WIP Wednesday: Squaring and Frogging Off

Barn Raising Quilt squaresJust an update on one of the two leftover sock yarn blankets I’ve been working on. I’ve been working on this current square on and off the last week as I’ve been too busy to knit much.

I started working on this quilt from the book Knitalong in January 2010 with the thought of doing 72 squares which would cover a twin bed. This my 49th square and this month, I’ve decided to stop at 56 squares or 8×7 square quilt.
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WIP Wednesday: Child’s First Sock in Shell Pattern

These socks were started near the beginning of summer on July 1st. It feels like time has flown by since then. I’ve been very busy and preoccupied to sit and knit. I need to finish these by the end of the month for Sockdown. I’m past the halfway point though. I only turned the heels on them last week!

As I’ve written in recent posts, knitting has become less and less of a priority for me in the last year. While I continued to accumulate yarn and fibre, this summer has been fairly low on crafting and no stashing so far. I am very glad because I have way too much yarn and fibre. I hope my yarn diet continues to the end of the year.

I use to knit every day, but these days, I feel I knit only a couple of times a week.

When I started knitting seven years ago, I was a frustrated and lonely university student. Thankfully, I am less of all those things now. Knitting has always been a relaxing home activity for me. I’ve tried to be a social knitter, but it’s not in my nature. It’s one of my introverted hobbies that I do when watching TV or movies. These days, I have the blog, books, and other solitary activities.

Furthermore, I am more social again so I’m out and about. Once the weather gets colder, I’ll probably knit more, but I’m actually quite glad that I am knitting less or thinking about it less. The more I think about, the more I want yarn! That’s bad. 😉

Does knitting go in and out of your life as well? Is it always in the background waiting in the wings?

For more WIP Wednesdays and FO Fridays, go to Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesdays: Welsh Country Stockings

It’s been awhile since I put up a WIP post, and I almost forgot about it. Since April 1st, I’ve been working on the Welsh Country Stockings by Nancy Bush from Folk Socks:

WIP Welsh Country Stockings

Nancy Bush is still my favourite sock pattern designer even though I always modify her patterns. This one I went all out and converted it to toe-up which meant changing the heel, the toe, and due to shortage yarn, the colour scheme too.

I am using the fabulous Hazel Knits Artisan Yarn which I got through the sock club last autumn. I still have three skeins of this year which is beautifully dyed and tightly spun. I hope it wears well over time!

I am working on the leg of the socks. I’ve already done one set of 4 increases and will slowly work up to 72 or 80 stitches depending on how bored I get with them.

On a final note, I am going to take part in next week’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.This will be my first time participating. I will not answer all the prompts, but there are a couple that I want to post about.

Have a good Wednesday!

Have a good weekend! For more WIPs, go to Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesdays: Frogging Paris

Happy New Year, everyone!

This past week, I decided to frog one of my handknit cardigans. This is not really an actual WIP, but frogging nearly 1000 yards of sport alpaca yarn is a job of a kind.

Paris Cardigan

I was never really happy with out Paris turned out. I knit a lot items and it’s true that I do not wear some of them at all. I just couldn’t even see myself wearing this cardigan. I also wanted to salvage the yarn which is Susan Andrew Collection Inca Gold Baby Alpaca.

This was my first time completely ripping apart a sweater. I’m already finished ripping it out and putting them into balls. That took quite a number of days, but I had patience and the time for it. I was sick for most of it so I had not much else to do.

Things I learned: with knitting in the round, it’s easier to start from the bind off end. With knitting flat, start at the cast on edge. I learned this the hard way which is why I have so many left over balls. It was inevitable though with my shortrow sleeves that it was never going to be a simple frogging process.

Frogged cardigan

Do you see the edge of a ball in the top right hand corner. This is the sixth ball that I didn’t use in the cardigan by accident. After I ripped the cardigan, I only had 240g. That’s when I realized I never used the sixth skein which was hiding in my yarn box. No wonder I ran out of yarn, but I wouldn’t knit Paris again.

The next step will be winding the balls on the Niddy Noddy. Thank goodness I made one of those; it is finally proving useful these days. After I tie it up, I will wash, tie, and hang the yarn to dry. I will skein them until I am ready to reball them and use them for a future project.

Plans for yarn afterwards: another cardigan or pullover. The main contender is Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier which I will likely lengthen sleeves. But it’s time I do something with positive ease. This is alpaca after all.

Has anyone else been frogging projects?

For more WIP Wednesdays, go to Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Paper Totoros

WIP Paper Totoros

Lately, I have been working on the Paper Dolls pattern by Kate Davies, but I am doing the Totoros variation. I’m using Sandnes Garns Sisu cream, green and dark grey for the Totoros so it will resemble the big one in the film. It was the most cost effective twisted yarn that I could find, and actually, it’s not bad so far. Just a tad fuzzy. I really like the look of the corrugated ribbing which I knit the MC White in my right hand and the CC1 Green in my left with Norwegian Purling.

Someone on Ravelry gave me their Totoro spreadsheet, but I modified the decreases for my own size which took about an hour of maths. I’ve only made about three waist decreases so far and I’m decreasing faster in the pattern because I am making a smaller waist than for the size 6/34″ that I am making. I think I am mostly on gauge with my 2.75mm though I may need to change needles for the yoke to be smaller since many people seem to lit a bit looser for stranded work. Furthermore, my chart is taller than the one in the pattern.

I am knitting a bit less these days since I have so many other hobbies going on. I still love to knit and am doing it regularly, but I am trying to achieve a balance with it. Before, I use to knit every day, and now, I am much better at knitting in big bursts every few days. The projects take longer, but I really need to cut back my knitting for other things.

What’s on your needles today?

For more WIP Wednesdays, go to Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Stashbusting Lopi

Hazel Knits Yarn Club August

Last week, my first ever yarn/sock club purchase came in the mail from Hazel Knits Yarn Club. I have been waiting for this package for almost a month. Actually, if you factor in the fact I bought the early bird, I’ve been waiting for it for two months!

I am not sure why it was delayed. From the USA, things can take as quick as one week, usually less than two weeks. I became increasingly worried about it because it is very nice yarn and was my first club purchase. Even on the day it arrived September 4th, I was preparing to email Wendee the dyer and/or the USPS.

But it came and it is lovely! I am not sure what to do with it at the moment other than to ogle and fondle it. I may use the green for a stranded sweater I had in mind. Not sure. It did come with a stranded sock pattern which is also tempting. Hmm.

In other news, I finished Girasole and it is big, lacey, dry and with rough edges. The FO post up this Friday hopefully.

As usual, I always start a new project right after I finish the previous one. My current project is stashbusting lopi by making Taska, a purse from Istex Lopi book #25. I own this book because I bought two years ago to make my first sweater, Aftur:

aftur

Gosh, I adore lopi. You can’t wear it everyday and it’s difficult to wear indoors because it is so hot, but when for outdoors, it is perfect. I’ve worn it on a hike in the woods in the autumn and skating with a merino turtleneck underneath at -15’C. It feels like iron. I was always proud of this sweater even though it is a bit on the boxy side since I didn’t add any waist shaping. As a first sweater, I think it is pretty good.

When I finished it, I ended up with a lot of leftovers including almost two full balls of the MC and lots of bits from the fair isle. Taska is the companion project and just a way for me to stashbust and knit lopi again. It is unlikely that I will use the purse very much, but it will be cute none the less.

Taska purse

Thanks for reading. Let me know what is on your needles today?

WIP Wednesday: Twist Festival

Twist Festival

A quick update: I haven’t worked on my Girasole blanket very much. I am on the last repeat of Chart G now. It won’t be finished before September. Oh goodness, I’ll be so glad to finish it. Hopefully cooler weather will allow to work on it before the four month mark. Onto better news…

On Saturday, I went to the first Twist Festival. It was good and I hope they do it again next year.

I did not buy much, but I could have bought more if I was not with my family for which I was gratefully restrained! I did get two things from Gaspereau Valley Fibres:

Festival Haul

My first skein of Fleece Artist! It is a Canadian staple and I even bought it from Nova Scotians, but it is generally very pricey. I got this one at a good price and tax free! I don’t know what this colour of the Merino 2/6 is called.

The Fleece Artist is sitting on 400g BFL rovings. Even though my learning to spin is on the back burner, I can’t help buying more fibre especially BFL! I can make a fine shawl from this.

I made a list of possible shawls for the Fleece Artist Merino 2/6. I know people use it as sock yarn, but frankly, I find merino sock yarn with little to no nylon in it prone to holes. They aren’t practical even around the house.

Does anyone have suggestions on what to do with a variegated skein of 4ply 350m merino that isn’t socks?

For more WIP Wednesdays, go to Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Never Ending Blanket

Girasole

Good grief this thing has taken forever. Progress on the blanket that never ends: I am on the first repeat of the penultimate chart G. After finishing this chart twice, it’ll be the edging.

This blanket has taken the whole of summer. I am now focusing more of my spare time on this blanket because I want to finish it soon. The weather has cooled down so I can come home from work and knit.

Given my current progress, I can finish Girasole before this month ends. After that, I’ll probably knit some socks. I haven’t knit socks since last year!

I haven’t been spinning. I’ve been busy with reading, the blanket and other stuff. I sort of hit a plateau in my development. I know I should to keep it up daily, but I am finding it difficult and a bit tedious since it takes forever to spin. Unlike with knitting, I can’t really see the results of my work as well. I am also unsure of what I should do with this yarn I am spinning. I will most likely ply it in two though it’ll take awhile to get there.

In other news, I am waiting for my first sock yarn club shipment from Hazel Knits. I bought it last month for the early bird pricing and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the yarn and the club. I’ve always wanted to join one, but the expense has always put me off. The good thing about this club is that you can buy it per shipment.

This weekend, I’m going to the Twist festival in Western Quebec. I haven’t been coveting any yarn or patterns lately. I’ve had less knitting mojo this summer than compared to other ones. I hope I find some affordable and nice yarns when I go on Saturday.

For more WIPs, check out Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Spinning Progress

Spinning!

Last week, I wanted to post a WIP Wednesday, but found I hadn’t progressed very much either in spinning or my knitting. Mostly because this has been the hottest summer in my hometown. We do not have air conditioning so it makes me averse to knitting a giant wool blanket. Having said that, it cooled down for a few days, and I have been crafting again.

An important thing is that I bought Abby Franquemont’s Respect the Spindle from Chapters online. I usually buy new books online from Amazon, but I found that they didn’t have the book in stock (would take 1-2 months for delivery). I also had to replace one of my Harry Potter hardcover books, so I was able to get free shipping. I do not recommend buying from Chapters online though because the Harry Potter book came dented, ripped, and dirty. I returned it at a Chapters locally, but had to pay an additional $12 just to get one off their shelf. Blah. I usually do not buy new books. The last time I did was the Boxing day sale on BookCloseOuts which are very below average retail price. I love new books, but I can’t really afford to buy them even occasionally. I digress.

I didn’t plan on buying a book to learn spinning because I have library books (but my library doesn’t carry Respect the Spindle) and the internet. I bought Stitch and Bitch when I started knitting, but I didn’t use it much then and I rarely look at it now. One book to start off a hobby is reasonable though and I’ll have it always to refer to.

As for the book, I’ve looked through it, but I actually plan on reading it cover to cover which I don’t usually do with my crafting or cook books. This spindle book seems concise and well written though.

As recommended, I have been spinning every day when I can. I think my drafting is getting better. I am slightly more consistent in drafting out something thin.

I am spinning, more or less. I am parking and drafting. It is taking forever, but it is coming out sport to lace thin now which is what I want as opposed to the chunky to fingering I had going on
before.

More spinning
The thick strand on the left is the original loosely spun worsted single ply yarn.

There are still a few problems. My drafting comes out sometimes too thin, and as a result, it overspins and snaps. This has happened a few times. I think I need a smaller spindle? Secondly, I have not achieved any rhythm. I spin, stop and draft carefully, repeat. It is a time consuming to get one yard, but it is getting therapeutic and less frustrating.

I am spinning leftover worsted weight single ply yarn. The drafting of that is different than if I did it off a roving, but I am reusing yarn and it’s working. I really hope it holds up. This is my practice yarn so I may use this when I learn to ply as well. I’ll wash it first to see how it handles as a single ply though.

Now that I am spinning more, I am susceptible to spindle lust! I can’t wait until I get another spindle or two. I have my eye on a trindle, not to mention getting a tiny turkish spindle from the someone people who made mine above. Eee! Hobbies require money!

Girasole

As for knitting, I think I’ve knit about ten rounds on the Girasole. I am on my second skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool. I’m having a hard time photographing the thing because it is so big now so it’ll be macro shots from here on out.

What are you crafting lately?

For more WIP Wednesdays, visit Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Spinning!

Turkish Spindle
Rengas Tiger & Bloodwood 1.4oz Turkish spindle

My spindle arrived last Tuesday!

Yes, I have been mad enough to add onto my ever growing hobby and interest list after reading, movies, photography, cooking, baking, running a blog, and travel.

I’ve been curious about spinning for awhile. Most knitters and fibre crafters are to some degree because it is one step before the process of knitting, crocheting or weaving.

At the beginning of this year, I suddenly felt it was time to take it on. I was immediately drawn to the turkish spindle because it would help with making the yarn into a ball.

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WIP Wednesday: Girasole Continued

Girasole on Instagram

Going to try to WIP Wednesdays almost every week in the summer. This Girasole is going to take awhile. I am now 3/4 of the way through Chart C.

I should have used this for my Ravelympics project, but it’s too late now. I don’t think I will do a Ravelympics this year and try to finish this instead. It’s my unofficial Ravelmpics project.

It is a very warm thing to have on my lap in the summer weather, but I want to finish it by August or earlier so I can lay it out to dry in the sun.

Other than Girasole, I am going to start work on another fibre WIP which I will post about next week. Stay tuned.

What is on your needles this week?

For more WIPs, visit Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Paris

Paris WIP on Instagram

As you can see above, that is not Girasole, I cast on for Veera Välimäki’s Paris this weekend. I was motivated by the Sweater Odyssey Ravelry Group’s Veera knitalong. It’s a great little group, and I had the yarn and pattern all ready for it.

It is more or less a rectangle with sleeves. I really liked it when I first saw this on Veera’s projects. I’ve already knit five Rain Knitwear designs; she’s one of my favourite designers.

The yarn is 100% baby alpaca by the Susan Andrew Collection. It is the same weight as the recommended Drops Alpaca. I do love alpaca and this one is nice and sticky. I have a knack for finding purple yarn on sale. I will not lie as I have four purple sweaters now, all from yarn on sale. Most of my projects come from discounted yarn though; I do love a bargain.

Even though it is all basic stockinette, there is something soothing about its mindlessness that is allowing me to get my knitting mojo back. Must remember to keep it simple when I am trying to get out of a knitting funk.

What is on yours needles today?

Happy Knitting!

For more WIPs, visit Tamis’s Amis.