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18 May 2007 @ 19:43
In between making bags and finishing cardigans, I've been having another stab at getting on with my oldest Work In Progress, the Victoria Stole from Rowan 39. I started it just over a year ago, and have had occasional attempts at getting on with it during the year, but it had stalled for ages at 142 rows (out of 500). About a month ago I had a real go at it, and now it's up to 270 rows. It requires total concentration whilst knitting, even the purl rows require every stitch to be looked at closely, so it's absolutely no good for knitting in front of the television. But it is pleasant to do in the garden or the conservatory when the sun is shining as it was a couple of weeks ago, hence the progress. If summer returns at any point it may even get finished ;)



It is starting to look like a stole now, and less like a cushion cover. It takes about an hour to do ten rows, so just another 23 hours to go. Plus the crochet edging, thankfully only at the ends.



I'm really pleased with the way the yarn pools in little patches of colour, it looks as though it's been painted on after it was knit. There's no noticably repeat to the pooling, it seems fairly random. And very clever.

So that's my oldest WIP. My newest is Tulip from Rowan 41, made with Rowan Damask, which arrived in the post on Tuesday, and was cast on almost instantly - I'd had a bad day at work, and needed cheering up....

This is the first time I've used Damask, it's an odd sounding mix on paper - 57% viscose, 22% linen, and 21% acrylic, but it's lovely knitted up - it draps well and has a silky sheen. There are four strands to the yarn, three very thin ones like cotton, and one thicker strand which carries most of the colour, and varies in thickness slightly, so there are occasional slubs of shiny colour.



The shade is 47, Basalt. I was originally going to use shade 41, silica, which is a pale pink, but then I saw this on ebay for £1.75 per ball, which seemed like a huge bargain, so I'm saving the pink for another project. I'm really liking the way the colours are working, the are forming little patches of colour without huge pooling issues. And the shades of blue work very well together.



The most interesting part of the pattern is the edging - you work six rows in stocking stitch, then on the next row you knit six stitches, then literally rotate the left hand needle through 360 degrees and carry on knitting, rotating every six stitches, which produces a rope-like border.



It's done on 3.75mm needles, which are feeling huge after the Rambling Rose needles, and it's coming on well.



Because there are no sleeves, instead of decreasing at the armhole and the top of the back being much faster to knit, you increase by eight stitches before the armhole, and then knit straight to the top, which will be a bit of a shock to the system. But no sleeves!
 
 
Current Mood: busy
 
 
17 May 2007 @ 19:20
Regular readers may recall that I started making Rambling Rose from Rowan Magazine 39 just over a year ago, but after doing the back and one front I cast on the second front then decided that the thought of six more inches of rib on 2.25mm needles was just too soul destroying to contemplate. So I put it in a box, and, um, left it there for nearly a year. Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to have a push to finish it, so I've spent two weeks knitting with four ply yarn on 2.25 and 3mm needles - it's very strange when 3mm needles feel big. But at long last it is finished! I was going to try some photos of me wearing it, but I feel and look like death warmed up, so you'll have to make do with it sitting on the table in the conservatory, that being where the light is best at this hour.



It's been a very fiddly knit - the main pieces were easy enough, even the one with the pattern, but then the button/buttonhole bands had to be knit separately (9 stitches of rib on 2.25mm needles for 150 rows = tedious in the extreme) and slip stitched on, the stitches round the neck had to be picked up for the collar, and finally six roses had to be made and sewn on. All of which seemed to go on forever. And then it had to be sewn up.



I was nervous about slip stitching the bands on, I wasn't exactly sure how to do it, but I laid the band next to the front and caught the edges together from the right side, and it seemed to work. The stitches are visible if you look closely, but because they're regular, it looks like a special stitch in the knitting. At least, I think it does....



I was also unsure about picking up the stitches round the neck for the collar - I've done it before, but in much more forgiving yarns. The cotton shows every stitch, but again it has worked out fine, thankfully. I did the decreases for the neckline in the last two stitches, but did slope them to match the curve of the neck, so I had a neat line of stitches to pick up. This may have been one of the problems with the disasterous Dandelion cardigan, I did the decreases a couple of stitches in on that, so the line pulls in slightly round the neck.



I did the decreases for the sleeve three stitches in, and I'm less happy with this - with the yarn being so fine, the decreases on the front and back come a long way up, and there is quite a long band four stitches wide on the join, which looks a little odd to me. It's not so bad when it's actually on, as this comes under the arm, but another time I may try sloping the decreases the other way, and making a feature of them that way. Again it pulls slightly, so that may help too.



I'm pleased with the shoulder seaming, I grafted the cast off stitches, and whilst there is a bit of a dip at the seam, it's as neat as I could hope for.



The rib from hell. Did I mention there's six inches of it? That's 66 rows, on needles so thin you could use them as skewers.



Thankfully the sleeves only had a couple of inches of rib. For once my row tension was pretty well spot on, so the sleeve cap is the right height, and they were a joy to sew in. Well, as much of a joy as any seam can be.





The roses were the final hurdle, for some reason the ones on the photo in the book were completely different to the ones the pattern produced, but I liked these better, so I didn't experiment. The pattern did the increases by 'increasing purlwise into the next stitch', which I took to mean purl front and back. This was one of the more fiddly manoevres I've tried, and after the first one I changed the increases to the knit stitches, with no noticable difference, apart from to my temper.



A close up. Because I have a new camera and I can.



And some more roses. Just because.

I used Rowan 4 ply cotton in shade 130. The pattern called for eight balls for the 40" size, I assume I bought eight, although it was a while ago, but I have a ball and a half left, which is getting to be a feature of Rowan patterns for me. For once the measurements are pretty much spot on, although I wish I'd made the body above the rib a little longer - the ribbon sits on my waist if I pull it down, but it tends to ride up, and if the buttons on the rib aren't fastened, as seems to be the idea, a little triangle of tummy pokes out, not altogether attractively....

I enjoyed knitting with the 4 ply cotton, much more so than with the Handknit DK - it slid off the needles beautifully (I used my old aluminium ones) and the stitch definition is lovely. It was a little uneven, but a quick press has sorted that out nicely.
 
 
Current Mood: pleased
 
 
28 April 2007 @ 14:39
I went into Sheepish a couple of weeks ago to buy a RYC pattern book. It was £6.95, I didn't have enough cash on me, so out came my card. But the minimum card purchase there is £10, so I just had to buy something else. Oh the hardship. Four balls of Debbie Bliss Soho in shade 03, which bizarrely says 37503 on the label, just slipped off the shelf and into my hands....

A few nights' knitting and I have another Booga Bag.



I'm really pleased with this one, it's thicker than last year's, which saw a lot of use and is looking a little worn now, and the colours are more subtle, although the yarn did do weird pooling things - the first two balls were nicely random, but the third produced diagonal stripes - they were all from the same dyelot, so that's not the problem.



This is the bag and icord handle pre-blocking - the bag took exactly three balls, I just knit until I ran out of yarn then cast off (with literally about four inches to spare!) and the handle took about 3/4 of a ball. The bottom of the bag measured 8.5" x 4", and it was 12" high, and there was 93" of handle.



I gave it one wash at 60 degrees in the washer, with a towel and a pair of jeans, using a measure of detergent but no conditioner.



This is it blocking, on a 750g cornflake box to give an idea of size, and on the same floor as the photo above, with the handle looking weirdly like a snake. Unfortunately the handle managed to tie itself in a knot in the washer, so it has a slightly squashed bit towards one end.



After blocking the base measures 3.5" x 7.5", and it's 8.5" high. The strap measures about 60" - it was less than that when it came out of the washer, but I stretched it as much as I could. I've put a piece of polypropelene in the base to stiffen it - it's not fastened in, but it's slightly bigger than the base, with sharp corners, which dig into the fabric and keep it in place.



The diagonal stripes at the top are still visible, but they're not too bad.



The only modification I did to the pattern was to do a provisional (crochet) cast on, so that I only had to pick up stitches along the short sides of the base. That does leave you with one less stitch on one side, but it doesn't show....

I notice that I was disappointed with the size of last year's bag, and didn't think I'd use it much as it was too small, but in reality it had tardis properties, and fitted much more than I expected in.
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Current Mood: pleased
 
 
09 April 2007 @ 11:06
As well as buying yarn, I have been knitting. Sadly not as fast as I've been buying, but I'm doing my best....

Strictly not in order of finishing, firstly I've done the pairs to three of the socks I did in January





This is the second lot of the Sweet Georgia sock yarn, colour Black Orchid, the second photo is more accurate for the colour. Lovely and quick to knit on 3.5mm needles with 48 stitches. And very comfy to wear.





This is Posh Yarn Lucia, colourway Twinkle. I wasn't sure about the yarn when it arrived, I'm not sure why, it just wasn't what I expected, but it's knitted up very nicely, it feels like velvet, very soft and springy when pressed. I've not worn them yet, but I'm expecting them to be very comfy. The colours are a little disappointing, they looked better in the skein - one row of each dilutes the impact. I like the heel better, where you get a couple of rows of each colour.





And these are Natural Dye Studio, alpaca and silk, colour China Ice, a very slightly variagated blue. The yardage isn't as much as some, so I did them on 3mm needles, with 56 stitches, and then had plenty left over. I'm not sure I would have had enough to do them on 2.5mm, but I've managed to buy some bamboo 2.75mm circs, so I'll try the next pair on those. They are beautifully soft, although I'm not sure how hardwearing they'll be. I think they'll be house socks for evening snuggling.

It may look as though I've only been knitting socks, but in reality they've been fillers between two larger projects. Firstly I knitted Dandelion from Rowan 41, the cover photo, in Handknit DK cotton. To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. The measurements in the pattern are completely out, which I didn't notice until I'd finished - for the 40" size, the underarm measurement is 19.5", which when I went to school made a total measurement of 39", which explains why it's too small.

Plus the crochet edging doesn't work at all - the instructions say to chain three, then double into every other stitch or row end. Which works for the bottom, but up the front the row ends are obviously closer together than the stitches were across the bottom. So I pulled it out and did it into every third stitch, which works better but the edging still curls in. And as for the neckline - well, it just doesn't work at all. I'm working myself up to pull the edging off and doing the whole lot again, but I'm still not convinced that it will work, one row of crochet edging just isn't enough to cure stocking stitch's natural tendency to curl inwards. And it has been wet blocked, pinned, pressed and steamed within an inch of its life.

Added to all this, I hated knitting with the Handknit Cotton, it has no give at all, and each stitch had to be pushed through the needles. My fingers were sore by the end of it. And whilst my stitch tension was perfect, I didn't notice till I'd done that my row tension was too small, so the sleeve caps aren't really big enough, and a lot of easing had to be done on the sewing up. Which doesn't help on the fit issue. But I'm not undoing it, it will just have to stay. Perhaps one day when I've lost weight (!) it will fit better.

Anyway, this is the culprit -



With a close up of the nasty neckline and crochet edging -



When I'd finished the knitting for this one, and sent it to block, I looked around for something very soft to knit with, and came up with the Louisa Harding Kimono Angora and Kimono Ribbon from my stash to knit Sorrel from Louisa Harding's Gathering Roses - The Design Collection. The Angora was a joy to knit with, so soft, and it flew off the needles. The ribbon on the sleeves was a bit of a pain, largely because it was on 6mm needles. For some reason it wouldn't stay wrapped round my fingers when I used my Addis, and when I tried it on straights it squeaked horribly on the plastic. But it looks lovely, so I'll forgive it. I checked my tension after knitting a few inches of the back, and it looked horribly too small, but it blocked to size perfectly. It's incredibly light, the angora balls are only 25g each, and I used six of them - the whole thing only weighs 210g. The colours look a little like camoflage, but on the whole I'm very pleased with it.







The final finished object of this marathon post is the multidirectional scarf in Twilley's Freedom Spirit which I started ages ago. This was incredibly dull to knit, mostly because it's lots of garter stitch in DK weight, but it's nice now it's finished. I have more of the yarn to make a matching hat and gloves, but that's a job for next autumn, methinks.



 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
 
 
08 April 2007 @ 23:34
Yes, I know, I wasn't going to buy any more yarn until I'd used a sizable proportion of my stash, but I've been feeling down, and when I feel down, I go shopping. I seem to have acquired this lot since my last stash post -



In my defence, most of it *was* bought at prices which were too good to miss - Janette has a lot to answer for, she will keep sending me emails with amazing special offers on them. Such as this



Ten balls of Jaeger Shetland Aran for just over £18 including postage. Those are 100g balls - how could I resist?

This was on the same email, for the same price -



Ten 100g balls of Yorkshire Tweed Chunky. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with either of these, but I'm sure I'll find a use for them. The Jaeger may become Rogue, but in the more immediate future, this is lined up for Rogue



Ten balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran, again from Janette, for £24 this time. I've had my eye on this in her shop for ages, but it was about £35 there - when the email came with the special offer, I couldn't resist.

Also from Janette was this



Ten balls of Jaeger Trinity, no idea what I'm going to do with it, but there's lots of it - I think there's 200m per ball. Less than £20 for this lot.

I can't recommend Janette's service highly enough, everything I've bought has been with me by the next possible post, and emails are answered instantly. I just wish that she'd quote UK postage on her listings - she answers quickly if asked, and it is less than the US postage (she is in the UK), but it's a pain to have to keep asking.

My next major slip was at The Knit Tin, who were having a closing down sale. I could have been very bad, there were some amazing bargains, but I restrained myself to fifteen balls of Rowan All Seasons Cotton to make the Cardigan for Arwen from last autumn's Interweave - I love the pattern, and I really enjoyed knitting with ASC last summer, so I couldn't resist this for £2 per ball.



And I've been lusting after Louisa Harding's Sari Ribbon for a long time, to make the Orchis bolero, so when I saw it at £2.50 a skein, it just fell into my paypal basket. And it's PINK!



There's more pink, in the form of ten balls of Rowan Damask, to make Tulip from Rowan 41. I'm dying to start on this one, but I'm being good and finishing some other things first. Not sure how long that'll last....



This was bought a while ago, but I don't think I've posted a photo before. It's five more lots of sock yarn from the Natural Dye Studio, and it's all gorgeous. Another recommended supplier.



And finally, four balls of gorgeously soft Noro Cash Iroha, in a beautiful lilac shade - bought from ebay, sadly I can't find this shade anywhere else, I presume it's discontinued, which is a shame. I'm thinking of making a cabled scarf, possibly using the double-sided cable pattern from the Arwen cardigan.

 
 
 
28 February 2007 @ 20:55
I started this cardigan way back in June, but first it was put down whilst I watched Wimbledon, then I messed up the shoulder shaping on the back (I followed the wrong set of numbers on the pattern), so I left it for a while, before trying again in August, but then something went wrong with the first front, and I didn't realise until I was up to the armhole. At which point I put it in a bag and pressed on with better behaved things. But my stash post of a couple of weeks ago prompted me to get it out, sort out its problems (I'd lost stitch early on on the front, but decided that in the grand scheme of things, it really didn't matter) and get on with it. And now it's finished!



I took lots of mirror shots, this was the best (!) It was taken without flash, which explains the blurriness, but it gives a pretty good idea of the colour. The ones with flash were worse....



It's a little shorter than I expected, obviously the book shot of it on a stick thin model helped it to look longer. Presumably I should relate the measurements to my body as I'm knitting, not just blindly follow the book. The annoying thing is that I could have made it longer, as I have a ball and a half of yarn left. Hey ho, if I had, I'd have been sure to run out.

The gap between knitting the back and the fronts did odd things to my tension, it seems to have tightened up - not by much, but I had to do a few extra rows on the sleeves to get to the same length as the back to the armhole. So the fronts are a little shorter than the back, and the buttonhole band hasn't helped - it's two rows of garter stitch on picked up stitches (very tedious they were to pick up) and then cast off. I tried to cast off loosely, but it's perhaps just a little tight. It does stop the cardigan from being sloppy though, so perhaps that was the idea.

This isn't very clear, but it gives an idea of the button band and neck shaping.



The Impression was a little fiddly to work with, although I did get used to it after a while - at first it was very splitty. It's lovely and soft, and now I've given it a dip in some warm water with lots of fabric conditioner, the mohair isn't as itchy as it was. It's still a little tickly, but not hideously so.

So far I haven't put the little flowers on the sleeves, I may do at some point, but probably not in pink. Perhaps yellow, if I can find a bit of something suitable. Or maybe even in the same yarn as the cardigan.

The pattern is Marguerite from Rambling Roses - The Design Collection, by Louisa Harding, and the yarn is Impression, shade 4. The pattern called for nine balls, I used seven and a half. I did the 40" size.
 
 
Current Mood: pleased
 
 
06 February 2007 @ 20:59
I've been knitting for just over a year now, and whilst I have finished a lot of things, I have also managed to accumulate a fairly impressive stash and have lots of things on the go. I had a pretty good idea of what I'd got, but I thought that it would be a good idea to have it all on a spreadsheet, so that I could have it with me on my Palm whilst I was out. And so that I knew where I was up to with it all. So I've spent the last two nights going through it all, entering makes, names, compositions, weight, meterage and cost onto a huge spreadsheet, along with works in progress and finished objects. Then I totalled it all up and shocked myself hugely - I thought I'd maybe spent about £1000 on yarn in the last year, but the grand total came to £1650! And that's not including needles, books, magazines etc, which probably come to well over £100. I think that I will be seriously knitting from stash this year. And possibly next year too :)



This is most of the stash, although I've just remembered that there is a box of Noro lurking in the dining room. It is on the spreadsheet, I just forgot about it this morning when I was taking photos. Which perfectly illustrates the need for the spreadsheet.



This is all sock yarn - on the top row are two balls of Lorna's Laces, a ball of Opal Petticoat, and two lots of Curious Yarns sock yarn, part of the first yarn I bought last year. Maybe this year it'll get knitted up.

On the bottom row are three balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply, a skein of Posh Yarn Lucia, and four lots of Natural Dye Studio sock yarn - I don't think I've posted about this, I've just discovered it, and it's gorgeous, especially the alpaca and silk and the alpaca and merino. The sock on the left of the photo below this is in the alpaca and silk, and it's so soft. The others are Posh Yarn Lucia, colour Twinkle, and Rowan Cashsoft DK.





This is all yarn which was bought with a project in mind - on the back row is a skein of Hipknits sari silk, for a small bag, three balls of Crystal Palace Fjord, for a felted bag, eight balls of Colinette yarn for an Ab Fab throw, nine balls of Louisa Harding Impression for a jumper from her Gathering Roses Collection, and more LH for another jumper from the same book.

On the front row are three balls of South West Trading Oasis for a clapotis, four balls of SWT Karaoke for a B4 felted bag, six balls of Noro Aurora for a feather and fan stole from one of the Jane Ellison books (this was started once but had to be frogged as it was far too small), a Hipknits shawl kit which is going to be a throw for my bed, and six balls of Jaeger Aqua for a lacy cardigan from Rowan 39.

Now I thought that I was really quite good at not buying yarn at random, but only with a project in mind for it. So I was fairly horrified to find that I had all this for which I don't really have a definite project -



The top row is mostly Hipknits aran silk, which I did know I didn't have a definite use for, but I have vague ideas for summer cardigans and shawls/scarves. At the far right is a random selection of shades of cream and purple, which I'm thinking of making some sort of triangular shawl from, to wrap round me at home on chilly evenings.

On the next row is two balls of Twilleys Freedom Spirit, which really should be on the photo above, as they're for a hat and gloves. Although I don't have patterns as yet, so maybe they should be here after all. Next is a random selection of Louisa Harding yarns, bought in the sale at Sheepish in the summer. Hats, scarves and embellishments come to mind. There's a ball of Crystal Palace merino which rosealare bought me for Christmas, maybe another stripy shawl? And a hank of Colinette Isis, ditto. Then there's 14 balls of Jaeger Roma, this was really an indulgence, I love the yarn, so when I saw it half price at Stash in Chester, I just bought some. It's DK weight, so I'm sure I'll be able to find something to do with it. Then we have 13 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace, bought by mistake (I know, I should have been able to remember All Seasons Cotton from the pattern book to the shelf, but evidently I couldn't) I kept it because I love the colour. There is a cardigan in it in Rowan 39, I'm not keen as it is, but with a few alterations it will look lovely. Unless I find a better use for it before then.

On the bottom row are two balls of Summer Tweed left over from projects, two balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK, bought because it was cheap (possibly socks?), ten hanks of Summer Tweed, also reduced, and ten balls of Rowan 4 ply cotton. And then ten huge balls of Jeager Natural Fleece, for one of the designs from the book that came with it, I just need to decide which one. Probably next autumn now though.

Not photographed are 13 balls of Noro Silk Garden, for a jumper from Simply Noro, 19 balls of Kureyon, which were going to be a moss stitch jacket, but then I knitted one in Iro instead, and nine hanks of Noro Blossom, for a cardigan.

Then there's the works in progress. Of which there are 12, including the socks above. Oops. Mustn't cast on anything new, mustn't cast on anything new, mustn't.....



On the top row are the Bergere de France cabled jumper, I'm up to the armholes on the back. Then a multidirectional scarf in Twilleys Freedom Spirit - that's nearly finished. A bag in Debbie Bliss cotton, moss stitch on 4mm needles, and very tedious. And the Louisa Harding cardigan I've been knitting since last summer. I think something went wrong on the front, I need to sit down and work it out.

On the bottom row are the Rowan Victoria stole in KSH - every so often I get it out and do a few rows, but there's still about 350 rows to go, it could take a while. I don't think I'm cut out to do lace, there's far too much counting involved. Then the Rowan Rambling Rose cardigan, which stopped due to boredom, although I'm past the worst of it - just the plain front and two small sleeves to go. 4 ply cotton though, and there's six inches of rib on 2.25mm needles. Under that are three balls of KSH for a birch shawl, which have sneaked in here due to the fact that I've cast on for it. That's as far as I've got though. And finally a cardigain in Louisa Harding Kimono Ribbon, which I've done about two inches of, mainly just to see how it knitted up.

Finally, a few statistics.

I have 14.7kg of yarn in my stash, and 3.1 in the process of being knitted. I have used 8.7kg for items I've finished. That's a total of 26.5kg.

I have 30898 metres of yarn in my stash, 7567 in progress, and 13257 metres have been finished. That's a total of 51722 metres, which is 51.7km or 31 miles!
 
 
21 January 2007 @ 20:51
...several things in fact :) Despite the fact that I have several, um, long term, projects on the go, which I was really going to try and work at this year, before I started anything else.

I finished the blue and yellow pair of Sweet Georgia socks last weekend, and immediately cast on the next skein, in the Black Orchid colourway this time (left of the photo). I liked this in the skein, but I'm not as pleased with it as I was with the English Bay colourway - that looked random, this has little black bits which are spiralling. I don't dislike it though.

All was going well until my order from Posh Yarns arrived, two skeins of Lucia sock yarn, bought in a slight accident last Sunday. Oops. It didn't feel quite as I expected in the skein (it's 70% merino and 30% cashmere, but it wasn't as soft as I had thought it might be) so of course I had to start knitting it to see how it came out. And it is a lot nicer knitted up, I'm pleased to report. I'm not completely sure about the colours, they looked better on the skein I think, but I don't hate them. I did toy with the idea of doing some sort of pattern, but I knit socks for mindless knitting really, so I couldn't be bothered with anything I had to think about, especially on 2.5mm needles - I'd probably never finish them. Besides, lacy socks remind me of the white knee length socks we used to wear at primary school.

This was the progress as of Friday night -



And that is where they're still at, because the yarn for this sweater arrived on Friday.



I've been thinking of doing this one for a while, and when I saw the pattern reduced on the Get Knitted site whilst I was buying my opal sock yarn, I had to buy it. Then I needed to find the yarn, the only place I could find it initially was Angel Yarns (although I've found it a couple of other places since then) so I ordered it from them. I have to say that I'm not impressed with their customer service. A few days after ordering I got an automated email from a 'do not reply to this address' email address, saying that the yarn was out of stock. No idea when how long it would be, and no obvious way of finding out. There was a link on the email, but that just took me to a page telling me that the yarn was on order. Again with no 'contact us for more info' button. In the end I had to hunt round their website (a week or so later) to find a way to contact them. A few days passed with no reply, I was just about to cancel the order and order it from CucumberPatch, who were very good at answering my emails, when I got an another automated email telling me that the yarn was on its way. Altogether not the most impressive service.

But the yarn is lovely, it's Bergere de France Berlaine, colour latex, and it is machine washable and apparently unshrinkable, although I think I'd test a swatch before putting it in the tumble drier :) Of course I cast on straight away, after spending quite a long time swatching, and not being able to work out why my tension was so far off. Until I realised that the stated 31 x 31 tension was over the pattern and not over stocking stitch. Duh. So I went for the tension on the ball band, which I achieved on US6 (4.2mm) needles instead of 3.5mm as the pattern stated, which was good as it meant that I could use my Denises. After spending most of yesterday and today knitting, I have this -



I have a feeling this could be a long knit. There are 146 stitches, and the ribs aren't all the same size, so a certain amount of concentration is required. I have got stitch markers marking the edges of the cables, which helps - although I did have to switch from my nice plastic Clover ones to metal ones as the Clover ones are just a bit thicker, and the switch from knit to purl makes my rib a bit baggy at the best of times - the extra thickness for the yarn to go over really wasn't helping.

It's quite good fun to see how the cables come out, but they're not my favourite type of knitting, the cable needle is all a bit fiddly. And I keep loosing the blasted thing - the only way I can keep track of it is to stick it down my cleavage, and then when I stand up I forget about it and it jabs me. If I had a chunky jumper on I'd stick it through it, but it won't go through the top I've got on.



Finally I don't think I've had a cat photo for a while. Mollie is ever optimistic that she will be allowed to play with stringy things when I put them on the floor....

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13 January 2007 @ 23:27
I seem to have been overtaken by an urge to knit socks this year - no sooner had I finished the Opal Elemente pair, than I had another pair on the needles, this time in Sweet Georgia Speed Demon sock yarn, which is certainly living up to its name.



They look a little odd laid out, they look much better on, but it's not easy to photograph both your feet at once :)

This is the short row heel - I used the method here, it's not quite as neat a finish as the yarn over method, but it's much easier, and it has no holes - at the end of the day, they're socks, no one's going to be examining them that closely, so I'm happy.



As soon as I'd finished the Opal socks, I cast on with the Sweet Georgia Speed Demon sock yarn which I bought in Hipknits sale just before Christmas. It's a thicker yarn than the Opal, knitted on 3.5mm needles. I worked out that I needed 48 stitches to do a plain sock, had a complete crisis of faith in myself (I had 64 stitches for the Opals, and 48 sounded far too few) so I cast on 56 instead. Then ripped it out after three inches as it was far too big, and cast on 48 instead. Hey ho.

The yarn is beautiful to knit with, really soft, and the colours are gorgeous. This is the English Bay colourway, it does look like the sun on a rippling sea. I thought that the colours might spiral, but I'm really pleased that they aren't doing, they look really random. If you look very closely, you can see a pattern - there are always two yellow rows together, and there are other bits that match, but at a glance that isn't obvious.

I cast on on Wednesday, and even with the ripping out bit, I'm nearly up to the heel on the second one. Speed Demon it certainly is!



I'm magic looping again, I've not tried two circs, but I definitely prefer this method to dpns - for one thing there are no ladders, and for another it's much less fiddly. And the Addis are much faster to knit with than bamboo. I used a 100cm one for the Opals, and whilst it was fine, there was a bit too much spare cable getting in the way. This one is an 80cm one, and it's ideal, just enough loop to knit with easily, but not too much.



And finally, a gratuitous heel photo.

 
 
05 January 2007 @ 20:20
It was all coughingbear's fault. She showed me her socks in Opal Elemente, and told me that Get Knitted had it in their sale, so I just had to buy a ball. And then I just had to start knitting with it, despite having lots of other things I should have been doing. And now I have a sock, which is taunting me for not providing it with a partner, so I suppose I'd better just cast on and get it done.







I've used a 2.5mm Addi Turbo, using the magic loop method. I may try the two circs method one day, and whilst I do like magic looping, the cord does tend to come up to get you if you don't get it just right. I did a short row heel, using the encroachment method, which I've just found, and is much easier than wrapping/yarn overs, and produces no holes at all. I did it top down, and grafted the toe. I can do toe ups, but that entails doing some sort of stretchy bind off, which always ends up looking a bit messy for me. Whereas my thumb method of casting on produces a lovely stretchy top to the rib.

The sock weighs 30g, so I'd get three out of the ball. Which would be useful if I was Jake the Peg, but since I'm not, I may try and get a pair of trainer socks out of the remainder. At some point. In the meantime I'm having to restrain myself from ordering lots and lots of sock yarn, since I do have quite a bit of other stuff to be getting on with.

This was the first time I've used the Opal self striping/fair isle yarn, I'm fascinated by the pattern. It's shade 1075.