I Joined that KAL on Instagram…Again

It seems like so many–too many–of my knitting projects cut line and disrupt my neat little plans, and almost all of these interrupters arise from Instagram KAL’s. I am a visual person (hence my addiction to Instagram), so the copious numbers of beautiful knitting projects on Instragram often inspire–no, seduce–me into starting more projects than my time affords.

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My newest unplanned project is the spawn of MSKAL2016, or the Monster Socks knit-along. To ride this wave, socks must be knit with scraps or chunks of yarn but otherwise in any form or fashion, if my understanding is correct, and be completed by Oct 1st. I think. Anyway, I’m calling these my Scrappy Stripey Speckled Socks (though there are a few tonals in there).

I took way too many pics of these socks. I blame my obsession with color. I knit these two at a time and toe up, which is my favorite way to knit socks, mitts, or anything that comes in a pair.

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Shortly after starting this project, we became the proud owners of this little guy, an eastern box turtle hatchling. I just wanna squish him.

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These socks are knit with many of my favorite yarn dyers: Havirland, Spun Right Round, The Flying Kettle, Life in the Long Grass, Republic of Wool, Black Trillium Fibres, Miss Babs Yarns and Hedgehog Fibres. It’s a mouthwatering combination.

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I knit these socks to conform to my feet. I like a tight-fitting sock, and that’s just how these turned out. For the toe I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, as instructed in the book Toe-Up Two-at-a-Time Socks. For the heel I just winged it, knitting back and forth and keeping it small since I have a small heel. (Wish I could say the same for my size 9 shoe size!) For the cuff I knit 1×1 ribbing and bound off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

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I’ve been wearing these socks like crazy.

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Now onto the next pair…because there must always be a pair of socks on the needles in my house.

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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