Monday, December 16, 2013

It's a Wrap

Today is my birthday, and I'm surrounded by gifts, but none of them are for me!

I'll be going home to Ireland on Wednesday, and I'm wrapping up all the gifts I've made for my family. 

Just one sock and one pair of gloves left to knit before Christmas. I think I'll make it!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gift Knitting So Far

Just under three weeks until Christmas is here. Nineteen days until Christmas eve. I have one and a half pairs of socks and a pair of gloves left to knit.

I think I have enough time.

Here's what I have finished (though weaving in ends and blocking remains to be done):

1. A miniature pair of socks for the little girl I mind. These took two or three evenings to knit. They are a merino-bamboo-nylon self-striping by Online Yarns, and the toes, heels and cuffs are knit in some sock wool from Lidl which is nowhere near as soft as the other wool. This is because I want enough of the stripy yarn left over for a pair of socks for myself. (Even in my gift knitting I'm selfish!)

2. Something secret

3. A convertible cowl/hat. This is the clever Howlcat pattern by Alexandra Tinsley.

And I have a feeling I'll be binding off on this pair of socks later on today!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Speedy Socks

A few weeks ago, I posted about my fastest pair of socks ever. That pair took a week to knit.

Today, I am posting about a pair that seems to be flying along even faster. I started this pair at the weekend, and got the first sock knit in two days. Part of the reason is that I had a lot of knitting time, another part is that they're only 60 stitches around. I did my normal 64 stitches on 2.25 mm needles and found them far too baggy, so I decreased and kept going. This is my progress as of this morning:

I do a lot of travelling on public transport during the day, usually about two hours, so I might even get this pair finished today. Maybe I should pack some extra yarn?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gift knitting

Have you heard of the Indie Design Gift-Along on Ravelry?

I came across it last week and was inspired to make something other than socks as Christmas gifts. Up until Friday, there was a discount on every pattern included in the giftalong.

The first pattern I bought was the Howlcat by Alexandra Tinsley. It's a simple but clever pattern which can be worn as both a cowl and a hat. My version is in progress at the moment.

I liked the colour combination at first, but now I think I would have preferred a lighter colour for the blue portion and a darker colour for the thin, fingering weight section. The beige, tweed wool is a sock wool by Schoeller + Stahl, and I really hope it gets softer after washing. The blue wool, on the other hand, is divinely soft. It's a merino-acrylic blend, as I can't seem to be able to afford 100% wool yarns in this city. I think this cowl/hat will definitely be worn with the blue side against the owner's skin.

I bought a second pattern in the Gift-Along. The Woodstove Season cardigan by Alicia Plummer caught my eye, and I snapped it up. It would be naive to think I could knit an entire cardigan between now and Christmas, but maybe this one will get started in the New Year.

And let's be honest, it will probably be for me!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tension Issues

There are a lot of things I love about my current project.

I love the pattern. The Larch Cardigan is another beautiful design by Amy Christoffers, who is firmly at the top of my list of favourite designers.

I love the yarn, which is a 70% wool/30% silk blend by Anny Blatt. It's one of the softest yarns I've knit with and it looks like the finished product will be very squishy and comfortable. The yarn does split a lot, but it was also on sale at 50% off, and I got amazing value for my money. Each 50g ball cost €3.65, and back in Ireland I struggled to find acrylic blends which were cheaper than that.

I love the colour. It's perfect for this autumn weather, even though I don't think it will be finished until the orange leaves are long gone.

One thing I'm not so sure about is my tension. After starting this cardigan, I realised that I hadn't knit stockinette flat in a long, long time. As a result, my purl rows are much looser than my knit rows.

The uneven rows certainly don't bother me enough to rip back and start all over again. The more I knit, the less obvious it becomes. It might even be less visible after blocking.

And if not, I'll happily look back on this cardigan someday when my knitting is smooth and beautiful and think back to the time I was young, inexperienced, and struggling to knit evenly.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Seven Days

It's been just over a week since I cast on a new pair of socks on the train to college on the morning of my graduation. Imaginatively, these socks were named "Graduation Socks". In those eight days I have spent a lot of time travelling and a lot of time knitting.

Yesterday morning, on day seven, I bound off the last stitches on my fastest ever pair of socks.

One week for a pair of socks; six weeks until Christmas... Does that mean I'll have time to knit up a few pairs to give away?

Last year I didn't give any knitted gifts for Christmas. I had only been knitting for a year, and I still felt like I hadn't knit enough for myself. Until now, a pair of socks has taken me at least two weeks, and I loved them too much to give away.

Of course, I won't get six more pairs knit before Christmas, but maybe I can finish that half-made pair for one of my sisters and knit up the self-striping picked out by my other sister. And maybe a kids-sized pair for the girl I babysit, who is always interested in what I'm knitting and has asked me several times for a pair of socks (or a jumper!). I think that can be done!

For more FOs, check out Finished Object Fridays at Tami's Amis.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Successful Week

The weekend is nearly over and I've had a wonderful week.

First, I finished up my turquoise raglan jumper. I followed the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan pattern, and was originally unhappy with the fit, but after blocking it has stretched out nicely and softened up quite a bit. The wool was a gift, and it has a very interesting texture. It's a two-ply, and one ply is loosely spun and the other ply is bouclé. The yarn looks great and I love how it has turned out in the jumper. I also added a dip at the back like I've seen on commercially knit jumpers by using short rows before the ribbing. It's completely improvised and turned out surprisingly well.

Then, I finished up a pair of socks which I had been working on for a while. I knit them in a 3x1 rib, which takes me a lot longer than plain stockinette socks. The wool for these socks was bought in Lidl and was very cheap. It also seems like great quality.

I weaved in the ends, and washed and blocked these two projects and took a very quick snap of them as they were drying.

As I had finished my big project, I went on a wool-seeking excursion so I could cast on a new jumper. My first stop was a shop called Handmade in Berlin, Germany. It's a yarn shop and café, and I'm very happy to have something like this in my area. I was very fortunate to find a wool-silk blend at 50% off in a beautiful autumn orange colourway.

I bought enough for a jumper, and cast on a swatch straight away. I tried both 4mm and 5mm needles (US 6 and 8), washed and blocked, and preferred the denser fabric. Then I measured my gauge and did search on Ravelry and came up with some patterns with the same gauge. One of the patterns which matched my gauge was the Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers, a pattern I had admired since I first spotted it a while back.

So I bought the pattern and cast on! It's in the early stages, but the wool is so soft and I can already tell that I'm going to adore wearing this cardigan.

Then on Wednesday evening, I left all this knitting behind to go home to Ireland for my graduation! Here is a very unprofessional photo of me on the blustery day:

So I'm enjoying my short time at home at the moment. I'm flying back to Berlin on Monday, and will take some nicer photos of my finished objects then, and I will also blog about what I've been knitting this weekend. Hope you're enjoying your weekend too!