Toward the end of November I found myself home in California (finally!) long enough to take two classes from Jared Flood, also known in the knitting community as Brooklyn Tweed. Besides Thanksgiving, Jared was one of the reasons I came back from Ohio at all. (Don’t tell him that – he’ll think I’m stalking him or something.) Jared was hosted by the fabulous Santa Barbara yarn and tea shop called Loop & Leaf.
The first class I took included colorwork instruction using the Beaumont Tam/Beanie as the project. This is a lovely stranded pattern from Jared’s book Made in Brooklyn. Using Classic Elite’s Fresco, it has a slightly fuzzy look thanks to the yarn’s bit-of-angora mix. All I can say is that I feel like “AudKnits, Home of the Wonky Stitches” every time I knit stranded patterns. Including my own. I have to have faith that blocking will work its usual magic on my tam. Despite this photo’s depiction, the hat pattern is gorgeous – you can check it out in the book or among the projects on Ravelry.
The second class was based on Jared’s pattern Girasole. Described as “A traditional lace shawl”, the pattern is stunning and can be made up as a blanket, rather than a shawl, by using worsted yarn. I’m trying it in Cascade Pastaza. Jared explained that the llama content in Pastaza will make this a heavy blanket. (Sounds just right for Ohio winters.) I’m making it in a rust color I never would have chosen except for a certain friend who (correctly) chastised me for being so predictable in always going for greens and blues. So there.
The coolest technique I learned in the Girasole class was the circular center cast on for Girasole. That and the various ways to put a lifeline into the work.
This thing is going to be huge when it grows up! It looks square now just because it hasn’t graduated to circular needles yet. Do you think I should aim for the next World Series as a completion date? Knitting blankets while my husband watches baseball seems to be a tradition now.
As it cools off here in Cleveland, I want to make sure my Mom has something warm on her hands when we take her outside. I had a blast making these mittens for her. The color looks great with her bright blue eyes.
I often wear my hair in a braid down my back. By using the braided cable in the mittens, I’m hoping she’ll be reminded of how much I love her when she wears them.
Because of Mom’s stroke, one hand has problems with swelling. We couldn’t get commercially-made mittens to fit over that hand. I’m grateful I can knit, so I could make the mitten for that hand wider. A nice custom fit!
In the process of making these, I found another handy use for lifelines. I’ve used them in lace projects, but it only now dawns on me that they’re a good way to mark the beginning of shaping for mittens’ tops and socks’ toes. I put the lifeline in when I thought the mitten was long enough, then proceeded with shaping the top. The mitten was still too short. I measured the deficiency so I’d know how much extra knitting would be needed. Fixing the problem was a simple matter of ripping back to the lifeline, knitting the extra length that I had already measured, then shaping the top again. Perfect!
I used Rowan’s Lima yarn. It’s mostly baby alpaca, with some merino wool and nylon mixed in. I liked the yarn’s woven construction.
One of these days I’d like to make a simple turtleneck from this yarn. It’ll help me make that mental shift from California to (brrr) Ohio!
Those who know me well understand that I am completely obsessed with Rowan and RYC yarns. I have all the shade cards. When the new cards to come out in spring and fall they absorb my attention the way normal people become engrossed in Tom Clancy novels. I pat the little samples and pore over every fiber. So imagine my coming across and entire wall plus a rotating free-standing display of Rowan yarn. Oh, what a happy sight.
I was thrilled to discover that this heavenly stash of Rowan yarns resides just up the coast from me, at Monarch Knitting & Quilts in Pacific Grove. It’s a good thing it’s a two hour drive from here. I’d just bring my blanket and move in if Joan would let me.
I love the way the colors in the store are arranged.
I guess we’re spoiled in California. When CAT and I were in this store she remarked on how little room there is in the New York yarn shops. Monarch has plenty of room to move around and is a feast for the eyes and imagination. I can’t wait to go back!