Another knitalong

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rear view of woman holding out large black and purple shawl

I have mixed feelings about knitalongs. It is fun to see other people knitting either the same item as yourself or one based on a common theme but it’s easy to get carried away and assume you’ll  finish within the deadlines. (Not that it matters if you don’t, of course, but somehow that feels like failing). Last year I signed up for two shawls as part of Joji Locatelli’s great autumn knitalong, known as the Jojifallkal2015. I completed one-and-a-half. There were so many enthusiastic knitters taking part that the KAL ended up being split up into categories with several threads in the Ravelry group for both ongoing progress and finished objects. It all got a bit overwhelming.

This year things were scaled back a bit on Ravelry. You could cast on, chat or show your finished object. Nice and easy. I was also far more sensible and decided to just knit one item within the ten-week period: a Three Colour Cashmere Shawl. There were quite a few others either knitting this or the cowl from which the pattern originated and it was lovely to see posts filled with yarn selections. I actually knitted all the way down to the third colour because I just wasn’t sure what it should be. Everyone I asked gave me a different answer. Many suggested a bright pink to pick up some of the flecks in the variegated and give the bright contrast stripe the original has. I knew I might not wear it that much if I chose anything too bright so I went for a quieter contrast.

close-up of colours - black and purple shawlThe Three Colour Cashmere Shawl doesn’t use three complete skeins of yarn but I just had to use all the variegated so I made the third and fourth stripes larger and worked the rest as in the pattern. Of course, knitting additional rows on a crescent-shaped shawl (six increases every two rows) expands the shawl immensely width-wise too. So my shawl is well over two-and-a-half metres wide. In fact I had to block it laid out double and then steam press the fold away afterwards.

I’m not sure such a large shawl is always so practical – I can’t just hang it round my neck as it touches the ground. I need to wrap it at least once right around my neck. Wrapped twice and pulled down over my shoulders, it replaces a cardigan. I think it will look lovely over a dark coat in winter, too. (Ravelry project here)

side view of woman wearing large black and purple shawl

woman wearing large black and purple scarf

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Rotational – knitting round and round

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When our daughter shared a photo of our granddaughter pulling herself up to a standing position I just knew I had to knit her a little dress. We were a bit surprised to see her doing it already as she was six-and-a-half months old at the time. In the picture she had on a little dress and you could see frilly nappy peeping out below. Very cute!

After a bit of virtual consultation (sending Ravelry links via WhatsApp gives you a decent-sized photo in the message with the link below) we decided on Rotational in grey. Younger Soknitsome Daughter has a fondness for black and grey and likes grey clothes for Soknitsome Granddaughter, too. grey striped baby dressI knitted the dress in dark and very pale grey stripes. The pattern was easy to follow although I must have miscounted somewhere before joining the back and front as I had to add two stitches to get the slip-stitch colour change row to work out properly.

The yarn is Australian Superfine Merino from Cleckheaton. I bought it at a yarn-tasting hosted by the Knitters’ Guild NSW.  Since it’s a superwash yarn,  I was good and knitted and washed quite a large tension square. I then went down a needle size for the dress because I was also aiming for a garment that wouldn’t look too huge on a slim nine-month old baby (this is more a dress for the winter months). The dress actually works well as a tunic later, too so I did knit towards a 12-month size for length as our granddaughter is not short.

You can imagine my alarm when on giving the dress a bath, I could feel it relaxing beneath my fingers! Fortunately, after being laid out flat to dry, it shrank back to the expected dimensions. Mr Soknitsome got to visit them during his business trip to Germany and promptly sent pictures. Although little Soknitsome Granddaughter did pull herself up to stand while he was there, it was never while wearing the dress!

baby girl in grey striped dress

baby girl in grey striped dress

It doesn’t always have to be green

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I recently finished a scarf for Older Soknitsome Daughter. We’d spent a cosy hour together last year browsing my yarn stash on Ravelry. I have a few skeins of green yarn, partly chosen with my daughter in mind. It is her favourite colour and featured along with gold at her wedding earlier this year. You can imagine my surprise then when she picked out this lovely silvery grey and pink yarn  from Ozifarmer’s Market. Her accompanying words were “It doesn’t always have to be green”.ball of grey and pink yarn

The pattern is Dangling Conversation by Mindy Ross which can be knitted in various weights. The pattern suggests placing the eyelet rows at the colour changes of gradient yarn but the changes in this yarn were so subtle that I just did the eyelet rows where I thought looked about right.

I really enjoyed knitting this. Yes, it is 800m of fine stocking stitch but the yarn is made up of 80% merino and 20% silk and it’s light and soft and was a real pleasure to knit with.grey and pink triangular scarf

More stripes

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There’s been a lot of knitting but not much posting about it recently. I have been distracted by the ease with which images are shared on Instagram. Fortunately, I have been reading some blogs which is how I came to be the lucky winner in knitthellout’s 600th post! The celebratory giveaway was for one of her patterns plus a skein of Bulletproof Sock by Sweet Georgia Yarns. Cassy’s just released a new sock pattern,  Chevrolicious, which had come up in my Ravelry highlights feed, in this yarn. It looks like such a perfect combination that I chose this pattern and I’m more than delighted to have won! What a lovely surprise for a Sunday morning.

author in striped jumper in park

Sunday continued well. We’ve been having a bit of a non-winter here in Sydney. The weather’s been lovely, spring is certainly (almost) here. I’ve just finished this jumper and wore it out yesterday into the Botanic Gardens. Sitting out of the sun I was glad of its warmth. I’m really pleased with the amount of ease. It has just the right amount of casual sloppiness to it.

It’s After the Rain by Heidi Kirrmaier, knitted top-down in the round. The stripes are 6-round stripes and the shaping happens every 9 or 12 rounds which really makes counting easy. I knitted a lot of this while watching the Olympics.

close up of striped jumper

There’s some waist shaping which really stops a loose-fitting jumper from becoming just a baggy sack.

zoom in of stripe changes

I struggled a bit with my colour changes. I tried jogless stripes by picking up the first stitch from the round below when I was on the second round but it looked a bit bulky. In the end when I started a new stripe, I pulled the last stitch tight from that colour below so that it almost disappeared and then knitted the new stripe.

I also tried to tighten up the SSK, left-leaning decreases too. I can never get these to be as neat as their right-leaning counterparts.

Otherwise, I’m really happy with this jumper. The shaping and fit are good and I’d definitely use the pattern again.

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The biggest WIP is finished!

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At long last all 56 pieces of the Lizard Ridge blanket have been sewn together. Just in time for winter here in the southern hemisphere. multicoloured striped blanket

It’s perfect for that little bit of extra warmth. While it is very snuggly for some solo couch knitting, it’s large enough for two.

I’m very pleased I made this from 4-ply/fingering weight yarn as we get warmth but no bulk.

Although I hadn’t been looking forward to seaming all the pieces together, once I started it was half as bad as expected.

My Skinny Lizard blanket is here on Ravelry with full details of all the yarns used.

multicoloured striped blanket

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The biggest WIP

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stripy blanket squares laid out for sewing togetherWell the end is certainly in sight! I have knitted all 56 pieces of the Lizard Ridge blanket I started 18 months ago.

Mr Soknitsome offered a while back to arrange the pieces for me when it came to putting the blanket together. I’d laid the pieces out in piles of matching or closely matching blocks. Mr Soknitsome’s a mathematician and after counting various piles and discovering that nothing worked exactly with the finished size of seven rows by eight columns, I was sent out the room while he figured out a different system…

I got called back in to see the blocks laid out in colours with the few lighter ones towards the centre. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with the result.

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Well-travelled stripes

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Older Soknitsome Daughter sent this yarn to me from Munich via Mr Soknitsome’s suitcase last January.Ball of yarn

In March it accompanied me to Europe and spent the weekend in Munich with Older Soknitsome Daughter and her then fiancé. I knitted about half a foot. The project was laid aside for others until it was time to head off to Europe again. Red striped socksThere was some knitting-on-a-plane between Cologne and Salzburg and even a spot of knitting during some downtime in Salzburg, where we spent a long weekend for Older Soknitsome Daughter’s wedding. By the time I left Cologne to head back to Sydney, the toe of the second sock was cast on. I finally finished these at knit night yesterday.

I’ve knitted stripey socks like these before. The pattern’s Magic Zauberball Stripe Socks by Tofutrulla and you knit alternating 5-round stripes from yarn with long colour changes. This yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Magico which is very similar to Schoppel Zauberball. Last time, I actually broke the yarn and moved on a bit whenever the two colours got too close. This time, I either swapped anyway or knitted 10 rounds in the same colour so I have some blurred stripes but the overall effect is similar. Naturally there were fewer ends to sew in, too.

So what’s next? Continue with the cardigan I started in Europe, cast on my ‘social knitting’ project and of course some more socks!

Last but one

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Since I arrived back in Sydney last month I’ve been working very hard to complete the Final Secret Project. It’s finished but still a secret for now.

striped blanket square

When the light’s not been good enough to work on that I’ve been knitting some more pieces for the Lizard Ridge blanket I started almost 18 months ago. The end is in sight. I have one more piece to finish and then comes the major job of sewing them all together…

I’ve been really good and haven’t worked on anything else at the same time. Not the socks I started in Germany, not the cardigan I want to make for me.

yarn and patternHowever, it’s almost time to head off to the airport for another long-haul flight back to Germany. (That really makes me sound like I’m some kind of jet-setter when it’s just been how family events have turned out). I’m looking forward to some serious knitting time. I have that sock I started and I have a new cardigan to cast on! The sock is a Magic Zauberball Stripe sock but I’m using a Lana Grossa yarn that also has long colour stripes.

The cardigan will be my third and final attempt project with this lovely black yarn with flecks of red and blue in it.  The cardigan is knitted seamlessly but from the bottom-up. It’s an ideal travel project if you want something a bit more substantial since the sleeves are knitted separately and then joined to the body. Once you’re manoeuvring the whole garment in your lap you’ve only got a short way to go. There’s more to this story but I’ll cast on first!

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A Sunnyside for Easter

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When I flew to Germany late February, my travel knitting project was, surprisingly not a sock.

I thought I’d knit a cardigan instead. Well, a small cardigan. Having recently learnt how to cable without using a cable needle, this was the perfect opportunity to put my skills to the test. Sunnyside has cables down the fronts as well as at the raglan shaping. The yarn was an impulse buy in the first flush of ‘I’m going to be a Granny-ness’. It’s an acrylic-nylon blend, similar to Patons Big Baby but not as good. It was a bit splitty at times. However, the colour is just right for a baby in summertime and the cables show up nicely.

Cardigan in progressThe cardigan was easy to knit once I’d read a few helpful hints from other Ravellers and colour-coded my shaping markers. Red rings for Right-leaning increases and bLack rings for Left-leaning increases. After the set-up I could knit huge chunks without referring to the pattern. Just perfect when travelling.

Cardigan in progressThis is how far I’d got after two long-haul flights  (Sydney to Tokyo and Tokyo to Vienna).

I also followed what some other Ravellers have done and altered the direction of some of the cables (the pattern has them all going the same way) to make the cardigan symmetrical. 

Baby cardigan with cables and little pink buttons

The buttons were bought in Germany and  the cardigan was given a quick wash and laid flat to dry before handing over as an early Easter ‘egg’.

This project is here on Ravelry

 

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Some more of those secrets

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Here’s the second part of the big reveal where I can share some secret knitting now that Younger Soknitsome Daughter’s daughter has arrived.

Purple baby cardiganPlanning ahead I knitted a cardigan for a 12-month old child. Since a baby/toddler of that age is moving around and not lying still I thought that it would be more practical to have buttons all the way down. This avoids having cardigan fronts that can flap and get in the way. The pattern is a freebie from Ravelry: Little Avery by Taiga Hilliard Designs and it’s a seamless top-down knit. Like the little red jumper in the previous post, this is knitted in Australian machine washable wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills: Luxury 8-ply.

Purple textured baby blanket - flatThe biggest item I knitted was a baby blanket. This is Twinkle Twinkle Baby Blanket by Helen Stewart. I thought Younger Soknitsome Daughter might appreciate something she could use and wash with abandon rather than a more traditional lacy shawl or blanket that would need space and time for blocking after each wash.

Purple textured baby blanket - drapedYounger Soknitsome Daughter likes purple and as I wanted a unisex colour this yarn looked perfect. It’s another yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills – a blend of wool and bamboo – and has a lovely sheen to it. I struggled slightly with the pattern as there was no way my swatches were blocking out to the size and tension of the pattern. (A common remark on projects is that this blanket turns out smaller than the original). I even knitted squares with various needle sizes and left them out for pondering while I knitted something else.  In the end, I went with the recommended needle size since I preferred the finished fabric.

Textured purple baby blanket - dryingTo replicate Younger Soknitsome’s laundry practice, I just hung the blanket over a drying rack and was very happy to see the final size after washing. It grew but without becoming loose and floppy. There are photos of the little one wrapped up in her blanket but these are my daughter’s pictures.

(Images link to Ravelry project pages)

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