Finally Finished!

I’ve finally had a chance to get some knitting done! I know, it seemed like it would never happen. I’ve finally finished Jennie’s socks and they look great. I happened to work on them in front of my mother who immediately noted that she wouldn’t mind a pair of socks in the same colour. Way to take one for the team mom, I am sure hand knit socks in any colour would be a burden. Lol, I am sure I have mentioned that my mother LOVES hand knit socks and would wear no other stockings if she had her way.

Jennie Sock Shot

Everything went relatively smoothly with the rest of these socks and there were no huge problems. I am going to deprive Jennie of her socks a little bit longer because I need to get good photos of them, and as we all know, I don’t do those myself.

Close Up Colour

I am hoping to get more photos of the new yarns I’ve dyed lately and put them up on the shop! I had a week of dyeing lately and another custom order to do, so I’ve been quite busy! I really hope the colours are going to suit everyone, I took the advice of my friends; even if I didn’t particularly like the way a colour turned out, I would recreate it for others. I know that everyone has different tastes and just because I LOVE huge explosive colour, not everyone swings that way.

 

Bottom of the FootI’ve been thinking about the upcoming warmer weather and what to knit. I think I am going to make Tanis Fiber Arts Ombre Cardigan. I really love this pattern, even if it is in lace, and can’t wait to try out my Citrine Label yarn! It is so soft I really want to make something special from it. Hopefully it won’t take me years to finish it!

Functional Friday: Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein

The next book on my review docket is Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge. I purchased the book Knitting Over the Edge from Chapters and absolutely loved all the interesting edges, stitches and bobbles. When I saw Vogue Knitting had the other books, I jumped at the chance to add them to my collection.

Knitting on the Edge

Knitting on the Edge begins with a page about texture. There are twelve swatches knitted in the same pattern, but different fibers. It allows you to see the stitch definition and how defined or subtle the difference is. I love that this book has this in it! Some new knitters and even seasoned ones, forget that tension, fiber, needle size and all manner of things affect how your stitch pattern will turn out. This page serves as a gentle prompt to keep these things in mind when choosing your pattern and yarn.

The next section is ribbing, on my original perusal I got really excited because I am not generally a fan of the K2P2 ribbing. I always change the ribbing on sweater patterns I do. I think one of the only ones I did NOT change was the ribbing on my Terracotta sweater by Tanis Fiber Arts and that is because it has a cabled hem.

Terracotta Cobalt Edge

In Knitting on the Edge, there are many hems with different ribs, cables, twists, slipped stitches and bobbles. I feel I am going to be able to find a vast amount of hems to keep me occupied in my sweater knitting for a long time.

The next section is ruffles. Personally I am not a ruffle person, but for someone who does enjoy ruffles in their work, there are a variety of garter and stockinet ruffles and even pleats. Nearer to the end of the section, there are a few patterns for smocking, which I really liked.

The next section is lace and a picture of a magenta sweater prefaces it with a lace hem on the sleeves and body. I absolutely love the lace hem used in this sweater, it’s elegant and since the rest of the sweater is relatively plain, lace is the perfect touch. Even if you are not interested in buying this book at all, I would highly suggest checking out this particular picture.

With the warmer weather coming up I am looking forward to delving into lace. There are edgings as well as stitches that can be adapted to the entire body of a work. I actually saw a really great example of this at the New York airport. When Paul and I were heading home from Vogue Knitting Live, we met a group of ladies heading back to California. One of the ladies was wearing a short-sleeved lace cardigan. I believe it was made from a Noro yarn, but it could have been something that just looked similar. I really liked the look and it wasn’t something I thought I would like. I plan to make one this summer, maybe to wear on my honeymoon?

The next section is fringes! I do not venture into the land of fringes all that often, but sometimes a blanket, afghan or scarf really calls for one. There are many basic fringes, which look like what you would expect from a fringe book. However, there are some really interesting ones that I would have never thought of. I could see my mom really liking this section of the book because they would add a lot of character to your knits.

The next section was not very long, but it was possibly my favourite, flora. All the edgings and stitches in this section were leaves. Since I am having a fall wedding and the theme is whimsical forest, I loved this section. I am thinking about applying these stitches to a shawl I could wear. I especially liked the idea of beading to add depth to the stitches. Used in the correct place, I could imagine the beads looking like dewdrops on the leaves. I am personally biased for this section, but I really like most of the patterns in this section.

The last section is called points and picots; the picture that introduces this section is heavy on the bobbles. Like ruffles, I am not generally a fan of very obvious bobbles. I like to create things that are subtle and elegant. I think bobbles are more playful and it really depends on the person. I actually came across the term ‘knitterly’ at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC. It alludes to handmade garments that are not in keeping with the fashion scene, but are completely fun and comfortable. It’s not very often I make things that are ‘knitterly’, but I think I should do more. Why make handmade things if you don’t go completely crazy once in a while…

Knitterly Scarf

The ‘knitterly’ scarf I made for Paul that Chloe ended up stealing as a blanket

I digress, I thought this section would hold nothing for me, but there were not really all that many bobbles! There were even a few bobble edges that I liked. I will try them out eventually in an attempt to be more ‘knitterly’ and do the community in general proud. Quite a few of the edges had the clean lines and subtle patterning I am so fond of, so I was quite pleasantly surprised. Do not fear, there were stitches that had many bobbles, cord, scallops and puffs. Even if your taste is not in line with mine, I think this book does a good job at catering to a wide range of styles.

On the front, these were the sections stated; I realized that there was a secret section at the end. It had all the patterns of garments from the photos! The pink lace sweater I was so fond of and the braided scarf from the front cover are in the back of the book. I did not expect the patterns since this was a book for decorative boarders. All the boarders pictured were in their respective sections, but I am really glad to have the patterns all the same.

Next week I will take a look at Nicky Epsteins other book, knitting beyond the edge. It is the essential collection of decorative finishes.

Paying the Piper

Okay people, I have a decision to make and I’ve decided to take a poll. I have this beautiful variegated yarn, it’s a little more colourful than I originally thought so the pattern I had in mind won’t work. I’ve been looking at other patterns that will accent the colours and work best with the yarn.

I’ve knit a swatch of the yarn.
And here are the patterns I am considering.

The Evening Shadows Cardi– Anne E. Smith

“Ruffle Me Up” Lace Cardigan– Lauren Riker of Girly Knits

On the last one, remember the yarn I have will not knit up similarly to the yarn in the photo. It will look like the swatch!
Comment below and tell me which one you think will work out best!

Lace Liaison

I have recently discovered my hatred of lace. With the TFA Year in Colour Club, we get a skein of yarn every other month with a one-skein pattern. I believe it was the May skein that was lace, I blogged about Paul balling the skein here.

The pattern is for a beautiful cowl, the lace pattern not too complicated and there are sections of plain garter stitch. Easy enough… right? Wrong!

I cast on the 320 stitches on 16” 3.25mm needles because the yarn is so fine and those were the only length I had. Why not? The 320 stitches fit on the 16” needles with zero room to spare, but whenever I periodically worked on it, I worried about dropping a stitch and not noticing.

Old photo of the dreaded 16″ needle cast on.

After I finished Mom’s Alpha socks, I decided I was going to really work on this cowl and get it done! The problem was, while working on it so infrequently, I kept losing my place in the pattern and not remembering where to pick it back up. This is sort of embarrassing since the pattern is about 10 stitches repeated and only two lines of actual pattern. Nonetheless, the pattern looked off; I think I repeated the same line of pace panel over and over instead of alternating like I should have.
What I held in my hands was akin to a tangled mess of very beautiful and delicate yarn. This is where it started going downhill. I had about two or two and a half inches worked, while it didn’t look like much on the 16” needles, off the needles it seemed considerably larger. Deciding I would buy 32” circular needles in 3.25mm I ran to Johanne’s and picked them up.
Sitting in the living room at home, I unwound the work I had previously done. First balling the yarn then, nearer to the end, letting it sit in a small pile on the floor. I didn’t want my cast on edge to be too tight so I held one end of my 16” circular needle with the 32” needle creating an elastic hem that wouldn’t bunch.
This sounded like a good plan in my head why wouldn’t it be? The answer my friends is quantity. To cast on 320 stitches takes a lot of concentration and memory, even in small segments of 70, 90, 70, 90. Concentration and memory are two things I have been sorely lacking in the past couple months. First time, I cast on too little, so I fudged a stitch here and there were I needed it. Upon doing the second round I realized I then had too many. I ripped it out again determined to start over and do it properly. I cast on again, this time placing a stitch marker between every 10 stitches. Instead of ending up with a perfect 320 stitches I ended up with 390. I mixed up my numbers *facepalm.* Seeing no way to fudge that one, I started over AGAIN. The third time was not my lucky charm because there was something wrong with that cast on too.
At this point I decided it must be the yarn. The end I was casting on with was all kinked and crazy from having been knitted. Not to mention the fact that it tangles 100X easier in this from. I had a short text conversation with Alanna at this point.

Me  : I am officially endorsing the curse “SON OF A STITCH”
: AND
: I now hate lace
: If anyone is keeping score

Alanna: Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good.

Me : It’s not

Alanna: Did ya screw up?Me : It’s not a matter of screwing up so much as not being able to get it right…

Alanna: I see. Hate those days
:Is it the Tanis cowl? Or shawl?

Me: Cowl

Alanna: Lol. One word answers. Not good.
: Deep breaths

The breathing helped… a bit. I decided to re-ball the skein rather than immediately setting it on fire in effigy. I called on Betty the baller and started on the task of procrastinating my next cast on. The last time I ripped it out, the yarn managed to tangle into a labyrinth like knot at the end, so I cut it. There was noooo way I was opening THAT particular can of worms. Needless to say, my small pile of un-balled yarn was even smaller than when I began.
I’ll glaze over the re-balling; it went relatively smooth, although that isn’t saying much. I managed to get lace burn when I unraveled the ball a bit too fast. Lace burn is similar to rope burn, but it feels like it is crossed with a paper cut. Poor Alanna received a play-by-play via text. We also discussed the benefits of having a catharsis cry, and agreed that it should become a social norm.

There are no more photos of my progress with the lace because there is depressingly little to show for my work.

When the lace was balled and I could no longer put off another attempt, I started casting on. This time I only placed markers in the appropriate 70, 90, 70, 90 locations, it was a pain to take them all out the first time. At this point I figured nothing was going to help me except the divine intervention of the crafting gods. As it turns out, they finally heard my cursing and smiled down upon me. I cast on the right amount of stitches and carefully, VERY carefully began working the ribbing. In the several hours I spent doing this, I probably have half an inch of work to show for it.

Finished Alpha Socks

Lace after finishing the Alpha socks, which were knit in a fine yarn as well, was probably not a good idea. I just couldn’t warrant starting another project when I have this one on the needles. So help me, the next thing I knit will be bulky weight! Or at least worsted…