Monday, June 30, 2014

KAL complete


On the weekend I finished Leon's latest socks, Charade. They look amazing, although the stitch pattern is kind of hard to photograph. They are not lacy and they don't have holes.
 
The pattern was a great choice. Exactly what I needed. Last week was rather stressful: my father ended up in the ICU with a breathing tube down his throat and it was all quite scary and unpleasant. To have a simple, but not boring, sock to work on through the stress was perfect. I also really like the yarn /  pattern match. The textured pattern really allowed the depth of colour shading in the Little Dipper yarn to emerge. All in all, a good sock and a great yarn.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Well worn

Remember these?
No, dear Reader you probably don't. I made them in April 2011 for my favourite brother in law, Kieran. We were all out to lunch today and he had them with him. One of them has a huge hole in the thumb gussett, and he asked if it was beyond repair. I was knitting Leon's current green socks at the time, but they were not the same shade of green. I asked if he minded if the mend would be visible and he said no. Bearing in mind Tom of Holland's Visible Mending Programme I decided to just do the repair as neatly as possible.


.I have to say I'm thrilled that these little mitts that I put together for Kieran are keeping his hand warm three years later. Maybe this year I'll make him a hat

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yarn-along, the one with the knitalong

Hey, it's Wednesday and, as always, that means it's Yarnalong with Ginny time. Pop along to her blog to find out what she, and the other yarn alongers are up to this week.

As you can see from the picture below this week, I'm reading... NOTHING. I finished  The Dead of Night earlier today, and I don't know what I'm going to read next. Any suggestions welcome in the comments. I'm knitting the Charade socks for the Little Dipper Yarns Knitalong.  I've finished the first one, and just done the ribbing on the second. Loving the yarn, loving the pattern, adoring the two together. 


I'm listening to War and Remembrance, the sequel to The Winds of War. I thought Iw ould want a break between the books, but actually I missed the characters and really want to know what happens to them. 


So that's me for another week. Now I just have to work out what I want to read before next week rolls around...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parcel, vestified and completed




It took me a surprisingly long time to get this vest finished. First it took forever to dry from its blocking (I hate you winter, please go away) Then, it took me three days to get the collar and sleeve edges done. Just not enough knititng time, I guess. Anyway, not it's done and I love it. The alpaca is sosososo warm and soft, and the round neckline is flattering and, I think, a little more feminine than the more common v-neckline that I often choose. I wore it out, with jeans on Sunday. Today I'm wearing it to work with a skirt, and it works just as well in that context. All in all a winner of a knit.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Double Knitalong

As I've posted about previously, I'm obsessed with Little Dipper Yarns. This month the Richmond knitters are hosting a Little Dipper Yanrs Knitalong. Obviously I had to play along! Since most of the LDY I have are boy coloured sock yarn, I decided to make the next pair of Leon Sock Project socks. While I have lots of pairs queued, none of them really fit my mood. At the same time Nicola told me that we were no longer neighbors on Ravelry.  So I picked out a stunning shade of dark green from my stash 


and went through Nicolas knitted socks on Ravelry. I found Charade, which matched my mood perfectly,  since it's a top down sock with a two row repeat, which i had memorised after about four stitches. It's been a while since I knit socks that didn't have complicated charts and all that, so it's quite fun. 

So I'm doing a double knitalong, one with the Richmond Knitters and one with Nicola, although she finished  in 2010 and n ow, really I'm just stalking her!







Friday, June 20, 2014

The Perfect Hat?

I've knit a few hats for myself recently, some more successful and some less. From left to right, there was the Hawthorne Hat, which is more like a cap because I forgot to change needles after knitting the brim, there is the Norie hat, otherwise known as "Jabba the hat mark II" and most recently Romi Hill's Great Oddments Fairy Snowcap. Of these, the Snowcap is my favourite, but the pom=pom sort of bounces when I walk, which is annoying, and Leon mocks me mercilessly, because that's what he thinks pom-poms are all about. So, while I was waiting for my vest to dry, i though I would have another go at making the perfect hat. Romi's Elven Cloche is different from the only other two kinds of knitted hat that I've outlined here: the beanie and the slouch beanie. I figured since it's knit with chunky it would be quite quick:

 Which it was. I didn't have any chunky yarn, so I held four strands of sock yarn together, specifically sparkle sock yarn! It fits perfectly, but it is knit at quite a dense gauge so it's super warm and feels just a tiny bit like I'm wearing a helmet! I quite like it, but only time will tell whether it will become my go-to hat, or fall neglected to the back of the cupboard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yarn-along: The One With All the Series

I can't believe it's Wednesday again so quickly! As you know, on Wednesday's I usually do Yarnalong with Ginny, so pop over to her blog to see what she is knitting and reading this week. 

This week I am reading The Dead of Night, by John Marsden. It's the second book in the Tomorrow series, which is a young adult series that I can't believe I haven't read. I was published when I was exactly the right age for it, and I read other books by John Marsden. In fact, he came and talked to us at school. (And, on another occasion I pashed his nephew, but that's an entirely separate story).

I'm listening to the seventh book in the Discworld Series, Pyramids

And lastly, while I wait for my Parcel vest to dry from its blocking I'm knitting a Romi Hill hat, from the "series" the Great Oddments Knitdown. The hat is  "elven cloche" and I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out when finished, as it will either look fantastic, or I'll have a funny story about the time I made worsted yarn by holding four skeins of fingering together...


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Preemptive blocking

I finished the body of my parcel vest, did the three needle bind off on the shoulders and laid it out for a good look. I noticed two things that made me rather twitchy: despite knitting the body longer than on my previous vests, it has come out EXACTLY THE SAME SIZE. Also, the stitches don't look as even and pretty as I would like. So I decided to block it before I did the neck and armhole edging, which will hopefully give just a tiny bit more length to the bodice, and make sure it doesn't get drawn in by the edging. Now I have to wait for it to dry, to add the edging and see if I'm happy with it or if I need to rip it out down to the arm pits and try again.


I've laid Parcel over the vest that was slightly too short....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Look what's coming!




The Guild weaving classess were announced for term three and I decided to go for it! You may recall I was doing a Craftsy class, but I got lost around the warping stage - which is the thing you do to set everything up. So that wasn't the best success. I think that once someone shows me how to set everything up the Craftsy class will be great, but sometimes I just need to sit down and be shown something, and this is one of those times.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Goldilock's dilemma

I'm up to that bit on Parcel where the instruction say "divide for armhole shaping". For me this is a terrifying moment. I find it so hard to tell whether I'm in the right spot or not, which led to many of my earlier garments being too long and most of the recent ones being just a tiny bit shorter than I would want. For this garment its complicated by the fact that I'm knitting in alpaca, which theoretically will grow on washing, BUT my row gauge actually shrunk a tiny bit on washing. So, I've measured and remeasured and I can only hope that this will come out not to short, not too ling, but just right. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Yarn-along - The One with Very Minor New Things

Hello and welcome to my weekly Wednesday yarnalong post, where I tell you what I am knitting, reading and listening to, and then suggest you go check out Ginny's blog to see what she and the other yarnalongers are up to this week! 

This week I'm doing somethings a little bit new. I'm knitting with alpaca, which I haven't done since I made Elise her first winter set, way back in 2010. I've cast on for Parcel, and am enjoying it so far, although I've only just started. The cables are knitting up quite softly in the alpaca, which I expected, but normally I go for quite aggressive stitch definition for cables, so that's different too.

I'm reading City of Night by John Rechy. It was originally published in 1963 and is about homosexual prostitutes, so a little different from last weeks book! Still it's an interesting read.

And of course I'm still listening to   listening to The Winds of War. I've only got a few hours to go, and I think I'll miss it. Luckily there is a sequel that's even longer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Going up, coming down

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As promised, I knit the second Pentre Ifan sock from the top down, which I enjoyed much more, although rather to my surprise it took me the same length of time to knit as the first sock. I managed to get them pretty much the same length and and looking pretty similar, although I can clearly see in the picture which sock uses which structure. Somehow, even the cables look neater in the top down sock.



 I do think the top down sock heel, with the "normal" heel flap and gusset, fits Leon better than the Sherman heel. Despite my personal dislike of the toe up sock structure, Brenda Dayne has designed a very clever pattern - the way the pattern flow into the ribbing (or, in the case of the second sock, the way the ribbing flows into the pattern) the way the heel patterning integrates into the leg pattern is very clever and makes for an attractive, special sock. The yarn  is Naturally Wakiki, which is an alpaca, merino, nylon, possum blend which I bought on my New Zealand holiday, so it's pretty special, both because it's lovely, and because it's souvenir yarn. In the end this was a glorious project, and I'm really happy I with it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fisk hat

A couple of months ago Elise mentioned she doesn't have a hat that she loves, so I had it in the back of my mind to knit her a hat. When Kate mentioned she had designed a hat, I knew, sight unseen, that I was going to knit it for Elise. I knit the hat, took it off the needles and thought "oh dear". Well, actually what I thought was "crap, how am I going to tell Kate... this hat looks odd". Which it did, but then I tried it on and it's great. It fits better than any hat I've made for myself recently, the design is pretty and clever and a good quick knit. And there are fishies swimming round and round the brim! Also, I think it looks brilliant on Elise, don't you?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Preemptive swatching

I usually swatch for garment projects, although often I will just cast on a sleeve and measure my gauge as I go. For the Parcel,  jumper which I am going to knit (as a vest) after I finish the current socks, I decided I need a proper swatch. Of a decent size. Washed and blocked. Ysolda would be proud of me. I rarely bother to block my swatches, but I am knitting in the alpaca I accidently bought too little of to make Cria, at last years Bendigo sheep show, and this makes me kind of nervous. Also, my size is exactly between two sizes and I want to knit the size down, because I'm not sure I have enough yarn. And I don't know what the pattern calls for, because I'm turning a jumper into a vest. So in between socks I swatched and I've now blocked the swatch. There are many unknowns about this project, but at least I know my gauge. Or at least my gauge for the tension square, because, as we all know, gauge swatches lie. Still, I'm very happy with the way the fabric looks, and really looking forward to knitting this vest. But first, a sock to finish off for Leon.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yarn-along - the one where I keep on keeping on

Hello and welcome to my weekly Wednesday yarnalong post, where I tell you what I am knitting, reading and listening to, and then suggest you go check out Ginny's blog to see what she and the other yarnalongers are up to this week! 

This week in knitting I am about to cast on the second sock of my Pentre Ifran. I had a good old rant about the toe up first sock on the blog yesterday and I am very much looking forward to casting this one on from the cuff. I actually took a break in between socks to knit a little hat, which I will show you once it's finished blocking.

 I'm reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I bought it because everyone is talking about it, and am enjoying it a lot. I just want to sit and read, ignoring everything else. It's young adult and contrasts nicely with the epic war novel I am still listening to. The Winds of War is quite a saga. As well as following the lives of the five major characters, it gives swathes of fairly dry second world war history. Still, the story is ticking away nicely and is meaty enough to enjoy. I could do without the reading from history texts though. And that's me for this week, also ticking along nicely.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sherman heels and toes, no thanks

Last Thursday I was at Anna's place, knitting on the foot of my (toe up) Pentre Ifran sock. Grace, Anna's six year old daughter, asked me what I was going to put in it. I told her "a foot",a nd explained that this sock starts from the toe. "Oh" she said, looking doubtful and wrinkling her little nose, "is that the right way to do it?". And my answer is "probably not". I'm knitting this sock because it's beautiful. Yes, it's toe up, but I don't want to be bound to one method of knititng socks. The Sherman heel and toe, which are Brenda Dayne's method of choice… lets just say I don't like them. I had to completely reknit the toe twice, and it's still not smooth or nice. I took more care over the heel, but it was hard going, and then transitioning to the heel patterning seemed like a great deal of effort. Also, I hate that Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off is also Jenny's surprisingly wavy-edged  cast off. 

This is not a reflection on Brenda Dayne or her pattern writing. I looked up other instructions, and found them impenetrable. The details on the pattern are exquisite, particularly the way the pattern and the ribbing intersect. So, what to do? I'm going to reverse the chart and knit the second sock top down. This way I can have the wonderful Pentre Ifran sock, without the agony of knitting it toe up.