This week, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Joan from Wool Free and Lovin’ Knit, someone I’ve “known” for many years through the knitting blog world but finally got to meet in real life.  We met at Imagiknit, our local yarn store.  I say “our” because Joan moved to San Francisco from the East Coast awhile back.  Here we are in Imagiknit’s enormous room devoted entirely to non-wool yarns.  It’s tailor made for Joan because, as you might guess from her blog name, she’s got a big-time wool allergy:

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Joan is wearing her gorgeous Sothia shawl, one of the many beautiful wool-free knits she’s made.  I especially love her impeccably made toys and I copied these booties after seeing her version.  When we met, Joan (a budding designer like me) told me that Craftsy has a great program for selling patterns so I went right home and uploaded a few of mine. I also did a little shopping while we were together — I bought some Cascade 220 for the design project I’ve been noodling about for months and months.  It’s a collection (!) of hats.  I’ll be making them for the next couple of weeks until my friend Sarah is ready to start our personal KAL of the Grown-Up Hoodie, a pattern we both bought at Stitches this year.  She’s waiting for her yarn to arrive.  The design collection has a fall theme so my goal is to have it finished by mid-August.

 

I finished the Daybreak shawl.  I used Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in off white and the orchard colorway.

It’s a brilliant yet simple pattern with a lovely result.  Overall, I’m happy with it, but I wish the purple was less bright in the orchard colorway.  (I was going for a more muted, rusty maroon look.)  For this project, I treated myself to a pair of Hiya Hiya needles in size 3.  I made the medium size.

Although I put a bunch of shawls in my queue after Stitches, this project was a good reminder of why I don’t knit a lot of shawls — they take forever and, honestly, I’m not sure I’m actually going to wear it.  (Can someone — Aim?  Sarah? — point me to some instructions for how to wear a shawl more like a scarf?)  At least I can say I’ve finally knit a Stephen West pattern.  One of these days, I’m going to knit Diana’s amazing Kaleidoscope shawl.

In other news, the second shipment from the Cookie A sock club arrived!  I love the yarn and I love the patterns and recipes.  I’ll be attempting the Nanaimo socks and the cookies/bars by the same name.

That’s Socktopus, a yarn that I hadn’t heard of before but, as I’ve since learned, gets great reviews by Ravelers.  The colorway is a gorgeous blue-ish grey, a nice neutral change from the first shipment, which was bright red.  I plan to start those socks as soon as I finish my Honey Cowl, which should be in the next couple of days.  Finally, I never got an FO shot of the granny square baby blanket I made for my friend’s third child.  However, the other day she texted me this image of her newborn:

I definitely see more of these little blankets in the future.  It was a fantastic use of scraps and a great take-along project for those times I get a hankering to do a little crochet.

I have twenty more rows to go on my Daybreak, which means I should be done in about, oh, say, twenty more years.  (Translation — it may take a couple of weeks for an FO post.)  When I hit a natural stopping point (the border), I decided to take a brief break to make these:

A guy I know just had twins — a boy and a girl — about three months ago and, sadly, the boy is already battling leukemia.  I’m hoping these hats cheer up the parents.

The Daybreak shawl is slow going.  I’m about 3 stripes away from starting the edging, but because this is a shawl that grows triangularly, each row takes longer and longer.  That said, I’m  liking how it’s looking.

Meanwhile, I’m also slowly making my way through a new book.

I’m really terrible at seaming so I’m hoping that this book will give me some tips the next time I’m facing a set-in sleeve!

I made a couple of hats — one for an infant, one for an American Girl doll — with some luxurious DK leftovers.

I’m also working on the Daybreak shawl by Stephen West, something I never would have looked twice at if I hadn’t seen a beautiful version at Stitches.

I’m using Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in undyed and the new orchard colorway. I like the project even though it’s a little slow-going.

I went to Stitches yesterday and it was awesome.  Usually I go on Friday but we were driving back from Tahoe that day so I went Saturday for the first time.  I was so worried about the crowds that I arrived nearly an hour before it opened.  It wasn’t too crowded  at first, though it was getting more packed as I was leaving.  I am usually good for 2, maybe 2.5 hours.  After that, I start to go bug-eyed.  I spent the morning with my friend Sarah (my best ever knitting student) and we had a great time.  First, the celebrities (forgive the phone camera photo quality):

Ysolda (when Sarah spotted her, she whispered excitedly, “Leslie! Ysolda!” akin to the way one might say, “Leslie! Brad Pitt!); she was gorgeous and friendly:

Alana, of Never Not Knitting, who was super self-conscious about a photo because she just had a baby but I think she looks as beautiful as always:

Miss Babs herself, who modeled for me how to wear a shawl and not look like an old lady:

Marly of the Yarn Thing podcast and Kristin Omdahl of the Knitting Daily TV show:

Steve (busy at work) of the Ready, Set, Knit podcast:

Designer Kirsten Hipsky, also of Ready, Set, Knit:

I looked for Jasmine and Gigi (The Knitmore Girls) and for Barb and Tracie (the 2 Knit Lit Chicks) but no such luck.

And now the purchases — just two.  This cool pattern wallet, which I think will come in very handy — you write on the plastic with a dry erase marker and use magnets to mark your place:

And I wanted to try the Knitters Dreamz needles:

Although I didn’t buy much, I was struck by many patterns after seeing the samples in real life and I spent nearly the entire afternoon on Ravelry!  Most notably, I now have a huge list of shawls I want to knit.  Weird, right?  Check out my Ravelry favorites because you’ll see them all there.  The tops are the Daybreak shawl, the Sand and Sea Shawlette and Damson (which Miss Babs is modeling above).  I actually already have the books containing those last two patterns.  It’s really amazing to me how you can know about a pattern for a long time but not be inspired to knit it until you see a sample in real life! 

Oh, a note about the Purl Ridge Scarf in my favorites: That’s actually not a pattern I want to knit but it’s serving as a marker for me — I got a “Purl Ridge” scarf pattern at Stitches that is really cool in bold colors (as seen in the not-great photo below) and the pattern is not on Ravelry so the one I favorited is simply a reminder to me.

Another great year – I can’t wait ’til next year!

I finished a scarf and a book!

The book, while inventive and uniquely written, did not quite live up to the hype I’d heard about it.***  The scarf, meanwhile, was a surprising pleasure to knit.  I can’t believe that a 1×1 scarf went so quickly and painlessly.  I used size 6 needles and Knit Picks Chroma in Midwinter and Fossil (a great color combo I lifted from another Raveler).  The Chroma is a super soft yarn but it’s a single ply and I fear it’s going to pill.  I had planned to use  it again one day to knit Diana’s amazing Kaleidescope shawl but that pattern is just too special to knit in a pill-y yarn.  This scarf will be the test of its durability.  Also, I had meticulously scanned the Ravelry projects with helpful notes but by the time I got to the end of this project, I had completely forgotten that people recommended a tubular bind off to prevent flaring.  Rats.  Since we know my unraveling skills leave a lot to be desired, I’m just going to leave the bind off as is.  It flares slightly but not too bad.  I would definitely make another one of these scarves.

Last week I also knit another custom knit hat, this one was from a random person on Etsy, which was really exciting.  (Funnily enough, the person requested the exact same hat I’d just made – a green hat with LIAM in white…)  Speaking of hats, I’ve had a lot of ideas bubbling up so I’m going to make a bunch and see if any are worthy of a new pattern release.

***On the topic of books, I have become slightly obsessed with reading/re-reading some classics.  First up, To Kill a Mockingbird.  I’ve also checked out several audio books (Rebecca, The Grapes of Wrath, Brideshead Revisted, among others) from the library.  If you have any suggestions of classics (in book or audio format) to add to my list, please let me know.

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