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…

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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?

Knitting to stay okay.

Sometimes, when people see me knitting in public, or when they hear that I’m a knitter, they’ll respond with some version of “Wow, I wish I had the time/patience/attention span/ability to knit!” I totally understand that reaction – that’s more or less what I say to my friend who gardens prolifically, or the one who goes the gym all the time because she genuinely enjoys it. Sometimes I just nod and smile, and sometimes I tell people that actually, I knit because I need to.

Truthfully, I knit for a LOT of reasons.

I love the creativity it involves (even when I’m knitting from patterns, which I usually am). I love the colours and textures. I love that it produces warm, comfortable, occasionally-stylish and occasionally-frumpy garments and accessories and things – it takes my time and converts it into a tangible object I can hold and wear and sometimes give away to a person I like. I love that it connects me with a less technological time (even though technology is pretty critical to my knitting life… *COUGH RAVELRY COUGH.* I love that there are constantly new challenges, new skills to learn, new techniques to master, new ways to expand my knitting repertoire.

But one of the major reasons I knit is that it makes me feel more… okay.

I’m a fairly, ahem, “highly strung” person, to put it delicately. I get nervous easily, I worry apocalyptically all the time (even about things that don’t really deserve to be worried about), and I fidget constantly. Knitting lets me channel some of that anxious energy into an activity that is both productive and placating. Most of the time, I can actually feel my body relaxing and my breathing becoming more regular when I pick up my needles. (The other knitters reading this are yelling EXCEPT WHEN YOU DROP A STITCH RIGHT?! – yes, that has the opposite effect! ;) )

Knitting helps keep my mind busy, and it makes me a happier, calmer, more functional person. The last few months have included a bunch of personal challenges, from health stuff to job and academic stresses to being apart from my best friend, which is extremely, constantly, wrenching. As a result, I’ve found myself reaching for my knitting even more than normal. I’m really, really glad that knitting is part of my life, because I don’t think I would be okay without it.