WIPs: December edition

December’s works in progress looks rather full. Not much room for Christmas knitting, not that I have ever been much of an unselfish knitter.

Pair of socks

We start December with an almost finished pair of ribbed socks being made in Countess Ablaze sock yarn. These are being finished as part of the YAK Extremeties KAL. This is actually going to be a present, mostly because I initially misread the pattern and didn’t adjust for my massive feet. But luckily I know someone with tiny feet who just moved to colder climate. Win for us both.

Christmas Jumper along – Galloway Cardigan

I am actually making the Galloway cardigan in Stone Wool Cormo (which is lovely) and some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter because I ran out of said Stone Wool Cormo yarn.

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This is another KAL, but this time with a face to face class. We meet 2 more times in December before having a Christmas party, hopefully wearing finished jumpers/cardigans

Brioche Scarf – Willow

This is referring to the Willow scarf from Nancy Marchant and again was part of a KAL I never finished. There may be a bit of a pattern here…This is 2/3 done and is using DK weight yarn which is part silk from Countess Ablaze. I just need to remember how to knit brioche and this will be finished. My aim is to actually finish this by the end of the year making room for more new cast ons.

 

Timely Cardigan

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Another never finished KAL item. I do love this though but the dropping temperatures have meant that I have put finishing other things first. I am hoping the holidays will give me the space and time to just finish this as well. Although the above mentioned brioche project takes priority.

 

Starting Point Shawl

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The oldest project that is still in progress. I am in two minds about finishing this as it is less than 50% done but in a way I do really like the project and love loads of the finished versions of this. I think I will just need to make some space and time to finish it and not just start loads of new things as soon as December is over.

 

There you have it. December will be busy. Let’s see what I finish and start by the new year. 🙂 Are you itching to cast on new things or knitting Christmas gifts, or just finishing some selfish knitting?

Knitting: Learning a new stitch: Brioche

Why do you knit?

As I have talked about before it is very much a therapeutic past time for me and I sometimes feel a day is not complete unless I have knitted one row. Be that 10 stitches of 200 stitches.

But I also like trying new things. Be that new yarn or notions and tools or techniques. Since the beginning of my knitting journey I have been fascinated with cables and after my most recent two cabled jumpers Ondawa and Caradon Hill jumper I feel like I am a tad cabled out.

So what is there next to try? Well the shawl along at YAK to the rescue.It was the perfect opportunity to try brioche. I have had the book “Fresh Brioche” by Nancy Marchant for half a year (it was a Christmas present) but have been too intimidated to try it.

In the shawl along you have the attention of a teacher and the support of your fellow students so I felt like giving it a go. It was a rocky ride. Not only was there a standard brioche stitch but there was an Italian cast on and off, increases and decreases, remembering not to count yarn overs and some general what seemed like madness. But after 4 rows you start to see that things aren’t getting twisted but they are working out and growing into a squishy brioche fabric.

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I can highly recommend Nancy’s book. She has pictures and instructions for all stitches you will encounter in the 13 patterns for english and continental style knitting. How awesome is that!?

Other things I learned were:

  1. Youtube is your friend for italian cast on. It is so simple but hard to tell at first.
  2. Don’t use slippery needles. I opted for bamboo chiaogoo ones. When you cannot read the knitting and stitches yet the yarn overs can be really fast to slide off, and the liklihood os so much higher using metal needles.
  3. Make a swatch using thicker yarn. I used DK and light worsted for my first swatch. I am also knitting my first project in DK but I see how fingering weight will be lovely.
  4. You may need to use a bigger needle size than you think. I found that the needle size I was drawn too made a really dense fabric instead of squishy.
  5. Don’t use something like mohair or other sticky yarn when you start as you will rip back and the sticky fibres may make this difficult.
  6. Do be patient. The patterns take a few rows to appear.
  7. Practice the pattern by making a swatch – I was so thankful for this and even restarted my shawl because I made silly mistakes early on.
  8. Rip back a stitch at a time.
  9. Have fun! Bright colours together, contrasts, one colour brioche. So many exciting options.

 

 

 

 

Knitting: I just can’t “Find my fade”

This is going to be a bit of a rant at myself. I for some reason cannot knit the Find my fade shawl.

 

I found it to be an interesting design, I have the suggested yarn in my stash and had a great colour combo idea and thought I would learn lots but still have safe sections (garter stitch).

But I started twice now, have ripped back portions of this second one and there are so many mistakes in it now that I will frog it again. 😦

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I am just really frustrated with myself that I keep making mistakes. For some reason I cannot get the spine to work and if it is not that then my yarn overs and decreases are messed up. Sigh!

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In a way I feel like I have knitted much more complicated things such as this other hedgehog fibres shawl. Which don’t get me wrong, it does have “maker marks” (mistakes) in it but I love it. But I just don’t love knitting this. Not right now. Maybe I have gotten a bit better at knitting and now have really high expectations of myself. Sigh.

Anyways I just can’t find my fade and am giving up for now. I don’t even want it sitting in a WIP progress bag, so I will frog it and re-purpose the yarn I think.

I am by no means saying it is a bad pattern, I just am not getting on with it at all. You should see some of the amazing makes! To get inspiration follow the hashtag #findyourfade on instagram! Some amazing makes, mine just won’t be one of them! haha!

 

My first KAL – the Shockwaves shawl

 

During the summer I took part in my first knit along or KAL for short. This was an online knit along hosted by hedgehog fibres who designed the free pattern and suggested their skinny singles yarn base for it.

I had discovered their elaborately dyed, bright and speckled yarns a few weeks before and had enough to make the shawl. Some knit alongs that I had been interested in before didn’t seem like I would have enough time to complete them but this one lasted nearly 2 months.

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The pattern itself is simple once you get used to it. Unfortunately due to the yarn overs and central decreases, placing stitch markers did not help with memorising it. You literally have to go through the pain of memorising it and starting to read your knitting. If you found a better way let me know.

I did make a mistake that I noticed too far along for my patience to unravel. Now I think it gives it character and I know that this one is mine should anyone happen to make exactly the same thing. 🙂

Apart from that the forum on ravelry was great. We exchanged tips on blocking, weighing yarn and colour choices. It was super nice to be knitting with people, even if only over the internet.

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I did change my shawl a tiny bit by using 5 skeins and the two end ones were black madelintosh merino light. This yarn was lovely to knit with. A bit different to the hedgehog fibres skinny singles. Both yarns are quite slippery. I was knitting with the opposite type of yarn on another project so I did nearly drop a few stitches on occasion.

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Using wooden needles instead of metal needles helped with the slipperyness, though.

The pattern was full of techniques I hadn’t used before such as a central decrease, i-cord cast on and cast off and I had hardly knitted flat before.

If you see a knit along, give it a go. it can be really fun to exchange notes and support each other in person or online.

I finished the shawl in the summer so here are some finished pics.

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Question: Do you take part in KALs? Which as your favourite?