Greetings Unravelers and Welcome February!
January was such a good month for me! I knit one gnome… and have a healthy start on another. I have his arms to finish… and you will note that Vera is my Gnome Whisperer! Dear Gnorton has a beard and braids! Now I need to collect some materials from my backyard and see if I can’t do a bit of weaving…basket weaving, that is! Ha! What better for a delightfully soft Gnorton to be contrasted with twigs! Anyways, I have a small basket in my minds eye, now if I can just get it from there to Gnorton’s arms, I will be all set! Haha!
There was also some yardage calculation of all the “sweater skeins” once they were dry and I am happy to report that they topped 1400 yds of yarn! More than enough for a sweater and so I began my swatching… and I felt a bit like Goldi-Knits as I did it. The first swatch (with US5 needles) was too stiff! The second swatch (with the orange locking marker, knit on US6’s) appeared to be just right but what would a bit of a bath do to it? One more swatch was needed so I ripped out the first swatch and knit that yarn into a new swatch bu I feared that just might be a bit too loose on US7’s.
But things often change in the wash… not dramatically, but each swatch changed a bit once they were dry. Either swatch could work, IMO…but which one would work best?
- US6: Pre and Post washing – 20sts/28 rows = 4″ no gauge difference, but the fabric feels denser post wash, as the stitches have snuggled tightly up together (which I think you can see because the stitches don’t lay flat)
- US7: Pre and Post washing – 18sts/26 rows = 4″ again, no gauge difference… but the “gaps” between the stitches are no longer visible… with no change to the drape, feel, or wear of the fabric!
Now for the important part… are there any patterns that match my gauge? I am happy to report that I did have several choices for each swatch! In the end I chose the US7 swatch gauge for a top down sweater with some new techniques by a new-to-me designer. She actually had a couple of patterns in the running… but in the end I selected one (Ravelry link) that has a bit of a hybrid sleeve (a saddle/raglan cross!) My gauge matches in stitches (but I am over a bit on row gauge, but Ms. McLochlainn has some great tips in the pattern for mismatching gauges.)
Even better… you knit the neckband/collar last! So I can try on and see what works best for me! I have started and am loving the attention to details. (Also, a huge thank you to Sarah for her help on a “firm cast on” cry I put out on Twitter on Monday! Cable Cast On is a winner!)
But in case all that excitement was NOT ENOUGH! I cast on one more project for good measure! Hahaha! Yes, I finished my Base12 Spin and immediately cast on for another Hitchhiker! (I am sorry you can’t see the color changes … but there are some very dramatic ones coming.) I spun the yarn in order (no mixing things up this year) and I spun them incredibly fine… it is a very light fingering weight/heavy lace weight yarn. And in my attempt to use up stash, I am knitting it with a strand of KSH… in a deep navy. I am also doing yarn overs on my “tooth rows” to make it a bit different. There is more than enough handspun for this Hitchhiker (there will likely be leftovers of it) so I am knitting it until I am happy with the size. This is my Truly Mindless Knit (yes, even with the YO bits!) and it is perfect for nighttime television watching with Steve!
(and yes, I am still plodding along with my Pressed Flowers Wrap… never fear!)
It has been a good week for reading as well. I am still listening to A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I have about an hour to go and will likely finish it this morning. Waiting in the wings is The Colony. This will be my second attempt with it, so I have my fingers crossed!
At night I am trying to get into The Sea, the Sea. But I am not loving it… and was easily distracted from it to read Women Talking (which I had very mixed feelings about… no review written yet.)
Whew! That’s quite the update for you all! LOL What about you? What is exciting you this week?
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Oh I’m so glad I am not the only one to struggle with The Sea The Sea…I began it last October, renewed once and then returned it. I’m thinking maybe I’ll try again some time soon.
Looking forward to seeing what Gnorton is planned to carry around in his basket.
Love the gnome, so gorgeous. No update from me this week… Still on the same book and tiny amount of progress on all the knitting/crochet .
I continue to work on projects that were started before the holiday knitting frenzy. I am almost done with a scarf and then all that is left is a shawl I started last May!! Sweet. Love your gnome in progress and your swatches.
What great knitting you’ve got going on, Kat! I can’t really make a good judgment on your swatching without touching them . . . but from your photo, I like the look of the one with the blue marker in it. Whatever gauge you choose to go with, the sweater will be a great thing to have in your wardrobe! I really thought Women Talking offered a lot to . . . chew on. (I had to read it twice in a row to get all my feelings to settle.) And The Colony? For me, it took a long time to get rolling. (And I didn’t love it quite so much as a lot of people did. . . ) Here’s to a good week of making and reading all the things!
I think the sweater pattern you’ve selected is a great one. The hybrid style should make it an engaging knit, and the relatively plain look of it will allow your yarn to shine. Happy to hear my suggestion worked out! I think the Hitchhiker is going to be amazing, too. I can’t wait to see progress on it!
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about Constellation once you finish it. It’s one of those books I’m still thinking about almost a year after reading (and I also just finished his most recent book). I listened to The Colony, as it was the only format I could find from the library at the time, and I think it helped me follow along better now that I’ve seen it in print. I hope this second go-round works better for you.
Oh I’m so happy that Gnorton has both braids AND a beard!! Now I cannot wait to see his basket and whatever it holds. I like the swatch with the blue marker too (which I think is the #7) and your pattern choice is so nice (I had not seen her patterns previously, but man she has some beauties!!). I had thought about Women Talking and decided it would not be for me (too disturbing). and I agree with Kym on The Colony. I liked it, but not as much as some folks did. Have not heard of The Sea, The Sea – off to look at that one.
WOW, seeing your wonderful gnome reminds me I need to finish my January gnome! So close to be completed and start my Feb. gnome.
What a great week in making you’ve had, Kat! I love Gnorton and will look forward to seeing his basket, and your Hitchhiker as you progress. That sweater will be perfect and you’ve certainly approached it the right way. A funny name but a great sweater!
I tried Women Talking and The Colony but couldn’t get into either one of them. Wishing you luck with your “mixed feeling” books!
I just love hearing the ‘gnew gnome gnames’ each month 🙂
What a strong January you had!! I was thrilled just to have finished a shawl and start another :). (B/c I must do a project I can pick up, put down, pick up, put down.) I’m enjoying the small projects, though. They’re lightweight. A change of color, for me. I’m thinking they’ll be nice with tee shirts come spring.
I look forward to seeing that wee little basket of twigs. I love these gnomes. The sweater pattern looks like it will make a good wearable sweater. I like it when designers add in a few details. You have some interesting reading going on too. I want to read the newest book by Miriam Toews. I believe it’s about a grandmother and granddaughter but I could be mistaken.
I think the swatch you chose is the right one, the stitches look very uniform and show off the yarn nicely. I liked The Colony a lot and, even though I read Women Talking quite some time ago, I recall that I thought it was terrific. Cute gnome, too!
I read The Sea, The Sea way back when I was a big fan of Iris Murdoch. I think I read everything she wrote during the 1970s-1980s. A couple of years ago I tried to re-read The Sea, The Sea and couldn’t get into it at all. I guess my tastes have changed with time! I loved Constellation an look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!
I can’t wait to see your next project on the needles – that yarn is so pretty! And Gnorton is pretty darn awesome.
I hope The Colony hits the right spot for you this go-round. I’ve heard the audio is just awesome. And if it’s just not for you, then that’s okay too! I’m so happy to hear that you’re still loving A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I’ve made NO progress on it… I’m hoping to find some time for it next week?