Neon Confetti Irresistible!

Hi! Happy January! Is that a thing that people say? Happy January anyway :) So far I've spent quite a lot of this calendar year eating nachos (YES) and watching the West Wing on netflix (YES) with my favourite person :) I have not been doing any knitting (broken record: no-crafting-for-wrist-healing-for-as-long-as-I-can-stand-it-so-that-hopefully-it-really-heals-this-time).

But! I did do a little bit of knitting back in mid-December that I haven't shown you yet. (It was a bad idea wrists-wise, but I can still show it to you. Yeah!)

Remember this neon yarn that I gushed about (from Vancouver's RainCityKnits) which I picked up at this summer's Fibrations festival in Victoria?

Neon!

I love speckley, sprinkley yarns like this one, even though I sometimes have a hard time finding patterns that really make them shine. I'm using it to make (Guelph's) Ash Kearns' pattern, Clincher, and I'm still pretty obsessed with it. (Also kind of pleased that both the yarn and the pattern are by Canadians :) )

Neon!

I think the combination of yarn and pattern here is FANTASTIC. Kudos to RainCity dyer (and lovely person) Krista for doing such a beautiful and non-pool-ey dye job!

Project glamour shots time? I think so.

Neon!
Neon!
Neon!
Neon!

Neon yarn + simple, addictive pattern + bright happy project bag = COME ON

Neon!

Finally, regularly scheduled cat leg cameo:

Neon!

Yeah. I really, really love how this yarn is knitting up, and when I'm back in fighting form knitting-wise, I'm going to be all over this prettiness. It just makes my heart happy!

2014 in review!

Check it out - Wordpress has this cool "year in review" feature that compiles a bunch of statistics from a blog over the last year. Neat!

Click here to see the complete report.

My blog is pretty tiny right now (in terms of traffic, commenting, that kind of thing), but that's okay with me. First, because even chatting with a few friends (YOU GUYS!) is still lovely - and nicer than chatting just to Miss New Zealand... Second, because it means there's still lots of room to grow!

I'm still thinking about the how's and why's, but I think I'd love to make growing the blog a little bit a goal for 2015. It might be challenging, especially if my arm strain issues continue to prevent me from crafting as much as I'd like to, but I really enjoy blogging so I want to try!

I'm not normally a big "resolutions" person, but I do like the idea of goals and targets (which you could argue is just semantics... but it's a meaningful distinction to me. I think goals and targets communicate an intentional flexibility and aspirational quality, while resolutions have kind of a more rigid, "to be broken" feeling that can set you up for feelings of failure. ANYWAY!).

I have a few others in mind for this coming year that I'm still mulling over. What about you? Are you thinking about goals, craft-related or otherwise, around this time of year?

Garter Chevron Blanket - halfway catchup!

I was looking through some photos from the last two weeks, and realized that I DO have new photos of my garter chevron blanket to share, even though I'm still on knitting hiatus, for now, while my wrists and forearms heal up from overuse. I actually made a bunch of progress on this project in a short span of time -- which is part of how I messed up my stupid wrists in the first place! I had a couple of days in a row where I had to spent 5+ hours sitting quietly, waiting for things. PERFECT for knitting, right? Except, it's not a good idea to knit garter stitch (knit knit knit knit with no purls or other stitches) for the whole 5 hours with no breaks.

Clover Leaf!

Although I regret it now, because it's meant such a dumb hiatus, I did get quite a lot knit.

Clover Leaf!

I finished the third colour/second stripe! This was the first really truly green stripe, in a colourway called "granny smith." I'm still really loving how this is coming out - I know the colours wouldn't be for everyone, but they're very me :)

Clover Leaf!

This next stripe is the only non-Cascade yarn. This 3rd stripe/4th colour is Classic Wool from Patons, in a bright medium green called "clover leaf". Why different yarn? For the most practical reason ever: this yarn in this colour happened to be on super sale at my LYS. It fit into the colour scheme was economical to boot!

Clover Leaf!

I'm super excited about how this blanket is shaping up! I think I'm firmly in "knitted blanket junkie" territory, now.

Walking... Still not knitting

There were some completely lovely comments on my last (quite whiny, really) post about wrist pain and time away from knitting - thank you lovely commenters! I'm still on my knitting break, so I don't have anything yarny to show you. I did go on a lovely rainy walk, though, and I thought I'd share some of the best bits.

I started out near the inner harbour, which I kind of love on gray days.

Harbour

This time of year, Victoria also has lots of cherry blossoms - super pretty!

Cherry blossoms

AN ADORABLE SNAIL!!!

Snailio!

There was some fiber-ey content - I passed three or four of Victoria's giant spindle whorl sculptures (more on them here - they're called "Signs of Lekwungen", and honour the Coast Salish). I love, love, love having such amazing and public connections to fiber arts in my city!

Awesome giant spindles

Spindle detail!

It's 100% spring here, so flowers are happening!

Blurry but pretty

There's also a series of sculptures around the harbour of hands doing a variety of things. I both love them AND think they're super super creepy :)

Super creepy hands sculpture!

I love my city, and walking is definitely a good thing; I'm still looking forward to getting back to knitting, though!

Mitten fit.

So, here's the thing. I'm an experienced and pretty confident knitter. I adjust patterns all the time to create garments that will fit me the way I want them to - shorter sleeves, adequate busts, buttons where I want them, all kinds of modifications.

Even though I can and usually do take my actual body's measurements into account when I'm knitting, until now, I've only ever knit mittens that are too big for me.

I really have no explanation for this. I tried them on as I went. I could see that probably they would be "a little bit long". But I still finished them.

Exhibit A: a basic mitten recipe, and handspun that I got at one of Victoria's yarn stores.

Long

The cuff is WAY too long. The wrist-to-fingertip portion isn't too bad, but the too-long-cuff means it never sits quite right. Also notice the lobster claw thumb, which is weird and wrong but I love it.

Exhibit 2: Beautiful cabled mittens out of Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter yarn, which is unique and gorgeous.

SO long

WHO HAS ARMS LIKE THIS?! (Just to be clear - the birth mark on the left of the photo is about 1" away from the inside of my elbow. Is there a name for "inside elbow part"? Inbow? Brb googling... "Antecubital Fossa".) Pattern, you crazy. Sarah, you also crazy for not realizing you made a mitten sleeve, and then MAKING ANOTHER ONE. So beautiful, so too long for me.

Exhibit III: Okay fine, these pretty much fit. But the button loop at the end makes them a little bit impractical... or at least a little bit quirky. (The pattern is by the super talented Ysolda Teague.)

Also kind of long

Finally, enter New Favourite Mittens That Fit And Also Have Nostalgic Childhood Resonance!

Just right :)

Following another Raveller's modifications, I eliminated several sections of the (very nice, and very free) pattern, in order to shorten the cuff, the palm, and the thumb, substantially. And behold! A my-hand-sized mitten! It's made out of 100% angora, which is BANANAS soft.

Mitten party!

When I was a kid, I had a pair of plain white angora mittens and a matching hat that were super super soft, and only for special occasions, and I treasured them. They weren't handknit, or cabled, but they were soft and pretty and made appearances on the kind of days when my sister and I had to wear matching dresses my mom had sewed with crinolines and too tight sleeve elastic. I'm pretty stoked about the new, adult version, that I can wear anytime I want :)

Pretty mitten!

Guess who has two thumbs and two sleeves?

This guy! Two sleeves and the start of a hood!

Remember, this is Kate Davies' Shepherd Hoodie knit in Juniper Moon's limited edition Shepherd & Shearer yarn (which you can STILL GET right here!)

How about a super blurry selfie modelled shot? I'm expecting it to look a bit different once it's been blocked, but you can see the general shape of the garment.

Blurry selfie!

Once the sleeves were finished, I moved on to the last big knitted element - the hood! Working the hood requires you to collect stitches on hold and pick up new stitches, from the front button band edges, up along the shaped fronts, and across the back. (Bonus cat hair in the photo! Thank you, cat, for spreading your body hair all over everywhere.)

Smooth pickups across the front

Tiniest hood progress!

Then there's a sea of seed stitch to work!

Seed stitch ocean!

The hood requires quite a lot of yarn, so I ended up unravelling my swatch to reclaim the 30+g it had used up. Here's the swatch yarn unravelled...

Ramen yarn?

...and after a soak and air dry! Much better.

That's better!

I'm so looking forward to having the finished sweater available to wear, because it's been quite cold lately (cold for my corner of the country, anyway). But I'll also be a tiny bit sad when the knitting is done. This piece has really been a pleasure to knit, and the yarn is an absolute favourite. I'll be looking for more hard-wearing, lanolin rich yarns in the future, for sure: they're awesome to knit with, and they result in garments that wear and last extremely well.

I admit that I'm looking ahead to what's next too - a pretty, shiny lace project!

Shepherd Taking Shape!

Since my last Shepherd sweater update, I've made some exciting progress! I finished up the right front, which was shaped with a combination of binding off stitches and decreasing at the neck edge.

Close up of front shaping

Right Front

Then I worked on the left front, shaped in the same way.

Left Front

Doesn't it look pleasingly symmetrical? I'm starting to see "sweater" when I look at it instead of just "rectangular block of cables"!

Body without top back!

Now I've moved on to the center back portion of the body. It's wider than the front pieces were, so it's a bit slower going, but no shaping to keep track of! I'm looking forward to finishing this bit, because then I get to join the shoulders and start SLEEVES!

Even for such a large and labour-intensive project, knitting this sweater isn't at all a slog. There's constant evidence of progress to keep me feeling motivated and excited! I only wish it was small enough to carry with me on the bus ;)

Shepherd Update!

The last time I showed you my Shepherd sweater, I was making steady progress on the lovely, heavily cabled body, and generally gushing about both pattern and yarn's considerable charms. Shepherd before dividing!

I'm still totally in love with the pattern and the yarn - no surprise there. I know it's been said (by me, and by others) already, but the yarn for this project is just SO so special. It's not buttery soft like most of the commercial yarns available today, but it's not really what I would call "rough" either. It just has more substance, more body, more crispness, and I loooove it. Also bears repeating: it just smells. so. fantastic. Lanolin is magical, and fragrant.

ANYWAY! I took a little break from Shepherd over the holidays, to crank out a pair of socks for a beloved whose feet were cold and whose office mates apparently had handknit socks made by their wives. Now my attention is back on the sweater!

Like my friend Amber, who is also knitting (and blogging!) the Shepherd hoodie, I've just divided for the fronts, back, and sleeves. (*waves* HI AMBER!) Before I divided, I worked the body length to about 16.25", a little bit shorter than the pattern calls for, for my size, because I'm a bit shorter than, um, most eighth graders ;)

A bit messy

I prefer to put held stitches on extra circular cables, instead of waste yarn, so that they're super quick to pick up again when I need them. So, that means my sweater looks like a bit of a hot mess right now. All is well, there are just a lot of extra cables flapping around!

Starting the right front!

Progress :)

I'm making progress on the first front piece, and getting really excited about being able to try on a sweater body sometime soon :)

Healing, Knitting. Hexa-Rainbows and Rainb-agons!

I'm recovering! Slowly - but surely. I'm very lucky that I've been able to take a good chunk of time off from work to stay home, consume liquids, and rest. I need it, too - I'm totally worn out! Even a quick shopping trip today completely wiped out the energy I had stored up over a few days. Oops. Also lucky for me, it turns out that knitting something simple is the perfect way to keep my mind busy (to avoid obsessing about the potentially catastrophic meaning of every tiny ache and pain - I'm a worrier ;) ) and to create something happy and beautiful at the same time.

First, I finished some socks for a beloved with cold feet. I *really* hope they fit, but if they don't, I can make more. That's the beauty of knitting, I think.

A sock for some cold feet

Next, I made a bunch of easy, comforting hexagons.

Hexa-Rainbow?

They have been the perfect project, because I don't need to read or remember a pattern, and they're small enough that I can work on them even with a supervisory cat in my lap. :) They are also hella pretty.

Rainb-agons?

Even though I'm really enjoying working on these hexagons, I'd love to get back to my Shepherd hoodie, too. What are you knitting, these days? I hope it's something happy-making.

Bright Winter Colours :)

Where I live, winter tends to be more gray than white. That's okay with me, in some ways - I love gray weather, even if I have to be out in it, as long as I'm dressed warmly and have something waterproof on my feet. (I cannot abide wet feet, though. That's kryptonite.) I do love snow, and even feel that cold-cold has its charms. I used to live somewhere that got more snow, and I do miss it. But I love where I live so much that I'll accept an absence of winter white :)

Though seasonal neutrals do make me happy, it's also nice to have a bit of a wake up colour-wise! Lucky for me, some perfect HELLO THERE! yarn appeared at my doorstep recently.

RainCity Knits Babycakes!

This is half of RainCity Knits' neon sampler pack (normally you get eight colours, the whole rainbow - and they're all lovely, I'm just counting my pennies these days). Aren't the colours BANANAS amazing?!! Just the thing to make you feel happy and perky even on a super gray rainy day (in case gray rainy isn't your thing, I mean). Krista, the dyer at RainCity, was extremely helpful and quick sending my yarn along to me - and she's from my side of the country, hurray!

RainCity Knits Babycakes!

These adorable little pre-wound mini-skeins let you try out a bunch of RainCity's cheerful colours at once! So perfect, right?

RainCity Knits Babycakes! (except the blue)

(Note that in the photo above, the blue yarn is not from RainCity - it's Knitpicks Stroll tonal that just happened to be nearby)

I'm using my "babycakes" to make hexagons for my Six'es blanket (designed by the talented Karen Lauger!), and I'm really pumped about the pop of brightness they're going to add. I'm hoping I can get at least 5 hexagons out of each babycake, which will definitely add to my growing pile of six sided blanket pieces! Six'es is a little-by-little project right now: I'm mostly chugging along, knitting hexagons on the bus every day, blocking when I get the chance and storing everything up until I have enough for the biggish blanket I'm imagining.

What's making your days bright this month?

One hexagon, two hexagon, red hexagon, blue hexagon...

You know what makes waiting for things completely and totally welcome? Knitting. Every row counts!

I've been carrying just enough yarn in my purse to work on hexagons for my Six'es blanket, which means that every little scrap of time I have to wait for something, I can pull out my instant patience needles. Knitting makes bus travel totally pleasant! It makes waiting for appointments no problem at all! It makes a long lineup no sweat :)

Sunny hexagon afternoon

The leftover yarns in my stash are being used up fairly quickly, so I've started to use new stash skeins that I just don't have a project in mind for, too. This lovely bright blue is Knitpicks Stroll Tonal.

Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in Blue Yonder

Even though it's still quite a long way away, I'm already feeling pretty excited about how the blanket will look when it's finished!

Hexagons galore!

Do you carry knitting with you all the time? Or just when you know you'll have the chance to squeeze in some stitches?

Garter Stripe Blanket BORDER TIME!

Is there anything better than happy colours and squishy, cozy texture together? I've made some great progress on my stripey garter stitch blanket since my last update! After I finished all the coloured stripes, I wanted to add a border of some kind both to make the blanket a bit larger, and to bring in some neutrals to balance out all the colour!

I knew I wanted to use some natural, undyed Juniper Moon 100% cormo wool yarn that I had, both because it's gorgeous AND because it's from my favourite farm! (As I was knitting, I even found one of my favourite yarn features ever - a tiny dot of surprise colour! I think of it as an easter egg every time I find one of these in a yarn :) )

1

I considered several different border stitch options. I thought about working a garter border back and forth, in the style of the 10-stitch blanket. I considered doing a folded edge like in this Whit's Knits blanket from the Purlbee. I also mulled over a couple of log-cabin style options: either true log cabin (like these washcloths, for example), or a sort of modified version, where I picked up and knit along both long sides first, and then along both short sides (see scribbly diagrams below!)

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Eventually, I decided to go with that last option - first, garter borders along both long edges, then along the two shorter edges.

I consulted a couple of "picking up stitches along a garter edge" resources, but ultimately my friend Amber came to the rescue with a photo tutorial of her technique. THANKS AMBER!  Once the stitches were picked up, the borders were just as easy and fun to knit as the coloured stripes.

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5

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I really wanted to be able to work on the blanket border on the bus, but it gets a bit crowded (especially now that school is back in!) and the blanket is getting big. So, I've started taking a slightly earlier bus in the morning to make sure I'm on a double decker - extra seating room and definitely better for knitting!

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9

I'm so happy with how the blanket is coming along!

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12

I have one more step in mind. My very favourite edge treatment - i-cord of course!

I want to save the rest of the natural cormo for another project, so instead I'm going to work i-cord all around the edges in gray. I poked through my yarn closet and found that I had TWO different skeins of medium gray yarn!

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On the left is Briggs & Little Heritage (a Canadian yarn!), and on the right is Berroco Vintage Chunky. Both are leftovers from other projects! The Briggs & Little yarn is a rustic 100% wool, and the Berroco Vintage Chunky is a blend (50% acrylic, 40% wool, 10% nylon). Both yarns are a little bit heavier than the worsted yarns I used for the body of the blanket, but since they're just for an edging treatment, I think they'll still work. I like them both for different reasons, but I did make a decision!

I'm going to work my i-cord with the Briggs & Little 100% wool. Even though it's not a particularly soft yarn, it's hard-wearing and will last a long time. I'm also loving the idea of gray for the edges, because I think blanket edges can see more wear and tear and possibly staining. Instead of having white edges that might not hold up so well over time, this blanket will have a lovely gray outline to keep it looking great!

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Also I just love gray a lot :)

Yarn Blog Digest!

Garter Stripe Who's Who!

One the things that's making me very happy about my stripey garter stitch blanket is that nearly all of the yarn I'm using is left over from other projects! First, I feel virtuous using up extra yarn that's otherwise just hanging out in my yarn closet with no particular future to look forward to.

Second, I'm thrilled with the esthetics of how it's turning out, and I keep forgetting that it's mostly coincidence that I even had these yarn colours in the first place. Get ready for a long & picture heavy post... Here's a who's who!

Stripes by number!

1. Crimson: Cascade 220 Heathers in Crimson Heather

(This colourway isn't listed on the Cascade site anymore, but that's what it says on my ball band!)

I used this yarn to knit a Christmas stocking for a friend, at her request! I striped the dark red with natural white and a little bit of sparkly silver. I had quite a bit left over, and red isn't a colour I use very much, so it has been languishing in my stash until now!

CRIMSON

2. Bright Red: Patons Classic Wool in Currant

This yarn made my very first felted project ever! The ubiquitous and adorable French Press Slippers (pattern by Melynda Bernardi) came out perfectly in this very feltable wool yarn. I added buttons from my very favourite button store, and voila! In person, the colour reads more like dark coral to me, but it's probably red.

CURRANT

3. Pink: 2011 Juniper Moon 100% Cormo CSA Spring Yarn Share in Nantucket

This is one of several bits of leftover Juniper Moon share yarn in the blanket. I've been lucky enough to have always renewed my share since the first time I was gifted one, in 2010. It is AMAZING yarn, and Juniper Moon is run by amazing, amazing people (who I consider to be friends :) ) I made a cozy cabled sweater out of this yarn - the Dark & Stormy cardigan by Thea Colman!

NANTUCKET

4. Sherbet: Berroco Vintage in Grapefruit

I bought this yarn especially for the blanket! I have some yarn in my stash of a very similar colour (as you may recall), but it ended up being too heavy to use. So, I picked this up to round out the warm end! I'm so glad I did.

Cantaloupe Twins!

(Vintage is on the right!)

5. Yellow: Cascade 220 in Gold

I used a little bit of this bright yellow to accent some school-team-themed fingerless gloves I made as a gift! (See #10 for a picture of the finished gloves :) )

GOLD

6. Green: 2012 Juniper Moon 100% Cormo CSA Spring Yarn Share in Ojai

This is probably my favourite yarn that I have ever owned or worked with. Soft, extremely squishy, not too heavy, excellent stitch definition, and really the best colour imaginable :) I used this yarn to make a Hooray Cardigan (pattern by the genius Veera Valimaki) that I really treasure. I'm so glad this yarn is in the blanket.

Button detail

7. Emerald: Patons Classic Wool in Emerald

Another yarn that I bought specifically for this project! I love this colour (and I hear it's in style this year!)

Ojai green and emerald green!

8. Blue: 2010 Juniper Moon 100% Cormo CSA Spring Yarn Share in True Blue

This yarn is from the very first year I was a Juniper Moon shareholder! It's so so special to me. This yarn also travelled quite a long way - due to a post office mixup, the package first went to Colombia before being re-routed to my home in British Columbia :) (I want to emphasize that this was 100% a POST OFFICE mixup, the correct address was on it from the start!) So, this yarn has seen the world. I also knit it into a sweater that I really love, Tea Leaves by Melissa LaBarre.

TRUE BLUE

9. Navy: Berroco Vintage in Dark Denim (I think!)

I can't share the project this is from, because I used it to make a gift that hasn't been given yet (and I don't want to spoil the surprise!)

navy skein

10. Purple: Cascade 220 in Conchord Grape

This bright purple was the main colour in the sporty fingerless gloves that feature the bright yellow yarn from stripe #5! I remember buying this yarn with team colours in mind and thinking I would probably never have a use for the leftovers. I'm so glad I thought of one.

CONCORD GRAPE

I'm still thinking over which yarn and what strategy I'll use to finish the edges of the blanket once the spectrum-ey stripes are finished, so there might be more yarn yet to come! I'm so looking forward to seeing how this project turns out.