FO: Pod of Cetaceans

Well, this post has taken a long time to show itself. I finished knitting my Pod of Cetaceans almost a month ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting about it.

IMG_6871

I fell in love with this pattern from Elinor Brown the moment I saw it, and it fit perfectly with one of my goals for this year, which was to steek something! Yeah that’s right, I cut this bad boy wide open. The knitting was really easy—just a bunch of stockinette in the round, and then joined for the seamless yoke and colorwork whales.

IMG_6874

I opted not to do any of the duplicate stitch, partly because I was running short of time and partly because… I don’t know, I just didn’t have it in me? I still like the back without the duplicate stitch that’s supposed to be there.

IMG_6879

And the steeking? Well, it was actually not nearly as bad as it is made out to be. I followed Elinor’s recommendation to review Eunny Jang’s steeking discussion, and crocheted the steek edges before cutting. By the time I got to the cutting part, I was downright gleeful to be cutting into my knitting—there was a little moment of freedom and euphoria and it was a weird knitter’s high to think about cutting this thing I’d been knitting for a few weeks. Look, I said it was weird, okay?

IMG_6875

I knit the largest size offered, as I wasn’t sure just how big the intended recipient had gotten since I’d last seen him and figured having some room to grow was better than it being too small. The cardigan is too big, and that’s okay, even if it means I don’t have any modeled shots.

My other knitting goal for this year was double-knitting, and I still haven’t gotten around to that yet, but hey, there’s still a whole lot of time left in this year. Right? Right.

(Delusions are fun, yo.)

Advertisements

Things we are not discussing

Bandelier sock

1. We are not discussing how many times it took me to knit and then re-knit the toe of this sock.

2. We are not discussing the numerous modifications I made and how I didn’t write any of them down so I can absolutely repeat them on the second sock. (Please note, the modifications are not due to any problems with the pattern, but problems with me using the wrong weight of yarn and then trying to fix the resulting “errors” on the fly.)

3. We are not discussing the second sock, primarily because I have no idea when I’ll have a chance to start on it.

4. We are not discussing that it doesn’t really matter when I finish the second sock, because temperatures are starting to rise and there will be no need for thick, colorwork socks for the next seven months or so.

5. We’re not discussing how it would probably be a Good Idea for me to re-knit the heel of this sock to make it a little deeper.

Bandelier sock

6. We are most certainly not discussing this.

Bandelier sock

Feel free to discuss just about anything else in the comments. If you need some guidance, how about discussing Elinor Brown’s sock design contest? That’s pretty spiffy.

A good day for knitwear

I tried something new yesterday—sledding. Florida doesn’t really have hills and definitely doesn’t have snow, and my family was never one for traveling much in the winter, so I’d never really had a chance to try out snow sports like sledding.

I've heard this is supposed to be fun

So it would have been a great day to wear handknit gear, and indeed my friend Laura took her Rose Red beret and Dollar-and-a-Half Cardi out for a spin (and had half of a Pretty Little Thing in her bag), yet I managed to not wear anything that I’d made. (I think our other compatriot, Toni, was also sans-handmade, but maybe she was just keeping it secret.)

If only I had finished my Bandelier socks. Sadly, I’m only this far finished with the first sock.

Bandelier in progress

I’m loving the way it’s working up so far. These are going to be the warmest socks ever. If you’re looking for a pair of nice, thick, and warm socks, give this pattern a looksee. This sock is actually moving along pretty quickly, but my time has been sucked away with obligations for work and a major work deadline bearing down on me (and, well, sledding and playing outside).

I still need a pair of mittens, darnit.

Optimism and a little bit of selfish knitting

At the risk of jinxing myself and causing something horrible to happen, not only am I on-track with my holiday knitting, but I may even be ahead. I’m knitting four items or pairs of items for Christmas–two of them are completely done (ends woven in, buttons sewn on, done). A third could be done this week, as could the fourth. The blanket of doom that I’ve been working on for two years could be done this evening if I forego knitting and just plop myself down in front of the tv with my crochet hook.

This is partly “processing out loud,” double-checking my list and making sure I am right in thinking that I’m as far as I am, and partly just stunned wonder.

In addition to accomplishing Christmas knitting miracles, I attended a Holiday Handmade craftfair over the weekend. The craft fair itself was amazing and awesome and I have a stack of business/Etsy cards about an inch thick, but the real joy was in discovering Fancy Tiger Clothing and Crafts. Since they were the initial organizers of the Holiday Handmade fair, my knitting friends and I thought it was only right and proper that we visit the store as well. BIG MISTAKE. Huge. Catastrophic.

That is, if you’re my wallet. If you’re not my wallet, well, then, it was the best idea EVER. I managed to not break the bank, but I did come away with the Fancy Tiger’s own wool wash blend, some pieces of fabric, and what I thought was the perfect yarn for the Bandelier Socks I’ve been wanting to make.

I bought 8 skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight yarn in varying shades of purple (and one charcoal), because ever since I started thinking about knitting these socks, I imagined them in a sort of monochrome palette. I don’t know why, but I was just going to go with it.

Turns out, the pattern only calls for 7 yarns, in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering. In my excitement at finally finding the Nature Spun in the colors I wanted in a store, I sort of overlooked that bit of information. However, it’s not that big of a problem! I did a little bit of selfish knitting yesterday morning and worked up the beginning of a swatch.

Bandelier Socks swatch

The sport weight yarn works up nicely on the US 1s that the pattern calls for, but it creates a thick fabric that is just barely a bit too snug to pull over my heel. I can do it, and I did it twice in the process of knitting up that swatch, but I don’t want to fight with my socks–I have enough that cause problems already.

In the process of knitting up the swatch, I decided that I wasn’t in love with the color variations that I had originally planned. So I started playing around with color-change order.

Arrangement 1
Arrangement 2

On top is the color-change order that I originally used; the bottom photo shows my new plan that I will put into effect at some point, when the Christmas knitting is over and the birthday gift knitting (which hasn’t even begun but will soon) is concluded.

Added bonus: these socks will likely force me to knit in a two-handed stranded method, which means I may actually get to the point that I’m good at tensioning my knitting with my left hand, which means I could, potentially, switch over to Continental knitting exclusively and then I WILL CONQUER THE KNITTING WORLD WITH MY SPEEDINESS. Or something.

Ice is cold and other revelations

Scraping ice off one’s windshield in the mornings before leaving for work is probably a pretty common winter occurrence in most parts of the world. I, however, like to bring my own spin to this chore by giggling my way through it, because it means that a) it’s cold and b) ice on the windshield is one step removed from snow (at least in my head).

Seriously. Scrape, scrape, scrape, accumulate bits of “shaved” ice all over the windshield, cue incredibly childish giggling. I’m new to this, bear with me.

The only problem that I have with all of this is that my hands get cold. You’d think I’d have thought that through before. If it’s cold enough for ice to form on all of my windows, my hood, the brake lights, etc., it’s likely cold enough to make me wish I had on gloves or mittens.

You would think.

This revelation of “hey! Ice is cold!” has coincided with a mass of mitten and glove patterns streaming through my Ravelry friends’ updates. Apparently I’m not the only one having this revelation. Or at least I’m not the only one thinking that these mittens and gloves might come in handy. (For the record, I do own three pairs of gloves, I just haven’t been cold enough frequently enough yet to put together the idea that I should put them on before I start trying to unearth my car.)

Some of my favorite hand-warming patterns that have been spotted on Ravelry of late:

1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


9

1. Badlydrawndee’s Kissing Koi Mittens 2. Olgajazzy’s Firefox Gloves 3. Zigzagstitch’s End of May Mittens 4. Ysolda’s Snapdragon Flip Top Mittens 5. SpillyJane’s Ribbon Mittens 6. Ysolda’s Vintage Button Gloves 7. SpillyJane’s Willistead 8. Berkleegirl’s Lillyfield Mittens 9. YarnHarlot’s Frankenmittens

Stranded!

I have been completely obsessed with stranded colorwork lately. I can’t get it off of my mind.

1.
2.
3.

I love unexpected color combinations, and updated takes on traditional stranded knitting, especially Fair Isle and Norwegian styles.

4.
5.
6.

And I love how people use stranded colorwork to embrace and display their creative, and sometimes nerdy, sides.

7.
8.
9.

I haven’t done a lot of stranded knitting, but as I said, I can’t get it off my mind at the moment. I just picked up Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting and I can’t wait to have some time to myself to sit and absorb all of the delectable information that it has, as well as attempt to put together some of her Fair Isle stitch patterns into… something. I should probably start small.

I also very much want Ann Feitelson’s Art of Fair Isle Knitting. This book keeps catching my eye whenever I stop into the bookstore. Much like Alice’s book, Ann’s shares a lot of the history of Fair Isle knitting, as well as including patterns and instructions on choosing colors and colorwork patterns.

I don’t think I’ve seen this book in person yet, but Janine Kosel’s Norwegian Handknits also appeals to my stranded senses. As does Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila MacGregor.

Of course, I’m all about pairing crazy colors. I really love the yellow and purple (maybe brown? I can’t tell) Norwegian socks, and the orange and blue cowl and sweater. But I also have a crazy hankering for monochrome schemes. For instance, Lisa Shroyer’s Bandelier Socks are positively SCREAMING to be knit in shades of purple. Maybe you can’t hear them, but they’ve been yelling in my head for weeks.

I realize this is a common cry on my blog (and many other knitters’ blogs) but sigh. So much knitting to do; so little time.

1. Minder’s Paper Dolls; 2. MariannAn’s Red Delicious; 3. elf518’s Stem and Leaf Cowl; 4. Pinneguri’s Womens’ Stockings; 5. tsigknit’s Fair Isle Pullover; 6. ssailorss’ Norwegian Stockings; 7. elf518’s Robot Fair Isle Sweater; 8. Courtney Kelley’s Tulip Cardigan; 9. Prelapsaria’s Kids Space Invaders Hoodie