Monday, 20 February 2017

The Christmas cardigan that wasn't

In 2013 my dad asked me to make him a Norwegian pattern cardigan, knitted of course. I happily complied.
I took many many measurements of a cardigan he liked, to get the sizes right. We agreed on a pattern (here) with some modifications, mostly the patterning on the body and sleeves. I bought a metric crapton of yarn, a really nice merino in black, white, red and gray.
All the guides said that the stranded knitting was best done in the round, to keep the tension even, and then steeked (cut) right up the middle. I read countless blogs and guides on doing this too. I've come to the conclusion there's a reason there's an "eek!" in the middle of that word.
I rearranged the pattern so that I could do the yoke in the Elizabeth Zimmerman way, and make it go nicely across the shoulders and around the back without weird decreases messing up the pattern.
I knitted steadily for... I think it was about 3 months. It was a bit narrow but I figured that a band in the middle would fix that after I steeked it.
Then... I had finally knitted together everything, body and sleeves. The big day came, and I bravely took a hot bath to calm my nerves, then cut... my... knitting.

I then knitted on a rather broad edge, as it was indeed a little narrow. I had a friend sew on the band around, to make it nice and neat. I washed and blocked it carefully to make it nice. I told myself that it would look OK on him after all this careful work.
Of course when you "tell yourself" something about knitting, it's usually a sign that deep down you know otherwise. This turned out to be true in this case too, as in the end the cardigan was just... wrong.
Too long, too narrow, sleeves too tight and with a weird bulging around the shoulders. I think it's still my most disappointing project, and it's taken it till now to get over my inertia and do something about it. Luckily I bought the yarn for another one when I found out it was wrong, so I can remake it with the same yarn.

I'm going to Norway in May though, and I really really want to bring my dad a finished (and NICE!) cardigan.
So. Luckily I took pictures of all my measurements of the cardigan last time, so I had something to work from still. I bought previously a Craftsy class about sizing patterns for knitwear, which is amazing and walks you through what feels like advanced calculus to make sure your knitting actually fits.
I'm not steeking (because i can't handle the thought of ruining that amount of  yarn again) so I'm knitting back and forth, with stranded knitting. Luckily I'm pretty good at keeping an even tension on right and wrong sides of the knitting, and purling stranded knitting isn't bothering me too much. Of course it takes some concentration, but on the balance, I prefer it to the thought of all that cut yarn.
So far I've done one front panel. It's been soaked in water to relax the yarn and is now drying as flatly as possible so I can see what it'll look like when it's all done. I THINK it's looking better, at least the width measurements are good now. I'll check more when it's dry. If it doesn't turn spectacularly wrong, I'll do a very happy dance. If it does, I might lose my head and burn it. And then Peti will probably complain about the smell (burning merino! yum!), but it'd be worth the satisfaction.

All of this is a long winded way to say that I've been sidetracked a bit from Finish-Or-Frog, and my current count is 22 (because I found another project I'd forgotten about). On a plus note, I've finished the two panels for the poncho, and I'm working on an edge pattern, I just don't know if I have enough yarn for the current one I'm trying. Stay tuned!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Finishing things

The Oracle according to the Yarn Harlot (love her!) says that there are two kinds of knitters. Project oriented (will knit for the finished object) and Process oriented (will knit for love of the process). I would like to submit a third category, which I think I fall into: Ooh Shiny oriented. These hapless knitters will get grabbed by some nice shiny (or soft, or colourful) yarn, and will be wholly faithful to it until some new, shiny (or soft, or colourful) project grabs us by their way too short attention spans and pushes us in a new direction.
As a result of this, I currently have way too many partially finished projects. I want 2017 to be the year of finish-or-frog. (Stop laughing!)
I figure if I list all my current projects, and what's left on each one, I'll have an overview. Since it's January, if I haven't managed to finish any of them by the end of December, I can't really love the project enough to make it worth finishing. If so, I'll frog it.
So without further ado, here is the list of shame WIPs:

1: Poncho for a friend. This needs about 20 more repeats of the pattern for the second panel, attaching and a neck. Possibly a border of some kind. I'm kind of making it up as I go.
2: Crochet angels. I need to make a few of these, almost finished with one. It only takes a few hours each though so they're in-betweeners for when I need a break from a big project.
3: Pullover for Peti. Only about 10 cm done on the body, very thin yarn but at least it's nice and soft. Should be next big project to focus on after the poncho.

4: Hemlock inspired shawl. Maybe it'll be a bolero. Who knows at this point? As my grandmother once famously said: "I guess I should decide what I'm knitting soon!"

5: Crochet Dalek. Because if you're going to dive into the wonderful world of amiguri, what better way than with a Doctor Who villain?

6: Aeolian shawl. Shouldn't actually be that much left on this beauty. The yarn is a dream, the beads are pretty and the pattern is cool. Why did I stop it? 

Ohhh... I got distracted making this!
I just need to figure out which row I was on. Might be next after Peti's jumper.

7: Crochet... something else for Peti. If I can figure out how to make it. Also amiguri of a kind, and should get me about 100,000 good-wife points if I actually manage to pull it off.

8: Blanket in purple shiny acrylic yarn, pattern is Rose of England by Marianne Kinzel. I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but Petike seems to like it!
9: Socks in zauberball. I got to the purgatory known as the ribbing on the leg, and lost interest, but the colours are amazing. I'll be doing the afterthought heel in black once I do the leg. Or maybe I should do the heel first to see if it looks crappy? That way, if it does, I can go back and do a proper heel?

10: Blanket in boucle yarn, soft but I have no idea what pattern I was using and this yarn makes it impossible to see what I'm doing anyway. Frogging ahead!

11: Log cabin blanket in bamboo. Only problem is I don't really like the stripes with the log cabin. I think this is going to go ribbit-ribbit too :-)

12: Scarf with Celtic cable and a braid at the end (the loose strands). Once again I lost interest after something else, shinier came along. Maybe this will make a Christmas present for someone?

13: Crochet shawl. The flowers at the edge are folding around themselves like the very devil and once past them, the scarf itself is mind-numbingly boring. Frog!

14: Knitted shawl with the candlelight pattern from Marianne Kinzel. Beautiful pattern, I might need to actually make this one!

15: Knitted socks in a Norwegian snowflake pattern. These are pretty and should be not too long to finish. Maybe they'll even fit me after I'm done! If not, I'm sure I can find someone to give them to.

16: Baby boy trousers. Now slightly cat-hairy. I first started them for my nephew, but maybe they'll actually fit my son if I get a move on?

17: Top based on the shaping of the Zelda but with braids instead of lace detail and with a different size yarn. Problem is it's completely the wrong size for me. I'm sure I can do better with this yarn. Frrrrrrogit!

18: Gloves. Ugly gloves. What was I thinking? I guess I wasn't. Rip!

19: Tiny doily, frosted ferns pattern by Niebling. Problem is I pulled the needles out ages ago and now I think it'll be easier to just pull it out and start fresh. Probably I'll do the same pattern though, it's pretty!

20: Roswitha doily from Niebling. I think I gave up because there was a mistake on the row and I didn't want to deal with it right then. So I'll have to find out which row, find the mistake, fix it and continue. Let's see if I actually bother! 

Whew! I think that's all of them, if more should jump out at me I'll add them. This should be doable, right?
Status so far: 6 to frog, 8 undecided and 6 to do for sure. 
I'll update with the progress of them regularly, wish me luck!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Rainy days

Autumn is here, with the cooler days (yay!) and the colourful trees (double yay!) and the rain (um... yay?).

Today was one of those days where it's either drizzling or pouring the whole day, so I decided to make the most of it. I played lots with Petike (I love it when he shrieks with laughter), I did some housework, and knitted a bit.

The knitting is one of the front pieces for a little Santa suit. I'm just imagining the cuteness to come!

In the end I decided that rainy days deserve a yay too.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

I feel a crocheting coming on...

A while back I felt a sudden urge for crocheting earrings, and I made these ones:

The problem is that in the process of hunting down a pattern I wanted to try, I found this website, and this not to mention Pinterest... and I think that if I'm not careful, I'll have to start making them to sell to keep me in yarn money!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Things that are suddenly more interesting than earlier

It's funny how things change after having a baby, but also how they stay the same. For example, now I have a sudden interest in:

1. Babies (especially my own). I guess this is understandable, but I never used to be as interested in babies as I am now.
2. Sleep. That's also self-explanatory. Not just mine, Petike's too.
3. Nutritional information. I never used to scan food labels as carefully as I do these days.
4. Vaccines. Before I thought that people who didn't vaccinate (except where the child had a reaction to a vaccine of course) were just misinformed. Now I think that they're endangering my child. I guess my protective instincts have kicked in. Luckily, the anti-vaxx movement is practically non-existent in Hungary.
5. (Not an interest but) Suddenly farts are funny. They never were before.

Things that haven't changed:

1. Knitting/crocheting. I still love it, I just don't have as much time for it these days. That's improving though!
2. Reading. Now in digital format so I can bring it everywhere, but it's a life saver sometimes!
3. Games. Well... very rarely but when I have time I will happily lose some time in virtual land.

I'm sure that list will change later, as the little one grows and as life happens, but it's surprising how much interests change in just a short time!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Fixing a hole in knitting

In continuation of the whole moth issue, I was trying to find out how to fix (sometimes quite big) holes in knitting. I have two jumpers I knitted which is pure merino. This is apparently candy to moths and they gratefully dug into the buffet.
After washing all my wools carefully, I tried to google techniques for fixing the holes but I couldn’t find too much, so I kinda winged it. Looks like it worked quite well! Luckily I had some of the original yarn left.
Of course there’s another solution too, but it’s nowhere near as satisfying…

Sunday, 2 October 2016


At New Year ’s Eve I discovered I had a moth problem. This caused me to spend the next few days going through my yarn stash and looking at every ball of yarn to see how far the damage went, then bagging them up and spraying the bags with moth spray. NOT the way I wanted to spend the first few days of the year!
Luckily the damage wasn’t too bad, just a few balls of yarn to throw out, the rest could be salvaged. I now have moth repellents everywhere. The other day I thought I’d top up the spray in the sunshine (sunshine is good to kill moth eggs). I put everything outside in the 30C in the shade/ 40C in the sun temperatures while the baby slept, and went through the stash spraying into each bag again and checking for signs. So far so good!

The only problem now is… since he's seen the size of my stash, how to convince Peti that I don’t have enough yarn!