Sunday, 25 May 2008

Nothing to see here...

Hey guys, I have no photos to show you. Boo. My nokia N95's camera isn't working. This phone has been a major stress, and I don't think I'll ever go back to Nokia again. UGH.

My other camera - the sony one- needs to be charged. When that's done, I'll get some pictures on, pronto.

I've been working on the Debbie Bliss yoke sweater (ravelry link, soz) in the Prima yarn. I must admit, I do like DB's prima yarn. It's 80 percent wool/20 percent bamboo and its dk (or sport weight, for you Americans out there). It's a lovely yarn that seems to marry both characteristics of the materials gone into them. The bamboo gives the yarn a lovely drape and lustre, and the wool gives it elasticity and makes it easier to work on the hands.

Due to a quirk of my gauge with my knit picks metal needles, I've had to abandon them, and use colonial rosewood needles instead. The needles are nice, but not as smooth as I hoped - but you have to 'season' bamboo and wooden needles, by running them through your hair and allowing the oils to build a patina of sheen on them. So because of this, I'm not zipping through the miles of stocking stitch like I thought I would.

If I knit too long, my fingers hurt, due to the 'grabby' nature of the wool against the wooden needles. Also, I'm afraid of knitting too long because I've been seeing a fair few of my knitterly friends having to wear wrist splints because of the repetitive action. So, to quote a well known Jamaican proverb: take sleep, mark death - which just means that you note the little patterns and use that to see the big picture.

So, yesterday I watched the Eurovision song contest. For the Americans on my flist, Eurovision is a deliciously campy song competition that happens around this time every year. It's over the top, with original lyrics and zany costumes. On average, forty different European countries enter, and only twenty five countries make it to the final. You have songs lasting for two - three minutes each, and people are encouraged to be as original and outrageous as they can.

The way how the Eurovision song competition is going now its very political. People in the respective countries are not allowed vote for their own talent, so you have to vote for another country. I voted for France's divine.

But the thing is, if you're not from the Balkans or the Baltics, your song doesn't get a look in. Pants. I thought Latvia's pirate's song was brilliant as well.

So, I hope to have some pictures up here. So far, the knit is all stocking stitch - rather boring, but soothing inthe sense that you can watch TV.

While I'm doing that, I'm thinking about doing my thermal in pieces, then seaming. I probably might do that, but then, I think about the dark yarn and change my mind again.

We will see.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Swatching for England

Swatching for England. To the left, I'm doing the Yoke detailed sweater (how American sounding!) from Debbie Bliss' Coastlines. Instead of doing it in silk, I'm doing it in her prima yarn in emerald. It's a pretty yarn, a merino, bamboo blend. Bamboo gives the yarn its drape and lustre, wool will give me a bit of warmth and elasticity. I'm ruminating over the neckline, knowing that the silk tends to droop, hence that elongated neckline. Bamboo/wool might not have that same inclination to 'droop' but we will see.

Already, there's a problem. The pattern calls for 24stsx30rows on 4mm needles. I can only get 22stsx30 rows, so am reswatching in 3.75mm needles. Fingers crossed.

The picture to the top right is my swatch for thermal. I knitted a swatch, stuck it to my cork board with two clothes pins at its edge to imitate weight in order to coax it to stretch. The thermal stitch is very stretchy - as in, an inch. This is done in rowan soft 4ply (100 percent merino). So, will do 34" instead of 36" size on 3mm needles. The twisted rib for the cuffs was very stable - didn't budge from 2 inches - even after the washing and hanging (I treat my swatches mean, to keep them keen).

The jumper to the front is from Rebecca 36. It's just called 'brown sweater' and has cables and lace, done in a cotton/acrylic yarn called Leona. I'm subbing Leona with Rowan all seasons cotton in a green/grey/brown colour called 'military'. I got 20 balls of it on the cheap because it was being discontinued. I thought of knitting an actual military jacket, but this yarn wants to be this jumper. My gauge is on point, although I've never really done cable on a jumper before (did on Fetchings, but never on clothing). I haven't done a lot of lace, so this might ease me into the land of lace knitting.

I'm hoping to follow less of the US elections (go Dems!) a lot less, and focus on my knitting a bit more. No more ravelry for the nonce, because I do want to get these jumpers finished. The yoke one will be nice to wear in this changeable British weather - cool when it's hot, warm when its cool.

Next week, I hope to be half way through the body.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

*taps on microphone* Is anybody out there?

Hello! I know, it's been a minute. I had to deal with some business in IRL, wherein I came, I saw... and got my arse kicked. So, I've been licking at my wounds for a while, and decided to get my knitting on.

I love knitting. No matter how bad things get, I can always rip back, and make something useful. In knitting, you can always fix mistakes.

So, without further ado, here's my tomato.

The usual specs:
Pattern: Tomato, by Wendy Bernard from the book No Sheep for You.
Started: March, 2008
Finished: May, 2008
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Stella in blue and cream
Needles: Aldi 4.5mm.
Mods: Did 140 sts at bust instead of 156sts, did pattern a couple of rows earlier.

I actually liked this topdown. It was easy peasy. I had issues with it though, in the sense that the pattern calls for negative ease - and the measurements were for 32" and 37" bust lines. So, since I'm 35" - I had to do 140 sts (instead of the 156 dictated by the pattern). In addition, I was leery re: the pattern on my bust, so, it's a bit high up (under the pits) and not across the 'girls'. The Debbie Bliss Stella is lovely: yes, it's prone to splitting, but it has a soft, lived in feel and look to it, and it takes the 4.5mm needle sizes nicely (the needle size recc'd for this yarn is 5mm).

I do like the yarn, but doing stranded knitting with such a thick yarn was tricky, because you didn't want it to be too tight, you know? I'd do this in a dk yarn next time, with some elasticity too. It's a nice sweater for this hot weather we're having. Not too hot, with all that silk and cotton. You could wear this baby against sunburnt skin and not feel uncomfortable.

Like a virgin?:
This is the first time that I've completed knitting a topdown garment. There are advantages to this method, especially when you're knitting with limited yarn quantities. What's nice is that the seaming is minimal, and I appreciate Ms Bernard's necklines. They are nice and wide and there's enough stitch work for interest.

Oh that purple fingering yarn to the right? That's the swatch for my thermal in rowan soft 4ply, 100 percent merino yarn in an aubergine colour called 'Victoria' (I think).

Hmmm... I hear that the rowan 4ply soft stretches like a politician's lie, so I'm doing a swatch for gauge, and for how this yarn is going to behave. I've been hearing stories about doing the jumper in the first size (32!) because it will stretch to 35 inches when I'm done. Can we say, *okay*? But it's a jumper done in fingering yarn, and it calls for a commitment in terms of time and effort.

Sooo, because I'm incorrigible (what? You thought that I changed?! and my eyes are bigger than my stomach - have you seen Kim Hargreaves' new collection? I'm sure you have, I've been away. I like the fact that she has denim yarn in this collection. I want to knit either joy or glee. I like glee because it looks lady like - and I can wear a denim jacket that doesn't look like a denim jacket. Joy probably seems more my speed, but I love glee.

So, onward to doing this swatch. I'm going to wash it, stretch it and stick it on a cork board and see how it stretches.

I don't trust you, 4ply!
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Thursday, 20 March 2008

*sighs* I hate life

You remember when Marian Cotillard won her Oscar and she said something about loving life and love?

Sadly, I can't say I'm enamoured of life at this moment:

My herringbone stitch for my tomato is giving me a warm time. This will be the fifth time I've ripped back - boo. The thing with my tomato is, I fall between sizes - in addition, the pattern calls for negative ease. So instead of 136 sts or 156 sts, I'm working with 140. Herring bone stitch is a multiple of 4, but the way how this design is, it seems to be a multiple of 4+2 at round 1 and round 4. Arrrgh.

In other life news, my partner and I have decided to withdraw from the adoption process - even though its more a matter of jumping instead of being pushed.

According to stats, it seems that we're neither wealthy enough nor do we have an adequate enough 'social circle' to adopt. Also, I don't have parental experience, which is important since this child won't be ours, as the social worker keeps saying. I now need to call my referees and tell them to stand down.

So, I'm a bit bummed right now. Off to rip my tomato back two rows.... again.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Ohhh la la! New Knitty!

Have you seen it? Yosemite and ribbon scarf are mine! I have first dibs. Honeycomb is cool too.

Need to finish up my knitting. Yes.

See you Friday. :)'

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Purple - or is it blue? Tomato

My partner and I have been puzzling over this colour of yarn. I think it's an ultramarine blue (the first picture is really accurate), while my partner thinks its purple. I actually hope that it's blue, because I have too much purple yarn. It's going to be embarrassing when I knit up all this purple yarn - oy.

So, I decided to look up colour psychology and came up with my favourite colours and what they meant.

Purple: Associated with: creativity, fertility, joy, but also magic, evil, death and sex

Orange: Associated with: stability, reassurance, warmth, and is thought to aid digestion

Green:Associated with: nature and energy, calming and restful, balance (halfway between red and blue) security, stability

Blue: Associated with: calming and soothing; promotes intellectual thought; believed to keep hunger at bay; loyalty, serenity, authority, protection, contemplative, prevents nightmares.


Anyhoos, this is my first top down pattern, it's knit and tonic's Tomato . I must admit, it's the only pattern from No Sheep for You that I genuinely liked, so imagine my chagrin when knitting daily offered it for free! After I bought the book! Grrr. I'm not using the recommended yarn for this project (Blue Sky Alpaca's organic cotton) because I don't like it much. It pills dead easily (winding hanks into balls!), would be very uncomfortable on the size 7 needles and just feels really heavy.

I'm using Debbie Bliss' Stella, a cotton/silk/rayon blend. It has a nice slubbed texture (to hide the inevitable pilling), and the silk will have nice temperature regulating abilities. I'm doing it on the sevens, using the directions for the smallest size (but added additional stitches on the armscye so I can wear a t-shirt underneath without it bunching).

So far, the pattern is easy. I must admit, I scratched my head when it came to backward loop cast on (too loosey goosey, I understand why its used for lace cast on), and how to join the neckline into the round.

That was because I'm accustomed to knitting from the bottom up, so the needles dipping down threw me for a six.

The pattern is going well so far *knocks on wood*, and if I actually put my mind to it, I'd probably finish this by Friday - but alas, I have to tidy my house, fill out a stack of papers (an inch high!) and get some work done. It also doesn't help that I've started reading comics again - in earnest - as well as all those Navy SEALs romance novels *sigh*. They are so utterly trashy, like junk food for the intellect. So decadent, and so good. I'm shameless, I know.


Oh, btw, flickr sucks. Because I live in the EU, my picture amounts have been shaved to nothing. What it means is that I have to go back to flickr and delete some of my pictures - or pony up $24.95 for a year.

So, what's your favourite colour? What's the psychology behind it? Surprise yourself!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Rip it good

"There's dust on my guitar/ and it's all your fault/ and you've paralyzed my mind and for that, you suck/Ooohh"

I don't even remember who sang that song, but they used to show it on Saturday morning cartoons when I was a wee sprong.

Anyways, how have you been? As for me, I've spent the time reading good books by Suzanne Brockmann - who writes really good stories with characters that make me cackle until three am in the morning. Right now, I'm totally mooning over the plight of Jules and Robin - my gay one true pairing (OTP).

I've also spent the past two weeks knitting the short sleeved cardigan - only to face the facts: the slubbed, lived in texture of this yarn doesn't suit the crisp sunny nature of this cardigan. Probably a smooth cotton/bamboo or a bamboo tape would have worked. Alas, cotone cardi, we hardly knew ye.

So, I'm gonna rip it back and do a Tomato from no sheep for you. The Stella yarn is a slightly better yarn than the blue sky alpaca cotton (the recommended yarn) in the sense that the Stella yarn hides the pilling well, and with its silk/cotton/rayon mix, it should be comfortable to wear. I've never really committed to a top down garment to its completion, so I'm going to be putting the foot down on this baby. I want three tops for Spring, and this is top no. 1.

My weekend will be the following:

  1. Rip yarn
  2. Wind yarn in hanks, dampen and let dry
  3. Wind into balls
  4. Do swatch
  5. Start knitting - Sunday night.
The grand thing - I'm wearing the heck out of my Phildar pullover. It's charming, warm and I might knit another one in another colour - and put on sequins and keep it 'for best'.

We will see.

I hope to update on Sunday (tomorrow evening), or mid week the latest. See you then!

Have you ripped back anything lately?