Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Winter Knits

Each time I post, I vow to keep up the momentum to publish more often. Well, it’s been a year since the last post, so I suppose I need to revise my goals.  The only weaving I’ve managed since last year has been on small Weave-Its/Weavettes, but because I felt the cold in my bones most keenly this past winter, most of my free time turned towards knitting as a means of keeping warm. I started this post with the best of intentions after finishing the bulk of my winter knits, but as winter meandered through spring, and time trudged through the burning heat of summer into these crisp cool precursors to fall, I’m finally finding time to present the labours of last winter.

This is A Better Bucket hat by Amy Swenson:

8272BetterBucket

I think the yarn was Manos del Uruguay, but for the life of me, I can’t remember or find the tag — or my notes!

I often take my son to park days with friends, but my cold fingers needed some help if I wanted to knit. Chilly Podster Mitts were the answer!

0928ChillyPodsters

Executed in variegated Patons Classic Wool, I knit these tightly to be more hard-wearing and warmer. I love the convertible thumb. I had to finesse the pattern so the mittens would fit my hands better, and found I enjoyed the process of playing with numbers and gauge to arrive at the perfect alteration. I learned enough knitting the first mitten to alter my second mitten more easily.

Then I was inspired to tackle a larger project, a cardigan. Only once before had I knit a sweater, a raglan pattern, for my son. (That was four years ago; it didn’t fit correctly, and was worn twice only, as a costume!) Of course, I couldn’t do something simple like find a pattern in English. The only pattern I wanted to try was Huldan Takki, written in Finnish. (At the time, there was not an English translation available.) I don’t know a single word in Finnish, but Google Translate helped me to make a start on guessing the pattern in English. To complicate things further, I changed nearly every pattern specification:  using dk instead of fingering weight yarn, drastically changing the cast-on and increase numbers, knitting top-down instead of bottom-up, and eliminating striping patterns. Two different colours of yarn had to be used, as I worried I would not have enough yardage. The yarn was six skeins of Cascade Yarns 220 in Australian Nights and one skein of Cascade Yarns 220 Quattro in Plum Crazy. I made several false starts before settling into the knitting, but still had to re-knit the first sleeve five times! The second sleeve did not match the first, and I had to acknowledge that all my copious note-taking was to no avail, as I had difficulty in deciphering my code even in the instances when I did not fail to lose the precious pages. But, I learned so much about knitting to fit myself!

After finishing, I wore it twice, but found the boatneck top to be too loose for my taste. I asked for help on Ravelry, and there seems to be no escape from ripping out the neck to re-knit again. Fortunately, I do have an extra skein of Australian Nights, so this will help, but the revision will not be a straightforward task, as I had knit it top down, and it will take some work to re-knit it going up. I’m not experienced enough to know exactly the changes that are needed to fit it more closely to my neck, and I frankly cannot make sense of my notes. It’s too daunting a task for me to face just yet, so I’ve put the project aside to await an infusion of courage.

8723HuldanTakki

I found I’m happiest when I don’t have too many projects going at once, and I truly enjoy finishing one before starting another. There is a kind of joy in the discipline of following through, and in that period of sweet anticipation of the next, when the end of a project is nigh.

After Huldan Takki, I wanted an easy, mindless knit, which I found in Red Heart’s Endless Circle Vest. I used twelve skeins of some clearance Tesoro yarn I bought long ago from Jo-Ann Fabrics; it’s mysteriously labelled simply 100% wool. It’s actually luxuriously soft, dense, and springy, for being unknown wool. The pattern is both elegant and simple, and would make a wonderful project for a beginner. To alleviate the uniformity of the green, I knit the circular part carrying a strand of colourful novelty yarn (Lion Brand Trellis, in Stained Glass).

8797CircleVestYarn

9369CircleVest

9370CircleVestCU

9371CircleVestCollar

I used up all but a few yards of the mint yarn, although I have almost a full skein of the novelty yarn left. I succumbed to the temptation of using as much of the yarn as possible, since I didn’t want to have any extra left over. However, I should have stopped sooner, as the sweater is a little too large and bulky on me. When I eventually wash the sweater, I plan to full it to shrink it a tad. The neat thing about this sweater is that my hands are completely free, and I can complete messy chores like dishwashing in stylish warmth, without the worry of dirtying the sweater.

I’m finished with warm woolen knits for the time being. I look forward to being fashionably warm next winter!

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27 August 2013 - Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , , ,

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