Category: knitting

November

warm in the wild: yarn

November. A little late to start winter holiday knitting, but I had been on an unofficial hiatus for a while. Lots of life changes lately, so I hadn’t been knitting or doing many other crafts while trying to sort it all out.

But, it’s November already. End of year is rapidly approaching, and I need to make some gifts for people. This is apparently the year of the armwarmer/mitt/mitten. I guess everyone has enough hats and scarves? Hahah…

The problem with mitts/etc. is the same concept as second sock syndrome; once you finish one of the pair, you have to make the second!

-x

kira makes disgruntled mumblings about “that damn cat…”

It is a good thing I love that cat.

That cat, being Árnyék.

Because, he is a jerk.

Cyntaf Eaten

Apparently, even though Cyntaf was tucked away in a bag, he managed to get into the bag and chomp a couple holes in the shawl. I mean, luckily, it is at the bottom edge, and I can probably undo the binding and salvage it… but still. Sigh.

Then the next day, I was looking for a specific ball of yarn. Finding another skein that I was also looking for, I pulled it out and set it aside.

I turned my back for a minute.

yarn ball tangle

Arrrrgh!

This is also the same cat that knocked my TV off the counter (twice!) and broke it.

Mehhhh…

-x

kira makes a double-knit swatch

Double Knitting Swatch

First attempt at double knitting!

I am designing a new item, and decided it would be best in the reversible nature of double knitting. So… I had to learn double knitting. Yay, learning new things!

This swatch pattern is from the Craftsy course Adventures in Double Knitting.

However, I did not use the cast-on taught in the course. Honestly, I was a bit confused by the cast-on as it was taught, so sought out further instruction online and stumbled upon this cast on I found to be both easier and more attractive! Tutorial by Knit Purl Hunter.

I did the bind-off taught in the course, but I am not in love with it. According to my research, the best way to get that invisible bind-off (to match my cast-on) is to separate the stitches and Kitchener stitch them together. I am intrigued by this tutorial for a knit (not sewn) Kitchener stitch, so I will have to test it out later. There is also the Kitchener Stitch tutorial from Knit Purl Hunter, as well.

I cast-on for the prototype of my new design last night. I tried to replicate the invisible cast-on that I achieved with the swatch, but for various reasons, it did not work out as attractively. I think a combination of factors: for the swatch, I used a larger needle for the CO, and there were less stitches, so they were able to all stay on the needle (as opposed to slipping onto the cable of the circular needle). Since I don’t have any longer needles (I rely pretty much solely on circular interchangeables), I cast on to one of my bamboo Tunisian crochet hooks, allowing the stitches to stay the correct diameter throughout the cast-on process. Results? Worked!

Now to decide if I want to work the prototype (which often turns into the final project) in the Caron Simply Soft that I have laying around, or if I want to order new yarn. Seeing as Simply Soft is still a “commercially available” yarn, it will lend itself to being able to be published, but… it’s not really the best yarn (totally great for learning and some projects, still). Other yarns I am pondering include Knit Picks Mighty Stitch (80% Acrylic/20% Superwash Wool), SW Wool of the Andes (100% Superwash Wool), and Swish (100% Superwash Merino Wool).

-x

p.s. I ordered more yarn.

kira makes a photoshoot for Cyntaf

The photoshoot for Cyntaf was Saturday morning. Of course, I can’t show any of the actual images from the shoot yet.

Window

However, you can see the reflection of orange in this lovely window we saw while scouting around the Belltower for locations. We ended up shooting most of the shawl-only images around the Belltower while our model Stacey finished getting ready, then all of us traipsed over to Libbie Hill to shoot against the backdrop of the city.

Photography by PalinOptika Studios. I look forward to when I can share the images.

-x

kira makes lace repair stitch surgery

In the last section of Cyntaf, I realized that there was a lace segment that appeared to be incorrect. Part of me thought, well, it’s just a small section, no one will notice it.

But the other part of me was like, ACK! Must fix!!

So… I dropped a stitch off the needles and started unraveling it. I know how to pick up laddered stitches, so I wasn’t concerned.

But this was LACE. Oh bother.

I pulled another stitch off the needles, trying to figure out how it worked into the design.

Dropped another stitch, then another. Working in the air, with loose live stitches threatening to come undone further didn’t really work well. Too confusing!

Finally, I decided that it was worth getting up off the comfy couch and sitting at a table to help figure out how to put them back together properly. Because the lace was proving to be a bit more complicated.

Cyntaf - Lace Repair

And, while it was initially frustrating and confusing, I was finally able to identify where in the pattern and what row this was. Then it was just a matter of knitting it back up, using the long floats. (This technique was taught in Lesson 10/Chapter 6 of Craftsy: Lace Shawl Design.)

I remember a thing I saw, several years back (2008!), about Fearless Knitting. The article, if I recall correctly, was about being more bold and fearless when it comes to knitting; going ahead and tackling techniques/projects/things that seem scary. It’s funny because when you’re first learning knitting, you’re so concerned if you drop a stitch, and now I purposely take hundreds of stitches off the needles, like it’s no big deal.

Though, still terrified of the concept of steeking. Not sure I’ll ever be that brave.

-x

kira makes uncertain ponderings about blocking… with cats

I’ve been knitting away like a madperson to meet the photoshoot deadline. My friend/photographer is out of town next weekend (even though that would give me the most amount of time to knit). The weekdays are likely out, because I am hoping to do an outdoor shoot and want to work with natural light — and we both work days, when the most light is. So, that leaves this weekend, Saturday-only.

I am theoretically on-track for making this deadline. (I may or may not have called out of work yesterday to knit. To be fair, I also hadn’t been feeling well the day previous, and needed some time, anyway.)

Today, I plan to finish up the last 8 rows and bind off.
Then comes the problem: blocking.

Blocking. With cats.
Cats, who get into everything.

Zaka on Pattern
Example A: Zaka, who is helping me by sitting on my knitting pattern.

Arnyek
Example B: Árnyék, who is likely the cause of the “Someone ate holes in my Mirkwood!” Cat-astrophe.

PorkchopExample C: Porkchop (Ryan’s cat, who has been living with us). He has not given me any reason to be wary of him and my knitting. Yet. He is a cat, after all.

So… yeah.
Not sure how I am going to wet-block and pin out this shawl.

I figure, first plan of attack is to barricade myself in the bedroom (the only room with doors, to keep the cats out (apart from the bathroom, of course)). I have blocking mats, wires and pins. The next step is to take the dampened shawl and pin out on the mats (which… I don’t think I actually have a large enough configuration of mats. Boo. I might have to look into getting more.) Then… what? I think my options are to try to prop up the pinned-shawl-interlocking-mats in the closet, or somehow balance it on top of the wardrobe cubbies (would need to move the shoes). Pretty much anywhere else, the cats have been able to get at or into. There is the possibility of balancing it on top of the laundry baskets on top of the machines in the laundry nook (yay, closet with doors!), but that might be a hassle for getting to the laundry. It should only be for a day or so while it dries completely.

This should be… an interesting challenge.

-x

kira makes more edits to her design

Cyntaf Yarn Ball

So, Cyntaf.

I originally designed it with a certain number of row repeats for Part A of the pattern. The knitting math was lovely and worked out well with the rest of the elements of the shawl. (v01)

Then I decided that the shawl was growing larger more quickly than I expected, so I reduced the number of row repeats, calling for adjusting the rest of the pattern to make it work well together. (v02)

Then I misread how I was keeping track of the sections (Original Set plus the Repeats vs. Total Number of Sections) — whoops! — so I ended up with one more additional section than I was expecting. Okay. Adjusted pattern accordingly. (v03)

Then I was worried that the shawl actually was smaller than I was expecting, so I decided to go with the original number of repeats. Back to First Draft. (v01)

Then… I got nervous about running out of yarn. Reduced Part B row repeats. (v04)

Still nervous — reduced Part A repeats (less than what I had already knit), and ripped out about 30 rows of knitting. Always a bit of a nerve-wracking to take hundreds of stitches off the needles and pull the loose thread and watch it unravel hours of work. Back to v03.

Feeling better about the changes in the pattern vs. the amount of yarn left. Started into second repeat of Part B.

Got nervous again. Rip back Part B-Repeat 2 rows, and adjust pattern again (v05).

Finally, finally feeling in a good spot with the pattern vs. the amount of yarn I have left, and the layout of the design. I probably did have enough for 2 repeats of Part B, but I didn’t want to risk it — it would probably also mean unraveling my gauge swatch to use that yarn, and I still need to block and measure the swatch. Plus, I don’t want anyone making the pattern to have to buy a whole other skein for just a few yards, if they use up yarn at a slightly different rate.

I have 8 more rows, binding off, and then blocking! Phototshoot on Saturday!

-x

kira makes an Etsy purchase

After having some items from Succaplokki (Etsy shop) in my cart for aaaaaaaages, I finally ordered!

Part of what prompted the actual purchase, is that I need to measure my gauge swatch for Cyntaf and I am rubbish at measuring gauge swatches. I know — it’s a pretty straight forward thing to do, but for some reason, I still find myself procrastinating on actually doing it. Avoidance!

So, I figured it was finally time to buy those gauge measuring tools I’ve been eyeing forever.

Succaplokki makes knitting accessories and tools from recycled plastic. I am a big fan of recycling/upcycling, and I was drawn to them right away. I particularly liked the ones in the Graphite-Grey color. I ordered 2 Silmuccaruutu (Knitting Gauge Checker), in a 2″ and the larger 4″. Unfortunately, by the time I ordered, the Graphite-Grey for the 4″ was unavailable, so I selected the “Surprise Color.”

Succaplokki Packaging

Made in Finland! I loved the stamps and the packaging. Inside the cardboard mailer, each item was individually wrapped in newspaper — funny to see some comics in Finnish.

Succaplokki Gauge Tools

Surprise! Orange! I was slightly amused that the “surprise color” of the 4″ Silmuccaruutu coordinates with the project I am currently working on. And it came with a little surprise gift! A little keyring-sized needle gauge tool (I believe it is one of the Piccumitta (Tiny Knitting Needle Gauge) on their site). While I don’t know how much I will use it (as it is one size, US2.5), it is still adorable and I immediately attached them to my tiny scissors that I keep in my knitting bag.

Overall pleased with these new tools. I have yet to actually use them — waiting to block the gauge swatch before I measure it (probably should do before/after blocking measurements) — but looking forward to using them.

-x