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Things I've lost (part two)

Three years ago, as part of Kate Davies' Inspired by Islay, I made a pair of house socks called Baffies. These were orange and white, and I found I wore them all the time in the house. So comfortable. After we moved, I could only find one of them and eventually I threw that out, because I try to only keep things I love, need or use around. And then, as part of the great clear out of 2018, while going through one of my clothes drawers, I FOUND THE OTHER ONE. Still, I only had one, since I threw out the first one.


 It's the middle of winter now, and cold and I really missed those little slippers. After I finished the hot water bottle cover I moved straight on to a replacement pair. They took me a weekend of knitting, and have barely come off my feet since. And I match my homewares, which is an important factor in making colour choices, right? 




Gloamin-Tide - the swatching post

I wound the yarn and swatched as per instructions for the Gloamin-Tide mkal.
I quite like the way it came out, although the top two colours look really close. Also, this photo makes them look kind of green, and in other lights they look more yellow. 
I was lazy and used the easiest cast off, which was way too tight. I swatched on 3.25mm metal needles and am getting slightly too large a gauge. i love the fabric, so I think I'll switch to wooden needles for the actual knitting and call it good.
=The first clue comes out on Monday (actually Tuesday 2am in Melbourne), and I can hardly wait. in the meantime though, I'm planning to KNIT ALL THE (other) THINGS. I think this mkal will take about 4 knitting days each week, which leaves me a little time to work on other things. I swatched  for Carbeth as well - and when I say swatched I mean cast on a sleeve, magic looped 5 rows, decided it was enough for me to know what needle size I need and went and bought DPNs in 5.5 and 6mm. I really …

Carbeth - I finally gave in to it

Back in February, Mason Dixon Knitting did the "Bang Out A Carbeth" knitalong. I nearly knit one in the few days between when Ifinished my set for Scotland and when we flew out, after I realised I wouldn't have time to do the Cairraig Fhadah then. But I decided not to put myself under that sort of pressure.  I also wondered how useful sure a warm thick jumper would be in Melbourne.

Then I saw Kat's, in our cosy Edinburgh Air B'NB. She was curled up in a chair, wearing tartan PJ bottoms, Carbeth, sipping a hot drink and knitting. I've never seen an image that is so snug and lovely. 

The idea of knitting one simmered away, and then I found the perfect yarn on the KnitPicks site. Not only was it exactly what I wanted, it was also pretty cheap. So I bought it.

It arrived today. I won't be casting on immediately, but it is pretty near the top of my queue. Winter has arrived here, and i want to be the one curled up in a chair, wearing my cosy Carbeth and drinking …

Gauge matters

I was knitting away on my replacement hot water bottle cover, and it looked a little bit too big. I had gone down a needle size from the pattern, so I figured it would magically sort itself out. When I finished, it was still too big. Probably because my gauge - counted at the end of the project, rather than the beginning - was 22 stitches/10cm. The pattern gauge was 25 stitches.

It would do the job, but I thought it would be nicer if it fit. I tried had felting it, which didn't work, so I bunged the cover, with the bottle inside, into the washing machine for a 60 degree wash. It worked.


It is perfectly felted on to the bottle. I can't get it off, but why would I want to? If it needs washing, I'll just wash the whole lot together. So, while it was a basically successful project, its a good reminder that gauge matters, and if you think something is off, don't wait until the END of the project to work it out.

Carraig Fhada - finished

I finished the vest on Tuesday, blocked it and wore it on Thursday. We saw Puffs (a Harry Potter play, with the premise of  what were the Hufflepuffs up to while all the stuff that went on in the books was happening. Brilliant) and took the opportunity to get some photos.


I really like how this came out. It's deliberately a little bit looser than my other vests, I'm currently going through a positive ease stage in my life. 

The Kate Davies pattern was typically brilliant, easy to knit but still interesting. The only mod I did was to lower the neckline by starting it when I started the underarms. All in all a very happy making project.



Things I've lost (part 1)

Winter has arrived in Melbourne. I'm having the strangest time, because normally I'm quite sensitive to the cold. this year, everyone around me is saying "it's so cold' I'm I'm saying, "it's fine, why am I wearing so many layers?". 
Despite this, I went looking for my hot water bottle the other night, because sometimes when i get into bed my feet just won't get warm. And it's gone. Hot water bottle, handspun, handknit cover the lot. I know where it should be, and it's just not there. I've got a fairly pared back house, so it's all a bit of a mystery.

Anyway, there is only one thing to be done:

Meet my new hot water bottle. I'm going to make a cover from Buchaille, left over from the vest I've almost finished, and everything will be fine. I'm still really curious as to what could have happened to the old hot water bottle.

I'm also really curious about this:

Maximum temperature 42 degrees! I know it's importan…

Technique Tuesday - FAIL

When I started knitting Carraig Fhada I bragged about how beautiful my tubular cast on was. When I got to the neck, I used the matching tubular cast off. After all, I keep reading about how stretchy it is, and I love the look of it.

It's a bit of a pain to work, 4 rows of slipping stitches, then dividing the stitches onto two needles and kitchenering them, but I kept telling myself that the extra hour or so it took me now would be more than made up for by the joy it would give me.

Once I'd cast it off I tried it on: and the collar cast of was tight and binding. It made the whole vest sit wrongly. Pulling it out was nearly impossible, in the end I had to cut out the cast off. So frustrating when I thought I was being so clever!


And that's another way

I have some lovely sock yarn in my stash that I don't really know what to do with, so when The Monster Socks Group on Ravelry announced they were doing a mini skein swap, I jumped in. I'm doing a double batch, so 18 mini skeins, because it works out the same for postage.
I'm very exited - the idea of sending out yarn and getting lots of other skeins back just seems like magic.

And look how cute the mini skeins are:




Well, that's one way to deal with it

I'm strangely concerned with not having anything in my life that I don't use, or am not going to use. Basically I somehow contracted minimilism, and now I just want to get rid of all the things. One of the things that has been bothering me for a while is the laceweight at the bottom of my stash. On Ravelry it looks like this:


But I've used half of each of those skeins, and I have other left-over lace-weight and in real life it looks like this:



So I'm giving the lot to the Op Shop. My local Salvos sells a lot of random yarn, so hopefully someone will enjoy this. I will certainly enjoy having less things in my life.

(And while I'm here, my current stash-count is 15555 metres.)

Yarnlaong - the one where it is June

Funnily enough, this month I'm reading Golden Fool the second book in the Tawny Man trilogy. Last month I was reading the first. I have actually read some other books in between! If youw ant to follow my reading, you can find me on Goodreads as Sharondblk.
I am knitting the Kate Davies vest Carraig Fhada. I've had the yarn for it since the beginning of 2017, and i can't believe it's taken me this long to start it. I'm knitting it in the specified yarn, Kate Davies' Buchaille, and loving it.  It's such a fun knit: beautiful yarn, intuitive pattern with a great rhythm to it.
This weekend is a long weekend here (Queen's Birthday, even though it isn't, biologically speaking, the Queen's birthday)
I am looking forward to going in to the three day weekend with such a compelling book and fun knitting project on the go. There will, of course, also be some running, some socialising and a lot of sleeping, but it's the reading and knitting that I'm lo…

Risking the MKAL

Ysolda announced that she is doing an MKAL, and I am very drawn to participate. I'm not sure why, since usually I ma very controlling about what I knit. Also, there have been some dreadful shawl MKALs, including the Stephen West one that came out looking like lady bits, and What the Fade, which I loved knitting, but is just a giant triangle shawl in brioche and garter. I can only image receiving a  clue every week that says 'keep knitting the same, but in a different colour".
I digress. Having decided that I MUST participate, I very quickly realised I don't have anything even near suitable on hand. Time to buy yarn. It's a three colour shawl, calling for a subtle gradient. I went with Miss Babs, partly because I like her as a dyer, and partly because she has a neat feature on her website where you can compare colours.

And I chose a grellow theme, because I don't have any grellow in my life. I fell in love with the Healing Salt colour and then matched the others …

A beautiful beggining, but will it lead to a square end?

I've flirted with the tubular cast on before - it gives a stunning edge, but can be a pain over a large number of stitches. For the Carraig Fhada vest I wanted to do a cable cast on, and I finally found a fairly easy way to do so over on Craftsy.

The only thing is, the pattern then goes in to twisted rib, but I think the non twisted side looks better so I've flipped the knitting so it flows through nicely. 

The vest is named for the lighthouse at Port Ellen on Islay - the thing is it's a square lighthouse, so I hope it doesn't make me look blocky! We spent 4 nights in a hotel overlooking  Carraig Fhada, watching the lighthouse flash across the bay, and seeing the pictures with this pattern bring back sweet memories. And, if you are wondering when I'm going to stop talking about that holiday, probably about the same time Ifinish knitting all the patterns from Inspired by Islay and The West highland Way.





Socks for Leon

I really struggle to come up with interesting titles posts about socks - because lets face it - their generally pretty standard. These are Arkin by Rachael Coopey. As usual from rachael, as good design, with a bit of interest, in this case reversing cables that run assymetrically down the socks.

The main points of interest: I'm loving the HiyaHiya sharps in 2mm. They make such a nice fabric, but the other day i grabbed the project off the couch while on my way out the door, scratched myself and bled all over the place.
I had to cast the first one on twice, because on the 2mm needles the top edge was a bit tight. For the second I used the crotchet cast on method, and it gives quite a nice edge.

This is the oldest (non laceweight) yarn in my stash. I bought it when I went to sock summit in 2009, dyed it with food colouring and then last year overdyed it. It feels good to clear out the bottom of the stash pile.

So I guess I did have something to say about these!


My favourite things...

One of my favourite quotes from The Minimalists is the answer to the question - What does a minimalist wear? "A minimalist wears their favourite clothes everyday". I try to do this with everything I own, and I try to only own one of everything. I bought a Fringe Field bag nine months ago, and I love it. It's big enough to hold a jumper in progress, small enough for a one skein shawl: 


It is definitely a bit more beaten up that when it was brand new but I think it's aging nicely, with its growing badge collection, water stained leather handle and now softened canvas. It's such a practical bag, and it sparks so much joy in me.

Thanks for the thanks!

Once of my favourite things is when I knit a baby jumper, and get a photo of the baby, wearing the jumper. You may recall I knit a Wee Envelope for my cousin's baby before I went to Edinburgh. I gave it to my Uncle and Aunt to deliver for me, and basically forgot about it, until she posted this picture on Facebook:

I hadn't really thought of the connection between my grandmother knitting for us, and me knitting for the next generation, but I was very touched that Hannah did. Also, how cute is that baby?

And then, after I wrote this, before I posted it, I got this pic from friends who recently had their second baby. They reused the jumper I gave them for their first baby, and sent pictures. How knitworthy are they? 




Good beer week sneaker liners

After I finished Boxythere were still two days of Good Beer Week left. I was home sick on Friday - nothing to do with the week, there is a horrible cold going around, so I cast on a pair of sneaker liners, using left over Mothy and The Squid yarn.
I just love these colours, and there is plenty more yarn left over from my What the Fade shawl.I did a basic sock, with a Fish Lips Kiss heel. All very simple. I cast on on Friday, and between the sick day and Saturday's beer festival I had them finished by Saturday night. I was tempted to immediately cast on a pair with the colours reversed, but I resisted that thought, at least for the moment.

Good beer week and Boxy complete

It's Sunday, and that means good beer week is over. We had a great time, culminating as we usually do with the GABS Saturday afternoon session. I did get a lot of knitting done during the week, and finished my Boxy on Thursday - which just gave me enough time to block it and wear it to GABS. And what better place to take photos than the stunning Royal Exhibition Building. 

I made the sleeves full length which, looking at these photos, may have been rather pointless, because in most, although not all, these photos I've pushed the sleeves up. Other than that I knit it exactly as the pattern suggested. 


The shape is very different from anything I've worn before, but I love it. It's really comfortable, and wearable, and - I think - flattering.

Considering how much yarn it used - 330 grams of sock yarn, I was very surprised to  finish it in 15 days. They were good days, full of friends and beer and such pleasant knitting.


Rapid progress

It's been a good week so far! Our good beer week started with an event where we couldn't find chairs when we walked in. that was fine, I found a ledge I could put my drink on so that my hands were free for knitting. As I was setting up, and Leon was at the bar, a girl said to me "do you want these two stools, we don't needs them". "Well" I replied "They'll be too high for our ledge here". "Or just come and sit with us" she said, and we did, leading to a really fun evening of talking and drinking and knitting. Beer people (much like knitting people) are good people.

Progress on my Boxy has been quite ridiculously fast. I'm joining the shoulders tonight - so excited, after that it's the collar and I'll be able to try it on and get an idea about how it will actually look.It's big on Skip a man who is somewhat larger than I am, so it's all a bit interesting right now. I'm since the sleeves start at the elbow, I…

Good beer week 2018

Good Beer Week is always a ton of fun around here. We call it "Leon's Christmas" although it's 10 days, not the traditional 12. Seeing friends, drinking craft beers, dinners out, lots of time in pubs, loads of time for knitting. I always make sure I have something simple to knit - there is lots of knitting time, but no guarantee of good lighting, or a seat, or complete sobriety. In the past I've knit socks, shawls, anything simple really. This year I decided it was the perfect opportunity to finally knit Boxy.

It uses 1300 meters of sock yarn, so, when I finished Leon's winter set with a week to go before Good Beer Week I figured I may as well start. after all, this has to be at least a month of knitting, right?


Well, despite the rather large stitch count, this knits up really fast.I'm more than halfway through the body at the beginning of Good Beer Week. It's possible (not likely, but possible) that I will be able to finish this, and wear it to GABS ne…

Strathendrik swatch

I told you about getting the yarn for Kate Davies Strathendrik. It's currently 6th in my queue, a queue that includes Boxy, and a colourwork vest:



So I don't really need to worry about it just yet. But I was. Normally when I'm choosing colourwork colours I take a while. I might discuss it with friends, play around, consider for quite some time.

Not this time. With the help of Tiina from Tukuwool it was done and dusted in 5 minutes flat.

And then I worried about it. Kate Davies' version is on a light background, with contrasting sleeves and trim, and that's how everyone on Ravelry has knitted it too.



I decided to do mine with a dark background, and use the same colour for the sleeves. And I worried about it.
So I wound my wool and did a one repeat swatch, just to see what the colours look like: 
And I like them. The only one I'm not one hundred percent about is the yellow, but I also think it gives a nice pop of colour, so I will probably leave it. Now I'm putting…

An ongoing duty of care?

My mother showed up for dinner last Friday with two jumpers, one being Bright Enough? which I knit for her in 2014, and the other being this:

A colourwork jumper knit flat for my father by my mother in the early '80s. 

Look at the finishing on that collar. Inspirational. 
My mother allegedly wanted to see if we could match the yarn with anything from my stash. For my fathers jumper, nothing even close. For the hole in her cuff:

I still have some of the original yarn. When I told her I'd hang on to the cardigan and reknit the cuff, she seemed surprised. Like we were going to darn it, when I can rip it back and back it as good as new!

Or, unfortunately, better than new, because the cuff that's been worn for four years is darker. Getting the cuff ripped back took about 45 minutes, it's a bit felted and dense. Still, it was worth doing properly, now I can send my mother out into the world, knowing she's looking her best, and representing my knitting well!