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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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

 

 

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 of 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. 😉

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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-Kefelian 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

What is in your notions pouch?

Since starting to really take up knitting in 2015 I have collected some notions that I carry with me on almost every project. So I thought I’d share what I carry and also ask what do you carry in your notions pouch?

The list for me goes something like this:

  1. measuring tape
  2. tapestry needles
  3. scissors
  4. cable needle(s)
  5. stitch markers
  6. crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches
  7. stitch holders
  8. Pens
  9. Washi tape – a revelation from a knitting class. So good to use for charts!
  10. End caps for interchangeable needles
  11. Tightening tool for interchangeable needles – Must have on the go.

Other things I tend to use are a note in the mobile app Evernote where I collect images or links to tutorials and also tend to have an “on-the-go” project notes note which I tend to transfer into my Ravelry project later on.

Things I cannot be without are scissors. I love having nice scissors. They have to be sharp. I love these bonsai ones especially. They feel sharp and tactile, so nice to use.

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I tend to have a variation of my tools across several notions pouches so I only ever carry the must have things with me but I am debating to just carry it all in one of the bigger ones. Less faffing and having to look in all the different pouches. Below and example of what came out of which bag!

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When I asked the local knitting group they also carried some awesome things such as waste yarn and my favourite, an emergency chocolate bar! I am not sure if mine would ever last but I may try it. 😛

So now over to you. What is in your notions bag?

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 BFL 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 Point 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. 🙂

How has your knitting year started?

New year plans

Over the last few years I have learned a lot about what I like to knit and what sort of yarn I like to use and what garments I end up wearing.

With that in mind, I want to reduce my stash a bit and also use the patterns I have accumulated before investing in anything else. A lot of people are doing the #makenine plans.

My Plans:

 

 

 

Top row left to right:

  1. Vanilla and Spice Mitts by Sarah Shepherd
  2. Boxy by Joji Locatelli
  3. Humboldt by Anna Maltz
  4. Mīlēt by Ysolda Teague
  5. Deschain by Leila Raabe
  6. Soirée by Emily Foden
  7. Brackett by Whitney Hayward
  8. Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan by Nora Gaughan
  9. Fern and Feather by Jennifer Steingass

I even have yarn for almost all of these and all but one of the patterns already, so it should be a good stash busting plan. 😀

Happy new year and happy new year cast-ons!

2017 Round up

I love using Ravelry and storing my makes and tracking my stash using it.

2017 saw a productive and technically ambitious knitting year for me. I stopped commuting half way through the year which meant I tackled some bigger more complex projects rather than more portable mindless ones.

I made 4 pairs of socks (1 as a gift), 3 jumpers, 6 hats (2 were gifts) and 3 scarfs/shawls and one steeked cardigan.

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New techniques and skills I tried:

  1. Tubular cast on
  2. Sewn bind off
  3. Three needle bind off
  4. All the cables
  5. Sock knitting – toe up
  6. Steeking
  7. More colour-work
  8. Seaming a sweater
  9. Making up my own hat pattern
  10. Brioche

New to me yarns I fell in love with:

  1. Shetland DK by Blacker Yarns.
  2. Stone Wool Cormo which I posted about here.
  3. West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply
  4. Blacker Yarns Samite silk blend

All in all it was a great year for me, exploring more challenging techniques and realising you can just do it and if it does not work out, unravel and start again. I think I am definitely a process knitter. It is all about learning for me.

I am hoping to share more of my journey in 2018 and it may include some other learnings, such as business related ones, but we shall see, 🙂 Happy New year!

A love affair – Stone Wool Cormo

I wasn’t meant to be buying yarn, but I just happened to be looking at the website of Loop of London this autumn and they had a yarn I did not know much about on sale.

It ticked a few boxes for me:

  1. It is worsted weight
  2. It is a yarn by a sheep breed I had not knit with before
  3. It is sourced and spun in the same country – USA

Stone Wool Cormo comes in an array of different colours. They tend to offer 3 shades/hues of one colour which I thought was nice and clever. I bought a rough amount for a colour work sweater and was super happy when I saw the yarn in person.
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From their ravelry listing:

We worked with our mill to create a special method of fiber preparation, one that marries woolen and worsted processes. The result is a unique yarn with woolen-spun’s airy loft and worsted’s strength. Springy, lofty, and with a substantial hand, Stone Wool Cormo offers crisp stitch definition and elegant texture in knitting.

And I couldn’t agree more. When I swatched for my colour work sweater I noticed straight away how bouncy the yarn is and how lovely my stitches looked.
Then after blocking a certain softness and almost velvet feel to the touch emerged.

This yarn does not transform like some do after blocking, but it was more enhanced as it gained some flexibility and drape and the softness I mention above.

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My Galloway Coatigan was made using this yarn and is wearing nicely. I have worn it every evening around the house so far and it keeps me cosy and warm and isn’t itchy in the slightest.

I really want to try making something cabled liked mittens or a hat in it next to really take advantage of its lovely stitch definition.

Have you fallen in love with a yarn this year?