Friday, 6 May 2011

Knitting My Life Away

I love to knit. I love having something to knit close to hand at all times. I knit several times a day when I'm at home. Whenever I'm sitting around, maybe chatting or watching TV, I knit. I like to multitask, I hate feeling like I'm just sitting around doing nothing, so if I'm going to watch TV I usually have some hand sewing or knitting to do at the same time. I like to keep busy :) I don't have a problem with finding time to knit. My only problem seems to be finishing a knitting project once I get started...

Recently I have found myself surrounded by knitting projects, all in varying stages of incompletion.  I currently have three sweaters on the go, and none of them are finished. Firstly I have this lovely little number from "A Stitch In Time" (I looooove this book, I'm so excited that volume 2 is coming out so soon!) called Enchanting in Black and White.

Front and Back all done!

I have completed both the front and back panels of this sweater and have finished one of the adorable puff-ball sleeves, but that's it. It all needs to be blocked and assembled, the second sleeve needs to be finished and then some crochet detail has to be added to the collar. I really do want to finished this sweater soon because it's so very cute, I want to wear it badly! I think I just get over excited at the thought of getting a new jumper so I forget how long hand knitting can take, and then when my enthusiasm starts to wane for a project (as it often does after weeks of knitting the same thing) I jump headlong into starting the next one, and then the older project gets sadly neglected. Which is exactly what has happened here!

Lacy puff-ball sleeves :)

Now we come to the fabulous Briar Rose knit-along!

Briar Rose - Back, Front and Sleeves done!!

I actually started Enchanting in Black and White quite a while before I joined the knit-along - a classic case of becoming bored of one project and reaching for the next one before completion - and yet I am closer to finishing with this project than the last! I have completed the front, back and both sleeves for the Briar Rose, all that is left is the collar and pocket followed by blocking (although the front and back panels have already been blocked) and the construction. It won't be long before this little gem is finished and will be worn about town!

Now a sensible person would have finished up both of these sweaters before moving on to another project, particularly one that could prove to be the most challenging knitting project that they've ever attempted. That sensible person would think, no, when it comes to that new project I should have a clear head, free of past projects, so I can focus entirely on the complicated task at hand. That sensible person would be clever and also would be right. I however am not a sensible person. 

Remember this little piece of brilliance my friends...

Dachshund Jumper!!!

Yes, that's right, I have started climbing my personal knitting mountain, the Dachshund Jumper!! You may remember my previous post about the fabulously awful pattern book that this little treasure came from and my wish to adapt this jumper into something that I could wear without blushing, and here my journey begins!

To start with, as "Beastly Knits" was originally published in the 1980s, the majority of the wool that was mentioned for use with the patterns has now been discontinued. So my first task was to find the right kind of wool. The lovely Lalla Ward suggests using an alpaca 4 ply wool for this jumper, so I hopped onto Ravelry and used it's mighty search engine to find some 4 ply alpaca yard that still exists in the modern world. Luckily for me I found this beautiful yarn by Artesano, sold by the wonderful Ray Stitch at a very reasonable price and so my jumper adventures could well and truly begin!

Firstly I decided to changed the colour scheme of the jumper to something a bit brighter. I picked a lovely purply-pink for the background and then cream and chocolate brown for my little dachshund. Next, using some of Tasha's techniques from her brilliant knit-along, I estimated the yardage of the jumper so I could order up bags of wool (one of my favourite parts of the knitting process!) and when this wool arrived I made a fetching little gauge swatch:

My alpaca wool swatch, pretty colour

Isn't the colour yummy? And it's so soft I could sleep on it, even though it's only a tiny little swatch :) Now, in order to make the jumper a bit more fitted I changed to a smalled size of needle as well as editing the pattern, so the above swatch is incredibly important as it determines my new gauge for the pattern and therefore all the number of rows and stitches. Basically this gauge swatch is like my bible. The bible of the Dachshund Jumper. Using this swatch together with the original pattern and a calculator I started to write up my own version of the Dachshund Jumper pattern...

Scribbling on and annotating the pattern :)

...And I also transferred these changes to the pattern chart (a photocopied version of course, I'm not a complete vandal!) and you can see the sweater is beginning to take shape (well mostly it's taking shape in my head but you can see what I mean!)

Pattern chart, edited and slowly being completed

I must admit, although I've only completed a very small piece of this sweater, I'm already becoming a little bit infatuated with it! I love the colours and the feel of the wool, and the more the dachshund starts to appear in the pattern the more excited I get!

That's definitely going to be a dog paw!
Another two paws taking shape!

There are still adjustments that need to be made to this pattern, around the armholes and neckline, and I haven't even got started on the sleeves yet, but I'm really happy with how it's gone so far. I don't feel intimidated by this challenge, which I know I would have done only a short time ago, and I know that most of this is thanks to Tasha and her amazing kint-along. I have used a lot of her techniques when adjusting this pattern and taking part in the Briar Rose Project has built up my confidence to the point where I know that I have the ability to take on a challenge like this. Thanks Tasha for being such an inspiration, you are my knitting guru!

And there you have it my friends, three sweaters started and not a single one finished yet! However, I promise faithfully to you all that I will finish these knitting projects soon, and I will wear them proudly, no longer just hopping from project to project.

Or at least I promise not to start any other projects before I finish these... Well, I'll try Ok? :)

***Don't forget to check out and enter my giveaway! You have until May 18th to take part***


Liz said...

I think I have eight knitting projects on the go at the moment. It's not unusual for it to be in double figures. I like the variety!

Wendy said...

How did I miss this post!.. I have 4 knits on the needles at the moment! I really am terrible for, getting way to excited by a new pattern and neglecting the current one!
Love that you have made a start ont the dachshund jumper (your kniting is very neat!) Beautiful colour wool too!

Miss Katie said...

Ladies you give me hope that I'm not a lost cause! I do like the variety too, but I just need to finish something soon to prove that I can do it! Plus it's not as if the knits I have on the needles are the only ones I think about, there are about 10 projects that I'm currently planning, I really have to stop myself buying wool, it's so addictive, but my wallet won't thank me!

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