Falling water, shimmering silk

I wish I could get a picture that does justice to this beautiful yarn. It's Shimmering Silk Fingering in a limited edition colourway called "Life is a Flower" by Expression Fiber Arts. The colour is much more dimensional than my lighting (and my iffy smartphone camera!) can pick up. 

And the texture. Ahhh, such a joy to work with. Everyone knows that knitting can feel very meditative; this yarn just invited a blissed out state.  So, we've established I'm a fan, right? 

I felt pressure to choose the rightest, perfectest, loveliest pattern to honour this beautiful yarn. After much consideration, I picked the Falling Water scarf, available for free on Ravelry.com. I knit about 7 or 8 inches, then test blocked it to see if it would block out wide enough or if I should add a pattern repeat or two. Since it blocked out to about 6.5 inches, I thought it would be perfect. I thought. (Dramatic pause. Foreshadowing.)

Beautiful, huh? Knit, knit, knit, knit. I knit it to just over 52 inches long, hypothesizing that since it blocked out width-wise as the pattern stated, it would lengthen as suggested as well. This is a yarn that needs blocking to really show its stuff. 

Check it out. Unblocked compared to the previously blocked end. 

Unblocked vs blocked end

I blocked it using my DIY blocking wires. I really didn't get much length. Maaaaybe a couple of inches? But definitely 6.5 inches wide.

Falling Water being blocked

The calm before the frog

I was concerned about the length. I told myself that I could definitely figure out ways to wear it even though it's shorter than my usual go-to 6 foot length for scarves. Then, I tried it on.

Get ready to cue the sad trombone. 

The challenge was how it hangs. It doesn't want to be a luscious 6.5 inch wide statement scarf. It wants to be a scanty wee whisper of a scarf. Being not a scant wee whisper of a wearer, this isn't going to work for me. 

 Insert usual abashed verbiage about "oh dear! I look so tired and I should have slapped a layer of makeup on and tried to do something better with my hair." But let's be honest, if I waited for all those stars and planets to align, the pic would never happen, so... HERE I AM. 

Insert usual abashed verbiage about "oh dear! I look so tired and I should have slapped a layer of makeup on and tried to do something better with my hair." But let's be honest, if I waited for all those stars and planets to align, the pic would never happen, so... HERE I AM. 

Anyway, absolutely gorgeous yarn. Delightful pattern. 5 stars each. Together, they just don't add up, sadly. Imma frog this scarf and do something more drapey, like maybe a very deep cowl that sort of pools down. And I'm likely to use the pattern again too, with a more substantial yarn. 

Live and learn, right??

Fluffy wuffy wonder pillow

I received this yarn as part of a mystery BOGO from the Yarn Factory Outlet ages ago. While I awaited an order from Expression Fiber Arts (stayed tuned because oooooo), I decided to do some kind of a stash buster. Since the bag o' lash was taking up valuable real estate in my yarn drawers AND it seemed fairly unlikely that I would ever spontaneously need it, I decided to find a project for it. 

Check out the close-up of this yarn.  Cramazing, right? You might think this would be the tippety-top of the commitment to quirk in my stash. You'd be wrong.*

Anyhow, I decided to make a pillow. If I was going to shop for buttons, I probably would have gone with a straight edge fold and like five big round shiny black buttons. In the spirit of stashbusting, I needed to work with ingredients I had on hand. Hence, a single button and an envelope-style fold. 

The "pattern"

10 skeins of Tent Sale Lash Yarn (weight and yardage unmarked; appears to be about 59 metres/65 yards and 50 g/1.76 ounces)
6mm needles
50 X 30.5 cm (19.5 X 12 inches) pillow form (I used a cheapie dollar store pillow)
1 large shiny button, or more or none

FRONT
Cast on 61 stitches loosely, using 2 strands held together. To cast on loosely, I cast on to two knitting needles held together. You could also cast on to a larger single needle and switch on the first row. Stockinette stitch until roughly 32 cm (12.5 inches) long. Switch to new balls of yarn when necessary at the begging of a row, so that the yarn ends can be used to seam the pillow. Cast off loosely. 

BACK
Cast on 61 stitches loosely, using 2 strands held together. Stockinette stitch until roughly 32 cm (12.5 inches) long. On next and all following knit rows, knit2tog first 2 stitches, then knit across until last 2 stitches which you will ssk. Continue stockinette stitch with reductions until approximately until 46 cm (18 inches) long. Cast off loosely remaining stitches. 

ASSEMBLE
Right side and wrong aren't hugely different with this yarn, but the Purl side is slightly fluffier so I considered it the right side. I made sure all the yarn ends were dangling on the wrong side where I couldn't manage to have them at the edge. Holding both panels with the right sides facing inward to each other, stitch the bottom and side seams together. I used the yarn ends where possible -- thrifty, and they'll never come unwoven. Turn the pillowcase right side out. Insert the pillow form.  Pull the flap over the front panel. Mark where the button(s) should be. Sew button(s) on to front panel. The gauge should be loose enough that you can force button(s) through the fabric of the flap without having to make proper buttonholes. 

 The button is pretty much invisible in the photo. It's there, I promise. And it's bigger than you might guess. 

The button is pretty much invisible in the photo. It's there, I promise. And it's bigger than you might guess. 

I know what you're wondering. BUT DOES THE PILLOW WORK? The verdict is in. It is both fluffy and wuffy. Truly, it is wondrous, attracting cuddles from all it encounters.

fluffy wuffy wonder Lily.jpg

*As kooky as this yarn is, there is another batch of yarn from the same mystery shipment that waaay crazier. It is also lash, and it looks like the lovechild of Oscar the Grouch and the Snufalupagus. Brownish-yellowish-khaki-green. And shiny, so very shiny. I can't imagine that I'll ever find a use for it, and yet I am far too cheap to throw it out. (Yes, even though it was free.) Suggestions welcome. 

A glam little shawl

For the past 18 months or so, I belonged to the Mary Maxim knit club. I'd receive an automatic shipment of a different yarn each month with the suggested pattern to go with it. (Though I seldom used the suggested pattern. I gotta be me.) It was always a delightful surprise to get the package in the mail. Reasonable value for the most part too and some screaming deals. It definitely got me out of a samey-same yarn rut by encouraging me to work with different textures and colourways than my comfort zone. 

I recently quit the club because I want to focus more on supporting indie dyers and spinners working with natural fibers. Stay tuned for those adventures. But for now, behold my last club shipment.

Patons Glam Stripes in Wine. Very much in my usual spectrum of colours and yarn weight (3, light). The pattern that came with it was a full-size triangular shawl, very old school granny. Pretty, but not my thing. So the hunt was on. I had thought the Paton's Asymmetrical Shawl might be perfect: a mindless knit in a shape I'd for sure wear. Plus, it's designed for Glam Stripes, so it should be easy-peasy. Unfortunately, when I started to knit...

It totally looks like a dish cloth, right? Like maybe the fancy dish cloth of a lounge singer in Vegas, but a dish cloth nonetheless. Plus, the striping kind of gets loss and the silver bits look kind of random. So I frogged it.

Then I thought about a pattern for a couple of shawls I just love wearing, the Edge of the Wedge Shawl, also by Patons. The teal one was made from Patons Lace Sequin, and the grey mix from yarn I bought on clearance at Michaels. The fact that they both have sequins is certainly a clue to my natural magpie tendencies. 

I love both of these shawls and wear them fairly often. Well, as often as one can wear sequins without actually turning in to Katherine Chancellor. (Not that there's anything wrong with aspiring to that level of awesome, mind you.)

So, I decided to use that pattern as my starting point. I modified it a bit to keep it more interesting than doing the exact same thing again. I eliminated the bobbles and added in some stockinette striping to try to highlight the striping in the yarn. 

It didn't take me too many rows to determine it was working for me.

The stockinette gives the yard a more refined look than all garter. The striping, the shimmer, and the cable detailing provided enough visual interest as well. I don't love the feel of the yarn––as you might guess, it's a little rough--but I think it knit up nicely.

Here it is on my luxurious laundry room floor being blocked.

wedge-inspired shawl-blocking.jpg

And here it is, on the wearer. Don't judge my lack of selfie-taking prowess. I'm not a millennial. The skill did not come built in.