On my needles...

On my needles...

Strathcona in Bella LinoStrathcona in Bella LinoStrathcona in Bella Lino

Saturday afternoon, I completed my last short row on Cocoon, knit a full row, and finally bound off. That's two finished projects for 2016. As I handle not having a current WIP poorly, no one will be surprised that I cast on my next project that very evening. 

Strathcona is a V-shaped scarf from Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook's book Island. It's like a shawl without the shawl, making it easy to wear. Its lacy, open mesh stitch is worked up in a linen yarn, making it the perfect spring and summer accessory. It's all style, no warmth, which is a necessity for Southern summers. I knew I was going to make it as soon as I saw it, and I knew which yarn I was going to use too–Classic Elite's Bella Lino. The model in the book sports a solid grey Strathcona, but I was positive a self-striping would make for an exquisite version with beachy vibe. 

So far, I have not been disappointed. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I have a few stitches while knitting past my bedtime or in the midst of a conversation, but the stitch pattern is easy to rip out and catch up. The yarn is wonderful as well, with a myriad of color and textures in each skein.

I'm about half done with it; just into the left-slanting portion. I love how it looks. Bella Lino gives the scarf beautiful striations of different colors, textures, and weights. I can't wait to wrap it around my shoulders.

Pattern: Strathcona from Island by Jane Richmond & Shannon Cook
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns' Bella Lino in 8548 Breezy
Ravelry: Riesquared's Strathcona

March 23, 2016
On my needles...

On my needles...

CocoonAfter I finally bound off Whakamarie, I dove back into Cocoon. I won the kit (Berroco Northstar) yarn and pattern booklet from Berroco last summer at TNNA, and cast on for this cloudlike coat in December to make myself a comfy, simple coat I could throw on over anything when Atlanta has a freak flash of cold weather. 

My first impressions of the pattern were positive, and still are. It's a simple stockinette coat knit in one piece until the armholes, and there's a bit of short rowing. I'm still intimidated by short rowing even though I've done it before, so this project will help me get closer to perfecting my short rowing. If it's not perfect, the yarn's forgiving (read: fuzzy) enough to hide my mistakes.

My first impressions of the yarn weren't so positive; the yarn sticks to my needles. I'm knitting this on my nickel-plated Knitpicks, which are pretty slippery, and the stitches wouldn't move up and down my needles freely. Over time, I've gotten more adept at handling them, and I'm making faster progress on this project with every stitch. The needle tips are pretty pointy, so I haven't had much issue with splicing the yarn. If the tips were less sharp, I probably would.

Still, it's all worth it. The resulting fabric is a dream. It's a lightweight yet warm cloud that is so cozy and soft. 

I'm about an inch from separating for the armholes, and I can't wait until I can grab this coat when I'm feeling chilly. It's a perfect neutral that will pair well with everything, and the alpaca/nylon blend doesn't itch a bit.

Pattern: Cocoon by Emily Nora O'Neil from #362 Berroco North Star
Yarn: Berroco North Star in 3002 Caribou
Ravelry: Riesquared's Cocoon

February 19, 2016

Tour de Fleece!

July 4, 2015 marks three things important to me: Independence Day, nine years of calling Georgia home, and the beginning of Tour de Fleece!

I am partaking in Tour de Fleece for the first time, as I've finally learned how to spin. I've had my spinning wheel—an Ashford Kiwi 2—since February, and I finally learned how to use it a few Saturdays ago thanks to one of our favorite store regulars, Elke. The first thing she taught me about my wheel was that she really really really needed oil. 

You're probably thinking, "What's Tour de Fleece? Uh, don't you mean Tour de France?"

And yes, July 4 also marks the beginning of some famous bicycling event that happens in France. Yarn spinners ripped off those guys and created their own wheel (or spindle) spinning event, Tour de Fleece, during which we spin on the days they ride bikes, rest on the days they rest, and don victorious yellow clothing on the last day. 

So I have 21 days of spinning ahead of me. To be honest, I don't know if I have enough fiber stashed away to last me that long. In the last two weeks, I've learned I really love spinning, and can and will spend hours treadling away at my wheel. 

I do however, have an idea of what I'd like to spin, improve upon, and experiment with. I want to

  • Spin thinner, more consistent singles (end goal: comfy handknit sock)
  • Intentionally thick-and-thin and slubby art yarns
  • Spin a crepe yarn
  • Spin a Hawser-plied yarn, preferably using multiple colors
  • Spin an opposing-plied yarn
  • Spin a boucle yarn
  • Spin a basic 4-ply cable yarn
  • Experiment with core spinning
  • Spin alpaca, llama, silk, other non-wool fibers

So, who else is doing Tour de Fleece this year? What are your goals?

July 04, 2015
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