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.
Project: Dotted Rays
Pattern: Dotted Rays by Stephen West
Yarn: BMFA STR Mediumweight in Feelin’ Groovy, BMFA STR Lightweight in Hobbit Garden and Fleece Artist Nova Wool in Forest
Needles: 4 mm
Yardage: 243 g / 612 yards
This was a really fun knit, the simple garter stitch made it a really relaxing and enjoyable knit. The cheerful colours helped, too. I had to rip it out and start over after the first 2 wedges. I was just following the instructions, but I couldn’t ‘see’ where the instructions were taking me; usually when I read instructions I can see the results in my head, but not this time. The first two wedges were a little goofy so I frogged it and started over. This was my first time making an i-cord edged shawl, a little confusing a first but a beautiful, modern, and simple result. In the past three months, I’ve made 4 shawls and three of them had knitted-on edgings. I’ve finished two of those edgings (Celestarium and Aestlight) but I’m still plodding through my third (Hansel). One thing I noticed when knitting this shawl is yarn twist and what a difference it makes. All the yarns I used are sock yarns, the pinky/purple/yellow and the bluesy/purple yarns are BMFA, but the green that I knit the last wedge out of is Fleece Artist. The BMFA yarns have a high twist and the fabric is a lot more firm (but still soft!) than the drapey result I got from the lower twist Fleece Artist. I don’t mind the last wedge being drapey, I find it interesting. I think I would have been really bothered it was in the middle wedges. It almost makes an additional edging to the shawl. The bold colours of my Dotted Rays are really going to get me through winter, I foresee a lot of use out of this comfy shawl.
Project: Vanilla Tea
Pattern: Sweet Vanilla Tunic by Veera Valmaki
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport in Raspberry Moose and Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR Mediumweight in Monroe Blutbad
Needles: 3.75 mm and 2.5 mm
I love knitting with this yarn, it is so soft and light and airy. It’s pretty strong as well, I didn’t break any while knitting this tunic. I love the simplicity of this design, I know this something I will wear a lot.
Project: Toe-Up Sock Hobbit Mittens
I felt like making mittens, but I wondered why are patterns always written from wrist to fingertip? What if you knit from fingertips to wrist, and if so, how would you do that? So I used a magic toe-up sock cast on, two at a time on 2.5 mm needles, increased 4 sts per mitten every row just like I would for a toe. When I got to 64 sts per mitten, I continued knitting straight until I got to the thumb. For each mitten, I cast off 4 sts on the palm, 2 on the back of the hand. On the next round when I got to the thumb (where I just cast off 6 sts) I cast on 20 sts. As I continued, I decreased at the thumb, sort of a reverse thumb gusset. I used Frankenfingers as a gusset guide.
I kept decreasing every few rounds until each mitten was 60 sts. I got kinda bored at the end, I added some lace as a border. I still don’t like lace in variegated yarn, I can barely see the pattern, but then again I only did one repeat. Then I picked up stitches for the thumb, decreasing drastically when I was almost at my thumb tip.
I’ve been wearing them regularly the past couple of weeks, and I like them but next time I’d knit them smaller, both in length (of the hand, from finger tips to thumb) and circumference (again, my hand from the fingertips to the thumb), and in a thicker wool. We’ve had a very harsh, bitterly cold winter this year and my hands get cold easily, the lightweight just doesn’t stand up to -20 C. But I love the colours so much, the way they play off each other, it’s delicious. And the pooling matches. Love it.
So I started a beekeeper’s quilt. I actually spent quite a bit of time on this guy, playing around with needle size and cast on/cast off styles. Dpns just didn’t work for me, so I am using magic loop instead, which means that I can’t use the same cast on etc… But I now have a system and I plan to make many of these little darlings with my leftover odds and ends. This little one is looks so lonely right now. I used Socks that Rock Lightweight in Thraven.
I made this pattern a few years ago with Socks that Rock Lightweight in Thraven. It is the only knitwear that I’ve made that I lost. I’m not even sure how I lost it, to be honest. But it really ate at me. So I decided to replace it, this one is made with Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Monroe Blutbad. Super comfy, I love to wear it around the house and as a scarf when I go out. I don’t normally go in for variegated yarn, but since it is a Grimm colourway I had to try it. I really love the result, though I find it hard to photograph. I’ve since joined the Rockin’ Sock Club for this year and I’m going to make myself some mittens out of variegated yarn soon.
It is very chilly here this morning. So very refreshing and invigorating. I have been knitting; I put my Evenstar to the side this month, but I did finish a hat, and I started another shawl for a KAL that started last weekend. I used Blue Moon Single Silk for the hat, it is so soft, I just love it.
I joined a KAL for the In Dreams Shawl, another Tolkien inspired shawl by the same designer as Evenstar. It is my first time using beads, and there are just so many of them! I got a beadle needle, super easy to use and an awesome time saver for beaded projects.
I am only going to do 8 rows per day, to avoid mistakes. I love charts so much, I forget to check the written instructions, which contain the chart notes. So I have already made my first mistake, and I’ve had to frog back 4 rows. Not as bad as my Evenstar gaffe, but aargh.
Lastly, I am still plugging away on my Shalder. I started the sleeves, it is great to work on at the end of the day.
Chart three of my Evenstar is taking forever. I looked at my chart, realised that I had a 4 row repeat for 24 rows of 560 stitches each, and died a little bit. I like it when the pattern changes every other row, it keeps me engaged in my knitting. But I’m nearly done, and hopefully I will be done soon. I signed up for an In Dreams KAL (a shawl by the same designer as Evenstar) that starts mid-September and my goal for Evenstar is to have at least finished chart three by then. The In Dreams shawl is so beautiful knitted with beads, I have decided to do my first ever knitting project with beads.
We are settling in well, still a little bit of jet lag, but definitely having fun around the house.
Sunday 10 August
Guangzhou day twenty-five
Quiet day, so it’s just a knitting update. I finished chart two, after wasting many about 5 days correcting a very stupid mistake on my part. I’ve begun chart three, though these pictures are taken at the completion of chart two. I don’t think I will do the beading on this project, I don’t have enough shawl experience to tackle beads.
Saturday 2 August
Guangzhou day seventeen
Dominic was feeling a little under the weather today, so I stayed home with him and Fei and Daphne went fishing and dragon eye picking. Dragon eyes are a fruit similar to lychee, only smaller and brown skin instead of red. They caught a lot of fish, picked a lot of fruit and ate at a countryside restaurant (where they will cook fish that you’ve caught). There was also a little dog to keep Daphne company.
Huge set back on the Evenstar knitting today, I began at row 43, didn’t pick up on the fact that it is a wonky marker row until row 50, when things just looked all wrong. Turns out row 43 and 49 are wonky marker rows, so I have to frog all the work I did yesterday.