No pics for ages, then three come along at once.

Well actually, a bit more than three, but for purposes of objects, the number will suffice.
After feeling so bummed yesterday because of the sock yarn running out, I started making the chunky socks from Knit Scene, and had a whale of a time ๐Ÿ˜€ I made one sock in slightly less than two hours in total – some late night knitting last night, followed by ‘it is early in the morning and therefore too early to do any work’ knitting this morning. And here is the result.

It took up about half a ball of the pink Lopi stuff (I forget what brand it is for now), so after the second one, I’ll have about 2 balls left of it ๐Ÿ˜€ I am very pleased with myself too, as I managed to convert the (albeit simple) pattern to two circs as well. Yay me!
Then I felt guilty about not posting any pics of the yarn I want to flog, so here it is, all 2 quids worth ๐Ÿ˜‰ The blue is the LL and it does have some shades of greeny blue and greyish blue in there too. The pink and green is the Fyberspates stuff.

Very cute when they are in those little wound up balls ๐Ÿ™‚
Ok, next up, something I just craved doing – the Silk Garden scarf from LMKG. I love the colour changes and the feel of the silk on my neck, but I hated knitting the twistiness of Noro in two different balls at the same time. And I feel a bit silly now having a different scarf, hat and gloves instead of matching ones, but nevermind ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, I have a pic of the armwarmers I made from Alterknits. They are made from about two balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk that I got as a joining gift for her club. The yarn is just beautiful to work with, and produces a gorgeous soft and warm fabric, with just a little hint of luxury because of the silk. It seems relatively non fluffy or pilly too – it did very well to cope with a soaking from the sleet and snow, so I’m suitably impressed with it.

Why is it so hard to take a pic of your own arm? Stupid body. I did try, but my attempts were a bit too pitiful to make it worth posting… Anyway, I would also like to point out in the pic that the ribbon, while looking darker than the yarn in the picture, is probably just reflecting the light differently and is actually a touch lighter than the yarn. Still, I think it is a good colour match – as well as the potential goth element, I also had the option to pick something that really contrasted with the red, like a navy blue or green, but luckily this red is close enough to make it elegent but vampy ๐Ÿ™‚ But I think the silk in the yarn helps it feel vampy (you know – the old velvet glove thing). And the pattern rocks.
Finally, I frogged Blackberry realising that it just wouldn’t suit me. The pattern is lovely, but it isn’t for me, after some soul searching. So I’m trying to decide how to use the yarn again. Then I had a slight brainwave. I have lots of pink Lopi yarn left, some green DB cash superchunky, and both are roughly the same gauge as the black mystery chunky yarn… Couple that with the thought that I’d like to try fair isle and intarsia on a pattern this year, and the parts added up to something in SNBN. The Fairly Easy Fair Isle cardigan. Again it is probably something that won’t suit me very much, but it would be a good practice for the method, a good way to see how I like the yarn in a simpler garment, a quick knit, and something that will help keep me warm at work when we get sat in a cold spot (of which there are many). Is this another project destined for frogging? I dunno, and I won’t be starting it for a while, but still, it means I can account for what the yarn is destined for eventually unless I see something more exciting.
Blimey it is very very very nice to be able to post something completed again when I haven’t done much knitting recently…

Bummer.

Well, I was hoping to post a new finished object this weekend, but no such luck (yet). I started a pair of socks on two circs to get a hang of the method, using some leftover sock yarn, and realised about 4 inches from the toe that I wouldn’t have enough. There is enough to make some trainer socks for a small foot like mine (UK size 4), but I don’t like wearing them.
Sooooo, I’ve decided that I might have to put this yarn on the market. I have approximately 42g of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the Cool colourway – enough to make socks for a child (perhaps with a short leg), or for trainer socks for a ladies’ size I think. If anyone fancies dibs on this, post a comment – I’m asking ยฃ2.00 plus postage for it, and I’ll throw in roughly 20g of Fyberspates Foxglove sock yarn in for a freebie if you want it – it isn’t enough for anything other than tiny booties I think, but it might look nice as a contrast colour for heels and toes if you have something to match. I’m also willing to swap these yarns, but I don’t know what would be worth swapping for it!
If you want to see the colours here is a link for the LL, and here is one for the Foxglove but it’s the one I used for my Jaywalkers.
Anyway, I have actually finished something, kind of. I finally got round to buying some ribbon for my lace up armwarmers made from DB Alpaca Silk, using the Alterknits pattern. This yarn is just stunning, and I wore them the other day, only to be soaked in snow and sleet on the way to work. BUT, my fingers were still warm and cosy thanks to the alpaca. The colour of the ribbon is a perfect match, and I’m really pleased I found that because otherwise I may have had to buy black ribbon and go all goth with them, and that would get a few raised eyebrows at work (the length of them does that anyway, but they are warm and lovely so I don’t care). I’ll post pics of that and the Silk Garden scarf tomorrow.
To cheer myself up I’m going to make the chunky socks from Knit Scene – they should be a good quick and dirty project, and I’ll make them on circs now I know what to do with them. I’ll be knitting them in the Lopi pink wool I got from Minneapolis – mmmm tasty ๐Ÿ˜€ And just what my feet need too, as they are currently cold in the recent real wintery weather we’ve had (thank goodness for February in the north of England), despite having my thickest cosiest slipper socks on WITH slippers over them. Brrrrrrr.
Lastly, thank you for insisting on keeping the girl in Library ๐Ÿ™‚ I should be better at responding to the comments people leave here, but I’m crap and you all well know it. BUT, I want to see what Another Library Girl picks to use as a pattern for her Astrakhan, and I want to thank Helen for the advice on sewing (I’ve also been told that it might help to sew the hem at the bottom by hand). I’m also glad that people like the Clap, but please note that it is much greener than in the photo in real life. Blimey that sounds quite disgusting if you read it the wrong way…
Finally, kudos to P for guessing who created the Ponderers, but I want to know what series it was from too ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I want you to cite at least one thing that they pondered over if you can remember! Then I might drop a few hints to you about some things, and offer you something. Might. Ha!

The Ponderers

I felt the title appropriate given all the pondering I’ve been doing, be it over what to write while I was studying this afternoon (do you see the % go up? Do you do you huh huh? I did another 1000 words today, so I’m hoping to get some more done this weekend to push it up to 12-15%), mulling over which of my stupidly large and underappreciated stash to offer to my friend who is still a fresh knitter (lots of spare/left over chunky stuff that I can’t decide how to use, and some Opal sock yarn), or wondering what the hell to do with the yarn I have from the myriad of patterns I have access to.
I had a fellow library girl (when does it start being inappropriate for me to be called library girl? Am I too old now? Should I become library lady? Yuck – more pondering) asking after the astrakhan and whether it knits up like an old tea towel ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll let you be the judge! I really like this stuff, despite its occassional terry cloth look. The swatch is made on 4.5mm in st st, so it has a knit and a purl side, but I suspect it would look different again in garter stitch.
Here is the knit side:

and here is the purl side. Notice how much bumpier it is compared to the knit side, which is smooth yet nubbly, and totally impossible to do a stitch count or gauge… Well nearly – I did manage to work out that I’m roughly on gauge. I think.

Looking at that you wouldn’t think it would be very nice to the touch, but it is yummy yummy yummy soft, in that cool DB cashmere way…
Anyway, the general concensus so far seems to be on the side of our friend Vogue. Are you sure? It won’t have normal yarn ribby bits, so you better be confident in my skills of neat edges ๐Ÿ˜‰ Actually, the more you guys have said VK, the more faults I’ve spotted in DB’s pattern, like with the weird parting on the buttons and at the base. And is it me or is the model in this book super broad shouldered? She makes all the clothes look really small or tight. Like that bolero pattern – the sleeves look uber tight fitting and it looks like she has shoulder pads on. Don’t get me wrong – she’s a very attractive lady, but I think they put her in the wrong sizes…
Ok, a couple more things before my evening meal (wheat free pasta in case you were wondering, with tomato and parmesan. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm). Here is a pic of the clap. No, not THE clap. Clapotis. See – I am full of bad puns this week. It is the studying hurting and damaging my brain. The ever helpful BlueADT has told me to frog it and have done with the hag. But currently I’m reluctant, partly because I don’t know what the hell to do with the yarn if I did (I’m not starting another scarf, I swear. I need garments, otherwise I’ll be going nude in a couple of months… But I’ll be able to keep my neck warm as toast), and partly because I still don’t know how I feel about it. I’ll say it again – the pattern and pics of everyone else’s are gorgeous, and I want one, but I just feel a lull about this. Although I’ve done more work on it now, and it looks more like a clapotis than a big triangle of knitting, which is good. I think it is just boring knitting, and that is condusive to being bored of the product itself. Anyway, here it is.

Whatcha think? I have 9 drops to go before the 3rd section. I think.
One last thing for today. I bought some linen threads and linen fabric to start work on a crewel sampler from the New Crewel ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t bother looking too hard for proper crewel threads as Huddersfield is not a good craft area at the mo, and all you can get are your basic DMC/Anchor embroidery things. I liked the linen as it isn’t very shiny. And I could pick colours as I saw them. I had a nosy on the web for Appleton crewel threads, but in a brief hunt there were plenty of stockists, but no online colour charts, and when it costs a tenner for a colour chart before I even know if I want to do this properly, I’ll stick to making things up with threads… I could use the colours used in the book, but why fart around so much at this stage? Anyway, I’m making the sampler to learn embroidery again (I did needlework a loooong time ago, so I can’t really remember much), on cream 28 count linen, with ecru, cream and a very pal oatmeal brown thread. That way it will hang nicely in my lounge if it takes my fancy, and work as a practice before I start doing anything really fancy on things of value…
Whoops! Pasta time! And if anyone can spot the reference from the title of this post, I’ll give them a prize (or I might not – depends how much of my stash goes to my mate ;D)

Help!

Someone please tell me whether I should make the astrakhan cardi from the Fall 05 Vogue Knitting (without the cash aran bits on the cuff and collar), or whether I should go for the shawl collared cardi in the Simply Soft book.
Here is a link to a pic of the shawl collar cardi – shawl cardi
And here is the Vogue Cardi courtesy of another knitting blogger (no one seems to have finished making this thing yet…).
I’m going to frog something and start this. I’m a baaaad girl.

Someone tell me why I'm doing this?

Ok, so I decided that this afternoon I will do work. I gave myself the morning to knit. Yesterday I finished knitting the Silk Garden Scarf, and it is currently blocking on the ironing board next to the radiator after a wash with a little wool and silk liquid. I was rather pleased, as I didn’t really enjoy knitting with two balls of super twisty Silk Garden (all Noro knitters will know that twistyness and know how bad it can get), but I love the colours and the feel of the yarn. I am being good, and not starting another project, seeing as I already have, oooooo, about 5 or 6 on the go – I forget the exact number ๐Ÿ™‚
Anyway, what did I pick up to knit after finishing the scarf? I was sensible. I said to myself ‘go with an old project, that has been hanging around for a while, and get some cleaning up done. Simplify!’ So I picked up Clapotis, the love and simultaneous bain of all our lives. Remember how I had to rip it all up because of making a mess? Well I’m almost to the point where I messed up (because, for those who don’t know, knitting tbl on the wrong stitches for a few rows) – I can tell by how much yarn is left on the huge ball I wound. So that is good. But I have suddenly started questioning why I am knitting this. Is it because I’ve joined the bandwagon? I don’t think so – I loved lots of the ones people have made, and it looks damn cosy as a scarf rather than a wrap. Is it the yarn? Nope – I love this yarn. Regular readers will have guessed by now that I love soft and cosy, and SWT Karaoke is just that. Dream to knit with, gentle on the hands and against the skin, and the colour I bought has beautifully subtle colour changes so that I have light and dark green stripes along the scarf. Is is cos the pattern is dull – maybe a little, but it is really just the kind of thing I need right now. As long as I’m not stupid enough to make the same mistake as last time, it takes just 30 seconds to work out what row you are on, and maybe that again to work out what pattern repeat you are at (just count the drop stitches, duhhh!).
I think what made me balk today was seeing the stitches drop. I don’t know why, but I suddenly thought ‘do I want to do this? Do I like them?’ Which is stupid, because as I said, I love lots of the ones on the web. The yarn is spot on for it, and a good cheap(er) alternative. Perhaps it is just the fear of blocking it and the unevenness of the drops at the moment. I was thinking while knitting that I would probably have to iron it under a damp towel rather than block the way most do by wetting and pinning out. There isn’t enough house space in Huddersfield to do that. And I do know that I hate having so many stitch markers on the needle. I have resorted to cheap crappy freeby ones from Simply Knitting in addition to the lush ones Kimberly sent me as part of SP5 (yes, Kimberly I still love and use them, and you inspired me to buy lots of beads to make some, which hasn’t happened quite yet. Apart from one :D).
I don’t know. Sometimes you just get the fudge in knitting, the way you do in life, where you can’t decide where you are or what you are doing. So I had some 70% G&B chocolate (WW soup for lunch, so I’m allowed! Besides – it is better to stuff your face with choccy and enjoy the moment, than to keep it in the cupboard taunting you. And it was a gift, so I couldn’t avoid it), have put the knitting down the side of the sofa for while I study (the needles stick out and taunt me, but it is a reminder that I can’t do it right now), and will stick some Goldfrapp on the CD player while I type some stuff up about the articles I’ve been reading (only a couple more to read now, but typing up and reducing word count is good). And now I will brush my teeth after all that yummy healthy sugar, and will use the rush to write stuff and be productive, till I can allow myself to knit again (maybe after dinner, or while watching some of National Velvet on telly – I do better work with background noise you see).
Ooo! Almost forgot. I found a Nancy Bush book at work this week, so I’ve taken it out on loan. It is her book on folk knitting in Estonia, and while lots looks hard (much fair isle to be had), there are some beautiful lace sock patterns. She uses some rather unobtainable yarns in the patterns, but I must be able to match gauge with my huge ball of sock yarn ๐Ÿ™‚ See! I am avoiding buying more sock yarn! Even tho I want to buy some silk stuff and some non-varigated stuff for Elfines! I’m such a matyr.
To studying!

I made something! Pic heavy (hoorah!)

Yay!

This is the first skirt I’ve made in a long time, and none of the other ones I’ve made have ever fit – too short, too small, too big, too frumpy. This skirt just about scrapes past the others into the world of the wearable. But it isn’t brilliant for both reasons of pattern and my own skills. The pattern is simple and easy to understand, so I can’t fault it for the instructions. I think the whole of the problems in this pattern stem from the elasticated waist. If I wear it with a baggy top, it looks fine. It isn’t meant to be worn with a baggy top tho. The first problem is down to me – I’ve not used elastic before, and it was difficult to work out where to pin it to get the right sizing. I had to find the right point where I didn’t have it so tight as to show a big belly bump or to be really bunched up at the back, but not so loose as to have it falling down and generally looking unsightly. The line was too fine for me to reach it I think. However, I think the way the sizing works makes it hard, certainly for my body shape, to get to that point – I have a comparatively slim waist to my belly and hips, so if I wanted to make the waist fit well, I had no chance of making the line on the belly flat and smooth. The shape of the lower half of the skirt looks fine though, which is definitely something! Any opinions from experienced sewers on what I’ve said above would be handy, because I may have another go at this pattern in the future. Also, I will try not to finish the skirt when I’ve had a dodgy tum and bloating… That might help too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here is a side view so you can see how loose the elastic is. And below is a pic of the saggy rear end (not my rear end, but the skirt’s. My rear end isn’t too bad thank you very much).

Finally, a view of it laid flat, so you get an idea of the cutting shape – 3 panels at the front, 5 at the back to allow for elastic at the back only.

Also, the yarn from Coldspring arrived today, 24 hours after I had paid for it ๐Ÿ˜€ Mind you, it is only 45 mins by car there… Two cones of what can only be said is DB astrakhan but isn’t labelled as such.

The colour isn’t really that accurate here – there isn’t as much yellow in it. This is slightly more accurate, even with the glare of light from the window in the door behind it!

So now I have to decide what to make with it. It is between the pattern in Fall 05 Vogue Knitting, and one in Simply Soft (the shawl collared cardi) at the moment. Not sure which to use, but if I use the Vogue one I don’t think I’ll use another yarn for the cuffs and collar. I’d miss the collar out if I could, and just leave the ribbing of the cuff out and knit the length up (perhaps with a looser fit, missing out the increases).
Phew! Lots on here today! Should be more tomorrow too if I fix Angelica like I plan. I’ll have to buy a cheap t-shirt from Sainsburys to wear under it (slashneck, long sleeves, black for a fiver) on Monday. And I need a button, but I might just get this to be wearable soon! About bloody time though… Oh, and I’ll be doing some studying too this weekend. Just your average lazy weekend for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ermmm, oopsy…

Stuff happened over the past couple of days. Yesterday I came home to the elusive KSH I ordered before Christmas, so I accidentally started knitting it up with the Felted Tweed I’ve had in my stash box for ages. This will be a very very luscious knit ๐Ÿ™‚ mmmmmm soft.
Also a parcel was almost dropped off, but I have to go collect it tomorrow from the postie. I know for a fact that it will be The New Crewel – a book full of the US embroidery designs I lusted after at Crafty Planet but cannot buy in the UK. Hoorah! There is another factor to this. I have progressed in the sewalong ๐Ÿ˜€ I now have two halves of a skirt. All that is left to do is sew down the waistbands, thread the elastic, sew the halves together and check the fit, and then do the bottom hem. Which actually sounds like a lot. But it might be wearable by next week. Unless I decide to do a little embellishing. In which case it will definitely be longer! And naturally this will be reliant on the skirt actually being good.
Finally, I had an email from Coldspring today with a loooong list of new designer yarns on cones. They really take care of their customers ๐Ÿ™‚ I have asked for a particularly good bargain (and it is because I’ve wanted it for ages, and have patterns) to be set aside, and if I get time tomorrow lunch time I’ll be phoning them to pay up for it… Shall I give you a hint? It has curly bits.
No pics I’m afraid tho. I’ve been too busy thinking of studying to do much of anything crafty (apart from the bit of skirt and the emergency knitting of new things – thank goodness for late nights and lunch breaks).
Three months to the end of the course and counting. Then lots of knitting. And other crafts. And reading.
Ooo, that reminds me. I finished Everything is Illuminated. So moving, and yet so full of humour. A must read for everyone ever. And Safran Foer is a complete babe. Last night in bed I made a start on the Frank O’Connor book my secret pal got me, and read the first story. This guy is so cool ๐Ÿ˜€ He manages to write with nostalgia without being cloying or overly sentimental. And he paints such a vivid image of childhood. I could visualise everything he wrote about, but he doesn’t seem to spoonfeed you images. My fave bit so far is his description of how babies are made, but I won’t spoil it for you – you need the story for the full context to do it justice ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks SP!

A bit of a change

I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have anything much to blog about this weekend. My tutor has emailed today to say he’ll be coming back to me with feedback on Monday or near enough then next week, so this weekend will be filled with reading up in preparation for some REALLY hard graft.
But last night, I was browsing my fave blogs, and came across an interesting theme. A group of very talented crafters have set up a sewalong for knitters. It is designed for people of all levels of sewing skills, so that we can all support each other and give feedback on the pattern we choose. This round is for sewing skirts, and is the perfect opportunity for me to sew up that pattern I bought on the Minneapolis trip – Favorite Things Cute Skirts. I bought some fabric today (why is sewing in general so much cheaper than knitting?!), a very soft dusky pink material, which was just labelled ‘Suiting – mixed fibres’. For the price (ยฃ4.99 a metre), it isn’t pure wool, but it feels a little wool like if nothing else, and has a very attractive weave to it. I think it might work well with the panel design of the pattern – it is made of 8 panels with 3 at the front and 5 at the back, so that the front has a flat waistband, while the back is elasticated, so no scary zips to fit. I hope the back doesn’t bunch up too much at the waist, but we will see.
Keeping the sewalong on the horizon will make it much easier to do the work ๐Ÿ˜€ It officially starts on the 15th, but sign up finishes today, so if you are interested, hurry! It can be found here if you fancy a nosy. And non brits seem to have so much better fabric shopping options. Or maybe it is just non-Huddersfield residents…

My secret pal is soooo much better than yours…

She rocks ๐Ÿ˜€ I collected my parcel today, and it was packed full of goodies!

The package included: 2 balls of yarn, a book, a pamphlet, some choccies and a postcard.
The book is My Oedipus Complex and other stories by Frank O’Connor. I’ve not read him before, and I’ve skimmed through some of it for a nosey, and it looks like a lot of fun but intelligent, with a bit of tragedy thrown in. I’m looking forward to reading him ๐Ÿ™‚
The pamphlet is KnitKnit 5, a little magazine about knitting crossing over with contemporary art. I haven’t read this yet (if I do now, I won’t do any work tonight), but there are some really funky looking exhibitions, and a knitted tie pattern ๐Ÿ˜€ And there is a very cool looking Japanese knitter in one interview, which I am particularly looking forward to reading…
The postcard is of one of my fave writers – Oscar Wilde, posing in his usual foppish manner ๐Ÿ˜€ My pal says it is an “obscure hint” to the location of where she studies ๐Ÿ˜‰ with a lovely little message teasing me about things to come. I think I like her sense of humour – our hostess has done a bloody good job matching my spoiler to me by the looks of things!
The choccies were a lovely little box set of 4 yummy goodies (including my fave Baileys). They may have disappeared at lunch time after a really rubbish Monday morning, in preparation for a dull afternoon (all this, please note was not usual work, just spanners thrown in the works from all directions). I can assure you they did the job perfectly. And I didn’t offer any of them to my friend, so I hope she wasn’t insulted ๐Ÿ˜‰
Finally, we have this…

This is Tivoli Luxury Tweed DK, in a soft porridge colour, with flecks of blue, red, and a little brown. It has wool and alpaca with a little acrylic in it, so it is supersoft and cosy to the touch. I have a slightly embarrassing method of testing yarn that involves inserting digits into the centre of the ball of yarn so that I can try and assess how comfy it will be to wear, and this stuff is going to be good… I’ve not heard of Tivoli before (except of course, THE tivoli by Grumperina), and I’m hoping I can find a good online stockist of their stuff (RKM stock some of their yarns, but largely novelty/fashion ones, and I really want to find someone who does this Luxury Tweed stuff). I was showing them to a friend at lunchtime, and she said she thought they would make fabby socks, and I think she might be right. Some really big sloppy comfy ones. I’ve already warned my pal of this, and I really like the idea of having socks with a bit of alpaca in them, and the yarn seems hardwearing enough to do as bed socks/freezing cold night snuggly in front of the fire socks.
So, thank you very much Pal! You are wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚
Anyway, I really should study now – I’ve spent most of my evening hunting around for yarn stockists and lusting over patterns to knit it up in ๐Ÿ˜€ Whoops!