Sunday, October 29, 2017

Two Color Shawls and Fall Crafting ~

These days I'm addicted to knitting two color shawls.  And if you are going to be addicted to anything that is a good thing.  Right?  I love that two color shawls have a modern look, are a nice size, and the shaping is often long and flowy.  Which makes them perfect for wrapping around your neck as a voluptuous scarf or draped over your shoulder for a dramatic look.  And those happen to be a very wearable looks for me.  Perhaps if I lived in Iceland I would be more interested in knitting Lopi Sweaters but I don't.  Not that I have anything against lopi sweaters. Parenthetically my first large project was a lopi sweater.  It was gorgeous but impossibly warm and ended up tossed in the rubbish bin.  I'm a much more pragmatic knitter these days.


Because not everyone can afford or wants to buy yarn as a kit for a two color shawl project I thought I would share a few tips that I use for buying yarn that will work well together.  As a preface I purchase almost all my yarn online (there isn't a yarn shop convenient to where I live) and I also love the work of indie dyers so these tips are primarily geared toward the online shopper.


First, while it is not that exciting a purchase, you need to invest in a few skeins in solid or lightly speckled colors that are not designated for any particular project.  These skeins don't have to be in a traditional neutral color such as grey or black it can be any shade of solid color, although neons are in my experience hard to work with.  Once you have a few solid colors you can then shop for speckles and variegated yarns from indie dyers and you will be surprised how many gorgeous and unexpected combinations you can create this way.


The other tip is to be aware of what you are buying.  Not all fingering weight yarn is created equal.  You want to match a plied yarn with another plied yarn (versus yarn singles).  You also want to match the yardage as closely as possible (fingering weight skeins can vary anywhere from 400 yrds up to 500 yrds per skein).  More closely matched yardage will help achieve a more evenly weighted shawl, although some variation in yardage won't be too noticeable.  And lastly you want to pay attention to the composition of the yarn as a highly twisted sturdy wool yarn (more suited to socks) paired with a cashmere blend yarn (more suited to shawls) won't create as pleasing a fabric.


Once you have a couple of solid colored skeins of yarn you simply have to take the plunge and buy that gorgeous skein of yarn you have been eying and wait for serendipity to take hold!  In the worse case scenario and you really don't think a skein of yarn will work with any of your solids then designate it for a pair of socks or consider its potential for a brioche pattern!  In any event this is how I go about buying my yarn online and incorporating yarns from various vendors.  And this is exactly the method that I used to come up with the yarn combination used in this shawl.


Particulars:  Pure Joy designed by Joji locatelli (website Joji Knits); US 6 needles; 1 skein Plucky Knitter, Snug Fingering (for The Love of Scum colorway: Strange Brew - 100g/389 yrds) and 1 skein Qing Fiber, BFL high twist (Shusui colorway - 100g/400 yrds).  This is a wonderful pattern and I made no modifications whatsoever.  As an aside Plucky Knitter is my favorite vendor for solid colored skeins.  Previous patterns that I've knit using Plucky Knitter yarn include my Stripe Study Shawl, Kelmscott Socks, and Breaking Bad shawl.


FALL CRAFTING ~

I want to quickly share this cute softie that I made using a kit sold by Posie Gets Cozy.  It's all hand sewn using wool felt and fabric scraps and it's a nice finished size at 13.5 inches tall.  I really love it and the only change I made was to use a different fabric for the inside of my rabbit's ears.  There's something that speaks to me about hand made toys and mostly I've knit them over the years but this wool felt rabbit came out so beautifully I might have to make another!


Like most knitters I enjoy and am drawn to a variety of crafts but today there is such a huge amount of DIY project ideas and inspiration on Pinterest and other social outlets it can be daunting trying to find project ideas without becoming overwhelmed by choices and to know which ones really are worth spending the time and effort on.  It's for this reason that Jodie founder of Crafty Like Granny has launched a new website that sorts through the fodder and highlights various knitting and crafting projects for you.  They have also complied a list of their top 100 knitting blogs which they have graciously included me on.  This blog list does not appear to be as focused on commercially oriented bloggers as some of the other lists of knitting bloggers that I've seen.  Which I like because those are the blogs that I enjoy reading.  Go have fun checking out their blog list for new bloggers or old favorites and be sure to also visit their list of Thanksgiving knitting and crafting inspiration!


LAST BUT NOT LEAST ~ FALL SOCKS


Because it's Socktober I couldn't let the month end without slipping in a pair of socks.  These were a super easy and fun knit and best of all the pattern is free!  I used the Easy Peasy Socks pattern designed by Nadine Tobish (blogs as Schibot Garne); 1 skein Makers Haven, Simple Sock (colorway The World is My Canvas) and US 1 needles.  My only modification, if you will, was to substitute my Colorbock Sock pattern for overall sock construction, i.e., for cuffs, heel and toe shaping and and I simply used the Easy Peasy Sock design for the pattern effect.

Until next time be well and love well and as the days shorten and the holidays approach enjoy quiet moments of relaxation as you craft and bake for your family and loved ones!