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Monday, December 31, 2012

Labours of Love

One and a half months have passed since my last post, and that's because of the well-known Christmas Rush'. I've had two weeks of exams, which obviously implies loads of time spent studying and very little spent knitting. And the time I did manage to spend with my needles, was spent knitting a present for someone.

 But before all that started, I did the last few rows of my entrelac mitts. I've turned them upside-down and sewn up the cast-on edge. I did a few rows of garter stitch after the final row of triangles to make a little cuff. Now I've made them into mittens I would also like to knit a thumb onto them, but I've decided to knit the second one first and then see how much tarn I have left. I've wound the ball on to start at more or less the same position in the colour series and I think I have more than enough to knit a thumb from what I've wound on, but I'm not absolutely positive...

My first 'Labour of Love' Christmas knit was a shawl for my grandmother. I sent her a rather long list of nice shawl pattern to choose from and she came up with this one: Revontuli, which, conveniently, had been in my queue more or less since I joined Ravelry. I got a few indications on colour, but not many, so I wound up getting the yarn with the longest colour cycle I could get: Lang Jawoll Magic.This is one of the yarn most used to knit this pattern, but I found it got stripey way too early. I read in the project notes that quite a few people frogged and changed from m1 to yo, so I decided to do that from the start as  YO's are my favourite increases.

The pattern itself was really easy to follow and a pleasure to knit really. I might just make one for myself when I find some yarn that has longer colour cycles. The pattern recommends Aade and Kauni, both of which I might be able to get my hands on one day.
My grandmother wanted this shawl to wear in bed, but now I've given it to her, she says it's too beautiful to wear in bed and now wants to wear it to go out! That means I already have a present for her for next year: another shawl, but this time one she can really wear in bed. It's going to be so difficult to knit that isn't too beautiful on purpose...

Another shawl I will have to knit is one for my mother. She has very sensitive skin, so I got her two skeins of Manos del Uruguay silk blend for Christmas. I absolutely loved knitting with this yarn when I made my S.W.A.N. shawlette, so making something nice out of these two lovelies should be quite enjoyable!

My own Christmas presents included two knitting magazines and three lots of Etsy stitchmarkers -I can now finally stop using loops of scrap yarn as markers :) - And two sets of really nice buttons. I don't have a project in mind for them yet, they look wonderful to me!

My stitch markers were put to use right away.
My present to my father was to knit his a jumper. I had already bought the yarn in Britain over the summer so I've started it now and hope to have it finished in three months. My father is rather skinny, but he's also really tall so knitting his this will probably take an age. Because the chances of this being the only jumper I will knit for him are rather high, I wanted it to be one he's like. He chose the pattern, Dad's Cardigan, and for once, I bothered to do a gauge swatch. Lucky I did, because my gauge was way off on the recommended 5 mm needles and I had to go down to 4.5 to get near enough for it to be acceptable. Reading through other knitter's notes, I found that most of the the abbreviations were wrongly explained, so I just knitted straight from the chart, which, incidentally, are correct. The pattern includes raglan sleeves, which, combined with my father's long arms, meant that it has taken me a week to knit one sleeve. I've got one week of holidays remaining before I go back to school on January 7th and I hope to have finished the second sleeve by then. We will see.

To take a break from the intensive knitting of the jumper, I have also been doing some crochet, I gathered all my little bits of fingering yarn left over from various shawls and socks and decided that, instead of knitting mitred squares I would would crochet some Granny squares a see what I could do with those. As you can see, I've got very few scraps, but I suppose they will accumulate over the years... Scrap project are always long term WIP's aren't they?

That's all for now.

Friday, November 9, 2012

YOP: post 10

There hasn't been much progress in my YOP-knitting, and as the Chirstmas rush will set in this weekend, I thought I'd run through my list ans have a look at my progress.

1. Learn to knit continental properly, so I'll be able to do two-handed stranded knitting;
pattern: Musica mitts (deadline Jan 2013)
-> Will knit these after Christmas, during the holidays.

2. Learn to knit entrelac. I've always found entrelac extremely beautiful and I think this year is the right time to learn how it works.
pattern: Entre deux saisons
-> Started these a few days ago and can't seem to stop working on them. They now look like this:

1. The 'I Heart You' chart
-> no progress

2. The 'Papyrus' charta
-> no progress
1. a top
pattern: either 'Bella Paquita', 'Pioneer', or 'Arbor'
-> Completed during the Ravellenics

2. a cardigan: depending on yarn gauge: 'March Basic', 'Elbow Patch Cardigan', 'Cardigan in Alpaca and Glitter' or another 'Stanton'
->  Completed the 'Cable cardi'

3. Special socks
pattern: either the 'Double heelix' or the 'Skew' socks
-> no progress

4. a pair of fingerless gloves
pattern: 'Knucks'
-> no progress

1. something geeky
pattern: various possibilities: 'Atomic Blocks', 'Irrationally Constant Mittens', 'Pi socks' (or any other constant socks, for that matter), 'Doppler Effect Socks', 'Space Invaders Socks', ...
-> no progress

2. something stripey
pattern: 'Color Affection Shawl' , another 'More Than a Triangle Shawl' or a a 'Dream Stripes' shawl
-> Base for the shawl is complete, I need to design or find a suitable side-to-side knit border to complete it.

It seems that I have made quite some progress on the larger projects, like the top and jumper, but that the projects that involve more creativity like the chart projects haven't had much attention yet. I'm going to keep my list as it is until after the Christmas holidays, so I can see what I can accomplish during those two weeks, before removing any projects from my list or adding others.
I'll be going to the monthly knitting group tomorrow, where I would like to make a start on one of my Christmas projects: a Revontuli shawl for my grandmother, although I also really need to finish the socks I'm knitting for my mother as her birthday is approaching rapidly...


Friday, November 2, 2012

YOP: post 9

Okay, so I haven't go round to post for a month and a half, which definitely means I'm a baddy. But hey, schoolwork goes first, doesn't it?

First of all some new yarn. There was an 'open day' at my LYS, which meant there was some yarn on sale at reduced price. I'm not usually one for pinks, but combined with the red and orange I think they'll make a nice project. I don't know what yet, but maybe an Inspira Cowl?
Moving on to my WIP's:
The stripey socks are growing, but not very fast, as I always seem to have something more interesting to do than finish them. All three culprits can be seen below. I want to have these finished for my mother's birthday at the end of November, so I'll have to get my skates on and concentrate on them.

My scarf/shawl is growing, slowly but surely, but it still needs quite a lot of work. The basketweave stitch is simple enough to make this a mindless knit, so I think I'll take it with me when I go and watch a film with my friends tomorrow afternoon. It's getting rather big and unportable, but it's at someone's house, so I should be able to negotiate some extra space on the sofa to knit comfortably.
My last WIP is one I started yesterday, because I had come to the conclusion that I didn't have a single YOP-list project on the go. Browsing through my Ravelry library, I found 'Entre Deux Saisons', a perfect project: small, more or less portable, modular and colourful. It was also my first try at entrelac, one of my YOP goals. The pattern uses DPN's and although I far prefer DPN's to circ's, I felt the urge to switch right away. As the technique means you're always shifting groups of stitches around, circ's are just so much easier to work with. At this moment, the mitt has already had two more rounds added to it. Entrelac is really addicting!

My only FO in all this time has been a pair of mitts, because it's getting too cold to cycle with bare hands, but it's not cold enough -yet- to need real gloves. I had a single ball of yarn that I had fallen in love with some time ago, and have now finally found a project for. I wanted to make the best of that single ball, so I started with a provisional cast-on, and then knit up. Then I used the remaining yarn to knit the cuff down from her cast-on. After having worn them for a week, I have found that I should have made the thumbs longer. I made these because the cold causes me pain in my joints. The tops of the mitts cover my fingers enough for them not to hurt, but the thumb cover tube finishes just under my thumb joint, so that still hurts if it gets really cold... But anyway: they look nice, they're warm enough and they've taught me how to do a provisional cast-on. Things can't always be perfect, can they?

I hope to be able to update my YOP-list this week, before term starts again...


Saturday, September 15, 2012

YOP: post 8

 The return to school is really starting to take it's toll on me and on my knitting, so not much has happened since last week...

I didn't manage to do ANY knitting on my jumper during the week, but as there wasn't much left to be done I still managed to finish it before it was time to write this post, even if there were only about five minutes between both actions ;)

I'm quite happy with the result: the fronts and collar look lovely, but it seems I slightly misjudged the height at which to place the buttonholes... They're not as high as they look in the picture because the cardigan comes down over the hips, but they're still a little bit to high for me to be 100% happy with. If -and probably when, because the first thing my mother said when she saw it on me was 'You wouldn't make one of those for me, would you?'- I'll start the fronts with a provisional cast-on so I won't have the big seam at the point where the two fronts join on the back, and the use the kitchener stitch to seam them together at the meeting point in the collar. The sleeve measurements are a bit on the generous side for me, but then I have particularly short arms... 

The only other thing I managed to do this week is to alter my 'Welsh skies' Safire shrug. The sizing on this one is known to be generous, so I knit a size smaller than I normally do, but it still turned out a bit too big, so I moved the buttons from the middle further to the side to reduce the size. I had always found the neckline a bit deep, so this alteration has turned it into a crossover type shrug, which also reduces the depth of the neckline :) I'm still totally in love with this yarn, so I hope I'll get some more wear out of the shrug now it's a better fit.

I hope next week will be more productive than this one has been.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

YOP: post 7

Term has started again, which means that my flying progress on my cable cardi has somewhat ground to a halt. I Finished the first front on Sunday, so my jumper looked like this after I'd seamed it on Monday morning, before going to school. (I only had to be there at 11.10 AM)

On Friday afternoon, I cast on for the second front. That means I hadn't been able to knit a single stitch of jumper during the whole week. On Friday evening the front looked like this.

Luckily, I don't have too much homework this weekend, which means that I managed to go to the monthly knitting group at my LYS. The weather is nice for the moment, so we sat outside and KIP'ed. Knitting group is usually quite a productive moment for me, so after about two hours of knitting, my front looked like this.

I finished turning the short-row corner and did the increases. I also bought the buttons that will be used to keep the jumper closed, and then remembered -only just in time- that that meant that I had to make buttonholes. I wouldn't be the first time that I forget and have to frog my project back 10 cm or so. But anyway, as it happens, I remembered. I hope to have this cardi finished for next weekend, I think that's an achievable goal if I concentrate on it.

If you read my last YOP post you might remember I wanted to design a lace edging for my stripey shawl. As I had never made a sideways border, I decided I would knit one first, so I had a look around on Ravelry and I found the Rectangular Crow Waltz Shawl. The edging on this looked rather different to what I have I mind for the Stripey Shawl, but I thought it would be a good start. The pattern is an easy to remember 10 row repeat. The points will need blocking out, but I rather like the YO, P2tog band along the top because it reminds me of crochet.

I used some yellow-orange-gold yarn of which I had most of a ball in my stash for the border, so I had to knit both edges first in order to make the most of the yarn I had. Because I knew I'd have way too much of the brown yarn from my jumper (I bought two 400 gr balls and only started the second ball when I started the second front, which is the last piece of the cardi), I started the main body of the scarf/shawl. (This is all last week's work BTW, if I'd have had the time this week I'd have worked on the jumper). I've still got a fair way to go, but I'm quite enjoying the pattern: it's not too simple, but it's not that complicated that you can't do it while catching up with season 8 of HOUSE M.D. , which, in my case, was rather much essential during the last week of the holidays ;)

The one project that has benefited from the start of term are my socks, because they get to come to school with me to occupy my hands during break time. I had already put the left sock on hold until I reached the same point on the right one and I am now, slowly but surely, progressing in that direction. I had to frog this sock back partially because I had forgotten to start the stripes, but now I've finished the increases, so I hope to be able to start turning the heel somewhere next week, as I'll be spending a few hours on the train to Ghent and back. I could have made more progress, because when I went to Sint-Nilkaas last week not only did the train get stuck in Puurs for an hour and a half (on top of the hour it takes to get there from Leuven), but I had also forgotten to transfer my knitting into the bag I was taking, so I had nothing to do! Luckily, I was in good company, so the wait wasn't too boring. I hope it doesn't happen again this week! Anyway, that's all for now.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flash your stash

As the month draws to a close, it was time to share a new 'Flash your stash' update. This photo shows all the yarn that wasn't physically attached to one of my WIP's about one week ago.

If you compare it to my previous post, I think it has stayed more or less the same size, due to the recent acquisition of the big balls of aran yarn that are destined to turn into jumpers, replacing the cotton yarn the went into my MirĂ³ blanket. The green yarn has mostly disappeared into my green granny blanket, but there is new blue yarn for my sky spirals blanket to replace it. There also seems to be more sockweight yarn now than there was in March.

YOP: post 6

The last week of the holidays has finally caught up with me :( so I thought I'd get on with my knitting! I can't believe I'm actually working on TWO YOP-projects at the same time!

When I was browsing on Pintrest the other day I saw this:
Pinned Image
It's Andrea's Shawl by Yarnmadness. And I think it's absolutely stunning. As in REALLY flabbergastingly stunning.
So I thought I'd have a go at making something like it, but without the pattern on the white part. This project also fits in in with the 'something stripey' on the 'themes' part of my list.

 This is how my shawl looks at the moment. It's aran weight, so it will be something to wear in the winter when it get really cold, which it tends to do here. Especially if you get put in a single-glazed classroom and/or one where the heating has stopped working. I've been there.
The original shawl is knit bottom-up, but I chose to knit top-down to make the most of my yardage. It's a simple garter tab cast-on, followed by a traditional triangular construction in stockinette stitch, knitting all the YO's through the back loop to avoid holes. The borders are two stitch garter stitch borders making and the dropping a YO on the side you carry the yarn on to avoid the typically problematic asymmetric degree of tightness. That's the body. So far so good.
But now the challenge. I would like to knit the border sideways, like in the inspiration photo, but I couldn't find one that I liked enough, so I decided I'd design something myself. It's my first time, so I have absolutely no idea how that process will go. Fingers crossed it turns out nice in the end.

The other project I'm still working on is my cardigan. Thanks to the people who left such positive comments on it last week! I cast on the first of the fronts and I think I'm about halfway through. Although the pattern said I'd need most of my two skeins of yarn, I think I'll finish the first front with the first one, So there's something wrong there. I'm not convinced by how the back piece turned out, but the front looks promising. I found the short-row shaping on the corner a bit bizarre , and the pattern is written in the typical jumbled DROPS style, but you get used to reading everything five times to make sure you don't forget to do anything...

That's all for this week.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

YOP: Post 5

I'm really enjoying this group. Although I only seem to be posting YOP updates, at least I'm posting something! 
In the last few weeks I've started my next listed project: the cardigan for myself.
In the end it isn't one of the patterns I had listed, but who cares.
The pattern I've chosen is 'Chocolate Passion', a jacket-cardigan kind of thing with cables.

I made the first sleeve while watching the last two days of the Olympics and made the second one while travelling back from the UK ten days ago. On that same trip I started the back, but I had to leave that aside for a while because it has been too hot to knit that kind of thing for the last week or so. But the weather has taken a turn for the cooler end of the spectrum and made some more progress on it yesterday. The colour of the yarn is just gorgeous, but sadly it doesn't show very well on photos...

Although I didn't work on my cable cardigan, the heat didn't stop me knitting. I cast on a shawl(ette) to take me through the hot spell and it is blocking as I'm typing. This one really needed to be blocked! The pattern is 'Lunatis Folium'. It's my second bottom-up construction and I still haven't decided whether I like the idea or not. I think that it's main advantage is that it's a better idea is your yardage is just slightly under what is required: you can just play around a little with the short rows, whereas in an top-down shawl you can't just not knit the last row of lace, you have to rip it all back. I don't really mind monster cast-ons either. The thing that keeps me from loving this construction is that I like to see the shawl's basic shape grow, something that just doesn't happen in bottom up.
Anyway, this particular one is not your traditional shawl shape. It's very long, but also very shallow, so I can't really decide whether it's a shawl or a shawlette...

As you can see, blocking really does miracles for this thing. Without it, it's just a sausage with points on one side. When I blocked the Ginko Shawlette, I used some improvised blocking wires for the first time and when I did some more research into them, I read that some people use cotton thread as a blocking wire, so I thought I'd give that a go.
The verdict: not as good as real wire, but miles better than pins on their own. I didn't really look for any techniques, I just gave it a try, so I think that I might just do some surfing around later to see whether I can find anything...

The other project I've make a little bit of progress on is my green granny blanket.
I'm now working on the final part, the long rounds. My lime green is practically finished and I've got one more skein of the other green left, so I'm looking for one last skein of dark green to do the final stripes and bring the whole thing together. After that, there'll be a few ends to weave in (but not too many) and that should be it!