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…
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)
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!
Hi, how you doing? How’s the weather where you are? Weather isn’t just a topic for small talk here, maple syrup season is big business and when we don’t have enough snow (we don’t) the trees don’t make as much sap. And when we don’t get the cold nights and warm days (we aren’t, it was 62F overnight) the sap doesn’t rise and fall the way it needs to for sugaring. In short the weather is seriously bipolar and while it doesn’t affect me personally, I can feel it in the community.
It’s also the opposite problem from the one we had back in 2013 when I was trying to arrange a photo shoot in the Sugarbush of Sterling for the Saccharum vest. These photos? With the model shivering and the snow in the background:
They were taken the second week in April. The sap had barely begun to run, and when it finally warmed up it went too fast. I can tell you, the sugar makers of New England are not pleased with this climate change thing.
Ok, but all that was depressing enough, lets have a peak at my vest in progress to cheer us all up:
You can barely tell, but I’m done with the tree branch chart. From here on the back is simple 2×2 ribbing which creates the canopy of the trees. I’m also ready to divide for the fronts, so I’m hoping from here it’ll be smooth sailing. Maybe I’ll have a finished vest by the end of the KAL (which is 4/8, not 4/1 – phew)
I also want to show off my button hole modification. Instead of toggles or multiple buttons I decided I wanted one big button for closure. So instead of using the leaf eyelets as they are I modified one leaf:
Instead of a pair of YOs I worked a double yo paired with a k3tog on the row before. Then I just knit the two loops of the double YO to keep the stitch count the same. I still don’t know which of my singleton buttons I’ll be featuring. I’ll let future-Becky decide that.
Phew. It’s been ten days since I posted, don’t know how that happened. Let’s have a round up of what’s on, and off, the needles.
This bunny soft angora hat is done, complete with my first giant pompom! Actually, it was done weeks ago, I’m planning a full post for it just as soon as I get the good photos off the good camera.
After finishing that hat I cast on for a thick, cozy pair of mitts:
Also done, except for the weaving in of the ends. And I still need to take photos. Soon my pretties, soon enough.
So what IS on the needles? I’ve got my saccharum vest. The knit along is going full steam and a couple of vests are almost done! I’m almost to the cables, and with a couple of weeks left I’m not really behind, yet.
But we’ll see how that goes. Because I’m currently distracted by these pretty, pretty socks.
The yarn is doing the heavy lifting on this project, drawing me in and holding me captive. But I also can’t get over the slip stitch pattern (which you can’t see here, sorry) and how perfectly it breaks up any pooling or flashing. It’s also making the fabric thicker and cozier than average. Perfect for socks.
I’ve been steadily working away at my very own Saccharum vest since the start of the month, and it’s making excellent progress!
I’m eight or nine inches in (I’ve forgotten already) and right now I’m working even until 12.5 inches (so that’s why I’ve forgotten, clearly). I love the simple leaf detail that is the main feature of this part of the vest. It gives plenty of time to get that repeat memorized before throwing the complicated tree cables into the mix.
There are quite a few other Saccharums growing over in the Ravelry KALs right now (pural, because the wonderful Peace Fleece group has joined in again!) If you’re on Ravelry you can check out all the leafy goodness right here.
The official KAL ends in four weeks, but the thread in my group won’t be going anywhere. So there’s plenty of time for late-joiners if you’re interested!
Life rolls on and things are crazy. If you’re following along on twitter or instagram you know I spent the long weekend painting my breakfast nook, kitchen, and bathroom. That also meant driving to Nana’s and back twice in four days (6 hours round trip each time) so Windsor didn’t end up covered in primer.
That’s my really rambling way of saying I have more knitting time than blogging time these days.
The leafy top is done, but not blocked. In fact it is still riding around in the bottom of my knitting bag. But a new project has been thrown in on top:
Pretty right? I’m mixing leftover Sunday Knits yarn with a 60% angora farm yarn that has resurfaced from deep stash. It’s all very soft and I love it.
I’ve finished up the Roam tunic. It’s blocking and looks gorgeous. But I won’t be able to get good (read: daylight) FO photos until next weekend.
In the mean time I’ve cast on for ANOTHER garment. I have this delusional idea that I can finish one in February as well. It’s pretty delusional since I only managed to finish that tunic in January because it was 2/3rds done when I picked it up. But a girl can dream.
That seed stitch trim was a SLOG. I’m so slow knitting that texture. But it’s worthwhile. It’s so stretchy and neutral and lays flat (so well behaved). Now that I’m past it I’m so glad I made that choice.
This will be a lacy layering piece. I’m hoping for overlapping fronts with a chunky button at the underbust, a loose flow to the body of the garment, and a fitted round yoke with cap sleeves. But since I’m making this up literally as I go we’ll see how it works out. I’m taking good notes, so if I love it maybe I’ll get it published! Maybe. I mean, I have two or three designs done and photographed but I just haven’t found time to write them up. The computer time interferes with the knitting time these days. And apparently I’m prioritizing the knitting. Don’t worry, there are a couple of things coming out in 2016 – but I might be a “quarterly release” designer for a while here.
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I’ve picked up a long term work in progress. This is my Roam tunic, which I cast on back in 2012, and it’s been hibernating for THREE YEARS.
When I started this, I didn’t want a sweater dress – so I made it shorter. I planned to make it either a vest or maybe a long sleeve sweater. I changed the gauge and took the pocket off. I knit the whole back, and the front up to the waist. Then I ran out of steam.
But that’s actually a lot of knitting already done! I finished the front within the first five days of picking the project back up. I had a slight hiccup: I started the arms an inch and a half too early and had to frog it all back.
But I still haven’t slowed down. The cowl is half done, I’m making it longer and using garter rib for the second half to make it more cowl-y and less turtleneck-y.
The only other mod? Well, I’ve decided I need another sweater dress. So I took scissors to my knitting. I snipped a strand just above the ribbing, unraveled a row, and put the live stitches onto a holder. Once I finish the cowl and sleeves I’m going to knit enough ribbing to make this vest back into a dress again.
Does it count as indecision if I change my mind over the course of 3 years?