Two down, twelve to go....

I've finally finished (more or less) uploading at least basic details of all my projects and stash to Ravelry, and, tormented by those fourteen works in progress on my projects page, have taken advantage of the warm weather and spent some time in the garden with my knitting. A little progress has been made on the seasilk Forest Canopy, but two things have been finished - the Tulip top and the Hipknits mini-clapotis (which was only just a WIP, but looked like a nice quick mindless knit, as indeed it was.)

I finally worked out how to use the self timer on my camera (it wasn't difficult) and spent a while this morning running round the garden pressing buttons and taking up poses. For some reason most of the shots came out very blurry, but this one didn't, and wasn't too hideous.

I'm very glad to have this finished, the knitting of the back and two fronts was very easy, but my thoughts of a nice quick finish due to the lack of sleeves were sadly misplaced. The front edging and sleeve edgings are knitted separately and then knitted on before casting off, and it was one of the fiddliest things I've done - not particularly difficult, but picking up 300+ stitches and knitting them together with the stitches on your needle, whilst keeping things ever is not my idea of fun.

Then the sleeve edgings turned out to be too tight round my arms, so I had to rip them off (easier said than done, I was terrified of cutting the wrong thread and having the whole thing unravel before my eyes) and redo them with an extra twelve stitches, which has worked much better.

The edging had to be pressed fairly firmly to stop it rolling up, but it seems to be lying reasonably well now.

The final annoyance was the loooong ties - they're in k1p1 rib, and the pattern had you casting on seven stitches, so that alternate rows started with a knit or a purl stitch. This sounded like it would need far too much concentration, so I cast on eight stitches instead and started every row with a knit stitch. Then I realised that although the pattern said to make two ties each 100cm long, if they were to tie at the side as both the pattern photos had it, one would need to be whole of my waist measurement plus enough to tie a bow, and the other would need to be half the waist measurement plus bow.

Mollie seems to approve. Although I think she may have spotted that despite much ironing, the bottom edge still rolls up as soon as you look at it.

This is my second mini clapotis in Hipknits silk - the first was a Christmas present, but this one's for me!

Once again the yarn pooled oddly - it was striping up each side of the scarf until an over-enthusiastic tug on my part snapped it at the beginning of a row. So I rejoined, only to see it pool at the opposite sides to those it had started at. For a while, anyway, then it made its way back to the starting configuration. All very odd. But not really noticeable once it's being worn. It took just under 100g of yarn, I increased to 35 stitches, did 15 straight repeats, and it's 50" long.

I'm in!

After a week of checking obsessively, my Ravelry invite eventually came last night, just as I was about to turn off my laptop and go to bed. So of course I stayed up for another hour, playing and trialing uploading projects. It's great fun, I've spent most of today messing about on there, I have most of my finished objects and works in progress on, although they need a bit of tweaking in terms of adding needle sizes, yarn colours, links to blog posts etc. And I've done one box of stash, I think the one with the most number of small bits of yarn in it. Only three more to go.

There are a lot of little things which could and probably will be improved, but overall it looks very good. It's great to be able to click on a yarn and see what other people have used it for, and to see things you've made or are thinking of making. And as more people come online, the better it will get.

I've only had the briefest of glances at the forums, but they look like a huge time eater, as though I need another one, and I haven't investigated the groups at all, although kerrilouise is browsing through them and coming up with some very odd sounding ones....

My username is Minniemoll. I meant to be Minniemollknits to fit in with here, but it was late and I was excited...

New toy!

But a free one for once, until I get sucked into the paid version, which isn't at all unlikely, given how much I like bells and whistles. I've been getting increasingly excited by Ravelry, I don't have my invite yet, but there's only 1074 people ahead of me in the queue (compared to about 9000 behind me), so it shouldn't be long. But Ravelry uses Flickr to host photos, so I've been preparing by uploading my photos to Flickr, which is great fun. I've uploaded most of my finished objects, apart from the early fluffy scarves, and a few other things. I'm not entirely sure how many views of an object you can have on Ravelry, so I've not gone mad yet, but give me time.

And then tonight I decided to sort out my works in progress and photograph them - I joked to kerrilouise the other day that I had 15 WIPs, I thought I was exaggerating, but I wasn't far out, I have 14! I really mustn't start anything else until I'm at least down to single figures. Okay, so of them are only *just* started, but it's still scary. They're all here - they all have descriptions underneath, if you click on the first small photo, and then scroll through using the two little photos on the right it seems to work. Or there's a slideshow, but that doesn't give the descriptions.

Now I need to photograph my stash - that's going to be the really scary bit! But it'll be lovely to be able to look at it all at once and see what I've got without having to try and visualise it from a spreadsheet or pull it all out from under the stairs.

Flickr also tells you how many people have looked at your photos, and other members can leave comments, which is all good fun. There are thousands of knitting photos on there - searching for clapotis brings up 3814 results - and I haven't uploaded my big clapotis yet! I can see many hours being wasted on there, and I expect that Ravelry will be much, much worse....

Colinette Prism cardigan

I bought the yarn for this from Bobbins in Whitby at the end of May (see this post), and took it on holiday with me in June. Having looked at the sizing, and the finished measurements, I decided to do the 38" size, which would apparently finish at an actual measurement of 43.5", which seemed plenty. Luckily by the time I actually came to cast on, I'd completely forgotten this refinement, and cast on for the 40" size as normal. I started with the back, and carefully watched the fabric for pooling (none to notice, for a change with Colinette) and was about half way up when it occurred to me to check my tension. Which was coming out too tight at that point (although blocking seems to have sorted it out, stitchwise at least, the rows are still out), but I liked the look of the fabric, and remembered my original cunning plan to cast on a smaller size, so decided that a bigger size coming out smaller should be just what I wanted. If that makes any sense at all - it did at the time. But this through up all sorts of questions about whether or not I'd have enough yarn, so when I came to the end of the first hank I spent ages working out how many stitches there were per piece, and how many I'd got out of the first hank, and doing all sorts of adding up to try and work it out. It seemed okay (even after I realised that I'd have to cast on more stitches for the sleeves to make them the right size, and worked that out too). Thankfully it's a fairly basic pattern to start with.

The Prism is lovely to work with, it's a thick and thin yarn, mainly wool with a thin piece of cotton wrapped round, which produces a nice tweedy fabric.

The bottoms and edges are all in moss stitch, and there are flattering vents at the bottoms of the side seams. It's just as well the yarn didn't pool, I'm not sure how you'd go about alternating two balls when both sides are finished edges and the yarn carried up the side can't be hidden in the seam.

And the collar is moss stitch too. I made it a little longer than the pattern, about five inches I think. The beauty of doing it on a circular needle was that I could just keep trying it on until it looked right.

The sleeves are semi set-in, with a little shaping at the underarm.

I'm pleased with the buttons, they finish it off nicely.

I think Mollie approves.

I'm really pleased with this cardigan, it's lovely to wear, although perhaps just a tad too small (it will be fine when I've lost a bit of weight. Honest.) I enjoyed knitting it, and with the weather we're having at the moment, it's already had a fair bit of wear. It is rubbing up a little, which is a shame, but unless it gets very bad I have plans to make another one, in more autumy colours, and a bit bigger next time. I used just under six skeins. The pattern is Melinda from the Colinette Wayfarer book, and I used 6mm Addi Turbos.

ETA - I've just remembered something else, slightly bizarrely the back has 81 stitches, yet the fronts only have 39 stitches each, making 78. Then the button bands overlap by 5 stitches, so you're down to 73, eight stitches less than the back, which is very odd. I cast on a couple of extra stitches on each front, and fudged the neck shaping to get back down to the correct number for the shoulder seams (and remembered to pick up extra stitches for the collar!), but I think that I should have gone for an extra four on each side, to even it up completely, this could be why it's feeling a bit small.

Lacy days

So, I was browsing knitting blogs a week or so ago, as I do far too regularly, when I spotted some beautiful hand-dyed 4 ply yarn on Anni's blog. She said she'd just listed it in her etsy shop, so I popped straight over there, and managed to buy both skeins. I tried to photograph it in the skein, but it didn't come out well - there are better photos here. It arrived very quickly, and I spent a couple of days admiring it and thinking that it was too good for socks, and eventually it popped its head up and screamed 'shawl!' at me. Lots of people have done the Forest Canopy shawl, so I decided to have a go at that one. That was last Wednesday night, I cast on straight away, and after an hour or so, once I managed to get my head round the fact that the cast on was at the middle of the straight edge, I had this.


I knitted at it furiously over the next few days, and by yesterday I had this.

The stitches weren't looking very lacy.

I finished the border (one huge cast off row!) and it turned into a triangle, but not a very big one. The cast off was a bit hairy, this was the yarn left over. I do have another skein, so I wasn't sweating too much, but I didn't really want to have to go into it.

This is it on my new toy, blocking boards from the Early Learning Centre of all places. They think it's a children's play mat, but I know better.

But the magic of lace is the blocking, a quick soak and lots of pins later, and I had something much more shawl-like.

Much more lacy.

It seemed to dry very quickly, and I was dying to take the pins out last night, but I resisted until today. One more the tree gets to model.

Moll wasn't very interested in this one. Perhaps she's more of a scarf girl. She could have a point actually, I'm not sure when I'm actually going to wear this, but it's very pretty. Maybe I'll just admire it a lot.

See how it blows in the breeze. It's so delicate, I can hardly imagine actually wearing it.

It reminds me of a peacock, the diamonds look like the eyes on a peacock's tail, and the colours are nearly right.

In all its glory. It measures 56" x 30". I did three extra repeats of the pattern, and used just under 100g of 4ply yarn (so just under 400m). I used 5mm Brittany Birch needles.

I really enjoyed knitting this, the pattern was easy to memorise and to see where you were. I lived dangerously and didn't bother with lifelines, thankfully I only made one mistake which I managed to fix a couple of rows later. I was a little unhappy that the decreases weren't symmetrical on both sides of the centre line (they all slope the same way) but now it's blocked it's much less obvious.


Montego Bay scarf finished!

The Montego Bay scarf is finished. I had great plans to take photos of it on the rocks in Wales by some actual seaweed, but I completely forgot, so the trusty tree once more gets to show off a scarf.

This is it in all its glory - it's about 84" long when loosely stretched, long enough to go round my neck twice and still dangle to my waist. It's lovely to wear, very light (the whole thing weighs about 80g) and it drapes nicely.

The yarn is Seasilk from Piece of Beauty, colourway Rose Pearl.

It has a wonderful sheen to it, and the colours are beautiful.

I still haven't managed to train the cats to take photos, so no modelled photo. At least not by me. When I saw Mollie in the tree looking at the scarf I'm afraid I couldn't resist. She didn't seem particularly bothered.

I think pink is definitely her colour.

I've not done the fringe, I don't think that it needs it, and I wasn't keen on the plaited fringe on the pattern. So I've left it off for the time being, I may change my mind in the future though - there's plenty of yarn left. Or I could make another one.

I used 6mm needles, a wooden pair which came free with a magazine a while ago, and were just right for this - they gripped the slippy yarn better than metal would have done. The patten is from Interweave Knits Summer 07. I liked the pattern so much I've already cast on another one, this time in All Season's Cotton on 7.5mm needles - it's the yarn I got from Rowan with the Members Club offer, but I hated doing the pattern that came with it, this should do nicely instead. I think it's a pattern that could be used with a wide variety of yarns, with lots of different looks. And it's very easy.

Piece of Beauty

I finally found a copy of the summer edition of Interweave Knits in Borders on Thursday lunchtime, and glanced through it at my desk during the afternoon. I was quite disappointed with the patterns, the only thing that caught my eye was the Montego Bay scarf, which looked like a perfect holiday project.

The pattern called for Handmaiden Sea Silk, which I've been dying to try for ages (I'm a sucker for yarns made with unusual things, and this one has seaweed in it!) but Get Knitted only had about three colourways in stock, and I temporarily forgot that Kangaroo also stock it. But then I remembered that during my browsing last week I'd come across Piece of Beauty, who sell 150g skeins of sea silk, which from photos and yardage looks identical to the Handmaiden stuff. So at 3pm on Thursday afternoon I ordered a skein, with a plaintive plea that I'd like it by Saturday if at all possible, as I wanted to take it away with me when I go on Sunday. Imagine my amazement when I arrived home last night and found it waiting for me on the doormat - she must have dropped everything and taken it straight to the post!

On opening the jiffy bag I found this

Which unwrapped to show this, beautifully wrapped in two layers of coordinating tissue. This is probably the most accurate photo in terms of colour.

It is absolutely gorgeous, 70% silk and 30% sea cell, with a gorgeous sheen to it. The colours are beautiful - this is the Rose Pearl colourway.

Despite having drunk half a bottle of wine earlier in the evening, I couldn't resist winding and starting it straight away, and by this morning I had this (not sure what happened to the colours on this one!)

It's a very easy lace pattern - just k2tog followed by a yarn over on the knit rows, and plain purl on the alternate rows. The diagonal is caused by starting the pattern on the third stitch on one pattern row, and the fourth stitch on the next. It's called fishnet lace. The result is reminiscent of the clapotis pattern, with slanting rows joined by horizontals, but is much easier. The silk is a little slippy, but it's manageable. The pattern stated US 8/5.5mm needles, so a fished out a bamboo pair which came free with a magazine a while ago. My Susan Bates knitchecker gauged them at just over 5.5mm, it's a pity I didn't look at the US equivalents on there, as that gives a 5mm needle as being the same as a US8. So I'm using needles about a size and a half bigger than recommended, which is probably why it's coming out wider than the pattern states. But this isn't a bad thing, it'll be more of a stole than a scarf, and I like stoles. It's very drapy, so it'll be okay as a scarf as well.

I even like the back of the knitting, especially the waviness of it.

I'm taking it away with me, it'll be perfect for doing whilst sitting in the sun (if the sun shines, I don't have huge amounts of luck with holiday weather) so hopefully it'll be finished in a week or so.

Birthday yarn!

It was my birthday on Wednesday, so I treated myself to a visit to Bobbins in Whitby. I wanted to buy some Colinette Prism to make the Melinda cardigan from the Wayfarer book - I nearly bought some the last time I was there, but they only had five skeins in the colour I fancied, and it takes six. They offered to order in the extra skein and post it to me, but I don't trust Colinette's colours that much, so I left it. But this time they had plenty, so I bought the requisite six skeins, in the Sunrise colourway. See how different mine is to the one in their photo?

This is the cardigan it's going to turn into, hopefully fairly soon as it'll be ideal for summer evenings.

I like some Colinette yarns a lot, but there are others that don't do anything for me. Until Wednesday I'd have put Wigwam firmly in the second camp, but there was a lacy cardigan knitted up in it, which I liked so much I bought six skeins there and then to make it. The colourway is Earth, this time their photo's closer to mine.

Bobbins supply a photocopy of the pattern if you buy the yarn, and it wasn't until I arrived home that I realised that there wasn't a photo of the finished object with the pattern - if I'd realised I would have taken a photo of the one on display. The pattern is called Picardy, I didn't catch the name of the book it was taken from, but it looked very old and was almost falling to pieces. So of course I had to cast on - I was trying to resist until Tulip was finished, but I couldn't quite manage it, and this afternoon I started. Just to see how the pattern came out, you understand.

The pattern looked complicated written down, but it's actually easy enough to do in front of the television. I'm presuming I've got it right, with no photo to compare with it's hard to be absolutely sure, but it looks okay to me. It's a reasonably long straight cardigan with short sleeves and a button at the neck. The wigwam is nice to knit with - it's a bit like knitting with soft shoe laces, which is a little disconcerting at first, but I soon got used to it. I think it would be very quick to do stocking stitch with it, although I'm not sure I'd like the result as much. I've not bothered with the using two balls thing, I'm keeping a close eye on it though, and if it does start pooling at any point, out will come the second ball.

Due to Post Office woes, rosealare's birthday present to me didn't arrive till Friday, but it was worth waiting for, as it had lovely squishy parcels brought back from Foreign Parts, containing (amongst other things) gorgoeus Handmaiden yarn. Such as this

50g of soooooft cashmere, so strokable I've had it on the sofa next to me ever since. There's a hat pattern with it, but I'm undecided about its final use - I may appreciate the softness of it even more in a scarf, I'm just not sure if there's enough. Decisions, decisions....

There was also this

A mixed skein of blue faced leicester and mohair to make snuggly socks - I can see me wearing them all winter instead of slippers.

Also in the post of Friday was my Rowan membership free gift - I didn't bother with last year's, as it was a cabled bag in Handknit Cotton, which did absolutely nothing for me, but this year's gift is four balls of All Season's Cotton to make either a waistcoat (which I don't like) or a wavy wrap (which I do like).

Not sure when I'll get round to it, but hey, one day it'll be done.

The Tulip top is coming along, I've done the back and one front, but I was getting a bit bored of it, so a break to play with Colinette is just the thing.

I'm pleased with the shoulders, I did short row shaping and a three needle bind off for the first time, but it won't be the last, the finish is so neat compared to casting off in steps, no matter how neatly I manage to do the slope it never lies quite right.