All but the ends

Only a few weeks in and it already feels like 2015 is flying by. I’ve been knitting away on the train but my weekend craft time is still taken up fairly exclusively by sewing, so it’s taken me a little while to get to the bind-off on this little piece:

I’m in the process of sewing in ends and debating whether the buttons above will work, but pretty soon my first FO of 2015 will be DONE!

One thing I’m really happy with on this sweater? The edging. You can probably see that the bottom, front edges, and neck were all knit in one go. I have a history of not getting my button band pickups quite right and having to knit them more than once (sometimes more than twice, yikes). I’ve gotten better about it but mostly I just try to avoid button bands as much as possible ;) Obviously I was highly motivated to double check all my math and gauges, and it all worked out perfectly.

What’s next? Well….perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, I am finding myself drawn towards another large project, but I’m trying to persuade myself that smaller is better for a little while longer!
And with that, I’d better get myself offline and make a decision–another week of train knitting starts up tomorrow and I need to be ready to take advantage of every minute!

Posted in cardigans, finished objects, stash | Leave a comment

So long, 2014

2014 has been quite the year around here.

Last fall I decided to take an extended break from knit blogging and professional knit design. After finishing my PhD in 2012, I was finding that I needed to focus more energy on adjusting to “grown-up” life outside of school. I had a new job, which I loved, but which came with a lot of new stuff to learn. My major “creative” energy was all being poured into learning the ropes at work and I just couldn’t sustain the kind of energy and focus that’s required to come up with a new pattern or tutorial. I was still knitting (three cheers for the public transit super commute), but mostly easy projects with a lot of stockinette. Not the most interesting items for blog topics.

After a whirlwind and at times grueling fall and winter, I finally felt myself starting to settle in over the spring. So I then decided to take on another big new project: supporting my partner as he hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Even being the support team for this kind of endeavor is a huge undertaking, and I am still so proud that M. trusted me to be that person as he worked his way through the mountains from Mexico to Canada. I spent a good chunk of my summer dehydrating beans, baking high-fat granola bars, and getting far too familiar with the spatial limitations of USPS’s regional rate mail boxes.


prepping supplies to mail out

In October, I finally finished my monster knitting project of 2014, a cabled sweater for my (6’2″ and proportionally long-torsoed) brother (no photos, I was serious about that knitblogging break). And with that, it was as if things began to realign. I did a big stash reorganization:

Inspired by this article, I decided to focus only on yarn or projects that would “bring joy”. I listed a load of yarn for sale on Ravelry, donated some more to the thrift store, and decided to take a break from large projects for at least a couple of months. I knit a lion:

And then a simple baby sweater, using a load of knitpicks yarn leftover from the samples for Little Firefighter and Cervide:

Then I cast on for another baby sweater:

(2014 has also been the year all my co-workers or their wives got pregnant/had babies).

So I’m back, a little. I’m still not sure where my renewed excitement about knitting will take me, but I’m happy to be excited about it again and I have lots of projects I’d like to try my hand at for 2015. I’m hoping to find time for slightly more regular blogging (maybe once a month?), and to get out a couple of patterns, and to give this website some of the technical TLC it really needs. But for the moment, I’m going to focus on tying up the loose ends of 2014, like that baby sweater, and the (still secret)big ridiculous sewing project I took on earlier this year.

I hope 2014 has been a great year for you, and I look forward to being back in the crafting world a bit more regularly in 2015!

Posted in cardigans, Lionel, patterns, random crafts, stash, sweaters, toys, yarn | Leave a comment

catch up

Well, once again, it’s been a while. I actually had taken photos for a few posts in the past couple of weeks. I was going to tell you all about how my brown Give and Receive scarf was progressing:

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And how I’d finally cast-on for my harvest sleeve:

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But, in the meantime, I finished the scarf (just have to mail it off to the recipient now):

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And the sleeve is rocketing along:

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I’ve also started a new project, Chocolate & Vegetables. If you’re interested in food, or just what I’m cooking & eating these days, come by and check it out.

I’m also coming to realize that while I still love knitting, the “designer” part of me is definitely going on hiatus for a while. I’m still designing for myself, but finding the large chunks of time necessary to multi-size patterns is getting harder and harder. I’ve also had some problems with wrist pain over the past couple of years, and so it seems prudent to back off on making myself knit like crazy to meet magazine submission deadlines, etc. And, hey, it turns out that full-time employment is a bit more demanding than graduate school. Who’d have thought? I’m finding that my creative juices are flowing a little more slowly, and I don’t want to start churning out bland designs just for the sake of it. I do still have lots of patterns I’d like to put out, so don’t think this is the end of me. Just slowing down, not bowing out.

Posted in accessories, cables, cardigans, colorwork | 975 Comments

diversions

I still haven’t found those few quiet moments I need to get started on my Harvest sleeve. Instead, I’ve started up a scarf for a friend who’s moving to colder climes soon:

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Look familiar? It’s a slight variant on my Give and Receive scarf, though I think I may have the cables slightly out of sync relative to the pattern. Still, it’s looking nice (yarn is Knitpicks Gloss, a merino/silk blend), and as the pattern is an easy one to get the rhythm of, it’s moving along quickly too. I should be back to Harvest in no time, maybe even this weekend!

Posted in cables, patterns | 1,024 Comments

body down!

Once I got going on Harvest again, I realized that goshdarnit, I CAN do complex colorwork on the train. The result? One completed body:

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Isn’t it pretty, all folded up like that? Next item, second sleeve, then the real beastly work (wrestling the whole thing at once as I work through the yoke) begins. I’ve got the ribbing on the sleeve done, just need to find a few quiet moments to sit down and work out the first few rows of colorwork and then I can start a new round of colors-on-the-train! I’m really excited for this cardigan, I can just taste fall coming every time I work on it.

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Are you looking forward to cooler weather? Are you knitting anything in anticipation?

Posted in cardigans, colorwork | 291 Comments

bye-bye, 4-ply

Forgive the slightly rhyming nature of the post titles this week, we went to see a little Gilbert & Sullivan last weekend (Iolanthe, if anyone cares) and it’s kind of stuck. Last night M. and I agreed that everything in life should come with a fairy chorus. Anyway….
 
Today’s post is the real finale for the Rowan 4-ply soft that I’ve been using for months now. I sewed in the last ends on my little cloche:
 
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I have a rather alarming pile of un-properly photographed FOs developing now, and unfortunately no immediate prospect of rectifying the situation. So for now, here’s a quick selfie instead:
 
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It’s cute, right? Now I just need this little heat wave we’re in to end so I can wear it!

Posted in accessories, hats | 988 Comments

one sleeve, two sleeve,

hemp sleeve, not-so-blue sleeve:
 
hemp sleeves
 
It is ridiculous how quickly this hemp cardigan is working up, despite the size 4 needles and the lightweight yarn. I’ve only been working on it on the train, but it still seems to zip right along.
 
Unfortunately, progress is about to get stalled because a) it turns out hemp is hard on my hands, so I need to alternate with something else, and b) I still need to figure out a few small details on the body. One of these days, I will write out a pattern completely before I cast on…but not today.

Posted in cardigans | 960 Comments

home front revival: harvest returns

Remember in my last post I mentioned that complex projects are pretty much impossible for me to manage with a train commute? Much as I love the speed of zipping through miles of stockinette in the round, the fact is that it can also be, well, you know…boring. I need some challenge somewhere. So, for my new “home” project, I dug a WIP out of the back of the closet and decided to see about making some progress.

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Yes, it’s my Harvest cardigan, still plugging away on the body. With my current copious amounts of evening free time (*cough* *cough*), I’ll probably be lucky to get through a row each night. Still, that’s better than nothing, and it’s good to have a reminder that, oh, right, complexity is still possible.

I’m also enjoying flipping the piece inside out and looking at the backside. Aren’t I doing a neat job of things?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1,119 Comments

greening up: hemp cardi cast on

My swatching last week worked out, I spent some time crunching numbers in the spreadsheet, and today I was finally ready to cast on:

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A sleeve, mostly stockinette in the round, reasonably mindless and thus perfect for train knitting. I’m finding that on my commute, anything that requires looking at a chart or frequently referencing numbers is impossible. Small motifs that are easy to memorize, good, anything more complicated than that, bad. It does tend to encourage more of those “zen” moments of knitting, which I guess is nice when you’re on a train that seems to manage at least one major delay per month (not that I’m counting or anything…).

Posted in cardigans | 1,109 Comments

gearing up

I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but I am really wanting to knit some cardigans, sweaters, you know….clothes. Hats and gloves are great, but I’m ready for a change (at least for a little while). I’ve had a few balls of yarn out on my desk shelf as “inspiration” for the past couple of months, and I think I might finally be getting somewhere with one of them:

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This yarn is a 100% hemp fingering weight that I picked up back in 2007 (Yikes!). I’ve wanted to do something with it for a while but most of my swatches have just been very…meh. I finally decided that this yarn would be best used for something simple, clean, and unfussy. All the stripes that are currently permeating women’s fashion have gotten to me and I decided to use that as the basis for the design, using texture instead of color to create the striping pattern–as it always takes a while to knit up a piece it pays not to be *too* on-trend!

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the hemp continued to show the striping pattern after blocking. I deliberately knit my swatch at a very loose gauge and was thinking the rows of purl stitching might just collapse into nothing in particular with the application of soap and water. But nope, the hemp works perfectly, creating a fabric that somehow manages to be loose and open while also very “defined”.

Now I just need to crunch a few more numbers and I can cast on…

Posted in cardigans, stash, yarn | 939 Comments