Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Intarsia

As mentioned previously, I'm following "A Year of Techniques" using patterns and yarn from my library and stash.  I finished my cowl with intarsia and LOVE it.  Love the colour, loved knitting the pattern, love the yarn, love it.  I think it will be perfect for spring, when the wind can be cool despite the sun (which I hear will shine again soon).  I used a new cast-on, learned intarsia with garter stitch (easy!) and grafted the ends together with garter Kitchener stitch (new skill) so really this was 3 new techniques on one go.  I also knit it ahead of my deadline (May 1st) so I'm very proud of myself for following through with my commitment to finish KALs at or near the deadline.

Pattern:  Ice Maiden Cowl by Sybil R (on Ravelry)
Yarn:  Malabrigo Arroyo (variegated) and Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (burgundy)


Next technique involves sock yarn.  I've never knit socks (aside from a worsted pair of house socks) so I'm hoping to learn something new.  I rarely pay much attention to sock patterns that come my way (in magazines, in books, on websites) so I will have to think about what I can reasonably knit.  For now, I'll wear my new cowl and hope for a breezy, sunny but cool day!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

a year of techniques

Mason Dixon Knitting and Arnall-Culliford Knitwear have launched a year-long project and (eventual) book called A Year of Techniques.  The premise:  each month starting in March 2017, a new technique and pattern are launched.  Purchasing the book gives you access to each pattern via pdf, with a printed copy (or digital) available for shipping at the end. 

Exciting?  Yes!  Affordable? ... not for me.  With the Canadian dollar and shipping from England factored in, the book alone will cost $33.00 plus shipping (so likely closer to $60).  I would love to own the book but am also mindful of all of the other patterns I already own and the accompanying stash of yarn I seem to have accumulated.  Instead, I am going to do a 'shadow' year of techniques, selecting patterns I already own that incorporate the technique of the month.  If I don't have a pattern with the specific technique, then I will choose one that can be modified to incorporate it. 

First up was 'helical stripes' - essentially one stripe chases the other, never catching up to eliminate jogs or seams.  The pattern is for arm warmers, so I cast on using gauge for fingering weight yarn and knit up some generic armwarmers with a thumb gusset and ribbing at top and bottom.  Yarn is Noro Silk Garden sock.

April's technique is intarsia, with a gorgeous shawl by Bristol Ivy, Brambling Shawl.  I have a pattern for a garter stitch cowl called Ice Maiden.    Mine will be less icy and more 'red wine', but garter and intarsia together is fun!

I am using stash yarn for this - Malabrigo Arroyo and Ultra Alpaca Light.  Feels good to dig into the stash and try new things at the same time.

I also have a cardigan on the go for a Baby Cocktails KAL.  It's Rye, knit with Ultra Alpaca Tonal.  I love the stitch pattern and it's going quite quickly.  One sleeve done, another about a third of the way.  Great tv knitting with a 4-row pattern that's easy to memorize and 'read' on the needles.
 Also hoping to finish last year's summer tee - started about a year ago.  Lots on the go, but I am hoping to finish all by mid May, just in time to start the next technique!

Friday, 24 March 2017

progress

It feels good to finish.  I most enjoy the planning part of knitting:  pouring over patterns, selecting yarn, looking at other peoples' work on Ravelry, Instagram and blogs.  I lag in the middle, when the new-ness wears off and the pattern is 'rote'.  Finishing is harder than starting. 

So this March Break I was determined to finish.  It feels good to finish!

Middle:  Mrs. Mysterious (Mrs. Watson) - my entry in my LYS annual Yarn Challenge
Bottom:  Sambuca (BabyCocktails pattern)

I also realize now that I've knit the body, that my Clio will need to be frogged.  I knit the small size, and am not happy with the fit.  Not enough ease, and I don't love it enough to start over from the start... so it's time to frog it and let the wool become something else. 

This means all that I have left to finish is my spring tee, and a pair of mitts.  I'm hoping to have the mitts done this weekend, and be ready to reassess my spring knitting plans by the start of April.  In the meantime, both of my Mrs. Watson shawls are featured on the Berroco Blog this week!


Thursday, 9 March 2017

my own 'march madness'... on the needles

I have finished one of my short row projects:  Mrs. Watson. 
I'm very happy with the finished project, and the Ultra Alpaca Light is wonderful to knit up.  The shawl is on the small side, so I'll need a pin to keep it in place.  I wore it one day and had to fiddle all day to keep it wrapped. 

My other projects languish as I continue to be distracted by new ideas, new accessories, and the inability to focus on finishing anything bigger than a mitten.  My sweaters are also not portable, and I have been out more than home lately.  March Break (Spring Break - a week off school) means that I will have time at home.  I'm determined to finish or make significant headway with my projects that are still on the needles.  Many have appeared here before, some months or even years ago.  One, the long vest, has been on hold for so long I forget what needle I used for the parts that are done (note to self:  enter the needle size on Ravelry!).  To be done: 




All are in various stages, so I will knit away for the next 10 days, starting this weekend, and aim to finish the Sambuca and the Long Vest, and finish at least one of the Vanishing Point mitts.  I hope to start one of the Clio Sleeves, and perhaps knit a bit more of the Spring tee body.  Ambitious, perhaps, but I need to finish things (literally and figuratively) as I feel I'm starting lots and making little progress.  This is true for lots of areas of life right now, but I can control the knitting if nothing else!

I also have a mystery project on the go for my LYS' annual Yarn Challenge.  More to come on that once it's in the store window! 


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

short rows season

I seem to have selected projects with short row shaping to start the year.  My first, Sambuca, is more of a 'finish this year' project, with short rows to create a longer hem:
I just have the second sleeve and neck finishing to do and then it's done.

My next project is Clio.  It's the most challenging sweater I've ever knit in terms of construction.  It starts with two strips of cable that become the top of the shoulder.  Stitches picked up on either long edge become the start of the front and back shoulders, with short rows and backwards loop to connect the two pieces to become front and back.  Then all are joined to make the body.  Complicated at first but I'm almost done the ribbing at the hem:


Finally, I've started Mrs. Watson as part of the Berroco Yarns KAL.  It's a shawl with a leaf pattern knit in short rows, love the contrast of colour and shape:

I'm enjoying the shawl a lot, mostly because it's different every section.  I am hoping to finish all three before March Break (March 10th).  This may be too ambitious!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

personal and political

There are lots of reasons I knit, most of them are the usual ones that I share with many others: the love of crafting and making, the need for a creative outlet, the need for clothing.  This week I also knit to make a statement.  I knit a hat inspired by the Pussyhat Project.  The hats are made to be worn today, January 21, in the National (or international) Women's March in Washington.  The purpose is to bring women together to advocate for women's rights, human rights, and respect for all.  The hat symbolizes the power of women, the importance of solidarity, and the belief that each person matters.  I cannot go to a March today, and I didn't finish one in time to mail it to someone who will be going.  So I have been wearing it out and about:

Not with a phone in front of my face, of course.  I've been asked about the hat, and when asked I tell the story of why I have knit my hat but more importantly, why so many women have knit hats for today.  I feel that it's important to speak up, speak out, and act every day. 

Being an ally (standing and speaking with others) and being an advocate (standing and speaking for myself) is not something we should save for special days, special parades, or special events.  I'm advocating every time I wear my hat.  Including today.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Plans in the midst of winter

January is hard.  Back to work after the Christmas holidays feels like being hit by a brick wall of stress-causing elements.  The cozy hibernation of two weeks off quickly gives way to the frenetic pace of school in 'report card season'...  My knitting in December was fast but with a feeling of accomplishment.

 January started with lots of plans and lots of time.  I finished a pair of mittens from PomPom Quarterly's Autumn 2015 edition.  This is newly available in my LYS and I love all of the magazines (went back and bought two more).  The patterns are fresh but not trendy, modelled by women of varying ages.  They will fit well into my wardrobe - at school and on weekends I think.  The Mitts are Woodland Mitts knit in Rowan Superwash DK:

I also started the most challenging knit I've done in a long time.  It's a pullover in DK - Clio by Elizabeth Doherty.  I'll have to do a post on the entire project when it's done, it's the most uniquely constructed garment I've made to date.  I'm hoping to finish by the end of January, but that may be a bit ambitious of me!


Next up I have a bulky pullover that I've wanted to knit ever since I saw the pattern:  Wolf River.    I've bought Cascade Eco in Red, and plan to cast on soon.  I also plan to make a shawl as part of a Berroco knit along:  Mrs Watson   It's knit using short rows and garter stitch to make the leaf pattern. I'll cast on in February.


January is dark and cold, my least favourite time of year.  I'm looking forward to spring, or at least more daylight!  In the meantime I'm moving along with my plans and hope that I can finish a few things this winter.