Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Disaster, Darling

Remember the green Kimono Jacket? I took it off the other evening and there it was:


But I have the solution - a little pamphlet by Rena Crockett (who I imagine in the Wild West, planting seeds, raising chickens, making and mending). It's called Flawless Knit Repair and it walks you through the process.

First, remove the stray bits of yarn:

Then pin to a backing fabric:

Unpick carefully, so you have some yarn to weave in at the end.

The yarn will be all kinky (as you see, above), so you can steam it carefully to straighten it.

Stabilize the hole with contrasting sewing thread:

Weave the new yarn (which you have carefully preserved from the time when you knit it in the first place) under and over the sewing thread:

Use a crochet hook to recreat columns of stitches:

Kitchener each stitch to the corresponding loop at the top of the column.

Here we are partway through:

The tension is looking a bit wonky (tt) but it can all be evened out at the end.

This is it at the end:

The only thing left is to close up the slits at each side and weave in the ends.

Weaving in of ends (not one of my favourite pastimes) took ages - there are two strands at each end of every row; there were five rows: twenty ends to weave in.

However, I don't think it looks too shabby:

Yes, I know, some of the stitches in the light yarn should have been purled . While it is possible to do this, and Rena Crockett explains all, I just didn't have the strength to work it out.

I pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

If you ever have a disaster, darling, there's a very good Knitty article you might want to refer to.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Soay Aran

I've finally managed to get started on the man's Soay Aran. It took me quite a while to decide on which cables to use and the exact placement of said cables. I'm basing the jumper on Janet Szabo's "Son of Aran" project. It is made entirely without seams, so right up my street.

Here are the honeycomb cables, which form the centre panel on both back and front:


shows the 14 stitch braided cable, taken from Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting", flanked by two 8 stitch plaits, from the same book. These cables are on either side of the honeycomb panel and also form the shoulder saddles and will continue down the sleeves.

I feel as if I've knitted the whole thing twice over because I have made several mistakes while crossing cables and have had to drop down about three repeats and knit them up again. The moral of this story is to look at your knitting and not go into a trance.

I've also started Ysolda Teague's Vine Yoke Cardigan, which is going to be on display in the shop. We thought the shop might be open next week but, due to one thing and another, it probably won't open until the New Year. This is a good thing, in a way, because it gives me a bit more time to get it finished.

Progress to date:

That's the right front and sleeve.

It's knitted all in one piece (no sewing!) and uses short rows to good effect. Reading various discussions on the pattern, some people say it comes out quite large - mine looks tiny, so let's hope it does grow in length (as the pattern says it will).

Here's the bottom edge:

and this is the yoke:

which looks a little plouffy (technical term). I am hoping that all will become smooth in the blocking. I think the cardie is designed to be worn with negative ease, so it will be blocked on the body, if you follow.

Work on the KnitCamp continues - the class schedule is now available to download and we are slowly getting the tutor pages up. I think it's going to be such fun - and Lixie, it might seem a long way but there may be a coach going from London. Imagine the fun - knitting for hours with lots of other knitters; eating cake; drinking one's chosen beverage. Sounds like bliss to me.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where to start?

The problem with not being quite so diligent as I might be in the posting department is that so much time goes by; so much knitting is done, that I don't know where to start.

Planning for KnitCamp 2010 moves on apace. If you haven't heard about it, pop on over to the website and look at all the delights that are on offer. Ravelry Weekend will take place on 13th - 14th August 2010 and I am in the process of organising a Guinness World Record attempt at "the most number of people knitting simultaneously". The present record is 256 (achieved in Australia earlier this year) - I'm sure we can do better than that!

I've been knitting socks for display in a new yarn shop to be opened shortly - it's not my shop so I don't want to jinx it but I will be working there on one day a week and also teaching some classes and holding "Knitting A & E" once a month. My only fear is that someone will arrive with a project that I can't sort out and the only solution would be frogging - sort of like DOA for knitting.

Memaid sock:

This is from Lucy Neatby's "Cool Socks, Warm Feet", knitted with Trekking on a 2mm Addi. (I don't know why it's so expensive at Amazon - it's on sale in my LYS for about ten quid.)

Here's the heel:

Knitted in garter stitch using short rows it's very easy and neat - the way it turned out two tone was completely by chance. Lucy gives two cuff options - a wavy cuff or a sideways garter stitch cuff. If you choose to make the latter, "there is no need to swatch for this cuff style". Guess which one I chose.

Second sock won't be knitted (but 'im indoors has expressed an interest, so I'll be knitting a pair for him).

The other sock I've made is the Conwy sock from Nancy Bush's "Knitting on the road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter"

It's quite a long sock and so has some very elegant calf shaping. Again, 2mm Addi but I don't know what yarn - some un-named ball of sock stuff (tt).

I've also started the second Soay aran (from the yarn grown about five miles from here). No pictures yet - the yarn is dark, the house is dark, the weather is murky. It's almost impossible to get a decent photograph.

Just because you haven't had one for a while here's the back field about an hour ago:

That's all for now - I'm off to do some knitting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Buying Yarn

In spite of the fact that there is enough yarn in the house to start a modest shop, I just keep on buying it. I do know I'm not the only one with this problem. I try to be good - only buying for specific projects - but I just can't help myself.


is a case in point. Six balls of Rowan Denim Cotton found in the "boutique" for a song. Cotton? You know what I think about cotton (the devil's work) but yet I still bought it. What is wrong with me?

I also bought 400g of Twilley's Freedom Spirit (well, that's what the label on the bag said, as you see, there are no ball bands):

Again, I have no idea why but I quite like the colours, and it's sure to come in for something.
I feel a felted bag coming on.

I got three balls of Stylecraft "Alpine" (98% wool, 2% nylon) because I want to make a scarf of some sort:

To that end I have been trawling Ravelry for free scarf patterns. I think I have it narrowed down to the Dragon Scarf, Krtek or Tree Bark. Any advice?

I told you in the last post that I have acquired three new jobs, all to do with knitting. The first is test knitting/proof-reading baby patterns for a UK-based designer. It's all very hush-hush because the garments/patterns are not yet published, so you won't suddenly be seeing a rash of baby clothes.

The second job is really most exciting. Many of you will know that Jo Watson, who organised the UK Ravelry Day in Coventry in June, is organising UK KnitCamp 2010 at Stirling University next August. Jo has offered me the grand-sounding post of "Operations Manager" and, naturally, I snapped her hand off. I am to be in charge of maintaining class lists; assigning classroom assistants and generally making sure that things run smoothly. The best bit? I'm going to be Nancy Bush's personal assistant. How cool is that?

The third job is a spin-off from the second - I'm helping to moderate the UK Knit Camp group on Ravelry (along with the lovely Pat Ashforth of Woolly Thoughts fame).

One last thing, (this is where we get to the actual knitting part) I made this:

to wear in the run-up to Remembrance Day. I had downloaded the poppy pattern from Knitonthenet (£2 donation to the Poppy Appeal) but then I found this one on the Lion Brand website (you have to register to access the pattern but it is free) and I think I prefer it. 'Im indoors took one look and said, "You can knit me one of those." There are more poppies in my future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Catch up

Yes, she is still here and still knitting.

As some of you may know, September/October is not a great period of the year for me and I just lost my blogging mojo. Many thanks to Susanne for giving me a little nudge in the right direction.

I've been knitting DonnaRocco - a mystery KAL, mainly because it uses up an array of stash.

Here's the edging:

This uses some silk/cotton blend bought in the "boutique" (aka Charity/Thrift shop).

Then you knit a wedge shaped piece of simple faggoting, using short rows for shaping:

This is some slubby stuff (tt) bought on a cone so long ago that it is lost in the mists of time.

Then there are a few rows of stripes:

This bit used up a few different yarns.

Then it comes to the best bit (in my eyes) - the lace:

This is the state of play so far:

The original calls for another wedge shaped piece in order to make the finished item rectangular but I quite like the asymmetrical look of it now, so I might just do a few more stripes and cast off.

I've also been knitting the Every Way Wrap from the Fall IK. I'm using the cone of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran I got at SkipNorth earlier this year:

The garment appears very versatile and there is no shaping or sewing up of any description, so it's right up my street.

It's also nice to practise doing cables without a cable needle. I used these instructions from Grumperina. Most instructions for achieving this manoeuvre simply say to transpose the cable stitches and then knit them. These instructions explain how you can knit half of the cable stitches before you move the stitches. Clear as mud? Go and look at the pictures and all will become clear.

Anyway, we start with rows and rows (and rows) of 2 x 2 rib but once that's out of the way the excitement starts.

There's a moss stitch panel (seen here with a small portion of the dreaded ribbing):

and then there's the cable panel:

Reversible cables, too - very clever.

This is the progress to date:

Actually, I have got a little further than this now. I have completed the sixteen repeats of the cable pattern but find the wrap is not as long as I would like, so I'm working a few more repeats. Did I do a gauge swatch? What do you think?

There is other news - including three new jobs, all to do with knitting; the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally; new books aplenty but it will all have to wait because now I want to go and knit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I know, I know, I haven't posted for a while. I've been spending a few days with Mother (she of the tattoo):

She was a bit miserable and I went to cheer her up. All done now and back at home.

I've been suffering a severe bout of startitis. I spent several days trying to start a new project and getting nowhere. There is quite enough yarn in the house to start any number of new things but the difficulty is to decide exactly which new thing to start.

I didn't feel like socks (having made so many in the recent past); I didn't feel like lace (let's hope that doesn't last long!); I didn't feel like working on any of the numerous FOs lying round the house. I did a few squares on the interminable sock yarn blanket (just over 600 squares now) but nothing really grabbed my attention.

Then I found a facsimile copy of Mrs Beeton's Book of Needlework, originally published in 1870 (when Dickens was busy dying; Lenin was busy being born and Queen Victoria was well settled on her throne). It's available online to download from Project Gutenberg but nothing beats having the thing in your hand.

There are some very interesting patterns in there, among them a "Rosette for Antimacassar". You are meant to make several of these and join them together with small knitted squares, the pattern for which is also given. I took up the needles and this was the result:

It reminds me of a jelly mould, for some reason.

Just for interest, I always thought an antimacassar was a thin fabric laid on the back of a chair to stop macassar oil, used as a gentleman's hair preparation, from soiling the fabric of the chair or sofa. Mrs Beeton's version appears to be more of a blanket or cover of some description, though I have no idea what the original yarn ("grey and violet fleecy wool") would have been like. Mrs B also calls it a "berceaunette cover". Now, I don't really know what that is, but a "berceuse" is a lullaby so I'm guessing a pram cover/cradle cover. Any clues?

Anyway, I made the thing and looked at it and thought, "Well, what am I going to do with that?"

#1 daughter had no such problem. She looked at it; picked it up; put her hand through the hole; waved her arm about and said, "It's a wristwarmer, silly."

It is now:

I picked up stitches around the hole (30, if you are interested) worked a few (16) rounds of 1x1 rib and cast off.

Doesn't it look nice poking out of my sleeve:

All I have to do now is make the other one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is she still knitting socks?

Yes, she is.

I've finished the Spiralling Socks:

and while I think the yarn is perfect for the job, I'm not so enamoured with the actual pattern.

The hunt was therefore on for a toe-up pattern that was a little more roomy than this one.

I liked the look of the Mojo socks but I also liked the look of Judy Gibson's "You're putting me on Socks" with calculations for using two circular needles by Peggy Pignato. (Except I was using magic loop but it's the same principle.)

The socks certainly look a little odd when they aren't on the foot:

but the addition of a gusset certainly helps the fit of them:

They are very comfortable.

There has been a small hiatus in the knitting department. I have had a wobbly tummy (tt). The upside is that I'm slightly thinner than I was (no bad thing - normally when I'm ill I eat like a horse, this time I didn't eat at all). I was so weak I could do nothing but lie on the sofa like the Lady of the Camellias, watch the Tour de France on TV and knit socks. All better now and able to get on with some lace.

As I said, I've begun MMario's "Spanish Armada". I'm on round 87 and it's going well. It looks like the usual pile of dental floss that the monkey's been playing with:

Woman cannot live by lace alone, of course, and there is yet another sock on the needle. I wanted to use the Trekking yarn I dyed with KoolAid at SkipNorth and decided on Firestarter:

I like the elegant way the cable splits to accommodate the gusset. There's just enough "action" to keep the attention but not so much that it detracts from the colours in the yarn.

The garden is still growing:

We have courgettes:

We have tomatoes:

We have kale:

I suppose I'd better go and cook some of it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Socks and more Socks

The second Jack Sparrow Sock, which is, in effect, the fourth Jack Sparrow Sock, is finished. It looks exactly like the first (third) sock, so I shan't bore you with a picture.

I've moved swiftly on to the next sock. I ordered Zauberball yarn from Modern Knitting specifically for this project - the Spiralling Socks out of the latest "The Knitter" magazine.

I'm using the fuchsia colourway (though I had originally thought of using the Tropical Fish) and they are coming out extremely well:

Here's the afterthought heel:

I can see the point of using an afterthought heel because it means the flow of colour is not interupted, though I found it quite difficult to place the heel - the pattern says to work until the sock is 5cm shorter than the finished length. That's all very well, but the measurement seems to change depending on if you are measuring the sock on the foot or on the table. My advice is definitely to measure the sock on the foot. I think the heel could have been deeper, too, but I'm not so skilled in sock knitting as to be able to alter the pattern. Any advice from all you seasoned sock knitters out there?

I've also made a decision as to what should be my next big lace project. I've settled on MMario's "Spanish Armada". Now I know it doesn't look much in that picture but it was when I saw this version that my mind was made up. I'm using the lace yarn from Krafty Koala that I bought in Coventry and I'm on round 34. No pictures yet, I'm afraid - too busy knitting.

I've also been busy in the garden, or rather Mother Nature has been busy. She has provided us with broad beans:

and courgettes:

My appeal for any news of coil-less safety pins has been rewarded by a very generous Vanessa (of the above mentioned Modern Knitting). Look what arrived in the post this morning:

How very kind. Thank you so much, Vanessa. (Aren't knitters nice?)