Wednesday, 27 January 2016

2015 Knitting Round-Up: Selfish Knitting

I am, primarily, a selfish knitter. I knit for me and I'm not ashamed or embarrassed to admit it. I find things I want to knit or knit with much much faster than I finish knitting things. I knit a bunch of haps for other people because I wanted to knit haps and the colours I was knitting them in didn't suit me. I knit things for Chris and Little Djinn because I love them and spending my knitting time to make things for them is a way to demonstrate that love. But mostly I knit because I like to knit and I want lots of beautiful knit things to wear and show off.

Byatt Shawl:I blogged about my Byatt shawl back in March after I wore it to EYF. I said it was starting a trend for two colour shawls but instead it was the start of a blue and silver trend in projects (some of which are still waiting to be knit). Pattern by Karie Westermann, yarn from Ripples Crafts.

Baskerville Hat and Strada Headband
I blogged about these as well, waxing rhapsodic about the new-to-me superwash BFL from Old Maiden Aunt. I got two finished objects I love out one skein and wore them a lot in the spring, summer, and autumn.

Tryghed Hat: Another hat, another Karie Westermann pattern. I blogged about this back in October. I like the hat: the shape suits me and it's big enough. I never wear the hat: the colour is wrong. It's a beautiful colour and I picked it because it's beautiful, but you only see the beautiful highlights in the sun. The rest of the time it looks like a dark khaki green and that doesn't suit me. This is a hat in search of a new home.

Mithral Hat: I didn't blog about this project, I don't think. The pattern was offered as a chance to swatch the pattern for the sweater of the same name. I actually knit it twice, frogging the first go and reknitting it when, despite getting stitch gauge, it was way too short (row gauge). I've worn it a few times, but I haven't woven in the ends as the style doesn't much suit me and I may need the wool for the sweater in question.

Miette Cardigan: I don't think I ever blogged about this one, last year's big disappointment. The whole time I was knitting it I knew it wasn't going to fit but I knit it anyway and sure enough it didn't fit. If I knit it again, and I may very well do as Miette is a lovely pattern, I'll add another couple of inches across the bust as it fit in across the shoulders and through the arms, it just didn't close in the front. This is the second time I've knit a cardigan with J C Rennie's wool and both have been, ah, disappointing. This is coincidence as the wool is lovely. But my understanding of how to knit a jumper increases so third time will be the charm.

Scollay: This was the big success of the year, my Scollay cardigan. I wear it almost every day and still haven't gone back to re-knit the button bands to be wider. It's big enough - it'll stretch around me and Little Djinn in a pinch - but the button bands pull and I think part of that is being reverse stockingette and part of that is not being wide enough. At some point I will fix the button bands and then it'll be even more my favourite cardigan.

O W L S: I didn't have a chance to blog about O W L S. A friend was having a knitting slump so I went through her queue on Ravelry and found that the only thing we had queued in common is O W L S (there are two kinds of knitters - those who have knit O W L S and those who want to) so I proposed a KAL of our very own. We both ordered wool from New Lanark Mill, the same as my Scollay cardigan though a different weight - she chose "pebble" and I got "blueberry" and she had a number of problems getting started, like the wool not showing up and then not having the size needle she'd need and, um, I knit mine in about a week before she even had her wool. Oops. So I kinda kept quiet about finishing but here it is. I did the math for the number of stitches verses my hips and found the pattern had 9" of negative ease (smaller than my body) so I added 5" worth of stitches I have about 5" of positive ease (larger than my body). Um, oops. Really not sure how that went wrong except, in this case I should have trusted the pattern. The extra increases I added for my sleeves was perfect though. Anyway, instead of being fitted (which I didn't want), it's quite baggy (which is more than I wanted) but still has curves and it's very comfy and I love it.

Cotton Brainless: I cast these on in April and finished them in August. They were my "follow Little Djinn around the Floral Hall" project and she went through a "Mama, carry me!" phase. Is still in it, actually. Cotton sock yarn from Opal in my then-default pattern, Brainless.

Pheasant in the Road: WYS socks in the colourway Pheasant with aferthought round heels. I love my autumnal rainbows. I bought a pair of their ready-made socks in this colourway for Chris and knit the leftovers into socks for Little Djinn. I think I'll like the round heels more than the wedge heels in the pair of socks I'm currently working on.

Skovtur Mitts: Another unblogged pattern by Karie Westermann. I knit these towards the end of October when I was poorly and watching Switched at Birth. These were the second of my blue and silver projects to get knit up (the third, with the leftovers from this was the Skelter Hat for Chris). I love them and I wear them a lot, but they're in a kinds of weird place for knitwear. They're very warm, which is great for cold days, but they're fingerless which is more of a transitional element. I probably should have gone with my first instinct, to turn them into mittens.

Lindgren Mittens: If these look a bit like the Skovtur Mitts, well, it's Karie Westerman again. I only just finished these this month but still haven't woven the ends in. Oops. They're actually not as warm as the Skovtur ones - thick Aran wool vs smooth DK wool/alpaca blend - but they do cover my fingers so that's a plus. The picture is from before I finished knitting them.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Post-Holiday Knitting Ennui

I haven't even been home from our holiday for a day and already I'm finding it hard to remember what I was knitting before I left, let alone why I was enthusiastic about those projects.

I took my current pair of socks (the ones for me, not the Bullfinch Socks of Never Fitting for Chris), and made good progress on them, considering travel time is decidedly not knitting time when traveling just with a toddler). I was 2/3rds the way through the first sock and I'm currently 3/5ths the way through the sEconomic sock, which is almost one full sock knit. They're "vanilla" socks with an afterthought heel, like my partridge ones but toe-up and a wedge toe and heel rather than cuff-down with a round toe and heel. I don't know which heel I'll prefer, but I know I like toe-up socks and I think I like wedge toes, and I love rainbow stripes however they come, especially when they sparkle.

Chris wanted to visit the Apple Store in Glasgow on the way back, only to learn that they closed for refurbishment this week so we stopped by John Lewis instead (actually showing up before they opened!) so I took Little Djinn to the haberdashery and looked at fabric for a dress a few internet knitter friends and I want to sew up (LoveSewingMag Threadcount 1501/Butterick 5982) and wear to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. They had a lot of clearance fabrics, but nothing - clearance or full price - that particularly appealed to me. I don't feel ready for a lot of pattern matching and pretty much everything was obvious patterns (I prefer solids and weaves) in colours that don't suit my complexion. I eventually picked a red fabric with pink heart/cherry clusters with green leaves and stems. The greens are wrong, but the red isn't too yellow for me and that's the main thing. 

Now, as it's the Edinbugh Yarn Festival, not the Edinburgh Sewing Festival, the other part of the goal is to make a coordinating cardigan to match. Green is the obvious choice for the fabric - assuming the dress is at least a wearable toile - but not something I have a lot of in my stash. I have a sweater quantity of New Lanark Wool Aran in "tartan", an emerald green, and Aran knits up quickly, but I already have two sweaters in NLW: my Scollay in the DK and my OWLS in chunky. It's not exactly a next-to-the-skin wool, nor would it be my first choice for a "transitional" garment. I'll look at patterns for crop/vintage cardigans in Aran or Worsted and see if anything seems suitable...

And I just realized that a green cardigan over a red dress would make me look like a Christmas Tree. Pants. White or pink then. Of course, black would match my shoes. (I love coordinating as much as the next gal but I've got one style of comfortable shoes in two colours - black or oxblood - and those are the ones I'll be wearing.)

Meanwhile, I have the baby sweater I mentioned in my 2015 Gift Knitting Roundup, which I started on NYE. I have one sleeve to finish, blocking, weaving in ends, and buttons to attach and that'll be finished. Easy-peasy, right?

The current issue of Knit Now magazine came with yarn to knit a selection of small items and Little Djinn and Chris both wanted the Owl from the cover (I was leaning towards the zebra, even though that one is crochet and I'm not good at crochet). I knit the body before we left, still need to block it, sew it up, stuff it, knit the beak, wings and eyes (crochet those?) and sew them on. Easy-peasy, right?

I need to weave the ends in on my Lindgren mitts and block them. They're otherwise done. And it's cold so I could really use a pair of stranded colourwork mittens. Easy-peasy, right?

Instead, between loads of laundry and being a climbing structure for a small child (who is very happy to be reunited with all her toys and intends to play with all of them first thing) I am knitting a bright pink cat-bobble hat for that child. We'll see if this is enough to keep her head covered.

Monday, 4 January 2016

2015: State of the Knitting, Gifts

I don't really feel like I have a lot to show for this year's knitting, although Ravelry shows I completed 27 projects this year, so it has to be at least considered that I'm being too hard on myself. Without further ado, a roundup of 2015s "unselfish" knitting:

Finished Objects
I made three "Haps" (and a mini-Hap) all as gifts: a full-Hansel in yellow with blue and green for a former coworker who was getting married; a half-Hansel in green with yellow and blue for Miss Morgan who came to visit; a mini-Hansel for Little Djinn's dolls in scraps; and a sparkling pink/purple mystery shawl (now Havra), a half-hap style construction for Miss Krissy's birthday. Miss Krissy loved hers, though she reports that her taste in colours is getting more muted (Autumnal?). I don't think the other three were particularly impressed.

I knit a pair of little fingerless mitts in pink with white hearts from a Knit Now (magazine) kit for Miss Anya's birthday because it arrived just in time and she loves pink. She made a big fuss about how much she likes them, but she's since moved to England.

For Little Djinn I knit three pairs of socks, two pairs being the same will, frogged to reknit them, both times too small. A third pair seems to be too long. She wont let me measure her. I finished her second Ravi Jr cardigan, this time in an orange that's almost gold.

I also knit her a little hat which, really, I knew better. She doesn't wear hats, unless they're my hats and she snatches them from me. It's a really nice hat, though, Quynn in super soft rainbow wool from a local "natural" dyer. She now says she wants hats with pom-poms so I guess I can try that next? She might wear a hat someday, right?

Her favourite knit has been Fudge the Dog, another kit from Knit Now magazine. Fudge is one of her two favourite toys to take out in the pram, the other being a (storebought) knit kitty, Puddy. Fudge likes to go for walks with us and see the "other" doggies.

On the charity side, I knit a Sheep Carousel to be auctioned at the Highland Wool Festival (didn't win the contest; no idea how much was bid for it) and a couple of small hats for refugees, but then I was poorly on the collection dates so I need to find a new home for them.

Chris did not fair as well in the gift-knitting department. I finished two hats which I felt didn't much suit me and I passed on to him, first the Seaforth which he hasn't taken to, though he has been grateful for it the times we met up in town to walk home and he didn't have a (warm) hat with him. I also gave him the mystery hat, now Skelter, that I knit in November which he likes except the pom-pom bounces when he walks, and I keep borrowing if I'm going out and know he won't be.

The Snawheid hat I knit last Nov/Dec was also given away, because whilst I loved it, it didn't fit well and I knew someone with a smaller head who would appreciate it.

UnFinished Objects
I did work a little on Chris' languishing Terry's Pullover, and finished grafting the sleeves on (pour execution decision - not a design element) and I think I even seamed the sleeves, but faced with weaving all those ends in - and there are a lot of ends as I knit this before I knew about spit splicing - keeps overwhelming me. It doesn't help that he mentioned that he doesn't like to wear pullovers, preferring cardigans, which I feel he could have mentioned before I knit it twice (the first time was too tight).

On NYE, I started a Wee Liesl for a friend who was due that day. The baby in question showed up late last night, but I've finished the body and am working on the first sleeve so I should be done before too long. I picked the pattern because I have the recommended wool in stash, leftover from knitting Little Djinn's baby blanket and a cardigan for myself.

Frozen or Frogged
I started a Wee Melia for Little Djinn in a gorgeous glowing orange, but 3/4ths the way through I realized I need to do the next size up and she now tells me she "doesn't love orange". Gah. I bought more of the same wool in a pinky-purple that hasn't arrived yet but hopefully she'll like. I need to decide if I'm going to try ripping the orange attempt back halfway and making it bigger or swapping the wool or and what pattern to pick for the new colour.

Also in limbo are two pairs of socks for Chris. There's the bullfinch socks I blogged about just before Christmas and the Herringbone Rib socks I started back in April 2013. Yeah. I'm on the cuff of the second sock, but it's not a stitch pattern I can work without concentration so they're just going to have to wait. Or get frogged. Frogging seems more and more likely, doesn't it? They can languish for now.

In December I started a KAL on Google+ for a maple leaf shawl but I'm not feeling the love. I'm thinking the wool I picked would make a better Stella Luna.