Kelmscott cardigan done

I finished the Kelmscott!

the collar took forever, I was quite hmrpffed at the end. but here it is, blocking:

The cardigan itself is sewed together, all the ends are woven in. Apart from where the button loops must be crocheted. Those are done too but not on this photo. There are safetypins where the loops will be. And the ball of yarn is tucked away safely, for this moment.

btw, welcome in my ‘wool room’. This is where the fleeces live, my spinning wheels, the boxes with wool, felt and dye equipment. And a big microwave for dyeing wool and heating up the milk for my coffee snob husband.

It is a smidge too small…. It cannot close comfortable. And that is after I already increased 4 extra stitches in each front panel! Luckily, it can be blocked wider. The same for the sleeves, those are uncomfortably tight at the forearms.

Those too may well block out. (insert wishfull thinking here please)

Kelmscott cardigan will be blocked again. Because I plan to dye it. Yes.

This beige colour is not good for me, you see, it washes me out. It’s a strange colour to look at anyway. Close up you see the ’80s rolling by: neon yellow, neon pink, neon green. Quite bizar.

I think it will be green, foresty green. Or purple, wine coloured. It will take a bit of technique to dye a garment evenly. That is why it is already blocked once, to open up the stitches. Were I to dye it first and block it later, light specks might come peeping out from where the stitches stretch. I learned that in this shawl:

when you see it IRL you can see pink hues in the stitches. Here you see the colour it was when I knitted it:

it was blocked previously but not good enough. (look, I dyed it in the colour of the beads! Totally lucky. I did test the beads for heat resistance before knitting them in though)

Dyeing is great. Some colours are no fun to knit with (black for most people. Blue for me -yes, I’m weird. Blue look stunning on me but I hate to knit with it. Or spin it. weird weird weird)

other things to consider when dyeing Kelmscott are: start with cool water, dye and wool.  Stretch and twirl the wool in the water so the colour can reach everywhere. Add vinegar and heat later.

And for easy drying: don’t attach the collar yet. Dye, then block the two pieces, then seam together.

For 2012 I’m done 🙂

2013 starts tomorrow with a fun Pippi L. KAL and a spinning challenge. The day after I host a Winter Knitting Party here at my gnomye home (the try-out for the salmon-bacon muffins was succesfull! that is our fingerfood for tonight).

January will also bring owl mittens and dog approved mitts for a friend who professionally dyes quality yarns. That’ll be a challenge, to give her something good. In between I’ll be dyeing Kelmscott and finishing the bananasweater. That last one is knitting in the round so should be a good project for the Winter Knitting Party on Jan 2nd. Can knit in the round and talk at the same time, you see.

In between I’ll be thinking about making a blanket. With free form crocheted cats. It was not in my queue (which is ridiculous as it is) but there’s a KAL starting in one of my favourite groups and the Poinsettia KAL taught me KALs work for me. Spread the stress, allow for some downtime. So I caved. And I convinced myself 2013 will have more hours per day than previous years.

Tomorrow I hope to sit on the floor, surrounded by wools to chose the colours for that blanker. (and hosting that Pippi KAL, baking for the party and spinning artyarns.)

Yes, tomorrow will be the first day with 31 hours in it, you’ll see.

Have a happy transition into the New Year!

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12 in 2012

this year on Ravelry I was part of a group called 12in2012. Each month we would show one project that we finished that month. The only requirement was that it was knitted with yarn that was already in the stash at the beginning of the year.

It was very nice to end each month with highlighting one project. Looking back I see I chose the most orignal project each month. Colourful, strange techniques, improvised designs, they are all here:

12in2012

If you are on Ravelry you can find them in my projectspage if you look for ’12in2012′.

I was so happy with each of these projects! Even the one mini mitten I made for november (it was all I could muster that month).

These are pretty much all things I never did before: knitting Combined Continental; felting garments; weaving (with a YarnShifter); jogless stripes; bust-darts perfection; follow a pattern to the lettre; improvising from scratch.

Looking back only a few have made it to my use-a-lot area in the closet. The long cardigan from October is there, the Prickly Socks, the Winterberry cowl and the Owly Sweater from Februari.

with the others there’s something not quite good. Two are too tight to wear comfortable, one’s too heavy, two are too weird (the felted dresses although I did wear the blue one to a wool festival) and two are just too impractible. Who would to want capture their upperbody in a nice tube? I can’t use my arms and my lower back is getting cold. I don’t onderstand shoulderwarmers…

(a friend of mine cannot stop making them so some people are very good wearers of shoulder warmers. They look good on her too!)

For all the time I put into each project, often with lots of redesigning and problem solving, I would like to get a better usage rate. Even from special and original and head turning projects like these.

But still, a nice overview and a recording of lots of joy in material, colours, ideas and hopes. 🙂

ps. a lot of handspun is featured in these projects. I LOVE to knit with it.

pps. I’m playing again next year, 12in2013.

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I want both sweaters finished this december.

The Kelmscott. Which has a huge collar! And it needs blocking. And seaming.

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(o no, and a button band!)

and there is the Banana sweater (that really needs a new name since I won’t be using the yellow yarn because it’s beautiful with just the white and gray)

This is an improvised design. The hard work, the stranding and bust shaping, is done.

(but I’m running out of dark gray yarn fast.)
(if so I’ll have to spin more.)
(I won’t make it in time if I have to spin!)
(Knitting it a size too small to save yarn didn’t work either… I like to breathe)

(now I’m going to tweak the pattern and introduce white again in the sleeves. That’s why the body is now on hold, I will pick up sleeves and work them first and introduce white. Then I know how much gray is left and wether the body needs white too)

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btw, this was my x-mas morning:

lovely.

a little bit about my cat: Lillepoes is a shorthaired Birman. The breeder said to the lady from whom we got her that Lillepoes had mental problems because she was the only shorthaired one in the litter. Nonsense! Somebody had mental problems allright because this cat is severely inbred and has health issues because the breeder is irresponsible!

The previous owner was very sweet to this cat but allowed her to become pregnant when very young. From a Norwegian Forestcat no less. Lillepoes was unhappy in that household. There were Abessinians hanging from the chandeleers! The owner was attentive enough to notice and do what’s best for the cat: she gave her up for adoption via a forum for (high) sensitive people.

Now Lillepoes is very happy. We have a quiet household, with lots of routines and habits and two humans who are her best friends and are always prepared to oblige in needed cuddles. There’s a patch of forest and meadow here so there’s lot’s to see and explore (and pooping outside is also fun, it seems).

Still at times she can get nervous or very scared (especially from tall darkly dressed men). She also missed some crucial things when she was a kitten because she cannot socialize with other cats, she just doesn’t understand them it seems. Also, she was afraid of things (faces, hands, scents) close to her head and still has not mastered the art of being picked up. Have you ever met a cat that cannot be picked up? She simply doesn’t know what to do with her body, she hangs about all awkwardly, mostly up side down and cries. But still wants cuddles. We’ve practised and she has improved a bit but still…weird.

Her feet are misformed and when she walks you hear: stepSTOMPstepSTOMPstepSTOMP. That’s funny! She also spreads her toes when she’s happy and they are white on black feet so that loos adorable. Because two feet are shortened and have the toes pointing upwards I call them her hooray!-toes. Her mouth is too small and she cannot eat big chunks. But small chunks she gobbles down without them cleaning her teeth. So she gets special food in just the right size. (which the other cat wants to eat all the time, you know how that is) Lillepoes has an inbred weakness towards lungproblems. Really, if I knew the breeder I would give her a piece of my mind!

But Lillepoes is very happy now and talks with me all the time. We are best friends.

It really is bliss seeing a cat being happy.

the making of Winterberry Hood

In 2011 I was a member of the Dutch Wool Diva Spinning Doses Club. Each month I got a marvellous package at home, being a handdyed roving or handcarded batts. All made by the marvellous DutchWoolDiva

December 2011 brought a package called Winterberry:

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two batts of 50 grams with soft wools, silks and glitter. One batt had coloured layers: dark, red, white. The other had the same colours blended. For a spinner, this gives great opportunities in spinning choices. Will I spin one single blended and one single multi coloured and twine them together? Will I spin the colours from the layered batt separate or will I draft more whimsical? Spinners have so many choices that sometimes it flattens the fun.

Not with Winterberry though!

I had some old ’80s mohair skeins laying around. Mohair is a very hairy thread, the long hairs are excellent ‘grabbers’ for whatever fluff you bring near it while it is turning and disappearing into the wheel. So I let the thread of mohair roll into the wheel, kept the fluff of one batt near it untill the mohair grabbed some. Then I let the fluff roll around the thread and when I though it was enough I let the now covered thread roll into the wheel, onto the bobbin.

That’s what we spinners call ‘core spun’.

It turned the two batts into this:

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two skeins with a mohair core. One skein has the blended batt, the other one has the coloured layers that turned into a self striping yarn.

This yarn is not plied, it is a single. A single made up of a core and a covering. The core itself is an existing yarn: a two ply that had been plied. I had to take care not to overtwist the yarn. Because it would not be countertwisted through plying.

To finish the yarn (set the twist) I put it into scolding hot water and then scared it silly in icecold water. I repeated this treatment for 5 more times. This is colled ‘fulling’. It ‘felts’ the inside of the yarn. Not the outside.

Now the twist has sat, the yarn is in balance (it won’t twist and curl when you leave it loose) and the knitting will not bias.

For a whole year I did not know what to make with it. Then in early winter 2012 snow fell. And I was cold. Especially around my neck, what with my short hear and the mint sweater that still needed its collar but that I was wearing all the time anyway…

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brrrrr! so cold

then one day I started knitting. I made a circle in white with the self striping yarn, thinking it was something nice around my face. Then I picked up with the semisolid yarn, leaving the striped one dangling. Knit a few rows, felt it was time for a ‘stripe again and switched yarns. I was getting into the groove and saw myself alternating yarns like this untill I’d run out.

Then I realised the front of my neck was in the way: I’d meet my neck below before I’d cover my head on the top. So I started shortrowing. Which means you just stop knitting mid row, turn your work and knit the other way. (There are some tricks to avoid a gap. I am a fan of the shadow short row)

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so when I had enough length to cover my head without throttling myself I closed the back, starting at the top and working down. It happened to be in a stripe of dark yarn (I made it so 😉

I don’t know how I did it exactly. It was a three needle bindoff but without there getting a ridge. Basically what I did was: knit 1 stitch from the one needle and bind it off, knit one stitch from the other needle and bind it off. It created a nice mesh between the two needles.

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I did not close it all the way to the back of my neck, I left it a bit open and again inserted shortrows. This time to work downwards with the aim to make a collar. It’s all the dark rows you see. There are far more dark rows in the back than there are in the front.

Once I could knit the collar in the round again I did. Inserting a bit of stripes here and there.  I had to fudge it a bit to avoid another dark stripe. Just cut it out!

I finished with a white stripe, casting off using Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off.

With the yarn left I made two wristwarmers and I have been wearing this whole combination with much pleasure. Especially over the mint sweater that still not has its collar.

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project page here

needles used: 7mm

yarn: 163 m

used: 150 grams for the hood, 55 grams for the wristlets

Day 24 of the Advent Shawl Poinsettia: finished.

 

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on the last page this was revealed: the whole shawl is made with the designer tool Unikatissima has developed: the YouKnits Designer.

Lace blocks are represented by their knitted appearance and they can be combined visually. It’s such an easy tool! You can drag blocks, remove them, replicate.

When you are content with the visual appearance your shawl you ask the tool to print out the pattern and then you can go knit it. From chart ánd written instructions.
youknitsYou can find the site with the tool here and on Ravelry there are many blocks, both free and for purchase. The Poinsettia was made with 6 free blocks and look how they flow into each other, such a unity! Lovely.

Have a nice x-mas!

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December Bliss

Today is a day full of December bliss for me. The little cabin is lovely with a tree and lights and very nice lettre paper I got (myself) for Saint Nicholas. I hope to write two lettres to dear people today.

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There is food, no need to cook. Just reheat the organic chickensoup I made earlier from scratch. There’s rice pudding, there are tangarines. Great flavours and colours.

Yesterday I met up with my spinning group, Vluchtgedrag in Zevenaar, and it was lovely. I usually have to take a day of rest the day after so I had nothing planned for today.

Tomorrow my husband will come with our other cat for a two weeks stay. I love them. But I very much like the place to myself and Lillepoes today.

So. Eat, write, knit. That’s the plan.

the yoked sweater is past the arms now and awaits a few hours of some mindless knitting (i.e. especially good for watching films or travelling)

the Advent Shawl is up to yesterdays date:

the socks are…..somewhere.

and I finished this lovely hood and wristwarmers. They’re called Winterberry to the name of the batts I spun the yarn from.

I am wearing them right now! (it’s often a little chilly in the cabin)

I am wearing the felted skirt all the time, it’s warm and the pongé silk has lovely sheen.

 

Advent shawl Day 13 and strange things in the air

We’ve passed the halfpoint I think! I’m not sure the design is symmetrical, I hope not. I found the rhytm of this design, I’m making no more mistakes.

Knitting it every day doesn’t work at the moment but knitting every other day does.

With the black and white Bananasweater I have increased too much over the shoulders. I’m at the point where the white yarn is no longer carried and there’s only dark gray. So I decreased at lot in one row, figuring gauge would be different now that I’m knitting with only one strand. Gauge changed from 18 st to 10 cm (4″) to 16 st to 10 cm (4″)

I hope the decrease row was not too much or I might have a weird bulk in my sweater, making people think of Victorian air balloons or x-mas bulbs…

Better knit fast because tomorrow I get a visitor that will bring me the left front panel of the  Kelmscott Cardigan that I left at their house! Which is why I was forced to start the Banana sweater in the first place. You see.

which is why it’s a mystery that I felt the need to cast on this hood yesterday:

or why I am knitted it so fast. Is it because there is snow outside? Do I get extra weird when it has snowed?

Perhaps that would explain my invention today to keep the cushions in my back from sliding away…

3on the right you see my knitting-resting-watching-movies-spot. To the far right is a big window onto the garden and the bird feeders. I like to face that way, especially now that the days are short and dark.

thank Holla for owl lamps, wool centrigues and purple IKEA stools! In the window are a few goos eggs I dyed with onion skins and resistance techniques (basically: stock some leafs to the egg, putt a nylon panty over it to keep the leaves in place, put in boiling water with onion skins.)

On the left you see a green tin in which my dpns live and on the cupboard there are some of my project bags. I prefer the kind that hang from the wrist, so I can walk and knit.

Now stop distracting me, I need to get knitting!

 

 

solving sweaterproblems and Adventshawl Day 9

so it took half a day to knit a decent border that doesn’t choke me…

it has a picot edge, this looks nice, it prevents rolling that stockinette does and concentrates the location where a knitted garment receives its wear: right at the edge. The little bumps will not wear easy and receives the majority of the wear.

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first you knit a stockinette piece. Than for one row you knit two stitches together followed by a yarn over. This will be the folding line. Than you knit another piece of stockinette.

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then you knit the last knitted row together with the cast-on row. This will fold the knitted piece double. You can see this in progress on the bottom of the picture. It is why I used a provisional cast-on, btw.

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(on all these pictures you see my felted skirt! It receives a lot of wear too, it’s a delightful piece. It’s Merino roving on woolen chiffon -have you ever heard of such a thing? it’s wonderfully soft and warm!- near my knees is a thrifted silk scarf, it provides colour and texture.)

Here you see the picot edge. And a knitted on swatch in the white wool I’m planning to use for the part that will not touch my skin. It’s Swedish wool and not particularly soft.

The edge is made with my handspun Texelaar -not a fun fleece to spin- and is nice and soft.
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of course I ran into problems….

My collar needed quiet fewer stitches than the pattern I’m following (and have already changed from a bottom up cardigan to a top down pullover)

So I just started increasing. But I did not increase enough…. even if this nicely composed picture suggested knitting heaven:

 

 

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see, the sides do not flare up enough. Normal shoulders go more horizontal. I’m fudging and changing and ‘smokkeling’ to get this right. I SHOULD rip it out and knit it properly but this is already 12 hours worth of work and I stubbornly believe I can fix it. This is a well know knitters hope against experience….

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still I’m knitting on, forced to change the colour work alltogether and placing increases where the pattern never imagined them. Basically I am reinventing this whole sweater. Again.

 

In the mean time:

 

this is how the Adventshawl is coming along 🙂
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Yesterday I did not knit on it and today I did two installments. My mental faculties must be returning because I made no mistakes. It is a pleasant knit.

 

 

beginning a new sweater

Today I begin a new sweater. The bananasweater! I start at the very beginning, a very good place to start: the border around the neck.

the plan:

just knit a border that fits around your neck
start knitting downwards and make alterations so it fits around your shoulders. (this involves shortrows in the back because a sweater sits better if it’s higher in the back of your neck than the front. And then you have to increase the stitchcount to make it flare out so it can embrace your shoulders and body)

but first: the neck.

  • combine gauge and the circumference of neck to find number to cast on provisionally
  • knit.
  • knitknitknit
  • k 2 tog and YO
  • knitknitknit
  • bring the two together, you now have a border with picot-ending. This will not roll.

find out there are two things any sweaterneck must do:
1. fit over your head
2. allow you to breath

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auw…

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gargl…gasp

rip.
ripriprip

ps. advent shawl is going well. Will go even better when I learn to count. Hopefully soon.

Day 5 of Advent Shawl and Sinterklaas

Day 5 of the Advent Shawl was knitted just before going to bed. It was the only time in the day that I had some peace and enough brains in my head:
6such a nice shawl this is becoming!

It’s totally out of my comfort zone, with all the geometric lines, but I have a feeling I will be wearing it a lot and will receive lots of compliments.

It was knitted right after we celebrated Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). The cat was already ready for her present:
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Sinterklaas is a 16th century saint from Spain and Persia. His birthday is on the 6th of December which is why on Dec. 5th we give each other presents accompagnied by a funny poem. It is fun a tradition and has long lost it’s religious connotations.

Children are told the Sint rides his horse Amerigo over the rooftops and drops presents through the chimney. That’s why we traditionally place a shoe in front of the chimney with a carrot for the horse. We sing traditional songs. The Sint and his crew know whether everybody behaves.

This year the Sint brought me yarn and a pattern for owl mittens and we ate the traditional chocolates and clementines.

the yarn: Maori by wernekinck.com. 100%wool, sportsweight, 200 m on 100 grams.

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