Tuesday, January 19, 2021

And Now a Look at the Weather

 I'm sure you're familiar with temperature blankets/projects. The concept has been around for quite a few years now, and every January there are all kinds of posts and patterns for them. And I'm sure you've probably guessed that I've started one just by that intro.

I was really tempted to start one last year before everything derailed. And I kept very good records of both the daily highs and lows all year (I may have a slight "thing" for spreadsheets; I digress with laughter.) But I kept having trouble deciding how to use the information to make my project. Plus did I want a blanket? A scarf? A sweater? What did I feel would keep my interest?

I started toying with idea of something with a cable in one color and the background in another but that didn't really lead me anywhere. Then one day I was looking through my pattern library and came across Iona by Lucy Hague (link is to the pattern page on her website). It incorporates two colors and has a lovely knotwork cable worked over a blended background. I felt I had maybe found my answer. Plus the amusing (to me anyway) fact that Iona is an island as is Newfoundland. You all know I'm really good at finding links that are superficial at best by now lol.

To knit a blanket for 2020 I would need to make 366 day squares plus another 18 to make a blanket 12x32 squares. That is absolutely massive and while I might be tempted to make one in the future, I'm not at that stage of mania just yet. Note I'm not ruling it out completely; it might be fun to revisit a marker year like when I was born or graduated high school and what the weather was like where I was living at the time as a multiyear project at some point.

I got the idea to make it a more manageable project by taking the 7 day average of both the highs and lows, and then applying those numbers to my temperature scale. 53 squares, plus 10 to make a 7x9 square blanket is much more doable! And with my handy dandy spreadsheet, calculating those averages was a snap ;) So instead of squares for January 1, January 2, January 3, etc I'll be making squares for January 1-7, January 8-14, etc. 

Now for the yarn. It had to be something locally available so I can get more in a pinch, something with a good range of colors, something without dye lots to keep things from looking wonky, and preferably washable since there are 3 cats in the household plus I'm known to spill things when watching tv. I decided on Bernat Premium which is a worsted weight 100% acrylic yarn that comes in a large skein (360yds!) and is much softer than good ol' Red Heart Super Saver. (Not that RHSS isn't good for things, I just want something a bit easier on my hands for a long term project. Every yarn has its place.) I also already have several colors in my stash so that greatly lowers the financial outlay and doesn't slow down when I can start. Respecting your budget is an important part of any project.

Which brings me to needle size. I knit on the looser side, plus I wanted to start the squares on double-pointed needles, so I chose my 4.0mm/US 6 bamboo dpns to begin. As they're shorter than some of my other sets, around round 20 I transitioned the square to a 16 inch/40cm circular needle. This worked a treat and so I think I'll continue to go this route with the other squares.

The other important part of this type of project is the temperature scale, which needs to make sense for where you're gathering your data for. If you live in a temperate climate your scale will be very different from somewhere that runs the gamut from -40 to +40°C (Hi, Regina peeps *waves*). Here's what I came up with for my little corner of the island:

Temps in Celsius (color code from spreadsheet) 
below -20: (K) 
-19 to -15: (J) 
-14 to -10: (I) Iced Aqua, perhaps?
-9 to -5: (H)  Fresh Green
-4 to 0: (G)  Sky Blue
1 to 5: (F)
6 to 10: (E) 
11 to 15: (D)
16 to 20: (C) 
21 to 25: (B) 
above 25: (A) 
spacing squares: gray knots on black backgrounds

As I tracked the temperatures for 2020, I discovered I wouldn't need the below -20 (K) color, but it was better to be prepared. Applying this scale, my January 1-7 square needed a G knot color (average of -1) and an H background color (average of -7). I decided on Sky Blue for G, and Fresh Green for H, and yesterday I knit this square:

The unblocked square as described above.

I rather like it :) As you can see I haven't blocked it yet, and it's pretty close to 6 inches (14.5cm). I think pinning it to 6.5 inches square will give me good results. I'm not too impressed with my extra loose stitches in the knotwork in places so I'm going to modify the number of extra wraps in the pattern purely for my own aesthetics. Or maybe blocking will help; that's often the case. I wonder where my straight pins have gotten to? One nice thing about blanket squares: you only need one blocking mat to pin them out and it can be done on a table or counter top rather than the floor. Much easier on my back!!!!

Next up is January 8-14, -2/-14 or G for the knot and I for the background. I'm thinking Iced Aqua for my I color.

Are you working on a temperature project this year? I'd love to hear about it! What year are you using for your temps?What does your temperature scale look like? Are you using a rainbow or a narrower palette of colors? Are you making a blanket or another item? Stripes, squares, or something else? Let's talk temperatures!

Yours in yarn and weather,
Síle


Saturday, January 16, 2021

New Leaves on Old Plants

Do you ever get the feeling it's time to do things a bit different than you have been? Or return to a routine that made you feel good? That's where I'm at right now. I've just started on some new medicinals (with my doctor's input) that will hopefully have my energy back up and my pains back down. With those I'm also getting myself back into the routine of my physio passive stretches, and that's opened me up to having about an hour of me time every morning. Today is day one of this "new" routine so we'll see if it flows as smoothly as I intend it to.

And speaking of new, we can't have too many beginnings without an ending or two and I have an ending to show off! I finished my Simee Dimeh last evening :) I don't have the strength in my back at the moment to try to block it (why are floors so far down? In my dream craft studio, there will be an island with its top covered in blocking mats, and all kinds of storage below for pins and blocking wires, and maybe a sink towards one end for the actual "bathing" before blocking... I digress. A nice counter height blocking space to save my poor back having to lean over as much and crawl about on the floor.) but it is off the needles and looks quite nice, if you want my completely biased opinion. Here it is for your assessment:

A multicoloured shawl with mosaic knitting bands of colourwork and a picot edge.

There it is, my first FO of 2021 :) Which means I can soon cast-on my next me project! Yay! New cabled sweater for Síle! 

And with all this turning of new leaves, or should I say rejuvenation of older plants, I'm hoping to get the Hornpipe Bag finished up fairly soon. I'm aiming to have it in techediting by the end if February and testknitting in March. Keep an eye out for more on that soon!

Are you starting anything new, crafting or otherwise? I'd love to hear about it.

Yours in yarn and an empty project bag,

Síle 


Monday, January 11, 2021

Down Yet Another Rabbithole

 I've been slightly laid up again this last bit; pain spikes and some lightheadedness, just enough to keep me fairly much in one spot. So I decided to check out the videos referenced in some of the patterns I acquired during FOYAL 2020 (prizes from the games for the most part) on Saturday since I wasn't doing much.

That passed the day and evening right well! Because of course after watching the pertinent videos I had to check out the other videos of the same designer, which led me to actually watching the videos I'd subscribed to from other designers, and... There went Saturday!

Two of the designers I was watching also mentioned their Patreons. Patreon, if you're not familiar with it, is a site where you can pledge a certain amount each month to a creative person to allow them to more freely work as a creative and still have a steady income stream instead of only eating when they've made a decent sale. Knitty magazine has a Patreon to keep the magazine's patterns available for free while still paying the designers (and staff!!) for their work. I know of a few authors, designers, and musicians who use the set up and it's something I've thought of doing off and on. I just don't know what exclusive content I could offer; my social media is already full of behind the scenes Jakey and Silver pics ;)

Speaking of, they've quite liked having Auntie in a less mobile state lately:

Jakey sitting on me, and Silver sitting just off to my right closer to my leg as I recline.

That's from last evening. Helpful aren't they? 

A new work week begins today, so I should bid adieu to the rabbithole(s) and get on with some work!

Yours in yarn and car fur,
Síle


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Greetings from 2021!

That was a bit hectic! I'm so glad that so many knitters and crocheters enjoyed the Fasten Off Yarn Along :) It made for a very fun month! I love that we formed such an amazing community feeling in such a short time. 

Ah, but now the New Year's been rung in and things return fairly much to normal. Well, new normal anyway. I know some places are going into tighter Covid lockdowns again today. I hope all of the crafters have enough supplies to themselves through it all!

Are you a fan of goals at the start of the year? I don't mean the typically broken ones like losing weight or exercising X days a week. I mean fun goals, like reading X books this year, or learning to knit cables. 

I enjoyed the Challenge feature on R@v the last number of years, and I've done alright with it. I had a goal of 15 projects last year and I finished 17. We won't go into how many I started ;) I could still set a goal and track it here I suppose...

One thing I had decided on a bit ago was to knit myself a sweater each year; cardigan or pullover, didn't matter. As you know if you were following along, I knit a Harvest cardigan last fall (link is to the pattern's page on Tin Can Knits' website). This year's sweater is a pattern I bought during the Fasten Off Yarn Along: Twist Again by Robynn Weldon (link goes to the pattern page in her Payhip shop). I just love all those cables!! And I have a lovely dark lavender yarn for it :) I haven't started it yet. I've been tempted to, but I decided I need to get at least two projects off the needles first.

I did finish a project during FOYAL (although I only swatched one officially, the aforementioned Twist Again)! I finally got my G'night Cap by Sarah Schira (link is to her website) finished; I only cast-on in January 2019! I only meant to set it down for a week or so to finish up something else and... Anyway!! It is done, it is fabulous, and I love it! Picture? Why of course!

Collage of cabled stocking cap: finished, finished with tassel attached, and modeled by yours truly.

I used just a bit over 1 hank of Briggs & Little Heritage in "Light Green". It's cute and oh so warm :) Let January throw another Snowmageddon at us! Ok, not really; I don't want to that much snow at once ever again. But my new hat is warm and wonderful.

What am I working to finish up? So glad you asked! I started Simee Dimeh by Romi Hill (Sorry, no safe link at the moment. I know Romi is getting her website set up, and I that you can email her to get her patterns via email instead of through R@v at this time) last May and I'm in the midst of chart J. It ends after chart K, so I'm very close to finishing. I chose to use the rainbow for my 7 colors and ordered 7 hanks of Briggs & Little Sport from Wool Trends, one of the lovely lys' in St. John's aka Town. Here's where it's at currently:

Textured section in red followed by sections of mosaic knitting and stripes in orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple. There is a lace section, knit in yellow as well.

How's that for colorful?! I've used red, orange, yellow, paddy green, light blue, blue heather, and violet to make my rainbow, and I'm really pleased with how it's coming along. 

So that sums up my personal knitting, let's look at my work knitting!

I published two patterns last year, the Treble Reel Toque and the Treble Jig Legwarmers (links are within this blog. You can also visit the Patterns tab near the top of this screen)

This year I'll be publishing the Hornpipe Bag and the Slip Jig Shawl. I'm continuing to work on the samples and tweak the wording of the patterns as I do so. (Behind the Scenes info: unlike some (most? probably most) designers, I first outline the pattern and swatch and make notes, and then I write the pattern as I knit the sample.) I hope to also publish at least one of the two other samples I have on the go currently. These are Hap-Hazard (my twist on a hap shawl), and Gone Feising (pronounced "feshing"; an Irish dancer's outfit for an 18 inch doll).

I'm also at work "translating" the charts from Rínce Fada into line by line instructions to make a low vision accessible pdf to go with the standard one already available. Because I charted it for reversible double-knitting (standard double-knitting gives you a mirrored image on the backside that gives you backwards facing letters and words), each and every stitch is represented, and when I choose the written instructions option from my charting software I get "KMC PCC KMC PCC KMC PCC..." instead of "(KMC, PCC) 3x..., so I have to manually edit each row, which isn't easy on my eyes, and yes, I'm taking regular breaks to rest them. I'm about half through chart B and the charts go up to I so it'll be a bit before I have it ready but I am working on it, and hope to have it ready to go for you summerish ideally. Watch this space! There will be fireworks* when I announce it's ready! *Not really fireworks. A photo of some most likely. No animations will be on this site. 

I think that's all I have to tell you about today. Happy 2021 to you, again :) If you'd like to tell me about your crafting goals for this year, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you've got planned!

Yours in yarn and to do lists,

Síle