Thursday, November 28, 2013

28th November 2013

I can't believe that it is woollen hat wearing weather, at the end of November.

Leon and I went out for dinner last night to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. I got to wear my new Romi Hill hat. I have mixed feelings about that. My feelings about my husband are quite clear.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Interim photos

So, last Monday (that's ten days ago) I finished the knitting on Spice Road. I washed it and it just needed sewing up. It took me until the weekend to have a chance to sit down and sew it and then I discovered I had done the shoulder shaping backwards. Although reviewing the pattern I still feel like I followed the instructions. Maybe the pattern is wrong. Maybe its me, whatever. Then I had to get photos. We took these yesterday and I can't say I love them. In the ones that show the jumper well I look really miserable, and the ones that show my face well, the cardigan looks a bit weird. 

Anyway, I really like the way it turned out. It fits, and its very comfortable to wear. I love that this cardigan looks great both open and closed.  Despite my accidental deviation form the pattern, and the drama I had with the shoulders this was a very satisfying, satisfactory knit.

I am going to try to get some more flattering photos though.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Romi Hill does it again

A week or so ago, Romi Hill announced that she was launching another ebook subscription, The Great Oddments Knitdown. Since I am both trying to reduce my stash, and I'm in love with pretty much everything Romi designs, I was in. The first pattern was released in Saturday, and I had absolutely nothing on the needles. (I actually haven't seamed Spice Road, but that's because I've discovered I've stuffed up the shoulders, and a small amount of reknitting is required.) Saturday was not my happiest day. I ruined a suit by cutting one trouser leg too short when hemming - such a rookie error. Roadworks were happening on the street directly outside my house, and I dropped a dozen eggs - some of them survived, but it was pretty symptomatic of my day. So, when the pattern was released, I cast on immediately. The first pattern is a beanie, with a giant pompom. this makes me very happy, because I currently do not have a single hat with a pompom. On Saturday I got through the first two charts, and today I finished it.
While I was learning the sewn cast off. Leon made the pompom. This is the first hat I have made, as an adult and as a knitter, with a pompom. Love it. Now, hopefully Melbourne's weather will finally warm up for summer, but if it doesn't I know what hat I'll be wearing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sweater Surgery 1

Last year I made Leon Stra Boy, from Contemporary Irish Knits. While I really like it, it was too long from the very beginning   and it hasn't become magically shorter over time. Leon mainly wears it around the house, because it looks a bit like a dress. So I decided to shorten it. Since it is knit top down, I knew I was going to have to cut it, but for some reason I thought I could just hack off the bottom and magically the stitches I needed would be free, I'd put them on the needle and then I could knit on down. I tried that, and it didn’t work. I couldn't find the stitches. It all just sort of sat there...
 Luckily, because this is 100 percent Blue Faced Leicester, the stitches were going nowhere. I discovered that I needed to snip just one thread and then unravel it. It was rather time consuming, sort of like kitchenering in reverse, but I eventually I had all the stitches on the needle, and I reknitted the seed stitch border.Now it fits him like a jumper should and hopefully he'll get a lot more wear out of it.
I'm really glad I made the effort to get this jumper 100 percent right,and now I'm looking at some other jumpers and things, trying to see how I can make them better. the first thing i am going to do is hem a pair of suit trousers that have been waiting for a cuple of weeks, and then we'll see what else can be fixed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Idle hands are the devils work

While I was cruising around the countryside I listened to audiobooks, something that I've been enjoying over the last couple of years. I was listened to Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stow.  I was happily knitting away and listening to this tragic tale of slavery and freedom, when I was much surprised to come across a character, knitting. In fact, a couple of the characters knit. Gratifyingly, knitting is associated with rest, and calmness. One of the characters, Ruth is described as "calmly going on with her knitting" during a difficult situation. Another, Ophelia, knits "stockings which she kept as a specific against what Dr. Watts asserts to be a personal habit of Satan when people have idle hands". She is described as "knitting energetically", and pulls out her knitting when she is having an unpleasant conversation. She knits while she muses, and she is described as laying down her "ever ready knitting work." Another character, Aunt Dorcas, is described as knitting peacefully. Rather gratifyingly, all the characters who knit are positive and good people within the context of the book. They use their knitting just as I do, as something to do with their hands, as a way of being productive and to calm themselves down.
And, here's a picture of the pieces of my Spice Road. I've washed it, but haven't had a chance to sew it up yet. As intended, the gauge definitely changed in the wash! Now, rather than being scared it's too big I'm worried it might be too small.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


In my very last post  I excitedly claimed that I was going to knit Spice Road, exactly as written, except 20 percent longer to compensate for the Rowan Denim gauge shrinkage. Remember? And I (really, thought I) did. I knit the sleeves first, mainly in Melbourne and Morwell. Then I knit the back, in a very long day were I went to Warrnambool. And then, in Marysville on the weekend (for a fun run, not for work) I started the right front. As I started it, I realised there had to be buttonholes somewhere, so I checked the instructions. Nothing in the pattern. Odd. Then I checked the making up instructions which suggest you sew on the buttons, opposite the existing eyelets. What eyelets? My pattern doesn't have eyelets. I had no internet in Marysville, and I has selected the "print only one picture" option from Knitty, but I squinted at that one picture and realised that, when the pattern said "work 3 rows of eyelet rib... continuing in set rib" It meant that all the rib was meant to be eyelet rib. Here's an illustration of the eyelet rib:

I actually couldn't understand, when I first started knitting it, why there was so little of it, but now I know. I misread the pattern. Anyway, I decided to leave it as it is. I think it looks nice, just not what the pattern intended. I finished the left front on the train back from Wangarrata today, and here it is, all ready to be shrunk in the washing machine and sewn up.

I'm a bit nervous about the whole process, I have no idea if it is going to fit in any way shape or form, but I just now threw it in a 60 degree wash, so all shall be revealed, quite, quite soon.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trust the process

When I swatched  for Spice Road  I didn't know when I was going to knit it. Then I finished the bathmatt and realised it was the perfect time to do Spice Road. Also, that I really wanted to. This week I am travelling all over the state: Morwell and Warrnambool and Marysville and Wangaratta, so I needed something portable, but I really don't feel like knitting socks right now. Shocking I know, but I think I've overdosed a little. So I decided to knit Spice Road, since it's quite small, and in pieces. And I am knitting it in pieces, like the pattern says. I am knitting this exactly as the pattern is written. Except for one thing: My row gauge is 28 stitches per 10cm prior to washing. After washing it is the required gauge of 32 stitches per ten cm. So every time the pattern calls for "knit until it is 10 inches" I have to add 12 rows, or two inches. I think. Hopefully that maths will work for me. There will be no trying on as I go, no second guessing. I'm just going to trust the process, travel around our fair State of Victoria and at the end of it, wash the pieces, sew it together and hopefully have a lovely, well fitting jumper.

Monday, November 11, 2013


One of the interesting things about making things for myself is that it requires me to consider exactly what I like and want. When I buy a sports sock from a shop, the leg is the length they made it, and I'd never thought much about details like that, before I started making my own. Since I started making my own, I have spent a great deal of time considering excactly what my requirements are, and developing the perfect solutions, not just what i happen to be able to  buy. This is true, not just for socks, but for the width of Leon's jumpers, the length of my sleeves, basically everything that I make. 

The last bathmatt I made, in July 2011, I simply crocheted until I ran out of yarn. I figured that, on a cold marble bathroom floor, bigger is better. When I was knitting my current one, I wanted it big enough that we can both stand on it, but not so big that it takes u- the whole floor. So, having thought about it, I stopped my ten stitch bathmatt when it was just a bit smaller than the old one, and it sits [perfectly in front of the sink.
I guess it won't surprise any of you that what I am saying is that, when you make it yourself you can (try at least) to make things exactly the way you want them.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One of six

I finished the first bobbin for Leon's winter set 2014. It's a possum merino mix, and was surprisingly, an absolute joy to spin. The fibre looked a bit smooshed and compacted, but spun up in a sort of modified long draw, that meant I could largely spin one handed. It was actually a very quick spin, when I was working on it, but making the time to sit and spin has been a bit of an issue. But I realise I had better do so, since I have five more bobbins to fill and it must be done in time for me to knit Leon's winter set, so probably around March. Still, if I enjoy the other two fibres as much as I enjoyed spinning this one, that will be no hard ship at all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Steady progress

I'm chugging away at my bathmat. Having five days off work  - from Friday to Wednesday - was glorious, and I spent quite a lot of time knitting. I saw the osteo on the Friday, and he did something to my left arm and now it hurts even less. In fact, despite the lack of moderation in my knitting, I'm in less pain that I have been since this whole thing started. 
There's not that much that can be said about the bathmat, except that twice TWICE I've turned the corner prior to the spot where the corner is, and only noticed when I finished it, and have had to rip out. Since the short row corners are the only fiddly part of this project, this has been a bit annoying. Other than that its smooth, sailing, or at least as smooth as this gloriously textured handspun will ever be.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Work in progress, with photos

On Monday night I cast on for the ten stitch blanket, which I am going to use as a bathmatt. I'm using handspun (that's two projects in a row!) and 6mm needles, which rather feel like stakes. Because the needles are so big, and this yarn is so thick, this project is growing fast. For the fun of it, I took a photo every day, of this blanket and its super fast growth.

On Monday I cast on. I used 14 ridges rather than 9, in order to make a rectangular blanket, rather than a square one.

On Tuesday I turned the first corners

On Wednesday I pulled out most of what I had done, because the corner wasn't right, and the joins were messing and the whole thing was wonky. 

The I went to pub and did it again, but right, although I actually think I am doing the joins differently from the pattern, but I like the way it looks, so I'm fine with that.

On Thursday I took the day off knitting (yes, my arms are still hurting a little bit. I can live with it. Don't judge me).

On Friday I had the day off, and watched some television, went to the osteo, and hosted my parents for dinner, and did a fair amount of knitting

On Saturday I ran errands and watched TV, and took a lot of public transport. This project has not got to the point were each day it doesn't double in size, so the photos aren't really very dramatic.

Now it's Sunday afternoon and I haven't knit at all today yet. I'd better go remedy that immediately.