August 10, 2015

As it Turns Out, I Didn't Get Too Distracted (Xeina Shawl Debrief)

So I did manage to finish the Xeina Shawl this weekend:

Its really hard to get a good picture of a large shawl
Despite all the minor problems, I think it came out pretty decent.  However, it also came out *huge*, which is completely my fault. I did a number of extra repeats in the body since I was using lighter yarn and later decided to just work the body until I ran out of one skein of the blue yarn, 13 repeats in total.  Yeah, in hindsight, I probably should have done 10 or 11 repeats instead, especially since the lace border came out bigger as well (probably due to using lighter yarn...heavy lace weight blocks out lacier, it turns out:

 ). When I realized it was blocking out really big, I measured it, and it's 80.5 inches long, and around 20 inches deep. As a 5 foot aught woman, it means the tips of the shawl go past my knees.

Though I probably shouldn't fret about it being big. I rarely wear shawls as intended; I usually use them as coat stuffers, and having a big shawl with some cashmere content means I have a neck warmer with length to wrap it around my neck and down my coat.  Or over my head and around my neck.

However, I'm still in love with the color scheme I used and how it works in this pattern, so I am a little sad this won't work so well with a dress. Not that I want to be wearing this now, with all the 85-90F degree weather we've been having here.

Ah, screw it, I'll do this properly:

The Pattern
I have little to say. It's a solid pattern that I had no issues with. All the issues I ran into were due to my misjudgement, not the pattern itself. Also, while it took me months, let me note that this was due to not having time to work on it much and the fact that I was using lighter yarn. If I had been using the sport weight yarn as intended, I could see this being a 2-3 month pattern with downtime, not a 6 month one.

The Yarn
I used Spirit Trails Fiberworks Sunna (the royal blue color) and Spirit Trails Fiberworks Nona (the darker blue). Sunna is a fingering weight and Nona is a heavy lace weight, by the way, and so not recommended for this pattern unless you're willing to do what I did, which is do more repeats and get through more repeats of the lace pattern (which, honestly, if you manage to get the right count for the lace part after adding stuff, I commend you.  I didn't, and had to fudge it, then fudge it again when my first fudge was miscalculated). However, these are beautiful yarns, especially the Sunna.  The Nona one unwinds a bit and sometimes sticks to itself or splits, but I find this an issue with most lace weight yarns.  I have a funny feeling that the issues I had, especially with the yo and k2tog rows in the body, wouldn't have happened if I had a heavier yarn than lace weight. Such is screwing around with the yarn choices.

Two warnings though: they do grow like no body's business (shame on me for not swatching, I guess) and it bleeds:

Ran out of vinegar before I could completely set it as well. Will have to try again another time.
 Funny story on how I ended up with this yarn for this pattern, though.  For the past two years at NYS Sheep and Wool, Spirit Trails has had this shawl as one of their display patterns, and it's still one of my favorite examples of it.  When I saw it the first time I did two things: fell in love with the two-colored version of the pattern and decided that this was something I could use the Sunna I bought the first time I went to Rhinebeck for.  However, because I though Spirit Trails only sold fingering weight yarn (they don't, by the way), I thought the Xeina Shawl had to be fingering weight.  It was only after I had bought the Nona yarn, blinded to the pattern and finding a matching color for the Sunna I had, that I realized that Xeina was a sport weight shawl and that I now had fingering and lace weight for it.  So I was determined to make it work.

All in all, it worked out, other than the size. And even that doesn't render it unusable. Also, now I finally have one of my big projects done.  Now back to using more of my backlogged stash. 

August 8, 2015

A Cacophony of Chaos

Well...I would say a lot of things have happened in this void, but in terms of yarn craft, I would be stretching the truth somewhat. I mean, sure, I got a couple of minor things done, mainly these bags here:

No pattern; made these up.
I got the second one done just in time to use it, so I guess that was good. As well, I did finally get and set up a new place to store my yarn stash:

But otherwise, I've been starting and working on a number of things that still ain't done, of course. Like the Xenia Shawl:

Ok, if I huff it I could probably get it done this weekend, which means most likely I'll be distracted by other shiny things to do and not touch it.  But I could. Maybe.

I also, thanks to one of my knitting group people, ended up starting a dish towel that, due to the fact that I'm using scrap cotton, thought I ran out of the blue color, then found another fourth of a skein of it, is coming out just a little funky:

Pattern is Triple L Tweed Dishcloth by Purl Soho, though I'm making it much longer and with different weight yarn.
My only excuse for this project is that I can work on it on the subway, unlike the shawl.  That's what I'm going with.  But having a subway project, of course, didn't stop me from swatching for a pair of socks with some really, really brightly offensive yarn (that I bought at WEBS, because one of the things I did in this void was go on the annal WEBS trip (I'm one of the drivers; I kind of have to).  It turns out that between having moved my yarn stash recently and bringing my sister along, I spent way less money than usual (I got my sister to spend more than me, he he he. But she doesn't have a stash, so that made it easy).  That didn't stop me from buying a number of skeins of yarn, of course):

This is not my type of yarn.  That's because it's for my other sister, as she likes the loud bright colors. I'm planning Hanukkah presents early this year.

Also, I started swatching and doing the spreadsheet formulas for another sweater design. Because it's about time I started attempting a design again; I have way too many of them in my head, with the yarn ready to go as well, and no other work done on them.  It doesn't help that I have a bit of a deadline to my free time (well, what little I have left after being in the middle of selling a house and going a little crazy at work).  I'm going for my master's starting this month, and will be in class four evenings a week, plus using my weekends to do school work. This should be fun.

 But maybe I can get that all but started (I still need to order the needles for it because I need a different length circular; unfortunately a thought that only occurred to me after I attempted to create a sheet for my size to start it). Oh, who am I kidding, I'll spend this weekend (of which I'm taking off two days so it's a four day weekend) mostly playing Skyrim or XCOM or maybe even Karmaflow, if I feel like frustrating myself.  Or actually cleaning the apartment. Or doing the thousand other things I should be doing that I didn't do yet because last week, I took a little vacation:

Went fishing one morning; caught nothing. Oh well. This is Lake George, if you want to know.
Of course, got very little knitting done there either.  There was too much to do, and any downtime we usually spent playing board and card games.  I did, however, start teaching my boyfriend to knit. He's now attempting a one colored version of the dishcloth I'm doing, because it's only knit and slip stitches, it's a little more complicated than garter stitch, and I haven't taught him the purl stitch yet:

He wants it a certain size, so I'm teaching him how to swatch at the moment.

We'll see how this goes.