I have accepted the fact that I am an obsessive person. If I like something, I go all out. It’s why my yarn stash is huge, why I still have three unopened LEGO sets from Christmas (honestly I’m saving them because I don’t want them to be all done), why I need seven bookcases to house my book collection, and why I have a five-drawer cabinet for my pens. Oh yeah, and I have a Twilight shrine. This could go on for days, but my point is: I love enamel pins. LOVE them. They’re so fun. I have two Joji & Co hobo bags that are almost full, a few pins on various other project bags, and a pin banner that’s now full. What is a crafty person to do but look at the pin banner and think, “I could make that!”
So I did!
This is my third try, I think. The first one was in cotton, just to test the process. The second one was a little short and the corners a bit wonky. This one was better, and the fourth was better still, which is good because it became a gift for a fellow pin enthusiast. And then I made a miniature one for my sister. Now I still have a ton of this canvas fabric and I’m not sure what to do with it!
It’s pretty fun to be able to make shit, you know?
My recent obsession with hat-knitting means very little progress on socks. I need to change that, I think. Although I also recently did my sock laundry, which drove home how many pairs of handknit socks I have! I’d say you can’t have too many, except I’m running out of drawer space for them. It’s a problem.
Anyway, no sock, but a hat. I started a green hat last week and got halfway through before it hit me that I was running much lower on yarn than I expected. I checked my stash notes in Ravelry and realized I’d used half the skein for another hat and it was unlikely I had enough left for an adult-sized hat. So a few inches of ribbing were frogged, no big loss, and instead I made another Hinterland Hat. This one used up a skein of Berroco Vintage.
I think I need to make a Hinterland Hat for myself. Hm, what color?
Guys, I got some really lovely comments on my last post. Thank you! It was so nice to connect in that small way. I meant to post again sooner but the last two days have been just bonkers enough at work that my brain was too tired to blog in the evenings, and I wanted to make sure I had time to appreciate and respond to the comments. Now I’m all caught up with that, plus kind of caught up on my blog-reading.
I also thought I would have pretty photos to show of my new shawl, but between work and rain, I do not. Instead I’ll show you what I’ve been knitting this week. I think I mentioned that I was starting some donation hats. Well, I love knitting hats, I like getting older yarn out of my stash, and I like knowing these hats will go to people who need them. So I’ve just been knitting hats this week. The red is the Hinterland Hat (Rav link) in Rowan Pure Wool and the purple/green is the Charlie Hat (Rav Link) in Malabrigo Worsted. Right now I’ve got some green worsted on the needles for a Duality hat (Rav link). It’s fun picking a different pattern each time!
But my knitting time will be a little limited this weekend. We used our stimulus check to finally do something we’ve talked about pretty much ever since we got Duncan over three years ago: we got bookcases with doors on them. Duncan really enjoys eating books, the older and more valuable the better. I kept thinking he was getting better, but it happened again a couple of months ago so we’re just going to assume it’s always a possibility. I’m a hard-core book nerd, the kind who cares a lot about first editions and dust jackets and condition, so I’m thrilled to be protecting my collection now.
These are just Billy bookcases from IKEA, but the books and the doors dress them up so nicely and make them look fancy! We made a good start last night but this morning my view has a lot of cardboard, so we’ve still got some work to do. Maybe I’ll get to do some knitting tomorrow?
Okay, so guess what? Snow is better than rain! It was starting to snow before I went to bed and we had a lovely gentle ground cover when I got up this morning. I don’t think we’ll be getting much more, and that’s okay, just this is fine for now. There’s a rumor of temps near 50 this weekend, so maybe that will include sunshine too!
And last night I bound off my We Belong Together shawl. It needs ends woven and a good blocking, but I’m delighted with it. (I’ve been watching too much British TV: I really wanted to say “I’m quite chuffed!”) This might be my fastest shawl ever too. It took just six days, well, seven if you count the weaving and blocking I’ll be doing today. Apparently DK weight knits up much faster than fingering weight. Shocker, I know.
Oh, and look, I made a mistake. See that one small teal lace section? Yeah, that was supposed to be as big as the purple one. I only did the lace pattern once instead of twice but didn’t figure it out until the end of the stripe section after it. So not worth frogging back. I didn’t use up as much of the teal because of that, but I think it’s still going to be a wearable length.
I’ve also realized that I need to adjust the position of my sewing machine. I spent Saturday sewing more masks and by that night, I had a catch in one shoulder. The machine is kind of angled because the cord is too short, and every time I use it for very long, this happens. Note to self: get an extension cord for the silly thing before you use it again! It’s just painful enough to be annoying, and I think that helped exacerbate my crabbiness yesterday. I might try a heating pad today and see how that goes. So, happy Tuesday. Hope it’s a good one for you!
And Monday is socking it to me this week. It is cold and gray and rainy, and I found out some news at work that was a little disheartening and so I am wandering around my house in a hoodie with the hood pulled up because it is somehow mildly comforting. We all thought, Oh yay, 2021 will be better! Oh yay, the vaccine is coming! Oh yay this or that! Well, guess what. Things still mostly suck, except I have less dread every time I log into Twitter each morning.
I’ve had some time on conference calls where I’m not doing much, so my bright, fun sock is growing nicely. But mostly I’ve been working on my We Belong Together shawl and I think I will finish that in the next couple of days. Oh, and I took a short break last night for this little project.
Duncan went outside with the sweater on, and came inside without a sweater. I found it outside, damp and muddy, by the broken gate where they like to go in and out under the deck. It snagged on something, clearly. I have mended the hole and it is not pretty if you look up close but it is no longer a hole at least. I didn’t want to take a picture because my mending skills are less than stellar. Thankfully, the dogs won’t care at all.
With my cardigan done, I switched focus last night to the boy’s gray sock and I feel confident that I can get this first sock done today.
I have about half an inch left before I start the toe. No problem! Except I got distracted thinking about my next sweater. I want to do a colorful striped sweater so I started playing around with color choices.
I think I’m leaning toward number three. What do you like best?
It’s done it’s done it’s DONE! I finished my Oxbow Cardigan today and it might actually have been my fastest sweater knit, at only two months. There’s definitely something to be said for knitting bulky-weight sweaters! The yarn is Cascade Eco+ and I only used 2.5 skeins of the four I purchased. I feel a bit of itchiness against the back of my neck as I sit here typing, so I’m going to give it a nice long soak and see if that softens things up.
The sleeves are about three inches longer than I would have liked, but other than that, I think the fit is great. This project definitely had some elements that aren’t my favorite (deciphering increases and decreases, short rows, picking up A LOT of stitches) but it was all good practice for me. Before this, I thought I only liked to knit pullovers, but this wasn’t bad at all, maybe because it was bulky weight? I’m already thinking about what my next sweater should be!
Also, I was introduced to a new show: the Great Pottery Throw Down and it’s SO good. In the US, I think it’s only available on HBO Max. If you like wholesome shows like the Repair Shop or GBBO, you should give it a go. It’s marvelous.
My Oxbow cardigan is growing, and as it does, it is growing into a clearly identifiable sweater object. I don’t know that I’m doing the decreases the way the designer intended, but if anything is messed up, it’ll be by the edge and probably not as noticeable. The main body of the sweater I’ve managed to keep in pattern, for the most part. There is a section of about 10 stitches on one upper arm/shoulder that morphed into about six rows of ribbing but whatever, I’m not bothered. This is meant to be a cozy comfy sweater anyway, and the texture will help hide errors.
Looking at the photo now, I think I spotted another section that got a bit messed up. Oops. I’m hoping to get through all the decreases today and maybe even pick up for the ribbing. Wouldn’t it be something if I could get this done over the long weekend??
Sunday evening I went back to work on my Oxbow cardigan and yesterday I made it to the next shaping point. I had the lower body done and I needed to start decreasing for “neck and yoke shaping”. Y’all, this pattern is messed the heck up. I mean, not literally messed up, but it’s written very poorly. I noticed it first on the sleeves, when you’re working with 4-stitch repeats over a 4-row pattern, and when you need to start increasing, very little guidance is given about how to maintain the pattern as you increase. I figured that out and thought it was the worst of it. HA.
Now I’m working flat with a 4-stitch/4-row pattern and I’m decreasing two stitches every five rows, eleven times. No biggie, except zero guidance is given about how to maintain the stitch pattern as you decrease. The first couple of decreases were okay, but now I’m losing track. I printed out charts and blank charts last night and tried to chart it out and got lost. So now I’m just at the “winging it” stage. I can read the stitches better on the wrong side of the sweater, so I’m just checking that often to make sure it stays on track. But it’s gonna get worse, because after I attach the sleeves, I also have to start doing raglan decreases at a different rate than the yoke/neck shaping. And even all of that would be doable, if she had just done a better job of explaining how to maintain the pattern during increases and decreases.
When I pay $9 for a pattern and it’s from fancy famous Andrea Mowry, I expected a lot better than this. (Side note: it’s cheaper on Ravelry than it is on LoveCrafts. Only by 84 cents though.) I’m not sure I’ll buy another pattern from her. The only reason I’m pushing through with this one is because I’m halfway done, the look is exactly what I want, and I know it can be done because Sarah has made it twice. So damn it, I’m gonna finish this sweater!
I hope your knitting is going better than mine this week!
With my shawl done, I decided to sit down with my (analog) knitting journal and make an updated list of WIPs on my needles. I was pretty surprised to find that I only had three: the boy’s long gray sock, the Oxbow cardigan, and the scrappy sock yarn blanket. That’s not much at all, and there were some definite gaps in my knitting needs, so I felt justified in casting on a few new projects.
Of course I needed a fun sock for me, so I cast on a basic ribbed sock using my newest sock yarn from last week. And I wanted a delicate lace project in the mix, so I pulled out this gorgeous skein of Malabrigo Mora and cast on a Gris de lin cowl. It’s “100% pure mulberry silk” and I just recently wrote a piece for work about research being done with silkworms, which eat only the leaves of mulberry trees. Even the name, Mora, is connected, as the scientific name for the silkworm is Bombyx mori. It’s not often my work at a research institute overlaps with my knitting! And finally, I cast on the Mad Mini Wrap (Rav link) with the mini kit from Wonderland Yarns & Frabjous Fibers. It’s all garter stitch, knit until the yarn is gone, so that might be my favorite mindless knitting for a while.
The cowl was more of an adventure to get started. The pattern says to cast on 108 with size 4 needles. I chose 16″ circs, thinking that of course a cowl would be at least 16″ around. It was tight, so I knit the first round flat to loosen it up. Still too short for the circs, so I switched to 12″ circs. They were a better length but the metal tips were super slippery with the silk yarn. It was only then that I went and looked at project notes on Ravelry and discovered that the cowl is designed to only be around 14″ in diameter. (Yes, I would have known before if I had read my pattern more carefully. Whatever. Who designs a cowl to be so tiny?) Heck that! I’m not sure that would go around my head anyway. So I frogged, learning that of course the silk is quick to knot and tangle, and cast on again with more stitches. With any luck, that will be the only hiccup with that project. And now I’ve probably jinxed myself. Heck. Oh well. Happy Sunday, friends.