Friday, March 28, 2014

Obsession and excitment.

A while ago Kate Davies released a pattern for a cover for a mini hot water bottle cover, and it's lovely. I really, really wanted to knit it, but it was only available as a kit, and I'm on a yarn fast. Also, and for full disclosure, the kits are fairly hard to come by, I looked. I do have, in my stash,the perfect yarn for this project - the last lot of Travelling with Miss Babs yarn came with a pattern for colourwork mittens, but this is Melbourne, and while I do need a hot water bottle, mittens are never required. It took me a while to track down a mini hot water bottle, but today I found one! (It came with a revolting acrylic cover, which i threw out and we shall never mention again)


I figured I would either reverse engineer Kate's design, or put together something - hot water bottle covers aren't that hard to design. But, when I went to Ravelry to get the pattern link, I discovered that the pattern is now available as a PDF. So, if I want, I can knit the pattern as written, which I'll probably do, since I'm basically too lazy to design for myself. I'm super excited, and I'm going to be really cosy this winter, with a mini hot water bottle to snuggle with on the couch,.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yarnalong, with books and knitting

This week I'm reading Dead and Gone,  which is the 9th novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I really like these books, they are pretty light, and I usually read them after a heavy read - like The Final Empire, which I just finished today and am very much looking forward to reading the second volume of the trilogy. For some reason I always break up series - I never read them straight through. Which is the same with audio books. I'm listening to the fifth in the Discworld Series, Sourcery.  There is not much I can say about it that I haven't said about the previous books in the series: funny books, great narrator and I love The Luggage
In knitting I've started Ysolda's Angastora vest, out of Heron (possum yarn!) I have some concerns, because my swatch lied - surprise surprise, and this is coming out a little tighter than expected. Also, I need to rip out at least five rows because I think I'm doing the edging wrong, although the instructions don't say that, but it looks wrong and I would presume that in this TWELVE PAGE vest pattern, there would have been room to be a tiny bit clearer about the edging. Not that I'm bitter or anything.
As usual on a Wednesday I'm doing yarnalong with Ginny and friends. Pop over to her blog to see what she and everyone else is up to this week.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Leon's Complete Winter Set 2014

There's not a lot left to say about Leon's winter set, since I blogged each piece as I finished it. On Sunday we went down to the beach to watch the Ironmen come in and I took the opportunity to get some pictures of the full set.



This one isn't as good a photo of the knitwear perhaps, but I like it, because Leon looks so happy.
And that's enough talk of Leon's winter set for this year. Now, to start planning his next year's set...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Knit Sally Up, knit Sally Down


 Karen (from the Knit Wits Podcast) also mentioned knitting the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I had intended to try this heel for a while, I know Louisa (of the Richmond Knitters) has successfully used this heel. I thought it might work better for my sneaker liners than the afterthought heel I usually use, which I actually find quite annoying to do and not really all that well fitting. I  knit the first sock top down on double pointed needles, and the second toe up and magic loop. They look pretty similar, but, for what it's worth I think the top down is slightly neater, and I somehow find casting on and the beginning and grafting at the end more satisfying that going toe up. I also think it jives a nicer, less flarey top edge.
  
I think the yarn was given to me by Sonia when I started my poor neglected sock yarn blanket. I really like it. he heel technique was simple enough, and the short row method is the best I've ever used. it's worth paying $1 for the pattern just for that.

I called them my Knit Sally Up socks because, from the moment I decided to do them in opposite directions, I've had this song in my head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc2mZkyb2so

Friday, March 21, 2014

The future is warped


I was listening to the Knit Wits podcast a couple of weeks ago and Karen mentioned that she has been weaving, which reminded me that I own a table loom. In fact, it was given to me as a birthday present, perhaps for my 16th birthday, and has been sitting at my parents place, waiting for the right time I've thought about weaving before and even discussed doing the Guilds weaving course but essentially I'm too lazy to actually attend a class across town. But I did find a Crafty course that I'm watching that seems to explain things quite well.

So, on Tuesday my loom came home to me! I THINK it's in working order, although it's hard to tell, what with my lack of knowledge and all. I think I'll have to buy a warping board, because I can't work out how to warp without one, but other than that I hope it's good to go. I'm pretty excited. The Craftsy class shows how to make cushion covers, and after that I want to make some table mats. We'll see how it goes though, because right now the act of warping the loom still seems rather scary and mysterious. I guess I'll spend some more time with Craftsy this weekend, and hopefully all will become clear(er).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yarn-along, the "Quite Similar to Last Week" edition

As usual on a Wednesday, I'm playing along with Ginny and the Yarnalong. Pop over to her blog to see what she's knitting and reading this week.

 
This week, for me, is quite similar to last week. I'm just about finished listening to The Woman in White. An enjoyable listen, but very melodramatic and I'm ready to be finished.
I'm still reading  The Final Empire . It's going to be a while, but I'm really glad about that, because I am loving it. A really thoroughly developed fantasy world with wonderful, flawed, likeable characters.
I am knitting something new, but not surprising: I've just started a pair of sneaker liners, using the Fish Lips Kiss heel. I'm looking for the perfect heel, I'll let you know what I think of this once I've knitted a bit further.
And that's me for this week! Hope you are enjoying your knitting and reading this week too. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blogging while they're blocking

I finished Leon's winter set today, by completing the scarf. I was going to incorporate the stitch pattern from the hat and mitts into the scarf, but then I couldn't work out how to do that and make it reversible, or at least didn't work my brain hard enough to work it out. Instead I made it two by two rib, with a little wiggle.

I like how the handspun has knit up, although I hope it will even out with a good blocking. As I type this hat, scarf and mitts are in a hot bath. I'm hoping the scarf relaxes a little, but that the stocking stitch of the hat 
stays exactly as it is, because it fits really well. I'll get proper, outside finished photos once the set has dried, and I can convince Leon to pose for photos, which is not his favourite thing to do, but the price he pays for receiving a handspun, handknit winter set.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Leon's winter set 2014 - the mitts edition

I finished Leon's mitts and have nothing but happy things to say about both the yarn and the pattern, which is was the next Great Oddments Knitdown  pattern, by Romi Hill..






I did make a couple of tiny little changes to this wonderful Romi Hill pattern: I knit them cuff up, I added a thumb gusset, I cast on one less repeat and I used a different cast on and cast off from the one specified in the pattern. So, some functional changes, but they look like the design, they match the hat, and I'm so, so happy with them.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yarn along


As usual on a Wednesday, except it's Thursday already - I'm doing Yarnalong with Ginny. 
 
 
 
This week I'm still enjoying what I'm knitting, reading and listening to. I'm still listening to The Woman in White,   I'm about two thirds of the way through and it is very dramatic.
 
I'm reading Final Empire, which is the first of the Mistborne Trilogy by Brendan Sanderson.   It's an epic fantasy trilogy and I'm really enjoying it. It's been a long while since I read a really great, fantasy novel. I've only just started this, but I'm already finding it hard to put down.
 
I'm knitting Romi Hill's Great Oddments knitdown Gnarled Entling mitts, out of handspun, to match the hat I made Leon. . Loving this, although I have made some changes to the pattern.
 
And that's it for this week. Pop over to Ginny's blog and check out what she, and everyone else is knitting and reading this week.
 

Leon's winter set - the hat edition‏


Remember Romi Hill's Great Oddments Knitdown Gnarled Entling Headband? I decided to turn the headband into a hat for Leon's winter set. So, I knit up the headband, picked up stitches around the edge and the knit the top of the hat, using Elizabeth Zimmermann's decreases for the crown.
 
 
And I LOVE IT. I'm so happy with how this handspun is knitting up, it feels really structurally sound, but its still soft. The possum gives it an amazing halo, which I think goes really well with the soft waves of the pattern.
 
Right, now off to the pub to cast on the matching mitts.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Shhh, its a secret

A couple of weeks ago, when I was knitting my mother-in-law's hot water bottle cover Elise came over. Poor Elise has been having a lot of trouble with some muscle issues and has been applying heat using a wheat heat pack. I went on a little rant about why I think hot water bottles are better than heat packs. Here's the condensed version:

  • They start at a better temperature
  • They cool down slower
  • They never smell like burnt toast
  • And, for me the definitive reason, they don't need a microwave, since I don't have one.

Elise agreed, and said someone had said they mold better to your back, or something. So, I made her one, using some beautiful Miss Babs and MadTosh leftovers which were not enough to make any one thing with. I'm super happy with how the stripes came out, and I hope the love I put into knitting it helps Elise get better as much as the warmth she gets from this bottle.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Last night

I gave my mother the Sparkly Sparkly Follow you Arrow shawl.
   It suits her, and the way she wants to wear it is the way it wants to be worn.

Then I finished the socks I was knitting for Leon. 
They look lovely, although they are quite tight on Leon. We'll see how they wear for Leon, otherwise they'll come back to me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yarn along - the "I love everything" edition

This week, I'm:

Knitting: Java socks for Leon. It's knitty pattern that promises to be interesting enough to keep you awake, but not enough to make you jittery, and that's exactly what they do. It's an easy to memorise 4 round repeat, and these socks are addictive. I'm using a yarn called Tough Stocking by Dyed By Hand Yarns. I bought a couple of skeins at last years Bendigo Wool show and I am loved how it knits up, as well as the manly colour.

Listening to: The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. I'm was reminded of this book when Ginny (who hosts this yarnalong, don't forget to pop over to her blog and see what she's doing this week) read it. I'm not sure if I've actually read it, although I know it was prescribed for one of my courses at uni. And I recall seeing a stage play of it. I'm loving this version, they have two readers, one who reads when the narrator is female and one when a male is narrating and they are both very good, appropriate but not intrusive, the story is just humming along for me.

Reading: Big Brother, by Lionel Shriver. As with her other books, this is engrossing and interesting, but also quite full on. Lionel Shriver generally tackles the big issues, and throws in complicated family relationships as well. I'm loving this one, and it's a nice change to be reading something with substance.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Some sneaky plying


A few weeks ago I mentioned I was going to take a day off work to ply the yarn I have been working on.

Instead, I plied it in stages, an hour here, half an hour there.
I'm really happy with the way it came out - 560 grams gave me 762meters, although I was initially concerned it might not be enough because, despite being a three ply, it looked like it had come out fingering weight. 



And then I washed it and it floofed up and now it seems closer to a double knit weight, which means I should be able to relax and be sure I have enough yardage for Leon's winter set. Of course, what I will actually do is stress and worry about it until the moment I cast off the last stitch, but that's just me and I do that every time I knit with hand spun.