Granny Raglan Pullover

Before the failure of the sweater that shall not be named… I finished crocheting and knitting and piecing together my Granny Raglan Pullover.

It has been a very long time since I’ve knit a garment in pieces. There’s a much higher level of trust needed to get through knitting something in pieces for me now. Thank goodness I finished this before the Birkin incident.

I was sceptical of this ‘Free’ pattern by Lion Brand. Combining knit and crochet in one design, all the while using scraps of yarn of slightly different gauges, surely I was asking for trouble! After knitting the front and back pieces, I went ahead and knit the first sleeve and blocked the pieces as I went. It kind of looked like it was going to fit together, so then I knit the second sleeve as well.

The pieces were crocheted together from the wrong side, that was awesome and quick. Then finally I knit the neckband, and it was done!

I’m very happy with the result. I would make another one in a heartbeat, you should make one too. It’s a super fun pattern; it’s like wearing a snuggly granny square blanket all day and who doesn’t want that?

My Birkin tale of woe

So many lessons can be learnt from attempting to knit Birkin, the infamous colour work sweater by Caitlin Hunter.

These things have come to my mind in the last day:

– If you’re going to fail, fail fast and hard and then move on

– Pattern reviews are super important, but not even as important as the shared experience of your knitting friends who have been knitting ahead of you. PAY ATTENTION to their advice. AND If you don’t remember what size you cast on, STOP and CHECK!

– Good colour choices are not the most important thing, they don’t make ill-fitted sweaters fit any better

– I’m not going to have the same issues as other knitters, disasters don’t happen to me. YES THEY DO! I’m quite capable of messing up, thank you very much

– I’m not knitting it again, nope

Without further ado, here’s the last photo you’ll see of my Birkin:

On the theme of failed yoke sweaters, here’s my new Cowl 🙂

Whilst I was tidying up some WIPs, I made the decision on this freeform yoke that I began in a class several years ago. It’s so important to get the shaping correct, right from the start.

Despite the Birkin setback, my Granny Square Crochet Sweater is finished and I love it. I need to take some photos when the weather is less sweaty. The WIP count is going down in time for February. Yippee.

Making Plans

If last year taught me anything, it was to not make any plans… at least not too far in advance and not too far from home.

My only plan that was not destroyed last year, was my notion to cast on 1 pair of socks and 1 new garment each month. It was glorious and it made me giddy.

I’m still weighing up my knitting plans for this new year (whilst trying to dispense with the left-over WIPs). I like making plans, it gives me something to look forward to, and don’t we need that right now? I’m not allowing myself to get excited about ‘Bendigo’ or travel or seeing family and friends at important events, because I just don’t want the disappointment. But I can… get excited about knitting.

In my planning, I know that this year, I’m going to need to focus on SOCKS for me…

These 6 pairs of socks have become threadbare and holey underneath the soles of my feet in 2020. I can’t be bothered mending them (they’ve been well-loved), there’s even a pair of Patonyle socks in there, sadness!

Last year I ended up knitting just 4 pairs of socks for me:

Not enough to replace the outgoing socks in my sock drawer!

The striped pair is the Richmond Knitters Christmas yarn from 2019, hand-dyed by our favourite dyer, Danni of Half-baked Hand dyed on Etsy. The pink and blue pair are Arne & Carlos Regia yarn, which I nicknamed my Corona socks, because I couldn’t get the pattern tension right on the second sock, see the aqua wave on the top sock? That’s how both socks should look.

I also used my own hand spun yarn to knit a further 2 pairs for me.

So I did some numbers… if I knit as many metres this year as I did last year, and if I knit nothing else, I could knit myself…

50 pairs of socks!!!!

Now, I’m not going to do that, but it’s fun thinking about it.

Here’s my sock box of potential for the year, with the finished Norfolk socks already finding it’s bragging place in the box for the next 11 months (I might wear them at Christmas)

There’s enough yarn in here for 18 pairs of socks. I love having this set out in my living room like this, I find it so inspiring. Even if they don’t all get turned into socks this year, they bring me joy to just ponder.

My ‘Hug Me Later’ coasters made an appearance on Arne & Carlos’ special podcast this week, I love those guys.

Looking ahead

I’ve begun 2021 with many unfinished projects; the consequence of casting on with reckless abandon a sweater and a pair of socks every month of last year… until November. And I have no regrets!

I begin this year with 4 jumper WIPs and 3 sock WIPs and I love each of these projects. I’m going to try to finish up a couple of them in January to get the UFO count down. Then come February… well, we’ll see.

The first project I’ve picked up is the Granny Raglan Pullover by Mari Lynn Patrick. This has been a dream knit of mine for some time. Kristy Glass Knits made a really lovely one, as did some other knitters on Ravelry. My version was cast on in June of last year.

It looks like the beginnings of another blanket, sweet, sweet crochet. So comforting!

The project is a great little stash buster. The main yarn (the charcoal) is repurposed yarn from a cardigan that didn’t suit me. It’s Zara Plus and it’s gorgeous. The other colours are odd balls and left-overs.

The jumper is knit in pieces combining both knit and crochet. I am little nervous that the sleeves won’t fit in with the crochet shaping when it comes to sewing this together. Perhaps I could pick up stitches at the armhole and knit down instead?

I’ve already cast-on for the back twice. Because 17 inches of knitting across is just not going to make 19-20 inches no matter how hard you try. I’ve cast-on again with slightly larger needles and I’m on my way again.

Any advice on knitting Raglan sleeves from picked up stitches downwards will be greatly appreciated.

Goodbye 2020

How do I begin?

I won’t be sorry to see the back of this year, and I consider myself to be one of the ‘lucky ones’. As a child, when I thought about the year 2020, 30 years into the future, I thought about how great a year it would be. By then, surely we’d be in contact with aliens and travel in spaceships; there’d be a cure for AIDs and we’d have World Peace. Early this year, all I hoped for was a return to Tokyo in September, where anything and everything seems possible. 2020 you were a massive let down.

But unlike so many others, I was lucky this year. Despite my everyday life being turned on it’s head, I’ve survived it relatively unscathed, and maybe I’ve learnt some things. Here’s hoping 2021 is a better year for everyone.

I did want to come here today, because damn it, for the last 2 years I’ve blogged from January to May, and then I’ve stopped. Clearly, I have every excuse for this years disappearance. So I’m going to make a miserable attempt at recalling this year from May until now, at least through my knitting, with some added tidbits.

Since March, I’ve been WFH full-time. Rediscovering my local takeaway coffee shop was a blessing for the few weeks whilst weening myself off coffee (not that there’s anything bad about coffee!). Winter came on and with it, so many jigsaw puzzles. I’ve completed several on my own, D is not the jigsaw type. I also have many more jigsaws waiting in the wings for dare I say it… the next lockdown or a holiday at a beach house? I know which I’d prefer.

I made our own masks, but I found them impossible to breathe in, my 1 hour of ‘allowable’ exercise was reduced to a panicked 30 mins. In the end I found the Uniqlo masks MUCH better to breathe with.

The cancelled Bendigo Sheep Show weekend, came and went. A couple of awesome people, took it upon themselves to host their own show online and on You Tube. Some excellent enabling occurred, and for me, it might have been a turning point in confidently and ferociously purchasing yarn online for the remainder of this year. I began a new version of the Birkin sweater (which was to be my knitting group’s signature sweater for the show), well, it will be ready for next year’s show now.

A few distractions occurred in my plans to cast-on and knit a sweater and a pair of socks each month this year. In my birthday month, I also decided to begin a crochet blanket that I long, longed for. And that ‘Stephen West’! inspired me to knit this brilliantly colourful shawl in the later part of this year, don’t ask me which month, sense of time is lost on this year.

This year, I knit, and knit and knitted. All in all, I completed 5 sweaters for myself (a record!), made my mum some socks by urgent request, and Damian was also lucky enough to receive 2 pairs this year! … he still wants his Halloween socks though…

I’m not sure what else happened this year.

I know this year has affected the productivity of a lot of crafters, but I found great comfort in my knitting. It is the year that I’ve knit the most in, and I’m sure if I did the numbers, it’s also the year that I’ve bought the most yarn in. Ah… pandemic, what is one to do?

Happily, it is the end of the year and I welcomed it with great enthusiasm. The Advent calendars by Danni of Half-baked Hand-dyed and also from Little Woollie, made the crawling of time to Christmas so much more joyful.

Cheers to a new year

Sputnik Sweetheart

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I read a book! Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami is the first novel I’ve read on my new kindle. I really enjoyed it. In these times of introspection, it was the bit of escapism I needed. It had all the elements of a Murakami novel, without getting too weird (but of course it wasn’t, not weird!). I found it interesting to read similar themes which were explored in the much longer 1Q84 (I listened to this one, and also highly recommend doing that). Murakami novels always leave me wondering, in a good way.

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A couple of weeks ago I caved and began a new blanket, or new coasters, I haven’t decided yet. Boy, I hope it’s a blanket though, to justify the panic buying of additional yarn from Sunspun 🙂

I had lots of left-over Isager Tvinni from my Ursula cardigan, and I thought I could use it for the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL blanket squares, now affectionately called the Hug Me Later blanket. It wasn’t a knit-along I was going to join, after all I also began another blanket in April (another blanket, another blog entry) but I digress. I began seeing some amazing examples of how different Knitter’s squares were coming along, so rather than just having a few colours, I decided I needed more colours. Why not? More is more fun.

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Sunspun now has an online store (didn’t you know?!), and Virginia did an incredible service by sending out my parcel the same day I ordered it. It arrived the very next day (thank you Express Post). Oh, it was a rush! I do hope to continue making squares, there are some really special ones. I have enjoyed watching the Arne and Carlos quarantine vlogs, they’re great guys and if I do make a blanket (and not just coasters or a scarf) it will be a sentimental souvenir of this ‘weird’ time, I wonder what Murakami makes of it.

 

Japan Sleeves and a birthday in ISO

My long-wanted Japan Sleeves jumper was finished in April, I’d only cast-on in February but it’s been apart of my knitting dreams since Joji Locateli first released the pattern. 4278B34E-C109-4E60-8BFC-34767D88ADDE

I am enjoying the freedom of casting on a new jumper and a pair of socks each and every month.

Because whilst it’s unlikely for me to get these projects done within the month, at least I’m fulfilling part of my ambitious knitting fantasies. Casting on!

2F01F5C8-34C0-463D-A276-56B492BC0B9ALet’s not dwell on the reality that I was meant to be going to Japan once again this year, and making Japan Sleeves was just part of the excitement building for my return trip in September. I am safe, I am well, I am lucky.886EBA17-EED2-4F1E-BBCC-DF8837953935

I celebrated another birthday. Not the usual way and it wasn’t bad.

I got a kindle and I’m enjoying reading again, I’m making the time to read again.

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When I placed my leather cover on my new kindle it reminded me of my Kinder photo book. Whilst the cover of that album is vinyl (not leather!), the kindle is also brown and the same size.img_0563

Oh look, cute little Sonia. img_0630

I also received a few other lovely gifts from family and friends. But I didn’t feel like I needed any other ‘special’ gifts for myself.60923756210__a739b532-def7-4f87-adb7-541250713d5c

I mean who needs anything, getting cards like these are my favourite thing. Thanks niece M for reminding me how old I am on the front of the card. Very artistic!

I hope to be back soon to catch you up on all of my new projects, of which there are many 🙂

10 good things about the Bendigo Sheep Show being cancelled in 2020

  1. I don’t need any more yarn, fibre, or cool gadgets

So we’re all taking a year off from Bendigo. Friends have done this in the past and by all reports they have survived. Good thing I have a stash of yarn and fibre as if the world was going to end… it’s not.

But it’s not all about me, the knitters, spinners and hoarders are only one part of the Sheep Show. I worry about the farmers and stallholders who rely on the show for their livelihood. I’m going to do my best by supporting them online. Bendigo has started in April this year…

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)!