finished objects

anpanman!

When I bought the snap closures for the grey cardigan, I wanted to put my purchase over 1,000 yen so I would get a stamp in my point card (even my LYS has a point card – it’s Japan!), so I got this little Anpanman patch. Anpanman is a popular children’s character here, and is basically a superhero made from anpan, which bread stuffed with sweet red bean paste. My sister absolutely loves him, so I figured I’d sew this on to something for her baby. I had some more of this Hasegawa Ginga-3 yarn left over from both my mom’s shawl and the fox I just knitted, so I knitted up a simple garter hat. It really is relaxing to knit very simple patterns like this. I hand-sewed the patch on after blocking it, and now the baby has a (nother) little hat.

finished objects

maison kitsune

Fox by Claire Garland
This pattern popped up on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now, and I just had to make it. I really think I like the look of knitted amigurumi over crochet (not just because I have a hard time making crochet look right). This guy was just so cute, and so quick to put together. I knitted the tail about twice as big, and fiddled with the proportions of the body; made the legs smaller. I was too sloppy in sewing up the legs, but whatevs. This will be yet another gift for my sister’s baby (I can say that now that she’s told everyone else! Haha), but she can put this up in the baby’s room for decoration if she likes.
in progress

aw, i can’t

Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater by Carole Barenys,
with color combination inspired by 13 / Little Jacket by Florence Merlin

As I mentioned last post, someone very close to me has gotten pregnant, and that set off a RENAISSANCE of thinking about knitting in my mind. Frankly, I haven’t been this excited about knitting since I cast on for the Charlestown sweater in January-ish. It took me literally only a week to finish this grey cardigan. Dude, I am SO HYPED for knitting all the things for this little baby.

It’s way early, so they have no idea about the sex of the baby, which is why I chose grey. Honestly, I don’t care about knitting blue things for boys and pink things for girls, and neither does the recipient (the beanie in the last post could be given to a bouncy boy and I think that would be perfectly fine). But I figured grey would be a nice color to have, and besides, I didn’t like the other colors they had at my LYS, which, admittedly, has very few things that I could use haha. They do have a lot of baby yarns, but it’s mostly acrylic, and I’m a horrible yarn snob (plus, it looks like cheap acrylic). I picked some cotton from Hamanaka’s Paume line, which I’ve used before in a sweater that I’ve grown to love more and more as I’ve used it. It’s machine wash and dryable, which is super important. I don’t want things I knit to be worn only once in a while because they’re too precious. I want that baby to be decked out in my knitted stitches at all times!!

(I can only imagine when my own ass gets pregnant, and I’ll have produced an entire knitted warddrobe for the baby within a month of finding out (hell, knitting for an eventual child was kind of why I wanted to get started in the first place))

You may notice that there are no buttons on the cardigan. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget (though that of course would be possible). I decided I wanted to attach snaps, which I’ve never done before, and sew some decorative buttons on top. I’ll wait til they know whether it’s a boy or a girl for placement. I want to be super careful and diligent when attaching them because I know buttons/snaps can be a choking hazard, and I’ll also place this sucker in the washer and dryer to check afterwards.

The knit itself was fun because it only took like five minutes, and it’s seamless so you don’t even have to pick up for the button bands. I don’t mind picking up or sewing bits together (honestly they can be more fun than knitting at times), and I 100% believe in seams for adult garments. But a baby will spend maybe 3-6 months wearing this so I think it’s okay without ’em. I already have a ton of ideas of what to knit next, and I. cannot. wait.

finished objects

90s girl colors

This little baby beanie is just something I whipped up after the scrap bag, just so I could knit SOMETHING, ANYTHING. I had a little less than a ball of this yarn left over from my purple Bohus sweater, and didn’t foresee using it in anything else for myself (I like pink, purple, and yellow individually, but not in a variegated yarn…mostly because I hate variegated yarns, hah), so I randomly cast on a baby hat. I figure someone will have a baby sometime that could use it. It’s probably too small for anything but a newborn, but including the pom-pom, I managed to use up every last scrap of the yarn. Yay! (I LOVE how the pom-pom looks)

I’d love to use up most of my scrap yarn in a similar way – as baby hats and clothing – because that stuff is fun and quick to knit, even without a target sprog. But a lot of my scraps are wool/alpaca ie not washable, and I don’t want to give a new mother something that’s a pain to care for. But this hat is ALL wool. That pom-pom is not super secure either. But it’s so small that I feel confident it would only be used on a newborn, and maybe only for cutie pictures at that.

And wouldn’t you know, the day I finished this, I found out someone very close to me was pregnant …

finished objects

seriously, it’s only been since July?

I’m back for another round of updates! I don’t know how long this will last, as I’m about to get even more swamped with work and I think that will be the new status quo. I’m super happy about that – I had too much free time on my hands for such a long time that a knitting blog helped me fill some of it – but I did enjoy chronicling my knitting and I hope to get to do it more than occasionally. Then again, for a while last year it felt like all I was doing was knitting, and neglecting a social life because it felt better to just hermit it up at home. Like I’ve said before, I really wanted to strike a balance, and I think I have.

I have because mostly I didn’t knit for an entire month! Hah. I was busy, but I also chose a project that was not suited to me at all, and stubbornly I just wanted to finish it before moving on to something else. After I finished my other striped Vasa mentioned in the previous post, I decided I wanted to a) get rid of some scraps and b) try tapestry crochet. I REALLY like the look of colorwork in crochet, especially with southwest motifs like above. I also wanted to make a bag for taking toiletries on business trips, because my old one was getting so ratty, and practice sewing a liner and a zipper.

So on the face of it, this was a very neat project, but guys. Tapestry crochet is just so. boring. to me. It’s so fiddly carrying the yarn inside. I had to keep using smaller crochet needles since my gauge is always so loose. I had to do the major colorwork section about 4 times and only realize now what mistake I was making (It didn’t quite look right so I would crochet 2 together or increase every row randomly. Of course, that just made weird bulges in the bag). Most of all, a fiddly project just wasn’t what I was wanting to knit – I wanted to knit some stockinette or a large sweater or something, because I’m too busy to want a complicated project these days.

But anyway, it’s finished. I used 175-23 Folk Dance by DROPS design, by the way, and it’s not a bad little bag. I’m proud of the hand-sewn liner and zipper, at least. Also, even if I don’t love how it turned out, that’s probably for the best since it’s just going to get beat around in my luggage all the time. If it was something gorgeous, I wouldn’t want to use it! Hah.

in progress

yet another one hit the needles

I’m flying through another Vasa by Dianna Walla at the moment, one I’ve been planning for a year (see the bottem of that post). I love it pretty much, except for the looser gauge than I intended, and the wonky neckline. I used the exact same linen yarn as my first one, the exact same needles, and the exact same pattern for the top grey bit. But it’s looser. I hope my gauge doesn’t continue to loosen with age/experience. At a certain point I’ll have to go FOUR needles down from recommended sizes. It’s fine for worsted weight stuff, but for fingering weight projects I’ll have to find like 000s or something. EFF.

I modified the pattern in regards to the stripe pattern, and also gave it a garter-ish treatment for the sleeves instead of leaving them plain. I also joined the two pieces together after the shoulders/arms for done, and converted the pattern to the round, just because I really just wanted a mindless knit-only stockinette project after both a lacey stole and cabled sweater. It has only taken me around three weeks to get to this point, whereas my first Vasa took me like two months. So I certainly can knit a lot faster than I used to! (I also don’t get bored with stockinette quite so much, since I can do it without looking and can watch tv instead)

The neck waves and ruffles out, since I cast on too loosely at the top. I crocheted a line of single crochets around the neck to give it more stability and tighten it up a bit, and when it’s hanging from my shoulders, you can’t tell at all. But just laying down like this it looks a bit unpleasant. It’s okay though, I think the linen should settle in place quite nicely. My other Vasa is so soft with perfectly even stitches now, so I’m confident this will end up just like that. The gauge is still a bit looser, but I really like how drapey it is.

finished objects

a pullover I can’t wear yet

I also finished the Charlestown pullover by Cheryl Cole ! This is such a beautiful sweater, and the size came out perfectly! The arms are a bit tight, but I think they’ll stretch a bit with wear, and the rest is fantastic. Close-fitting up top, and then looseish on the bottom. I can’t wear it for more than a hot second because it’s sweltering and humid right now, but I can’t WAIT til it gets cool and I can wear this alpaca-wool cream goodness.

It took longer than expected since I was busy with work, but in a way I’m glad I got to savor this sweater. It had been so long since I had so loved the look of any sweater. All the patterns I see have a samey-ness, or they’re just not my style. It’s rare to find something that hits my sweet spot of pattern love. So once I saw this, I knew I had to throw out the rest of my queue to just throw this on the needles. I’m so glad I did!

Now… I can’t get this thing any where near coffee or wine…

finished objects

finally finished!

I finally finished the Sari by Kieren Foley!  It took me basically over half a year to finish, and it was a TOUGH knit, since I could never manage to memorize the pattern, and each row took over 100 stitches. Lace on both sides. Colorwork, stranded AND intrasia. 4 different colors to keep track of. But it’s done, and it’s gorgeous, and it’s safely arrived with my mother for her 60th birthday!

I feel like I never want to knit something like this again, but we shall see, won’t we? I’m just happy it’s over. This knit took up so much of my knitting headspace, and I’ve been so busy with work otherwise. Now that it’s over, I hope to actually knit some more things? But then again, it’s been nice not being QUITE so productive, knitting-wise. I feel like I’ve wanted to get back into other hobbies, spend time with friends. Knitting by Youtube is so fun and relaxing, but sometimes I spend too much time doing that. For a majority of this year, I’d maybe knit for a half-hour a day, because I didn’t want to work on Sari and wouldn’t start anything else either. The knitting kind of stank, but I like the balance it added to my life! I’ll try to remember that going forward.

(knit things I’m not excited about so I’m not so obsessed with knitting. Interesting! Haha)

japan knitting

the thrill in teaching

Finally I’ve roped in one of my friends into knitting! My friend A really needed something to distract her from some stuff, and told me she was trying to knit. She actually tried a bit by herself, with 100-yen-shop needles (actually, they’re quite good quality), and 100-yen-shop yarn (meh, but it’s better than Red Heart Super Saver). It wasn’t going so well, since she’s knitting left-handed, so I tried to teach her.

I ended up teaching her all backwards, since I don’t knit left-handed myself (and it had been a while since I had knit English style to boot).

Anyway, I tried again, after watching some Youtube videos on how to knit left-handed (which I guess is not a bad technique to know in general). And I’d say she’s pretty much got it. The way I had taught her before resulted in her twisting stitches, and she’s got an tight gauge to begin with, so she was knitting acrylic scrubbies you could scratch car paint off with. I gave her some old bamboo straights I had that are size 7mm (not size 7s, but 7mm! When could my loosey-goosey ass ever knit with one of those?), made sure she knew what a twisted stitch and non-twisted stitch look like, and she’s been off at the races ever since.

She wanted to try a garment (so brave!) so she’s knitting a simple ribbed rectangle pattern that will be sewn up at the end like a shrug. It looks great and I’m honestly so proud of her. I didn’t feel brave enough to try something like that until like, two years of knitting. She even figured out a k2tog decrease by herself. I’m just so happy to find someone else that knits (there are a few of us foreign ladies in Iwate who do knit, but we all live pretty far from each other so can’t exactly meet often for stitch’n’bitch sessions).

japan knitting

knitting podcasts!

I always tend to watch Youtube or something else online when I knit, which works especially well since I can memorize a pattern and just watch the screen instead of my knitting. But with my Sari stole, I can’t really watch many tv shows or let’s plays because I can’t pay attention to anything else but the pattern. So I’ve been turning on podcasts instead, just to have some sort of interest for my brain. Lately, I’ve been watching knitting podcasts, which is a little bit funny for me. Thus far, I haven’t been interested. Most podcasts I’ve seen follow the same pattern: “Here’s what I’m knitting! Here’s the tea I’m sipping! Here’s my huge stash of ugly sock yarns! (lol)” I’m a judgemental bitch, I know!

Well, I’ve found some I like. They’re still pretty much the same format, but the hosts are all so delightful that it doesn’t matter! I actually like these ladies because they talk about their own lives as well, instead of only cooing over some godawful lime green-pink-lavender striping yarn.

Ruby Moss Cottage

It’s so relaxing to hear Joyce’s lovely voice as she talks about her latest knits. Honestly, I just really love her accent, and how positive she is about everything. Plus, it’s adorable how much she loves Stephen West.

The Grocery Girls

Oh, I know everyone else loves them too. But they’re just so funny together. Their podcasts are LONG but don’t feel that way because of their snappy banter. I want to be like Jodie when I grow up. (I agree with everyone else that their new Crafty show is not near as good as their podcast)

The Girls in the Yarn Cafe

This mother and daughter team sells their own dyed yarn and so they talk a lot about their dyeing process which is pretty interesting even though I wouldn’t use that yarn. (It’s just my own bias, I know) But also, I love how much they talk about their jobs (they’re both in the psychiatry field), and their philosphies about things. It’s pretty fascinating! I’d like to take Christy’s “I’m the CEO of my own life” for my own purposes, thanks 🙂