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

WIPs 2016-01-13

I recently cast on these mittens, they are a blast to knit. I’m trying traditional colourwork for the right hand (which is finished), and a new colourwork technique for the left (in progress). So far loving the new technique, but I have to wait for the left mitten to be done before I know the final result. Yes, I am knitting mittens with Daleks on them. Pattern here. This also my first time knitting with tosh dk, so love it, but I have to wait and see how it wears in real life. The blue is spectrum and the yellow is maple leaf.

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Insulate! Mittens

I’ve also made a little progress on this old friend from 2014, my Evenstar. I should finish the 3rd chart very soon. I will be using beads for the 4th and final chart. This shawl and In Dreams are part of my detention o.w.l. for hpkchc, so hopefully they will both be done by April.

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Evenstar

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In Dreams

These are the WIPs that I’m not consistently working on, though I should be:

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Bat’leth Scarf

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Daphne Socks

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Amagi Jumper

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Luke

Seriously, there is no reason (other than time) that I’m not working on them / that they aren’t finished already.

Sigil

Another sweater for my baby! I love the way Sigil turned out. Like every other Starmore sweater I’ve knit, this one will be loved and worn until I can’t fit over her head anymore.

The only trouble I had was with reverse st st pieces having to be sewn together. I can’t do it beautifully, so I try to make the ugly seam a design element of the sweater. Or I that’s what I tell myself. The collar is not rolling over the way I had hoped, despite my tinking back to add to extra rows when I saw it wasn’t quite perfect. I have just barely enough kureyon left to tack down the collar if necessary, but it would change the look and I want it to roll properly.

Now I have to finish the hat I’m working on, though I did cast on for an icelandic cardie in my post-FO excitement yesterday. And start my first shawl. Which is for a bride. At her wedding. Not nervous at all. I’ll be fine as long as my avoidance knitting stays simple. Everything. Will. Be. Just. Fine.

Back in Canada

I’m back from my trip to China. It was amazing. Except for the internet. The internet does not work there anymore, at least if you want to access sites that are not based in China. Since I don’t read Chinese, I was stuck in 1995. I travel to China regularly, and this was the most aggravating internet experience yet. In 2009, I was able to access Facebook no problem. This time, no Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads (?!) nor any site that had blogspot or wordpress in the url. My last post, saying I was in China, was written in mid-January when I tried to post via my iphone app. It only worked once I arrived back in Canada. At least my google reader worked, but I couldn’t click-through to an actual blog post.

I gave my father-in-law the St. Enda sweater and he wore it everyday. My non-existent photographer skills didn’t allow me to get a great shot of it. The cables came out really well, but it’s hard to see in the photo because, well, me, and I have it on good authority that the flash on the iphone 4/4s is no good.

St. Enda

I didn’t get much knitting done, but I did discover JKnit and it is incredible.  There is a website, knitpoint.com, that sells patterns that are formatted for the app. I used the Pro version of the app to completely re-write the pattern for the Sutton-Hoo Hat I started before I left. I frogged the whole thing because it wasn’t turning out the way I saw it in my head. JKnit really helped me to organise my thoughts into a pattern and now it’s turning out the way I expected. I’m using this baby hat as a rough template:

Rough template for Sutton-Hoo

 Jet-lag is no good for getting knitting done. I’ve been spending my days in an awake yet not-awake haze since I got back last week. It’ll take me another week or so to be completely back to normal. Next week cannot get here soon enough.

Happy New Year

I haven’t posted in forever, but I’ve been knitting. Steadily working on St. Enda. I should actually be done on time as long as no-one gets sick. Considering the amount of sickness this family had during December, I feel kinda confident that we’ve caught pretty much everything there is to catch this season.

This a progress shot on the sweater. I’ve finished the sleeve and I’m half-way through the back now. Once I finish the back, I just have the other sleeve, collar, sewing up, and I’m done! We are going to China for the Lunar New Year in 2 weeks, so I’ll be able to give this to my father-in-law in person. I haven’t been to China since 2009, I’m very excited about going back.

Okay, so I have one thing to admit about my St. Enda. Something blasphemous. I am knitting this sweater in acrylic yarn. A Starmore in acrylic. I feel guilty about it, but it’s not for me and I know the washing machine it will be washed in regardless of actual garment instructions. It destroyed 3 of my under-wire bras. So acrylic it is. But I feel ashamed to be using it because I really hate working with it. It is stiff, inflexible, and plasticky and I miss working with a nice yarn made of non-plastic fibres. My only way out is to finish this, I guess.  The pattern is quite simple, but there are some mistakes, as in stop at row 28 for neck shaping, then the next line instructs you to continue from row 19, etc… It’s pretty easy to figure out  that I should stop at row 18. As long as you read through the pattern thoroughly before knitting it should all work out. (I hope!!).