Countdown part two

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing, Spinning, Weaving, Wensleydale on September 23rd, 2014

THREE cushions. The cushion pads are 18″ square and the covers needed to be a bit smaller than that to make a plump rather than a flat cushion. There’s a difference between “a bit smaller” and “too small” and the width of the cloth put me very firmly in the “too small” camp. Had I started with a grand plan then the purple cushion would not have had the silk inkle trim but that was the one that I made first. I needed something to cover the join in the panels and I had a length of silk tape left from something else so that’s what I used. It would have been better if I had used the same purple wool trim that I used in the other two cushions, that would have tied the three together.  After I’d finished the first cushion cover I had to think about what I would do with the join on the second. There wasn’t enough of the silk inkle left but then I remembered the thin purple wool fabric in the top of my wardrobe. I’ve been surprised by the number of times that my son has worn the jacket that I transformed with dye but he didn’t want the trousers and after he wore them for the photo I put them away with the idea that I’d use the fabric for something. It made the ruffle in the second cushion and the tape that covers the seams in the third one, it’s fine enough to use with the smallest bias tape maker so I can see that the rest of it will find a use too. You’re not getting a close up picture because the checkerboard was sewn with child labour (they’re his cushions after all) and they’re best seen from a distance.

TWO big skeins of Wensleydale, the surprise here (to me at least) is that they are not the four ply I set out to make. Once I’d got my six bobbins full I made another sample of the four ply yarn and a three ply just to see what it looked like. I liked the three ply better. If it had been frosty then I might have leaned more towards a thick sweater but just now a medium weight one seems like a good idea. It doesn’t actually matter seeing as I didn’t have a pattern in mind, I can either find one that works with the yarn that I have or alter one that I like the look of. These haven’t had their beauty bath yet, I’ve been waiting for a fine day where I can hang them out to dry (which as you can see from the lighting might be today). There is 400g of yarn here so another two skeins should do it. I need to start up the comb-spin-ply cycle again.

ONE new project. I felt that I deserved a break from spinning grey so I turned the bright braid from the last post into bright yarn. This is another Ulina (the first one I made is here), it starts with a provisional cast on at the centre back and works outwards from there to the cuff. The wide black stripe was my insurance policy because at that point I wasn’t certain that I would have enough yarn to reach the cuff. I thought that if I added a wide stripe early on by choice then if I needed to add another to the sleeve from necessity it would look less obvious. When I was half way down the sleeve I weighed the remaining yarn, worked out how many rows were left in the ball and knew that I was in the clear. I didn’t even get as far as the purple in the ball.  I split the top into four and made two balls of two ply yarn so hopefully the second side will look similar to the first. I’ve learned my lesson with this one, I’m only putting three buttonholes on it rather than five so that I can use buttons that I already have. I’m also putting buttonholes on both fronts so that I can choose which set to use once I’m done (sewing on the button closes the hole that you don’t use so it’s not obvious that you were indecisive).

It’s a lovely sunny day here so it’s time to soak the Wensleydale and hang it to dry. Now I know what yarn I have I can start looking at patterns.

 



The wheel turns (TdF week two)

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, Weaving on July 18th, 2014

Well I’m still keeping up with the Tour De Fleece in that I’ve spun every day apart from rest day. I may not have spun for very long but I’ve added something to a bobbin every day. The pink is Southdown in “dyer’s mistake” which I like as yarn. The white is all there is of the Oxford Down. Last week there was a huge pile of it and I genuinely believed that there was at least 200g there. No, I didn’t go as far as to actually weigh it and yes, I do know that a pile of fluff is mostly air. When I started combing it last summer I pulled out the 4″ locks and I’ve continued cherry picking it on and off through the year. The result was that the remainder was barely long enough to comb and the waste was much higher than with the first batches. I’ve ended up with about 100g of three ply sock yarn which is good enough. As it turned out this was the last fleece in the garage, the other two bags in there turned out to contain combed top. I may have only got enough yarn for a pair of socks but the result is three bags out of the garage. That must mean that it’s time to buy another fleece…

As I anticipated, the first half of the threading took me a week and the second half took no time at all. I’m positive that I’ve been careful and threaded this perfectly with no mistakes but then I think that every time. It’s always such a disappointment to tie on and find out how wrong I was. That will be next week’s treat, I’ll have time to sort out the mistakes with the extra hour I’ll gain each morning. Next week I don’t have to make breakfast, hunt for missing items (this morning it was the bus pass that had gone walkabout) and check that junior has checked that he has everything ready for school. We haven’t quite broken up yet for the summer, school is open for another three days next week but junior is away on a residential music course for all five. I will miss him and I’m sure that the washing machine will pine for him too.

On my to do list this week was “repot bamboo”. This one is a thug and has to be contained or else it would run and take over my garden and my neighbour’s too. Every few years I take it out of the pot, hack it in half and put it back again. Last time I had to call in a husband with a saw, the pot had a fancy strip near the rim and the root had pushed out into the detailing and he had to cut the pot off to get it out. I can learn – this pot has a flat internal face and so I got the bamboo out without any trouble. I knew there were ants in the pot but I didn’t realise the extent to which they had taken over. It’s bad enough trying to cut the roots in half without having hordes of ants running up your limbs while you’re doing it. It’s raining now with more forecast for tomorrow and I’m hoping that will persuade them to move elsewhere.

 



TdF week 1

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, Weaving on July 10th, 2014

Last week I said that I was done with socks but clearly I’m not. The last pair have been finished, initialled with duplicate stitch and released into the wild and I started another pair just as soon as this yarn was dry.  I checked and the new ones aren’t the ones that are in the dog basket (don’t ask me why there were socks in the dog basket, I was just pleased that they were a pair) so they could be anywhere. The new ones will be husband socks, he doesn’t have to wear uniform quite as often as the school child so can have colour all the way to the cuff. I usually avoid white in socks because I find that it picks up stray colour in the wash and over time turns to a murky grey but if I need to I can always dye them at some point in the future. I still believe that all colour challenges can be solved with either navy, red or brown dye and with this pair the cure would be navy.

This is my Tour de Fleece spinning for days one to five, it’s pretty underwhelming but although I undertook to spin every day I never said how long for. This is Southdown, probably, and it is a shop reject because I intended it to be a more interesting range of colours. The Tour related project that I have put most time into was the weaving because I added yards to that during Le Tour de Yorkshire. I can’t remember the last time I watched so much television in one day and then I did it all again the next day too. It was a five yard warp, I’ve not measured the final length but I’m certain that there will be enough for whatever I want to do with it. It’s turned a bag full of random handspun into something I can work with although it’s not at all what I set out to make because the bag of random handspun really needed to be twice the size.

Progress here is measured in inches rather than yards, I know from experience that I drag myself across the first half of the warp and then the second half zips along. Threading is not difficult, it doesn’t take as long as I think it does but I find it to be so monumentally boring that I want to run away just as soon as I’ve started. I have started, that’s something at least, but I’m not promising that it will be finished before the next time I post. I can always find something else that needs to be done, even the ironing is more interesting than threading the loom. My target is two inches a day, every day which is nothing at all really but just as much as I can stand.

One of those other things that needs to be done is combing the bag of fleece that I took out of the garage. This is my next TdF spinning project, it’s Oxford Down and I promised a pair of socks out of it. I’m not sure how much there is left but there’s certainly enough for a pair of socks, possibly even three pairs. I’m going to comb until the bag is empty, spin enough for one pair of socks and then take a decision on the rest. Whatever I do with it only the empty bag will be going back into the garage.

Next week is the last week of school and then after that it will be my annual wool week. This year is even more exciting because it’s not going to be wool week but wool fortnight. The first week I’ll be excused from all parenting duties as the child is going away and the second week I’ll be excused all meals because both males will be out of the house for twelve hours a day. Will I have enough wool to see me through?  Watch this space.

 



I’m fresh out of normal

Posted by Caroline in Family, Knitting, socks, Weaving on July 1st, 2014

It would be tempting fate to say that things are back to normal this week, that would be begging for something weird and wonderful to happen. There are only three weeks of “normal” left before the school holidays start so it would be good to have everything dusted and polished before the long slide into summer chaos. Last week was a busy week, the husband was off work so we caught up on all those jobs that need two sets of hands but can’t be accomplished with conscripted child labour. The home office is finished, the carpet taken up, new flooring put down, new blind at the window, trim to the floor – it’s really finished as opposed to our usual nearly finished (I am ignoring the dangling alarm sensor for very valid and earsplitting reasons). It does look more like a woodland retreat than it did before, the mural paper turned out to be cheaper than the paper on the other walls and I’ve put it up so that it can be removed without wrecking the adjoining walls. If in a few years he’d prefer a sea view then we can paste that up instead. We cut off Christmas tree lengths from the top of the hedge and had two runs to the tip household recycling centre. I’d love to see a recycling project involving conifer, pink foam backed carpet and laminate offcuts but don’t think that is ever likely to happen.

This week everyone is back at school/work and I am just about caught up with the washing that I didn’t have time for last week. This is good because I have things to catch up with on the fibre front. The gap on the loom is waiting for me to plan a contrast stripe. I’d originally thought that the whole warp would be solid red but a dig in the cotton box revealed that I had nowhere near enough red but quite a lot of orange. The current plan is for a red and yellow (lime? black?) stripe and a black weft. It needs a bit of planning now so that the pattern is balanced across the full width and the contrast starts at the right point in the pattern. This is rather more planning than I usually do so I’m in foreign territory. I’ve been avoiding it for a couple of days but it’s not going to work itself out, I either have to do some number crunching or accept that the pattern falls as it will.

This is old ground, this is my third pair of socks out of this ball of orange yarn. I think I’m done with socks for a while now, it might be time for some lace. They don’t match but I accepted that they wouldn’t match at the outset when I started knitting from both ends of the ball. This is not a problem seeing as it’s not unusual for him to be wearing one green and one red sock. As long as he keeps his shoes on they are a pair, he doesn’t care and I’m trying not to.

That’s all I have time for today, there’s floors to clean, grass to be cut and I still have a zip to put in a cardigan. The fun just never stops..

 



Plodding along

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters, Weaving on June 15th, 2014

This has not been one of my better weeks. I have weeks where I fly through my to do list and then others where I don’t seem to accomplish anything at all. Last week was definitely one of the latter. I abandoned the last box bag after I’d done the hard work of sandwiching together the zip and both layers of fabric. I’ll finish that one when I pull out the next length of fabric and start on the next set of not-box bags. I will then be muttering about the inefficiency of working with two colours of thread and wishing I’d done all the turquoise things at the same time. I’m surprised that I managed to get as far as ten bags before being bored with the shape, I didn’t think that I had as much staying power as that.

I managed to sort out the warp where I ran out of yarn. The lack of focus in the photo is down to me having one hand for the camera with the other one fending off the dog who seemed determined to have his toy in this photo. This was originally planned to be a 16″ wide twill sett at 16 epi but my plan didn’t take any account of the yarn that I had and I ran out half way through winding the warp. What can I say, I started with a big pile of yarn and I thought that there would be that magical quantity of “enough”. I thought about it for a while, rummaged through the boxes of yarn for some other candidates and changed tack. It’s now 16″ wide, plain weave, 12 epi and on the rigid heddle loom. At some point I may encounter a new challenge, this was planned for the floor loom and it’s a five yard warp. I can report that you can get a five yard warp onto the back beam of an Ashford rigid heddle loom, whether you can get that amount of fabric onto the front beam remains to be seen. It’s no big deal, I’ll weave until I can wind no more on and then I’ll look the scissors out.

Mr Fluffy helped me to warp it one morning, you can see that he is carefully holding down that piece of paper for me. How do I manage without him? The warp is going from the back of the photo and doubling around the long wooden stretcher under the settee so that I can tension it and inch the loom forward as I wind on. In the afternoon, tired from all that helping, he had a little snooze on the window sill, rolled over, fell off and landed on an instrument case. He managed to rip a claw which needed two trips to the vet and anaesthesia. He’s all mended now but he has learned nothing from his experience because that’s still his favourite snoozing spot.

Even the plain Jane socks tripped me up. I’d grafted the toe on one and was about to start the second when I noticed that it was an inch longer than the first. It was exactly ten rounds longer so it was obviously a counting error but of course I didn’t know whether the first one was too short or the second one too long until the matching feet came home from school. These are the prototype new and improved bigger socks, I only gave him an extra four stitches around because I can’t believe that his feet are really this big. I’m dealing with the recent outbreak of sock hijacking by labelling all future socks, I might go through the older pairs (and I’m using the word “pair” very loosely here) and mark those up too. As he has two out of three initials in common with his father I’ve settled for using the one that is different although they could also stand for “junior”.

The sweater sleeves turned out to be about the right length, I think they are fractionally too long but they are close enough to do. I managed to avoid obvious joins in the yarn right up to the last ball. It wasn’t so much that the colour was darker but there were no light flashes in the last ball of yarn so it is more solid. I decided to live with it because the alternative was to pull back four inches of both fronts and the back to have enough yarn to alternate rows all the way to the end . I felt better about it after seeing the recent Knitty, I will just take photos under a tree and let the dappled light hide the colour jump seeing as that’s what the professionals do. I’m picking up for the collar now, the zip is on order so it’s nearly done.

It was Whit Friday this week which is probably of no significance unless you live in Tameside or Saddleworth or play in a brass band.  In an attempt to be educational I’ve found you a video (here), I know without looking that I have no family lurking in the background (as much as you can lurk whilst playing a brass instrument) because they didn’t get to Delph until after dark. Can you imagine seeing one band every six minutes for eight and a half hours? I am glad that the classic Monday morning school exercise of “what I did at the weekend” is long gone because it would no doubt result in an eyebrows-into-the-hairline moment.



Too many wips for progress

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, socks, sweaters, Weaving on June 3rd, 2014

My major work in progress is still the study/smallest bedroom and it’s currently at the stage where it looks worse before (hopefully) it starts to looks better. I’m attempting to make it into a woodland retreat (yes, really) but I’ll settle for it being more of a woodland retreat than it was before I started. This is setting the bar very low as it was previously pink. Progress is slow, it’s full of furniture that I can’t clear out so I have to work around it all and I am intimidated by all the cabling and black boxes with flashing lights. The internet lives in there and I’d hate to be the one responsible for breaking that. The room is occasionally occupied by a homeworking husband whose at home days mean that decorating is off (although I was so desperate to see some progress that I spent one day working around him). The overdue declutter/redecoration is dragging on and on and so far the ceiling is the only thing that I can say is finished. Please note that Pebble is being a Good Dog in the photo (although he is pushing his luck) because the squeaky pig under his chin is not technically on the wallpaper. I probably couldn’t get a credit card between the pig and the paper but “next to” is not the same as “on”. I’m pretty sure that the pig would have jumped onto the wallpaper as soon as my back was turned which is exactly why I didn’t take my eye off him while reaching for the camera.

The sweater is in a heap waiting to be blocked blocking. It’s done bar the front bands and collar, they are on hold until I see if it fits. I’m not happy with it, the reasons for this are as long as my arm but if it does fit I’ll slap a zip in it and call it good. I’m so prepared for it to be wrong that I’ve not cut the yarns after the cast offs, I want to see the body on a body and the sleeves in place before I do that. If by some miracle the sleeves fit you should be able to hear me cheer from there. I went off it about four inches in when the cables failed to grow from the initial ribbing and after that it would have had to have worked very hard to redeem itself.

My only knitting at the moment is this solitary sock. I’ve set off into the great unknown of a 76 stitch sock in an attempt to fit the ever expanding junior foot. I’m pretty sure that now I won’t be able to get a pair out of a single 50g of black yarn and some scraps without the colours showing above a shoe (these are uniform socks and have to be plain black with shoes on). It’s no big deal, or so I’m telling myself anyway. The point about these was that they used up leftovers so it feels all wrong to now start planning to have some black yarn leftover. I know that plain black isn’t all that exciting but we’ve reached the stage of certain people pinching other people’s socks so someone really needs more socks (possibly with his initials knitted into them).

I fell behind with the bag making this week, I only have three half bags to show. They all have the zips in and the lining attached but are lacking in all other seams. I’d like to blame it on the decorating but it could equally be down to boredom setting in. I’m pretty sure that these will be the last box bags for a while, after making eleven of them I’m fancying another shape. I still can’t get the lid on the fabric bin but it’s getting close now. I think another two lengths of fabric made into bags should mean that I can close the box and maybe think about making more fabric to put in it.



Busy, busy, busy

Posted by Caroline in Book making, Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters, Weaving on May 7th, 2014

I’m happy now that the sleeves will be the right width, there’s only one here blocking because I was so uncertain that I put one sleeve aside until I’d seen the other one finished. I think that they will be too long, I did use a tape measure but it’s difficult to decide how long something is while you’re pulling it sideways at the same time. I’m not bothered about the length right now, I’m just happy about the width. Once I have the sleeves set in then I can work out how many rows I need to take from the length, snip a stitch, separate the sleeve into two, take out the right number of rows plus one and then graft the two bits back together again. I haven’t yet cast on for the body as that involves the major stumbling block of finding a long circular in the right size. It’s a two minute job that’s taking me days to do.

The socks finished up the right size but then I knew that they would. There’s not a lot that can go wrong with socks. These have a 2×2 ribbed cuff with two of the lines of ribbing continuing to the toe. The blue was leftover from the Baby Sirdal that I finished recently and the greens are miscellaneous leftovers from the bag of sock yarn scraps. I can’t say that these had a big impact on the leftovers, I think I’ve got enough yarn left to make another pair. I’ve already promised that the next pair will be school socks so these leftovers will all going back in the bag for now.

Last week I spent an hour or so chasing wool around the spare bedroom. After I’d finished packing things into boxes, moving yarn and fabric into a pile to be dyed and throwing random bits away the floor appeared. This is my reward for tidying up, it fell out of the shop box. I originally dyed three lengths of the plum and chocolate (right) so I could afford to sneak one for myself and the orange and pink was really too bright to sell (yes, these do sound like excuses for a shop raid and that’s because that’s what they are). I couldn’t decide whether to ply them together or on themselves so I did both to make a bright yarn, a dark yarn and something in between. My plan was to use them for a wide warp on the rigid heddle loom and then use the leftovers together with a pile of random bits to wind another warp for the floor loom.

The first part of this idea went well but it fell down with the second warp when I ran short of yarn. “Short” in this context means that I only have half of what I need so adding a few contrast stripes just won’t cut it. I think my public stance would be that I am considering my options, this translates to me bagging it up and sticking it in one of the wool boxes. I could go back and spin the other two dark braids, I could rummage through the boxes of wool in the hope of finding something that would work, I could make a narrower warp. I don’t know what to do so the answer is to do nothing.

Pro tip – don’t look at something, exclaim about the price and then utter the words “I could make one of those” because that’s what you’ll end up doing and all of your other plans will go straight out of the window. I have promised to make a book. I’ve played at this before but this attempt involves a learning curve so steep that the only way up it would involve a rocket. So far I’ve failed to make holes at right angles to the paper which is why those black lines are not even beginning to be parallel. I’m telling myself that the worst that can happen is that I make a total bodge of the first book and hopefully in the process learn enough to make the second one presentable. I have a fallback position of making a bodge of the first three and hitting it with the fourth. This morning the postman failed to bring me the faux leather for the covers, I’ve never been so pleased to not get post because it gives me another day to work out what I am supposed to do next. Remember Caroline, next time try to stick to a nice non-committal “that’s nice dear”.



Sort of a sweater start

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters, Weaving on April 29th, 2014

I finished with all of the dark Shetland, I have about 1100 yards of a thinnish aran yarn which is probably enough for a long sleeved sweater. It’s very nice even though it is still full of straw but its time has not yet come so I’ve packed it away for another day. I think that this would be classed as a decent enough workout for my new Pony bead lacing spinning wheel drive band, I’ve used it for most of the spinning and all of the plying. I did wonder whether it would be up to the job of turning the jumbo flyer with a full bobbin of yarn but it coped well. The lacing was very stretchy for the first week and I had to keep shortening it but it did settle down after that. It is not happy with being loose, I’ve had the band flip off more times in this month than in the life of the wheel, but once I’d accepted it needed to be tighter than I was used to then it was fine. You can have sixteen Pony drive bands for the same price as one proper flexible spinning wheel drive band, I wouldn’t mind buying a proper band quite so much if the postage didn’t add a third to the cost.

This is either the start of a sweater or a failed swatch. I haven’t decided yet which it is but my inner knitter suspects the latter. I hate patterns that measure things when “slightly stretched” because how much is “slightly”? It’s usually the front bands of cardigans that start me ranting but this time I haven’t got that far because it’s the tension square that needed to be measured “slightly stretched”. I did knit a tension square (two actually) and I was happy that I had the right needles but the more I knitted, the more uncertain I became. I am capable enough of being self deluded over tension without the added complication of stretching. There is an answer, I have to knit a swatch of the cable pattern because that’s measured flat. I’ve been putting off doing that because then I’ll be certain that these sleeves are doomed, at the moment they might be perfectly fine.

Luckily I have some other knitting that is not being difficult. Socks are usually my answer to avoiding dealing with knitting problems. These are the leftovers from baby Sirdal together with some odds and ends from the bag of green leftover sock yarn. When I set off I thought this would be mostly blue with some green but there was some engaging television on and I overran with the greens because I knitted to the end of the ball. There is a fair chance that these will have reached the toes before I grasp the nettle and swatch the cable pattern on the sweater because it’s easier to reach out and start knitting than it is to sit and problem solve.

I think I’ve got the hang of the box bag construction, I changed the sizing, narrowed and lengthened the handle and ended up with a pair of nicely sized project bags. I’m done with green for now but I’m going to poke through the heap of fabric and see what else I can come up with. I like the size of these, I don’t have a totally free hand with sizing being constrained by the length of the zip that I bought and the width of the fabric that I made. I could buy smaller zips and make the bags not as long but if I change the circumference then I would be cutting fabric to waste. The Etsy widget has fallen out of the sidebar (it’s probably down the back of the settee), I do still have a shop there and that’s where the bags are going.



Purple suit wrap up

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, sewing, socks, Weaving on April 22nd, 2014

The worst part of the whole business was pressing the jacket – it was such an educational experience that I started looking for local tailors in the Yellow Pages because I would have happily paid someone to do it for me. I watched a professional do it on Youtube and then set to with a tailor’s ham and a sleeve board. It would have been more straightforward if I had a wider ironing board, I got on much better once I’d put a chair behind it to stop the jacket making a break for freedom. Tacking it all together was a good thing to have done, it would have been even better had I run a line of stitching around the cuffs and hems of the jacket because I had to rediscover the edge of those. It would benefit from better pressing and I will show it the iron again once I’ve forgotten what a performance I made of it the first time. Badly pressed or not, it’s a lovely colour.

The buttons were also educational, my new word for this week is “ligne”. That’s how buttons are traditionally measured and the ones I took off the jacket were 24 ligne on the cuffs and 32 ligne on the body (also known as 15mm and 20mm). In keeping with the theme of cheap and cheerful I bought a mixed bag of ten of each size on Ebay for £4 including postage so the jacket has cost £15, a teaspoon of dye, two tablespoons of citric acid and lots of hot water. He’s pleased with it and more surprisingly (because my standards are much higher) so am I. It’s very evenly coloured and I made a much better job of dyeing it than I thought I would.

I released another pair of school socks into the wild last week. As usual they didn’t hang around long enough to be photographed, this morning I tracked them down to the laundry basket. Of course I would prefer to be showing a shot of a pair of clean socks but at least they are currently still a pair so I’ll work with what I have. The knock on from knitting the longer cuff and starting the colour before I’d finished the gusset decreases was that I ran out of the patterned yarn before I started the toe. Fortunately I still had some bright yarn that I hadn’t out away yet and that lasted to the toe with about a yard left over. That means that I’ve used up two small balls of yarn rather than one so it’s a win.

This is all that I have left from the fabric that started life in this post. At some point I’ll use up all the scraps in a patchwork something, at the moment I’m sticking them all in a bag. I’m not sticking them in this bag of course, that’s the one I’ve just made. With this I started with the fabric that I had leftover, I couldn’t work back from the bag that I thought I wanted because I didn’t have enough fabric to have any choice as to size. It might not have helped me much because I’m no good at visualising sizes, I can wave my hands around as much as I like but I still can’t what the finished thing will look like until I have it in my hands. It’s a perfectly proportioned spindle bag with room for at least four ounces of fibre but I’d rather be making sock project bags. Now that I have one in front of me I can see what I need to change to get the sock bag that I want. I can see that future bags want to be a bit deeper and wider but not as long with a narrower handle and no interfacing in the lining. I knew the lining didn’t want to be stiff but no, I had to follow the tutorial. Bag two will be a variation on a theme and hopefully next time I’ll get the zip in to my satisfaction.

 



Where did I put that?

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing, socks, sweaters, Weaving on February 3rd, 2014

Somewhere in the house is a clear plastic bag with a dozen magnetic bag fasteners in it. I’ve always kept them with the buttons but recently I took them out to show them to someone and then decided that the button tin was a silly place to keep them and it would be much more sensible to put them …. well that’s the problem isn’t it? When I find my new and improved hiding storage place I’ll be able to really finish this laptop bag (click on the photos for larger ones). This is a replacement for the one that I made nearly four years ago, I’ve been promising to make another ever since the husband got a new and smaller Mac but it became more urgent after I set fire to the old case. That sounds extreme and it was. I caught it before it got as far as flames but it was headed that way, the wool layer had altogether scorched away and the cotton batting was toasty and brown. Wool doesn’t burn but cotton certainly  does. I didn’t mean to set it on fire, I was using the case to stop the floor lamp from singing in sympathy throughout my son’s music practise and I forgot about it then turned the light on. The smell should have been a giveaway but it took time to eliminate the dog as the source. I’m not likely to make the same mistake again but, just in case, this one is wool all the way thorough, instead of a layer of cotton batting on the inside I used a second layer of the wool fabric.

There’s less knitting than there should be because I’ve got new contact lenses and they are next to useless so I’m spending three hours a day with poor vision. I’ve been waiting for my sight to magically resolve but I am now suspecting that the lenses don’t fit and that I’ve been torturing myself unnecessarily. When I’ve been able to see I’ve been knitting the blue and white tube. My unbounded love for it faded a little when I got to the neck shaping because knitting in rows with one row colour changes makes for far too many ends. It would have been nice if I could have avoided it by knitting/purling from the other end of the circular needle but the need to cast off at the neck edge meant that was a non starter. Grumble, mutter. At the same time as I was grumbling through the one row colour changes at the neck edge I also had – surprise – one row colour changes at the sleeve cuff. I cheated on the cuff in an attempt to reduce the number of ends and with any luck I’ll managed to repeat in on the second one. If I knit this again I’ll try to stagger the grumbling sections because at that point there was no fun to be had in the knitting bag (yes, I have socks on the side, they are plain black, point made). There is a left and a right sleeve because after I’ve sorted out all those ends there will be a dinky little cuff that fastens with a button.

(ETA I was right, the contact lenses didn’t fit so it’s back to glasses for now)