Planning the rest of my life

I now fully understand this.
funnies6I turn listlessly from one project to another. Plan a bit. Turn pages on patterns. Rewrite a few. But I sort of miss not having  a huge project to keep me busy. Perhaps it’s because I’ve got a cold, with what seems like the rest of the world. Work is really busy at the moment and I’m interviewing for a new role. Perhaps I’ve just got a little too much going on. Perhaps I should just stop.

But no. I just think I need another challenge. So I’ve been looking but not deciding. I like the idea of learning a new skill and the texture that Tunisian crochet produces
Tunisian crochet blanketBut then again, a good old basket weave stitch looks really good too – this one uses several yarns held together. It looks great!
scrap yarnOr then again, I should go for something a little more modular so I won’t have to carry a weekend holdall on the train again!
modularOr perhaps something a little bit more airy.
spiralsI’m not sure. Perhaps when I get over my cold I will feel inspired.

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Let the Wedding plans continue

I’m not sure what to call the wedding blanket for my sister. It’s not quite a labour of love – I quite enjoyed most of it. And it wasn’t a gauntlet thrown down to challenge me. I suppose in all honesty it was a little bit like a game of patience and a test for my nerves of steel!
Trees of Life

So to recap, in case you haven’t been following it, it all started back in mid-September. I sought your help in choosing  a pattern, hit on Nicky Epstein’s Tree of Life blanket and cast on. I picked an oatmeal coloured alpaca aran blend.

Unbridled excitement at the beginning of a long journey

Unbridled excitement at the beginning of a long journey

After completing the first set of Trees of Life, I hit on a snag. Despite ordering more yarn than I have ever done for one project, I calculated that I was severely short for the size of the blanket I intended to make. I also added another repeat (total of five pairs of Trees) so it was really quite a wide blanket. The supplier had run out of the alpaca. Minor panic ensued. Somewhat daunted, I picked another colour from my stash – a cocoa coloured 100% British wool aran. Boldly, I went ahead.

The complete pattern

The complete pattern

Very glad I persevered if only for the fact that I have no idea what I would have done otherwise with so much of oatmeal coloured alpaca! I gave myself a target of 15 cms a month plus a month for the edging. I made such good progress that I had time off for good behaviour in November and December.

Two repeats done

Two repeats done

After Christmas, I gave myself over to the project again. It had become a bit of a chore. By this stage I was carrying around a weekend bag of unfinished blanket just to work on it on my commute. I started feeling that I deserved the title of “mad knitting woman”.
Garden of FlowersAnd then it was done. Quite quickly as it turned out.

It's done

It’s done

Not to be accused of being easy, I didn’t want to add the leaf edging suggested in the pattern. I thought a simple knitted edging would work. It didn’t. So I added a three row crochet edging with a picot corner.

Simples!

Simples!

I’m glad the wedding doesn’t have to be postponed as the present is not finished :) This is the single largest item I have ever made and it is quite an achievement. After 144 flowers in the Flower Garden and 15 pairs of Trees of Life, the blanket is complete. It’s about 175 cms long and 155 cms wide. It took 10 weeks or so of commuting and weekend knitting, over 70,000 stitches. Much thought about life, love, marriage and all those things that flit through my mind when I knit. I hope my sister has the best day for her wedding and a husband who loves and cares for her all her life. And my blanket, as company.

Wedding blanket

And me – I’m planning a bigger and much more colourful blanket for our new house. Suggestions welcome!

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Another Knitty request – ski mask

I think the blueprint for 2015 is  now set and this is the scene. I’m sitting quietly willing the blanket to be finished (update: it is finished I’m sweating over the edging which has now been restarted twice). There are hurried feet which arrive, together with a request to make something. This time it is for ski masks. Yes, in the plural!

My problem is that I haven’t found the right thing. I need an old fashioned balaclava as the complaint is a cold face. It most definitely needs a hole for the mouth to reduce condensation. So far I’ve found this:

Bit of fun from Wicked Woolens

Bit of fun from Wicked Woolens

I do love it but perhaps it’s a little too much for active wear. There are some fantastic ideas out there:
balaclava balaclava1 balaclava2 balaclava3 balaclava4 balaclava5So now it’s up to me to choose how ludicrous I make my son and husband on the slopes!
Votes please :)

 

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Old with New

Now that I’ve finished the major WIP I had on my list, I had absolutely no excuses left. I’ve returned to my sister’s wedding blanket. I only have about 80 or so rows remaining and the edging but I lost interest tail end of last year and laid it by. The entire thing is so bulky that I need to carry it in a weekend bag to knit on the train! Bit mad even for me. So as a little distraction, here is an up-to-date photo of the monster blanket.

wedding blanket

It’s yet another project that refuses to be photographed well. Perhaps it’s that oatmeal coloured yarn…I swear I will not knit anything in oatmeal ever again. Or cocoa colours either. To keep my commitment to finish, I am using these beauties to knit with.

They are SQUARE

They are SQUARE

In case it’s not quite clear that they are square, here is another shot

Square I tell you

Square I tell you

These lovely things were a Christmas present – I kept on asking and pestering so I really hoped that the message would be delivered in the run up to Christmas! I love KnitPro needles and own a full set of double pointed, single pointed and interchangeable KnitPro Symfonie needles. You can imagine that my beloved was not too eager to expand the collection – you can only knit with one pair at a time, can’t you?! was his confused response. Nevertheless, here they are, my lovely set of Cubix.

Of course, I needed them as they are meant to be ergonomic and easier to knit with. I’m a sucker for all that, so I’m trying them. I hold judgement on the claim as I haven’t used them long enough but I can tell you, it does have a huge impact on the tension – I’m sure I knit tighter now that I did with the Symfone ones. It will all be revealed when the blanket is finished – I hope in the next few weeks…I’ll keep you posted.

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Lacy Tunic – All Done!

I fell in love with this pattern shortly after seeing it for the first time. It’s called a Floral Tunic and it’s by Brooke Nico, whose lace patterns I tend to admire.

floral tunic

It’s not my usual type of garment construction as I prefer fitted jumpers but I cast on in all earnestness during the summer. I loved the fact that initially it grew quickly and that the top down construction meant that there wouldn’t be any finishing to do later. I didn’t get very far – kept on miscounting stitches and was bemoaning the fact here. However through sheer will, I persevered.

And it grew.

The neck

The neck

Coming off pattern at the arms!

Coming off pattern at the arms!

And grew

Wearable but not finished

Wearable but not finished

Look, one arm!

Look, one arm!

And now it’s done. It is MASSIVE!

Finished

Finished

I have no way of photographing it properly without a dummy. I used a wool blend yarn (silver and royal purple colourway) rather than merino/silk as suggested in the pattern and it doesn’t hang quite right. It’s too bulky. I also had to ditch my colour block idea as I didn’t have enough purple yarn. Beware, nupps take up a huge amount of yarn! So all in all, I’m not best pleased. I also think that the edging looks a bit weak and I’m thinking perhaps a picot edging would look good. I am however talking myself out of it as I can’t change the original issue which is the yarn, so I will probably leave as is…

Lace6 lace7

I’ve blocked it once but I will probably steam block this garment as I think the lace would really benefit. It was fun to knit and I don’t regret it but if you’re considering this pattern please bear in mind the following:

  1. do use the right weight of yarn
  2. knitting the lower body is interminable
  3. nupps are tricky things
  4. buy enough yarn…

This is definitely one of my learning pieces. And I do think that it would look better on somebody slightly fuller figured than I and possible pregnant. So I’m thinking that my little Sis may be gifted this in years to come…

Do you have “makes” that didn’t quite meet your expectations?

Posted in Knitting, Lace | Tagged | 4 Comments

The First Finished Project in 2015

I was peacefully knitting and planning the order of my WIPs for maximum effectiveness for completion when my husband rushed in and excitedly announced that he had a project for me. It is rare as hen’s teeth for him to ask me to make him anything wool related so there was no way I could say no. And what was the rush job request? A pair of pogies. Yes, I had no idea what they were either. And why a pair would be required. So a bit of Googling ensued and measuring and general angsting around pattern, colour etc. Here they are.

Pogies

Pogies are mittens for rowers. It keeps their hand and the oar (!) warm whilst they’re out on the river doing whatever is required for their training. Some rowers (the younger variety) laugh at pogies. However my husband who no longer falls into the young category, prefers warm hands over being “cool”. And he decided that if he was going to be laughed at, he might as well be wearing Club colours. That’s why they are a rather loud hue of red and have a white star on them.

I made the ribbing double sided with a smooth stocking stitch to hug his wrists. So you cast on, rib 2×2 then knit a row of garter stitch. Carry on with stocking stitch for the same length as your ribbing. Fold the stocking stitch inside the ribbing and join.

See the smooth stocking stitch on the inside?

See the smooth stocking stitch on the inside?

And for extra warmth, I made the pogies double skinned too – so in fact they’re two pairs in one. Once you’ve joined the cuffs, knit the inside layer.

Inside layer done

Then go back to the cuff, from the outside, and pick up and knit the same thing all over again.

The second layer

At the top knit together the inside and outside layer and then graft the two together for a smooth finish.

Since they’re only a small item, it didn’t take long at all. Three afternoons or so. If you’re interested in the pattern, please ask. I’m thinking of selling it to the local rowing clubs – of which there are quite a few round here, so don’t want to just post on the blog.

I wasn’t expecting to have finished my first item in the first week of January! Husband is happy with warm hands and I can now get back to those WIPs that are bothering me.

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My Knitty Aims for 2015

I’m writing this post whilst the Christmas tree is blinking away for the last night in its brief sojourn in our house. It is looking smaller than when we brought it home, it seems that we’ve already moved away from Christmas into the challenges of the New Year. And from a knitty (and crochet) point of view, I hope that in 2015, I can finesse my techniques and produce professional looking garments. These are my aims:

Socks

Seems that these unprepossessing garment is actually quite complex. Like Natasha’s nanny in War and Peace, I want to learn to knit them two at a time (as my patience threshold is low). And I want to knit lacy ones like the one below. And learn about different methods for turning the heel. I recall that there are over 50 ways of doing it!!! The mind just boggles.
sockFair Isle/Colourwork

I really want to use more colour techniques this year. Fair Isle strikes me as the most beautiful and frightfully complex way of knitting. I wonder if I would ever get to the end or whether I’d have to “knit back” all the time to that row before where I made a mistake…
fairisle

Beading

I inherited some lovely beads from my Mother. I look at them from time to time and wonder what I could use them for. I have now married them up with some yarn – the question is what the pattern ought to be. There are so many striking ideas out there. I’m sure I’ll find just the one!
beaded top

Crochet Lace

I love crochet and I would love to make a really showy item in lightweight yarn. Rather than doillies which are not my sort of thing, I’d want to make some curtains perhaps. I absolutely adore these – unfortunately the pattern is out of print. It was created by the Burda Design team. Perhaps some of you reading this may have it hidden somewhere? I’d be happy to buy it or swap it!!
curtain

No doubt there will be the projects that jump the queue. For instance my sister’s wedding blanket really does need finishing. Sigh. But here’s to another exciting and project filled year!

What’s on your “To Do” List for 2015?

 

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Happy New Year!

happy new year

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Countdown to the New Year

This is one of my favourite times of the year. The stresses and strains of Christmas are over but there is New Year celebrations to look forward to. I can still legitimately drink mulled wine but there are no presents to wrap. Sitting on the cusp of the old and the new is a very exciting time for me. With only a few days left of 2014, I’ve taken stock of my knitty achievements. And I’m pleasantly surprised. I’ve posted over 30 patterns this year. Judging from the number of visitors, the wider knitting community also enjoys what I’ve thought up!
cartoon1

I’ve made over 40 items – big and small. I couldn’t pick a favourite if I tried. I loved treating my little (!) boy to his ribbed colour block jumper and my current all time favourite top is the body warmer I made in a few afternoons. I also know that  my aunt rather likes her spiral socks whereas my dog really doesn’t like her dog coat. Obviously I can’t ask any of the babies whether they like their blankets, but I made no less than three of them, so there is a good chance that at least one of them is appreciated!
Spiral Pram blanketI didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions in January so I have no yardstick to measure my knitty success. However, completing, on average, a project every 1.3 weeks is not bad! Does show that I commute a lot…

cartoon2

So here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year – let it roll on!

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Merry Christmas to You and Your Family!

Christmas

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