Monday, 30 July 2012

FO: Elijah

I finished something!

This guy has been waiting for eyes for quite some time now, but this weekend I finally looked up instructions for french knots. Some time later, I had two eyes and an elephant:

I think he needs a scarf :)

Pattern: Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Patons Smoothie DK
Mods: None.
Project: Online at Ravelry

Monday, 23 July 2012

In Celebration of Green

Needful Yarns, Feeling:

A first chilli pepper:


Marin by Ysolda Teague:


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Growing Things - Part 2

Watering my plants today I saw my first tomatoes:

The flowers have been out on most of my chillis for a bit, but today was also the first time I spotted these little purple ones:

Office gardening seems to be working out considerably more successfully than garden gardening!

Monday, 16 July 2012

FO: Shetland Shorty

This may be the first item I've ever knit purely for functional reasons. I have a brown mesh cropped cardigan I bought six years ago on one of my first forays into the world of work (a summer internship at the company my Dad worked for). Since the company wasn't just programmers, they had higher standards than the places I've worked at since and so I was required to wear things that weren't jeans, namely skirts.

It was the perfect summer for skirt wearing. Nice weather, little rain and no air conditioning. I bought two new skirts in serious looking colours plus a few netural looking summer tops and two mesh cropped cardigans, one brown and one rust coloured (Sadly some time later I gave away the rusty one thinking I could have no further use for two cropped mesh cardigans).

Since then I've discovered that, when we do have summer weather, that cropped brown cardigan is the perfect thing for making me feel like I'm not in a state of undress whilst still maintaining a comfortable body temperature. It's great for so many occasions. And so I set out to knit something comparable:

I think I've been pretty successful. This is Shetland Shorty, a free pattern from It's a clear, well-written pattern and the sizing seems pretty good to me (I knit the XS). It's biggest negative is probably the quantity of stitches that have to be picked up for the various edgings but that's simply because that technique is still pretty low down my favourites list. It's also got a very slight tendency to be more of a boob holder than a cardigan, but it's a fine line with these cropped things I think. I'll quite probably knit this again in other colours and will also look out for similar patterns (lace, cropped, tie cardigans) - any suggestions?

The yarn is from stash (extra brownie points there) and seems quite well-suited to the pattern. It's a milk/cotton blend with the emphasis on the milk. It's soft and smooth and didn't seem to split at all. The colour looks far more interesting knit up that I'd thought from the hanks.

Pattern: Shetland Shorty by Gudrun Johnston.
Yarn: Kollage Creamy in colourway 7101 - Almond. I bought this yarn from Natural Stitches at 40% off in 2009. The project took just short of two skeins so I have just over three left.
Mods: None.
Project: Online at Ravelry.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Summer Knitting

In the Spring we had a week or two of beautiful weather. This is pretty common here in the UK. In recent years we've had a week or two of sunshine in Spring and then it tends to return to wetter, colder, windier weather until late August when it suddenly realises it's about to become Autumn before we've really had Summer and *then* we get just a little more sun to prevent us all from just electing for a year-long hibernation.

In Spring I thought this year would be the year for summer knitting. I knit a sweater out of cotton and linen thinking it would be the first of many. I finally bought yarn for Laika and carried it round with me for a bit before eventually knitting a swatch. I thought about what I might do with some Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton yarn I've had stashed for a while now (I still don't know, feel free to enlighten me -- I have 5 skeins of this green).

Then it started raining.

It hasn't stopped.

I knit some socks to keep my feet warm.

It still didn't stop.

I knit a cropped summer cardigan to encourage summer along. It's so cold and wet that despite having been finished for over two weeks I can't possibly get a photograph of it on me -- I'd freeze.

I knit a shawl in winter colours to keep me warm and yet still the weather hasn't changed.

Tonight I plan to swatch for a bulkyweight cardigan (think winter) with a lacy pattern (think summer) in a relatively subdued blue (more winter than summer) in a cotton yarn (more summer than winter).

Now, where are my fingerless gloves?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mixed Feelings

Today I finally bound off my Multnomah shawl.

Today I discovered my phone camera.
This hasn't actually been on the needles for years (although it might feel like it) but was started a mere two weeks ago at a conference... well sort of, it had a few false starts before that. The lengthly feeling has mostly been to do with the amount of time spent knitting vs tinking. Whilst I'm pretty sure it's mathematically impossible I feel like more of the latter was done than the former. Around half way through the Feather and Fan repeats I lost the ability to count.

Feather and Fan is a pretty straight forward pattern with only one row with any lace knitting at all:

[k2tog] 3 times, [yo, k] 6 times, [k2tog] 3 times

Unfortunately I suddenly lost the ability to count to six. This shawl uses 40 Feather and Fan rows (10 times the 4 row repeat). I knit the last eight rows at least three times over. I knit the middle ones a few more times than that. Woops!

So, happy happy party, I'm done! Only thing is I'm not sure I love this shawl... I cast on because:

1) I had the yarn and I wanted to knit something that wasn't socks. Ravelry showed me some nice projects using this pattern for my yarn and one was even in my colourway -- it looked great.

2) It wasn't a fancy lace shawl. I love knitting complicated delicate lace BUT I just can't work out how to wear those shawls in the everyday. This yarn wasn't suited to a complex pattern (too busy) but was perfect for a casual shawlette to wear as a neckerchief with jeans, to work, anyday I wanted.

3) Whatever I knit had to be pretty mindless since I was starting at a conference where I was expecting to be moderately busy (I was actually a bit busier than that and didn't start the shawl until the second to last day).

Now I've bound off I still think the yarn/colour/pattern combination works and is perfect for casual wear. It was also mostly good mindless knitting (until I totally lost my mind, but I suspect no knitting can handle that).

So what's wrong?

It's quite small. Other projects in this yarn did use larger needles but I tried that in a few of my false starts and didn't like the fabric at all. Unblocked this shawl doesn't really wrap comfortably round my neck in the bandit style I was hoping for. I'm crossing my fingers that it blocks a little larger but if not - do I frog? If I could face it I guess I'd rip the entire feather and fan section, add a few more garter rows and then reknit (and possibly extend) the feather and fan.

Fingers crossed blocking will do the trick. I'm not sure I want this to move back to the "still unfinished" pile.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


When someone says they've lost their knitting mojo, they most often mean that they don't really feel inspired to knit right now. Yarn isn't jumping into their arms and screaming knit me, patterns aren't demanding to be cast on "right now" and somehow they can always find something else to fill their time.

That isn't me right now.


What I mean when I wonder if I've lost my knitting mojo is "how have I been knitting this shawl forever?", "why have I not touched those socks in weeks?", "when will I get round to casting on for those garments I swatched for?" and "why have I spent more time ripping out rows than knitting recently?". (And not even ripping out, I don't trust myself to rip anymore, every stitch must be tinked one by one).

I have lost my knitting brain.

I've lost the ability to count to 6 reliably, to repeat the same movement over and over without accidentally substituting in something else, and to read my knitting so I can realise how to fix that mistake quickly and efficiently rather than ripping back endless rows of perfectly fine knitting.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Days 1 to 4

This year I'm participating in my first ever Tour de Fleece. Each day I spin a little (rarely more than a little because time does not allow and various bits of my body are starting to complain).

For the first four days I worked on spinning up some mystery Fyberspates fibre with two Fibreholics samples I'd received in December 2010.

Day 1 (15g of something from a Fyberspates mystery bag):

Day 2 (~20g of Corriedale from Spinning a Yarn via Fibreholics):

Day 3 (~20g of BFL from Colourful Designs via Fibreholics):

Day 4 - YARN!! 52.5g of sportweight 3 ply (12wpi):

And then the leftovers n-plied with both the remaining bobbins held together. 5.6g of light worsted (10wpi):

Then there was one... 2.1g of n-plied mystery fibre in a light fingering weight yarn (15 wpi):


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