Shawlography Week 3

This week, on paper at least, looked like it was going to be speedy.

There were options for the week – brioche or lace. I am finding that I don’t much enjoy lace right now, so I opted for the brioche, and I am glad I did.

I didn’t take too many pictures as I worked on this clue as it wasn’t the most varied. The brioche section took me a lot longer to knit than I had initially anticipated, and I kind of wish I had reversed the colours so that the orange was in the foreground rather than the red.

Somehow, I also dropped a stitch in the first round of the brioche which I hadn’t noticed until I was knitting the criss crosses. Thankfully I did spot it and managed to secure it with one of the ends that needed sewing in. It isn’t the neatest, but if someone is looking that close, well…

I found my rhythm with the brioche eventually, and it stopped feeling like I was stroking the cat backwards, leaving the YOs at the front. I have another brioche project in the wings, and this has encouraged me to get going on that soon.

Next up was the criss crosses. This was what caused me to stall fairly significantly on Shawlography. I wasn’t sure that I loved the look, so I kept my eye out for an alternative that worked well with the final week. I didn’t see anything that took my fancy, so plucked up the fortitude to start.

I had heard from a friend in my Instagram chat group that she recommended going up a needle size for the criss cross set up, as she had seen reports of people struggling where the wraps had become too tight on the cable. Unfortunately, I only have the one set of HiyaHiya tips so didn’t have the option to move up a size. I tried to make sure I wasn’t knitting too tightly, but I did experience some issues when it came to the cross 8 stitches.

My issue seemed to stem more from overlapping wraps though – where the wraps had got a little jumbled where I knit them. I also found it tricky to keep the stitches lined up in the correct manner until I twigged that pinching the first 4 stitches before moving the last 4 through kept them all straight.

I have to say that I am not in love with how this looks right now. The stitches look all loosey goosey and I can see that a superwash merino or something less crisp would work nicely. I am sure it will block out absolutely fine though.

More out than in: October 2021

I was having a bit of a catch up on Imagined Landscapes’ podcast the other week, and I was pleased to hear that More Out Than In is likely to continue into 2022. This is good news! Not that I couldn’t have my own MOTI but it is nicer to do it with other people.

What came in?

Some time just after my birthday, I ordered a Halloween Mystery Yarn sock set. I am not normally good with surprises, and while I love the idea of a mystery yarn club, I don’t often sign up. I made an exception for this, as it was Scooby Doo themed. Early in October, a skein of 100g and 2 X 20g arrived in perfect Scooby Doo colours, with fitting names – Jinkies, Mystery Machine and a Scooby Halloween. That’s 560m in, and they’re destined to become socks.

In a fit of inspiration, I also bought two balls of King Cole Tinsel which totalled 144m. They were immediately put to good use with my Tinsel Gnome though.

Lastly, I picked up two balls of Adriafil Regina in the Bordeaux colour to make a hat. That accounted for 250m in, but it has already been cast on, so it won’t be in stash for long.

What went out?

I really thought that this was going to be a good month for the out… But no, I think Shawlography took over and everything else fell by the wayside.

  • Gnorwen the littlest gnome was 70.5m
  • Gnorwen the larger gnome was 104.2m

The figures

  • Starting Figure: 71,546.3m
  • In: +954m
  • Out: -174.7m
  • October’s net difference: +779.3m
  • YTD net difference: +5,665.6m

Shawlography Week 2

After a really cruddy week at work, I was so looking forward to the Clue 2 release. We had been promised a lot more knitting, and that is exactly what we got.

I would be lying if I said I loved every moment of this week’s clue. The set up for section 5 with the K3TOGs were a challenge with my not-very-sharp needles, and I ended up buying some HiyaHiya Sharps from Crafthouse Magic. There has been a couple of mentions of sharper needles perhaps being useful already, and I figured there would be more “suitable occasions” ahead.

After the set up rows of section 5, I found the knitting of the columns and the colourplay to be fun and relaxing. I don’t have a high contrast going on, but I am really loving the Einrúm orange.

I relaxed into some stocking stitch for 10 rows, which was perfect Sunday knitting, with a couple of podcasts to keep me company.

Because I didn’t manage any lunchtime knitting this week, I haven’t got any progress pictures during the other sections. However, the welts sped by, and I enjoyed knitting them. It’s always a little unnerving to intentionally drop stitches, but actually, it went fine.

The slip stitch triangles were fun, and I tried to make sure that my tension was good for the floats, as I think my Hiberknitalong shawl is a little too tight in places.

The bobbles were sloooooooooooow. And boring. But they definitely benefited from switching out to the HiyaHiya Sharps which arrived really quickly from Crafthouse Magic.

Last up for this week was the textured short row stripes. These were also a fun element, but surprisingly slow. I remember starting the right hand one earlier in the week thinking it wouldn’t take long, but it took a good three days. I haven’t had a lot of brain space or knitting time this week, which wouldn’t have helped, but yeah, surprisingly slow knitting, even though it feels productive.

I finished the left section on the Saturday, so I am a day behind now. That’s ok, totally recoverable! And so it’s on to Clue 3.

Shawlography Week 1

What a week! It has been a helluva week at work, so I have really enjoyed being able to escape into my Shawlography project.

As a quick recap, I am using Einrúm orange (colour A), Holst Venetian red (B), Holst sunshine (C), Sirdar Country Classic in pink (D) and Holst ecru (E).

There were some new methods for me, all based around i-cords – the i-cord tab cast on and the i-cord bind off were both new, but the video that accompanied the first clue was really helpful.

I made good progress on the first couple of sections of week 1, though I started to doubt my colour choices.

I had been eyeing up the La Bien Aimee colours in pinks, corals and greys, and then I happened across some of them being knit up on Instagram. Do you ever get food envy when someone else orders something delicious when you go out for food? Well, this is the yarn equivalent.

However, keeping my eyes focused on my own path, I have to say that while I’m not in love with the colours right now, I trust that the colours will all get their chance to shine. I am also loving the yarn types. The Holst is very thin and rustic feeling, and the Einrúm is much more plump but also rustic and almost crunchy. The Sirdar makes a lovely break, as it is kitten soft by comparison.

The stripes took a couple of days to finish off, and I have no idea how but I ended up with a slightly wonky stitch count (only a couple of stitches astray). The i-cord loops took a other couple of days. I am hoping these are the most boring bit done. They look effective, but they’re just a bit dull to knit.

We are promised more knitting (over construction) this coming week which I am really looking forward to. I’ve switched out to my longer cable too, so it doesn’t feel quite so bunched up. I am also looking forward to blocking it eventually, to open out all of those lovely short rows.

So I have started as I have meant to go on – I have at least kept up for the first week, and I have even woven my ends in as I have gone! Go me!

More Out Than In: September

Oh boy…

What came in?

Quite a bit! They weren’t just “oooh pretty” buys though, no. They have plans. Well… Mostly.

Two purchases were in aid of my Shawlography plans. The new Stephen West mystery KAL starts in October, and I won’t lie, I am proud that three of the five yarns are from stash. They are joined by 400m of Sirdar Country Classic, and 416m of Einrúm E+2.

I also snagged a skein of Burrow and Soar’s Beech Tree. That was a real bargain – discount and free shipping! This is going to Earthtones Girl’s Falling Leaves Socks KAL. More socks… I know! Another 425m in!

What I had planned to be the last purchases were a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners’ Vintage Tinsel (400m) and Robin (400m). I cast on the tinsel socks on the day I bought them, and designated them as my knit and natter socks.

Well, then Stranded Dyeworks released their September update. I had been stalking Amy’s Christmas yarn last year but was never quick enough to snag a skein of Gingerbread Haus. This time though, I managed it! So of course, I bought a sock set. And that’s another 510m in.

And then another craft fayre happened. Yep. I had gone with the intention of buying no yarn at all. I didn’t need anything, and I have plenty of projects keeping my attention right now. It was going well. I spotted some fabric I wanted so that I could make some pyjamas for myself. Then I came across The Lace Knittery. I don’t think I have ever come across them before and in all honesty, I don’t know why not as they’re relatively local to me.

They stock Hedgehog Fibres. I have been after getting my mitts on some HHF for ages. They are on my “yarn bucket list” (as is Qing Fibre). I had the most marvellous time picking out 4 skeins of beautiful Skinny Singles with a shawl in mind. Given it is HHF, it would be rude not to go down the Stephen West route. Oops. Well, that was another 1,464m in… Ouch.

What went out?

As I mentioned last month, I was pretty hopeful that my FO meterage ratio would be higher this month. And it was better, but certainly not good enough to offset my rampant spending!

  • One Week Sock Challenge socks were 223.9m
  • The Librarian jumper was 1,096.4m

The Figures

  • Starting Figure: 71,546.3m
  • September’s starting point: 73,734.9m
  • In: +4,015m
  • Out: -1,317.3m
  • September’s net difference: +2,697.7m
  • YTD net difference: +4,886.3m

The Joji Locatelli KAL 2021

Being a sucker for a knitalong, the Joji Locatelli KAL came across my radar as I was browsing for single skein patterns. As I started to hit peak sock fatigue, I wanted to look for something other than socks to knit with the single skeins that I have lurking in my stash which I have set aside for the Lucky Dip KAL.

As part of this search, I came across the Paris in Berlin cowl. It had been designed for Berlin Knits in 2017, and was designed to look like a shawl, but easy to wear like a cowl. The texture looked fun, and I thought I would have a good skein to match it with for my Lucky Dip in September.

Apparently the Joji Fall KAL can be a little bit of a competition and difficult to keep up with the chatter in the Ravelry threads. To be honest, it’s enough to keep up with the Rainbow Sock Chronicles thread sometimes, so I have joined a pirate Joji KAL hosted by a small group of lovely KAL-ers in a different group I belong to.

I wanted to double dip this with the Lucky Dip KAL. I don’t usually manage to organise myself well enough to double dip, so this is a nice change. Thinking about it now, it can actually triple dip with the All the Shawls KAL which accepts cowls too. Woohoo!

I got going on this evening. I had done as much as I wanted to on my Librarian jumper, which was finished all bar some sewing, and I fancied a palette cleanser.

This has been a lovely, relaxing start.

I am using Biffsugar Yarns in the Birthday Cake colourway. It’s a 75/25 merino/nylon blend in 4ply. It knits up really nicely, and I am enjoying the speckles so far.

In other news, it is finally dark enough in the evenings to enjoy candles again. This definitely marks the start of autumn for me, and I am so ready for it!

Will I get this finished before the end of the month for the Lucky Dip KAL? Probably not, but I’m cool with that.

Prepping for Shawlography

Last year, I became vaguely aware of Stephen West and his famous mystery knitalong. Slipstravaganza shawls started to crop up on my Instagram feed, and I admired them from the sidelines. It looks a little too “out there” for me, both in terms of fashion and skills needed.

This year, as I have explored more of Stephen’s patterns over the last 12 months, and even starting my Hiberknitalong shawl (which, ok… Still isn’t finished!), I thought it might be fun to throw my hat in the ring for this year’s MKAL – Shawlography.

On release day, I hot footed my way over to Ravelry and parted ways with my money. I had been checking out all of the various beautiful kits but decided I would go with stash.

Well. Mostly stash.

Autumnal colours are really catching my eye at the moment, and I knew I had a couple of yarns that would fit perfectly. I chose to go with three of my Holst Supersoft shades – Venetian red, Sunshine and Ecru.

As the MKAL calls for five colours, I hunted in my stash for 100g of a pink and 100g of an orange. I didn’t have anything suitable, so bought a couple of balls of Sirdar Country Classic 4ply in the dusky pink from my local yarn shop – Fudge’s.

The hunt was on for an orange. And there is was, in Tribe Yarns – Einrúm E+2 in a beautiful burnt gold. I have some Einrúm in stash already in Aran weight, stockpiled for my Bleideag sweater. It’s a very rustic Icelandic wool with a bright thread of silk running through. I can’t wait to knit it up.

I have checked the contrast by switching the photo to black and white, and I am happy with the contrast I have. It isn’t going to be high, but I think they work nicely together.

I would like to get a swatch of the colours going before the MKAL kicks off on 8 October, but I am going to have to see how the rest of my month pans out.

Are you joining in with Shawlography?

More Out Than In: August

This month held a potential for some serious stash acquisition, as my birthday is in August. However, I specifically requested no yarn.

What came in?

Not too much. Genuinely! Two things that came in were a ball of Stylecraft Life DK in the Black Nepp colour. I have been hunting this down for a while, and feel like I may have bagged the last ball in the UK! I don’t entirely know what I am going to do with it yet, but I only had about a third of a ball left in stash. So 298m came in for this.

The second was another Stylecraft yarn. They brought out their new Recreate range, which is 40% wool, 30% acrylic, 30% polyester, 100% made from recycled materials. I have been eyeing The Weekender by Andrea Mowry for a little while, but wasn’t sure which yarn. I saw this and immediately took to it. I got to my local yarn shop, had a squish, and came away with one ball in Ink so that I could knit a swatch. That accounted for another 350m in.

What went out?

While my bout of castonitis lived long and strong, my scatterbrained approach means that the number of FOs was a little lacking this month.

  • Cherry Scone Socks for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles were 276.3m
  • Gnellie was 59.5m
  • Flax Light was 216m

A little bit like July, September will probably be a much better month for metres out, as I have a fair few WIPs that could be finished in September. I just have to keep the buying down.

The figures

  • Starting Figure: 71,546.3m
  • August’s starting point: 73,638.7m
  • In: +648m
  • Out: -551.8m
  • August’s net difference: +96.2m
  • YTD net difference: +2,188.6m

Did I knit a pair of socks in a week?

A chance scroll of Instagram signalled the start of the One Week Sock Challenge.

The One Week Sock Challenge is hosted by Denise of Earthtones Girl and Julie Ann of Twin Stitches Designs, the premise of which is to knit one pair of adult sized socks in one week.

I jumped right on in with some stash yarns that I had been hoping to get around to knitting, and now seemed as good a time as any!

Before I got going, I made a couple of rules for myself. Firstly, I mustn’t take myself too seriously and get grumpy if I don’t finish them. Secondly, they had to be wearable socks for me. Size does not work in my favour for this, as I have size 8 (UK) feet, which aren’t the smallest… They also had to be 4ply weight and not shorties, as I don’t currently wear thick socks or shorties.

I got going on the Sunday with 2×2 rib in the Milk Bottle colour before starting in the Winter Icicles stripes.

These flew along as I binge watched Hinterland. The only way I can describe Hinterland, if you haven’t seen it, is like Welsh Wallander but with no chemistry. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to binge watch it to be honest.

At tea time, I took a progress pic, not intending really to knit again that evening. But then, with idle hands, I felt myself reaching for these, and before I knew it, I was decreasing for the toes.

The second sock ran along smoothly too, with no hiccups or issues. It was, in fact, entirely uneventful.

I grafted the toes on these on Friday night, so actually I managed to knit a pair in 6 days. I am really quite pleased with myself!

The things that I think helped me knit a pair in a week were:

  • Choosing a good stripe. That “one more stripe” feeling really did help.
  • Knitting in my usual method. That meant casting on to DPNs and then knitting on short circulars. There wasn’t room to try new techniques here.
  • Clearing my schedule on a Sunday… I joke, but only a little. I wanted to break the back of the first sock before I started the normal work week when I knew my knitting time would be short.
  • Having other projects that I needed to start. I didn’t want multiple pairs of socks on the go, so I told myself that I could only cast on my Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks once I had finished these.

Flax Light: Take 2

If you have been reading a while, you will recall my aborted attempt at knitting a Flax Light last year. It was my first attempt at a garment, which ended up in the frog pond for a few reasons.

Fast forward to this year, and more specifically, my belated joining of the Hawthorn Cottage Craft Lucky Dip KAL, and I found myself choosing the Flax Light again.

I chose Flax Light for a couple of reasons. Firstly, while the beautiful Country Mouse Yarns “Kenny the Kingfisher” was listed as luxury high twist merino, I didn’t think there was any nylon in it, so I didn’t think it would be suitable for socks.

Additionally, a couple of friends are expecting babies so I thought this would be a good one to knit in preparation.

I started witba tubular cast on and got going. One thing that really struck me was how quick this knit up.

A year’s worth of knitting experience really helped to not find this pattern daunting at all. The yoke whizzed by, and the yarn settled into a really lovely self stripe, which really is kingfisher-coloured.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this yarn. The colour changes were really fun to see run across the needles.

I switched out to DPNs for the sleeves and changed to magic loop for the cuff ribbing. The sleeves took no time at all, and I was finished surprisingly quickly.

I really enjoyed this. It was very quick to knit, and as always, the Tincan Knits patterns are always so well written. I have quite a bit of yarn left, so I am thinking I will knit a matching Barley Hat from the same collection, but that will wait. In the meantime, this little jumper can hang out in the gifting box, waiting for a small recipient to arrive.

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