Done-duh-duh-done-done-done

Behold, the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl:

This has taken a long time. Partly just because it’s a really long pattern (18 charts! Chart A to chart R!) but also because I was knitting other stuff and also kept running out of money to buy yarn. Happily Debbie Bliss didn’t abruptly decide to stop making Baby Cashmerino in the colours I was using (Ecru and Slate, for the curious).

The finished (unblocked) item is 82 inches long by 11 inches wide which is pretty much exactly the dimensions specified in the pattern – the baby cashmerino is ideal because it’s really soft to go around the neck and also a nice fingering weight. You need very similar amounts of the light and dark colour. I got through seven-and-some balls of the grey and six-and-some balls of the white – a bit more than is specified in the pattern, which suggests 822 metres (seven balls of each).

The only thing left to do is graft the ends together to make the cowl, which I’m a bit hesitant about.

I unpicked the temporary cast-on at the bottom and put the stitches on a needle, ready to go, but I’m not convinced. You can also keep it as a scarf and I’m tempted to do that – just because it gives you more options about how to wear it. I think it looks quite good as a scarf.

Pics of the final beast once I’ve done a big heap of Kitchener stitch…

Too Many WIPS

A WIP is a Work In Progress, for any non-habitual knitters reading this, and at the moment I am in the stressful condition of having too many on the go.

This is partly to do with finances – although I am no longer a broke student, working half-time does mean that the yarn diet continues (this is seemingly going to be a perpetual state of affairs) – and partly to do with my mother’s endearing habit of knitting sweaters for the boys and their less endearing habit of growing. So I frog them to re-knit them bigger. But then, obviously, I run out of yarn. This means that this:

Julien sweater

and this:

Water Stripes sweater

are currently awaiting an infusion of cash and yarn.

There’s no real excuse for the Scandy cowl. I love this knit and the utter bonkers-ness of it, and a ball each of the Debbie Bliss Slate and Ecru would probably see me through to the end. I have knitted my way through charts A to Q and only have 41 rows of chart R left, so I just need to bite the bullet and get on with it.

This one, though…

This has been heartbreaking. It’s destined to be a colour-striped-with-grey blanket. It’s in 4ply and stocking stitch and there are about 600 stitches per row if not more. I dug it out after a hiatus and … it’s had moth. There were a couple of small holes that I could mend, but I had to grit my teeth and rip back about a foot of it because they’d eaten through a whole stripe of six rows. That represents at least a week’s worth of knitting. So I’ve done the hard part and ripped out all the holey section – now I ‘just’ need to re-do what had already been done before I can get into new colours, but it needs to go into the freezer for a bit to kill any pestiferous eggs, too.

Let’s not talk about the sampler squares that are destined for a blanket sitting in a bag under the desk.

Dreaming of being a blanket…

Oh, and the Eldest has just outgrown her Starshine, so it’s been handed down, so now she needs a new sweater…

A long time coming

I don’t normally spend a lot of money on yarn, at least in a ‘per-ball’ way (partly because I’m tight but also because I’m perpetually broke) but I fell in love with the Isadora Cowl a while back and have desperately wanted to make it for about a year. Major downside – expensive yarn.

Picture of Louisa Harding Isadora cowl pattern
Isadora Cowl

It’s knit using Louisa Harding’s Trenzar and Amitola Grande which both retail for around £13 a ball and that’s probably double what I normally budget for yarn. However, I decided to treat myself last month, as I hadn’t bought any yarn for a new project for a-a-a-a-a-ges (what with being jobless for a chunk of 2017 but now gainfully employed). I went for Hook in the Amitola Grande and Lake in the Trenzar. (After I-can’t-tell-you-how-much fiddling around with various colour combinations in my shopping basket).

Louisa Harding Amitola Grande in Hook and Trenzar in Lake

It is a very pleasingly quick knit, especially by contrast with the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl, which is still plugging along.

This is the finished cowl:

The colours in the Amitola Grande are gorgeous and this was such a quick knit that I’m inclined to do another in a different colour pairing. It is lo-o-o-o-g  – plenty of length to wrap twice around the neck and not feel throttled. The yarns are soft enough that it doesn’t feel itchy on the neck. Guess it’s back to the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl now

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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Winter is coming…

The English summer is dicey at best, so I am taking some advice from the Starks (I’m assuming that literally everyone else in the world has also read the Game of Thrones books) and preparing for winter.  So Eriskay is proceeding apace:

SONY DSCIt’s a pleasing dark pink (Frangipani Crushed Raspberry 5ply gansey yarn) and although it’s knit in 5ply on 2.75mm needles and is a big sweater, I’m hoping to have it finished before next winter. There’s a long way to go, though.

So in the meantime I wanted to knit something fast on huge needles and went to the opposite end of the spectrum – chunky yarn (Debbie Bliss Riva) on 7mm needles.  I made up the super-simple pattern – 15 repeats of basketweave stitch (120 stitches), knit in the round. I knit till I had a balance of patterns at top and bottom while still having enough yarn to do an Elizabeth-Zimmerman sewn bindoff  (the stretchiest bindoff there is). This was three balls-worth. It’s long enough to go twice round my neck snugly and deep enough to use as a hood if I want to. The Denim colourway I used doesn’t have as much colour-change as some of the Riva colourways but it’s a nice mix of blues.

SONY DSCHere’s hoping that the English summer isn’t so bad that I end up wearing this immediately.