Welcome to 2019! I hope everyone had a fantastic end of 2018 and is heading into a great new year. My last evening of 2018 was spent with some old friends and I started the new year off exactly as planned, with a sleep-in, a couple of swims and a new cast on. As is the trend at the moment, I have chosen a word for 2019 and it is “settled”. The big emphasis will be getting settled into the new house but that will be closer to the other end of 2019. In the meantime, I want to feel more settled waiting for all the things that I want to happen. My views this week started with the celebrations on New Year’s Eve where we were visited by a very friendly bandicoot and a few more days of beach knitting. I spent yesterday celebrating a very good friend’s birthday – it was a surprise party and it was certainly a huge surprise. It would have been a great photo opportunity as the venue was right on a bluff on the coast but the southerly had hit and it was just all a white haze. It was fortunate for the southerly, though, as the day had soared well into the 30s.
My New Year’s Day cast-on was the Fern and Feather by Jennifer Steingass. I have managed to do all the colourwork on the yoke and I hope that it’s not going to be too tight. I did swatch but flat, not in the round, though I chose a size with 4 inches of ease so I was hoping it would be fine. I started with neck Option A but frogged it within a few rows and cast on the wider Option B, which doesn’t seem too much wider. I know that Caroline of the Knitting Vicariously podcast found her neckline too wide and she had chosen Option A. When I asked her about it she thought it may have been a case of a larger size having more neckline stitches when a neck is not necessarily that different between smaller and larger people. Option B goes into the colourwork almost immediately so the floats seem particularly visible. It might be necessary to pick up the stitches and add a couple of rows when it’s done. I will also need to knit more rows before I get to split for the sleeves as my row gauge is usually smaller than any recommended gauges. It’s worsted weight using KnitPicks Swish Worsted yarn and it’s so much thicker than what I’m used to, especially with the added floats in the colourwork. You can see in the photo below that it goes over my head but the row I’m up to is probably another 2 inches lower in that of the pattern photo than mine. I think I could get an extra inch from blocking. Do I frog and go for the next size? I don’t know how blocking will work, maybe the model is wearing a smaller size and the length falls lower. It is the same number of rows after all for each size. These questions I’ll need to answer. I’ll make a decision today.
I’m still plugging away on the Texture Time KAL and am so close to finishing! I had to un-knit a section on a row of dropped stitches which was not much fun. I was one stitch out and I considered leaving it but it is supposed to line up with other dropped stitch rows so would look stupid. I had to pick up 4 rows on each of the dropped stitches. I only have 2 more rows to do before the three-needle bind off folded back to where the stitches were picked up. And then all the threads to be sewn in! That three-needle bind off is going to take forever.
The pattern suggests using another of the contrast colours if you run out of the main colour as it will be folded over. After the first two rows of this section, I decided to switch to my blue contrast colour and keep the remaining main colour as a mini, along with the caramel CC. There should be plenty in the blue CC to do the same.
Finished Object 1: The Cerisara cardi by Bonnie Marie Burns is now finished and I got it done on the last day of 2018! I haven’t cut the yarn on the sleeves yet until I get mum to try it on, just in case they need lengthening or shortening. I’m happy with how it’s turned out and I hope it fits well. I did the smallest size as mum is quite small these days. It should be a great mid-season cardigan as it’s a cotton/linen blend yarn. I was really surprised at how much colour ran when I washed it for blocking. I don’t think I got all of the colour out so I’ll have to warn mum for when she washes it. The photo shows pre-blocking.
Finished Object 2: Again on New Year’s Eve, I finished a Winter Morning headband by Kalurah Hudson of While they Play. It was this project that really decided me that I don’t like crochet provisional cast on. It’s too hard to work out where the individual stitches are, whereas the normal knitted provisional cast on for Adventurer Cowl was perfect. I used the crochet provisional cast-on on another project, the actual project escapes me at the moment, and I had the same problem discerning the individual stitches. This headband was knit over two nights several weeks ago, amongst other knitting, and only took that long because I didn’t have my tape measure with me. I’d say it would only take an hour to knit normally. Then it languished until New Year’s Eve because I was uncertain as to which way to join the ends. I held together two strands of a DK I had dyed for another project. As I mentioned back in the Adventurer Cowl section of last week’s blog, the Three Needle Bind Off Finessing knit/purl method as shown by Roxanne Richardson is fantastic. I often prefer a headband than a beanie – it’s just the ears that get cold as we don’t live anywhere near snow.
My How I Roll socks were my beach knitting and that seemed to come to an abrupt halt when I started work on Wednesday. For one reason or another, I haven’t made it back to the beach and today is cold and overcast. I’ve been working on the gusset, about to turn the heel. I haven’t done a heel and gusset on socks before so I’m interested to see how they fit. It’s hard working out exactly where to start the increasing so I hope they’re not too small or too long in the foot. If so, either mum or dad would welcome them. I really want to keep them though as the yarn is special. These yarns were the leftovers of my own dyed Twelve Days of Christmas mini set. I’m about to join mini number 10 and they certainly won’t be finished by tomorrow which is the official end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, but not too far off.
I’ve continued to work on the Nightshift shawl though, to be honest, I’m finding it a bit boring – it’s definitely a product knit, not a process knit. I think it’s because the rows are getting longer and the colour changes are less frequent. It’s certainly a lovely squishy fabric. Before starting the project, I worked out all my colours so that they’d work well together for contrast but I noticed that the red and orange were going to be together in the next section. I have re-worked my colour sequence and hopefully, it will all work now. Already, the teal and light blue section has a very low contrast but looks OK. I imagine the red/orange combo would be totally lost. I’ve just transitioned from red to orange though only two rows of orange so it’s hard to tell at the moment. I think I can see it in the picture better though.
Finally, I picked up the Granny Square dress again. I knew it wouldn’t take too much to complete the crochet but this was one of the “out of sight, out of mind” projects. All I need to do now is work out how much fabric I’ll need for the skirt. I think the general ratio is 2/2.5:1. Then I’ll sew it on. I’m using two fat quarters with gorgeous colours and owls. One fabric has a striped repeat so I’ll use that at the sides and the other fabric will be the centre front and back. And, of course, buttons. This will be quick to finish, I’m just hoping that the size is right. It’s a bit hard when you only see the recipient once in a blue moon. If anything, it may just be a little bit big, which is not a bad thing.
Nothing interesting, only another alteration in the sewing department this week. I stitched up some pockets on a new skirt. They were gaping and I wasn’t going to use them. I really love the fabric on this skirt and looks great with a black top. It’s not quite a white background. I did also want to alter a new dress but didn’t get around to it. I need to take up the hem and I would also like to straighten the sides a bit as an A-Line is not that flattering on me. Maybe next week, so I can wear it before it gets too cool. I have so many sewing plans for 2019 and there are several items cut out and waiting in various stages of making. I’m hoping to be able to get back into that very soon.
I really need to find a suitable heading for this section! I realised that I’m missing my weekly planner since I started my Christmas break. It has meant that some projects have languished because they were forgotten – out of sight, out of mind. I also didn’t have my mini post-it list handy. You can see in the photo that I’ve moved some from the big list to the completed side. I have sorted my WIPs and you can see them lined up here. Some of these have been waiting for a while but are still going to be finished, they’re just not urgent. There’s one or two missing from that lineup and it also doesn’t include the projects that are currently being worked on, namely those mentioned in today’s blog: Fern and Feather, How I Roll, Texture Time, Granny Square dress and Nightshift. I have every intention of bringing each of these WIPs back into rotation very soon. Once Texture Time is gone, I’ll pick one to work on – probably my Sharman Cocoon as that one is so close to being finished.
I’ve just finished listening to Undone by Karin Slaughter – another exciting finish! I think the next book will be The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. I’ve started re-watching all the Harry Potter DVDs and I have watched the first three. There are four more to go of the original series and I haven’t seen the latest but I believe it’s a spin-off without the main characters.
I’ve decided to take a new tack on how I listen to the Happier podcast as I won’t be catching up anytime soon – I still have 140 episodes before I’m up to date. As I’m now very entrenched in the podcast I felt I was able to pick up on Episode 200 and I’ll keep listening to the old ones in between new podcasts. It was annoying that I could not participate with any of the questions, etc. as I am a year behind. This way I will be current while still listening to all the fabulous old podcasts. Some other audio podcasts on my usual rotation are Curious Handmade by Helen Stewart, the Love to Sew podcast, the Knitmore Girls podcast, the Down Cellar Studio Podcast by Boston Jen, and The Allusionist, shown below with a few others.
This week will see a full week at work so my crafting time will be more limited. I am looking forward to a cruise to New Zealand with my husband, departing in 24 days, so I’ll have to start thinking about which projects I’ll be packing. As we’re leaving from, and returning to, Sydney we won’t have any weight restrictions though I don’t think I’ll go overboard on the number of projects I pack (pun intended!).
Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!