Almost a do-over…

I’m almost done with my do-over pullover. And by that, I mean I only have to block it! (Yay!) Hopefully, this weekend will be it, and I can wear it — and write about it here — proudly. πŸ™‚ Oh wait, it’s already getting hotter, and it’ll be summer soon. πŸ˜€ Well, I’ll get to wear it sometime this year anyway…

Almost a Do-over Pullover!

Almost a Do-over Pullover!

I just love the color of the yarn, and the gently weaving cables. ❀ Though the sleeves don’t show here, they each have one cable column in them. (I’m waiting for the blocking to be done so I can click a good picture with them. Right now, they’re kinda folding in on themselves.) But phew, did it take a long time to get here or what!

I was ready for a reduction in my knitting time this year, because I’ve joined Polymer Clay Adventure 2017 and intend to try my hand at all 24 projects over the year. With my newfound interest in claying, and my excitement to build upon things I learn from the course — and of course, researching techniques and tools, and browsing stores for stuff — I’ve gotten pretty behind in my knitting. :-/ Especially since my yarn projects are mostly big items like sweaters, and tops, and shawls, any progress that I make is not very visible at all.

However, I’ve made a conscious decision to not push myself too hard to devote time to everything. Dialing up my crazy-level might actually be interesting, but I don’t have the time to handle crazier-me just yet. If I spend less time knitting, even if it’s only an hour or two every week, so be it. As long I have fun while I’m on it! πŸ˜‰

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Ashton shawlette (or Happy Mother’s Day!)

I finished the Ashton shawlette for my mom a couple of weeks ago, and eagerly awaited her return from a vacation to surprise her with it. And was it a pleasant surprise or what! She loves the colors and the lace in the shawl. πŸ™‚ It’s not as drapey as I would like, but it’s definitely pretty cozy. My mom thinks she’ll use it to keep warm during her next vacation. πŸ™‚ Though today is not the day she received the shawl, I’m writing about it today, so I’ll consider it my Mother’s Day gift. πŸ˜‰ (Alright, alright, I presented it to her on the eve of my parents’ wedding anniversary, so it did end up as a gift, albeit for a different occasion. And today, we gave her handmade cards.)

Ashton shawlette

I spent quite some time blocking the shawl, and the lace opened up really well, but the points are still not to my satisfaction. (Remember that I had the same problem, but much more intensely annoying, with the Lemony shawl? These points are definitely much better than the almost-non-existent ones of the Lemony shawl.) I used the super-stretchy bind-off described in the pattern, and I used larger-sized needles for it. It looked fine while blocking, but did I need to knit the bind-off stitches still looser? I’m thinking of blocking again, because the edge has slightly curled up. (My mom keeps insisting it’s fine.) Maybe that’ll help?

The pattern definitely has been a good learning experience with different lace stitches. I’m more confident with lacy patterns now, and managed to designe a pattern of my own for a top that my sis asked me to make! Yay! It required a lot of testing to get right, but I did it, I designed a lacy pattern. So yeah, yay! πŸ™‚ (I’ll upload photos when I click them.)

Now to tame those pesky points…

Bubblewrap

Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna call the cardigan that I knit for my friend, KG. Did I mention it’s done? ^_^ I gave the cardigan to her this week, and she likes it, hurrah! [Sigh of relief] The colors look nice together, don’t they?

Bubblewrap cardigan

In the past few weeks, I managed to knit quite a bit, spurred on by the fact (or fear? πŸ™‚ ) that KG’s vacation is fast approaching, and that I’d promised to knit her this sweater for the vacation… I finally cast off this Sunday, blocked the garment and weaved in the ends. KG had no idea how the cardigan would look, and I was hoping it wouldn’t be a shock to her when she finally saw it. This whole secrecy was a first for me too, because I usually make my ‘customers’ (my mom and my sis so far — and of course, yours truly too πŸ˜‰ ) wear the project-in-progress now and then to check that things are fine, and course-correct if necessary. It was only when my course corrections reduced to almost-zero levels that I decided to knit one for KG. (She’d been pestering me for a while.) Still, I was apprehensive until the very end about how it would fit her and whether she would like it, and it really was a huge relief that it looks okay and more importantly, that she seems happy with it. And I too am happy that my stranded knitting has improved much.

Bubblewrap cardigan

Thanks, KG, for lending me this photo! πŸ™‚

Now that this sweater’s done, I’m back on the shawl that I started for my mom, and it’s coming along nicely. I’m following the Ashton shawlette pattern — this pattern has a few types of lace designs, and it’s helped me understand the workings of lace a bit more. Alright! The next pattern I come up with will be a lacy pattern! πŸ˜› (And I made a stitch marker for this project! I made quite a few of them actually, and I’ll talk about them in my jewelry blog soon, but here’s this marker hard at work. πŸ˜‰ )

Ashton shawlette with Stitch marker

The next step for me is writing a pattern. I’ve been thinking and talking about it, but haven’t really done anything on it that I can call progress. I’ve seen a lot of patterns by now, and I’m pretty sure I can come up with one.

Tiny triangles top

Hurrah! The top with triangles is officially done; I just finished weaving in the ends a few days ago. I’d kept thinking of this as my first multicolor project, but I realized when I saw an old, old tote bag that I’d knit — that was my first multicolor, stranded-knitting project. Of course, I didn’t know much about knitting then, let alone stranded knitting, and my now-‘experienced’ eyes see a few mistakes, but it’s still a beautiful bag, and kudos to younger me for experimenting so successfully. πŸ™‚

But I digress. That tote bag deserves a post of its own. (Add to things-to-post-about list — check.) Back to the tiny triangles top. Just in case you’re wondering — it’s the triangles that are tiny, not the top. Here’s a picture to prove that it’s human-sized.

Tiny triangles top

Tiny triangles top

Things looked fine while I knit the front and back pieces. I sewed them together using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. Then, after repeated failed attempts with different bottom edgings,Β I realized that the edging just won’t sit well with this yarn, even if I made it longer. So I’ve just let the current short 1×1 rib be. It folds up but looks okay(ish), and I can always tuck it in.Β The compromises one makes, huh… And nope, the yarn doesn’t play well with blocking either. πŸ˜€

I still have a lot of the yarn left. I can’t think of any knitting or crochet project I’d want to use it for, since I don’t wear lacy stuff much (nor does my immediate family), and it’s too much work to make a non-lacy project with this thin yarn. So I’m making a different needlework project — a cross stitch one — from it. I still feel bad for the yarn that it’s not gonna turn into a clothing item. Any ideas for a quick-but-not-lacy project?

Granny Hexagon Placemat

Granny Hexagon Placemat

Granny Hexagon Placemat

Harmony.

That’s what I felt when I started working on a placemat using my stashes of tan and black light weight yarn. And that’s what I feel after I’m all done with the piece. The colors just complement each other so beautifully.

I’d like to acknowledge Kara at Petals and Picots for her photo-filled tutorials on granny hexagons and joining them as you go. I’d never have finished the piece so quickly if not for her instructions making it so easy and fun. Kara also has another tutorial for the edging, but I used my own, and I’m not disappointed! πŸ™‚

How I made it

I made my hexagons exactly like Kara shows, but with only two colors. I started with (2dc, ch1) x 6 in a magic ring using my tan yarn. I then made (2dc in chain-space, ch1, 2dc in same chain-space, ch1) x 6 with my black yarn. Switching back to tan yarn, I made (2dc in corner chain-space, ch1, 2dc in same chain-space, ch1, 2dc in next chain-space, ch1) x 6. Finally, I used my black yarn as the single-crochet join-as-you-go edging to the hexagon. I made 7 such hexagons, joining them as I made them. I single crocheted around the hexagon bunch, making (1sc, ch1, 1sc) at the convex corners and (sc 2tog) at the concave corners. That made all the black edgings look uniform.

Granny Hexagon Placemat - progress

For the overall edging, IΒ  made double crochets, one color per round. For the first round, I made (1dc, ch1, 1dc) at the convex corners and (dc 2tog) at the concave ones. For round two, I made (1 dc, ch2, 1dc) at the convexes, and (dc 2tog) at the concaves. For the last double-crochet round, I made (1dc, ch1, 1dc, ch1, 1dc) at the convexes and (dc 2tog) at the concaves. The final row in edging is a single crochet one, with (1sc in chain-space, ch1, 1sc in same chain-space) at the gaps in the convex corners and (sc 2tog) at the concave corners. Here’s a closeup of the piece —

Granny Hexagon Placemat - closeup

With careful weaving-in of the ends, the piece is quite the reversible one!

Blocking

It feels weird to acknowledge this, but I’ll say it — I’ve never blocked any piece I’ve knit or crocheted before.Β o_O There’s always a first time for everything though, right? So well, this is mine for the blocking process! πŸ˜€

After some research, I decided that wet blocking is best for this piece. I briefly wet the piece to dampen it, then laid it properly stretched out, using pins to keep its shape. After a day, the piece was dry, and, I must admit, much better-looking than it would have been without blocking. Need I say that I’m going to block everything I knit or crochet from now on? :p

And now, the placemat has found its purpose in life — preventing dust from coating our home phone! πŸ™‚