Knitting WIP: Pomme de Pin Cardigan

I was thinking that I haven’t regularly posted any of my craft projects lately, and I had just taken some photos of a current WIP so I thought I’d share. :)

This is the Pomme de Pin cardigan by Amy Christoffers. It is available as a Ravelry download for US$7. My project page can be found here.

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I’ve never knit a cardigan with this type of construction before. It is knit from the bottom up; body, then separate for the sleeves, knit the back, then each front including the back of the collar. Then sleeves and pick up the button bands. All my previous projects have top-down but I think I like bottom-up better. You get all the boring body knitting out of the way while you’re still excited about starting something new. Then the rest of it is interesting enough, and you’re close enough to the end to actually work on it instead of getting bored and moving onto something else. Or is that just me that does that? Guys…?!! ;) I must say though, the pine cone pattern is pretty fun to work. It is easy enough once you memorise it and it’s more interesting than stockinette stitch. Although, I do love myself some stockinette.

I’ve found the pattern to be very well written and easy to follow. And even though this is my first bottom-up project, I’ve had no problems understanding the process. That being said, I’ve yet to seam the shoulders, the back to the collar or the sleeves in so we’ll have to wait and see when it’s finished how I go with those instructions.

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I’ve been listening to the Knit Picks podcast all over from the beginning lately and Kelley was speaking about knitting socks two-at-a-time (TAAT) on two circular needles. So I figured, if socks can be knit TAAT, then surely sleeves can be? So, that’s what I’m doing. I’ve never done this before, so I jumped onto YouTube and found an awesome tutorial by VeryPink Knits where she teaches you how to knit a full pair of socks with the TAAT on two circ method. I had two balls of yarn left so used one each for the sleeves. I’m going well with my ribbing and enjoying getting both done at once. No second sleeve syndrome! :)

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What the colour actually looks like

I am knitting this out of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in the Bramble Heather colourway. I must say, for my first project in Knit Picks yarn, I’m extremely happy with the value for money it provides. This yarn is soft but robust feeling. And the yarn for the whole project (~1200 yards) was only AU$31.50. Bargain. And the colour range, colour descriptions and pictures are just phenomenal. I’m a fan.

So that’s one of the things I’m working on at the moment. What’s on your needles, please? :)

Motivation

Motivation. It’s a slippery little sucker. One minute it’s there and you’re bouncing through the world on a mission, the next it’s gone and you’re slumped on the couch stuffing your face with dark chocolate, unable to even pick up your knitting needles.

This is pretty much i.e. an accurate description of, what my life has been like lately. I have barely the energy to get myself out of bed, let alone jump into all those goals I set myself at the start of the year.

My eating has gone down the tubes despite my taking the plunge and signing up for a 6-month contract with Weight Watchers. I now weigh more now than my weigh-in at my first meeting.

My knit from stash and not purchase new yarn goal has gone by the wayside also, although not to the same extent as my poor eating habits.

I have not done any gardening since my last post on it. I have not planted any food even though I have some seeds waiting and some potting mix that has not even been put into the planter boxes.

My house is a pig-sty. With probably more stuff in it than when I wrote the post on a simplified household.

Cross stitch? Sewing? What even are these?

I have decided though, that despite all the above negatives I will be positive. Instead of focusing on what I have not done, I am looking towards what I want to achieve and how I can get there. Here’s to future posts about my accomplishments rather than my failures.

How do you keep motivation flowing?

FO: The Lush Cardigan

Wow, has this one been on the needles for a while! The Lush Cardigan by tincanknits.

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While I love the finished item, this thing was an absolute bitch to knit, quite frankly. And it wasn’t even that the pattern was hard. I think that really, it just didn’t want to be knit. But, as you can see, I beat it into submission. ;)

I have knit the body of this cardigan three times. Count it with me – 1, 2, 3 times. :( It went kinda something like this:

  1. Knit the lace yoke, all good. Pick up the neck and collar stitches and complete including short rows, just fine. Pick up and knit the body, separate the armholes, knit down to the bottom ribbing including waist shaping, start bottom ribbing, realise you’ve used the smaller ribbing needle size for the whole body. F**KING WHAT?!! ARGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!! You know what comes next: RIIIIIIIP!
  2. After ripping out the WHOLE BODY up to the underarm, the stitches were picked up again along the lace yoke with the RIGHT NEEDLE (I was sure to get it right this time!), knit, knit, knit, complete waist shaping, getting close to the bottom ribbing, realised one of the edge stitches had fallen off the needle about 8″ down. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?!! Searched about online to find a tutorial to help with picking up edge stitches. Attempted to unravel a few side stitches and pick up with a crochet hook but the edge ended up VERY tight. As I still needed to pick up button bands I knew the tight, curving edge would not do, so 8″ of knitting got ripped out. :'(
  3. This time I got it right :D

The only thing I did realise is that the top of the sleeve is still knit in the smaller needle due to the construction of the cardigan and the fact I only ripped up to the underarm. After what this cardigan had already put me through,  I let it slide.

I knit this one out of Cascade 220 Superwash in the Jet colourway which is a heathered black. The pattern was very easy to follow and mostly well explained. I did have one criticism of the way the lace yoke is written however. Instead of saying knit x number of repeats of the chart the instructions say to knit (for my size) 152 rows! You know how hard it is to keep track of 152 rows? I spent ages trying to calculate the number of chart repeats 152 rows was. Didn’t help that I kept forgetting that the even numbered rows weren’t charted… >.<

I chose to do wrist length sleeves (vs 3/4 sleeves as per pattern) on my cardigan as I had the extra yarn (still have some left!) and I prefer longer sleeves. I made them just hit my wrist bone so I can comfortably put on some fingerless mitts with my cardigan. :) My project page can be found on Ravelry here.

yarma_medium2So in the end, I got a great cardigan that I love despite all the near-tears.  My sister tried to get me to give it to her last night when I took it to show it off. So I guess that’s a good sign too. It’s now been added to her list of things she wants me to knit for her! ;) Just have to get the one I have going for her already finished first…

What have you been knitting lately? :)

Goal Progress

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I thought I’d take today to have a bit of a think about how things are going with the goals I set for myself at the start of the year.

Knitting Goals

So far so good. For some of it. ;)

I have failed in my “do not buy yarn unless I am ready to cast on straight away” goal. On my most recent podcast (here), I discussed another little exception to my knit from stash goals. And this was that if I can get it, I’m allowed to purchase the limited edition Madelinetosh colourways from Eat.Sleep.Knit (ESK). These colourways are available for the first week of the month only and are inspired by places around Georgia, which is where ESK is located. They disappear pretty quickly as there is only 10-20 skeins of the colourway on about six yarn bases.

I have also failed on my “only two WIPs” at a time goal. I have had a bit of cast-on-itis lately and have started a couple of Memory Blankets. These are mitred square blankets where each square is knit onto the last. However, this does help with the stash down as it is getting rid of little odds and ends of yarn that have been hanging around for a while. I’ve started one in sock yarn (4 ply) and another in worsted/aran (10 ply) yarn. I have been putting in a lot of work to finish my WIPs so I’m still moving forward in respect to this goal. I have knit 1356 yards for my Clean Slate Challenge so I nearly have an entry into the prize draw (at 1500 yards)! :)

Sewing Goals

I have yet to sew anything but I have it on my agenda for this week. I have joined a beta test of a new productivity website for craft businesses and I am using it to organise my time so that I can work on the MyMuddlings brand and also schedule some personal sewing in. If you’re interested to see the new products I am working on, head over to my Facebook page.

I have yet to set up my husband’s old desk for my cutting table, we’ll need to get rid of some stuff to make room first. I have begun working on the Wardrobe Architect exercises and I’m intending to write about my progress later in the week.

Cross Stitch

Again, no progress here as yet.

Healthy Lifestyle Goals.

Hmmm… this has been a bit so-so. I still have the good intention but I have been lacking the motivation and energy as I have been struggling with a set back to my mental health progress. Sometimes it’s all just too hard to make a juice or a salad or carrot and celery sticks when you’re feeling down. It’s easier to reach for the processed carbs to give yourself a sugar boost. It’s a pity because I know I will feel better if I eat the veggies. Most days I’ve at least had my green juice so that’s positive.

I haven’t been exercising and that includes the yoga. Although, now I have scheduled dog walking into my agenda with the productivity website I mentioned above. I also need to carve out a time and create a ritual to begin my meditation… Some more research is required here.

Simplified Home Goals

At this point, we have no progress to report other than my knitting down scraps from my stash. Again, with the way my mental state has been of late, it’s just all too hard. :(

So that’s where I am one month into the new year. How are your 2015 goals working out?

FO: Mystery Machine Socks

I have a finished object for you today! These are the Mystery Machine Socks by Ariel Altaras. The pattern is a US$5.00 download and can be found on Ravelry here.

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These are a fingering (4 ply) weight sock with ribbing, lace and cables. I love them! My Ravelry notes are here.

I knit them from some hand-dyed sparkle Blue Faced Leicester wool. It was lovely to work with even though I don’t really like orange or sparkly yarn! ;) BFL wool is one of my favourites that I’ve tried so far to work with.

I was a little irked by a purl line that is on one sock not the other but it’s not a big deal overall. The pattern was great, mostly very well written. The charts were in an odd position and I had to keep flipping back an forth over a few pages between the instructions and the chart but I suppose that can’t be helped. There were a couple of points when the charts transitioned from the full diamond lace pattern to the decreases to add in the ribbing again that I found a bit mystifying but I muddled through and I’m really pleased with the result. :)

Thanks for reading!

I think somewhere inside is a gardener…

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My backyard after doing the mowing today. Photobomb courtesy of Granger. ;)

So, since I have been working my healthier, plant-based diet, I seem to have been infected by something… The desire to GARDEN. Yes, you read right. I want to work in my garden…

Previously to this, as I have probably told this blog before, I have been a lazy person by nature. I would prefer to curl up on the couch with a knitting project and a podcast or show on the telly. Not anymore it seems. I have mown my back lawn TWICE in the last two weekends because a) it needed it and b) I like the way it looks when it’s nice and short and flat and neat. Today I even hand cut the lawn edges out the front and mowed the front lawn, ripped out weeds and previously poisoned dead grass along the cracks between my house and the path around it (front and back!) and even SWEPT up after myself.  WHAT?!!

I now want to work my way around the back yard picking up all the dead stuff (from the above mentioned previous poisoning), clear out underneath and prune all the fruit trees in the yard, rake up all the old pits from the two peach trees we have and clear off the large paved area (what it’s there for I’ll never know, top left in my pic above) of all the dead leaves and dropped and dried olives from last season. We have some lovely looking peaches on our trees at the moment so I’ll need to head out and harvest some before the birds get them or they fall off the tree too.

Now, all of this is in direct opposition to my lack of desire to be in the sun (tanning and wrinkles, ugh) and my usual desire to do sweet F-A with my spare time, well except for knitting, TV watching and eating. ;) You know what else? I have even RESEARCHED how to grow a lisianthus that I was given as a gift (thanks mum! All the flowers have died by the way :( ) and how to make my own compost and raise seedlings. Again, WHAT?!!

I have asked my husband if we can go to Bunnings (an Australian gardening and hardware store) this weekend so I can get some proper lawn edging shears (I was using secateurs!) and some plants and seeds so I can start my edible garden.

I really don’t know what’s going on. Must be all the greens I’ve been consuming. But my garden is more tidy because of it and will hopefully be more beautiful and bountiful in the coming months.

Do you enjoy gardening? I’d love to hear about it!

Simplified Home Goals

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Picture taken from http://www.thehomealarms.com

My husband and I have a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff. Picture a three bedroom home full of stuff, plus a 20×40 foot garage full of stuff. Yeah, I did say a lot. So, my goal for this year is:

  1. DECLUTTER – Get rid of stuff. Donate it, sell it, whatever, I don’t want it around anymore. Most of the stuff in the garage we don’t even know what’s there nor has it seen the light of day since we moved in February 2014. My husband is a complete pack-rat so I’m going to have to step delicately in a few areas. We rent so we never know when our lease is not going to be renewed (we’ve had two rentals sold out from under us in the last four years!) and if we have to move again, I don’t want to have to take all that we currently own with us. I want our home to be neat, easy to clean and a joyful, peaceful place to be. Not surrounded by stuff that feels like it’s closing in on you and makes it difficult to clean as you have to move everything just to clean it.

Is decluttering on your list of things to do this year?