Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's FO February!

The point5ish waistcoat is completed and I officially love it. I polished off the last couple of rows tonight to squeak it into my February FO list. Much as I love neat, tiny stitches going crazy with the 15mm needles was very satisfying.
Pattern: A rectangle with giant buttonholes for arm openings
Yarn: Colinette Point5 in Cherry (1), unnamed yarn from The Kaleidoscope caramel (2), and two ends of balls (1/2), super soft, warm and beautiful
Needles: 15mm plastic straights
Started: 25 February 2007
Finished: 28 February 2007
New Skills?: Buttonholes
Notes: Very rewarding to see this grow much as it had done in my imagination. After petting the Cherry for a while and enjoying the Three Start Scarf I thought about how that draped and whether it would be possible to make a wrap, then it turned into a wrap with space for the arms. I love how it has turned out, it feels very grand on and the colours are sublime. Just have to sort out a better closing than some bits of yarn - I'm thinking ribbon at the moment.
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In other knitting news the yarn for Flair is on order. Yay! kpixie have the Thistle and ship to the UK, for what, with their lovely 10% off your first order offer, worked out to be a great price and should be quicker than waiting for UK stock.
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The Rowan magazines arrived, swoon. I have only had a chance to look at one in depth and am holding back the others for times when I can savour them properly. I hadn't realised how book-like the Rowan magazines are and am even more impressed by the special offer. So far in the one magazine (34) I have fallen head over heels for the complicated looking Rapunzel and may perhaps have ordered some of that lovely Rowanspun Aran in Gables that Kendra and Dreamcatcher made impossible to ignore for Moonlight.
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Here's to a great knitting March ;0)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some non-knitting fun

Thanks Marianne for the link to this, couldn't resist as the images were so strong.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

FO: Horcrux Socks

Taking photos of socks on the hoof is a challenge isn't it?!
Pattern: Horcrux Socks
Yarn: Sirdar Bonus Flash in Peacock. It is squeaky 100% acrylic, but feels nice and soft and for socks to wear with slippers is just fine. Can't have used more than 50g.
Needles: 4mm bamboo DPNs
Started: 6 February 2007
Finished: 25 February 2007
New Skills?: Use of yarn overs and decreases to create a pattern.
Notes: Doing sock one in stages as the pattern was revealed was excellent fun, though I did wish I had two sets of the right size dpns as it would have been possible to do them alongside each other then. Will definitely do some more socks in heavy weight yarn as they are so quick and I like this size of sock for wearing at home or with big boots. These made a great first pair of patterned socks, though next time I would use a plain yarn to maximise the impact of the lightning bolts.
Just to prove I have done both, here they are resting:

In other knitting news I finally plucked up the courage to buy the Blue Skys Cotton and plumped for the gorgeous Thistle shade only to find that none of the three UK stockists have it in - typical! Still I'm holding strong, and crossing my fingers that I will knit this well and won't waste my money. The Knitting Hut were very helpful and should have some for me in the next few weeks, so the beautiful Flair will wait in the wings a little longer.

Simply Knitting magazine responded to my email and are looking into resizing the pattern as they had some other enquiries too. Fingers crossed.

I have found that the Patons Cotton DK (destined for Flair and currently keeping the stash monster warm) knits to the right gauge for another great Knit and Tonic pattern - Sizzle, and I think it would rather lovely for this so I think I will buy that pattern soon and get to work on tank number 2.

In the meantime I'm knitting a little something for the kitchen (to try and coax it towards being finished!) and I'm thinking of a waistcoat type garment with my lovely Cherries point5 and this point5esque gorgeousness that came to visit on Saturday from The Kaleidoscope.
Part of this will be a scarf like the old Three Start Scarf for la Mama. 15mm needles and speedy knits here I come :0)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Knitting Blogs

It has come to my attention that knitting blogs are a GOOD thing.

Obviously we all know this already but whist reading over my last two posts I was reminded of this fact for two reasons:

Reason 1 - Exposure of knitting numptydom and saving of unnecessary purchases (of needles - if not of yarn):
I was feeling frustrated because I thought that I needed to get a smaller needle size to try and get gauge for the lovely Flair - however if you already have too many stitches per inch and you knit with a smaller needle you will of course get more stitches per inch. Ah the simplicity of it all. Thankfully I didn't jump straight in and order the 3.75mm circs as I was thinking I would, and seeing it written out alerted me to my yarn addled thinking. That's the good news.

The bad news is that having re-measured the swatches I found that I had the right gauge on the 4.5mm needles. I quickly abandoned this swatch as the fabric is quite loose and not what I would like at all. So it would seem I have added some Patons Cotton DK to my stash and must still buy the yarn for Flair - I'm thinking I might skip straight to the Blue Sky cotton Wendy knits the original in and have done with it. Sometimes in life it's worth paying full price.
Reason 2 - Knitters are lovely:
Knitting blogs are also very GOOD as when you finish something you feel slightly dubious about and everyone is lovely about it you start to like it more - thank you all :o)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ta Da!

Here it is - in all its slightly tarnished glory - the Triple T or Thorn Tank Top.
Pattern: Shapely Tank Top in size 41" bust
Yarn:Rowanspun DK in Thorn. Love the yarn, soft and fuzzy, a little easy to break but great yardage. 3 skeins.
Needles: 4.5mm bamboo straights, 4mm metal straights for the neck and armholes
Started: 30 January 2007
Finished: 18 February 2007
New Skills?: Bar Increases on the purl side, lots more experince of short row shaping and picking up stitches which seemed a lot harder than on the heel of a sock.
Notes: Well I say 'slightly tarnished glory' as it's not quite as shapely as I'd hoped and the neckline is way higher than I like. It creates a rather larger grey expanse across the chest than I was hoping for and is not the most flattering garment in my wardrobe. Still I think for my first attempt it fits well enough, it's warm and soft and will be useful. Picking up the stitches and seaming was quite a challenge and I hope to get better at this! I might try the pattern again in cotton with a lower neck as it was a nice process knit and a cotton yarn may give me something closer to the original.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Someone likes my top...

I think that our grey miaowster has had enough of endless photos being taken of knitted items rather than her. I left my tank top blocking downstairs and came back to find that she thought the only way to get her pic taken was to get on the knitting.

Will post proper FO photos when I have managed to prise her off and get myself into it.

Some knitting frustration in the air here at the moment. Did my swatches for Flair and I need to try 3.75mm needles to try and get the right gauge, don't have any of those currently... I need to buy two long circs for this project anyway and so I guess I'll get those in 3.75mm - on the bright side it's a good job I didn't go ahead and order them in 4mm which I was sure would be fine.

So having abandoned that temporarily I got out the needles and yarn for Blue Lagoon (plumped for the Moonwave finally :o) only to read the pattern more closely and find that the maximum XL size is to fit a 32in bust. What???????????????????????????????????????????

I've written to Simply Knitting to ask why the pattern is only sized for the waifs of the world - I can't actually believe that the model in the mag is a 32in bust so I'm not too sure what is going on with this. I've asked them if they can let me have the size for a 38in bust - but in case they don't respond does anyone have tips or good book/web resource directions for guidance on resizing a pattern? This is really straightforward so I think it would be feasible but suddenly the "quick and easy knit suitable for beginners" is becoming a bit more of a challenge!

Good job I've got Susan's quick knit socks to soothe, onto the second one which should speed along now I know what I'm doing. I'm still at the stage where getting to do a second sock isn't a chore but a great chance to iron out those little glitches from the first time around :o)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday Baking (ie low knitting content post)

I started the day off with a batch of biscuits for breakfast - new household rule: healthy porridge for breakfast every other day means you can have whatever you fancy for Sunday breakfast :0) Mmm mmm mmm.
I've been very neglectful of my baking lately - partly due to knitting taking up the hobby time, partly to kitchen decimation and partly because I'm trying to cut down on eating so many cakes and biscuits :o( This leads me on to the second new household rule: you can only eat homemade cakes and biscuits. In my world homemade goodies aren't so bad for me anyway as they are full of much nicer, more wholesome ingredients. Calorie reduction-wise they are less available than shop bought and infinitely superior in taste and you may as well really enjoy the calories I think. I don't want to not bake so I will just try and be a bit more restrained, feed most of the batch to 1TB and friends and really savour what I do have.

The recipe for these beauties came from the Yarnstorm blog which I discovered yesterday - the biggest baking inspiration out there!

I'm very pleased with the first baking from the new oven. The kitchen is nearing completion - floor went down yesterday, worktops will be done next week and we' ve spent most of the day painting. It'll be great when it's done - I'm almost at the stage where I don't care how it looks just so long as everything is finished but I'm planning great things for my little understairs cupboard/larder involving some of these - just about keeping me cheerful, well most of the time, except when there is paint everywhere and I can't get a straight line to save my life - for those times the oaty vanilla biscuits have come in mighty handy :o)

No knitting yet today as such but I have seamed the tank - it fits but I'm reserving the woohoos and yippees until I've blocked it - I think I've done something odd with the neck but I'm still quietly chuffed for my first knitted garment - I can get my head and arms through the holes so I know it could be worse!

Best news is that the yarn for Flair arrived yesterday by a late post and I'm planning to swatch for it this evening.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Plaid Dilemma

So when you've got a kilo of Plaid that needs a project, and you find a project for it, what would be the best thing to do? Buy another kilo of course!

Now I have another one of my endless knitting dilemmas (I'm sure when I signed up for this 'hobby' there was nothing in the small print about how much thinking about knitting I would do - like 99% of brain space would be occupied 99% of the time).

You see I'm still dreaming of the perfect Plaid jacket style cardi - I can see it (it's slightly longer than hip length, no buttons, slightly bell shaped sleeves - there is a kind of turtle neck - ie the collar stands up round my neck - I'm feeling a moss stitch border thing going on) but I can't find it! This is utterly typical of the way I am about all clothes, and shoes in particular, I have visions of what I want to wear and so seldom find anything exactly right. I should have known my own made clothes would be no easier.

On Valentine's Day, lucky girl that I am, a copy of the latest Simply Knitting arrived on my lap and I'm really fond of the jumper called 'Blue Lagoon' - simple construction, should knit quickly but is not going to look boxy and boring. I concluded that the Plaid I had would be perfect. Clearly my muse is not yet ready to give up on the cardi however, as a super irrestible bargain lot of the Bramble shade showed up on Ebay. Ooh ooh who can resist a bargain? So the cardi dream lives on for the day when I'm brave enough to try and make the pattern up myself or find something close enough to adapt.
So the dilemma is - which shade do I use for BL? - internal dialogue runs along the lines: "I like the Bramble best" "So knit it in Bramble" " But the jumper's going to be really warm, you'll get more use out of the cardi so save the Bramble for that" "But it's going to be an age before I knit the cardi" "You loved the Moonwave when you bought it and it'll be lovely as a cardi" "Yeah but the Bramble..." You get the picture!

Hopefully the Patons DK for Flair will arrive on Monday and save me from the life changing decision for a while longer, cos the word on the street is that I'll need a new big project by Monday as I'm working on the finishing of el tanko ;0)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

So far so good...

Lots of lovely weekend knitting means I'm getting around the top bend and into the finishing straight on el tanko. The lure of Flair next is pulling me on.
Also my Quick Knit Sock is bearing a pleasingly, striking resemblance to the original. Was that a touch of pride I sense there? Better go carefully!


Finally, I have resolved my sock book dilemma. I tried to request the contenders from the library as Charity wisely suggested - not one single copy of any of them in all of Oxfordshire! Now the selection of knitting books in my local branch is poor (though I'm getting them out in rotation to try and encourage them to stock more!) and I didn't really expect it to be anything else but I assumed they would have a little more selection countywide, but no, far too specialist apparently. My careful, considered research was halted as it had barely begun, thankfully webby wonderland didn't let me down. For the moment Charlene shall be my guide to greener sock pastures. Found a socky blog and the Angel Knits forum which when combined with the comments I received (thank you) tipped the balance in the favour of SKS. Fingers crossed should be here this week, along with four Rowan magazines I hope - took advantage of the great offer that Dreamcatcher mentioned. Off to make the most of the remaining hours of weekend knitting, hope they were productive for you too.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Perfect Weather for Knitting

Tragically I live far too close to work to wangle a snow day, though they did let us all go home early :o)

Yesterday like a intro for today some yarn arrived called Snowball, having seen plenty today I can confirm it is nothing like a snowball in colour.


I got 4 skeins of the Rowanspun DK in Snowball - thought I'd better nab it while it was on ebay so I could do another shapely tank - there's confident that I'll like the Thorn one for you! Sadly one of the skeins is a different dyelot and it really is quite a different colour - so fingers crossed that the shapely tank only takes three - I think it may do actually as there so much yarn per skein. If not I'm sure I'll find something else to knit with it. I really like this yarn, sad that it got discontinued.

Also in the photo is a skein of Colinette point five in Cherry - isn't it just such a warming colour? I could cosy right into it! Another ebay bargain - sadly just the one skein but I wanted it so much I shan't mind if I don't put it too a good use - happy to have it as a pet.

Had another moment of MUST HAVE today - these do overcome me approximately every 15 minutes and I try and resist some of them occasionally but I was very happy to give in today. Wendy from Knit and Tonic has her swingy jacket pattern up - called Flair and I love it. As soon as I saw the word beginner I knew it was coming my way, right now. Just trying to find a slightly more budget yarn than the Blue Sky Cotton - am thinking Patons Cotton DK in Azalea at the moment.


And to finish off here's my Susan sock in progress - the pattern isn't too clear in this yarn/photo - but I'm pleased with how it's coming out - only two rather than my normal three attempts. Must be improving!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pride

So there has been quite some knitting pride round here the last few days - and we all know what pride comes before don't we - yep a knitting numpty moment.

Firstly I was proud of my dedication to the shapely tank this weekend - no sneaky casting on of additional projects and I got on to the back on Sunday. Luckily knitting numptydom did not strike here (though I am little concerned it may be snug - we'll have to see what blocking brings I think).

Then last night, feeling like a little side project couldn't do any harm when I was making such good progress, I thought I'd do the socks that Susan is revealing one step at a time.

With the time difference I got Sunday's post last night, so I got the yarn I wanted to use, the Sirdar Bonus Flash which I had a swatch of knit on 4.5mm needles. I measured my swatch and figured out I should try 4mm needles to get the right gauge and for an extra dose of 'I'm so proud of myself' thought I'd knit a quick swatch to be sure; I had a little bundle of the yarn that was just crying out to be put to a good use. Off I went admiring my increased speed as I went, chatting away to the 1TB and discussing the difference between English style and Continental style and even worked out how to do some Continental knit stitches in the middle. Ooh yes I was proud - see how I actually get how the stitches work now, no more blindly sticking the needle in for me - see how my fingers fly - see how I swatch for my projects - see me KNIT - see how I measure the last of the little yarn bundle to see if I can do another row - see how I get my final row out and see how I ran out of yarn to cast off...

Let's hope I don't get too proud during these socks! Off to do the cuff now.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Progress

So the tank is growing and am feeling quite pleased with the progress, especially as I've been a bit poorly this week.
Negotiated the short rows at the hem and the waist decreases fine but messed up when trying to do bar increases on the purl side - had to do a bit of tinking back to where I am now and must do some counting before I try again - found a helpful little video clip which is so much more illuminating than the instructions in my books. Some things you just need to see in action.

Am enjoying the Rowanspun, though despite Piglottie's warning not to pull too hard I have broken the yarn once already. Bit of a violent tug when the ball was trapped under my 1TB's elbow didn't do it any favours. It's been fine since though and stands up to the normal pull off the ball so long as there isn't an obstruction!

Hope to get lots of knitting in this weekend - maybe even start on those toe-up socks as the yarn has been safely delivered in a ball now - hurrah for my ace winding, sort of MIL, or the dimple stitch shawl as my extra long Addi Turbo (can't say/type/think these words without the accompanying sound effect from Cast On!) has arrived.
Am also stalking a sock knitting book - I thought I was decided on Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet but am now debating Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. Any thoughts on this dilemma welcomed!
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