Wednesday, 22 September 2010

WIP Wednesday: Christine's Cable Mitts

So, on Monday I mentioned that:

1) I have an issue with startitus at the moment
2) I'd cast on a project that wasn't quite ready to be declared yet

So here it is...

This week's work in progress is... a pair of fingerless cabled mittens!

I ditched the original idea for a picot cast-on (too bulky) and replaced it with a twisted german (my default variant of long-tail) cast on. This is much better although mine is perhaps a touch tight on this project.

The pattern is improvised, I'm writing it as I go and I might make it available once I'm done. I've taken a cable I found in one of my knitting books, altered the row counts a bit and then transposed it onto the fingerless mitten pattern I used with this yarn last time. I've shortened the cuff rib and am considerably lengthening wrist/arm portion before starting the thumb gusset. The cable is knit in a (slightly more contrasting than intended) colour using the first method for intarsia in the round described on Let Me ExplaiKnit. So far, so good (except the colour which I am both personally unsure of and also unsure the recipient will like - she chose the purple, I bought the pink later and it was the only colour the market had that went with it even vaguely although I have since discovered a much paler pink is also produced, I suspect this would have been a better match - the yarn doesn't rip well so I figure if the pattern works I can always knit another). Like the original fingerless mitts, this is a pretty satisfying quick knit because of the relative bulkiness of the yarn.

So that's my home project, as mentioned yesterday my portable project is still the Socks for September which are progressing very nicely at a rate of around one chart repeat (10 rounds on both socks) per day.

Both these projects can also be found on Ravelry:

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Merrily We Sock A-Long

Last Tuesday I started my September Socks, my first attempt at participation in SOCKDOWN - a challenge to knit a pair of socks a month (except August - everyone needs a break now and then) as part of the Ravelry group Sock Knitter's Anonymous. The options for September were:

1) Any pattern in black or white or both (but not grey).
2) September's mystery sock pattern in black or white.
3) Any pattern by Kristen Kapur

Now I really like Kristen Kapur so I picked the lovely Make-Up Socks and off I went. I cast on and knit two toes on Tuesday and then started the charted section of the foot, all was going well - by Saturday evening I had two repeats of the chart on each foot. And then I realised, the reason I couldn't see the pattern emerging (and I was beginning to think this should definately have happened by now, was that I had overlooked something very simple in the chart. This symbol here:

It's a symbol that means knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side. When knitting in the round (as for a sock), one is always working on the right side. Which stitch had I been doing?

*coughs* Why that would be a knit stitch.

Ooops. Not sure why I'd ended up knitting those stitches, it's not the first time I've knit from a chart and it's a pretty common symbol :) Still, at least I spotted it, so on Saturday night I ripped back both socks and by Sunday morning I was ready to go again. This morning I finished the second chart repeat on both socks (again) and they look much, much better:

What lovely socks these will be!

Monday, 20 September 2010

September Startitus

Something about the 20-somethings of September must breed startitus. I was just going to write a little blog post wondering how I got from having all my projects under control, even being an entirely monogamous knitter for a while, to this...

Six projects on the go, plus one I haven't actually put into Ravelry yet because I cast on over lunch today and I'm not sure I'm happy with the cast on yet. Plus a hat I'd love to start (yarn currently sat on my desk at work) and some sock yarn in the post...

And then I realised, when was last time I blogged about startitus? The 24th and 29th of September last year... it's an annual event - does that make it OK?

Off it goes...

My Ravelry Blog Swap box is off on its way to its destination:

Saturday, 18 September 2010

FO: Helix

One not-so-little snail creeping across my carpet:

And outside, where perhaps he might better belong:

Pattern: Garden Snail by Hansi Singh.

Yarn: A selection of blue mystery yarns from ebay and Patons Linen Touch in Mandarin from Lancaster Indoor Market (a leftover from the Infolab Baby Sweater).

Mods: Dropped the needle size a bit to reflect the DK weight yarn being used. Used even smaller needles for the body as previous knitters had noted a size discrepancy between the shell and body. Some pattern interpretation required.

Project: online at Ravelry.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Bonus

As promised, here's the bonus item from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway). Remember back at the start when I mentioned that there was 'a roll of paper that looks suspiciously like it may contain some sort of knitting pattern'..? Well, here it is:

And inside was the pattern for Lori Law's Sleepy Hollow Socks, which I first discovered whilst reading the Yarn Harlot's post about her finished pair. What I really like about these socks is that although they look fantastic in a solid, the pattern still seems to show up in a more variegated yarn.

Now, I've only just started a pair of socks, so I shall be good and hold back for now, but perhaps I need a good rummage through the sock yarn boxes to see which yarn is calling out to be a pair of Sleepy Hollow Socks :)


Thanks to Fiolinn for a set of lovely surprises which have brightened up the last eight days (and will undoubtedly brighten up some more as I get to use them in a variety of creative endeavors. Thanks also to Eskimimi for organising the swap and to my exciting swap partner for being so fun to buy for - I'm planning to mail your box this weekend!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Day 7

Final parcel (almost - look out for one last bonus post tomorrow) from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway):

And the label read:

Inside was a yummy Zauberball and a really wee lavender bag *sniff*:

Now this didn't photograph so well (not helped by the late hour at which the picture was taken) but it's a simpler colourway than the one used for my honeymoon socks, a dark aqua blue and black in long stretches. Not quite sure yet whether this is crying out to be socks or a shawl...

Thanks Fiolinn!

WIP Wednesday: September Socks

This week's work in progress is my 'September Socks' - my first attempt at participation in the Sock Knitters Anonymous ongoing SOCKDOWN challenge.

This is the Make-Up Socks pattern from The Joy of Sox and it's the project I was getting excited about last week, I just had to wait for the book to arrive :). This is one of a number of patterns I'm gagging to knit from this book - I love it!

The yarn used in this project is Fyberspates Sheila's Sock in Russet, the colour is really rich and I like it a lot, I also like the way the yarn knits up, depending on how it wears this could be a strong contender for a go-to sock yarn (in the event that my stash was some how lacking sock yarn in a particular colour).

Also on the go this week is last week's WIP Helix (also on Ravelry) which went from this:

To this:

(riding the ocean wave)

To this and this:

Yes, that's right - the snail (an incarnation of the Garden Snail pattern from Amigurumi Knits) is starting to get a body - this has been a slow process, mostly because I couldn't face picking up a bunch of stitches when the instructions weren't as clear as I would like about which stitches in which order which way. Eventually I had to bite the bullet and just get on with it (and then redo it so it was right :)). I've been working on the body with 3mm DPNs (at one point, all six of the ones I own in this size!), in the hope that the unfortunately-oversized-body problem some folks have had with this pattern will pass me by. This may or may not work, because I have no real idea how the yarn I'm using for the body (Patons Linen Touch, left over from the Infolab Baby Sweater) compares with the three mystery yarns I put together for the shell (and no, I didn't check gauge).

Still, there were a couple of things I was unhappy with on the shell:
  1. I forgot to pick up the wraps from the wrap and turns when doing the short rows (I've just realised I forgot this on the short rows I just finished on the mantle too - Doh!)

  2. I was doing something weird with my grafting which I couldn't work out until half way around the shell and then I worked it out but I couldn't face redoing the massive chunk I'd already done.
Now, overall these things have little impact and perhaps might not be noticed... especially as I'm thinking about hiding the grafting with a bit of crochet slip stitch along the top, but I'm giving this to another knitter and, it just seems wrong to leave two reasonably basic mistakes visible.

So now there is also this:

Helix II! Well, my Dad is always asking me knit him something so I figured he could have the non-knitters snail and I'll assemble another. That said, time is pressing, so it might be that I have to compromise with the new shell and the old mantle :)

This shell is slightly different to the last. I've kept the two mystery fingering yarns (the very dark blue and the greenier blue) and again held them double, but I'd run out of the mystery DK yarn that had been the top of the last shell so I found some slightly variegated pale blue that matches the dark blue (but not the greeny blue :s). I've also inserted a single row of white between each colour change - I'm not sure whether this will look good or bad until it's made up (also :s). And, of course, I remembered to pick up the wraps :o).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Day 6

Eek, we're already on parcel number six from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway) - only one more left :(. Still, here's number six, all artfully wrapped:

And on the label...

And inside, the wrapping revealed:

Three goodies for embellishment: some pink organza ribbon, a large white button and some vintage white lacy ribbon/edging. I wonder what projects these will spawn...

Watch this space! Thanks Fiolinn :o)

Monday, 13 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Day 5

Here is parcel number five from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway):

So well wrapped, I'm sure once I get the tape out for mine they will look nowhere near as artistic as these. Here's the reverse of the label:

And here's the treasure:

Nom, nom, nom! Thanks Fiolinn, I look forward to trying this :)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Day 4

Here is parcel number four from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway). Unfortunately, this is one of a few parcels that wobbled around a bit in transit and so had escaped most of its wrapping. Still, here's the label...

And the contents:

Two skeins of 123 Luna Wool - a 100% wool worsted weight yarn - as Fiolinn says, ideal for felting. Now felting is one of those things on my knitting to-do list and I do have a few felted patterns in my queue/favourites, some of which could be achieved with one or both of these skeins:

Of these, the French Press Felted Slippers is easily a favourite - I've loved these slippers since I've seen them and I think the blue yarn would suit them perfectly.

I think I feel a project coming on... thanks for the prompting (and the yarn) Fiolinn!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Day 3

This is parcel number three from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway). Unfortunately, this is one of a few parcels that wobbled around a bit in transit and, as a result, weren't quite so artfully wrapped as the others. But still, here's the label...

What a world of possibilities! So here's what was inside the parcel:

These are quite honestly the cutest little notebooks I have seen. I love the idea of a different notebook for each season, and they're just small enough that they could slip inside my bag and wait for inspiration to strike. The motifs are simple but evocative and well, I think they're lovely!

So, back to the label ideas for a moment... cat diary?? I wonder what this would involve:

5 am: Woke from my nap on a pile of clean washing I found hadn't been put away yet. I think I might be lonely, time to bang into the human bedroom door until it opens and I can 'creep' in to sleep under the bed. Ooops, woke the humans and now find myself all alone at the bottom of the stairs. Hmmm, I seem to remember there's a reasonable sofa near here somewhere.

8:30am: Time to tell the humans that breakfast should be ready.

9:30am: Naptime.

12pm: Oooh, the sun is coming through the curtains, I think I could sleep on that patch there - right where my friend Molly is sleeping, I'm sure she won't mind a bit...

6pm: The humans are home, time for tea.

7pm: The humans are cooking, time for an even better tea.

8pm: The humans are trying to relax, I shall hassle them for a space on the sofa to sleep on.

9pm: That human is trying to knit, I shall sleep on her pattern. I do like the sound of crinkly paper.

10pm: The humans are going to bed, time to make sure they've left me enough food to snack on. Perhaps they won't mind if I poke my nose around the door and try to make a bolt for that comfy space under the bed where I am 'NOT ALLOWED' to sleep.

12pm: Time for a quick jaunt outside to see if anyone's left any good meat in their rubbish bags. I'll bring home anything good and then leave it on the floor like it's suddenly lost all attraction... and then I'll go to find a nice pile of clean towels to nap on.


Thanks Fiolinn!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Day 2

Here's parcel number two from the Ravelry blog swap (seven parcels opened over seven days, my parcels gifted by Fiolinn in Norway):

And the lovely label read:

So now I have a suspicion what this might contain, but I'm not big on speculating about presents - squishing and smelling aren't really for me - so I move on and open it.

A little organza bag containing 6 stunning stitch markers. I really love the detail on the beads used on these markers:

And now I just need to bring myself to:

1) Use them
2) NOT lose them

One day I will find the place where tape measures, little sets of scissors and stitch markers go to hide...

Thanks Fiolinn, two fantastic parcels so far!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Ravelry Blog Swap: Background/Day 1

I've posted a few times recently about a blog swap I'm participating in. In this swap, which was spawned on the Ravelry bloggers group, Eskimimi has matched up participants such that everyone will received a parcel from one person and will send a parcel to another different person. In each case, only the person sending the parcel knows about the partnership - the recipient doesn't know who is putting together their parcel and how they're getting on until the parcel itself arrives. All the parcels should contain seven mini parcels, one for each day of a week. The idea is that the parcels might provide a little bit of inspiration for us bloggers (as well as making us squee over exciting parcels). My parcel to be mailed is now almost done - everything I shopped for has arrived and I've got another evening or twos work on the item I'm handmaking - then I'll check I'm happy with it all, wrap everything up, stick a note inside and take it merrily to the post office. My recipient is in the UK so they should get it fairly swiftly after that.

So... on Tuesday evening I got home from work and sifted through the post. The knitting needles I needed for my handmade part of the swap are in an envelope which allows me to get started on that project later that evening. Also in the post is a "while you were out" card telling me that Parcel Force has tried to deliver something to me whilst I was out and so they've taken it to my nearest post office. I resolved to collect the item on the way to work the following day...

And so I do:

Here is my lovely box from Norway sat on some damp grass in Ryelands Park. Inside the box are seven tissue wrapped parcels, a little notelet, and a roll of paper that looks suspiciously like it may contain some sort of knitting pattern :)

So, here's parcel number one.

The label for this little parcel was pretty self explanatory:

And in all honesty, that photo probably tells you more than this one of the actual soap. This soap feels lovely and moist though, I look forward to it brightening up my bathroom very soon...

Thanks Fiolinn!

FO: Colonnade

A heavy, squishy, warm shawl thing for me!

(photos by Hobnob)

Pattern: Colonnade by Stephen West.

Yarn: Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, in colourway Emerald City and colourway Londonberry, from Natural Stitches, Pittsburgh.

Mods: None.

Project: online at Ravelry.

Shopping Goodies

On Sunday night whilst I waited for Hobnob to finish watching James Bond (yes, I know there's more than one; no, I don't know which one it was - they all look the same to me) I got a bit distracted by yarn.

Ruth had been knitting with some Fyberspates Ethereal (a 4ply cashmere/silk blend) on Saturday which she'd bought in the sale because of some very slight colour imperfections. I figured that although the sale would have changed by now I'd check it out anyway and see what was available. And so I found these:

Two skeins of undyed lace weight yarn - the one on the left is 100% baby alpaca, the one on the right is 80% merino and 20% angora. Both will undoubtedly be part of my next attempts at kool aid dying.

Moving on from the sale, I thought I'd take just a quick peek at what other yarns might be available... and ended up with these:

The one on the left is Faery Wings a 4-ply yarn composed of 67% silk, 23% kid mohair and 10% nylon; the one on the right is a Unicorn Club 4-ply yarn composed of 70% baby llama. 20% silk and 10% cashmere.

Together this all made for another very exciting parcel when it arrived at work yesterday:

Hurray for yarn!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

WIP Wednesday: Helix

This week's work in progress is 'Helix' - hopefully the final item for my Ravelry blog swap package. Pictured is one (almost complete) part out of two. Can you guess what it is yet...?

The yarn used in this project is mystery fingering weight yarn bought on ebay in two shades of blue plus a tiny bit of DK weight mystery yarn in a pale blue.

And, no, I haven't finished anything off yet - but I'm close, honest! Also, I'm very excited for a knitting project coming very soon...!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Exciting Post

Yesterday lunchtime, there was a knock on the door and I got excited. I'd ordered some new DPNs from so I could put the last bits together for the knitting bloggers swap I blogged about recently and she often hand delivers to me if she's passing through. So, I grab Hobnob's keys from the back door and open up, only to find... a postman holding a parcel!

Two exciting things to note here:

1) A parcel for me, woop! (More about this later...)

2) A parcel delivered by Royal Mail on a Sunday! This is truly bizarre. I'm not sure why I'm so excited about this except that it just breaks all the rules, everyone knows you don't get post on Sundays, but the man with my parcel was definitely a post man, he had a van and a uniform and a "while you were out" card in his hand just in case.

Right, back to the parcel... some time ago I signed up to participate in a four seasons Ravelry swap. Four parcels to be sent out over 2010, one for each season. I duly mailed my Spring one just in time and, well, that was it. Periodically I received a message assuring me my parcel would be mailed soon, but it's September now and nothing has happened yet.


At the start of the summer, group management was passed to a new member of the group who created a thread for folks to post updates about their current swap status. I sent a private message to the new coordinator telling her how things had panned out and she found me a swap angel - someone who sends out a parcel to someone who missed out to make them feel better and "restore their faith in other knitters" :)

Here is my amazing parcel from libs:

The parcel includes:
  • Three different samples of fibre:

    Some green and some purple/pink/orange tencel, chosen because it's apparently great for the beginning spinner, and some merino fibre in a really lovely dark red colour. I think I may have to find some time for spinning soon!

  • Some Lush goodies and a handmade washcloth/dishcloth:

    The Lush goodies are Porridge Soap and Space Girl bath ballistic.

  • A couple of bars of Cadbury's Dairy Milk... nom nom nom.

  • A pack of highlighters.

  • And last, but not least, a lovely pair of fetching fingerless mitts:

    These might be just the thing for combatting the office air con (she says, rubbing her hands together for warmth - perhaps tomorrow would be a good day to start :)).

Thank you libs, you are amazing!


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