Warm again

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on March 7th, 2017

It was just me and the self timer on the camera and I had a race against the fading light so these are all the photos the blog is getting. The plain cardigan is finished, I decided against pockets as I don’t have the need for them that I did when I had a dog. (Those of you who are cat people may not be aware that you can identify a dog owner by the black plastic bags in every pocket of every coat and bag they own). It’s plain as plain except for the rib at each side. I could sell you this as a well thought out alternative to waist shaping but the truth is that it was simply so I didn’t need to bother with a stitch marker. The rib was a big flag that signalled that this was the point to decrease as my bust is smaller than my hips. The yarn is Forsell’s Touch of Silk, it’s made for machine knitting so is sold oiled on the cone. It softens up once you wash out the oil, you can skein and wash it before knitting or wait until the end and scour the finished item in very hot water and washing up liquid which is what I did. I bought a full kilo cone in this dark brown and a part cone in dark blue and I know now that there will be enough of the blue for a sweater without having to resort to stripes. It knits up nicely to four stitches to the inch on a 5mm needle, it would be fine on a smaller needle but I don’t think that I would like the fabric on anything much bigger.

After it was off the needles it seemed a bit gappy around the neck but I convinced myself that it would fill in with the collar. Had I sat and worked out the numbers at that point (ideally even earlier before I’d cast off) I would have seen that the neck was nearly 20″ around which is fine for a sweater where it has to clear your ears but somewhat large for a cardigan. I didn’t look at the stitch count for the final row and so decided that the width was an illusion caused by the lack of a collar. I knitted the collar, both front bands, washed it, dried it, put the buttons on and not surprisingly found that the neck was still gappy. I’ve poked at it for a couple of days, attempted to steam the neck into a more pleasing shape, poked at it some more and tried to muster up the enthusiasm to take off the bands and collar and fix it. In the end I went for plan B which was to run a piece of yarn around the neck and pull it up slightly. It is a quick and dirty fix but it is a fix and if at some future point I want to do the job properly (yeh, as if) then I can.

I usually have a three week delay while I dither over for buttons but this time I had the buttons long before I had the yarn. I’ve had them for months and I’ve been waiting for the right project to put them on. (I typed that and went to check exactly how long I’ve had the buttons for, maybe it was as long as a year? It’s actually three years, doesn’t time fly?) This project is as good as any other to put them on, I get to look at the ravens now rather than having them squirreled away waiting for the perfect project. If a better project comes along I can take them off this and put them on the new thing. I love them, they make me happy every time I pick up the cardigan and that shows that it was the right project to use them on.

I have nearly finished sewing in all the ends on the stripey socks, the birthday is weeks away and I’ve done a sock and a half so far. I ran out of black with a stripe and a toe to go but managed to find three part balls of black within four feet of my seat. I suspect there might be more if I actually went and looked. The coloured leftovers went straight into another pair of socks, the colours all work together because they all went into the same dye bath. I quite like them, the colours work well together and two of the four yarns are sparkly. I’m being daring here and I’ve started knitting on the basis that there is going to be “enough” yarn, usually I’d mark the middle of each ball of yarn so that I could be sure that I had enough for the second sock. If I run out it will be after the heel where it won’t be noticeable and I know what dye I used so I have the chance of transforming another oddment of grey sock yarn into a green that will blend in.

 

 



The swatch did not lie but the pattern did

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on February 24th, 2017

The cardigan has now reached the exciting stage where I decrease eight stitches every other row. It fits, it’s a bit snug but my tension square says that it should ease up a bit when washed. There will be a collar and button bands in due course and probably afterthought pockets too. It is not the same cardigan as the one I had started last time, after I’d bought the pattern I realised why it was that the entirety of Ravelry thought that it knitted up small. The tension was given over stockinette and the finished measurement was exactly right for the stockinette tension and the number of stitches which would have been fine if it had actually been knitted in stockinette. It had cables and usually patterns add a few extra stitches at the bottom of the cables to compensate for them pulling in but this one didn’t. The cables took at least two inches off the finished width and that wasn’t taken into account anywhere. I would need to address the sizing, sort out the arms (Ravelry was again united in saying that they ran narrow), change the hood to a collar – it was just as easy to ditch the pattern and knit something up based on the tension I had. I had also lost faith in the designer and that’s never a good starting point. It is now a plain crew neck raglan cardigan from “the knitters handy book of sweater patterns”  at four stitches per inch. If I pull my finger out and don’t dither over buttons there’s still a chance I could wear it before the season changes. I usually pick knitwear based on what looks to be an entertaining knit but this time I’m aiming for something finished and warm. This is knitted on what is for me huge needles, most of my knitting is in the 3mm range so 5mm feels massive. It makes for a really quick knit though, or it would do if I was knitting the cardigan and not socks. It very quickly became too big to be carry about knitting.

I’m on with birthday sock knitting, a pair for a birthday in April and another for a birthday in March. If I’d planned this properly then I would have started (and finished) the March ones first but I didn’t. I think I’m on the verge of running out of black sock yarn and to be honest I’m not all that upset about it (although I will be very upset if I don’t reach the toe of the second pair). The child no longer needs black topped socks to comply with a school uniform and I can do without a big slab of black on tiny needles as my evening knitting. If he had smaller feet it wouldn’t be so bad but they go on forever. I’m easing him away from what he sees as being a normal sock by moving to stripes. If I can sell the stripes then I can move onto stripes that are not black. If this fails then I’ll just buy another 500g of black sock yarn and carry on as before unless I accidentally press the wrong button and order grey or navy, either of which would be an improvement over black.

Next time – maybe a finished cardigan?

 



New Year starts and finishes

Posted by Caroline in Celtic Dreams, Family, Knitting, socks, sweaters on January 27th, 2017

Happy New Year, 2017 may be a bit dusty now but I managed to get a post into the first month although it was a close run thing.

Doesn’t time just fly by? It’s been nearly ten years since I wrote this post in praise of the slow cooker. It is still going strong except that it’s now moved out to have a quieter life with my mother. I decided that the time had come to replace it with something larger and multifunctional so now I have a slow cooker that is also a steamer and a pressure cooker. I did have a stove top pressure cooker decades ago but I was always wary of it because of the hissing and spluttering and it didn’t justify the cupboard space so out it went. Technology has moved on, an electric pressure cooker gives off a plume of steam for a few seconds just before it reaches pressure and after that it sits there silently, no steam, no sound, no worries. It has been a good purchase and has saved me even more time as I now cook perfect brown rice in bulk, freeze it and zap it in the microwave as needed. I am saving tens of minutes every time I make risotto because I don’t have to stir it (we are eating more risotto now just because I don’t have to stir it). I’d love to know what I’ve been doing with all this extra time I’ve saved, it’s certainly not gone into blogging.

I’m calling these my Christmas socks as the yarn was under the tree. Both pairs of socks are twinkly, they are so finished that they’ve been through the wash twice and they are mine. One has a heel with a flap and gusset and the one I’m wearing has a short row heel as I was feeling particularly indecisive and hedged my bets with one of each heel. I don’t think that I needed more socks but everyone else had a pair for Christmas so it seemed only fair that these should be for me.

I keep attempting to make myself slippers, I’ve finished several pairs over the years and none of them have gone well. These (or rather “this”) have not bucked the trend. The soles are from Joes Toes, they are thick felted wool and have the sewing holes already punched around the edges. I joined the inner and outer soles together with a crochet hook and the two lined up perfectly. I picked up some stitches around the edge to make a strip running around the sole and then sewed that to my knitted bootee (Himalaya by DROPS). It was a bit big so I threw it in the washer and it came out exactly the right size. I ripped back the second bootee that I’d knitted but not sewed up because I know that I’m not going to wear this one, I’ll cut the top off and reclaim the sole for another attempt some time in the future. I can’t tell you why I don’t like it, I think it’s that the top (even after fulling) has less structure than the bottom, it just doesn’t feel right.

I know that this will pass the wear test because I’ve been wearing it even though it doesn’t have the buttons that it needs. The photo of the flat thing would have been better if I’d taken it after blocking and before I’d started wearing it but I have been wearing it with the ends dangling because it’s turned cold and all my neck things have gone to ground. This is Shapeshifter, I made one some time ago in bulky yarn, this version is much finer and took a lot more knitting. I can live with the weird colour thing it has going on because once it’s wrapped around the neck you don’t see enough of it to notice the flashing. It has buttons at the three points of the chevron and then you button it through whichever hole you fancy. There are holes all the way around the edges and up the middle so there is bound to be one of them in the right place for the look that you want. It doesn’t pull over your head so doesn’t upset your hair, not that mine would be upset even if I was dragged through a hedge backwards. I didn’t entirely follow the pattern, there are new episodes of Sherlock and a series of a swedish crime drama knitted into this but again, once it’s on you won’t see where I messed up the hole sequence through inattention. I picked up and knitted a garter border because I had yarn left over and the edge was wanting to roll.

The fact that I have two swatches, one of which is on two sizes of needle, tells you that I have a tension issue. That I went to so much trouble to get it right tells you that it is something where tension really matters and the size of the cone is a giveaway that it’s a big thing. I am cold, the short term solution is to put the heating on but the longer term solution is a cardigan. I am still wearing my Celtic Dreams but since I’ve lost nine inches off my hips it has become a bit on the big size. I could fix it by sewing a dart at each side and chopping out the excess fabric or I could wear it as it is while I knit myself something new. There’s so much more fun to be had in knitting a new thing, the agonizing over button choices alone could take me weeks. Fortunately I skipped all the yarn decisions by buying something that was very cheap otherwise I could still be faffing about come summer. Hopefully by the next post I will have sorted out my yarn issues and have a chunk of brown knitting to show. If I keep on with being a slacker blogger it could be a whole garment (although probably not with buttons as that’s usually a three week decision)

 



The calendar does not lie but swatches do

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters on November 28th, 2016

I have lost a week again, maybe two. How did it get to the end of November when it feels as if the start of the month was only last week? I have managed to find all of the presents I bought, no mean feat as two have them have been missing since I bought them. You would think that by now I would have stopped hiding presents where I can’t find them because I go through this every year.

This is the current state of the blanket which is starting to look as if it is a good size to cover knees. It weighs just over 400g so that’s the equivalent of four full balls of sock yarn. I know what space that occupies and so I have an idea of how much space I should have made in the bag of sock scraps but I’m not seeing it. Yet again I have managed to knit something out of thin air because the sock scrap bag looks to be as full as it was when I started. This is the stage at which the blanket is going to be sidelined in favour of new knitting, there’s still plenty of variety in the scrap bag but I have a pattern and yarn and an urge for something different. I’m not finished with this one but I will say that I would make another because it makes for mindless tv knitting. This is a ten stitch spiral but with twenty stitches, another time I might go for thirty stitches wide because the wider the stripes are the less stopandturn there is in the piece.

This is what the blanket was dumped for. It may have the appearance of a sweater back but it has turned out to be an oversized swatch. I should have known better, I really should because I have never knitted anything that came out too big but have many examples of things being too small. I should know by now that if the tension square tells me to use the same needles as in the pattern it is tricking me or I’m using the wrong yarn. I would usually have started with a sleeve but the pattern helpfully has the tension measured over stockinette rather than in pattern and then doesn’t give you many measurements on the schematic. The sleeve width is a mystery so I decided to ignore the accumulated wisdom of decades and leap straight in with the back on the needles suggested by my swatch and the pattern. I could have got lucky I suppose but what I’ve got is what I should have expected – something that will be way too small. It’s tricky to tell with rib because it stretches which is why patterns usually say measured “when slightly stretched”. There was no “slightly” about what I needed to do with this to get it close to the measurement on the schematic. I’ll start again with my usual guess of using needles one size thicker than the pattern suggests and this time I’ll have a stab at a front.

My socks are now on my feet and the leftovers are in the blanket. This is the reason that the blanket didn’t eat into the bag of sock yarn bits, many of the balls of yarn were never in the bag in the first place. The added blue stripes meant that the part ball of yarn was enough to make a pair of matching socks so it was worth those extra few ends. More socks are on the needles, as many as I finish will be wrapped and under the tree and those that aren’t finished will be given in January. It’s no pressure Christmas knitting again here this year.



Now we are ten

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, socks, sweaters on October 12th, 2016

I should have made a cake or something but I didn’t really feel much like celebrating. Sorry blog, maybe next year I’ll make a big fuss about you being eleven. Yes, the blog is now ten; it’s ten years since the little boy broke his leg on his second day back at school. This space was created to gave me something else to think about other than hospital appointments and wheelchair loans and it gave me a perfect little bubble where I could ignore the reality of living with an eight year old with twelve weeks off school. It was not a good time for us but we lived through it and now it’s just a distant memory.

This is the time of year when I rediscover my love of knitting. It is beginning to be glove and hat weather and I would usually start off with an intensive search for this year’s perfect dog walking hat/gloves/scarf which would improve in some way on the specimens that were last year’s perfect solution to the British winter. That’s obviously not going to be happening this year. Sweaters for me are on hold after the great Wensleysweater ripfest which (as always) leaves socks but there are only so many socks that I can knit. This is another pair of socks which the recipient doesn’t need but he’s getting them anyway because they are occupying me while I think about what I can knit next. I even mended three pairs of socks by making new toes, it’s not my favourite thing to do but I was pretty desperate for both the socks and knitting. I did make six toes because otherwise they wouldn’t match and you know what I’m like for matchy matchy socks.

This is probably the Next Big Thing, or at least I hope it is. If it isn’t the next big thing then I don’t know what is. This is 1600 yards of three ply Portland dating back to 2011. I didn’t finish it at the time because I knew that I’d be dyeing it and I thought that it might as well be finished in the dye bath and only dried the once. It’s still early enough in the year for line drying to be an option if I keep an eye on the forecast and pick the right day, in another month it’s more likely to be all rain all of the time. The plan for this is to dye it some colour as yet to be determined and knit a cardigan for my mother. I haven’t chosen a pattern yet because I won’t be able to knit a tension square until after the yarn has been wet and dry. The yarn probably won’t bloom much but it would be really risky to try to second guess the tension based on the unfinished yarn. (Anyone who thinks this post will end with a photo of a tension square is going to be disappointed, I’ve enough experience to know where to take a shortcut and believe me, it’s not here)

While I’ve not been knitting I have been painting the porch and starting my Christmas shopping. No, it is not too early, the butcher has opened his Christmas order book and we have ordered the turkey so I am now officially into Christmas preparation. I have bought two presents so far and they are probably doomed. What usually happens is that I tuck the early ones away in some random location then put the later purchases in a sensible place when I’ve had more time to think about it. When it comes to getting out the wrapping paper I will have forgotten about the things that I bought early on or have no clue where I put them. I need a better system, possibly involving a zipped sports bag and a small padlock. Better planning would eliminate the need for me turning the house upside down in December, although that might not be such a bad thing as I might then find my spare pair of glasses.

I have now glossed everything there is to gloss in the porch which means the door frame is now really white on the outside and a more cream shade of white on the inside. I keep looking at it and trying to ignore it but I know what will happen next. I will paint the door frame which will lead to the skirting boards which will lead to the next door frame, the door itself, the other side of the door and then a run all the way around the edges of the living room to where it will meet the fresh paint in the dining room (the blog says that I painted in there in 2013, so it’s not all that fresh really). By then I’ll have had enough and I’m counting on it being dark enough in the hall at this time of year to be able to ignore the transition to the cream paintwork going up the stairs especially as the join will be at skirting board level.

 

 

 



Let’s call it my yoke phase

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on May 19th, 2016

Here we are at the end of GCSE week one. The story so far is perfectly boring – no crises, no unusual exam content, everything trundled along as would be expected. The school bus turned up, the roof didn’t fall in and no-one broke a leg. Give me another three weeks of the same and I’ll be well pleased.

I’ve finished the blue and grey sweater that I made from leftovers dyed blue and leftovers left grey. It’s knitted from the bottom up with the sleeves joined in when you get to them and is a mash up of a Drops pattern and the neck from Geilo. If I could have found a set of dpns in the right size I would have knitted the sleeves in the round and avoided a sleeve seam, as it was I knitted the sleeves both at the same time on straights and pretended it was so I could make them match. The worst thing about this turned out to be sewing on the clasps, for some reason I made a small job into a really big one. I sewed all six parts on to then decide that the neck was  wrong. I took the collar off, knitted it again but smaller and then decided that the four parts remaining were in the wrong place. When I came to sew them on again I caught a strand of yarn on the back with the first one and had to take it off and then managed a proper knot in the thread when sewing on the second. I like them, they are the same width as a stripe and a good colour match for the grey but the cost (£1.45 each) and the nightmare I had sewing them on means that I probably won’t be using them again or at least not until I’ve stopped associating them with tedium. They are not as eye catching in real life – they stand out in the photo because of the flash but as it’s grey and grim today using the flash was a necessity. I am in no way complaining about the weather, the rain brings the pollen count down which is a blessing for GCSE candidates with hay fever.

The white cardigan is of the same construction as the blue striped sweater in that it’s knitted in one piece from the bottom and the live sleeve stitches incorporated into a yoke. Again I’ve had to knit the sleeves flat because of my inability to find a set of dpns. How anyone can end up with a single double pointed needle I do not know. I could understand having none at all, I could understand having three but how did I end up with just the one? I am still unconvinced with the fabric, it’s ok but I know that I’d like it better on a smaller needle. I am bang on gauge and using one of the recommended substitute yarns but really it needs something a little bit thicker. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the yarn will bloom on finishing in a way that it’s never done before. I am considering knitting this again with my tried and tested method of using smaller needles, the length for the size I need and the stitch count of the size two sizes larger. I am also considering a hat and mitten set so that repeat knit may be happening sometime-never.

This is an actual pattern, not messed about with in any way so you too could knit this. You’d probably knit the bonnet and socks too, so would I if I could live with the tension. It’s DROPS 17-14, a free pattern, and I’m using undyed Fabel sock yarn and the leftovers from previous projects. I think it would have been fine if I’d used the recommended yarn but alpaca makes my nose itch and I don’t like feltable babywear. Drops Fabel is one of the listed substitutes but I remain unconvinced. I would suggest you use something a bit thicker or more fluffy or use smaller needles and a calculator. I would also suggest that you do the right thing with the facings and either cast on 10% fewer stitches or use a smaller needle and change/increase after the fold. A flippy facing is easily avoided, you just have to make the inside slightly smaller than the outside.

That’s it – I’m off for an exciting evening of fifteen decreases every four rows. The end is in sight although I still have the button challenge to overcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 



All shall be well

Posted by Caroline in Family, hats, Knitting, sweaters on May 13th, 2016

Let us start with a contender for the most boring photograph in the history of knitting. It’s a length of plain white rolling stockinette. Worse than that, it’s a very short piece of plain white rolling stockinette. Hopefully by the next time it appears it will be much longer with a touch of colour – either that or I will have ripped it for offences against tension. It’s sock yarn (again) but this time on a 3.75mm needle rather than a 3.25mm. It means it will make a cardigan the same size as in the pattern rather than combining the stitch count from the third size with the lengths for the first size. This should be a good thing but my inner knitter is positive that she prefers the fabric from the smaller needle. We shall see.

That is the start of sweater three because I haven’t quite finished sweater one. The grey is left over from the Geilo sweater from the last post and the blue is overdyed sock yarn leftovers. This is knitted on a 3.25mm needle which means my tension is way off but it makes a nice cushy fabric. I am using the neckline from Geilo so it’s knitted around all the way up and then the opening is cut. The photo on the right shows the two yellow lines of machine stitching on the reverse, I’ll pick up alongside those and knit a facing on each side. I am still undecided as to whether the neck will have a plain band or a collar, my decision will be influenced by how much yarn I have left.

Sweater two was started and finished over a weekend. With a 13″ chest it is easily the smallest garment that I’ve ever made and I hope that the baby is too big for it. Full term babies come in all sizes, premature babies do too. This is Heim in Drops Fabel sock yarn, again on a 3.75mm needle as that’s what I needed to match gauge. It took 48g for the smallest size so you’d get one from a ball of yarn. The pattern has five buttons but I thought there was more chance of finding a set of four in the button tin. It goes without saying that when I tipped them all out I found five. The pattern also has a helmet and leggings but I skipped those in favour of a little lace hat in leftover yarn. You can see from my finger how small it is, it fitted nicely over a wine glass.

I might have to find something that needs a lot of planning, possibly also spinning because GCSEs start next week. There are two weeks of exams, a week’s holiday and then another two weeks of exams. After that it’s summer all the way through to September.



A new start

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on April 26th, 2016

Regular readers (that’s you Carolyn) may recall that I spoke of having three baby sweaters rammed into a single bag. This is a spectacularly bad idea, do not try this at home. Two of the three patterns were handwritten notes translated from Norwegian, both containing the word “elephant”. It wasn’t enough to work out where I was in the pattern, I had first to work out which pattern went with which sweater. The first sweater I finished was one of the elephants, the second one I finished was the other elephant pattern. When I spun the yarn I knew I wanted to make a little sweater from it and I split in into a large skein and two smaller ones with the colour repeats shorted in the sleeve skeins. There wasn’t quite enough yarn in the large skein to knit all of the body so I had to put it on hold, knit the sleeves and then use the leftovers from the sleeves to finish off the body. This is knitted as a tube all the way to the start of the neck shaping, the big advantage of this being that there is only a few inches where you need to purl in pattern. The time saved there more than makes up for the extra finishing work at the end. The pattern is in a free pattern booklet and Google Translate will help you if you don’t knit in Norwegian.

The last sweater in the bag was very nearly finished, it just needed a few rounds on the top of one sleeve. Like the one above it is knitted as a tube to the neck and cut for the sleeves and the neck opening. It was the neck opening that drew me to this one, I’ve never steeked a polo neck before and I wanted to see how much work it was. This is Dale’s Geilo in the child size, there is a hat and a cardigan in the same pattern. The colour scheme on the pattern front is not the most inspiring ever but fortunately I’d seen it first on Ravelry where it had been knitted in something less orange. My version is knitted in sock yarn, I thought I had plenty of undyed yarn but the cupboard was bare and I had to ditch my carefully planned colour scheme in favour of whatever I had enough of. I like the olive and the navy but if I had been starting with a blank canvas I wouldn’t have gone with fuschia. The original has two part fasteners but as I’m cheap I went with pairs of buttons and button loops. I enjoyed knitting it and I didn’t even mind sewing down the multitude of facings at the end. The thing that I was grateful for when I came to pick up the pattern again was that it was in english.

That makes this “sweater one” again rather than “sweater four”. I liked the neckline on Geilo so much that I’m transplanting it onto another sweater pattern or I will do when I get further up the body. The grey yarn is leftover from Geilo, I’m pretty sure that there will be enough although I didn’t do anything radical such as weighing it. The blue is a random selection of leftovers from the sock scraps bag overdyed with navy. I’m not worried about running out of the blue because it’s all different and I can just make some more without worrying about it not matching what I already have. By the time I’m done I will have seen the back of a lot of little balls of yarn and that on its own is enough reason to knit it.

I’ll leave you with a couple of old posts with a school theme:

this one

this one

He starts his GCSEs in three weeks, doesn’t time fly?

 

 

 



Cut your losses

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, Spinning, sweaters, Wensleysweater 1 on April 4th, 2016

Let’s just forget all about March and move right on with April. Although I’ve not been entirely idle I had a spell where I didn’t seem to do much of anything. I’m through that now and as I’ve cleaned, polished, scrubbed or dusted everything in the house it’s time to dust off the blog and look through the camera card.

I spun all of the greens and blues from the fibre oddments in my last post. I overdyed it all with navy and ended up with a pleasing pile of yarn. It all went wrong after that when I found the brown yarn that in my mind I had picked out as the perfect weft yarn. I remembered it as being considerably thicker than it actually was so that idea went west. I probably have something in the stash that would work but I didn’t feel like making the herculean effort to look for it so I packed the hypothetical warp away until I come up with a better idea.

While that was on hold I made some socks, there was another black and red striped pair but they were on feet and out of the door before I thought about getting the camera out. The middle pair is yarn from a much-hyped International Yarn Dyer, I was seriously underwhelmed by both the yarn base and the dyeing and I won’t be buying more even if it became cheaper than Opal. I was so unimpressed that I made sure the leftovers wouldn’t hang around in the stash by knitting them into another pair of socks with plain black stripes. The child had them on feet and out of the house before I had the chance to photograph them

I addressed the issues on the Wensleysweater. I’m not sure exactly what the issues were but it must have had some to be still on the needles eighteen months after I started it. I like the yarn and that’s good because I will at some point be using it again. It took a while to rip out all those lovely cables but it was the right thing to do and I feel better for it.

At some point since my last post I decided to tidy up all the knitting seeing as I wasn’t actually knitting. At the time it seemed like a good idea to stuff all three baby sweaters in a single bag together with the patterns, needles and spare yarn. Sorting it out weeks down the line was not fun because two of the patterns were originally in Norwegian and my translations were on odd bits of paper. The first challenge was attempting to decipher my scribble enough to work out which papers went together (note to self – page numbers are a wonderful invention) and which papers went with which project (second note – titles are good too). I kept putting it off as being too much to tackle until I ran out of things to knit and had to find something in the bag of many projects. To my surprise I found that all three sweaters were almost done; one needed two rows on the body, one needed three rows on one sleeve and one needed scissors. I cut out the X’s that I’d carefully sewed in, I’d only done half of one sleeve and I couldn’t face another sleeve and a half. I’ve put the button tin in a new place and when I hunt it down I’ll add the three buttons that this needs. This is a free pattern but it’s in Norwegian. I went my own way when it came to the neckline because it was easier to make it up than translate it. I wouldn’t knit it again because there were more ends than I cared for. I should have thought about that when I saw the stripes but I managed to overlook it until making up time.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog that back when it was cold and grim I adapted my soft and lovely handspun gloves for use with a smartphone. It took all of five minutes, a needle and a length of conductive thread. If I was knitting them now I’d hold the thread with the yarn and knit the two together, the thread is soft and supple and I don’t think that it would affect the fabric. As this was a retrofit I just did a bit of stitching on my index finger and thumb in what seemed to be the right places. It works perfectly and I’m really pleased with it. It just happens that the thread was a close match to the yarn, I got lucky there as it meant that I didn’t need to be particularly neat with the stitching.

There is more but I’m staying with this month’s motto of “finished is better than perfect”. Hopefully I’ll catch up with the rest next time.

 

 

 

 



Far too much XXX

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on January 13th, 2016

Christmas was fine despite my misgivings. My to do list of essentials filled the sheet of paper but with a little delegation it all got done. It appears that wiping down the skirting boards and vacuuming under the furniture are not essential Christmas jobs after all. The tree is down, the spinning wheel is back up and I’m starting to work my way through the pile of miscellaneous wool that I tidied off the floor before Christmas. I did what I think of as an “emergency tidy” in the spare bedroom which is where I pick up everything and stuff it in a bag to deal with later. The bits of wool ended up filling a pillowcase and it was the first place that I went to when I decided that the dog needed a new blanket. The one I made in 2009 has developed a few holes where he’s clawed it in his rush to jump on to the back of the settee and defend the household against passing dogs/cats/delivery drivers. I could mend it but it’s had a five year run and I can make the replacement the length that I intended last time (I came up short on one of the panels so the whole thing ended up 4″ shorter than I wanted). I’ve split the wool into two piles because it looks like the makings of two blankets, a brown and green one for me and a red and brown one for someone else. The red pile is the photo on the right, it’s not red yet but dye will fix that.

You might expect that after nearly a month I’d have one of those two baby jackets finished by now but instead of finishing one of them I cast on for a third. I have a rational explanation other than the fairly obvious one that I like knitting and am not overly taken with making up. The first little sweater was knitted as a tube and needs to be cut down the sides and front, which means I need to get out the sewing machine to reinforce the cut edges. The second little sweater needs a lot of hand sewing and I have to have decent light to do it. If I started a third sweater that would also need machine sewing then it would be worth getting the machine out because then I’d have two sweaters to sew. I’d also have some knitting to be doing while I was plodding through the hand sewing. If you look at it in that way it seems perfectly reasonable and not at all a case of startitis. I should add that I am not enjoying sewing X’s onto my knitting and I am very sure that I won’t be making another of these.

Sweater three, which is a cardigan, is black sock yarn paired with the yarn I spun in October. At the time I spun it I intended it for a baby sweater which is why I split it into a skein for the body and two smaller skeins for the sleeves. I made the colour runs shorter in the smaller skeins because sleeves are narrower than bodies and I was hoping to get stripes of similar thicknesses. I’m happy with how the stripes have turned out because the ones in the sleeves are pleasingly narrow. It appears that 50g of coloured yarn is not enough for the body but I think that’s okay because 25g is too much for a sleeve. The body is now on hold until I’ve knitted both sleeves then the leftover yarn from the sleeves will (hopefully) be enough to finish the body.