OK, this time there's a reason. I bought an apartment, and have been deep in the throes of ремонт. I'm doing the painting myself, in part to save a little money, but more to take possession of the place emotionally, since the purchase was a little fraught.
Colors? At the moment, my walls are festooned variously with "cornbread," "lemongrass," and "nimbus cloud," with "oyster" and some other color yet to be determined still to go.
I also haven't been enormously excited about knitting this summer, nor have I really traveled anywhere much (except a quick trip up to visit a friend in Wasaga Beach a couple weekends ago, which was a wonderful and much needed break from apartment madness).
But that said, I did make a couple of pretty things.
There's a thread in ravelry's yarn forum titled "Wenat's pooling shawls" that I happened to look at--and I was instantly smitten with the concept therein. Essentially, the idea is that a lot of hand-dyed yarns, maybe especially sock yarns, but other things, too, are dyed in a particular way:
Essentially, the skein has been dyed by kind of painting across the compressed loop. Now, often, when you're knitting socks or something else, those colors get all jumbled up. But it's also possible to find a magic number of stitches that lets you knit back and forth stacking the colors in neat vertical rows.
The start of such a project looks like this. It's a really interesting knitting process, because first you have to figure out the right number of stitches to cast on (I ended up having to add a couple of stitches in the first post-cast-on row, which is easy to do when you've done a backwards loop cast on, as I did here), and then you have to gently adjust your tension as you knit in order to keep the colors stacking. That's important because the yarn isn't dyed with knife edge precision, and in this skein, for example, the two sides of the loop were just a tiny bit off, which meant I had to adjust a little bit to keep the colors lined up as I went back and forth.
And isn't the end result COOL??? I've seen pictures of this particular colorway (it's Socks that Rock Lightweight in Titania) knit up in socks, and, to be honest, while I love all the individual colors, I find the resulting socks a little... maybe muddy's the right word? Overly busy, let's put it that way. But knitted like this, they each get to show off their own loveliness.
(Oh, the pattern? My "opposites" scarf.)
Then another thing I worked on this summer was something else I'd been meaning to try--beaded knitting. While I was in Edinburgh last summer I bought some laceweight linen/cotton in a pale icy blue at K1 Yarns. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Then at some point this spring I decided that it clearly demanded to become some sort of lacy scarf/shawl, with beads.
I found beads at a funny store in Chicago called "Let's Get Stranded," which was bead store in front, sari silk/pashmina shop in the back. (I would link to their website, but it automatically plays music, which I find annoying.) I went for a dark grey shiny bead, just because. And then I decided that I'd try the crochet hook method of beading, which involves literally using a crochet hook to put a bead at the base of a stitch whenever you want to add a bead.
For a pattern, at some point when browsing ravelry I came upon this shawl, and thought it was pretty. (There are two Russian language blog posts showing the stitch pattern and then the finished shawl, for those not on ravelry.) I knew it'd look totally different in a fine laceweight, as opposed to a heavier yarn, but I still thought it'd be interesting to try it.
Not remotely the same look as the inspiration, but, if I do say so myself, still kind of nice. My only regrets? I wish I'd made it a couple of pattern repeats wider, so it'd be a true shawl and not more of a scarf. I had more than enough beads and yarn to do that, I just didn't quite realize that when I started the project. And I sort of wish I'd strung the beads on the yarn first, rather than doing the crochet method. I found the process of having to pick up the crochet hook all the time really disruptive to the normal flow of knitting. Although I got better at the technique as I went on, I never got over that feeling.
Still, the end result's a good one! So, two happy scarves, one for me (beads), one for my sister (pooled). And, now that I think of it, also a clapotis for my mom, who requested a shawl for her upcoming trip to Italy. I'll have to have her take a picture of herself wrapped in it in front of some Roman landmark.