Monday, January 29, 2007

The green frog question

In case you're wondering about Central Park Hoodie - here is the left front [back & right front done]. 4 inches of rib equals 30 rows. So I finally got to the stage where I could begin the cabling when I realised that I should have started with k2, not purl 2... The dilemma begins. To knit an extra row and say screw it? Or to frog it and begin again as I simply have to have all my rows the same to make seaming easier?

Throw into the dilemma that I have been gaining weight of late, and am now thinking of going up a size, and also making this longer so that my bum isn't on show everytime I sit down. There's nothing like 2 inches of bare love handles hanging out going numb in the aircon to make me feel depressed and self-concious. *sigh*

I want this to be a hoodie I love, not one that makes me feel fat.

This of course means I have to see if the yarn shop has another skein as then I would be one short. So I'm putting this down and glaring at it periodically whilst eating more chocolate to make myself feel better.

More green rib - another Noro hat - this time in Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud [2 strands together] - to pass time while I decide what to do about Central Park Hoodie. Upon reading a copy of Dominitrix at yesterday's Stitch n' Bitch meet, I discovered that alpaca is not a very elastic fibre, and so is probably not really suited to a hat ... *double sigh*

And so I pick up a WIP last seen here. One sock down, one to go. Clearly the knitting gods are directing in the path of the many many unfinished WIPs ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Noro Hat - 2nd FO of 2007

Finally I am well enough to knit! A flooding washing machine led to an afternoon off work knitting another Noro hat - this one for my sister with the remnants left from the Christmas scarf I gave her.

I doubt that there are many customers who respond as positively as a knitter on finding out the plumber will visit between 1pm and 6pm. Suddenly a flooding kitchen disaster has the positive side effect of an afternoon off work to knit!

Pattern from Simply Noro using Noro Silk Garden colour #8.

I have made this hat loads of times, and always vow to knit it in the round the next time, but actually I am always so amazed by the magic of mattress stitch that I actually enjoy seaming, and I prefer knitting flat to knitting on dpns if the needle size is quite large.

Speaking to my sister last night - she is still knitting! whoop! She taught herself how to cast on and knit using a magazine with no knitters around to help. Knitting is clearly in her dna.

The beginner's knitting magazine [monthly] she is using introduces a new stitch with each issue and yarn to make a square - then all the squares eventually get seamed together to make a blanket.

As she is a newbie knitter I don't want to scare her but I suggested not casting off the square and just adding the new ball so that she makes stripes - less seaming! She thought this was quite clever. She hasn't encountered seaming yet, and I fear that it will cause her bolt!

Mentioning a kniting group that she could join however ... a step too far! Stitch n' Bitch are still a step into 'geekdom' for her yet. But soon ...

And so ... onwards to the Central Park Hoodie. Left front ribbing is nearly done.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


No knitty content as I'm so ill I haven't knat a stitch all weekend. I did however go and stand in the Asda carpark to witness the demolition of the towerblock used by Sony to advertise their Bravia HD TV. Check out the picture I took above - I'm so pleased with it!

The camera has a continuous setting, and will take 16 shots one after the other - I can't believe my luck that standing to down all fitted into one continuous pic - if it had ended too soon I would have lost bits.

Click it to get an enlarged version.

*please note that this image is copyright
If you would like to use this image for any purpose please
email me.*

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Above - some beautiful armwarmers that I won by coming 2nd in the 'Guess the Yarn' competition at my Stitch n' Bitch meet - we have a month of competitions, quizzes fun and festivities because we have been going for 2 years and have just surpassed the 100th meeting!

These lovely soft armwarmers were knitted by the organiser, Karen - whom I want to say a big public thank you! Both for my prize and also, more importantly, for taking the time out to organise this group that has made such a massive, positive improvement to my life and from which I've made oodles of new knitty pals!

Progress on a hat for my sister, to go with the scarf I made her for Christmas. It's from the Simply Noro pattern book, by Jane Ellison, and only uses 1 ball.

I've made loads of these hats, here [Noro Aurora], here [Noro Silk Garden and Rowan Kid Classic], and another for my sister last Christmas - which she loves!

And progress on Central Park Hoodie from Fall 2006 KnitScene - knitted in Cascade 220.

It's going well, and is a fairly easy knit. I'm preparing for Rogue - some of the girls from the Glasgow Stitch 'n Bitch are planning to have a knit-a-long this year.

I have to say the narrow-ness of the front side panels are un-nerving me a bit - I'm hoping that it will widen out with the horizontal ribbing that gets added at the end. Nonetheless I am trying to eat less so that I can fit into it better should it be snug.

The top of the left front foxed me a bit - 10 stitches are put on a stitch holder till later and the panel continues up a bit until the shoulder shaping. Methinks this will leave big hole to be seamed once hood is added? I've tried to read the pattern but I can't visualise how this is going to work - knitting blind for now and trusting the designer.

It must be the New Year or something, but I have gone into an organisational frenzy, akin to Monica from Friends. I have sorted my side bar and updated/removed links.

I bought some big re-sealable bags in varying sizes from eBay which arrived on Monday. They are clear so that I can see my yarn - just got to buy labels. Also when you press down on the full bag the air gets forced out and a vacuum is created - so that I can get more out of my yarn storage space.

I have to say, looking at it all spread out over the living room at midnight [as I say, a frenzy!] I confess to feel a rise of panic. How did this happen? How have I bought so much? There is yarn there that I was so desperate to get I paid extra for speedy shipping, and subsequently let it lay dormant in my stash for months. "Why don't you say something?" I said to the boy, "It's quite clear I have a problem." His response was a very tired, resigned "What would be the point?"

In a bid to utilise stash I completely forgot existed I suddenly had a genius idea - see here. A work in progress, this is the librarian in me shining through. A cross-referencing cataloguing system of patterns in the queue and stash - organised by yarn weight [and soon garment type].

I've been so excited about this - A few months ago I had this idea of cataloguing pattern versus stash but an effective method eluded me. This is perfect!

I'm not saying that from now on I resolve to knit entirely from my stash or anything - I do admit that I have no willpower whatsoever when it comes to purchasing yarn - but at the very least, if the ideal yarn is already in my stash it would be good to use it. Less destructive on the bank account.

Organisation and cataloguing rock! Sometimes my job has it's uses.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Under the Hoodie

Ta-da!! I'm finished!

Pattern: 'Under the Hoodie' from Stitch n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook - a drop sleeve stocking stitch hoodie.
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic [very very deliciously cosy!] in Cherry Red, Crushed Velvet, and a discontinued sandy yellow colour [I forget the name] - Aran weight.
Size: Small
Leftovers: Nearly 2 full balls of the main red, nearly a full ball of the yellow, and absolutely nothing of the bright red - I even pulled out my gauge square and used that!

If I made it again: I would do upto the armhole shaping in the round, so that the stripe changes would be easier - lining them up when seaming in quite difficult - esp. when the narrow stripe is only 3 rows.

I would possible make the sleeves in the round too, although I'm not sure if that would make sewing them into the body harder.

Pick up the stitches for the pocket with a bamboo needle if you are using metals [see below]

Changes I made: For the first sleeve I sewed it in as instructed. For the second I spread the front and back [joined at the shoulder, side seams not yet done] flat and measured the 8 inches from the shoulder on both front and back. I then pinned the sleeves and seamed them flat with mattress stitch, which was easier to keep it neat.

I couldn't however find any instructions on how to do mattress stitch using fabric needing to be seamed on the horizontal and vertical [does that make sense?] I could find loads on joining 2 pieces of vertical fabric, so after trial and error the method that worked for me was:

Vertical fabric - needle under 2 bars of the purl 'v's
Horizontal fabric - needle under 1 or one and half purl 'v's alternately [or under 2 and 3 strands of yarn]

That is extremely hard to describe, and I'm still not sure I can find a better way - a writer I am not!

The other change I made was to keep the shoulder stitches live on stitch holders and use a 3-needle bind off for a neater finish. I'm very proud of myself as, although this isn't a new technique, I did because it suddenly occured to me, rather than having read it - so for me it's my own idea!

Skills learnt: Picking up stitches for the pocket [above] These are picked up through the fabric from below - hooked up with the needle and made into a stitch. Rather than picking up a stitch from the fabric and knitting with that - I think the reason is for pocket strength. If I haven't explained it clearly, well neither did the pattern.

The Stitch n' Bitchers and I had some difficulty figuring this out, [KedKrafty helped me to get there] and caused much expletives and furrowed brow to understand the process - and also to prevent the hard fought for stitches from slipping off my Addis [which suddenly seemed like the slippiest needles on the planet!]

Another skill I learnt [below] was the very classy neck to hood shaping - starting from just after the stripe the fabric for the hood crosses over for a lovely effect - but again the pattern confused me into believing I should be picking up stitches along the neck line rather than alonf the row [horizontal] - got there in the end though.

All in all a lovely knit - I will make this again in another yarn I'm sure - it's a good starter jumper.

Mine is a little tight because [yet again] the gauge square and the knitting bare no resemblence to each other. However, having knitted with Kid Classic before [here] I know that this will stretch out into a big comfy hoodie eventually - it is currently blocking to within an inch of it's life - with the aid of about 300 pins.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blogging Fever

I have blogging fever ... it's official! After my long festive blog-break I'm back and just can't stop wittering on. Well today it's about my knitting, all mine. I'm knitting for me, me, me and loving it! Under the Hoodie has grown and is now in the seaming stages. I meant to take more photos along the way but was lost in the moment. If you get lost in the moment during the seaming stages then it must be grabbed, as these are surely the most dull parts of knitting.

Well maybe not seaming - which I actually enjoy since my granny showed me how to do the 'magic hidden seam' [or mattress stitch as it is more commonly known] which never fails to amaze me, as my seams just disappear into the fabric - gone! Nothing!

Weaving in ends though - that makes me want to cry. I have to do them slowly. Weave in 2 ends, then a couple of rows of Central Park Hoodie alternately.

Below is the arm sewn in - I still have to seam the arm and side - the pattern said I had to sew in the seams first - and as a total jumper beginner I obeyed to the letter.

Not with the shoulder join though [below] - I kept these stitches live on stitch holders and did a 3 needle cast off for this lovely look - right sides together by the way if you attempt this. Swollen with pride at my own cleverness so early on in my jumper knitting career [only 2 badly mis-shapen jumpers precede this one] I failed to think it through slowly, and did it the wrong way round at first.

And the hood - also a 3-needle cast off - very pretty and just like a pixie! I am swollen with cold and look like crap so modelling shots will have to wait for now. Any day now for the first FO of 2007 - whoop!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Elaine needs to spend time undergoing complex treatment

I found this on a blog and it made me crack up;
Type into Google "name needs" [insert your name] and what are the first 5 entries that come up?

1. Elaine needs to "get yourself to a Dr. ...
2. Elaine needs an e ...
3. Elaine needs to spend time undergoing complex treatment
4. Elaine needs your vote to ...
5. Elaine needs to transfer logins in SQL Server from one server to another. ...

And a totally hilarious website that the boy found called The Museum of Kitschy Stitches: A Gallery of Notorious Knits by Stitchy McYarnpants - just look at the poor boy above.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The final festive post

A couple of shots from the journey up North to see my folks - the top one is lying fog in Pitlochry, and the bottom is the mountains on the way.

Raspberry brownies for our Christmas day dessert - made by adapting the walnut brownies recipe from Cupcakes Galore. [Just replacing all mention of walnuts with equal amounts on raspberries!]

Served with raspberry and cream mash, raspberries, cream drizzle and a snowflake shaped icing sugar stencil [stencils bought from Lakeland] mmmm... delicious!
So tasty in fact that the boy never even noticed that there was a snowflake on his cupcake...

And on a knitty subject - I've got a callus ... from knitting [I very kindly didn't include a picture]! I'm a hardcore knitter now! On my pinky finger - at first I thought I was a wart or something, and never having had anything like that, I freaked. The boy alerted to me to what it actually was. All the [lucky] knitters at my Stitch n' Bitch will get to see it :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Secret Christmas Projects No. 2

This is the 2nd pre-Christmas project - a Noro Silk Garden [colour number 8] scarf for my sister - knitted in a 4x4 rib with a cable running up one side [crossed every 10 rows]. The cable was for me really, to avoid the tedium of a scarf in rib - but it looks quite good once the scarf is blocked wide and it's more visible.

The pic above is the scarf drying the night before the journey up North ... I tried blocking it between towels on the bed, but it just wasn't drying quick enough. Lilith suggested putting it over a drying rack and aiming a fan below - the blocking went a bit pear-shaped here, with little pointy bits where the clips held it to the dryer, but at this point all I cared about was that it was dry enough to wrap...

She loved it - and asked for gloves too. Not a knitter - my sister sent me the most exciting text the other day - she has taken up knitting, and was 4 rows in!! It's the delicate stage where I want to rush at her with cashmere and bamboo needles, and all the beautiful knitty things out there to keep her interest peaked. The beginning stages of learning to knit are a fragile time I think - getting the hang of it leads to tense shoulders, stiff hands and fingers, and frowning foreheads. She just has to persevere through this to the point where knitting becomes a lovely calming experience that can be done whilst travelling, watching TV, meeting knitty friends etc.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Secret Christmas Projects No. 1

Finally I get to share the 2 pre-Christmas projects I was working on! This one was for my mum. Knitted out of Posh Yarn's Henrietta [which doesn't seem to be available any longer] - if my memory hasn't failed I believe it was a Cashmere, Angora, Merino blend. It was a DK weight and utterly utterly sumptious!

After all my substituting research for some reason I completely failed to even check the yardage of the pattern ['A Scarf of Your Very Own - Bright Yellow' pattern by Ann Budd, from Interweave Knits '11 Favourite Scarves' supplement from the Autumn or Winter? 2006 magazine ] and managed to buy double what I needed. The scarf was finished with 150g - but all ended well as my mum loved the scarf and fancied making herself some gloves to match - so I have sent her the remaining 150g.

The pattern was a dream to knit with - although it was my first chart, and there was definately something awry with the even numbered rows of the charts. They didn't seem run from left to right, nor right to left, but rather an inconsistent combination of the two! Fortunately is was fairly easy to see what it should be, and I rarely needed the chart for the even rows.

I'm not sure if my rather poor photographs truely illustrate the cool-ness of this pattern - I have to say that they were rushed photos before we left for the journey up North at 8 am - the sun hadn't risen yet. I finished this scarf somewhere near Perth in the car, and wrapped it once I got to my folks.

I get this inability to plan appropriately for deadlines from my mum - so I knew she'd understand! Especially as it wasn't washed nor blocked - this was kind of good in a way, as the pattern un-blocked takes on a real 3D Escher-like quality that I wanted to show her anyway.