WIP Wipeout Progress Report #2

Lots of progress has been made on my wips, but not many were finished. The first one to be ticked off the list was this scarflet:

Once again, I used sticky tape to hold down the hem while hand stitching and once again it took ages. So when I came to tackle the next scarf, which is a square one, I made a fringe instead:

However, this took as long as the hand stitching did on the first scarf. Partly because it’s bigger, and partly because it’s a lot more fiddly than it sounds. I have two more square scarves left to hem/finish and I’m considering trying two other ways to do it.

I’ve been working on my pants-into-jacket wip, and since the sewing machine was out I also hemmed the table mats:

Cotton is MUCH easier than hemming slippery silk, I can tell you!

WIP Wipeout! Progress Report #1

The socks were pretty close to done, and I finally finished them last night. I’ve been knitting them since mid-February, but designing involves a fair bit of knitting and frogging and knitting and frogging.

The bit I was designing was a heel that didn’t break the graduation of colour with sock yarns like the Regia Hand-Dye Effect one I used. The finished sock looks a bit odd.

But it looks fine on the foot. The shaping creates a triangle. I did these toe-up but the instructions are the same for top-down.

I also realised after I started the second sock that I hadn’t started anywhere near the same place in the colour graduation to get matched socks. So I knit a longer foot and made sure the heel started at the same place, then frogged the toe and reknit it top down.

I’m planning to write up the pattern then test it. Knowing my luck the exact same thing will be published in a magazine or something before I get the chance to.

I finished two more WIPs on my list as well. The Painted Canvas Bag:

I’d been waiting until had the sewing machine out to sew the handles on, but when I came to do it I discovered there wasn’t room enough for the foot of the machine to move up and down with the thick handles in the way. I wound up hand sewing them with a bit ‘x’ on each loop attaching the handle, using black cotton warp ends.

The other finished project is the hemming of a silk scarf. It took me 2 1/2 hours to hand stitch this one, and it’s only a ‘scarflet’:

As Paul said: “I can see why you hate hemming silk scarves”.

Finishitis

A few weeks back I had a bout of startitis. I had a couple of weekends free for crafting and went a bit overboard. Some of the projects were done in a day, or I finished them later, but other were added to a growing list of wips. Now I’m suddenly conscious of a deadline looming. When I go away for more than a fortnight or so, I tend to come back feeling little interest in projects I was working on before I left. So I need to finish them before I leave.

This has brought on bout of finishitis. Which inevitably involves a list:

Knitting, Crochet and Weaving:
Socks – the ones I’ve designed a heel for that doesn’t break up the sequence of graduated yarns
Sock bookmarks – I’ve made ten so far as gifts to take with me. How many do I need? Hmm…
Ode to the 80s jumper – the machine knitting project from a few weeks back. It’s 90% done. I’ve been hesitating to finish it, though, because I had to admit to myself that I’m not happy with the shape and fit. I really like the way the yarn knits up, and I can now see the garment it should be.
Plaited silk scarf – haven’t got far into this. Tempted to frog.
Crochet sampler blanket – been in hibernation for some time now. I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t want to do a full bed-sized blanket. Just need to do a few more squares so I can sew it up into a knee rug.
Green scarf – on the rigid heddle loom. Using handspun yarn from a scarf I frogged, so unfortunately it isn’t going to reduce the stash total.

Sewing, Refashioning and Anything Else
Red dress into top – um… well… not going to happen unless I lose some weight, because right now I look like a stuffed sausage in it.
Brown Jacket from Pants – a project I started the weekend before last. I need to buy some black cotton fabric. Or do I…? (eyeing fabric put aside for book cloth)
Table mats – japanese print quilting squares that I just need to hem.
Silk scarves – I need to hem five of the scarves I dyed recently. It’s a job I loathe. Last night I did the smallest one and it took 2 1/2 hours. I had to use sticky tape to hold the hem as I stitched it. Blargh!
Fair Isle Bag – from the abandoned vest.
Painted canvas bag – attach handles.
House Slippers – attach soles.

There are some projects I haven’t started, that I’d like to do before I go. I’d like to weave another loopy mobius scarf. I’d like to start and finish knitting another pair of socks. And I’d like to bring out my bookbinding tools and materials and make a sketchbook to take away with me. And maybe some mini book pendants to give away as gifts. And the big loom is looking a bit naked and forlorn without a warp on it…

But I’m holding back starting anything until I can get the list above reduced. Well, except maybe a pair of socks. I do like to have one pair going at all times.

House Slippers

For my birthday a few years ago I got some lovely vintage and handspun yarns all in the same natural white and grey colour scheme. I tried a few projects, but none of them seemed to suit. Then I saw the Easy House Slippers pattern from Craftzine.

After running a quick test swatch through the washing machine, I knew that the vintage yarns felted at a different rate to the handspun, so I stuck to the two grey vintage yarns. I added some Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn in natural white for the third colour.

The pattern is so easy – just an L-shape made up of garter stitch squares. Sewing them together is a bit mind-bending, but the instructions are clear.

Two runs through the front-loader later I had these:

One thing I don’t like about knitted slippers is that they don’t have any grip, so I’m going to buy some rubber or suede to cut into soles and stick or stitch to the bottoms. I don’t want to slip over on the stairs!

They’re a bit roomy width-wise but I knit the bigger size because I have long feet. There’s plenty of room for thick, winter socks. I love how the squares on the sides keep my ankles warm. My current mid-season slippers are getting a hole at the toe, so I need to replace them. Hmm, I wonder if I can recycle the soles?

Loopy Scarf

Paul was off working at a race track on the weekend, so I filled my time with crafting. Saturday was machine knitting day, and Sunday was weaving day. I haven’t yet finished off the garment I made on Saturday, so I’ll blog about the weaving first.

Lately I’ve only been weaving large projects on the table loom, so I decided to take inspiration from my recent shift to using up small batches of yarn on small knitting projects and tackle some small weaving projects.

I have a little stash of handspun, including these balls of handspun by the lovely and talented Yarnivorous. I’ve been putting off using it because I hadn’t yet found a project for it that would take advantage of it’s unique characteristics. It was brightly coloured, with short colour changes. Looping the yarn back and forth on the table to see how long the colour changes were gave me a spark of inspiration.

It’s been ages since I worked on the knitters loom, but it was perfect for this project. So easy and fast to warp. It took a while for me to work out how to have loops on either side of the scarf without the warp sliding out into them. I tried twisting the last two warp threads on each side around each other, but it was slow and difficult. The solution I eventually worked out was much simpler: two loopy shots followed by two normal ones.

Once the scarf was done and off the loom, I decided that the fringe at the ends clashed with and distracted from the loops. I considered tying and then sewing the warp ends back into the weave. Then I had another flash of inspiration. I’m still in love with looped, mobius scarves. Why not bring the scarf ends together, tie corresponding warp threads and then sew them back into the weave?

The warp turned out to be thin enough, and the weft thick enough, that the doubling up of warp where the ends are sewn in isn’t noticeable unless you look closely.

I love how this worked out. It suits the yarn, which is bright and fun. It’s a loopy loop scarf!

Lallans 2.0, Lallans Two & Lallans-ish

A few weeks back, in a What I’m Knitting post, I showed you my first attempt at knitting the Lallans Hat from the Twist Collective:

I had hoped it would fit my mother, who has always told me her head is larger than average. But her head must have shrunk, because it looked ridiculous on her! So it was off to the frog pond.

I washed the yarn to get the kinks out, then started again, going down a needle size and knitting the small. This time it came out fine:

But, of course, now that I’d shown it to Mum, she wanted one, so I got knitting and made this:

I gave it a curled up stocking stitch brim, because she likes them. I also had to use white contrast yarn because I didn’t think I had enough brown left, but I like it. I’m sure she will too.

Being on a stash busting drive, I decided to make another using the white (which is Bendigo Luxury 10ply) and leftover brown and blue Cascade 220, playing with colourwork patterns instead of the braid and slip stitch zig zag just for variety:

Which came out a little small, but confirmed for me what the problem was with the first Lallans I knit – the green yarn, Mission Falls 1824 wool, relaxes a lot when it’s washed. It wasn’t just my imagination that it grew.

The white hat isn’t overly small. It fits me (obviously) but feels a bit snug. It would be fine on an adult who doesn’t mind a close fit, has a smaller than average head, or a child. It’ll go into my gift/adoption knitwear bag.

Stash

There was as time, when this blog was mostly about knitting, where I used to take a photo of my stash and analyse it every six months, inspired by other bloggers ‘flashing the stash’. This week I indulged in a bit of stash flashery, in honour of getting my knitting yarn down under ten kilos again:

Except that there’s more than ten kilos showing. A lot more. It’s closer to seventeen kilos. Ten kilos is this:

The crossed out yarn on the left is my sock leftovers. I don’t count sock leftovers as stash. (Or other leftovers if there’s less than a ball left.) But there’s so much of it, that I could easily knit several pairs of socks from it – and probably will.

The crossed out yarn on the right is yarn for weaving projects. I did say that it was my knitting yarn that got down below ten kilos, didn’t I?

The weaving stash is over six kilos and who knows how much the sock leftovers weigh. And to be completely honest, the box with the cones of weaving yarn didn’t make it into the pic because I ran out of space on the day bed – though I am counting it in the overall weight.

Here’s the break down:

Having got the knitting stash down to my goal again, I considered if I should set myself a new goal. Perhaps to reduce the weaving stash by half. Perhaps to get the knitting stash down to five kilos. For a giddy moment there I considered a goal of zero – use up or give away ALL of the stash before buying more.

After all, there’s no yarn that I want to buy, right? Of course, as soon as I asked myself that question, it led to asking myself ‘if I did buy yarn, what would I buy?’.

Having tried Cascade 220, I understand why it’s the most popular yarn on Ravelry. I might hunt down some of that. I was also impressed by Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury. Then there’s Tubey. I’ve been testing non-wool yarns and recently found that Crystal Palace Cotton Twirl would probably work fine.

And I’m curious to see what all the fuss is about with Wollmeise sock yarn.

But not yet. The more I’ve reduced the stash, the more I’ve come to enjoy how it forces me to stop putting off decisions. Like what to use the yarn for, or that I just don’t like the feel or colour and should get rid of it, or it’s time to get over the fear of ‘stuffing up’ expensive yarn and make something out of it, or that I really don’t need to hang onto more than one leftover ball from a project in case I need to repair a garment.

It’s also shown me my bad habits. I need to stop being precious about a yarn because it was a gift or I bought it on a trip overseas. I need to stop moving problem yarns from the knitting stash into the weaving stash. In fact, I need to stop considering weaving yarns ‘not stash’ or all the problem yarn is going to put me off weaving and I’ll waste all my time ‘using up’ yarns instead of learning new methods.

I’m not ready to buy more yarn yet. I am going to see if I can get the whole stash under ten kilos first.

But if a stray skein of Wollmeise happens to come my way, I won’t turn down the opportunity to find out what the fuss is all about.

Hectic

Lots going on around here, but not much of it crafty or sketchy. I took some photos today of a wrap I finished weaving on the weekend, so there’ll be a post soon. After a day stealing moments to tidy up parts of the work room, this evening I decided to go through the yarn stash. Next thing I knew I had culled over two kilos of it.

The smaller it gets, the more I realise that I put off knitting this or that yarn for legitimate reasons (too scratchy, not a colour I like, etc.) and I may as well give it to the op shop. I tend to put yarns like that into the weaving stash too, which filled my weaving to-do list with projects I wasn’t particularly inspired by, so some of that got removed too.

As for the yarn I’m keeping, I have some free weekend days coming up, and I’m thinking it might be time to whip out the knitting machine.

What I’m Knitting (and Crocheting)

I’m still working on small projects, using up single balls, so it was a bit of a surprise when, a few days ago, I removed a bit more yarn from my stash spreadsheet and realised the total had just dropped under 10 kilos.

That’s a nice milestone to have passed, though it does hinge on whether I consider the Summer Solstice project a wip or not. For now it’s officially in hibernation, waiting on me to regain some interest in larger projects. Once I start working on it again I’ll decide if the yarn is too scratchy or not.

So what did I finish?

First, a scarf crocheted from sea silk. I wanted to make a cowl from Interweave Knits, but I got tired of waiting for the magazine to show up in newsagents. A long time ago, before I even started blogging by the looks of it, I crocheted a simple skinny scarf out of a single ball of op shop yarn and added a beaded fringe. I really like that scarf. It’s pretty, looks good with evening wear, and works well in spring and autumn.

So I decided it was time to make another one:

I used some large blue seed beads and a bigger blue bead from a repurposed necklace. And with the leftover yarn I made a headband.

I bought the Lallans pattern from Twist Collective and knit it out of Mission Falls 1824 Wool with Cascade 220 as the contrast yarn:

Unfortunately it came out a bit big for me:

I have enough yarn to make another, so I’ll see if this one will fit Mum, who has a larger head than mine. If it doesn’t I’ll make another, reducing the size of the needles, crown section and brim.

This pattern had me utterly charmed:

Such a simple method of getting a cable! I’m not into knitted jewellery but, as I hoped, it’s the perfect size to be a headband:

I want to use the same method to make a scarf. Maybe out of the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk I dyed a month or so ago.

I’m also working on a pair of socks, trying out a new shaping method that doesn’t break up graduated colour yarns. If that works I’ll post directions here. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds!

Free Knitting Pattern: Lazy Rib Fingerless Mitts

On Tuesday night I was looking though old entries from when this blog was solely a knitting blog, and I stumbled upon a mention of a pattern for fingerless mitts I was writing from back in ’08. I went looking for it, and eventually found it on my laptop. It was written while at a writing retreat, but I’d came down with a severe flu and didn’t trust my addled brain’s ability to do math, and then never got around to test knitting it.

So on Tuesday night I dug out a single ball of yarn I’d bought because the yarn was luscious and interesting and tried my pattern out. The pattern only needed a single correction. I decided I wanted to use up most of the ball, so I made these mitts longer at the wrist, palm and thumb and added some additional numbers to the pattern to make that version.

Lazy Rib Fingerless Mitts
50 g ball/skein 8ply/dk (I used Woolganic Knitters Yarn for the long pair, and some mystery hand dyed 8ply for the shorter pair)
4mm dpns
Stitch holder
Darning needle

CUFF
Cast on 27 st and arrange 9 st on each of three dpns (Please note: I have thinner than average wrists and haven’t yet had time to test the mitts on someone of average size. If you suspect these will be too small simply cast on 33 st instead, and place 12 st on first needle, 9 st on second needle, and 12 st on third needle. The shaping all happens on the second needle, so the pattern will still work.)
Round 1: *k2, p1* rep to end
Round 2: knit
Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 seven (fourteen for longer mitt) times in total, then Round 1 once more

HAND
Continue in rib pattern on first and third needles, but whenever you get to the second needle:
Row 1: k3, m1, k2, m1, k4
Row 2: k2, p2, k2, p2, k2 p1
Row 3: k3, m1, k4, m1, k4
Row 4: k2, p1, k1, p1, k2, p1, k1, p1, k2, p1
Row 5: k3, m1, k6, m1, k4
Row 6: *k2, p1* to end

Row 7: k3, m1, k8, m1, k4
Row 8: k2, p2, *k2, p1* to last 4st, p1, k2, p1
Row 9: k3, m1, k10, m1, k4
Row 10: k2, p1, k1, p1, *k2, p1* to last 5 st, k1, p1, k2, p1
Row 11: k3, m1, k12, m1, k4
Row 12: *k2, p1* to end

Row 7: k3, m1, k14, m1, k4
Row 8: k2, p2, *k2, p1* to last 4st, p1, k2, p1
Row 9: k3, m1, k16, m1, k4
Row 10: k2, p1, k1, p1, *k2, p1* to last 5 st, k1, p1, k2, p1
Row 11: k3, m1, k18, m1, k4
Row 12: *k2, p1* to end

There should be 45 st (9 st on first needle, 27 st on second needle, and 9 st on third needle)

Next row (second needle): k6, move 15 st onto holder, co 3 st, k6 (33 st on needles – 9 (or 12) st on first needle, 15 st on second needle, and 9 (or 12) st on third needle)
Rep Round 1 & 2 three times in total (six for longer mitt), then Round 1 once
Cast off in rib

THUMB
Move st on holder to needles, arranged 6 st on first needle, 6 st on second needle, and 3 st on third needle
Knit to end, pick up 3 st onto third needle at base of thumb
Rep Round 1 & 2 two times in total (four for longer mitt), then Round 1 once
Cast off in rib

Sew in ends