Since this is nominally a knitting blog, let’s talk about what is on my needles right now, shall we?
Firstly, those knitted leggings are still moving along. I’m into the gusset increases (aka, the crotch) and so everything is pretty squished onto my circular right now. I can’t wait to get to the first leg, it’s gonna feel like the project is zooming by when I move down to half as many stitches.
Next up, I’m knitting a little Fernboro hat. It’s a simple thing, but I love how the feather and fan stitch creates those little ear flaps. I made some good progress on a long car drive last weekend. And I have another long car drive this weekend. More on all this driving later. (oh the things I have to tell you, dear blog, I’ve been so busy!)
Finally, I pulled a sock project out of deep (DEEP) hibernation so I could work on it in meetings. The title of this post was almost “zombie sock” because this project was started back in 2012. (that’s right, I have WIPs older than my three-year-old).
But here’s the really big problem. Sometime in the last three years I needed those 1.5dpns, and I put the sock on a random set of size 0’s so as not to loose the stitches. And then I forgot. And also, those wooden 1.5dpns have broken. And I knit a whole ‘nother inch on the foot of the sock before I accepted that my gauge was WILDLY different than the fabric in the cuff. And then I went back to Ravelry to see if I could figure out what had gone wrong. I mean, I know my gauge can change over time, but I thought this seemed like a whole-different needle size. Which, apparently wasn’t quite right. It’s a needle and a HALF different.
So, sometime before next month’s round of meetings I need to buy myself another set of DPNs. And frog over an hour’s work. Two steps forward, one step back, right? At least the sock is out of the deep stash. For now.
And a new project! This weekend I cast on for my Fair Isle PANTS! A pattern I’ve been eyeing for ages…
(Photo © Holla Knits)
The pattern calls for Knitpicks Swish Worsted. A worsted weight yarn sold in put-ups of 110yds per 50gm. I’ve worked with Swish (I even have some leftovers in my stash.) It’s a lovely, soft superwash yarn. And I totally see the sense in making leggings out of superwash yarn.
But I’m not always the most sensible knitter. Also, I decided THIS was the project I’d be shopping for at Rhinebeck. You may remember I picked up a sweater quantity’s of Harrisville WATERshed. Check out the details, watershed is also worsted weight, also put up in hanks of 110yds per 50gm. I felt brilliant. I spent a lot of time comparing colors in person in their booth, and picked four colors I absolutely love and was sure would play well together.
Yesterday I did my usual (foolish) first step and skipped the gauge swatch so I could just cast on already! Nevermind that these leggings are knit top-down and the first step is to cast on 172 stitches.
I worked most of the waistband while ignoring that silly little voice that said something looked too big. When I finally got out my measuring tape I was getting a very obvious 18sts to 4 inches on the SMALLER needle size. The important note here is that the pattern gauge is 22sts per 4 inches on the *larger* needle size. How could my gauge be so far off? Let’s look at both yarns side-by-side.
Well there’s your problem, right there. Swish is a worsted-spun, smooth, machine washable merino worsted weight. It prefers to knit up densely. Watershed is a woolen-spun, airy, nubby, hand-wash wool. If I’d taken two seconds to look at the yarn label on Watershed I’d have noticed the recommended gauge is 4.5sts/in on 6-8 needles. AKA exactly the gauge I’m getting on the needles called for by the pattern.
Tonight I guess I’ll knit an actual gauge swatch. I need to check my row gauge carefully because apparently I’m gonna be doing some math to figure out which size of this pattern I really should knit. My other option would be to go down a couple needle sizes and try to get gauge with Watershed, but I think that’ll compress the airy, soft nature of the yarn in a way I just can’t accept.
This. This is why I never end up following patterns as written…
It’s just about thanksgiving which means we, the few, the crafty, are already thinking about holiday knitting. For the (third? fourth?? I can’t keep track oh well) something-th year running I’ll be participating in the Indie Designer’s Gift-Along! That Ravelry link will give you all the details. But in a nut-shell it goes like this:
- Participating designers have patterns on sale from tonight to November 30th.
- Knit Alongs will be hosted for all types of projects with prizes for participation, random give aways, and other special categories.
- Prizes! Digital patterns, physical yarn, books, notions. This part is big because we’re pooling our resources. You should really check out the prize list.
To find which patterns are on sale for the next week(ish) you can check out the group bundles and pinterest boards (here). Or see the designer’s bundles (here).
I’ve got 15 designs which will be 25% off as part of the sale! From 8pm (EST) tonight through midnight on the 30th use the code giftalong2016 to get the discount. This is my biggest annual sale and I hope you like the selection this year. I tried to mix old and new, small and large projects so there should be something for everyone!
So warm up those needles, dig through your stash, and happy knitting!
The NY Sheep and Wool festival this year was pretty much perfect. Every year people discuss the weather, the crowds, the animals, and of course the yarn. This year everything was superb.
We were very near the front of the line at the 4H gate, it was a chilly saturday morning and if you don’t like lines this early arrival is not for you. But if you bring some knitting, some coffee, and the expectation that the strangers around you are just friends you haven’t met yet – then the Rhinebeck morning line is really not so bad.
The animals are predictably adorable. Someday I want an angora bunny who will just sit in my arms and nap. The ones at the festival that patiently let 10,000 people pet them are such good sports. These goats were equally unfazed by the crowds.
My favorite part of the festival are the people (don’t get me wrong, I love yarn too). My friend Amy finally finished her Boyden sweater. Also pictured: me and Susie Allen, both of us in sweater dresses from the All Aboard! collection. I love meeting old friends, making new ones, and I LOVE seeing all the sweaters, and being able to complement on just about anything anyone is wearing, knowing there’s a good chance it’s hand-made.
And yarn. There’s always so much good yarn. I got a sweater quantity of WATERshed from Harrisville, except I’m not planning a sweater. Instead I’m going to knit some fair isle pants! Also pictured, the purple yarn is for a sweater for Windsor, sock yarn for myself (I’m thinking color work for those tiny skeins!) and for Neil (good ol’ brown.) In the non-yarn category I got aprons for myself and Windsor (the pink one has a lady-knight on it!) A lovely basket (which is supposed to be for yarn, but I’ve caught both cats sleeping in it already.) Not pictured: a sheepy mug, hand cream, soap, cheese, and blackberry marinade. Yum.
It’s autumn here in Vermont. Really and truly. The foliage is slow to come into its full glory. But we can all see it creeping up the hillsides.
We’ve done lots of appropriate fall activities. Like apple picking. Chutney-making will come soon too!
And there’s garden clean up. Did I mention we’ve moved? We’re renting which is a little weird after years of owning our own place. But this new place has a pretty sweet garden and I’m excited to see what I can grow in this deep river-bed soil.
And then there’s the fall knitting. My yarn for the MorningWalkKAL arrived while I was away on business. But I’m casting on just as soon as I can find those size 8 circulars. I know I must have put them someplace safe…
I have an e-mail with this title that I use to send myself reminders. It’s the electronic version of writing stuff on a post-it note for myself. I’m sure there’s an app for that, but whatever. I look at my e-mail constantly so having my notes-to-self right there is easy enough.
I’m waiting on some gorgeous yarn from BMFA for the Morning Walk KAL. That’s right, I’m knitting myself a second one.
This time it’ll be in red (Love is a Verb is the name of their colorway) It’s another leaf-appropriate color but for the fall season. In the mean time I’m making slow progress on my poor, neglected greenery pullover.
I’ve divided for the front/back twice now. The first time I followed the pattern. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem. Except I’d added decreases for some bust shaping, which means that my stitch count was not the same as the pattern. So I had to frog a couple of inches of stockinette. But I’m getting there.
And in other news, I did a big (well, big for me) knitting photo shoot with a bunch of designs from some other designers! I’ve mentioned the winter designer’s retreat in passing before. This fall we’ve got a special treat in store. A project that was dreamed up around a delicious breakfast table last February is about to meet the world…
I have some designs in progress and I think they’re finally going to see daylight!
(Morning Walk – coming very soon)
I’ve mentioned a lot how busy life has been. That’s finally starting to slow down. There was a moving truck involved. Things are definitely looking up in the commuting department. I haven’t had much time for knitting, or design work. But that’s finally starting to change.
The things I have knit this year have been of my own imagining. And now I’m starting to revisit them. Write them up. Check my notes, my photos, dig out my samples.
(unnamed bunny hat)
Fall is coming. And new patterns will be here soon too! Watch this space!
(unnamed wine mitts)
All these items are potential new designs. Anything you’d especially love to see a pattern for? Consider signing up for my newsletter if you never want to miss a release!
(there’s a whole sweater dress like this)
Here’s a project that has been languishing for months. I picked up this gorgeous skein or aran weight merino from Periwinkle Sheep at Rhinebeck last fall.
I cast on for the mitts in late winter, and was probably done knitting them by March.
So why, oh why, did I wait until August to weave in the ends?!? Who knows. But they’re done, finally. I squeezed in some photos yesterday afternoon while the light was good.
Two mitts, long and cozy, with slightly offset cables. I love these little cables, the bigger twists are offset by little tight twists. The hands are designed long with twisted rib cuffs that can be folded back or up over the base of my fingers.
I used almost the full skein of yarn. Fingerless mitts are my perfect one skein project.
We’ve been going to Knit Camp for years and years, and this weekend was the first time it was just off and on rainy all weekend (emphasis on the “on”)
Everyone there was the sort of camper who knew how to adapt. And we had a good time, even when the rain was coming down hard enough that the people sitting at the edges of the tents got wet.
It is slightly easier to camp in the rain when all your stuff is staying cozy. Maybe not quite dry (it was more than a little humid this weekend) but no puddles in the clean laundry is worth a lot!
The fire sputtered, but only went out once – and that was after dinner. Hiking and canoeing happened between the showers. And I got some real knitting time!
My design work moves at a much slower pace these days. But my imagination is still simmering and occasionally things pop out. A couple of my recent finished projects may someday get written up (like the waistcoat and this hat.)
In progress right now I have an awesome pair of socks.
They use a simple slip stitch pattern which makes the fabric dense and cushy (perfect for socks) and at the same time it mixes up highly variegated colors (perfect for sock yarns)
I’ve got a bigger project on the needles too, it’s starting with four inches of gorgeous corrugated ribbing:
The yarn is from the Unique Sheep and I’m using a gradience set for the colorwork. I love the way it’s looking!