Tuesday, February 28, 2006

'Simply Knitting' jacket and other ramblings

The latest edition of 'Simply Knitting' arrived yesterday, and I decided I rather liked the jacket shown on the cover. During a "quiet spell" this afternoon at work I did some research into the yarns and costs. The yarns used are Bergere de France which I have admired for some time, their yarns always look great. The jacket uses "Toison" and "Canaries". Now Canaries is only available in five shades, in fact to see them properly go here.

Much as I like the bright green combination, I decided it might be a bit much for a jacket :-) Cucumber Patch have a 10%-off offer on the yarn, in the colourways shown in the magazine. In fact you get the printed pattern as well, as it is being sold as a kit. I confess I caved in and ordered one - if I'd waited around they would probably sell out, as CP sell the yarn cheaper overall than the only other UK online supplier I could find (Angel Yarns). Plus the fact I did have some Paypal balance hanging around too. Feeble excuses, but at least I've bought yarn for a specific project LOL!

I'm also considering getting the BdF Designer Knits pattern book from Angel Yarns. They have some stylish designs there, I like the openwork cardi and v-neck cable fitted sweater.

We also went yarn shopping tonight for some materials for another steek boa, this one for my mother for Mother's Day. I'm going with a purple-ish theme for this one, so I'll be using:

- Twilleys Freedom Wool (chunky) in a variegated purples and greens shade
- Stylecraft 100% wool DK in deep purple
- Adriafil Baroque (fancy mohair with tufts) in pale greens and pinks shade *STASH*
- Colinette Giotto tape yarn in "Raphael" a purply mix shade *STASH*

As you can see 50% of this scarf will be sourced from my stash, yay :-)

DH, bless him, is very good at picking out colours of yarns, and guess what he went for as a potential purple yarn - Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk :-) We didn't go down that route I'm afraid!


Dulaan Hats

I made these three hats for Dulaan during the weekend:

The leftmost hat used 3 strands of "chunky" acrylic, the middle one 2 strands. Both using Stephanie's Ken's Dulaan Hat pattern. Both are child-size hats.

The one on the right used 2 different part-skeins of Colinette Point 5 yarn. The different colourways actually work quite nicely together as they share some common shades. The pattern is one I got last autumn in a hat and scarf kit from the Colinette mill shop, knit up on 12mm needles. It practically took longer to sew up the back seam than it did to knit! (adult-sized hat, it fits me very nicely).

Currently OTN is a simple garter stitch hat knit flat, in the grey acrylic (which seems to be never-ending!).

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Quite a productive weekend

I've just finished the second of two "Ken's Dulaan Hat" hats. On the first I used 2 strands of "chunky" acrylic, and it turned out definitely large-child-sized. I used 3 strands on the second and it did turn out larger, but still I feel more suited to a child! I'm not sure what the original intent of the pattern was, size-wise, but they are lovely chunky warm hats. The nice thing is they only took me an hour or so each.

I think I'll use an odd ball of Colinette Point 5 next and make a hat using the pattern I got in the hat & scarf kit last year. I can knock out a hat in chunky yarn in an evening's knitting, which to me seems more sensible than trying to make larger garments in the time I have available. I want to be able to send a number of hats to Dulaan, along with the chunky double-thick scarf already done.

Thanks for all of the lovely comments on Clapotis! The yarn is so, so pretty isn't it. Not sure if I can get any more of it, I'd certainly be interested as I could make a matching hat and fingerless gloves :-) That said, I'm still on the first 50g skein, almost at the end of it, so it's going quite a long way!

My mother saw my steek boa on Friday and seemed to like it rather a lot - I'm considering making one for Mother's Day now. I also wore it out yesterday, when we had quite a wind-chill actor, and it kept me very warm indeed. It looks fab against a long black coat.

We're so looking forward to some warmer weather here, as we are formulating this year's plans for the garden. Last year we put up some square trellising which really improved the look of the patio-area by the garage, and also had the lawn replaced and an out-of-control border removed. We'd originally dug a lot of lawn out at the back, as we had ground elder growing and the only way to get rid of it is to dig it out ruthlessly. This ended up as a big deep border and after a number of years, it had got out of control, not least due to some zebra-striped grass which is truly invasive stuff.

This year we'll be rearranging where some of the wooden garden furniture lives, and attempting to terrace the gravelled slope so we can put some of our more "exotic" potted plants on there (e.g. banana, cannas). As I mentioned, there is scope or a few more plants in the borders nearer the house, which will definitely include some foxgloves. As Sharon has said, they are not invasive, in fact quite the opposite! (great to see you back too Sharon!). Yesterday we put up a bird box which may or may not attract one of the various small birds that frequent the garden, and I cleaned all of the bird baths out (we have four!). We think blackbirds are nesting in the conifer hedge again. Today we've seen the wood pigeons again for the first time in months. Also around was a robin, a bunch of collared doves (regular visitors to the bird tables), and one of the jackdaws eating seed too. The starlings are hilarious as they have learned to hang upside down and eat the suet out of the nets or the coconuts.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Progress pictures ahoy

I've got the day off work today, mainly to be here when the courier turns up with a bulk order of chinchilla food! I took photos of progress on my current WIPs earlier, when the sun made an appearance, so for once no camera flash:

Latifa - there is a definite tension change from when I started wrapping the yarn, but it also seems more even overall.

Clapotis - not far from the end of section 2 in the pattern, the increases. I'm assuming the eyelets left by the yarnovers / k2togs are supposed to be there and serve a purpose! This is in the Fyberspates DK in Wild Foxglove. We used to have a few foxglove plants in the garden, we're going to buy some more this Spring, inspired in part by the yarn :-)


Sunday, February 19, 2006

That was the week that was

A roundup of some going-on this week:


I managed to win an I-Pod shuffle this week! One of the companies we deal at work with sent us all an email to check our details with them. For some reason they had us all down as being in France. I suspect this was a ploy to get us over to their site. I duly corrected the listing and afterwards was presented with an electronic scratch-card. I clicked the pictures not expecting anything to happen, but the phrase matched and the site said, congrats you have won an I-Pod. Much shock and disbelief! Rest assured it isn't a scam, this is a big reputable company we have a "strategic alliance" with. And they give out prizes!


I've made progress on this, despite the occasional stitch contriving to escape from the needles :-) My hands are having what I refer to as one of their "crunchy" phases and my grip and dexterity is affected. The yarn also is slipping around a little as I'm using a pair of metal 3.25mm needles. These were my gran's once, I think, the reason I think so is that one of them has a distinct bend in it :-)

My gran taught me to knit, and she would tuck the right needle under her arm and throw the yarn. As I have now found out this appears to be quite a widespread way of knitting in Northern England and Scotland. People either tuck a needle under their arm or use a knitting belt or similar. This is why I have knitted like I do until now, except I never tucked the needle under my arm.

I don't believe there is any "one" way to knit and whatever works well for you, it the "right" way for you. And I'm not about to argue with the highly talented knitters of the Shetland Isles either! :-) So, not so much a "real" knitter but changing my style to deal with physical issues being aggravated by my uneven movements.


Hey, I started a Clapotis on Friday. Only 3 million light years behind everyone else :-) So far I'm in section 2 and about to run out of nice beaded stitch markers! I have nine, one is in use on a hat at the moment, so that leaves eight. I already have five in the knitting. Looks like I'm using some contrasting yarn for a while then :-) It was very nice of Simply Knitting mag. to give away five free markers last month though, just in time. I'm currently consiering trying to make some with my bead stash.


Heads-up for House fans. Series 1 is out on DVD on the 27th! I'm rather pleased as I missed all but one episode, having only discovered it late.


Acrylik has very kindly sent me a sample of Wensleydale Longwool 4-ply. It is fabulous stuff indeed. It's the softest 100% wool (i.e. not superwash or treated in any other way) I've ever handled. I'm trying not to buy wool/yarn at the moment, unless for something very specific. This is going on my list for future purchases though!


I bought 600g of Wendy Supreme Cotton DK this week, from the LYS. It is lovely soft mercerised cotton, and I bought 300g of pale lilac and 300g of pale blue. This is intended for chemo caps, first of all. I've been peering at the Odessa hat pattern from the latest MagKnits and I think that will be my first chemo cap project. Thanks Maureen for your comment about the Cashsoft yarn. I will put that on my list for future buys too!

No pictures today, I'll try to get some this week of progress on my current WIPs. I've been ignoring the Snowflake hat and I think I'll frog it. The yarn would probably work better on the larger rec. needle size, as a garter stitch scarf or two for Dulaan. Speaking of which I printed out the Ken Dulaan hat pattern and hope to make one this week.


That would be about right, then ..

I found the link on acrylik's blog:


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

I think it was the bit about following Faramir around that swung it ;-)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Knitting progress

No pictures I'm afraid, but I've certainly made some progress on Latifa yesterday and today :-) It's looking a bit wavy on the sides at the moment, due partly to the thinner green yarn, and partly to my changing my knitting style. The wrapping of the yarn using my right index finger is improving in leaps and bounds. I guess this is still "throwing" the yarn, but doing so in a way that seems to have some beneficial effects:

- my arms and neck feel better for it
- the knitted fabric looks more even
- the above probably being due to keeping a more even tension, because I'm not letting go of the right hand needle

I did try knitting a row or so the "old" way last night and found I didn't like reverting to it! So far I'm only doing this with knit stitches, as Latifa is garter stitch, but I thought it best to start simple and see how I go. If it means I don't end up at the physio with a "knitting related injury" then that's a major bonus :-D Last year I ended up there because of my posture at the computer, affecting my neck and also my arm and hand, so I'm keen to avoid a repeat!

Feeling somewhat better in myself today, thanks Hazel and Big Bird! I even cleaned out the cupboard on the landing, which used to be the immersion heater cupboard, now used for storage mainly for pet supplies. It was starting to resemble a stable with all the bits of hay on the floor! I then spent a few hours with my knitting, in front of the telly, watching "Charmed".


Monday, February 06, 2006

Quick update

Thanks for the lovely comments on the boa :-) i wore it to work today, it's lovely and warm. I'm never sure if anyone will even notice a "new" knitted item, however today one of my team-mates ended up trying it on, she loved it! If I had enough time I'd certainly be able to sell another one to her! Then when I was putting on my coat to go home one of the blokes noticed the boa, he said his sister would love something like that, and seemed really impressed when told that I made it (he thought I'd bought it). Sadly I can't afford to go part time at work, at the moment anyway, or else I'd be setting up a teenytiny cottage industry :-D I forgot to mention the size of the boa yesterday, it ended up at approx. 54 inches. This was the point that the Jaeger Grace ran out again, and the mohair was just about to.

I cast on for a hat last night, this will either be a chemo cap or a hat for Dulaan. It all depends on how it turns out, as I'm using Sirdar Snowflake for the first time. It seems very soft and warm but I don't want to make a chemo cap that might be a bit too "bobbly". What I can say is that it's a royal pain to cast on with! Especially on a 12" circular needle :-) One day soon I'll pluck up the courage to use some DPNs, mine having only been used for i-cord so far. I reckon I'll use them on the later decreases on this hat. I'm using a simple roll-brimmed hat pattern (all stockinette).

I'm also on the lookout for suitable yarns for chemo caps, I'm thinking Rowan Calmer, Debbie Bliss Cathay or similar, and a super-soft DK baby yarn in acrylic. If anyone has any yarn suggestions (must be available in the UK) I'd be glad to hear them.

Erin, thanks for the comments regarding a shawl. You're quite right that a rectangular shape stole / shawl would be best. I've done a little more searching and have seen one or two promising patterns so far.

In non-knitting news, it looks like the dryer component of our washer/dryer has given up the ghost. I put some towels in last night, switched it off and opened the door this morning, then got them out tonight after work - and they were still very damp. Uh-oh. Put them in again and came back to check, no heat, and a strange plastic/electric smell. This one has lasted 6 years or so which isn't too bad. The dryer went on the last one too. The washing machine part has also done a few odd things of late too. We don't really have space for an indoor separate dryer more's the pity. Ah well, such is life :-)


Sunday, February 05, 2006

The finished steek boa

Had fun unravelling the second side of the boa this afternoon after doing the first side last night. It is now done and dusted, all the loops cut and unravelled back to where they should be. I found I couldn't do the last stitch properly until I was cutting the loops. This is a fun knit and a good stashbuster - my thanks to Mary Lou for creating the pattern. In fact thanks to all of the knitters and designers who make patterns freely available over the internet. It's a fantastic resource and very generous to give something you have spent time creating, for free to the whole world! (BTW the colours on these photos are pretty accurate compared to the previous progress pictures).

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Boa progress - almost done

The five central stitches were cast off this afternoon, and I've stitched one side so far. Knitting was accompanied by the DVD of "Doctor Who and the Green Death", one of the classic Jon Pertwee stories. I remember this scaring me when it was first shown, I must have been something like 5 years old!

Here's the boa earlier today before I finished knitting, showing the balls of yarn too:

Stitch detail (no clicky):

Hopefully I'll be able to do the unravelling bit tonight. I'm looking forward to that - somehow, deliberately unravelling knitting to make a finished object is kind of appealing :-)

I've also joined Mandy's Caps For A Cure group today :-)

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Yarn photos

Firstly the Fyberspates laceweight. This is not the actual yarn I ordered - but by happy coincidence the one I wanted but it was no longer on the site!

Laceweight mohair approx. 425m in 50g:

I love this colourway!

Second (hi Tracy!) this is the Fyberspates DK wool I won on ebay:

This photo is happily without flash, I have another with flash that makes it look lighter. Destined for Clapotis I think (and reserve the right to change my mind after 5 minutes :-)


Yummy yarn

I had not one but two parcels of yarn to open tonight :-) The Fyberspates yarn from ebay (7 50g skeins of DK in Wild Foxglove) is gorgeous. There was also a parcel sent directly from Norway by DROPS/Garnstudio, with a pile of lovely Karisma Superwash 100% wool in black. This is intended for a sleeveless tank top-type creation (another practical knit!). Pictures this weekend in daylight, including boa updates.

Erin, as regards a shawl, I'm currently looking around for a suitable pattern. I don't want a horrendously complex one for my first attempt :-) I'd be grateful for any links to good patterns that you may have! I don't feel confident enough to wing it just yet - and I need to check yardage against patterns. I'll most probably use a shawl for when I'm sitting in bed reading, to keep my shoulders/arms warm :-)

Thanks ever so much for your kind offer acrylik - I will email you tomorrow :-)


Thursday, February 02, 2006


If you hop over to Fyberspates there are now sale yarns being added. Due to a near-total lack of pressing things to do at work today (we're waiting on another area to sort out a thorny technical issue as to why one server isn't talking to another one - not nicely anyway), I ended up there and bought a skein of laceweight yarn. It says it's enough to make a shawl. Since I've never bought laceweight before, or made a shawl, I figured why not :-) I think 4.99 for a shawl is amazing value. I also bought a copy of the fingerless gloves pattern, for which I have other yarn that would be perfect.

The boa is now almost 3 feet long. I finished the ball of Jaeger Grace first so knitted in a second ball. About 4 or 5 inches later the Adriafil ran out. I guesstimate around 50 inches when they will run out again. I have plenty more of both so might end up using a bit over the estimated 2 balls. I estimated on given yardage based on the pattern specifying around 120m of each.

More practice tonight too on yarn-holding with Latifa. I can't really do it on the boa with 10mm needles and 4 threads of yarn to control! I managed 10 rows in a reasonable time. Still slower than throwing the yarn but I've had years doing that :-) One of the hardest things is not knitting too tight, again that is improving. I peered at the green section that has been done with the new technique, and compared it with the section below. The green somehow looks neater, but I'll hold judgement until I've gone back into the brown and beyond. I've noticed that the green appears to be the thinnest yarn of the 4 shades. Never worked out why this happens, why some colours in the same range are thicker or thinner. The brown is the thickest I think. Not much in it but I'm noticing it all the same.

Hazel, I sent you a reply to your email, hope it arrives OK!


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Steek boa progress

Some photos of the boa knitting in progress:

The yarns are (left to right in strands on first photo):
- Stylecraft 100% wool DK
- Jaeger Grace
- Adriafil Graphic
- King Cole Luxury Mohair

The mohair was a great choice as it is quite similar in tones to the Adriafil yarn. The pictures don't do the yarns justice, too much camera flash was required. Hopefully will get some in daylight at the weekend.

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