Works in Progress

I’m merrily switching between my two current projects this month. πŸ™‚

The Oshara Shawl MKAL

Week 3 of the MKAL is here, and like I predicted, I’m still on Week 2. πŸ™‚ I felt that there was quite some variance in the knitting amount each week. I finished Week 1 in a day since it was just short rows in garter stitch, and have spent a few evenings so far on Week 2 since it involves colorwork and lace. Week 3, again, looks smaller than Week 2 chart-wise, but maybe they’re comparable stitch-count-wise.

Oshara Shawl MKAL progress | Anita

The charts haven’t been difficult so far, and I’m hoping they remain that way for the remainder of the project. I don’t totally get how it’s shaping up, though. This week, Susanna (the designer) mentions that she uses a top-down construction method for this shawl, and that, I think, removed some of the confusion I had, but it’s still a little bit of a mystery. πŸ™‚

I can definitely see that the yarn I’m using is thinner than the one featured on the project page – it was the closest replacement I could find – but I like the loose knit that it creates.

The one thing that I absolutely love in this shawl so far is the play of colors! My next section is a bright yellow, though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll gel well with the rest of the team. πŸ˜‰

The Linen and Threads Mystery Sampler SAL

TheΒ current section of this mystery SAL is a giant one that spans two months. It might look like I’ve made very little progress on the project so far, but I actually did a lot of work. It’s just that it was on designing and not on the stitching.

L&T SAL - Jun/Jul progress | Anita

This section has a lion and a unicorn among vines/plants, holding up some kind of coat of arms with our initials and the current year. The instructions also come with a helpful section that shows charts for every alphabet and digit, so we should be able to easily stitch whatever we choose to feature on the coat of arms.

I appreciate all the effort the creators of the SAL have put in for the section, buuuut I didn’t really subscribe to the coat of arms concept, even after I gave it a few days. So I tried replacing the entire coat of arms with another vine/plant, using bits and pieces from the vines that I’m stitching now. I had to move around the other pieces a little too, and I’m happy with the changes, in spite of a small curve in the new vine that I still think is a bit wonky. πŸ˜‰

So now I’m finally stitching! I’m still not completely sure of the colors I’ll use for the animals, but that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get there. I’ve done enough designing on this project for one month. πŸ˜›

That’s it for this time, folks! Hope you’re enjoying your projects at least as much as I’m enjoying mine!

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Pullover ft. Entrelac

I can’t believe I managed to finish the entrelac pullover before I start the Oshara Shawl MKAL! It’s definitely not what I had in mind when I started experimenting on featuring entrelac, but it’s also definitely not a bad attempt.

Pullover ft. Entrelac | Anita

My main concern in this design was to account for decreases and increases in the entrelac pattern at some point (not counting the obvious one along the body.) Since this project has had its fair share of mistakes and frustrations in the first attempt, I wanted to minimize those. So I chose to start the entrelac from one side of the body – the right seam, as it turns out – and continue towards the left seam. With this approach, the start and finish of the pattern would be easy, the decreases / increases of the entrelac squares would be concentrated on one side – around the neckline – while the other side would just continue as usual. I hoped this would make it manageable, and it definitely did!

Another area where I experimented was with starting the pattern exactly at the seam – I made the pattern run from armhole to hip, and tried increasing its width after a few rows to make it now run from shoulder to hip. This gave mixed results while increasing, so I decided to frog it and use plain stockinette till I increase for the sleeve, and then switch to the pattern. Anyway, that section would be mostly hidden behind my arms. πŸ™‚ This made my life easier. The seam is pretty visible, though. :-/

The rest of the front was just picking up stitches along the slanting entrelac edge and knitting increasingly longer rows top down. The back is plain stockinette, and so are the sleeves. I wanted the side seams to have slits, and on a whim, also made the back longer. I still don’t know how I feel about this. I think I like it, but if I decide later that I don’t, I can always rip it out and redo the ribbing. (Thank goodness it’s top down!)

I feel that designing with entrelac is definitely a challenge, with its share of table-flipping level of frustrations. But looking back, I think I learned much from the overall experience – I had to think and try out stuff quite a bit. If I make this project again, I think the entrelac will look good as the ‘outside’ of an inverted V, or maybe even the inside of the V, instead of as a simple diagonal. I might need to construct it differently, though. I’ll try that in a few years though, when I’m a better designer. (Fingers crossed. πŸ˜› )


And what about the MKAL? Yes, I did start it yesterday, and knit quite a bit, before I realized that I was using the wrong color. (I’m using different colors than suggested.) Frogged, restarted; but at least now the pattern is already imprinted in my mind so maybe it’ll go quicker. πŸ™‚

Oshara Shawl MKAL

Linen and Threads SAL 2018

What do you know, this is apparently my 100th post here. It’s just a number, I know, and I discovered this fact accidentally since I don’t usually bother with stats. I’m pleasantly surprised that my slow blogging has continued long enough to churn out this many posts, and to make some friends along the way. I’m glad for your company in my (mis)adventures, folks! πŸ™‚

Alright, with that out of the way, let’s move on to the main attraction, my project. πŸ˜‰ I’ve completed the May section of the Linen and Threads Mystery Sampler SAL, and I love it!

L&T SAL - May finish

I applied my recently-discovered trick again – where I use two colors for each stitch, first making half-stitches pointing in one direction in one color, and then the other half stitches in the other color. I used this method to give a darker-colored, slightly-speckled look for the horns of the deer, and I’m glad they turned out better than okay.

With all these colorful sections, a tiny little sliver of disappointment appears, pointing at the dragons – I wish I could’ve figured out some colorful but good-looking details for the dragons too. I’m trying hard to quash this feeling though, because I know I spent as much time as I could on figuring out that section, and now, it is what it is.

I discovered something else this month. The Aida cloth was pretty dirty around the May and June sections, so before I started on the stitching, I thought I’d wash the dirt off. And I saw that the pink color really runs. The sun in the dragon section, where I’d used the two-color stitching method with pink and yellow threads, now has a pink aura around it. πŸ™‚ So do the fiery flames from the dragon on the right. I won’t fix the remaining thread though, because I don’t want the top sections leaking pink while the rest of the sections look clean. You get an aura, you get an aura, everyone gets an aura! πŸ˜‰

Hope the trend in this SAL continues and the June section turns out to be small; I can get some more knitting done then. I did make some progress on the entrelac sweater, by the way – I was not well for a few days in the middle of the month, and I knit a little when I was bored of lying in bed. It’ll still be a surprise if I manage to finish it before I start on the MKAL shawl next month.

Dial M for Mystery

I thought I didn’t like it when the letter ‘M’ is prefixed to make-along projects – not knowing what I’m signing up for would drive me crazy. However, it looks like I’m drawn to it this year. I’ve been enjoying the MSAL sampler cross stitch project from Linen and Threads since Jan, and now I’ve decided to go for an MKAL shawl project by designer Susanna and Interweave.

I’m nowhere near done with my current entrelac project, but I’d been thinking of knitting a shawl next, since monsoon would start by then, bringing in frequent cool weather. Right in time to save me all the researching, there’s this article from Interweave announcing the MKAL. I went through Susanna’s other designs, and thought ‘why not?’

Entrelac Pullover progress

My current project – the entrelac pullover. I’m almost done knitting the non-entrelac section of the front. Once this is done, I’ll start the back, which is plain stockinette. Then finally, the sleeves. Phew! Much to knit, but I’m happy knitting this version since I’m much more satisfied with the section joins compared to the previous version.

As usual, I see that the recommended materials for the MKAL – Cascade yarns, in this case – are not available where I live (unless at ridiculously expensive prices because ‘imported’), so I found alternatives. I ordered equivalent fingering weight yarn in mercerized cotton, with weight and length comparable to the recommended yarn. I also had to choose a color scheme different from the one in the project –

Interweave + Susanna MKAL - My Colors

I’m hoping that the project won’t turn out too difficult to make, or too different than what’s it supposed to be, because of my changes. And if it does, it’s fine. I’ll take a call after seeing how it comes along.

The MKAL starts in June, and will have a total of 4 weekly posts. I’m not sure I’ll knit fast enough to finish it in one month. I’m also not sure if my entrelac sweater will be done before I start the shawl, especially since this month’s SAL section is a larger one. Since I’ve decided this year to stop stressing out about deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, I’m just going to knit as much as I can, probably even switch between my projects, and enjoy what I do the entire time. πŸ™‚

Linen and Threads SAL 2018

April band of the Linen and Threads Mystery Sampler SAL – am I glad that it’s a small section, the smallest so far? I sure am, I’d still be toiling away on the project otherwise.

L&T SAL - April finish

I started this section later than I would’ve liked, but I knew it’d be fine because I’d still finish it quickly. Back stitches were a surprise addition in this section, since they hadn’t shown up in earlier sections, but well, this is a sampler SAL, so I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised. I saw some cross-stitchers in the SAL group change the back stitches into compatible cross stitch motifs, but I liked the back stitching. I’m happy with how this band looks, and I also think this project (or to be more specific – my take on the project) is finally beginning to grow on me, which is good.

L&T SAL - April closeup

Remember I’d skipped stitching the border stitches in my March section because I wanted to use long armed cross stitch if April has a border? Yeah, that was a good decision because as you can see, April does have a border, and I did use long armed cross stitch for it. I just had to quickly finish the March section by stitching one column of regular cross stitches on each side, right?

Wrong! I mean, I did have to stitch the columns, but it also turned out I hadn’t skipped the stitches from the bottom row of March. Gah! I don’t know how that happened. This bottom row would end up touching the top border of April, and no other row of any non-band section in my version so far (and in the future, I’m sure) touches a border.

You know what comes next!

I frogged March’s bottom row. It was easy on one side because I’d stitched that area row-wise, but the other side – turns out I’d stitched column-wise! On each column, I’d to carefully snip the bottommost stitch, undo a bunch of stitches, and secure them. Then I’d to redo all those frogged stitches. It took a while, but it was totally worth it. Not only can you not tell which side was the problem side, but my peace of mind is now intact when it comes to personal spaces of sections. πŸ˜‰

There, that was my April adventure! Was it fun? πŸ˜‰ Now to get back to the knitting before May shows its face.

Pullover ft. Entrelac – Attempt #2

Since I hadn’t much liked how my entrelac-featuring pullover attempt was going, I decided to try a different, easier-to-execute design. This one features more entrelac area, and looks better with alternating colors of narrower entrelac strips. I haven’t frogged my attempt #1 yet – that’ll depend on how my progress on this one goes!

Here’s a peek of how attempt #2 looks so far.

Pullover featuring Entrelac, attempt #2 - progress

So many strands to weave in! πŸ˜‰

It’s a short post this time because it’d been slow progress on this project till recently, but since I’ve picked up some pace now, and the entrelac strips shorten with each step, I’m hoping to finish some more of this pullover before I start on the April section of the Linen and Threads SAL.

Linen and Threads SAL 2018

March is almost over, and so is the March section of my Linen and Threads Mystery Sampler SAL. The section has a border around it, but I decided to play the waiting game and see what April brings, and then choose whether I want the border or not. If I end up keeping the border, I think I might go for the same long-armed cross stitch that I used for the February border. If I don’t keep the border, I’ll add some regular cross stitches along the vertical edges.

L&T SAL - March finish

L&T SAL – March finish

Figuring out the colors for this section was pretty difficult. I’d wanted to use my main color for the dragons, and splash around other colors for the remaining items, but I had a hard time deciding on the secondary colors. I actually colored in the chart to see how various combinations appear, but I didn’t like any of them. Finally, I even tried to change the colors of the dragons, but honestly, that looked even more horrible to me. πŸ™‚

Eventually, I had enough of the agonizing planning, and decided to just make the dragons first and think about the other colors later. And in the end, discarding color after color, most of the section ended up in the main color. Surprisingly, I’m not too disappointed. πŸ˜‰

Speckled Sun

The most time I spent was on the Sun. I tried using the pink for it, but it was too overwhelming. I then used a yellow which was too underwhelming. I definitely wasn’t going to shop for a skein that’s exactly the right shade of yellow/orange, so I tried out something else and liked it – making the first set of half stitches in pink, and overlaying them with the other set of half stitches in yellow. It gives a somewhat speckled appearance to the Sun but not in an attention-grabbing way, and I like this look better than if it were a solid shade.

Now to see what April will look like, and figure out how to finish the March edge!