Prototype knitting

WIP:  Mélange

I won’t say too much because it’s very much a work in progress as you can see but I am excited about this one.

It has been a while since I last designed anything as I have pretty much stalled on that front. But somehow, somewhere, I caught the bug and I had been thinking about it for a long time. So long that I bought stitch dictionaries a while back and never dug them out until two nights ago. It took me one night of planning and looking for the right stitches and then another night of charting and then another afternoon of plugging everything into an Excel book. I seriously have a lot of respect for pattern writers and designers, especially those who even include row-by-row stitch counts.

I hope I won’t take weeks to finish this – my goal would be to finish this within this month so that I can get it tested – another first for me as well – and then publish this. Wish me luck!

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Knit: Teal Leaves

FO: Teal Socks

Teal Leaves
Pattern | Leaf on the Wind by Purrlescent
Yarn | Phildar Lambswool in Turquoise
Needles | 2.75 mm, 2.5 mm & 2.25 mm DPNs

When I finished my previous sock project, I decided to find the perfect fit for my socks and embarked immediately on another sock project. I chose a solid colour yarn and a lace pattern that wasn’t all that complicated…or so I thought.

The gauge called for was different from what I knitted and I had to rip back at least thrice to find the right fit. In the end, I should have just gone with my gut instinct and selected the size based on feet measurements (M) given rather than gauge plus total stitch count (L). Still it makes for a good lesson in gauge. I realized that 2.75 mm needles gave me a gauge closer to that in the pattern but the fit wasn’t good and ended up being on the big side (not good if you want your socks to last). So I had to go back to my initial chosen size.

Then I discovered an error. Although the pattern is done toe up, it utilized a round toe which I am not familiar with so I ended up having to rip back when I realized that my toe shape was radically different from the one pictured in the pattern. After that, it was smooth sailing for a while…until I reached the heel and gusset. I found myself ripping back again after completing the heel because I couldn’t get it over my feet. Switching to 2.75 mm at just the heel flap made it easier but for future projects, I’d switch at the gusset itself instead of later. The heel construction in this pattern is different which resulted in a denser but also tighter fabric.

Once I was done, I switched back to the 2.5 mm and ignored the note (in the pattern) asking knitters to move one size up because of the biasing in the pattern. At this stage, I know that 2.5 mm is just nice for my shin and if I switch one size up, it’ll never hold. I was right. By the time I finished the cuffs and tried on the socks, I was convinced that not moving a needle size up and sticking to my usual cuff style knitting which is a 1×1 rib in 2.25 mm.

The finished pair is currently still blocking to help “expand” it so that it’ll fit over the heel without too much pulling and yanking. Sock knitting has given me a buzz and I am looking forward to working getting a good fit for the hubby as well as sock gifting as knitting socks for other people is something else altogether – at least that’s what I think! Trouble is that I need time…in between all my knitting projects, reviews on things like scrubs uniforms and the kids, ai…

UPDATE: After blocking, it’s still too tight so on hindsight, I should have done the gusset and heel flap in 2.75mm needles. I had to struggle to get both of them on! Too much work! So these will probably be gifted to someone.

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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Knit: Simple Handspun Socks

Simple Handspun Socks

Simple Handspun Socks
Pattern | Adapted from Socks on a Plane by Laura Linneman
Yarn | Simple Scarves Handspun Superwash Merino in Cherry Peach
Needles | 2.75 mm & 2.25 mm DPNs

After nearly a year of no sock-knitting, I decided to cast one my first pair using my own handspun. To count for the thick yarn, I decided to continue using 2.75 mm needles as I have always and also increase the stitch count from 64 to 68. While the resulting sock fits just alright on the foot, it was a little baggy on the leg. If you look closely, you can see that I waited too long to start the gusset, resulting in a little crinkly action going on on the instep. O’well…the socks still fit and they’ll do for home wear.

If I had to change anything, I would knit these in a smaller size around the leg and then drop another size (2.25 mm like what I did for the cuff) for the bind off. The Russian bind-off works like a charm and the cuff is a definite improvement compared to my previous attempts. The only snag in the whole thing is the length of the leg. I underestimated the yardage; had thought I was going to run out of yarn so I bound off the socks sooner than needed.

This project has inspired me to come up with a goal – to knit at least one sock a month starting from September (when I started) till June or July next year. This should help me destash all that fingering-weight yarn that I have lying around. I do foresee one thing though. With all this knitting action going on, I’ll have less time for my quilting project and winter knitting for the kids. Hm, time to manage projects again!

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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Knit: Citron

Citron off the block!

Pattern | Citron by Hilary Smith Callis
Yarn | Simple Scarves Silk-Wool Laceweight in Electric Blue
Needles | 4.5 mm circulars & 4 mm crochet hook

This was a simple knit – knit, purl with plenty of increases and decreases to get the ruffles. I made a crochet edging to finish off the shawl and instead of the recommended number of repeats (five), I made seven (or was it six?) repeats, resulting in long tedious nights of stockinette stitches and mindless knitting in front of the TV/laptop.

Blocking this was a challenge – I think I overblocked towards the bottom of the shawl which resulted in the last section of ruffles disappearing. I’ll have to keep in mind not to do the same the next time I put this in the wash.

Other than that, I’m loving the yarn and colour despite how “noisy” it seems. It’ll go perfectly well with solid tops or dresses – I can see it being showed off prettily on a simple black number. The silk in the yarn gives it an added shine and like my Jaali, I cannot stop molesting it. If I were to ever go back to dyeing, this would be one yarn base that I would hold onto simply because it’s amazing to knit with!

Now that I’ve cleared this, I’ll be gearing up for a cardigan KAL as well as the upcoming Ravelympics 2012 (and more reviews on medical scrubs)! I don’t know what possessed me to sign up for a KAL (Knit-A-Long) and the Ravelympics but hey, I figured I might as well hang onto my knitting mojo while I still have it! Hehehe.

Citron off the block!

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Knit: Hooting!


Pattern | Owelet by Kate Davies
Yarn | Cascade Yarns Eco+ in Summer Sky Heather
Needles | 6 mm & 6.5 mm circulars

I never really got around to making any sweaters for Eva until last year when I began to clear all my WIPs or newly started projects. I decided to take advantage of this love and plunged into uncharted waters – sweaters! To make things simple and easy, I decided to use a pattern that called for bulky or aran weight yarn, figuring that I might finish it faster.

I settled for Cascade Yarns Eco+ because of the price. Originally, I wanted something along the line of teal but they ran out and I didn’t want to wait so I settled for a lighter shade of blue. At first Nil sounded skeptical when I told him that I couldn’t get my hands on teal but when he saw this colour, he gave his okay.

I made this in Kids Size 2 (age 5-6) but an unfortunate glitch saw me knitting the sleeves in 6mm instead of 6.5mm and skipping out on three stitches. While Eva could still fit into it, it is rather snug so it meant some serious blocking for the sleeves. The width and length – as you can see – is ample so I didn’t really block this to death. I figured that in time, if I need it to be wider, I’ll block it then but for now, the sleeves need more vigorous blocking than the other parts.

Now that this is done, I’m contemplating between finishing my entrelac shawl or starting a lacework piece in one of my handdyed yarns. I miss knitting lace!

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Knit: Nil’s Quick Beanie

Nil's Quick Beanie

Nil’s Quick Beanie
Pattern | Koolhaas by Jared Flood
Yarn | Merino Worsted 3 ply in Blue & Bluish
Needles | 4.5 mm & 5 mm circulars

I finished this in the beginning of the month but never got around to blogging about it due to all the excitement with my soaps as well as going through salesforce reporting assignments.

I must be frank – I have never knitted much for my hubby. Every time I offered to knit something, he would declined. If I made something on a whim, I end up being the one to wear it like that blue entrelac scarf I made a few years back. So it was not surprising that whenever I do knit something for him, I either take ages or…urm, I just don’t do it. Hehehe.

This time around, *he* asked for a knitted item but only because his trusty beanie sported a hole and stank to high heaven. It was something his late grandma made for him and I could see that he cherishes it. He continued to wear it year after year and only recently when his dad bugged him to get a new one, did he finally ask me to make him one. But true to form, he gave me a pretty tight deadline and was quite picky with the colour.

“Nothing too bright” (when I suggested a nice red)
“Nothing too small or weird” (when I suggested a pattern)

The pattern he originally picked was…well, complicated so I got tired and settled on Koolhaas which I had done before for my brother. I knew it was a forgiving pattern which allowed for plenty of stretch. In the end, Nil was quite happy with the knit but not so happy with modelling it for me (as you can see in the picture).

I still have half a ball of yarn left so will either chuck it away until I need it for something small or…make another hat with it?

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Knit: Brown Meret

Brown Meret

Brown Meret
Pattern | Meret (Mystery Beret) by Woolly Wormhead
Yarn | Noro Kureyon in 149 and 242
Needles | 5 mm circulars

Finally, a knit for myself! With the awful weather and my last hat being a lousy fit (it’s more suitable for Eva than for me), I decided to start work immediately on a beret with some Noro yarn I bought last year when I wanted to knit a hat for my mum. Beanies don’t really look great on me with my round face so I thought why not a beret. After scouting around, I decided to stick to a pattern that I was familiar with. (Perhaps I should be more adventurous and try something different next time!)

Unlike the one I made for my mum which had four repeats, I made this extra extra slouchy by adding another repeat giving it a total of five repeats. I also blocked it over the largest plate I could find here at my father-in-law’s place – that really help bring out the shape. In terms of the dramatic striping that you need here, well, that’s because I split the two separate balls into half – meaning I knitted the brim in one colour (149) and then the other colour (242) and then 149 again before ending with 242.

I should take an action shot – perhaps tomorrow when the weather is better and we’re out AND I’m done weaving the ends. Hahaha.

Brown Meret

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Knit: Heliotrope in Bloom

FO: Heliotrope in Bloom

Heliotrope in Bloom
Pattern | Jaali by Kitman Figueroa
Yarn | Simple Scarves Silk-Wool Laceweight in Heliotrope
Needles | 3.75 mm, 6.0 mm and 4.0 mm circulars

This is one crazy knit…but in a good way, I must say. I started this as part of a Knit-Along or KAL with some Malaysian knitters back in April. There was no deadline attached to it (I reckon because we are all crappy with deadlines!) and the condition was that we would use yarns made or dyed by fellow Malaysians. I chose to use my silk-wool laceweight blend and against all sane thoughts, picked the large size to knit up in order to fully use up the nearly 670 meters worth of yarn.

That was the easy part. Now came the hard part…

  • Casting on 300 over stitches (at this point, I was beating myself up for choosing the large size)
  • Ripping them out three days later because I forgot about the center stitch
  • Ripping out 25 rows of 300 over stitches because I had 14 repeats on one side and 16 on another…in the process, my yarn got tangled so I had to snip and trash a portion of it. (ARGH mode!)
  • Then I put it down and picked it up about two weeks later – bad idea to knit when you’re angry
  • Reached the second chart about a week or two later
  • Put on hold sometime around mid-May to focus on my mum’s beret
  • Picked it up again about one to two weeks later

By June, I was at Row 51 out of 165. Heh. After that, it was all quiet on the update front until September when I reached Row 79…no thanks to the move back to France. Noah’s early entrance didn’t help and this project stalled until two weeks ago when I picked it up again to add some variety into my knitting. Luckily the stitch count from this point on was getting short and shorter fast so it turned into a speedy trip to the finish line.

As I sat with the hairdryer, drying the shawl as it blocked (yes, I was that desperate to make some space in my hall and to see my finished project), I told myself never again! I love this pattern – don’t get me wrong. It is very exquisite but it is not a mindless knit-in-front-of-the-TV project (even though it’s a Samsung LCD. Nonetheless, if you do choose to knit this, you won’t regret it…I certainly don’t.

Now that this is complete, I am going back to my entrelac stole and Eva’s sweater which I seriously need to focus on otherwise she’d never get to wear it for winter!!!!

FO: Heliotrope in Bloom

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