Saturday, May 17, 2008

*Dusts off*

So, somehow it has become mid-2008. I have no idea how that happened. Time is so sneaky.

Anyway, I am going to try to resurect this blog, as I've been knitting more recently after a vague hiatus where I did very little. After finishing the giant fish blanket (see here) I got into a weird state of not being able to commit to projects. I did odd things, none of which are particularly memorable. I started another big blanket project with the aim of giving it to my sister for when she started university back in September, but it was so hard to keep going just doing giant plain stockingette squares, and so lies languishing in a bag under my bed.

So I dithered for a bit. I made a couple of odd socks.

Today however I finished a second sock. I have TWO, and they match and everything! This is progress for me. Unfortunately I have mislaid my camera lead and so cannot upload photographic evidence of this moment, but seriously: there are two and they are the same size and colour.

I am spending a somewhat dorky evening alonesome because my boyfriend is cramming for upcoming finals and my flatmate is off doing exciting things. So I started another sock. Again, no photographic evidence, but a link: Stranded Socks. Mine will be in a pink colourway.

It occurs to me that I do actually have photographs of previously unseen projects, so can break up the text a little.

Now, I have to prefix this by saying that I normally hate animals in clothing. I did not knit my cat a jumper because I've always wanted to see a cat in a jumper. My cat, Sheeba, had a thyroid problem which meant that she always felt cold. Because of this she would always sit right next to radiators and we'd worry she would burn herself. So I made up a pattern for a cat jumper. I knit a couple of them, most of which were larger than this first one, but I think this was the only one we photographed.

She doesn't look too impressed in this picture, but she did wear them and it did seem to help. Sadly Sheeba died over Easter, but she was 17 and had a very good run.

On that note I think I shall leave it, but I shall hopefully be back with photos and knitting soon enough. In the meantime, I am hailebop on ravelry if anyone wants to add me.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not knitting related

I have been knitting a lot recently, but I have no new photos because my camera isn't behaving to well and there isn't anything that interesting.

Instead we have pictures of my new hair!

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It's much much shorter than I am used to having it, but I really like it.

Knitting wise, I have been doing a lot of shopping. I have brought 15 skeins in the last week and a half. 2 skeins of gorgeous Rowan 4ply soft, which I intended to knit Hedera with, although there are also some lace sock patterns in Socks Socks Socks - we'll see how it goes. I also brought some angora to test out, because I have actually fallen for a sweater pattern (actually, it's a cardigan - the point is, it's a garment, it requires more han 5 balls of yarn and seaming - I never thought I'd see the day when I'd even consider making such a thing) and a kilogram of wool/acrylic yarn that I brought solely because it was on sale, but I will make a fun blanket out of. Finally, I got a second skein of marble yarn so I have enough to knit a long scarf. I love this yarn. It's cheap and it's acylic, but it's soft and has beautiful, slow changing colours. I want to make another multi-directional scarf out of the berries colourway (see link), but I feel bad having the same scarf twice, although obviously the Noro Aurora would be very different in both look and feel to the marble.

I finished my Aurora multi-directional scarf, but messed up the final decrease section because I was rushing and watching Spooks on TV. It shouldn't be too hard to unravelling and fix, but urgh, hate frogging, so I will sulk at it for a while first.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

All that sparkles...

Seems I am not that good at blogging.

I have been very busy, but I have also got some knitting done. Some of which I even managed to photograph today!

Firstly, today I started a multi-directional scarf in Noro Aurora.

It's sparkly. Despite this, I really really like it. The yarn is sort of a pain to knit with though - very stiff and unyielding and I've found a problem where the middle of the skein just isn't as nice and colourful as the oustide bits.

You can see in the first picture that my third triangle is pretty grey and dull. The problem is the rest of the skein looks the same. It has some nice dark purple, but none of the other colours appear to be there - it's just shades of grey and purple. See:

I've actually knit another triangle since I took this photo a few hours ago, and the purple looks good, but looking at the rest of the skein, I'm thinking I might switch now to avoid a great grey chunk in the middle of the scarf. I have three balls of Aurora, but all different shades. I was always planning to use them all as I think they'll blend pretty well and I'll get greater variation, but it's annoying having to switch mid-skein and have more ends to deal with. I am bad, historically, at dealing with ends.

2 examples of things that have been sitting on my desk for quite literally weeks that are all but finished apart from a few ends to weave in. We're not talkign sweater or fair-isle quantities of ends, either. These are scarves. I'm just lazy about anything involving anything that looks like a sewing needle.

Ugly coloured brioche-stitch scarf that I only weaved in the (2) ends for so I could take this photo. Has been sitting on my desk for weeks:

My finally finished So-Called Scarf met a similar fate. This one has more ends because there was a messy bit in the yarn, but it's hardly an epic project. I still haven't dealt with it - you can see the ends in the picture.

I don't like this as much off the needles as I did on. For one, I made it too long. Secondly, there are odd variations in the yarn, where bits of it are lighter than others. I'll wear it, but I don't think I'll live in it.

Finally (or at least, finally of things I photographed, not finally of things I've knit since I last updated), we have a Leisel Scarf, which I am liking.

If it turns out well it's going to my grandmother for Christmas. Otherwise I shall keep it. I have higher standards for other people than I do myself, though I also seem to have a much higher rate of disasters when I knit for other people.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More than a swatch...

Remember how not two weeks ago I promised myself I would start and finish my second slipper sock before I started another pair?

I was just looking for patterns. Just... browsing. Harmless, right?

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Then it was just a swatch. I mean, look at it, it's so tiny! Hardly took any time at all! It doesn't count.

It is never just a swatch. The swatch was yesterday, and look where I am now:

I'm already half way through the gusset.


Friday, October 06, 2006

First finished stocking

I finished my first Christmas stocking a few days ago, but it's taken me a while to actually sew it together. This time I actually read the instructions for matress stitch rather than just whinging it, which is always a bad move with sewing.

I'm really pleased with how it came out:

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This was my first real fair-isle project, and I think it came out really well.

I designed the patterns myself on Excel, although the red swirl pattern did take inspiration from a pattern in the fair-isle sampler in Knitting for Dummies. I think the snowflake pattern is my favourite.

1 down, 3 to go!

(Yes, this is one more than I originally said - but then I thought about it for a bit and realised I couldn't knit my housemates stockings and not have one for myself. So, three to go!)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Christmas stockings

Today I officially started my Christmas knitting.

A while ago I made some minature christmas stockings in the Jean Greenhowe Christmas Special. They are supposed to be tree deocrations, but I thought I could put little chocolates or similar in them and it would be cute as little gifts.

To cut on the waffle, I then volunteered to knit my housemates Christmas stockings. We made quite a big deal of Christmas last year, having a big turkey dinner - which is more effort than normal when you live in pokey student accomodation and don't have a dining table. Doing Christmas with friends was great though, and having stockings should add to the fun.

So I have been asking what people want, colour wise. Pete (in fact, I have two housemates called Pete - so, Tall Pete) said he wanted blue and white checks. I have only ever made fair isle swatches, but the getting so long it's a scarf for a stuffed toy fair-isle swatch was getting a lot better, so I thought I could incoporate fair-isle into the basic stocking design.

So I first had a practice run with a mini stocking, which I think turned out really well.

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In fact, I think this is so very cool that I think the plain striped stocking looks very dull in comparison.

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So I think I will have to do them all with fair-isle bits or one will look much fancier than the others. The thing is, I am still very much a beginner at this and the mini-stocking took me ages.

So I started on one of the big stockings, because all my housemates are out for the night and I thought I'd take advantage of being able to knit in front of the TV without spoiling the suprise.

Anyway, I have now finished the plain section of one stocking and knitting in plain stockingette something that size was BORING AS HELL. I am actually looking forward to the complicated fair-isle bit, even if something that big is intimidating. Progress so far:

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My swatch for the stocking:

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I haven't actually settled on a design, but I am going to use the variagted yarn shown on sections of green and red. Hopefully it will look good - I'm really happy with the swatch, but I'm not that good at arranging colours.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sock yarn

My friend Sarah has asked me to teach her to knit. I was happy to lend her needles and let her have the run of my stash of acrylic, but she wanted to get things of her own, which I can totally understand. I remember first going into a yarn shop when I was a new knitter, and being all excited. I brought three skeins, one of which I played around with and finished, the other of which was such horrid scratchy acrylic that even I haven't been able to find a use for it, and the third of which is strange boucle stuff which I have no idea why I ever picked up - still as yet untouched and living at the bottom of my stash.

So we went to a yarn shop, the Sew Inn, which was fun. I wasn't supposed to buy anything as I already have a 50 litre box full of yarn and am a poor student with many more sensible things to spend money on, but this shop just sold so many things I wanted.

I spent a long time cooing over how soft the cashmere and alpaca stuff was, but eventually settled on some sock yarn, because it seems to be exceptionally difficult to find in this country, and I would really like to knit a proper pair of socks, rather the huge ones you get from knitting with DK.

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It will be interesting to see how they work up as socks. I am never sure how variagated yarns will turn out, but I think it should be a fun project - although I am officially promising myself that I will knit my second happy coloured slipper sock (see this post) before embarking on these socks, however tempting.
Fish blanket

I have been working on this project for about half the time I've been knitting, and it's finally near completion.

The fish blanket is like a granny-square blanket, but with tesalating fish instead of squares.

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I did not go about this project in a sensible way. I found the pattern here and immediately thought it was a cute idea and thought I'd try knitting a fish to see how they came out, and did so on the first pair of needles that came to hand. After one fish I thought I'd knit another to see how well they actually tessellated. I think I knit four or five before deciding they were really cool and this was a project I really wanted to do. But by then I had four or five fish already knit on 5.5mm needles which I didn't want to waste, so continued doing this, without stopping to think that the end result was more open than I would like for a blanket.

I also had no grand plan. I had an idea it would be like a colour wheel, with the colours slowly blending into each other, but no real idea which colours were going to go where and what would blend into what, or how many fish wide or long it was going to be. It was fun laying all the pieces out and working out where they should go, but it wasn't the sensible way.

Googling the pattern suggests that a lot of people knitted this a few years ago (check out here, here and here, which I think is my favourite) and it was a great stash-busting exercise. For me it was the opposite. I started using my odds and ends, but as a relatively new knitter I quickly needed and wanted more. I had far too much fun on ebay buying lots of what were essentially other people's scraps, a huge amount of which I still have left.

As a result, most of the blanket is good old cheapy 100% acrylic, but there are odd bits of different stuff - there are a few cotton fish (which ended up a visibly different shape from the acrylic, and had to be yanked a bit to tessellate), at least one mohair (I knitted another but decided that I hate mohair a lot), a few that I think are blends but cannot be sure, and at least one that I'm sure was made of string.

The whole thing is 12 fish by 16 fish, meaning it will be finished when I have reached 196 fish. I haven't measured it properly, but it's roughly the size of my double bed, which makes it an absolute nightmare to photograph. It's size has meant the project went on the back burner for a bit because there is just nowhere in my student house where it can easily be laid out and sewn together.

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This shows the missing fish, and the ones that have been knit but haven't yet been sewn in. I have 10 to go. 10!

I've been working on it since July, and I still can't imagine it actually being finished, and yet I'm nearly there.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My so-called scarf, happy coloured socks

I used to be good at project monogamy. I knitted scarves and hats that took relatively little time and waited until I had finished one project before I thought about the next. With the acquiring of new skills, more knitting needles and a greater sense of adventure though, I started on multiple things at the same time. It started off being just a swatch whilst I was mid another project. My problem is that swatches quickly become scarves.

I have one such project on the needles at the moment. It was supposed to just be a swatch. I chose the yarn because it was a colour I didn't particularly like or visualise using in a future project. But as the swatch grew, I decided I really liked the stitch, and decided to just keep on knitting until it was scarf-length. Now I have half an acrylic brioche-stitch salmon scarf and I'm still not convinced by the colour. I was going to post a picture of it, but my camera refused to take a clear picture of it.

Instead we have pictures of other works in progress. NB. This is far from an exhaustive list of WIPs.

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My so-called scarf, from here.

I really like this pattern, but it’s been on the needles for ages because I keep being distracted by other things. I am having strange issues with pooling – everything was going well and then the colours started to align into vertical stripes.

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Happy coloured slipper sock, based on this pattern. The colours in this photo are really bad, but you get the idea: it’s a brightly coloured striped sock. I still need to weave in the ends, which I hate doing, and make the other one.

More coming soon

This is a test post. I know test posts are annoying, but I just tried to view my empty blog and it apparently cannot be found on the server. I am inept with technology and don't want to type out something long and picture filled only for posting to fail and me to loose it.

So, test.