Saturday, 20 September 2008


So - Coraline is progressing well, the yoke is nearly done, but it's seeming to take a very long time to knit and I need somthing a little bit more instant as well.
Last weekend I was down in Edinburgh staying with a friend, and managed to fit in a trip to K1. This shop is small, but we a lovely selection of stuff and so of course I was tempted. They also serve tea, which is delicious (Apple loves Ginger was a total winner). A lot of what I bought is desitned to be christmas presents, but I did sneak in a skein of Scrumptious DK from Fyberspates in a lovely shade called electric blue, thinking along the lines of a hat or maybe neckwarmer for me at some point. The yarn is a very loosely spun silk/merino mix, so strokeably soft and shiny that I wound it into a ball just for the excuse of being able to fondle it a bit more.
Then when a few days later Brooklyntweed published his pattern Porom, I was totally inspired and cast on and wound the yarn.

A couple of hours later and I have already made visible progress.
I cast on using an old pair of addi turbo lace needles that I haven't used for a while, and compared to my Knitpicks the cables are so stiff. I was glad to be able to change after the first 1.5" of ribbing. I am now seriously considering a set of harmonies just to keep all my metal tips company!
Anyway, off to knit some more.....

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

On Making Life HARD

OK, if you want to add some complications to your life take one perfectly clear, well written pattern and instead of just getting on and knitting it, decide to do it upside down. I am proceeding thus with my Coraline.

The main reason for knitting top down, is that I am really unsure if I have enough yarn. I am also a bit off on the row gauge, so want to be able to block and try on as I am going along.

In between time, I have realised that there is a fairly significant colour difference between some of my skeins. Of course I realised this when I had done the first swap, so that meant ripping out back to the start again. It was worth it in the end though....

I think I have cracked the yoke now though - and if anyone else is thinking about doing this here are some notes on what I have done.....

Cast on - I used the cast on described for the sleeves for the top of the neck. The pattern tells you how many stitches are left before the cast off, and I picked up 6 fewer than this along the I-cord, with the 3 stitches of the I-cord at each end making up the rest. The result is nice and neat and clean!

Smock 2 together - for the upside down of smock2tog, (I guess you could call it smock increase) I have been doing the following: purl up to the knit stitch, make on by knitting into purl loop at the back of the stitch below, slip the knit stitch onto the left hand needle, wrap the yarn round both stitches, slip both stitches back onto the right hand needle and then knit them. All other increases were worked in the same manner (either purling or knitting into the stitch below to the left or right depending on the location of the increase)

Short row shaping round the neck - the pattern has row by row stitch counts, so it is easy to work out how many repeats of the first set of smock increases you need. I needed 10 (worked out by looking at how stitches are decreased on the last row) and marked these out with stitch markers. I worked the first set of short rows to just beyond the stitch markers, the second 1 repeat beyond this and the third 2 repeat beyond this, with the wrap and turns placed in the reverse stockinette stretches.

The rest of the pattern is fairly easy to knit by just following the instructions backwards!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Re-discovered Enthusiasm!

It is amazing how much knitting I suddenly got done when there was a dealine. Entering the Ravelympics was a stroke of genius that gave a new sense of purpose to everything. Up until that point, I had been picking up my Tangled Yoke every couple of days and half heartedly knitting a few rows, but there was no exitement to the process. It was just something I did every so often, there was no exitment, no urge to finish and find out if the final product matched expectations. It was lovely that, for once, the final product exceeded all reasonable hope andturned out to be lovely.

My Tangled Yoke cardigan is still wonderful; the most wearable thing I have made ever. I have been wearing it a lot of the time since it was finished, and it is holding up fantastically. It hasn't stretched, it hasn't gone saggy, it still fits. I might reinforce the button and neckband with a bit of ribbon to give it a little bit more stability, thoughthat is a long way down on the list of things I might do one day given infinite time and resources.

The Flutter scarf for my Mum is also lovely, and I have bravely resisted wearing it so far. The colours are so bright and clear and lovely - the photos in the last post were a little bleached by the sun (but hey, when the sun shines I'm not going to complain). I have bought some lovely tissue paper and tonight I am going to parcel it up ready for taking it to her next weekend so that the temptation is removed; though I'm not sure how to fold those lovely flutters.

So after those frantic 2 weeks of focus, I floudered to a complete halt. What was I going to knit next? I thought about picking up my holiday cardigan again, but I need to design the sleeves and the thought of sleeve cap maths makes my brain hurt. I have got it out again though and next time I have a quiet couple of hours I will do said maths and start the knitting again.

So I spent a bit of time surfing things to make that are going to be nice and versatile with a growing bump, but still be wearable thereafter. The two options that I favoured were Coraline and the ever so popular February Lady Sweater. As I am uninspired by yarn shopping at the moment, I cast through the stash and found a big pile of this:

That's Shilasdair Luxury Dk, and it appears that I have 520g of it. It's lovely, a sort of slatey french blue that is so nearly grey and the blend of cashmere, angora and lambswool is soft and quite drapey but still feels remarkably durable. Given that the website claims 300m/100g,there should be just enough to make a Coraline, though it is going to be a very close run thing. I am seriously going to look into the possiblity of knitting this top down because I'm not sure that sort of exitement is good for my nerves.

Swatches have been knit, both on 3.5mm (felt quite stiff and sturdy) and4mm (more drape) and have been blocked. The gauge is just about right in the 4mm swatch, and so I am going to start soon!