Monday, March 26, 2007

Central Park and Apple Meringue

Central Park Hoodie ... the sleeves are blocking ...

... the hood is finished... [not cast off, rather left for grafting later once the ribbing is finished]

... everything I can seam and weave in at this stage has been done ...

...only picking up the stitches along the edge of the right & left fronts and the hood and knitting rib for a few inches to go ...

Can you see my problem? Click and enlarge if not ... oh yes. The picking up stitches knitty skill is sadly lacking here. I've been able to wing it with socks, but clearly winging it is just not going to cut it any longer.

So I must frog *sigh* You have no idea how long it took me to pick up the exact 150 stitches needed. Frog and consult the knitting tomes in my craft room for help in this area cos I suck at it!

I'm not quite ready to frog, and so I have put Central Park Hoodie down and continued with Earnshaw and Xboxing until I can face it.

In the meanwhile - Apple Meringue with ginger and brandy. There was not enough meringue, too much brandy, and I didn't cook the apples quite long enough. But it is utterly delish nevertheless and makes me feel all warm inside - just like my mum's
sherry trifle.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

CPH, Earnshaw and illness

Meagre CPH progress - I'm getting there. I was felled by a cold, during which time I had a migraine. Then I got better from the cold. And had another migraine, then another one *sigh* Most of the time I can be OK with it - I have a strictly controlled diet and daily medication. This means that, although it doesn't rid me of migraines completely, when they do hit me I can usually drag myself through the day with numerous 4head [menthol stick] applications and trips to the bathroom to sit on the toilet with my eyes closed.

I remain mostly positive with thoughts such as; it's not terminal, it's generally predictable in it's length and severity of pain, it would be worse without medication and diet control, at least I'm not taking mountains of sick leave like I once did. And sometimes the magic lolly trick actually works! [holding chunks of ice lolly as far back in your throat as possible to open restricted blood vessels.]

But sometimes [like this week] I fall into; it's not fair!! I'm sick of this! I've had it for years and I get at least 2 a month. I'm so angry that I have to be on constant medication and diet control and I still getting these bloody migraines. I want a [insert expletive here] pizza!!

Of course stressing myself out just makes them worse ... but sometimes I just need to have a tantrum.

So as I was feeling quite low in the past week I started on Earnshaw from the "Simply Noro" pattern book by Jane Ellison. I'm using the 1p a gram yarn from the SECC venture a couple of weeks ago. I knat [and washed and blocked] 2 tension squares - one with 5mm needles, and one with 6mm.

The tension I knit with has a life force of it's own...

The 6mm tension square worked out at 14 sts and the 5mm was 18 sts. Which was lovely and easy, since I need 16 sts. Obviously then I need the needle in the middle which is 5.5mm.

Where it all fell to pants was with the rows. The pattern specifies 21 rows. With 6mm needles I got 23 rows. Less stitches than needed, but more rows. *sigh*

It's all good because the pattern is all 'knit until piece measures x inches' so it doesn't really matter that the row tension is off that much. But I can see that that this confidence is going to bite me in the arse and I'm going to end up with a bloody skirt! So I'm monitoring closely.

This blog seems quite angry - but I'm really not!

I got my first meme from India ; what flavour of knitter are you?

This has truely stumped me! I think I'm going for 'Cherries Jubilee'. A 'Cherry ice cream with cherry halves and a hint of rum flavor'. Cherry because - well all my websites have 'cherry' in them somewhere! It's not your run-of-the-mill fruit, which I feel goes quite well with my yarn choices. I don't go for the cheap and cheerful that's for sure!

At the same time it's quite a 'quiet' flavour with not many frills, which definately matches the kind of pattern I go for. I don't tend to go for frilly bits, or crocheted additions. I'm more of a colour knitter I think.

And the rum, because ... well sometimes I go for a crazy bright yarn that shocks even me!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Central Park Hoodie

I can't believe it's Friday already. I've been trying to blog this since Monday, but Blogger and a cold have combined forces to make sure that it didn't happen until today.

Thanks for comments and emails re; oiled yarn. Sorry I didn't hear you at the SECC Heather - I may have been a little delirious after having bought all that yarn! See this is why I do the SECC alone - I'm utterly unsociable when there are crafty delights all around begging to be purchased.

Cheers Heather - I would love to get any help that anyone can give me on yarn goodies to be had in Tokyo, and also to see steeking 'live'.

I have finally finished the back, 2 sides and 2 sleeves for Central Park Hoodie. Blocking was required in order to seam the shoulders and join front and back pieces for the hood.

Now you all saw that I did a tension square right? It fit perfectly with the specified tension with no effort on my part. And I remained all calm and zen-like whilst knitting it - trying not to knit it with a rushed 'this is a waste of my time' attitude ...

Well - the hoodie is about 4 inches too long and had to be stretched as wide as it would go - in fact the sides were practically transparent they were stretched so wide. So I figured screw it - I'll block the life out of it so that it will go to the diagram size for seaming and then reblock it.

Some gratuitous 'arty' blocking cable shots because my thumbs were so sore from pinning in 8 million pins that I couldn't knit for a bit.

See the diagram above? I blocked the 2 front sides 91/2 inches wide, and then I wondered whether the diagram includes the rib stitches that I'm supposed to pick up around the hood and both sides of the cardie? I had already pinned a gazillion pins at this stage and so was beyond caring whether this no longer fit anything except a pencil. I decided to soldier on.

Picking up stitches for the hood - top pic was perfect. Bottom pic not so much *sigh* you might have to enlarge it to see that it doesn't glide seamlessly into the hood. I took the decision to leave it this way because the hood is going to cover this, and it'll be rare that the hood will be up after the obiglitory blog shot.

Shot of all stitches picked up and hoodie beginning to take shape.

And pretty shot of my kitty lying with his head on the arm of the sofa dozing. It's a bit yellow since I discovered he objects to extreme macro close-ups with the flash on ... and his rapidly closing eyes go red - which isn't cute.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

SECC Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft

I went to the SECC Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft event today - the boy dropped me off at 10am - I was all spent up by 12! From New Lanark World Heritage Site's stall - a penny a gram for this aran wool in utterly sumptious colours! 2211 grams later ... I think it is still oiled but I'm not sure. Do you wash the yarn before or after knitting it?

I got even more excited when I thought of all the lovely Noro jumper patterns that I haven't been able to knit cos I just can't afford to spend £100 on the yarn. At £21 [I got more weight than the skeins said - score!] I can make 2 jumpers out of this! Yay!

'Weren't you supposed to be knitting from your stash?' I hear you ask. Yes, yes - but my excuse is this - I can't go to Woolfest. Also - at £21 for 2211 grams it would have been criminal not to have bought this yarn. Two Noro jumpers would have cost me over £200 pounds in yarn.

On the way home we had to stop at Toys R' Us to get another part for the Xbox controller [I broke it trying to get the batteries out for the camera.] I decided to stay in the car since 2 hours of crazed bargain-hunting hobbyists had taken it's toll and Toys R' Us is generally not a relaxing shopping experience.

Spotted in the car, all my yarn spread over my lap, sniffing one skein deeply trying to work out whether it was oil, or sheep that I could smell. This was Ibrox Toys R' Us you understand ... perhaps not the best place to let one's guard down and indulge in knittery habits.

Swift and ballwinder hard at work - my swift has developed a squeak though. A bit of Olive Oil helped a bit, but only if I can keep up a certain speed - tired arms but determined to finish.

Ta-daa! Lovely colours - the one next to the sunset yellow is a very dark brown - I think they look fantastically retro together.

In Borders at the weekend to get some more survival guides for Tokyo - the restaurants one in particular is fantastic for someone with food issues - the language course really helps, so that pronunciation will be no problem. Well... I guess I should wait until we're back to gauge that. The trip has been booked on Expedia. Very scary to spend that amount of cash and get nought but an email for all our months of saving.

Central Park hoodie continues. The second sleeve is almost at the cap shaping - since I already posted the last sleeve at this stage I'm not going to bother this time. And that's me - except I have Monday off so I expect I'll be knitting and gaming for most of the day.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Brief Blogging Hiatus...

It feels like quite a while since I blogged, although it has only been a week. I am usually always thinking of the content of my next blog post and for the past week I haven't really. Our knitting group went through a bit of a difficult time, and for a while there it looked as if it may be no more. Thankfully we have pulled together, become much stronger and I have nothing but optimism and happiness when I think of my knitty group now.

The positive side of this difficult time has been the realisation of just how important the group is to me, and just how many friendships have been forged.

I also realised the importance of not just reacting and rather taking the time to allow my emotions to process. So it seems that all's well that ends well. I read a couple of rather good comments on the Yarn Harlot's blog that I'm now applying in my life;

"It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end"
"If you're going through hell keep going"

And so, onto some knitty content - after a week of knitting my 'mindless' scarf in stocking stitch [I was too upset to follow a pattern] I am now back to Central Park Hoodie. This is the first sleeve with about an inch until the shaping begins. Nought much else to say really - a lovely pattern.

Although it did get me to thinking about where I have picked up the skills I have learned so far. So many people have lent me their time, patience and skills - and so thank you! [and forgive me if I have omitted anyone!];

Knitting itself; my granny
Cabling; my mum
Mattress stitch; my granny
Knitting in the round; myself!
Turning a heel; Lilith
Picking up stitches through knitted fabric; Kathleen
Setting a sleeve; Joyce [a work colleague]
Picking up a hood; myself
Lace knitting; myself
Spinning [drop Spindle]; India
Dyeing yarn; Craftster
Blocking a blanket; The Yarn Harlot

And then thinking about the skills I want to learn;

Steeking *gulp*, other forms of cast on, more difficult lacework, natural dyeing, spinning with a wheel, setting a zip in knitted items, setting a zip at all!, felting, sewing in a lining to a knitted bag/pouch ... that's all I can think of for now.

I finally received my Rowan magazine [still no sign of the gift] exactly one month after I ordered it. So far the patterns below have taken my fancy - although they are knitted in Kidsilk Haze which I don't fancy. Anyone know of a good substitute? If only they made Kid Classic thinner...

Actually the magazine arrived in good time, as the boy and I are pricing Japan in August. The result is that I am pretty much going to have to knit from my stash until August. [!]

Woolfest is off *gasp* *sob* until next year. We have found a lovely [expensive] hotel right in the centre of fun Tokyo, and I have my heart set on it. As difficult as the choice was, I have decided that I would rather have a very lean few months followed by hugely indulgent holiday.

I'm now researching yarn and crafty places in Tokyo - if anyone reading knows of any pur-lease let me know! Did you know that they don't have crafty/yarn shops, rather 7 floor department stores dedicated to craft - my God! I may just swoon to the floor! Whoop whoop!

So for now, domo arigato* for reading - I'm off into the [brief] sunshine!
*thank you