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I’ve made another Hitchhiker, and I seriously, seriously doubt it will be my last. These things are addictive, I swear. This one was for a WWFY swap that was NOT with AnnaMarie. I blame the yarn fumes. (Yes, I only saw yarn pictures and therefore couldn’t have been affected by the fumes; shut up, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

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Pattern: Hitchhiker by Martina Behm
Yarn: Wollmeise Twin in Maus Jung
Needles: US 3/3.25 mm Addis
Mods: None (although I got fewer points than the pattern called for)

You read the yarn line right, folks, I got to use Wollmeise for this shawl. And I got another skein of Wollmeise in return, in a totally gorgeous teal. I’m a sucker for teal. Anyway, it was an interesting experience. I already had the pattern memorized from the last Hitchhiker I made, so I was free to totally concentrate on the yarn while I was knitting. I don’t know if it’s true for all the Wollmeise yarns or just this base, but the super tight twist made it feel kind of… crunchy? Like, it’s a very crisp yarn. Not sure I’m describing it all that well, but I did like it. It’s a very cottony feeling wool, which I know some people don’t like, but I do. It would make amazing socks–very hard wearing. And out of 150g, you could get two pairs, or at least I could.

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The shawl has long since been returned to its rightful owner, but as I said, I doubt this will be the last Hitchhiker I make. It will certainly not be the last Martina Behm pattern I use. I think I’d like to make Leftie at some point (who knows when). I would definitely recommend Martina Behm’s patterns, by the way. Simple, well-written, and clear. But you don’t have to take my work for it.

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Another two-fer! Posting two FOs at a time lets me catch up to my current knitting a lot more quickly. The two for today are two shawls. Different patterns, same yarn. A study in stash busting.

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Pattern: All the Shades of Truth by Laura Aylor
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Rain Water, Morning Dove, Charcoal, Fog, and Bloomsbury
Needles: US 5/3.75mm
Mods: I left out a section on one of the ends because I put one on the wrong side and there would be too much of one color next to each other if I left it in. Less a mod than a mistake, but we’ll call it a design feature.

This shawl is knit entirely in garter stitch, which made for almost concentration-free knitting. I did have to stop and count rows every so often and binding off those long sections was a bear, but all in all, I was free to occupy my mind with other tasks while I made this shawl. I actually blocked this one, soaked it in water and everything. It actually made a huge difference–everything opened up and the shawl got a lot more drapey. It’s not surprise to me that blocking can totally change a finished object, but still. Wow.

I mostly enjoyed making this shawl and I do like the color blocking, but I probably wouldn’t make it again. Nothing against the shawl, there are just too many other things to knit.

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Pattern: Hitchhiker by Martina Behm
Yarn: Same as above, MadTosh light
Needles: US 5/3.75mm
Mods: none

This shawl is also knit in garter stitch and uses the exact same yarn in the exact same colors. After finishing ATSOT, I found I had about 150g leftover, about 75 in one color (Rainwater, I believe) and 75 in varying amounts of all the other colors. Aha! thought I. STRIPES. As it happens, I got this pattern to make this shawl for someone else on WWFY and, in my impatience to start it plus my desire to use up the scraps as fast as possible so they wouldn’t languish in the stash, I cast on one for myself before I got the yarn for the other one.

I properly blocked this one as well, long soak and all. In addition to opening up the fabric and adding drape, this shawl also grew a whole lot. Before blocking, the long side of the shawl was about the length of my wingspan. After blocking, it was at least a foot longer. Blocking, kids. It’s magical.

This one is crochet! And it’s for meeeeeeee or maybe that nebulous gift bin I keep talking about since it sort of makes me look huge on top. Anyway.

Pattern: Cold Shoulders from the Stitch ‘N Bitch crochet book
Yarn: Trendsetter Repunzel, four skeins
Hook: I/5.5 and K/6.5, the former for the yoke and the latter for the shells
Mods: I did some extra shell rows and some extra collar rows. I also omitted the pompoms.

According to the Ravelry stash entry, I bought the yarn for this in October 2012. I got it at Tuesday Morning shortly after I moved up to DC. The intent, I think, was to make a sweater or a tutu, but I don’t think I would have had enough for that, even on huge needles, so capelet it is. I love a good capelet. I wear my Red Riding Hood capelet all the time and I keep meaning to make another similar one, perhaps sans hood. I’m not sure how keen I am on this one (the mohair halo makes me look huge and it’s not the softest yarn ever). Right now it’s keeping Elizabeth warm, which is a fine place for it to stay until I figure out if I want to keep it or not. It looks excellent on Elizabeth, as everything does, and decidedly less so on me. Hrmph.

I did really like making it though. Crochet was the first craft I learned, the thing that started this whole crazy rabbit hole to several looms, a soon-to-be tax-refund-funded new spinning wheel, and literally thousands of dollars spent on yarn, and I don’t do it nearly enough. Mostly because I generally prefer knitting, as I don’t have to look at it to do it, unlike crochet, where if I don’t look, I end up poking the hook somewhere weird and not the next stitch, but still. There are some applications where crochet really shines, and I should seek out more of them. (For one thing, crochet is excellent for quickly working through what some (not me) would argue is a slightly ridiculous yarn stash).

Crochet was my entry to crafts, and it will always be my first love. Maybe not my truest, but always my longest. Maybe I’ll start another granny square blanket. I do love a good granny square.

Sooo since it’s been a little while, here’s a brief update for those wondering how Katsu went: We got a foot of snow Wednesday night, and it was COMPLETELY TERRIBLE. I had to dig my car out, and neither Joe nor I owns a snow shovel, so that was a mess. I had to use a plastic bowl. At least until one of my (super nice neighbors) lent me their shovel. Ugh. I did make it to Katsu on time though. I had a ton of fun, although some sleep/health issues prevented me from staying as long as I might have liked. But I didn’t get stranded, so that was good. I once again failed to take any pictures because I’m terrible like that, but one of these days, I’ll show off the parts of one of the cosplays I put together.

Today though, there’s a shawl. A big-ass shawl as part of my ongoing swap with AnnaMarie. Ravelry tells me I actually finished this shawl on February 2, almost a month ago. Needless to say, I’m a bit behind in my posting. Anyway.

Pattern: A Sensible Shawl from the fall 2012 Jane Austen Knits
Yarn: JulieSpins MCN 180 Aran, two skeins in Silver Sugarplum, two in Silver Cherry Blossom, and one in Cinder.
Needles: US 8/5mm
Mods: None, knit as written

Let me tell y’all, when I say I used five skeins of yarn, I mean I used EVERY INCH of five skeins of yarn. It took some careful finagling, but it worked out perfectly. The shawl is knit sideways, end to end, so I had to find the middle of the grey skein, knit the increases exactly to that point, and then begin decreases. It was a little hairy, especially at the end, when I mysteriously ran out of yarn and had to rip back a couple of inches at the cast on icord and tab and knit the beginning and the end simultaneously to get enough length. It was a process.

The FO came out really nice though. The yarn is SUPER squishy and dense and soft, so that helps. Plus it’s HUGE. It’s basically a blanket, which made it nice and toasty warm to knit on. Let’s be real–I’m not going to knit another one, probably. But I WANT ONE. Which means I might knit something similar. In a less nice yarn, probably, because my budget is such that lovely JulieSpins MCN is SO WAY OUT OF IT, but I do have some nice stuff.

I have something like six FOs to show off in the next couple of weeks. One of these days I swear I’ll catch up and post something other than a constant FO train. I promise. Well, I promise to try at any rate.

Look, y’all. In my defense, I was out of town for two of the four weeks I didn’t post anything. Internet was spotty and time to post was even spottier (my mother, with whom I went on the trip, along with my younger brother, is sort of a nut about planning and doing things on our biannual trips to Florida to visit the grandparents). I did do a fair amount of knitting (what else are you going to do in an hour wait for Space Mountain?), which I can post over the next week or so. Today’s post is a shawl I finished on December 15 and apparently never got around posting about. Anyway.

Pattern: Catkin
Yarn: Cephalopod Skinny Bugga in Hermit Crab and Crown of Thorns Starfish
Needles: US 4/3.5 Knit Picks Options circular
Mods: None, knit as written

I made this for AnnaMarie as part of a swap. Ravelry tells me it took over a month to knit, but I’m sure I was working on other things besides. Although, to be fair, it does use almost two entire skeins of fingering weight yarn as it is (apparently) a square shawl with a neck hole in the middle. You can tell that it’s supposed to be square shaped by looking at people’s blocking pictures (or when you block the one you made, I guess). Maybe you can tell from the other pictures too, but spatial awareness and reasoning has never really been my strong suit.

I am highly doubtful I’ll knit this pattern again for myself, but it is quite lovely and I would like to have one. There are a whole host of two- or three-color shawls I’d like to have/make (Faberge, Catkin, Color Affection), but who knows when I would get to them. I certainly have plenty of shawls and scarves at the moment. (We won’t talk about how I just put up a WWFY post for a couple of big circular shawls.)

Catkin was pretty fun to make though. The different sections break it up so you never get bored, and once you get the hang of them, each section is pretty intuitive. Bugga, skinny or otherwise, was a delight to work with, as always. Such excellent colors that get in those yarns. And so soft.

If I ever do make one for myself, I’ll probably wear it delightfully sideways as in the picture above. It’s a little quirky, like me. I would like to knit another cape of some sort though as my other one gets plenty of wear. I’m pretty sure “cape” and “capelet” are just nicer ways of saying “poncho” for people who were scarred by the 70s, but that’s okay. They’re warm and comfortable and they stay where you bloody put them (I’m looking at you, shawls).

Let’s see. In fandom watching news, I have finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist (original and Brotherhood), and I’m pretty sure I never told you I’d started. I’m planning to do a sort of anime binge watch before Katsucon in February so I can get a lot more things. Previously I went to anime conventions cause they’re a fun excuse to dress up in costume (from any genre, really; I’ve seen cosplayers do everything from Anastasia to Star Trek to the Ancient Aliens guy) and be a big nerd in a group of big nerds. But I’m gonna watch some anime this go round so I get the full anime con experience. Next up on the list is Cowboy Bebop, which used to be on Cartoon Network all the time when I was in high school but I have never actually seen. Feel free to leave suggestions for others to add to the list. So far I’ve got Cowboy Bebop, Black Butler, Attack on Titan, and Inuyasha. And maybe Gundam Wing.

Anyway, in other news, I am still apartment hunting. I finally finished reading I Jedi, so Joe and I are going to move on to the Hand of Thrawn books soon. Oh, and you should all go check out the Harry Potter Medicinal Re-Read, wherein a bunch of people are re-reading the Harry Potter books and posting about their thoughts and feelings. My friend Kevin (of Made-of-Fail, for the curious) is a part, and I’ve done some editing for his posts. It’s a super fun project and a lovely, thought-provoking, and nostalgic read.

I made a scarf! I’m not really sure where I found the time to knit 400 yards between all the sharks and stuff for AnnaMarie, but I guess I managed it.

Pattern: None–it’s a triangle. I did use a garter tab cast on though
Yarn: Berocco Ultra Alpaca, two skeins
Needles: US 10.5/6.5mm

Now, when I say I used two skeins, I mean I used two full skeins. I didn’t want any leftovers, so I kept a careful eye on how much I used. When I was winding the second skein, there was a break in the yarn that resulted in a second ball. I eyeballed it, decided it was probably enough for the yo row and garter border, and resolved to knit in pattern until I got there. As it turned out, that little ball was exactly the right amount. I had less than a yard of yarn left at the end.

As you might well imagine, two full 100g skeins makes for a good sized shawl. It’s kind of hard to tell in the picture, the wingspan is about five feet. It’s large enough to wrap around myself or tie like a shrug. I love it.

The yarn, incidentally, is fabulous. Super soft and warm. Fairly sheddy during the knitting process, but I’ve lived with cats (four cats, to be precise), so shedding doesn’t bother me at all. And it’s not as bad as the Plymouth Alpaca Primo I’ve worked with before. Ultra Alpaca is a bit out of my price range (seeing as my price range is about $25 for a sweater tops, which is usually just recycled yarn and the occasional Elann bag) and I think it’d be a bit warm for a sweater (at least where I live now), but I bet it would make a super hat. And it does make a lovely scarf/shawl).

Having cast this off, I have hella startitus and I want to make all the things, but I need to power through some shark mittens first. I’m grateful for the income, but still. I added it up the other day, and it turns out that I’ve knit 108 pairs of shark mittens since I started selling them. And that’s just sharks–there are also a couple of pairs of dinos that I’ve made. 108 pairs. That number just blows my mind.

Sooo I think we can safely say posting every day isn’t for me. Anyway. No new finished objects today, but I do have a bunch of stuff on the needles! Here’s a smattering:

Socks! I’m almost through the gusset decreases on the first one. The yarn is Wild Hare Pinnacle Sock in “Peacock”, and it is absolutely stunning. The colors are SO PRETTY. Unfortunately, the sock is kind of on the back burner thanks to everything else.

Big blue triangle shawl! The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I got two skeins of it from Joe for my birthday last year, and I think it’ll be perfect as a gigantic triangle shawl. I’m not getting to work on it as much as I’d like though.

Catkin! I’m a bit further along than this, although not much. It’s in Skinny Bugga and it’s for AnnaMarie as part of a WWFY swap. I actually really enjoy working on this when I get the chance.

Alas, the thing that’s sucking up the majority of my knitting time is something I don’t have pictures of: shark mittens. There ARE pictures of shark mittens (on my patterns page and up in the header, and that’s just on the blog). I have to do teeth on a pair of adult smalls I just finished and I’m about a centimeter past the thumb divide (working two-at-a-time) on a pair of adult larges. And then I have a pair of child smalls to do. I need the money, especially with my upcoming move, but still. Sharks forever.

So moving: I’m doing it. Ideally in January (I say ideally, but what I mean is I’m pretty sure I’ll be evicted from my current place then soooo). I don’t have a place picked out yet (there are some issues), but I have been looking. There’s a place that I think would work out really well, but I have to discuss it with Joe. I tell you, apartment hunting is soul-sucking. Not as much as job hunting (which I’ve been doing as well), but still. Being an adult sucks, you guys. It really sucks.

I finished another project for Anna-Marie of Corgi Hill Farm. I’m pretty chuffed with it and I’m kind of sad to be sending it away:

Pattern: Faberge by Laura Aylor
Yarn: Plymouth Alpaca Prima, about 2/3 a skein of the blue and almost a full skein of the grey
Needles: US 6/4 mm
Mods: None, knit as written

So this shawl? Super mega fun to knit. You start with the ruffle because, as the designer correctly notes, that way you get the boring part out of the way while you’re still excited about knitting it. You guys, this is 110 percent accurate. The ruffle rows seem to go on FOREVER, but once they’re (finally) done, it’s smooth cruising all the way. The overlay section is super fun (two rows out of six you’re only knitting about half the stitches per row) and the eyelet section has the benefit of getting smaller and smaller as you go. AMAZING.

I am definitely 100 percent knitting one of these for me. I have no idea what yarn I’ll use (something bright and colorful. I’m thinking a solid and a variegated), but it’s happening. The yarn I used for this one is super fuzzy and hairy and I had alpaca hairs all over everything, so I’d definitely like to use a smoother yarn. That being said, the alpaca in this one drapes really nicely.

When I started this one, I was worried the overlay color wouldn’t show up very well on the grey background. As you can see, there was no need to worry and the pattern is perfectly clear, even from a bit of a distance. I’d still like more contrast in mine, but the shawl is quite pretty either way.

It’s kind of difficult to tell from these pictures, but it’s also pretty big. The wingspan is about five feet (well, it’s my wingspan almost exactly and I’m just over five feet tall, so I extrapolated). It’s definitely big enough to tie behind one’s back shrug style, as I often wear my larger shawls. Despite this, it was a pretty quick knit–I made the whole thing in just over a week.

I’m not sure when I’ll get making my own because, as I said last time, it’s shark season and much of my knitting time will be spent there. But it’s definitely on the list. Maybe I’ll make it in some recycled cashmere….

I have been really bad about blogging, y’all. Not that I haven’t been making stuff–cause I definitely have. I’ve been super busy though. This past weekend was Anime USA, an anime convention in DC that I help with. It was a ton of fun, I cosplayed Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket and Amy Pond from Doctor Who and took absolutely no pictures.

Anyway, I finished a thing.

Pattern: Balm to the Soul Shawlette
Yarn: Art Yarns Cashmere Sock, two skeins
Needles: US 6/4 mm
Mods: I added an extra texture repeat

I made this for a WWFY swap for CorgiHillFarms. She’s a dyer and you should go buy her stuff because it is absolutely stunning. It is neither the first nor last thing I’ll be making for her cause she’s completely awesome to work with.

The shawl was super fun to make. Just the right amount of texture and simplicity. I’ll probably make one for myself (though a LOT bigger. This thing is TINY). The yarn was lovely as well–mostly cashmere with some wool and nylon. It’s pretty splitty though. There’s a two ply that’s tightly plied and then there are two other plies which aren’t twisted at all, either to each other or to the whole yarn. I have tons of experience knitting with loosely plied yarn (holla, recycled sweater yarn), but if you were used to a tight ply, it would be super annoying.

In life news: You guys, having a full time job makes finding time for photos and blogging HARD. And I’m not keen on it. I know this is what being an adult is like and blah blah blah whine, but still. In fandom news, I’m sort of between shows at the moment. I recently (last week) finished watching through the Magic School Bus, which was AWESOME and TOTALLY WORTH IT. And now I want to cosplay Ms. Frizzle. Have the red wig I can style; I just need to make a dress and knit a Liz. The latter will be happening regardless and the former just needs some crazy printed quilting cotton from JoAnn’s. It’s a plan.

I made a thing:

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Pattern: Lacy Vines, a test knit. I’ll edit with a link when the pattern is up.
Yarn: Recycled wool, hand-dyed by me with Kool Aid
Needles: US 8/5mm
Mods: None, though I did use a provisional cast on.

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It was supposed to be a scarf but mine came out rather wide and shortish so it’s more of a shawl. I really do like it. I like it (and you all) so much that I suffered 90 degree (F) temperatures to snap an action shot:

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The pattern was super fun to knit and when it goes up, you should all go knit it. It works up super fast in heavy yarn and there are lots of dropped stitches, which is super fun. My yarn was really sticky so I had to tug the dropped stitches all the way down, but it’s lovely nonetheless.

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This is a pattern that really benefits from a wet block. When I had finished one half (it’s knitted in two parts and seamed in the middle unless you cast on provisionally, which I did) I steam blocked it to see how it came out, and it’s definitely more open and airy after a good strong wet block than it was with a steam.

I am currently down to two projects on the needles (we won’t talk about the scarf in hibernation): a sweater, which is a design I’ve been showing you, and some TARDIS socks, about which I am totally thrilled.

And one final note about the Ravelympics kerfuffle. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll know my opinions on the matter (and also that I’ve started watching STTNG). I’m knitting a sweater for the Ravelympics. Because that’s what it is and that’s what I’m calling it and the USOC can suck it. It’s a challenge for me and just because I didn’t sweat, I did train and it is an accomplishment.

The Ravelympics are in the spirit of international cooperation, something the USOC should know and care about it. When you piss off knitters, we band together, stronger, and speak out for ourselves. The Ravelympics is happening (though I’ll not be watching the Olympics after this PR disaster) and I, for one, will not be silenced.

Also, Twitter Knitters are fabulous. I love the community of knitters on the internet.