Sunday, 29 April 2007

Don't look at me that way, it was an honest mistake.

This was my major mistake in Loll. If you look closely on the top right of the first photo, this was my problem. I misread the directions. After the shaping, when you're now trying to increase, the instructions are as follows: "Inc in first st (rib to within 2 sts of marked st, M1,P1,M1, rib 3- marked st centre st to this group of 3 sts, M1,P1,M1) twice, rib to last st, inc in last st".


Did you understand all that was written here?

Me neither. Somehow, I got four stitches in the increase, where there should have been three. So I had two rows of four and two rows of two going up the back of pattern. I should have taken a picture and posted. My apologies, I had to rip it back before I lost my nerve.

Never mind the paper-clip, I hate stitch markers; they are entirely too awkward, so I use whatever comes to hand, and this paper-clip was here.

The second picture shows the pattern as it should be. After increasing all the stitches should stick to the pattern of three purl, one slip stitch. Helen (my sort of svengali) says that I should be 'in touch' with my knitting, in terms of knowing when things are going wrong. She is right in that you have to be very 'aware' of the pattern.

There hasn't been a point where I have felt that knit this pattern could be knit on automatic. There are loads of techniques that I've had to learn ever since casting on. I think this pattern would have been better if it had charts, so that you could actually see how things should look before you make a honker of a mistake. If I were to do this again, I'd chart it. I think for any pattern that seems too complex, I'm going to sit down with some graph papers and get my chart on.

This is the back of Loll, finished. The red markers are important to the pattern. I'd recommend that you do them. They also show how much I had to rip back to, because the entire pattern was off kilter. I literally had to tear down ten inches of knitting. Being the chicken I am, I asked Helen (the local Rowan consultant at John Lewis) to do the deed quickly, which is why I have no pictures of my glaring mistake. Mea culpa. The ripping process still painful, but hey, it got done.

I now have the fronts to do, and hope to have them done by Mayday. There's a bit of bother with the problem of the left front that I need to work on. *sigh* I also need to look for buttons for this thing. Strangely, the pattern doesn't really give much in terms of directions for button holes. It just gives you directions for one and says you're on your own in terms of button placing and spacing for six button holes.

This cardigan needs buttons because I live in the UK, and no matter how sunny the day is, there is the sly lick of wind that gets into your clothes. The thing is though, I'm stumped as to what sort of buttons I should get. The colour is more a raw umber, and I want buttons that go with it. Should I employ a whimsical red, or go with more complimentary colours?

I will say this, I do like the drape and feel of Calmer, and wish it wasn't half as expensive as it is.

I mean, there's this South African company that makes an acrylic yarn called 'Pure Gold' called 'courtelle'. It is similar to Rowan calmer in terms of the texture and the feel, but it doesn't have the elasticity that Calmer has. Too bad man, it's like £2.45 for 100 grams of yarn, and the feel and colours of the yarn are sweet. Haven't knitted with it yet, but I intend to do something top down with it.

The colour of the yarn is called 'coffee' which is the best colour for me in this yarn right now, especially since I intend to wear this cardigan all summer - in order to get my money's worth from the yarn.
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Thursday, 19 April 2007

Somebody, say something!

Photo credit: craftster member - this isn't my jumper (or me!- I wish I were that slim and lovely) but I do love the design so, and am hoping to cast this on my needles.

Also, the tubey pattern is - it's done with 10 balls of debbie bliss' cashmere aran, but given that yarn's tendency to pill, I'm thinking a cheap springy yarn which knits to 4.5 or 5.00 mm needles would be good.
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove
I'm in love, but I do wish to alter and remove.
Remember this? This is a solid colour for knitty's 'tubey'. It's a much better design without the stripes, because it brings out the best aspects of the design without all those distracting colours.
I do like the simplicity of the top, the clean lines of it and it really rocks in black- or any solid colour, really.
Another factor that tips it in my favour is the fact that well, it's a pretty basic TV knit, and a really nice pullover, especially if it was done in lovely yarn.
The rib is brilliant, especially topped with the detail at the neck, and the way how the lines skim the body.
The stocking stitch bell sleeves and shoulders look like a shrug, and the almost casual look of the sleeves although sweet, doesn't reconcile with the cunning and sharply sleek lines of the rib. My husband agrees with this assessment, but here's the rub- I can't see what sort of sleeves I'd put in the place of the rib, and I do like the square neckline.
So, any options?
Thanks in advance.
My update on Loll:
Doing the back, had to rip it 15 rows to the waist decreases, so will put it away for now. I do want to have this done by Mayday, but we will see.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

House of weardowney - knitting inspiration

My knitting friend Pat is always a twitter about house of weardowney, a duo of knitting designers. I admire their sense of style, and do hope to actually own an item of theirs from the Capsule line at Topshop (I'll admit, at times I find Topshop a little too young for me, but most times, I tell myself that I'm always 12, before I hand over the plastic. Ahem).

Anyways, what I admire about this duo is how they make knitting new - through the manipulation of stitches and the use of various emblishments. I love that khaki knit top, sooo sexy.
These knee high knits are cute. I'm actually coming around to the beauty of the knee highs, even though my calves are far from elfin (I'm peanut butter chunky, sigh).
Look, a knitting two piece. The bottoms are shaped like old fashioned bloomers I had to wear under my P. E. shorts. I love the drape of this two piece, without the bottom looking like diaper butt. I'd wear this to lounge around the house.
I put this here, little cable top, what stops it from looking mumsy is the square neckline, and the fact that the cables are tiny.

My only grouse is the colour used. I hate the biscuit colours that knitting magazines tend to use. I can understand why, so you can see the stitch detailing and such, but *heaves a put upon sigh* I hate biscuit.

Speaking of designs and bland mcbland colours, have you seen the new Rowan Studio? I like Hermia (I'm reading it as 'hernia') which is a cowl neck long sleeved jumper with moss (seed) stitch on the edges. Simple, effective, probably a bore to knit... but I need that right now. Octavia is kinda blah, but it's the best design for the bamboo tape that I've seen. Madame Hatton uses the drape of the yarn to its best effect, even though I've gone off the 'V' necklines nowadays.
Cressida is a nice button through top. I love the neckline, the stitch design, but it seems similar to knitty's thermal.

FYI: Hermia is this one and Cressida is the one on the bottom.

The thing is though, Hermia calls for Rowan double knit cotton, and cressida is in cotton glace. Also, hah.

The reason I scoff, is that I'm using cotton 4ply for Kim Hargreaves' Blithe on metallic needles (because I don't have the correct bamboo sticks) and it doesn't half slide and throw my gauge off. Hmmph.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

No pictures to post

Doing Kim Hargreave's Blithe with the recommended yarn.

The cotton is slippery on metal, and I find that I have to knit tightly to get gauge on said metal needles. I have no bamboo needles in 2.25mm, and am thinking of ripping this baby back and doing it on 2.0mm bamboo needles so that they 'grab' at the cotton more.


Also, the horizontal rib is a bit tricky to do, because you can't 'read' the stitches too well to see if you're doing a purl or knit stitch.

Nell, m'darling, if you're reading, would you recommend me doing this in brownsheep 4ply ? I'm thinking that the 20 percent wool content will let it have more 'give'.




Tuesday, 10 April 2007

ahoy there, me scurvy dogs, I've cast off sleeve island - with loot to boot!

I bought this cool toilette bag from Nell today! As you can see, it's already in use. Isn't it cute? I've coveted it ever since I saw it on her etsy site - to the point where I joined etsy- just to buy the bag. It's drawstring, and a good heavy material, which is grand, because the ones in the shops feel like tissue paper, if you know what I mean.
I can't sew a straight line, alas, so I leave it to those who do. Which is unfortunate, since I have a sewing machine upstairs in my room! :P Hah.

Finally finished the sleeves for Loll. They are the same size, and length and absolutely perfect, I think. It's good to have two sleeves on the needles at the same time. It's great when they are done. They take up a fair bit of yarn though, about three balls. I can make a top in Calmer with three balls - just a basic raglan top.

Do you know those graph books with the .05cm squares? They don't sell them in the UK - or they rarely do, anyway. If and when I come across these books, I get charged a speciality price for them . So, everytime I go on the continent (or know of someone who's going away), I tend to request these 'specialist' grid books. The europeans tend to use them to write with instead of the UK/US ruled sheets . I find knitters graph paper (in terms of printing out from the internet and inks) to be expensive, so this is a good subsitute. I use two types of pens - one an ordinary ballpoint for the lines, and an erasable ballpoint (like the papermate version) for the actual marks - so that I can erase and add at whim for the first few minutes.
I had to do this; after serveral rips of Loll (the Calmer is a top yarn, it takes repeated rippings beautifully) a knitter's chart seemed appropriate. I can actually see the fringes and the purl stitches and
how they come together beautifully. Loll is a very clever pattern from Madam Hargreaves. It's simple to look at, but the thought that goes into the engineering of stitches and the construction of the pattern is cunning. The fact that I can appreciate this through the little earthquakes of tantrums and the shimmer of tears, shows how cunning Madam Hargreaves is indeed.

I'm on the back piece now. Ideally, I'd have prefered doing Calmer on metal needles instead of bamboo. I find that the Calmer sticks to my bamboo needles a tad, and I can't knit as quickly as I'd like.

Remember Kim Hargreaves 'Blithe' ? The one I bought? Somehow the pattern is saying, "Jazz, you really want to do me in Rowan cashsoft, or a luxury blend. You want me to hug your curves, to be a smart and sharp vest on an autumn day. You want something with memory to hold the horizontal rib and horizontal ridge. Cotton isn't really me. C'mon, throw me a bone here."

The thing is, I'm thinking about it. *bites knitting needles*. I'm leaning towards doing it in a cushy sort of yarn. Alas, the kit came with five balls of Rowan 4ply yarn, so I need to make a decision.

I also need a simple, straightfoward pattern to do. Something preferably in the round, topdown - I've never done it before, but it can't be difficult, no?Posted by Picasa

Monday, 9 April 2007

Projects in queue

I finally broke down and bought a Kim Hargreaves kit. Personally, I wish that she'd just sell her patterns, or publish a book of 'em, instead of selling them only with the yarn. I can understand her reasons why, but... *sighs* I'm just wishing, that's all. I bought the Blithe in cotton 4ply, with that lovely yellow colour. In retrospect, I think Blithe would look nice in Rowan's cashsoft - their 4ply version, in a stronger colour.

That's my colour for Blithe. The other colours in the 4ply were too dark, too soft, or just too bland. I think I've choosen the best colour for me.

As it is, I'm doing the Loll cardighan, but in Coffee, instead of Driftwood as shown in the photo. With my complexion, biscuit, tan or 'blonde wooden' colours don't fit the yellow undertones. For the amount of money that Rowan charges for the yarn, I wish the colours were a bit more saturated. Like, if they had a luscious aubergine (instead of the purple touched with the grey tint that they have now), I'd have done Loll in that colour.

Loll has been a challenging knit so far. The fringes took an age to get my head around (cast on and cast off 6 sts), the slip stitch reverse stocking stitch is cunning, but I'd advise you to make your own charts for this pattern and do a swatch. Normally, I'm good with specified tension, but for Calmer I had to go up half a needle size (from 5mm to 5.5mm) to get gauge. I'm doing decreases and increases carefully to keep the ribbing pattern - but I haven't seen a Loll that's failed to impress or thrill its wearer.

Watch out!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Knitted stuff I've done


Just thought I'd show you knitted stuff I've done! The jumper (green), is Salina knitted in felted tweed. My first jumper, my third project (after a first scarf and then a mohair lace scarf). The Salina is a nice design, but I think the shoulders of the pattern are too wide. A friend of mine did this,and even with her skills, the shoulders were still too wide for the size, so have a care. In addition to this,the yarn itches against my bare skin. But I'm knitting something else with this yarn, to wear over a t-shirt. More on that anon.

There's a progress of me with my first sock - done on dpns in Opal yarn. I don't like knitting with the Opal yarn, it feels like stringy tendons, and the patterns weren't that entertaining to do. Nell raves about doing socks on long circulars and lorna's laces, so I think I might try that on my next camping trip.

The jumper that I'd love to knit (it's not here) is called demi from Rowan vintage styles, designed by Kim Hargreaves. I sorely wish to knit this, but with a different yarn, and learning to cable without said needle. Tomorrow, if I'm good, I'm going to take pictures of all the stuff I have going on the needles right now. It seems that Picassa only allows 4 pictures at a time, but that should be enough, don't you think?

So, erm... hopefully, a picture post anon!
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An uncommonly fine day


Today was a lovely day. Instead of spending the week working on my knitting, I allowed myself to take a break and we went to London for two days. My stepdaughter lives there with her bf and we were invited to see her new flat- we decided to do a spot of golf, have a bit of a busman's holiday (DH) by checking out Tamara's laptop, sorting out her modem issues and just generally chilling.

I'm girding my loins to rip back 12 rows of Loll. About a couple hours work (knitting like mad on Friday). But am getting to know the ins and outs of this Picassa thing. Oy.
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