Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Old WIPs and new FOs (and a Holi Party!)

Before starting the content of this post, I wanted to thank you all who contacted me after this post was out.  Truly, each and every single comment was read with much thought and appreciation.  I tried to get back at all of you, but I am still not sure how to reply blog comments (?)...
Anyway, thank you thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings on this, you made me feel I am not walking this path alone, and for that I am forever grateful. ❤️

So what did July bring to this household/office?

Let's see... At the very beginning of the month, I decided to take actions and finally build a small office space at home.  By building, I mean pushing some stuff around an setting up a desk that my Mother in Law gifted me...

Sorry, let's keep it real.
My desk is full of cables, and my office space is so tiny...
This is all that fits in the photo with my 50mm lens mounted onto the camera.
And yes, I am too lazy to switch lenses.

So yes! That's where I am writing to you all from today, and I can tell you that it meant a huge improvement in my work efficiency.  I like to think I have a much higher response rate, whether you contact me by email, on Ravelry or Facebook... Being here and having the computer near me and a place to keep all my junk without having to move around the house like a nomad.  Boy, it did make a difference!

So, a couple of weeks ago I talked here on how I spent the first half of the year feeling a bit burnt out.  And that surely reflected in the work I was doing.  Although I worked on a few collaborations, pretty much no patterns were being made in this pattern factory of my own.  I tried to do too many things at once, and you know what happens when you do that: well, actually you don't finish any of them, and they all lack the quality of the unique products.  So I had very little to show you guys, and to be honest, I was feeling rather sad about it.

I made an effort to organize all the things I had started, and the first one to be out of the oven was a cute little top I made using superchunky yarn.  YES! Superchunky!  NO! It's not a bad word! 
OK, so I visited Madelinetosh's headquarters back in February, when they were in the highlight of their speckled dyeing.  And they had some skeins of ASAP dyed in the Holi Festival colorway that were just exceptional.  

As some of you know, I live in a country where importation of goods is not permitted, so we can't touch these yarns in yarn stores, and we also can't have them mailed home (even if they says they're a present).  So when I get out of Argentina, I try to get as much yarn as I can.  Some yarns I order online to be ready to pick up when I get wherever I go.  
But superchunky is a different story, cause it's a big investment money-wise, and it can go so totally wrong.  So being there was great, because I got to touch and see this ASAP yarn in person, and it's so amazing.

So I only got 4 skeins of it, don't ask me why, I already told myself off too many times.  I had this image of a shawl or a big cowl in my mind, but then I figured out I wanted to make a small garment out of it.  And yes, I only had 360 yards of it!  But, ladies, it worked.  You can make a really great fitting garment with just 4 skeins of ASAP (I am size Medium), and it is probably the item I wear the most at home now that we are in the middle of winter.

My first finished piece in a long time might not be of much significance to many of you, since it is a fairly simple sweater pattern... But to me, it represented the challenge to work an affordable garment that could be made in just a couple of days, with fancy yarn, with good neck shaping (you need those short rows in the neckline to fit properly, and doing so at this gauge is not easy!) and even with positive ease for comfort ;)

So I hereby present you with pride, Holi Party ❤️

I think I look like one of this show business people in a magazine: 'Come in, let me show you my mansion'

Holi Party is a quick little pullover that is worked from the top-down in an absolutely seamless way.
It calls for chunky yarn, which knits up in a breeze. Don’t be surprised if you finish this project in a couple of days, it is that quick. 
The yoke is knit in the round, with raglan shaping for the sleeves. There are no buttonholes in this sweater: the buttons are sewn to both flaps to hold them together. 
Whether you are looking for your first sweater pattern, if you are too anxious to work on sweaters with lighter weight yarns, if you are looking for instant gratification after working on a very long project or if you just needed to get your knitting mojo back, Holi Party is the perfect project for you! 
So get those superchunky skeins out from your stash and cast on quickly, you’ll have a finished project in no time!

Cute buttons on the sides... Things with buttons are always happier.

Sizes: XS (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL). 

I am wearing size M and my chest measurement is 36” (90 cm). 
I recommend that you make it with 6-8” (15-20 cm) of positive ease.

So I must say this has been a most enjoyable knit, even though it grew too quickly and almost fell off the needles.  Writing it was a different story, and it took me a while to finally decide to write a pattern.  I usually tell myself everything I design needs to be new and original, and maybe I am perhaps too worried about making things that people haven't seen before.  Maybe it was time for me to make something that's just a good easy pattern ;)

And, as you can see, it made me happy.

So there you go!  Knitters of the world, give chunky yarns a chance!  They are super rewarding and beautiful to wear.

Now, it's the time for the old WIPs and new FOs.  In an effort to organize my work and finish some of the writing and testing I had to do, I was brave enough to finish 1 new and 2 VERY old WIPs!

1) I did finish the Socks for Nano, which are currently being worn out and very well loved by my deserving 8 year old kid ;)

He's got the cutest smile in the world, but I think he might be in need of a haircut!

You can read more about how I made them on the previous post.  This yarn was Punta Yarns Merisock Handpainted, and I knit it double-stranded (to make them faster, I am a lazy Mom).

2) I finished His Cowl!

I started this project over a year ago motivated by a KAL started on Instagram by Fringe Supply Co. I impulsively CO for a cowl for Charly, no pattern required, just alternating ribbed cables… 
I guess I lost motivation about halfway through (or even before that), so this project stayed languishing in my WIP closet for a whole year (and more!). 
At the beginning of July, I decided I needed to give myself a bit more time to finish a lot of writing work, and to keep me from starting new designs, I decided to pull out those old WIPs and finished it in about a week or 2.

The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Brown Chocolate colorway.  A gift from a very dear friend (Kim), who I did my first ever swap with.
Of course, when I was done with it, Charly tried it on and absolutely hated the feel of the yarn… :( 
But hey! I have a kid who does indeed love any yarn I use and anything I make him! So this one is for Nano, my best recipient in the whole world and the love of my life ❤️
BTW, I do love the yarn ;)

3) And my favorite FO for today, is the Sweatercowl.

This was my longest ever Work In Progress. 
I started this on September 2011, and it was going to be a Folded Pullover, a design by Veera. 

This design is built from the bottom up, so I worked every now and then on it. Whenever I wanted to take a break from whatever work I was doing, I would knit a few rounds on it. But oh boy, was I bored with the body and the yarn was not helping much… Even though I loved the colors, I couldn’t quite get over the scratch factor. 
I finished the body (got to the armholes), started the sleeves, and then I started thinking I might never actually wear this… So I wasn’t happy working on it any more. It just sat there in the closet for sooooo looooong. And I don’t think I’ve ever put up and down a project so many times as I did with this one.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago (4 years after I started it!) I finally decided this was going to take a new life… With renewed strength I knit another 6 inches into the body, worked a k2p2 band to mimic the bottom hem and…. voilá! The Sweatercowl was born! 

And you know what? I LOVE IT! 
And I will wear it, I am sure… But I might be the only person in the world with a cowl that has waist shaping ;)

The yarn I used is Noro Kureyon Sock in colorway... Nope, sorry, I lost the tag.  But it's pretty much blue ;)  And I think I used 3.5 mm needles along the whole thing, but I might have used 3.25 by mistake too.

Anyway, it's super great and I am so happy I finished these 2 cowls right before our family winter holidays!  We are going to go skiing to San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia.  So more news when I come back!

Last year's ski trip I survived... Let's hope I can make it this year in one piece too.