October 30, 2007
So where did the weekend go?
Not quite sure what happened to my weekend. One minute it was Friday, next thing I know, it's Tuesday night.
Saturday afternoon was most enjoyable. I got to Stitch n Bitch for the first time since May! It was only a relatively small turnout (about 15 - 20), and I had to leave early, but still the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Saturday night, Em had a dance comp. She did well, but it was go, go, go all night, which always wear us out.
Then we lost an hour for daylight savings, and on Sunday, I went on a Bus shopping trip to a bunch of outlet stores, which was fun, but very tiring.
Not much knitting has been done in all of this, but I did manage to acquire my longer cable from Donni, and I've been working on the Hemlock Ring Blanket. Tonight I got up to the cast off row.
This is going to take hours. It's a convoluted cast off, but it'll be pretty when it's done. About ten years from now!
I did finally finish something else.
The Hanging Garden Stole is finished!
The only modifications I made was to only do 11 repeats instead of 14. And I'm glad I did because I think that 168cm (66 inches) is long enough!
The colours in the close ups are way off, much too pale, but I thought you might like to see some details.
I'm really happy with this one!
Back to the Hemlock I guess.
But here's another Twinkie broom picture, just to tide you over.
Every single time someone sweeps the floor this happens.
October 25, 2007
Knitting Round Up
It's time for a knitting round up, I think!
I'd love to show you the finished Hanging Garden Stole, but I can't.
It's not finished. Well, it's blocked and all, and I'm very pleased with it. But I still haven't fixed that dropped stitch, or woven in the ends. Next time.
The Slinky Socks.
Coming along quite well. But last night, I discovered a problem.
Obviously, I'm less stressed using dpns. My gauge is different, and this sock is bigger than the original. At this point though, I don't care, I just want them over and done with. I think the first one was a little on the tight side anyway. (I'm going to keep telling myself that!)
They're nearly done now. Just a little more foot to go, then I can do the toe and heel, and forget that they ever existed.
Ooh, I did finish a whole other sock.
I couldn't resist. When I finished my last post, I had to go cast on my little red sock kit that I got from The Loopy Ewe. At least it came out right!
The Hemlock Ring Blanket is temporarily stalled.
My needle is full. I can't fit any more stitches on the needle. I'm up to row 112, which is an increase row, so I'm stuck until I get a longer cable. The chart goes up to row 116, but I've still got plenty of yarn, so I'm just going to keep going until I run out.
And Nicole is the current front runner.
This is a great knit, and I'm really enjoying the Cathay. Here's a closer look.
I'm just starting the body patterning, but I've already used up a ball and a half of the five balls of yarn required. I love a quick knit!
In other news, Karen over at Needles and Wool had a competition a little while back, and I was one of the lucky winners. Look at the lovely package that arrived in yesterday's mail!
A gorgeous hank of Handspun Corriedale from Crown Mountain Farms, some luscious Lindt dark chocolate, lovely little notecards (I really love notecards!), and a super cute little sheep kit. I wanted to cast on for the sheep straight away, but I'm saving it as a reward for finishing my Hemlock.
Well, I'm trying. But you saw how successful I was with the Red Sock Kit!
October 23, 2007
Blocking, with wires!
Yesterday was another hot day in Sydney town. Too hot to have the Hemlock in my lap, but a perfect day for blocking.
I love the blocking wires. Straight lines are never a problem any more. I used to use the "thread a strand of yarn along the edge to get a straight line" method, but this is easier by far, and more precise. And less pinning!
The first time I ever had to block out something large was my Feather and Fan shawl, I ran out of pins halfway around and had to run down to the supermarket to buy more.
Anyway, I soaked the Stole for about half an hour in warm water, then rolled it up in a towel and squeezed out the excess water gently.
I threaded the wires through the edge stitches, and used 12 T-pins to hold the wires in place. That easy!
I did discover a problem in the blocking.
I dropped a stitch while I was casting off! I'll have to frog the cast off row and re-do it. Apart from that, it's looking good!
As I said, it was a little hot to work on the Hemlock, so I cast on for something new.
We've been making a few preparations for our upcoming vacation. (The plane takes off in 8 weeks, 2 days, 1 hour and approximately 30 minutes). Excited? Me?
One thing I have prepared is my travel knitting. It arrived this morning from The Loopy Ewe.
ShibuiKnits Sock in Orchid, in a Loopy Ewe Purse Pal Tote. I like to get the important things organised. We have no luggage yet, we haven't booked the care hire, and we only got our passports last week, but I've prepared my travel knitting!
One of the (many) things I like about The Loopy Ewe are the fun little extras that Sheri pops into your package. Look what I got this time around.
A mini sock kit! I was tempted to cast on straight away.
Twinkie was unimpressed.
But then again, it usually takes food to impress her.
Bunny feet and tail!
October 21, 2007
And sometimes, it shrinks
I have worked on the Hemlock Ring Blanket this weekend. Not non-stop, but a lot.
But it hasn't grown much at all.
Last night, I began row 92, which is a pattern row. There I was, merrily knitting along, when I suddenly realised that I had far too many stitches in just one of the repeats.
I'd gotten a bit cocky on the last couple of rows, so I'd knitted along without bothering to count too much. And I stuffed it up. So badly that I couldn't fudge it and fix it up.
I had to rip back 10 rows.
Doesn't sound like much, does it? How about when it's around 400 stitches per round? I sat up until 1am, and have only just now, at 3pm, got back up to row 93. And started the second hank.
But I had to stop, it's 32.5C right now, and I can't bear having it in my lap any longer!
But I do have other knitting news.
Look Ma, no needles! Blocking tomorrow, with my new blocking wires. Stay tuned!
October 19, 2007
It grows. And grows, and grows!
So, the Hemlock Ring Blanket is growing. And super quickly, too. It feels really odd to be working lace in such a heavy weight yarn, but it's also nice to watch it grow before your eyes. When you work with laceweight, you knit for hours, and your project takes 3 days to grow an inch!
Here's a closer look at the Feather and Fan part.
I'm using 5.5mm needles, but I think I could have gone up to a 6mm and still been happy with the resulting fabric. Except that I don't have a very long 6mm needle. I'm using a 5.5mm Knitpicks tip, on a 100 cm cord, and it's getting a bit crowded. I've ordered a 150cm cable from Donni, and I think I'm going to need it pretty soon.
And did I mention that these hanks are huge? I'm up to round 87. I have over 400 stitches per round, and I still have this much of the first hank left.
Doesn't look like much? How about now?
Huge Hanks. Huge.
Brooklyn Tweed did 101 rounds on his blanket. I may make mine a little bigger, we'll see how bored I am and how hot the weather is when I get there. It's another hot day today.
Last time I posted, I mentioned I was having trouble with my 'net connection. Twasn't the connection. My modem laid down and quietly died not long after I finished the post. I now realise that I am far too reliant on my 'net connection. I had no internet for just over a day. I was a little lost soul. No blogs, no Ravelry, email only through my mobile phone.
Emily was asking me questions about her homework, and I had no Google! No dictionary.com!
I am pathetic!
And today my 13 month old car is back at the dealer, because warning lights are coming on that shouldn't be. I have had no car all day. I'm almost as bad as I was without my internet.
Thank heavens for old fashioned knitting, huh? No mechanical bits that can pack it in when least expect it.
October 16, 2007
Look what I got!
My Cascade Eco Wool arrived yesterday, from Yarns Online.
These hanks are huge! I got colour 8014.
For the Aussies, here's a comparison.
Thats a 250g skein of Cascade Eco Wool, a 100g skein of Cascade 220 and a 50g ball of Cleckheaton Country Silk.
I told you, it's huge!
Here's a rabbit for comparison.
Yeah, the rabbit is huge as well!!
The Eco wool is a bit thicker than the Cascade220, knitting up at 14sts = 10cm, but it's softer than I expected, and I think it would make a nice jumper, too.
Anyway, I'm using mine for the Hemlock Ring Blanket. I worked on it yesterday, and got up to Row 44.
Unfortunately, today is hot. 33C hot. So I haven't touched it yet.
Short post today, our internet connection is playing up and I keep dropping out, and that, along with the heat is just making me cranky!
October 14, 2007
A great weekend!
We had a lovely afternoon yesterday!
Lara and Mark had their house warming and baby shower. The weather was lovely, although it got a bit cool later in the afternoon, and I got to finally meet and chat with other Sydney knitbloggers like Celia, Lien, Kate and Sally among others.
And we got to play with bunnies! And a Cocky and some chooks, too.
We met Jasper for the first time.
Emily loves Custard. (And thought about bunnynapping him!). In the background, you can see Cocky watching over all the antics. But we didn't leave Cocky out!
And we can't forget Liza and Barbara.
Lara is going to be Twinkie's foster mother while we're visiting the USA. Looks like a nice place for a bunny holiday, doesn't it?
While we were there, I worked a little on the Hanging Garden Stole.
Up to the ninth repeat now.
And on the Stupid Slinky Sock. I was a bit uncertain about starting the toe and this whole afterthought heel caper.
I took Terri's advice, and worked the foot so that it was about 4" short of the total foot length from the waste yarn for the heel opening. But I was still a bit unsure, so instead of starting the toe, I put the foot stitches on to two dpns to hold, and undid the waste yarn, putting the heel stitches on the two circs.
For the heel and toe, I'm using a solid yarn. In this case, it's Knitpicks Essential in Petunia. I worked the heel, then tried it on Em.
By the way, why didn't anyone warn me that an afterthought heel requires grafting? Grafting twice on one sock is kinda pushing the friendship!
I'm not keen on the heel in the pattern. Is it just me, or is it a bit pointy? Anyway, at this point, I should have checked the length of the foot, but I was more preoccupied with the pointiness of the heel.
So at Lara's, I started the toe. The pattern calls for a star toe, so I blithely followed along. I didn't finish it until I got home last night.
I ended up with a pointy toe and a pointy heel. I didn't take a picture, because I don't like nighttime pictures on my camera.
So I ripped out the toe, and part of the heel. I did a standard toe, and I shortened and rounded off the heel a bit, and then tried the sock on Em. (After kitchenering the toe and the redone heel!)
Here's where I noticed that I should have checked the length of the foot. It was too short.
So I ripped out the toe, lengthened the foot, and did the freakin' stupid toe again.
And grafted it. Again.
This time, it fit.
Lucky, because I was ready to toss it.
Between the trauma of two circs, pointy heels, short feet, three toes and four graftings, this sock easily tops my "Worst sock ever" list.
But sock number two?
I feel better already!
October 13, 2007
I don't know why I own a camera.
I don't know why I own a camera. I never think to use it until it's too late.
The Phildar yarn kept talking to me, but there was a problem. I think it was speaking French. I clearly didn't understand what it was saying to me.
I thought it wanted to be a summer tank top for Emily. So I spent a good part of Wednesday finding the stitch pattern I was looking for and swatching for gauge. Once I'd worked out the details, I cast on.
It definitely did not want to be a tank top for Em. I'd also forgotten that I don't really like to knit with cotton. Or with tape yarns. Tape yarns play havoc with my perfectionism. They twist and they don't sit neatly. And I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to smooth them out again. So I did all this work, then got cranky and ripped it all out, and never took a single picture.
We shall not speak of the Phildar Phil Ruban again.
Yesterday, Ailsa and I went over to Cabramatta. Again, I should have had the camera. We had a great day! We walked up and down the main street, shopping for fabrics and poking around in all the shops. We had an absolutely delicious lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. The Beef Noodle Soup was fantastic, and Ailsa had the Vietnamese pancake, which she assured me was also delicious. I'm imagining the way it all looked, but that doesn't help you much, does it?
Ailsa came over to pick up her share of these.
Blocking wires! We ordered them from Knitpicks, and Jill was kind enough to play courier for us, collecting them and mailing them on. (Boo hiss to Knitpicks for your international mailing policies!) Three sets, one for me, one for Ailsa and one for Lara. I get to deliver Lara's in person tomorrow.
Now I want to block something, so today, I got back to work on the stole. Em had a friend over, so I had a relatively peaceful day left to my own devices. I got 30 rows done on the stole, then disaster.
Can you see it? I have no idea what happened. I would've sworn that I followed the pattern exactly.
Does this make it easier?
Those stocking stitch patches are not supposed to be there. Thankfully, the frogging was uneventful, and all the stitches are back where they belong, just 10 rows back.
October 09, 2007
So, finally, the Cabled beanie and Gloves are done.
Pattern - "Cover Girl" from Family Circle Easy Knits for Kids (Originally published in Winter '99/'00 issue of FCEK)
Size: One size
Yarn: Recommended yarn is Cleckheaton Country 8ply. I used Cleckheaton Country Silk 8ply, same yarn with the addition of 15% silk. 3 and a half balls.
Needles: Recommended 4mm. I used 3.75mm for the hat, and 3.25mm for the gloves.
I modified the hat by reducing the length by one pattern repeat. (8 rows), see this entry.
I modified the gloves extensively. The pattern is written for knitting flat and seaming. I can't think of anything worse than seams in gloves. Or seaming gloves! So to start with, I just rewrote the pattern to knit them in the round. The recommended gauge is 22sts/4". The pattern has 42 sts across the hand. That's nearly 8". Em's hand is about 6 3/4". And my gauge was off, so the glove was something like 9" around to start with.
So I had to rip out the whole glove and rewrite the whole pattern. Tthe pattern I knit resembles the original, in that it has a cabled cuff and stocking stitch hand. The method of knitting it, and the stitch count is completely different.
I didn't knit the scarf to finish the set. The kid already has plenty of scarves that she doesn't wear! She looks pretty happy with the hat and gloves though, doesn't she?
Hopefully she'll wear these ones.
The Slinky Socks and Hanging Garden are still going strong, and I'm (im)patiently waiting for my yarn for the Hemlock Ring Blanket.
But right now, this is talking to me.
I'm trying to ignore it.
October 06, 2007
Saturday. And you know what that means?
Sky, blue, beautiful, hot. Well, it was hot, then the wind picked up and cooled it down again.
It also means that the school holidays are half over. Yay! I love my kid, really, I do, but she drives me insane. And it's a mutual feeling.
She had her first date this week. Yes, all the dramas are coming to a head. The boy she has had a crush on has finally asked her out, and she's up there on Cloud 9. But I'm mean and nasty and overprotective, and ruining her life and so on and so forth.
So a compromise was reached. They went to the movies, during the daytime, with his little sister and two young cousins, and his mum took them and went shopping while all the kids watched the movie.
Emily called me to say they were done, but when I arrived to pick her up they decided to go for ice cream, leaving me to my own devices. At which point she bumped into Ailsa and family, fortunately (for me) finding me a coffee date to kill time and unfortunately (for herself) having to introduce her boyfriend. (Ailsa, you haven't scared him off. Thanks, anyway)
Poor kid then proceeded to run into my sister and niece and had to introduce him to them, too. I think she's learning that you can't hide around here! And no, they didn't scare him off either. I think he's pretty keen!
However, the date went well, and she's happy. (She wouldn't let me take a picture for the blog. And she calls me mean! ;)
I got to see Ailsa's test knit pattern in person, and it looks gorgeous! I missed out on seeing the nail file, though.
Time for knitting updates?
Hanging Garden. Still loving it.
Five repeats down. The pattern calls for fourteen repeats, but we'll see how we go. I may get bored before that.
Growing nicely. And it's a good thing, because I am getting somewhat bored with these.
And the Slinky Socks.
These are my problem child, knitwise. They just aren't playing nicely. I had a long train trip yesterday, so I took them along.
I got up to the afterthought heel bit, and had no waste yarn with me. So I had to use my keys to hack off a length of yarn from the start of the ball.
I'm liking the pattern though. It's like a horizontal rib. Here's how it looks all stretched out.
Clever, clever. I'm still using two circs, but I can't say I'm loving it. I will finish the sock to give the technique a fair go, but I think I'll be back to the dpns after that.
I'm a little worried about the afterthought heel. How do you decide when to start the toe if you can't try on the sock?
I'm caught up on my housework. Twinkie helped with the sweeping.
She hates to be brushed, but she loves the hand broom. Every time it comes out, she sits in the mess I'm trying to sweep until she gets swept too.
Look at that cute little mouth.
Anyway, the house is clean, I'm taking advantage and knitting.
October 03, 2007
Mail, gloves and socks on two circs.
A couple of weeks ago, Jejune had a competition, and I was one of the lucky winners.
Today my very lovely prize arrived.
A packet of her very lovely Knitting Art cards, and some Lindt chocolate. The lindt is long gone, and I think the cards are far too pretty to write on! Thank you, Jejune!
Em had another dance comp on the weekend. This is becoming aomewhat of a pain in the arse, because they always seem to end up on the last weekend of the month lately, preventing me from attending Stitch n Bitch. But that's not what I'm whining about tonight.
I had a ton of stuff to drag along, so I decided to only take along the gloves that match the cabled beanie for my knitting project.
It was pretty important that I have some knitting to do, because she had one dance at 9.45am, then nothing until 2.15pm, then another big break until 5pm.
After her first dance I sat down and merrily started to knit away on the first glove. I'd started the cuff at home the night before, and was up to the hand. I've got few problems with the pattern. It was written to be knit flat and seamed, and I hate knitting gloves that way, so I'd already rewritten the pattern to be knitted in the round. I was using 3.75mm needles, because it's 8ply (DK) yarn, and I always need to knit 8ply on 3.75mm needles to get gauge.
Can you see where this is going?
So I was knitting the hand, with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was huge. I'm pretty sure she could have got both hands inside this glove. It was only 10.30am. I finished the thumb gusset, and tried it on her.
Huge doesn't even come close. Gigantic. Gargantuan.
When I thought about it, I wasn't really surprised. Her hand is 6.5 inches around the knuckles. The glove is knit at 22sts = 4 inches.
There were 41 stitches in the hand.
Plus my gauge was off. Even without the gauge issue, it was going to be nearly 8 inches around. When I measured it, the glove was coming out at around 9 inches around. So I frogged it in a temper and had to sit, all day long, with no knitting.
I should have taken a backup. I have learned my lesson, I swear.
So when I got home, I went down to 3.25mm needles, and rewrote the pattern again.
It's looking much more realistic now.
And alas, it's not the only knitting difficulty I've had this week.
I'm struggling along on the sock on two circs. I got two 40cm KnitPicks Options circs from YarnsOnline, thinking they'd be easier to use. They're not. Not for me at any rate. the needle portion feels too short. I think I should have gone for the 60cm.
But that doesn't explain my difficulty with this whole 2 circs process.
Today I came up with a new problem. Once again, all my stitches ended up one one needle. But this wasn't Magic Loop.
Need a better look?
I not only picked up the wrong needle, but somehow I also twisted the needle.
Aren't I clever? I'm thinking I need to go back to the DPNS. And soon!
October 01, 2007
Monday sky! It was a public holiday here today, so it's like a Saturday.
That little wisp of a cloud? It was the only one in the sky. Seeing as it was such a lovely day, we upped and went to the Sydney Fish Markets for lunch.
I had the seafood platter, David had Barramundi and Em had Fish and Chips.
We also had an audience.
We weren't the only ones who decided it would be a nice place to have lunch, either.
And it's October 1, which means that the Southern Summer of Socks kicked off today!
I have chosen the Slinky Socks as my first pair. I chose these for a couple of reasons.
It's a different pattern to use up some of my self striping yarns, it has an afterthought heel, which I've not tried before, and I'm going to knit them on two circs.
Only one sock at a time, though. Last time I tried two socks on two circs, it was a disaster. And I hated it.
Mind you, so far, this hasn't been a total success.
Both of those needles are supposed to be in the sock. I lose track, and end up picking up the wrong needle. Then I'm Magic loop-ing, instead.
I may end up back on DPNS yet. The yarn is Hot Socks, given to me by the lovely Jessica. It has been claimed by Em, of course.
Here's a better picture of the sock. (Such as it is!)
Next time, we'll discuss why it's sometimes a good idea to pack more than one project if you're going to be locked in a school hall all day.