Friday, September 25, 2009

Time just keeps slippin', slippin' ...

Poor blog, how I've neglected you. My only real excuse is that I've been knitting, rather than writing about knitting. And organizing a school reunion (quite why I and another classmate who also lives in the States are organising a reunion in London of a school we attended in Hertfordshire is the subject for a long, preferably drunken, rant at another time).

The big news is that the Path of Flowers stole in done and I love it! I take back everything bad I said about Rowan Cracksilk Kidsilk Haze. It's wonderful to the touch, incredibly warm and still very lightweight. When I next see some at anything like a sensible price I will buy it, mortgage and stash storage space availability be damned.

This was my first time using lace blocking rods and they are worth every penny (thank you Knit Picks). It took ages to thread them through the edges, but they gave a beautifully straight and clean edge to the piece, and let it block out enough to see the pattern detail easily.

I've also been having fun using up left-over yarn (mostly Manos del Uruguay) trying my hand at Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket. It was thrilling to make - so different in construction than any other sweater I've done - that I was quite giddy at times. Also confused, because it looked like this for a while.

Not many rows, a little stitching and some crochet edging later it looked like this.

The buttons have Chinese/Japanese-looking ideograms on them, that I can only hope are meaningless, or at least not obscene, especially since I just sent it to a friend in Japan, for his first child to wear.

I contemplated making an adult-sized Surprise Jacket, but every single one I looked at on Ravelry was shapeless in a way that would do me no favours at all. I have quite enough garments that don't suit me (I am trying to get rid of them, but some are so comfortable I can't quite bring myself to sling them).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Been away so long ...

So much knitting, working, living, that no blogging has happened for a while.

The Lizard Ridge blanket is gorgeous. I finally used 20 skeins of Noro Kureyon, mattress stitched the five resulting strips together and edged in very plain crochet using Cascade 220. A rinse in the washing machine on Delicate and it was ready to pin out on the spare bed.

The cat hopped up on to the damp wool before I had even finished blocking, tried to claw it and then settled down for a good, fur-bearing scratch. He had to be escorted from the room and the door closed over night while the blanket dried.

However, despite the feline terrorist's best efforts, the result of all those short rows is very pleasing and now draped over the back of the navy blue sofa in the front room.

Also finished the Starsky, despite using the wrong yarn for the project. The stuff I used (Bernat Bamboo in shade Linen) doesn't have much stitch definition and is currently shedding like a Golden Retriever in hot weather.

However, it's a pretty nice pattern and I've worn it quite a bit already. The yarn's texture has helped cover up the mistakes too, so much so that even my A-Type knitting personality was able to chill the hell out relax and refrain from frogging.

The self-patterning socks are ... finished. They do not excite me, but completion's always good. I have named them Very Vanilla Socks, since that's what they are - cuff-down, knit only, no shaping. Yawn.

The Path of Flowers stole may be the death of me. That Rowan Kidsilk Haze is undoubtedly lovely stuff to touch and to look at, and when it behaves it's good to work with. However the tiny, teeny little stringy bit in the middle gets lost in the fuzz around it, which clings to itself and disguises the fact that a stitch was dropped many, many rows back. Once such dropped stitch turned up below two, count 'em, two, lifelines. And that sucker's going to be BIG - here it is at about the half-way mark.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So many projects ...

Well, I'm down to only three projects at the moment, but there are so many others pressing to be started that it is taking a supreme effort to keep to the three.

Lizard Ridge Version 1.5 continues to be totally gorgeous. The first strip used four skeins and is now on a stitch holder, having been blocked. The second strip is nearing the same length. This, of course, is just my way of prevaricating about exactly what shape to make the blanket. It's not intended to go on a bed, so should it be oblong or square? I envisage using it to cuddle up on a sofa, or lying on a steamer chair some cool summer evening.

I am in severe danger of becoming a Noro Ho. One of the projects currently clamouring to be started is the Noro Silk Garden scarf that's been all over ravelry recently. I'm not sure whether it was the Yarn Harlot's version or Brooklyn Tweed's that finally tipped me over the edge, but last weekend I shelled out full price for the requisite four skeins of Noro Silk Garden and am now itching to start. There's also the Rowan Kidsilk Haze calling to be made into a Path of Flowers Stole.

In an attempt to marry stash to ravelry queue I started the Starsky cardigan in Bernat Bamboo, shade Linen, but got half way through the back before realizing the stash amount wouldn't be enough. Some weeks later I got another seven skeins (not in the same dye lot, but I'm kidding myself hopeful that I can use the smaller lot for the collar and cuffs, possibly even the whole sleeves.

For a travelling project I have some self-patterning socks. The yarn came from Franklin's in Colchester and was accompanied by a multi-size pattern which seemed simple. Having cast on the requisite number of stitches for my shoe size (the original pattern is in German but it gives the sizes for UK and US shoe sizes in metric) I cheerfully knitted the cuff, ankle and heel (which took a few attempts, but looked fine in the end) and started to reduce stitches back to the original amount cast on, as directed. It did not look right. So not right I didn't even take a photo.

On looking at the pattern again it seemed I had never had the right amount of stitches to begin with. After a rather restless night I finally grasped the nettle and frogged that sucker right back (sob!). Fortunately for what remains of my sanity I worked out that the original number of stitches cast on was perfectly correct for US size 7/8 feet, but only in Toddler sizing. For adults rather more stitches were advisable.

It's nice yarn and I'm back on track, so I shall continue. I just need to finish Lizard Ridge (eight out of 24 skeins used thus far) or Starsky so I can start something else big.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finishing projects

Somehow I recently ended up with two scarves (same pattern, different yarns), two hats (different patterns and yarns) and a pair of socks all on the needles concurrently. There were sound reasons why, but that's still a lot of unfinished knitting to have lying around.

The first Palindrome scarf (so named because it looks the same whichever side you're looking at) was in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky left over from the Big Bloke Sweater. I thought that the four left-over skeins would be plenty but it looked too short and had to be put on hold while I tracked down the fifth and final skein (thank you Julie H., whose ravelry stash I raided). Meanwhile I'd started another one in a slightly lighter-weight yarn, since it's such a good TV project (simple enough not to need looking at most of the time but interesting enough to keep one's attention).

One of the hats was a Koolhaas in a yarn I'd bought only one skein of, despite having made it umpteen times before and knowing full well it requires two. Having bought the lovely baby wool while in the UK I ran out and ended up having to get the necessary second one sent to me in America, as it appears not to be sold this side of the Atlantic. Since this is such nice wool and I have made a lot of Koolhaas Hats, maybe I'll actually keep this one for myself. (I made one during my UK visit, which was acquired by my 16-year old French nephew, started a second which I couldn't finish due to the lack of the crucial second skein, and then set off on a third, which was quickly finished and will be winging its way back to the UK for my mother-in-law whenever I can get my act together enough to write a note, address an appropriately-sized padded envelope and go to the post office.)

Shedir 2.1The other hat was my second Shedir, using the second skein of Rowan Calmer. Since the first one took slightly more than one skein I made the second had smaller and guess what? It won't fit on my melon of a head. I looks more like a yarmulke than a fully-fledged hat. Know anyone with a tiny cranium? Since I love the crown of this pattern so much I will probably end up buying one more skein of the yarn (where have I heard that before?) and making the third one for my own use. In which case, maybe I should get a different colour ... This is how I end up with many small hanks of wool left over.

Rainbow Socks 1The socks were a pattern I'd been longing to do, only to find the whole short row thing really annoying on five 2mm needles. I also made a mistake at an early stage of the first sock but couldn't be arsed to change it. The idea of breaking up the stripes of self-striping sock yarn and turning it into blocks of colour was a good one, but the process wasn't enough fun for the result. I forced myself to make the second sock and now they'll do for cold winter nights, after some serious blocking.

Kureyon 40.3To make up for the disappointment, and to celebrate the receipt of some unexpected money, I splashed out on 24 (count 'em, 24) skeins of Noro Kureyon in shade number 40, for the making of a Lizard Ridge blanket. Ever since Jackie made one in a very restrained colour I've been lurking on ravelry, looking at the many versions of this. Originally I had intended to pick up bargain priced skeins in all sorts of colours, like the original version, but I realized that the one shade version is more to my taste. The pattern author's one-colourway version is knitted in a single, large piece, which is too much of a nuisance for me to contemplate. With Jackie's advice I've compromised and am making long strips instead of squares. The yarn is a complete joy to work with.