Saturday, February 28, 2015

Portrait of a Saturday Morning

Sometimes I think I knit too many socks.

Then February comes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tractor Repair

In my neverending quest to use up scrap yarn, I made a "My Favourite Things" scarf in 2013. I've never been happy with the way the tractor turned out. Back in 2013 I wrote, "The tractor turned out a bit wonky, but intarsia is of the devil. I was lucky to emerge as unscathed as I did."

After nearly two years of the puckering bothering me, I decided to bite the bullet and do something about it. I threaded a cable into each stitch of the section above the tractor.

Then I pulled out the last/top row of the tractor section.

Then I started to unravel.

It took about an hour just to get the section undone, and then another several hours to get it reknit. I tried to strand as much as I could, and I ended with duplicate stitch.

Then I kitchnered the top row to the row I had on a cable. It was 240 stitches. The only way out is through.

It's better. Not perfect, but better. I can definitely live with it, and I'm happy I redid it. I wear this scarf a lot, and I want to be happy with how it looks.

Own the crazy, my friends. Own the crazy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Circadian Test Knit

I've knit a couple things for Alpaca with a Twist, but my first real test garment is the Circadian Pullover by Pamela Wynne for Juniper Moon Farms. The collection  has now been released. Wanna see?
knit in Juniper Moon Farm's Zooey in colorway 11 Mainsail
(I used the leftover yarn from this pullover to make the Arbutus.)

Both photos by Caro Sheridan

It was a good foray into test knitting. The instructions for the test knitters were very clear, and communication was prompt whenever I had questions. I finished the sweater in a couple weeks, but I freely admit I worked pretty hard to get that done. I have a job which, ridiculously enough, doesn't involve me knitting at my desk, but I knit on this faithfully when I could when I wasn't at work. Although I wouldn't have gotten it done in two weeks if I hadn't been knitting on a deadline, it's still a pretty quick sweater with lots of stockinette.

There are tons of glorious patterns in this collection. Check out Juniper Moon Farm's blog to see them. My favorite may be the Luna Pullover, although I know the grays influence my love as much as any other elements of the sweater. So pretty.

Thanks to Juniper Moon Farm for letting me help with the collection!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Grandma's Knitting

When we cleaned out my grandparents' house, I came home with a reusable grocery bag full of Grandma's knitting supplies. I went through them, made a list of everything that was there and sent it to my relatives who knit. No one wanted anything, and the bag sat in the guest room for two years.

Sweaters are fashion news!

There are a lot of '70s patterns. The picture below comes from a sweater with a train along the bottom of it. I want to warn this poor girl. Clearly, immediately after this photo was taken, the puppet came to life and attacked her. I wonder if she survived.

"Mom! Look at this great doll this strange, muttering woman gave me on the street! 
She gave me some extra-crunchy candy, too!"

I decided to look for a small, vintage suitcase that I could leave open and display the supplies. When we were with some friends, I told them my plan. My friend left the room and came back with two small suitcases. They had belonged to her Gram, and I took the larger one home to see if it would work.

Look at those flowers! Gram clearly had awesome fashion sense. 
I'd carry that suitcase in a heartbeat.

I'm happy to have this stuff out where I can see it. I may never knit any of these patterns, but a) I love having my grandma's things in a suitcase that belonged to my friend's grandma; it feels like a nice way to honor them, b) even if I don't use this stuff, I love having Grandma's knitting things displayed among my own, and c) I have a much better chance of using some of these if they're where I can actually get to them easily.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All You Need Is...

I'm not yet tired of embroidered pillowcases.

Not even a little bit.

I found the "Love" on pinterest, and it seems to come from here. 

The rest of it, I just did whatever I wanted to. 

French knots! Who knew they were so easy? I remember eons ago when I did cross stitch (for 4-H projects, naturally), and French knots were the meatloaf* of my needlework world. Then I read Jenny's explanation and *POOF* French knots. Genius. If you have any interest in embroidery, I recommend her book

*I cannot tell you how much I despise meatloaf. I've been a vegetarian for... hell's bells, five and a half years, and I still shudder whenever anyone mentions meatloaf. Horrors like meatloaf do not fade with time.**

**No, not your meatloaf. I'm sure your meatloaf is delicious, and I am deeply saddened that I cannot try it due to my hippie vegetarianism. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Juniper Moon Farmer's Market Cardigan

We had a little snow--just a couple of inches, much less than what we'd been told to expect--which seemed like a great time to take a picture of the Farmer's Market Cardigan.

Farmer's Market Cardigan (mine ravelled here),
knit in Juniper Moon Farm's Moonshine in colorway 3 Conch Shell

The yarn is one I've not worked with before. It's very soft, made up of 40% alpaca, 40% wool, and 20% silk. There were a few inconsistencies in the yarn, but I chalk that up to using real yarn. The only other complaint I have is that it sheds a lot. I keep forgetting and wearing it with black pants, which is a mistake. I should use one of those handy pockets to carry a lint brush.

The sweater itself is not hard, but Good God Almighty there's a lot of sewing and blocking. I complained about that before, and I stick to my belief that anything under the Finishing heading in a pattern should take less than 2 hours (not including drying time). After the body of the sweater is knit, the provisional hem is picked up, there's more knitting and some purling and some creating a fake hem. The pockets have hemmed bottoms, which nearly killed me because apparently I can't follow a line of stitches in a straight row. The sleeves are sewn into the armholes, seamed all the way down, and then hemmed the same way the body was. Then Blocking #1 happens.

Next I knit the edging, which was all separate.* The edging is then blocked, which I did by pinning it flat directly onto the sweater. (You'll note this is Blocking #2.) Once it dries, it's sewn on.

At this point, I wore it for the first time. I wasn't pleased with the way the edging was laying, so I blocked it again (Blocking #3). I'm much happier with it now.

I really like the sweater, but I do think my next sweater will be a top-down raglan!

*Note to anyone making this sweater: For the love of alpaca, DO NOT try to cable on any row associated in any way with a short row. It will end in tears. Do not ask me how I know this.