Knitting Under the Weather

Tomorrow, it will be two weeks since I started with this stupid cold. It’s the one that just won’t quit, and the last couple of days, I’ve felt as if it’s coming back for another visit. Being sick messes up a lot of things – my schedule, my writing, and yes, even my knitting. I thought we’d talk today about knitting under the weather.

When I’m sick, I don’t knit complicated things. Most of the projects I have on my needles ARE complicated, which means that I cast on new projects when I’m sick. I also lose patience with things quickly, so I cast on more projects. I also frog things back that aren’t working. Those tendences were compounded with this cold, because I also sorted stashes and cleaned. My stashes are more organized, some stash has been rehomed to places where it will be better appreciated. I also delved into some new territory because of discoveries of forgotten stash.

I have, for example, been gathering hoard of gemstone beads and charms. I like them. This past week, I sorted and organized that hoard, then finally started to create with these treasures. For example, here are some of the earrings I made:

Bead Earrings made by Deborah Cooke

The dragon ones have glass beads, while the ones with the moon have a lapis lazuli bead and a mother of pearl bead each.

I also began to experiment with using wire to make jewellery, like this necklace of amethyst beads and silver wire:

Amethyst necklace made by Deborah Cooke

Here’s one with Czech glass beads and silver wire:

Bead necklace made by Deborah Cooke

In the great stash sort, I discovered a huge bag of partial balls of sock yarn. These are leftovers from knitting socks, and most of the balls aren’t big enough to make another pair (or even one sock). They’re too good to chuck out, though. I had been working on a hexagon afghan, but the fact is that I don’t like knitting those hexagons very much. I never get around to them. So, I started another project to eliminate sock yarn stash – this will ultimately be an afghan, if I don’t lose patience with it, but is made of mitred squares knit in garter stitch.

Mitred square in sock yarn knit by Deborah Cooke

You eliminate the sewing by picking up stitches and knitting the squares together as you go. I can’t knit a whole blanket that way, so plan to knit blocks of nine squares. I’ll figure out how to join them together later. (Maybe I-cord in a contrasting colour. I like I-cord.) Here’s a block of six squares knitted together – you can see that I’ve picked up the stitches to knit the next one beside the black, blue, and green stripey square.

Mitred squares knit in sock yarn by Deborah Cooke

(Here’s something funny: when I created this post, WordPress indicated that I’d used this title before. I searched for that post called Knitting Under the Weather and read it – it was from four years ago and also about a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also talked then about the effect on my knitting, and was knitting my stripey Noro bag, which was also in garter stitch squares that are knitted together as you go. Consistency is a good thing, right?)Striped garter stich bag in Noro Kureyon Sock knit by Deborah Cooke

What do you craft when you’re sick enough to be under the weather but not sick enough to stay in bed? Or do you clean and sort instead?

Another Undine

I started this stripey shawl almost a year ago. It’s my own Undine pattern, but with a modification (and a correction). I blogged several times already about this one: Knitting for a Mermaid, More Mermaid Stripes, That Stripey Shawl and Revisiting the Mermaid Shawl. It’s been a bit of a process, and I won’t review all my revelations and corrections again today.

It’s done!

Undine 2 Shawl knit by Deborah CookeIt’s knit of Crazy Zauberball, which is a self-striping sock yarn, and I started with two balls. I alternated two rows from each ball. I thought I did some clever calculations to finish the shawl with two balls, but there was an error in my calculations. I needed 2.7 balls to finish.

Undine 2 shawl knit by Deborah Cooke

I love how the stripes came out, and the ruffled edge. I’m not going to block this one – I don’t usually block shawls knit in garter stitch because I like the springiness of them – so once the ends are sewn in, it’s ready to wear!

My Ravelry project page for this one is right here.

What do you think?

The Noro Braid Cowl

There’s a great cowl in the newest Noro magazine, which I’ve just knitted. The technique is so clever!.

The newest Noro magazine is issue 7 – you can see a preview of the designs on the NoroMagazine website, right here. The pattern is #16 and is called Braided Scarf. It’s supposed to be knit in Noro Silk Garden, but I’ve used Noro Kureopatora – since my yarn is a little lighter, I’ve also dropped the needle size. Mine came out a bit narrower than the one in the magazine – it’s 6 inches wide – but that’s okay by me.

The scarf is knitted with a picot edge on either side and crosswise slits – every so many rows, you cast off the middle stitches, then cast them on again in the next row. Like this, it reminds me of spinach pastries a local bakery made in our old neighbourhood – they slit the top of the pastry like this so it vented. ๐Ÿ™‚

Noro Braided Cowl knit by Deborah Cooke

But then, here’s the cool bit. You pull the piece together a bit, turning those strips into loops, and link them together to make a braid down the middle of the cowl. Here it is after it’s braided:
Noro Braided Cowl 2 knitted by Deborah Cooke

Isn’t that brilliant? I keep braiding it and unbraiding it, just to see the magic happen.

I did a provisional cast on, and grafted the cowl into a loop when it was completed to avoid having a seam. I also wanted the braid to be continuous. The instructions say to braid the middle of the finished cowl, then tack down the last loop. I wanted it to hook around the first loop. The only way to do that (which I could see) was to break the loop, like this:

Noro Braid Cowl knitted by Deborah CookeThis is the cowl grafted together – you can see that the colours didn’t match up. (Boo. I had a knot in the ball, otherwise it might have come out perfectly.) I ended with the bright turquoise and had started with the ultramarine blue. The line where they meet is the line of the graft. The first loop, then, is turquoise on the bottom half and ultramarine on the top half. The loop before that, though, is broken. I did this by casting on the stitches in Row 5 of the pattern, then turning, leaving the last 15 stitches of that row on the other needle, unworked. I worked on the front part of the row through Row 11, then left it on the right needle after the cast-on stitches. I worked the intervening rows on those left stitches that had been waiting on me, then finished Row 11. At the end of that repeat (Row 12) I grafted the two edges together.

So, I had a broken loop. When I braided it all up, I tucked that loop around the first loop, then sewed it down from the back, as if it had been joined up all along. The finished braid looks like this:

Noro Braid Cowl knitted by Deborah CookeNo one can ever unbraid it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m very happy with this one. What do you think?

That Stripey Shawl

It hasn’t been all promotion and writing around here this week. I’ve been knitting, too, and thought it time to show you my progress on that stripey shawl.

Undine shawl knit by Deborah Cooke

I’m just past the midpoint. I made a variation to the pattern on a whim. I decided to do some short rows in the middle, so there will be an inverted V down the centre back. This will make the shawl narrower but will also give it a slightly different shape. I worked two stitches less for every second row from about the lime stripey bit until I got down to just a few more stitches than the godets require. (There are more details on my Ravelry project page.)

Look at the ruffled edge at the top and you can see the green godet which is the middle point of the shawl. (It’s the top green godet.) From that point, I’ve been adding back two stitches every second row and will continue until I’m working all of the stitches again. Once there, I’ll carry on with the decreases in the pattern to finish the shawl.

I’ll show you another picture of the turns once I’ve made more progress and you can see the inverted V more clearly. I’m quite happy with this one. What do you think?

More Mermaid Stripes

I thought I’d show you my progress on my striped shawl today. I really like what the self-striping yarn is doing:

Garter Stitch Shawl knitted by Deborah Cooke from her own pattern, Undine












You can also see how the hem is beginning to flutter. If I held that top edge (the one on the right) straight, it would ripple even more.

I’ll start toย decrease the width of the shawl once I’ve used half of the yarn. The easiest way to determine that point is to weigh the balls of yarn. (I use the kitchen scale.) They were each 100g when I started. Now they’re both around 75g. When they get to 52 g or so, I’ll start to decrease. I want to make sure the shawl is symmetrical, so might do something different at the midpoint. We’ll see when I get there.

In the meantime, what do you think?

Knitting for a Mermaid

Because I’m having an administrivia week, I needed something to knit in garter stitch. I decided to use one of my own patterns, but make it stripey. The colours in this yarn are shades of blue and green, so that makes it fit for a mermaid. ๐Ÿ™‚

The pattern is for a shawl with a ruffled edge and is called Undine. That’s the Ravelry link to the pattern (which is free download) but I also blogged about my first one here. That one was knit in a self-striping yarn – Noro Kureyon Sock – and I mirrored the striping pattern. I’ll add the picture here so you don’t have to click through:
Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeAnd here’s a detail shot of the ruffle at the centre point. Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeFor this new one, I wanted stripes. I had two balls of Crazy Zauberball sock yarn, which is a self-striping yarn, in the colourway 2136. Originally, I planned to knit knee socks with this yarn, but I wasn’t happy with the way they were coming out. Plus, I’m more likely to wear a green shawl than green knee socks.

I found a mistake in my own shawl pattern in the set up! Yikes! So, I’ll have to fix the PDF, but here’s a detail shot of the set up tip of the shawl. Although I’m using two balls of yarn for this project, I did this part with only one.

Detail of Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeI joined the second ball after this, and began alternating between the balls, working two rows from each. Here’s a progress shot:
Undine Shawl by Deborah CookeWith the change in colours, you can see the godets more clearly in this version. At this point, I’ve worked seven godets, which make the hem of the shawl ripple when worn.

I’m having fun with this one. It’s not quite a mindless knit, which will keep me interested, as will the self-striping yarn. I also like how the striping is periodically disappearing when the colours from the two balls are similar. This could be avoided by using a solid yarn as one colour or a completely contrasting colourway, but I like when things slide in and out of focus. My Rav project page is here, if you want more detail.

What do you think?

That BitterBlue Shawl

I told you a while back about a shawl I was knitting in gradient colours, following a pattern called BitterBlue. Well, now it’s done and I’m very happy with it. Because I chose not to block it, it’s between a large scarf and a small shawl in size. Blocking would make the points stand out more on the border and would make it larger, but I like how scrunchy the garter stitch is. Plus I just love the colours.

Here it is:

BitterBlue shawl knitted by Deborah Cooke I did make some changes to the pattern – some planned and some inadvertent user errors – and you can read about those on my Ravelry project page, right here. The base yarn is really nice, and I realized that I have another kit from Earthfaire in the stash that came with the same yarn. I caked up the yarn for that project up, and will tell you about it next week.

What do you think of this one?

Another Cameo

It’s been a while since we talked about knitting, so let’s have a Fibre Friday today.

Last year, I knit a small shawl called Cameo. That’s the Ravelry link for the pattern, and here’s the post about the other shawl, which is still on the old website. Even better, here’s what it looks like:

Cameo in MadTosh Merino LightThis was knit in MadTosh Merino Light, in Firewood and Wicked. It’s worked in garter stitch – you start with one colour, working alternating stripes with both colours, then knit a lacey hem in the second colour. It has a little picot edge down one side and across the cast-off edge. It’s an easy pattern and a pretty knit.

I started to think about knitting this pattern in self-striping yarns, and finally just had to try it. I had two different colourways of Mille Colori Socks and Lace, so I cast on. Here’s the result:

Cameo in Mille Colori SockThis picture is a teensy bit blurry because I took it without the flash and didn’t hold quite still enough. The one with the flash made the colours look all wrong. You can see how the first yarn striped in those wide bands, and that they got narrower as the rows became longer. Then there’s the alternating stripes between the two colours, but what surprised me was that when I continued in the second colour to the hem, the rows were long enough that it kept striping like the alternating section. You can see the striping better in this detail shot:

Cameo detail shotThat top point is on the right and you can clearly see where the alternating rows of stripes begin. It’s a lot tougher to tell where they end. (It was at the green stripe, just to the right of the grout line in the floor.)

I didn’t do the lace on this one, as I thought it would be too much. It’s pretty and bright, a cheerful scarf for a dull winter day.

What do you think?

Knitting Under the Weather

I’ve had a nasty cold this past week and a half, one that didn’t want to go away. It wasn’t so bad that I could stand to spend days in bed (I have to be at death’s door for that) but was sufficiently bad that I couldn’t write new work. I’ve been doing administrivia – editing, proofreading, updating links etc. etc. – and got pretty much fed up with this particular cold virus.

Even worse, it also been affected my knitting. I couldn’t knit lace, or do any armhole shaping, or knit anything that required much thinking. I didn’t think I’d finish things well in this state – my stripey Noro cardigan is done, with the sleeves reknitted, but grafting those side seams has been beyond my abilities and energy level. I also wasn’t able to recalculate – I had started to seam together my Knit, Swirl cardigan, only to discover that the sleeves are too narrow. I need to re-plan, frog, and reknit the sleeves, but not while this virus was in residence. All my plans to finish everything before casting on something new were trashed by this cold.

Garter stitch has been suiting me pretty well. Knit, knit, knit. Easy, peasy. I didn’t have anything like that on my needles, so needed a plan.

Since my Noro cardigan is done, I have a lot of Noro Kureyon Sock left over in one colourway. (#289) It’s all bits and ends, though, because I needed to match the colour sequence and there were breaks in the yarn. I was going to put this in to my stash for the Sock Hexagon afghan, but it seemed like a lot of one colourway. I had a look in that stash and found even more Noro sock yarn….soooooooo, a plan was born. Altogether, I gathered over 500g of ends of Noro Kureyon Sock and Noro Silk Garden Sock.

A big chunk of it is becoming a stripey tote bag.

This pattern is for a felted bag, made of striped squares assembled in a clever way. Here’s the creator’s blog post about it – it’s in Japanese, but has lots of pictures. What a cute bag! There are some English instructions on Ravelry, right here. Essentially, you cast on an odd number of stitches and knit a square with the same number of ridges – 25 stitches knit to 25 ridges, for example. You make 22 squares and join them as indicated, add an I-cord handle and trim, and felt it. (If you’re on Ravelry, there’s a project by another knitter who used Kauni Effektgarn and the entrelac technique to create two gorgeous bags, right here.) It appealed to me to make a project not just from stash, but from leftovers. There will still be plenty of scraps for the Sock Hexagon afghan.

I started this project with alternating stripes of Noro – 2 rows of A, 2 rows of B, 2 rows of A, etc. – and even managed to mess that up a few times. That tells you all you need to know about my recent mental state. (It might have been the cold, or the cold medication. Either way, I cast on with birch Brittany needles, not really sharp pointy ones.)

So, I sorted out the Noro stash and chose a dark colourway of Silk Garden Sock leftover from my Inky Spider Shawl, to alternate with Kureyon Sock in #180. I have a lot of this, in bits and ends, and think it must have been from my infatuation with Kureyon Sock when the yarn was originally introduced. I knit a lot of socks for myself in it because I loved the colours – it looks like I bought a second ball in this colourway to make the socks match – but it really wasn’t good sock yarn for me. Those socks were like butterflies: beautiful, admired, and short-lived.

I started at the bottom of the bag, because it made most sense for it to be dark, and the central four squares there. I knit each one, then pick up the next one along the side to carry on. Seaming as I go. That works for me. Here it is so far:

The black and turquoise striped square was the first one and the bottom needle is pointing at the middle of the bag. Those are the four squares that will make the base. The dark Silk Garden Sock is gone, so I’ve moved into the #289 left over from my Noro cardi. There’s enough #180 to knit for a while. Things are getting brighter now. I’ll knit five on the top, then five on the bottom, just like the schematic.

What do you think? Does your knitting change with your health and welfare? Do you have “comfort knitting”, too?

The Plot Thickens

Last week, I showed you a cardigan in garter stitch that I thought was almost done – that post is right here. It soon became clear, though, that I’d been ridiculously optimistic about its completion.

(Interestingly, Tupperman’s story has been doing much the same thing to me. That’s another story.)

At issue was the seaming. As mentioned to you last week, once the knitting was done, I would just fold the sweater in half, then seam up the shoulders and neck, then seam the underarms and sides. It was a great theory, but once I folded the sweater, I saw the problem.

Actually, there were two problems and they’re both on the back. Here’s a close-up:

1/ First of all, the back has a little flange on each side at the side seam. On the left side, there are three green stripes between blue, and on the right there are three blue stripes between blue. That little tab doesn’t fit into anywhere when seaming up the underarms. Apparently, I should have added stitches from the top of that flange when I picked up the stitches for the sleeves. Oops! I had left the stitches live for the sleeves from the fronts and back, and my count came out correct without picking up anything from those bits. I was thinking it might be a gusset, but it can’t be.

I don’t really want a little flappy bit at each side seam.

2/ Have a peek at the collar and shoulder seams. That little Christmas tree shape should be sewn up. If you look on the right side of the image, it’s more clear that the back shoulder seam is too long to be matched to the front shoulder seam. It could be eased in – garter stitch does that pretty well – but my impression was that there was too much to ease. It might end up more like a gather, which isn’t a good thing at the shoulder. (Most of us don’t have puffy bits there. I don’t and I’m glad.) This likely happened because I just knit too many rows on the back for the shoulder, possibly because the movie was at such a good bit I lost count. (Feh.)

So. What to do? There were two choices.

1/ Frog the sleeves, frog part of the back to make the shoulder section shorter, pick up the sleeve stitches for the whole length and reknit the sleeves.

Not an appealing option.

Or 2/ Cheat.

Both issues are with the back, and I had live stitches on both edges of the back. Remember I told you about knitting upside down? Well, this looked like another great opportunity put that technique to work. I thought I’d take one row apart at the shoulder, narrow the back, delete the flange, then reknit the pieces together without ever unraveling the sleeves. My intent was to remove about 4 garter stitch ridges from the back. This would also fix another detail that was bugging me – the backs ended on the dark teal at the shoulder seam. The fronts ended at the bright turquoise in the contrast colour. By pure coincidence, the contrast colour ended at the same bright turquoise on the back, but the extra two rows of teal meant it didn’t look like the pieces matched when joined for the sleeve.

The problem with cheating? It would make the body of the sweater 4 to 5″ narrower in the body. That meant it wouldn’t fit me. It’s a trim-fitting cardigan, without a ton of ease. I wasn’t going to do this much work and end up with a sweater that didn’t fit.

So, I frogged the sleeves. I’ve fixed the backs and am knitting the sleeves all over again. I’m trying to be a Big Strong Knitter and just fix this – instead of chucking it into my knitting basket to fester for a year or so while I sulk about it – so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’ve finished those two shoulder wedges and am knitting down, knitting both sleeves simultaneously. I took advantage of the opportunity to rewind the yarn (again) and continue the colourway in order. The shoulder wedges are now blue.

It seems very fitting that I called this sweater ‘Compulsion’ in my Ravelry projects!

As consolation, I cast on a scarf for a Christmas gift, which I can’t possibly mess up. It’s in Patons Lace Sequin and I’m going to knit until it’s long enough. (Quite intellectually demanding, this project.) The colour is Amber, which is kind of taupe, because it’s for a person who likes taupe a lot. This is also a person who doesn’t like to handwash things and can’t wear wool, so the acrylic is the way to go. I’m liking the sparkles and will show you next week.