Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another FO

Here's the little jacket/bolero thingie, finally finished. It started life as a moss stitch cardigan (what was I thinking??) and ended up being this. I definitely prefer this incarnation. It's a bit chilly round the mid-section at the moment but it certainly won't be as the year wears on. The pattern calls for a large button at the neck. I don't happen to have a large button at hand right now, so have used a hair slide. Any suggestions as to large button suppliers, preferably in the UK, would be welcome, although I expect the hair slide will become a permanent fixture.

Read the full story on the FO2007 blog. (and thanks to Marie for helping me out with a technical hitch.)

Many thanks to Ginny for her comment about the shawl percentage calculator - that's a really useful thing to have.

A small amount of progress has been made on the Romance Shawl - I have started Cupid's Arrows. I still haven't decided whether to dye the body of the shawl or not. Anybody have any experience in this area?

Time to go and put a few more books into that Library Thing, I think.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Getting over the finishing line

is just so hard to do.

Ages ago, I made a jacket thingie (technical term) using Colinette "Giotto" in the Sahara colourway. I really wasn't happy with the way it turned out - it was just far too floppy (technical term). The fabric had no body and consequently the whole garment was totally shapeless. It was thrust to the back of the cupboard and left there.

When I came across it again I thought I'd better rip it out and start again. I used to shudder and cringe at the thought of ripping out a whole garment. No longer. I was never going to wear the thing and actually, it's the knitting that counts. If I were stuck on a desert island, I'd rip back my jumper and knit it again (and again, and again).

What to make with the re-cycled yarn? A little jacket, pattern for which was in an Italian knitting magazine. This used a different ribbon yarn (now discontinued) but I thought I could get away with using the Giotto. The yarn needs to be used double and that also helps with the terrible difference in dye lots that is characteristic (or so I've found) of Colinette yarns. It is also knitted in a cross-over pattern, which also helps.

Here's a close-up of the pattern:

The fabric, as you can imagine, has the body of Mr Universe.

I've finished the knitting and all that remains in the putting together.

I joined the shoulder seams:

The next thing to do is attach the sleeves. It's quite tricky - I started and it looked dreadful, so that was pulled out. I'm paralysed at the moment. I'm hoping to have another go later on today.

I took up the Romance Shawl (from Fiddlesticks) again. I'd sort-of-started, using some white 2-ply baby wool, just to see how the pattern would turn out. It turned out rather nice and when I found it again, I decided to continue with it. This is in spite of the fact that the shawl requires two colours (there is a ingenious double hem, which uses a second colour). I haven't decided yet if I will leave the body of the shawl white and use some yarn from stash for the contrast, or it I will dye the shawl one colour and a skein of the same yarn in a contrast colour. This will partly depend on how much yarn I have to play with. I started with seven balls of white yarn. I've knitted 145 rows - which means I'm almost ready to start the "Cupid's Arrows" bit, but as the shawl starts with two stitches at the centre back and has four increases per row, it's very difficult (at least for me) to assess how far I've got and how much I've got left. I'm sure some maths wizard somewhere could do an elaborate sum and work out the percentage done, the amount of yarn used, the number of stitches knitted and all the rest of it. Good luck to them. I'll just carry on knitting until I run out of yarn and cross the "I'm going to run out of yarn" bridge when I get to it.

Here's a picture of progress so far (as best as I get given the scrunched up (technical term) nature of lace knitting in general, and this lot in particular:

I took up Marie's suggestion of using a kilt pin to fasten the Kimono Jacket - works brilliantly, thanks for that. I wanted to embellish the pin with beads but will have to fabricate some way of doing that because, of course, you can't just put beads on there - it's a closed circuit, so to speak.

I also found Library Thing and I think I've gone to heaven. I have entered some of my knitting books and the rest will follow shortly. I love it. There will be links and stuff in the sidebar when I get my head round it - in the meantime, pop over there and have a look. It's wonderful.

Saturday Field includes one of the horses (I knew you'd be excited):

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


As I slowly return to what passes for reality in these parts, I've been on a finishing spree.

I am notoriously bad at finishing projects, particularly when they involve the sewing of seams; the setting in of sleeves or the turning back of hems. This partly explains my love of shawls, wraps, capelets and so on - as those who have been following have heard me say many times - "It doesn't have to fit." In my debilitated state, I really am only just getting back into knitting mode (three attempts at knitting a square of "Herringbone Twists", three goes at "Dotted Triple Slip" stitch and three at "Staggered Brioche Rib" revealed the true state of my brain - "Absent".) I thought a quick bit of finishing might fit the bill.

I had a few adventures with the Japanese Kimono Jacket from Vivian Hoxbro's "Shadow Knitting". Naturally, I did not use the Harrisville yarn recommended in the book but found a suitable alternative in Rowan's Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply. I bought the yarn last January and started the jacket in March. What with one thing and another (six blue wraps might have had something to do with it) I didn't pick it up again until this January (and feeling slightly wobbly, at that). It wasn't long before I realised that I was going to run out of yarn; it seemed like only a split second before I realised that Rowan have discontinued it. Panic phone calls to Nicky at Shipston Needlecraft revealed none of the right colours there. The day was saved by Colourway, which Nicky put me on to. They specialize in discontinued lines and just happened to have a few balls of the relevant colours on hand. The yarn arrived in very short order and I was astonished to see that the dye lots matched! I hadn't even checked that, thinking that the nature of the pattern would even out any slight irregularities.

Knitting over, I embarked on the finishing. Grafting together the centre back seam was an endurance test:

I don't think it looks too bad (even though it took me two episodes of "Desperate Housewives" to do it).

Here's the front:

Slightly wonky (technical term) on the fastening, I'm afraid. My stylist (#1 daughter) was so busy wielding the camera that she failed to notice I had done the equivalent of fastening the top button in the second button hole - be assured the fronts really are the same length and match perfectly if you do it right.

There are, in fact, no buttons. The jacket is fastened with a "brooch, pin or short knitting needle" (or in this case, a hat pin):

I'm going to have to come up with another solution, though - the hat pin keeps falling out. Any suggestions?

While all that was going on, I thought I might use up a bit of stash, so quickly made this:

The Charlotte Wrap from Rowan Magazine #38. Three balls Rowan Ribbon Twist, 12mm needles (amazingly, for me, the ones recommended in the pattern!). Took about three hours. Another reason I like knitting lace - much more bang for your buck. Months of fun to be had with a cone of skinny yarn and some skinny needles. Big, fat yarn + big, fat needles = all the fun's over in no time.

And as if that weren't enough - a scarf for #1 son:

Red ACK-rylic, black eyelash, his own design.

That's the lot for now, although there is another project in the last stages (setting in of sleeves - Aggh!), and one in the very early stages of simply floating about in my fevered brain.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"The Best Laid Schemes

'o mice an' men gang aft agley" to quote Robbie Burns. The rough translation might be: "You can't always get what you want."

No sooner had I promised to blog more but I was struck down by some sort of fearful illness, causing me to lose the first week of January completely. (I do mean completely - I can remember toasting the New Year with 'im indoors - he had a glass of whiskey, I had a Lemsip, and after that I remember nothing until the 7th of January.) As an illustration of how bad I was, I spent ten days in bed and was not able to knit at all. Not one stitch. I tried a few rows of garter stitch but simply couldn't concentrate.

That wouldn't give a lot to blog about, would it?

Well, just before I was so cruelly felled by Mother Nature, I was playing about with beads and wire.

I made this:

wire and bead necklace

The pattern is by Annie Modesitt and appeared in "Interweave Knits" a few years ago. Naturally enough, I didn't have the right gauge wire (mine was a bit too thick) and I had to use a bit of Kimono Ribbon instead of the yarn she suggests but I think it looks quite pretty.

Here's a close up of the beads:

beads close up

What can I say? They're beads.

As I gradually returned to reality, I thought of something to make with the angora that Lixie sent me.

These dinky little wrist-warmers, which used just the right amount of yarn.

asymmetrical wrist warmer

The pattern is from Knit Pixie and can be found here. Of course, the tension is nowhere near the same, so in order to save myself the angst of doing the sums, I knitted one wrist warmer in a yarn with the correct tension and used that as a template against which to measure the "real" wrist warmers.

Since I am almost back to normal, there has been other knitting, too. It's been a "feast of finishing", but more about that another day.

I leave you with the Saturday Back Field (on Saturday, for a change.)