Knitting · Year of Socks

Year of Socks: June

Work in Progress

So I got a little carefree in May, and didn’t cast on my Antirrhinum socks til the end of the month. The pattern is by Rachel Coopey, taken from A Year of Techniques, and uses her Socks Yeah! yarn in 2 colours. I opted to use a lavender shade called Kunzite for the MC, and Malachite as the contrast – a combination which actually reminds me of lavender plants. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this yarn back when I made my Dave socks at the start of the year. It has a pleasing toughness, handles smoothly with no splitting, and the colours knit up to a subtle semi-solid shade. The pattern itself is clearly laid out, with the option of charts or written instruction for the lace. It is, or should be, an easy pattern to memorise, but I have gone astray a few times through inattention (in my defense, I insisted on continuing to knit these through a horrendous cold). I also set them aside to knit the Maytham shawl, so my tension ended up a bit iffy and the second sock came out a touch looser – which taught me that patterned socks are less forgiving of that sort of thing.

Finished Object

I have mixed feelings about this one. The pattern is interesting, and one I’ll be comfortable wearing (and have I mentioned how much I love Socks Yeah!?), but I can see all the little mistakes, so it will take me a while not to put them on with a tinge of disappointment.

Don’t look too closely 😓

It’s possible that I’ll come back to this pattern, but I suspect with a feeling of wanting to conquer it, rather than because I really loved knitting it.

Next Project

The initial plan was to move on to the second, Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired, installment from the Nerd Sock Club. Some postal mishaps meant that the yarn only just reached me, and I’m struggling to choose a pattern – I want to do it justice, but I also feel like I just want an easy knit. I may use the leftover Kunzite and Malachite to whip up a quick pair of Dave socks. Or I could raid my stash and The Knitter magazine back catalogue of sock patterns to take part in the Perth Festival of Yarn KAL.

Socks away!

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Knitting

Good Intentions Club Q3 Update

A Learning Experience

“What happened to that Q2 sweater?” I hear you ask. I could make all sorts of jokes about where good intentions may lead us, but the simple answer is that once I began I found that I didn’t like the yarn, and I wasn’t that interested in the pattern. I persisted for a while, continually letting myself be distracted by smarter patterns and tastier yarns, before admitting that I wasn’t going to finish a sweater I didn’t want to wear, in wool I didn’t like. I frogged it, donated the wool, and started another pair of socks. Hopefully, what I’ll take from this is the ability to recognise a project that just isn’t working, and move on. Life’s too short to knit things I don’t love.

A Bit of a Dither

After bailing out of the Q2 knit, I struggled to choose a Q3 project. I wanted to pick something that I knew I would finish, and ideally a short project. I find that a quick project, easily completed, can give me the motivation to keep going on a different, longer, more intricate project. I spent some time looking at shawl patterns, but settled on the Johanna Capelet, because I wanted to gift it to my mum, whose birthday was approaching and could act as a deadline.

The Johanna Capelet

Last year I started the capelet, ripped it back 2 or 3 times to fix mistakes, and then frogged the whole thing in a fit of pique.

This time I started from the assumption that I was going to screw up: I made a point of using lifelines, and counted stitches after every row of lace. I had to rip back to a lifeline once, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

I was really happy with the final result (I forgot to take a picture after blocking), and my mum loved her birthday present. Particularly pleasing, was the realisation of how much my knitting has improved over the past year.

Momentum

With that ‘win’ under my belt less than a month into Q3, I decided to fit in a few more good intentions. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I’m trying to use up yarn that I’d already wound, so I started there. An orphan skein of Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply became a Worth The Fuss shawl (one of Louise Tilbrook’s relaxing one-skein garter shawl patterns). With that done, and a novel blocking solution discovered, I moved on to another of last year’s abandoned projects: the Morning Pages shawl (also Louise Tilbrook).

Since the plan was to wear it while I write my morning pages, I’d decided the second attempt called for a drapier, squooshier yarn, and bought up all the (now discontinued) Rowan Fine Art Aran in colourway Conga that I could find, with a skein of the semi-solid Squirrel for my contrast. This was another knit that showed me how I’ve gained in skill and confidence over the past year. I did have to fudge the edging a little though as I didn’t have quite enough of the Squirrel, and didn’t feel I could justify buying another skein for the sake of a few rows.

My final project was the Antirrhinum socks from A Year of Techniques, which I originally planned to make for the KAL when the pattern came out, also last year. I won’t go into detail here, as there’s a Year of Socks post coming on that front, but it turned out to be one of those ‘good enough’ FOs.

It’s very satisfying to have four projects off the list, and I feel I’ve built some nice momentum going in to Q4. I have several more sock pattern/yarn combos which could count as good intentions, though I may try to get one of the many sweaters I have lined up done instead. Decisions, decisions….

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #9

Finished Objects and Hibernation

There’s been significant activity on the knitting front since last we spoke. I’ve now completed both the Ruschia Hat, and the Wood Warbler Cowl.
I finished the Ruschia Hat as part of the AYOT KAL, which was particularly satisfying, and I feel like it’s a pattern I’d like to perfect, so I’ll be knitting a few more of those. I also finished my Good Intentions Q1 Project. You’ll note that it looks nothing like a lacework cape. I tried, reader, I really did, but that yarn did not want to be lace. While browsing Ravelry in desperation, I noticed a shawl knitted in Janome with a similar zigzag edge to the Hitchhiker shawl: the rest is history. I’ve had some lovely compliments in the Good Intentions chat forum, so it was definitely a good change. On the unfinished front, having seen pics of the finished Speckle and Pop shawl, I realised I still didn’t have the tension right so I frogged it again. It’s hibernating at the moment; I want to give it my full attention, but my brain is full of Christmas ideas right now. I hope to come back to it in December or perhaps the New Year.

New Routine

I decided to use the clocks changing as a way to jumpstart a new routine. I am not a morning person, but I’ve found that I’m too tired to do much after a full day of Tyrant-wrangling. I do know that I function best with a consistent sleep pattern, so I’ve shifted this for a 06:00 start. This allows me to do my morning pages, and some work, before everyone else is up for the day. So far I’ve found that I’m less distracted and tired for the rest of the day, as I’ve come around at my own pace (it takes a while 😂). We’ll see how it goes.

From the Mailbag

Yes, there was yarn. But also the cutest little teapot. I’m finding tea meditation to be a helpful self-care activity when I’m especially anxious, and dunking a teabag in a mug rather detracts from the solemnity of it all.

Odds and Ends

  • I’ve decided that November is ‘hat month’, as I feel the need to complete a series of simple knits (well, quick ones anyway). Coincidentally, Louise Tilbrooke is hosting a Hats for Humans KAL this month – do check it out if you’d like to knit useful hats for a charity.
  • I spent an instructive hour or so playing the Assassins Festival crossover on FFXV. I never got on with the controls for AC, but it’s kind of fun with FFXV’s controls and mechanics. Not as fun as actual FFXV so I think a replay may be in order. 

Upcoming

Unit 4 of my OU module kicks off this week, so I will be getting back into my study routine. I’ll probably be taking part in the #wovemberinstachallenge and #theelementbookchallenge over on instagram, and I expect to share a little more about my ‘hat month’ with you here. 

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Knitting

Cast on: Wood Warbler Cowl

20170904_142054520_iOS The Wood Warbler cowl, designed by Martina Behm, was the September pattern for A Year of Techniques, and I originally planned to knit this in September. After multiple attempts to get gauge on the recommended 5mm needles, I had to resign myself to waiting for my single pair of 4.5mm needle tips (then being used to knit my lopapeysa) to become available. Then it was October and I moved on to the Good Intentions knit and the October A Year of Techniques pattern, and here we are nearly in November.

20171025_133144239_iOS

Since this is a DK-weight, garter cowl, with only a few increases and decreases to worry about, I’m fairly confident that I’ll finish this one in November too, which means I can add it to the Christmas gift pile. The Schoppel Wolle Gradient is a slightly felted 100% wool yarn, which gives it a somewhat stiff feel when knitting. I believe it will hold it’s shape well, and assume that that’s why it has been used for this particular pattern, which is knit straight, on the bias, and grafted to form the cowl. I ‘m enjoying the revelation of the gradient as I knit, and toying with the idea of knitting one for myself, but swapping the green-blue colourway for something with a touch of pink or orange. I think that decision will wait until I’ve finished this and try it on, however, as I think I may prefer something squooshier and softer round my neck.

Knitting

Cast on: Ruschia Hat

Last March Arnall-Culliford Knitwear launched A Year of Techniques: a book of patterns which each addressed a new knitting technique. The initial 6 patterns were released on a monthly basis as pdfs, with options for a hard copy or ebook of all the patterns to be delivered when it launched in September. Each pattern, designed by the likes of Bristol Ivy, Sarah Hatton, and Ella Gordon, is small enough to complete within a month (in theory 😂), and accompanied by step-by-step instructions; there are also online tutorials available at the Mason-Dixon Knitting website.

Although I signed up to A Year of Techniques in late March, and I have the yarn to knit 9 or 10 of the 12 patterns, I’ve yet to complete any of them. I’m hoping the Ruschia hat (designed by Woolly Wormhead) will prove different, and not only because I have a recipient in mind come Christmas.

The yarn I’m using is the recommended Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran (55% wool/45% silk) in the slate colourway. The technique in question is short-row shaping, but the pattern also draws on techniques from previous months: a provisional cast on, and garter stitch grafting. I have used short rows before (for the Studies in Ice pattern), but I didn’t feel confident about them, so it’s nice to have a reason to practice. I recently acquired Woolly Wormhead’s Elemental ebook, so I’m also seeing this as a bit of a test run for all those gorgeous sideways knitted hat patterns.

I’m not overly fussed by the yarn, but the pattern is excellent: easy to follow, requires a little attention to keep straight, but not so complicated that you can’t let your mind wander. I think I will definitely knit this again, just maybe in a different yarn.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #6

Knit 4 rows, rip 3 back

This has been a frustrating knitting week, as mistakes in following the pattern, and not managing to match gauge, have caused me to rip back both of my wips. The Good Intentions Club project required a rethink (I’ll update you on that once it’s blocked), while the MKAL shawl has been restarted on different needles. Hopefully, I’ll make more progress this week.

Speed Reader

On the flip side, I’ve read quite a few books this week: I finally finished Conquerors, raced through A History of Britain in 21 Women, and nursed the horrendous cold I’ve picked up with a combination of Mariano Azuela’s The Underdogs (in translation), and Sue Blacker’s Pure Wool. The History of Britain in 21 Women is a great introduction to these figures, but doesn’t address any of them in depth; it would have benefitted from a bibliography which pointed you to more in-depth resources. Pure Wool was a fascinating overview of British Sheep breeds, and will be a valuable resource to have on my shelf.

From the Mailbag

My copy of Pure Wool arrived this week, as did the Toxic Spill gradient set for my MKAL shawl. The other part of my Easyknits order was a grey gradient mini-skein set (GREYdient), for which I have plans. I also received a copy of Laine No.1 – I wanted to try it out, and I knew that there were a couple of patterns I wanted in the first issue, so it would be worth the money even if I didn’t end up liking the magazine.

Odds and Sods

  • I’ve booked my place on the Darning Masterclass at EYF 2018. I thought I was being paranoid booking at 16.00 when tickets went live, but most of the classes were sold out within a couple of hours, so definitely the right call.
  • For some reason Pukka Three Cinnamon tea is tricky to find around these parts, so I was delighted to find it, on offer no less, in a non-local Tesco this week and made sure to stock up.

Upcoming

We’re now into half term, and have visitors, so I’ll be focussing on spending quality time with family. I do hope to make some progress back on the MKAL shawl, and I’d like to cast on the Ruschia hat from A Year of Techniques as it’s this months project, and a potential Christmas gift.

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.