cotton


I finally did that thing that every other knitter does when they are learning to knit

megasock

Behold the glory that is Mega-Sock

For so many people a knitted cotton dishcloth was their first project. but me, I’m special. I sort of skipped all that rite of passage. My first project was actually a sock. Not a pair of socks, just one sock. I had this idea in my head that if I could knit a sock I could knit anything so that is what I started with, which in retrospect was not a super brilliant choice. For one, I had no sense of gauge (just bought size 4US DPNs without any particular reason or explanation other than that they “looked good”), no sense of appropriate yarn (I used dishcloth cotton yarn, mostly because it was cheap and pretty colours), and basically had no idea what the hell I was doing. I did finish the sock, which my husband calls “Mega Sock” because it is MASSIVE. It was good I suppose because I did learn to knit on the round using DPNs, and hey, I made a SOCK. Yes, I knew it was an utterly ridiculous and terminally flawed sock, but it was a SOCK. I had a whole lot of pride over the fact that my first project was a sock rather than a silly dishcloth or boring scarf. And since I “successfully” made a sock I felt comfortable having my second project be something more complicated and challenging, so as it turned out I never actually made a dishcloth.

Until now.

On Sunday I made not one but THREE dishcloths! 20150531_171600I did each one a different way, just trying out different techniques. I like them all, but I think I like the k2p2 checker board one the most. And boy, those dishcloths resemble mega-sock, eh? Yep! I used my leftover yarn from my first project to finally make what perhaps SHOULD have been my first project! Ha! Oh, how these things work out. Circle of life and all that.

Anyway, I did three. One is a simple knit purl type checkerboard, one is more traditional diagonally knit with eyelets around the edge, and one is in a pseudo log-cabin type thing that I sorta winged. I actually winged all of them, just guessed at how they should be made, and they all turned out okay.. ish. The diagonal one pretty crappy if I’m going to be honest, but hey! It was my first dishcloth! Your first dishcloth isn’t supposed to be perfect. 🙂


Week of Discussion: Day Two – Yarn (one of the main Ravelry forums)

This week I am featuring the best of the Ravelry discussion boards. Each day I highlight a particular group, forum, or topic that I personally find either interesting, informative, inspiring, or just plain cool! Be sure to log in to your Ravelry account to be able to view boards/threads! (It is free to sign up and well worth it if you ask me!)

Day One: Gorgeous Gradients


 

Day Two: Yarn (One of the main Ravelry forums)

Have a question that is even slightly relating to yarn? This is the place to go! The topics in this forum are so all encompasing, going from “What is the best wool/nylon ration for socks?” to “Does anyone know what this yarn is made of?” to “The colours in my fair isle have bled! Help!”. You can get suggestions for what yarn would work best with a particular project you wish to make, the best ways of handling difficult/hard to work with yarns (mohair, I’m looking at you!), or try to find a few balls of your favourite discontinued yarn!

The only caveat to keep in mind is that this IS one of the main Ravelry boards, and therefore is pretty closely moderated. This means that digressions and wanderings way off topic aren’t kosher, but to me this isn’t a bad thing.

BirthdaySprinklesHatSlider

An example of acrylic awesomeness – my birthday sprinkles ski bonnet! And yes, I did post this to that thread. 🙂

  • Best Examples Of Acrylic Awesomeness– It is exactly what you think it is… pages and pages of amazing projects people have made using acrylic yarn! In a hobby that (unfortunately) sometimes suffers from yarn snobbery, this post does a great job of showing that less expensive acrylic yarns can still make amazing things. It is a pretty active thread, and with almost 15,000 posts there is a ton of eye candy to bask in!
  • Blocking – Before and After – Not sure if blocking your finished garment is worth the effort? Think blocking is only necessary for lace? Take a gander at this thread and I’m guessing you’ll soon be convinced that blocking is pretty important and powerful! I have had so many “Holy crap!” reactions to posts in this thread, simply because the difference between an unblocked and blocked project can be so huge! And not just for lacework, either!
  • Non-Dishcloth kitchen cotton masterpieces – Similar to the acrylic thread, this thread will convince you that kitchen cotton is good for a whole lot more than just dishcloths, and (like the acrylic thread) it is a solid reminder that wool isn’t the end all be all fiber.
  • Examples of Pooling – Good and bad– I had no idea what pooling even WAS before stumbling upon this thread, and sweet mercy, it is a crazy crazy time. This thread is sometimes pretty hilarious, but also really mind-boggling, especially when it comes to people making patterns by INTENTIONALLY pooling.

Can I use Reverse Psychology to convince myself that I don’t want to start this new shawl immediately?

I’m not usually one for Family Guy references, but this seemed pretty on point for how I feel right now..

I am apparently insane. I currently have three big projects on the go: Fellowship of the Shawl, Sock Yarn Blanket, and Stripes Gone Crazy sweater. They are the three biggest projects I have EVER taken on and not a single one has even made it to the halfway point. Why? Because, like I said, I am buckets of crazy and started THREE HUGE PROJECTS AT THE SAME TIME! I mean, really, what was I thinking!! No sane person would do this.

The fact is that really like all three of these projects, like working on them, like how they’re looking (though I’m still not happy with my shoulder in my sweater…), and am excited to see them all done (if I ever finish them). Having these three big projects on the go and switching between them means that they each are going to take a small age to actually finish since I never really dedicate enough time to one to finish it in a timely fashion. This has always been something I have struggled with, ever since I started knitting.Always lots of projects on the go, all of which I’m excited about, but never quite focused enough to just sit down and FINISH ONE. And despite knowing I have too much on the go already I am always on the lookout for the next project.  Hell, I have this problem with EVERYTHING in my life, not just knitting.

I never lack in enthusiasm, but focus? Yeah, not so mu– Ooo! Shiny dinosaur sticker!!

Yeah, well, this brand of insanity persists because I have already started looking at new shawl patterns I want to make. I keep saying to myself that I won’t start a new shawl until AFTER I am done my Fellowship shawl, but man…. temptation. This is temptation. But for now, lets all assume I have at least a bit of common sense and that this project won’t be started until after I finish what I’m currently working on. (ha…..)

The pattern I’m lusting over is Reverse Psychology. I think it is a pretty cool pattern and very appealing for a shawl pattern for a number of reasons.

  1. it is reversible. I love that there isn’t a right side or wrong side.
  2. it is more wearable and interesting than your average triangle or half-pi shawl. Asymmetrical = interest!
  3. it can be made with or without beading (something I am sort of interested in trying)
  4. it is pretty simple to make (or so I’m told)
  5. it is specifically made to work using Wolle’s Color Changing Cotton!

Yes, this pattern was made with that specific yarn in mind, made to really work with and accentuate the colour gradient of the yarn. And you can see from the projects people have made using this yarn, the pattern really does work great with the yarn.

As I have posted previously, I really like Wolle’s yarn. I used it in my Mizzle and loved the result. I am currently using it in my Fellowship of the Shawl and am loving the result. The gradients her yarn makes are really striking and beautiful. I get that the yarn isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I frankly really love working with it. And hey, 100% cotton works great if I’m looking to make something for someone with a wool allergy. 🙂

Wolle's Color Changing Cotton 100g - Truffle 2

Wolle’s Color Changing Cotton 100g – Truffle 2

Right now I have a 100g skein of Wolle’s in the Truffle 2 colourway (chocolate brown – camel/tan – turquoise) that is just crying out to be made into something awesome. Unlike my Sand and Snow skeins I don’t have any extra of the end colour, so any project I make with this has to be able to be finished with just the one ball. Reverse Psychology seems like just that pattern!

I really love this colour way, I love the blend of browns and the turquoise, and I think it will look really great knit up into this project. The colorway I am using for my Fellowship shawl is more subtle or subdued, and therefore works well when the knit itself has a lot of interest (in my case, lacework). This one, though, has a lot of impact all on its own, so I think it will work better on a project that lets the color change be more of the focus, if you know what I mean. If I do use beads (and I have not decided if I am going to or not) I’d have to do some proper pondering over the colour of the beads. It would need to be something that worked well across the three colours of the yarn, which could be hard to nail down. Clear beads maybe? No idea.

So basically, I’m thinking this shawl in this yarn is next on the docket, but man… I really gotta finish SOMETHING before I start this… right?


Gimli, I vanquish thee!  2

I AM VICTORIOUS!!!!! Good GOD that was a pain in the ass. After much belly-aching and whining and way too much time I finally managed to get the Gimli section of my shawl done. Honest to god, those were the most annoying 14 rows ever. I’m both extremely glad that I have successfully finished this section (and put a super secure lifeline in place to ensure I never have to do it again!), but I am also pretty irritated with myself because I have a pretty good idea of what was going on that caused this section to be a painful basket of hellfire:

Hammer and tongs! I am so torn between rage and joy, that if I do not burst, it will be a marvel!” – Gimli, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 

  1. I was stupid and didn’t correctly interpret the pattern. At the end of Legolas it indicated a stitch count of 87, and then at the end of the first row of Gimli it indicated a stitch count of 89. I did NOT register the change in the stitch count, nor did I really register that there was an increase happening. I just kept thinking I was supposed to start Gimli with 89, and I kept thinking I had the wrong number of stitches. This was NOT the pattern’s fault. It was correctly written. I was just being pretty daft.
  2. I wasn’t using enough stitch markers, nor was I really using them correctly. Again, the problem comes from Row 1 in Gimli where there was that sneaky 2 stitch increase.  When I put the markers in at Row 1 they got all out of place after the two stitch increase that happens in that row, and that kept making me think that I screwed up when I hadn’t. This didn’t start to work until I waited until the second lace row to put my markers in.
  3. I am fairly sure that I wasn’t paying enough attention during my first couple attempts. I am sure I missed YOs, missed some K2Tog/SSKs, and extra super likely is that I didn’t notice some times when stitches were sort of hiding under other stitches, so when I knit them I ended up doing accidental decreases. I started to be super careful and meticulous (especially with the stitches hiding under other stitches thing).
2015-04-22_08.30.24

Gimli is done!! (Apologies for the crappy picture. I snapped it last night before I went to bed.)

 

When I posted about my struggles on Ravelry I got a ton of great suggestions, all of which helped me to finally triumph over this section, but one poster suggested I stop using my Wolle’s Colour Change Cotton, suggesting that the yarn was contributing to my difficulties. That was the one bit of advice that I did not take. I don’t doubt that using a high twist wool/wool blend would help some, but this yarn is driver for this project. Part of the reason I bought this Fellowship! The Shawl pattern was specifically for my Wolle’s yarn, to show off the long colour transition. Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot by stubbornly sticking with this yarn, but I don’t think so. The end result will be so amazing in this yarn…

Anyway, its done and I’m really happy with it. It FINALLY looks like it is supposed to so now when I do Gandalf (the next section) it will build upon it perfectly. HURRAY!

 


Wool-free knits for the home

I have some people in my life who aren’t wool friendly. Either by preference or due to allergy, some people just don’t want wool things. I feel bad for them for wool is a pretty fantastic fiber with a lot of pretty amazing qualities and since learning to knit my appreciation and love of wool has exploded. Plus, in terms of yarn to knit with, it has been my experience that wool is just nicer and more comfortable to knit with.

But I digress. Sometimes you want to knit something for someone and wool is just out of the question, and that is a situation I am currently faced with. My eldest sister Amy is allergic to wool, and yet I would like to knit her something. I had originally planned to knit her mittens but that ended badly (to put it mildly). And where the winter is coming to a close I think I’d like to knit her something she could use all year around. I don’t have it in me to knit her a blanket (the one I am making for myself is enough, thank you very much) so I am left with items for the home. After doing some pattern searching on Ravelry I have come up with a couple of ideas.

Dishcloths

Dishcloths like Grandmother’s Favourite (free pattern) are the obvious choice and clearly a very popular design. I’m not in love with the idea of making some dishcloths as it seems so cliche and a bit of a cop out.  Their utility and the high likelihood of their being used is appealing though. If I did make her some dishcloths they would have to be interesting or special or unique in some way. Something like Sinkmates (paid pattern) would allow me to make it at least a bit interesting with different colours of borders. The interest could come from the shape of the cloths, like in The Almost Lost Washcloth (free pattern). The vaguely floral shape is at least a little more fun. The other option would be to make them more interesting by using a different stitch pattern like in the pattern Three Dishcloths (free pattern). More interesting or not, they would still be dishcloths and a little boring.

Potholders

See, this is where I start to gain interest. There is SO MUCH POTENTIAL for awesomeness in potholders, mostly because they are very often done in double knitting so you can make them in fun patterns and much more personalized. Like these awesome Star Trek Pot Holders (free pattern). We’re all Trekkies so this would be pretty cool. Hell, I want to make these for myself! Or what about this Pizza Potholder (free pattern)! Amy loves pizza so maybe this is a brilliant idea. Of, of course, I could always go the more grown up route and just make them pretty and classy, like these Scrollwork DF-Square in 2 Options (paid pattern). Super pretty and probably would be at least interesting to knit. The problem with potholders, though, is that I always feel like they should be done in wool for the best heat resistance and safety etc.

Other Various Options

Amy likes to drink tea so maybe a tea cosy would be good, like the Cabled cafetière & tea cosy(free pattern). I think it looks quite nice actually, but a problem arises in terms of teapot size and whether it would fit. I feel like I would have to buy a teapot, knit a cosy to fit it, and then give her both the teapot and the cosy, and I’m pretty positive she already has at least one teapot.

I really like this Home Pillow (paid pattern) and I think it would be a nice little gift, especially since Amy has semi-recently purchased her first home. It would be easy to add a second word or motif on the back as well to make it more personalized. I always worry about giving people large items for their home like this because it is pretty presumptuous that your gift will fit their style.

Maybe something small and simple, like A Burst Of Light Tealight Cosy (free pattern). One, it wouldn’t take me very long to make it. I’d probably be able to make a couple as a little set. It would be fun to show off some different stitch patterns, a different pattern for each one. And I really think they are quite pretty, with the light shining through the knit, showing off the stitch detail. Then again, the only reason why I think these are so cute is very likely because I am a knitter and a non-knitter may find them kind of cheesy.

 

Many options to decide from. As yet I haven’t been able to decide what would be best.

I am always open to suggestions so please leave in the comments any other patterns or ideas!

 

Links to all the patterns mentioned in this post:

Grandmother’s Favorite by Traditional Design

Sinkmates by Lorilee Beltman

The Almost Lost Washcloth by Julie Tarsha

Three Dishcloths by Joan James

2009_0805af_medium_small2

Star Trek Potholders by Ilana MacDonald

Pizza Potholder by Lina Wolf

Scrollwork DF-Square in 2 Options by Wineta

Cabled cafetière & tea cosy by Ruth Churchman

The Home Pillow by Fifty Four Ten Studio

A Burst Of Light Tealight Cosy by Emma Percy