Off the needles: Vernal Equinox

Thanks to a week-long staycation (so many extra knitting hours!), my Vernal Equinox is finally off the needles. I um-ed and aah-ed about the cast off as I find crochet ones hard to block and didn’t think the garter edging fitted with the overall floatiness of the design. In the end I went with a trusty picot (cast on 2, cast off 4, repeat ad nauseum…), and I think I like the effect.

So to the blocking board, and from crumpled jellyfish:

Vernal Equinox 6

To finished shawl:

Vernal Equinox 3

Vernal Equinox 5

When am I going to wear a 1.5m-long baby pink lace shawl? I have no idea. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

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In stasis

It’s a knitter’s nightmare. I’m many miles from home, sitting on a friend’s sofa enjoying a natter and a cup of tea with my latest WIP beside me, when something rolls out from my knitting.

A needle. Or, to be more precise, most of a needle – I’ve sat on it and snapped it in two. I start coming up with MacGyver-esque solutions (Super glue and duct tape? Whittle down the nearest pencil to 3.25mm?), then resign myself to the fact that I’ve done all the knitting I’ll be doing this weekend.

Up until then, I’d been making good progress on my Stasis jumper – I’ve finally made it past the acres of stocking stitch and on to the Fair Isle design on the yoke. The sleeves are attached now too, so I can get an idea of the final fit: a little tight, but it’ll hopefully loosen up a bit with blocking.

Stasis

As for my knitting-free journey home, thank goodness for smartphones. My Neko Atsume digital kittens (the only thing keeping me from achieving full crazy-cat-lady status in the real world) have really been spoiled this weekend.

Bind-off blues

Ravelry_hemlockring3

So near, and yet so far! Casting off a large project can be a uniquely frustrating process. There’s only one more row to go, but there’s a good chance that row will take forever. In this case I’m three hours in and barely halfway through, but the finished effect is definitely worth the effort.

My Hemlock Ring Blanket has ended up with a contrasting colour for the cast-off-that-never-ends, partly as a design feature, but mostly out of necessity. Despite doing a bunch of maths before I started – with a calculator and everything! – I ran out of yarn.

Still, I like the way the blue brings out the best in the green, raising it from a sludgy moss colour to something a bit more summery. Three more hours and this little blanket will finally be off the needles…

A little bit of history

One of my favourite things about knitting is its links to the past. The women in previous generations of my family were keen knitters, and many of the patterns they used are not only still available, but also still usable.

Given the number of technologies and systems that have fallen in and out of favour even during my lifetime – MiniDiscs, anyone? – that feels like quite a feat.

So today I’ve cast on a pattern originally published by The Canadian Spool Cotton Company in 1942. It’s the Hemlock Ring Doily Throw, turned from a vintage doily into a modern throw by designer Jared Flood. 40 rounds in and it’s knitting up nicely.

SarahLouKnits Hemlock Ring

Teal dear

My Bella’s Mittens are already off the needles and have been my constant companion on chilly January commutes. (Yes, having decided I’d be taking a break from knitting accessories this winter I promptly cast on some mittens. A smooshy skein of super-chunky Artesano British Wool in a shade of teal that goes perfectly with my tartan coat? Well how could I resist!)

Ah, wool. Fancy fibres and luxury blends are all very well, but when it comes down to it nothing compares to good old-fashioned unadulterated sheep.

SarahLouKnits Bella's Mittens

 

Hats off

At this time of year I always have an irresistible urge to knit accessories: hats, scarves, arm warmers, leg warmers… you name it. But this winter I think I need to take a break. Why? I just reorganised my wardrobe, and seeing all of them in one place came as a bit of a shock.

In my defence, my hat collection spans at least a decade and a half – and I do still wear them all. Most of them… Sometimes.

There’s the beanie bought for my first Reading festival; a stripy hat taken on a climbing trip with school; the oversized one I wore to play football at uni; a bargain baker boy from Accessorize; my favourite Fair Isle, a Christmas gift from my parents; a slouchy one bought to replace another, moth-eaten slouchy one; a stashbuster knitted on the Eurostar; a quick knit taken on holiday with friends; and the souvenir alpaca from Germany, made into a lacy Lucy in the Sky.

SarahLouKnits Lucy in the Sky

Sorry, Caput Helianthus and all the others in my Ravelry queue, you’re just going to have to wait.