Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On the Needles, Off the Needles

I've started a new pair of socks :) That's not to say I've finished the other pair, but I reached the heel and as I want to try out the OMG heel again, and haven't learned that one off by heart yet, it was time to pick something else for my mindless knitting. Remembering that I'd promised Becca some stripy happy socks, I decided now was as good a time as any to cast on for those, and the result (so far) is a very happy-looking Rainbow Latte toe/foot!
I've also managed to get two extra squares on my second baby-blanket. It's slow going, but coming along nicely.
Other than that I've actually been fairly monogamous, as I had two projects I wanted to finish before the end of April, and am happy to say I managed on both accounts.

First there's my homespun Hitchhiker which is off the needles, blocked and looking absolutely lovely :) So I've forgiven it all the ways it teased me as I was spinning and knitting the yarn. I ended up with 32 tips total, so not quite the full 42 to make it a true Douglas Adamsesque Hitchhiker, but close enough to fit me nicely :)
Next there's the Rye Field Pullover! I finished the knitting on Sunday, wove in (most of) the ends Monday morning (forgot the ones on the sleeves! That'll happen once it's blocked), and it's currently blocking.
As always with sweaters, I'm kinda worried that it grew too much while blocking. But merino should shrink some when drying, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. May also throw it in the machine for a spin, as it's superwash. I tried it on prior to blocking though, and it fits absolutely perfectly over the shoulders and the chest. Would probably have benefited from some waist-shaping, but as it's a test-knit, I couldn't do that at the time. Am thinking up ways of adding that after the fact if it turns out to be necessary, as I don't think I have the heart to rip back and re-knit! I consider myself a progress knitter rather than a product knitter, but not quite enough for that! Anyway, back when she still did vidcasts, Emily of WhatchaSwatching mentioned using mattress stitch to take in the sides of her Hiro sweater, which is also mostly stockinette knit in the round. It worked like a charm for her, so hopefully it'll work for me as well :) And if not, I can just undo the seam and reblock, and I'll be no worse off than I am now :)

But so far, this is all speculations. The pullover is still wet on the mats - may turn out that it fits perfectly once it's dry and on! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

In other crafting-adjacent news, Iben reminded me of my love of colouring books when she blogged about a colouring book for adults (link is in Danish, but you can still enjoy the pictures :) ). I was instantly hooked, and bought the books (2 of them) that same evening. They arrived Saturday (as always in a HUGE package compared to the contents!), and after the read-a-thon was over Sunday, I immediately sat down with my felts to get my colouring on!
I love colouring books for adults! Especially ones with paper thick enough that I don't have to stick to pencils but have a choice.

But it's funny - I think I almost like the start photo the best. It looks better - or at least more striking - when only some of the colouring is done.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

London Knitting

I should have learned by now that I never get as much knitting done on vacations as I think I will (on the other hand, I tend to get more reading done than I think I will... at home I'm more likely to pick up my knitting rather than a book, and on vacation I'm more likely to pick up a book rather than my knitting! Go figure!), so out of the four projects I took with me to London, I only did any work on two of them! Never mind - it's not like they took up much room, and I like having alternatives ;)

I got quite a bit of knitting done on my socks on the plane ride - it doesn't really look that way though, as stranded knitting is quite a bit slower for me than just plain vanilla. No matter - I like the way it looks, and will enjoy having it on the needles for awhile longer.

Nora's baby blanket was perfect for the evenings though. Hardly required any thinking at all! ... I'm not going to tell how many time I messed up the counting due to being too caught up in our games though ;)
I've just started the 8th square. Think I need 64 in total, so there's awhile to go yet.

But though I didn't touch the Hitchhiker at all while away, I've done quite a bit of knitting on it since then, and finished it last night! :) Still need to block and weave in ends, but I expect to get that done tomorrow night :)
Since there's no varigation in the yarn colour, I decided to knit every second tip in stockinette instead of garter. This means it isn't reversible any longer, but I actually really like the way it turned out :)

Finally I've gotten quite a bit of knitting done on the Rye Field Pullover. Only need another 10cm or so before the end ribbing! Can't wait to see it done :)
It's funny - while knitting the top part, I thought it looked so smooth and even already that if it hadn't been for the lace part I hardly felt it needed blocking... but then I blocked the top part (to see if I could get rid of the wrinkle - fortunately I could!), and now it is SO obvious what I've knit since then! Blocking definitely makes a difference!

Stash Stories
Of course I couldn't go to London and not come home with souvenir yarn! And it turns out that Henni is an excellent enabler, as she kept asking me "Is that all you're getting?" and suddenly it seemed reasonable to get more! Sooooo I went kinda crazy in Loop, Islington (HIGHLY recommend this shop BTW!), but as the cashier commented, "What happens in a yarnshop, stays in a yarnshop". ;)
MadelineTosh and Koigu. Love it :D The "Unicorn Tails" are for my Cozy Memories Blanket. They'll look AWESOME in there :D

I'd also checked google to find a place to purchase fiber for my spinning wheel, and managed to find one that seemed to have quite a good selection. It was a bit out of the way, but I figured it'd be worth the visit - and I was right! They had TONS of fiber - both dyed and natural, and in heaps of different materials. I stuck with merino though... I'd love to try bamboo, silk, cashmere etc. at some point, but I asked the owner, and she recommended I stick with the basics while I'm still a new spinner. The rest can come later. They have an online shop too, and ship to Denmark! :D

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Year of Projects - Startitis again

Sooo... I kinda got startitis this past week. That often happens up to a vacation as I cast on ALL THE THINGS because I can't decide what I want to bring. So also this time, and I'm currently wavering between 4 WIPs... I'm honestly considering just bringing all of them :-P Yes, I'm ridiculous.

I won't be bringing the test knit though. I've come too far for it to be all that portable, but not far enough that I have any real confidence that I'll be able to finish it while away... in which case, it's really not worth it.

I've finished both sleeves, and now have a really cropped top. I'm not 15 any longer, so that won't do ;) I LOVE the way it fits though, and can't wait to finish it.
I decided to go ahead and block the body while I'm away. The wrinkle across the chest really bugged me, and if it couldn't be blocked out, I'd want to know sooner rather than later. I really, really, really hope I won't have to rip back and redo all that knitting, but it'll be worth it in the end to get something I'm really happy with. But first - I'm keeping all fingers crossed that the blocking will do the trick. This is where the vacation comes in handy - it'll be all nice and dry by the time I get back home.

Aaanyway, I finally cast on for the Conjunction Cowl yesterday, as that was supposed to be my main London knitting. I wanted to get it started to get a good feel for the pattern before I left. It's super easy and a breeze to memorize, so perfect travel knitting :)
Not much to see yet. Unfortunately I realized I'd miscalculated and gotten fingering weight yarn instead of sport, and as the handspun yarn is a really heavy sport, I'm a tad worried the contrast will be too big... Ah well, I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. If it's totally off, I'll rip back and just knit it completely in these two colours, and then save my handspun for something else.

Finally - since I didn't already have enough on my needles - I've cast on another baby blanket. My youngest sister wrote me yesterday to say that "I should just let her know if I didn't know what to knit next" ;) When pushed, it turned out that she could really use another baby blanket for Nora, and since I knit her the first one, I was rather keen to knit this one as well :) Blankets take awhile though, so I did warn her that I had no idea when I'd be able to finish... Didn't stop me from casting on right away though, and I've so far knit 3 squares out of the probably 64 I'll need.
It's another cozy memories blanket, but this time in sport/DK on 4.5mm needles and with 49sts to start with to make the squares larger.

... And of course, I still have my handspun hitchhiker and the ever-present socks. Didn't take any photos of those, but they're also contenders for travel projects.

I'll probably keep re-making up my mind until the very last moment... and then just bring all four of them after all! ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

YOP: Rye Field Pullover

I've been almost entirely monogamous this past week! And weirdly enough, not on the project I showed you last time - in fact, I haven't touched that at all, expect to blog the last three squares.

Because, as it would happen, Tuesday evening I found an absolutely gorgeous test-knit I knew I just had to sign up for! It's the Rye Field Pullover, and I had the perfect yarn for it in my stash!
Fortunately I was approved, so I did my gauge swatch (once again being reminded very forcefully at how DIFFERENT my gauge is in the round vs. when knitting flat!) and cast on Wednesday afternoon. I've been working on it pretty much monogamously (with the exception of a square or two on my cozy memories blanket, when I needed something more mindless) and the body is coming along very nicely. The yarn is SO amazingly soft I just can't keep my hands of it :)
It has a weird stripe where I had to rip back and reknit with crinkled yarn, but I'm hoping it will even out with blocking. I've tried it on a couple of times, and it fits me just right :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Stash Enhancement

This week's stash-enhancement turned right around and became my newest WIP as well - I love it when that happens :) Some people will tell you that it doesn't count as stash if you start knitting it right away... I'm not entirely sure I buy into that, considering how long time some of my projects take me, but it's a nice idea ;)

Anyway, ever since I found the Vivid blanket by Tincanknits I've wanted to knit it up. I even started on it about two years ago, but the yarn I'd found was all wrong for it, so I frogged it after just one square.

Then last year I discovered Järbo Mio - lovely soft 100% merino yarn in 14 different colours with amazing stitch definition. I'd been thinking for awhile that I'd love to turn it into a blanket, but it would be quite an investment, so I'd been putting it off. However, realizing that I was still thinking about it, I reasoned that it could no longer be considered an impromptu purchase prone to buyers remorse, so last Friday I went out and bought 10 skeins! :) (I left out white, grey, black and baby pink as I didn't think they fit with the rest of the colours)
Rather amusing - as I was standing making up my mind a sales person came up to me to ask if she could help. "No thanks, I'm just tempting myself." "Oh! I'll leave you to it, then!" Then, as I'd made up my mind and was walking towards the register, I came across her again. She smiled and whispered "I won't tell!". The cashier also smiled as she saw my pile and commented, "That looks like a really happy project!"

So that was an awesome start to the weekend :) The Vivid squares are turning out absolutely gorgeous and I was right about the perfect stitch definitions.
Two blocked and three unblocked (I've finished the blue one since taking this photo). I keep forgetting to time myself, but they seem to take a couple of hours each. As I can get 3 out of a skein I have a LONG way to go yet. Fortunately I have no great expectations of finishing anytime soon. It'll be my luxury / indulgent knitting :)