Finished: TdF glitter rolls vest

Using Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor as a template. I’ve rewritten the pattern to be knit continuously, without cutting yarn too much. By now it’s a basic pattern I can use and re-use with any aran weight. Handspun is ideal! And it only takes 200 grams max.

This one too 185 grams of the green rolls I made and spun this Tour de Fleece.

Ahh, what a nice project. From the visit to wool studio Spinspul on the first day of de Tour to making more rolls at the cabin to spinning it while watching Tour de France.

Knit in just one week, handspun does knit faster!

Here are some pictures from fitting the vest. There’s a bit too much fabric at the back, I’ll need to decrease there even before I reach the underarms, on a next vest.

A next vest will certainly come. I’ve got about six finished now and two more on the needles. It’s just ideal to wear over one of the many dress shirts I surely will be sewing this year.

Just 200 grams is all I need. 430 meters. Needles 3,5 mm, gauge 19 st per 10 cm.

I’ve found some new treats to keep me going:

Shortbread! The best version of sprits-boterkoek-koekje that I can think of.

During Tour de Fleece we got a recipe (in Dutch, on Ravelry) for shortbread from Cjadam, a wonderful spinner from Amsterdam, and maker of the cardemom (!) shortbread and wonderful batts, of which I’ll soon talk more.

Before I found the shortbread this gave me a head ache:

Licorice chocolate. And whiny cat.

Both delicious but preferably enjoyed in little bits at a time. Which is impossible. With either.

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Preparing to show off chopped mushrooms.

Tomorrow is the knitters’ festival in one of the tiniest an oldest cities in the country: Nieuwpoort. (yes, it means “new port” and it was a new port on the river Lek (“which means “leak” (we have no fantasy when it comes to naming places))).

The festival is organized by The Schapekop, the LYS where I did the workshop dyeing with mushrooms back in February:

I was so going to knit a stranded vest with the yarn and bring it to the festival tomorrow and be all glorious and marvelous!

But of course I spend weeks fiddling with the chart and never getting it exactly right so there’s no vest to show. I do have one wristwarmer though:

The colours are beautiful and exactly as I want them for a cool, February-kind of vest I have in mind. It’s a good swatch telling me about gauge, colours and contrast. Especially that last one needs a lot more chart fiddling in StitchFiddle.com!

The past two weeks I felt bad about bragging about a vest to the people who organized the workshop and then knowing I’ll show up tomorrow with nothing or just that one meager wristwarmer… Yes I felt so bad that I contemplated not going at all and spare myself the embarrassment. Which is ridiculous!

In fact, so ridiculous that I snapped right out of it and casted on for a stranded vest in totally different colours last Tuesday. Look at these colours!

So happy 🙂 So sunny 🙂

They are all dyed with mushrooms, apart from the blue which is a commercial colour and the white.

This vest and these colours I don’t need to get precisely right. It’s just bands and bands of motives, some borrowed and some made up as I go along. There’s a little bit of teeth gnashing when I get my contrasts imperfect but I give myself a pass for that. Overall I’m just knitting happy colours, straight under the radar of my perfectionism, and I’m just making metres and I already have something nice to show tomorrow.

Just now I had to stop knitting for a bit and learn about shaping and steeks. It seems you cannot just knit a tube and then cut holes in it for arms and head. Or can you?
I don’t know, I’ve never done a stranded, shaped garment nor have I ever intentionally steeked.

For this vest I did a provisional cast on (to bypass the ribbing at the bottom because I didn’t have much time to get to the good part and I don’t know yet which colours I’ll have left for the borders). Then I knitted a tube that fits my stomach.

At the level where my bossom starts I now have to decide whether to increase (how would that go in a chart?) or to insert a steek (cast on about 8 stitched which will be cut later on). Also there needs to given some consideration to arm holes I guess. I don’t know yet if they need decreases and a steek, I’ll be reading the pattern Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for that:

pic by Mary Scott Huff  pic by Interweave Knits

I’m using various patterns. The stranded Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang for looks and the Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for shaping and steeking. That last vest is free, from Knitty, and I understand what it says 🙂

Ooh, setting up for a steek is easier than I thought. Just park one stitch, cast on 8 new ones using both yarns and knit those eight in stripes. Decreasing for the front panels occurs on the side of this steek-flap.

I’ve started the set up right away. Pretty soon I’ll add two at the sides too, for the arm holes. Must not forget to add shaping.

After I have completed the toppart I’ll undo the provisional cast on and knit down wards. My tube is not that high yet and there’s room to add waist decreases right at the bottom.

So that’s the plan! Now I have two nice things to show the mushroom guy tomorrow so he knows his first workshop ever was very much appreciated.

more WIPs

The new Sock Madness pattern dropped and it’s Symphony Socks by Elisabeth White:

Beads! Twisted stitches! Lots of little cables!

It’s a lovely pattern but pretty much from the start I knew I’d better be sensible and stop racing. Allow myself to become a cheerleader in the Sock Madness competition. A sock like this, with little cables and a deadline, would ignite my RSI. The same thing that knocked me out in the first round of the competition last year.

It’s not too bad to bow out. I had so many things I wanted to knit on instead. The startitus was raging and now I got to do something about it.

A…a….ah….

AH-TSJOOH!

This flew off the needles.
It’s my continuous version of Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor. Provisional cast on at the back, only need to cut yarn once before the body is cast off.

This part took 150 grams of handspun, about 340 metres on needle 3,75 mm. Getting pattern gauge which is 19 st /10 cm
The ribbing on the neckline and arm holes is done on needles 3,25 mm. Which means my 3,75 mm needles are free to cast on another Continuous Debbie vest in the green yarn I bought at Midwinterwol for a Spring vest.

I’ve also started on my mushroom dyed stranded project:
It will be a wristwarmer. So much more sensible than trying out for a vest.

This way I can try out the pattern I made on Stitchfidle and find out the gauge. I was tempted to cast on for a steeked vest but that’s really too ambitious if you don’t know your gauge, if you don’t know how much yarn the stranded parts take, if you aren’t sure about the design you made anyway and if you have never steeked before.
Also: next week there’s a woolfest in Nieuwpoort, organized by De Schapekop, and I promised to show my stranded mushroom thingie there. Knitting a stranded vest in fingering weight in the coming 7 days is ludicrous.

The yarn knits very nice and the pattern makes me want to do one more round, one more round, just one more round 🙂
I’m knitting on 2,25 mm and my gauge seems to be 26 stitches in 10 cm. The colour work is done over 60 stitches, the ribbing over 54 st.

In between I’m knitting away on my magic ball:

Here’s me this morning, having a bit of quality time by myself 🙂

The yarn is indigo dyed sock yarn from Wolop and I’m making it into Blattwerk pattern socks top down. The magic ball unravels while I knit and reveals little presents. This one was made by Lieneke from Wolop.
I’ve nearly finished one leg and the first little present is in sight!

On my plate i a Dutch pastry called a Bokkepootje. This one is huge! Usually they are about the size of a finger:
 pic by cliokchia
It consists of two almond merengues, glued together with buttercream and both ends are dipped in chocolate. With almonds sprinkled on top. Here’s a recipe.

The name means something like “Billygoat-feetsie” and originates from a baker in the very old dike-hamlet of Tuitjenhorn. In this God loving community there was an annual gathering to commemorate all the local people who had died. Eating pastry was part of that event. Eating little devil-feet shows wished victory over evil influences in the hereafter.
(I did not know. Eating “bokkepootjes” no longer has this connotation but it does explain where the name comes from.)

Two vests, a sock and a stranded cuff can be added to the WIPs I’m already working on.

Things are taking shape.

Resting up from the workshop I’m knitting a lot on Cool Wool Serra Cardigan. It’s mindless knitting in the round round round and a good project for laying back and recuperating.

I had reknit the bodice from the arms down, and this weekend I just finished the sleeves. Now I can knit the bodice down all the way to the bottom. Besides good for resting this is also a good car ride project. On Thursday we leave for Germany for a few days, it’s going to be a 5 to 6 hour trip. So having a mindless knitting project is good planning.

The shaping looks good. I’m at the hip increases now but I’m doing only the ones in the front. I’ve got nothing in the trunk that needs additional cloth.

Before the workshop last Friday I finished sewing that top with the scalloped edge. Learned a lot!

topje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdart

Concerning shaping I now definitely know I’ve got to  stay away from shirts that hang down from the breasts. I look like I have a big belly.

Shirts like this go over the head, without an opening, and therefor they have little additional waist shaping. It now looks like my body fills out the shirt right from the tip of my breast to the bottom of the shirt. You know about the pencil-trick? Well, I could do 250 grams of yarn tricks in tops with this shape.

I learned about sewing scallops though. And about neck facings and about gathered sleeves. Those are easy! Even with my foot treadle. Just loosen up the tension on one side and you get an excellent gathering stitch. I want more gathering in my sewing.

For pattern drafting I narrowed in on good wearing ease and a better arm hole for my basic shirt pattern.

Here, this is where I was coming from:

A failed shirt with not enough wearing ease, a too narrow arm hole and too extreme shaping for two poor princess seams to handle. Not finishing this, no way. Never wearing this.

Still, even this failed shirt is teaching me valuable things.

And! There’s a concealed zipper at the centre front, that’s good. It’s lapped and neat and now I don’t have to make button holes nor sew on buttons. It made it into my basic pattern for a Tailored Ladies’ Dress Shirt.

Now I have to “unvent” something about that waist shaping and those princess seams though. Probably need more panels.

For knitted garments I’ve got the shaping pretty down, by now. Cardigans. Vests. I can do those.

Next cardigan will be Pumpkin Ale. The yarn I dyed for that is caked and all ready to go and will come with to Germany. But it’s not mindless knitting, this is a gotta-keep-looking-at-my-hands-kinda-project. Especially the start since the back is a cabled panel. Looking forward to it though.

The mushroom yarn is ready to go too! It will become a stranded vest with good shaping. I looked at Art Nouveau visuals. I chose the lighter colours I dyed. Now I’ve looked the free vest patterns I have in my library such as Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang and Twelve Months of Christmas vest by Helen Burros andGreat Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff:

 pic by the three designers named.

I’m going to steek, y’all! Exiting as I won’t be able to try on the vests and check the shaping once I reach the arm holes. I’ve never steeked before.

I hope to develop a basic stranded vest pattern in this yarn weight for my body shape and then crank out stranded vest after stranded vest. Just picking colours from my stash and making charts with Stitch Fiddle.

One more puzzle to solve before I can begin is to incorporate the waist shaping and the bust dart into the stranded patterns… A nice puzzle. With rewarding outcome.

Looking at the thee vestpatterns above I’ve learned I should probably cast on about 207 stitches for the bottom ribbing. That’s fine, I can start that in the white and it will be a few hours of mindless knitting, no stranding required yet. I won’t be doing corrugated ribbing even though all these patterns have that. I want a calmer look for my vest. Calm, light, pastel. A Februari look.

This is my desk top this month:

februari-mood-board

I can start my stranded “shroom” vest as soon as I skeined up the two balls of commercial Shetland yarn that I bought at De Schapekop to go with my dyed yarn. The white and the blue one. They need to be skeined up because I need to wash out the spinning oil! I’ve got gloves to handle the skeining. Not getting that spinning oil on my hands and in my eyes again, I want to sleep at night.

After skeining I need to wash them HOT. Then they need to dry and be reskeined. All before Thursday so skeining and washing is on the calendar for today. I want to bring the white one with me to Germany. As my back up mindless-knitting-car-ride-project. In case I finish the Cool Wool Serra Cardigan.

I should probably bring a sock too. Even though I’m going to Germany, The Land Of The Sock Yarn and we’ll even visit the Lüneburg yarn shop called Stricxs which looks marvelous! They even sell Wollmeise. And I’m going there with the intention of buying souvenir yarn.

note to self: pack needles in various sizes. For when the unexpected knitting strikes.

So that’s the plans! I feel confident.

The wrong white…

Ack.

The last ball of the vintage Norwegian yarn is a different white. It’s a different brand too. I knew this. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet it does.

How to proceed with my stranded Owl vest now?
I can alternate balls I guess… I’d have to frog all the rows from the previous weeks. Nothing says progress in knitting like frogging. *sigh* The difference in clour will still show, the vest would definitely have a different coloured top.

I could try and buy a matching yarn. Nothing says stash busting and finishing WIPs as buying more yarn.*sigh*

Here’s a reminder of this fun vest I have on the needles:

vest pattern is Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen

owl pattern is Grey Eyed by Rebecca Tsai

Pfff. I’ll have a think about it.
In the mean time I’m eyeing Tangled Vines cardigan and also probably casting on a new vest, from that purplewhite handspun.
And crocheting flowers of course. Lots and lots of them. Quick, before I grow tired of it.

Finished: grey handspun Flinders vest

So much gets done when you don’t take your crochet with you to the cabin.
I also finished Grey Flinders Vest while I was there:

Top-down vest pattern with raglan at the shoulders:

Before I started the ribbed hem I added a few shortrows at the front because it was considerable higher than the back. Three pairs in total, that’s six extra rows.

pattern: Flinders Sweater Vest by Linda from clickertyclick

yarn: 170 grams of handspun Wolop hollands grijs on needles 4 mm. Ribbing on 3,5 mm. DK weight, 411 m used.

It’s really nice! Now that we’re back in the city I want to make dress shirts asap to wear under it. Like the ones I’ve been planning since last Noveber. But first I have to sew a pair of trousers. Linen Summer trousers. For Summer 2016.

Ofcourse this happened:

Sometimes a vest is just a swatch.

On closer inspection I don’t like the shape of the back panel of the Grey Flinders, I want the armhole to be more straight, going down from the shoulder. Covering up my shoulder a bit more, for warmth.

So I think this may be just a swatch:

18,5 stitches per 10 cm. 24 rows.

As an alternative for a top down vest I’m now looking at Colors of Kauai by Hanna Maciejewska. It has a nice broad back panel and is a straight forward set up. Prov. cast on, knit down, increase for arm hole. Attach yarn at front and knit shoulder straps. Increases. Nice shape at the centre front.

Actually, one could do this just by herself. No pattern needed. Start with shoulder width for the back, knit down a bit, increase a bit to embrace the torso under the arms.

Attach new yarn at top, knit a strap, increase it a bit at both sides. One side for meeting the back panel under the arm. The other side for meeting the front panel, in a shape you like. I like a round shape for this one.

The trick is to have a feel for when to increase and how much…

Uhmm, I might want to reread my own notes on my top-down Hilja because it sounds as if I’m re-inventing it:

Whut?

nu 86 achter en meteen sluiten als ook onder de armen wordt opgezet en gesloten. Het is nu in the round. Wel nog aan de voorkant eerst 2 x +3 gedaan en toen een shortrow (omdat het sluiten met 14 st aan de WS ging). Bij de shortrow nog weer een extra steek gemaakt.

OMG, I keep such bad notes! In “Dunglish” (Dutch English mess up) and no numbers for set-up? What am I saying? I sometimes do this when it’s a paid for pattern but Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen is a free down load.

Anyway. I now know for sure I like my back panels to be broad. Just like me.

Hilja pattern photo:

 pic by Niina

Hilja pattern has about my white handspun gauge so it is a nice guide for where and when to increase. Ah, this might be a good time to start keeping better notes.

 

A simple mathematical conclusion.

a new needle 4 mm arrived, to continue Tangled Vines cardigan with.

PLUS

still waiting for the purple(green) handspun to dry and start Flinders Vest with it.

EQUALS

casting on Flinders Vest with Wolop Grey on said needle 4 mm:

and I’m already down to the underbust decreases!

The pattern is a tiny bit difficult to follow because it doesn’t explicitly say when to join the back to the fronts and it also increases a bit fast to my taste at the vertical arm hole edges. Thirdly, some increases right at the bind off for the neck edge feel counter intuitive since they happen at one raglan but not the other. I just trusted the pattern and thought that I could always fudge a stitch +/- if I felt it would be needed.

With any stretch of knitting of more than a handful of stitches making one stitch more or less isn’t going to be a problem. Knitting is approximate.

Soon I’ll be breaking the yarn and add the ribbing at the neck and arm holes first, before knitting downwards again to the hem.

There will be a few stripes in blue at the hip line, I expect. That blue Wolop roving has been spun already. It’s Leicester, which is a breed akin to Blue Faced Leicester, and it spun up so fast! Nice long staple and soft. 10/10, will spin again.


The twist hasn’t been set yet. 193 meters, 100 grams, same weight as the Wolop Grey (sport/worsted)

 

“the twist hasn’t been set”…. I better do that right away, otherwise it may not be dry before I need it.

Weird Wool Wednesday: a bird? a plane?

 

It’s Super Grover!

pic from muppet wiki

This is the chart I made and used:

I lengthened the arms and the legs by one stitch. And I gave him a “chem trail”.

Here’s a different version, I’m just playing around:

Both charts made using StitchFiddle, the free online application that lets you make charts for stranded knitting, embroidery and lace knitting. You can save, download and share anything you make.