FO: Alonzo

I’ve been enjoying my A-Z of shawls so much, I’ve decided to start one for socks as well.  But just to make things a little more challenging, I’m going to try to stick to patterns by one designer: Rachel Coopey.  Her sock patterns are beautifully written, a joy to knit and always very clever designs.  Looking at Ravelry, I’m good right up to until I get to Q, with a choice of patterns to make.  At the rate I knit socks, who knows – maybe she will have designed a pattern beginning with Q by the time I get there.

First up, is Alonzo, a beautifully textured pattern with Bavarian twisted stitches.  It’s just complex enough to keep you interested while you’re knitting, but without being so complex tht you can’t concentrate on anything else.  This is exactly the kind of knitting you can take out and about, or do while watching the television.

I love how the faux cables and twisted stitches build up the pattern, and how it grows and evolves.

It’s just such a shame that the dark winter days make it so difficult to properly photograph the colour of this yarn as well as I’d like.  It’s a rich, mallard green, called Apollo, with a beautiful intensity of colour.  It’s from a dyer called A Little Bit Sheepish, and is one of those skeins where the colour just called me from across the aisle at a yarn festival.  It’s a mix of 75% Bluefaced Leicester and 25% nylon.  The stitch definition is amazing, it takes dye beautifully, it has a generous 425 metres per 100g and it should make some hard-wearing socks.

FO: Epistrophy

Today is the last day of November, and I’m pleased to report that I completed my NaKniSweMo challenge.  This is my finished Epistrophy.

Progress slowed down considerably once I got to the colourwork yoke.  It took a lot longer than I was expecting it would.  I had a few days off work last week with a really horrible cold/flu bug (probably the worst I’ve felt since I had swine flu back in 2010), which allowed me to make a bit of progress.  But once the yoke was done, the rest flew by.

After a lot of deliberation I picked these buttons because they are such a good colour match for the yarn.  I bought them from Textile Garden when I checked their stall on a whim while I was at Festiwool a few weeks ago.

I’m a little bit anxious about the steek on this one, though.  The Sublime yarn is very slippery, so I can’t rely on it to stick together.  In slower time I’ll find some tape to reinforce the steek, that hopefully picks up the white and purple in the yoke.  Meanwhile, the cardigan is wearable.  Or it will be once it’s finished drying after a good long soak.

The final project came in at just a smidge over the 50,000 stitch target for a NaKniSweMo project.

Of course, I now have raging startitis, but I need to concentrate on finishing a couple of other WIPs before starting anything new.  Though that hasn’t stopped me furiously rearranging my pattern queue on Ravelry.

NaKniSweMo 2015 – The Yoke

I haven’t posted much in the way of a NaKniSweMo update recently, because there’s not been much to see.  Acres of stocking stitch is pretty boring and the light isn’t great for taking pictures at this time of year.

But this weekend I finally hit the colourwork yoke on my Epistrophy.

I’m using a plain white yarn as the contrast here, in exactly the same base.

The sharp eyed among you will notice that I’ve inverted the colourwork compared to the original.  This was entirely accidental – I only spotted it after about two rounds.  I put it down for about half an hour and went to put the washing out and do a few other jobs while I worked out what to do next.  I decided that I didn’t much fancy unpicking around 500 stitches of colourwork to do it again, and squinting at the chart I struggled to reverse the colours in my mind.  So mine will be different.  But it’s a geometric design, so it shouldn’t much matter, and I do like the way the white diamonds are working up in this version.  I’m nervous about running out of the purple yarn, so doing it this way will eke out the purple a bit longer too, as there are more white stitches this way.

Before I started the colourwork section I did pause a moment to think about colour dominance.  I habitually carry the contrast colour in my left hand (I do a mix of picking and throwing when I’m knitting colourwork, as I’ve found it’s most comfortable to work with a colour in each hand).  That makes the contrast colour the stronger of the two.  I wondered about switching it to make the white recede a bit more into the background, but I think I like the strong white diamonds in this version.

I’m a bit anxious about how this yarn will steek.  It’s very smooth and not at all sticky.  If I don’t get the steek reinforcement right I could well end up with a handful of string to show for a month’s knitting effort.  I think this is one where I’ll definitely have to tape the raw edge rather than just rely on the crochet reinforcement.

NaKniSweMo 2015

For some intrepid people, November is the month when they take part in NaNoWriMo.  Not me.  (Though one year I might give it a go.)

Instead, I take part in something called NaNoSweMo.  Instead of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, some of us try to knit a 50,000 stitch sweater instead. There’s a group on Ravelry specially set up for NaKniSweMo, with prizes available for those who achieve the feat of completing their project in the month of November.

I’ve done it in several previous years, making my Petals In Ice, an O w l s and a Braid Hills.  (Though I didn’t try to formally enter the O w l s as it’s nowhere near the 50k stitch count.)  The observant amongst you will have noticed that three of those patterns are written by the wonderful Kate Davies, who is one of my favourite designers.  She creates some wonderfully wearable designs, that are steeped in textile history and her native Scotland.

This year’s NaKniSweMo will be another of her gorgeous patterns.

Epistrophy is a fitted cardigan with a colourwork yoke.  It’s knitted in the round and steeked, in the traditional manner.  For those of you who don’t know, steeking involves cutting your knitting (after reinforcing the area you’re intending to cut, of course).  It enables you to knit colourwork designs such as fair isle in the round.  This is normally easier, as it means you can work colourwork on knit rounds, rather than having to do it while purling back across a flat row.  But colourwork and steeking is going to be quite a challenge to complete in just a single month.

The yarn I’m using is Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK.  The main colour will be the purple shown in the picture, with the colourwork yoke in white.  Ravelry tells me that I bought the purple yarn over five years ago in Abakhan during a weekend away on Chester.  So it’s about time I got round to using it!

After day 1, I’ve finished the rib on the body, and I’ve started the stocking stitch section.  I’ve nearly finished the first 50g ball of yarn, so I’m well ahead of schedule.  I’ll post a few updates on progress as I go.

Wish me luck!