July 26, 2015
For years the only use I had for a crochet hook was picking up dropped stitches in my knitting. However, making a blanket with a crochet hook sounds more appealing than having that amount of fabric on my knitting needles, or alternatively knitting smaller pieces and then never getting around to seaming them together.
I did not plan the colors beforehand. Instead, I picked the next color based on how well it went with the previous one. Additionally, I never repeated the same color sequences, and tried to keep stripes of the same color at some somewhat even intervals. The yarns are mostly fingering weight, as is about 80-90% of my stash, with some sport weight thrown in. What kept the project interesting was seeing how the colors turned out. There are sequences I like better than others, but I do like the whole nevertheless.
Project page on Ravelry
July 20, 2015
My first pair for the 26 Pair Plunge is Crenate, a very enjoyable pattern from Rachel Coopey. I love how the pattern builds up, and I really adore what it does around the back of the heel. The extended ribbing in the back keeps the sock in place, but the lace lower in the leg adds some party to the back! They also fit great.
I felt it was time for some turquoise socks, considering it's one of my favorite colors. It also happens to be the most difficult color to reproduce correctly in photos. I used Wollmeise Twin in the Türkis colorway. For a long time I had an aversion to Twin, while my Pure stash is, umm, extensive. However, I'm warming up to it, which naturally means I'll have to have all my favorite Wollmeise colorways in this base, as well.
Ravelry project page
June 25, 2015
There's been some crafting going on, but not a lot of finishing lately. The woven scarf out of Wollmeise in Wichtelwalzer and some solid colors was started in January, then I kind of lost my weaving obsession. I eventually finished the weaving a few months ago, but couldn't bring myself to twist the fringe. Until yesterday, when the desire to get rid of a nagging WIP grew bigger than the aversion to get back to working on something you lost your mojo on.
Tubularity hadn't reached UFO status yet, but was at the risk of getting there. I decided to leave it short, so instead of the option of wrapping it lengthwise it can be used only in the tube form. I no longer like the colors I chose, and most likely this will get no use from me. I knew this by the time I was knitting the last section, but I still wanted the closure of finishing it.
Wicthelwalzer and Tubularity on Ravelry.
April 11, 2015
Not one but two pairs of socks for the March 2015 Sock Knitters Anonymous challenge. The first pair was the month's mystery by Adrienne Fong, and the second the math inspired Squircle by General Hogbuffer. The mystery pattern was enjoyable and I like the finished socks, complete with the deliberate holes in the heel and toe (there was an option to make the toes more durable, but I decided to go all out with the lace). The Squircle was more straight-forward but with an unusual construction. It was fun to knit, too. I might reknit the pattern, with 60 stitches instead of 64, in the future.
Links to Mystery Socks and Squircle
March 8, 2015
The first pattern in the Kitman Figueroa shawl club was Silk Road. Inspired by some other knitters' use of beads on this shawl I decided to use 8/0 beads to cover up the yarn overs in the narrow columns that run through the pattern. The combination of fingering weight yarn and small beads did not lend itself to using a crochet hook, so I ended up using a piece of jewelry wire (in the same way some knitters use dental floss) to slip the beads on. About 15% of the beads, which turned out to have somewhat nonuniform hole sizes, refused to fit on the stitches, but luckily most of them worked out. I was somewhat relieved at the end of the shawl that the bead fitting was over. For the yarn I used Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga, which is a lovely yarn choice for soft and drapy shawls, but, unfortunately, discontinued. I have a decent stash of it left, though, so I will be using it for as long as it lasts.
The Ravelry project
February 28, 2015
This year I'll try to be more active in Cookie A's Sock Club; I think last year I knit only one club pattern to completion. Of the February club package I like both sock patterns, and both cookie recipes also look attractive. The club yarn this time wasn't really for me, since for some unexplained reason I'm not fond of salmon pink, so for the first sock pattern I used Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga in the Orange Tip Butterfly colorway, which I think can be considered somewhat peachy. I love the tapering off of the pattern on top of foot, and how the gusset decreases are built into that. This was a gratifyingly fast pattern to knit. I did adjust the stitch count for the plain part of the foot down to 62, because I had a feeling 66 stitches in stockinette would be too loose. The fit is now perfect!
Link to Ravelry project
February 23, 2015
I can't resist taking part in mystery shawl KALs, but often in my desire to get an interesting looking shawl I end up choosing color combinations that I don't actually want to wear, even though they are fun to knit. So, this time, with Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow 2 mystery KAL, I went with a boring yarn choice, all in one color. Not that the colorway itself is boring; Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga! in the Blue Lobster colorway is one of my favorite colorways ever, even if hard to photograph. My shawl doesn't look as exciting as many of the more colorful ones people have knit in this KAL, but this is definitely a shawl I will actually wear.
I chose clue options based on what appealed to me the most, without looking at spoiler pictures. I changed my mind about the last clue; I started with 5A, but the knitted-on edging (never my favorite) was going slowly, and when I peeked at spoiler pictures and saw that I actually preferred the look of 5B, I frogged what I'd knit of the clue and started over with the other option. I think clues 4B and 5B in particular look beautiful together.
For blocking I used wires for the very first time, and was quite impressed by how practical they are.
Link to Ravelry project
February 1, 2015
DyakCraft started recently offering Northern Light needles again, and I decided to give them a go. I'd had two set of the previous version of Northern Lights, but back then they didn't grow on me.
This time they are, for now, only available in the silver color. Personally, I don't miss the other color options, because I find myself preferring needle colors that don't clash with the yarn, so that means silver with metal needles, and Chestnut with wooden ones (Darn Pretty). They are available both in the 3.5" and 5" tip lengths, and only as interchangeables, just like before. I only have the 5" version, since that's the length I use whenever possible with their other needles, as well. Hats are pretty much the only thing I prefer working with 3.5" tips, otherwise it's the 5" length, Magic Looped when necessary. With the way I hold the needles, the longer length just feels more pleasant to work with, even though my hands are relatively small.
These needles are very grabby at first. After using them for a little while, some of the grabbiness wears off, but they are still stickier than any other metal needles I've worked with (and there have been a few; I'm not exactly monogamous when it comes to knitting needles, I get around). This can be an advantage, like when working with slippery lace yarn. The needles are also lightweight, so they are great for the kind of patterns where you might be afraid of dropping stitches, like when working cables when you have to let go off a needle regularly. Due to the grabbiness and light weight, these needles stay put. Even though I generally prefer slippery needles, the Northern Lights are growing on me. The swishing sound they make when sliding against each other apparently bothers some people, but, personally, I love it. The tips are also surprisingly pointy; in the second photo you can compare them to regular wooden tips (on top), lace wooden tips (second from top) and Heavy Metal tips (bottom).
For now, at least, these needles are only available in full sets of US sizes 3-10, and 3.25-6.00 metric. They overlap slightly with Heavy Metals, which are my go-to interchangeables for the smaller sizes. Between Heavy Metals and Northern Lights, you're pretty much covered for the metal needle sizes you might need. Based on statistics from my Ravelry projects, I never go below size 2.00 mm, and rarely above 4.50 mm, so the larger sizes don't get a lot of use, but occasionally I use them for something like casting on, so I still like to have some larger needles, just in case.
I'm a long-time fan of DyakCraft needles, and I definitely recommend the Northern Lights. Their shipping times are also a lot more reasonable than the pretty out-of-control waiting times for the popular wooden needles; these shipped in a few weeks.
January 31, 2015
I'd probably not recommend using alpaca as warp in your first weaving project. It keeps stretching out of shape, and therefore isn't the easiest or most enjoyable warp material, although it's manageable. I anxiously wanted to get this done so it'd be over with and I could return to something I actually enjoy weaving. Even though weaving projects usually lose length due to the way a woven fabric is formed, I think this one actually grew in size. In any case, I quite like the finished product, it's so fluffy and lightweight. So far I haven't done anything to the fringe, but I don't think the yarn ends are going to withstand a lot of abrasion, so I'll probably have to do something about that.
Project link on Ravelry
January 25, 2015
I'm now officially addicted to weaving pooling scarves. It's just that it's a perfect way to use up multi-colored yarns, which are difficult to knit with. Here I combined a multi-colored Wollmeise Pure with a bluish grey Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga. The neutral grey tones down the brightness of the Libelle a little bit without affecting the hue itself. I'm quite pleased with the result.
A woven item feels quite different from an item knit with the same yarn. The woven fabric is thinner, less squishy and not very elastic. The scarf doesn't feel as warm against the skin, but on the other hand it seems like it's more windproof. The lack of elasticity has its pros and cons; the scarf won't stretch out of shape, but it can feel a bit tight around your neck, depending on how you wear it. I think I'll like woven scarves in the fall and spring, when I don't want them making me hot while looking good.
Project on Ravelry