Cathedral Grove Test Knit

lacy scarf or wrap on a mannequin

I love starting a new test knit group. I know some people have bad experiences, but I’ve been very lucky with really lovely and communicative test knitters. I’m sure this one will be no exception!

A thing I love when seeing my pattern knitted by someone else is the yarn choice. People pick amazing yarns that I’ve never heard of or would never have thought of for the specific project. I get so exciting thinking of the design in a new yarn.

I’m really in love with this pattern. It’s a very simple pattern, consisting of a single lace repeat over 16 rows with a picot edging. But sometimes that’s what we want for the scarf or wrap that goes everywhere and can just be thrown on for a little elegance.

Also, a pattern where the repeats can be memorized is a great TV knitting pattern and those are always welcome! I can’t wait to get this pattern through test knit and final tech edits by the end of the summer. It’s just a lovely clean lace

Odds and Sods after a long weekend

Cat Update

I’ve got a cat meowing at me forcibly to complain about his neutering and the being kept inside and the terrible cone around his head. We’ve got 7 more days and he’s going to really have lost it by the end of the week. Meanwhile the other cat brought in a live rat last night and placed it happily on the rug. Then it ran away and he was ever so surprised.

We were ever so not pleased with the result. Finally found it cowering in a rolled up yoga mat and managed to send it back outside where it belonged.

Cooking inspirations

In cooking news I have been informed by my carrot, celery and onion hating child that Lasagne (containing all of those things) is her very favourite and I must make it at least every week. After years of not really enjoying making lasagne (it just took so long), I have gotten it down to a fine art. Instant pot for the ragu and using a blend of ricotta, parmesan and herbs for the cheese layer have reduced the prep time to around 1 1/2 hours. Which I can live with.

I’ve been using a local meal kit service and they have been amazing. Great value and really interesting meals. This week I’ve got some lemon parmesan scallop risotto with spinach and spicy pork dan dan noodles. The best part is their zero waste meals. I’m not fretting over all the plastic as everything comes in a long plastic tub with little containers inside. It’s all the mise en place done for me. All I have to do is cook the food, wash the tub and then put it outside for pick up.

Knitting

Oh yes, there’s always knitting! My Cathedral Grove wrap is coming along fabulously. I started it in laceweight and it looked beautiful but I decided it was too delicate for a pattern that most people would buy and also that it would be difficult to care for when it was meant to be an everyday scarf. So I doubled the lace. It’s still delicate but has the extra strength and weight that doubling the yarn gives garments. I’m knitting it in 100% baby alpaca and it feels so soft and light!

Rheinlust by Melanie Berg – Pattern Review

Ravelry: Rheinlust pattern by Melanie Berg
Rheinlust Shawl by Melanie Berg from the pattern pictures on Ravelry

This is a lovely elegant shawl that I have wanted to make for some time. I bought beautiful European Starling yarn from SongBirdFibres. You can see this gorgeous colourway below and I wanted to make a special shawl with it. However that special pattern is now being done in a different colour way and I was concerned that too much busy lace and so much colour would look very confused.

European Starling colourway from SongBird Fibres

Rheinlust is a shawl that has a lace pattern that tapers off and becomes plain garter stitch. I love patterns like this. They are so elegant and have any easy component to knit as well as a more interesting lace component.

Final review

The pattern is great. There are both written and charted instructions and both are clear and so far entirely accurate. Although a great deal of the lace work is k and then purl with a number of twisted stitches using a ptbl (purl through back of loop) or ktbl (knit through back of loop), I have not found this difficult on my hands. I should note I’m someone who loves the look of moss stitch but not the act of knitting it because of hand pain. So this is really great! A major benefit of this pattern design is that the stocking stitch effect is mirrored on both the right and wrong sides of the knitting. I can also see how adaptable the pattern would be by just redoing the lace in stocking stitch with the appropriate decreases and increases using yarn overs and knit or purl two stitches together.

Issues

My only niggle was that I misread the final row in each of the first two written charts. All increases are kfb (knit in front and then in back through the same stitch) but the final increase is kfbf (knit in front, then in back, then in front again through the same stitch) and I missed it. This is me going to fast and not taking proper care, but it was very confusing and initially annoying. I would have liked the pattern to be aware that it was a potential problem point and put a helpful note in stating that the last increase in each pattern repeat was subtly different.

How long will it take?

It took me about 75 hours to knit. I changed yarn every 5 – 10 rows using a fisherman’s knot or magic knot so only had the cast on and bind off end to sew in. Because half the shawl is in garter stitch blocking was relatively straightforward and only took an hour to pin out. Drying time was 24 hours. You will need to block this shawl to really experience the beauty of the wave pattern. My unblocked shawl (below) was lovely, but the blocked shawl (shown at start of Final Review is ethereal and drapes in all the best ways.

Although the pictures on the pattern show a solid yarn, I really enjoyed the flow of the variegated yarn I used.

Would I make it again?

Yes! I think this is a great shawl that I would wear frequently and can be either dressy or casual. I would also consider making it as a rectangular shawl with some pattern adjustment and would do it in either a solid, semi-solid or variegated yarn. I think a self striping yarn would be terrible, but if anyone has done it in a self-striping and loved it, I’d be fascinated to see the results!

Lovecrafts Pattern of the month

Remember my Fireweed socks? The ones that were ‘coming soon’ for what felt like forever?

I got in my head about that pattern. Somewhere around the heel I got lost in crippling imposter syndrome. I fussed and procrastinated and then eventually released the pattern all while feeling really disgruntled with myself.

But today, in my email I got a note from Lovecrafts telling me the pattern is up for pattern of the month for May 2021! Wow! Unexpectedly validating!

If you have a Lovecrafts account please check out the wonderful patterns that are up for review! Follow the link below!

https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-us/c/article/knitting-indie-spotlight

Feeling hopeful

Cherry blossom on tree

Beloved and I got vaccinated on our wedding anniversary. The people vaccinating us thought it was very funny. We were just thrilled to get access to a vaccine and feel like we would be protected soon. We had takeaway pizza for dinner and our second anniversary meal with Nutmeg who was quite put out that she never got to go with us to previous anniversary meals. My anniversary goal for next year is to get to a nice restaurant and wear a dress. Probably not heels though. I think COVID has killed any desire for me to wear heels ever again. Meanwhile our tardy tree decided to finally blossom and go all out this year with big fat pink blossoms. We had two weeks of blossom before they fell off, which is amazing!

How’s the knitting?

I’m still working on the Rheinlust shawl. This has been a great project and I expect to finish it soon. I’m on the decreases and so can see the finish line with every row. Once blocked, this shawl is going to be amazing. I’ll make sure to post photos of pre and post block to show the difference.

Meanwhile the fireweed socks that I moaned and got all caught up on have done really well on downloads across various platforms. I’m very chuffed. On Ravelry I’ve seen a couple of pictures of the socks being made and they are picking some fabulous wool and making so gorgeous socks!

Pattern releases

The next pattern release, sometime in May is going to be the Bad Hair Day hat. This is a Fair Isle hat using two colours only. I’m still working through the crown. I can’t decide between a slouchy hat or a more fitted beanie. Maybe give an option for both?

Cherry Blossom

It is spring and the cherry blossom season is here. I’m lucky enough to live in an area with beautiful blossom trees. They are inspiration for my one crochet project that I am developing.

Time flies….when you’re not having fun

We are now in our peak daily cases of the pandemic. Spring has sprung but it all feels grim and scary right now. Our public health officials are rolling out vaccine as fast as possible, but of course it isn’t fast enough. I would be ecstatic if I could get an appointment right now, but I still have a few weeks to wait. It has been draining and depressing.

On top of that, my other work called to me and I became buried in a blizzard of papers and receipts and attempting to create order from chaos. This meant 6 day weeks and working till at least 11pm every night. Contributing to draining and depressing.

Then the socks. They look amazing. The pattern is great and I’m unhappy. I haven’t pulled the trigger to publish because the pattern isn’t perfect. I didn’t have an eye of partridge heel standard section so had to write one (to create the standard section). It was hard, my way of doing it requires knowledge, I ellide over instructions, and all in all make it inpenetrable for a beginner sock maker or for someone who doesn’t do heels frequently and feels super confident with them. Now I am noodling and procrastinating. So today is the day. I’m just going to publish, with all my irritations about heels still there. Because pursuit of perfection is actually putting me off achieving anything right now.

The Fireweed socks are beautiful – look at that heel! I hope you enjoy the pattern! The delay was solely due to me getting in my own way. You can find the links to download on my pattern page.

Weekly update 15 March 2021

yarn on a bed of eucalyptus

It’s been a lovely week of daffodils and springtime and hope. Our public health officer is letting groups of up to 10 (has to be the same people each time) gather on back decks and in parks. My Mum had her first shot moved up and got her first dose yesterday. Our vaccination schedule is moving a little faster than anticipated. All in all a time of great hope and excitement. The fly in the ointment is the clocks going back. But for once it has lined up beautifully and it is spring break so we didn’t have to get up at truly unpleasant o’clock.

Today’s spring break activity is creating stories based on the vast Lego Hogwarts that was been built over the Winter on a table downstairs. Nutmeg and her friend are hard at work spinning tales of magic and mystery while the two cats look on bemused. There will be french toast and raspberries for lunch and it will be a good day.

Knitting wise I’m expecting to finish the fireweed sock today or tomorrow and publish the pattern by the end of the week. Then it’s on to the Bad Hair Day Hat and Mme Vastra’s gloves. Then two more socks and a wrap. The big project coming up for publication later in the year (September/October) is a Minoan inspired sweater. But March is a month of taxes and being buried in work from my other life and sometimes I want to do a pattern that I don’t have to work out and write and plan. The pattern that I’ll be starting for March and posting updates on as I work through it is the Rheinlust shawl by Melanie Berg. I’m doing it in a lovely colourway from Songbird fibres called European Starling. This one is going to be exciting!

No time for knitting

knitted patchwork blanket in progress

I’ve had no time to knit and I hate it. It affects everything.

I put on tomato soup in our instant pot for dinner and was making a much bigger batch than I’d ever made before. Somehow I set the delayed start but thought it was actually going to take 6 hours to cook! Mad panic while I searched around for another meal to make. Finished that, realised the mistake and made tomato soup as well. Utterly exhausted from it. No time for knitting.

Boxes of client paperwork, confusion over allocations of expenses and trying to get people up to date for tax filings. A day of zoom meetings. Exhausted. Collapse into a bath and then bed. No time for knitting.

Wake up this morning, appalling headache right behind my right eye. Drugs, back to bed, get to a place where I can function. I still have lots of paperwork.

Will there be time for knitting?

There needs to be. I need to read books and I need to knit for my own well being. It is the cheapest most enjoyable form of therapy for me. Not just the designing a pattern or poring over websites and books looking at other people’s patterns and finished works. The physical act of knitting, of moving my hands, of feeling yarn move through my fingers and watching something come together is incredibly rewarding. Like reading where I am escaping into another world in a book, I find knitting restorative. So even if I can’t get a good long stretch of an hour or three in, I need to knit for twenty minutes (a meditation time) just to maintain.

I’m sure other people have this problem too. No time for knitting, especially if it is complex lace repeats where one repeat might take an hour to do. Or a large jumper where you aren’t really moving forward on and don’t want to stop at a funny point.

Even worse are the smaller projects. I think of socks in sections and can’t put them down until a section is finished – top, leg, heel, foot, toe. Most of which are going to take more that twenty minutes when knitting time is scarce.

Solutions!

Leftover sock yarn dragon scales blankets. This has two benefits. You can make a single scale and feel like you achieved something, you are using up little bits of leftover sock yarn and tidying your stash while making something. I have a whole bag where little bits of sock yarn go just for this purpose.

The other solution I have is granny squares. Make a crochet granny square and move on with the rest of your busy life.

Eventually you’ll have finished a large project that kept you sane while you were making it.

Fireweed socks

This pattern just took so much longer than I would have liked. But the final pair of test knits is done and I just have a pair to do for photos. This means Fireweed Socks are actually getting published in March 2021.

The final pattern includes three sizes, and some handy hints for making more sizes for extra narrow or extra wide feet. I’ve detailed two heel types, both a traditional eye of partridge heel and a German short row heel. The socks are top down with a wedge toe and kitchener stitch to finish.

Fireweed (Chamerion Angustifolium) is native to North America and you might see it if you are out hiking in British Columbia. It’s a lovely plant with very pretty pink or purple flowers. Look for it at the edges of woodland. My pattern uses the spikiness of the leaves for inspiration.

fireweed stem seed
Photo from Ediblewildfood.com

I’ve used Knit Picks Capretta Superwash and Koigu KPM wool to make these socks but you can use any sock wool that you like working with. The pattern is very textured and subtle so works best with a solid or semi solid yarn colourway. This is a great unisex sock to knit and is a very simple repeat.

Please check out the patterns page for where to purchase from. Pattern release is set for 17 March 2021