Tuesday, July 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Musical Score

This past week I've been knitting hard out on the double knitting musical score, and pretty much nothing else! Fortunately that also means I'm back on track :) I still need to knit 12 rows a day to finish on time, but at least I'm no longer behind ;) I've pretty much sorted out how to hold the yarns to make for faster knitting, so it's sped up somewhat - still slower than "regular" knitting though.
Bonus points to whoever can guess the song just based on these notes ;) Hints: The next note is a full lower D, and once that's done I'll be half-way through the score!

Friday, July 26, 2013

"I Don't Have the Patience for Knitting"

"Wow! You knit that? I could never do something like that myself. I just don't have the patience."

I hear those words on a fairly regular basis from friends and acquaintances, and the funny thing is - those words used to be my own. For YEARS I used to tell myself I didn't have the patience for knitting. I loved the idea of it, and had eagerly learned how to knit and purl as a child, but after an ill-fated attempt to knit a sweater at age 10 (a sweater? seriously? it was bound to fail), I told myself that knitting was something my Mum did, and while I'd wistfully finger pretty yarns whenever I came near some, I knew that it wasn't for me. I loved the idea of knitting in theory, but didn't have the patience for it in practise.

... Kind of an odd stance to take, considering I had the patience to embroider large and intricate patterns for years on end. Something that takes ages longer than just knitting a simple top. I've known for years that my fingers like to keep busy while at meetings or watching TV. But I didn't have the patience for knitting. Nope, sure didn't!

I'd cave every now and again... if I saw a particularly irresistible ball of yarn... when my first niece was born and I wanted to try to knit her something... and when that same niece turned 6 and asked me to "please make some clothes for her knitted doll!"... what's a doting auntie to do? But it never really amounted to much. Sure, it meant that I kept up my skills - even learned simple increase and decrease techniques - but with the exception of that last time (can't let my niece down!) I never actually managed to finish anything... making me think that it's probably not so much the knitting I don't have the patience for as it's the seaming and weaving in of ends!

Then, as it so often happens, I found a book. Yeah, big surprise, eh? This time it was "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs. I'd seen it around everywhere I went for quite awhile, and finally caved and got it out of the library. I had no clue what it was about (well, I could make an educated guess, but beyond that), but the title just immediately appealed to me and I had to read it...

I never knew what hit me ;)

As I was reading, I had almost a bittersweet feeling. Like I said, I loved the idea of knitting, and this was reminding me why. But "I don't have the patience for knitting!!!" Nope... sure don't! But... at the end of the book there were a few simple patterns that had been mentioned in the book, and one of them was a small bookmark!!! That had to be a sign. There was something even I could knit, and at 5cm x 15cm, I couldn't really claim I didn't have the patience for it.

I finished it, moved on to "Granny's Favourite Dishtowel" which I ended up knitting 4 or 5 of... two for Henni, two or three for my mother. From that I moved on to various other dishtowels with patterns and knitted about 30 of those (it was my aim to eventually turn those into a quilt... "eventually" may still happen, but I haven't touched them in almost two years, so I'm not terribly optimistic on that account). By then I was slowly starting to accept that maybe I was my mother's daughter, and there was a knitter hidden inside me after all.

The next day I went to my local yarn store and asked for ideas for a pattern simple enough that a beginner could make it, but interesting enough to keep me hooked and walked home again with yarn enough for a nice and easy garter stitch turquoise vest. It ended up being completely unwearable by me (about 2 sizes too big despite checking my gauge!) but at least I finished it - and immediately went on to my next project. It was settled - I was a knitter.

So that's my background. Three years later, who would have thought that I used to claim I'd never knit... These days I seem to spend almost as much time knitting as I do reading, and I'm certainly almost as passionate about it. Kinda appropriate that it was a book that got me started in the first place, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Musical Score

I've been working solely on the double knitted musical score this past week, and - admittedly - stressing out a bit about it. Last week I was happy as Larry because I'd calculated that I only needed to knit 4 rows a day to be on track, and figured that I could EASILY do that... a few days later my brain woke up, and I realized I'd done some MAJOR miscalculations... I have to knit 12 rows a day to be on track! Suddenly not as easily achievable, and, because I'm still really slow at double knitting, actually takes me an hour a day :-/ I returned to work on Monday, so no time for knitting anything other than this. Hope it won't sour me on double knitting, but I'm counting on the fact that I love seeing the pattern emerge will keep me going :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

FO Friday - Llama mittens

A quick FO this week. The Llama mittens I started last weekend are now DONE! I really enjoyed this project - they were knit in DK weight, so moved at a very rapid pace. Without having timed it exactly, I think each glove took me 4-5 hours to knit up - and I'm a slow purler!

They were knit in the flat to allow for the colourwork - I prefer knitting in the round (see above ;) ), but it made sense in this case. And fortunately seeming up such small projects isn't too much of a hassle ;)
Alterations: The tops of both the thumbs and of the mittens themselves were supposed to be cast off and then sewn together. I decided to close both off with a Kitchener stitch instead - I think that gives a more polished finish :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP Wednesday - My first attempt at double knitting!

I've got three things on my needles again this week... well, more than three to be honest, but three that I'm actively working on!

In order of casting on...

First a surprise for my husband. He's been SO good with enabling my yarn addiction (hmmm... ;) ), so I figured I'd knit him something in return. He's not really a knitwear person though, so I had to think up something good. The result was these socks... now, I can only show you the back since I don't want to risk spoiling the surprise should he come across this post, so while this may look like a straight-forward, plain-vanilla stockinette sock, from the yarn ends coming out from the top, you can see that something else is going on on the other side... ;)
I'm not entirely sure how to proceed after this first sock though... I have no way of knowing whether they'll fit him or not, so do I knit on, hoping for the best? Or do I ask him to try on the first sock, spoiling the surprise a tad too early, but preventing myself from having to knit the second sock in vain? (they are rather fiddly to be honest). Ah well, I still have the rest of the first sock to go before I have to make any kind of decision.

My second knit is a test-knit that I just knew I had to sign up for the minute I saw it - a musical score in double knitting. Granted, I've never tried double knitting before, but I wasn't going to let a tiny thing like that stop me! ;) It's so much fun seeing the patterns emerge!
As you can see I haven't come that far yet. It's slow-going, as I have yet to fully master the art of knitting with two yarns at the same time - they keep twisting up on me. I've been searching youtube to see if there's some kind of trick I'm missing, but it seems like it's just a practise, practise, practise thing. Fortunately it's a nice and long deadline - I don't have to be done until August 15th, which means that as long as I do 4 rows a day on average, I'm fine. That should be doable :)

Finally, my last WIP is always my very first internationally comissioned piece! And it came at a perfect time. DH and I were going on a road-trip last Sunday, and I needed an appropriate WIP to take with me. The socks were no good obviously, as that would definitely spoil the surprise, and the double knitting was just too cumbersome to bring along. But these adorable Llama Mittens fit the bill perfectly, and I pretty much finished the first one while on the road!
I'm still working on the cuff on the second one, so nothing interesting to show there yet :)

So that's my projects for the week. As usual I'm linking up with Tami's Amis.

Friday, July 12, 2013

FO Friday - Bungay Shawlette

Another FO I've been looking so much forward to showing you! I found this project while looking through test-knits on Ravelry, and knew that I just HAD to make it. It was the perfect match for the lovely Merino yarn I had bought in Stockholm :)

Wish I wore shawls more often. I LOVE this!

Close-up of the details

This was yet another project where blocking made a HUGE difference! It went from 53x56cm to 66x97cm! The only problem with such efficient blocking is that it also reeeeally highlights all the mistakes I made along the way ;)

Spot the missed yarn-over ;)

Pattern: Bungay Shawlette
Yarn: Araucania Botany Lace
Modifications: None - test-knit :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Knitting vs Reading

As a devout bookworm, I'm actually not surprised that I've taken to knitting with the kind of passion and enthusiasm that I have. The two hobbies have turned out to be a lot more similar than they might appear at first sight, and they both appeal to the same aspects of who I am.

Reading is, at heart, a solitary activity...
... And so is knitting. Granted, at the latest WWKIP day I saw 5 or 7 people knit the same piece thanks to circular needles and knitting in the round, but that is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Reading is sometimes meditative in nature...
... And so is knitting. It's one of the few things that can keep my hands busy and occupy my mind at the same time. That's not to say I don't enjoy listening to music or watching a movie at the same time, but it's not absolutely necessary.

While a solitary experience, reading can be turned into a social event...
... Whether through Readalongs, knitalongs, Dewey's Readathon or WWKIP days, reading and knitting can turn into social events.

Reading can be shared with others...
... I love reading aloud to my nieblings, and - as it turns out - I love knitting stuff for them too! Of course it helps that they're so happy with everything I knit for them - just makes me want to do more! :-)

Reading is time-consuming and requires sticktoit'iveness...
... I don't think this one needs any further explanation.

I always have several books on the go at once - each for different situations or moods...
... And apparently the same goes for my knitting WIPs as well. I currently have around 5 WIPs on the go

I get kind of obsessed with sorting my books on Goodreads...
... And likewise slightly obsessed with sorting my stash and projects on Ravelry.

My to-read list contains more books than I can hope to read in my lifetime...
... My ravelry library contains more pattens than I can hope to knit in my lifetime.

My to-read-soon list (there's a difference ;-) ) contains enough books for 2-3 years.
... My ravelry queue contains enough items for 2-3 years.

I keep buying books even though I have an entire bookcase of ones not yet read.
... I keep buying yarn even though I have an entire shoe rack of skeins not yet used.

I am definitely not one for retail therapy, except when it comes to books.
... And - as this past year has suddenly shown me - when it comes to yarn.

Friday, July 5, 2013

FO Fridays - Train on the Tracks

I've been dying to show these off to you, then Friday comes along and what happens? I forget all about writing my FO Friday's post!!! That's what being on vacation will do to me :-)

So with no furter ado, I present to you the Trains on the Tracks sweater :)

And back:

I'm completely in love with it, and hope Simon will like it too, once he's big enough to actually wear it ;)

No pattern page on Ravelry yet, but it was a test knit for Nikki Van de Car - who's quickly becoming a favourite designer of mine :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Bungay Shawlette

I'm on vacation, yay! :-) That meant that this lovely thing almost didn't get to make it to a WIP post. I started it last Wednesday, and am now half-way through the edging. Took me awhile, but now that I've learned the pattern off by heart it knits up nice and quickly, and I just love the way it's turning out.
The yarn is a skein of 100% Merino that I bought in Stockholm, and which has been waiting for the perfect project. This fits the bill nicely - I just love the way the colours are pooling :)

I've also returned to my 80s sweater after a slight hiatus. Not much to show on the second sleeve yet, but at least it's the second sleeve, and once this is knitted up, I'm all done but for the seaming :-)
I'm a bit worried about the weight of the sweater though. The pattern called for DK/Worsted weight yarn... that does make for a sort of heavy sweater. Ah well, it might not be that big a deal once it's done :-)