Sep 17, 2017

Crossover Combos

My core wardrobe is compact and built on basics, so I rely heavily on accessories to change up the look, especially when the weather turns cool. Some time ago, I began slowly but steadily making mitts to complement my favorite scarves and shawls. It's a three-way win. I stay warm, indulge my love of knits, and still appear somewhat pulled together.

It's time to take this thinking to the next level. 

Two-shawl weather is on its way and I'm determined to be prepared, so I've decided to create a cozy collection of coordinating wraps, cowls and scarves that aren't matchy-matchy but work well together. Because yes, indeed, I've been known to layer two scarves or cowls twisted together, or a cowl and scarf combo, or a small shawl topped with a larger wrap.

In other words, I'm on a mission only a fellow knitter can understand: I want to leverage the knits I have by making a series of mix-and-match knits. With this in mind, there are two color combos on my radar screen.

One involves various shades of teal. According to some interior designers, it's the most versatile hue for home decor, because it blends well with virtually any color scheme. I'm beginning to believe the same is true for clothing and accessories, since it seems to complement any skin tone and plays beautifully with black, grays, earth tones, reds, roses, purples, blues, golds and oranges, especially deep pumpkin shades. (Hmmm, I see another color post on the horizon.)

In practical terms, that helps explain why many recent posts feature shades of teal, either on its own, paired with neutrals, or blended with closely related tones of turquoise, lake and sea.

The other combination involves a mix of reds, wines, plums and purples. For me, the scarf below hits all the marks. It's soft. It's light, It's warm. It's reversible. It features some of my favorite colors worked in a simple three-stage gradient, and it's long enough to wrap multiple times without becoming overwhelming. 

There's enough of this exquisite cashmere-silk blend (Richesse et Soie) in the stash to make a coordinating cowl or scarf, but if I blend it with another yarn, I could make a shawl or wrap. I was playing with various combinations, when I discovered this.

I'm still in the concept stage, but this interesting mix may be just the crossover combo I need to tie this whole whacky plan together.

Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Sep 10, 2017

WIP | Herlacyn Heatwave

Slowly but surely, Herlacyn Heatwave is making headway. The last time we talked about this afghan, the first strip had just been completed.

As soon as that strip was done, I cast on strip two. It looks an awful lot like the first one, doesn't it? It's true, all three strips are quite similar, but each one features a slightly different mix of colors worked against a black background, which creates an interesting ombre or gradient effect once all the elements are assembled.

Speaking of finishing, let's cut to the chase. After a bit more knitting, all three strips were ready for seaming. Normally, I wait until the end and weave ends once the entire blanket is finished, but knitting time is so scarce these days, I decided to try something different, and weave ends as I seamed.

If you look closely below, you can see as I picked up stitches along the strip edge, I wrapped (trapped) the contrasting color with the black working yarn during the pick up process. This created a tidy braided effect, and it will definitely save time during the finishing process.

Now the seams are completed, and it's waiting patiently for the next stage. So far, I like how things are coming together. 

Mornings and evenings have been slightly cool, a reminder that fall is right around the corner, so I'm eager to get this finished. I confess, I'm already fantasizing about greeting each fall day sipping a steaming cup of coffee, watching the sun rise with this happy harlequin afghan draped over my legs. All it needs is a simple border, so I'd better get busy. 

Looking for the pattern? It's in development and will soon be heading to the tech editor for review.

Meanwhile, I'm connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Sep 3, 2017

Starting Over

As knitters, we often talk about how knitting is both a survival tool and metaphor for life. We use it to unwind after a difficult day at work. We use it to productively pass time while we wait in lines or watch a kid's soccer game. We use it to project an image of calm serenity as we sit in a doctor's office waiting to learn the potentially fearsome results of recent medical tests.

I've spent the past two weeks working on what is literally the simplest project in the world, a skinny cowl/scarf. Craving a low-key knit that let the subtle sheen of this yarn (Grignasco Champagne) do much of the work, I cast on with the hopes of creating something soft, light and cozy to wrap around my neck on a cool fall day.

Two weeks into this project, it should be done, or nearly so. Instead, I've cast on, knit, ripped and restarted so many times I've lost count. First, I had an idea that would make the finished piece more versatile. Naturally, that enhancement needed to occur in the first inch, so everything had to be frogged. Then, I thought maybe a larger needle size would produce a slightly lighter fabric. It did, but I didn't care for the look.

So today, I'll be starting over once again, but it's no big deal.

Elsewhere, of course, the story is different. Throughout the US, hundreds of thousands of families and businesses are starting over again in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the challenges they face are daunting. 

To help those dealing with the loss and destruction this storm has wrought, every single dollar you spend on patterns between now and midnight tomorrow (Sep 4, EDT) will be donated to Harvey relief efforts. In exchange for your kindness and generosity, all patterns are available at a 30% discount, which will automatically show up in your cart at checkout.

Whether you buy a pattern you've been eyeing for some time or simply make a purchase to contribute to the recovery efforts, your actions are appreciated. To browse the catalog and buy a pattern now, just click here

Thank you all! I added a bit more to the kitty to create a nice round number, and donated the entire sum to the American Red Cross, which was one of the first organizations on the ground in Texas and is now headed to Puerto Rico and Florida to help those in the path of Hurricane Irma.

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