November WIP and queue check

NOTE: If you are interested to enter an Instagram giveaway for a chance to win a pair of árbore·do·fogo handmade earrings, please be sure to read/scroll through to the very bottom of this post.

Wow, I’ve just checked and I haven’t written a WIP post since June. That’s a long time! I almost cannot believe it. Actually – with the exception of the Baya shawl – I haven’t even worked on any of the projects mentioned there. Oh well.

So what I currently have on my needles are:

  1. The “Improvised” top-down sweater. This project was inspired by the knitalong organized by Karen from the Fringe Association blog. I’m ever so grateful for the initiative, as I feel like I’ve learnt so much (and will learn even more) from coming up with a sweater design and trying to knit it all by myself, following Karen’s very well written instructions and tips. For now the project is looking pretty good, and “only” the most boring part, aka. the sleeves are left to finish. I will probably write a last wrap-up post about this sweater once it’s finished.
  2.  Waterlily tee. I’ve mentioned repeatedly on the blog that I’ve been dying to knit some tops I can wear in summer. I missed out on it last year, but I’m determined to be better prepared now. That is why two weeks ago, while we were away in Auckland for a week, I put aside the top-down sweater – except for the time it took to write up the blog post about it – and cast on the Waterlily. The yarn I’m using is the purple cotton and possum blend I had picked up at the factory yarn sale back in May. I had my doubts as to the yarn becoming too fuzzy or being too warm, but it is knitting up as the softest and most wonderful fabric. Also, it is a delight to be knitting the endless rounds of stockinette for the body – a few inches left until I’m supposed to divide for the sleeves and start the lace panel.
  3. Little Wave Cardigan. Those who’ve been following this blog know that after a long long long time of knitting, abandonment and knitting, I’d finished a grey version of this cardigan for Chan. My plan had always been to knit myself one too. We will have to coordinate well to not show up anywhere both dressed in our Little Waves – that would be pretty ridiculous, but I so like this pattern, and since I bought it, it would be silly not to knit another one. While Chan’s was made in grey merino, mine will be a rust coloured alpaca and wool blend. So not that similar after all. I only have the yoke and the shawl collar to go, but since winter is over, this has become less of a priority right now.

Considering the advanced state of all these projects, it looks like once I round them up one after the other, I’ll be in for an FO shower! I can’t wait for that!

Abandoned projects – how shameful it feels to even write this down:

  1. Striated cowl. I started this cowl for several practical reasons, which included using up yarn that was left over from a sweater project, making good use of a pattern I already owned, and, last but not least, to have an easy on the go knitting project that I can carry with me and work on whenever I have a bit of time. By now I managed to realize that I might just frog it and use the yarn for something else. I’ll give it some more thought when I get there.
  2. Knitting basket. No advances on this project either. I’ll definitely have to frog the one I started, and I might try and use the felted yarns I bought at the yarn sale. Those should yield much sturdier containers. Again, this will have to wait at least until we move to our new home hopefully sometime towards the end of this year.

árbore·do·fogo news

In part I decided to conjure up this post quickly at the beginning of the week in order to let the readers of this blog on the Christmas giveaway I’m hosting over at the árbore·do·fogo Instagram account. If you are keen to enter, you get a chance to win a pair of Golden Star earrings – and I will be so envious, as at this rate I don’t think I’ll have the chance to make a pair for myself… 🙂 Good luck if you decide to participate!

giveaway

Tips: How to keep track of complicated patterns?

Over the past two weeks or so I made a good progress on Chan’s Little Wave cardigan. It’s nice to knit with worsted weight yarn for a change, things progress much more quickly! I managed to finish the right sleeve last week, and by Wednesday this week I was done with the left sleeve as well. I couldn’t wait to join the sleeves to the body, and have all in one piece, but that is where things got somewhat tricky.

So now the whole of the cardigan – or what I have knitted of it so far – is sitting on one long cable, and I got to this point where the pattern says “Please read through to the end before proceeding“. I wonder if there is any knitter out there, who stands up and shouts hurray in joy upon encountering this sentence. What it usually means is ‘put down the needles, as what comes next is not knitting, but trying to get your head around the next bit, which may well take a good half hour’ – do you have any idea of how many rows I could knit in that time???!!! Of course, deep down you know you’d better take your time and get it right, otherwise what will follow is some grumpy frogging.

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In this case, the mandatory reading session was due in order to take in the different notions involved in shaping the yoke and shoulders. I usually count rows drawing bundles of sticks in the middle of the pattern. I know row counters and mobile apps exist to accomplish the task, but I prefer to keep it simple. I find this a good enough way to remember where I left off when I pick my knitting up for the next time.

However, I needed something slightly more sophisticated this time. I had to keep count of the 12-row Little Wave stitch pattern, as well as the three types of decreases being the Yoke Decrease, the Neck Decrease and the Sleeve Decrease, which are repeated on different row counts. The pattern describes the stitch pattern and each type of decrease in a separate sections, pretty much as if it was the code for a computer program. Just because I’m a human, I thought it was best to translate this into more of a linear sequence that describes what exactly is needed to be done in each row. So this is what I came up with:

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Just so you know, this is a much neater reproduction of the original (crammed into the white spaces of the pattern). But the idea is that the numbers represent the corresponding rows of the Little Wave pattern, and the letters over them show what decrease is due in each row, if any. I thought this was a practical idea, not only because the few minutes dedicated to drafting the scheme now allow me to joyfully knit away, knowing where exactly I am in the pattern and what I’m supposed to do next, but also because this way I could count the decreases before(!) I even started knitting them, managed to prevent at least one mistake.

I’m not experienced enough to tell whether this is common practice in knitting patterns, but here I encountered this type of instruction for the particular size I’m knitting: Repeat Neck decreases every 4th row [0] more times, then every 6th row [5] more times, then every 8th row [2]* more times. Now, the first time I drafted my little scheme, I assumed that I had to do the next neck decrease on the 6th row after the first one. However, I ended up having an extra decrease for the set number of rows I was supposed to work them over. Then I realized that probably what the pattern means is to count 4 rows, not decrease, and then count 6 more rows, this way having the second neck decrease a total of 10 rows counting from the first one. I’m not sure whether this is what is really meant, but at least now the number of decreases and rows seems to match.

If you have devised your own strategy to cope with puzzling parts of patterns such as this, don’t hesitate to share it! 🙂

*Note that these two decreases are not on the scheme, as they come later in the pattern, together with the shoulder decreases.

WIPs and queue check

It’s Monday again. Last weekend came and went with rather little knitting in it – in part due to my new Kindle and a sudden urge to read all I can get my hands on. After finishing my rapid Hermaness Worsted, there are essentially three WIPs left in my imaginary knitting basket:

  1. The Carpino sweater by Carol Feller. Yesterday I finally picked it up again to continue working on the sleeves. I’m currently halfway through the left one, and finding it excruciatingly boring… which makes me daydreaming about future projects. I really have to get done with this before getting started on anything else.
  2. The Little Wave cardigan by Gudrun Johnston. This is a guy’s version, being made for Chan. It’s been around I don’t even remember since when. I put it on hold during the summer – it was already bulky and little portable for holiday knitting. Now that winter’s on us, I should get it done soon. You know, “winter is coming, knit faster”, as they say… And this is a real fun pattern too!
  3. The Rib-Wise Tank by the Purl Soho. Ouch! I was knitting this over the beginning of summer in hopes of finishing in time to wear. Which didn’t happen greatly due to the nightmarish attached l-cord, which took ages to master. Also, I’m a bit disappointed in how it turned out (a bit too short, and the neck shaping a bit medieval), so I kind of lost motivation. Will have to give it a go these days though and see if blocking helps. I really hope I’ll not have to end up frogging it, since now the only missing parts is l-cord around the neck…

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Plans:

Since we are moving across the world in January, I’d better knit up as much as I can from my stash and/or give away whatever I can. I don’t know how I’ll manage, and I seem to become more and more hysterical. I had bought yarn for:

  1. Another Little Wave cardigan (lady version), for myself. I am dying to get started because it is the same yarn as the one I used for the Hermaness and really liked working with it. It also is going to be a similar rust colour as the one appearing on the original photographs of the pattern, which I just love love love. Will see how it goes.
  2. The Reversible Rivulet Scarf by the Purl Bee. Again, my yarn is a very similar lime-green to the original sample. I’m starting to think I choose patterns not because of the actual pattern, but because of the colours. In fact, I’ve been thinking of using the same yarn for a sweater instead, because I’m no longer sure whether I’m a scarf person or not. At any rate, this might end up being my in-flight project for the January move.

What is going to become of the rest of my stash is a good question. I will have to do some pattern hunting as I might have enough left over yarn for a colour work sweater in pale violets. And some colour work mittens/beanies should also be due for Christmas. Having said this, I might as well just quit my job, social life, training plan and other hobbies to get all the knitting done…

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