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Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

Spring Resolutions

I can’t be the only one who feels far more inspired to make changes in my life in the spring than in dreary January!  The return of the sun coupled with Nature’s effusion of energy always fill my mind with grand ideas, wild plans, and fresh hopes.  Also I have a smartphone now!  I have been loving the convenience of always having a camera in my pocket, not to mention the ease of being able to upload photos straight to the internet.  And I have been knitting some seriously awesome stuff, if I do say so myself!  For example, I participated in the recent Follow Your Arrow mystery KAL and hoo boy do I love my FO!

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It’s still a bit cool here but many afternoons have been warm enough for shirtsleeves and a magnificent shawl!  And this one is so dramatic, it’s equally cool with jeans and a tshirt or a fancy dress.  I modified the edging a little to add the slowly widening stripes…because I was running out of yarn!  I had way more than the required yardage to start, so I worked an extra repeat of the lace, which meant making adjustments to the knitted on edging which meant by the end I was cutting every spare inch off my colour changes to try and finish the last pink row (thinking of following in my footsteps? More details on my mods on my project page).

Follow Your Arrow was also my first MKAL. It was a large one, and one with a vibrant community. I know some people felt disappointed with the pattern, but I really think one has to be prepared for the unknown when embarking on a mystery KAL. Mystery, dudes. It’s right there in the title. I loved the experience – I got exactly what I was looking for: a shawl construction that I might never have chosen, but that I now get to experiment with, not just on the needles but in my wardrobe. The unique “kite” start surpassed my expectations and I am totally excited to knit another with a few different clue choices down the road (probably in a single colour, possibly in handspun)! All in all, I don’t know that I’m going to do a lot of MKALs, and for example you couldn’t pay me to do a sweater MKAL, but I had so much fun with this one I hereby resolve to do more in the future…as well as more blog posts!

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Carry on…

Hey blog.

I’ve been busy.

Hanami Recap

Also, I just discovered Fotor, a free photo online photo editor that you might see cropping up in future posts.  Look, it makes collages go!

And dear bob there is so much to catch up on under the jump.  SO MUCH.

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My Forest Floor Legwarmers are finished!  And the stranded colourwork turned out pretty well, if not as perfect as I hope to get by the end of 2013 (The Year Of Stranded Colourwork, as I have decreed it!).  In the end, I had plenty of yarn for full-length, slouchy legwarmers.  In fact, despite having carefully weighed and weighed again, after working the 19 stripes on each leg that I’d calculated I had yarn for, I was left with so much yarn that I carried on to 23 stripes, unpicking the ribbing at the bottom of the first legwarmer to add more length.  Why 23?  I don’t know, I was at knit night and it just felt right.  And apparently I estimated well – I have several yards of light brown left, but only about 8 inches of the dark brown.  Perfect!  There’s two skeins out of my stash and onto my (now warmer, cozier) legs!

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.  I set myself a goal in January to have three skeins of yarn out for every two I bring in (including handspun).  So far the proportions have been pretty even, but just yesterday I was able to destash 14 full and part-skeins of yarn – mostly cotton that I was given as gifts, and it’s nice enough but I far prefer wool – as well as finishing the legwarmers and a pair of seed-stitch bathroom-cleaning rags for 3 more skeins knit out.  This puts me so far ahead in the stashing down that I feel like I should celebrate.  By going to the yarn store.  But I won’t, because…well, I made no such resolution about my fibre stash.

In fact, dear readers, I wanted to talk to you about that.  I signed up for a couple of clubs – Dyet Yarns’ Fairy and Folklore club, running January-March, and Fat Cat Knits’ Fairytale club, running March-June.  Yeah, I’m a sucker for folklore.  And I’m going to blog my club fibres, but on the off-chance that someone reading this hasn’t got theirs yet, they’ll be under the jump.

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At a family dinner last night, I was reminded that I never updated about my Bundle-Up Bear Brigade post Christmas!  Shocking!

By the time I finally put away my bear bag (yes, I had a bag I carried around all month containing every relevant scrap I could collect as well as the pertinent needles & notions), I had knit 8 bears.  Sadly, since 6 of them went to other homes over the festive season, I don’t have a photo of them all together, but I think I’ve got pictures of all but the very last one (who I just discovered at the bottom of a project bag, finished except for her blank little face).  First up, here’s a picture comparing the regular and mini sizes (regular size bear went home with a friend’s toddler because babies deserve bears; yellow Noro suit belongs to the unfinished last bear).  I might be biased, but I rather prefer the teeny ones!

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Now I want you to notice in the following pictures the amazing crispness, clarity, and colour.  One of the awesome things about giving away the bears to various family members was that my mother-in-law was usually around, with her DSLR camera, and she was kind enough to let me use it.  I have hemmed and hawed for a long time about getting a DSLR – I know that part of the appeal is that I imagine I can make up for my artistic shortcomings with a fancier machine, and as such I’ve pushed myself to be content with my point-and-shoot and improve my skills instead.  But the pictures are just so much better.  So after I purchase the sweater quantity of Everything Old yarn I’m currently saving for, I’ll be starting a new camera fund, because – look!

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*Wistful sigh* …and now back to your regularly scheduled point-and-shoot update, under the jump.

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Now that I’ve got my computer back up and running, and the Universal Toque pattern tested and posted, it’s time to revisit my FOs, WIPs, and wistfully, the frog pond as they’ve been in the last six weeks.

First up, here’s my current love affair: Stephen West’s Spectra, knit from Little Red Bicycle worsted (grey; purchased at Knit City, and sadly I think in-person sales are currently the only way to buy this awesome yarn) and my early handspun, in Hydrangea BFL/silk gradient-dyed fibre from Everything Old!

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More (pics, projects, pontification) under the jump.

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MUST KNIT, NO TIME TO BLOG!

1. V-Junkie socks for G.  The same spiral pooling that was annoying me in the Mince Pie Mayhem pattern is working amazingly with the slipped stitches in V-Junkie.  There’s no way I’ll get these done by Christmas, though – just finishing the toe on #1 right now, though, so I’ll wrap that to put under the tree.

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2. More Christmas decor!  Bundle-up Bears from Mochimochi Land and the beginnings of a jingling garland of bells.  As always, the Mochimochi Land pattern is unbelievably adorable, and of course well written; I’ve knit 4 so far and hope to do a couple more before winter’s end, including one in the specified yarn weight (as usual, I saw a cute thing and had to make it smaller, using sock yarn instead of worsted weight).  Two of the bears (centre & right) were knit while visiting family, and they stayed with G’s twin cousins (age 8); the white bear has now joined my MIL’s collection of festive Barrista Bears!

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I have knit 2 jingle bells so far – it’s a long-term project, knitting a few every year out of my recent sock yarn scraps.  My eventual plan is to make a vertical hanging strand, along the lines of a rain chain.

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3. Train Toque for The Nannee.  I knit this while away from home as well, so I’m not sure if the pattern is actually really large or if my gauge was off.  Either way, I ended up decreasing the number of stitches I cast on by about 15% and I still think the toque will be quite roomy for this particular little man.   Instead of repeating the 3 cars in the pattern (engine, car, and caboose), I made a longer train (engine, 3 cars, and caboose).  I also added earflaps ’cause his folks are from the Prairies and they are concerned about cold extremities.  Hope they are well-positioned – I decided to wing it, but they look approximately right.

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4. Carol Service Cowl.  Left over beads!  Left over yarn (from my Angelus shawl)!  An awesome cowl pattern that’s been sitting in my library for a little while!  Do you think I can get it done in time to wear it before Christmas?  I don’t know!  But I’m sure going to try!

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Okay, enough blogging, back to knitting!

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The winter solstice is still almost a month away, but oh man it gets dark early already.  By the time I get home from work at 5, it’s full dark, and really, if I want useful light for photography on these mostly overcast days, it’s got to be before 3.  All of which is to say that I’ve been taking some terrible flash photos of my latest misadventures and they’re awful but they’ll have to do.

First up, the socks that aren’t.  Not any more.  I frogged them.

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The pattern was Mince Pie Mayhem from Socktopus by Alice Yu.  It’s a cool pattern and I look forward to knitting it down the road, probably on a size larger needles than those I got gauge with (2.25mm), definitely when there’s no deadline involved.  The stitch pattern has cable crossings every second pair of stitches on every second row and there was just no way I could envision myself finishing them in time to give them to Mr. Salamander for Christmas, plus I was not happy with the way the yarn was spiral pooling.  So I ripped them out and started again with a different pattern (which is turning out well enough to deserve Saturday afternoon light, no pics yet).

And then an uninspired doll shirt.

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I think this is the third time I’ve tried to knit a distressed-look doll sweater, and every attempt has either languished on stitch holders or been frogged into oblivion.  I think it’s the drape – or lack thereof – at this scale that causes my dropped-stitch sweaters to look dumb instead of badass like their human-scale counterparts.  Drape is definitely an issue with this handspun I was using (singles from the Tour de Fleece), and I was also really disappointed with how not handspun it looks.  I was trying to spin thick and thin, why didn’t it come out that way?!?  So that’s frogged as well, and the yarn is in time out.

I do have one flash photography success story, though, but I’ll put it under a cut for anyone who’s not ready to see *gulp* Christmas-themed decor yet…!

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