Awesome hat (or so I’m told), duff cake

Posted by caroline in Family, hats, Knitting, Weaving on March 24th, 2013

This is the first year that we’ve seen snow on D’s birthday. I’d like to think that in years to come we’ll be trying to remember that one freak year where there was snow on the ground because I’d hate for this to be a regular thing. I thought that this was maybe down to the curse of the thrummed hat and that if I finished that then there would be no more snow this year. I’ll let you know how that one works out for me. It’s taken so long to finish because knitting thrums has the same appeal for me as adding beads with a crochet hook, it makes knitting into a stop-start process and is no fun at all. I might have stuck it out if I had thought that I’d look stunning in it but I don’t care how cold it gets I’m never wearing it. This does not matter as it was immediately taken from my hands and adopted. I did try to take another photo showing the flaps up but that resulted in a continuous cry of “coldearscoldearscoldears” so I gave up on that one. It’s not entirely finished, I still have to trim the fluff bits and then bash them with a brush to encourage felting. Should you want to knit one of your very own it’s the Cocoknits fleeced earflap hat except that I knitted mine top down in doubled handspun with a blatant disregard for the stated tension. As an aside – see how much lighter the thrums look than the sweater – they are both from the same bag of fibre.

There was a setback with the cake. I’d planned to make a square cake then cut it and reassemble it into the shape of a creeper. The key element to this was the purchase of green and black ready to roll icing but the only colours I could find were white and pink which made the whole thing a non starter. This required a fast switch to Plan B which I’m calling “Minecraft Inspired”, the translation of which is “bears no relation to that thing that you were aiming at”. It was a chocolate and mint sponge cake and tasted very good even though it didn’t bear much resemblance to grass. We had a major icing fail, the plan was for the three shades of green frosting to emerge randomly from the icing bag but that didn’t happen, if I could turn back time I’d have frosted the top and covered it with the same crumbs as the sides thereby making it a dirt block cake. The good thing that came out of this was that I learned that freezing sponge cake makes it much easier to cut into shape and to frost and that if you bash chocolate coated chocolate chip biscuits they make a beautifully textured coating. The trick with freezing the cake is something I wish I’d known years ago – how could I get to my age without knowing that?

It looks as if the purple gradient yarn will indeed show a gradient once on the loom, this is the wound warp with the weft yarn sitting across the top. It’s been sitting on top of the loom for a couple of days now and it is showing no sign of threading itself so I suppose I’ll have to do it. It’s not made it onto my to do list though so officially it doesn’t exist.



A week of firsts

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting, Non-fibre, socks on March 2nd, 2013

I have to admit that I’m not enjoying these latest socks all that much. I let the recipient have the full choice of colours from the scrap bag and he pulled out the first ball he came to and proclaimed it to be perfect. I moved from plain black to plain purple and it’s all so …. plain. I’m at the same point on both socks, just about to start the toe shaping and I think there is just not quite enough yarn to finish them.  This wasn’t a problem because all I needed to do is poke about in the sock scrap bag and I already had three perfect (really perfect, not just first-out-of-the-bag perfect) not-plain yarns in mind. I had a good look in the bag but couldn’t find any of them, in fact there seemed to be a shortage of purple scraps which puzzled me because I was sure that I hadn’t knitted them.

This puzzle was solved when I sat at the loom. This is my first weaving this year, I wound this warp months ago and it’s been threaded and ready to start for weeks so it’s not surprising that I’d put it from my mind. All those missing purples and the rest of the turquoise are now accounted for. This is all sock yarn from the scrap bag, I’m confident that there is enough of the weft to actually finish it, I didn’t do anything radical like work it out but it was a pretty big ball so I was happy to wing it. This is all machine washable sock yarn and I think I already have a home for it.

The other reason that the plain and boring socks aren’t finished is that I have had two projects on the go. They say that a change is as good as a rest and there has been a world of difference between tiny yarn on tiny dpns and doubled yarn on pencil sized dpns. (Excuse the weird crusty fingers, it’s dough, not a gruesome skin condition) This is my first thrummed item, apart from when we have freak weather and it gets down to -17 we don’t really have it cold enough to need that extra trapped air. If I get to the end this will be something that looks like a trapper hat except that as soon as I started with the grey I immediately regretted my colour choices. I’m going to carry on and finish it because it will suit someone somewhere, I’ve learned from it (don’t use wool that matches your hair colour unless you are knitting a wool wig) and with needles that big there is not exactly a lot of work involved.

My other first is still proving and is the reason for the scabby fingers in the photo above. I’ve been making bread by the same method all my life and I thought it was time for a change. These are my first loaves made by the sponge method and it will be interesting to see whether they are actually noticeably different to ones made with a one stage mix. If the kitchen wasn’t north facing and cold then I might already know, as it is the bag is now sitting in the living room enjoying the sun.

If I knuckle down then there is a chance that everything here could be finished next week – unlikely but possible.



Knock on

Posted by caroline in Bohusish, Dyeing, hats, Knitting on December 7th, 2012

Before I started dyeing the angora blend yarns I looked at the chart in the book and worked out how many rows were knitted with each colour. There are fifteen colours in the chart and I calculated the percentage of each I’d need, used that percentage to split up the yarn and then dyed it. What could possibly go wrong?

I knew it was going to be difficult to tell all of the yarns apart, especially the greens as they were all so close in colour so I labelled them all before I started knitting. The staple is close enough to the yarn for the label to stay put, it’s not going to slip off accidentally.  I wrote down the name I’d given them when I wrote out my dye plan and the colour number that corresponded to on the chart. That was the stage when I realised that I’d dyed a colour too many, it was a bit obvious when I had a ball left over. What I’d failed to consider was that one of the colours in the chart was the body colour for the hat, that didn’t need dyeing at all because it was already in the big ball of camel silk. I thought that this might run me into problems later, the knock on from dyeing one ball of brown too many is that all of the other colours are slightly smaller than they could have been. As I had no way of knowing whether I’d have enough of any colour anyway I decided not to worry about it until I had to.

The hat is the Wild Apple, you can see the start of the apples just appearing on the needles. I’ve knitted the second of the reds, the balls were small to start with and I was convinced that this meant that there wouldn’t be enough for the second round of apples. My scales say that there’s enough of the darker yarn and as the lighter yarn doesn’t appear again there’s the fallback of overdyeing it and using it if I need to. The more pressing problem is that I have two more red/oranges in the bag and three left in the chart. My page of dye calculations confirms that I haven’t lost one, I never dyed it at all. I think this is the follow on from my dyeing the background colour again – I counted the right number of colours but I was a brown too many and an orange short. It’s not the end of the world, the orange I didn’t dye is at the end of the colour range so I don’t have to slot it in between two existing colours but just make it more yellow than the existing orange. The real stumbling block is that I dyed all the yarn I spun and I have no more angora blend to make more.

Why did I not notice this earlier? The chart I’m working from is in false colour, the only true colour shot in the book is a photo of a sweater and it’s too small to be of any use in replicating the colours. Ravelry came to the rescue, there are several stash photos of the skeins in the kit all laid out and they were what I was referring to when I was dyeing. I saw a burgundy-red, a red, an orange-red and an orange in the photo and that’s what I dyed. Once I realised I was a skein short of a hat I went back to the two photos I’d been looking at and even now that I’m really looking at them I can still only see four orange/reds rather than five.

I am checking my tension several times a day so I’m happy that it’s still coming to the size that I wanted and I’ve decided that when and if I run out of a colour I’ll substitute one of the others. When I’m knitting this in the evening all the greens look the same as do most of the blues, even in daylight the differences in colour are very subtle. I have four rounds of knitting before I’m stuck, the last fibre I ordered took a week to get here and so even though these rounds involve knitting with three colours I think it’s safe to say that the hat is going to be sidelined for a while. It looks like it will be back to socks again tonight.



Da capo al fine

Posted by caroline in doubleweave, hats, Knitting, Stashbash, Weaving on May 23rd, 2012

I live with two musicians, it should be no surprise that I pick something up along the way. It’s nice that there is a phrase for when you’ve got to the end and then go back and start the whole thing again because that is exactly what I’ll be doing here. This is the first of the piano keyboards, sett at 12 epi and intended for a scarf. It finished at 78″ long, I’d estimated that it would be 79″ so I got that bang on target. The yarn is JC Rennie 2/11.3nm, it comes in big cones, oiled for machine knitters. I’ve picked up quite a few cones cheaply on Ebay so I already had a kilo of the white but I did have to buy the black.

The draft is from Handwoven of November/December 2011, it has a scarf in laceweight sett at 20epi for each layer and one in chenille sett at 15. I was reluctant to trim the pattern down to get the same size scarf at 12 epi because the gap between the keys is already as narrow as it can be. If I made the keys narrower and shorter to allow for the thicker yarn then the gaps would be proportionately bigger. I decided to just make a scarf that would be longer and wider than a piano keyboard but would have the right proportions. The second piece is destined to become part of a cover for a digital piano and with that I’m going to sett it at 15 epi and generate a keyboard that’s the right size and stiff as a board. It would have been nice to have woven the first piece at the right sett and got a scarf the same size as a keyboard but I’m all about using what I have where I can.

I’m still not knitting, this week while not knitting I’ve made another three hats and started a pair of socks. The four hats and the piano scarf weigh more than the cone of black I bought to make the scarf so I’m still on target with my stashbusting exercise. I also whipped up a little sleeveless number in blue, when I cast on it was going to be a sweater but the more I thought about it the more I realised that getting those long spindly arms into sleeves was going to be more trouble than it was worth. Having no shoulders and your chin lower than your arms does pose some interesting fitting challenges. He needs a hat and possibly a scarf but I can slack off for the moment as he’s nowhere to be seen and I can claim that I forgot all about him. At least the hat and scarf won’t be difficult to fit.

I might be on the brink of a return to the needles, we’re having some warm and sunny weather at the moment so why I should be thinking about cardigans is beyond me. I don’t know yet whether this is The One, the sign is when I start dreaming about it and I’m not there yet. It also depends on whether there’s enough of the Ryeland, the coloured bands can be larger but there’s a limit to how far you can stretch “not enough” yarn. I don’t know what colour the bands are or how they are worked, I’ve left that with my inner knitter to work out while I get on with other things. I haven’t thought about a collar or the bottom edges but just for once I know exactly what the buttons should look like. I’m not sure that buttons are the best place to start but I might well be building a cardigan around them.



An octave a day

Posted by caroline in doubleweave, Dyeing, hats, Knitting, socks, Spinning, Weaving on May 18th, 2012

You’re going to be looking at this for a while, I’m still totally enthralled by it which is good because I have just got to the halfway point on the first one. I’ve set myself a target of an octave a day, which isn’t very much, less than an hour’s weaving time. Some days I do two octaves, some days I do one and a half and some days I don’t put the loom up at all. At the moment there is a clear difference between the leading edge (bottom of the black key) and the trailing edge (top) on the keys but this yarn is oiled on the cone and I know when the wool hits water and blooms the nasty gap will disappear. I can be pretty confident about this because I’ve used the same yarn before for doubleweave and had the same effect on the loom. After washing, the gaps in the weaving will fill up and the white will look white because you’ll not be seeing the black layer through it. I’m not convinced that hot water will do anything at all for my edges but I can hope. In general the less I mess with them the better they get but I can’t help but fiddle.

Knitting is still blah but socks are pretty essential, especially if you have only one pair of hand knit socks. I made a pair for someone we know after she’d noticed that when the band was playing my husband didn’t get cold feet while she was freezing. Once she had her pair of socks she knew the reason why (“and they don’t fall down”). One pair isn’t enough to see you through the week so she asked me for another pair. These are Opal something or other from a Ravelry destash, which seems to be the source of all my sock yarn these days. I like them but my sock drawer is full and her need is greater.

I did also manage a hat this week. It’s Tychus again in a mixture of handspun yarns. One runs green-purple-grey and that was my first attempt at carding a three colour gradient. I wanted to see whether I could diz the batt off in one piece in a reasonable time and whether it spun into the yarn that I thought it would. The other is something that was sold to me as Whitefaced Woodland but wasn’t, it was very soft and wrong for the breed. I can’t sell it so it had to stop home and be play yarn. I need to catch up with some stashbashing this month because I bought a 500g cone of black yarn for the piano scarves and then immediately stopped knitting. The hat weighs 114g and there’s a chance that I’ll weigh in a piano scarf before the end of the month so I might yet end up level.

I’m still playing with colour changes. This yarn is Black Welsh Mountain, Manx Loaghtan and grey falkland. As it doesn’t have white in it that means that it would work with white as a contrast colour. My plan for this (if I had a loom free) would be to weave it in a nice simple log cabin with some white falkland. It’s not all shades of grey this week, I’m having an experiment with superwash and sparkle for socks. The main question was whether I could handle slippery superwash successfully because it wasn’t not going to behave the same way as nice grippy wool-from-sheep, it doesn’t hang together in the same way and I thought that it would be more difficult to diz off in one piece. It appears that I’m up to the job after all as exhibit A proves that I can take it off in one length and I have witnesses to the fact that there was no swearing involved.

 



Seemingly a sprint not a marathon

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting, Stashbash, Weaving on April 30th, 2012

My self imposed mission was to get through 2012g of unloved odd ball yarn before November. I didn’t know whether that was an achievable target, it sounded a lot but 180g a month sounded more realistic. That shows if you’re planning to eat an elephant you first need to cut it into bite sized chunks. I can say now that it was an easy target to meet because I’ve hit it by April. All I have to do for the rest of the year is move more out than I buy.

This was the key to my success, when you make a single item that weighs 913g then it goes a long way towards the goal. The sharp eyed may notice that it’s not entirely finished but it’s in use so I’m counting it. I used all of a cone of brown/green yarn, part of a cone of gold and nearly all of the mountain of alpaca/bfl that I spun three years ago. Using the alpaca has left a noticeable gap in the bottom wool box, it’s very pleasing to see. I made this as a single length, cut it into three and sewed it back together again with what my machine calls “patchwork stitch”. If you do it by hand then I think it would be baseball stitch and I’m fairly certain that if I did it by hand then it would never get done.

The brown/gold mix changes across the width, my grand plan was that the warp ran from mostly brown to mostly gold and then back to mostly brown again. That would probably have worked better if I’d made this in four sections rather than three, as it is there are not enough of the changes for it to show as a pattern. It was sett at seven ends per inch except for the experimental section where I went with six. I can’t tell the difference now, going with six overall would have made life easier because it was a six dent reed. The reason that it’s not really finished yet is the end. I didn’t want a hem because this is very thick fabric and I thought a triple thickness edge would be too bulky so I decided to pretend that it’s a quilt and bind the ends with double fold cotton fabric. When I had this idea I had the perfect fabric in mind that had the advantages of being easily accessible and of decent yardage. It was a pity that the reality was that it was easily accessible, very long and totally the wrong colour so now I need a good poke through the quilting stash to audition alternatives. The ends are secure for now, just not very pretty.

I’ve also seen off one ball of Kureyon and reduced some other aran weight yarn. I made dozens of these hats back in my last stash reduction attempt of 2007, it’s Tychus from Knitty and this could possibly be my favourite hat pattern. It’s garter stitch so it stretches to fit all size heads, it’s knitted on the same needles throughout and if you start with a provisional cast on over a circular needle it’s a simple three needle bind off to close what should be the seam. If you watch what you are doing you might even remember to do the bind off with the right sides together, unlike me. I add two stitches to the depth and make four wedges instead of five and it turns out a lovely hat every time. The four hats weighed 235g and took a couple of evenings to knit so again that shows that 180g a month is not a huge accomplishment.

I could decide to up my target to something more challenging or I could sit back and rest on my laurels. Having given it a bit of thought I’m going to keep track of the ins and outs for the rest of the year and look at doing the same thing again next year but maybe with a higher target figure. I’ve spent a solid four months on stash reduction knitting and I think I’m overdue some time off.



A spoonful of sugar

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting on March 27th, 2012

There are no socks today, none finished, none on the needles. I foretold that correctly although I was completely wrong in predicting that there would be no sock yarn and no dpns.

r2d2aThe dpns in use this week weren’t sock sized, they were massive great chunks of metal. I’ve been knitting a lot of sock yarn recently and as a result 4.5mm needles feel huge. It seems like a long time since I knitted a hat, it was certainly long enough ago for me to have forgotten what the decrease rate should be and as a result I knitted the top of this twice. I knitted the bottom of it twice as well because I carefully calculated and wrote down 105 and then went on to cast on 115 stitches. The difference only became apparent when I came to start the patterning and had ten stitches left over at the end of the row. I know exactly where I went wrong, underneath where I had written “105″ was a “+15″ which is the number of stitches I added to the chart to size it up for an adult head. I looked down, saw a number I recognised and then went back to watching the tv. There’s a lesson there for someone, probably not for me because I’m destined to repeat that one over and over again.

r2d2eThe pattern is written for a child and I’d hoped that using thicker yarn and bigger needles would be enough for it to turn out adult sized. When that fantasy failed I experimented with even bigger needles and the yarn held double but that didn’t work either and I was left to do what I should have done at the start – knit a tension square, work out my tension and calculate the number of stitches I needed for an average sized adult head. My tension issues mean that I don’t love it but as it has already left the house and I’ll never see again it doesn’t really matter. It looks like R2D2 and it fits me (I assume I have a standard sized adult head), job done, tick that box, move on.

pinkstripe1I had various setbacks on the hat and the only way I saw it through the knit-rip cycle was to have a reward system. I’d finished one front and a sleeve on this before I finished sewing all the ends in on the hat, I can now knit on this without guilt, rather than knitting my ration of three white stripes before returning to the hat. This is DROPS b14-27, I have knitted it before but then I got as far as the sleeve before regretting my colour choices and ripping it all back. This time I’m using pinks from the sock scrap bag with undyed sock yarn as the contrast. I’m just over two thirds around it and I think I have enough of the smaller balls to see me to the centre back. If not then the back may turn out to have less colour changes than the front which isn’t the end of the world, just the end of several small balls of yarn.

mballWhen I get to the mid point I start knitting this magic ball, as I’ve been going along I’ve split my yarns into two equal lengths, knitted with one and wound the other onto one ball. When I start the second half I’ll pick up the ball and all my yarns will be there in the right order to knit around to the front. I have a separate ball for the second sleeve, in a bag marked “sleeve” as I’ve already seen the one way that I can mess this up. There was another route to failure that I briefly explored when I came to wind the next colour onto the magic ball only to find that it had magically vanished. Disaster (aka non-matching fronts) was averted when I found it under the back of the settee.

It’s an ideal brainless knitting project, I have a plain run of 13.75″ of two colour, short row garter until the next sleeve. This gives me an ideal opportunity to plan the next project for the loom, I’m at the stage that starts “if I make three panels 20″ wide, each one two yards long” and hope soon to get to the point where I rummage through the bottom layers of the stash to pull out yarn for stripes.



Doubling up

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting on December 19th, 2011

There is no second mitten yet, it’s been sidelined while I worked out why it was that I didn’t want to knit it. I worked out that it was because the first one was cobbled together from odd bits of the contrast sock yarn and I wasn’t certain that I could get them all in the same order with the second one. I’ve had a firm talk to myself, this is knitting not brain surgery and no-one dies if you get it wrong. There will be a second mitten and if it doesn’t match the first then I’ll get over it.

hatflapWhile I was undertaking mitten aversion therapy I made a hat and it was so much fun I made another. hatgrtThere probably would have been a third except that I ran out of yarn which was good because that was the object of the exercise. The first one (left) is more or less the Southern Lights hat from Knitty except that I worked it top down. The second one had eight increases every two rows worked wherever I felt like putting them and a bit of garter to stop the edges rolling. There would have been a pom pom on the top except that I didn’t have enough yarn for that. flaphatwoolThe yarn was a combination of the sparkly handspun that I made from the Portland combing waste and something unmentionable from stash. Labels have been destroyed to protect the guilty, I hope that it’s been discontinued because it had few redeeming features other than the way that the colours changed. I can’t think what I’d knit with it on its own, it pilled with a glance and didn’t have much in the way of body. Knitted along with another yarn it’s given its colour changes to the hat and the solid pink has given it some substance and some twinkle. That little bit of duff yarn in the photo is all that was left after knitting the body of the hats, there was none at all left after I’d made the tassels.

hatincI used a new to me increase on this, one I’d read about but never tried. I was knitting with two strands of yarn held together, when I wanted to increase I knitted into each strand seperately (click the photo to see the detail). It worked a treat and I’d do it again. The reason I had thought about it now is that it is a variant on the increases I’ve been using on the mittens. mittincThey are also knitted with two yarns but obviously I’m only using one of them at a time. In the round before the increase I knitted both colours into the same stitch and then in the next round knitted the two strands seperately. It is surprisingly difficult to knit both yarns into the same stitch, it’s not physically hard to do but it runs against everything I’ve ever done in knitting. It just felt so wrong and I struggled with doing it at first.

tencelpointy I did finally get points on this shawl, just in time. I decided on Thursday that it needed to be reblocked before it was handed over on Friday. There was no time for any other option than an emergency steam blocking so that’s what it got. It worked really well, the difference this time was that I put the pins in the right places. It was pointed, dried, wrapped and out of the house in a few hours.

Today (as opposed to “tonight”) will be 23 seconds shorter than yesterday, tomorrow will be 15 seconds shorter than today. Roll on Friday which will be four seconds longer than Thursday. The solstice is coming, it can’t come too soon for me.



Recovering nicely thank you

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting, Spinning, Weaving on November 24th, 2011

notkshFunnily enough as soon as I started to feel better I suddenly had a line of things I wanted to knit, weave and spin. Some of them didn’t live long, I seem incapable of remembering from one year to another that dark skinny yarn in November is not a good idea. The charcoal Kidsilk Haze clone was a ripper before it was started but I was stubborn enough to peer and poke my way through a few rows before I saw the light, or lack of light anyway. It was the right yarn for the project but at the wrong time of year.

hatfronThis was a quick knit for my son, it would have been a slower knit if I’d remembered sooner that I’d promised it to him. If I’d been on my own in the shop I’d have bought the silver bells because that gives me more chance of using the leftovers but he was right in thinking that the green ones would look better on this. I now have a bag of green bells that are looking for a use. This is a free pattern (Jingle Bells Family Hat) that comes in a range of sizes from baby to adult. It was more knitting than I anticipated when I cast it on at the last minute because I hadn’t really looked at the photo and considered the impact of that deep rolled brim. What with the doubled brim and the long dangly points there was much more knitting there than in a normal hat and there wasn’t much yarn left from 200g of bfl aran. It looks better in wear than flat but you’ll have to take my word for that as the photos didn’t get past the censor.

badgloveThese may or may not be my new winter gloves. At the moment they are failing to meet expectations for reasons that I’ll think about for a post next time. I think their big problem is that they are not identical to the ones that I lost three winters ago and the yarn isn’t doing them any favours. I’m hoping that once I get the ends sewn in and possibly the whole lot overdyed to get rid of the coloured patches I’ll come to accept them if not to love them. If not then they will be going in the gift box and I’ll be knitting another pair. I’m four fingers, a thumb and lots of ends away from deciding their fate, the sewing in alone could give them weeks of life.

ripplesI also managed a spot of weaving this week. This came out exactly as I planned but it too might be going in the gift box. It was a combination of superwash sock yarn and soft handspun falkland with the falkland being sett at half the density of the sock yarn. That gave it plenty of room to shrink into during the fifteen minutes it spent in the washer so it’s still soft and drapey rather than stiff as a board. The scarf lost just under half of its original length, the take up has forced the superwash stripes into ruffles. I’ve made something like this before, last time I wanted solid edges in case I wanted it to be a bag but this time I wanted it to frill. It’s done exactly what I wanted but I don’t think I’ll be making another.

ryeland2The skunk tails are still bagged up while I ponder what rug yarn should look like, this looks to be more of the same but it’s all one fleece. I bought two Ryeland fleeces, one was a sweater sheep but the other was very much a carpet sheep. This is the sweater version, I’ve carded it all together without trying to keep the subtle variations in colour that the fleece had. It was lovely but a single colour yarn is easier to knit with. The reason that I bought two was to make sure that I had enough yarn (they aren’t big sheep) so now of course I probably won’t. I do have more than this though, the other half needs two more runs through the carder to get to the same state as this.

greenmittThe proof that I’m over the sneezing coughing thing has to be this – the second hand has magically got into gear and two handed knitting is not lost and gone forever as I feared. I’m really glad about that because there are lots of mitten patterns in my queue and it looks to be mitten weather (or maybe I’m only saying that because of my disappointment with the gloves).



The slacker wins

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting, Spinning on October 27th, 2011

naughtySomeone on the team has not been pulling their weight. They’ve been told to shape up and get up to speed but there seems to be no point in talking to the hand, it’s just not listening. I had thought that my right hand and I had come to an agreement back in 2007, it would knit to a reasonable tension providing that I didn’t ask it to do anything hideously complex such as purling. I wasn’t asking it for the speed of the left one, that one had thirty years more experience, I was just asking it to work in tandem with the left hand, sticking in the odd stitch where it was needed. Last winter I made a flappy hat with polar bears and another Christmas stocking and the right hand did its fair share then. The problem was that after that it took the rest of the year off and now when I want it to knuckle down and do some work it just doesn’t want to play.

phatThe white is the first ball of the next batch of Portland, the one that was hanging up to dry in the last post and being combed in the post before. It’s lovely and was just the right thing to hook someone that’s been off knitting for a while. The muticolour is an odd 50g of sock yarn I found hiding with the leftovers. I’d found a similar part ball that would work at a push just in case that turned out to not be enough. Progress was slow, I’d done all of seven patterned rows before one hand started protesting about the cruel and unusual treatment.

It was going to be a hat but it all went wobbly. I blame that right hand for it all, I started off at seven and a half stitches to the inch (in pattern, in the round) and that and my head measurement was the basis for the number of stitches cast on. I’m now getting eight stitches to the inch and although half a stitch an inch doesn’t sound a deal it’s an inch lost on the hat. There’s no needle in the above photo, that’s because I took it out in an attempt to convince myself that it did fit. It does but the hat is a dubbelmossa and that means there will be four layers of fabric around the brim. A close fit with one layer would be ear ripping with four.

exphatBack to the drawing board again. I will at some point get this knitting business mastered but it doesn’t look like that will happen this week.