Life With Yarn

Posts Tagged ‘wip

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!



This week has been about waiting and I am not always patient when it comes to waiting.

On the needles

I still have my two long-term projects on the needles. I’ve not worked on the Sock Yarn Blanket this week but as autumn approaches it’s definitely in my mind more. I also still have Mandala on the needles. I’m about halfway through the final chart before the edging so I’m hopeful it’ll be done by the end of September. Each round is slow going now but there are over 500 stitches for each round so even the plain knit rounds are taking 20 odd minutes per round.

I also cast on a top for Eloise, Nina by Rachel Evans in King Cole Merino in a similar shade of pink to the Fair Weather Tee I finished for Zoe. I intended to make the baby doll top as I didn’t have enough for a dress, but Eloise is quite short so it’ll probably look more like a dress for a while. I thought it was finished on Friday when I finished the cast off but when I put the details in Ravelry I realised that I’d only used 3 skeins of yarn but I had 4 in stash, so I dug out the other one and ripped out the lace edging and I’m now working through the final skein. It was a slight relief to discover the mistake because the length was at that awkward stage where it wasn’t quite a dress but looked a bit too long for a top. Duncan suggested I left it but I knew I’d struggle to find a use for one skein of DK in such a bright pink colour.

Off the needles

Because of the mistake in the amount of yarn I had, nothing was finished this week. Will have pics of Eloise’s top next week though. 


It’s a bit cooler in the north east this week and a bit greyer as well so thoughts are definitely turning to autumn and winter. I’ve started planning my Christmas knitting – Owls by Kate Davis will be a Christmas present for one of my sisters, another has also asked for a cardigan but not made a decision on the style yet. I normally also make socks for Duncan and something for the girls but I’m not sure they really need anything this year, so we’ll see. I’ve already completed one present for my mum as well which leaves me feeling slightly organised. 

But as well as general Christmas present ideas, I’ve been on a real jumper kick for me. I have plans to cast on a Starling cardigan for me in September in a teal-ish colour of Austermann Merino Lace. I’m hoping it’s teal enough to qualify for the Teal-tember knit-a-long being co-hosted by the Knitting Den podcast (one of my favourite knitting related podcasts, I must admit). Teal is the colour for Ovarian Cancer (like pink is the colour for breast cancer) hence the knit-a-long.

But my queue generally is leaning more towards clothing for me rather than beautifully intricate lace shawls. I think this is because of a failed design earlier this year when I tried to design a cardigan which seemed like a great idea on paper but I failed twice to make it look amazing when I knit it up so I think I need to learn some more about cardigan and clothing construction generally – especially as I have another couple of ideas percolating in my brain right now. 

Yarnwise, I’ve made a purchase this week of some Colourmart silk DK in a chocolatey brown. No idea what it’ll be yet, but it’s a sweater’s worth of yarn so I’ll probably spend next week stalking ideas on Ravelry for it. I’ve been fighting urges to buy huge amounts of pretty yarn this week, I think yarn shopping is partly a stress mechanism for me, which at least is healthier than chocolate, even if it is more expensive.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’m currently about halfway through An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain by John O’Farrell. I recently finished Andrew Marr’s brilliantly in depth A History of Modern Britain and this is a more humorous take on post-WW2 history in the UK. Since last week I obviously finished The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid, which was very good but I did half guess a couple of bits. I also tried to read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards but didn’t really like it much so I gave up after about 100 pages. I used to slog through books I wasn’t enjoying but I have so many waiting to be read that I now have a 100 page rule: if I’m not engaged enough by page 100, I’m done with it. I also read some short stories from Night Shift by Stephen King. 

Family Life

Like I said, it’s been a week of waiting – we ordered bunk beds at the end of July and are still waiting for the final parcel to be delivered. The courier firm is a joke and claim to have tried to deliver 3 times this week but as I was definitely in for 2 of those times and no-one came, I find it hard to believe them. We’re also heading into the last week of the school holidays so this week I need to get uniform bits for both girls plus attempt the hell that is the shoe shop in the last week of the holidays to see if Zoe needs new school shoes and to get some for Eloise.


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About 3/4 years ago, not long after I discovered Ravelry and turned a hobby into an obsession, I learnt about the TKGA Masters Program for Hand Knitting organised by The Knitting Guild of America. Over time, I’ve come back to the website quite often and wondered about it. I consider myself an intermediate to advanced knitter but I know I don’t know everything and would definitely like to expand my knitting skills. But no matter how many times I looked at it, I never signed up because I just can’t justify spending that amount of money on something in one go. Obviously (slightly depressingly) if I added up all the yarn I’d bought in the last 12 months it undoubtedly comes to more than the price of all 3 levels of the TKGA course ($375 for all 3 levels), but that was in bits and pieces (except all the fun at Woolfest). So it’s always been something that seems like a good idea, that I’d definitely get some enjoyment from but is very much pie in the sky.

But last week, I was reading a thread on a designers group on Ravelry which talked about doing the program and the very talented Alex Tinsley linked to a blog post she’d written back in 2008 when she’d considered doing the TGKA program. Instead of signing up for the course, she wrote a list of the things she wanted to learn how to do and decided to try and do it herself. Now, she admits she didn’t get very far down that list but I liked the idea. So last night, I sat down and wrote down what I’d like to learn and boy, oh, boy, do I know nothing about knitting. I mean, I know a bit, but once I’d written this list down, I felt like I knew nothing. 

I thought I’d post the list here, with the links I’ve found so far to help me out, and hopefully it’ll mean I come back to it once in a while and gives me something else to blog about. So here it is:

Different cast ons: Knitting Help tutorialsPurlwise 

Casting off: Knitting help, Interlock bind off 

Decreases: Knitting help 

Increases: Knitting help 
grafting: Purlwise

Magic loop 
Two at a time socks
afterthought heel
fleegle heel
padded sweet tomato heel (have done a regular sweet tomato heel a while ago)
reinforced heels
other different heels – Knitty, Sock knitters 
different toes
Short row toe (toe up socks)
Easy toes (toe up socks) 
unconventional constructions – These are all Ravelry patterns with different constructions for socks: double helix, skew, perpendicular (or similar, don’t have this book), entrelac socks, mitered windowpane, stripe tease, hunger games extreme socks, outside in, hub of fashion, grun ist die hoffnung

Double knitting – signed up for a craftsy class & have a couple of patterns already chosen
Illusion knitting
Japanese short rows 
jogless stripes 
reversible cables – palindrome
Slip stitch/mosaic knitting – Barbara walker books
reverse knitting 
Knitting back 
Norweigan purl 
Joining yarn techniques 
one row buttonhole 
Diagonal knitting

KnitPurlHunter and TechKnitter both have lots of info & video tutorials to look at.

I’d also like to do a lot of swatches of stitches from my stitch dictionaries. I’ve drawn up a list on paper but I’m not going to list them all here. Some of them are about new techniques but plenty of them are stitches that I like the look of and want to use at some point so I figure if I swatch them out now, I can get a better idea of how I want to use them and will have some reference points for future ideas.


Now, I don’t believe for one minute that learning all of this will make me the world’s most awesome knitter, or even close to being so, but I do think that in the long run, if I want to keep on getting ideas down as designs, I need a wider knowledge of some things. Plus all those swatches will be great for using up random leftover balls of yarn.

Alongside this, this month will see me knitting my new cardigan pattern and hopefully getting it tested and looked over by a tech editor. I have another 3 patterns to write up and another couple of ideas to sketch and swatch out – quite a lot really, so I’m not sure it’ll all get done unless I start planning my time a whole lot better and maybe give up some sleeping (never going to happen!)



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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.

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