Tag Archives: Secret Garden KAL

Secret Garden Shawl (FO!), New Sofas, and Delicious Food

I was a busy knitter this past holiday weekend! Saturday I finished the Secret Garden Shawl. Here it is pre-blocking, measuring 30 inches across.

248/365: It's done!!
Pre-blocking

Sunday, I washed and blocked it. It took about an hour to get all those pins in it and my fingers were rather sore after.

249/365: SGS Blocking
Blocking

It seemed pretty dry by the evening. I gave it overnight to dry, just in case there were any parts that weren’t quite dry yet. It took a good while to get all those pins out and my fingers were even more sore after I pulled all of them out, but… it’s DONE!! I thought it would never end. The last clue’s rows seemed to last an eternity!

Pattern: Secret Garden Shawl (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: July 23, 2009
Completed: September 5, 2009
Yarn: Green Sheep Fingering in Hearts on Fire, 2 skeins
Needles: US 6 bamboo circular and DPNs
Notes: I lined up the double decreases from clue 3 with the ones in clue 4 by moving the marker. In clue 5, I didn’t need to move the marker at all for the double decreases in row 11 to line up with the double decreases from clue 4. In clue 5, I only did one chart repeat because I was worried that it would end up too big. It probably would have been fine with the 2 chart repeats, but I like the size it ended up (4 feet across). This is the first shawl I’ve knit that used fingering weight and the first shawl I’ve knit for myself. (Other 2 shawls were bulky weight and worsted weight, both gifts.)

Secret Garden Shawl (Full)

Secret Garden Shawl (Fence)

Secret Garden Shawl (Half)

I think I’m done with shawls for a while! Well, I do have Ishbel on the needles still and I’ll probably finish that, but nothing quite as big as this one is going to happen very soon. I think I just need a break from it for now! As a celebration for finishing the shawl, I started and finished the Bellona Cowl this weekend. I don’t have a picture of the finished cowl since it’s currently blocking, but I hope to share that later this week. :)

I think all this non-sock knitting has finally caught up with me and I’ve been itching to do socks recently. I’m figuring out the last little details of a sock design, but I think I’ll cast on for that very soon, maybe even today! Speaking of socks, I did actually start a pair recently. It’s the mystery pattern for Sock Knitters Anonymous (SKA) for the month of September. It’s designed by Nancy Bush. So far I’ve knit clue one and clue two was just released today. I’m using Socks That Rock mediumweight (mill end) on US 2′s.

SKA September Mystery Sock
Clue 1 of SKA Mystery Socks

Now that the shawl is done, it’s back to knitting Starlight. It’s a little over a month until Rhinebeck! Still plenty of time, but also a lot going on between now and then. I’ve been doing good keeping myself motivated to knit it and as long as I keep that up, I should have it done with time to spare!

We got new sofas last Friday. We used to just have a futon in the living room, which didn’t offer much seating, especially after rearranging the living room to accommodate the surround sound system. We picked out these from IKEA and they’re the KLIPPAN series. I think they fit nicely in our living room!

247/365: New Livingroom
Matt approves!

I have to share last night’s dinner. We made the most delicious dinner! We had scallops, golden-crusted brussels sprouts, and white rice (with butter and salt, yum). Oh my!! It was SO GOOD. Normally, I’m not a fan of seafood, especially scallops. Most (most, not all, there are a few exceptions) people and restaurants that I’ve encountered overcook them, so generally I avoid them. Yesterday, though, Matt cooked these absolutely perfectly with some garlic and olive oil. If I didn’t have a stomach the size of a bird, I would have eaten all of them myself! Om nom nom nom! The brussles sprouts were really good, too. All together it was a perfect combination and nice end to a great weekend.

250/365: Delicious Dinner
Om nom nom nom! Scallops, golden-crusted brussels sprouts, and white rice.

How was your holiday weekend? We didn’t do much for a change. This is actually our last free weekend for a while. Lots of stuff going on this month and next. All good things, though! It was nice to hang out at home and have my sisters and Matt’s brother over this weekend. :)

The Shawl, Socks That Aren’t, Wii, and Bees

Not a whole lot of interesting knitting going on here. I’ve been working on the shawl, which is very slow going considering how long each row takes.

SG Shawl
See? Looks the same as last time, right?

I’m about halfway through the 1st chart repeat of Clue 5. Last night I decided I won’t do the second chart repeat as I think that will make it too big. I’m not a very tall or big person and this is already looking like it’s going to be huge. I have 8 rows plus the bind off left to do! Hoping I can get it done by this weekend.

Clue 5, Up-close
Close up of Clue 5 so far.

This past weekend, I was getting kind of tired of the shawl, so I cast on Entrelac Socks (pattern by Eunny Jang).

243/365: I have no willpower.
Entrelac Socks

Just as quickly as they were started, they were frogged. Sadly I didn’t like how they were turning out and I was getting holes where you pick up stitches on each edge, so I frogged them. Plus, I really wasn’t enjoying knitting them at all! Matt helped me work up a design that I’m now charting out for these two colors, though, so you’ll see these two yarns together in a different pattern.

The sweater is still coming along. I have a few rows left of 1×1 ribbing on the second front piece. I’ve set it aside so I can finish the Secret Garden Shawl first. Still plenty of time to finish this in time for Rhinebeck, though. Soon as the shawl is done, this is going to be my primary project again. I’ve been spinning a little, but it’s been slow going, so no pictures of that right now (still looks the same as last time, just more of it).

This week I finally tried out EA Sports Active for Wii.

Wii Active
Me, finishing up a round of EA Sports Active.

Overall I like it a lot better then Wii Fit. I found that I should not, ever, do the run. My back was quite sore later and the next day. I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I didn’t realize it was in the set “30 day workout” program (it can be unchecked at the beginning of starting the routine each time, I didn’t look to see that there was a run portion, so I didn’t uncheck it). After it started, I couldn’t figure out a way to skip past it, which was kind of annoying. I like that you can use the Wii Balance Board with it. With the “30 day workout” program, you switch between doing balance board exercises and non-balance board exercises. This would probably be okay if this didn’t mean having to put my shoes on and off to do the balance board ones. You can set your own program and group those together (or not do them at all), so I’m not too worried about this in the future. Just a learning curve, I think! So far I really like it and I’m trying to stick with a every other day routine that will eventually get to an every day routine.

Recently, I’ve been seeing bees every day in the sedums on the side of the house. Yesterday I took this shot of two very large bees. Bees have been really fascinating me lately! Every day this week I’ve seen bees on the sedums and taken a picture. The flowers are starting to bloom in a vibrant pink! I love it!

245/365: More Bees
Bees on the sedum.

It’s almost Friday! This week has been a long, hectic one. Tonight we’re going to go look at getting a new sofa. Tomorrow my sister is coming over to hang out, probably watch a movie, and make popcorn. This weekend we might do a game day thing, probably work on the house some, and finalize the details of the caterer for our housewarming (which will be October 3rd and be a housewarming/birthday party). Next few weekends will be busy, too! Lots of good stuff coming up, though, so it’ll be fun. :)

Garden, Matt Knits, Neck Warmer, and Hey Teach

I fully intended to blog on Wednesday and Thursday, but ended up not having time. I wanted to blog yesterday evening and planned to… then I ended up helping Matt with his school’s website which took up most of the evening. Ah well, that’s how life goes sometimes!

On the house (garden) front, we had some bushes that were by the deck cut down. We need to dig up the roots but haven’t had the time (or desire, really!) to do that yet.

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More flowers are coming up in the garden, too!

IMG_3164
Pink flowers in the back yard.

IMG_3169
Not sure what kind of bug is on there, but I found it interestingly shiny, so I took a picture to share.

I posted about these before… still not sure what they are, but they’re some kind of flower. Matt and I walked around the neighborhood yesterday and found a few other people have them in their yards. Rose (one of my knitting friends) also has some on the side of her porch and said that many people in her neighborhood have them. I’m anxious to see them bloom!

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I’m not really sure what’s all growing in here, though I’m sure a number of weeds are present.

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This is the end of our driveway – no idea what’s all here!

On knit night this past Wednesday, Matt came with me and showed us what a good knitter he is and how to knit with just one needle…

While we were at knit night, I dropped my needle and it somehow disappeared under the table. Yes, a US 8 straight needle, fell to the floor, we heard it hit, but it could NOT be found. Thursday, Karen (who I sat next to) let me know it had somehow transported itself into the bottom of her knitting bag somehow! Mystery solved, but this left me with only one needle to work on my new project (I’ll get to that), so Matt decided to take over my project for me. :)

Wednesday, I started a new project for the SAL/KAL in the Zarzuela’s Fiber group on Ravelry. I’m working on the Button-Up Neck Warmer. I have to say, I really LOVE knitting with yarn I spun!!

Button Up Neck Warmer
Button-Up Neck Warmer in Emerald City merino.

When I got home Wednesday, I realized that Hey Teach was dry, so Thursday I started seaming it up…

211/365: Time to Sew
Side seams on Hey Teach

… and it wasn’t long before it was all seamed up!

Hey Teach, sewn
Hey Teach is finished being seamed!

The best news?!? IT FITS!! I’m beyond thrilled by this after my last horribly failed attempt. If it didn’t fit, there was not a chance that I’d be knitting it a THIRD time, so I’m really glad it fits. I’ve knit the neckband on already and just have the button bands left to do. I’ll probably work on that this weekend if I don’t get too distracted by Clue 4 of the Secret Garden Shawl that I just received.

I’ve found a bit of time this week to fit in some spinning, though I admit not a whole lot. My hip has been bothering me since it’s been raining, so I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this up this week like I had hoped. I’m really loving spinning this, though, so I’m not exactly bummed it’s not done yet! I can really see how far I’ve come since I “got serious” about spinning this month for the Tour de Fleece.

All Spun Up - Scarlet Macaw
My so-called Scarlet Macaw superwhash merino from All Spun Up.

Have anything going on this weekend? We’re taking it pretty easy since it feels like we’ve been pretty busy every weekend this month. We’re going to dinner with my family tomorrow and have invited some people over on Sunday for a small get together since we’ve been wanting to have people over for a while now, but not quite up to the “big housewarming” thing yet. Happy Friday everyone! :)

Secret Garden Shawl, Spinning, and Hey Teach

Wow, this weekend was a BUSY one. I feel like I didn’t get done anything that I’d planned to, but I suppose that’s the way things go sometimes. I’m planning on not doing anything this weekend except work on house stuff with Matt so we can stop feeling so dragged down by the things that are still disorganized and packed from the move. I did get in some knitting time, though!

Saturday I started on the Secret Garden Shawl. I started this KAL a bit late. It’s a mystery shawl KAL and while I attempted one other shawl, I fell way behind and kind of glad I did at the end because I wasn’t to fond of the design at the end. I tried to get in on another one, but I never ended up starting it. I was a little worried about this one, but I really want to complete a mystery shawl KAL and a circular shawl, so why knock out both at once? They’re up to clue 3 (released Friday), so I’m working on getting caught up. I got through clue 1 pretty quickly that evening. It’s a shawl worked from the center out, which is what makes the first parts go quickly (smaller number of stitches).

206/365: Secret Garden Shawl, Clue 1
Clue 1

Sunday I started on clue 2, which also went pretty quickly. I started clue 3, but then realized I’d missed the last row of clue 2, so I had to tink back the 2 rows I’d knit on clue 3. The below photos are of the shawl through clue 2, minus the last row since I thought I was done with clue 2 when I’d taken these pictures.

207/365: Secret Garden Shawl, Clue 2
Clue 2, full

Secret Garden Shawl, Clue 2, Close Up
Clue 2, close up

I’m still working my way through clue 3. With almost 200 stitches, each row takes me a while! I’ll be sure to share photos once clue 3 is complete (and after each clue is complete).

After my not-so-great attempt at spinning that batt on Thursday evening, Friday evening I pulled out some superwash merino I got from All Spun Up to spin.

All Spun Up, Superwash Merino
This reminds me of a Scarlet Macaw
(I really like birds and have had a number of them, I always wanted a Scarlet Macaw)

I tried a different way of drafting this time. Instead of doing a lot of pre-drafting, I took sections and just separated them into 4 to 6 strips of fiber and only drafted as I went. I found that this seems to give me a nice even single! I still need some practice, but I’m already loving how this is turning out.

205/365: Today's Spinning
Superwash Merino in what I’ll call the Scarlet Macaw colorway ;)

I had hoped to finish this up this weekend, but I ended up being really quite busy and hardly home at all, so I didn’t get in much time to spin. I spent time prepping the rest of the fiber and spun a tiny bit more then what you see on the bobbin above. I’m hoping to finish this up this week, though!

I’m so very, very close to finishing Hey Teach! I finished knitting all the pieces on Saturday, but I haven’t blocked them and I haven’t taken an updated photo yet. I had to get some blocking mats first, since it’s just about impossible to block anything on hardwood floors! I knew Costco had some of those mats a lot of people use for blocking for $15, so I went there on Saturday with Karen and we got the last two. Now I just need to set them up and wash Hey Teach. Maybe this will be the week it gets finished!! :)

Hope your week is going well so far and your weekend was a good one!

Not so Great Fiber and New Project

Aren’t Friday’s supposed to be “easy” days at work? Usually less stressful? For me they’ve almost always been the “easy” work day, but not today! It was one of those Murphy’s Law days where anything that could have gone wrong, did. Since I’m pretty wiped out this week (yet again it seems), I’ll keep this post fairly short.

Yesterday I went home and tried to spin one of the batts from Gonmegarden…

Gnomegarden Fiber
Gnomegarden Batts

…only to find it was pretty matted. I tried drafting some of it up and was mostly successful, but there were what I can only call knots or lumps in the fiber that was messing everything up when I tried to spin it. To make things even more frustrating, the sparkly bits were in knots some places, which didn’t spin well at all. I spent an hour attempting to spin it up and got only a little done. I was not enjoying it at all, so I pulled what I’d done off the bobbin and put it all away until some other time that I feel like dealing with it.

Instead got out the Green Sheep Fingering in Hearts on Fire from The Unique Sheep

Hearts on Fire
So pretty!

…and knit a swatch for the Secret Garden Shawl KAL.

Swatch
Swatch done using the first chart in the first clue of the pattern.

I knit the swatch on US 4′s, but I think I need to go up to US 6′s. I’m not super worried about getting the right gauge with lace. For me, it’s what the fabric looks like and if I like it. I know I’ll have plenty of yarn, so if it’s a bit bigger then the pattern calls for, I don’t need to worry about it. I can’t wait to get caught up through clues 1 and 2 (the pattern is put out in clues each week) and started on clue 3 which was sent out last night. I have to say, I really like this yarn and it gets even softer with washing! Hopefully I’ll have some progress to show you next week :)

Do you have any plans this weekend? I’m going to Knit On! (LYS) tomorrow with Karen. It’s their first day open at their new shop, so we’re going to go check it out. Later in the evening, Matt and I are going to Game Night. Sunday morning I’ll be spending some time with my mom and any other free time this weekend has to go to getting the house clean and more in order. Will it ever end?!? I think I need a vacation!

Have a good weekend everyone!