Usually I feel the need to finish all the things towards the end of the year and have a massive push from late October onwards to try and get things done, I guess so I could include them in my end of year round up. Last year I didn’t feel that and merrily carried on knitting on a ton of projects and casting on with abandon. Then the New Year hit and suddenly it felt like too much on the needles and I wanted to start new things but didn’t feel comfortable doing so (apparently unless it’s socks or shawls that is) until I got a load of things done.
So I’ve been plugging away at knitting projects and not allowing myself to cast on for all the new cardigans and jumpers I have wanted to. It feels nice to see some things done and I’m excited to finish off a few more. Only the fact that my stash is all over the place having been moved out of the now-not-sewing-room and not organised at all (I need another cabinet for it and haven’t found one yet) and that I will have to swatch which I always find annoying.
The New Year came with me having a horrible cold and spending the whole time the boys were with their Dad on the sofa. I had ordered yarn for a Cosy Colourblock Shawl from Wool Warehouse having seen it on the Tea and Possibilities podcast. I’d hoped that the yarn would arrive before we left to go to Brighton as it would have been great train knitting but sadly it didn’t come. As soon as we got home I cast it on and during those days I was attached to the sofa watching Peaky Blinders (I’m going to have to watch it a third time as the first time I was doing chemo and this second time I was ill so I’m sure I’ve missed half the plot) and finishing the shawl.
I actually used the yarn called for in the pattern which is very unlike me. It’s a cotton acrylic mix by Scheepjes called Stone Washed XL. You obviously pick the colours you like to go together. The only change I made was to do a few more rows of the black and yellow stripes before swapping to the grey as I didn’t see the point in having leftovers when I’d bought it specifically for the shawl. I used Hiya Hiya Sharps in 6.5mm for this and they are bloody sharp, I poked a hole in my finger using them. I’m not a fan though as I don’t like the cords very much so I won’t be buying more. This yarn did work better with metal needles than wooden though.
I like this shawl a lot, however it’s very very big and thick. Mine has nowhere near the drape shown in the photographs. I don’t think I have particularly tight gauge so I’m not sure why it turned out the way it did. I’m not certain it would block out to anything larger or drapier either so I’ve not bothered trying. It can feel a little suffocating when it’s wrapped around your neck but it is very warm and I’ve enjoyed wearing it so far.
Next off the needles were my first socks using 9 inch circulars. I used Wendy Happy in Aquarius and 68 stitches for these on 2.25mm. I got the hang of the small circulars in the end and I actually prefer the 2.25 over the 2.5s, I think because there are more stitches so they move around easier, although that doesn’t make much sense as the socks should be the same size. Anyway, I do like this bamboo acrylic mix sock yarn. I don’t know if they make it anymore, I have one more ball of this colourway and another colourway left in my stash though so I’m ok for a little bit.
My brain is having a hard time adjusting to the not buying things. As I wasn’t buying yarn I moved onto needles and now have a good selection of ChiaoGoo circulars to work with… I then went on to buying loose tea. I got a lovely little teapot when we were in Brighton and visited Bluebird Tea, then Jim and I shopped their Boxing Day sale online too. I’ve since ordered from two other companies (Birdhouse and Rosie Lea are good shops) and now have a counter full of bags of different flavours and types of tea. I’m alternating between all of them during the day now I’m back to my PhD work and really enjoying them, but it wasn’t really useful for the not buying things to move from one obsession to another. I’ve also bought a lot of cheap secondhand dvds to watch whilst knitting and the things I want to see at the moment aren’t available on Netflix or Prime.
Then I got reading the Harry Potter knit along thread in the Inside Number 23 podcast group on Ravelry and got all excited about joining in. I slipped and bought four balls of yarn (from Wool Warehouse) along with the needles for a Ravenclaw scarf… I also bought some really long Zing straights for my next scrap yarn blanket. I guess 4 balls isn’t too bad and I will be making the other things on my Harry Potter list from stash yarn as they’re mostly small projects, but it wasn’t a great start to the planned abstinence. Then I was swatching as incentive to finish something else (I don’t like swatching but knowing that I’ve done it and am all ready to cast on for something new can often light a fire and get me knitting faster on an old project!) and upon getting guage looked at what size I was planning to knit. It appears that ordering yarn whilst suffering from a head cold isn’t a great idea as for two sweaters I’d ordered yarn for the size corresponding to my bust size and hadn’t allowed for any ease. Of course Wool Warehouse was out of all the dyelots that I needed but I did manage to find the same dyelot for one sweater at Purple Sheep Yarns and bought another 3 balls. I will keep checking WW in case they get more of the same dyelots in the other colours I need for the second sweater but I think it may have to be tighter than envisioned. Then it carried on going downhill yarn wise, a shawl pattern new on Ravelry using a yarn I’d never seen before so I got that and having had a stressful week with the PhD I had filled and emptied a cart at Vegan Yarns so many times I thought they might block my ISP so I did my allowed order from them.
I need to stop now, maybe the ‘NO NEW YARN’ panic will lessen. Hopefully my brain will adapt soon to not buying things all the time. I didn’t think it would be that hard but I guess when saying no spending to my subconscious freaks it out a little and stress also plays a big part in my buying things and I’ve had plenty of that this month. Perhaps when I get more projects done and can start new things besides socks I won’t feel like I’m missing out. I have sorted my stash and put it into organza bags (another buy ‘instead’ of buying yarn) and it looks so neat and pretty now that I want to use it all which is good.
We went to a local antique place to try and find the cabinet for the part of my yarn stash that is currently sitting in a big blue Ikea bag in the hall. They didn’t have anything but I did end up buying a cabinet for the larder/storage/junk room instead. Then we went on to a second shop which it turned out had moved, but the fabric shop next door to it was having a 50% off closing down sale, sigh. I did very well and only got 3m of fabric but I did pick up a few notions (cutest cat buttons ever!) and lots of interfacing. Again, not a great start to the no buying plan, but 50% off….
I’m also not feeling the need to sew clothes right now. I organised my wardrobe and got rid of a load more stuff plus bought new hangers (buying again…) which has made it all neater. It turns out I have more than enough clothes and really don’t need to make any more until I wear out a good number of things. So if I’m not sewing I don’t need to buy fabric for sewing, that’s the idea anyway, we’ll see how many other sales I run into when I’m not expecting it.
Back to the FOs, next up was Jim’s jumper that I started in April in order to have it done in time for winter, yeah… This is an example of how rubbish needles can make a project horrid to work on. I had some blunt Clover bamboo circulars and it took and age to get halfway up the body. Using ChiaoGoo metal circulars I whipped through the rest of the body in not time and the cables were much easier. The pattern is called Umberto and I used Woolcraft Nuvo which is an acrylic yarn that I got from Kemps. I made the largest chest size and then just knit the length Jim needed as he’s a bit taller than the largest size. This is great yarn for kids jumpers and I have some red for Piggle’s next one.
I thought I was pretty much done when I finished the body, then I measured Jim’s arms and realised that they’re now actually longer than mine so the sleeves weren’t going to be as fast as I’d hoped. I got it done though, and he likes it, plus it’s still cold enough for him to need a jumper so win!
I had been working on the Churchmouse Yarns Easy Folded Poncho for what felt like forever. It is a very simple pretty dull knit of long rows of stocking stitch. It felt like it took forever, and then when I pinned it out to block it I realised why as it was huge!
I made this to wear in the house during the day over whatever else I have on. It gets cold here and I can’t afford (and don’t want) to have the heat on all day, so another layer is great. I had started making this from a different yarn but realised that it didn’t have enough drape so I found this Sublime Yarns Soya Cotton in my stash and used it up. It’s a lovely yarn and I am very happy with the finished garment, and it might make it outside the house sometimes in the Spring!
I finished off another pair of socks, these are Lana Grossa Solo Cotone Print in Capri 6607. I did these on 2.5mm 9″ circulars and I’m really happy with them. I really like this yarn.
In August 2011 I started crocheting my second sock yarn blanket. Basically whenever I finish off a shawl or socks I chucked the leftover yarn into a bag and then every now and again I crocheted it (in the order I completed things) into a blanket.
The pattern for this one was the Granny Blanket which is a free Bernat pattern. I used a 3.5mm hook for it. The only bit I don’t like is the big yellow bit in the middle, which funnily enough is the bit Jim commented that he liked a lot thus this blanket is now living in his room! I have cast on for my next blanket already, this time it’s a knit one on 3.5mm needles. I cast on 360 stitches so I am sure I won’t be working on it that often! I know these things take forever though and I prefer scrap projects where I can use up all the yarn. The Cosy Memories blankets are nice but I’d have to do multiple squares of each colour which would mean little balls hanging around for years until I got to a bit where I could add another square and then there still might be more left. I know it would frustrate me in the end so I will stick to my stripes, be they knit or crocheted!
I saw the Diaemus Shawl on The Grocery Girls podcast a while back and liked the look of it. I decided to pair together some Vegan Yarns Bellatrix in Soot Sprites (which is now my favourite tonal colour and I have ordered more of it so I always have it!) and Wolf Girl which is a very pale tonal grey. The Bellatrix is a 100% bamboo yarn which is very soft and has wonderful drape so it was great for this project. There are a lot of short rows in this which for once didn’t bother me all that much. I think it was because they seemed easier to spot in this project, or maybe I’m finally getting better at them, who knows!
This shawl has the oddest construction and I really didn’t get what was happening a lot of the time, I just followed the instructions and it all worked out! I was running low on the grey and knew I wanted a good number of stripes at the end of that plain section so I did slightly fewer short rows than the pattern called for which worked out fine. I’ve got a few more shawls by this designer in my queue and I am looking forward to trying them. The odd construction means that it looks different every time you wrap it around your neck which is really interesting!
And finally, the Color Field shawl which is one I saw on the Make Things Club Podcast (not that I’m easily influenced or anything). I used Vegan Yarns worsted on this. I kept thinking it was the softest cotton I’d ever worked with and then noticed, when I went back to see if there were any other colours I wanted to buy, that it’s actually a cotton bamboo mix so that would explain it! I used the colourways Koi and Wolf Girl again, although this Wolf Girl is a lot lighter than the Bellatrix version. I knit this shawl in 13 days, worsted weight shawls go fast! It was my reward at the end of the day shawl, I’d sit and knit a few rows before bed.
I finished the bind off with about 2 yards of the Koi colour left. It was the most fun I’ve had playing yarn chicken as I have another skein of it in my stash so it didn’t really matter if I ran out or not! I had about 60 odd yards of the grey left which will go with the other skein of that I have into another shawl. I entered this and the Diaemus shawl into the Legacy Knitz Podcast Cold Shoulder KAL, just because I could.
So, that’s it for January. Not to bad, but I did also cast on quite a few pairs of socks and in the last two days I’ve cast on another two shawls (one for a knit along with the Stringing It Together podcast)… I will keep plugging away at the sweaters though, I just have the neckband and sleeves of one to get done, although I think I might run out of yarn. After that it’s half a short sleeve jumper to go and then I can cast on something new, we’ll see if I manage to make myself wait!
Hope you all had a good January and here’s to February (the month I hate the most) going by quickly and painlessly!