My first spring piece is done and ready for sprung-ing – whenever the new season decides to show it’s leary face. Supposedly the weather is supposed to take a swing for the better this weekend, so all bits crossed they are right for once!

Here is my slightly wrinkly version of Helga Isager’s Robin Bluse – aka Sakura.
This project started as a personal challenge due to having to overcome my fear of 3-ply yarn and tiny needles, but I have to say that it is probably my favourite result so far! (Or do I always say that?) All in all this has turned out beautifully…light and airy but still surprisingly warm from the alpaca.

Though, as you can see in the photos, the light fabric does tend to crease when layered under heavy jumpers as it was on the chilly day we took this shot!
I love the simplicity of this pattern and the small details like rolled the stockinette neckline which creates the prettiest, most simple little roll which looks almost like a more complicated and time-consuming i-cord! Brill. I have seen other patterns which use this neck treatment, but it was my first go at it, and definitely a keeper for future projects.

As mentioned previously, I did knit the front and back panels at the same time, which was a bit of a time saver.

I only had a couple of glitches with this one. I had some difficulty picking up the stitches for the side panels cleanly, as the crossed stitch detail on the edges creates a bit of a looseness in the stitch next to it that I didn’t care for when picking up. Three tries and the result below is what I am living with. I am guessing this is because the yarn I am using is so fine, but in future I might add a row or two more on the edge before starting this stitch to give it a bit more stability when picking up.
Also, for some moronic reason I switched to the smallest 2.5mm needle when starting the first sleeve… noticed about 5 long inches in that I’d goofed and decided I would stick with it…got to the arm band and realised the row gauge was off and the dolman tighter than wanted – so frogged and started it over. Figured it would also give me another go on picking up those nasty stitches… and I am glad I did as the join was smoother that last time around.

I ended up modifying the side panels a little bit to get a touch more width with my renewed awareness of row gauge, so knit 5.5″ before starting the dolman decrease. I also finished the sleeves off a bit tighter on the arm – 61sts-  as my forearms are a bit spindly and the garter stretches quite a bit. All bind off was Jenny’s Surprisingly stretchy.

I was dreading the finishing on this, as haven’t done many projects that needed stitching up, so am not the most accomplished at smooth seams! I ended up re-stitching both underarm seams twice and they are still a little wobbly, but not horrific.

The colour of the Isager Alpaca 1 (61 -peachy/grey) is divine. The light pink is blended with natural grey alpaca so is slightly heathered and makes the pink not so ‘sweet’ and almost neutral. Perfect colour. The only drawback is that the darker alpaca strands are also stiffer, so this does itch a tiny bit against the skin. I am hoping I will get used to it the more I wear it!

And just because some of you got a kick out of the ‘reveal’ the last time around, here is the full photo – before crop wearing my new POM!
queen of dorkness
All hail Diana Dibbly – Queen of Dorkness.

Another winner in the dork sweepstakes. ;-D


And miles to go…

As some of you already know, after my joyous yarn delivery and some serious ‘yarnerd’ fun dyeing and swatching I spent most of my weekend either dismantling things or destroying them in an effort to either fix them or ‘make them better’. It wasn’t a stellar decision.  ;-?

The whole thing started with frogging back the neck on my Schnabu and re-doing the sleeves. After posting images of this on the blog and seeing how shit it looked, I determined to sort it out. I got halfway through a sleeve and then remembered how much I hated knitting these sleeves in the raspy N-80 on double pointed – or magic loop! So I put it aside. One sweater down.

Then pocket insertion on Smaug got out of control and now I have an enormous pocket that needs to be dismantled and Kitchener-ed down to size. And I HATE Kitchener stitch. So during one of the coldest weeks of our London winter, one of my warmest sweaters is out of commission. Brilliant move. It might be pooched for good. Grr.
So, of course, I couldn’t stop there….and dismantled the bands and neck on Odilon. Again. That fecking neck is giving me an ulcer. Here she is in her current state with a simple i-cord bindoff:
So all or nothing this time. I am making it reversible – as I originally wanted, but just couldn’t deal with as I had so many other problems with the pattern. I am also putting a zip in, hopefully, if I can order the right one online (I want 2way open ended in a colour that matches, or something even close…and that seems akin to looking for a Dodo in London. Heaven forbid you can actually find something you want – WHEN  YOU WANT IT – in the shops in this city. So online ordering it will be. Fingers crossed.).

Think the zip will work a bit better visually as those chevrons will come closer to meeting at the top – as in the photo above. The way the buttonband separated the chevron in the previous incarnation bothered me as it didn’t match the back:band1
Also, the reversibility will be great as that crisp triangle looks fantastic as a simple pullover feature.

Sigh. So not a great knitting period.

On an upside, Sakura is being beautifully behaved and is a simple, happy knit. Only a few more gazillion miles of teeny tiny stockinette and she’ll be ready for spring!
Have I mentioned I love knitting? ;-?

Movin’ on up…

In between stubbornly trying to finish my Odilon and starting random new projects I am trying to slowly and carefully make progress on my Robin – aka ‘Sakura‘.

Think it is coming along nicely and have only had one frightening experience with the whisper thin Isager Alpaca 1 2ply yarn tonight. This involved trying to put in a lifeline and failing miserably while trying to frog a 4 inch section on the front panel…with slipstitches. Eep.

It very nearly ended in tears, but in the end I managed to get all the tiny stitches back on the needles. Phew. Scary business.

As you can see below, I am being lazy (again) and knitting the front and back middle panels at the same time – bottom up.

Apologies for another dodgy late night phone photo!


Knitting is one of those things that messes with time.

You could be knitting for hours late into the night and not even realise the time has flown. Or inversely, you could be frogging and cursing and feeling every single second of whatever you are trying to fix, or technique you hate!

For me it has also had an interesting effect on the instant gratification that shopping used to bring. Instead of just clicking a button or going to a shop to pick up a new jumper, I now spend ages planning and creating a new garment…fiddling and fussing until it is ‘just right’. (Or at least near enough that I can live with it!).

It is also making me think more about upcoming seasons, as I am having to plan ahead. Since it takes me at least a month to make a new sweater I am realising that I need to think forward a bit more than I have been with choosing my knitting projects. (This became clear to me at xmas when I really wished I had had the foresight to knit an xmas jumper, but it was too late! Next year I will start well early.).

So now, in the midst of the UK’s typical new year cold snap, I am thinking ahead to spring and summer and what kind of light knits I should be planning. (And we all know planning is the fun part, don’t we?)

I cast on for my Robin the other day in the thinner than thin 2ply alpaca that had me so terrified and feel like this one is going to really push my new found patience.

I have decided it will be my ‘slow time’ knitting – the project I pick up when I can spend a bit of time calmly chunking away, especially as a huge part of this is stockinette on tiny needles! It is really interesting how differently this project has me knitting. I am quieter, calmer and more contemplative with this on the needles than I have been with any project yet. Having to really pay attention – but not in a complex way- is doing good things to the brain.

Something else I just realised about the colour I chose…it is a slightly desaturated version of the pink produced by Cherry Blossom trees. Check out how close the colours are!
In my old hometown of Vancouver cherry blossoms are one of the first telltale signs that spring has truly arrived, as the trees all over the city burst into bloom and are often seen against a grey sky.

Guess my subconscious was hard at work during the planning of this one, as well!

Opinion time

Dear all,

After my post I made a journey to Islington to the LYS there, Loop, to pick up The Bird Collection book mentioned in a last post (it turns out her new book – Finstickat – won’t be translated to English anytime soon, so thought I should grab the book while it was still at Loop. Things there move FAST).

My restraint slipped a bit, and though I was just supposed to get the book, here is what I came home with:

My question from the last post answered. I am going with the Robin:
Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 21.34.31

They didn’t have the yarn recommended in the pattern, though they had a sample of the Robin jumper knit up in the Spinni wool, and it was VERY itchy. I decided I would substitute with the much softer Alpaca 1. The hue is still a desaturated pink, though more magenta than the one in the picture in the book – no. 61.
Now the recommended yarn is a 3 ply and this is a two ply, so both are very fine knitting, though this is finer, and I knew I would be pushing it a bit with the patience factor … but thought it might be good for me. A new level, so to speak.

That is until I cast on a swatch this morning and it took me nearly an hour to knit a 5×2 inch swatch. Gulp.
There is the 3mm swatch of pain with a new swatch cast on with 2.5mm, as I am not at gauge.

In red below is where I have picked up not only the stitch on the needle, but that below, as I am not used to knitting with yarn this fine.detail
And it is VERY fine for me and quite splitty.
Thing is, I am wondering if I am struggling so much because of a) the fact that knitting with needles this small and yarn so fine is terrifying me, b)the yarn is just too splitty.

Here is where I need some opinions. Those of you that have knit with teeny yarns- what do you think ? Should I tough it out and try to view this as a learning curve, or am I just setting myself up for an expensive fail?

This decision is a bit time sensitive, as I want to go back tomorrow or monday and get Isager’s Highland yarn for this if I give up (before it is GONE with London’s crazy lack of physical yarn shops)…so really stressing!

Help please? What are your opinions?