linen

Spring has finally arrived!

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The sun has been shining brighter and warmer in the past few weeks, and as surely as it announces the approching spring, it also indicates the time where I switch from winter knits to summer knits.

Today I present to you my friends my Golden Afternoon sweater, made from Euroflax Sport yarn and using Carole Francone’s Clementine Pullover pattern.

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I made a few mods that are detailed on my project page, but it mainly consists of adding length, switching out the 1×1 rib by brioche and adding some short row shaping to the bottom edge to create more dynamic lines featuring a longer back and a shorter front.

As much as I love the finished object and the motif used in this pattern, I must say that I am quite dissapointed by the way the pattern itself was written. It’s the first time this has ever happened to me, but I felt the pattern was… Incomplete. Or rushed. Let me explain a little more what I mean.

First of all, I felt the English version of the pattern needed a lot of polishing. The pattern designer is French so I understand well her struggles (my first language is french too) but there was still a lot of avoidable mistakes, both on structure and vocabulary, making the pattern hard to understand.

Also, I found the pattern was not providing enough details on the construction and shaping of the garment. The best example I can give you is about the waist shaping. The pattern says to keep both side markers to place increases and decreases, but do not provide any information as to how the waist shaping should be worked. It only says to “work them in pattern”, but there is no indication as to how to do that (especially when working an all over lace pattern), and no indication of how MANY increase or decrease rows there should be, or how many rows apart they need to be placed. This is one example, but I’ve noticed instructions (and finishing touches) were missing everywhere in the pattern, including at the separation of the sleeves and the transition from ribbing to lace and lace to ribbing. Somehow I feel like I should have just looked up the motif and wrote the pattern myself. Am I weird? Is it wrong of me to assume that when you pay 5 euros (7.44$ CAN) for a pattern, the designer should have done that part of the work for you? Having written some patterns myself, I would find it absolutely unacceptable to rely so heavily on the knitter to figure things out themselves after making them pay for a pattern.

I feel robbed. Have any of you experienced something like that before?

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Peacock beauty

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The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, both at work and in my personal life, and in my book that generally means dealing with A LOT of stress. As a form of damage control and to let off some steam I’ve been trying to crunch a few minutes of knitting or spinning when I can to (somewhat) try to keep the stress under control. Fortunately for me, it’s been successful on two fronts; I’ve been able to keep stress on a manageable level and I’ve been making great progress on some super fun yarny projects, so yay!

The first thing I want to show you is my last spin, a fingering weight navajo plied yarn I just finished yesterday using some malabrigo nube I had in stash, in color “solis”. It’s 112 grams and 407 yards of yummy merino goodness, and I’m really excited to show it to you because it’s the first time I’ve plied a full skein using the navajo plying technique, I am so thrilled!

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On the knitting front, I’ve also been making pretty good progress on my golden afternoon sweater, an all-over lace pattern called Clementine Pullover, from Carole Francone. I am not thrilled with the pattern, I’ll give you a full review once the sweater is done, but I must say that I absolutely LOVE the lace stitch. To make this the perfect summer top, I’m using some Euroflax Sport Weight yarn in color Goldenrod.

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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 🙂

NaKniSweMo 2015

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Hey guys! Are you feeling this winter-y vibe? This familiar sensation that comes with colder days, closeness of the Holidays and this strong desire to cuddle around the fire with a woolen sweater? Well I most certainly do. And although I know the few weeks left before the Holidays will be insanely busy, I just feel this urge to knit myself a cozy, warm sweater.

In all fairness, I must say that NaKniSweMo has the BEST and the WORST timing at the same time – I most certainly DO want to participate and indulge myself in a new, fun, warm and cozy sweater, but I know I definitely SHOULDN’T. Which is why I have been debating whether or not I should participate this year. And… well… This happened:

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I decided to try it, although I will give priority to the Christmas presents and getting the house ready for the holidays. The sweater I’ll be making is Laurie by Josée Paquin, and I’m using Classic Elite Yarns’s Soft Linen in the color Smokey Rose. I am absolutely, positively thrilled about this project, and although I know chances are slim that I’ll be able to complete it before the end of the month, I’m hoping I can at least finish it before the Holidays. Please cross your fingers with me!

New project

In the meantime, I also just finished the Casu Cowl, using some Berroco Element yarn I had in stash. It looks fantastic, and I’m absolutely delighted by the pattern/yarn combination. This pattern written by Galia Lael is elegantly simple, exquisite in the small details. I especially like the raised edge between the moss stitch and lace sections and the elegant slip stitch borders. And the yarn just brings out the texture beautifully, so I couldn’t be more satisfied with this project.

Casu Cowl

What do you guys think? Are you participating in the NaKniSweMo this year? What are you working on? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are up to 🙂

Cardigan Duo!

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My friends, I am so happy to announce to you today that I have finally finished my Stellata Cardigan! Yes! It looks great and it feels amazing, as I predicted. So… I am definitely going to wear the heck out of this one this summer! The yarn I used is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in color “peach”. Now that I’m done, I can definitely say that I LOVE this yarn. I will be using it again… Surely! It’s soft, comfortable and airy, and it also knits up like a charm.

If you have not used it yet, I definitely recommend it for any summer garments!

StellataAmongsnt other things, I also completed a very (tiny) project for a little human in the making, who is supposed to be born sometime this summer. I used a cotton/acrylic blend so it’s not too hot and also easy to wash, the yarn is DungarEase from Knit one Crochet Too. I picked the color “Sand”, which I thought was perfect for a baby who’s gender you do not know yet.

IMG_2669 So what have you Sweeties been up to lately?

Monogamously knitting!

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Hey Sweeties, long time no blog!

I have not been very present on the blog in the last few weeks, and I’m sorry to admit that I don’t even have a good reason for it! It’s not like I have been outrageously busy or anything but quite frankly, I have not had much to show you lately since I have been a very, very monogamous knitter since I came back from vacation.

This is a little weird to me since I generally tend to work on at least 3 or 4 projects simultaneously at any given moment, but lately I started test-knitting a second version of the Stellata cardigan pattern from the lovely Anne and I have been pouring all my heart into it, since it is such a lovely, sweet and elegant design.

Since I started a week late because of vacation – and because I had a little mishap on the way – I have not been able to progress as fast as I would have wanted to, but I am delighted to show you where I’m at as of today.

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The yarn I’m using is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in color peach. I am so exited about this project because when I swatched for it, I noticed the washed swatch plumped up very nicely and felt not only soft, but also supple and breezy – seeing that, I can already predict now this cardigan is going to be a favorite of mine this summer, and the next, and the next again!

How about you guys? Are you monogamous or polygamous knitters? How many projects do you usually work on simultaneously?

FO Friday – Obsidian Shawl

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I’m very happy today to show you the Obsidian Shawl I just finished last week-end! It’s a cute, simple lace scarf using FibraNatura Flax yarn in black, the pattern is called Lace Scarves – Challenging by OzYarn.

541580_10152773281887475_2218346746823617487_nI cannot express to you how excited I am that this shawl turned out the way it did, because I had been trying to find something to do with this yarn for such a long time that I was starting to get pretty desperate. There is quite a story to this yarn, and if you’ll allow me, I’d like to share my little experience with you.

I bought this yarn about 2 years ago and I was very excited to work with linen for the very first time in my life. Little did I know though that linen is very rough on the hands and tends to break and split a lot – I probably should have done some research before I made the purchase, but oh well! Either way, after ponding over it for some time, I decided to use it to knit the Jackson Square shawl since I had just bought the pattern and thought it was such a lovely design. It took me quite some time to get used to the pattern and the yarn, but I was able to pull it through in a couple months – and that’s where things went wrong. As I was weaving in the ends and tugging on the project gently to even out the stitches, I involuntarily got the yarn stuck on a piece of jewelry I was wearing and ripped up a big gaping hole through the top border, on the back of the neck – which turns out to be the very start of the project. I was completely horrified and did not know what to do with it or how to fix it so for the longest time, the damaged project just sat there, at the bottom of a bag in my living room.

A few months later, I finally picked it back up and resigned myself to frog the project, as I really couldn’t figure out how I could ever repair such a big gaping hole with so many broken threads. I said my goodbyes to the beautiful, delicate shawl design and decided to use the yarn to make a basic racer back tank top instead… That never saw the light of day either. Somehow, although I was very determined to get something done with this yarn, I just couldn’t find a tank top pattern that fit what I had in mind and when I tried to make one up myself it just didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would. So after much thought, I decided to frog again. A second time.

Well, as they say though, third time’s the charm and on my third try I decided to go for a pattern I have tried before (see my English Mesh Lace Scarf) and liked very, very much – and it turned out great. No ripping the yarn, no weird fitting issues and no pattern issues. Such a relief!

Have you guys ever had such experiences with a yarn frogged one too many times or a project that doesn’t turn out the way you hoped? What was your solution? Let me know in the comments down below.