sleeve in a bag

I’ve started on the sleeves. I am still apreciating the magic of the top-down, but hey knitting small circumferences in the round is hard enough (since I don’t have DPNs in this size, and I would really prefer them to magic loop for small circumferences) without having to rotate an entire adult-sized cardi ever time you make half a round! Luckily, I remembered a trick I read about recently (can’t remember where though, sorry!): put the cardi in a small bag with just the part you’re working on sticking out. Like this:

Muuuuuch easier! And here’s a little sneak of what’s hiding in the bag:

It kind looks like cabbage or some other green leafy plant at the moment, doesn’t it? ;) Perhaps I’ll call it my Cabbage Cardigan… :)

p.s. T minus 42 hours for the dissertation. Keep your fingers crossed!

and then, slowly…

…it started resembling a cardigan!

Wooooohoooo! Top-down cardigans are such magic, being able to try it on to make sure it fits as soon as you’ve finished the yoke and separated the sleeves is brilliant! I am in love with this technique!

I’m leaving the photo headless, though, because (trust me on this one) I’m not a pretty sight at the moment. I was wondering yesterday why the guy who served me my coffee had given me such an odd look, but then I glanced at my reflection in the lift mirror and understood his feelings completely. I think zombie is the word he was looking for… A few more days, I can do it! Right? Ummm… :P

Oh, and while we’re at it, all this trying out of Liesl at such an early stage has made me think that I should reconsider boleros/shrugs. I’ve always thought of them as rather useless items of clothing, more accessories actually, and never felt quite right when I tried to put them on. But this image is making me think… :)

Do you have an opinion on boleros/shrugs?

pushing onwards

When I wrote the last post I still wasn’t even completely sure I had the right yarn.

But at some point I couldn’t put it off anymore and had to cast on with what I had.

I undid the swatch and cast on. After I knit the first row I realized I hadn’t cast on enough stitches. So I ripped and cast on again. Just be persistent, you have to do it, cause it won’t do itself.

I started knitting and at first it all looked like a big mess. But I pushed onwards and after about 10 rows I actually thought to myself: “Wow, this is starting to look good!” Another five rows down and I shot a quick glance over what I had achieved thus far. Disaster! I had made a very obvious mistake several rows before, one that neither I nor others assessing my work would be able to forgive. No choice but to rip. Pick up the live stitches. And get on it again.

The process of making Liesl or the dissertation? Who could tell the difference anymore?

in progress

Please excuse my absence these days. My dissertation is due in a week and it still feels kind of like this:

i.e. only just begun, and not yet sure where it’s gonna go.

So it’s my only focus at the moment, I hope you understand. I’ll be back soon!

picking up

I’m a very by-the-book person, I like to follow recipes and I like to be told exactly what I need to do, to the last detail. Things like cooking simply don’t come naturally to me and I don’t trust my skills or feeling enough to improvise on the spot. I think it’s mainly because I lack experience in it. Once I get really good at cooking by the book, I tell myself, then I’ll be confident enough to experiment.

Similarly with knitting. I’m in no rush to start making up designs or altering other people’s designs to a great extent. I’m still gathering my experience, learning skills, figuring out what does what and what happens when I do this and what are the mistakes you can easily make with that, etc. As for whether knitting comes naturally to me, well, most of it doesn’t. I enjoy it and utterly adore it (have you noticed maybe? :) but most of it is a learned skill which I am perfecting as I go. I may have a knack for it, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally.

Except for one thing. The skill I adore because I get it. It just goes. I seem to understand it on some instinctive level, and all that hesitation because of lack of experience or fear of making a mistake simply disappears when it comes to it. I don’t have the slightest worry about improvising when it comes to it. I trust my feeling. My fingers know what they’re doing. Picking up stitches is my thing.

And let me tell you, the freedom provided by that feeling is amazing! I guess that’s what all the masters-at-improvising feel like all the time. Nevermind though, I cherish my moment. :) And lately I’ve been casting on (by coincidence) a lot of projects which involve picking up. I was going to show you photos of this one on the pick-up round, but I got a little carried away – sorry. :)

There was also another reason – picking up stitches on this project wasn’t easy (as it usually is). Here’s the thing – when writing a pattern that involves picking up, designers can incorporate some features which make it easy later to see where you should reach for the stitch and easy to put your needles through the spot. For example, they can have you slip the last stitch of every other row, which makes a nice little loose edge to pick up from later. They can also do some math and give some thought to the number of stitches you’ll need to pick up, and to the fact that this number should correspond to the number of spots you pick up from. I once worked on a baby pullover where the stitches for the sleeves were picked up from the main body of the pullover. The pattern said “Pick up so and so stitches in the space of 5cm each side of the shoulder seam.” Which would’ve been fine, except that the number of stitches that I picked up on every attempt was so and so minus 15! The designer just hadn’t done their math. Yeah I could have crammed the stitches and picked up several from the same spot, but that would have made the sleeves puffy, which definitely hadn’t been the designer’s intention. I trusted my instinct and picked up the natural number of stitches. It worked out well.

On this project I had to trust my instincts again. The designer hadn’t thought of the slipped stitch trick, so by the end of the 111 picked up stitches my fingers were aching from the shoving and pushing they had to do through tight spots. As for the math, I had to work it out on my own because of a slight difference in gauge. It wasn’t the slightest bit of a problem. I just followed my instinct which told me I could modify this.

And from here onwards it’s going to be just stockinette and decreases. And very soon, there will be a finished hat. :) Since I’m taking a plane ride today, it should really be very soon. I’ll be back on Sunday, with lots to show you, I hope. Have a wonderful weekend – Thursday’s as good a day to start it as any! ;)

goose

There’s a little knitted highway pinned onto my bed at the moment. Where does it lead? Why, to a hat, of course! ;)

But for now, let me tell you about the yarn – I’m using Malabrigo for the first time ever! I’ve been hearing (reading) so much about it, and I never really understood what it was – a type of yarn, a brand, a what? So when I saw it just sitting there at my LYS, I had to give it a try. The other lucky thing was that they had a broad colour range, and I soon spotted one that clicked with a project for which I just hadn’t been able to find a suitable yarn! I wound it into a ball right there and then, and soon enough it was on my needles. So far I’m loving the feel of the yarn (it’s a worsted weight), and I think the white makes it seem even softer than it is – it keeps reminding me of goose down, thus the project name.

Are you a Malabrigo fan? Why or why not? So far I can tell it’s a really nice yarn, but it seems to me that people like it a bit too much to be just that. Help me crack this mystery! :)

monster love

I’d seen dangercrafts‘ patterns before, and quite liked them, but never gave them too much thought. Then, recently, mooncalfmakes and agirlinwinter went crazy for them and started knitting adorable monstersies. It made me take a closer look at the patterns. And then I fell in love.

With Penelope the Emphatetic Monster.

And Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster.

I can just see these in so many awesome and cheerful colour combinations, and I can’t imagine better patterns for stashbusting (which, as you’ve seen, I’ll have to be doing a lot)! I can already see my niece and nephew hugging and squeezing these, and giving them kisses before bedtime… :)

And then I saw Tofu the Gentle Dachshund, Greta the Captivating Cat and Zeke the Aloof Alpaca.

And these, I can imagine hugging and squeezing myself! ;)

All photos from dangercrafts and linked back directly to the patterns.

did I ever tell you?

About meeting Ysolda at KnitNation…

Ysolda is my absolute favourite knitwear designer, and I met her once before at an event, but I was still quite excited!

Especially when I realized I got to touch, try out, explore and play with the designs from her upcoming book!

The book, Little Red in the City, should be arriving in about a month. I already have my eye set on this adorable cardi (called Chickadee, if I’m not mistaken), and my Mum’s definitely getting a cardi out of it as well. I’ve shown her some previews online and she loved the hooded capelet (shown in blue and red).

In the first photo both Ysolda and I are wearing Coraline, which is in my queue as well. And the Farinelli gloves in the middle photo are just the most amazingly fitting things I have ever tried on. I’m not a big fan of knitting gloves because I can’t seem to make the fingers without big holes at their base (between two fingers), but these make me want to practice more!

At her stall, Ysolda had a photobooth where you could take photos of yourself. I had heard about this from a previous event and was quite excited about it, but I had no idea that the photos were also immediately printed so you could take them home (for free!) – how cool is that?! Since the age of digital photography has set in, I print out so few photos, and it’s just not the same when to have them in your computer or when they’re right there, physically, somewhere in your room, and your eye can catch them without the deliberate intention of turning on a computer, opening a folder, etc… So I am cherishing these and keeping them at my desk because they make me smile…

on the towel

After a bath in salty water, what else is there to do than lie down on a towel and dry?

Well, you can also choose to lie down on a towel, and leak your dark blue dye onto it as you dry, and then get shifted onto a cleaning rag for punishment.

The Sideways Grande Cloche in the making made the latter choice.

Oh, and did I mention that such behaviour will subsequently also be punished by a lengthy vinegar bath? Much less pleasant than the salty one. But it was your choice, my dear.