I finished my Bixbite Shawl this past August. The design is by Veera Välimäki. The pink and grey skeins are from Sugarplum Circus, the navy blue is from Gynx Yarns. It is super cosy and soft and I loved knitting it. The thick blocks of striping were done with short rows; it was my favourite part of knitting this shawl.
I finally finished this sweater!! I started it last summer, and set it aside after separating for the sleeves. I picked it up and put it down many times since then. The stripes made it easy to keep track of my progress, so I didn’t feel huge pressure to finish it. The yarn is a Wensleydale and Shetland mix, 50%-50% I think. It was a little odd to work with, it felt like Icelandic lopi wool. It has softened up with blocking, I don’t mind it next to my skin. It is in no way merino or cashmere soft, but I don’t care about a little scratchiness. The fabric has a gauze-like open feel to it, very different from how a typical woollen spun yarn would knit up. I have no idea if this is a worsted or woollen spun yarn, but I think it’s the Wensleydale content (it’s a long wool breed) that is stopping the yarn from plumping up the way a typical Shetland wool would.
Details: I used 3.25 mm needles on the ribbing, 3.5 mm needles for the body and sleeves. My gauge may have been a bit looser than called for, (and what my original swatch led me to believe), which is unusual for me. I usually swatch and still end up with a teeny tiny version of what I intended to make. The yarn is : The Knitting Goddess Wensleydale & Shetland 4 ply (discountinued, I believe) and the pattern is Breathing Space by Veera Välimäki
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!
- One sparkly blue mitred blanket square, knit of out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Super Sparkle, in the Starry Starry Night colourway.
- I finished the heels on my vanilla cuff-down two-at-a-time socks in The Knitting Goddess UK 4ply 100% British Wool in the A Hat Full of Sky colourway. I used the Knitting Expat’s mini-heel flap adjustment and Fish Lips Kiss Heels, all in garter. I think I’m close to finding my perfect heel. They are 72 st socks and I’m using 2 mm needles. I like the fabric better than 64 sts at 2.5 mm or 2.25 mm.
- 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.
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!!
FO Report: Insulate! Hat
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).
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.
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’).
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.
All in all, I loved knitting the hat and mittens, and I am so happy my son loves them too!
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.
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.
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.
These are the WIPs that I’m not consistently working on, though I should be:
Seriously, there is no reason (other than time) that I’m not working on them / that they aren’t finished already.
This was actually a simple knit, despite the fact of not having a memorizable pattern until the cast-off edging. It only took me about 5 points or so to memorise the cast-off edging, so that helped, but the edging took seemingly forever. I was knitting 2 rows (8 to 20 or sts each) for every 1 stitch cast off. Beautiful, elegant result though. I was also casting off in the same way at the same time for my Aestlight shawl (completed) and my full Hansel (almost!). The Seduction yarn is very, very slick, smooth and shiny. I loved it. It’s also resistant to pilling; I tend to knit on the go, and I often don’t have the time to be princess-y with my projects. That is, sometimes I just shove everything into my purse as I’m running out the door. No project bag or even a plastic grocery bag to protect my work from the chaos of crap that can be found in my bag. For example, I have a metal seashell and small stuffed giraffe in my bag. No particular reason, they just ended up in my bag and decided to move in. So I’ve dealt with pilling before, and if a project doesn’t pill on me, that yarn is extremely resistant to pilling. This is also the first project using beads that I have completed. My first beaded project is In Dreams, which is still on the needles. I wasn’t daunted by the beads themselves, but it is difficult to work with so many beads with a 4 year-old running around. The 4 year-old in question is now almost 5 and about to begin kindergarten so I’m really hoping to pick it up this fall.