Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FO: Wisp

I finished my daughter's present on Boxing Day. It is the Wisp scarf from Knitty. She chose the yarn herself back in the summer, but my first attempt at using it was a disaster and I think she had given up hope of ever seeing it knitted up.

It is Colinette Parisienne and is a cobweb-weight mohair on a strand of nylon. The fluff made me sneeze! I couldn't get my wooden needles to work with it. My Denise's just slipped past each stitch. So I used my only pair of addi golds, which were much smaller than the recommended size at only 3mm.

So my daughter's scarf has a denser texture than the pattern as it was written. As a result, it took a lot longer to show progress and I was quite bad-tempered by the end.

However, she was overjoyed to receive it - hooray! My son was unusually impressed that I had produced it using yarn and needles - it doesn't look like knitting at all, he says!

Here it is with her Christmas locket - one skein made a decent-sized scarf.


Wisp by Cheryl Niamath, free pattern from Knitty, summer 2007.

One skein of Colinette Parisienne in unknown colourway bought at the Wool Shed in Oyne.

3mm addi gold needles.

Also required: an awful lot of patience.

It is lovely but I will not be knitting another!

Friday, December 25, 2009


FL is asleep by the fire and I am off out with dog.

He was the only patient at the clinic yesterday when he went for his Velcade.

All is well.

Looking forward to a quiet day.

Happy Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

FO: Pat-a-Cake Mittens

It is becoming traditional for me to forget to knit anything for next door's baby until Christmas Eve. Last year it was socks.

So I was a day ahead when I knitted these Pat-a-Cake mittens yesterday!

Once again I used the remains of a single skein of Interlacements Toasty Toes (worsted weight), which seems to go on for ever. This child now has a hoodie, a jester hat and a pair of mittens all from the same skein!

It's a free pattern and I really like it - quick, easy to follow, and well-shaped.

Next year will require more planning as by then they will have TWO babies!

I still have my daughter's present to finish, but now that she has flown off for Christmas with her dad and his side of the family, I can take it easy and knit in public! Their flight was delayed by two hours yesterday but at least they got there safely. I hope the next leg of the journey (to Taunton by coach) goes smoothly, but that is out of my hands.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

two square Sunday

Two squares this week! Because my daughter has been sitting next to me all evening so I couldn't knit her present.

Yarn Yard Bonny in "Famous" from my Chevron Scarf

Noro Kureyon sock from my Simple yet Effective shawl.

Snow arrived on Friday night. I hope the kids can fly to London tomorrow!

I'm at work til lunchtime on Christmas Eve.

Left a candle on top of the wood burner with obvious consequences. Then FL dropped the full ashcan on the sofa.

Had a splurge at Kemps - they are selling 500g mystery bags of Rowan yarn for £5 each! Fly, fly my friends!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Doing Diaries

I cannot function without a pen-and-paper diary. Work insist on me using Outlook (so they can keep track of me - hah!) but I have to copy everything into my little book.

Last year I had an Eric Carle (Very Hungry Caterpillar) Diary. Which was fun, but felt a bit mass-produced.

For 2010, I have this!

It came all the way from Canada, and every page is designed by a blogger/ crafter / Etsy-person. It comes with a plain cardboard cover, so it can be personalised. I am thinking of sewing it a little jacket. Just because.

I admit that some of the pages don't actually have much room to write in my appointments, but the illustrations are so inspiring, I will make it work. If I get desperate I can always stick an address label on top and write really really small!

My next mission is to find some creative stationery to use at work. My desk is depressing. I spend 8 hours a day rearranging the heaps of paper. I am actually very organised - my pinboard is a shrine to Excel charts! So all I really need is a date file and a couple of magazine box-files to restore order and inner calm. And a purple pen. I've got to get a purple pen!


FL has had a tooth extracted (after the dentist checked her book for the effects of Zometa). And now has an unexplained rash on his chest. The parade of minor ailments never fails to amuse and delight us - sigh!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

FO: Fugue test tam

Finished and in use!
This is the Fugue tam which I was testing for Kate and Lilith.
The kit will be available soon, so you can knit your own tam and / or mittens.
The yarn is Bowmont Braf, which is perfect for stranded knitting, as once it is blocked it develops a slight blurring or blending of the colours. Lilith dyed the wool in Moody and Dreich, a much more subdued colourway than Kate's prototype.
I was thinking of giving the hat to my mother for Christmas until FL seized it and claimed it as his own. And it works.
He caught sight of his reflection in the window and said he looked like his father in it.
Certainly, it seems to carry tradition in its weave when worn by a Scottish man of FL's vintage! Yet it looked young and funky when worn by Kate.
I really like the braid round the brim, and the stripes leading up to the tiny acorn on top.
Would I knit another? Oh yes! And some mittens would be good too!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Christmas List

Fugue is blocked and dry, now awaiting daylight for a photograph! It looks as if FL is claiming it, so that's his knitty Christmas present sorted - phew! It is quite a manly colour, and tammies were traditionally worn by men, so it's not such a crazy idea. And let's face it, his Centuria hat is deeply eccentric. People are used to his - ahem - individual dress sense.
I have adjusted my Christmas knitting list as I went along. Plans? Pshaw! - who needs them?!
It now looks like this:
My mother: Pretty Thing - done!
My aunt: Baird - done!
My son: Metropole in a Sidewind socks - done!
The teenage cousin: Sloochie - done!
FL: Fugue - done!
Which only leaves my daughter. She has been known to read my blog, so I can't say much. I am knitting a pattern repeat every evening after she goes to bed, so it should be done in time.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

FO: Baird neckwarmer

From The Knitter, Issue 13, this is the Baird neckwarmer designed by Jeanette Sloan.

I spotted it in the Preview last month and was intrigued, so when the magazine arrived I was excited to discover that I had ALMOST the same yarn in my stash. I say "almost", because the pattern is written for Lang Mille Colori Big, and mine wasn't Big at all, but it was the same colourway. Destiny!

It is knitted up using two strands of yarn held together. In deference to my thinner yarn, I used 8mm needles instead of 10mm, and worked 7 pattern repeats on each piece, instead of 5, to get the right length. After grafting the two pieces together, I picked up 70 stitches (instead of 57) and adjusted the short rows in proportion with my stitch count. A quick crocheted button loop, popped on a button, and I was done. The adjustments made me feel like a designer - cool!

The hardest thing about this project was choosing the button! I raided Granny's button box for this vintage number, but almost used a bluey/green modern one for a more contemporary look. Next time!

It fits really well. The short rows create a curve at the back of the neck for maximum coverage, while the cabled edges allow the fabric to drape beautifully round the shoulders. It really does feel like "a woolly hug" as described in the blurb!

The yarn is super-soft. It is 50/50, wool/ acrylic, which the yarn snob in me resents, but it is so SOOOOFT I have had to put my prejudices aside!

I am afraid I am going to have to give this one away. My aged aunt has to have an operation on her neck, and needs to keep it draught-free. This is the ideal garment! But I will be knitting another (and another and another) so there is no fear that I won't have one for myself! I was going to buy the Big yarn until I discovered it costs £15.95 a ball, compared to £3.95 for the not-Big. Although the super-chunky version is appealing, I am happy enough with this one, at less than half the price!

It would be fabulous in a handspun. I almost feel inspired to learn to spin!


Baird by Jeanette Sloan from The Knitter Issue 13.

Yarn: Lang Mille Colori, yarn held doubled. I used 3 x 50g balls and 8mm needles.


Monday, December 07, 2009

The Knitter Issue 13

Issue 13 of The Knitter is my last subscription copy of the magazine.

And like its predecessors, full of controversy. The most extraordinary garment - this green number - reminds me of something I once knitted for my Barbie doll. Even Barbie looked fat in it. It is knit out of two strands of premium Rowan yarn worked together - making the largest size weigh in at 2.2 kilos. Yes, really. And of course twice as much yarn means twice the cost. Very "Vogue Knitting"!
There is a definite "chunky" theme. Lots of double-strands and oversized needles.

Then there is the pony-riding burlesque capelet. You can't see the thigh-high boots in this picture. Hmmm. Not to my taste, but full marks for "on trend" styling.

The least said about the Rowan "extract" sweater the better. And there is an unbelievable wedding-cake of a cabled coat that is just - well, teeth-on-edge-sweet sculpted icing sugar. The cover jumper made me laugh - hmmm my neck band doesn't fit, what shall I do? I know - I will leave it loose and call it a design feature...?! And there is a Gedifra bolero with massive cables held together by a few strands of lace which made me shrug - so what?

This red and white double-layer hat has potential... but looks unfinished somehow. I don't understand the white lozenges - maybe they would look better embroidered?

There's also a man's cable-effect sweater, an aran bag, a cushion...

There are LOADS of patterns in here! And though I don't like any of the ones I mentioned, the ones I DO like more than compensate.

Because this is the first issue that has made me grab my needles and head for the stash straightaway. I LOVE the Baird neckwarmer. It is exactly the sort of fun, speedy knit I would turn to for last-minute gifts. I'll show you mine tomorrow! I knitted it this weekend.

And it was not alone in gripping my attention. I MUST knit the Louisa Harding tanktop. It's from the Little Cake Collection and I am really pleased to have the pattern without having to buy the whole book.
Likewise a beautiful shawl from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace from Estonia book - wow!

So that is a total of three "must-knits" from one magazine - unheard of!
As well as the patterns, there is a really interesting article about cabling from Kate, which references the new Lynne Barr book "Reversible Knitting", which took the book from my Wish List into my online shopping basket - oops! Plus the usual reviews of yarns and other knitterly products, giving me lots to look at on the web.
All in all, I am really excited by this issue, much more so than with any of its predecessors. It contains moments of brilliance, and flashes of total insanity, but it kept me turning its pages looking for more. It is an inspiring issue, which made me want to knit - can't say better than that!
Will I re-subscribe? Nope. But I will definitely look out for it in the shops. The next issue is devoted to menswear, with a lot of complicated cables, so if that is your "thing", watch out for it in January.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Square, a Circle, and an Oblong

This weeks' square has been sadly neglected! But I will finish it later today.

Yarn credit: Fyberspates Echo sock yarn in Woods, which was used to make FL's Trilobite socks.

Most of my week has been dedicated to finishing the Fugue tam, my test-knitting project for Kate.

It is now blocking and is going to take some time to dry!

I must beware the temptation to try it on while it is still damp.

And then on Friday, my final subscription copy of The Knitter magazine arrived, issue 13, and I could not resist casting on at once for Baird, which is a button-fastening neckwarmer. I am over halfway through it already!
The pattern is so new it isn't even on Ravelry yet.
I am going to have to review this issue of The Knitter in a separate post: it is the best (and yet the worst?!) to date.