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  • knitting1105 3:50 pm on September 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , handspun yarn, , ,   



    When planning to head out to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, I naturally needed some very portable knitting projects.  I took some socks along, but they were on my precious metal Signature needles.  Not wanting to take the chance of TSA trying to confiscate those, I put them in my checked bag, and pulled out this Fiber Optic yarn that I had spun last winter.


    This was spun using 2 braids of the color way Thistle.  My yardage was 1,070 yards.  Not as much as I would have liked.


    So, then the night before having to get up at 4am for a very early flight, I am on the computer looking up patterns.  I opted for Pulelehua, which means butterfly in Hawaiian.  I am hoping that I have enough yarn, as the yardage on peoples projects is anywhere from about 1,000-1,500.

    About 1/2 of the yarn has been knit up to date, this is my progress thus far:



    For the second half of the shawl, I am weighing the yarn after each chart section is done.  Not sure yet if panic will set in, but I am already thinking that I need to obtain another braid to use just the dark blue end to finish off.


    And, while knitting on this the past week, we have had great fun watching the Monarchs in our native plantings at the side of the house.  This garden was planted about 10 years ago, but this is by far the best year for Monarchs, and a few Black Swallowtails as well.



    I counted 7 one night, and that was just from my back porch, I didn’t venture down the side of the house!


    There is even the Monarch moth on the plants.


    They are just loving the tall white flowers, my husband thinks that they are the  Tall Bonest, but looking at the book I am thinking perhaps Wild Quinine, we need to get our neighbor over to help identify these. To a lesser extent they are attracted to the Tall Coreopsis.  In addition there are many native pollinators, wasps, honey bees, crickets, etc.  It is fun to walk on the side of the house and hear all of the insects, with the Cicadas as the background music.  I hope that we are making a difference in our own little piece of the world.  I see more and more native gardens in lieu of pesticide lawns.  All these pollinators desperately need our help.

    • elaine 8:07 pm on September 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful spinning, knitting and butterflies, of course! Love the colors!


    • 1marylou 10:19 am on September 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful yarn, pictures and project!


    • Diane 12:34 pm on September 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Love all the butterflies, I am sure it reminds you of Mom and Anita.


  • knitting1105 8:38 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , handspun yarn, , ,   

    Shawls to Excess? 


    Can one person own too many shawls?  Especially when they are handspun and hand knit with a beautiful Fiber Optic gradient.  I do believe I am testing this hypothesis firsthand.  My Reef Shawl is finished and off the blocking boards, fiber was spun using the Reef gradient that happened to be the first Fiber Optic gradient one that I purchased.

    I know that this post will generate lots of offers to take these shawls off my hands.  Not happening people, too much time involved.


    I was reluctant to spin this for 2 reasons, at first I thought the colors to bright for me, and second, I didn’t want to ruin the fiber.  It seems I should have had no worries. The colors are gorgeous, and the fiber is wonderful.


    I chose the pattern, Poppy Shawl from Brooke Nico’s new book Lovely Knitted Lace, as I wanted to maximize the use of the yarn, and I often find that triangular shawls do not sit well on my shoulders.  The unique shape of this shawl is intriguing, 3 triangles separated by a thin rectangle that sits on the shoulders.  Sort of a simplified Faroese styling.


    The shawl rests naturally on the shoulders.  Love the Nupps in the long, thin rectangular panels.


    Using this mannequin helps me to see what the shawl looks like on the backside while being worn.  I changed the bottom edging, the pattern called for simply finishing a repeat and binding off.  Preferring a more detailed bottom edge, and wanting to maximize the use of all my yarn, I improvised a variation of the pattern for the end of the shawl, and bound off with the stretchy bind-off.

    I will wear it today, although it will have to be as a shawl scarf, as it is rather cool outside.


    Pattern: Poppy
    Pattern Source: Lovely Knitted Lace
    Yarn: Handspun gradient Reef from Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 5
    Date Started: 3/28/14
    Date Finished: 4/27/14
    Finished Dimensions: 48″ wide x 20″ deep from back neck

    • Diane 7:43 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, this turned out beautiful just as all of your shawls do. I think shawls and socks go in the same category — “too much is just barely enough”, Enjoy!


      • knitting1105 10:25 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I thank Steve all the time for that outlook on life!


    • chikwithyarn 5:47 am on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is beautiful. Bi love the yarn. Each of your creations you make with it makes me want to buy some. I think I am just going to bite the bullet and order some.


      • knitting1105 10:24 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much! The colors of her fiber are so amazing that anything you knit with them looks great.


    • floofymoose 10:46 pm on June 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      These are amazing. I’ve got a couple braids of the Midnight gradient but am almost terrified to try spinning them because I’m not sure they will match up. Any tips? Thanks!


      • knitting1105 3:31 pm on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        As long as you are somewhat consistent in your spinning, you should have no worries. I find it easier to ply 2 braids together than split one evenly down the middle. Having a bit of the braid not match up is actually an advantage, as it gives some transition to the final braid. If you are plying and not happy with how they are matching up, you can break the one that is ahead in color and pull out some of the singles. I have only had to do that once. Kimber’s colors are so amazing, you need not worry. Warning however, they are also very addictive!


    • Erica 8:54 am on July 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m having trouble understanding the pattern, I hope you can help!! After you do the first round of charts 3 and 4, there’s 131 sts. For the chart 3 section there are 27 sts, but when you start row 1 again the stitch numbers don’t add up. Did you do k4, to, k1, then repeat the red section twice, ssk, yo?


      • knitting1105 3:12 pm on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I have been swamped and have not had the opportunity to respond properly. Did you look at my notes on Ravelry, that is the best that I can do, as it has been awhile since I made this. Sorry.


  • knitting1105 2:13 pm on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , handspun yarn, ,   

    Reef Shawl 

    Work has been steadily progressing on the Poppy Shawl by Brooke Nico.


    If you decide to knit this pattern, look for the errata.  I found a mistake in the first row of Chart 3 and in the repeat width (it is 8 not the 9 std boxed out). When I emailed Brooke to ask if I was correct, she concurred and issued a correction on Ravelry.  It is a lot of knitting of the same pattern repeat, which is fairly straight forward albeit a bit boring at times.  I am very intrigued with the shape which is 3 triangles separated by 2 narrow rectangles (those are the sections with the nupps).  It should sit nicely on my shoulders and have lots of fabric to wrap.  One thing that I would like to change is the ending, rather than just casting off.  I have plenty of time to mull that over, still not finished with the first skein of yarn, my spinning was wound in 2 sections.


    The colors are so gorgeous on this fiber, that I had to go back and see what the inspiration photo had been.


    Which generated this colorway:




  • knitting1105 1:35 pm on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , handspun yarn,   



    I finally have spun up the Reef Gradient from Fiber Optic.


    This was the first of Kimber’s gradients that I purchased (I was already a fan, and had been in her club for 1 year).  This sat on the shelf, as I felt while the colors were beautiful, that it was too bright and just not ME.  Well, times have changed, and this long long winter has me looking for bright and sunny and anything that feels like warmth everywhere.  


    I have also come to appreciated the bright colored shawls and how striking they actually are.

    My spinning was not as even as normal, so I had to pull it out a few times to bring the colors back into closer alignment.  I do like some overlap to transition, but a couple of times it was too much.  After plying it was washed and set on the bathroom radiator to dry.  990 yards of 2ply.


    And then the photographs.  The colors were so beautiful and intense that I took tons of photos.  Enjoy the splash of brightness!




    Now, I really want to knit this into a shawl quickly.  I have a couple of ideas…


    • Diane Hamilton 9:58 pm on February 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love the colors, anxious to see what you do with this yarn. I know whatever you do will be beautiful as always. It reminds me of a beautiful sunset on Lake Michigan!


    • Vonna 12:43 am on February 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      990yds you are awesome! I hope to do that amount one day.


    • CWLFibers 4:44 pm on February 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      How lovely.


  • knitting1105 6:28 pm on February 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , handspun yarn, , , ,   

    Honey to Fig 

    I cannot believe that I have not posted for 2 weeks!  Must be that all of my energy is going into shoveling snow and attempting to stay warm.  We are on the 3rd snowiest winter ever, and it is not yet halfway through February.  Everyone is hoping that we do not break the record books.

    During this hibernation phase, I have finished up my Semele shawl using the Honey to Fig gradient from Fiber Optic that I spun last Fall.  There were several false starts with various patterns, so the real knitting with the final pattern chose actually was only about 2 weeks.



    Having a pattern that was knit from side to side for this gradient became an obsession with me, not quite sure why.  Three different patterns were tried before I settled on Semele, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  This pattern allowed me to knit 1/2 of the shawl increasing and then start to decrease.  Either my calculations were incorrect, or the 2nd half of the braids were spun thinner.  In either case, I am still happy and I have some leftover deep purple for future use.

    Here is a photo blast for this yet again cold day. Colors were hard to capture, as it went from a golden-yellow to a very deep purple.







    Pattern: Semele
    Pattern Source: Downloaded pattern
    Yarn: Handspun gradient Honey to Fig from Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 6
    Date Started: 1/9/14
    Date Finished: 2/8/14
    Finished Dimensions: 68″ wide x 37″ deep

    • Diane Hamilton 12:15 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      First I love the name–definitely one that you need to keep for yourself. I also love the colors and the edging, it turned out beautiful. As always, you did a great job!


    • chikwithyarn 7:23 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love this yarn. I have just started spinning myself. How do you spin the fiber so the color stays together so you get an ombré look?


      • knitting1105 9:47 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! If you spin your fiber evenly, regardless of the weight, the colors will match with Kimber’s fibers. If there is some overlap, I leave it to allow for more transition (which I prefer), if there is too much I break off a section (but usually not). Hope that answers your question. Her fibers are so beautiful, they always look great spun up.


    • janice bauerle 11:36 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful Frances!!! Love the colors and detail along the edge


  • knitting1105 8:13 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , handspun yarn, ,   

    Knitting TM 


    Knitting is the new yoga is a phrase often heard amongst knitters, and we like to point out that we accomplish things at the same time.  As a yoga student, it has the meditative properties, but my abs and triceps benefit little from my knitting, try as I might.  Today I was watching a talk show and they were taking about Transcendental Meditation and the associated health benefits.  I was working on my current shawl, at a point in the middle of each row, where it is mindless stockinette stitch, and thought this is TM also.  A quick google turned up this yoga retreat site that taught knitting as a meditative part of the retreat.

    Knitting relieves stress for me, and comes out in times of crisis to keep me centered.  It always is my solution for people going through difficult times in their lives, whether they be personal or physical.  Some heed my advise, most look at me as if I were crazy.

    This is my current shawl, Semele.  I have added extra increases to make it a true shawl, you all know my less than passionate feelings towards “shawlettes”.  Seems like any “ettes” are simply excuses for not having the completed full thing.  The other rational was to use all of the yarn that I have, this is a handspun gradient from Fiber Optic, Honey to Fig. There were many false starts to this shawl, as I was determined that this gradient wanted to go side to side.  This pattern was perfect, as you knit increasing until you have used almost 1/2 the yarn, then start decreasing.  I might have pushed the envelope a bit on this one, but I do have a back-up plan in my head if I run out of yarn at the end.

    Here is my progress, I am approaching the end quickly, having knit the majority of the body.  I was in a fog, took me quite awhile to get the hang of the pattern repeat. And the cast-on befuddled me, as the first leaf is backwards, I kept thinking that I had made a mistake.  It is advisable to read all the directions for a pattern first prior to starting to knit!





    “Like the counting of the rosary, the motions of needlework are singularly well suited to the practice of contemplation”  –From The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lydon

    • CWLFibers 8:16 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh how beautiful.


      • knitting1105 8:25 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! Better lighting and blocking will show it off more. I am anxious to get to the purple colors.


    • Carla 8:27 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with you about shawlettes. If I want something to make it is going to have a purpose more than cute. Mine is to keep my shoulders and neck warm summer and winter. And they all look lovely than. What a pain sometimes to i figure out the increases, but so worth it in the end.


      • knitting1105 8:31 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        My shawls become scarves in the winter, a quick pull over in a cold restaurant, and something light on a cool summer evening. Shawlettes just dont cover all that. The increases were easy to figure out with this pattern, I will elaborate on Ravelry and in my last post. Thanks!


    • beccasimplified 9:46 am on January 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Aww…I just posted about my love for shawlettes 😉 They aren’t so bad. I do love that gradient yarn though, and the effect you’re getting along the edge, it’s beautiful.


      • knitting1105 6:20 pm on February 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry, not meaning to offend, I just like a big shawl to wrap around me.


    • hoppinglark 11:34 am on January 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What a great post and a beautiful shawl.


  • knitting1105 7:42 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , handspun yarn, , , ,   

    The Longest Day 

    This solstice evening finds me knitting in the comfort of my lounge chair on the back porch, listening to the birds, and enjoying a cool breeze (in lieu of the scorcher that had been predicted, thanks to an afternoon storm). I am working on my shawl using the Fiber Optic gradient Turquoise to Tangerine that I spun up a couple of months ago. I started this on our trip to Japan, and worked on it while sitting with my Mom in Hospice, she is still hanging on but my brothers are with her. There will be a lot of different memories associated with this article, it is something that I certainly need to keep for myself. My Mom got to see it in progress and loved the colors.

    It is addictive knitting and watching the gradients evolve, I love it! I chose not to do the bind off with the pattern, as it would not have kept the gradient intact. The pattern is Ice Fantasia by Anne Hanson. Instead I opted for another repeat of the last section, and now need to figure out how to end it. This may be the hardest part.


  • knitting1105 8:43 pm on June 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Slow and Steady 

    Slow but steady progress on this shawl, Ice Fantasia by Anne Hanson. The last of 3 pattern designs on the main body of the shawl require doing lace work on the reverse side. I am not a fan of this, it is just not intuitive for me. I had purchased the pattern to have on my iPad, but had to print out the center section and this last repeat, as this PDF is locked, and therefore my PDF marking tools are not working. I am getting in the hang of it though.

    The bigger of my 2 skeins of the handspun is finished now, I might have the unusual problem of more yarn than I need. For this project I really want to use all of the skeins to get the full color repeats. Normally I would weight the yarn before and after a row to try and gauge how much yardage I will need at the end to finish up. Being away from home, I did not bring my scale, so therefore will put in a lifeline and start the knitted cast off edging. First 15 more rows in this pattern, and we will see how much of this new cake I have used up.

    The colors here are very close to another shawl which was pale green to yellow to a light orange. The turquoise color is really needed to give this shawl a distinct appearance from the other. I am starting to wonder just how many handspun, hand knit shawls one person can need… That theory will be tested shortly.


  • knitting1105 5:18 am on June 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , handspun yarn, ,   


    During our recent trip to Japan I was on the hunt for Japanese knitting books, particularly the pattern books. Trolling the bookstore around the corner from our hotel in Kyoto and in Tokyo I was able to score some. I did visit one knitting store, the yarn was all on cones, I don't need any more yarn, and their book selection was not the best.

    The Faroese shawl that I started in Japan continues on. I had to rip back a major section, without a lifeline in place, and that set me back. I am knitting this from a PDF on my iPad. Unfortunately, this pattern is locked somehow, which will not allow me to mark my place in the pattern. It is getting a bit confusing, I have not had this problem with sock patterns (the only other type that I have tried). I was able to use JDKnit PDF reader program to at least turn the charts around so that they all face in the same direction. Any input from tech-savy knitters would be greatly appreciated.

    This yarn is a handspun gradient from Fiber Optic. I am quite pleased with my spinning, it is a lace weight, 1250 yards for 8 ounces. The bigger color changes should start happening soon


  • knitting1105 2:13 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: handspun yarn, ,   

    KnitGrills Shawl 

    The bind off of this shawl finally got finished yesterday, it seemed to go on forever and was not intuitive, so I had to have my pattern up all the time.  I also put in a lifeline prior to starting the lace bind off, and good thing as I made a mistake at one pint that might have cost me quite a bit of repair time.  The bind off was a 32 row repeat, done 36 times and each row between 4 and 7 stitches and turning the work each time (that’s about 6,000 stitches just for the edging!) Thank goodness for my iPad!  I found a free PDF markup program, and need to research more which would be the best one to purchase.

    This photo does a pretty good job of capturing the colors.  The finished diameter after blocking is 44″.  I am excited to wear this to my knitting group tonight.



    Pattern: Centrino
    Pattern Source: Nelkin Designs
    Yarn: Handspun 2ply from Knitgirlls gradient by Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 6
    Date Started: 1/18/13
    Date Finished: 2/10/13
    Finished Dimensions: 44″ diameter

    Here is my helper with the photography session.


    About 75 yards of the red left over. Perfect because I was not nervous, but not too much left that I am disappointed it was not bigger.

    • andresue 2:45 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      That is gorgeous!!


    • Diane 9:54 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This is gorgeous–you are a very brave person to let your cat walk on it. I would like a picture of it being modeled to see how it lays. Great job!


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