Tag Archives: Madeline Tosh

August? Paging August.

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I don’t know how it is where you are, but over here I’m a little disoriented. I mean, it was just July wasn’t it? What the heck happened to the last month? This was how I felt about November and March when I was at university – two months that were so jam-packed that they sucked up your life and didn’t spit it out again until you were already on the other side.

That’s when I realized where August went: work. All month, I’ve been working two jobs. I’ve been in the shop or doing shop stuff in the morning, and then come early afternoon I get ready and head off to the Post, where I stay until it’s too late to do anything but go to sleep when I get home. My weekends, while mostly work-free, have also been full. It has been a month of fun and learning and newness, but definitely not a month I would describe as restful. Clearly, this calls for a holiday, and lucky me, tomorrow L and I are getting on a plane and heading east: Nine days in Nova Scotia. Oh heck yes.

We’re going to spend the first four days in Cape Breton, hiking and camping and (hopefully) visiting Baadeck Yarns (I’ve already planted this seed in L’s ear, so he’s prepared). After that, it’s back to the Annapolis Valley for five days of hanging out at my parents’, visiting friends, and being relaxed. There will be sight-seeing, there will be friend-visiting and shopping and all that, but there will also be free time, and unscheduled hours, and oh my gosh, I cannot wait! (Yes, yes, there will be blogging too.)

Because of the camping portion of the trip, packing is a little trickier this time than it was the last time I went. Nonetheless, there will be room to bring some knitting with me, and also to bring some wool home with (we all know what happened last time I went home, after all).

This is a very accurate depiction of the colours in these socks. I love them. I wouldn’t even rip this back (despite my Jaywalker desire) if I wasn’t already feeling they were going to be to big. Sort of serendipitous really.

I am bringing my Fleece Artist Spruce Socks – which I cast on as regular socks and, despite being three inches in, have ripped back so they can become the Jaywalkers they want to be – and something else as-yet undecided. I can’t bring the Christmas socks, because my sister will be visiting home at the same time we’re there. I was planning to bring the wedding mitts, but the yarn still looks like this and I’m not sure I’ll have time to wind to before we leave.

This will be mittens. It will. I’ll wind it just as soon as I’m home.

I feel fairly confident that the Spruce Socks will take more than a week, but there’s a lot of driving and flying built into this trip (L and I will split the driving though) and I don’t want to run out. Considering my yarn-buying plans, this seems like a silly worry, but still, I think I’ll pack an emergency skein just in case. The only question is, where to put it?

One thing I will definitely find room for (and, let’s be honest, I will definitely fit in that extra wool) is my finished Georgian Bay shawl. I cast on in the car on the way to Tobermory the first time we went this summer, knit on it for four days, got home, and promptly got distracted (we talked about busyness, yes?). The weekend of the baby shower, though, I was so filled with productive glee (read: caffeine) that I stayed up and finished it. That was two weeks ago, but since we were going back to Tobermory, it seemed only right to take pictures in the place it was meant for.

This is kind of a little shawl, I admit, but under a light sweater or jacket it’s perfect. I already want to make another one (though maybe slightly larger).

While it’s slightly smaller than I’d choose (dear self: go up a needle size; just figure it out already), I love it. I love the colour, I love how soft the wool is, I love the eyelets, I love it. I was convinced I wasn’t a triangle-shawl person, but I take it back.

Details
Pattern: Doublish, by Alex Tinsley
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Nebula
Needles: 3.25 mm Addi lace circulars
Modifications: None! I can hardly believe it either. It’s ravelled here if you’re into that sort of thing.

I bought two skeins of Nebula because I was worried about yardage (I am always worried about yardage, but the pattern was pretty specific on this point) and have an entire unwound skein leftover. I was thinking about exchanging it for another colour – unless you have a better idea?

The perils of the best laid plans

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Sometimes I guess it’s possible to both plan too well and not quite well enough. This was the case of the Leftover Socks, which were originally intended (as the name suggests) to use up some of the leftovers from my Colour Affection shawl. That was the original plan. I weighed a pair of socks I had recently knit and then weighed the wool I had left, and happily discovered that I had enough to knit proper socks (that is, not short socks, which I don’t like to wear).

I then weighed the two colours of wool separately and found that I had a bit more of the green than the grey, so I decided to knit green socks with grey cuffs, heels, and toes. Very cute, I thought. And the first one was, see:

Leftover sock 1 all finished and nice looking, and leftover sock 2 just before the heel with a deceptive amount of yarn still in the ball.

The thing is, I should have actually thought about the math a little. The amounts of yarn I had in green and grey were only different by about 20 grams, and together equaled a pair of socks. If I had thought about what this meant, I might have been able to foresee what would happen if I tried to actually knit socks that were almost entirely in one colour. You can see where this is going can’t you?

Sigh.

I got just past the heel in sock number 2 (not even entirely through the gusset! but I will say that knitting on a dock in Tobermory made me feel a little better) when I realized I was in trouble. I switched to grey, hoping to save enough of the green to the toe. I figured that this way, at least, the tops would match when I was wearing shoes/boots, and the feet would just look reversed if I was wearing pants and sock feet. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be.

These are perhaps the most ridiculous socks I have ever knit. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I stripe them? Clearly I knit with the philosophy that if I don’t acknowledge the yarn is running out, it won’t run out. That belief was dashed this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, these are warm socks knit in lovely wool, and they will keep my feet warm even if they are unforgivingly fraternal and clearly knit on the fly. I know this, but would it have been too much to ask for a little symmetry? It’s the stupid toe that really kills me.

Leftovers of the leftovers.

To take the edge off the disappointment I’m sure you’re all feeling on my behalf, enjoy some Tobermory photos. It was a glorious weekend with good friends, nonsense socks (which are ravelled here, if you’re interested) notwithstanding.

We stayed in a different cottage this time around. Here’s the view from the deck (I spent some lovely time knitting on that dock.)

It was overcast and grey on the second night, but as you can see, the first night more than made up for it. Spectacular, it was.

The rocks at Half-Way Log Dump (in the Bruce Peninsula National Park) are pretty fantastic.

You can’t quite tell, but the water is tropical to look at. Even though it was cold, because you can jump in I did a lot swimming. I love swimming.

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.)

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!