Of knits and stuff

Alpaca is one of those fibres that really comes into its own when used in the right pattern. I chose it to knit Paris Toujours.  The yarn is from Skeinz and is called Alpaca Sterling.  It is 98% alpaca, with 2% silver accent that gives the yarn just the twinkliest hint of bling.  I used 300gm in total. It is very nice yarn, and I really enjoyed using it.  Some alpaca yarns are treated with a chemical of some kind that helps it to stick together during spinning. This chemical can create a yarn that has a horrible drag on the needles, making it a total pain in the A to knit.  I was very relieved that Alpaca Sterling had none of that drag.

The shawl has turned out to be the loveliest thing with gorgeous softness, drape and warmth.  I can see I will use it a lot come winter!

You can see more of the sparkle in this WIP photo:

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The pattern is as usual, well written by Isabell Kraemer.  It is one of those projects that you can knit and not think about too much once the pattern is established and you figure out unusual things like the slipped stitch edging.  You can see it in the photo above – it makes for a lovely neat edge to the shawl.  I like it and will use it again in future!

IMG_1705 (800x600)I am very, very, nearly finished on Two Hearts.  Just a quarter of the second sleeve to go and the sewing up, so you will see it soon!  I am very excited, as sometimes it has felt like I will never get to the end of it!

The finishing of these two projects leaves me with thoughts on what to do next.  I am very much in the mood to finish up other outstanding WIPs that I have had sitting around for a while, especially this one:IMG_1720 (800x800)

It’s the Leighlinbridge Aran by Melissa Leapman that has been stuck for lack of concentration time for a few months.  I realise I made one of the twisted cables just slightly larger than the others, but too bad, it will be fine.  I can live with it.  I’m using The Wool Company’s Possum Merino in a colourway that is very similar to the new Sea Foam.  That was a mistake looking up the colourways because now that I have seen the new season’s colours, I Want Them All!!!! They are absolutely gorgeous!

The new project that I’d like to start is my retry of Audry’s Southern Skies.  After my failure with the original yarn I chose (it came out far too small), I decided to use a yarn with less spring, and asked Anna Gratton if she’d custom dye me a night sky using her 4 ply 100% wool.  This is what came back, called Midnight Sky:IMG_1715 (800x705)

I got it out of storage this week and decided that it was just far too beautiful not to knit into a shawl. I can see it will be very reflective of the Milky Way when taken on long time exposure.  I love it!!

I’m going to knit it with 4mm needles as I want it to be nice and big, and I know that my gauge is much tighter than Audry’s.  More on this shawl soon!

I’ve now got at least seven designs sitting on my list of things to write up.  Somehow, I am lacking the motivation.  I think the realisation that pattern designing is not a viable income generator for me has me in a bit of a writing funk.  I keep coming up with designs because I keep knitting things from my head and thinking “someone would like to knit this too, I bet”.  I am grateful that many of you like my designs, but I need to accept that designing is just a hobby and do it for the love of designing and sharing rather than anything else. Still, it is a good exercise to keep my brain exercised during this hiatus from work.

Perhaps too, because I lack mental stimulation in other areas at the moment, that my mind has turned to wanting to learn new things, to stretch and grow.  So there is a bit of a fascination with all things lace and colourwork and complex cables going on…

Finally, I’d like to link to this uplifting video I came across this week.  It’s about emotional first aid.  Guy Winch made a very good point about how we look after ourselves really well physically, but how often do we do the same to our minds? He touches on things like loneliness and fear of failure and rejection, not the catch phrase depression that seems to be all the rage to talk about these days.  It’s a really good listen, and I got a lot out of it, so I am sharing it with you.

Wishing you all a good week!

19 thoughts on “Of knits and stuff

  1. Love your Paris Toujours! I loved knitting mine and want to make it again. The Two Hearts is stunning. Went right into my Ravelry favs. Keep writing patterns if you enjoy it – I enjoy getting them. I’m almost done with a pair of Steampunk Mittens. K

    1. I’m looking forward to seeing your version of the Steampunk mittens! I will continue to design. I’m just not going to make it a ‘must do’. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I will. I think I just need the temperatures to go down a tiny bit before handling the warm, fluffy possum. In the meantime, I am busy with all the shawls…!

  2. It must be so hard to make a living from knitting design. Maybe if you can get some published in the big knitting magazines (like Interweave Knits) you’d get the profile you need. But I recall that even Woolly Wormhead, whose great knitted hat designs often feature in the British magazines, is on the poverty line. I’m loving your cable work so far.

    1. It’s an interesting scenario. The Geek socks in Knitty certainly really helped with profile. I think it needs another blog post to explain more clearly my thoughts on the matter.

  3. Thanks for sharing this TEDx talk on emotional hygiene. We’ve been running classes in our high school around Positive Psychology for several years and last year began classes with our 10-year-olds looking at Growth Mindsets, Gratitude, and a host of areas where learning skills in resilience and grit can help towards creating an optimistic and realistic outlook.
    I find your knitting products and designs inspiring. It would be interesting to look for example on Ravelry at the most popular designers/projects and to gauge from them what the market wants and what the current trends are.
    I wish you peace in your creative pursuits and success in the year ahead. xx

    1. I am so impressed that your school prepares the girls in the area of mental resilience so young! That is awesome and will stand them in good stead for the future. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  4. Beautiful knitting! I would say that Alpaca is one of my favorite fibers to knit. Looking forward to watching the progress on Audry’s shawl design. It will look amazing in that yarn.
    Loved the video. I agree in the importance of mental hygiene, I think recently the words depression has been out there more because people are more accepting of what it is without the fear of being judged. Thank you for sharing!

  5. “I think the realisation that pattern designing is not a viable income generator for me has me in a bit of a writing funk.” I had the same realization for myself. It’s difficult to make designing profitable, and the market is REALLY saturated so I feel like competition is so stiff, it’s discouraging. I think you have the right idea, doing it when you want to, just because you want to. If it’s not fun for you, and you aren’t depending on the money, you’re not obligated to do it. 🙂

    1. In a way, I think that because anyone can write a pattern and publish it now, it has made designing a really hard place to be professionally. Knitting/crochet must be one of the few crafts in the world that are so accessible in terms of sharing knowledge! Let’s keep our day jobs. 🙂

  6. I was intending to knit the Pairs Toujour and purchased the yarn you recommended but when I looked at the pattern it required over 750 meters of yarn. You wrote that you used 300 metres . How did you adapt the pattern? Jenny

  7. Apology I should never read emails before work in the early morning gms are not meters !! I lesson in paying attention in the morning. I have now ordered the rest of the yarn. Thank you for your delightful blog. Jenny

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