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.

Meet Gnellie!

My ability to exercise self control in relation to casting on all the things recently has been, well, frankly nonexistent.

Ever since I was introduced to the wonderful world of Imagined Landscapes, I have slowly been adding gnome patterns into my library.

The first gnome, after Gnathan, to enter my library was Gnellie. I was immediately taken with her cosy autumn vibe and knew I wanted to make a very similar one.

Photo Credit: Imagined Landscapes on Ravelry

Sarah’s Gnellie was knit using Black Sheep Dyeworks, who are based in Vermont. With shipping being cost prohibitive, I set about looking for a UK based dyer who also did individual mini skeins.

Lay Family Yarn fit the bill, and I picked out three very closely matching skeins on 10g minis.

I love how diddy and cute these 10g minis are. Just as the new MKAL for Gnorwen was announced, this was the prod I needed to wind up the skeins and get going.

I really thought I was going to struggle with the DPNs, but actually I was pretty pleased with how they went.

Gnellie was a super speedy knit. She is plain knitting, nothing fancy, and there’s a tiny bit of Kitchener stitching for her nose.

I made a slight mistake in where I picked up the stitches to start making her body, and the hat is now sitting with one spike at the front instead of two, but I think she looks fine.

Doesn’t she look like autumn in gnome form? I really am taken with her – from the tiny tassels to the adorable pockets and her oversized scarf.

I can’t wait to get going on Gnorwen now!

Can I knit a pair of socks in a week?

2021 has definitely been the year of the knitalong for me so far. And I have found my sock needles to be a tiny bit idle.

Enter, the One Week Sock Challenge. This 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.

Ambitious? Yes, yes it is! The socks can be any weight, and they can be shorties, but the cannot be child sized or works in progress.

I have pulled out a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the colour Winter Icicles. It’s a self striping yarn, my logic being that the stripes will give me that “one more stripe” feeling. I am currently undecided if I am going to add in a contrast heel, toe and cuff. I am thinking I might add in Milk Bottle if I do – that might be a nice contrast.

Can I do it? Honestly, I am not sure, but I am kind of excited to try. It’s only a week, and I know I can get at least one done in a week. I am going to follow my usual basic sock recipe, based on the Winwick Mum Basic Sock pattern – no pattern this time!

The challenge starts on Sunday 29th August and runs until the end of Saturday 4th September. It’s a good job it’s a bank holiday weekend!

You can follow along with the challenge using the hashtag #OneWeekSockChallenge.

Rainbow Sock Chronicles: Lavender Fields

Can you believe there is only one more “mandatory” colour after this month for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles? Time is flying!

This month’s colour was lilac/lavender. I didn’t have anything in stash, so when I saw that Kosy Kitchen Fibre had a sale on, I picked her beautiful African Violets colourway.

Mum has an African Violet, and the yarn is a great colour representation. There are blue and pink speckles in amongst the gorgeous lilac shade.

I chose the Cherry Scone Socks by Gwen Moeller for my pattern this month. I wanted another easy knit, knowing I had quite a lot to do at work this month so brain power was likely to be fairly minimal in the evenings.

I cast on and the first sock whizzed by. The texture pattern is really some, but actually works really well. The bonus with this pattern is a recipe for cherry scones, which I am really looking forward to trying out soon.

Sock 2 was cast on pretty much immediately, but did spend some time alone in its project bag while I got going on the Librarian. It is a really good pattern for just picking up and popping down when you need to.

A short time later, I got the second sock finished and had to wait a couple of days to be able to get a decent picture.

I really enjoyed this. It scratched the not-quite-vanilla itch I had, and the yarn is just perfect. The only changes I made were that they pattern calls for twisted rib, which I couldn’t be faffed with, and an Eye of Partridge heel which I totally glossed over by accident and ended up doing a normal slip stitch heel. That will teach me to knit on autopilot!

Introducing The Librarian

Back in February, The Librarian jumper by Eli of Skeindeer made it onto my queue, and even had the yarn bought for it around the same time.

My local yarn shop had just taken a delivery of Sirdar Country Classic Worsted in, and wouldn’t you know it, it was the same WPI and meterage as the recommended yarn in the pattern.

The Librarian is a bottom up jumper, with a lattice cable all over. The arms are joined as you go, and you have options for puff sleeves.

As my STRIPES jumper came to an end, I started thinking about my next jumper. It gave me some thought though. I sit slap bang between two sizes currently, and the pattern calls for 0-2″ of positive ease.

While I was eager to get going, I knit a swatch first, and patiently waited for it to dry. I was at a slight advantage as I had already knit a swatch in a different colourway so I knew I needed to go up at least one needle size.

Swatch done, gauge accounted for in the pattern (I couldn’t get row gauge, and my stitch gauge was mildly off), I decided I wanted to knit a 2×2 tubular cast on.

I noticed after a bit that my rib had gone a little awry. I decided I could live with it, as it wasn’t too noticeable. On finishing the rib, I got going on the cables. Except I misread the pattern and got the cables the wrong way around, which would have been very noticeable.

I hadn’t knit a 2×2 tubular cast on before, so I turned to YouTube and settled on Andrea Mowry’s tutorial. I have to say that I really enjoy Andrea’s teaching style, it’s relaxed and well explained. After a couple of attempts, I got past the set up rows and into the rib.

In a slight huff, I pulled it all out again during a lunch break, caked the yarn up and decided to try again in the evening.

I managed a better job of it this time, taking time to slow down and check the rib regularly. So far, so good!

It was then into the faux cables, which I am really enjoying, and is knitting up really quickly.

A Break In Tide Shawl

As I mentioned in my last post, after a slightly rocky start, I really got in to this pattern. So much so, that I finished the shawl within two weeks, which is unheard of for me.

When I first read the pattern, I thought it was strange that Part 2 was so small. Well, it was small because the rows were (unsurprisingly!) long at that point. I found them really relaxing though, and absolutely love the texture of the whole shawl.

I decided not to add tassels, as they aren’t really my thing, but I do think they add something special to the shawl. Knowing myself well enough, tassels would end up being inadvertently dangled in something like food or a drink, and they would be gross in about 5 minutes!

The pattern recommends spray blocking the shawl, so as not to lose any of that gorgeous squish. Unfortunately, mine came out a little narrower than would fit nicely, so I opted to wet block. It came out perfectly, and hasn’t lost much squish at all.

Overall, I really enjoyed this pattern. I learnt a new skill (Fisherman’s rib), which I always like to try and do with a new pattern. The pattern itself is really well written and clear. The only niggle that I have is that I would have liked a digital copy or an A4 print out instead of the A5 booklet, but that isn’t a fault of the pattern itself, it’s just the format it arrived in. It was easy to follow, and had a great flow to it, and yes, I would absolutely recommend to anyone looking for a textured shawl.

I definitely see more of Tif Neilan’s designs in my future, and already have a couple in my library from last year.

This was my first time using Julie Asselin yarn. It seems to be hyped up quite a lot, and the colours I have seen, especially in Leizu, are beautiful. I don’t think the kit colours were an exception to this.

However, I don’t know that I would necessarily seek this yarn out again. We didn’t get off to the best start, with two of the three skeins being beasts to wind. I didn’t do anything different to normal, but I swore. A lot. The silk content also made it pretty slippery to handle. I know, silk? Slippery? Quelle surprise! That’s not really the yarn’s fault so much as it is my lack of experience. It was much easier to handle when there were more stitches and some weight to it, but those first few rows were tricky.

I definitely loved the Momo (coral) most, it is a beautiful tonal yarn.

About the KAL aspect? I am not sure if it is because I am totally spoilt by the Rainbow Sock Chronicles Ravelry group, where we have a real community feel going (and there is no stupid algorithm spoiling the experience), or because of the platform (Facebook) used for the KAL, but I didn’t engage much with the social side.

Sadly there had been some issues for the cast on party which was being hosted on Zoom, which was a shame. I am not much of a Facebook user these days – I don’t like the constant ads or algorithm attempting to show me what it thinks I want to see. I also don’t much like the groups function. There is always someone who is salty and acerbic, and I just don’t enjoy it. All of this to say that this isn’t the host’s fault. The bits I saw were good – lots of interaction from the participating yarn stores and the designer, and a good place to store the excellent tutorials which were created by This Is Knit.

Would I join another iKnit7 KAL? Maybe. It would depend on the pattern, for sure. I would almost definitely buy a kit – the colour combinations available across all of the stores participating were nothing short of amazing and inspiring.

Now I just to have to work out what I am going to do with my leftovers!

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