Knitspiration has returned

Over the last week, I’be been keeping busy by alternating between knitting, cross stitch, and reading when the weather is nice enough to enjoy my back yard. 

One of the projects I’ve been working on is a Mount Pleasant crop top. I LOVE this pattern and the simple lace detail it features along the bottom, but I’ve chosen to make it with two skeins of hand dyed yarn. The yarn is a local dyer called Lake Knit Yarns. Because my yarn is hand dyed, it means alternating the skeins, and knitting this project has become a bit of a slog. Nevertheless, I’ve already separated the front from the back, and it’s now a lot of stockinette until it’s finished.

I’ve also started a pair of socks for my sister – I’m glad she liked this yarn, another skein from Lake Knit, the colour way aptly named After the Storm. 

While this pandemic is helping me with my 2020 goal to knit down my stash, I took advantage of a promotion one of my LYSs is offering called ‘Quarenskein.’ You pick a price ($45, $65, or $95), and the shop picks out a package of yarn and notions for you. It was a lot of fun picking it up and being very happily surprised with two skies of Sweetgeorgia, two stitch markers, and a project bag from the shop. I THINK they yarn will be destined for a Waiting for Rain shawl, but I very well might change my mind by the time I’m ready to cast on.

As for cross stitch, my Fourth Doctor Scarf is coming along nicely, as is a small project I’ve started for my mum – more attention has been devoted to that pattern so to have it finished in tie for Mother’s Day. If I meet my goal, I’ll share a picture next week.

Stay well!

Can a Person Knit Only from a Stash?

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. If you are the type of person who does, please do not take my dislike as an insult, but I know me, I know how I operate, and resolutions are often set ups for failures. Rather, I like re-evaluating habits – this is something that could be done at any time in a person’s life. Habits are hard formed and can be hard to change up, and recently, my yarn buying habits are a wee bit out of control!

I’m hoping to make 2020 the year that I knit more from my stash. This does not mean I won’t be buying more yarn, I mean, change takes time people! But, I want to be more conscientious about my purchases.  I started 2020 with all my yarn entered into my Ravelry stash. Do you use the stash function? You really should. Mind you, the entering process can get tedious, but here is this one place with all my yarn, colourways, yardages, project ideas! It’s truly brilliant.

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Completely unsurprising, I have a fair amount of sock yarn in my stash. Shocker, I know. I want to work through my stash and purchase, as I said, conscientiously.  Prime example: a few weekends ago, my friend Victoria and I went to our LYS where I wanted to make a purchase. I hmm-ed and haa-ed about a few different skeins before purchasing two skeins of red sock yarn. Two skeins, but Lisa (I know you’re thinking), you said you were going to restrict your buying! These skeins are going to form the body of the Sock Arms Sweater by Stephanie Lotven. The highlight of the sweater are the fun arms, made with special skeins of sock yarn, and I have a skein of Biscotte ready to go for this garment.  I could have purchased another lovely skein, but that skein would have likely sat for some time in my stash, or I purpose bought two skeins that will be used almost immediately for a sweater. Buying for the sake of buying, or buying with purpose.

Here’s hoping, I can work down some of my stash this year, be more thoughtful about my purchases, and ultimately keep creating through the year.

Trying my hand at brioche

Late last week, with the holiday knitting finished, I cast on a new project, new in many senses.  I haven’t yet knit brioche; so far, I haven’t really found a project that captures my fancy which is why I’ve put it off, but then I found Flashpoint by Knitting Apprentice.  This hat has the look of cables, and it was one of the first patterns for brioche that made me say ‘hmmm.’  It calls for DK weight yarn, and I had two skeins that would look awesome together, so away I went.

Step one is the German Twisted Cast-on, new to me, so a few YouTube videos later, and it was started. My go-to is long tail (or sling shot) so a lot of the movements were not unfamiliar.

Once ready to start the hat, what surprised me is the whole new set of abbreviations that is involved with brioche. brk, brkyobrk, sssbrk. I’ve never seen these letters arranged together; it almost felt like learning a new language, having to make sense of what these combinations of letters mean and what I’m supposed to do. The hat has an option for a ribbed brim or just going right into the body, so to get used to the brioche motions, I’ve knit the brim, and after the first couple rounds not only did I feel like I was getting the hang of it, I was enjoying it!

Made pretty good progress, if I do say so myself.

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The yarns I’m using is Annie Paaren MTL BFL, a fun speckled yarn I bought in Montreal in April, and the main colour is yarn I overdyed as teal.

Between this hat, my stashdown sweater, a cowl and a few pairs of socks, I should be able to get a lot of knitting done over the holidays!

For those who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas!

Am I Becoming a Sweater Knitter?

With Weekender off my needles, I couldn’t wait to start something new, and what did I cast on? Another sweater. This time around, the pattern is Le Pouf by Beata Jezek, a great way to use up all that sock yarn I’ve been buying at frolics and fairs through the years. With the yarn held double, I needed six skeins of fingering to make this cardigan, and these ones just look so good together.

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The yarns are Northern Bay Fibres Luxury (Speckled Slate), Urth Monokrom Fingering, Lake Knit Yarns Loch Sock BFL (Lucky Stone), All Dyed Up! Fibres (Ivy, the darker green & Sir Ulrich with the lilac tones), and Stitch Please Amethyst Label (Men in Tights).

The Stitch Please has been in my stash since 2016 while the Urth I purchased a few weeks ago, the sixth skein needed to finish the sweater.

This pattern is free from Hedgehog fibres, but not long after casting on, I faced a dilemma: I like a LOT of directions.  This pattern gives guidelines on how to fade and go between the colours, but it does not give exact rows on when to do it, and this stresses me out, more than I expected.  Even though the sweater is coming along quickly (sock weight held double will do that), it’s not getting the attention it should because I’m the one who has to decide when to fade and that it just simply too much pressure.

Instead, I searched Ravelry and found a different pattern to start! Once again, I’m using up yarn that has been in my stash for what feels like forever. The pattern is A Cropped Sweater for Winter by Andi Satterlund, again a free pattern.

How many sweaters does one have to have in progress to be considered a sweater knitter? Asking for a friend…

And just like that, it’s November

Time really flies when you’re not paying attention. While I’ve been busy knitting, the month of October came to its inevitable end.

Earlier in October, my friend Victoria and I visited a new yarn shop in our community.  It’s a yarn shop / cafe, and really, could there be a better combination for me? Yarn and coffee? Hello! While there, I spent far too much money on yarn, including a fantastic thrummed mitten kit from Fleece Artist. It was 125g of yarn and 60g of roving which will end up being a Christmas gift. I really disliked the last thrummed pattern I used, largely because I really didn’t like the afterthought thumb, so I gave the Family Thrummed Mittens by Catherine Vardy/Briggs and Little a try. I was a little annoyed that before I bought there was no indication on Ravelry if it was a gusseted pattern or not; I love that Ravelry users can suggest edits to patterns as it is now tagged with ‘gusset’ 🙂

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Is there anything happier looking than the inside of a thrummed mitt?

This past weekend, I also made progress with my Weekender (by Andrea Mowry) sweater. I got to a point a few weeks back where I needed to start short rows for shoulder shaping, and so it sat idle at the bottom of my bag. This weekend, however, I got the front panel finished and am starting the back! Hopefully, I can have this off my needles sooner rather than later because we really are getting into sweater season!

I also received a lovely shipment of yarn from Biscotte Yarns. God I love their yarns.  I’ve bought a lot from them this month, between one skein at the yarn shop/cafe and then the online order.  Hudson’s Memories was purchased in person, and I’ve been lusting over this colourway for quite some time. I have no idea what it will grow up to be but I love this yarn.

From the online order, I got their Wizard Sock kit in the ‘badger’ colourway, as any good Hufflepuff would, and I bought their coffee mug kit with Mon Pays C’est L’Hiver colourway. In googling to find the translation, (which is roughly is ‘My Homeland is Winter), I learned that this is actually a common saying from a Quebecois folk song expressing nationalism, solidarity and connection to the northern landscape.

I had leftover Bis Sock in ‘Pink and Purr’ which I bought when I was in Montreal, so that knit up VERY quickly to become my new mug insert. LOVE it.

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Once again, a delightful combination of coffee and yarn. Be still my heart.