Saturday, 15 December 2007

an SOS

Yeah, for all the three people who read this blog. If you actually see a pattern similar to the mustard cardi on the right, email me. Knowing my luck, it will be in a Rebecca magazine with a lace pattern (but they don't seem to have a stocklist in the the UK anymore according to my local yarnshop person).

I do like the cardigan and would even do it in the same mustard colour or a terra cotta colour. I'd probably do it in about 1300m 4ply (fingering) yarn bought from I'm thinking something soft, soft, soft. If I had the money, it would be cashmere, or wool/silk or cotton cashmere. *sighs*

Oh Santa, I've been a good girl all year, I have.

If I can't find the pattern I'm going to have to whip out that Barbara Walker book and bust a move. The stocking stitch might be the death of me, but whatever right? I'm going to have to sketch it, add about +4 -6 inches of ease and find someone with a knitting machine. Trust.

Wish us luck, eh?

Sour times

Damn it. I remember reading on someone' s blog that they always liked Kim Hargreaves' designs but never her patterns. I didn't realize what they meant until now- Phildar's sleeve and armsyce ratio suck! I've even tried backstitch (ugh) and it didn't work. Then I found myself with scissors trying to take the sleeve from the body of the jumper and cut the yarn.

I won't even tell you the issues that leafy and I have had. We may need counseling. A mediator to give us space so that we can tell each other how we feel. I overshot the chart and did five leaves instead of four, but that was pilot error, and now the sleeves DO NOT slot in neatly. I'm not even looking forward to doing the neck, because instead of picking up and knitting around, I'm doing what the instructions say and knitting the band separately.

Normally, when doing a first knit from an unknown entity - I tend to follow the instructions to a T- because I'm mostly a self taught knitter, and differe
nt instructions might teach me something new. Already, I can understand why Phildar wants the band knitted separately and then grafted onto the neck edge, it's to get that sharp cast on edge going on. Oh well, we'll see how it works. I want to wear this baby for Christmas, but we need some space before we go Mr and Mrs Smith on each other's arses.

Oh, the paper underneath my jumper is erm... my nanowrimo work. It's about knitting, blood, guns and a dollop of romance that still makes me scratch my head. How the heck did that get in there? It helps that the guy is cute and Japanese but still... There's a strange scene with a yarn winder and yarn.
Ewww. I am twelve.

So, I'm thinking of knitting up some hand warmers, because I have some Louisa Harding (in pink) in the stash. Or the rainbow coloured Phildar pullover above in its recommended yarn. Because I'm a masochist. But it's just stocking stitch and ribbing, and it has belled sleeves and an open neckline, and it skims the body, and what's the worst that could happen? I rather like that top, it could work with the skirt action or jeans. I could wear it to hot countries and leave my structured jacket at home.

Or should I just do a pair of hand warmers? My fetchings look tatty, and I have some lovely pink dk yarn by Louisa Harding.

Here's hoping that by next week I'll have that bloody jumper on my back. For serious.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Phildar jumper :70 percent done

A lovely blogger popped by to see the progress of my jumper! Awww... *blushes*. So, I'll show you where I am. In one week, I did the back and two sleeves (the colour isn't so grey, its more a spruce, like a dark peacock blue, or an intense teal, but its grey and rainy)!

I've never really knitted from a chart before, and I got mixed up. So, I've done colour coding for my charts! Blue is purl stitch, pink is knit stitch and yellow is the miscellaneous stitch manipulations that I need to do (like M1, p2tog, etc.).

For the back and front, I've made the length of the jumper 5mm instead of 1.5m. I need the length. I'm dead pleased about my first leaf and stem, and do hope to be quarter done with the front tonight. It's difficult doing this in front of the TV, so I've had to go back two rows. I might have to do a life line or two as well. But hopefully, I'll be able to do lace knitting with the whole chart reading.

I really think I want to get some knit picks harmony knitting needles though. My tension is a tad tight with the metallic needles. They are also a joy to knit with on the bus. I can keep my elbows tucked in, and if I can't finish a row, I just arrange my needles just so, and I never fear dropped stitches or the like.

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Friday, 7 December 2007

That tears it, I'm learning French!

English is my first and only language. If pressed, I can bumble about in Spanish, because I have no shame if my sentences are right or wrong, I just want to be understood. I have never really had much truck with French, until now.

Phildar has been holding out on us, my limey knit mates (or, I haven't really gone through the back issues until now, yeah... that's it). The catalogues are cheaper (only €5,50 vs €10,50 for the English version. To be fair, it's two copies of the same magazine, but still), and they have scads of back issues, from 2005, y'all.

Look at this cute- as-a button garter stitch hat. Slouchy, yet stylish and tidy. Isn't it just darling? Don't you like this vest, with the alternating garter and stocking stitch texture? The oversize collar can double as a hood if you exaggerated it enough. Along with the ribbed gauntlets (you can't call them fingerless gloves, can you?), the look is rocking without being too matchy matchy and try hard. I like the fact that the vest can carry over from spring to fall (my aim for knit basics 2008). I even like the payne's grey colour and think that it would look fab on me.

The stitch detailing for the red orange pullover is clever. Cunning ribbed patterns add interest to the top of the sleeves and neckine, the shirred ends of the sleeves give the look of volume that will never date, but always look quaint. I must admit, I'm not a fan of the oddly shaped pepums (is that the word?), or the use of i-cord for shaping. I'm too zaftig to leave my shaping to chance.

Really though, what I do admire about Phildar is their attention to stripes. Most designers tend to just do stripey stuff ala Breton, or Where's Waldo/Wally, with the broad swathes of white, broken up by tiny lines of blue, or alternating lines of red and white prison stripes. Not caring about the nod to size or colour placement.

Phildar does stuff better. Look at this top, they use two colours, biscuit and denim to give stripes a lot of interest. I particularly like the bust minimizing blue, and the button detail. It's nice to come across something that can be used for stash busting, as well as something that I'd be pleased to wear (I have teal and biscuit in my stash, rock!). It's also in cotton/acrylic (my stash). I'm thinking of doing it top down, because I only have six balls of teal and four balls of biscuit. Also, I hear the sleeves for this pattern as knitted is long. But I don't know how I'd do the khaki swatches between the bust and the armscye. Any suggestions?

Right! My additional new year's resolution will be to knit a pattern from a Phildar magazine in its original French. There shall be weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. But I heard tell ravelry has a French knitter's group. I shall have a butcher's.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Knitting challenge: knit basics for '08, care to try?

For the past week, I've been looking at my stash, my patterns and the knitting and colour trends for 2008. With my master scheme of stash diving and clearing my knitting decks, so to speak, I thought that we could have a theme going.

First, though, let us take a look at the colour trends for 2008. The colour palette seems relatively cool, rather Scandinavian with its varying tones of grey tinting the greens and blues, and surprisingly, a pink that looks more like a dusky coral. I've read that the materials veer from organic to futuristic, and the clothing is more structured.

Based on the montage of fashions on this page, and the prolonged reading of magazines both online and in hard copy, I've identified four pieces of knitwear that will be a nod to the trends, but will suit me. That's the trick, your knitwear should suit you, and I'm coming to the conclusion that as much as I like my fair isle, and acrobatic patttern designs, my style favours the unobtrusive and stark beauty of the stocking stitch.

Also, just looking through the European knitting pattern books has been a revelation. For example in the Phildar books, the yarn is knit with needles 1 size smaller. It makes the fabric firm, adds structure and the garment is less prone to pilling. A dollop of acrylic to wool and cotton adds to the durability of the knitted garment. Reverse stocking stitch is quite lovely, and doesn't seem to be as prone to pilling as straight stocking stitch.

The criteria for your knitting basics should be as follows:

  • It must fit your wardrobe. Make knit pieces that you will wear. If you suit scoop necks (like yours truly) don't knit crew or v necks. You won't wear the garment, ask me how I know.
  • It must suit your lifestyle. As much as I like structured knit jackets, I won't wear them. I'd rather wear structured cloth jackets. My style seems to be slouchy minimalist, so I can see myself wearing my rendition of the yellow Chloe cardigan above.
  • Try and pick colours that suit you and your wardrobe, but don't play it too safe. I've discovered that I have enough green/teal yarn to make three full garments. I'll do it too, but I'm not buying any more green for now. No more browns, either.
  • The garments must be able to drift across two seasons. This is to make sure that you get as much wear as you can from the knitted garment. For instance, if you make a cardigan, you can wear it on a cool spring or summer's day. If if got chillier, you can pair it with a knitted vest for additional warmth. If you make a vest, you can wear it over a long sleeved garment to keep your back and shoulders warm, but can shuck it off as soon as the weather gets warm or you walk into a heated room.
So, with this in mind, my four key garments/ knit basics for 08 are:

  1. A scoop necked vest. I'm unsure of the colour, to be frank. I'm veering towards the red orange yarn in my stash, because it will give a splash of colour to whatever garment I'm wearing. It will be done in double weight yarn because it won't add bulk to my frame or garments.
  2. A cardigan. Probably two. One is definitely Central Park Hoodie, but I don't have the yarn for that yet. So far, I'm looking at Anna Bell's Cherry, a cardigan from Phildar and a slouchy cardigan ala Chloe. I might have to do evil design math, or ask a fellow raveller for help, but we will see.
  3. A short sleeved vest: This might be in a heavier yarn, but I can wear a long sleeved top underneath and still keep warm.
  4. A summer top. Something simple and pretty, but I haven't stumbled on what I want just yet.

Then, I'm thinking of accessories. Two years ago, I did two pairs of fetching gloves from and I've worn the heck out of them ever since then. I need to add those. So, I am hoping to do:
  • Long arm warmers. They are useful for having warmth under your coats
  • A lace triangular scarf or a long rectangular stole. The scarves are good for traveling and will be lighter than my cloth scarves as well. I can literally stick it in the side of my bag when it gets too hot.
  • A snug cap that's long enough to cover my ears.
That's it, really. I'm toying with making a knit along, for anyone to join in their own time, or do a group on ravelry, but I don't have the discipline to mod or cheer the troops on, so to speak. If anyone gets to do this idea before me, feel free to do so, just give me credit where its due, and please invite me to the knit along!

What do you think?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Shoot, December already?

I don't have any pictures of my pullover to show as yet... but I'm halfway up the back and my sleeves are already done. Am looking at my yarn stash and something needs to be done. So, I'm stash diving into all my pattern books. So, although it's only December (but Christmas is about three weeks away!) and Jan 2008 is just around the corner, here's my knitting resolutions in 2008.

  • Knit more. Seriously, I need to knit more. I tend to buy yarn, patterns, knitting notations, and do nothing with it. Seriously, I need to knit more.
  • Will attempt my first lace knit. It's about time. I have patterns, and lace yarn in my stash.
  • I need to knit other patterns apart from Rowan. I have Vogue, Knit 1, Phildar and online patterns in my stash. More variety in knitting patterns needed!
  • Expand on my colour choices a bit. Pink, charcoal and buttercup yellow.
  • No new yarn until I've used up two tops worth of the old stash.
That's about it, really.