Friday, December 16, 2005

nearly a pair of jaywalkers

nearly a pair
nearly a pair
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I'm hoping these will get finished today. I feel like I've been knitting them forever, but it's only since the beginning of December. I think I need about 8 more rows before I switch to ribbing and then the knitting is done. Some tidying up and a bath and they'll be done.

Friday, December 09, 2005

second sock syndrome

I didn't think this would be a problem. I like knitting socks. The first of my toe-up jaywalkers is finally finished to my satisfaction (no pictures yet, it's a Christmas present, anyway, you know what Jaywalker looks like) and now I've started the second. The thing is, it's boring knitting the same sock again. The first time through I had lots of problems to solve on the way, getting it to fit right. Now I've solved all my problems and I know exactly what I have to do to make it the same. And it's boring! I managed to avoid this problem with my first pair of socks by knitting one toe-up and one cuff down. Perhaps I should have done that with these, but then the zigzags would point in opposite directions would would just be too unmatchy. I am pressing on and resisting the temptation to start something else. (Mostly because I'm at work and these socks are the only knitting I have with me.) I'll just have to get through it quickly so I can start solving the puzzles of something else. And soon I'll have a finished pair of socks to be happy about.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

woolly gorgeousness

This week I went for the first time to the Handweavers Studio. It's stuffed with stuff for fibre based creating - rug wool, handlooms, fleece from just about animal you can get wool from, silk, nettle yarn, weaving threads, handspun wool... I had to buy something, so I bought this.

woolly gorgeousness

It's handspun, dipdyed wool. Each skein is 100g and measures about 88m. I'm now wondering what to do with it. It feels quite rustic, but the colours are gorgeous. I could felt it, but my felting is always a bit experimental and I think this stuff's too beautiful to risk ruining. I want to knit something that will show off all the colour gradations. Maybe a sort of mini Clapotis? Or something similar with a simple stitch pattern and some structure to it. I tried knitting some last night. On 6mm needles I liked how the stitches looked, but it's quite stiff. On 8mm needles it's too loose. The answer is probably somewhere in between, 6.5mm or 7mm, whch means I need to buy some more needles. There's no hurry, I've got plenty more urgent things to knit, but I'm hoping musing over this will be a good distraction when I'm sick of knitting on tiny needles.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Remember the slubby purply wool blend from Stepney Green post office? I made a long skinny scarf from it.

bobbly scarf

Pattern: cast on 12 (I think), knit 8 rows, switch to stocking stitch until you're nearly out of yarn, knit 8 rows.

Yarn: Mardi Gras, about 75% wool, the rest is acrylic and nylon. I think. I've lost the ball band.

Needles: 5mm bamboo

The interesting side is the reverse side of stocking stitch, so I think this scarf might need blocking quite often. It seems to lie down quite readily when I blast it with steam, so that's not too much of a chore.

This one's still drying.

hat bowl

It was going to be a hat, but it's not deep enough, so I'm calling it a bowl.

Pattern: Felted hat pattern by Arlene Williams, but not followed very closely since my wool was much thicker. I just stopped when I ran out of my main colour and cast off in the small amount of purple I found.

Yarn: Freedom wool by Twileys of Stamford in Moorland (main colour) and a small amount of Heather (border).

Needles: 5.5mm dpns (the biggest I have) and 9mm circulars.

Sorry, I forgot to take photos in its unfelted state. It was going to be a hat for my mum if it worked, but it's not deep enough. (It looks like the hats worn by Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple). I started felting it by hand, but didn't feel like spending all afternoon playing with it, so shoved it in the washing machine with a couple of pairs of jeans and forgot about it. When it came out, it was too small to be a hat and needed some pummelling into shape. Perhaps it might have been a good hat if I'd persisted with the hand-felting. Anyway, it was an experiment and I like the swirly patterns on the inside which you wouldn't see if it was a hat.

no longer invisible

Here's that completed Jaywalker sock (the first, top down one). It might be a while before I get round to the second sock.

completed jaywalker

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina

Yarn: Angel hand-dyed sock yarn, colourway 11

Needles: 2.5mm dpns (2.25mm for the ribbing, 2.75mm for the tubular cast on)

Modifications: tubular cast on, size enlarged to 92 stitches round (I added one to each straight section).

I don't think it really needed the extra 8 stitches. Switching to 2.5mm instead of 2.25mm solved my size problem. The toe-up Jaywalker I'm doing now is on 2.5mm with 84 stitches and it seems fine. I think I overcompensated.

Here's the silk top I mentioned:

silk top detail

It's a lovely colour, but far too big. I'm going to treat it as a big swatch and do lots of measuring before starting again. There's now a Glampyre pattern for Hip Knits silk, so I've bought that and while I don't think I'll follow it exactly (I'd need more silk and I'm not sure a keyhole neckline would suit me), I will use it as inspiration.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ceci n'est pas une chaussette

toe-up jaywalker

Well, OK it is, but pretend it's not, cos it's a secret.

Anyway, I'm knitting Jaywalker again, but this time, following Natalia's example and starting at the bottom. I'm a little worried by the bagginess either side of the toe, but trying the sock on, it looks like it will stretch out once it's on and blocking will help too. I did knit a swatch this time and I think I've got the size right. Working out what to do with the heel is going to be the tricky bit. Natalia has some suggestions and I think I'm going to go for the eclectic heel. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, November 28, 2005

invisible sock

There's hasn't been much work in progress here recently, for which I apologise.
I've been knitting Jaywalker again (this time with 2.5mm dpns and 92 stitches) and wondering if it was going to work out this time. I didn't want to post any work in progress pictures, just in case it all went wrong again, but happily, I've finished one sock and it fits! It's a little looser I'd like, but there's no way I'm ripping and re-knitting AGAIN!. Details and picture soon.

I've also been knitting a top based on Ubernatural in Hipknits silk, doing some clever maths to convert the pattern from bulky wool to silk. I've used this silk before to make Clapotis and so assumed it knitted up at the specified gauge for that. Of course it didn't and anyway I was using different needles. So I knitted away, decided to check my size when I'd got a skein into it, and it's far too wide. So basically, I've knitted a very large gauge swatch. It's very pretty and I think I'm going to like it, but I'm going to have to rip and re-knit. (Hmm, do I see a theme emerging?)

I've got some Christmas kntting to do which I'm trying to keep secret, so there may not be any work in progress pictures for that either. Oh dear, I'm being a very bad knitting blogger. Pictures tonight, maybe, but I'm making no promises.

Monday, November 14, 2005

mystery mittens revealed

pumpkin pie/finished mittens
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Hiding behind the pumpkin pie are my completed Broad Street mittens for Nona's Peaceful Palms knitalong. These are for my little sister, HP. I hope she likes them!

Pattern: Broad Street

Yarn: Rowan 4ply soft in 379 - Goblin (which is virtually impossible to photograph accurately).

Needles: 2.75mm and 3.25mm dpns

Modifications: tubular cast on, extra stretchy bind off.

I love this yarn! It's soft and has a slight shine to it, probably due to the way it's plied. I like the way you can see the multi-strand yarn doing its thing and making straight columns.

Having knitted 4 of these mittens, I'm a bit sick of this pattern. It's time to knit something else. Back to socks maybe?

mademoiselle fluffy belle

fluffy front
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

A finished and very fluffy pink and purple cardigan. Mouseover for a back view.

Pattern: Fluffy Belle courtesy of Kate of Make and Boo.

Yarn: Richard Poppleton Eclipse chunky with mohair, shades 93 (pink) and 82 (purple)

Needles: 6mm straight, 5mm circulars, 4.5mm dpns

Modifications: I made the arms a little shorter, although they're still very long. I added i-cord ties.

Date: 13th - 31st October 2005

I love this, especially the collar. It's a little bonkers, but I've had lots of admiring comments and several "Will you knit one for me?". To which the response is "No, but I'll teach you to knit."

To show you how long the sleeves are, here's a silly picture of me. I'm not sure what I'm doing in this one either.

silly me

Monday, November 07, 2005

colourful knitting

A very quickly finished object.

phone case

A cozy fluffy sleeping bag for my new camera phone.

Pattern: my own, using the sl1 k1 heel reforcing stitch.

Yarn: Richard Poppleton Eclipse chunky with mohair

Needles: 4.5mm dpns

Date: 4 November 2005

Very satisfying to think of an object and then have it knitted a few hours later. It took me a few attempts to get the buttonhole right and I'm still not quite happy with it. Perhaps if I knit a few more of these to give away I'll perfect it.

Monday mitten progress

One mitten done, one started.

mitten progress

Today was going to be a good knitting day. I've got a tutorial after work which means a couple of hours hanging around and a bus journey home in which to knit. Unfortunately I only brought the three needles attached to the mitten, so I can't knit. So I spent the bus journey to work winding the next ball of wool into a centre pull ball (and got some strange looks). Oh well, can't have everything. I'll just have to read instead.

Monday, October 31, 2005

the sock is dead, long live mittens!

This is what I did to the sock.

dead sock

It wasn't working so I reduced it to yarn. I've started a guage swatch to prove to myself that that was the problem. When I've worked out what size needles I should be using, I'll start again.

In the meantime, here are some finished objects.

broad street mittens

Broad street mittens for my sister DP, looking a very bright pink in this photo.

Pattern: Broad street from knitty

Yarn: Angel sock yarn in Raspberry

Needles: 2.75mm and 3.25mm dpns

Modifications: none

Date: started 30 September 2005, finished 14 October 2005

These were almost finished when I joined Nona's Peaceful Palms knitalong, so they don't count, but these do.

black and white mitten

More Broad Street mittens in a mystery colour for my other sister HP. She knows I'm knitting her mittens, but wants the colour to be a surprise. I wanted to get these done by 5th November because I think they'd be perfect for wearing to a fireworks party, but unless I knit like a maniac in the next couple of days, that's not going to happen. They won't be long though, HP.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

pink and purple fluff

Fluffy belle is fast eating all my pink fluffy yarn. The body and one arm are knitted and I think there's enough for the other arm, but there's no more for the fabulous collar. I was beginning to despair, when I found some of the same yarn on eBay. It looked like it might be the same colour, but I couldn't find the ball band from mine to check. I bid anyway and won it last night.

This morning I found my ball band. It's a different colour, of course. I'm really hoping the two colours go together. The yarn I've got is a very bright pink. The yarn I've just bought looks purplier. Surely two different shades of the same yarn should go well together and not clash horribly? That's what I'm hoping.

the sock hates me

too small sock

too small sock
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies

Yesterday, I got to the heel. I'd never done a proper top down heel before and I was admiring its construction - the ridges caused by doing a k1 sl1 reinforcing stitch, the neat way the gusset is formed by picking up stitches along the heel flap. Then I decided to try it on. It didn't fit. The zig zag stitches just aren't stretchy enough to go over my heel. I've already ripped this sock out once when I decided it was too big. I should have stuck with my extra big size, now I've got to start all over again.

I cast on while waiting for my computer to log me on (it takes forever) and decided to try this tubular cast on. Unfortunately, my computer not being on, I couldn't check that I'd got it right and when I did check, it was wrong (I knit into the provisionally cast on row instead of purling). I think it sort of worked out, but I wish I'd remembered it right. Then I had to turn k1 p1 ribbing into k2 p2 ribbing, which I did by crossing over pairs of stitches as suggested here. That took forever. Now I'm into the ribbing (which I hate knitting at the best of times). The edge looks neat, but I'm worried it's not stretchy enough.

I think I'm going to put this sock aside and start something else. Hopefully, the yarn I ordered for my sister HP's Broad Street mittens will have arrived when I get home and I can start them for Nona's Peaceful Palms knitalong. I've knitted one pair already, for my other sister DP, but they were nearly finished when the knitalong started, so they don't count.

Monday, October 24, 2005

shopping and knitting

sock progress

sock progress
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies

Some knitting happened this weekend. The sock grew a few inches, fluffy belle now has 2 fronts, a back and 2 half sleeves. I'm slightly worried that I'm going to run out of yarn. There might be some experimentation with the sleeves as I work out how to make maximum use of what I've got.

I went shopping on Saturday and went for the first time to Loop in Islington. It's a very lovely 'yarn boutique'. They've got a good selection of yummy yarns in gorgeous fibres. No acrylic in sight! I spent ages stroking some beautifully soft Blue Sky Alpaca, but ended up not buying anything. I've got far too many things waiting to be knitted to buy something new. My only criticism would be that they don't seem to have large quantities of anything, although there may well be more stock in the basement. As I browsed, I could hear other customers asking questions of the helpful staff. There seemed to be a lot of new knitters, making their first scarves and cushions. It's good to find a place where you don't feel like you have to be a knitting expert to talk to people.

Loop and my nearest wool shop Teasels, represent to me the two sorts of knitting shops. One is full of fashionable colours and wools and the most gorgeous knitted objects, but you do wonder whether it's just a fashion thing that will fade. The other is a little dusty, with yellow tinted windows and is full of acrylic and washable wool, but the staff have years of knitting experience and are happy to share their expertise (provided you don't horrify them by asking for wool that will felt as I did a few weeks ago). I'd love to find a shop that was the perfect balance of the two - a wide selection of yarns, the big names and the obscure one-woman-two-sheep-and-a-spinning-wheel ones with friendly staff who have years of experience and the enthusiasm to try something new. Probably, like most ideas of the perfect, it just doesn't exist.

Friday, October 21, 2005

2005 knitting - pink Colinette jumper

big pink finished object
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

It's very very warm and cozy.

Pattern: Annie from the Wayfarer Colinette pattern book

Yarn: Various pink shades of Colinette point 5 from the mill shop.

Needles: straight and circular 12mm

Modifications: I started off making up a size bigger than the biggest size in the book. That turned out enormous, so I frogged the body and reknit it smaller on circular needles. I added short row bust shaping, used a three needle bind off for the shoulder seams and knit the collar in one piece in the round, adding extra rows and using an extra stretchy cast off. Colinette seem a bit sniffy about circulars, why? Surely fewer seams is good on bulky wool.

Date: August - October 2005

I still have a few sticking out ends. I meant to divide each bulky yarn tail in two to make weaving ends in easier, but forgot. One day I'll go back and do it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

still the most beautiful knitting in the world

I posted about this on pigwotflies a while ago, but go and see what she's done now!

gorgeous zig zags!

I still want to know how it's done.

I am knitting some zig zags of my own: Grumperina's Jaywalker socks. Unfortunately I decided this morning that they were too big, so I unravelled all my progress and I'm starting again. I foolishly decided that the larger of the two sizes wasn't big enough, so I made them a size bigger than that. A few inches into the leg, I tried them on and as I'd begun to suspect, they were enormous. So bye bye sock. At least I hadn't got very far. And they are designed by Grumperina, the queen of meticulous knitting, so it seemed appropriate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

2005 knitting - rainbow socks

rainbow socks
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

My first ever socks

Pattern: My own (I did a gauge swatch, worked out how many stitches to cast on and took it from there), with inspiration from Knitty's Socks 101, Alison's short row tutorial and Nona's short row heel (which confused me a little because I didn't read closely enough to notice that it's a reverse stocking stitch heel, but once I'd worked that out, her tips on closing gaps were very useful. See also her comparison of different short row techniques.)

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Rainbow

Needles: 2.25mm dpns

Modifications: I knitted one sock toe up and one cuff down, using two different short row methods.

2005 knitting - Flamingo

Flamingo, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

This was a bit of fun. I'm not normally a fan of novelty yarns and my original plan involved Kidsilk Haze and chunky wool (something like Loopy and luscious). But then I saw these yarns and realised how feathery they were.

Pattern: the shoulder part is based on the one skein wonder. I then picked up stitches round the armholes and knitted the armholes in the round, increasing until they were sufficiently wing-like and then knitting until they were long enough.

Yarn: Sirdar Fizz and Stylecraft Sassy

Needles: 5mm circular, 15mm circular

Date: August 2005

2005 knitting - one skein wonder

purple one skein wonder
purple one skein wonder, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I knitted two of these, the other is in black mohair found in an Aberystwyth charity shop. HP has it.

Pattern: One skein wonder by Glampyre

Yarn: Purple Patons FAB! DK (100% acrylic)

Needles: 5mm circulars, 3.5mm circulars

Modifications: none, unless you count ruining the detail of the seed stitch cuffs by ironing. (Apparently I still haven't learnt my lesson about blocking acrylic)

Date: August 2005

2005 knitting - felted bag

funky purple bag, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

My first foray into felting

Pattern: Sophie from Magknits

Yarn: Twilleys of Stamford Freedom (100% wool)

Needles: 9mm circulars. I didn't have any DPNs big enough for the i-cord handls, so they were knitted on a pencil and a Berol handwriting pen.

Modifications: modified for a different gauge and a limited amount of wool.

Date: July 2005, I think.

2005 knitting - sari silk shrug

sari silk shrug
sari silk shrug, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Technically my sister knitted this. I took the yarn, needles and pattern on holiday, planning to knit it once Clapotis was finished, but HP was knittingless and wanted something to do.

Pattern: Popcorn shrug from Interweave Knits staff shrugs

Yarn: Sari silk yarn from Hipknits.

Needles: 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 12mm

Modifications: We had to go down in needle size to get gauge. It's a few rows because the yarn was running out.

Date: August 2005

If I knitted with this yarn again, I'd alternate skeins every few rows. There's a definite colour change in the middle. I like the way it shows off the yarn with a very simple shape.

2005 knitting - jolly clapotis

jolly clapotis, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Pattern: Clapotis from Knitty

Yarn: Hipknits silk in Jolly

Needles: 5mm bamboo

Modifications: none

Date: August 2005

Knitted in the evenings of our family holiday in Aberystwyth

2005 knitting - purple very cherry

purple very cherry, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

This was the top where I discovered the delights of short row shaping, essential when you're curvy!

Pattern: Very Cherry from Knitty

Yarn: Twilleys of Stamford Freedom (100% wool, 50m per 50g)

Needles: 9mm circulars

Modifications: short row shaping

Date: June 2005

If I knitted this again, I'd do an extra stretchy cast off. I did OK with trying to make the stitched on the cast off row as loose as possible, but since then I've learnt a few proper stretchy cost off methods which would work better.

In the background you can see my blanket, knitted by my sisters (and a bit by me) and some stitch markers made from an earring which had lost its mate.

2005 knitting - stripy cardigan

stripy cardigan, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Earlier this year there was an article in the Saturday Guardian magazine on Debbie Stoller and the resurgence of knitting in the US. This was one of the patterns included.

Pattern: The go-everywhere, go-with-everything cardigan by Laura Jean Bernhardson from Guardian weekend, January 8 2005.

Yarn: Purple Patons FAB! DK and some random red acrylic

Needles: 3.5mm I think.

Modifications: stripes

Date: January - February 2005

I did everything wrong, didn't knit a gauge swatch (gasp!), didn't think too much about the yarn, had no concept of blocking (I ironed it to get the stocking stitch to lie flat which the acrylic didn't like much). But I like the result and wear it regularly. I might take it to bits and reblock it one day and maybe add an applied i-cord edging.

knitting history - Dr Who scarf

Dr Who scarf, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Where it all began. This was the first thing I ever knitted that I actually wear. It was stress relief during my A-level exams.

Pattern: my own (garter stitch all the way)

Yarn: Random acrylic mostly, featuring a small section of silver and black lurex.

Date: c. May - August 1998

treasure trove

purple wool, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Sometimes you find wool in the most unexpected places. In this case, the post office in Stepney Green.

I discovered they sold yarn a few weeks ago when I went to post a parcel. Today I went back in search of something suitable for the trim on the bright pink cardigan I'm currently knitting. I'm using a chunky mostly acrylic blend with a little mohair that I bought on eBay. Finding something to go with it is proving a little tricky. I want a bright purple, but can I find it? I thought the post office would be a good place to look. They've got the sort of selection you'd expect for somewhere that's been selling wool for 20 years - lots of acrylic and machine washable wool.

I found some suitable yarn - Sirdar Misty Look - but not in a colour that worked for me. However, the bloke running the post office let me rummage around in the back store room. It was dusty and untidy and piled with bags of yarn. I made him move boxes and climb up shelves to fetch down things I liked the look of. The purple stuff on the left was way up in one corner and took some effort to get down. It's doesn't go with the pink, but having let him risk life and limb to get it down, I thought I'd better buy some. The slubby pink and purple stuff I like better though. I'm thinking maybe edging for gloves. Or a hat?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Knitting or flying?

There has been rather a lot of knitting content at the pigwotflies of late and since not everyone 'gets' knitting, I've decided to give the knitting its own space in the blogosphere. There will probably be intermittent knitting posts on work in progress, finished objects and occasional musings. It might die in a few months, or it might take on a life of its own. We'll see.