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.