shawl ready for this | volume two

       Oh my gosh! I just realized it’s been a year since I posted volume one of Shawl Ready for This!! I’ve knit a few (like, eight) shawls since then, so I think it’s high time for an update!

I’ve already blogged about Winter Honey, but the rest haven’t received much attention! I’ll start with my most recent finished shawl, Marley by Andrea Mowry. This is one of my most enjoyable knits so far. Once you’ve mastered brioche (I swear it’s not hard! YouTube is your friend!) it’s just a four-row repeat. There’s something very fluid and meditative about brioche and I just love it. I knit this in madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Optic (MC) & Candlewick. It’s light and airy, yet so squishy and warm! This color palette isn’t my norm, but I absolutely LOVE the result!

marley5 marley4
“right side” of Marley vs “wrong side”… I love that it’s reversible!

Next up… Boho Blush also by Andrea Mowry (I want to knit every. single. one. of her shawls). I’ve never felt so compelled to knit something… this one spoke to my soul. The squishy garter, delicate lace, a smattering of brioche, and that fringe. Despite having over 500 stitches at the end, this one flew off the needles! I definitely recommend adding fringe after blocking to keep it from tangling. Knit with Plucky Knitter Oxford in Twill, this shawl is utter neutral perfection!

boho16
boho4

 Last August, my Nana gave me six squishy skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece Bluefaced Leicester Aran in three natural shades. I thought it best to knit her something since she was generous enough to bring this yarn all the way back from England! Not long after, Elkhorn by Melissa Schaschwary was released… a yarn/pattern match made in heaven! I knew it would make the perfect Christmas gift for her, and I finished with a few weeks to spare! I don’t love knitting stockinette flat (read: I don’t like purling!) but the stripes and textures kept me interested. I truly enjoyed every stitch and loved her reaction even more!

elk1

Sunwalker. Need I say more? I feel like it’s a classic. Although, I feel like all of Melanie Berg’s designs are classics. But there’s something about Sunwalker. Its generous size begs to be wrapped up in and the “pebbly seed stitch” as Melanie calls it adds texture and warmth. I absolutely adore and can’t say enough about this shawl – it is definitely my most worn so far. Oh, and I used Plucky again – this time (the sadly discontinued) Single in the colorway Betrothed. Single was a great base and is similar to Tosh Merino Light or Malabrigo Mechita. Don’t let the thought of miles of seed stitch overwhelm you – it’s totally worth it!

sun2sun5

Now for a test knit I completed for Shannon Cook last July – Compass Shawl. This is a lovely shawl, with enough texture to keep it interesting to knit. I chose two colors of madelinetosh Pure Mernio Worsted and, though I love the outcome, I would opt for something more wooly were I to knit it again. This is a very bouncy wool and I’m not sure it’s the best option. But don’t get me wrong – this is a fantastic shawl!

DSC_0984

I finished my very first test knit a year ago this weekend, Maybe, Baby Worsted by Webster Street Knittery. If I’m not mistaken, it was one of Jen’s first designs and she did a fabulous job! Although mine came out a bit small (I think I knit a little too tight), it’s a great size for wrapping like a scarf! For this one I mixed Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted and Cascade 220 – both great workhorse yarns. Jen has a few more designs now, and they’re all beautiful, so be sure to check her out!

maybe3maybe5

The final shawl to mention is Drachenfels. Everyone has knit one by now, right?! If not, you need to! I used the suggested Rosy Green Wool and can’t recommend it enough. It’s one of my favorite yarns I’ve knit with so far, and this is definitely one of my favorite and most worn shawls! The pop of orange isn’t typically “me” but the lovely ladies at Black Mountain Yarn Shop helped me choose them last summer and I am so glad I took the leap! I don’t typically knit something more than once, but another Drachenfels is in my near future!

drach1

Shew. What a post! I didn’t realize I’d knit so many shawls. And there are at least three I want to cast on… I better free up some needles!

I’d love to know what shawl patterns you’re loving! Can you ever have too many?!

Happy knitting 🙂

WIPs & FOs | plucky edition

You guys have heard of Plucky Knitter, right? If somehow you haven’t, I’m more than happy to introduce you! 🙂 Sarah and Hayley are the mastermind sisters behind this crazy colorful brand. Since I’m so close to my own sister, I totally admire the fact that these two work together so closely (without ripping each other’s hair out)! Anyway, there are several ways to purchase their amazing yarn, and it can get a little complicated. Follow this link to learn all about the process! It’s super helpful to sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss an update.

Over the past year or so, I have purchased yarn through several of their blog updates, as well as on the destash thread in their Ravelry group. And I only just realized that apparently I’m on a Plucky kick, with my last 4 FOs and 2 current WIPs all knit with Plucky yarn! They offer a variety of bases, all of which I’ve enjoyed knitting with (though I have my favorites… read on for my thoughts on that)!

First up, I finally finished the gorgeous Winter Honey shawl by Andrea Mowry earlier this month. Although I blocked it a little too aggressively (the cables on the edge opened up way too much), I am completely smitten with it! For this one, I used their 100% Merino base Trusty in the shade Penny Candy; I purchased 3 skeins from a blog update specifically for this pattern. As you can see, this color did not disappoint!

honey5
Trusty is a fabulous base that’s, well, trusty 😉 It’s a workhorse yarn that I’ve used before for hats and another shawl. I have no doubt it’d make a great sweater, too!
honey10Trusty is also one of Plucky’s most affordable bases, which is often a consideration for me. I highly recommend checking it out! See my project page for more photos & info.

My next FO is the Duotone Cowl by Orange Flower Yarn. I ordered a skein of Cozy in the colorway Skies of November, a rich medium blue. A few weeks later, I ordered a mystery skein and, as fate would have it, a skein of Cozy showed up! And in a colorway I happened to love (it’s a “One Hit Wonder,” but is very similar to Small Batch 021). It didn’t take me long to find this sweet cowl in my favorites & cast on! It only took me 3 days to finish this baby and I just love it. Cozy, a Merino/Baby Camel blend, worked up really well and is already one of my favorite bases!
IMAG3828

Next are two hats that I’m (surprise, surprise) head over heels for!

Holt by Alicia Plummer knit up in just 2 days and is one of my new favorite hat patterns. I ordered a skein of Loch on Traveler Aran from Reserve and had to cast on ASAP. Since I’d been wanting to knit this hat for a while, it was an easy match! I think this hat would be even better in a “woolier” yarn, but Traveler, a blend of Merino, Silk & Yak, is a dream to work with! It relaxed a bit more than I intended with blocking (I need to work on my aggression apparently!), but Holt is beautifully slouchy & I love the greenish-gray hue of Loch!

loch1

My last recent FO is Chevy by Andrea Mowry, knit for my sister in her favorite color 🙂

I purchased this skein from a fellow Plucky addict on their destash thread, specifically for the shade of blue – Paris is Always a Good Idea. This one is on the Primo Aran base, which (I must admit) is not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s Merino/Cashmere/Nylon and is great to work with, but the skein I got had a couple of knots and also some inconsistency in color (i.e. some undyed spots throughout). Once it worked up, it wasn’t super obvious, and my sister loves it, which was the whole point!
chevy3
I love this pattern, just like everything Andrea does! I’m already diving head first into the stash to knit my own (I’m thinking Traveler Aran for this one too).
chevy7

As for WIPs, I currently have two… both Plucky!

Boho Blush by Andrea Mowry is coming along nicely in Oxford 1.0 in Twill, which is a beautiful light grey on this base. I just have 2.5 sections & the fringe to go… I can’t wait to wrap this around me!

I’m also using the leftover Cozy to make my second Rudbeckia Hat (again, by Andrea Mowry!) – I gave the first to my sister, but have wanted my own for a while. It’s working up nicely, though I’m not sure it’s the perfect yarn/pattern match.

I’m always looking to try new Plucky! What’s your favorite base?!

WIPs & FOs | volume one

      I’ve been really trying to blog more (even if nobody reads it, hah!) and want to start writing about what’s finished, what’s on me needles, and what’s up next!

I’m calling it “WIPs and FOs,” but I’m actually going to start with an FO – because I’m so relieved to have finished my husband’s sweater! *Cries tears of joy*

sawyer7
I started Sawyer on January 1, aiming to have it completed for his birthday on the 29th. Well… January 29th came and went sans sweater. Don’t worry, I got him a gift (side note: have you heard of the Teaze? That’s what I got him & he loves it!) but I definitely let myself down. After a year of cranking out something new each week, it was really hard to focus on one thing. I think I went a whole week without knitting on it; it was exhausting. I’ve enjoyed knitting different types of sweaters, but this one was just a beast. It was my first time using a tubular cast on (which I had to do four times), first set in sleeves, first button band… yeah. I was over it. I just want to knit top-down raglans forever. Hah! Just kidding. I’ll eventually knit another seamed sweater, but… I’m not itching to cast on just yet.

sawyer1sawyer2

I had a bunch of Cascade 220 on hand for a shawl that never materialized and the color, Japanese Maple, is right up his alley. Yay for not having to buy yarn!

My one big hangup was this: the designer uses a slipped garter selvedge (SGS) instead of a regular stockinette selvedge. Since I haven’t knit that many sweaters, I just went with the pattern. Big mistake. This thing was a total pain to seam! I googled, looked on YouTube, and read through all the projects for the pattern and, yep, there’s no easy way to seam it. I think I ended up using some version of the Bickford Seam and it looks okay, but it could definitely be improved. I learned my lesson and from now on, it’s a stockinette selvedge so I can mattress stitch! (Because mattress stitch is amazing.)

sawyer3sawyer4

Anyway! I finally finished it on Valentine’s Day! <3 All in all, it took me a month and a half, which isn’t all that bad, and I think he really likes it!

Another recent FO is Kobuk by Caitlin Hunter. I knit this holding a strand of DK (Brooklyn Tweed Arbor) with a strand of laceweight mohair (Lana Grossa Silkhair) as Caitlin suggests. I love the soft halo that this combo lends to the hat! My super talented friend Katy of Katy Sergent Photography took these photos and, I’ll be honest, I want her to take all my FO photos from now on! She’s awesome! yellowhathike-9606 yellowhathike-9601

This was my first time knitting bobbles and they’re so fun! Mine weren’t quite as defined as I would’ve liked and I’m not sure if it was the yarn or my inexperience. I love the twisted rib and seed stitch “mountains” and… well, everything about this hat! The perfectly fluffy pom is from knitcoastshop on Etsy & it’s just as amazing in person! (More photos on my project page!)

yellowhathike-9593 (1) yellowhathike-9583

In WIP news… things are slow going on my Winter Honey shawl, which I started in December. It takes me a good hour to get through 4 rows and I’m maybe halfway finished. Cabling without a cable needle makes things go much faster, but progress is still sluggish. With no deadline, this one could take a couple more months!

My semi-long-term goal (is that a thing?) is to finish up (or frog) all my WIPs and get my needles organized again. I swear, I can’t keep track of needles and cables to save my life. Hopefully those projects will be popping up here as FOs this year!

I’d love to hear what you’re working on or recently finished!

Warmest Wishes,

Andrea

braddock

Not only did I get to test Braddock, a new hat pattern from Christina Danaee of Appalachian Knits, but I also got to hike and hang out with my friend Katy of Katy Sergent Photography! She was trying out a new lens and I was lucky enough to be her guinea pig! The photos my husband so graciously takes for me aren’t too shabby, but these are far superior to my normal FO pics! Thanks again for the incredible photos, Katy!

As irritated as I am that it was 70 degrees in February… I’m so glad I got the opportunity to make this hike and take in some killer views at the end!

brownhathike-9655
brownhathike-9656

The photos pretty much speak for themselves (i.e. this hat is awesome!), but here are a few thoughts!

brownhathike-9664
brownhathike-9658

This was my first long-tail tubular cast on in the round and, though mine is not perfect, I think it makes a beautiful edge. It’s definitely worth the extra effort!

brownhathike-9693
brownhathike-9643

Christina’s sample has a nice folded brim. I knit it as written and blocked pretty aggressively, but, for me, I like it better worn unfolded and slightly slouchy. When folded, it was just a bit short for my personal taste! If I were to knit again and wanted a folded brim, I would do one more repeat of the chart before beginning the decreases.

brownhathike-9666 brownhathike-9642

Oh, I have to mention the yarn! Oh. my gosh. this yarn. swoon. It’s Magpie Fibers Swanky DK in the colorway Harpoon. Not only is it a pleasure to knit with and wear, but the stitch definition is insane. There’s also plenty of yarn left for a nice pom pom, but I opted to not add one this time (I just love it so much without)! Christina picked the perfect yarn for this hat! It will most definitely not be my last skein. PS – I picked it up in my favorite yarn shop ever Black Mountain Yarn Shop <3

brownhathike-9699
brownhathike-9733

Being a girl from the Appalachian region myself, I just love what Christina and her friend Jennifer are doing with this collection. I feel like each design is a nod to the beautiful mountains that we call home. This was a quick knit and I would love to make one (or two, or three…) more for friends! Go grab you a copy… I promise you won’t be disappointed!

landslide hat | take two

It’s been a year since I first knit Shannon Cook’s Landslide Hat! The first time around (blogged here), I totally failed by knitting it in worsted weight instead of the required bulky (pictured below).

landslide3 landslide4

Honestly, it shouldn’t have even worked, but it turned out to be not-so-terrible. I remember this being the first knit I ever blocked, ever! And it changed my life 😉

Thankfully, I learned my lesson (that is, double check your yarn weight before you cast on), and decided to knit it again with an appropriate yarn! My husband gave me 4 beautiful skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Quarry for Christmas and I could hardly wait to cast on! I chose the 2 skeins in the colorway Slate for the Landslide Hat and Mitts.

slide1

This time around, it turned out absolutely perfect! I made no mods and it’s a great fit.

slide4

I just love how plump those cables look in Quarry.

slide5

Quick note: This yarn will pull apart in your hands. I didn’t believe what I read about it, but because of its structure, it is really so easy to break. So know if you use this yarn: knit very gently! The resulting fabric is light, airy, and extremely warm.

slide6

I adore this pattern and all of Shannon’s work! I’m looking forward to casting on the Landslide Mitts before spring rolls around!