Sunday, 18 May 2014


   That is what I say every time I finish a knitted item, which is greeted by varying degrees of  impressedness (I don't think that's a word, and neither does spell check, but I can't think of a word that means that, so you get the idea) by my boyfriend fiancĂ© husband (still not the first one I think of, maybe someday).

   I have noticed that the more knitted items you show non-knitters saying "I made this myself! All on my own! From string!" they will get progressively less impressed with you. In fact, if you happen to wear anything at all that it might be vaguely possible to knit that you did not make yourself they tend to get a bit disappointed in you. I once had a lace shawl, a mystery KAL from way back, can't remember who did it but it was one that ended up being a Swan Lake theme, if you know what I'm on about, leave a comment. Anyhow, it was a lot of work, and I was rather proud of myself. I was wearing said shawl at a work gathering, and chatting with a gaggle of coworkers (non-knitters every last on of them) when one of them said "And of course you made that shawl" in a tone that suggested everyone was tired of hearing that I made things, but I hadn't even been the one to mention it. As if to say "Yes yes, you made that. Its very lovely and probably took you a lot of time and effort. We are all sick of hearing how talented you are, would you shut up about yourself already. The rest of us do stuff too, you know. I have read a great many books, and I don't see why that should be any less impressive, but you don't see me showing off about it." Now this coworker is a lovely person, and I am sure he did not mean it to sound like that, but it did sound like that or at least it did to me. Maybe to someone who has less of a constant impression that nobody cares what you have to say it might have sounded better, but he wasn't talking to one of those people. 

   Anyways, here are my socks. They are quite lovely, and they took me a long time. The pattern is Hedera by CookieA, though I modified the toe and heel to fit my personal preferences. The yarn is Stricken Smitten Sinful Sock in Scheherazade's Sky, which came from the CookieA Sock Club

   I started these socks because I wanted to have some knitting that matched my wedding colour scheme. I know that's a little nuts, but if you're not going a little nuts before your wedding you probably aren't doing it right. 

In case you though I was cheating, and calling one sock of the pair done, you can see both of them here. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Shawl Collar

   Throughout our relationship I frequently reminded Alex that I couldn't knit him a sweater because of the boyfriend sweater curse. I made him socks several times, but I couldn't do a sweater. It just wasn't worth the risk. After we had been dating a while I started to hint that if we were married, of course, the curse would no longer apply. I even shortened my reminder to no ring, no sweater. Well about a year and a half ago he handed me a little blue box with a ring inside, and for his wedding present I promised him a sweater. I also knew him well enough to know that he would be picky, so I didn't dare try and knit one in secret. I told him he could pick the pattern, then I would knit the sweater.

   After we got back from the honeymoon he went onto Ravelry and picked out a sweater. Of course it was a Brooklyn Tweed pattern, Hugo to be precise. So of course this pattern has to start with a tubular cast on, which I must admit creates a lovely edge, but is a pain in the butt. It is also knit in pieces, something I have been avoiding like the plague since my discovery of the top down seamless sweater. Occasionally I will do a bottom up seamless sweater, but completely separate pieces, with sewing to do afterwards, I guess I really love this guy.

    The one problem Alex had with the sweater was the neck. Rather, he thought the neck on it was ok, but he really wanted a shawl collar. My first thought was, a shawl collar would be simple. I just leave a rectangle shaped hole in the neck, knit a piece of ribbing the right length and seam it down. Piece of cake. But then I looked more closely at on of his favourite shawl collared sweaters, well it had some shaping involved. The collar grew wider as you went from the bottom towards the shoulders, and the ribbed collar piece got wider to fill in the gap, but it also got wider still in order to be able to fold over. So here is what I did:

At the spot where I wanted the collar to start I took the middle 14 sts of the centre panel and on a WS row I knit them making a ridge to mark the edge of the collar. On the next row, when I got to those 14 sts I worked 14 knit front and backs and stopped the row there. I put every alternate st from the 14 knit front backs on a holder with the sts from the unworked side of the front. I continued working the 14 sts in rib, and increasing the rib section by 1 st every RS row. On every 4th row I decreased one stitch on the edge of the rib section, so that the rib moved further away from the centre. When the front was long enough I did the shoulder shaping to match the back, leaving the rib sts live. I kept knitting the rib without increasing until it reached halfway across the back of the neck. I then did the same for the other side reversing the shaping. I grafted the two pieces of rib together, not a perfect grafting in rib specimen, but pretty good. I think all in all the effect is pretty much exactly what I was going for. Check it out:
Here you can see the ridge I made to mark the bottom of the collar:
There is the whole thing, along with my messy worktable.

The yarn is Madelinetosh DK in Whiskey Barrel.