Monday, 29 December 2014

On a scale of 1-10...

I'm starting to think that the Amanda sweater is a series of lessons in disguise as a sweater.  Every time I reach a transition or next step, something goes 'wrong' and I have to fix, redo, wait, or rethink.  Even blocking the pieces (while I wait to buy more yarn after running out for the second time) brought a problem.  I had the neck stitches on a stitch holder.  Seems that when you soak, squeeze, roll in a towel, and then unroll a sweater with pieces on holders the stitch holders might come undone.  This then causes all the neck stitches to start to unravel amidst the pile of wet wool.

Yes I started to cry.  My rational brain recognizes that on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being a life-changing crisis/event and a 1 being a minor problem, this lies quite close to 1.  My emotional brain looked at the work I've put in to the sweater and the tears followed.  I sent my children out of the room, put my head down, and cried.  For a minute.  Then I started to trouble-shoot.  I got a spare circular needle, put the stitches back on (leaving the unraveled ones to fix when it's dry), and proceeded to block the sweater to measurement.

This lead to an "AHA" moment.  I knit the body and sleeves about 3 inches longer than the size large schematics to account for my height and long arms.  This is why I've run out of yarn.

This sweater has taught me to be patient, to persevere with a deadline even when the knitting isn't so fun, and that in the end the only one who expects perfection is me.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

obstacles and diversions

So Amanda is on the back burner again because I've run out of yarn.  Again.  My LYS is closed this week so I have to wait until early January to get more wool.  I am half done one button band, so will only have the second band and neck edging to finish.  I ALWAYS have extra yarn at the end of projects so I'm quite surprised that I'm going to need the exact yardage called for this time.   I'm going to block the pieces before I seam them so I'll do that now while waiting for the yarn to come.

In the meantime I get to start one of the queued projects that has been calling my name as I slowly finish my cardigan.  It's the Preppy Vest from Vogue:
I've chosen blue instead of light gray, and taupe instead of dark gray.  I wear a lot of gray and black, I find myself feeling very uncomfortable in bright colours, like a bird who would rather blend in than stand out.  My LYS didn't have different grays to choose from so with help from Tina at Soper Creek  I bought something a tad bit brighter.
I realize this is still relatively neutral, but I know it'll be a departure for my wardrobe.  I do have a few bright coloured sweaters.  They are solids.  I realized as I was shopping that it's the combining of colours that has me befuddled.  I have a few colourwork projects planned for 2015 to get better at combining colours and patterns.  More to come!  In the meantime, it feels good to be starting something new.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

testing my patience

I ran a full marathon once.  A long time ago, BK (Before Kids).  The final 3 km were the longest and most difficult of all 43 km.  The final stretch was along the road toward the parliament building in Toronto and Queen's Park.  The road has a slight uphill grade, going south to north, that feels like a mountain after 40 km of running.  People alongside were finished, wrapped in foil thermal blankets, eating bananas and bagels, shouting "you're almost there".  Well, that's all relative.  Almost there when you feel like you can't take another step is much different from almost there when you're done.  To make matters worse, the finish line was behind the building, out of sight.  I felt like I was running toward something that didn't really exist.  I will add here that I have not run a full marathon since.

My Amanda sweater feels like that last 3km right now.  Endless.  I'm not enjoying this phase of the Amanda sweater.  It's joined and I'm decreasing at each shoulder seam for the raglan yoke, which means the stitch total decreases by 8 each round.  I can see from the pattern that it's almost done (18 more rows of yoke, plus finishing bands), but it feels like that end is much farther away.

 I find myself dreaming of chunky accessories, other projects with mindless stocking stitch, and other distractions that are not endless cable repeats in gray wool.  I will resist starting anything new until this is done.  Like running the marathon, I'm quite certain if I stop I won't restart!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

swatching - or procrastinating?

I've joined my Amanda sweater and am making my way through the raglan decreases.  All 5 pieces together makes for very long rows.  I can see the end in sight, but realize I still have button bands and a neck band to go too...  I'm going to love it (already love the finished ones over at but am also itching to start something new.

I've had the yarn to make this from Vogue Winter 2013/14 for a while now:
(Photo from Ravelry)
I'm using Diamond Luxury Collection Stellabella in black, blue, and taupe:

I've started a swatch.  I usually use the sleeve as a swatch, so I can feel like I'm started.  I know all of the virtues of swatching, but also find it counter-intuitive to spend time knitting something that won't be part of the finished garment.  That said, I swatched for this mostly to give myself a break from the never-ending Amanda!  Here it is in progress, ready to be finished, measured, and then frogged.  I don't keep my swatches once I've started my project as I usually need the yarn.

Now, back to Amanda!

new template

I've been uninspired by the look of my blog for a while, but really lack any skills with html, blogging, or other techy things to change it.  I've used a Blogger template to change it after spending about an hour fumbling with 'free' templates and code that I'm supposed to be able to easily download and use. I do like the watercolour look of the background and find the colours more inspiring than the graphic lemon look from before.  I may find another that I like better but will use this one for now....

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Different Dyelot

I knew I'd run out of yarn but also knew that I wouldn't find the dyelot at my LYS (I bought the yarn about 2 years ago).  I'm on the second sleeve but also have the the yoke (underarms and upward) to finish.  I read somewhere that if I alternate skeins every 2-4 rows, it might blend in more and be less noticeable. 
The sleeve has four rows of the new yarn.  I can't really tell the difference, so I'm going to alternate a bit more to be sure, and then if it's still barely seen, I'll go back to one skein.  I really don't want to be alternating for the yoke but may have to...  the Amanda adventure continues!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

knit the look - big black cable beanie

I've become obsessed with the "Knit the Look" feature over at Fringe Association (also the home of the #FringeandFriendsknitalong - the Amanda cardigan).  Karen follows Vanessa Jackman's fashion blog and posts knitting patterns inspired by the fashion.  I finally dove in with a project from 2013 post:
I used a super-bulky yarn, but not the suggested Magnum which sells for $25 a skein.  My hat is knit with Berroco Peruvia Quick.  I love it, and it fits just like the one in the post.  Modelled here on a wig stand (glass one) it's hard to tell, but trust me it does!
This was a two-hour knit, so you too can go for it and "Knit the Look"!

we interrupt Amanda to bring you hats!

My Amanda sweater has stalled - likely due to two factors.  One, I'm on the second sleeve and so have become predictably bored with the project.  Two, Christmas is less than 3 weeks away so some gifts have been knit.  Amanda will resume over the holidays.  I've put a self-imposed date of January 5 (back to school day) to have her done.  In the meantime, gifts!
The first is a Veronica Slouch Hat from Make It! Magazine (among other places) for one teacher - minus the buttons.

Next up, the other teacher loves Harry Potter, and has been reading the books aloud.  She will, of course, receive a knit inspired by the movie.  From the screen via Big Knitting Trouble here is a shot of Hermione in the movie, with the knitted gift beside:

Not to be done with hats, a few more have been knit 'just in case':

The blue one is still missing the pompom (I hate making them and have procrastinated) and the other is ready to go.  Both are from Knit Simple magazine, Fall 2014.  The blue is supposed to have a bright orange pompom, but I can't find quite the right yarn.  The gray/yellow has a leather tab in the pattern, but I substituted a massive button instead.

Finally, two cowls from the same pattern are done or in the works - Ambrosia Cowl from Make It! magazine.  They will be gifted too, not sure who the recipient will be yet....

 All of this to distract from a second sleeve that awaits!