Dotted Rays for Days

Typically I like to keep my knitting projects planned and orderly. This project, however, sprang from the sheer impulse to join the Dotted Rays KAL on Instagram. Not wise. But who wants to be wise ALL the time?

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I started the Dotted Rays shawl (pattern by West Knits) with the naivete that I would use only yarn from my stash (below). Tosh DK in Citrus would segment my double wedges, and all would be perfect. Right? Not quite.

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The beginning was quick and fun, and the rays sprouted like weeds as I moved from one color to the next–even though I had decided to knit two rays/wedges per color. From the center out (below) the yarns are Tosh DK in Citrus and The Flying Kettle Blimp DK in the colorways Ice Faerie, Dobby and Bees Knees. I then added The Flying Kettle Pokeberry but had to blend in some Tosh DK Lepidoptera, as the former was a mini skein.

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The wedges continued to knit up quickly, and a friend even complimented the shawl so sweetly that I told her she could have it. So the shawl became a gift for Karen MaCall–a master knitter, designer and spinner also known as @karenmacalldesigns on Instagram. She quickly decided she’d knit me a shawl as well, so we agreed upon a shawl exchange. Fun! Little did I know, Karen would throw together one of her beautiful shawl designs in what seemed like minutes and ship it my way in a flash, along with some of her delicious homespun yarn and several Agate stitch markers that she also made. (Seriously, my jaw dropped when I opened the package.) In the meantime, I tried to knit furiously on her Dotted Rays. Coffee helps! Below I have added Tosh DK in Modern Fair Isle blended with some Malabrigo Worsted in Natural, followed by Tosk DK Fathom and Mare, which I had to blend together as well.

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Finally I reached the final color (the last two wedges of the pattern), which ended up using over two-and-a-half skeins of yarn! The colors are Tosh Vintage Glass Bottom Boat blended with Havirland Lexington DK Butterfly Garden. These last two wedges were VAST, and then there was a 10-mile I-cord bind-off, so I had to grab some more GBB and Citrus.

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But at last, here we are! All EIGHT FEET of this massive shawl–the Dotted Rays for Days, as I’ve named her–blocked and finished and glowing in the afternoon clouds. Alas, there was no sun but enough light to see the well-placed holes. Kudos to my husband Andy for climbing trees and threading rope through the branches, just so the holes could be displayed properly.

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Now she’s on her way to Karen’s house, where she can be enjoyed as a shawl or blanket. As with all West Knits patterns, it was an incredible journey.

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Blue Felted Slippers

The year of feet continues!

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My mom recently requested a second pair of felted slippers, so I decided to make some for her birthday. I had knit her a pair of Options Flats two years ago (view that project here), but they didn’t hold up well. (For the soles I had chosen to paint on Latex, which dries clear but became quite sticky and gross over time. Also, I didn’t felt them as much as I should have.) Still, my mom loved the fit and comfort.

This time around, I tried to do a little better. Once again I went with the Options Flats, a pattern by Katie Startzman from her book The Knitted Slipper Book. Again, and used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, a wool/mohair blend that is excellent for felting and the yarn called for in the pattern. The colorway is called “Persian Peacock.” Below is how they appeared prior to felting. They were huge! But not to worry–that’s how they are supposed to be.

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Here’s a quick video I made for Instagram showing how I felted the slippers by hand. Thankfully my husband took over and ended up doing the bulk of the work in a much shorter time. About two-thirds of the way through I sewed up a few holes that developed and then continued on felting.

After the felting process I stuffed the slippers with paper towels, conforming them to my mom’s foot measurements. Below is how they looked after drying and blocking. You can see that all stitch definition has vanished, but they are quite fuzzy.

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Next I shaved off the excessive fuzz and sewed on faux suede soles using blanket stitch. As WALL-E would say, ta da!

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This is a very quick knit, with the felting taking up the majority of the time and work. Having made these slippers twice, I highly recommend the Options Flats pattern and The Knitted Slipper Book as a whole. As an ending note, I am a little concerned that the soles–namely the edges–will not hold up well. If the faux suede starts to fray I may apply glue to the edges or sew the soles again.

Sports Shorts

When I found these Sports shorts in a search on Ravelry, I knew I absolutely had to knit myself a pair. It’s a West Knits pattern, so of course they’re stylish and flattering, and let’s face it–shorts are fast. What other wearable, non-accessory type of garment can be knit so quickly?

The pattern calls for Quince and Co yarn in their worsted wool, Lark. Quince and Co is 100% American and 100% natural. I’ve only ever knit with the Lark weight, but I find it to be of a very high quality. While not as soft as merino, it’s a sturdy yarn with a texture that feels unprocessed, yet knits up cozy.  I’m a big Quince and Co fan! For my Sports, I chose the colorways “Kumlien’s Gull” and “Poppy.”

The pattern for these Sports shorts is well-written and fuss-free. The most complicated aspects are the short row butt shaping and seaming. However, the side slits are not written to be mirrored, so it’s a little annoying that this issue was never corrected. Still, I gave the pattern 5 stars on Ravelry because the fit cannot be beat. (And because a gracious Ravelry user offered a correction for the right leg slit, which I followed. See my notes on my Ravelry Sports project page.)

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These Sports are my second pair of knit shorts, and I must say this pattern is superior to the other. In fact, I plan to knit myself another pair in a more vibrant color scheme, although those will have to wait because my plate for this year is already spilling over.

A Cardigan for Mother’s Day

Last summer I decided to knit my mom a cardigan. Having already knit a Mini Rock Rose Cardigan (pattern by schneckenstrick) for my daughter (below), I knew it was a fabulous pattern and thought the adult version would be lovely for my mom.
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She agreed! So I set to work knitting a Rock Rose Cardigan (again, pattern by schneckenstrick) for her for Christmas. I helped her select a yarn, and she went with Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Fathom. Blue is a stunner on my mom, and as you can see, this colorway is a gorgeous deep blue. In fact, it is so deep it was difficult to photograph. Sometimes it even felt like I was photographing a black hole.

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Christmas came and went with all the knitting gifts that come with it, including a blanket for my mom, so the completion of her cardigan was put off. It’s a stunning and flawless pattern with a timeless design, and the bobble work maintains interest and focus. Still, it’s a cardigan, so every other row is a purl row, and unfortunately I’m a slow purler. Needless to say, I assigned myself the deadline of Mother’s Day, so here we are. The JHB buttons are almost an identical match, so I am pleased. I can’t wait to hand it over to Mom next Sunday! (As of now she is unaware of my blog, so don’t worry–we’re safe.)

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