29 December 2005

A fresh start

This is the final picture of my lacy shrug... I finally did it - ripped out the shrug I'd been making with the aqua blue Totem from my poor old jumper... I didn't like the feel of the lace pattern, or the wide kimono-stype sleeves, and it kept bugging me - and I wasn't knitting much. And I have been lusting after the Not-So-Shrunken Cardigan from Knit & Tonic more than anything.

So yesterday I undid all the shrug knitting (I'd done about 1/4 of it, and kept my eyes on the ball winder and off the poor garment on the floor), and have re-washed the wool to ease out the crinkles, and have just bought the Cardigan pattern! Very exciting!

Taphophile has given me some more 8ply wool, in dark blue, as I don't have enough of the aqua blue by itself, so I'll be adding some stripes to the lower edge of the body and sleeves. Will upload pics as they're available.

Today we had a wonderful Stitch 'n' Bitch at Happyspider's home - much fun was had by all, with spinning, knitting, winding balls, unravelling tangles, browsing through knitting books and magazines, all accompanied by sushi, more yummies, and, of course, plenty of tea. My dear dotter finished the scarf she was making for a friend in Ireland, I finished the wrist warmers for the London brother-in-law, Taphophile wound many skeins into balls, Happyspider spun lots of wool from fluffy stuff, and young Irene learnt how to knit for the first time! It was a perfect day :D

23 December 2005

Warm hand thingies

I'm making these for my brother-in-law in London... I hope they fit, as I'm just guessing sizes. Anyway, it's this pattern from Knitty, and I'm using some deep purple Totem from a 'reclaimed' vest from Taphophile's mum (she of the endless 8ply stash). I'm using slightly smaller needles than specified, and made the thumb/button hole over 10 stitches not 6, as 6 was obviously way too small (yeah, had to rip it out).

I finished the first warmer tonight, and started the second one. They'll be late for Chrissy, and I must be MAD to be knitting in this heat, but - well, you know, it's KNITTING.

I can see I'm going to have to make these for my whole family - they're great. Less bulky than fingerless-gloves, and keep your wrists nice and toasty (yeah, just what we need in this 38ºC heat!). I love the feel of double rib, and the Totem is so nice and light.

20 December 2005

What happens to yukky knitted things

They get unravelled and turned into new NICE things! See how they sit there, all innocent and unaware of their FATE! Actually, I must admit that the girl's cotton jumper, although a vile colour, was a very nice design.

I don't know what I'm going to do with the pile of feathery pastel stuff (the scarf cost me $1), but the ton of Barbie pink 100% cotton is brilliant. I'm thinking purple RIT dye... At $3 for the jumper from Salvos, it was a bargain! I'm not going to bother balling it, as I'm likely to dye it in the near future anyway. I should have enough for a little cotton top for some small niece or other, or maybe even something for ME.

29 December Update : the pink cotton is now PURPLE thanks to a packet of RIT Cold Water dye, lots of salt, and some Cold Dye Fix... it is dry, and in the process of being wound into balls!

Knitting in Action

Here he is - my gorgeous new nephew, with Bubby Bear in residence!

19 December 2005

Ruby's Bag

It's my niece's 4th birthday in early January, so I made this little knitted bag for her - I used a Frugal Knitting Haus pattern as the basis, but changed it as I went. Used extra colours, added a dash of Fair Isle, and used a broken rib pattern for the lower-most pattern.

I only used 60 stitches around (instead of 100) to make it more suited to a small girl. The top edge is a c*****ted border with my lovely special yarn (which I'm saving for a Lynne Johnson tea cozy) - Heirloom AMOUR, made in France, colour 188. Très très beau!

08 December 2005

Mini Sock

Here's my first attempt at a sock, following the 'Mini Sock' tutorial on Knitty, which covers all the techniques you need, but doesn't waste time or wool on making a full-size sock. I found shaping the gusset confusing, as my yarn wasn't where the pattern said it should be... but it turned out OK. I have been initiated into the mysteries of sock-knitting, and come out the other end in one piece, with a cute little sock too!

So now on to a REAL pair...

07 December 2005

True confessions

I admit it, I am an op shop addict (although not as bad as Taphophile, it's true). In the past week I have nabbed this bag of 100% wool (now skeined and washed), and got 5 pairs of needles, including a set of 5mm circular needles (for 20¢).

I am also a magazine tragic - when I heard the new YARN magazine has just been published, I decided I had to go to our local newsagent, just in case they had it - oh yeah, and, um, I needed to do some banking and get some groceries. Yeah.
So I was shattered to not find it on their shelves, and the staff pleading ignorance - still, the manager said to check again in a few days, and give them the distributor info too.

While wandering the aisles feeling cheated of my new knitting magazine fix, I found The Knitting Directory by Alison Jenkins on sale ($9.95) (here's a review). It's spiral bound, which is very convenient, with a tough cover. While it covers a lot of basics that I already know, these will be good for my teen dotter, who is a beginning knitter; and the collection of knitted patterns, while not comprehensive, is good.

Damn, I should be cooking dinner.

06 December 2005

Wash your face!

Ciao! I HAD TO buy a ball of this delightful cotton yarn - Anchor Magicline No 1, made in Italy, colour 1432 - and then I spent weeks trying to figure out what to make with it. A simple cotton face-cloth seemed the most useful project that would only use 1 ball (or less).

I made this one up in a few hours, using Chinese Waves stitch with a garter stitch edging (which I forgot to add on one edge). I've still got half a ball, so I'm making another one - this time in Seed Stitch. I LOVE these colours!

Here's the second wash cloth, which I gave to a friend for her birthday last week.

Lime Green!

This is my knitting bag, which I made last night! It has a calico lining with tons of pocket, big ones for magazines/patterns, thin ones for needles, little ones for scissors/measuring tape/cable needles etc... and a magnetic clasp, and funky lime green with a sort of 'knitted' wave pattern.

I just eye-balled the whole thing, made it up without a pattern. A few of the pockets are a bit wonky, but no-one will notice... Here's what it cost me :

  • Lime green funky fabric 1 metre @ $7/metre
  • Calico lining 1 metre @ $3.25/metre
  • Lime green thread $2.80
  • Magnetic clasp $2.00
  • TOTAL $15.05 = a bargain!

Bubby Bear

Argh. This one was fiddly - probably a bit beyond my abilities at the moment! I'm a tangy knitter, not a piquant...
The pattern is Bubby Bear on Knitty.

I had a few problems with the pattern - the feet, for example, look much bigger in the photos on Knitty than I managed - and I was sticking to the pattern - maybe the designer went to bigger needles to do them? And there is one section which has 5 stitches to be grafted together (which isn't an even number, and hence won't work) - I did it with 6. And the neck - oh the neck... 6 stitches on 3 DPNs - just way too damn fiddly.

Still, I wanted to make something cute and small and easy to send to London for my new nephew Benjamin, and the end result is not too bad. I had about 4 attempts at the face, and ended up adding a lop-sided grin. I opted for an i-cord bow instead of ribbon (which bubs could chew and untie/choke on).

The Piano Stool

We've had this stool for ages, but the de-light-ful bright orange vinyl covering was rapidly disintegrating, leaving raw foam. Not exactly a great fashion statement!

I found a pattern for a felted cat basket (ie a flat circle with a rim), conferred with my cool teenagers about the right colours, and started knitting! I used a (hopefully) durable and washable acrylic yarn. The top of the seat is knitted on straight needles, using short rows (with 3-stitch increments). It came together beautifully, and was fun to do.

Then, using the grey, I crocheted a single chain onto the edge of the circle, and then picked up the stitches with a circular needle. I knitted the edge in a K2 P2 rib... during this process my 16 year old son kept wearing it as a beret. Yeah, with the needles too. Very cool.

I did several rows of decreases, and then bound off - which was a mistake, of course, as the edge was too tight, and wouldn't stretch over the edge of the stool! So I undid the BO row, and instead threaded the tail through the last row of stitches, and that became a draw-string. THEN it worked :D

29 November 2005

Chinese Waves Hat

Phew, the third baby hat in a week! When I found out my sister only had one hat for her London winter baby, well, I had to do something! He was born this morning (well, 10pm 28th November, which was 9 am 29th in Australia), and I'm posting the "Hat Pack" tomorrow.

I love the Chinese Waves pattern. It's fast, easy, and effective. I had to adapt it to work in the round, which took a little trial and error.

Classic Chinese Waves is :
Row 1 : Knit (right side of knitting)
Row 2 : * Knit 1, Slip 1 (purlwise) * across, ending with Knit 1
Row 3 : Knit
Row 4 : Knit 2 * Slip 1 (purlwise), Knit 1 * across, ending with Knit 1

To work in the round on circular / double-point needles, and have the pattern show on the outside of the hat, this is what I did :

Row 1 : Knit
Row 2 : * Purl 1, Slip 1 (knitwise) * to end of row
Row 3 : Knit
Row 4 : * Slip 1 (knitwise), Purl 1 * to end of row

I found it useful to place a row marker (I just used a piece of orange wool) at the start of each Row 1.

Lemon Hat

This cute Lemon Hat is for my new nephew! I used the pattern from Brook's Tuttie Cutie Fruity Hats. It's made with 8 ply pure wool, and knitted up quickly. I hope it's soft enough, though... I would probably have got a softer hat if I'd used the 75% acrylic/25% wool blend that Brook uses.

28 November 2005

Baby Flapper Hat

This hat is for my sister's new baby (who is in the process of being born as I type!)... it's my adaptation of the Flapper Hat design (from Keepsakes from Mother's Table). The lace is a simple Feather and Fan pattern. Let's hope she has a girl, cos she'll look like a little flower wearing this ;)

Jumper reborn

Last month I finally decided to unravel this lovely jumper, which I'd made way back around 1985, in Totem. It was knitted on circular needles, which were less common back then. I was taught how to use them by a Danish friend... but I didn't wear it that often, and not at all in the past decade. It had a hole in the sleeve too (not in a place where there was supposed to be a hole).

The unravelling turned into balls of wool, which I washed carefully. Then I realised that balls of wool don't dry very well, so had to turn the balls into skeins. Lots of winding and untangling!

I'm now knitting the gorgeous aqua-blue Totem into a lacy shrug, and saving the pink and cream Totem for another project.

27 November 2005

My French Market Bag

This is the first knitting project I did (after a 2-decade break!). I loved the yarn (Twilley's Freedom Wool) and the pattern (French Market Bag on Knitty). However, once I felted it, it shrank heaps in one direction, and less in the other, and ended up being terribly shallow and floppy, as you can see.

This picture shows what it looked like before I felted it. It was too shallow. Very very too shallow. I know. Hind-sight and all that. Blast.

I've since added a big button on top of one handle, and an i-cord loop to the other handle, which sort of helps to hold the contents in one place, but not very well. Bugger it. I might add a fabric drawstring top, stitched around the top edge... Taphophile's idea, to be fair ;)

So it's living in my bedroom, hiding until the day I can face up to trying to make it work. It was so damned expensive too! Aaaargh....

Why oh why?

I don't know why I'm doing this... but here it is, a Blog (when I'd vowed I'd never have one)!

Anyway. I got back into knitting a few months ago, after a 20 year break - I blame my dear friend Taphophile for this, and the Knitty web site. It's good fun. So I'll share pics of projects, and disasters, and any patterns I happen to make up.

I might also post pics of various artworks I create, you never know. Anything is possible!