Sunday, 18 June 2017

more techniques

I'm moving along with the Year of Techniques hosted by Arnall-Culliford.  So far, we've covered Helical Stripes, Intarsia, and Pinhole cast-on.  I finished my Amstel Hat that started top-down with a pinhole cast-on, using Berroco Ultra Alpaca:

June's technique is knitted-on edging.  In keeping with my plan to use stash yarn and patterns I own, I'm knitting the Hydrangea Neckwarmer from the book Brave New Knits.  I'm done the main body, and have started the edging.  This is a new skill, but not a difficult one.  The pattern calls for a provisional cast-on for the edging, but I will seam at the end.   The yarn is variegated and pattern is lacy, so a small seam in the edging won't be noticeable.  It was less awkward than the provisional one in the original pattern.

I'm enjoying the challenge of learning (or practicing) new things, but am happy that I've stuck with using pattern and yarn I own.  It's so tempting to buy new patterns and yarns.  This allows me to search through my books and patterns for things I may have overlooked before, and match with yarns to knit things I may not have considered before.  Can't wait to see what July brings!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

More knitting (less everything else!)...

A month since posts... I do so  much on my ipad, and can't quite figure out how to post images and create a blog post on that device.  I'm looking into it as I know I'd post more often from that device than the laptop.  Laptop signals "work" for me, while I use my iPad for "fun" things.

I broke out the sewing machine last month and made a top:  Sorbetto by Collette Patterns (a free top pattern).  I also made a "One Hour Top" by Fancy Tiger Crafts but the photo is on Instagram and I'm on my laptop.  Too many technological devices?!!

On the knitting front I've made a lot of small accessories, finished a KAL, and then got very distracted by a Mystery KAL.  

First, I finished a cowl using Noro Gingo and a pattern from my LYS.  It's more colourful than the photo shows, with mauve and green and gray:

I also knit a cowl using Briggs and Little Durasport, also in gray.  It's a bit scratchy but I'll wear it a lot in the fall.  Pattern is from PomPom Magazine, called Striated:

I also got sidetracked by a first birthday gift for my nephew.  I used stash yarn and a free pattern by Joji Locatelli called "Lolo's Vest".  Mine is more colourful than the original, as I didn't have enough of the red or the gray (my original plan) so added in some blue:

I also cast on a hat using the 'pinhole cast-on' for my Year of Techniques project this month.  This month's pattern is a cute knitted mouse.  I live with pre-teen boys and a lot of sports gear... and I am not keen on knitting toys (although these  may get knit one day!).  I'm trying to knit all of my 'technique' projects using stash yarn and patterns I own, so I chose some leftover Berroco Alpaca and cast on an Amstel Hat:

I'm no further along than this, as I am very distracted by my "Starting Point" MKAL with Joji Locatelli.  SPOILER picture is about to come up, but it's only clue one and a bit of clue two, so not really a big surprise anymore as clue 3 was released.  I'm not sure about the colours now that I"m knitting, as it's a lot more colourful than I usually knit.  I knit bright things (like the hat above) but usually in a monochromatic, solid colour.  The mix of colours is very far out of my comfort zone.  This means it will get worn with a lot of gray and black, I imagine!  
Yarns:  Zara (mauve), Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine (orange), Sweet Georgia Toughlove sock (variegated), Sweet Georgia Bulletproof Sock (Blue), Alegria (gray):

More on this when it's done, as I don't want to give too much away.  I'm trying to keep up with the pace of the KAL, so I have a few days to do a LOT of knitting - the project uses close to 2000 yards in 4 weeks....  

All of this knitting means less of other things.  Like housework, school work, reading, etc.  I'm okay with this, but my house is looking a little dusty and my report cards loom ahead!  

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


As mentioned previously, I'm following "A Year of Techniques" using patterns and yarn from my library and stash.  I finished my cowl with intarsia and LOVE it.  Love the colour, loved knitting the pattern, love the yarn, love it.  I think it will be perfect for spring, when the wind can be cool despite the sun (which I hear will shine again soon).  I used a new cast-on, learned intarsia with garter stitch (easy!) and grafted the ends together with garter Kitchener stitch (new skill) so really this was 3 new techniques on one go.  I also knit it ahead of my deadline (May 1st) so I'm very proud of myself for following through with my commitment to finish KALs at or near the deadline.

Pattern:  Ice Maiden Cowl by Sybil R (on Ravelry)
Yarn:  Malabrigo Arroyo (variegated) and Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (burgundy)

Next technique involves sock yarn.  I've never knit socks (aside from a worsted pair of house socks) so I'm hoping to learn something new.  I rarely pay much attention to sock patterns that come my way (in magazines, in books, on websites) so I will have to think about what I can reasonably knit.  For now, I'll wear my new cowl and hope for a breezy, sunny but cool day!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

a year of techniques

Mason Dixon Knitting and Arnall-Culliford Knitwear have launched a year-long project and (eventual) book called A Year of Techniques.  The premise:  each month starting in March 2017, a new technique and pattern are launched.  Purchasing the book gives you access to each pattern via pdf, with a printed copy (or digital) available for shipping at the end. 

Exciting?  Yes!  Affordable? ... not for me.  With the Canadian dollar and shipping from England factored in, the book alone will cost $33.00 plus shipping (so likely closer to $60).  I would love to own the book but am also mindful of all of the other patterns I already own and the accompanying stash of yarn I seem to have accumulated.  Instead, I am going to do a 'shadow' year of techniques, selecting patterns I already own that incorporate the technique of the month.  If I don't have a pattern with the specific technique, then I will choose one that can be modified to incorporate it. 

First up was 'helical stripes' - essentially one stripe chases the other, never catching up to eliminate jogs or seams.  The pattern is for arm warmers, so I cast on using gauge for fingering weight yarn and knit up some generic armwarmers with a thumb gusset and ribbing at top and bottom.  Yarn is Noro Silk Garden sock.

April's technique is intarsia, with a gorgeous shawl by Bristol Ivy, Brambling Shawl.  I have a pattern for a garter stitch cowl called Ice Maiden.    Mine will be less icy and more 'red wine', but garter and intarsia together is fun!

I am using stash yarn for this - Malabrigo Arroyo and Ultra Alpaca Light.  Feels good to dig into the stash and try new things at the same time.

I also have a cardigan on the go for a Baby Cocktails KAL.  It's Rye, knit with Ultra Alpaca Tonal.  I love the stitch pattern and it's going quite quickly.  One sleeve done, another about a third of the way.  Great tv knitting with a 4-row pattern that's easy to memorize and 'read' on the needles.
 Also hoping to finish last year's summer tee - started about a year ago.  Lots on the go, but I am hoping to finish all by mid May, just in time to start the next technique!

Friday, 24 March 2017


It feels good to finish.  I most enjoy the planning part of knitting:  pouring over patterns, selecting yarn, looking at other peoples' work on Ravelry, Instagram and blogs.  I lag in the middle, when the new-ness wears off and the pattern is 'rote'.  Finishing is harder than starting. 

So this March Break I was determined to finish.  It feels good to finish!

Middle:  Mrs. Mysterious (Mrs. Watson) - my entry in my LYS annual Yarn Challenge
Bottom:  Sambuca (BabyCocktails pattern)

I also realize now that I've knit the body, that my Clio will need to be frogged.  I knit the small size, and am not happy with the fit.  Not enough ease, and I don't love it enough to start over from the start... so it's time to frog it and let the wool become something else. 

This means all that I have left to finish is my spring tee, and a pair of mitts.  I'm hoping to have the mitts done this weekend, and be ready to reassess my spring knitting plans by the start of April.  In the meantime, both of my Mrs. Watson shawls are featured on the Berroco Blog this week!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

my own 'march madness'... on the needles

I have finished one of my short row projects:  Mrs. Watson. 
I'm very happy with the finished project, and the Ultra Alpaca Light is wonderful to knit up.  The shawl is on the small side, so I'll need a pin to keep it in place.  I wore it one day and had to fiddle all day to keep it wrapped. 

My other projects languish as I continue to be distracted by new ideas, new accessories, and the inability to focus on finishing anything bigger than a mitten.  My sweaters are also not portable, and I have been out more than home lately.  March Break (Spring Break - a week off school) means that I will have time at home.  I'm determined to finish or make significant headway with my projects that are still on the needles.  Many have appeared here before, some months or even years ago.  One, the long vest, has been on hold for so long I forget what needle I used for the parts that are done (note to self:  enter the needle size on Ravelry!).  To be done: 

All are in various stages, so I will knit away for the next 10 days, starting this weekend, and aim to finish the Sambuca and the Long Vest, and finish at least one of the Vanishing Point mitts.  I hope to start one of the Clio Sleeves, and perhaps knit a bit more of the Spring tee body.  Ambitious, perhaps, but I need to finish things (literally and figuratively) as I feel I'm starting lots and making little progress.  This is true for lots of areas of life right now, but I can control the knitting if nothing else!

I also have a mystery project on the go for my LYS' annual Yarn Challenge.  More to come on that once it's in the store window! 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

short rows season

I seem to have selected projects with short row shaping to start the year.  My first, Sambuca, is more of a 'finish this year' project, with short rows to create a longer hem:
I just have the second sleeve and neck finishing to do and then it's done.

My next project is Clio.  It's the most challenging sweater I've ever knit in terms of construction.  It starts with two strips of cable that become the top of the shoulder.  Stitches picked up on either long edge become the start of the front and back shoulders, with short rows and backwards loop to connect the two pieces to become front and back.  Then all are joined to make the body.  Complicated at first but I'm almost done the ribbing at the hem:

Finally, I've started Mrs. Watson as part of the Berroco Yarns KAL.  It's a shawl with a leaf pattern knit in short rows, love the contrast of colour and shape:

I'm enjoying the shawl a lot, mostly because it's different every section.  I am hoping to finish all three before March Break (March 10th).  This may be too ambitious!