WIPs: have I stranded?

Last week I told you I could not proceed with either of my stranded mittens because I had run out of white yarn for one pair and for the other I also had a good excuse although it escapes me at the moment.

Well last Friday my husband traveled from the city to the cabin and brought all the supplies I needed. Meanwhile I was visiting Wolhobby and her wonderful cat Beer (“bear”) and came home drunken with knitterly achievement. Holle cardi was finished! And I had found courage enough to proceed on Blue Texel Shetland Wrap!

All systems go for last week, you’d think. Yarn for the two mittens, ideas for the wrap and there was that nice ice pastel handspun I spun that wanted to become something stripey.

Well, this is where we are one week later:
– mittens: not touched.
– wrap: wrestled into submission but it took a while. Now it’s sewn up and I can proceed on the border.
– handspun: given away. (??!)
– unexpectedly cast on for a top down cardigan:

and already well past separating the sleeves! Eep?

The pattern is Entangled Vines by Alana Dakos:

An uncomplicated top down cardi with raglan sleeves and an added button band in garter stitch. With a lovely leafy detail on the shoulder and sleeve.

I’m knitting a size 41″ in Mondial Shetland Mohair which is a discontinued yarn which consists of

40% falkland wool
35% british wool
15% kid mohair
10% viscose

To me it’s a yarn with memories. It was given to me as a price in a wonderful Knit-A-Long in a Dutch knitting group a couple of years ago, by Aafke7 who has a stunning talent for seeing and creating beauty in daily moments:

Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

As soon as I received the yarn, back in 2012, I cast on for an intricate cardigan called Kelmscot, a design by Carol Sunday. It has various charts and lace and bobbles. It was a lovely winter knit in the winter of 2012 and the Dutch crafters cheered me on and taught me how to seam seams and whatnot:


projectpage here

I was so proud. So happy. But when it was finished I found I preferred the Mondial to have a different colour. It originally was a warm grey with specks of neon yellow and neon pink in it and I’d rather have it purple.

So I overdyed it:

No small feat! To get an even dye distribution you need to stir the project in the water but you’ve got to be careful not to felt it. I’d done it! I’d put it through the spin-dryer and was looking at it and realized I wanted it to have it a teeny bit more saturated tint and also a bit less splotchy. Seeing the dyepot was still warm I chucked in some extra dye and dunked the cardigan into the water and started reheating it slowly and stirring. And then everything went wrong.

The terrible felting acceident of the 31st of January 2013 happened.

I miscalculated how tiresome it is for me to stand on my feet for longer than 20 minutes. How much work handling a wet garment is. I missed how tired the first dye session had made me. To be honest: I was exhausted but too tired to notice. Besides, I was drunk with succes that it had gone so well. I stood on my feet for another hour and a half and ruined the cardigan.

I cried. Then went to bed. The following week, month, year I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the now gorgeous coloured piece of intricate felt and I still plan to use it in a felting project someday.

In the meanwhile I still had half of the Mondial yarn left, enough for another cardigan. The past 3 years I’ve thought about knitting a second Kelmscott. But the memorie still hurts, I don’t think I should knit that pattern ever again.

What I did do a couple of months ago was prepare to overdye the yarn. I do love grey at the moment but with the flecks of neon in this one…. The specks are what makes the yarn a warm grey instead of a cool or neutral grey. Warm grey doesn’t suit me very well. Neon specks don’t suit me at all. They are only seeable close up though. But seeing as I wear my eyes close up to my clothes…

A couple of weeks ago I overdyed it with green and steel blue and a bit of black. It’s now a dark greenbluegreymuddyteal:

You can still see a speck of neon yellow. I pick them out.

Friday I came home from Wolhobby with my Holle cardi and Saturday I cast on, using some of the glass bead stitchmarkers from Helix77 that are little “hello, warm greetings!” every time I use them 🙂
That’s the value of handmades, they are personal messages! Anything that’s thoughtfully given to you, actually. A daily caress or pet on the head:

Oh, I lie! I didn’t cast on on Saturday. I spend that whole day looking at a project for the handspun in optimistic ice pastel colours.

No that’s not true either! I was resting on Saturday from the travelling the day before and I spend the whole day looking at beads and figuring out which ones to order and from whom. Yes that’s it, last Saturday I spend 8 hours at the computer looking at sparklies. In the evening I emptied my Paypal account in one of the shops and that was my day. And I felt mighty good about it too!

 pic Chrystal and Ice beadshop in the UK

I’ve got plans to knit another Temptress shawl, with big triangle beads. Which have gone out of production with Japanese bead producer Miyuki since I knitted my first Temptress it seems.

Sunday I browsed patterns for the self striping handspun and around midday I realized I wanted to knit a bias striped top very much but not with the handspun.

Instead I preferred that the handspun would go to a special person and surround her with cheer and a daily pet on the head. I offered it to her and she gladly accepted. In return she has offered to try and knit me a neckwarmer -leafs!- in this nice yarn.


Pattern: Children of the Forest by Kamilla

Yarn: Malabrigo yarn lace, a single in Merino.

Both gifts. The thing with gifts is that I love to use them immediately so you can savour the moment.
This yarn you’ve got to approach this yarn with a bit of sense though. It’s not well equipped for a lace work since it’s a single and Merino, two characteristics that make it want to curl up on itself and hold on to its own feet. The comments on the yarn page regularly speak of projects felting and pilling and shawls needing reblocking after even one wear.

So I thought: better keep the yarn double, for strength. And because I do not enjoy knitting with lace weight because it takes so long. Unless it’s lace stitches with big sparkly beads. Then I thought: lace stitches are not smart but textured stitches will ok. Then I looked at the meterage I had, having the yarn double. And I looked at the items I knit and wear the most: neckwarmers and polswarmers. I nearly started a pair of mittens with it, stranded mittens, white with green owls.

But this yarn is buttery soft and therefor a delight to wear around the neck. Don’t go and waste it on hands where they will get dirty and where you don’t need buttery softness!
Can’t knit the twisted stitches though… staying in the cabin has made my shoulder flare up. But I do want to use the Malabrigo as soon as possible! Shall I weave it then? no… not with it being a single…
My friend offering to knit this is so well timed and so much appreciated!

Having promised her the handspun and having looked at many tops and at my queue and favourites many times I then cast on for Tangled Cardigan.

This cardigan will become a staple cardigan in a good, neutral colour that still looks lively due to colour variations and even though it won’t steal the limelight from any shawl or jewelry I wear with it it has a sympathetic leaf detail on the sleeve. I’ve wanted to knit this cardigan for a few years now, ever since the pattern was given to me to another lovely knitter whom I share a love for nature with. She’s the one who gave me the Indigo seeds! She’s so in tune with nature that when she drags her fingers through some soil plants just pop into existence. And kittens, she tends to attract kittens too.

The cardi is knit out of yarn that reminds me of the wonderful KAL back in 2012 when the Dutch segment of Ravelry was a different place (not that I’m sorry that it’s different today, a place like Ravelry always evolves and new flavours of solidarity emerge, flavours we couldn’t phantom a few years back. That being said, 2011 and 2012 were special years for the Dutch community and I like to reminiscent while knitting with this yarn.)

And the yarn makes me think fondly of the lovely Aafke7 who ran that KAL and is such a lovely person.

It knits up at a good gauge and steady gauge which means I can just follow the pattern and not loose myself in sidetracks and difficult puzzles I set myself. That being said, I did change the second and third leaf on the sleeve so it would be a bit more round and not look so “collapsed” as it does on the project photo.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STRANDED MITTENS?

Well, yesterday evening I’ve started to look at the mittens again. This morning I adjusted the pattern for Snow mittens and now I’m ready to knit on them again. Just in time because in about one hour my husband returns to the cabin again from the city and it would look odd that I insisted he bring me my yarns last week -he had to delve into the wool closet and I had to email him instructions –with pictures!– as to what it was I was looking for- and then I didn’t use them until he returned here this week.

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