Elwing Calafalas – It’s done!

Time is a weird thing. I’ll never quite understand how a few hours can stretch into an eternity, and why the same three months can feel like a heartbeat for one thing and like an eternity for another.

This make felt like it was a long time in the making, but according to my blog (trusty friend) it didn’t take much longer than 3 months. Which, to be fair, isn’t that long for knitting a cardigan.

Either way, it’s done 🙂

Finished Elwing Calafalas

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this turned out. There are a few minor details that haven’t turned out exactly as planned. One of the sleeves is a bit wider at the wrist than the other, and I might have to think of a way to remedy that. Since there’s no way I’m going to frog and reknit it, however, I’m not quite sure how … maybe something will come to me.

The cardigan was knit as a top-down raglan, and I fitted as I went. Mostly that turned out great, even though the yarn stretched a bit more than expected when I blocked the cardi and it now has generous ease. Probably not a bad thing for layering in winter, tho.

I really like how the picot edging turned out. It was a lot of hand sewing, but I did become better at it and it does give a very nice finish. Now I think about it, the sleeve thing might be because I finished one of the sleeve edges before and one after I blocked – another lesson learned.

Buttons

After some deliberation, I decided to go for a button band with a one-stitch-twisted-rib stitch, and it turned out fine. Of course I sewed on one of the buttons in a slightly off distance to the others … which seems to be one of my favorites. I could fix that easily, but right now, I’m not bothered, so it stays.

The buttons came out of my (rather sizeable) stash of vintage buttons, and I think they go very well with the cardigan, adding to the somewhat rustic yet light feel of it.

The goal was a simple, somewhat traditional cardigan, and I think I met that goal. It has a weirdly bavarian touch to it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing 🙂

It’s done!
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The new ritual

Last week, I told you why The Very Best Jumper is named the way it is (and it has nothing to do with Martha Stewart!).

Today, I’ll show you my silly little new ritual.

And this ritual was inspired by something I also talked about last week, namely the first pajama pants I ever made. Now, I don’t really have a photo of them, tho they’re rather snazzy, if I say so myself … black satin with lace edgings.

The only thing that’s really a constant test of my patience is the fact that it’s really, really hard to tell the front from the back. Because of the slinky fabric, and their blackness, and the fact that it’s usually in a poorly lit bedroom that I put them on, this process can take several moments.

Just imagine me … holding them up, inspecting both sides. Peering inside. Eventually resorting to searching for the gap in the waistband I used to insert the elastic band.

So one day, I said to myself, enough is enough … I need a tag of some sort. Now, me being me, I can’t just … ah, well, you know, sew a little something into the pants and let it be good. This little princess won’t do below a proper tag. Clearly it should bear my name (or the name of my blog) on it.

So I found these:

TVBJ laundry tags

For a very affordable £6.99 plus postage (I paid ~£10 quid overall) you get 36 of these lovely, woven laundry tags. You can choose your font, the colours,  and whether you want some fancy decorations (yes, please!) on them. They come in two different sizes, and were delivered within a week.

The first garment to get one was this (new) pajama bottom:

First use of TVBJ tag

And today, I used another one:

Finishing touches on the caterpillar cardi

It went into the caterpillar cardi, first mentioned here, which I finished today.

As we speak, it’s soaking in the third load of detergent – the green heathered wool is a lovely yarn, scottish lambswool from a small mill, but it comes oiled for machine use, and needs some quite thorough cleaning before it fluffs up.

Hence the absence of photos of the FO … you’ll see more of it during the coming week.

When you’re hit by (inspirational) lightning, cast on.

It’s not like I didn’t have anything on the needles. There’s Elwin Calafalas, a triangle shawl and a pair of socks. Not to speak of the cabin log blanket. There’s even a crochet project sitting patiently in a corner. Oh, and a cotton sweater, too …

Cotton Sweater

After looking at all my projects rather miserably, I realized I did’t want to knit any of them. What I wanted to make was … something different. Maybe a shawl in a fingering weight, so it’d knit up quickly and could be used very soon? (Yes, you guessed it … it was raining outside.)

So some yarn was grabbed, I had a vague idea for something two colored and cast on. I used the same green lambswool and Aade Long yarn as in this shawl. Well, while the colours really work well together, what I really want is a black shawl. I don’t know why I don’t cast one on, I even have some really lovely Wollmeise sock yarn in black.Does this ever happen to you? Knowing exactly what you want/need, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be what ends up on your needles?

Too pink. Really.

Since I wasn’t feeling the shawl, I ripped it. While doing so, I considered ripping a lazy-kate-type shawl that had used up most of the Aade Long (which I eventually did. Well, mostly, some’s still waiting …) earlier this year. And then lightning struck.

These two yarns would be *perfect* for a light, striped cardigan with a boat neck. I mean, like, perfect.

Like, perfect

I’m now about a hand’s width underneath the arms, in a top down raglan construction, and striping the cardigan with added texture.

And what can I tell you? I’m loving it.

Elwing Calafalas – yarn

Again, I’m using Blacker yarn, this time an organic Corriedale and Hebridean mix, which obviously means the sheep are reared organically.

~Hebridean Sheep~
Source

However, if you check out this breed, you’ll find that the Hebridean are often used for conservation grazing. The Hebridean Sheep Society has some interesting info about what that is and how it works here.

In a nutshell:

Hebridean Sheep have established a reputation as the breed for the management of delicate ecosystems. Their dietary preferences are different from those of other breeds and this, coupled with their ability to thrive on vegetation with poor energy values, makes them a unique management tool.

And look at this badass ram:

Badass Hebridean ram
Source

Doesn’t he look formidable, with the four horns? I wouldn’t wanna mess with this guy! In this breed, the rams and ewes both carry horns, with the rams occasionally having four. Scary shit, I say.

But their fleece are great, and the yarn I’m using is mixed with Corriedale (sadly, it doesn’t say to which percentage on the band).

Corriedales look more like your “normal” sheep, and have been around for quite a while, after being introduced almost at the same time in Australia and New Zealand.

Source

My yarn is a light grey, it’s soft and springy, and it looks like it’s going to wear well, but obviously only time will tell.

Minor outbreak of startitis

I blame the weather.
For what seems like forever (probably 3 weeks) it’s been raining. And raining. And then, some more rain. Every form of rain – we’ve had it. Light drizzle. Hard downpour. Steady dripping. Whipping winds and sideways rain. And a few others.
Temperatures are erratic, but generally lower than you’d wish for this time of year. “Don’t put the tomatoes out quite yet” low.
So, instead of being all enthused by my summer knitting of cotton socks and a cotton sweater (not blogged yet), I desire woolly comfort.

Like a sock yarn scrap blanket:

There is something particularly satisfying about using up scraps and remnants, don’t you find? There’s also something really hard to resist – the urge to buy new sock yarn to finish faster. I have so far been good, but I did break two balls of sock yarn that were actually destined to become socks. But that’s alright, I didn’t like either for socks. I also repurposed two balls of sock yarn I knew I wouldn’t like as socks (those were bought very early on in my knitting journey).

And a wool cardigan:

Yes, it’s my favorite yarn company again. And it’ll be a very simple raglan cardi, with pockets! There will be more about the construction of this baby, but for now suffice it to say that I’m following the methods of “Custom knits” by Wendy Bernard.

Improving Your Skillset

Day 6 in the knit and crochet blog week, and this topic calls out to me. Other than yesterdays, the freeform … not only did I find out about this whole blog week only a few days ago, I’ve been suffering from The-Cold-That-Never-Ends. Hence my inspiration is running on an all time low.

But it will be a cold day in hell when I have nothing to say about improving my skills, and my laptop can come to bed with me, so here we go.

My first project when I picked up the needles after a nearly 20 year hiatus was a cardigan. I did not have a pattern, other than my favorite high street cardi, which was slowly falling apart. You know that feeling, right? It wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t even NICE, but it was my favorite cardigan. So I decided, having once been an avid knitter, that I’d replicate it.

I bought yarn – cotton, can you believe it? Clearly I had forgotten how unforgiving cotton is, showing the tiniest irregularity in tension without mercy! – and needles, took same rough measures, and started to knit.

And I knit, and knit, and knit … I actually did finish the cardi, I do love it, but you will not ever see me wearing it outside my apartment. It’s not a total failure, but it’s a testament to the level of skill I was operating at.

Now, this is not something that bothers me. I’m not good enough to make this? Well, then I’ll be in a month. Or a year. Sometime in the future. Maybe never. Won’t stop me trying 😀

Now, more than a year later, I have a much nicer cardigan to show for my efforts, the CP hoodie (sans hood, in my case), many very pretty lace shawls, and I almost exclusively wear handmade socks these days. I even purchased not one, but two pairs of Mary Janes to show them off.

Central Park Hoody
Central Park Hoodie

I’d say I’ve come a long way.

I’d also say that there is a long way to go still. And maybe it’s time to set some goals.

1) I want to make a felted cozy for my (soon arriving, I hope) new smartphone, and since I already told you about how I want to tackle fair isle, this will be it. Felted fair isle – it’s small enough to not drive me bonkers, and should be sturdy enough to offer some real protection to my phone.
I will give myself a month to achieve this.

2) Make yet another version of the cardigan, this time fit for public use. I’ll give myself a year to achieve this.

3) A “real” lace shawl. With, you know, lace pattern on every row. Which is something I shied away from so far.
I will give myself 3 months for this one.

Come back in 1, 3, 12 months, and see how I’ve fared! (Actually, it would be lovely if you came back more often to hold my hand. Really. I’m not scared of not being good enough, but that does not mean I don’t need your support.)

3KCBWDAY6 – see other posts from today.