Life With Yarn

Posts Tagged ‘wips

Since the last post, I managed to spend a few hours in the spare room/craft room (the room is split into half yarn related goodies and half my husband’s retro game collection). Firstly, the photos:

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From the top, the first shot is my desk, which last week was piled high with post bags and carrier bags full of yarn – unsorted, just thrown on there. Now it holds my books on top and box that contains buttons and various sewing threads. In the space underneath, that large box now holds all my sock yarn along with some sweater quantities of fingering weight yarn. The two bags on top also contain yarn – sport weight in the yellow bag and heavy lace in the other bag. The books are books I want to sell.

The second photo is of my needle storage. No more just chucking them on shoe boxes for me! I now know where everything is. I have a handful of straight needles in the red case which I’ve kept as a ‘just in case’ fall back. I can’t remember the last time I used a straight knitting needle – it’s all circs or dpns these days. My small dpns are kept in the purple needle roll and the larger ones are in the shoe box but I rarely, if ever, use these large sizes. Where I’ve still got the packaging for the needles, I’ve kept them in that so I know what it is and the size without having to find my needle gauge.

The final photo is my drawer storage. Previously, this had held 2 drawers of laceweight and 3 drawers of fingering weight. Now, however, the laceweight yarn takes up 4 drawers (the green and white ones) and the red drawer is full of fingering weight – the yarn that isn’t suitable for socks. Nothing is packed too tightly any more. 

I also organised the blue box I used for yarn, which I didn’t photograph this time round, and that is full of my DK and worsted/aran/heavier weight yarn.

I also spent some time going through my Ravelry stash pages marking where everything is stored and making sure I have photos for everything.  

What did I learn from this? Firstly, my yarn was organised, it’s just that I hadn’t bothered to keep that organisation going. Right now, there is not much space for new yarn unless it’s sock yarn. This isn’t great considering Woolfest is in 10 days time and I have a nice amount saved in order to help small businesses. I clearly need to get knitting quicker.

Secondly, I have so much lovely yarn! This shouldn’t be a surprise to me, I bought the yarn after all, so it should be a stash that I love. But I am terrible at using my stash. Partly this is because I’ve got rather into tops and cardigans this year which has necessitated buying more yarn because I don’t have enough of any one colour/yarn to make a top. But I have some lovely skeins that I have earmarked for projects on Ravelry and they have just dropped off my radar. 

After spending some time tidying and admiring my yarn, I had an overwhelming urge to cast on all the things at once. Given that I have 5 WIPs at the moment (a small number by many standards but big enough for me to feel that none of them are progressing because I can’t work on them enough to get anywhere) and 2 more skeins wound and ready to cast on, casting on more would be crazy. But it’s so lovely, and it’s just sat there unused right now.

In other stash-related news, I’m also taking part in the Knit Girllls Stash Dash with the goal of knitting 5k of yarn by August 7th. I’m at 840.8m at the moment, which is pretty low but I have 2 pairs of socks and a laceweight cardigan currently on the needles which will add around 1600m to my total. You can also use WIPs started before Stash Dash so if I can face threading more beads and finish my Shipwreck shawl, that will also help.

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On the needles

New year, new projects. I’ve cast on a couple of new things since the beginning of the month. First up, my Lavender socks. The pattern is taken from Stephanie Van Der Linden’s Around the world in knitted socks book which I got back in 2012 and these are being knitted in Ripples Craft British Falkland Merino & Nylon sock yarn in the lavender colourway (appropriately!) I’ve finished one sock already but they’re now taking a back seat while I try and get some other things finished.

Second up are the Tideland mitts which I’m making for a friend who was admiring my fingerless mitts last month. I’m knitting these in more Ripples Craft yarn, BFL superwash this time in the ice cream colourway, which is a cream/undyed colour. First mitt is already completed and the second one should be done later today.

I’m also still working on my Shipwreck shawl – I’m now onto the beaded section so spent some time one afternoon threading beads onto yarn which is, to be honest, mind numbing but it does look better on the shawl rather than using the crochet hook method to add the beads. I’ve only done a couple of rounds as they’re now 500+ stitches per round so it takes a while. But it is fairly mindless knitting so it’s great for when my brain is fried.

Finally, I have two other projects on the needles that I can’t share pics of – a sample baby blanket for Anniken Allis and a fairly straightfoward jumper with some cabling that I’m working for another knitter, Anna. These are both paid pieces of work so as deadlines approach, they are obviously getting most of my time. This means my selfish knitting that I had planned (a Posh Yarn sweater and possibly a shawl) are on the backburner for another week or so.

Off the needles

Nothing yet, but hopefully it won’t be long. I do however, have a couple of photos of my Mereweather vest from after Christmas:

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I’m really happy with this, although at the moment, the yarn is a little itchy so I’ve been mostly wearing it over long sleeved tops. I’m hoping it’ll soften up with a few washes.

It just fell into my bag

My Posh Yarn arrived from the end of December, which was part of my Strictly sweepstake winnings:

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I also treated myself to some skeins from the Fyberspates New Year sale. This is some Scrumptious DK which is a merino/silk blend. The colour is a bit more golden than the pic shows:

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I also got some sock yarn; one in a pale greyish colour and the second is a variegated and was from the lucky dip section:

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And finally, this gorgeous silk lace which was also from the Lucky dip section:

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I have no plans for any of the Fyberspates yarns yet beyond definitely socks with the sock yarn and possibly fingerless gloves for the DK weight. I am loving fingerless mitts at the moment because I dislike driving in full gloves but always get cold hands whilst the car warms up.

For next week, there will be a lot of sock yarn, some of which was bought with the remaining sweepstake money.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’ve started a readalong this year for Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. It’s 12 books in total, although so far I have the first 6 in 2 volumes of three. I plan to read one book each month so finished A Question of Upbringing last week. I’m not sure yet – it was ok but didn’t grab my attention so it’s probably a good job I’m doing the readalong with Heavenali as that will keep me going. Right now, I’m reading Pat Barker’s Border Crossing which I’m finding more engaging – although part of that could be because it’s set in Newcastle and I love reading books set in places I know very well.

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On the needles

Christmas knitting is really getting going here this week. I cast on some socks for Eloise using the Dainty Anklets from Wendy B Johnson – I’m omitting the knitted on picot edging though. Both girls have been wearing socks to bed the last few nights so these will be for them to wear in bed. I’m using Rico Design Superba Poems which is in rainbow stripes (except green, don’t know why). I’m not being precious with the stripes, so Eloise’s first sock runs purple, orange, yellow, blue, purple whereas her second sock is so far pink, purple, pink so they don’t looked matched but she won’t care in the slightest. The yarn is ok, it reminds me of Noro Kureyon sock with the long repeats and the yarn is a little uneven at times with some rather thin bits. I know Noro can be quite divisive – it has big fans because of the colours but plenty of people who swear to never use it because of the bits in it and the thick/thin nature of the yarn. I quite like Noro – I love the colours and I love how it softens up with washing. The main problem I have with the Rico Superba is the splitting – it’s a single ply and is not tightly spun in places which means it’s splitting on me quite often. 

The pattern, on the other hand, is lovely – as Wendy B Johnson’s patterns are – plus with them being for Eloise, they are knitting up superquick. I’ve completed 1 sock and just turned the heel on the second so that’ll be finished in the next day or so.

I also cast on some Seamless Saloma slippers by Megan Williams (of the Stockinette Zombies podcast) in Cascade 220 in black for Duncan as part of his Christmas present. This is a great free pattern on Ravelry and what I love is that the finished object looks not like a slipper at all – you’ll see next week, as these are flying off the needles as well (handily because I don’t get a lot of knitting time when Duncan isn’t around at the moment).

Final new cast on of the week are some Barbie clothes for Zoe for Christmas. So far, just a skirt, but I’ve got patterns for a couple of dresses, tops and trousers as well so hopefully Barbie will have a better wardrobe come December 25th.

I still have Shipwreck on the needles but I doubt it’ll get much love before Christmas now.

Off the needles

My Austin hoodie is finally finished (well, apart from the ends being woven in). No pics just in case my sister is reading, but you can click on the link and see a couple of shots. They’re not great because the sweater is blocking and I can’t model it because it won’t fit me. The pattern was a little unclear at times but I do like it and I would make it again – although would probably make some more mods, including some sort of fastening. I used some undyed merino/silk blend that I bought on Ebay, so nothing named, but I loved it – I’ve have 2 skeins left and will probably get some more and dye up for a top for me. What I loved was how the yarn plumped up nicely when blocked so the whole thing looked more substantial. I did manage to finish it in time for the end of November and the end of NaKniSweMo – I definitely would still be knitting on it without that motivation

It just fell into my bag

It has been a bad week for my debit card this week, but I’d prefer to think of it as supporting small businesses. From Violet Green I picked up some Exmoor Bluefaced sock yarn for some socks for Duncan for Christmas which is a kind of grey/brown colour, quite paler than I expected – which is always the problem with yarn shopping online, the colour may not be quite the same on your monitor as it really is. Even this photo makes it look more grey than it is, but I could not get the colour right in any shot I took.

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As I was ordering from Violet Green, I also added some sock yarn for me in a lovely blue colour and some undyed sock yarn as well.

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I also picked up some sock yarn from Ring a Rosie a couple of weeks ago which I managed to photograph this week:

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I also had a major accident at the Posh Yarn update this weekend but as they’ve not arrived yet, they really can’t be counted in this week’s post. That was, however, my last spend before Christmas now – I have lots of gift knitting to finish and a sample due later this month – I’m currently waiting for the yarn to arrive – and lots of sweater quantities to be getting on with in the meantime.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’ve not had a lot of time for reading recently – I’m edging into slightly panicked Christmas mode now – but recently, I’ve read Buffy & Philosophy: Fear & trembling in Sunnydale which is a collection of essays examining Buffy the Vampire Slayer in terms of philosophy. It was a really interesting read, but made me want to sit down with some episodes and watch them again. Right now I’m reading Letters from London by Julian Barnes which is a collection of 15 essays he wrote for New Yorker magazine between 1990 and 1995. Many of them have a political focus and as it’s a time when I wasn’t all that interested in politics (or anything beyond music and my own life, I was 13 – 18 when they were written), it’s been an educational read for me.

On the needles

I’m getting to the end of my Austin Hoodie – just a few more increases on the hood before the short rows and grafting. It’ll need another block before it’s finished properly, but it is looking good. I’ve made some intentional mods – I haven’t done the ribbed cuff but instead did the woven stitch on the cuff which I really like. There are also unintentional mods where I thought the pattern meant one thing but actually it didn’t – so on the back ribbing section, I’ve done the garter stitch edging around the armholes because the pattern started by saying to do that one one side but not the other, so I at least made them even but I’m not sure it was really necessary. 

I also cast on a new project this week – the Shipwreck Shawl by Knitting Harpy. This has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time and after finishing my Mandala back in October, and tracking down the perfect yarn (at Woolfest) and beads, I am now ready to start it. I’m not planning on this being a quick knit. The first bit is – I’m into section 5 of 7 which sounds impressive but I’ve really only done 28 rounds so far and the final section is massive. But the final section also involves stringing beads onto yarn (will probably take a couple of days at least) and endless knit 2 together, yarn over to create the netting – this isn’t tricky but I know it will be mind numbing.

Off the needles

First up, something I finished a couple of weeks ago now – my Aniron

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This is a not great pic, but it is a pic of me in the top. I really love how it’s turned out and will be wearing it a fair bit I imagine.

This week I also finished knitting my Foundling Mitts by Julia Temiseva:

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These are fab, I’ve been wearing them loads already – for early morning typing, driving, etc. Actually, this blog has meant they were completely finished straight away – the knitting was easy enough but the bottom of the cuffs are buttoned and the button fastening calls for a crocheted loop. I don’t do crochet – I can just about manage a basic chain but the last time I had to crochet on an edge was for a dress I made for Zoe – the Beatrice dress. I struggled with the crochet so much that I did one bit and then put it aside and when it picked it up 18 months later it, of course, didn’t fit Zoe at all. I ended up doing a quick garter stitch edging and then sold it. So for me to manage to cast off the mitts, sew on a button and do the crochet chain in one evening is quite an accomplishment. I don’t know why I struggle with crochet so much, it may be that I need to sit down and just get on with learning it but, to be honest, there’s so much that I want to knit, that I really don’t see where the time would come from right now – I’d much rather be knitting. This, by the way, is also why my spinning is so slow – I want to learn how to spin lovely yarn but I also want to knit all the things.

Stalking

I’m still really on a sweater/top/cardigan kick – the Austin hoodie will be my 3rd clothing FO since the start of October. This makes me wonder if I could complete 12 in 12 months. If I continue like this, I could however there is also a good chance that once the warm weather returns, I could well never want to knit another sweater. But, for now, I’m going to try it – I want to make the Tink Tank next but what I really need to do is gift knits for my family. My girls want bed socks and I usually also knit my husband socks. In addition, on the (very long) list Zoe wrote to Santa, she included Barbie clothes, so I thought I could knit a few. I usually knit gifts for others (little things rather than requested jumpers/cardigans, etc) but I don’t think I’ll be doing that this year.

Christmas planning

Christmas is pretty much sneaking up on me, as much as a fixed date that is known can sneak up on someone. I keep thinking it’s ages away and then someone reminds that it’s not – a month today and it’ll be in full swing. We still need to buy lots of gifts, or even just have an idea for some people, so that will be on our to-do list next weekend when payday arrives. Our tree will go up next Sunday – I love spending a couple of hours doing this as a family. We don’t have a co-ordinated tree; our decorations are haphazard, randomly coloured and some are homemade (some by me, some by my girls) and I truly love this. Our first Christmas card arrived as I am writing this so it really isn’t long until I can legitimately put the Christmas cds in the car and play them constantly.

 

On the needles

I’ve been working almost exclusively on my Mandala shawl this week. I finally reached the end of chart 4 yesterday and I’m now working on the edging. It’s not exactly speedy but I’m hoping that it’ll be ready to block in the next couple of weeks. I’m quite looking forward to seeing how it opens up when blocked and how it all looks. I’ve got nothing else planned for the moment because I got a parcel of yarn on Saturday to do some colour work swatches for a designer, for which I’m being paid, so most of September will be taken up with those and a couple of sweaters – one a sample and one commission.

Off the needles

Just the one finished object this week – the Nina top for Eloise. I made a larger size so it’s sort of dress length at the moment because Eloise is quite small. It’ll look good with a pair of leggings over the coming months. She loves it, mainly because it is pink.

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Spinning

For the first time in about 6 months, I picked up my drop spindle this week. When at Woolfest in June I bought a small bag of merino fibre – 100g in 5 different colours – and figured I could get some practice in using this rather than the lovely fibre I’ve been gifted or bought in the last few months. I’m still very much a beginner but I did enjoy having a go again. I spent about an hour doing it and almost finished spinning up the first 20g sample. It’s certainly not of a quality where I could spin enough for even a small sized project right now; there’s some consistency in thickness but there are definitely places where it’s a bit too thick and if I plied it together then it’d be thick overall, but I think a single ply (strand) is probably about sock yarn weight (judging from looking rather than wpi or measuring right now) so if that’s right I can incorporate it into the sock yarn blanket.

I know that what I need to do is sit down for some time every day or every couple of days to improve but, unlike knitting, I find spinning with children around tricky. With knitting, I can pick up and put down with a high degree of confidence that I’ll know where I am when I come back to it, but with spinning, putting it down to attend to the children throws out my (minimal) rhythm. At some point in the (distant) future I’d like to be able to have a proper spinning wheel but that would definitely require a lot more time.

Shopping

I’ve had a nice amount of yarn arriving at the house this week – my ColourMart yarn from ebay arrived and looks lovely, I just need to find the perfect pattern for it. Then Ripples Crafts tweeted a pic of their Christmas-themed yarn for 2013 and I decided to buy some:

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It’ll be totally perfect for a Christmas sock themed knit a long I plan on taking part in later in the yarn. Whilst on the Ripples Craft site, three other skeins also fell into my shopping basket. No idea what I’ll do with them yet – the cream and teal colours scream colourwork at me – fair isle socks or a hat maybe, and the dark blue might possibly be the second colour in this Starlight shawl that I’m planning to make (the first being a grey/silvery colour)

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Where’s my bookmark?

I’m currently loving David Mitchell’s Back Story. I think he’s a really funny guy and although I missed Peep Show the first time round, I’m now working my way through the first series. I also bought A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen which arrived this week. I’ve not had a chance to do more than flick through it yet, but I shall try and be organised enough to put a review up in the next couple of weeks. I may also go through the knitting books I currently own and see about some reviews for those.

Family Life

We got our bunk beds this week, so the girls are happy and sleeping in proper beds for the first time in a month. Tomorrow, Zoe goes back to school, starting in Year 2, and I shall miss her company during the day. Another 2 weeks and then Eloise starts in nursery/pre-school, which seems entirely too soon on the one hand and entirely overdue on the other. She’s very excited about it, has loved buying her uniform and can’t wait to wear it. In the meantime, I am about halfway through the mountain of labelling I need to do.

I’ve let this blog languish over the last few months; largely unintentionally – I’ve written posts in my head but never managed to find the time to get them down on the computer. But then this post by my friend Liz made me think about why I’d started my blog in the first place and what I wanted from it. I do enjoy writing the (very occasional) posts and I know I should write more. In the last few months, I’ve discovered the world of podcasts and now listen to a number of knitting related ones (as well as some non-knitting ones) and whilst I’m not planning on starting a podcast any time soon, I’ve decided to take on board the idea of splitting up my posts into different sections. I’m hoping that it’ll help me get back into the habit of writing. So here we go.

On the needles

Tonight, I only have 2 long-term projects on the needles. Firstly, my sock yarn blanket which I started back in June 2012. I’ve always intended this to be a long term project and it’s something that I leave for a while and then pick up and work like crazy on for 2/3 days before putting down again. Maybe next winter it’ll be ready, but certainly not this one. It’s currently 3 rows of 26 mitred squares using my sock yarn scraps, of which I have many. I love the randomness of it and when it’s done, it’ll cover all 4 of us on the sofa.

Secondly, my Mandala shawl, designed by Renee Leverington, the truly amazing shawl designer behind Goddess Knits. I started this last December and have frogged and restarted it at least 3 times now. But I am on the final chart and after that only have the edging to go. Hopefully, this will be finished in another month before the weather gets too cold and wet so I can block it outside – it should be approx 60″ in diameter and I don’t have a big enough indoor space.

Off the needles

I’ve been quite busy in the last couple of weeks and have managed to finish 4 things so far this month. Two tops were for Zoe – Charlotta by Jade Fletcher in Sublime Organic Cotton with Manos Silk Blend stripes. She loves this, despite the crazy face in the photo!

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Second up for Zoe, the Fair Weather Tee by Katya Frankel in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. It’s a bit big on my skinny little girl but at least she’ll get plenty of wear from it.

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Also off the needles, for Eloise, the Spring Garden top by Alana Dakos in Wendy Cotton DK. 

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Finally, something for me, the Amerind Cowl by Sarah Wilson, in Rowan Calmer. I love the softness of Rowan Calmer and every time I use it, I mourn that it is discontinued. I can often be found stalking stashes on Ravelry for people selling it and seeing if I can stretch to buying some more.

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Stalking

For the last couple of months, I’ve been stalking the finished projects for three shawls: Celestarium, Southern Skies & Shipwreck. I love all three and have been wanting to start them for months but it took me until Woolfest 2013, at the end of June, to find the perfect yarn for each. I actually dyed the yarn for both Celestarium & Southern Skies myself – both are a gorgeous blue, one slightly darker than the other, and I think with silver-lined beads for the stars, they will look amazing. But I can only handle one large circular shawl at a time, so Mandala must be finished before I can cast any of these on.

What’s in the sketch book?

I’ve been a bit slack recently but I have a sock pattern virtually written in draft form, I just need the impetus to write it up properly and get it tested. I have already knit a slightly different version so also need to knit another version just to make sure it works.

Where’s my bookmark?

Not knitting related, but I am currently reading Val McDermid’s The Mermaids Singing. I’m about 100 pages in and loving it but not getting a lot of time to read. I often find that when my knitting hits a low spot, I read an awful lot more than usual, but right now knitting is taking up slightly more time.

Family life

My youngest daughter, Eloise, celebrated her 3rd birthday last week. I remain in slight shock that she is already 3 and starts nursery/pre-school next month. There are times when she seems staggeringly grown up, but then she’ll crawl sleepily into our bed each night and she is still my baby. We are mid school holidays here so we’ve had Zoe at home as well. They adore and fight with each other in almost equal measure – luckily the adoring outweighs the fighting, although some days it is close! We spent the last week on holiday with another family and it was lovely to get away, even if it was only for 5 days. However, no matter how lovely the holiday, there is always something satisfying about sleeping in your own bed again.

I’ve had rather more to say than I expected. I’ve love your feedback – what do you want more of/less of?

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