Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New directions (all over again ...and again)

I had just barely started Foxglove when we spoke last. I kept knitting it for a bit, blocked the corrugated ribbing and took it off the needles to see that the size would be just right and it was. But then I started to get this uneasy feeling that something was not right with my plan. First of all I was going to make the cardigan longer and I kept thinking about the yoke with the delicate pattern and after a while realized that if I was going to make the cardigan longer, I might need to adjust the pattern a bit, make it bigger (which I did), otherwise it would be too small for a long cardi. That would have meant counting the yoke all over again which would have been doable (did not go that far) but then I looked at the ribbing, and it was too noisy for the pattern too, so off it came from the needles. Oh the frustration!!!! Then and there I could not just start all over again, I needed to take time out. I was not happy with the yarn either and that is keeping me from casting on again. I will need to check my stash (or get something new!).
So I was back to square one without any interesting to knit. I have a pair of socks on the needles out of very old yarn (the ball band gone ages ago) and the yarn is a bit too busy for my taste, but for some reason I keep knitting it occasionally. The socks must have taken the longest time ever for a pair to be knit, but oddly I keep them on the needles. The reason I am telling you about the socks is this pattern. It is very easy, it seems to go fast and when one repeat is done, the sock has grown a lot.  I start off my socks with 2,25mm needles and after the ribbing is done, I usually make few decreases and change needles to 2mm, but this time forgot to do so and yet, I keep knitting on them. The yarn is so full of colours that the pattern is totally lost but it does not bother me at all. Because it is the stitch pattern that keeps me going. I would not say that I love it but I like it a lot.
Since the stitch pattern was the only thing keeping my knitting alive during the frustration with the cardi, I decided to make a cowl with it.
I had some baby wool lying around and cast on almost 200 stitches and even though this is the most simple little knit, the soft yarn and the easy stitch repeat are all that my knitting life can handle at the moment.
The sun came out during the weekend and the sky was bright blue all of a sudden and I felt the need of sewing and made myself this small little tunic. This sounds very easy, and while I was making it, it really surprised me how easy it truly was. When I think about sewing, the prospect of making adjustments for the pattern and the cutting and the marking always put me off the task. Lately I have learned to take it in small steps. The pattern adjustments first, with no plans for anything else on that day. Then the cutting and the marking in their turn. Only then comes the sewing part. One seam here and another there, with no rush, and the garment gets done.
The process is not that difficult, but there are no guarantees for the end result, and that is the same as in knitting or any other craft. When the final task is done and you declare the garment finished and then try it on, you look at your front view, then sides and then the back with the mirror, you turn and tug the garment a little bit here and there, you look at the neck line, the hem... All that work and you can never be sure whether it is a keeper or not. Why don't I just go to a store, pick a garment, go to the dressing room, look at those good mirrors in sharp light, and in just a few minutes, I  would know if it is for me or not. Compared to that easy, I guess my sewing steps don't sound easy at all.
It is a huge Marimekko print (heavy cotton) and I used one printing repeat of the fabric. There was no way to match the pattern, but in the end I love the way it ended up looking. I could have done a better job but since it is very easy for me to get stuck on making something over and over again, I decided to just let go and finish the garment and think that the next version would be better.
I love lined clothing (it adds extra layer which is very much needed in this climate plus it cleans the inside) but really don't like sewing with slippery lining fabrics.
After all these years sewing clothing, I still can't do a good job with sewing zippers; I usually first sew the zipper with machine, then take it out, stitch by stitch being very careful not to break the fabric, and then use prick stitch to attach it by hand. Always in this order.
It needs a necklace to go with it, so I am thinking of making one. While I think about a new one I show you one I made last summer and I don't think you have seen it yet (sorry! if you have seen this already). This is not my usual kind, it is almost too flashy, but I have worn it and like it.
This is all at the moment. Simple cowl, odd socks and a plan for a necklace. There is a soft and gentle pull towards crochet all the time (there is a crochet dress in the back ground in the tunic pictures which is under construction, it might be gone next time we see, or then I might go back working on it...), I would love to make another Pax with Tunisian crochet, just to fix the previous mistakes, and of course, there is the need to sew as well.
Hope you have a good week!

Wool with you,

PS. Thank you for all the tips for not twisting the joining round. Or for how to fix the twisting!


  1. Your dress is GORGEOUS! I have been thinking about Marimekko, there's an exhibit of their fabrics at my local art gallery and I just love their colours an esthetic. The dress is a stunner :)

  2. Hello from a new reader! : )
    I must say that I really like your knitting, not only what I saw in these post but in general, you're very talented - bet you knew, but I wanted to tell you anyway! ; ) Great job with the dress, too!

  3. The dress is really fabulous. I agree with what you say about just buying a dress - but you would never get one like this and it is totally unique. And that’s the prize!

    Can I just ask - when you say you blocked the ribbing on Foxglove, do you mean wet blocking?

  4. I love the tunic, did you make the pattern yourself or is it one available for sale somewhere?

  5. I am a good knitter and it is my first love but finding something good to knit with the right yarn and needles is always a challenge. I have just bought a tiny Cricket loom and it is much more forgiving than anything on the needles and it clears my head somehow to weave and know how it is going to turn out.
    The tunic is lovely by the way....

  6. I am in awe of how you have managed to get the patterns to make sense on this tunic. I used to sew rather than knit because it was possible to try on the whole garment at an earler stage to make adjustments.. Now I prefer knitting because of its immersive quality.