Garter Chevron Blanket – halfway catchup!

I was looking through some photos from the last two weeks, and realized that I DO have new photos of my garter chevron blanket to share, even though I’m still on knitting hiatus, for now, while my wrists and forearms heal up from overuse.

I actually made a bunch of progress on this project in a short span of time — which is part of how I messed up my stupid wrists in the first place! I had a couple of days in a row where I had to spent 5+ hours sitting quietly, waiting for things. PERFECT for knitting, right? Except, it’s not a good idea to knit garter stitch (knit knit knit knit with no purls or other stitches) for the whole 5 hours with no breaks.

Clover Leaf!

Although I regret it now, because it’s meant such a dumb hiatus, I did get quite a lot knit.

Clover Leaf!

I finished the third colour/second stripe! This was the first really truly green stripe, in a colourway called “granny smith.” I’m still really loving how this is coming out – I know the colours wouldn’t be for everyone, but they’re very me :)

Clover Leaf!

This next stripe is the only non-Cascade yarn. This 3rd stripe/4th colour is Classic Wool from Patons, in a bright medium green called “clover leaf”. Why different yarn? For the most practical reason ever: this yarn in this colour happened to be on super sale at my LYS. It fit into the colour scheme was economical to boot!

Clover Leaf!

I’m super excited about how this blanket is shaping up! I think I’m firmly in “knitted blanket junkie” territory, now.

Walking… Still not knitting

There were some completely lovely comments on my last (quite whiny, really) post about wrist pain and time away from knitting – thank you lovely commenters!

I’m still on my knitting break, so I don’t have anything yarny to show you. I did go on a lovely rainy walk, though, and I thought I’d share some of the best bits.

I started out near the inner harbour, which I kind of love on gray days.

Harbour

This time of year, Victoria also has lots of cherry blossoms – super pretty!

Cherry blossoms

AN ADORABLE SNAIL!!!

Snailio!

There was some fiber-ey content – I passed three or four of Victoria’s giant spindle whorl sculptures (more on them here – they’re called “Signs of Lekwungen”, and honour the Coast Salish). I love, love, love having such amazing and public connections to fiber arts in my city!

Awesome giant spindles

Spindle detail!

It’s 100% spring here, so flowers are happening!

Blurry but pretty

There’s also a series of sculptures around the harbour of hands doing a variety of things. I both love them AND think they’re super super creepy :)

Super creepy hands sculpture!

I love my city, and walking is definitely a good thing; I’m still looking forward to getting back to knitting, though!

Enforced Knitting Breaks Are No Fun.

My wrists hurt.

Sometimes, I knit a bit too much in one session. Often, the student side of my life, or some part of one of my jobs, requires a LOT of typing or handwriting in a short span of time (ie. hand writing comments onto 40+ essays in a couple of days, or doing revisions to a dissertation chapter in one very focussed weekend).

Even one of those activities tends to aggravate my wrists and forearms, but if there’s more than one going on at once, I can be pretty certain I’m going to have a flare up of “UGH WTF WRISTS”, as I think of it.

Unfortunately, when this happens to me, it seems to take far longer to heal the injury than it did to cause it in the first place. A couple of days of high-intensity wrist activity, and I end up facing a week, or more, of NO KNITTING time.

This is what’s been going on in the last week! Siiiiiiigh. It’s a HUGE bummer. And, remember this post? Not being able to knit makes managing my stress way more challenging for me.

Instead of knitting, to keep myself busy, I’ve been reading a lot (I just finished John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines – verdict: interesting, but nowhere near as good as The Fault In Our Stars or Looking for Alaska; I’m also just finishing up Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, and starting Carrie Pitzulo’s Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy, going for walks by the ocean (which I love doing even when I CAN knit), and watching lots of documentaries (The Loving Story, for example, is AMAZING – and it’s on netflix right now!).

Despite those fun activities, I am DYING to get back to knitting on my chevron stripe blanket. Hopefully soon… in the meantime, I’m going to keep icing my wrists and trying to stay busy. Do you have strategies for keeping your knitting muscles happy or helping them heal when they get hurt?

Yellow to Gold to Granny Smith

I took my garter stitch chevron blanket out for coffee and a donut this week! That right there, friends, is an earl grey donut. It was FAN. TASTIC :)

Yarn, latte, donut. Good.

Also, Miss New Zealand thinks this blanket is hers, already. She’s generally a big fan of squishy knitted fabric, and this is no exception. If I’m not quick to put it away, this is what happens:

Feline usurper ;)

Can I show you some actual progress instead of just snacks and cats? YES! Ta da!

Giant chevron!

I’ve modified from the original pattern a little bit. Instead of working 50 rows per stripe, I’m doing 60 (30 garter ridges). I just wanted to use up more yarn and have a wider stripe than I had at 50 rows.

Sharp corner

I like how it’s looking so far! Up next: apple green. I think the colourway is actually called “granny smith”.

Greens!

Greens!

Even though most of the time it’s squashed into a blob in my lap, it’s starting to be pretty substantial size-wise!

Blanket-ey!

Adding apple green

Can I bust out this stripe in a week or less? (Probably. My other activities this week will be deadline-dissertation-chapter-writing [ugh], deadline-TA-grading [ugh], and feeling grumpy and sad about my still far far away spouse [a million ughs]. That stuff means more knitting.)

Adding apple green

Garter Chevron Blanket: Yellow :)

Have I mentioned that I really, really like garter stitch? And blankets? And projects that combine those two things? Also STRIPES? Also yellow and green?

I am so excited about this blanket :)

Pictures? Of course!

I used my thematically appropriate yellow and green yarn ball stitch markers.

Blanket nub!

The start of something chevroney

It started to grow really quickly right away!

Crescent!

Triangle!

Because I’ve used a different needle size from the pattern (I’m using a 5.5mm needle), I’ve adjusted the numbers a bit. I continued increasing the initial triangular section until I had a total of 269 sts (134 sts on either side of the center stitch).

Why 269? That’s when I ran out of yellow :)

Next up? Gold heather!

IMG_4478

Yellow, meet gold!

Matching teapot optional! In just a couple of tea-filled evenings and boredom-filled bus rides, I’ve made lots of progress already.

Matching teapot optional!

The rows are so long that they gobble up yarn like nobody’s business. Already, in just 15 rows, I’ve used up 40g of yarn.

Stripey situations getting started

How wide will the stripes be? More on that next time! It might involve a golden rule…

Spring Startitis?

Is it spring where you are?

It’s definitely spring where I am. Our winters are extremely mild (to my dismay… hush, you people with harsher winters, I know you hate them, but I genuinely miss snow!) I think it snowed one day this year? Maybe? It didn’t stay on the ground, just melted right away. And now, it’s definitely spring. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing – one landed on our balcony today, and my cat nearly had a heart attack, she was so excited!

The last week or so, I’ve been feeling a strong urge – and one I don’t feel very often… the urge to cast on LOTS of new projects! Usually I’m a finishing things kind of person. I like to have only a small number of things on the go, so I can experience the pleasure of finishing regularly. So wanting to cast on more than one thing at once is unusual for me! Nevertheless, my brain has been buzzing with ideas for new knits to start, even though it’s spring, and not exactly the right season for lots of warm woolies. (I know there’s spring knitting, too – goldy green lace and bright colours in lightweight yarns, and I have those going on already.)

Despite my urges, I’ve so far limited myself to just one new project: a totally non-seasonal worsted weight wool BLANKET! If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I really like knitted blankets. I’ve had the pattern I’m using for this one queued for a while (it’s free!!) – the Heirloom Chevron Throw, by Jocelyn Tunney/Fancy Tiger Crafts.

I’ve been contemplating colour options for what feels like forever, but finally settled on some version of a mostly (barf!) green gradient or ombré look. My pathetic paint mockup:

green gradient?

And here are the super pretty yarns I ended up with!

Barfy goldy greens!

All are Cascade 220 or 220 Heathers, except the middlemost green (the one that’s in a ball, not a skein, in the photos), which is Patons Classic Wool Worsted.

Someone else loves them too!

I’m REALLY excited about this project, and I think the finished blanket is going to look super perfect with my living room decor (okay okay… at this stage in my life, I don’t really have decor under control, but I do have throw pillows, and green placemats/coasters/okay green everything shut it). These colours are all over the place at my place! Evidence from the kitchen:

See, these colours are everywhere

Matchy matchy living room!

Pretty with my cushions!

I have all the yarn wound up and ready to go :) Hurray! (Bonus Shepherd Hoodie cameo!)

All wound up!

 

I think I’m going to call it the (Barf) Green Is Best Blanket :)

FINISHED Shepherd Hoodie!

Finally! Finished, blocked, buttons-sewn-on, totally dunzo photos of my Shepherd hoodie!

In case you need a recap (or you’re new – hello!!)…

Pattern: Shepherd Hoodie by Kate Davies

Yarn: The Shepherd & The Shearer by Juniper Moon (still available for sale here)

Buttons: Handmade antler buttons from Button & Needlework Boutique

I LOVE this sweater. I would knit it again in a heartbeat! The yarn was right up my alley: a little bit rustic, a lot unique. The pattern was well-written, easy to understand, clearly illustrated, and easy to adjust too. I’ll let it speak for itself from here :)

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Button band

Button and tulip buttonhole

More photos on flickr, if you want all the gory sweaterey details!

I’m sad to be finished because it was SO fun to make, but I’m really, really excited to wear it :)

Gratuitous button photo post :)

I have the BEST button store near me: the Button and Needlework Boutique. It’s a completely charming store that stocks not only a wide variety of glorious buttons, but also tons of yarn for handknitting and supplies for embroidery and needlepoint. I visited recently to choose buttons for my Shepherd hoodie! The staff are excellent, consistently patient and super helpful, with abundant thoughtful suggestions about button-to-garment pairings and a wealth of knowledge about what each button is made out of and where it comes from.

(And when I say they’re patient, you should know that I pulled out a LOT of buttons to lay out on my sweater and probably spent forty five minutes hemming and hawing.) They even wrap up your purchases in tidy, perfect paper packets.

Button love :)

I must have considered twenty different kinds of buttons for my Shepherd sweater this trip. I like to cast a wide net in case something surprises me. I looked at brown buttons (wood, leather, plastic, horn…) of every shade, from chestnut to honey to wheat. I looked at silver and gray buttons (metal, polished wood, ceramic) – gray is really right up my alley.

Button options

I also looked at buttons that more closely matched the cream colour of my sweater. I always have an internal debate between choosing bold, contrasting buttons or subtler, matching buttons. There were rather a lot of very charming cream buttons made from shell, wood, plastic, and even antler.

I’ve used their locally produced, humanely harvested antler buttons before, on my Hooray cardigan (the antlers are shed by deer, and then collected, cut, and sanded into button shapes by a local artisan). They are SO completely charming; I really meant to choose something different this time, for variety, but they looked so perfect and they made my heart go pitter pat, so I gave in. Wouldn’t you have done the same?

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Miss New Zealand likes them as much as I do!

Button love :)

Shepherd Progress!

I have some actual exciting progress to show you on my Shepherd sweater! (Design by Kate Davies, yarn by the amazing Juniper Moon Farm — you can STILL get kits to make your own Shepherd or Shearer sweater right here!) This post is pretty photo heavy :)

Since my last update, I finished all the knitting and wove in lots of ends. First, I finished the hood knitting! Soooo much seed stitch.

Shepherd Hood

Then I handled all the yarn ends lurking on the inside of the sweater. Some people don’t enjoy finishing work and find it kind of a chore; I actually really love it! It feels so tidy and orderly, and the results are super gratifying.

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Tools for end-weaving

Next up, blocking! I ran into a little speed bump… the sweater was way too big to fit into my sink, where I usually wash handknits.

Uh oh... not fitting in the sink

The solution? The bathtub of course!

Shepherd bathtime!

After a nice, loooong bath in warm water and Soak wash (I have the special Ravelry scent, and I love it!), I squeezed it out, squished in a towel, and laid it out for blocking. This sweater needs a fairly firm blocking hand, to make the cables really stand out properly and to get the right size. I blocked to a combination of pattern measurements and my own modifications (for example, I made the sleeves shorter, because my arms are shorter :) )

Blocking!

Button band blocking

Sleeve blocking

Since the sweater is kind of hefty, it’s still drying. (Well, also because I live in a very damp rainy place, and that’s not helping it to hurry up and dehumidify.) Hopefully in a couple of days I’ll have a dry, finished sweater to show you, with buttons sewn on and everything! I did get buttons, and I looooove them. More on that next time :)

Something finished, something new.

Something finished!

I finished both of the Magic Mirror mittens, made from 100% angora yarn that I picked up at Maiwa on Granville Island a couple of years ago. I gave them a quick wash and then let them air dry, to help even out the cables.

Here's to warm hands!

They’re lovely and soft and if it’s still cold here this winter I will wear them! Pretty and girly and not very practical :)

Something new!

Because my other in-progress projects are either a. long term (the Six’es blanket – I now have 66/189 hexagons complete), b. SO CLOSE to being finished I can taste it (the Shepherd hoodie!), or c. lace that means I need to pay attention (I haven’t shown you the lace yet!), I started something new.

Because I have a slim budget at the moment, and because I have plenty of very nice yarn already, I’ve been choosing new projects the last few months by searching through my yarn closet until I feel excited. (Okay there’s other stuff in the closet besides yarn… I just mostly care about the yarn.) Sometimes it’s texture that grabs me, or wanting a particular finished garment, but usually it’s colour.

When I opened the closet, I saw this gorgeous yellow mohair I’ve had for a while (also acquired on Granville Island, but at a different store!) I still haven’t really decided on the perfect pattern for it, despite thorough Ravel-diving.

Sunny mohair

I also noticed these yarns together:

Happy colours

SO PRETTY! I imagined a tubular cowl with narrow stripes in all of these colours and got REALLY excited. On closer examination, I remembered that the white and yellow are heavier weight than the other colours (they’re sport weight, and the rest is sock weight); swatching confirmed that they will not all play nicely together after all.

The white and yellow, however, are both the exact same yarn, and it was the happy sunny yellow that most caught my imagination. This yarn is squishy and bouncy, an 80% merino, 20% bamboo blend with lots of energy and twist.

Stripe time

So, instead of the rainbowey stripey concoction I imagined, I cast on a tubular, striped, chevron cowl in white and yellow. I’m adapting from this pattern.

Chevron stripes!

The dark blue is a provisional cast on – I’ll unravel it, at the end, so that I can graft the two live ends together and make everything seamless and fancy!

Chevron stripes!

It’s good to have this project on the needles. Easily memorized pattern, good for working on while watching tv or listening to vlogs & podcasts, shortish rows, bright happy colours. What are you working on?