In flight knitting…

Monday, December 6, 2004

Pattern: Octagonal Swirl
Yarn: Heirloom Cotton in a pale lilac
Needles: 4mm Addi Bamboo DPNs, 4mm Tulip Bamboo circular

Picture me agonising over how best to get needles past airport security and then picture me working incredibly hard not to look both smug and guilty as I stood in front of them on the other side trying to shove my laptop back into my over stuffed bag. Hiding a pack of bamboo DPNs into a pocket already overflowing with pens and pencils works a treat. I guess future plane flights will be a good time to work on socks!

This is my last christmas wash cloth and I knit well over half of it on the flight to Adelaide. I finished the rest driving around to see people when we arrived and then cast off after dinner the same day. I seem to have knit the two stitches on the second or third needle in the wrong order in the first row causing a twist at the center. I choose to think of this as a feature not a bug.

one red reverse bloom wash cloth

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Pattern: Reverse Bloom Wash Cloth - Interweave Knits Winter 2003
Yarn: Jo Sharp Soho Cotton, colour #220 “Poppy”
Needles: 4mm/60cm Tulip bamboo circular, 4mm/40cm Addi Natura circular, 4mm Addi Bamboo DPNs

The christmas “to do” list is shrinking!

photo frenzy

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

There is so much going on today I don’t know where to start.

Pattern: Sophie Bag
Yarn: Cascade 220, colour #9407 (green)
Needles: 6.5mm/40cm Crystal Palace Bamboo Circular, 6.5mm Tulip Bamboo DPNs

Sophie is done and I have reorganised my gallery a little so that she will actually appear at the top of my FO list instead of the bottom. Following on from changing format of the FO page, I have also decided to fiddle about so that recurring projects like wash cloths could appear in both the “Finished Objects” and “On the Needles” lists. Speaking of wash cloths:

The Reverse Bloom Wash Cloth is progressing and I really do hope tonight will be my last night working on it. I think it will be pretty and I will be pleased to give it as a gift to someone but I don’t know if I will be in a rush to make another one soon. I think the thing that is bothering me about the Reverse bloom Washcloth is that the knitting is very simple but the project is rather fiddly. It seems to me that 12 ends to weave into a wash cloth is about 10 too many. I have actually woven the ends already because on such a small project it was a real pain having them tangling up all the time.

The ColdHarbour Mill Aran yarn I ordered has arrived and I am very happy with it. The colours are not what I expected, having far less blue in them than I anticipated but I am very happy none the less. The yarn is lovely and I am really looking forward to knitting it up!

ColdHarbour also sent the colour card I requested. In keeping with their website which claims to be an internet store but has only the names of their yarn colours with no pictures (and requires that you call them to order but doesn’t provide a phone number on the shop page), their colour card doesn’t have names attached to the colours. So now I know there are lots of colours I like, but not what they are called. I can guess of course but what if I am wrong? I am not one of those people who is good at describing colours so I am quite worried about calling up and actually trying to sort out which colour is which over the phone…

reverse bloom wash cloth

Monday, November 15, 2004

I decided to try out the Reverse Washcloth pattern in Jo Sharp SoHo Cotton. It’s not what the pattern calls for, but so far so good. I knit most of the first petal three times before being sure I was happy with the result. The combination of this pattern and the cotton yarn being quite unforgiving means it has been better to start the current petal from scratch if I make even a small mistake - so the third petal got redone twice too. Each petal is quick to knit, so lets I hope I don’t have to knit the next two petals more than once and I could be done tonight.

and look, another wash cloth!

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Pattern: Yvonne’s Double Flower Cloth
Yarn: Cotton Fredom, colour #11 (green)
Needles: 4mm Addi Bamboo DPNs, 4mm Addi Naturas

Umm, the green is not quite so GREEN in person, green yarn seems to photograph particularly badly. The 40cm 4mm Addi Natura’s and I are developing a love/hate relationship. They are the perfect size for this sort of project and quite nice to use - apart from the part where my hands ache for hours afterwards because they are just too short for my hand. Ouch. No more cotton knitting for a few days I think.

books are good

Saturday, November 6, 2004

I am feeling a bit uncertain about the contrast colour I ordered for my Booga Bag so I have stopped working on it for now in favour of another washcloth. I was having trouble remembering the cast on the teacher showed me at my knitting class last week so I pulled out The Knitters Handbook and had a look to see what Montse Stanley had to say about casting on for knitting from the center out. She recommends a crochet hook method for this situation and I have to say it looks much better than the method I learned in class. I will definitely be using this method in the future. Just in case I am the only one that can tell the difference, the blue is from class, the green is from The Knitters Handbook.

it’s another washcloth!

Friday, November 5, 2004

Pattern: Octagonal Swirl
Yarn: Cotton Fredom, colour #5 (pale blue)
Needles: 4mm Addi Bamboo DPNs, 4mm Tulip Bamboo circular

We were having a very bad day today, Isabelle and I. So bad in fact that I gave her a dose of homeopathic Chamomilla and went off to the doctor’s to get my thyroid checked. The doctor’s main advice was get back into the exercise and make sure you make time for activities you enjoy. I took her advice immediately to heart and went off to a yarn store to buy some more needles - a longer 4mm circular to finish off the above wash cloth and some 6.5mm DPNs to do the icord for my Booga Bag. And while I was at it I bought a couple of balls of cotton yarn, destined to become yet more wash cloths. I also had a look at some Heirloom Cashmino. I wasn’t very impressed with the Heirloom 8 ply I used for the Phildar Baby Hoody but the Cashmino looked nice, it seemed like a decent substitute for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, with the added bonus of more and better colours.

I had made it all the way to the garter stitch border on the wash cloth using DPNs but the combination of reaching 36 stitches per needle and my purl stitches being slightly looser on the needle was just bound to result in dropped stitches. The circular I bought was “Tulip” brand. It was cheap, which is just as well because it isn’t very good - the needles were fine but the join was very snaggy. As it turned out the new 6.5mm DPNs came in very handy today as I used one of them to cast off the washcloth. Aren’t I good, actually following the advice of my knitting teacher to always cast off with a bigger needle, usually a MUCH bigger needle to get a nice elastic edge. If I had been able to choose a slightly smaller needle I probably would have but the DPNS were the only larger needles I had with me at the time and it worked a treat. The washcloth has a few lumpy stitches but i think it will block out nicely.

DPNs and icord

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Yesterday was my knitting class, apart from the ongoing problems we seem to be having coordinating my class attendance and Isabelle’s bedtime it went much better than last week. Last week you will recall Jesse called me half an hour early asking where I was and the teacher seemed kind of rude. This week I got home on the dot of 8:30 and found Isabelle was still eating dinner! The class was great though. There were less students, which always helps, but I was at a much better point with my projects to feel like I was really learning something. I learned to use DPNs:

Quite possibly I could have picked this up from a book or the internet like everything else but I have to say that this is one thing I was very glad to learn from one-on-one, in person instruction. I could be wrong but it seems that using DPNs is made harder than usual by my particular style of continental knitting and I would not have liked to figure out how to manage all those needles on my own. The other thing I learned last night was how to make icord. I know I have instructions on how to make icord in most of my books but something about it fuddled my dyslexic brain, turns out it was so simple any idiot could do it!

In other news I have been making progress with my Booga Bag.

I haven’t been working that hard on it, mostly because I won’t be sure where to put the stripes until my contrast yarn arrives and I don’t want to find I have to rip back to get the effect I want. My other reason for being so slack this week is that my right forearm has been achy. I think the achy-ness is in part due to having some sort of virus at the moment, I have been a bit achy all over. However, the right forearm is definitely worse than the rest of me and I blame those 40cm 4mm circs I used to make the brown dish cloth. Now that I know how to use DPNs I don’t see myself ever using those needles again. I will order a longer 4mm circ sometime soon, which will presumably have longer needles and be more usable.

a last minute gift

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Pattern: Grandmother’s Favourite
Yarn: Jo Sharp SoHo Summer, colour #225 “Uber”
Needles: 4mm Addi Naturas and 2 4mm Addi Bamboo DPNs with stoppers

Thursday evening, just as I was finishing the seaming of the Phildar Hooded Jacket, we received an invitation to a friend’s 35th on Saturday night. Having managed to secure a baby sitter I cast on for this wash cloth during Isabelle and Ella’s nap on Friday, knit some more in the car on the way home after picking up Jesse from work and completed it during some TV knitting that night and one last hour yesterday afternoon.

It was fun knitting something so quick and easy. I learned yarn over, practiced the slipped stitch garter selvage and all up I am happy with the result. As you can see it needs a little blocking as the increasing half has tighter edges than the decreasing half, I would try to loosen the increase edges in the future but I imagine it would block out. Unfortunately I was unable to block this one as I finished it only hours before handing it over. It was only as we were in the car on the way to dinner that I realised I could have steam blocked it with the iron, never mind it is only a dish cloth!

My only real problem with this project was excruciating cramp in my right pinky and ring finger from using 4.5mm 40cm circs. The actual needles are shorter than the width of my palm and I was clearly doing something strange with those fingers to compensate for having nothing to hold onto. About halfway though the washcloth I gave up on the circs and tried this instead:

Yep, that’s DPNs with makeshift stoppers - ugly, but so much easier to work with. Isabelle was very impressed when she saw them and wanted them for herself.

the arms are too long!

Friday, October 29, 2004

My red Phildar hooded jacket doesn’t fit Purple Teddy*, the arms are too long. Just as well it wasn’t intended for Purple Teddy! However, the intended recipient won’t be making an appearance for at least another few weeks (or so we fervently hope) and will take some time after that to grow into this garment so Purple Teddy is the only model we have at the moment.

You will notice there are no buttons. The jacket is now as done as it is going to get until I know the babe’s gender, at which point I will purchase appropriate buttons and contrast yarn to do some edge trim. I had been considering some edge trim on and off since I first chose the red yarn but had decided against it as I was worried about complicating such a simple pattern. That was until I started the Wednesday night knitting class. The three things the teacher had to say about this jacket were “nice shoulder seams” (she may even have gone so far as to call them “lovely”, I can’t remember for sure), “I suppose it’s neat enough” (in reference to the neckline and with a strong inference that it was barely adequate) and “I will need to teach you how to cast on and cast off a contrast colour in one row so that you can fix those edge stitches”.

Apparently garter stitch really needs a slip one knitwise selvage, of this I was unaware and just went ahead with Debbie Stoller/Maggie Righetti’s advice to pull hard on the second stitch to get neat edges. Just as well I was open to the idea of edge trim!

As for the slip one knitwise garter selvage advice, turns out she was right, it does look much nicer:

That’s my latest project you are looking at, I would show you more but it’s a gift for someone who might conceivably be reading this blog so you will have to wait.

Speaking of gifts I went to my local yarn store yesterday because I heard at knitting class that they had a sale starting. I managed to restrain myself and bought only six balls of yarn. I do have to confess that Isabelle preventing me from looking at anything for more than 10 seconds may have assisted this display of restraint. I would show you the yarn I did buy, but it is intended for Chrsitmas gift/s so telling you (or showing you) more would be, well, telling… I can show you the bag, because I am a tease that way.

*Just in case you are wondering about the capitalisation of Purple Teddy - that is in fact his name. Toys get very straight forward names round here, like “Purple Teddy”, “Big Dolly”, “Little Dolly”, “Bunny’ and “Dog”.

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