Thursday, May 29, 2014

FO Fridays - Baby Bluebell

I finished this Cardigan last Saturday. Sunday my friend's daughter was born! Talk about perfect timing :) Of course, it still has to wing its way to New Zealand, but I sent it off within 24 hours of getting the birth announcement, so I think I'm good ;)
Very adorable, and definitely something I'll knit again, although it bugs me that plain stockinette cardigans like this make it so obvious that my tension is a lot more even when I knit in the round (the sleeves) than when I knit back and forth (the rest of the cardi). Blocking evened it out a little, but I still think it's very noticeable.
Pattern: Bluebell Cardigan
Yarn: Some generic supermarket brand - 100% acrylic, but machine washable, which is a must for baby clothes, and lovely soft to the touch :)
Mods: The original pattern called for a button at the neckline. I substituted for a crocheted chain at chest-level for tying it shut instead.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Month of Socks is drawing to an end

"Only" 4 WIPs this week :) One I finished, the other hasn't seen any work since last week.

The Monkey sock is past the heel, and I only have another 3-4 cm to go before the toes. The leg is a tad longer than I usually prefer, but I'd forgotten I needed an extra inch after the last repeat of the pattern for the Fish-Lips-Kiss heel.
Ah well, they'll be nice come winter :) I think I like the FLK heel well enough - it's certainly easier to knit than the heel flap - but it's hard to say for sure until the sock is done.

I've been working hard on the Conwy socks though, and am hoping to finish these by Saturday so they'll be eligible for the Month of Socks KAL :)
I'm liking them more than I did last week fortunately, so they're not as much of a chore as I'd feared :)

The Terra Linda is coming along nicely :) I've split for the sleeves, and am working my way down the back. I think I'll take a page out of Jasmin's (the Knitmoregirl) book and do the sleeves once I finish the current skein, so I don't have too much fabric to turn around all the time.

Finally I have knit another 4 squares on my sock blanket, and am starting to work my way up the right side :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

FO Fridays - Butterfly Shawl and a blocking tutorial

The sample shawl is finished! Although I think I shall have to rename it "Butterfly Shawl", because right now, that's really what it reminds me of.

Several people have asked me what the deal is with blocking, so today's FO Fridays post will come courtesy of a quick blocking tutorial!

Mind you, not everything needs blocking. I never block socks or mittens, but it's always a good idea to block garments that need to be seamed. And lace? Well, lace HAS to be blocked to come to its full potential.

This shawl (or shawlette rather - it didn't turn out quite as big as I had thought) had only a bit of lace, but enough that it would still benefit nicely from a blocking.

Step One Measure wingspan pre-blocking. I forget this about half the time, but love it when I do remember, because it's awesome to have tangible proof that blocking works ;)

78cm wingspan. I forgot to measure top-to-bottom, but never mind.

Step Two Fill your sink with lukewarm water and add a bit of no rinse wool wash. I use Eucalan because that's the one available in my local yarn shop :) Submerge the knitting and leave it to soak for 15-30 minutes (not an exact science - you just want to make sure it has taken in as much water as it can).

Step Three Carefully, without letting any part of the knitting drag (as the weight of the wet fabric can pull it uneven), pick up the knitting and squeeze out as much water as you can. Don't wring it (as it might felt), just squeeze.

Step Four Lay out the knitting on a towel and roll up the towel around the knitting. Squeeze out the water by either pressing down hard on the towel or even taking off your socks and stepping on it (you don't want to get wet socks!). With this shawl I just used my hands. For larger things like sweaters and other garments, I'll stand on the towel.

Step Five Next get your blocking station ready. I use baby mats as my surface, as they're cheap and really easy to get my pins into :) Before getting hold of these I used a blanket instead, but it didn't work as well, as you really want a surface that doesn't move around with the knitting.
I also get out my blocking wires, my pins (special blocking pins exist, but ordinary ones for sewing work just fine) and a measuring tape.

Step Six Carefully roll out the blanket sausage and place the knitting on the mats to figure out how best to block it. If this was a garment, I'd block it to measurements, but since it's a lace shawl where size isn't crucial, I just stretch it to its very limits and "block the life out of it", as the Knitmoregirls would say :)
I find that wires work best for straight edges, and save the pins for the shaping and finer details.

(Sometimes neither wires nor pins are necessary. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a great blog post on how to block a little sweater just by patting it into place.)

With this type of shawl I start by blocking out the "spine" by inserting a blocking wire into every 3-5 stitch.

I stretch it out as far as it will go, and add pins at either end to keep the shawl straight.

Next I do the same with the two straight edges at the top of the shawl.

Finally I want the fan-and-feather pattern at the bottom of the shawl to stand out, so I use pins in order to emphasize the curves of the pattern.
Doesn't it look like a beautiful butterfly? :) Wingspan while blocking: 105cm x 64cm. It grew quite a bit.

Step Seven Leave until completely dry. Depending on weight of yarn and time of year this may take as much as a week... at least in our climate. But it's worth the wait :) In the height of summer 24 hours is plenty though.

Step Eight Unpin and enjoy your beautiful creation :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Drowning in WIPs

I've been kinda all over the place with my knitting this past week, so I have worked on no fewer than 6 different WIPs! At this rate it will be quite awhile before I have any FOs ;)

So with no further ado... from the oldest project to the newest.

The sock yarn blanket has seen quite a bit of progress this past week, as I've been in the mood for some mindless knitting. I need to start knitting the different sections together though, as I've decided I want it to be 20 squares across, and I currently have 15.
I haven't yet made up my mind whether to fill out the edges, or just leave them as is. I'll probably wait with that decision till I've seen it finished. It's gone a long way to go yet though. If my calculations are correct I'll need somewhere between 300-400 squares, and so far I have... 48!

I've only got a few more repeats done on my No Purl Monkey socks since last week. I absolutely LOVE the yarn (Fyberspates Vivacious 4 Ply in the Blue Lagoon colourway). The colour is awesome, and the yarn SO soft to the touch! I almost regret not buying more of it when I had the chance! I may just have to get some more online ;)
The reason I've come no further than this is that I want to try out the Fish Lips Kiss heel for it, and I need the pattern for that, so it cannot be used for travel knitting until I've got that sorted. I have a feeling I'm going to LOVE these socks though! (Yes, two capital letter "love" in the same paragraph - it's worth it :) )

I finally figured out where I wanted to go next with my Sampler Shawl, so that's gotten a few more rows done as well. I don't have much yarn left though, so I think I'm going to have to get started on the edging soon. I've decided to just to feather-and-fan repeats until the yarn runs out, in order to give it a nice, wavy edge. I'll need to weigh the yarn in order to calculate how many repeats I can safely do before the cast off though. Wouldn't mind having enough for a square or two for the sock yarn blanket either ;)

Due to all the WIPs, I've only gotten another 7 rows done on the Terra Linda cardigan. Not for want of interest though. I absolutely love the pattern, the yarn (Garnstudio DROPS Merino Extra Fine) and the way the two work together. I got to show my friend my progress to date yesterday, and fortunately she loves it too :)

Anyway, since I needed some new travel knitting (and found some new sock yarn on sale) I decided to cast on the Conwy socks by Nancy Bush. Unfortunately this is turning out to be a less pleasurable knit than I had hoped. I don't know if it's the yarn (Lana Grossa Meilenweit Grey Stretch) or the pattern (or a mix!) but I'm not loving seeing the sock grow the way I usually do. In fact, I decided that these would be ankle socks or I'd never get the second one done!

I hope it's the pattern more than the yarn, because I bought 4 skeins of various Meilenweit Stretch yarn, and that would just be a waste!

And finally - because 5 active WIPs (plus a half-finished object I hope to have done soon too) aren't enough, I cast on Martina Behm's Sleeves for my sister. This was my birthday present to her this year, and we finally had the chance to buy the yarn this past weekend. The yarn chosen is Järbo Garn Mio (100% merino) and SO amazingly soft to the touch that I know this won't be the last time I use this yarn. It turned out to be very reasonably priced too, which is always a bonus :)
I've only gotten one evening's worth of work done on this one though, and am making a few modifications to the cuff, as I'm trying to make the sleeves narrower at the cuff, while still flaring out to the same dimensions after the elbow. Not entirely sure if I'll succeed, but I'll give it my best go. Means I have to take copious notes while making the first sleeve though.

Lots of awesome projects :) My greatest problem these days is that I can never figure out which one I want to knit the most! ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Lots of stuff!

I have a whole bunch of stuff on the needles this week :)

If I had stayed monogamous this first one would never have made it to a WIP Wednesday post - I only have a couple of hours left to go on it. But monogamous I am not, so here it is :)

My best friend's brother and his wife are having a baby next month :) When I saw my friend last, I asked her if she thought he'd mind if I sent him something for the baby, or if it would be weird. "Not at all!" she replied. "He still thinks of you as his Danish sister!". Awesome! Of course, with that response I HAD to knit the baby a present, and was happy to find this absolutely adorable cardigan on Ravelry
Just missing the second sleeve and then two icords. The original pattern closes the cardi with a button at the neck, but I wasn't too sure about that, so after consulting with my mother, I decided to go with two icords around the middle of the chest instead, so it can be closed without strangling the baby.

I'm still plugging ahead on the Terra Linda cardigan as well. I'm about to start the lace chart now, so have put it side for a bit until I have a quiet evening to work on that.
(This time with a bookmark next to it for scale ;) )
Unfortunately I discovered I made a mistake 9 rows down where I decreased and increased the wrong way!
I did a lot of thinking, but I've decided to leave it as it is. It's small enough that I don't think people will notice... and if they do, they might think it's on purpose. In Denmark we have a saying "Nobody will notice when the music is playing" - and that's what I'm counting on here :)

Finally I've decided to join Knitmoregirls' #operationsockdrawer and the Must Stash girls' Month of Socks and have cast on the no-purl version of the Monkey socks. The pattern is very easily memorized and makes for excellent travel-knitting.
I may substitute the heel flap for a short row heel though - I want to try something new.

Friday, May 9, 2014

FO Friday - Seamless Slippers

Finished the Seamless Salomas Slippers last night. They're a tad too small, so I think I'll just throw them into the gift basket and see where they end up.
They're quick knits though. Each slipper took no more than 2-3 hours.

Pattern: Seamless Salomas Slippers
Yarn: Irina DK by Katia. A raylon, cotton acrylic blend
Mods: Knit 3.5" instead of just 3" before I switched to garter stitch. I thought this would make them big enough for me... I was wrong.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Yet Another Cardi

Earlier this year, I knit a cardigan for a friend of mine. She loved it so much, that she's been asking me if I'd knit her another one! Since she pays for the yarn and takes me out to dinner as a thank you (and I get to play with pretty yarn I don't have to pay for myself ;) ) I was eager to knit her something new - especially as I was currently between major projects - so last Wednesday we went shopping for some yarn for the Terra Linda Cardigan. I've been wanting to knit this for ages, so was eager to get to do it on her dime ;)

I swatched that same night (realizing I had to go up two full needle sizes! From a 5.0mm to a 6.0mm!), cast on the following day, and have been happily knitting ever since!
The pattern is extremely well-written and easy to follow, so I haven't had any problems with it at all so far. The yarn is lovely and soft, and even the fact that the pattern is mostly purl doesn't seem to bother me. If it continues like this, this may just turn out to be one of my favourite projects this year! :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

FO Friday: Hitchhiker

I finished my Hitchhiker over Easter :)
Very, very colourful indeed! Fortunately Nina loves it, even if it has gotten slightly too warm to wear scarfs now.

Love how the colours flow into each other up close... this is why I wanted to use the rest of the yarn for something in stockingette :)
It was a fun knit, and just like the Wingspan, very potatochip'y. I may just knit another one of these one day... even if the later tips did take *forever*!

(Oh, the name is because there are 42 tips altogether :) )

Pattern: Hitchhiker
Yarn: Lana Grossa Magico, 25% Nylon, 75% wool
Mods: None

I also finished a pair of socks I'd randomly decided to cast on ;) This pattern is from The Knitter, and I'd wanted to knit it ever since I first saw it. It is top-down and extremely easy.
I'm not too fond of the colours of the yarn unfortunately. It looked great in the skein, but I'm not so sure of it all knit up. Doesn't really matter for socks of course, and it is lovely soft, so that's always good.

I did have to do some finangling to get the colours to match up though! First I thought the second skein just started a different place in the colour repeat, so I'd have to unwind until I got to the right place, but as it turned out, the second skein was wound in the opposite direction from the first one! So I unwound and rewound, tried my best at measuring and kept all fingers and toes crossed when I started knitting. I think I'm ½-1 rounds off colourwise, so I'm count to consider that a success! :)

Pattern: Brighton Rock
Yarn: Bumbo Sock Yarn with Aloe Vera, 75% wool, 25% nylon
Mods: None