Howdy, knitters! If this is your first time at the Knitting Daddy blog, I offer you a warm welcome and hope you enjoy your visit. For my returning readers, I offer a hearty welcome back! In my last post, I asked the question about whether I should frog one of my projects. Thanks to everyone who weighed in with some great suggestions in the comments, and/or left their opinion by voting in the poll. I’m still undecided, but for now, I’m putting the sweater back in hibernation while I work on other projects. When I pull it back out of hibernation, we’ll see what I decided to do with it. I’m leaning towards completing the project and overdying it when it’s done. But I’m not married to that idea.
Last week saw me doing a decent amount of traveling, so the blog remained silent. I’m back now, and can talk about my recent secret knitting — the Pebble Beach Shawlette I knitted for my Mom’s birthday. Before jumping into that, let’s take a look at the other things that have been going on in my knitting life the past few weeks.
These Two Weeks In Podcasts
I’m continuing to do a decent job of keeping up with my knitting podcasts (except CraftLit). All of my other podcasts are stacking up like crazy, though. Since I last posted, I’ve listened to podcasts from 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Down Cellar Studio, Fiber Hooligan, Knitting Pipeline, Knitmore Girls, KnottyGirls Knitcast, The Lost Geek, and Twinset Designs.
In 2 Knit Lit Chicks Episode 74 (It’s A Cute Little Stash), Tracie and Barb continue to promote their Mother Bear KAL/CAL. It sounds like it’s going to be a very successful drive this year. There are lots of prizes being offered, so be sure to get your entries in for a chance at the prizes. They’re also gearing up for a sweater KAL/CAL. That sounds very tempting to join, but there’s already too much on my plate — maybe next year. They also review an amazing-sounding book: Mystic Shawls by Anna Dalvi. The shawls in this book look amazing. I’m not ready to tackle such an ambitious project, but when I am, I’ll definitely be coming back to look at this book.
In Down Cellar Studio Episode 51 (Positively Reckless), Jen recounts her travels to Stitches Midwest. It sounds like she had a great time, and it makes me want to go to a Stitches even more! She also talks about helping young people learn to knit, which is something that I’m excited to do with Blueberry when she gets a little older.
In the Fiber Hooligan episode with Deborah Newton, Ben interviews knitwear designer Deborah Newton. Deborah has been designing knitwear for over 30 years, and it was very interesting to hear about how the designing industry has changed over the decades. I was especially interested in hearing this interview, as Deborah is the designer of the beautiful Princess of Hearts sweater that I knitted for Blueberry last year.
In Knitting Pipeline Episode 180 (Upstairs Downstairs: A Cowl In Three Sizes), Paula introduces her newest design — a cowl. She also talks about her Sister Bay shawl and includes a lot of pictures of different versions of it in the show notes. I think I’m putting the Sister Bay on my “want to knit” list. Paula also talks about a a technique for doing no purl garter stitch in the round. There’s a video of this technique in her show notes, and it’s a must-watch. I’ve been designing a hat in my head for a while, but haven’t put it to needles yet because it’s going to involve garter stitch in the round, and I haven’t been looking forward to the purling that will be required. I’ll give this a shot and see how it works out. In Episode 181 (Hitofude and Tripartite), Paula talks about meeting Stephen West at Stitches and has an awesome story about the Budweiser Clydesdales visiting her town.
In Knitmore Girls Episode 295 (Dearly Beloved), Jasmin and Gigi continue to talk about #OperationSockDrawer. I love the sock talk — it’s one of the main reasons I’ve been excited about knitting socks lately. In Episode 296 (Schrödinger’s Sweater Drawer), Jasmin and Gigi introduce their newest hashtag game: #ProjectSweaterChest (inspired by an episode of Susan B. Anderson’s podcast). The Knitmore Girls are also catching up with posting interviews they’ve recorded over the past several years. So far, they’ve released one with Franklin Habit and one with Maggie Jackson. These are great episodes — I love listening to interviews with the knitting greats.
In KnottyGirls Episode 33 (Path-Forger? (Or Jen And Laura Regret Fun Fur)), the Knotty Girls talk about great cinema (Sharknado 2). They also talk about the awesome Lego Female Scientists set. There is also plenty of knitting content as they talk about what’s on their needles, what’s off their needles, what’s been put in Devil’s Tower, etc.
In The Lost Geek Episode 36 (Back From Hiatus (Yay!)), Arlin returns from an unannounced hiatus. She explained that her hiatus was largely due to her current pregnancy, which is exciting news! Glad to hear you again, Arlin — and here’s hoping that the rest of your pregnancy goes great. We’re all looking forward to welcoming the newest member of your family! It’s great to hear you back “on the air” again.
In Twinset Designs Episode 45 (You Say Potato), Dr. Yarn visits Jan and Ellen again to talk about spinning dog and cat, with some great tips and tricks on how to be successful with that. Ellen shares a slick trick for swatching in the round that I think I’ll try next time I’m doing an in-the-round swatch. As is always the case with Jan and Ellen, it’s a great listen — you can really hear the love these sisters have for each other.
These Two Weeks In Ravelry
The Preemie Hat Drive that I’m sponsoring in the IBK Group on Ravelry is winding down. I am truly humbled by the generosity of knitters and crocheters. I’ve collected over 100 hats so far, along with blankets, socks, books, and financial contributions for FSNCC. There are still a bunch of people who told me they are sending me something, so I expect contributions to continue to come in during the first part of September. Once everything’s in, I’ll gather everything together and deliver it to the hospital. I’m very excited about this project!
These Two Weeks On My Needles
My needles the past two weeks have consisted on finishing up the Pebble Beach Shawlette for my mom and the socks I’ve been knitting for myself. I’ll talk about the Pebble Beach Shawlette in the next section, so let’s take a closer look at my socks now.
This is the third pair of adult socks I’ve attempted to knit, and I think I’ve narrowed down the formula to be a perfect fit now. The first pair I did were too big. They’re wearable, but pretty baggy. The other downside of those socks is that there wasn’t enough yarn in one skein to knit both socks. With the second pair of socks I did, the pendulum swung too far the other way and they were too small. Like the first pair, they’re wearable, but they are too tight. For my third pair, I split the difference and came out with a very comfortable fit.
For these socks, I used the How I Make My Socks pattern from Susan B. Anderson, with her modifications from her blog on how to size them for men’s feet. This was the perfect pattern for me. I love the way they socks turned out, and the yarn I used — Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock — is simply amazing. I’m definitely going to be looking to use that yarn again in future sock projects. I might shorten the cuff by a couple of rows, because I ended up playing a serious game of yarn chicken in the end. Fortunately, I won. But I was really sweating it. In the end, I had about 2 grams left — a mere 6 yards. If I had lost yarn chicken, it would have been OK — I wouldn’t have minded a toe in a different color.
The other great thing about knitting these socks was extreme portability. I kept them in my desk drawer at work and worked on them during breaks. I traveled to Indiana for business last week, and they were my travelling companion. It’s a small project, so working on the socks in the tight quarters of an airplane flight was fine. It was especially comforting to have the socks with me when I was stranded in Detroit for delays (on both legs of the trip!). Knitting is a great thing to have while you’re travelling, and it made the Detroit delays bearable.
Ravelry Project Page: Greg’s Serenity Socks
Pattern: How I Make My Socks by Susan B. Anderson (check my project page for modifications)
Yarn Used: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Serenity colorway
The Pebble Beach Shawlette
I’ve done it two years in a row now, so maybe it’s a tradition: knitting my mom a shawl for her birthday. Last year, I knitted her a Piper’s Journey by Paula Emons-Fuessle. This year, I knitted a Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart. This was a very fun knit, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
When I decided that I wanted to knit a shawl, I reached out to my friend and shawl-knitter extraordinaire, Laura, for a suggestion. I love looking at the shawls that seem to fall off her needles almost every week, and I knew she’d have a good suggestion for me. Her immediate response was one of Helen Stewart’s designs, and she specifically recommended the Pebble Beach Shawlette.
Helen’s shawl patterns are beautifully written. For Pebble Beach, the lace pattern is simple and easy to memorize, so there was no need for a chart. She has line-by-line written instructions in a spreadsheet format that includes “percentage complete” information. This is an awesome way of writing patterns! Since the shawl grows with each row, you can’t simply say “I’ve knit half the rows, I’m halfway done.” Helen did the math based on the number of stitches and includes a mark every 5% complete. This helps tremendously with planning — you can easily anticipate if you’ll have enough yarn to finish the project. It’s also a great incentive to keep knitting — if you’re just a row or two away from hitting the next percentage mark, it’s very tempting to keep on knitting to hit that mark.
The shawl itself is a crescent shawl, with the majority of the design features coming from three different lace patterns that develop as the shawl progresses. As I mentioned earlier, the lace pattern is easily memorialize, and the shawl makes for good knitting anytime. The three lace sections are separated by a bit of texture that does a great job of marking the transition without getting in the way of the design. It’s a fairly portable project, so I was able to take it to work and make some progress during lunch and on breaks, e.g.
I used Malabrigo Sock yarn in a green variegated colorway. When I decided to knit this shawl, I didn’t have any good yarn for it in my stash, so I took a quick trip to my LYS one morning. I had Blueberry with me, so I spent as much time wrangling her around the shop as I did looking at the available yarn. My choices were limited, but this color seemed to call out to me. The samples in the pattern were knitted in a solid yarn, but I had seen a lot of FOs on Ravelry that were in variegated yarn that looked great, so I was comfortable it would work out well for me. It looked OK as I knit it up, but the color really found its shining point once I blocked it and all the stitches spread out.
Speaking of blocking, this was my first experience using blocking wires. I’m so glad that I picked up a set! It took a little time to thread the wires through all the picots on the edge, but it was a lot easier to do that than it would have been to pin each point individually. I still have a lot of work to do to practice my blocking shawl blocking, but I’m definitely getting better. Being able to use the wires to stretch out the shawl really helped. It grew a bit during the blocking, so that worked out very well to get it to achieve a good final size.
I thoroughly enjoyed knitting the Pebble Beach Shawlette and am looking forward to knitting more of her designs in the future. I already have a few in my library, and will be keeping my eyes open for yarn that will be a good match for her other shawl designs.
Mom’s birthday is coming up in about a week, but I visited her and Dad over the weekend, so I brought her present to her then. She liked it, and I immediately took it back because I’ve entered it in the local fair, later this month. I’m still undecided about entering in the State Fair or not this year. So keep your eyes on the blog over the next month for a fair report. Mom was cool with me taking it back since it’s still way too hot to be wearing shawls, and she doesn’t find herself in overly air-conditioned places often.
Have you knit any of Helen’s shawl designs? Which was your favorite? What about other shawls? Join the conversation by leaving a comment and telling me about your favorite shawl-knitting experience.
Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!