cardigan

Dude, what’s with all this YARN?

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As I said, it’s been a pretty busy and hectic few months, during which a bizarre urge to play with yarn took hold of me. You might recall, dimly, that this used to be a primarily yarn-based blog, way back when, and you might even know that I still have knitting patterns for sale. I wasn’t especially good at coming up with designs though, and it’s a crazy-flooded market – and I just gradually lost all yarn-related mojo.

I haven’t really knit for, I dunno, a couple of years, maybe? I wasn’t even sure if I could remember what to do with this weird fuzzy, fat thread. Do you wrap it around those pointed sticks in some way??!

I have no idea where the urge to knit came from, except that I do always crave a good wooly project in times of stress. When my Dad was in the hospital for a few weeks, years ago now, I knit about five cowls. It’s something my hands know how to do without any coaching or guidance.

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And, of course, what else would you do when you can’t keep up with your to-do list or your heaving stack of half-finished projects? The only sensible solution is to cast on for a new cardigan (pictured) and a pair of socks and return to a long-lost laceweight crochet shawl and revive an abandoned pair of mitts and buy some new yarn for a project unknown. Yup, that’s just about the only thing you can do.

I don’t have too much luck with knitting sweaters – I mean, they come out nice and they fit and all, but they rarely end up being something I really, really want to wear – but I’m desperately hoping this Calligraphy cardigan (pattern by Hannah Fettig) will be the perfect everyday throw-it-on sweater that I really need. Fingers (or maybe knitting needles) crossed for me, please!

FOs (knitted)

Magrathea Shawl FO
Magrathea, finished

This doofy photo was, sadly, the best of the bunch, and it doesn’t even show the glittering sparkle in this lovely yarn from iKnit! Dammit. I love the shawl though, so so so much. Possibly my favorite knit ever.

Ranger Cardigan FO
Ranger, finished

This is my brother. He’s a dork. The cardigan came out pretty well though – other than sleeves that are too long (he’s cuffed them here) – even if I missed finishing it during the Ravellenic Games by about a hundred years.

Noro Scarf FO
Noro Scarf FO
Noro scarf, finished

Noro Sekku (laceweight) scarf also done, ready to give away as a Christmas present – but I really enjoyed this pattern in the end as well, and I’ll be making myself a version in one of the Noro sock yarns. I’m not likely to wear a cotton decorative scarf like this one, but I love how this pattern handles the Noro colors, so I’ll do a wooly version for winter.

On top of all this stuff finally getting finished, a dear friend also helped me work out a problem with a new pattern I’ve been working on, which means it’s basically finished! I just have to get the pattern together and get it tested, woohoo! More on that soon though. For now, I think I’ve learned my lesson and will keep the number of WIPs down to a reasonable few. It’s clear that having so many WIPs doesn’t work for me – I get frustrated because I feel like nothing gets finished, and because things take sooo long to finish, I get bored on top of it. I doubt I’ll ever be a monogomous crafter – what’s the fun in that?! – but I think this last string of never-ending WIPs will keep me in check … for a while, anyway. How about you? Are you a serial starter or a faithful crafter?

Huzzah, I haz returned!

My blog vacation, in photos

1. Pretties from the States!, 2. Sigh. Liberty., 3. Liberty purchases, 4. At The Globe., 5. Ranger cardigan, blocking, 6. Magrathea, finished, waiting to be blocked, 7. Noro Sekku scarf, WIP, 8. First piece of lace, framed., 9. Stitchy iPhone case!, 10. Mirror of Erised, respun and plied, 11. Oscar sunbathing on the kitchen counter, 12. Making lots of scrappy wreaths!, 13. 1940s day, 14. Vintage buttons, 15. Vintage buttons, 16. Oh my.

Well, my little blog staycation was a little bit longer than I meant it to be – it’s been a chaotic couple of weeks. Mostly nice, but busy! I got most of my blog nitpicking done (except for one layout problem that is Making. Me. Crazy. and I can’t figure out how to fix it. If you happen to be a WordPress whiz kid and want to help me out, please shout in the comments. I’ll be forever in your debt!) and had a really nice time doing some cool non-internet-y stuff. The mosaic above is basically my last few weeks in photos. I’ll narrate for you:

First, my family had some really special visitors from the States, who brought me a lovely stack of beautiful fabric as well as embroidery floss. I’ve already started playing with them a bit! While they were here, we all went to Liberty, patted all the beautiful things, and may have brought some home. We also went to see As You Like It as The Globe theater (one of my very favorite places in all the world, it’s magical!) and just had a lovely visit all-around. I got the Worst Cold In The Universe, which knocked me down for ages and is still kind of lingering in annoying ways, but managed to finish the Ranger cardigan for my brother as well as the Magrathea shawl. The cardigan is blocked and waiting for buttons, the shawl will be blocked soon. Over the last few days, I’ve been working on the Noro lace scarf, which I’d avoided for at least a year for being too boring and not really my style, though pretty enough not to frog. Turns out it must be exactly the project I’m craving at the moment, because I’ve doubled its length in about 3 days and am now feeling a bit sad that it’s almost finished. In fact, if you’re at my real blog (as opposed to a feed reader) and you peek over at my WIP list of shame, you’ll notice that I’ve pretty much kicked its ass lately! Well, the knitting section anyway – ahem, pay no attention to those other categories.

Anyway, so I’ve been wrapping up projects and it’s made me feel so much more organized and less like my thoughts are swimming all over the place. I’ve even framed my first piece of finished bobbin lace and I’m so so proud of how it came out! I cross-stitched an iPhone case, because why the hell wouldn’t you?, and respun some yarn that I’d originally spun too loosely. Oscar took a nap in the sunny spot smack in the middle of the kitchen counter (because, again, why the hell wouldn’t you?) and I got a wee start on some Christmas projects. I realized last year that, although I love making gifts for people, that last-few-weeks panic and stress just ruins Christmas for me. I pretty much hate it by the time it finally comes around. I’m working hard to avoid that this year, getting smaller things done early so I don’t have to think about them anymore. Last weekend, I visited the 1940s in a little wartime village event nearby with a dear friend, found some ridiculously cute vintage buttons to add to my collection, and gave Oscar some much-deserved head scratches.

(We’ve also been working on *two* new sets of embroidery patterns in the Little Dorrit & Co. office – I’m super-crazy about them all, I seriously Can’t Wait to get them out in the world!)

And now you’re all caught up! I’ve missed you guys!

Ravellenic Games: at the start of Day 7

Ranger cardigan for Brother - Ravellenic Games 2012

Just a little update on Ravellenic progress: I finished the second sleeve last night, finally, then suddenly realized that I hadn’t taken into account whether my brother would like them longer / shorter than the pattern’s measurements. I got him to measure his favorite similar thing and, yup, that has sleeves that are 2 INCHES longer. Grr. Luckily, I can just add length on and don’t have to worry too much about the increases, that should be fine. My pub knitters all agreed that since the pattern has you knit all the increases, then knit straight until the correct length is reached, adding just an extra inch on top (I won’t necessarily go as far as 2″) should be fine. That’s ok, though a Big Fat Bummer to not really be done with the sleeves after all.

BUT. I know this yarn will grow when washed because I swatched 6 months ago like a good girl, and I accounted for the growth in the sizing — but somehow did not write down row gauge for the washed swatch. Said swatch is nowhere to be found; I suspect I was a dumbass and frogged it to re-knit into the sweater, so I had to waste time last night knitting a new swatch. I’ll need to know that row information for the body anyway. While I wash and dry it, I’ve moved on to the body, then can go back to add length to the sleeves if needed.

So last night I cast on 196 stitches for the body, knit one row of ribbing, then felt really sorry for myself for having to knit 2.75″ of 196 ribbing stitches today (have I ever mentioned how I hate ribbing with the burning fury of ten men?) and went to bed. I’ll try to power through it as fast as possible today and hopefully have some actual body progress to show after the weekend. I better start knitting faster than I have been, I’m already running out of time!