Tuesday, September 01, 2009

So how big is the cat?

My sister's cat has issues. Displeasure expressed through inappropriate peeing on soft furnishings issues. However, when I came across Wendy Knits' kitty pi bed, I agreed to give it a go - as my DH points out, better the cat pees on her own bed than on my sister's...

The yarn is Patons Jet, which is a delight to knit with - very soft and lofty. In fact, I kept muttering throughout, "This yarn's too good for a cat". I made it to the specified base dimensions, but added a couple of extra rows to make the sides a little higher.

kitty pi 002

I then felted it in a newly acquired drawstring bag with dryer balls for friction, and took it out fully expecting to have to put it through another cycle as usual. To my horror, it had felted so effectively that it was much smaller than I expected! There followed lots of tugging and stretching to try and claw back a little size before it dried. Although the net result is beautifully soft and the colour very tasteful, I'm still concerned that the cat will need to be very small to fit inside. Diameter is just over 12" against a target size of 15". Which leads us the question - how big is the cat?

kitty pi 004

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Long silence

Sorry about the long silence - sometimes life gets in the way. However, knitting progress has resumed in the last month, and I do have FOs and WIPs to report.

I tackled the famous Fibertrends felted clogs last month, using some wool that I originally bought for a jumper, but then decided was too coarse. The initial plan was to make a pair for my husband, then a pair for myself. In my enthusiasm, I started my DH's pair and got half way through the slipper before I test felted a swatch. When I did get around to test felting, I realised that the slipper was going to be way too big. I frogged, but was then faced with the dilemma of which size to cast on to try and achieve the right fit. I had originally cast on the men's medium, so was going to try the next size down, women's large.

At this point, I re-read the Knitnurse's cautionary tale of too-large clogs. I decided to set aside the men's clogs and work on mine. I chose the women's small, and figured that if they came out a little too big for me, I could find a willing recipient. Lots of furious knitting later, and a 60 degree wash later, I surveyed the result. Huge.

Not going to fit me, or any other woman I know. Tried them on husband. Too big even for him! And this is the women's small size... A quick purchase of some spiky dryer balls (for friction), another go through the washer, and some judicious squashing while shaping to dry, and they've shrunk enough to fit my husband. However, it doesn't look like I'm going to get a pair in a hurry, as the pattern just doesn't go down small enough! I daresay that with finer gauge yarn, it could work, but I think I'll postpone that experiment until the winter.

felted clog 5

felted clog 1

felted clog 2
felted clog 006

Modelled by DH
felted clog 009

And a rather cute pair of knitted slippers I bought on holiday:
felted clog 007

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cables in progress

I should have followed that instinct that DH's jumper was working out too big. I knitted about 35 rounds, waiting until the cable pattern was established, then slipped the work off the needles and measured it. It was about a foot too large! I was pretty mystified, as my gauge measured exactly right. Closer inspection of the pattern revealed that my gauge was correct for stocking stitch, but I had knit the sample in pattern. Still doesn't explain the sheer scale of the mismatch. Back to basics, and a calculator. We decided to maintain the number of cables but make them 10 stitches wide instead of 12. My DH was quite traumatised at seeing 3 whole balls of his sweater in progress being frogged.

I think I'm back on track now, with 2 1/2 pattern repeats completed. It's easy TV knitting, and the texture of the cable works well with the soft, lofty yarn.

cable guy 1

The Noni bag has been on the backburner. I had completed a couple of the tulips that decorate the front, but they're quite fiddly and require lots of seaming, and I haven't felt like tackling that.

tulip 1

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


After months of reading about 'snow days' on other people's blogs, we finally got one yesterday! First time in 20 years...

Well sort of a snow day. My first mistake was trying to battle in to work, instead of pulling up the duvet. After two hours of trying, I admitted defeat and trudged back. My DH is made of stern stuff, and ultimately did make it to work, but as it took him four hours, it was nearly time to come back again. I did have to work from home, but at least it was a change of scenery (literally) for a day.

The broadband supplier managed to destroy our connection for four days, so I've been getting heavy withdrawal symptoms. Particularly frustrating, as we couldn't get any up to date travel info without the internet.

Knitting progress has been slow due to relatively little free time recently. However, I have cast on for DH's new jumper. It looks ridiculously large with a curly hem, but I'm hoping it will improve as I keep knitting.

Monday, January 26, 2009

First FO of 2009

Something of a stealth knit, but I have finished my first Personal Small Item. It's Ava from the Rowan Ribbon Twist booklet, a mini asymmetric poncho. I finished it a few days ago, and have been pleasantly surprised to find it gives just the right degree of warmth around the shoulders when sitting around at home. The only slight irritation is that the fibres shed, so it's not great over a light coloured top.

ribbon twist capelet

Pattern: Ava from Rowan Twist collection

Yarn : 4 skeins of Rowan Ribbon Twist for smallest size

Alterations: Knit in the round, so altered shoulder shaping slightly

Speed /ease: A quick and easy knit

The other main WIP is a Noni felted bag. I ordered the yarn months ago, but it was out of stock when I wanted to start knitting it, so yarn and I were re-united at Christmas. I ordered the specified amount for the main bag, but it became clear when I was about two thirds through that I wasn't going to have enough. Pretty annoying as the yarn was ordered from overseas, and is categorically not available in the UK. What to do? Hmm...

Noni bag 1

While sorting out some small projects for the Personal Small Items Club, I located a bright yellow ball of Irish tweed. When I tested the colour against the bag, it was a close match, but it had red tweedy bits in it, and the texture and plies were different. The top part of the bag folds in to the lining, so I figured I could substitute the tweed there and it would be less obvious. If it shrinks differently to the main yarn, hopefully I can fudge it on the inside of the bag. I used the entire extra ball of yarn, so definitely think the pattern yardage is skimpy. Hope that's not true for Noni bags in general, as I've bought yarn for a few other patterns already.

Stashbusting challenges 2009

Time for the annual set stashbusting resolutions.

The credit crunch turns out to be good for one thing: it doesn't feel right to be spending money on more yarn. I've deliberately avoided the John Lewis and Liberty sales, and don't feel the worse for it.

I've signed up for two challenges on Ravelry this year; the Personal Small Items Club and the NaKniSweMoDo. For the Personal Small Items Club, you make up brown bag combinations of yarn and pattern for small items, seal them up and pick one at random every month. The idea is that you get the surprise of not knowing what you'll knit each month, and attack the stash at the same time. National Knit a Sweater a Month Dodecathon is way more ambitious - 12 adult size garments in a year. Gulp. But it's the only way to make significant inroads into the stash, and the DH is already making noises about another sweater. The main reason I signed up for this one though, is that UFOs count, and I have plenty of those. They are mostly at the 75% stage, so I don't actually have to do a huge amount of knitting to get a number of wearable garments.

Personal Small Items Club projects -first batch

Calorimetry with Filatura di Crosa 127 print
Jaywalkers with bamboo yarn
Miss Potter mittens - need to remember to use the errata posted by others
Gherkin tea cosy from the Natural Dye Studio
Felted clogs from Fibertrends
Ava poncho

NaKniSweMoDo projects - half existing UFOs, half new
Moonstone cardigan - UFO
Prepster jacket - UFO
Jolien - UFO
Sahara- UFO
Erin - UFO
Sunrise circle jacket - UFO

The new projects may change but initial thoughts are:
Concentric vest by Teva Durham
Lauryn waistcoat from Rowan club
Wicked in Artyarns supermerino
Twilleys tank top
Cable guy

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas unwrapped

I can now show off the Christmas knitting, which was gladly received by all. My sister was even plotting to take my mother's socks...

Mum's socks - Opal stockinette on 2mm needles.
opal bright socks 4
Fetchingly shown off with her red clogs
opal bright socks 3
My brother in law's mittens

bil brown mittens

Now he very patiently submitted to lots of remote instructions before Christmas about measuring his hand. He even sent back a clearly annotated picture with his measurements!

Same pattern, different colour for my husband.
husband mitts 004
The shrek ears scarf and matching mitts for my sister: