it’s a scarf!

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Turns out, if you just keep knitting…scarves do eventually come to an end!

Trying (and failing) to get the entire length of the scarf in a photo with the self-timer.

Trying (and failing) to get the entire scarf into a photo using the self-timer on my camera

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Paris’s Brioche Scarf
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in “Whale’s Road” and Fibre Company Canopy Worsted in “Quetzal”
Needles: size 4
Time to knit: 3.5 months

All done!

I’m really thrilled with how it turned out – the colors ended up working out so well together. I’m especially in love with “Whale’s Road” color on the dark side!

My daughter is also pretty thrilled with how it turned out, and begged me to let her model it for photos.

Modeling my finished brioche scarf

It does look awfully great on her!

She's such a ham when the camera is out!

She’s such a ham when the camera is out!

mama, take a picture of me laying down!

She’s begging me to knit one for her, too – I don’t have any of the light color left over, but I do have an entire skein left of the Malabrigo Rios in “Whale’s Road”, so if I can find a good contrast color for it in my stash, I’m thinking I might try to make a cowl version – it would give me a good reason to figure out how to do 2-color brioche in the round!

All folded up!

It’s like 2 scarves in one!

I learned a LOT from this project; before I started, I’d never done 2-color brioche, and had just started experimenting a bit more with double-knitting. Now both techniques are pretty automatic in my hands, and I have a much deeper understanding of the stitch mechanics and geometry, and how the two types of knitting are related to each other. So I definitely got what I wanted out of using this project as my entry in the Fruity Knitting “Scary New Technique” knitalong; and not only that, I got a beautiful, warm, squishy scarf!

So happy with my finished scarf!

This is definitely going to get a lot of wear this winter!

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this is the scarf that never ends…

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It's so long...and yet not long enough!

Yes it goes on and on my friends…

I started knitting it not knowing…

….anything about 2-color brioche, and though it took awhile to get the hang of it, at this point, it’s become basically automatic for me, which is awesome! (Ok, I gave up on making that fit the song!)

The trouble is…there’s still more scarf to knit. Because scarves? They need to be LONG. When I fold this scarf over at what I think will be the middle (because that’s where I ran out of the first skein of the light blue), it looks like I’m just over 3/4 of the way done, so I’m getting closer, but gosh, this is a good reminder of why I don’t often knit scarves…even one as beautiful and engaging to knit as this one just gets old after awhile!

I am still just madly in love with the way this “Whales Road” colorway of Malabrigo Rios looks in this scarf, especially in natural light (like when I was knitting while waiting for M’s bus to arrive).

I am still madly in love with the way that the Whales Road colorway of Malabrigo Rios looks in this pattern, though, and the promise of the beautiful, squishy scarf that will be mine once I finish keeps me going.

Getting closer...

Getting closer, but still so much more to knit!

september sewing and other fun

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Whew, what a whirlwind these last few weeks have been – the start of a new semester, followed by my daughter’s first day of second grade, plus a whole lot of evening workshops that I needed to run…it’s been a lot! But even though I’ve been too busy to make much happen on the crafty front, I do have a few new things to report. First of all, we finally set up my new sewing machine down in the basement!

my sewing area!

Not the most beautiful sewing space, but it works!

Over Labor Day weekend, I attempted to sew my very first project on the machine: a Strata Top with some double gauze that’s been hanging out in my (very small) fabric stash for quite a long time.

sewing!

My new sewing machine (a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, which I got for half price!!) is an absolute DREAM to sew with. I had thought that maybe sewing just wasn’t for me, because with my old machine, it nearly always ended in tears of frustration. But this machine?

sewing!

No tears, just smiles!! I do still have quite a bit to learn about sewing, though; I really screwed up trying to sew the sleeve hems, so I ripped those out, and then when I was doing that, realized that in attempting to create french seams, I’d inadvertently eaten up WAY more than I was supposed to in the seam allowances at the top of the shoulders. Here’s what the partially-finished top looks like on me:

Strata Top in progress

It’s maybe a bit hard to tell, but even if I *can* get the sleeves hemmed properly, the sleeves are going to be too snug; I needed that extra material at the top of the shoulder! I might try to rip things back, but given how many layers of stitches are there (e.g. the neck facing), and how fragile the double gauze is (it was hard enough to rip out the attempted sleeve hem without tearing it), I may need to just accept that this one didn’t work out. I might try something a little simpler next. I mean, I know the Strata Top is a “simple” pattern, but it’s so simple that the instructions are quite minimal, and I’m not experienced enough to roll with that..at least on something that is supposed to fit me in the end!

In these last few weeks, the only thing I’ve consistently made time for every day (other than my teaching and parenting responsibilities) is violin practice. Inspired by Hilary Hahn, I decided to start my own “100 days of practice” challenge, and I’m now on day 28! (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve been sharing a 1-minute long video excerpt from every practice session!)

I'm 28 days into my "100 days of practice" challenge!

It has been so rewarding to hold myself to making sure I do at least a little bit of practice every day. Challenging, too – I often end up practicing in the basement (right next to my sewing machine!) with the heavy practice mute after my daughter’s in bed. It’s also just a lot of fun! And I think what I’m getting from it is something that knitting has taught me well – I can’t expect to finish a project in a single sitting, but if I keep at it, sometimes just a row or two a day, eventually I will finish the project. And the same is true with practice – I can’t play the piece I’m working on right now (the Chaconne, from Bach’s d-minor Partita) all the way through, and it’s not even reasonable to expect myself to be able to do that, but if I chip away at small sections of it, with consistent practice, I really CAN learn it!

It's getting longer!

Speaking of chipping away at things piece by piece, or row by row, look how long my brioche scarf is getting! I’ve been knitting a row or two in the car on the way into work (I’m not the driver!) and occasionally I can even sneak in a row while my students are doing some in-class writing or group work! And look, it’s long enough now that I can even knit it while wearing it!

I can knit it while I wear it :)

This is going to be such a warm and a delightfully squishy scarf – and so pretty, too! Happy September, everyone!

Knitting while wearing :)

progress report!

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When I finished Tric, I promised my daughter that I’d finish a sweater for her before I started another one for me, so I’m making good on my promise. Look, I finished a sleeve!

Look, I made a sleeve!

I’m hoping I can have this Elle Melle finished in time for it to be part of the “Something to Wear” portion of M’s Fall Equinox gifts. I think that should be doable, except for how classes start next week and I’m going to be a VERY busy bee!

Now I need to remember how to make another sleeve!

I also need to remind myself how to knit the second sleeve; I know that I always have problems with this pattern if I follow the written directions as I understand them, but I think I made a few notes to myself when I knit the first sleeve, so hopefully that goes ok! Then there’s the neckband and the button bands, and then it’ll be all done. I’ve got 1 month. Can I do it? We’ll see!

The other project that I’m making good progress on is my brioche + double knit scarf. I’ve really internalized the pattern at this point, so can knit it without carrying my iPad around with me, so it comes with me in my purse pretty much everywhere I go.

It's getting longer!

It’s getting long!

I’ve still got a long way to go, because that’s just how scarves are. I’ve definitely not yet reached the halfway point, because I’m still working from the first of the two skeins of each color. I’m not in any real hurry to finish this, other than that I’d like to finish it before the end of the Fruity Knitting New Technique KAL (which is running until at least the end of September, last time I checked).

Dark side!

Dark Side

Light side!

Light Side

Every time I think it’s looking long, I wrap it around my neck and realize that nope, scarves don’t work if they’re not almost as tall as you are!

Showing off dark + light side.

So that’s what’s been on my needles since I finished Tric!

brioch’ing away!

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Once I finished Tric, I decided I’d take a wee break from knitting myself sweaters. Mostly, I was undecided about what my next one should be, but also, since the beginning of 2019 I’ve knit myself 2 new cardigans and 2 new pullovers, so it’s not like I’m running low on sweaters or anything! I also am hoping to reknit two sweaters for M in larger sizes – the Elle Melle that is already on the needles, and the Stripes! cardigan that is still just in yarn form.

But anyway, back to things that aren’t sweaters! Remember how I got all excited about brioche stitch after casting on for Paris’s Brioche Scarf? Well, I have a couple of little swatches to share, and then I have an update on the scarf. First up, a swatch in which I play around with the idea of making a reversible cardigan:

It's reversible!

It’s reversible!

I knit this with some 1-ply Beaverslide sportweight; I’ve got a cone in “Woodsmoke” and a cone in “Lake Josephine” that have been hanging out in my stash for AGES. I’d hoped to possibly use them to make this cardigan that I’m dreaming of, but the yarn seems to have gotten damaged – there were SO many breaks in it as I was knitting, and…well, it has a lot of dried spit holding it together! Spit-splicing let me make the swatch, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to make that work for an entire sweater given how extensive the damage is on these cones, so I’m not sure what to do with them.

Just a swatch: Grey side

Grey Side

Just a swatch: Blue side

Blue Side

I cast on for these using the Two-Color Italian Cast-On, then did the bottom hem in double knitting; because double knitting is much narrower than brioche over the same number of stitches, I knit stitches together when transitioning from the double knitting to the brioche, but I kept 6 stitches at the edges in double knitting, as “button bands”. I definitely need to play around with ways of creating a non-ugly buttonhole in double-knit fabric, because the one I made in this little swatch was definitely ugly. I’ll keep experimenting, though I’m not sure what yarn I would want to use if I made an actual sweater this way. Something light, because brioche & double-knitting can get quite heavy in dense yarns. I’m open to suggestions!

The other swatch I have to share is this one, which I made this morning:

Just a swatch

I still have some of that bright green Cascade 220 Superwash left over after knitting Tric, and I thought I’d play around with an idea I had earlier this summer: I want to make “legwarmer”-type things that I can wear between my tights and my boots in the winter, so that a pop of color sticks out at the top, and so that my tights don’t get chewed to pieces by the insides of my boots. And what better way to add pops of color than to use up scraps of yarn I’ve used to make sweaters? Anyway, I did a folded hem in 1×1 ribbing – I’m thinking that for the actual legwarmers, it might be nice to stick bit of elastic inside that folded hem, and I’ll make the hem a bit taller, too – and then switched to brioche stitch, which is so delightfully squishy! I experimented with decreases (since I’ve never done them before in brioche, the first set came out a little wonky, but the second pair look nicer) and did the “bottom hem” in a 1×1 rib finished with a tubular bind-off. Obviously the actual legwarmers will be knit in the round, and much longer, but I think this swatch will give me enough information to make a pair that will fit me well. Note to self: I used size 3 dpns for this!

(Also, the shape of that swatch totally reminds me of the diaper cover I knit for M when she was a baby – how scrumptiously squishy would a diaper cover made in brioche stitch be??)

Squishy squishy brioche!

So, so squishy!!

And now, as promised, an update on the scarf. I made a LOT of progress on it yesterday during our Advisor Training meeting; I’ve been advising for several years now, so while it’s useful to get all of the reminders and kind of get my brain back into “being a professor” mode, there’s not a lot of new content, and my hands get twitchy without something to do if I’m going that long listening to stuff I mostly already know. When I started yesterday, I hadn’t quite finished the first pattern repeat, and now I’m over halfway through the second one!

Dark side of Paris's Brioche Scarf, so far

It’s getting bigger!!

I was really excited to find that 2-color brioche knitting has become so automatic for me that I can do it during a meeting while still paying enough attention during the meeting to participate when needed, and I’m also really thrilled that I’m getting good at “reading” my knitting now, and don’t need to use the line-by-line instructions to know what to do in order to switch from brioche to double-knitting when needed.

Here’s the light side:

Light side

Light Side

The light side has more contrast, and it’s pretty, but I think I like the dark side better:

Dark Side

Dark Side

Aren’t those deep blues and purples gorgeous?? I wonder if I’ll get bored of the scarf before it’s finished – that has definitely happened to me in the past with scarves, because they’re just so…long. But the stitch pattern is just so engaging on this that I think I’ll get through it. We’ll see!

it’s finished!!

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I finished Tric earlier in the week, as I expected to, and was able to get it blocked and dry in time to take some photos tonight before the sun got too low in the sky! Here it is:

Finished Tric!

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Tric, by Åsa Tricosa
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, repurposed from a baby blanket I never finished
Needles: Size 6s (for stockinette and twisted rib/lace), size 3s (for garter)
Time to knit: about 4 weeks

Here’s the lovely back triangle detail: Finished Tric (back view)

I deviated somewhat from the pattern – my “faux seam” stitch is reverse stockinette, rather than garter, and I also did the same thing down the center of the sleeve:

All done!

I didn’t do the triangle detail that’s called for on the sleeves, either, because (as mentioned in my previous post) I didn’t think I would like having bell-shaped sleeves. Loose flappy material around my wrists just really annoys me, even though I think the shape looks neat on others!

All finished with Tric!

I also haven’t added a button; the buttonhole blends into the twisted rib/lace collar, and I rather like how it looks as a completely open cardigan, but I haven’t totally decided yet whether I’ll keep it button-less or not.

Finished Tric!

I really love this bright green color, and I know it’s going to go with a lot of things in my wardrobe. I might even wear it with a dress tomorrow – no, it’s not actually all that cold here yet, but I have advisor training on campus, and the room they hold the training in is always FREEZING, so it’s best to come prepared with wool!

Very happy with this new sweater!

I learned so much from this project!

it’s nearly the end…

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…of both my Tric cardigan, and of my summer break. I literally just have a cuff to knit on Tric:

Almost done with the knitting!

I may even finish it this afternoon, and then I can weave in the ends and block it. I’ve really enjoyed knitting this sweater, and learned a lot from this new Ziggurat top-down construction technique from Åsa Tricosa, though as you might be able to tell from the photo, I didn’t actually follow the pattern for the sleeves. The pattern calls for knitting another triangle panel like the one at the back of the sweater, and for sort of bell-shaped sleeves. Knowing myself, bell-shaped sleeves would drive me absolutely batty; I just really don’t like sleeves that flap around. So I calculated my own decrease rate for the sleeve, and added a garter cuff (mirroring the garter at the hem of the body of the sweater):

So close!

As for my summer break: starting tomorrow, I’ll be working on campus just about every day. No more days at home, knitting while listening to podcasts and then practicing my violin for as long as I want to. There’s a lot of prep to do in order to be ready for Fall Semester, plus I’m involved in research projects and advising, and I need to be ready to teach my first mindfulness class, too…it’s all good stuff, but the transition is always a little tough. I’m reminding myself that there will still be time for knitting, and for practicing violin…there just won’t be as much. And there will be time for the things I didn’t do as much of this summer as I’d hoped, too: the embroidery, and the sewing. My husband helped me set up my sewing table with my new sewing machine last weekend, and I just need to get a power strip to plug it in and then I’ll be ready to sew! Just in time to not have much time, alas, but there’s no rush. Projects will keep. And all projects, big or small, get done one step at a time. I don’t have to stop learning new things just because summer is coming to a close, though I do need to be careful not to overload myself, because once the semester gets rolling, my schedule is really more than full-time.

Goodbye, summer break!

Good-bye, Summer!

Wish me luck finding balance this year?