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Today, for the first time in ages, I woke up without the weight of a deadline hanging over my head.  It felt so good.

I decided that with some free time on a rainy day, this would be a good opportunity to make further investigations into some projects that I’ve been eyeing recently.

But first, let me show you this!

Dream socks

They are done!  I love them so much.  They’re at once very “Alice in Wonderland” and “Wicked Witch of the West” don’t you think? I’m looking forward to refreshing my stocks of Happy-go-knitty next Saturday at the Wellington Underground annual “Wonders of Wool” market.  More, pretty stripy socks coming my way!  Funny how we knitters talk about yarn in terms of a finished project.

Also, another happiness-making thing happened yesterday:

Milky Way, KnitschSeven glorious hanks of Knitsch Milky Way, for the knitting of the Southern Companion were ready for my pick-up!

At Holland Road Yarn Company, Tash was busy making final preparations for her stall at this weekend’s Creative Fibre Festival.  Oh my.  Such hanks of gloriousness I saw, to set the heart aflutter!  I hope there’s still some left when I turn up…

Now to what I did today.  This is what one’s living room ends up looking like in the middle of a creative frenzy:

Creative chaosWhat was this all about you ask?  I’ve been eyeing the below interesting cardigan all week:

ConiferIt’s called Conifer  (designed by Rosee Woodland), and it’s in Issue 54 of The Knitter.

Several features attracted me to it:  the knitted-on fingerless gloves (very handy to keep those winds out of one’s sleeves) and the fact that it’s knitted in reverse stocking stitch.  The certain someone I’m knitting it for likes to wear her sweaters inside out because she prefers the smooth feeling of the stocking stitch instead of the purl bumps.  This would be perfect!  The final feature I liked was the unusual reverse fair isle.  I’ve been thinking about using reverse fair isle in a pattern, and this looked like a good opportunity to try it out.

I also had in mind a certain person’s comment about knits in the English town she lives in “Oh, fair isle is so common, everyone wears it, it’s not special to me any more.”  Perhaps an unusual take on fair isle might be good?

I thought that Knitsch would make a perfect medium for it, given it’s meant to be for a certain girl who dislikes itch.  So, diving into my precious hoard of Knitsch, I did a bit of a stocktake of possibilities:

Knitsch Something colourful for the yoke perhaps?

However, as I was winding the balls, it occurred to me that while all those colours looked oh-so-pretty together, they might seem cartoonish all in one garment.

I pared it down to pretty purple shades with a touch of gold:

SwatchI’m not sure about that gold, but the purples looked good.  The only downside was that when I measured the swatch, the gauge was far too small.  Bother and horrors.  That swatch was a real brain-teaser to knit too!  Reverse fair isle is tricky until you figure out that you can’t knit it like normal fair isle!!

I sat there feeling annoyed.  Knitsch was very much what I wanted to use.  I didn’t really fancy knitting more swatches until I found a yarn that matched.  Besides, I don’t have any other yarn in my stash with that colour range.  Why didn’t it match?  They were both 4 ply after all!?  They felt the same thickness in the hand.  I decided that I would see how many wraps per inch the J&S was… 15 per inch.  Then I wrapped the Knitsch, I found that it’s more like 20 wraps per inch!  Ah.  It made sense now.  I should probably have done that first.  Doh.

I wondered how Zealana Kiwi Fingering would work out.  She likes that yarn too.  I wrapped it, and found that it is exactly 15 wraps per inch!  I was surprised, because Kiwi feels a lot thicker.  (J&S is springier and lighter, but the width of the strand is the same).  So… although I don’t have a large colour range in that yarn, I decided to do one more swatch to see if really was the right match:

Zealand Kiwi swatch

I am pleased to say that it gives the exact gauge that I need for this pattern.

My concentration petered out in the final row and I messed up the swatch.  The young boy got bored and started to watch a video.  And with the invasion of irritating noise into the ears came the advent of a headache and the loss of all ability to concentrate.  I need a nice, quiet, cosy little cabin at the end of the garden in which to knit, far from loud, concentration-shattering noises…

So now I need to go shopping for colours. But I guess I should consult with a certain girl first to see what she’d like?  :-)

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