Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Best of 2007

Knit Lit suggested doing a review of last year.

1. your best FO of the year
The sweater for my husband. It doesn't look all that impressive in the photos, but he loves it so much...

2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to

I'm very taken with the colours of Solange's Babette.

Littlesesame's cabled sweater for her husband is also great.
I may update this as I think of others.

3. best yarn you tried

Rowan cashsoft DK - Gorgeously soft, plenty of yardage and nice and lightweight.

4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007

Pattern: I liked Wicked; a quick and easy knit that makes a very wearable garment

Magazine: Early days, but Let's Knit in the UK looks quite promising. It's certainly not IK or VK, but the first couple of issues have been more inspiring than the other UK magazines.

Book: Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch. It's so hard to find patterns for men that they actually want to wear. I was a little worried that the patterns would be too young, funky and urban for my husband, but he loves them all (even the ones I'm not sure about). The only problem is that he now wants to know when he is getting his next handknit.

5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007

Best technique is beading - I never realised how ridiculously easy it is.

Best gadget is without question the Knitpicks Options interchangeable needles. I already had the Denise set, but the Knitpicks ones are much faster and sharper.

6. top 5 inspirations--what five things inspired you the most over the past year?

  • Ravelry. Obviously.

  • Rowan workshops and particularly meeting Marie Wallin, the chief designer at Rowan.

  • Interweave Knits

  • Any number of prolific knit bloggers

  • I knit London day
7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year

Norah Gaughan - I have her book and love the patterns she designs for the magazines, but am particularly impressed that she also gives out free patterns on the Berroco website..

8. knitting resolutions for 2008--what's next for you and your blog?
  • Make more jumpers

  • Seriously work on reducing the stash

  • Continue to attend workshops to learn new techniques

  • Crochet a couple of garments

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crochet to the rescue

Trying to knit a mile in six weeks? Falling woefully behind target? Then turn to crochet! My work on the Frou Frou jacket is paying dividends in the yardage race. This week I've managed 300m on the jacket and another 112m on the sleeves of the tilted duster. My weekly total is thus 412 m, and challenge to date mileage is 777 m! This is pretty close to 805 m I should be at, so I'm feeling good about it.

Once I got past the section of decreases on the back (which involved a lot of frogging), I've been making quick progress on straight section and addition of sleeves.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Knit a mile week 2

I've continued to knit away on the skirt of the tilted duster. It seems to go quite quickly at first, but now it feels like I've been working on it forever. I've used up the 72 g remaining on the ball plus another 24g, a mere 137m. My running total is thus 365m. To make the mile in six weeks, I should be around 540m by now, so it's not looking good.

I also started crocheting Frou Frou from the Happy Hooker. This was my travel project as plastic crochet hooks seem to be much more acceptable to airlines than knitting needles. While I was away I noticed an inconsistency in the pattern, but carried on, thinking that the number of repeats was incorrect. However, I've just checked the online errata, and found the instructions for the whole section are wrong and I'll have to frog nearly 30 rows!! Aaargh. So almost back to square one on that. I like the Happy Hooker book, but it does contain too many errors.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Knit a mile progress week 1

All my knitting this week has been on the tilted duster. It started badly, when I spent the whole of Sunday afternoon / evening picking up stitches for the skirt and starting the increase section. Badly, because eventually I had to admit to myself that the pick up was too messy for me to live with. I had followed the Ready, Set, Knit instructions to increase stitches in the pick up row, but it took me four gos and still looked a mess. Finally I bit the bullet, and picked up the number of stitches that were naturally there, and handled the increases in the next row, where I could evenly space them. Much easier, and they are neater and less conspicuous.

One tip from RSK that did work was hanging a marker after each repeat of the pattern. This makes it a breeze to count rows. I'm now about halfway through the skirt section.

Now yarn used this week was 1 full ball of 160m, 28g of a second ball on the skirt (72g remaining), and 15g on the sleeves (140g remaining). The 43 odd g at 1.6m/g gives 68 m rounded down, so a full week's total of 228m.

Hmm. Not as much as I had airily thought I would do, and I had my usual amount of knitting time. Given a target of 1610m in 6 weeks, I need 268 m per week. So 40m short this week. My needles will need to be on fire next week, but the weekend is full of commitments and I'm travelling (I hate airports who ban knitting). Hmm.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Two at a time

The tilted duster is working up nicely. I've been listening to the Ready, Set, Knit podcast episodes with this project as a knitalong, and have been following the modifications and techniques suggested there.
That means I've tried three new techniques or ideas already! Not bad for the 4th of Jan.

  1. Spit splice - sounds gruesome, but really works easily on the Peruvia. I wasn't going to do this, but found a knot in the yarn when I was at the end of the row, and rather than tink back then weave in the yarn, I thought I'd give spit splicing a go.
  2. Sloped shoulder bind off - I had heard about this on the same podcast several months ago, but had never tried it. Easy, and it really does smooth out the stair steps.
  3. Knitting two pieces at the same time - Trying this on the two fronts. Not loving it, but that's mostly because the shaping is complex in this pattern, and trying to keep track of what to do on both pieces simultaneously, particularly when you shape on the wrong side for one piece, and the right side for the other, is tricky. I also forget whether I've knitted across one or both pieces, and when to turn the work. I've found a good way over this now; I've put a green locking stitch marker on my right piece, and a red one on the left piece. Port and starboard, you see. Oh yes, it's the first time I've used locking stitch markers too, and I love them.
Knit a mile challenge starts tomorrow at 4pm!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

...and first cast on of 2008

I couldn't wait to start the Tilted Duster once I got my hands on the recommended Berroco Peruvia, but forced myself to set in sleeves, sew seams and weave in ends on Anise before I allowed myself to cast on.

I found out that it's easier to set in shallow sleeves than full set in sleeves, as you can still match them fairly easily. I also learned that it is well worth using a sturdy but thin yarn for seaming. Still way too many hours in the making up for my taste, but I'm pleased with the result and I've stashbusted a pleasing 900g (give or take some oddments).

It still needs the decorative buttons and press studs. I bought some buttons from Duttons but still need the functional studs. I find that press studs tend to pull on the knitting too much, but I'm not sure what I could use as an alternative.

For the tilted duster, I am following the Ready, Set, Knit KAL from Sep/ Oct. I've pondered the gauge a little here. I decided to use 5.5mm with a gauge of 16.5, which I figured would give me an extra inch on the designed size. However, after knitting an inch of the back, I was getting more like an extra four inches, so frogged and started anew with 5mm.

I should probably go to bed now...