Sunday, 29 July 2007

One down, one to go

Well it would be nice if it was only one more WIP to go but, like most knitters and general craftsters, it is impossible to have nothing on the go. If I'm not knitting I'm planning a new knit, or sewing, or cooking or something. But I have at least knocked another project on the head and given myself a bit more time for the next one.

May I present the first sweater/jumper that I have knitted for Euan:

Pattern: My own. I just made it up as I went along. That did mean that I finished the body (knitted in the round then split) grafted the shoulders and realised that it was too short for Euan. So it got ripped out and redone.

Needles: Addi 4mm 40cm circs (do I own any other needles?)

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Kelp Green with Olive green stripe.

Duration: about 5 days due to the ripping and the babysitting

Comments: I just loved working with this yarn. It is so soft and looks great knitted up. I bought a heap of it from The Sheep Studio who are really, really cheap and really, really lovely. I've got a few balls to make Green Gable and possible Rusted Root. I think I could probably squeeze another jumper or cardigan out for Euan too.

Here's the boy showing his pleasure:

As soon as the end were woven in and it was laid out to block I started my next project. I was trying to decide between the Ribby Cardi or Rogue until I saw this. Those nasty Zephyr girls have done it again and I happened to have the perfect wool lying around that I was trying to turn into a Central Park Hoodie with minimal success. I used the bits of CPH that I had already knitted as a swatch and got going immediately. After 2 days I had:

The colour isn't perfect but it's a quick knit and will be really wearable. I've almost finished the body now so hopefully I can get the sleeves wrapped up quickly and get it blocking tomorrow. Yay!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Little progress

I'm sorry to say that things have been moving rather slowly this week. One of my close friends was in the final stages of pregnancy and needed help with her kids and so I discovered that looking after 3 kids (ages 2, 3 and 4) is not that conducive to productive knitting. The baby arrived at 11.59pm Sunday and after a few days of readjusting their lives have settled back to normal (well, as normal as it can be with a newborn) so I've taken the opportunity to get a few projects finished....almost finished.

Ok, one project. And here is Euan modelling the little bit that I have managed to get done on his jumper/sweater thing.

It's all made up as I go along but it seems to be fitting ok so far. I made the body far too short on the first go so it all had to be ripped and started again. In all honesty I wish I'd still made it a bit longer but I'm not adjusting it again. Hoping to finish it today as we have a rare patch of sunshine and I want to block it before I start the next exciting step (that's a secret).

I decided that I needed a bit of a treat and finally gave in and bought 2 things that I have wanted for a long, long time.

The book is Barbara Walker's First Treasury of Knitting Patterns which is the most fabulous book for all sorts of stitch patterns; laces, cables et al. It's one of those basic books that everyone should have in their collection. It arrived from the US yesterday and I've flicked through it about 3 times already and picked out a load of patterns that I want to incorporate into garments. If only I could design! I bought it from Schoolhouse Press (the publishers) as they have recently reprinted it. I'm sure most people in the US have it in their local library but my local libraries are severely lacking in knitting books and, anyway, I didn't want to have to give it back!

The second thing is the Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Baby Sweater Pattern. This is the most fabulous little garment and with all the new babies arriving this week (there have been 3!!!) I thought it was a good time to try this. Yarn Harlot has a great description of this jacket. This came from Schoolhouse Press too. Can't wait to make a start on it.

I promise I will get some better photos of my argosy really soon. I think it would look better modelled than lying flat but I'm in no shape to have photos taken this week. Blergh!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Adventures in Blocking

Like a lot of novice knitters (and probably experienced knitters) I have always had a fear of blocking. I know it's important and I know it makes things fit better but I've never really know how to do it so I tend to knit everything in the round, give it a wash and hope for the best. As I've mainly knitted baby clothes so far this approach has got me by. But now I am trying to make a few more things for myself I realised that I just have to bite the bullet and try blocking.

After reading the endless info about blocking on Interweave's Knitting Daily newsletter I thought I should really make a start. Luckily I had just finished my Argosy scarf so I chucked it in a bucket of warm water and set about finding somewhere to block. That's when I realised that I live in a 2 bedroom cottage with a 2 year old and a large cat and absolutely no where big enough and off the floor that I can lay a wet scarf and a heap of pins. So it sat in the bucket for 3 days (I guess it was thoroughly wet after that) until this morning when Euan went out with his grandfather and I got some free time to lay a scarf on the floor.

So here it is in all it's blocking glory. I think the picture is a bit average but will take a better one when I can wear it.

Pattern: Argosy scarf from Knitty

Needles: Addi 4mm 40cm

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden (colour 244 I think) 2 skeins

Duration: I think it was about 4 days. It's a really quick knit and an very easy pattern to memorise.

Comments: I think my gauge must've been really out as although I was using the same yarn and needles called for in the pattern I only got 21 pattern repeats instead of 27. It's still a pretty big scarf so I'm not worried.

I guess now that I have crossed the blocking frontier I might need to have a think about gauge swatches. They seem like such a waste of time as I always want to get started straight away and I haven't had a giant failure just yet. to find some good links.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Frogging Life

Do you ever wish you could rip back a few weeks, months or years and make a few minor adjustments to improve the current WIP (or life as some people call it)? I sometimes look at my son and think "if only I had added this bit or not done this, then things might be a bit easier". I wish I'd inserted a lifeline to I could rip back with impunity. That's not to say he isn't a great kid but he has a few habits that I'd love to change but they seem a little embedded now even though he's only 2. Anyway, just the rambling thoughts of someone without much sleep.

Finally finished the Surprise Socks, which were actually my Dad's birthday present. I started them a few weeks ago and raced through the first sock only to run out of yarn 2 inches before the end of the second. As it was hand dyed yarn I couldn't just order more so I was lazy and ripped back to the start of the gusset and took a few stitches out (my Dad has narrow feet) but that made the yarn pool horribly so I had to face the music and rip back a few inches before the heel flap. I was so upset as I found the heel a pain (these are only my second socks) but I actually found a good mini-tute to pick up the stitches on my heel flap and so they came out better the second time around. Anyway here's one of them with my Dad modelling:

Pattern: Gentleman's Plain Winter Socks from Knitting Vintage Sock by Nancy Bush. My only mod was making them a bit shorter. Used the same amount of rib but less stockingette. I liked the longer look but just didn't have enough yarn.

Needles: Addi 2.5mm 40cm (started on dpns but just couldn't get my fingers around them and found 2 circs much easier and quicker)

Yarn: Hand dyed 100% merino fingering weight. Used the full 100g.

Duration: About 2.5 weeks due the all the problems. I didn't really read the pattern properly. It's written for men's size 8-9 but my Dad has size 12 feet so I needed a lot of extra yarn.

And just for posterity here's a picture of Dad and Euan:

Euan is wearing my first ever FO which was a beanie I made for my Dad's 40th birthday when I was 9. It was an acrylic, garter stitch monstrosity which he still treasures. I hope he likes the socks as much. He seemed a little under whelmed by them but I'm not sure he realised that I'd made them. He did ask if they were machine knitted which I am trying to take as a compliment. I guess someone in the family will let me know what he thinks of them (he's not that good at expressing himself).

And here's a little WIP. It's the argosy scarf from Knitty in Noro Silk Garden. This is after a day and a bit, so I'm hoping to finish it today.

Monday, 9 July 2007

FO - Candy Socks

I know I have a heap of other FOs to post about but they are old and these are new, so these can go first. These are the 3rd pair of socks that I have started but the first that I have actually finished. That may be because they are in DK yarn instead of sock yarn, but they are socks none the less. I did these after a bit of inspiration from this Craftster thread and also because it's the middle of winter here and it's nice to have something a little colourful in all the gloom.

Pattern: just a basic toe up sock using this great cast on tute, which I found on Grumperina's blog. Also a little help from Knitty and a reminder about short row heels.

Needles: Addi 3.5mm 60cm. My first go a the magic loop and I thought it was great although I wish I'd had 80cm needles.

Yarn: My own hand dyed 100% merino. It's superwash, takes dye beautifully and hardly pills at all. It was a large batch that I did for a few other things (see previous post) but had enough left over to make these. It only took about 60g for the pair.

Duration: A weekend. Basically one sock Saturday and one sock Sunday. I was pretty happy with that!

As you can see my short row heel needs work. I think I was just being too loose with my stitches so I will have to try a bit harder. I'm a bit disappointed actually but as I have firmly caught the sock knitting bug I will get a lot more chance to perfect this.

I'm really happy with the way this yarn turned out that I'm thinking I should get back to dyeing. I'm even thinking about opening my little shop back up. I've found a great source for merino and merino/cashmere yarn and I think it would look great in funk bold colours. What do you all think??

Friday, 6 July 2007

Some little surpises

I have been working on a few things this week which will be surprises but I just want to give you a little taste. I don't think many of my friends know about my blog but just in case I won't show too much. Sufice to say that I have heaps of friends having babies soon so I have to have a few things ready for them. Here is a taster of what I've been working on.

All hand dyed (by me) Australian merino. It's the most gorgeous wool to dye and knit with. I really want to make something for me out of it. In fact I have a bit left over so I'm thinking of some socks. What do you think?

Missing in Action

I am so so sorry that I have been ignoring my blog. Life has been so hectic over the last 6 months that I haven't found any time to keep this up to date. Of course the longer you leave it the harder it is to get back to. But I love reading other blogs so much that I just can't leave mine out in the cold any longer. I promise I will be a more dedicated blogger from now on.

Anyway, a quick summary of the last 6 months:
  • Angel Blossom went to hell and Bec pulled out. Not sure what will happen to it now. I am really enjoying the break and the mental space to do creative things for myself but I miss the thrill of selling stuff. Watch this space...
  • Had a lovely 6 week long holiday with my boy in UK and France. Euan finally got to meet the other side of his family (well except his useless grandfather) and we all had a ball. Didn't go to as many yarn shops as I would've liked but did see a lot of playgrounds. Quite different travelling with a 2 year old than as a couple.
  • Euan turned 2 which was very exciting. He has a huge vocabulary now and can even count to ten in french!
  • Dan has got a new job starting at the end of this month which gives him more autonomy and more money. We're so excited, especially as his current boss in a twonk.
  • Still no baby no.2 happening yet. Still trying. Watch this space...
And here are a few relevant photos:

Father and son on there first flight together

The carousel in the Tuileries, Paris

A playground in Saumur, Loire Valley, France

Euan and me enjoying a lunch break at Galleries Lafayette in Paris. They have a lousy wool section. I was so disappointed. Bute they have the most wonderful toy department so that made up for it.

And the lovely, lovely wool shop that I found in Bristol, Get Knitted. They have a great selection and I treated myself to a heap of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that I have been lusting after for ages. Hopefully I will get around to making Rouge with it one day. I have to say that I was a little disappointed with their customer service, but you get used to that in the UK.