Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Christmas Knitting

The startitis continues, and I've added not one, but two projects since last week :)

The first new project is one I've been wanting to knit for ages, but where I didn't feel like I could justify the price of the pattern. Mum to the rescue :) She was just as taken with it as I was, and gave it to me for Christmas! Of course I had to cast on for the Butterfly/Papillon right away, and after a single false start (my first choice of yarn turned out to be all wrong for the pattern) I'm happily knitting away on it :)
I'm already thinking up a ton of other colour combinations I'd like to try out too, so I'm thinking this may be the first of many ;-)

The second new project is just a pair of plain vanilla socks. I realized all projects on my needles were ones where I needed the pattern on a regular basis, and I needed something simple to bring with me places. Besides, I'd just gotten hold of this awesome sparkly yarn and wanted to see it knit up :)

I've also been knitting (a tiny bit) on existing projects though. I finished yet another pair of tube socks for Nora....
and yesterday I finished the first of the socks for the test-knit I'm doing on Ravelry :)
Now I just need to get the second one cast on right away - my second sock syndrome tends to be worse for socks with colourwork, so it's better to just dive straight into it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Startitis!

My knitting mojo is slowly returning, and with it comes a serious case of cast-itis, so I've cast on no fewer than 3 new projects since last Wednesday! Perfect timing too, as my Christmas vacation starts tomorrow AND the Clean Slate Challenge starts on January 1st!

So! In no particular order... :)

I started a new testknit yesterday. A pair of stranded-knitting socks was put up for testing, and I just couldn't resist :) They'll be really gorgeous once they're done :) Unfortunately, I think I may have knit them a bit too tight, as I'm having slight difficulties getting them over my ankle :-P I'll pay more attention to knit loose from here on, and then keep my fingers crossed that it's not too bad. Once I'm past the heel I'll reassess - I'm too lazy to rip back, but I have plenty of family members with smaller feet than mine ;)

Change of Heart is a beautiful cowl that combines an icord edging, lace, garter stitch and cables. I'm knitting it up in a lovely soft merino-alpaca-cashmere yarn in a dark green colour. The solid colour will show off the patterning beautifully I think. I'm starting to like wearing cowls more - both for warmth and as accessories - so I'm looking forward to seeing how this will be once finished :)

As mentioned last week, the acrylic yarn I swatched will turn into the Professor McGonagall blanket. I started this on Sunday and have already gotten quite far along the cat chart. It's my first real attempt at intarsia, and I'm finding it wonderfully potatochippy :)
(Getting this photo was ridiculous! Because it's just plain stockinette at this point (the edge is picked up and knit at the end) it curls up on itself completely, so I actually had to use pins just to be able to get a photo!)

And finally, the project that (I think) got me out of my knitting slump in the first place - the Symmetry in Motion tee. Confession - I only swatched very superficially for this :-P But I needed something substantial on my needles, and had already done 3 swatches in this yarn previously, so I figured it was relatively safe. And if it doesn't fit me I'm sure I can find somebody else whom it will fit. The yarn (Grignasco Extrafine, 100% Merino) is incredibly soft and a pleasure to work with, but it'll take forever to knit up as even with two strands held double it only just corresponds to a light fingering. In another 40 rows I get to join it in the round though, so that'll speed the progress up significantly, once I won't have to purl as much any longer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Knitting Issues

Hmmm... is it possible to be allergic to specific types of acrylic yarn? I haven't had any issues earlier, but yesterday I sat to knit a swatch in the most amazingly soft acrylic yarn, and I'd barely cast on before I started feeling pins and needles in my hand. I've never heard of such a thing before, and it might just have been a coincidence, but I'm thinking that my orignal idea of using it for a cardigan for myself should probably just die. Instead I've decided to finally give in to my urges and purchase the pattern for Professor McGonagall's baby blanket :) I've wanted to knit this for ages, and am sure I'll eventually find a suitable recipient for it, who'll enjoy the softness of the yarn - even if it is acrylic.

Of course, if my hands keep itching while knitting it, it probably wasn't just my imagination, and I won't torture myself by forcing myself to finish it. But I have 10 skeins of the yarn and while it was cheap, I'd rather not it went to waste, so I'm going to give it a second chance.

I finished the Orchid Cowl this weekend, and love the way it turned out :)
It's slightly smaller than I would have preferred, so it'll probably be used more for looks than for warmth. But the lace and the beads fit perfectly together, and I'm really happy with my first attempt at bead knitting :) Definitely won't be the last time I do that!

Other than that I've mostly been knitting on my Cozy Memories Blanket. I've been wanting to get on with a new sweater project (see above re. swatch), but haven't really been able to figure out which one I want to knit. I've boiled it down to just a few contenders, but need to do some swatching before I fully make up my mind - and in the meanwhile the CMB makes for lovely mindless TV-knitting :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Baa-ble Hat

I only have a bit of knitting this week - actually, I've only worked on two different things!

Like so many other knitters, I succumbed to the Baa-ble Hat madness. I started this Wednesday evening, and finished just two days later :) I knit this out of fingering weight yarn held double. It was a bit hard on my hands at times (not to mentioned it tangled like nobody's business during the colourwork section), but it was a fun and satisfying knit.
I gave it to my cousin as an early Christmas present on Saturday. It's a tad big on her, but I still think she looks cute :)

Mum loaned me some small crochet hooks (used to be my grandmother's) Saturday so I could get on with the Orchid Cowl. Oh my goodness! It is SO much easier to add beads with a crochet hook! A lot less fiddly and thus heaps faster. And kinda fun too :) It's oddly satisfying to fit the beads on. Definitely not the last time I'll do beaded knitting.
My gauge is waaay off, so I'm adding a full extra repeat in order to get a cowl as big as I'd like. It's quite a bit thinner than expected too, but oh well - not something I'm going to do anything about at this point.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

WIP Wednesday - A Little of Everything

My knitting mojo is still low, so I've been doing a little knitting on a lot of things this past week rather than starting any new larger projects.

I've been wanting to try bead knitting for ages, and finally found some suitable beads while in New Zealand. Finding the right pattern proved to be more difficult than expected, however, so in the end I decided to go with a bead-less pattern and just add beads myself! It's meant some trial and error, but I'm past the first repeat and think I like where this is going.
The pattern is the Orchid Cowl with a few adaptions. I don't plan on making it symmetrical so the beads will go whereever I feel like it. I didn't have any crochet hooks small enough, so am using the dental floss method until I can hopefully borrow one off my Mum this weekend :) It's easy enough, just takes a bit extra time.

I first found this pattern a bit over a year ago, and even bought the yarn back then too, but just never got around to knitting it. Finally I decided just to go for it. It was really fiddly at first, but turned out to be a fun and relatively quick knit. I started out magic looping, then switched to DPNs when it became too tight and finally to two circs when the DPNs got too frustrating! Not a fan of DPNs I'm afraid. One smaller circular would have been easier, but I don't have any 2.5mm / 40cm circs. Will have to remedy that if I plan on making any more of these.

The crocheted edging was fun, and put me in the mood to do some more crochet, so I searched Ravelry for some small, Christmasy projects, and ended up with these two flowers.
Confession: The smallest one was supposed to be a star, but once I got to the final step I realized I couldn't understand the instructions! So I just gave up and left it as-is ;) Guess I still have quite a long way to go when it comes to following crochet patterns. Didn't help that it was in Danish, and I'm not completely sure of the exact translations. US/UK crochet terms are confusing enough, without adding in another language! Even if it is my mother tongue.

Finally I've added an extra 10-15 squares to my Cozy Memories blanket. It's a nice, mindless project for lazy evenings at home on the couch. I'll go ages without touching it, and then suddenly add a bunch of squares at once. I can't wait to see how it turns out... even if it probably won't be for another couple of years yet.