Ta-Da! Tuesday #22

Good Morning and Happy Ta-Da! Tuesday Everyone!

Today is Ta-Da! Tuesday and there is definitely a Ta-Da!, but we are going to change it up a bit this week.  For those of you new to the blog, I am a knitter, crocheter, and — recently — a spinner.  What you may not know, however, is that I am married to a wonderful woman who — in order to spend more quality time with me — decided last spring to take a class and learn to knit.

R has been knitting now for about 10 months and is a natural.  She has fearlessly tackled cables, lace, and the altering of patterns to suit her own personal style.

This morning R will be guest blogging about her most recent FO.  It is a beautiful piece and I know you will all enjoy her way with yarn as well as her way with words.

Please welcome my better half, R

Thanks! It’s true–I used to be the one who was the oft-spotted “yarn spouse”, standing around aimlessly, staring at all the colors and types of fiber and waiting impatiently for J to hurry the heck up. Then I started paying attention to all the pretty colors. Then I started feeling all the wonderful soft and squishy balls of alpaca, the sturdy balls of cotton, and the sleek and shiny hanks of lace. Slowly, I started sneaking a couple of skeins into his shopping cart after securing a promise to make me this or that. After a while though, it dawned on me that if I was ever going to get those things which never made it to the top of his queue, I’d better figure out how to do it myself. Of course, learning to knit was also a self-defense mechanism, seeing as pretty much all of our retirement savings are invested in stash and we needed something new to work on together. 🙂

Now, to my Ta-Da! I’m fascinated with the idea of test knitting and sample knitting–I love the idea of it. I love the process of helping a designer finish a product; I love being one of the first people to make something new; I love knitting, but I rarely wear my own work–preferring to give it away as gifts or sell it because I don’t want to be the one that messes it up. As I was trolling in the Testing Pool group on Rav one day, I came across a call for completing a test knit that I couldn’t pass up. So, I signed up and dutifully bought 8 skeins of Manos del Uruguay Classica in cornflower. 

Beautiful, right? After diligently finishing, washing, and blocking my swatch and choosing a needle size (I almost always have to go up one because I knit tightly.), I was off to the races. 

The pattern for the sweater is now available on Ravelry and is called Emilie June. It has an awesome side-to-side construction, so no seaming for the folks that prefer to avoid such difficulties. There’s a neat cable design along the bottom edge and a comfy shawl collar. The sleeves are done almost like the afterthought heel–you knit in a piece of waste yarn where the sleeve will go and then keep knitting. Once you’re ready to do the sleeve, you just pull out the waste yarn and pick up the stitches and off you go. How cool is that? 

One of the things that I love about knitting is that you learn something new every time–this time, my new skill to learn was how to do hidden short rows in stockinette. I’m not going to lie–I made J. do the tink and redo the first set after I messed it up, but then I figured it out and just look how good I did!

As usual, I didn’t really want to keep it and be the one to wear it out, it’s also pretty significantly too big if I wanted to keep it, so it’s off to a new home as a gift. The cardigan is super warm and soft. I’m not a huge fan of the thick and thin aspects of the Manos Classica generally (why do the thick bits and thin bits always seem to pool together–you’d think they would even out. Perhaps this only happens to me…), but they worked out well in this pattern. I also decided to be super brave and didn’t alternate balls of yarn–the luck of the knitter was with me though, because none of my skein changes are noticeable. Here are a few more pics for good measure, a little bit so you can see how well the design elements worked out, but mostly so you can see how awesome I did. 

Thanks for letting me steal J’s show! P.S. This is my first blog post, and J says it’s poor form to use contractions. I’m pretty sure that’s hooey though–feel free to comment if you’ve a good reason why I mustn’t use them. 🙂

Happy Knitting Everyone!


Ta-Da! Tuesday #14

Happy Ta-Da! Tuesday Everybody!

My beautiful wife, R, and I have been running a rat race fit for a hampster the past couple of months.  We’ve run and run on this wheel but don’t feel like we are getting anywhere.  Despite the many twists and turns, our view has been the same.  Having never bought a house before, I am not sure if this is a normal feeling to have while you wait on The Others.  Those mysterious people that are supposed to be working for you on the title search and the bank paperwork…  I’m sure they’re doing something.  I don’t know what…  After pestering our realtor for things to do ( I mean, c’mon there has to be some paperwork to fill out!) we’ve been told to relax and decorate.  So here we are, spinning on our wheel and trying to fill our countdown days with work, housework, and playtime.

Usually I’m a rather monogamous (monotonous?) knitter.  I tend to work on one project at a time until it reaches completion and then I start a new one.  To be honest this is probably a result more of my own procrastination than of anything else (I mean a baby takes 9 months to make right?  Am I the only one that does 90% of the knitting the last week or two before a due date?)…  I’ve been trying to complete a commissioned work for a while now and although I’m making good progress on it, it has been a slow go.  I started right before our big move and have had to steal time away to work on it for months.

Well, this past weekend I was itching for a small project that I could finish in a short time with big results.  You know, to boost my Knitter’s self esteem…  After burrowing in the Stash, I came up for air grasping a plastic Ziploc bag containing three beautiful skeins of discontinued Mission Falls 1824 Cotton.  A quick query on Ravelry easily produced a perfect pattern for my needs — all but scoffing at the menial task I asked of it.

After that how could I not justify a quick affair with a beautiful, new and exciting project?  Besides, who had to know?

Well, here’s the result:

The pattern is called Baby Yoda Sweater, although it’s really more of a wrap/kimono than anything.  These photos were taken before the I-Cords were added and the blocking took place.  But it is a beautiful little sweater.  It’s also the first thing I’ve been able to make for the Etsy store and you can find it here.

It was a lot of fun to make and the finishing went really well.  After reading Deborah Newton’s Finishing School I’ve been putting a lot more thought into the way I might finish an item before it’s done and I have to tackle the task.  I must say it really payed off!

We’re heading home to visit with friends and family one weekend soon and I hope to meet with my first commission customer and talk a bit about what she wants in the other three item sets.

Well that’s it for now.  Please leave a comment and let me know how you are doing and what you’re working on!

Knit Happy Everyone!

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