Out with Geiger

Perhaps it will surprise anyone who reads my blog to discover today’s post won’t be verbose, despite the fact I have thoughts to share but those will have to remain in my head and notes until I recoup a lot of energy that I lost last night after I went out with dad to take a few shots of Geiger. My friends will know Geiger was a very special project and the pattern changed my direction in how I feel about my knitting and the slower pace to focus more on slow fashion with deeper meaning.

Geiger : Brooklyn Tweed Winter 18 : designer Norah Gaughan 

I have completed various projects over the past months which we weren’t able to take of me wearing them due to me feeling unwell, maybe they will appear through time. I have one almost complete knit in Brooklyn Tweed's Ranch 01 and will set a goal to have a few wearing photos to share if I pace myself with what I can do before and after a trip out now.  Last night proved to me that I couldn’t have been out on a mini photo shoot for my other projects. I must have used every drop of energy I had to let dad take photos of me wearing Geiger but determination to achieve this goal helped me to sit, stand and close my eyes while dad took his time to adjust the aperture and all those settings has given me a selection to share. I appreciate how kind friends have been to encourage me throughout knitting this cardigan and know some of my friends asked me to post some photos like we did before.

I came home, cold and exhausted; I am still very tired today. I thought I wouldn’t have any photos ( I had a quick look last night when I was too tired and had nightmares as I didn't think I had one I could use!) I thought we would have to try all over again but when dad comes along, he has more focus as he was warmer than me and his keen eye for detail brought out the cables which where the main reason I knit Geiger as mum was the one who took time to teach me to knit aran patterns when I asked when I was a child. We didn’t go too far but as Geiger was a monumental project with the history of my knitting brought together with memories of mum, we chose an historical building as our location. Parliament building and grounds in Stormont estate, Northern Ireland.

This month the creative community celebrate the #MeMadeMay which I can now add Geiger as a finished and wearable cardigan but with so much more meaning to us than just something I knit.

I will let the photos take over as I just don’t have any energy left to think clearly or even walk about without fatigue.


I have gone swatching but that’s a post for another time


Slow Fashion

I am trying to balance the topics I cover on our blog as I realise some readers are missing our visits to the coast and countryside. This isn’t because I am too lazy to go out and dad has had to make me realise he could never accuse me of being lazy. I miss the escape we enjoyed for our minds when we walked in forests and scrubland finding nature as the subject of our photography. I still have health issues which are holding me back from adventures like this and after less than an hour out yesterday I realised I still needed to rest. We came home and didn’t even have coffee while we were out. My sister called during the week and I didn't even have the energy to chat endlessly to her. Maybe when I finally find the buttons and the drying process is complete for Geiger, dad’s suggestion on going out wearing my slow fashion cardigan might deserve somewhere special for the first time I wear it and no I don’t want this to be an appointment with the doctor or dentist!

Today is another knitting post but I feel very inspired to type it as I am heading towards the finishing line of the pattern which taught me so much more about myself and how I approach things I undertake to knit or create. I have always been fussy and put all of my heart into my projects and geiger was no exception to this, yet it took me deeper in thought and feelings than I could ever have imagined and has set my path of further projects along a slightly different road. This really was a project of full indulgence in techniques, cables, pattern reading, not taking, chart making and slow stages right to the end. The attention to detail in this pattern has been amazing and something I will never forget. KAL deadlines vanished but this didn’t upset me at all. I was sad one of my friends couldn’t join me but we still shared the process as both of us feel exactly the same way about anything we do. Norah Gaughan's cable design has captivated me and developed my sense of who I am and what I expect of myself or what others think about me.

 Final stages, slow fashion, slowly drying the button bands

Final stages, slow fashion, slowly drying the button bands

I think by now anyone reading who enjoys my knitting posts will realise I entertain some frogs and have recently joined the knitting surgery modification group, if there is a group for this! Geiger was no exception. Frogs were found in my room. Cable directions were corrected but not in the modern way of dropping them back, I am still old fashioned and rip, rip, rip - frog. I always feel so much better when I am back to before the mistake and knit up again with more care and attention. This pattern kept me focussed and it was only at the times I thought I would keep knitting when my mind was tired that I realised I should stop knitting, leave my project aside and only come back with a fresh mind. Slow knitting and enjoying every aspect of the process helped me to embrace the perfectionist side of me which I had begun to feel was out of date and others thought I should be a 'couldn't care less' type of person. I may not rank high on popularity status in any groups but for me to be distraction free and enjoy slow knitting really helped the way I felt and it was ok to be me.

I sent each piece to the spa as I completed them. I knit the sleeves first, then the back and finally the fronts. looking back I feel this helped me as the sleeves didn’t have multiple ‘at the same time’ instructions or any pattern shifting. This helped me to learn the cables, which aren’t difficult but I may have found them more confusing if I was working multiple ‘at the same times’ in the basic learning mode. I had an issue with the sleeves which I will detail later as it was nothing to do with the ease of knitting them. My mind coped with the sleeves in this order as the instructions ahead for the body involved my chart making/flow chart of the detailed instructions. Brooklyn Tweed excel in detailing all the techniques required, especially the more recent patterns. They read their patterns and whilst this is a 5 (highest on the technical scale) the design itself is enjoyable and I feel the 5 is actual pattern reading for both written and charted instructions. The charts are excellent, just a few places to watch for chart decreases which aren’t in the written instructions. I really enjoyed the complete immersion with notecards and a variety of pens to help me relax and knit as I seem to learn better by writing things out which I understand may not be the way others work as they have more ability than me. My lack of confidence prevents me from just knitting and hoping but I cannot change this as I have always been methodical about things I do and the way I learn.

 Gilet style Gieger

Gilet style Gieger

Last week although I had finished knitting all the pieces, the seaming process was something I knew would be slow too. I wasn’t going to rush, just to get this project out of the way. I was nervous as this is one area I would have depended on mum to help me. Once again my lack of confidence in making garments up raised its head but I knew by keeping to my slow fashion, slow knitting and now slow seaming I would hopefully see this together to resemble the finished design that caught my eye when the pattern was released. My reference book came to my rescue as the visuals helped to reassure me that the techniques mum used were ones I could use myself and slowly I started to seam the pieces together over many days. I hit a blip when I discovered the sleeves I had tried on were set in lower than I thought. I had pulled the sleeve up to the top of my arm, it was a little bit too long but nothing like it was when I used my Cocoknit claw clips to hold the sleeve into the armhole. I put on my now gilet style Geiger with sleeves temporarily on place - where did my hands go? No matter how much I bunched them up or tried to convince myself they are fine I had to conclude the sleeves weren’t for arms like mine! I know I have issues with sleeves but I thought as Geiger was so neat and fitted the sleeves would be fine on me. I had to leave this aside and think as I really couldn’t have worn the cardigan with such long sleeves and the cuff was very wide. It is meant to be wider than normal but as I have thinner wrists than most, the length and width ruined the fitted style. Surgery was the only way at this stage and I will know if I knit another one (a big possibility) I will alter the sleeves in length and will use a finer gauge to knit the cuff (my wrists are very tiny) I had tense days as I decided to add two lifelines and cut the cuff. I knew the way the cuff was knit the rib wasn’t just 2x2 and I need to work out how I could make the end of my cuffs look like the tubular cast on when I didn’t have regular rib. Suffice to say my method wont be found in any knitting book but it worked, much to my relief, and dad’s as he has been with me every stitch of the way! I have to add, dad is as fussy as me and encourages me when defeat presents itself. He knows how much time and energy I have given to this project although he sees the finished cardigan as a piece or art, he still has to convince me it really does look like something people would wonder if it was knit or bought. I have a department in my mind which shows me something in a  completely different way and still needs to be supported and convinced that my knitting has reached a different level. You need my eyes and mind to understand the grading process of this department!

 before Surgery 

before Surgery 

 after surgery

after surgery

I had to seam something each day as this was playing on my mind, thinking I would fail at the last steps and ruin all the knitting that I had spent so much time doing. I have invested in my knitting and finishing tools and know when I knit Geiger I have used everything and don’t regret having the correct supplies to help me finish my knitting projects. Despite all the pieces being soaked and blocked the button bands were detailed to the bind off rows (another section to unnerve me with picking up stitches) Fussy B came back as I have been working with Geiger all together and wanted the wool to relax like the rest of the pieces. Dad understands more than I think anyone knows as he was thinking the same way and next morning I found the baby bath (I use this for the spa) and his homemade blocking board was out of the garage and into our home. Don’t laugh but dad is not only a good cake winder but he sat and held Geiger with the way I had used scrap yarn to hold the bands in the cold water for 10mins! Big clue as to why I am fussy ;) I still haven’t finished but the photo today will show how the final blocking (after each piece was at the spa during the months I knit this) I won’t be lifting this until it is dry and then hopefully I can post a photo of Geiger which is like a dressmaker fitted garment with each piece constructed to fit into place when seaming. It is very slender and neat and has changed my approach to my further projects. If there is one pattern out of the many I have knit, Geiger has taken me on a joinery of discovery and even more understanding of ‘slow fashion’

Buttons are the most difficult aspect now. I only need three but to date they have escaped me. I am waiting for a set in the post but don’t even know if they will suit. The sad demise of local haberdashery shops is emphasised to me as I don’t need glitzy buttons or some that I look at and loved but they just wouldn’t work for Geiger. I might have to use temporary ones if my search isn’t fruitful in the coming weeks. 

Dad has been incredible throughout the time I have spent knitting Geiger, with endless supplies of notebooks, cards, pens and he even brought home a few library books, one of which I have placed an order for as the visualise and explanations helped me when seaming the pieces of Geiger. I would have left the book on the shelves, thinking it would be basic and nothing like the advice online, yet it has been my resource and one which I want to add to my library. I really cannot praise dad enough and cannot express how much he understands about this whole are of craft even if he hasn't a clue about the morse code I speak about in the patterns.

One of the things I have done which I won’t go into in detail but I have set my Apple Watch aside. I hope this might help me to rest better although I am not lazy I was taking things to the extreme. I have a lovely fine watch which was a treasured gift and I am enjoying wearing it after 2yrs of being always connected to the little red notification dot. At first I checked my analogue watch for the dot but now I have found the not always connected has given me respite to use reference books, to chat and focus and a lot more things. I cant declare I will not wear my Apple Watch again but as my leg has been a huge worry I am hoping by doing this I can continue to avoid doctor’s appointments and stop wakening up at unearthly hours to wonder if i can fit in all my stand-up and move times! Geiger will look much better without the bulk of my Apple Watch under the cuff and my arm feels much lighter!


Yet another long blog. Thank you for reading at least a little part of it

One more thing, my Lykke needle shows signs of wear after knitting Geiger. I have had a few issues with the cable connection, although I love the needles there may be longevity issues which I have raised with the company. They are guaranteed but the returns process is from the USA. I have just received an envelope from the US and I think it is new cables. I didn't have to return mine but I will be reporting back if this is the new cables and mention the tip may not last as we invest a lot of money in these sets. The guarantee holds but the fact we have to request to be posted from the USA isn't so good especially if they had asked me to return my cables to them. If tips needed to be replaced this may be the case.  My ChiaoGoo needles will last longer although with the interchangeable sets they still have some connection issues. I love the tactile wood of Lykke but feel there is a lot of room for improvement with cables and connections. I was knitting felt yet the top of my cable bent a bit which required a hot water soak in the hope it doesn’t disconnect the tip. I am sure anyone who has read this far will be pleased to know my keyboard wants new batteries, my throat needs soothing meds and my eyes need to rest.......