Sunday, 25 November 2007

Cable heaven

That's where I seem to have gone. I adore this yarn and cable pattern so much, I have to make myself put it down. Of course whether that's still the case if I don't have enough yarn and need to start over remains to be seen.

Quite why I've become obsessed with cables is a mystery to me. I love the look of them (unlike bobbles) but rarely feel the need to knit them. It must be something to do with the cold weather I guess!

The plan is to finish this sleeve (not long to go!), then calculate exactly how much yarn is required for the whole garment based on how much I used for the sleeve.

Fingers crossed..

Monday, 19 November 2007

When all is not as it seems

Sometimes things seem that they will be perfect... and then they turn out to be not quite so good. As was that perfect pattern for the merino chocolate orange yarn.

As I worked the first sleeve, increasing slowly, I realised that all was not well. The stitch pattern covered 24 rows, but seemed to jump after the first half. Although the knitting looked pretty good, I couldn't get the flow - and had no idea how to bring those new side stitches into the pattern.

I measured the progress I had so far, and realised that if I followed the increase instructions, the finished sleeve would measure 24" from cuff to armhole - even my arms aren't that long!

The pattern gauge was given in stocking stitch, and I had matched it exactly, but the lace cable pattern for the actual design was turning out to be a different beast.

Things had to change. I frogged the 3" of sleeve I had worked, and decided to create my own pattern.

I thought about what I liked from this design, browsed through my stitch dictionaries for a while, and ended up with this:

I'm doing basically the same shape garment, but with a flowing cable design - twisted 2-stitch cables rotating anti-clockwise for the cuffs and collar, leading into wider 6-stitch cables turning clockwise in alternate columns as they climb the garment.

It flows - and I like it.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Serendipity - the Tale of a New Project

Yep, I've found another great new project.. I think I'm suffering from startitis at the moment. I had dug out the allotted yarn for the "Central Park Hoodie" but didn't like the swatch, so that's been shelved again for now in favour of this...

Almost 12 months ago, after spending the day manning a stall at a particularly uninspiring craft fair (i.e. virtually no sales), I agreed a great trade with Fiona of Yarnwise - 4 of my knitted collars for 500g of gorgeous chocolate orange merino wool.
Think clementines, conkers, and steaming hot chocolate all swirled up together in the dyebath...

The merino has sat patiently waiting in the stash since then, until last month when I heard it sweetly singing to me. I wound it into balls, and put it in my "Pending"* stash box whilst keeping an eye open for pattern inspiration.

Now that the weather is finally cooling down, I decided on a sweater - but not just any old sweater. I want to end up with one of those favourite comfy kinds of sweater that is a joy to throw on and wear; not too heavy, not too cool, just the right size. One I want to wear all the time - you know the sort. It also has to be a joy to knit - not so complex that I need silence to work on it, but not an endless sea of stocking stitch either.

Two nights ago night serendipity struck! Whilst chatting to my in-laws (who had stayed for dinner as thanks for babysitting our DDs whilst we attended the school parent's evening) I decided to browse through my file of patterns (mainly prints of free web patterns that I've come across on random surf sessions) and, quite by accident, found the perfect match for the merino!

The pattern is for a lacy cabled sweater, from the Canadian yarn manufacturer
Kertzer - and I'm so glad I printed it as it doesn't seem to be on their site now. It uses about 475g-worth of the yardage that I have in the merino, with exactly the same gauge - even the finished measurements seem to be perfect for my height and arm length which is unusual.

I was so excited I swatched immediately (bang on target), then unravelled and set it aside and started it last night. I know I should be carrying on with the other WIPs but I needed to get a sleeve on the go to use up some of the initial New Project Enthusiasm. :-)

* My stash is held (mainly) in a tower of plastic boxes which fill one corner of our bedroom. The upper boxes are naturally easier to get into, so I tend to use the yarn from those first. The top one is for yarn that I'm hoping to use next - i.e. "Pending". The yarns I'm working with currently are held in the very useful storage stool that came with our cream leather suite, which of course stays close to my chair... ;-)

Monday, 12 November 2007

Bamboo Success!

The frilly bamboo cardigan is done, it fits, and I love it!

This yarn is so lovely - soft, warm, fantastic drape, with a subtle sheen. The finished cardigan fits me really well - even the sleeves are the length I like.

The details:
Yarn - Sirdar Just Bamboo
Pattern - Sirdar Just Bamboo 8878

No modifications. Easy to knit, and great to wear. Big hugs go to the members of the Beatties Knit Chat group who bought this yarn and pattern for me as my leaving present when we moved to Cornwall earlier this year. Thanks everyone!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Knitting extremes

I recently gave in to temptation and bought this skein of hand-dyed cashmere 4ply yarn in shade "Heather" from The Knitting Goddess.

It's an extreme opposite of my recent knitting projects, which have been some quick chunky collars and scarves on 10mm needles. This feels like I'm knitting with sewing thread in comparison, despite using 3.5mm needles!

I've chosen the simple
Feather and Fan pattern as I wanted a simple lace project that would be reversible.

I am starting to love the way the colours are traversing as I work up the scarf, and the yarn is creamy soft although it feels more like laceweight to me than 4ply!

I haven't yet decided whether this will be a Christmas gift for somebody else - or maybe for myself as a special treat. :-)

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The clock is ticking

WIP Check
Soft Pink Bamboo Cardigan - seamed and awaiting oversewing seams with sewing thread
Driftwood Bamboo Top - need to seam right shoulder and knit neck edging, then seam the rest
Christmas Gift #2 - 40% done
Aubergine Lacy Aran Cropped Cardigan - still awaiting sewing in the ends and sewing on the beads (but should I use different beads?)
Rose Pink Felted Crochet Bag Experiment - we have a small shape that can hold things but I'm not sure it's the shape I wanted..

Pics to follow!

Lined Up
Exciting news - I need to knit 2 family baby gifts! No, neither is for me. ;-) Two of my relatives are due with babies next April; only one is going to try to find out the sex beforehand (and even then there's no guarantee is there?!) so generic colours are required.

I'm not keen on knitting toys these days (too much sewing required afterwards) so I've decided to knit "Lucky" - a very cute moss stitch cardigan in the "Pipsqueaks" book. I may need to do a different pattern for the second one if the moss stitch gets too much, but we'll see.

I'll be using Rowan All Seasons Cotton in shade "Tapestry" - a sandy beige - from my stash again (woohoo!). I have a 500g pack of it which I was saving to knit myself the "Apricot" cardigan from Rebecca magazine, but I've changed my mind on that one. Great pattern, but I really need to lose weight before I'd do it justice.

In The Distance
I'm itching to start some socks using the Tofutsies yarn I bought recently, but I do need to finish some WIPs first. The "Central Park Hoodie" is calling to me from Knitscene (a stash of various aran yarns are marinating ready for that), as is the "Rogue" hoodie - I have some lovely Adriafil Point yarn reserved for that one. Why do future projects always seem so appealing..?