Finally, progress.

Yesterday I spent some real time knitting and I am reassured of three things.

1.The only thing keeping me from prison is knitting.

2. The reason I wasn’t making any progress is because I wasn’t knitting anywhere other than in my mind.

3. Progress in my knitting makes me feel like I have progress in all things. This is inaccurate, but lovely.

As soon as I sat down to knit, this literally jumped off the needles.

cowlalone 2014-07-03

It’s my Oatmeal Stout cowl. (The “extra cozy” version)  I designed it, and the mittens and infinity scarf that go with it for Clara Yarns.

mittenscowl 2014-07-03

Do you know about that? Clara Parkes, who’s the longtime genius behind Knitter’s Review and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, has started making yarn.  With a resume like that, I don’t think anyone thought the yarn would be bad, and it isn’t – it’s actually fantastic, and she’s making it in a really unusual way.  Clara Yarn is born when the lady finds some great wool, a small batch, and has it produced exactly the way she wants it. It’s small amounts, not repeatable, and as each batch has been finished, she puts it up for sale, and when it’s gone, it’s gone, and she sets about making a new kind.  I love the idea – commercial, repeatable yarn is cool, important and I wouldn’t give it up, but this kind of simply curated yarn that’s the fruit of someone’s experience and brain? LOVE IT.  She sent me some of her most recent batch, an outstanding CVM/Romeldale in three natural colours, and I designed this set, and then I launched the pattern and she launched the yarn, and then the yarn was all gone before I could even tell you about it. (When I say small batches, I am not kidding.)

cowltwice 2014-07-03

I know it seems unfair, telling you about the thing when it’s all over but the crying, but you could still knit this if you wanted to – there’s a couple of other yarns I’d suggest if you wanted the same look, like Green Mountain Spinnery’s Weekend Wool  or KnitSpot’s Confection.

cowllook 2014-07-03

There’s others too – what you’re really looking for is a worsted weight yarn that’s soft, deliciously bouncy, and would feel like a million bucks on a blustery cold winter day. Something with lots of air and cush to trap air and insulate you against the forces that conspire to make you cold.

detailthree 2014-07-03

I had three skeins of Clara Yarn, each about 270m per skein, and I was able to make the mittens, the infinity scarf and the cowl – the extra cozy version.  (The cowl and scarf have two versions each.  The cowl shown here is extra cozy, the scarf, regular cozy.)

threesome 2014-07-03

I loved this project, and despite how long it took me to cross the finish line, it’s a very quick knit, and easier than it looks. There’s only one colour used per row, thanks to simple, but fancy looking slipped stitches, one of my favourite tricks for doing colourwork without… well, any real colourwork skills.  There’s no stranding or floats to catch, none of that. It’s simple enough for a beginner, I think.  I like it so much in the natural colours, but I can’t wait until someone (that might be me) does it in some colours. Oh, the possibilities.

The funniest part of this project is that the whole time I was knitting, I thought I was getting ahead on a Christmas present, but now that I”m done?

selfiecowl 2014-07-03

I’m keeping it. (And yeah, that’s a particularly bad selfie.  Sue me.)

———–

PS.  I haven’t forgotten that I promised you prizes today, and I had them all queued up and ready to go when something went very wrong with my mail client.  I’m receiving mail, but can’t send any. Ken’s working on it, and we’ve tried everything, but it remains a hunk of inert crap at the moment, which means gifts have to wait.  Cross your needles for tomorrow.  My apologies.  I assure you, both Ken and I are using enough expletives that it should be fixed soon.

53 thoughts on “Finally, progress.

  1. Am I first?? Wow. I adore the pattern and I’m going to buy it. Maybe I’ll give it a go in fingering yarn, or some of my handspun. Any way you knit it, it’s gorgeous. 🙂

  2. that set might just be on my someone in the family gets knitted goodness for Christmas list. The preview shots: intriguing. The finished, wow. and that’s not a bad selfie at all.

  3. Just bought the pattern! Wow, it’s gorgeous, and wow, how sad am I that I missed Clara’s yarn. Never fear, there is the perfect yarn out there–probably in my stash, come to think of it. 😉 How clever are you two!

  4. Pingback: Finally, progress. | Yarn Buyer

  5. That is a wonderful set!! Sets my fingers itching to start! Next time you find fruit flies in your wine – line a funnel with a coffee filter and pour your wine into it – as it filters through into a carafe all of the fruit flies will stray in the filter – no waste that way.

  6. When I saw your knitting on Clara’s website under Patterns, I sent the link on to my sister to let her know what you had been knitting on the sly. It’s lovely!

    Someday, I’d love it if a wonderful knitter and yarn designer would send me some gorgeous yarn and ask me to design something for it. Perhaps only in my dreams. . .

  7. Bless Ken for keeping us connected! LOVE the new knits – can’t wait to get started. I’m going to hunt thru the stash first, but I really enjoy the yarn hunt process so Thank You! I’ll have to be quicker on the clicker to get some Clara Yarn.

  8. LOVE the patterns. Those are so great. Those will have to become some future UFOs. I also know exactly what you mean about progress. I’ve had some very vivid dreams recently in that twilight time between being awake and asleep about my knitting, crocheting and designing. IF only that work was actually accomplishing something useful.

  9. That “knitting in my head” thing is so entertaining, but not so productive… I’m stuck on a simple summer top that just seems to be taking FOREVER. Hope I finish it before fall… So many more enticing projects waiting, and now you show me this gorgeous set! Aaaarrrggghhh, the anguish of the knitter who has to do other things (all of us!)!!!!

  10. I just bought the pattern—I am going to dig through my stash of handspun and find three skeins that will play nicely together. I have bought several fleeces grown by a Corriedale sheep named “Goblin” through the years, and each year, her fleece is lighter in color. This will be perfect—I am going to use two black skeins spun with her fleeces and a white one made with wool from another sheep. I love to spin, but I never find projects that seem “right” for the yarn.

  11. I’m sure this is not the right place but limited to my phone I can’t find the right place. I pledged for the ride, I don’t which queue to stand in to enter for the karmaic balancing gifts. I hope it’s ok to do it here. By the by, I’ve been riding in a car for four days and we have driven about 400 miles per day. I don’t even want to imagine riding a bike that far. You rock Steph!

    • It’s an infinity scarf (a circle) that part in the front is just where it’s twisted in half. Cool, right?

  12. Now that’s lovely and I really like the story behind the yarn, too. Someday, I will get some spinning equipment and do just that…small batches for individual shepherds.

  13. Love and pretty…ooh, that cowl is so fantastic. I have the opposite problem. I make every accessory for myself and end up giving them away when someone throws a compliment. Love the pattern, Stephanie!

  14. The pieces are gorgeous! I can readily imagine other knitters adapting them to make a traditional scarf (for those who don’t like infinity scarves), and to make a matching hat or cap! More colorful versions may be more eye-catching, but I really like the monochromatic effect from the natural colors.

    I’m sure Clara’s yarn was very, very nice. Every bit as nice as it looks. However, as a guy and as the uncle of a bunch of rambunctious niecephews, I would recommend that you include a widely-available, machine washable and dryable yarn among the suggested substitutions. It doesn’t have to be a synthetic fiber; a good superwash wool or machine-washable cotton would do. This would help make the pattern even more marketable to those who may not have the time, inclination, and/or undisturbed space to hand wash and lay flat to dry, blocking as needed. Remember when your girls were little? Or, has there been a time Joe or some male friend accidentally felted or shrunk a handknit by running it through the machines?

  15. I absolutely love the process for Clara’s yarn, but I love the infinity scarf even more! Somebody above posted about using handspun for theirs, and I’ve got some lovely roving in my stash that I’ve been itching to use lately. I’ll spin it up and post the pictures of the finished scarf on my blog and on ravelry. (I’m EdwardRad there.) Thanks for the great pattern, Stephanie. And thanks for the handspun idea, other person!! ^_^

  16. Swans Island has a new yarn that is lovely and would be a good sub. (I was lucky enough to get a skein of Clara.) Spun in a small mill, natural colors or natural dyes. All American Worsted. Great stuff.

    • You and me both, Kim. If I spent half the time knitting that I spend thinking and reading about knitting, I’d have ALL my WIPs done! As it is, I have a queue for both finishing AND for starting. Sigh. Can I just knit full-time?

  17. I assure you that Ken and I are using enough expletives that it should be fixed soon.
    I can’t even tell you how much I love that sentence. It makes me laugh and gives a feeling of kinship, all at once.

  18. I can assure you that you are far from the only one for whom knitting is the only thing that keeps you from prison!! That definitely goes for me as well!!

  19. I have my pattern! Downloaded AND printed.
    Love it, love it, love it…..
    Thank you, Steph!
    My July 4th present to myself, even though I do live in a temperate climate (Oregon).

  20. I immediately saw this set in regal, deep purple, green and gold for chilly parade nights in New Orleans when Mardi Gras falls early in the year and it is hovering around freezing and drizzly at parade time. On my project list and I will send pix when it is done!

  21. OMG Stephanie, that is absolutely lovely! Too late on getting Clara’s yarn, but at least I can get your pattern! 🙂

  22. I feel a bit dumb having to ask but. .. are you modelling the cowl in your “bad selfie”? I can’t quite tell what it looks like in the rest of the photos.

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