Perhaps I was being a little hard on myself last time I wrote here. I’ve since worn my Rose cardigan a few (many) more times, and I discovered that a loose fitting cardigan can conceal or over emphasise a mistake. The longer front end is an inch longer, if that, and can easily be overcome by wearing it with some give at the back of the neck. I mean, have the back neck of the cardigan loosely at the top of my shoulders, not tightly up against the back of my neck. If that makes sense. Plus, I use a shawl pin to keep it closed. I think it fits great, though the breezy open style means that it can’t wear it open without it falling off. The end result was definitely worth all the knitting on those repetitive pieces.
I also finished a thing! Stephen West’s Baby Vertices Unite Blanket. This was knit up with DK yarn, so it was a fast and fun project and actually a good size, not too big nor too small. The baby I knit this for isn’t here yet, so it wasn’t even a last minute up against the deadline thing. Yeah me!
So, today the sunset was a lovely blend of peachy pinks and lavender with swirling clouds. But of course it all changed while I went inside to get my phone / camera. I’ve been finding time to work on Xanthe this week. My two year old just started daycare, so this project was hibernating a little bit because knitting lace with toddlers running around is no. Just no. I’m half way through the final lace panel, then there’s the picot bind off and I’m done!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And finally, a small project that I love and should have finished already, Balamara Mitts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had a bit of cast-on-itis this week.
I started 2 pairs of socks, a pair for me and a pair for my daughter, and I cast-on a Lush cardigan.
First the cardigan:
I’m nearly done the lace panel. I actually did the provisional cast-on, and it worked beautifully. I promise never to try and get out of a provisional cast-on again. The cast-on has already been picked up and knitted; it was right in the middle of the diamond on the panel in the upper-left hand corner of the picture, right below the squirrel stitch marker. It’s also my first time working with SweetGeorgia Worsted yarn. I like it so far, it’s quite strong, almost like Socks That Rock in feel, except that SweetGeorgia Worsted is thicker of course, being worsted and not sock weight like STR.
I’m going to make my daughter another pair of socks with the fish lips kiss heel and since I have enough yarn leftover from her first pair of socks, in the same yarn (Dream in Color Everlasting Sock) too.
I’m making my socks in Lorna’s Laces Solemate toe-up using the vanilla method found in Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks. I cast-on both toes using Judy’s magic cast-on in magic loop. Once the toes were done, I transferred one sock to a holder and another to an 8″ / 20 cm Addi circular needle. I’ve always used magic loop to make socks and I enjoy that method, but why not try something new? I just have to remember to note down everything I do with this sock so the second sock will match properly. I’m finding the small needle a little awkward to work with, but I’ve only done five rounds with it so far. I’m sure there’s a learning curve and I’ll be in it for a little while.
And this one is moving along, but it’s hard to work on around the kids. It really demands all of my attention. I can only knit 2-6 rows a day, and that’s if I’m lucky. But I do love it.
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.
Why yes, green is one of my favourite colours. I’ve only been working on a couple of projects recently, not for lack of knitting but one them is a demanding knit. I’ll let you guess which one.
Snape Fingerless Mitts – These are coming along nicely. I really love the yarn, Knitting Goddess 4 ply British Wool and Nylon. It is soft and supple, yet strong. I can’t wait to see how it wears. I’m not following a particular pattern for these; I’m consulting one for the gusset and another for the picot edging. I think I will also do a little fringe with some leftover Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift in Mooskit.
In Dreams Shawl – I’m happy to finally pick this up. I haven’t worked on it at all since autumn 2014. It’s slow going, which I find very frustrating. But the elation when I finally finish a chart is what is going to keep me on track. I have set a goal with myself to finish this by the end of the month. I have 3.5 charts to go, but one of the charts is so big it’s split into two pages. I’m more than a little worried about getting it done on time, but I will try my best. It really is lovely, just very hard to photograph on the needles have it not look like a lumpy mess.
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.
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.
I’ve been making progress this week – I should finish my hitchhiker and my child’s socks in a few days. I turned the heels on my socks this weekend and the recipient doesn’t want her socks to go to far up her leg, so almost done! I’ve also finished chart 3 on my Evenstar, and am now casting off with beads!!
I finished a WIP from last week, the Insulate! mittens, so as one does, I immediately cast on for two more projects. The Insulate! hat is actually done, I finished it last night. The photo was taken yesterday afternoon; immediately after taking its picture, I decided that I had to work on this hat. I pushed everything else aside, including this post, which should have been written and posted yesterday. It’s super cute, though a little small (did I check gauge? no, of course not) but I haven’t blocked it yet, so fingers crossed it will get larger.
I cast on a Hitchhiker as well, I’m using Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock, which is 80% BFL wool and 20% nylon. I love the yarn, and the colours are amazing. I find knitted speckled yarn gives a lovely gentle overall effect, but can still use many wild colours, while variegated can be hit or miss when it knits up. This shawl’s construction is fun to knit, since it goes so fast at the beginning.
I am so close to being done with Chart Three on my Evenstar. Only 1.5 rows of patterning, and 5 rows of plain knitting, left. I can’t wait to start the bind off/Chart Four. I haven’t worked on any of my other WIPs this week, though the socks are bugging me. My daughter hates the toe seams in commercial socks; the guilt of not being a consistent sock knitter (e.g. my Monkey Socks took me just over three years to complete) is really getting to me.
And yes, I did put an overturned box on my back porch to use a table / snow protector to take these photos. On a sunny day, the snow outside (it is everywhere) works almost like a light-box. The colours are accurate for once. Oh! and that overturned box was used to ship an Ashford bottom whorl spindle to me. I plan to learn how to spin, but for now I just want to get my feet wet; I want to master the spindle and enjoy it before jumping into the spinning pool.