Mar Azul Shawl

Mar Azul Shaw

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On da Hook: August 15, 2015
Off da Hook: August 19, 2015
Yarn: 1 hank Newtons’ Yarn Country Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown [Unknown]; Yarn Color: Unknown [Aqua]; Yarn Weight: Unknown [1, Fingering]; Yardage: 1100)
Hook: US 8/H
Pattern: Amita Shawl designed by Rebecca Velasquez
Dimensions: 72 (W) X 40 (H)

When I was given this yarn I was so bedazzled by the color; I did not immediately recognize it was a tangled hank! Approximately 10 hours later, blue finger dye transfer syndrome, and with the help of Cathy and Lynette, I was able to spin into a beautiful yarn cake.

This pattern has been in the back of my mind for some time now: I never tire of being able to crochet a project up so quickly. The name of this project – Mar Azul by Césaria Évora – was a no brainer. The woman that gifted the yarn to me is blond and this shawl will look great on her. Fortunately, there was enough yarn in the hank to make a shawl more closely to the recipient’s 5’8″ stature. I am – technically – over in the width, but I don’t have any significant leftovers either. The pattern is written for the intermediate crocheter, or one given to intuitive instruction, but otherwise easy to interpret.

Get The Balance Right Shawl

Get The Balance Right Shawl (Front)

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On Da Hook: October 10, 2015
Off da Hook: June 26, 2015
Pattern: Improvised by Hooker Leo
Hook: US 7 – 4.5 mm
Yarn A: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 284 Farmhouse White; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn B: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 283 Chickory; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn C: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 291 Hosta Blue; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn D: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 286 Black Walnut; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn E: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 285 Log Cabin Brown; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn F: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 287 Red Phoenix; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn G: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Cape Town Rainbow; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn H: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 292 Ember; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn I: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 293 Sun Rose; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn J: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 289 Purple Basil; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn K: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: 290 Medieval; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Dimensions: 27 (w) x 25.5 (h)

After I was gifted with Madelinetosh unicorn tails (Yarns A-J), I chose a main color (Yarn K) and set forth to creating this shawl. I originally started at one side and was crocheting across. My idea was to continue to the center with the Medieval and then calculating how much yarn would be needed to complete it to the other side – hence the name, Get The Balance Right by Depeche Mode. However, I found calculating the middle was much more difficult than changing the orientation of the shawl, making the triangle hypotenuse the neck, thereby only requiring me to crochet till I ran out of the Medieval. I used the single crochet bar front loop stitch that I had created with How Deep Is The Ocean Scarf and I am very happy with the way this project came out.

About The Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh merino light

Tosh merino light is a 100% superwash merino wool, single-ply fingering weight yarn. With a generous 420 yards per skein, one skein is more than enough yardage to complete a pair of socks and two skeins can complete a full-sized lace project. Each incredibly soft skein is hand-dyed in small dye lots.

~ madelinetosh.com

I love this stuff! To me it’s like knitting with unsticky cotton candy. The hues of the dye work are so rich! I especially like the single-ply! Fabric drapes so well!

I consider myself to be a cheap skate, so it’s a special treat when I have extra money to spend.

It’s My Life Shawl: Complete

It's My Life Shawl

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Cast On: October 31, 2014
Cast Off: April, 14, 2015
Pattern: Exploration Station by Stephen West
Yarn A: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Vintage Sari; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn B: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Jade; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn C: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Leaf; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn D: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Filigree; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Needle: US 6
Dimensions: 70 W x 35 H inches (approximate, after blocking)

Five months! A friend of mine asked me to participate in Stephen West 2014 Mystery Knit-A-Long. Being a fan of some of West’s designs and having access to some yarn, I decided to participate.

I was so excited when I discovered the beginning of this shawl was similar to Merging Ripples by Kyoko Nakayoshi, which I had been planning to knit up in lime green and cobalt blue. And then it turned into brioche. I had never done brioche and it looked simple enough to learn, so I started immediately without practicing. I got about six rows in and discovered a mistake I could not fix. I frogged back to the end of section one – fortunately having the correct number of stitches – ran a life line and started My Funny Valentine Cowl to practice.

After I finished the cowl, I resumed It’s My life and felt like a professional and seasoned knitter. From that point forward, I encountered no problems and enjoyed the knitting of this shawl. Knitting of this shawl taught me new knitting stitches/techniques, and for that, I am grateful. The i-cord border is really interesting and I may use that again in the future. I also really liked the stripes before the chevrons and will definitely incorporate that into the shawl I will make with the leftovers.

This shawl derived it’s name – It’s My Life by Talk, Talk – because at the time I cast on, I had just been fired from my job at the yarn store and I was feeling defiant. There are a couple of mistakes that will stand out to a professional and smaller errors that could be considered imperceptible, but overall I am very proud of this project.

Price: USD $344.80

Orange Crush Shawl

Orange Crush Shawl

Cast On: September 29, 2013
Cast Off: November 18, 2014
Pattern: Orange Crush Shawl by Allison Harding
Needle: US 7
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk (Fiber Content: 85% Merino, 15% Silk; Yarn Color: 5641 Mango; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Finished Size: 61 x 11 inches (aggressively blocked)

Named after the song by the same name – Orange Crush by R.E.M. – it seems like a lifetime ago when I started this. I had received a prize at The Knitting Tree, L A Cascade Yarn Tasting even in September 2013. I set to work on the shawl immediately, but after a while, the lace and fine yarn weight got old, and I put it in hibernation. I was not happy that the pattern did not indicate how much yarn should be left to knit the border. My boss, at the time, suggested leaving one ounce. Looking at the yarn specifications now, that can’t be right, and I don’t remember the specified weight on the digital scale I used.

When I picked up the project again, I was still trying to get to one ounce. When I finally reached that amount, I began the ending border. Well, after about three tries, I kept ending up with an extra stitch after row two, and more importantly: the knitting direction was counter-intuitive to the border/body attachment instructions. I even had at least three more knowledgeable knitters try it with the same results.

I finally decided to contact the designer via Ravelry. She did not reply. Bad form!

Subsequently, I wrote Cascade Yarns and received a fix withing 48 hours. Now that’s a yarn company I can support. Unfortunately, I cannot speak favorably regarding the yarn. Even before I finished the project, haloing had begun on the beginning border. I find the halo unattractive, more like lint or pilling.

Overall, I am glad to have finished another UFO.

Price: USD $61.00

Alpacas at Windy Hill

Alpacas at Windy Hill

Despite having been fired from the yarn store and a lack of coordination, I did make it out to Windy Hill in Somis, California, where I got to meet my friend Lynette’s alpaca, Varon (sp?). Kathleen drove Cathy, Katie, Jessica and I to Skirball Center, where we met up with Jacqui. After a car seating rearrangement, we set out to the farm. After so many years of having passed the Skirball Center Drive exit off the 405, I finally got to see the center and learn a little about it.

The festival was not as big an event, as I had anticipated, but I had a good time. I learned a little more about alpacas and Lynette actually took us into a pasture where we got to pet and commune with the alpacas. I even broke down and bought some alpaca yarn: Near Sawrey Farm Alpacas (Fiber Content: 100% Huacaya Alpaca; Yarn Color: Yellow Onion Accents; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering) and New Hope Alpacas (Fiber Content: 100% Suri Alpaca; Colors: [Dark Orange, Orange and Light Orange]; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering). I know I said I would never purchase yarn again, but felt I should support my friends event. Besides, it’s not like I don’t intend to use it to make something.

The day ended with a meal at Feast From The East on Westwood Boulevard. I ordered Pad Thai, but was not crazy about the red flavoring throughout. Additionally, my chicken dumplings were crunchy, but not fried…WTF!? The salad dressing – Sesame Miso – was the best part of that meal.

Overall, I had a good time despite a sour stomach which resumed upon my return home. Went to bed early and need to get ready to meet a client. Enjoy the pics!

 

 

The Last Yarn Purchase…I Swear

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light

My friend Ania talked me into participating in the upcoming Stephen West KAL, which calls for three complimentary colors and one contrasting color. As it turned out Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% superwash merino wool; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering) is one of the suggested yarns. My color choices include Yarn Color: Jade, Yarn Color: Leaf, Yarn Color: Filigree and Yarn Color: Vintage Sari.

I just love this yarn and I like most of Stephen’s designs. I hope this design is one that I will like. I’ve never participated in a KAL. This will be my first time. I’m a little excited about this and not too worried as Ania is an excellent knitter and should I encounter any difficulty, she will be able to assist.

Stay tuned!

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light
©A Hooker’s World

Josie & The Pussycats Shawl Border

Josie & The Pussycats Shawl Border

On da Hook: October 17, 2014
Off da Hook: October 22, 2014
Hook: US I-9
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk Paints (Fiber Content: 85% Merino Superwash Wool, 15% Mulberry Silk; Yarn Color: 9942; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)

Josi knitted the shawl and asked me to crochet a border on it. She had expressed that a shell border would be fine, and at the suggestion of another yarny friend, I did not continue the shell pattern around the neck. I stared with a crab stitch, but it was too much like the knitted border, so I made and executive decision and crocheted single crochet around the neck, which I think is much better. Surprisingly, considering I was double stranding the yarn, I managed to match the tension very closely so the border maintains the softness of the shawl body.

I named this project – Josie & The Pussycats Theme Song by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna (under the pseudonym “Denby Williams”) and Joseph Barbera (under the pseudonym “Joseph Roland”) – after the customer.

Valley Yarn Crawl

Dream Everlasting

I finally found someone that offered to take me to the valley so I could pay a visit to Chris at A Major Knitwork: Gilda. She is a yarn representative and knows all the stores in the area, so we planned to go to lunch, visit some stores, drop me off to sit ‘n stitch at one shop while she attended a business meeting and then return home. We stopped at Corky’s – both for the first time. We had some lunch so that neither of us would fall out during my shopping excursion. The lunch was good and I loved the old fashioned decor. There was a bump during our visit when the wrong order was brought to us. We called the server and I mentioned that I had already touched the hamburger toppings – for sanitary reasons and as a courtesy to the unknown diner. However, I did not see the order re-plated, appearing as if the contaminated food was taken to the correct diner. I made the comment on the ticket and we left it at that.

Our first stop was A Major Knitwork to visit Chris. It is a very small store, but very charming. There was a table in the rear where someone was eating and there were computers on it, leading me to believe it was a workplace, rather than an area where one could sit ‘n’ stitch. For some reason, I was feeling purple and decided on purchasing Dream Everlasting (Fiber Content: 100% superwash Australian merino wool; Yarn Color: Amethyst 727 and Yarn Color: Angel 725; Yarn Weight: 3, DK). My initial vision is a striped shawl.

[edit]

Our next stop was Hooked On Knitting, where I purchased two skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino (Fiber Content: 100% Extra fine merino; Yarn Color: 121; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering) at a 40% discount. The shop is big but I think the layout could use some improvement, though it does appear to be an oddly shaped shop – triangular. There was a huge table where several ladies sat knitting, making it a little difficult to navigate around the store with ease.

Before our final stop we stopped at Porto’s Bakery, where I had a cafe con leche and pan tostado. I got the sense that this was a Cuban cafeteria-type establishment and only added that I did not want foam on my cafe con leche to make sure it would come to me proper. Apparently, foam on a cafe con leche is a west coast thing because my coffee came to me wrong and additionally it did not have any sugar. Ew! This alone leads me to believe all the hype I have been hearing over Porto’s is west coast related, as they have never had the real thing. The toast, however, was perfect. Finally, I was not a fan of the interior which was so damn noisy with chatter.

Our final stop was Unwind, which is a pretty big shop, but has very little inventory. There I picked up Hydeaux Designs Petite (Fiber Content: 100% superwash merino wool; Yarn Color: Summerfields; Yarn Weight: 3, DK). I stayed there and worked on my shawl while Gilda attended her business meeting. After she had finished, she came, picked me up and we head home to the west side.

I had a good time with Gilda and am grateful for the ride out to the valley. One thing I noticed about the three different shops was that it appeared to me that they all had similar yarns, unlike The Knitting Tree, L A, whose selection seems to be more diverse.

53 Miles West of Venus Wrap

53 Miles West of Venus Wrap

On da Hook: ?
Off da Hook: October 5, 2014
Pattern: 53 Miles West of Venus Wrap by Hooker Leo (In Development)
Yarn: Kent Manufacturing Company (Fiber Content: 100% Wool; Yarn Color: Unknown; Yarn Weight: Unknown [1, Fingering])
Hook: US 7
Dimensions: 34 x 70 inches (unblocked)

Price: USD $75.00

While experimenting one night I came up with a stitch pattern (alternating front/back post double crochets) I liked and a way to increase (one stitch per row) from the middle for this narrow triangle shawl, which may be used open or folded in half and worn in a variety of ways. By using a chain one at the beginning of each row and double crocheting in the first stitch versus the second stitch, I got a real nice ruffled/rippled border, which every loves. The fabric of this shawl is very spongy and it drapes well. It will certainly keep you warm being 100% wool. I wore it at the store for less than five minutes because my body temps run high, before I started to get uncomfortable. The wrap was constructed from the bottom point up. I name – 53 Miles West of Venus by The B-52’s – is a random selection from my music library, but I just love the appropriateness of the name to the different shape.

I had picked up the yarn at Newton’s Yarn Country Fall Festival one year. I love using cones when developing patterns because there are no yarn breaks. Unfortunately, I do not get all the yarn information I would like. I was very surprised that this cone (approximately 1 pound) turned out to be 100% wool. I just love the color, which I would call peach. As for the yarn weight, the general consensus at The Knitting Tree, L A was Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering.

The Adventures or Raindance Maggie Ballet Neck Tee

The Adventures of Raindance Maggie Ballet Neck Tee
The Adventures of Raindance Maggie Ballet Neck Tee
Front

On da Hook: ?
Off da Hook: September 12, 2014
Pattern: Ballet Neck Tee from Vogue Knitting Crochet 2014 Special Collector’s Issue
Yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Crazy (Fiber Content: 75% Virgin Wool, 25% Nylon; Yarn Color: 1701 Papagei; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Size: Small

I am finally done! I saw this in the magazine and wanted to make as a store sample. I had to wait for the yarn. By the time the yarn came in, Ms. Stewart saw it and wanted to make it also. Since she was a customer, she got first dips on the yarn when it arrived and I had to wait for a second shipment. This is a store sample.

At the beginning I found the pattern tedious, especially the slip stitching across the entire row. It was not until I had done it once that I discovered an easier option was single crochet. By the time I got to the back panel, I was very comfortable with the pattern, despite having to frog the second half due to a missed row of double crochet. I also experience stitch count errors with the front, which did not present themselves on the back panel.

As I completed the project, I began to wonder: was the yarn made specifically for this pattern or is it just a coincidence that the colors line up so well? Perhaps if I took the time to read the whole article – provided there was one – I might know the answer to the question.

The name of my project – The Adventures of Raindance Maggie by The Red Hot Chili Peppers – was borrowed from Water From A Vine Leaf Shawl, whose name was changed to more accurately match the colorway.

The Adventures of Raindance Maggie Ballet Neck Tee
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