Sunday, October 18, 2009

Socktoberfest and the sweater curse

The needles have been pretty slow this past couple of months while I’ve been getting to grips with uni work, although I have managed to sneak in a bit of knitting here and there, and I’ve even managed to cast on 2 new projects.

Firstly, is Kirsten Kapur's Socktoberfest Mystery Sock '09. I’m a bit of crap KAL’er and even though I managed to buy the yarn and cast on on time I’m now falling pitifully behind! I still plan on trundling along though. I’ve finished the Week 1 clues for both socks, and am working on Week 2 now. Week 3 only just went up on Thursday, so I guess if I really go for it I could still finish on time! I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

I’ve also just cast on for the Cobblestone Pullover for the Boy. I thought I’d get a head start on Christmas/anniversary presents for him because I always end up pathetically late (he didn’t get last years  Christmas Socks until March… oops!). It’s our 5 year anniversary at the end of the year, and what better way to celebrate than to embrace the sweater curse head on. I figure I’ve already tested the water with socks and scarves, I might as well go the whole hog! I received the yarn for it on Wednesday. It’s a delicious thick aran wool/silk blend from New Lanark in a blue grey tweed. I wasn’t too keen on it when I first opened it up, I was expecting it to be more charcoal and less blue, but it does knit up nicely. It’s working up quite quickly too, in 2 nights of knitting I’ve managed about 8 inches of jumper so far.

I’m longing for some alone time to sit bundled up under a blanket with giant mug of tea, iplayer, and masses of knitting. Damn coursework!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Signs of Autumn

P1030953 by you.

I love the first signs of autumn. Pretty greens and golds and lovely warm reds, and soft warm sunshine that takes the edge off the crisp cool air. 

Yesterday was my perfect autumn day. Sunny and crisp, with autumn cheerily peeking through summer. Today it’s dull grey and bloody freezing. I look like a freaky weird hobo with an old woolly cardigan and my fingerless mitts. But no matter, I’ve only got texbooks and lecture notes for company today. And the ever present cups of tea of course.

 P1030975 by you.

I am glad to see the lilacs still hanging on to summer though, for now at least.

Knitting progress has been slow this week. It was the first proper week back at uni so things were kind of crazy and jumbled trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing and where and when I’m supposed to be doing it. The past couple of nights I’ve managed to get some knit therapy in, but it’ll probably start to stall when the coursework starts rolling in (although I think I’ll probably bribe myself with the odd row here and there :)). I’ve managed another couple of inches on the Baktus, which is shaping up to be lovely and cushiony with all that garter stitch.

Baktus WIP by you.

Progress is being annoyingly slow, partly because I haven’t picked it up for a while, and partly because I always forget how s-l-o-w garter stitch can be. It’s also showing up all my little tension mishaps, but hopefully they’ll block out. Can’t wait to wear it in all it’s squishy soft glory :) I also went to my local SnB last night, and had a really lovely time meeting everyone, so am definitely up for a repeat experience next week. I cast on for some Primavera Socks for a present for Ro as she liked my handknit socks that I was wearing the other week. Although I’ve actually cast on for them 3 times now. The first time I cast on too loose, the second time I decided I didn’t really care for 1x1 rib, and the third time (now with 2x2 rib) is the charm. I hope. We shall see.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

New semester…

Almost through my first week back at uni, I’m reading myself blind and there hasn’t been a single chance for me to pick up the needles. Baktus has been dolefully sitting by the bed for about a week now. I managed to get a fair bit done last Friday, but not a stitch since. Grump. I need to learn to how to knit and read textbooks at the same time otherwise this is going to be a really dull year!

I did manage to wander into Fenwicks yesterday though, after lunch and in between lectuers, and saw that they've had a bit of a shuffle round of the yarn department. I could just be imagining things, but it does look like a slightly bigger selection, and they had some new sock yarns in. I just wish I wasn't so broke! I might have to wait until I've paid off all the boring things like my travel pass and course fees and books before I can splurge though. Le sigh. I've got to get back to my accounts reading before my 9am lecture now. Oh the joys!

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

FOs: Socks, Ishbel, Springtime Bandit

Autumn socks by you.

Pattern: My basic sock pattern
Yarn: Regia Color 4-ply /4-f├Ądig

Really wasn’t a fan of this yarn at first. I bought 3 skeins of it in the Fenwicks sale, naively assuming that it was self striping, but soon finding out otherwise after casting on. I do love the colours in the yarn but I’m not a fan of random variegated yarn. Luckily the boy likes it so I made one pair for him, and by the end of it decided the colours weren’t all that bad anyway so cast on for a pair for me. Still not a big fan of variegated yarn and won’t be in any hurry to buy more, but these socks have definitely grown on me.

 

P1040151 by you.

Ishbel by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze

I really loved knitting this, I can understand why it’s everywhere at the minute. If I make another I’ll probably knit the large stocking section, this one’s a teensy bit too narrow to comfortably tie the ends in the front. I also love this yarn, it’s so soft and squishy and very warm, and although I thought the colour might be a little too bright, I think it’s just right for taking the edge off a gloomy winter. I wasn’t too keen on sharply blocked points, so I just blocked a fairly gentle scalloped edge.
This is going to get a lot of wear this winter…

P1040146 by you. 

 

Untitled-1 by you.

Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn
Yarn: Sirdar Just Soya

Another little scarflet I finished a little while ago. I had started knitting it in Teddy Sonnet wool, but that was way too scratchy to be worn as a scarf, so that was frogged and I started again with some lovely green soy I picked up in a sale for crazy cheap. I really enjoyed knitting this too, it was a pretty quick knit and the lace pattern repeats were easy to memorise for each row. It’s the first time I’d ever knit with soy, and I do quite like it. It’s very slippery and quite splitty too, but it does have a lovely sheen and drape and it does feel rather nice and silky on the skin. It’s surprisingly warm, I wore it out today in horrible blustery wind and rain, and felt quite toasty. Truth be told, I’ve actually worn this a few times now, and still haven’t blocked it which might be why it curls so at the edges. Ho hum.

baktus by you.
I headed out to Kemps today (my last day of freedom before I start back at uni, sob!) and picked up a few bargains. I got some RYC Cashsoft 4 ply (above), which is in the early stages of becoming a baktus. I also picked up some Emu superwash which I think I might turn into a Boneyard Shawl. I also picked up some lovely red yarn for some snuggly cowls I’m making so lots of yarn related fun to keep me busy in the next few weeks.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Tayberries!

P1030902 by you.

I got a tayberry plant a few weeks ago and it’s starting to blossom! Rather excited to try the fruit, I’ve never had tayberries before. I bought it because I thought the name sounded cute and quaint, and I never met a berry I didn’t like. I hope this doesn’t disappoint!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

When in doubt… knit socks

today

This has been my day. Sitting out in the sunny garden with cherry blossom tea, an audiobook and getting on with my second pair of socks from this stash of Regia sock yarn. I managed to do the gusset and am about halfway down the foot now, so will hopefully have this pair finished by the end of the weekend. Boo to working yet another Bank Holiday weekend, but at least I get the Bank Holiday Monday off…

I still have a nagging urge to cast on for something new, but digging through my stash last night was pretty fruitless. I’m not in the mood yet for chunky berets and none of my lace weight yarns seemed to the right colour. I’m quite fancying some mittens though, or maybe another pair of socks… I’ve got another couple days to decide I suppose!

P1040025 by you.

I managed to quickly block Ishbel since the weather seems perfect for letting it dry outside in, but of course after being lovely and sunny all morning, as soon as I spread it out on the ground it started to rain. I though it’d pass pretty quickly, but no such luck, so as soon as I made the decision to roll up Ishbel and bring all my things in, it stopped raining and out came the sun again. Soooo infuriatingly typical.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

What to knit!?

Ishbel is off the needles.

Although I haven’t wound in ends or blocked it yet, so technically it’s not counted as finished in my book! Problem is, I just don’t know what to do next. I’ve been perusing my Rav queue and favourites list for most of the evening, but nothing in there’s crying out at me to be cast on just yet. I might rummage through my stash next to see if I can get any inspiration from that… My fingers are feeling restless, I’d better find something fast. I’m not a fan of this bout of project ambivalence.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lingering knits

I’m not a fan of the end of summer, the night’s close in far too quickly. I don’t mind so much when autumn is firmly ensconced around us with crisp cool air and crunching amber leaves underfoot, but right now darkening skies at 8:30pm just remind me of how in the blink of an eye we’ll be having evening darkness that starts at 3:30pm. Le sigh.

Ishbel by you.

I jumped on the Ishbel bandwagon almost a month ago now, according to Ravelry. I’m ashamed to say, I still haven’t finished it. Almost 4 weeks on and the poor thing is still lingering on my needles. I’ve had about 5 rows left until the end for about 3 weeks, and I had hoped I’d be able to finish it up using only one ball of my Kidsilk Haze so I could make two of these. I picked it up last night at bedtime and knit away til the wee early hours to find out if it was even possible. It wasn’t. I managed to get to the last 19 stitches of my penultimate row before running out. Ah well.

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Revival

P1030774 by you.

I’m just about the worst blogger ever, sporadic to the max. I’m vowing to try harder this time, but I’m sure I say that every time.

I haven’t been quite as neglectful of my knitting, but to be truthful apart from the last couple of months any knitting activity has pretty scant of late. I don’t really know what I’ve been doing with my time!

I have managed a few FO’s, the most significant of which… the Wedding Afghan!

P1030783

P1030780

P1030784

P1030790 by you.

Tree of Life Afghan by Nicky Epstein

Yarn: Texere Yarns Pure New Wool Aran

I absolutely adored knitting this. The first row of trees and flowers was a little bit trying. I was working off the free pattern where the instructions are written out rather than charted so it took a while to get the hang of it, but once you’ve done each bit once, the rest goes a lot easier. A lot if it becomes quite intuitive so you don’t have to spend forever counting stitches in your head. The flowers seemed like a bit of a pain at first, I looked around for a different flower pattern for a while but didn’t see anything else I like so stuck with it, and I’m glad I did. Would be interesting to see about lightly felting the little leaf loops to the background to give them a little more solidarity and less liable to snag, might see about that next time but I expect it’d be a mammoth task as there are so many of them!

The wool was lovely. It was undyed and had the teeniest yellow hue to it. Blocking really transformed it, it washed out the yellow to a lovely creamy colour and really fluffed the yarn up to a lovely squishy warm blanket. The actual blocking process was a bit of a nightmare though, the thing was so huge so I blocked it in the bath. You forget how much water wool soaks up and how heavy it becomes, I must have gone through about 3 sopping towels to press as much water as I could out, and it still took days to dry!

Mods: I was really not a fan of the sculpted tulip border in the pattern, and like seaming even less so decided on a simple mitred garter stitch border. After casting off and blocking the main body I picked up two thirds of the side stitches and (I think) all of the top and bottom stitches. I marked out the centre stitch for each corner and increased either side of it every other row, and just knit plain garter stitch with a smaller needle (think I went down one size) until I was sick of it! I think it worked out as about 2-3 inches. I would have liked to have made the border just a smidge larger, but the damn thing just didn’t seem to be growing at all so I got fed up. I cast off using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn cast off. I really love how it turned out, and I especially like the cast off technique, it’s certainly one I’ll be trying again.

I did toy with the idea of lining the underside of the blanket, but in the end decided against it. Might try it for the next one. I didn’t get the final dimensions of it, but it comfortably covered the surface of my double bed. I did sew a little lavender pillow from some cream linen to keep the moths at bay from the wool though.

P1030816

folded up and waiting it’s new owners

I do feel a strange little sense of loss now that’s it’s finished and given away though. It’s arguably the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken, and as soon as I cast off that last stitch, and blocked and dried it, I was at a bit of a loss about what to do next. Luckily it’s new owners, Rowan and Jonny, absolutely adore it, and I can’t think of a more fitting couple for such a gift. I’ve been so excited for months to give it to them, and am so glad they like it. I hope they get as much pleasure out of owning it as I had making it and I hope it stays with them for many happy years. I also managed to finish up another little February baby sweater for their new little bundle, made from the same downy soft acrylic as the one I made for little Molly. I used cute little Peter rabbit buttons this time though, I love them!

P1030815 by you.P1030799 by you.

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly 4 Ply

I actually remembered to put the button holes in this time, so they were a bit too close together. I did three buttonholes, but with the narrow spacing 3 buttons looked too much, so I just put 2 on and kind of ignored the third hole! I do need to try a different increase stitch for the yoke though, I’m finding kfb a little too messy so will try something else next time. Again, I put the loose arm stitches on waste yarn and knit them in the round so I didn’t have to seam. I’ve got a lot of this yarn leftover, and it’s lovely and squishy, and possibly more importantly, machine washable, but I think I’ll use a different yarn next time, maybe something a little firmer and less fuzzy.

P1030806 by you.

the whole package

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Friday, March 13, 2009

nighttime knitting ban

springtime bandit is really not a difficult pattern. i know this, and yet i keep having the stupidest brain melts and making ridiculous ridiculous mistakes.

i think this is a sign that i shouldn't knit lace of any kind whilst tired. ugh.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

i should be revising but...

I really should be reading my books and making revision notes so that I can pass my exam which is coming up alarmingly soon, but I still find myself playing with my ball winder making those squishy yarn cakes, fingering the pretty strands of yarn and daydreaming about all the possibilities of what I can make and all the patterns I want to try (there are some fabulous ones in the new Knitty, I especially like Decimal (but nix the flared sleeves), Pioneer (with long sleeves) and the Sourwood Mountain mitts (as is!)).

I really should be a model student, and be fastidiously reading, underlining, highlighting, re-reading and highlighting somemore, while scribbling out timed practice essays within an inch of my life.

P1030483 by you.

But instead I cast on for Springtime Bandit (ravlink).

And there it is in all it's 5 inch glory covering up the land law textbooks and revision notes I'm kidding myself that I'm actually working on. It's more of a natural cream in reality, crappy night photos bring out the yellow. Although I'm planning on tea dying the finished thing, just it doesn't look quitenot so blah on me.

I love zeitgeistyarns work, and I've had the Silk Kerchief pattern printed out and filed in my knitting folder for what feels like forever. I tried casting on for it sometime last year, but I was too lazy to a) find a crochet needle and b) figure out the crochet cast on. But I will attempt anything in the name of procrastination, and today I was amazed by how simple it was. I've just finished the set up chart, and am now about halfway through the first set of the body chart.

In my defence (it's always handy to rationalise these things), I needed a new little project ever since I finished the Boys socks (finally!). I'm still working on the wedding afghan, and it's now far too huge to knit on the move with (onto the second set of flower repeats now, yay! The end may possibly be in sight. Ever so slightly. Maybe.). I feel so lazy watching TV with idle fingers, it feels like I'm sinfully wasting time. Somehow having knitting in my hands justifies my sitting staring at a box for an hour. And so, I needed a small project in my hands.

Duck_Egg_Blue

At first I was hankering for another pair of socks, but I couldn't decide on what colour yarn or whether to use magic loop or my lovely new bamboo dpns, so that was a dead end (have I mentioned how indecisive I am?!). It's getting too warm for the pretty hats in my rav queue, and it's definitely too warm for mittens, I'm not in the mood for baby clothes, so with my obsession with scarves and pashminas in mind I decided to start a pretty spring scarflet. Although I'm not sure my choice of pure wool is a wise one... we'll see. I wanted to use a pretty duck egg blue Debbie Bliss cotton/angora from my stash, but I don't have enough. Boo.

As an aside though, how pretty is duck egg blue as a colour? It reminds me of a fresh spring sky. I've woken up to sunny skies the past few days, so spring might finally be here.



image from COLOURlovers


Anyhoo, it's coming along fairly quickly. The pattern is less complicated than I thought it would be, and I've managed about 5 inches while catching up on Damages on BBC iPlayer. Not bad.

Back to "revision".

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Monday, February 16, 2009

back from berlin

I love love love Berlin. I left full of pretzels and currywurst and with the hopes of returning in the sunshine.

I also finished Scarf Askew for the boy in the nick of time, and it definitely came in handy in the cold.

More + photos when I unravel my camera charger from my suitcase.
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Monday, February 02, 2009

snow day!

We're having some "arctic" weather here in the UK, so my day off has mostly been spent watching the snow from under a blanket with lots of tea and maple pecan cookies. Yum.

tea on a snowy day by you.

Some knitting progress has been made as well (in between cookies and cakes). We're leaving for Berlin on Wednesday and I still haven't finished the Boys scarf, which is panicking me slightly! The weather there is cold, and I promised him I'm make him this scarf ages ago. Trouble is it's on 3.5mm needles so progress is annoyingly slow, and I'd completely forgotten how much I loathe scarf knitting. It's too monotonous for my tastes! I love a bit of repetitive knitting as much as the next knitter, but with hats and socks and jumpers and everything else you get to vary things up with at the very least some some shaping! A scarf is just a huge big long strip. Still, knitting is knitting and the yarn (Sirdar Balmoral) and pattern are lovely. I did just come across a knot in the yarn, but it's the first one and luckily I was able to unpick it. Although even if I couldn't I would have just snipped it off and knitted the join, I absolutely hate knots in knitting. I'm almost halfway through the scarf, so hopefully if I force myself to keep at it tonight I'll just about finish it and then have time to pack and knit myself a quick hat on Tuesday! Fingers crossed...
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

CNY 09 by you. CNY 09 by you.
Gong xi fa cai!
A silly (but so true) fortune & my cutest ang pao


Chinese New Year began on Monday. The year of the Ox. We ushered it in on Sunday night with the most delicious steamboat. In essence it's a Chinese hotpot style dish which basically consists of a big simmering pot of stock and a pile of chopped vegetables, seasoned meat, seafood, noodles etc which you drop into the pot and fish out when cooked. At the end of it all you're rewarded with the most delicious soup, flavoured with all the food that was cooked in the stock. Quick, easy and delicious, it's one of my Mum's favourite dishes and we have it quite often. No pictures of it this time round though, I was too exhausted from work and a weekend of slaving away in the kitchen cooking and frying food for my cousins CNY party at his deaf club on Saturday night! Next time round.

Knitting news: the wedding afghan is coming along nicely. Slowly.. but nicely. In a moment of ridiculously optomistic insanity last week I challenged myself to have whole thing finished by Saturday when I'm seeing the happy couple next, but I clearly came to my senses 30 seconds later and realised that was never going to happen. I have managed to finis the first flower panel and have started on the second tree panel. I'm getting a bit anxious that it won't be big enough, I may have to order another cone of yarn and add some more panel repeats, but I'll cross the bridge when I come to it! I'm even toying with the idea of picking up the side stitched and adding a cabled panel to each side, but that's a worse case senario! Must remember that the garter border will add about 3-6 inches to the overall width and length.

The Boy's Scarf Askew is coming along quite slowly too. I blocked it again and it feels a lot better than the first draft, I just wish it would grow a bit faster on the 3.5mm needles!

Hope you all have a happy and prosperous New Year!
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

January roundup

Over halfway through January already, can't believe it. Hope everyone had amazing Christmas & NY. It was a bit strange in our household this year, my aunt's not doing too well, and things just didn't feel particularly festive. It still managed to pass me by in a whirlwind of work, Christmas baking and home made marshmallows though!

Spent a cosy Sunday night snuggled up in front of The Mist with a big bowl of kettle corn. The caramel ended up being a little bit burnt, but it was deliciously crisp and sticky! It was topped up with a nice big mug of hot chocolate and home made marshmallows for me (I have an enormous pile of these marshmallows to get through!) and a soothing hot toddy for the Boy's cold, made with maple syrup as we were out of honey. It was such a lovely substitution that I hope we run out of honey more often.

Some finished projects from December:


Knitting gifts by you.

How to knit a flower corsage by Rachel Henderson
Yarn: Texere 100% wool plyed bute

Pattern was fun to knit. The trickiest bit was lining up the petals into a nice shape and keeping it together long enough to sew together. Love the colour too. It was one of my bargain Texere cones that I got from my big birthday haul thanks to the boy. Love the colour and the light blue that runs through it (looks more like white in the photo). All I did with the flower was sew a brooch back onto it. I meant to sew a button onto the centre but couldn't find anything I liked enough, so gifted it to her as is. It would look better with a button, but it's still cute as is!



Knitting gifts by you. Knitting gifts by you.


Bow-Knot Scarf by Katherine Burgess
Yarn: Boyes Aran dug up from about a 5 year stretch in my stash

Loved the pattern. Worked up super fast, simple enough to not need much attention but with just enough to keep things interesting.


Also finished was a feather and fan cowl for my Mum for Christmas in
some scrummy RYC extra fine merino in a lovely purpleyish burgandy
colour, but I keep forgetting to takephotos.


Chunky textured cowl by you. Chunky textured cowl by you. Chunky textured cowl by you.

Just a chunky cowl I worked up in the round using a diamond stitch pattern and some cheapo acrylic. My fingers were restless for some quick and selfish knitting after Christmas, and after seeing some out there on the blogosphere I really faniced a super chunky slouchy cowl. It's not quite a loose and slouchy as I wanted it, and the texture is barely noticeable when worn but we live and learn. Next time I think I'll make it wider around or just a lot longer so it slouches more. It also needs a much looser bind off, this one isn't tight but definitely isn't as stretchy as it should be. I might investigate alternative cast off methods or just use a larger needle.

I'm still not too sure if I've come around to the cowl way of life, as much as this one is cozy and warm and I love the slouch, I'm a hardcore scarf addict (I wear them all year round, with practically any outfit, indoors and outdoors) and a cowl just leaves me feeling a little naked from the neck down! We'll see. I'm off to Berlin in a few weeks, so have lots more chunky knits in the pipe line.

Scarf Askew by you.

It's not chunky, but I also cast on for A Scarf Askew by Emily Elizabeth for the Boy for Germany. Quite a fun pattern, and easy to memorise. I'm using Sirdar Balmoral, and while it's a yummy yarn, I keep feeling like it's just too thin for a cozy scarf. I've already frogged it and gone down needle sizes once, but we'll see. Think I might give it another block on the needles and see how it feels.

The wedding afghan is STILL not finished! How shameful. Progress is being made though, and I'm also going to have to get started on little bundle of joy gift for the happy couple too. I'm thinking it'd be quite cute to make a little baby blanket and gift it tied up along with the wedding afghan. I think after Berlin I'm going to have to get cracking full speed on that, I feel quite awful about how late this gift is!

And speaking of little bundles of joy, I finally found buttons for the February baby sweater:

February baby sweater - buttons by you.

and just in time too, adorable little Molly was born at 07:06 this morning weighing in at 7.3! Big congrats out to Gems and James.


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