fun in the sun

Friday, January 7, 2005

Isabelle and I went to one of our favourite parks today. She was very patient while I had a good long walk and I was very patient while she climbed trees.

I wore Kate.

Pattern: Kate - Phildar #406 / Printemps 2004 Familie
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton in “Dim”
Needles: 5mm Addi Turbos

The blocking went well and provided just enough extra length that I will leave it as is. I am very happy with how this turned out given that it is the first piece of clothing I have knit for myself and I will definitely wear it, but probably not that much for reasons pertaining to sunblock and bras. I knew it wasn’t practical when I decided to go ahead and make it. Denial is what gets us through the day, an old friend of mine often said.

about kate

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Kate is blocking. Kate is a bit short (as suspected) so there is a lot riding on the blocking… Though really she is only a tiny bit short and my biggest concern right now is whether I will (or will not) be able to come to some sort of bra arrangement acceptable enough to wear her often anyway.

This is what is left of the four balls I used. Seems like a shame to start into the last ball to add just one more inch. Not that I have anything else to do with one ball of All Season Cotton in Dim, I really don’t know what my problem is but apparently I have one.

See that twisted stitch, and the loop from the end of my short row that it isn’t hiding? I saw it just as I was carefully examining the tension of my grafting a few rows further up. That twisted stitch was pretty much dead center of the front piece, about half an inch below the neck band. Unpicking grafting is not my idea of fun.

neck band take two

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

So Monday I tried Becky’s method for the neckband on Kate and it was terrible. First I agonised over how many stitches to cast on. The front piece had 34 stitches to be picked up, the back had 26. The pattern calls for 40 stitches of neckband to be matched to those 34 stitches of front 34 stitches of neck band to 26 stitches of back with 16 stitches of neckband for each shoulder. I just could not figure out whether I should I cast only the 16 stitches called for in the pattern for the shoulder and thus end up with a neckband 14 stitches smaller than the pattern, or should I cast on some more - giving bigger shoulder straps and the right size neckband? I cast on a few more at the shoulder than the pattern called for, but less than enough to give a full sized neckband. I used the button loop cast on, which was excruciating to do, every stitch needed to be oh so carefully straightened and tightened and shaped just so, the yarn just didn’t want to slide though once the loop that was round my thumb was moved to the needle. I knit about half the neck band using two 5mm circs as I didn’t have a short enough circular for the job. My knitting was suddenly loose and sloppy and there were clearly too many stitches on the shoulder.

So yesterday I ripped it out. New approach. I knit the neckband separately from the top down (as called for in the pattern, but with only enough stitches to have 16 per shoulder and exactly the right number to graft the live stitches of the front and back pieces to the band. I also went down to a 4.5mm needle. I didn’t have a short enough 4.5mm either, so I tried the magic loop technique for the first time - which worked just fine, though my neckband was a bit big to magic loop easily on an 80cm circ, so I had to be very careful about how I managed my loops….

When the band was done I cast off the shoulders as called for in the pattern and I have grafted the back piece to the neckband. So far so good. Tonight I will graft on the front and (hopefully) do the side seams.

Yesterday was a particularly productive day, not only did I spend four hours knitting/finishing as described above (how DID it come to take FOUR hours to knit one neckband and graft 26 stitches?) I also waded though a whole bunch of “first day back to normal life” jobs and bought myself a convertible bra so that I can actually wear this thing, when it’s done. Assuming it fits. Which may be a big assumption. I have fears I may need to chop the bottom off and add a few inches to the middle.

And for those of you who are more interested in Isabelle than my knitting (you know who you are) I just have to tell you that she is in developmental overdrive right now. Not only has she started drawing recognisable shapes, learned to pedal her bike, improved her swimming (she started DIVING, I kid you not) but she has also figured out how to make tunnels with blocks over her train tracks. I built the big “houses” in the foreground but all those little ones grouped tightly together she built herself, unassisted. Wow.

and then came the 4th ball of yarn

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Would you look at that, I finally got past the end of the third ball of yarn. As I happily knit away after ripping it out for the second time I made a decision. There would be no checking of 10cm blocks of stitches this time. When I was back to the point I had decided there was a problem first time around I got out my calculator instead of my pins. When I was done with the measuring tape I did the math and found that the entire section of stocking stitch was exactly the size it should have been. I suspect that if I had done this the first time I may never have ripped it out, then again I had decided to check my gauge at that point because the stitches looked visibly different to the back. I have lofty goals of having Kate done by tomorrow night, that may be overly hopeful. It’s nice not to feel worried about whether I will get something done “on time” after all that christmas knitting.

I am planning to finish the neck band as described by the ever amazing Becky, assuming I can figure out one of the recommended cast on methods.

is there no middle ground?

Friday, December 31, 2004

Kate’s front is back to where we last saw it. My gauge has gone from 18st/10cm to 16st/10cm. Where oh where is the 17st/10cm I was looking for? How many times can I knit the front of one tank? I am now fairly certain that the excess tightness of Wednesday morning’s car knitting was to do with sticky fingers. With that in mind I really didn’t need to think loose thoughts tonight, just clean my hands. I am off to bed, all the better to rip Kate back to the rib again tomorrow. Tomorrow I shall have clean hands and think no thoughts about gauge at all. I shall not think loose, I shall not think tight, I shall simply knit. And pray.

happy new year

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy new year everyone. I saw the year in by having a glass of champagne, eating a mountain of berries covered in cream and shaved chocolate and ripping out the second half of my progress on the front of Kate. Actually that was all at about 10pm, before Jesse went out to an actual party with actual friends (which is not say that I have no friends but only that the idea of seeing them at night, at a party, is positively novel). Since then I have been watching a DVD while re knitting what I so gleefully ripped and waiting to see the year in for real. And checking my gauge. A lot. The sound of the fire works prompted me to come write this post.

My goals for the year, in no particular order:

to teach Isabelle to ride her bike so that I can start walking again
to start doing pushups again
to loose the 3 or so kilos I have gained since weaning Isabelle
to get pregnant or start the adoption process before the year is out
to join a Steiner playgroup for Isabelle
to decide whether we are going to send Isabelle to school or homeschool
to make further progress on sorting out our finances
to go away at least for the weekend at least every 2 months
and to go bush walking at least once a month
to make Isabelle a quilt for her Birthday (the first I will ever have actually finished)
to knit socks, something for Jesse, a poncho, scarf, hat and cardi for Isabelle, a knitting bag and hand bag for myself, and the rest…

how could I forget to mention…

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I have a gauge problem. This could be the real reason I have made no progress since getting out of the car yesterday. I have spent pretty much all the time since finishing my last post with some pins and a measuring tape. My gauge was perfect for the first half of the back, by the end it was about half a stitch tighter than it should have been. The front ribbing is find but the stocking stitch is 16, maybe even 18.5 stitches to 10cm rather than the 17 I was aiming for and I have one extra row plus some extra excess from my first ball of yarn. Should I rip back to the ribbing or just think loose thoughts from now on?


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Kate is about 75% done. I used just under two balls for the back and I finished the first ball of the front in the car on the way home yesterday. This is a fun knit and the mistakes I have made have so far been quickly identified and fixed.

You may recall that my first swatch for Kate was WAY off gauge. I tried a second swatch driving to a friends for desert Christmas day, this time on 5mm Addis, and second time was the charm so I cast on Christmas night while blow drying Mum’s Market Bag. I had done about an inch when I decided to double check my gauge and carefully spread my knitting out on the floor. My very first thought was “that looks WAY too small” I was too confused to even bother checking my gauge. I just sat and stared for about 5 minutes (while adjusting the hairdryer absent mindedly). Eventually I thought to count the stitches, which I had cast on in sets of 20 divided by makers for easy counting. I was 20 stitches short. Ooops. That was my biggest mistake so far.

At the same time I also realised that I was supposed to have used smaller needles for the waist ribbing. I put it aside in disgust and started again the next day in the car, careful to cast on enough stitches this time. I forgot to use the smaller needles. Again. As it happens I am quite happy with the result and the needles I would have used were bamboo, which I have decided that I loathe with a passion. Since then all the errors have been to do with making decreases on the right hand one stitch too soon and having to drop two stitches for 2 or 3 rows in order to move the decrease to the correct spot. That, or using the wrong decrease on the right and doing the same as above to correct the mistake. Knitting combination style means I have to remember to first untwist my knit stitches before doing a k2tog or it comes out looking like an ssk, despite this I still feel compelled to actually slip, slip, knit my ssks rather than just doing a k2tog minus the untwisting.

I have been feeling a bit flat today, thus no progress on Kate since our return but this brightened my day - a long awaited parcel from Threadbare.

The Raspberry Lamb’s Pride will go with all the Lamb’s Pride remnants from my Christmas Booga Bags to make myself a knitting bag, probably very similar in shape to the Market Bag I made Mum. The Brown Cascade is to become a Sophie. The Colour Cards make me happy because I clearly have issues about ordering online and that is the only way I can get Lambs Pride.

galavanting around the country side

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Jesse, Isabelle and I are off for a few days vacation with both of Isabelle’s grannies. I am taking Kate with me and there will be plenty of car knitting time so maybe there will be some progress by the time I get back.

christmas day 2004

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Our tree after many hours of wrapping last night, and on the other side of the room a not very discreetly hidden, a suspiciously bike shaped object.

Isabelle was transfixed by all the gifts under the tree this morning. So much so that she did not notice that great big parcel hiding in plain sight. So much so that she did not even notice it when breakfast was over and the time to open gifts was upon us. So much so that she did not notice it while distributing gifts and opening gifts and playing with gifts. So much so that she did not even notice it after the last present under the tree was opened and was a bike helmet. So transfixed was she by the tree that we had to repeatedly point out that there must be another gift to go with that helmet and that might be somewhere else in the room.

Jesse and Isabelle getting the camera ready for later

Isabelle waiting to hand out the presents

Can you help me open this dad?

hand knitted toys sent by Grandma Mary, purchased at her spinners and weavers guild.

There is something so wonderful about giving Isabelle the sort of magical christmas I wished for as a child. We have all had a lovely day.

In knitting news I changed needles on Kate and got gauge so I will be casting on tonight. I am going to try a tubular cast on. Oh, and I received lots of knitting related gifts today, I will post photos soon.

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