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

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Most popular patterns on Ravelry

Browsing through my previous blog entries, I found my assessment of the top 100 Ravelry yarns, which got me thinking. How about the top patterns?

I picked out the most popular patterns on Ravelry as of today:

  1. Fetching - yes, made these for my mother, and would make again

  2. BSJ - this is hibernating - the knitting is finished, just needs making up

  3. Monkey - not yet, but potentially

  4. Calorimetry - have the yarn, plan to make

  5. Clapotis - made it, but don't love my yarn choice so it doesn't get worn

  6. Ishbel - no, not likely to

  7. February lady sweater - maybe later

  8. Noro striped scarf - I like it, but am worried that Noro is so scratchy. Unlikely to make

  9. Turn a square - maybe later

  10. Saartje's booties - maybe later

  11. Swallowtail shawl - unlikely

  12. Sock recipe - no

  13. Ballband dishcloth - would like to make. Bought some Rowan Cotton Jeans to use for this

  14. Starcrossed slouchy beret - hadn't seen this before, but I like it. Have added to my faves list.

  15. Felted clogs - yes made this, but they come out huge!!

  16. Koolhaas - maybe later

  17. Bella's mittens - maybe later

  18. One row handspun scarf - yes, and enjoyed making this

  19. Baktus scarf - maybe later

  20. Lace ribbon scarf - would like to make

Out of the top 20, I've made 4, have one WIP, would consider making 11 and have 4 I don't want to make. I wonder how typical that is of other Ravelers.

I also made a trip to the Liberty sale yesterday. There were some discontinued colours of Rowan cashsoft in various weights and felted tweed. I managed to resist although I was quite tempted!

Ten for 10 project

Saw this challenge in the Stash and burn group on Ravelry. The idea is to think of ten things to expand your knitting skills, and make something that tries these techniques. Here's my list so far:

  1. Steeking
  2. Entrelac - a quant headband or garterlac dishcloth look manageable
  3. Make a granny square afghan - I've started Babette, so just need to pick that up again
  4. Line a knitted bag - I'm keen on knitting felted bags, but not so much on finishing them...
  5. Top down raglan -
  6. Moebius cast on -
  7. Knit something with yarn I've dyed myself -
  8. Make a pair of more complex socks - I've only made very simple ones so far, and would like to try something from Cookie A or Cat Bordhi.
9 and 10 to be determined later in the year

Friday, January 01, 2010

Welcome to 2010

Knitting goals for this year:

  • Take the '100 balls in 2010' challenge with the Ravelry Stash Knit Down group. This sounds achievable and is flexible about the types of projects as long as you use up 100 balls of yarn in the year.

  • Improve my sock knitting by knitting more socks

  • Finish some of the WIPs - if possible, take a finishing techniques class to help me deal with some of my finishing issues.

  • Get more wearable garments into my wardrobe - I need to think hard about what I actually wear, and then make sure I finish the garment, not get it to the 90% stage!

  • Make something out of yarn I've dyed myself

And a quick look at knitting achievements in 2009. NaKniSweMoDo did not work out for me. I planned to finish all my UFOs and whip through several new garments. Didn't happen. In the first half of the year I had other commitments, and couldn't handle knitting major projects too.

In the second half, I managed to knit all the pieces for a sweater for my sister, but failed to sew them together.

scallop 1

I did also manage a cabled jumper for my DH, which I just finished! He is wearing it proudly today.

My biggest challenge was knitting a Zhu shawl in laceweight cashmere. I intended it as a holiday project, following Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice about circular shawls being great travel knitting. Well it was, but then lasted for several months beyond the holiday..... I'm pleased I finished it, but am not in a rush to repeat the experience.

The personal small items challenge fared better, completing the following: