Sunday, 28 December 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Background painting:
Steven Mulak, State Park Vertical Abstract
(oil on canvas, 14x18, 2001).

A hat for really cold days: Baby, It's Cold Outside. The hat is very warm due to it's depth and the material. It has elements of the Mojo socks, Amanda's Hat and Monkey Socks. It ended up looking a bit like it has Christmas trees on it, actually, which - if you like - would probably come out especially well if knit in red and green. Too bad I didn't finish this in time for Christmas!

Material:
  • 1 skein Schachenmayr nomotta Extra Merino
  • 5 mm circs
  • row counter
  • tapestry needle

Pattern:
  • CO 92 sts
  • Ridge: purl 5 rows and knit 5 rows. Repeat once more.
  • Garter Rib (alternating knit and purled rows): 4 rows, beginning with a purl row
  • Increase round by 4 stitches
If you prefer the "Christmas trees" to look less like them, just knit k stitches instead of purls in the following pattern repeat:
  • Row 1: k all
  • 2. p4 k8 p4
  • 3. p3 k2tog k3 M2 k3 ssk p3
  • 4. p3 k10 p3
  • 5. p2 k2tog k3 M1 k2 M1 k3 ssk p2
  • 6. p2 k12 p2
  • 7. p1 k2tog k3 M1 k4 M1 k3 ssk p1
  • 8. p1 k14 p1
  • 9. k2tog k3 M1 k6 M1 k3 ssk
  • 10. k all
  • 11. k all
(Repeat rows 1-11 once more.)
  • Garter Rib: 4 rows
Begin decrease:
  • 1. *k6, k2tog*
  • 2. all even rows are k rows
  • 3. *k5, k2tog*
  • 5. *k4, k2tog*
  • 7. *k3, k2tog*
  • 9. *k2, k2tog*
  • 11. *k1, k2tog*
  • 13. *k2tog*
Finish: Pull thread through last stitches and weave in ends.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

WIP: Lohengrin Socks

It's too hard to resist the new yarn so I simply had to begin my new Lohengrin socks. I wish I could start knitting the hand-dyed yarn as well now and maybe I will - I am running out of needles!

I spent a day knitting a bit ago only to unravel it all again in favour of using 3 mm needles intead of 2.5 mm. It looks better and should fit better as well. The colour is still as beautiful as I thought it would be when knit up like this. I am very happy with it and only wished Lohengrin was faster to knit. As it is, the pattern is so intricate that I have to focus on every single stitch and stick to the chart, which makes it all a rather slow process. It's not the sort of pattern you can memorise easily, so who knows when the first sock will be done.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas 2008

Top left: Schoppel-Wolle, Admiral Ombré, dye lot 618874, colourway 1962 ombré
Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 419.7 m

Top right: Schoppel-Wolle, Admiral Ombré, dye lot 618878, colourway 1959 ombré
Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 419.7 m

Bottom left: Schoppel-Wolle, Admiral Bambus Seide, dye lot 518775, colourway 1982 hand
Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi)


This is what I got for Christmas from my grandmother. (I knew I was getting this since I placed the order myself.) I'd been wanting to get that particular yellow yarn for ages and this was the perfect opportunity to buy it at last. Since you can't buy anything under 15 Euros, I added a similar blue yarn that, unfortunately, doesn't look nearly as nice as it did on the shop's website, and I treated myself to a rare hand-dyed yarn as well. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but it turns out that I really love the colours and am wondering if they will look equally as nice when knitted. You never know with yarn! I tend to prefer solid colours or colours of the same shade, if variegated. Other colours simply distract from knitting patterns, which is a pity. That is why I abhor the usual self-patterning or colourful sockyarns. It's a pity because those happen to be the affordable ones too.

So far I only have plans for the yellow yarn that I intend to make into Lohengrin Socks. I wouldn't be surprised if I cast on today! I am sorely tempted to make something of the hand-dyed ball too, but I will have to go through my pattern collection first. This is exciting!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Amanda, or: The Doomed Hat


This is a project that, though finished, will only briefly see the light of day, I'm afraid. Since the last few times I was out recently it was really cold and I found that my existing hats can't keep me warm enough anymore, I searched for a pattern to go with my last ball of merino yarn and that would yield a thick, warm hat. I thought I found the answer in Gina House's Amanda Hat (Ravelry) and started casting on.

Materials:
  • 1 ball of Schachenmayr nomotta Extra Merino
  • 5 mm circs
  • 1 stitchmarker
  • row counter
Knitting completely according to pattern, I still had a lot of yarn left in the end. That is a good thing too because I would have prefered to make a bigger hat. The pattern was already meant for a big head like mine, but apparently I don't have the same tension in my knitting. Still, it fit and was very stretchy. That, however, is also the problem: the stretchiness comes from the lace sections that, on pictures, didn't look like lace to me at all. Of course, lace = holes = draft = cold. So this wasn't the best idea for the original purpose even if the hat is probably great for autumn and spring.

Instead of stopping as soon as I realised how lacy it was all going to be, I decided to finish the hat anyway, keeping myslf busy and having something new to add to my blog. Obsessed much? Not me.

*starts frogging*

See?

Friday, 19 December 2008

WIP: Heart-shaped Pillow

Like I said in an earlier post, I decided to use the knitting kit Mark's parents sent me to knit a pillow. On Ravelry I found a pattern for a winged heart by Lion Brand Yarn and simply omitted the wings. The yarn was barely enough for the pattern, so I had to leave out some of the purl rows in order to finish the pillow. The two parts are slightly different in size, but luckily they are very stretchy. The eyelash yarn is interesting as well because it consists of red and black fringes of which the black is much longer. Due to this it obscures the lovely red most of the time, but it looks good when it shows through.

Later on, I will sew a lining for the pillow out of satin from the kit before buying some proper stuffing. This will probably have to wait till the New Year and perhaps even till after my defence, which has been tentatively scheduled for January 30. I am looking forward to the finished pillow. Most of all, I wonder how big it will be once it’s complete.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Yarn Shopping and an Unexpected Gift

Yesterday I spent the day at the Christmas market in Frankfurt, but I didn't spend any money at all even though my grandmother gave me money with which to buy my own Christmas present. I was keeping an eye out for wool and somehow managed to miss the shops nonetheless. So when I got home, I ordered three sock yarns from Schoppel. It was tough choosing something! I knew I was certainly going to get their Banana Joe (Admiral Ombré) sock yarn because I've seen a German knitter's Pomatomas in exactly that yarn and they look stunning. It is just the right kind of yellow that even I'd like. I also had my eye on the corresponding blue yarn and added it to the shopping cart. But then it got difficult because I knew I had enough money left to buy one more skein. I couldn't decide between red and green or another blue so that, in the end, I bought something different altogether: a hank of blue hand-dyed sock yarn! It looked very pretty on the picture and I hope it will be just as nice when knitted up. It consists of three different shades of blue and should be interesting.

Then today when I got up I found a package had arrived. I wondered at how fast Schoppel was! It was too good to be true. In the end it turned out that the box was from my friend Tanja, who owns a home by ASA shop in Erfurt! I really hadn't expected gifts from her, particularly since we're both rather broke and, even though we are very good riends, we haven't yet met each other face-to-face.

I've been good and only opened one of the gifts so that I can leave the rest for Christmas Eve. There is a packet of Zetti Knusperflocken, which is crispbread bits covered in chocolate, an east German product that I hadn't heard of. It happens to be one of her favourite sweets so I am looking forward to trying them myself in a bit. One of the wrapped presents contained a bookmark from my favourite designer and the little buddy you see here:

He is from Tanja's shop and looks like a gingerbread teddy! I really like him and have named him Snowflake for obvious reasons. He will have a lovely home here with the other teddies (and I will have to tell Mark that he will have one more teddy to find room for when I move in with him).

This was a wonderful surprise and I can't wait to find out what the other presents are! I really hadn't expected to get anything and I feel quite overwhelmed with fuzzy feelings.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Marie-Noelle Fingerless Gloves Modelled by her Namesake

Finally, Marie-Noelle can model her birthday gifts herself!
(Click for larger image.)

Today we met up for lunch before I spent the day at the Christmas market and I asked her to open her gifts early since I won't be going to her party this week. I really wanted to see her open them both - the gloves and the Firstarter socks. I originally wanted her to leave the socks till Christmas, but then I mixed up the two wrapped gifts and the socks were the first to come out. Oops. Anyway, I needed to see the fingerless gloves on Marie, so she had to open them too.

They really suit her very well and she was very pleased with them, I'm glad to report. It was well worth the effort and I still think these may be the most beautiful items I have knitted to date.

Monday, 15 December 2008

A Surprise Gift and a Sock in the Making

Today I woke up to find a package from England at the door. At first I thought it was the Secret Santa gift that should be arriving soon, but the writing on the envelope looked suspiciously like Mark's, only neater. As it happens, his parents sent it! So that is why they asked him for my address - I thought they were just going to send a card.

Even though I tried very hard to wait till Christmas before unwrapping, I gave in after all of 5 minutes. The older I get, the more impatient I become, it seems. Mark must have given his parents some ideas of things I like because it was all exactly right: there was a box of Twinnings tea, a small Wentworth Wooden Jigsaw of Bath Abbey whose pieces are fun and unusual (there is a snowflake, a bunny, teddy, even a Santa!), and finally there is also a knitting kit.

I've not made a bag yet though I do have a pretty pattern from Ravelry. I think I will use the kit's material to make a heart-shaped pillow I have had in mind for a while. Since I used similar yarn for my grandmother's pillowcase a while ago, I know how pretty and soft those are. I will keep the handles for another bag instead. That's me being resourceful again and making two gifts out of one! I hope Mark's parents don't mind.

Those 7 mm needles are fun - I don't know why they amuse me so much. I've already got a pair of 8 mm needles from my mother's collections ince she doesn't knit anymore and I find them equally entertaining just to hold. I'm odd. But back on topic: this was a lovely surprise gift that I had no idea was coming my way. I will certainly enjoy all of it.

And finally there is a small WIP that I have not yet named because I don't know what it's going to be other than another pair of socks made from my very fine 3-ply merino (Hamburger Wollfabrik). This is the yarn that was left from the Marie-Noelle fingerless gloves and it looks like I will still have some left after the socks! It's really a lot of yarn. Since it is very fine, the knitting will take longer than usual, but I am really looking forward to the final result.

At this point I haven't decided on a particular pattern because I don't know how many stitches I will have in a round yet. I want to add a cable pattern on the sides of the foot like the one the Firestarter pattern has. Since I have knitted those before, I want different, perhaps more elaborate cables. The heels will be the same Eye of the Partridge kind I made for my Mojos, but leg pattern will have to wait till I get there. So much to knit, so little time!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Last Mojo Photos

Since we have some unexpected sunshine today, I took the opportunity to take some last pictures of my Mojos. Their true colour came out better in the darker pics, but now you may be able to see the Details a little better.

I've really fallen in love with the Eye of the Partridge heel and hope to use it again in the future. Surprisingly, I like it even more than my usual short-row heel. The colours just come out much better, and the pattern makes even that part of the sock look interesting. Normally, heels are a very boring affair, I find.


All right, this is it. No more pictures of these socks! Honest!

Mojo!

They are complete! Considering how easy these socks were, it took me a very long time to finish them. I began them at the end of November and only finished them tonight. Since I was unwell most of the time, I couldn't knit as much as I wanted to, but it's become better now.

Material:
  • 2.5 mm (foot and heel) and 3 mm DPNs (leg)
  • 2 skeins Koigu KPPPM, colourway P501
  • tapestry needle
  • row counter
It was quite hard to get the legs to an equal length because if you knit the same number of rows, the socks won't be equally long when worn due to the different number of rib and ridge rows. It looks like my left sock is one ridge short, actually, but it doesn't really matter much. Should it annoy me at some point I can add another since I have some yarn left.

These socks have a great fit and are extremely comfortable, I must say. I shall wear them proudly tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

WIP: Mojo on My Right Foot

Nina reminded me that I hadn't yet posted a picture of my finished Mojo, so here it is. I am now working on the gusset increases of the second one, which means that it won't be long till I can finally wear these stunning stocks. The finished one is incredibly comfortable and I doubt that I will reknit it as I thought at first. It seemed to me that the section just before the heel was too tight and could do with a few more gusset increases, but I don't really feel it, I realised earlier. So I think it's done. I will know for sure once I can compare the fit of both socks.

There won't be any more photos till the left sock is done too. I can hardly wait!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Book: Cookie A.'s Sock Innovation



Sock Innovations: Knitting Techniques & Patterns for One-Of-A-Kind Socks

Price: 19.99 EUR


I never thought I'd say it, but I really do have a favourite designer, a sock designer at that. Cookie A.'s socks have been my favourites since I first came across them. So far I have only been able to try my hand at her free patterns, but I regularly cast a jealous eye on the patterns for purchase that I can't buy yet. That is why I was elated to hear that Cookie is publishing a book about technique that includes some of her patterns. Even though I do not buy knitting books lightly (and therefore only have one to date), this is one I will definitely get - or maybe I can have someone gift it since the book comes out in April, just in time for my birthday as luck would have it.

(Click here to read a synopsis of the book.)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

WIP: Mojos with Eye of the Partridge Heel


Evidently, my Mojos are making good progress even though my current illness is keeping me from knitting more than a few rows at a time. I am now well past the heel already and I must say that I like the look of the Eye of the Partridge pattern as pictured above. It makes the colours look more interesting and quite different from the rest of the sock.

To my surprise, the entire heel has turned out well and the sock fits perfectly so far. Since I have little experience with anything but the short row heel, I wasn't sure if this would work well. Luckily, it did and I can't wait to wear my Mojos!

Tutorial: Row Counter as Stitchmarker


My row counters were a terribly boring affair and completely useless for knitting in the round. To make them easier to use while working on my Mojo Socks, I chose a few beads and some waxed thread to turn one row counter into a stitchmarker. It was easy enough and done in a few minutes. No tools were necessary except for a lighter with which I melted the ends of the thread at the bottom to prevent it from coming undone.

First, I threaded the top beads and a spacer (to prevent the beads from slipping inside the row counter) onto the thread so it formed a loop. I then inserted the thread into the row counter, added another spacer and beads at the bottom end and tied a double knot. I cut off the excess thread a few millimeters after the knot. With the help of the lighter, I carefully melted the ends, which then turned hard quickly after cooling and keep the knot in place. Et voilà!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

WIP: Mojo Modifications


A day after my last post I realised these socks would require more modifications than expected. For the future I must remember that I have to make the toe section a bit longer. The current one is too short, though it causes no problems while wearing. Also, even though I intended to knit the heel according to pattern, I realised it was impossible since it wasn't designed for people with high arches. Therefore I have had to add a gusset and am trying my hand at the Eye of the Partridge heel I described last month. Normally, I prefer the short-row heel, but I am very curious about this new one.

Other than that I think I shouldn't have used twisted stitch or maybe I should have added 4 sts to the over all sock. It seems quite snug due to the pattern. This may turn out quite fine when all is done, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a good fit.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

WIP: Mojo Socks



It's high time I got back to socks again! I've been wanting to knit some more for quite some time now, but there were a few other projects I had to finish first. So now I finally found a good use for my last two skeins of beautiful Koigu. Since intricate patterns don't work with this particular colourway, my only choice was a cable pattern or Mojo, really. Luckily I've had an eye on the Mojo pattern for a while and cast on the first sock last night.

It's a really easy pattern, so I don't expect complications of any kind. I made minor alterations to the toe (I prefer to make my on custom type) and I haven't turned the sock inside out while knitting as decribed. At this point I am not sure why that's required anyway - maybe I will find out by the time I get to the heel. Even though I usually make my own custom heel, I intend to give the described one a try. If it doesn't work, I can always unravel it and go back to my own kind again.

I've really missed knitting socks! They are my favourite type of knitting, to be honest. I am looking forward to getting on with these and having some more pictures to show later.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mr Jones in November

It was that time of the month again when I arm myself with knitting needles, yarn and a pillow and head towards Giessen- at the end of November a group of knitters and crafters got together to enjoy a long afternoon at Mr Jones. As usual there was a lot of gossip, knitting, quick lessons, and good drinks and food. Since the days are shorter now and night comes early, it was a bit more difficult to knit in the half dark of the bar, but it was as good a day as always.
Normally, I happen to be one of the very early arrivals, but this time I came an hour late and was surprised by a big hello I hadn't expected at all. The pictures above were taken by Nina and Friederike within the first few minutes of my arrival. I was wearing some of my latest finished projects and they had to be shown, of course. (This is also the first time I have seen myself wearing my Swallowtail and the reknit hat. )


Unlike at most meetings I had enough money on me for a change to not to have to worry about what I would have to eat and drink. I see it as my duty to sample the Mr Jones menu before Mark's next visit. My photos of their food has made him want to go try it himself one day, so I am just ordering things for research purposes, you see. Yeah, that's it. Research.

Both Mark and I liked the sound of the Mr Jones burger, but I ordered it without chips. It was okay, but nothing special, and it could have done with some more cheese and sauce, to be honest. Still, it had two slices of meat in it, which was very welcome, as I hadn't eaten anything all day. I was mainly impressed by the triangular plate it was served on. The Bailey's shake I had with it, however, was as great as it was last time, so no complaints there.

The greatest culinary disappointment was the New York cheesecake, I'm afraid. Mark and I both love cheesecake, so it was clear I'd have to try it. Unforunately, it was very cold and extremely dry. It had no particular flavour at all and even the very generous amount of cream was bland despite the sprinkling of cinnamon. The strawberry purée looked gross and like something you don't want to think about any further, but it tasted okay of... well, fresh strawberries. All in all it lacked the creaminess and sweetness cheesecake ought to have. The best I ever had was in Bath. Why the kitchen staff stuck the fork smack in the middle of the cake is a mystery to me. I picture deadly fights in the kitchen with flying cutlery whenever I look at it.

But back to the actual knitting: as always, some of us were able to get tips on how to improve our knitting, there was a lot of pleasant gossiping, and we learned more about each other. I am very happy I came across this knitting group because it has always been a good chance to spend part of the day with pleasant people doing what we like to do in company instead of alone. At the same time we could see the latest knitted and crocheted items, some of them worn by the crafters themselves, get jealous of there skill, and be motivated to try some of it ourselves.

Since our next meeting would be on Christmas Eve, we've decided not to meet in December, which is a shame. Still, seeing how busy that month usually is, it makes perfect sense. I am looking forward to the next time in January and hope to see everyone again.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Wolltausch/Yarn Swap


Ich habe noch ein 50g Knäuel Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra Merino (8-fädig), Farbe 51 übrig (siehe Bild). Das reicht sicher noch für eine Mütze oder ähnlich kleines, daher biete ich es zum Tausch an gegen 50g Merinowolle in einer anderen Farbe. Blau steht mir nicht so wirklich, also suche ich etwas in Rottönen (Rot, Rost, Violet, Lila etc.). Ich nehme aber auch gerne 100g Sockenwolle und da bin ich auch für andere Farben offen. Einfach anbieten!

An entry in German for a change! I am looking to swap 50g of Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra Merino (8-ply), colorway 51 (see image above) for similar merino yarn in a different colour. I'd like colours such as red, violet, purple, burgundy etc. However, I am also open for 100g sock yarn. In this case I am open to all kinds of colours, really, so just offer me something and I'll let you know what I think!

EDIT: Offer closed.

Don't Let it All Unravel



Live Earth short film shown at the Encounters Short Film Festival
Director - Sarah Cox

Monday, 24 November 2008

WIP: Nereid Gloves with Fingers

In March I knitted a pair of fingerless gloves based on Cookie A.'s Pomatomus pattern. After finishing my first pair of proper gloves with fingers only recently, I decided to simply add fingers to my Nereid gloves as well in an attempt to make them more wearable. They were nice as thes were, but I already have a pair of fingerless ones that I ended up wearing far more often. Also, it bothered me that the section covering the knuckles was unevenly long so that they didn't match properly. Instead of fixing that, I thought I'd prefer them as a spare pair of gloves when the other is in the wash.

I picked up 9 stitches on each side of the glove (back and palm) and cast on 6 more. (I only left the thumb stitches as they were.) That worked very well and I could keep the ribbing as well. This, incidentally, is what makes the fingers fit even better than in my first gloves, which I am very happy with. It also makes the Pomatomus pattern merge with the fingers without a hitch. I hate to admit that I like these gloves even better than my Koigu ones now! Someday I might knit these again with another yarn just for the hec of it, particularly since I wasn't able to knit with twisted stitches when I first started my Nereid fingerless gloves. It doesn't matter much, but the pattern would have been tighter and thus prettier.

I am very happy with this glove and hope to finish the second one soon, ready to wear in our cold weather now. It has snowed, so this is the perfect time.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

New Magazine: The Knitter


Mark brought my attention to a new knitting magazine from Bath's local Future Publishing. I already knew of their magazine Simply Knitting (and still keep an eye on their job section). Its upcoming sister magazine The Knitter is aimed at more advanced knitters and offers at least 10 challenging patterns. The images above are of some that will be featured in the first issue in January. Look at those gorgeous pillow cases!
“Experienced knitters want a magazine with challenging patterns and inspirational ideas to really push their skills,” says Juliet Bernard, The Knitter’s new editor. “As the editor I’m looking forward to showcasing patterns by the best designers from around the world. As a knitter, I can’t wait to start knitting them!”(Simply Knitting)
I like the idea of a mag for advanced knitters and the more elegant air of The Knitter. Best of all, it has 100 pages! No wonder it costs a bit more at 5.99 Pounds. Still, I am sure it is worth it and will definitely take a look into it once I have the chance. I can hardly wait!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Recycling a Hat

As I am trying to use up my stash at the moment and not buy anything new, I spent the last two days reknitting my vanilla Besotted hat in time for the snowfall expected today. It looked great the first time I made it, but it was a bit big and loose even for my large head. A few minutes ago I finished the reworked version and it still fits. I wish it were just a little deeper so that I could pull it over my ears completely if it gets too cold. As it is, the hat has the usual size of a well-fitting hat. I will be taking it with me to our knitting meeting this Wednesday and since it is meant to be very cold with snow, I will find out exactly how good this hat is now. Last year it was perfectly warm and I loved it.

Apart from Besotted, I will also be using my new gloves for the first time and wear my Swallowtail shawl along with a warmer one just in case.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Glove Love

My first glove with fingers is finished and it fits, well, like a glove, actually. I've still got lots of yarn left from the first skein, to my surprise. I'd like to experiment some more with different ways of knitting gloves because these here were improvised completely.

Materials:
  • 2.5 mm DPNs
  • 2 skeins Koigu KPPPM
  • tapestry needle
  • row counter
Instructions:
  • Twisted German CO 60 sts
  • 30 rows rib

Example (right glove):
  • k3 p1 cable (with 3 sts) p1 k all. M1 for gusset (use cable needle on every 5th row)
  • increase gusset till 21 sts (row 21)
  • k 15 more rows without increases
  • set aside gusset stitches and continue knitting in the round
  • on row 11 knit smallest finger (use 15 sts and CO 8 extra)
  • pick up 5 sts from finger and knit 3 rounds
  • similarly, knit all remaining fingers with 23 sts total

I began at the cuff, trying out the Twisted German Cast-On, and I must say that it is the best cast-on I know. It looks very neat and is stretchy. The rib-section was worked over 30 rows before I began the hand section (mainly knit in twisted k-stitches) with the thumb gusset increases and cable section. I increased the gusset till I had 21 stitches, then put it on a spare thread and continued working the hand in the round.

After passing the knuckles I began working the fingers over 23 stitches (some had to be picked up, of course, otherwise the fingers would have been too tight). I began with the pinkie, then knit two more rows in the round before moving on to the other fingers (of course I forgot to continue the cable pattern over the index finger the first time...). Generally, I knit this glove so as to fit my hand in particular so this may not work for everyone and I am not giving a detailed pattern.

The final bit was going back to the thumb gusset and picking up the stitches from the spare thread. Again, I used 23 stitches, picking up two between thumb and hand. It is a quick knit, though it can be annoying to knit the fingers. My preferred method is to do them in the round over two DPNs. I had to try the glove on several times in order to make sure it fit just right, so this is not the sort of thing I'd knit for someone else unless they were on hand for fitting sessions every few minutes.

Now I've still got to make the second glove. I am looking forward to the cast-on, which has never happened before! That Twisted German one is just too good.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Swallowtail in the Sun

All right, all right. This really is the last post I will make about this shawl. The sun came out for a bit today and I seized the opportunity and my camera. This is the result. All I need now is a photo of it on a person.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Big Knit 2008 Beneficiary

You might remember Blueberry, the teddy I made just for fun some time ago. Last time I packed a box of goodies for Mark, Blueberry climbed in when I wasn't looking and travelled all the way to Englnd as a blind passenger. Luckily, he has his scarf with him and my old Piggy for company. He found a good home with Mark and his teddies and has been enjoying his time there, waiting for me to move in too.

As it is getting colder now, Mark visited his local Sainsbury's to buy some of the behatted bottles of Innocent Drinks smoothies. The hats on them were made for charity and you can read about The Big Knit here. By buying these, Mark helped to keep both elderly people and Blueberry warm at the same time.

I like the idea very much and wish I had known about it earlier. Next year I hope to knit some little hats too to send in. It is a great way to use up scraps of yarn while doing something helpful at the same time - and it's not every day that you see bottles wearing hats in the shops! So if you see them anywhere near you, please consider taking one home with you and doing a little bit of good that makes this world just that bit warmer.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

WIP: Gloves - With Fingers!

As it gets colder, I notice that my fingerless gloves won't do in winter. Since the only pair of gloves I have are from the shop and don't fit properly, I am knitting my first pair of fingered gloves now. I am using Koigu merino wool and decided on a very simple pattern - there is a single line of cables going from the wrist up to the tip of the index finger, which should make it look interesting without diverting attention away from the pretty colours. The gloves shouldn't take long to knit, depending on how uch I feel like doing a day. They should be fairly simple to make, so I am not worried. They will be beautiful to wear once finished.

Swallowtail (blocked)

Of course the day I finish blocking my Swallowtail is the day after the sunshine. As a result, the images aren’t of the best quality, but I shall add new ones as soon as the sun comes out again and I can take pictures outdoors. Also, please ignore that there seems to be a missing peak towards the end – I didn’t notice it was flipped under the shawl when I laid it out on the floor. Rest assured that nothing is missing.

Taking out the pins once the shawl was dry was a very exciting moment since it was the first time I could see it properly. It turned out so much better than I thought it might and I am very proud of the result. I can’t wait to wear my Swallowtail on Wednesday when I go Christmas shopping! It looks great with the beads and the colours go together ver well too. The beads weigh down the shawl only a little bit, which is a very comfortable feeling when wearing it.

In the end I blocked it all on a wire through the top and using pins for the rest. All in all, my Swallowtail is 2m wide! I could have stretched it even more, but the couch I blocked it on wasn't big enough. As it is, it is lovely and I am glad, actually, that I couldn't make it quite as large as planned. Having 10 extra repeats of the budding lace pattern was quite enough. All the work was certainly worth the effort, seeing how well it turned out despite a few mistakes. Even if you look closely, you are unlikely to see them.

My next large lace project will have to wait for bit, however. I want to have more leisure to do it, as it will take some time to finish. All in all, I needed a month to finish this one, though that includes time I spent knitting parts I had to frog in the end. Unfortunately, those parts were the bits that took longest too. But, as I said, I am very happy with my Swallowtail and shall wear it proudly!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Knitting is a Science

After seeing this I, too, want a nine-dimensional hypercardigan. With bells.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Swallowtail (Unblocked)

It's done! In another one of my sleepless nights I managed to finish the last few rows of the shawl and the elastic BO (have to remember this one for future socks). I still have to find a way to block it properly though. I've added transparent glass beads with a pink core to the scalloped edge and I like the look of it. Only one of my mistakes is visible, but since it is symmetric, one might think that's how it ought to be. I wish it had worked out better and according to pattern, but that can't be helped now and I am certainly not going back to those rows to correct errors! This took long enough already and nobody is going to see them anyway.

Luckily, I had just enough beads left for the edge - I really wasn't sure at first. I am glad I finally found some use for them because I tend not to need such small beads for anything else. Swallowtail is the first project I've knitted with beads and I must say that it was interesting and not at all tiring even though I had to insert the beads separately for each stitch instead of having threaded them onto the yarn before starting the shawl. This way, however, I think it looks even better than it would have any other way.

I am hoping that the shawl will stretch quite a bit while blocking because it is a bit too small for my liking. I am very happy about not having knitted it with only the required 14 pattern repeats of the budding lace because that would have made it much smaller. As it is, I have a total of 24 repeats while knitting everything else according to pattern, disregarding a few improvisations required in the lily-of-the-valley repeats due to the unusual stitch count.

All in all I am glad this is over because it took me quite some time to finish without being difficult. I like the result, on the whole, but I long to do something else again, something quicker. Soon I will be able to start a Secret Santa knit, I think, and then there are an unfinished pair of socks and a number of left-over yarn that need to be dealt with. For instance, I'm thinking of making my first pair of gloves with fingers - oo the challenge! I think my purple Koigu yarn will do nicely.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Update: Prismatic and Swallowtail

Now that the Prismatic Scarf is done, I have gone back to my Swallowtail Shawl again. Before I knew that merino shouldn't be washed, but only aired, I had already soaked my Prismatic. It turned out to be much narrower than it was so I bocked it too, which has left it with a very wavy edge. I am not happy with it and am trying to stretch it once in a while. Perhaps I will have to soak the edges again to smooth them.

After the scarf, I wanted to use up the rest of my Sirdar Blur yarn. Originally, I planned to make the Ice Queen cowl with beads, but it turned out that I need more yarn for it than I thought. So I undid it and tried again with some lace yarn. Once I discovered I had twisted the whole thing while knitting in the round, I gave up. One day I would like to try again, but for the moment I have had enough.

So it is back to Swallowtail! I also ran out of yarn here, shortly before the end. I just had two more edge lace charts to go, but it was clear I didn't have enough yarn for it. Luckily, I used a lifeline for once and undid 20 cm of knitting... That means I have only 10 extra repeats of the budding lace pattern rather than doubling it. I am having some difficulty with the lilly of the valley pattern now since there aren't as many stitches as necessary for an even knit. That's a bit frustrating and I am improvising now and hope it will look okay once it is finished. Since the rows are shorter than last time, it is all going a bit faster and is much pleasanter too.

I hope to finish the shawl soon so I can take more photos on which it doesn't just look like a scrunched up bundle of knitting. Still, I have no idea how or where to block it once I am done!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Prismatic

After exactly 7 days, I was able to sew in the ends of Mark's birthday present. I have yet to wash and perhaps block the scarf a bit before wrapping it up, and I am a bit jealous now because I like it more than I thought I would. The design, as I said in a previous post, is rather simple and a mannlier one than my usual favourite patterns. Still, I do like the regularity and simplicity of it. What is more, I love how soft and warm the scarf feels even thought it seemed too hard while I was knitting.

Materials:
  • 100g Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra Merino (colourway 51)
  • 3mm straight needles
  • tapestry needle
  • row counter (till I got the hang of it)

Prismatic is a reversible scarf, though that does not mean you get the same pattern on both sides. They are very similar, however, so that I don't mind the slight difference. The only issues I had arose from the supposed i-cord selvedge that looks nothing like it ought to even though I knit everything according to the pattern. Instead, I have exactly the type of wavy edge it was meant to prevent. Luckily, it looks good nonetheless.

Mark's birthday is only in January! I wish I could show him the pictures already, but I will have to hold back till then. Luckily, he knows he can't come to look at my blog till after his birthday, so there is no chance of him finding out. Unless he is peeking.