Decision Making Time

First, an update on my recent “Save My WIP” post from a couple of weeks ago about my Betsey shawl. I ended up ripping the whole thing out. But, before I did, I checked my gauge and it was actually okay. Well, the stitch gauge was right…there was no good way to check row gauge as the whole pattern is curved. It’s a little surprising my stitch gauge was right since I hadn’t blocked the piece. In any case, gauge isn’t all that critical for this. It’s all about the relative stretch between sections. I think a tighter gauge leads to the (unwanted) ruffling effect I was getting. I did swatch on a few different needle sizes but the resulting information wasn’t that helpful.

I decided that the drape of the fabric on US11s promised to be the best option. Since I don’t have a set of circulars in that size with a long enough cable, I ordered some. They will take a while to arrive (cheap price, long shipping) so that project is temporarily on hold.*

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Betsey, pre-frogging

On to the next WIP dilemma! I am currently working on a test knit for Marion Crivelli, the Athena Shawl. The prototype took 800 yards of fingering weight yarn. I chose to use madelintosh tosh merino light, of which I had 880 yards in my stash. Ten percent is an adequate margin, right? Well, I got started and have been cruising along. It’s an interesting but ultimately simple construction. There are five sections, knitted vertically and added on one by one as you knit. The whole thing ends up being on the bias. After gradually increasing to the the full width of all five sections, you bind off a few stitches on each WS row until you’re out of stitches. Then you pick up stitches along the long edge and work an I cord border. It ends up being a triangle with one elongated tip. In other words, an asymmetrical shape that makes it very hard to determine where you are in terms of yardage!

I got to a handful of rows away from starting the decreases when my first skein (440 yards) ran out. For a symmetrical triangle, that would have meant I definitely wouldn’t have had enough yarn to finish it out as written. Since the decreases happen a lot faster than the increases, I thought maybe I’d be okay. The designer’s shawl had used 800 yards! I checked out the other testers’ projects and found a lot of variation on yardage used, but some of them had made some modifications and it just wasn’t clear what the implications were for my situation. So, I forged ahead, knowing there was at least a decent chance I would ultimately lose a game of yarn chicken.

I kept on knitting. I finished the increases and got about halfway through the decrease rows…and got down to about 2 gm of yarn. That equates to approximately 8.5 yards, which equates to approximately nowhere near enough to finish out the shawl. I’ve got something like 90 or 100 stitches still on the needles so I’ve got a good…40 rows left, maybe? They will take less and less yardage as I go on as each row will be shorter than the last, but that’s still not going to make it.

Let me talk a little about the yarn I’m using. MT tosh merino light is a single ply fingering weight yarn. As with all MT yarns, it’s hand dyed in a complex colorway that may or may not be matched to other skeins in the same dye batch, much less skeins dyed at different times. There’s typically a ton of variation between dye batches. In other words, there’s no way that I can match this colorway. To take it a step further, I got this yarn from dbny. That means there’s no telling how old it is or where it came from. The two skeins I have are each 440 yards which means they’re from January 2011 at the latest. After that, MT adjusted the yardage to 420. After doing a little more research, I learned that the Filigree colorway is discontinued. Which is a shame as it is really luscious to work with.

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Athena Shawl WIP in Filigree

This doesn’t mean I’m completely without options, though! There’s one skein in the same colorway and yardage fsot** on ravelry. I could buy that and just not worry about any subtle variations in the colorway. From the pics, it looks pretty much the same. I could get a whole skein in a different, but complementary color. Or, I could get a couple of Unicorn Tails, which are 52 yard mini skeins of the same type of yarn. I can’t get them in Filigree but again could get a complementary color.

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Lovely, lovely tosh merino light

It’s a little tricky to tell from the pics, but this colorway incorporates a wide range of shades. Olive green, forest green and amber are punctuated by a brilliant copper and occasional hints of robin’s egg blue. This at least gives me a lot of options when choosing a complementary color. Part of me is tempted to use a light blue shade, as I like bold (!) color combinations. However, even I think that might be too garish! Here are the color options I’ve narrowed it down to:

All three above images are from Hill Country Weavers.

And, if I’m really daring, I could use one UT I already have. I don’t know if just one would have enough yardage, though. I could be stuck binding off early, or I could run out halfway through the I cord. This color is sold out everywhere I looked, so I probably can’t get another one:

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Button Jar Blue

So, dear readers, what do you think I should do?

Poll expires in one week. I’m looking forward to the results!

 

*After writing but before publishing, the new needles showed up in the mail!

**fsot=for sale or trade

 

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FO Spotlight: Snow What Fun Sweater

This was a test knit that I signed up to do some time ago. Going in, I had never done stranded colorwork. Before I started the sweater I made the Capitals Hat for my bro in law, so I took a stab at it then. After finishing that project, I had some guidelines for my next stranded colorwork attempt. Specifically, I thought it would be better to use a non-superwash wool so that the floats would stay in place a little better and I really wanted to convince my left hand to hold one of the colors. Well, success on both fronts!

The rundown

Pattern: Snow What Fun Sweater (not yet published) from Riverknits. There are two design options for the yoke: kitties or dinosaurs. I chose kitties!

Yarn: Some aran weight wool I’ve had in my stash for ages. I’m pretty sure I got it at a thrift store in Delaware, and I haven’t lived there for almost ten years! I had three skeins of the blue and one skein of the pink and thought they would work well together. The yarn is Harrisville Designs Twitchell Mills Country Knitting Yarn 2 Ply Nubby Tweeds. Say that five times fast, I dare you.

Size made: 4T

Needles: US5s for the ribbing and 7s for the body

Techniques used: Russian join, two handed stranded colorwork

Modifications: I used Fisherman’s rib for the ribbing instead of the two color Shaker rib variation. They’re very similar. I just couldn’t get the Shaker rib to come out quite right.

Ravelled: Here.

The pretty

I took approximately fifteen million pictures of my daughter wearing this sweater. Despite the fact that both my daughter and the sweater are very cute, it was nigh impossible to get a decent pic. Here’s the best of what I got:

And a close up of my awesome colorwork (pre-blocking):

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I am so happy with how this turned out, for several reasons. First, I used some yarn that has been in my stash for a long time. I’ve been trying to use things up and clear out some of the older stuff so I’m glad I found a use for this. Second, I was really worried while working on this sweater that the wool was too scratchy and it wouldn’t even be wearable. Well, after washing it I soaked it for a while with some conditioner in the water. I also used a dye catcher sheet as the blue ran a bit when I washed it. After it was blocked and dried, it got much softer. It still feels a little, er, rustic, but it’s totally wearable. Third, my daughter was really excited about it, which made me feel really good. She’s so fascinated by my knitting and yarn. She talks already about wanting to learn how. Considering she only just turned three, I think it’s a little early. So I just give her circular needles and a ball of yarn and let her play around. She seems to like it! I let her help when I’m hand washing things and she gets really into that.

Another reason I’m happy with this project is that it’s the first bottom up sweater I’ve made. It wasn’t particularly hard to do, but I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to do it. I also haven’t done a traditional yoke like this before. I’ve done raglan and I’ve done set in sleeves, but not this. I love adding to my arsenal of knitting tricks and experience. I learned a lot on this project and got a great piece as a result!

“Hearts, Mr. Collins…Hearts!”

I’m guessing at least one or two people will get the movie reference from the title. It’s one of my very favorites–plenty of interesting historical textiles to look at, great one liners, an abundance of proper English restraint, and it’s long enough to accomplish some serious knitting while watching. In any case, I quoted it because my knitting endeavors over the past couple of days have revolved around hearts and love.

First off, I cast on for a project I’ve been planning for a little while. To be exact, since the last time my mom was in town. We were discussing a certain thrift store yarn find we had made together and I realized that I had a pattern that would suit it. The yarn is Rowan Kidsilk Haze, of which I found over two and a half skeins in a brilliant purple shade named “splendour”.

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The pattern is Feathery Lace Stole from a book I’ve had for years and used many times: Exquisite Little Knits: Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns by Iris Schreier and Laurie J. Kimmelstiel. Now, I have no memory of when or where I acquired this book. I don’t really tend to knit with many of the yarns featured in the book, which tend to be high end novelty yarns. I probably got it on sale somewhere otherwise I honestly don’t think I would have picked it up. However, I’ve knit several patterns from it and one in particular several times (Flying V Scarf). I think the reason I’ve found it so useful is that, being for novelty yarns, the patterns tend to be understated and designed to let the yarn’s texture make the piece. So, there’s a lot of garter and stockinette with simple but effective shaping and not a lot of “extra”. This means that it’s easy to substitute other yarns and have it turn out well.

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Back to the Stole. The pattern is actually written for kidsilk haze and I actually have just a little more than enough. I wondered out loud who would possibly want a stole in that shade (not judging–it was an honest question). My mom spoke up. So, onto the queue it went until I had a moment not consumed with deadline-driven test knitting. For the last several days I’ve been knitting away at my Athena shawl (more on that in a later post) and I ran into a snag. I didn’t have anything else on the needles so, while I was waiting for the designer to get back to me, I cast on for the stole.

What exactly does this have to do with hearts and love, you ask? Well, you can be sure that I wouldn’t knit this for anyone that I didn’t really and truly love. Casting on and getting going was a royal pain. The yarn is slippery and impossible to see. By sheer chance I cast on the right number of stitches, although I don’t think anyone would ever be able to tell if I hadn’t. The lace pattern is an easy two row repeat. But, for the first several rows, I questioned my sanity as I yarned over and skp’ed my way through a slippery, hairy mess. It really seemed like I was knitting with something I might have pulled out of the shower drain in my younger Manic Panic infused days. Then, the pattern was established and it got to be a little easier. So far, I’m pleased with the results!

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My other heart and love related story has to stay under wraps for a few more days. I am participating in a Valentine mini swap over at Carol E. Herman Designs. This one involves a small gift, a small handmade item and a card. I will say that this project has made me realize I need better size US1 dpns as the ones I have are, shall we say, sub-par. I am late sending my package off (thank you, record snowfall) but am planning to send it tomorrow. I’m finishing up the last bit of the handmade portion, and I’m really excited! I hope the recipient likes it. I will post pictures here once it’s been received and no longer needs to be kept secret!

FO Spotlight: Thundercloud Baby

I just finished up this test knit for cashmerejunkie of Taiga Hilliard Designs. It’s the second test I’ve done for her and I may or may not have six more in the next couple of months.

The rundown

Pattern: Thundercloud Baby (not yet published)

Yarn: Three different colors of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. It’s a wool/cotton blend that is nice and soft but has some structure. My only complaints about it are that the ends are a pain to weave in* (thanks, cotton) and that it’s not machine washable. Of note, the colors tend to run when it’s washed. I used white vinegar in the final rinse. The yardage used was 376 total.

Size made: 4T

Needles: US7

Techniques used: Russian join

Modifications: None

Ravelled: Here.

The pretty

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I’m really happy with the finished product. It’ll be good for spring and will probably fit her for a few years. Ultimately it will be less like a tunic and more like a cardigan. I could see it looking really nice over a lightweight dress, leggings and a t shirt, or how she’s modelling it!

It was a quick and easy knit. It took me two months to finish, but only because I didn’t weave in the ends and block it for a while after finishing (I know, that’s so out of character for me, ha ha). The bulk of the knitting was done over about three days. The color work and eyelet details look much more complicated than they are. The whole thing was very easy and would be a great first cardigan project for a newer knitter. The color possibilities are practically endless. I think it would look really nice with the contrast color rows done in a gradient, or using only one contrast color instead of two. Given that the pattern adds texture, you could actually do the whole piece in one color and I think it would still look nice.

You may recognize the yarn I used from another recent test knit, Lillehammer.

Stay tuned over the next couple of months for three hats and three baby/toddler tops and dresses, all test knits for the same designer!

*Many thanks to my new friend for weaving in the ends for me!

The Knitter’s Curse

Someday soon, when I finish the knitting for two more tests and the weaving in and blocking for two more, this blog will return to its regularly scheduled programming. In the interim, please enjoy this anecdote of an experience I recently had.

Sometime over the holidays (Christmas? Thanksgiving?) I was browsing a certain discount yarn website and saw they had a promo going. If you spent $x you could get a surprise goodie bag worth at least $20 for free. Well, their stuff is typically on the cheap side anyway and I’m a sucker for a good deal, so I decided to go for it. I placed my order and promptly forgot about it.

A couple of weeks later, my package arrived. The goodie bag contained:

-one skein of blue Zumrut Bamboo (I have a couple of skeins of this already, but they are pink. I still have to find something to do with it)
-one skein of Berroco Lacey in a cranberry red (maybe I’ll use it someday)
-one size E crochet hook, NIP (maybe I’ll use it someday)
-one Berroco pattern pamphlet (maybe I’ll…you get the point)
-one yarn requirements reference pamphlet from Interweave. This I could see being useful.

And, cue dramatic music:

-one knitter’s curse

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In case you can’t tell what that is, it’s a giant WIP. It’s approximately five million mitered squares made from beautiful fingering weight yarn. Each is made by picking up stitches on the last one so, being a WIP, the shape and edges are very irregular. I’d like to state for the record that it is downright gorgeous. Someone worked a long time (and used a lot of very nice yarn) to make this. I will probably never know where it came from. This particular yarn seller liquidates estates and closed yarn stores and the like and sells the wares at a significant discount. This was probably part of someone’s personal oeuvre.

The problem, of course, with such a WIP is what on earth am I supposed to do with it? I reviewed my options.

  1. I could finish it. Except that I don’t have any chance of matching any of the colorways. Less importantly, I’ve never done mitered squares so it would have taken a bit to get the hang of it and get my gauge to match close enough.
  2. I could cut it up and use it for something else. My only idea on this front was to make pillows out of it. They would have been beautiful but I wasn’t sure exactly when I would get to making them (i.e., probably never) and it just might have killed me to cut into such beautiful knitting.
  3. I could use it as-is. Except it is a sort of weird giant V shape with irregular borders. I can’t think of any use for it.
  4. I could put it in my box of snoozing WIPs and get around to doing something with it someday (i.e., probably never).

I dismissed all these ideas. Someone worked very hard on it and it deserves better than to be stashed away and forgotten. It is about 435 gm, which means it could well be over 1700 yards’ worth of gorgeous. l didn’t want it to go to waste, but I also didn’t want the burden of someone else’s WIP hanging over my head. I’ve got enough of those of my own! So I decided to post about it on the yarn seller’s ravelry group. I asked if anyone had any ideas for what to do with it.

I got a couple of responses, but nothing particularly useful. Then, someone responded that the “curse” was right up her alley and that she would love to take it off my hands! We emailed a bit and decided to do a swap. I gave her general ideas about what kinds of yarn I like and she agreed to send me about $20 worth (the stated value of the freebie). I packed up the curse and shipped it to her. When she got it, she emailed me the link to the pattern the original knitter was probably working from: Oriental Jacket. She said it looked to her like it was about halfway done. I would highly recommending clicking through and looking at the pictures as it’s quite an impressive project. She also let me know she was adding more yarn to her swap as the curse was much bigger and nicer than she expected!

A few days later I got a package from her with a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock, two different colorways of Cascade Casablanca and a skein of handpainted Opal sock yarn in return. Sweet! The curse is removed and two knitters are happy! I am excited to see what she does with her new treasure!

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A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action

Well, I slightly overbooked myself on test knits (couldn’t resist testing for Ambah O’Brien!) and I’ve started back at work, so time is at a premium. Every spare moment I have I’ve spent knitting like the wind, or as close to it as I can get! That means there’s not much on the blog front right now, but there will be tons of great fodder once this crunch is over. 

To tide you over, here’s some pics of recent stuff:

    

 

    
  
 

Save My WIP!

Okay knitters, I’ve got a problem. Crowd sourcing is the thing now, right? So here goes. Can you help me save my WIP?

Project Objective: Make a shawl for my mother in law. It should be reasonably large but in a functional way (in other words, no crazy elongated asymmetrical triangles).

Yarn: I chose Ella Rae Classic Sand Art because the colors looked like something she’d like and, well, it was a really good sale. It’s worsted weight. I have four skeins of it for a total of about 875 yards.

Pattern: I searched long and hard for something that would work well. I decided a deep crescent or half circle shape would work best. I didn’t want anything too lacy because she mentioned she wanted something on the warmer side. I didn’t want something with a ton of texture because the colorway is reasonably intense on its own. I eventually settled on Betsey by Amy Miller. It’s a crescent with a 60″ wingspan and a depth of 26″. It’s all garter stitch. It has a series of scalloped stripes that give it visual interest without being busy. The catch? It calls for aran weight and I had worsted. I figured that was no big deal as they’re pretty close. Also, the pattern calls for 720 yards and I have 875, so I’d just keep knitting and make it bigger and everything would work out fine.

So, I got started. The pattern calls for US11s. I have a lot of needles, but virtually nothing in 11s. I don’t have anything longer than 24″ in US10s or US10.5s–not going to work. I figured since I was using a lighter weight yarn anyway, it would be reasonable to use US9s. I got out my 40″ circ and got going.

It worked up fast. I cruised through the first 219 yard skein in one day. I got close to the end of the second on the second day. It was looking awesome, to boot. The long and random color changes really do resemble sand art and I was getting the interesting contoured random striping effect I was hoping for. Win! My mother in law came over today (well, yesterday seeing as I’m up late) and I casually started working on it in front of her. She commented on it favorably. Double win! I started the third skein and then quickly ran out of pattern. For anyone counting, that’s something like 450 yards for a pattern that calls for 720. Hmmm.

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About one skein in

I’m up to 368 sts at this point. Between that and the scallops, the shawl was bunched up on the needles so tightly that there was no telling how it was really shaping up. I considered just forging ahead and continuing in the same vein, but it was just looking a little…flouncy. Again I thought about just keeping on going–after all, it’ll block out, right?–but I just wasn’t sure. Nursing and knitting have both taught me to listen to that little voice in the back of my head. So, I put it on waste yarn so I could really stretch it out and see where I was.

Well, it’s on the small side. And looks a little ruffly. It’s about 15″ deep. The second skein added about 4.5″. Without increases, it would only get to about 24″. With increases? I’m guessing a lot less. Remember my project objective? Reasonably large. I want it to be able to cover most of her arms when she wears it. As it is now, if I put it on it doesn’t quite cover the sleeves of my short sleeve t shirt. Not good. Also, “ruffly” isn’t mentioned anywhere in my project objective.

As I see it, I have some options. I could:

a) Continue knitting on my merry way and trust in the miracles of aggressive blocking. Ruffles are totally in, right?

b) Pause and block it while it’s on waste yarn. Maybe it can be saved!

c) Let ‘er rrrrrrriiiip. Start over on US13s. I’m a tight knitter! Or just buy some freaking US11s for crying out loud.

d) Send it to the frog pond and start from scratch.

Well, lovely knitters…what do you think? One of the above, or a different route entirely? Full disclosure: writing this post has me leaning pretty heavily toward one of the above options. However, I’m not completely sold yet and there’s a chance I might listen to reason.

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Stripey kitteh included for size reference.

 

Well, That Was Dumb!

Over the past couple of months, I have put a lot of time into knitting a car blanket for my father in law. It’s a lap-sized blanket made up of garter stitch squares (4 x 5) finished with an I cord border. The direction of knitting alternates with each square giving it a patchwork appearance. I’m going to knit and sew a pocket onto one edge that the blanket can be folded up into. I used all stash acrylic: three colors of Caron Simply Soft (black, black tweed and dark red) and some random grey yarn I picked up somewhere. The blacks give it a nice base and the red and grey are because my father in law is an Ohio fan*.

It was a little tricky to figure out how to construct the blanket without having to seam all the squares together. Ultimately, I just started with one square and left the stitches live on waste yarn. I picked up stitches along one of the selvedge edges and knit a second square. I kept doing that, leaving all stitches live, until eventually I had to attach the selvedge edge of a square I was knitting to the live stitches from the end of another square. In other words, I attached live knitting to stitches on waste yarn, but at right angles. Depending on how the squares were oriented in relation to each other, I just knit either the first or last stitch of every RS row together with one of the live stitches. It worked out well. Then, when all twenty squares were knit, they were all attached already and no seaming required! The outer edges were a combination of live stitches and selvedge edges. I just worked an attached I cord around the edge, picking up stitches from selvedges and working live stitches as they came. The end result looks very polished.

I don’t love acrylic in general, but it was the right choice for this project. I want it to be durable and machine washable. If it gets ruined, I don’t want to mourn the fiber that went into it (mourning the hours of work is bad enough). Working with the CSS was easy enough but working with the unlabeled grey acrylic? Absolutely awful. Turns out it is just a slightly heavier weight than the CSS so, when I used it, I went down a needle size to keep my gauge somewhat consistent. Knitting it at that gauge was truly hellish. It’s very coarse when knit up and has almost no give to it. It made my hands and arms sore to work with it for any length of time so I had to pace myself.

At one point, when the blanket was nearly done, I started second guessing myself. The grey yarn was just so different from the CSS. I looked at it closer. It had a slightly heathered appearance and some of the fiber looked kinky or curly. It was so very coarse. I started wondering who in their right mind would make such an awful acrylic yarn. It seemed a little too hairy to be acrylic. Maybe it was actually some crazy Shetland wool. Maybe, as soon as I washed the blanket, the grey squares would felt and ruin the whole project. Maybe my father in law would have some crazy allergic reaction to it and I’d never live it down (that would probably be worse than the time I broke my mother in law’s nose with my daughter’s head).

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I figured I was crazy and just kept knitting. However, doubts lingered. Today, after I finished the I cord, I decided I had to know for sure, once and for all. I decided to do a burn test. Simple enough, and something that I’ve done any number of times. Usually, I hold a snippet of the yarn in the kitchen sink and burn one end of it. After a little bit of it has burned, I run water over it and then examine the charred bits. If they crumble away into soot, it’s a natural fiber. If they are melted together into a hard glob, it’s synthetic. I started off the same way today but, instead of using a lighter, I grabbed matches. I lit the yarn, watched it for a moment, and then somehow the decision making part of my brain punked out. I don’t know exactly what happened, but somehow I ended up trying to extinguish the yarn and get molten acrylic off my left hand, forgetting I still had a lit match in my right hand. Yikes. I escaped with two very minor burns on my left ring finger and the firm knowledge that the grey yarn is just the crappiest, nastiest acrylic known to knitting.

Looking at it now, it looks pretty clearly like a bulky weight yarn instead of aran. CSS is listed on rav as aran, but I find it works up like a regular worsted instead. Any lower quality acrylic knitted at such a tight gauge is going to feel pretty icky. I just psyched myself out! In any case, I have almost none of the grey yarn left, and the blanket is looking pretty sweet (as is my cute stripey model)!

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In the meantime, I needed something new to knit. I’m nearly halfway done the Betsey shawl for my mother in law, but I’m finding it very hard to work on. Even though I have it on a 40″ circ, the stitches are still very bunched up and hard to slide. My hands get sore pretty quickly so I’m just working on it in small increments. I wanted something I could just cruise on, so I cast on for another Barley hat for one of my daughter’s besties.

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I have the ball band for this yarn, so I won’t have to go through any dangerous shenanigans!

Happy (safe) knitting!

 

*Please note I don’t get involved in sports at all. I’m just customizing the gift for the recipient.

Ringing In

The new year is off to an auspicious start: I’m getting lots of knitting done! I’m celebrating with some local eggnog, knitting and Netflix since everyone else is asleep. I have about half of one edge of I cord border left to do on the blanket for my father in law, and then I will turn in.

The old year wrapped up with two FOs on the last day. I added the pompoms and took pictures of my Capitals hat and Ingeborg hat.

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Although now that I look more closely, I realize I forgot to add the tail to the one visible p. I guess this project will extend into 2016 after all!

This was my first attempt at stranded colorwork. I think I said it best in my project notes from ravelry, so I will copy them here:

-I really don’t know how to tension yarn with stranded knitting yet. This is not shocking as it was my first attempt. If/when I do it again, I think I need to bite the bullet and try holding one color in each hand. I did them both with the right hand for this and it has some drawbacks.

-I was determined not to have puckering. I don’t. I have the opposite problem, though! I should probably have used feltable wool. I left long enough floats for most of it, but sometimes they’re so long that the stitches between them are pretty slack. I think wool would felt up a little so that the float yarn would stay in the floats and the rest would stay in the stitches. As it is, the piece’s gauge is all over the place and the pattern is sometimes a little distorted.

-Since my gauge was so much bigger than I predicted, the hat is a little on the wide side. Also, it somehow came out kind of short, too. I’m not sure how that happened, but it looked like it was heading that way so I added one or two k rows between decrease rows at the crown. I would add more if I did this pattern again. Also, I cast on fewer sts than called for and increased on the row after the ribbing, so it cinches in at the bottom a lot. Okay, probably a little too much. I’m not going to lie–it looks a little like a Mario Bros. mushroom cap.

-I only trapped a few floats–the ones that hit 7 sts long. I have no idea if I did it “right” or not, but they seem trapped, don’t show from the RS, and weren’t hard.

-For all its drawbacks, I am very happy with my first stranded colorwork project. I will gift it to my bil and let him know that someday, when I get better at it, I’ll knit him another one and make it look sleeker. I’m pretty sure he will like it as-is.

My next stranded colorwork project will be a test knit pullover with kitties on the yoke, and I’ll be starting it soon!

The Ingeborg hat is my most recently completed test knit. My three year old daughter modeled it for me today…sort of. Here are the best shots I was able to get:

Looks great until you consider that for most or all of these shots, I was begging her to look at me! Oh well, at least she’s cute.

So, my WIPs are down to just the top row of my ravelry project tab, which means I only have five. Two are test knits that need ends woven, buttons sewn and blocked. They should both be done by early next week. Another is the car blanket I mentioned at the start of the post. It still needs a pocket knitted and sewed on, ends woven in and washed. There are kind of a lot of ends. I think I’m just going to knot the little bastards and move on with my life. After all, it needs to stand up to machine washing! That will be three more WIPs done so I’m starting the year with a nearly clean slate.

I’m not huge on yearly reflection, resolutions or any of that stuff. However, I am seriously stoked that in 2015, I made 42 projects, start to finish. I have never churned out knitting that fast and that consistently. Not all of those were huge things…there were some dishcloths, a mug rug, a sweater patch and stuff like that, but some of them were pretty big. According to ravelry, their total yardage is 12,391. I made my first socks and shawls, started test knitting, cabled up a storm and learned a ton of new techniques. If you really want to know, all of these projects were started in or after June, so it’s been a very knitty six months!

Here’s hoping I’m able to keep up the pace. Knitting is playing a very important role in my life right now. It has helped keep me sane and balanced through struggles with depression, helped me deal with the aftermath of the car accident I was in in August and helped me handle not being able to go back to work. It’s looking very likely I will be able to return to work next week. This is good news, but also daunting.

I’ll be okay, right? And if not, well, there’s always knitting! Happy New Year!