some WIPs in more detail

Thursday evening I started the Wolop self striping Harry Potter sock because I wanted some easy stockinette stitch:

I couldn’t find the little grey mini that goes along with this skein for cuffs, heels and toes. So I just casted on with the main yarn, directly for the leg, and will attach the cuff later.

I got some mindless knitting done while my husband celebrated my being downstairs again by watching his bloody series together. Not swearing, we watched bloody series. There was Elementary and Lucifer and this new series we tried out with a mr. Wednesday who used to run a brothel saloon in Broken Wood but now is followed by a filmmaker who is enamoured with the series Hannibal but does not have the same restraints and finesse. We’re not sure what we think of it yet.

After 3 x 45 minutes of visual murder I was tired and went to bed. But knitted I had.

Remember snowdrift cardigan? The one I was going to attach onto this lovely handspun collar portrayed here? The cabled collar I so expertly knit on car trip?

Yeah, I frogged that and am using the yarn for this, the plan I always had for it: a gorgeous vest to wear over all my handsewn dress shirts.

The pattern is Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor, it’s free and sensible. I modified it a bit to be able to start with a provisional cast on at the mid back and then work upwards, into the first one shoulderstrap. I love it! I love the pattern, I love the yarn, I love the gauge (needle 4,5 mm).

This is how I want vest patterns to be: top down, without raglans and with as less “breaking yarn” as possible.
Which is why I’ll steaming right ahead to the two other vests I have wanted to make ever since I got hold of their yarns. The green Welsh yarn and the orange handspun.

I also picked up the lilac cardigan, with just the lace flower backpanel, inspired by Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti:

This was my panel on Friday:

and this is my panel now:

It’s The Little Flower Doily by Andrea Jurgrau and I managed to make a square out of a circle! I’m pretty proud of that. I know in order to get a flat surface, when knitting from the centre, you have to increase 4 stitches every row. Doesn’t matter which needle or which yarn you use. For a circle you place those 4 stitches ad random. For a square you place them in four corners. For easy knitting most people increase 8 stitches every other row, which comes down to the same.

With the doily I examined the chart and identified which YO was paired to which /, \ or ^ decrease. That told me which YO was surplus in which row: the increases. These I took and placed at four corners.

Soooo are all my WIPs ongoing, planned or ignored?

No, I transferred one WIP into an FO.
This one:

The lovely wintery Birch handspun that became a stupid hat back in January. The shaping idea I had for it didn’t work out and it sat stupidly on my head and I didn’t know what to do with it.
Eventually I just started wearing it without shaping it any further.. With the unwoven ends stuck under. I asked a few people and apparently it doesn’t look so stupid on me when I wear it like this, just plain, without folds.

So this is a finished WIP without any effort. I changed its status to “finished” on the project page and took this photo’s.  Then it’s official and true. This hat is finished! (Haven’t sewn in the ends of the hat yet, though.)

(I’m not better yet and I’m stupid cold, I’m wearing my handspun snow sweater from 2013)
So these are the current WIPs, the sock, the vest an the cardigan. Better knit on because the new Sock Madness pattern is about to drop any moment. (I forgot all my beads at the cabin!) Oh and I designed some more on the stranded mushroom vest. Slow going though. I’m never going to make it before the deadline of 19 May. Might bring the swatch with me for show and tell.

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.

So whatcha doin’?

Well….. I’m knitting a sock waiting at the doctor’s office:

A new pair of SlipStripeSpiral socks by Mylene Pijpers. I want something to complement that gorgeous blue green purple ball. And I’m all into greyish purples at the moment so I expect great things from this 50 gram ball of Regia.

The doctor is running late:

Apparently it takes me one hour to knit a toe.
How I pitied the other people waiting! They have nothing else to do but delve into their phones or leaf through germ ridden magazines filled with soul-eroding advertisements.

The dr. appointment went well. I got the OK to officially self manage my adrenal insufficiency from now on and he will tell his successor so.
The way he said that last part was: “Are you on my list of difficult patients?”
I am now.

Then we talked about DNA and Methylation and he concluded our visit with: “Every time you’re sitting here I think: what will you teach me today?”
That got me all flustered. I don’t feel like an expert at all, more like stumbling and good at choosing which pits to avoid.

I walked home and had a little cry. It has been so scary to go up against a mysterious illness that no doctor can explain and had me near death in my bed. Then tweak things a bit and get a foot hold here and there and eventually recover a bit and develop a working theory that makes sense but I cannot comprehend in its totality. My GP agrees on my theory and supports the drugs and tests I want to take. But now I take these dangerous hormones and I have to be smart and cautious at the same time and I’m scared all over again. Scared because now I have a chance at health but now I also know there’s so much (medicine/biology) that I don’t know and there’s so much in a body that can go faulty. That I can actively cause to go faulty. I know we all have to die of something in the end but I’m actively stirring the pot of options.

Brrrr!
After my little cry and a big hug from Robert, Lillepoes and some chocolate, we packed up and travelled to the cabin. Estimated travel time: one toe.

Seeing the two yarn together I decided I didn’t like the colour combination. The bluegreen is such a happy and vibrant and smooth yarn (Trekking) while the grey purple is muted and kinda fuzzy (Regia). No, neither colourway profits from this combination. So I put the one toe aside and cast on a second toe in the greypurple colour, from the inside of the ball:

It was done by the time we got to the cabin. Now I have to wait the long weekend before I return to the city to chose a better sock yarn to go with these toes and another yarn to go with that green blue yarn.
I’ll confess that I’m looking for options to buy some 50 grams balls of yarn tomorrow. Because I don’t have good colours in the stash, I already know.

This is the other project I forgot to take with me:

That’s right, it’s the mitten design that I’m making into a vest and I finished the stranded part yesterday! Now follows a bit of plain knitting, starting with the decreases for the waist. An excellent knit for a car ride. If I had thought to bring it with me…

But I didn’t forget everything. I brought the Rose and Thorn Sock Madness sock that now goes under the new name Purple Sock. That’s good for mindless knitting. And I brought some lace shawls. I’ll tell you about two of them in a next post, right now I want to show you the one that I finished knitting:

It’s the I Believe shawl. For World Wide Autism Awareness Day come April 2nd.

The cabin has a centrifuge, a top loader, excellent for wool projects. So now the I Believe shawl is blocking, upstairs on the spare bed in the little attic.

It’s so pretty! It’s already night time now but I have a torch.

My trusted critic:

I used a semisolid yarn to bring out the Holding Hands lace motif:

Battery in the flash light died:

Hopefully it’s dry tomorrow and I can take daylight pictures. I’m also very curious to see whether the edge will roll, because it’s all stockinette stitch. But it’s 100% silk so I may get lucky. An interesting experiment.

I used exactly 100 grams of yarn for the shawl, both yarns together. But I thought people wouldn’t trust that round number so I put 99 grams into the Ravelry database.

A bit like when Mount Everest was measured and it came to exactly 29,000 feet (8,839 m) in height. The story is they added 2 feet [0.6 m] to make it look more believable.

Can’t fudge 2 feet in a Dutch landscape though. Holland is flat:


Like a green pancake.

No need to knit

It’s a new year, I’m cleaning up the knitting queue and planning things for this month.
This is how my project page looks:
Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 13.44.54

I know I’m most comfortable when I only have 3 WIPs…. how come there are ten WIPs?

That’s because this page misrepresents reality.
When I take a look at real life I take a look at which knits are sprinkled around my chair, meaning I’m actively working on them. My only real Works In Progress are Hilja Vest; Midwinter socks and Tears of Laughter Onion Socks.
Ha! It seems I AM a three-WIPs-at-any-time kinda girl.

The Shetland Blue Texel shawl/throw is also in the room, frequently being moved from one side to the other, depending on which cat is sleeping where. I’m not actually working on it but I want to.
Contigious Blue Cardi greets me whenever I open the yarn closet and I greet it back happily.
So those two WIPs are “active” without receiving any knitting.

Visjö hat still needs its pompom but it’s been blocked now and I’m wearing it all the time so… I’m calling that one finished. I love pompoms but I also kind of want to use the remaining yarn to knit mitts to go with the hat. I have this alternative plan to use some pink fluff I’m taking out of a spinning project and spin it into a yarn for a Visjö pompom:

Or I could bypass spinning and knitting altogether and felt a pompom out of this fluff? The thought just came to me as I paste this picture here.
(Why stop at a pompom? Is a pink hare-shaped pompom not more appropriate for my hat? Wet felting, needle felting.)

The Ladies Cuffs are suffering from second sock cuff syndrome. I wanted that yarn to be socks and now I’m nitpicking at the one cuff to find fault with it. “It’s a bit too tight.” “It is a bit scratchy.”
Better park it somewhere in the back of the closet and wait for a better day, when I’m no longer insulted by it not becoming a sock.

Advent MKAL Geheimnis pattern turned out to be a mitten with a short, ruffled cuff around the wrist and a long part covering the fingers. This is how the finished pattern looks:
Advent-Geheimnis by yarnbird

They are cute! But I don’t wear mittens with thumbs often and I DO need them to hug my wrists for warmth.
So I think these are better frogged and the yarn re-used. My yarn has such a fantastic colour:

So light and sun shiney. Will look great in a stranded project. I’m certainly in the mood for more stranded knitting after Visjö hat!

The Emma Arlene cardi….. it’s in the closet too. Somewhere in the dark, I pretend I can’t see it there. I just don’t feel like knitting with a lace yarn and such a dark colour in winter…. but I’m afraid if I put it into online hibernation, which parks the project at the bottom of my projects page, I will not pick it up again. There are some half made pairs of Skew socks lingering at the bottom that attest to that… I don’t want to go down there and face them!
I’m keeping Emma Arlene at the top of the projects page but at the back of the closet. When the days are getting lighter I’ll pick it up again, I think.

And then there’s that one project without a picture. It’s called “Feet cosy”. It’s just that, a cosy to put your feet in. When I’m on the chair or the sofa. Warm feet, warm wrists, warm head is all it takes to keep the whole body warm. A Feet Cosy with room for an additional cat is what I need.

In thick handspun, with thick needles. I haven’t started it yet because my feet haven’t been that cold. I have some throws and blankets to wrap around myself wherever I sit down and then there’s an additional cat who loves to sit on ankles and feet. I’m sure if the weather was older I’d knit it.

You see, this feet cosy is part of a Very Short List. It reads:
– Feet Cosy
– Sturdy Skirt out of Upholstery Fabric
– felted fabric for those two little cushions in the cabin

At the start of December it also had Sophisticated Non-Blue Warm City Hat on it but with Visjö hat I think that one’s done.
This list is the Things I Need list.
If I complete it, all new knits are just pleasure knits. Not actual I-Need-This knits.

That’s right. When I make a foot cosy -and finish the half sewn sturdy winter skirt and ignore the fraying cushion for another few months- then my wardrobe will be complete. I will have enough hats, wristwarmers, shawls, cardi’s, sleep socks, sleep hats, pullovers and everything to be comfortable. Six or seven years after I started knitting I now have everything I need.
Yay!

So Foot Cosy remains on my project page. I sincerely believe I will start it soon.

For January there are two new projects I’d like to take on. Both are Mystery Knit A Longs for stranded mittens. Pleasure knits!

Winter Snows MKAL by Kat Lewinski
It’ll be about snow and snowflakes. Light, sun on snow. Just what I have on my mind these days, excellent.
In two days the first clue comes out. I’ve been looking forward to this MKAL for weeks now.

The other is An enchanting mystery by Wenche Roald, also a stranded mitten. It’s already on the way, with a few hundred participants. It’s in both English and Norwegian, which I like 🙂

Oh. And I’m spinning. That wonderful BFL/Silk mix from Het Wolbeest that I bought the fair. For a Rikke hat:

It’s so magical, spinning silky silvery colours this time of year.

That’s why I’ve brought the two roving from Passe-Partout to the city now, with additional white BFL and Mulberry silk from my own stash, to spin enough for a silvery vest.

I think these can be combined in one garment. Just mix up the two rovings a bit as you spin them into one single. Ply that one single with an all white single made of BFL Mulberry that I mixed out of hand. That’s my plan.

Lovely, light coloured things I do not need. But do love to work on. Now the process of making something has become more important than getting to a usable end result. I’m enjoying living in the moment.

So, here’s my projects page now all cleaned up at the start of this new month, new year:
Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 14.37.05

So I only have 3 Works in Progress.
1 Foot Cosy promise;
2 Works in Waiting;
and one cardi that I don’t dare to send down to the pit of hibernating Skews.

In real life a.k.a. my living room there’s also one spinning project that soon will be cast on into a hat. Rikke hat has lots of mindless stockinette stitch and will be a good successor for the sock projects which both will soon be finished.

A mitten will be started as soon as both socks are finished. I’m not in a hurry to start, I’m quite enjoying this time, looking at the progress others make, thinking about colours. There’s time enough for me to start either one of the two mittens.

having fun with Swedish Advent knitting

I’m having real fun with the mystery stranded socks on the Swedish blog Jultalamod:

I don’t speak Swedish but I learned Norwegian, this year exactly 10 years ago, and that helps a bit. Not very much because it also causes confusion because the two language are quite different!

For example, the first clue read “sticka 2 r till og so-and-so” and my Norwegian brain read: “knit until you reach the two knit stitches and then do so-and-so”. Because “till” = “untill” Google translate thought the same.
But I couldn’t make it work with the sticks and yarn. Something was weird.

I posted my query online, in my own circle because I don’t want to bother the Swedish knitters over at Jultalamod, you know, be that foreigner who needs much hand holding. A friend explained: “till” is short for “Tillsammans” = “together”. Ahh…
Suddenly there appeared faux cables and a lovely cuff!

My Swedish is improving fast. I even managed to comment on the blog, in Swedish, to let them know how much I enjoy it. Well, I say Swedish but it’s probably a mash up of Dutch, Norwegian and Google.
Swedunorgle!

The green yarn wasn’t working out for me, I think I don’t like the brand. It’s Lanagrosse Meilenweit and it’s a bit thin and hairy.
Neither working were the gauge and the needle sizes, so I started over, in white, DROPS Fabel, a lovely round sock yarn, and this is where I am today:

Two fraternal socks.
They look quite white at the moment but green will become their overall colour. I’m still using the Meilenweit but only for stranding, not for cuff, heel or toes. It’s not the first time I noticed that I don’t like to knit with this brand so this time I’m taking note. Not buying it anymore.

Each day a new clue comes out and it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to knit it. Of which I make a little party for one. Have a cup of tea, put something on to listen too and enjoy the colours and thoughts of Sweden.

This morning I happened to listen/look to a video blog by one of the three podcasters I follow: Knit Nottingham. She’s such a delight! I can’t help but smile back at my screen whenever she’s on it.

At about 13 minutes in she’s talking about stranded knitting. What a coincidence! She describes exactly how I knit: one hand English picking, one hand (reverse) continental. I was looking at my hands while she talked and was happily surprised. So this is normal? I thought it was something I fudged together because it works for me.

Eleanor talks a bit about things like tension and which colour will pop out and which one will recede to the back, if you’re interested in such a thing. I keep my important colour on the right because my English picking style is very relaxed (if I want it to be). Back ground colour goes to the left because I easily hold firmer tension with my continental technique.
It’s such a delight to do your skilled thing and then have someone else talking about the exact same thing. Like I’m not in a bubble of my own but make actually some sense to other folk.
That’s nice.

You know what else is nice? Having your WIP organized in an encouraging way. All the wool for these socks are in a little carton suitcase:

advent knitting jultalamod

With my owl centimeter, a pair of art deco styled scissors I love and a piece of handmade soap that smells of lavender. Made by Wolop, with real lavender, and meant for washing wool or for felting.
I take my suitcase from the front room to the sitting room or wherever I want to do my leisurely knitting. And when I’m done I close the suitcase and put it out of the way, much to the delight of my spouse who sometimes feels adrift in the wooly flotsam bits and bobs that seem to sprout around me when I stay too long in one place.

The little suitcase itself:
advent knitting jultalamod
A bit too much. Owls with hats and x-mas baubles and a snow man and bells…
But “a bit too much” makes me laugh most of the time so I’m enjoying this.

thinking around the WIPs

Besides Willow Trace in the previous post, these are the WIPs that I’m actively working on at the moment. These are the ones that require some thinking…

First up SPRIG PULLOVER.
I finished the bodice and now the sideways collar needs to be attached. I started it, after I recalculated the pattern for my gauge.
But something is not right… it’s too tight. That collar needs to be at a right angle from the bodice.

The pattern attached to the bodice with one stitch for each row. (stitches run vertical, rows go from right to left).
Normally these two relate as 3 stitches for every 4 rows. When you attach a buttonband to a cardigan, this is what you do: you take up 3 stitches for every 4 rows.

It’s what I did with Deco Cardi: 3 stitches going from right to left for every row of the bodice:

Sprig runs the other way: the stitches are in place and now I’m adding the rows. It’s as if the button band is already knit.
So for every 3 bodice stitches there need …. to … be … 4 rows … in the collar ..

I think I now know where I went wrong.

I’ve got 120 stitches coming from the bodice, that’s 120 vertical columns of knit stitches.
So these should mount to (120/3)x4 = 160 rows for the collar, running from one shoulder all the way around. I calculated the other way around, (120/4)x3, thinking I needed 90 rows. I generously aimed for 108 rows because my row gauge in the bodice said that’s what I needed for that circumference. And then I went with 120 rows because that’s easier with keeping the sssk to the body nice and even. I smugly decided on some short rows to get from 120 back down to 108.

Never mind. I figured it out. I’ll be frogging all of this en starting anew.

things to decide on before I can resume knitting:

  • how narrow do I want the top edge to be? this will require some short rows. But beware of the i-cord at the edge, that one draws in (might even need some short rows for itself, to give it more room)
  • in what rhythm will I attach the collar to the bodice? how do I get from 120 to 160 in a visually pleasing way?

SPRING BRIOCHE

I worked on Spring Brioche shawl for hours. I’m slowly getting to the end of the strip. I estimate it takes another full day of knitting to get there. It really is a very slow knit!
Circular needle is already waiting.

SKEW
I have nearly knitted a left Flax Skew to go with the right one:

These Skews are weird. They ripple in the most unexpected places:

The pattern keeps eluding me, I keep misunderstanding the mechanics.
My whole idea is to increase stitch count all around to accommodate for high instep. But clearly I’ve increased too much here!
Second modification is to keep on knitting at the heel until the band closes comfortably. I miscalculated in this one because the 6 stitch wide band misses its partner all together and I had to decrease like crazy to get to the 72 stitch count needed for the leg.

Oh well. A sock is a sock. And this one has a great colour.

where the WIPs at?

Let me check the state of all the WIPs I have going on at the moment.

Nothing was done at Spring Brioche Shawl. I know where it is though.
For Deco Cardi I did the necessary research. It’s now time to apply theory to the wool.
All of the socks are pretty much where they were when I photographed them on Wednesday.

Pumpkin Ale saw some serious progress in two days:

I’m knitting in Fingering weight while the pattern states Worsted. (There are two sizes between those: Sport and DK. It’s absolute ridiculous that I get a worsted gauge (21 st/10 cm) in a fingering yarn. On sock needles.)

My row gauge differs from the pattern though, so I’ll probably work way more rows than the pattern says. This is 12 cm long and twice as dense as the examples of others.

This week I’m spending many hours lying flat on the couch, (I’m having a relapse in health), and knitting on an interesting project prevents me from going out of my mind with boredom. This Ale Cardi is perfect.

Lots of strange things happening this week. Somehow the mirror in the cabin refused to function any longer unless I did something about the WIPs that I’ve been claiming to love so much. I couldn’t look myself in the eye anymore!

So I picked up Sprig pullover and within a few hours had completed the body:

Ahh, knitting with handspun is such a nice craft to perform.

When ill it’s also good to have a project that does not require attention, where you can just knit in the round and the round, while your brain marinates in whatever juices this stupid illness produces. (ME/CFS/SEID)
But now the marinating is done because the next step is working on the yoke, which is done sideways and features a branch:

detail from pattern Sprig by Alana Dakos

Here too I’m working at a different gauge so I have to understand the pattern thoroughly before knitting it in my yarn and on these needles.
For the numb brain knitting I have my various Skews.

When I was able to sit upright for a while I did some further spinning. I’ve now spun away two of the three boxes of Hollands Spotted Sheep, the organic sheep from organic farm Laan van Wisch:

This is one half of the white on the bobbin. There’s already a skein of half white/half brown and two smaller skeins.

This needs a few more hours of spinning white and then I can attach a new leader to an empty bobbin for the dark brown. The dark brown will take longer than the white because its staple is shorter. That means I have to do much more hand gestures per inch than with the white. And it’s way more fiddly to make the fleece grab onto the thread and cover it completely. I’m not looking forward to it, to be honest.

The next picture gives some clues of how much I’m not looking forward to starting the brown fleece… (or for how often I got to sit up and spin this week). That’s all the Skews and the Coexist sock right there. Conveniently at reaching distance from the couch.

a Guilty Knitter

This is getting ridiculous.

Another Skew appeared on the needles, Flax Skew.

I’ve now casted on four Skews, in as many days. They are at the top of my Ravelry Works in Progress page:
skew

I work on them all. But only until the phase named “Heelmarker”. That’s the moment where I have to think hard about where to put in the heel marker. It’s a tough spot in this pattern if you’re working with your own numbers instead of the pattern numbers. I have not traversed it yet on any of the four socks. It’s easier to cast on a new right sock…

Here’s my spot on the couch today:

And this is my view of the table. That’s another five Skews waiting to be cast on:

The only thing stopping me is the fact that I only have four circular needles in 2 mm width. (I am however contemplating the dpns…)

“Hmmm. That nice green blob of handspun on the table looks familiar…”
It’s one of four projects that’s on the second row of my WIP page:

wips

I’m so ready to work on any of these projects!
I want them finished.
I want to show them.
I want to wear them.

I’m looking forward to figuring out the next step in their processes: get to work on the Spring Brioche in another direction; learn about neat borders for Deco Cardi; work that lace partition in Sprig sweater.
I really don’t understand why I keep on casting on for Skews instead.

After these WIPs are done I very much want to make a cardigan with Wollmeise. I already made a test swatch. The pattern is waiting. This is the cardigan I want to wear asap, as in this Summer.
It’s Pumpkin Ale by Ysolda Teague in Wollmeise Twin Mauseschwanzchen

I’m not casting on for this now because I know if I start another cardigan I’ll likely abandon one of the two I’m already working on. I’m that kind of a knitter: a one project knitter. If I don’t keep at it I’ll probably wander off with another shiny.
That and the Wollmeise swatch told me I’ll be knitting Pumpkin Ale Cardi on 2 mm. Which I have no spare one of at the moment.

Which reminds me that Spring Brioche shawl is knitted on 2 mm too. Right now the small strip is done with dpns but once I pick up all the stitches and work my way up I’ll be needing a circular 2 mm…
I guess the fate of all the Skews just got shaken because no way will I wait two weeks (aka one pair of socks) before I pick up Spring Brioche again. Or will I?

There are Summer tops waiting too. One in silk. One in linnen. One of them will be on 2 mm too. At least.
Besides knitting I want to spin. Felt. Weave.
I want to do a 1000 things and I have planned some of them very sensibly.
But instead I am casting on Skews like … like … I don’t know. Words fail me.
Yes, I’m a knitter lost for words:

  handmade yarnbowl by Heidi

There’s one word I found though. But it’s a word that doesn’t apply here.
That’s the word “guilt”
I’m not feeling guilty about any of this ridiculousness that’s going on with me and the wool at the moment.

Ever since I made enough sweaters, socks, hats and shawls to keep me well covered in wool I’m good guilt wise. My finished knits may not be the right colour for my face or have a dropped stitch or look way too homemade to be worn in public, but they for fill their function. Keeping me warm and healthy. Only when they are worn down it’s time to have a proper replacement ready. Until then: no hurries, no worries.

But all these plans! All this wool!  All the wips I’ve abandoned before  but still expect to return to sometime in the future! All the stash that needs to be knit down. The fleeces I’ve carded. The fact that we now sleep in the little attic because the stash has taken over the master bedroom. All the clutter in this house. All the things that I wish were better cleaned, organized, maintained?!

Well, I’m not feeling guilty about them.
I refuse to. I laid awake one night this week, fretting about wanting to knit Skews but not even having picked up Sprig even though I said I would. Feeling bothered by the ridiculous amount of stash and fleece in the wool room while still planning to buy more because it would fit better with some sock yarn or other.
I was trying to defuse these feelings by thinking up jokes for you:

But I knew I wouldn’t be fooling anyone. I was actually feeling obliged to knit only from the stash, to organize the WIPs and for sheep’s sake, don’t cast on one more Skew!

That’s when I realized I was doing this to myself. This thinking, this fretting. This feeling guilty. I was acting as if knitting is a job and as if I need to justify my actions to someone.
It was me who chose to be bothered by the WIPs and the plans that I laid aside just so I could indulge in more Skews. So that’s when I decided not to. And promptly fell asleep. And when I woke up I casted on for one more Skew and put the yarns I plan to knit on display on the table. Just because I can and just because I really like the view from the couch now.

Have you ever realized how much we are invited to feel guilty about the things we do or do not do?

In many aspects of our lives we are told things ought to be different and much of the time it’s implied that it’s our fault that they aren’t. It’s not only our responsibility but we should actually feel bad about it. Solely because we have the ability to change.

Something as human as being attached to the past or be anxious of the future unknown is apparently wrong. And holding you back. Holding you back from being a better version of yourself.
A better you, with better hair too, I’m sure 😉

The eye of Martha Stewart rests heavy upon us and our homes. Motivational quotes are secretly judging our current state. Or not so secretly and just blatantly commandeering us what to do:

Read the hidden message? “you’ve been doing it wrong, so wrong!”

We are invited to feel guilty about the way we keep our house and about the way we keep our knitting and our stash.

After the initial chuckle we are expected to feel a bit embarrassed. A bit guilty. Not good enough. Because you didn’t finish your projects. You do not love your kid well enough. And your stash room is a disgrace!

Of course there is something to be said for decluttering your living environments. Because clutter does tend to crowd the mind’s eye.

But this is only a problem when you feel like every thing you see is speaking to you. Demanding action from you.
“I’m your Spring Brioche Shawl, you should knit me!”
“If you cannot walk into the craft room you really ought to straighten it!”
“This is Mount Washmore speaking, you should iron me!”

If instead you adopt an artist’ eye and see the things around you in colours and shapes instead of chores and projects oozing disapprovement in your general direction …

 stillife by Giorgio Morandi, 1962

… then your mind’s eye is free to wander and dream about anything and everything.
I refuse to adopt guilt from inanimate objects. It’s all in the head.

That being said, there is a certain pleasure in decluttering. In getting rid of stuff. In travelling light.
There’s a nice article doing the rounds at the moment about culling the knitting stash back to only the things you really love: article in Twist Collective.
But do beware of the guilt-assigning that invariably creeps into articles like this. Whether actively pursued by the writer or willingly self applied by the reader.

Remember, guilt is just another item you can lie down beside you, next to the four Skews, the sleeping cat and all the trinkets you keep at the side table. While you sit on the couch and knit and enjoy the view.

It’s true, there’s a nice feeling of accomplishment once you cast off and get to wear your knitted item.
And almost every project does have a stage where you have to persist and go on even though it’s no fun. Where stubbornness is needed, discipline even, until the fun part begins again.
But these emotions have nothing to do with guilt.

Guilt and feelings of inadequacy should have no place in a knitter’s life. Or in anybody’s life.


With this comic Natalie Dee has got it wrong, all wrong.

This is more like it:

and then laugh, because knitting as a hobby can be utterly ridiculous and so funny.
Now I think I’m going to buy some more 2mm circulars, I haven’t maxed out on yarny ridiculousness yet.

Skew Sneaking In + Bobmas Day

I have entered the danger zone by casting on for a new project…

It’s Skew sock pattern.
In a lovely Danish yarn that I received as a gift yesterday. Couldn’t help myself. Had to cast on with the yarn. And I love the Skew pattern.

Skew is a weirdly lovely pattern, a free pattern by Lana Holden:

It starts at the toe and skews selfstriping yarn before it works up to a swirly heel. It’s been translated in many languages and knit many times.
My project is actually the 4901st project of it on Ravelry!

I need some modifications from the original pattern to accommodate my broad feet and high instep so I was browsing the Ravelry database for notes that other people made for this pattern. It’s so very handy! The idea of a knitting database, filled and kept up to date by knitters, was a stroke of brilliance.

A stroke of brilliance that sparked exactly 10 years ago today, on the 11th of April 2005:

rav screenshot from the blog of Jess in 2005. She’s the knitter girlfriend of Casey, now her husband, and together they developed Ravelry.com into the multimillion user site it is today.

That means that today is Bobmas Day! Go friend Bob, the Boston Terrier of Jess and Casey, and have a cupcake to celebrate.

Taking full advantage of the database I found my own Paprika Skew sock amongst the projects that people found helpful. That makes me happy, thank you!
It was my very first Skew, in yarn I dyed myself:

I only ever made the left sock because I had this other, more beautiful yarn, that I wanted to make Skews with asap. Here’s Lente Skew in progress:

It was finished quickly -and had different notes than Paprika Skew, no idea why- and it looks wonderful in this yarn! I wear it often.
Only the one though because the left Lente Skew sock was a victim of Second Sock Syndrome. It’s half finished and I keep it as a WIP, carefully kept together, including needles, in a tote. I often see it in the stash or in my book cabinet and I fondly think of finishing it. But somehow I haven’t. For years now.

That’s right, I’ve been wearing my sole beautiful right Lente Skew sock for about 4 years now and I love it. I wear it often. Either together with the Paprika Skew left sock. Or with the left sock of these Spring socks:

They match somewhat in colours. Or they’re both stripey. That’s what I tell people confidently anyway, when they remark upon my socks not matching.

I really like the Skew pattern. And now I’ve casted on for it again. In more subdued colours which happens to be my mood this Winter, Spring and probably Summer too.
Most of my socks are eye watering bright because those yarns are fun to knit but wearing them is not very practical, not when you want to be all sophisticated and ethereal.

This yarn is a Danish yarn called Hjertegarn. “Heart yarn”, from Denmark. I like it! 🙂
These particular colourways are called “snake” and my colourway is 7715, the green variety.

 pic from artyarn.co.uk who sells this yarn

So these are to be my “Snake Skews”.
Yes, I plan to make both a left sock and a right sock this time.
I’m starting with the left one though so when I do get thwarted by second sock syndrome again I’ll at least have another mate for my one right Lente Skew.
Knitting is just like life: enjoy it but do provide for predictable eventualities.

Yesterday evening I cast on. And this morning I’ve been knitting merrily for a few hours. And now I’ve made it too big. My feet are not thát broad, thankyouverymuch!
I don’t know what happened. I followed my pattern notes from my two previous Skews, even though the notes don’t match up. But both of those socks fit beautifully so ball park would work.

But at this moment I find I have 16 stitches worth too much of fabric. On a 76 total stitch count. Yeah, that’s a lot. A lot alot.
Let’s just say it was a slow Saturday morning and I was sleepy. It did take me some time to register reality didn’t adhere to theory. Again (2)

(again #1 = that reality doesn’t follow sound theory)
(again #2 = that I take my sweet time to realize this.)

This afternoon I need to rip back to where it was in the first picture and start again from there.
But that’s ok. There is not much else to do today but rest and knit. The plan was to knit on Spring Brioche (and I will!) and in the evening light knit on my green handspun Sprig (and I will!). In between, when I’m too tired to pay attention to brioche, I’ll knit Skew.

Or should I say: “reknit Skew…”

Pics and/or the felting didn’t happen.

The half quarter felted throw this morning:

and a little while later:

and at the moment:

At the moment it’s back at the cabin, just like we are. It’s parked in the wool room near some black holes of neeeeeearly finished projects, such as the cross stitched squirrel pillow, a felted Spring Fairy Princess dress I started putting together back in 2012 and a bag full of high quality Merino that Will Be Washed This Week.
And that’s only what’s in the picture. I’m not telling about what’s not in the picture. Because of plausible deniability.

One thing about my felted throw is finished and it is fabulous: the Wensleydale lock. Caught in a little plastic wrapper it has not felted onto the throw, only at the base where I put a little yellow merino on it. Lovely!

I’ll be back in the city in a couple of weeks. Perhaps I’ll bring a finished throw with me!
Or perhaps it’ll still be in it’s plastic bag…