Inspired by the ‘Under the party tree’ mitts I was knitting in September, I designed a hat to use up the last of the skein from the mitts. And then I adapted the hat to work in a larger gauge as well.
This is mostly going to be a photo post rather than a words post, because I’m so far behind First, Christmas presents for other people…
A scarf for my dad, which seemed to take ages and got very, very boring. But it was worth it because I found out after I’d started that he’d asked my mum for a hat and scarf, and she hadn’t been able to find a scarf to fit his exacting requirements, but had bought him a navy hat. And he loves it
These aren’t technically a Christmas present, but I knit them over Christmas after I realised Ralph had no gloves, and I had some spare black yarn left over from the hat-with-ears. (They’re loosely inspired by pictures of Dashing, but not knit to that pattern.)
I’m now making a third attempt to knit this lovely purple merino into a jumper. The picture is actually a lie, because something went wrong with my gauge calculations and I had to frog, but the second go is going much better, and is nearly at the armholes (bottom-up) at which point I’m going to have to make a decision about what kind of sleeves to have. It’s deliberately plain (no cables on the second version, though there were on the first), so I can knit without looking at it, and therefore read academic papers at the same time, and doesn’t mind being put down in the middle of a row (and the harmony needles are grippy enough that I don’t need to slide them through) so I can stop to make a note whenever I need to. This means I’m getting through it quite quickly
Over a month ago, I was half-heartedly whining about having only one thing on the needles, and the need to go and cast on for something else. Now I once again only have one thing on the needles (the same thing – selbu modern, which I’ve hardly touched in the meantime), but in between I have knit lots of things. My course kindly provides the required reading in A4-photocopies, which are conveniently flat, making it easy to knit and read at the same time as long as I choose my knitting carefully, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading since I last blogged. Sadly, I haven’t yet worked out how to blog and read at the same time.
Immediately after hitting ‘publish post’ on my last post, I did indeed go and start preparing to start something else – I wound some handspun yarn (peacock) into a ball and started swatching. I’d been thinking for a while that this wanted to be a scarf in a peacock-tail lace pattern, and now it is! (Although it still needs blocking…)
While knitting the scarf, I decided that I really needed a new hat. This is my own design, although I misjudged the width of the ribbing – it’s this wide so I can fold back the hem, but I don’t like how it looks folded, so I wear it unfolded and covering most of my face I’m planning to make another, with less ribbing, and then perhaps publish the pattern (heh, I’m always saying that and never do. Eventually!) The hat got christened on a very rainy Reclaim the Night march, and kept my head warm and toasty and dry throughout, so I am declaring it a success!
When I said I only had one thing on the needles, I was using a rather strict definition of the term, because one of the off-the-needles things is a single mitten, the pair for which I’m going to cast on next. This is a modified version of Susie’s reading mitts, worked upside down, with a different gauge and thumb gusset, and with the hem edges knit into the fabric rather than sewed down later. The lace pattern, which was drew me to the mitts in the first place, is unaltered
I spun the yarn for this over my birthday weekend, having given myself the weekend off all study-work and work-work (I’m still behind on both kinds of work because of this, but it’s an article of faith that I don’t work on my birthday). The yarn is rather more brown than I usually like, but I think the colours suit the pattern, and I’m enjoying how the colour shifts in different kinds of light, looking sometimes more purple, sometimes more brown, and sometimes more grey. This is chain-plyed to keep the colour changes intact, but I’ve got half of the fibre still unspun, so I think I’ll two- or three-ply that to see the difference in finished colours. I’m getting quite interested in achieving different colour effects in finished yarn from the same fibre, and I’ve got some ideas about other ways to play with this, which I’ll blog about if I get round to doing it before I lose interest in the idea!
If this doesn’t sound like quite enough knitting in a month to be called ‘lots’, it’s because about half of my November knitting has been on gifts for people who might conceivably read this blog, so the rest will have to stay unblogged until after Christmas!
I currently only have one thing on the needles! And unfortunately, it requires too much looking-at to be practical to knit while watching TV or reading, but it’s moving along slowly:
And this is it held taut-ish to show the pattern off:
(That’s the edge of my Wisteria sleeve visible on the left, and the edge of Making Money by Terry Pratchett (which I haven’t yet read) on the right.)
I’m planning to only lightly block this – I like how it looks like very complex cables as it is now, and I think blocking it completely flat would lose some of its charm.
These are the swimming coriolis:
They look rather more leftovery (which they are) than I hoped, because the roll of the cast-off edge obscures most of the second band of the variegated yarn, so I’m rethinking my original intention of giving these as a gift – I don’t think they’re nice enough :-/
I’ve got various other projects (all gifts) wandering around in my head, but I haven’t got round to doing anything concrete like swatching or sketching or even winding the yarn into balls. Unusually, I want to be already knitting rather than starting to knit, which is a bit of a problem when most of my knitting time isn’t well suited to my sole current project. I’m hoping that writing this post will serve as a kind of catalyst, and prompt me to go and do one of those things, but I’m sufficiently distrustful of today’s energy levels (I’m coming down with a cold) to avoid saying that I’m going to go and start something as soon as I click “publish post”
This is Ella blocking, all flat! I’ve worn her a couple of times, and she’s nice and warm, and I’m pleased I paid attention to alternating the more- and less-variegated skeins in knitting her.
This is the Zauberball I mentioned in my last post, in the process of becoming the dragon’s breath scarf (so named because this is an adaptation of the flickering flames pattern, and red). I’m a lot further on now than in this picture – I just haven’t taken any photos for ages.
I’ve finally finished both Lucas’s Tomten and the red cardigan, both of which were waiting for fastenings, and I’d failed to find the green toggles and reddish-purple ribbon, respectively, I wanted, so in the end I plied some yarn (orange for tomten and the silk mix edging yarn for the red cardigan) against itself twice to make cord ties. The double plying means the cord is stable, and it’s four times thicker than the working yarn, which is a good thickness.
I’ve now got three knitting projects on the go, and they’re all actually in progress: yesterday I worked on all three of them, depending on how much my eyes were free to look at them:
- Coriolis socks (almost no looking-at required) while working through some of the reading for the first week of my course
- Dragon’s breath scarf (some looking-at required) while watching TV
- Selbu modern hat (lots of looking-at required) while listening to music
This is the state of the Selbu Modern:
Since doing a stitch count spreadsheet for Wisteria, I seem to be hooked – I’ve done another one for this, and it’s serving the dual purpose of being a place to note which row of the chart I’ve finished, and telling me how far through I am (currently 36%).
Now I’ve got enough of it done to get a proper look at it, I’ve more-or-less decided that I prefer the dark band, and the light base colour for the pattern. Luckily, these are on the same side of the hat Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind later, which is why I’m glad I’ve made this as double knitting instead of stranded. It’s loads of fun to knit, as well – I prefer double knitting to stranding anyway – and now I’m over some early clumsiness with the pattern, I’m sailing along and only needing to look at the chart occasionally. I still need to look at my knitting most of the time, which is a bit of a pain because it limits what I can do at the same time, but it’s fun enough on its own that I mostly don’t mind.
Having finished Wisteria, even though I’m enjoying both of my other projects and finding both of them easy, interesting and quick, I started getting the urge to cast on something else. The stranded knitting on the starry kimono, and the double-knit-esque hem on Wisteria reminded me of my intention to make some non-sock thing in two-handed knitting, so I stand some chance of finishing it before I get fed up with the fiddliness of the technique. My new short hair and excursions into red in my wardrobe suggested a red hat, and after some Ravelring, I decided upon Selbu Modern. I’m double knitting this, rather than stranding it, because I couldn’t decide which way round the colours should be. Hence this two-sided swatch:
That’s only a little bit of the pattern, obviously. Just enough to measure gauge and make adjustments for the looser gauge of double knitting compared with stranded, and for the fact that the needles I wanted to use are larger than those the pattern calls for, so technically I suppose this is 7/8 of a Selbu Modern
Tomten is now finished, apart from the buttons and button loops. I’m trying to source some green plastic toggles for this, but I can’t finish the icord trim until I know what I’m doing about fastenings.
Despite being made of the same yarn, at the same gauge, the jester hat doesn’t match the hoodie at all, which is good and nicely avoids the absurdity of making a hat to go with a hoodie
I might make some little pom-poms for the corners of this, and I’ve got a fair chunk of yarn left, so I’ll probably make some mittens as well.
I have knit all of my spinning oddments into a decent-sized (ie its ‘wingspan’ is a bit longer than mine) triangular shawl, and then crocheted an edging onto it, and added crochet ties. It’s the craziest garment ever, a hotch-potch of colours and textures, and I doubt I’ll ever wear it outside the house, but I love it anyway, and am enjoying identifying all the little bits of handspun yarn.
I’ve also made some purchases, one within the rules of the self-inflicted yarn and fibre diet, and one breaking them. The permitted purchase is a bunch of nice-but-cheap superwash wool yarn in three different colours, which will be a Tomten hoodie for the baby my oldest friend is currently working on. Depending how much yarn is left after that, there will be a matching hat, and possibly even mittens to go with (in which case I’ll come up with some way of attaching the mittens to the jacket). Yes, I know a hooded jacket doesn’t need a matching hat, but I’m having the urge to knit the baby jester hat.
It’s a permitted purchase because I don’t have any superwash in stash apart from sock yarn, and baby gifts need to be washable! Plus it comes from the gift budget, rather than the yarn one (or would if I planned my budgets that precisely
The not-permitted purchase is 1kg of undyed grey wool fibre, with a couple of discounts applied, which worked out to be really quite cheap. I’m toying with the idea of spinning a jumpers-worth, and then following someone else’s patten, in the hope of actually achieving a jumper that I like. And the pattern might be the beautiful Wisteria (noooo, not influenced by sockpr0n at all, why do you ask? I can’t resist a bit of a mod, though – I think I’ll leave off the cables around the hem, because I suspect they look best on people much thinner than I am.
Depending on what kind of grey it is when it arrives, I might dye some or all of this, possibly carding the dyed with the undyed for a heathered yarn. Of course, thinking about all this has reminded me that I haven’t finished carding the black alpaca and purple merino blend, and have spun only a very little of it, so now I’m thinking about that again, as well, and trying to decide once and for all what it will be, and therefore how to spin the rest of it.
This in turn reminds me of the red leaf wrap, still sitting mostly-unwoven on the loom, and calling to me every time I go into the library and see it sitting there. I have a crafting date this weekend, so I’ll probably take the loom or the wheel with me and weave or spin while the others knit.
Talking of spinning: the weekend just gone, I met my first real in-the-wild spinner (Sadie and B don’t count, since I pimped the spinning shiny at them), and I’m deeply envious of her since her father owns a sheep farm and is the neighbourhood shearer, so she gets her pick of fibre!
Finally, a new project! This is another baby hat, two coloured intarsia in the round, and intended to have zig-zaggy stripes and cat ears (for which I might need to ask around for a little bit of pink sock yarn, since I don’t have any, and I think ears look cuter with pink inside – anyone have any spare?). The zig-zagging, shown in closeup in the photo, means the join between colours moves one stitch each row, which is helping with the holes intarsia would otherwise risk.
So on the whole I’m tentatively declaring the mojo returned, which is a relief