KAL

Fickle spring

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Last Monday was very cold, we even had a little bit of snow in the morning and a whole lot of rain. Since I was feeling a little chilly (and because Melanie Berg’s Any shawl KAL was going on), I decided to cast on a handspun, lace weight version of the Sunwalker. Even though it’s May, it seemed like a good idea at the time – but now, only one week later, I’m done with my shawl but it’s sunny out and the temperature rolls in the 80s so there’s just no need for a shawl anymore. Oh well.

Either way, here’s my Sunwalker Shawlette made out of my Rusted spaceship hanspun yarn, made last summer during the Tour de Fleece.

Sunwalker

I used every little bit of this scrumptious yarn down to the last 4 to 5 yards, and I am SO happy at how it turned out! The Sunwalker pattern is very versatile and easy to adapt to different gauge, weight yarn or yardage, and it allows you to showcase a yarn with both a lace and a texture section. I will definitely use this pattern again, and if you plan on starting a shawl this spring or summer I highly recommend you give this one a try.

Happy knitting all 🙂

The sweater-dress concoction

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November 30th, perfect day to present you my finished NaKniSweMo 2015 project – my 50 174 sts Laurie.

Laurie dress

I am absolutely thrilled by the final result and I love every stitch of this wonderful dress, but I must admit this was not was I was going for – not the smallest bit. This project was originally supposed to be just another sweater; no more no less, and I have nobody or nothing to blame for the (happy) mistake except for my very own foolishness in thinking I could pick a pattern without checking the number of stitches first, and my sinus infection for not realizing sooner how long this “sweater” was becoming.

For those who don’t know what NaKniSweMo is, let me explain first so you can understand better what my predicament was. NaKniSweMo stands for “National Knit a Sweater in a Month”. It’s basically a month long knit-along (KAL) where the main goal is to start and finish an entire sweater within the month of november. The main criteria for this KAL is that the sweater you pick must be at least 50 000 stitches.

Earlier in November, I decided to participate, choosing Laurie (from Josée Paquin), as my project for the challenge. Even though the sweater was using DK weight yarn, I didn’t bother to check the number of stitches before I started because I thought it’d be fine since it’s kind of an oversized model and I generally like longer sweaters anyways (I have always added length to every single sweater pattern I’ve ever knitted). I cast on and worked about 50% of this sweater, carefully marking my progress as I went, but somewhere around the middle of the month, I got a sinus infection.

I was feeling groggy and out of it, but still tried to make some progress – all I could focus on though was the 50k stitches goal, that was really all I could manage given the sickly state I was in. At one point I stopped working the body, worked one sleeve as a point of reference, then calculated (based on how many stitches I already had and how may stitches both sleeves were going to be) how much longer the body needed to be in order for me to reach 50k stitches. With that knowledge, I kept working on the body again, and again, and again until I finally reached the desired amount of stitches and bound it off around November 19th.

Around that time I started to feel better and my head was finally starting to get out of the clouds, and that’s when I realized just how long my “sweater” has gotten in my sickly slumber. I tried it on and realized the finished piece was going all the way to my knee… *sigh* I had knitted a dress instead of a sweater. Fancy that. I was still very happy with the project though, so I knit the second sleeve then washed and blocked the project and voilà ! A brand new autumn dress, I guess 🙂

Confession Tuesday : My kingdom for a ball winder!

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Fellow crafters, today I have a confession to make : I do not own a ball winder. Yea, shame on me. I really wish I did own one, things would be so much easier, but I just never bought one. For me, starting every project requires hours of preparation; winding every ball by hand, untangling knots and fighting off playful cats, and sometimes it also comes the occasional tears of rage when things are not going my way. Yea.

I really didn’t mind it so much at first, because I thought : “Not every yarn that is sold out there needs to be winded, so why should I make a fuss about having to wind a few balls by hand here and there?” But as time passed, I slowly started to realize that most of my favorite yarns did not come in center pull balls, and that my handspun yarn needs to be rolled in a skein or a ball after coming off the wheel. So why do I not have a ball winder and a swift, really?

The reason I’m talking to you guys about this is because I just recently came to a halt in my Hollywell Cardigan as I finished the first pink skein, and I had to wind the second skein into a ball before I could resume knitting. As I was patiently winding it, I looked over at my project and realized that in a very short while, I would also have to start the stripes – so I would have to put down the needles again, and wind 2 other skeins by hand. I’m usually not much of a complainer, but I must say that at that point, realizing this made me a little upset. But since today is another day, let’s just try to focus on something fun (!) instead, and let me show you the progress I’ve made on my cardigan so far :

auth.aspxThe pockets are attached, and I’m almost done with the waist decreases, so things are really moving along at a good pace! I should already be done with the waist decreases, but I decided to give this cardigan a little bit more waist shaping than it originally had, since I’m (somewhat of) a curvy kind of Gal. I’m about a medium size overall, but I have rather large hips and a (somewhat) thin waist, so every sweater generally requires slight modifications to fit my unusual silhouette. I started it off with 248 stitches at the bottom, which was in-between size M and L, and I plan on decreasing until I reach 204 stitches, which is a little over size S. Then, I plan on increase stitches at the same rate, and finish the pattern following size M instructions. Even though I made so much progress on it, I still feel the fabric is very loose and uneven, so I really hope it’ll turn out OK after a good wash. It should, since the swatch turned out just fine after a run in the washer & dryer, but I’m still worried. Just have to wait it out, I guess.

On another note, I was blessed with very good news last week, as I got a message from krumel, the (amazingly!) nice Raveler who gave some of her time earlier this summer to test-knit my very first sweater pattern, the Summer Sea Stripes Sweater. She told me she just finished it and showed me a few pictures, and I must say I am simply AMAZED that someone could make something so beautiful with a pattern I wrote! Even her photos are a lot more professional than mine, I feel so ashamed of myself! -_-‘

The one on the left is my prototype, and the one on the right is the one krumel made following the pattern I wrote :

Fotor0817232424Since it is my first pattern, I have a lot of adjustments to make before I can really publish it, but things are definitely moving forward! Following krumel’s comments and suggestions, I’ll fix my pattern in the next few weeks, then get version 2 tested sometime in September and (if everything goes according to plan), I should be able to release it on Ravelry around the end of September or mid-October. Yay! 🙂

I’m not sure if it’s normal to be so thrilled about something so trivial; I have never published a pattern of my own so I don’t really know how but I feel so very excited! Any experienced pattern designers out there? How did it feel to publish your first design?

So that’s all for today folks, my rant’s over!

Hope you all enjoy your craft time, and the rest of your summer 🙂

Organization is key!

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Since I came back from vacation, I have been contemplating the fact that my stash’s storage method and organization system wasn’t living up to my expectations, and I felt like it really needed to be updated. I must admit to you guys that up until a few days ago, my “storage” mostly consisted of a few cardboard boxes, divided and taped together in an eclectic arrangement of size, shape and color. And to make things even worse, the skeins on the bottom were always full of hair because my cats kept rubbing themselves on it. Yea. So after quite some thought, I decided to clean out the basement, and see if I could find something in there that could be used as a compact yarn storage for my living room. Surprisingly enough, I did find something, and something I was not expecting! My epic search in the depths of the basement allowed me to discover two forgotten plastic storage units, with 3 drawers each, that would be able to contain most of my yarn and keep it clean and hair free. Awesome!!!

So that same evening, I cleaned and dried the two storage units, lint rolled my yarn and neatly put each skein away by color in my new yarn storage area. And guess what ? I LOVE IT!!

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On a different note, I observed recently that – maybe because of the weather? – craft projects seem to progress a lot slower for me in the summer. So to give myself a little boost of motivation I decided to take part in another KAL, which is great since I had such a good time on my first KAL earlier this summer with Nice And Knit. The one I just signed up for this time is Very Shannon’s Summer Sweater KAL; the CO was on July 30th and FO will be on September 24th. Basically any kind of sweater or top is accepted for this KAL, so I decided to challenge myself into making something I have never done before : a cardigan. I chose the Hollywell Cardigan, from Megan Goodacre, and I’ll knit it in Cascade Heritage yarn in a mix of grays and pink.

hollywell3It’s really exciting because it’s like a triple challenge for me: it’ll be my first cardigan, my first project with pockets, and my first sweater with a hood – weehee!! Since it’s summer and all I don’t have much progress to show as of now, but I have at least completed the pocket linings, and started the main body. I’ll try to make it longer that the pattern calls for because I like longer tops, so the ribbed bottom edge is going to be 4″ wide instead of the 2″ required in the pattern.

20140805_163203829_iOSI’m really excited about this project even though I have had some doubts about it at the beginning – I couldn’t figure out which color I wanted where, and I was worried 3.75mm neddles might be a little too big, but after examining my swatch and pondering over it for some time, I think it’ll be just fine the way I originally planned it, so I’ll stick with the plan and see how it goes! I settled for a pink bottom, light gray stripes and charcoal shoulders and hood, and I simply cannot wait to see how it’ll turn out! But since the ribbing is taking forever, I  guess it’ll take a while 😉

So since I have so little progress to show and so much more to do, I’m going to go back to my needles now and get cracking on my project so I can have something to show you (for real!) next time.

Enjoy your craft time guys! 🙂