Thursday, February 19, 2015

Slow knitting - and visits to the library!

I've been struggling with putting together this blog post for a few days. After spending January racing through quite a few small & quick knits, I'm working on two large accessories knit in lace weight. It's hard to share something interesting or exciting about literal kilometres of yarn in a big tangle. 

 But I have been to the local library, which has the usual delightful early 80s knitting shenanigans...

(From The Knitting Book, with Introduction by Una Stubbs)

... and some delightfully modern and informative publications. I've only just had an hour or so of actual reading time with Clara Parkes' The Knitters Book of Wool  (while trapped under a napping toddler) and I *love* it. This book has the perfect blend of information with amusing language. I want to go and knit all the sheep breeds now. I just hope that I actually get to read the whole book!



I've only just joined the local library recently, and am delighted that it's already a favourite place to visit for the small human. She enjoys picking out books for Daddy to read at home too. We read books, sometimes talk to the other small children & the librarians, we don't have to worry about the weather, and it's just a nice place to be! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sunny but cold!

At the weekend, we spent a couple of hours at the Botanic Gardens. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, perfect for squirrel spotting, and toddling up & down hills looking for pine cones. It was also cold.
So cold that the pond was entirely frozen over. These pine cones resting on the ice are probably left over from someone's attempt to break that ice.
This was also the perfect opportunity to show off our new matchy-matchy hats! After knitting one Epistropheid for myself, I felt the need to knit more.
Mine was knit in Jamie Possum DK (blue) and Jamie Possum 4 ply held double (off-white). I knit the large size as written (I have a big head).
The Mini-hat was knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK (white) and Fyberspates Vivacious DK (Blue).
I cast on enough stitches to knit one repeat less than the small size of the pattern.
The Mister-hat was knit in Brown Sheep Wildfoot held double (black) and in Wendy Merino DK.
I knit the brim in 2x2 ribbing for about 12 rows; used the stitch count of the large size for the body of the hat, and started knitting from the 'm' size starting point in the chart to accommodate the longer brim.

I did consider pompoms for all, but I do love the pattern over the crown, & didn't want to hide it. Also, it's hard enough to keep a hat on a toddler without the extra weight of a pompom.

The Mini & Mister hats are in soft, machine washable fibres, so I think they'll get plenty of wear.... assuming the toddler doesn't grow too much, and that the mister doesn't lose his (there's a history...). The possum yarn is extremely warm with a very obvious halo; perfect for the frosty days we've been having but I suspect it will be a bit too warm & prickly before long.

I might just have to knit myself another.....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hats!

I've lost the run of myself in the last week or two, casting on All. The. Things. 
There have been quite a few baby hats (two beautiful babies were born to friends in the last month).  

Most of the hats have involved lots of stocking stitch; great for knitting along to subtitled tv programmes. And if there is an opportunity to add a pom-pom, all the better!

L-R:
Doodie by Woolly Wormhead in Debbie Bliss Rialto. In the largest size.
Doodie by Woolly Wormhead. I accidentally omitted a round of increases just after the brim, but this helps the pom-pommed hat stay on! Also in Debbie Bliss Rialto
Tubey by Woolly Wormhead in Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran, and Katia Darling which I had chain plied.


L-R:
Cubba by Woolly Wormhead in Debbie Bliss Rialto
Aviatrix Hat by Justine Turner in Debbie Bliss Rialto

It turns out that the pom-pommed hat intended for my small human is too slouchy to bear the weight of the pom pom and stay on her little head. More knitting required!!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New year, old yarn

It's a whole week into the new year & I'm only getting around to the 'resolutions' post... doesn't bode well, does it? This January (and possibly February) I want to focus on using up or clearing out unappreciated items, & stick to the existing yarn & fabric stash.

First up, garments;
Plain and Simple pullover, in Nature Spun Fingering. 
I gave up knitting this while pregnant, figuring that it probably wouldn't fit me by the time I finished it. My tension seems to have changed in the last year, so I think I'll rip it & start again. 

Dark Pearl cardigan in alpaca select 4 ply.
I'm not happy with the way the front gathers & drapes - probably due to my selection of alpaca rather than a silk blend yarn. I think I will rip the front & knit it again, with less excess fabric for gathering. 

February Lady Sweater in Lambs' Pride Worsted.
The garter stitch yoke just makes this look chunky & unflattering. I intend to rip this out &  use the yarn to make the Golden Wheat cardigan. 

I have a couple of projects on the go that were specifically intended to use up leftovers. 
The Barn Raising Quilt uses up leftovers of sock yarn. I have made enough squares for a small blanket and have sewn together some of them, but still, no blanket!


I've also have a collection of hats made from scraps & partial balls (no pattern). I need to weave in about a million ends with these, and then rehome the finished hats.


I suspect that the small human may have her own ideas about these hats - she wouldn't get me get a clear photo of them!

Happy New Year! I hope the rest of you have set achievable goals, if any!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Obligatory 2014 round up

We've had a fairly hectic 2014; between the other half working long hours & taking trips away, the usual lack of time that goes with having a small child, and yet another house move, but this time with the added stress of a mortgage application, I'm a little surprised that I got any knitting done at all. I have been keeping track on my incoming & outgoing yarn quantities and can confirm that I have knit 9.7 kilometres, in 36 finished projects, and have ended the year with 6 kilometres less yarn in my stash than I began!

I had plans for getting things done over the holidays, which got chucked out the window in favour of visiting friends & family and eating far too many nice things for my own good.
I've also been knitting for myself; Cadeautje by Ysolda Teague. So warm & squishy!


Yarn: Jamie Possum Possum Plus 4 ply, held tripled (I'm trying to use deepest stash at the moment)
Thrums: Merino fibre

I made a haimes of the thrums at first, but got the hang of it by the second slipper. I added extra length to the cuff with garter stitch rounds*. I do intend to make more of these but would try make the thrums slightly thicker; mine were quite inconsistent. After just 2 days of wear they are already looking quite raggedy. Perhaps this is just the awkward phase before the fibre felts?


*modifications for those interested; (this was size 'g')
rnd 1: k
rnd 2: p
rnd 3: k
rnd 4: p
rnd 5 (decrease): *k2, K2 tog*
rnd 6: p

repeat rounds 1 & 2 a further 4 times (7 garter ridges).
Cast off.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Deadline knitting

Like an awful lot of knitters, I spent December in a flurry of knitting gifts and a Christmas outfit for the small human. Now that Christmas deadlines are over, I feel like I have time to relax, and share some of the projects. 

Yarn: Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran in beige & purple.
I enjoyed knitting these toddler sized slipper socks, but found sewing the outer sole on to the sock a little bit fiddley. I added little dots of Sock Stop to the soles.  It's liquid latex in a bottle, also from Rico. I've heard of people doing little hearts and flowers with sock stop, but I found it a little bit messy to apply. Perhaps I just need to spend more time with it! 
When I first put these on the small human's feet, she ran around exclaiming 'Warm! Warm!'... so I think that means she likes them!


Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply
This was a very enjoyable knit; I just flew through the lace portions! The fingerless mitts look rather dainty & elegant,  but the lace pattern is very accommodating, easily stretching to fit even my chunky hands. The mitts used less than one ball of 4 ply from deepest stash, so I suspect there may be more in my future. 

Yarn: Milla Mia Naturally Soft Merino
This dotey little cardigan features a simple cable stitch in the yoke and at hems & cuffs. The original pattern calls for a contrast colour, but I decided to stick with just the one colour for this particular project. I found when knitting this that my gauge wasn't its usual just-a-little-loose self, and ended up tinkering with needle sizes, and knitting a the three year old size at a tighter tension for my not-quite two year old, making sure there was a little growing room (I really should double check the gauge & note it too!)
This was for the small human's Christmas Day outfit, only just finished just on time! I am already thinking about colour options for another one - perhaps I might match the contrast colour to the buttons? Or perhaps I might knit Brook, the jumper version? And then I might just have to knit Beck, the adult jumper... I never did quite get around to matching mother & baby knits!




Thursday, December 4, 2014

Spinning

I've been feeling rather guilty about neglecting the blog lately, so I'm sharing a spinning project from some weeks ago. This was an experiment in blending colours using hand carders.
Originally, I wanted to mix some flashes of bright colours (pinks & reds) in with some greys - something I've admired in mixed fibre batts from LHogan, that grew up to become a hat.
In practise, the grey gotland fibre I selected was far too slippery for my liking. It did not blend at all with the brightly dyed merino.
The resulting yarn was somewhat marled & uneven in thickness & texture.
I came to the realisation that I could introduce the grey as a separate yarn in the finished knit object, whatever that may be, and carded the bright colours together in varying proportions. Some mini batts were dominated by deep purples, some pinks, and some red. I've also come to the conclusion that there is a place in my fibre stash for neon pink - it looks wonderful as a highlight with red fibre. 
The finished yarn is 135 metres, 110 grammes of chain-plied yarn, of about dk - aran weight. The colours are just calling to me in these short dull days... but I must get on with knitting some winter gifts first!