Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Just don't talk to me...

No really.

Actually I'm not having the serious humour failure I should be over this. There are no prizes for guessing what this used to be attached to...

Technically there was nothing outrageously wrong with it, but I thought it best to take it off. I'm really happy with the hip shaping, it fits perfectly. You can see the start of the curve coming into play on the fronts, again I'm happy with the way the curve is working, but feel it needs to be started a lot sooner. Had I left it, the whole cardigan would have been far too long, especially once the rib had been added too. On paper and with dangling the tape measure it seemed fine, but once I tried it on I could see I wouldn't be happy with it. Just to torture you with the thought of it, it's about 110 rows over 160 stitches at the widest point. I've gone back to where you last saw it, I simply unpicked the row where I joined in the new yarn to work top down. I could have cut it off - Areli has just done an excellent tutorial about it, but I have a natural aversion to scissors near my knitting.

The sleeves are now sewn in properly and I'm overjoyed with how the top half looks and fits. I know the bottom will be fine once I get back into it.
It's obviously put me back even further, but it's no biggie. Right now I'm far too tired for it to register, I had a really rough night with my wisdom teeth keeping me awake (and no that's not just an excuse to visit my incredibly hot new dentist).

On a much happier note...

I managed to find a matching ball for Daydream. Granted it cost 5 times the price of the ball it's replacing, but I'm pleased to have it. I've given up all hope of finding the missing ball.

I also picked up this beautiful wine coloured yarn. I don't have a project in mind so I got 600g to give me flexibility. It has quite a firm texture to it and although it's not the nicest feeling yarn in the world I think it will have fantastic drape. I'm envisioning something with a loose weave for the summer and possibly even something crocheted.

This also caught my eye. It's a strange colour, not grey and not beige either. It's so soft and I think it will probably be some form of sweater. I have 500g of it to play with. There was also some of this in dusky pink, but I have a similar colour mohair in my stash already and this feels similar too.

As usual if you recognise any of my mystery yarn, please shout up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

At arm's length

is precisely where I will be keeping all adult sized knitting from now on. In fact, right now I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot barge pole, actually scrap that, technically you could knit with barge poles.

It might seem like a sudden change of heart, but my abnormally long arms take all the fun out of knitting sleeves. Here they are in all 29 inch glory. Don't worry, the arms themselves aren't that long, just 23" from pit to wrist, but my liking for sleeves to reach halfway down my hands doesn't help.

The one sewn in is only tacked in temporarily so I could see the fit and try it on. I had completed them yesterday (I tend to knit like things simultaneously), but decided they were a bit too long and enough to niggle. I ripped the top shaping and about 50 rows so I could re-jig the increases on the way back up. It meant an extra day to fix it, but what's a day for something I know I'll wear to death if I get it right? The cuffs don't look that shaped in the photo, but you'll see how they look properly when worn. I'll probably do the sewing tomorrow as I'm having a day off from actually knitting.


So close to the end? You betcha!

There's the towel, officially thrown in.

That doesn't mean I won't be finishing it off, it just means I won't be getting myself worked up about getting it done on schedule. I think I could have had it done in the time, had I not had so many distractions throughout, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter. It's been fun seeing so many take part and I've found a lot of great new blogs to read.

If you've finished your Olympic knitting - Well Done! If not, keep it up, there are still a few days to go.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Off piste knitting

You might be wondering at which point I fell over during my Olympic event, but it appears to be linked to indulgence in a little too much apres-ski. I've had a few unexpected social engagements this week which have kept me away from my knitting - sort of.... I know they say don't drink and knit, but my project accompanied me to the pub last night. Even with the wine flowing freely I managed to get a few inches of my sleeves done without mistakes.

I know I'm way off on the timing, with 50% of the time gone and only 20% of my cardigan done it's going to be a desperate race to the finish. I was on target but I didn't like the neckline so I decided to rip the fronts back to the armholes to try something a bit different. It's probably just me being anal, but I like things to be just so and I'm much happier with it now.

It's hard to tell what it's like properly, you'll have to excuse the dodgy d.i.y. photo and the smeary mirror.

As I mentioned earlier, I've started the sleeves, it seemed most logical when I've just completed the arm shapings. That's code for I still don't know how I'm going to work the bottom.

I also changed my mind on the sleeves, rather than a turned back ribbed cuff, I went with a flared bell shape to match the way the bottom will flare out over my hips (I hope). The photo shows last night's progress.

I'll bring it in a bit tighter to my wrist and then start the sleeve increases. It seems to be going slowly, but I am knitting both sleeves at the same time. I've written the pattern already so it just means I have to get down to some serious knitting.

Although my chances of medal glory are fading, I'd like to congratulate Shelley Rudman on her Silver Medal in the Bob Skeleton. Shelley only entered the sport 4 years ago and received very little funding from official sources despite showing great promise. It was Shelley's village that raised the £3000 to pay for her equipment, needless to say she's done them proud. Well Done Shelley!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Awaiting the results

One of the most tense parts of the Olympics for the competitors is waiting at the bottom of the slope for their time or marks from the judges. Not unlike the skiing, my knitting plan has been on a slippery slope downhill, much of what I originally had in mind went quickly out the window as the days have progressed.

I had one of those tense moments when I pulled the knitting off the needles (onto a thread) to check the shape and fitting. My results can be see on the progress bar down on the right.

So far it's been a bit of a leap of faith with doubts what it would look like. I must admit I was pleased with the results, although surprised would be a better description.

On the floor the bust shaping looked ok. I'd considered short rows, but wasn't convinced by them.

I eventually went with m1, k1, m1 on the right side rows.

I then tied it around me and pinned it down to get a look at how it would fit when worn. The gap will be filled with a wide 2x2 rib.

I haven't put in a picture of the back as there isn't really that much to see. I'm not entirely happy with it and think it could do with better shaping coming into the small of my back, but I'll be able to see how it hangs properly once I've got the shoulders in. If needs be I'll rip a few inches from the bottom and put some tighter decreases in.

I've not made any decisions on the neck shaping yet so it's time to sit and make a few more calculations for the neck and shoulder shaping. I still don't know how the bottom is going to work, but I'm consulting my Knitting Coach (my Mum) for possible solutions. That's something I'm going to worry about later.

There have been a few serious crashes in the skiing today and I hope the injuries haven't been too serious and that recovery will be swift. If you're also competing (knitting not skiing) I hope your item is going well and that there hasn't been too much ripping happening.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

When the going gets tough...

...the not so tough run as fast and as far away as they can.

Or in my case, shopping - yarn shopping, because that's what I need right now (yeah, like a hole in the head). In all fairness, some of it had been ordered in especially for me and I had to go and pick it up. Nothing too exciting, just 500g of silvery grey acrylic for my 'Cobweb' sweater, another Rain creation on the horizon, albeit a much more organised and logical one than my Olympic effort. From another source I also picked up

The stuff on the left is more Sirdar Silky Look (93% acrylic, 7% nylon) , 250g white, 100g denim blue and100g lilac.

The middle one is unidentifed. Sue - help! Anybody, please, if you recognise it, let me know. It's navy and jade and is a bit fuzzy like a mohair, but is unbelievably soft. I know I tell you everything is soft, but this is more than that. It's sit and stroke your face, just pet it, don't want to knit with it soft. I've got 200g of it with no project in mind.

On the right, 100g Sirdar Denim Tweed (60% acrylic, 25% cotton, 15%wool) in Lipstick, 150g in Cappuccino and 150g of Sirdar Town and Country Self Patterning Sock Yarn (75% wool, 25% nylon) in Harlequin.

Incidentally, on my last yarn expedition, the unidentified pink was Denim Tweed in Pink Sorbet and the fine brown, beige and cream yarn was also Town and Country sock yarn in Chocolate Whirl.

Today's expedition (escape) also yielded an unexpected find. I moved back home 18 months ago, but prior to that had lived away for 6 years. During that time a lot of the yarn shops that used to be around had closed. I never gave it a second thought, a lot closed down prior to the recent knitting revolution. Only today, I discovered that one of them hadn't closed, just moved to the other side of the shopping centre. I was really surprised, I could beat my head against a brick wall over it. It's average priced and stocks mostly Sirdar, but apparently she does wicked sales. It was also absolutely chock-a-block full of other knitters. I have now discovered where they have all been hiding.

As nice as my excursion was, all runaways come home when they are hungry and I had to face up to my Olympic commitment eventually. Don't let the extra scribbles on my design sheet fool you into thinking I know what I'm doing now. What you didn't see was me lying on the floor drawing around my body. I can imagine any proper designers reading that with abject disbelief, but I wanted to see the exact gradient of my curves. Stop shaking your head - it made sense to me at the time. I then knuckled down to a few hours of uninterrupted knitting bliss and now have 5 inches over 238 sts. Suddenly the future is not looking quite so bleak.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Games begin

You know when you lose something like your purse and your heart skips a beat and you get that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach? Well that's the Oh-no-second, the split second when you think - what have I done? Well today I got that feeling, only it lasted for hours. Please tell me, when I signed up for the Knitting Olympics - what was I thinking? I used to live in Spain, does that make me Spanish enough to claim that the airline lost all of my equipment? Will that get me out of it? What about regulation kit, does possession of a knitting machine get me thrown out?

Of course I could quit whining and just get on with it. I have 16 days to turn this into this...

The yarn is Patons Fairytale 4ply (60% acrylic, 40% nylon) in Olive Green on steel UK size 10s. Scout is included in the photo as by the time I'm finished it'll be + 1% dog hair (and he's curious and wouldn't move).

I'd decided to wait until the start of the opening ceremony to cast on, I quite liked the idea of starting with the majority of other knitters. Oddly there are 3482 Olympic Knitters as opposed to just 2400 Olympic Athletes. I started to curse not getting the 5 hour head start that the 2pm local time cast on would have given me, but given the fact that I don't know what I'm doing, it's probably a blessing that I waited. I mean I have a vague idea of what I want it to look like at the end. I know the measurements it needs to fit and I know the gauge of the yarn. That ought to be enough, right?

Since I'm struggling with the construction from the waist down, I started my cast on onto a crochet chain so I can get on with the top half while mulling over the bottom. Hopefully by the time I get to turning it around to work the other way I might have a vague clue what I am doing. I'm also working in one piece, it saves time on seaming and will give me a better idea of the shape as I go.

This must seem like a very half-assed way of working, but I prefer working my own designs on the hop. I find it's a lot easier to see what needs to be done with the item in front of me, rather than just on paper. It generally means a lot of frogging, but that's why this is a suitable challenge.

Tune in for more Olympic commentary as the Games progress, expect tears and tantrums on the way. I look forward to checking out the competition!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Warm Up? More like a marathon!

In my infinite wisdom I decided I had time between finishing the Baby Uggs and the Knitting Olympics to knit something for myself. Bear in mind that all I've done since May last year is knit baby clothes and small items as gifts, so I seem to have a deluded idea of just how long things take. In all fairness there have been a few hurdles in my way too. I'd planned to make something else, something smaller, but I couldn't get the yarn I wanted in time. I also took about 3 days longer than expected to sew in all the tufts over the Uggs, it didn't take that long to knit them. In desperation and to fill the time I chose another yarn with no project in mind, but soon thought of a pattern I've wanted to make for over 10 years.

The pattern is from Patons Summer Collection 1987! It cost 50p at the time for 15 patterns (that made me smile). I like both the slip and the cardigan, but thought I'd get more use from the cardi. I've always had it in my head that I'd make this in lilac like the one shown, but since my other project is going to be in heathery lilac I thought I'd go for something else. I've been admiring this green for a few weeks and it fits into the colour scheme I'm trying to bring into my wardrobe. It's acrylic, but has a lovely soft feel.

I've had a few dramas with it, so it feels like it's taking forever. I'm up to the armholes on the back, but have frogged a few inches a couple of times. The cables are alternate making it something you need to concentrate on a bit more than usual. I've put in an extra repeat as I prefer things a bit longer. Obviously there's no chance I'll have it finished before I cast on for my Olympic item, but I'll be happy if I get the back done.

I have to say that my Olympic preparation has been non existent. I've knitted with the yarn I'm using recently so I know my tension, but I haven't actually written anything down yet for the pattern. I'm yet to make the measurements required, but there's time tomorrow. Steph the Yarn Harlot has called 2pm as the official start time wherever
you are in the world, but in reality the Opening Ceremony doesn't start until just before 7pm here so I'll probably wait for the flame to be lit. For those in the UK live coverage starts at 6pm on BBC2.

If you're taking part Good Luck! See you at the finish. I hope.

As for the real athletes...Go Team GB!
I'm supporting each and every one of you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bootie Call

Some mothers give me the distinct impression that had you offered them a Gucci handbag instead of a baby, they'd have taken the handbag. It upsets me to see babies used as a fashion accessory. It bothers me on a lot of levels, not least because I'm such a cheapskate. It's a miracle I can get knitting needles into these tight-fisted little hands of mine. I know all mothers want their babies to look nice, but I think it's criminal to spend so much on tiny designer wear that will fit for just a few months when there are children starving in the world. The picture of Daniella Westbrook says it all. All I can say is stop it, stop it at once! The only saving grace of all this is that she killed Burberry in the UK. Who would want to be associated with it now?

Given my stance on designer items, it was a miracle that something could melt the heart of this miserable, cynical grump. What could be cuter than a pair of Baby Ugg Boots?

Three pairs of course!

I had to find a sub for the Berrocco yarn used in the pattern. I managed to find a suede feel yarn in roughly the right colour. It was in with the seconds and oddments at an indoor market stall I go to, so I have no idea what it's called or who it's made by. I suspect it could be Sirdar as they sell a lot of their seconds, but I've been unable to track it down at other yarn shops or on the internet. If you know what it is, please, please, please let me know. I bought two balls, found at two different branches of the stall, for the grand sum of 89p each. Each boot took 15g of yarn for the bigger (9-12 month) size. For the cuffs I used Sirdar Snuggly Bubbly doubled. It took forever to do the stitching down the sides and over the boot as it is only one tuft every inch. I don't think I'd use it again if I found more of the suede. I thought this was a very sensible bootie pattern and would definitely use it again, it's done in one piece with no picking up or fiddling around.

ETA: Sue has identified the yarn as Sirdar Milano. Thank you Sue! Unfortunately it's been discontinued, but Nutty has pointed out that you can get it on ebay, so it's still knocking about.

If you want to see a decent picture of some made in the recommended yarn then head over to Steph's blog
'And she knits too!' as she has made a lovely pair.

In the comments to my last post Turtlegirl asked me when I'm going to knit something for myself. It's coming soon, very soon. Watch This Space!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Can you tell what it is yet?

Before you get excited, I didn't knit that, well I did, but not that particular one. I was just curious to see what you thought about it. If you were casually flicking through 'Baby Bloom' by Erika Knight, what would you think it was? I never gave it a second thought when I added it to the four possible wrap-overs / boleros for my raspberry yarn. It was a clear winner, but proving how much attention I pay to patterns, I'd finished the back and was onto the fronts before I realised it wasn't a cardigan. Even the title called it Silky Wrap Sweater but the penny still didn't drop. I considered adapting it or adding loops and buttons to the sides so it could fasten like a cardigan but in the end stuck with the pattern. Hmm, remember those Dime Bar adverts? - That's me, that is.

In all fairness it probably doesn't matter as by the time it fits, Scarlett should be able to dress herself, or at least she shouldn't be as difficult to dress as a tiny one. I worked the biggest size and used a size bigger needles and it came out a 24" chest overall. That sounds like a carefully considered decision but has more to do with me preferring to knit on my shiny size 10s (similar to addi's). I also think it makes more sense to make the most of the yarn. I had a ball extra to the requirements and as I'm not likely to get this yarn again, I wanted to use it all in the one project rather than leave one over with nothing else in mind for it.

Down to the knitty gritty - my version...

I used the raspberry I bought the other week. I've discovered it's Sirdar Silky Look (93% acrylic, 7% nylon) and it took just under 250g. Mine was seconds sold anonymously and I was baffled why as I couldn't find anything wrong with it, it was dyed and plied evenly with no knots. I swatched it and thought it was 4ply but have since discovered it's sold as DK. I think that might be issue with it, but I'm not complaining as I don't often knit with such nice yarn.

I tried to embroider it like the pattern shows, but as my yarn was slightly textured it didn't look quite right. It has a silver strand running through it, so I might buy something silver later on to do it with, it depends whether I have the time, patience or inclination. My only whinge about the pattern (besides it masquerading as something it isn't) is the picot edge, both on the cuffs and neck, it has a tendency to curl and took a bit of creative sewing to make it sit a bit flatter. I'm hoping it will behave properly once it's been washed and pressed.