New year plans – 2019

Last year I made quite specific plans for my stash and makes. It didn’t really work for me to be honest. I still very much want to knit many of those projects and maybe will or won’t. But I don’t want to look back and beat myself up for not knitting those projects when I have made pretty things that I love anyways.

So here is my diet for 2019.

My diet for 2019

So instead I have a more high level plan for 2019. It all kind of started in November last year when I saw people doing yarn diets. I have done something similar for a month here and there when my stash grew at an alarming rate. Since November however I haven’t bought any more yarn and just a couple of patterns. I kind of want to continue actually using my stash instead of buying new yearn.

There is of course always temptation out there but personally I feel like I did quite well so far by avoiding any sale purchases whatsoever. In my mind I am looking forward to some of my special stash yarns and actually using them for their destined projects.

This may not be a very exciting new year resolution but one I am very happy with at least. I don’t think this means I will not buy any yearn this year but hopefully I will make more considerate purchases. For example for a couple of years now I have been thinking about daughter of the shepherd yarns and I can’t wait to make one fo the cute jumpers from the book and use the recommended yarn for it, which I would have to buy.

So what is my short term plan of attack? Well use my sock yarn has been a good one. I have a few zauber balls and have loved knitting one into socks.

Also I don’t want to be afraid to rip something back or get rid of it when it didn’t work. Such examples were my texture time shawl and probably is my starting point shawl as well. (I am yet to rip that one back where possible).

The texture time shawl actually ended in me using one of the sock yarns for a sock and it came out so nice whereas in the shawl it just looked awkward. The sock still needs its partner but look how lovely it looks pre blocking.

So considering what I make and why and also which materials I use for it will be big on my list for 2019.

Do you have any yarn-resolutions?

Completed Projects in 2018

It is nearly the end of the year and I have not been too productive in 2018 compared to previous years, but I have knitted a couple of jumpers and achieved some things such as learning new techniques and designing my first jumper from scratch.

Below you can see the completed projects of 2018. I have two pairs of socks on the go and am nearly finished with a cardigan but I am moving house this week so am unlikely to finish anything before the end of the year.

Screenshot 2018-12-19 at 11.06.39.png

In my previous round up of 2017 I noted some highlights and new to me yarns and techniques so will try to do the same here.

Makes of 2018

3 selfless knits:

  • 1 pair of mittens to go with a hat from last year.
  • 1 cabled hat for my friend in Vienna
  • And a test knit which became my guide daughter’s

I have also donated some previously made items to charity.

The other things I am most proud of are the self designed jumper (writing patterns and grading them is hard!) and I loved making the Boko Boko cowl as that was a knit-along with 2 amazing ladies here in Brighton.

I also learned to call it quits and sometimes just rip back and frog a project. There may be more of that to come in the future. I think I have one more WIP to rip back.

Techniques of 2018

  1. Sock knitting  – top down
  2. Designing a jumper and grading the pattern
  3. Experimenting with 3D knitting
  4. Knitting cables without a cable needle
  5. More Marlisle

Not sure if it counts but I also used mohair for the first time and it is currently a WIP.

 

Looking at the plans for 2018

If I look back at my Make Nine plans for 2018 I have been quite bad and only completed 2 of those. But then bad may be the wrong word. I am still happy with what I made and where the year took me. 🙂

I managed to make the Boxy and Brackett hat. There are still items on this list I want to try and make in 2019 but I will make plans in another post.

How was 2018 for you and your knitting journey? I hope you have a lovely break over the holidays and have a wonderful start to the new year. 🙂

WIP: Texture Time Kal

So beginning of last month I took the scary plunge and joined a mystery knit along. These can be a gamble as you have no idea what you are going to be knitting. You receive a few clues over a few weeks and then tadaaa the item is revealed in full.

Now I got completely excitedly into this particular one. Clue 1 was syndicated brioche with an excited shape and use of colours. I love the bit I made with clue one and clue 2 taught me a new technique which was fun to learn and I liked how this looked too and was excited about the wrap.

IMG_8756

IMG_4757

But then clue 3 and 4 looked lazy and weird in combination with this awesome centre piece. I never finished clue 2 after seeing clue 3 and now feel completely demotivated to finish the item. This is a shame because initially it was really fun to see this shawl be revealed. I should have waited. I know what I am like and I like putting my own mark on things which is hard when you don’t know the finished design and what yarn may look good or may be showcased how.

As the first clue had loads of ends unravelling is not really an option for me. So I will probably just leave the item and decide to maybe incorporate it into my handmade blanket. Actually thinking of it that is a good idea! Sometimes you just need to write something out.

 

FO: Askews me shawl

I have finally done it and finished the Askews me shawl by Stephen West. This DK squishy brioche wonder of asymmetricalness alluded me for a while. Once I knew a bit more about brioche, I had the confidence to start the project but then didn’t know what colours to make it in.

I am trying to be better with my stash and not just buy things for new projects all the time but see what I have and what I can make from it. I realised I had a fade from madelintosh in white and speckles that I wanted to make a cardigan from but never did and I had some more DK colours in tonal variations in Brooklyn tweed arbor. I felt like both yarns were special and needed a special dedicated project and I nearly did not use them but in the end it is better for something to be used and hopefully then be loved than sit in a box forever. At least that was my thinking and I cast on.

Then I cast on several more times because I did not understand the brioche garter tab. If you can call it that but eventually it made sense and then this project is a breeze. I do suggest using markers to mark the sections where you increase and later decrease to make sure this is a mindless knit.

IMG_4616

I took this everywhere even though it grew so big and heavy. I must have looked crazy with my massive back pack and then getting this project out of my fringe field bag. The bag wouldn’t even close. Overall this was a simple and fun knit and I love the result. The wrap is squishy and warm and lovely to use.

The edge is finished with an icord which is a new to me technique and I loved it. It made for a great finish and I have seen some versions of people using bits of random bright colours in the icord. This is really effective.

Do you ever block brioche? I did not block this wrap,… well yet anyways. I am worried about the colourful underside leaking and staining the other bits of the wrap. I would not pin this but wondered if it could use a little relaxing bath.

I will ponder and then decide. I’ll be sure to take before and after pics.

IMG_4653IMG_4652

Those are before pictures. What happened when blocking? The wrap grew massive. It hardly fits on my double bed now. It’s also less squishy and the brioche has sort of expanded.

You can see in these pictures that there are now gaps between the ridges. For me that works quite well as now the shawl drapes more for wrapping myself in and I like the colours showing through.

For the actual blocking process I only soaked the shawl in luke warm water for about 20 mins with a bit of Soak in it. I like using this because it smells amazing and you don’t need to rinse it out but you can use whatever you prefer. I used to use softener and rinse it out.

I then rolled the wet shawl between two towels and jumped on it to get some moisture out and then laid it gently on a towel on my spare sofa bed. The shawl was gently placed and not pinned or stretched in any way. I just laid it flat. Two days later it was dry and wearable. 🙂

How do you wear your askews me?

Trip to York with personal workshop in spinning

My friend who originally got me into knitting lives in York and I decided to pay her a much over due visit this weekend. Since moving back to the UK she not only knits and sews but has started spinning and dyeing her own yarns and processing fleeces.

Her house is a treasure trove of special Yarn blends and hand spun Yarn. There is of course non handspun Yarn too but the hand spun and dyed stuff was way too interesting to pay the commercial stuff any attention.

You may have seen my socks I made from one of her special non nylon sock blends.

My absolute favourites of hers were this neutral and this grey. But she also has some fun dyed braids and spun yarns.

Being the enabler she is, she taught me a 6 hour workshop from making my own batt on a drum carder, to spinning it up and playing it and finishing my yarn.

I never doubted it but I was amazed how good she’s gotten with deliberately practice and how much knowledge she now has. It was incredible.

This was not all however. On my last morning I also got a lesson in hand carding to make rolags! This is super fun and I liked the effect of blending two fleeces together a lot and seeing the fleece change into more recognisable fibre.

I now of course would love my own spinning wheel and drum carder. How does this happen!?

Do you spin?

WIP: Aug 2018

I’ve started a new job and it’s been quite exhausting. I’ve started a few jobs over the years but I’m struggling this time to have the energy to unwind with knitting in the evening.

You know what it’s like, new people, new processes and tools and at the end of the day I just need some trash TV and cannot concentrate.

None of my current WIPs are mindless enough to warrant knitting at the same time.

The main new project that has jumped onto my needles is the Ingrid Sweater by Helga Isager from Room 606. This is a beautiful publication with great photos.

I found the instructions quite hard initially so started with the back piece of the jumper to get used to the writing style and I finally understand the shaping of the front and back piece. The tricky bit will be the awesome wedge of the sleeves.

This is also the first time I’m knitting with Mohair. The original is quite modern and plain but I decided to mix it up by using Qing fibre kidsilk dyed in Monsoon colour-way to create a nice colour flow. Right now I love this match. Will see how things go for the sleeves.

I also started Paper Birch Socks. These are a fun colourwork sock that looks more complicated than it is due to the clever use-age of a colour fading yarn. I am using leftovers from my Boxy and a Zauberball as contrast.

In the meantime I’ve messed up my askews me. I didn’t take it as a travel project this weekend because I have no idea how to fix my mistake. But I did get a bit further with it. The mistake is not on this image yet. It was a section further in. Sigh. I’ll fix it somehow before the bank holiday weekend during which I’ll have lots of travel knitting time. 🙂

Hopefully you are all having a more productive knitting time than me. I just seem to start more and more things. Ha!

WIP: July 2018

It has been such a hot few weeks here that it has been hard to keep knitting. Sweaty hands keep making me fear that I will felt the yarn and also it just does interrupt my knitting flow if the yarn gets a bit sticky. :/

Nevertheless after I finished my test knit for Narwhal, I felt rejuvenated and wanted to cast on all the things just for me. 😀

IMGP4444

One of those was the Lotta dress from Laine magazine, which I decided to use a linen blend yarn from Purl soho for. I am holding it double to get gauge.I am liking how it knits up so far but as you can see I have barely done 10 rows, if that. This is because I was also taken by the Askews me shawl by Stephen West.

IMGP4446IMGP4447

I think Askews me has haunted me for ages, not knowing what yarn to use but then I suddenly felt super inspired and found some stuff in my stash to use. Both yarns I wanted to keep for something special but actually this will be special. The yarns I am using are an optic fade set from Madelinetosh in DK and Brooklyn Tweed Arbor set from Stephen and Penelope which included a limited edition dyed skein from House of a la Mode. I am loving knitting this. It is only my second brioche project ever and possibly much easier than my first. I am still a bit scared of using lighter weight yarns for brioche projects but I will get there. This DK combo is nice and easy to get into a rhythm with without the yarn slipping all over the place.

IMGP4448IMGP4449

My idea is to fade the Optic colours from light to dark on top and do the opposite on the underside, but throw in a splash of colour once in a while as an ode to Stephen West. 😀

Other projects still in progress are my Timely Cardigan which recently had an update to include a wider range of sizes! You should check it out. It is a lovely knit but I just keep getting distracted.

fullsizeoutput_2382

And as part of my local yarn shop’s shawl along I picked up my abandoned Starting Point wrap. I had even marked it frogged on Ravelry but I revived it and finished the first section and am now on the second. An amazing observation from starting this one again is that my gauge is a lot loser a year later! Will see how that will affect the finished product.

fullsizeoutput_238b

What have you been knitting in July?

FO: Narwhal by Sari Nordlund

If anyone took part in Fringe Association’s knit along in 2016 they would have already seen this beautiful design by Sari Nordlund. She designed a beautiful top down jumper with a cabled front and reverse stockinette body. The body shape itself is straight without any shaping opening it up for being as designed with 2-5cm positive ease or you could push the boat out and go really oversized. I think that would be awesome!

IMG_1395

As I was a test knitter I kept to the instructions and chose a size with 2-5cm positive ease based on my upper bust measurement. The only modification I made was aim for slightly longer sleeves, simply because I have really long arms.

If you search #narwhalsweater on instagram you will also be able to see the other test knitter versions. The cable pattern is super clever and you will be able to remember it, don’t worry! And once you do it will make you feel amazing. It is a joy to watch this sweater grow.

The trickiest part of the design is reading the charts of the left and right hand side of the yoke and getting the increases right, but Sari has been really good at providing hints and tips throughout the pattern.

I especially love her tip about knitting the sleeves inside out, which really sped up my knitting. By knitting them inside out you can knit in stockinette and are creating the reverse stockinette effect. Be conscious of potential gauge issues doing this though.

This jumper is made using light sport weight (always swatch to get gauge) and hence will be a great transitional piece or even for colder summer evenings. In the pictures I was on the windy south coast one summer’s eve, when the wind chill picked up.

Speaking of yarn, I used Julie Esselin Fino. It’s content is the following:

  • 75% Wool – Merino
  • 15% Goat – Cashmere goat
  • 10% Silk

It was a buttery soft yarn to knit with and the colour is stunning in the light. It will look sort of mustard yellow and go into gold tones as well. Just my perfect colour palette at the moment. 😀 All in all I had a blast knitting this and can’t wait to see more versions of this beautiful jumper appear now that it will be released tomorrow! I will update my ravelry project to link to it as soon as I can.

 

 

 

FO: The Uncommon Boxy

IMG_3244_medium2

This title is a bit funny, as this pattern is anything but uncommon! There are nearly 4000 versions of this on Ravelry already!

I finished this a while ago and have worn it as much as I could before the weather got to warm. I am talking about the infamous Boxy which I knitted in a gorgeous green colour way by “The Uncommon Thread”, which I talk about here.

This pattern is a sea of stockinette which made it a perfect travel project. I cast this on on new year’s day if I remember correctly and it did take me a while to finish, but that was mostly because until you get to the upper body where some clever detail is hidden it is just  stockinette for hours.

It is a great pattern to try a fade on or use a variegated yarn. You basically make a rectangle and the some magic happens that I don’t really remember and suddenly you add the neckline ribbing and sleeves and you are done.

The bit I am sort of annoyed about is not thinking about the fact that the yarn was hand-dyed and I should have knitted with alternate balls throughout to blend the colour but I have a subtle colour blocked version of this now, which is also fine.

My favourites bits are the detail at the top of the shoulders and along the back. It is a nice touch and makes the pattern more exciting to knit right at the end. I feel like Joji is very clever like that. She makes beautiful addictive to knit patterns that are accessible and fun to make. You still feel like you are learning something.

The only amendment I made was make the sleeves full length. I felt like for my wardrobe this was a better choice, but since I made the jumper I want to make more versions of it so I may also try the recommended sleeve length on those. 🙂

This was a major success and it goes so well in my wardrobe. I can’t believe it has taken me two years to start this knit. If you are thinking about it, knit it now. You won’t regret it. 😀

 

Friday Favourites: The colour Orange!

I was looking through my yarn stash for some inspiration this week and discovered that a new colour has crept into my stash on several different yarn bases and with different projects in mind. All of these were of some sort of orange!

I wondered where this new like for this colour has come from as my two new notebooks are also orange and googled what Pantone’s colour of the year was but according to them I am very 2012! 2018’s colour of the year is in fact Ultra Violet.

Where was this obsession coming from? I have no idea, according to Vogue I am also missing the point in this year’s trendy colours! haha!

Oh well. According to y buying habit I shall be making something orange in the very near future.

The yarns below are from variety of independent makers with different projects in mind.

IMG_3666

The only one I am still certain about, is the solid orange in the middle which is Malabrigo sock yarn. This will become  pair of cabled socks at some point. The Zauberball at the end most likely as well. Maybe not cabled but I mean a pair of socks.

Qing fibre is a singles yarn so this is likely to become part of a shawl I think. I need to unwind the skein to have a look at the other colours properly.

Do you ever look through your stash and notice a new theme in your buying habit?

EDIT: I had prepped this post and then just this orange and beautiful pattern was released! Wool and Honey by Andrea Mowry!

Isn’t it fun!? I am raiding my stash at the moment to see if I can make it from the stash!

untitled-48_medium2
© Andrea Mowry