Knitting

Alpacas at Eighth and Mud

On Saturday, after the farmers market, Tito and I decided to pay a visit to Alpacas From Eighth and Mud, a farm that I’d learned about during the Frogpond Farm art show. We got to visit with John and Sharon (the owners), meet the herd, view their fibre mill and learn about their processes, and finally, purchase some spinning and knitting fibre, an excellent tour all round! Thank you John and Sharon for the tour, we’ll definitely come back!

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My spoils included 100g of undyed white fibre, I'm dying half of it (more on that later) and leaving the other half natural.

My spoils included 100g of undyed white fibre, I’m dying half of it (more on that later) and leaving the other half natural.

This stuff drafts like butter! This is an effortless lace weight spin.

This stuff drafts like butter! This is an effortless lace weight spin.

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Check out that beard!

Check out that beard!

The store, where many, many lovely things are sold.

The store, where many, many lovely things are sold.

A spinning machine. I'd never seen one before, fascinating!

A spinning machine. I’d never seen one before, fascinating!

Making roving, and blending their own hand dyed colour.

Making roving, and blending their own hand dyed colour.

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Soooo soft.

Soooo soft.

The biggest carder I've ever seen.

The biggest carder I’ve ever seen.

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You can buy poop! Had to take a photo, lol.

You can buy poop! Had to take a photo, lol.

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FO – Tut Tut, looks like rain

What’s a long road trip good for? Casting off a Henslowe, that’s what.

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The yarn is from ‘See Jayne Knit’ and the colour way is called ‘Tut Tut, looks like rain’. I decided to take the FO pics yesterday because the day and the yarn were a perfect match.

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Normally I’m not a fan of variegated yarn and lace patterns, but I don’t think this turned out too badly.

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It’s a comfortable size, the yarn is super soft, and I’m sure it will get lots of wear this winter :)

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FO – Custom Fit Featherweight

The Custom Fit Featherweight is off the needles, fits like a dream, and I’m totally in love.

Chaos

Chaos

Blocking

Blocking

Magic. Gets me every time.

Magic. Gets me every time.

As soon as I really came to terms with having to seam it all up, I briefly panicked.

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Luckily Amy Herzog has a number of fantastic tutorials on her blog that made it super easy. I got better as I went along, much faster than I expected to. Before I knew it, it was done.

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Tito and I are currently road tripping through the US. Tennessee is stunning so I thought, ‘what better place for FO shots?’.

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We even got photos with some super friendly State Troopers :)

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The Bind Off that Never Ends

There is a Pinterest board that I follow called ‘Yarn‘ by user Viola Bow that showcases yarn from around the internet, with a great focus on indie dyers and Etsy shops, as well as larger companies. If you’re always looking for fresh yarn options I highly recommend. Through her, I discovered See Jayne Knit, and immediately fell in love.

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Shown are 2 very similar colour ways; ‘Tut Tut, Looks Like Rain‘ and ‘Sand and Sea Glass‘. I bought sock and lace weight (perhaps another featherweight cardigan?) and I loved them even more in person. I especially love that she ties a little stitch marker to each skein – so cute!

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What’s the best pattern to showcase such gorgeous, variegated yarn? After angsting over my decision on Ravelry I settled on the gorgeous Henslowe by Beth Kling (of whom I’m a huge fan; I’ve also made Jackson Square, and I’ve got my eye on Loie). I’ve made Henslowes twice before, and gave both away as gifts, I figured it was time for my own.

A gift for Leslie

A gift for Leslie

A gift for Tito's mom; modelled by Leslie ;)

A gift for Tito’s mom; modelled by Leslie ;)

In other words, I am no Henslowe rookie. I cast on, aimed for 64 yarn overs (thanks to the generous 500 yards in her sock yarn skeins) and cast on. This thing flew off the needles in no time. Helped in no small way by how gorgeous and addictive the yarn was.

And I love how it looks with my resin jewelry - perfection!

And I love how it looks with my resin jewelry – perfection!

But then comes the bind off. I’ve done this before, I know what’s coming. I know that Henslowe is so beautiful that it’s all worth it in the end… but somehow that never helps.

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I feel like this took me an hour. And after a Lord of the Rings marathon? It looked like this:

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I mean, is there any progress at all there? Can you tell? Spot the difference? I feel like I’ve entered a knitting time warp. I shall persevere though, because it’s working out to be one cool, wet summer and I really want this shawl!

What about you ? What patterns never seem to end but are totally worth it? What do you do to make knitting go faster? A stiff drink seems counter productive, and you can’t run on a treadmill and knit (I’ve tried, I put my yarn cake in the drink holder, huge mistake). Ideas?

Featherweight CustomFit Sweater

I’ve had a revelation about knitted sweaters, and it seems so obvious in retrospect that you’re gonna laugh. I have always had trouble knitting a sweater that actually fit me, and generally they’re too small. All of a sudden it came to me; I’ve been choosing my bra size (36) instead of my actual bust size (40). Obvious, right? But this one silly thing evaded me. Now, go on and laugh.

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Armed with my new knowledge, I’ve decided to take the plunge again. To make sure that I wouldn’t screw this up, I decided to give Amy Herzog’s CustomFit a try. I had Tito take my measurements to make sure they would be correct (his mom is a seamstress), plugged them into the system, swatched up some fabric using a skein of Tosh Lace that I’d had for a long time (colour way: Earl Grey), washed, measured, and chose the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.

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Amy has a different way of measuring gauge swatches that is supposed to be more accurate. I followed the directions as carefully as I could and cast on. I even decided to be brave enough to knit the seamed version.

My first thought was ‘there is no way this is the back of a sweater’.

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Rayna assured me that every knitters she knows who created a CustomFit sweater loved the results, to trust the pattern and keep going. Once I’d knit my way to the armholes, I stretched it out, and lo! The size was dead on. CustomFit rocks!

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I’ve finished the back (took no time at all, for anyone who wants to try but is intimidated by the idea of a lace weight cardigan) and have started the fronts. My only concern now is that when I stretched it out I noticed some extremely strange pooling at the bottom:

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See that diamond? Very weird. Looks like a coffee stain. I had to choose between frogging a lace weight sweater down to the hemline, vs living with the coffee stain. I put the question to my online knitter club (e.g. Instagram) and the overwhelming response was ‘it will be ok, onwards!’. So onwards I go, fingers crossed!

Sweater Rookie No More!

I’ve finally achieved sweaterdom. Clearly, I am rubbish at gauge, because all I’ve had in this department is Fail.

I bought 6 gorgeous balls of MadelintoshDK in a colour called ‘Filigree’ a few years ago, bent on creating my first successful sweater. My first attempt was the Effortless Cardigan. I got this far, realized it was sized to a rhino instead of to me, and frogged it.

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Attempt number two was the gorgeous Sous Sous sweater. I decided I would whip it off while driving from Toronto to Newfoundland (first sign of madness; there is no such thing as ‘whipping off’ a sweater). It too turned out to be a gauge disaster, and got frogged. I could have wrapped my entire body in just the front.

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Attempt number three (third time’s the charm, right?) I started a Honeytree vest by Tanis Fiber Arts. I swatched, I washed, I pinned, and I asked the advice of a few knitters on Instagram. I was on my way. Ravelry project page here.

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Only mod (other than going on a bit longer to create a tunic length):
I added a pretty panel to the back with a super simple stitch:

Cast on a multiple of 5+2
Row 1 (RS): p2, *slip 1, k2, pass slipped stitch over k2, p2* Repeat from * to end
Row 2 (WS): k2, *p1, yo, p1, k2* Repeat from * to end
Row 3 (RS): p2, *k3, p2* Repeat from * to end
Row 4 (WS): k2, *p3, k2* Repeat from * to end

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And success! The pattern is very well written and extremely easy to follow. My only change, were I to knit it again would be to give myself a wider band of ribbing in the front, to compensate for my broad chest. The sweater fits perfectly in the back, but it’s never going to close, even with a belt.

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Though the weather is finally awesome, this is a great layering piece for cool evenings when you don’t want to resort to a jacket, but want something nicer than a hoodie.

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Random shot in the car. I am casting off the sweater, and demonstrating the correct use of the cup holder ;)

What are your favourite sweater patterns? Has anyone tried CustomFit by Amy Herzog? I’m super curious to try a sweater with her!

Ancient WIPs

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This yarn began its life as an Etsy OOAK called ‘Green Sea’ that I snagged from a Tanis Fiber Arts Etsy update. Not only was it a OOAK colour, but it was some kind of super special base with silk, and I think cashmere in it. So unsurprisingly, I hoarded it for the better part of a year before doing anything.

Then I thought I found the perfect pattern. I wound it up and cast on. I got through 5 rows, and then my cat ate it. A OOAK TFA ball. Cat lived. That’s how much I love him.

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But then I decided that the pattern had bad mojo (hey, I had to blame something) so the yarn sat for another few months before I decided on Magrathea as a vacation knit, packed it up and went off. I cast on in a hotel room in Puerto Rico while my family slept thinking ‘I bet I’ll finish this in one go!’ (pride goeth before the fall…). I got home with this much done.

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Almost a year later it made an appearance in a New Years post about WIPs that I really had to get my act together on. It looks a little bigger there, though I don’t recall working on it. I wrote that off to a happy accident, resolved to get on it, failed, and there it sat until a week ago.

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One week of determined knitting later and a photo of it blocking rose to instagram fame (for me, that means 40 likes. I was pretty excited).

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It’s done, and I love it so much I can’t believe I sat on it for so long.

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Some folks on Ravelry mentioned that they had run out of yarn, but out of a 400 yard skein, I got 28 repeats of the petal pattern, and still had about 7g left over. I am very happy with the wearable size, and asymmetrical fit.

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My only comments are to heed the designers advice about leaving 25% of the yarn for the edging charts, and to be aware that on the last chart, your marker will shift over, twice. It’s not mentioned in the pattern, so it threw me off, but if you trust the chart and keep going you will find that things line up. Ravelry project page here.

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This is random, but I have to include some pics of how pretty the evening was. The lake was so calm, and the sky was so textured. It was one of those days where one reflects the other perfectly. It snowed a bit last week (don’t ask how a Torontonian feels about snow in late April) and we were very grateful for a nice evening to take photos!

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