Button Lane

I have heard about this store in Toronto that sells thousands of buttons really cheap. I’ve never been there myself, but always thought it was the perfect place to find buttons for a cardigan. Fabric Land is good for buttons, but they are quite expensive, local hand-made buttons are great for the occasional cardigan, but not all the time. This place, was perfect.

Buttons 2

I originally thought it was a store that only sold buttons, but it was actually a sewing store with fabric, thread, handles, buckles and all manner of embellishments. It was really disorganized and cluttered and I will admit to being slightly put off by the sight, simply because it wasn’t expected. I forged on in the pursuit of the perfect buttons for my Ombre Cardigan.

Buttons

I followed the narrow path to the back of the store and there was a corner of the store with nothing but buttons from floor the ceiling. I was a little overwhelmed so I let my eyes glaze over and just searched for blue. Since I am much fonder of blue than I am of orange, I decided that I should go… more blue. Of all the hundreds of buttons I wanted to keep with the theme I had going and not going with a third colour or texture. The toggles seemed much too heavy for this cardigan; it was knit with lace held double. The buttons need to be delicate to work with the garment.

Buttons 3

I wasn’t finding much in the blue, so I decided to look at orange and I found the perfect buttons. They are an opalescent orange and the perfect size. The main thing I was worried about was the buttons not fitting into the proper sized hole. I actually had my sweater there and tried to push buttons through the holes in order to gauge their worthiness.
Overall the trip was a success despite the lack of polish on the store. I would definitely go there again to get buttons because of the sheer variety. Trust me when I say, there is the prefect button there for everyone.

Finished Objects

I have had some extra time lately, I’m off work because my head hasn’t been well and relaxing seems to help. What is more relaxing than knitting? Nothing! I have finished the socks for my dad and the Ombre Cardigan.

Dad's Socks

Okay, the Ombre Cardigan may be finished but it is not totally complete. I still need to find the perfect buttons for it, I think I will take a trip to Toronto to the small button store there. I’ll have to do that sometime before September, but aside from that, I am not in a huge rush. The really good finished photos will have to wait until I find some buttons that will do this sweater justice.

Dad's Socks 2

The second finished object I have for you are the socks I started for my father. They have been getting a lot of attention. I’ve been carrying the socks around with me while I have been finishing the Ombre Cardigan. It is second nature for people to see you working on something then peek over your bag and see what else you are carrying around.

Dad's Socks 3

I am somewhat glad I had not finished the second sock when I was carrying them around. I think they would have found their way into someone else’s bag. I really wish I could remember the colour of this yarn, but it is Manos del Uruguay’s Alegría yarn and all the colourways are numbers. If the colours were named, I would be able to look them over and recognize the colourway I used. I actually spent a good deal of time on their webpage trying to figure out which one I bought and made absolutely no headway at all. It was purchased a while ago so Manos del Uruguay may have discontinued the colour or changed up their colour palette since then. If anyone recognizes it, please leave the colourway in the comments below or email me! I have many people inquiring.

Monday Mishaps: Quite Shifty

As you can tell from my Friday review, I love TFA patterns; clear, concise and professional. All the clarity in the world will not help you if you are really not paying attention. Since I’ve started the Ombre Cardigan, I’ve been knitting it quite a lot; in the car, playing cards etc. It is an easy enough pattern to remember and doesn’t require a great deal of focus. Focus, as you might guess, is something I have been in extremely short supply.

Several times I took this cardigan out to knit somewhere and forgot to bring my measuring tape. I knew I was supposed to be knitting to 7.5” so I kind of eyeballed it. When I actually measured it, the cardigan was much closer to 8”. I thought to myself that this is not a horrible thing and changed colours to keep knitting.

Ombre Half Back

Now, this is a lace cardigan worked with two strands held together. Aside from the obvious, it means when you are counting your stitches to see where you stand… there are a lot. I spent so long actually counting stitches that it was kind of ridiculous. I am really glad there was a breakdown of the five different sections of the sweater and how many stitches were supposed to be in each one.

When I finally counted the amount of stitches in each section, rather than just the total, I realized every one of these numbers were different from one another. The back was supposed to have 90 the sleeves 72 and the two fronts should have had 47. These are approximate numbers and not the ones from the actual pattern. I ended up with the back being 4 stitches shy, one sleeve was done, the other sleeve was two short, and the thank heaven but the fronts matched!

Ombre Arm Hole 2

I had to fudge some numbers, carefully. I wrote down the numbers for each section and when I completed another row of that section I wrote down the amount of increase stitches in that row. It managed to work out… I think. At least I haven’t gotten to a point where I realized I colossally screwed up.

Well…. Except after I put the arm stitches on waste yarn. The pattern said to CO 4 stitches and place a marker, then CO 4 stitches and continue. Instead of reading that as cast on, I read it as cast off, then cast on. I kind of thought it was an odd thing to do, but I followed the pattern and continued on my way. I think it was the third row when I noticed the holes. This was not right at all. I could tell that I had bungled something horribly.

Ombre Arm Hole 3

I went back to the pattern and CO stands for cast ON not cast off. Cast off is shown as BO, bind off. I had yet another facepalm moment and tried to drop stitches and fix the problem. This wasn’t destined to work though; there just wasn’t enough yarn in that space to CO four extra stitches. I had to rip it back to the arm holes.

I made use of the technique for ripping out I covered a few weeks ago and that made a huge difference. It got me within range to un-knit the last row. It really sucked to take out that much lace, but I feel better for it. The underarms look so much neater now, no holes or stretched stitches. I am glad I didn’t just blow it off and try to sew it together at the end.

Ombre Arm Hole 1

This is just the top quarter of the sweater! I haven’t even started the sleeves or the bottom part yet. Let’s hope I am a little more attentive to the pattern and will be able to complete this project with little to no more huge catastrophes. My relationship with lace is precarious enough that we might need to go on a break after this. You know… get some space and perspective. There are so many yarns in the sea.

Keep Moving Ombre

Well, I’ve finally made it onto the next colour for the Ombre Cardigan! This was very exciting for me, to the point where I totally lost my mind and forgot to actually count the stitches I was knitting. Since this cardigan is a raglan increase it continually gets larger and larger until you separate for the arms. I almost missed the separation.

Ombre Orange Back

This current colour shift should keep me busy for a couple days at least. I can’t help but marvel at the contrast between the two colours. They are both equally bright but so beautifully distinct.  I am easily pleased when it comes to knitting, just give me a colour change and I’m happy.

Ombre Colour Change

While the Ombre Cardigan is going very well, so is my sock! Whenever I’ve been in the car or on the train I’ve been knitting on this sock. I feel bad because I completely forgot about this yarn and it is so beautiful. I’ve made a pair of socks from the same brand, the alpha socks I made for my mom.

This is a TRUE vanilla sock pattern because it is all stockinet stitch. As most of you know, I always use Glenna C’s pattern A Nice Ribbed Sock. The pattern is extremely simple while giving the sock a little bit of extra pizazz. This yarn is quite variegated and I really didn’t think it needed anything extra. Besides, I’ve been wanting to see the difference between the ribbed sock and a plain stockinet sock for a while now.

Apple Socks

While a ribbed sock is slightly smaller and tighter, the stockinet doesn’t have the elasticity of ribbing. I am curious about how it will fit as well. I know that when you wear hand knit socks they tend to expand a bit. By the end of the day, mine are always ready to go through the wash and shrink back down to a normal size.

Actually, Paul and I had a BBQ not too long ago and someone asked if they could borrow a pair of socks. We have tile floors in the kitchen and she was in bare feet. I ran and grabbed a pair of the hand knit socks I had just washed and her fiancé asked if they were for a child. All the yarn I use for socks is superwash and there is usually some nylon content. Even so, when I wash them the foot of the sock shrinks and looks very small. When you put your foot in, the sock feels normal, it isn’t too tight.

I don’t have especially small feet, but I get teased about the size of the socks anyway.

Just writing about socks, I realized I should have made this pair for my Dad. As you can see the colour is sort of manly, usually I am more on the ball than this. Perhaps with the stockinet stitch they will be big enough for men’s feet, I’ll have to test this out on Paul. My Dad and Paul have roughly the same size feet, so there is little guess work.

I am back on a sock kick, but luckily I have the Ombre cardigan to break it up. I just found a section of my stash with all this sock yarn! I didn’t really forget I had it, but it was pushed to the back of my mind and really… out of sight out of mind.

I actually have a couple gradients that I bought from Vogue Knitting Live Chicago! I need to knit those up because really, they’re too cool. I really want to have the two I have knitted up before I get the rainbow gradient. Hopefully I’ll be able to show you some FO’s soon! I’ll keep on knitting.

Unseasonably Appropriate

As I have been saying over the past few weeks, it seems like winter in Canada has finally gotten up and gone! Naturally with the surge of hot weather, I am knitting garments appropriate to that level of heat… Mittens!

I’ve finished the rest of the hand for Shauna’s mittens and just need to start on the thumb and lining, I think I will wait to do the lining until I have the shells done for both mittens. That way I can block them together.

Fiddlehead Mittens Thumbless

I am going to do a before and after photo of the mittens because there is a significant difference. I know a lot of people say lace is that way, it looks like hell, then you block it into something beautiful. Having never knit lace, all I have to go on is these mittens.

The very first time I knit this pattern, I was very upset. I thought I had my tension off and since the colours are carried behind the main colour, they were all scrunched up! I really thought I had messed them up. Of course, I immediately googled ‘Knitting flattening out stitches’. My search was filled with hundreds of things about blocking and I decided I should give that a try! I hear a lot of mixed reviews about blocking and the different methodologies from different schools of thought, but I’d be lying if it didn’t work like a charm. The mittens were prefect!

In my inexperience I didn’t take a picture of the mittens beforehand. I wanted to hide the evidence as soon as humanly possible. This time I am going to show everyone how much of a difference there is. I still don’t think it will be comparable to the first time, because I have a much better grasp on my tension, but it will still get my point across.

Ombre Orange Raglan

Aside from the mittens I am doing well on the Ombre Cardigan! I am really excited about it because this is going to be the softest cardigan anyone has ever seen. The lace I chose to use is Merino and Silk. I can’t wait to try it on! I also really like the Ombre Cardigan pattern because, as childish as it sounds, I can’t wait to get onto the next colour block. Right now I am still knitting with plain orange, but in an inch or an inch and a half, I get to change out one orange strand for one blue strand. I am measuring every half hour or so to see if I have the recommended amount of sweater before I make the swap.

Ombre Orange Back

The end of last week and this weekend I was horribly sick, so I did not manage a whole lot of knitting. I slept a LOT and am now dealing with some seriously spoiled cats! I swear, you give them all your attention for two days straight and they are completely unreasonable after!