Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What to do with blue

So I have two skeins of this yarn. It's cashmere. It's lace weight. And it's very, very blue. Bright, primary blue. (The Whovian in me can't help but note that this is the true definition of Tardis blue). I received this yarn a few years ago, before I knew how to knit. It was part of an online yarn exchange, and, full disclosure, I was disappointed when I received it. I hadn't requested blue or lace weight yarn. When I was crocheting, I was not comfortable using yarn this thin and delicate. And this bright blue is just something that I am not drawn to as I tend to like blues with a bit more depth - things like teal, turquoise, sapphire. I just had no idea what to do with this yarn. It really intimidated me.

But I kept it all this time because I'm a bit of a yarn hoarder. This weekend I dug it out of my stash because I really wanted to conquer it. And this blue seems so hip and cool as an accent pop of color, and I'm nothing if I'm not hip and cool and keeping up with all the latest trends. Plus, it's freakin' cashmere. It is so, so soft. I knew I wanted something snuggly, worn close to my skin, and appreciated for its warmth, its coziness, its squishiness.

I cast on about four different project ideas. The first thing that came to mind was a big infinity scarf, but I didn't want a pattern with a lot of purling in it. I didn't want to really deal with a shawl and all the increases. Maybe some patterned stitches? Nah. And no intricate lace, please. Just an easy, sit in front of the tv and completely veg out knit. But no patterns I started really spoke to me. I couldn't find that groove that I wanted. I mean, how difficult is it to find a preferably free, plain, but interesting, easy, no purling scarf in lace weight yarn? (Probably not that hard, but I could not find anything I liked in this shocking blue.) I was getting very frustrated with this yarn again.

I finally decided it was time to compromise, and then I finally came across the beautiful Imagine When shawl. Lovely squishy garter for easy, no purl knitting. Interesting construction with nice eyelet details. And a little, petite picot edging. This would do. I decided to just go with the thinner yarn on a much smaller needle than the pattern calls for. With some general hand waving and some iffy maths, after I measured my preliminary gauge, I'm hoping this project will come in at just about half the size of the original shawl, around 90cm. I've convinced myself (for now) that this will result in a nice kerchief that can be snuggled under my black peacoat or can be secured with a small, simple pin. 

And if it all goes to crap, I have a backup plan.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Knitting confessions #5

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

On Mondays, I'll fess up to some of my own, personal knitting "no-no's". Feel free to join me by blogging some of your own weekly confessions or stories of breaking knitting conventions and join the linkup below. 

Confession #4: This yarn.

I don't know, but I just hate it. As the colors unfurl, all I can think of is some sort of yucky minty chocolate ice cream sundae that has been thrown into the gutter and stomped on a couple times. It just looks flat, dirty, and the brown is the most one dimensional, dirty (read as polite way of saying poopy) brown I have ever come across.

Why do I own this yarn if I seem to hate it so much? I blame yarn sale fever. I got this yarn when one of my LYS was going out of business and selling off everything. I saw it and thought, "I always want to work with Noro, but never do because of the price. Let's give it a try." And this was the only colorway left. For a reason. But I was lost in yarn euphoria (you know what I'm talking about... we've all been there and it makes us do crazy things).

When I got home I thought, well, it's perfect for a hitchhiker, right? But as it grew, I hated it more and more. So now it lives stuffed deep, deep down in a basket, away from all light. Until today when I took it out for five minutes to shoot some photos full of regret and then immediately shoved it away out of site. Poor yarn.

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Golden clarity cardigan


Project: Golden Clarity cardigan ::: Pattern: Clarity cardigan ::: Yarn: Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk DK in colorway 224

Last week I finished my clarity cardigan, after just a minor fiasco regarding some blocking issues that will go unmentioned here (but never forgotten). But everything worked out for the best and it fits wonderfully. It has quickly become one of my favorite knitted items. Even though I curse this yarn for causing said blocking fiasco (it's the yarn fault, darn it, not mine, of course), through the whole endeavor it has produced a lovely soft and warm fabric. Perfect for the cool weather that has rolled into town bringing fall in it's tow. 

Besides being snuggly and cuddly, I love the styling of the cardigan. I can wear it buttoned to produce a drapey cowl neckline, but it also looks great left open with a hanging front. (Did I take any photos of it styled both ways, of course not - that requires forethought.) Who doesn't love a great knit you can style multiple ways? One of the things I'm most proud of with this cardigan is the color choice - I tend to shy away from oranges and yellows, always afraid they may make my complexion look sickly. (It's something my Grandma always complains about with yellows, which has struck some fear into me from a young age.) But I think I'm coming around to warmer hues of orangey-yellow, so I just took the risk with buying this yarn. And it's paid off, giving me a cardigan in a great fall-inspired color (that will likely be worn through winter and spring because, darn it, I love it.)

The pattern itself was a fairly simple knit (which is probably why it hibernated for a bit over the summer because I got tired of working straight stockinette). There are some minor errors in the pattern itself, but those are quite easily resolved if you have a bit of knitting know-how. And if you are feeling lost, many other knitters have noted their edits to the pattern in their Ravelry project notes, so it's pretty easy to get yourself sorted. 

As always, Rufus was part of the photoshoot. He can't be left out, heaven forbid. And I can't pass up this action shot of Rufus looking all rugged and wild while catching a squeaky tennis ball (a favorite of his). He kind of stole the show... as usual. 

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014


This week...

Knitting: All three of my active cardigans have seen lots of action this week, but right now I'm particularly fond of my Feathernest raglan sweater. It is just working up so quickly and is a very fun knit with it's chevron, herringbone-ish textural pattern. While I was originally not sure if I liked the color for this pattern, now I am liking the brighter blue. And the yarn is showing off the texture of the stitches perfectly. So I'm pretty happy with this one and look forward to it being finished soon.

One of the reasons I had selected this pattern is because I had access to it for free. It was published in the Winter 2014 Interweave Knits, which you generally have to subscribe to or your can purchase the individual patterns. But I found out that my library has a subscription to this magazine, along with Knitscene. And even better is that I can access each issue on my iPad through the app Zinio. But the best thing about the online library subscription is that I get to keep the magazines for-ev-er. There's no expiry date - once I checkout and download each issue, it stays on my iPad until I remove it. If your library has a subscription with Zinio, I would definitely recommend you see if you can get great knitting magazines, too.

Reading: I'm almost done with Sea of Shadows and I'm liking it much more now. I'm excited to see how it ends.

Watching: Lots and lots of movies. The Toronto International Film Festival started last week and I've seen four movies already: The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Labyrinthus, The Good Lie, and The Theory of Everything. Andy and I have six more movies to see before Sunday and I'm looking forward to it. TIFF will get it's very own blog post once things wrap up.

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Knitting Confessions #4

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

On Mondays, I'll fess up to some of my own, personal knitting "no-no's". Feel free to join me by blogging some of your own weekly confessions or stories of breaking knitting conventions and join the linkup below. 

Confession #4: I always have far too many projects on the needles at the same time.

For this confession I rounded up all of the sweaters I've got sitting around in assorted states of unfinish. 

It's a wee bit overwhelming to have them all piled up in the same place when the are usually scatter about in different baskets. Some are from last winter and left to hibernate throughout the summer. Others have been cast on since then are slowly growing into cardigans and sweaters. But gathered all into one place, it becomes inherently obvious that I have a bit of a problem: my knitting ambitions seem to be a bit greater than my available free time and attention span.

There is a good thing about having so many assorted projects going on at the same time - no matter what type of knitting I'm in the mood for, I can usually find something to work on. Although that means that things get attention in fits and bobbles, which can make for slow going for some things. I've resigned myself to knowing that's just how I enjoy knitting.

And I love all my projects and look forward to casting off each of them in their own time. As long as I don't get too many more items cast on in the mean time.

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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Lace cardigan KAL progress #2

In a cheap ploy to buy myself a bit more time to make a wee bit of progress on my Darling Emma cardigan, which I am knitting as part of a KAL with Karen and Steph (check out their progress - both have beautiful sweaters coming together), I decided to move my updates to Saturdays. So here it is and progress has been made! Slowly but surely, it's growing in lovely, lacy, cardigany length. And while it still mostly looks like a shapeless blob, rather than an elegant lace cardigan, I'm beginning to grow quite fond of it.

And the pattern is quite nice to work. The lace repeat is very easy to memorize, so it makes for nice tv knitting with minor attention required when counting the lace stitches. The purl rows still feel a bit endless, though, but who really enjoys purling anyway?

So it's getting there. Slowly. But that's what I get for having three sweaters on my needles at the same time (with two that require that I swap my 3.5mm needles back and forth between projects). Maybe by the end of the year one of them will actually be finished.

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Friday, 5 September 2014

Chevron Delight Infinity Scarf

Project: Chevron Delight Infinity Scarf ::: Pattern: Chevron Delight Infinity Scarf ::: Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in Jumpin' Jellybeans

I had been working on my scarf as my "commuter project," getting in a few rows every day to and from work. It was a perfect project on the go because it was small and required only minor attention to keep track of the chevron pattern - practically mindless knitting that just kept going and going. I didn't have to worry about counting rows or any shaping. And because most of the scarf just sat in my project bag as it grew, I almost didn't notice how long it was getting. So it took me by surprise when one day on the subway, lost in podcasts and knitting, I went to pull some extra working yarn and came upon the end of the skein. It was done! 

The pattern and project seem so simple, but this is probably one of my absolute favorite finished items. I. love. it. I love the colors. I love the chevrons. I love that it wraps perfectly around my neck twice. Every time I see it sitting folded on my radiator in the bedroom I smile. Man, do I have good taste or what?! I cannot wait for the days to turn a bit chillier so that I can actually wear it. 

And I LOVE this yarn! The colors are so bright and the yarn itself is a nice tight spin that looks beautiful when knitted. It was a pleasure to work with. I want to go out and buy all of it - in every beautiful colorway - and make so many fabulous hats, socks, scarves, gloves. I probably would, too, if it was a wee bit more affordable for me. But when I am off of my self-imposed yarn diet and have $30 burning a hole in pocket, I will be getting myself another skein of this for a wonderful and cherished pair of socks.

What has been your favorite yarn to work with?

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