Thursday, 20 July 2017

AYoT: Knitted on Border (June)

I am almost caught up with my A Year of Techniques posts, now that July is 2/3rds gone. The patterns have been released on the first Thursday of each month, which was only the 1st of the month once, so while I think of the deadline for finishing on time as the end of the month, there's usually an extra almost week to do so. Not that I needed the extra time for July's project, the Talmadge Cloche by Romi Hill, featuring a knitted-on edging.

It's a top-down lace ribbing hat that looks -way- too small until it's almost done and then, magically, it fits when you add the moss stitch border. Except in my case where I finished and blocked it and, while  I could wear it,  it was too small and squishing my head. I gave it to Kristina who is peak gamin in the above picture. My yarn, as I didn't buy the summer kit yarn, was RipplesCrafts Reliable Sock Yarn in a custom Christmas colourway Helen dyed up for me many moons ago. Red Red Wine would be close. As a sock yarn, it lacked the drape of the suggested 100% merino Fyberspates Vivacious which I expect is why it came out a little small. I don't tend to swatch for hats as they're barely larger than a swatch and will fit someone. There's a similar shaped cloche knit in DK weight yarn in Romi Hill's recent publication, New Lace, which I bought in an Interview sale, should I wish something similar for me. Although, I do prefer berets and tams and it so happens that there is just such a pattern in the book based on the same leaf motif. 

I also signed up for a technique KAL, The 7 Resizeable Shawls, that Romi Hill is running with two simultaneous publications, a book with the seven full-size shawls and instructions for making them bigger or smaller, and a workbook with a doll-sized version of the shawl, detailed instructions on the technique featured, and an accessory that also uses the technique. I bought just the workbook because as much as I love beautiful shawls (and Romi Hill is known for incredibly beautiful shawls), I don't wear them. 

The first shawl is out, the Reciprocate (doll) Shawl, and the technique bit on mosaic stitches (colourwork formed with slipped stitches), but the accessory project isn't out and other than a start (February 2016) and end (August 2018) date, I can't find any information about when patterns can be expected. It's not a deal-breaker, I'm don't regret my purchase, I just wish I had some idea when I will get to play along. Not that I'm hurting for projects or techniques, obviously. I just like to know, if only vaguely. 

And that's me caught up on the finished AYoT projects. I am well underway for the July project, a pair of top-down, heel-flap socks, which I will tell you about at the end of the month. There's still time to sign up and KAL 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

AYoT: Pinhole Cast-On (May)

After not having much experience with the first two techniques, the third was one I have some experience with, the Pinhole Cast-On which is a way of casting on in the round without leaving a hole. It's the same cast-on used to make the blanket squares for the Vivid blanket by Tin Can Knits (they're having a summer sale on their patterns - no links because I blog from my pad and can't do much, sorry).  

May's project was an adorable plush toy called Alex the Mouse designed by Ella Austin, with stranded colourwork (surprising as two-handed colourwork is another project) body and ears. The head and arms (I think, it's been a while!) start with pinhole cast-ons. Because I had bought the spring kit, I had the Sock Yeah! light-fingering yarn the pattern called for and it is beautiful, soft and the colours have subtle heathers get that helps the colours blend together across the whole range. Because it's so soft, I'm not sure I'd want to knit socks in it, I worry they wouldn't be durable but I would use it for anything else you can wear. 

Kristina generously decided that Alex would be for Katherine and Katherine agreed. The ears have never been the same. I am also almost finished with my Vivid blanket, which is entirely West Yorkshire Spinners except the purple which is Opal. 

I just need two more purple squares (one is on the needles) and one more mustard. Unless, of course, I decide to make it bigger. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

AYoT: Intarsia (April)

The April project for A Year of Techniques was the Brambling Shawl, an Intarsia project by Bristol Ivy, knit in five colours of Fyberspates Cumulus yarn, and is the only project from AYoT where I have correctly guessed all of the elements of a month's project. Or any of them. Twelve techniques, twelve designers, infinite (small) projects and even just three choices of yarn in the quarterly kits is apparently just too much for me. 

The Brambling Shawl is a shallow, asymetrical triangle shawl knit side to side with different colour blocks swooping gently across it. The Cumulus yarn is a thin fuzzy strand of alpaca/silk that looks like light fingering (3ply) but is intended to knit up at a sportweight gauge for a light, soft, flowing (warm) fabric that drapes beautifully. The fuzz makes the stitches blend together, but also makes it really difficult to unpick mistakes. And I made just about every mistake one could: knitting a purl row, knitting the wrong colour, shifting the wrong direction, dropping stitches... It was definitely a case of making bigger mistakes, faster.

The one thing I never screwed up was the intarsia. A few rows after joining my second colour and I had it down. The stickiness of the yarn made tensioning the yarn a dream and the increases and decreases were all within the colours so the colour changes always happen at the same place(s). 

The big learning curve for myself and most of the KAL-ers was how to keep track of a long, written out pattern with different things happening at different rates. The KAL thread is full of pictures of row counters, spreadsheets, and notes in the margins. 

If you're considering joining the A Year of Techniques KAL, there's still time. July's technique and pattern have just been released (heel turn) or you can join any of the on-going threads for previous months. You don't need to buy the book, or the yarn kits; the tutorial videos are on YouTube and any project that uses the technique counts. Just join the group, tag your project, and post a picture of it in progress in the appropriate thread.