New yarn and Sinterklaas!

I done did it:

A kilo of Donegal Heather aran weight Irish grown and spun yarn in a perfect shade of greyish blue.
So good for the colours of my face!

Oooh, so squishy!
This will be great for a cardigan 🙂

But first I’ll finish Wintertrui and February sweater. I’m still knitting on them both! But not writing about it.

Because today is Sinterklaas, a national feast where we gently poke our loved ones with witty poems attached to a gift.
Americans will recognize “Santa Claus” in the name “Sinterklaas” and you’re right. It’s the same Saint Nicholas.

With us he still wears his bishops’ attire and he brought his staff member:

Saint Nicholas was a bishop in Persia, long long ago. We’ve been celebrating this saint since Medieval times.

Unfortunately to modern eyes, especially those from a country that experienced slavery and “black face make up“, the feast now looks racist.
It is not, originally.

The dark skinned advisories of the saint are Morish noblemen and staff. Dressed in 17th century dress. They help the old man keeping track of which child behaved well and deserves a present:

They are named Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”) which is the name of a bogeyman in old European myths: a black devil that kidnapped bad kids.

It’s only a century and a half ago that Zwarte Piet was added to the story of Sinterklaas. Zwarte Piet is a modern invention! The new duo became a tool to scare children into behaving.

For the last century we’ve been lying to children that Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet come over from Spain in a steam boat. They roam the roofs, listening wether kids behave and then dropping gifts through the chimney.

About 30 years ago the bogeyman part of Zwarte Piet dissolved, since we no longer believe one should scare kids into behaving well.

Zwarte Piet and Sinterklaas is such a mesh of myths and customs that one can’t clearly define Sinterklaas or Zwarte Piet. There are many variations and origins. Not one of them is the true Sinterklaas. Not one of them is the true Zwarte Piet.
But for one thing: the figure of Zwarte Piet was never meant to mock black people.
However, it does now look racist to our modern eyes.

And dark skinned Dutchmen Ă re being called “Zwarte Piet!” by young children who still believe in the fairy tale.
Which dĂłes make it a racist phenomenon nowadays.
But not for the reasons people usually think.

So, as a country, we are in a bit of a pickle.
We have this old tradition which is really part of our culture. There’s a lot of fun in it.
We have a lot of people thinking it mocks black people, especially foreigners who see “black face”. And we have locals being called Zwarte Piet which is a tiresome experience.

We have a problem. We don’t know what to do. But it’s clear it cannot go on like it did for the past century.

This year they tried different coloured Zwarte Piet. There even was a clownish white one. Which scared the kids and adults to no end.
We had protests and demonstrations.

these pictures come from the Saint Nicholas Center.org, a good site to learn about Saint Nic and his various spin offs.

To me the solution is this: we cannot deny nor solve the racist associations in the current feast. It has to metamorphose. The medieval idea of a black bogeyman has to go. It’s outdated.

But also the idea of the “simple servant” has to go. Even with a different coloured face Zwarte Piet still looks racist to me: goofy simple African guy serving his master.

I’d like to make Zwarte Piet the Morish nobleman that his looks come from. A salute to history and to an empire we know little about nowadays. Taneter.org is a site dedicated to just that. Awesome info!
Zwarte Piet would be an equal to Sinterklaas. Moors were well revered when Saint Nicholas was around. He could easily be a fellow saint.
This would make an awesome extrapolation to our tradition!

It could tie a thread to his Dutch counterparts: the noblemen and staff in the 17th century in Holland, that’s our Golden Age, with Rembrandt and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and the lot.

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet could even be time travellers and bringing old (funnily backward) ideas to the modern Dutch and being amazed by for example modern toilet facilities. It would make for fun poems!
(my poems last year were nearly all about cat poop, what can I say)

Anyway, not much knitting today. I’m writing poems and wrapping presents. And petting yarn.

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February sweater ends in November.

This is my February Sweater Stientje back when it was fresh off the needles:

Made from a single handspun Veluws Heideschaap with a yoke of handspun in colours that compliment my face.
I made it in February 2013 and have worn it a lot since then. The Heideschaap grew very ragged. Probably because it’s a single. Singles don’t hold the fibres very well.

I did wear it all the time, especially when working outdoors. It got dirty beyond washing. I love this sweater. I use it.

But nowadays the sweater is too ragged. I can’t look at myself anymore when I wear it….
As I’m stalled on the smurf minty sweater a bit (gotta thing about button holes) and have lots of the white Donegal heather yarn left, this is what happened today, November 30th 2014:

This is the sweater this evening: the first few rows of a new body and Lillepoes happy with her new blanket:

Wintertrui 2014: can I start knitting already?

The choosing of the pattern for the Wintertrui 2014 has to begin from scratch. Luckily the Ravelry pattern database is a very nifty tool for this. I’ve restricted myself to looking at aran patterns only.
And with any pattern I like I look at the projects people made from it, to get a feel for how aran knits look like in real life. How they drape on real people.

Furthermore I’ve restricted myself to patterns that are free or already in my library. Just to make things easy and cheaper for me.

Since I have to supplement my handspun with extra yarn and I chose Donegal Heather for this I had a look at my Bluebird Cardigan which took me 1000 m of Donegal Heather yarn. On needles 5,5 mm. With cables.

I’ve got 700 m of the minty handspun so I can guestimate that I’ll at least get a set of front panels and sleeves out of it.

Which means I could make Snowdrift cardigan, one of the patterns in my restricted list and a long time favourite of mine. I could make it with a white collar and cuffs and a white back.

pattern: Snowdrift Cardigan by Michele Rose Orne
This has plenty of Snow Winter Queen feel to it. And the white Donegal would really work for those cables. Albeit it’s not soft enough to cuddle into properly, with your cheeks for instance. But a small shawl worn around the neck would fix that.
Snowdrift Cardigan would be well warm, too!

It’s in the first book I ever bought for its patterns. (And I have yet to knit something from it.)

Another inspiration comes from the second book I bought for its patterns (and have yet to knit from): Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague.

Pattern: Skelf by Ysolda Teague. Could do neckline in white. Would do the body in stockinette stitch. But I don’t like the placement of the bust darts in this book.
And how would I distribute the two colours? Blue body, white arms?

There’s also Collonade Jacket by Amy Miller:

This is in aran thickness! But it’s too etherial to my taste. And I’d want it closed at the front. Could work well with the colours though: blue body, white collar and cuffs (fudge it at the sleeves).

How about Leitmotif Cardigan by Carrol Feller:

Closing at the front. Enough panels to play around with the colours. Could do the cable panel in white and the collar in blue… The handcuffs and bottom edge in white (nice cables in round yarn!), the rest in blue. I like it.

But it’s knit sideways…
And quite holey with the lace:

I wouldn’t need to do the whole thing sideways. Then I wouldn’t have to know the gauge upfront.
A sideways knit back panel would have the advantage of beging able to knit-till-it-fits. No gauge neccessary. I’d pick up stitches at the bottom of the cabled panel and knit downwards.
I could diminish the holes. And those cables would look really good in the white Donegal.
I’d knit downwards in blue then.

And that collar is proper knit-till-it-fits: just pick up stitches and knit until you think it’s wide enough. Add some buttons.
hmm. I like. 🙂

There’s also another fairy tale knit in aran: Bella Paquita by Marnie MacLean:

A darling pattern, in aran weight yarn. The ribbing will make it fit all my tummy rolls and make it comfortable to wear. The V-shape flatters my body shape.
I could do clear colour blocks: top in blue, ribbed bottom in white. Or vice versa.
Or I could do the top in blue, the neck band in white, change midway in the sleeves.
It’s a free pattern 🙂

Ah. The gauge is 18 stitches to 10 cm. How do they get that? I’m at 12,5 stitches. So mine would look more butch than this lovely. Also I’d have to recalculate the pattern. That’s two times meh.

hmm. Most aran sweater patterns in de Ravelry database have a gauge of 18 stitches to 10 cm. Guess I better do a quick search on bulky yarns to see where it gets me.
—————————————————————
a few hours later:

Right.
I’ve looked at things. Thought about things. With my gauge being so different from gauge in aran patterns I think I should definitely go with “frankenstein” patterns.

I’ve brought it down to

  1. the Eskimo Shrug with a nice panel on the back and frankensteining it as I go.
  2. Snowdrift Cardigan
  3. Leitmotiv Cardigan

After a walk outside I came back in and looked at these three patterns while holding a ball of mint yarn and a ball of white yarn in my hands For looking but also for feeling. Snowdrift Cardigan I’d rather have with a softer white collar so that one’s out.

Remains Eskimo Shrug and Leitmotiv Cardigan.

And that’s when I saw it: if you start the Shrug with a panel in white cabling and place it sideways, you’ve got Leitmotiv Cardigan.
And if you start Leitmotive Cardigan with just a panel at the top back then you’re basically knitting DROPS Shrug.

Man…
I could have started knitting Wintertrui two days ago!

PS
pockets! Love me some pockets. These are brilliant:

pattern: Buds and Blooms by Alana Dakos

narrowing down for Wintertrui 2014

I made some choices:

  1. It’s going to be the minty smurf blue handspun and I don’t have enough of it to make something with sleeves so it’ll be accompagnied by the white Donegal Heather. (I can buy new. I can buy new.)
  2. I want it to be winterfairytaley. Gletsjer magic.
  3. I don’t want it frilly. It needs to be a bit plain because this garment will be supporting other focus points such as a shawl or jewellery.
  4. good wearability by choosing wearing ease. Must be wearable over a longsleev.

I’ve looked at patterns and zoomed in on these:

  • Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier, to be knitted with long sleeves and less bell shaping. I made this one before, it’s a good pattern.
  • Drops’ Eskimo Shrug. To be knitted with stockinette stitch back panel and elongated into a hip long vest. I’ve done this before and love the result. Could do that again, with the blue in the main body and the white in a big collar. And add sleeves.
  • Askew by Cheryl Kemp. This would be nice in blue with thin white stripes in garter stitch. Fairy tale ahoy!

All three have their challenges.

Buttercup demands a bit of lace knitting and I’m not very fond of lace knitting in big needles. It often looks bumpy and unsophisticated.

But I love that neckline! It’s so feminine and fairy tale. I made it before and took care to position the neckline lace precisely, making it into some sort of a sweet heart neckline:

I’ve made it before and it looks smashing on me. I don’t have a picture of me wearing it but this picture gives some idea of the shaping I’d put into it again, both at the bust and at the waist. and you can imagine how it would look. Smashing!

But how to incorporate both yarns? I don’t like stripes very much. I think I’d go for colour blocks. The top in blue. The bottom half in white.

Or the top in white since the lace will look good in the round 3 ply Donegal Heather.

Eskimo Shrug wants you to know the gauge up front. And I don’t know it. But I guess I could find my way around this. It starts with a panel for the back and I could make that to size by starting in the middle and just knitting until I reach the desired width, just like Concrete Shrug does:

pattern: Concrete by Nicole Feller-Johnson

But not exactly like Concrete does because these squares don’t say “Snow Princess Fairy Tale knitted pullover” to me. More “Urban chick”.
There are other options though, to knit a panel to size, such as a flower. Or even a snowflake design:

A hat with a crocheted snow flake that I made for my brother. The pattern is Let it Snow Snowflake Hat by Alison Shuman

But here you see my objection to lace in big needles illustrated. It’s bumpy. And not very warm with all those big holes. (Oh! I could make it a double layer of fabric: one snow flake on one plain block. That would be warm! Would it be too bumpy? would I still sit comfortably against a chair with snow flake bumps on my back?)

Askew has been made by quite a few people who report problems with the sizing. It runs too small and relies too heavy on severe blocking. So I need to swatch and find out my gauge and then interpret the pattern so I can guess which size is best…

But you’ve got to be careful. You can’t just go and enlarge a design in bias. It will result in a big flappy point in the front and still not enough fabric in the back to cover the top and the bottom (which is where I feel the cold). I’ve experienced this in Petra, which I do not wear for warmth (or pleasure). Bias knitwear keeps creeping up. You can’t block it to shape.

pattern: Petra by Julie Weisenberger

Askew relies heavily on blocking as negative ease is needed for a form hugging shape. The design itself also relies on certain proportions. The front piece has vertical on the sides: these are sideseams. But at the top it curves to the front to make for the arm hole (without shaping I’m guessing). If you enlarge it without planning these points will come higher, throwing off the overall design. You’d have too high side seams in your arm pits and too much fabric folding over the breasts.

And I’d need adjustments at the back to make sure that’s wide enough and meets the side seams at both ends. And high enough because people wearing it show it doesn’t cover the back very much.

Besides, the efficiĂ«nt knitter in me would want to knit the front in one piece. Preferably with the back attached immediately. That’s a lot of knitting gamble in one chunk. Chances of having to frog and restart are high. And I’d have to know gauge for that one…. gauge is tricky in bias design… Chances of frogging increased.

I love bias. I love the point at the front and the neckline it brings at the top. It would make a marvellous fairy tale like garment. But I’m a bit weary of all the variables… I just want to knit, I don’t want to knit and learn and frog and reknit.

Conclusion:

* Eskimo Shrug would knit the easiest, as you can add fabric as you go.
The vest I made from this pattern before is very much a Frankenstein-knit-as-you-go garment. The armholes were too big in the back and I had to “shortrow” them closed. The vest didn’t close in the front so I just kept adding borders to the collar. In elongated stitches because I was running out of yarn. In the end these big yarny holes turned out to be very good button holes so that was nice.

It’s a great vest. I wear it with pleasure. I handspun the yarn myself, from an organic fleece from a very nice farmer, Francis. The wool is very soft.

Knitting Police haven’t bonked on my door, demanding answers. I could do this again I guess.

Issues to ponder:

  • how to insure a Princess Snowy image in this vest? (embellish the white collar with cable thingies? Snowdrops perhaps?)
  • how to make that back panel? (snowflake?)
  • is the Donegal soft enough to be made into the collar and be worn next to the skin in the neck?  (not really…)
  • how to colour the sleeves? will there be enough yarn left from the body to have some mint in the sleeves?
  • what border to choose at the bottom, to prevent flipping up? (it should be in accordance with the border of the collar)
  • button holes?

I’m sitting here writing, with one of the balls of Donegar tucked into the neckband of the sweater I’m wearing at the moment. To check for next-to-skin-softness.

It’s not. Not really.

  • give the collar a soft lining?

 

planning a winter trui

I’m toying around with the purple bouclĂ© I spun at Tour de Fleece this year. It wants to be the yoke of a sweater.
It goes best with a white yarn. The purple would be the yoke, transitioning from white to dark purple. It would be a comfy yet glorious winter sweater (“trui” in Dutch), with the sparkles and the warmness and the dark and the light!


I’ve got the right yarn for it, it’s the white Donegal yarn. Donegal Irish Heather, from native Irish sheep, not tortured Merino’s. Aran weight.

The same yarn I used for my Bluebird Cardigan, and there’s still a bit left from thatin dark:

(the dark grey doesn’t do anything for the handspun.)

The other handspun that wants to become a wintertrui is that minty smurf fluff.
It’s about 700 m of aran weight. I don’t think it’s enough for a sweater…. if I look through Ravelry’s database most sweaters with a yarn of this thickness are either cropped or with short sleeves.

So I’m looking for a yarn to accompagny it.
The dark donegal works:

But the white donegal works better, it brings out the white whips of silk:

But I had plans for that white donegal…. I was dreaming of a hiplong cardigan, with lots of cable-details. I even designed it last year. Snowdrop Cardigan!

I’m not ready to abandon that project….
even though I can make two (if not three) sweaters out of that yarn when combined with other yarns. (the purple bouclé, the minty handspun and the dark grey Donegal)

But will I ever pick up this hibernating project again and knit it?
It’s bottom up with all the things going on simultaneously: the cables, the decreases, the lace edging, the button band and the button holes … It takes a bit of concentration.

But I’d love a white, long cardigan! And I’ve got 1600 meters of the stuff, the luxury of having plenty! To knit a long cardigan in one go, in one yarn. And it’d be my own design! And this wool would be perfect because it’s so round (3ply) so all the cables etc. will pop up splendidly.
Snow drops!

pic by cseilerde

But I did abandon that project… for that blasted Oak Grove Cardigan. Which is still in time out because it still makes me angry.

I don’t think I’ll pick it up soon, my Snowdrop Cardigan. Right now I want to knit with the bouclĂ©. And with the smurfy mint. Simple top down sweaters with round yokes. Try it on as you knit. Stop increasing when it fits. Bind off when it’s long enough.
No hassle.

But sweaters like that do not benefit from round yarns like the Donegal. Round yarns like that shine in cabled knitwear, where they can emphasize the stitches.
It would be a pity to use it for simple stockinette… I so like Snowdrop, I’m petting it now… I could pick it up, try and get it going again? It’s so nice. But so much work, I’d have to drop all the other things. No bouclĂ©. No smurf.

This yarn would be excellent for the bouclé! It does knit up beautiful in stockinette stitch. And I have it here, now, this yarn is in my hand!

I guess I could buy new yarn if I ever decide to knit a Snowdrop again… Springwools in Ireland still carries the stuff. And delivery is still only 3 euro… Perhaps I should I buy it already? Just to be sure I have it?

Although I did heard a rumour that sheep are growing more wool as we speak…

This is me not knitting: Draakjesvest.

I am taking it easy this week. My shoulder is happy with that. But I couldn’t sit still.

So I started a Draakjesvest, a Little Dragons Cardi.
I used to have a cardigan like that. It was green, from heathered yarn, 100% wool and it had a hood, pockets and spikes on the hood and along the arms. It was shop bought in the previous century when I didn’t know how to knit but did feel good wearing wool.

I had to leave it behind when I left Norway, back in 2005. It was totally worn out and came apart at the seams. Still it hurt throwing it away. But I needed the space in my suitcase for a felted weddingdress!

It was such a great little cardigan! I used to wear it when walking through the Art Academy and some guy would whisper friendly greetings from behind white walls: “draakje… draaaaaakje..”
Now I am recreating it.

(also, this is me not typing on the computer to give my shoulder rest…)

Terrible pictures, it really is a lovely green.
ribbing and one outer part of a pocket.

I’ve never done pockets before.
Invented the big cable myself. I will repeat it on the sleeves, bigger, and spikes will grow out of it.

There’s waste yarn running through the stitches. It will help with picking up and knitting stitches once I start knitting the ribbing part. The picked up stitches will become the inner lining of the pocket.

Also: see how neat the cables grow from the ribbing! I like that, the flowing of things.
Took a bit of tinkering and thinking to make that happen.
(Which is the not-knitting part of this. I took a full day to do the math and designing. All the while resting my shoulder.)
(then I knitted it in small installments. This is all the knitting I did this week. It’s not much.)
(Of course I had to rethink the cables once I started knitting. Originally I had designed 4×4 cables but you cannot grow those in a beautiful way from 2×2 ribbing. The 2 purl-stitches are placed inconveniently. You can grow 3×3 cables from 2×2 ribbing though, which is what these are)

Here’s the right front pocket, parked and ready to have its stitches picked up from the backside while I work the rest from the cardi from the ribbing:

In the next picture, please note how my column of k-stitches next to the p-stitches runs very wide, compared to the other k-stitch columns:

It has to do with tension and with switching between p and k.
There’s a darning needle in these pictures. Below it those stitches are wide. As are the purl-stitches beside it.
Above the darning needle I had tried out a solution. They look better, yes?

It’s a solution I got from TECHknitter. She ran a three part series on uneven knitting. Very educational!

She rightfully identifies this sort of uneven stitches as uneven tension between k and p stitches.
There are a few possible solutions. I chose to slip every purl stitch when it comes right before a knit stitch (as seen from the Right side)

You can see it here, the slipped stitch is on the needle with the working yarn running below it, it’s the p stitch on the left side of the utmost right cable. (This is the other pocket again, I applied the solution from the beginning and this column of k-stitches looks just as neat as the k-stitches beside it.)

Here, I’m pointing it out. This is the running yarn that I will knit into that p-stitch on the next row:

On the next row I’ll knit the yarn that was slipped the previous row (and I slip the stitch in this row)
It works, I think.

project page here. Not much on it though.

I knit the body on 3,25 mm with gauge of 20st/10 cm
yarn is Donegal Soft. This is Merino and a single (fulled). Heathered, in gorgeous green. I bought it in Ireland, at Springwools.com
They’ll ship a kilo of the stuff to you for just 2,95 euro flat rate!

I went over there and brought it home. This is the one I have, but it’s more darker and variegated in real life. Not so loud:

But also not nearly so dull and dark as in my own pictures!
It has a lot of spinning oil in it. As a precaution I wash my hands after I knit. With other yarns (shetlands from Eastern Europe) I’ve gotten insomnia from the oils.

Inspirations for my Little Dragon Cardigan are #13 Central Park Hoodie (CPH) and the Spiked Dog Collar.
But I am adding pockets and waste shaping to the CPH. And knitting another cable and different gauge and different placement of cables. So really, there’s not much CPH in my cardi…

But the original picture of CPH does have that “Draakjes”feeling I’m after:
pic by Interweave Press
pattern by Heather Lodinsky

The Spiked Dog Collar is an i-cord worked over increasing (or decreasing) stitches. It’s a free design by Melissa Turner who also owns this picture and this dog:

Finished: Bluebird Cardigan!

I’m proud!
And a little tilted.

Can’t tell if it’s me or wether the cardigan has hung on the chair askew but it sits right when I stand up straight and pull it a bit down on one side. As it was knitted in the round it has exactly the same rows left and right. Must’ve been the chair then.



It sits perfect! The cables gather exactly at my waist. The collar is nice and high. Sleeves are long enough.

It only used 1000m of yarn, 2,5 skeins of that wonderful Donegal Yarns Irish Heather 1.16 nm
I used needles 5,5 mm

Weird Wool Wednesday: one, two, SURPRISE!

In knitting, there are basically only two stitches. There’s the knit stitch. And there’s the purl stitch. Everything else is a variation on one of these two.

Today I discovered I still mix them up, even in their simplest form… and I’m surprised at that.

I am working on the second version of Donegal cardi, after I so painfully knitted half a sweater before discovering I had done the math wrong. This time everything is going well! I did the math right. Made the cables fall in my waist, providing extra waist shaping. I crossed all the cables right. Placed increases and decreases at their proper places. Invented a collar while I was at it. Things were going well and I had a bodice with a collar on it.
hard work was done!
Only two sleeves left to knit.

I know how I like my sleeves: knit shortrows at the shoulder cap, picking up one stitch from the armhole with each turn. Add a little room in the back, gather a little at the front.

I even remembered to knit the first sleeve with enough ease as I have a tendency to knit my sleeves too tight.

Smooth sailing! Look: no holes where I picked up the stitches.  Even tension. No bulk at the front (that’s no bulk, that’s me not laying the cardi flat properly. Trust me, there’s no bulk.)

It wasn’t until I had to think about the cuff that I noticed I had forgot to count to two. There are TWO basic stitches of knitting. This cardigan relies on the PURL stitch.


That should be a sleeve in PURL stitches. Reversed stockinette stitch. Just like the body, where it gives a nice stage for the cables to shine on.

I can’t believe I knitted 3 days worth of sleeve without noticing this. Or even thinking about it. I must have used up all my thinking capacity with the body!
I’m so surprised I made this mistake. Are you? Or have you come to expect this of me? nowaitdon’tanwerthat

Well. The sleeve has to be reknit. As it is it distracts too much from the body, there is not enough uniformity.

here is the projectpage

Cardigan knitted bottom-up, set in sleeves knitted top down

Weird Wool Wednesday: prepare for winter

Here’s my Donegal cardigan mark 1 and mark 2:
Untitled

On the right is Mark 1: the wrong cardigan, it is halfway frogged and I am using its yarn for one of my buttonbands. It is now connected to the new cardigan via this small umbilical thread….
It came in handy not having frogged this all the way. I could study this piece of knitting for gauge, buttonbands, button holes and amount of stitches between the cables.

On the left is Mark 2: the now rightly calculated cardigan in progress. It is knitted on needles 5,5 mm in stead of 5 mm, for just a bit more souple fabric. Besides, I’m knitting on my new ChiaGoo Red Lace needles and I love those!
I recalculated the numbers (gauge is 12,5 st per 10 cm while the pattern is 21 st) and I even put in some ease, for optimum wearability. I am gaining smartness every day that I knit!

Hmm?
Ah…
Yes.
There is a cat buried under all that wool.
No, it is not trying to escape.

I was offered this paw and some mumbling by way of protest against me moving around and getting the iPad to take these pictures.

We’ve had a bout of cold weather and the cat is convinced it is time to hibernate. Or at least take a few days rest while her winter pelt is growing. Either way it is very important to lay under thick layers of wool and THAT NOBODY MOVES.

And yes, that’s the felted fleece I got as a heartwarming present! I have it wrapped around the cat my legs because when my ankles get cold I have to sneeze 14 times.
Wut?! I operate to my own logic I’ll have you know!
I also ate all the Gorgonzola blue cheese yesterday. Because I had to pee.

Busy growing fur:
Untitled

Will all this movement and sunlight have consequences?
Untitled

No, all remains well:
Untitled

Send cheese.

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 fortĂ© 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 forĂ©ver 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: