progress on all fronts

Monday, January 31, 2005

It turns out that I am not quite so tense as I thought. I finished the first piece of my secret project and it was too big, I had to go back down a needle size. The second try was fine and I am now working my way through the third piece. I should be done by the end of the week and back to working on something I can actually show you.

Next cab off the rank was supposed to be Carla, but I think I am going to join Alison and do some fixing in February. It’s time to go back to my first real project and fix the final edge of my Big Bad Baby Blanket. After knitting the moss stitch up the sides too tightly and having to painstakingly redo them I then over compensated and the final moss stitch edge was just too loose. I tried to tell myself it was fine, but every time I think about the BBBB I know that I will have to reknit it at some point. February seems like a good time to fix it.

In other news I have cut all the squares for Isabelle’s birthday quilt. Half of them have appliques which have also been cut and fused onto their squares. I am now onto the sewing part. Below are the squares I finished last night, there were some that were half done and many more that I have finished tonight. I think the appliques will be done by the end of tomorrow night’s session with the sewing machine.

shhh it’s a secret

Friday, January 28, 2005

I can’t tell you much about this project, because, well, it’s a secret. But I can tell you some simple things I have learned in the process of casting on today. Firstly, 22 is not half of 48. Secondly, I am a tight knitter, it is time I accepted this fact and just started swatching two needle sizes up. The thing is that while I wonder whether knitting so much tighter than average means I am really tense, I also wonder how one maintains even tension when knitting too much looser…

A bag at last

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pattern: based on the Knitty French Market Bag
Yarn: Brown Sheep Company Lambs Pride Worsted in Raspberry (base) Victorian Pink (top) and Khaki (stripes)
Needles: 7mm Addi Turbos (60 and 80 cm)

I have a bag at last. After months of carrying around a calico grocery bag as an excuse for a handbag I have actually have something that is not only not embarrassing but I actually like and I made it myself. Woohoo to that.

Crocheting on the edge turned out to be pretty easy, I just made a chain and then a double crochet in every cast off stitch (and every second row of the handles) and that was it.

I was running out of yarn after doing the loop around the tops of the handles and the big gaps in between so for the holes inside of the handles I had to just crochet along the pink and stop at the Raspberry part of the handle. This turned out to be a good thing as crocheting into only every second row was too different in tension to the knitting and the edge of the handle that did get crochet felted down tighter than the rest of the bag which is a tiny flaw that I swear I will soon forget - but I won’t do it again. Also the join actually looks better on the inside of the handles where I stopped just after the start of the Raspberry, so there you go.

The felting took much longer than usual with this bag, partly because I was worried about colour running and did it at 70 degrees Celsius instead of 80 and partly I think because the Raspberry and Victorian Pink felt at different speeds. This actually caused a bit of drama (euphemistic for full scale panic) as the base looked very odd after the first round through the washer (and the second too). I was so convinced that I had some how miss aligned the handles that I spent a long time gazing at this photo which clearly shows I had not. As you can see the handle is directly centered above the bottom seam, which looks kind of like a crease here.

I then remembered being told that different colour yarns can felt differently so I stopped panicking and put it back in for another full cycle. When it came out the Victorian Pink section was exactly the same size as it had been after the previous cycle but the Raspberry was now smaller and they matched! Yippee. It has been so rainy and humid here that I risked giving it a gentle spin which worked so well that I will do it again next time. And then of course I got out a plastic bag, our DVD collection and I blocked it.

I have really trouble blocking these bags just right, they always seem to come out of the felting process twisted and somehow no matter how hard I try by the time I have got the top of the bag looking right I have pulled the base off centre and I rarely notice this until it is dry. This time was no exception. But you know what, no one but me will ever know. Except you of course…

Speaking of the base, I chopped up another flexible chopping board from IKEA to make an insert for this bag and sometime this week I will buy myself some fabric to cover it with. Have a look below, on the left is the bag with the base and quite a lot of weight in it, on the right is the bag with no base and only keys, purse and phone to weigh it down.

If you are going to make this bag get yourself to IKEA and buy some felxible chopping boards. They come in two packs, cost about $4 and I have made three bases out of the pair I bought with enough left for at least one more bag.

This will be the last French Market Bag I make for a while, but it’s a great bag and I can see myself whipping another one up as a gift someday.

now for the crochet

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Well the knitting part is done and now that the ritual photo inside the bag is also done it is time to break out the Crochet Stitch Bible and pray.

Before I forget

  • my provisional cast on worked beautifully.
  • I can finally do kitchener stitch without consulting Knitty’s wonderful how-to (my tension is improving too).
  • and finally, I know it won’t matter post felting but I am much happier with the fully fashioned decreases (and increases) I did for the handles on this bag. It seems I am straying further and further from the pattern each time…

sand in my knitting bag

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Yesterday we went to Bondi to have lunch and a swim with some friends. I have fairly strict rules about swimming which don’t invlove getting into the ocean when it is 25 degrees and windy. So this was me.

Isabelle and her farther have no such qualms about water temperature.

They are swimming in the kiddy pool at the north end of the beach as the surf, even on a fairly mild day like yesterday is too much for a not quite 3 yr old. Well it’s too much for her parents anxiety levels anyway.

Isabelle’s swimming technique looks a lot like drowning. The other parents find it quite disturbing that we watch her do this with a happy smile on our faces. She doesn’t travel far with this particular style, but she doesn’t drown either, and she has a lot fun.

Oh, and the maket bag, it’s almost done. The knitting part anyway. Then comes the crochet.

really not knitting much at all…

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Except while sitting on the couch that is.

The first stripe of pink happened almost entirely yesterday (I had done a few rows earlier in the week), the two green stripes and the pink in between happened today. That’s 5 or 6 times the 4 rows I said I would likely be knitting per day. And I am going to bed early tonight.

would you look at that

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Apparently all it takes to up my productivity level is a public announcement that I won’t be doing much knitting, and there’s more since I took that photo, but the lights gone now.

slloooooow times

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I would show you a photo of my market bag but although I have changed colours since I last posted the 10 or so rows I have knit in the pink just don’t seem to warrant a picture. But this does:

It’s two skeins of Cascade 220, sent to me be Cara in trade for the stitch markers I sent her recently. She was only supposed to send one skein - sneaky! But what lovely colours she chose. I think I hear Sophie calling. Also in the box was a card made from one of Cara’s stunning photos, I am still trying to figure out where to put it so that we can see it and it will still be safe from Isabelle’s sticky, scissor wielding fingers.

Knitting may be a bit slow round here in the coming weeks as I have some actual work to do, helping with the rebuild of Mem’s site, which hasn’t had a facelift since Lawrence and I did the original site 7 years ago. That’s right, 7 years ago, count them. There’s that and the fact that my big project at the moment is not knitting - it’s a quilt for Isabelle’s birthday, which I am hoping she will like enough to agree to sleeping under the covers come winter. I expect I will still be knitting everyday, but more likely 4 rows at a time than 20…


Monday, January 17, 2005

The Raspberry part of the French Market Bag handles is done and I have ripped out enough yarn to trim the edge of the bag when it is done. These are my fifth and sixth attempts at a crocheted provisional cast on (attempts one through four were on the previous market bag handles).

I think that I have finally figured out how to do it so that it will actually unravel. I had to unpick the first 3 tries, which somewhat defeats the purpose. I am itching to pull it out now to find out if I got it right but I don’t have enough stitch holders to put the stitches on so it will have to wait.

And look what came in the post today, I would tell you more, but it’s a secret.

this little piggy went to market

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I am making some progress with my third market bag. The base is done, I am about 8 inches into the body and I have used up all the Raspberry yarn. I got to this point on Thursday.

Since then I have been trying to figure out exactly how to arrange the colours for the rest of the bag. I have 1.8 skeins of pink and a bit over half a skein of Khaki and until about 10 minutes ago (when I got out my measuring tape so I could tell you how much I had done) I was pretty sure I needed to use all of that. Now I am not so sure. My original plan was to knit the Raspberry until it ran out, then all of the Khaki and then all of the Pink, “keep it simple stupid” and all of that. Jesse didn’t like this idea. Jesse thought that the Khaki was beautiful with either of the other yarns but problematic with both and that the bag should have a Raspberry lip around the edge and Raspberry on the handles. I had to draw him a picture in order for him to even being to understand how complicated a lip of colour would be on a bag with handles like this. But it’s a good idea and I couldn’t let it go once he had suggested it. A day or two after I had given in and decided to do it intarsia and all I realised that I could just crochet the lip on later. So I gave it a go, and I think it will work.

Because I am slack I did my test on live stitches, I think the Raspberry stitches extending up into the pink trim looks quite interesting but I am pretty sure I will cast off before adding the trim. Then again, maybe I won’t. What do you think?

But before I get to crocheting on an edge I have to knit the rest of the bag, and that requires deciding whether to use the Khaki or not, and if so how. One stripe between the Raspberry and the Pink, or two smaller stripes inside the Pink? Please tell me what you think, I need help here… I have to finish knitting the Raspberry parts of the handles (which I am doing by slowly ripping yarn from the bag body) and then rip back a couple of rows more to put aside for the trim before I can start on the next colour so I have a day or two left to continue obsessing over this. Another idea is that I could try goign with just the Pink and if it isn’t tall enough when I run out then I can move onto the khaki and put the rasberry trim onto that… Hmm, that could look good too. Arrrgghhh…

Oh and that sleep schedule I mentioned? Went out the window when Isabelle had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR nap this afternoon. She was still up at 10:30 tonight. Ugh. There will be no more naps. Not ever.

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