Monday, 1 June 2009


..... this is posted in a whisper, because Owen is asleep!

Anyway, I am here to announce that about 3 weeks ago I rediscovered the will to knit. More to the point, I joined up two thoughts in a logical and coherent way and that sort of enabled me to see the root of my loss of knitting mojo.

For a while now, I have been feeling the urge to knit something, but somehow I never manage to actually make a decision about what I want to make or what part of my extensive yarn collection would be best for it.

The dilemmas involved are enourmous - do I knit for the baby, only to have to make it in acrylic and have him grow out of it in 10 days? Do I knit something for me only to have him puke on in after 10 minutes, and then not get round to washing it for 6 weeks because it is handwash? Do I knit another scarf/shawl knowing full well that I'll not wear it for months because the summer is finally here? Which of the thousands of ideas for jumper designs I have floating round in my head is the best one? Why don't I do something useful and finish one of the many things I am half way through?

It was all too much thinking about knitting, feeling oppressed by the stash and my lack of time and will to knit it, and not enough sponteneity and fun.

And then I was struck by the aforementioned coherent thoughts. The first one said - you are having trouble stringing thoughts together, so stop thinking about designing something and just knit from a pattern with no modifications. The second thought was - stop bleating about not having enough time (while spending a good chunk of every morning on the internet) and use the time you do have to cast something on.

Then I saw the perfect project - simple, quick, useful, a couple of yarn options in the stash. It was the Whisper Cardigan from Interweave Spring. I saw the pictures and liked it. I swatched in laceweight and didn't like it (far too open) so went to sockweight and liked it a whole lot more, but then what is there not to like about Posh Yarn Laura!

Anyway, that little bit of inspiration was all I needed to start the knitting, it went surprisingly fast and now Whisper is blocking upstairs and I am praying that it is going to be dry by tomorrow so that I can wear it. Photos will follow soon, just as soon as I can commandeer Francis and the camera and a spare 5 minutes, but I am dead chuffed to have finished something, and am casting round for ideas for my next project.....

Sunday, 1 March 2009


.... this has taken a lot of effort and perseverence, but I have finally finished casting off!

This is my Laminaria, which I started 7 weeks ago when I was trying desperatly to fill the time waiting for Owen to appear. To begin with it all went really quickly, and by the time I was out of hospital I had done all the first chart, and was on with the blossom chart. I decided to chuck in a couple of extra repeats of that. In retrospect I might not have done that, seeing how long it has taken me to do the border. By the end it was at least 30 minutes a row, and I could only really do it when someone else was here incase Owen woke up in the middle of something complicated. And the cast off was looooooong.
But it's a lovely pattern, the yarn (Posh Yarn Eva Laceweight) is fantastic and I really really want to wear it. Plus I feel pleased that having a baby hasn't totally interrupted my ability to knit complicated lacy things. That said, my next project is going to be in thicker yarn and considerably smaller and easier to see progress.
It'll be blocked this evening, and ready for wearing next week.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Latest Finished Object....

This one has been a long time in the WIP pile ........ he arrived on Tuesday 20th January, at 21.10 in the evening, was hard work but worth it.

That'll be my new boy - Owen. One two three, Ahhhhh (and yes, he has a lot of hair).

He's got his Francis charmed, and I knit him a jumper.......

Pattern - my own, basic raglan cardigan, one row stripes, moss stitch button bands and collar, random assortment of buttons from my collection.

Size - 0 - 3 months (from a Debbie Bliss pattern), a bit big for now - he'll grow into it! 7" to underarm, 5.5" sleeve length, 9.5" total length, 19" round the chest.

Yarn - oops, didn't keep the ball bands, but acrylic/wool blend machine washable sportweight/dk. 1 ball in green and one in off white.
Gauge - 6.5 stitches and 8 rows per inch.
Comments - it's a good thing it's washable. Not the nicest softest wool ever, but practical and cheap and available in the shop in Inverness. There seems to be a lack of nice wool that is washable on the market, but I did go shopping in some of the internet sales and have bought some of various blends which I am going to be trying out. When I am a bit better organised, I'll get a cone or two of machine washable wool and try dyeing my own I think - it is so much more fun working with really nice coloured stuff.
He will have matching green booties as well as soon as they are done........

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Currently blocking.....

First off, being 41 weeks pregnant is not conducive to having lots of knitting mojo, or staying power. I keep starting things, frogging them after about 3 rows and then having another nap (and/or some more chocolate icecream). I am no longer enjoying pregnancy, I am sore bored and very very grumpy, but nothing seems to be happening.
I have managed to finish one project off though - my Winter Cottage Mittens (apologies for the photos, but the weather here has not been conducive to taking photos outside).
This lovely pattern was designed by the Lovely Dee at Poshyarn, and the colourway is Bonfire, but being me I made a few changes.
The most important of these was the addition of a gusset on the side of the mitten so that they would go round my large hands. The fit is great above the thumb, but there was no way that I was going to get them on if they had an afterthought thumb.
Then in order to make the gusset fit above the bottom pattern, I needed to add a few rows to the bottom of the main pattern - luckily it repeats twice so I just had to copy about 10 rows over. Then in order not to end up with very long mittens, I left out 10 rows of the ribbing.

The mittens are quite snug in these photos, but I have just got round to making a template (cardboard wrapped in clingfilm, sized to fit round my hand) and they are now soaking and waiting to be dried.
They are going to be lovely and warm though - just perfect for pushing a pram round town this winter. All I need now is a baby, so if you could all think labour inducing thoughts for me that would be much appreciated.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Super secret knitting

My most ambitious piece of christmas knitting was very well recieved, which was a big relief to say the least. The idea was started at the end of November, when we called in at New Lanark Mill on the way home from Sheffield. Francis was very impressed with the wool, and chose some Gritstone coloured Aranweight as his favoured colour. I was thinking of making him a cobblestone out of it, but at this point had no intention of giving it to him for chirstmas.

Then he went to shetland and came back having bought me some lovely hand dyed shetland yarn, and I started thinking silly thoughts. I swatched for a cobblestone, got the gauge first time, and then started thinking that as I had maternity leave starting I might be able to get it finished in time. So I started manically knitting on Cobblestone at every opportunity, encouraging him to go out for days in the hills to give me more knitting time. By the start of my one week's leave, I had done the body up to the armpits and started a sleeve. Between visits to the hospital/midwife and other christmas related errands, I knit and knit and knit (between 9 and 5 while he was at work) and by the Friday I had a completed jumper. The yoke seems to take forever though.............

At this point, I realised that I was going to have to block it in secret as well.... which was going to be a lot harder to achieve. I dunked it in some water (baby baths are very useful for this) and left it with some soak while I thought about it a little, deciding that there was so much clutter in the baby room that the jumper could be laid on the floor under the cot and disguised with stuff. Following a lot of rinsing (the first soak water was a very dark peaty brown) the jumper was duely laid out under the cot (this means that the blocking is by no means as good as it might have been) and left. It took forever to dry, but by the 23rd it was finally done. Phew.

It was all worth it - he likes the jumper (his first knitted gift), was totally surprised to see his yarn knitted up, and has worn it ever since........

Vital Statistics:
Pattern - Cobblestone by Jared Flood in Interweave Knits

Size - Smallest (39" chest)

Needles - 4.5mm circulars

Yarn - New Lanark Aran, in Gritstone. approx 6.5 skeins.

Comments - the yarn softens a lot on blocking, but still makes a very rugged and wooly garment. Perfect for a very warm sweater, but I wouldn't want to wear it next to the skin. The first wash produced some very dark brown water which surprised me a bit as the wool is a natural colour, but the water was running clear after about 5 rinses and no staining was left on the towel I blocked on. The pattern is great - clear and easy to execute, simple, plain and perfect for Francis. I knit it exactly as written, but if I was to make a slight modification I might make were I to knit it again would be to cast on slightly fewer stitches at the cuffs and do more increasing, but I think it fits fine as it is so I might not!

All in all I am more inspired to knit for the man in my life than I have been for a long time, and this project has left smiles all round!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

3 Things

There are 3 things that are making me very happy indeed.

1. I have finally finished work - maternity leave is fantastic and I am suddenly getting into the whole christmas spirit!

2. My Winter Cottage Mitten kit has arrived. I ordered the bonfire colourway, and wanted to cast on straight away, but got the yarn in a right tangle when I was winding it. My husband has now sorted that out for me and I can cast on with a clear consience because...

3. I have just finished my Coraline, and it fits. It needs blocking, but I think I might be in love, or alternatively overexcited because it is the first new item of clothing I have had in quite a few months. I have high hopes for this being an excellent transition garment in the pregnant / after birth department.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Spiral Hat

Well - several christmas presents have been made and mostly dispatched! I'm 99% certain that my brother doesn't even know I have a blog, so I thought I'd show his on here even though it is well before christmas.

I asked my Husband to kindly do the modelling, when we went for a walk a couple of weeks ago, in Moniak woods, which really are very nice if you happen to be in the area.

Some statistics:

Yarn - Jamieson and Smith DK, Black, held double. For the contrast colour I used less than one ball of Kureyon, carefully selecting the portion of yarn I knit with so that I missed out the pale pink.

Needles - 4.5mm and 5mm Knitpicks

Pattern - My own. It is a very simple hat, with a bit of a rib at the bottom and then spiral stripes above. The decreases were worked offset from each other so that the spiral remained unbroken at the top.

It's a great leftovers hat, but it is quite wooly so those with sensitive foreheads might want to think about giving it some sort of lining.

The weather has taken a distinct turn since then, and much of the area now looks like this:

It's freezing down to sea level, there is some snow higher up, but the sun shone (even though it did set at 3.30) and it's nice and clear. And it's forecast to stay that way for a good while. Time to hole up with the heating up and finish the last sleeve of my Coraline.