14 September 2020

On Swatching

I am a monogamous knitter :) I find I progress better if I knit one project at a time.  That doesn't stop me thinking about what I want to knit next or buying yarn! During this crazy year and in particular when we were in full lockdown (we still have lots of restrictions) I spend most afternoons quietly knitting for an hour or two.  I rarely change anything except the yarn when knitting,  sometimes doing nothing more than choosing which colour of the recommend yarn I fancy.  This makes for a stress free relaxing process!

I have lots of Quilting WIPs and I will get back to them this winter, but with each quilting project I have a lot of decision making to do, I very rarely follow a pattern exactly and nearly always chose my own colour palette. My frazzled brain can't cope with this at the moment when everything else is in chaos, and I think this is a common problem with us creatives at this time.

For my next project I want to knit the 'Miss Apple's Little Cardi'  from Issue 9 of Laine magazine. I really enjoyed this magazine and was sorry when they stopped issuing them, I have all nine editions and they are a wonderful mix of Nordic patterns, recipes and travel etc. I knitted My Summer Regn last Summer and have lots more in my to knit queue!

When I started knitting seriously again about 10 years ago I started a stash and I regret it now, I bought lots of really gorgeous expensive yarns when they were on sale with no real plan, I am trying to use some of them up! This pattern calls for using two yarns held together.  A thicker worsted yarn and a whisper fine lace to produce a lovely fabric.  I already had the worsted weight in my stash so only needed to buy 4 balls of the lace.

I am using Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine a 40% wool 40% Alpaca 20% Silk mix in the gorgeous Jade green colour 'Swimming Pool' along with the recommended Ito Sensai 60% Mohair 40% Silk yarn in 'Pool Green'

I always knit a small swatch before knitting a garment as it's really important to me that the finished garment fits well.  It is especially important when using a different yarn to the one recommended.  I always wash and block the swatch, you can see below from my scribbled notes, that the swatch tightened up a little when it was fully dry.  I don't pin my swatches just ease them into shape and let them dry flat naturally; it is easy to stretch things to the size you want, but then they could shrink up again in the first wash!

The top swatch is using the recommend needle size of 4.5mm, however I needed too many stitches to the inch to get the correct size, so if I knit with this combination the finished cardigan would turn out too small.  Standard practice is to then go up a needle size which I did for the second swatch.  This was much better and was close to the stitch count needed, however it was not perfect.  I could have gone up another needle size and would probably have gotten the correct count, BUT I did not especially like the fabric produced on the larger needles; I much preferred the denser tighter weave of the smaller swatch which has produced a lovely soft warm fabric ideal for this winter cardigan. It should also be more hard wearing, an important consideration when you consider the work involved.

Time for some maths! Dividing my stitch count by the recommended stitch count, lets me know what % I am off by, or in other words the ratio of my stitch count to the one needed for the pattern.  The simplest solution for me, would be to knit one size larger using the larger 5mm needles, the finished cardigan would be more or less the correct size.  However as I prefer the first fabric, I have worked out that I need to go up 2 sizes to get the correct finished size. This is fine by me, but does mean that I may need more yarn.  I definitely have enough of the Juniper but may need another ball of the lace, we will see.  I will keep checking my gauge as we go.

Ravelry Notes https://www.ravelry.com/projects/suller/miss-apples-little-cardi

04 September 2020

Some Quilting at Last

My quilt group met this week for the first time since Lockdown began here in the UK in March. The hall we use has lots of safety measures in place, we have to clean as we go and wear face masks while inside. We can only meet in small groups at a time, but it felt so good to be back quilting again! I brought along my Grasshopper quilt that I am hand quilting, I haven't touched it in months, but I really want to get this done so I think this will be my take along focus project.

This was a Sarah Fielke BOM from a couple of years ago.

I love the texture of hand quilting and would hand quilt everything if I had the time and my hands would cooperate! I chose carefully, and I am happy with this one, I knew I wanted to hand quilt large hexagons in the background to go with the bees on the fabric :) I am using Aurifil 12wt for some big stitch quilting.

I wore my Green Lane cardigan to the group and we started discussing colour, I completely changed the colours in this cardigan from the original blue/yellow.  Several of the ladies said they find choosing colours difficult and asked how I pick colours for my projects; I normally start with an image or photo, for this cardigan I knew I wanted Scottish mountains/pine trees/heather etc.  It turned out exactly as I had pictured.

I am knitting a shawl at the moment 'Washed Out' by Joji Locatelli, she is hosting a KAL on her Ravelry group which is fun.   Ravelry Notes

I am using a special one of a kind hand dyed yarn I bought years ago from Lichtfaden, it is lovely to knit with and if Covid has taught me one thing it is to start using all those special fabrics and yarns I have been saving for I don't know what!

My Jumper Board came in handy for winding the skeins :)

I made a project bag from an old embroidery, it makes me smile every time I use it and so much nicer than a plastic bag.