Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Don't

or how Rain knitted for a week and still made nothing.

I was desperately racing to get the baby stuff finished so I could start I Do. I've been looking forward to making it for ages and had bought the yarn - Sirdar Pure Cotton in black - especially for it. As soon as the ends were sewn into the striped jumper I grabbed it and set to work. I'd done about 10" when I had a good look at it and decided I really wasn't keen on the lace pattern. In my stitch guide it's called Victoria stitch which is reversible. I know most lace looks a bit naff until it's blocked, but on closer inspection of the pattern I decided it definitely wasn't for me. As I still liked the style I decided to use another lace pattern and set about making up my own. After drawing and swatching and poncing about for a day I worked about an inch, got bored and decided maybe I didn't want a shrug after all.

I was at a bit of a loss for a use for the yarn but really wanted to work with it so I decided to use it for a design that's been kicking about in my head for a while. The only problem was that I needed yet another stitch pattern. I had been planning on an embossed pattern but a swatch revealed that it would stand out too much, not a good idea for a tight fitting top. I worked another swatch from a Debbie Bliss book, didn't like how it looked in cotton, adapted it, loved it and decided it wouldn't work for the top I had in mind. Back to the drawing board. I then opened up another book and on the very first page was the perfect lace pattern. It took a wee bit of adapting - changing the decreases to slope so they matched and moving where the repeats started so it worked in the round. I was super pleased and started with gusto, however, the saga continues.

It's been a busy week and I've been a little distracted. I went to see baby Scarlett, she's 6 months old now and absolutely adorable. She's crawling about all over the place and into everything. Jenn and Nick have officially asked me to be her godmother (without the god bit) as they think I'd be a positive influence in her life. I'm delighted and honoured to be asked. If I can't set a good example at least I can serve as a horrible warning ;)

I've also been in hospital for some minor surgery - nout serious, but I'm still a bit battered and bruised and not really in the mood for doing much. I worked on the top at the hospital but ended up frogging it (only about an inch) as I'd managed to twist it. So after all that I have nothing to show for my troubles. Despite it all being a comedy of errors I am hoping for some progress soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Quick post with a quick quiz

Guess what the weather's like?

Well just a quick shower this morning, but it's helped bring the temperature down a little. You good people already know what I have to say on the subject of ends, so I won't bore you with the complaint. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to dissuade me from anything like stripes, fair isle or intarsia ever again.

Still I think it was worth it. I love this little jumper, the colours worked really well and it was quite a quick knit. I did a 23" chest. It's from Patons Baby Knits (316) - a booklet well worth looking out for as almost all the patterns are adorable. I just hope James's mum likes it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Feeling hot hot hot

If this is global warming then roll on the ice-age. Britain is in the grip of a heatwave that is making me wilt. All we seem to do here is moan about the weather. If it's too cold we complain, if it's too hot we have something to say about it and don't get us started on the rain. The British mentality is quite amusing at these times . We'll quite gladly tell you the temperature will hit 92 F today, but come the winter you can bet we'll be moaning that it went to minus 5 C overnight. Talk about manipulation of systems to suit the current complaint. Either way it's damn hot right now. Needless to say, knitting hasn't been my top priority over the past few days, I've been contemplating if I can get away with climbing into the chiller cabinet at the supermarket. A bed of frozen peas would suit me perfectly right now.

Despite my whining I have got something done. James's little hoodie is now complete. I love this design, it's from a Sirdar booklet Baby Knits (316) and it has some really modern looking items in it and is particularly strong on boys designs. Much to the horror of my mother I decided to make this in the 3-6 month size ready for the winter in navy blue. She's quite shocked I would knit in such a dark colour for one so small, but I think the days of babies being in nothing but the purest white have long gone and that more modern mothers don't mind so much. It's just 4 ply acrylic so nothing exciting, but yet another design I'd wear if it were sized up, despite being too old to be part of the hoodie generation.

I've also got cracking on the striped jumper. I went with the brown colour scheme, despite really liking the blues too. A few people suggested using the colours in the pattern, but the brown I had in isn't dark enough to go with blue, it's got a very orangy tint to it. I'm working the back and front in one piece to the armholes to save weaving in another sets of ends. I'd do it on a cicular needle, but knitting in the round sends me quite doolally. This one is the 9-12 month size, but in DK so is working up pretty quickly.

After this normal adult sized service will resume, well adult sized at least.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Swimming in Yarn

I think it's every knitter's dream to be swimming in yarn. Well I came pretty close yesterday. Think ball pit, but yarn instead. Yarn shopping local to me can be a bit limited with mainly markets selling acrylics and a few Sirdar dominant shops. To get anything a bit more adventurous it's a trip to Liverpool or Manchester. Still when my LYS has a sale it's worth a wander in. They don't tend to discount the usual stock as it's slightly cheaper anyway, but they do bring in packs of yarn heavily discounted. Most of it (Sirdar/Patons) I can get cheaper at a warehouse in Liverpool but there are always a few gems hiding away. The packs of yarn are just piled up in a heap on the floor for you to explore at your own peril. At one point I was one foot outside the pile and one foot in the middle and firmly stuck knee deep at full leg stretch and the owner and my mother were far to busy laughing to help me. My troubles were worth it.
Hiding away at the very bottom were two 500g packs of Jaeger Mohair Art in Cigar and Goldfield for £15 each. They're beautiful and so soft. I know my stash is mohair-tastic but this was a very welcome addition. It's not the slightest bit itchy and feels divine. Very pettable. I'm thinking of making some very simple classic cardigans out of it.

Feeling pretty pleased with myself I wandered into one of the charity shops in town for a nosy at the books and struck gold. I was pretty pleased to find 'Traditional Island Knitting' by Pam Dawson (including patterns from The Channel Islands, Shetland, Aran, Fair Isle, The Falklands and Iceland), but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Tucked away were a set of dodgy looking 70s craft books - Magic Touch, Fashion and Homecrafts by Mary Harding. It came out in 1975 and the 5 volumes contain mostly knitting, crochet and sewing with a few bits on weaving, beading and embroidery plus a few other innocuous crafts. A surprising number of the patterns are very wearable and with only 2 sewing patterns missing (ones I certainly won't miss) I'm in for some serious crafting time. Granted I won't be knitting myself angora thermal underwear (no really, don't get any ideas), but there are some gorgeous coats which are a good incentive to improve my sewing skills and there are a plethora of knitting and crochet patterns begging to be made. All 6 items were 50p each. Bargainous!

As for my knitting I'm on the sleeves of James's navy blue cardigan and my green cable cardi. My eyes struggle with dark colours at night so I'm working on both projects at different times of the day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bear Necessities

I can finally tick this off the list. Sort of. It still needs a zip, but I'm classing it as finished. It's the teddy bear gilet from 'Knits for Babies and Toddlers' by Fiona McTague. It's a great book with some gorgeous designs. I made one for Scarlett in the same colour and I'm very surprised I made another. It is super cute, but a bitch to make. The pockets make it a pain to sew up with a zillion ends plus I made a few mistakes that meant I had to frog certain parts. It's worth it for how cute the wee ones look in it, but remind me not to get any ideas. I don't need one to fit me.

I need your good opinion. I want to make this sweater (9-12 mth size) for baby James but can't decide which colours to work in. I've put the blues/cream together along with the brown/orange/mink/beige selection and a bit of lemon floating in the middle for indecision. Any thoughts? Ideas? I'm already working a little jacket in Navy so I thought the browns may make a nice change, but then the blues may go with more.

And last, but certainly not least - look at these babies! How cute are they!

Hazel very kindly sent them too me. The stitch markers I normally use - a bent up parrot earring from Gran Canaria and some knotted embroidery silk - are quite lacking in comparison. They are perfect. Thanks Hazel, I love them. Go visit her blog and tell her how much she rocks.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I'm having another 80s flashback, this time to the games we used to play. You may be wondering how I got there this time as it was never my favourite decade. Blame the knitting, it's always the knitting. I can't help it. This

became this ----->

in my mind and the next thing I'm in the loft looking for Ker-plunk and my marbles. I think they went missing a long time ago.

If you're wondering what the heck I'm up to, it's an emergency gift. I bumped into my friend Adam's little sister on Thursday night and she invited me to her birthday party tonight. Normal people would look round the shops for a gift, but me? I run to my stash thinking WTF can I knit in 48 hours?

I came up with wristwarmers, but there are so many different ones I couldn't decide. I bombarded Adam with e-mails with different pictures and asked him to choose. He went for Mrs. Beetons the awkward @&$£ which left me wrestling with an octopus worth of DPNs. He was a bit useless all round really, I wanted to know what colours Ruth likes, the colour of her coat etc. All he could muster was - I think her room is done in maroon. In the end I went for a blush pink boucle (the stuff my half finished cardi is made from) and some shiny maroon crepe type stuff that I've had for donkeys years.

I changed a few things in the pattern, I didn't put the beads on because I was in a hurry *cough* couldn't be bothered *cough*, worked the rib part in just one yarn rather than both and did a different picot cast off. I quite like them *cough* don't want to part with them *cough*. Look they work with my coat and everything!

Cerridwen your badness is rubbing off on me. I've got black and silver yarn ready to become my pair, so I can't really warrant pinching them for myself. With more time I think I'd definitely add the beads, although my patience only extends as far as sewing them on afterwards.

Psst, don't look at my fingernails. I was involved in an an unfortunate smelting accident.
Well... with a bottle of fake tan, but that doesn't sound half as exciting.

Double psst, go see Pirate of the Carribean! I went last night and it was brilliant.

Triple psst, don't knit in the dark.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's raining babies

Those of you that have been around for a while may remember me having an apoplectic fit about the sheer number of babies everybody I know decided to have all at once. Well, they're here - all at once! James arrived on the first, Niamh on the second and Alexandra on the fourth. Welcome to the world little people. There's no need to call me Great Aunt just yet (cringe), that one won't hatch till later in the summer. I had in a good stock of girls things, but do need to whip up a few bits for James.

I've found my knitting mojo again, but can't face the cable cardi just yet (I've done 6" of the sleeves). I was seaming the pink mohair insta-sweater when the call came out for a new Magknits. I trundled over and fell in love with the Ballet Camisole, so in love that I went upstairs chose some yarn and started knitting it right away. I cast on during the football (don't talk to me about the football) and finished it late last night.

The yarn is Sirdar Demin Tweed DK in Pink Sorbet (60% acrylic, 25% cotton, 15% wool). I did the 40" chest and used only 500 yrds / 150g of yarn - way less than I was expecting so I have enough to make a baby sized something or other. The yarn has pooled in a funny way (not funny ha-ha) around the bottom and across the chest which is annoying the crap out of me, but by the time I realised it was happening I couldn't be bothered to undo it. Stocking stitch in the round does nothing for me. I wasn't entirely faithful to the pattern for the front shoulder straps as I had contemplated short sleeves with the left over yarn. If I were to knit it again I'd use a solid colour. I think it's a great fit and a lovely pattern. Overall I'm pretty pleased with it.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post, I really appreciate it. Since Scout had such a sense of humour there's no shortage of funny things to remember about him.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bag Lady

I seem to have gone bag crazy recently, with DOs Pirate Swag Bag and now this one and two more in the pipeline. The pattern was one of those MUST. MAKE. NOW! items, I saw it and fell in love with it instantly. It's the Brea Bag from Berroco in their free patterns section. The green is a DK mystery yarn from my El Cheapo supplier, I think it's some sort of cotton blend. I'd been eyeing the yarn up for weeks, but felt the green was a bit much for clothing. As soon as I saw the pattern I rushed out to get some.

It's a pretty easy make, but the base and sides are a long moss stitch strip and do I not like moss stitch. I decided to use a belt for the handle so I can double it and carry it by hand, or use it single to throw over my shoulder. I couldn't get D rings wide enough to take the belt, so I dug out a few old wooden curtain rings which do the job quite nicely. I did have a big wooden button in mind, but couldn't find anything suitable and went for the bronze heart instead, the loop is a crochet chain worked double for strength.

The lining. Don't talk to me about the lining. It was a nightmare to do. I finished the bag about two weeks ago and have been avoiding sewing in the lining since. I managed to break two sewing machine needles and have learnt in the process that sewing is not my forte. It's in though and will do the job. I had wanted a stiffer fabric that was a bit more interesting than what I found, but now it's in I quite like it. Due to the strange shape of the bag I didn't put anything in to steady the base, but it's not like I'm going to be carrying bricks around in it.

I've been a bit distracted all week and haven't picked up any knitting for days, so it may be a bit of time before I have anything to show. Scout died on Tuesday and I'm still a bit shell shocked. I keep wandering around the house looking for something to do, but can't concentrate on anything. I miss him terribly.