New Design! Meet Stream of Consciousness

This summer has been a giant heap of crazy for me. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll know both my kids are heading away to college this week (my son to JMU, as an incoming Junior, and my daughter to Duke), my husband and I are in the process of splitting up, and I’m not yet sure where I’ll be come 2019. So, big changes! It’s all scary-sad-exhausting-exhilarating. Such a gamut of emotions going on over here these days.

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There were times this summer when I was so frazzled and exhausted, I couldn’t even knit. When I did, I needed something relaxing and uncomplicated, something that would keep my hands busy while my brain could do it’s own thing. This scarf is the result, so I’ve aptly named it Stream of Consciousness.

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Stream of Consciousness is designed in sections of garter stitch and striped garter stitch, with sections of textured stitches mixed in. It’s knit on the diagonal, so the only “hard” part is remembering to increase on one side and decrease on the other, every other row. And pay a little bit more attention in the textured stitch portions.

I’ll admit I even messed that up here and there. Forgot to increase or decrease, knit too many rows of one color here and there …

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But it’s a forgiving design, so I just adjusted and kept going. There are even a few places in my scarf where I didn’t follow the pattern, but the beauty of this pattern is that it doesn’t really matter.

Stream of Consciousness is all about having fun. Knit too many rows in a section? It’s no big deal, just keep on going. Switch sections up if there are some you like more than others, and knit until you run out of yarn. Use one, two, three, four, or even more colors! Use up all your leftover scraps! Leave sections out to make it shorter if the length is longer than you like. Swap out the DK for fingering weight for a lighter weight scarf, or choose worsted or bulky to knit a more substantial shawl (just be aware yardage requirements will change if substituting yarn).

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Can I just say, good grief, I’m going to miss seeing this face every day. We’re off to Duke tomorrow.

This design is meant to be a starting point for your own unique accessory. You can even leave the end a diagonal for a different look, and not worry about the final decrease section. It’s all about having fun with your knitting, relaxing, and putting your own unique spin on it.

I think it’s a perfect pattern for knitting while watching kids’ Fall sports, play practices, and other activities. Also perfect for watching TV or any activity where your attention is split, and you don’t want to be knitting something you need to be constantly looking at or checking. And it’s definitely perfect for when you want to be knitting something, but you don’t have the bandwidth to give it enough attention. With all the complications in life these days, I’m all about comfort knitting.

And, of course, I’ve dyed up a bunch of Andromeda so you can knit your own. As designed, it takes two skeins each of two colors, but I’d love to see it knit in four colors, or with all kinds of leftover scraps. So many options for this pattern; you’re imagination is the limit.

When you’re done, you’ve knit yourself a soft, cozy, warm hug.

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Knitting with Linen?

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It is so hot and humid in Virginia these days! Good grief, I just can’t stand the humidity anymore.

For me, Heat + Humidity = No Handknits to Wear. Which is a bummer. I bought some Shibui Reed and also Shibui Linen (which is a really interesting construction!) last year, thinking I’d knit myself some summer handknits … someday.

That someday is now. This weather had me pulling the Reed out a few days ago, and swatching (this is the Ash colorway). And I started looking for patterns.

I love Elizabeth Doherty’s new pattern, Westbound, which calls for Shibui Reed. I bought it, and I’ll knit it someday. But, the yarn is held double throughout and this is problematic for two reasons: 1) I don’t have enough yarn and 2) I wanted a lightweight top.

Then I bought Linho, by Joji Locatelli. I also love this one, too, but it uses Quince & Co. Sparrow, which is lighter weight than Reed … and … I don’t have enough yardage for this one either.

THEN, I bought Cullum, which is designed in Quince & Co. Sparrow, but there are quite a few knit in Reed. I have enough yarn for this one. I think ;-).

So, I swatched, and I soaked and blocked my swatch. And by blocking, I mean that I laid it out and let it dry as it wanted – no pins, no stretching. Nada. (I did not, however, machine wash and dry it … perhaps I should?).

Cullum and Linho say to expect linen to relax by 10% and that this has been factored into the sizing. My swatch did not relax at all. 5″ x 6″ unblocked … pretty much 5″ x 6″ blocked. ARGH. What to do?!

What do you think? Should I figure my swatch is correct and move forward? Or should I factor in a 10% growth estimate for a full-sized garment and go with that? I mean, I know it doesn’t have the memory of wool, since there’s no crimp … but how much will it grow is my dilemna. I don’t want to end up with a humongous tent ;-).

All opinions and advice are welcome!

On another note: would anyone be interested in hand-dyed linen, or a linen-silk or other linen blend? I’ve been considering delving into dyeing plant fibers for the last year or so, because, truly, I’d like to have some handknits that don’t have wool in them. I don’t know if it’s me, or if the humidity and heat actually ARE worse, but I’ve definitely been more attracted to lighter weight yarns for most of my projects (dk is about as heavy as I personally want to go for most things these days). And there’s just no way I can wear wool in the summer anymore.

My entire dyeing career has been all about protein fibers, so I’ve never considered widening the scope to plant fibers. These days, I definitely am.

Anyone interested, or is it just me?

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