Wednesday, 25 February 2009

At Mr Jones' for the Last Time

It's been a wonderful time with my local knitting group every month and it is a pity I only found them a few months ago. Today's get-together was very probably my last one since I plan to move to England before the end of next month. So this day was a chance to see everyone one final time and say goodbye in person instead of via the interweb.

Unfortunately, I arrived two hours later than scheduled, which left me with very little time. I also met a university friend there and left the group to chat to her about her PhD studies. In the end the first people left just before I got back to the group again, which is a pity, really. Still it was much better to have been there at all than to not have seen anyone before leaving the country.
A lot of socks were being knit in my corner and I was able to take a look at Nina's patten book of lace shawls. She has chosen a very beautiful pattern to work with that I thought was the best of all the featured ones. A large section of it consists of a leaf pattern that I liked especially, and it had one of the nups many of the other shawls had. After knitting my Swallowtail I have had enough of nups for now. It's not that I mind knitting them, but I only like looking at them if there aren't too many in one piece.
You can tell that the days are getting longer again because we don't end up knitting in the dark anymore. We had good light and left just as it got dark. There was a brief discussion about possible new times for meetings that I couldn't contribute to since it no longer concerns me, of course. I will be interested to see what they decide. I hope to come back again if I get the chance when I come over on holiday in the future. It would be lovely to meet up again and knit and chat as we have done in the past.

Even though German Rail was on strike again today it didn't look as if anyone had trouble getting here this time. I only heard about it shortly before I was about to leave this afternoon, but my line is so unimportant that it has never been one of the problematic ones, luckily. Apparently, though, Irmi had some issues with the buses instead. We all managed to arrive more of less on time, though, so all was well and I am sure everyone had a very good time as always.

Of course my entry cannot be complete without a mention of food and beverages at Mr Jones. This time I treated myself to a chocolate milkshake - I asked about the milkshake's ingredients first which, depending on which waiter you get, may turn out completely different. Today I got the one I wanted, with extra chocolate syrup which gives it that nice dark shade that I liked the first time I had it there. Believe it or not, I preferred it to my beloved Bailey's milkshake this time. Shocking, I know. Since I had to eat out I also ordered the mozzarella sticks with fries (instead of the potato sticks that are usually too greasy for me). They were very good and came with a nice salad as well. I always find it hard to choose something to eat because, even though it all sounds great, the food can often be a bit underwhelming. The drinks are far better.

Yesterday I started a new shawl called Woodland (Ravelry) that I have had in my list of favourites for some time now. I want to use up my last bit of merino lace yarn and since I have a whole lot of it I needed a large project. I cast on the recommended 89 sts and now wish I'd done more than that. However, it will stretch well when blocking, so it is hard to tell exactly how big it will be. I really love leaf patterns, so this is just right. At first I'd wanted to use a similar pattern from The Knitter's second issue, but it seemed too simple and uninteresting in comparison. Woodland is just a little different and I wouldn't even mind leaving it unblocked due to the nice texture.

I am hoping that it will not be completely lost when I do block it in the end. It would be a shame. I could also imagine knitting this pattern with a thicker yarn that will bring it out even better, actually. This may be something to keep in mind for future gifts, perhaps.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Mix n Match - Ready to Wear

Material:
  • leftover Noro Kureyon (S185), Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Bosco (3519), and Schachenmayr nomotta Regia (54)
  • 2.5mm DPNs
  • row counter just in case
  • tapestry needle
These are very nice to wear, especially because they are so colourful. They were made to fit my size EU 39 feet, but they could also be worn by someone with 40, perhaps even a size larger than that because they are very stretchy, to my surprise. I know that I will probably not knit striped socks again very soon becauseI hated alternating yarns. It was hard to not get holes into the socks with each colour change.
These are your basic socks, knit as simple as possible. I'll post my notes here so that I remember what exactly I did.
Notes:
  • CO 8 sts
  • increase till 60 sts
  • 38 rows till gusset increase
  • 26 rows gusset increase
  • work heel decrease over 30 sts: WS: sl1, p to last 3 sts, p2tog, p1; RS: sl1, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1. Reapeat both rows till 14 sts are left
  • pick up 9 sts each side
  • knit sole and ktbl gusset sts; connect heel and rest of sock (ssk/p2tog); continue decrease till back to 60 sts in total
  • 38 rows for the cuff
  • 10 rows k1, p1 ribbing
  • BO loosely

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Socks and Circs

This is just a teaser for my next post which will feature photos of my finished socks. I've yet to weave in the ends because I was rather in a hurry, knitting while cooking. It's a miracle nothing was burned in the process. Both scks fit perfectly as far as I could tell from trying them on before binding off the last one of the two. Exciting!


Not so exciting are the new circs I bought at Lidl today, but then what do you expect? I was unaware of them selling anything knitting related, but they happened to have lots of that terrible fuzzy eyelash yarn, two pattern books that were sealed and couldn't be looked into, and they had a few crochet hooks and knitting needles. Since I've been thinking of trying to knit two socks at once on a pair of circs, I just spent the € 1.99 on each set. Well, you can knit with them, but they feel very odd and aren't particularly smooth. I wouldn't recommend them unless you really want such circs badly and won't be able to afford any others for a while.

The good thing that came of the shopping trip was that the circs reminded me of my grandma's knitting needle collection. Since she doesn't knit anymore, she said I could have it and the best thing is that the circs come in this very nice green box. I'll probably need to close it with a rubber band as it only fits loosely; I am definitely keeping it.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

WIP: Mix n Match Socks

This is my first post as a Dr Nadia, so perhaps I should name my current project something suitable. For now, however, they remain my Mix n Match Socks that I began the day before my doctoral defence. I really like how the first one is coming along; in fact it is looking much better than I expected. The pattern is improvised and it's been ages since I last knit toe-up even though it used to be my favourite method. By now that has changed and I prefer cuff-down socks instead even though that kitchener stitch to sew the toe section together always drives me mad. I am getting better at it, though.
I am only using leftover yarns since I don't have enough of each to make anything much. One sock is this red one featured here, with Noro stripes. The other will be blue with Noro mixed in as well. The red one is almost done and I am looking forward to finishing the other soon so I can wear them both.

And I must say it is fantastic to have sunshine again! We still have lots of snow over here and it is very cold, but at least the sun is out all day. I was very lucky yesterday and had an equally sunny day during my defence. It couldn't get any better! The pictures come out much nicer in this light as well, which is encouraging. I hate taking awfully dark pictures just because the light is never right.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Video: Publishers and Recession


While searching for something knitting related online I came across this news video from th BBC about the way Bath publishers are dealing with recession. Mainly, it's about Future Publishing, who bring out Simply Knitting and The Knitter, among many other magazines. I found it particularly interesting since it combines a number of things I am interested in: knitting, publishing (I've been wanting to work for Future Publishing for a while now), and Bath (where I will be moving soon). I would certainly love to work for The Knitter team and maybe I will get a chance one day. In the meantime, here is the video for a brief glimpse of Bath and some information on how publishers are doing at the moment.

Valentine Flannel


Materials:
  • a little bit of The Original Sugar 'n Cream, colourway 19605
  • 4.5 mm needles
While revising for my doctoral defence this coming Wedesday, I needed a quick project offering instant gratification. Since I still have quite a bit of Sugar 'n Cream yarn left, it was time for another flannel. This Valentine flannel is a bit smaller than others and took me little more than an hour to make.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Flipflop Chevrolace


As promised, here are the new pictures and details to my Chevrolace socks. I knit these from the top down over 84 sts (way too many, I realised!) and substituted my own heel. The reason for starting from the cuff is that I wanted to split the toe section in order to wear these socks with flipflops when it is sunny enough to spend more time outside in the graden, but too cold without socks. Since I’d never done that before, this was a new experience, but it was fairly straight forward and easy. I really don’t like this yarn’s colourway though.

Material:
  • 100g Schoppel-Wolle Admiral Ombré, colourway 1962 ombré
  • 2.5 mm DPNs
  • row counter

Specifics

Heel set-up:
R1: k 45 sts
R2: p 45 sts

Heel:
1. (sl1, k1) k1
2. sl1, p all repeat till row 30
Pick up and knit (ktbl) 15 sts + p1

Heel stitches:
First k3 and transfer those sts to the instep instead.
1. (RS) k 26, k2tog, k1, turn
2. (WS) sl1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn Repeat 1 and 2 till 16 sts for gusset are left

Gusset decrease:
1. k2tog, k1 / k1, ssk
2. k all. Repeat both rows till 39 sts on each side (instep and sole)


Foot:
Knit instep in pattern till desired length, the sole is plain. End on row 8 before toe section.

Big toe section:
Pick up 14 sts from sole, 14 sts from instep, CO 5 extra sts and knit all k 18 rows, then start decreasing (k2tog) every other round after row 21: weave thread through remaining sts and weave in ends

Remaining toe section:
Pick up 8 sts, k all and decrease one side (outside) as follows: (k2tog, k2, ssk); k all the rest; 21 rows total

Friday, 13 February 2009

Chevrolace! Pictures Yet to Come

The flipflop Chevrolace socks are done and I am wearing them right now. I took my time finishing the second sock, but it feels good to have them. The left sock's larger toe section is a bit odd though I did everything right - it seems a little twisted from when I picked up stitches between toes so that the side with the decreases is twisted to the sole. It's annoying though I don't actually feel it while wearing. Though I considered undoing that toe and trying again, I don't suppose I will now.

In my next post I shall have some more pictures, I hope, as well as the details as to how I knit these socks.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Why Don't They Have Lacy Socks?




Your Socks Say You're Cute



You Are:



- Quite cuddly

- Downright adorable

- Truly kind

- Infinitely patient

Saturday, 7 February 2009

WIP: Chevrolace, Almost Completed

Here are some quick pictures of the first Chevrolace with separate toe that I finished earlier today. It took me two attempts to get both toe sections right because I originally made them a bit too short. Now they fit well and I can hardly wait to finish the other sock so I can finally wear them with my flipflops. Expect some (I hope) better photos next time!
I am still quite disappointed by the lace pattern that really doesn't come through very well. Luckily, I am not too bothered about this yarn anyway so that the real reason I am looking forward to these socks is the toe. In the end I could have cast on fewer stitches that I did, but that's all right. It just turned out to be a very wide sock - it's comfortable though.

Soon I will have to find my good pair of flipflops. I think I lost them somewhere under the bed and can't get at them.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Review: The Knitter


When Mark came over last week, he brought the new magazine The Knitter from Future Publishing with him. I'd been looking forward to it very much and now that I have read it I am very impressed and keen on getting my hands on the next issues too if I can.

Since the magazine prides itself on being more sophisticated than most other knitting magazines, even the quality of the paper and images is excellent, I was happy to see. The photos are clear, nicely composed, and bring out the patterns of jumpers, cardigans, bags and pillowcases perfectly. There is a good variety of patterns all centred around this issue's topic "Cable and Lace". Of all 12 patterns there are 6-7 I'd be interested to try sometime, which is far more than usual and literally unheard of. It helps that these are patterns for the experienced knitter, too. Another good thing about The Knitter is that each issue will be featuring an item for men. I especially like the zippered Nevis men's cardigan they included this time.

Apart from the patterns, the first issue includes an interview with the designer Belinda Boaden, a profile of the bloggers Mason-Dixon, suggestions for books and yarns, readers' letters and gallery, a list of retailers, as well as the chance to win a goody bag and more little things of interest. Another of my favourites is the featured masterclass introducing the Turkish cast-on that was new to me even though I had heard of it before. The instructions are perfectly clear with lots of images to ilustrate the steps.

I'm not too happy with the price of 5.99 Pounds, but given the magazine's good quality I'm afraid it's justified. The first issue has some serious printing errors, including the next issue's date being wrong not just once, but twice so that you don't actually know when it comes out. But these are birth pangs that are minor - though annoying - and will, I hope, have subsided by the next issue. I am hoping there are no errors in the printed patterns, though I won't find out till I try them. And then there is this minor quibble: I'm not convinced the magazine's logo is very suitable since it seems better for a simpler knitting magazine such as Future Publishing's first one (whose logo I am also unhappy about, come to think of it). Unfortunately, it doesn't convey the sophistication of The Knitter and seems a little too carefree. I would have preferred something more elegant.

As I said, I am looking forward to the next issue that has just come out this month. I won't be seeing it till I move to England sometime in the next two months, so I need to be patient. Still, it sounds like it will be worth it: the topic is "Colour and Fair Isle", which should appeal to me even more. I'm particularly curious about the featured Victorian lace wrap, lace socks, and the short-sleeved Fair Isle jumper. Exciting stuff!