Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pilates and finished socks




Once a week I do Pilates. I really enjoy the effects of it: my body is more balanced, I get a lot less aching in my shoulders, I run faster with less training. What I don't enjoy so much is the actual act of doing it. It's very finicky, and concentrated. But the rewards for effort are enormous, so I will certainly continue doing it. In order to amuse myself, and possibly by instructor, I made a pair of Tulip socks to wear to Pilates.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finsihing things, starting things and sitting in the park

I finished the Elizabeth Zimmerman February sweater on two needles, out of my hand dyed wool. I think its really cute. The main thing I noticed when knitting this is what a long way I have come in knitting lace this year. I made the grown up version in February and I really struggled with the lace. Even on the sleeves I put markers every two repeats. Now my mind has been trained to remember lace better, and even knit a fair bit of this drunk. Although I had to put it down on Christmas day, because I found myself squinting at it, closing one eye so that there would be only one baby jumper in front of my blurry eyes. In fact the only time this went wrong was at knit night, and I apologise for spending the last half hour I was there muttering under my breath and occasionally raising my head to cry "it's not working. Why? WHY??"
.

I also finished the yarn for the Bitteroot shawl. It's from a stunning EGMTKs braid.

Here is is in all its stages:

Although I think the final yarn is prettier than this, photographing yarn is HARD.

As for the starting things, I cast on for Stephanie Purl McPhee's tulip socks. I have been preparing wool from my corriedale fleece to spin and this afternoon I am going to start that. i am very excited because it is beautiful, and Leon is pretty excited about me handspinning a jumper for him. At least I think he is. Or at least he should be.

And today the weather was beautiful and sunny and we went and played frisbee in the park, and then sat under a tree while I worked the intarsia heel of the second sock. if there is one thing I've learnt it's that intarsia should be done with your eyes on the work. Although I did promise my Uncle a Kafe Fassett jumper, and if I do follow through with that I'll have to learn to intarsia under all circumstances.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Decimal complete


The Decimal cardigan is complete. Finished, blocked and worn. Despite my couple of freakouts while knitting it, I'm so happy with the results. As usual, none of the things I worried about were an issue. I thought I might be short on yarn, since the pattern called for exactly the ten balls of Rowan cotton glace that I had. No problem, I ended up only using seven and a half. I thought my hands might get sore from knitting with cotton. Again, no problem there. The Rowan Cotton Glace is beautiful. I want to knit with nothing but Rowan from now on. Maybe if I finish my stash completely in 2011, that can be my 2012 thing!

I was worried about the way my shoulders and body stitches would meet up:

That worked too.

We were meant to go to the botanical gardens for a picnic yesterday with my brother and the neiphlins, and windy. Which was fine, but it means these photos were taken at Elsternwick Station, not as scenic a spot as the Botanical Gardens. Today it is looking nicer and I may well take my husband and my knitting to the park for some quality sitting time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have you been good boys and girls this year?

If not, you might find that Santa brings you coal for Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Staycation!

On Fridays, my grandmother always used to ask me "what's your program for the weekend". Well, the weekend starts now, and it's ten days long! My program is as follows:

1) Finish Decimal
2) Knit an Elizabeth Zimmerman February baby sweater in the pink wool I dyed recently
3) Finish spinning the EGMTKs for Bitteroot
4) Start spinning the washed fleece for Leon's jumper
5) Wash more fleece

In non crafty activities I will be seeing family and friends, completely going through my clothes cupboard and folding things up, and spending lots of time on the couch with Leon. Unless the weather gets nice, in which case I will be spending lots of time in the park with Leon.

Have a merry whatever and a happy everything.

Love, Sharon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Decimal Terror

In every larger project I knit there is a moment of terror, where I am absolutely convinced that the entire project is going to be a disaster. Until last night I hadn't had that moment on the Decimal. Oh, I had the freak out with the sleeves. Then I had the "why are my stitch counts off?" after joining the sleeves and the body (Much thanks to Jen for working that one out for me). But generally I have been knitting along, enjoying the simple lace, the rhythm of the thing, the beauty of the Rowan yarn. I am somewhere about 6 rows off the top of the yoke now. Last night I tried it on. And now I am having that moment, the one where I am convinced the entire project is a complete bust. It seems very small. Now, that's not a fair judgement for a cotton cardigan, unblocked, with no button band, the sleeves not yet seamed, tried on in the pub. But I am going to spend the rest of the day worrying about it, until I can get home and have another look at it.

If my job was more interesting, would I spend less time worrying about my knitting at work?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Decimal

This week has mainly been about knitting on my Decimal cardigan. I've joined the sleeves and am working on the yoke. While it has been a generally fun knit, there have been moments of stress. The worst one was when this. I cast on for straight sleeves, staring with 53 stitches, and planning to increase to the 83 stitches called for in the pattern. Two days later I was in the shower before work, feeling happy and contented with my world and my knitting, when I realised, with a crashing thud of my heart, that I was going to end up with the right number of stitches, but with the pattern in the wrong place. When I looked at pictures of Decimal I realised that the pattern placement is vital, to get the beautiful placement of decreases, as shown in Snowden Becker (the designers) piece:

So I thought about it, I worried about it, I didn't do any work because my job is really boring and my energy was elsewhere. Ravellry is blocked at work, so I couldn't look it up on there. I sent emergency emails and got comfort but no concrete advice. Basically I had to move the entire pattern 5 stitches across. I really didn't want to rip, I was already half way through the sleeves. Eventually I took a leaf out of the great Cat Bordhi's book: she says in a tube you can put the increases anywhere and it will still be a tube. I did twice as many increases on one side as the other. That this can work did my head in, but it has worked.

I've also finished spinning the first half of the singles for the Bitteroot shawl.
I love the way this is looking and it is an absolute delight to spin.

And now I'm off to Christmas at Leon's family, hopefully I'll be able to make more progress on the Decimal while I'm there this afternoon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My weekend in craft , by Sharon

When In was at high school, my best friend Anna and I would update each other on Monday mornings by writing little stories in each others school diaries. These were invariably titled thing like "My weekend, by Anna". I found my old school diaries the other day, and there they were. And although it's not Monday yet, here's an update on my weekend (or at least the crafty activities. I did actually leave the house, but, since I didn't take my knitting with me, you don't want to hear about that, now do you?)

Actually it was a long weekend, because I was sick on Friday. I was absolutely exhausted and couldn't get on my bike to get to work. It just all seemed far too difficult. I spent the day resting around the house. I plied the wool I have been spinning for Owls. I am extremely happy with how the yarn came out- its soft and fluffy and squishy and balanced. I probably won't knit it until autumn, because a jumper knit in one piece is a bad plan for a Melbourne summer, but I am very much looking forward to it.
I also dyed some Bennet and Gregor wool pink. It's for a February baby sweater for my niece.

I navaho plied the last of the stripped wool for Leon's mitts, and then I started spinning a pretty EGMTKs polworth/alpaca/tussah silk blend in a laceweight, intended for the bitterroot shawl.


I crocheted some pretty cat toys out of Mini-mochi, since all handknits Tarragon has damaged have been made out of this slightly furry sock wool. The cats are playing with them a little, and we found one floating in the water bowl, something he does like to do with his toys. It made me wonder if i should have used polyfill to stuff them, rather than ugly, scratchy wool.

I've done a little bit on my Decimal cardigan. The Richmond knitters are doing a knit -a-long and I am really enjoying knitting it. The pattern is extremely well written and I think it's coming out well.
Although my photography skills leave something to be desired, since it really is a pretty colour blue colour, not an odd grey.

I'm a bit tired today and its raining and I think I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend spinning and knitting and sitting on the couch. And that's it really, my weekend in craft, by Sharon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Presents in the mail!

I've been haunting my letterbox a bit recently. The race pack for Sundays run never arrived which worries me a little, not because it matters - I went and picked up a new one - but what it if it had been something precious, like yarn? Or fibre? Or knitting books? On Tuesday I went to the parcel centre to pick up two parcels. One was this:

Hand dyed cotton fibre from Stranded in Oz. I joined Mel's spindle club at the beginning of the year and every two months she has sent me something delicious to spin, as well as various pretties, including a stitches per inch wrap, a spindle and stitch markers. I wasn't sure how I would go about receiving fibre that I hadn't specifically chosen, but I've loved it. Maybe because everything that has come has been so pretty, or maybe because its all been so different: Alpaca and Cotton and Merino and a tencel blend. And the colours, blue and brown and rainbow and just wonderful.

As well as this I got a package from Miss Babs. I bought the lace weight for the Knitty lace shawl pattern Annis. It’s the yarn featured in the pattern and it looks and feels amazing. Clearly I have gone shawl mad, perhaps because they are not as hard as I thought they would be, or perhaps because I really do have enough socks.

As well as the yarn I bought 200g of fibre. Miss Babs had marked it at $8 instead of $18 dollars - she honoured the price, and managed to get the package delivered to me within a week, both of which are really impressive. I have no idea what I am going to spin with this, but I am sure something will come to me.

I think now the only thing I am waiting on is Interweave Favorite socks and a Neale Stephenson novel. And a Webs order that they are holding because the Malabrigo is out of stock. And my December Fibre Club order should be here next week. I wonder if there will be any other surprises in my letterbox?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finished obejct: Argyle Vest

Yesterday I finished the Argyle Vest. It felt like the finishing took forever, but that's probably because this is my first garment for over a year that required seams. And picking up for necklines and that sort of thing. Anyway it's done now. I'll block it again before I gift it, in March.
I think it looks good. This afternoon I am not wildly enthusiastic about it, probably because I have so much else going on, like my family being here, and work being weird. Additionally today I ran the 10km "fun" run I have been training (not as hard as I should have been) for over the last 8 weeks. I surprised myself by a) having fun and b) finishing in under 57 minutes. I've cast on my next project, which I AM wildly enthusiastic about, but I'll talk about that when there is more of it discuss.
Vest modelled here by Leon, who is pretty much the exact same size as my father.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finished - Handspun socks

I finished the socks I was knitting out of my handspun, hand dyed yarn. Yes, I have to write that, or say it, or point it out to people who haven't even considered where the yarn came from. Anyone who asked me what I was knitting got told "socks, I made the wool myself Dyed it, spun it, now I'm knitting it..." I'm very proud. My English grandmother (who is actually from Germany, but lives in England) is here with my Uncle and Aunt for a visit. She saw me knitting and commented that I knit continental, like she does. Or rather did. I have many memories of her coming to visit for summer and sitting in the living room knitting and reading.