Sunday, 17 May 2020

Recent FOs

Lockdown continues to do wonders for my knitting productivity. It's getting the point now where I am slightly resentful of having to spend all my weekdays sitting at a computer and working when I would rather be knitting. The very nice thing, though, is that I find I don't have to do any work in the evenings or at weekends, something I mainly attribute to the loss of my exam classes, meaning I'm really only planning for 11 hours of lessons a week (and some of those are double ups). I've certainly been very busy during the day but my leisure time is my own.

Ergo -

Pattern: Climb Every Mountain
Yarn: Triskelion Mona Sport, a lovely blend of silk, alpaca and linen. This took about 4 and a quarter skeins.
Needle: 3mm and 3.5mm
Mods: I knitted an extra pattern repeat at the bottom and 6 extra garter rows on the sleeves. I knitted 5 rounds of ribbing around the bottom edge, instead of the icord bind off.

This is a really comfortable garment to just throw on and feels wonderful against the skin. I can imagine it being a good post-yoga top as well as good for the beach, hence the inspiration for the photo shoot. And I managed to complete the whole garment in under 2 weeks! I was very pleased with myself.

No sooner was that done than I dived straight into this -

Pattern: Flutter Sleeve Cardigan, Interweave Knits Spring 2008
Yarn: John Arbon Knit by Numbers, so long in my stash that the label still says 'a new yarn', just under 4 skeins
Needle: 3.25mm, 3.5mm, 3.75mm
Mods: I knitted it in the round instead of pieced and added a reverse st-st line on either side where the seam would be. I picked up and knitted the button bands instead of knitting separately and sewing on - I used the smallest needle and calculated the stitch count using the same formula applied to the sleeves, which came out ever so slightly bowed on the middle needle, hence using the smallest one. Both of these mods were partly due to not enjoying seaming and partly due to working this pattern in a sproingy merino instead of the drapey silk blend it was meant for - I just didn't think this yarn would have the sag to necessitate the structural details.
I haven't knitted the tabs for the sleeves, yet, but I might add them in if I can find buttons I like for the sleeves.
You can't tell yet, but it will only have one button instead of two.

This garment is the one that has been in my queue for longest - since 2008. I bought this yarn in 2021, specifically for this cardigan, and I had even wound one skein of it ready to begin. I am really pleased I've finally managed to get round to it. It took a little longer - three and a half weeks - but then it was term time by the time I made a start on it.

In both cases, though, I am annoyed by the yarn requirements being so under what the pattern specified. I have more than a whole skein of Knit by Numbers left and most of a skein of Mona, and I was knitting to the correct gauge both times. Where does leftover yarn go to die? At least I could pair the Knit by Numbers with the leftovers from the Wonderwoman jumper for something. Maybe little felted toys or something.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Lockdown knits

Well, this is a weird old world, isn't it?

I went home from work on March 20th, fully expecting to be in on the Monday, only to find a rota drawn up which I appeared on just once before the Easter break. To begin with this was jarring: I can't work a hundred miles a minute and come to a complete stop. However, I have found it actually quite easy to slide into a plateau of idleness. I've lost nearly half my timetable hours now that there is no summer series. I've gained weeks of time in the summer now that there is no summer series. What will I do?

Well, naturally there's been a lot of knitting. I finished this:

Pattern: Ravello by Isabel Kramer in size XXL - last year I was knitting her Westbourne so it seems the year has to always begin with a Kramer 4-ply sweater, because I started this in December.
Yarn: Isager Strik Tweed, bought in Copenhagen in the summer, in Topaz (2 and a half skeins) and Navy (2 and a bit skeins); Freyalyn BFL/Dinegal Nep, bought at Wonderwool in 2014.
Needle: 2.5mm and 3mm.
Mods: Almost none. I didn't even knit a bigger top than bottom. I did stripe the full sleeve instead of just half, however - the Freyalyn is so pretty that I couldn't just save it for the meagre stripes dictated. And the sleeves are a little longer than dictated, on account of my gibbon arms.

It's a lovely fit and I really should put it on for pictures, but there doesn't seem to be as much time as there should be, really.

Wanting something quick and easy, I moved straight on to a big tit.

This was a Sue Stratford kit I bought at Wonderwool in 2016. It was satisfyingly quick - the whole thing knitted up in a day and then I made myself find stuffing for it so the sewing up has begun. It's not yet finished because I'm debating stuffing some catnip in the middle. We're getting kittens later this month (SO exciting) so this might make a good plaything for them, although it is considerably bigger than either of them will be when they arrive.

Then, I cast on Climb Every Mountain using yarn I bought in the Triskelion sale last Wonderwool.

It's not a cape - it's a cape-like jumper. I have been desperately plugging away to get to the division for the sleeves and reached it today, one week after starting. Because the sleeve division is so low, this leaves me with only 62 rows left, plus the sleeve cuffs, which means I'm on course for this to be my second fastest garment ever, a record currently held by Cabo da Roca which took me 24 days but was (a) in a DK weight, not sport, (b) only 840m where this is going to be (my best guess) 1100 and (c) not knitted during a period of enforced sitting. In fact, my fastest garment ever, a camisole I knitted in 6 days, was completed during a period of enforced sitting, so this is obviously a good portent.

That said, I've got a sore shoulder and neck now. It might be from the resurrection of Wii Fit boxing, but it might be from the endless rounds of st-st in front of endless episodes of anything I can find that's good to watch (Tiger King, Grey's Anatomy, Unorthodox, The Crown, Ozark, the repeat of Wolf Hall...).

The colours are nothing like I'd normally choose but they are really glowy. I remember being torn between these two and a delightful spring green, which would have matched the tan quite well, but I'm not sorry about my choice (in fact I probably just wish I'd bought both, this is nice yarn to work with).

I can imagine throwing this on over my swimsuit at the beach and looking like a massive, luscious, custard cream.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Sunday Selfie

Just proving to you that I'm still alive -

It's been a busy couple of months. I went on the ski trip to Northern Italy (it's ok, no sign of the virus) so, as usual, large chunks of my mental energy were taken up preparing for that. I had a job interview for a job I wasn't sure I wanted, which I (therefore luckily) didn't get, but it was a very big job and the application and interview prep used up all remaining mental energy. I haven't even had time to re-read the first two Wolf Hall trilogy in preparation for the third part finally being released this week.

But, here I am (was), drinking a margarita in TGI Friday's last month, being sociable. More soon, honest.