Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hunting for orange

Glibly a few weeks ago I said I was off to order orange and yellow yarn for my granny squares. It didn't occur to me for a second that would be a challenge. 

The base yarn for the blanket was some Wendy Mode from Kemps bought a long old time ago. It struck me as a perfect blanket yarn 50/50 wool acrylic so easy to wash and great value at £1.39 a 50g ball. I got a cream, a white, a navy and a red. A classic palette but a little too restrained for my first granny square extravaganza. So then there was the souvenir yarn from Easter camping, van green and purple. Good strong clear colours that I knew would blend in nicely. That stuff is Jarol Heritage 55% wool, 25% acrylic and 20% nylon. Then I may have pillaged a light blue and a black Patons Diploma Gold DK from a set meant for this little cardigan. Plenty of colours to play with but definitely calling out for a bright yellow and orange to add a little warmth and balance.

I thought it would be an easy mission as I just wanted a basic DK wool/acrylic blend. After lots of hunting it seems strong yellows and oranges are not much favoured. Modern Knitting did me proud with a great washable 100% wool for the yellow - King Cole merino blend - and at £2.75 per 50g that sounds pretty good value to me for 100% wool. I made more of a leap with the orange having not found anything that looked quite right and I'm not too happy with what I've got. As you can see above it's really more of a terracotta, a sort of washed out baked bean shade - called either tangerine or honey depending on which text on the site I trust - hmmm some creative licence taken in that naming whichever - you'd have to be having a very bad day as either a tangerine or a pot of honey if you were this colour! It's also a 100% acrylic which I wasn't too sure about but if it were the right colour its texture is perfectly fine. Ironically least loved colour, no wool content and it's my priciest yarn at £3 for 50g! So I might put that one at the bottom of the pile and see if it either grows on me or if I manage to find a nicer orange in the meantime. Any recommendations of a good real orange (ideally in a nice wool/acrylic blend) happily received!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing with Fabric

Having made great strides with learning to crochet this year it's giving me confidence to sidle up to the sewing beast to see if we can make friends. Actually having signed myself up for a five day course on dress making in July, I'm not so sure it's a sidle so much as a full on dance outside it's lair! Last year I was resolving to just play around in the shallows before diving in but without any focus all I've done in over a year is mend a couple of split seams.  So I've got the course as something formal to look forward to and a couple of months to get in the shallows and splash! In a quiet hour on Sunday I got out the machine. Gulp, needles and hooks were never as frightening as that monster! I just took an old nightie, cut it into some bits and sewed random seams and squares and then the urge to make something kicked in, so a little lavender sachet was made. Then I heaved a big sigh of relief and quit while I was ahead! Little and often is the motto for the next few weeks and then hopefully I'll feel a little more sure of myself.
 
Then I had a real play as a reward for my bravery and fortitude. On an impulse I bought a sample pack of Liberty fabrics from a stall at last year's summer school and it is one of those silly purchases that I have been so glad I made so many times since. They are one of my dearly hoarded treasures. They live at the top of a drawer of other crafting things and I smile whenever I see them. 
Just so pretty! So precious! Foolish but happy making. When I saw little, bitty embroidery frames at Lupin Handmade a wave of PurlSoho wall-ishness washed over me. 
Well perhaps more just splashed a bit in my direction given the weenier scale but I had a lovely time trying to choose my favourites for the frames.
Some of the larger prints, though much favoured, wouldn't quite work.
While other large scale patterns surprised me by how well they shone in the spotlight. So much fun!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time well spent

Yesterday I knit the ribbing for the right front.
Today I knit the ribbing for the right front. In the correct size.

Last night when I discovered my mistake I caught myself thinking "oh no what a waste of time! I wanted to get the fronts finished this weekend, now I have to do this over again." Then I thought again. How is time spent knitting a waste of time? Sure, I all I had tangibly to show for it was a pile of crinkly yarn, but the time spent making the stitches in the first place was time well spent, time which is calming and knits something inside of me. Time I was happy to spend again this morning. 

Old lessons, often repeated, maybe one day I will embrace the path more than the fruit. Daydreams of the future are fun but it's how I spend the now that matters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Daydreaming

This Double V venture has a stitch pattern I love. Both the look of it once it's done and the rhythm of it to knit. Just a four row repeat and within that on the two purl rows you just work the stitch as it is. That only leaves the two knit rows requiring anything like thought and happily not much of that as to me they make sense. By that I mean it seems obvious to my hands and brain what I should do next to get the pattern to work. I don't always find that with lace repeats so it's a pleasure not to have to think too hard about this as it flows along.
That leaves plenty of brain space for sweet daydreams of the finished item which will fit me PERFECTLY. Daydreams of how I shall waft around in the heat of the summer in my new maxi dress, suitably summery cocktail in hand. Ooh how delightful!
Well you know how one good idea leads to another....
Fly fingers fly! So many pretty summery cardis to knit so little time! Here's hoping cardi and the hazy summer days to wear it in style become more than just a dream!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Headscratching

As I've been playing merrily with the grannies my knitterly thoughts have turned to what garment I should feel disappointed by knitting next. I've got a real contender for that crown with the Double V Cardigan I started last summer.
Before abandoning it for who knows what shiny new project I knit the sleeve I'd promised myself I'd start with to try and grapple sensibly with the gauge issue. Having spent a lot of this afternoon. measuring/headscratching/searching Ravelry for the meaning of life I'm starting to think the Short Lucky 'press on in there and make the best of what you end up with' approach should always be followed, it might at least mean I get to knit which is after all the aim of this game.

I've been round the houses scribbling numbers on paper but I think basically my row gauge is quite a way out 23=4 compared to the pattern 28=4 so I'll need to adjust for that in the body. Stitch gauge is also a stitch out over 4 inches - 24 instead of 23 but given the amount of stretch here I don't think that's a concern. 

I've looked at cardigan patterns until they're all merging to find one I might use this yarn for instead of this one and nothing's grabbing me so the best part of a year on I'm going to grasp the needle and get on with it!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Playing

Since the slight anti-climax of making Short Lucky a bit too Large Lucky (though thank you for your kind comments)  I've been playing with my crochet.
I've promoted myself from the first stage of clueless crocheter = only allowed to make granny squares with scrap yarn to adept beginner = cracking out the blanket yarn, van green included.
It feels much more playful than the oh so serious business of garment making. No pattern to follow, no fit to worry about, the biggest decision is which colour comes next. Delightful.
This weekend I'm going to let myself order some more. Yellow and orange are top of the list. I know, crazy days! 

Monday, May 02, 2011

Short Lucky

I've been lazing around all long weekend, such bliss, I'd like to get some better photos of Short Lucky for the blog but that involves me and him and more effort than can be mustered! Time to make do with a few that were snapped this morning in between me hanging out the washing and him making ramps for our creaky old cat to climb over the fence to visit her chums next door (who's in on the sweepstake for when she'll use it? Sorry, never's already taken!)

Talking of hanging out the washing - scuse the action shot  but this is about the nicest one of Lucky herself.
Pattern: Short Lucky
Yarn: Patons Wool Blend Aran - less than 6 balls
Started: September 8th 2010
Finished: April 24th 2011

I was convinced I'd get most wear out of this top tied at the front - like this:
but my gauge was about 3.5 stitches to the inch instead of the pattern gauge of 4.5 so I've got a lot of fabric to spare and closing the fronts creates a bit more of a blocky, blobby effect than is desirable. 
Open at the front tied at the back will, I think, be the way I get the most use out of this. 
Makes you wonder why my gauge swatch was so far off doesn't it? Sigh, you guessed it - no gauge swatch! They may lie sometimes but at the end of the knitting when I've got something finished but the wrong size it does make me wonder what I was playing at when I started out on this enterprise. Ah yes, that holiday mood clearly had me too relaxed! So here's to holiday knitting and being VERY thankful it came out too big rather than too small!
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