The Story of the Dreaded Pocket

I’ll start with my own knitting, then… we will have story time!!
I’ve been plugging away at my knitting, little by little. Working on my Shibui gradient scarf, I have totally forgotten how amazing it is to knit with silk cloud.

Shibui Gradient-2671

It’s not a really common fibre so when I pull it out to work on it everyone goes “ooooooooohh, what’s that?” This is the third gradient scarf I’ve done and I’ve got enough to make another one afterwards. These scarves are the epitome of potato chip knitting. The pattern is free on Ravelry.
You have to hold three strands of this yarn together and knit in a seed stitch. After completing one colour block, you switch out one of the strands for another colour. The pattern is very easy and the yarn is a dream to knit with, so you find yourself saying… just one more stripe. Next thing you know it is 4am and you’ve finished off another season of something on Netflix.

Shibui Gradient-2668

I do have a funny knitting story to tell. A knitting friend, who wished to remain anonymous, came to me with a problem. She was knitting a sweater and could not make heads nor tails about the instructions pertaining to the pocket. I looked at it and had a hard time making it out. The ONLY reason I could tell what the designer was talking about was the fact that I had done this kind of pocket before. Basically, you knit your sweater till the place you want the pocket to be, you cast off stitches for the pocket. On separate needles, you knit a swatch the same amount of stitches as the ones you cast off for the pocket; knit until you have the depth needed for the pocket. At this point, when you’re purling back to the place where you bound off those stitches, you take the swatch that you knit (still with live stitches) and knit it in there. This creates a hole in the front with a flap; later you go back and sew the edges of the flap to the inside of the sweater. You can then put your hand in the hole and have a pocket! Victory!
I explained this, and she caught on; it wasn’t so difficult. The next day, she messaged me, upset and talking about ripping out several inches of knitting. I told her to wait and let me take a look. The way she described it, I didn’t think it would be necessary to rip out stitches. Sure enough, when I looked at it, all the stitches were fine and she had done the pocket totally and completely right. The pocket flap was on the outside of the sweater so she thought she would be sewing it onto the outside. She wasn’t visualizing the technique, but had done everything 100% correct. There was no problem with the knitting.
Afterwards, she felt really silly and that she should have seen that. I told her that I was impressed she had managed to get it right without knowing what the big picture was. That completely astounded me! I couldn’t believe she had followed those instructions without a mental picture of what it was going to look like! When she persisted that she really should have seen it, I said “well… at least you didn’t just rip it out!” The thought galvanized us into some very productive knitting for the rest of our hangout.
I didn’t manage to get any photos, but said friend told me to tell her story! Hopefully it put a smile on your face and gave you a pick-me-up on your Wednesday!

Not Socks!

I’ve been knitting something that isn’t socks. I know! Everyone will go into shock at my lack of hosiery!
I bought the yarn at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2013 and it has been sitting on my shelf decoratively.

Shibui Silk Cloud VKLC-2450

I even had each skein balled into three separate balls for the pattern. I bought it for the Gradient pattern by Shibui Knits.

Shibui Silk Cloud VKLC-2447


I bought enough for one in brown tones and another one in all different colours. I’ve obviously started the colourful one first! This scarf is the true epitome of potato chip knitting. The gradient makes you want to keep going and just add in one more colour.

Shibui Silk Cloud VKLC-2433

I really love these scarves, they’re so light and fluffy! I am going to keep knitting this one and try to stay off the sock train for a little bit. The Gradient scarves are so much fun to knit up, lets hope they last for me!

Shibui Silk Cloud VKLC-2445

Monday Mishaps: Taking Issue with Mohair

Since I sang the praises of ShiBui Silk Cloud here on Friday, I’ll tell you how badly I managed to screw it up during the knitting process. Most of the time, my Monday Mishaps don’t really have much to do with the product or products I am using. It is me not paying attention and just going off on an assumption. Since I always say to never assume, because you only make an ass of you and me, I should really not live in this glass house.

Issues with Mohair 4

First thing you should know about this yarn is it sticks to everything. It sticks to the inside of your project bag, it sticks to your shirt and it sticks to itself. On one hand, sticking to itself is amazing because you don’t need to weave anything in, I just cut the strand I was currently using and spliced in the next strand. You didn’t need to do much in order to splice it in, just kind of put it close together and rub both strands between your fingers. Considered to everything else, this was nothing.

I didn’t manage to finish the scarf Friday night, I had gotten it mostly done, but not totally. I woke up on Saturday and knit a few rows then prepared to graft it together. This is when I discovered that I had done the provisional cast on wrong. Instead of unraveling when I pulled on it, the cast on stayed firmly put. I am stressing an even stronger recommendation that a quick overview of the provisional cast on be included with the pattern. Since I did it wrong, I had to meticulously unpick the cast on and pick up the stitches as I did. After this, I was thoroughly exasperated, but ready to do the grafting. I made sure to leave an extra-long tail because if I ran out of yarn on the grafting, I was going to lose my mind!

Issues with Mohair

I started the graft and it went very well, it looked great! I was very worried because in the last scarf I had knit, you could easily see the graft and I was not really impressed with that. However, closer to the end of the graft, my yarn was looking very short. I thought to myself ‘What. The. Hell.’ I had DEFINITELY left enough for this graft, there should have been an excess, a large excess. As it turns out, since the darning needle was half-way through the tail of yarn, I had not moved it closer to the open end as I went along. Instead of giving myself more slack I had been grafting in the open tail end of the yarn.

I didn’t have time to go through and pick the end out. I had to get ready because we had to leave for the train.

When we got to the train station, I dropped off Paul to get his ticket while I parked. The line for tickets was 20 people deep. There was no way he was getting through that line in 10 minutes. I told him to just buy a Presto card so the next time we could just tap and get on the train, rather than waiting in line. After Paul and I got onto the platform and the next train was 15 minutes away I realized we forgot the tickets for the game on the kitchen table. I wouldn’t have time to run back and grab them, and I already paid to get on the train. Not wanting to be a pain in the ass to the birthday girl, I called her boyfriend and asked him if he had access to a printer. Since he didn’t I ended up emailing the tickets to Alanna and she printed them at work.

After this was settled, I sat down on the platform and tried to fix my mistake. IT TOOK FOREVER. I had to carefully separate the graft from the tail and pull the tail out, without tightening or otherwise altering the original graft. After this, I was able to complete the graft on the train and take photos.

Alanna's Scarf

I told Alanna that the scarf fought back when I tried to complete it, but the beginning of that day was almost biblical in it’s tests. I was lucky the train wasn’t late or something! Even though we got off to an auspicious start, the day flowed fairly well after that, and the Ombre Cardigan was well behaved.

Functional Friday: Gradient Scarf by Shibui Knits

Here is the review of the pattern for Shubui Knits Gradient scarf. As you can see in the photo it ranges from colour A to B to C to D. That is not actually how the pattern is written. I like to take my own initiative with patterns, but I did knit it true the first time.

The cowl I made for myself was a chocolate brown, flax, gold and a deep purple. I decided to follow the pattern and do the brown twice, so it goes from grounds to camel, to flaxen then Velvet It is quite subtle. Normally I don’t do subtle but I wanted the gradient to be as inconspicuous as possible. It worked out quite well, for the most part.

Shibui Scarf

The pattern itself it not very difficult; this cowl is worked with a seed stitch while holding three strands of the mohair yarn. The first thing you do it make a provisional cast on, the instructions plainly say to use your favourite provisional cast on and cast on X amount of stitches. I personally do have a favourite provisional cast on, but I think I would have outlined one for those who are not as experienced with more advanced techniques. Aside from the beginning the pattern is really clear about which colour to sub in next and which one to take out. It really into too hard to figure out if you use your head.

Shibui Scarf 2

One thing that is very good to know about this pattern and yarn is, once you have completed it and wear it a bit, the yarn stretches. If it looks a bit small I wouldn’t worry about it because I made mine a little smaller than I would have liked but once the yarn got really comfy in this new position, it relaxed. I know it might have been short sighted for me not to realize this, but the thought never struck me. Partly, I think, because I don’t really knit too many things that are in danger of stretching. The yarn I usually use is much more springy and robust.

Shibui Scarf 3

The needle size also goes onto the long list of things I like about this pattern. So many people look at the think mohair and go ‘you’re knitting a scarf… with that?’ The assumption that it is going to take the rest of my natural life is misplaced. This pattern is knit on 5.5mm or US 9 so it knits up really REALLY quick. Mind you, this is not a heavy winter garment that is going to protect you from the ravages of winter, it is a fashion piece. It is incredibly soft and beautifully coloured, perfect to be worn next to the skin for a warm summer night out.

Day Seven and Return Home!

Nov. 6th

Well it was our last day of touring; we go home tomorrow!

Today we rented a car and visited some hard to reach venues. Such as Downers Grove, where Knitche is located.
Today was by far the busiest day I’ve had since Paul and I came to Chicago. We were up early to pick up the car at 8:30am. Of course, it was pouring rain and I needed to carry everything I wanted for the day with me. I was bringing my knitting bag so I could finish off the tardis hat. Chicago has lived up to it’s name as the windy city, it’s cold on my ears and my hair flies around like crazy. The simply solution to this problem is a hat.

I decided to make a slouchy hat, since they’re so popular here. I didn’t really use a pattern; I took what I liked from two or three patterns and Frankenstein-ed them together. I am not going to lie, my decreases got a little wild in the end, but it is cute and it kept my ears warm for the rest of the day.
As I mentioned before, we were going to Downers Grove because they took my Shibui Silk cloud and wound each skein into thirds. I am extremely grateful for this because doing it the first time was the hardest part of the whole scarf. While we were there I checked out their store. It was an older building with two floors and lots of yarn.
I ended up finding the right size sock blockers I’ve been looking for! The Purple Purl has been sold out for the last several visits and I’ve almost given up. I grabbed the blockers, some novelty needles, a Harry Potter knits magazine and picked up my Shibui yarn.
Nov 7th
That is as far in my post as I had come last night. I was too tired to finish it, so here I sit in the airport with 45 minutes of free blogging time.

I’ll resume the events of yesterday!

After Knitche, Paul and I went to the Olive Garden. The last time I went to the Olive Garden was when they were in Canada. Needless to say I was very young and the only thing I remember was the bread sticks. They were good enough to leave a lasting impression. I was afraid I had built them up in my mind and no bread stick would ever be that delicious. It was a pleasant surprise when they were possibly more delicious than I remembered.

When I had finished carb-loading, we made our way to the magnificent mile. The mile of shopping in Chicago on North Michigan Ave with all the high-end retail stores of choice. Of course, this would be the COLDEST day since we arrived in Chicago, forcing us into more stores than we may have otherwise visited. Usually I bring a hat, scarf and mittens around, but only because I made them. So far, it hasn’t been cold enough to warrant that many knitted accessories. Yesterday, I used them all… and was still cold.I am not sure if this is normal or not, but there was a very intense police presence up and down the mile. There were at least six police people per block, on each side of the street. I felt very safe.

I was very surprised… Paul actually bought a couple things. There were these really nice long sleeved t-shirts with moisture wicking and cooling properties AND he got a really nice winter coat from Banana Republic. It was warranted because the only heavy coat he owns is one you are supposed to wear over a suit jacket.

Overall it was a successful outing. We also picked up a couple souvenirs as well.

After we had made our financial dent in the Magnificent Mile, we had to return the car. Walking around the city, Paul and I have gotten a general sense of the streets and where everything is. It is much different while driving because a lot of streets downtown are one way. Returning the car, we had to go around the block in a couple places because we ran into one-way streets.

Dropping our shopping at the hotel, we had to get over to Ohio and Clarke for the ghost tour. The bus was painted black and white with Ghost Tour written on the side.

The basic format of the tour consisted of our guide telling us the story associated with the site we were visiting and any personal experiences that have happened on the tour. When we arrived at the site, everyone on the bus would get out and explore around. For every location our guide had a photo, taken by someone from a previous tour, of a ghost or ghost-like form. She said, most people don’t have many experiences while on the tour, but they will get photos of the sites. When they are checking out their photos at home, they will notice the ghosts in the photos. She also requested that we send her any ghost photos we may capture while on the tour.

We were up early the next morning because I wanted to see Union Station before we left. It was a quick journey since the station was only a 15-minute walk there. Upon returning to the hotel, we bought a few last minute souvenirs and packed everything up.

Nov. 8th

There was no wifi at the airport so I am posting this today.
The flight went well, our plane was much bigger on the way home which was more comfortable and much less claustrophobic. Everything went well and we are now back home! The cats were very pleased to see us, I don’t think Chloe has spent much time on her own since we’ve been back; she is always in someone’s lap.After unpacking all the yarn, I feel a great need to organize my life. There are little piles of fiber everywhere. I am going to have to organize my new acquisitions better than this!

I also finished Carol’s sweater last night. I didn’t get any photos, but she promised to send me a photo of him wearing it! I’ll post that when I get a chance.