Well done

To my great satisfaction, I finished all the items as wished and got to send them off in time. They were well received.

A hat, made from handspun:

Bristol Hat 2

A scarf, with handspun and commercial yarn:

Apricot Tree 3

A handspun cowl:

Purrrfect 1

Booties!

Flirty boots 12.

That was so much fun.

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6-ply, 2,5mm

I didn’t consider myself a sock knitter.  I thought about myself as a sweater knitter.  I love hand-knit sweaters, they are great when the chilling season arrives, and I especially like the look of cables.

I might have considered myself an occasional knitter of socks. I knit them because I love having warm feet, and handknit wool socks are incredible comfortable. But just thinking about heels and about the fact that one has to knit twice the same thing made me have SSS in advance.

Then I discovered 6-ply sock yarn. Thicker than the usual 4-ply, it does logically knit up with fewer stitches, and so you’re done quicker. The socks knit from it hold up better their form than the socks I knit from the thinner yarn. The fabric is slightly thicker, but still comfortable for me to wear in my shoes. With a simple slip stitch pattern the heel gets quite chunky, a fact I like.

Then my father died. In the evening, after having finished the paperwork and other difficult tasks, I went to bed and before falling asleep, knit on a pair of very simple socks, in a muted colour, with bamboo needles, 2,5mm. I remember very well the slow rhythm I had fallen in, just working on some stitches, while having an inifinite melancholic mindset and reflecting on tasks and long forgotten memories.

 

Right now, I find myself in a very stressful time. At the moment, there are a lot of important decisions to make; decisions that depend to some extend on other people. As there is a big lack of communication from the other side, we’re reduced to waiting and guessing. In a very logic move, the universe continues to throw lemons at us and we have both of our cars have problems at the same time. An urgent need to knit some socks begins to shake me, and I give in for another comfy pair, in my favourite colours please.

As I work on the tiny stitches, I realise to what extend I like to create first a toe, than a foot, then increase for the gusset, turn the heel invented just for me by me, decrease for the leg, knit a good length of leg, do some 1/1 rib and then finish off with a great bind-off found on the Internet and tweaked a bit to accomodate my way of knitting. Each time I knit with 6-ply, I take notes and change some parts of the formula, as I’m looking for the perfect recipe for mindless sock knitting.

 

Each time the stress is overwhelming, I take the socks up and very quickly the soothing build up of neat little stitches works its magic. And now, that they are finished and I wear them and look at those beloved socks, I realise something very unexpected:

I’m a sock knitter.

Stashbuster

I joined a stashbuster group on Ravelry. For some reasons (for which I’ll write an entire post apart) I had to go through a lot of organising. I hate deadlines, and at the same time I’m best when I’m working towards them. I’ve chosen different fibre tasks to finish:

  • Finish Tartan

The beautiful fabric from my last post waits to be sewn into a tunic.

  • Finish Red Fruit Juice

I’d spun some lovely yarn with Spunky Eclectic and Shunklies fibres (needs a post on its own).  I’ve chosen a simple Raglan top-down for it and am more than half-way done.

  • Finish Through The Loops Mystery Socks 2012

I’m hardly any further than shown in the photo:

  • Finish my snuggly winter sweater I started two years ago and miss every time it’s cold, because I think it will be the perfect garment to be cozied up in on a frosty day:

  • Start and finish Wingspan, because this seems really fun.
  • Finish spinning my first Hunger Games fibre, “How I See Katniss” (needs blog post)
  • Knit mittens from the Spunky Ronaldsay
  • Spin Spunky Instanbul Sunset, South African Fine (I love this fibre!)
  • Spin BeeMiceElf March 2010 club, “Around The Mulberry” (blog post to follow)
  • Finish the first 2012 Spunky Weaving Club
  • Start and finish another Spunky Weaving Club, substituting one club fibre with Spunky handspun
  • Finish knitting “Natural
  • Finish knitting “Houndsteeth gritting” (post needed)
  • Finish Twi-Delight (needs some words)

I already finished two pair of socks which really needed just some stitching, and I hope that the motivation will be flowing a bit longer than just for a couple of days. The official stashdown ends May 4th…

 

Matching

After test knitting this beautiful shawl, I initially wanted to keep it, but it really is the perfect Christmas gift for my mother:

 

Furthermore I wove a scarf with the same yarn:

My mother loves to wear matching colours with her husband, so a second Christmas gift was easily found.

The yarn used is Mirasol Nuna, a silk/ wool/ bamboo blend. What a beautiful drape it has! I purchased this yarn some years ago, and never found a pattern I wanted to try with it. But after having used it for these two accessories, I’m so much in love with it, that I ordered more of it in a grey colourway.

The yardage is fabulous (175m for 50g), the knitted fabric is very soft, shiny and drapes like a gentle breeze. It blocks great, there is not much pinning needed. The yarn bleeded a bit while soaking, though.

When being woven, it behaved very differently from pure wool yarn. The sides drew much more in, even still on the weaving frame. Beating is very easy, as the strings don’t stick to each other at all. It held well enough though to be sewn without hem stitching (I took the scarf directly from the weaving frame to the sewing machine).

A pleasure to work with!

Fall is near

I finished the handspun cardigan:

It is the first time I used techniques that I learned when taking the “Perfect Sweater” class with Ysolda this summer. It got me a garment that is well fitting in the back, around the shoulders and has the perfect length. So much joy!

When discussing with Ysolda, I told her about my problems with armscythes that are too narrow and what I did until now to prevent this. Well, it seems that lengthening the armhole is not necesserily a good idea; I should rather widen the underarm. Furthermore she told me it could be helpful for me to chose my garment in function of the shoulder measurements, as I have rather broad ones. She said that a good fit at the shoulders really made a sweater keep in shape. That had me thinking about the shoulder type I prefer. And I realised, that raglan shoulders are perfect for me, and that i really don’t like round yokes.

This is Bibi, a very nice design I knit with Noro Matsuri. My shoulders are angular, and a rond yoke makes them poke out, which is not very flattering. Additionally, this results in sleeves which are distorted, again an effect I’m not very keen of.

This, on the other hand, shows those shoulders very nicely off:

There will be much more raglan in the future!

Test knit

I’m test knitting this beautiful shawl from Jennette Cross aka doviejay on Ravelry:

 

 

This was a bit challenging at the beginning as I could not make out a pattern. While knitting lace, I look at the stitches on the row below as an orientation, and usually you knit the same pattern in the same stitches. At the beginning, I really could not make out the slightest rhythm. But once the first ten rows knit, it quickly got easier. I’m cruising along now, still quite at the beginning (row 57 of  190). The shawl is going to be beautiful, with leaf-like designs and structuring purl rows. Love it already!

I use Mirasol Nuna, a silk, wool, bamboo blend. It’s so, so soft and a bit shiny, and has a very nice stitch definition.

A lot of things

Moving was a very interesting experience. When our friends came over to help us and we started to fill the boxes (after the almost 70 boxes I already had packed, mainly with books), I had a weak moment and apologized once and for all for the state of our appartement. I really got to wonder why there were so much things. It took two days to move all the big affairs, and I spent two days cleaning, sorting out the last small bumps of our former live. There was a moment where I sincerely thought that it would never end. I sat on the floor in our former living room, several stacks of things nicely aligned (I could not get around to believe that those things could depress me so much), and felt like those women who get the impression that they will be pregnant forever, that the baby will never come out. I felt eternely pregnant with my past hording.

For the time being, we live with my parents-in-law, waiting for an appartment for them to be arranged, so that we can take their house full of stairs, hard on ageing knees. We chose this option, as it implies changing schools, and my daughter is in “college” now, so I wanted her to already be with those she will be frequenting later.

That means that we compressed our appartment into two rooms and a cellar. That did not lessen the crowded effect, as you can imagine. Some moments are rather difficult… One has to focus on the future in that case!

I have some things to keep me sane:

A new club from FatCatKnits, Mixed Fibre Blessings:

September BFL

Once spun, it became this beauty:

For skeins 2-ply, one with both plies from the blue roving, two skeins with one ply from the green and one from the blue roving, and one skein with two green plies. One of these plies was finished with a bit of dark teal merino roving, as I wanted to finish the other bobbin completely.

I started to knit at once:

Nomnomnom.

Various things

I finished the second swirl. The baby was born on may 28, but I did not see his father until yesterday, so there was enough time to wait for last-minute-finishing 🙂

I still love this pattern a lot, and I think I will make one in very girly colours for my daughter. But for now, this one was well received!

I finished weaving the Fruity Lace shawl, but there are two spots where I missed a weft. I’ll try to repair it; it is not far from the border and this should be rather easy to do.

Being without a deadline now (apart the one where I have to pack our household up, because we will be moving in July), I started preparing for a patchwork for each of my children. I keep their old jeans and transform them into blankets. I already did this two years ago, and they use it all summer, so I really have to make a second one for each of them, because washing and drying a blanket the same day can be challenging 🙂

More garter stitch

The garter stitch cardigan has been put on a hold, as I have to finish this beauty:

After the first one, I at once started a second Swirl Without End, this time in boy-colours. As I got distracted by the Corinne-cardigan, the blanket patiently waited as a small UFO on a big pile of beauties to be.

But this week, at a meeting, I learned that the recipient could arrive any moment now, and I would have to hurry (as always, one works better under pressure).

So, here I am, switching from one garter delight to another, and still addicted.

Garter stitch pleasure

I’m knitting this at the moment:

There is such a soothing rhythm in the simple pleasure of knitting one stitch after the other, without focusing, which leaves a lot of possibilities to let the thinking take its own path.

I’ve veered off my stop-stash-enhancement.  Not buying any fibre for some months has taught me a lot about the reasons why I purchase. There is certainly retail therapy involved, and it was helpful to shop only in my wardrobe (as this is where the yarn part is hiding). I actually rediscovered the pleasure to look at a yarn and link it to a project. The hardest part was to decide to USE it, to be ready to not wait for the perfect pattern, as this prevented me from using it at all. But, at the same time it became clear, that I love having the choice to chose; I’m not a one pattern one yarn person. So I’ve (re)turned to looking at bargains and sales, but with a list of conditions a yarn has to fulfill to enter my stash.

There was another reason why I indulged a bit in yarn acquisition: I won’t go to Knit Nation this year, as we will be moving in July. If everything wents well, there will be a dedicated working space in the not so far future for me!