Double Copy Cat?

First, I copy you by making an owls sweater. Now I’m copying you by getting a lot of stuff finished in September!

My big FO is, of course, the aforementioned Owls.

I love it! It fits, it works, it’s warm and snuggley! I haven’t washed it yet, but judging from my swatch, it will loosen up a smidge. However, that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it. It seems the cocoon is perfect for damp Autumn evenings in Edinburgh.

I pretty much knit the pattern as is, although I chose shorter sleeves since I’m always pushing my sleeves up to my elbows anyway. I should have just enough yarn left over to make a cosy matching hat.

I also finished a lace shawl over the weekend, but I still have to block it, so watch this space.

With those two projects out of the way, I finally got back to some socks I had with me when I went to Japan! I haven’t touched them since May, so they were a little neglected. I did get the first sock finished last night, and the first inch of the second, in one of the odder places I’ve knit. I organised a comedy gig, so I was hiding backstage with the performers, listening to the sets and knitting away. All the fun of good company and live comedy, but with a comfy chair and good lighting for the knitting!

September – a Time for Finishing?

At the end of August a number of knitter friends were lamenting the number of WIPs that lay unfinished, all for the want of some seaming, weaving in of ends, blocking or *shudder* sewing on of buttons. An alliance was formed to banish the languishing knits in the month of September. If your WIPs need some fiddly annoying work done to turn them into an FO then do join in, the twitter hashtag is #septfs13.

After two close encounters with my nemesis (sewing on buttons) lately, where I found myself frantically affixing buttons to baby garments mere hours before the FO flew off for foreign lands, I am definitely on board. It is time to disperse the recalcitrant baby knits lurking under the coffee table lacking buttons.

I started off by weaving in all the ends. That’s right – ALL the ends! Anything that doesn’t need buttons has been blocked. This includes the mystery cardigan which I wore to HandmAidCraft Day. This was a brilliant occasion with a lovely buzz around Damer Hall, all decked out in craftual glory. There were beautiful knit and crocheted items to pore over, delicious cakes (I tried one that even had courgette in it!), tempting yarn and wonderful company. It was an excellent break from the monotony and solitude of my desk and a great to meet knitters in real life and match names to faces. I escaped with only a little yarn: two balls of Rialto Lace and a skein of sock yarn. I’m looking forward to next year already, hopefully I’ll be able to help out some more.

The most important thing on my finishing list this month is my thesis. I know it seemed like all was done, and certainly the assessment was complete, but there were still some minor corrections to look after. Once it has been printed, hardbound and submitted tomorrow I will scratch off the one major thing that has dominated every To Do list for the last six years. I can’t even begin to think what that will feel like. Wish me luck in this strange new life ahead of me!

Well, after I sew on the remaining 37 buttons.

Copycat

After you made your lovely OWLS, and now my sister has made one for herself, I figured it was time to jump on the band wagon.

Of course, this means I was bad, and bought a whole pile of new yarn for this project. After some humming and hawing, I went with Rowan Cocoon because it’s just so yum, and had some nice colours. I went with Lavendar Ice, which is mostly a mid grey, but in the right light the purple undertone stands out nicely.

 

On the other hand, I was good. I did a gauge swatch! The pattern calls for 6.5mm. I usually have to go up one size, so I tried 7mm, but the resulting gauge was 16 stitches over four inches, rather than the required 13 stitches. This was miles off, which was odd, considering it’s one of the main yarns for OWLS. I took a gamble though, and threw the swatch in the washing machine, and lo and behold, 13 stitches per inch.

And this, dear reader, is why we wash our swatches. I have to write that down, because I know that come the next project I’ll want to dive in without checking first.

I started on the 3rd September, and as of this morning I’ve just reached the start of the owls, so in a few days I should be all done. But first I have to go buy some buttons, or I won’t be able to use your magical button trick! Watch this space!

 

Mystery Cardigan

A few weeks ago I appealed for help in choosing an appropriate pattern for my lovely aubergine-coloured Drops alpaca yarn. The vote was tied between Audrey (a scoop-neck button-up cardigan) and Making waves (an open cardigan with a ruffle border). In the end I decided to go with Making Waves, but with a garter stitch border, as I thought it would be the more practical of the two and a better addition to my wardrobe. The pattern was provided by the wonderful watermemory, head of the Stashdown group on ravelry, as a prize for a competition.

The cardigan is in stockinette and I had already knit and blocked my gauge swatches so the cardigan flew along. The pattern is well written and I love the shaping. In particular I love that left and right increases (and decreases) are separated be a few rows so there’s no obvious pucker and the line is much smoother. I will definitely be using this technique again. The designer also includes lots of notes on fit. I should have added an extra inch or two to account for my longer body but hopefully I can block a little extra length into it. The sleeves were an excellent opportunity to enjoy my Dreamz needles again. These have completely changed my attitude to sleeves!

When it came to the border I hit a bit of a stumbling block. The instructions for the ruffle border are very clear but I thought plain garter stitch would suit the yarn better. I had to decide between making up a border completely by myself or just modifying the existing pattern, and decided on the latter. I picked up the stiches and placed the markers as in the pattern. I replaced the 7 stockinette rows (including the increase row) by 9 knit rows, to account for the difference in row gauge between the fabrics. After this I followed the instructions for the neck shaping row, though with less repetitions between the markers. Another 5 rows of garter stitch, switched to smaller needles, another 5 rows garter stitch and then bound off on the wrong side. The pattern suggests to bind off firmly but I wanted to block for length and so bound off a little looser, though still quite tight. The resulting collar piece is a slightly ruffled garter border. The excess stitches picked up, as recommended by the pattern, were balanced by change in needle size at the end. I’m still in two minds as to whether I would prefer a standard flat collar. Only blocking will tell!

I’m pleased with how it turned out. The sleeves are a bit loose and the bottom rib border rolls up but hopefully blocking will fix this. Fingers crossed the alpaca is ok with my skin. Overall the cardigan took only 5 skeins of yarn so I might have enough yarn to knit Audrey as well!