Friday, April 28, 2006

Tote exchange - the pattern search

The matches have been made, and tote exchange is off and running. I've spent several hours this week browsing internet patterns and leafing through my magazines and books to find the perfect pattern. I haven't decided yet, but am getting an idea of the style and type of bag I want to make. I'm keen to try and learn something new from this project; a bag seems small and simple enough to try a new technique.

Ideas so far:

  • tote size so can be used as a project bag
  • felted for strength
  • fair isle
  • multi-directional
  • hand-dyed
  • houndstooth
  • strongly contrasting colours
  • denim look
Don't worry, I don't plan to combine all of those in one bag! Just some of the ideas that appeal. I have a feeling I may end up making more than one bag before the July deadline.


Only two and a half days left to go! I'm going to take a break at the end of the month, as I need to buy the yarn for the Tote Exchange bag and also have my eye on a particular kit. I'll probably go back on the yarn diet later though, and do want to keep working through the stash.
I've still got three projects I want to finish, and although that won't happen this weekend, I'm determined to carry on and not get distracted by shiny new projects!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Shrug saga part 1

Enter the shrug saga...
I've been thinking of making the Hot Lava shrug for a while, and recently Kish has been encouraging me to make a start (see Kish's shrug). I had around 450 g of hand dyed bulky yarn which I thought would be great for this project and even have an outfit to go with it.

So last week I swatched the yarn, and found my gauge was more like 8 than 12 ; so my yarn was actually extra bulky. Yes, I could have altered the pattern, but I was worried about the drape and also about my limited, non-repeatable amount of yarn. I was disappointed, but started surfing the web to look for another pattern. I was delighted to find that the designer of Hot Lava had just posted a new pattern, the Gray Ghost, for extra bulky yarn! Serendipity.

Of course, I bought the pattern and got going. I was away for Easter with 12 hours of car journey, which gave me plenty of time to complete the back and sleeves. The pattern is nice, easy holiday knitting, and I think shows off the beautiful handspun, handdyed Teeswater wool.

The next problem... I ran out of yarn. I know I started with 50g less than the pattern demands, but I think I'm going to need maybe another 150g. Now remember this yarn is non-repeatable; once it's gone, it's gone!

I needed an alternative to make the collar, front and waist. Digging deep into my stash, I found some bright pink, which did indeed match. I swatched it, but wasn't happy with it. The colour looked too stark against the soft variegated wool.

Next port of call was John Lewis (an exception to Stashalong granted as this was to finish a project). I found that the knitting wool department has been re-located from a prime spot on the ground floor to a poky corridor way up on the fourth floor! Still, a helpful assistant pulled yarns out of the stock room for me, and I found a kinda, sorta match with Rowan Soft Tweed.

Great, I can get started. Swatched the Rowan; it looked pretty good. Then I looked more closely in daylight. Hmm, it's nearly right, but a bit too pastel, and very matte. Fortunately, we had an informal SnB today, so I took the various wools and swatches along for a second opinion. Unfortunately, the general consensus was that the Rowan didn't work! Back to the drawing board...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Clapotis complete

I've finally completed my first Clapotis. I struggled with the last few repeats, but it was worth persevering. Here's the finished article. I had bought yarn to make it in lavender too, but I think I need to try something else before tackling this pattern again, so will save for later.

The stashbusting is going quite well. I've resisted temptation to buy more yarn, although I have been making it hard on myself by 'virtual' shopping online.

Progress against my stashbusting goals

  • Shrug - I've used up 350g on this so far - see separate post for details

  • Clapotis - finished object!

  • Socks - hmm, not sure I want to tackle this yet- I think I'll defer this project

  • Erin turtleneck - I finished one sleeve, but have a mental block on this project. I still want to try and complete it this month.

  • And an unplanned project:
  • Uruguayan wool scarf - used about 120g, over halfway through

So if I can finish the shrug, Erin and the scarf, I think I'm there. Still two weeks to go...

Yorkshire sheep

One of my favourite things about spring is seeing the new lambs in the fields. Just how cute are Yorkshire sheep?
A gentle walk with a planned pub stop ended up as an unscheduled five hour yomp with a 'closed for refurbishment' sign at the pub - but at least there were sheep!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Feels like January

After a brief taste of spring a week ago, the weather has turned very cold again; down to 1C and snow yesterday. The only positive is that it extends the winter knitting season.

With this in mind, I've cast on for a bulky weight scarf with variegated Uruguayan wool. I love the colour scheme, and although I was worried about pooling at one point, it seems to be coming good now. I've taken a long car journey this weekend so this was a good easy travelling project.

The long straight section of Clapotis is going on forever, or so it feels. I figure I need 17 repeats to get the pattern length and I've crept up to 13.

A few days off work this week so I'm hoping to get some good knitting time in, and finish a couple of projects. Some hectic social life though, so maybe not.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Stash busting

I've decided to be brave and signup for Stashalong for one month, starting today. This means no yarn buying for the whole of April. I'm not sure I have the willpower, and think it's going to be pretty difficult.

Goals to use up some of the stash this month:

400g bulky wool for a shrug
100g to finish my clapotis
100g to make my first pair of socks
300g to finish the Erin turtleneck

Hmm, that's still less than a kilo, even with four projects.

Repeat after me 'I do not need more yarn'; if I say it often enough, I may start to believe it. Actually, I know I don't need it, I just can't help buying when I see something bright or shiny or soft.

Clapotis is coming along well. I was concerned about the colour being too drab, but now I've reached the point where there are several dropped stitches, it looks a lot more interesting.