Bear with me. This is long and picture-intensive. Sorry!
I’ve been a monogamous knitter. Weird, right? But it’s true. Lack of a sizeable stash means I can’t start anything on a whim. So I’ve been working on one project at a time. Which, strangely enough, makes things feel like they get done very quickly, since that’s all I work on while I’m working on it. If that makes any sense.
I briefly ventured into double knitting (in case you don’t know, double-knitting in this context is knitting a double-thickness, reversible fabric, usually using two colours of yarn, and usually creating a negative image on the wrong side. Usually.). I bought the electronic version of Alasdair Post-Quinn’s brilliant book a while ago. I kept meaning to try out a few patterns, and never got around to it. Not being bogged down by other knitting, I thought I’d give it a go and start small and made myself some pot holders. The swirly one is one of the designs out of his book, and the coffee cup is a design Dr. Thingo pixelified (pixellated? pixelificated?) for me. They were fine, and work pretty well (better than the ratty oven mitts that came with the house). You have to enjoy knitting ribbing, because that’s basically all you do. Post-Quinn also ventures into 3-colour double-knitting, which makes me want to tear out my hair – he makes no mention of how he manages the third strand while working on the other two. I thought I’d knit my Dad a double-knitted hat for Christmas but gave up, both because I wouldn’t have enough yarn, and because it was making me stabby. I would like to spend some more time on this – it’s interesting, and after 30+ years of knitting, it’s nice to find something that offers a challenge, even if it does cause me to invent new cuss words.
There was a sweater! The only hardcopy book I brought with me was Knit to Flatter, by Amy Herzog. I like her aesthetic, and I figured it would keep me busy while I’m here. This is the first sweater – the Draper Cardigan. I made it to wear around the house, because I was chilly, despite the fact that there hasn’t been any time since we arrived where the air temperature dropped below 2 degrees (it’s the damp!!). I made the sleeves short, so I wouldn’t have to pull them up when I’m cooking. I deepened the bust darts to accommodate my bosom, and tacked down the collar at the back to keep it in place (this is why you should block your knitting, people!). Yarn: Knitshop.co.uk Sock Yarn. It has modal in it, instead of nylon, which is nice. The store is a 30 minute walk from my house, but she’s only open Thursday to Saturday.
I was part of a knitting-themed swap in November, for which I crocheted some snowflakes. I really liked making these – and I have a bunch of thread left, so I may as well finish it off.
I also sent some yarn I spun out of blue fibre from an experimental process I was trying out. I wanted to make woolen yarn out of sliver. I remember reading this technique in Interweave Spin Magazine years ago – you basically tear off about a fibre’s length of top at a time, attenuate it a little, and then roll it, crosswise, in a pencil, to make tight rolags, from which to spin. I can’t find a link to the article anywhere, so maybe I dreamed it up. Anyway. I layered different shades of blue, to make a variegated-type yarn. It worked fairly well, though the punis were a little too tight. I got some more fibre (in yellows this time) to make more which I will knit with, to see if this technique makes it fluffy enough.
After realising I hadn’t brought mittens with me, I made myself some mittens out of leftover Draper Cardigan yarn. The pattern was inspired by snowman mittens I saw on Ravelry. They really should have eyes and a mouth and buttons embroidered on, but, who are we kidding, that’ll never happen.
Then, it occurred to me that I should knit my parents some Christmas stuff. I had already made my Step-Dad a hat, which just needed eyes. I feel bad – this is a hat I actually knit him for last winter, but that I never finished. John, I owe you another hat for this year! Yarn: Cascade 220.
I decided my mom should have the wrap I’d been working on, from wool I got at the GLYC in September (Pattern: Nefertiti Wrap, by Miriam Felton. Yarn: Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace. The colour’s name is Treacle Toffee, and that’s exactly what it looks like). I love how it turned out – the yarn was lovely, and the pattern was great, though I did mess up somewhere in the middle and had to undo about 10 cm. More new cuss words.
Out of yarn I received from my swap partner in the swap mentioned above, I made a scarf for my Step-Mom. Pattern: 22 Little Clouds, by Martina Behm. Yarn: Squeaky Elliot Yarns Squeaky Sock.
Dad got a hat that was not double-knit, in the end. Pattern: DROPS Colorado Hat Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool DK
A lot of stuff had been lingering as a result of me not having blocking wires. I borrowed some from Allison, who was kind enough to lend me hers, and blocked a pile of stuff at once, which resulted in my gift scarf getting finished (for the lady whose flat we stayed in while in Paris), the cowl I made out of handspun in October also getting finished, and the shawl for my mom being made presentable (anybody who’s knit any lace will know that it looks pretty much like a pile of ramen noodles before you block it.)
I finally sewed on the lace trim for my Paris Souvenir Shawl. It doesn’t have its own picture for some reason, but that’s it, at the bottom of the Finished Objects pile after my blocking blitz. Pattern: Grande écharpe Volvic, by La Droguerie, Yarn: provided in the kit by La Droguerie It’s a strand of mohair with a strand of something glitzy. It’s super-light, and very soft)
I made a skirt! It even looks good! I’ve been meaning to make one of these for years, and was spurred on after I saw a conversation on facebook between two friends of mine (one friend offered to make one for the other. I should check to see if that ever happened). I modified the pattern to make it seamless (basically, I calculated how long the diagonal needed to be for a certain length, and proceeded from there). It needs elastic band in the waist, but I did manage to wear it for the greater part of a day, including caroling in public, and I didn’t suffer any wardrobe malfunctions, so it’s likely the elastic ribbon I bought is going to come back to Canada with me, unused. Pattern: Lanesplitter Skirt by Tina Whitmore. Yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Stärke 6.
I have had the following in my Ravelry queue for years – it’s the Selbu Modern pattern, by Kate Gagnon Osborn. I had lots more Draper cardigan yarn leftovers, and some green yarn from the hat/scarf combo I brought to work on during the flight out of Canada. I’m surprised how well the two yarns worked together. I loved working on this pattern. Both because the red perfectly matches her coat, and because she’s much cuter than I am, it ended up going to Zebula. There was still Draper yarn left over, so I made her some mittens to go with it – with the colours reversed because I didn’t have enough green. No pictures, though. Just imagine a weirdly shaped mitten, green on red.
I made an Edinburgh souvenir scarf, out of yarn I bought there (at Kathy’s Knits – the store is very nice, with a good selection of Scottish yarn and fiber, and the owner was great with the kids. I got a skein of yarn and a bag of tweedy fluff which will eventually be spun into some yarn). Pattern: Lintilla, by Martina Behm (can I just say, I love her patterns! She’s the queen of interesting garter stitch!) Yarn: Yarn Pony Big Mustang 600 (the dyer lives in Edinburgh).
And, people, I got knitted out! I stopped for a while, to work on a cross-stitch project, which will get its own post. But I needed a break, and to plan what to do with the odds and ends that are slowly piling up (ugly afghan? More hats?).
I have since started a new sweater, which is coming along nicely. But. I can NOT buy any more yarn until I have used up what I have on-hand. All of it. Because… tomorrow, we will have left Canada six months ago. Time to start paring things down again. Eat Down the Pantry 2014 will be starting soon! We’re halfway! More or less. So, there will be a special UK vs. Canada showdown post tomorrow (ish). And a cross-stitch + contest post on Friday! Stay tuned!!