Saturday, 27 October 2007

It's quite hard to take photos of your own head

A better knitting week for me this week. I seem to have rediscovered some of my mojo anyway! Mostly I decided to raid the stash and see what there was in it that I could make presents from, or at least small items that would give some sense of instant gratification rather than the rather daunting task of starting a sweater.

So I present the Koolhaas hat copy that is destined for my brother for his birthday. This is the only photo out of about 50 that actually came anywhere near having my whole head in!

Pattern - it's a rip off of Brooklyn tweed's Koolhaas hat, which is included in Interweave holiday gifts. I didn't buy the pattern I just saw the pictures on his blog and copied it. I totally love the way it is so architectural (being an engineer I relate to clean lines and symmetry) and interesting though suitable for a man. I cast on 132 stitches, worked in P4,k2 rib for a bit and then started twisting stitches every other row. Decreases were worked by doing a K2tog instead of a twisted stitch once every set of diamonds. I had to play around with the crown a bit to get it to lie flat, but once this has been through the machine it will be pretty good.

Yarn - some random 100% machine washable DK weight wool/acrylic mix that came from the old lady next door when she moved out. But it's machine washable, which is important for my brother, and one of the only things that I have in the stash that is man coloured.

Needles - Addi turbo lace 3.75mm - 100cm long, meaning that I worked on the magic loop for the whole hat.

Cast on - last thursday - 18th october
Cast off - Monday - 22nd october

So for this week's challenge I am experimenting with entrelac. I have never done it before, though it's rather fun. I am utilising some of the balls of kureyon that I have left over from making my lizard ridge blanket. It is a total of suck it and see really...... but fun! I am going to felt it in the end to make something nice and sturdy, that will either be so fantastic I keep it or will be a christmas gift for someone. We have a tradition of only ever giving home made presents so I really do need to start thinking about christmas now.

The other great thing that happened is that I finally managed to get my KTS4 package from the post office......... I am drinking a cup of tea from it as I type, and have just finished a chocolate from the world's most northern chocolate company!

It's been such fun swapping with Else - a fantastic match if ever there was one! Check out her blog to see the great mug I found for her!

I got all sorts of things.... drops alpaca in a fanstastic burnt orange, the most delicious cloudberry sweets, lots of cute chocolates, a great mini tea filter so that I can brew the (very lovely) loose leaf tea! A tea tin with a massive variety of different tea bags in, some norwegian snacks and more chocolate. Mmmmmmm. Thank's Else!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Mojo - lost

Well, the title says it all really! Not that much productive knitting going on here at the moment. I spent last weekend in Carbisdale castle doing a tai chi course - we learnt a lot of stuff about meridian theory, some chineese medicine stuff and did loads of push hands. I came back so chilled out that I could barely function - looking out of the window wondering at the beauty of the world and how nice all the leaves looked and didnt the river smell lovely and clean was about the pinnacle of my intellectual capability!

I want to knit, but nothing seems to be working. I am planning 3 things:

Desert sunrise - I have decided that this is going to be a cardigan, a couple of inches rib round the bottom, cute little round neck, a couple of inches ease, fitted, clean lines and nice and simple. The object of the swatching (There has been a lot of swatching, even though all of them were wrong and ended up getting ripped) is to get the colours to look right (background is staying mid -dark brown, with the contrast varying between dark red, burnt orange and into yellow), maintaining the proportions so that I have a chance of using the yarn I have and not having to buy more and still have some sort of flow. I need to rejig my chart to have 3 less rows in it and then I think it will work.

Man jumper - the sweater curse is live and well. Only it doesnt seem to be killing our relationship, just my desire to knit a jumper that is black and in 2x2 rib. I need to think of a way to make it more interesting while maintaining enough simplicity that my husband will actually wear the thing when I am finished.

Green jumper - I have enough skeins of malabrigo worsted weight to make me the desired green jumper. But I have no inspiration as to how it should work. The wool is so lovely and soft, and looks so fantastic that I want it to be just right, so I am almost afraid of starting!

And then I found this post on Brooklyntweed's blog about the koolhaas hat and thought that I just had to make one. Seeing as how no-where had the pattern in Inverness (I am TRYING to convince somewhere to sell in Interweave stuff with no luck) and I dont really like the other stuff in the magazine enough to justify buying it mail order, I just sort of set about copying it. I'm not totally convinced about the yarn I used (some random stuff I have inherited, which is some sort of wool/acrylic blend I think in green/blue) or the decreases, but overall it worked pretty well. I am rather proud of myself, and it will do perfectly fine for my brother's birthday, which is in a couple of weeks time.

On the other hand not having that much time dedicated to knitting, means that I have got my parcel all wrapped and ready for my KTS-4 swap partner, Else, so that can go in the post on Monday. And it means that our new window has had a coat of paint, there are two more curtains in the sitting room (only 2 to go, but I have lost extra red cotton so had to stop), our stag antlers have finally been put on the wall (a "quick job" that took 2 hours) and there has been plenty of exiting and interesting baking this week! Obviously this is what other people do when they dont knit.

Photos another day - the husband is out with the camera!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

New Project Fortnight

I have been hatching a plan today at work - and drawn a HUGE chart.

And tonight I didn't get any knitting done but I did get to wind some wool into balls. I have decided that it is about time I got a ball winder, because I really really wanted to start a swatch but instead I have just been winding, winding and winding some more!

So here we have several skeins of Jamieson shetland jumperweight wool. This was a fantastic deal - I had to spend a few days in Lerwick for work in the spring (I only meant to be there one night but it got foggy and so I was stuck there for an extra day, and then had to get the ferry which takes 15 hours and leaves me in Aberdeen which is still basically 3 hours from home, rather than an hour or so on the plane) and I was soooo bored until inspiration struck and I went looking for the wool shops. There are lots and lots of shops selling boxy fairisle jumpers, and then finally I found one that would sell me wool and needles. Problem solved!

This selection came in a bag called Desert Sunrise or something similar, and I added a couple of extra yellow balls to the mix for some brightness. There were 2 skeins that didn't quite fit with my intended colour scheme.......

This is my first new project on which I am going to be experimenting. I have done a couple of fairisle things, so happy with the techniques, but this will be the first proper jumper I have done. Or maybe cardigan. Who knows - first I have to swatch.

But this is going to be the first of several casting projects over the next wee while, because it is going to involve carting round many balls and lots of concentration, so I am going to start a couple of easy things as well for in between times.

The other thing I have done is sign up to the knitters tea swap...... shopping soon so that I can post to my partner, Else, who lives further north in Norway than I previously realised existed. They already have snow up there so knitting season has well and truly arrived!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

And then there were two.....

Finished object alert.......

Well, my first finished sock has a sister now!

Some statistics:

Yarn - Colinette Skye in shade Neptune, two skeins
Needles - 3.75 addi turbo lace (these have featured a lot in my life recently)
Pattern - Made it up with advice from several google searches.
Cast on - last week!
Cast off - just now (again)

So that I have it written down somewhere.....

Cast on 20 stitches using judy's magic cast on. This was the first time that I have ever used it (my last abortive sock had a short row toe which had gaping holes down the side and was the reason that I never got beyond mid sole) and it is an invention of shear genius. Quick, simple, easy to remember and oh sooooo effective.

Then increased 4 stitches every other row 5 times, until there were a total of 40 stitches.

Gusset - increase 2 stitches every other row 9 times. This is more than average as a proportion of the total stitches but I seem to have fat ankles. Next time I might try more.

Heel..... guess! They are both subtly different, but worked in slip stitch. Next time I will take more of a note as I am going along because I have no idea now.

Then work 2 inches, and start increasing every 5th row.

See - pretty increases to fit round my bulging calf's! I would say fat calves, but they are the one bit of me that is actually mostly muscle, we do quite a bit of cycling and walking. After 10 lots of increases, start rib until the wool has nearly run out.

I cast off the second sock so many times. The first one I just did a standard cast off loosely and while it looked fine on, was very saggy when the sock was taken off. Resorting to my Knitters Handbook and deciding against a sewn bind off I tried one that involved decreasing stitches. Not quite stretchy enough. So armed with a needle I started off on my first attempt at a tubular bind off in double rib. It said I should be good at grafting (I am not) and able to do it with single rib (have never attempted) but I thought that after a glass of wine it would all be fine. And I am quite proud of myself - it's not 100% even but for a first attempt it's ok. And the actual method is again pure genius, neat, stretchy and so much less obvious than any other method.

I still might sew soles on these, but at the moment I am enjoying wearing them too much to bother (and I need to try and figure out where I can get some suitable leather, or decide to sacrifice some jeans or something).

I have nothing on my needles and I'm not sure what is coming next. Unusual for me, but the intense concerntration at the end of this project meant that I had no time to daydream about what was coming next.

Either a malabrigo jumper for me, or something out of rowanspun 4-ply or the black man jumper. Who know's which way the wind will blow!

Friday, 5 October 2007

My first ever finished sock!

This is my first ever finished sock!

And I was so exited to have finally finished one that I immediatly cast on for the second. I have read a lot of second sock syndrome tales in the knitting blog world and feel it is important to maintain momentum at this stage. Normally, I have suffered from first sock syndrome, I once turned a heel on a pair of very short top down socks, but I never got anywhere near finishing one. So this, I feel, is me coming out and being presented to the knitting society at my debutante ball!

I made the socks toe up. I like the concept of knitting until one runs out of wool. This made them quite long, but that was sort of hoped for; I truly didn't have a clue how much wool there was in a skein and how much sock it would make.

But as you can see they are well above calf length, but not quite knee high. Being made of sort of worsted weight wool, with 3.75mm needles (a lot smaller than the suggested 4.5's, but I am intending on getting a fair amount of wear here and tighter normally lasts longer)

Most likely I am going to wear these as sort of sock slippers for lounging round the house. As you can see from the state of the unsanded and wood worm riddled floorboards in my sitting room this is going to give the poor things a certain amount of heavy wear. So much that I am seriously considering sewing some sort of either leather or something else hard wearing to the soles as protection. Kind of a more colourful and cheerful version of those nepali sock slipper things my mum wore in the days when I was young.

As you can see my second ball of wool is behaving rather differently to the first. I don't mind this at all, and the exitement of seeing what is going to happen to the pattern on the next repeat is great. Plus if I am going to get all into these handpainted skeins of pure luxury then it is just something you have to love.

But the whole sock knitting thing is mostly down to my recent discovery of the magic loop method of knitting in a circle. How great it is and how much easier is it to control than all those pointy and spikey dpn's? (Lots!) How did I not know about it until a few weeks ago? (Ignorance and not enough blog reading)

So, sock knitters of the world - I owe you all an apology. I thought you were all mad, and I am starting to have my suspicions that you were right all along. I still think I am going to knit jumpers, but the odd pair might be slipping into the equation every so often, and it gives me the perfect excuse to buy some lovely colourful and fantastic wool.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Beautiful Harebell Lace.......

Another finished object has risen from the blocking bed....

Modelled on my apple tree....

And on my garden bench.

Finished Object Stats

Yarn - Laceweight Merino from Yarnsnob (100g skein - I had 11 yards left)

Needles - 3.75mm addi lace turbos, 80cm long

Pattern - Harebell lace Fichu from Victorian Lace Today - heavily modified (some explanation later on)

Cast on - 11 August

Finished - 27 September

Finished Dimensions - 13" by 64" after blocking

This is a picture of the origional pattern.

I took the harebell part of this chart, and knit 25 repeats of 4 sets of it across the scarf. These were offset so that the difference in stitch numbers was evened out.

I then knit on the picoty pointy border using the same attachment method as the myrtle leaf shawl.

And the combination makes a lovely squishy warm scarf that is just perfect to be a birthday present for my mum. Her birthday has already been (and she has no idea I have a blog) but I will deliver it in person in about a month!

The next project has been conceived - I have 2 skeins of Colinette Skye in neptune colourway, and I am going to make bedsocks!