Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas in progress

I've moved to blogger beta, so apologies if things look a little odd or if anyone has trouble commenting.

It's a week until Christmas and I've still got a pair of socks (one started) and a tea cozy (about 1/3 done) to knit. This is the parcel of yarn which arrived from Get Knitted on Friday. The Noro Kureyon is for the tea cozy, the brown Trekking Pro Natura is for socks for my (non-blog reading) Grandad and the purple stuff will probably be socks for me (perhaps Pomatomi) one day and will sit in the stash until then.

Two socks in a week. Or perhaps less, depending on when we go to see my Grandparents. Doable? Bearing in mind I'm working all week? We'll see.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Diamond Fantasy Shawl

It proved impossible to take a picture of me and the shawl which flattered us both, so here it is, hanging on my pinboards. Click for bigger.

Started: 22 July 2006

Finished: 1 December 2006 (knitting) 7 December 2006 (blocking)

Pattern: Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding

Yarn: Most of one 100g skein of Cashmere sock yarn from HipKnits.

Needles: 3.25mm (I think) straights.

Modifications: None. I did 7 repeats of the main pattern.

Notes: Love it! This is my first proper largescale lace project, if you don't count Arisaig. This size is just about right for a small shawl, but I'd love to make a bigger one, using proper laceweight yarn. 7 repeats was as much as I could cram onto straight needles and it got a bit tricky at the end. It's also hard to tell how big it is before you cast off. The lace repeat was too long to memorise completely (40 rows, I think, half of them plain purl) but there were really only about 3 or 4 different sorts of patterns, so once I'd worked out what sort of row I was on, I could just get on with it without having to consult the pattern all the time. Lace charts are very useful and make it easy to see your mistakes. As far as I know, there are no mistakes in the finished object.
I'd happily wear this myself, but it's going to my Grandma. I hope she likes it.

Updated to edit photo.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Because I'm impatient and like showing off

Here's the back of DFS. In the dark, in a mirror.

I know we all know blocking is magic, but I'll say it anyway. Blocking is magic!

it's been a while

Has it really been that long? Well, I've been knitting knitting knitting, but all of it is secret until after Christmas. But I have finished a couple of things I can show you. This was our living room last week. It's a good thing I have lovely housemates who don't mind if I take up the whole of the floor with towels for blocking.

Updated: Sorry, pushed publish too soon. Here, from the top right, you can see Diamond Fantasy Shawl (present for my Grandma), a swatch for Sunrise Circle Jacket (got gauge first try, woo hoo! I'm using an oiled yarn, Troon from Texere in Cranberry, and when washed, it puffs up nicely, giving me just the right dense fabric), Jaywalker socks, which aren't new, but happened to need washing and Cobweb (for me, using up the remains of a skein of cashmere sock yarn). Modelled shots when I've convinced said lovely housemates to take some.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

worth learning crochet for?

Take a look at these amazing crocheted hyperbolic models from the Institute for Figuring. Me and crochet have never got on well, but if we did, I'd definitely try out one of these.

Here's an article on hyperbolic geometry and crochet from Cabinet Magazine.

Monday, November 27, 2006

yes, I'm still knitting

Hello! Bit of a news blackout, sorry. I have been knitting, but not taking pictures.

Currently being worked on:
Cashmere Diamond Fantasy shawl for my Grandma. I'm 5.5 repeats in. The pattern suggests 6 repeats for a scarf and 10 for a shawl. So far, there seems to be loads of yarn left, but it's a point upwards pattern, so the rows are getting longer. I'm pretty sure I can get 7 repeats out of it, possibly 8. It's quite hard to tell how big the shawl is since I'm knitting it on straight needles. I might transfer it to waste yarn and stretch it out once I've got to 7 repeats. And then I'll take a picture.

Secret Christmas knitting. Only one project of several planned ones is currently happening. It's gorgeous, but secret until after Christmas.

Cashmere shawlette. I'm copying Kerrie and knitting a Cobweb out of some leftover cashmere sock yarn. It's pretty and easy, perfect for TV knitting and non-wool.

Forecast. I'm about halfway down the ribbing on the body. I'm planning to get this finished once all the Christmas knitting is done, or use it as a mindless project when everything else is too complicated. The yarn's wool and not particularly soft, but I don't think it'll be too much of a problem since it's not as close fitting on the arms as Arisaig, apart from the wrists. Maybe one to wear with a long sleeved top.

Thanks for the sympathy about woolly itchiness. Some googling suggests wool allergy as such is rare, but lots of people have sensitive skin and react badly to itchy wools. The yarn I used for Arisaig, although fine, isn't very soft. It's the sort of very grabby wool that would work well in fairisle knitting or something you wanted to steek. But possibly not the sort of thing you want to wear next to the skin. I think I'll think harder in the future about the texture of the yarns I use. It intrigues me that most of the time I haven't knit things to wear next to the skin. Without thinking too much about it, I've chosen non woolly yarns when I want something soft, e.g. a silk Clapotis. I've been intending to make another Clapotis out of something less drapy than silk for ages, but I've never found anything that's both structured enough and soft enough to consider wearing round my neck. Perhaps I already knew that wool was a bad choice and therefore, subconsciously or consciously, avoided it. Anyway, enough navel gazing. Moral of the story - when choosing yarn, think about texture and feel against the skin as well as colour, gauge and the overall look.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

itchy itchy

I've got a horrible feeling I might be allergic to wool. After wearing Arisaig most of the weekend, the skin on my forearms is itchy and covered in little insect bite type lumps. Oh dear. Yesterday I was wearing it over a long sleeve top, but on Friday and Saturday I wore a three-quarter length sleeved top and I wasn't itchy before that, so I suspect wool might be the culprit. (Any wool allergic people out there? Do my symptoms sound like yours?) That would actually explain a few things, like the unseasonal 'insect bites' I occasionally find on my ankles and wrists. Mostly, apart from socks, I don't wear woolly things next to my skin, more by accident than design. It's just annoying to find yet another thing I'm allergic to. No, it's not a long list (cats, nickel, raw apple, tree pollen), just an inconvenient one. Grrr.

Monday, November 20, 2006

arisaig finished

arisaig finished, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I promised an FO picture, here it is!

Started: 6 August 2006, finished 17 November 2006

Pattern: Arisaig by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: 6 and a bit 50g balls of Jaeger Gaelicspun in Blackberry

Needles:2.25mm and 2.75mm straight.

Modifications: The body is knit as written. The arms are narrower than written, to make them very close fitting. Sleeve caps rewritten with lots of help from Jenna Wilson's sleeve cap maths article from Knitty. I didn't do the neckline trim all the way round, just picked up stitches for the ties on the front and at the side seam. There are four buttons on the inside keeping the inner front neatly tucked away.

Notes: I absolutely love this! I finished it on Friday evening and would have worn it all weekend, but for the fact I was singing in a concert on Sunday, so had to wear all black. The fit is just what I wanted, no ease, very close-fitting, which makes the sleeves a little tricky to get on. You can't tell when I'm sitting down, but it wouldn't hurt by being a few inches longer. However, there's very little yarn left over and although I had a go at finding yarn to match it, nothing was quite right. (Rowan Scottish Tweed in Thistle was the nearest I got, but it's darker, thicker and doesn't have the gorgeous depth of purpleyness that this yarn has). Seaming wasn't as nightmarish as I thought it would be. Mattress stitch is magic! This wasn't a quick knit, and you need to pay attention during the front shaping to make sure the decreases are in the right place. However, I think the finished result is well worth it.

Crossposted on Ysolda's knitalong page.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Christmas is coming

Secret knitting has started. I was going to show you a picture, but the intended recipient reads this blog, so all I'm saying is it's red and very pretty.

Arisaig is very very nearly there. I seamed the sleeves and sewed them to the body last night. Now I just need to decide whether I'm going to do the long neck border/ties as written or copy Princess Pumpkin by just having buttons or do something else.

FO pic on Monday, I reckon.

Monday, November 06, 2006

no news = no progress

Arisaig is still in bits and is likely to remain so for a while. I have a super busy week ahead and quite possibly no time to knit. See you in a week or so when I surface again.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Arisaig knitted

arisaig knitted, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Copying Princess Pumpkin, here's the all the bits are knitted and waiting to be seamed and blocked picture. Actually, I still need to reknit one sleeve cap and then there's about 106 inches of neckband to knit, but apart from that, the knitting's done.

Friday, October 27, 2006

hello weekend

Are you here at last?

I'm tired and fuzzy-headed. Looking forward to sleep, knitting and watching films all weekend. Maybe, just maybe, I'll finish something this weeked.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

cat knitting

cat knitting, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Last night's knit together in the Cambridge Blue. More on the Knit Cambridge blog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Arisaig has sleeves! (almost)

It's still missing a second front, but it has two sleeves. Nearly. I have now knitted 3 sleeve caps (first attempt looked OK, until I put it next to the finished front and back and it became obvious that it was far too big, so I knit sleeve 2 smaller and then reknit sleeve 1) and I think sleeve 2 is going to have to come out and be done AGAIN because sleeve 1 is half a repeat longer than sleeve 2. I know what I did. I rewrote the sleeve pattern to make it narrower, or rather, made it up and rewrote as I went. Unfortunately I forgot to write down that I knit one extra half repeat between the end of the increase section and the armhole cast off rows. At least, that's what it looks like I did. So I shall rip out the sleeve cap on the too-short sleeve and knit it again. But that's only one reknit of sleeve cap per sleeve and if I don't reknit it, it WILL annoy me, no matter how hard I try to pretend that it won't. So, one reknit sleeve cap and one front to go. It's like that last little bit of the mountain, just before the top. Or you think it's the top and then you discover there's still quite a bit to go, otherwise known as blocking and seaming.

Friday, October 20, 2006

last night's knitting

last night's knitting, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Look what I found when I got home last night - Yarn Forward. So I got all excited and curled up with some chocolate to read it. It's good. It feels like an extension of the UK knitblogosphere and I think that's a good thing, in that it's ours, by knitters, for knitters, but it's also not exclusive or cliquey. There aren't bloggy in-jokes or product placement. Kerrie's very clear it's not a HipKnits house mag and it isn't. But it does have her friendliness and accessibility stamped all over it.

Enough of the style, how about the content? The cover design is by Ysolda and it's gorgeous! There's a darling little top by Alice, a sock pattern, a bag pattern, a couple of cardigans (one for men) and probably other stuff I've forgotten. All in a proper range of sizes. No ridiculous XL=40" bust here! The patterns look well set out and easy to follow. The only thing I'd like to add would be schematics. Perhaps they could be online if there isn't enough space in the mag itself? Another good thing is the suggestions for substitute yarns for different budgets. All in all, it's a great new venture and I wish it well. Go Kerrie!

Also last night, more Arisaig sleeve (going on forever!) and more Forecast (also interminable!). With both of these projects, I've got to the stage I just want to get the things finished. I'm trying to be good and resist starting anything else, or I'll never be done. Having two projects on the go so I can switch between them helps, especially since they're quite different.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

jumper stash

jumper stash, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

It seems I only ever knit things in purple or pink. This is (nearly) all the knitted (and non-knitted) jumpers I own, two-thirds of them made by my own fair hands. And as you can see, there's not a lot of deviation from the purple/pink side of the colour wheel. And currently on the needles are two more purple garments and one navy one, all for me.
(click though to flickr for notes on each one.)

What to do?

Expand my colour palatte. The one jumper not in that picture, because I'm wearing it, is grey. It's a shopbought mohair-blend with a huge cowl collar, which I love, slightly unexpectedly. But then, as far as basic suit colours go, black is too dark for me and navy always makes me look like I work in a bank. Charcoal and grey are one way I could branch out. Or red. There's not much red in my jumper collection. Perhaps a nice claret or burgundy.

Of course, I mostly knit in purple because that's what suits me and goes with my wardrobe. Green just isn't me, ditto orange, yellow and brown. So perhaps I should knit for other people. I'm sure other people I know could be pursuaded to have things knit for them.

Any other ideas?

Monday, October 09, 2006

slow Forecast

slow Forecast, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I worked on this a bit at the weekend too, when I decided I needed a break from 4ply yarn and fine needles. Forecast is FINALLY past the armholes and into the body. It should be a little quicker from here on in, especially now I'm using Cmeknit's no-turn bobble technique. It's quicker (although I still have to turn my work once because I'm knitting the bobbles from the wrong side after switching from purled garter stitch to knit garter stitch) and seems to produce a neater bobble.

arisaig in progress

arisaig in progress, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

To prove what I said, here's my progress on Arisaig. I finished the first sleeve on Saturday and I'm 56 rows into the second one. I was going to knit the other front next, so I could maybe finish the body and try it on, but at the time, i couldn't face all that fine ribbing, so I went for a sleeve.

I like it. It's going to be very close fitting and probably a little on the short side so i might have to think about how to wear it, but the lace is lovely and a good fit for the yarn (Jager Gaelicspun from my grandma's stash).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

long time no see

Keep forgetting to take pictures, but since HP keeps asking how Arisaig is going, here's an update. It has a back, a right front and half an arm. The arm as written was going to be huge (I think other people have had this problem with the larger sizes too), so I narrowed it, starting with 56 stitches and increasing gradually to 96 just before the armhole cast-off rows. I think it'll work. And it looks like the yarn I've got will hold out too. Hoorah!

If you want to see a rather more nearly finished Arisaig, Princess Pumpkin is seaming one.

updated: I just discovered this blog is the top google result for 'Arisaig finished'. Shame it isn't yet.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

hopscotch pair

hopscotch pair, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Finished last night.

Finished Hopscotch socks.

Pattern: Hopscotch by Pixeldiva

Needles: 2.5mm Addi turbos and dpns

Yarn: HipKnits cashmere sock yarn

Yummily soft yarn, gorgeous lace pattern. Lovely!

It's hard to find somewhere in my house to take good photos in natural light. I had to sit on my desk with my feet balanced on the window siil.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

farewell Angelica, hello Ivy

If you pay close attention to my sidebar, you'll notice that Angelica has gone. I decided a while ago she just wasn't working and it was time to try something else. Enter Ivy. Another wrap cardigan pattern (and I still haven't finished Arisaig), with gorgeous details. I think it's a good match for the snuggliness and smartness of the lambswool/cashmere yarn I'm using.

I'm not a very disciplined knitter, am I? I need to learn to finish stuff. Perhaps tonight's the night for Hopscotch. Or maybe I'll just knit more gorgeous twisted rib on Ivy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

five things to eat before you die

Updated to say: Anne didn't tag me. But I thought she did. And since it's about food, how could I say no?

1. Mole - That's the Mexican dish with chilli and chocolate rather than the small furry creature.
2. Free food - Wild blackberries straight off the bush, mushrooms you found in the forest (actually I've never done this, not having the necessary fungi knowledge to pick the non-poisonous ones, but I'd like to, one day), pears from your neighbours' garden, veg you grew yourself.
3. My sister's chocolate brownies.
4. My Melton Mowbray Grandma's roast potatoes.
5. Roast lamb, or even better, lamb pilaff made with the left-overs.

I tag anyone who wants to be tagged!

Monday, September 18, 2006

small things knit up quickly

I wasn't going to start anything before I'd finished things, was I? But I did.

I don't really do soft toys. I'm sure I've been given quite a few over the years, but very few make it to treasured possession status. My teddies, Growly (he has a growling mechanism, which was never quite the same after a tumble down the stairs) and Baby Teddy (later adopted and rechristened Tommy Teddy by Debs, which is just wrong, his name isn't Tommy) are at my parents' house somewhere. But somehow these guys, Piglet and Alexander, made it to Cambridge with me. Probably because they're small and like looking after my bookshelves. I can't remember where Piglet came from, he's been mine for ages. Alexander was a present from a school friend. For reasons lost in the mists of time, Piglet was wearing a blue knitted dress which used to belong to a doll whose name escepes me. I decided it was time he had some clothes of his own. Then I couldn't leave Alexander out, so I made him a scarf. Cashmere, of course.

Piglet wears: top-down raglan in Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock, colourway - Rainbow.

Alexander wears: garter stitch scarf with fringes in Hip Knits cashmere sock yarn.

Hmm, I've got a growing collection of smallish balls of sock yarn. These guys might end up with quite an extensive wardrobe.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Last night (while watching Much Ado About Nothing on our new DVD player. Woo!) I finished the back of Arisaig and cast on for the first front. It's gorgeous, but apparently unphotographable. I tried this morning and every one came out too dark or too blurry. Never mind, it's gorgeous and I love it.

I'm trying to be good and not start anything until I've finished what's already on the needles. This is what's currently in progress:

Forecast: Almost up to where the sleeves divide off. According to the row count, I should be there, but when I try it on, it's obvious I'm not. I need to measure my gauge again and see what's going on. I started Forecast as written, with purled garter stitch, but got fed up with so much purling which was slowing me down, so switched to knit. This means I'm doing all my cables and bobbles from the wrong side, but they seem to look OK.

Angelica: Stalled, likely to be frogged fairly soon. I don't like the neckline and I love the yarn so much I want it to be something I'll really love. On the lookout for a pattern I love.

Diamond Fantasy shawl: I did one and half repeats the weekend I started and haven't done any since. This has a Christmas deadline, so I ought to get back to it soon.

Hopscotch socks: Sock one is done, sock two is growing slowly. This is my portable knitting, so I do a few rows here and there when I have time. A couple of evenings' solid work would probably finish it.

Lovemeknot socks: Sock one done, sock two waiting to be started.

Garter stitch shawl: Long term stash-buster/odd ball project. Won't be done any time soon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

two socks, not a pair

hopscotch sock, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

The socks I knit in Scotland went back to London in my mum's car by mistake, but now they're back in Cambridge. Here's sock one of a pair of Hopscotch socks designed by Pixeldiva. It's a lovely pattern, dead easy to memorise, but very effective. The foot has 60 stitches and fits nicely, if snuggly. I decided my ankles might be too big to get into the sock, so increased to 70 stitches above the heel. (The lace pattern is 10 stitches across). Consequently, it's a bit loose on the leg, but since it's an ankle sock, I don't think that matters. Anyway, nice pattern, sock 2 will be done soon.

lovemeknot sock
lovemeknot sock, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies

This is a lovemeknot sock designed by Alice. The hearts are illusion knitted, which is so much fun! Quite mathematical and it's intriguing watching the pattern emerge as you knit. These are 72 stitches which is on the loose side (should have swatched, lazy me) but still an acceptable fit. I suspect I might have used rather more than half a ball of black for the first sock so might have to buy some more.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

found some

I found this skein in a basket full of yarn at the back of Armadale Pottery in Sleat (South Skye). It's Merino Shetland cross with 12% mohair. The colour's come out a bit drained, even using my duvet cover as an improvised light tent. In person it's a heathery purple with blueish patches. The mohair gives it an extra softness. I'm planning to use it for a hat and gloves, probably some sort of cabley pattern.

This stuff came from Teo's Handspun in Broadford, also on Skye. It's kid mohair, beautifully soft and fuzzy round the edges. This picture really doesn't do the colour justice. It's a shiny purple, with patches of darker bluey purple and light patches of golden toned brownish purple. Er, sort of. Trust me, it's gorgeous. I think it's going to be some kind of shawl or scarf. It would be perfect for Clapotis, but I think I'd rather make it into something with a more complicated lace pattern. Not too formal though, something flowing. Still thinking, but since I've got loads of things on the go at the moment, not to mention Christmas knitting to start thinking about, it'll be a while before I get round to it.

I also bought some wine-red 4 ply from Shilasdair, which I might use for the border/ties of Arisaig. I almost wish we'd gone there first, as I'd spent my yarn budget by then. HP (little sister) bought a knitkit for a ribbed cardigan in lovely purple (see, it runs in the family) angora/cashmere/wool blend. All their stuff's gorgeous, mostly handspun and naturally dyed in smallish dyelots. They had a dyer's garden outside with things like bog myrtle, heathers and lichens.

In terms of knitting, I finished two socks (not a pair though) and got some way up the back of Arisaig. Unfortunately I left the bag with the socks in my mum's car and it's stuck in London until I next go home. Arisig made it home though, so I've still got something vaguely Scottish to work on.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

to Scotland, in search of wool

I'm back from beautiful Scotland. We stayed in two beautiful places - Laide, (on the West coast between Ullapool and Gairloch) and Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye (over the bridge and turn left). I wanted some local yarn to remind me of where we'd been. I'll show you what I bought tomorrow, but here's a picture of possibly the most remote yarn shop in Scotland. It's just North of Applecross, on the mainland near Skye and to get to it you first have to negotiate the terrifying Pass of the Cattle and then wind your way along single track roads with passing places past gorgeous views of sea and sky and heather. We were beginning to think it wasn't really there and then, there it was.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you whether it's worth the trip because it was Monday and it was closed. Looking at their website, the grey Gotland wool sounds interesting. Ah well, if anyone else goes that way, they can find out.

Also near Applecross was Angora Ecosse, further along the same road to the North. They had angora/merino yarn, some Shetland lace and natural dark brown Hebridean wool. I didn't buy any, since I didn't like the colours of the angora (too pastelly) and I couldn't think of anyone who'd appreciate a brown, slightly itchy wool jumper. Still slightly wish I'd got some Hebridean wool anyway.

Coming soon, the yarn I did buy and some knitting progress.

Monday, August 07, 2006

need a holiday

My brain is already on holiday, but the rest of me is still stuck in the office until thursday.

I've been thinking about what to take away with me. I'm off up North to Scotland, so I thought I'd take some Scottish inspired knits - Arisaig, which I've been wanting to make for ages and Pixeldiva's Hopscotch socks. And then, for Project Spectrum's August neutrals and black and white, a black and white version of Alice's Lovemeknot socks. Which is quite a lot of knitting for a fortnight's holiday. Hopscotch sock one is already up to the heel and will probably get finished this week. I started Arisaig yesterday sitting in the sun in my back garden. It's lovely, but it's going to take a long time to knit. It starts with 7 inches or so of 2x2 rib, over 154 stitches on 2.25mm needles. After a couple of hours I had about an inch and a half and the ribbing (and the sunshine) were sending me to sleep. I'll take it, but I suspect it's not going to get finished any time soon. But I can spend the next few months knitting it and remembering my Scottish holiday. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

psychedelic tigers

psychedelic tigers, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Finished late last night, just in time for the end of July for Project Spectrum.

Pattern: Jaywalker (my third pair)

Yarn: Fyberspates Hand-dyed sock yarn

Needles: 2.5mm

Modifications: Started with 92 stitches, decreased to 78 after the heel by leaving out one set of increases and continuing to decrease the heel gussets until there were 36 stitches on the sole. This means I can get my feet into them, but they aren't too baggy on the foot, which was a problem with the first pair I made.

These socks remind me of an art project I did aged about 13. It was based around self-portraits and finiding an animal we thought expressed our personality. I chose a tiger. Not entirely sure why, I think a tabby cat might have been more appropriate. My favourite colour combination at the time was purple and yellow, so my final piece involved a self-portrait of me as a tiger, trying to snarl, done in purple and yellow stripes. Hmm. Anyway, that's why they're psychedelic tiger socks.

I'm intrigued by the way the yarn's pooled differently on each sock. It was one big 100g skein, but it's made the two socks look quite different, especially on the leg. Curious, but it's part of what makes them unique.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

lavender days

bee on lavender, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

More purple for Project Spectrum.

The dominant smell of these heatwave days (if you ignore the sweat and smelly feet) has been lavender. There are several large clumps in the college garden and whenever I walk past, the scent coming off them is amazing. There are insects on the flowers all day long, bumble bees and butterflies during the day, moths in the evening.

Monday, July 24, 2006

too hot to knit

And too busy. I'm busy at work, helping organise a conference and although I brought some socks, they've languished in my room unknit. Here's something I started at the weekend, in the 24 hours or so break between the end of the first week and beginning of the second. I was too tired to read or do much, but it was too hot to sleep during the day, so I knitted and found enough brain power to read instructions and charts. This is the Diamond Fantasy shawl by Sivia Harding. It's going to be a Christmas present for my grandma (who doesn't read my blog) whose monster stash I raided last Christmas. The yarn is HipKnits cashmere sock yarn in a greyish blue with purple bits, one of the cashmere club shades. It's a more subtle colour than I might have chosen myself, but it's grown on me. There's enough colour variation to be interesting without competing with the lace pattern.

It's fun watching the lace grow. Charted lace is so intuitive. I knitted the first part (chart A) from the written instructions, mostly because I was very tired and wanted to make sure I got it exactly right, but once I got to the main body of the pattern, following the chart was easier. I can see why people get hooked on lace knitting.

Friday, July 14, 2006

the comfort of cashmere

Today I'm wearing my cashmere socks. They're keeping my very cold feet warm. I think it's the lack of food and electrolytes, despite the digusting rehydration fluids I've been drinking (stomach bug since Monday, gradually getting back to normal, but mostly subsisting on rice cakes at the moment). Not much energy, but at least my feet are comfortable.

Incidentally, I put them through the washing maching by mistake earlier this week. Both of them. And they're fine. Don't think I'd do it regularly, but good to know if it happens accidentally it's OK. It's Hipknits cashmere sock yarn. Good job Kerrie.

Monday, July 03, 2006

purple aliens

aliens, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I love these plants. They're love-in-a-mist or Nigella. They're pretty when flowering, but I like them even better when the flowers are over and the spiky purple seed pods can be seen. They look like aliens, mini-triffids taking over the garden. Soon they'll dry out and start to scatter their seeds to start all over again next year.

Friday, June 30, 2006

knitting and scissors

A scary combination.

2 posts down is Angelica. If I'm ever going to wear her, the keyhole neckline has to go. But it's knit from the top down. What can I do? If I were sewing, it would be easy. I'd just cut, maybe make a new neckline facing. I could just tuck the end bits in as Katie does. Or I could do a scary cutting, sort of steeking but not really because steeks won't work thing.

This is what I thought of. Work out how I want the neckline to be and mark the stitches that would be the end of the row. (maybe borrow a technique from steeking and do a line of crochet). Cut and unravel rows up to (or near) the stitches I've marked. Neaten the resulting ends in such a way that they're going nowhere. Either turn under like a facing, or pick up and knit a new edging all round the neckline. What do you think? Worth trying or a recipe for tears and a sad pile of yarn?

fading from blue to purple

I've been passing this field every day since January and in that time it first got greener and greener and then more and more blue-ish purple. Close up, the flowers are more blue than purple, but each one is surrounded by greyish purple leaves and the effect over the whole field is a haze of purple. I thought it might be an appropriate way to shade from the blue of June to the purple of July.

Purple, ah purple. My favourite colour, not hard to guess, really, looking at the things I've done recently. So is there purple knitting in the near future? There's another purple and yellow sock to knit and I've just started a pink and purple thing that might be a birthday present. I think it's safe to say, I never stray far from the purple.

(Anyone know what the plant is, by the way?)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

remember this?

angelica in progress, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Angelica still looks like this, more or less, although the neckline now has an i-cord trim and I've weaved in a few ends. The trouble is, I can't summon up the enthusiasm to finish it. The armholes are HUGE! This photo doesn't convey it, but they are. I knitted about half a sleeve, which took forever and didn't like it. The odd decreases at the top make the arm look weird. I'm not convinced the neckline's really me, nor the flippy bottom. Last night I came very close to just ripping the whole thing out. I haven't, I've just put it aside again. I don't know what to do with it. The thing I love is the yarn. It's so soft and strokable. It's also fine, so it takes ages to make any progress and dark, so it's hard to see details. I really wanted to make it into a beautiful, simple but stylish top that would make me feel elegant and luxurious, but this just isn't doing it. Should I rip or persevere?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

second finished object of the week

somewhat cowl finished, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I finished this in the pub last night, which was great. I finished the second cuff, sewed in a couple of ends and it was done. I do love top-down raglans!

Started 28 April 2006, finished 27 June 2006

Pattern: Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Barnard, with various modifications

Yarn: 700g of Debbie Bliss Maya

Needles: 5mm and 4.5mm circulars

Modifications: different gauge, so followed directions for the smallest size, fiddled with the raglan increases so the armholes didn't end up huge, added short row shaping at the bust, did the waist shaping as decrease darts under the bust and then increase darts at the side. Long arms, with shaping. Collar is only one layer, rather than folded over. Sewn bind-off on neckling and cuffs.

Notes: I love it! I did the neckline before the arms so that I could just split the remaining yarn in half and make the arms as long as I could. I ended up with a small ball of yarn, maybe 20m. It's a beautiful colour and very warm. I did put it on in the pub garden last night when it started to get cool, but I don't think I'll be wearing it much until the autumn. Perhaps on holiday in Scotland this summer.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday morning FO

red and purple socks, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Actually finished last night, just after Dr Who. (This seems to be a common occurance. What am I going to do when it ends?) Note: You can see me knitting these socks in some of the punting photos.

Started, 4 May 2006, finished 25 June 2006.

Pattern: toe-up, 64 stitches, k3 p1 rib, flap heel, finished with 12 rows of k1p1 rib, sewn bind-off.

Yarn: Fyberspates in Valentine

Needles: 2.5mm Addi turbos

Notes: These just about fit me, but they're a little on the small side. I think I know someone else who might like them though.

I might have another FO to show you tomorrow. Somewhat Cowl is about 40 sleeve rows away from be done. I doubt I'm going to have finished all my projects by the end of the month, but I'll have made a good dent in the list.

knitting in style

We went punting. Actually we went knitting and someone else did the punting. It was lovely, drifting past ducks, colleges and other punters. Having someone who knows what they're doing tends to mean you go a little faster and stay out of trouble. This bit of river, past the backs, tends to be full of tourists who've never been in a punt before who are struggling to keep it going straight.

This is the bit of the river next to King's College. In the front row, absorbed in their knitting are Alison and Anne. Behind them, Avril, Arthur and Marcelle and beyond them, Mary (who you can't see) and Diane. The other person you can't see is Emily, who was sitting next to me.

It was a lovely afternoon for punting and a good time was had by all. Thanks Mary for organising it! You can find other people's pictures here, here and here. More on my flickr photostream.

Ooh, and I won the draw and came home with a couple of skeins of Rowanspun tweed. Yummy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

not knitting, but I made it

This is my sister Debbie's Kentwell costume. I made it last night. (It's a Tudor re-enactment place. Schools go on trips, everyone has to dress up. I've never been to Kentwell, but both my sisters have and I seem to be family costumier).

The bodice took the longest. It's a man's jacket from a charity shop, with the arms and collar taken off and some remodelling. The skirt is a simple drawstring tube, the apron is a square on a long skinny rectangle and the hat is the corner of an old fitted sheet, gathered onto a headband. I didn't make the undershirt, Debs happened to find a shirt with a suitable lacing at the neckline. She also made the hanging pocket and cupstring. It's not exactly authentic (the breast pocket on the bodice gives away its origins) but it's good enough. And it's laced up properly. Apparently, crossed lacing means you're a woman of ill repute. And you wouldn't want that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

big sock little sock

big sock little sock, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Those unpaired socks I was talking about. Purple and red sock 2 is on the needles. I'm amused by how much bigger the jaywalker sock is. The red sock is 64 stitches, k3 p1 ribbing, so looks pretty small when relaxed and jaywalkers are notoriously unstretchy because the stitches are on the bias. (Incidentally, I once spent a whole bus journey planning an experiment to investigate the stretchiness of the knitted stitch, involving finding Young's Modulus for different sorts of stitch patterns in different directions. I've never got round to doing the experiment. I'd have to find a school lab to borrow equipment from and stuff, but wouldn't it be a fun experiment to do? Or is that just me?)

Sorry Cambridge knitters, I failed to make it to a meet-up yet again. Blame post-exam tiredness and the rain. And the choir rehearsal. Mostly the choir rehearsal. Anyone want to come and hear us?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

blue for June

ferry boat blue, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've got some socks to show you. Two socks, but not a pair. Shall I wait until they're paired or show you anyway? I can't actually show you them because I haven't taken any pictures of them.

I'm torn. There's a Cambridge knitalong tonight and I haven't been in ages, but I've also got an extra rehearsal before choir concerts this weekend. And I could do with the rehearsal. I might be showing up to knit for half an hour and then dashing off to the rehearsal.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

blue knitting

Not done any yet, but here's a good excuse to knit in blue: Knit a River

"Help I Knit and WaterAid campaign for water and toilets for all by knitting a river. I Knit and WaterAid have joined forces to produce an innovative campaign tool to demand water and toilets for all."

Found via Kerrie.

Monday, June 05, 2006

WiP round-up

I have decided that this month, in preparation for moving across town (finally found somewhere to live yesterday. Not finalised yet, but looking good, hurrah!) I will aim to finish all my current knitting projects, with two exceptions. This is my current list.

Angelica: Oldest WiP. The body is done and the front opening. I tried the neckline treatment as written, decided I didn't like it and did an i-cord cast-off instead. She needs arms. This is a problem. The armholes are huge. I got 2/3 down one sleeve, decided it was far too large and ripped. The answer is probably some sort of short puff sleeve, although I'm not totally convinced that puff sleeves will match the slinkiness of the body. Any suggestions? I want to get her finished and I really don't want to frog until I've tried everything possible.

Somewhat Cowl: Rather less of a cowl, more of a long low scoopy neck. Body and neckline are finished, she needs arms. I'd like long arms, length will probably depend on how long the yarn lasts.

Forecast: Still looks like this. This is one thing I plan not to complete this month, in fact I want to get other things done so I can work on it.

Garter stitch shawl: This is a long-term stashbusting/using up scraps of yarn project, so I don't expect it to get finished anytime soon.

Purple and red socks: Toe-up ribbed socks. One sock done, one yet to be started. Awaiting a decision on whether they're for me or someone else.

Purple and yellow Jaywalkers aka psychedelic tiger socks: Started this weekend while revising (i.e. watching videos of As You Like It and Top Girls). I'll explain the name when they're done. Sock one is already past the heel and into decreasing the heel gussets. I know I had lots of problems with Jaywalkers the first time round and wasn't very enthusiastic about the completed pair, but actually, of all my handknit socks (4 pairs), they're the ones I wear most frequently. I think I've fixed my sizing issues, and somehow this pattern's perfect for variegated yarn when you want to make something that isn't plain stocking stitch or rib.

So that's four arms and 2 and a half socks to knit by the end of the month. Possible, I think.

Waiting in the wings to be started once I've cleared the decks: Arisaig in vintage Jaeger gaelicspun (swatched last week, got gauge, hooray!), Diamond fantasy shawl in HipKnits cashmere sock yarn, more Elfines, possibly for me, possibly for someone else, Hopscotch socks as designed by Pixeldiva in more HipKnits cashmere.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

green bin and gone

This picture represents how good I've been at making things in this month's Project Spectrum colour, green. Er, rubbish. I'm surrounded by green things, plants, trees, bins, but no knitting. I did buy greenish sock yarn, not done anything with it yet. Next month is blue. I have one blue project waiting to be finished (Angelica, she needs arms. I knitted half an arm, it took ages, I didn't like it. The armholes are huge, I want close fitting arms, I can't think of a way of decreasing that won't look rubbish, so I think I'm going to do short sleeves and call it a day), another sort of blue project I might start (lace shawl in blue-grey cashmere sock yarn). Roll on July and purple. I can do purple.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ta da!

purple cotton cardigan, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

(Apologies for the state of the bathroom mirror.)

I present, the Time Traveller cardigan. Started 6 May 2006 while watching Dr Who, finished 27 May 2006, just after Dr Who, worn to work for the first time today.

Pattern: made it up as I went along. I swatched, I measured, I knitted, I ripped, I guessed, I did maths. Jenna Wilson's Knitty articles (part 1, part 2, and especially part 3) on the maths of set-in sleeves were very useful. I ended up with a vaguely 1940s sleeve top, which wasn't quite what I was going for, but I decided to keep it and try to work out how to make my next sleeves better.

Yarn: Araucania Nature Cotton, about 650g.

Needles: 6mm straights and a 5mm crochet hook for the edging and button holes.

Notes: This was a very quick knit, even though I reknit some of the pieces several times. Nature Cotton is lovely stuff, very soft (although this does mean it sheds fluff everywhere and I expect it's going to pill). I used metal needles because they're the only 6mms I have, but I think that helped. As usual, I had to look up how to crochet and it took me several attempts to get it right, but I think I actually ended up with something that's almost an official crochet stitch, even if I can't remember if it's single or double. (I think it depends which side of the Atlantic you're on). The buttons came from the bead and button shop in the Real McCoy Arcade in Exeter.

If I knit this again, I'd add some bust shaping and improve the armscyes and sleeve cap shaping. I'm please with the result though, I have what I wanted, a v-neck cotton cardigan for summer and I've learnt a lot about making things fit in the process.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

still knitting

Hello there. Sorry, no progress pictures today, but there has been knitting. Purple cotton cardigan is finished, but for the buttons. I'm hoping to buy buttons from the funky button shop in Exeter and finish it this weekend while visiting HP. Somewhat cowl body is finished, I'm doing the neckline next, and the arms last. I like how it fits so far, although curious to see what the collar does to it. Pre-collar, the neckline's so low it's unwearable in public.

What was May's Project Spectrum colour again? Oh yes, green. Not much green knitting going on, but I am surrounded by green leaves. Here are leaves (and pigeons) as seen from my favourite town centre chain sandwich place.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

this morning's post

This morning, I was late enough (or he was extra early) to still be at home when the postman came and he brought socks! Hooray! Here they are, beautiful Boysenberry Pie socks knitted by Judy of Dragonflyknits. Yay! They're beautiful! They're beautifully soft and just my colours. Thank you!

And that's not all. She also sent beautiful stitch markers, look. Pretty! As I was dancing round the kitchen and taking pictures of my feet (as you do) there was an item on the radio about online communities and how they affect people. This knitblogging thing is a little odd, perhaps, but it's fun thinking of all those socks flying around the world, all those connections that wouldn't have been made otherwise. Big round of applause for Alison for making it all possible!

Monday, May 08, 2006

oh look, another purple thing

In my defence, I'll be able to wear this one as soon as I finish it (assuming I do finish it.) I went to the HipKnits shop on Saturday which was interesting, especially when my car refused to start to take me home. (This was actually a good thing since it meant the AA came and looked at it and discovered the loose battery terminal which has been causing the car to refuse to start reliably for several weeks.) I bought this stuff - Araucania Nature Cotton - and following Dee's suggestion I'm using it make myself a summer cardigan. I swatched not long after I got home and knit about halfway up the back while watching Dr Who (Slightly bonkers episode, 18th century France, clockwork robots and a controversial snog) and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (not a brilliant chick flick, but mildly amusing). I'm making it up as I go along and surprisingly, it's not a top-down raglan. (Gasp!) I've no idea whether I've got enough yarn for a long sleeved cardigan, I've got 7 skeins and the back looks like it's going to take at least 2. So I'm hoping 2 skeins for the back, one each for the fronts and a ball and half for each sleeve. It'll need buttons or something, so I might have to buy some more yarn to do a button band or a crochet edging. Anyway, it's fun making it up as you go along.

Friday, May 05, 2006

socks sent

The socks have arrived with my sockpal, Knitting Iris. I think she likes them! :-)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I like finishing things

Really I do. I just don't seem capable of finishing anything other than socks. Starting stuff though, I'm very good at. Like this. A Somewhat Cowl in Debbie Bliss Maya, which is a beautiful colour and will be too hot to wear for months. I love it though. The yarn is just thick enough to make progress at a satisfying rate and the colour is just subtly variable enough to give it depth and interest.
But I still haven't finished Angelica (she's got half an arm and may have for a long time yet. Knitting arms is boring. I need a long and dramatic film or several. Or a really long train journey) and Forecast hasn't got any further than this. And what I really need right now is a little, lightweight v-neck summer cardigan. Maybe like this once Ysolda puts the big sizes up. Or maybe I should just invent something. But I'd need to buy yarn. Or maybe I should finally get round to making Arisaig, which I've wanted to make ever since I saw it, but have been scared of the lace. But now I've knit lace, I can see it's not scary at all. So maybe I should do that. Or maybe I should write the essay that's due in a fortnight.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

wave your feet in the air

Especially if they're clothed in newly completed cashmere socks.

Pattern: make-it-up-as-you-go-along. Toe-up, 64 stitches. Zig-zags made with k2tog YO and YO ssk holes, short row heels, k1tbl p1 twisted ribbing, picot cast off (cast on 2, cast off 4).

Yarn: yummy cashmere sock yarn from Hipknits.

Needles: 2.5mm Addi turbos

Soft, colourful, fun.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

stripy cashmere socks

stripy cashmere socks, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Thanks for all the lovely comments about the Elfines. I posted them off this morning. They're going far far away.

This is what I've been working on lately. The yarn is Hipknits cashmere sock yarn. It's gorgeous! So soft and the colours are yummy. And, when I've had to rip it back, it seems to grip on to itself well, so it's dead easy to rip back and pick up stitches. This skein was a small one, about 65g, which is why these are ankle socks. Definitely worth splashing out for a full-sized skein I think.

Ooh and these are counting as my yellow/orange thing for Project Spectrum.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Elfine's socks finished

At last! Sock two is decidedly more orange than sock one. I hope my sockpal doesn't mind.

Pattern: Elfine's socks by Anna Bell

Yarn: Fybrespates hand-dyed sock yarn in orange and green.
Needles: 2.5mm Addi turbos (love 'em! Magic Loop is great and very fast!)

Modifications: none

This is a beautiful pattern. I'd never knit lace before but the directions were so clear that it wasn't hard. I want to make some more of these for me. I can just about get my feet into these, but I think I'll try doing a placket heel instead of a short row heel so they fit me without being too stretched.

Now to wash and block.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

new knitalong

I've not yet finished Angelica or the sockpal socks, but I was craving something with a little more thinking involved, so I started Forecast. Seed stitch! Cables! Bobbles! (I'm being wimpish and doing three stitch bobbles like everyone else I've seen so far. The five-stitch ones did look a bit too much like some sort of growth.) Angelica will do for mindless knitting, like sitting in front of the telly, as will Elfine now I've pretty much memorised the lace pattern.

Here's my forecast progress so far.

forecast start

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

HP and her knitting

Hannah and her knitting, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Look, some knitting that isn't my Eflines! It's the Easter holidays and HP (my not-so-little-anymore little sister), being a student type, has a long long holiday to do nothing (maybe some work) in. She's currently staying with Debs (my middle sister) and last night I went round for tea. I was under strict instructions to take my 12mm so needles so HP could start knitting her cardigan, and here's proof that she did. It's in Colinette Point 5, bought last year at the Colinette Mill Shop whilst on holiday in Wales. It's going to be a zippy cardigan, very warm, very green, very HP.

And the Elfines? Still growing.

me and some socks

me and some socks, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Monday, April 03, 2006

one elfine done

one elfine done, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I acheived my weekend goal of finishing Elfine sock one and starting sock two. Sock one is still attached to the ball because I want my smaller footed sister (whose feet are almost exactly the same size as my sockpal) to try it on for size first.

Ball two is much more orange than than the first ball of yarn. Just in time for Projct Spectrum's April colours of orange and yellow.

Detail of the stitch pattern and yummy colours.

elfine stitch pattern
elfine stitch pattern, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Friday, March 31, 2006

elfine in progress

elfine in progress, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

My sockpal sock number one has been growing slowly. There were some setbacks. I don't seem to get on with the wrap method for short row heels. My first attempt was messy and too small since I decided for reasons best known to myself to knit it on 2.25mm dpns. The current heel is attempt 3 or 4, still using the wraps method, but on 2.5mm dpns. I think it's OK. Sock two will have a backyards yarnover short row heel though. I seem to get on with those better.

Heels apart, I love the stitch pattern. I'm not quite confident enough to knit without looking at the directions, but the lace pattern is pretty intuitive. I've done a repeat and a half of the leg. I'm going to see if I can finish this sock and start the second one this weekend.

angelica in progress

angelica in progress, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've finished the body. Looking at this picture, the darts look in the slightly the wrong place. But I quite like how it fits, so I'm not ripping the body out. Onto the sleeves!

Cross-posted on Angelica knitalong page.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

secret monkeys revealed

secret monkeys revealed, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

It's been sent now, so here's that secret project - a jumper for the newly arrived daughter of my friends D and C. C comments sometimes as monkeypask, so there had to be monkeys.

Pattern: Made it up as I went along. Top down raglan with seed stitch edging and buttoned opening along the raglan line.

Yarn: Emu superwash wool from my Grandma's stash.

Needles: 4.5mm circs and dpns

Notes: This was a fun knit and a quick one. I wrote down what I did as I went along, mostly, so I could do it again. The button tabs in are slightly the wrong place, the top one should probably be nearer the neck. I looked and looked for monkey buttons, couldn't find any, so made some out of Fimo. This won't fit the baby yet, but hopefully she'll grow into it before it's too hot to wear.

Here's another monkey close-up.

2 secret monkeys