Mittens and no Socks at All!

I have officially started Shauna’s mittens. I was home last week and realized, I had all my blogging done, I didn’t need to do any dyeing and it would be the perfect time to knit something! Unfortunately I didn’t have anything started. Before the moment passed and fate dropped by to give me something else to do, I jumped up and started to ball the yarn for my next set of fiddlehead mittens.

Fiddlehead Yarnz

Getting the yarn was actually an adventure in itself! I asked Shauna if she wanted a different colour scheme or yarn, but she wanted hers to be as close to mine as I could manage. Having knit the mittens from a Tanis Fiber Arts kit SERVERAL years ago, I would have to work from scratch. TFA was no longer making the kits. Around the same time they were being discontinued, I had offered to make Alanna a pair as well. I ended up driving to Guelph just to find the last kit carried by retailers!

Green Blue

Along with no longer making the kits, TFA have updated their colours since then. You need a total of six colours to complete the mittens. I ended up heading to the Purple Purl in Toronto because they’re one of the last retailers actually carrying TFA yarn. I had the pattern handy with all the yardage needed as well as the mittens themselves so I could match the colours as best I could. I, of course, forgot all of this at home.

Purple Red

Alanna came with me and guided me through the public transit system until we were finally in front of the store. I didn’t realize I had forgotten to bring the pattern and mitten until I was looking at the yarn going ‘what colours is it again?’ Luckily, one of the store staff had knit the same mittens and had one there for me to look at. She also managed to remember the colour names that stayed the same! I would have been lost without her, but the staff at the Purple Purl are always amazing!

Red Orange

I had to change out some of the colours that stayed the same because they didn’t go well with the colours I had to sub in. It is the same progression of green, blue, purple, red and orange, but the shades all have to go nicely together. There was also the question of the base or main colour. The one included with the kit is sand, but I don’t think it really went well with the rest of the shades, they were on the cool side of the colour spectrum and sand has red/orange undertones. I bought a skein of Sand and Chris Grey; the grey is a cooler colour and not very far off from the sand, I am going to knit a pair in each and see how they look.

Fiddlehead Beginning

I am hoping to have a little of the main colour leftover from these mittens so I can try out the child size modification of this pattern. I am not sure how it will turn out but I really can’t wait to see.

Biased

Happy Black Friday and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I hope there was a lot of turkey and post-turkey food comas! I saw a pin the other day that said “It’s not really a holiday unless you push yourself to the brink of alcoholism and diabetes.” Truer words have never been spoken.

I’ve slowly but surely been working on grandma’s sweater and it is coming along. I cannot wait to be done the back and start on the back of the second sweater *cries a little inside*, but they will be really nice when I am through and last forever. I manically chant this during all the cable work.
Since the gradient socks are done, I needed another small mindless project to carry on with so I didn’t go blind. I decided to continue my mom’s scarf with the cascade 220 and mohair. If you remember, I blogged about trying to find an easy stitch and knit it into a scarf. Something that was simple to knit, but didn’t look plain. I ended up finding the most complicated stitch I’ve ever seen in my life and hating it. I was trying to figure out what pattern I should do when I noticed my bias scarf.

I made the bias scarf from alpaca last year. I was completely in love with this pattern and did a whole whack of scarves in it. It was a faze… a wonderful faze full of easy to knit, lovely looking scarves. I slapped my forehead and berated myself for not realizing the bias was the PERFECT pattern for this yarn! Needless to say I’ve ripped out what I have and started fresh. It is going really fast, because I don’t have to pay much attention to what I am knitting. I can sit, watch TV or listen to an audio book without worrying that I am going to cable something the wrong way.
I feel like I am really burning my way through my HUGE list of things to knit. I swear the next thing I do after grandma’s sweaters will be one of the sweaters for myself. I’ve acquired quite a bit of yarn for my sweater list and I cannot wait to start in on it.

I’m Nothing if not Honest

Okay, here is the promised post for the Julissa.

Julissa front lace pannel

Before Mom and I went to the Purple Purl, I knew I was going to get TFA yarn. I wanted to pick a pattern in advance so I could choose a colourway that would complement the sweater and highlight details properly. I searched around on Ravelry under the term ‘sweater’ for a while, but nothing was really striking me. I found the French Braid cardigan on the TFA Ravelry project page, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I was nonplussed, where the heck am I going to find a pattern? I wasn’t about to wade through the hundreds of thousands of Ravelry hits I got, so I checked the books. I went through the many knitting books on my shelf and tried to find something I was in the mood for, again, nothing jumped out. That’s when it struck me, Lena. I work with Lena and we’ve known each other the entire time I’ve been with the company; we actually bonded over knitting and TFA as well. I remember talking about all the patterns we found online and wanted to knit, so we put them in our Ravelry libraries, so I did what I had to do, I creeped her library. Low and behold! I found my pattern, the Julissa! It was exactly what I was looking for. Lena, thank you for diligently keeping your library stocked with great patterns!
Julissa is a top down sweater with a lace panel in the front. The three quarter sleeve length is very flattering especially since there are cables down the arms as well.

Sleeve Cables[\caption]
 

 

It was a rocky start, but since it was my first top down anything, I don’t feel too bad. Starting with the neck ribbing, I was a bit worried that my cast on edge would be messy, but after the fourth time I frogged it, my edge was neat… ish.

A couple times I had random number of stitches and had to start over, and the raglan increase was tricky. I think I may have tried it three different ways before I caught on. I was meant to slip the middle stitch and not just the marker. It creates a really nice line along the shoulders. It would have been immediately obvious if I had thought about it rather than trying to do exactly what the pattern was saying.

 

On the left you can see the raglan increase. On the right you can sort of see the waist shaping.
Aside from the beginning, the rest went very smooth. Before blocking it was a bit tight, but after washing the yarn relaxed and allowed a bit of positive ease. Now it fits perfectly.
I am almost finished my Mom’s second alpha sock. I have rounded the heel and am making my way towards the toe!

Fiber Foray

It has been a crazy week; sale at the Purple Purl last weekend, the general aftermath of a yarn sale, going back to work, and of course getting everything knitted!

I started back to work August 7th for a half-day and last week a half-day on Monday and Wednesday. I am slowly easing into the work schedule, I haven’t done any concentrated computer work, it is exhausting. Aside from that, I am happy to, once again, be a useful member of society. Next week I’ll be working half-days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Even though I will not get as much knitting done, I am glad to FINALLY be going back.
The Clapotis Scarf was going really well, until I realized I needed another skein to finish it. I’ve checked every store within a reasonable driving distance and no one has one skein of TFA’s Blue Label yarn in Iris. I’ll have to order one online.
This past weekend I went to the Purple Purl’s inventory sale with my mom. I was not prepared. There were people lining up outside! Mom and I left Burlington with plenty of time, I was planning for traffic, and so we ended up there around 9:30am when it opens at 10am. After a quick scouting expedition for a bathroom, I noticed there were already a couple people at the door; I stopped by to say hello, since there was lots of time to kill. This is where I met Lindsay, we immediately compared shopping lists and discovered we were both after TFA Green and Yellow label yarn. Close by and listening to our conversation, her husband, a bit apprehensively, asked, “So are you going to be competitively shopping?” We assured him he had nothing to worry about, there is lots of yarn and we wanted different colour ways.
Lindsay and I started comparing TFA patterns we had tried or were planning on trying. I went to the Purple Purl with two specific patterns in mind, the TFA French Braid Cardigan and the Julissa. After I told Lindsay I had completed the Terracotta, I Heart Aran and am currently planning the French Braid, she described another favourite pattern she found on Ravelry.
“It’s a sweater with a cable and lace front.”
Me, “With three quarter length sleeves?”
Lindsay, “… yes, called the Julissa?”
Me, “I TOTALLY HAVE THE SAME PATTERN!”
Do you think we have a similar taste or what? I really wish I had gotten her contact info because it is amazing to find someone with very similar pattern and yarn taste. I did mention the name of my blog, so perhaps she’ll find me.
I won’t go on about the time mom and I spent in the line, other than to say it was one of the more pleasant lines I have been in. Everyone was friendly and chatting about latest projects or what they were looking for, while peeking in the window to zero in on which shelves they were going to hit first. As soon as ten hit the doors were open, and it was off to the races, the line hurtled inside with laser precision and single-minded determination. An idle or apathetic person would have been in very real danger of being trampled if they were in the way. It reminded me of some wild bear advice, you don’t get between a mother and her cub… or bad things happen.
To be completely honest I didn’t notice how crazy it was until after I was already at the TFA container. I was turning to ask my mom about a colour and couldn’t twist without smacking people with my purse!
It was worth it though. I ended up with 18 skeins of Green Label. Spruce designated for the Julissa, Deep Sea for the French Braid Cardigan, and Brick.
Mom ended up with two skeins of blue Spud and Chloe with accenting variegated mohair, to become a pair of socks. Dye-Versions Bamboo Sock yarn in the colour of Tomato Bisque, pink and purple variegated mohair to be paired with a solid colour for a scarf and hat. Last but not least, nine skeins of TFA Green Label in Poppy. All of which is for me to “just knit up.”
Mom, I know you’re reading so don’t think you’ve gotten out of it that easy, I WILL teach you to knit. Then you can have all the socks in the world.
All of this yarn has been left with me, so I needed to ‘adjust’ my stash. The compartment filled with my odds and ends had to be moved upstairs, but other than that, it all fits. I have one box completely dedicated to the Mom Knit List. With all the new things coming in I am a bit overwhelmed. I need to make a list and prioritize.
Alanna was inspired by mom’s Poppy coloured yarn and is planning to make the Terracotta Sweater. Since she is going to order the yarn direct from TFA, I might get a couple things and we can save on the shipping. My one skein of Iris for example; I’ve also had my eye on the Sky Palette for the cool breeze sweater. All I’ve needed was an opportunity, **insert evil, and slightly hysterical, laughter here.**
I’ve always been hesitant to order yarn online because it’s so hard to tell if you will actually love the colours. In-store I saw grape and teal, I will probably end up finding a pattern and ordering those colours in the FAR future. I think I have enough to keep me busy for the moment.
Since I cannot finish the Clapotis Scarf without that one skein, I started the Julissa.

Top is the front cable panel, bottom is the sleeve cable.

As it turns out, there are two versions of the Julissa on Ravelry, the boat neck and the scoop neck. I probably would have preferred the scoop neck, but I’ve already started the boat neck. The good news is, if you’ve already purchased one pattern, you get the other one at a discount price. I’ve never knit a sweater with a scoop neck before, I am going to check it out and see what patterns I can adapt.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back next week with an update on everything. I will most likely have started something new by then. I am planning on alternating between knitting my own stuff and kitting the things I’ve been commissioned to do! That way everyone is happy!

It’s Always Sweater Season

I cannot believe it is August already; time is flying by. I was in Costco the other day and I saw Halloween decorations. As sad as I will be to see the warmer weather go, I can’t wait for autumn! Especially since I’ll be completely stocked up on sweaters.

Raglan cable and cowl neckline.

I finished the Terracotta cable sweater last night and I am blocking it right now. I think it will look really good once dry. The bright blue colour is beautiful and seriously surprised me while blocking. Since cobalt is such an intense colour, I expected it to bleed into the water while soaking. The water was hardly tinted blue at all. I was having a difficult time determining if the blue was from the sweater, or the water itself.

Looks much darker and a bit green in this light. There will be more photos with natural light.
Just think of these as teasers

Our new washer and dryer were delivered today. I am patiently waiting for the normal laundry to be done, so I can try some of the new settings. There is a wool setting, you can put this little shelf in the dryer and put your wool sweater, scarf, etc. on it. This way, the sweater isn’t tumbled around, felted and stretched. The air moves around it and dries it faster. There is also an air-dry option, which is similar to the wool dry, but with cooler air.
I’ll have to let you know how it works out! In the mean time, I am trying to polish off some projects I have had on the needles forever. Hopefully, next week will have a blog post with photos from at least ONE finished project I dragged out of hibernation!