Knitting Feeds

Technically not sweaters

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 18:35

Ok, I can admit it. There is a tiny, little, itsy-bitsy chance that I overshot a little on this plan.  I can say that because I’m supposed to get on a plane for Rhinebeck in the morning, and I am not finished two sweaters. I’m actually not even finished one sweater, though it’s a near thing.  Here’s where I am.

That’s the Must Have.  It is very nearly a sweater, if by almost a sweater you understand that I can’t wear it like a sweater although it very nearly almost has all the parts that you need for something to be a sweater, if they were joined together, which they are not. I am super close to finishing the button band (I cannot be the only person who perpetually underestimates the amount of knitting in a button band) in fact – it’s half cast off. (Almost.) I’ve got to sew the whole thing together, maybe tonight, and then sew on the buttons and then it just needs a quick blocking. I’ve blocked the pieces already, so it’s really just a quick bit of tidy up after it’s sewn together.  I think steaming will work, just this once.

This is a different problem – Remi is still mostly armless. The sleeves are only 3/4 length, and I have knit about 10cm of one, and I do have to fly tomorrow and then there’s tomorrow evening and then, well, yes, it needs to be completely blocked but doesn’t it seem doable? Doesn’t it? (She says, in a slightly shrill manner, with a hint of hysteria sneaking in around the edges.)

I’d actually think that this was all completely doable if I’d done anything else today, like pack, or wash the clothes I’d like to pack, or gone to the store to get the things I need to pack, or if I’d cleaned up the kitchen, or if roughly 3394 emails weren’t in my inbox waiting for me to finish answering them, or if I didn’t have a meeting this evening that I don’t think I can sew up sweaters at. (I think I can knit sleeves at it, so maybe all isn’t lost.)

Essentially I’ve worked out that I’m absolutely going to make it as long as someone else comes over here and does the laundry, goes to my meeting for me, and I hire someone else to pack while I sew together a sweater.

The important thing is not to panic early.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Border Issues

Knitting | Work in Progress - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 01:21
I've tried like the dickens to get  a decent overview shot of the Ohio Star afghan, with little success. The last time you saw this project, it looked like a hot mess.

I was working the borders, which required wrestling with four long circulars, primarily because I'm a stubborn coot who likes to see the stitches she's working rather than have them jammed together on a single cord. Needless to say, the process itself was both tweaky and a bit frustrating, but the end result is satisfactory.

The big debate now is whether or not to add a final edging. If the answer is yes, the next question becomes, should that edging be blue or red? Luckily, there are still a fair number of ends to weave, which gives me plenty of time to think about the issue of edging vs. no edging.
Well, life is clammoring in the background. Gotta run, happy knitting!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Six Days

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 10/11/2019 - 21:40

Well, six days to go, and the state of the sweaters is… well, it’s not terrible, but it’s not great. I try not to panic because I can’t see how it helps speed anyone up,  but the urge to lose my scene entirely is starting to be a little bit tempting. I’ve got the fronts and the back of the Must Have done –

and just about the body of Remi. I’ve got a few centimetres of ribbing left on the bottom, though it seems a hair short to me. I’m quite short myself so this could work out just fine, tonight before I go any farther on the ribbing I’m going to slide all those stitches onto a longer needle and try it on. It measures what the pattern suggested, but perhaps the designer and I have different ideas about what length a sweater should be.  Personally, I like them not to show my belly button if I get something off a high shelf, and she may be unfettered by such desires, or perhaps has a far more elegant navel.

Tomorrow, if all goes well this evening, I shall find myself squarely on Sleeve Island, with four sleeves to knit in six days, which frankly seems like a bit much, but would be entirely doable if I hadn’t made a critical error in my planning, which is that I forgot that this weekend is Thanksgiving.  That sounds bad, I know, like maybe I’ve just remembered a major holiday with serious time commitments attached to it, and it’s not like that at all. I’ve been cleaning, organizing and shopping for days – It’s more like when I started this a few weeks ago I forgot to factor in time spent chopping mountains of onions and celery and souring the city for chestnuts and what the impact of that is on my knitting time.

I’m not going to panic though – I’m just going to knit. A sleeve a day will get this done, with a day left for buttonbands, sewing and making up. I’ll worry about packing… well. Later.

Sleep is overrated anyway.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/11/2019 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Tricks for avoiding impulse Shopping– because Target has total control over me (and so does Costco). Why is movie theatre popcorn so insanely expensive? A full explanation. Into healing crystals? Might want to check your karma and ask where those crystals are coming from. A great tip for

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Ten (oh no how is it ten)

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 10/07/2019 - 19:02

I write to you now from the airport in Saint John, New Brunswick, as I try to make my way home from Knit East, which was very lovely, as always.  Great students, the venue is so pretty – the sea and Passamaquoddy Bay beckoning to me through the windows. I had a very good time, indeed,  but I really did miss everyone at Knit City more than I can say. I really wanted to be cloned this past weekend – three versions of me would have been wonderful, one for Knit East, one for Knit City, one for a wedding that I was very sorry to miss.  Wait, actually – four.  Four Stephanies would have been the magic number, because one could have just knit and maybe my Rhinebeck dreams would be all coming true.

I have ten days to go, and here’s where I’m at. I’ve finished the back of the Must Have Cardi – and I’m about halfway done the left front.  (Sweater parts pictured here elegantly spread out on an airport cafe table.)  I don’t know how hopeful I feel about this right now. The back took a lot longer than I was hoping, but it is the biggest part so I am trying not to freak out. (I am sort of freaking out.)

Remi doesn’t feel like it’s faring much better – but I am making some progress.  Lucy Neatby forgot her knitting when we were together the other evening and I gave her Remi, so for 30 minutes she made progress for me while I worked on the Must Have. It was glorious.

Sweater in-progress here elegantly pictured on my lap in the aforementioned airport cafe. (Someone will ask, so that fabulous project bag is from Wool Needle Thread, and yes, I do match my project bag to my project because I AM NOT AN ANIMAL. Matching the shirt was an accident.)

Just as I arrived at the airport today my original flight home cancelled and my travel plans are now sort of unclear, which is something that would usually make me a crazy person, but today I really don’t care.  This zen attitude about a cancelled flight is likely brought to you by the pressing need to work on these sweaters, and the fact that this morning as I was packing, I put the extra yarn and needles for them in my checked bag, sure I wouldn’t need that much for today – and then in a moment of absolutely unusual clarity,  I took it out of my checked bag and put it in my carry on “just in case.”

For once, I am in a travel crisis and I am not underyarned on a deadline.  I feel like my whole life has just been practice for this moment.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Endearment

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:00

Original Patterns: Criollo and Endearment Knitter Extraordinaire: Sanna (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Sanna combined elements of both the Criollo and Endearment patterns, using the contiguous method for creating the top down set in sleeve. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: I love how Sanna combined different elements of the

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

The Next Big Thing

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 10/06/2019 - 13:00
Okay, technically, the Ohio Star afghan (my largest current WIP) isn't quite finished. The border is done, but I've decided to add a final edging, which looks nice and does a dandy job of minimizing curl.

That said, with completion of the Wyndfael cowl, my active project list has shrunk from six to four (two scarves, one shawl and the aforementioned afghan), so it's time to start thinking about the next big thing.

And this is where things get a bit dicey. For weeks, I've been tantalized by the prospect of casting on a rainbow shawl using lovely fingering weight yarn (Charlemont, Valley Yarns). The pattern is roughed out, and the yarn is wound and at the ready.
Unfortunately, just as I went to retrieve the yarn from the cupboard, a wayward thought popped into my mind and whispered in a sultry voice, What about that other shawl project? You know, the one that's been on your to-do list much, much longer? The idea was to pair the delightful Helen's Lace (Lorna's Laces) with the variegated Rayon Metallic (Blue Heron), a combo that seemed promising. Here, too, the pattern is roughed out, and the yarn is ready and waiting.

So, what's a knitter to do? 

In theory, I could cast on both and work them simultaneously, but that approach has several glaring flaws. I'm a slow knitter, so it simply means when true cold weather hits I'll have two partially complete shawls, rather one done (or nearly so). It also adds two new projects to the WIP list, which puts me back where I started.

While I'm trying to wrestle this decision to the mat, perhaps I should just pick up the afghan, start working the final edging, weave a few ends, and see what revelations emerge.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sixteen Days

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 10/01/2019 - 21:28

While I cannot state unequivocally at this moment that my two-sweaters-for-Rhinebeck plan is a good one, I can tell you that today is a good day to continue entertaining the concept of this particularly bit of knitterly daring-do. I pressed on and finished the yoke of Remi, and now I’m into the plain bit for the body – It feels all but done, truthfully.  I’ve got it rammed into my bag as my “on the go” knitting now that it doesn’t need anything from me but time. (Sweater is seen here on two needles because I was far enough along for a quick try on. I did knit a swatch, and washed it, but I definitely don’t have time to be jerked around by the gauge god’s version of a joke. Good news, it’s fine.) I even ordered back-up yarn from IndigoDragonfly, and it’s arrived.  For your sake, rather than mine, I regret to announce that this one looks drama free. (Sorry Presbytera.)

I knit a swatch for the Must Have Cardi too (that link works, by the way – I’m knitting it from the booklet that was in my actual knitting library – sorry for Rav link yesterday that didn’t direct you to the pattern. Use that one. It’s free!) and washed that, and got the results I was hoping for on the second try, and noticed that knitting with the previously knit yarn wasn’t much fun.

I’m in the process of winding it into hanks and steaming it to make it nice again. (I just do it over a teakettle, if you’re wondering.) Worked a treat, and now I’m about 8cm up the back. It’s not going as quickly as I’d hoped but I’m ignoring that, at least for today. we’ll see if the problem persists.

Finally – I’m happy to report finished Self-imposed-sock-of-the-month-club socks, though rather less pleased to say that they’re the ones from August. I finished them a few weeks ago- though I can’t lie, it wasn’t in August for sure, I was about a week late, which considering the August I had isn’t really that bad at all.

I’d know what yarn I wanted to use for the August socks ever since Kim gave it to me. The yarn is Platypus Sock, and the colourway’s the one she made for the Rally last year, named Bonnie for my Mum, and meant to invoke her love of rocks.

It seemed appropriate to use it for the month I’d miss her most – especially since that’s also the month of the Rally.  It felt lovely. Sticking with the rock theme, I chose a pattern called Pebbles – not just for the name, but was a great match for a variegated yarn. I made them for myself, rather than the long range planning box, because I really love the yarn, the idea, and Kim.

To be fair, I messed with the pattern quite a bit – the original has a short row heel, but I prefer a flap construction, so I subbed that in, and used eye-of-partridge to keep the pebbly look going.  (Eye-of-partridge is a really just a regular slip stitch heel, but with the slips alternating on right side rows instead of stacked.)

I changed the toe a bit too, but that doesn’t matter much and is really just because I’m a little weird about sock toes. I care (inexplicably) about how they look both on and off feet, and do the rate of decrease a little differently to amuse myself.

Now, I know it’s October 1st, and that means that I should have a whole other pair of September socks to show you, but – well, I’m obviously  coming in late on that one too.

I have one and half.  Almost. (Pattern: Sun and Moon, Yarn’s the Club Yarn from Gauge Dyeworks earlier this year – the club’s over now, but I really dug it.)  I’m hoping to finish these soon, but truthfully, I’m a little into my sweaters.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Seventeen Days

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 15:31

There is a moment in every set of grand plans when it all seem so possible, isn’t there? Some spectacular moment where there is just enough time that it seems reasonable to hope for it, and you’re far enough along in your thinking or your knitting or your writing or whatever, that you can see it all finished on time, and it’s going to be glorious.

See, for about a week, I’ve had a pretty good Rhinebeck sweater plan. While I was at Make Wear Love, I bought this yarn from IndigoDragonfly. (I am always amused when I buy their yarn in another country despite living in the same province, but there you have it.) It’s Wingenhooven DK (merino/yak/silk) and after not a lot of reflection at all, because they just seemed made for each other, I’m knitting Remi.

I haven’t really been applying myself to it (though I’m almost done the yoke) because in my head, I’ve had buckets of time. Loads, actually – great heaps of time. I’m pretty sure that this a lingering Bike Rally effect, where I feel like I’ve got all this flexibility now that it’s over and really I’m just back to being as busy as I was before, which was pretty crazy busy but not dangerously busy.

This effect is so pronounced part of my very good Rhinebeck plan is is that not only will I finish Remi, but that I’m going to knit a second sweater as well.  Do you all remember when I knit Little Wave? Gorgeous pattern, and very well written, but it was too big when I knit it, and it’s way too big now.  (See that? Let us pause for a moment and recognize knitterly delusion.  The sweater was not “too big when I knit it.”  I knit the wrong size.  It wasn’t like rain, something that you can’t predict, I blew it.  Me. Not the sweater.)

That sweater fits me so poorly that I haven’t worn it since that Rhinebeck and I feel terrible about that, because I the yarn is the rather spectacular (and tragically discontinued)  Blackwater Abbey, and it was expensive and I have not been able to stop feeling like I wasted it, and my time.  This feeling finally got the better of me and I did something I’ve never done before.  I unknitted a sweater.

The whole thing.  I snipped the buttons off, I found the ends (wing of moth, I am so good at weaving in ends, it took forever to find them) and I pulled the whole thing out.  (Almost.  I am struggling with a bit around the pockets, but I’ll get there.)

I’m going to reknit it (before Rhinebeck) into my another edition of my most worn sweater ever. In 2008 I knit the Must Have Cardigan, and do you know, I have worn that thing just about every day of every autumn, winter and spring since then. It’s tossed on the back of my office chair most days, and it’s been on a fair few camping trips. It is a tribute to the yarn (Northampton) that this sweater was completely inexpensive to knit and only just now, eleven years later does it look a little shabby.  I figure this yarn and that pattern are a match made in heaven and I seem to remember that it knit up really quickly and…. Rhinebeck is in seventeen days and I think it’s all going to be fine.  I am at that exactly perfect, spectacular moment where hope, time and possibility have all come together, and I believe.  Two sweaters for Rhinebeck.  It’s going to work.

I think I better go start the second one.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Guthrie

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Guthrie Knitter Extraordinaire: Allison (Ravelry Profile) Mods:  Knit a smaller size, Allison was getting a larger gauge with her swatch. Adjusted the neck, and adjusted the stitches for front and back to have more room in the front to accommodate a larger bust. Also used a twisted rib for cuff and hem. Great

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Wyndfael Cowl

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/29/2019 - 18:10
The current temps are in the high 80s (F), and they're projected to hit the low-to-mid 90s next week. Nonetheless, I've been busy putting the finishing touches on my Wyndfael cowl. I worked the accent stripes and rounded ends, then buckled down and began weaving ends.

The ends incorporate a small, nearly invisible button hole, which centers the button where the two ends meet. I like to keep my options open, so I attached a large, decorative button to a smaller backer button to create a removable cufflink-style closure, and this is the result.

Wyndfael Turquoise Cowl
Pattern: In development (coming soon!)
Yarn: Merino 5 (Crystal Palace); Cash Vero (Cascade)
Size: Short (~5 x 21 inches) 
Weight: Worsted
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yardage: ~140 yards 

The removable button turned out to be a wise choice, because somewhere along the line I had a wacky idea ... 

What if I used a small pompom as a closure, instead of a button? I decided to give it a try and this is the outcome. Like the cufflink closure above, it's attached to a small backer button, which fits through the existing loops, so it, too, can be swapped out for wearing or washing. As an added plus, the pompom automatically matches, so it circumvents the sometimes frustrating search for a suitable button.

I confess I'm truly delighted with how this turned out. When cool weather arrives, I'll have a warm, cushy cowl to wrap around my neck, a matching pair of mitts to keep my hands warm, and when the mood strikes, I can go for whimsical or classic, whichever suits best.
And it's completely possible there may be a turquoise pompom in my near future ...

    Pattern | Wyndfael Mitts

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Hello, I missed you!

My Sister's Knitter - Mon, 09/23/2019 - 02:02
Hello loves! Summer will be over by the end of the day, I couldn't think of a better time to return to a regular blogging schedule than the beginning of Fall. Hello and how have you been? How was your Summer? Are you ready for the knitting frenzy that Fall... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Why We Swatch

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/22/2019 - 21:31
As eager as I am to start my rainbow shawl, I'm still weaving ends on the Wyndfael cowl and Ohio Star afghan, and I have a feeling once the shawl is on the needles, I won't want to work on anything else. So, I decided I needed to cast on something relatively small to work on between bouts of finishing. For some time, I've been longing for a red scarf to brighten my basic black wardrobe and offset the gray days of winter.

This delightful red yarn (Cash Silk by Zagna Baruffa) has been slumbering in the stash for close to two years, and now seemed like the perfect time to put it to use. I love my reversible Kintra Nearly Neutral so much, I decided to follow those working notes. (Be forewarned, these photos were grabbed on the fly, but bear with me, it's been one of those weeks. Colorwise, the first photo is most accurate.)

The recommended needle size is US 6, but I knew I wanted a drapier fabric so I swatched first with size US 7 for the first inch and US 8 for the remainder. Because I love the way this stitch looks when twisted, I worked all the knit stitches through the back loop (tbl).

Very quickly, I realized the fabric at this gauge was not as fluid and lofty as I wanted, so I cast on with larger needles (US 8 and 9), and started over again, working all the knit stitches through the front loop not the back.

You can't really see the difference in the photos, but the ribs are more rounded, the fabric is stretchier and significantly more flexible, and blocking will even out the stitches and maximize drape.

For now, this is my travel and pick-up-lay-down project for days when I have just enough time for a few quick rows. I've not decided how long I want this scarf to be, but I'm very fond of long skinny scarves that can be wrapped multiple times, so we shall see.

Meanwhile, as frustrating as it can be to start over once a project's on the needles, it's often the right thing to do. I'm certainly much happier with how things are progressing, which is why we swatch. Right? Right!

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Nobody throws away buttons

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 22:05

After the debacle of knitting the wrong size on that baby sweater, I ripped it back and re-did it.  I know that probably seems a little like madness, I was so close to done, but I had really wanted to use that ridiculously soft merino for a newborn sweater, and what the heck, I like knitting.  I didn’t take too long, really.

Yarn: Stash Merino – label long gone, which is a shame, since it’s wondrous stuff. Pattern: Norwegian Fir. (Newborn size.  Sigh.) Quite a good little pattern, but watch out for that size thing.  Needles: 3.5mm.

Now that it’s done and blocked, it just needed a button. As written, the pattern needs just a single one, up at the neck and this seemed fine to me. This baby will be a second baby, and one button is likely all Meg and Alex will have time to do up anyway.  Only needing one button, I headed straight for my button collection, and opened up one of two old cookie tins. Ages ago, when my Grammy died, I got her button box.  I’ve dipped into it for years, when I need a special touch for something, It’s full of a million (okay, hundreds) of fairly mundane buttons, mostly snipped off of clothing headed for the bin – a depression era practice of my Grams. When my mum died, I got her button bin as well – and hers is a little different.  My mum didn’t knit. I stress here “didn’t” rather than “couldn’t” because her not knitting was an active choice.  As insane as it may sound to us, she didn’t like it. She tried it, it didn’t work out, and she was good at other things. She was, for example, a wonderful seamstress. (As I type that I wonder if there’s a gender neutral term… sewer? Sewist?)

When I was young she sewed most of our clothes, and taught me too. I remember with great fondness a green top with cream coloured yoke and angel-wing sleeves, sprinkled with softer green stalks of wheat. She made it for me to wear on a trip out west with my grandparents, and at the time that I wore it I was maybe… seven years old, and quite sure it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever owned. It probably was.  Since mum sewed, her button box is a little different. It’s in a cookie tin like my Grammy’s (some strange family quirk, I suppose, since mine is too) and contains more leftovers than rescues.  It’s easy to find seven matching buttons in my Gram’s box, and near impossible in Mum’s. I only needed one, so in I went.

In five minutes of poking around, pulling out this one and that, I settled on this completely plain and ordinary button. I know it’s silly, since it’s not special in any way – not wooden or hand carved, or especially pretty, but perfect for this. This child, whoever they are, will be the first person born after the Era of Bonnie.  They will be the first child to never meet her or know her at all, except through our telling and pictures, and I thought that a button from her stash would be the perfect beginning for them. A connection, something to start them off right, the perfect prologue to a million stories that start with “One time, your Great Grammy….”

I think it is a sign of healing, or maybe just time passing that this idea makes me smile a little, rather than cry, and the minute I’m done writing this, I’m going to sew it on, fold the sweater into a wee pile, and it can be the first woollie my new grandbaby wears.  My mum wasn’t a sentimental or soft person, but I think she’d like that a lot. She’d sure hate it if I wasted a button.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week The anatomy of annoying. This rocking chair can knit you a hat. Don’t let your career define who you are. This was such fascinating quiz on what the best solutions are for climate change – and I thought I knew my stuff, but I only scored 34.4%. I

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Portuguese Purl Linus with Tiny Tassels

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:00

Original Patterns: Linus and Tiny Tassels Shawl Knitter Extraordinaire: Daphne (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Daphne changed the Linus part of the pattern to use Portuguese style purling, and added the tiny tassels for the edging. Details and more photos can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Daphne learned a new style

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 11:00

That was some radio silence on my end, wasn’t it? My apologies for the blog going quiet – I had some unexpected personal/family issues that took up alllllllllll my bandwidth, and I was barely online in any capacity, much less blogging. But I’m getting back to the things I love, slowly. One of which is

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

He’s good at sharing

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 12:04

First things first – I posted this on instagram, but here is home – so once more with feeling,

Guess who’s going to be a big brother? We’re all terrifically excited, except for maybe Elliot who talks a good game and generally seems in favour, but definitely has no idea what’s headed his way. He’s got a little while to get it together though, baby won’t be arriving until March (the sign means March 2020, not March 20th, 2020, which is neither accurate, nor a detail she’s silly enough to reveal online. Who on earth needs the whole internet knowing if your baby is late? A watched uterus never contracts, I tell you that. The kid will be here sometime around March. Or maybe February. Or maybe April. We’ll never tell.) Elliot’s birthday is the 8th April, and it’s unlikely he’ll share it with a sibling, but he’ll definitely be almost three when the interloper arrives, and quite equipped to start sharing his family. He is very good at sharing most other things thus far, and is a gentle and loving guy, so he’s prime big brother material.

I got so excited about telling you (we’ve known for a little while, but Meg wanted to wait a while before posting) that I immediately cast on a little sweater for the new baby, thinking that I’d have it all done and ready to show you. I’d post a picture of the tiny sweater, and I’d say something charming like “Guess what” and you’d all guess right and it would be amazing. (Remember what I said about scripting? Yeah, I did it again.)

I had the perfect yarn and pattern all ready, and I supposed I could have started it before Meg said I could tell you about it, but that I think it’s really smart to hold off on investing in human sparks. Mother Nature can be a very harsh editor, so I waited, as one does, and then on Friday I decided that I was going to knit this sweater by Monday, or more technically, I was going to finish this sweater by Sunday night and then I’d have time to block it before Monday. I know that sounds very speedy, but it was a very tiny sweater. (It’s Norwegian Fir, in case you’re wondering. Absolutely charming and simple and just the thing for a brand new person. The yarn is a long loved and unnamed super soft merino that I had in the stash just waiting for its opportunity.)

That’s why you couldn’t have shocked me more when A) it started coming out much bigger than I expected and B) was taking a lot longer than planned. (A and B were clearly related.) The first time I thought “my, this seems a little bigger than I thought it would be” I did what we all do when knitting looks a bit funny. I kept going and hoped the problem would go away.

The second time that I thought “this really does look large, and why are the armholes so deep?” I did what we all do when you can no longer ignore a knitting problem, I started double checking things. I had knit a swatch, and I had even washed it, and I had let it dry before I counted stitches, and I had made it big enough that it should work, and I had used the same needles… and the same yarn… nevertheless, I went back and double checked all of that. Everything was correct, so I went back to ignoring the problem again, figuring that I must have taken all leave of my senses and forgotten the actual size of babies. I kept knitting.

A few rows later (oh fine it was when I finished the body) there was no denying that it was too big. The fabric looked good, so I knew it wasn’t a gauge problem, but it even looked to me like there were more of the leafy increases on mine then there were on the newborn sized ones in the pictures, but sometimes pictures aren’t accurate or they can be mislabeled or… I went back and checked the pattern this time. Again, everything was fine. I was knitting the smallest size, so I’d highlighted the first set of numbers in each bracket, and yay verily those were the numbers I’d gotten. It was all working, it was all perfect, it was just…. big. I started thinking about how I could alter the pattern to make another one that was smaller, but I was already feeling sort of bad that this delicious yarn wasn’t making what I thought it was. I kept knitting.

By now I was part way down a sleeve, and I was still noticing that it was too big, but you know, I’d double checked everything and it was all so… right, that I figured that even though I could see it was wrong (obviously wrong) that I must be mistaken. I thought something was going wrong, but nothing was, and so… I kept knitting. I really can’t explain what I was thinking, except that on some level I must have believed that it would be smaller after I did more knitting, that if I stayed the course, it would just work out. How could it not?

Almost at the cuff, I was feeling annoyed because even though I was still following instructions it was getting bigger, not smaller, and I casually tossed my iPad (after checking the pattern again) onto the chesterfield, and as I did that, I swiped with my thumb or finger in a funny way, and the whole pattern swiped to another version of the pattern, and my heart stopped. I looked at it, wondering why there were two versions. Hadn’t noticed that before, and I wondered if maybe one of them was in another language. Probably Norwegian. No- I flipped back and forth, they looked the same. Identical, in fact – except for one little detail.

Do you see it coming? Yup. The first pattern in the set is baby sizes, and the second pattern in the set (with the same picture, but clearly labeled) is big kid sizes. I had, at some inopportune moment right at the beginning, swiped from one to the other, and was now making an absolutely perfect size 2-3 years, instead of 0-3 months.

So- I had a date with a ball winder instead of a blocking bath, and I’ve started all over, and I’ve remembered two things about being an experienced knitter that still clearly apply. First, most mistakes come from a failure to read, and second, experienced knitters don’t make fewer mistakes. We make bigger ones faster.

Yesterday was a travel day for me, and today I’m in Maine (at the last Make Wear Love retreat) with some of my favourite knitters and colleagues- I’ll post more about it tomorrow – today, knitters and the ocean beckon, and I’ve got a sweater to re-knit.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Surprise Ending

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/08/2019 - 19:45
Last week, I was moaning about the hot mess that was my red, white and blue afghan, but since then a lot has been accomplished. The border has been finished and bound off, and for now, the afghan is cooling its heels while I gear up to weave ends (to do this well, I have to be in the right state of mind) and prep for blocking.

To stay productive and continue to chip away at the WIP pile, I picked up my Wyndfael cowl. Designed to match my Wyndfael mitts, this was supposed to be a super-quick knit. Somewhere along the way, I was tempted by another project, so it was set aside. Now, 11 months later, I'm finally ready to buckle down and finish it.

Similar to the mitts, I'm incorporating accent stripes in rich purple, a color I love with this shade of turquoise. I also decided to work rounded ends for visual interest, a bit of a surprise ending if you will.

The first end is completed (sorry, bad photo of the wrong side) and I've begun working the second. With a bit of luck and some knitting time, I'll soon have this piece bound off, and ready to finish and block. (Update: Done!)

Once both the afghan and cowl are done, my WIP list will pared down to three active projects, a feat I plan to celebrate by immediately casting on a rainbow shawl. With that motivating factor in mind, I'm heading back to my knitting!

Categories: Knitting Feeds


Yarn Harlot - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 20:48

Years ago I heard someone say that they had to do something about their home because it was suffering from Chaos. That sounded about right to me, but it really resonated when they said it was actually CHAOS,  an acronym for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

That’s where my house is today. In any contest between people and things, I come down on the side of people every time, and so over the last few months the limited time and energy I’ve had has gone to supporting people – and I’ve given the house a lick and a promise so many times that you’d be an idiot to actually lick any part of it. I spent yesterday at my desk, catching up on a million things that were burning my work life to the ground, and today I’m trying to find the house, one room at a time. Part of that is the knitting that’s piled up around here in really weird little piles of hopes and dreams. Some finished, some unfinished, some knitting that needs fixing, some knitting that’s just yarn, there’s even a nest of circular needles arranged atop the piano like I’m the strangest of all possible birds.

Do you know that thing, where you’re going to go over to someone’s house  and they say  “Oh my goodness” (or something like that) “I suppose it’s ok to come, but I’m warning you, the house is trashed” and you get there, and their house looks better than your house does when you’ve just cleaned it top to bottom – you know that thing?  This is not that thing. This is actual disaster. Dust bison roaming the living room, if they could roam around the stuff I’ve placed in their way.  There is even a dresser that came from Amanda’s house to mine four weeks ago, standing with the drawers out and stacked by the chesterfield, right in the middle of the living room. (Well, it’s sort of off to the side, obstructing access to what used to be the dining room, before I started keeping yarn, mail, camping crap and laundry in it.  People, we are talking trashed. We are not talking about a failure to dust here. There is some heavy lifting here before I could get down to dust and be left with just that, so today I’m working to get it down to a level where I can consider opening the door instead of just burning the thing to the ground and moving into a tent in the park. (Note to self: move tent from dining room before burning house down.)

Still, atop all of that there float a few finished objects, mostly simple things that I’ve completed over the last few weeks when my brain was mush and my time limited. First up – I finished my Peace of Wild Things shawl.  This was my “just before the rally” knitting, a simple chart, big needles, worked a few rows here and there and still finished anyway.  (It was a fast one.)

The pattern’s linked above, and the yarn was a single ball of Berrroco Ultra Wool Fine – it’s a good yarn, cheap and cheerful, only $12 a ball at WEBS (though my ball was swag from Berroco, sent to be a treat at a retreat.)  It took almost the whole ball, with maybe 20 metres left at the end, but that’s an economical knit anyway you want to slice it.

Even with the pattern, that’s a completely reasonable Christmas gift, as long as you don’t add in the time – and I don’t.  I put knitting in my entertainment budget, so if you figure that took maybe 10 hours? (Maybe a bit more, I didn’t count.) It’s …. about $2 an hour of entertainment, with the pattern.  You can’t beat that – and into the Long Range Planning box it went.

Next up – I was casting about the house for something simple, but entertaining that I could putter away at without really needing a brain or to keep good track of a pattern, and I remembered that I had the pattern and yarn for Goldstream in the stash. I was a member of the Gauge Dye Works club a few years ago (am now, too, for the record) and this fetching little number arrived in the mail, and I was enchanted from the get-go.

It’s a neat concept, the club – yarn dyed specifically to go with patterns – they work together, and I loved the idea here- you knit back and forth in garter stitch, following the rules for a half-pi shawl, but every time you get to a bit of yellow, you make a little short row leaf. That’s it.  They show up randomly.  This, my friends, hit my brain in the exact same place as a self striping yarn does.

I was enchanted entirely – and enticed to knit a little bit further each time just to get to another hit of yellow. The yarn’s Gauge Dye Works MCN (Merino, cashmere, nylon) so a little hit of soft and cozy didn’t hurt either.  I trucked this around everywhere – finally finishing up at the cottage.  (I was knitting it while Elliot played at digging – it might have gotten a little involved, but cleaned up fine.)

Another lovely thing, and off it goes to the Long Range Planning box as well.

Pattern: Goldstream, by Andrea Rangel, Yarn: Gauge Dye Works MCN, Goldstream. As an aside, if you click on that yarn link, you will see that for once, even though it has been two years since that yarn landed at my house, it is inexplicably and suddenly available anyway. (It is either a miraculous co-incidence, or the Catherine or Andrea spotted it on my instagram. Amazing, either way.)

We won’t discuss the state of my August Self-Imposed Sock Club Socks, they’re not done, but almost. Can I distract you with a question?

How, I ask you – how, is it possible that after this long photographing knits and posing them all over the yard, and local parks, trying a million ways to figure out how to stretch a shawl out entire to show it off,  how is it possible that it only just now occurred to me to use the clothes line?  I’m putting everything there from now on.

(PS. Two days in a row!)

Categories: Knitting Feeds


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