Entering a new age

Welcome to the temporary new look for the blog.

I wanted to finally get a right side bar so that I could add a new feature – my new Twitter feed! I have finally caved and joined the conversation, so if you have an account join me for a chat. It is a bit of a learning curve, so forgive my little faux-pas…I am still trying to work it all out!

I guess this is a bit of a soft launch for the new company name as well – Kettle Yarn Co.! I will be moving the blog over to my shop site eventually, when I finally find the right WordPress platform, so if anyone knows of any good ones, please let me know. I have been searching for months now!

On the knit front, I have been getting on with a million things and have been neglecting to post images of my finished Buttercup. To be honest, I am a little underwhelmed with it after all the ribbing troubles, and still not completely pleased with how the ribbing looks or feels. This has nothing to do with the pattern which was clearly written and easy – the fault was all in my own mods and the superwash BFL I used, which is just a little too limp/lifeless in the end. I suspect a coated superwash process is used on this base, and I definitely won’t be carrying it!Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup4

I do like the way this colour turned out though. Very subtle change in tones.Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_glacier

Looks great in the lace as well, which I modified to omit the purl rows in the Old Shale stitch. This variation on the stitch always feels a bit more delicate and less fussy to me.Kettle_Yarn_Co_Old_Shale

But the ribbing?
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_ribbing3

Definitely still the weakest link, and still looks a mess. sigh.

Hey ho. Onwards and upwards, as they say.

When ribbing goes wrong

It was another somewhat frustrating knitting weekend.

Buttercup started so well. The top down construction was a breeze and, even though I am using thin fingering for this project, I had the entire body and most of the arms done within a couple of pleasurable knitting weeks. I was enjoying the silky BFL and loving the cool, iceberg-y colour I dyed for this project, the lace quick and fun…everything was going smoothly…then came the ribbing.

First time around on the hem I tried something new – a sideways garter rib. I got halfway around the bottom before admitting it looked like crap where the new rib section joined the body. Frog one. L zero.
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_ribbing1
I then decided I would do a twisted rib hem instead. Twisted rib. On 3mm needles. With a tubular cast off. Ahem.

I may have well just poked myself in the eyes with those needles, it was so painful. And, naturally, since it was so much work, the twisted rib looked horrible. I hadn’t twisted the purls so they looked looked all stringy and loose next to the twisted knit ribs. It just wouldn’t do. Frog 2. L zero.

Not able to let the idea of twisted rib go I frogged the cuffs (and made the sleeves longer), and then I dragged my feet and did everything I could to avoid having to painfully re-do the hem. I finally got back to it, this time twisting the purls AND bloody knits. Both alllllllllll the long way around. It looked better. It really, truly did.

After the previous tubular failure I decided a simple suspended bind off  on a much larger needle would be THE ONE. Only to find it was slightly too tight at the end. Frog 3. L zero.

At that point I figured I would use Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off. That works on everything, right? First the cuffs, then all the way around the hem, just barely making it with the very, very last of the yarn, spit splicing bits together so I wouldn’t have to break into a new skein. Ouch.

So I thought I had it and rejoiced, dancing the dance of completion with vigour and sending thanks to those cruel knitting gods for letting me finish at long last…

Only to find those sadists weren’t quite done with me yet. Take a close look at the sleeve cuff on the left of the photo. See anything …odd?
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_v1
It looked ok  at first, a little curly on the edge after blocking but fine stretched out on the arm. However, after a day’s wear this is the monstrosity that presented itself:
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_ribbing
Stringy, stretched out and gape-y , with weird YOs show along the edge. I nearly retched every time I looked down at my arms. No, really. It was so upsetting. What a disappointment…but it got worse. By the time I got home this is what the hem was doing:
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_ribbing2
It had loosened up and gone all hideous loose and frumpy on the bottom edge.

So new Knitting Rule– and this is obviously news to me as I have only ever used twisted rib with very bouncy wools – twisting stitches make them rather un-elastic. Makes sense if you think about it. IF you think about it. ;-?

So instead of tightening my ribbing up by going through all the effort of twisting the purls as well as the knits what I actually did was make the ribbing even less elastic than before. And to make matters that much worse I also realised that when I frogged back on the arms I missed some decreases on one side so the left arm has a weird row of k2togs bumps all around the mid bicep. wtf? (Who was it that said my approach to knitting was somewhat ‘Rainman’??? Sigh. Yeah.)

Frog 4. L zero. This little frog is kicking my butt.

I am so grateful knitting Camomile is still such proving such a huge source of joy or I would be right despondent by now. There is definitely something to be said for having multiple projects on the needles after all! Back to silky soft goodness for a while.

Does anyone else struggle with casting off? Casting on and off with a clean/stretchy edge always seems to be an issue for me. I have sorted out the casting on with long tail cast ons, but have not found my go-to cast off yet, despite purchasing a book entirely on the topic!

What is your favourite or fall back cast off? I know one of you must have a good one! Share?

Build me up, buttercup

Do you ever start doing something that is silly but continue on out of sheer stubbornness, even though you know you are being a knob?

Some time ago I discovered how to knit tubes two at a time and ever since then have been knitting my sleeves this way…sliding both on to one needle shortly after starting the sleeves, as below on my version of Buttercup, a free pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier:
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup1
Knit up in the Superwash BFL light fingering I have dyed, it is making for a surprisingly quick project, considering the gauge, as it has only been a couple weeks and I am nearly done.

That said, it would have been finished already if I wasn’t dealing with this:
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup2
Stubbornly deciding I had to knit the sleeves together from my last wound ball, I was too lazy to wind off half and make it easy on myself and decided I would knit from the center of the ball and the outside at the same time. What could go wrong? Ahem.

In my defence, I have  done this before successfully with a little fussing, sometimes using a ziploc bag for ‘travel knitting’ to separate the two strands and keep the outside loop spooling from the free side. However, this time I have run into one of those annoying loops from the centre pull that is gumming things up on a regular basis, requiring me to constantly stop and untangle. You’d think this would make me finally stop and wind off a separate ball…

Well, no.

I am driving myself slowly insane with this and begruding every second of it. Hah!!
Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup3
Talk about ridiculous.