Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Branching Out

I've started Branching Out from Knitty for my friend who is also the recipient for the bag I'm finishing. I'm also considering making a pair of wristers/mitts with a lace pattern, but probably only after I've sent the bag and scarf - this being a surprise and all!

I'm using the same yarn as for the bag, Stylecraft DK 100% wool in Ocean. It's harder to see the pattern at this stage, of course, but it will hopefully spread out beautifully once blocked. I think this is a very pretty pattern, and it reminds me of Rennie Mackintosh and Art Nouveau designs:

For once the camera flash actually aids viewing! This is three repeats in to the pattern. I'm planning on making it around 60 inches long.

Planning to start the jacket this weekend now. I need to visit the LYS tomorrow and buy some 7mm needles. I can't believe I don't have a pair! These will be for River by the way, I do have the 6 and 8mm ones required for the jacket.

Is anyone else having problems uploading pictures to Blogger? It wouldn't cooperate the last time I posted but was OK today. I've noticed it has had a tendency to be slow and unreliable of late.

Also feeling much better, thanks!

Erin asked about the cotton yarn: I found this very pleasant to knit with, and was surprised at this. The last time I knit with cotton was the intarsia sweater in the early 90s, and that particular brand tended to split rather easily. I had no such problems with the Wendy Supreme Cotton. Whether it being mercerised makes any difference, I don't know.

And finally - I got my free I-Pod shuffle today. It had arrived last Friday when I had the day off. It's very dinky, haven't had a chance to install it at home yet. I didn't realise it had a rechargeable battery and you just plug it in to a USB port to recharge!

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Monday, March 27, 2006


A happy Sunday afternoon's knitting, watching "North By Northwest", and Odessa was completed. I even used DPNs for the last little bit - like wrestling a porcupine, I could do with some shorter ones I think!.

Pattern: Odessa by Grumperina
Yarn: Wendy Supreme Cotton DK
Yardage: Around half a 100g ball, not sure of yardage

This is destined for Caps for a Cure. I have some RYC Cashsoft DK in Crush for another for CCFA, and in the lime shade for one for me (which may well look OK worn with Clapotis!).

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments on Clapotis. It certainly does look like a flower garden :-) I've had this blog for a year now, and when I look back I would never have attempted something like this even six months ago (or the likes of Odessa, come to think of it!).

I am now most envious of Cherry @ RemoteKnitter, who lives near the Colinette Millshop. It's beautiful countryisde round there but oh, to live near enough to the millshop to drop in regularly. We are going to have to have a road trip soon! Thankfully it looks like the weather has decided it might like to start Spring now, if that's OK. It has definitely been a much colder winter and gone on longer than normal. Our gas bill certainly bears this out, you can tell we've been using the gas fire a lot!

The latest Simply Knitting arrived today, which cheered me up as I have felt distinctly icky yesterday and today and did not venture to work today (not going tomorrow either!). Thought the DB baby patterns supplement was a useful thing to have, and I also like the Raspberry Coulis shrug. I keep seeing so many lovely shrug patterns, I could knit those forever I think (love the one in the latest Interweave Knits too). I need someone to organise my knitting rota for me LOL :-)

Thanks to Ra @ Knit Tigger for alerting me to what looks like a mistake in the slippers pattern from the last SK, glad I knew that before starting! No sign of a correction in the current issue, that I could see. They do also omit to mention that you would reverse the sole section chart for the second sole, which is fine if you're a more experienced knitter, but given SK's brief I'd have thought they would make it plain.

As I was unexpectedly at home today, I dug down in my WIP basket and found the poor neglected bag that has been sitting pinned together for way too long. I've now sewn up the sides, and am now sewing some felt together to line it. It will be finished!

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Completed Clapotis

I finally completed Clapotis yesterday :-) After weaving in ends I pressed it lightly with a steam iron set to a suitable heat, with a cotton/linen cloth on top as I'm not keen on ironing directly onto the woollen fabric. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and will hopefully be wearing it this week! The photos are not fantastic due to strong daylight from one side only (a bit damp to take photos outside unfortunately!):

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Fyberspates DK Merino in Wild Foxglove
Yardage: Just over 6 50g skeins - around 600 yards/555 metres
Dimensions: approx. 21 inches by 59 inches

I've also worked on Odessa (an inch away from the decreases) and even a little on Latifa this week. I'm going to finish Odessa then start the Bergere de France jacket, and another child-size hat for Dulaan. Once that is done I think I will post the Dulaan items off to the States.

A wee bit of stash enhancement this week *cough*, I blame it on the Rowan book having such nice patterns. I got the yarn (Yorkshire Tweed DK in "Skip", a pretty muted aqua) for the Brigitte fitted jacket from R38. Once again from Jannette's, fantastic service and good prices. Also got 2 balls of Rowan Spray to make those slippers in Simply Knitting, as I'm fed up of falling out of my current fluffy slippers!

Good to see we are all in knitterly agreement regarding sizing! I seem to remember reading that the current UK sizing standards date from the 1950s. Ah, a decade that is so very similar to the 2000s! Not! Post-war, people had been on rationing for many years, no chance that the sizes then would bear any relation to those over 50 years later. You could, if you were of a slightly paranoid outlook, think that clothing manufacturers have a vested (no pun intended!) interest in keeping sizings to 1950s standards. It means they can make whole "special" "plus-size" ranges and charge a premium for them, in the full and certain knowledge that many people will end up buying them because the "normal" sizes are way too small. I am turning into a clothing conspiracy theory nut I think :-)

Actually I have been thinking about getting to grips with the sewing machine, and attempting some basic sewing and dressmaking. I was inspired in part by the whole 1940s look created with the Brigitte jacket. One day I would like to be able to make skirts and trousers that fit me properly, as I have huge trouble finding things in the shops (or rather catalogues as I don't like clothes shopping!) that are a comfortable fit.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Found a stole pattern

Whil reading blogs the other day I found what I'd been looking for for a while - a suitable pattern for my laceweight mohair yarn. It is now destined to be River from Rowan book 38. I ordered this from Get Knitted on Thursday, along with a couple of balls of RYC Cashsoft DK for further Odessas, and the package arrived this morning (along with a lolly and a pen :-).

I've never owned a Rowan pattern book before (and the RYC is my first purchase of Rowan yarn), and I've read some mixed opinions on their latest collections. I do like this book, there are a number of great accessories and some lovely garments. However some of the pieces, most notably in the first section, don't look terribly wearable to me!

I was quite amused by the section about the new "plus size" pattern book. Now, in my world, "plus size" probably means what, size 20 and above maybe? I am not impressed with this book starting at UK size 14 and calling it "plus"! For goodness sake, size 14 is I believe the average size now in Britain. I wear size 14 tops but usually buy 16s in jackets, cardigans etc. I have very square shoulders but barely a size 14 chest :-) Why on earth can't designers design for women, rather than too-thin models? Why does it take a "special" book like this for a lot of us to get decent patterns that have been thought out properly for "real" women.

After that little rant I'm off to cook a chicken and spinach curry, yum :-)


The latest steek boa

Here is the latest steek boa, finished today. This is a present for Mother's Day. I like the way this turned out, the colours are quite a dark palette and will tone nicely with my mother's coat! It was also quite a nice way to use up some stash. Approximate yarn quantities as follows:

  • Twilleys Freedom Wool - 2.5 balls
  • Adriafil Baroque - 5 balls
  • Colinette Giotto - just under one 100g skein
  • Patons Whisper - just over one ball
  • Stylecraft DK wool - around half a 100g ball

The Adriafil, Colinette and Patons were all from stash, the other two bought specially. For this boa I used the crochet slip stitch to secure the edge stitches on each side. There is a good picture of this on Hazel's blog, which also shows another great variation in not cutting the loops of yarn. I'd definitely recommend the slip stitch method over backstitching, you don't have to pull vast amounts of yarn through each time to make a stitch! It also looks neater and probably holds better overall.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

'Tis over a week since I last posted, not for want of things to blog, but for want of pictures. I finally got around to getting some pictures in the remaining daylight just now.

First off, my haul of the extremely bargainous Jaeger Shetland Aran from Jannette's Rare Yarns. I still can't quite believe I got 1kg of this amazing 80% merino 20% alpaca for so few pounds. Thanks to TGirl for mentioning it originally (and for further advice!) - I then hovered and ummed and aahed for a week or more before finally snagging some. This is more than enough yarn to make something like the Rogue Hoodie.

Next up is Odessa, knit in Wendy Supreme 100% cotton in pale lilac, without the beads. This is destined as a chemo cap for Mandy's Caps for a Cure knitalong. I originally started this a week ago. All went well with the ribbing, then I came home from work and started on the pattern ... on the first round I managed to lose 3 stitches :-) I ended up frogging and starting again as trying to unpick it was proving more trouble than it was worth!

At the weekend I started a steek boa for Mother's Day - it's almost three quarters done and I only knit on it on Saturday and Sunday. I did need a break from the big needles for a while after that!

The yarns I'm using are:
- Stylecraft 100% wool DK in purple
- Twilleys Freedom Wool (chunky) in purples/greens mix
- Adriafil Baroque, 4 balls in the lighter shade shown here and one darker toning ball used in the central part of the boa (you can see the darker section at the top of the picture)
- Colinette Giotto tape yarn in Raphael
- Patons Whisper in black

I'm looking forward to unravelling this one and cutting the loops, to see how the colours play against one another.

Clapotis continues apace, more pictures when I'm heading towards the decreases (and I need to hide it from Erin, hee, thanks for your comments!).

Thanks for all your good wishes for Xander - he has just finished his course of antibiotics and we are now just keeping a watchful eye on him. He seems fine at the moment. Diane - there are some pictures of the chinchillas here :-)

Carrie Anne - it is indeed the Waterlily top in Interweave Knits :-) I think it's lovely and almost as soon as I saw it, got my Denise set out and fitted the needles and cords together :-) A bit previous I think until I've finished Clapotis at least!

I started my list at the weekend, of things I'd like to knit. I think it already has around 30 entries! Some of those are multiples as well, like "Dulaan hats". Now I need to give some thought to *when* I'm going to do them all. At this rate I'll have enough stacked up for the next 5 years!

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Clapotis progress

Almost half way on Clapotis. I'm doing a repeat a day (except for yesterday when I was too tired to knit) on the main section. I love unravelling the drop stitch ladders. It is on the third skein of yarn at the moment. I think you can see the differences between skeins! Not that it matters on something like this, I think.

I don't know how well you can see the stitch markers, all but one are little beaded markers including the "brights" set from Curious Yarns. I find I much prefer using something with a bit of weight and rigidity to it as a marker, as yarn tends to wind itself in with the stitches at the slightest opportunity. I'm also using the 5 free ones that came with Simply Knitting last month. This month's gift, the mini-loopa, I'm still not sure about!

I also checked out the original yarn used on the Clapotis pattern on Knitty, Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. When I realised it would cost almost 50 pounds to make in that, I reconsidered my idle thought of making another using it :-) I'd definitely like to make another Clapotis though, there are tons of nice DK or aran / light worsted variegated yarns around, some of the other LL yarns look pretty good I must say.

Here's the simple garter stitch hat for Dulaan I finished last Sunday, using this pattern. I think I'll make a pompom for it too, it's years and years since I did one :-)

I have some nice chunky pink yarn to make another of these, they are adult-sized hats.

I'm going to start a knitting "to do" list I think. I keep seeing things I'd like to make but have no overall coherent idea of how many. I'll probably post it up here when I've done it, just to scare myself even more :-) The two Bergere de France pattern books arrived yesterday, I really do like the cover jacket on Designer Knits. Cables are one of the things I'm keen to learn and it's nice to have something to aim at :-)

Not long back from the vet (which is why I'm posting this time of night), we took our gerbil as he has a little lump on his tummy. We were preparing ourselves for the worst but the vet gave us a 7 day course of antibiotics (which go in the water), and we have to keep an eye on him. I do tend to check all the animals every day, visually, as with chinchillas especially you have to be vigilant for signs of infection or teeth problems. Most people probably wouldn't have spotted Xander's litle lump this early! We're keeping our fingers crossed got him, if it does get worse then sadly his age is against him, but for now we are very relieved.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Knitterly nirvana

Or rather, various knitterly items arriving en-masse today!

Here's the haul:

- beautiful Bergere de France yarn from Cucumberpatch, to make the jacket (with printed pattern). The picture shows the colours pretty much true. Very soft and lovely yarn, both are acrylic/wool mixes. The lefthand yarn is Canaries in 'Lama', and the right hand is Toison in 'Manchon'. The 10%-off promotion makes this pretty good value - I doubt you could buy a jacket this nice for what the yarn cost.

- a pair of 4mm Brittany birch needles I ordered with the yarn. I've been musing on comparing birch and bamboo for strength, primarily. I have a pair of 12mm River John birch needles, but thought I'd try Brittany in a size I find I use quite a lot. Thinner needles are bound to be more fragile, I'll see how the birch compares to using bamboo. Also saw Lantern Moon needles on the site, almost fell off my perch at the price! They look lovely but I doubt I'll be buying any :-)

- Scarf Style from Only ordered on Thursday night, along with the new Harry Potter DVD. I've only glanced through this so far, there look to be some great scarves to make. I bought this as I've seen a lot of people using patterns from it, and I love my scarves - especially in this freezing weather! One thing I did notice was the photography, a lot of deliberate blurring/soft focus in a gradient. It makes my eyes spin slightly! I'm also not sure what it adds - one thing I am very keen on is good clear photos of knitted items. When you're following a pattern it helps immensely to have decent reference photos.

- Interweave Knits magazine Spring issue, from P&M Woolcraft. The subscription seems like a grand idea, this magazine is full of great patterns. I've been looking through it this afternoon, and have found a great pattern for a flared top in Colinette Giotto which I think I'll do in preference to the minidress-top in Femme Fatale. There is also a tunic top I like very much, some great fingerless mitts, a nice shrug with lacy flared sleeve ends and tons more.

- the latest Knitting magazine, which I have really only glanced at. I'm not keen on the dress shown on the cover (the only time I ever tried on a knitted dress I looked awful - this was in my late teens, in Laura Ashley!). However there is a lovely cardigan pattern inside which I spotted and liked, then found that it used Garnstudio Alpaca, even better!

Thanks for the insightful comments on knitting magazines folks, much appreciated. I'll definitely chase down a copy of Vogue Knitting. I agree regarding the Simply Knitting and Knitting mags - they are too fond of using patterns that already appear in published books. While this is nice to point you in the general direction of books/yarns, it seems a bit of a cop-out on the publisher's part. Why not commission unique patterns that you can only get in the magazine? I suspect they do so more some of the smaller items but what about the big stuff.

Speaking of patterns, I ordered two Bergere de France patterns books from Get Knitted, the Designer Knits for Women, and In. The first one of course has the jacket in it, but as TGirl has pointed out, there is a great collection of patterns in the book that we would actually wear!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stitch markers and magazines

My beaded stitch markers (the "Brights" set) from Curious Yarns arrived yesterday. They are beautifully presented in a little metallic purple container, tied together with ribbon. Looking forward to using them on Clapotis this weekend.

Ambermoggie has made some beautiful stitch markers, using some semi precious stones and minerals, take a look!

I just took out a subscription to Interweave Knits magazine at P&M Woolcraft. I've heard good things about it and am looking forward to receiving my first copy.

I'd be interested on opinions about these other knitting magazines too: Vogue Knitting, Knitters and Spin Off. Are they worth buying regularly? Our local newsagents are not very good at stocking knitting magazines, you'd be lucky to find Simply Knitting or Knitting, the homegrown UK mags! I've never seen a copy of Vogue Knitting, which I guess is the most "famous" of the three.

Hoping to pick up the needles later on tonight, didn't do any knitting yesterday as I decided to catch up with everyone's blogs properly! Nice to see all the Olympic projects on display.