Tag Archives: alpaca

Aranami Shawl

10 Dec

Over the weekend I couldn’t work on Christmas projects, so I began a new project that randomly struck my eye on Ravelry. Now this shawlette is probably doomed to languish in the UFO bin.

It’s the Aranami shawl (Ravelry link) and it has taught me a lesson or two about my knitting preferences.

The pattern project is so pretty, and I was super stoked about choosing the yarn. I was reasonably satisfied with the gradient of Garnstudio Drops Alpacas I was able to find. I’m not a huge fan of alpaca yarns as a rule because I like things with less drape for most things I knit. But this is garter stitch, so not a great deal of stitch definition is needed. And it’s a shawl, so drape is okay. And most importantly Garnstudio has an Alpaca sale again. So hooray!

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I was worried about having so many white/light colors because I don’t care to wear white, but since the white would only be the tip of the shawl I figured it would be okay.

 This shawl is modular knitting in garter stitch. As I began to knit, what I learned about myself is this: I don’t like modular anything very much. Seams are always a potential place for issues, so for me, knitting a shawl entirely based on picking up stitches is just asking for trouble. The second thing is this: I also don’t like hiding ends in garter stitch. Guess what. There are a lot of ends to hide. Oops.

What I’ve knitted so far just looks messy, and nothing like the pattern project.

Buuut the yarn is cut up now and I can’t rip it back, so I might as well finish this at some point. Maybe a good blocking will do some magic on it. Who knows, maybe it really is just the light colors that are putting me off the whole thing, and I’ll like it more as I go along. At least each triangle knits up really fast.

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I’m Changing My Mind (‘cos that’s what I do)

12 Feb

I’m a bit silly. I got me a pile of Garnstudio Alpaca with my Christmas gift card to my favorite LYS, having already decided I wanted to knit Zora. It’s a cardigan with a subtle lace pattern and some rib at the waist. With its generous positive ease, it looks quite comfy.

Here are the reasons why I’m changing my mind about knitting it (damnit):

It’s not necessarily the first thing I would go for because it doesn’t come with buttons, and I like to be able to button up my cardigan if I feel like it. I once had a cardigan with only a belt for closure, and frankly it stressed me right out. Considering that, it’s odd that I was so adamant that that’s the cardigan I want – nay, need. Until now.

I started looking around Ravelry, and found another, much more intriguing option. It’s the Paulie cardigan.

It’s knitted top down and seamlessly with raglan sleeves, all features I’ve realized I love. It’s also been designed for alpaca yarn and it’s always a good idea to stay with the same fiber when changing the yarn for a pattern. It’s stockinette stitch which is good. I have learned the hard way (hello 180 cm x 100 cm alpaca lace shawl) that alpaca has zero stitch definition – not a problem with stockinette. It’s pretty fitted, and it is known that I really just don’t like baggy clothes.

The Paulie cardigan also reminds me strongly of another stripy cardigan (Freya, Ravelry link) I’ve been dreaming about all week long. This one has seriously captured my heart, probably because I can’t knit it! It’s being test knit but I don’t have time to do that, and when it’s published, I won’t want to buy it because that way madness lies.

I thought the stripes would be a problem, but then Ravelry very helpfully reminded me that I have those three balls of the same yarn in another colorway that I just can’t make work as anything. They’ve been a beginning of a shawl and another shawl and a hat and now have been at the bottom of my WIP bin for six months as an unappetizing cowl. But they could work with the green.

And yet… I can’t quite shake the feeling that I should knit the Zora because that’s what I had in mind first… baroo?

Silly brain. It’s like it got stuck on the Zora idea, got comfy in its groove, and is now hanging on out of sheer bloody-minded stubbornnes. Now, if there’s a problem with the Paulie, my brain’s going to be all “Told you so…”, I just know it.

It’s a Bike Mask

17 Jan

Having had my eye on this Ninja Bike Mask of Awesomeness for a while, I was inspired to start knitting it now by some seriously uncool weather we’ve been having. And by uncool I mean cool, and by cool I mean cold.

Isn’t it great? And not freaky at all.

This mask doesn’t look anything like the pattern.

The pattern is fantastic! The construction is just so elegant and beautiful and perfect. It’s just that I didn’t want to knit my dk weight yarn (Lima from Garnstudio, 65% wool, 35% alpaca) with 2,25 mm needles (like the pattern suggests). The resulting gauge was so tight that it really hurt my hands, and I switched to 4 mm instead. 4 mm for no other reason than that I didn’t have 40 cm circs in any other size.

And so, having already doomed myself to not getting anything resembling the original finished object, I began following the pattern very loosely. I’m practically winging it.

I’ll knit a little bit of neck and then bind off. I’ll still be wearing a scarf with it so it might actually be bad if it went all the way down to the shoulders. I’ll probably run some elastic thread through the cast on edge at the top so the mask will  stay put better and maybe even cover my cheekbones. I look at those pictures and I see my cheeks getting cold.

So… Now What?

28 Dec

Giftmas has been and gone. There’s a strange sort of emptiness that comes from suddenly having so much free time. For two months, a significant part of my free time has been used to knit and crochet presents, and now I suddenly have all this time to do something for myself.

Yesterday, I actually sat down and read! (Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing.) But only after I looked up from this stupor that’s filled my brain, and saw the chaos surrounding me. The SO and I both go to our respective homes for Christmas, so there’s really no need to do a proper Christmas cleaning here. After doing other picking up, I went through the top layer of my stash, which consists of two big baskets of yarn I swear I’m going to use up real soon, any day now.

I came to the conclusion that I really don’t need new yarn. Especially since I was arranging  the stash to make room for the stuff I got with my Giftmas gift certificate to my favorite lys… 11 balls of Drops Alpaca (100% alpaca sport yarn) and two skeins of Drops Lace (YUMMY alpaca and mulberry silk in lace weight).

These are going to be a Zora cardigan and a Whisper cardigan, respectively… some day.

Last years This year’s (I keep thinking we’re already in 2012) challenge was to knit 11 projects, which turned out to not be a challenge at all. The next challenge could be to use or otherwise get rid of as much yarn as I can.

I’m a big believer in the principle that you should never tell anyone about your goals, because talking about doing something makes you feel like you’ve already done something about attaining your goal – even though you haven’t, and now you’re even less likely to do anything about it. (Watch this TED talk called Keep your goals to yourself, it’s eye-opening.) So that’s the last I’ll talk about this idea.

In another attempt to clear my head, I also went through my works in progress intending to either rip back or finish each one. Unfortunately, I think I decided to finish almost every one of them.

There are things that clearly have to be finished, like my Clessidra socks (over half way done),

my Thermal sweater (only missing 1,5 sleeves),

and my Entomology mittens (published in the book Knitalong, so no link, also over half way done). I’m not excited about knitting the other one, but I really want to wear these.

But then there are the more troubling projects. The only reason I haven’t already ripped back these Little Minx socks, is that the yarn does not react well to that. It would be totally ruined and it was a gift from my mom. But I’m also not looking forward to knitting the other sock because, to be honest, this was a bit boring to knit.

The same reason is stopping from ripping back these swan socks. I’ve already ripped back several projects done with this yarn – one more time and I would have to throw away that part of the ball.

I’ve also had a pair of hat heel socks on the needles for well over a year now… Unfortunately, them being hat heel socks and having separated toes, the yarn would come out in short bits.

I’m starting to feel better about ripping back my Space Invader Converti Mittens because I found a Space Invaders hat pattern and that would be even cooler than the mitt(en)s. I could use the yarn for that. And the mitts don’t fit that well, either. I could knit these later with a thicker yarn or otherwise in a bigger size.

And I’m pretty sure I’ll rip back my Wavy Feather’s wimple unless I find a better pair of needles for knitting it. The yarn is unsuitable for the project, as alpaca doesn’t show lace well, so even a more suitable pair of needles might not be enough to save this one.

So, right now I’d be willing to rip back 2 out of 8 works in progress. Well, who knows, maybe I’ll suddenly be inspired to finish these things.

All I know is, it’s definitely time for a clean slate knitting-wise.

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