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?

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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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 theย Askews me shawl by Stephen West.

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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.

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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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

 

 

WIP: June 2018

It has been a while since I posted a WIP for the month post. Oh in fact it was in January! :O

At least my Finished Object posts are almost up to date! I need better pictures of my Boxy for then which is mentioned in January and was finally completed a month ago. Some pics are here.

So what am I actively working on at the moment? I am test knitting a wonderful design by Sari Nordlund who designed this jumper as part of the 2016 top down jumper along for Karen Templer. It is called Narwhal and features exquisite cables. I am using a silk blend yarn called Fino by Julie Asselin and it is define to knit with. So soft and in this awesome yellow gold colour.

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Apart from that I am adding to my scarp blanket here and there and just had an idea to add swatches to it as well so you may see some knit stitches randomly pop up in it.

The orange notebook signifies me working on my first jumper pattern. I am super excited about this and learned a lot making it. My main takeaway is to take better notes as I go!

And some eagle eyed may have noticed the start of a Starting point half in this picture. As part of my local yarn shops summer knit along I picked up with WIP. I had actually in my mind frogged it already but then decided to make it. I am intrigued about the construction and actually the pattern is a lot easier than I remember. I must have learned a bit in the last year since I last knitted this pattern. ๐Ÿ™‚

The main goal I have is to complete the golden cabled Narwhal by the end of the month and finish my pattern. I may need to re-test knit it before grading. I want to make something special and I’d like to test myself on my own instructions. ๐Ÿ™‚

How is your June knitting looking?

 

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™‚

 

 

FO: Ankle Socks – No sweaty feet!

A good friend of mine is an avid spinner and has been dabbling in dyeing yarn as well. For either my birthday or Christmas last year she gave me a very generous gift of some hand spun sock yarn that she also hand dyed.

The sock yarn is a unique blend ofย Southdown/Corriedale/yak/silk. This means it is all natural fibres and no nylon in sight. By also adding a high ply to it the yarn is super strong and not felting with the first wears. And no nylon means no sweaty feet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I used Kate Atherley’s trusty custom socks book to make a plain ankle sock top down. I have used the book for all the socks I have made so far, here and here.

Thinking about it though, I should have done toe up as I wasn’t sure how much yarn I would have. So top tip, if you are unsure of how much yarn you do have – just use a toe up method and you can then wing an ankle sock. ๐Ÿ™‚

The sock yarns were dyed slightly differently so the pair is more of a sibling pair than a twin pair but they are so comfy and nice to wear. And they are wearing really well. Hardly any piling or felting! I have worn them on long walks and in the house and no issues so far. When my friend spins up more of this blend and opens her shop I’ll be sure to be there!

 

Other nice details were, that I tried a reinforced heel pattern that I hadn’t done before that makes these ridges. I think it looks nice. I think I am ready to try more patterns now. Do you have a favourite sock pattern?

 

Pattern: Cosmonaut the Chunky Pom Pom Hat

As you know I fell hard for the super chunky yarn by Countess Ablaze called Space Cadet. I wrote a little love letter here.

A couple of friends saw my original hat I made and wanted one for themselves so I tweaked my pattern a bit and now have written it up and added it to Ravelry as a free pattern. It is super basic, but what I love is that it is perfect for showing off these amazing variegated yarns by the Countess and they are super quick to knit.

Making pom-poms from the yarn is really fun. I have made the hat with medium and large pom-poms and all work.

The ribbing is very deep so you can fold it. That is how I like to wear it but you could make it less deep to not have to fold it or wear it super slouchy.

It takes barely 2 hours to make, is great TV knitting and makes awesome presents as well.

I hope you enjoy making it and do let me know of any pattern feedback. I want to learn. ๐Ÿ™‚

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