Friday, August 22, 2008

So Much Going On

Although you might not realize it from my rather scant blog posts of late, there's lots going on here at FF headquarters.

On the knitting front, I whipped up a scarf with the 100% Kid Mohair Yarn (previously known as the Mystery Yarn):

This blocking photo doesn't look like much, but in person it's quite pretty. The stitch pattern pops a bit more in real life and the yarn has such a lovely drape. You'll get to see how pretty the yarn is in a future post when I share Elisa's shawl with you that she also made with this yarn. Perhaps it's better that I don't show that to you just now anyway. After knitting this scarf, I think that my decision on whether to carry this yarn will be a No Go. I haven't entirely decided yet, but it did really hit home just how crazy the idea of carrying a yarn to which I'm allergic might be. Mohair blends don't bother me much at all in the dyeing process, but with this pure mohair it's inevitable that some of the furry little fibers will become airborne. Even with good storage, ventilation and plenty of dusting and cleaning, I fear that just having too much of this in my home will send my respiratory system into meltdown. I will, however, eventually dye the small quantity of this yarn that I have now and make that available in my shop, but I'm definitely questioning the wisdom of carrying it as a regular item.

Also on the knitting front, I've finished the sock pattern for the first installment of my Fall Sock Club. Sorry, but no sneak previews. You will just have to wait. The other two sock patterns are also in the planning stages. Tess Mattos of Polar Bear Patterns has her tentative plan in place. I won't spill the beans, since it's not written in stone yet, but suffice it to say that she has a smashing idea for a sock pattern that will be both beautiful and interesting and also versatile and quite unique. The wheels are turning for Anne Hanson of KnitSpot as well. She's got a tentative plan for a winter themed sock churning in her amazing brain. There are still plenty of spots available in the club, so pop on over and check it out if you haven't already.

As if that weren't enough knitting, I've also got a new lace shawl that I've started. I'm so excited about this one! I suddenly got the urge last week to design a triangular shawl. Rectangular "stoles" are usually my preference, but the pattern that was forming in my brain cried out to be applied to a triangular shape and so I set about work on that. I fought my natural tendency to dive in head-first and instead took my time and did some very rigorous planning and pre-work before casting on. I swatched and tweaked the first stitch motif quite a bit before settling on a final choice. I even took the time to block my swatches, which takes quite a bit of self control for me!

Once the first motif was done, I moved on to designing a larger motif for the next shawl section and not only took the time for plenty of swatching but also did a really large swatch of the two stitch patterns together to ensure I nailed the transition just as I wanted it.

Then I moved on to planning how the motifs will work in the increase sections of the shawl. At that point it took every ounce of self-control not to cast on for the real thing! But I was bound and determined to get this just right and so I proceeded to knit a miniature version of the shawl. This also gave me a chance to work on the edging with a much better view of how it would work with the overall piece.

I finished up that miniature shawl yesterday and I have to say that I'm so glad that I took all of that time in the planning stage. There were a few things I changed along the way that I think will improve the end product and now I'm ready to cast on and knit it almost as if it were a regular pattern written by someone else. I've even dyed a new Laceweight Merino colorway for this project.

If you're wondering where my photos of these swatches and the miniature shawl are, the answer is that there aren't any photos. If I show you what I've done so far, what will I have to show you as I progress? No, no. I won't ruin the surprise (nor strip myself of blog fodder for future posts ;).

On the dyeing front, there's tons going on as well. I'll have a big shop update coming late this month or in the first few days of September. There are lots of new colorways coming on my heavier weight yarns. Must prepare for the upcoming High Knitting Season! I've also got several new color choices on my Superwash Merino Sock Yarn coming and even a couple of new laceweight colors. Perhaps I'll give you a little preview of some of those next week to whet your appetite. There are some real gems in this group!

So there you have it. That's what I've been up to these days. Lots and lots going on, with plenty of photos to come as these different activities unfold over the coming weeks.

Hope you're all staying busy and happy as well!

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