March off my needles

“The best laid plans” words that could sum up the month of March for me. Knitting plans amongst personal dilemmas all appeared like mountains to climb but I am happy to blog about some of the progress I have made with my knitting projects. I have one finished with two slow knitting companion projects progressing at a steady pace. I finished Carbeth cardigan and have worn it (a lot!) I really love how Buachaille feels knit double stranded. I checked the extra Buachaille I have in stash and think I may knit another marled version. I loved the gentle marl of Ptarmigan and Haar and know how versatile this will be for me. I am possibly the only person who can wear Carbeth with another layer over it to keep me warmer. Suffice to say I was hit again with a sore throat and shivers but I hope when my temperature returns to normal I will be cosy with a layer under Carbeth. I actually think I will knit the sweater version as I have worn the cardigan with the buttons closed so at this stage, the sweater I didn’t think I would wear would be a viable option for a cosy everyday wear in a different marl of Buachaille.

Updated: 2nd April - I will knit the cardigan version after all as the neck is much warmer than the sweater for me. I hope to modify the button band

 

  Carbeth cardigan  : Buachaille Ptarmigan and Haar  marled

Carbeth cardigan : Buachaille Ptarmigan and Haar  marled

I apologise that there are no photos yet of dad wearing Denali or of me wearing Carbeth as I am still not feeling well enough to be out. This blog is a day late too, as I had planned to type it for the last day of March but I wakened up yesterday with a niggle in my eye, ignored it and kept on with the things I had to do. I posted a photo of The Shieling on Instagram and when I got up to move again a migraine type headache hit me really hard. I really felt unwell and there was no other option for me but to go to bed and close my eyes. I know dad must love Denali as no matter what sweater I put out for him to wear, he appears in Denali! I will have to hide it this week and make sure he wears another sweater as I don’t have time to knit him another one at the moment.

My larger scale projects have really given me solace and my time offline has been valuable. I have learned new skills and have enjoyed every stage of planning, preparing, knitting and finishing. The tools I have purchased in the past have all proved how essential they are to my knitting and the way I approach each stage. Projects have really become in-depth for me and have given me a  boost when I felt I couldn’t cope with other things happening around me. To knit with my full attention, yet feel refreshed after my timed session, packing my wool and needles in my field bag and porter bin. Smoothing my work on Cocoknits mats, a satisfying experience amidst a world where everyone seems to want to move along in a face paced lifestyle. I am very much a person of routine and feel better doing anything methodically. I know this wouldn’t be everyone’s choice and it may be considered as boring, but it’s me, always has been, it’s the way I cope. 

I knew Geiger would be a challenge but was happy to know two friends would knit along with me. I didn’t realise the depth of comprehension that I needed before I could continue to knit this special cardigan. I feel happy with the choice I made to start with the sleeves. By doing this I became familiar with the charts and cables with minimal shaping required. The next piece I cast on was the back, the bottom section eased me in but then I saw ‘read the pages ahead before proceeding’ if Brooklyn Tweed put this in a pattern, take heed, read, learn and inwardly digest! I read ‘at the same time’ a few times, referred to the techniques, abbreviations, noted the repeats for the size I am knitting. Noted the charts had different repeats of sections, rows 1- 58 actually involve a lot more rows when the repeats are worked at different stages. Pattern shifts are at a different rate from the other shaping. My notebook became a bit messy and I hadn’t even started to knit. I decided to use the sturdy cards dad salvages from old legal document books : note the stages with a lot of different coloured pens. This method has really helped me as before the lightbulb lit up in my head I needed to work out where I was adding/subtracting or doing both. Dad became a speaking calculator! I think all dad needs to do is buy some wool and knit as he was really helpful, although he was convinced I was learning morse code. He counted when I rhymed off the instructions, my living stitch counter tallied the numbers. It was worth the time to do all of this as when I eventually went back to knit, the design made sense and now I am enjoying knitting  every stitch. Don’t let my method put you off knitting this design, just remember the most important thing to do is read ahead when Brooklyn Tweed advise you to! The method I used worked for me as I am a nervous knitter, with less confidence than most knitters. I needed reassurance even if it means slower than slow knitting. I know I will have to knit at least some rows everyday or my confidence will dwindle. I had two mornings I didn’t have to bake or clean the coffee maker before I expressed a shot or two to keep me alert. I used used this time to set my charts, then had another distraction free session in the afternoon. I felt a real sense of refreshing in my mind after a successful afternoon. The sense of relaxation is incredible after knitting intensely, it seems contrary to how I should feel but Geiger really is one of the most enjoyable knitting projects I have undertaken. I still check everything and don’t knit Geiger at night, this is just my choice as I don’t want to spoil the process by making a sleepy eyes mistake. There’s another place to watch on the chart, a tiny symbol to decrease that isn’t written. Sleepy minds or eyes might miss one. 

Photos show my progress, notes, back, back again, sleeves relaxed after the spa

I have a lot more to knit but I wouldn’t forget the extra level of pattern reading skills needed to progress with a more relaxed mind. It’s a wonderful pattern and dad reminded me it was a cardigan to wear. I didn’t even think of wearing it as I just saw complications ahead. I can now look forward to wearing it, one day, a few months away. 

I will have to keep my last project short but The Shieling blanket squares have been my comfort knitting. I knit this in the evening and realised the colour work with a visual chart to follow with minimal words took my mind into a different place. It is still a long term knit but to have a finished square is an achievement for me. Once again the tools and needles I have invested in are being used. I re-jigged the needles I use for the cast on to use a ChiaoGoo interchangeable cable with a log tip. It has stabilised the cast on after that twist experience. Blocking is easier and picking up the stitches to join the strips is much better too. I hope to join the strips as I knit the 5 squares needed. I realised when I went to join my first strip how soft the yarn had become after blocking and leaving. 

 The Shieling:  Milarrochy Tweed   - 1st strip joined - one more square to join 2nd strip 

The Shieling: Milarrochy Tweed  - 1st strip joined - one more square to join 2nd strip 

I didn’t think I would knit a garment as I wasn’t sure if I could wear anything knit in it. I get itchy eyes and hands when knitting with the yarn but the finished/relaxed squares feel and look beautiful, I can now look forward to wearing a cardigan using the colours I had received when I registered for the club for the colour work yoke. The main colour (Birkin) arrived yesterday and I love it.  I took advantage of my club discount just before it ended to purchase a main colour with plans to knit the yoke cardigan, in the future. I ordered an extra skein as I have had one skein of First for my blanket which looked like it was ready to splice which meant in couldn’t knit with these sections. Hopefully this is the exception to the otherwise lovely yarn. 

I guess anyone who reads my blog knows by now that I am fairly strict with myself and when a knitworthy project had to be put on hold I didn’t feel good about this at all. I started it but my thumb wasn’t healing and knitting on small circumference needles in a very fine gauge took its toll, pain and swelling no matter how I tried to compensate when I knit the mittens, I had to heed the warning signs and leave this project aside to come back to when my up. I will be back knitting the mittens before any other knitworthy project plans. I will be placing a VIP tag on this project as soon as possible. Thankfully my friend understands and I hope the mittens will be warming her hands as autumn arrives but I need to have them knit before autumn starts to show signs of appearing this year.

I really could type so much more but I feel this is long enough. I have been curating a lot of things online and have been anxious about news happening in social media. I had to make some decisions which were difficult but hope if I activate my account again my dear friends will still remember who I am and how much I care. I watched a knitting podcast about EYF and was smiling and laughing by the end when I saw two of my Ravelry friends dancing together. This was so much fun to watch, I watched it twice and each time it warmed my heart to see how much they were enjoying the event. I know I could never do this but I was part of the fun due to social media, so not everything is as disheartening as the recent news about Facebook.

One last thing, I really wasn’t on top form yesterday and I think I can cope better with a knitting mistake as I baked bread for dad first thing yesterday. I had been baking a few mornings last week and one recipe uses baking powder, the other on baking soda and the bread baking powder and cream of tartar BUT I didn’t check the recipe - NB I need to apply my pattern reading criteria. I thought I knew it so well and wondered when I looked in the oven why the bread was flowing over and looked like a monster. It still didn’t click until dad asked me what the difference was in baking powder and soda - goodness I had added baking powder and soda instead of cream of tartar! I instantly wanted to bake another loaf but dad wouldn’t let me. He is eating it toasted but I really am cross with myself and will bake a fresh loaf remembering cream of tartar! Frogs in knitting aren’t as bad as this ;)

Thank you for reading if you have managed to read some of the words I have posted today

 

Knitting together

Finishing school