Friday, February 22, 2013


I love this word. It's fun to say...and in the context of a KAL, it's very fun to contemplate the possibilities.

If you follow our forum on Ravelry (and if you don't, you should), you might've seen this post from Wednesday, when I informally announced our next knit-along:
this time, we’re going to offer the opportunity to revisit all the previous KALs. we’re calling it Redux. 
along the lines of “which KAL did you skip and wish you hadn’t, or which KAL project did you love so much you want to do again, or which KAL project(s - yes, I have multiple of them!) is still languishing unfinished…. this is your chance to make it up”. 
I’ll share more ideas on the blog this week - along with a summary of all the KALs (can you believe we’ve been doing this for three years now…around a dozen different projects).
So this is that promised blog post, and I've spent the past 30 minutes looking back over three years of blog posts... and TWENTY ONE!!!! knit-alongs. Yes, friends, we've shared 21 projects since we starting knitting along back in March 2010. Here's the whole list, complete with Ravelry pattern links and (of course!) my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ... frogged.

  1. Traveling Woman, March 2010 .  One of my favorite lace shawls. ever. especially now that Liz Abinante (the designer) has released a for-pay pattern that includes detailed charts, stitch counts and tips for four yarn weights (from lace to worsted) and more than a dozen different sizes.
  2. Selbu Modern, April 2010 . A beret with stranded colorwork. We suggested Fresco for the main color and a skein of Koigu's KPPPM for the contrast. Now we carry the Canopy Fingering that the pattern calls for and I think that's an even better suggestion.
  3. Springtime Bandit, May 2010 . Another free pattern from Kelbourne Woolens. It's a triangular shawl with all-over patterning and a very pretty lace border. I've knit this twice and enjoyed the knitting...and the FO's.
  4. Annis, June 2010 . I think this is one of Susannah IC's first patterns and it was the first time I'd tried a "bottom-up" shawl. It starts with the lace edge (yes, that's a lot of stitches to cast on!) and then there are short-rows in the stockinette portion to create the crescent shape. We knit this with Madelinetosh and Malabrigo sock...all lovely. And now I'd also suggest Canopy Fingering, Shibui's Cima (lace-weight) or Staccato (fingering), Swans Island Lace or Fingering and Juniper Moon Farm's Findlay (lace-weight).
  5. Double Eyelet Rib Socks, August 2010 . Our first attempt at socks, and not a huge success (mine got frogged...and I'm not sure I recall a single finished sock, let alone a pair). Sally has since started a "sock club" that meets on the third Sunday of each month. It's a lot more fun!
  6. Susie's Reading Mitts, October 2010 . Pretty fingerless mitts with an eyelet edge at the cuff and finger edge. The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn, so they knit up quickly (great for gifts). Also, we found the perfect matching hat pattern . Mitt number one is still on my needles (and I have extra yarn to make the matching hat...someday).
  7. Turkish Bed Socks, November 2010 . These aren't a traditional toe-up or cuff down sock, but the construction is pretty cool and of course very well explained since it's a Churchmouse pattern. And yep, sock #1 is still on my needles, waiting to have the toe kitchenered.
  8. Colchicaceae, February 2011 . Another bottom-up shawl, but in a DK or worsted weight. We had some lovely FOs from this one and I'd highly recommend Venezia Worsted for a spring/summer look.
  9. Clapotis, March 2011 (apparently the button doesn't work to show 20,000+ projects!). Whoa, I saw on Twitter this week that the pattern just passed the 20,000 project mark. I've contributed three to that count and would knit it again in a heartbeat. It's fun, and very wearable.
  10. Summer Flies, May 2011 . Yes, 2011 was the Summer of Summer Flies. I'm guessing this is probably our most popular KAL ever. The pattern is fun and goes fast and you can use just about any yarn. It's especially fun to mix and match the Claudia Handpaints (you'll need three skeins) for the different sections.
  11. Nantucket Vest, September 2011 . Not many of us participated, but those that did...we have a great layering piece. A few of us used Maggiknits Maggie's Linen and it works beautifully if the suggested Tahki Ripple doesn't appeal.
  12. Creature Comforts Cardi, September 2011 . Not so much a cardi as a shrug (it's a big rectangle that you fold in half and seam to make armholes)...and not so much a knit-along as "here are some helpful hints if you decide to knit it". I knit mine out of Cascade Eco Cloud and it's like a warm hug. Definitely check out our tips if you decide to knit it.
  13. Rustling Leaves Beret, November 2011 . Our first of three KALs from the lovely Coastal Knits book. This is a quick project and makes a great gift. One skein of Spud&Chloe fine makes one, and a skein of Madelinetosh or Malabrigo sock would make two.
  14. Ella Coat, January 2012 . Noni herself picked up on what we doing and started a nation-wide KAL on her blog and on Ravelry; it was a lot of fun to be knitting along with the designer. Most of us used Stonehedge Mill's Shepherd's Worsted for the coat body and we chose all different yarns for the ruffled trim. For a coat, the knitting goes pretty fast and the finishing is minimal. ...I think I'm going to wear mine today!
  15. Panoramic Stole, January 2012 . Our 2nd Coastal Knits project and my favorite FO for 2012. It's an epic knit (just about 1,000 yards of fingering weight) but not hard so it goes great with friends and conversation.
  16. Rill Scarf, February 2012 . We chose this to show off the gorgeous Findlay Dappled yarn that arrived in the shop last winter. I didn't get very far with it, but the few that I saw finished are so pretty. (I'm going to repurpose my Findlay Dappled to make another Panoramic Stole).
  17. Sand and Sea Shawlette, May 2012 . Our 3rd Coastal Knits project and a very wearable scarf-y shawl. Most of us knit a solid background and used a variegated yarn for the lace edge, but it also looks great in two solids...and two variegated.
  18. Bandit, June 2012 . LOTS and LOTS of straight stockinette, first knit flat, and then in the round. This project cries out for conversation! Most of us used Euroflax Linen (either solid or tonal) and it works great.
  19. Color Affection, July 2012 . Not quite the summer runaway we had with Summer Flies, but close. Choosing the colors is really the only hard part. After that, it's a lot of garter stitch (knit knitting!) and a little bit of paying attention to changing colors. Last summer, most of us chose Madelinetosh Sock and Tosh Merino Light and Malabrigo Sock. For Redux, a few of us are using Habu Tsumugi Silk. This project is my Redux!
  20. Measure for Measure, August 2012 . The brioche stitch is a challenge, but the two FOs I've seen are stunning. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but boy is there payoff. (I briefly started with that Findlay Dappled but decided I didn't have the patience...frogged!)
  21. and last but certainly not least, Mix No. 9, January 2013 . Inspired by the Shibui trunk show last fall, and the rich colors and fibers of the Shibui Staccato and Silk Cloud. I know two of these have been finished, but I have yet to see them. and I'm knitting like mad on mine to finish it... next Friday, March 1, when we are going to Redux!  We hope you'll join us...and share what you're going to Redux. And if you're on Ravelry, please tag your project cottageredux2013 so we can follow along.

and in case you're interested, here's how those 21 projects played out for me:
In progress - one (Mix No. 9)
Finished - fourteen (Wow!!), including nine scarves/shawls, one beret, one coat, one vest, one shrug and one bandit
Frogged - four (Selbu Modern, Double Eyelet Socks, Rill Scarf, Measure for Measure)
Languishing - two (Susie's Reading Mitts, Turkish Bed Socks)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Touching a Unicorn.

I saw this tweet a few days ago and instantly thought "yes, that's it exactly!"

Like many of you, I'm knitting Shibui's Mix No. 9 for the current shop KAL and that's my first experience with the absolutely stunning Silk Cloud. I joined my second ball (of three) last weekend and I am in love. It's soft and shimmery just like a unicorn should be. and it's surprisingly easy to knit with (as long as I have enough light :-) even though it's a laceweight yarn. The mohair makes it not-so-slippery and the silk that runs through the core gives it strength so it's not so easy to break.

That same morning, I also saw a blog post featuring Julie Hoover's Garance .  This sweater is a bottom-up seamless pullover that combines another Shibui favorite, Heichi, with Silk Cloud. Yep, two Silk Cloud mentions just a few hours apart.

I'm sure no one's surprised that a few seconds later my thoughts shifted to "I need to knit more of it. now."

I have the Heichi in the pattern-suggested Caffeine colorway in my stash. Oh yes, this must be a sign; I need to knit that sweater.

I now have three skeins of the pattern-suggested Camel...
and Garance is next up in my sweater queue.

The neutral color is what fits into my wardrobe, but the sweater would also be great in a purple. or blue.
L-R: Peony SC, Graffiti Heichi, Velvet SC, Fjord SC, Canal Heichi, Caffeine Heichi, Camel SC

If the Heichi sweater seems a bit heavy, why not consider the Silk Cloud Pullover . This is a top-down seamless pullover knit with the Silk Cloud held double. It's light as air and would be perfect to layer over a long-sleeved tee or a camisole to wear year-round. Right now, though, I'm loving that Apple colorway...just in time for spring!

So...have you touched the unicorn (yet)?