What the Fade Complete!

At the start of this year, I cast on for something entirely selfish- a shawl by Andrea Mowry called What The Fade.  I was lucky to take a class with her last year at KnitCity, where she taught about colour confidence- and various techniques for blending and combining colours and even textures into our knitting patterns.  It was eye opening, intriguing on many levels- especially for one such as myself who usually plays it safe with greys...

It took me a few months to decide on a palette- I stalked the projects on Ravelry to see what I liked/didn't like.  The ones I was drawn to the most were mostly neutrals, with a higher contrast "A" colour.  So first thing- stash-diving.  I found my skein of Sweet Georgia in Ultraviolet- an incredible deep rich ridiculously beautiful shade of purple.  Hits of blue in there- it's a stunner for sure.  This was the only yarn that never changed in any of my line ups.  At this point I had no Hedgehog, or speckled yarns in my collection other than what I'd dyed myself and those were into greens/blues and wouldn't work.  Between some misses ordering online and finally some sweet scores in person (found the Baah Yarns in LA on a work trip, and the Hedgehog at local shops) I had what I thought might work.  It was a little stressful at first- that initial committment- because it really is an investment of time, and money- because we all know good yarn ain't cheap. This is where I was at- my line up in all it's glory.  I pondered over this for several days before I had the courage to cast on and just go for it.

As soon as I cast on with the first two colours- I was in love.  A little wary still, but in love.  As I worked through the brioche section I didn't know if I had enough contrast between some yarns, or too much between others.  At a certain point I just let go, figured- this will be what it will be.  And I ended up with something I love more than anything else I've knit.

I took a million photos, managed to limit myself to 20 or so over on Ravelry.  No touch ups or filters needed- this thing is pure heaven.  I still haven't blocked it and I'm not sure I even will.  Stitches look even and great- and while the garter section is more structured than the brioche, I love how dense and warm it is.  I don't want it to grow too much as it's truly a great size and I suspect even with a steam it's going to get bigger.  I'll cross that road when I need to wash it- till then it's perfect as it is.

I learned a few things about myself while I knit this- sometimes you have to give in and just trust yourself, your eye and what you're drawn to.  I greatly increased my knitting speed with those long garter rows.  It's been a really long time since I've done straight garter- and this certainly has a lot of it.  It's perfect amount of brioche- there's only 2 kinds of increases, so this is a perfect first brioche project for those starting out- and nice easy brioche for those who might be getting re-acquainted like myself.  

 I LOVE this shawl!

FibreShare and WhatTheFade

It's been so long since I've written anything- it's been a busy year and life got in the way of all of my crafting obsessions...
So I'll just dive right back in..

I've signed up for this round of #FibreShare - am totally excited about the entire process.  BUT the more I see shiney beautiful pictures of other packages- the more I look at mine and wonder if I'm including enough of the good stuff, or if I need to top up the package with just one more skein, or a spindle to go with the book I included- or if I should just leave it as is.

I know that some people spend a lot of money- I bought some cute extras and a book for my fibreshare partner- including some spinning fibre as she said she was interested in learning.  I didn't, however, include a spindle- so now I'm wondering if I should go buy one or pull one from my own collection... Must think more on that- and I've only got two days till this has to go in the mail.

Something about this entire exercise has sparked some creativity in me in another way- by dusting off my Illustrator skills and making some cute graphics to decorate some little notes with.  It started with just trying to draw a skein of yarn (success!) and once I started I found it hard to stop.  I still need to do a bit of practise, but these little images make me happy and I hope my fibreshare partner likes them!

As for projects- I'm in the last fade section of my massive #whatthefade shawl by Andrea Mowry. It's a stunner- any doubt I had about my palette has vanished as this thing has materialized from my knitting needles.  It's one of the most satisfying knits I've ever done- there's enough variety in each section to not get bored- when you get tired of one colour it's all of a sudden time to switch, just enough to have to pay a bit of attention but not too much that you can't watch a movie or put it down to make dinner and come back in an hour.  It's been a pleasure to watch grow.

It always amazes me how simple a thing like knitting can be- and with small variations we create this beautiful, intricate fabric unlike anything else.  My knitting mojo was just starting to wane when I cast this on- and now I'm feeling re-inspired and excited at the next thing I cast on.

I had forgotten how much I love the brioche stitch- and this is a great project for those just learning- as there's only three spots for increasing and nothing too tricky.  The video tutorials included with the pattern are great and super helpful- even if you've done it before.

Just Peachy!

Finally off the needles! I still need to block and weave in ends- that will happen tonight as I have hopes of wearing to Knit City this weekend.
I started off with a Party of Five set in Cobblestone and a skein of Grapefruit- all Tough Love Sock from Sweet Georgia Yarns.

It knit up beautifully- the gradient is a tad more brown than I initially expected but it pairs so well with the peachy tones of Grapefruit.  I have just a wee bit left of each that will likely end up in some fair isle creation down the road.

The pattern is Syncopation Adoration Cowl by Stephen West of Westknits. It's a very easy to knit brioche design- you pick up stitches from an i-cord as opposed to a double colour cast-on which I personally find tricky.  There is so much room within this pattern to be as safe or brave as you're feeling- my version is fairly toned down but I could see this working with so many possibilities of colour.

Without further ado- here's some photos just posted on Instagram.



No affiliation with Knit City, Sweet Georgia, or Westknits.

Federa Shawl and Swatch Fun

Federa Shawl stalled out just a bit but we are done! I wasn't sure of mixing these two colorways but I have no regrets. A wearable fun accessory. I ended up making the smaller size. 

The brioche was fun and interesting to knit. It's so stretchy and soft. The pattern is one I'll hit up again in the larger size- it's basically got one brioche increase and one decrease. Once you get into a few rows you can sort of go on autopilot. As this was my first foray into brioche I can highly recommend this as a first project. So easy to knit and a great garment all around.
The triple icord bind off was fairly epic but worth it. The edge it creates is so stable and it really provides a nice weight to the finished object.
A dye test from a while back had me busy for a  hile doing swatches. Pretty much love them all and now I'd love to incorporate them into something fun.

My current knit-in-progress is another brioche project by Stephen West. Syncopation Adoration Cowl in my sweet Sweet Georgia Yarns sock yarns. I've just begun my 2nd stripe- the pattern calls for DK, so I used smaller needles (2.75) and cast on 340 sts instead of 238. I want it to be long enough to double loop around my neck.

In other adventures, I have a blogging app now so I can contribute more often. And not limited by a computer. So, yay!

A Pound of Merino and a Dyeing Test

4 mini skeins showing dyeing progression

I recently purchased a pound of beautiful fingering weight merino yarn with the purpose in mind to test out some dye techniques and start to develop my own palette to play with.

Here's what this beautiful pile of yarn looked like to start.

I separated it into roughly 35g mini skeins, plus one 100g skein.  I wanted small skeins to play with colour and not waste too much yarn if it went badly.  Also, this is enough to knit a swatch and save a bit with my dye info for reference.

In the first dye pot- I did a low immersion bath with purple, blue, and ecru (which disappeared).  I put all three mini skeins in here.
Sucked up the dye so fast!

Once it was out and dry, I could see what I wanted to change.  Back into the dye pot for two of the skeins- one with a diluted black just to dull out the white areas of yarn, and another in a more concentrated to give an overall more smokey look.

Here's all 4 steps together from right to left- bare, purple and blue low immersion (first step), and full immersion/overdye with light grey and dark grey.  I'm loving the more denim look of the darkest one, which is what I was hoping for.  Interestingly the yarn grabbed the colour immediately in the first skein- there's very little bleeding, well defined edging which I suspect is from soaking the yarn in acidic water as well as acid in the dye bath.  Could work well for some speckling- perhaps that's this weekend's adventure.

Stay tuned for some swatches coming soon.  My evenings are filled with TdF spindle spinning for a Ravelry challenge, then back to some knit time.

Happy knitting!

A Sweet Georgia Day

I was recently lucky enough to score a spot in the Sweet Georgia fibre club.  My first club!  Each month, for three months, we get a special colourway dyed specifically for the club.

This being my first month, I didn't know what to expect- and I can't express how happy I am with what I received.  A merino-tussah blend (soooo soft) and the colour can speak for itself.  As soon as I saw it I thought- this will look great on the blog!  The fibre came with a nicely produced card with some information on the fibre blend as well as the colourway.  I love this attention to detail and can't wait to play with this fibre.

So without further ado- some eye candy to enjoy.
Once I get through my spins currently in progress I'll make sure to link back to this post with a photo of the finished yarn.
And speaking of spins in progress- here's my starting point for my Ravelry group spin for the Tour de Fleece- a gradient batt dyed by CraftyJaks who is local to me here in Vancouver. I'm using a Golding purpleheart lace weight spindle and an Enid Ashcroft drop spindle and practicing a long(ish) draw with the carded fibre.  The fibre is BFL and very soft. 

Happy Spinning!

All Set for #SGYsweetsummerKAL

I'm picky when it comes to knit-alongs but this one checked off so many boxes for me that I couldn't resist.

First, I'm in love with Sweet Georgia yarns- especially the Tough Love Sock.  It's soft, survives living around a toddler, and best of all- the colour selection is out of this world.
Second, I had set a goal for myself to get another Westknits project off the needles in time for this year's Knit City and had already ordered the yarn.

I'm new to brioche knitting, only about halfway through my first project.  So I knew I wanted to tackle one of Stephen West's more simple brioche patterns for this challenge.  I settled on Syncopation Adoration Cowl which allows for great colour play, texture, and versatility in the finished garment.  I wanted something wearable and simple that didn't look so simple.

The yarn.  Oh the yarn.  Have I mentioned I love this yarn? 

The pattern calls for some stripes, plus one solid for the two colour brioche.  For the striped yarns, I picked out a neutral soft set of mini skeins (Pary of Five) in Cobblestone.  It's a soft warm grey, just a hint of brown.  Not quite brown, not quite grey.  The single colour I chose to pair with the mini skeins is a shade called Grapefruit and it's delicious.

Here's the minis with the full size for scale. 
And a bouquet of yarn in better lighting to see how they will play together. 

Casting on for this July 10- till then these are going to sit on my desk within squeezing distance.

I should mention- I'm not affiliated with Knit City, Sweet Georgia or Stephen West but I am a big fan of all three!

Happy Knitting!

New Tricks...

Learning new tricks- in this case, Brioche knitting.

A fellow knitter and friend mentioned she was interested in brioche a while back and I'll admit at first it didn't hold much interest for me.  As Knit City announced their classes and I knew she wanted to go to a specific class, I took another look at it to see if it was something I'd consider attending as well.

First thing I did was head to Craftsy (I am not affiliated in any way) and purchased the Nancy Marchant class on brioche knitting.
The class was good- I was able to knit samples using yarn I already had at home.  I didn't totally care for the patterns so I decided to take what I'd learned from the class and put that knowledge to use on a pattern I actually liked.  I figure, if I'm going to spend the time knitting it, it should be something I want to wear.

I found this pattern on Ravelry- it's called Federa by Katrin Schubert (again, not affiliated with Rav or the designer).  What I like about this for a beginner such as myself is that there's only one increase stitch and one decrease.  The rest is plain two-colour brioche.  Once you get the rythmn going, it's almost as relaxing as normal knitting.

I'm about halfway through the pattern and while the rows are definitely getting longer it's still quite fun to knit.  I'll be taking this on a trip this weekend and cram in as much as I can.

Already lined up my next brioche pattern- Syncopation Adoration Cowl by Stephen West, the Brioche King himself.

What the Fade Complete!

At the start of this year, I cast on for something entirely selfish- a shawl by Andrea Mowry called What The Fade.  I was lucky to take a cl...