Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Yarn management games

It is 9 a.m. and the street lights are on.  They are on due to forest fires in BC and the smoke is thick in the air.  My normally bright solatubes are a weird orangish colour

and if you want to do anything in the bathrooms, you will need lights on today.  That isn't normally the case.  Solatubes usually are so bright that there are no shadows at all in the room.  People look for light switches when they leave the rooms and if I am honest, the number of times I check during the day to be sure I have the lights off is silly even after all this time.  

Our air quality index here is at a high risk at the moment.  By noon it will be very high and will stay that way all day. It is a good day to take it easy even if you are healthy and strong.  This is not a day to be outdoors running or working in the garden.  If you work outside, take it easy with lots of breaks.

The only upside is that all this intense smokes mitigates the temperatures, because the sun is filtered.  I pray BC gets some nice not thunder and lightning rain very very soon.

It is a good day to knit.  So I am.  I'm plugging away faithfully on my Easy Bulky One.  It is down below the armpits now and I have started the colourwork bit to switch yarns.

Yes in this rusty red yarn, there will be a switch to green.  

I originally bought the yarn to make myself a Taiga Vest or to possibly turn it to a sweater.  I did an online purchase and once the colours arrived, I realized that there wasn't nearly enough contrast between them to make a really punchy great looking vest. 


You would think there would be but nope.


The only difference is that one has more visible light flecks.  But I think for this sweater, where the point is a usable garment for sitting at home, and to have it done before the end of stash dash, it's going to be fine.  I do want it to look as nice as possible though and I did have to think seriously on how to make that happen. 

I went through various ideas, and ended with  what Raveler EsHauch did on her sweater, Akka fra Kebnekaise, which is built from a Basic Raglan by Barbara Walker and Pebble Cliff from Shibui Knits from which she was inspired to design her own variation.  I am making mine a variation of hers.  She bases her pattern on lice separated by 3 and I am doing 5.  I think that will give me a better look in this bulky yarn. 

I am planning to knit the sleeves before I get too much farther.  I don't expect they will be very long, but even so, I really don't want to be flipping the full weight of this entire sweater as I work down them. 

The other consideration in knitting sleeves next, is that I want to use up all the yarn.  I have 12 balls, 6 in each colour.  It has taken me 3 balls to get to where I am this morning, midway down my bosom and to me, that means that I need every possible inch to get to a good length on the body.  The current plan is to switch now to the green and then, as the bottom approaches, to knit the last 5 inches (I hope) in rust.  That will only happen if there is enough rust yarn.  So, back where I always seem to be, planning on what to do if I run out of yarn and how to manage so I don't.

It's about 10:30 now as I finish up this post and the sky has brightened somewhat.

It looks like a more average cloudy day now. No more funny orange and green look to the sky.   Time to turn off all my lights and get to work.   

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Easy Bulky One

Well that was interesting.

It turns out that the Harrisville Flax and Wool was not the right yarn for the Easy Bulky One.  In my head, Flax and Wool is bulky and thick.  In reality it is more of an Aran weight, perhaps not even as heavy as the Osprey I am working with right now.  

This time, I want this sweater, rather than any other more complicated garment, and I want this garment in large wool. So it gets done fast.  For Stash Dash. Which I realize is just the silliest thing in the world but I don't want to have to say in public again this year, that I couldn't do it.  That happened two years ago and it took me a lot longer than I care to admit to feel comfortable with myself again.  

There are lots of reasons for a big comfy sweater besides Stash Dash humiliation.  The Easy Bulky One appeared at just the right time in summer when I was trying to think of what I would like for winter wear.  It is the kind of sweater that goes over everything, that is casual and relaxed.  It is a Saturday morning sitting in your pjs sort of sweater.  

As I was sitting working on it yesterday, it came to me that it is exactly the same kind of sweater as my Icelandic Overblouse and I wear that so often even in summer, that it is going for its third wash of the season. It gets it weekly in winter.  If you click that link to the pattern page on Ravelry, you will see my version in photo number two.  I love this sweater.  

It's only shortcoming is that I have to wear a small scarf with it in winter.  It doesn't sit so high that the back of my neck stays warm. For the Easy Bulky One, I plan to fix this, with short rows on the back neck to raise it up and to have it sit close.  I am toying with the idea of making it a closer fitting neck than what the pattern shows.  We shall see when we get there. 

So, do you want to see where I am after the first day?

After realizing that the Harrisville was not the right yarn, I went digging in the stash.  I had a fair number of options too.  I started thinking about some Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Chunky.  I didn't end up using it though, because another yarn just kept getting in the way.  Literally.  What we have here is that yarn, Queensland Collections Kathmandu Chunky.  It is as if this yarn was meant for this sweater.  It made a fabric I like immediately in a gauge that is close enough that I can just knit a different size than I normally would start with.  The hand of the yarn feels just so perfectly right for this sweater.  Warm, comfy, snuggly, even before it is knit.  It feels thick and rich and a little bit decadent.  Surely that is what  yarn for a Saturday morning in your pjs sort of sweater ought to feel like?

Anyway, it is thick and wonderful and dense and warm feeling.  Probably not ideal for a hot weather speed knit, but you can't have everything.  

Monday, 13 August 2018

Designers and Me

At this point in my knitting life, I do not really need a pattern to knit a sweater.  If I spent time looking at sweaters on Ravelry, with very little effort, I could sort out what I needed to do to copy almost anything.

For instance one of my next sweaters is going to be The Easy Bulky One  from Joji Locatelli.  (Can you tell I like the designer yet?).  It's a shape that could easily be replicated, and when you consider just how much fiddling I have to do on an average sweater to get it to fit nicely on me, it's not usually a problem to do without purchasing the pattern.

And yet, I do purchase the pattern.  Always.  Even when I use nothing directly from a pattern at all. 

I do it because if I didn't, I would quickly become a knitter with a dozen versions of the same sweater in my closet, a top down, set in look sleeve type sweater with a v neck or a henley style round neck.  Maybe stripes on a few.  And that would be it.

I pay designers as much as possible because I need them out there doing their thing, thinking up new and interesting ways of seeing details.  I need them to sort out interesting details like Granito's little trick to get those lovely ridges, or to establish a pretty lace, like Kate Davies Myrtle or come up with pretty designs and combinations of peerie patterns, and or innovative colour progressions.   I need them to lead me to something different and fresh and new.  Shawls and cowls and even socks are the same.  Yes even socks.

I would knit even if other people did not sell patterns for me to follow, but it would be a lot less interesting. 

I pay them for the inspiration, for the hand up that helps keep me ever engaged in this lovely craft. 

Byt  the way, that next up sweater?  I am pretty sure it is going to be the Easy Bulky One, and sitting here this morning, I am pretty sure that it is going to be made in my beloved Harrisville Flax and Wool Blend.  Yes I thought it would be a vest but I think I will get more wear out of it this way, and I have no problem knitting this slightly light for the design yarn. It's going to be an easy enough to get a gauge that works and then just to knit. And then again...  You just never know.


Binding off. Again

After knitting on Granito a good long while, this morning finds me binding off the bottom.  Again.

And, as you see, the ribbed bottom is behaving much better.  I think, once washed, it is going be be fine.  I did the Techknitter thing correctly this time and I think it makes a big difference on such a narrow rib.

At the same time as I am binding this off, I am sitting here pretty appalled at my chances for making my Stash Dash goal of 7000 m.  I looked at the yarn I had left in the bag.  I started with 14 balls.  There are 5 untouched balls in the bag plus about a third of the ball I am binding off with.  I still have the ribbing to knit around the neckline so most of the current ball will be used up, but I will have 5 full balls remaining.  Which means I have used only 1800 metres of yarn.  Even my tight estimates were for 2400 metres used.  I thought it would be at least that much.  By using 1800 metres, it means I am not only 2 pairs of socks short of my goal.  I am a sweater short of my goal.


So I guess once this sweater is complete, I am going to have to work hard to get Cat Boat finished.  That really isn't that hard.  I really like working with the yarn, and it works up fast, so yay me.

But another whole sweater?  Sigh. Next year I am going to game the system just a little bit so I have something more in reserve.