WIP: Passage and new knitting needles!

My LYS recently had a sample of Passage hanging up in the store. I’ve always secretly wanted something with a little batwing to it, but thought I’d look silly in it. Since there was an actual sample, I was able to try it on and see how it looked, and it turned out that I loved it! So I was sold.

I’m using some repurposed Venenzia Sport. I had completed a Wildflower for myself in this yarn, and hated it once I got it on my body. I could see all the imperfections in it, and the neckline looked terrible on me (which I should have known it wouldn’t be flattering on me before I cast on, but I foolishly went ahead anyway). The one time I wore it out of the house was for 5 minutes at knit night to show everyone how much I hated it. Then I unraveled all of it and wound it back into balls.

The yarn was so kinked when I started this new project that my knitting looked like I had done it completely and totally drunk (which I unfortunately was not). So I followed these instructions on how to reuse yarn. I soaked each skein for nearly an hour, and it still didn’t relax as much as I thought it should, but it actually seems to be knitting up OK after it has dried thoroughly.

passage-wip

This is also the first project that I have used my new Knitter’s Pride Marblz needles. I saw them a while ago on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog and fell in love with them. I finally bought myself the large set last month. So far, I love them! I was a little worried about them being acrylic because I usually use metal needles, but it isn’t bothering me at all. They are really pleasant to knit with, and I’m finding an enormous amount of joy in knitting with these lovely bright red needles! Though I have to say, I can’t wait to make a project that requires one of the pink needles. I may have to plan my next project around that. 🙂 I also have my eye on the 16” set because I want to use them all the time. I might just be a sucker for these beautiful colors.

marblz-upclose

And finally, we ended up with an unexpected nap time this weekend (those happen so rarely these days!), and we decided it was time for tea. I took mine with a side of knitting Passage, and Mr Snips took his with a side of making an R2D2. Someone at work gave it to him, and it’s turned out to be a rather labor intensive process of glueing together a zillion pieces of paper. He’s determined to finish it to make it the world’s most impressive centerpiece at BK’s birthday party (she’s pretty hardcore into Star Wars), and I think he’s secretly enjoying it. It was really lovely to have a crafty break together.

passage-crafting

Behind the times

So, I may be the last knitter on earth to begin a Clapotis, but I have now rectified that!

I swear this pattern has been following me. Since I joined Ravelry, every time I do a pattern search, Clapotis comes up – even if I’m not looking for a scarf or shawl. The girl in the Knitty pictures looks a lot like me, just with darker hair. Truthfully, I found it a little creepy that I had a pattern stalker.

Anyway, I was never tempted to make it until my friend Kara showed up at Knit Night with one. I loved hers, and the next day I was out yarn shopping and ran into this Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino, and I felt like the stars had aligned.

I started this last week during the Super Bowl madness, and it’s been a good mindless knit that’s easy to pick up when I have a few minutes. I’m finding dropping the stitches incredibly satisfying, but also a little terrifying each time.

Clapotis in progress

I think the colors are beautiful.

The Clapotis requires a lot of stitch markers, which is one of my favorite things about it, because I love to use my polymer clay stitch markers. This new pattern made me think of the little green pirate that I lost last year in the middle of a project. I figured I had either lost it in my favorite red leather recliner or when I was having a knitting lunch with some friends. After checking the chair thoroughly and retracing my steps at the knitting lunch venue, I could not find the pirate. I was devastated. I ordered a new pirate to replace him. The new pirate and I got along just fine, and I was using him as one of my markers on my current project.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I was knitting on my Clapotis in my red recliner, and dropped my yellow gnome down the side. When I went to grab him, he fell deeper into the chair and out of my sight. Right there in the middle of the third quarter, I started ripping the cushion off, shoving my hands down the sides, shaking the chair, and generally acting like I had lost my mind. After a few minutes of frantic searching, I asked my husband to have a look. No luck. My father-in-law stepped in. He turned the chair all the way over. After a couple of minutes, he said, “I found it!” I looked at it closely. It was the missing pirate, seeing light for the first time in several months. I told him that was wonderful, and thank you! But that was not my gnome.

He kept searching. “What’s this?” he said. He held up a small square of amber that went into one of my favorite bracelets. I had no idea where I had lost that, so I was amazed it was in the chair.

It seemed that everything I had lost last year was magically surfacing in the chair. I was thrilled. Buy why wouldn’t it give up the gnome?

We finally gave up for the evening and finished watching the game. We laughed for a while about the Patriots losing the game and talked about how nice it was that at least one Manning was able to win the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. We went to bed.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about the gnome, and kept speculating on how I could get it back. Maybe the chair had a one year limit on it – it would only give me back the gnome in February 2013. Maybe the chair required a sacrifice – you had to drop something new in it to get the original thing out.

On Monday, I sat in the chair, shook it some more, and searched all around again. Still no gnome. By Tuesday, I was considering trying the sacrifice idea. I hoped that a plain plastic stitch marker would be enough to appease it and have the chair cough up the gnome.

On Wednesday, I went to work. Around midday, I saw a picture of the gnome on Facebook. My father-in-law had found it for me. So now the whole family is back together, and living on the Clapotis. They are enjoying the Signature needle much more than living in the bottom of a recliner.

Pirate and Gnome stitch markers on my Signature needles

And the lesson learned? Don’t knit in the red recliner, and if you do, make sure your father-in-law is visiting from England.

A Signature experience

A week ago Saturday, I got an insatiable urge to buy a set of Signature circular needles. I’d been stalking their website for months, and I finally couldn’t take it any more. Something had to be done. The credit card magically jumped from my wallet into my hand, and the rest is history.

I decided to order just one set to get a taste, to see if I loved the needles as much as I thought I would. I settled on the size 8 32” circular with a 5.5” needle, as that’s what I need to finish the Green Sweater of Doom.

The Green Sweater of Doom and I started our time together during a lengthy road trip in October. The abundance of stockinette was good company for me over the miles, but after I got home, it got shoved to the bottom of the knitting bag. When I did get it out, I would mindlessly knit the stockinette, and realize 5 inches too late that I was supposed to have started the decreases. When this had happened two or three times, and I did the required ripping back, I started to be disgusted. It was my own fault for believing that I did not need a pattern, for reading too late, but it didn’t matter. This sweater and I were not on speaking terms. But I could just feel that the Signature needles would help me overcome my aversion to finishing the sweater.

Signature needles with the green sweater

I was right.

On Thursday night, after receiving the needles, I did my ripping out (again, ignoring the decreases!) and put the stitches onto my new needles. They were lighter than I expected, and I started knitting, not sure how I felt about them.

Five rows later, I was sold. When I actually started doing the decreases, it was a dream to k2tog, or skp, since the pointy stiletto tips made getting into the tight spaces as easy as pie. The stiletto tips were also a dream when I was tinking back a few stitches (again, not reading!) and then knitting them back. I love these needles. LOVE them.

So, after switching to the Signature needles on Thursday, I finished the first front side of the cardigan by Friday, cast on for the second piece later on Friday night, and finished the other front piece by Sunday.

And now, all pieces are happily blocking on my new blocking mats from Knit Picks, which my mom and dad very sweetly got me for Christmas. These are certainly an upgrade from the cardboard box piece I had covered in a plastic bag and packing tape, which I previously used for blocking. I love my new ones because I can put them together in any shape that I need, and have either a big or small area, depending on what I’m blocking. I’m using every piece of it for these three pieces of cardigan, and it fits very snugly.

Back of Altered Austen Jacket blocking Front of Altered Austen Jacket blocking

So logically, if I buy more needles, I’ll finish more projects… right?

Note: This is in no way a sponsored post, just a personal opinion on some items I have purchased recently.