archive for 'knitting'
apologies in advance, this is a bugger to photograph. my digi slr has a tough time with reds at the best of times and it’s completely refusing to play ball with this. so crappy cameraphone pics it is, i’m afraid. you can take it as read that it looks 100 times better in real life.
there’s no denying the economy of this pattern. a single 50g ball of 4 ply has got me more than half way up the back, so i’m hopeful that the whole thing (short sleeved cardi) will come in at under 250g. but the needles are indeed pretty small (old school 10s and 12s) and it’s a lesson in patience.
i’m finding this project utterly compelling at the moment, although speak to me again come the second front and the novelty may have worn off. it’s a forties pattern i picked up on ebay (copy), i’m guessing from stitchcraft magazine. it’s pushing the limits of my knitting skillz, e.g. working out how to work the increases in pattern, and the pattern is just complicated enough to hold the attention. there’s been a fair bit of ripping back which the yarn (debbie bliss rialto) has taken very well, and it’s a soft n squishy pleasure to work.
altogether the perfect companion to the rolling news as the uk political soap opera plays on…
3am kitting marathon and i produced a measly 3 1/2″ 1×1 ribbing.
this one may be a long time coming…
aka will i ever learn?
no wonder it takes me so long to get things finished, i spend half the time i should be doing getting inspired instead
no better excuse for pretty dresses than a family wedding. i wanted to do nanny proud.
after much searching i decided on the oliver+s birthday party dress. i was wedded to the idea of a button back (a surprisingly tricky find) and wanted to avoid anything too flouncy, not only for the sake of the yardage but because i wanted them to look modern, not heirloom. i also knew i’d have to line/underline as the print is such a fine lawn – not only seethrough but way too cold for march. my perfectionist tendencies are showing here i’m afraid – i bought a plain liberty lawn for the lining. it’s a perfect match for colour (ivory) and for hand but it was quite an extravagance pricewise.
so far so good, now for the not so good. the sizing was much closer to rtw than normal pattern sizing, which meant i had to size up (both girls are tall and well built), but on a fitting using the lining, before i cut the main fabric, neither had quite enough room across the chest. i was reluctant to make any major adjustments for several reasons; a) i’ve never done fitting adjustments before b) i was already busking the lining and not totally confident about that c) it was the first sewing i’ve done in a while, first garment sewing in years and not least d) yardage/precious fabric, i couldn’t afford to cock up. and then of course there’s the fact that neither of them would stay still in a dress with pins in it for more than 30 seconds at a time
on the topic of adjustments i also had to cut great scoops out of the bottom of the armscyes to get the larger dress to even begin to sit straight. i guess this is partly individual anatomy, but overall i’m not so happy with the proportions of the larger dress (age 8). these are my only reservations about the pattern, which was otherwise incredible – beautifully detailed, with excellent instructions. but the pleated front panel is (i believe, i need to check this now because i’m not sure i do believe it) the same width across all the sizes, the tabs are the same size and placed at the same point on the dress, which looks strangely disproportionate on the larger size. aware of the shoulder issue second time around, i skimped on the pleats to gain a little more ease (i sewed each pleat seam 1/8″ narrower, so in theory i gained 6/8″ in total) in the hope of balancing the back. i prefer a fuller pleat, but i think the wider panel definitely looks better on the larger dress.sirdar 1727), i used 1-2yr for my nearly-3yo (on smaller needles to get gauge) and 5-6 for my nearly-7yo (which is on the big side). yarn-wise i lucked out with the larger size – 3 x 100g with (literally) 6″ to spare, but i had to buy a third ball of the pink yarn as i didn’t have enough to sew up with. i tried sewing with similar yarn but it showed.
a very fun knit, my first garment that wasn’t socks, and easy enough once i had the right size circ to pick up all the stitches for the border. i did the smaller size on straights, which wasn’t pretty. i learned how to do mattress stitching, that was fun, and i watched lots of al pacino movies, which was also fun. it’s nice to be back
if i can get any decent pictures of them being worn i’ll post them up, but i have a feeling car phobia/sickness + general overexcitement may get to us on the day. and since you ask, i’m wearing a bargain purple/pink shot-silk with gold embroidery dress from toast’s winter sale (£130 off ) a black lambswool cardi with mother of pearl buttons, mother of pearl accessories, vintage black patent/gold kelly bag and these shoes. rasputnik is wearing a vintage 60’s italian 3-piece navy wool pinstripe suit
the blanket finally arrived about 2 weeks after the baby. i don’t even remember weaving the ends and working the edging in those hazy early days, but i must have done as here it is. inspiration for the simple picot edging came from a blanket my mum crocheted for M when she was born. it turns out that cashmere is the perfect fibre for a baby blanket. the more it gets (machine!) washed the more its gentle fuzz blooms.
more yarn info in this post.
this was a day’s knitting but would have been less had i not been reworking the pattern on the fly. it began life roughly following the lil devil baby hat, but bears so little resemblance to it now i would say it’s an original design.
i found the star pattern on some random web site, which luckily happened to repeat exactly with my chosen number of stitches (the same as the stocking since that matched an existing baby hat i used as a template for dimensions). the tree motif is a traditional fair isle one, used on jumper yokes. i love the way it integrates the decreases into the pattern so cunningly and while i don’t have the skills or patience to do a whole jumper i knew i wanted to use it somewhere as soon as i saw it. i managed to mix up my k2tog/ssks yet again, just at the very top of the tree – you can see those top branches end with an upright stitch instead of the nice neat slope on the rest.
i decreased more rapidly after the trees were done, as the hat was looking far too pointy. i wove in the floats as i worked as i knew i wanted to keep the designs fairly bold, rather than infilling with flourishes and the like. i didn’t totally get the hang of the weaving in – the directions i used weren’t the clearest. it worked fine when i was weaving the pattern colour but when i was weaving the background colour i ended up twisting my stitches for some reason. i knew it was likely to show on the right side, so i staggered where i wove to disguise it a little. i must have got better as i went on as it only really shows at the bottom, between the stars. i love the way it keeps my tension much more even across the longer single-colour stretches. overall my tension was more regular than the stocking, with just a few over-loose floats early on (this over-caution is probably what caused the woven threads to show so badly).
i didn’t like the ear flaps on the lil devil pattern – too small – and my attempts to improvise larger flaps just made me realise how big the hat was getting overall. in the end i ripped back from the provisional cast on, past the garter rows up to the beginning of the stocking stitch and worked a few rows of ribbing to make a shorter, plainer hat.
then i blocked. and it grew even bigger. at least an inch in each direction. so i figured the only way to have it fit this year was to felt it a little, which worked fine, and tamed the floats really nicely too.
the stocking to end all stockings is currently blocking. luckily it doesn’t seem to have expanded to the size of a small country in the process as feared, so i must stop buying odd little extra things to make it seem a little less empty come the big day.
the pattern is red bird knits’ winter dreams, possibly a little ambitious for a first fair isle project, but it’s exactly what i’d envisaged; something totally wintery and frosty and crisp in those 2 shades of blue. it’s in aran weight blue faced leicester on 5mm needles. the little tension glitches appear to be (mostly) blocking out pretty well, and once i’d got into the swing of things it was really quite straightforward. this was my first ever top-down sock too, and the magical turning of the heel was well explained.
there were 2 significant errors in the pattern, the most obvious of which (absent flourishes to the left of the main snowflake pattern) i spotted in time. but i missed the other (the horizontal bar across the bottom arm of the small snowflake is in the wrong place) totally at the top of the leg since i was concentrating so hard on everything else at that stage! so decided to repeat the error on the toe, and have them match, rather than correct it. must remember to let rbk know.
i also made a couple of cock ups of my very own. most significantly, i thought i was being clever by adding an extra quarter round of stitches before the heel, to place the large snowflake motif on the sides of the leg rather than front/back – since a stocking is only really seen from the side it made sense to show the whole pattern. it didn’t occur to me to check that this placed the start/end row seam at the back of the leg, and of course it didn’t, it put it slap bang at the front and of course i didn’t realise this until i’d knitted rather more of the heel than was worth ripping and reknitting. i thought i demonstrated an admirable lack of perfectionism in letting that one go
i forgot that slipped stitches should always go purlwise until half way through the heel, but even i can barely spot the twisted stitches when i’m looking for them. i got my k2tog and ssk decreases mixed up on the gusset, so it’s a litte untidy in places there. oh and for balance i should have done the tip of the toe in the paler blue, i think, so top, heel and toe matched.
but all that aside, i love it and i loved knitting it (for the most part, the 80% complete ennui still kicked in as per usual). it’s absolutely everything i wanted, and i hope madam pauses long enough in her wrapping ripping frenzy to at least notice it.
first off i have to say i have absolutely no idea how anyone manages to make and blog at this time of year. but at least i’ve been doing the making, the blogging will catch up eventually.
i’ve had great fun swatching cashmere. cavalierly tossing it into the washing machine with casual glee was possibly the highlight, although sitting with the washed swatch draped across my arm all evening because i just couldn’t put it down (i’ve never touched pure cashmere before) was another.
it turns out that i should read auctions a little more carefully. what colourmart lists as 4ply actually varies significantly in weight. this is fully detailed in the auctions but until you have it in your hand the difference between 2/16 and 2/13 is rather opaque. eventually i worked out a balance between my various “4ply” yarns and the triple wound white laceweight that turned up at the last moment to save the day (white isn’t available very often, apparently, and they weren’t expecting any new 4ply for a while).
i’m using the pink and green yarns (both 2/13) singly and the orange and blue (4/28 and 2/16 respectively) doubled, which balances weight-wise pretty well with the white (triple-wound 2/36). the first number refers to the number of plies, the second to the meterage per gram, so it’s logical and equivalents can be calculated, but the real world difference between the weights has to be felt i think. for those in less of a purchasing frenzy (if i didn’t jump all at once i probably would have had sober second thoughts and not bought at all ) the sample set of different weights would be a very wise investment.
i knitted the swatches on old uk size 10s (3.5mm) which i think were just a mite too large, i’ve ordered some addi turbos in 3mm. the finished fabric is uber-drapey and could take a little more body. the cashmere itself is much flatter than an equivalent wool – the moss stitch borders have flattened significantly after washing. it’s also quite crushable, without so much of that wooly spring (although the knitted fabric structure still gives it reasonable stretch and recovery).
the difference before and after washing is amazing. because the yarns are oiled for machine knitting they bloom significantly after a swim. the main thing i wanted for a baby blanket was machine washability so i’m treating my swatches mean, a full 40 degree wash minimum, although tumbling’s not so important to me. i’ll wash at least another couple of times before i set to work on the real deal, to see how well it’s likely to hold up. it’s shrunk exactly as predicted: 10% in the length, but barely at all across the width.
i just can’t get enough of the softness, and i love the colours, although i’m not overly taken by the way the colours interact in the moss stitch border. am wondering if it’s even slightly possible to put a white border all around, but the practicalities of that (and the additional ends i guess it would entail) makes my head hurt. i might go for plain stockinette and crochet the border instead.
not at all, doesn’t make me think for a moment about a trip to a&e
it’s a so called scarf, which has been lurking at the back of my mind ever since i first came across it. it turned out to be a fab watching the telly knit, nicely methodical but never quite boring. the yarn is around 8-9wpi, with a fair bit of variation, which happily worked well on the chunky 8mm inherited wooden needles that i’ve been itching to have a go with for ages.
the stitch pattern works really well at obscuring the variegatity of the yarn. i didn’t quite manage the very short stretches of colour i was aiming for, as you can see on the mitts (stocking stitch, smaller needles) it’s giving around 3-4 stitches per stretch of the darker and lighter colours, set on a broader mid-pink background. i’m over the moon with the colours, lots of pinky variations, shot through with occasional flashes of the most fantastic intense blood red where the dye was most concentrated.
as soon as i realised there was plenty for a scarf i decided to have a go at making a cut-down version of the mitts she covets. i wound the ball back onto the skeiner and knit the mitts from the other end. they weren’t quite as fiddly as you might expect. i worked them on 5mm dpns because that’s what i have and the gauge seems good. my tension increased significantly on the second mitt (something to do with watching pirates of the caribbean?) and it’s noticeably tighter/smaller than the first, but not a show stopper. i worked the pattern at around 70% size, rounding here and there, in madam’s absence with only a rather stretched out old glove of hers for reference. happy to report they’re a perfect fit
from crazy aunt purl, with lots of handy comments, especially this one on neatening the join, which i presume applies just as much to dpns .
Another joining tip: After casting on, but before knitting a stitch, do the following:
1. Move the last cast on stitch from the right needle to the left needle.
2. Move the first cast on stitch to the right-hand needle. So this by using your right hand needle to lift the first cast on stitch over the one you just moved to the left hand needle.
3. Place marker and knit the first stitch on the left-hand needle. The first stitch will be alittle loose from all this maneuvering, but you can tighten it back up by giving the tail a little tug.
This sounds more complicated than casting on an extra stitch and knitting it together with the first stitch, but it’s actually easy to do. I think it looks a little bit neater too.
i’ve only knitted once with a circular needle, and it was a truly horrific experience. the tips were plastic (shudder – and nasty plastic at that) and the stitches snagged every time on the join (ouch). but i hear of so many people who only knit with circs, especially in the states, i figured it must be worth eventually giving it another go, with a decent set of needles.
i have visions of the kidsilk scarf in lengthwise stripes (as well as thinking baby blankets lately too) and i think it may take some experimentation to get the right needle size. yeah, so i can swatch on straights but i’m intrigued by the knitpicks interchangeables i’ve heard such good things about and i’m currently flush
so there’s me totally psyched up to treat myself and then i find they don’t ship internationally how stone age is that?
not fair (pouts and stamps feet)
just finished mini swatch for the winter dreams sock i’ll be making in aran bfl as a christmas stocking for madam. it’s very rough and ready with a heap of lost stitches at the beginning and a few mistakes in the patterns, but i’m really pleased with it. it didn’t take long to get into the two-handed fair isle technique. i think because i’m still very much a beginner it’s not much trickier for me to pick up a new technique since i’m still mostly fingers and thumbs anyway.
i coincidentally cast on 24 stitches, 1/3 of the total 72 for the sock. the swatch came out at 2 inches across, so should end up with a sock around 6 inches across the top and 18 inches high, a respectable size for a stocking i think.
madam was asking what it was and who it was for. i told her about swatches, but insisted it wasn’t for anyone. i was wrong – as she pointed out – it’s a hat for bender of course. perfect fit, with a hole on top for his thingy
(oh and i know it’s not real fair isle but it’s reasonable shorthand – stranded colour work would have meant naff all to me a couple of weeks ago)
courtesy of The Knitting Princess and the Pea. dead simple but lovely, i really like this. something for me after the christmas rush is over, perhaps?
Lil’ Devil Baby Hat, as i clearly don’t have enough to do for christmas already… will be sans horns though.
yay pattern is up, and it uses as little yarn as i was hoping. and i took the plunge and went for cascade 220 superwash from ebay. the shipping was very reasonable, i loved the bright clear colours and i figured that washability really is worth paying for in kids’ clothes. so these (got yarn for both jumper and cardi) will end up as a minor indulgence, rather than cheapo, but i always doubted it would really work out like that.
i’ve doubled up on the yoke colours, will be pink on both, with green or blue for the body (main colour at left of swatches). fair dos, couldn’t beat that watermelon colourway. the red one’s lovely too, but madam’s only new jumper so far this winter is red, and she looks lovely in blue.
the working title for knit and tonic’s drive-thru jumper/cardi appealed to me immensely, can’t imagine why…
these look fabby, but i’m left bemoaning the lack of resonably cheap wool yarn available over here. there seems to be naff all between overpriced “designer” and flippin plastic. actually, texere have a rather lush looking aran weight bfl which i’m waiting on as i type. it’s still nearly Â£3/50g i figured i only have a small project to do, so why not give it a try.
anyway, as soon as the pattern comes up (waiting with baited breath) i’m going to check the yarn requirements and prolly put in an order with elann, since even though the shipping doubles the price, it’s still cheaper than anything i can find here. depressing, eh?
oh and i don’t plan to knit these but i’ve miserably failed to spin any (well, enough) knitting wool for nanny so i thought she might like these while she’s waiting.
yay for blogsurfing. a lovely step by step tutorial here for top-down socks, gansey style (which i’m guessing translates to guernsey this side of the atlantic?).
i’m back and i’m thinking fair isle, this is a great blog: can’t find a permalink for the entry, but scroll down for a list of technical knitting posts
this yarn looked lovely, a smooth even singles, with this one i thought i was finally getting the hang of spinning the alpaca. but in use it turned out to be quite wirey and decidedly unlovely. the fact that the needles are too big doesn’t help much. i’ll probably carry on with this, if only to get more practice with the branching out pattern.
whereas this yarn’s official title was “crappy alpaca”. it was from a freebie bag joanna gave me to play with that was so full of vm i had to throw most of it away. it was slubby, uneven and so softly spun it barely held together in places. so as a yarn it looked dreadful, but knitted up it’s a dream, soooo soft and light. there isn’t much stitch definition (which is a blessing given the state of my lace knitting), but otherwise it’s perfect. who’d have thought it?