Sunday, January 01, 2017

End of year musings

My niece has shown a surprisingly strong interest in knitting and crochet over Christmas.  After insisting I teach her to knit, and practise with her every few hours, she took great interest in the amigurumi in a magazine I bought.   Of course, she initially wanted to make the largest, most complex project in the magazine, but we compromised on working on the little chicks and baskets for Easter.   I crocheted up the constituent parts for a chick, but didn't have time to make up before I left.   I gave instructions to my sister, who gamely took on the duty and did a great job.

I have also started the hatching dragon, which requires eyes to be added partway through crocheting head.  It's quite strange, as soon as the eyes are added, the crochet piece suddenly starts to take on personality.

This year has not been very productive on the crafting front.  For periods of the year, I just didn't feel like knitting at all.

I did learn a new technique making the simple ziggurat in ice cream pastel colours.  It is an interesting form of top down construction, but the shoulder shaping does not work so well for me as regular set in sleeves.

For next year, I would like to do some more.  Ideas are:
  1. Quilt and complete the Rowan QAL quilt for which I have a pieced top
  2. Make sweaters using three of the four techniques or styles described in this Interweave post
    • aran
    • gansey
    • fair isle
    • bohus
  3. Make amigurumi to amuse my niece

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Forbrydelsen sweater

killing jumper 006

I enjoyed watching the first series of The Killing and rashly agreed to make 'The Sweater' for my husband. Authentic yarn was duly ordered from the Faroe Islands, followed by a bit of panic on realising that I would have to create my own pattern for this. Also, my stranded knitting experience had previously been limited to a simple tea cosy, where tension and fit were not that important.

I chose to use a long tailed tubular cast on to give a polished look to the rib edging and was pleased with the way this worked out. The body moved along fairly quickly but I reached a block with the sleeves. This was exacerbated by having to work out a different starting point in the star motif for each repeat as I increased the stitches up the arm. I used the low-tech method of sellotaping repeats of the motif together and using post it notes to keep my place.

I used about three different 'design your own sweater' books plus a large dollop of common sense to figure out the yoke. My previous experience was that the sweater 'recipes' tend to start the neck too low, so I kept knitting in the round for several rows longer than the recipe. I also found that keeping four sections in pattern for the yoke while also handling decreases was very difficult, and ripped back several times.

When my husband tried on the sweater before completion it looked like the arms would be much too long. Oh well, I told him he could fold back the cuffs. I cast off and he tried it on again. The neck was too low for his taste, and so I knit another inch. I had tried a stretchy K2tog cast off the first time, but it didn't seem to make much difference, so went back to a regular cast off. Mistake. Now he couldn't get the sweater over his head. I cast off a third time, using the stretchy cast off again, and sewed up the underams.

Aaahh! It fits! Once the underrms were grafted, the sleeves were perfect, and the neckline was just right. I'm really pleased with how this turned out even though I found it quite a stretch to make. The yarn is really lovely and sheepy, although frankly a bit too rough for my skin. My DH is delighted, and it looks great! One benefit of the terrible weather we have had is that it's still cold enough to wear it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 review

Another year has passed, and as usual my knitting goals greatly exceeded my knitting capacity! Still, let's take a look at how I did:

Ten for 2010

  1. steeking - no
  2. entrelac - no
  3. granny square afghan - yes, but still in progress
  4. line a bag - no
  5. top down raglan - no
  6. moebius - no
  7. knit with own dyed yarn - no
  8. more complex sock - no
  9. complex cable -dipped a toe in the water here, taking a short class with Alice
  10. Starmore
  11. slip stitch item - yes
  12. use of blocking wires - no
  13. cable twist stitches - yes, Elsica
  14. soft toy - either knit or crochet - yes, but still in progress
  15. cabling without a cable needle - yes Elsica
  16. inserting a zip into a knitted item - no
  17. kidsilk haze project - no
  18. brioche stitch - no

So if we count the WIPs, I managed five. Not great, but five more techniques than I had tried this time last year. I'm still interested in most of the list, so although it won't be a formal challenge this year, I'm going to try and hit a few more.

And the 100 balls challenge?

BSJ - 3 balls
hat for brother - 3 balls
brother's hat Dec 10
lightweight autumn scarf - 2 balls
calorimetry - 1 ball
charity hats - 7 balls
boy beanie #1 green mohair lid #1
turquoise flecked lovely lid
charity neckwarmer - 2 balls
green mohair cowl
ruffle scarves - 2 balls
pink ruffles
weekender beret - 1 ball
green lovely lid - 1 ball
scallop - not sure, say 10

Hmm, only 32 balls - yet again, good progress with small projects, but not with sweaters. The one project I was really happy to finish was the scallop sweater for my sister. She was very pleased with it, and looks great in it. I'm also happy that I did some charity knitting this year and got more crochet practise.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The freezing weather continues, and a walk yesterday convinced me it was time to knit myself a hat. I don't like the beanie style on me, as I have too much hair, but like the look of the slouchy berets that seem to be everywhere. I decided to try Elsica by Woolly Wormhead. Apart from the look of the finished item, this pattern hits two of my Ten410 techniques straightaway: twist cables and cabling without a cable needle.

I went stashdiving and surfaced with a yarn that was the perfect colour. Unfortunately, it was sock weight and the pattern calls for worsted with a gauge of 20. I pulled out a fluffy worsted yarn with a great texture, but questionable colour. I also got a gauge of 18 when I did a mini-swatch. Couldn't find anything else I wanted to use, so settled on this, and figured that going down a size would compensate for the gauge difference.

I have to say I am finding the pattern quite challenging! I thought hats were quick, mindless projects but I am concentrating hard on this one. The first point I discovered was that I needed to slip stitches with yarn in back to get the right effect - the pattern assumes you know this, but I quickly realised I was getting the wrong effect when I slipped with yarn in front.

I found the increase row a bit tricky because there were so many increases that the yarn was quite tight and it became difficult to knit into the strands. I have also ended up with weird diagonal lines where I did the increases.

elsica 2

The cable twist first row was a bit confusing - I think you need to move the marker before starting this row in order to make the twist tutorial and the pattern align. When I did this, all was well. I find the twisting without a cable needle difficult, as the yarn tends to pull out of the stitch when I re-arrange the order. Still, I'll get lots of practice, as this is repeated all the way up the hat.

elsica 1

Sunday, January 03, 2010


During my long blog absence, I flirted with cardmaking. Here's a few of my Christmas cards:

cards dec 09 013
cards dec 09 012
cards dec 09 007
cards dec 09 005

I was quite pleased with them, although it was more time and space consuming than I expected!

I've had another few ideas for the Ten for 10 challenge, and have decided that I'll try to tackle ten techniques from a longer list. We covered 1-8 earlier, but I've reproduced the whole list here:

  1. steeking
  2. entrelac
  3. granny square afghan
  4. line a bag
  5. top down raglan
  6. moebius
  7. knit with own dyed yarn
  8. more complex sock
  9. complex cable
  10. slip stitch item
  11. use of blocking wires
  12. cable twist stitches
  13. soft toy - either knit or crochet
  14. cabling without a cable needle
  15. inserting a zip into a knitted item
  16. kidsilk haze project
  17. brioche stitch
  18. reversible knitting