June 17, 2018

Drawstring Project Bags

Drawstring Bag

Drawstring Bag

Drawstring Bag
I'm never sure if I should call myself more of a process or product knitter, but with sewing, for sure, it's mostly about the end product. When I dug up my sewing machine and serger after 1½ years, I was reminded of how, at most, 10% of the time spent on a sewing project is actual sewing. I do enjoy the sewing part, but it's a bit frustrating that the huge majority of time is spent in prepartion for it: choosing and cutting your fabric, setting up your sewing machine (probably having to refer to the manual on more than occasion), ironing at every step, and googling instructions for even the simplest of projects. After such a long break, I needed to refresh my memory on what the various buttons on my sewing machine are for and how to adjust the stitching.

The nice thing about sewing, on the flip side, is that you can usually finish what you started on the same day. The fabric stash (still of a reasonable size compared to my yarn equivalent) can also be depleted much faster than yarn.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of my sewing so far has been knitting related, including the drawstring bags destined to be project bags. I used a video by MADE Everyday as reference. The strings I sewed myself from strips of fabric.

June 3, 2018

New Horizons (and Gauges)

The Colossal Stash-Busting Blanket

It's alive! Since knitting is one of those aspects of my life I try to, more or less successfully, keep stress-free, it means I only blog about it if I feel like it. I have been alive and knitting with varying intensity, just not blogging!

One new area of knitting I've ventured into lately is larger gauges and needles. It used to be that needle sizes beyond 4 or 5 mm made me uncomfortable, and about 75% of my stash is fingering weight or finer. Knitting at a larger gauge is actually physically more demanding, but I'm starting to get used to it. Instead of buying a bunch of heavier weight yarn I'm knitting with two or more strands of finer yarn held together, which, as it turns out, is a wonderful way to use up your stash. As a result, I'm now obsessed with using up years-old bits of stash, and I take great pleasure in labelling pieces of stash as "all used up" on Ravelry. I think that, so far this year, I've actually knitted more yarn than I've bought. Which does not necessarily mean that my stash is still anywhere near reasonably-sized.

Pictured above is my Colossal Stash-Busting Blanket, being knit with 6 mm needles and three or four strands of yarn held together. I'm only about 50% done, but it already weighs 1.2 kg and has eaten up about 5 km of yarn. The project is based on Stephen West's free Garter Squish pattern, which I've modified for a slightly smaller gauge, about 15 stitches of garter stitch in 10 cm (because 10 mm needles would have been too big a leap). I cast on 220 stitches to compensate for the gauge change, but I think it's turning a bit wider than it needs to. I'm planning to knit until it's about 2 meters long. Halfway in it's already so big that placement is a consideration while knitting. If I hadn't been knitting it during one of the warmest Mays in Finnish history, it would have been great at keeping me warm. Mostly I keep it next to myself while knitting on the couch, and it takes up the space equal to a small person. It's definitely not the go-to project for when you need something pleasantly portable!

July 3, 2016

Striped Esjan

Striped Esjan

Striped Esjan

With shawls, size does matter; I like them huge. And I also like them in speckle-dyed yarn and garter stitch. The Striped Esjan pattern by Stephen West has some additional lace knitting besides the garter stitch, but nothing too complicated, and I love the enormous holes created by multiple yarn-overs.

I used a multitude of yarns, in part because I wanted to knit the larger size but didn't have enough of colors A and B. The speckled yarn is the Boombox colorway by Hedgehog Fibres in the Skinny Singles base, and I used the matching Crystal colorway in the Sock base as a solid counterpart for the garter stitch stripes. However, I didn't have enough of either yarn for the thin stripes between the lace sections, so I substituted with some Silver Fox by madelinetosh in merino light, which is close enough to Crystal in color, and then I used some Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga! for the bright green color pops. I ended up doing an i-cord bind-off with the remaining speckled yarn, but there wasn't enough left for the entire bottom edge, so I mixed in some more Silver Fox, and they blend in so well you can't really tell most of the i-cord is actually these two bases striped. Oh, and the fuchsia lace sections are knit with Wollmeise Pure, so the finished project contains no fewer than five different yarn bases, but they play together quite well, I think.

The Ravelry project page