It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (it’s hard to make myself spend an extra minute at the computer right now), but there has been a lot of crafting going on in the background! Not a lot compared to what I used to do, mind you, but a lot compared to the past few years. I finished the Sun Valley Fibers scarf.  Yet another iteration in the seemingly endless line of garter stitch scarves (fast to cast on, easy to design on the fly, and infinitely wearable). I knit it using a size 3, which is the same pair of needles I’ve been using all along, but it came out much, much smaller than the previous scarves before blocking. A lace-level blocking was enough to make it the right size, though, and I’ve worn it several times since. I love the dappled look of the semisolid colors; the different shades vary from brown to sage green, which makes it very versatile.

Even with simple garter stitch, I did have several rip and reknit phases with this scarf. I had 900 yards in the skein, but I overestimated how far that would take me and had to rip back about a third of the scarf when I realized that I was using up my yarn too fast. I also continue to have trouble getting the end of the scarf right; something about the decreases in the last corner of these bias scarves just doesn’t work in my head. I was also playing yarn chicken at the end of the scarf, trying to squeeze out every last inch of the yarn. At one point, I had about 30 square inches left to go, and looked down at my ball to see this.

My first thought? “you know, I might not quite have enough.” When I was finished laughing at myself for thinking that 4 yards of yarn would knit 60 decreasing rows, I ripped back about 2.5 inches of length, and reknit to the corner again. In all, I think I reknit the last corner 3 or 4 times, but it is now finally done.

Since then, I’ve started working on my first sweater in 3+ years. That’s a really long time, if you consider the fact that sweaters are my favorite thing to knit. I just haven’t been doing enough knitting to make progress on a sweater, and haven’t had the brain space to decide what I want to do. But this fall, I’ve decided to give it a try. I’m using Binge Knit yarn from Three Irish Girls (Stars Hollow) that I bought at Steven Be in Minneapolis in 2017. I had swatched with this yarn a year or so ago, but it never made it out of the stitch-pattern phase.

The swatch is mostly variations on ribbing, some with yo accents, and some with slip stitch cables. There were a couple of broken rib stitches in there as well, but I decided on a mix of 2×2 rib and twist stitch cables. I pulled out the first swatch and knit a much larger version with both stockinette and pattern stitches on size 3 and size 4 needles. The size 3 fabric feels a little stiff when I’m knitting it, but the yarn gets very drapey once blocked, and I think the extra structure will help. The cables also popped a bit more with the more structured fabric.

I did dither a bit about the needle size choice, because this is another case where I might be a bit short on yarn. I have 7 skeins, and I remember talking myself into buying an extra when I was in the store, but my calculations off of the swatch weight say that I may still be cutting it pretty close. I decided to knit the sleeves first, to get a better idea of whether to abort and go back to the size 4s before knitting the whole sweater this time.

I’ve now knit most of both sleeves, and the first few inches of the hem. I blocked it all this week, and tried on the hem part to see if I could remove some more stitches from the body, and it turns out that I can (almost 20%!), so hopefully that will be enough to ensure that I make it to the end without running out of yarn. Fingers crossed, at least.

I’ve also been working on getting some old projects off of the loom(s). Both of them have stood untouched since I went back to grad school 4 years ago, and it’s really high time they were working again. The weekend before last, I finished a set of rag rugs that I’ve been weaving from old jeans. I’m hoping to get them bound and ready to give to my sister for Christmas, since she just bought her first house.

The worst thing you can do is to let the loom sit empty (it’s an inertia thing; as long as something is in progress, you can get things done. If you let it sit idle, it gets harder and harder to start), so I grabbed another project pretty much at random and wound another warp this week, just to get something on the loom. I wound the warp on today, and just need to figure out what pattern I want to weave with it and thread the loom.

I’m using the Valley Fibers Tencel yarn that I buy from WEBs and keep in stock in the weaving stash, in a very plummy purple to go with some skeins of Malabrigo yarn that I apparently bought sometime prior to 2009. I absolutely love the colors, but I have never been able to get them to do what I want in a knitted fabric. They always get too broken up and speckle-y for me. I’ve had this in my “try weaving” pile for years, and have just never gotten around to it. Apparently, today is its day.

I am really hoping that all this activity is a sign that I might be getting back into the swing of things after the massive, multiple interrupts of the past 4 years. We’ll see if it lasts, but at least for now it’s feeling like the momentum is finally, actually coming back.