Farewell, Sneezy et al

The sneezy sweater is done, and was received with gratifying delight by its new owner.

I LOVE colour change yarns – there’s something about watching the changes pass through your fingers as you knit that I find endlessly delightful – and Noro is great for this. It looks like quite abrupt stripes when viewed from a distance

but up close the shadings are more subtle over a few rows and it’s lovely watching it come together.

The best way of making stocking stitch interesting that I can think of. Yarn is Noro Cyochin in shade 6, and the pattern is Debbie Bliss’s Nell sweater from the Junior Knits book. The only change I made was to drop the front-neck slightly as she doesn’t like having it up under her chin.

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Traps for the unwary

I am allergic to cats. I get a Seven Dwarfs set of symptoms – Itchy, Sneezy, Teary, Wheezy, Scratchy and the even more unpleasant Snotty and Swell-y. Normally this is not a problem. I have no cats, and if I’m around someone else’s cat I wash my hands after stroking it and don’t touch my face, which pretty much keeps it under control.

However, when ripping back and reknitting yarn that comes from quite a cat-y house, I had not taken account of the fact that the yarn might be cat-y too. All the yarn for this new sweater comes from a house with two Siamese. As an unforseen (by me) consequence, there is cat hair visibly scrambled into the yarn. Of course what I should have done was wash the yarn before knitting with it, but that would have involved Effort. I’d have had to wind it all into skeins, soak it carefully, wash it and rinse it out, dry it in skeins and then wind it into balls again. Doesn’t that sound incredibly tedious? So the net result is that – not having done any of that – after knitting on the sweater for 25 minutes I am sneezing approximately every thirty seconds. Sigh. Only a sleeve and a half to go.

Pieces of Nell sweater knitted in Noro Cyochin
Cat-y Noro Nell sweater

(In other news, there’s a strong possibility that I’m going to run out of yarn, but I’m carefully avoiding thinking about that just now. If anyone has a spare skein of Noro Cyochin shade 6 they don’t want…)

Recycling… again

As any regular readers will know, I am a huge fan of re-using yarn. I have projects that have been knitted from yarn that’s on its third go-round. Like this one:

Sweater 1
Sweater 2
Sweater 3

And also this one:

Sweater 1
Bathrobe 2
Sweater 3

If there’s plenty of wear left in it, but you don’t like it any more or it’s been outgrown, or it never quite looked the way you wanted it to… Take it apart and do it again. So a sweater of my mother’s, knitted in Noro Cyochin but that never really quite landed with her, got frogged, and here I am turning it into something else.

It’s going to be a sweater for Oldest Child, who is soon to be 9. The Noro isn’t the softest yarn to have next to your skin, so it’s got to be big enough to wear over a shirt or polo neck. Also unisex enough that it can be passed down to two younger brothers. Some of it has also been this:

 

in the interim, but I’ll rip that back later…

As an addendum to this post, I was talking to my mother about this habit, and apparently my father’s mother used to do exactly the same thing. And she had ten children so I have no idea where she found the time to knit…

Don’t like it? Break it and make it better.

I’m a great believer in not just leaving things alone – if something’s broken I like to fix it. In this case, this:

Original Silje jacket

The Silje jacket really never worked – whether the tension was just too tight, I don’t know, but the yoke was definitely uncomfortable for the recipient across the shoulders. Which meant it rarely got worn. So after it sitting in the to-be-frogged pile for a while I finally got around to ripping it to pieces a month or so ago. I already knew what I wanted to do with it. One of the most popular sweaters I’ve knitted her was the Starshine from the same company (GarnStudio) – this one:

 

So I thought the best thing I could do with the yarn was make another one, using some of the same colours from the Silje jacket. Completed today. As usual I have a scadload of ‘ends’ floating around inside the sweater, but what the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over…

Blue Starshine sweater

 

She likes it because she says it looks like the big collars the ancient Egyptians used to wear. Whatever works.

Making a sweater bigger

This sweater has a story. A saga, almost. The Too Long:Didn’t Read version: I began it, ran out of yarn, pursued a stranger over the internet until she agreed to sell me some yarn, but by the time all this had happened and I’d finished it, it was too small for its recipient. That brings us up to date.

I hate wasting yarn (plus I have no money for yarn just now), and in my view, yarn that hasn’t literally worn to rags still has plenty of life left in it. So the obvious solution is to

  1. rip this sweater back to its component pieces
  2. frog those back to balls
  3. begin again
  4. deal with ugly-head-rearing of exactly the same not-enough-yarn problem later…

Step one and two have been achieved, mostly.

Step three is in progress (former-front included for scale and to reassure myself that the new sweater will, in fact, be bigger)

Little sweater-front, bigger sweater-front

Step four. I have a plan…

An ex-sweater…

A pause

There has been a long silence on the blog due to me having (slightly unexpectedly) decided to do a Masters in Librarianship and Information Science. Which took up all the time I formerly thought of as ‘spare’ and also some that really wasn’t spare at all. There was no room for knitting, reading, woodworking or any of the other things I usually do when I’m not working, avoiding housework or poking facebook.

However, the first semester is now drawing to a close and with only two assignments left there is room to breathe. And knit. So first of all, a confession. The big black knotty nightmare? Is no more. All my grand talk about lifelines turned out to be so much bunkum when I noticed a mistake, decided I could live with it, and so moved my lifeline past it. Then I decided that I couldn’t live with it after all, and – get this – decided to try and frog back past it. Despite knowing all the stuff I said about the impossibility of frogging knitted lace. Literally, I looked at this fragile web of holes and thought “it’ll be fine”.

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The Mistake

Reader, it was not fine. So now the poor thing is half-frogged and sitting in a cupboard where it can’t remind me of my own stupidity. I loved the pattern, and I loved the way it was turning out, but I have to go a-a-a-a-l-l the way back to the very beginning and that’s not something I’m prepared to do just yet. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

In the meantime there are socks in Lang Jawoll Degrade, which looks so gorgeous in the ball it’s almost a shame to knit it up:

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a kind-of-Hapisk-but-not-really because I’m just striping Debbie Bliss grey 4 ply with leftover sockyarn. Projects for leftover sockyarn are great for someone who knits socks because there are always little balls at the end (if you’re a match-obsessive the way I am). And this is going to be either a blanket or a shawl. Haven’t decided yet, but I like the way the colours are coming.

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Scandinavian cowl, coming along ok:

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And some FOs because there were children with cold hands and heads so there needed to be hats and mittens…

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Free yarn!!

There are few things I like more than a free knitting project, as I’m generally thoroughly broke, and when a sweater has proved unsatisfactory it’s better to frog it and knit Something Better.

This sweater started out life as this one:

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It was very generously knitted for her – unfortunately a bit too generous. The neck was so large that the whole thing would just slide off her like a gigantic cowl – cotton is pretty stretchy anyway and the moss stitch made the situation worse. So, obv, I frogged it.

That time, it got turned into a Debbie Bliss hoodie from Junior Knits. I wasn’t especially happy with it so I don’t have a photo of the completed sweater. It wasn’t great because, like a lot of knitted hoodies, the hood part was so heavy that it dragged the whole thing backwards, meaning that you end up with a bare tummy. Also, like a lot of Debbie Bliss’s patterns for children, the length of body is short compared to the length of the arms. I always find with her patterns that I have to add a few centimetres to the body length otherwise by the time the sleeves fit the body is too short.

So, it didn’t get photographed until I was casting around for a new project. I’d started a new sweater for Smallest Boy and had run out of yarn (of which more later) but I really liked the pattern – Rowan’s Jack Pullover. Frogging seemed like the best option. So, here it is after the start of frogging:

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I was hauling the yarn directly off the old sweater and knitting it into the new, as I couldn’t see any reason to pull it all apart before starting, so after a bit it looked like this:

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And now it’s this:

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It got the ultimate vote of approval, which was that Oldest Daughter immediately started wearing it and hasn’t taken it off since yesterday. Definitely Better.

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