Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Test Knit

The weather is finally cooler today here in Savannah and I just pray that it’s here to stay. It was such a treat this morning to run WITHOUT the sun burninating me and WITHOUT needing to wear my running hat. I did still put on sunscreen because well that makes Mr. SpiderKate happy. He gets very upset when I don’t wear sunscreen and despite it being overcast and probably not really needing it today, I still lathered it on to make him happy. Why is he obsessed with me wearing sunscreen? Well, in my younger days I was a lifeguard and he’s convinced that I’ve been overexposed to the sun as a result. He also doesn’t trust that teenager Kate was diligent about putting on sunscreen and he would be right about that. It’s hard to argue with someone that doesn’t want you to get skin cancer, so I lather up despite how annoying it is to run with sunscreen on your face.

Anyway, this post wasn’t supposed to be about the long-standing discussion between Mr. SpiderKate and myself regarding my sun exposure. I wanted to write today about a recent test knit I did for Michelle Meyer of Timeless Knits. I haven’t done a test knit before, unless you count my own designs, and for some reason this one really spoke to me. It might’ve had to do with my recent “what am I doing with my life” phase or maybe it’s just about having a deadline and goal. Either way, the shawl was beautiful and it offered an opportunity to try out a yarn company that I’ve been eyeing for a while now. The name of the shawl is Footbridge and it’s knit with Luna Grey Fiber Arts Orion. Luna Grey Fiber Arts is the company and Orion is the base. Let’s talk about the shawl first and then I’ll give you the skinny on the yarn.

I absolutely loved knitting this shawl. It was VERY relaxing and just what I needed. Now, I will not lie, the rows do get very long at the end, I mean it does have a ruffle and all. I find the best way to get used to the longer rows, especially after the shorter rows in the beginning, is to take a break from the knitting. I don’t know why, but this works for me. When I re-pick up the knitting, the long rows are like the new normal for the shawl. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I had the main pattern memorized after a couple of repeats. I can also see using this shawl as a great template to play with color. Michelle’s pattern is color blocked, but the design lends itself to different interpretations of color blocking. One idea I’ve been playing around with is alternating colors of the garter stitch and stockinette sections/bands. It would be sort of “stripey”, but not really. Or! What about mixing in the next color via this stripe effect before totally switching said color. See! It’s fun!

Now the yarn - Luna Grey Fiber Arts is a yarn company/brand that I’ve been following (re: stalking) for some time now. I’m not sure why I haven’t pulled the trigger and ordered yet; perhaps I was just waiting for the perfect time/project/opportunity. Jackie Vleck is the talented owner/dryer/color creator extraordinaire of Luna Grey Fiber Arts. Jackie very generously offered all test knitters 10% off the purchase of yarn for the test knit, seriously, how sweet/nice is that??! The biggest problem I had was deciding on what colors to get. Her colors are fabulous. I secretly had in mind using a yellow, orange and grey color, but I feared this would be a weird combination. I asked Michelle (shawl designer) for some color suggestions and, I kid you not, she sent me a message with these exact colors. I could not make this up! I went with Charcoal (grey), Pumpkin (orange), and Midas (yellow) for my shawl. These colors are VERY Fall, which I just so happen to be in the mood for.

These colors have depth! Charcoal, Pumpkin, and Midas are not your typical solid colors. They are semisolid awesomeness. I am particularly enamored with Midas because I love yellow and it’s so nice to find a yellow that isn’t just yellow, if that make sense. This yellow is shades of light and dark. It reminds me a lot of the Snitch in Harry Potter. My yarn was shipped quickly too! I think I ordered on a Monday or Tuesday even and my yarn was here by that Friday. It came beautifully packaged and included a note and some stitch markers. I really cannot recommend this yarn enough! So, if you are like me and am on the fence about ordering from Luna Grey Fiber Arts, then definitely jump down and get ordering :o) Jackie has some great kit combos up in the shop for this particular shawl right now. Some of my favorite combos are: Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, and Option 11.

Other details of my shawl:
Ravelry Project Page: Footbridge
Cast on date: 26 Sept 2014
Cast off date: 13 Oct 2014
Color A: Midas – 48 grams used (139 yds)
Color B: Charcoal – 85 grams used (226 yds)
Color C: Pumpkin – 78 grams used (246 yds)
Blocked gauge: 7 sts/2” & 15 sts/4”; some measurements gave me 8 sts/2” and 16 sts/4”, I think if I measured gauge once the shawl relaxed (shrunk) some, then my gauge would be spot on. I didn’t check my row gauge as meticulously, it looked close to 30 rows/4” but that can’t be right based on my final measurements.
Final measurements: Approx. 26” down the spine with a wingspan of approx. 61”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Lost Months

This blog post has been a long time coming. I’ve written it many times and many different ways in my mind, but none of them have made it to the actual post. There is really no good way to explain why I haven’t blog in so long except that life has been crazy, which I know isn’t a good excuse. My personal life has been a little crazy since my last blog post and as a result, I wasn’t really crafting all that much. I was knitting, but mainly just knitting obligations.  Which I know sounds terrible, but it also helped me stay sane during all the insanity.

My spouse, the wonderful Mr. SpiderKate, had ramped up his job search and it was starting to become clear that the search wasn’t going to result to a job in Houston.  Now, this was not for lack of trying. He did try to look in the Houston area, but then a really good opportunity presented itself in the great state of Georgia and our fate was sealed. I don’t remember much about the months of May or June, except to say that I/we spent almost all of our free time getting the house ready to sell and setting ourselves up to move to another state. Though at the same time I kept a lot of this information to myself and a very few close friends. There were just too many balls in the air to share until everything was absolutely happening.

The month of June, in fact, was exceptionally crazy.  Within a span of probably 2 weeks, Mr. SpiderKate went on the interview, we put our house on the market, Mr. SpiderKate got the job offer and accepted the offer, our house was sold, and all the plans were set for the movers to pack us up & move us to Georgia. There are no really no words to describe how fast all of this happened. If you are of the generation that knows about the Tasmanian devil, then that’s essentially what it was like.

There are some hilariously tragic stories from the move, which if I didn’t laugh at, then I would have just cried and broken down.  I’ll give you a little taste of something that happened and save the rest for another post. On the day the movers came to load the truck, our cat, Copernicus, peed on me as I brought him to the bathroom to lock him up. I was PEED on at like 830 AM IN THE MORNING.  The movers are literally pulling the truck up and about to ring my doorbell.  My stuff is packed up. It’s not like I’m about to change or do laundry! I spent the rest of the day with my cat peed shorts and in fear of being peed on again anytime I had to pick up/move/etc. the cat. On the other hand, it broke my heart that he was that scared that he peed on me. It’s probably safe to say that we both didn’t have a good day that day. The saving grace of that morning was my dear friend Sherry, who brought me breakfast and coffee from Starbucks.

It all builds character, right? That’s my inner Calvin & Hobbes fan coming out. This time I’m sticking with Calvin’s dad on this one – it does build character.  Next time I promise more knitting stories and photos. And maybe another moving story because there are more to be told and they are THAT good.