Monday, November 28, 2005

Better Late than Never

Here are front and back views of the hoodie I made for Marianne out of the Debbie Bliss cotton-silk aran. I hope it looks better when she's wearing it... I still think that it might've been the wrong yarn to use but at least the silk content should prevent the colour from fading much.

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Magazine (Fall 2005). I might try another one from the athletic section for my other sporty friend. After the socks, scarfs and slippers, of course.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ally Pally Stash

My two days at the Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Exhibition (October 15 & 16) were a great contrast to each other. On Saturday, I spent much of the day at the Relax and Knit tables and a little walking about. My only expenditures were a heinously over-priced lunch of chicken and rice and about thirty quid of yarn - one being a hank of Alchemy bamboo, the last one they had in that colour.

One Sunday, the floodgates opened and I ended up travelling home with about six carrier bags of loot. Here's some of it:
(Edit: the green-blue hank of boucle in the middle of the picture has since been transformed into the curly-whirly scarf seen here.)

These are two skeins of one of the softest, definitely the lightest natural yarns I've ever encountered. This is Touch Yarns' possum-wool yarn. 500m to the 100g. I've since sent one skein off to Knitting Mama in Saskatoon. Gotta share the joy.
I'm one of Touch Yarns biggest fans now. Above, is eight skeins of their 12-ply mohair-merino. On the left is three of their brushed variety and to the right is five of the boucle. Altogether, this set of chloro-octuplets is going to make one gorgeous blanket for Merwitch and Qball's wedding gift.

Thrumming Along...

Here are pictures of my first thrummed project - a pair of super-warm slippers for my coldest-blooded friend, the Merwitch. They somehow took longer and yet were quicker to do than I'd thought. Longer because the first pattern I picked turned out to be a rubbishy slipper. It looked more like an envelope with lacings than a slipper. Quicker because pulling the thrums and knitting them in is actually a pretty simple skill.

Still, all is not perfect. Thinking myself smarter than the second pattern, I reversed the cuff on my first slipper (closer one in the picture above) so that the knitted side would face out at the top of the fold. Forgetting to do that on the second slipper, I realized that the pattern meant for the purled side to face out so that the fold wouldn't try to roll. Well, now she'll be able to tell right from left...

Just a couple of wooly squashes... The orange is the (now discontinued) Debbie Bliss Tweed Aran that I picked up pretty cheap at Ally Pally. The idea is that it'll felt up nicely as the slippers are worn.

This is the second thrummed project I did. My flatmate asked for a thrummed ear-warmer headband (although not in so many words). The picture was taken before I finished it off by Kitchener stitching the two panels of ribbing together, sealing the thrums inside and effectively creating a yarn-based inner tube. The yarn is the blue Debbie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran that I used on the hoodie earlier. As if I hadn't learned it well enough before, this yarn has very poor elasticity for ribbing. Sarah will probably have to tie off a bit at the back with an elastic to get a good fit.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Manly Lace

My first sperm... er, seaman's scarf. This is before I had woven in the ends but I'm pleased with how it turned out. I wanted a pattern that could be viewed from both sides so the double moss-stitch was ideal and the ribbing (K4, P4) is very stretchy and warm. I framed the panels with three rows of garter stitch at the ends of the scarf and three stitches at the end of each row in garter stitch to keep it flat. No decrease in the middle - the ribbing does all the work. I used Alpaca Select, the same yarn as the dimple stitch shawl, and so the detail is quite clear and the scarf is, of course, very soft.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Charity Knitting

Here's the first project I've encountered that I can actually contribute to... might even walk 'em down to the office myself!
Innocent bottles

And the how-to

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Today, I fully conceded to the fact that I'm going to need more yarn to finish this hoodie. As the yarn has been discontinued, I had to turn to Ebay for sellers and, as luck would have it, there was a seller with the right shade to sell... in Canada! After a few emails and a harrowing experience setting up a Paypal account, it's done!

In other news, I made it to my first London knitting group meeting at the very posh Liberty's store. It was nice to be one of the crowd again. There were some extremely talented knitters present - one who does the most amazing lace wraps on a weekly basis apparently. The ringleader (of sorts) is Yvonne who turns out to email Sally regularly. What a small world this is! Even better, Yvonne runs a booth at the Knitting and Stitching Show and, in exchange for some volunteer time, I get in free! Knitters rock!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sleeve Joy

I started in on the cotton-wool hoodie sleeve the other night, paying careful attention to the bind-offs in the pattern as I was picking up and increasing. Reading a pattern backward isn't nearly as difficult as I anticipated. Eventually, I realized it had worked out really nicely! Will post a pic soon. Now I'm concerned that I may be running out of yarn.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Cotton-Silk Frustration

I decided that I'd try for a non-wool project for one of my more sporty friends and found a neat pattern in the VOGUEknitting International mag that seemed to suit the bill. However, the pattern for the hoodie pullover calls for alpaca wool (who would go jogging in alpaca?) so I found a Debbie Bliss cotton-silk yarn that fit the tension (see previous post about tension squares) and started in, choosing to forego the side seams by knitting it on two circulars from the bottom up.
A few issues have cropped up. Firstly, although the yarn fits the tension, it doesn't have the same elasticity as wool and so the ribbing on the hem and waistband isn't looking so hot. Next, the twelve-strand nature of the yarn is proving difficult to execute the Russian Join with. There are some unfortunate lumps and pokey bits where yarns have been joined. Third, because I'm knitting this hem up instead of collar down, I'm not exactly sure how to join up the shoulders or how to work in the sleeves. So far, I've put the stitches I was supposed to bind off under the arms onto a contrasting piece of yarn in hopes that I'll be able to pick them up later for sleeve-work. This whole project may have to be binned or frogged. I'll have to find out what normal people use this yarn for...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Moroccan Inspired Wensleydale Sweater

On our trip back from Carlisle, Sally, Izzy and me detoured through Wensleydale and stopped at both the Wensleydale Cheese Factory and the Wensleydale Sheep Shop. At the Sheep Shop (what, you thought the cheese shop sold yarn?), I purchased both the pattern and the materials for this funky-looking and very comfortable sweater. The edging is done by doubling up the main wool with a contrasting colour.

The front and back are pretty much identical except for the neckline. The stocking stitch knitted up really quickly. The edging was all garter stitch.

The pattern is actually assymetrical, with one side fully two inches longer than the other. I didn't really like that so I tweaked it so that it looks a little more normal (to me). The front hem overlaps either way so balancing it out was easy enough. The back was originally supposed to do this weird Tetris horizontal-vertical-horizontal hemline. I recalculated the stitches, mimicked the front cast on, and now it's slotted.

The other really neat thing about this pattern was that the sleeves are knitted square and then set into the bodice. Easiest make up I've done in a while. I also bought enough gold and green yarn to make this one again. I'll have to pick up new needles though. The birch ones I did this one on snapped in my bag one day.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Karlsro Sweater in Alpaca-Silk

Oh, I'm well "chuffed" with this one. Despite having to pick up a row where most of the stitches don't actually exist until you make them, and excusing the one row on the back where the pattern went a little askew, I really like how quickly this one knit up and the Alpaca-Silk is really warm and cozy... and so soft. The colour's tranferring a little but should be okay after a gentle wash. The pattern warns that the sleeves come out really long a skinny but, never fear, once there's an arm in it, the lacy stiching stretches into a proper shape. The sweater is ballet-top style and has one long tie on the left front that is threaded through an intentional gap in the right side-seam and wraps around the back to tie up on the side with the short tie on the right front (see second pic). The neck line is quite open so I may have to invest in some prettier shirts to wear underneath. It could probably use with a little blocking out too - the hem tends to curl. I'm actually happy that there are a few errors in this. I don't feel so bad about keeping it for myself now.

I'll probably look into some less expensive wools to do this in again for presents. Seems to me it would look especially nice on a couple of rather prone-to-chill mates at home.

Believe it or not, this was the first time I'd made an I-cord. Very useful... I used it for the ties on the baby sweater too.

And here it is from the back...

Baby Sweater Knitted on Circulars

This was mostly Sally's work - she designed the pattern and had completed the nifty pseudo-raglan shoulders - but I finished it off from about mid-body, did the sleeves, and added the border and ties. If I could have a do-over, I'd probably loosen up the hem and cuffs and add a few more stitches to the border... everything wants to curl and I don't think blocking will even help that much.

You have to admit that that is a FABULOUS looking raglan seam... even if it isn't really a seam at all. I may have been converted to this circular, no seam system...

Dimple Stitch Shawl Wrap

This was a long time in the making, despite being a relatively simple pattern. Mostly, it was poor preparation on my part. It starts with a very large cast-on and then decreases to its bottom point. I thought that I'd be able to make do with straight needles but, although the initial cast-on fit (just barely), it became apparent with the first line of pattern, which require a double wrap for each stitch, that I was going to need circulars. Sally offered to lend me her 5.5mms but it was about two weeks before our paths crossed again. After that, it went swimmingly... until I ran out of wool. I made this one out of 100% Alpaca and hadn't checked the yardage. So it ended up on hold until I could make a trip out to Texere and stock up again. Alpaca Select is a dream to work with and knits up beautifully as you can see from the picture of the stitch detail. It still needs to be washed out and pressed gently for some of the rogue stitches to work themselves into a sensible shape. Shhh... it's a present.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Aw, bollocks...

I was getting very excited about reaching the last leg (well, technically, arm) of this Alpaca-Silk sweater. However, when I stopped to count stitches I discovered that there were too many. Backtracking, I discovered that I didn't bind off enough stitches twenty rows before so I've been forced to "frog" it all back to the bind off row. Grrr... with all the wrapped yarn stitches in this pattern it might be an hour before it's back on track.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Couldn't Help Myself...

I really was going to get back to that cushion cover, I was! And then I was consolidating and packing up my stash and found the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk I had been saving as a reward for finishing all my other little projects. I bought out Attica on a Stash Enhancing EXercise trip that Sally and I took a while back (my last big buy) of the Claret coloured A-S. It was (supposedly) just enough for a wrap around sweater from the Noro book. As soon as I opened that bag I'd put aside - with all the wool, the photocopy of the pattern, and even the 7mm circular needles nicely packaged together - I just couldn't resist sitting down and starting it! It is the softest stuff in the world and knits up beautifully! It doesn't take the Russian Join as nicely as I'd like but that might be me needing a little practice...

This one knits around (from left side to right side) rather than up to down or vice versa and is such an easy two row pattern that I've already finished the left sleeve and left front. I hope it fits. I really want this one for myself. I don't know if I'll ever be able to justify splurging on A-S again... it's very dear, y'know!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Skill of the Month: Russian Join

I hate weaving ends in. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. It's especially frustrating when making something large out of 50g balls. So how much do I wish someone had taught me this little trick years and years ago? You can use this to change colours (for large blocks of work) or just to join up skeins of the same colour.
This site's got the best illustrations for the join. It does take practice too.

This site was helpful with the "spit splice" hint for wool yarns. Yummy.

This one's got videos! Oooh, videos...

Works in Progress and Completed

I don't think that anyone's actually reading this yet but that's okay: it'll be a good way of chronicling what I actually do since I rarely keep my projects.

A couple of weeks ago, I completed a Debbie Bliss hooded baby blanket (Baby Knits Book) in her Cashmerino Aran wool which was really lovely. That was sent off to Chilliwack to an old classmate who's expecting her third baby in October so no pics unfortunately but since I used the same colour wool as the picture on the book cover... oh look, here's another blogger who did the same pattern in organic cotton and took pictures of it in use. Perfect!

Since taking on this housesitting gig, I haven't actually LEFT the house a lot. I seem to have lost track of one of the cats but I'm hoping she turns up before Sally and Izzy get back. I have, however, gotten a good bit of knitting, reading, internet surfing, plant watering and cleaning done. Very domestic. Oh, and sleeping... sleep good.

I completed the dimple stitch wrap for my favourite Saskatonian knitting guru. It's really lovely (I used a mossy green alpaca) and really BIG. I will try to take a picture of it before I send it off as a birthday gift. It was a really simple pattern out of Jeanette Trotman's Easy Knitted Accessories, which has got to be one of my all-time favourite pattern books. Each project teaches a new skill and the table of contents includes a picture for each project. How cleverly logical! The dimple stitch is the most advanced but there are a couple of other things I'd like to try.

Next up, although it wasn't meant to be, is finishing off a darling little cardigan for my Skipton sis. Sally started it a while ago for another friend's baby but said I could finish it and give it Nina if I was so inclined. I'm a little worried that she might've grown too big for it but I'll do it up and see. Neatest thing was that I'm finally over my fear of knitting in the round. Double-pointed needles (dpn) have a tendency to go any which way with me so I figured learning Sally's trick with two circular needles would be a smart thing to do. It wasn't a natural transition. I made a right mess of it at first until I googled for step-by-step instructions. (I love the internet.) I've finished off the length and one sleeve. I'm also hoping that I didn't make the sleeve too tight at the wrist.

After the cardigan (which shouldn't take me longer than tomorrow except for the making up) is a cabled cushion cover. This was a make-work project that started off as a cabling challenge as it has four different cabled patterns in it. Actually, only two involve cabling: the other two are really just moss-stitch patterns. Anyhow, it's in a blue cotton and it was meant to be the Denim Wrap out of Debbie Bliss' Great Knits for Kids but what with my tweaking it to fit my materials, it's going to be too small to be a wrap so I've decided to cast off at a square and knit a stocking stitch square to match up on the back. Ta-da! A cushion cover. Now, I just need to find a cushion to fit it.

I've got a few more things on my to-knit list including some pairs of socks (another new skill), a gorgeous alpaca-silk jacket for me, ME, ME!, and two Wensleydale jumpers.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Out to Launch!

On Tuesday, my Skipton super-mum misheard the name of my semi-monthly knitting meeting, the Knitterati, as "Knitteriety" which seemed just too perfect to pass up as a blog name. With the new picture uploading program, I should be able to post pics of my completed projects which will be lovely since I send most of them away once I'm done with them. Probably won't post as often as it will depend heavily on my free time but now it's launched. Champagne, anyone?