Tagged lace

Bonny

I wrote recently about trying to make this top using Tosh Lace, which wasn’t right for the project. I couldn’t get gauge, and didn’t like the resulting fabric on larger needles. That yarn ended up in a stole, which I blogged here.

I absolutely had to make a Bonny top though. It’s versatile, and I already had the pattern, so I didn’t want it to go to waste, being that it wasn’t a free pattern. I really quite like Tin Can Knits designs too.

My husband and I were going out for the day, so we stopped at Urban Yarns in North Vancouver, and he sat on the sofa while I tried to make up my mind on what yarn I would use for my Bonny. It was a hard decision! I knew I wanted a light fingering, as the top calls for laceweight, and I hadn’t had luck getting gauge and didn’t want more laceweight in my stash if it didn’t work out. I finally decided on Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Oak colourway, which is a lovely bright green which reminds me of moss.

I had no trouble getting gauge with this yarn, and loved the way it knit up. It makes a lovely fabric. The only modification I made to this pattern was to do a folded hem, using a provisional cast on as described in Dramy’s Bonny. I hate rolling stockinette, and this solved the problem perfectly.

I finished the top in two weeks, however it took me another couple of weeks to finally seam the shoulders. I hate seaming, so I kept putting it off. The weather warmed up a lot too, and I didn’t anticipate wearing it any time soon, so seaming it wasn’t a priority.

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Here it is after seaming, but I really wasn’t happy with the shoulders. They stick out! I knew I would never stop being annoyed by how the shoulders look, so I played with them until I decided that gathering them a little would fix the problem.

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This is much better! I just ran some stitches across each shoulder and tightened them up a little bit until they were slightly gathered. This pulled the shoulders in, eliminating the points on the outsides of the shoulders. Of course, now it’s the middle of June, and it’s far too warm to wear my Bonny, but it’s ready for the fall!

My project page is here.

Siren Song

I got a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Lace from another local Ravelry member, who was destashing. It was a great value, and the colours were totally my cuppa tea. The yarn itself has been discontinued, sadly. It is lovely.

The first thing I tried to make with it was a Wispy cardigan, but the laceweight was just a little too fine for my liking. I wasn’t thrilled with the fabric, so I frogged it half way through. I later tried this cardi with a heavier yarn, and ended up frogging that as well. I think this cardi just isn’t right for me.

The second attempt was a Bonny sleeveless top, but I couldn’t get gauge. I did eventually make a Bonny, with a different Madelinetosh yarn, and I love it, but that’s a post for another day.

I let the yarn sit in my stash a little while longer, until I finally stumbled upon the perfect pattern. Siren Song is lovely, and would be perfect for the green yarn with its flashes of lavender. I had more yarn than the pattern called for, so I modified it a little.

Because I was using laceweight yarn, I used size 4 needles instead of the required size 6 needles. I also knit extra repeats of the lace. The lace has three charts, all of which are easy to memorize. I unfortunately neglected to record how many repeats I did of each chart, but I know I did extra repeats of the medium and small waves. I had very little yarn left when I finished.

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My Ravelry project page is here, if you’re interested.

Cassiope Shawl

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Back in October, when I went to Knit City, I had the pleasure to meet Caitlyn Ffrench again. We met a couple of years ago at a Fluevog knit night. She’s an independent yarn dyer, using natural dyes, as well as a pattern designer. I’d never seen her yarns in person, so I grabbed a skein of her logwood dyed fingering, without any ideas other than knitting a shawl.

I originally wanted to knit one of her designs, but couldn’t find one that a) called to me at the moment, and b) I had enough yarn to knit. After a bit of Ravelry searching, I came across Cassiope. I knew it would be an easy project, and I had just the right amount of yarn.

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In the end, I had far more yarn than I needed, so I decided to add one repeat of the mesh lace after the chevron lace, and do a couple of extra garter stitch rows before binding off. And guess what? I still have a bit of yarn left over! I figure I’ve got enough to make some lace bracelets.

The yarn was lovely to work with and I’m happy with the finished shawl. The yarn is kettle dyed, so there are slight variations in intensity of colour, which I love. I look forward to wearing it!

My Ravelry page is here.

Hausti Shawl

DSC_4694This is an old(ish) project that I finally got around to taking photos of. I bought the yarn while on vacation in the Yukon & Alaska last summer. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Skagway, Alaska, visit Changing Threads (they recently changed their name to Aurora Yarns, but the website seems to be down).

I like to buy yarn when I visit a new place, so when I go on vacation, yarn comes home with me. On this trip, I bought a skein of Raven Frog Fiber Arts Marvelous Merino, which is listed as a sport weight yarn. I picked the Borscht colourway, which has all of my favourite autumn colours in it.

DSC_4683The pattern I chose was Hausti, since the autumn colours called for a leafy shawl.

DSC_4686I learned a new technique while knitting this shawl – i-cord cast on. I’ve never done it before, and it was easy. Tedious, since for every four stitches you knit, you only cast on one, but it makes a really nice sturdy edge that doesn’t stretch, so it supports the weight of the shawl nicely. It also doesn’t curl, which is a common issue with stockinette shawls.

My Ravelry page is here.

Snowflake Sweater

I don’t often post about knits that just don’t work out, but I’m going to do so today. Some time ago, I fell in love with the Snowflake sweater pattern from Tin Can Knits (they’re local, woo!) It’s a fantastic pullover, with a nice lace yoke. I never wear pullovers, because I get too hot, but ever since I saw the sample in person at Knit City, I was obsessed with it.

Back in November, Knit Picks had a too-good-to-pass-up sale on some of their yarns. Specifically, Capra, which is normally one of their most expensive yarns. It’s a soft, squishy merino cashmere blend, and has a beautiful, subtle halo after blocking. Only the tumeric colour was on sale, but since I love Autumn colours, I snapped up eight balls of it, along with the wine colour, since I decided this was the perfect yarn for the Snowflake sweater. The funny thing about my colour selection is that I accidentally picked Gryffindor colours, which is the Harry Potter house I was sorted into when I joined Pottermore. It would be my accidental Gryffindor sweater!

As soon as my yarn arrived, I swatched and started knitting. The yoke lace is a little confusing, but I found the help I needed on the Tin Can Knits forum on Ravelry, in this thread.

Once the lace was done, it was time to work out my bust shaping. I tried short row bust shaping, but the picked up wraps were incredibly ugly. Maybe a dark yarn would be okay, but on such a light colour, any imperfections show up and are obvious. I ripped back my bust shaping and tossed the sweater in time-out, until I could find a better way to accomplish my bust shaping.

I re-read Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter, but her instructions are typically for bottom up, seamed sweaters. It made my head hurt trying to work out the shaping on my top down, knit in the round sweater. I re-read Ysolda Teague’s Little Red in the City, and it was easier to work with, because she typically writes top down, knit in the round patterns, but I wasn’t really feeling the love on how she suggests that you work bust darts.

Off to the internet I went. Read the post from the Knitty Professors again, but it uses short row shaping as well as darts, and as I said before, I wanted to avoid that. After spending way too long searching, I came across a tutorial written by a Ravelry member named strickauszeit. In the tutorial, she discusses different methods of shaping a sweater bust, using darts, specifically in top down sweaters. Eureka! I did the math, and came up with my bust shaping. I posted the calculations on my Ravelry project page, if you’re interested.

DSC_4617Guess what? It worked like a charm.

Now for the bad news. I’ve come to accept that there’s a very good reason I don’t wear pullovers. They’re hot, and I can’t just take it off like I can if a cardigan gets too warm. We don’t want the decency police coming after me! Granted, I’d probably tell them where to go and how to get there, but that’s another topic. After all of the work I did to make the sweater work, I started having serious doubts about whether I’d ever even wear it. The more I thought about it, the more I came to accept that I wouldn’t. The sweater would sit in a drawer, with its nearly perfect bust shaping, and that would be that.

The other bad news is that I bought far too much of the wine coloured yarn, and not nearly enough of the tumeric. I could buy more, except Knit Picks is out of stock until April, which would mean that even if I did manage to wear my sweater, it wouldn’t be until October, at the earliest. The yarn would also be a different dye lot, which may or may not end up being a big deal. At this point, I completely lost my mojo and decided to frog it.

Is that the end of the story? Nope. A frogged knitting project, while not something I often write about, is not a failure by any means. I learned a lot on this sweater! I now have a bust shaping technique for top down sweaters that works! And I like the results! I also learned that if I have to do shaping on a field of stockinette, I should use a darker colour. Granted, blocking would have helped, but while blocking is magic, it doesn’t remedy everything. I also learned that my reality is that I overheat easily, and pullovers aren’t my thing. I do have a few pullover patterns in my Ravelry queue, but most of the ones I’m likely to knit can be modified using a steek, and voila, I’ll have an awesome cardigan!

Also, this yarn isn’t going into my stash, to be forgotten until I eventually find something to knit with it. Once I’ve gotten all of the kinks out of it, I’ll be knitting Caramel, which is a free pattern, and will be amazing in Capra. I guess buying too much of the wine colour was a lucky accident. It’s also a very forgiving sweater, because it’s draped, so no bust shaping!

As for the Snowflake pattern, if anyone I know produces offspring and I feel the desire to knit for the little one, I’ll reach for this pattern. I’m also really interested in modifying the yoke to make it a cardigan…Just give me some time, okay?

 

Blanket for teacherbaby

DSC_4578On Tuesday, my 10 year old son told me that his teacher’s last day before maternity leave is November 26. He said he wanted something for the baby, and asked me to make a blanket. No matter how hard I tried, I could not convince him that a hat would be perfectly acceptable, practical, and most importantly, easy for me to complete before Mrs. C. goes on leave.

No, only a blanket would do! She’s his favourite teacher. He gave me puppy dog eyes. I was done for.

On my way home on Wednesday, I stopped at Michaels to shop for yarn. I had plans to make the Pemberley Blanket, and decided that an Aran weight yarn was close enough, mostly because it was so inexpensive. The yarn I selected was only $2.50 per ball, but at regular price, it was nearly $7. None of the bulky yarns were on sale, so Aran it is!

I don’t normally like knitting with acrylic, but given that baby things get dirty easily and I can’t count on Mrs. C. knowing how to care for woolen knits, acrylic was the way to go. Also, the price was right. I sat down on Wednesday evening to knit, then had second thoughts about the pattern. I had limited time, so did I really want to knit a blanket that would require me to frequently refer back to the pattern? Instead, I decided to knit the Pine Forest Baby Blanket, since it is a two row, seven stitch repeat. I had it memorized by the fourth row.

In the end, I used two and a quarter balls of Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn.

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Before killing the acrylic.

I normally don’t like knitting with acrylic yarn. Call me a yarn snob if you will, but I don’t like how stiff the yarn is while working with it, or how it feels knitted up. The stiffness never seems to go away. This photo shows the finished blanket. While the lace is visible and open, rather than crumpled and closed like it would be if I’d used wool, it is also very bumpy and stiff. Not the nicest to have against a baby’s delicate skin. Normally, you’d block any knitted item, but you technically cannot block acrylic, because it doesn’t behave like wool does. It simply springs back to its original shape, and still feels stiff and bumpy.

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After killing the acrylic.

This is when the magic of “killing” acrylic yarn comes in. The trick is to use a lot of hot steam to slightly melt the acrylic fibers. Acrylic yarn is technically plastic, so you have to be really careful when doing this for two reasons. One, you don’t want to melt the yarn onto your iron. Two, there’s no going back. If you mess up, you can’t just steam it back to the shape you want it to be. This is fine for my blanket, because I wanted it bigger and more stretched out, but in a garment, you need to be accurate when killing your acrylic. You can see the difference between the before and after photos. In the second photo, the lace is opened up, and flat. It even looks softer. Unfortunately, you can’t feel the difference, but I’d happily wrap a baby in this blanket now, since the yarn has lost its stiffness and itchiness after being killed. The blanket grew by about a third in the process, which is great, because it’ll be useful for longer than if I hadn’t killed the acrylic.

This was my first go at killing acrylic. If you want to read more about it, there are loads of tutorials about it, but this is the one I used. Does this mean I’ll use more acrylic in my knitting? Probably not often, because it makes my wrists ache, but for baby gifts, I’d be willing to do so again. Just don’t ask me to knit a 600 yard blanket in less than a week.

I hope Mrs. C. likes the blanket. My Ravelry project page is here.

Seeing Rainbows

Spring Thaw shawlIt’s been a month since I posted, because I really haven’t had any finished objects to share. It’s been a busy summer, with taking my daughter to visit her grandparents and a two week visit from her best friend, which included a camping trip.

After knitting my last sweater, I had several false starts on other projects, so I wanted something that would be easy and mindless to knit. I also wanted it to be fun.

I came across the Spring Thaw shawl pattern, which looked simple enough, and it is a free pattern to boot! I had this gorgeous rainbow Kauni yarn in my stash, which I had purchased with the intention of making a shawl, so I grabbed my needles and started knitting.

Spring Thaw shawlWith this yarn, as you knit and the shawl gets larger, the colour bands get narrower. When I first started the shawl, it felt like the yellow would never transition to the next colour. My only complaint with the pattern is that it doesn’t give any advice as to how many repeats you need to do for your yardage. I believe I ended up with 15 repeats of the leaf chart before moving on to the intermediate edging. I didn’t really keep track though, so I could be wrong.

Spring Thaw, knitting on BC FerriesOne of the great things about this pattern is that the leaf lace is incredibly easy to read, and I found that once I’d knit the chart a couple of times, I didn’t need to refer back to it, so it made this project ideal for travelling.

I took this picture of knitting while on the way to Nanaimo to pick my daughter up from her week with her grandparents. I am currently using it as my profile picture on Ravelry, because I think it’s a cute photo.

Soaking Spring ThawThe night before we went camping on the Sunshine Coast, I blocked the shawl. It had been sitting for several days, because I didn’t want to block it on the bed, but since my son is away at his dad’s house for the summer, I used his bedroom floor.

Kauni is NOT a soft yarn. It’s actually quite rough, which is part of the reason I used it in a shawl, rather than a sweater, which has more skin contact. Because of the roughness of the yarn, I opted to soak it for about an hour in Eucalan and some rich hair conditioner. Sounds strange, but it does really help!

Spring Thaw, leaf detailHere’s the shawl, blocking. You can see the leaf detail. My apologies for the poor image quality on this one, it’s an Instagram photo, and I didn’t have enough lighting. My project page on Ravelry is here if you’re so inclined.

While camping, I knit a hat and started a sweater, but those are projects for another post. I also started a bulky weight sweater (yes, I started a bulky sweater in summertime, because I am completely insane and like to cook myself under a pile of yarn). The bulky sweater is coming along nicely, and I should be finished in a week or so.