Friday, 26 October 2012

Knitting again!

I guess you can tell from that title what I've been up to recently :)

Thinking off all the decluttering I've been doing recently, it occurs to me that there's no better way of clearing out your stash than actually using it :)

That thought, and clearing out my ravelry queue got me going. I saw lots of patterns that would go with the yarn I have (probably why I queued some of them in the first place lol).

The first pattern I decided to knit was Esperenza by Gabriela Ordenes. I've been meaning to make this for ages, and I've had the yarn planned for ages - a pure wool dk from Freyalyn's Hand-Dyed Yarns. So now that my head feels a little clearer after all the decluttering (weird, but it really does feel clearer!) I actually managed to cast it on and knit it!

Esperanza Cowl

Esperanza Cowl

Esperanza Cowl

Esperanza Cowl

I'm so happy now that I've made this cowl! I think it's a very pretty pattern :) I made a slight modification - cast on 55sts and added the extra sts to the garter stitch section.

Esperanza Cowl

One of my favourite features of this cowl is how people have folded the garter stitch section over. I had extra yardage than was called for, so I figured i'd be happier with a larger fold and it would use up more of the skein. Less clutter :)

Esperanza Cowl

And I also got to go through my button jar and find a use for these pretty blue square buttons! A win all round!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Hmm, Another Unintentional Hiatus...

This year seems to have been full of them :(

To be honest, I've been having an unintentional hiatus from mostly everything. I organised a charity hafla in August, and this time it was by myself mostly. It was a LOT of social activity getting it all together, talking to and emailing a lot of people a lot of times (I was pretty much glued to hotmail and facebook the whole end of August!), and I'm not the most social of butterflies ;). It really seemed to take a lot out of me, which I didn't realise till after the event when I just pretty much collapsed on my sofa, and stayed there for about a month and a half!

The hafla went really well - it was a great night in the end, and we raised £763 for MSF/Doctors Without Borders! I'm very proud of the amount we raised, and of all the fabulous people who came and danced. So it was totally worth it, but next time I'll definitely be getting help from other people instead of knackering myself!

These past two months or so I have done almost nothing productive! No knitting at all, and only the barest amount of spindle spinning. I've played a few video games, and read a few books and basically just slobbed around recharging my energy. But I think it's nearly back to full now, which is good!

Actually, this past month I have been tidying the house a bit and decluttering my mind and surroundings. I have 5 bags of stuff waiting to go to the charity shops and 4 boxes waiting for people I know to look through them and see what they want. It still doesn't feel quite like I've even made a dent in the amount of stuff collected in this house, but I guess it is a good start. I can see the sofa in the spare room now - it's not covered in stuff!

I've even been declutttering my ravelry queue! I've managed to get down from 8000+ to only 5500(ish) - yay me! At the time it was great having all that choice, and it was kind of a pre-vetted group of patterns that I liked, but it was just weighing me down recently. Not that I felt I had to make all of those patterns, but there was just too much choice. My eventual goal is to get to less than 1000 patterns in my ravelry queue - yes, I can hear you laughing! I might be too much of a hoarder for that to actually happen, but I can aim for it! I think that would be enough choice without being too unwieldy on my poor brain!

So I think I may start knitting again very soon. Looking through my queue has meant that I've re-found some lovely patterns, and I'm quite inspired, which is good! I've even got plans for some of my handspun that I've been making this year - hmm, I should take pictures of that!

My energy is obviously coming back, I can't wait!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Ravellenics Observer Shawl - Pictureless Progress

Pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/observer

My ravelry project page here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/yarndancer/observer

I've been steadily working on my ravellenics shawl, and I've made quite a bit of progress in the past few days. I'm now at the point where, if I was making a small size shawl, I'd be on the edging. I've decided to make the large size though, so I've still got some way to go. I've done my increase round for section 6, and I'm now at 512 stitches per round, and it'll increase to 1024 stitches per round for the edging. I didn't take this into account when deciding to make the large size, lol! Although my computer geeky size does love how the numbers work out :)

I worked it out, and I have 28,672 stitches left to work in this shawl before the end of the Olympics. Hmmmm. I hope I can get it done in time. It's turning out to be an Olympic sized project, indeed!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ravellenics Observer Shawl - Progress Pictures

Pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/observer

My ravelry project page here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/yarndancer/observer



After day 3, I had finished the fourth section of this shawl.

Here it is looking rather sombrero-like. It's getting too big to stretch out without taking it off the needles.

Ravellenics Day 4 - Observer Shawl - After Section 4

And here's a close-up of the zig-zag section:

Ravellenics Day 4 - Observer Shawl - After Section 4

This section confused me a bit at first. I was finding it hard to "read" the lace pattern because it's a written pattern, and the yarn overs were a little difficult to figure out where to place because I was trying to overthink it instead of just following the pattern :) But the designer Mindy posted some helpful tips on the ravelry board, and I also began to recognise the relationship between the yo's on the rounds. I did have to rip out the section half way through, because I'd made a mistake somewhere, but I'd recognised the relationshi[ by then, and could just zoom straight through.

I knitted a whole lot on it yesterday, and am now at the halfway point of section 5 - yay! I'm at the next zig-zag portion now :)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Ravellenics Day 1 - Observer Shawl

I cast on for my Observer Shawl last night :)

Pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/observer

My ravelry project page here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/yarndancer/observer

I'm using this huge cone of light fingering weight yarn

Ravellenics Day 1 - Observer Shawl - Big Cone Of Yarn

on 5mm needles, and it's coming out great! I had wondered about the large needle size, but it's really knitting up into a nice fabric.

The shawl is knitted using the Pi formula by Elizabeth Zimmerman and each part of the shawl is written out as a separate section, which is very useful for keeping track of where you are in the pattern. It's a written pattern, not charted, but having it in these sections makes it much easier to read - also the way Mindy writes her patterns with regard to pattern repeats makes it a "clean" pattern and very easy to read. There's no extraneous waffling - it's all very much to the point and straight-forward. I like her style of pattern writing :)

This is the shawl after section 2:

Ravellenics Day 1 - Observer Shawl - After Section 2

And this is is after section 3:

Ravellenics Day 1 - Observer Shawl - After Section 3

which is where I stopped last night.

Getting pictures of black yarn in knitting is very difficult! I ended up with my fingers etc being washed out and just a big white blur because the camera needed to absorb so much light for the dark stitches to show. Still, nobody's looking at the pictures for my fingers or toes (hopefully, lol) :) Also - trying to take a picture of circular knitting that wants to fold in on itself requires about 3 or 4 hands! I don't know how I'm going to manage it when the shawl gets bigger!

I'm really enjoying this project. The beginning was hard - I had to knit my end piece of yarn from the CO into my first row, because I kept picking that up and knitting with that instead. I had to frog it a couple of times because I was getting muddled up with that bit of yarn. But now it’s got going, it’s really quite addictive! I'll be knitting more on it tonight, I'm super excited! :D

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ravellenics Tomorrow, Yay!

Tomorrow is the start of the Olympic Games, and that means it's also the start of the Ravellenic Games over on Ravelry - yaaay!!

I've joined Team MinKnit this time - it's a team being captained by Mindy from MinKnit designs and also she hosts the Knitting Minknits podcast, which I really enjoy and recommend. She talks about her knitting and her designing, which I find really interesting. Her podcast is both informative and friendly - it's one of my favourite ones now. This is going to be a smaller team, which is ideal for me, because I get totally overwhelmed by the larger groups. I go on and see like 500 new posts in one day and just don't bother even looking. I think this group is going to be lots of fun. There are some lovely people talking on the thread already, and I feel like I can chime in at any time and be welcomed, which is always good in a team/group :)

Mindy has designed the Observer shawl, which is a $4 on ravelry, or free if you're in Team Minknit. It's beautiful! I've never made a circular shawl before, but I really like this one. I like the geometric-ness of the zig-zag lace, and I think it would look awesome in 2 or even multi colours because of the defined rings of lace. My first knitting of it is going to be in one colour though.

The pattern is designed so that the small size would use only one skein of sock yarn, which is awesome! I have a large cone of black yarn though - of a light fingering weight, so I'm going to make either the large size, or even larger :D

I've added my project page on ravelry, and changed my ravatar to the Team Minknit one - I can't believe I'm going to have to wait till 9pm tomorrow to cast on!

So that means that I'm taking part in the shawl sailing and the lace longjump events with this project. I've only officially added this project just now - if there's any time left after finishing it, I may add another, but I'll wait and see :)

Are you taking part in the ravellenic games? What team are you on, and what are you making - I want to know! :D

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Arrrg - Dyelots!!

I'm knitting - well, attempting to knit - the Kourtney Light Weight vest top by Mishellee Zaharis. I'm using a pink Stylecraft Special 4 ply yarn that has been in my stash for ages. I've tried to use it for 2 other large projects and it hasn't worked for anything. In fact, I kind of wanted to just get rid of it, but I'm a Taurus - I'm stubborn ;) I kind of had this idea that I could "defeat" the yarn, and make it become something lovely.

This vest is a lovely pattern - I like the ruffles round the front neck - totally girly and un-me :) And so I started knitting it in this pink yarn. My gauge was off - 6sts to the inch instead of 5, but no bother, I did maths (!) and knit the numbers for a couple of sizes larger. I even worked out the different numbers of row to account for my 8.5 rows to the inch instead of the 7.5 in the pattern. I get all the way to the armholes, change balls and look:

Dyelot Disaster

A great big stripe where the new ball is a completely different shade of pink! Arrrrg!

(Strangely, the yarn in the balls looked identical. Weird.)

I actually almost cried. It didn't take terribly long to knit this far because it's quite a loose gauge for the yarn, on 4mm needles. And up to the armholes only took one 100g ball! But still! To make matters worse - I have another half ball in this yarn (3 total) but this other ball matches the top darker stripe, not the bottom one! Of course, I had to start knitting with the odd ball!

So I (quite literally!) threw it in the corner, and went to sleep. My partner suggested just keeping knitting and then over-dying the whole garment, but I don't even know if that would work properly. I suppose I could chuck it in a basin full of Dylon! :D

But since I have this 150g that match, I guess it makes more sense (to me, at least) to start again, and re-knit the whole thing. Dying seems like a whole other step, and an unknown one at that. I haven't really done any dying before.

After having slept on it, it doesn't seem like such a disaster, more of a huge annoyance. But ooh, I was so angry last night! I'm sure the balls all had the same dyelot number, and stylecraft are usually very good at getting all the dyelots to match. Maybe it wasn't the same dyelot after all - I lost the band months ago when I tried to make it into some other random thing. But dammit, it should have been! Cos I wanted it to be!! Yeah, I've just gone into peevish mode now about it, which is better than angry crying mode.

(Seriously, crying over dyelots!!! In my defence, it was late and I was sleepy, and apparently I just am the type of person who would cry over such a silly thing! lol!)