Thursday, 6 December 2007

All quiet on the knitting front

Or rather, I'm knitting, but I'm so busy doing other things that I'm not doing as much knitting as usual. And what I am doing isn't so interesting. The grey fluffy scarf is longer and fluffier, the afghan is still purple and ripply. I'm not really working much on anything else. Bloody holidays, eating up all my knitting time...

I am filled with the joy of strategy planning for the New Year, though, which is nice. More on that later, though.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Photos! At Last!

First, a pair of FOs. A lovely llama, and a blocked kerchief.

Then we have some of my more recent projects. This lime-green baby jacket is actually a bit closer to being done than the picture suggests, but I thought it better to just have the picture and be done. It is destined to belong to the firstborn bump of a good friend.

Then we have the ill-fated Shedir, the hat of pain. I am still working on it, slowly but surely. I may finish it by next Christmas.

My lovely Free Spirit hat, just because I love it so very, very much. I'm trying to use it as a reward for working on some of my other projects, which means that it doesn't get very much done on it at once.

Finally, my most recent ripple afghan. Contrary to the picture, the yarn is actually lavender. I wasn't kidding about the crappiness of my camera.

Monday, 3 December 2007

A Plague of Frog*

I spent the weekend doing as much ripping out as I did knitting. I was ill, you see, and the sheer number of projects was really getting to me. So, the red scribble scarf and the Mystery Stole are no more. The scribble scarf I decided was too impractical, and I think the Mystery Stole will look much better in wool than in cotton. Riiiiiiiiip.

I did do a good bit of knitting, though. I've turned the red boucle from the scarf into another scarf. Stockinette on big, fat needles. It took about 24 hours, and I wore it to work this morning. Very snuggly.

*Only one frog, but it was quite a big one, and it got into the air shafts and kept everyone awake for weeks.

Friday, 30 November 2007

There will be pictures, darn it.

I took pictures this morning. They are on the camera waiting to be uploaded to my laptop. The reason they haven't yet been is because, inevitably, the batteries need to be recharged. Again. So they are plugged in and I am hopeful of uploading tomorrow morning.

I actually knit on the Shedir this morning. I'm getting more comfortable with the travelling stitches, so hopefully it won't spend too many months languishing while I look at it wistfully with a headache.

Also finished up the second border of Mr Fluffy, so now I just need to work the centre of the beast until I'm nearly out of my lovely kidsilk. I'm quite happy, actually - I wrapped the finished part 'round my neck, and it's more than long enough to be a proper scarf. All the remaining length is simply bonus fabric now.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Tickled

I get a really good dose of quality needlework time every Wednesday night during our gaming sessions. I can knit and roleplay at the same time, and I'm careful to only bring projects that can easily be put down if I need to throw dice or roleplay a combat or drink beer or referee a shouting match. So last night I brought the beginnings of the ripple afghan.

Everyone was fascinated with it! As in, members of the group got so distracted petting the crochet that they weren't paying attention to the game fascinated. Crazy stuff. I think for some reason crochet hooks are less scary to non-crafters than the knitting needles. Less pointy, fewer of them, shorter. And crochet just looks tougher than most knitting, so people aren't so afraid to just pet it. Plus it's purple, and everyone likes purple!

This morning I took advantage of my morning off to figure out a stripe sequence for the rest of it. I've decided not to add the rest of the blue yarn, since the combination of purple and rust is about as much as I can handle. I totally failed to get any pictures taken, but that's ok, because I'll have the morning off tomorrow too. Woohoo! I also did a bunch of work on the fluffy grey scarf. I've got 4 rows of the second border to do, then I can just knit the centre of it till I'm nearly out of yarn. Then I get to learn how to graft garter stitch, which will be fun.

The other fun thing about pulling out all of the yarn for the afghan? I've put all of it in a bag, together with the colour sequence chart, and now all the rest of my yarn fits into the current designated stash containers. Lovely portable project, lovely tidy living room ... how can you go wrong?

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A moment of clarity

Last night I was sitting and considering my fish. And it struck me. When I made the blanket for my friend the part I liked least was weaving in the ends and sewing the whole thing together. And here I was, embarking on a project that was going to involve huge numbers of ends and silly, fiddly curvy sewing together. So I decided to stop.

I'm still going to make some fish, because they are too cool not to make. But instead of a blanket, I'm going to make ten or so fish, then sew them together end-to-end and make a scarf. I'll lose the interest of the tessellation, but I will still have fish like a good little Pisces.

The acrylic? Well, I'm glad I invested in 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns. I trawled through the whole thing last night and settled on 'Provence', which is a rather angular crocheted ripple. And I started making it. This morning I fished out every scrap of worsted weight acrylic I have left and made a surprisingly large pile. I'm thinking random stripes, although the idea of just grabbing a ball and using up all of it at once is very tempting. This thing is going to be the end of ugly, but that's ok. The other ripple afghan I made has turned out to be the most useful project in my repertoire, and I could use another one!

The inevitable scraps will be granny squares so that I can finish the wretched pillow and put it on the armchair. Of course, this will mean buying a pillow form at some point, and that will mean a trip to Ikea. British shops are singularly lacking in pillow forms.

The kerchief was successfully blocked and dry by the time I got home last night. It fits perfectly, having gained about an inch in both length and width, and is very subtle against my dark hair. I just need to weave in the two ends and photograph it. I think tomorrow morning will see a round of photography. My camera flash washes out the colour in everything if I take pictures at night, and it's always dark by the time I get home. Thank goodness for mornings off!

Monday, 26 November 2007

One up, one down

Not just a great drinking game, but a good reflection of my knitting progress this weekend. I cast on for a baby jacket for a friend who is expecting, but I also finished up the lace kerchief that I started months ago! I finished the patterned part during Scrapheap Challenge, and knit the ties and border during part 2 of Cranford. I still need to block it, since the lace is a little bumpy right now, but I tried it on and Spouse thinks it looks great.

The baby jacket is adorable. It's made in three pieces - 2 sleeves and a body. I've done about half of the body so far. It's great having instructions that say things like "work even until piece measures 1.5", then divide for the armholes". The last adult sweater I knit needed 8" of knitting before the armhole, and that was a rather short sweater. I'm making it in lime green for a couple of reasons. First, I had enough lime green cotton in my stash to make the whole thing, and I got gauge on the needle size stated in the pattern. Second, I don't know whether the bump is a boy or a girl, and green is nicely neutral. Third, I think babies look good in bright colours. It's never really made sense why people give babies brightly coloured toys to stimulate them, then dress them in bland and boring colours. Crazy.

I've also started something that I've never done before. I'm making a gown. Spouse and I have gotten into medieval reenactment, and the time has come for us to have some garb of our own. So I got some lovely teal wool and on Saturday cut out the pieces. It's a simple sleeveless overtunic with a full gored skirt. Nothing but straight seams, unless I decide to do something funky with the neckline. I'm hoping to get the whole thing done by the twelfth of January, since we are having a feast. Of course, I'm also going to need a chemise to wear underneath, but that's going to mean sleeves and gussets.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Brainwave

I was walking home last night, thinking about my knitting. As I often do. And suddenly the solution to the grey fluffy scarf problem hit me. See, I'm making it with Kidsilk Haze, which is expensive (£6.50-ish, usually), and I only have the one ball. This would normally be fine, since a scarf just goes until you run out of yarn, and the yardage in the ball is fine.

But the pattern I'm making from VLT is one of the wide-bordered scarves, which means that once I do the first border and the bulk of the scarf, I still have to do another border. But I don't want leftover yarn! Fortunately, the Yarn Harlot outlined the perfect solution in Knitting Rules - you knit the second border separately and then attach it to the body of the scarf once you're down to the last little bit of yarn.

It's made slightly more complicated by the fact that I've rejigged the pattern. I wanted to knit it on an airplane, which meant plastic DPNs to get through security. Of course, the only ones I had were much bigger than the pattern calls for. It still looks really good IMHO, but it means that when I did the first border I only worked 3 repeats of the pattern instead of 7, and it's still the right width. So I had to modify the number of pattern repeats in the body of the scarf. And I'm going to have to graft the whole thing in garter stitch, which I've never done before. Lots of fun.

Still, I cast on for the second border last night, after successfully playing a quick round of "hunt the yarn end inside the ball". It's very quick, and I'm hoping that after trying 2 other projects, this one will be the right thing for granny-in-law's Christmas present.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Yeesh

Ok, I've officially got too many projects on the go right now. I've just been looking at my Ravelry account. In no particular order:
  • Shedir hat
  • Freedom Spirit hat
  • Burgundy scarf
  • Mystery Stole
  • Christmas present for my grandmother
  • Stripey scarf
  • Silk half-hexagon
  • Scribble scarf
  • Jaywalker socks
  • Jitterbug socks
  • Coatigan
  • Grey fluffy scarf
  • Granny squares pillow
  • Sock yarn scarf
  • Fish blanket
  • Kerchief

There are probably a few more lurking around the place. This is not good. Not good at all. I really need to crack on and get things done. The trouble with this list is that many of the projects are perpetual ones - I'm making them from leftover yarn, so I have to wait until I have the leftovers in the first place. Most of the rest are things that could be finished quite quickly, but then I'd have to devote myself to just that. And only the top three are going to leave me without any leftovers and thereby get me closer to having fewer balls of yarn. Bother. Better get on and see how much I can get done before Christmas.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Ouchies

That Shedir that I'm making? Turns out that the concentration needed for the cables is so great that it gives me a tension headache. As in, painkillers and massage and heat in order to be able to sleep headache. Bugger. I may be buying a present for grandmother-in-law. I'm going to keep working on it, but very, very slowly.

So to console myself I started another hat. This one is a top-down number in the Freedom Spirit yarn I picked up at John Lewis, and is much more comfortable. Bigger yarn and needles, so it'll go faster, plain stockinette, so it'll really go faster, and wool, so that the yarn doesn't hurt me. I always thought that the complaint about cotton being painful to knit was a big joke, but it turns out that cotton does hurt because it's not as stretchy and bouncy as wool. So needle-free cabling means fighting with yarn that really doesn't want to stretch.

My yarn is making me nuts right now, too. I have too much, and it's making it hard for me to knit, simply because there are too many options. So, the plan is this. Between now and Christmas I'm going to knit as much as possible on my current projects, in the hope of getting several of them done and out of the way. Then, in January, I'm going to have a serious go-through of all my yarn and projects. There is some yarn that I'm planning to ditch, because it's ugly and I hate knitting with it. That can just go straight to the charity shop. I'm going to see if there's anything that needs to be frogged. The stripey burgundy and sparkly scarf may be a candidate for that. I really like the scarf, but I'm not convinced I like it enough to make it worth knitting it. It's very boring and fiddly.

Then I'm planning to systematically use up the yarn. Not focusing on finishing projects, but instead focusing on using up one ball of yarn at a time. And by using up, I mean that there will be absolutely none of it left in the stash. No remnants to add to the sock-yarn scarf or the granny squares. No half-balls that might go into something later. I'm just going to use things up and find my living room again. I would like to do this until my entire stash fits into the plastic tub and one 'active' knitting bag, rather than the tub and three overflowing bags and all over the couch and the side table. This is just silly. It's not good for the yarn, and it's not good for my sanity.

Monday, 19 November 2007

I may have started another project

But it's a good thing I did. I'm making a Shedir hat for my grandmother-in-law, and this sucker is fiddly and awkward. If I'd left it any later to cast on, it certainly wouldn't be done in time for Christmas. But it is very, very pretty, and I love the yarn. It is incredibly soft and pleasant to touch.

And I'm teaching myself to cable without a cable needle, since using a cable needle for one-stitch cables is just masochistic. It's going quite well so far.

I've also discovered that DK-weight yarn and 3.25mm needles seem to be my ideal combination. Very comfortable to stitch.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

I really do have a wonderful spouse

I was having a really bad day about a week ago, and Boy was working very hard on cheering me up. It worked, and I got my happy back. And then this morning, when I was getting ready to go to work, the post came. And in it was a pink parcel addressed to him! Since we all know what pink parcels mean, I was puzzled enough to ring him. He told me to open it.

Inside I found 2 big skeins of pink sock yarn! He had decided to get me some sock yarn to cheer me up! Lovely Boy!

I'm thinking I'll turn it into a Blossom shawl and use the silk for a Tuscany shawl. Did I mention each skein is over 400m of yummy yarn?

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

I love having finish-itis

The llama is done. The two priority projects on which I've been working for months are finished and ready to go. This pleases me immensely.

I'm having tremendous bursts of energy thanks to having finished them. I worked on the silk half-hexagon from Victorian Lace Today. I worked on the never-ending black shawl. I cast on for the tessellating fish blanket. I cast on for a one-skein scarf. I'm working on the Jaywalker. It's as though I've suddenly been freed from the pressure of deadline knitting and can get back to properly enjoying myself. I like it.

The fish blanket is extremely cool. It takes me about 45 minutes to make one fish, and not very much yarn. (I'm in the process of figuring out exactly how much yarn it takes.) It's also fun, simply because each fish is such a quick finish. I'm planning to just use all of the worsted weight acrylic and make a rainbow fish blanket. It'll be cool.

The scarf may end up being a Christmas present for someone if I finish it. Or I might just keep it. Who knows!

Monday, 12 November 2007

What a weekend!

I'm most of the way through what has turned into an incredibly productive 3-day weekend. It has been a blast!

First of all, Saturday. I did in fact finish the Dr Who scarf. It's all done, ends sewn in, tassels added, done. 7 partial balls of yarn and one complete ball of yarn left over, which is not too bad. For a while I thought I was going to have 3 complete balls left over, but that was before I started cutting the fringe. I have decided that another scarf would be too ugly for words, so the remnants are going to have to be turned into something else. Not sure what yet.

A second post will follow with the rest of what I've done - as soon as I finish doing it!

Friday, 9 November 2007

2.5! 2.5!!!!!!!

I am going to finish this sucker tomorrow. End of. Fortunately, the Spouse and I are planning an evening in tonight in front of a dvd (Pan's Labyrinth), so I shall get most of the knitting done this evening. That'll just leave the fringe and the sewing of ends for tomorrow.

Must remember to charge the camera batteries tonight so that I can document the scarf.

Then I'm going to make a pair of legwarmers so I don't freeze while walking to work in the mornings. More acrylic to use up! Woohoo!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Two down...

...just under 4 to go. I also sewed in some ends and started cutting fringe today. I've been very careful to save the ends when I've finished a ball of yarn, especially with the beige stuff, because I am running very close to the edge with having enough for the fringe. So after finishing the last beige stripe, I decided to pause in the knitting and cut my remnants into fringe. I'm in the clear.

And cutting and attaching fringe is exceedingly dull, so getting a headstart while I'm still in uber-finishing mode is a good thing. I may sit and cut fringe when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Woohoo!

I finished two more stripes last night! Go me! Only 6 left, and then some ends to weave in and a fringe.

I had a moment of sheer apathy last night, though. It was weird. I was looking at all my yarn, all my projects, and I just wasn't interested in knitting. Not even starting a new project. Very strange.

Still. The hope now is to get this beast finished by the end of Saturday. Then I can get it all wrapped up and put away until next month.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Racing for the finish line

I am partway through stripe 1 of the last 8 on Dr Who. I can taste victory, and it is yarn-flavoured. The remaining yarn is going to become a skinny colour-block mini-Who scarf, and the whole ball of the green stuff is going to become a secret Christmas present. If there are leftovers from that, it too can go into the mini-scarf.

The Jaywalker is slowing down, partly because I'm in a scarf-finishing frenzy, and partly because the gusset decreases are taking frickin' forever. I still love the sock and the pattern, but there are an awful lot of decreases.

The other advantage to finishing up Dr Who is that I'm signed up for NaNoWriMo this month, and I really ought to be writing. Thankfully, I can make good time on that while sitting at the Issue Desk at work, when I really can't be knitting. And I have the day off next Monday. Hopefully for writing, since hopefully the scarf will be done!

Friday, 2 November 2007

It's not a heel, it's a life-skill

I sat down with my sock after eating my ever-so-tasty bowl of Sainsbury's tomato soup and had a problem. Not with the knitting, that was fine. No, my problem was with reading the pattern. Those notes that you sometimes get suggesting that you highlight your chosen size? Very good idea. See, my Jaywalkers are the larger size, which meant that when starting to turn the heel, I had to knit across 20 (22) stitches. So I knit across 20. Oops.

Result of this was painstakingly figuring out exactly what I'd done (thank goodness for my obsession with symmetry), figuring out how to do it backwards, then holding my breath and pulling out the needles. I'm glad my yarn is as grippy as it is. 15 minutes and no dropped stitches later, my sock is back on the needles, the heel started, and I have learned how to do something completely new and exciting.

Learning how to fix it when you screw up is a tremendous feeling. I'm kinda glad I messed up now!

I shall finish turning the heel when I get home this evening.

Houston, we have progress

I've now finished the last big stripe of Dr Who, and I'm picking up speed again. I've completed 3.5 stripes since Sunday, and only have 10.5 stripes left! Woohoo! This weekend should be good for getting more done - I'm hoping to get at least half of the 32-row stripe done, as well as the preceding few.

The Jaywalker is also going nicely. I finished the heel flap before I came into work this morning. I should get the heel turned and the gusset stitches picked up by the time I get home from work tonight. And I'm going to a party tomorrow night, which means a couple of hours knitting on the Underground!

It's so nice to only be working on projects that I actually like and enjoy. Very liberating.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

I *heart* my Jaywalker

This sock is just crazy-fun. I'm starting the heel on my lunch hour today, and I have high hopes of getting it finished later this week. Then onto Jaywalker 2 and a pair of warm, happy feets!

No, Dr Who has not fallen off the radar. I'm working on the socks exclusively until Thursday, which is the 1st of November. After that, they will be relegated to lunchtime only knitting until the scarf is done.

I'm sorely tempted to fish out the black shawl once Dr Who is done. I've been feeling cold over the last couple of weeks, especially in the mornings, and it would be pleasant to have a convenient shawl to throw over my pyjamas.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Belated photos

First, a picture or two of the stocking and its mate. As you see, they look well together and this makes me happy.

Next a photo of the Jaywalker. This is basically a pointy ripple stitch worked in the round. I've made the biggest size, since I'm wary of too-tight socks, and the word on the 'net is that this tends to the tight side of comfy.

Also a photo of the Jitterbug socks, as proof that I haven't wholly abandoned them.

Where to begin?

There is a spectacular lack of photos on the blog today, because my camera batteries suck. The camera eats battery life, so I refuse to use anything but rechargables, but they take 24 hours to recharge. I have 4 rechargable batteries. 2 of them last long enough to take a camera full of pictures, then the other 2 are needed to upload the pictures. The camera only holds about 10 pictures. Thus photos take forever. I really need a digital camera that plugs in to recharge and doesn't use batteries. And that holds more pictures. Still, this one's better than nothing.

I finished stocking number 2 on Saturday. It is lovely and the same size as number 1, so I am happy. I'll be mailing them out on Wednesday after I get paid, so friend will have them in plenty of time for Christmas (assuming they don't get eaten by the mail monsters). I'm stockinged out for the moment, but I still have a good third of each of the three colours left. (Good mileage on my cheap yarn! I am impressed!) So I'm thinking that I'll use the rest of it to make a stripey toe-up stocking for a single friend next year.

I had a weird experience finishing the stocking. I was working the toe while sitting and talking with some people, and suddenly I looked down and realised that I'd finished it without really noticing. It was a bit of a let-down, actually - usually I get all excited and happy about finishing something, but that requires noticing how close I am to being done. Still, spouse was admiring and impressed, which is always nice.

I went stash-diving after I cast off. Reorganized everything (and now it doesn't all fit, of course), got rid of one ball of horrible brown acrylic mohair, discovered yarn I'd forgotten about. I started a one-skein scarf, but frogged it after a couple of rows because I didn't like the fabric it was creating. So I grabbed one of my new balls of sock yarn and started a pair of Jaywalkers instead. And I love 'em! The yarn is making crazy stripes, which are lovely, and the pattern is gorgeous. I'm inspired to try out the socks on some other ripple patterns.

I did some work on Dr Who, too. I finished up the huge green stripe and did most of the next stripe - it's all skinny stripes from here until the end! Woohoo! I have an entire untouched ball of green mohair and half of another one left over. The fringe isn't going to take up that much! I'm thinking that I may just end up swapping the complete ball on one of the knitting groups, since I dislike knitting with it so much. It is scratchy and too fuzzy. The remnants of the partial skeins are going to be turned into a skinny colour-block mini-Who scarf. Spouse wants it. Yay using up yarn and finding my living room!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

You Weak-Minded Fool

I was feeling miserable on Tuesday night, so I cast on for a new project with my Posh yarn. A scribble scarf using the Loopy pattern from Knitty. It's very pretty, kinda hippy-ish, and fiddly as hell. On the rows that are the boucle in between the laceweight, you have to really tug on the finished work to get it to lie flat, and of course then you have to worry about breaking the laceweight! Argggh! Very much not the mindless stockinette scarf I was hoping for to cheer me up.

So, after giving the scarf a good few rows of my attention, I picked the stocking up again. This foot is taking forever. Last time I did the entire foot over the course of two evenings, but this time it's dragging on and on. I'm hoping to get the decreases started tonight and the whole thing finished, photographed and mailed by Saturday, but who knows? As long as I get it sent off by the end of the month, I'll be happy. And then I can devote myself wholeheartedly to Dr Who and some fun knitting for me!

I think there's a lot to be said about generally only knitting for oneself. I tend to get very into figuring out what people would like, and I'd rather get them something I know they'll like from the shop than waste hours and yarn on something they'll only wear out of politeness. Plus, when you're knitting for yourself, you know that the colours and patterns are something you'll like, you can shape it to fit you, you don't feel like you have to finish by a deadline. I'm discovering that I really hate knitting to a deadline. It makes me want to knit anything but my deadline projects.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

I love Interlibrary Loans!

One of my colleagues has just handed me a copy of Fisherman's Sweaters by Alice Starmore. It has many, many pretty patterns in it.

Now, if only the one and only copy of Aran Knitting in the country was available for ILL...

Bah

I was hoping to get the stocking mostly done last night, but it ended up being a rather bitty evening of not much knitting. Still, I did start the heel flap, and I've got the mailing address for the recipient. All is well. And I got to see my first Jon Pertwee Dr Who!

I've gotten to a rather annoying stage in my current knitting. None of it is really portable right now. Dr Who is too big to make it worthwhile carrying in unless it's Wednesday and I'm spending the evening gaming, and the stocking requires too many fiddley tools to keep my place in the pattern. So I'm working on stuff that isn't really a priority, and it's making me nuts! I grabbed the Ziploc with the grey and fluffy scarf this morning on my way out the door, so I shall be working on that during my lunch hour. It's pretty and fun, but nowhere near being finished and thus annoying.

I've also gotten close enough to being done with Dr Who that I'm starting to think about what comes next. I need to have a mindless project that I can carry around with me for at least a couple of weeks, but that isn't so big it's a pain to carry. I'm thinking that tessellating fish may be the way forward - small pieces, easy-ish pattern, large amounts of yarn used up. Can't go wrong, really.

Or I may just do one-skein scarves for a while. They are also easy and mindless and portable. Of course, the problem is then figuring out what to do with them!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Busy weekend again

This time it was a party, house guests and the England vs. South Africa Rugby World Cup Final that got in the way of my knitting. I had hoped to finish the stocking this weekend. I got all but the last 8 rounds of the patterned part done, so I'll hopefully get it done by Wednesday or so. Not too much left to do on it now! And then I can send it away.

I'm in a funny kind of mood, knitting-wise. I really want to knit, but not for the finishing of projects. What I actually want to do is use up yarn. It makes me nuts having all of these partial skeins lurking around, so once the stocking is done and Dr Who is a bit closer to being finished, I'm going to work on completely using up yarn. One-skein scarves for a bunch of my odd-balls, repurposing stuff that I've decided I didn't like my original plan, things like that. The goal is to have all of my yarn contained in 1 tub and 1 bag, plus the project that lives in my handbag. I reckon I will need to use up about 15 or 16 balls of yarn to achieve that goal. Better get cracking!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The joys and perils of social knitting

On Thursdays I go to a knitting group at work. It's a lunchtime thing, so first one has to eat a sandwich or whatever. Then you have to catch up with everyone. Then you get out your knitting and get going. Only, by the time you've done all that, it's time to pack up again and go back to work for the afternoon.

My solution?

2-hour lunches. Think of the possibilities.

Anyway. Stocking is going very nicely. My stranding is getting more even with the practice, which is leading me to think about making a Fair-Isle sweater at some point in the far-off future. Right now I have enough things to think about. Like, say, enough sock yarn for 6 or 7 pairs of socks. Or three big fat balls of sweater yarn waiting to be cabled into oblivion. Or enough lace-weight for 7 shawls (2 of which are already in progress). Or purple yarn for fish. Or 2 pairs of grey gloves (yeah, I want grey gloves too). Or the Harlot-inspired shawl that will use up the blue acrylic. Or, or, or...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Dr Who Scarf Update

775 rows complete of 1040. 265 rows remaining. Just shy of 75% finished. Woohoo! I might finish it on time!

Monday, 15 October 2007

knitting and shows and FOs, oh my!

Wow. The Knitting and Stitching Show was amazing. It was huge! I've never been to Alexandra Palace before, but wow. Two enormous rooms filled with hundreds of stalls selling every needlework thing imaginable. I've now seen Lorna's Laces, Habu stainless steel laceweight, possum yarn, yak down yarn... I wanted it all! And that's not even starting on the cashmere or the embroidery stuff.

I intended to get enough yarn to make the Interlocking Cables Sweater. And I did. I found a rather nice machine-washable wool blend in a natural wool colour. Selling for £6 for 400g and nearly 1000 metres! I got three balls of the stuff, which will give me enough to do the whole sweater and a Jack Skellington hat, with probably enough spare for a pair of mittens. I'm thinking thrums may be in my future.

I also found lovely sock yarn. First I found a rather good bargain - 3 100g balls of sock yarn for £12.50. So I got two balls to make socks for me, and a ball of a dark, tweedy charcoal grey to make gloves for the spouse. He is so boring in his colour choices! Still, I refused to make him black gloves, so he can suck it up and go with the grey. He likes the yarn, anyway.

Then I was exploring more, and found even cheaper sock yarn! Garnstudio Fabel, for £1.60 per 50g ball. It works out at an extra 50-ish g per £12.50. I got three balls of self-patterning reddy-cream, two of which will be socks, one of which will be the famous Baby Surprise Jacket. I've always wanted to make one, and managed to pick up the pattern this weekend too.

My final purchase wasn't yarn. I was looking at one stand that had lovely stuff, lots of funky kits and things like that, and discovered that they had DPN project keepers. Basically it's two telescoping tubes that slip over one another, and each has a long slit in the side. You slide the narrower over the needles of your sock (or whatever) in progress, and then slip the other tube over the opposite end. The knitting hangs out of the slit, and the tubes keep your stitches from coming off the ends of the needles. A perfect travelling tool.

I resisted the urge to cast on for any new projects when I got home that evening. Instead, I sat on the couch and finished my Instant Gratification Scarf. The Noro one. A new speed record - slightly over 24 hours for a finished project, from cast-on to ends woven in. And that was given a day of work and a day of the show in between starting and finishing!

I spent Sunday photographing the collection and trying to find somewhere to store all of it. I got the sock yarn and Friday's haul into the tub, but the big balls of sweater yarn are sitting in a bag on the living room floor. Oops. So much for reducing the volume of the stash. I shall have to work hard on getting things done and used up.

I also worked on Christmas Stocking 2. I've finished two full snowflakes of height, plus the cuff, which puts me about a third of the way done with the whole thing. They will hopefully be sent on their way to Hawaii by the end of October.

Tonight is the pub and Dr Who. Having made so much progress and then bought all of this stuff, I am really motivated to finish things. I want my living room back, dammit!

Friday, 12 October 2007

A cunning plan gone awry

I had to go to John Lewis this morning to get a birthday present for my little brother. While in there, I thought I'd swing up to the haberdashery and get the circular needle and skein of yarn I knew that I needed for some other stuff, thus saving time at the Knitting and Stitching Show for browsing interesting and unique things.

I may have gotten distracted by a couple of other things.

Don't get me wrong, I got the birthday present, the needle, and the skein of Christmas present yarn. I just got two other balls of yarn too. I got one ball of Noro Silk Garden Lite, and one ball of Twilley's of Stamford Freedom Spirit. They called to me. The colours are perfect. They literally made me stop in my tracks to pet them. The Twilley's is destined to become a hat, possibly with a cable round the bottom. The Noro? Well.

I had a new experience today. The Noro was so perfectly what I was in the mood for that I hijacked the needle I'd bought for something else and cast on for a scarf because I had to start knitting with it RIGHT NOW. I love it. It's going to be another of my love 'em to bits garter stitch scarves.

So, instead of coming out ahead of my shopping and spending the evening getting closer to finishing things up prior to the influx of new yarn tomorrow, I have already blown a bunch of my yarn money and started a new project. Whoops. Still, the money was designated for spending on fun yarn that I love, and that's what I've done with it!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Winding laceweight is tedious

...but strangely soothing. I wound the whole skein of red that's going to be the loopy scarf. Now I just have 7 more skeins left to wind, plus whatever I buy this weekend. Bleugh.

Maybe I should spend my morning off tomorrow winding yarn. That would be a good way to prepare for incoming new stuff. Of course, so would finishing up some other projects, but that's so not happening. I'm nowhere near finishing any of the current stuff. Although I could whip up a couple more granny squares for the pillow.

I made a good start last night on the big green stripe of Dr Who, and did some more stocking today. I love making this stocking! It rocks!

Thinking about it, maybe I shouldn't wind all the yarn. Once it's been wound, there's nothing preventing me casting on for new projects. And that would be bad - I've got way too many on the go right now!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Small progress

I did in fact cast on for stocking nomer dve last night. It is still fun making those little braids, and I'm liking the prominence of the green. I think it will go well with the red one.

I think once I finish this one I'm going to spend some time winding up my skeins of yarn. It's frustrating when wanting to start something new to have to spend hours winding the yarn first, so if I wind the yarn beforehand it'll be less of a problem. Of course, all the yarn I have to wind is in big skeins of laceweight. And I have no swift.

I'm heading to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace on Saturday. I'm hoping to get yarn for the Interlocking Cables sweater, and maybe enough for some more socks. I don't really have much in the way of sock yarn. But who knows? They may have some other treasure I can't live without!

Monday, 8 October 2007

A Weird Weekend

I got a serious case of the blahs this weekend. Which was odd, because I also did a lot of useful and productive stuff, both knitting and personal-wise.

Dr Who is 4 stripes longer. I'm about to start on the last monster 54-row stripe, and then it's all manageable little ones until it's done! Woohoo! I'm going to have a lot of yarn left over. Need to figure out what to do with it. I'm thinking maybe a mini-Dr Who scarf, crocheted instead of knitted, just using up all of the scraps. We shall see.

I also figured out the lapels of the coatigan and started sewing them. The interfacing is a pain, being the sew-in kind, but it was definitely the right thing to do. And it's a good thing I'm paranoid, because although I thought I was making it on 8mm needles, I was actually making it on 9mm needles. Good thing they were sold out at the shop! Otherwise my sleeves would be rather wonky.

Having been through all my stocking patterns, I've decided that I am going to just do the same stocking again with the colours shifted around. My sense of symmetry needs the stockings to be the same size, and I'm too lazy to do a bunch of rewriting. Will cast on for that tonight and hopefully get it done quickly. Then I can mail them off and have one less unfinished thing lurking around bothering me. Plus, one Christmas present checked off! Woot!

The llama may not be finished by Christmas. I don't care. It's adorable, but I hate knitting it. I HATE knitting it. So I don't have to if I don't want to. It can be my friend's birthday present next year instead. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, dammit!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

practice makes improvement

I have spent many, many lunch-hours working on Dr Who. More than I would care to count. It is plain, mindless garter stitch, of which I am rather fond. Yesterday I managed 6 rows, plus a peanut butter sandwich over the lunch-hour.

Which is good, because last time I had it here, I only managed 4 rows plus a peanut butter sandwich. (I am a big fan of peanut butter).

The stocking took 11 days, of which 2 1/2 were concentrated >2 hours of knitting days.

Other stuff is racing along as well. It would seem that all of the practice I have been doing over the course of the year really has been going into improving my knitting. It doesn't feel weird anymore on my fingers. I can even *gasp* knit without looking at my hands! Well, ok, only when I'm doing something in unpatterned stockinette, garter or basic even ribbing. And even then only if it's on fingering-weight or thicker yarn. But still! Progress! And improvement!

Now let's hope that when I swing back into embroidery mode I haven't forgotten how to do that.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Another one bites the dust

One useful side effect of being home ill is having lots of lounging and knitting time. Today, for example, I spent the day in bed with the stocking. Here is the result:

Lovely finished stocking!

My other half has announced that he thinks we need some for our own Christmas celebrations, which I think is a lovely idea. And it is an idea that can wait until next year! I still have 6 projects left to finish for this December.

And only three of those need to be done before Christmas. The other three are just things for me that I want finished.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Rockin' Weekend

In addition to learning how to make lucet cord, which was fun, I've done a huge amount of the stocking. Patterned part is completely finished, heel is turned and foot is started.

Hopefully I won't lose my speed now that I am doing the boring foot. It's just plain red! At least it's not an ordinary shaped foot - it is short and fat, so I think it will go quickly.

I ended up not doing any Dr Who at all. But I think that finishing the stocking will be a good incentive. I'm looking forward to having a carrier bag full of ready-to-go Christmas presents soon. And the llama and the stockings have to be mailed to the States, so they are the priority.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Should have gone with my first thought

...and not opened the pink parcel I got in the mail today. See, pink parcels mean Posh yarn, which is yummy and wonderful in every way, and if I could I would never use anything else. Well, maybe a little Kidsilk. But mostly Posh.

I thought to myself, "I shouldn't open this, because I have 7 projects to finish before Christmas, and if I open this I'll want to start playing with it immediately." But then I just had to open it, because I'd bought two skeins of different yarns in different colourways to go together and I needed to know if they matched.

Baby.

Did they ever match.

I'm going to be making a Loopy scarf, and if I've calculated correctly, I'm going to have enough boucle left over for a hat, and enough laceweight left over for a pair of gloves. Or at least a pair of wristlets and a headband.

But I was good. Last night's knitting and this morning netted me another 22-row stripe of Dr Who-flavoured progress and two rounds of stocking. It's a good thing I love this stocking so much. I don't think there is much else that could have torn me from my crimson scribble goodness.

Although I think I'm about to get a third wind for Dr Who. I just have a feeling that progress is going to be made. Hide the laceweight!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

1 down, 7 to go

I did manage to finish the fluffy scarf last night. It is lovely and cuddly, and I have nowhere to put it until December. Knew there was a flaw in my plan somewhere... Still, I am happy to have it done. Plus, it's one entire odd ball of yarn used up from the stash, which is good. I bought a whole bunch of one-offs back when I first started knitting, not realizing how much yarn it takes to make any given project. So now I'm going to be making a bunch of scarves.

Tonight the gaming is back to its regularly scheduled programming, so the Dr Who scarf is coming back to the gaming table. It has grown about a foot since the recipient last saw it. Hopefully he will be pleased! I am so looking forward to getting it finished. I suspect that it will inspire me to get lots of other things done as well, since I won't be feeling guilty that I've got it lurking in the flat any more. There is only one more really big stripe left - everything else is little ones, so with any luck it'll be a bit like running downhill with the rest of it.

And the stocking is wonderful.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Lovely, lovely colourwork

I had the Saturday from hell, so I decided to soothe myself with "Christmas in Tallinn", a stocking pattern from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. Suddenly all the hype makes sense - the little braids on the cuff, the perfection of the pattern, the addictiveness of the project. I want to work these little braids into everything I knit. They are so clever, so good-looking, so simple when you think about it. I am in a good mood just thinking about these little braids.

Plus I took advantage of the great instructions in the book to teach myself the double-start cast on. And I love that too! It makes such a pretty edge on the stocking in contrasting green.

In fact, I love this pattern so much that I am tempted to make stocking number two in the same pattern but swap the colours around - red as the detail, green as the main. They'd match, I'd get to make more of the groovy little braids, it's all good. Although learning how to do the slip-stitch stuff on the other intended pattern would be good for me. Maybe I could change the cuff to have these little braids...

In other news, I'm nearly done with the fluffy scarf. It's taken a lot longer than the other one I made, mostly because I've only been doing a row here and there when I'm not working on anything else. But tomorrow night there is a meeting in the pub, so I'll get a good hour's knitting in at least, and hopefully finish it. And I did another entire stripe on Dr Who, after finishing the big beige one! Yay! I was planning to do more on that, but the lure of the stocking was too much. I had to succumb.

Guess what I'm doing this evening?

Friday, 21 September 2007

Ack

Work is stressful and I want to start one of the Christmas stockings. My fantasy is curling up on the couch with a big mug of tea, some Nancy Bush goodness and a bad sci-fi movie.

However, I have another hour of work and I'm supposed to be going out this evening. Bother. Perhaps I can convince Boy to postpone the outing until tomorrow and knit instead.

I sorted out all of the yarn and the projects last night. It was therapeutic. My living room knitting bag now contains nothing but my 8 pre-Christmas projects, so I know that I can pick anything I like from the bag and not worry about whether I should be working on it. Remaining yarn and projects have all been transferred out of sight, with the exception of fragile lace projects that are sitting on the table. They don't get put into bags, but there are only two and I hope that I'll be able to resist the siren song.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Small amounts of progress are good

I finished the first llama leg yesterday over lunch. The little foot is very, very cute. I have regained some enthusiasm for the whole thing as a result of the foot. The fact that the last 11 rounds of the foot are on tiny numbers of stitches made it go a lot faster as well, which is good. I am hopeful of finishing it quickly.

Also sewed up the second side-seam on the coatigan last night. I was waiting for the camera batteries to finish charging (and they take forever), so once I'd pulled out all of the stuff to be photographed I thought I'd do a bit of work on some of the slow projects. I doubt I'll have time this weekend to work on it, but if I do I might sew up the front panels with the interfacing. Then all I'll have left is the sleeves and the collar. The sleeves are going to have to wait until at least next month, simply because it's impossible to find DPNs big enough in London. Lovely mother has offered to send some for me when she travels States-ward, so that'll do me nicely. (And it's not like I don't have enough other stuff to work on in the meantime...)

A new list of pre-Christmas holidays goals, just for snicks:
  1. Dr Who scarf
  2. Llama bag
  3. 2x stockings for friend
  4. lace kerchief
  5. fluffy scarf
  6. top secret embroidery project
  7. coatigan

Better get cracking! The kerchief and the fluffy scarf are nearly done, but the stockings and the embroidery aren't even started yet...

Pictures at last!

Not the most flattering sweater in the world (and that's my vest underneath, not my belly), as I've said, but it's comfy and warm, and I'm in love with the collar. I think this may become a standard collar treatment in my repertoire. Basically pick up stitches around the neckline from one shoulder but don't join. Knit in what ever stitch until it brushes your chin, then sew down the open flaps and attach a decorative button. Easy.



The advantage is that it'll keep my neck warm without adding the bulk of a full turtleneck.

Also, here's a picture of the fluffy scarf.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Happy Finishing Dance

I sat down and did the last little bit of finishing on the pink sweater last night. One collar adjusted, one button attached, and I'm all done! Woohoo! The camera batteries are charging at home even as I type, so pictures will follow tonight. I'm planning to do a big picture session, with pictures of the stash that isn't up as well as project pictures. It's all good.

I also worked on the kerchief last night. This yarn is terribly flimsy. Not impressed at all. I need to work three more pattern repeats, do the ties, and then it's done too.

Of course, that's not what's in my handbag for the lunch hour. No, today I'm working on the wretched llama. I have decided that I want it finished by the end of October, so I am going to work on it every lunch hour between now and then. I hope it will be over quickly...

Someday. Someday I will only have lovely yarn and fun projects, and I will be able to knit lace to my heart's content.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

On garter stitch scarves

I knitted about a foot of fluffy scarf last night. It was interesting sitting in the pub, because there were several people in other groups who were fascinated by the knitting, staring at my hands and looking away whenever they saw that I'd seen them. Then there were the people I was with. Although there weren't many knitters there last night, all of them were people who have experienced knitting in some form or another and knew exactly what I was doing. For them the fascination was the project, not the activity.

It's interesting taking this scarf around with me. Garter stitch scarves in novelty yarn are the so-called beginner project, which to my mind has always implied a kind of criticism. You'd only work with novelty yarn if your stitches don't hold up to scrutiny, you'd only knit scarves if you can't manage shaping or fitting, that kind of thing. Which has meant that, as a rule, I don't carry my garter stitch scarves around with me. I love knitting all kinds of things, but I don't want to be labelled an inexperienced beginner.

Then I thought, "Screw that."

I can knit what I want. I can knit pretty much when and where I want to (obviously not at work), and I am capable of making most anything. There's stuff I haven't tried yet, but it's because I have so much other stuff I'm doing, not because I'm afraid of doing it. So, if I've got the guts to make anything, and I've got the guts to carry my knitting around and fascinate the muggles, surely I can handle knitting on my scarf in front of other knitters.

After all, I was knitting a sock on 2mm needles last time we were at the pub.

Monday, 17 September 2007

I spoke too soon

A very busy and sleepy weekend meant I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. I did manage to get one iteration of the neverending black shawl done, and it's now on its much longer Addi needle. I'm hoping to finish it up this year.

The kerchief shawl is going to be just a kerchief. The yarn is splitty and weird, and I don't think it'll be sturdy enough to cope well with being lace. Plus it doesn't frog well. (Amazing the useful things one can find out on Ravelry.) So I am going to use the rest of the yarn (nearly 6 skeins) for an uber-Clapotis. See what all the fuss is about. I worked a full repeat of the lace pattern over the weekend, since it's only 6 rows. Hopefully I'll get it finished up in the next few weeks or so.

Dr Who marches steadily on. I got most of the next stripe done. Of course, it was a 44-row monstrosity, so it took longer than I thought. I also devoted an hour or so to sewing in ends. It's much less bitty now. I've gotten far enough in that I'm finishing balls of yarn up, which means even more ends to sew in! I worked out that not only will I have enough yarn to completely finish the scarf, I'm going to have an entire ball of the green Kid Mohair left over. Which is annoying, because it's the yarn I like least of the entire project. It's scratchy. I shall have to figure out something to do with it - possible my first foray into fulling. Who knows?

The shopping trip was productive also. I got three 100g skeins of Christmas coloured cheapy acrylic for £5.50, which pleased me greatly. I also got a button and some pink thread to finish the collar of the pink sweater. I hope to get that done some evening this week. This shop, too, was out of 8mm DPNs. Very vexing. I did not buy any of the other lovely yarn, buttons, beads, embroidery floss or knitting needles while I was there. Respect the self-control!

The big fluffy autumnal scarf marches on. It is really mindless, so I'm taking it to the pub for this month's shire meeting. It will make a very good present for my friend this Christmas. Mmmmm, sausages and fluffy knitting.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Quicker than I thought

I finished the handwarmers this morning, and they are great. My fingers haven't been cold all day!

I used up the white and black mystery acrylic completely, and I have enough red left to do a granny square - not bad for some spur-of-the-moment bag cleaning! I'm rather inspired to go make more granny squares and not have any junk in the bottom of the bag anymore. Fortunately, a friend is moving house next weekend and making a trip to Ikea, so I can pick up a pillowform and get them sewn up and finished. Woohoo!

This is a rather auspicious start to my weekend of productivity - one project finished before the weekend even starts! I'm thinking that finishing up a llama leg and maybe a tail would be a good use of time. Tonight I'm going to work on Dr Who and watch tv. Unfortunately I'm not going to get home until Dr Who is nearly finished. Pout.

BBC 2 is running a Heroes marathon this weekend, which is fabulous. Downtime with fun projects, good television and pea soup on Sunday. Life doesn't get much better.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Plan for the weekend

  1. Finish up the quickie wristlets
  2. Finish the kerchief that isn't going to be a shawl
  3. Finish at least 1 stripe of Dr Who
  4. Transfer the black shawl to the new needle and knit one iteration
  5. Go up to the London Bead Co and purchase 8mm DPNs (if they have them), yarn for Christmas stockings and a button for the jumper.

If I manage to do all of these things (while also cleaning my flat and helping my friend get ready to move house), then I shall spend the rest of the weekend working on any project I like, probably some lovely silk hexagonal goodness. Or I might be good and keep working on Dr Who or the llama. I think one of next month's finishing projects is going to be the llama, simply because I am sick to death of it. Bloody little legs with millions of stitches.

Looking forward to starting the stockings, too! I'm going to make them in bog-standard red white and green, but they will be an interesting experiment. I'm also trying to decide whether I should line them, although I'm tempted to send them unlined and let Friend pick her own lining.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Still no pictures

For I am lazy.

I got in last night and decided to look through my collection of granny squares to see what I've got in the way of pillow bits. They are rather perfectly proportioned for making 45cm cushion fronts, so I'll go pick up a pillowform at Ikea and assemble it once I've got enough made. I'll probably just make up the front and knit a plain back with some of the black worsted.

While I was digging around in the hoard of scrap yarn, I found a little ball of sportweight white acrylic. It's too thin to be useful for the granny squares, but it's just the right size for turning into a pair of crocheted wristlets. So I started making them last night. I'm making them up as I go along, so they fit my hands perfectly. Conveniently, I got most of the way done with the first one and discovered that my ball of yarn was actually two balls of yarn wrapped up together, so I'm starting the second one. That way I don't need to worry about running out of yarn. I'm also pondering trimming the edges with some of the red left over from the red hat I made a while back. Although then it might bleed in the laundry. Who knows.

I seem to be on the rebound from my finishitis - lots and lots of little bitty projects that don't use much yarn! Although I could look at it from the more likely perspective of me just wanting to use up the junky little bits as soon as possible.

I've found the stockings I'm going to make for my friend and her hub. One is the Estonian stocking from Knitting on the Road, the other is the funky green and purple stocking from Handknit Holidays. I'm going to do them both in red, green and white, since that was what she requested. I think they're complicated enough that I won't get bored of them!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

One sock, two socks

I bound off the first Jitterbug sock before work this morning. I shall be sewing in the ends and photographing tonight!

I did in fact cast on for the fluffy autumnal scarf last night. Big needles, fluffy yarn - what more could you ask for? Especially hot on the heels of little needles and skinny yarn. I like contrasts.

The granny squares are not going to be a blanket, I've decided. I think it's a bad idea to mix fibres, and I'm planning to not buy any more cheap acrylic once I've gotten through this pile in my stash. Buying yarn solely to make a blanket would be silly when I don't really like the yarn, especially when the project was designed for scraps anyway! So, I'm going to keep making granny squares with my acrylic scraps, use it all up, and then turn it all into a pillow. It'll still be attractive, but much smaller and easier to finish!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Second wind and inspiration

I finished the pink sweater on Saturday evening. Well, almost. I bailed on knitting an 8-inch fold-over collar on a sweater I'm realistically not going to wear that often, and ended up improvising what I think is a much better neckline. Unfortunately, this new neckline involves a button and some possibly some sewing to be finished. I'm planning to raid my very small stock of buttons tonight, and if I don't come up with anything I'll make a trip up to my local on Saturday for a button. Hopefully they will also have 8mm DPNs and some 15mm straights for scarf-making.

After finishing the sweater, I was rearranging the stash, moving pink leftovers to the no project tub and advancing stuff from the queue, when I was inspired to cast on for the half-hexagon shawl. 6 rows in I decided to frog and go down a needle size to 4mm, and I'm loving it. The initial section is very, very basic stockinette and increases, kinda like the yarnover increases in the Harlot Poncho, and it gradually gets more complicated as you work through the sections. Eventually I'm going to need a circular needle, but right now my trusty bamboo straights are doing me just fine. Although it would be nice to be able to see the shape of it a bit better.

I'm 6 rows of ribbing and a bind-off away from finishing Jitterbug Sock #1. Will probably do that tonight, and then start the second one over the weekend. That's the only problem with toe-up socks - I feel like I have to do the whole toe in one sitting, and that takes a good couple of hours at this gauge. Still, they are pretty, and spouse is ever so impressed with the tiny little stitches.

But the real moment of inspiration? The one that had me at the edge of my seat earlier? I figured out what to do with the rest of that blasted blue acrylic! I'm going to pick a fairly mindless crochet pattern, fetch out a big hook, and make a wrap/poncho. Possibly with dark blue edging. Or I may do it with big fat needles and crochet an edging. But it will be used up! I will cast on for it as soon as humanly possible, so probably tonight. Fortunately the friends coming over for dinner understand me and my knitting ways :)

I'm also going to cast on for the eyelash scarf tonight, so the wrap may wait until tomorrow. This is for a good reason! Wednesday night is gaming night, and I always knit for three or four hours while playing. Usually I work on Dr Who. But Dr Who is not something I can put down easily in the middle of a row, due to slippery needles and smooth yarn. And Wednesday's game is one that requires a lot of moving things around, so I will need something that can be put down at a moment's notice. Hence fluffy scarf on yet more bamboo needles. In all likelihood, moving around or not, I'll finish the thing on Wednesday. The last one only took a couple of hours.

It's amazing, really - it takes as long for me to knit the toe of a fine gauge sock as it does to knit an entire scarf. Crazy stuff.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Having the blahs

On Thursday I finished up the front of the jumper, sewed one side up, and started the collar. Yesterday I did loads on the sock, since I was out and about. If I were to sit down and just do it, I could finish the jumper and the sock this evening.

Will I?

Hell no.

I have the blahs. I'm barely working up the energy for Dr Who mindless garter stitch. Which is good, in that I'm working on Dr Who, but bad that I'm not getting any closer to finishing the two things that are nearly done.

I was also very restrained at Loop yesterday. I went in after three things - a longer circular for the finishing of the black drop-stitch shawl, some 2.5mm DPNs for the smocked gauntlets I want to make, and some 8mm DPNs for the sleeves of the coatigan. They were sold out of 8mms, but I got the other stuff. I also came away with a 400m skein of kid mohair in a lovely baby blue colour, to be turned into a Kiri Shawl, and a skein of Seasilk! Loop is now carrying it! Rather perfect timing, actually, since the newest Magknits has a beautiful shawl pattern designed for one skein of Seasilk. But right now I haven't got enough energy to even concentrate on casting on a new project, much less a complicated lacy one.

I also swatched for the half-hexagonal shawl from VLT yesterday. The Sundara silk lace looks gorgeous knitted up. Very subtle and colourful. Looking forward to that once I've finished up some other stuff.

And I've just been informed that another Fake-Isle Hat would go down well with little brother, so I shall be dealing with that in black and red acrylic later on, probably in October. Christmas present - tick!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Picture dump and brief update

Between taking the most recent photo of the jumper and posting this, I have done a bunch of the neckline shaping. Looks like my plan of finishing this weekend might not be as crazy as I thought! Woohoo!

This is a not-so-great picture of my grey and lacy scarf. It is the ultimate in mindless knitting, plus it is very pretty and generates oohs and aahs wherever it goes. I don't work on it much right now, although I did do a little when I got it out for the photo op.

Also a really bad picture of my latest dyeing experiment. The colour is actually quite lovely and brightly orange and green in real life, but my camera is crappy and I don't have the patience to coddle it.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Can't I just knit?

Instead of sitting around doing nothing?

I've got a bunch more done on the sweater. Nearly at the neck shaping, but am not going to be working on it over lunchtime because I have errands to run. Like returning library books and renewing my Railcard. Things that are tedious and timeconsuming, but sadly necessary.

I also finished up Chart A of the Mystery Stole over the weekend. It's heartbreaking, really - I love this stole, so very, very much. It's a joy to work on, it's intricate, beautiful, and it's utterly not useful in the making space in the flat crusade. So I'm only letting myself do one or two rows whenever I get to a landmark place with one of my other projects. Like, say, finishing up the I-cord thing. Or getting to the point of starting the collar on the sweater. I could just work on it constantly, but we really are hoping to move and I'd like to have less stuff in the flat.

I shall spend tomorrow evening working on Dr Who, of course, because Wednesdays are for scarves. This may become a new tradition of mine, I think. I've always got a scarf or three on the needles (or on the hook, to be more accurate), I've always got more in the queue, and they are usually portable.(Unlike Dr Who, which is a big fat pie of a scarf.) And scarves are always good for gifts.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Busy weekend!

I finally finished up the I-cord sewing. It's not a hotpad, though. This little piece of I-cord decided it wanted to be a bowl to store my row counters and other little tools in, so I decided to let it. It took several long Underground journeys to do it, but it's finally done - and I plan never to do it again. Ick. I can't decide which was worse, the making of the cord or the sewing afterwards.

The pink jumper is going really well. I've bound off for the armholes and done 1 inch of the 6 before the neck shaping.Hopefully I'll get to the point of starting the collar by the weekend, and then I can wear it soon! I'm glad I finished the socks before the jumper, as it meant that I used up the end of the yarn from the socks in the jumper. Not a huge fan of partial skeins. They are a pain to use up, even when I love the yarn.

Speaking of using up yarn, I finished a complete ball of Dr Who yarn. I also managed a couple more stripes over the weekend. There are only 2 or 3 really big stripes left on the thing now, so with any luck I shouldn't get stuck again like last time. I really, really want it done and out of my flat! I've been very carefully sewing in the ends as I go along, so once it's bound off, I'll have a couple of ends to sew in and a fringe to make. And that'll be it.

Weirdly, I also got a bunch done on the Jitterbug sock this weekend. The heel is completely done, and I'm in the round and round until I get bored with the cuff stage. I ended up doing a funky upside-down gusset over the short-row heel, which I hope will be more comfortable. I'm hoping to have enough of the yarn left to make a headwrap to keep my ears warm.It's one good thing about liking ankle socks, I suppose - I pretty much will never run out of sock yarn if I do toe-up socks. Having said that, there are some patterns for knee socks that I REALLY want to make.

I resisted buying more Posh yarn. It was hard. There were pretty things. But I am broke and being good.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Still with the making of stuff

I was off sick yesterday morning, so took advantage of lying in bed to do one of the side seams on the coatigan. I've elected to crochet all of the seams, since the yarn is weird enough that sewing would be problematic. Once I've got the other side seam done, I can sort out the lapels - now that I've got the interfacing! I'm also going to make a start on the collar, since the first row is going to be awkward folding over and knitting through multiple stitches.

I've got three full balls of the yarn left, plus most of a partial. I'll start the collar with the partial, leave it attached, and then use the complete balls for the sleeves. The plan for the sleeves is to do a kind of crazy picked up flap heel worked upside-down from the shoulders, and then just work the rest of the sleeve in the round. Hopefully it'll work, but I'm going to need to work both sleeves at once so that they are symmetrical. And I also have to go buy several sets of 8mm DPNs. Why they don't come in sets of 5 is beyond me, but I'm going to need three sets to work the sleeves.
Hopefully there will be leftovers from the sleeve yarn to make the collar bigger. That's the plan, anyway. I want a really big floppy collar. And if I can finish it by the middle of December, it'll be exactly the right weight to wear in South Carolina at my grandmother's.

Other stuff. The front of the pink jumper is going really well. There are 76 rows of straight back-and-forth before the armhole shaping, and I've done 46. I can probably get the thing finished in the next week or so if I devote the weekend to working on it. I'm going over to a friend's tomorrow afternoon for a session of knitting and sci-fi, so lots of quality knitting time there. Plus today's lunch hour and this evening.

Planned finishes for September are the I-cord hotpad and the pink jumper. I also hope to complete the third column of Dr Who. (The stripe pattern is written out in 4 columns, each roughly a quarter of the whole.) I've also got Thursday and Friday off next week; they are going to be devoted to the secret project. Lots of sewing and charting.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

And still with Dr Who

I shall spend Gamesoc this evening working on the scarf some more, as I plan to show it to the recipient and see what he thinks. Hopefully I'll get most of the 42-row stripe done also and be back in skinny stripe land for a while.

I've also just offered to knit a pair of Christmas stockings for a newlywed friend and her husband. This will mean acquiring some Christmassy yarn, as I don't have any in my stash.

Of course, a lovely friend's lovely mother has recently had to give up knitting for health reasons, and is giving away her entire stash. There may be some appropriate stuff in there.

This acquisition plan means putting more yarn into the flat, which means knitting up as much as I can as quickly as possible. Vexing, really. The knitting I most want to do is laceweight shawls, but what will clear the most space is the neverending acrylic. Fish blanket next, methinks. It looks like a tremendous amount of fun, although I still dislike assembling.

Current WIPs/UFOs:
  1. Dr Who scarf
  2. Pink sweater
  3. stripey scarf
  4. llama handbag
  5. Jitterbug socks
  6. basketweave placemats
  7. coatigan (need to do sleeve maths)
  8. black drop-stitch shawl (needs new needle)
  9. Mystery Stole 3
  10. I-cord hotpad (just needs sewing up)
  11. grey lacy scarf
  12. lace shawlkerchief (decide on shawl or kerchief)
  13. Granny Square blanket (perpetual project)

Planned Projects

  1. Purple tessellating fish
  2. Autumnal eyelash scarf (quickie project)
  3. alpaca wristwarmers
  4. pink three-cornered shawl from VLT
  5. Jitterbug smocked gauntlets (need new dpns)
  6. silk half-hexagon shawl from VLT
  7. Kaalund cap shawl from VLT
  8. Brown mohair fishnet scarf (quickie project; need 15mm needles)
  9. Grey gloves

Lots of projects. I really want to get as many from the first list done as soon as possible. Only two of them are really important, but it would be so great to finish things off. I won't cast on for anything from list 2 until I finish at least three full projects from list 1. Quick! Finish fast! New projects and pretty yarn!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

I think the jag is over

I just spent three days working pretty much full time on Dr Who. 537 of 1040 done - over halfway!

And now I am bored of it. I ended up spending about 3 hours yesterday evening working on other stuff. Another stripe on the burgundy and black scarf, and I've started the heel turn on the first Jitterbug sock! What was I thinking on the gauge? I may finish these wretched socks by next summer. Still, they are comfy and warm, and I still love the colour.

The other skein of Jitterbug is destined to become a pair of armwarmers to keep my fingers from freezing in the office. So is the alpaca. But not until I finish a bunch of other stuff! Although I did break down and cast on for a set of basketweave placemats for a housewarming gift. I think that once I get bored of the socks again these will just be a very quick finish project. Cast on until wide enough, then knit basketweave until the skein is gone. Easy.

I was very good on Saturday too. I had to go to the yarn store to get some embroidery floss and an embroidery hoop for the top secret project, and not only did I not buy any yarn, I picked up some interfacing for the coatigan lapels that I've been meaning to buy! I may get the coatigan finished before Christmas! Woohoo! (Just need to pick some toggles and figure out what I'm going to use as buttonhole loops. Oh, and knit the sleeves. Minor stuff.)

I seem to have a fairly serious case of finishitis. I don't know how this has happened, but I love it. I like clearing the decks of old projects - it's a good feeling. Kinda like the feeling you get after cleaning out the spice cupboard. However, the weather got hot again, so I did none of my mending. Did some work on the hotpad, but it's not finished yet. The centre-bulging is getting on my nerves. Bloody spiral sewing.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Amazing fact

Things get closer to being finished when you work on them. Honest!

I have been doing some sewing on the I-cord hot pad, and I think I shall have a big push this weekend and just finish it so I can put it in a box and never speak of it again. Given how cold the weather has been, I suppose I really ought to spend some time this weekend mending my winter coat and reattaching buttons. Ick. Mending is boring but necessary. I could also get around to sewing the patch onto my backpack, but then I'd have to find my thimble...

The pink jumper is now living in my desk at work for lunchtimes, until such time as I have gotten up to the point of armhole shaping. Then it will have to come home for concentration-style work. Still, I can get 4 or 5 rows a day done, which means I might actually finish it before December 1st. Woohoo!

I dyed more yarn last night, with more Kool-Aid. This time I dyed the lot with 2 sachets of orange, then overdyed with solutions of 2x lemon-lime and 1x ice-blue raspberry lemonade in stripes. I then splashed the lot with 2x mandarin/tangerine. I was expecting to end up with orange yarn with blue and green stripes; what I have is a funky greeny-orange mottled yarn that I have christened "Green Pumpkin". It is much faster dying when you already know what all of the steps are, so I managed to do the lot in about an hour, including 40 mins steaming.

It is drying now, and I shall wind it into balls as soon as it is completely dry. I'm now out of white yarn, so will need to go stock up again. Look out, charity shops!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Dr Who-athon

All I want to do is work on this scarf. Suddenly, rows and rows of mindless garter stitch are appealing and comforting and fun. A row here, a stripe there, and suddenly I feel like I'm back in the initial groove I had when I started it. Definitely taking advantage of this while it lasts.

The fact that I'm thinking about moving and therefore cleaning out as much stuff as possible beforehand may also be contributing. Why spend time and effort packing, moving and unpacking stuff that really doesn't belong there anyway when you could just get rid of it first? Hence lots of stashbusting coming up.

Pink sweater is no longer a priority project, as the appropriate weather I was expecting at the end of next month came and went last week. It is now cold and wet and windy. Snuggly socks and shawls weather, rather than sleeveless sweater weather.

I have also decided that tessellating fish are in my future, made out of the purple acrylic I dug up at mum's. (Yeah, remember the neverending blue stuff? I have about that much again in purple. Oy vey.) And more hot pads. We are short of hot pads.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Pink Socks!

Are all finished and are warming up my feet at this very minute. It's nice that even when it's freezing at work I can have warm snuggly feet.

As a result of finishing off the socks, I spent a large chunk of Saturday working on the grey lacey scarf, and most of Sunday working on Dr Who! I finally made it though the huge 54 row beige stripe, which was encouraging enough that I finished another stripe and a half last night while watching The Silver Chair. The scarf and the requisite yarn for the next couple of stripes are in my bag waiting for tonight's Shire meeting at the pub, where I hope to get lots of it done. I think I'm going to be devoting most of my at-home knitting to Dr Who for a while, because finishing it would clear an entire bag of yarn from my flat.

My knitter's hoarding tendencies are engaged in a battle with my obsessive compulsive need for order, cleanliness and tidiness. One half of me wants lots and lots of pretty yarn for when I need to start something new, the other half looks around and quietly freaks out at the sight of so much unfinished, unused stuff. I'm a big fan of not having stuff unless it's being used.

Rock on with Dr Who!

(Amusingly, I spent Friday evening curled up on the couch with Dr Who watching my first ever episode of Dr Who. It seemed both appropriate and ironic.)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The foot and the toe

I did in fact get the flap, the heel and the gusset done last night, and started on the foot as well. Not really very happy with the heel - I think that, as written, the centre group of stitches is too narrow. I might play around with resizing the heel and see what happens.

It's a good feeling to be getting to where I can diagnose the cause of the problem as well as figuring out that there is one.

Top secret embroidery project on the forecast. Knitting may slow down, as embroidery has a deadline.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Gettin' my flap on

On Sock #2, that is. Lunch hour heels are in the forecast, and then I shall spend my evening working round and round on the stockinette foot. A finished sock by Friday? I would bloody well hope so. Then I can wear my new snuggly pink socks!

I took sock #1 over to my friends' house on Saturday, where I finished it up. Result of that was that two of said friends are now requesting their own socks. Fortunately, one of them is going to America soon and can pick out a colour of Wool-Ease of his own choosing. I might get him to pick up a ball of yarn for other friend's pair as well, since the yarn is so cheap! And I really do like making worsted socks. They go so quickly!

I am plotting the shawl that I'm going to make with the Cecilia Orchid. It's the three-cornered shawl from Victorian Lace Today, which is just stunning. And it is the very best kind of triangle shawl, because it has you cast on loads of stitches and then gradually decrease until you've got just 1 left to fasten off! Also, it's complicated enough that it'll be interesting. I've discovered that I prefer lace where every row is different.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Nicely Organized

I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning out and tidying all of my various needlework supplies. All the stuff except for my handbag socks and MS3 are now neatly tucked away in 4 bags and two tubs, which I think is pretty good. MS3 is too fragile to be dumped into a bag, so it's sitting on my needlework table. One bag is devoted to the current active projects, one to Dr Who (so much yarn for one frickin' scarf!), one bag to the coatigan (a very small bag), and one bag to yarn that has patterns picked out for it. The tub of knitting holds all the yarn that doesn't have a project picked out, or is so far down the queue that there's no point keeping it out. The second tub holds all of the embroidery and sewing stuff, plus two skeins of white yarn I'm planning to dye at some point before the weather gets cold.

I'm now quite merrily knitting away at pink sock #2, which is up to the lace cuff since casting on yesterday. Hopefully I'll get that finished by the end of the week. I actually did some work on Dr Who yesterday too. It's the really wide stripes that get me stuck, because really, is there anything more dull than 54 rows of beige garter stitch? I've done 35 of them,and with any luck I'll get this strip done by Friday so I can devote my weekend to racing through the next few narrow stripes.

The revel on Saturday should be a perfect opportunity to get lots of knitting done. It's so pleasant to be surrounded by lots of people who all 'get' handicrafts and don't think that I'm weird, like most of the people on the train last night...

Friday, 10 August 2007

Also

I have figured out what to do with the horrible eyelash yarn hat that I made back in January. Actually, my brother figured it out. It sheds terribly, so is not much good as a hat. Mum thought it should be a cushion cover, which seemed reasonable to me, but little bro decided it was a hot water bottle cover. And yes, the hat was really big enough to cover a hot water bottle. It was just bad on so many levels.

I shall try to get a photo of it.

Goals

By December 1st I intend to :
  • finish Dr Who
  • finish the llama bag
  • finish the pink jumper
  • finish the bell lace socks
  • start and finish the eyelash scarf
  • buy a longer needle and work at least 4 iterations on the black shawl

The first two goals are Christmas priorities. And the scarf may end up being a Christmas present too. Who knows. This should be helpful. December will be a low-productivity month, I suspect. Lots of work, travelling and Christmas shopping, so not much knitting. Although I may make my mother a set of ironic potholders just because.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Long time no post?

My stash, while not having gotten any bigger, now takes up two more bags of space. Why? Because I brought back all of the yarn that I had at my mother's house with me after my vacation. (Well, except for one WIP which lives at her place permanently.) There are bags of yarn all over my flat.

Result of this is that I need to get on with finishing a bunch of projects, preferably big ones. Yesterday I finished up the Peru wrap. It's huge. Hangs down to my knees huge. I love it, and it'll be incredibly useful when it gets to being winter again. And it means that I've used up another 6 balls of yarn. My next priority is going to be finishing the pink sleeveless sweater, since the weather period for it is coming up soon and is sadly brief. I cast on for the front on Saturday, so with any luck I'll finish it in the next couple of weeks. I'm sooo slow!

I used up an odd skein of eyelash yarn over my vacation on (what else?) a garter stitch scarf. It took about 3 hours on 8mm needles. I've got another skein of the same stuff in an autumnal colourway that's destined for the same fate. It's pretty, it looks good knitted up, but the thought of doing anything more complicated with that kind of yarn is just horrible.

Started a new scarf from Victorian Lace Today to work on on the airplane. Plastic DPNs and Kidsilk Haze, mmmmm! It's going really quickly, since I'm using pretty big needles. And it makes a good handbag project that doesn't require a tape measure. The sock is getting bigger slowly, but it's kinda boring going round and round on such dinky needles.

Speaking of socks, I've got another pair on the go. Bell Lace Wool-Ease socks. Worsted, so they are going really quickly. Will probably finish the pair before I finish the sweater!

After those, I'm planning to get cracking on the llama and Dr Who, since they are both Christmas presents. (Well, Dr Who isn't, but if I don't set a deadline I may never finish it.)

Need to take more pictures for Ravelry!