Tag Archives: Colour Affection

Stripes on stripes: Colour Affection is finished

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I was going to wait, and blog about Baku before anything else (it was the last stop on my trip and I swear I’ll get something up about it in the next couple of days – it was gorgeous), but then I finished Colour Affection on the weekend and I’m just too pleased to wait.

Behold:

So summery. So soft. So stripy.

It really worked out so much better than I ever thought it would. As I mentioned, I started it just before I left because I hate casting on in public. I was only a few rows in, though, when I left for the airport. It was about 24 hours door-to-door on the way to Tbilisi, and although that included switching planes several times (and this lots of security lines), as well as, in theory, some sleeping, I still had lots of knitting time. By the time we got into Tbilisi, I was only a couple of rows shy of having the first two pattern sections finished.

I finished the two-stripe section in Tbilisi and began the three-stripe short-rows in the car to Yerevan, but then, I got sick and couldn’t do anything but sit with my eyes closed and try to sleep. I got through a couple of pattern repeats in the short-rows before I realized I’d made a mistake. Each repeat is six bands of colour (12 rows), and I had knit 24 rows before I decided my short rows were really looking too short and something must be up. I went back to the pattern and, sure enough, I was one stitch short. For the next 12 rows I knit the way Veera intended, and then I added another stitch to my short rows and carried on that way for the rest of the section, which I finished on the flight from London to Halifax. (From Halifax to Toronto, 24-hours into travelling, I couldn’t knit any more and instead just slept. It was glorious.) It then took me a week to finish the two-inch border, which I attribute to the fact that a) those border rows are stupidly long, and b) I was back in my real life, and had other things to do.

I bound off (using a 5 mm needle) on Saturday and then blocked it (I bought blocking wires for the occasion), and on Sunday, after going for a photo shoot/walk with L, I brought it to work, because my office is a fridge. I am quite pleased.

Inspection.

I have to say, though, that I am surprised by how much I like it. I was really worried there for a while. The thing is, when you start with dark colours, you get used to how that palette looks. I like the grey, I like the green, and together, they played of each other nicely. Then, when I got to the short rows and introduced the yellow, I felt like everything was suddenly off. Somehow, the nice greyish tones in the yellow disappeared, the subtly colour changes in the green were gone, and what I was left with was garish and, I thought, a little too tropical for my wardrobe. I was seriously afraid that after hours and hours and hours of knitting, I was never going to wear the thing. I couldn’t figure out how I’d gone so wrong – I mean, the colours had looked so nice all stacked up.

Thank goodness I persevered. That two-inch border at the bottom saved it for me. The trouble is, when you’re knitting top-down, it’s hard to see how it will all come together, and for most of the knitting, the dominant colour seems to be the one you started with (in my case, grey). In the end, though, the short-row stripes are stronger than the other sections, and the band of colour along the bottom balances everything out.

It was really hard to get the whole thing in, but here it is (can you imagine it with an extra 40-inches of length? It was be huge!).

Details
Pattern: Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Tosh Sock in Charcoal and Candlewick, and Tanis Fiber Arts blue label fingering weight in Mallard (Aside: Tosh Sock is like butter, and I would knit with it forever is that was practical.)
Needles: 4mm addi turbos
Modifications: I listed them above, and it’s ravelled here (if you’re into that sort of thing). I’ll say also that I didn’t check my gauge because, well, how is a shawl not going to fit? Somehow, though, this means I’m about 40 inches shorter than I should be, according to the pattern (only 2 inches shallow, though). I have no idea how that’s possible, but there you go.

This was perfect, perfect travel knitting. The next time I have a big trip, I would absolutely consider knitting another one, or at least something similar. As a bonus, I have enough wool left over for a pair of multi-coloured socks, which might be fun to knit up in the winter, when I could use some bursts of bold colour. (Full disclosure: I never did start those Monkeys. I will soon, though.)

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Georgia is amazing

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Maybe I should start with a clarification, since for most people the first Georgia they think of is the state, and actually I’m in Georgia the country, which is in the Caucuses. You may be most familiar with Georgia from its 2008 conflict with Russia, but that’s long over and it’s really entirely safe and also entirely lovely. I’m actually here with my parents, which is an added bonus since I don’t get to see them all that often. My dad was here already for work and my mum and I arrived Sunday night (local time, which is 8 hours ahead of Toronto), after 24 hours of travelling.

So, we’re at the end of our third day now and I swear we’ve only stopped walking long enough to eat since we got here, and we’re exhausted. Tomorrow, we have to get a 5 a.m. taxi to Yerevan, where we’ll spend another three days. The Internet is good, there, though, so even though I’m about to fall asleep, here’s a point-form tour of Tbilisi (with pictures).

1. They love statues here. Seriously, they are everywhere. Little, big, copper, gold, stone, whatever, they’ve got it all. My favourites, though, are the little ones that run along Rustavelli (one of the big main streets). These statues stand/sit every ten metres or so along both sides of the lovely wide sidewalks. They’re all different, but here are a couple of my favourites.

This statue has a little bottle of something. Beer or juice, you decide.

This little statue went hunting (his gun is just peaking out over his shoulder) and he got himself a duck.

2. Khachapuri is everywhere. Remember when I made it? Well, it turns out there are a ton of different ways to make it, and they have entire restaurants that serve it, and it’s considered a regular course in a traditional meal. Seriously, Georgians know how to do bread and cheese.

We watched them make it through the window.

Khachapuri with egg.

Khachapuri with cheese on top.

Khachapuri with cheese inside.

3. They also love walnuts here – I even had walnut ice cream the other day – and dried fruit. As a vegetarian, I was a little worried about what I might end up eating, but at least in Georgia, I have been eating as well as anyone (which is to say, very well indeed).

So that’s regular fruit in the middle, fruit leather on the shelves, and the things that look like dried sausages are actually a kind of fruit juice candy.

4. They’re also big on wool, and although I haven’t seen any knitting/crocheting or related shops, gauzy felted wool scarves and thick felted wool hats are everywhere, as are wool carpets.

Carpets for sale on a wall next to a (very narrow) street in the old city.

Repairing an old carpet.

Hats and scarves for sale.

5. Georgians are very religious (Georgian Orthodox, primarily) and churches are everywhere. Today was went to Mtskheta (pronounced Moo-stek-ah, more or less), which was the original capital of Georgia. The cathedral there was built in the 11th century and remains in use. Besides that, there are churches all over the place (you turn a corner and run into a church) and they are all built in more or less the same style. They’re quite beautiful, really.

Cathedral in Mtskheta.

6. They do weddings on a huge scale. We got to go to a Georgian wedding and we’re all still recovering. We were invited by my dad’s colleague Irakli (one of the nicest men ever) and it was a once in a lifetime experience. Needless to say, it was amazing, and merits its own post, as do many, many other things about Georgia, but maybe you should come visit to see for yourself? (I really will try to post on the wedding, though, it was amazing.)

7. Not about Georgia, really, but oh well. Colour Affection is zipping right along thanks to all of this travelling. I got a ton done on the plane and I’m one row shy of completing the two-colour striped section, which means I’ll be into the short rows during the drive tomorrow and I can’t wait. Here’s how it’s looking so far.

Stripes are so satisfying.

Sixth time’s the charm, and trip knitting!

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So, it turns out that even when a rule is self-imposed and you’ve decided it’s arbitrary, there are consequence when you break it. To wit: remember how the other day I was all excited about starting the Colour Affection shawl  but really had to because it was Tuesday and Tuesdays are for my sweater? Well, yeah. I finished the decreases for the waist and then decided that maybe that fulfilled my sweater obligation, and then cast on for the shawl.

Well. I read the pattern (a point in my favour, I think) and then decided that a 4mm needle for fingering weight yarn seemed awfully big. I like a tight gauge, so I thought I’d knit this on a 3mm needle instead. So, I cast on, using a cable cast on. As soon as I saw it, though, I thought that’s too tight and pulled it off and re-cast on with a long-tail cast on. Nice and stretchy. Well, yes, but then you have to M1L and M1R in the first row, and that’s super awkward with a long-tail cast on, so I ripped it off again and then tried to cast on more loosely using my preferred cable method. Well, tiny needles and tiny wool and tiny stitches does not make picking up stitches very easy and somehow in the process of picking up the second one, I managed to drop all of them. That’s quite a talent, right?

At that point, I decided that maybe Veera was on to something with the 4mm needle. So I went and dug one up and cast on again, once again using the long-tail cast on. Of course, then I tried to pick up stitches and realized that it wasn’t going to work well, so I ripped it off again and switched back to the cable cast on (are you keeping up? That’s five times I’ve cast on for this so far – thank goodness it’s only 5 stitches to start with). Anyway, that seemed to work, so I started the pattern. I was about 9 rows in when I thought I had a problem.

It looks more like a pouch than a shawl, right?

See that? I’m a big believer in the magic of blocking, but I just wasn’t convinced blocking was going to save me. My edges just seemed too tight. It was puckering. I was convinced that when I was finished and took it off the needles the edge wouldn’t block straight, but would instead give me a hump. That is not what I want. So, I ripped it off my needles. Of course, though, as soon as it was off, this happened.

Oh wait, the pouch fanned out just the way the pattern indicates it should. Rats.

Apparently, it was fine. But, because of the picked up stitches and whatnot, I decided to rip it all the way back to the beginning and start over. (Aside: I just want to say that the Madelinetosh held up like a pro during all this ripping and reknitting and I didn’t have to cut off any of the old yarn, which is excellent since I’m already slightly worried about yardage.)

Anywa, when I started to notice what I thought was a hump forming, I took to Ravelry to read other people’s notes. It seemed that everyone add a YO between the first and second stitches of the row, and then dropped it on the way back, so make for a looser edge. I figured I’d try that, just to be sure. I added the YOs for the first six rows and then stopped doing them because I didn’t like the way the edge looked. I have decided that, since the edge was actually fine even when I thought it was too tight, that if I just pay attention and knit the first two stitched loosely, everything will be fine. So far so good. (Yes, I went with option A. I feel good about it.)

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I like how this is looking.

This puts me in a good place for my trip knitting. Did I mention I was going away? Well, I am. For two weeks! I am beyond excited. My trip involves three countries and two very long travel days, so knitting and books are required. I’m still working on my trip reading, but my trip knitting is all arranged.

Obviously, Patio Affection is coming. It’s garter stitch, and not pattern intensive, which is perfect for the plane and any driving we do. It’s big, though (or it will be), so I decided I needed a smaller project too. Also, on the off chance I get a little tired of garter stitch (it’s been know to happen), I decided project 2 needed to be sort of fiddly. So, I decided that this lovely ball of Indigodragonfly Sock would become the famous and ubiquitous Monkeys, which I have not yet knit.

Indigodragonfly 100% merino sock, in colourway “Tiny Bloodsucking Dancer” (their colourways have the best names).

Pretty good, right? I’m going to pack the Monkey project away in my checked luggage, just in case, and keep the shawl in my carry on, at least for the initial travel day.

The thing is, though, I needed to sort out my project bag situation. I have my standard (and very pretty, if I do say so myself) bag for the socks, but Colour Affection requires three balls of yarn and is going to grow. I poked around and didn’t come up with anything besides something ugly (like a grocery bag) or silly (a cloth bag in Christmas fabric) when it hit me: stuff sack.Thus, this 5L stuff sack from MEC is now my shawl bag, which will expand as amy knitting does (it’s also pretty much water proof and made of 30-denier rip-stop nylon, so my Addis shouldn’t poke through).

Sock bag (by ZigZag stitches) and stuff sack (by MEC), all rolled up.

5L is pretty big, as it turns out.

Really, I’m only going away for two weeks, so this will for sure be enough wool. Yes?

Sock wool on the left, shawl wool on the right. It’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?

The yarn wants what it wants

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About a week and a half ago I went into Lettuce Knit and picked up a ball of Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight in the colourway Mallard. I had just finished my mirror-cabled socks and, even though I knew I had my mum’s scarf to start, I just wanted to have a little something in the stash to look forward to. Every once in a while I click over to Tanis’ website and just drool over the colourways, so it seemed like a good choice. I didn’t really have a pattern in mind, but that wasn’t the point. So I bought it, brought it home, and ever since then I’ve been thinking about it.

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon in Mallard. (Yes, that’s Ganymede in the background. She refused to give up her window seat just because I wanted to do a photo shoot. Cheeky cat.)

The thing is, even though I was thinking socks when I bought it, this yarn just doesn’t want to be socks. Now, in the past I have sort of rolled my eyes when I heard a knitter say that about wool. I mean, come on, right? You’re the knitter, it’s the wool, it’ll be whatever you want it to be. But no. I have come to see the error in my ways. I love this wool. I love this colourway. I love knitting socks. But somehow these three parts weren’t adding up to a whole.

And then it hit me – just the way it’s probably hit thousands of other knitters – this yarn wanted to be worn somewhere visible, set off by two other contrasting by complimentary colours. Yes, this yarn wanted to be the Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki. I have been pretty in love with this shawl since I first saw it, but I just don’t think of myself as a shawl person, so I didn’t buy the pattern or obsess over colours. But lately, as the weather has been getting nicer, I’ve been thinking about it more and more. It’s not a triangular shawl, I told myself, so I can wear it as a scarf if I want to, with the option of draping it pashmina-like around my shoulders when the sun goes down. I am picturing this as a patio shawl (Patio Affection?), and the more I imagine myself wearing it, the more I want it.

So, this morning I called Lettuce Knit. I had been browsing Tanis’ colourways and picked my ideal three and I wanted to know if Lettuce Knit had them. They didn’t, but then Megan said they had Madeline Tosh sock in too, and some other sock yarns, and I figured what they heck, I’ll just go check it out. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous day today, and I don’t have to work, so I hopped on my bike and rode down. After much deliberation (and there was a lot – another woman who was in the store had never heard of Colour Affection, but after helping me pick my colours and then looking at the pattern, she too decided she must knit it and then we picked her colours; this is why I love Lettuce Knit so, so much, but I digress), this is what I picked to go with Mallard:

Madeline Tosh Sock, 100% superwash merino, in Charcoal.

Madeline Tosh Sock, 100% superwash merino, in Candlewick.

Now, of course, comes the tricky part: what order do I want them in. Basically, I have three options (not counting the flipped versions of these, just picture them in the other order (They’re stacked with mc at the top, then cc1, then cc2).

Option A

Option B

Option C

Personally, I am leaning toward Option A, because I like the idea of the neutral as the anchor and then having a bright band of that yellow at the bottom. I haven’t cast on yet (it’s sweater day, remember? Torture!) so you still have time to change my mind or bolster my decision – foolishly I thought buying the yarn was going to be the hard part!