Sing to me: new cardigan

I want to knit a cardigan.
Or, to be perfectly honest: I want to wear a handknit cardigan.
For weeks now, this desire has been stirring inside me.

All that time I could not start knitting one because I was making blocks for the Karma blanket and mitts for friends and trying to knit something to cover up the body using just one skein of sockyarn (it cannot be done) (not in elastic wool anyway):

Cover-Up by YarnMadness, 400m fingering thickness, ndls 7 mm

looks good once blocked but creeps up within 20 minutes of wearing

A cardigan, a cardigan.

I have plenty of patterns in my queue of cardigans I am determined to knit. Which one to start?The problem is that you cannot grab a yarn and start knitting and end up with a fine cardigan. You have to think first. What’s your size, what’s your gauge, what adjustments does it need in the waistbustbackneckohwhydon’tIjustdesignthethingmyself?

Thinking is not my forté these days… Not even making a simple choice comes natural to me.

I decided to go about it another way: choose the yarn first and let that speak to me. “Which cardigan would you like to become, yarn?” Yarn usually has strong preferences. It is a round yarn and would look good in textured fabric. Or it has lots of silk in it and would love to drape. My eyes and hands recognize these things and have a preference of their own: which yarn would I like to work with the next few weeks? Colour, season, touch, needlesize all comes into play then.

I have a few yarns in my stash designated to become cardigans. So I browsed around… and got lost for a few hours trying to match yarn with patterns and gauge and body shape and other people’s queues and then a mystery KAL for a shawl in pretty colours and then another intriguing mystery shawl KAL from a favourite designer of mine and then dinner and a dancing cat

mystery shawl KAL Stephen West: Color Craving

mystery shawl KAL Boo! Knits: Morticia

So I started spinning yarn for the first Mystery Shawl while thinking about the second one: “it’s lace yarn, that takes foréver to knit and then you and up with a pretty spider web that doesn’t keep you warm! I’ve never finished anything in lace because I want shawls to give me warmth! it has a 1000 beads!” I probably still going to participate because her shawls are amazingly looking and not hard to knit at all.

Temptress, a pattern that I love to have, and Snow Angel, a pattern that I have.

So the next day, while spinning and thinking about shawls, I hoped for another approach to get me a cardigan: get out the yarns and see them in real life. Listen to their song.

I pulled out the yarns that I could actually remember and find with ease. (Other yarns need to be dyed first or carefully matched with a pattern that’s suitable for variegated yarns or such. Too much thinking required. Not enough singing.)

I put my feet up and listened to their songs:

Quite a few of them started their tunes midway: they already were half cardigans. There’s even the Peabody sweater that only needs it shoulders closed (again requiring some thinking and therefor not finished yet)

Here’s Peabody on the left. Still have some yarn left so I could start another cardigan with that, perhaps pair it up with another colour.

In the middle Yuuret. It needs partial frogging and reknitting. A fast knit. Could do it in a week. But a friend of mine commented: “why such a particular pattern? Why not just knit a straight up cardigan with that yarn??” which is enough to make me doubt if I will wear a Yuuret often enough to justify the third reknit and if I’d not better make the yarn into a more simple cardigan that would probably see a lot of wear. This project has to marinate for a long time before I come to a decision, I’m afraid.

On the right the grey Donegal cardigan from Springwools.com that I so painfully miscalculated in the Bluebird pattern. It is half frogged now. And there are fresh balls of yarn so I could start knitting without frogging it totally first. This yarn made my hands touch it over and over again. A definite attraction there. But to do all te recalculations…. Bluebird is a DROPS pattern and you really need to read and understand those patterns first before you take a needle to the yarn. Much thinking required.

On the left the Wrenna cardigan, started when I was making the knitting list for the fall. It’s halfway and a quick knit but I am not convinced by the open lace work in the front. It shows the shirt underneath very clearly and I have few (say 1) shirts that are not bright blue or pink or white.

pattern Wrenna by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes:

This pattern features a lazy round yoke without a raised back and my neck gets so cold with that. Besides, this ‘boat neck line’ is one of the least flattering neck lines on me. And in bulky yarn… I’m too small and curvy to look good in bulky yarns.

In the middle there’re glorious Autumn colours! A Donegal style yarn. Ready to go! I’ve been matching this yarn with Lauriel for days now, in my head. Lauriel is a cardigan with leafs and inset sleeves and I love it.

Lauriel, by Ysolda Teague:

But again: that round yoke… so cold!

Here’s someone with a clever solution:

Mathyjones’ Lauriel

While browsing through other people’s projects of Lauriel I noticed it is not very flattery shaped. It comes out big on a lot of people and the gatherings at the underbust only flatter a certain body type (mine?)

Also, the increases in the yoke are orderly spaced apart making for a bulk of fabric where a girl doesn’t need it: near the front of the shoulders, bulging up in the arm pit. I would space the increases differently. Which is a problem because the increases are part of the leaf pattern…

I would love to knit leafs with This donegal type yarn howver. It shows a beautiful reversed stockinette stitch side so I would probably do the whole body in reversed stockinette stitch… All in all, too much thinking required.

The last yarn I had on my coffee table was a cone of green real Donegal. Donegal Soft in a slightly felted Merino single, straight from Ireland via Springwools.com who only charge a 3 euro flatrate shipping worldwide (that’s $3,95)

It’s colour will not convey through the internet.

It’s darker than this, with no white flecks. It’s the PERFECT YARN for a baby dragon cardigan. A cardigan with spikes up its arms and hood. I had a cardigan like that. I wore it to pieces. As an adult, mind you.

I want to reknit that cardigan. But this requires some serious thinking…

I do want to wear a green cardigan NOW. But I don’t want to knit it…. now.

So here I am, sitting with my feet up, eyeing yarn. And with no other choice than to commit to some thinking, one way or the other.

I want a cardigan.

Here, here’s what too much thinking does to you:

Weird Wool Wednesday: important when spinning outside

I spend a lovely day spinning wool outside:

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when spinning outside it is important to accessoirise.
That’s why the cat is there, on the left chair.

And, in the background, there’s this:

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Yes, I accessoirise the forest.
That’s an empty mustard jar, embellished with Zinc thread and glass beads and forest berries.

My spinning spot from another angle:
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That’s the cabin. There is a spinningwheel on the veranda. And a freshly laundered owl wip bag on the laundry line.
Never mind.
Look for the important things.

The important thing:
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A jar from the ginger orange jelly (great on bacon pancakes!) on the other laundry line.

Another angle shows even more important things:
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Various tea pots and tea cups, ginger lemon butter cake and ganache goods.

So, always accessoirise your spinning. Preferably with a cat, flowers, cake and some chocolate. And a cuddly hedge hog if you happen to have one handy.

Weird Wool Wednesday: spinning bunnies

This is an Angora bunny:

It is a rabbit that has a DNA mutation that makes it hair grow and grow and grow. The same way it does in Angora cats and Angora goats.

It has to have its hair clipped every few months. This fluff can be dyed. Say turquoize. It is soft and smooth, it is hair.

Then you clip some wool from a sheep, say a German Merino. These clipping you dye pink. This is wool, it has small invisible roughness on each hair that makes it want to stick together.

Then you card them together to make rolags:

You send them to me and I spin them, Long Draw style:

This is one single, with lots and lots of twist. I ply it with another single, I make a two ply. It will be a pinkish yarn with some flecks of blue.

Then I knit with it. Perhaps a cowl.

I wear the cowl.

During the movements of the wearing the bunny hairs slowly work their way out of the 2 ply thread. But not all the way, I have spun this yarn tightly. They are locked into it with half their length. The other half peeks out of the thread, giving the knitting a halo. The same halo you know from a mohair sweater.

Now I have a pink woolen cowl with a developing turquoize halo. This means that during the wearing the cowl will shift in colour!

at least, that is what the owner of the bunny and me are hopping for.

Karma Knus Blanket: more blocks

I caught up, nearly:

Hearts, with slipped stitches in the Mosaic technique (the technique I vowed never to use again. But I make exceptions for Karma Sisters.)

a new technique for me: illusion knitting. Wonderful technique!! It’s just garter stitch but you change pace midrow.

I spun this silk myself, long ago. Silk has long fibres and you must remember to draft the fibre with your hands far apart, think 30 centimeters of 16 inches, otherwise the silk will cut into your fingers. This yarn has a beautiful shine and the pattern really makes it sparkle.

“Simple” patterned blocks are a relief to knit.

This is done with the Stranded Technique, a technique I find very relaxing. I have one thread over one finger, the other thread over the finger on the other hand. I alternate knitting techniques: Combined Continental with left, Miss Marple English Throw withe the right hand.

What I do not like is to have to swirl the two thread around each other at the back of the work. This is necessary when one colour doesn’t get knit for many stitches. My personal number is 5, if a colour is not being knit over more than 5 stitches it needs to be swirled at the back. This involves dropping both threads from my hands and “frunnik” them around each other.

Which is why this block features small specks of the light colour all over the dark background. I added them to avoid knitting longer than 5 stitches. It didn’t work everywhere because I had to give the letters a clear dark surrounding. Like underneath the A.

Also, I didn’t get a satisfactory solution for the two hearts in the design… I tried two things and I’m not satisfied with either. I chose to keep them and I hope the designer of the block, Bloem, doesn’t mind too much.

Weird Wool Wednesday: making a list

I’m making a new list of all the patterns and yarn I want to use in the remainder of this year.

At the beginning of the year I made such a list and it felt great. My thoughts were in order and plans I absolutely wanted to realize had a place. As the months progressed I amended the list and put done in big bold letters behind every thing I finished:
list1

Finishing things and crossing them of the list was a very nice feeling.
it’s a long list. I even added things without giving them a month. In the end I just blurted out all things I absolutely want to do, asap. Some even got done.

list2

I even did some things that were not on the list. Not giving them a done made me a little sad…
I didn’t do some things that were on the list and absolutely need to be done this year. This makes me a little sad too. But what can you do? Knitting is my hobby and sometimes plans and yarn will just not play nice.

All in all I got a lot of things done and now have some items in my closet that I really needed or wanted and I didn’t come around to making before. So there. Score!

Then last Friday I spoke with a woman who raises sheep for fleece quality:

dahhhrrrrrrRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOL!!

Raising sheep for fleece quality is not something many people do in my country. Or any country for that matter. She is good. She works with Merino’s and Bowmont sheep. Her sheep wear a protective jacket. I can’t wait! I asked to purchase a fleece from her in the new year.

This made me put the first thing on the list for next year…

 

list3

 

 

which means I better get my list sorted out because this year is going to end someday and there are still three fleeces hidden in this house that need to be prepped, spun and preferably knitted before that beauty arrives in the new year.  By then the new year will have a list of its own and I’ll have to marry the two lists and time is limited and SQUAAK! Breathe…. and prioritize.

So, this weekend I settled on the couch, surrounded by my iPad, my computer, my notebook and some yarn, needles and tea and I made a new list. Reshuffle the existing list. Weed out what didn’t light my fire any more. Squeeze in some new loves.

Do not try to read my scribbling… I was just making quick notes, to be made into a good, neat, readable list later on. On the left are some projects I really want to make in the next few months. On the right some sort of calendar (with wool fests as its most important notations). At the top some yarns.

I love making lists! Making sense. Allocating time, effort and wool. It’s not ready yet, this list is not prioritized yet, I need to work on it some more. A lot more.

Which is why I do not understand how this happened:

 

I’ve stopped working on the list and I’m casting on for cardigan Wrenna, from the book French Knits, which isn’t on any list of mine, in that dark handspun in my lap that wasn’t even in my Ravelry-stash. On the side I’m planning cardigan Lauriel, from the book Little Red in the City, which isn’t on my list either what with it’s bare neck and me being cold, in that skein of Lang Yarn Donegal in a great red that is very much a colour that washes me out.

One of those weird wool things I quess…