Friday, November 12, 2010

false start

soon to be frogged, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

This is the cuff of a Kingdom glove I started a few days ago, but am about to frog.

There are several reasons for this.

1. The yarn (Colinette Jitterbug in Purple Tan) is just too busy for the intricate cables. It's too varied in colour to be a true-semi solid, but it's not highly variegated, so I thought it might work. However, having knitted a bit, you just can't see the cables properly. And if you're going to put in all the work to make tiny intricate cables, you want to be able to see them.

2. Jitterbug is just too dense at this gauge. I haven't actually measured my gauge (naughty!) but I'm knitting it on 2mm needles. I usually knit socks in Jitterbug on 3mm needles, where it's much happier. It might be OK on 2.5mm, but on 2mm it's just too stiff. I suspect this contributes to...

3. It's hurting my arms to knit it. All those tiny little cables are just too much for my wrists and elbows. Probably compounded by the fact that I've not felt very well this week (a cold making me feel woozy) and concentrating on knitting cables is hard work when your brain is fuzzy.

So, time to frog and move on. Lovely pattern, gorgeous yarn, just not the right combination.

On the plus side, I've been looking for a cable pattern that turns a right angle and this pattern has one on the cuff. It's not quite what I want for the project I have in mine (a hooded cardigan with a cabled edging that runs along the bottom, turns a corner to go up the fronts and then edges the hood) but it gives me some idea of how one might work.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Birthday cardigan

My little niece, Sophia, aka Tiny, was 1 year old last week. I made her a birthday cardigan and yesterday Rob and I went down to my parents' for lunch and got to hand it over in person. This is what happened.

Ooh look

Ooh look, a present.

a little help from Mummy

Mummy had better help open it.

I think she likes it

I think she likes it. :)


Pretty posing.

The details:

Started: 8 September

Finished 30 September

Pattern: Maggie's Flower Tunic by Nancy Barrett with the addition of sleeves.

Mods: The sleeves and an i-cord bind off in the contrast colour on hem and sleeves.

Yarn: Adriafil New Zealand Multicolour. Under half a ball of the purple colourway and just over a ball of the rainbow pastel colourway. The yarn was a lovely gift from friends when I was in hospital.

Needles: 4.5 mm circulars

Buttons came from Sew Creative. I wish I'd made it bigger. It's sized for an 18months child, but Sophia, like the rest of our family, is on the large side for a one year old. In future I need to take this into consideration! It fits now, though the sleeves are a little short, but I suspect it won't for long.

Ravelled here

I'm working on a hat to semi-match.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The pig wot got married - the dress

I'd always thought I'd make my own wedding dress. I knew it would test my sewing skills, but I like a challenge. However, the experience of making 4 bridesmaids's dresses for my sister's wedding made me rethink the idea. Even a simple dress takes lots of work to make it look good, the materials alone cost a lot and I decided I didn't really need the extra stress. So, a complete DIY was out of the question.

Then there was the matter of what sort of dress I wanted. I toyed for a long time with the idea of knitting myself an off-white Elfin Bride with beads, and wearing it over a corset and swishy skirt. I still want to knit Elfin Bride someday, but I was pretty sure I wouldn't have enough time to knit it in secret and I wasn't sure about getting it to fit as I wanted. My weight's fluctuated a lot over the last couple of years and I wasn't sure, even with a corset, I could get the tight fitting look I wanted without it being too tight.

Enter Wedding Bee. Where I came across beautiful lace dresses. Of course I now can't find the ones I fell in love with, but they were all lace, long and sleek in silhouette, often with a deep v neckline, no ruching or weird pick ups, just yards and yards of lace skirt and trains. I was in love. I also had no idea how I was going to find such a dress in a bridal shop, let alone afford one. I didn't want to spend hundreds and thousands on a dress, but I did want to feel like a bride.

Thus, I arrived at eBay. One night, having had a brief chat with some friends about looking for wedding dresses, I decided to have a search on eBay. I was vaguely looking at lace and/or vintage style dresses, wondering what I could find. There were very few all lace dresses, in fact I think I only found one. It looked good, the right necklace and a gorgeous waterfall train of lace ruffles - just enough ruffles to make the back gorgeous, but not enough to overwhelm the overall shape. I bid, not really expecting to get it, but reasoning that if by some chance I did, if it didn't work, I'd resell it. A few days later, I won, and not even at my maximum bid.

A few days later, she arrived, folded up in a box, all ruffly and lacey and ivory and beautiful. I tried her on at once and was instantly in love. This was my dress, for sure! She didn't quite fit, in fact getting the dress to go over my hips was impossible, but I figured I'd lose some weight with 6 months or so to go. This was wishful thinking!

Over the next few months, I kept looking at wedding dresses. Not totally seriously, but wondering if I should have a back up plan in case my slimming into the dress plan failed. But my dress was still there, waiting in her box. I knew, however much I looked, I wouldn't find anything I loved as much. A month or so before the wedding, it was obvious I wasn't going to fit into my dress as she currently was. A drastic plan was needed. While looking up how to make a bustle, I found advice on how to let out dresses, including the advice to create a lace up back. Lightbulb! At that point, my dress had a zip with little buttons alongside it. Easy to do up, in theory, but less forgiving of a variation in size. A post on an OBB forum gave me exactly the information I needed to make a lace-up back happen.

With less than a month to go, I went home to my parents' for a few days, where my dress was being stored, shopped in John Lewis and my new favourite haberdashery MacCulloch and Wallis and set about making my dress fit. I took out the side seams, almost all the way down and let them out as far as I could, removed the zip and created lacing loops along the centre back seam. I was pretty desperate and not at all sure it was going to work, until the moment when my mum laced me into the newly altered dress for the first time and suddenly, it all came together. It wasn't a perfect fit, but was it good enough and way better than it had been at first.

When it came to the time to put on my dress for real, I felt gorgeous! The dress hugged my curves in all the right places, swished at the bottom and trailed behind me beautifully. At my mum's insistence I added some tulle to the front neckline, making it a little less decollete. On the day, I felt beautiful and I felt like myself. What more could you want?

In lots of ways, I struck lucky. I didn't venture into a bridal shop, apart from a brief look at Oxfam's bridal shop in Cambridge, so hadn't even thought about the shapes that suited me. I was shopping based on fabric, rather than shape per se, and didn't really realised how fitted my dress was until I got it. In the event, I think the mermaid/fishtail/trumpet shape suits me well. The style is Begonia by Marylise. The few photos I've seen online really don't do it justice. I'm so happy I had the confidence to do the alterations that needed to be done. The overall cost was much less than the fairly modest amount I'd budgeted for it and there's no way I could have made something similar from scratch for that price. I've not seen a dress like it in the weddings I've been to recently, which makes me quietly happy. So, even if I didn't make it myself, I ended up with a dress that was unique, beautiful and very me.

Photos by Dave Routledge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The pig wot got married - wedding shawl

I was going to post about this at a point when it fitted into the story of our wedding day as told on my other blog, but a couple of people asked and I can't resist showing off. Here is my wedding shawl, in one of my favourite photos from our wedding day, taken on the portico of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

The pattern is Aeolian by Elizabeth Freeman, which seems to be a popular patten for wedding shawls, judging by Ravelry.

The yarn is a 4 ply silk I bought several years ago from Fyberspates. It's gorgeously soft and shiny, blocks beautifully and was the perfect colour to complement my ivory dress, purple shoes and purple and pink flowers. I didn't have quite enough to cast off, as the pattern uses a double strand, so I went stash-diving again and came up with a small quantity of aran silk from HipKnits, left over from this scarf. The weight of the aran is a little heavier than 2 strands of 4ply, but not much. The colours are similar to the body of the shawl, but darker, giving an extra pop of colour to the wavy edge.

In this photo (ignore my windswept hair and veil), you can see the beads better. They're creamy pearly beads, size 6, I think. Looks like I neglected to record where exactly I bought them. This was my first time knitting with beads and it wasn't as hard as I'd feared. I don't think I'd like to tackle the sort of project where you have to start by threading all your beads onto your yarn, but placing each one on the right stitch with a thin crochet hook was not too fiddly and very satisfying.

I'm very very pleased with the result. The shawl actually didn't get much wear on the day. I didn't put it on until after the group photos when we went off on our own for some more pictures and, once we got to the reception, I didn't need it for warmth. But it will always be my wedding shawl and when I wear it again (which I will, unlike the dress) I'll remember our wedding day and smile.

Photos by Dave Routledge.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

too tired to KIP

It's World Wide Knit in Public day. Well, strictly speaking it's the beginning of the WWKIP season, which runs from 12th to 20th June. I planned to join my fellow Cambridge KToggers on Parkers Piece at 1pm this afternoon. But I was so tired, I slept most of the morning and didn't get dressed until 2pm. So I shall be KIP-ing at some other time and place this week, probably whenever I think of it.

Where are you KIP-ing?

Friday, June 04, 2010

well, that's one way to de-stash

Ever since the weather got warmer, we've been finding moths around our flat. They're little brown ones which look like scraps of brown paper. When I was away last weekend, Rob went on a determined hunt and killed all the moths he could find. For a few days, we were moth-free, but I knew it wouldn't last. They must be breeding in the flat somewhere. Killing off all the adults we could find wasn't getting to the source of the problem.

Today I found it. I was searching for an elusive 3.5mm circular needle to swatch with. I wasn't having much luck, so I took all my wool bags and baskets off the top shelf and started to rootle them. Imagine my horror on finding my baskets of oddments full of little grey-ish specks and papery cocoons. I squished one of the cocoons and found it full of sliminess - a definitely active clothes moth larva. :( Many of my odd balls were full of cocoons and eggs and some were chewed into short lengths.

Three wicker baskets full of oddments have now gone straight off to the bins (which are outside and a distance from the building). I've had a look through the other bags of wool that were up there and they look ok, but I don't think I want to risk it. I've put some precious whole skeins in the freezer (including my gorgeous honeymoon yarn), but I suspect that I shall just ditch much of the rest. It's mostly oddments, odd balls and partial skeins, although there's a large-ish amount of Rowan 4ply soft I'm hoping to make into a short sleeved jumper that I don't want to bin.

Fortunately, my stash isn't enormous. I've got maybe half a dozen balls/skeins of sock wool, my honeymoon laceweight, the Rowan, a couple of things I've got 4 or 5 balls of (left over from jumpers) and then oddments, which I doubt I''ll miss. I hope this will teach me to keep my stash small, and to keep it in sealed plastic bags, not open wicker baskets.

Next, a grand search of the rest of the flat. Starting with the laundry basket which has several dirty woollen items which have been waiting a while to be washed. I fear the worst. :S

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The pig wot got married - bridesmaids

I'm posting about my wedding on my other blog. I thought I'd post here about the things I made and bought in terms of clothes and decorations. Let's start with my lovely bridesmaids.

Here's Liz, in red, with Hannah (pink) and Debs (purple) just about visible behind her. They're all wearing the same dress, which is by Teatro and no longer seems to be online anywhere. All their dresses were bought on eBay. I wanted my bridesmaids to be dressed similarly, but not the same. I liked the idea of having many shades of pink, red and purple as my colour scheme. I didn't want to be stressing about finding exact colour matches for everything. If it was pink, red or purple, it was great! Having said that, within the BMs' outfits, there was a bit of colour matching to do, although some of it came about serendipitously.

The fascinators were the first thing I matched. I love fascinators, they're so much fun to wear. These ones came from Debenhams in the January sales. I think I paid full price for one, but the others were marked down by about 70%. They're all different and all (except the purple one) match the dresses perfectly.

The girls wore their own necklaces and shoes. The only stipulation I made about shoes was that Liz (who is shorter than me) could wear heels but Debs and Hannah couldn't. :) Debs wore some purple flats she already owned and Liz found some bargainous red LK Bennett heels for £5 in a charity shop.

The last thing I realised was that I needed to keep my bridesmaids warm. As I was knitting myself a shawl, I liked the idea of all of us wearing Bekki-knitted wraps or shawls, but I didn't really have the time to knit three more. A rummage through my wardrode produced two Clapotis - one in purple which perfectly matched Debs' dress and a second in purple and pink, which while not a perfect match, went well with Hannah's pink. The solution was obvious - knit a third Clapotis in red for Liz.

In the end, I don't think they wore them very much. These seem to be the only photographs in which all three bridesmaids are wearing their wraps. But it was pleasing to have us all wearing eBay-ed dresses and hand-knitted shawls.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby Fimble cardigan

FO: aka Fimble cardigan, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

It's been a while! I have wedding knitting to share, but first, let's catch up on pre-wedding FOs.

This is one of several baby cardigans I made at some point between November and February. Two were this colourway for baby girls and one was red and yellow for a bump of unknown gender who turned out to be a boy. I picked these colours first of all for my niece, because they looked so scrummy together. It was only when I was well into the body that I realised they matched Baby Pom from the Fimbles. Unintentional, but still pretty.

Yarn: Rico Design Baby Classic DK (Just under one ball of each colour per cardigan)

Needles: 3.5mm (ribbing) and 4mm (stocking stitch) circulars

Pattern: Top down raglan, made up by me. Fuller pattern on Ravelry.

Buttons came from Sew Creative. In terms of knitting time, it didn't take very long. I think the first one was knitting in 2 or 3 days. Quick and cute.

Monday, March 01, 2010

woolly bride

woolly bride, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

What do you do at a hen party* for a knitter? You dress her up in a wedding outfit made up of many many knitted items. :)

This was the end result of a game in which my friends all brought knitted items to the party which were gradually pinned on to make me a woolly wedding outfit. I had to guess the answers given by Rob to questions about our relationship. If I got the question right, I got to choose and pin on an item. If I got it wrong, the person reading out the question did. The final ensemble was very colourful and very warm. Note the awesome bouquet made out of bobble hats and gloves. (And Bendy Bob, who escaped from 'The Big Taboo'). Maybe if it's freezing cold in 19 days' time, I'll wish I was wearing something like this?

*US: Bachelorette party.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Not dead - busy

Hello there. I am still alive, and still knitting. Most of my knitting projects are wedding related, though there's a batch of baby cardigans and some socks I could show off.

My wedding shawl is finished, but not blocked, but I'm not going to show if off until after the wedding, I think. Will try to post a few FOs this week, but after that, I think I'm going to be in wedding-prep land. :)

Roll on 20th March! (40 days to go).