Sunday, July 31, 2005

So long, and thanks for all the fish...

That's it my dears, I'm off to get married.

Travelling with me are my still not finished second sock and the very beginnings of the Hourglass Sweater, although I'm not sure how much knitting I will get done in the next few weeks. Also travelling with me, at least on honeymoon, is the long list of New England yarn shop that I compiled with the help of the wonderful people in the LiveJournal knitting community. I am hoping to visit quite a few of the shows - they sound fantastic. :)

I wish you all a lovely rest of the summer and I shall see you again at the end of August!


Friday, July 29, 2005

Fresh off the needles!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present...

**drum roll**

A finished Clapotis!!

It's loooong, so I couldn't fit it all in the picture...

Close-up - as you can probably tell, it's not blocked yet:

Nor are the ends woven in, as you can see from the pictures of me wearing it:

Used: aprox. 350g Hip Knits Silk in the colourway 'giggle'.
Time from start to finish... Um, I think it was aprox. 1 month, but at times it felt much longer. ;-)

It's been worth it, though, I love how the Clapotis looks (and feels - it's soooo soft!), and knitting with the silk yarn was a pleasure. I managed to rip the yarn a few times, but other than that it's lovely on the needles and the yarn really goes a long way. One tiny warning if you are thinking of using it - the yarn sheds a little. Not usually a problem (it didn't really shed during knitting), but if you are planning on wearing it, say, on top of a black cotton shirt of mediocre quality, which attracts every kind of fluff like it is going out of fashion (like me in the photograph for example...), then you might notice! Ahem.

Overall, I would definitely use Hip Knits silk again - in fact, I am already contemplating what I could make with the yarn next! Apparently Trudie from Hip Knits is leaving, but she says that Kerrie from MagKnits is taking over, so hopefully all the gorgeous yarns will still be available in future...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

no big update but...

I just had to say that I'm on my last repeat of the straight section of Clapotis. This section can't be done soon enough as far as I'm concerned, I'm so sick of Section 3.

Can't wait to start the decreases and then it's not long until I can finally wear the Clapotis!!

That is all - I was working nearly all night to meet a deadline today so I've had about 2.5 hours of sleep. Being coherent is quite an effort right now. ;-)


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Nothing to report

There are no news, but that can be a good thing, sometimes!

I'm drowning in work and wedding preparations, so there has not been much time for knitting. Finished another few repeats on the Clapotis, though, so I'm 9 repeats (10 dropped stitches) into the straight section of the pattern now. Not long to go before I can start decreasing...

Quite a few people have signed up for the Greek Pullover KAL now - no posts from anyone but me yet, but that's to be expected with a KAL that has no deadline. We all have other projects to finish before we can start this one. I would like to start, actually, despite the fact that I probably won't have much time for knitting in August, but I'm still waiting for Interweave Knits to arrive. Should be any day now! :)

And now, back to work.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Life is a bit crazy recently, so I haven't had time to post or knit much.

However, I can offer pictures of the finished French Market Bag. It felted beautifully, and because the yarn was double-stranded it even keeps its shape relatively well. The only draw-back is that it's heavy, but I knew it would be so it's OK...

And so the size of the bag is a bit more obvious, this is me, holding it:

I'm off for the next few days - FIL's 60th birthday tomorrow - so I hope you all have a great weekend! :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Just another Monday...

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend?

Evidently there was no blogging this weekend, but that doesn't mean that there was no knitting! In fact, to once again prove my insanity, I started the French Market Bag.

The very beginnings of the base - just taken off the DPNs.

Kipper, hugging my knitting:

The base of the bag, completed. It measured aprox. 54" rather than the 48" of the pattern and I counted 120 rather than 200 stitches. This meant that I had to recalculate for the handles. Instead of groups of 25 stitches I had groups of 15...

That was yesterday morning, with a hangover from the BBQ we'd been to the night before. Today I'm knitting the handles and then the whole project is ready for felting:

How did I manage to finish it this quickly? Well, this is a stash project (yay! for stash usage), which means that I wasn't using the recommended yarn or even recommended yarn weight. Instead, I used some ancient Hermit 100% new wool (or rather, old wool...) in a dark blue, that I'd bought off ebay a while ago. It's chunky, but when I did a swatch I still thought that for a bag it could do with some strengthening, so in the end I used it double-stranded. I used up something like 14 balls (50g each)... this bag is heavy, yo!

As you can probably imagine, on BIG circs and with two chunky yarn strings held together, this bag was knit up in no time. I think if it felts right I might line it and use it as a stash basket rather than something that I'd carry around a lot...

Progress on other knitting projects - well, I've dropped my 6th stitch on the Clapotis, so it's going well... and last night I managed a few rows on the 2nd sock. This is going to take me a while, I can tell. 2nd socks aren't half as exciting as first ones...

Also, this morning, my Rowan Kid Classic (colour 'nightly') for the Greek Pullover arrived. Hmmm, so soft! Now, where can I hide this yarn so that the ADH doesn't immediately find it? ;-)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Knitting machine adventures

I said that I was going to post about how I got on with the knitting machine.


The day before yesterday I spent working from home and part of this consisted of watching the commentary for the classic serial North and South, so I decided that this was the perfect time to multi-task. I dragged my knitting machine (which, by the way weighs considerably more than a feather) into the lounge and propped it up on a couple of chairs. Following the instructions I set it up, all the while listening to the director's commentary on the DVD.

You know how I said that I thought the machine looked vaguely scary? Well, it really IS looking scary. In fact, when the almost DH came home earlier he stopped in the door, stared, and eventually asked me if I was contacting Mars. I can't blame him because it really looks like you are trying to contact aliens - the tension device for the yarn looks like a huge antenna. ;-)

Can you see the antenna?

Here is a close-up:

Anyway, it turns out that the tentacles / antennae are very important, because if the tension isn't correct everything gets messed up. This happens very easily, leading me to the conclusion that a knitting machine has a considerably more fragile, delicate mechanism than a sewing machine. I constructed a few bits of test knitting that were really quite messy and had lots of loops where there weren't supposed to be loops before this dawned on me, and once or twice ADH had to help me take the carriage off because I had managed to jam it. This is the carriage:

Scary, huh?

OK, maybe not to you, but to me it is! ;-)

In the end, I figured it out, though AND I figured out how to do an armhole in the middle of a knitted piece of fabric. This had previously been a problem, because although the booklet that came with the machine told me how to cast-off and cast-on, it didn't show me how to cast-on in the middle of knitted piece. In the end I figured out that I could use a bit of scrap yarn. I cast-on with it and the carriage picked it up the next time I pushed it over. Yay! Here is the finished product:

This will be essential for the first garment I have in mind, which is a cardigan that would be just mind-numbingly boring to knit by hand because it consists of a long wrap, knitted in stockinette stitch with very fine yarn, into which sleeves are inserted. The whole thing is then held together at the front with a big safety pin. I saw a girl wearing it at a wedding a while ago and it looked very classy. Hers was bought, but with the machine it should be ever so easy to do something similar...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Like so many people I spent last night in front of the TV, watching the news. Fortunately all the friends I have in London were fine, but that doesn't make the attack any less upsetting. I hope all you London knitters are OK?

Greek Pullover KAL

Have I said recently that I'm insane?

I've created a KAL for the Greek Pullover in Interweave Knits Fall 2005 issue. I don't even have the issue yet (should be another week before it's out here), but I couldn't resist...

Anyway, it's here:

I haven't got round to advertising it at all yet, but if you are at all interested in knitting the pullover at some point, please join me there - it's an open-ended KAL, so there is no pressure to finish before a deadline - just a friendly forum to share and be inspired by each other's progress (or lack thereof). :)
Had no time yesterday to post anything much, although I prepared this long post about my knitting machine adventures, that I was planning on posting last night. It all fell through because I wanted to post some pictures with it and blogger didn't let me upload anything... I'm in the office now so I don't have access to my photographs but I will give it another go when I get home.

For now, I thought I'd just treat you to a picture of my Peony this year. Four years ago now I rescued this little plant from a supermarket (I love 'rescuing' plants - provides me with a justification for buying more...) and planted it in a big container. It survived and grew bigger every year, but up until now it had never flowered. This June however the buds finally opened and it was a sight to behold:

Peonies are the most decadent, lush, and beautiful flowers. There were at least half a dozen buds, which all opened; the flowers were so heavy that I had to prop them up with sticks.

I love my garden. It's so rewarding to see everything thrive and burst into bloom.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Knitting patterns...

Well, new Summer Knitty is up it seems. Lots and lots of man patterns this time, which doesn't leave me with much to do as I am a rather superstituous girl and wouldn't like to bring the boyfriend sweater curse upon myself four weeks before the wedding! ;-) I quite like the Satchel though, so that's going on my endless list of knitted bags I would like to make. Could be quite good for the laptop though, and I've just bought some cheap grey 100% wool yarn on ebay, so it might be brought forward...

Spent most of yesterday's knitting time winding yarn into centre-pull balls with my new toy, but I managed to get a bit of knitting done too. I'm on the second repeat of the third section of the clapotis pattern now, so I'm entering into the looooong and slightly boring stretch that is the middle of the scarf. I will have to be disciplined, though, because I really want to get this finished before the wedding so I can take the Clapotis on honeymoon with me!

Anyway, here is a picture of my various centre-pull yarn balls - aren't they pretty? ;-)

The big brown / lilac thing is my old clapotis. It was soooo much quicker to frog it with the help of the wool winder, and remarkably the winder managed to make a 200g ball (which was the entire bit of the Clapotis I had completed), even though the ebay description said that it would probably only do aprox. 50g! The other balls are some of the HipKnits Silk and some Kelso Tweed for the Hourglass Sweater.

And look what came today!! I'm amazed at how quickly this arrived. I ordered the books only yesterday from Kangaroo, so I thought it would take at least a few days.

This means that I can now pick the pattern I want for my Noro Silk Garden. I probably won't have time to do this for a while but who cares as long as I can plan and dream!! I also fancy making quite a few things from Rowan Beach Cool, in particular 'Belle' and 'Calypso'.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I'm back!

I'm back, I'm back!

And how happy I am to be home. It's been a long and exhausting week. Too much socialising, too little time for myself. Overall it's been good, though, even if I would have preferred the two events with a few weeks between them rather than right after one another.

I said I was going to update you on my knitting progress during the week. Well, when I went to London at the beginning of the week I finally managed to finish the first one of my toe-up socks. Here it is:

I will post a picture of me wearing it later.

Then, about 10 minutes before I had to head off to the train station to catch my train to Glasgow, this arrived:
It's Hip Knits' Silk in the colourway 'Giggle'.

This was great news, because it meant that I could use the hours and hours on the train to Scotland to start my second attempt at the Clapotis. I am now into the third section of the pattern. Still a long way to go, but I LOVE the way the silk yarn handles. It's soooo buttery soft and delicious, and I adore the shine of the yarn:

I also received a parcel with my purple tweed yarn (texere) for the Hourglass Sweater (Last-Minute Knitted Gifts) and, very timely, my newest ebay purchase, a wool winder!

The yarn is a lot softer than in the sample I had, which is good news...

The wool winder:
It's rather old and I think it could do with being wiped down, but it seems to work perfectly.

Hourglass sweater, here I come!! :)

Oh, and something else - I was invited to join a knit-a-long for the Union Square Market Sweater (newest Interweave) last week. I'm seriously considering it, even though I should probably spend some time finishing all my UFOs. The pattern I like most in the journal is the Greek Pullover. Is there a KAL for this yet or is anyone interested in joining me for one?