Saturday, December 29, 2018

The last gasp of 2018

Well, here we are. Three days left of 2018. (Well, two and a half-ish, at this point.)

I know I've been away for a long while. I know I have stuff to catch up on. Honestly, I don't really know if I'll ever get fully caught up. But I do have a few things I'd like to blog in the next little while, before the new semester kicks off and blogging time becomes sparse again.

Naturally, as we all prepare for the annual rolling over of the calendar, thoughts turn to what we've done with the time allotted to us in the previous year, and what we'd like to do with what precious little remains, and depending on your personality, you may start setting weird crazy goals for yourself. I caught myself about to do that just a few days before Christmas, as I was madly pounding away on some gift knitting, and I glanced at the bag by my chair where two sweaters-in-progress for me are waiting, and I thought, Y'know, it'd be nice to get all the in progress stuff taken care of before 2019 hits.

Then reality kicked down my door and said, Hey sucker, you know what? You're sitting there seriously thinking about cranking out pretty much a whole sweater, and two pairs of socks in six days, and that's if you're being somewhat generous with yourself and ignoring the sister sweater sleeves and other sweater for yourself tucked away in bags upstairs. And those six days you're eyeballing? One of them is Christmas Day, which is pretty much a guaranteed no-knitting day, and there will be family stuff to keep your hands off your needles for at least some of the remaining five. GET A GRIP.

So I listened. I figure maybe leaving those sweaters for me for after New Year's might be a nice way for me to start the new year - I know I've been all over the New Year, New Knits idea in the past, but New Year, New Sweater has some allure too. (Especially if I can make it be New Year, New Sweaters.) So the new plan is to bust a move on two pairs of socks - one for sister, one for Mister (more on that development later!).

Except now we've got less than three days left, and um, I've got this:

Uh. Yeh. That's one complete sister sock and few inches of the second, and, um, the leg and heel of the first Mister sock. To be fair, at this point I'm nearly done with the gusset decreases, but his feet are longer than mine and sister's, so the foot will take longer than what I'm sort of accustomed to. Also, there needs to be a second sock for me to meet my goal.

Think I can make it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

K'done: wychwood cardi-shrug

Another Ah, summer, how I miss thee knit.

Pattern: wychwood, by Jenny Faifel
Yarn: Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply/sport, in Oyster
Needles: 4 mm / US 6

This was a test, and wow what a test! I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this one, and when it was done I regretted not having made it for myself - my sister liked the preview pictures, and so selected the yarn from her not-so-mini stash. I done goofed! It could have been mine!

Ah, well, I'll just have to knit one for me.

The construction of this piece is intriguing, and I must confess that my brain still hasn't fully worked out how it works. It's worked from end to end - you cast on something like five stitches, at one of the armholes, knit your way across, and somehow end up on the other side, but not at an armhole, and there wasn't as much even knitting as I was expecting. While the pattern's description claims there's no long cast on or bind off, it should be noted that if you want to add ribbing around the neck/hemline (which the sample shows, and the pattern directs you to do), then there's going to be a pretty big bind off there.

I also ran out of yarn - there was supposed to be some ribbing on the sleeves as well, but clearly mine lacks that touch. I'm not terribly clear on why my yarn supply fell short - yardage wise, it should have been fine, as the pattern calls for 1200 yards and I had 1197, and I'm pretty sure it would take more than three yards to do the sleeve edge ribbing. I also cut the neck/hem edging a bit short, working only five rounds instead of the prescribed seven. The resulting piece is still plenty cozy and cocoon-y - exactly what the pattern promised.

Yep. I need one too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

K'done: the ridge cardigan

And now back into catching up mode!

Pattern: the ridge, by Jenny Faifel
Yarn: Jojoland Splatter Dash, in, um, blue (sorry, the colour name was a numeric code, and the ballbands are long gone now)
Needles: 5 mm / US 8

Oh man. I bound this one off in June. June. Hello, delinquent knitblogger.

This was a great knit. Then again, I've developed a deep fondness for stockinette and knit-purl texture, which is what this sweater is all about. The pattern is beautifully clear and well-written, so you pretty well cruise through the project. There are some embellishment details that add to the piece's unique character, like the sleeves, which have a sort of scoop-shaped asymmetrical elongation to them, perfect for people like my sister who like for their sweater sleeves to double as hand covers.

There's also a hem cutout detail on both the sleeve cuffs and the bottom hems at the sides that I didn't think to take close pictures of when my sister was wearing it earlier this summer. So, um, here's another shot of the hand covering goodness of the sleeve cuffs.

For reasons that I no longer remember - likely having something to do with yarn chicken - I didn't do as many rows of ribbing at the bottom hem as the pattern instructed. My notes only say that I did "only six", but I didn't think to write down how many I was supposed to do, so I'm not sure how short of the mark that is. I also didn't do buttonholes, since I never planned to put buttons on the piece. My sister was completely on board with this change.

And yes, the blue colour does indeed signal that my sister was the recipient of this knit. She was indeed pleased, and has been wearing it (like in the pictures, which I actually took in August while we were out on Vancouver Island). Let the record show that this sweater is knitted item #5 that she has received this year. And we're not done yet.

Pretty sure this means I'm firmly in the good-sister book.

Tech specs: Chinese waitress COs throughout, double chain BOs throughout. My gauge was actually a bit bigger than called for (20 sts to 4", as opposed to the pattern's 21), so there's a touch more positive ease than the designer intended.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Goodbye, summer

Oh hi there.

I looked at the date today and realized that somehow the entire month of August just sort of slipped away from me. Don't get me wrong - I was doing things, fun enjoyable things even, knitting included. But it feels as though I should still have another month of summer. Maybe that's just wishful thinking.

So, what have I been up to? Well, in July there was some vacation time with my parents and siblings.

That's my TdS stage two sock, in progress during our trip. That is the only in progress photo I took of those socks. I don't even have modelled shots of the finished socks - hopefully I'll be able to correct that soonish.

Then, we were home for a week, which saw me barge through stage three of TdS:

Pattern: Bicycle Race, by Heidi Nick
Yarn: Yummy Yarn Studio 80/20 Merino Nylon Superwash Sock, in Rhubarb (sadly discontinued)
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Then we threw some clothes into the suitcases again to fly out to Vancouver Island for a couple of weeks with Mister's parents. While we were there, I skipped stage four of le Tour in favour of a test knit, which I'll blog separately since I'm really pleased with how that worked out. I did, however, do stage five:

Pattern: Flibbertigibbet, by Lisa K. Ross
Yarn: Yummy Yarn Studio 80/20 Merino Nylon Superwash Sock, in Mature Romance

Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Oh, and I also visited my first fibre arts festival, and, um, may have done some stash enhancement.

Don't look at me like that - it's not all mine, actually, some of them were sister purchases, one skein is destined to be socks as a gift for Mum, and a few skeins are destined for Mister - one for a hat, and two for socks. (He came around to the idea of handknit socks while we were wandering the booths at the festival. I better get on it before he changes his mind!)

And then we came home, and now I'm nearly caught up with the laundry that we accumulated while we were gone, and getting myself ready to be back at work for a new semester next week. I've started another test knit, and stage six of TdS is going to drop tomorrow morning.

Hello, fall.

Friday, July 13, 2018

TdS 2018: stage 1 timelapse

Days 1 & 2.

Day 3.

Day 4.

Day 5.

Et fini!

Pattern: Plan A, by Adrienne Fong
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, in Bouquet
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Size knitted: pattern size L, because I ignored pattern gauge.
Tour rank: #282 (I got 6 points!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

K'done: Dory cardigan

At long last, let there be pictures.

Pattern: Dory, by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, in Tokyo Creme (old Classy)
Needles: 5.5 mm / US 9

For someone who used to turn up her nose at cardigans, I've developed a real soft spot for them - I actually prefer them to pullovers by a really wide margin. I love the way I can toss one on over a plain shirt and suddenly have a top half that is presentable in a professional context. Yes, this means that my wardrobe has become amply populated with plain comfy tees, which I then spruce up for work with a cardi, instead of splitting my shirt inventory between work shirts and not-for-work shirts.

I don't remember the specifics of how I came across this pattern in my searches, but I stumbled across it last summer, I guess - my Rav project page has a (system-generated) note saying that I queued it on 6 June 2017. I didn't actually start it until September, when I wanted something to chug along with as low-key bedtime knitting in the background of the academic year. Also, I wanted another sweater - because I seem to perpetually want more sweaters.

I quite like the texture pattern on this, and am thinking about ramming it into some socks for my father, and maybe some socks for my mother too. Just knits and purls, but deeply satisfying, somehow. The astute will have noticed the lack of buttons, because I know I won't bother buttoning this, so I just left them off entirely. This way I don't get stuck in the pit of needing to go button shopping.

The knitting of this sweater was uneventful, but not in a boring sort of way - it's mostly stockinette, which makes it great for when you're mentally too tired to bother with real thought. Not that this past academic year has been particularly demanding or anything, it's just that after using your brain at work, you kind of want a break from that once you're off the clock. This is not to be taken as a counterargument to those who have suggested a like-cures-like approach for picking projects, wherein people who find themselves in a trying situation find they want particularly demanding, challenging knits to go with them. I suspect the like-cures-like approach works for those scenarios where you're trying to escape from some difficulty - you need something that will more fully engage your mind, to prevent it from worrying or fretting or panicking about whatever it is that is causing you stress. That's not what I needed, I wasn't in any sort of state of emergency or panic. I wanted an unwinding knit - something that would soothe my mind, but not really demand much from it, since I didn't need a distraction from being stuck in panic. A meditation knit, perhaps?

Tech specs: all pieces are knit from the bottom up, so the hem and sleeves are edged by Chinese waitress COs; the neckband and buttonbands are edged with a double-chain BO. The neckband is ever-so-slightly strange at the ends, blocking mostly made them lie flat, but it must be something about the way I pick up stitches (or which strands I used in doing this), because I've seen similar ruffling on other pieces I've done. Despite embarking on this project with some yarn chicken fears, I have plenty of leftovers - at least 50 g, probably enough to do a hat, but since this is the scratchier 'old' Classy, I may not actually bother trying.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

K'done: Leyburn(ish) socks

I'm still not really sure how I feel about these socks.

Pattern: Leyburn Socks (sort of), by MintyFresh
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, in Humminbird
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

I swing back and forth between thinking they're completely awesome and thinking they're so eye-searingly wild that the stitch motif doesn't really show. I'm pretty sure this yarn was going to give me singed retinas no matter what I did with it, and I ended up with sort of vague stripes that have blurred edges thanks to the faux quilting, which is close to my probably insane and unrealistic goal of having the colours scattered together throughout the socks, so I think that's supposed to count as a win?

Despite my apparent ambivalence, I really am pleased with how they turned out, and will be happily wearing them - well, probably not for several weeks, really, since it's now sandal season, but you know, maybe sooner rather then later if it gets rainy again.

It should be noted that these socks should not be used to gauge how one feels about the Leyburn pattern, because I didn't follow it - I just yoinked the quilted stitch motif from it. I plonked the quilted stitch in as panels worked over the front and back of the leg, with plain stockinette in between, and because I didn't think things through I didn't properly centre those panels - I should have split the leg into front and back so that there was an odd number of stitches on each, and then I would have been able to truly centre the quilted panels. I also used my own stitch counts, working the legs over 68 sts, and the feet over 64 sts, and I worked these top down, whereas the pattern would have you do them bottom up.

I've knit the pattern in the past, a very long time ago, and had completely forgotten that it's a pretty fun one to work up, and it seems to just fly by. There is some compression of row gauge thanks to the slipped stitch rounds, but you only do that once every four rounds (as opposed to the every other round system typical of slipped stitch patterns), so I didn't get the major pooching out of the sole of the foot that apparently offends my sensibilities. There is a slight rippling of the stockinette panels at the sides of the legs due to the difference in row gauge, but it's entirely possible that blocking will smooth that out.

There may be a plan in the back of my head to make more of these. Like I said, it's fun.

Tech specs: I started with an Italian tubular CO, slammed in an eye of partridge heel flap worked over half the stitches, and finished it off with a rounded wedge toe (decrease every other round six times, then decrease every round five times) and grafted the toes shut with Kitchener stitch, with the two edge stitches on both sides worked together.

In other news - 11 days until TdS 2018!