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!