Posts categorized "Ravelry"

Blogging like it's 2007...A Blog Tour!

The fabulous and talented Julia Farwell-Clay has a new book out and she's cleverly organized a blog tour to promote her beautiful designs. Remember blog tours? I loved reading them!

The book is called From Folly Cove and is full of lovely wearable knits. I'm one of the last stops on the tour so I don't want to say too much. But there are contests! And discounts! Classic Elite, the publisher of the collection is even giving one lucky winner yarn to knit whatever design from the book they choose.

Check it out on Julia's blog or Ravelry.

 

 


On Swatching

Some of the great minds in Toronto knitting have been taking about swatching, and I don't mean me. Funny thing was, I was on a swatching spree whilst this conversation was happening on Twitter. Kate and Steph, aka WiseHilda and The Yarn Harlot took apart the myths of swatching in a great thread and exposed the knitter's dirtiest secret: swatching is important. Knitters know it and most of us treat it like flossing one's teeth: they get that we all should do it, but most don't do it all the time, some don't do it at all.

For the record, I came around to daily flossing about ten years ago and almost never miss a day. I feel gross if I don't floss my teeth.

I haven't yet come around to feeling the same way about swatching.

I know the reasons:

  • To make a sweater that fits
  • To see how the yarn behaves at the pattern gauge
  • To test stitch patterns, colours etc.-- if I hate the swatching process, I'll hate knitting the project.
  • To figure out if I have enough yarn to make the project
  • To avoid the anguish of any of the above.

All good reasons, all the bran of knitting. All good for you. Yep. Yawn.

That being said, I discovered this weekend it's not all that bad to do. I knew that, but sometimes I have to do it again to remember.

I decided it was time to figure out my Rhinebeck sweater and to knit from stash. I had some patterns in mind and some yarn I want to use and needed to see what fit in terms of gauge and design. I started with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Brick. This is pretty and somewhat precious yarn that's been waiting for the right project. One ball was attacked by moths and was living in the freezer. I took it out and just knit with 5mm needles to see what would happen.

Here it is washed (washing your swatch is essential since water can change the yarn and I expect you will wash the project at some point).

I got really smart and attached a note so I know what I did. It's a fine swatch but I found the fabric too loose. That disqualified it from a few project ideas.

I decided that I wanted to try Oshima again so got out yarn two: Briar Rose Charity. It's not the colour I remember (I swore it was blue) but knew it was likely the right weight so I swatched away.

The bottom was knit on 6mm needles and was too loose to get gauge so I did a line of garter and went down to 5mm needles. That worked and stayed consistent after washing. I also swatched the brioche stitch which is integral to the pattern and got gauge there too. Swatching also made me warm up to the yarn and colour. It's a mix of greys and blues that I dubbed Stormy Seas. It'll make a pretty Oshima.

Then I thought it might be too hot to wear that sweater at Rhinebeck so I went back to the orange yarn and swatched in pattern for Brandied Cherry. The designer, Thea Colman does a great job explaining what to do if you want to substitute yarns including swatching the cables, thinking about the weight of the finished sweater and ease.

Up to the marker I used a 4.5mm needle and realized it was too tight so I went up to a 5mm needles. I like the cables so decided to focus on the twisted rib which is the pattern needed to establish gauge and worked on that until I was satisfied. I'm a tad worried I won't have enough yarn for the size I plan on making but that is another post!

You will notice that I'm a lazy swatcher. I do four inches to get stitch gauge but fudge my row gauge. I should stop doing that. One day it will cause me problems.

Baby steps.

 

 


Someone loves his new sweater

Snuggly

Alexander has been asking me to knit him a sweater pretty much since he grew out of this one I made when he was about 2.

classic_aran_4

The kid has good taste.  He would pull Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting off the shelf and suggest patterns to me.  Complicated ones.  At 11 he's not a little kid at 5ft 3inches with feet bigger than my size 9.5 shoe size and since I suspect he's not done growing, I wasn't ready to jump into a full on aran sweater.  

So we negotiated.  I went through Ravelry and chose sweaters I was willing to knit and we narrowed it down.  Smart cookie I am, I went with aran to chunky weight yarn so it would be done fast.  He chose this pattern and I chose the Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky (on sale at Elann).  

A month later, a sweater for my baby.

Untitled

He loves it.  I love him for loving it.  

The only modifications were to sleeve and overall length.  

Back of sweater

The sweater is a man's small, and I think my gauge was a bit tight.  It fits me (in a sweater girl tight way) so when he outgrows it I will still have it for myself!

Untitled


I've been knitting stuff (finishing it too!)

Look!  Finished projects!

Redhook Vest

Redhook

Yarn: Briar Rose BFL dk.  I had enough minus the cast off row, so after a little rip back, I had enough. Just. 

Pattern: Redhook by Jared Flood.  Perfectly written pattern, fun to knit, great to wear.

Redhook

 

Staked Socks

photo

 

Yarn: Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in And then Buffy Staked Edward. The End (Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination Club Exclusive Colour).  I love the smoky tealy goodness.

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Pattern: Staked by Glenna C (Club pattern, available soon).  My first ever complicated patterned socks. It was fun to knit, even with the miss crossed cables and slightly messed up decreases on the foot.  My feet don't notice, so I don't care.  I might venture into more complicated socks again!

photo

 

Clockwork

I finished this a long time ago, but wanted to show it off because it's my current favourite scarf to wear and it was great fun to knit.

IMG_4786_medium2

Yarn: Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Longhorned Beetle (leftover from my Swedish Heartwarmer Shawl) and Baruffa Bollicina Cashmere Silk from super old stash.

Pattern: Clockwork by Stephen West.  Deceptively simple to knit.  I love garter stitch squooshiness.


Less inspired this time around

Last night I had a great post on the go about Ravelry and the re-energization of my knitting and my new coat and well, my laptop ate it.  Fuck.  There were photos, but the camera battery died.  Double fuck.

I'm finding my beloved Dell is being a tad weird lately.  It runs slow.  It always sounds like things are running in the background and sucking up bandwidth.  Like my house it probably need a big clean to clear out clutter, but unlike my house, I have no idea how to clean a computer except to delete files, and I'm actually quite good at that.  Though I suppose I could start with a clearing of temporary internet files and cookies and a good defrag.  Then see what happens.

So back to to Ravelry.  I love Ravelry.  The "must-be-organized" part of me loves the ability to keep track of stuff (though I confess I have not done enough of that--see the bit above about my house and clutter--the battle continues) and the "I want to knit everything" part of me loves to browse and see what's up with other Knitters.  My queue is outrageously long, but since most of it is from stash I see it as a way to connect my wants with my resources.  And while I doubt someone from the brains of Ravelry will come and smack me for not knitting everything in my queue, they are certainly welcome to come to Toronto for a visit because they're fun people.  Come for Drunken Knitters!

I did find a coat, well two, the one that I really love which is totally impractical and doesn't go with my Earth Stripe Wrap and the one that I also love which is more practical and does go with the wrap and a lot of my other winter handknit accessories.  The two I chose from photos were bad.  The grey one looked awful on me and the plaid one closed only with the toggles--not good for Canadian winters (even wimpy Toronto ones).

Here's the one that's going back.  Note to self: don't take fashion advice from an 8 year old.  Yes, the jacket looks great on me.  But my ass will be frozen solid if I try to wear this in January.

Red_coat

Here's the one I'm pretty sure I'm keeping.  Nice, classic, slimming, chocolate brown (my favourite colour--more wearable for me than black and still neutral) and ass-covering.

Brown_coat

But is it warm enough?  I'm not totally convinced.  The last three years I've worn a puffer down coat and I was toasty.  I know many of you don't think Toronto is cold, but after 25 years in Thunder Bay which is COLD, I think Toronto has a damp dankness to it in winter that keeps me colder than -40c.  And it's windy.  So I'm still on the fence about a not-very-expensive wool coat.  I don't think they line them anymore with a chamois or extra layers of wool or thinsolate.  Or at least this RW version, doesn't seem like it does.

Mom is coming for a visit and Mom's know about this stuff.  So the coat is on the fence for now.  Or maybe I'll keep it and get a puffer too (my old one is toast).   I love down coats, but find they're not so good for the accessorizing.  Sheesh, this knitting thing is making me go for style over warmth like I did as a teenager (imagine me with shoes and no socks in -20c--stoopid).

And maybe I'll extricate those photos of knitting from my camera tonight.  If I remembered to charge my battery.  I've finally hit my stride with work and kids and my evenings are less crazy.  It is great to work a nice groove into the couch surrounded by yarn.