We dream faster than we knit

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I have been dealing with a strong case of cast-on-itis, I have so far resisted casting on more projects, trying to respect my new 3-WIP rule, but I finally caved in and cast on everything on my mind!. It was so satisfying getting all my yarn and needles ready and reading each pattern to decide the size, measuring all swatches, I really did enjoy the entire process.

I knew from the moment I decided to just cast on everything that it would become hard to advance all those projects and I foresaw some frogging. That was two weeks ago and I still have all of them on the needles, but something curious has happened. I find myself wanting to cast on even more things and I daydream about all the other projects I want to do. I lost all focus and I’m not making significant progress on any of the projects.

To remedy this situation I started writing down all that’s on my daydreaming mind, with all the details I can come up with. Also I packed in a small project bag only one of the projects, with the goal of making some progress on it this week. I started that on Tuesday and so far it has helped me control the situation, although I still want to do it all.

We knitters dream faster than we knit.

Baby Knits = Cute and Fast

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I’ve recently made some baby gifts and they were very rewarding. They are super cute and fast. I cast on a Friday morning and by Sunday afternoon it was all done. Now i just have to send them to the kid before he gets too big to wear them 🙂

These are both patterns from Tincanknits, the baby patterns genius. The patterns are The World Simplest Mittens and the Bumble hat. I used DK yarn from Skein Queen, called Crush DK, which is a dream to knit with!

 

Summer of Basics FO #2 and #3: Archer Shirt and Jamie Jeans

 

I finally finished the big projects for the Summer of Basics!! (I also wanted to do a bag but I didn’t get the chance ).
These were intended to go well together and make a full outfit and I think I managed it, I’m testing it out today.

The Archer Shirt:
For the Archer shirt I wanted something cute and that I would actually wear. After a lot of thought I decided to do the version with the different back, like a ruffle, and I went with short sleeves.
To get the length of the sleeves I took the sleeve pattern piece from the Scout tee (also by Grainline studio) and put it on top of the Archer and copied that length.
I was really scared of sewing this shirt and I must say, it wasn’t difficult at all!. I took it step by step, without cramping all in a single day and it all went fine. Also the sewalong from Grainline studios was a great resource.
I think the fit is good, not too tight or too oversized. To be honest I will have to wear it a few times before I decide if I like it, this is not my typical kind of shirt.

The Jamie Jeans:
This was another pattern that scared me, and this time I have to say I was kind of right. The sewing is pretty straight forward except for the zipper, where you actually have to stop and look at the pictures and instructions and your own pair of RTW jeans so your brain understands what’s going on. The hardest part was judging the fit. I thought the fit was great when I try them on at the basting stage, but they turned out too big. I think I just forgot that the stretch denim will, well, stretch when worn and therefore they had to be skin tight when sewn.
But this pair was precisely meant to be for practice. I think the next one will be much better.

Info:

A Stash Problem – Part 2

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My basket of pretty yarn. This selection is like a sampler of my stash and reflects all the things that I would like to cast on soon.

I did my homework from part 1 and took everything out. The shock and overwhelm took over for a few hours. Then I started sorting.

I assigned one cubbyhole to all my precious sweater yarn. This is the yarn that I want to use soon. Then assigned another space to all the pretty yarn destined for hats, shawls, socks or accessories of some kind. Both of those are full to burst. Everything else got stuck in a bigger bin in a closet and some of it is marked for de-stash soon. I also selected some of the yarn to be cast on next, meaning the yarn that is most tempting for me right now, and put it in a pretty basket that I’ve been moving around the house as a nice way to enjoy them without being on the needles.

My other task was to make a list of projects for the rest of the year. My initial list had a lot of items and was not realistic. A quick look on ravelry told me that I actually average 4 sweaters a year, with a bunch of hats (about 6) and 1 or 2 pairs of socks. This year I have started and finished 2 hats, 1 pair of socks, 1 shawl and 1 sweater. I also finished 2 other sweaters that were cast on at the end of last year. If the statistics are correct I might still cast on and finish 1 more sweater this year after finishing my current cardigan, and then is hat knitting season for the holidays. Which means that the actual list of things to knit this year is a lot shorter than what I dreamed.

Here is the list of things still to be knit this year:

  • One more sweater for me (it will be hard to pick just one), with yarn from stash.
  • Test knit for Becky with brand new yarn (So excited!).
  • Gift hat for Tamara (the girl that will allow me to stay with her in Berlin for the Berlin Knits festival), with yarn from stash.
  • Gift hats in general with yarn from stash. I haven’t assigned yet who will get a hat this year for Christmas.
  • Mittens for me, from stash.

Also I will really like to finish all my WIP’s soon, because during December I usually go crazy casting on new things and that is much more enjoyable if the number of existing WIP’s is limited. Right now I have 3 WIP’s on the needles (still keeping my rule) but I have a couple of hibernating projects that I would like to finish.

It looks like next year will be the year to really work from my stash. If I do it right I might be able reduce it to a manageable size in a year. I still would like to allow myself an occasional small yarn purchase, but otherwise I think it can be done.

 

 

 

The Sleeve Code

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I really don’t like knitting sleeves, so anything that might help me to get that part over quicker is always welcome. To that effect I’ve had a “Sleeve code” for while now. It consist of reading all instructions for the sleeve and set aside a number of markers that represent every increase and decrease I do on the sleeve.

In the example of the sleeve for the Tinder cardigan I’m doing now it meant 7 increases every 10 rows (this sleeves are knit flat from the bottom up) and 1 increase every 8 row. After that the cap shaping begins with 3 increases every 4 rows and then decrease every RS row (no marker for those). So I assign big markers to the increases and same colors for the same amount of rows in between, and small markers for decreases.

The entire thing just means looking at the pattern a lot less, I only have to check the length after I’m done with a section. This trick works for every type of sleeve, worked in the round or flat.

Summer of Basics FO #1: The Linden Sweatshirt

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The fabric
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My finished Linden sweatshirt

I’ve been looking for a sweatshirt pattern for sometime now. At first I thought that the Linden wasn’t for me because of the raglan sleeves. I normally like the style of the set-in sleeves. But a crafty friend of mine insisted that this was a great sweatshirt and after seeing her versions I had to agree (thanks Tania!). So I got the pattern all printed and assembled and the fabric ready to go and just then I found the Halifax hoodie, which had all the variations I wanted, set-in sleeves, options for pullover or cardi and a hood. So at that time (about March 2017) I went for the Halifax hoodie instead. As it turns out I haven’t finished that because I haven’t found the right zipper for my hoodie, but as soon as I find it I will be able to talk about my halifax hoodie.

As the summer of basics came along, the idea of a very needed sweatshirt was still in my head and this time I decided to go ahead with the Linden.

I cut it in 15 min, as I was able to cut it all on my dinning table, much better and faster than the floor. Then I procrastinated for a day or two and then finally sewed it in about 30 min!

Maybe it was all my previous experience sewing with knits and with Grainline studio patterns, but I only had to take a look at the instructions booklet once, make a test of the stitch I was using, and sew the thing. It is 16 seams and that is all. It is so easy to put together and the result is so nice. This is a true basic and I adore it.

Info:

  • Pattern is Linden sweatshirt by Grainline studio
  • I cut size 6, which is a size smaller than the recommended for my bust size of 36″ and it fits me ok. Might try to make size 8 next time to test it.
  • My fabric is a flowery french terry fabric from JP Stoffe.
  • I used a small 2 x 2 zig zag to sew all seams and a stretch stitch (something that my machine has) for the neck top-stitching, all with all purpose Gutermann thread.

 

 

Two Fronts At A Time

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Poor picture of my two fronts in the sofa

I decided to make my worsted weight sweater go even faster by knitting the two fronts simultaneously. It seemed like a wonderful idea at the time, I now see that maybe it was not.

Although it will of course means that I get to finish both pieces at the same time and that they will be the same length, it also means that I’m taking away (a little) the versatility of a sweater knitted in pieces, which is the small detachable pieces. Right now I need to have a special setup in my sofa to handle the two balls of yarn while I knit because I hate tangled yarn, so I’m not knitting it on the train anymore and that cuts the knitting time.

I’ve been thinking of separating the twin fronts at some point but I haven’t decided. Part of me really wants to be done with the two fronts at the same time and part of me just wants to knit one fast.

Also knitting two flat pieces on the same needle can get confusing. You might end up knitting on a single piece a few rows without seeing that you forgot to get to the next piece, which is now a few rows shorter. That scenario is a bit of a disaster and requires attention and ripping. I haven’t found any brilliant trick to avoid this, I just put a marker on the right side of my pieces and I try to look down after I finish each to see which is next.

Virginia

A Stash Problem

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A pretty and reorganized bookshelf

When I was a new knitter and had no measure on yarn yet, I collected a bad stash. A bad stash is one of those full of odd balls, crazy colors and textures, a couple of good ones but in unhelpful quantities, and in summary…  an unusable stash. When I finally realized this about 2 years ago I took action and gave it all away, some to friends, some to charity. I promised to myself I would never built an unusable stash again!

2 years forward and I find myself with a stash problem yet again. This time is not that it is unusable, but that it is too much.

I have a beautiful Ikea Kallax unit of 4 cube spaces and I bought it with the intention of storing all my crafty stuff in there. That was thought to include my yarn, fabric, tools and works in progress, one in each cube division. It is now completely full of yarn. And my fabric, which is also getting a bit out of control, is taking an entire shelf in a closet.

The desperation that ensued after realizing just how much yarn and fabric I have was overwhelming. It all started with me not finding a particular skein of yarn, one that I thought could be my next project. So I had to take cube after cube out to find it and came face to face with the reality that I probably have enough yarn to knit for the next three years.

The shock is wearing out and I started planning ways to improve. The starting point of my plan of action was to read all of the Stash-less posts by Felicia at The Craft Sessions blog. I have now a rough idea of what to do. Here is my initial game plan list:

  1. Inventory. A realistic, all yarn out in the open inventory.
  2. Re-organize yarn, tools, books and fabric.
  3. Write all the projects I still would like to do this year including gifts.
  4. Match as many yarns from stash as I can to that list of projects
  5. Stick to the 3-WIP rule and start knitting

The problem not addressed yet is how to control the part of me that buys the pretty yarn. That one requires more thought, but for now the shock has been enough to keep me away from yarn updates.

Virginia

Late to the party… Summer of Basics

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When the Summer of Basics make-along was announced I thought I was not going to participate because I have a thesis to write this summer (not over yet) and because I thought I already had my basics covered.

However, I realized a week ago that many of my jeans don’t fit anymore and some of them have terrible holes, some of which I have already repaired once before. So as it turns out I do need a good pair of basic jeans in my wardrobe.

Then a minor early-autumn dropped by during the last few days and I don’t have a single decent hoodie or sweatshirt to use outside the house, all the ones I have are now in the category of pajamas or only-in-house use. Wool sweaters I have a few, but I lack a normal  fleece or french terry sweatshirt, pretty basic huh?.

So I decided to join the Summer of Basics party a bit late, after all party latecomers always have a lot of fun 🙂

My basics will be some that I absolutely need, the jeans and the sweatshirt. And since that already seems to form a nice combination to wear together I think I can complete the outfit with a couple of basics that I don’t really need but I would like to have, a button-up shirt and a bag.

The patterns and fabrics I’m considering are:

  • Jamie jeans by Named clothing. I will use a cotton-spandex stretch jean fabric in dark gray, almost black. I got this fabric at a local Karstadt store .
  • Linden sweatshirt by Grainline studios. With a pretty flowery french terry fabric from another local store called JP Stoffe.
  • Archer button-up shirt from Grainline studios, modified to be sleeveless or maybe short sleeves. The fabric will be something that I quite frankly don’t know what it is, but when I bought it almost a year ago, precisely with the intention of making this shirt, the lady at the store told me it would be fine for that pattern. Since then I have gained a bit more of sewing experience and I do think it will work. The store is called Toko Kurzwaren.
  • Gingham tote from the book Handmade style by Anna Graham, or Noodlehead. I will use a combination of a jeans fabric with a cotton Tilda one from Karstadt for the exterior, and a beautiful Les Fleurs print of Rifle Paper Co fabric for the interior bought from M is for Make.
  • Extra-credit Halifax hoodie by Hey June. This is a bit of a cheating option, because I have already started this hoodie, but it is nowhere near finished and I’m still looking for an appropriate zipper. This fabric is one that I bought at the wonderful market Stoffmarkt holland earlier this year.

I hope I can make it, the goal is to finish by the end of August, wish me luck!

Virginia

A worsted weight sweater at last!

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My beloved fringe bag and the completed back of my cardigan
Awesome texture!

After months of knitting only fingering or sport (fingering-in-disguise) weight sweaters I’ve had enough of the tiny needles and slow progress.

Two weeks ago I started the Tinder cardigan from Jared Flood a beautiful worsted weight cardigan, knit on size 5 mm needles, huge! compared to all the 3 and 3.25 mm I’ve been using.

I started on Wednesday 12 of July, according to my ravelry project page, and since then I have knit on it only in little bits of time in the morning train. Two weeks later and the back is already done, all 70 cm of it. I might actually finish this one faster than my 3-month average, it is very exciting.

I hope to cast on the left front tomorrow, after I wind the next skein of yarn and have it done by next week 😉

Virginia