Friday, March 30, 2007

UFO first quarter update

  • January - Fingerless mitts finished
  • February - Finn wool sweater resumed
  • March - Finn wool sweater finished
Having finally got the weight of the Finn wool sweater off my shoulders, I've started to fish out other UFOs. Next up for April is the very large bag I started to make for tote exchange but bailed out when it started to get unfeasibly large. I made a start on this yesterday, and completed a slip stitch pocket. This is the first project I have done with any slip stitch knitting in, and it's entertaining.

I also revisited Jan's fingerless mitts. Now I know to offset seams by half a stitch, my previous seam offended me with it's obviously mismatched edge. So I ripped this yesterday too, and re-did. Much better.



Thursday, March 29, 2007


Woo-hoo, it's done! Finn-ito!
And my DH loves it. The weather turned cold again today, and he has been wearing it all day. The great thing is that it looks like a well worn favourite already - in a good way, I don't mean it's crumpled and saggy, just that he looks comfortable and at home in it. I can really appreciate the natural heathered tones of the wool now that I'm no longer working on it, and can stand back and look. I have to say I'm mightily relieved to get this one out of the way.

A word on blocking. When I finished seaming the seams definitely looked rather puckered, and my DH was concerned. I airily told him all would be well after blocking, despite the fact I have never blocked anything before!
I picked the easiest looking method ie. dampen, then iron with a protective cloth underneath, to get lots of steam into the seams. This worked really well, and didn't take long.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Setting in the sleeves

I finally finished the knitting on the Finn wool jumper, and came to the dreaded making up. I don't think I've ever actually set in a knitted sleeve before, and wasn't looking forward to it.

I prepared by reading the Interweave guide, the Rowan magazine guide and consulting Helena, then using a mixture of all three techniques (mostly Helena's).
I used a yarn tie to match the top and bottom points, then pinned liberally parallel to the seams. I was going to measure lengths and divide precisely, but realised that matching the lengths by eye worked pretty well, and was much quicker. I used a mixture of glass headed pins and lace T pins, both of which worked well. I did try safety pins, but found they moved about too much.

I then started at the top of the sleeve and worked down to the bottom ie. did it in two halves. The theory is that if you end up with a fudge at the end, it will be at the less visible underarm, rather than the shoulder. I used a mattress stitch as recommended by Interweave. However, I have seen recommendations for each of mattress, running and back stitches, so take your pick!

In some respects, it was easier than sewing in a sleeve. There's no seam allowance so matching the lengths is easier, you can pin parallel to the seam, and of course you can ease as you go, stitch by stitch. It's seriously slow work though.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You don't bring me flowers

Just back from the knitting session at You don't bring me flowers cafe. This is a lovely little cafe cum florists with old fashioned china and interesting craftwork for sale. The local knitting group meet every week there, but I'm usually at work (the cafe is only open during the day).
As I had a day off, I went along, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The knitters are welcoming, and the atmosphere is very relaxing. The upstairs room was given over to the knitting group, and we had the door to the terrace open. It has been a glorious sunny day, so was nice to have the outside space.
I'd definitely go regularly if it wasn't for the need to support my yarn habit with work, and would encourage anyone to go along.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Knitting books

I've used an idea from smariek knits, but have changed the list of knitting books to include those I have or want, and have put the books into categories. I've also added quite a few British books.

Those in bold are in my library, those starred are on my wishlist. Strikethroughs are those I don't want.


  1. Stitch 'n Bitch Handbook: Instructions, Patterns, and Advice for a New Generation of Knitters by Debbie Stoller

  2. Stitch 'n Bitch Nation (Paperback) by Debbie Stoller

  3. Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes by Elizabeth Zimmermann

  4. **Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann

  5. Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann

  6. Knitting from the Top by Barbara G. Walker

  7. **The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann

  8. Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee

  9. Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann

  10. How to Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete with Step-by-step Techniques, Stitch Libraries and Projects for Your Home and Family

  11. Step-by-step Knitting Workbook: All the Techniques and Guidance You Need to Knit Successfully, Including Over 20 Projects by Debbie Bliss

  12. The Knitting Experience: Book 1: The Knit Stitch (The Knitting Experience) by Sally Melville

  13. The Knitting Experience: Book 2: The Purl Stitch (Knitting Experience Series) by Sally Melville

  14. Classic by Erika Knight

  15. Chatty

  16. **Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures by Kay Gardiner

  17. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

  18. Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn by Wendy D. Johnson

  19. At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

  20. Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

  21. **Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun by Tracey Ullman

  22. Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting by Betty Hosegood


  23. Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch

  24. **Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns by Nancy Bush

  25. Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter by Nancy Bush

  26. The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman
    The Knitting Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face; Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask by Margaret Radcliffe

  27. Modular Knits: New Techniques for Today's Knitters by Iris Schreier

  28. Knitting Beyond the Edge: Cuffs and Collars*Necklines*Hems*Closures - The Essential Collection of Decorative Finishes by Nicky Epstein

  29. **Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers

  30. The Knitting Experience: Book 3: Color (The Knitting Experience) by Sally Melville

  31. Sally Melville Styles: A Unique and Elegant Approach to Your Yarn Collection
  32. Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters by Jane Crowfoot

  33. Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans

  34. Folk Shawls Cheryl Oberle

  35. Folk Socks Nancy Bush

  36. Folk Vests Cheryl Oberle

  37. Stahmans Shawls and Scarves Myrna Stahman

  38. Designer patterns

  39. **Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting by Melissa Leapman
    Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby

  40. Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters by Donna Druchunas

  41. Lace Style: Traditional to Innovative, 21 Inspired Designs to Knit by Pam Allen
    A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen

  42. Knitting Nature: 39 Designs Inspired by Patterns in Nature by Norah Gaughan and Thayer Allyson Gowdy

  43. Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel

  44. Twinkles Big City Knits by Wenlan Chia

  45. Knitting Color: Design Inspiration from Around the World by Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett

  46. Yarnplay by Lisa Shobhana Mason

  47. Knitting With Balls: A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man by Michael Del G. Walker

  48. Vintage Knits: 30 Stunning Knitwear Designs Inspired by Original Postwar Patterns by Sarah Dallas

  49. Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno

  50. Stitch libraries

  51. Knitting Techniques - Volume 1 (Harmony Guides) by Harmony Guide Staff

  52. 450 Knitting Stitches - Volume 2 (Harmony Guides)

  53. 440 More Knitting Stitches - Volume 3 (Harmony Guides) by Harmony Guide Staff

  54. 250 Creative Knitting Stitches - Volume 4 (Harmony Guides) by Harmony Guide Staff

  55. 220 Aran Stitches and Patterns - Volume 5 (Harmony Guides) by Harmony Guide Staff

  56. Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns by Inc. Sterling Publishing Co.

  57. A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker

  58. A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara

  59. Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker

  60. A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker

  61. Quick and easy

  62. One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet by Leigh Radford

  63. **One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

  64. **Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

  65. **25 Bags to Knit: Beautiful Bags in Stylish Colours by Emma King

  66. **Easy Knitted Accessories by Jeanette Trotman

  67. Weekend Knitting: 50 Unique Projects and Ideas by Melanie Falick and Ericka McConnell

  68. Blankets and Throws to Knit: Patterns and Piecing Instructions for 100 Knitted Squares by Debbie Abrahams

  69. Knitting novels

  70. Died in the Wool: A Knitting Mystery by Mary Kruger

  71. Knit One, Kill Two (Knitting Mystery) by Maggie Sefton

  72. Needled to Death (Knitting Mysteries) by Maggie Sefton

  73. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

  74. The Knitting Circle: A Novel by Ann Hood

  75. A Deadly Yarn: A Knitting Mystery by Maggie Sefton

  76. Knitting: A Novel by Anne Bartlett
  77. The Shop On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

  78. Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik

  79. A Good yarn by Debbie Macomber

Finn wool status

So what has become of the Finn wool jumper?

Despite the blog silence, I have actually been making some progress on it. I picked up the neckline this morning. This is something I find quite difficult, as I can never get the number and evenness of spacing quite right. I've been saying I would do it one evening for a while, but never getting round to it. So today I started on it early, while the mind was fresh and the light good.
I'm also making fair progress on the second sleeve.

The weather has turned cold again, so I'm hoping I can finish it in time for it to be worn this season.

Friday, March 16, 2007

100 books

This list of books is from smariek knits.
bold - I've read it
italics - I want to read it
+ - it's on my shelf
? - never heard of it

I didn't do too well with this list. I haven't read much of it, but frankly, don't have any burning desire to read most of the titles... Stay tuned for the knitting books 100 - much more interesting!

1. + The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. ?Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. ?A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. + Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. + Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. ? Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. + Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. + The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. ? East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. ? Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. ? The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. ?Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. ? The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. ? The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. ?The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. ?The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. + Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. ?She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53.Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. ? The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. + The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. ?The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. ? Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. ? The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. +Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) - started, did not enjoy
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. ?The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. ?Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. ? Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. ? The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. ? Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. ?The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. ?The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Moss stitch scarf

My mother's scarf is finished, and is ready to post to her. The shawl I gave her last week was taken out for dinner the same day, so obviously went down well. Apologies for the headless mother shot to those of a nervous disposition - I haven't quite worked out how to blur part of a photo in my software.

With two gifts out of the way, I started the Sunrise Circle jacket that has been beckoning to me for months. I'm really intrigued by the circular shaping on this jacket, and like it so much that for once I am happy to knit a garment in flat pieces. I read up on the Sunrise Circle KAL before I started, so knew that I should start by knitting a front rather than the back. I swatched with trepidation, as I had read that some people struggled with the row gauge. To my surprise, mine was spot on. I think the issue could be how the yarn is substituted. I am using Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed which looks like it has a very similar texture and weight to the pattern yarn, Karabella Tweed. I think I would have got a different result with a softer, more lofty yarn. I like working with the Aran Tweed. Although it feels rough on the ball, it's not hard on the hands, and produces a strong, dense fabric.

DH is convinced I am knitting an elephant.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Explaining the geek code

So what does the code mean? I read this Knitty article, which describes how to summarise your knitting preferences in a computer type code. The letters relate to particular knitting attributes such as techniques or materials, and the plus or minus signs indicate a liking or aversion with the number of signs showing the strength of feeling.

Type of knitter

  • KCR+++
    I am an obsessive right handed knitter who knits in the continental style. Knitting is taking over my life.

  • Exp+
    I've been knitting for just over a year, and consider myself an intermediate knitter

  • SPM+
    My stitches per minute speed is respectable, especially on the knit stitch


  • Addi++ Den Steel- Bam+ Brittany++ Rose Cas?
    I love Addi Turbos, and buy them for new projects. I'm amassing a collection, but they're too expensive to buy the whole lot in one go.
    I also like Denise interchangeables for their ability to give you just the size you need, and the fact that you can increase or decrease the length of the needle mid-project.
    I don't get on well with regular steel needles. I find them cold, heavy and hard on the hands.
    I like bamboo needles with slippery yarns, and I love the tiny Brittany birch needles for socks.
    I have a couple of pairs of rosewood needles. I like their beautiful polished surface, but they are a bit heavy and chip easily. I probably won't buy more.
    I've never tried casein needles, but I'm curious. Seems kind of weird, but I'm ready to give it a go.


  • Stash +++
    OK, I have way too much yarn. My stash is overflowing. I don't have a LYS, but make up for it buying masses online. I'm looking to extend my stash into my sister's apartment... Buying yarn is therapy.

  • Wool+++
    What's not to like about wool? It's warm, soft, smells good, elastic, easy on the hands, durable, it comes from cute sheep in a million different colours.

  • Lux++
    I like a little luxury in my stash, and have camel, alpaca, silk and cashmere. I'd love some yak, musk ox and quiviut, but haven't found it yet.

  • Hemp?
    Curious about hemp, but it's quite expensive so haven't dived in yet.

  • Cot
    Cotton has it's place. Not my favourite fibre, but good for certain projects.

  • Nov--
    Novelty- I really don't like eyelash or chenille yarns. I'm not averse to a little texture or glitter, but all in moderation, and linked to a natural fibre.

  • Syn-
    Yes, I am a fibre snob. Again, I can take some polyester or nylon in a blend for durability, but it's got to be a minimum of 50% natural fibre, preferably 100%! Ok, I could live with the odd glitter thread.


  • Scale+
    I like a mixture of smaller and larger projects. It's satisfying to finish the small ones, but there are some gorgeous sweater patterns I want to make.

  • Fin-(-)
    I abhor seaming, and will do almost anything to adapt a pattern to knit it in the round. I'm OK at various cast on/offs, and matched increases and decreases though. I just want the project to be finished when I finish knitting. I'm not here to sew.

  • Ent?
    Entrelac left me cold, until I saw a pattern for a lovely cushion in this month's Simply Knitting. It's gone on the wish list, but I haven't tried it yet.

  • FI
    Fair isle is ok in moderation if I want a particular effect

  • Int-
    I'm scared of intarsia

  • Tex+
    Texture is great. Cables are the knitter's best kept secret - so easy, but so impressive.

  • Lace
    I like the thought of lace projects, but somehow never seem to follow through. My amazing lace project from last summer is still languishing. Too complicated. Doesn't stop me buying aspirational laceweight wool though.

  • Felt+@
    I like felting, and am particularly pleased with my Noro bag. I think this particular interest may ebb and flow, hence the @ sign - not a particularly fixed interest

  • Circ+++
    Circular knitting - definitely! Will adapt patterns to do this. Never steeked, but can't be far off.

  • Flat-
    Some things have to be done in the flat, but I'm not a purl fan.

  • C2N 5DPN ML-
    Small diameter circular knitting - I use two circular needles for sleeves, and 5 DPNs for socks. I tried magic loop but found it awkward.


  • Swatch-
    A necessary evil

  • KIP+
    Knitting in public - on trains, on platforms, in pubs - yes!

  • Blog +
    Well you know about that one!

  • SNB++
    I love my SnB group, and they've become good friends

  • EZ
    Elizabeth Zimmerman - I like her style and have two of her books. I agree with her about the purl stitch. Haven't really tackled her patterns yet though.

  • FO +
    Not bad, list is in the sidebar

  • WIP +
    Lots of work in progress. I like to have different projects on the go at the same time.

  • UFO +
    Even more of these!

  • Gauge W
    I like knitting worsted best, as it grows quickly but the finished objects don't look like speed knits.

Well, that's a pretty comprehensive list of my knitting habits. Hard to believe all that can be compressed into the few lines of code; I think it's quite a fun trick.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Knitter's geek code

version 1.1
KCR+++ Exp+ SPM+ Addi++ Den Steel- Bam+ Brittany++ Rose Cas?
Stash +++ Wool+++ Lux++ Hemp? Cot Nov-- Syn-
Scale+ Fin-(-) Ent? FI Int- Tex+ Lace Felt+@ Circ+++ Flat- C2N 5DPN ML-
Swatch- KIP+ Blog + SNB++ EZ FO + WIP + UFO + Gauge W

Well, what does that mean? All will be revealed.

A mohair shawl

Having started the scarf for my mother, every time I mentioned it she said, "That's nice, how are you getting on with my shawl?" I took the hint, and cast on for the lacy mohair shawl I had promised her. It's made with a Sirdar 50% kid mohair/ 50% polyester blend, and is a simple garter stitch triangle on huge needles. My DH calls them the girders. Although knitting with them for long periods hurts my wrists, I was able to complete the shawl and hand it over today. It was very well received, and is modelled here by the recipient.

The scarf is nearly done too, and I gave it a test fit today. I'm going to make it a little longer than I would normally wear it.

The first simple stocking stitch sock is done, and I've finished the ribbing of the second one.
The Finn wool jumper continues to haunt me.

Stash monitoring

Quick spot check on the stash

New additions:
1000g Rowan Plaid - special offer, discontinued, couldn't resist
125g lace weight mohair
400g Artyarns merino
150g Mum's scarf yarn
800g variegated yarn

Total in: 2475g

Used or sold:
225g variegated alpaca/wool blend for Wicked
800g sold on ebay
100g kid mohair shawl

Total out: 1125g

Net: +1350g
Previous increase was +1800g
Year to date: +3150g
So the stash is still growing, albeit at a slower pace

I sold yarn on ebay for the first time. It wasn't particularly difficult, although more hassle than buying. It didn't raise much cash, but it's liberating to not feel guilty looking at yarns I know I won't use. It also creates more space!