Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lots of knitting going on!

I really meant to write sooner, but I decided I wanted to finish some stuff before I did. And then things got kind of out of hand... So, lots and lots of knitting has happened these last few weeks! Just to warn you, this might be a quite long post!

First, I got loads of buttons in the mail. I found this Canadian shop on Etsy, Forbeadin' Treasures, that makes super cute plastic buttons. So I ordered four sets, because they are also super cheap:

As you can see, I went with the children theme. I had planned to use one of the sets on the Abernathy cardigan that I finished last time, but I finally decided that I wasn't completely happy with either set on that particular garment. So I chose to sew on a couple of sheep buttons that I had in my stash instead, and I'm super happy with this cardigan!

It's only three weeks until the baby is due, and I am slowly accumulating baby knits. You'll see them later in this post. After I had sewn on the buttons, I decided to finish off some socks. First I finished the vanilla goth socks that I made from Crazy Zauberball sock yarn:

They are almost knee highs, and I really like wearing them. They are just plain vanilla socks with afterthought heels, and as the yarn is labelled as striping I got to count them in the striping KAL (I asked in the forum, and got approval). So January socks are done!

Then I finished my Watermelon Slice socks:

I LOVE these! They are just so cute and whimsical, and the yarn softened at least some when I washed them. They feel very sturdy, so they'll probably last forever, and they are very warm and wooly. I have enough yarn left to make at least a pair of children's socks, but I'll wait with that. The yarn is still too scratchy to put on a small baby anyway.

Once I had finshed those socks, I only had two projects left to work on, the Mandala II shawl and the Stricken socks were left on the needles. I hadn't gotten my skein of Tosh lace from Eat.Sleep.Knit yet, so I cast on for a baby pyjama suit instead, the Hel dress pattern. I chose three colours of sock yarn from my stash, Two were the Knitting Goddess sock yarn that I got in the club last year, and one was Opal sock yarn. 

The green is called Trousers for a Fiend, and the brown is called Fun Fur. I discovered very soon that I HATE knitting with three colours, as the yarn just kept on tangling. I'm very happy that this was just a tiny baby knit! I made a lot of changes to the pattern, as I didn't realize that it was meant to be steeked. I've tried steeking superwash yarn before, and that's an experience I don't want to have again, so I decided to knit it flat instead. I also chose another colourwork band across the chest, the red dragon chart which is free on Ravelry, and this was my first time knitting colourwork flat. It turned out to be a little bit fiddly, but ok. finally, I picked up for the button bands and collar, and knit them in garter stitch. 

As an intermission, in the middle of knitting the pyjama I got the lace yarn from Eat.Sleep.Knit, but it turned out to be a lot paler than my two skeins. I knew this was a risk, since they are hand dyed and my old skeins had been in my stash for almost three years, so I decided to use it anyway. I really wanted to finish the shawl, so I knit, and knit, and knit, and finally it is done!

I'm way too heavy and non-mobile right now with my huge belly to spend an hour on the floor blocking this, so that will have to wait until the baby is here. As you can see it has a very pale border, and I can't decide if I should try over-dyeing the whole thing or leave it as it is. I want to decide before I block it, as blocking a circular shawl is a pain in the butt and I don't want to do it more than once. But right now I'm leaning towards not changing it, I think I can live with the paler border. Dyeing is always a risk, and I really don't want to destroy this thing!

Then I picked up the pyjama again, and finished it. 

I sewed on the buttons the other day (of course I chose the dragon buttons, as there were already knit dragons on it), and I'm very happy with this one! It is very soft, so it should be comfortable on the baby, and it is super cute. If I were to make another one (which I probably won't), I would probably just use two colours though.

Ok, I was finally down to just one project on the needles, the Cookie A socks. Which I really didn't feel like working on! So on Thursday this week I cast on all the things! First on the needles was the Star Leaves shawl:

I'm making it from two stash skeins of Chili Gredelin Madame yarn (55 % silk/45 % cashmere, 365 m/110 g), which might be my all time favourite lace yarn, and I also found some beads in the stash that I'm using. I don't think you can see the beads in the photo, but they're there. I had some problems getting this one started, and I've messaged the designer some times, but finally after finishing the first chart it turned out that the problem was my reading skills. The pattern is very clear and obviously correct, I just missed one line of text... Now it's fine, and I'm really enjoying this one.

Next I started the Dark and Stormy cardigan, with some Cascade 220 from stash (100 % wool, 201 m/100 g), in the colourway Liechen 9338.

I have literally just cast this one on, and then I haven't had time to work on it any more than the first row, I think, so this one doesn't look like much. But it will be very pretty!

And as if one cardigan wasn't enough, I decided to start yet another one for me. I started the Austin Hoodie about a year and a half ago, but it didn't work with the yarn I chose, so this time I picked a yarn that was a little bit thicker in my stash. I'm using Manos del Uruguay Fino (70 % merino/30 % silk, 225 m/50 g), in the colourway British 2334. I thought I had six skeins in total of this, which should be about what is needed for the hoodie, but when I started to wind the fourth or fifth skein, I discovered this:

Yeah, half of the strands in the skein had been cut! I had bought four of these skeins in a yarn store in Uppsala back in October 2012, but this skein came from Garnkorgen as I decided I wanted enough of the yarn to make a sweater and ordered some more later on. I have to admit that I hadn't opened the skein when I got it, but just put it in the stash with the other skeins. But all of the skeins had been sealed in a plastic bag together (and the bag was completely intact), and none of the other skeins were affected, so I doubt it was bugs. I contacted the shop, but as I had bought it so long ago I didn't think there was anything the owner could do either. She graciously offered me to buy another skein for half price though, which I thought was really nice. I've decided to wait a bit with ordering it though, to see if I can finish the cardigan with what I've got. I haven't tried to ball up the broken skein yet, so I don't know how much of it will be salvageable. 

I have made the folded hem on the cardigan though, so now it's just an eternity of stockinette knitting for a while:

I am enjoying working on it, as the yarn is super soft and it's completely mindless. I think it will take me a while to get done though, as I'm not focusing on this one at the moment. The project I am prioritizing right now is the fourth cast on I made on Thursday, namely the Puerperium baby cardigan:

I'm using the Wollmeise DK leftovers (100 % superwash wool, 428 m/200 g) in the colourway Pesto. This is the yarn I made my Gnarled Oak cardigan from, right before new year's, so now the baby and I will have matching sweaters! I wear mine all the time, I really love both the model and the yarn, and I think this baby cardigan will be very cute as well. I'm putting the sleeves on waste yarn today, so I'm almost half-way done already. DK baby clothes equal fast knitting!

Finally, I decided that I needed to think on what knitting I want to bring to the hospital when the baby comes. No, I can't imagine going there without knitting, why do you ask? So I started a pair of striping socks in some Regia sock yarn from stash (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon, 420 m/100 g), in the colourway Cassis 04536.

The pattern is Fruit Stripe Gum socks, and I'm really liking it! It is completely mindless, I had to look at it twice before I had it memorized, but the results almost looks like entrelac! I have knit a little bit on them, just to get a feel for the pattern, but I'll probably save these in the hospital bag for now.

Ok, I think that's it on the knitting front! As I said, a lot! But I have had two really lousy stomach weeks, so knitting has been about the only thing I've done. It seems like it's getting marginally better this weekend (knock on wood), so hopefully I'll get three weeks of rest before the baby comes. I haven't done much these past few weeks, but yesterday my sister and mother came for a visit, and we went to see a Swedish production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar (we gave our mother tickets for Christmas). It was really, really good, and then we bought pizza and just hung out for a short while before they went home again. I think they both thought it was nice to see me one last time before the baby comes, so they could laugh at how ridiculous I look :)

We'll see if I get around to updating again before the baby. I'll probably want to show off the baby cardigan if I finish it! Otherwise you'll get some very different photos next time!

/ Jenny