Monday, September 29, 2014

One ball, plus an injury update

Six weeks ago I went to the hand therapist and I've been very, very compliant about following her instructions. And it's gone really well, I'm basically not in pain, and my hands don't go numb when I knit, and I've had some serious knitting time over the last month. So that's all good. One of the exercises that can help nerve problems like I have is learning to juggle, (I was pretty happy it said "learning to juggle" rather than actually juggling, because I still can't keep more than two balls in the air). so I made some juggling balls :
 
These are quite nice, but I thought it might be nicer to have some that are knit or crocheted. I knit this one from the "oh Balls" pattern (and watched the movie the pattern talks about too).  I need to get around to knitting or crocheting to more, to have a set. I haven't decided if I'm going to make them all matching, or experiment with different patterns. Either way, it's going to take a lot more work until i actually can claim to be a proficient juggler!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Yarn-along, the one where it feels like Friday

It's Wednesday but it feels like Friday because I have the next two days off work. Even so, for Ginny and the rest of the Yarnalong it's definitely Wednesday. Go to Ginny's blog to check out what she and the other participants are knitting and reading this week.
 
I'm knitting my mother's jumper. I'm still amazed how much more I have done this week, compared with last week, and I'm still enjoying knitting it. Ten centimeters more on the body, most of one sleeve and then it will be time to steek.
 
I'm reading Katabasis, the fourth book in the Mongoliad series.  It's good, and I really want to find out what happens to the characters. But some of the authors have changed since the previous book and I don't think it's quite as strongly written.
 
And I'm listening to Persuasion by Jane Austen.  I'm enjoying it, particularly since it's read by one of my favourite narrators -  Juliet Stevenson. I just love her voice, it's very British and proper, particularly for this type of book.
 
And that's me for another Yarnalong week. Now, I've got two days off before the weekend and there is going to be some serious knitting, reading, listening and weaving in that time.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I don't know how this ends

I've been knitting away on the body of my mother's cardigan this week. Before I started it I thought it would take for ever, but it's growing not just steadily but surprisingly fast. And it's actually really fun to knit. I took Elizabeth Zimmermann's advice and am knitting with a colour in each hand, which, after I got the hang of how to tension yarn with my right hand, seems to make everything go smoother. The pattern itself is easy to memorise and other than that it's my favourite kinds of knitting: around and around and around.
 
The only fly in this ointment is I haven't quite decided what I'm doing with the neck. I thought I would work it out as I slowly knit my way up there, but if I go on like this I'll have to have decided by the end of the week. I guess I'll check out what the original pattern says, but there is something about the way that pattern is written that I find entirely incomprehensible. The Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern I'm basing this on just says to keep knitting until it's long enough, and I feel like it really should be a bit lower in the front. I think she has something called a kangaroo neck, so I'm going to wrap this up and go see if that will solve this situation. Other than the looming concern about the neck this is a surprisingly fun and relaxing knit.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Place-mat Sampler

This weekend I wove the sampler for my placemats.

In most ways I'm happy with how it came out, and I learnt a lot, which is the point of making a sampler. I love the colours, and I love the pattern - I think it's called a point twill. I was going to try out all the different patterns because the final set is going to be all these colours, but in different weaves - but then I fell in love with this and couldn't stop. I need to work on keeping the edges even and I machine sewed the ends, and, well, why does so much of my crafting lead to sewing, which really is one of my crafting weaknesses. Something the work on.

The only thing I still have to decide is if it is big enough. If I decide it's not, I can weave them the other way, which means that, instead of sewing the edges under I can leave a little fringe. Either way, it will be a few days before I've got time to be at the loom, so it will give me something to think about during boring work meetings.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bags of fun

I bought a big knitting bag, and it arrived today.  The reason I need a big knitting bag (need, want, can any of us really tell the difference?) is that when I'm knitting 8ply jumpers they get to a certain point and then just don't fit in anything. I don't often knit things that big, I'm more likely to knit socks, or shawls or 4ply jumpers, but when I do it's annoying. So, after I decided to knit my mother's cardigan I ordered a YarnPop totable bag, in  a very silly green giraffe print, to match to pink giraffe print I have on my smaller yarn pop bag. And it came just as my mother's jumper got too big for any of my other yarn bags!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yarnalong, The one were some tings are harder than they should be and some things aren't

This week I am reading Mishka Shubaly's kindle single Of Mice and Me which is the full story of a situation he live tweeted about keeping a baby mouse alive. I'm a bit taken with Mishka, after coming across him on the Rich Roll podcast I've read all his stories and am amused by following him on Twitter.  Unfortunately this is not really a book, more a free standing short story and I'm loving it and wish it was much longer.
I had a bit of an issue working out what to read this week. After I finished Busting Vegas I read the next  in the (tacky, I'm loving it) Stage Dive series and then I tried to get into Dave Eggers What is the What. This is the second time I've tried to read it, and I just can't get into it. Which is strange because I've read most of his other books, without struggling. After I gave up on that I started Paulo Coelho's The Witch of Portobello Streetbut after I read the first page I realised I had already read it. So, a fairly frustrating journey to finding something to read.
 
I'm listening to The Invention of Wings and really enjoying it. I got the suggestion from the Ravelry audio book thread and they were right. It's read in two voices and is beautifully written and narrated. It has some similarities to The Help, which is also about American race relations and was also written and narrated in two voices. That book tipped me over into loving audio books, and this one is of a similar quality.
 
I'm knitting away on my mother's cardigan. It's growing at a steady pace, and I'm enjoying the way the colours are coming together.
 
And that's me for another week. Find out what Ginny and the rest of the Yarn-along are doing this week over at Small Things.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Before

Before
I kept knitting away on my cowl, going with my plan to "fix" the fact I read the pattern wrongly to begin with. Then, as planned, I got to the mid point and moved the cable crossing to where it was meant to be - every 20 rows, rather than every ten. I immediately noticed two things:
1- the texture of the newer knitting was much floppier and softer 
2 - it looked stupid having the two together. I ripped it back to the short cables and decided it was better just to continue with the pattern I had begun with.
 
It got long enough that I could wrap it around my neck, at which point I discovered that the short cables are rather weaponised. You could beat someone to a pulp with them. They sat in a sea of squishy garter stitch, all bunched up and uptight and heavy. So I ripped it all out:
  
After

Monday, September 15, 2014

ahh begginings

I've spent the last couple of days warping my loom for my next project, which is going to be table mats. When I wound the warp I was planning to make pillows, as per the Crafty weaving class , but I decided that I didn't really need pillows. Also that the class is hard to navigate, and I'd rather take what I've learnt and make what I want. So here it is, warped up and ready to go. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finally, may I present...




This was a relaxing knit, around and around and around. I may have mentioned how much I love knitting in the round.
 
I'm really happy with the steeks. They were very simple, and have made me feel significantly more confident about adding steeks to my current project.
 
I'm also really happy about how it looks and how it fits Leon.
 
I loved this pattern. It is simple, effective, fun to knit and looks wonderful on my wonderful husband, if I do say so myself.
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn along; the one where everything is ticking along

This week I've been knitting  two things; my mother's noro cardigan is going quite well. The sleeve is looking quite sleeve like and I love the ways the colours are going. My cowl is also going quite nicely, except for the leeeetle error that I wrote about yesterday but i'm okay with owning the mistake, and I think it looks quite nice either way.


 

I'm reading Busting Vegas, which bills itself as "A True Story of Monumental Excess, Sex, Love, Violence, and Beating the Odds" which is quite melodramatic. The book isn't really that dramatic and reminds me a little of the move 21.

I'm just about finished listening to Moving Pictures. It didn't grow on me, I generally found the characters cardboard and not particularly memorable, but it was worth listening to just for the talking dogs.

And that's me done for another week. As usual I'm doing Yarn-along with Ginny. Pop over to her blog to check out what she, and the other yarn along peeps are knitting and reading this week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This might be why I shouldn't cast on at the pub

I fell in love with the Millwater cowl because of it's elegant, slinky cables. When I knit them up they were more short, cute and stumpy. I thought maybe my gauge was off, but I measured it and it was spot on. Then I looked at the pattern again and realised I've misread it. I'm doing the cable crosses twice as often as I should. I've used exactly half the yarn, and am tossing up between ripping it back or keeping going exactly as I am been but I am leaning towards knitting the second half as per the pattern, so when doubled up around my neck I will get both effects. Or maybe that will look ridiculous, I don't know. What do you think?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Look what I made

Fabric! This is my first fabric off the weaving loom. I'm pretty happy with it. It's made from handspun, both warp and weft and I definitely enjoyed weaving with my handspun more than I like knitting with it. I'm hoping to make a Doni's Deli Bag  The way the fabric evolves from quite loose to dense might make this look a bit odd, but it's what I had in mind when I wove it  so I'm likely to go ahead. The fabric also came out a little narrower than I thought it would, due to a basic counting error on my part. I also have to actually sew by handknit hand woven fabric, which takes a bit of courage for a reluctant sewer like I am. I haven't decided if I should pull out the old sewing machine, or just hand stitch it. For the moment though, I'm happy to keep running it through my hands, feeling clever and saying to myself, Wow, fabric.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Imitation Cowl

Imitation is the sincerest form of strategy, right? Well, I hope so because a couple of months ago Louisa  came to Richmond Knitters wearing the most incredible cowl . I hadn't seen it around, but it's Millwater  by Beth Kling and I had to make one.
The purple on the bottom is my provisional cast on
 I ordered the Malabrigo when I ordered the yarn for my mother's Noro Cardiagan and I decided to cast it on while I start her jumper, the logic being that this pattern is so simple and easy to memorise that I can knit it in the dark - and did for a while at the movies yesterday. So, that's my plan - knit this cowl when I don't need to concentrate. I's not how I usually do things, but I'm going to keep two things on the needles for the next little bit.


Friday, September 5, 2014

This is how is starts

I started swatching for my mother's cardigan this week. I started with a sleeve , because I need to get used to doing stranded colourwork. I'm making a mix between Kaffe Fassett's Zig Zag cardigan and Elizabeth Zimmermann's Ski Sweater with Colour Patterns. There are a number of things about this project that are starting to worry me. First of all, it's an epic project. A full jumper of colourwork and, compared with all the other knitting techniques I'm inexperienced in this one. Secondly, the pattern has some eight stitch floats, and I was under the impression that colourwork should never have longer than five stitch floats. I thought I was leaving really long floats, but they are not long enough - it's funny but Elizabeth Zimmermann said this would happen! Still it feel good to rise to a challenge, particularly since, when I went to put this on Ravelry I discovered it's my three hundredth project.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yarnalong - the one where I rush

So, this is my super brief contribution to Ginny's Yarnalong. Pop over to her blog and see what everyone else is knitting and reading this week.

I'm reading Angles Ink by Jocelynn Drake. It's urban fantasy and I'm enjoying it. Its the first in a series. I'm not sure how, or why, I've suddenly started all these serieses.

I'm listening to the tenth Discworld novel, Moving Pictures.  It's not my favourite, satire seems to be edging towards parody, and I find this one rather blunt. I think this is where I stopped reading the books when i was younger.

As for knitting, I've been swatching and sewing in ends. I'm about to start the Millwater Cowl. As you can see I haven't even wound the yarn and I'm leaving the house in about 15 minutes, so I'm going to do that now and I'll tell you more about the cowl once I've actually started knitting it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

An Ysolda Knitalong? Yes please

Today, Ysolda announced that she is doing a knitalong / staggered pattern release thing called Knitworthy. It sounds a little like Romi Hill's Great Oddments Knitalong, which is big knitting fun. Now, you know how much I love a knitalong, and the first pattern, which is a slouchy hat, is adorable. So I've signed up. Hopefully some of the other Richmond Knitters will sign up too, and we can all knitalong together. I've queued the hat, but I am about to cast on for an epic project, so it might be a while until I get to it. Still, the excitement of pattern releases every second Monday will add a bit of spice to the start of my weeks. FUN.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The socks that won't go away

Remember when I finished my Hermione's everyday socks and eventually gave them to my father  I handed to him in a zip lock bag as I was leaving a long and rather wine drenched dinner. He asked what they were, I said "a pair of socks" he looked vaguely confused and that, you would expect, would be that. When I went over to my parents place this week, my father said that the socks were too short for him, and that they fit my mother, who was wearing them. This really confused me, mainly because she was wearing the Blackrose socks that I gave her last year. Eventually, after much confusion, we found the new socks in my mother's sock drawer. My mother doesn't want more socks, she usually wears sandals. So now I'm ripping back the toe and reknitting them so they fit him, but I can't say I'm doing it with good grace. Two lessons learnt: Don't hand over unexpected gifts in ziplock bags as you are leaving, and make sure that the socks are long enough if you do.