FO & WIP

This past week I finished the 12 recipe tea towels/wall hangings that I started in November. WHEW that felt good to get those off my plate. I hadn’t touched them in several weeks and in that time I had kind of forgotten how I made them so I spent more time ripping out than sewing for the first one. But after that it went smoothly and I finished them in 2 days.

I’ve decided not to trust them to the mail. They’d have to cross 2 countries and 5,000 miles and probably cost a fortune because they are heavy. I will take them with me the next time I visit my mom and mail them from there. Hopefully this Spring. Everyone will just have to wait!

AND I started a new sweater. This one is a cabled cardigan that I could really use in my wardrobe. This is my second winter after returning from California and I need more warm sweaters. This sweater is called Sandstone Peak, designed by Irina Anikeeva. I fell in love with it the second I saw it.

(c) Irina Anikeeva

I’m knitting it with Cascade 220, which I had in stash. The colorway is called “Galaxy” and it’s another one of those hard to capture colors. Most of the time it looks dark brown, but in some light it looks dark purple. On dark winter nights it’s just black and I need a neck light to knit.

The instructions have you knit this from the bottom up, seamless, then knit the sleeves in the round, then put them all together at the underarms and knit the yoke seamless. Well, you can guess from other posts that I am a fan of seams in such a garment so I’ve decided to knit each piece flat and seam it together. It just takes more teasing out of the pattern instructions, especially at the yoke, but so far it’s not too bad. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, which makes it also easy to tear them apart and see the pieces separately. I added 1 stitch at each edge for a selvage for seaming. I’ve finished one sleeve and started the second.

My plan is to have this finished by the end of January, with plenty of winter left to enjoy it. I’ve also got some mittens queued up to start, and DB has asked for either a hat or gloves (he hasn’t decided yet), so plenty of knitting on the horizon.

And that’s my FO (finished object) and WIP (work in progress) for this week. I was hoping to post about my spinning project(s) but I’m not quite ready for that unveiling. Come back next week for some spinning experiments in color.

Always Knitting

Despite the past couple of posts being all about sewing, there has been, and always is, knitting going on. I think I’ve had at least one project on needles since…. 1977? And before that always some kind of craft project in the works. Since I was very young. Anyway, here are the latest knitting projects.

It’s hard to believe, but even with this shoulder injury, I’ve finished six things so far this year (photo above)! I’m surprised myself. A sweater, a baby blanket, a pair of socks, a hat, a shawl, and a huge Shetland lace christening blanket.

I only have two things on my needles right now – a hat and a test knit for a friend that I really can’t talk about much. I can show you a bit of that project and a nice tip for changing skeins of yarn.

If you are knitting something with an edge that will always show, like a shawl, or cardigan where you are knitting the front edges at the same time as the rest of the sweater, or in any situation where an edge will not be hidden with a seam or picked up stitches, you want that edge to remain beautiful. You don’t want to see, anywhere near that edge, where a new yarn was started or ended. How do I do that?

You can see in this knitted piece (photo above) that the ends of new and old skeins begin and end inside the knitted edge. I knit with the old yarn to the end of the row, turn, and then knit back to the end of the edging section (in this case, 5 stitches). Then I add in the new yarn and continue knitting the row to the end. Turn and knit back all the way to the end of the row, passing by the point where the yarn was added in. Turn and knit to the yarn change point, 5 stitches in. Pick up the old yarn and continue down the row to the end. Turn and knit back to the end. Continue in this way for a few turns and then cut the old yarn (or when you run out of that skein, if your yarn estimation is good!). Continue knitting with the new yarn. In this way you can weave in the ends farther into the knitted piece where it won’t be seen and the edges remain perfect. Actually, if you are knitting with commercially dyed yarn with a matching dye lot number, you don’t need to do this back and forth exchange of skeins. Just start and end the skeins inside the edge. I knit with both skeins for a few turns because they are hand dyed and are not identical and I didn’t want a jarring change to be seen in the knitted fabric.

The other photo I can show you of this project is the pile of bobbins I’m using to knit the intarsia part of the design. Yes, it’s intricate and fiddly to get started, but once you are 10 rows into it, it’s less fiddly and starts to become automatic knitting. And the results are stunning, trust me. 😉 I hope to be finished in a couple of weeks to show you the FO.

As for the hat, I’m knitting this with Western Sky Knits Merino 17 in the color Cake. This is the softest yarn you’ll ever knit with, other than cashmere. And I’m sure it will pill less that cashmere. I’m knitting the pattern Musselburgh from Ysolda. This is going to be a double thickness hat. You start at the crown of the inside, knit to the bottom edge, keep knitting the same length to the shaping of the crown, then decrease to the outside crown point. You end up with a tube with rounded points at each end. Fold one end into the other and voila a double thick hat! I’m knitting this with 2.5mm needles with a gauge of 8.5 stitches/inch, which is smaller than the smallest gauge in the pattern. I just estimated how many stitches I’d need based on the other sizes/gauges given and also compared it with a few other hats I have. So far so good! It’s super easy tv watching knitting, even though my shoulder still can’t take very much of that. I hope to be finished before it snows.

Finally, I UNKNIT something this week.

Last year at Stitches West I bought yarn, Sincere Sheep Cormo Worsted, with the advice from the lovely Yarniacs. I bought 6 skeins thinking it would be plenty for a sweater. I knit Foldlines, by Norah Gaughan. I love the pattern. I love the yarn. Unfortunately I made the 42″ size for a boxy fit (which ended up being 45″ with my gauge) and I didn’t have enough yarn for long sleeves. I hardly wore this sweater because 3/4 sleeves with a worsted weight sweater just didn’t work for me. I needed a warm sweater, which needs long sleeves. So, again with sage advice from the Yarniacs, I decided to frog the whole thing and I will reknit it in a smaller size and will have enough yarn for long sleeves. It took me all day yesterday, painstakingly pulling out the seams and woven in ends, to unravel it and now I have 660g of balled up yarn.

Next I need to skein it up for washing before I can think about starting to knit it again. Along with a couple of other sweaters I’m looking forward to starting. Without hurting my shoulder again.