Do Drop in at the Dew Drop…..Shawl? Yes!

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Last week one of my loom knitting heroines, Kristen Mangus of GoodKnit Kisses, was kind enough to promote this fledgling little blog on her own blog. I thought I would thank her by way of a post  featuring one of her patterns that I absolutely LOVE – the Dew Drop Shawl.

I had this shawl on my to-do list for well over a year. I even bought the yarn over a year ago and then I let it sit for a while. I figured that the yarn must be exhausted from its journey from the yarn shop to my house so why push it? Let’s let that yarn get good and rested before I transform it into what was sure to be the most awesome shawl ever.  I’m very logical like that.

16348836723_217b7e6ac9_bI used Noro (surprise, surprise!) Taiyo Sport in colorway #11. This a nice lightweight cotton, silk, wool and polyamide blend that is really perfect for the warmer months coming up here in NY. And the best part is that one skein is more than enough to complete this shawl. I love that!

16942996706_fb1211c33d_bThis shawl was fun to make. Plain and simple. I had just finished a sweater that took me nearly two months to make and I was jonesing to make something simple yet different. I didn’t want to hear the words moss stitch ever again but I had my doubts that my hands knew how to do anything else after so much repetition. Turns out I’m a bit of a drama queen. My hands did just fine and may have even high-fived each other once they got the hang of the Dew Drop.

16348836973_30b40723f2_bThis looks pretty crazy, doesn’t it?

16968950625_5d696e36e4_bAnd it get’s even crazier looking.

16782667297_4c9da2f78c_bAt this point one may start to wonder what the heck they are making. It’s like a can of silly string threw a party and invited every other can of silly string on the planet. But fear not! It’s supposed to look this way. Kristen said so.

17020554272_9326566517_bAnd there we have it! See? Pure awesome. This was a fast piece to knit. Just a few evenings in front of the TV and you will find yourself with a lovely shawl. I immediately discovered that there are a bunch of different ways to wear this piece. It’s works great as a scarf as well as a shawl.

16399813004_951d4f7c94_bAnd then I had the brilliant idea of making several and using them as curtain panels. I didn’t do it. But I thought about it. And I might do it. Instead I gave this shawl to my gorgeous friend Diane. I really need to get a picture of her wearing it because her shawl wearing expertise makes Stevie Nicks look like a rookie.

A few things I learned while making this piece

  • How to make really long dropped stitches. It’s easy on a loom but looks very impressive and makes people say things like, “oooh girl, you’re so talented!”
  • That once again Noro is the color bomb of yarns.
  • Simple can be stunning.
  • Kristen Mangus writes fantastic patterns and makes the most helpful videos. If you don’t know this, LEARN (<—-click it).

To see Kristen’s Ravelry page on this shawl click HERE.

To see my Ravelry page on this shawl click HERE.

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Noro Scarf or How I Sold My Soul to the Yarn Devil

IMG_7066Very early in the developmental stages of my yarn addiction I came across Noro yarn. I found a sweater pattern while looking around Ravelry which contained two of my favorite things: stripes and insane amounts of color. When I looked to see what kind of yarn was used I saw the word Noro. A quick Google search brought up zillions of photos of knit creations so colorful I thought I might have a seizure. I knew right away that Noro was created JUST FOR ME. Immediately I tried to find a pattern that would be simple enough for me to follow (especially given the fact that I had never followed a pattern before). I came across Jared Flood’s famous Noro Striped Scarf and thought, “Hey! How hard can that be?” Well as it turns out, when you have never read a pattern before and you don’t even understand what simple instructions are telling you, and you don’t take the time to actually figure anything out, it’s really not that simple. So I tossed that pattern aside and did my own thing like the stubborn, impatient fool that I am.

16865329392_d6291253f1_bWhat evolved was a long, uneven attempt at a simple seed stitch scarf. Knit 1 purl 1, knit 1 purl 1, knit 1 purl 1, and then reverse for the next row…..for days and days. And here’s what I learned: My brain had no idea how to remember to knit 1 purl 1 over and over without screwing up dozens of times. It sounds so easy! And yet, if I didn’t truly focus and pay attention I found myself three rows into pure knit stitch while my mind was thinking about what meat-centric, covered in garlic, dinner I was going to be having later in the day.

And I learned something else: Noro yarn might have a pretty face but she’s a feisty yarn to knit with. She breaks easily and with no warning. And she’s full of… stuff. Stuff like knots and tree branches and other things only found on nature walks. After reading reviews of various Noro yarns I discovered that these are normal complaints with some people choosing to overlook these minor flaws and others swearing upon their grandmother’s graves that they will never use it again. I fall into the first category. I don’t care if Noro wants to break or be scratchy or be the home to enough twigs to build a small lean-to. What she gives back in the way of a visual feast is enough for me. Her colors make me all kinds of stupid happy and thus far I have not found another yarn that compares visually. That’s not to say that I won’t keep buying every colorful yarn that crosses my path, but as of right now, Noro wins. And I love it. A lot.

IMG_7062It might not be prefect and I didn’t know much about blocking at the time so it’s pretty wonky, but I love this scarf and I wear it a lot in the winter. I get tons of compliments when I do. Which brings me to the next thing I learned while making this scarf: it’s all about the yarn. If you use beautiful yarn, even if your technical skills aren’t that fantastic, your finished product will be awesome and you will love it. And that’s really what it’s all about.

If you would like some more info on this scarf please see my Ravelry page.

And away we go!

I started this blog about three months ago. I set up the format, I put up a nice pretty header picture. And then I let it sit. And sit. I’m a slow starter sometimes but at long last I am putting up my first blog post. I’m not really sure what I’ve been waiting for. I mean, I’m obsessed with knitting. Loom knitting in particular, and I have a lot to say about it. No, I’m not a teacher. And I won’t be making any videos. That’s not my thing. Truth is I really don’t know what I’m doing half the time, but I love it. I love yarn. I love texture and warmth. I love creating something useful. But mostly I love the peace of mind that comes from knitting. It’s my meditation, my Prozac, the thing that keeps my stress level in check and helps me escape into a wooly, snuggly world.

I first discovered loom knitting three winters ago. I had a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away (kind of like the one I have right now) and I was desperately searching Walmart for tissues. You would think that tissues would be near the cold remedies but no, that would make too much sense. Instead they place the tissues on the complete opposite side of the enormous store, forcing you to navigate through the clothes, shoes, electronics, pet supplies and….crafts. It was there as I stumbled by in my snuffly meds induced high that I spotted something I had never seen before. It was the Martha Stewart Crafts Knit and Weave Kit. I’m pretty sure I did a Scooby-Doo double take (complete with sound effects) and I may have even squeaked a little (a squeal was completely out of the question considering my congested condition). I grabbed the box and read all about it. I looked to my left and there was yarn. It was as if the craft gods of Walmart were sending me a direct sign: You need to buy this and spend your sick days creating marvelous things that will warm and comfort you in your time of need.

Not being one to ignore the Walmart craft gods, I bought the loom and a few skeins of yarn along with a pallet of tissues and I was on my way.

It was love at first loom. I had tried knitting before. Many times, actually. I still have my half finished projects from years ago with the needles still in place. My grandmother and mother tried to teach me along with my former boss. I learned many different ways and styles but the problem was always the same: my hands hurt. My fingers would cramp and my hands would turn into claws and it just wasn’t fun at all. So I gave it up and resigned myself to never being a knitter. But looming! Looming was something special. It’s the same as knitting but instead of the stitches being on needles they are on pegs. And instead of holding two needles you only need to hold a hook. My hands immediately said, “You need to do this all the time! We insist!” (true story) And who am I not to listen to my very own hands? So I started with this:

16457360712_d72ffc5bf5_bI wasn’t using a pattern I was just double knitting what would eventually turn into the biggest cowl in the history of cowls. This cowl could have starred in its own horror movie, “The Cowl that Ate Upstate NY.”

15835778934_83e1c67a19_oSee what I mean? But hey! I was knitting and it was fun and I had made something that could keep a small family of four warm all winter long! Go me!

It snowballed from this point. I immediately became a slave to yarn and all the wonderful ways it can be transformed into fabric. I’m not the fastest knitter but I have managed to make a nice pile of lovely things that have brought me immense joy. I hope to share them with you via this blog. It’s in the bare bones stage right now. I haven’t figured out how to add a sidebar with links, but I’m working on it. As I said before, I am not a teacher and that is not the purpose of this blog. There are so many amazing and talented people out there who truly know what they are doing and have generously given their time and talent to the rest of us who want to learn. I will be linking to many of them giving credit where credit is due.

So please join me in my adventures in loom knitting! It’s bound to be a great time. 🙂