The Knit Knack's Blog

Better living through fibre


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A happy handspun shawl

We are now at extreme cold weather alert the 10th of this winter.  It has been a full 29 days under -15C.  This week just added to the stats.  It is no mistake that I was working with my brightest, happiest handspun yarn.

handspun knit shawl blocking to shape and cat

Melvin observes House Rules about wet wool

The shawl pattern is by Susan Ashcroft, TGV (tricot grande vitesse – High Speed Knitting).  The projects on Ravelry are very close to 2,000 strong.  Of those, 68 projects record the use of handspun yarn.

closeup handspun knit shawl blocking

Sunshine in a knit. Seriously

I worked this shawl with 3.75 mm needles for the garter body, and 3.5mm needles for the long rows of ribbing.  This gave an open gauge with my chain-plied yarn, and it has tons of drape.

It is an easy design to knit-up.  The later rows are very long, and that slows progress a bit for me at least.

handspun yarn leftover from shawl knit project

Good to the last drop: yarn overage

That would be the yarn leftovers.  I used up the 408.46 yards of handspun.  It was planned too (I swear!)  How?  By casting-off, raveling, and weighing how much that took.  It was 4g just to cast-off that long, long edge. I wanted all the orange; as simple as that.

Such a joy in the wearing

wearing handspun TGV knit shawl

A crescent scarf is what it is

At the deepest point my TGV is just 11″ edge-to-edge.  It wraps best for me with the deep edge to the front.  Much more scarf-like than shawl-like in the wearing!

TGV handspun knitted shawl wearing closeup

The ribbing detail

In an effort to avoid the Rocks of Boredom for yonder ribbing section, I turned it into a Baby Cable Rib.  The recipe is in Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

The variation is subtle in the FO but it improved the knitting up for me.  I knit socks.  So I know that 2×2 ribbing is great just in moderation.

knit handspun shawl in citrus colours

Sure, this shawl is bringing the bright back.  It’s not just about Handspun! and Accent for the Drab! though.  It’s also keeping turtleneck shirts at bay.  And that dear readers, is a really good thing.

In sum:  easy to wear; bright; not a turtleneck shirt. Yay!

How long did that take?

Let me walk you through the timeline.  We will wake the TKK archives up a bit too.  In April 2012, I won the awesome braid from Nicole at Stringtopia’s doorprize party.

Superwash BFL handdyed top wool fibre

Musewings’ Stringtopia 2012 doorprize

It sat on my fibre shelf until I wanted a new project for the 2013 Stringtopia event.  Thus, it snuck into that April’s Making Progress post like this.

Hand-dyed BFL fibre and Bosworth Purpleheart spindle

The seedling of the shawl: April 2013

As I reported, a lot did get spun at the Golden Lamb, 2013 String Thing.  That closely followed with a full spindle in May, 2013.

Bosworth Purpleheart mini spindle with BFL handdyed yarn

I was so stoked

The second ply was spun by early July 2013, and I had yarn to show for it during the Tour de Fleece.  It positively loves the camera.

Handspun spindle BFL yarn

Shawl-in-waiting: July 2013

The only stage of this journey that didn’t get blogged on was  when I whipped it out on January 9, 2014 and started to knit.  Here is how she looked on the needles!

knitting handspun shawl

TGV shawl when she was in progress.

The knitting time was on & off between January & last Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Nicole, you have my deepest thanks for such an epic doorprize.  I love it so much!


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Hearts alive for your Valentines

Happy Valentines Day, dear blog!

Yoked lopi sweater stranded knit

Pop-up hearts 

Do you see the band of hearts?  It was an unplanned surprise on the needles!  I was simply re-using this Faeorese motif again but flipping from a white background to the brown.

Faeroe stranded knit motif lopi sweater

Faeroe border motif

It is charted on p. 118 of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting, and is listed simply as, “border from man’s cuff (Faeroe).  The sweater body is the 34” chest from the free Vormorgun vest pattern.  I am usually no fan of yarn company patterns but this one was clearly written, and correct.

Lopi yoke knitted sweater

Hunting for and combining the yoke motifs was a lot of fun.  The best words of encouragement were from Sheila McGregor at p. 132,

Faced with this range of possibility, it is more than a little depressing to see what the average yoked jersey looks like.  Yokes are very easy to experiment on and spectacular designs can be worked with only three colours…

book Traditional Scandinavian Knitting

The book in question

Miss McGregor (as the Foreword so names her) has helped me into other books on stranded knitting, and so the interest grows.  Will you join me in heeding her call for us knitters to return to a “finer and more craftsmanlike approach?”  It’s been fun so far!

Felted heart pin Valentines Day

I heart you.

A quiet word

Yesterday, I tweeted my thanks to Sasha and Jillian for the SpinDoctor podcast.  In the early, terribly shy days of my learning to spin, I found and lurked within the amazing catalogue of shows that Sasha produced.  Jillian joined seamlessly, and it never wavered.  Much later, I joined the podcast’s Ravelry group.

SpinDoctor gave me markers, reviews that I trust implicitly, laughter in my neck of the woods.  The straight-as-an-arrow content meant a great deal to me, and so did the warm delivery.  Most of all it is the only podcast that actually made me a better spinner.

Jamaicans say this instead of goodbye:  Walk GOOD!

Knit rabbit soft sculpture mohair tail

Yes, I made a Rabbity with a kid mohair tail. For this occasion!