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.