Knitting: A Lot of Linen Stitch and a Little Something for Me

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My gorgeous storage bin from Australian company, Plyroom.

Between work, a very active little soon-to-be-properly-walking man to hang out with, the lethargy and general awfulness of first trimester pregnancy (boo, but yay!) and our whole family being taken down by some horrible virus that seems to work its way through the body head to toe over a period of several weeks, I haven’t had a lot of time to work on my multiple works in progress, let alone write about them.

But here I am, on a rather snotty Saturday morning—out of bed because I’m on call and it’s slightly undignified to answer work phone calls whilst huddled under a doona—with an update on my current knitting projects.


For Me

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Rows and rows of knitting in the round is a welcome reprieve from my slower linen stitch projects.

It’s been an eternity since I knit something for myself. I knit myself a cardigan for my wedding in 2013 but nothing since, mostly because it was only months after my wedding that I found out our gorgeous son was on his way and since then my knitting life has been almost entirely filled with knitting baby things for him and my friends’ (seemingly never-ending stream of) new arrivals. So, some time ago I decided I wanted to work on a project for myself. Something simple to knit, that I would wear often and be comfortable in. I wear a lot of lightweight (store bought) knits so thought a homemade version of something similar was much more likely to get worn than a more bulky style.

So I’m knitting this.

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Raglan sleeve line on my Lightweight Pullover.

Pattern: Lightweight Pullover by Hannah Fettig

Source: Ravelry download

Price: $5.95 USD

Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Fresco (5ply) in Coral

Needle: 4.0mm circular

It’s proving a lovely a straightforward knit thus far and with all the linen stitch I’m doing (see below) the stocking stitch—which knitting in the round is just rows of rows of knitting—is a welcome reprieve. Unfortunately, I’m in a slight panic about finishing another project in time so this one has been on the back burner for a few months now, but with the reason for the looming deadline factored in, I suspect I won’t be wearing it for a while anyway!


For My Husband

The last time I knit something for my husband is an even more distant memory than my wedding cardigan. It was a lovely thick ribbed roll neck jumper called Flint from Sublime yarns which took an eternity and used a lot of very lovely, rather pricey, merino wool. Unfortunately, I had no idea about positive ease when I took his chest measurements to get the sizing and so rather than a lovely loose slouchy jumper, my husband ended up with a thick form fitting top which had the rather awkward effect of making him look as though he’d gained 5 kilograms the instant he put it on. Not quite the desired effect! Needless to say, it’s somewhere in the bottom of his chest of drawers providing a home to a family of moths.

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Kiogu Linen Stitch Scarf is knit lengthways with the tassels formed by leaving a length before cutting the yarn and rejoining for the next row.

So, I desperately want to make something lovely for him. He’s not really into knit wear to begin with, but he does wear scarves in winter. He prefers the more the slick gentlemen’s style than chunky knitted numbers. I’ve gone with this pattern and so far I’m not 100% sold on it, but we shall see.

Pattern: Kiogu Linen Stitch Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

Source: Ravelry download

Price: $5.00 USD

Yarn: Kiogu Painters Palette Premium in 357, Knits Picks Stroll Tonal in Canopy and Kindling (all 4ply).

Needle: 3.75mm circular (the pattern calls for 4.0mm but mine are being used with the pullover and I figured it’s not critical with a scarf to get the gauge perfect)

I started making this using the Kiogu 357, Knit Picks Canopy (green tones) and another Kiogu I have (447) which is brilliant blue. The result was spectacular but far too colourful and outlandish for a gentleman’s scarf. I am now knitting it with the 357 and Canopy using the Knit Picks Kindling (brown tones) for every second stripe. Happy with the results, but the small needles, long rows (it is knit lengthways) and linen stitch may it slow going.


For Baby

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Take-Me-Home Swaddle Blanket in Pink Grapefruit and Pistachio Green Line Weight yarn from Purl Soho.

So, as you may have gathered, we are expecting baby number two next year and so I have been unable to resist putting down these projects in favour of (yet another) baby knit. Enjoying the linen stitch scarf and keen to use some finer yarn, I have cast on this delicious and squishy baby blanket. It is knit using two colours knit together and with the linen stitch gives a very pleasing effect of both randomness and beauty. I am using the most divine soft yarn from Purl Soho and the blanket already feels cuddly and lovely. The main drawback with thin yarn is, of course, that it takes an age to see any progress. I started this very soon after we found out that I am pregnant, and as I approach the halfway mark of my pregnancy I am no where near halfway through this blanket. It is now sitting in its little bag next to my bed and I am knitting a minimum of two rows each night before bed in an attempt to ensure it can actually be used when our baby is still a baby!

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Right side on the two colour linen stitch. Random colour variations and beautiful symmetrical triangular stitches.

Pattern: Take-Me-Home Swaddle Blanket

Source: The Expectant Knitter by Marie Connolly

Price: Free (I borrowed it from our local library)

Yarn: Purl Soho Line Weight (3ply) in Pistachio Green and Pink Grapefruit

Needle: 6.0mm circular needle

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Very civilised project pile. These see-through drawstring bags from Loveknitting (which come with yarn orders) keep everything together and visible. Perfect for the multiple project knitter.

Okay… phone’s ringing. Gotta scoot.

Quiet Please. Knitting in Progress.

In a flurry of creative energy, I have somehow broken my ‘one project at a time’ rule several times over and am working on at least three projects simultaneously. That’s ignoring the unfinished friend for Lars and the still sleeveless newborn cardigan which are stuffed somewhere at the bottom of my ‘current projects’ box.

Having completed none of them, I thought I’d instead give an update on my current works in progress.

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Random scrappy yarn stash, I will defeat thee.

Bits & Bobs Chevron Blanket

Inspired by my ball winding festival over the holidays, I am revisiting my nemesis knit using all the scraps in my yarn stash. It’s currently a rather odd, slightly scratchy looking thing, but I’m hopefully that with time it will grow to become a lovely cosy piece of home. The main challenge here is that my yarn stash is not all one gauge, or material, or texture. So far this hasn’t caused any great issues tension wise, but I may need to avoid using my super chunky scraps.

I’m such a sucker for the excitement of starting something new when it comes to knitting. Hence, three projects on the go. This yarn stash knit provides that newness over and over. I find myself looking forward to the end of the ball so I can chose a new yarn for the next section and get that new knit feeling all over again. I’ve no idea what drives this, but it keeps me knitting!

Dressing Gown

Suspecting it might take me a while to get to the end, I chose a size with plenty of leeway for my next project for W. I’m knitting up this beautiful Debbie Bliss dressing gown in a 24 month old size. It looks like it might fit him at some stage before he starts kindergarten. It’s huge! A simple knit with a slightly confusing pattern at times, I love the repetition and ease of a large stocking stitch project now and again. I am watching Law & Order episodes as the rows stack up and loving it.

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Rows and rows of stocking stitch are good for the soul.

I think I’ve spent so much of my knitting life knitting from Sublime patterns, that some of Debbie’s lingo initially confused me.

For example:

“Cont in st st, dec one st as set at each end of 4(5:6:6) foll 6th rows”

To me this was initially baffling. Six following sixth rows? What on earth does that mean?

Now reading it again, it seems reasonably obvious, but I think I would have expected it to say:

“Cont in st st for 24(30:36:36) rows, dec one st as set at each end of every 6th row”

I was also slightly perplexed by an instruction to continue on stitches of left front “until collar reaches centre back of neck” with no instructions as to the need to take the panel I was knitting and line it up the previously knitted back piece. Again, this seems slightly obvious now I’m writing it out. I blame baby-related sleep deprivation. A quick question to a fellow Raveler got me sorted out pretty quickly though.

The Loveliest of All Was The Unicorn

When I found out I was pregnant with W, I joined a little group of pregnant ladies all ‘Due In July’ on a forum via the Essential Baby website. To cut a rather long story short, it was simply the best thing I ever did and I now have about 40 fabulous friends from all over Australia with babies the same age as W. We chat (via Facebook these days) every day and share the joys, challenges and occasional outright hideousness of early motherhood. It’s delightful.

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One unicorn head.

So, anyway, one such friend was bemoaning the slightly steep price of a particularly gorgeous crocheted unicorn she was coveting on behalf of her daughter.

“Crocheted unicorn?”, said I, “I reckon I might be able to do that!”.

Despite having crocheted nothing more complicated than an owl hat (the success of which was somewhat dubious) previously, I have embarked on a quest to make something a little like this.

So far, I have a head, nose, neck, body, one front leg, one back leg, two ears and a horn. Two more legs, possibly some wings (slightly scared of that part) and some felt eyes to go. So far, so good.

Knitting Baby Stuff: A Penchant for Chevron

I know. I know. It’s so ‘now’, that it’s nauseating. But, I like chevron. No, really. I do.

I’ve even just bought these to protect the rather impractically highly absorbent straps on W’s highchair (hello, pumpkin goo!).

Strap Covers for Ergobaby carrier and highchair harness by Liddle Berry @ Etsy. I'm in love.

Strap Covers for Ergobaby carrier and highchair harness by Liddle Berry @ Etsy. I’m in love.

There’s just something about those little zig-zaggy stripes that makes me just a little bit happier.

In addition to my chunky cotton chevron (details here), I’ve also been getting a lot of use out of this one. I knitted this before W was born. In fact, before I even knew he was a he. I was after something soft and cuddly and gender-neutral. I love the colours and the texture of this blanket is divine. The main pitfall is that is has a ‘wrong side’, which in a blanket is a bit of a flaw. But I do love chevron. So, I’ll make an exception.

Pattern: Chevron Baby Blanket

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Detail of chevron baby blanket. I love the crisp look of a cotton knit.

Source: Espace Tricot Patterns

Price: Free!!

Yarn: Morris & Sons Avalon 10ply (Pima Cotton)

Needle: 5mm – I managed to knit this on straight needles, but circulars would have been far more sensible. I had an aversion to circulars at the time, but my recent spate of blanket knitting has cured me of such ill will.

Pearls: This pattern needs a good blocking to avoid edge curl.

Knitting Baby Stuff: Rainbow Honeycomb Blanket

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It’s a pretty little blanket. Perfect for keeping W’s knees warm in the car and in the pram.

Pattern: Honeycomb Stroller Blanket by Terry Kimbrough, Susan Leitzsch and Lucie Sinkler

Source: Ravelry

Price: Free!!

Yarn: 8ply merino in lots of different colours

Needle: 4.5mm

I must acknowledge significant inspiration from Duschinka on Ravelry who made this rather drab looking pattern into something amazing! This pattern is surprisingly easy. The honeycombs are made by slipping two stitches from the neutral coloured row while knitting the band of colour and then knitting them again as you reach the next rows of neutral colour… if that makes sense.

Besides making honeycombs, the other new skill I learned doing this knit was twisting two colours together so that I could knit the border which had a vertical edge up either side without getting a gaping hole. This is called intarsia apparently. There’s a little video tutorial on it here.IMG_4124

Everywhere I go with this blanket – which is everywhere as it’s a favourite of W’s – I get compliments and assertions that I should make more and sell them on Etsy. Unfortunately, I’m not the world’s fastest knitter so to make it worth my while each blanket might need to retail for $500. The other drawback would be that it would get in the way of trying something new! Which is indeed one of my favourite things about knitting.

That being said, I am starting to think about making a new honeycomb blanket, maybe in different shades of the same colour, maybe in blues or greens. But first, I must knit the yarn I already have. Wonder if I can make a funky spin on the honeycomb blanket from my stash scraps…hmmm?

Pearls:

  • Knit the border as you go – I did this by knitting seven rows of garter stitch (114 stitches) to start, then knitting 7 stitches at the beginning and end of each row to form the borders up the sides then finishing with a further 7 rows of garter at the end.
  • Use the scraps from this project to make lots of rainbow gear – – nothing cuter than a little rainbow hat and romper suit! The hat is from this book and the romper suit was a slightly imperfect variation of this pattern. I knit with smaller needles and a smaller ply yarn in an attempt to make a newborn size from a 3 months size pattern… resulted in a very small outfit that W got very little use out of. Which is a shame. Super cute.
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I made this hat and romper from the blanket scraps. The romper was gorgeous but a bit of a failure (too small to get more than two wears out of it) and the hat was a failure due to the massive head W was born with. I think he wore it once!

20 Dec 2014
Addit: Here’s a picture of the wrong side to show the intarsia, sewn in ends and border a bit better.

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Knitting Baby Stuff: Chunky Cotton Chevron Blanket

Pattern: Chevron Baby Blanket

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Close up detail.

Source: Ravelry

Price: Free!!

Yarn: Rosàrio’s 4 70’s Cotton

Needle: 8mm circular

Rather than knitting with two strands of 10ply, I knit with a single strand of this chunky cotton on 8mm needles. I knit this while pregnant and it quickly became my nemesis. We would face off over a few rows each night as a sort of penance while I completed other more enjoyable projects. What made this a less enjoyable knit was the chunkiness of it all on short little needles and the complete lack of stretch in the yarn made it tiresome to work with. I could never quite get into a rhythm.

However, now that the nemesis is defeated and this blanket is complete. I love it. Love love love it. W spends his floor play time on this rug and it’s super soft, squishy and delicious.

I did have a slight heartbreak moment when I washed it for the first time. The yellow dye ran slightly despite a cold machine wash giving the white stripes a faint jaundiced tinge, but I figured that this blanket is destined for far worse by way of poonamis and projectile spews. So, with that in mind, I tried very hard not to cry about it.

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Just chillin’ on my chevron.

Pearls:

  • If you’re new to circulars, or cotton, or chunky yarn, or large knits or all four, be prepared for some work as you get to know these beasts.
  • I knit colours in pseudorandom sequence (e.g. A-B-A-C-B-C-A-B-A) rather than stripes (e.g. A-B-C-A-B-C-A-B-C) and think it worked pretty well.