Thursday, 31 July 2008

Mr Jones and Me

Today was the first time I joined the local knitting group in a meeting in Giessen. I looked forward to it very much even though I hadn't yet met any of them in person before. We met at Mr Jones, the perfect location as it was right next to the station (visible in the background), which makes travelling a lot easier. I had to go to university first to borrow some more books for the end of my thesis, but then I picked up a friend of mine for the meeting.

It was easy to spot the knitters. The first thing I saw was a ball of orange yarn - a definite sign that I was in the right place. I recognised three knitters from pictures of our Yahoo Group as well as Ravelry, so it wasn't all new faces.

It was an incredibly hot day and even though all the doors and the glass front of the bar were open, it was still quite hot and stifling most of the time. The first thing my friend and I did was order our drinks to come to our senses after having been out in the sun, if only briefly.

Mr Jones has a mouthwatering menu and I am always tempted to order something to eat, but in the end I always get a beverage instead. One day I will have to change that! This thime, however, it was far too hot for food (my friend ordered chili con carne and observed that spicy food on a hot day wasn't such a good idea after all). So while I treated myself to an excellent chocolate milkshake served with a shocking amount of whipped cream, my trousers decided to get stuck to the awful hard wooden chairs so that I expected to leave the meeting with a layer of paint imprinted on my butt. Luckily, that didn't happen. Next time I go I will have to take a pillow with me because I was very unfomortable on that chair. It cut off my blood circulation in my legs so that my ankles swelled up incredibly.
People knit all kind of things. Beadexplorer, true to her name, worked on a small beaded project. I have never seen something like that before and I like the look of it so much that I may well give it a try myself sometime. It looks fairly easy even though threading all the pearls before beginning the actual knitting is probably a pain, especially if you miss a bead or have one too many in places. Others were knitting socks, jumpers or crocheted ornaments. I brought Susurra with me and hoped to get a bit more of it done, but I had to stop after only a few rows because I realised I forgot my essential cable needle. Well, that was a disappointment! I should remember not to pack my bag the morning I leave, but the day before to make sure I have everything. I also forgot a few other things, including my stitchmarkers.

As it should be, I even learned something: I now know that the bits I need to make more stitchmarkers are called crimps (Quetschringe - the name says it all), which will now save me time since I no longer have to describe what I want but can name it properly instead. I still need to buy some and hope to find them somewhere in Giessen at a later point. Also, I watched Beadexplorer knit a sock on two circulars, which I hadn't seen before. I'd like to give it a try, but haven't yet got two circs of the same size to use. I don't mind using DPNs, luckily. Actually, I quite like it, but you never know - I might prefer the circs in the end so I am willing to give it a try.
We haven't made plans for the next meeting yet, but I hope to be able to go if it is in Giessen again. I am certain that this was not my first and final visit.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Pearl Shine Scarf

The Pearl Shine scarf was my first ever knitting project, if I remember correctly. I knit it last year in October as a practice piece. The yarn used ot be an awful green colour, but my mother bleached it. You can see the lovely colourful strands among the pearly white, which looks quite lovely.

Material:
  • 8mm straight needles
  • 100g unidentified yarn

Being the first project, I didn't yet try any fancy patterns and simply knit each row back and forth the same way. Still, since I used large needles, it looks quite nice and light. I like to wear this scarf in winter in the house when it is too chilly and I can't turn the heating on any higher than it already is. It is also comfortable to wear in bed if need be (though I do wonder how easily one could strangle oneself that way).

Monday, 28 July 2008

More Stitchmarkers

Especially on weekends when I feel creative, I like to make stitchmarkers. Unfortunately, I have now run out of some bits and pieces without which I can't make any more for some time. I am not sure when I will be able to shop for them again, so I will be forced to take a break. I did manage to make three more markers to add to my collection, I am happy to say.

The golden pair is made of glass beads and garnets. Originally, I wanted to make earrings out of them because they are rather lovely, but I decided against the idea in the end since I haven't been wearing any for a long time now. I just keep forgetting to! They turned out very beautifully in any case and I am looking forward to using them sometime. The single red marker is made of carnelian and a green glass bead. As usual, the beads were taken from old necklaces or came from the Netherlands.

I have found that the method I used here is the easiest: instead of using wire, I am using nylon string, which makes nice loops without me needing to apply any tools to bend it in shape. This way I get done very quickly as well, which can only be good. I am very proud of these latest ones!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Ready, Steady, Mark Your Stitches!

It was a lovely sunny morning so I decided to take some pictures of items that didn't come out well in early photos. I have updated some entries accordingly to include the new images. And finally I was also able to take pictures of my stitchmarkers! I have a small assortment of them, as you can see. I intend to make some more in the future as soon as I find the right tools. So far it has all been rather improvised, I must admit. Still, the markers do the job.

Some markers I made are missing in the pictures because I gave them away as presents a while ago, but they were similar in style to the pink ones below. They are made of glass beads from www.beadies.com, a Dutch site that accepts international orders too. A friend of mine brought me an assortment of pink beads from her holiday in the Netherlands (the only other choice at the time was a turquoise set, which is a colour I am not particularly keen on).

These pink stitchmarkers are all different. I intend to keep future ones fairly simple since the long ones may look nice, but are harder to handle in knitting at times. I especially like the ones that have little bells at the bottom. I like the sound of them while I work. I will have to find out where to get some more of the exact same size.

The set of four green markers were originally a necklace I was given as a Secret Santa gift on TORC. Unfortunately, it didn't fit me, so I decided to take it apart and use the beads for something else. Luckily, the necklace's links were just as you see them below, so I didn't have to do anything other than separate them in order to use them as stitchmarkers.

They have rather small rings and can only be used with needles up to 3mm. The one on the right is even smaller and fits only on 2mm at the moment. I'll have to find another ring for it. I especially like to use these green ones for light-weight projects since the markers don't weigh things down and don't get in the way either. If I want something nice to look at, I choose pink, though.

The last marker I have is a bell from a Lindt chocolate Easter bunny! It was my first marker, just because it was the only thing around when I needed one. I will have to collect them next Easter because they are pretty good.

Once I started making stitchmarkers, I had ot find a place to keep them without losing them in my knitting bag. Luckily, I found two small boxes of incence cones while spring cleaning and threw out the contents I never used anyway. Now I keep my markers in there, and I really like how the scent lingers in the boxes and even spreads to whatever I have in my knitting bag. They are just perfect for such tiny things.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Norolim Completed

I just finished the second Norolim sock this evening and am glad to say that the colours match the first sock. I have to correct something I said in the previous post though - these socks do not fit quite as well as I thought at first. The heels stick out for about a centimetre, which looks odd. The socks feel nice, though, and I am certainly not going to undo the legs and heel again in order to correct the length. These are comfy socks to be worn indoors, so they can remain as they are now. They will have to, as I am unlikely to grow any bigger feet!



Monday, 21 July 2008

Big Huge Labs


I found a wonderful fun tool for pretty much everything you can possibly do with photos: Bighugelabs. If you have a Flickr account, you can use the tools even without registering. I especially like the mosaic tool that I am sure I will use for my knitting pics in the future.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Norolim

A splash of colour! A big splash. Considering I wasn't very happy with having such very colourful yarn, I am immensely pleased with the results. I really love how the sock looks as a whole and the pattern I chose works nicely with it. As mentioned in my last post, I used one of Lesley Stanfield's cable patterns (174) on the front. On the back, I only knit the diamonds of the same pattern, which I think makes the sock even more interesting. I really enjoy wearing it.

Material:
  • 100g Noro Kureyon Sock
  • 2mm DPNs for foot and heel
  • 2.5mm DPNs for first diamond pattern of leg
  • 3mm DPNs for the rest
  • cable needle
  • tapestry needle
CO 60 sts - 62 are good if you want to knit the complete pattern on both sides.

The foot is just a slight bit too long, but on the whole this sock has a better fit than any of the others I have made so far. Even the edge, consisting of k1 p1 ribbing is very stretchy. Even though Noro Kureyon isn't a particularly soft yarn, it wears well once knitted up. I assume it will soften after a wash or two. I will have to look up whether I need to handwash it or can spare myself the trouble by simply putting it in the washing machine. I must remember to only buy superwash next time I look for yarn!


What I like about the pattern is that the combination of cable and lace not only are fun to knit and anything but boring, but that they might shift attention from the sometimes abrupt colour changes to the flow of the pattern. In my opinion, it is more pleasing to the eye, aesthetically.

The next challenge is to knit the second sock in exactly the same way. The colours should match, really. I made sure to stop the first sock just before the purple began so that I can begin the second sock there. I would have liked to make them both longer, but it would not have worked with the colours, unfortunately. Nonetheless, it looks like I will have enough yarn left over for a single sock in the end and will have to think of something to do with it. I have been contemplating knitting with two colours/yarns at once, so maybe I will give that a try. I have not yet given it a try because it seems a little daunting to try and handle more than one ball of yarn at the same time. I have seen so many lovely items made by other knitters in that fashion that I am sure to attempt it at some point myself.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

WIP: Norolim


Finally, I can give the patterns from the Lesley Stanfield’s book a try. Here, I am using pattern number 174 - it doesn't have any particular name. It combines lace and cable, which is fun to knit and will keep me from getting bored. Not sure if I can memorise the pattern from the chart, though. At the moment I have to keep looking at it, but it is getting a little easier. Besides, it's a chance to use my brand new Knit Picks 2mm DPNs from Brislington again!

Having unraveled my Wisp because it was smaller than I wanted it - beautiful though it was -, I decided to use the Kureyon Sock yarn for what it was intended and started yet another pair of socks. The name Norolim seemed appropriate - firstly, it includes the yarn’s name and, secondly, it is the Elvish command “Ride on!” from LOTR. Perhaps it will speed up my walking.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Jeanie in a ... Sock

Half a pair down, another half to go. I was getting a little bored with the usual sock patterns out there and since I can't afford to buy any of the fancy ones, I decided to improvise again. While going through my favourite patterns, I came across Jeanie, which is a shawl I want to make someday. But since I can't wait, I decided to try out the pattern on a smaller scale. Et voilĂ ! Jeanie socks!

Materials:
  • 100g Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM)
  • 2.5 mm DPNs from toe to heel
  • 3.0 mm DPNs for leg and cuff
  • tapestry needle

I CO 60 sts and chose chart B for the cable I was going to use. I knit it on the upper foot section and front and back of the leg and added 10 rows of k1 p1 rib to the cuff. Problems that ensued were easy to solve, luckily: the drop-stitch pattern complicates matters because it may undo your sock if you're not careful. I knit the foot according to the pattern, which resulted in the dropped stitches unraveling all the way down the toe section too. If you want to prevent this, you may want to substitute the dropped stitches in chart B for YO. That is what I had to do when I started on the leg so it wouldn't undo my heel. This way, I had no difficulties whatsoever. It also added some stretchiness to the leg, which is just what I needed anyway.

I like the look of the sock. I wonder how it will look once it's been washed, blocked and worn a while.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

WIP: Susurra Top Section Done!

Ignore the fat lady - focus on the bikini top.

Progress at last! After starting over, here is the result of the top section. From now on I will be working in lace from the top down. Once I find new yarn, that is. I used up 2 1/2 skeins so far and expect to need at least 2 skeins for the rest.

I am very happy with how this section has turned out this time. The colour is even, I made no mistake and it is a comfortable and very soft wear. I reckon I could use this pattern for summer tops at some point, so I better write it down later. I especially like how the top parts in the middle to become the bikini triangles. The straps are good for this type of garment, but if I made a summer top I might make them a little wider.

Since our summer has been taking far too many breaks with rain and wind, I have not yet felt the need for a light top. I hope it will be a better summer this year than the last!

Monday, 7 July 2008

WIP: Susurra Continued

After finishing the top part of the babydoll and I was able to try it on properly, I found that I should have made it an inch or two longer. That bothered me because it meant having to start all over again - my first idea to pick up the stitches at the bottom to simply make it all longer for a few rounds didn't work so well, so I didn't really have much choice. I left the project for a while because it was quite frustrating. In the end I did start over because the two different shades of black also bothered me a lot and it was a chance to get it all right in one go. So here I am, starting over. I am now going to knit 6" before starting the cups. I just hope this bit gets done quickly because I want to get on with it now and begin the lower section.

I have kept the old top section for now because I have an idea for a sewn dress that I could use it for. However, I can already tell I am running low on yarn so I may need to frog the old top to finish the new one. I'll have to wait and see how it goes.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

An Owl on My Camera


Finally, it is done. I had started this project exactly a month ago, but it hibernated a long time after I realised I had just a few inches too little yarn! While I was working on other things, I found that there is a far easier way of knitting this camera bag than my original idea. Without any qualms, I frogged the whole thing even though it was almost finished and started over. That was a very good idea and I very much like the result. My first attempt had been too tight, so I cast on three more stitches the second time, which made the bag a little too wide, however. But I can live with it. It holds my camera well. I am quite proud of it, actually!

Material:
  • 3.5 mm DPNs
  • 3 mm DPNs for the ribbed edge and BO
  • 2.5 mm cable needle
  • scraps of Fabiani Micro-Plus, colourway 174
I cast on 23 stitches and knit the back section first. Having completed that, I began picking up the side stitches of each row while knitting on so as to make the project turn and for the front. Having ascertained where to position the owl pattern, I continued knitting it according to the pattern, ending with the last few plain rows to the top. Once reaching the edge, I knit in k1 p1 ribbing for about four rounds and bound off.

Something this project taught me is to save the owl pattern for potential future use. I have needed it at least four separate times so far and had to rewrite it on each occasion for whatever I was knitting. Now it is saved! Disentangled from the Diagonal Owl Dishcloth pattern, this is it:

foot end

  1. p3, k8, p3
  2. k3, p8, k3
  3. p3, C4B, C4F, p3
  4. k3 p8 k3
  5. p3, k8, p3
  6. k3 p8 k3
  7. p3, k8, p3
  8. k3 p8 k3
  9. p3, k8, p3
  10. k3 p8 k3
  11. p3, C4B, C4F, p3
  12. k3 p8 k3
  13. p3, k1, P2, k2, P2, k1, p3
  14. k3 P1, k2, P2, k2, P1 k3
  15. p3, k8, p3
  16. k3 p8 k3
  17. p3, C4B, C4F, p3
  18. k3 p8 k3

head


Friday, 4 July 2008

Teddy Photo Shoot


As per request, here is teddy with his sock-bag. It will be a whlie yet till he will get the small "proper" bag I made for him. Teddy is ready for fame!