Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The blanket bites!

Last night, in the time it took me to down load the photos from the camera and write the post, the blanket monster bit Dr Sweetpea........

Not knitting (visitors next week so trying to organise the hovel and wash the spare sheets) and I have to go to Belfast again so the next few days have been hecticed. Getting back on Saturday (grrrrrrrrr) so the weekend is only going to be 3/4 of a weekend.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Lizard Ridge Returns

Now here is a finished object from a while ago (well, earlier this year)........

Introducing Lizard Ridge Afghan.......

Needles - 5.5mm addi turbo circulars
Yarn - Kureyon in lots of colours (I don't have the ball bands so I don't know)
I made 25 squares and each one used an entire ball, so there would have been 25 balls.
Cast on - some time in March
Finished - last week.......

......because even though the knitting was done a good few months ago, I discovered that though I do a lot of crafty things and consider that I am relatively dextrous, I can't crochet for toffee. So I made a swatch and had a few goes of doing the edging, but the tension was all over the place and it looked dreadful. But then a fantastic friend (who I met on the Archers discussion board, yes I am old before my time) offered to do it for me. So all I had to do was pack it in the box, and last week it arrived back home fully and neatly and perfectly finished.

I am never doing crochet again!

I love this afghan. I am amazed that I ever started to make it. I have always thought that the colours in kureyon were amazing, but I really wouldnt ever wear anything made out of it. And I have always thought that the miles and miles of stitches (mostly stocking stitch) made afghans a really silly knitting idea. But there was something about the combination of two things that I didnt really like which produced a pattern that was sublime, charming, seductive and utterly compelling.

Knitting in squares meant that each individual piece was portable, and at the end of each one you got the feeling of finishing a whole object! The sewing wasn't too bad..... I like mattress stitching, and actually enjoyed it (I spent one whole weekend sewing miles and miles).

And the best thing about it is that this was the knitting that convinced Dr Sweetpea that it was all a good idea. He thought I was dotty when I started, and continued to tease throughout, but the first monday I came home after it was finished I found him curled up in an arm chair snuggled under it and he was converted. It is now really hard to pursuade him out from under the dreaded blanket monster!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Wedding Photos!

Here are some photos from the wedding...

The bride looking beautiful and wearing the Myrtle Leaf Shawl

And again....

And again - wasnt the weather lovely?

And there was plenty of alcohol! The shawl was admired by many, appreciated by the bride who had to stand in the shade for photos for quite some while, and it looked lovely and went really well with the dress. Well done kerrie for the dying and well done me for thinking of it in the first place!

Monday, 20 August 2007

A sneaky little bit of knitting.....

Well....... I really really wasn't going to taking any knitting with me this weekend, but the harebell lace scarf snuck it's way into my bag and I accidentally ended up taking it with me. And as the weather was awful on Saturday there was enough time to finish a few repeats! I am really liking the way the colours are making stripes across the whole scarf.......

A dry blocked measurement shows that each repeat of the pattern is just over 2" long, so I am looking at doing about 25 repeats before thinking about a border. 8 down so only 17 to go. About 2/3 of the way there!

But the hotel was lovely, the food was totally fantastic even though the portions were so enormous that we both ended up feeling rather bloated. The breakfast included hot chocolate that was 50/50 milk and melted chocolate. Very very lovely, but rather rich for first thing in the morning. Anyway, if you are ever hungry and in the highlands and fancy a really nice place to stay in the highlands then I would defiantly recommend Grants!

This week is going to be low on exiting knitting - I am off to belfast for a night, and that is going to disrupt things totally. Sometime I really need to graft that other sleeve or I am going to have 2 odd lengthed sleeves and that is going to look most odd.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Was it worth it?

Please tell me that.....

..... this..........

......looks better than this?

Because that extra 4 repeats of twisted stitch rib took most of last night to knit (20 mins) and graft on (2000000 hours). Only one more to go, and then I really am going to call this cardigan finished.

Off on holiday for the weekend! Yey! It's a surprise for Dr Sweetpea, who sort of half believes me when I say that we are going camping in caithness (flat peat bog country) for the weekend.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Putting off the inevitable

You know what? We are having opposite weather to most of the rest of britain at the moment. Today - lovely, pleasant, sunny with fluffy white clouds and plenty of midges. Most of the rest of Britain - raining and windy.

But one has to take advantage when you can, so I spent a couple of very lovely hours chilling out with my tai chi mates (or the Bellfield Ninjas as we like to call ourselves) doing some practice. It has become clear to be that I need to practice more. I do try, but the weather really needs to cooperate at least a little bit. That sounds like a rather pathetic excuse - what I really need to do it get my arse in gear to tidy a space big enough to practice and then just get on and do it.

Apart from that I am spending time putting things off:

  • I need to knit some extra sleeve for Meagidh, and graft them on.
  • I need to sew on the last couple of belt loops on the kilt, take it to the dry cleaners and get it pressed.
  • I badly need to get out a very old WIP fairisle hat I am making for my sister (for her birthday which isnt that long away)
  • I need to go shopping (we don't even have a tin of tomatoes for pasta sauce for dinner)
  • I need to do the ironing
  • I need to hoover the bedroom and hang out the washing
  • I could even knit lace, but that means reading off the screen because I havent got round to printing the chart.....

But instead I think I am going to hang around doing not an awful lot, catch up with the archers (bless listen again on BBC Radio 4), wait for Dr Sweetpea to cook for me after going to the corner shop for tomatoes and look at all my new yarn. I wonder if the ironing will do itself if I wait long enough?

But my sweetpeas smell divine.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Racing for the finish line

Well, trust me to like the most expensive buttons in the shop..... (and decide to use 12 of them)

But I did really like them.......

The shoulder shaping worked really well though........

But the sleeves are a little bit too short so I think I am going to knit 4 repeats extra and graft it on to the bottom. At least most it fits.

On a wool shopping front, a great big pile of black merino dk arrived and is going to form the basis of the man jumper. But I don't think I am going to start that for a little while - this weekend is his birthday and we are off for the weekend (no details, it's a surprise). As it is his birthday I am going to try very very very hard not to knit anything and just spend some time chilling together.

Anyway - the yarn snob commented yesterday that she has never knitted with lace yarn. How can she bear to have all that lovely squishy merino goodness in divine colours and not be tempted to knit it? I really really encourage anyone who is too scared to have a go - a lot of patterns are only made of yarn overs and k2tog/ssk - with plain pearl on every other row. All you need is to make a swatch, read the chart carefully, count your stitches lots and always use addi lace turbo's! Be brave, it's worth it.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Pretty Yarn makes Pretty Harebells

Well - what a fantastically productive knitting weekend. The weather today was (as forecast) totally pish, and so I haven't even left the house! I really should do some tai chi practice: I am feeling the effects of mostly sitting and lying around. Maybe tomorrow morning if the rain has stopped.

It has been quite social though- a work colleague came round for the afternoon and we baked cakes in honour of his birthday. The nutella cake from Nigella's domestic goddess (how can any combination of nutella, nuts, chocolate, butter and eggs go wrong) and a carrot cake. He really enjoyed it and so did I. It was lovely to bake with a novice who was enjoying himself and was fascinated by all the funny things about baking that I take for granted. He was transfixed by adding eggs to oil and sugar - the mixture emulsifies and thickens quite drastically. And making ganache was fun too. After the cake making bit we drank plenty of tea while they cooked and cooled, and I didn't even have to do the washing up. I did remember to make little cupcakes of each so that we could have a sneaky try of them both though. We get to eat the big ones at work tomorrow.

And plenty of phone calls. I wonder if I normally get so many calls but we are just always out?

There was plenty of knitting action though.....

The harebell lace experiment has got about 1.5 repeats done. Somewhere the inner mathematician has let me down - I calculated that I would have enough stitches for 5 rows of harebells, but somehow when it came to starting the pattern there were exactly the right number for 4. Ho hum, it was obviously meant to be!

The pattern is working out really nicely. I discovered that the printer doesnt work, so I have had to be looking at the screen while knitting, but I will take advantage of work facilities to fix that tomorrow. I am really glad that the harebells fit together so well though, this is the first time I have attempted to totally change a pattern so I wasn't that sure of it working out.

I am knitting on addi turbo lace needles - 3.75mm. This gives a lovely stitch definition to the stockinette sections, but still nice yo's. The needles totally rock, all the others I swatched with were ditched after a couple of rows, so I was glad that this size worked. I only have these and a 4mm pair in the collection, but that might change sometime soon.

And Meagaidh is also doing well. I have slogged through acres of plain knitting, ripped and reknitted the armhole shapings, done (and redone) some short row shaping at the top and picked up what feels like 1000 stitches for the button band. I am reckoning on completion tomorrow if I can find some appropriate buttons. I am quite taken by the idea of nice wooden ones, but have no idea if I will be able to get them in town. The craft shopping potential in Inverness is slightly limited (one craft shop that sells some random mostly acrylic wool, crappy needles and a few novelty buttons and one haberdashery that is fine for sewing supplies, but the wool is cheap and mostly not what I want to knit with) but I want to wear this in 2 weeks so I will have to put up with what I can find.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Pretty Yarn in the post

I got home yesterday to find a lovely parcel in the post........

Yes - that is order from the Yarn snob. Fantastic!

I immediately set about winding the pale blue skein and swatching and hatching for harebell lace. Here is one repeat of the pattern from victorian lace......

The general plan is to have 5 repeats of the harebell pattern, with 2 of them offset by about half a repeat to try and even out the width variation (the lace varies from about 6 stitches to about 16) so that is the main challenge. My inner mathematician is thinking of all sorts of complicated ideas to make it work, but who knows.

Fortunately the husband is away and I have the whole of tomorrow (when the weather forecast is bad enough to make me want to go into hibernation) to play with it and hopefully get one pattern repeat done! I have miles and miles of stockinette to do on meagaidh for if I get brain fry.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Man Jumpers

So.... I have quizzed Dr Sweetpea about making him a jumper. This is partly in an attempt to make him appreciate my knitting a bit more (the blanket was a big success in this respect) but also because I do knit things for other people so why not my husband? I saw lots of quite exiting man jumpers on the internet - I was having a little fanasty about a lovely tweedy number with loads of complicated and exiting cables - but I really didnt know what he would wear. In a moment of boredom at work I sent him a little questionnaire.

Jumper or cardigan? Cardigan

If cardigan, zip or buttons? Zip

Dark colours or bright colours? Dark

Main colour - blue, black, grey, brown, red, green - Black

Stripes or not? Bright Stripes

Position of stripes:
All over
One/2 across chest – 2 across chest

Colour of stripes? red and white

Colour patterns (like fairisle) or not? No

Plain stocking stitch or ribbed? Ribbed

Cables or not? No

Wool - thick, middling or thin? Middling

Wool - tweedy or smooth? Smooth

So it looks as though I am going to be knitting ribbed cardigan until the cows come home! Further exploration of the concept last night (including showing him some photos) indicated that he did really really want the above jumper. I might make it a bit more interesting by placing the zip assymetrically, but dont know yet. In the future he could be tempted into some nice tweedy wool, didnt mind garter stitch borders, still didnt like cables (I am going to work on this one a bit) and wouldn't mind some fairisle as long as it was really subtle and not too bright.

At least that gives me some boundaries within which to work!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

One small step forward.....

It seems like life is conspiring against me getting very much done. Last night was spent looking after Dr Sweetpea - after his work jolly, he went for a 4 hour run in the wind and rain, got mildly hyperthermic, got down really late and generally broke himself. Silly boy. So he needed tending to, feeding and general attention.

A few more lines of meagaidh.......

I have managed to knit both sleeves and join them to the body. I am rather fascinated by the twist stitch rib.......

I have been stripping my table too. The top has been stripped and the leather polished. I dont know whether I am going to leave the table looking distressed ish or sand it down to make it nice shiny wood. I quite like it looking battered, but Dr Sweetpea disagrees!

The decision can be left for a while though because I still have the legs to strip.

Monday, 6 August 2007


Hmmmmmm. It's one of those evenings. I am at home on my own (husband is on a work jolly, no sorry, I'm sure he is having to work very hard) and I am hiberbating. I am so jealous of all you lot way down south, I keep hearing that you are having the hottest day of the year. Well, I was on a site visit an hour north, up a hill, and it was 6C, 60mph gusts of wind, persistent drizzle interspersed with heavier rain and I got to spend a lovely couple of hours looking at the drainage on the site not working. Fan-flipping-tastic.

On the other hand it did mean that I got to call by the great second hand furniture place - and accidentally bought a little table and a cupboard. Which means that so far this evening I have been distracted by stripping paint off the table. I have done the whole top - stripped, washed, sanded a bit and waxed. It is going to look fantastic when I am done, but I have to face telling husband when he gets back.

I have been thinking about knitting a lot though and am sort of thinking about starting lots and lots of things:

Socks - a while back I had a food dye experiment (nice but not exactly what I was aiming for) and so I have 100g of sock yarn to play with. I am sort of tempted by the idea of making a pair of jaywalkers, but I know that I hate knitting with dpns. I might treat myself to a couple of pairs of addi lace turbo circulars and give that a whirl. If I don't like socks done like that then I am going to give up on the idea for a while.

Scarves/lace - I had an accident on theyarnsnob's etsy page today. I searched for laceweight yarn, saw a lovely lovely blue one that would be great for the harebell scarf, but there was another skein of slightly darker blue and a great variegated pink one which accidentally fell into my shopping basket. And I already have the hipknits silk.......

Blanket/afgan - I made a lizard ridge blanket a while back, and it was the first thing that husband ever properly appreciated.
I never get to use it (at the moment it is away at a friends house for the crochet edging application - she is far more talented at crochet then me!) so I am thinking about making one for me. I am liking the idea of a really multicoloured mitre square one, or maybe even a different kureyon one. As yet no yarn purchased, but this is definatly on the to knit list.

Christmas/birthday presents - birthday season abouds in my family in october - so knitting various things for my sister and my mum. I also have a brother, his girlfriend and their baby to make presents for. One thing I was thinking of was a felted entrelac bag made of leftover kureyon.

Jumpers - I really want to make a jumper for husband - just because all menswear is so uninspired and he deserves something warm and wooly for this winter. For me, I also have 2 jumpers worth of Rowan rowanspun soft, a basket full of 4-ply shetland wool, plenty of rowan calmer in various colours and a jumper's worth of pink silk dk weight that need stuff doing to it.

So I am just going to spend plenty of time sanding and stripping paint, see how long I can stay faithful to meagaidh and if I finish her before the wedding. No photos today - nothing really interesting (unless you are interested in photos of drains not working in a cloud on a scottish hill) and it is getting dark. The only knitting progress is that I am nearly ready to join on the second sleeve - only 20 rounds of plain to go.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

All in the finishing

Kilt making is just like knitting really - you sew and sew and then you have pleats. When the pleats are done you think you must nearly be there. But no, not anywhere near, first you have to do all the faffy finishing.

You need to sew down the pleats at the waistline...... (notice that you have to lift the back of each pleat slightly so that they dont hang down and show when it is worn)

you need to tack the pleats down at strategic places - for me that was along the white lines.

You have to line the kilt with 2 layers of lining, one thick lining (can be hessian, but I used plain cotton with interfacing ) and one that is comfortable against your husbands delicate bottom. I wouldn't want to cause bottom chafing.
You have to make belt loops and you have to make little straps to hold the buckles on. At this stage I have to admit that I was making it up as I went along, but it seems fairly secure and doesn't look that bad.
And sew on the leather straps......

And make a little fringe for the front apron.......

And then it's time for the grand trying on............

As you can see this morning there was some enforced shopping for kilt socks (there really really isn't enough time for me to make them and I don't think that I like knitting socks anyway), a pin, a sporran and a sporran chain. We are still debating whether a belt is needed, but getting husband to buy even this much has to be counted as a major victory.

All I need to do now is take it to be pressed (apparently it really is worth it, and the pleats will remain for ever if it is done properly) and then that is his outfit sorted for the wedding.

And it leaves me just a little bit of time to sort out the cardigan.

But a new project looms..... this is the harebell lace fichu from Victorian Lace Today. Now, I dont think that I am ever likely to want to wear a little lacy collar, but fundamentally the interesting and lovely lace border is just knitted on, and I reckon that it can easily be altered knitting a scarf. It might just be the perfect answer for the left over skein of lovely silk from Kerrie at Hipknits. Or maybe an excuse to get some lovely harebell blue lovelieness.......