Halligarth progress

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One of the funny things about blogging is that when everything is going well there isn’t much to say! I don’t really have much to say about Halligarth besides that it’s an entirely enjoyable and engaging knit. I’m about halfway through the tree section and, unstretched, it’s measuring about 24 inches (or, the length of the needle I’m working on), which suggest that with the edging and a good blocking it will be a nice big shawl.

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I always worry about the finished size as I knit because I really prefer large shawls. I bike pretty much everywhere when the weather is good, and if a shawl is too small it won’t stay on (my bike requires me to lean down). My Shaelyn is the perfect size and I have been wearing it a lot, so I’d love for this one to be similarly large. It might not end up quite that big, but I think the lighter weight will help it stay put. That’s actually one of the reasons I chose to knit it in laceweight instead of fingering weight, and I really love the way it’s turning out. This yarn is so lovely to work with, and the colour is exactly what I wanted.

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Basically, it’s a boring knit in the best way possible: It’s exactly what I want, and (so far anyway) it’s knitting up just fine!

Spoiled

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There is no doubt that this is shaping up to be an excellent summer. Just a few days after our camping trip I was headed back up to the shores of Lake Huron (though not so far north as Georgian Bay) for a cottage weekend. An old friend of mine is getting married and in lieu of a bar hopping bachelorette we spent a weekend away (and on the beach). The weather was perfect, and the water is warm enough for swimming, and it was gorgeous.

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I knit in the car on the way there, which ended up being hilarious in the stop-and-go traffic since a guy in the lane next to us was fascinated by what I was doing. He stared and, when his lane got moving, actually slowed down so we could catch up! He seemed completely entertained by the idea of someone knitting (or, at least the idea of someone his own age knitting). His amusement entertained us as well, which made for a pretty funny drive. I snuck in a little beach knitting too, and my Summer Skyp socks are coming along nicely. I’m staying home this weekend, but I’m looking forward to turning my attention to Halligarth, which is proving to be a very enjoyable knit, especially when accompanied by a podcast or audiobook.

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Hello, summer

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Summer is finally here. I know it’s technically been summer for a few weeks now, and it has certainly felt like summer for the last month, but I can’t quite escape the grade-school sense that summer starts with Canada Day. Add to that the adult reality that summer seems to be the season when every weekend is planned months in advance and, yeah, we’re officially there.

This year we kicked off the summer with a last-minute camping trip. L’s sister and her husband recently moved to Toronto, and since they don’t start work until today we decided to take advantage of their freedom to get out of town. It has been a few years since we were in Tobermory, but Georgian Bay was as gorgeous as ever, and I’m so glad we went. It was a quick trip, since I had to work on Sunday, but we took our one full day and made the most of it, spending the morning clambering over rocks at Halfway Log Dump/walking through the woods on the Bruce Trail, and the afternoon swimming in Cypress Lake. I even managed a few rows of knitting (plus a fair bit of knitting in the car to and from).

The water may look tropical, but let me assure you it was freezing. So cold it actually hurt. (Also, the colours in this photo aren't edited at all.)

The water may look tropical, but let me assure you it was freezing. So cold it actually hurt. (Also, the colours in this photo aren’t edited at all.)

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This bunny spent a lot of time hanging out in our campsite.

This bunny spent a lot of time hanging out in our campsite.

I was originally hoping to get these socks finished up in time to get some pretty pictures in the wild, but it was a bit too dark by the end of the drive up (I was getting very close to the toe decreases) and once we were there we didn’t do too much sitting around. I finished the second sock on the way home and then ended up ripping out the first toe and re-knitting it (for a better match/fit) anyway, so it was just as well I didn’t try to rush things.

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Details
Pattern: Basic 64 stitch socks
Yarn: Turtlepurl Yarns Striped Turtle Toes in Gatineau Fall
Needles: 2.5mm
Notes: There’s not much to say about these really. I thought about doing a contrast heel, but in the end decided just to knit from the other end of the ball, which worked out perfectly colour-wise and also meant I didn’t disrupt the stripe sequence at all. Ravelled here.

The colours in this photo are a little weird (both too dark and washed out) but it shows off the striping quite nicely.

The colours in this photo are a little weird (both too dark and washed out) but it shows off the striping quite nicely.

On my needles

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I’ve been on a bit of a sock jag and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. As I was finishing my Daphnes I started to flip through my stash (first in my head and then actually in the bin) to decide what to cast on next. Part of my plan for this year’s knitting was to knit more plain, everyday socks, so with that in mind I pulled out this self-striping yarn that I picked up well over a year ago.

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This is Turtlepurl Yarns Striped Turtle Toes in Gatineau Fall, a hand-dyed self-striping yarn that comes pre-split into two matching skeins. The idea is that the skeins are dyed together, so assuming you start both at the same end, you should end up with perfectly matching socks. In this case, some of the stripes are variegated, so the socks won’t be a perfect match, but the stripes should line up otherwise.

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I thought the variegation would annoy me, since perfectly-matched striped socks are kind of fun, but I’m actually really enjoying the way the colours are playing out. I’m actually deeply impressed by the idea of dyeing a variegated-yet-striping colourway, and the colours are so perfectly fall that these socks just look like a hike through the woods on a fall day.

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All the plain stockinette combined with just-one-more-stripe syndrome is making these a quick knit and I’m hoping to finish them up by the end of the month. Summer is the perfect time to knit socks, and it’s maybe the one time of year plain stockinette socks become my primary knit, instead of something a pick up here and there.

Of course, I do have a background knit, and just for some balance, it’s a laceweight lace shawl. I cast on for Halligarth. After knitting Flukra I knew I’d be knitting more of Gudrun Johnson’s patterns, and when I saw the latest BT Wool People, it was pretty easy to choose which of her patterns would be next. I love the way each section of the tree-patterned lace nests into the ones before and after it, and shawls see a lot of wear around here.

Un-stretched, each diamond measures about 3 inches across.

Un-stretched, each diamond measures about 3 inches across.

The pattern is written for fingering weight yarn, but I decided to spice things up a bit and go with laceweight. This a BFL laceweight hand-dyed north of Toronto by Georgian Bay Fibre Co., who I found through a Ravelry ad (seriously, the first time I’ve ever clicked one of those). I love BFL yarn, but before I went crazy and bought one of everything I decided to commit to one project. There seems to be an inconsistency between how much yarn people need for this shawl and the yardage listed on the pattern page, so I’m playing it safe with a big skein. I’m planning to knit the smaller size and then weigh the skein and see how I’m doing. If I can eke out the larger shawl I definitely will.

Summer socks

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As promised: more finished socks! This pair has been sitting, half-done, in my WIP basket for nearly a year just waiting for the return of warm weather to push me into picking them back up.

It was quite a sunny day when we shot these, but since they're meant to be summer socks I guess that's alright.

It was quite a sunny day when we shot these, but since they’re meant to be summer socks I guess that’s alright.

This is one of the few sock patterns I’ve knit twice, and honestly I think I could knit them a third time. The lace is so fun, and the logic of the pattern makes the chart pretty quick to memorize (or, if not completely memorize, at least make it more of a glance).

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I knit these using Indigodragonfly’s Bleats, Shoots & Leaves (a merino, bamboo, silk blend) in the Baldersquash colourway. I got the skein a few years ago through their fibre club and I don’t think this base ever made it into their regular rotation, which is too bad, because I would absolutely buy more. It’s such a lovely summer-y yarn, slightly cool to the touch with enough stretch to be pleasant to knit with. I also really love this colourway, which is excellently squash-y.

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Despite the long timeline for knitting these socks, the pattern is very quick. Each sock took about a week at a casual pace, so if you’re thinking you could use some pretty summer socks, I would definitely suggest this pattern. I have a skein of Indigodragonfly’s Merino-Silk in my stash (which is what I used for the first pair) and I am seriously considering casting on for a third pair.

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Details
Pattern: Daphne by Cookie A.
Yarn: Indigodragonfly Bleats, Shoots & Leaves in Baldersquash!
Needles: 2.75mm
Notes: The only thing I’d say is to knit this using a magic loop. I’m a dpn fan, but the chart repeats once across each side of the leg, with stitches moving back and forth, so if you’re open to the magic loop method, it makes for a quicker/less annoying experience. I also wish I’d knit more stockinette before the toe. I did 6.5 chart repeats on the foot, but should have stopped at 6 and knit a few more stockinette rows. The socks are perfectly comfortable, but I think the stockinette would have mode them more robust (and certainly easier to darn if/when the time comes). Ravelled here.

Finished Pheasants!

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Remember that list of WIPs I posted about a while ago? Well I guess pulling everything out lit a fire under me or something because here I am with a third item off the needles!* These are just plain socks, knit up in Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock (a BFL/nylon blend) in the Pheasant colourway.

I finished them last week, but they had been on the needles for a while. I cast them on after finishing my Christmas socks and they’ve been background knitting ever since. Mostly that has meant a row here and a row there, but no concentrated attention. I have a vague memory of spending an afternoon finishing the foot of the first sock so I would be able to cast on the second one before I had to go somewhere (plain stockinette socks are great social knitting as long as you aren’t just about at the heel or just about at the toe), but somehow these never pushed their way to the top of the pile.

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After I finished Grace, though, I decided to just finish these already! I’ll admit that I was tempted to leave them on the side and pick up the Daphne socks that have been languishing (another item from my WIP list, which made it easy to justify), but I knew that if I left these any longer they wouldn’t get finished before the fall. And I’m so glad they’re done! This colourway is so lovely, and I even wore them earlier this week on a sort of chilly day.

Next up? I’m now half-way through the second Daphne sock without even trying, so you can bet you’ll be seeing more finished socks very soon.

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Details
Pattern: Just my basic 68-stitch top-down socks
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in Pheasant
Needles: 2.25 mm
Notes: Nothing special. I knit these at 9.5 stitches = 1 inch, so they’ll basically last forever. Ravelled here.

*Items one and two, in case you you’re wondering.

A year in the making

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You guys, Grace is finished! I’ll admit that I was starting to wonder if it was even possible to finish this cardigan, but then last weekend I just decided to ignore the lovely weather, buckle down, and get it done. I am so pleased I did!

I even made my arbitrary deadline, finishing on May 31 so Grace the WIP didn’t turn 1. I was pretty sure that, after looking at this cardigan fondly for a day or two, I’d be forced to put it away for the summer, but the weather took a little turn this week and I think it’s the first time in my life I’ve been happy about cool weather in June. I’ve worn Grace a few times (and soon really will have to put it away until fall) and I’m pleased to say this cardigan was more than worth waiting for.

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The thing about starting a cardigan one year and then not picking it up again for 10 months is that a lot of things can change in that time. Obviously your body size is one thing, but so are gauge and wardrobe requirements, so there’s no guarantee of a good outcome. I am really pleased with how this fits, though, and being a lightweight and colourful cardigan is basically a recipe for a wardrobe staple as far as I’m concerned.

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Grace is designed to be a sort of casual-fitted cardigan, which can be a tough blend to pull off. I really like the way this hangs when worn open – without too much fabric hanging down the front – and that it buttons up nicely when I want a little extra warmth. I knit the sleeves shorter than written because years of wearing shirts with too-short sleeves have made hand-grazing cuffs feel weird. I mostly just push up my sleeves anyhow, but I like to be able to wear them full-length (which is bracelet length for me) under a jacket or if it’s a little chilly. The pattern doesn’t specify a bind-off, but I used a tubular bind-off at the sleeves for a more polished look. (I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off at the hem because I was worried about yardage and didn’t want to risk it. I think it looks fine.)

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As I mentioned before, I used Quince & Co. Finch for this. It was my first time using Finch and I am a definite fan. The yarn isn’t superwash, so it has a slightly woolly texture, which makes for a really nice even fabric and great lace definition. It’s also perfect for spit-felting, which meant I had very few ends to weave in when I finished. I’m already planning another fingering-weight cardigan (which hopefully will not take a year from start to finish) and you can bet I’m going to be ordering Finch for it (more skeins this time – I don’t want to push my luck).

Details
Pattern: Grace by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Quince & Co. Finch in Nasturtium
Needles: 4mm
Notes: I feel like I’ve written so much about this that I don’t have much more to say. My mods were small and didn’t really change anything about the overall cardigan. I ignored her numbers when picking up for the button bands and collar and more-or-less picked up 3 stitches for every 4 rows in the stockinette portion and then 2 stitches for every 3 rows in the lace portion, so it had more room to stretch. That meant I picked up more stitches, so I added an extra button to compensate. My Grace is Ravelled here, and there are lots of notes.

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I don’t know why I look so skeptical here.

 

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