2019 W 12 – Struggle and Joy

FOs

First the joy –

My very first gnome

This little gnome has given me so much joy; in the making and just having her hang around in my kitchen. It was an MKAL and it was just what I needed knitting wise – an interesting group project but nothing overwhelming in terms of skills or size. I used polyfill and some decorative pebbles to add weight for the stuffing. I have a bag of decorative pebbles languishing in my garage, the perfect excuse to make more of these! There are three other gnome patterns by the same designer, Imagined Landscapes, and I’ll probably end up making all of them.

I used 2 unnamed mini skeins from Countess Ablaze’s Yarn Cartel club for the hat and the body. The beard is leftover Shire in Madelinetosh Sock, the nose and hands are Castiel in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight.

I finished all the knitting and seaming on my Rose Cardigan in the beginning of March. The collar band took me forever, or about 3 months. It was the hardest part of this project for me. It was a simple cable, but it did include purling through the back-loop, something that I found frustrating because the stitch that needed to be purled through the back-loop looked exactly like a regular purl bump to me. The knit stitch that needed to be knit through the back loop was very obvious to my eyes.

When I knit, I like to know / memorise the pattern so that I can just knit and not refer to the pattern or my notes. Usually when I memorise the pattern, I can look at my knitting and know what comes next, without having to recite K2, P2, K3, P2 etc… in my head as I go. When I have to keep track of what I’m doing by reciting the pattern in my head and not able to look at my knitting to see what comes next I get super frustrated. The collar on the Rose Cardigan was the latter situtation because of the purls through the back-loop. But I loved the look of the twisted stitches so I persevered. I actually started seaming the collar on as I went to help motivate me.

When I was finally done with the collar, I was so excited to have this project finished!! I laid it out to take a look at its completeness and immediately noticed that one front was longer than the other. By 3+ inches. Seriously. I knew right away that it was a gauge and seaming issue that I could probably fix by un-seaming the collar and re-seaming it. (The rate that you mattress stitch into either of the two edges that you are seaming changes the length / outcome). The gauge issue is that I spent a lot of my knitting time in 2018 searching for my favourite needles. Which means that each quadrant of this cardigan was knit on different needles. Signature, Chiao Goo interchangeable, Lykke fixed, and finally Tulip interchangeable. So I seamed four not quite identically sized pieces into a cardigan. Stupid I know. It’s the ‘it’ll just seam out’ solution to gauge issues, I guess. I wore the cardigan around the house for a few days to see if I preferred the longer side or the shorter side and I definitely prefer the bouncier / bubble feeling of shorter fronts. I’ve set it aside for a little bit and I’ll probably be up to re-seaming the collar later this month.

I have been anticipating finishing this cardigan so much that this set back really effected my knitting mojo. It also made me analyse what I’m knitting; is the making giving me joy? Will I honestly adore the finished object? I really want to finish this cardigan properly, so you’ll probably see it here again once I’m happy with the collar.

WIPs

I have tried to organise and re-focus my WIPs into something manageable; I love casting things on, then I get overwhelmed with all the knitting. Right now, I have one shawl project, one garment, one baby blanket and a pair of fingerless mittens. I mentioned the shawl project, Xanthe, in my last post, but soon after writing I frogged it and re-knit in an entirely different colour scheme.

⬆️ Xanthe before – ⬇️ Xanthe after

I got the pinkish yarn, Prohibition in Tia Merino, in the same Yarn Cartel shipment as the mini skeins I used for my gnome. I set the skein down next to the Xanthe in progress in the first colour scheme, and it was just playing so well with the white speckled colourway (Teacup in Skinny Singles by Hedgehog Fibres), that I had to restart the whole project. No regrets.

My V-Neck Boxy – Vishnu in Madelinetosh Sock

I finally cast on for my V-Neck Boxy a couple of Sundays ago. I got through all the back shaping in one day, just a little bit of stockinette left before I can start the right and left fronts. I only had the chance to work on it that one day, all in all pretty good progress for me.

Vertices Unite Baby Blanket

The funnest thing on my needles right now is the Vertices Unite Baby Blanket; Stephen West reworked his classic Vertices Unite for a baby blanket worked in DK weight. I purposely photographed it in black and white because it’s a gift for someone who’s expecting, and I don’t want to completely let the cat out of the bag.

Balamara Mitts

And finally, a small project that I love and should have finished already, Balamara Mitts.

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2019 W 06 – Everything Blue!

FOs

Starry Starry Night Mitred Square

WIPs

A Hat Full of Sky Vanilla Cuff Down FLK Heel w MHF Adjustment Socks
  • Nearly finished the first section on my Xanthe Shawl by Ambah O’Brien. Finally chose Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Blue Nile and Button Jar Blue and Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Teacup. I’ve been very picky about the colours – I’ve ripped back a few times and changed the colours and their placements a few times. That’s very unlike me, but I think it I should be more picky in future. I’d rather finish objects that I want to wear instead of just finishing objects for the sake of it.
Blue Nile and Teacup Xanthe Shawl

Planning

  • I’ve knit a swatch for my next sweater, V-neck Boxy by Joji Locatelli in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Vishnu colourway. My swatch was knit up on 3.5 mm needles, and it’s telling me that I have an extra stitch to every 10 cm, so it could probably end up being a little smaller than the schematic. I hate the fabric on 3.75 mm needles, and it is a very voluminous garment so I’m going to go for it anyways. I’ve had really good results knitting garments from this yarn before, even when gauge was similarly off. I just have to be realistic as to which size to knit (i.e. my size or even the next size up, not the smaller size I’d rather be) with my slightly too tight gauge.
Vishnu V-neck Boxy Swatch

Brioche

Blocked!!!

It’s been eons, insert lame excuse here, let’s move on. I’m currently working on many, many WIPs. Occasionally I’m finishing projects. My favourite recent FO is the Eyeball Shawl by Stephen West.

Unblocked, just off the needles

I’ve kind of struggled with brioche in the past; adding the shawl on the being-slipped-stitch seemed awkward and counter intuitive to me. Let me add here that I have always most decidedly been a right-handed knitter, a thrower, to be precise. Even in colourwork, I would use my right hand, even if it meant dropping yarn A to pick up yarn B. My left hand has never been very coordinated, so every time I tried continental, left-handed, knitting it was just too frustrating to keep going.

This summer, I decided to try continental knitting again. I just happened to be working on this shawl, and I when I got to the brioche edging, everything suddenly made sense. Brioche, which I had once thought of as awkward and finicky became smooth and efficient, all because I was using my left hand! I will be trying my best to keep knitting continental from now on, even though basic knit and purl are still frustrating for me unless I’m throwing.

My next brioche project will probably be the Askews Me Shawl or Brioche on the Beach.

FO: Snape Mitts

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Snape Mitts
Pattern: A mash up of Frankenfingers and Estonian Double Mitts
Yarn: Knitting Goddess 4ply British Wool and Nylon, Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4ply
Needles: 2.5 mm
Yardage: 36 g / 157 yards Knitting Goddess 6 / 30 yards Rowan Yorkshire Tweed

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This is my very first skein of Knitting Goddess. It arrived in early January, and I was enthralled by it from the moment it arrived. It was shiny and silky but, not at all like silk, if that makes any sense. It feels very strong and robust and there is a definite sheep-y smell. So I jumped at the first opportunity to knit something with this yarn. This is also the first time I’ve used self-striping yarn. I always assumed that I would be driven nuts by the colour change not happening exactly at the end of a row; that it would be to obvious or stilted. I was wrong. Self-striping is so much fun. And these mitts were 52 stitches wide, not the the standard 64 stitches sock width. And the self-striping still works!! Magic.

Speaking of magic, I wanted to make a pair of mitts in remembrance of Snape / Alan Rickman. This colourway was perfectly Slytherin so off I went. I started with the picot cuff, knit up to the end, then I felt that it needed a little extra detail, so I picked up stitches on the inside of the palm, about 3 or 4 cm down from the bind off, using some extra Rowan yarn I had. I then did a tubular bind off to preserve the ribbing on both sides.

I have been wearing them a lot. I was a little worried that my skin (which is disagreeable) might not like such a sheep-y wool. Wrong again! The wool is very nicely co-existing with my eczema prone skin. Can’t wait to knit up more stuff with this yarn. So glad I signed up for a year-long club. It is a wonderful thing to know I will be getting more and more of this yarn.

Evenstar 11 March 2016

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Pattern: Evenstar Shawl by Susan Pandorf
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Laci in Ghillie Dhu
Needles: 3.25 mm
Yardage: 158 g / 1225 yards

Finally, it’s done!!! I’ve spent so many posts on this thing. I’m really glad in how it turned out. It’s my first complicated lace shawl, and my first FO with complicated beadwork (Celestarium was a breeze in comparison). So, I’m proud of myself for completing it, though my eyes are always drawn to the big coffee stain on chart 2 and a couple of goofy stitches here and there. I didn’t bother with a provisional cast on for the edging (chart 4) , and I did a 3 needle bind-off instead of kitchener-ing the live stitches together. I deeply regret that short cut; the join is very obviously visible. Next time, when a pattern calls for provisional cast on, I’m going to listen. It may not be a museum piece, but my daughter loves it. She appropriated it for herself and it’s now living in her blanket fort with her bird, cat and unicorn.

 

FO Report: Daphne’s Socks

Socks for Daphne
Pattern: Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist
Yarn: Dream in Colour Everlasting Sock
Needles: 2.5 mm
Yardage: 40 g / 160 yards

Completed 29 January 2016

My daughter hates the toe-seam on commercial socks, even when she’s not wearing shoes, so I set about to become a sock knitter for her sake. I really enjoyed making these, though there was a fair amount of ripping back at first. I knit them two-at-a-time using magic loop. They are toe up with a FLK Heel and a Russian lace bind-off for stretchiness. I found the bind-off in Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet by Kate Atherley, an amazing resource for all things socks.

This yarn was once a pair of fingerless mitts that I frogged a while back. I found it to be a little splitty, but that could be because of all the wear and tear it’s already been through. I will be making more socks for her from this yarn since purple is her favourite colour and she is very happy with these socks.

I want to make socks for myself now : )

FO: Hitchhiker Shawl

I’ve been trying to stick to a regular schedule, but if I did another WIPs Wednesday it would be a “look at the beads! There are more than last week!!” kind of thing. So here is something I finished, my Hitchhiker shawl.

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Modelled by the queen of making faces

FO Report:
Not Quite 42 Hitchhiker Shawl
Pattern: Hitchhiker by Martina Behm
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock, 80% BFL 20% nylon
Needles: 3.5 mm
Yardage: 99.5 g / 395 yards

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Completed 29 January 2016

It is a simple, fun knit. I memorised that pattern quickly, it was a great take-with-me-anywhere project. This is my first FO with a speckled yarn. I really enjoyed the randomness of the colours. I can see why speckled yarns are so popular at the moment.

I wanted to make 42 pointed teeth, but I ran out of yarn after 38 teeth. It makes a great scarf that I can easily wear with my winter coat.

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The little bit of yarn at the top is all that remained of my skein; less than 1 gram.

FOs 2016-01-26

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FO Report: Insulate! Hat

Pattern: Insulate! Hat by Amy van de Laar (Baroque Purls)
Yarn: madeleinetosh tosh dk 56 yards Spectrum (blue) and 84 yards Maple Leaf (yellow)
Needles: 4 mm
Yardage: 68.5 g / 140 yards

I knit this for my Whovian 10 year old son, who loves it. It was really tight around his head before blocking, but thankfully, blocking did the trick. The yarn is just lovely, silky 100% merino with just a perfect barely there amount of drape.

I knit the medium size, and I followed the pattern, though I did use the It’s not About the Hat pattern‘s colour-work technique. The standard Fair Isle technique of carrying yarn behind the work has never worked out for me, my tension is too uneven, and not even blocking can save the FO. I really love this new-to-me colour-work technique; it’s actually very simple, though there are very detailed instructions in the It’s not About the Hat pattern. I may even use it to substitute intarsia one day.

Next time I knit this hat, I would do about twice as many rounds of ribbing at the beginning, as there is barely enough ear coverage for truly cold days (say, -25C and below).

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FO Report: Insulate! Mittens

Pattern: Insulate! Mittens by Amy van de Laar (Baroque Purls)
Yarn: madeleinetosh tosh dk 97 yards Spectrum (blue) and 49 yards Maple Leaf (yellow)
Needles: 3.75 mm & 4 mm
Yardage: 70 g / 146 yards

I made these to match the Dalek hat above (actually, I made the mittens first then the hat). I inverted the colours to make sure that I would have enough to make the entire hat/mittens set.

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As you can see in the photo, these mittens are getting a lot of use, especially being snow-covered, jammed into coat pockets while soaking wet, a lot of friction while damp, etc.. etc… And they are holding up really well. I am very impressed. Tosh DK is not the princess-y kind of expensive yarn I was worried it might be. They also dry very fast; my son hasn’t had to deal with trying to keep warm by pulling on wet, soggy, somehow-even-colder-than-outside slush blocks (aka ‘mittens’).

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Insulate! Mittens

I didn’t quite follow the pattern. I changed the patterning on the palm – the yellow just completely overpowered the blue, it was very unbalanced (with my colour selections). So I just did the simplest pattern I could think of – y,b to end, next round b,y to end, repeat these 2 rounds. The thumbs are knit in the background colour, then the contrast colour is duplicate stitched in. I didn’t quite finish the duplicate stitch chart; I did just enough so that pattern flowed from the hand. Duplicate stitch is just not my thing, but it’s a good idea for the thumbs, obviously.

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All in all, I loved knitting the hat and mittens, and I am so happy my son loves them too!