Monday, June 29, 2015

This is HAPpening next

I  don't really knit triangular shawls for myself because they don't fit into my wardrobe. The small handkerchief styles make me look like I'm wearing a bib, and the large ones don't work with anything I wear. But the other evening I was hanging around my house in a house dress. I was  little bit cold, so I put on my Colour Affection. Then I was doing stuff, so I tied it at the back. And then I immediately wanted a large hap. And by lucky coincidence, Kate Davies has a pattern for one, and I have the yarn for it. I'm knitting it out of Jameson and Smith left over from Ursula, but I'm one colour short, so I'm using some left over sparkly sock yarn, because what could be better than a house hap with bonus sparkles?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Chaper 104 - In which some things work, and some things don't

I made sourdough, and it worked!

So that was good. 

I also finished Leon's jumper and it didn't work.  The back looks nice:

but the front does not. What I did with the front cable at the v-neck just looks terrible now it’s done. It’s a shame, because until I put the neck ribbing on, I thought it looked fine. Also, I knit the sleeves from the top, so, to fix the middle of the front I might have to rip the sleeves, as well as rip the entire front. I have to think about it, and also to consider how to make the front cable work before I start what I think it going to be some serious ripping. Until I decide what to do about it this jumper is going in the naughty corner, and I'm going to go eat a nice sourdough sandwich. 

Friday, June 26, 2015


Warning: this post contains no knitting, but I'm really excited about this so I wanted to share.

Leon and I have always made our own bread. I started making bread in a bread machine my grandmother bought me in 2006, and I did that for quite a few years. Making bread seems easier than buying it from the shops, and I know exactly what's in it. Then, about six months ago, Leon made bread in the oven, and it is actually tastier than the bread machine. Because we do the dough in the Thermomix, the whole process is very easy, and takes two hours, from thinking "I should make bread" to, well this:

What's the next logical step? Growing out own yeast. On Sunday night I started my sourdough starter. The first couple of days nothing much happened. Probably because we're not really heating the house this winter, and the temperature has been hovering around 14 degrees.. So, we popped it in the setup Leon has for brewing. Now I have temperature controlled sourdough starter:

And it really started to go. I'm making my first loaf with it tomorrow. Hopefully my next post will be pictures of succesful bread, made with natural yeast...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I read like Ursula

Welcome to Yarnalong, where I tell you what I am reading, listening to and knitting each week, and then go link up with everyone else, over at Ginny's blog.

This week I've started reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet  by Becky Chamber.  Ursula tweeted that she had really enjoyed this book, and I'm smart enough to follow Ursula's recommendations. In genre apparently its a "space opera" whatever that means. It's cool characters flying around in a slightly rickety spaceship. I'm loving it.

I'm still listening to The Cuckoos Calling, and still loving it. I'm so glad this is a series, and I hope there are lots and lots more written.

And Leon's jumper is still going slowly. It turns out that, while I knew how to do wrap and turn short rows I didn't actually understand them, so I had to rip out the second sleeve cap and start again. Which is fine, I guess. It takes as long as it takes.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Going slowly /slow going

Things have slowed down on Leon's jumper, mainly because I barely knit over the weekend. I'm doing the sleeves topdown, and knitting the sleeve cap felt like it took forever. 

We went out on Saturday night, and I didn't feel like taking a whole jumper with me. Then on Sunday we went to the zoo - it was world giraffe day! 

But really we went to see Obi the new baby hippo - so cute! And again, I didn't want to carry around this huge unfinished jumper. So basically, it's going really slowly because I haven't actually been knitting much. We'll see how this week goes, I've got quite a lot going on, so there might be loads of knitting, or there might be not much at all. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

The joy of making it up myself

The best thing about designing this jumper myself was that I could do things exactly as I like them.And one of the things I like best is knitting in the round. I thought  that might be an issue with the jumper I'm making, because after I swatched I discovered that I wanted cables on a reverse stocking stitch background. I know (from somewhere, although I don't know where, I just know) that its possible to knit reverse stocking stitch inside out in the round: knit all the stitches, and then turn the knitted tube "inside out" to reveal the reverse stocking stitch inside. I didn't know if it would work with cables, but, after thinking about it I couldn't see why not. So I knit the body inside out, cables and all. While I'm sure I didn't invest this, I thought it up myself "unvented" it as Elizabeth Zimmerman might say, and I feel so clever, and also so happy avoiding all that purling, but still getting the same look.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yarnalong - The one where I readalong with Ginny

Last week Ginny, the host of this Yarnalong, mentioned that she was about to start reading Orphan Train. This book has come across my radar a couple of times, so I decided to read along with Ginny. I'm loving this book. I'm about half way through and I can't stop reading it.

I'm listening to The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraight. I've been saving this for a week when i have lots of travel, which is next week. I am loving it as much as I loved the previous book in the series, which is quite a lot.

And finally, I'm still knitting Leon's jumper.  I've divided for the neck, and am just making that middle cable up as I go along, which is both fun and scary.

Make sure you pop over to Ginny's blog to see whether she is enjoying the book as much as I am, and what the other yarnalong people are up to this week

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Chubby puppy?

I went over to Anna's place yesterday to give Sunny her jumper. After we cruelly forced her to stand up from her bed where she was comfortably lying we put it on her and it was too small around the rib cage. 

Anna spent the rest of the evening making fun of Sunny for being chubby, which was kinder of her than making fun of the knitter for getting it wrong. Now I'm off work out how to extend the underbelly band. Poor Sunny, bursting out of her jumper!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Design decisions

So, for those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have seen #stalkerknits. That's when we (or you, if you want to play along) see someone's awesome machine knit jumper, take a sneaky picture, say you are going to design and knit it. On Saturday I say a guy wearing a very simple, but kind of awesome jumper on Chapel Street Windsor. He was on the other side of a six lane road, but I got a very blurry photo. Which I am not going to put on the internet right now, because it seems a bit disrespectful. Also because originally I edited the photo to remove his face, but what I actually did was move his face off to the right, and it was just floating in the air, not connected to anything. I clearly need to work on my photo editing skills.

So, I knit the biggest swatch I have ever knit, with some cable choices and now I am counting stitches, doing maths, and making decisions about how I want this jumper to come together. It's more challenging than just buying a pattern. Right now it also feels like more fun.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yarnalong - the one with old and new

It's Wednesday, and that means it's time to join Ginny in chatting about what we are knitting and reading this week. Pop over to her blog to see what she, all all the other participants are up to. 

As you can see from the picture, I have new headphones! I'm really excited about them, because I spend a lot of time listening to books and podcasts. I do this while I'm knitting, but also for my required daily stretch. These headphones are Bluetooth, which means - no wires. I love them. I bought this cheap pair, but the sound quality is fine and  so far I'm loving them. I was worried about how long the batteries would last, but so far they seem fine.

So, to the matter at hand. I've been knitting on my sock yarn blanket. remember my sock yarn blanket? Of course you don't. I haven't blogged about it since 2013. I was in between projects, so I pulled it out and got a few more squares done. Here's how it looks now:

I'm reading The Shepherds Life by James Redbanks. It's the life story of a sheep farmer in the Lake District. I follow him on Twitter, and the book really fleshes out what it means to be this type of farmer and to live this kind of life.

I'm listening to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Its a decent book, but it jumps around a lot and I'm struggling to settle into it. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

And another thing I finished

I don't know what's going on with the finishing things that I failed to tell you I was starting, but that seems to be a thing right now.
Over the long weekend I knit myself another Kate Davies hat, this time Snawheid. You may ask why, since I just finished one that I love (epostrophheid) We are having a particularly cold start to winter and I wanted a hat to wear under my helmet and at crossfit, so something a bit thinner and more close fitting.

And here it is:
 As always, Kate Davies obsessive attention to detail leads to stunning, meticulous designs. Looks at the decreases on the top of this hat:
Tell me you could wack a great big pom-pom on top of that incredible colourwork detailing?

I love it. I used Jameson and Smith for the background, and Little Dipper yarns for the colour work. I can't get over how vibrant and lovely that colour is.

The main noteworthy thing about this pattern is that I knit it straight from my tablet, because i forgot to print it. And I didn't love doing that. I want to be part of the digital revolution, but I found it cumbersome and annoying. Even though the tablet it exactly the size of an A4 piece of paper, it just seemed to be in the way,and the size of the chart kept changing and when I moved my (electronic) marker up I seemed to accidentally turn the page more often than not. Leon did not approve of my plan to just stick a post it note on the screen, but I feel like that would have been easier. so, for the moment, I'll keep my old fashioned method of printing patterns out.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I finished something else

A couple of weeks ago Elise mentioned that her mother would love  hot water cover. Now I don't normally knit things for the friends / relatives / associates of my knitworthy peeps, but I grew up with Elise. Her mother showed me how to crotchet, and I've knit something for every other member of Elise's family. Except her dad, not I think of it. So the othre day I went to Ballarat for work and whipped up a this cover.

 It's based on "All you need" which is a pattern I have made before. I customised it with colourwork, both because I am loving all things colour work, and I thought a touch of designing would be good for me. And I learnt many things, including that I didn't do the maths very well, and the tips of my triangles have two stitches, so they are not as sharp as I expected. Still I'm happy with how it looks and feels and fits.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Another finished object

I got behind on taking and putting up photos, I'm not really sure how. Anyway, here is my Good Beer Week Vest,
I was about to proudly write that I knit it exactly as the pattern was written, but then I remembered that I didn't. I knit it is the round, up to the underarm. Even in this wonderful stitch pattern, which is basically ribbing on the reverse side, it was much easier when knitting in the round. It's such a stretchy pattern that, if I were to knit it again I would consider going down to the smallest size, even though that is significantly smaller than I am.

All in all , it was an enjoyable, interesting enough but not requiring too much concentration, way to keep my hands busy during Good Beer Week.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I need to make decisions about everything

I nearly didn't do yarnalong this week. Not because I'm out of love with it (or Ginny and everyone else, do pop along and check them out) but because everything is rather up in the air for my knitting, reading and listening.

Lets start with the  knitting: I'm still knitting Thalia - (of course i am, I only started it on Sunday) but I'm not enjoying it. Despite it's similarities the the scarf I made for Elise, I'm really not getting into it. The pattern just doesn't seem to have much flow for me, and I'm not feeling the love. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it.

Now on to reading: I'm not reading anything. That's not as terrible as it sounds. I finished The Martian a couple of days ago. I wouldn't say I loved it, but I couldn't stop reading it, just couldn't put it down. Then I read the next in my favorite trashy series the Reed Brothers series, Finally Finding Faith, which I loved, but it was more a short story than a novel. And now I'm deciding what to read next. I'm taking a four day weekend, so I really want something nice, but not too light. Decisions, decisions.

And finally I'm listening to  What if  by Randall Munro (who writes XKCD). 
It's subtitled "Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" and that's exactly what it is. My problem is that I just don't care if a submarine could survive in space or we could blow up a volcano or whatever. The hypothetical questions are too absurd for me to care. It's like a really weak episode of Radiolab. Which is what I have mainly been doing with my listening time. I'm deciding whether I should just abandon and listen to something I'll actually enjoy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm not at all sure this is what she had in mind

My friend Tara has been (nicley) asked me to knit her a scarf for a while. She is, I think, knitworthy and has certainly spent enough time sitting around with me while I knit to deserve a project. I really wanted to knit her Stephen West’s Unicorn Parallelogram but she thought that was a bit much. Me too, that’s why I wanted to knit it for someone else! So, I sent her some options and she elected Romi Hill’s Thaleia. Two problems with this: it’s only a metre long and it’s quite wide. It’s the same construction as the scarf I recently knit for Elise, but wider. Just like for Elise’s it needs to be longer, and so is more than a one skein  project.

 I didn’t have any more Wollmeise in the stash, and at the recent yarn sale I couldn’t find anything I wanted in the prescribed fingering weight yarn. So I bought laceweight and I’m going down a few needle sizes. I figure this will make it a bit narrower. So that’s all good.  The only issue is I think Tara is imagining a scarf, in the more traditional sense, rather than a beautiful froth of camel and silk, which is what I think this is going to become.