The state of the WIPs

My period of monogamous knitting appears to have ended. I blame the lure of the knitalong! I thought I would lay out the situation, and hope that in doing so, I'm inspired to work down a few of these projects. The fact is that I am looking forward to the finished product of each and every one of them, and when I work a few rows on this and a few rows on that across too many, it ends up feeling as if I will never finish any of them. So with this in mind, I set off on the half term holidays with 6 works in progress (WIPs) in my bag. And after a week of quite good knitting time, I finished one of them. Not terribly impressive! But I did go on to finish another shortly after my return home, and another isn't far off. So here is The State of the WIPS:

WIPs update - 3

A pair of Dave socks (by Rachel Coopey), knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply Country Birds in the Bullfinch colourway (although to my eye it is far more Greater Spotted Woodpecker-like). These are FINISHED! They've been my handbag knitting project since the start of the year, and eluded discovery when Jim did a project round up a few weeks back, but some concentrated effort in the car resulted in a finished pair. They are a little shorter than they should have been, but I think that Jim's loss will be someone else's gain! More on my Ravelry page here: Woodpecker Daves

Breezy - 4

I FINISHED my Breezy cardigan (by Hannah Fettig)! This is a project which went much faster than I anticipated. I wasn't sure that I had the knitting time for a drape-front 4ply cardigan at the moment, but here I am wearing it. (And it's lovely and cosy today too - our office gets chilly as it faces north.)

Breezy - 5

I used some Merino Cashmere Nylon that Jeni at Fyberspates dyed for me many moons ago. It's a lovely variegated blue and green - right up my colour palette street! The pattern is really straightforward, and as a result I worked on it a lot on car journeys and in front of the TV. Even the final rib around the neckband didn't take nearly as long as I had feared. In fact it was the fear of how long it would take that stopped me from working on it over half term. I AM DAFT! More details can be found over on my Ravelry page: Breezy for Me

WIPs update - 1

My Theme and Variation hap (by Veera Välimäki) is coming along nicely (still a WIP though). The final edging is slow going as the number of stitches increases dramatically, and there are two slipped stitch rows (for the secret stripes) that don't contribute to the depth of the hap. So it feels like it's not much bigger than when I last photographed it. But that's an illusion, and I mustn't lose momentum! I'm well on track to finish this before the end of term, which is great as it's a present for a very special teacher who deserves each and every stitch of this. I'm using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Raspberry Cordial and Logwood colourways. Anj at Meadow Yarn was particularly helpful when I was choosing shades, and I've really enjoyed knitting it up. I'm coming to the end of the first skein of Raspberry Cordial, but won't need very much of the second to complete the edging. More details on my Ravelry page here: Whoops I cast on a hap!

WIPs update - 6

I've made more progress than I anticipated on my Islay cardigan (by Gudrun Johnston - last time it was on the blog I had only done the ribbing). Hurrah! I'm about to start work on the charts, which should help me to plough through the rest of the body. The KAL for this ends on the 1st July, so I'm not sure that I will be finished by then, but my attempt won't be too bad. I should be onto sleeves I would imagine (well, that's unless I get distracted by other things...). I'm using some beautiful Buachaille in Between Weathers that Kate generously gave me for my birthday, and it is such a joy to work with - all the best bits about proper wool (bounce! spring!) and soft too. I'm knitting this to go with the summer dress I sewed earlier in the year, and I'm so looking forward to wearing them together. Full details on my Ravelry page: Islay

Alfrick - 1 Pawkie - 1 Unfinished Golden Wheat

I've made no progress at all on my Alfrick socks, Pawkie (it needs a pair!) or my Golden Wheat shawl (ahem!). But that's actually probably a good thing. If I'm going to finish things, I need to focus and make progress on one or two projects, rather than trying to do all of them at the same time.

WIPs update - 4

Having cast off two projects, it seemed perfectly reasonable to cast on a new one! I recently started to help Martina Behm as a moderator in her new International Strickmich group on Ravelry, so it seemed only right that I should cast on one of her designs to celebrate this! I'm making Fractal Danger out of a deep-stash Sushi Roll from EasyKnits. The colours are gorgeous, and I'm going to work from light to dark, and back out to light again. This is one of those brilliant designs where it's simple enough to memorise, and I can (more or less) work safely on it while chatting at knitting group, without fear of having to unknit everything when I get home again. This is what I'm working on when I'm too tired to do anything else - it's the ideal soothing project. More information here: Fractal Danger

So that is The State of the WIPs! I don't think I have anything else lurking in a project bag anywhere... I know that by many people's standards, I've not got that much on the go, but I do like to take stock and simplify from time to time. Hopefully I'll be back in a few weeks to report that I've finished my Theme and Variation hap and my Islay cardigan. Then perhaps I can cast on another project from The Book of Haps...

Do you have lots of projects on the go? Or do you prefer monogamy in your knitting?

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Pattern talk: Theme and Variation

I've taken a step into the unknown, and tried my hand at video! We've been working with Jesse Wild for some time. I first met him when I worked on The Knitter, and he's been doing my pattern photography for a while. Jim and I have been discussing making some techniques tutorials for a while, so we decided to call in Jesse to do some filming with us. We've made a couple of techniques videos that I'll post over the coming weeks, but to start us off, we've done something more informal. It's basically me sitting in my studio chatting to you about my knitting. Do let us know what you think!

We filmed this video a few weeks back, and as an update, I can confirm that this pattern is EXTREMELY addictive. I've really struggled to put it down over the holidays, and I'm now on to the edging, so the end is absolutely in sight! Despite my early thoughts, the KnitPro Symfonie circulars have actually been absolutely fine with the yarn. I haven't had any difficulty with the yarn snagging at the join, or splitting with the sharp tips. It's been a great combination!

I'm so looking forward to giving this to the VERY special teacher I'm making it for. We will miss her so much next year.

Links for the video
Theme and Variation by Veera Välimäki - purchase The Book of Haps below - my project page on Ravelry: JenACKnitwear's Theme and Variation
Meadow Yarn
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light
KnitPro circular needles
Fripperies and Bibelots stitch markers
In the video I'm wearing my Redlynch shawl (you can purchase the pattern below).

Theme and Variation by Veera Välimäki

Huge and exciting drumroll for Veera Välimäki's design from The Book of Haps: Theme and Variation
Veera6 copy
Finnish designer Veera (to rhyme with fairer), has been designing knitwear for 7 years. She learned to knit more than 20 years ago, and it has been her passion for the last decade. Having studied architecture, Veera turned to publishing knitting patterns, and soon patterns such as her Still Light TunicFolded and Stripe Study shawl were going viral among the knitting community. I caught up with her to chat about her hap design...
Jen: I am a big fan of your aesthetic! Your designs have an inherent simplicity (both in the knitting, and in the finished design), without being trivial. How do you bring something fresh to each new design, without losing that? Do you ever get tempted to throw in 5 extra techniques, or a bonkers complicated stitch pattern?
Veera: Oh, such a good question! I think this might have something to do with me being a total process knitter - and designer! If I'm not enjoying the knitting, I really will not enjoy the finished piece. This is why I want to make the knitting process smooth and fun, and often it will show in the finished piece too. Partly, I started designing knitwear because at the time I couldn't find patterns I liked. My style has always been quite simple and I wanted my knits to be like that too!
Veera10 copy
Jen: One of the things I love about the collection of haps in this book, is the variety of shapes the designers have all chosen. You’ve designed over 70 neck accessories - what’s your favourite shape to knit, and is that the same as your favourite shape to wear?
Veera: I tend to choose the shawl shapes based on how I most often like to wear them - and I like my shawls wrapped around my neck multiple times! Only rarely I keep my shawl just on my shoulders or fasten it with a shawl pin. That's why my most favourite shapes are always longer in wingspan! But sometimes I just want to try out a shape that I find not so easy to wear. 
Knitting-wise I like the shawl to start with just a few stitches and end with gazillion. That way I can keep my interest in the actual knitting; first the shawl grows super fast and when the rows are getting very long and tedious, I will already see how awesome the shawl will be in the end and that will keep me going!
Veera7 copy
Jen: I’ve got a confession to make… I cast on Theme and Variation a couple of weeks ago, when we were working on the final book proofs. I was lucky enough to have some help (from the yarn shop where I bought my yarn) in choosing two shades of Tosh Merino Light. Choosing colours is something many people find tricky. Do you have any advice for knitters planning shade combinations for your design?
Veera: Choosing colours is one of my favorite parts of designing and knitting in general! Since colour is perceived in such an individual way, there really aren't wrong or right answers. But whatever colours you choose, make sure you know what you are choosing or maybe more accurately know what you want! If you want to have a very dynamic, bold and flamboyant hap, choose high contrast colours or complimentary colours. For a more subtle outcome, choose colours accordingly - maybe with less contrast or analogous colours!
Jen: Thank you so much for being part of Team Haps, and for talking to me about your design.
Theme and Variation - 1
Theme and Variation comes in three sizes (modelled shots in the largest size, my knitting photo in the medium size), and uses 2-3 skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. For full technical details, see the Ravelry pattern page for Theme and Variation

The next design will be revealed tomorrow on Kate's blog, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

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Final image © Arnall-Culliford Knitwear, all other images © Kate Davies Designs.