Monday, August 18, 2008

Emergency knits

So I've decided on the capelet, although if I've time I might knit the shrug too.

My mad dash for pretty and budget friendly cardigans turned into a mad dash for pretty and budget friendly yarn on Saturday after work. Fenwicks was disappointingly scarce of any nice aran (although I did pick up several balls of chocolatey brown and icey blue wool in the sale remnants that I'm imagining raglan potential for. It'll probably take a while for me to actually translate that into any sort of reality though), so I scarpered over to Bainbridges where all the pretty yarn lives, and eventually decided on some deliciously soft Debbie Bliss alpaca silk.

I've used it once before, and it's easily one of my favourite yarns for the simple fact that it's so pretty, soft and sheeny that I could sit and stroke it all day long. So I snapped up every ball of the stuff in the pretty blue green colour that they had in stock. Which made for a total of 4 little balls. How disappointing! I'm a paranoid knitter, ever fearful of not having enough yarn, so I usually buy much more than I ever need. Plus, I was planning on making the sleeves of the capelet a bit longer, so had dreams of buying enough alpaca silk to bathe in. 4 balls was very disappointing. So when I found out there was no more in stock, I bought up a couple of extra balls of brown alpaca silk, for some emergency colourwork edging, and some RYC cashsoft aran so I could knit the whole thing all over again in a different yarn if it didn't work out!

Popped into Hobbycraft on the way home to see if they had any alpaca silk roaming about, and that was a bit of a dud, although I did pick up some nice handmade buttons that I'll turn into a brooch to fasten the capelet when it's done.

Swatched for gauge on the Saturday night, and cast on on Sunday. The yarn sheds a bit, but it's knitting up really quick, although I did have to frog back quite a few rows last night as I'd somehow managed to move my raglan increases one stitch across in one area. How annoying. I'm about ready to divide the armholes now though, so will hopefully get it finished tonight after a day of (not so) hard work revising.

I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about the capelet now though, because I rang up a local yarn store this morning, in a last ditch attempt to find some extra alpaca silk, and although they didn't have any the lady on the phone was nice, when she found out I was making a garment she pretty much slated the yarn saying that she really wouldn't recommend using it, as the weight would cause it to drop and that it pills terribly. Sigh. I can deal with the droppage if it happens, as I'd like the shrug to fit loosely anyway, but I really hope it doesn't pill as much as she said it does! Fingers crossed...

My EZ baby sweater for Gemma's bump is currently stalled until after my exam on Friday, where I have a whole week planned of knitting and spinning. It's coming along quite slowly, but is very cute, and the yarn is the softness man-made fiber I've ever come across, it's gorgeous!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finally got around to updating my Ravelry page last week after an unorthodox urge to organise things (probably spurred on by re-reading EZ's Knitters Almanac and my rapidly looming exam next week!). After mooching about on the boards for a while I discovered the Ravelympics phenomenon and naturally decided that of course I wasn't procrastinating my revision enough and so signed up for 6 projects. In my defence, I think this is probably the last chance I'm going to get for any intensive knitting before uni starts in under a month, so I really should get started on the baby knits for Gems' bump. Even though she's not due til February I'll have exams and assessments due then, so last minute Christmas knitting will have to go on the back burner whilst I'm holed up revising. Also, I'm kind of sick of having WIPs loitering around at the bottom of my knitting bag, so this is just the kind of push I need to get them finally finished. I've had Thermal on the needles for over 18 months and I want those bloody circulars back!

So after casting on Le Slouch in the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday I at long last finished it yesterday. It's great pattern and a simple knit, and I would have finished it earlier but I was at work all weekend, and then had to frog it back a few inches because I got a bit carried away with the seed stitch and made it ridiculously long! Hum ho. It's done now, but although I like the pattern I'm not really happy with my finished result. For one thing, I modified the pattern slightly to fit with my gauge, as the original called for an aran yarn, and I stupidly chose to use 4ply. My mods worked fine for the ribbing, but I think in fear of it ending up too small I ended up knitting far too loosely, and in an effort to make it slouchy I still managed to make it too long, and it ends up flopping a little ridiculously on my head, alarmingly reminiscent of an ice bag. In an effort to save it, I'm currently blocking, hence no pictures yet. I have little hope of it being saved, and may have to frog it back a bit further and reknit it to a more wearable length.

In the meantime, I've cast on for EZ February baby jumper, and am a whole 4 rows in, and so far the yarn is amazingly soft, so I'm pretty happy! I'm also furiously looking for easy and quick to knit shrug patterns so that I'll have something to wear over my dress for Rachel's wedding next Thursday! It's a gorgeous brown and teal silk halterneck from Monsoon but I wanted a little cardigan to go over the top for the daytime as I feel it may be a little less than modest for a summers day wedding. Unfortunately, I trailed the poor boy round the shops yesterday and couldn't find anything I really liked that would be the right colour. I trawled the Internet for a bit this evening, but still haven't found anything I like that's in my budget, so I'm toying with the idea of knitting myself one. The only problem is, it'd have to be a quick knit as I've got little time and a lot of revision to do before the 21st, plus I'm working Saturday-Monday this week! Had a quick look through Ravelry, and found 2 patterns that seem quite straightforward that I like: the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet by Julia Allen and the Ribbed Lace Bolero by Kelly Maher. I'm leaning more towards the capelet, maybe worked a little bit longer, but I'm really quick I might be able to knit both and see which I prefer. Since the dress is mostly brown and my accessories are cream I want a teal/turquoisey yarn, so hopefully the boy's going to take me to Hobbycraft on Friday evening for a quick look! If not, I'll have to have a quick look in town on Saturday. Fingers crossed it all works out!
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