Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where things are going okay

Things are ticking along nicely in my part of the world. I'm knitting a Romi Hill scarf for Elise, which is timely, since she's having  a little operation tomorrow, and I'm driving her to and from the hospital. There will be lots of hanging around time in between for me to work on the scarf, and put my good thoughts and love into each stitch.

The Passage was brilliant and creepy and very full on. After I finished it I decided I needed something light and easy that won't break my heart, so I'm reading the next Rachael Herron Cypress Hollow novel. It's called Wishes and Stitches in the US and Naomi's Wish here. The American name is so much more evocative! Anyway, it's exactly as expected, which is lovely.

I'm still listening to Bill Bryson's At Home. It's fine, some of it is a bit boring to me, but they he will talk about something I have more interest it. Like rats - turns out I find buildings boring, but the history of rats was fascinating.

And that's what I'm reading, knitting and listening to this week. Pop over to Ginny's blog to find out what she, and the other yarnalong people are up to this week.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Some pictures don't show what I was trying to show

I went to take pictures of the latest pair of socks I finished for Leon (Gaspode, by Rachel Coopey, for those following along at home). Now, taking pictures is often a struggle for me, but its a pair of socks, and I couldn't be bothered following the rules of good picture taking - go outside, make it interesting, whatever. I decided to take some happy snaps in the living room.  

Tarragon loved the idea, and decided to be in all the photos.
I found these socks a little frustrating to knit. they were simple, but have a different pattern on the front and back of the leg, and I found it interrupted the natural rhythm of the knitting.  

I really liked the yarn / pattern combination. I've had the yarn in stash since before I started blogging, and was excited to take from the bottom of the pile.  I thought Leon would be happy with it - it's all his colours (being dark brown, grey, hunter green, blue). It turns out that Leon likes all these colours - but not together. Lesson learnt. And I'll leave you with the final picture of Leon's socks. If Tarragon was transparent you would be able to see them

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ursula - finished and happy


And the title says it all! Here's some more photos:







It was a surprisingly fun knit. I never got over the enjoyment of it. My row gauge was out, so I left one pattern repeat off the body and one off the bodice.

I reused the buttons from Versatility. It was noteworthy at the time that for that project, I spent more on the buttons than on the yarn! Rookie error, the acrylic wasn't very nice, but six years on I still love these buttons.

I loved knitting with the Jameson's and Smith yarn, and intend to use it again. I'm already wondering what colours would work well for a Steveson Sweater.

I'm quite happy with the fit. Based on my swatch I thought it might be a smidge tight, but it came out just right! Gauge lies people, but in this case its lies worked out for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I am still sick

Welcome to this week's yarnalong, with Ginny from Small things. Don't forget to pop over to her blog to see what she, and the other yarnalong peeps, are up to this week.

I'm still reading The Passage. It's still super creepy, but now it had knitting! This isn't a spoiler - one of the characters gets pregnant, and she's not too happy about it. She then decides to learn to knit, and sits around struggling with baby booties. It's stereotypical "expectant mothers knit" rubbish, and it doesn't sit well with the rest of the book - in a post apocalyptic world, with a flock of sheep, I'm guessing there would be a lot of knitting and spinning going on. Other than that though, it's a good, if sometimes challenging, read.

I've pretty much finished Ursula, I just need to wait for it to dry and put the snaps and buttons on. I've been told not to go to work tomorrow, because of the coughing, so I guess I'll get back to the socks I put down to knit the cardigan. 

And I'm listening to Bill Bryson read At Home, and enjoying it. It's popularist history, and it's gentle and interesting. I actually hadn't read any Bill Byron before this, for some reason, but this might not be my last listen to one of his books.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Silver Linings

So, on Wednesday I woke up at 5.50 am, sick, coughing, feeling horrible, the lot. This wasn't that much of a surprise, since Leon has been sick all week. I didn't have time to sort anything out though, since I had to be on a 7.05 train to Wangarrata, spreading my germs as widely as possible. On Thursday I went to work for a 9am meeting, knowing I was not going to last much beyond the end of the meeting. I went home around noon, and have left the house twice since - once to go to the doctors, and once to go to Costco.
So, what the good news?


Last week we got Netflix. And, as you all know, I'm knitting a very fun cardigan. So, between watching Firefly (with Leon) and Nashville (when he's been out) I've got about half a sleeve to go. So at least there's that. I'm hoping to actually make it through a work day tomorrow, so I imagine the remaining sleeve will take me a good deal longer than the first one. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

More swatching

The Ursula pattern is well written, but I'm finding it overly prescriptive. I've come to the button bands, and Kate Davies says to pick up 88 stitches. Well, this doesn't work for me, because I made it into a v-neck. And I would always rather a designer write "pick up x stitches for x rows" than prescribe a number of stitches. I did work out that she means pick up 3 stitches for every four rows. But people on Ravelry have used a range of different ratios - 2 in 3, 3 in 4 and even one to one. So I did what Barbara Walker told me to, and put a button band on my swatch:


And what I learnt is that a 3 to 4 ratio seems to work. The only problem is I started casting off with a stretchy cast of (near the top of the photo) and I thought it looked messy, so I switched to a less stretchy one. It looks better, but on my Decimal, the cardigan itself has grown a little over time, but the overly tight cast off could not, so the button band pulls now, although it did not when I finished it.  But I don't think colour work at a dense gauge stretches out like that. Oh, well, I have a rather large number of stitches to pick up and knit before I have to make this decision.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yarn-along - The one where the epic cardigan is not

I was travelling a lot for work this week, so I wanted to have a good audio book. I tried The Gates of Rome and I hated it. It was boring, it was slow and full of pointless details that do not feel historically accurate and the narrator was awful. He said every sentence like it was portentous and the way he did the voices, especially the children's voices, made me wonder if he has ever heard a child speak. I gave up after an hour. Instead I listened to Robert Galbrieth (which is a pen same for JK Rowling) The Cuckoo's Calling.  I'm loving it. It's a detective story and it's fun and interesting and the narrator is amazing. He can even do women's voices in a way that doesn't annoy me. I've listening to a remarkable amount of audio in the last two days and I would happily keep listening. I came home today to see what else the narrator, Robert Glenister, has read on Audible, and it turns out he is the narrator for both books! Weird.

I'm reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. It was the oldest book on my kindle, so I decided to take it from the bottom of the pile. I'm loving it, but it is also super creepy and quite long, and I've been distracted by the knitting and audio books.

And that brings me to the knitting. I figured a colour work cardigan with a gauge of 28 stitches / 10 centimetres would take me a while, but this knit has just flown by. I've finished the body, now all I have to do is steek and do the sleeves, which are not colour work. the only problem is I orderered some needles to do the sleeves on, figuring they had plenty of time to get here, but they are not here yet. I hope they arrive before the weekend.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Inspired by ...well, me.

When I looked at the photo I posted of the pile of sock yarn I've had for ages, one thing stood out to me: I was never going to knit that ugly ball of yellowish/beige yarn on top.

I don't even know the name of that colour. So, I decided to overdye it. I wanted a reddish brown, to make Oook Socks, named after an orang-outang. I knew this was going to be a big ask, considering I had red, blue and green dye, but no yellow. So I threw a bunch of colours in. With a bit of tweaking I got this:

Now, it's not the exact colour I was after, but its a good dark brown, nearly black, with just a touch of purple, which I'm looking forward to knitting, and which Leon will love to wear. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taking from the bottom of the pile

When choosing what sock wool to use, or what book to read, I often choose the newest I've bought. After all, I buy a book because I want to read it, so I'll read the most recent book first. I use my Kindle as metaphorical book pile: I only have books on it that I (think) I'm going to read, and as soon as I have finished reading a book I delete it. I currently have twelve books on my Kindle, and am making a conscious effort to read the books that I put on there months ago, rather than the most recent.

And I'm feeling the same about my sock yarn. This is a pile of lovely yarn (with the possible exception of the beige ball on top - I might overdye that) that I've had for over two years. The pretty blue yarn I've had for longer than I've been married.And, even though the yarn is lovely, it's never going to make it's way to the top of the pile if I keep buying more. This isn't about reducing my stash, as such. It's about giving every ball of yarn in it the chance to find it's destiny, rather than languishing in the bottom of my stash box.

 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yarn-along - the one where the epic cardigan begins

Over the Easter long weekend I read the last in the Stage Dive series, Deep. Here’s the cover, which might have been the best part of the book:

 
The first of this romance series was pretty good, but the other three books were basically exactly the same. Also love at first sight that conquers everything. Blurg. I don’t know why I read this type of book, but I keep going back to them anyway.
 
To get the sickly sweet, fake taste of this book out of my mouth I'm reading Little Peach by Peggy Kern, about a 14 year old coerced into prostitution. Quite the contrast! I'm enjoying it, although it is as grim as that description sounds.
 
I'm listening to the last bit of Benjamin Law’s memoir, which is amusing.
 
And I’m knitting Ursula. I started it on Sunday and this is what I have so far:



 Expect to be seeing this for quite some time.
 Make sure you pop over to Ginny’s blog to see what she, and the other Yarn-along peeps are up to this week.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Swatching for the KAL

I can sometimes be a bit cavalier about swatching; cast on a sleeve and see what happens. Because the Ursula cardigan is quite a particular pattern, this wasn't going to work. So, since Kate and I are doing this as a knit-a-long, we sat down and swatched together. This made a task i sometimes find tedious much more fun.

  • I learnt many things from my swatch: 
  • I love the colours for my cardigan. 
  • I love the fabric on 3mm needles.
  •  I'm getting pretty much exactly stitch gauge, possibly one stitch less per 10cm, which is exactly what I wanted.
  •  My row gauge is way out, so I will probably have to do one repeat less of the pattern.
  •  I knit much looser than Kate does.   
That's Kate's tiny looking swatch at the top. Same number of stitches, same size needles. And no, I don't know why they both look blue.

All in all I'm reasonably confident I may get a cardigan that fits me at the end of this, and that's really all anyone can say, since we all know swatches lie. Now, I'm off the cast on for the start of this fairly epic knit.
 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Everything is updated!

This is the last catch up post from when the computer was broken, and then normal service will resume. i can't believe how far behind I got - the computer was only gone for a week, and I still managed to blog from work and my tablet. Anyway, after I show you this baby jumper and some yarn, we'll be all caught up.
The baby jumper is Baby Girl Fair Isle, by Purl Soho, which Kate just knit.
 I like the way it looks and the yarn, Little Dipper, is magnificent. It's an even better colour than it looks here. The fair isle knit flat was actually okay, and I think it will make a lovely gift. I do enjoy knitting baby jumpers in general. they are so fast and so perfect and thing like gauge really don't matter all that much. I was inspired the knit this by Kate, who just made a lovely one.

I also bought some yarn! From Jamieson and Smith  to knit Kate Davies Ursula Cardigan. I'm doing it as a knitalong with Kate. As a joke I told her I was also going to knit the next thing in her queue as well. She looked vaguely horrified.  


Jen helped me choose the colours, and I think they will work very well.




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Yarnalong - The one were the computer is fixed

We got the computer back on Monday, and I've been desperately trying to get the blog and my Ravelry  updated. I'm nearly there.

But this is about what I'm doing right now. I'm reading Jonathan Tropper's The Book of Joe and enjoying it. Tropper's books all seem to focus on relationships, the past, and how we got from her to there. That said, they are all different, and this one is a very satisfactory read.

I knitting socks:  Gaspode the Wonder Dog Socks. They are the next in the Discworld Club Series, and with them I am listening the the 15th Discworld novel; Men at Arms. This is a particularly good pairing because Gaspode appears in this book, and is one of my favourite characters. Who wouldn't love a talking dog? I'm enjoying this book, tinged a little with sadness, since it's the first Discworld I've listened to since Terry Pratchett died.

And that's me for this week. Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what the other yarnalong peeps are knitting and reading this week.