Oct 30, 2014

Shawls All the Time

I titled this post Shawls All the Time because that's how it has been feeling here at P:Stash. Every now and then, I go through periods when my knitting seems to be all about fill in the blank.  Over the last couple of years, I've gone through a serious hat phase and then a sock phase and then a blanket phase and this fall, my needles have been happily occupied by shawl patterns. 

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know that I did my darnedest to finish my Shaelyn in time to wear to my niece's wedding, but I fell short.  Still, it was a real joy to knit, and I'm definitely going to knit another one.  The design in this Madtosh colorway is gorgeous and I can imagine knitting another one in a plum.

I then cast on and have since finished my first Lonely Tree Shawl which was a great knit.  I started this pattern several times a few months ago and just kept getting frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to read the charts.  So, I sadly set this pattern aside and then a month ago, I watched Staci's video tutorial for knitting a cabled cowl and once I saw her explain how to read a chart, the biggest light bulb went on over my head.  I grabbed a skein of LB superwash merino dk and cast on immediately.  I'm now an expert chart reader (not really, but I definitely get it now!!).

So, after the happy success of my Lonely Tree, it was obvious that I had to cast on an Elder Tree Shawl, this time for a dear friend who has a big birthday coming up.  I've had trouble with this yarn in the past ~ I guess I'm not the most comfortable knitting with yarn that has a silk content ~ but it's working perfectly in this pattern.

I'm tempted to really challenge myself with a heavy-duty lace shawl pattern but then again, it just may be hat season again!

Oct 20, 2014

Small Things

The other night, while finishing the body of my Lonely Tree Shawl, I had a golden opportunity to sit with my 19-year old son and simply talk. He's home from college on a study break, and our conversation naturally flowed from light chit-chat at dinner to a more profound talk about career paths, relationships, and what it means to be a young adult in the 21st century. I know, heavy stuff but oh so good. He's my first and so I often feel like I'm learning how to be a good parent on him ... okay, maybe I should say with him .... and conversations like this one reminds me that I'm doing a good job. I don't typically write about such personal stuff, but I'm still feeling and thinking a lot about our talk so it feels natural to let it all continue to flow over here.

He's an artist, and I'd like to think of myself as someone who has a creative spirit and approach to life.  He would agree and is always incredibly positive and encouraging about my love of fiber, textiles, and yes, even my humble knitting.

Speaking of humble knitting, sometimes I get the urge to cast on something small and this lovely hat pattern jumped onto my needles over the weekend.  Like the Lonely Tree Shawl, I'm knitting this beanie in LB Collection Superwash Merino. I love knitting hats (talk about instant gratification) but I'm personally not a hat wearer myself.  As a knitter, it doesn't matter much as I'm really a process and not a product knitter.  Yeah, you should see the stash of finished goodies I have in my closet all waiting to be given away!

Oct 13, 2014

Palate Cleanser

I'm not very good about having a zillion (or even three or four) projects on the needles at once, but when I'm knitting something like a sweater, it really helps to have something small going at the same time.  Some of you can knit a cardigan and a pullover and a sock and a shawl and a tea cozy all while knitting a blanket~and the knitting world needs you~but once I have more than a couple of projects in my knitting basket, my mind goes all wonky.

But there's also a part of my brain that craves something new when it comes to monogamous knitting.  I'm being very faithful to Miranda's please knit list, but I know that I'll be a happier knitter if I get to cleanse my palate every now and then so I dug into my stash and pulled out a skein of DK just to feel a different weight in my hands.  

I've been wanting to knit a Lonely Tree Shawl for over a year, but the last time I attempted this pattern, I kept messing up.  I'm almost embarrassed to say why but I'll 'fess up here ~ I didn't realize that when reading a lace chart, repeats are meant to be done within the row and not after completing a whole row first.  Duh!  I got it now (can you see the huge lightbulb flashing over my head?), and I'm making nice progress on this beautiful shawl.  I'm loving this mustardy color yarn I'm knitting with, too ~ more photos to come!

Oct 8, 2014

Please Knit List

Thanks so much for all your comments on my last post.  In all honesty, I hadn't even thought about the possibility of the red bleeding into the white (Maryse, you deserve a knitting medal for pointing this out to me!).  I loved the words of caution (Gail, Wildflower Wool, and Andi) mixed with the cheers of enthusiasm (Ellen, Kepanie, Kelly, and Preeti), but at the end of the day, I couldn't risk spending all those hours knitting this combination of the Nangou only to watch it morph into a pink and red shawl.  Yes, my friends, I frogged it (again!).  So, what's a knitter to do?  You guessed it ~ I cast on something completely new and different.

I'm one of those lucky knitters whose children actually ask for hand-knitted garments. Each fall, Miranda has her please knit list, and presents it to me with the sweetest smile.  This is when I wish I had eight pairs of arms because she usually has at least eight sweaters (yes, sweaters) that she's hoping will fly off my needles before the first snow flake falls.

I am always so happy to oblige but sometimes her wishes take a little time to figure out. Last fall, she fell in love with a hip-length cardigan that she saw at Urban Outfitters and asked begged me to knit it for her.  It was incredibly simple (drop shoulders, V-neck, long sleeves, pockets), but the textured stitch had me stumped.  I did a bunch of swatches but none matched the look of the UO sweater.  Fast forward to this fall ~ I came across a gorgeous cardigan on IG and traced it back to the Comfort Zone pattern.  Two seconds later, the pattern was in my library, and I was swatching to pick the best yarn for the project.  I'll tell you more about my swatching process in my next post but for now, I can't seem to put this cardigan down.  And I guess you can say that I'm not done with the color red just yet!