Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WIP: Dragonflies

I'm in the unusual position of knitting-monogamy right now. One project on the needles! (That is going to change by tonight, though.)

Here is a progress photo of my Dragonflies sweater.

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It's taking forever because I'm really slow at lace. Also long torso is long, so I think I've completed just over half of the body. Since I still can't manage the lace while out talking to people, (though it is getting easier), I started on one of the sleeves during knitting group. Judging from how the upper arm fits now, I think I will decrease more quickly for a while for a snugger fit.

In other news, summer arrived in Scotland, and though it has cooled down again a bit, it's still rather pleasant outside. I'm enjoying open windows and leaving the house without a cardigan.

Also, in case anyone wondered whatever happened to my Stash Match project, just wanted to say I'm still working on it. My indecision is my worst enemy, plus I may or may not have increased my stash since blog week, which means more skeins to allocate. Oh dear. It'll get there!

See more WIPs on Tami's blog for WIP Wednesday #200!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

FO: Crystalline Socks

Remember these?

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Pattern: Crystalline Socks by Cailyn Meyer

Yarn: 75% Wool, 25% Nylon hand-dyed with Wiltons Icing colours.

Mods: I crossed the cables on every quilted stitch row, rather than having the quilted pattern out of sync with the cable pattern.

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These socks were lots of fun to make. I really like the quilted lattice stitch pattern - a good choice for variegated yarns. I plan on using it again, or a variation on it, with some other variegated yarn I have. I actually thought this yarn was going to be more variegated than it ended up being. There is much more green in it than I thought when I dyed it. In any case, I loved watching the colours change as I knit and slipped stitches.

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Slipped stitch rows went really quickly, as well. Had I not taken a long break to knit some gift socks (which I now remember I haven't shared on the blog yet), these would have been finished in short order, since they flew along.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5KCBWDAY2 - Introducing Stash Match

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It's the second day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and I am already veering off-piste. Apologies to Eskimimi whose well-thought-out topics are about to get re-interpreted/ignored! Rather than write a dating profile for an FO as per today's topic prompt, I'm using today's post to launch a series of posts I've been pondering for quite a while. You see, it's my stash that needs some love, not my FOs. Hence, Stash Match.

Stash Match: What it is
(I didn't intentionally steal the phrase from anyone else, though some quick googling yields it on a quilting blog. I hope she doesn't mind.)

Over the course of an undetermined number of blog posts, I will attempt to allocate all (or most) of my stashed yarn to patterns / ideas for future knitting. I reserve the right to change my mind about these stash-pattern matches, but having a concrete list rather than a nebulous cluster of vague thoughts will make me feel a lot more organised.

Why I am stash-matching

In theory, I prefer to buy yarn with a pattern in mind. For sweater quantities of yarn, this works quite well in practice. For single skeins of pretty sock yarn, not so much - rather than a specific pattern, I end up telling myself "This could be a shawl(ette). Or it could be socks." That is not untrue; however, it is also not helpful! I end up with lots of beautiful yarn not allocated to a project, and when I need something for a particular project, I just buy more - invariably, nothing in my stash at the time seems right.

I try not to let it bother me too much, since pretty yarn sitting in stash is pretty yarn, but I think I have hit the point where I need to go through it all and at least tentatively allocate yarn for specific projects. After all, I have an extensive queue and favourites list to draw from - surely there are some perfect yarn to pattern pairings just waiting to be recognised! I can always change my mind if something even more awesome comes along.

The Candidates 

Most of my stash is in the photo below. Not included are sweater quantities of yarn, most leftovers from other projects, and handspun. (I have some handspun, but I didn't spin any of it myself, so don't get excited). And anything else I couldn't find or forgot about.

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After much deliberation, I have grouped it into rough categories as follows:

Green: Too pretty for socks
Cyan: WTF yarn
Yellow: Destined for colourwork
Pink: Alpaca
Blue: Sock yarn
Orange: Laceweight

The Green section is the one that is taunting me the most right now. I have deemed these Too Pretty for Socks because from my perspective they are unsuitable for socks for at least one reason. Some of them aren't superwash, some of them are too delicate, and all of them are so beautifully dyed that I can't imagine hiding them in shoes.

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From top to bottom, it includes the following:
Malabrigo Sock (402 m)
SweetGeorgia Cashluxe Fine (365 m)
Natural Born Dyers BFL-Nylon High Twist Sock (370 m)
Old Maiden Aunt Merino/Bamboo 4-ply (366 m)
Old Maiden Aunt Superwash Merino 4ply (366 m)
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (411 m)
Fyberspates Sheila's Sock (365 m)
Shibui Sock (175 m)

So there it is. Team Too Pretty for Socks is up first for stash-matching. After blog week, I will be back with a post talking about the matches and how I came up with them. In the meantime, let me know if you have any brilliant ideas for the above yarn. Do you need to do a stash match, or is your stash already perfectly allocated to patterns/projects?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 1: A Day in the Life

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Describe a day in the life of a project that you have made, or are in the process of making.

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 9:30 am
The knitter awakes, goes through her morning ablutions, and emerges. The Dragonflies sweater in progress is resting on a chair in the living room. The knitter ignores the project and proceeds to eat breakfast and drink a cup of tea.

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10:30 am
The knitter appears to decide to get some knitting in before going to work. Upon picking up the project, sitting down, and working a few stitches, the knitter realises that she is nearing the end of the ball of yarn. Lacking the motivation to wind the next skein into a ball, the knitter puts the project down again and reads her book instead until it is time for work.

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The knitter leaves to go to work. As far as anyone can observe, the project spends the day inactive; perhaps it is plotting and waiting quietly before making its next move.

6:00 pm
The knitter returns from work, starving. She spends some time preparing and eating supper. The project is still stationed on the living room chair, having apparently not moved the entire afternoon.

7:30 pm
The knitter decides to wind a new ball of yarn to facilitate working on the project, using a primitive set-up involving two kitchen chairs.

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7:45 pm
The knitter gets bored of winding and goes to play on the internet, continuing to ignore the project which remains on the chair, looking a bit lonely.

9:00 pm
The knitter finally finishes winding the yarn, which doesn't actually take that long once she gets going. She attaches it to the end of the old yarn with a spit-splice (but uses soap and water rather than spit, since she finds it works better) and sits down to knit.

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The project has been dormant all day but finally achieves a small measure of progress before it is time for bed.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WIP: Crystalline Socks

I have a WIP to share!

These are Crystalline Socks by Cailyn Meyer. I cast on New Year's Day, according to Ravelry. They hibernated for a while since I needed the needles for a secret gift project. Now that the secret project is done (stay tuned), these are back on the needles.

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I'm really excited about these socks. The stitch pattern is fun to knit - it holds my interest but isn't too complex, and I love watching it develop. It also feels like it goes very quickly. A great choice for variegated yarns, although I'm finding this yarn isn't as garishly variegated as I expected. The yarn is 75% wool / 25% nylon that I dyed using Wiltons icing colours a few years ago, so I'm glad I've finally found a project for it.

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Check out more WIPs at Tami's Blog.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some knitting and some baking

I've started my 2nd sweater of 2014: Dragonflies, by Joji Locatelli. My goal is to knit two sweaters this year, and I'm optimistic I'll manage it given my progress so far.

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It's going well so far. The lace is more complicated than anything I've done recently, but I'm getting into a rhythm with it, so all is good. I still have to focus entirely on the charts, but I think it will get easier as I go.

Other than knitting, I've been baking. The other day I made pita / pitta for the first time, and it was so awesome.

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Delicious, and surprisingly easy. Will make again. I used a recipe from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood. The pockets are magical. Or maybe it's just yeast that is magical. In any case. Eating fresh, warm pitta with store-bought hummus just made the hummus seem sad, so next time maybe I'll make the hummus as well. (I used to make hummus frequently, but laziness has taken over these days.)

Monday, April 07, 2014

First FO of 2014: Wethersfield Cardigan

My Wethersfield cardigan is my first FO of 2014!

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Pattern: Wethersfield by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

Yarn: Cascade Eco+ in the Pacific colourway.

Mods: Knitted the body way longer than called for, used twisted rib instead of regular 1x1 rib for the hem and collar since I prefer how it looks.

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Notes: Love it.

The pattern was a Ravelry-gift in a holiday pattern swap, and I wanted to start knitting straight away. Even though it is in reasonably thick yarn, the knitting still took a long time, though. My project page claims I started it January 13th and I didn't finish it until April 1st. I just need to accept that sweaters always take me a long time, even when I work on them almost exclusively. (In this case, I did have a few other projects going to distract me, so I certainly was not working on it exclusively. Never mind.)

I'm not used to open-fronted cardigans, and it's actually more open in the front than I was expecting - i.e. I can't really pull it closed at all. But I like it. I've been wearing it almost constantly since it dried. This sweater is very cozy and has been perfect for the particularly grim weather we have been having. Chilly and damp with thick fog - though it seems to be lifting now.

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The cable on the back was lots of fun to knit. The only complaint I have about the pattern is that the cable chart is blurry. I haven't seen anyone else mentioning this on Ravelry, so maybe it's just me and my ancient computer? Some sort of resolution mismatch? In any case, it's blurry on screen and it printed out blurry, so it is difficult to read. I'm familiar enough with standard cable charts at this point that I could figure it out - plus the cables were easy to memorize, so it all worked out fine. I also think it's a bit odd that the pattern abbreviations use one style of abbreviation for the various kinds of cable twist, but the chart uses different abbreviations. I imagine this comes from whatever software was used to make the charts... but it's still a bit strange to see. Anyway, that is stupidly nitpicky and didn't affect my ability to follow the pattern, since I didn't really look at the written instructions for the cables and stuck to the charts. Still, I imagine it might be confusing to a beginner who is just learning how to follow charts. I know when I was learning charts I often referred to the written directions to make sure I understood what I was doing.

This was my first time knitting seamless set-in sleeves from the top down. The body of the sweater is done bottom-up, but then the sleeves are done top-down with short-rows. It is magical! I will do this kind of sleeve again, for sure. I'm really interested in trying some different seamless sleeve cap techniques in the future, since I'm not a huge fan of seaming (big surprise), but sleeve-cap type sleeves seem to fit me quite well.