dabbling in diy

Finished zig zag quilt

Yes, it took me way too long to post these photos. But here they are finally! Made this quilt as a gift, followed the Crazy Mom Quilts – Make a Zig Zag Quilt tutorial.

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A quilt

Here is a sneak peek of what I have been working on…

Learn about wool

Craftsy has a free class called Know Your Wool that I would highly recommend to any knitter. It’s a great introduction to the different characteristics of wool from different sheep breeds. Before watching the videos (while working on my Tomten of course), I had no idea that certain breeds produced a wool that is resistant to felting. I feel like I now need to track down some of that yarn, but it’s not proving to be very easy. It’s seriously making me consider signing up for a spinning and dyeing class in the fall…

Lapis yoke sweater

The reason Tomten is not coming along faster is that I started a Lapis Yoke at the same time and it’s probably gotten 80% of my attention this past week. Although interestingly enough the more comfortable I get with lever knitting, the more time I am spending on Tomten.

Browsing through all the Lapis Yoke projects on Ravely, I was struck by how many positive comments there were about the pattern being well written, and how many people were making it with no mods, and how it seems to consistently deliver a very nice finished project.

Only a few more rows and the yoke will be complete

Gemini update

Gemini

My Gemini top is almost done, just have to weave in the ends and block. I ended up running out of yarn, I guess I should have paid more attention with quantity when substituting. Lesson learned! Because I am terrible at predicting how much yarn will get used up, I started the bottom rib a bit too soon and got a few extra rows out of it.

Lever knitting progress

Slowly coming along

I have worked on my Tomten a little bit every day, just a few rows, and can definitely notice a difference in speed and being more comfortable with the lever knitting movements. Although this project doesn’t give me the opportunity to practice purl stitches, I’m still happy with my choice.

Lever knitting Tomten

Last week I attended the Yarn Harlot‘s Knitting for Speed and Efficiency workshop put on by KnitSocial, which was a lot of fun. I left taking Stephanie’s advice to heart, that learning any new technique requires about 30 days of practice to allow muscle memory to form. She advised everyone to start a simple project like a scarf and work on it a little bit every day using the lever knitting technique.

Well I didn’t want to start a scarf. I don’t know what to do with scarves. I have never worn my lovely Noro striped scarf, and my mom, who lives in a city cold enough to use scarves has a enough scarves knitted by me that she didn’t even remember I had knit her a striped scarf too. Not to mention I am still suffering through a scarf/shawl project that will probably never end. Novelty yarns, never again.

Looking through my project queue, I realized that I have a strong penchant for seamless worked in the round projects which unfortunately are not ideal for a lever knitting practice project worked on 14″ straights. I toyed with the idea of making another EZ BSJ which would be a good lever knitting project, but in the end it hit me that DUH why not try a Tomten which was top smack at the top of my queue, added there some 5 years ago.

I have no baby in mind for it, but my friends seem to be producing them at a pretty steady rate these days so I’m sure it will eventually find a wearer. Then when I am done I will be so proficient at lever knitting and such a fast and speedy knitter that tackling an adult Tomten for DH will be a natural progression. He would like it ready by September please. I told him that will never happen. Unless we are talking September 2017?

In the meantime this is all I got. It’s going well, but my biggest struggle is with the stitches sticking to the needles instead of sliding along nicely. Having to force them along is interrupting my slow turtle rhytm. I’m trying to knit as loosely as possible, but that doesn’t seem to help. I wonder if trying to find some Addi Turbo straights would make a difference?

First few rows

My stitches are all bunched up tightly, as that is another technique to help with knitting speed, keeping stitches stacked up. And so I am off to do a few more rows.