Archive | knitting

Shoji Cardigan and experiments in natural dyeing.

It’s not too often that I finish a knitting project, and so it’s a celebration when I do. This Shoji cardigan (pattern by Norah Gaughan) is a project that I started back in December 2016, and I finally finished it a few weeks ago. Yay!

I loved the project as soon as I saw it in a Brooklyn Tweed collection a while back. Living in Florida can make knitting challenging at times, because it’s never cold enough to warrant a ton of knitted stuff. What I liked about this design was that it looked like a cozy blanket that you could layer over whatever else you’re wearing. This seemed appropriate for how I tend to dress in the winter here. Plus I was intrigued by the shape and construction. It’s knitted as a long rectangle that gets sewn together and added a collar.

The yarn I used underwent quite a transformation after being fully knitted and dipped into a natural dye bath of cutch with my friend, and expert dyer, Kim Eichler-Messmer. Below are some of Kim’s very helpful samples dyed from a variety of things. They aren’t a promise for what will happen, but good approximations of what all can happen. My Shoji, a swatch and extra yarn pre-dyed are there at the bottom. It’s very different, right?

Natural Dye samples with Kim Eichler-Messmer

The yarn was a fun color to start with, but even though I alternated skeins every row the color variation was too much over the course of the entire project. It looked super patchy, and I wasn’t totally convinced by the shade of pink. As it was, I didn’t think I’d ever wear it outside of my house. I figured it was worth a shot to see what could happen with a little experimenting.

The color came out more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined! That’s it on the left. (We tried some other dye baths as well.) For some reason I figured the only fate for this sweater would be to become navy or black. Brown was not something I’d even thought of as possible, but after seeing her samples, I knew that’s what I wanted to try. I figured it could be a good fit.

The sweater fared the dying process surprisingly well. I know that it probably grew a bit, which is fine–it is still cozy. I ended up tightening up some of the seaming that was loosened during the process, but otherwise not much else needed to happen.

Now that I’m officially done with my Shoji, I can a) wear it(!), and b) get back to work on another knitting project that I started over a year ago. The front and back are done, and I’m working on the sleeves.

pattern: Shoji by Norah Gaughan

yarn: Tosh DK in Pink Clay Optic, overdyed with cutch (and the critical help of expert Kim Eichler-Messmer)

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hello new year!

I’m feeling quite refreshed after taking a break. I had my computer turned off for at least a solid week, which is nothing short of a miracle. I did sneak a moment here and there on my ipad, but overall my effort to disconnect was successful, and my chi feels good.

 

While unplugged, my biggest goal was probably not to obsess over my schedule, making lists, or filling every moment with something productive. Aside from a couple of personal projects in mind, I just wanted to let go and enjoy. Some highlights were getting lost in good reading, knitting on a project that had gone totally dormant, spending time with family and friends, baking, sewing, and even getting lost in a 24 marathon. It’s been good.

 

Cue the visuals.

 

Shrug update: She’s being blocked, which means I’m closing in on the finish line. It’s always amazing to me how much lace opens up when blocked–a good reminder since I’m always tempted to skip this step. (Try to ignore the heinous pink towel and shoddy blocking system.)

 

blocked shrug

 

Single girl‘s got some new additions. It’s fun being able to work in some architextures.

 

 

single girl rings

I’ve been page-turning to Kaffe Fassett, vegan ultramarathoning, and industrialized fashion (not pictured). All very enjoyable.

 

reading book pile

 

Craft-wise, I’ve got a stack of flagged pages and projects from some recent acquisitions. (Apparently I’ve got a Japanese obsession going on. What can I say?)

 

craft book pile

 

And I’ve even gotten a start on a tunic from the Stylish Dress book (on top). I need to work out a few alterations, so it’s gonna hang for a bit while I ponder on that. The tea calendar was something I picked up at Quilt Market from Spoonflower. All it needed was some architextures binding to finish it off, which miraculously felt like the thing to do one afternoon.

 

tunic in the making

 

So, lesson learned that breaks are good. I’m feeling pumped to start a new year off with some energy and excitement for whatever it may bring. I’ve taken time to review the good stuff of 2012 and will continue to map out goals for 2013. I do love my goals.

 

Hope you are able to do some of the same. Happy New Year!

 

 

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feels good to do some knitting.

Seriously. It’s been awhile, which makes me a little sad. When I got back from Market, I re-assessed my knitting situation hoping to get excited about finishing something up. I certainly have enough half-finished things to choose from. Most recently I was working on a cardigan, and it’s pretty far along. I’m just not entirely thrilled with the drape (or lack thereof). I hoped it would sort itself out as more of the sweater materialized – totally not the case. So knitting limbo continued.

Then, I saw this in the summer issue of the Debbie Bliss magazine.

debbie bliss summer shrug

I latched on right away. It’s not that it’s the most perfect thing in the world, but it’s exactly the kind of project that I needed. It’s pretty, it’s something I can wear (in Florida that’s an issue), it’s not a massive undertaking, and it’s not anything that’s sitting around unfinished and causing me frustration…all important things. It is just what I needed to get going again.

starting my summer shrug_carolyn_friedlander

And it warranted a trip to my favorite local yarn shop. That place can be dangerous without a specific goal in mind. The yarn I am using is silk, mohair, and dreamy. I can’t stop touching it.

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So it goes. I’m very happy to be back on the needles.

.

 

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