Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WIP Wednesday: How Not to Knit a Lopayesa Edition

Right after I submitted my thesis, I received a very generous gift in congratulations for getting the whole thing finally done. Of course, I wanted to spend the gift on yarn! Inspired by Mason-Dixon Knitting's Bang Out A Sweater knit-a-long, I decided to make a lopayesa. The Stopover they used is not really my style so I decided to go for a more traditional looking Strokkur by Ysolda, whose patterns are always very reliable. I ordered the yarn from Shop Icelandic and in a really quick time, like eight days, the yarn arrived. I made the important first step straightaway (that is, taking a photo and posting it on Instagram) and then things, well, kind of slowed down.  

I bought the pattern and then started knitting a sleeve for the swatch. I decided on magic loop and, after I'd done about 10cm, I gave the swatch-sleeve a decent bath. Then, I waited.

And waited. And waited. And then waited some more. It took about three days for the swatch to dry, by which time I'd moved on to the Big Purple Fluffly Blanket then the Sock Yarn Blanket. There was no room in my knitting enthusiasm for jumpers - it was all blanket all the time.

Last week, the weather (finally) began to act more seasonally appropriate, so I pulled out the swatch again. I got stitch gauge, so I was ready to continue. BUT I had not written down anywhere what size I had cast on. I counted the stitches and compared them to the pattern and it *looked* like I'd cast on for the 38.25 inch size, which seems odd because I am sure my bust is bigger than that. So, without doing anything so silly as remeasuring myself to find out why I made that decision, I cast on for the body in the 41 inch size.

Five centimetres of 1x1 ribbing later, I knew I'd made a mistake. For starters, the jumper was GIANT.   Like, at least 10cm too big but likely closer to 20. Secondly, I hate 1x1 ribbing. I hate doing it, I hate how it looks - why did I think I would like it better just because the designer said to use it? 

So, I went back to the drawing board. 

I ripped the ribbing (sob) and remeasured the swatch. I also remeasured myself. Discovering (as I'm sure I did last time) that I have a 39 inch bust, I decided (as I'm sure I did last time) that I'd rather have a jumper with negative than positive ease, I cast on the number of stitches for the 38.25 inch size. I also did the ribbing in 2x2, ie the type of ribbing I actually like. A few hours of hard graft later, and voila:

A lopayesa of the appropriate size that looks like I want it to.

This whole thing is proof that I am just not a sweater knitter! Kids, don't be like me.

In Other News

Both of the pairs of socks from last week's WIP Wednesday are done. Photos coming as soon as I have the right weather and model to get the job done.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Everyone's a Winner Edition

Over Christmas, I read the delightful but rather batty decluttering guide The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Maria Kondo. This book is massively popular and has inspired the much-maligned but completely fantastic practice of KonMari. Basically, with KonMari you gather all of one type of item (clothes, kitchen stuff, books, etc) and go through it item by item, deciding what brings you joy and what has irreplaceable use. If the item does not do either of these things, get rid of it. I realised after reading that book that I have wool and needles and projects squirrelled all over my house that are in desperate need of a sort and declutter. I really had no idea how much yarn I even had! It just seemed to be too big a job to even get started on. However, last Tuesday I woke up with an unexpectedly clean slate and thought, well, let's go. 30 minutes later, my bed looked like this:

It's hard to tell from this photo but that pile of knitting, yarn and needles was about 1 metre high. It includes every piece of knitting and knitting paraphernalia that I own.  I found some crazy stuff - half balls of wool left over from projects I knitted *twelve* years ago. I unravelled a ton of never-to-be-finished projects and tossed everything that looked tired and done.

Three hours later, my stash is neatly sealed and sorted and fits into these three boxes:

Excellent! The KonMari process was dusty and time-consuming but also very rewarding.  I now know what wool I have, how much of it I have and what needles I own. I'm excited about using it all up and my house is just unbelievably neater. (I also discovered a huge pile of UFOs that just need like an hour of work to be completely finished, but that's a story for another day.

In Other News

One thing that is giving me immense joy is my sock yarn blanket.

It's so big now that it's hard for me to get all of it in one photo unless I stand on something (this is not as exciting as it sounds - I am only five foot tall). Unfortunately, I have had to put it aside briefly because of boring deadline knitting. Boo!!!

First up, a pair of the world's most boring brown socks. They were requested by Sam for his birthday, which is next week, so I am Getting Them Done. But seriously, how boring?

Because I could only handle so much brown, I also cast on a pair of socks for my dad's birthday, which is coming up soon.

They are kind of based on the Cable Rib Socks from my favourite sock book Favorite Socks but I increased the stitch count and didn't read the instructions properly so it's really more of an "inspired by". I think it'll look good, though, and it's not made out of brown, which is really what I'm look for at this moment. 

The best thing is, once I get these socks done, more yarn scraps for my blankets. Everyone's a winner in this week's WIP Wednesday :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

WIP Wednesday: The All Blanket All The Time Edition

It has been all blanket all the time over here Chez HereIKnit. Over the weekend I was happily working on my purple fluffy blanket, patting myself on the back for my stick-to-it-ive-ness, when this happened: 

With half of one side to go on the cast off, I ran out of yarn! I was so cross I put the blanket in the naughty corner so it could spend some time thinking about what it has done. Stupid purple fluffy blanket.

With the PFB taking a time out, I have had a glorious guilt-free time working on my sock yarn blanket. I love it so much!

I love using up all the odds and ends of sock yarn that I have had lying around in jars for years (what - jars are great storage containers. No danger of moths, you can see your lovely leftovers all the time and, when you do use them, the wool smells faintly of salsa or pasta sauce). This blanket is a tribute to and memory of all of the socks I have made and loved in the past. I adore it! The only problem is that I don't have enough yarn to finish an entire blanket. To get a decent sized blanket, I need about 300 squares (15x20 rows). Even after I pulled out some baby yarn and cracked open an entire new ball of sock yarn from the stash, I estimate I only have enough wool for about 100 squares. I feel like buying more wool to work on a leftover sock yarn blanket is kind of missing the point, but it probably is the most sensible option. Or, I can work on it until I've used up all of the yarn I have, then leave it on the couch as is, adding a square or two whenever I finish a pair of socks. There's no hurry to make a decision - I have another 70 or so squares to go first :)

In other news, the weather has been very rainy and windy lately, which Lucy absolutely hates. To punish me (because the weather is my fault, of course) she has started lying down in front of my, blocking my path to where I want to go.

This strategy is ineffective because lying down she is about 10cm high, but it's very cute! Never change, Lucy, never change.