Thursday, October 31, 2019

Catching up

Getting back into a routine is not easy. Over the last three months I went to many places and was busy with lots of things. Yet, one thing was constant in my life – I kept knitting. Knitting is great for traveling because it doesn’t take up much space in your luggage. Knitting is awesome at the end of a busy and difficult day.
The only thing that is pretty hard to accomplish when you travel or are just really busy with something is finishing. There is nowhere to wash or block the finished pieces in a rented apartment in a foreign country. There is no peace and quiet necessary for sewing those pieces together when you are frantically cleaning and packing all your belongings.
Now we finally moved back to Florida. This time for good. Our house in Pennsylvania is emptied and put on the market. Hopefully, from now on I won’t move around as often as before. While I was packing, I discovered this long forgotten sweater that I made about 18 years ago from Alice Starmore book Fishermen’s Sweaters. I made it with steeks and gussets, using tiny needles and lace weight yarn. A real Starmore, imagine that!
Making this sweater was so difficult that I couldn’t part from it even though I couldn’t wear it either: the white yarn was of a very poor quality and too scratchy; the sweater is so warm that it cannot be worn with a long sleeve shirt underneath. Yet, many years and several washings later, the fabric felted a bit and became less irritating to the skin. It was chilly enough in Pennsylvania so I could finally wear it and even enjoyed doing it.
This is the last Alice Starmore project that I knit and since I probably won’t make another one in near future I decided to keep this sweater for nostalgic reasons/real cold spells.
As soon as we settled here in South Florida, I finished all the projects that were patiently waiting for this moment all summer and fall. Now it’s time for the show and tell. Unfortunately, it’s been a while and I might not remember all the details about the process. Well, I’ll do my best.
First, my long suffering Fisherman sweater or Seahorse (this is the name of the pattern from the Rowan Denim book). I finished all the parts before leaving Florida at the beginning of July, but was able to put the whole thing together only last week.
I used two different sizes of the original pattern (see all details on my Ravelry page) but otherwise didn’t change much. The pattern is a classic Kim Hargreaves: simple, straightforward, understated but stylish. The textured fabric looks well in Calmer. It isn’t too warm and can be worn in Floridian climate. Plus the yarn is soft and squishy, easy to wear next to skin. Fingers crossed that it fits and the recipient of this gift like it.
My next project was another Kimono cardigan from Saichika’s Book of Sweaters Knitting With White Yarn. I liked making this cardigan the first time so much that I decided to do it again using up the leftovers from my Blueberry for Scotland sweater. I made a swatch and it was bigger than required in the pattern. So I used smaller needles (sorry, no recollection about their size).
The finished cardigan is roomy so I wasn’t afraid of it being too small. Plus, since I used this yarn before, I knew how much it stretches after washing. Yet, since I didn’t know exactly how much yarn was left in my possession (as it turned out, not too much), I had to be careful. That is why I didn’t make any pockets this time, and had to do without cuffs on sleeves.
Otherwise everything was done according to the pattern. Again, I used the tubular cast on for the front parts – it helps to hold pieces together and gives a nice finish to the garment.
And again, I admire Saichika’s patterns (they are a work of a real artist/engineer) and plan on making more of them.
This new variation of Kaleidoscope was made from the yarn that I bought by accident.
Does it happen to you? It was a gloomy and rainy day in Glasgow. We just finished lunch and felt reluctant to go outside. Then, my daughter found a bargain yarn store nearby and, obviously, we all went there (who wouldn’t go on a rainy, gloomy, cold day to a yarn store in Glasgow?). All the yarns there were ridiculously cheap and mostly acrylic. The one that I ended up buying was 50% wool and I fell in love with its color. It is deliciously dark rusty red. Unfortunately, there were only 3 skeins of this color in the store plus one in a different dye lot. I figured that I won’t be able to make a full garment from 4 skeins so I got two more colors and decided to use a pattern with colorwork for this yarn. Kaleidoscope was one of my first choices because it is a top down, easily modifiable and adjustable pattern, plus I could finish and wear it right away.
To tell you the truth, I am extremely proud of this sweater. Not only the fit is perfect and the yarn behaves beautifully – being not too scratchy but warm enough for Scottish capricious weather – but its body looks unicolored even though I used all four balls of red yarn and the dye was visibly different. To avoid stripes, I had to alternate balls of different dye lots in every row which was a bit cumbersome but paid off eventually.
It was the first time in a long while that I was able to put a sweater on the moment it was actually finished! And it felt good.
More details on my Ravelry page. All pictures were made in Scotland where I wore this sweater (or jumper, as they call it) non-stop, and where it was left waiting for me till my next visit.
My boyfriend cardigan was done also mostly in Scotland. I bought the yarn - West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece Wensleydale – from this shop which is situated on an isolated farm near a lake. I wouldn’t have even known about its existence if not for Clare, its owner, whom I met in Stirling’s knitting group Oor Woollie. I must tell you, that going to this group and meeting all the fabulous knitters there was one the highlights of my stay in Scotland this year.
Clare told me about her shop and, of course, I went there and bought some yarn. It couldn’t be helped. This yarn is gorgeous – thick, woolly, and a little fuzzy. I decided to start working with it right away because I wasn’t sure that there was enough for the whole garment so I could go to Clare’s shop again and buy more yarn while still in Scotland.
My first attempt at making a top down sweater from this yarn was a total disaster. I worked diligently for a week and managed to finish half of the body before trying it on. That was the moment of reckoning – no one would want to wear the thing that I was making. I promptly unraveled it and decided to stay away from the top downs for a while and make a big wooly scarf from this yarn.
For this purpose I bought a pattern that turned out to consist of only one row (all the rest was an interview with a designer which was not exactly what I normally expect from a knitting pattern). The yarn looked good in a scarf and I kept working on it for several days but then saw My Boyfriend Cardigan by ChrisBerlin on Ravelry. From the first sight I knew that it would be a perfect match to my yarn, so I promptly bought the pattern and unraveled the scarf.
By the way, the yarn still looked good after two unravelings! It looks even better in the finished cardigan. My only problem with it was the shedding. While working with this yarn I was literally covered with white hairs. Clare recommended washing it with a hair conditioner which helped a lot. I still wouldn’t wear it with black clothes but otherwise it is not too hairy and oh so warm.
More about the pattern on my Ravelry page. I loved working on it even though it was a top down seamless cardigan and you know how much I like to change them into “seamfull”. Not this time. It was a delight to make – clear and concise, the way I like them! And I had to go back to Clare’s store for more yarn so it was smart to start this project on the spot.
My last finished project was also made out of the yarn from Scotland.
One of the Stirling knitting group members – Carol – was clearing up her stash and selling some skeins during our meeting. One of her yarns – a lace weight hand dyed dark blue wool – had no labels or any other information about its length or content. No one was particularly interested in it and Carol gave it to me as a gift. Thank you, Carol! With 2 skeins with approximately 800 m each I decided to make a big blue scarf/wrap. I used 2 threads of Carol’s yarn plus one thread of MimiPlus in Blue Tweed colorway from my stash.
The pattern of my choice was Lucca scarf by Julie Hoover. It has a subtle geometrical lacy design that isn’t difficult but keeps you on your toes.
My gauge was bigger than in the original pattern plus I added two selvedge stitches at each side so the scarf turned out wide. It can be worn as a shawl as well as a scarf.
Two additional selvedge stitches were used for a garter stitch border so the scarf wouldn’t curl at the sides. I wish I also made a couple of garter stitch rows at the beginning and end for the same reason, but eventually it blocked well and doesn’t curl much. More of my mods on the pattern page on Ravelry.
Carol’s yarn being extremely soft and silky was coloring my fingers in blue while I was working with it. To the point that I became really worried it anyone could wear this scarf at all. Imagine putting a scarf on, going to work, and discovering that your neck became blue on your way there. As soon as knitting was finished I soaked the scarf in a vinegar solution and then washed and rinsed till the water ran clear. Hopefully, it fixed the problem with the dye.
Actually, I love this scarf/shawl/wrap so much that I might keep it to myself. We’ll see.
In September we went to Cambridge, MA to see our younger daughter for whom I made my Pitch. She wore it and she loved it! And it fits like a glove (I have to mention though that it shrunk a bit after being soaked in hot water and washed before our visit). More pictures on my IG and Ravelry page.
Now I have reported about all my finished projects and you all know what I did last summer:)
Meanwhile, we are in Florida and are going to stay here for many months to come. I have big plans for this winter. Stay tuned…

No comments:

Post a Comment