The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Stick a pin

Months!  Unavoidably so but I have missed posting so much.

Melvin the cat in blissful repose

Be the change, Melvin. Be the change.

The circumstances of moving my studio away from this window, bringing down the guest room, painting for light, and generally growing into long-term plans have been very happy.  It has been a long process with challenges and a ton of joy.

Handknit child-sized Muddy Duck Pond cardigan by irieknit

The first thoughts ran: yarn, knit, fall is coming

Naturally, knitting went into high gear as well.   I bossed the Peace Fleece into living up to its worsted name for this Muddy Duck Pond Cardigan designed by Kristen TenDyke.

Yoke detail handknit Muddy Duck Pond cardigan by irieknit

Taming of the aran weight to my purposes

Even on 4.0 mm needles my gauge led me to knit the 6 month-size instructions for a special preschooler.  The ‘Kalinka Malinka blue’ colourway just pops knit this tightly.  It also brought the yarn’s vegetable matter & guard hairs out for the plucking.

handknit Aviatrix Hat in Sheepy Time Knits Strider yarn by irieknit

Second thoughts ran to the Sheepy Time Knits Strider yarn, actually worsted weight.

T’s handknits now also include 2 pairs of socks, and a set of mittens.  He also has a kelly green hoodie on the needles that I am almost finished knitting:  Kerrera for Kids by another favourite designer, Gudrun Johnston.  The very first finished object was a handspun Mario the Artistic Rabbit in Targhee wool that is seeing its fair share of love.

As I knew it would, spindle spinning has been my chief creative outlet.  The surprise was how strongly my sock knitting mojo returned.  There is nothing like slaying a second-sock syndrome, and I am also learning from Lara Neel’s “Sock Architecture“.  T, your toes have a Grecian shape & it was new to me.

While projects take longer to create & document they are more important than ever before.  It’s all good, and with luck I will be able to weave in this guest-room-no-more space… eventually.

Handspun Corriedale wool on captive ring Peruvian Pushka spindle

Yes, a captive ring Pushka!

This spindle is 1 of 2 captive ring Pushkas that brightened up some hard days.  A friend’s daughter brought a good many back from her trip to Cusco’s market in Peru earlier this summer.  I was harder to reach than usual, and am so thankful that she kept a few for me plus told me to also snag an extra-large plying spindle.  Even more thankful because we now also have a small turned Pushka for T.

The fibre is Corriedale wool top, and I am spinning along with the Spindlers Ravelry group’s September challenge.  The theme this month is Peru, and I am trying to spin 50 g of the top for a 2-ply yarn.  Prepping my own would be more authentic but far less achievable for me now.

Late-blooming newly planted shrub rose

It’s a pleasure to touch base again.  There have been quiet laughs about how my diary notes in the last post really took-off since March.  For readers who have been patient, thank you.


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August of hitting a stride

This is not typically a fabulous month but the past 4 or so weeks have exceeded all August expectations.

Central park reservoir panoramic view New York skyline

Attribution & laurels: N

We celebrated Emancipation Day, August 1st with family.  There were a lot of new nephew cuddles, and good times with his parents.  We stayed with wonderful friends.  Their windowsill shows all of my travel spinning of Wensleydale.

The people of New York were rather taken-in by my carob Turkish Delight spindle by Jenkins Woodworking.

Spinning dyed Wensleydale top on Jenkins Delight Turkish spindle carob wood

Sweetening the travel pot

There was also quality time aka aeroplane knitting with a baby gift for our this-week born new cousin in Toronto.

Handknit baby gift Gidday Baby Cardigan and beanie in Sirdar Baby Bamboo

Gidday cardigan set for baby G!

This cardigan is Gidday Baby pattern by Georgie Hallam.  Can I just whisper, “Gidday pattern!”  This was a July 29 – August 9th pleasure of knitting with stashed Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn.

Yoke and buttons on handknit Gidday Baby cardigan by irieknit

This is an awfully sweet yoke.  My main colour is #122 with the contrast in cream.  The hat was just as fun to knit and is Louisa Harding’s striped beanie hat. My copy of her Natural Knits for Babies and Moms is much loved & heavily used.

But I digress.

Lox on a bagel with cream cheese

Attribution: N

We were well-fed, and soon got over for baby’s first museum visit.  The crowds!  It’s hard meeting an infant’s needs in those crowds but our new parents did a fine job, and he was pretty cheerful.

American Museum of Natural History Pleistocene Colossochelys prehistoric turtle

At my special request, attribution: N

Search engine diving shows this dinosaur as Colossochelys the Pleistocene turtle but I am not sure in retrospect.  We were at the American Museum of Natural History.

Sunset at Riverside Park Manhattan NY

Riverside Park, Manhattan Attribution: N

It was such a short but packed trip.  I came home with craft books from the Strand Bookstore, a new-to-me set of Meck Russian paddle combs, and wheels that are now on my Mighty Wolf loom.  The best part was having such a blast welcoming nephew, F.  I think he likes me.

The Learning Curve – bead embellishment

Before & after our trip, I participated in a 4-part guild workshop on bead embroidery with William Hodge of Armure Studios.

Bead embroidery workshop samplers by irieknit

Carried away? Bead embroidery

It felt like jumping back into the childhood sandbox of embroidery with crazy bling.  Fun but also greedy for time to do even these small amounts.  I will never begrudge a handmade bead embroidery work its price again.  It’s joyous but where does the time go?

Detail of bead embroidery sampler by irieknit

Well, I did hear, “Start simply,” but couldn’t stop.

Each participant had her own approach.  Mine was to follow the instruction about total bead cover and the ’80s patterned fabric.

The faux pearl bead to the right has special comedic value.  It, ahem, moves of its own volition.

William shared many pieces in his personal collection from different cultures as well as his own work.  It was fabulous, and I was glad for the breaks between workshop parts.

It was just perfect having the Naked Craft exhibition on at the AGB while taking this workshop.  The bead embroidery pieces by contemporary artists are astonishingly beautiful but I also saw the raw commitment – eye-strain, materials, design, time.

Finishing my thoughts

With thanks to PAKnitWit who ran the aptly named ‘Shawl for All’ knitalong, I used all 756 yards of my superwash merino dyed by Southern Cross Fibres.

Handknit Diminishing Returns shawl in handspun superwash merino yarn by irieknit

Diminishing Returns Shawl in my handspun yarn

This was 8 of 9 designed sections in Sarah’s Diminishing Returns triangle shawl.  I used 3.5 mm needles, and loved each second of this relaxed me-knit.

Stockinette and garter stitch knitting with gradient handspun yarn

It’s an elegant & simple concept.  You move through stockinette & garter stitch blocks that reverse roles.  Just right for a strong gradient like my Sugar & Spice 2-ply yarn but the design is very versatile.  I hope that others will use handspun yarn to make this pattern too.

The knitter gets to keep a lid on the purl stitches as the triangle grows, which I appreciate.  The top-down triangle adds 4 stitches every other row, and that grows quickly!

Wearing Diminishing Returns triangle shawl in handspun yarn by irieknit

Treating myself to the handspun goodness

Also appreciated? The length on my arm as the shawl crosses.  It’s just how I like a shawl.

Hug of handspun Diminishing Returns triangle shawl by irieknit

Squooshy is also good

The home for this knit along is the Knit Wit group on Ravelry.  We had a good lead time for blocking & also taking these pics.  As I told the group, this one will see lots of wear in the cooler weather.

Sock knitting by irieknit and Turtlepurl Live Long and Prosper yarn

Spock sock!

New socks of unusual size (9″ circumference) are off the needles!  As soon as I saw Turtlepurl’s post for her Live Long & Prosper in this self-striping pattern, I had to get it for N.  It is a 75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon blend, and I used 2.25 mm double-pointed needles.

Handknit men's socks by irieknit in Turtlepurl Live Long and Prosper yarn

Spock socks in the wild

He is smiling in this picture, and approves of the finished socks.

Back view of handknit men's socks with Turtlepurl Live Long & Prosper yarn

The columns of stitches are just paired slip stitches passed over knit front & backs.  Easy to work, and perfect for other plane trips this spring.

Knitted baby gift Telemark pullover in Sirdar Baby Bamboo

Belated baby gift!

The last finished thought is this version of a Telemark 2.0 pullover that I made for our baby cousin in Montreal.  It was a nail-biting use of more from my Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn stash.

Handknit baby Telemark pullover by irieknit

Is the placket reading as weird to you as it is to me?  It might be a comprehension problem on my part but I did try to follow the instructions as written there.  It has been on its way this week, and I hope they like it.

Lark Turkish-style spindle by Jenkins Woodworking spinning by irieknit

A Jenkins Lark!

Spindles are on the front burner again.  Next month I will lead a guild workshop, and I am preparing the materials.  It’s a full 4-part introductory workshop, and we will go from first steps to plied yarn.  It’s my first formal teaching, and I am so excited.

In my down-time, I can play with this tulipwood Lark spindle by Jenkins Woodworking.  Luckily, I missed 2 others for sale last week because this was offered in Ontario.  Quick flight, no foreign exchange issues, and I love the tulipwood!

The Delight in the travel collage above is 5g heavier at 28 g.  Its arms sit low on the shaft (the Lark is mid-shaft), and are approximately 2 cm wide x 8.75 cm long.  The Lark’s arms are a slim 1.25 cm wide x 9.5 cm long.  The slighter profile is great for winding-on, and will hold that much more of a cop is my guess.


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Newly minted knits

This post is going to read like an Ode to the Colour Purple no matter how much or little I go into the details.  It is my happy place.

Irieknit Ampersand socks in Indigodragonfly handdyed merino yarn

Project Purple Toes

A few months ago, I shared about this nice act of aeroplane knitting.  This is the late-breaking progress picture!

irieknit Ampersand sock in progress Indigodragonfly handdyed yarn

My gauge with  2.25 mm Dyakcraft needles is a snug 36 stitches = 4″ in pattern.  The cast-on worked out at 72 cuff stitches.  I pared the stitch repeat down by 3 stitches, and it still plays so nicely with this hand-painted yarn.

Finished irieknit Ampersand socks in Indigodragonfly handdyed yarn

Very January appropriate

Last Saturday was the finish date for these socks, and I wore them immediately!  The extended ribs are not on centre but I like them lots.  The legs are 7″ long (3″ added), and I used 99g from the 115g skein.

The matchy-matchy new cardigan

Another new FO on the block this week is my Something Silver cardigan.  Naturally, I called the project ‘Something Purple.’

irieknit Something Silver cardigan in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool overdyed logwood

Pockets! Purple!

Not only does this cardigan offer the all-over half diamond single lines of lace that are easy to follow but the garter stitch band conceals pockets.

Rear view irieknit Something Silver cardigan in Silky Wool overdyed logwood

As I have been chatting with my friend Sarah, the garter stitch neckline is pretty deep.  If I had more yarn it would have gone towards an applied i-cord (or two) for that area.

This lived with me on & even briefly off the needles from August 20, 2014 – January 28, 2015.

Irieknit overdye Elsebeth Lavold yarn with natural logwood exhaust bath

Natural dye magic: logwood

 

This really is a good news story about over-dyeing a commercial yarn.  It came to me as colourway 12 ‘dusty rose’ on the left there.  Then it entered my exhaust bath of logwood chips in January 2013!  There are flicks of deep pink in the yarn, and I love how it gives my cardigan a heathered effect.

The ensemble is made

Speaking of logwood, I had another dye session that took my breath away back in June 2013.  This is my Harvey Columbia wool yarn spun on the CPW.  All-time favourite shade, Yes!

Handdyed Columbia wool handspun yarn with logwood

Logwood and her BFF Columbia wool handspun yarn

The 4-ply woolen-spun yarn weighed 210 g when dry.  I re-used an alum pot to pre-mordant, and let the yarn cool overnight in the prepared dyebath.   It was an old logwood pot, and I added 20g of  fresh chips.

Melvin occupies Columbia wool basket with Cadorette Canadian Production spinning wheel

Right under my nose!

Melvin decided to have a say in this yarn’s fibre content.  It was spun on my Philias Cadorette CPW, and plied on the Spinolution MachII at 5:1 for 247 yards of 4-ply yarn.

Handspun Columbia 4-ply wool yarn by irieknit

Yarn before her adventures with logwood

Scale is important for understanding the project this went into, so bear with me.

The handspun yarn measured 10 wraps per inch on my spinner’s control card or in the worsted-weight range.  It is 494 yards per pound.  This is much heavier than a millspun worsted-weight yarn, which is 800 yards per pound.  That difference showed in my project.

Irieknit Pinion Tam in handspun Columbia wool 4-ply yarn dyed with logwood

My baby Pinion Tam

The pattern is Pinion by Naomi Parkhurst, and it calls for 110 yards of worsted-weight yarn.  These are my 5.0 mm needles.  The swatch was honest- I needed 2 less stitches to knit 4″ in stockinette than the pattern called for.

Irieknit handspun Columbia wool knitted Pinion Tam blocking

Blocking my handspun Pinion

My tam has a sharper decrease section, and I decreased 8 extra stitches after doing the math for the brim.

Changing down a needle size to 4.5 mm helped to make the brim smaller, and I also modified the ribbing for more elasticity.  Mine is K, [P, K]* x 3, P3.

At its widest we are 3″ larger diameter than Naomi’s pattern or 13″.  Luckily, I had a big enough plate for the wet blocking!  It used 153 yards of the yarn.

We haven’t taken any final pictures yet but I love the pattern, and am wearing my chunky purple tam!

Spinning Columbia wool roving on Cadorette Canadian Production spinning wheel

Moar Columbia!

Yes, I am still on this purple kick!  Sheepspot‘s handdyed Columbia roving is now all spun up, and I now have 310 yards of 2-ply yarn from the 119 g.  It was both spun & plied on my CPW.

 


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The rock and read party

This weekend we did what couldn’t be done 2 years ago when she was squarely in the UK – we threw Sarah a baby shower.  Sarah is the 2nd of 3 “Canadian cousins,” and she now lives in Montreal with her husband and toddler.  I lobbied, and her sisters & Mom made it happen – on Canada Day weekend, no less.

Sarah we were told (and she affirmed) felt cute, and feared that no-one would come.  Well, 23 of us did.  Her family put on a lovely brunch in her sister’s home.  The sheer warmth was striking.  Her best friend, Lena, said it best, “I am so happy to be involved this time!”  It was a true celebration.

The invitation prescribed the gifts – ‘rock’ [rocking chair fund] & ‘read’ [books for the 2 year old].  I was bad, and decided to knit.

Not a rocking chair

Elizabeth Zimmerman called it the SURPRISE JACKET (caps, hers!).  It is a magnificent design.  In Elizabeth’s own words:

It was designed on vacation and puzzles me to this day.  ALL GARTER STITCH. All in ONE PIECE.

˜Knitting Workshop, p. 100

Before buttons

Julie of the Needle Emporium warned me off my first choice worsted yarn.  She was absolutely right that fingering would be spot on gauge for the pattern’s “Jumper Weight wool.”  The yarns are both Spud & Chloë Fine, 80% superwash wool; 20% silk.  The main colour is 7804, and the lime is 7801.

The first broken ridges in lime were simple to do – *sl1, k1 rows sandwich one continuous ridge.  A sock-knitter’s trick!  Although I had the book, I swallowed hard and paid for the “Adult, Baby & Child’s Surprise Jacket” instructions + shipping.  It was worth the expense, and time-to-arrive worry.

Buttonses!

It was easy to follow Elizabeth’s 1968 directions – up to a point.  When I hit the lower flap, the row-by-row helped.  The pictures were excellent for helping me see the stripe choices, and so were the variation tips. Wading through 20,012 Ravelry projects would have been a slog.

This project is called ‘Sweet Pea Surprise for Sarah’, and is up on Ravelry with additional details.  Sarah loves colour, so I had to make those buttons work!

Stash-built

What purer joy than matching new pattern to existing stash?  This is Rabbitty from the latest Knitty.com First Fall issue.  Made in a long-standing ball of Noro Silk Garden, colour 264 & sundry yarns.

Laid back rabbit

Clearly adorable but not without some finicky bits.  To wit:  woogly eyes, and appendages.  It’s all easy-grade knitting skills if you are used to using DPNs.  There is a lot (A Lot) of sewing in at the end.

A wooly-tailed Rabbitty

Here is a piece of my late night knitting mind – lock inclusions for the wee tail would be cool!  Plucked from the new-to-me Border Leicester fleece, and knitted in.  I needle felted each one for insurance against little boy hands.

One good Rabbitty may deserve another

The backward lean is part of his charm.  Next time, I will place the tail closer down the base & double the yarn.  He sits unaided.  I did cave to convention, and also got 2 books for the kiddo.


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Spring sweater and new numbers

Look what I’m now wearing!

An emerald Mr. Bluejeans!

It’s Amy Swenson’s design Mr. Bluejeans from Knitty’s Deep Fall 2012 issue.  It’s roomy – see what I did there with the overlap?

Swing!

In it’s natural state this is a cardigan that would like to go for a whirl already.  So, we did.

Did my gauge swatch lie?  I don’t think so.  Well, 7 skeins of Sweet Georgia SW Worsted later…  Seriously though, I used the size small directions and needed 1,400 yds.  A whole 250 yards more!  The small grist variation doesn’t account for that.

Gorgeous semi-solid greens, Miss Sweet Georgia!

The sleeve cuffs on my cardigan are slightly shortened.  They also have Elizabeth Zimmerman’s i-cord bind-off.  In following her advice in Knitter’s Almanac to keep that loose, I got the interesting flare.  It’s a design element (ha!).

This was to match my fix for a very raw bottom edge.  Luckily I eeked out enough yarn to give that an applied i-cord.  Why?  Well, the edging pattern is not actual ribbing.  All things being equal I like a good ribbed edge on a garment.  Some knitters feel that its cinching action is unflattering.  There’s just something about a classic rib edge that I love.

 

Speaking of Pretty Canadian Yarn…

We are in a wonderful time for finding Canadian indie hand-dyed product in local yarn stores.

Turtlepurl’s Polly Wanna Cracker? yarn in Striped Turtle Toes

I first found Turtlepurl when her fibre seduced me at the 2010 Toronto Knitter’s Frolic, and have bought more from her store since.  It’s just wonderful to see her yarn carried locally!

A few days later, and we have a new sock project on the needles!  I am adjusting the Ampersand design for these.  It’s regulating my stress quite nicely, thank you.

A slow project Transformed

The SpinDoctor’s Podcast Listeners Group on Ravelry is spinning together in a Great Sock Yarn Experiment.  The inspiration is the new & very super Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson.

The slow project on my Jenkins Delight Turkish-style spindle

I started spinning this Sweet Georgia BFL/ silk top back in around January 2011.  In that time, I have made a 164 yard 2-ply skein, and 29 g of singles besides.

The hold-up is simple.  You haven’t seen that 2-ply skein because I think that it has fairly ugly barber-polling.  Also, I love the Jenkins Delight as a travel spindle but that knob slows me right down.  I cope but am annoyed by easing the half-hitch over.

Martha to the rescue!

Wouldn’t you know that was at exactly 1/3 of the remaining fibre?!  I am now well on my way to having 2 opposite-twist singles all spun up.  It takes enough twist to be very nice stress spinning too.

 

Now don’t let the shock hurt you but…

… yours truly has destashed a spindle.  And that is no lie.

Spindlewood square mini spindle in Olivewood

A very pretty, and well-made spindle at that.  I bought this Spindlewood from Morgaine’s shop at Stringtopia 2011.  No small amount of sentiment there but I really do have other spindles in this 22g bracket that I have used more often than this one.

Wildcraft spindle with Wisebatt

Nice timing for the return of my Wildcraft bracken spindle then, yes?!  It was just with a friend, and came back home this Tuesday.

The fibre is the other half of Sandi‘s drum-carded gift to me last fall.   It’s a joy to spin:  90% Falkland wool/ 10% silk.

Happy Easter when it comes!

Silly me, I didn’t realize how happy Melvin would be with that there chicken decal…

Cat toy in the wild!

 


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Winter Wears On

… also the title of Chapter 2 in “The Country Kitchen“, 1935 by Della T. Lutes.  Here on Day 3 of an Arctic Air Mass, I have to agree with Della:

“As the days begin to lengthen, then the cold begins to strengthen.”  That was in the almanac.  We stay closely housed.  There is little to be done outside except chores…

‘Closely housed’ in this context is not a bad thing.  For there are knits & spins to speak of!

A Lace-weight Mountain Climbed

The Laar cardigan pattern by Gudrun Johnston was love at first sight.  It’s beautiful, and like any of Gudrun’s other designs is very, very well written.

 Knit in Fantastic Knitting Zephyr, I used US #0/ 2.0 mm needles to get gauge.  I tackled this project on & off for just over a year.

This was a tough knit in that it tested both skill and my personal endurance.  The lower body’s miles of stockinette worked flat & fine nearly undid me.

What drew me on was knowing how much I would love wearing this.  And I do!  The side benefit?  It’s charmed the commercial socks off each non-knitter that has seen me flaunting it.

A Sock-weight Mountain Climbed

… or how a good book can avert a knitting crisis.

The pattern is Wendy D. Johnson’s Bavarian Cable Socks.  I cast on in June last year with really nice Indigodragonfly SW merino yarn.  Using an improvised cable needle (i.e. broken DPN) for each twisted-stitch row was not fun.

By September, I was flat-out frustrated.  “Twisted Stitch Knitting:  Traditional Patterns & Garments from the Styrian Enns Valley” by Maria Erlbacher is what rescued me.

I gladly ditched the extra needle, and found a version of the motif charted & named the “Small Chain, #1” Kleines Ketterl.

Thanks to plane knitting (plus), I have a great new pair of textured socks.

Sweaters in Progress

Sleeves!  They are giving problems!  This is my Beach House Pullover by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark.  I love knitting it.  Just not the sleeves.

In early December when I had no business casting on for a sweater, I did.

Sweet Georgia SW Worsted, Botanical

The yarn made me do it!  Can you blame me?

It’s Amy Swenson’s “Mr. Bluejeans Cardigan” for Knitty’s Deep Fall, 2012.  And yes, I bought the yarn on impulse.  From the beautiful new Toronto yarn store, Ewe Knit.

Remember Toby?  He likes my CVM wool sweater project.

A super-springy swatch tells me that this is not as crazy-pants as you think right now…  Tools of the trade = 2 Andean, and 2 Tabachek drop spindles.

Hey, there’s no rush – next year will have winter too, right?!?


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Words with thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!  We spent the Canadian holiday hosting a young cousin from the States.  Irony of ironies his visit happened at the same time as another procedure for me.

We managed to keep that which is personal private, and be hospitable.  What got lost in the crisis was a formal Thanksgiving.

An awesome friend hand-stitched this for me.  She makes bookmarks while watching her daughter play soccer.  In our last conversation she listened, and said:

It’s okay to complain.  What you are going through is difficult.

Her gentle words said in kindness pushed out all the “I shoulds” with the bravery.

It’s been a beautiful fall, rich for creativity and walks with Sir Toby.  These are my favourites.  You know, as opposed to What I Should be Telling You.

I finished my 1st handspun sweater.  This is the Redhook Tunic by Jared Flood, started during the Summer Olympics.

Clearly, I am a little pleased!  It was finished in time for my classes with Deb Robson at the end of September, and gets its fair share of wear.

The shawl collar is double-width.  It still feels a shade short, so I don’t use the top button.  My favourite part is the colour sequencing through the upper body & collar.  It took some juggling & weighing but was so sweet to work.

That’s an Also-Ran for a 1st hand-spun top…  The yarn is my Icelandic dyed with red lac powder.

One fitting proved the waist was not working.  It had no definition, and the shaping was all wrong.  Also, the tog & thel Icelandic?  I could feel it through the under-garments, and not in a good way.

Hard to frog but easy to know what it really wanted to be – a warm Icelandic shawl.  Or in other words, I went back to Plan A.

It is Evelyn A. Clark’s Sigridur Shawl pattern with a modified border.  It’s one Dayflower repeat for the border – I charted the instructions from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury.

It was finished in time, and went up for our Guild’s summer display at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community Center.

What I now have back home is my warmest shawl for its weight.  The 60″ wingspan is perfect for cool mornings, and dashes outside.

Yet again, socks have been my go-to project for the stress.  Mandie’s Iron Man colourway kept my interest, and I finished them in just over 2 months.

In mid-September, I started to ply my Bronzed Chai spindle project.

Awful lighting but I have approx. 980 yds with an extra singles ball to spare!

It’s a goal met:  I am also worthy of my spindle-spun laceweight yarn in this quantity.  From 4 ounces.

It’s what I am looking forward to for this season – a cove on the coast of Negril, Jamaica… and All the People/Places/Things.

Right now we still have time left for talking, spinning, knitting and Thanksgiving.

 


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A gathering of knits

Wherein I try to bridge the yawning gap between the knitting and the blogging of the knitting.  You could call this a retrospective with some currents to start with.

If you move in my circles you may have seen this fall’s triumph – the lovely stranded Pinked Socks designed by Judy Alexander.  My feet have often looked like this:

They certainly did for the Yarn Harlot’s book launch.  I kind of skip when I wear these socks.  Apart from my pride in knitting sock-weight yarn in both hands all the way to the end, I adore the garter tab on the slip stitch heel.  Adore is not too strong a word.  Obviously because I am now knitting another pair.  That are by necessity larger.  For the current pair is being made to fit not just any man but my man.

To wit:  an 11 ½” circumference leg.

The yarns are both Cascade Heritage (solid & quatro).  The MC is the navy held in my right hand.  My gauge on 2.25 (Dyakcraft!) needles let me make the 80 stitch cast-on size.  The only modification is that I ditched the CC strip in the cuff again.  Honestly, cutting sock yarns just for show is not so cool in my books.

It’s a simple but captivating 5 stitch stranded pattern.  I’ve sped up in knitting it again.  The first was finished January 15th, and the second is here now:

DH also received a longer-than-me mosaic scarf this Christmas.  It was not supposed to curl by design (mine) but makes up for that in the aforementioned length.  If I get him to agree to pics you guys will be the first to know.  My argument is that it was that long.  

Speaking of winter wearables, I also have a new hat.  This friends is a hat by twined knitting, and I love it.

It’s warm but elastic and fits loosely enough for a person with my hair issues.

The design is the Traditional Textured Hat in Laura Farson’s New Twists on Twined Knitting.  After some wrong yarn turns, I ran out and bought 2 skeins of Ultra Alpaca Tonal.  The fuzziness at the top is a bit of Sublime Angora Merino that I dug out of the stash.  I used just 9 g from the ball.

The technique needs the right yarn.  For example, this Akapana by Mirasol Yarns was in the direction of madness.  All stabs at texture were lost.

Casting on in the twined way is not full-on fun, so I thought I would share the what not to do pic.  As much as it pains me.

The upside of relatively mild weather is that the fall knits have stayed in rotation.  In order of their knitting…  The FO pics of my Monday Morning Cardigan by Laura Chau:

I am royally ashamed to say that was completed in May 2011.  It was shy about the wonkiness in the collar area but has grown in confidence over time.

About that collar:  knitting in a car while chatting with Sandi Wiseheart is dangerous.  That is all.

Next up is my Tappan Zee by Amy King.  Yes, a blue phase was happening.

  The pictures do the project little justice.  I used my Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (4 skeins) for the 36″ chest size.  The mistakes are my own – it’s a great design!

 

My 5 ridges of garter at the lower edge were started 15″ below the armhole.  I also added 15 rows of stockinette after picking up at the arm and sewed all the bind-offs.  The yarn knitted very well, and is wearing beautifully.  It was so lackluster in the skein!

Another Knitty.com score was Leaflet Cardigan by Celcily Glowik MacDonald.  Knit in 4 days flat.

Business on the front.  Party on the back.

My yarn is Rowan’s Felted Tweed Aran, and I knit on 5 mm needles with 6mm for the binding off.  I had to make adjustments due to the gauge differences for a medium size.  My main modification was to use the rick rack rib from Barbara Walker’s Treasury.

This was my choice for the Woodstock fair in October, and many times since.

Garments – both knitting and designing – have been a goal for me of late.  I was able to stash sweater quantities from Main St. Yarns’ closing out sale, and am spinning away as well.  After speaking with Sandi, I’d also like to incorporate her Wise Sweater project into the learning curve.  I have also been adding to my library with books like Maggie Righetti’s Sweater Design in Plain English.

My big WIP that hasn’t been photographed is a Laar Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston.  It is giving me a run for my sanity with the miles of lace-weight knitting.  I love the result but am probably not wired for this sort of project…  Unlike some people that I know.

Lace is also a part of my knitting life.  For I keep stashing more!  I’d like to make the Prairie Rose Shawl by Evelyn Clarke with this new cone of Habu Tsumugi 100% silk:

We’re on the same page now!  How’s that for some progress?!?


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After Tour

Happy belated Emancipation Day!  We celebrated with a Sunday-worthy dinner of roast chicken, rice & peas & cauliflower au gratin.  Another touch of home is my bougainvillea.  It at least loves this heat.

Teresa may be doubtful about how much post-Tour spinning is happening for her lace yarn.  Still spinning and we are at the pretty bit with the purples.

The spindles are ready for winding off, and then I’ll have plying ball the 5th!  It’s just a stub of a braid now.

One of our LYSs, Main St. Yarns in Milton is closing.  Carolyn hopes to find a purchaser but is busy selling her inventory.  One thing has led to another, and I’m back knitting.  Another top-down cardigan is on my needles – Boogie’s Tappan Zee Cardigan.  This is in the Lavold Silky Wool that I bought for a vest last fall.

It’s been happy knitting but I will admit 2 Things that I do get:

  • Royally bad picture of it; and
  • The yarn won’t say “sophisticate” any time soon.

Sometimes blocking makes a huge difference.  It did for my Fern Gully Hap Shawl that’s been a FO since coughMaycough.  The last that you saw of it was in January, here.  My how it has grown!

And evened out:

The last of the day lilies from Susie made a grand entrance this week.


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Jumping off the Bandwagon

While my take on the February Lady Sweater chilled (incomplete) in sundry bags around the house its Ravelry bandwagon got a little more crowded… insane heights of popularity @ 8,250 projects & counting.  It’s cute, free, and in 7 languages.

My original plan was to get going on the baby gift this weekend.  Well, that went straight out the window… I came down with a cold & my hands weren’t down with the superwash wool experience.  I switched over to the very forgiving Diamond Galway in my FLS.  It saw me through hours of Olympics coverage, and was simply lovely to work with.

Just a note – no photos of my poor, sick face, okay?  Believe me you, I am grinning & very happy with this baby!

Teal Jan-Feb Lady Sweater

I had to stretch out the project name for accuracy.  And from the back:

Usually big old swaths of garter stitch in clothes look hopelessly 1970s to me.  What I found in knitting the Aestlight shawl last summer is that garter is also amazingly cushy.  The yoke on this sweater is a hand-knit hug.  It really is that nice.

In terms of new skills this was a gentle step-up.  I learned new things like raglan construction from the top, and 1 row buttonholes but it was all within reach.

The only thing that I didn’t like was the sleeves.  You are going from the armpit down, so every 14 or so stitches the whole sweater needs to be turned.  That was a slog and I really never got a good way to knit them in the round.  The whole time it seemed like I was adjusting the circulars &/or DPN combos.  Since the pattern gives zip in the way of sleeve length, I was also trying it on for size.  I did want ¾-length sleeves & decided on 11 ½” plus a 2″ garter cuff.  The cuffs are 12 rounds of garter casted-off purlwise.

It was easier to decide on the body’s length.  I just worked off a favourite cardi & went with 18″ long for 5’2″ me.  The body has a sewn cast-off to keep things elastic.  I haven’t finished the neck edge but may do a single crochet around.

Wish me luck with the baby gift!