January 31, 2019
I only finished the warm-up socks for Sukka-Finlandia after two actual competition patterns, so the warming up part may have been completely lost on me, but they did offer a nice amount of challenge, nevertheless! The Elämän virta socks based on a pattern by Tiina Kuu were written for sport weight yarn, but I decided to go with the largest size and fingering weight yarn since I don't own a lot of heavier weight sock yarn. I was a little worried the cables would pull in the fabric so much the usually OK stitch count of 60 would be too little, but they do fit, especially after some blocking! My sock knitting gauge is needle-bendingly tight, and with 2.5 mm needles and fingering weight yarn I tend to get 32 stitches per 10 cm/ 4 inches. I suppose I could go up in needle size, but 2.75 mm feels signifigantly bigger than 2.5 mm, and also the ChiaoGoo Twist Minis only go up to 2.5 mm, I think. After I've gotten used to that supple cable and pointy needle tips, I'm hesitant to go back to other sock needles.
January 29, 2019
The second pattern in the Sukka-Finlandia sock knitting competetion is Aave by Heidi Alander. While the pattern has both lace and cables, the back of the leg is plain stockinette, and the heel a bit more straight-forward than in Jean Next Door. It still took me longer to finish, but only because I was working on other things simultaneously. Due to my tight gauge, the socks turned out slightly more snug than I expected, but this will probably help keep them from turning sloppy. One thing I can't stand is loose socks!
January 15, 2019
It's my first time taking part in a knitting competition, and Jean Next Door is the first leg (heh heh) of the Finnish sock knitting competition Sukka-Finlandia, where the fastest wins it all. The first pattern is designed by Anna Johanna, and it's the most demanding sock pattern I've knit in a while, having been more drawn to vanilla socks or otherwise simpler patterns lately. With the cables in the leg I decided to go with the medium size, but decreased down to size small for the foot. Since I have no hope of winning a competition that's about speed, I didn't rush. Instead, I knit one extra pattern repeat on the leg, and I'm quite happy with the finished socks.
After submitting the socks to the competion I found out that after the first pair I'm in 117th place in a competition that probably has fewer than 200 participants. Reminds me of how every winter in elementary school I had to compete at cross-country skiing against the other girls in my class, and I barely made it to the top ten in a class of around ten girls. I think my personal best was 4th place on 1st class, and then it was all downhill (or uphill?) from there, never making it to the top three. You can probably tell physical education was not my favorite subject! Also, speed is not my thing, either, when it comes to motor skills any more complicated than walking. Even using a fork falls into the complicated category.
January 11, 2019
Last week I finished my Saudade, a fair-isle hat pattern by Ysolda. I struggled a bit at finding the right color combination, and only the third try was something I was happy with. I used a combination of Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Jamieson's of Shetland Shetland Spindrift, including stash bought back in 2008 on a trip to the US! Thankfully yarn doesn't have an expiration date! Since my head is on the large size while my stranded knitting gauge tends to be a bit tight, I went with the largest size, and I'm glad I did. The ribbing is slightly loose, but the stranded section is just the right size. I've now been wearing the hat for a few days, and it's surprisingly warm despite the fingering weight yarn. I tend to prefer hats knit with heavier yarn, but the woolen spun yarn and colorwork probably help.
January 6, 2019
Yet another fantastic pattern from Lisa Hannes, Afternoon in Lisbon is a mosaic and garter stitch shawl I had the priviledge of test knitting. As is usual for her patterns, even the test versions are highly polished and well-written, and rarely have any remarkable errors. The pattern includes both charted and written instructions. I worked from the charts as is usually my preference, since it's a lot easier to visualize the pattern and figure out where you are in it.
I knit the original large size, but there are small and medium variations available for a more scarf like project. The length of the garter sections is customizeable, and after you've knit the first mosaic section you can calculate how long you can make the garter sections without running out of yarn. The shawl is knit from one end to the other, reversing the colors for the middle mosaic section.
I ended up using The Uncommon Thread Uncommon Everyday, which produced a shawl with excellent drape! I've never used this yarn before, and made a mental note that it's also one of the least splitty yarns I've worked with, and was very pleasant to knit.