Life With Yarn

Archive for the ‘wip’ Category

On the needles

It’s all about little projects or spending time on the Shipwreck shawl at the moment as we’re going away in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to start anything big or take something too big away with me. In that vein, I cast on some DK weight socks last night in some Mirasol Hacho that has been sat in my stash for far too long. I’m just working a plain toe up sock until I run out of yarn – I might add a stitch pattern to the leg but it depends on my mood when I get to that bit.

Off the needles

I have quite a lot of pictures this time of things I’ve been working on since my last post.

First up is my Flare jumper, designed by the very talented Veera Valimaki and knit in Posh Yarn Natasha sock which is a camel/silk blend that is so soft and so luxurious that I just love wearing this. This was my unofficial Ravellenics project – unofficial because I didn’t cast on until a week into the Games. I did, however, finish it in under 16 days so I’m pretty proud of that achievement.

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I also finished another top for me which is the Watershed cardigan, designed by Amy Swenson and knit in more Posh Yarn, this time Caitlin Aran. This was a quick knit that I plan to take on holiday to wear over dresses and strappy tops in the evening. The only modification I made to the pattern was changing the way the decrease was worked and adding the sleeves.



I also got two pairs of socks off the needles – my Circle socks in Zitron Trekking XXL and the Juugatsu socks in Ring-a-Rosie Handpainted yarn. This year is definitely turning into a year of socks and tops.

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But it wasn’t all knitting for me, I also finished this top for Zoe which is Kismet and I knit it in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply (the black stripes) and Artisan Telfi (the pink stripes). She loves it.




It just fell into my bag

There’s not actually much to show this time. I got a couple of club yarns in the post, which I haven’t managed to photograph yet, and the other yarn I’ve ordered has yet to arrive. I did buy a couple of project bags from AmeliaXJoy on Etsy which are beautiful and a good size for a pair of socks in progress. I also bought some wooden stitch markers from here, which are beautiful and there were two packs of free wooden buttons included in the order as well both of which are lovely and I look forward to finding the perfect garment to put them on.

I have also been buying a few non-knitting-related things, including some cook books by Nigel Slater and Mary Berry as well as some fiction.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’ve read some good books recently, including Caleb Carr’s The Alienist which I loved. Right now, I’m reading Helen Dunmore’s Your Blue-eyed Boy and I’m not entirely convinced I’m going to finish it. I picked it up because I remember reading a passage of Dunmore’s writing when I did my English A-level (which feels like a lifetime and a half ago now) and liking it so the name stuck (along with Bruce Chatwin, although I’ve yet to read anything by him either). However, I’m finding the story a little slow and I do tend to have the attitude these days that I have so many books I really want to read that I won’t waste a lot of time reading one that I’m a bit meh about.

What I’m watching

As well as my usual knitting podcasts, my husband and I have downloaded The Wire box set and are steadily working our way through season one right now. We’re also enjoying the new season of The Walking Dead and The Musketeers which is showing on the BBC right now. I do love my American dramas though so I’m also currently addicted to The Following and Bones. We very rarely watch TV live any more – we are far more likely to record it and watch it later on which means we’re usually at least an episode behind everyone else!

Family life

We’re currently preparing for our trip to South Africa next month to stay with the in-laws for 2 weeks. I’m really looking forward to a few days in Cape Town and hopefully getting the chance to go to Robben Island as well as taking the girls up Table Mountain. I’m also looking forward to some warmer weather as the strong winds we’ve been experiencing this last week are draining. And of course, I’m already plotting which projects I’ll be taking away with me – I have at least 3 pairs of socks planned and probably a shawl as well. I always end up taking too much with me but I’d rather have too much knitting than suddenly run out before our long flights home!



I’ve been really busy the last month but it’s nothing I can show here which does not make interesting blogging. I finished Anniken’s baby shawl and have only today posted a lace shawl to her as well. I also completed the jumper for Anna by the end of January. All three have provided a challenge for me in some small way and it got me thinking about how sample knitting has helped my knitting generally.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve found the idea of sample knitting more and more desirable. I work from home which means I have the time to do it and I’m a fairly quick knitter which definitely helps with tight deadlines but I had no idea how to really get into it. I started by test knitting on Ravelry; there are forums there purely to get designers and willing test knitters together and I started here by offering to test knit patterns that I liked or had the yarn for. It meant that I could use up some yarn and try a new pattern before others. I’ve since used these same forums to find test knitters for my own designs and have, so far, had a really good experience as both tester and designer.

I started working for Anniken last year when she tweeted that she was looking for sample knitters. Anniken Allis is one my favourite designers – her lace shawls are beautiful and I have loved knitting them so when she asked for sample knitters I jumped at the chance. What’s not to like here? I knit a design I know I’ll like in a yarn I might not have tried before and I get paid to do it.

Of course, it’s not always as straightforward as that. The pattern, whilst looking great, is unedited and may have mistakes which require clarification. I can’t just rely on what I think the designer might be trying to do, I need the designer to tell me that just so I don’t spend hours knitting something that is wrong.

When I do knit, it has to be perfect as well. With my own things, I will often let a wrong stitch remain if it doesn’t affect the overall look. In lace, this is less likely because mistakes in lace show a lot more readily but if I’m decreasing on a sweater and do a right leaning increase instead of a left leaning increase then on my own sweater, I’ll let it go. If it’s a sample, then I have to correct it, either by ripping back to the mistake or dropping the stitch down a couple of rows and pulling it back up the correct way. Sample knitting has taught me a lot about fixing mistakes!

I love sample knitting but it does take me away from my own stash and, to be honest, I’m unlikely to get rich quickly, or at all, by doing it. But the experience it has given me and the way it has improved my own knitting has definitely been worth it. These are just some of the samples that I’ve knit and it’s quite satisfying to see them online and in magazines and know that I knit it: Marazion, Sam Cable Scarf

On the needles

But it’s not all been sample knitting, I’ve managed to get a few other things cast on as well. I currently have two pairs of socks on the needles: Circle socks by Anne Campbell in Zitron Treking XXL. I love the colour of this, it’s like a dark, muted rainbow and my pictures just don’t do it justice. I finished the first sock about 2 weeks ago but have been too distracted by other things to get the second one cast on. I used the OMG Heel by Megan Williams for the first time which I really liked and fits nicely.

The second pair of socks are Juugatsu by Claudia Eisenkolb in Ring-a-Rosie Handpainted yarn, which I’m knitting as part of a Ring-a-Rosie sock yarn knit a long. I’ve only done about half of the cabling detail on the first leg but I know once I get back into them, they’ll fly. I plan on trying the Fish Lips Kiss heel on these socks, which I’ve seen being raved about on many blogs and podcasts.

I also cast on and am almost done with the Kismet top by Sara Gresbach for Zoe. This is being worked in some pink Artisan Yarns Telfi and two black yarns – Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply and Violet Green Supersock. The pink has been sitting in my stash since Woolfest in June 2012 and I am just never going to make something that colour for me, but Zoe of course loves it so I found a few patterns and she chose Kismet and chose to pair it with black stripes. I’ve ended up using two different yarns for the black stripes simply because I had less of the Rialto 4ply than I thought and needed some extra to complete the last couple of stripes.

I still have the Shipwreck shawl on the needles – I’m now into the second skein and slowly loading it with beads before knitting. It’s slow going so it’s spending a lot of time just sat there. I also have my sock yarn blanket which is being slowly worked on. I’d still really like to have that for next winter and I think 2 squares a day should do that. Of course, I’m currently behind but I’m doing 3/4 squares a day to make it up, so fingers crossed.

Off the needles

I finished both the socks and mitts I mentioned in my last blog post. First up, the lavender socks and also the Tideland mitts which Rebecca was very pleased with.

It just fell into my bag

I’ve bought a lot of yarn recently, but have been a bit slack in getting the photos taken. I bought lots of sock yarn, including Lorna’s Laces Solemate and some new colourways of Zauberball which I love for socks. I was also lucky enough to get a gift certificate for Fibernymph Dye Works for my birthday last month and I’ll getting some self striping sock yarn from there next month at some point.

I also finally caved and bought some interchangeable needles after casting on two projects and discovering the circular needles were too long. So I bought some HiyaHiya sharps interchangeables in the small needles sizes (2.75mm – 5mm) and so far, I’m really pleased with them.

Hopefully with the sample knitting done for now, I can come back sooner with pics of lots of lovely new things for me!


So the Ravellenics are over and how did I do? I listed 5 projects to complete over the 16 days – 2 shawls, dye some yarn, frog a cardigan and complete a work in progress. I think we can call it a 50% success rate. I completed one shawl, the lovely Monica by the Fickleknitter

I also managed to frog a cardigan I made last summer – the pattern is lovely but the yarn is, I feel, too thick (DK instead of 4ply) and jjust not suited to the pattern. I intend to reknit the pattern in a lighter yarn at some point, although I have no idea what I’ll do with the reclaimed yarn yet.

I dyed the yarn for my sister’s Christmas present. This was lots of fun, I really enjoyed doing it and will definitely be dyeing more of my own yarn for my use. I dyed 5 skeins in total – the first 2 I did in the same pot because I thought there’d be enough room but unfortunately, there wasn’t and so the yarn has some undyed patches on it:

It’s all a learning curve, right? Anyway, I have some nice blue or purple dye to overdye it with at some point which I’ll then use for socks. So after that, I tried again with 3 more skeins, separately this time and these are the results:

Much better and my sister likes the colour so I need to get started on knitting with it in the next month.

The wip was picked up again and since the end of the games, I’ve worked on it some more. It remains unfinished but it is out and being slowly worked on, so it wasn’t a total washout. It needs to be finished by December 24th this year – whilst Eloise was only 16mths last year and not really into Christmas, at 28mths this year, I think she will be and as she likes having everything the same as her big sister, the stocking needs to be finished. The final shawl I planned to knit was completed after the games ended and looks fab:

This was my first time adding beads using a crochet hook (as demonstrated by the talented YarnAddict at Woolfest this year). It was so straightforward, no more hours of threading beads onto yarn for me any more!

I’ve also had a week away this month in Windermere with my husband and two girls. The weather wasn’t great all the time but we had a few lovely days out dodging the showers. Whilst there, I worked on 3 different projects: another shawl (which I would have finished but I ran out of yarn just before the end. Luckily I seem to have tracked down some more so it should be finished next month); a scarf for me for winter in a lovely orange/yellow colour – perfect for brightening up those long winter days; and my sock yarn blanket which is a continual WIP and perfect car knitting.

I also heard back about my submitted design to the magazine. It wasn’t chosen this time, but it was my first time ever doing a submission so I’m not too upset about that. I have since reworked it slightly and am currently halfway through test knitting it myself. Hopefully I can complete that next week when school & my childminder restart and get the pattern up soon after.

In the meantime, I have a couple of new ideas swirling round my head, partially inspired by our holiday in the Lakes, and I have a large amount of knitting to do for Christmas gifts. Somehow, I have yet again failed to be more organised and start earlier. Expect sore hands and not much sleep by mid December.

So it is another WIP Wednesday. There’s not actually a lot on the needles right now, I am working on a shawl by YarnAddict, Anniken Allis which is one of my Ravellenic Games projects. So far, as part of the Ravellenic Games, I’ve completed this shawl byMichelle Miller, the Fickleknitter:


I still need to complete Eloise’s Christmas stocking and dye some wool, but there’s still a few more days to go. At least the weather is good so I should be able to dye the wool today or tomorrow and get it dried.

I’ve also been busy with other things. I posted my nephew’s present, so can now post a pic here. I made this blanket:

I’ve also submitted a proposal for my first magazine design. This is more nerve wracking than I thought it would be but also quite exciting. I will hear, one way or the other, by the end of the month and if it doesn’t get accepted, will probably release the pattern anyway. This is the first time I’ve designed something without it being for family or friends, the first time I’ve not been meeting a need for a particular item. It comes on the back of a little disappointment with the skirt I made for Zoe. I’ve tried and failed to get it test knit on Ravelry so for now it is going on the back burner. I don’t feel happy releasing a pattern that has not been knit at least once in every size and, to be honest, I was never quite 100% happy with it myself. I plan to redesign it slightly and then try again, but it’ll be in a couple of months now as the start of August also signals, to me at least, time to get on with present knitting. I have my list, I now need to get started. Hopefully this level of forward planning will mean I am not still knitting crazily on Christmas Eve, with sore hands, and my husband should get his knitted gift on Christmas Day, rather than always being the one who has to wait until a couple of days later. That’s the plan anyway, but we shall see if it actually happens!

Last Friday, my brother and sister-in-law made me an aunt for the first time. I have 2 children of my own, but being an aunt is still quite exciting – a new baby to cuddle and welcome into the family but I don’t lose any more sleep (because I already get precious little with my own children). Of course, new baby also means new knitting, so even though I was half way through Rock Island and almost finished a cardigan for my eldest, I still had the overwhelming urge to cast on something else.

I did manage to hold back on a proper cast on for a couple of days whilst I swatched a new idea and finished the cardigan. I then had to buy some more yarn (any excuse, some may say) so that I could make what I wanted for my new nephew. I’m knitting a blanket for him, and will show a little pic:


This is going to be the centre square of the blanket, with a border going around the outside. I’ve been trying out a couple of ideas for a modular type construction – I really hate sewing things up, so I try to do as little as possible. I think I’ve got it figured out now and will be starting on the rest of the blanket tonight. It’s knit in Rowan Calmer, which I love as a yarn – cotton and acrylic mix and just so, so soft. I used the same yarn (but in a dark purple) to knit a dress to wear to my brother’s wedding last summer. It’s a real shame it’s been discontinued and I find hard to resist buying it when I see it somewhere.

I’ve also finished my Rock Island shawl, I need to block that this weekend. It’s lovely even in its unblocked state, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how great it looks with the lace opened up. I’ve also made a start on my first pair of baffies – pink and white candy stripes. These are slippers made by a friend’s gran and very popular among one group of friends. I’m following a loose pattern to see how they look but will probably try and adapt it somewhat to be more sock-like in construction, which will also mean less sewing up (did I mention how much I hate sewing up?)

School holidays start tomorrow and I have a non-knitting work project that started (slowly) this week and which will be building up in the next few week. Not great timing, but there we go. I’ve also started a lace shawl design online class with Miriam Felton through Craftsy. I don’t know if I’ll get much time to progress through the class in the next few weeks, but what I’ve done so far has been really interesting and I’ve been flipping through my stitch dictionaries to get some ideas for stitches.

I’ve been working hard for the past couple of weeks, doing the job I occasionally do that brings in some money. It’s only occasional but when it hits, it’s a case of everything else taking a back seat for a week or two until it is done. Thankfully, it is now winding down so I can get back to doing the fun stuff, like knitting.

Of course that is not to say I’ve been working all hours and not doing anything else. I’ve still squeezed some knitting in. I finished my mock socks, which were designed by Rose Hiver:


and I also finished the other pair I was working on, from Wendy Johnson’s Toe Up Socks for Every Body:


The yarn for these was from a sock club from YarnAddict, one of my favourite indie yarns. This photo doesn’t really do the colour justice, they are much more spring like.

I’ve cast on 2 new pairs of socks as well and they’re progressing nicely. I (foolishly) signed up to the 26 pair plunge over at Ravelry, which ends at the end of this month. I’ve completed 21 pairs so far, the ones in progress will take me to 23, so I still need to complete 3 more pairs before the end of the month. If I knit nothing else, this is certainly doable. I’ve been known to knit a pair in 6 days, but it does mean ignoring all other knitting and I don’t like to do that.

Also, because I love the pressure, I decided 6 days before a birthday party that I would reknit the skirt I’d blocked. After trying it on the eldest, I had blocked it too aggressively on the waistband, so had to sew some elastic on, which was no problem. But I still wasn’t happy with the pink over layer, which kept curling despite blocking. So I ripped them back and reknit them in seed stitch and now they lie beautifully flat. I even managed to finish it in time for the skirt to be worn to the party, where she promptly spilt tomato seeds over it. So once it is washed, I will be getting some shots of it. The pattern is virtually written for this one size, I just need to grade it so I can arrange some test knitting.

Finally, because I clearly don’t have enough on the needles, I cast on Shelly Kang’s Sock Yarn Blanket to use up all those leftovers from the many many socks I have knit. I managed 5 mitred squares whilst travelling to visit family over the long weekend. I get the feeling this project will never be finished, I will also have more leftovers to add to it.

On the cards this month then – a lot of sock knitting, some pattern grading and my first trip to Woolfest which I am getting quite excited about. I’ve been saving up so will be looking forward to getting some lovely goodies in my short trip there.

I used to be a monogamous knitter – one project a time, working just on that until it was completed. But that seems to have gone out the window these days. Right now, I have 4 projects in various states of progress, plus a couple of ideas noodling round in my head that I need to get down on paper and swatch for.

So on the needles right now are two socks; one is almost completed, it’s a mystery sock & I’m just waiting for the final clue next Tuesday morning so I can finish it off. The second sock has half of the foot done. It’s not that I’m not liking the sock, I am & the yarn, but it’s from a book and I find it a faff to have to have enough space to lay the book out so I can read the chart – not an easy thing with a 21-mth old climbing all over you, the sofa and anything that keeps still long enough.

I also have a skirt for my eldest. This is my own design, done to fulfill her need for a twirly pink skirt. It’s almost done but it doesn’t look great in progress – my husband called it the tentacle thing last night. I just need to do the final 20 rows and cast it off and then block it so it looks a lot less tentacly and a lot more twirly. I hope the design’s worked & that she likes it. I need to do a slight rewrite on the pattern and then a lot of maths for the different sizes so I can get it test knit and hopefully released at some point.

Finally, I have a Christmas stocking in hibernation. Again, own design, but for my youngest. I actually started it last autumn and then Christmas present knitting got out of hand (as always) and it got pushed back with the argument that youngest was only 16 months at Christmas, she’d not notice. But she will this year and I need to get on with it over the summer. This design has already been released so I’m hoping it’ll be popular this year.

In my head, I have a shawl idea that I’m still imagining and another possible idea for a competition which I really need to get on with if I’m going to submit it by the end of the month. But with a big job coming up in my other work, I’m not sure I’ll have the time to get it swatched, written and knitted in time. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

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