G is for German short rows

Last weekend when I cast-on my Birkin sweater, all was going well…img_0397

… until my yarn snapped under the pressure of picking up the wrap of a wrapped stitch. This is one of those devastating moments in knitting (that I had never managed to do before). I was shell-shocked.

Fast forward to Monday night knit night, where I told my tale of woe. Right away, Nat suggested I use German short-rows rather than the regular wrap and turn. Genius! I took my knitting back to the end of the ribbing and began my short rows once again.

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This is my progress so far. I am enjoying knitting colour work again. Gosh I hope it fits!

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I finally finished knitting the lace sleeve inserts of my Japan Sleeves sweater, and ‘lightly blocked it’ over the weekend.

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I knit 7 repeats of the lace per sleeve, which I think is the right length for me. After the gentle blocking, the length grew quite a bit, and I was glad I didn’t knit to the length I was supposed to.

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I also adjusted the rate the stitches were picked up. i.e. I needed to do this a second time to get closer to the stitch count the pattern was calling for. It was worth it.

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For the shoulder shaping, the pattern specified to do regular W&T short rows; but instead I used my new found confidence in German Short Rows, thanks to Nat (and Sharon)!

February WIPS and March cast ons!

Setting myself knitting goals for each month of the year, I’m certain is responsible for how quickly March has come around this year. I am catching my tail, to keep up with the pair of socks and a sweater per month scenario let me tell you.

This is what I’ve got on my February sweater so far.

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Whilst it doesn’t look like much. I’m loving knitting the lace panels of the sleeves of Japan Sleeves by Joji Locateli.

I had a late start on this project, due to changing my mind about yarn choice. The yarn I am using now is deep stash. It’s Patons Patonyle and I think it’s going to be wonderful.

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I also had a set back on my hand spun socks.

I had finished the first sock, and it was the worst shaping I’ve ever done on a sock. It was all due to my heel flap being too tall. Luckily I only had to rip out half a foot, and the yarn is super quick to knit up.

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I’m pretty happy with these February projects. February is a short month you know, even with a leap year.

My March sweater cast on is, The Birkin Sweater by Caitlyn Hunter. I’m knitting this as part of a knit-along with the Richmond Knitters to wear to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show in July. Which is plenty of time away, because this is going to get finished in March along with my other WIPS… hahahaimg_0382

The yarn I’m using is Holst Yarn Supersoft. I’m looking forward to really getting into this project. I’ve done a couple of little gauge swatches to get stitch gauge. I’m going to wing the rest of it. No one in my knitting group can get row gauge anyway so there’s no point wasting precious knitting time fiddling with that!

And my March socks cast on, is a pair of plain ‘Pairfect’ socks by Arne and Carlos for Regia.img_0386

I think these will be super fun to knit up. The yarn has been sitting in my sock yarn box on my coffee table (yes there are other sock yarn boxes in the house), waiting to be knit for at least the last 12 months. It keeps getting past over because of newer yarn, but it really deserves it’s time on my needles.

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Speak soon

Aldous Sweater

I’m surrounded by sweater knitters in my knitting group, and to be honest I’m getting a little jealous by how quickly they can ‘bang out a sweater’ to term a phrase.

There were not many sweaters to speak of last year so this year I decided to change it up, the goal is to cast-on one new sweater per month for me.

On 1 January, I cast-on for Aldous by Isabell Kraemer DSC_9481crop

And on February 9, I cast off!

I even surprised myself. Look at that smugness.

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I enjoyed the construction of this sweater. The yoke is shaped by using a modified version of the contiguous set-in sleeves method developed by Susie Myers.

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I opted for the split hem version, and to also wear the sweater with the stockinette as the right side.

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The yarn is ‘Field of Dreams’ a collaboration by The Purl Box and Great Ocean Road Mill. It was a lovely yarn to work with. It’s going to work nicely over a pair of jeans. The blend of polwarth, linen and suri alpaca is deceptively warm. Probably perfect for the Bendigo Sheep Show which is where this yarn was purchased last year.

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The only alteration I made to the pattern, was to knit a double collar. This was to correct my own mistake. I originally knit the collar with the same size needles as the body (because I’m lazy). By the time I was halfway through the yoke, I realised the collar was never going to sit right without some intervention. It was folding over to the front. So I picked up the stitches around the base of the collar on the right side using smaller needles. Once I reached the height of the original collar, I knit the cast on edge stitches together with the next row of stitches, then in the following row I cast-off once more. Phew! I’m really happy with the collar now.

I look forward to knitting another Isabell Kraemer sweater later this year (if I stay on track!)

 

 

January Socks

It’s about that time of year, when I start blogging for a few months and I wonder why I ever stopped.

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This is fair warning dear reader. I’m not consistent, but I have good intentions.

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Like my intention to knit a pair of socks and a sweater for every month in 2020. Stop laughing. I know this is probably (most likely) not going to happen.

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Let’s be honest, this is a rough goal. Like these socks before you. They were cast-on in December as my ‘Christmas cast-on’. But I’m calling them my January socks done.

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The yarn is by Danni of Half-baked Hand-dyed. It’s a special Christmas colour way that she dyed for our knitting group, The Richmond Knitters. How lucky are we to have a resident hand-dyer of yarns and a lovely person/knitter/spinner all round as part of our group.

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So, I know what you’re thinking, we’re already into February, where’s your January Sweater Sonia? It’s only a blog post away!

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Damn it, I just went to hyperlink Danni above and saw this in her store:

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You should totally go get it, so I don’t…

February socks and sweater have been cast-on. This is the only way I can fool myself I’m totally on top of my goals. More on that soon.

Eventually, I get the hint

My dear friend Deb… is a bit of a stirrer, so she totally deserves some recognition on my blog.

As knitting friends we’ve exchanged many fibre gifts over the years of our friendship. Nothing makes me happier than buying knitty gifts for friends, even better if they’re as nuts about knitting as you are.

If I ever give you the impression that I have too much yarn and it is the last thing I would want as a gift because I have so much… you’d be wrong!

Over time, Deb has chipped away at some of the yarny gifts I’ve given her. But it has suddenly dawned on her, I have never knit with any of the yarn she has given to me. And she’d be right… because I have too much yarn.

So about two or more months ago, what started as subtle prodding to blatant announcements at knit night (she really is a friend!) about the state of affairs, that I have never knit with any of her gifts… I finally got the hint.

I’ve cast-on these Broken Seed Stitch socks in the Skein yarn: Top Drawer sock yarn. The yarn along with the project bag was a birthday gift in 2016. The yarn is delicious, the pattern is delightful. Debs has also knit this pattern about the time the yarn was given to me, so the project has always been set in my mind. I look very much forward to finishing these socks, I hope it will get me out of trouble for now!

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Delayed gratification

Last year I participated in Yarngasm’s Box o’ Sox KAL. Which means, I set myself the task to knit 12 pairs of socks within the 12 months. Whilst I didn’t make it, I did complete five pairs of socks.

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One of the provisos of the KAL is that the socks are unworn for the duration of the KAL. So whilst I felt a little defeated about falling short of my goal… pulling out a pristine pair of socks every few days in January has been pretty awesome. Before you ask, yes I wear hand-knit socks all year round, I have cold feet most of the time!

I have enjoyed this experience so much, that I’m considering continuing the tradition of knitting a stash of socks (it may not be 12 pairs), and holding back their release into my sock drawer until January next year.

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I still have the unknit skeins of yarn in my wooden box, and rather than returning them to the stash or rehashing a whole new set of 12 skeins to knit this year. I’m going to continue on with these beauties, because my feelings towards them have not changed. I’ve added just one new skein, it’s HalfBaked Handdyed’s yarn in the Richmond Knitter’s exclusive colour way called ‘Audrey’. It was dyed especially for us last year and I want to get it on the needles this year.

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There’s eight skeins of yarn in my box. I get the feeling a couple more will be added soon, more on that in another post.

On Monday night at knit night, we were discussing sock drawers and how to let go of socks that have had their day. I do struggle with this concept, especially as I’ve repaired so many of my socks. I think of the hours spent knitting them and the memories of the time they were made or the province of the yarn itself. I guess I was just being silly.

So I pulled out the socks that had been in the ‘to-be-repaired’ pile, and did a stocktake of my sock drawer. I decided I can do without these socks. Some of the pairs that needed to be repaired were on their 2nd repair, I’m seriously never making socks again without any nylon. The two pairs I pulled out of my sock drawer, one was the ill-fitting ‘Skew’ socks that I never wear. The other is a pair that sadly felted from the very beginning and should never have been made into socks. I know better now.

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So if you’re keeping score, that’s 5 pairs in and 6 pairs out. I’m hoping not to lose so many next year in the sock stocktake, but I feel better for the ones that have gone, They were holding back my sock drawer!

Hello again

It’s a total cliché to revive this blog at the beginning of a year, to be fair I waited three weeks. If the truth be known, I do miss it. I’ve been spending my ‘social media time’ budget on Instagram, where I post as my knitting group Richmond Knitters. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is a lot of fun and I love it, it’s just not a blog post.

2018 has begun cliché, cliché, cliché, how else do I begin a blog post when I’ve been on hiatus? and whilst I normally set some personal goals for the year ahead, I feel a bit perturbed that this year, I haven’t really. Apart from ‘knitting more’ or to be more accurate ‘knitting more metres than last year’ (because last year was a really low meterage year, I am aghast, just ask my knitting group), I haven’t set any other clear goals for myself. Maybe there are just a few little goals that I’m not prepared to admit.

Anyway I digress, it just feels good to be writing some words on a screen again. Sorry they don’t make any sense. This is a self-indulgent blog, didn’t you know?!

So let me talk knitting.

This is the only WIP I still have on the needles from last year (I’m pretty proud of that fact), it was cast on as my ‘Christmas eve cast-on’ no less. The pattern Vintage Fairy Lights socks is by Helen Stewart. The yarn is by Danni of Half-baked Handdyed, a Melbourne indy dyer who I’m fortunate to know in-real-life. I love this yarn, Danni does an amazing job of dyeing yarn, and these are becoming a fast favourite.

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Next up, I’ve finally gotten onto the band-wagon of beginning a crochet granny stripe blanket. I’m using the free pattern directions from Lucy’s Attic 24 website. I’m using all of the Vesper self-striping sock yarns I have on hand to crochet this. Reason being, I realised  that 100 percent merino socks don’t last on my feet, and I don’t like to waste my time knitting them if they’re not going to make the distance. On the upside, I have probably a blanket’s worth of it to make a gorgeous self-striping rainbow of a blanket. It’s a little planned out, rather than just using bits and pieces of minis and leftovers in a willy nilly fashion. So far I’m excited.

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The blanket will be about 150cm wide, I did a swatch and everything, like Lucy instructed. It is a good move.

The third and final knit/crochet project in progress is my Ursula cardigan by Kate Davies. I’ve been wanting to knit this ever since it was released, and I had purchased the yarn as a birthday gift (thank you Damian) oh, almost 3 years ago. When I finally cast-on a swatch at the beginning of January, I discovered one of the contrast colours was not going to work at all.

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So naturally I had to go and buy some alternative colour/s. Thankfully Sunspun still stocks the yarn, but I had to wait until they opened for the year. Oh knitting. I know there’s a lesson here, but I just can’t see it.

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The new year is also bringing in new yarn into my stash. Truly not intentionally, but how fun. It’s making me very happy.

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So let’s see how this goes.

 

It’s been a while…

… sorry about that! The longer it’s been, the longer it’s taken to come back.

Here’s a bit of a photo documentary of my last month:

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Craft Sessions happened and it was ace! The whole weekend was so beautifully organised by Felicia.

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I left more inspired than I have been in, in such a long time. It took a few days for it to get to a manageable level! I think it was largely due to the class I took with Anna Maltz (a.k.a. Sweaterspotter). It was a Top-Down Improvised Colourwork sweater class.

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She loves colour, like I love colour.

But generally speaking it was just crazy exciting to be there.

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I fan-girled a-lot!

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So excited, so much so, it was hard to calm down enough to get some sleep on my arrival home… luckily I had Monday off too. I spent the evening planning the rest of my yoked sweater… until the wee hours of the morning Zzzzzz…

The weekend after Craft Sessions, I took Anna Maltz’s ‘Marisle’ class in Melbourne. I love this technique. It’s a combination of Intarsia and Fairisle, and it’s super clever.

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I had spent the week feverishly knitting on my yoked sweater from The Craft Sessions, so I took it along to show Anna my progress that day.

Then this happened…

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Anna popped a photo of me with my yoke progress on her Instagram feed, and I became Instafamous! At last sight there were over 1,000 likes to this photo! Richmond knitters also got a bunch of new followers, which is wonderful!

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I continued my yoke at home… but I’m sad to say I’m taking a break for the moment. I feel like I may have increased my stitch count too far. I’m just taking a breather to gather up the courage to do what needs to be done, we all know what that is.

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Last month, I also went to see the ‘Yarn’ documentary organised by ‘What Jane Knits’, along with a few friends and a whole cinema of yarn-aholics.

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We celebrated my mum’s 70th birthday.

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And I’m back to knitting my Aislinn cardigan. Sweet, predictable, pattern cardigan, what can go wrong?

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The Best Bendigo Show Ever!

It has been a whirlwind few days and I’ve had the absolute best-est, fun-est time. I declare this years Bendigo Show the best ever! Of course… the show improves year upon year, but the nicest thing about Bendigo is getting together with friends who are passionate about the same things. And there’s not a lot of judgement… ok, maybe a little.

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The weekend began with a Fashion Show. It was a rather interesting one. This year they were celebrating May Gibbs’ anniversary, some hilarious clothing ensued.

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I attended the Women of Wool luncheon with 6 other Richmond Knitters. The speakers were very inspiring and had great heart-felt stories to tell. In its 7th year and only my second year of attendance, I think it’s an unmissable event of the show.

There was purchasing, the list was almost forgotten on the first day…

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I got back on track by the final day, to cross things off the shopping list (either the real or imagined list).

I bought something I never expected to…

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Beneath the wooden niddy noddy and darning mushroom (replacement because I can’t find my other one in my stash), is 2 metres of wool fabric!

Regular readers to the blog will know, I do not sew, I do not even own a sewing machine. In the yarn fumes of the Wool Craft shed, an spontaneous exchange between friends; may possibly mean that a pinafore dress will be sewn for me, in exchange I’ll be spinning a sweaters worth of yarn in trade. The details have not been ironed out, but certainly the excitement, the possibility and the amount of happiness (read:squealing) in the shed was an absolute highlight of the show. Even if it doesn’t happen (no pressure Chris), it was all worth it!

We sought out baby sheep, and we were not disappointed.

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The final night saw some of us having dinner at a fancy restaurant.

And this was the result of Deb telling a very funny story…

Tears of non-stop laughter, absolutely unforgettable.

Next year has a lot to live up to.