I've realized that these past few months have been nothing but posts about WIPs and not a single thing about FOs. So I thought I would remedy that today, because I really am getting stuff done around here. I'm not just casting on projects all willy nilly style left and right around here. It's just that, well...I'll admit it, it's just that sometimes I would rather knit than blog. Please don't take any offense to that! But it's true. Actually, most of the time I would rather knit than do anything else - like dishes, clean, shower (but don't worry, I do!), and sometimes I'll even do a pee-pee dance because I'd rather knit than run upstairs to go bathroom. Too much? Well we've all done that at one point. Don't deny it!
Anyhoo, back to the FOs. These knits were part of the "not-so-secret" secret projects (which is still ongoing), but since they've already left my hands (and were not given to specific people as originally intended) I'm able to talk about them. Hence the "not-so-secret" part. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, these might be old news but for those of you who aren't on Instagram, don't worry - I ripped these photos from my Instagram account because I realized that I had forgotten to take proper photos of the FOs before I had handed them off at their destination. Oops! Oh well, at least I took a photo of them, so I do have photographic evidence that I have indeed finished something.
I've always wanted to knit Metalouse ever since I saw it in the winter 2012 issue of Knitty but just never really got around to it. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I didn't think I would wear this shawl enough - or at all - to warrant being put at the very top of my "to knit" list. I absolutely love knitting shawls but I honestly don't wear them enough to be knitting as many as I have in my queue. Of the handful of shawls that I've knit, I think only a couple are in actual wardrobe rotation. And to be even more honest, the shawls that I do wear are either more along the lines of a shawlette or of a crescent shape, which to me is a more wearable shape since I tend to wear my shawls more like scarves. My larger triangular shaped shawls are usually saved for the colder days of winter. So with Metalouse being of the larger shawl variety, I would just feel guilty if I had knit it up only to not wear it at all and have such a beautiful shawl languish in the back of my closet somewhere feeling completely unloved.
So needless to say, when I decided I was going to knit all of the Munchkin's teacher/support worker appreciation gifts I saw this as an opportunity to knit all those accessories patterns that I've been wanting to knit but didn't think I would wear. And when it was time to donate to the kiddo's school's annual fundraiser, I saw this as yet another fabulous opportunity to go balls out on the shawls that I've been dying to knit. To me, it was a straight up win-win situation. Don't you think so? Metalouse definitely fit all the criteria and became the first pattern that I had to knit up for this series of projects.
I absolutely loved knitting Metalouse. I really can't say the same for the yarn though. I used a combination of Knit Picks Chroma Fingering and Knit Picks Stroll Sock. While the Stroll was your typical sock yarn, the Chroma worked out to be overly splitty and a got a bit too thin in weight in some areas. Like, we're talking thread-like lace weight thin. Luckily for the yarn, the colourway I had used saved the project from being tossed aside. Chroma is a long colour repeat colourway and Metalouse definitely took advantage and played up those repeats, making the shawl look more impressive and like it was even more complicated to knit up than it actually was. I really liked how Stephen West made the pattern and the design even more interesting by not only adding slipped stitch columns but feathered out the colours of the main colourway by working in the contrast colour every few rows.
The pattern itself was easy enough that even a novice knitter could get through it and yet had enough details and interest to keep a more advanced knitter on their toes. Or maybe it was just me, as I had several false starts at the beginning. Most likely because I was determined to cast on the shawl at 3am in the morning and was in denial about how bleary-eyed and foggy-brained I was. The things we do for knitting! But once the shawl got going it became a fun knit because you just wanted to know how the next bit of colour was going to play out in the design. Yep. Knit nerd, right here!
I really didn't do any mods to the pattern, other than to do an extra repeat at the border in hopes of using up as much of the yarn as I could before binding off. I contemplated going a little further than just that one extra repeat but thought I would end up in a game of yardage chicken if I did, so I just left it at that and bound off. For once I listened to my gut instincts and ended up with a mere few grams leftover! I LOVE it when that happens! And I'm absolutely pleased with how the shawl turned out. For a while there I even pondered whether or not if I should donate the shawl (even if it was for a good cause) and just keep it for myself. It's just so pretty! Fortunately reason caught up to me and I snapped back to reality. Phew!
This pattern was such an enjoyable knit that I would definitely knit it again. I think I just might re-add it to my queue, after all, my kiddo will be at this school for another 5 years which means I'll have 5 more fundraising auctions to knit for AND 5 more years of teacher appreciation gifts to think about. Oh, and I have plenty more Chroma in the stash as well. Ok, done! Back in the queue this pattern goes!
:: Shawl details ::
Pattern: Metalouse by Stephen West
Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering and Knit Picks Stroll Sock
Colours: Watercolor (self-striping) and Dove Heather (solid)
Needles: Signature Needle Arts Fixed Circular in 4.5mm (US 7)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Metalouse
But let's talk about this finished shawl, yeah? I've used Knit Picks Chroma Fingering again, this time pairing a colour-transitioning colourway with a solid for contrast. I was originally going to knit the medium size but after knitting the first section (which took less than a day to knit, yay!) I realized that I could knit the striping section needed for the medium and can assess then if I had enough yarn to keep going for the larger size. This pattern is so easy peasy and because of the striping action, pretty much became potato chip knitting for me (I just had to keep knitting to see what the next stripe was going to be!). A few days later and I was done with the required number of stripes for the medium size and discovered that I had more than half of the yarn needed for the large. So I continued on knitting the stripes.
I think I would have had this shawl completed within a week had I not had the issues with the border, which, by the way, I had detailed in this post. But hey, I've lived and learned, and now I know for next time that I will not knit the border as written in the pattern - unless I want to drive myself loco with the crazy curling like a mofo problem. No, instead I will stick with the trusty garter stitch border that in the end I think looks way better anyways.
Aside from the border, I didn't do any mods to the pattern. I think it's perfect just the way it is. Because of the striping action, I think the pattern is an addicting and fun knit (that could be made even more fun if a long colour repeat yarn is used), and because it took me a week to knit up the largest size I can definitely see myself whipping up a few more to add to the non-existent gifting box. But first, I need to knit myself one.
After I knit up the rest of the teacher/support worker appreciation gifts, that is.
:: Shawl details ::
Pattern: Daybreak by Stephen West
Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering
Colours: Mesa (self-striping) and Bittersweet (solid)
Needles: Knitter's Pride Karbonz Fixed Circular Needles in 3.5mm (US 4)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Mesa Daybreak