Monday, March 30, 2009

Potential

I really enjoy the moments before and when I have first started a new project in large part because of the potential of the knit. It's the anticipation of something wonderful, as yet untainted by human frailty! Francis Revisited has so much promise, I hope the simplicity of it means that I can live up to my own expectations.

As you may remember this smug overachiever swatched aeons ago for this (which has been the next project for far too long), though my halo slipped a little as I didn't recalculate the maths to allow for my different row gauge ahead of time. There is only one place in the pattern that seems to be dependant on the number of rows knit rather than just measurements so it was really not the most onerous task to adjust it, but I still owe thanks to the beloved and Mrs Lurker for their assistance. Now it should just be onwards with simple stocking stitch in the round, dreaming of its potential.

Friday, March 27, 2009

So about the shrug...

...it was finished and worn to the wedding but I've been holding back on letting it make it's blog debut as I have been engaged in an internal debate about whether I'm really happy with it or not. Well I say internal, I have pinned some of the near and dear down and discussed it with them but their interest in how many rows of ribbing would be optimal and which precise bind off technique I should have employed and why has been lacklustre to say the least. The wise just kept telling me they liked it.In the end it's going in the winner pot. If I made it over I would add some extra ribbing as I didn't love the way it looked when I tried to fold it back. To my mind this would also help prevent it's tendency to migrate backwards as there would be some more weight around the front. I know I could undo the bind off and add some more rows (and replacing the bind off with a sewn bind off which would also be preferable, as the edge is just a smidge tighter than would be ideal). However, having carefully weighed the pain involved in unpicking x-hundred stitches of clingy, stringy Kidsilk Haze against whether I will continue to wear it as is, I have decided that it really is a triple A star, award winning champ of a winner. I do like an easy life - and having finished my first 'sweater' of the year I'm definitely in favour of leaving well alone.
Pattern: Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel
Yarn: Kid Silk Haze, Smoke - less than 3 balls
Needles: 4 & 4.5mm Harmony Circulars
Started: 2 January 2009
Finished: 20 March 2009
Modifications: I followed the pattern as written but used a much lighter weight yarn than it was written for.

Now here's a puzzle for the blog - I calculated the yardage I would need based on the Cascade 220 that the pattern is written for. I assumed as I was knitting at basically the same gauge and air was effectively filling in gaps where yarn would be with the heavier weight yarn I would need the same yardage. However I found I needed substantially less - am I missing something obbvious in how I should have calculated the yardage? Share your wisdom with me bloggy friends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lady Day (of Reckoning)

One of my non-resolutions for the new year was to keep a check on yarn acquisition v usage with the aim that I use more than I stash this year. It seems fitting to do my first batch of stash accounting on the first of the quarter days of the year, and I'm feeling just a little like a smug over achiever as I have knit notably more than I have bought so far this year.

In:
KnitGlobal - 300m
RYC Cashsoft - 174m
Mam a Mi -430m - a stowaway from 2008 which didn't get counted in the final reckoning as it was hidden away to become a surprise pair of Christmas socks for the beloved. Surprise was that the elves never knit it. Until they do I shall stare happily at the amazing colours and pet the soft Shetland wool. This is from Anne and Kath's shop, talented ladies that they are.

So I make that 904 metres in.

Out:
Monkey Socks - 420 metres
Owl Mittens - 174 metres
Urchin - 100 metres
an Hourglass sock - 175 metres
the Half-Poms - 335 metres
Wedding Cushions - 700 metres
and the yet to be blogged about shrug -630 metres
lead to a satisfying 2534 metres knit so far this year.

The KnitMeter, combined with the data on yardage per ball from Ravelry are nice tools that make keeping a running total in metres less onerous than it might otherwise be.

While I don't imagine things will remain so much in the favour of the usage for the whole year this is an encouraging start. It feels nice to be using up some of the bounty. Maybe the answer to the question: 'when is your stash too large?' is when it starts to weigh you down. I definitely feel lighter in spirit when I see these numbers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Made It! (Part Deux)

This "it" being the cushion deadline - made it comfortably in time for the Saturday wedding - and not so comfortably, literally just before my sewing machine broke!
I was just contemplating a very wonky seam which sucked in most of a moss stitch border and debating whether if I unpicked it I could get it any better when the needle on the machine started zipping up and down as if a phantom machinist was sat with her foot firmly on the pedal. Having first blamed the cats (who looked up innocently from the sofa) for stepping on the pedal the only way I could stop it was to pull the plug from the wall. To be honest the timing of the breakage saved me from fussing around any further, the seam was well off but not so that I couldn't bear to gift it like it. A little bit of handmade wonkiness doesn't hurt sometimes. Let's call it character.
Pattern: My own :o)
Yarn: Rowanspun - varying amounts of Snowball, Thorn, Thor, Cloud and Sugar Almond
Needles: 4mm Harmony Circs
Started: 4 February 2009
Finished: 19 March 2009

These were so much fun to make - my first go at a little colourwork which I really loved, watching the pattern emerge in the knitted fabric is a really satisfying experience. I had a few pulling issues, normally when I was trying to strand the yarns behind the hearts to minimise sewing in the ends. For me I'd say sewing in the ends was less of a pain than trying to strand loosely and not let it show through on the front; something I'll try and remember for my next foray into intarsia. The panels came out very close to my imagining and were a simple, relaxing knit on the whole.
Sewing the backs on was much more challenging for this novice, and I'm in no rush to sew knitted fabric to woven again. However it was great fun material shopping with my Mum and I'm definitely going to try and expand my machining skills (just as soon as the ghost has been exorcised by the repair man).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Item One - Check

Deadline one has been met. The Half-Poms are finished and my Mum shall have toasty toes on Mothering Sunday.Pattern: Pomatomus
Yarn: Angels & Elephants, 4 Ply British Wool - 100g - Sea Spray
Needles: 2.5mm Metal DPNs
Started: 2 October 2008
Finished: 19 March 2009
Modifications: Plain feet. I was terribly slow at this pattern and would avoid anything based around a 1x1 rib in future for a sock, life is too short. However it is a beautiful, textured pattern and I'm pleased that I stuck with it by limiting the patterning just to the legs.

This completes my three pairs of bandwagon socks started as part of Socktoberfest 2008. These were definitely my least favourite pattern to knit as is apparent by the slow drag to completion, I imagine there will be more Monkeys in my future and can see why that is the most popular of the three. So satisfying to knit and a beautiful stretchy sock at the end of it. I loved knitting the Jaywalkers too but I don't like the lack of stretch in the finished item so I'm not sure I'd make those again. Not when there are so many other sock patterns out there clamouring for attention, it's Serendipity for me next - and just the one to knit :o) That is just as soon as deadlines two and three are met.

The shrug is a few rows off completion and the second cushion just needs sewing together, I might be feeling complacent if I wasn't just a little scared of the sewing machine. I know I was all talk the other week but it seems a long time since my lesson and without Mum nearby I'm feeling a little anxious. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Gambling and Deadline Knitting

Sock roulette was just the most fun gamble ever - especially if the knitter knitting for you finished on time and you have your sock already - ta da! Isn't it fabulous? Look at that cute pixie pointy toe. Beautiful yarn I've never knit with (Socks that Rock) and I've never done a star toe before. Perfect! I hoped that I would get something different to try from this exchange so the gamble definitely paid off for me. Thanks again Pam. The sock I knit finally went in the post today, bad player that I am, photos of that when it has been received. Sorry again Sarah!

So after missing that deadline I've now realised that I have three more deadline knits all for the same weekend in March - the wedding gift cushions, shrug (part of my wedding outfit) and the Poms which have been adopted as a Mother's Day gift. "Why do I do this to myself?" she shrieks and runs off to get knitting.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Things I love that may or may not begin with the letter L

L is for love which is indeed something I love - thank you to Clarabelle for the inspiration and letter (and the very true words on how you think and think about things you love and then you think - yes- wool, wool I love wool, oh but that begins with a w). Ten things on the letter L proved to be a real challenge as the more I think about the letter the less I can think of words beginning with it (though letters are great both in the alphabet sense and those that arrive in the mail so I think that makes three things already).So 1) or in fact 4) L is for lemons - the smell of fresh lemon is one of my all time favourite scents - it's just so clean and refreshing, summery and full of light

and so

5)L is for light - oh how I love that the days are finally getting longer again here. The darkness is the hardest thing about winter for me

6)L is for lilacs and 7) lavendar and 8) lilies, three wonderful flowers with glorious scents - though I think I could find you a flower I love under any letter of the alphabet
9) L could be for life - but if you don't love life then I suspect you wouldn't be bothering with an inane meme on the letter L so I don't think it counts. Let's have London instead, an amazing city, and remember that if you're tired of London, you're tired of life (after more than a day in London that is often exactly how I feel).

10) Lions - well from a distance anyway - I'll stick to close ups with the domestic version but cats of all sizes and shapes are beautiful to me.
Yay ten! So no more L's but there is something else I would love - some bloggable knitting, my sock roulette sock is under wraps, my shrug is a pile of grey fluff and I thought I should probably restrain myself from showing you another shot of the cushion which has made little progress as I've been stuck into the sock. Soon there will be things to show - for the sock at least as it should have gone in the post yesterday - I'll stop the procrastinating and go knit already.
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