Unravelling

Truth be told, I was a bit grumpy last time I wrote. Not sure why. I’m much happier right now though, because I’ve finally managed to dig out a bramble from the garden. It took about 30 minutes kneeling in the wet mud, with my head in a flowering currant (or indeed ribes sanguineum), but I finally did it. It’s been bugging me since we moved in (3 years ago). It’s hard to get to, and the… stems/trunks/stalks (?) that come off the bramble are the kind of thickness you can only imagine in fairytales. I’ve never seen anything like it. But as the currant bushes haven’t come into leaf let I could finally get to the heart of the bramble. It was a beast. I thought I might have to ask for help digging it up, but I got there in the end. This is in no way interesting to anyone but me, but honestly, I am very pleased with myself.

In other news, I made a quick-ish rabbit for someone at work. Originally I’d planned to dress her in the dungarees I made for the bear (I’m not convinced the bear is happy with their clothes), but then I just sort of knew that the person who would receive the bunny would prefer it with a tail – and I’d sewn up the back of the bear’s dungarees and there’s no way to unpick it. So I made a new pair of dungarees, but without the pocket this time. Actually, they’re quite cute pocketless, I think. The white bunny is there for scale – both made with the same pattern, but the white bunny is in worsted weight yarn.

Here’s an artless shot of the bunny’s tail as proof. I posted her to the recipient on Monday, and by Friday, I’d given her up as lost. Which was awkward. Do you tell someone you’ve made them something and it’s got lost in the post? If they weren’t expecting to get it, would you just be making a scene? I wasn’t too sure. But then on Friday afternoon, I got a nice message to say thank you. I think the bunny had just taken the long route across London.

Here’s a sort of secret. My boss knows, not everyone else does. If I’m in a long (up to an hour +) meeting which is mostly listening, I sometimes knit. If I don’t knit, I end up getting instant messages about work which I feel obliged to answer, and then I check my email and before long I’m responding to a bunch of work related questions and then I might as well not be in the meeting at all. Knitting keeps me focussed and listening to what people are saying. I’m not alone in this, I’ve heard other people say it helps them to focus too – just no one I work with, as far as I know. Anyway. I unravelled one sock in one meeting, and this sock in another:

It got to the point where it was okay, just not…that great. It’s not like I desperately need a knitted sock I don’t like much, so I unravelled it and started again. I thought maybe solid blocks of these colours would work better?

The colours do work better like this – but then I was working on the heel yesterday morning and decided I didn’t love this either so I unpicked this too. I have no idea what I’m looking for in this sock, but clearly none of the above. I’ll work it out. I did actually find someone who makes beautiful socks on Instagram. Amazing colours, beautiful photos. Maybe I will have to go back to learning colourwork after all? I love how solid her colours are. Less about texture, really. Although this is the wrong yarn for trying that kind of thing. Anyway. I’m still attempting to knit socks, basically. What are you up to?

No rush

A665F823-1A74-4A43-89F4-9D479F19E4E2So, according to Ravelry, I finished making the bear on the left in 2018! I can’t believe it was so long ago. Especially as I only finished her dungarees on Sunday.

I made her when I was trying to decide if I should leave my job, as I’d been offered another one elsewhere. She was my stress knit. She’s a regular sized bear, but just in thinner yarn, on smaller needles.

I made her some dungarees at the time, but I didn’t really like them:

little_ted

This was some ‘denim’ yarn I had in my stash, so I gave it a go. But I didn’t love it. It’s a bit too patchy and a bit too washed out. (This photo is actually quite good. It’s not this good in real life). Also, I’ve noticed, I didn’t do a very good job on the knitting. Having made a few pairs since, I’ve noticed there’s a nice line that’s supposed to come up from the pocket to the inside edge of the top section. On the photo above you can see it’s a stitch out.

So when the pattern for the small rabbit and the small dungarees came out, I treated myself to some ‘Schachenmayr Catania Denim Originals‘. There’s 2 colours that look denim-y, numbers 0052 (lighter) and 0050 (darker). I got them both as I wasn’t quite sure which one would be right, and they’re not expensive. Turned out the rabbit looked good in the lighter one – and I tried the dress on the bear, and it looked like almost the right size, but the darker blue looked better. (This is a girl bear, she just doesn’t like dresses.)

So I added a couple of extra rows to the legs of the small dungarees, and there we have it. New dungarees for the bear. She looks so much better! It’s nice yarn. Previously I had (still have, actually, I’m trying to use it up) some thinner cotton yarn from Rowan. I hate it. Every colour is a bit milky looking and it’s a bit thin. It makes everything I knit look rubbish, if I’m honest. But this is a nice thickness and holds the stitches well. Suddenly I’m a pro knitter. Go me!

Just kidding. I was 16 rows into knitting the dungarees before I spotted I was using one 2.75mm needle and one 3mm. And once I’d spotted it I grabbed the right needle, got chatting and forgot to use it for the next row. But it all worked out in the end.

As for the bunny, more in the next post. I’m using a laptop and it’s so hot in the UK it’s hard to tell if the laptop is about to burst into flames, or I am.

I hope you’re keeping safe out there. Please wear a mask. It’s the kindest thing to do, and it’s not even hard.

Background projects and progress

94AF1457-6DEF-4691-9CD2-D1ECE376BF6C

I started the Almina shawl (Ravelry link) in March 2019, and finished it in February 2020. That’s a long time to knit a shawl. It’s knitted on 4mm circular needles, with Cascade 220 wool. I bought the wool a long time ago to knit a jumper with, but given my terrible issues with trying to knit anything to scale, and having no idea what I’m really doing, I decided against making proper clothing.

22482288-DD77-49E9-BBBA-119AF3149B48

The wool is actually a charcoal grey. I thought I perhaps should never knit anything in such a dull colour again – because if you’re spending so much time with something, surely you should knit with something colourful and joyous… Like the golden yellow in the pattern example? But now it’s done I actually love it. It’s too heavy to wear outside the house I think (!) but in this grey, it’s perfect to throw on to keep you warm. I thought the triangular starting point would forever curl, but the stiff blocking in the top photo took care of that.

I knit far too tightly, but I know the yarn will relax eventually. I used the exact same stuff for the Guernsey Wrap, way back in 2012. Eeek! 2012. I haven’t progressed much as a knitter since then have I? I should be on clothing by now. Probably.

I must admit, I thought the wrap would never end. It seemed to take forever. There were times when I forgot it, and times when I was sick of it. But there were also times I was glad of it. Something to pick up quickly and carry on with. No real need to think about what to do, or where things were. No getting stuff out of cupboards as it just sat patiently waiting on the sofa. I took it away at new year on the annual trip I usually do with friends, and I was on the 2×2 rib by then.  What a joy that is to knit! So satisfying. Such a nice steady rhythm, no need to concentrate.

Now, after being so desperate for it to be over, I miss it. I didn’t realise how often I used it as a sort of guided meditation. There’s been a lot going on here, a lot to process mentally, and I think it’s helped having something ticking on in the background. Slow progress, but progress with every stitch.

There was the deer, too, which you can see in the photo underneath, on the left:

IMG_8940

I made her when Julie released the pattern – or at least, I made her head. I’d assumed I’d make a mess of it, but when that turned out ok, it took me 6 months to make a body and some clothes. She’s made of stash yarn, stuff that’s been knocking about for ages. I do like her dress and cardigan though, a mix of forest greens.

More recently I made the two unclothed rabbits on the right. The small one is Julie’s most recent pattern. I made them to gift, but due to the virus and cancelled plans, they won’t be gifted for a while. The mess in that photo was me trying to figure out what yarn would work for clothing – unpictured is the tiniest pair of rabbit trousers you’ve ever seen. Oops. I got there in the end, but now I have more time I think I might remake the jumper I was going to use. We’ll see. More photos another time.

I’m still trying to use up my stash yarn, so I’ll probably make some more animals while I look for the perfect Next Big Project. Animals are very satisfying to make. No big commitment, and I enjoy seeing their characters emerge. I also love that they’re knitted flat, and the patterns are so well thought out.

If you’re at home trying to work out what to do with your time, you could definitely do worse than use up some stash yarn, to try an animal of your own.