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)



Posted by caroline in Celtic Dreams, Knitting on November 30th, 2010

cd2The best time to finish a cabled wool sweater is just as the snow hits. Blocking can wait because even though I’m a process knitter I’m currently all about the product. I sewed the sleeve seams up in record time and wore it straight away. I was wearing it at 6am this morning while hitting “refresh” on the school closure page and I’ll probably be only taking it off at bedtime for the next few days. That serves me right for moaning about grey days with no decent light for knitting. There’s plenty of light now because of the blanket of snow.

The pattern is Celtic Dreams, I made a few changes to it as I went along. I made a combination of two sizes to allow for my hips and knitted the sleeves flat because I think it’s less irritating to sew the seam than it is to have a big twisty mess of wool at the end of the process. cdcuffripcdcufffinI changed the cuff on the sleeve because I didn’t like the way that the patterns looked as if they nearly lined up after the garter ridge. The cuff on the body clearly doesn’t line up, that on the sleeves looked as if I intended to do it and missed. Changing the sleeve to small cables only meant that nothing could possibly line up and I liked that much better.

cd1I changed the sleeve shaping so that the decreases started later, the pattern would have had several inches knitted plain after the decreases finished and I thought I’d rather have that above the elbow than below it. I followed the directions for the final garter ridge on the body and ended up with a ripple at centre front and back, I went back and decreased three stitches across the cable and you can see that it’s still a bit wavy although that might be cured on blocking. Blocking will have to wait until the end of the Siberian weather because I don’t plan on taking it off until then.

If I was planning a sweater from scratch then I wouldn’t have started with falkland, it’s soft and I doubt it will wear that well (although I’m sure that it will wear better than a certain designer’s cashmerino). It just happened that I had two kilos of falkland in a cupboard and that made it the perfect fibre for any sweater. When this one gets shabby and bobbly then I can always knit another. I did like the top down construction from the saddle shoulders and despite my earlier thoughts, I like the neckline. It’s a pity that there was a four year gap between buying the pattern and knitting it but I got there in the end.

More of the same but with added orange

Posted by caroline in Celtic Dreams, Knitting, Spinning on November 22nd, 2010

splayLet’s start with this week’s big grey blob update – I now have a second cuff. I know that doesn’t sound a lot but it’s the end of the big slog on the body. I worked out how long the cuff was going to be and then tried the protosweater on imagining the extra inches on the bottom and I thought I’d got the length about right. All the time I was knitting the cuff I was convinced that it was making the whole thing too long but now it’s done I can live with the length. I followed the directions and did not decrease at all across the central cables and now have a lovely ripple to show for it. The last four rows are coming out and I’ll add a couple of decreases across the main cable to stop that splay. After that I just have to pick up and knit the second sleeve and then block both sleeves with a severity I usually reserve for lace.

orangeI hope there’s enough yarn for the remaining sleeve because I really don’t want to spin any more of the grey. I’m done with grey for a while, by the end of the week I’ll probably be over orange/red/pink/brown too. I dyed the plain looking orange length, half of that will be plied with what’s on the bobbin and half with the Lorna’s Laces orange/pink/brown on the left. There was a green accent in one of the braids (the one on the right and on the bobbin) and I wanted to avoid the green/green combination that would come from plying the single against itself. I think this is my 2010 orange phase, I looked back and I had an orange kick last November so I suspect that this is a seasonal thing I have going on. There might be another length of orange before I’m through, I think it needs an orange/brown combination adding to the mix.

Normally that would tell you everything about my recreational activities for the week ahead, a solid week of knitting grey cables and spinning orange wool (and ironing but you don’t want to hear about that). This is far from being a normal week because (fingers crossed) it’s going to include some loom assembly. My box of Canadian maple is making its way up the country and should be here this week.

Looking up

Posted by caroline in Celtic Dreams, Knitting on November 13th, 2010


Dreams vs reality

Posted by caroline in Celtic Dreams, Knitting, lace on November 9th, 2010

celticsideCeltic Dreams is sitting in the naughty corner. I fell out of love with it as soon as I’d joined the front and the back and started looking at the wide expanse of boring broken rib. The cabling I love, the plain bit I don’t. If I were doing this again I’d be substituting something else in there but it’s a bit late for that now.

celticsleeveI’ve been trying it on as I go along and it’s dawned on me that it’s not as big as it should be. There should be 4″ of ease and there isn’t. I’ve remeasured the front which earlier was the 17″ it should be and now it’s more like 15″. I’m telling myself this is because there’s now more weight pulling the piece down and making the sides come in but I’m not sure that I believe me. It fits but it’s not what you’d call roomy. Once the sleeve went in things went really downhill, if I’d knitted the front and back another inch or so longer before joining then all would be well. As it is, it fits but only just. I can’t cut and paste an inch in above the join because of the pattern, I’d have to add the full twenty four rows of the main repeat and I don’t need that much more room under the arm. I’ve basted the sleeve seam together and it is ok if not perfect. I’m going to finish the sleeve, baste the seam, block the whole thing, try it on and at that point decide whether it’s good enough to wear.

annisI have something finished, it is blocked as well but as it rained solidly all day yesterday and it’s raining now that will have to wait for another day. My photography works better when there’s some sort of natural light and that’s not going to happen today. This is not finished seeing as I had to rip it back to the edging when I found that I’d been merrily working short rows that were not centred on the middle of the edging. There are some things that cannot be fudged and it all had to come out. This is an Annis in Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud and to my surprise I’m finding that I much preferred knitting the Laminaria. This is just not grabbing me at all, this might be because of the big long cast on at the start or because I’ve knitted the body twice or because it’s asking for needles much larger than I’d normally use. Whatever it is I think I can say that I’m never knitting this again.

As soon as the sun comes out I’ll run around taking photos of wool and then I’ll have something to show you next time. (Providing I remember of course and how likely is that?)

The yarn made me do it

Posted by caroline in Celtic Dreams, Knitting, Spinning on October 24th, 2010

bflaranI recently bought the yarn to make a new sweater or two, it’s bfl aran and it was so cheap that it made the purchase a no-brainer. This is the same yarn that I knitted Rogue in three and a half years ago, that has bobbled a bit on the sleeves over time but it was lovely to knit and it’s washed well. I didn’t have a pattern in mind when I bought this but seeing as there was 1.6kg of it I was confident that there would be more than enough to knit anything I came across. I’d more or less decided on knitting some of it into an Elsewhere and then just had to think about what colour I’d like it to be. I’m still at that stage because that’s the point where I was hijacked by the other yarn.

falklandswatchI’ve never made a four ply yarn so it was one of the things I’d tried when I originally thought that I’d spin the yarn for the sweater. I made a three ply and a four ply and I preferred the look and feel of the one that was more work. saddleIt was clearly a total waste of effort spinning the yarn for a sweater when I’d just bought the yarn for two, all I had to do was dye it and then I was off and knitting. I don’t really have an explanation for what happened next. The swatch was on the end of the coffee table and I kept looking at that lovely round yarn, wasted on a plain swatch but so suited for cables. It was a small step to making another yarn sample and knitting a little cabled something, I liked it so much that I made another the same.

cdballoneElsewhere can wait, the two little cabled somethings turned into the saddle shoulders on Celtic Dreams (now a downloadable pattern, four years ago I had to order mine snail mail from the USA) . I knitted the front and used that as the swatch to check that it came out to the size it was supposed to. It did so now I can say with some certainty that I have started a sweater rather than knitted a big tension square. It has all the requirements for tv knitting, it’s light enough to see at night and I only need to look at the chart for the centre panel. I bought the pattern in late 2006 and decided that I couldn’t knit it to fit me. I can’t see now what I thought that the problem was, I still have the same hips but it’s not rocket science to add a few stitches where they are needed.

cdsingleI have nearly all the yarn I need, I’ll be shortening the sleeves to a length that I’ll wear and I’m kidding myself that taking a few inches out there will save enough yardage for me to be able to stop spinning now. In the real world I suspect that I’ll be needing another four bobbins full. I’ve knitted the first ball, that did the front and the back as far as the join at the underarm. I have a further thousand yards of yarn to be knitting with so I think I’ll wait until I’ve started the last ball before deciding whether I have enough. It’s a lovely colour but I’d like to spin something else now just for a change.