Right, lets finish this off then!
These two are in the wrong order because I made Stella’s Hat when I had yarn left over from the scarf below! It’s Drops Paris which is an aran weight cotton and apparently the colour is just called green which isn’t very exciting. Anyway, this is a free pattern and it was really easy to make, I began it in the hospital so it really must be easy! I used 4.5mm needles rather than the 5mm called for as I didn’t want it to be too baggy, cotton doesn’t have any recovery and I didn’t want a floppy hat. I really like it, it’s comfortable and goes over my ears and keeps my head quite warm, plus it used up a small amount of yarn that would have just floated about in my stash forever otherwise.
The green Paris was bought to make this Laetiporus Scarf which had been in my Ravelry queue for ages. It’s a simple lace and garter repeat with sections of the garter having short rows to create a kind of ruffle. This thing is way long, we’re talking about 80 inches. I used smaller needles as I didn’t have a pair of 6mm needles and it’s plenty floppy and long, so long that I stopped knitting with above used 2 balls of yarn left and I’d only bought what was called for, not sure what was up with that.
Anyway, I enjoyed this knit a lot and did repeats here and there all the time until it was done, it took me exactly a month so it’s not a slow knit! The first picture is more the right shade of green. I’ve not blocked it and I’m not sure I will. I don’t know how well it would hold a block with the length of it pulling it down, plus I don’t have anywhere I can block an 80 inch knit so I’ll live with it the way it is!
The Ramona Cardigan was another quick (for me) knit, taking only two months start to finish. I used Drops Bomull Lin in the grey blue colour. It’s a cotton linen mix in an aran weight and it’s quite rough to work with and rather splitty. The cardigan is knit top down and the ribbed collar and button bands are added at the end. I found the 5.5mm needles a little hard on the hands or else I probably would have finished this faster.
I wanted a plain grey cardigan that I could throw on over my bright tops and dresses that I always seem to make and I think I achieved that. I got the buttons from Textile Garden who have an amazing selection and are cheap as far as buttons go. I bought two sets of 8 as I wasn’t sure exactly which size or look I was going for and it cost less than a single set of 8, including the postage, than everywhere else I looked so I will be shopping there again for sure. The lines across the back in the middle photo are because I ‘blocked’ it on the drying rack! After it was done I threw it in the washing machine on the delicate cycle to try and get the linen to relax and soften a bit, which it did. The stitches also evened out really nicely which I was happy about as the sleeves are knit in the round and normally there is a huge difference between my back and forth and in the round knitting.
I ordered the yarn for this while I was doing chemo, which apparently had a really bad effect on my math skills as I ended up with three and a half extra balls, not because the pattern didn’t use as much as called for, it used pretty much exactly what was called for, but because I messed up my order. I have no idea what to do with that yarn, it’s not soft enough for a scarf or shawl so there’s £9 of yarn sitting there, sigh…
This is the third and final Sunny Top, for now! Another sweater knit from Fabworks Online, this one is a slubby french terry which was a pain to work with as the edges rolled but I got there in the end. Again it was all done on my overlocker with just the hems on the sewing machine. You can see on the second picture (sort of) how the slubs stand out from the fabric. It looks more orange in these pictures than in real life, once again I’m really happy with this top and I can’t wait to wear it!
Continuing the crappy picture parade that is this post, these are my full length Demi Pants that I made ages ago. I was wearing a pair of the shorter ones I made with boots and I thought to myself that they would be perfect for winter if they were just 4 inches longer. Then I remembered that I’d made the damn things so I got out the pattern and some fabric and made a pair four inches longer!
I call these my stealth pyjamas because I made them out of brushed cotton twill from Fabworks Online, it’s not an obviously brushed cotton looking fabric but it feels like you’re getting away with wearing pyjamas outside the house! The second picture shows the texture of the fabric, it’s really nice stuff and last time I looked it was still in stock for about £4 a metre, I stocked up on a ton a while back and am looking forward to using it for something else, it’s soft and warm but not too thick so you could do a dress or a top from it for sure.
These are the socks I was waiting to take a picture of so I could finish catching up, the colour is all wrong, see the picture of the skein of yarn for the correct shades. This pattern was the Easy Peasy Socks, which lives up to its name and is a free pattern on Ravelry. I have been trying out knitting podcasts (I have things to say about knitting podcasts but it will have to wait to be said, this post is long enough) and heard about the Fish Lips Kiss heel for the first time ever, apparently it’s been a thing in the sock knitting world for about a year. The pattern is £1.20 or so (it’s $1 but the VAT gets added to that) via Ravelry and is a huge pattern that tells you how to make a cardboard foot that shows you where to put the heel in your socks etc. I skipped all that, why make things too easy for myself guessing is more fun, and went right to the heel instructions. What it is is a short row heel without wrapping and turing, so there aren’t any holes or stitches to pick up etc (although I need to work on my final row as the heel I did today does have small gap). It makes a really neat easy heel, I’ve done four of them now and I can do it without reading the instructions any more and it works. Of course I now realise I didn’t get a picture of the heels of these socks to show you, but it’s neat and it fits nicely, trust me!
I am also playing about with the number of stitches that I use for my socks. I’ve spent 10 years just doing what the pattern says and sometimes my socks fit and sometimes they don’t, it was what it was. A podcaster gave me an ‘oh’ moment when they said they were trying to find the right number of stitches on different needle sizes so their socks always fit, I don’t think it had actually occurred to me to do that before, I’d gone down a needle size and if things were still too baggy just tried another pattern. Anyway, one day I will have socks that fit well, these aren’t too bad at all!
These socks were a lesson in why you should knit your yarn instead of just stashing it away because it’s special or too nice to use. They are possibly the prettiest socks that I have knit, I love the way the colours work and the fact that there is no striping or pooling, it’s a true variegated yarn. I stashed this yarn in September 2012, the dyer is no longer doing yarn so now that I know I love it I only have one more skein in my stash (well, actually I cast it on last week) and then that’s it. Had I tried it out back then I could have gotten more pretty yarn before they stopped doing it…
Which leads nicely from my finished makes, which are finally up to date, into another matter.
I’ve been thinking about my yarn and fabric stashes of late, probably because of having to move them as I move my sewing room into the tiny office so my younger son can have his own bedroom. I have a lot, lots and lots a lot. I bought many things this year, as I said it became kind of a fuck you to cancer, of course I will live long enough to use all this. Now is feeling like the time to try and use a lot of it, there’s some great stuff in there and it’s getting buried by new great stuff.
So, I have decided to try not buy for a while. It’s not a diet as I don’t like diets, it’s just abstaining from spending money I don’t need to spend on things I don’t need to own because I own plenty of them already. I’m feeling the ‘too much stuff’ weight again and I’m running out of things I can get rid of really without my kids throwing a fit or getting rid of things I really like just for the sake of it. I’ve done the books and my clothes and half the kitchen bits (I have antique stuff I’d like to get rid of but don’t want to give away, however I don’t know where to dispose of it so it’s still sitting there…) and now I am still looking for things to cull, so this seems like a good area to work on.
For fabric/sewing I am just going to try not to buy any for as long as I can. There’s no such thing as a small fabric order for me, I try and get the free postage so we’re talking usually about 12m minimum and that’s just silly when you consider how much I own and how my sewing time will shrink again once I get back to the PhD. So, I’m going to unfollow fabric shops on social media and to try not to fall into any fabric buying holes for as long as I can. I don’t expect to make the whole year, but I should be able to do at least half without needing to buy more than thread and notions. I also need to try not to buy too many patterns, they are just so easy to pick up here and there and next thing you know you’re drowning in paper and have spent £50. I’m not ruling patterns out totally as I need things to use the fabric for, but I bought the ones I’d had on my list for a while during the post Thanksgiving sales and I have a ton I’ve not used yet so I’m set for a bit. I’m happy that I didn’t buy the sale patterns the week before the sales like I usually do as I saved a fair bit of cash! Fair enough the only reason I didn’t buy them was that I was feeling awful and not sewing, it was still a good saving! I have all the fabric I need for a good number of quilts so I will hopefully have to buy some batting during the year as I’d like to finish a few of those.
For yarn there are going to be some exceptions to the not buying anything rule. I know I will want to buy certain things so I am setting out what I am making exceptions for from the start. I want to spread these buys out a bit so I have something to look forward to rather than doing them all before March and then sulking!
- I recently discovered that Lana Grossa do a cotton sock yarn and I’m very excited about it. I bought 6 balls to try it out and it’s really nice. I didn’t see the solids when I placed my order so I want some of those, I also want more of the prints. So an order (probably quite a large order, especially if they have a sale any time) with them will happen.
- I really like the colourways that the dyer Mothy and the Squid on Etsy does and she does a cotton sock yarn. I have asked her if she’ll do some of her colourways on that base for me and she’s agreed so I will buy those whenever she has completed them.
- I also discovered Vegan Yarn in Cananda who do a vegan sock yarn. There isn’t much in stock right now so the order I placed with them post Thanksgiving in their sale was for shawl yarn. When they get a good selection of the sock yarn in again I will be ordering some of that to try (and maybe some more shawl yarn as it’s lovely) and it’s the Panda Cotton base which I really love and they had a self striping which I’ve never seen in vegan sock yarn before. Again, I’ll wait for a sale, although they don’t seem to have too many of those.
- Finally, I bought a ton of patterns in the sales for very reasonable prices. I am going to allow myself one order, probably of Drops yarn if I can find a fit, from one of my usual sellers but only for patterns I already own. I have yarn lined up for a page and half of my Ravelry queue plus plenty that doesn’t have a project assigned so I don’t need to be buying lots for no reason, but if I’ve spent the money on the pattern I’d like to use it. Again, sales will be a big influence on this purchasing.
I stocked up on needles during the sales so I’m fine of those, I might need to buy buttons for things but beyond that I shouldn’t need any other knitting stuff. I will be buying the patterns required to use up stash yarn assigned to them but other patterns I will only buy if they are reduced by 30% or more which is my usual rule for buying patterns with no yarn in mind.
We shall see how that goes, I’m sure I’ve tried before not to buy yarn and fabric, I’ve been keeping a running tally for years on how much fabric comes in vs how much goes out and usually manage by just a few yards or metres to use more than a buy but that’s not really helped the stash reduce that much! I shall keep you appraised on how it goes.
Phew, I literally have not finished making anything else, so it’s all brand new projects from here on out! I have two Christmas gifts to make and all the stuff I cut out before the operation to sew up, hopefully I can make a dent on that this weekend. There is tons of knitting going on, but there isn’t much near completion yet, I’m working on too many things at the same time again, but enjoying it immensely so I’m not worried about it yet, I’ll get finishitis again soon enough!