A Cardigan Dilemma

This week I’d like some help from readers! I’ve been hemming and hawing for months now over which garment I should knit once I regain sufficient concentration. I like to knit at least one garment a year for me. As part of the Stashdown group I won a pattern of my choice, courtesy of the lovely watermemory on ravelry. So now it’s time to choose and my indecisive post-thesis brain needs your help!

I’ve decided on the yarn at least, some lovely Drops Alpaca that I bought (as a birthday present from my parents) last year in the Yarn Cake in Glasgow while visiting Stew. It’s quite thin, about sock weight, but has a halo and knits like sport weight. It’s in a lovely dark aubergine purple.

I’ve been through the various options and decided on cardigan. Patterns with lots of lace and cables were ruled out as they don’t show up much in the alpaca. I then whittled down my favourites to the following three contenders:

1) Audrey Cardigan from the Twist Collective

This cardigan has been knit successfully with the same yarn. I think it’s both pretty and practical but I do have quite a few round-neck light cardigans already. A v-neck might be more practical in terms of my wardrobe. On the plus side it buttons up.

2) New Wave Cardigan from Lyrical Knits

I’ve always wanted to try one of Mary Annarella’s designs as they have such wonderful shaping and construction. I would probably do a garter stitch border instead of the ruffles though, like this example by BunnyB:

3) Featherweight Cardigan from Knitbot Essentials

Again this cardigan has been knit successfully with the Drops Alpaca. I’ve looked at knitting this cardigan several times before but I’ve always been put off by the wide boxy front panels and the short body. I’ve seen more tailored versions but I’m not sure I want to work it all out myself.

Have you knit any of these? Which do you think would best suit the yarn (and me)? Which should I knit?!?



Back Again

The wonderful Stew has been doing the Lion’s Share of the posting here recently because she’s an awesome supportive friend and because I’ve been too busy studying to craft much or even contemplate blogging. I had very little time, concentration or energy spare to knit, crochet or spin. This meant I missed out on the Tour de Fleece this year, as Stew mentioned this is where spinners all over the world try and spin every day the cyclists of the Tour de France spin their wheels. It also meant that the types of projects I could contemplate were very limited. Quick easy knits only.

Baby knits were the first option. In the past few months I’ve knit two dresses, three cardigans, two hats and two pairs of booties/socks. Yet none of these items are quite finished as weaving in ends or facing my nemesis (buttons!) were beyond me. I hope to get these finished up in the next few weeks, before the intended recipients get too big!

If even baby-knits were too tricky or too big a commitment then I turned to garter stitch squares. About the simplest thing it’s possible to knit. I’ve been using up my blue, purple and green sock yarn ends, along with some very generous donations. One day it will be a blanket but at the moment I’m just happy to have something easy to knit. I’m running out of ends and I’ve started eyeing up some full skeins in my stash so hopefully my knitting mojo returns soon before I get desperate.

Speaking of little squares I received some very special little squares as a present last Friday which I will blog about in the weeks to come.

What about you? What’s your favourite mindless easy crafting for when life is too busy or stressful?

P.S. The Irish Blog Awards are coming up soon so be sure to nominate your favourite Irish Blogs in each category (I don’t think we qualify since Stew is non-resident).

Shawls well that ends well

I think at this stage it’s redundant to point out that I’m not spectacular at finishing projects I start? Yes, good, then it won’t surprise you to learn that a project I’ve just bound off and blocked has been in the works for about two years.

I like to find new and interesting yarns when I travel, so on one of my many trips to Turku in 2011, I scoped out their local yarn merchants. The first place I found was Antilla, a big department store where I got my groceries. There I found some absolutely nummy alpaca which later (much later, of course) became this superbly cosy shawl.

I swear, I hate knitting feather and fan, but it seems I can never resist.

My next trip I found a smaller yarn shop, where I picked out some lovely pale green laceweight. I started knitting a Citron out of it, in 2012. Now more than a year after that, I finally finished.

Now I’m working on the Shoulder Shawl in Syrian Pattern, from Victorian Lace Today. This was one of the earliest pieces of lace I attempted, and frogged. Now I’m tackling it again and it makes for some lovely TV knitting. I’m nearly finished the centre and I can’t wait to get stuck into the knitted boarder. I do so love knitted on boarders.

Unless they’re feather and fan.

In spirit, if not in practice

Tour de Fleece is going well. For a given value of well.

Following the rules of the tour strictly, I should be spinning every day that the cyclists race, only taking days off when they do. I already knew starting out that this would be nigh on impossible, as I’ll be travelling next week so I’ll be missing two days of the tour already. My plans were further scuppered by a surprise trip to London last Friday. I can’t really complain, instead of sitting in my office I got to eat ice-cream by the river in the sunshine, but I did lose that day of spinning.

All is not lost though. Even though I’m not quite sticking with the letter of the rules, I’m still working in the spirit. After nearly a year of not spinning at all, I’ve already finished one braid of mystery fibre and chain plied two skeins, with questionable success.

Yes, sometimes my yarn has a face.

For my next challenge, I have some Polworth that I’m going to try to spin from fauxlags. I got the idea from a recent post on my friend Beata’s blog. I’ve never minded carding so much, but this seems like such a quick and easy way to spin woolen I just have to give it a try.

And we’re off!

It’s slightly shameful to admit, but on Saturday when I set myself up for this years Tour de Fleece, and literally had to dust off my wheel, I realised that I haven’t actually spun since this time last year.

It’s somewhat understandable, when I look over the past year. Tour de Fleece ran directly into the Ravellenic Games. From that point on my fibre focus was on my great big shawl of epicness, or more precisely casting on projects so as to procrastinate on said shawl. Then nanowrimo, wedding, alphablogging, travel, and suddenly I’m sitting by my dusty wheel and wondering if I still remember how.

While I have a spinning challenge in mind, I decided to start by spinning some mystery wool to get back into the rhythm of it. I have the label for the mystery wool, but it’s in a bag with several other mystery wools, so I have five labels for five braids of fibre and it’s a best guess as to which is which. I think it’s polworth, but it could be corridale or something else.

This braid has some lovely long stretches of blues, purples and pinks, so I’m planning on chain or Navajo plying it. This method basically means taking a single strand of spun fiber and creating a giant crochet chain as you ply. This turns the single into a three ply, but lets you keep solid chunks of colour, rather than blending plies of different colours.

I’m a little slow to start, but hopefully by the end of the week I’ll have my first skein of the tour.