I lost steam on my knitting again after getting near the end of my Wowligan. That project is on my summer to-do list, so hopefully I’ll get around to finishing off the button bands in the next couple of weeks.
I’ve got a couple of summer trips coming up where it will be nice to have a fairly straightforward project along with me. Something that caught my eye immediately was this beautiful Wonder Woman shawl. I’m not especially into comic books but I am into bold, graphic designs and getting more red into my wardrobe. I picked up some yarn on the Love Knitting website but the red was completely the wrong colour. I decided to finally head to I Knit London, which is currently my LYS, to pick up a suitably cartoonish shade.
I’ve been aware of IKL since my days as a fledgling knitter, when I accompanied them to Camp Bestival to volunteer in their tent one summer. It was good to finally get a chance to visit the store just eight short years later (seriously where does the time go?). I’ve got to say that I liked IKL. Gerard dyes his own yarns and I will definitely have to go back as his speckled wool would make a great jumper. I still have a speckled Humboldt sweater in mind.
Anyway, I picked up some red- a bit more cherry than I would have liked, but I couldn’t be bothered to trek to another yarn store. I had some fun using the swift and ball-winder to wind the yarn, helped by the ladies in the knitting group that was running when I visited. I hate hand-winding so much, it was great to be able to skip that step and be left with a professional-looking yarn cake.
So far the knitting on this pattern has been going well. I’m really enjoying the fact that this project is mindless enough for me to work on while I finally catch up on Game of Thrones. I didn’t get a chance to watch series 5 or 6 (though I did read the books a few years ago) and I’ve been loving bingeing them. The other advantage of knitting is that it stops me from checking my phone and therefore missing bits of the action.
It’s not that easy to get a decent picture because of how the shawl is constructed, but here’s how it’s looking so far. You can see that the W shape is starting to emerge.
Pattern: Wonder Woman Wrap (FREE on Ravelry)
Yarn: 1 skein each Ella Rae Lace Merino (Pineapple Soda) and Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply (Kiss)
I finished my Unspeakable hat in pretty short order and quickly whipped up a yellow pompom as its crowning glory. Despite spending ages carefully cutting out my cardboard template, the pompom looked pretty crap. I noticed the last time that I made a pompom this way, for my other hat using the same pattern, the pompom was a bit wonky.
This time, no amount of trimming seemed to bring the pom in to the massive fluffy sphere in my mind’s eye. At the same time, I started to doubt my design choice. Was it a bit simplistic and crap-looking to just have a big yellow pompom plopped on top of the sparkly purple hat? (Note: Looking at these pics, the pompom really doesn’t look that bad. I think this is an example of me being a little bit of a crazy perfectionist.)
As well as ordering a plastic pompom maker from Amazon (I resisted for years since one can make do without, but I now feel this is a false time economy), I remembered seeing some beautifully designed pompoms online some time back.
After some googling, I found this tutorial for making pompoms with coloured designs on them, and decided to have a go at making my own golden snitch pompom as part of the #craftblogclub craft challenge.
This is the design, which will guide me when I’m wrapping the yarn around…
…this handmade pompom maker. The clever addition of the smaller rainbow of cardboard on the templates at the top creates a space for your scissors, to make cutting the pompom easier.
This pompom turned out okay for a first try, but I realised that I had made the snitch design far too big, so much so that it was difficult to tell what it was at a glance. I decided to try again.
I hope you can tell which pompom is which! I didn’t bother trimming the first one that much as already knew I would be trying again. I made a snitch design on both sides of both pompoms. I’m definitely featuring the better side in these pics.
Definitely feel like ‘trimming my pompom’ should be a euphemism for something…
Last week I disregarded my inner yarn snob and bought three balls of yarn for £2 in a pound shop. I just couldn’t resist the Unspeakable purple with pinkish metallic thread running through it. For some reason, my camera registers the colour as a sort of royal blue, but I assure you that it is purple IRL.
I decided to make a hat for quidditch. In the unlikely that any readers are not quidditch fans, this is what my team’s kit looks like.
Since the yarn is so cheap, I hope I won’t worry about getting the hat muddy and washing it. I thought about making a fancy design, but I think I’m going to stick with a simple sparkly purple hat with a massive yellow pompom on top. I LOVE pompoms!
This yarn is DK so I decided to hold it double as I wanted to use the classic cuffed hat knitting pattern I’ve made before. Normally I wouldn’t swatch for a hat, but I did this time. My gauge came out quite large, which was actually a good thing as this pattern makes a hat too small for my enormous noggin. Due to the gauge difference, I am following the pattern as written and, according to my calculations, the hat should fit.
I’ve got to say that I’m not sure I like my yarn snobbery. I tend to think that knitting takes bloody ages, so you might as well use the best materials you can afford. However, a problem with this attitude is that, often, a project just doesn’t turn out the way you planned. When that happens, not only have you sunk dozens of hours into it, but you have made a financial investment on which there will be no return. Hence the numerous unloved sweaters stashed around my house.
Sometimes a good acrylic workhorse yarn is the right tool for the job. It stood up really well in the Boo blanket I made for my sister. I’m seriously considering making one of these for myself. I would just need to choose a design.
Anyway, I’m enjoying this project and I think I will be happy with the end result. My knitting mojo still hasn’t returned, so it’s nice to keep my hand in with small items.
Yarn: 3 balls of ‘Essential Knitting’
Pattern: Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho (free pattern)
I have finally finished knitting my League sweater. Here she is blocking (for the second time).
I blocked pretty close to the schematic measurements. At first I was worried there was way too much positive ease, but I’m actually pretty happy with the fit now. Next time I wash this sweater, I won’t open up the rib in the bottom so much. Due to an unfortunate row gauge issue, the body of the jumper is too long, but allowing the ribbing to cinch in still gives me a look I like.
I took this jumper all the way to Edinburgh, planning to get loads of atmospheric pics in front of various beautiful monuments. In the end I only managed to get a few shots in front of the Edinburgh sign at the airport. The best laid plans and all that.
Yes, I am wearing a medal in all of the photos.
And the back.
Pattern: League by Veronik Avery
Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus
My Xmas-loving aunt requested another pair of socks for my uncle this year. I have a feeling she asked me last year as well, but I never got around to making them. My uncle is a slightly grumpy Scottish guy (note: I like grumpy people, I think they’re funny) but I think he quite likes having really bright socks hidden beneath his dull work uniform. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. For this year’s ocular assault, I decided to dive into my stash rather than buying a new ball of sock yarn. I’m using leftovers from my various skeins of Stray Cat Sock yarn.
I’ve just been going with my gut with the colour progression. I’m not sure this was the best idea as I feel my colour selections have been a bit off all year. I hadn’t realised that the tone or warmth of the four balls of yarn is quite different. I’m still going to keep going as I don’t think this will bother my uncle.
Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks (FREE on Ravelry)
Yarn: Stray Cat Sock yarn, various colourways
So I learnt that it wasn’t possible for me to knit a fingering weight jumper in sixteen days while working full-time. However, it did take me less than a month to make this sweater, which is pretty quick actually. Despite my initial anxiety about how the colours were looking, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking.
The only real point of stress for me was the cast off. The pattern calls for an ordinary cast off in pattern, but having made some more advanced patterns lately, plus hearing some of my most respected bloggers denounce casting off in pattern, I wondered if I should go for something a little more polished.
I finished my body and first sleeve when I still thought I might complete this project before the end of the Olympics, so I did an ordinary cast off partially for speed. However, on the second sleeve I decided to give the tubular cast off a go, adding a green lifeline to the end of the ribbing for safety.
You can’t really see in the pic, but the tubular CO is too tight. Although I can get the sweater on and off, it would restrict my ability to push the sleeves up.
I re-did the set-up rows on larger needles to try again, but managed to drop a stitch, meaning ripping back again. At this point I became pretty frustrated, so it was good to be able to take a break and work on seaming my League jumper instead.
There were also quite a few ends to weave in, though I carried the purple yarn and contrast yarn for same-colour stripes to reduce the ends a little bit.
Pattern: Better Breton
Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins
Last Friday was the first session of my Carrie Trousers workshop at Sew Over It. It was a three hour workshop and most of it was spent cutting out, which is one of the stages of sewing I find most stressful. The pinning. The endless smoothing of fabric. The fear.
Managed to get a pile of pattern pieces without much fabric left over. I hadn’t realised before that this cotton lawn is pretty transparent so I will have to make careful underwear selections when wearing these.
The first step was constructing the pockets, which are the most important part of any pair of trousers. This stage was a lot more challenging than it should have been because there was something wrong with the sewing machine I was using. It kept making long stitches and the thread broke loads of times. My fabric is very fine so I don’t like unpicking as I’m scared of making holes. It wasn’t until I had to leave to catch my train that the instructor realised the bobbin thread had something wrong with it that had caused the problems.
I left feeling really frustrated as I’d hoped to get further, and very small things I tried to do had taken ages because I had to keep re-threading the machine. I wished the problem had been picked up on sooner.
Anyway, despite everything my pocket is looking pretty good and I’m hoping this week’s sewing will go much more smoothly.
I’ve also been continuing work on my Aubergine Rainbow sweater. Not long after my last post, I joined the front and back at the armpits and began working in the round, which made the knitting go a lot faster.
The stripes are also helping to keep up my motivation.
I’ve got to say I’m feeling relieved as the stripes progress. I was hating colours at first and worried that 2016 is just the year of bad yarn colour choices (far from the worst thing about 2016 but still). However, I’m liking it more with each additional colour and hopefully the sleeves will add to the effect. I just love the little speckles within the stripes.
Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins