Monday, January 29, 2007

monkeys and mountains

Morning. I present, one finished monkey sock. I'm quite pleased with it. It's gone quickly, with the help of a long evening's worth of knitting on Saturday night. Modifying the stitch pattern worked well. It's possibly a little short, but I think with blocking and a little wear, it'll be fine.

And here are the mountains.

That's the wrong side of the shetland triangle, forming pleasing little corrugations, like an egg box or very neat mountains. I've done 5 or 6 repeats, (I've lost track, but I'm just going to make it as big as I can, so I'm not too worried) and I've not reached the end of my first hank yet. Sometimes I worry it's still too dense, but stretched out, it looks OK. How should I block it? The yarn's not very tightly spun and mohair's weaker when wet, so I'm thinking I'll pin and spray rather than wet block. Any tips?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

finished forecast

It's been defying photography, but it's done. Complete with 294 bobbles and 196 cable crosses. And I love it!

Started: 20 April 2006

Finished: 19 January 2007

Pattern: Forecast

Yarn: 6 and a bit 100g balls of Rowanspun aran in Heath from Cucumberpatch.

Needles: 5mm and 4.5mm circulars.

Modifications: Not that many really. I did 5 stitch bobbles and the short cuffs as written. I missed out some of the raglan increases on the sleeve side to make the arms less enormous and then decreased again from 64 to 40 stitches before doing the cuffs. I extended the ribbing at the bottom. I did try adding short rows to the bust, but soon ripped it out again because it looked silly and wasn't needed because the garter stitch part is stretchy enough.

Cross-posted on the Forecast knitalong.

Monday, January 22, 2007

beginnings and false starts

Forecast is finished and lovely and I've been wearing it all weekend, but haven't yet got a decent photo. I'll have another go. Instead, here's the monkey sock I started on Saturday.

I made good progress at the knit together on Saturday, it was looking good, the stitch pattern's gorgeous, I love the colours of the yarn (Sloe from Curious Yarns, who are still offline, I hope they're not gone forever). But, it doesn't fit. It took me this far to admit that actually I can't get my foot into it. So, bye bye sock. I'm going to start it again, over 72 stitches with a modified stitch pattern. (There are two obvious places to add stitches to turn the lace pattern into a 18 stitch, 13 row repeat.) But rather than go straight onto that, I started this.

It's the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style (thanks to Lyndsey-Jane) in luscious but apparently unphotographable handpsun kid mohair. The yarn is very variable, laceweight thin in some spots, thick dk in others. I played around with a couple of needle sizes. 5mm seems to be big enough so that the details don't get lost, but not so big that the yarnovers become enormous. Of course, right now it just looks like a big purple lump, but I'm confident blocking will open it up.

Friday, January 19, 2007

itchy fingers

I've almost finished Forecast. Knitting was finished on Wednesday, she just needs buttons. I want to get her finished to wear to the Cambridge knit-together tomorrow. FO pictures on Monday.

So for once, I've got nothing on the needles and I'm itching to start something new. That something should probably be the mate for my poor neglected single lovemeknot sock.

lovemeknot sock

Except last night I wound some other sock wool into a ball ready for knitting. And earlier this week I ordered some gorgeous yarn to make another Clapotis. get the picture.

Let's see what the weekend brings.

Monday, January 15, 2007

what to knit when you're shrinking

You won't have noticed yet, but I'm losing weight. Inspired by my incredible shrinking sister, I'm going on a diet.

So, what shall I knit? There doesn't seem much point in knitting something that may not fit me in a few months time, but I don't know how my body's going to change so there's not much point in trying to guess and knit something in a smaller size. The next few things I'd mentally lined up to knit were the Sunrise Circle Jacket and a v-neck jumper (long running saga of the navy lambswool-cashmere) but now, I think they're going on the back burner.

The solution, I suspect, is socks and shawls. I shall finish Forecast (which is designed to fit very snuggly, so shouldn't look silly if I get smaller) and then think lace projects. The first thing I'd like to make is something with this gorgeous mohair from Skye. It's not laceweight, it's more like a light dk (worsted) weight, with thinner and thicker bits. But I'd like it to be something airy, lacey, a pattern with movement to it, more organic than geometrical. Any ideas where to look for inspiration? I've been looking at the 1st and 2nd Books of Modern Lace Knitting (another acquisition from my Grandma. The patterns are mostly square (table cloths) or circular (doilys and circular table cloths) but there might be something I could adapt to a triangular shawl. Yarn Harlot Stephanie did. I think that's the shape I'd like. Although I'm not totally against the idea of a stole-type wrap. Your thoughts?

first FO of 2007

I've got a new hat. Hoorah!

Started: 3 January 2007

Finished: 14 January 2007

Pattern: Shedir from the Knitty Breast Cancer special edition. (pdf from here)

Yarn: 1 and a bit balls of Rowan Calmer in a gorgeous purple colour that seems to be new, since I can't find it online anywhere.

Needles: 3.25mm circulars (UK size 10s, a new acquisition from my Grandma's knitting treasure trove. I must show you all the things she gave me.)

Modifications: 2 extra repeats of the straight section so it keeps my ears warm. Actually it's a little bit too deep and tends to poke up above my head as you can see here. But I'd rather that than cold ears.

I think of this as my SeaChange hat since most of it was knitted in front of the tv watching SeaChange with my housemates. (It's an Australian drama series about a small coastal town. We're borrowing it on video from a friend.)

Monday, January 08, 2007

last Christmas FO

I think these are my favourite of this bunch. My mum's name is Eleanor, so she had to have some of these.

Started: November 2006

Finished: December 2006

Pattern: Eleanora Socks by Miriam Felton

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Cranberry

Needles: 2.5mm dpns and circulars

Modifications: I substituted an eye-of-partridge heel because I thought it complemented the leg pattern.

Notes: I loved knitting these. The pattern is very well-written, with very clear charts. The yarn is gorgeous, smooth and silky, just enough variation in colour to make it interesting without detracting from the stitch pattern (colour not quite right in either photo. Probably nearest in the bottom one, but a bit washed out). I love the diamonds at the top, and the way the toe decreases are written to maintain the pattern. (see below) I loved knitting something with a historical connection. I think I might knit another pair for myself sometime.

comfy cashmere Christmas socks

More socks, this time for my sister Debs.

Started: 2 December 2006

Finished: 6? December 2006

Pattern: Toe-up, 64 stitches, spiralling slip-stitch pattern inspired by Ysolda (my version slips every 8th stitch every other round, shifting along by 2 stitches each time), short row heel (over 38 stitches, short rowed down to 12 stitches), 2x2 rib, sewn cast-off.

Yarn: HipKnits cashmere sock yarn.

Needles: 2.5mm circulars and dpns.

Notes: I love the softness of cashmere sock yarn! This was a cashmere club skein, or rather two. When it arrived, I thought it was all one colour, but it turned out to be two skeins, one 60g-ish peachier one and one 40g-ish sunshiney yellowier one. So I made socks with a contrast toe, heel and ribbing.

I'm pleased with how the heel came out. I like the convenience of short row heels, but when you've got big feet like me (or my sister), sometimes they make the sock pull too much over the instep with no gusset. Using 60% of the stitches to make the heel instead of 50% helps it to fit better. I love these socks, but I don't really wear orange.

Here's a detail so you can see the stitch pattern. Colours are more accurate in the top picture.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

knitting goals for 2007

Right, I've had a think. This is what I'd like to do in 2007.

Only have 2 projects on the go at once, one portable and one not.
Now, a look at my sidebar would suggest this is already not happening. But it sort of is. There's one lovemeknot sock which has been waiting a very long time for a mate, but since it's not actually on the needles, it doesn't count. I decided making myself a new hat was more important right now. When Shedir's done, I'll knit another lovemeknot. And the garter stitch shawl is a long term using up scraps type project, so that doesn't really count either.

Knit from stash more often than buying new yarn
I'll start by working out what I've got, mentally assigning some to projects and perhaps getting rid of stuff I'm never going to use. I've got some gorgeous stuff waiting to be knit (handspun mohair springs to mind) and some lese gorgeous stuff (various shades of red and burgundy superwash aran weight, none of which is enough to make anything out of on its own, but none of which really goes with any of the others).

Try stranded colourwork
I love how it looks, but I'm a little scared of it. This might be a good way to sort out my idiosyncratic and inefficient throwing style, or to learn to knit Continental. There are some pretty patterns in the latest Knitty that might be a good place to start.

Knit more lace
I've tried it in 4-ply/sock yarn. Now it's time to try it with proper laceweight.

Knit less
I got a bit overwhelmed with knitting in the autumn and winter, partly because I set myself too many things to do. Once I start my Open University course again in February, I need to spend more of my free time on that and less on knitting. Knitting should be relaxation, not something I feel I must do, but something I enjoy doing.

more exciting Christmas socks

These ones were for my little sister, HP.

Started and finished: sometime during December 2006

Pattern: Toe-up, 64 stitches, stocking stitch sock, short row heel (backwards yarnover method) worked over 36 stitches, garter stitch cuff.

Yarn: oddments of various sock wools

Needles: 2.5mm circulars and dpns

Notes: These were fun! I just used whatever colours I felt like. The best bits are where I used three colours at once, in spiralling stripes as demonstrated by Ysolda. I used magic loop technique, (as I do for most socks now. I'm so used to it, dpns feel odd) so my stitches were divided across two needles. I think I pulled a little too tight at the corners, especially when I had multiple colours, so the first sock particularly has a definite line of tighter stitches running up each side. I corrected it to some extent on sock 2, but something to watch out for.

the first of many Christmas socks

These are the ones I made for my Grandad.

Started: 18(?) December 2006

Finished: 26 December 2006

Pattern: Based on Thuja, but worked over 72 stitches.

Yarn: Trekking Pro-Natura

Needles: 2.5mm circulars, 2.25mm dpns

Notes: If you look closely, you'll see the tops of the cuffs are slightly different. Both use a tubular cast on, but with different techniques. For sock 1, I used the tubular technique from a knitty article which I can't find since the archives got reorganised, but for sock 2, since I'd forgotten to bring the right needles, I used the fiddly but clever Italian tubular cast on from FluffBuff's useful tutorial. The first step took me a while to master, but then something clicked and I got it. The tricky bit is knitting the first row and making sure that you're knitting something that's meant to be a stitch each time. If you get it right, the result is neat and stretchy.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

belated scarf

My sister Debs (who doesn't knit, but does blog) kindly took some photos of my mum's birthday scarf which missed a spot on the blog. So here's my mum in her scarf.

Started and finished: some time in June/July 2006. I know it was finished before I moved house in early July.

Pattern: Feather and fan lace scarf pattern from HipKnits cashmere club.

Yarn: 150g ish of HipKnits aran silk. I just picked the largest ball I had and knit until the scarf was a good length and I ran out of yarn.

Needles: 5mm bamboo straights

Here's a closeup of the lovely wavy end.

last year's goals

I've just looked at my knitting goals for 2006 post from last January. You'll have to read it to make sense of this one. How did I do?

Angelica was never finished. That gorgeous lambswool/cashmere yarn is currently sitting waiting for me to decide what to do with it. I did start Ivy, but my gauge was off and it was too big and then I decided I didn't like it (the crossover comes too low, I think it would look odd on me). So I think I'm make a simple v-neck jumper, possibly by using the back and sleeves of Ivy, but rewriting the front completely.

The silk top got ripped out pretty soon after that. I used some of the yarn to make a silk scarf for my mum (which somehow never got blogged) and the rest is still sitting under my bed.

I finished the second Jaywalker sock and I love them. I even made another pair.

I haven't used any of the bag of cream aran, or made Leaves in Relief, but I have used quite a bit of the yarn from my Grandma's stash, and I've learned how to cable and read cable charts.

I never did try entrelac. Too much fiddle. HP did though.

I did design and knit myself something from scratch, my purple cotton cardigan. Very satisfying. It's not perfect, but I did wear it a lot in late spring and early autumn.

I did knit socks (many socks) and one baby jumper, but not another Clapotis. Still working on finding a yarn I like.

Right, let's think, what are my goals for 2007?

Happy New Year!

I'm back blogging again. Did you miss me? I've got some Christmas knitting that can now be revealed since it's all been given away.

Here, for Rosie, is the tea-cosy I made for my Grandma.

Started: 17 December 2006 (while watching Miss Marple, which seemed highly appropriate)

Finished: 23 December 2006

Pattern: It's based on this stripy Noro hat pattern, as used by Adrian, but with added crocheted steeks (I made steeks! For the first time ever! Very scary.) so the spout and handle could stick out.

Yarn: About 1 and a half balls of Noro Kureyon, shade 52

Needles: 4.5mm circulars and a 4.5mm crochet hook.

Modifications: Those exciting steeks and a crocheted loop at the top. I followed Eunny's directions for crocheted steeks.

This was a fun knit. I recommend Saartje de Bruijn's pattern to anyone who wants a fetching hat or tea cozy. If I made this as a tea-cosy again, I'd plan the steeks in from the beginning since they need a line of knit stitches, which I had to make by laddering down and reknitting with a crochet hook. Not impossible, but fiddly.

Grandma likes it. She says she's not going to use it until she's bought a new teapot because the old one drips.