Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bag, socks and some lace.

Ages ago I got some Cascade 220 and a Noni Bag pattern from First4Yarns in Wales. I made a flower and felted it but then laid the project aside. Having spent two days this week waiting in the Orthodontist's surgery(don't ask), I decided it was time to get on with the bag because it's nice, mindless knitting. (Incidentally, there was another woman waiting who was also knitting - proof, it it were needed, that I am not that salmon swimming the wrong way down the one-way street.)

I finished knitting the bag and it looks big enough to be used in the sack race - let's hope the felting shrivels (technical term) it to a more suitable size.

It's also very green, more green than I remember:

The flowers are even pinker than they were:

Felting the flower hasn't really toned it down much:

What was I thinking?

My original reading of the pattern had me making nine flowers, on closer inspection I discovered that I had to make "5 9-petal flowers", so that was a stroke of luck. All the knitting is now done and I'm doing some deep breathing exercises to prepare me for the felting. I have a front-loading washing machine (as most Brits do, I think) so earnest advice to "check the item every five minutes or so" is completely useless. I have to run it through the hottest wash and hope I don't end up with a bag for Barbie. It's a very stressful time.

I think I'm turning into a clever clogs. Or, to be more accurate, a clever socks.

Remember I made the Monkey socks? Well, I bought some beautiful Araucania sock yarn in autumn colours the other day and wanted a pattern to reflect the colourway. When I saw the travelling vine pattern in James Norbury's "Traditional Knitting Patterns" I realised it was just the thing. The drawback was that the pattern isn't charted and it's written for knitting flat. I had to chart the pattern and adapt it for knitting in the round. By this time, I was quite exhausted and the idea of designing a sock from scratch was a little daunting, so I didn't do it. The pattern repeat is eight stitches and it just so happens that the pattern used in the Monkey sock is a sixteen stitch repeat. I cheated. I just plugged the travelling vine pattern into the Monkey shape.

So far, I think they are looking good.

My next area of concern is that I might have made the leg too long and will find myself running out of yarn before I'm finished. Next time, I need to adapt the pattern for toe-up knitting, though I'm sure someone has already done it.

There has also been lace. I have started the Spring Shawl Surprice (sic). I'm not giving a link to the Yahoo group because I believe membership is now closed (so, too late, you missed the boat). I don't usually like mystery KALs - why would I want to invest time, effort and funds into knitting something that may well turn out to be nothing more than a glorified dish rag? (or not, of course - we could have the next Herbert Niebling lurking in our midst.) Anyway, I sometimes sign up for mystery KALs and wait until all the clues have been published and I've seen some pictures of WIPs before I commit myself. This one was different. As soon as I saw the first clue I just knew it was going to be a beautiful design. So far I have almost completed clue one:

I'm using some Patons 2-ply baby yarn, 100% wool in white. I'm probably going to dye the thing later, though I'm not quite sure what colour yet. Maybe a green. (Possibly not such a loud green as the Noni bag...)

Oh, and my latest acquisition?

A Brother knitting machine, courtesy of one of our customers, who ran the Christmas Bazaar and had this left at the end. She even delivered it to me at work. I was so excited I wanted to run straight home and get on with it. Everything is there: the table, the garter carriage, the lace carriage, the colour thingie (technical term), another bit of kit for drafting out your own patterns, a ball winder (almost the best bit since mine went down a black hole years ago and has yet to re-appear - bet it does next week, though.) The instruction book is somewhat cryptic and the learning curve is steep. I've managed to knit a few swatches but no actual items yet. I'm thinking about trying to find a class and taking a few lessons. We shall see.

I'd better get on - I'm so glad I've got some lace back on the needles - I thought my motivation would never come back.


steel breeze said...

Oh, cool, a knitting machine! they are great fun once you get past the learning curve. I have two Brothers, they are very sturdy!

Funnily enough I am running an MK workshop on saturday at Crafty Cottage, Warwick - well, I will if anyone turns up! I think it's about £10 but I'm not sure!

Either way, if you get stuck, give me a shout, I am in Rugby, so not too far from you!

Plus, look out for - loads of links to free MK patterns! :)



steel breeze said...

Oh, forgot to add, there are quite a few yahoo groups for machine knitters, knittingmachines and newbritknits are probably the best to start with. Lots of info and nice folk on there!

Have fun with your new toy!

allisonmariecat said...

I'm glad to see you knitting lace again. I always enjoy your lace projects, especially when I haven't the time to do my own.

My, that bag is...vivid, isn't it? I showed Lilah the picture and she reached for it, smiling. The brighter the better, for her! Isn't it funny how our tastes change?

TutleyMutley said...

Your lace is beautiful.

Machine Knitting is a very different craft - I have a Toyota, which I'm just about to sell. I used to knit a lot of fairisle (with shetland 2ply) on it. But I just haven't the time (or the inclination) any more. Good luck!

knittyvritti said...

Oh, a knitting machine. Check out the machine knitting group on ravelry, and say hello to my sis, High Test, a frequent poster. People are very helpful over there and they've got sme great resources. You can also see what High Test has been up to at my blog..