I’m making fairly good progress on my Booklore kindle cover.
I’m finding knitting colourwork two-handed (one colour in each hand, using the English knitting style for one and the Continental style for the other) fairly straightforward and seem to be managing to get a reasonably even tension. I’m not sure the pattern is showing very clearly, though; I suspect I should have used the biscuity colour as the base with the pattern in pink and green. I’m wondering whether I should frog it and start again, because I think that would definitely look better, but I’m really not sure I can be bothered…
It’s completely bonkers that when we’ve just passed the autumnal equinox and it doesn’t get light until too late for me to take my outfit photos outdoors, it should also be warm enough that I opted for short sleeves and sheer tights (which turned into ‘no tights’ later on because I can’t stand the feel of sheer tights and they were making me far too uncomfortable).
Apologies for the picture quality:
Necklace – made by Helen
Top – East
Vest – Primark
Skirt – Boden
Shoes – Clarks
I think I may spend the rest of this week’s heatwave sweltering in tights, as I really struggled in these shoes; the only way I could walk without my toe hurting was to walk on the side of my foot, and that hurt my ankle, so I think I’ll go back to my nice sensible lace-ups tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in making news, I appear to have had a fit of startitis. In the last week I have cast on:
A Litchfield hat.
A pair of (Can)tab socks.
A Forest Canopy Shawl.
And I’ve bought the pattern for Quintet and am going to start swatching soon.
(If you want to read more Making Monday posts, check out Natalie’s blog.)
At the moment I have three knitting projects and one crochet project on the go, which is pretty much par for the course; I always have a pair of socks on the go, for knitting on the bus and out and about, and a garment of some kind, and a shawl, and some kind of more-in-hope-than-expectation crochet project (I do enjoy crochet, but have yet to manage to finish anything bigger than granny squares).
Anyway, in order of age:
Tropical Breeze shawl, in Wendy Happy (100% bamboo sock yarn). Given that I’m pretty much a novice crocheter I was pleasantly surprised how easy the pattern was to follow. In fact, it was so easy that I’m actually finding it quite dull going and currently looking at it and thinking ‘I have how many repeats to go?’. I suspect this is because I still have to concentrate quite hard on crochet and concentrating on something not very interesting is a recipe for boredom. Also, I can’t work out how to hold the shawl while I’m working on it; if I have one hand holding the hook and the other one holding the yarn and pinching just below the stitch I’m working into, what happens to the rest of the already-crocheted fabric? I find that when I’m crocheting the longer chains the work has a tendency to spin round, which is very annoying when I have to keep straightening it out before carrying on. How do other crocheters manage? I know lots of people who crochet and don’t have three hands, so it must be possible…what am I missing?
Lyttelton, but Kate Davies, in a cotton/tencel 4-ply from The Yarn Yard. I’m really enjoying knitting this; the stitch pattern is easy to memorise and it’s surprisingly quick to knit, although the lack of stretch in the yarn and the fact that I had to go down to 2.5mm needles to get gauge means it is a bit tough on my hands sometimes. I’m also having problems with loose purl stitches in the ribbing, and had a minor fit of ‘argh, I have disastrously loose purling!’ recently before deciding that while my purling is slightly looser than my knitting it’s really not into the realms of tension disasters and that the issue in Lyttelton is just that it’s very hard to get a neat edge on a purl column which is followed by k2tog yo, especially in a slippery yarn. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the project overall, though starting to worry that it won’t be finished in time for me to wear it this summer (then again, I’m sure it would look good over a long-sleeved t-shirt in autumn too).
My bus knitting: Wonderland Socks by Alice Bell, the second of two pairs I’m knitting as a commission for a friend.
The next in my A-Z of shawls, Daybreak by Stephen West in two colours of Yarn Yard Clan, one variegated and a toning semi-solid. I’m not entirely sure about this; I bought the two skeins ages ago and had always intended them for a Daybreak, but I’m wondering whether they’re really too similar and the stripes in the semi-solid aren’t showing up properly. What do you think? Would more contrast be better?
I’m on a bit of a finishing kick at the moment. I have finally finished my February Lady Sweater:
I can’t say I enjoyed knitting this very much. I liked the pattern; it was easy to follow and the lace pattern was interesting but easy to memorise, and I do like being able to try things on as I go. However, I really didn’t like the Rowan Summer Tweed; it’s stiff and unyielding and I really felt I had to force my needle into the stitches, especially the decreases – and there are a lot of decreases in lace! I definitely wouldn’t use it again (in fact, I have a couple of skeins I bought to make a Gretel which I’m now destashing, along with a few other yarns I don’t think I’ll ever use).
I’m very pleased with how the cardigan turned out, though. After looking at finished projects on Ravelry I decided that it looked best when people had made it with zero or negative ease over the bust; versions with positive ease on the bust tended to make the wearers look swamped. I ended up with a couple of inches of negative ease over the bust, and blocked it out quite aggressively because I was worried it would be too small, but I think it’s just right. I also didn’t add the extra stitches under the arms because the last top-down raglan I knitted ended up a bit baggy at the underarms; I’m not completely sure it wouldn’t have been better to add the extra stitches and decrease them on the sleeves, but I think it’s fine as it is.
The buttons are from Textile Garden and are really pretty:
I also finished the pair of Coriolis socks I was making for T:
This has all left me a bit short of WIPs. There’s a wintery cardigan which I’ll probably pick up again when the weather gets a bit cooler (it doesn’t have much left to do, as I’m on to the sleeves already); a crochet scarf which is probably going nowhere because it’s more ‘woolly outdoor scarf’ rather than ‘lacy scarf which can be worn indoors'; and a Multnomah shawl which I’ve been knitting away on all week and which is now nearly finished itself. I was at a bit of a loss as to what to knit next, and then someone linked to a knitalong for the Acanthus shawlette (Ravelry link) which seemed like a good way to get over my fear of laceweight (something I really need to do given the increasing amount of laceweight in my stash), and Kirsten Kapur put up her new pattern Roma which seemed like the perfect project to take with me when I go to Italy in a couple of weeks’ time. So I guess what I’m knitting next is mostly going to be shawls…
Although I don’t have as many WIPs on the go as some people I know (I don’t know how they manage it – I don’t have enough needles!) I’m not a one-project-at-a-time knitter either. I normally have at least two projects on the go at once, one large and one small and portable. My current large project is Mya (Ravelry link), which is going OK but only really gets worked on when I’m sitting on the sofa watching TV (I do have a suspicion it won’t be finished before the weather gets a bit too warm for a woolly cardi, but there’s always next winter), and when we went away this weekend I took Travelling Woman (which is a lovely quick knit – I only cast on on Thursday and I’ve done the stocking stitch and the two repeats of Chart A and got on to the edging already).
However, while Travelling Woman is straightforward enough to be knitted in front of the TV it does require a bit of counting. I tend to spend at least the early part of my evenings sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, browsing Ravelry and the ever-expanding list of blogs in my Google Reader and knitting while I read, and this isn’t suited to anything that requires counting. So last night I grabbed some leftover sock yarn – the Knitting Goddess sock yarn left from my husband’s socks and some Opal Rainbow from a pair of RPMs I made a couple of years ago – and cast on for a pair of straightforward socks with contrasting heels and toes.
I’ve been reading Glenna C‘s blog for a while now, and she always sings the praises of Jaywalkers as brainless sock knitting. I made a pair of Jaywalkers years ago – in fact, they were the second proper pair of socks I ever made – and I’ve been impressed with the fit and how well they wear, so I thought I might as well try another pair, although given that I don’t have that much yarn I decided to make them toe-up, with a wedge toe and a short-row heel; that way I can weigh the yarn as I go and make the socks as long as possible without risking running out of yarn.
So that’s my kitchen knitting. And it turns out it’s also ideal bus knitting, and probably also knitting-group knitting.
Do you have different knitting projects for different places?
Ooops, it’s almost a month since I last posted here! I have been knitting, but mainly either on Sekrit Projects which can’t be blogged yet or on Imogen, which is going steadily but slowly:
I did finish my Veylas, but it’s been a struggle to find the opportunity to photograph them in decent light. Also, I have yet to get around to blocking them, but as I’ve been wearing them every day I suspect that’s not going to happen until it gets too cold for fingerless mitts:
On the subject of light, I bought a couple of daylight bulbs in an attempt to keep the SAD away. They seem to be working, and have the added bonus of being much easier to knit by than our normal low-wattage bulbs. I spent the afternoon working on the Sock Knitters Anonymous November mystery sock, Miss Marple by Star Athena. I thought this was a golden opportunity to use up some of the half-balls of sock yarn lurking in my stash (an average pair of socks for me uses around 56g of yarn, so I have a lot of half-balls to use up!) and decided to go with purple and teal (possibly more Mrs Pankhurst than Miss Marple!). I’m about two-thirds of the way down the leg and really liking how it looks:
The two colours are quite similar in terms of saturation, but I think there’s enough contrast for the pattern to show clearly, although a bit more might have been better. I like the way the colours work together, anyway. And, as you can see, the daylight bulbs are also really good for taking pictures – the colours in the shot above are much more true-to-life than in this picture of the cuff, taken last week under ordinary fluorescent lighting:
I’ve also been reorganising my stash. If you click through to flickr you can see photos of the more recent acquisitions (also catalogued on my stash pages on Ravelry). It turns out that I have enough handpainted sock yarn to fill a 35-litre storage box. I think that next year I should try to only buy yarn if I need it for presents for other people. And possibly resist the urge to join lots of sock clubs, however lovely it is to get regular parcels of mystery yarn!
I’m back from a week in the Yorkshire Dales, spent mostly walking and knitting. There’s a lot of wool in the Dales, although sadly most of it is still attached to the sheep:
However, I did pay a visit to Beckside Yarns, which is a gorgeous shop – light and airy and full of yarn – and where I bought a Zauberball and some Araucania Ranco Multy to add to my sock yarn collection:
(The third yarn in the picture is a skein of Posh Yarn Sylvia which I bought a couple of weeks ago. I was planning on using it for Ysolda’s Damson, but I have seen some lovely Damsons made with Zauberball so might use that instead.)
As for knitting, I was hoping to make progress on the Nancy Bush mystery socks I’m making for the Sock Knitters Anonymous knitalong on Ravelry, but my cunning plan to head into Skipton and visit a coffee shop with free wifi on Tuesday morning so I could pick up the next clue was foiled, as the SKA moderator had dental surgery on Monday and was late posting the clue, and the socks ended up stalled at the bottom of the leg:
Still, this gave me the opportunity to finish my Broad Street Mittens before the weather gets cold enough for me to want them:
and to start an Ishbel beret in the gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply I bought at Ravelry Day:
I found the Broad Street pattern fairly straightforward, although there were a few errors and omissions in the pattern text and knitting gloves is always going to be a bit fiddly. I think using Magic Loop helped, as instead of faffing around with stitch holders when knitting the fingers I just left the hand stitches on the first needle and used a second one the same size to pick up the stitches for each finger in turn. The yarn is Trekking Hand Art, bought in a little craft shop in St Ives on holiday last September (see, I do use my sock yarn!); the pattern used almost exactly half the skein, so I could probably get a shortish pair of socks out of the leftovers, or possibly a pair with contrasting heels/toes/ribbing.
I had a moment of panic where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to start the beret, as I hadn’t brought a crochet hook, didn’t have internet access and couldn’t remember how to do any kind of provisional cast-on apart from the crochet kind, but after giving it some thought I decided to improvise and came up with something that worked. I love how neat the turned hem makes the hat band, and am generally very pleased with how it’s turning out and definitely looking forward to having the hat to wear. The Scrumptious is as lovely to knit as it was to stroke in the skein. Now I just need the weather to get cooler (it’s noticeably warmer back down here compared to Yorkshire!).
I have been too busy knitting to blog much over the last few weeks. Mostly, I have been working on this:
Hey, Teach! from last summer’s Knitty, in RYC Cotton Jeans, of which I bought ten balls for £20 in the sale at House of Fraser in Worcester when I took T to the cricket for his birthday. I cast on two weeks ago, and finished the second sleeve this afternoon. Partly this astonishingly speedy knitting is due to spending five hours last Sunday watching Torchwood: Children of Earth, which got me through the last couple of inches of the back, the left front and the start of the right front and then having a crafting afternoon with friends today, but I also think the cardigan is a pretty quick knit, and the pattern is fairly easy to follow. The only tricky bit is keeping the lace pattern straight through the armhole and neck decreases, but after a while I got very good at reading the knitting and seeing how it should work.
Now I just have to weave in the ends (fortunately there aren’t too many as I used Russian joins for new balls of yarn in the middle of each piece), sew it together and add button bands. Suddenly I remember why I’m such a fan of top-down raglans! I’m planning on wearing this cardigan for my nephew’s christening next month, so at least I have an incentive to get round to it before then!
I was trying to get the knitting for Hey, Teach! finished this weekend, as I want my 5mm Harmony tips back for my next project:
This is my swatch for Socktopus‘s Mystery Lace Shawl knitalong, which she’s running via Twitter, in the semi-solid copper BFL 4-ply I bought from the Knitting Goddess at Ravelry Day. The next clue (cast-on, presumably!) will be up tomorrow at 10pm, and I wanted to be able to use the Harmonies – my Denises are OK but because the yarn’s so fine it did catch on the joins a bit when I was swatching.
I noticed the other day that my Lorna’s Laces Sweetpea socks are wearing thin on the soles:
It’s not much more than a year since I finished them, but I loved the colours so much I’m sure I ended up wearing them more than my other socks, and (unusually) have worn them a few times on weekdays as well as at weekends, which means that instead of mostly being worn around the house with slippers they’ve been inside shoes or boots for 12 hours of the day and have covered several miles of walking in that time. I do also wonder whether my gauge was a bit loose; they’re 8 stitches per inch, which is what the pattern specified and what I generally get on 2.5mm needles, but I think the Lorna’s Laces is a bit finer than the Opal and Lana Grossa I mostly use and the fabric feels a bit less dense than normal. Perhaps I should have gone down to 2.0mm.
Anyway, I guess the only answer is to darn them, although I’m a little nervous about that. I do know how to darn, in theory (yet another thing learnt from the Chalet School books, where hopeless new girl after hopeless new girl was taught how to darn her stockings in a way that would pass muster with Mademoiselle), but in practice I’m a bit worried I’ll bodge it up. In the absence of Mary-Lou Trelawney, can anyone recommend a good online tutorial, or offer tips on mending the soles of socks? Should I buy a mushroom (a thing which my other half thinks is as peculiar as a special hammer to hit cricket bats with)?
In happier news, I have almost reached the heel of the push-me-pull-you socks:
and have also returned to the lilac cotton cardi which has been hibernating since September, since it’s starting to feel as though it might be cotton cardi weather soon!
As always, there are far more things I want to knit than I could possibly have time for. I really, really want to make Kate Davies’s wonderful owl sweater (although I’m currently thinking that I’ll make it as a kind of waistcoat, with buttons down the front and no sleeves apart from the cap sleeves formed by the yoke); I also want to make Gretel and Amelia and some new gloves, and I have enough sock yarn for at least a dozen pairs, to say nothing of the little fact that in the last few weeks I seem to have acquired three more pairs’ worth:
(Artyarns Ultramerino in berry shades, Oxford Kitchen sock yarn in Storm, Shelridge Farm Ultra in H)
All this dreaming about things I might make in the future is getting in the way of the two projects I actually have on the needles at the moment.
Ziggy socks for my husband, in Kureyon sock yarn and Patons Diploma Gold 4-ply. It’s my first attempt at stranded knitting and I’m surprised how well it’s going. I’m knitting English with one yarn and Continental with the other, and after a few days when my left hand ached from the unaccustomed motion I’m finding that I’m almost as fast knitting Continental as English, although I wouldn’t want to try anything apart from plain knitting that way. I also really like the technique the pattern uses for reactivating the wrapped stitches in the heel; instead of picking up the wraps and knitting them with the wrapped stitches, you knit the wrapped stitch, pick up the wrap with the left needle and then ssk/p2tog with the next wrapped stich on the next row. It leaves a lovely gapless finish, and I think I might try that again.
Lilac cotton top-down raglan cardi, for me. I haven’t done anything on this for a while, but I’ll pick it up again soon. It would be nice to have it ready for when it gets warm enough to wear a short-sleeved cotton cardi.
Today, though, I have been, if not knitting, certainly sewing up the ravelled sleeve of one of my favourite tops, which had come undone at the seam in several places: