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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you wear your askews me?

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!

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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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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

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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 ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Designing: What comes first for you?

I was wondering the other day about my own design process and other peoples. I am currently attending a “Design Masterclass” at my local yarn store and the format means we meet once a month for 4 months and explore designing our own garment or accessory based on some sort of inspiration.

During the process I got very blocked for the first 6 weeks. I was swatching and blocking swatch after swatch but never settling on anything to actually make. This got me thinking about other items I have made in the past and how I made them.

 

Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016

This was a knit along hosted by Karen Templer of Fringe Association and she even provided a pattern for calculating your own raglan design. I kinda of knew what yarn I wanted to use, as I had just fallen in love with Brooklyn tweed shelter and wanted a marled jumper but with some black accents.

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So I knew it was going to be a top down raglan jumper and I wanted it to be simple to let the yarn sing. Hence you could say my main inspiration came from the yarn.

Wingit Top Down jumper

My Wingit top down jumper was started in a class with Anna Maltz at the lovely Wild and Wooly shop. I loved this class. I feel so free. For me this was mostly about designing something and getting good at 2 colour work. I grabbed a stitch dictionary for simple 2 colour charts and some yarn that was roughly the same weight and played with colours and shapes. It was such a freeing experience.

After each section was done I would think about what colours to use next and which sort of shape they should use. I used a variegated yarn I may not have used otherwise and it really pulls the whole design together.

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So this one was more of a process inspiration.

 

Cosmonaut Hat

My first ever design that I then wrote down as a pattern was my Cosmonaut Hat. This was purely inspired by Countess Ablaze’s amazing Space Cadet yarn. It sparkles! I wanted something simple to let her dye work be really shown off and ideally a massive pom pom.

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So inspired by the yarn I can up with a really simple chunky hat.

 

Current design

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My current design I am working on as part of a class started with a yarn again. I knew that I wanted to use Foxen meets merino to make a jumper or cardigan that has some lovely texture in it. When I started swatching the yarn though I felt it was a bit thin in terms of weight for my liking. It is kind of sport weight maybe even a light sport weight.

So I then went through my stash and found some Madelintosh merino light that I had a similar amount of. In an attempt to not buy anything extra and make use of my stash I started swatching.

Now I dislike purling but I really did like the purl side of my swatches. But I was determined to find a different textured stitch that I liked. But I couldn’t. I did think i’d be happy with the effect of stockinette and started making my jumper. However when I turned it inside out I really liked it. So I continuing to knit this in stockinette but the end result will be turned inside out.

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This one started with yarn and I got creative by just using my stash and my knitting preferences. ๐Ÿ™‚

I guess I like winging it and experimenting as I go. This alongside some creative chaos provides me my happy place. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Crochet Memory Blanket – Lykke review

I have no idea if this is a thing or not, but I started to crochet a sort of memory blanket using leftover yarn and newly spun yarn.

At Edinburgh yarn festivalย I took a drop spindle class and I have been making a tiny bit of yarn here and there practising and trying to get better. I then really wanted to use the yarn in something but as it is just small bits here and there I wasn’t sure what to do. So I picked up my Lykke crochet set and started to crochet random bits together.

I guess this is sort of using a log cabin approach but using crochet rather than knitting. This gave me a great excuse to finally use my Lykke crochet set.

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The Lykke crochet set

The set comes with 10 crochet hooks in various sizes. The sizes are conveniently edged into the bottom of the hooks, where there is some metal wrapped around the driftwood.

Similarly to the interchangeable needle set, the wood is smooth and soft to the touch with no scratchy parts. The top of the hook is slightly pointed making it really easy to use, in my opinion. I have only ever crochet with metal sets and this pointy tip really made a difference to me. It was a lot less fiddly to get into different sized loops. My crochet skills are a bit rusty and I am using all sorts of weights of yarn so I really could feel the benefit of this top.

Otherwise they handle as you may imagine a stick might. ย They are stick shaped after all. I have only used them for about 30 mins to an hour at a time and got a little bit of a mark on my fingers, like a pressure mark but I think due to the smoothness of the wood I had no blisters.

The bag they come in as a metal latch and a small zip pocket for bits and bobs as well as another pocket on the inside. So plenty of room to store notions in.

The other nifty thing, is that you can stand the hooks up. I am not sure why you need to but if you were to change crochet hook a lot this may be useful. Although thinking about it, the sizes are etched into the bottom so maybe what I am saying makes no sense and you would never stand them up? ๐Ÿ™‚

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All in all I am enjoying using these and the sharp tip at the tip is great and they grab the yarn well, but I am not sure if they are the most comfortable to use for longer sessions. A handle of sorts shaped a bit more ergonomically may have been nice.

The blanket

The blanket itself is going well. I had to re-remember how to crochet but otherwise I am just making it up as I go, holding some yarns double or triple and joining them in random ways with the aim of a blanket shape. ๐Ÿ™‚

You can see some of the evolution below. I started with just handspun yarn and then found my leftover stash and started to experiment. It can be so freeing to just create from your mind without a set plan and I like that I can point at the sections and tell you which completed project the yarn came from.

P.S: I bought these hooks myself and was not endorsed in any way to do a review.

FO: Brackett Hat

My love affair with Stone Wool Cormo continues. When I purchased Laine Magazine number three this hat design was a must make on my list.

As you may know by know I love a nice cabled hat design as seen here, here and here. ๐Ÿ˜€

This one is not only cabled but was designed using one of my favourite yarns namely Stone Wool Cormo. The Brackett hat contains a horse shoe cable, as the eye catcher and then has smaller cables and a lace section. Some people have used seed stitch in the lace section but I stuck to the pattern as is.

The design uses 2 skeins, so I started with a dark red colour as I only had one skein of Tobacco. I like the contrasting brim look, but were I to do this again, I think I would knit with one colour as far as possible and then use another at the top to give it a dip dye effect. I really like the idea of that.

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I did use a half size smaller needle as I almost always have to size down and the hat still ended up quite large on my head. I may try to shrink it in the dryer, wish me luck!

The texture of the cables and lace is just lovely to knit and the suggested yarn has such lovely stitch definition that I highly recommend knitting this as suggested. You will love it.

 

FO: Boko Boko Cowl

 

Back in the summer of 2017 I attended Pomfest. This was a mix of yarn fest and talks and I think there may have also been workshops but I only attended a couple of talks and browsed the beautiful stalls.

One of the talks was by Olga Buraya-Kefelianย who talked about her knitting career and her journey through creating 3D textures and shapes with a Japanese influence. I had known of some of Olga’s designs but I wasn’t sure if her designs would be for me. But her talk was THE thing I kept talking about with my knitting friends.

2 knitting friends from the local community also saw her talk and were as fascinated as me by her Boko Boko Cowl and decided to organise a knit along.

Like I tend to do I had some ideas but decided to try and put my own spin on this pattern and see if I can use a lovely gradient of Brooklyn Tweed Arbor that I had in my stash already. This yarn is DK and as it is not too tightly spun I added in the recommended fine laceweight yarn with some steel content to help the spikes keep their shape.

The pattern is relatively simple. The trickiest bit was holding the lace weight steel yarn and not dropping it, as it did not always like to behave like the other yarn.

Once you have the pattern memorised it is a very quick satisfying knit. Not as boring as stockinette but also not too challenging for TV. And you are creating a cool 3D texture.

The yarn:

I used Brooklyn Tweed Arbor for the first time and really enjoyed knitting with it. The colours were great and the yarn never split. The twist seems to help bring out the lovely texture and ridges created by the yarn overs and decreases. It feels soft but not like merino, there is a slight sturdiness to it.

The other yarn I used was the Habu textiles steel wrapped silk yarn. I decided to use a golden colour to match most of the colours throughout and I like the subtle shine it gives the finished piece. Holding it alongside the DK yarn was a bit tricky in places but otherwise it was fine to knit with.

My Mods:

  1. Less repeats of each row and hence smaller spikes due to amount of yarn I had
  2. Multicolour cowl – over 6-8 rows I would alternate colours to fade in the next colour
  3. I didn’t pay attention to how many repeats I should do of the full pattern, just knitted til my yarn ran out
  4. Used DK yarn
  5. Made a size between small and medium

FO: Seathwaite for Tracy

I seem to knit this pattern once or twice a year at the beginning of a new year. This version has been in my mind for ages now.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios and was just lovely to knit with. It loves cables and the colour is great. I knew though that the colour is not quite right for me and when my friend Tracy visited me last autumn and tried all my hats on she loved me Seathwaite that I made from Three Irish Girls yarn shown in this post.

So I promised her to make her one and a few months later here we are. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope it fits her and she likes it.

Not much to say about this pattern apart from that I love it. It is so clever and soothing to knit and the cables are really fun. I also still cannot decide if I prefer a tubular cast on or a folded brim finish in a hat. Time will tell I guess.

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WIPs: January 2018

Wow so it is already nearly mid January! How did that happen!?

My last post in 2017 detailed my plans for the year. So far I have actually cast on one of the things from the list, namely the Boxy! It is a LOT of knitting stockinette to start with but it is the kind of thing I need right now, having started the year unwell and trying to settle back into work.

The yarn I am using is by The Uncommon Thread in BFLย in an amazing green. Last year may have been the year of me knitting with loads of grey, and this year it may be the colour green’s turn.

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Because I also cast on a selfless knit in a lovely Teal of Malabrigo Rios. I do not have pictures of this selfless knit yet. It is a hat for a friend. The pattern is Seathwaite and it is free. It has some lovely cables and a nice simple way of doing a doubled brim.

Apart from this I still have the same two unmoved WIPs from December in my line. The Starting Pointย shawl and the Timely Cardigan. I do still like the idea of having these as makes in my accessories and clothing wardrobe so I have not given up yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

How has your knitting year started?