Knitting

Autumn feels

Posted on

In the blink of an eye, the warm and sunny days have been replaced by gray, rainy and chilly fall weather here in Quebec, and I just kind of find myself confused asking “Where did summer go?” “How can it be mid-September already?”. Am I the only one feeling that way? I think covid is affecting our time perception in strange ways!

Anyways, the colder weather has prompted me to start working on more weather-appropriate projects, including this colourful Brioche Vest from Purl Soho knitted in Noro’s Shinryoku yarn.

I made this vest in size 33 1/2”, except that I did not switch to size 5 mm needle as per pattern instructions as the vest was already more than big enough on the 4.5 mm needle. The only couple small modifications I made on this pattern were to sew the sides fully and to leave the shoulder stitches on hold instead of binding them off and closed the front and back with a 3 needle bind-off. The pattern is clear and straight forward, although if I do make this again I think I might work it in the round and separate the front and back after the first set of decreases instead. Interestingly enough, the one thing that attracted me to this pattern was the slits on either sides, but after trying it out on me (and this may just be due to how the fabric falls with the yarn I used) I did not like the fit of them on me, I thought it made me look like a potato bag -which, as you can imagine, was not the intended goal. So a decided to sew the sides fully to hug the hips down instead.

Also, I have to say that I am not a huge of the length/shape of this sweater. Had it been a tad bit longer, it would’ve been ok – with added waist shaping. And would it have been shorter, it would’ve made an amazing boxy cropped top. But I find that this one sits at a very weird length on me, so if I make this again, I will probably make adjustments to the length and possibly also use a slightly smaller yarn with a bit more weight and body – I think that would suit the pattern much better. And I really want to clarify that this is in no way a critique of the pattern itself (it is well written, clear and more than anything – free!!) but more of a word of caution to myself if I want to attempt this a second time.

Anyways, moving on to the yarn now. I had bought this yarn a little while ago, and although I am usually not a Noro fan, I thought would give it another try since kind of liked the colour scheme of the Akoya Haze colourway. Well, as luck would have it, I am still not a fan. The yarn is soft, but a bit too poofy and frail for me. And the colours didn’t knit up as I expected they would. So either I really am not a fan of Noro yarns period or maybe I just haven’t found yet what kind of projects these funky textured and colourful yarns should be used for. Either way, there is still room for experimenting as I still have almost two skeins of this left, and we’ll see how things go.

Either way, all things considered, I think you’ll understand that although I can’t say this vest is a disappointment by any means, I just don’t seem to like it as much as I would’ve wished to. I am not 100% sure whether or not I will really wear this so I guess only time will tell! As always, all the details of this project are available on my Ravelry project page so feel free to take a look there if you’re interested, and don’t hesitate to reach out or share any of your experiences!

Have you ever made a project that you ended up having mixed feelings for? Did your first impression stay true or did you grow to like the project in the end?

Until next time peeps 🙂

Stars align

Posted on Updated on

Today, beautiful warm summer weather is taking a break, as gray clouds and rain roll over my little town. It is not unlike my mood in the recent weeks, as I’ve been feeling a little bit stressed and under the weather. But that is nonetheless why it makes me happy to share with you this beautiful shawl I completed last week, another test for the lovely Beatriz from SambaKnits. This beauty is called the Jupiter shawl, and although the pattern is not out yet, I just simply couldn’t wait to share it with you all.

The pattern calls for roughly 650 yards of fingering weight yarn in two colours, about 400 yards in one and 250 yards of the other. It alternates plain lace sections with striped garter stitch sections in a beautiful asymmetrical crescent shape. The pattern provides both written and charted instructions, and it is a very simple and straightforward pattern to follow. This one was fun and such a quick knit!

As Beatriz was flexible with yarn weight substitutions, I opted for a skein of handspun I completed last summer and matched it up with 3 skeins of Fiber Co.’s Acadia yarn I had in stash. The combination was perfect, as both yarn contained this lovely, soft creamy blueish green. I had enough yarn to add a few rows to this shawl, making it a tad bit larger than the pattern called for. As always, all the information on yardage and length added can be found on my project page so feel free to take a look at it there if you’re interested.

Overall I’m super happy about this shawl as it is soft, squishy and buttery, and I really can’t wait for the weather to cool down enough for me to sport this one out!

In other news, I tried paddleboarding last week and it was so, so much fun!

Also there may be something on the loom at the moment, so I might have some exciting weaving experience to share in the next future.

Cheers!

Coral Cropped Top

Posted on Updated on

How’s your summer been so far folks? For me, it’s been filled with a lot of sun and warmth, some time with friends and a whole lot of sewing, knitting and home decoration projects, and I’ve been loving every minute of it! I finished last week a sweater called Diane, which is a free pattern from Berroco. And although it didn’t turn out quite like I expected, I must say that I am quite satisfied with the finished garment. The yarn I’m using is a wonderful cotton and linen blend, Knit Pick’s Lindy Chain in colour Conch.

Isn’t it just a wonderful sweater folks? Anyways, now let me run you through the adventure.

You may know this about me (or not) but I am a very intuitive knitter… Which is the nice way of saying that I dont really ever follow patterns to a T, nor do I usually swatch or block my projects, aside from lace shawls. I am very much the no-fuss type that will knit a sweater in natural plant fibers like bamboo, cotton or linen and will just plainly send it washer and dryer with all my other clothes. It shall fall however it will fall!

So once I decided to make this sweater, I had a very quick read through the pattern and looked at the pictures, and made a few decisions. I was using the same yarn weight as the pattern called for to I first decided to knit this sweater in the smallest size (36″ bust), use a single 3.5 mm needle size throughout instead of switching from 3.25 to 3.75 and that I would compensate the change of needle size by adding a few stitches to the body front and back, as I was obviously going to be working on a different (more than likely tighter) gauge. Since I don’t like seams in my sweaters, I also decided to cast on the front and back stitches using a provisional cast-on, and to attach front and back with a kitchener’s stitch at the end instead of a seam.

This sweater was a relatively quick knit, it took me a bit over a month of on and off knitting to complete, and I have to say I really wasn’t dedicating a lot of time to it. The instructions are clear and simple, and the pattern is easy to follow. As I was knitting through the body though, I had this strange impression that the body was much shorter than I had anticipated, looking at the pictures provided in the pattern. But I just decided to roll with it and see what it looked like once finished. As a side note, I also experienced issues with the bottom band and the neckband, as I think the pattern calls for way too many stitches to be picked up. It creates a very loose and shapeless band, which does not suit most projects very well. As such, I decided to pick up less stitches on the bottom band, and even less stitches on the neckband (all the details are provided on my project page).

Anyways I eventually reached the end of it and it is once I tried it on that I could confirm that this sweater was indeed very, very short on me – I had actually knitted a cropped top unknowingly. And you know, cropped tops are not really a thing in my wardrobe; as just like most women out there, I am very self-conscious about by stomach and my body. So what do I do? I still have/had a lot of yarn, so technically I could rip up the bottom band, pick up less stitches to create sort of a fitted band and knit it longer. That would create kind of a 50s style top with looser top and fitted waist. That is/was definitely an option. But destiny gave me a cropped top. Maybe I should just use this as an opportunity to challenge my little petty insecurities and just roll with it, you know? It is cute sweater anyways. And it’s done. So I decided to leave it as is, and every time I wear it, it is a conscious choice to fight my own issues with self-image. And it may also be a lesson to read through patterns a bit more before I start a project… Who knows? Because after re-reading through the pattern, I noticed that it DOES indicate that the finished sweater in size 36″ is supposed to be 20″ long… Which is definitely cropped for me. #Oopsies

Cotton cable comfort

Posted on Updated on

Weather recently has been yo-yoing between fresh spring and scorching hot summer with very little transition, and so it’s been a little difficult lately to just know what to expect or how to dress from day to day. As such, I’m actually very happy to present to you today a new very versatile addition to my wardrobe, this lovely cozy little cardigan that I’ve made as a test-knit for Beatriz Rubio from sambaknits, that should be published in Miss Babs fall 2020 collection.

The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, and I used Zooey Aran , a 60% cotton and 40% linen yarn from Juniper Moon Farm. Although technically a different yarn weight, it actually feels more like a light worsted yarn to me, and it actually knitted up to gauge almost perfectly so it worked out well. I knit the smallest size, and used almost all of the 5 skeins I had, a whopping total of 972 yards. I made no mods whatsoever, except for knitting 12 rows of collar instead of the 8 rows the pattern called for. I also think that if I had had any more yarn to spare, I would have made the collar even puffier as this design I feel would look simply amazing with a large folded collar.

It was a fairly easy knit, straightforward and well explained with a chart. The pattern is simply knitted and blocked as a big rectangle, then folded and seamed before adding the collar.

The finished cardigan is comfy, warm but still breathable and extremely soft! I know for sure that I will be wearing this a lot this summer on windy days or chill nights.

As you can imagine, the pattern is not out yet but I will make sure to link my project to the pattern page once it is.

Hope you guys are all safe and well!

Cobra Socks

Posted on Updated on

Guys, I finally released this week a new sock pattern, may I present to you my Cobra Socks!

They’re cute and funky, fit like a glove and more important than anything they’re one of those fun summer projects you can carry with you just about anywhere!

The pattern is written for toe-up two-at-a-time, and features a german short-row heel as weel as simple mock cables running along the top of the foot and wrapping around the leg.

The pattern is written in 4 different sizes from 7.5″ to 9″ foot circumference and it is worked with sock weight yarn on size 2.5 mm needle. I first came up with this pattern in April using a couple skeins of Manos del Uruguay’s Serena yarn, and I loved them so much I made a second pair in May using Malabrigo Sock yarn to add to my rotation, because I seriously had those socks on my feet all the time! I thought other people might also like this design as much as I did so I decided to write up the pattern, get it tested and then… Voila! It is now out there for all those interested 🙂

Pinky swear

Posted on

As the pandemic quarantine continues, I’ve been knitting a lot more recently, actually more than I’ve ever done in the past few years. Which is great, because I feel like I’ve been neglecting my hobbies recently, and by doing so also neglecting myself a little bit.

So far in 2020 (and we’re only 4 months in!), I’ve already knitted 4598 yards in 6 projects, which is more than what I did the entire 2019 year (3473 yards in 6 projects) and already very close to 2018, where I knit 4715 yards in 9 projects. Given that we’re only at the beginning of May and that there’s still no sign of the end of the work from home situation yet, I will more than likely surpass my 2017 stats (which came up to 5481 yards in 7 projects) and may potentially even reach my 2016 numbers by the end of the year, which came up to a wonderfully impressive 10 928 yards in 17 projects. 2015 and 2014 are also very close behind, with 9314 yards in 16 projects and 10 292 yards in 15 projects respectively.

Now numbers don’t tell the whole story though, as I’ve been picking up more hobbies in the past 4 years (namely here spinning, pottery and I’ve also been much more phyisically active and cooking at home more) so it’s totally normal that my knitting numbers now are lower than the ones I had 4 or 5 years ago (and for very good and healthy reasons). But I think it’s also safe to say that I may potentially have not been putting aside as much time for myself as I should have, leading me to experience more stress, anxiety and affecting my overall mental health. I think this time “on pause” as led me to realize this, and hopefully, I will learn from this moving forward. I will try very hard in the future not to neglect myself and my mental health, pinky swear!!!

So without further ado, I would like to show you today a couple of the projects I’ve completed recently, namely here this cute pair of mesh market bags. I used the Ilene Bag pattern from Hannah Mason and knitted them out of 4 skeins of Fibra Natura’s Sea Song cotton yarn in pink and a few grams of plain white unnamed cotton yarn I had in stash.

I worked the bottom of the bag and the mesh section in the pink, then switched a contrasting color for the ribbing and the handle. Each bag used about 1.9 skein of sea song (just about 207 yards) and 100 yards of white for the ribbing and handle, for a grand total of about 307 yards per bag.

I did make a few small changes to the pattern, namely here adding some plain rows before the mesh pattern and some ribbing rows at the end; all the details are on my project page as usual so feel free to check it out there.

So how’s your quarantine going guys? How are you taking care of your mental health? Any tips to share?

The Unfinishables

Posted on Updated on

We all have some of those, right? Well, staying home a lot more recently has given me an opportunity to revisit those, and to put the final stitches on a couple projects I (really) should’ve finished long ago.

First off is this luscious green cardigan I’ve started in October 2017 as a test-knit for the lovely Anne, for her French Kiss cardigan pattern. Now I feel particularly terrible about this one because I’m the type who will not sign up for a test knit unless I know for sure I can finish before the deadline. As luck would have it though, many unexpected things happened during that time frame that prevented me from completing the test. I felt horrible and apologized profusely, but after the pattern was published I didn’t feel as much pressure to finish the project so I just left it there and forgot about it. I’m so happy (and relieved) it is finally done, and right on time too – the colour and the yarn are perfect for spring / summer.

I used about 6 and a half skeins of Nettle Grove yarn from Plymouth Yarn in the colour “Mermaid”. This yarn is an interesting cotton, linen, silk and nettle mix, and although I’m not a huge fan, I gotta say that the final washed fabric is actually pretty soft and has very good stitch definition. I pretty much followed pattern instructions exactly, all the details are on my Ravelry project page.

Second project I want to show you guys is my second iteration of the Dessine-Moi Un Mouton sweater by La Maison Rililie that I had started in December 2018. It’s no secret that I love this design, I’ve used it before to make my Spilled Wine sweater (and made quite a fuss about it), and I seem to always gravitate towards this design to showcase something special. First time was a gradient yarn set from Wonderland Yarns, and now this time it’s one of my very first handspun yarn, that I had attempted to use for a BlueSand Cardigan before but ended up frogging (the unsuccessful attempt is still documented here).

Just like the first time I made this sweater, I’m using a staple yarn for me, Cascade’s Heritage Solids yarn, but this time I went for charcoal grey. I also again worked on a modified gauge (since I’m using fingering weight yarn), though this time I made this sweater one size smaller, since I’ve lost a lot of weight since I made the first iteration of this sweater.

Overall, I am just SO happy at how this one turned out, and I really cannot wait to wear it!! It’s fun, it’s playful, it’s comfy and more than anything, it’s not on a needle anymore. As usual the details on yardage and mods are available on my project page so feel free to check it out 🙂

Cheers!

Pandemic knitting (& life update)

Posted on Updated on

Happy lovely spring to all you guys, from my couch as I self-isolate through this COVID-19 pandemic! I know a lot of us are feeling stressed, lonely, worried about health, job, financial situation, and all of that both for ourselves and our loved ones. But let’s just keep being positive, following Public Health guidelines and work our way through this one stitch at a time!

As a quick personal update, I’m sorry for being so notably absent again from the blog as I have been quite busy the past few months. The holidays passed in a breeze, and come January I started a new job that has been proving to be a bit challenging to adapt to. You may remember I had been working for many years as a city planner for a small town in central Quebec, well the new job isn’t only at a different government level but also in a different province and in a different language than my own. The learning curve has been incredibly steep, and it has taken me a lot of time and energy to acclimate to the new job and the new work environment so I have been doing not much aside from working, driving and trying to catch up on sleep. It is an incredibly interesting and challenging job and I am so glad I made the jump, although it was a little bit of a leap of faith, I’m telling you.

All that to say, the work from home situation I’ve been placed in since a couple weeks ago has actually been beneficial to my mental and physical health as the work has slightly slowed down and I’ve had more time to focus on myself, my needs and my wellbeing. I’ve been cooking more healthy meals for myself, exercising more regularly, sleeping better and also picked back up my long neglected hobbies. Although it is a bit lonely at times with the social distancing measures put in place, I really have nothing to complain about – I still have a job, still getting paid, still have everything I need and (more than anything) I am healthy.

Amidst all of this craziness, one thing I can say for sure though is that my time at home has been spent in good company with very cuddly kitties, many cups of warm delicious tea and cozy knitting breaks on the couch, which has resulted in me knitting up a brand new sweater in barely over a week. This new addition to my wardrobe is the Raindrops pattern from tincanknits, a pattern I’ve been wanting to knit for the longest time but just simply never got around to it. I knit this in size M using size 3.5mm needle instead of the recommended 3.25mm (as I’m kind of a tight knitter) and also changed up the cuff and bottom edge, to go for a split front/back with seed stitch border that would better suit my silhouette.

The yarn I used is Fiore from Nako, a yarn company I had never heard of before. It’s a 40% bamboo, 35% cotton and 15% linen yarn that is soft, supple and offers great stitch definition. It does tend to split a bit so you gotta be a little careful when knitting, but I gotta say it’s been a charm to work with, and as I tend to feel more comfortable wearing natural cotton and linen fibres per wool, it’s just perfect for me.

Overall, I’m super happy about how this turned out, and altough I’ve worn it a couple times inside the house, I really can’t wait for this quarantine thing to be over so I can show it off to the outside world.

I hope this short post has provided you a little bit of entertainment, and if any one of you is in need of anything (even if just someone to talk to) please feel free to reach out. Through these trying times, it is all the more important to care about one another and be an active (though distant) part of our close-knit communities.

Cheers!

Third time’s the charm?

Posted on Updated on

Or not. But then again, maybe. I just recently finished my third Askews Me Dickey from Stephen West, and although it definitely is my favorite one of the bunch, it is also the one that looks the least like what I was expecting it to? Just hear me out here.

Askews me Dickey is a DK weight brioche cowl pattern worked on 4.5mm needles. It is a very structured cowl with a long slanted neck and a very wide yoke. Here’s a picture of the two first cowls I made using this pattern, and you will immediately see what I mean by “structured”.

The two times I made this cowl in the past, it was always a black yarn in the background and a red or a purple-ish color on top, and both times the cowl turned out nice and firm, stretchy and comfy but slightly too large around my neck/face.

Be that as it may, I wasn’t planning on making a third one of this, because I don’t wear cowls all that often (and I just finished the lissome cowl that I’m very much looking forward to wearing), but while I was going through my box of leftovers for another project, I found a couple balls of leftover Eucalyptus yarn from Mary Maxim.

Most of you probably have no idea what that yarn is because it’s been discontinued for a while and I really don’t think it was all that popular, but I have used it twice in the past for a shawl and a cowl (made respectively in the gray & the natural color). For those who have never seen it, it’s an insanely soft and luscious yarn composed of 50% acrylic and 50% viloft, a natural fiber made from Eucalyptus. The yarn is super soft and pliable, it behaves a little bit like bamboo with a nice stretch but has a much heavier weight to it which makes it feel much more decadent. Honestly, I can’t even find the words to describe it – that’s just how much I love this yarn. Anyways, you can probably imagine that when I saw I had some of this leftover in two colors, I just HAD to find something to do with it, and since I had very little of both colors, I thought it’d be a great fit for a brioche cowl.

Obviously this yarn is much finer that what the pattern calls for, being a sport weight yarn rather than a DK. But knowing the cowl turned out a tad too large both times I’ve made it in the past, I thought it’d be perfect with this and a smaller needle. I settled on a 4mm, and looking back I probably should’ve went down to a 3.75 or 3.5mm needle.

Either way I knitted this up in just a few days since it is such a quick knit, but as I went, I realized that the very soft and pliable yarn was not responding very well to the structure of the cowl. I still finished it though, figuring that it might turn out ok once I had the yoke completed, but it really didn’t give any more body to this cowl. I looked at the finished product in dismay, I stuffed it in a bag and let it sit there for a few days before I came around to it. You see, I had so many expectations for this cowl and it just didn’t turn out the way I thought it would so I felt a bit sad, disappointed and apprehensive of how it would look like on me.

When I finally did try it on though, I realized that I liked this cowl all the same, and that it was OK that it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Lesson learned. Sometimes, life has a different plan for you. What do you guys think? Have you ever put time and effort in a project only to realize it didn’t become what you had envisioned? Did you get disappointed? Were you able to come around? Let me know!

And as always, if you’re interested in the cowl, feel free to check out my project page on Ravelry.

Cheers guys!

Autumn Vamping

Posted on Updated on

I just recently finished my own version of Jennifer Dassau’s Vamping shawl pattern, a very popular choice among knitters for gradient yarns, and I am very pleased to report that it is just as wonderful of a pattern as people make it out to be. I mean, look at those sexy lines!

Now you see I’ve had this gorgeous 100% merino gradient yarn from The Blue Brick in my stash for a few years, over 3 I think, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. This yarn base called “Manitoulin Merino” (discontinued now – and the colorway, which was called “rose”, has also been discontinued since I think) is just insanely soft and pliable, but it is a single, and as such tends to be quite fragile so I wanted to keep it for something delicate that wouldn’t be subjected to too much wear.

As such, a shawl was very well suited, but I couldn’t for the life of me choose which pattern I wanted to make with it. I’ve already made an Iron Maiden, a Glitz at the Ritz, a couple Sunwalker from Melanie Berg, I’ve also made a Bosc Pear and most recently a Winterlight that would all have been very well suited for a gradient yarn and which I have all loved knitting. But I guess I just really wanted to try something new, ideally a different type of structure that would be a bit different from the traditional half circle or triangular shawls; something with a different architecture that would present the gradient in a different and original way.

And Jennifer Dassau’s Vamping is just that. The structure is interesting with central decreases instead of being at the beginning or the end, and it creates sort of a “V” pattern that is very fresh (at least in my mind) compared to so many other patterns out there. So I gave it a shot, and I am very pleased to report that the result is simply stunning. The pattern is very simple, but it does require to pay attention at least a little bit on the couple lace rows, which I have to admit I did not do. Consequently, I messed up in a couple places here and there, but the pattern is very forgiving and I don’t think it shows too much (I never ever use life line, and couldn’t be bothered to frog and fix it, so yea ^^). As always, all the details are on my project page so you can go check them out there.

All in all, I would most certainly make this pattern again, as I think it would be a great way to feature any gradient or handspun yarn you cherish.

Cheers 🙂