June 25, 2015

Tubularity & Wichtelwalzer

Wichtelwalzer

Tubularity

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

Socks!

SKA March 2015 Mystery Sock

Squircle

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

Silk Road

Silk Road

Silk Road

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

Peachy Keen

Peachy Keen

Peach Sandwich Cookies

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

Follow Your Arrow 2

Follow Your Arrow 2

Follow Your Arrow 2

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 Northern Light Needles: First Impressions

DyakCraft Northern Light Needles

DyakCraft Needle Comparison

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

One Shade of Grey

One Shade of Grey

One Shade of Grey

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

Libelle

Libelle

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

January 20, 2015

Raku-Regenbogen

Raku-Regenbogen

Raku-Regenbogen

I'm a lot happier with my second weaving project than the first one! I think I've now found the perfect way to use multi-colored yarn: pooled weaving. Wollmeise Pure in Raku-Regenbogen for the warp and some black Versuchskaninchen as weft formed a happy marriage, where the solid-colored black gives a dark twist to the colorful Raku. The selvedges and picks per inch are a lot more consistent now that I learned with my first weaving project how to control them. For the pooling effect on the warp, the warp length has to be a multiple of the skein length, and the turns at the ends of the warp have to be in a middle of a color section. For this scarf, I made the warp three times the length of the loop of the skein. With Raku-Regenbogen, or at least with this particular skein, the color segments were long, which is probably a bit more forgiving to some slight irregularities in the lining up of the colors than short segments would be. If you use just one warping peg, like I did, the length of the warp threads varies a bit, because the distance from the peg is not exactly the same to the center and the edges of the warp, and there the color segments don't line up perfectly throughout. But it may not even be necessary to line them just right; I think a certain amount of randomness can look good, too. It's safe to say there will be more pooling scarves in my near future!

Project on Ravelry

January 18, 2015

Weaving: First Impressions

For years I've thought I'd like to learn to weave one day, but the idea of setting up the loom inherited from my maternal grandmother (an heirloom?) has felt overwhelming. Then I've been eyeing the simpler and more portable looms I've seen people mention online, not quite sure what the differences are to the more traditional types of looms, and what one can make with them. At the beginning of this year I finally made the decision that now is the time. I'd been starting to feel somehow bored or unchallenged by knitting, and felt I was ready to learn a new craft.

I learned that there is a Finnish reseller to Ashford Knitters Looms, so I placed an order on one. Having read about other people's experiences, I knew I'd need more reeds than the default one that comes with the loom, so immediately I also placed an order for a set of extra reeds. I couldn't find a Finnish reseller for the accessories, so I randomly picked a German online store. It took about a week for both of those orders to arrive, time which I spent looking for information that would come in handy once I finally had the loom.

Having read tips for newbies and following the instructions that came with the loom, setting it up for my first weave wasn't too difficult, although I felt some details were glossed over in the official instructions. Since the extra reeds arrived slightly later than the loom, I used the 7.5 dpi reed and some sport weight yarn for my first warping. I was able to get a relatively good tension while solo warping. My first weaving turned out a bit better than I'd expected, and it was a good learning experience. My picks per inch didn't exactly turn consistent, but I learned how to control it. The selvedges turned out a bit neater than I expected from a first weaving project, but particularly the right side has some irregularities. The scarf also turned out way too short to be practical, but since I didn't really expect to get anything useful out of my first weaving, it's OK. I'm now looking forward to trying out various things with this loom, and I'm also excited about being able to make a dent into my stash by weaving, although I've read warnings that eventually weaving just makes you buy more, different types of yarn, so the stashbusting this loom is marketed for may turn against itself.

First Weaving Project

First Weaving