KCBW Day Two: Skills + 1UP

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While reading through some knitting blogs this morning I found out via Knitted Bliss that it is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week!  The idea is each day a new topic will be posted and you’re invited to do a blog post using the topic as a starting off point. While I doubt I’ll be able to keep up with the pace of a post a day, it’s definitely feasible to do a few. Today’s question which asks you to reflect on the skills you’ve acquired over the last year .

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP

Looking back over my last years projects there has been a big change in the skills that I’ve acquired.

This time last year I was pretty fresh on the knitting scene. I’d done a few ill-fitting hats, dish clothes, a pair of fingerless mittens and my first pair of socks. Since then I’ve tackled

The Baudelaire Sweater

Which introduced me to sweater construction. I’d never made a whole garment before. Knitting pieces that required a little bit of precision in size was quite new, as was following a schematic and of course, the daunting task of seaming. I have to admit the pieces laid finished for a few months before I mustered up the courage to seam them all together. Now that it’s done, I don’t know what I was worried about! It turned out beautifully, and fits just right.

On-Hold Socks

Not to be satisfied with learning to knit socks in my first 6 months of knitting. I needed to learn more ways to knit them. Enter Toe-Up socks. I loved them. I loved being able to easily slip it over my toes to chart my progress. I loved how this pattern introduces a bit of lace into the mix. I also fell in love with knitting socks on circular needles. I felt as though I could finally relax my knitting and not worry about those pesky ladders cropping up.

Fiddlehead Mittens

This project was a big one for me. It introduced me to so many different techniques that I’d never done before. Some might say it was crazy to tackle them all at once. I say, efficient. They were my first introduction to colourwork, I tried out the magic-loop method. (Which I might just be a convert to). I wouldn’t say I perfected, but I got at least competent at stranded knitting with both hands instead of just my dominant right. At first Continental knitting seemed like the most awkward method ever. But with time I coerced my left hand to do what I wanted it to, and it certainly sped up the process! (However, I’m an English knitter at heart. No Continental for me unless there are multiple strands involved.) I also learned the I-cord cast on. I wasn’t a fan of the time it takes, but I’m so impressed by how sleek it looks.

Featherweight Cardigan

Finally, this project brought lace onto another level for me. Now there’s no fancy lace work. Just a LOT of lace weight yarn. Having done many of my projects on Worsted or Bulky yarn, this was a totally different feeling. Slow going, but I’m still liking it. Through it I’ve also been introduced to the notion of knitting garments from the top down. So far so good. As a bonus, no seams!

Goals for the next year? Read yesterday’s post on my desire to focus on the yarn.


Intrigue & the Future

As school approaches the end (the ‘final’ end, the ‘real’ end, the ‘I’m finished degree two and it’s time to do something else’ end), I’m suddenly aware of the free time I’ll have. Before I settle into a full-time job there’s going to be some time during the job hunt to try some new things. So in that spirit, here are a few knitterly type goals I have:

1. Use ‘recycled’ yarn. Which in my iteration means scouring second hand stores for knit sweaters that I can rip out and reuse the yarn from. The whole idea of reusing something in such a way is so intriguing to me. I love the idea of infusing such a great history into a finished object. It goes beyond just the knowledge that I made it out of nothing but string with the help of a few “sticks” if you will, but that I was at one point actually a completely different thing; something that I’ve revived and brought a whole new life to. (Okay, perhaps a bit to much for a knit blog intended to showcase progress not my existential musings on knitted garments?)

To really take this goal to the next level I’d have to design my own sweater. A feat I’m not quite up to, but the inspiration for this goal is a result of just that! Check out this fabulous Recycled Sweater. Made from recycled yarns and the pattern is adapted from…a HAT! If I had the patience to knit something this detailed I would definitely do it. Maybe a future goal?

2. Try my hand at dyeing. Now, I have no background knowledge of this. The closest I have come to informing myself about this process was stumbling across a blog post on dying yarn with Kool-Aid and flipping through Lambert and Kendall’s The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing: Fabric, Yarn and Fiber.

What intrigued me most about this book was the source of the dye. Most were from plants and bark. Again, I’m attracted to the notion of creating a history within the yarn. I’d love to be able to say, ‘Hell yes I made that colour!” Though I’m sure any early attempts are likely to produce something I might not be ready to brag about. But hey, it’s important to have goals.

Though it may seem like a measly list, I must keep in mind that knitting takes time. So much time that I haven’t come close to finishing the last projects I set out to do. Not to worry, they haven’t been forgotten. I’m still slowly plugging away at them. I even finished one  of the sleeves for my Aidez Cardigan!

ZigZag in Pink

I may be a little addicted to this sock pattern. It’s my first foray into stranded socks and it’s such a treat to knit! So far I’ve made some real progress on the first sock. Here are a few updated shots.

Shot of the finished product from the source.
It was love at first sight. This is a shot of the pattern from Interweave Winter 2010. I couldn’t resist their fuzzy warmth and the contrast of the subdued grey and vibrant pink and red.

So Far So Good
My progress so far. It’s been a while since I made socks from the top down. I didn’t realize how much I do love the process of making the heel and picking up all the gusset stitches. I especially like the garter ridge framing the slip stitch heel. I think it makes for a clean-looking gusset.

Colour Confusion

It seems that I just can’t stick to one project. I currently have three  on the go, not counting the pair of socks that I have abandoned to the bottom of my knitting bag (Don’t worry Leyburn socks, you’ll be resurrected on day). The latest project is another pair of socks; Pinked by Judy Alexander.

I had a bit of an initial setback when starting out. What initially attracted me to the pattern was the striking combination of the pink and grey colour choice, so I picked up what I thought were the colours suggested in the pattern. (I know it’s okay to change it up and do what suits me, but I’m a bit of a sucker for following the “rules” at times). The yarn label for the MC (main colour) was missing, so I couldn’t verify it was in fact “Ash”. Not to be discouraged, I cast on and started knitting. Only to discover that the MC was identical to a colour in the variegation of the CC (contrast colour), causing the stripes to be lost. Not being able to deny the error any longer, I stopped knitting the socks and picked up the “right” MC.

Here’s the two versions. The top has the darker MC. The bottom is what I was expecting.
MC ??MC Ash

They yarn is mostly alpaca, so they’ll be super warm. The perfect cozy winter socks! I realize that I probably should be making some that I might be able to wear in the upcoming seasons, but I just couldn’t say no to this pattern!

ZigZag Socks

Featherweight Update

Today’s post is just a quick update on the progress of the Featherweight Cardigan. Despite the myriad of due dates and job applications, I’ve still been able to log a little time on it. Perhaps there are better ways to spend my time, but I’d rather not dedicate every waking moment to work. Enter knitting; The perfect outlet to unwind. (I swear these days are getting longer!)

Featherweight Cardigan
Just finished the increases and set up for the sleeves. All that’s left now is 9″ of straight stockinette. (I will not get bored, I will not get bored).

Featherweight Cardigan
A little taste of how the variegation is turning out. I really quite like it. Just a hint of green to break it the purple.

Still to come, updates on Aidez Cardigan. I’m making a concerted effort to finish it up. Just the sleeves left!

Call me Crazy

I just couldn’t resist; I’ve cast on for Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight Cardigan. Despite hearing from many sources about how long it’ll take, and the fact that it may, at times, seem like the endless sweater, I just couldn’t say no. Thus began the beginning of some of my cardigan woes. Fleece Artist Saldanha
That right there almost broke me, and before things had even begun!

I don’t have a ball winder or a swift, so I rely on the trusty, but time consuming method of handwinding a hank into a ball of yarn. Unfortunately, the hank was 800m! That’s a lot of winding.

But not to be discouraged I pushed on ahead and here’s where I’m at now. Featherweight Cardigan
Almost halfway through the increases : )

Still to come, a better shot of the yarn. The variegated colours are quite exquisite. Despite the pattern being only stockinette, I find myself being captivated by the colour changes in the yarn. Here’s hoping that doesn’t fade too much as I work my way through it!

The Glass as Half Full

Good news all, I’ve finished my Fiddlehead mittens. And as luck would have it, we got a fresh blanket of snow here in the city. While everyone (including me) is ready for the end of winter, I’m really quite please that I’ll have at least one day to show them off.

That’s the luxuriously soft lining that really make these mittens extra cosy

With that project out of the way, it’s time to get something else on my needles. Don’t despair, I’ve already got a few things lined up. Pinked Socks by Judy Alexander. I’ve picked out the colours in Classic Elite Alpaca Socks, Terracotta and Ash. I’m just waiting on the ash colour, so they are on hold for the moment.

I’ve also been eyeing Featherweight Cardigan. I saw a sample of this pattern at the Purple Purl in all its glory, and was instantly taken by it. It’s so light and airy. But, being the responsible (I’m trying to be at least) knitter, I resisted the urge to buy some delicious yarn for the project and headed home. Upon perusing my stash, I do in-fact have a lace-weight yarn that would be just perfect for it. Saldanha Two

That’s Fleece Artist Saldanha. It has just been laying in wait in my yarn trunk; waiting for the perfect project. I think this might be it!