Slooooow….!!!

It’s been a slow few months… battling with menopausal symptoms, I haven’t slept properly since November, I can’t seem to think straight and my body thermostat wants to play games with me!!! Grrr!! Anyway, I’m soldiering on. 😳 🔥❄😰

To keep me from going completely mad, I’ve been revisiting past patterns that I felt could be improved upon. Friday Street Shawl has just recently had a relaunch. I love this pattern and I’ve always wanted to explore the idea of having extra colours on it – and now I have! Check out the recent test knits too, they’re fab! ❤

Friday Street Shawl – 5 colour version

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I don’t only knit, but I also play tennis! I started playing regularly when I was 40, but it was a steep learning curve. Things like: hand/eye coordination, muscle reflex and ball trajectory skills were not in my original training as a track and field athlete. Simply keeping the ball in court is quite an achievement, y’know! 😅


…and then there’s the weather conditions to contend with!

Can you be-weave it?!

Since the Scandinavian weaving workshop last year, I’ve been dabbling with proper weaving, using a rigid heddle loom. I’m still trying to figure out the terminology and finding useful ways to use weaving fabric, but at least it is helping me to beat down my yarn stash a lot faster than I could if I was just only knitting!

My first woven scarf (with mistakes galore!)

My second woven scarf (with fewer mistakes in it!)

My cushion cover

Design Process

Now and then, an idea for a design comes to my mind, and if I bother to sketch it out it will eventually come out just like I imagined it. If I don’t sketch it, this means that it is either a simple construction and is easy to knit (therefore why bother getting the crayons out), or it is a complex design and I have no sodding idea how this thing is going to look!! Here’s some examples:

Sketch it, yay!:

The finished result – Polesden Lacy:

No sketch- uh, oh! But here’s the finished result anyway! Pattern: Massive Attack blanket.

Some are designed directly on the needles – don’t ask me how, usually I just cast on and see where it takes me…!

Below is one of two versions, I’m going to write up both:

Upcoming designs

Widden (shown above) – is the wide cropped, sideways knit top. Pattern is almost complete and will go for tech editing soon.
Kirkbymoorside (the name comes from a town in North Yorkshire where I originally bought the yarn!) – a textured, squishy throw using Heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn. I can’t wait to start knitting this! 😀

New Pattern Release: Galliatt

After months of tweaking, testing and mucking around… I have finally published “Galliatt“. It is a turtle neck lacy poncho-style tunic, comprising 3 colours of worsted weight yarn (or any colour configuration you like!).

It is worked flat in two pieces. The sides are fixed together with your choice of fashionable buttons, facing back-to-back, therefore no button holes are required. It is designed to be roomy, so that you can wear a light sweater underneath. A practical piece for everyday wear.

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Get 20% OFF ALL MY PATTERNS on Ravelry – use code: jimi20 Expires 11th Oct 2017 – GMT. Link: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/jimenez-joseph

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Galliatt is a funny name, I agree, but really it was just a respectful nod to the yarn that inspired the design in the first place. De Rerum Natura’s Gilliatt is a worsted weight, semi-woolen spun, French and European sourced merino yarn, produced in France in an ethical and ecological way. It is available in natural and dyed colours.

© photo source: De Rerum Natura

October Events

Oslo Strikkfestival – Friday 20 October to Sunday 22nd October 2017. Oslo Strikkefestival is a fest for fiber-lovers and yarnaholics in the heart of Oslo! This years’ festival is over three days, from Friday, October 20th to Sunday, October 22nd. For even more fun this year, the festival is taking place in two different venues; Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek and Norsk Folkemuseum.

Friday October 20th: Opening Party! – Knitting lounge, Live Entertainment, Drinks, Snacks and Debates and Movies! Address: Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek, Arne Garborgs plass 4, 0179 Oslo.

Saturday and Sunday October 21st and 22nd – Marketplace, Workshops, Talks, Entertainment, Festival Knitting Lounge and After Party! Address: Norsk Folkemuseum, Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo.

See you there! 😃

Where you goin’, you SuperChunky thing?!!

Well… it’s certainly cold enough to warrant getting out those chunky weight yarns from my stash cupboard – but wait a minute– I don’t have enough chunky yarn to make a sweater!! Oops! 😳

Ha! I’m Just ‘Plying’ with You!

No worries, because I managed to get some help from a fellow Ravster (or ‘Rav-buddy’, ‘Rav-chum’ = a friend on Ravelry.com) called KayGirlsKnitter. He makes these amazing MEGA-chunky sweaters and coats and he does this by plying many strands of yarns of differing weights and fibres together. The result of this is a super-thick strand of knitting that is worked up with needle sizes starting from 10mm upwards.

Taking his techniques on board, I rustled up a quick ‘n’ thick jacket of my own. It doesn’t get nearly cold enough in the UK to need anything as thick as KayGirlsKnitter’s jackets (having said that, it is -3ºc here today, brrr!), so I made my jacket with 9 strands of various yarns using 12mm needles. The fabric composition was a mixture of (in order of quantity): merino, camel, mohair, alpaca, silk and acrylic. Plying yarns like this is a good way to use up your ever-encroaching stash and it creates some beautiful textures and colours. This jacket is so lovely and warm, yet it’s surprisingly light in weight too. I love how it came out – I wear it a lot! 😃

compost jacket by jimiknits

New Pattern Release

Veza = ‘Reveal’ or ‘Show’ in Zulu. I loved knitting this sweater! For me, it was so easy to knit, but I don’t mind telling you it was a b!tch to write the pattern! Size grading maths…Ugh! Anyway, I’m so glad that the pattern and the sweater came out good in the end. My test knitters did a fantastic job on theirs, check them out on the pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/veza

Veza sweater by jimiknits

veza in blue by jimiknits

On a Lighter Note…

This was a little project I had been working on in the background while I was writing Veza. This is ByeLine… or at least a modified version of it. I’ve simply taken the original design and added a diamond lace pattern to the lower half of it. This modification is so easy to implement, that it doesn’t need another written addendum to the pattern. Just find a lace pattern you like and add it in! I can’t wait to wear it.

byeline in lace by jimiknits

What’s next…?

I’ve been hampered with tendonitis in my wrist since August and it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much heavy-duty knitting for Christmas. If anything, I’m going to have to do something inventive with my Addi Circular Knitting Machines! Projects like this:

pj monster muncher by jimiknits

This little monster is a Pyjama Muncher! A 30cm x 30cm plump cushion with a zip-opening to stow away your PJ’s! I made him using both Addi Prof (22) and Addi King (46) machines, a sewing machine and a pompom maker (all the tools, man!). There’s been quite a few requests for these… particularly from adults, hmm…! 😅

Odd Ball Recycling

As the song goes..”Another One Bites The Dust“, it should be my regular tune after I complete a knitting project. It was when I tossed yet another small ball of yarn into the ‘Odd Ball’ basket that I realised that this basket was overloading….!

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The basket contained silly amounts of yarn, not enough that could really be made into anything significant – OK, not unless you’re into making dolls clothes, that is! It would appear that the types of yarn that I tended to ‘waste’ were fingering (4ply) weight yarns. This is mostly because 100g skein yarns that I work with are either used for socks or for shawls. Since socks never use the entire skein of yarn (usually having about 30g left over) and shawls tend to have a small amount left over (10g or more), all this was building into a huge pile of…. what exactly??

So, by grabbing 3 strands of various colours, I made new yarns….

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I won’t get into what yarn strands are in each, but once plied, they became equivalent to Aran weight yarns. I knitted each sample using 6mm Needles. The fabric is firm, but not too stiff and binds the strands well, offering a good mix with the colours. The back row of yarns weigh between 100g – 130g. The front row of yarns weigh between 70g – 78g. In all cases, there’s enough in each yarn cake to get a hat out of it, or a pair of fingerless gloves (both, for the back row yarns).

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Caribbean Sea
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Tuscany
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Molten Lava
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Lemon Fizz Bomb
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Brighton Fair
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Greek Mosaics
Farmyard Haystack

By plying some odd ball Grey lace weight merino yarn with leftover DK weight Alpaca I had lying around, I made this hat and matching mitts:

Side Buttoned Hat – Moorside Alpaca DK combined with Grey Merino Lace.

Quite a satisfying exercise!

Picture Ref: Buttons are ceramic single samples from Buttonalia https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/buttonalia

Yarn Whispering

Light Hearted by JimiKnits Before I start a design project, it’s often the case that a dialogue will happen between myself and the yarn in question. While talking to yarn, I would listen carefully to what it’s telling me. Mad? Yes, but it’s not uncommon to find me staring intently at a skein of yarn having some kind of telepathic conversation with it (you ought to see it in action – it’s quite a picture!).

Yeavering Bell 4ply by Whistelbare Yarns is a Mohair/Wensleydale yarn that is fluffy, shiny and comes in a lovely collection of subtle colours. It was difficult to pick just one when I bought it at the iKnit Fandango in May 2015. Generally, I’m not used to working with fibrous yarns like this, so the conversation with it was a little unclear – I couldn’t quite understand the language of this yarn. Things seemed to get lost in fluffy translation!

So here I was, with no idea what I was going to do. I worked some quick numbers and drew up a provisional format for the construction, then dived in. It was going to be a jumper… but how?

Light Hearted by Jimenez Joseph

I found a cute heart motif stitch pattern in Wendy Bernard’s book “Dictionary of stitches – up, down and around” and I thought it would be great to use it in this sweater. The yarn however, was proving to be quite interesting. While knitting, the subtle sheen and the halo of fluff appeared to open up nicely, giving the knitted fabric a ‘fairy’ dress look. After a while, the mohair began to fly off in all directions, like microscopic fairies and attach themselves to clothing on contact. But despite that, the softness and sheen was giving the piece a lovely appearance, so I carried on.

Verdict

It was a Love/Hate relationship with this yarn.

I hated it because the fibres flew everywhere! It stuck to furniture, it stuck to clothing and it also got stuck down my throat – many times! On occasions, I’d find myself hacking and retching in an effort to cough up a hair ball like a cat!

I loved it because I loved the look of the yarn, the halo of the mohair and the sheen of the Wensleydale. It gave the fabric a luxurious quality. It’s different from what I am used to knitting with – an alternative look and feel perhaps. In some ways it was almost worth the respiratory upset just to get a result like this.

Light Hearted by Jimenez Joseph

If I were to do it again, I’d opt for a yarn with less quantity of mohair. And so the hunt begins…! ♥

It’s Oh, So Quiet…!

Apart from taking vacations and the odd day-trip with the family, I use the school summer holidays to do what I like!

Lately I have been working out my ‘queuing’ system for knitting projects. My Ravelry queue contains patterns from designers whom I admire and would like to knit some day.

My other queue is currently on my projects gallery page. These projects appear as WIPs (work in progress), but mostly haven’t been started yet because the idea is either not quite ‘firm enough’ in my mind, or it is primed and ready to go (once I finish the current project). In all cases, I am likely to jump this queue if a design idea hits me and I am rearing to go! And this happens often.

Luckily for me, I don’t get Cast-on-itis. I’m too much of a control freak to want to start a new project when I haven’t concluded the last one. It does frustrate me, though. I am SO keen to cast on with a new design idea, or existing pattern, that I feel like I am knitting too slowly! Come on woman, work FASTER!!

But sadly, I’ve got knock these babies down first…:

Jimiknits sock
Playing around with a toe-up sock design. I’m using yarn from a frogged project: Old Maiden Aunt Merino 4ply in “Gothic”.
Pebble Beach Shawl
Pattern: Pebble Beach by Helen Stewart. I’m using 3 colours of Alpaca Supreme by John Arbon Textiles. I am extending the pattern by repeating certain blocks. It will end up quite large. The tedium is setting in…!

I Had an Itch to Scratch…

…so I scratched it!

What’s Itching me?

Well, it’s my ideas that are causing the itch. It is not uncommon for me to create a stitch pattern and later on discover a multitude of uses for it. In fact, there have been plenty of occasions where I’ve designed a hat, for example, and then get that tremendous itch to explore other design possibilities. I would end up saying things like, “I’m sure I can make a sweater out of this hat!” and this is how I will end up making a shawl or cardi using either the same stitch pattern or design formation.

The Itch in Question

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What was itching me in this case, was my original Friday Street Shawl stitch pattern (see above pic).  Unlike normal slip stitch patterns, this one is carried over a number of rows which make the slipped stitch elongated. Lots of fun in a shawl or flat piece of work… so, my idea was to try the same thing on a top-down raglan sweater!

JJ_fridayst_sketch

I had 6 skeins of Plucky Knitter Primo Sport (3 x ‘Bleu’  & 3 x ‘Barn Door’). Even after swatching, it was not easy to tell if I would have enough yarn to do a full length open cardi with a belt. It was much of a case of making it up as I went along (and I’m no stranger to that, I can tell you!). At least I was working a top-down construction – but with the slip stitch formation along with the raglan increases, it was to be a bit of a “Mental Exercise” to put it mildly! Luckily, I had predicted that the stitch timings would be off past the armholes, so I factored-in a one-stitch false side seam…. phew!

There, That’s Better Now!

The trouble with these bouts of creative itchings is that they are a huge distraction. I can think of nothing else while these things are playing on my mind. They take me away from my more pressing jobs and responsibilities and I can’t settle down until I’ve scratched it! Lately, there’s been an ever-lasting build up of design ideas, so to stop me going wild with creative itchy fever, I’ve started making a new queue in my Ravelry projects gallery. These are design ideas that will (at some point) become a real live project, but they have to wait in an orderly line.

There are lots of other design ideas waiting to join this queue, but they need a longer ‘brewing’ process before I will accept them. By queuing incumbent projects like this, I won’t need to worry about forgetting the design idea, because it will have already been drawn and the yarn will have been chosen. So it will just be a question of swatching and casting on.

Panic over!
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