Sunday, May 07, 2017

Twelve...and counting...

That's how many years I've been writing this blog. Whoosh!! My actual blogiversary was yesterday, May 6, and I began this exercise way way back in 2005. Check the archives - that's one heckuva lot of posts! 1,727 to be precise (including this one). Who knew I had that much babbling to do? And I'm not giving up yet either, even if some say that blogs are on their way out. (I enjoy reading blogs so I disagree strongly.) Glad you are all still hanging in there for the ride! Big hugs!!!

So what's been happening in old damselfly's pond? I finished the Spring Thawl!(I accidentally typed it that way and decided it would stick.)

The yarn is Jaggerspun Zephyr wool/silk that was originally "vanilla" and I dyed it in marigold and coreopsis with an iron modifier to get that soft olive green. The pattern is Spring Thaw Shawl a free pattern on Ravelry by Cheri McEwen. I had some issues with this including a fairly easy to spot error in the edging chart. The designer chose to format her PDF in landscape mode that wouldn't print out properly for me until I loaded it into Adobe Reader on my big desktop computer. It was annoying to have 2 blank pages with just the page numbers on them (waste of paper!) so I eliminated them. And when I tried to read the pattern in the GoodReader app on my iPad, the pages that should have been vertical kept turning horizontal. Grrrr... Just make your document in portrait orientation already! But sometimes you get what you pay for, right? I just like potential knitters of this pattern to be aware of the pitfalls.

In spite of all that it's quite a nice little shawl. It's kind of angel-wing shaped, deeper rather than wide. The body chart was easy to memorise and I decided to substitute s2k1p (centred double decrease) instead of the s1k2p (right slanted decrease) throughout. The edging was a bit more problematical since the designer confusingly gave several options for it. I chose to do the "intermediate edging" chart which had the aforementioned error and got lost a few times in the lacey diamonds part. Because they lacked a centre "spine" and the left and right decreases zigzagged it was hard to automatically know where to shift. And of course I was trying to do something else at the same time! Doh. In fact I thought I'd ended up screwing it up entirely when I was done but on closer inspection realised that I did it correctly in spite of myself. Heh. Others who've knit this shawl had several different ways to block it which give different effects. When I blocked mine I just picked up the tips of the diamonds, leaving the "tulip" shapes to curve inward except for the central point which I pinned out separately. I curved the top edge because that seemed to be what it wanted to do rather than straight:

This photo though not great will still be helpful in case I can't remember what I did next time I wash and block this shawl. I really like the pea soup colour and it works with a surprising number of outfits. The fine wool/silk yarn is lightweight but surprisingly warm and holds it's blocking well. I love Zephyr for delicate shawls.

Now I just have one thing on the needles - the Sunny James Pullover. It's coming along. I'm cruising down the body adding the increases for the swing shaping every 9 rounds. I only just broke into the second ball. Man, this Cloudborn Highland Fingering has incredible length, nearly 500 yards per 100g skein! I love that. Interestingly this Oatmeal Heather shade that I dyed in rhubarb root seems slightly thicker than the Espresso Heather that I used for the Isabel sweater. I think it's the process of rinsing/dyeing/rinsing that fulled it a little and allowed it to puff up. Hopefully I haven't lost too much yardage because I only have 3 skeins to finish this knit. There is no option of matching the original colour again. I plan to use the 3rd skein to finish the neckline and knit the sleeves before I join it in to complete the hem. That way I know I'll have enough yarn and the body can be as long as I want or as the last skein holds out. I'm trying to hold off casting on for another project quite yet, but as this sweater gets larger it also gets less portable so more socks may be in my near future.

Moving right along. I'm now considering my sewing queue. Finally! And I'm totally confused. I've been trying to match patterns with fabrics - again - and wondering why I purchased each one. I think my tastes or needs or something has shifted again and I just can't decide what to do. I have a gazillion patterns for shirts and jackets (mostly Tiltons) that aren't appealing to me at the moment. I have a dress that I would love to make but not the right fabric for it. I have funky pants and skirts patterns but all I wear these days are my TNT "yoga" pants. And I want many more sleeveless overlayers like my jumpers, pinafores, apron dresses or whatever you'd like to call them.

I also have the Hey June Lane T-Shirt pattern that I'm dying to turn into another TNT. It has raglan sleeves and the designer has updated the fit and included an actual FBA pattern piece as well as a hoodie option. Since raglan sweaters fit my narrow sloping shoulders very well, I'm hoping that this t-shirt will too. I can envision a whole wardrobe of hacks! We shall see. I don't have all that many suitable knit fabrics in the stash right now but I refuse to go shopping again until I use up some of this:

And that's not even all of the fabric I own. Some of these have been in the stash for-evah! Like decades. And now for several of them I'm wondering WTF was I thinking? However, it would please me to use them in some way. Most of them had a plan when I bought them but that plan has morphed about 17 times since then. My tastes and style always shift and change, not to mention my swiftly aging body. The older I get the more I want to be both comfortable and quintessentially me. I don't have any need for fancy clothes and I have no patience for anything that doesn't stay put or gets in my way. I don't mind hand-washing delicate items but I won't dry-clean anything ever. Lately I'm finding myself annoyed with the synthetic fabrics that pill and cling with static and feel sweaty. However I still have a few polyesters in those piles and I'm going to have to decide if they are worth using or not. And if not, what do I do with them? Argh. Too many decisions.

Meanwhile I need to start somewhere. I'm making lists in OneNote. Unfortunately I keep changing them! But I really need some new clothes and I need them before the end of June. Perhaps I should take my own advice? Long ago, back when my daughter was an extremely messy teenager I used to get her to just start in one corner to clean her room. Just pick a spot. By the time you're partway into it, you've (hopefully) gained enough momentum to keep going. Gee, I guess there's a reason why she now hires an occasional cleaning lady? Ahem.


Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Hey Sista! Welcome to my world. Well, not so much the growing, and spinning and dying. Nor the knitting or weaving. But, the massive fabric stash that doesn't match the growing pile of patterns...well, now you're talking my language. You'll sort it out...maybe with a trip to Dressew?

Louisa said...

Noooo!!!! No more fabric until some of these pieces are used up! And I'm also on a pattern diet since I have a huge pile that I've never even used. Sigh. The good news is that I've paired most of that fabric with patterns so now I just have to buckle down and cut and sew. Yay!

On the other hand, a trip to Dressew with you sometime? Could do!

Sharon in Surrey said...

There's something to be said about planning a Swap N Shop evening with your friends. Everyone brings items to be re-homed. I cleaned out a whole lot of craft books & magazines that way. Why would fabric exchanging be any worse??? But, I know what you're saying - when I worked outside my office I needed polyester blends that washed & dried well & looked good without fussing. I needed to be pulled together to make the boss happy. Now I'm old & I want easy to wear, soft, cozy clothes that keep me warm but not sweaty. I need my knees, kidneys & feet covered, but my arms unfettered. I prefer sweats, yoga pants & soft cottons or light knits. No more polyester for me!!! Someone somewhere will treasure your old stash - donate to the Thrift store of your choice.

Louisa said...

I hear ya on the comfort level, Sharon! If anything doesn't feel right it's going to get donated. However my tolerance level is pretty high. So far the only thing I'm not happy with is the nylon wicking rib that I thought would make good pants. Not. At least it was bargain priced so I don't feel bad if I get rid of it.

Heather said...

Congrats on your 12th anniversary! I always admire your productivity and creativity and your fashion sense!

Louisa said...

Thank you, Heather! I'm not nearly as productive as I'd like to be. Everything takes so long to finish. But that's OK. I can't keep up with my ideas anyhow!