Fair Isle

If We Were Having Coffee . . .

This type of blog post is for when I have a lot of little things I want to share, or when I feel the need to catch up.

If we were having coffee . . . I’d be telling you how Marcy inspired me to try out this blogging meme. It’s been a good long while since I last actively blogged here. There’s been so many stuff to catch up on but I simply haven’t had the energy write at length about every single detail.

Mmmm, this coffee is really good. I love my moka pot. Yes, I know about Starbucks, but let’s face it . . . they overcook the beans and water down the drinks. I love the people at our local Starbucks, but it’s not their fault; they’re just doing what they’ve been told to by the corporation.

If we were having coffee . . . we’d be going over my knitting projects [insert link to Unfinished Projects]. Well, yes, I’ve still not finished any of these projects. But that’s okay. I’ve resolved to make good progress on the Abalone Cardigan. And in fact, I’ve made slight progress on it.

Abalone Cardigan

My goal is to finish this by the end of the year. I’ll try my best, don’t hold me to it, though.

I even managed to finish off a pair of socks in just 3 days. This was a really nice palate clearer. I’ll be knitting more socks so as to be ready for fall.

Blue Socks

No special pattern, just came up with a number to cast on and then half the stitches for the heel flap and ending with 8 stitches each side to kitchener stitch.

Right now for brainless knitting, I’m working on a pullover. This is actually my 3rd atttempt. Yes, I swatched, but since I’m not using the yarn called for (Knitspot yarn is wonderful, but I don’t have the $ for it), the swatches lied to me and I had to fiddle around with the needle sizes till I came up with a width that I like (I wanted this to be on the loose side since I’ll be wearing this over my turtlenecks and skirts). Yarn is Briggs & Little Regal, which I got at a great bargain from a vendor who was getting rid of her stock at the MDSW.


This will likely take me a month to finish. And I should still hopefully get to wear it before summer arrives. Win!

If we were having coffee . . . I would be asking for advice on where to stay during our visit to New York City. We’re thinking about staying in New Jersey and taking the train into The City. But if we can find a nice hotel for less than $200 a night in The City, that would be great. Gotta make a list of what to see there. Blah

If we were having coffee . . . Bullet journals is all the rage these days. It’s a way of organizing your life that is very easily customized to your personal style and need. Ryder Carroll came up with his own system in an effort to manage his ADD, and after years of tinkering with the system, decided to reveal it to the world. It’s still a work in the process, but I think I’ve pretty much got the hang of it.

Well, it sure was nice chatting with you! I hope you have a good day . . .

Unfinished Projects As of Now

Dalilah Shawl

Dalilah Shawl

What is this: Dalilah Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dalilah

Yarn: Kauni Effektgarn

When did you start it: Two years ago?

So why isn’t it finished then: There is a slipped stitch. About 3 or 4 rows down. This is a lace shawl. So I can’t just ladder down and work it back up. And it is a big shawl. So that means frogging back every single damn row. Boring as heck and I can only sit there and frog for so long. So there is about a 4 or 5 week hiatus between each frogging hiatus. The Holiday Season made this hiatus even longer.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: After I’ve finished frogging back, chances of me finishing this is about 80%.

Shorewood Cardigan

Shorewood Cardigan

What is this: Shorewood Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shorewood

Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland jumper weight; Jamieson Spindrift (note these are two separate companies)

When did you start it: 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Just the sleeves remain to be done. Since I was working on this the last three months of 2015, I decided to take a break from this for the time being.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 100%. All that is left are the sleeves. I’m planning to knit both sleeves at the same time. It will be interesting to see how the shaped armhole come out. I hope that this works out since I had to go further than the pattern specified due to the row gauge.

Abalone Cardigan

Abalone Cardigan

What is this: Abalone Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/abalone

Yarn: Alice Stanmore Scottish Campion (through Jamieson of Scotland)

When did you start it: January 1998

So why isn’t it finished then: Huge pattern repeat. 32 stitches and 58 rows repeat. Sigh. I love Alice Stanmore, but some of her patterns can make you feel like you totally understand how Sisyphus felt.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I’d put this at 20%, considering the other projects I have going on at the same time.

St Brigid

St Brigid

What is this: St. Brigid Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/st-brigid

Yarn: Cascade 220

When did you start it: I think I started collecting notes back in 2012, so likely I started working on this about a year later.

So why isn’t it finished then: See the chart behind the ball of yarn? It’s a pretty complex pattern, as tends to be the case with Alice Starmore. Since I’m short and petite, I will have to make a lot of mods to the pattern, in addition to making it a cardigan (where I live, it just doesn’t make sense to have an Aran pullover in worsted yarn).

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Sadly, it’s probably going to be at 40%. Its a great pattern, I love arans, but it is going to take some time working it up.

Oregon Cardigan

Oregon Cardigan

What is this: Oregon Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/20-oregon-autumn-cardigan

Yarn: KnitPicks Palette

When did you start it: Fall 2015.

So why isn’t it finished then: I’m not really looking forward to working with Knit Picks Palette yarn. It seems rather splitty. And I’m always finding myself getting into a mobius strip position and have to do the caston again. I’m hoping I get lucky this time and not have to do the caston over again.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Looks to be about 50% at this point. Fair Isle is my thing, after all, and I’ve always wanted to do this pattern.

Roosevelt Cardigan

Roosevelt Cardigan

What is this: Roosevelt Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/roosevelt-cardigan

Yarn: Ella Rae Classics

When did you start it: Ummm . . . I think it was last year.

So why isn’t it finished then: The directions are very detailed and I had started it when it was spring, I think. And since I usually start working on the garden and then summer blows in and it is kinda hot to be working with worsted wool yarn . . .

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Probably at 50%. If I can get back to it when we have quite a few snowy days and I can get away with just hunkering down for the rest of the day with dinner cooking in the crockpot . . .

Trellis Vines Shawl

Trellis Vines Shawl

What is this: Trellis Vines Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/trellis-vines

Yarn: KnitPicks Shadow

When did you start it: Last year?

So why isn’t it finished then: Well, this is lace weight. And I have a feeling I discovered an issue with the row that I’m on where the count is not quite right, so I probably stopped right there in order to regroup and then wandered away to other projects.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think, probably 50%. Due to the fact that this is extremely fine knitting.

Edin Cardigan

Edin Cardigan

What is this: Edin Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/edin

Yarn: Ella Rae Classic

When did you start it: Fall 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Well, I just got started it in December, so .  . .

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 85%, I think. I need a project that has a fair amount of stockinette, and I want to practice Portuguese knitting (where you wrap yarn around your neck or on a pin, tension the yarn with your dominant hand and manipulate the yarn over the needle with your thumb). I have to teach a blind friend how to do this, so I need to refresh my memory.  Andrea Wong has promoted this quite extensively here in the United States, and now has a Craftsy class.  As for knitting pins, there are several Etsy vendors that have lovely pins.


Lacewing Shawl

Lacewing Shawl

What is this: Lacewing Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lacewing

Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (Note that the color is actually darker than in the picture. The initial photo turned out to be too dark to show the lace design)

When did you start it: Maybe about 3 years ago.

So why isn’t it finished then: This is one of those pattern where you have lace stitches on almost every right and wrong row. So you have to really pay a lot of attention. I love this pattern; I love Ann Hanson’s lace patterns. But these can be rather challenging to knit.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think, 75% at this time. Depends on when I finally get back to that row.

Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

What is this: Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lady-of-the-blue-forest

Yarn: Rowan Donegal Brights

When did you start it: Fall 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Because I just got started on it!

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: This is a fairly easy pattern, so it shouldn’t be a struggle to knit it. I do need a shawl before May, after all.

Bracken Vest

Bracken Vest

What is this: Bracken Vest

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bracken

Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering

When did you start it: February 2015.

So why isn’t it finished then: It is almost done; I just need to rib up the armholes and the front.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 100%. It’s just that I need to get going on the last 5% that needs to be done.

Madeira Mantilla Shawl

Madeira Mantilla Shawl

What is this: Madeira Mantilla Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/madeira-mantilla

Yarn: My own wool hanspun 2ply

When did you start it: Umm, I don’t remember.

So why isn’t it finished then: Yes, this is hanspun. So why haven’t I got cracking on this? Well, I guess I got sidetracked. I have no excuses except that I’m easily distracted by other projects.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think 50%. I need to have at least one shawl finished before May.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Color Lovers

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

Today’s question is color. How does color affect your knitting?

Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

I’m very fond of jewel colors; these go best with my skin tone. As I look through my finished items, I see that the color purple really dominates it. I love the color, especially the darker shades. Which can be a real problem for me when I buy yarn and select projects. Since I tend to knit for myself, naturally I’ll go for colors I like. I have to be really careful not to pick purple all the time.

Which brings me to something that I get really annoyed – that Fashion Color Forecast. Aaarrrrgggggh! Guess what happens when they pick pastel colors? Nothing I can find that really looks good on me. And yes, some yarn companies follow this as well. All the more reason to build up a stash of favorite colors.

Being a lover of colors, Fair Isle (as that practiced in Scotland) is my favorite technique. I’m really amazed at how it takes to put together a nice combination that looks good. Here, you can see two pictures of one of my projects, Glass Beach cardigan, based on Alice Starmore’s Glass Beach vest (which I’ve already knit). Look at the black & white version. See what I mean? A nice balance light and dark. Hue and tone is very important. It’s easy to come up with a color combination you think looks good, but it doesn’t really because it’s all dark when viewed in black and white.

Glass Beach Cardigan    

Cardigan Based on Glass Beach Vest

Glass Beach in Black and White

Pattern in Black and White

There is one thing to note about the color photo. This color combination is particularly difficult to photograph; no matter how you try, it never quite comes out looking like it does in real life.  This is due to one or two color that really throws it off balance, so to speak. Even in the Pacific Coast Highway book, the pictures come off looking rather weird.

There are many tools out there to help pick color combinations. Mary Jane Mucklestone has a book with 200 fair isle motifs. There are good books out there about color theory, and you can buy color wheels from art supply store; I use my wheels often to find out what the opposite colors are for my main color selection. Someday I may even create my own Fair Isle design.

What about you?


Some Knitting Going On

So, yeah, I’ve been quiet here for several reasons, but I’ve still been knitting. And I’ve got a couple pictures as proof. First one:

Sleeve of Glass Beach Cardigan This sleeve took about a month to complete. Then, about 1 week to weave in the edges. In retrospect, I should have stopped to weave in every couple inches but this is my first time putting sleeves on a Fair Isle garment, well, lesson learned. Another lesson learned – get someone else to make accurate gauge measurements and do the math (or just to double-check my math) – I ended up being a bit short of the pattern symmetry at the sleeve edge.

Sorry if the picture is a bit dark – this color combination is very difficult to take a good picture of because one of the color used completely throws off the light meter.

After this was done, I decided to take a break and do some potato chip knitting (as in, pick an easy, mindless pattern that doesn’t require some eyebrow furrowing and a gauge that can be done at a quick speed. I did have to put up with purling (I hate purling in back and forth knitting, but I just couldn’t avoid it with this pattern. Neck Down Cardign

Took me about on week to knit up. I think the sleeves will take me maybe 2 or 3 days to finish off – I have short arms and since these are done in the round it should go blazingly fast for me. I’ve used up 2 ½ balls of yarn so far and have 3 balls, left, so I should have enough for a cap and mittens. Gotta get cracking on these as well because it’ll be cold by the middle of December!