Monday, 31 March 2008
It was decidedly odd, though, being the only not-pregnant girl at the table. Especially since both of my friends are very pregnant.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
1. Finish the black drop-stitch shawl
2. Finish the half-hexagon shawl
3. Use up all of the Dr Who leftovers
4. Knit something out of the red Posh laceweight
5. Knit or crochet all of the worsted weight acrylic
6. Knit the Interlocking Cables sweater (hopefully in time for the Knitting and Stitching Show!)
7. Knit something out of the alpaca yarn
8. Knit a shawl out of the green laceweight
9. Knit a pair of Monkey socks
10. Knit a pair of Pomatomus socks
11. Knit a pair of Anne-trelac socks
12. Knit the Rowan Tapestry into a Clapotis.
And the progress:
- Black drop-stitch shawl is still not fun and stalled. Every so often I get it out, attach some more fringe, think about working on it and decide not to. I should really work on it.
- Half-hexagon shawl is making good progress! I really love working on it. The biggest problem, and the reason that I haven't made a lot more progress, is that I can only work on it when I have complete silence with no distractions. Like, say, my husband, the doorbell, the phone, or anything in the world that makes noise. Still, I sneak in a few rows here and there.
- The Dr Who leftovers are steadily decreasing. Thus far I have made a Bubbi Bear for my grandmother (admittedly back in December for her Christmas present) and a pair of really quite ugly fingerless mitts. The last of the yarn is being used first on a pair of green and yellow mitts for my mum and a mini-scarf. The scarf is going faster that the mitts, mostly because it is just garter stitch. I haven't really decided what I'm going to do about patterning the hands of the mitts, so they are moving slowly while I search for inspiration.
- Red laceweight is still a ball of laceweight. However, thanks to the lovely people on the Ravelry group, I now know what I'm going to knit with it. Just haven't cast on yet.
- The acrylic is being used up. Most of it is going to go into the bedspread I'm working on, and the leftover scraps are going to be made into a scarf or two from Knitting New Scarves.
- I'm loving the cabled sweater. The marvelous thing about cables is that most of the sweater is just ribbing. You only have to think about the cables once every few rows, and that's not hard at all. The rest is just mindless round and round stitching!
- The alpaca yarn is my current handbag project. I'm making a faux ribbed neckwarmer with alternating bands of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch. Once it's big enough to go around my neck, it'll get a strip of garter stitch that will lay under the ribbing and keep the curling itchies away from my neck and a row of crocheted button loops. And buttons, obviously. It currently goes halfway around my neck.
- I'm not going to knit up the green laceweight. I'm saving it. Instead, I'm going to finish the coatigan. I actually worked on this last night and finished the upside-down sleeve cap of the first sleeve.
- Monkeys are finished! And great!
- I cast on for the first Pom and will put them in my handbag once the neckwarmer is finished. Until then, I'm working on them at home when I don't want to work on anything else.
- Haven't cast on yet for the Anne-trelac socks.
- Haven't cast on yet for a Clapotis, although I'm thinking I might make a Calorimetry first. The kerchief I made out of the Tapestry has ended up being used almost every day, and I'd like a similar thing I can wear at work to keep my hair out of my face.
Friday, 28 March 2008
Some other numbers - the stripes are going to be 17 and 9 stitches wide. Funny numbers, but the goal is to use up the yarn and that is how many stripes I can get out of each size skein. I have completed 18.5 rows of 136. The bedspread will have 11 stripes in 4 colours, and I think I've got a stripe pattern that will prevent them looking like they clash too horribly.
On with the crochet!
Thursday, 27 March 2008
The ripple afghan is going well. I joined the second skein of yarn on this morning, so it is now a 2-colour afghan. Purple and black, very goth. I'm going to do some number-crunching tonight and figure out exactly how big it's going to end up, based on how many rows I got out of how many grams of yarn. Or something like that. I did a ton of work on the cabled sweater over Easter weekend too - it's starting to look like a piece of fabric instead of a cast-on on a circular needle. And I bought buttons for another pair of booties.
And because I passed a test yesterday, I decided that I was entitled to start a new project. Especially since I've finished four projects already this month! So, last night I fished out one of the balls of sock yarn that I bought last year at the Knitting and Stitching Show and cast on for a Pomatomus Sock. This was one of the sock patterns in my M:P list, so I'm still feeling fairly virtuous. I've been having some logic issues with the pattern, though. This sock was designed by the same person as the Monkey socks, and was originally knit with the same yarn. However, the Monkeys were done over 64 on 2.5mm needles, and the Poms are written as 72 on 2.75mm needles. And they supposedly make the same size sock! Several other Ravellers have made the same observation, so I'm going to make them on 2.5mm needles. If they are too big, I can give them away and know better for next time.
The result of this doubt for the Poms is that I'm not now using the yarn I had originally planned for them. I love my sKnitches, and I want it to go on a project that will make me totally happy. So I'm planning to use it for the Meadowlands Sock, the pattern that won the design conpetition for Summer of Socks 2007. It's based on a Cat Bordhi construction, which is something I've always wanted to try. Unfortunately, it's really difficult to find the book in the UK. I guess it must be a small US press that doesn't have a contract with any European retailers. Truth be told, I'd love to play with any of her books. Much like Knitting New Scarves, Ms Bordhi's knitting explores and pushes the boundaries of what is possible with knitted fabric. Some of it is not really to my taste, like knitting socks on two circular needles, but the constructions of her projects are fascinating.
The streaky blurs on the picture? That's snow. So's the white stuff on the roof opposite.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Friday, 21 March 2008
And secondly, the cutest project I've ever made - a baby jacket! This used up both balls of the lime green Debbie Bliss Cotton DK that I bought, oh, a year ago? Maybe more? I love it. It was fun to make, and the result just tickles me. Although there is a downside - now I want a sprog of my own for which to knit!
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
When I go shopping for yarn, the first thing that grabs me is colour. I love bright colours, multicolours, rich colours, deep colours. Muted colours very rarely, pastels almost never, brown and green shades almost never. (Ignoring the two lots of green yarn I bought last week. I never claimed to be consistent.) Once I've gotten over the joy of colour, the next thing that I go for is texture. I'm nuts about soft things. Particularly silk, alpaca and angora, or some combination of the above. Or cashmere. That's yummy too! Basically, if something is going to be touching my skin, it has to be as soft as possible. And it really can't be hairy. Mohair is awful. (Again, there is an exception to the rule - Kidsilk Haze and its variants. They rock.) And I love yarn that smells good, which rules out most acrylic yarns and makes Posh yarn a favourite. Dee rinses the yarns in something that smells divine, and I swear, it's addictive. Everyone who buys her yarn raves about how good it smells. So, colour, texture, and scent are my main factors when I shop for yarn.
I love knitting with very different types of yarn. It needs to be smooth and tightly spun, first and foremost. This is why the Rowan Tapestry I bought last year was so disappointing - the plies are really loose, and it splits terribly when I knit with it. I like yarn with good stitch definition, stuff that shows off lace or cables or other funky things. Cottons are ok for plainer things, but I like wool blends and silks for fancy stuff. And just to be contrary, I like monochrome yarns! Multi-coloured things don't show up stitches well, and I enjoy knitting things that force me to concentrate. Which is why many of my lovely yarns are still in the stash - they just aren't fun to knit because the colours are too busy, or they are knobbly or otherwise weird in texture.
And just to make things even more complicated, the stuff I like to wear is different again. With the exception of socks, I wear very, very plain clothing. The sweaters that I like best tend to be stockinette stitch at a very high gauge. I wear plain hats, muted and dark colours, a store-bought scarf because I'm too lazy to make something double-knitted and warm. I do wear shawls, but only at home, so really I don't need nearly as many as I'm planning to knit. I'm one of those people who finds a few things they love and then buys one in 12 different colours to mix and match, which makes for not-very-interesting knitting.
In the interests of practicality and frugality, I'm trying to train myself to buy yarn that I will like to knit and that I will enjoy wearing. The sweater yarn I bought last week is an attempt at this. The yarn meets the soft and well spun and smooth criteria, and I know the shape will flatter me, and the colours are all colours I wear. Hopefully it will be a good compromise between all of the complications. I certainly had a much harder time picking yarn, because I was constantly asking myself "will I wear this after I've knitted it?", and more often than not, the answer was NO! And really, I don't want to knit things that never get used. I don't really know anyone who wears crazy coloured and textured stuff either, so it's no good knitting for other people. It's all a bit of a puzzle, really. Maybe I'll just knit nothing but socks for the rest of my life. Then I can get any colours I want!
I did some frogging this weekend too, you see. I ripped out the baby sock that I'd started, as well as the neck-down raglan that never even got photographed. In the case of the baby sock, I decided that I'd rather make a bootie than a sock. And in the case of the sweater, I just didn't like the fabric that was being produced. I'm starting to think that this ball of yarn may be cursed. I've tried to make it into umpteen different things and have ripped out every single one. I love the yarn, I just can't get it to do anything! So it's going to have yet another time out while I scour the Ravelry pattern pages for something interesting to make with it.
Still, the weekend was very good for my projects inventory - two projects frogged, one project finished, one hibernating project fished out and worked on, and only one new project started.
*Not just a blog post, but a really great album by the Three Weird Sisters. Great music.
Monday, 17 March 2008
Of course, because I was in a hurry and was in the middle of a baking session, I didn't put things away in any particular order. Which meant that when I went to look for my lucet this weekend, I couldn't find it. This meant pulling every single scrap of needlework stuff that I own out and putting it all in the living room to sort it out. I found the lucet in the bottom of a bag of yarn when I thought I'd put it in the tin with all my oddments. Oops. It, its instructions, and all the string I'm planning to use with it now have their very own bag to live in, and I've finally got a use for the bag. It was a freebie that was too small for any knitting projects, but I couldn't just throw it out. The reason I was looking for it was that I finally bought the sandpaper to sort the edges out and make it useable again.
While delving in the depths of my stuff, I was inspired to finish the crocheted pillow. Mostly so I could just get rid of the naked pillow form that had been lurking on top of the wardrobe. It turned out I was a lot closer to being finished that I thought, so I just got that done. And I've now met my 2 projects goal for March! Woohoo! I also found the lime green baby jacket I started ages ago, and decided to fish it out and finish it. It's so small and was going so quickly, and in fact is still going quickly. I finished the body, sewed the shoulder seams, and did half of the first sleeve. I've got it and a darning needle in my bag for the lunch hour, so hopefully that plus the pub tonight will allow me to get most of it done. I haven't brought a circular needle for the edging because picking up stitches evenly is a task that requires good light and sobriety. If I finish everything else, I shall work on the alpaca neckwarmer.
I went through my Mission:Possible stuff again this weekend too. The biggest project in the pile is the crocheted ripple afghan, so I think that's going to be the at-home priority. It's not the most complicated or the one that'll take the longest, but it needs an entire bag for all of the yarn that goes with, so it needs to go!
Other goals are making progress. I started the pair of mitts that will use up most of the green and yellow Dr Who yarn. They are looking good, although corrugated ribbing is really, really fiddly to do. They will take longer than I had hoped, but they're still fun. (Remind me I said that in a month or two when they are making me nuts.) I did a couple of rows of the silk shawl, but it's really not something I can do in company. Conversation makes me lose count, and then I screw up. And tinking silk laceweight is right up there on my list of not-fun, somewhere around the point of getting chewing gum out of hair. I can do it, but I'd really rather not. I did some more work on the Dr Who yarn mini-scarf, too, but that's obviously not something I can finish until the mitts are done. I thought about knitting the black shawl. And then I decided that on the not-fun list, it's well above the chewing gum mark. So I left it in the bag to marinade for a while longer.
I changed one of my goals, too. I told the Ravelry group, but I don't think I ever posted it here. I think I might turn the Kaalund laceweight into a very ornate Pi Shawl, which will probably take me much longer than a year. Especially since I don't want to rush it (and since truthfully? I don't want to use the yarn. It's the first really great yarn I ever bought, and I'm emotionally attached to it.). So, replacing that goal is the coatigan. When I started making it, I loved it. I loved the yarn, I loved the way it was turning out. And then I had to buy interfacing, and then buttons, and then I couldn't get the right size needles, and gradually I came to resent it. Which is silly, because it's about to be the perfect weather to wear it, I've now got everything I need, and it'll take a couple of days, tops, to knit a sleeve and a half, a collar, and finish the lapels. So my replacement goal is finishing my coatigan. I rounded up all the stuff that I need to finish it, and I think I will work on it over Easter on the days when the spouse is home and I can't work on the shawl. Maybe I'll even finish it!
And we also sat down and figured out exactly what he's going to need in the way of garb, and how much of that I'm going to be doing. It's not too bad, actually, and he's keen to learn to sew well enough to help out.
So, as you can see, sometimes making a big mess can be really helpful.
Friday, 14 March 2008
Yes, I finished the Monkey Socks. They are amazing and perfect and I don't want to take them off my feet. However, since the heels are looking decidedly felted after one morning of wear around the house, I won't be keeping them on.
Want to see how close my race with the yarn was? This is how much I had left:
Thursday, 13 March 2008
- 12 balls of Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply in 6 colours to knit the Ivy League Sweater from the Winter 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I am changing the colours from the original for two reasons. First, I look like hell in green. Sallow and jaundiced is really not a good look. And second, because I'm a knitter and I can do things like that if I want to!
- 3 balls of RYC Natural Silk Aran. I'm planning to turn these into a Branching Out Scarf, something I've been meaning to knit for a while and have just never had the right yarn for. I'm rather smug about this yarn, since it was the last three balls of the dye-lot and were on sale for half-price! Woohoo!
- 2 balls of Regia 4-ply sock yarn. I have been dying to try this stuff for ages, and I was thrilled to discover that Liberty seems to stock the ENTIRE range! I have never seen sock yarn in so many colours! I'm thinking that these will become a pair of Baudelaire Socks.
- 1 skein of Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Alpacas. This was the real treat of the day, the yarn that jumped into my hands and said "Please! Take me home! I'm wonderful!" I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I may just keep it to snuggle and sniff, because it is obscenely soft and strokeable, and it has that delicious silk scent of which I'm so fond.
- 1 skein of Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool. Now, I know I said I didn't buy any yarn for the tree skirt, yet this is tree skirt yarn. Here's my logic. This yarn is very expensive, and the tree skirt needs a lot of it. Almost £250 worth. And that's a lot of money to put into something that's going to get crawled over by kids and scratched and pee-ed on by pets someday. So, I'm doing what all the books say and am investing in one ball as a sort of first date. If we hit it off and I can't get enough of this yarn, well, then, kids and pets be damned. I will make an expensive tree skirt. If it's a flop, then I've only wasted £8.50 and a few hours making a hat I can just give away. It's going to become a Foliage hat someday.
I also received a second set of 2.5mm DPNs as a birthday present from my shopping buddy, which have already been put to use in the great Monkey blitz, and bought some buttons that will be used for finishing the alpaca neckwarmer I started. Yay!
The shopping trip itself was lots of fun. The sweater yarn was a little more expensive than I'd hoped, since the yarn I'd originally wanted to make it out of had been discontinued. Drat. This led me to decide that it really wasn't worth trekking all the way to Putney, since I knew that the stuff I wanted at Loop was going to take the last of my money. So, we did our rounds at the Oxford Street shops. John Lewis' remnants bin was full of treasures, though I was restrained and only got the Silk Aran. Oh, I also got bias tape for garb-making. That'll be a fun adventure. Liberty was lovely, well worth exploring, and the ladies working in the haberdashery were friendliness personified. It was great. All the Fun of the Fair was ok, but the selection was really limited. Not just in terms of yarn, but in terms of buttons and things. Still, I got the buttons I needed, and my friend got some sock yarn.
Then we decided lunch was in order, so we indulged in noodles. I had Chinese Barbeque Chicken on my noodles, and it was to die for. Yum! After lunch we went to see a mutual friend (one of the ladies with a Bump), since her birthday is the day before mine and she also knits. There was much yarny goodness for her, and I think she was pleased. She was certainly pleased enough to join us on the Islington leg of the expedition! I think the best part of the whole day was experiencing yarn shopping with other people who get it. There was not a single moment of "wait, the ball of string costs HOW much money?" or "yes, it's string, bored now". Instead, there was much fondling and joy had by all. Bump lady also had a "mauled by pretty yarn" moment which resulted in me teaching her how to crochet. I also taught the other friend how to knit. Well, retaught - he last picked up needles 19 years ago!
In fact, the little spur-of-the-moment knitting circle was fun, too. We indulged in Starbucks and played with our stuff, and I offloaded some acrylic onto the knitting friend so he could practice before I teach him how to knit socks. Theory was proven correct - his fingers still remembered how to do it and I expect he'll be done with the scarf in a few days.
The birthday yarn has been carefully packed away, not to be touched until I've done at least half of my Mission:Possible projects. These may be the 6 smaller projects, but they will get done first. I have that much self control, at least. And I did just get rid of an entire ball of acrylic!
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
So of course, I had to cast on for something new! Not another pair of socks, because, well, my sock needles are in use right now. No, I decided to get on with another of my Mission:Possible projects - the 50g of Farmyarns Alpaca that I bought last summer. Originally I'd planned to make a pair of wristwarmers out of it, so I wound it into two more-or-less equal balls. Then I decided I really didn't need a third pair of wristwarmers. So, the yarn is becoming a neckwarmer. I'm holding the yarn doubled and working on on US 3s, so the fabric is quite firm. But oh, it's so soft! I'm working in 5-row strips of stockinette and reverse stockinette, so it'll produce a ribbed effect without having to work ribbing. Or in fact purling much at all! I'm utterly in love with it - the fabric is really thick and warm and soft, and the pattern is attractive without being busy. I'm really looking forward to wearing it! Hopefully it'll go quickly, especially once I finish the socks and I'm not thinking about something else.
Monday, 10 March 2008
9:30am Meet at my place for a cuppa and to discuss the plan for the day.
First port of call: John Lewis Oxford Street. The haberdashery is great, and I know they stock the yarn for a sweater I particularly want to make. Plus the remainders bin usually has some decent yarn and fabric in it.
Then: Liberty on Great Marlborough Street. I've not been to this one yet, but I'm told that they have lovely things.
Then: All the Fun of the Fair on Kingly Court. Again, never been here, but apparently they have amazing buttons and other findings. Plus yarn, of course.
1:00pm-ish Lunch at McDonalds. This is a tradition with us, so of course we must indulge.
Then we hop on the Underground and head down to Putney.
To visit: Stash. This seems, from their website, to be a more boutique-y yarn shop. They stock a lot of stuff from North America that I've not yet been able to try out, so hopefully we will find some lovely and exotic things.
Then back on a long Underground trip to my old favourite: Loop, in Islington. A restock on some needles, a quick fondle of some silk.... Mmmmmm.
I'm hoping to acquire four things. 1. Sweater yarn for a Fair-Isle number. 2. Sock yarn. 3. Laceweight in some simple colours for shawl-making. 4. Useful tools like needles etc. Hopefully I'll be able to resist odd balls of things that will just end up being turned into more scarves.
Sunday, 9 March 2008
On Friday I received an Amazon parcel with a lovely thing in it - Folk Socks by Nancy Bush, an early birthday present from my equally lovely mum. Maybe I'll end up with all of her books. That would rock! This one is about 2/3 history of socks and hosiery and 1/3 patterns. As ever, the patterns are fantastic. I shall make most of them, I think.
And tonight the spouse and I went over to my co-worker's house because she had offered me a gift - a working sewing machine! It's seriously vintage, but is in working order and still had a spare bobbin and some fancy needles to go with. I shall take pictures and explore when I'm not worn out from a party. And to cap it, she'd also found an enormous stash of old knitting needles to give me! Including a large bundle of footlong DPNs. As far as I can tell, they don't make these any more. And I've been desperate to get some for sweater-making.
What a great weekend!
Friday, 7 March 2008
It is very nearly Easter closure, and I am looking forward to it immensely. I'm hoping to get the first chart for the half-hexagon shawl completed. This chart is by far the largest part of the shawl, something like three quarters of the shawl. (There are a lot of repeats.) It's also the easiest section of the shawl, which means it's slower. I know, it sounds weird, but I concentrate harder when things are more complicated, so I'm less likely to make mistakes and more likely to do more. That's why I've set aside this big chunk of time for the first chart.
The cast-off for the shawl is this funky crocheted quasi-picot thing. I can't decide whether I like it or not. You can see it on Ravelry if you have an account there. I may end up using a cast-off from Gossamer Webs, since they claim to be incredibly stretchy. Still, it's a long while yet before I'm going to need to worry about that!
Thursday, 6 March 2008
I resisted the urge of getting a book at Waterstone's today, since I've been told not to shop till after my birthday next week. But I have been planning some good shopping, and am looking forward to it immensely! It will involve a good friend and a couple of yarn shops to which I've never been...
Sock is going well. I've nearly finished the gusset decreases, and will probably finish them tonight. At least I hope to. The magazines may distract me. With any luck there will be a finished pair of socks to photograph by the end of the weekend, and maybe even a mostly-done tunic! Although that's going to mean another trip to the shop for some bias tape and a long phone call with mum to figure out what to do with it.
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
So the tunic is on hold while I unkink my neck. Some stress-alleviating good news is helping with this, but I'll be socking it at Gamesoc tonight. Sock progress was good last night - I got halfway through the heel flap while watching Bones and playing Civ IV. And I did a good-sized chunk of the scarf yesterday, too! Woohoo!
I had a somewhat bothersome realization last night. The end of March will be the end of the first quarter, which means that in theory I should be finished with three of my Mission:Possible projects. As of this moment, I am finished with none of them. Better get cracking!
Monday, 3 March 2008
This weekend was both busy and productive. There is an SCA event coming up in a couple of weeks, and both of us would like to have garb to wear. And we bought fabric, it was just a case of cutting and assembling. So I laid out my fabric, realized it was huge (3m of 60-inch-wide crimson wool), and decided to have a go at cutting two garments out of it. And I did. Thanks to lots of geometry at school and my trusty notebook, I was able to lay out the fabric in such a way that I've got a long-sleeved kneelength tunic for the spouse and a sleeveless floorlength gown for me cut out. Spouse is very happy, since I'm finishing his tunic first.
Thus far I've attached the sleeves to the body and basted the side gussets into place. Stitch'n'Bitch is tonight, so I'm hoping to make good progress on attaching the gussets. Once I've done that I'll put in the gusset at the back, finish the sleeve seams since it would be a pain to do them later, cut out and attach the underarm gussets, finish the collar, sew the sleeve seams and pin up and sew the hem. Then after the event when I have more free time I'll add some embroidery around the cuffs and collar and finish the rest of the seams.
Then it's on to my garb! I've already got most of my chemise and gown (a teal one, not the red) cut out and basted, so hopefully they will go quickly.
Over the course of this year I've got a second, Byzantine-style tunic and matching undertunic, along with some breeches, planned for the spouse and the red gown and a couple of headdresses planned for me. Plus there will be a ton of navy wool left over from his second tunic, so I'll have to figure out something to do with that. I'd really like to attempt a pieced gown, maybe with lacing. And I'm certain I'm going to have leftovers from the teal and cream I'm using for my current outfit. So many possibilities!
Of course, the weekend also contained yarny goodness. I worked on Monkey Two, and am very nearly done with the cuff. It's slowed down because I really need to finish the clothing, but it's still fun. I've been working a few rounds whenever I make progress on the tunic. The mini-Who scarf is being worked on too. In fact, it's my lunch-hour knitting of the day. I needed something mindless, since the tunic takes so much concentration.
And because I have the restraint of a 2-year-old at Christmas, I started a new project. See, I had to go up to the London Bead Co for red sewing thread to match the tunic, and while I was there I spotted a jumbo crochet hook that was just the right size for making the black-and-pink yarn into the wrap I found. So of course I had to try out my new hook. I've never worked with one this big before, but I think it's going well. And so quickly!