Friday 30 March 2007

Incredible Shrinking Swatch

Yes, I was right to think my green/brown mystery yarn might shrink. But not quite in the way I expected. When the swatch dried I measured it again and it had gone from 23cm wide to 22.25 (reasonable) and from 18.25cm long to a stunted 15.75! I'm not sure whether the culprit is the green woolly strand or the brown loopy one, but either way I'll definitely need to make a few allowances with the measurements as I go.

Previously, I haven't done swatches as I've always been too impatient to get going with the pattern. But I'm beginning to see the light.

Ivy now has one sleeve sewn in and most of the dangling threads finished off. Left to do is positioning of the ties and then it'll be good to go. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

In other news, I started a version of Elfin Bride/Elfin Goth from the Domiknitrix website. I like the book, although I'm not so keen on most of the patterns. But this one cried out to be made.

Here's where I've got to so far. The pattern starts at the middle of the yoke and continues into the left sleeve. I'll probably stop fairly soon, as there is shaping from the elbow to increase into a bell sleeve and I'm not sure yet how the sleeve will sit. So I think I'll wait until near the end when I know whereabouts in the sleeves my elbows will be. Next step will be to pick up stitches from where I started and work in the opposite direction for the right sleeve.

Thursday 29 March 2007

What will it be?

Here's a swatch I made last night for a new project. The yarn is a 1kg cone I bought in the Avoca sale for €12. At that price, I really couldn't resist. It seems to be a mix of wool (the green) and something else (the brown). On the down side, it's not the nicest to work with as it's a bit rough and twists quite unpleasantly. But I do like the way it looks knit up. I used 6mm needles which seem about right. And I've even washed the swatch so I can see if it's likely to shrink.

Now all I have to do is decide what I want it to be. I was planning to make this Mobius scarf, as I thought it looked like a really interesting technique to learn. But this yarn is waaay too scratchy. So now I'm thinking maybe some kind of wrap cardigan. There seems no point in doing any kind of complicated pattern, as it would probably just disappear into the general tweediness. But maybe a simple lace stitch to add a bit of interest.

And here's a dishcloth I made to use up the remains of the cotton from my bag.

Knitting bag

So, my recent efforts. I'm finished the cable jacket, except for the zip. It wasn't all that easy to find a dark green 20" open-ended zip, but I got one at Carmel's Fabrics in Bray. And I'll put it in. Soon. Really soon.

Ivy is done, except for the last few inches of the second tie. Just waiting to be sewn up - no complications expected. Quite a bit of the silk yarn left over, so I'm looking for a nice pattern for a summer top - maybe with short sleeves. And maybe one-piece top-down, so I can do something creative with stripes if needed.

Tired of carrying my knitting around in a tatty old plastic bag, I decided to make a nice new knitting bag. It's based on the Fake-a-Gamo pattern. Instead of the two strands of DK, mine is made from Aran-weight cotton which came on a 500g cone from Springwools. The pattern is well written and fun to do. The only difficult part is having to knit 11 together, but it's ok after the first few. I left out the tassels and made the top almost straight. And it will be lined with a remnant of furnishing fabric. It's all done except to sew the lining to the bag and attach the handles.

Friday 23 March 2007

Starting Dragone

I started it last night, so here's the first twenty rows. It's on 3mm needles and I had been a bit concerned about what sort of needles to use, but I thought I'd have a go with a set of metal straights I had at home. Not a good choice at all. I used to knit everything on straights, but then I needed to learn knitting in the round so I got some circulars. Now I use circulars all the time. I just find the balance better and they're so much more portable too. So I'll be going shopping at the weekend. I may also try bamboo, as this yarn is damn slippery.

I always like to try out new techniques and this is definitely a project to investigate the use of lifelines. Fixing mistakes stitch-by-stitch with such fine yarn is virtually impossible and dropping a stitch the stuff of nightmares. I did the first few rows several times, but there's no way I'm ripping the whole thing once I get past about an hour's work.


Nearly finished this, and it's been fun. I'm recycling (again) some silk yarn I've had for many years. First, it was a sweater, then it became a cardigan but I didn't like in either version. This time, though, I'm pleased with it. It's more of a butterscotch colour than it looks in the pictures.

The pattern is fairly ok. As various others have found, it's not the easiest to follow as regards the front shaping at the sides and neck. So there was quite a bit of ripping there - my own fault for not really paying attention. The sleeve length given is very long - it's meant to be a bell-shape so a bit longer than normal, but I found it almost covered my hand completely. I've seen some people say they had problems setting in the sleeves but I think that's ok. I tacked in the first sleeve to check the length and it seemed to fit well.

I was dreading making the ties - miles and miles of 8-stitch k1 pi rib but I started last night and it was fine. Excellent mindless in-front-of-the-TV knitting, and here's the result

Thursday 22 March 2007

Debbie Bliss Cable Jacket

Nearly finished this one. Just need to finish off the hood, stitch it together and (eeek!) put in a zip. I've never done a zip before, so that will be interesting.

The pattern is from the Debbie Bliss Number Four book, and uses Cashmerino Aran, but I substituted Lang Merino+ 152 in colour 88, which is a fabulous deep teal. Also a lovely yarn to work with, really soft and springy. I haven't knitted with wool very much, but this could convert me. The cable pattern is slightly irregular, so a little bit of attention is required but I wouldn't describe it as complicated. I needed one more ball of yarn than suggested, but I did make it a few inches longer than the pattern said.

Debbie Bliss Colour Blocks Jacket

This pattern didn't really do it for me when I saw it first but I found myself going back to it and every time I saw it I liked it better. So it entered my queue a while back. I think I'd prefer a zip, but otherwise I plan to do it as is.

It's DK wool but as often seeems to happen with Debbie Bliss, pretty much all the colours have been discontinued. Arrgggh, why do they do that? So I had a look around Springwools for a suitable substitute and settled on Lang merino DK, which has a huge range of colours and feels like it'd be lovely to work with. Then I hit another snag - obviously, they can't keep all the colours in stock but they are happy to order other colours. In multiples of 10. But the most I need of any colour is 3.

Now, I do like to support local businesses if possible but it was clearly time to go surfing. I found a few suppliers with websites but mostly not much of an online selection. But there was one in France. The ordering procedure seemed to imply that they expected customers to be in France, but didn't actually insist on it. They took my money and sent me an invoice anyway. I'm expecting it to arrive very soon.

Chasing the Dragone

No, that's not a typo. It's a shawl pattern called Heere be Dragone. I saw it a few weeks back and I knew immediately I HAD to do it. No matter that I've never worn a shawl in my life. If I don't like it, I can always give it to someone.

The pattern is available here (it comes by email as a PDF and very quickly too) and there is a KAL here. Then I needed some yarn. A popular choice is Jagger Zephyr, which comes in an amazing range of colours but sadly it's a little hard to come by in this part of the world. But I found a UK stockist called Woolly Workshop with a fair selection. I think I would have preferred Peacock, but they didn't have it so I went for Juniper. It's always a bit of a lottery choosing colours on a website, but I hoped for the best.

Anyway, it arrived yesterday and turned out to be a sort of slightly silvery dark green. Kinda leaves-of-a-Christmas-tree, feels lovely and I think it should knit up nicely.

Then I had a look at the pattern, which mostly consists of a set of 10 charts. Not wanting to go blind peering at teeny tiny symbols, I needed a spot of enlarging but Adobe Reader didn't seem keen. So I printed on A3, which worked well, and I'm now ready to go.

It uses 3mm needles for the body (3.25 for the border), and I have at least one set of straights at home. I may invest in a new circular as I get up a bit and the number of stitches becomes unfeasibly large.

To be continued...

Purls of wisdom

Here is the first post of my new knitting blog. I've been thinking for a while that it would be nice, and maybe even useful, to keep a record of what I'm knitting.

Just a few notes on pattern, yarn, problem areas, blah, blah, blah.I've never been all that keen on taking photos, so don't expect much in the way of stunning images.

Anyway, here we go. I've recently got back into knitting after quite a long break and it's great to be back. Things have improved rather a lot, what with all this newfangled interweb stuff. Only problem now is too much choice. And too little time :-)