WIPs 2016-03-16

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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FOs 2016-01-26

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FO Report: Insulate! Hat

Pattern: Insulate! Hat by Amy van de Laar (Baroque Purls)
Yarn: madeleinetosh tosh dk 56 yards Spectrum (blue) and 84 yards Maple Leaf (yellow)
Needles: 4 mm
Yardage: 68.5 g / 140 yards

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).

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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.

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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’).

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Insulate! 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.

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All in all, I loved knitting the hat and mittens, and I am so happy my son loves them too!

WIPs 2016-01-21

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.

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Insulate! hat

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.

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Hitchhiker Shawl

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.

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Evenstar Shawl

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.

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.

FO Report: Aestlight

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Pattern: Aestlight Shawl by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift in 429 Old Gold and 230 Yellow Ochre
Needles: 3.75 mm
Yardage: 72 g / 335 yards

I had a few skeins of Old Gold in my stash and I wanted to knit it up because it’s really not a ‘me’ colour. (Yup, I’m the kind of person who eats the cake before the icing, most of the time). The yellow ochre is a much happier colour, but I only had one skein so I decided to use them together on this shawl to make the Old Gold less painful. Yes, colour can affect my emotions. It may be crazy but it’s true for me. The honeycomb pattern is ridiculously simple, so simple that I underestimated the amount of attention I needed to use to not screw it up. I was tinking back regularly, but I always caught my mistake before starting the next row. I do love the honeycomb stitch pattern.

Because I used a contrast colour for the garter bands, there was a small ridge along the top edge of the shawl at the colour joins. This bugged me, and since I noticed it while I was doing the knitted edging bind off, when I was done with the bind off I continued with a kind of standard bind off along the top edge of the shawl. What I did (I think) is pick up and knit one stitch from the edge of the shawl, then bound off the first stitch (that was the last stitch of the knitted bind off), then picked up one stitch again, and bound it off, etc.. until I got to the other end of the shawl. This made a nice finished effect, HOWEVER, I used a 3.75 mm needle, which made the bind off too tight along the honeycomb edge. I should have used at least a 5 mm needle. I got into real trouble at blocking because I couldn’t open the honeycomb pattern up at the top ends of the shawl. Evidence:

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It was too tight and looked horrible. So I undid that bit of trim(?) and reblocked it:

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Still a little tight at the top ends, but better than before.  Ideally, I’ll make this one again soon in a colour I can truly appreciate, especially to see if I still get tightening of the honeycomb pattern at the top ends if I use just one skein to knit it.

Dotted Rays

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

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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.

Completed 12 July 2015

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.