It’s Done! It’s Not Done.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this sweater. I loved the first version of it. So much so, that I decided to knit another. The pattern was great. I loved the yarn I chose. Why not knit it in another color? The first one took just over 2 months—I started in mid-July 2015. I finished in early September.

The first one was bottom up. So, I decided the next would be top down. The first one grew—as Madelinetosh is known to do—so this time I’d make it one size smaller. I also wanted it to be just a bit more fitted to my shape and longer. All these things are easy to manage in a top-down sweater.

Fast forward to November 2017, I cast on and started knitting. I had other projects on the needles, so this wasn’t going to be a 2-month sweater. Also, I mostly knit bottom-up sweaters, so I was in ‘learning mode’.

My first problem came in February 2018 with the sleeves. This was a mental thing. I feared that I would not be able to match them as well as the bottom up version, when I knit them 2-up on the same needle. It’s a great trick I learned from a master knitter. So, I set the project down until I could muster the courage to try and figure out how to assure myself they’d be perfect.

Perfect. That word was the issue. And it is something I’m working on with myself–to be okay with not perfect.

In November 2019 a group of other island ladies (friends of Island Wools) on Facebook started a “Finishers Club” for people that had too many WIPs. After sitting on this project for nearly two years, this was the one I put forward for me to finish in lockdown.

The sleeve problem was pretty easy to solve. I used magic loop. In retrospect, this was a no-brainer. I knit two up socks all the time, so why not the sleeves in the round?

The next issue I discovered was after I thought the sweater was done—I’d failed to use a smaller needle on the collar and it was HUGE.

This collar is not for the faint of heart. Sure, it’s garter and therefore boring. But it’s also 270 stitches. Each row is as wide as an afghan. I “finish” only to find that the collar hung to me knees. I looked at various ways to “fix” it. None was viable. The collar had to come off.

This is when having a group helps. You told people you’d do it and that motivates you to keep going, especially when you see them knocking off theirs. I did work on other WIPs in the meantime (including an afghan). But this was the “call out” project. So after I unknit the collar. I immediately (okay, more like three weeks later) cast back on with the right-size needle.

This problem isn’t about perfectionism, it’s about the reason I wanted a second sweater of the same type. I knew that if I didn’t fix it, I would not wear it.

Having groups to keep you going is a boon. And lockdown helped too.

What gets you started again after you’ve put something down?

Lemonade from Lemons

I bought this beautiful Spincycle yarn from Dyed in the Wool in the color Shades of Earth from my local yarn shop. I planned to and did knit them into beautiful, albeit expensive, socks.  

Dyed in the Wool by Spincycle Yarns in Shades of Earth

The trouble began when my husband wore them. The yarn literally broke in places. In one day, the ribbing popped at the top and a hole appeared in the instep. I was, to say the least, bummed. This wool was not good sock yarn.

I frogged them back to skeins and looked to see if I could pair them with nylon thread, but that made a tangled mess when I made attempt #2.

Frogged Balls of Wool and the Start of My Gauge Swatch

With all the stash reduction plans, I went through and catalogued my whole stash. When I came across these lonely skeins, I just couldn’t help myself. With so many big projects and requests looming, that will take *forever*, I felt like I needed “a win”; something beautiful and something quick.

The Bias Scarf pattern, by Shelby Dyas is great free pattern designed for eating up stash. I already had it in my queue with a different pair of yarns. I wasn’t expecting to do it with just one yarn, even though the designer did. What she chose was a variable yarn made from torn up silk saris.

One good (and bad) thing about DITW yarn is that the weight varies a lot (from sock to sport weight) as does the color, so even though I tried to purchase similar looking balls, they are very different.

In a bias scarf variability just works. And because it won’t be in shoes and worn so heavily, the lack of durability will be much less of an issue.

Up Close Detail of the Color Variation

Lemonade from lemons! I’m not done yet, but even as a work in progress, I think this might be the prettiest scarf I’ve ever knit.

Any comebacks you’d care to share?

And Then There Was One

I love travel. It’s a good thing, given I travel 33-50% for my work. This means I also like being at home when I have time off.

My husband has a love of Scotland that comes from his youth in the South of England. His father took him to the Isle of Skye when he was fifteen and every year or so, we go back. And for me, it’s all about the hiking and the wool.

The project I brought was a pair of socks using Knitpicks Felici in Stormy Sky (fitting for Scotland). It was a special striped run I’d picked some up at Stitches West last year. And I was so excited to finally use it and hopeful my husband would have a spare pair of socks for hiking.

We used Edinburgh as our basecamp for the trip. We only passed through the city—several times as we came and went from visiting friends and family in Southern England before we headed to Skye. I was just reinforcing a heel when our stop came and I thought I’d safely tucked the sock away, but when we got to the hotel, I was one sock short.

Yes. I did cry. But then I immediately picked up my needles and cast-on another pair.

You gotta get back on that horse and ride it! Am I right?

From a Toque to a Beanie in One Heat Cycle

There’s a lovely young lady that makes my protein shakes at the club where I work out. Every time I see her, it brightens my day. She calls me by name, remembers what I order and she’s 3 dimensional; she talks about her life, work and laughs at herself. In short, she’s a good soul.

One morning she was talking about wanting a hat now that the weather is turning cold and though she’d been looking she could not find one she liked.  “What color?” I asked. “A pretty dark blue; not as dark as navy”. She wanted She also it to be ‘slouchy.’ “You know what I mean?” “Yes,” I replied, “I do.”

And what better thing is there to do, than to use a skill you have for a good soul? Nothing. I was on a mission to make her a toque. It would only take a day or so and it would be a nice thing to do for a nice person. Colorwise, my mind instantly went to Azul Profundo by Malabrigo—but I worried about variation in the varigation—some skeins are lighter than others. Ordering it was a risk.

That weekend I was at Tolt Yarn and Wool with a friend from Yorkshire, UK and happened on Woolfolks’s Tov, 6 T. I knew the minute I laid eyes on it, that I’d found THE color. Heaven knows what 6 T means, but ‘in person’ it is a richly saturated darkish blue nearing teal without the inky blackness of navy. I paired it with a dark gray—also baby cashmere—Sublime Yarn–Tittlemouse.

I was so thrilled when I finished. It just needed a wash and a block, but it ended up in the drier with a few other superwash woolens when my husband did the laundry. Oh! No! Even still damp, I could see it had felted into a beanie—and not a toque that would fit the need. 

So, I’m on the hunt for replacement yarn and this time in a superwash wool. In the meantime, I’ve got a tiny beanie for my child-sized head.

*head shake*