Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, Spinning, sweaters, Weaving on September 24th, 2013
Posted by Caroline in Family, Weaving on September 15th, 2013
I didn’t put the sewing machine away when I finished the bunting because I knew that I’d be needing it again straight away. Dan is now playing with a group that needs its players to bring their own music stand so now it gets to leave the house occasionally after years of living under the settee. Neither of us realised that it was going to be so difficult to carry, the top section has a tendency to flop about and poke people in the legs. When he got back at the beginning of August I said that I’d make him a bag for it before he needed to carry it anywhere again. I’ve spent the summer thinking about a doubleweave pick up creation with a musical motif but realised that this was silly for two reasons, firstly because there are only three days where it needs to be carried and secondly that at some point he’ll want a more serious looking (=black) stand rather than the bright red one that was the best choice for a seven year old. There was the other consideration that he needed it for Saturday and I didn’t start cutting out until Thursday.
He would have managed with a plastic bag and an elastic band but where’s the fun in that? The fabric was the result of some selvedge and speed experiments back when I first got the floor loom. My beaming wasn’t as good as it could have been and that made a fabric that looked like a scarf but had more skips in it than I fancied fixing. It was the right width to make the bag and I have about 8″ of fabric left from the length, enough for a pocket on something. This is the first bag I’ve made with a zip, it was straightforward enough although I’d have made a better job of it if I’d have taken the time to find the zipper foot for the machine. I think there may be a run of zippered bags coming up soon now I’ve worked out what I’m doing.
The result was fit for purpose, you can see that the stand was under control and had no opportunity to flail around and he had a free hand for opening doors. I learned about inserting zips into lined bags and got rid of a substandard scarf so all in all it was a total win. I need to buy a few zips, find the zipper foot and then see what fabric I have that is waiting to become bags. I also need to sew the sleeves into the cardigan body, zips are much more exciting than sewing up.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, sweaters on September 10th, 2013
You are perhaps thinking ”wherever did she get that amazing sense of colour?” or maybe “what is she celebrating?”. My primary criteria for fabric selection was that it had to be easily accessible in the stash, cheap when first purchased and there had to be plenty of it. What it looked like was secondary. I don’t have anything to celebrate in particular. It is the first week back at school but this year it has seemed to be an easy holiday, partly because the child helped around the house so I didn’t feel like an oppressed serf by week five. I would have liked to have been celebrating the purchase of a replacement coffee machine except that it was broken in transit so we’re back to begging the pump to keep on pumping for a little longer. I am a tea drinker except for those times when it has to be coffee. We could pretend that I’m celebrating the first day where it was cool enough to need to wear another layer in the house, it’s been a long hot summer and I’m glad to see the end of it. This morning was nippy enough for me to wonder where my gloves are.
It’s too early to celebrate the finish of the cardigan although I’m nearly there now. I’ve finished the fronts, joined the shoulders and just have the knitting of the neck and front bands to do. The sleeves are done and there are next to no ends because I was knitting from a cone so I’m hoping that the small amount of finishing won’t be too hateful. Please overlook that it’s taken me all summer to get this far and I’ll be finishing this short sleeved cardigan just as the cold weather is setting in. As I said, it was a long hot summer, too hot for wool.
Back to the bunting. I looked at tutorials for making it and they seemed to involve drawing around templates. It was far quicker to cut strips and slice them up so that’s what we did, I wielded the rotary cutter, Dan sewed the flags together (his school textile lessons came into play there) and my mother pressed them. It seemed to go on forever, I estimated that I’d need four flags to the yard and I was not too far off with that, I only had four or five left over at the end. I got my act together after the first strip, if you fold it right sides inwards before you cut it then your sewing assistant doesn’t have to turn the pieces right sides together before he sews them. This saves time because you don’t have to inspect, unpick and resew them later. The flags were sewn with a straight stitch, the double fold binding that strings them all together with a small zig zag because I had concerns about the stitches popping under tension. Time will tell whether I got that right.
We made a ten yard length of bunting with a plain yard at each end for stringing it up. At twelve yards that has to be the longest seam I’ve ever sewn, it’s longer than applying binding around the edges of a king sized quilt and that always seemed to be an endless task. Then I did it all over again because at some point that boat is going to turn around and then the other side will be visible from the towpath. It just shows that there is a role for everyone in canal restoration, it’s not all digging holes and pouring concrete, even the bunting makers have a role to play.
I was hopelessly optimistic about this week being wool week, I might manage wool-Friday-afternoon if I’m lucky. I started by clearing the heap in the front bedroom, the one standing between me and the carder, and that’s as far as I’ve got. There was floor under there – who knew?
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on September 4th, 2013
The good news is that the missing sock turned up, although truthfully it didn’t so much “turn up” as “was hunted down in an extensive search”. The heir wanted to wear his new and irreplaceable tee shirt only to discover that it was nowhere to be found. I looked in the laundry, the ironing basket and all of the wardrobes before regretfully concluding that he’d left it in Devon with the sock. After I’d thought about it for a while I began to think that this wasn’t all that likely. I could accept that when I did the walk through of his room at the end of the holiday I might have missed a sock but I didn’t really think that I was a big enough slacker to overlook something as big as a garment. I looked through his wardrobe again and then started going through the shelving. Pushed to the back behind the underwear was the missing shirt screwed into a ball together with the missing sock. With 20/20 hindsight I can see exactly how this has happened, after we came back off holiday he put the clean clothes away (I washed while we were away so there were less dirty clothes than you’d expect) and he picked up a handful of underpants and shoved them where they belonged. Unfortunately not everything in the handful was underpants. He’s back on the knit list with a warning about keeping socks in pairs.
The cardigan is moving along. I cast on for the second front and it quickly caught up to the first front. I still have a few inches before they get to the underarm and I’m experimenting with knitting both sides at the same time. So far I’ve not messed up the pattern band, if it turns out to be too tricky for late night knitting then I’ll separate them again. I’d like to get this finished soon because I have several things I want to knit, this is a sign that the weather has started to cool off. The other thing influencing my knitting is that over the summer seven of the baby jackets have left home so I can knit some more from the sock scraps bag without feeling guilty about the size of the jacket stash.
It’s still the school holidays here, this is the first year that I can remember where the six week holiday has been seven weeks long. I usually start September with a to do list that runs to a second page because of the back log of cleaning chores. This year I’ve kept on top of the housework through the summer, the bathroom floors are washed and I’ve cleaned some hard to reach areas of the teen bedroom that haven’t seen the light of day since 2007 judging from the dates on the comics we found. This means that I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about making the first week of term (next week) wool week rather than chore week although I will have to start with tidying up the heap of wool that’s escaped from its box because it’s covering the carder.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks on August 23rd, 2013
I didn’t take the camera on holiday, no great loss seeing as the photos would have looked the same as last year and the year before because we stayed in the same town, in the same house. To keep me amused and out of mischief I took the cardigan, two pairs of socks, six library books and “Pride and Prejudice”. If I’d taken fewer books then there would have been more knitting but it was hot (when it wasn’t raining) and books keep my hands cooler. The cardigan still has a single front but it’s ready for some under arm cast off action which means that it’s now sidelined until the second front catches up. That’s not going to happen until I actually cast on and I haven’t got that far yet.
My other holiday knitting was one sock and two half socks. The whole sock was one of this pair, it seemed familiar when I was knitting it and when I’d finished the first one I looked across to see a nearly identical pair on my husband’s feet. Fortunately this pair are ribbed to the toe so it will be easy to tell them apart in the wash. I did think of telling the blog what the yarn was and used the yarn band as a bookmark so I’d keep it safe. This worked right up to the moment when the books went back to the library and the ball band went into the bin. I searched the blog for details of the first pair but (surprise, surprise) I didn’t note the yarn details then either. The eagle eyed may notice that the socks aren’t a good fit for these feet and that’s because they weren’t made for them. It’s still the school holidays here and junior was pressed into service as a foot model even though his feet are now bigger than his father’s.
Junior is not modelling the pair that I made for him because there’s only one of them now. Needless to say, I am not pleased. I went away with a ball of leftover blue sock yarn and two socks that were past the heel. On Tuesday he had a new pair of socks suitable for school and concerts, by Sunday he had only one. This is a new record in sock loss, severe enough for me to seriously consider relegating him to shop socks until he can manage to put pairs into the wash (I found this one under the settee after I went hunting for it when I realised that it wasn’t in the wash). The one good thing is that this single sock can still be worn because in shoes it will match all the other socks he has that are black where it shows. I can’t even console myself with my usual line of “it will turn up” because there is a real possibility that he’s left the other one in Devon. Until I see signs of remorse/contrition or the second sock he’s off the knit list.
Posted by Caroline in doubleweave, Family, Knitting, sweaters, Weaving on August 7th, 2013
The weather has cooled off to the extent that I can think about touching wool again and so I’ve been back to knitting and weaving. I’ve now finished the back and both sleeves, not as big a job as you might think because it’s a short sleeved cardigan and I think I had to knit less than four inches before I started decreasing. I had planned to knit both fronts at the same time because it would make keeping track of the waist shaping much easier but I thought it would be sensible to start with just one front until I’d got the hang of the pattern panel. The pattern is mirrored on the other front and I thought it might be asking too much of my overheated brain to start off knitting both. I’m struggling because the pattern is written rather than charted, I did think of looking for the graph paper but the stitch count changes and it was too hot to think about graphing anything with “no stitch” squares. I would like to say that I’ve now got the pattern nailed but that’s not yet the case.
This might look like a rug but it’s really a sample. I once bought two kilos of yarn on ebay that was poorly photographed and poorly described. Not surprisingly there was only me that was interested in buying it and I bought it for not much more than the cost of the postage. It is very rough and definitely came from a carpet sheep but that’s fine because every sheep has a purpose. This is my doubleweave experiment, the rug is about 29″ wide which is just a bit wider than my loom. I wanted to see whether I could weave two joined layers without making a total hash of it and whether I ended up with a very obvious fold line.
The first piece of good news was that I managed to not join one side of the V to the other except at the edge so it did unfold into one wide piece as it was supposed to. You can see in this photo that the fold was much more visible as the piece came off the loom and I did wonder whether the magic of wet finishing would work this time. Now that it’s been washed and dried it looks much better, the fold is running along the line of the knitting needle in the first photo and I can see it but I doubt that a man on a galloping horse would. I have enough wool left to make two more this size and sooner or later that’s what I’ll do with it, something in orange, ochre, dark brown and navy would look better under the dog because then I’d be able to see him.
My last post ended with my son being away from home for a week – it all went well, he came home with all the clothes he went with and he had a great time. The only thing that he was missing turned out to be a tennis racquet and to be honest that was never going to feature on my packing list for a music course even if he did actually own one.
Posted by Caroline in Family, Knitting, sweaters on July 25th, 2013
I thought I’d do so much this week. This is the one week in the year where I’m freed from meal preparation and I’m alone through until 10pm so I can leave my toys out all of the time. My son is away on a residential music course and my husband is out all day on a different music course so it’s just me and the dog between breakfast and bed time. My dream was that by now I’d have the carder on the table and a rug on the loom but so far there’s no sign of either thing happening. It’s still too hot for me to even think about wool so I’m passing up the opportunity of my own personal wool retreat in favour of lazing about with a book. I’ve not been totally idle, I managed to come up with a packing list to send a teen off for a week away on his own and seeing as he hasn’t rung me up yet to complain about a lack of vital supplies I must have done that right.
Some evenings have been less sticky than others so the cardigan has moved forwards a little. I was all prepared to moan about how long it was taking then I had one evening with a perfect combination of decent tv and a cool breeze and I found myself well on the way to the shoulder. I started the back first because I knew that it would be big and boring and that if I left it to the last I wouldn’t want to do it. The sleeves are tiny and the fronts have a pattern so it is just the back that has tedium written all over it. I have knitted an adult sweater on 3.25mm needles before but that had a pattern and variegated yarn so even though this one is smaller it feels much bigger.
This is my son’s room for the week, with four teenage boys in it I suspect that it’s less tidy than this right now. I needed to spin a pile of wool to see me through his audition and I knitted a hat to get me through the wait for the results so I expected that I’d need plenty of wool therapy when it came to the time for him to go away for the week. The longest he’s been away before is two nights so five nights is a bit of a step up. I thought I’d spend my days worrying about the food, the accommodation, how he’d cope being in the middle of sixty strangers and whether he’d manage to listen to a single thing that was said to him. To my surprise I’m not missing him at all which is a good thing seeing as it’s too hot be consoling myself with wool.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting on July 11th, 2013
I should know better, the way to doom a project is to say that I’m quietly confident that I haven’t messed it up. Although this looks to be the same piece of knitting as before, lengthened by the passage of time, it is in fact a totally different cardigan back. The yarn is the same but it’s on different needles with a different stitch count. My washed tension swatch had told me that I was getting the correct tension of seven stitches per inch but I’d neglected to ask it any difficult questions about row gauge seeing as generally I don’t care about that. I started to care when it was time to work out the spacing of decreases for the waist shaping and I discovered that I was knitting at twelve rows to the inch. That sounded like a lot to me and it was different enough to the pattern for me to start thinking about whether I’d need to change the instructions for the sleeve shaping. I went back to the tension squares and opted for the one that was six stitches and ten rows to the inch. This means that I’ve had to do some number crunching and knit a smaller size but I think I’m on the right track now.
That’s all I have, no spinning, no weaving, no other knitting. I’ve a heap of decorating, gardening and a cut hedge to take into consideration together with many afternoons sitting in the garden with a book. It’s another lovely sunny day and that is where I’ll be going next.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on June 25th, 2013
It’s a quick post today, I have a date with twenty geranium plants, the contents of the photo and miscellaneous pots and planters. So far I’ve planted two troughs, two round planters and a length of border. The border was the most taxing because what’s going in there will be staying in and the most important viewpoint is not from the lawn but from the kitchen window. If I’m making the garden pretty then I’d like to be able to admire it while I’m washing the pots and this has meant that I’ve been standing the plants in place then nipping back indoors for an assessment. It’s only from a distance that I can judge whether I’ve got things in the right place.
I’ve nearly finished the jacket. It has no buttons but that’s a fairly common feature around here (although I did sew the buttons on two little sweaters last week so things are not as bad as they were). I started knitting the facing for the fronts and hood before I recognised that I’d not be able to position the button loops without working out where the shoulders fell and that was easier to do once I had sleeves. I knitted shut the button side and the hood and left the remaining stitches on a spare needle until I’d finished the sleeves. I like my sleeves to match so I knitted them both together even though I got into a real tangle with the spare needle holding the front facing. What made matters worse was that I had only one ball of the pink so had to work from the other end of the ball that I was using for the front facing. I spent all of the length of the sleeves muttering and grumbling but once they were done I could return to finishing the facing that was on hold.
That was the point where I realised that I had a problem. I’d checked that I’d picked up the same number of stitches on both sleeves so I knew that they should be exactly the same but when I came to measure the top button loop against the level of the shoulder I found that the sleeves were different. It wasn’t even a subtle difference either, it was the sort that you’d certainly notice even if you weren’t a knitter. The left sleeve was picked up along the side of the front and back body (also known as “correctly”), the right sleeve was picked up along the front and the underarm. What can I say? It doesn’t surprise me that I did it wrong, I’m usually knitting in front of the tv whilst having a conversation – my attention isn’t exactly on what I’m doing. What surprised me was that I could knit the length of the sleeve and cast off still without noticing. It’s not a big fix. I just have to unravel the original picked up stitches, move the sleeve around and graft it back into the right place. Yet again grafting saves the day.
I’m quietly confident that I’m not messing this up, I’ve counted the stitches on the needle (twice), I have the washed tension square to hand and I’ve two pages of calculations that show me where the numbers for the pattern alterations come from. My howling sleeve error has knocked my confidence somewhat and I’m not knitting another stitch until I’ve rechecked my figures again. I think I’m better off sticking to geraniums for the time being, it’s difficult to mess up a geranium once you’ve established which end is the top.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, sweaters on June 20th, 2013
The little jacket now has a pointy hood, I might even put a tassel on the end of it although that seems unlikely given my love of finishing. I’m happy that I’m not going to run out of the purple yarn which is good because earlier in the week when I had more yarn and optimism I knitted the front bands thereby eliminating all possibility of grafting in a contrast stripe if I needed it. It has two sleeves in progress, I feel that I’ve been knitting these sleeves forever but if it were true then they would be finished by now. I think that I’ve spent hours knitting endless rows of garter stitch when the tape measure tells me I’ve added an inch to the length.
My slacking can be put down to three things – the boredom of plain sleeves, the discovery of a site with daily nonograms and my reluctant adoption of new technology. Yes, after much protesting this luddite bought an ebook reader but only because they were on sale. I used to have a serious book buying habit but I have no intention of blowing my yarn money on ebooks, I can get library ebooks from the comfort of my own settee and I don’t have to remember to take them back.
I’ve had my nose in a pageless book all week so there has been no weaving and no progress on either of the two pairs of socks I have lurking about. I’ve sat down for five minutes only to find that an hour has passed, exactly the opposite of sleeve knitting. I’ve cleaned the windows and the shower, painted a ceiling, turned out meals on time and kept up with the laundry so it’s not as if the rediscovery of the printed word has scuttled any chance I had of passing as a functioning member of society. There is no doubt that reading has eaten my crafting time but in a couple of weeks there will be a new balance and presumably a new slip cover for an ereader. I was hoping that it would hold all my knitting patterns too but it balked at the second one that I fed it which is the one that is up next after I’ve finished the sleeves for the gorilla-baby.
(I didn’t link to the nonograms – really, don’t go looking unless you have a spare hour to fill)