Birthday Socks and Almost Gloves

I have two former WIPs this week. Well, 1.9.

Morgan Gloves

Over the weekend I finished the Morgan gloves, up to the point of weaving in the ends and picking out ribbons for them, so they’re the 0.9. They’re really lovely gloves, such an elegant design. The yarn is, of course, Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn. I can’t remember what colourway, but I think it may have been hush. The gloves are worked flat almost up to the fingers, which leads to the fun of purling through the back loop on teeny tiny needles. As I’m a DPN gal most of the time, I ended up knitting back and forth on needles with about four times as many stitches on them as usual. Things got particularly hairy when I had to increase for the thumb! The only spot that really gave me trouble (aside from not reading the chart properly and forgetting to isolate the stitches for the pinky) was knitting the thumb itself. When I do glove fingers, if they say “pick up 3 stitches from the cast on edge”, I’ll usually pick up 5, and then decrease on the next round. This usually limits the holes between fingers. For this thumb, you pick up 6 stitches on the cast on edge, but she also asks you to pick up one stitch each side, and for some reason this completely threw me, for both gloves, and for once I didn’t pick up anything in the gaps. I’m aware that my logic has taken a vacation on that one. On the first glove, I fudged the figures, and on the second I tinked back and did it properly. Either way, I doubt anybody but me will notice.

Morgan, temporarily tied up with some cord I had to hand.

I love knitting gloves, particularly anything by Laris Designs, but weaving in the ends is the worst part. Once that’s done, I have to drag Himself to the shops to help me pick out a ribbon. He has much better colour sense than I do (which is why I don’t do much colourwork), and hopefully we’ll pick out a silvery ribbon and maybe a navy or dark blue ribbon to finish them off. I think these will be special occasion gloves.

Cauchy Socks

Speaking of himself, my proper finished object for the week are the Cauchy socks for Stephen’s birthday. I finished them last night, over a week early. The yarn is, guess what, Hedgehog fibres, in the really nice colourway Graphite. Luckily this yarn has nylon in it, unlike last year’s. Those socks didn’t even last one year of irregular, careful use. At least now I know where he tends to wear through his socks, so hopefully I can preemptively darn.

I’m itching to start casting new stuff on now, but I need to hold back. Tomorrow is November, and with November comes Nanowrimo. It’s my first time, and I’m probably vastly underestimating how much of my life it’s going to eat up. I may have to make my main character a knitter, just to keep me sane!

Tentacle Fingers!

Babies and buttons

I have been knitting a few baby cardigans lately. I finished the blue acrylic one, though I gave it little ribbed cap sleeves as the yarn ran short. I now just need to decide which buttons to use. I think purple flowers suit it best but it was intended for my nephew, which button do you think is best?

Blue baby Vest

I also found the perfect buttons for the little Puerperium cardigan I knit. Purple buttons from This is Knit. I just need to sew them on now.

Lastly I knit a Baby Sophisticate last weekend. I used the most cuddley snuggly Big Merino yarn by Drops. It can be really hard to get good colours for neutral knits but this green should be perfect for both my nephew and his potential younger siblings. Gender-typed clothing doesn’t make for efficient hand-me-downs!

I heavily modified the Baby Sophisticate. It seems the designer, while providing gauge details, didn’t use them at all in the design. The instructions are to slip the first stitch of each row and then pick up a stitch in each slipped stitch for the button band. Which would be fine if the body were knitted in garter stitch, or equally if the stockinette gauge had a 2:1 ratio for rows:stitches. Needless to say even the sample knit is terribly puckered along the button band.

I did what I always do – measure my gauge off the body (since I rarely swatch for a baby garment – it usually fits them at some point and it’s easy to tell early on if the proportions are right). Then I used my measured gauge to decide how many stitches to pick up per row. In this case about 2 stitches per 3 rows. Much easier to do without a slipped stitch edge. I slipped stitches only for the garter portion where the 2:1 gauge was perfect.

It’s sad to see how often buttonbands are ruined for want of a little maths. I love as-you-go button bands like on the puerperium, especially as they often suit certain yarns better. After-bands are more stable and better for contrast colourings though.

Unfortunately this meant I had a different number of stitches to the pattern for the collar and I was on my own. Firstly a knit 2 more rows before the short rows as the two pieces weren’t meeting at the middle yet. The examples on Ravelry also seemed to suffer from too narrow a button band, compared to the gap between the sides. Next I started the short rows at 34 stitches from the end (pattern had 22), about the same placing  -at the armpit. I could have placed them 2-3 stitches lower. I also accidentally mis-remembered the pattern and did 5 sets of short rows instead of 4. So the collar is much larger than planned and really quite huge. I’ve decided to leave it as is. It’ll be snuggly and you know how I detest ripping knitting out.

Overall it was a nice quick and very soft knit. I’ll make another soon I think, though I will avoid the extra short rows! I might add an extra increase onto the neckline, giving a little deeper V and a narrower gap. The cardigan is quite narrow and long but so is my nephew so it should work out!

These fantastic buttons arrived in the post too. Unfortunately none of them suited the plethora of baby cardigans though. Aren’t they pretty?

Buttonanza!

Finally a FO!

Dear Cathy,

After all my WIP wrangling and list making, I finally have a finished object to show for it! I finally finished Catriona over the weekend.

Catriona Vest (I really need to get a proper camera for my knitting)

I actually have had Catriona on the go in one form or another for about 22 months. I bought the yarn in the winter sales after I moved to Edinburgh. I even picked out the pattern and cast on in January 2011. I cast on the back, got the ribbing done, started the cabling and … nothing. I picked it back up at some point, ripped back, started again in the round, got into the ribbing, and then put it down again. Then I picked it up again, got past the ribbing and into the cables. And put it down again. Then I started again, split for the v-neck and ended up with cables on the purl rows. And then I put it down again. I finally picked it up in August and started properly chipping away at it. And now it’s here real. And my biggest fear has not been realised, it actually fits and suits me!

I made a few modifications to the pattern as written. As I said, I worked it in the round, but included a false seam on each side by slipping the side stitch every other row. I also changed the drop shoulder to a set in sleeve shape. The drop shoulder would have been easier as it makes the sides straight, but I doubt it would have been very flattering. The cabled fabric is reasonably stiff, so instead of dropping the square shoulders probably would have stuck out like shoulder pads! I used the Knitters Book of Sweater Patterns to guide me in this. It’s a great book, with template patterns for several styles. You pick your size and your stitch gauge and just follow the grids of numbers to know how many to cast on,  and when and how many to bind off for shaping. I also used a three needle bind off for the first time for the shoulder seams. Basically, I kept the bottom half, the cable pattern and the neck shaping.

I’m most pleased with how the ribbing turned out. At the neck and arms, the cables ran right up against the edge of the knitting and I didn’t leave any space between them, so the sides looked bumpy and puckered. Luckily the wide ribbing smooths out those edges leaving a nice clean line.

So that’s Catriona finished. It has now been replaced in the Monday slot with the Flaming Flowers stole, although now I don’t have a big, non-lace project on the needles so my needle tips are getting itchy.

In other news, yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day, and I went searching for knitting and coding geekyness. I found a couple of articles, and an old Knitty article on Knitters Geek Code. Mine is

KER EXP+ SPM+ Wood++ Nickle++ KnitPro+++ Wool ++ Syn- Cot- Lux+ Stash+++ Scale+ Fin+ Ent– FI+ Tex+ Lace++ Felt– Flat+ Circ+ DPN+++ ML- Swatch- KIP++ Blog FO+ WIP+ GaugeF(DKWLace) Cr Sp

What’s yours?

Stew.

PS Do you recognise the background for the picture?

Knit-itis

Dear Stew,

You are really flying through those WIPs! Not to mention the Amanda hat, which is gorgeous. I complete understand your autumnal obsession – those colours really suit you. I’m in a purple-blue phase at the moment, as always! Though I’m thinking of branching out into green as well.

Thanks for the lovely DPN project tube, it’s fantastic. Especially with the stickers! With it I’ve managed to finish the first slip-stitch sock while commuting. The second sock will be a fraternal match and is making progress. All thanks to a magic tube making them a portable project.

I’ve also finished my sockyarn baby cardigan – except for the buttons. As usual. I’ve ordered some buttons online but I’m not sure if they’ll be the right size or shade. The acrylic baby cardigan will definitely be a vest. I cast off the body and yarn is running low, with button bands and sleeves still to go.

All seemed to be going well with my knitting… until last weekend when KNITITIS struck!

It began with the swatching. I knit some swatches, they were perfect. Until they grew hugely with washing and I had to start again with a completely different set of needles sizes. I still haven’t finished all the new swatches.

I tried blocking my new Escargot hat, the one made from the leftovers of my cabled cardigan and jumper. It’s now about twice the size and I’m terrified of washing my jumper and cardigan. I hope they don’t get too dirty!

The baby cardigan also grew loads with washing, thankfully babies grow too so that should be ok. I didn’t have any courage left to block my new knit vest after all that though. I’ve learned my lesson – always swatch and block the swatch! Though shawls don’t count right?!

Not to be defeated, yet, I cast on something simple. A stockinette baby hat. How could that possibly go wrong? By running out of yarn! I’d reached the end of my tether, nothing simple enough to knit in my WIP pile, nothing new I could cast on that would work for me.

I seem to be recovering – a few of the swatches worked out and I’ve cast on the Ardara tunic from Contemporary Irish Knits in the Donegal aran wool from my stash. Fingers crossed I keep improving. At least the 4 inches of 2×2 rib over 246 stitches should keep me busy, if I can manage that much!

I can’t wait to hear how your wips are going!

 

Yarny Adventures in Glasgow

Dear Cathy,

You clearly have far more restraint that me, with your tiny WIP list! And you get bonus points for knitting for others. I usually have good intentions when knitting for others but then I forget to weave in the ends and actually give the finished item to the intended recipient. I’ve just posted off some fingerless mitts that have been sitting in my knitting box for a full year.

I got to go on a fun yarny adventure this weekend. Despite living in Edinburgh for a while now, I hadn’t made it out to Glasgow’s The Yarn Cake before. It’s a bit of a trek from the city centre, about 45 minutes walk, but the weather was just perfect for it. I think there’s a subway stop relatively nearby too, in the likely event that it’s raining. It’s quite a small shop, but jam packed with yummy yarns. It looks like they picked a small number of brands and focused on providing a good variety from them. There was a whole wall of Drops yarns, plenty in sweater’s worths and in some seriously yum colours.

I picked up some Malabrigo Worsted to knit up an Amanda hat. I love that pattern, it knits up so quickly and fits me well. At the moment I’m a bit crazy for the autumnal shades, so this was extra fun to knit. I also picked up some sock yarn, because there’s always room in my stash for sock yarn.

Me wearing my Amanda Hat

My best part, though, was the tools section. They have lots of Knitpro needles and other accessories. I picked up some DPN tubes so I can avoid stabbing myself when I take my sock projects on the go. Two of the tubes have slots so the sock can hang outside of the tube, and one tube is just solid for storing. Considering my usual solution to the problem of storing my SNA dpns is to cast on another project, this is probably a good thing. I think the only drawback for me is the colour, I’m not a fan of the gold cardboard look so I grabbed some star stickers and went a bit mad on one of them!

Cauchy Socks in a DPN Tube

With all of that, plus the cake and the delightful staff, I’m kinda kicking myself for not going to visit them before now. Next time I need a sweater’s worth of something I may have to make the trek.

WIP-date

I’m now two weeks into my WIP schedule, and a few things have changed around. Catriona is very close to the end. I have about 8 more rounds on the body before I try my first three needle bind off, and then it’s just the ribbing and finishing. The dishcloth is finished, as is one of my Thursday gloves. Friday’s scarf is the other major change. I wasn’t loving the result, so that got frogged. Currently my week is

So 15 WIPs have become 1 FO, 2 frogs and 12 WIPS remaining.

Hopefully I’ll have at least one exciting FO for next time!

Stew.