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.

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Foxy Loxy

Remember the fox stole that I wore to Sarah’s wedding and gave to her mum? I finally finished his replacement. Well, it’d been done for a while, but I hadn’t sewn the ends in. I finally did so I could wear him on my Melbourne trip. Here is the rav link.

I looooove him. (I suppose it could be a she – are vixens different colours or shapes? But somehow it’s a he). So snuggly and warm. Even if I DO get glares when I wear him in Adelaide. I don’t know, people.

Only received smiles when wearing him in Melbourne, though. Even when having an impromptu photoshoot in a carpark.

Although not from the man reliving himself in the corner of said carpark, which is what I’d just noticed here. Nice.

I really loved knitting this, even a second time. This time I made his body a bit longer, I think by about an inch. I also made the tail one increase longer/wider. I’m planning to knit ANOTHER one for my sister’s birthday next month – better get cracking on that, it has to be posted to Ireland. I’ll make it to pattern, because she has less neck for him to snuggle around.

I’d been in a bit of a knitting slump – idly doing a few rows here and there but not very enthused. The wool show kicked me out of that. I’m knitting a cowl for S out of Malabrigo. He wants it to be tall enough that he can pull it over his head, but I stopped knitting it last night because it’s getting a bit ridiculously massive, and I want to have him try it on before I go any further.

Instead I did a (teeny tiny, probably inadequate) swatch for some Mystery and Manners for my sister. They’re colourwork which kind of intimidates me.  They’ll definitely be an at-home project because there is a complicated chart. Well, it’s not that complicated, but it is different every row, and definitely needs to be spread out and concentrated on. I’ve got gauge with the suggested needles, but I had to pin it a bit to do so, so I’m not sure about it. But I think probably the size up would be too big. I’m knitting it in Morris Empire, which I bought on the trip. I was going to buy it during their sales – I’ve been plotting these mittens for a while, but waiting to hear if my sister is staying in Ireland to get use out of them. But in the end, it was too hard to pick colours over a screen. Plus I realised I would be going there, and could save myself the postage. I ended up choosing ‘daffodil’ and ‘kingfisher’ which are working really well together.

I also cast on Sunbreak for a baby blanket for a friend. I’m using the Bendigo Classic I bought last week. The yellow is just called ‘yellow’ and it isn’t on their colour card, which is a shame because it’s LOVELY. Not washed out and sad like usual Bendigo colours. I’m doing the sun in the middle in the yellow and the rest of the blanket in Tasman Blue. Hypothetically – we’ll see how I go when I get to the transition. I haven’t really thought it through, to be honest. Someone else on Ravelry has done an intarsia one with the same thing – yellow sun, blue blanket, but they did it in four parts and sewed to together. The pattern gives you options for doing it that way, or in the round, and I chose in the round. I’m a bit worried because the yarn isn’t fuzzy and forgiving and capable of hiding mistakes, but I’m sure it will be Good Enough. And if not, I can reassess. I’m about halfway through the centre of the sun and loving it. I realise this is the fun part, though.

I’ve got one and a half gloves of Genmaicha (rav link) in undyed camel which I really loved when I cast on. Now I’m just not sure. I’m not loving knitting them, and I’ve had some eczema on my hands this winter and I think the fuzzy camel would irritate it. I could really use some fingerless gloves right about now, though. But the contrast of having these new projects that I am in love with, and Genmaicha, which I love the pattern, and I love the yarn, but together… meh. Well, that’s not true. I do love the combination, I’m just not sure it’s for me. I don’t think the yarn would stand up well to ripping, though, so I guess I’ll finish them and maybe they’ll be ok.

But it is such a lovely feeling to be enjoying knitting again, and to be so excited about the projects on my needles.