Monday, April 27, 2009

Sweater Mania

Never one to concentrate on one thing at a time, I am now knitting two sweaters at once. Henley Perfected in a duck egg blue and Arisaig in a bluey/lilac heathery yarn. Am a bit nervous about fitting given my podgy bits, and the lace making it hard to see what might fit. Am not very experienced at sweaters for people over a foot tall. I am trying really hard to finish the Arisaig before I start anything else. It is hard. Back and 2 fronts finished. 1.5 sleeves to go....

Spring Bunnies

A treat for the girls for Easter. They sit on eggs. I love them, although annoyingly the girls were more interested in plastic tat eggs from the 'Easter Bunny'. Humph. They are from a pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits.

Whisper Cardigan

And I finished this. It is so hard to photograph, so you will have to put up with a pick of my boobs. I do love it. But I wish I was thinner, it makes me look like a podge I think. Its so soft though. MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Must loose weight. Meanwhile, the designer has published a similar cardigan with better coverage for the bloaters amongst us, so I might do that one. Or loose weight. Sadly (or not!) I did manage to acquire even more laceweight yarn during my recent trip to the US and am very into the idea of using it for proper garments, not just shawls....

The Beast

So I got distracted from my Whisper Cardigan with another Girasole, this time a present for my mother in law. I used some New Lanark Aran in a speckled blue to make quite a heavyweight blanket. Boy did it take a while to get used to the thicker needles and chunky wool and at the beginning I wasnt sure I was going to enjoy this at all. It was a bit of a slog at times, but having finished one already I know the results would be great so slog on I did. I was also up against a deadline as we were visiting soon. I think it took me just over 3 weeks in the end. It got so so heavy! But all was made much easier by the purchase of some cable connectors so I had a 40" + 32" cable joined together. Hence the name: The Beast.

I blocked it by soaking it in the bath (it got even heavier!), rolling out the worst of the moisture in towels, then spreading on my bed (a king size, but still barely big enough). I carefully pulled and tweaked it, but didnt pin it, as I dont like the edge too pointy. Mercifully, it mostly dried in a day so we could actually go to bed.

And MIL loves it :)

And I have already bought yarn for a third, this time a sage green DK weight, so the size should be somewhere between my delicate #1 and my beasty #2. I am going to concentrate on other projects for a while though...the queue is long.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Use for Lace Yarn

Yes, I have cast on yet another project. How could I resist when it addresses one of my current problems: what can I knit with a million skeins of laceweight yarn when I cant figure out what to do with shawls when I have finished them?? I do love knitting with the smaller needles and tiny yarn, so imagine my joy when I saw the pattern for the Whisper Cardigan in the latest issue of Interweave Knits. The only thing that held me back was wondering what it is going to look like on my lumpy torso, but then I thought, what the heck, who cares. And maybe the floaty back part will hide some of the back flab.

So I am using KnitPicks Shadow in Oregon Coast Heather, which is divine to knit with, so soft, and has some lovely colours in it, fawn (no not beige!) with hints of pink. The construction is basically a shrug with a dangly back part, which sounds awful, but I am hoping it turns out nicely. I have already done the basic shrug part and am onto the ribbed edging.

One slight snag is that I only have 2 skeins of the yarn and I will probably need a third. And you cant get it in the UK. Oh. But a lovely raveller is supposed to be sending me some. At least I hope she is lovely. She has my money, so hopefully all will go smoothly. Meanwhile, I knit on in hope and faith!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Isnt it remarkable that they can take a big pointy scratchy stick thing and somehow turn it into something that looks like this:

The yarn is 100% bamboo and glorious and shiny and silky with quite a lot of weight which makes for a lovely drapey scarf. I bought it in PurlSoho in New York City last summer and wanted to buy enough to make a drapey cardigan wrap thing, but they didnt have enough. So I ended up only getting one skein which was barely enough to make this scarf (its short!) but still.

The pattern is the Montego Bay scarf which is so simple (K2tog, YO) basically but for some reason is impossible to get right and is very unforgiving as you can see all mistakes. But I got into the rhythm of it eventually. I do love it. I might have to revisit bamboo at another point, although will have to find something cheaper this time.

Meandering Vines

Another big project that seemed to go on and on, but I only worked on it between other things. The lovely lovely Araucania Ranco Multy. MMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I was a bit concerned that the varigation in the yarn would take away from the texture of the lace pattern, but I think its OK. It just makes it look more like something that is growing rather than something I knit.

I wanted a stole kind of thing that could be worn as a big scarf basically and it fits the bill wonderfully. It feels great too. Lovely and scrummy and bunchy all up inside your jacket.

Left Overs

This is what I did with the left over wool from the Girasole after a week away in which my camera was brutally left in my pocket naked with random stones and shells given to me by the kids. It deserves better.

It was so nice to do something quick and straightforward for a change.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


All done! I actually finished a few days ago, but my bleeding camera broke. Of all the times for it to crap out on me. Still I have a shiny new (well not so shiny and refurbished) camera now, and what better to photograph with it that this lovely thing. I do love it, and cant stop admiring the flower and leaf motifs. I will let you admire it before I reveal my reservations.

And the last picture tells the story of my lingering doubts about what to do with it. If I wear it as a shawl, it seems a shame to obscure its loveliness by bunching it up and also, and perhaps more importantly, it makes me look like an old granny. Its the edging I think. While ingeniously designed, it does make it look a bit too doily-like for my tastes. So what the heck am I going to do with it? I could use it as a throw for the couch, but the kids will probably muss it all up and it seems a bit too glorious for that. And it isnt the right colour. So I am musing on its use. M

And strangely, and I am not sure this has happened to me before, I miss knitting it. It was a pain in the end, but such fun making your way through chart after chart. I would kind of like to knit another one, but since I cant decide what to do with this one, it seems a bit pointless. I do have some lovely Cascade 220 in the perfect colours to match my couch, but I dont have enough to do the whole thing. Hmmm.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Glorious Slog

Wow this Girasole is a mixture of wonder and frustration. You get glimpses of loveliness as you see the pattern emerge, but mostly it looks like a big lump of nothing.

I have had a few setbacks, including failing to read Chart D properly and having to tink back over 600 stitches and thinking I had finished only to find I was still to repeat Chart G.

Anyway, good news! I am now doing the remarkably nifty knitted on edging which is fun for the first 10 repeats until you realise that there are over 200 of them in order to get all the way round. No matter! Today I have been glad I am knitting something I can drape over my knees as its blinking bloody cold out there today (first 'proper' snow for years!) and I must be nearly half way round after a few days at it. The incentive to keep going is to be able to spread it out in all it's glory once its completely cast off. Cant wait!

Still dont know what I am going to do with it though ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Market Winding

So last summer I got myself a construction set in the US, and made myself a lovely low tech piece of kit for winding yarn. Those poshies with oodles of cash can by themselves a swift for holding skeins of yarn that need to be wound into a ball. Elegant though they are (and yes, I do lust after one) we have neither the money or space for one. So through the power of Ravelry I discovered that you can make one from Tinker Toy sets, which of course means nothing to me, but Matt tells me its an old stylee construction toy set from his childhood, I suppose a bit like Meccanno is to us. Anyway, a trip to Toys R Us and a squizz at this website and I made my own. Woot!

I did fork out for a proper ball winder though (also not cheap). Makes life so much easier. And I am totally in love with the gorgeousness of the balls they produce. Like little cakes, almost good enough to eat. Yum.

Between wetting myself at Girasole and waiting for the yarn to arrive, I spotted another gorgeous shawl called At the Market, by Ilga Leja. Isnt it lovely? I just had to knit this one too and got my hands on some lovely green
Manos del Uruguay Manos Silk Blend on sale, which is the one I am winding in these pics. The shawl is knit on the bias to get that lovely drape. Its a fun pattern to knit and I love the geometry of it. Sadly, I just had to get on with my Girasole once that yarn came, but will get back to this as soon as that one is done.

Is there any rest?


Did you ever see a piece of knitting and just about wet your knickers in excitement? No? Just me then.

It happened when I saw Girasole by Jared Flood. Isnt it just about the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?? Of course the fact that he is not only a knitting designer but also a professional photographer doesnt hurt. But still. I was so excited when I saw it I immediately spend hours online looking for the perfect yarn. Not an easy task since you can make it in thicker weight (aran) for a blanket effect or thinner weight (4ply) for a shawl effect. I kind of wanted to make a thicker one, but the truth is I really dont enjoy using the chunkier needles. Just not as satisfying for some reason. I also limited myself to sale yarn since the whole thing takes up to 1800yds, which could work out pretty pricey. I almost went for Rowan Cashsoft which is a mid weight DK, but in the end I plumped for Araucania Ranco semi-solid which is a kind of fingering/4ply weight. Its the same yarn I am using for my Meandering Vines shawl and its so lovely to knit with, although not the softest, it seems to be quite tightly spun so doesnt split at all. Its yum.

Anyway, I have been knitting it for a week or so. What fun! It starts with a 'disappearing circular cast on' which is totally mad and quite infuriating, but leaves a lovely ring of stitches in the middle. The knitting goes quickly at first, but as the circle gets bigger and you get more and more stitches it slows down considerably. I still totally love it, but wonder what the heck I am going to do with it when its finished. I have no idea how to wear a circular shawl.

A Hug for a Friend

I have a friend who is going through a hard time, so I decided to knit her a hug. I just love this pattern, Abby from I used Knitpicks Shimmer in the 'cumulus' colourway that is a lovely subtle grey, but with browny bits, so nice and warm. It is so soft to knit, an alpaca and silk blend. Fortunately for me, I have a ton of it in my stash in various colours. Look forward to knitting with it again. :)

I didnt get great pictures of me modelling it, but you get the idea. Its all very Dr Zhivago dont you think? I am thinking of knitting one for myself, but the specs make it look a bit odd. I had to take them off for these pics otherwise I looked like a nob. Also, my hair got in the way. Maybe a hairnet on first? Urgh.

I think she likes it. And I am sure it looks better on her than it does on me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ice Cream


Do you know what it is yet?

A challenge for my reader(s). This is going to be a classic toy. Can you guess what?

A prize for the first to get it. To be determined.

In progress.....

1. Something for a friend...but its secret.

2. Meandering Vines stole in a heavenly yarn bought in a lovely knitting shop in Chatham, Cape Cod whose name escapes me. I love love love knitting with it. Have used all of one skein and am waiting to wind the second so I can continue. I think I actually might wear this one.

3. A big cowl that I started ages ago but havent got around to knitting for ages. Its a lovely colour, I should get back to it, but its boring to knit.

4. A Debbie Bliss jacket/cardigan that is knit sideways. I love the look of it. I am using some Cascade 220 Heathers that my mother-in-law snagged for me in a closing down sale. Appreciably cheaper than the Alpaca Silk the pattern calls for!


Feeling a bit guilty that I was knitting furiously for the in-laws, I asked my mother if I could knit anything for her. Assuming she would like a scarf or hat or gloves or something normal. She chose this Alan Dart cat (feck, in finding that link, I see that he now sells it himself. Grrr). Took me 100 years and fifteen million failed auctions on ebay to get the pattern, and OMG what a pain in the arse to knit all the little bits. And he looks odd, which of course my mother pointed out. And he doesnt have any whiskers. Which was also pointed out. I am not sure I want to grace my blog with him, but I think all that work deserves some record.


I knit these lovelies for the girls for the plane ride over to the US. I think they deserve a blog entry. I love their clothes :) (I think I like them more than the kids do). Bunny even has a cardigan and matching hat in the same yarn as Molly's swing cardigan. I am a genius.

Something else I finished on the Cape

I think I mentioned this before (ah yes!) but I totally adored knitting this. The yarn is the most wonderful I have used to date. I still have a skein upstairs and am saving it until inspiration hits. I finished it on holiday and have memories of knit, knit, knitting away on it, sitting in the cottage in the evening, watching Americans compete in the Olympics (why bother showing anyone else?) and waiting for Alex and Eri to arrive. Once finished, I used my new blocking wires to block it in the sun porch, then had an extensive photography session with it on the back deck. It is my Cape scarf :) And I wear it often. I am not sure its my colour really (one thing that is holding me back from knitting the second skein), but I love it anyway.

Also, while I was knitting it, I photographed it extensively as a WIP meaning to send the photo to the Knitty Calendar photo competition. I think I did pretty well in the end, but stupid me missed the deadline for photos. Doh. So here they are on my blog for posterity :)

Beach knitting

During our month-long holiday in Cape Cod, I
a) did a lot of knitting
b) bought a lot of yarn
c) not much else.
I had several beach knitting projects, nice and mindless. Knit it in the car and when visiting friends in NYC. Sadly, I havnt knit it since! I do love knitting it, but its just that I cant imagine what it will be like finished. Or if I will want to wear it. Its called my Stawberry Shortcake Clapotis because it reminds me of Haagen Daas strawberry shortcake ice cream, which I havnt had in years, but had glorious crunchy bits. On a childish note, the yarn is Fannies Fingering, which makes me snigger.

I also had a ton of yarn shipped to my parents-in-law prior to our arrival, as well as the wonderful Harmony Options needles which are both beautiful to look at and to knit with. I dont use anything else now. The truth is, I now have enough yarn to knit with for 5 years, so knitting from stash from now on. This is my pledge. I started this sweater for Matt while on holiday, and finished it a month or so after we got back. Its the biggest thing I have knitted to date, and got right hacked off by the weight of it on the needles (its basically knit in the round in one piece, bar the arms), but I loved its construction and its turned out really nicely. Its made in this yarn, which has flecks of yellow and red in it. Matt chose it. Also a plus: a) it fits! and b) he wears it! Woot!

And I started a dress for Molly with some sale yarn which is a linen mix, so stiff and soft at the same time. (The original pattern calls for 100% linen which feels like it would knit like wire, as well as being tres pricey.) I am not sure if I would have started it if I knew how much knitting there is in it. Its knit from the top down, so seems manageable at first, but as the skirt flares and flares the rounds get huge! But well worth it. She loves it, and despite her long body, it seems lengthy in that region so I think will last a while. Its really heavy to wear though!

2009 and onwards.....

...I know, I know. Dont nag.

First some belated Christmas cheer, then on to the catch-up.