm in the home stretch on the back, with only a few more inches to go before I bind off at the shoulders. I can't wait to work on it this weekend! What did you get up to on Sunday Funday?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2011: The Year in My Knits!

I didn't want to let 2011 go by without talking about what I managed to work on, as well. Though I was pretty awful at taking pictures of everything, a huge amount of stuff came off the needles and the loom this year. My first FO of the year was the Brachyura Henley, finished in the wee hours of January 1st, and my final FO was my New Year's Eve challenge scarf. At 4:30pm, I wondered if I could weave a scarf from fingering weight yarn from winding the warp to cutting it off the loom, and at 9:30pm, I found out that the answer was, yep, sure can.

1 skein of Noro Kureyon sock yarn each for warp and weft, sleyed at 12 epi in plain tabby. It's a bit bright for my taste, but I wanted to try weaving with Noro and apparently I had chosen the two most obnoxiously bright colorways for my stash. So it might find its way to a new home!

In between those two projects, I finished twenty-three other knitting projects, ranging from a pair of handspun stripey socks for myself, to six samples for other designers (yes, that's five, but number six isn't out yet!), to another seven samples for my own designs, to a long-neglected pair of socks for my brother. I wove a blanket for my friends' wedding and another scarf on a lark. I spun 2,000 yards of hand-dyed silk (let's not talk about the actual knitting yet. . . ) and took some wonderful field trips to Harrisville, SPA, and the Common Ground Fair with my knitting friends. I spent one of the best weeks of my life at Medomak, and another amazing week at SOAR. All in all, a busy, full, and amazing year, and to be sappy for one second, it wouldn't have been half as good without all of you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Funday: January 15th

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the new year, one of the big things that was on the list was making a bit more time for me, both in terms of crafting and in terms of life in general. I therefore declared Sundays after 2pm officially off-limits to work or chores, and christened the experience "Sunday Funday" because I'm a huge dork. Today's Sunday Funday haul:

A bobbin and a half of softly spun wool/alpaca batts that I carded from bits and pieces in stash; this is the last of it! I now have a pound of gorgeous dk-weight salt-and-pepper singles that may end up being a Larch Cardigan.

I also swatched and started knitting a cardigan that's been in the plans for almost three years, Ursa. I bought this pattern early in 2009, and then spun the yarn for it (another one carded from bits and pieces; this one containing alpaca, angora, merino, BFL, and cashmere) in the 2009 Tour de Fleece. It's about time I started! I just put it down, but managed to get about ten inches of the back done. It'll be hard to leave this alone until next Sunday!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


So I had a shawl design come out this past week as part of the glorious, I-want-to-knit-everything-in-the-whole-lookbook collection, Wool People Volume 2 by Brooklyn Tweed.

(All photos of Winnowing in Loft copyright Brooklyn Tweed and Jared Flood)

First off, I need to acknowledge how completely humbled and thrilled I am to be among such amazing designers in this issue; I don't think there's ever been a more appropriate time for the immortal words of Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy!"

close detail
(All photos of Winnowing in Serena copyright Bristol Ivy--yep, talking about myself in the third person)

While I recover from the daze and shock of the whole thing, I thought I'd talk a little bit about the pattern and the path it's taken. Because nothing's ever simple with me, this one had a looooong and interesting evolution (which I will intersperse with pictures, because we're all human). It started when I first got to college in 2003.

I am a Maine girl. I am a child of rocks and oceans, pine trees and autumn leaves as far as the eye can see. However, the college I was determined to attend was in. . . Iowa. Corn fields. Wheat fields. Soybean fields. A disturbing lack of ocean. Oh dear. But one of the things I noticed, and came to watch for on the drives to and from the Des Moines airport over the years, was that sudden moment when a seemingly random field of corn would line up perfectly with my view from the bus. I could see straight down the rows and furrows of the corn, evenly spaced and radiating out like sunrays. Even this past June, going back to Iowa after four years away, I watched for that heartbeat of a moment along the highway. And, me being me, I started scheming about how I could turn this into a knitting design.


Things did not start smoothly, though. The stitch pattern I chose to work with was not playing nicely with traditional shapings. Triangular top down? Nope. Pi shawl? Heck no. A sideways triangle? Absolutely not. I mused about it for a few weeks this summer, trying this many extra repeats of the pattern, then that many more stitches wide, then tore out my hair and put it on the backburner while I went to teach at Medomak. While there, I sat in on Daniel's class on shawl shaping. Timely, right? His discussion spurred some new ideas for me--what if I just said heck with it and see what happens? I knew now that stitches that doubled in stitch count every repeat could work. So I went for it.

cover shot

The first shawl I knit (after much head-scratching and throwing of the pattern against the wall) was in Manos Del Uruguay Serena, a really gorgeous and interesting combination of baby alpaca and pima cotton. I liked the results, especially after the transformation it went through in the blocking process (because, even though I can do all the math and mentally understand that the shaping will work, it's not until it's finally all pinned out on the blocking board that I can uncross my fingers and take a deep sigh of relief).

winnowing before blocking
(Before blocking, in a strange greyscale that seems to be all I have saved of this picture)

winnowing after blocking
(After blocking! Big difference!)

But then Loft came along. And I swooned. Let's face it--I still swoon. And when I got a sneak peek of the finished and blocked shawl knit up in the wonderfully multi-faceted color Meteorite (which had been knit by a seriously awesome sample knitter), I might have cried a little. The evolution of this little shawl has been an amazing one for me, and I can't wait to see where it goes next!

Winnowing is a top down Faroese-style shawl, knit in twisted rib with an applied knitted edging. It's available at Brooklyn Tweed and Ravelry, and soon in print through Brooklyn Tweed's pattern retailers.