Fickleness, Thy Name is Knitter

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I’m in a CLEAN ALL THE THINGS phase at home.

Organize, organize.

Sweep, vacuum, dust, cough.

I’m de-cluttering as fiercely and quickly as my husband will permit.

  • Out go the old snow boots, too small by 1.5 sizes.
  • Out go the rock-hard tubes of epoxy and shoe glue.
  • Out go the college notes from classes I barely remember taking.
  • Out go the VHS tapes, unwatched for nearly a decade.
  • Out go the stash of small boxes I never remember to use for wrapping Christmas gifts.

I’ve successfully destashed a goodly portion of my yarn  and knitting book collection too. It feels fabulous. But there’s plenty more yarn where that destash came from. In looking at what I decided to keep, I am struck by my own fickleness as a knitter.

A few months ago I was completely addicted to stranded colorwork. Complex, rich, and painterly. Nothing else would do. I acquired a huge assortment of small, single skeins of yarn in fingering and sport weights, confident I would plow through them in a matter of months.

Only now, a few months later, all I want to knit is lace. Ethereal and feminine; insubstantial as cotton candy; full of air and light. Colorwork feels too heavy for me and completely unappealing. The problem is that my current stash cannot support a lace affinity of any considerable length. If this continues, I may have to buy more yarn.

Buy more yarn? Gah! That’s what I’m trying to avoid.

But my muse-cum-troll growls for lace. LAAACE!  What can I do but feed it?

Meanwhile, that colorwork stash isn’t going anywhere. I thought about jettisoning some of it, but it is a well-chosen collection. And knowing my muse-troll, it can’t survive long on cotton candy. Sooner or later, it’s going to want something heavy and rich. Sooner or later it’s going to howl for meat.

My stash will be ready.

 

Several Months of Projects

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Today I finally got around to photographing a pile of projects that had been waiting for attention since midsummer. Many of them have been worn, particularly the lightweight, warm weather garments. So, while they’re not in pristine condition, I can vouch for their wearability.

  1. Second Story Tee by Debbie O’Neill: I knitted it in Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. I am really enjoying the drape of the fabric. The original pattern was knitted in wool, which also looks great, judging by all the project photos I’ve seen. Hempathy is fast becoming one of my favorite yarns. It’s very versatile and is extremely comfortable to wear, particularly after a few washings.

2. Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits: A total “wow” of a shawl that’s surprisingly easy to knit. I enjoyed the heck out of knitting it. I was going to bring it with me on my trip to France, but at the last minute decided I didn’t want to risk having something terrible happen to it. So I left it at home. It was just as well. There were very few days on our trip when I wanted more clothes to wear. Temperatures in the 90s on many days. I knitted it in Wollmeise Lace-Garn, a yarn that was de-stashed by a friend. It has a good home at my house. I just adore green.

3. Ginny’s Cardigan by Mari Chiba: Yeah, like I said before, I like green. I’ve had this cardigan on the needles for almost a year. I’m not a big fan of the yarn, I’m sorry to say. Wool and nettles just aren’t my thing. I’m talking about the experience of knitting with it, not wearing it. I dare say, it’s no more prickly than a hearty Shetland wool sweater.

The sweater turned out too small for me. But that’s ok. I’ll hold onto it until find the right person to give it to. Someone who will appreciate all the trouble I went to to pick out just the right iridescent buttons for the front.

4. Cedar Leaf Shawletter by Alana Dakos: Yep, more green. The center stockinette portion is knitted from some handspun polwarth. The leaves are knitted using some leftover Sun Valley Fiber Arts MCN. Normally this shawlette is knitted using a DK. My handspun was a light fingering/heavy lace and the MCN was fingering, so I added a few more leaf repeats in the cast on edge. I didn’t end up with  much more width, but lots of length, which suits me fine.

5. A Hitchhiker from Handspun. The pattern is the ultrapopular, ultrasimple shawl by Martina Behm. I wanted to use up some handspun leftover from another shawl project. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn before I hit 42 teeth. So this Hitchhiker reached the end of its trail a little early. That’s ok. It makes a very pretty scarf.

6. Boxy by Joji Locatelli: I think of this as my Groupthink Boxy. The sweater that happened because everyone else in the knitting group was knitting one too. I actually like it much better than I thought I would. It’s very comfortable and easy to wear. And the fingering weight makes for a lovely drape. Normally I’m not a pink girl, either. But I just adore this Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat in the Plum Cake colorway.

7. Twig and Leaf by Anne Hanson: You remember the Sweet Dreams shawl I mentioned earlier? The lace shawl I knitted for my France trip but left behind at the last minute? Well…I actually knitted two different shawls for the trip. Because I couldn’t make up my mind which one to knit. So I knitted both. This one didn’t get to go on the trip either. Sorry little shawl. I really led you on.

8. Linum Tee by Bristol Ivy: I’m officially a Bristol Ivy fan girl. Her aesthetic and mine are likethis. She just knows what I like. And she keeps pumping out designs I want to knit. This Linum tee is a perfect example. Fairly simple, but with a killer asymmetrical design element at the neckline. It just slays me. This top is also very comfortable to wear. Hats off to Quince and Company. They’ve managed to make a 100% linen yarn that is comfortable and doesn’t shed (I’m talking to you, Louet Euroflax Sport).

Finishing this cardigan on principle

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Gauge is a lying liar who lies to you.

This Ginny’s Cardigan isn’t going to fit me. It’s just plain too small. But I bet it would fit someone I know. Someone who’s about a size 2-4.

So I’m going to finish this cardigan. Because it’s pretty and it’s bound to be useful to someone.

Besides, I have come to the conclusion that, as pretty as the cardigan is, I dislike the yarn. The though of taking the cardigan apart and re-knitting it, or re-purposing the yarn for something else fills me with distaste. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that the texture isn’t for me. Sorry Classic Elite Yarns Woodland. I hope you don’t take it personally. I think I’m just the type of person who doesn’t care for single-ply wool/nettle blends.

 

Blocking Ginny's Cardigan

A post shared by All She Wants To Do Is Knit (@caityrosey81) on

Going on a big trip – do I take a spindle along? My “Inside-Out” emotions have their say.

KCL Woods maple spindle.  0.84 oz
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I’m going on a big trip to Europe in the coming weeks. And I’m seriously contemplating forgoing my usual travel knitting and bringing a drop spindle instead. We’re trying to pack light a la Rick Steves, with all our luggage on our backs, so I can’t bring the bag full of projects I would normally pack as my “personal item” on the plane.

I have two choices, both long neglected. Partly because I’ve been addicted to my spinning wheels, but let’s be honest: I was also a bit intimidated. My spindle spinning has mostly been confined to heavier, beginner-friendly spindles, before I acquired a wheel. I haven’t seriously spun on a spindle in more than two years.

  • One choice is a cute little Jenkins spindle purchased at Black Sheep Gathering two years ago. And the poor little thing has been sitting neglected in my craft room ever since.
KCL Woods maple spindle.  0.84 oz

Jenkins walnut spindle 0.59 oz (17 g)

Pros:It’s very light weight and collapsible. Plus, all the photos on Instagram of Turkish spindle spinning look awesome.

Cons: I have never spun on this type of spindle before. 

  • The other choice is a cunning little KCL Woods spindle purchased for me by Mom when I first took up spinning.
KCL Woods maple drop spindle 0.84 oz.

KCL Woods maple drop spindle 0.84 oz.

Pros: It’s a top-whorl spindle, which is the only type I’ve ever spun on. It’s also light weight and it has a detachable shaft, with two extras. So it’s sort of collapsible too.

Cons: It’s going to take up more room in my luggage. Not much, but a little. And maybe it’s a bit too big for spinning on a plane. Hard to know until I try.

The Inside-Out characters in my head are saying:

Image from Pixarpost.com

  • Joy: You’ll have so much fun with your spindles. It’ll be so relaxing and you’ll meet so many new people while you spin. You know you like the attention. It will be great!
  • Sadness: What if spinning on spindles is not as much fun as you remember? Then you’ll be bored on a plane, wishing you had your knitting.
  • Fear:  What if you suck at spindle spinning? And what if you annoy the people sitting next to you in the plane. You’ve never done this before. What if you get all elbowy? They’ll throw you off the plane before you get to Philadelphia!
  • Disgust (Disdain really): Why bother packing anything project at all? You know you’re not really going to use it. It’ll just take up room in your luggage that you really should be filling with more socks and underwear.
  • Anger: You’d better bring some kind of project on the plane or I’m gonna lose it! You hear me? Lose it!

I’ve been wearing this cardigan too often to photograph it properly

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I’ve been meaning to blog about my new Raspberry Stripes Cardigan. But this cardigan just doesn’t want to hold still. All it wants to do is go out to dinner, attend a concert, go for a walk, and even do chores around the house. Couldn’t get near it with a camera.

I love its drapey simplicity

The pattern is Caramel by Isabell Kraemer. The basic cardigan is pretty simple, but it has spawned all sorts of wild and inspiring variations.

My inspiration for this particular color combination came from memories of my recent visit to Eugene, OR. If you go there, you must buy the berries. Ever seen three colors of raspberries in one stall? Each stripe of this cardigan is the color of one type of natural raspberry: red, black (purple) and golden.

Yarns Used:

Spinning woolen like it’s worsted

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Tried a new experiment this week. I had a bunch of hand carded Corriedale left over from a previous spinning project. I decided to try spinning it worsted.

I know, I know. Why go to all that effort to card it by hand only to ruin it by spinning it the wrong way?

I don’t think I ruined it.

Right now a problem I have with my worsted spinning is keeping it from getting too dense. Sometimes a gal wants to knit a hat that won’t drown her if she falls into the lake.

I also wanted to see how spinning the same prepared fiber would behave with this other technique. Really see it, not just believe in the physics of it.

Here are my results.

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Plump but not poofy three ply. Sturdy but not heavy. I wouldn’t knit socks with it. But a sweater would work. And in the aforementioned lake scenario I probably wouldn’t drown.

The Stupid Button Band Betrayed Me

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It’s hard to conceal my ire. I was so proud of how this Reverb cardigan was turning out. The purple yarn was lovely. The pattern was easy to follow. I knew the cardigan would look super-hip on, and would go with most of my wardrobe. But the button band betrayed me.

I don’t have any experience with button bands. So far, I’ve managed to avoid knitting cardigans that require buttons. I pretended that I preferred the open look. But the truth is, I was afraid of the button band. And now I know I was right. Button bands are pure evil.

  • Button bands stretch unpredictably and throw off your measurements. 4 inches between button holes. Oops, looks like you have 5. 5 is ok right?
  • Button bands lull you into thinking five buttons will do…until you try on the cardigan and realize you really need seven.
  • Button bands keep you from appreciating your brand new very pretty cardigan because something is just slightly “off”.
  • Button bands are so hard to satisfy. Put the button too far to one side, and the whole thing stretches like a scallop. Which would be nice if that was something I wanted. An artistic statement, prehaps. But it’s NOT.
  • Button bands wait until you have the cardigan all blocked, with the ends woven in, to speak up and tell you something is wrong.
  • Button bands remind you that your stomach is not as flat and firm as your dress dummy’s stomach. They’re rude little buggers.

Stupid riggin’, friggin’ button band.

Here’s the cardigan. You can see the issues I’m talking about.

I guess it’s time to remove the button bands, reknit them, and do the finishing all over again.

But not now. Not today. Today I shake my fist at the universe.

Tomorrow I’ll take apart my cardigan.