I think I’ve settled on a design that will work for the Kneon project. I’m going to base the construction on the Harmonia’s Rings cowl by Sivia Harding. That way, I get the drape and shape of a moebius, but can knit the slip stitch neon pattern in the round without exposing the back side. The cowl will have a much narrower neck opening which will use less yarn, and I’ll still get the wide accent band that I was hoping for. The finished item will be somewhere between a cowl and a capelet, and should do a nice job of keeping my shoulders warm at work. Perfect, right?

The only problem seems to be getting it started. The first time I cast on, I made the neck opening too small. The second time, I miscounted the stitches. The third time, the stitches were right, and I knit happily along for a few hours. When the fabric got long enough, I stopped to have a closer look at how it was coming out.

Note that there are not one but two twists in that moebius. I didn’t even know that it was possible to twist a moebius cast on. But, here we are, back at the frogging stage again.

Fortunately, I haven’t gotten that far, so it’s not that big of a deal to rip back, though the yarn is starting to show the wear a bit, and I’d like to move from process to product knitting at some stage!

This is one of those moments where the universe is either throwing up a big “do not enter” sign, or it’s testing your persistence on the way to a great finish. I’m choosing to believe the latter, and hoping that this project has not been doomed from the start!

I do believe this is the world’s most-swatched project. The last post was #4 or 5, and I’m counting the corner as a separate swatch, even if I didn’t cast on and knit it separately (I didn’t want to break the yarn, as I intend to frog and re-knit it).

The only thing more fun than knitting fabrics on three different needle sizes* to get the right gauge is knitting three fabrics and working out the corner decreases to make an flat mitered corner in a stockinette-base fabric.

As you can see, the miter didn’t turn out to be a perfect 90 degrees, but I’m calling it close enough for garment design.

The decreases actually turned out to be easier than I expected, though I went the wrong way at first and decreased more slowly than a garter stitch mitered corner when I should have decreased faster. Turns out that decreasing every other row and alternating between 2 and 3 stitches per decrease row is just about right for the stockinette section. I decreased 2 stitches every other row for the linen stitch, and 2 stitches for every purple row in the slipped stitch section. I’m not sure how to count that one; each “row” is knit twice – once with the neon yarn, and once with the purple – and the other yarn is slipped. If this were fairisle, you’d knit both yarns at the same time and call it a single row, but that was too fiddly to be worthwhile with the crossed stitches, so I stuck to knitting one at a time and slipping the other. So if I knit each row twice, and decrease the second time that I knit it, does that count as decreasing once per row?

With all that decreasing going on, I was also noticing the yarn balls shrinking at a fairly alarming rate, so it came in handy to have a huge swatch so that I can calculate how much knitted fabric I can expect to get from these three skeins. The swatch itself is 8 x 15″ (minus a corner). That’s a total of about 104 square inches. So far, I’ve used 45 g of my base colors, and I have a total of  175 g left. That puts me at (very roughly) 512 square inches possible for the total piece. (I should actually get a little bit more than that, since I’m not accounting for the neon yarn in that calculation.) Still, 512 square inches is not a lot.

The top contender for the final design was the Poncho Cowl by Stephen Berg, which is basically knit flat as a rectangle and then seamed. I’d rather knit this pattern in the round, and I didn’t want to have a break in the neon herringbone, so I went ahead and figured out how to turn the corner while knitting (see swatch above). Then it’s just a matter of figuring out how big the rectangle needs to be. I pressed a different scarf into service, pinned it up on my dress form, and made the opening significantly shorter than shown in the pattern photo to reduce the overall length. It came out as 14 x 48″, or 672 square inches.

That’s 31% more inches than I have yarn. To actually have enough yarn, I’d need to decrease the width to about 10 inches, which would make it more like a scarf and less like a poncho/shawl.

So, we are back to the drawing board again. Both Teresa and Jan have suggested a circular cowl, and right now that’s sounding like the most practical option. A 24 inch (hem) cowl  could be about 21″ wide with the yarn I have, which would be more than enough.

I’m thinking that this one needs a little more time to percolate. Perhaps I’d better go come up with something else to swatch…

*000, 00, and zero. Because some day I will find myself really wishing I’d written it down.

After a couple more tries, I think I’ve gotten the stitch counts and needle sizes right for a nice, even fabric with no pulling in at the colorwork band. (I also tripled the number of stitches in swatches #2-4 so that I’d be able to see more subtle effects over a large piece of fabric.)

I thought that this would be the last swatch, but I’ve come up with one more thing that I need to try before deciding on an actual design. At the rate I’m going, this could take a while…

The rag rugs, however, popped up nearly instantaneously. It turns out that I didn’t have too much warp, after all. The take up on these things is huge, which makes sense if you think about the fact that the warp yarn has to go over and under each one of those fat weft scraps. I didn’t think about that at first, so was surprised when the warp ended up being quite short by the end of the weaving.

I’m happy with the rugs I got, though, and can definitely see this being a recurring project!

Since I’ve been dithering about so many other things (the swatch above, the crocus sweater, whose fate remains unknown…), I thought it was high time that I stopped dithering about this project, which has been quietly awaiting a zipper since November. I pulled out my duct tape dressform the other day and started pinning, and now I have one completed sweater for the fall.

The yarn is a Shetland lambswool that I spun from top purchased at Greencastle in 2012. It’s a pretty fine 2-ply yarn, and it knit up beautifully. I love the weight of the fabric, and definitely plan to knit more sweaters at this gauge. It’s not quite next-to-skin soft, but I didn’t find it uncomfortable for the short period that I wore it the other day. I think the embroidered details are working nicely, too. I kept them minimal, but decided not to pull them out, after all. Fall is coming far too quickly for me to want to hurry it along, but I’m looking forward to wearing this sweater when the temperature starts dropping again!

July has been a busy month. On the 5th, we set off on a week long drive along the East coast. First, we visited the Shenandoah national forest and the Luray Caverns for a couple of days, then we spent a couple of days in DC catching up with friends we haven’t seen in a long time, exploring the Smithsonian (Air and Space and Natural History), and seeing some of the national monuments. From there, we headed up to Fair Winds Farm to visit with Jan and Ellen and then on to Twinset Summer Camp. I was only able to be there for about 24 hours, but that was long enough to meet the other campers, make some new friends, and teach a tablet weaving class. On Saturday afternoon, we drove back to MA and I re-packed my suitcase before heading to bed. On Sunday morning I caught a 9 am flight to Chicago for a jam-packed 5 1/2 day conference. I stayed in Chicago for an extra night and caught up with my friends Mimi and Elaine (who has no blog, but frequents the comments), and then flew home on Saturday afternoon.

To say it’s been a whirlwind is a bit of an understatement, but there were a lot of fun things packed into those two weeks. I am just starting to feel back on my feet and caught up on email again (I’ve given up trying to feel caught up on work…). With all the things going on, I have done almost no knitting at all this month. Instead, I’ve been pondering what to do with the Crocus sweater. As you may remember from the last post, I’m a ball of yarn short of what I thought I had, and it’s not looking likely to surface anytime soon. I think that probably means a redesign is in order.

Honestly, I’ve been a little bit ambivalent about the yellow in the sweater yoke anyway, so I’m not sure that I’ll be heartbroken if I have to redo it. I did really like the flower stitch pattern, but it requires that I use the base yarn (the one I’m running out of) as one of the strands in the colorwork, and I could stretch my yardage a lot if I were able to eliminate that. Since the yoke is the widest point in the sweater, a small savings there would make a big difference in what’s left over to finish the arms of the sweater. Luckily, I knit the yoke separately and then picked up stitches from a provisional cast on to knit the body. I think that means that it should be very simple to pull back the yoke without tearing out the rest of the sweater.

I have two braids of a similar purple in a gradient colorway, and I’m thinking that these might just do as a substitute for the yoke. I’d need to decide how to spin them up, but I think these could work very nicely as an alternate yoke, and it would give me a lot of extra yardage to play with.

While that idea is percolating, I’ve been continuing to swatch for the next project, knit with the neon pink yarn from Steven Be’s. (This project really needs a name…). At the end of the last swatch, I really liked the colorwork pattern, but I knew that it would be challenging to balance out the gauge between the linen stitch, stockinette, and slipped stitch patterns. I used three different needle sizes, which worked great in my 3″ swatch, but I wasn’t sure I trusted that result to hold in a bigger piece of fabric. So, I started a bigger swatch. I also switched down one needle size on all 3 needles, because I liked the slightly tighter gauge for the slipped stitch pattern. (Now knitting on 0, 1, and 2.)

This is one of those instances where I’m glad I double checked the swatch. I haven’t blocked the new one yet, but you can see that the linen stitch edge is rolling slightly, and the fabric takes on a distinctly trapezoidal shape just where the slipped stitch pattern begins. The stockinette section looks almost ruffled; clearly there are still some issues to be worked out with the gauge before deploying this in a larger piece.

What exactly that larger piece might be still remains a mystery, too. I don’t tend to wear shawls, and this doesn’t feel like a scarf project to me (it’s very clearly single sided, among other things). I really like my moebius cowls, but that also requires a piece with two presentable sides. I have one simple cowl that I never wear because I don’t like how it hangs, but that’s a much thicker fabric and I think I might like one knit at a lighter gauge.

I like the Poncho cowl by Steven Be, which would be particularly fitting since I bought the yarn at his store. It’s out toward the edges of my fashion comfort zone, but then so is the neon pink. I’d really like to figure out how to knit a version of it in the round, though the decreases would be easier to get right in a garter stitch fabric.

Right now, I’m thinking that I’ll probably see how the swatch looks blocked and then go from there. There are certainly lots of options to consider!

I was inspired by a wall hanging in Mimi’s apartment to actually start one of my summer weaving projects. I bought some cotton rug warp back in November, and have been waiting for a chance to turn some of Branden’s old khakis into rag rugs. It turns out that this is the equivalent of knitting on super bulky yarns on huge needles. We warped up the loom last night, and I’ve already woven off the first rug! It is satisfying to be progressing so rapidly, but I have to admit that I may have put on too much warp…I think I’m likely to run out of pants to cut up before I run out of warp to weave. Still, I’m really liking the texture of the fabric, and I’m sure I can come by more scrap clothes somewhere – at the thrift store, if nowhere else.

Considering how fast the month is going, it’s nice to be making progress on at least one summer project!

The crocus sweater was growing steadily, right up until the beginning of the week. I was sailing down the home stretch to the cuff on the first sleeve, and went to get my last skein of yarn to start working two balls together to blend the colors. Except there was no last ball. Or, rather, there is a last ball, and it appears that I’m on it.

I was sure I had only used four skeins so far, but I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find the 5th. I’ve counted ends in the sweater, but since I was working two balls at a time for most of the sweater it’s hard to tell for sure how many are in there. So here I am:

And there is only a half a ball (about 100 yards) left. The sweater is already pretty well fitted, and any tighter would be too tight for what I wanted. I could bring the hem up an inch maybe, but no more. I have a tiny bit of unspun batt left over (in case there was a need for some creative color blending at the end), but it’s only a fraction of an ounce. I don’t really want to increase the width of the colorwork in the sleeves and body, and I’m not sure how much yarn that would save, anyway. I could pull back and reknit at a looser gauge, hoping to stretch the yarn just a little bit further. I could try increasing the colorwork band at the neck, or I could spin up and work in another colorway to help stretch the yardage. But as of right now, no matter how you cut it, I don’t have enough yarn.

For now, my plan is to stall and hope that extra ball shows up. I’m pretty sure it’s not here, but hope springs eternal. I’m not 100% in love with the yellow band near my face (yellow has never been my color), so maybe this is simply an opportunity to redesign the sweater into something that I’ll like even better. Fortunately, it’s on big needles and hasn’t taken long to knit, and I’m a process knitter at heart anyway. Before I rip, though, I’m going to let it sit in time out for a while and see what comes up.

In the meantime, I’ve been playing with this:

That’s the yarn I bought at Steven Be’s in Minneapolis earlier this summer. That crazy neon yarn cried out to me, and then I chose the green and purple to balance it out and tone it down. The pictures today are horrible, but you get the idea (we had a rainy day and I didn’t have time to futz with the camera and lighting…it was a post today or post in 2 weeks kind of deal, so ugly pictures it is). I’m playing with a wide slipped stitch motif  for a hem decoration on a striped/two-tone stockinette ground. The two ends of the swatch are the slipped stitch pattern with a forward-crossed stitch; the one in the center is a simple fairisle. I like the sharpness of the slipped stitch version, and the dimensionality that the slightly raised slip stitches give to the fabric. It looks like the neon is peeking out through a lattice of the darker yarn, and I like that effect a lot. I’m currently planning on a linen stitch derivative for the hem of the piece, since it won’t roll easily and should be firm enough to stand up to the slight pull of the slipped stitch pattern at the ends of the rows.

Combining linen stitch, stockinette, and a twisted slip stitch pattern in one piece is a bit tricky in terms of gauge, though. On the left end of the swatch, I used the same needle throughout, and the gauge varied markedly from one section to the next. Even after a fairly firm blocking, the fabric has a tendency to pucker and curl at the transition from one stitch to another. The pattern on the right was worked with three different needle sizes; the larger size 1 (2.5 mm) for the linen stitch, the smaller 2 size (2.75 mm) for the stockinette, and larger 2 size (3.0 mm) for the slipped stitches. (I’d like to say here that I find it absurd that there are six different needle sizes between 0 and 3 in my knitpicks harmony sock needle kit. I love having a series of closely spaced needle sizes, but the metric naming system makes so much more sense!)

In any case, the final effect with the three different needles was much better, and the final fabric is much more even in the later part of the swatch, though the stitches are a little loose for my liking. I preferred the slightly tighter look of the slipped stitch pattern worked on the smaller needles, so I think I’ll probably shift the whole series down one needle size to get a slightly firmer gauge. Since I’ll also be switching to Addi circs for the final garment, this calls for yet another swatch to see if their size 0, 1, and 2 are similar enough to the Knitpicks size 0, 1, and 2. (Or should that be 0, little 1, and big 1??)

More soon, hopefully, but so far I’m liking how this is coming together!

You know that moment just after you finish weaving in the last end where you lay out the project to admire your handiwork? The one where you notice a mistake right in the middle of the project? Well.

Turns out a blog post can do that, too. I went to post on Sunday about how much I liked the new colorwork decreases (I do really like them very much).

They look like flowers in their own right, don’t they? I am very glad that I decided to go down to two stitches in the decrease pattern instead of 4, because 4 stitches along the decrease line made pretty prominent stripes that I didn’t love. I’m calling that change worth the ripping and reknitting, even if it wasn’t voluntary.

In preparation for writing my blog post, I went to take a picture of the decreases. Except instead of the flowers above, what I saw was this:

Not quite so flower-y, huh?

It turns out that my colorwork pattern is off by 2 stitches on two of the decrease lines, and that’s enough to move me from little flowers to something a little less exciting. Sadly, I  was apparently consistent within each sleeve but not from sleeve to sleeve. This means that I will have one set of decreases with flowers and one without in the front of the sweater, and a matching mismatched pair of decrease lines in the back.

I think this happened because I decided to mirror around the center, and it’s a 4-stitch repeat, which shifts everything over by two. Perfect symmetry at the button band = broken symmetry or a different stitch count across the two halves of the sweater front.

I’ve decided not to pull back again because I don’t think this will matter much in the grand scheme of things. A very detail-oriented person will notice it, but from a few steps away the difference kind of gets lost. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.)

I was apparently spoiled by the slip stitch pattern that I used in the Seafoam sweater. There, I paid no attention whatsoever to the decreases, and they just worked. Next time, I’ll have to remember to swatch my transitions, too!

(Note: the title of this post is sadly apt, in a different context. Our backyard chipmunks have reappeared this year, and they have dug up and eaten each and every one of my crocus bulbs, and most of the hyacinths and snowdrops, too. Now, instead of the row of green shoots that I had a couple of months ago, I have a neat row of little holes where the flowers used to be. Apparently we’ll be re-planting this fall, and installing some chicken wire. It won’t be much use against the marauding rabbits, but at least it will protect the bulbs!)

A weekday post! If that’s not a sure sign of summer, I don’t know what is.

Of course, the reason that I’m posting in the middle of the week is that I have been (to borrow a phrase from the Twinset podcast) bitten by my knittin’.

I cast on for the crocus sweater on Monday, and worked an inch or so on the train on Tuesday morning. Tuesday night knitting got me well into the colorwork, which I then decided to tweak and ripped back about 2 inches to start over on Wednesday. I got back on track quickly, and things were going along just swimmingly until last night at around 11, when I looked down and saw this:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a twist in my cast on. A twist that I did not notice for 4 inches and 3 days of knitting, including laying out the fabric to check that it was the right size against another sweater. I checked for a twist twice at the cast on, once at the 1 inch mark, and even had Branden check at the cast on to be extra sure (I often have him double check me when I’m casting on this many stitches. A second pair of eyes is worth it to avoid ripping back.)

And yet somehow, we missed it. Either that, or it magicked itself into being when I wasn’t looking. Knitting can be tricksy like that. There’s no getting around the fact that the twist is there now and it’s plain as day, even if two people could swear that it wasn’t there two days ago. It’s a mystery.

Just moments before I discovered the twist, I happened to be thinking of one more tweak I should have made to the colorwork decreases, but decided that it wasn’t worth pulling back again. I am taking the twist as a sign that that change really was meant to be. I am also taking it as a reason not to break the yarn on long colorwork repeats until after finishing the yoke next time.

We’re down to yarn fumes on the mink scarf, so I’m scrambling a bit to get the next project lined up. I spun up the 2 oz of fiber that I picked up at Steven Be’s in Minneapolis, which rounds out my collection of colors for the crocus sweater.

Now, all I have left to do is to choose a stitch pattern. In wandering through my pattern books, the multi-color slip stitch patterns have been catching my eye, so I started out with one of those. I didn’t love the way it worked straight out of the book (the first few rows of the colorwork pattern in the swatch), but have been working in some modifications and am liking it much better now. The top three repeats (close to the needle) are my favorites so far, and with some careful color sequencing I think we have a winner.

Of course, me being me, I knit those last three repeats with no idea of what it was that I was actually doing. I slipped into my usual knitting trance, and just kind of let my hands do their thing. I knit with one color when it felt like the right time, and knit with the other when I felt like it. I slipped some stitches with yarn in front, and some with yarn in back, when the pattern seemed to need only really paying attention to what was happening in the row below. This worked just great until I decided that I liked the pattern and wanted to write it down, at which point I promptly lost all sense of what I’d been doing. Then, I spent about 3 hours figuring out how to knit the next 4 rows.

I decided to chart the pattern out, partly for future reference, partly because we haven’t had a process-y post in a while and I thought it might be fun, and partly so that I could play with my colored pencils.

(That last one might have been the factor that tipped the scales in favor of documentation.)

So, now that I’ve figured out what on earth it was that I was doing, let me explain it as though I knew what was happening all along.

Here is the original slip stitch pattern for the Flecked Tweed from the 3rd Walker Book (p 229):

It’s a very simple pattern; you slip with the yarn in front for a horizontal bar, and with the yarn in back for a vertical bar. You work two rows in each color (knitting with only one color at a time). Here’s the color version of that first chart. The squares with a front-slipped stitch are colored with the working yarn, and with the color from the previous row, since the float looks like it cuts the slipped stitch in half in the actual swatch. The key at the right end of each row shows the colors of the working yarn(s) for that row.

That gives you this:

Like I said, I wasn’t in love with this version. I thought it muddied up the colors too much, but I loved the tiny little flower that were peeking out of the pattern (in green for those first few rows). I played around a bit, with the next repeat, and suddenly the green slipped stitch turned into little stems (orange flowers in the second pattern repeat). In this pattern, though, all of the flowers in the motif ended up stacked on top of each other, and I liked them better staggered, like in the original pattern. I wanted the stems, but I didn’t want them to shift my flower pattern by a full repeat each time.

Next, I tried adding an extra row of background color in between, and shifting the flowers. That didn’t work at all, and I frogged it.  I looked back at the original pattern, and realized that I really didn’t like the green flowers - I only wanted the stems. So I started thinking about ways that I could keep the green slipped stitches in the fabric without the rows of three knits and a front-slip. In the end, I decided to knit one row with two colors, stranding the green and knitting and slipping with the purple background color. That meant that the green got incorporated into the purple background rows, which maintained the stagger in the flower patterns, and it gave me a single green knit stitch to become the slipped-stitch stem. The new chart looked like this (squares in the key with two colors indicate rows where I used stranded knitting in addition to slipped stitches):

And the new swatch looked like this:

Up close, they look like little flowers with tiny green stems. From further away, they look more like an abstract triangle motif, which I also like. Of course, my flowers aren’t purple crocuses as I had hoped, but I think that this gets pretty close to what I’m looking for. I blended three different shades of purple for the colorwork band, so the background can fade from one to the other across the stripe. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this is shaping up.

The one drawback to this design is that the flowers face in the direction of the knitting, which means that I need to knit the sweater from the bottom up to make them face the right way. That’s kind of a problem because I am close on yardage and would rather be able to stop and assess yarn usage along the way. I haven’t quite decided how to deal with that one, but I’m thinking I might use a provisional cast on, knit the yoke and shoulders, and then unpick the cast on and pick up stitches to finish the body. That way I can knit the yoke with the flowers facing upward, and then knit the rest of the body in the direction that I prefer. I’ve never done a piece-wise sweater in quite this way before, which would make it an interesting adventure, and it means that I’ll start with the widest part of the sweater and decrease my stitch counts from there. It’s always nice when the row count goes downhill. The only challenge is figuring out how many stitches to cast on around the widest part of the yoke…

I have a bad habit of showing up at real-life fiber events and taking no pictures. This trip was no exception. I arrived in Minneapolis last Sunday, and Ellen whisked me off to a day of fiber fun at Shepherd’s Harvest, Minnesota’s sheep and wool fair. We had absolutely perfect weather, and spent a good bit of time outside enjoying it while we watched the sheep dog trials. Some of the dogs were very good, many were a little rough, and there was one very cute Samoyed puppy who clearly thought he was out on a play date rather than working a job. He was such a friendly little guy (and so clearly proud of himself) that it was hard not to love him, even if he didn’t seem to know the first thing about sheep herding. I bet he’ll be great next year, but this year it was really funny to watch him trot around the arena making friends with the sheep, completely oblivious to his trainers’ commands.

After the dog trials, we took a walk through the show barns and the fiber market. This is my favorite size of festival; about three barns of fiber. Plenty to look at and enough to keep you busy, but not so much that you slip into fiber overwhelm and miss most of the show. We stopped by the Briar Rose booth, where I picked up a couple of skeins of Sea Pearl for a to-be summer weight work sweater.

Then, Ellen and I cooked up a semi-secret project that allowed us to buy another skein of yarn that we wanted to try. We also managed to do it without adding to either of our stashes, and we co-knit a quick little project that is destined to bring someone a little joy to offset a loss. That project kept us busy for the rest of the two days of my visit, and Ellen continued working away after I’d left. It was one of those projects where everyone wins, and was really fun. If you’re ever in a knitting slump, split a small project with a friend…it just flew off the needles, and it made us both happy.  The yarn was a new Targhee yarn base, and boy was it nice to knit with! I don’t recall the name of it now, but it was super soft, and light with a lot of bounce. As always, the Briar Rose colors were fun to knit with, and we were both pretty enamored with the fabric. In keeping with my trip tradition, I completely failed to take a photo of the project at any stage, so we’ll have to rely on Ellen for the documentation.

Ellen also introduced me to the wonders of sous vide cooking and fresh garden asparagus…it was quite a visit!

On Monday, we made a stop over at Steven Be’s to look at his shop samples and see what was going on. (Steven is one of those people who always has something going on. Going into his shop is a little like playing dress up in Grandma’s attic…except with yarn and feather boas.) I skipped the feather boas, but I did find some beautiful lemon-cream colored top to finish off the colors for the crocus sweater. I’ve managed to wind the first ball of the purple now, and am busily spinning up the yellow yarn for the yoke.

I didn’t manage to make it through Steven’s collection completely unscathed, though. Contrary to all sense and reason, this skein of neon yarn kept shouting out my name. I compromised by toning it down with some dark purple and teal, and I think it will make a nice accent yarn for something special, though I haven’t quite figured out yet what it will be. A shawl or scarf of some kind, I imagine, but I think some serious swatching is required.

From Ellen’s, it was off to the conference that brought me to Minneapolis in the first place, and then home again on Thursday night. I’ve spent a couple of days crashing post-conference, but was back on my feet enough to spend a couple of hours out in the garden this morning. With Branden’s help, we’ve now planted almost all of the new herbs for the summer, with just a few things left here and there. The garden is mostly perennials, so the second year is a lot simpler than the first, though we’re adding in some new groundcover and I had to replace a few herbs that didn’t overwinter well. It’s looking good out there, though, and it’s nice to have a yard we want to spend time in.

Hope you’re all having a good Memorial Day weekend!

It’s hard to photograph black, but the mink scarf is growing rapidly. I’m most of the way through the second ball (of three).

At first, I didn’t really see how the mink yarn was any different than a very fine wool, but as I’ve been carrying it around in my bag it has begun to form quite a lovely halo. I’m glad that I decided to go with a stockinette-based fabric rather than a lace. The staple is quite short (I’d guess about 3/4 of an inch), and the yarn is slightly fragile as a result. (Now I’m hoping that the halo isn’t a sign of it disintegrating completely; I did notice fibers all over my light-colored shirt one night after knitting. The knitting should give it some extra stability, though, and it does make a beautifully soft fabric.) Definitely a sensitive luxury yarn, but overall nice to work with.

Not much else has been happening on the knitting front. Now that finals are over we’re deep into end-of-year evaluations, day-long “retreats,” and course prep for the fall. It’s a different pace of work, but there is still a lot of it to be done! It is nice to switch to a different kind of project for a while, though.

We had an all-day curriculum development meeting on Friday, which got out a little earlier than I generally leave. I didn’t have a brain cell left that was ready to think, so I took myself to the Museum of Fine Arts to check out their current quilt exhibition. I only had my phone camera on me, but it’s enough to give some idea of what was there. I really liked the motion in this one:

And the diagonal border really makes this one pop out:

The light and dark squares-on-squares pattern is interesting in this quilt:

Actually, there were several in the collection where a very simple pattern had been worked in highly contrasting fabrics to make a complicated-looking or visually interesting piece.

(I think that last one is one of my favorites…there are endless patterns within patterns to look at.)

And then there were the quilts with an intentionally less-regular appearance:

I don’t think I’d be inclined to put any of these on my bed, but it was fun to see how simple colors and pieces can be used to make very bold graphic designs. It was also interesting to see how different designers had played with light and dark to compose a more dynamic quilt. In all, it was a nice way to spend an hour at the end of a long day.

Tomorrow, I’ll be flying out to Minneapolis a day or two early for a conference. Ellen lives out there, and we’re going to spend a couple of days playing before I have to get back to work. It just happens that this weekend is their Shepherd’s Harvest festival, too. It was on my list of festivals to attend while I was in Madison, but never quite worked out. I really like the smaller festivals, especially the ones that are equally split between the knitting/crafting  and the farming communities. I hear that there are sheep dog trials at the festival this year, too…those should be fun!

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