Learning curve

This week I have a progress report which could be summarised as backwards and forwards with a few twists mixed in with both cable design projects. The best laid plans as most of us know, don’t always go the way we hope, no matter how many notes a concentration we devote to a project.

First lesson for me was to stop trying to knit something more complex when I was under the weather with what seems to be the flu that’s been floating around this year. I thought I could take it easy and knit but now I know better. Thankfully words from an observant blog reader pointed me in the right direction. A few painful gulps but then Beverley mode took over and I ripped back 80 rows of the sleeve of Geiger. I am one of those solitary knitters who feels better when the mistake is ripped out and I could knit back up from a clean slate/needle. In fact I became very aware of the cable directions which I turn helped me to memorise and recognise the design. I was knitting with caution but slipped but when I knit the sleeve back up again and completed it, I felt; a lot happier. I have bought highlighting tape and will be back to colouring the shaded parts of the chart for the next sleeve before I even start. I am just relieved I only knit one at a time as I don’t think I could concentrate enough to have different leaning cables on a right and left sleeve at the same time. I am still enjoying this project and to know I have friends who are there to knit along slowly has helped to calm my mind.

 

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Geiger sleeve  : it hasn’t been to the spa/blocked I just pinned the sides to keep them neat for my slow knitting project  

Just before I found I had to rip my own, I was seaming dad’s sweater and asked him to try it on, emphasising the need to be careful with my clips and stitches. Little did I know how strong this wool is, more about that soon. It would be a pun to say ‘to cut a long story short’ as this is what I faced. The sweater fit neatly across dad’s shoulders but the saddle style shoulder had deceived me a little. I know I modified the gauge as dad likes his sweaters neat but a long sweater just isn’t dad! It was far too long. No matter how much I tried to bunch it, nudge dad to slouch, I knew this wasn’t the sweater I had hoped to give to dad. My heart sunk as I knew dad was trying to stop me breaking down completely and would have worn it, pretending it was ok - it wasn't and I would have failed completely if I didn’t do something about this. I wanted to knit it all over again, which is still an option but dad is adamant that it isn’t an option. I tried it on as I have always thought I would like a knitted dress! Well it was dress length on me but it took the trend of oversized to the extreme. I tried to tell him I would wear it in the house but in reality I knew I would waste it. I knew what mum would have done, yet I didn’t have the confidence but this made me feel worse as I felt I had let dad down even more. I have a friend on Ravelry who has shown on her Instagram feed that cutting knitting is something that can be done. I couldn’t cry, please will you cut this sweater but I knew I had absorbed her inspiration which now turned into my motivation. The project is still in the ‘be careful’ zone but after testing cutting the rib, I knew Shelter held the stitches. This morning when dad was out I snipped through the wool further up, a little more complex as this was in the midst of cables. The stitches were visible, dad tried it on midway. Thankfully he did as I was going to rip up further. It looks about right as I have to knit the rib back on, eventually.


The next bit will be slow as I have left it to go back with a fresh mind. If all goes wrong I will save what I can of the wool, wash and re-skein and knit something smaller for myself after I have bought dad more wool to knit his sweater all over again. Hopefully with what I experienced this morning, the sweater can be saved. I am prepared to take a long time if I can work this out in spates of clarity. I have had the numb/tingles in the left side of my head which magnify when I feel stressed, therefore this is restricting me atm the tingles started in force this morning so I have left the sweater aside but have hope I can save it.

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Deconstructing Denali  

All of this put one of my swatched projects on hold, thankfully it was a sweater for me. I have also set a second Bellows on hold - mentioning Bellows, I don’t want to take this comfort blanket off! I really need to knit another one.

I left The Shieling squares in the project bag but had knit a 2nd one just before my disasters. Last night after completing my sleeve, dad encouraged me to start another square. To have a complete change from cables was refreshing and I was so pleased I had a modular project to fall back on.

 

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The Shieling: one, two  

I have three international parcels to post and had set myself one to do everyday. Sadly I have only one done but dad has taken this one to the post office this morning and I hope to start my 2nd one soon. I have another colourwork project to do which will be on my needles when I can see without headaches and have cleared dad’s in my mind that it will work, no matter how long it takes me.

We may pass along Instagram and Ravelry, looking at friends work, ideas, methods. Liking them but thinking we would never do this or that but if it wasn’t for my friend who is more confident than me, sharing her rips/cuts and all the modifications she does, I know dad’s sweater would have ended up in the corner as I would never have cut my knitting like this. Mum used to do it but now it was my turn. How thankful I am for a lady showing me the error in my cable and for friends who share advice and tips.

I went backwards to come forwards and learned lessons long the way. I have two A’s today thanks to Alison and Alix

Now to get rid of those tingles in my leg and head, where next? At least I can knit with a bit more comfort now. I had to restrict my time online but hope to catch up again, slowly. Thanks to another A's Anna's advice when I asked about a knitting publication, I ordered a copy and have just taken delivery of my first copy of Laine magazine and it is beautiful.

I end my blog with three A's

 

Rhyme or reason

Today seems appropriate to sit and type a blog post that has been mulling over in my mind when working on my current knitting projects. Yet again, far too much to type when I post a photo on Instagram and too much of a personal opinion for everyone to be interested in reading. I have started to think of my blog as journal to look back on and hopefully a place were friends can understand the way I approach things compared to the others in the knitting community.

I have several projects which I am enjoying, a few completed and worn which is a little miracle for me to wear my knitting so quickly after knitting. Bellis has been worn a lot, only to be replaced by Bellows, my oversized cardigan which is keeping me warm over a few more layers. This one has taken me by surprise as I really love the cardigan. I am still knitting round the neckband of dad’s, I almost there but still need to seam too. After the dentist this morning I tried to finish a few more rounds but my left hand gave up with the cold. I couldn’t feel my fingers, no mater how much I wanted to knit I couldn’t. We might have a double photo shoot with me taking dad with Denali on and dad taking me with Bellows on. I plan to knit a Shelter weight classic sweater to wear under Bellows for super charged heat. 

 

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Geiger in progress : left sleeve : Arbor Klimt

Updated photo: 19.02.2018 Thanks to Alison, a reader of my blog whose observant eye, noticed one of my cables going over instead of under. I had completed the 80 chart rows plus extra plaits but when Alison contacted me I frogged right back and knit the panels up again. I am very grateful to Alison as I would have been very upset to discover the mistake much further on with this project. I am fighting a headache but had to fix this asap right and left leaning, over and under will be etched in my mind with the kindness of Alison to point this out.

My next plans are starting to take shape although my Shelter sweater has been set aside in the swatch zone. I will be ready to cast it on but had to take myself to task about controlling my wips and keep a balance.

Geiger is my main project and after a rather large swatch I finally started the sleeve. I have decided I will knit each piece one at at time and this is proving to add enjoyment to any time spent knitting the first sleeve. There are a lot of charts for this cardigan with no written instructions to follow. This worried me so much as I love written instructions but after I had worked my large swatch I became more aware for the cable twists which are completely different from any I have worked before. To my surprise I am enjoying knitting this and the whole concept or setting up a project reflects how I like to work and why I loved projects ever since I was a child. I was the one with scrap books, paper cut outs, photos and drawings galore. This has now translated to my knitting and Brooklyn Tweed’s Geiger cardigan has fulfilled the aspects missing from quick knit designs. I know quick knits all have there place but when I started to feel lost in a race I knew I needed to follow the way I like to work. Charts, notes, colours, bookmarks, goals, reading ahead

 

project in progress : books, pencils, notes, charts

If I was asked to describe the charts involved in Geiger I would compare them to a manuscript of musical notes, they have rhythm, I have a rhyme, they flow, I score. Despite their complexity I find my mind is taken into a zone where I can relax and enjoy the twists and textures, created by stitches and only stop to remember to mark off each row with pen on paper. My slow knitting approach is still high on my list and remarkably I seem to hit a goal sooner without any pressure or taking back of my work. The charts are necessary and most helpful with a block to more those missing stitches rather than a column with blank spaces which sometimes make senses but at other times they don’t reassure me. I have coloured some of the paler grey sections as my printer wasn’t defined enough for my mind to relax. Taking time to colour has really helped me to see the 4/2 3/3 and the tiny decrease symbol in the actual cable. I will have to do this for each one of the charts but I feel it is worthwhile after starting to knit the first sleeve as the sleeves have the least amount of cables and the increases are minimal. I will have a lot more notes and colours when I start the back and the sides. In my case starting with the sleeve was a reassuring decision (after the large swatch off course) I have also learned to try and knit a little of this most days as I left it and my confidence dwindled. I feared lifting it again incase I had forgotten but my copious notes and Brooklyn’s musical charts created the melody I needed to hear. My knitalong friends are in the swatching zone and I will be interested to see how they approach the process of setting up their Geiger projects. We have shared tips and advice already and I am sure this will flow when we all have to cope with the techniques used in this pattern.

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Milarrochy Tweed

 

I learned in the past how my mind works in a different gear when I knit cables compared to colour work. This has been emphasised to me again as one of my modular projects involves a lot of colour work. This project will take me a very long time but I had to test a square for my own knowledge of how it was worked and to give me a feel of the wool as it is new with the release of patterns in a book from Kate Davies. The yarn has 70% wool 30% mohair which is something I haven’t knit with for years. I can give an honest opinion on the wool as I am not on the designer’s radar for my any of my projects knit from Buachaille or this new Milarrochy Tweed. I know some ladies from my Instagram feed have a few concerns about the mohair content and I was the same as in the past mohair and ‘me’ didn’t agree. I used to put the yarn in the freezer to minimise the shedding/irritation. I have to laugh as I can remember dad remarking on his mohair sandwiches! At that time there was mum and my sister in our family knitting group - poor dad! I can report so far Kate’s wool has impressed me, especially if I can knit in natural light as my skin and eyes don’t seem to feel irritated. A little more with my beside light/spot light style but this isn’t just Milarrochy as I have had very bad irritation from Shelter in the truffle hunt colour of dad’s sweater. I use eyes sprays and my skin is super sensitive which would make this review unfair as I have knit with a lot more irritation from some of my favourite types of wool. At first I thought this was very fine and wouldn’t be warm, well my depth of warmth. Whilst I would have to knit a larger amount of knitting in one colour to see what type of garment would be suitable for me I soon found the stranding behind the Fair Isle squares added depth and warmth and the result is very pretty and feels soft and warm. I am guessing the more Fair Isle I had in a garment the warmer I would be otherwise this would knit a summer weight garment for me but I am the exception to the rule. One of the reasons I know the designer found difficult with me was my notorious arms and the sleeves of the garments which yet again means I am the exception to the rules as others found the sleeves to neat. When the blanket pattern was released I was very happy as I could really indulge in the yarn and not have to worry about style or fit for a while. A garment would need to be layered for me but so far the colours I have knit in the Tweed are blending beautifully. Texture of tweed seems different in each colour but that’s the character of the yarn. 

 

This is another chart but I am finding I am using a different part of my brain. This chart doesn’t have a rhyme or rhythm but it has a reason for that as thistles are organic, they don’t grow with symmetry, they are mostly wild on our landscape and one of the reasons I love the blanket is how it ncorporates nature and the shades Kate has chosen, speak clearly of thistles. The finished blanket will be the masterpiece, created with strands of colour, stitches knit following a smaller chart, using different techniques but all perfect for this design. I actually don’t want to admit it but after my first square I feel a little bit of the addiction element that I found with the squares to knit the Birlinn blanket. This is the opposite as I start with a lot of stitches but decreasing into the centre is the relief part of this score. I gave to follow the chart stitch by stitch but when the thistle appears, I know it was worth counting the boxes. The blanket is called The Shieling from The West Highland Way book of patterns and essays.

I learned from another friend’s first square when the join up round twisted therefor I approached with even more caution. I don’t know if it is my needle or because I was on high alert but I used one of my ChiaoGoo’s which I had labelled with a warning (for myself) it has a crook in the tips and I didn’t like it but for this square it helped. I graduated down to two circular needles for the decreased section but will refine this if I need to when I knit another square. I was happy with the two circs and may just continue to use this method. I sent the square to the spa and pondered about the blocking. In Birlinn I marked the template on my mats but I wasn’t going to mark my good mats. I was going to join some smaller ones until I remembered about the cloth that came with Cocoknits mats. This could be any fabric with 1” squares, I have found this extremely useful and will continue to use the cloth. I was able to lay it out on the big mats we bought at the fair last year and pin my square without having to measure with a ruler. I just counted the squares on the cloth and then did a little dance! I have added a photo of my cloth and the back and front of my first square.

 

The Shieling blanket square one, only 29 more to knit

As usual my blog is long but I will finish with some wrap up plans. Geiger will be my main project but still adhering to my slow, thoughtful knitting criteria. The Shieling is still addictive but I know my pace will be slow and soon move down my list. It is the perfect change of gear when my mind comes down from complex cables. I have another colour work project to knit but this will use yet another section of my mind which is more complex than Geiger’s cables! I will be knitting for a very Knitworthy gift and know I have to be on full concentration as much as I love to knit for others I am always intensely worried that my work won’t be prefect. I wish I could just knit and give but I worry a lot and set my goal posts a lot higher than normal. People have asked on Instagram if I sell my knitting, can you imagine dad’s life if I knit for unknown others! I have joy and love to give but know I need to build my confidence to start on this project. It will take the place of dad’s sweater as both are Knitworthy projects. I relax more with dad as he knows what frog parties are! I wore my Mīlēt mittens to the dentist today which served to remind me how much I enjoyed knitting them and how much I care for my dear friend who deserves the mittens when I feel confident with my finesse of mitten chart knitting 

I still love projects and am a lot happier since I stopped thinking I had to join in and race along. I cope with the pace being much slower. Leaving time for dad and our home. I had a tumble last week which set me back so when I feel unwell I don’t have to worry I am not online. I love to catch up with group posts and adventures along the West Highland way projects but my posting of updates is via Instagram and my project notes on Ravelry. My thoughts appear here as I know if anyone doesn’t want to read all of this they don’t have to. Likewise I hope if you do like to read this, it will help you to progress with the way you plan projects and knitting time. Perhaps someone would like to knit along at a slower pace like us. 


Thank you for reading this latest wordy edition, without rhyme but with several reasons 

Beverley