Sunbreak

I finished Sunbreak.

Ravelry tells me that I started it on July 19, 2011. I remember starting it at a Craft Camp. I used one of Kate‘s stitch markers for the centre and ended up taking it home with me. I returned it on the next camp, don’t worry. I think I finished the centre bit that camp, because I remember frantically making up little bobbins to do the rays, as everyone was packing up to leave.

For a while after that it looked like this

I couldn’t really knit it on public transport, so I watched a lot of Qi and That Mitchell and Webb Look while knitting this part of it. This part was sometimes hair-pullingly complex, but I can genuinely say (at this remove) that it was fun. I would do it again, no matter how lacking in calm wisdom I sound in this other post.

The reason it was so tangly was that I didn’t want a lot of floats behind the rays. Because the yarn is crepe ply, not wooly, they showed through and it was hard to keep them neat. So I basically did intarsia. Each little section of colour was its own bobbin. I remember getting very frustrated at how lumpy and imperfect it was looking, but I decided that a bit of bumpiness was ok. Eventually I got to the end of the short rays and it did get a lot easier then.

And then you knit each corner to square off the shape. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember the details of this, but I remember thinking that it was very elegantly designed. I remember a few head scratching moments of confusion, but I trusted in the pattern and it worked out lovely.

Then you block the middle bit like lace. It’s knit on fairly large needles, so it spreads out a lot. I didn’t get exactly the recommended size, so I just blocked it till it was even, and a nice proportion.

The centre is 76cm x 110cm. Flickr tells me that I blocked it in early February 2012. I started knitting the border, although after a whole blanket I wasn’t super excited about that. I decided to knit the longest sides first.

Then, on March 30, disaster struck. I know it was then because that’s the date of the email from me to the Clean Person at the hairpin, saying ‘HALP! I have ink on my knitting!’ A pen leaked on my bag and there was a splodge of ink, right at the beginning of the longest border edge that I’d almost finished. Clean Person Jolie was very helpful but although the ink was reduced, it was still present and I knew it would always bother me. So I ripped it out.

Then I didn’t knit anything at all for almost a year. I picked it up again in January this year. Because a summer of repeated 40 degree heatwaves is clearly the best time to knit. But also, I started it when I found out that my best friend was pregnant. It’s not for her kid, it’s for her. But he’s about to turn one and I thought it would be nice to have it for her by then. Not to mention that I intended to knit something for her 30th which was in February but obviously I am working on a year’s delay here.

So anyway. I turned up to craft camp this time with the blanket, two long edges, and half of a short edge. I finished the first short edge that first Friday there, and sewed on everything I had, so I only had one short edge to go. I was DETERMINED to finish it.

On the Sunday night I had the edge about five rows from completion when I gave up and went to bed. On Monday morning I steam blocked it and sewed it on. And then we had a little photoshoot.

I am SO pleased with it. I love it. The border gives it a nice heft, and it’s as snuggly as you could not-want in the heat we’ve been having. I am so pleased to finally be finished, and I’m really pleased with it as a piece of work, and proud of my own skill.

With the border it is 93cm x 120cm. I lost track of the amount of yarn I used, because of the shenanigans with the bobbins, but it weighs just over 900g, so I’d say I used 4 and a bit balls of blue (Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in Tasman), and maybe a quarter of a ball of the yellow, which is an unknown yellow in Classic that I bought at their mill. Which is a shame because it’s a lovely colour, unlike all the standard yellows they offer which are palid and sad.

I’ll be giving it to its owner this evening and I hope she likes it.

Ravelry link.

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Baby

My best friend had her baby. He is tiny and looks like an adorable goblin. He officially has a name, as of the weekend. And he has this jacket, which it’s possible that he might fit in about a year (he’s swimming in 00000s at the moment).

Pew-whatever cardigan. Lovely pattern, although the formatting on the pdf was a bit whacky and made it hard to read. But hey, it’s free, and more importantly the actual instructions are well written and easy to follow. Will definitely be knitting this again, possibly with embroidery or intarsia additions to the front.

I also finished of another Aviatrix hat, because it was on some needles that I wanted to use.

Also a lovely pattern, took me two day’s commutes to finish up.

I still haven’t finished the edging of that blanket, though. I’ve got two sides of the border done, and there’s been no movement on that front for a while. I did have my wisdom teeth out last Thursday, so I’ve been drugged up to the eyeballs, which I think is a fair excuse, but it’d be nice to have it to give to her maybe when her mum goes home a bit after Easter (Oh shit, that’s weekend  after next), or a similar time. We’ll see. That might be my knitting mantra – we’ll see.

Dreams

Dreamt about packing for craft camp last night. Dream me is more organised than real me. On the plus side, it was nice to have decided what fabric to bring without having to take time out of my day.

I realised the other day that Sewjourn is my happy place. Specifically the driveway. Ok, that sounds weird, let me explain. I can picture myself here:

Or here:

It’s a liminal space – in between, a gateway, a crossroads. There’s not much going on, so I can create it well in my mind’s eye. It’s quiet, and clean, and bright. And whichever way I’m going, I’m on the way both to and from something lovely. I’m heading back from the studio after a morning of making and chatting and laughing, to a delicious meal, or a quiet contemplative bath. Or maybe I’ve been reading in the house and I’m heading back to be with my crafty family. There is joy and love and comfort waiting for me. Probably I am still chuckling about something someone said as a parting shot as I slipped out of the studio, or I have my head down thinking about what I am going to make when I get back there.

If I am in my real life, and I need a breath of fresh air or a moment of calm, that is what I picture. This view:

Or this one:

I’ve needed it this week, too, that dose of calm, that deeper breath. There have been several infuriating meetings and the like. Good thing I’ll be back there soon, to restock my supply of calm.

I also dreamt that I went to the fat fashion swap in Melbourne. When I found out about it, I seriously considered flying in for the day to go to it. I am not going to do that, but maybe some of you would be interested. Here is the facebook page with the information.

In less literal dreams, I finished Abby’s blanket that I was knitting for my bestie’s child.

I did, of course, make an error in the lace. I got off by a few stitches, for a few rows, and didn’t notice for a while. I set my chin and refused to tink back, because I was on a deadline, and my bestie is of the ‘that’s how you know it was handmade with love’ school of thought. I kind of wish I’d fixed it. Or at least taken close ups of a different part of the blanket.

It’s actually quite hard to spot in real life – I’m not fooling myself either. While it was blocking I looked for it so I could fret over it, as you probe a sore tooth. It took me a good minute to locate it.

Blanket ravelry details here.

Said baby was due on Sunday, as I was blocking the blanket. It’s still not here, and I’d appreciate it holding out a little while longer. I finished a matching Puerperium cardigan on the bus this morning. I brought needles and buttons to work and I’m going to finish the finishing at lunch, and then drop the two of them over tonight.

I requested that the baby not come this weekend, while I am away. On reflection, though, that would be fine – the respective families are going to descend and wouldn’t get a chance to smuggle the much awaited brie into the hospital for a while, anyway. So this weekend is fine, just… wait a few more hours, baby. The knitting is not ready yet.

Quickly

I didn’t get that job. But I got some really great feedback and there’s another position at the same place that they’ve asked me to apply for. So I feel, all in all, that it was positive.

I started knitting the second baby blanket. I decided I was better off getting her the kid’s blanket, so she had something nice to wrap the baby in in the first few weeks. Sunbreak is pretty big and heavy, I think it’s going to be more of a playmat/cot blanket, so there’s less rush. I’m knitting Abby’s Blanket by Kristin Kapur. Like all her patterns, it’s wonderfully knitting, and a perfect blend of simple, elegant and complex. Loving it so far – I’m up to the second repeat of the lace. I’m knitting it from Bendigo Rondo, which is a machine washable one but is twist plied not crepe. I like it a lot, it’s soft and smooshy. The colours are their regular pastelly ones, but somehow are less flat than usual, I guess because the base is nicer? I think the ‘lime zest’ is the same dye mix as the ‘pistachio’ alpaca, but it’s much less insipid. I’m using Lime zest for the inside, I’m just going to knit until I’m out, and then Ocean spray for the border, and I’ll just knit until it’s a decent size. But I’m thinking of this as more of a car seat/wrap blanket, so it shouldn’t be too big to be unwieldy.

That’s been my evening couch knitting. But I’m knitting the sunbreak border on my commute. I’m managing an average of 3 repeats of the cable each way. 27″ down. 161″ to go. That’s still a good 5″ a day, though, so I’m feeling ok about the whole thing.

The centre of the sun

I’ve been diligently knitting away on Sunbreak.

It’s not finished yet. It’s 47″ by 37″. That’s 168″ of edging to be knit – well, a bit more, counting corners.

It’s taking me about a half hour an inch.

So another 5040 minutes of knitting. 84 hours. Plus seaming. Not that I’m counting.

The recipient is due on the 4th of March. I don’t know if anyone realises, but that’s three weeks away.

Well, 20 days. That’s 4.2 hours of knitting needed per day. At least. My commute is two hours a day, and I can knit for most of it. Even so, that’s a lot of stitches.

Well, it’s a first pregnancy. It’s bound to be overdue, right? RIGHT?

Some actual information:

  • I blocked it out pretty hard, as per the instructions. They tell me that the size I’m knitting should be 43.5″ by 51.5″ but I just blocked it until it was stretched, and then evened up the sides. The drape is really lovely, and the heavier middle and heavier cabled sides are going to make it even better, I think.
  • The pattern is amazing, and really clever, but I struggled with a few bits. It’s clear enough for the advanced knitter it assumes you are, but there were one or two points where I could have used a hint. Once I remembered that the bumpy side is actually the right side, though, it all came good.
  • Ravelry tells me I’ve been knitting this since the end of July. Six months, or so. Not too bad, really, especially as it reached maximum lap warming size about the time the first heatwave hit Adelaide this summer.
  • I say the recipient is due in March, but that’s not true. This one’s not for the kid. It’s for its mum. She’s my oldest friend, apart from my cousins, and I wanted to give her something that showed her how much I appreciate her, and all the warm sunny thoughts I have for her future.
  • I was going to knit another blanket for the actual baby. I still intend to. I think maybe someone should call a psychiatrist for me, or something.
  • Doing the centre was freaking painful. There was swearing. There was an email to the intended recipient that read ‘I’m making you a blanket, and it’s going to be shit’. There was ripping out and restarting and darning in of ends. And it’s not perfect. But I am so, so happy with it. Like our friendship, there are dodgy patches and a wonky seam and a couple of ends poking out, but the overall effect is stunning, if I do say so myself. Besides being cozy and warm.
  • Brb, knitting.

Old FOs

I finally got around to sifting through photos from the last few months and putting some of them on the internet. Here are a couple of Fos I missed, plus one little new one.

First up is a pair of Genmaicha mitts for myself.

I knit a pair of these for my sister’s birthday in 2008. I really loved the pattern – the cabling is so interesting to work, and very neatly designed. In 2009 I cast on for a pair for me in this undyed Camel yarn, but they came out to small so I frogged them. I cast on again in April of this year, and worked on them in fits and starts. They were done in July, photographed in August, blogged in December. Not very timely mitts. But they are nice and warm, and soft although the long hairs make them a teeny bit itchy on my wrists. I got a good month’s worth of wear out of them before it got warm enough not to need them. I’m glad to have them ready for next year, though.

Next up is the cowl that I knit from S.

I knit it from Malabrigo and the original plan was to knit it long enough to be a snood/hood thing. But that didn’t work out – it would have to have been wider and maybe double-wrapped, which he didn’t want. As it is, it’s tall enough to keep the top of his neck warm if need be.

Terrifying. I did offer to knit a matching beanie out of the leftovers, but he was uninterested.

I’ve always wanted to try brioche stitch, so I looked up the instructions, swatched, worked out how wide I wanted it (100 stitches for about a 32″ circumference), and went to it. Brioche. Lovely and smooshy. Would knit again.

The last is a more up to the minute FO. A pair of ‘better than booties’ that I knit for my Boss’ baby shower, which was last Saturday.

I’ve knit this pattern before, both times in the ‘ruffle cuff’ variation. Very neat pattern. I might try to whip up a few pairs (maybe try one or two of the other variations, which are also sweet) for generic baby gifting. I wish I liked baby knits more. She says, contemplating the baby blanket that has possibly fallen into some sort of time portal and will just absorb all the knitting hours without getting closer to being finished. Hmmm, booties are looking promising.

One of these booties took me one day to knit – to and from work on the bus, and an evening on the couch. The other took one whole week’s worth of bus knitting. No need for the pattern being lugged around, although I did need paper to mark rows on.

Also, please to note the rhubarb leaf on which the booties are nestled. I grew it from seed, and then left it in its little pot a bit too long because I wasn’t sure where to plant it. All the places that would be good for rhubarbs are sort of in transition – waiting to be mulched or fenced. So I prepped a spare half a wine barrel with a bunch of rabbit poop, and planted it there. Within a week the leaves had burnt off, but I kept watering it in hope. It sprung back like WOAH. I took these photos on Thursday last week. Here it is, in its pot.

This is the disorganised side of the garden. My policy is, if it’s not in a garden bed, and it’s not poisonous or spikey, and it’s growing, it can stay. You can also see the sad passionfruit that shot up last summer during a heatwave, so that I missed training it properly, and the bed that is supposed to be the herb garden but that I need to fence because the chickens like taking dust baths there.

Anyway, I went out to water the rhubarb on Sunday and it’s now hanging over the edges of the pot. I swear it doubled in size in two days.

That rabbit poo is good stuff.

It lies

I’m talking about gauge. It’s giving me issues, right now.

I finished up S’s cowl and my lingering fingerless mitts on the weekend. They were both good autopilot knitting – not brainless, they both involved complicated stitches. Besides, knitting brainlessly is garter stitch is just asking for trouble. But I didn’t have to make any adjustments or decisions, and I needed something to sit down with in front of the fire in between frantically moving all of my crap from the damp, mouldering lean to into the surprisingly not as damp garage. Along with the accumulated crap of two other people (my sister and a friend, for whom I am storing a car’s space worth of stuff).

This is because the lean to is finally, FINALLY getting torn down and put back up again. Amongst much upping of quotes (it’s asbestos. Seriously, you would think they would WANT me to get rid of toxic materials. Not really incentivising me, here). The electrician is coming tomorrow to cut off the power to the lean to, which means that everything had to be out by tonight because there will be no lights in the backyard by which to haul crap around. And then Thursday the asbestos people are coming (grumble grumble grumble) and Friday the builders are starting. After that it really shouldn’t take too long. Hooray! Finally! A house that does not leak! And which is cold but maybe less chilly and clammy! And which I can vacuum all parts of without them immediately becoming gross again! And which I can put stuff against the walls of without water pooling underneath it!

However. That is not the actual point of this post. The point of this post is that lying liar. I’m talking, as I said, about gauge.

So I finished those two things. The active projects on my needles now are both colourwork. Which is great, I am loving it, but it’s not exactly bus knitting. Also, I think I’m going to rip out the colourwork bit of the blanket and try a different tactic because the floats are showing and it’s messy (f#*&ing crepe plied yarn). I looked at all my hibernating projects – all cotton or boring, hence the hibernating. I thought about casting something new on – I even bought a pattern! Then I realised that I had started Jaali. That I was excited about it. That I had put it down for some inexplicable reason.

That reason was gauge. Not getting gauge. I took that as my bus knitting yesterday and realised what I had realised before – that it seemed tight and awkward to knit on. Sure enough, three stitches extra over 4 inches. That’s quite a lot over a whole jumper. So I ripped it. I’ve cast the yarn back on as something different, which I think might actually be better for the yarn, and I was only a couple of inches (and a complicated cable border, but I enjoyed knitting that so it doesn’t count) in. The thing is, I swatched like the blazes for this one. I know I had gauge.

I got gauge this morning, too. I swatched for another fox, this time for my sister. It’s different yarn, a bit bulkier I think, so I knit up a quick swatch before casting on. Even though it’s a scarf and it doesn’t really matter. I am virtuous. I used the recommended needle, the needle I used with the smaller yarn last time. Too big. Way too big, three stitches off and the fabric was way too loose.

Went down a size. Still a stitch and a half too big.

Went down ANOTHER size. Still a weeny bit big, but the fabric was nice which is really the most important thing for this project. Good enough.

Cast on on the bus, got a couple of inches in… the fabric seems awfully tight. Folks, it’s two stitches over 4 inches short of gauge.

I SWATCHED. Three times. The knitting gods are testing me.

I’m going to keep knitting on the way home, which will give me a few more inches to judge if the fabric is too stiff. Otherwise, good enough. But I am worried about my colourwork projects. If I knit a whole colourwork mitten in sockweight yarn, and then it won’t go over an adult hand…

I wonder if it’s time to learn how to wrap the yarn over my finger. I’m a thrower, and I’ve never relearnt because I am fast and I always get gauge. But I tell you, it’s a pain doing colourwork like that.

Maybe this is an opportunity?

Nah.