Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve

It really doesn't feel like it, though. It didn't feel like Christmas this year, either, so I guess it's all part of the same thing.

Anyway - knitting.

I did a summary last year of all my finished projects, and it seems like a good idea to do the same for 2008.

15 sweaters -
1 hat
1 scarf -

5 pairs of socks -

1 wrap -

1 pair of slippers -
1 dog coat -
1 pair of mitts -

So that's 26 projects finished in all - and this year has definitely been the year of the sweater. Next year I still hope to finish 12 sweaters, but I hope that this will be balanced by more socks and lace.

Right now I am going to work a bit more on the Tall Tibetan Coriolis socks - the first one is nearly finished. This is a really, really good pattern!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Well, well

I really am knitting again. In fact I seem to have gone from one extreme to the other, and I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Knitting is very soothing. It is helpful. It is therapeutic and helps enormously when dealing with stress.

If I ever stop again, will someone please remind me of that?

What else - the eReader. Please don't get me wrong - I love books. I have a lot of them, to the extent that we have pretty much run out of places to put bookshelves.

And I read a lot - I think that I'd read in my sleep if I could keep my eyes open. Whilst I'm knitting, I always have a book open. There is always a book in my handbag, along with some knitting. (Except that now it is nearly 200 books...!)

When I go on holiday I have far more space taken up with books than with anything else. In fact, if it were not for the books, I think I would manage quite happily with a single piece of hand luggage - I've got the holiday capsule wardrobe down to a T over the years, primarily so that I have enough room for all the books I take along.

But more than the actual books, I like to read. I will always still have the actual books on my shelf - I am not contemplating getting rid of any of them. But with regard to the actual reading - well, all I can say is, try it. This little eReader is much better than you'd think - or at any rate, it is much better that I thought it was going to be.

My husband has The Bug at the moment, poor thing. There always seems to be A Bug of some sort going around, and the one that everyone has at the moment is definitely flu-related but not actually flu - we've both had flu jabs this year. I am fine at the moment, though, thank goodness.

I still haven't picked up his Striped Sweater again. It won't be long, I don't think, but it won't be happening quite just yet. Small projects, with an end in sight - that's what I want at the moment. I haven't forgotten about NaKniSweMoDo, not at all. I just have to finish twelve sweaters during 2009, and the Striped Sweater will be the first.

So, in the meantime, the sock. I finished the foot last night - that's the arch expansion (no side gussets with this construction method), the heel turn, and the back of the heel - ending up ready to work the leg. At this point, I tried it on, and unfortunately it was a bit too short in the foot. So I pulled it all back.

I do remember when it was a big deal to pull back a piece of knitting that I wasn't happy with - it isn't like that at all, now, and I do think that this has made me a better knitter. Being entirely ready to pull things back if they don't work properly has certainly made for a better finished product, that's for sure.

This morning I have knitted up the foot again, and am just at the point where I am about to turn the heel. It doesn't look like that in the slightest, though, and it looks much too long. It looks as if I have not just knitted the foot, but halfway up the ankle, and the shape looks very strange indeed - most un-sock-like.

See what I mean? The shaping with this construction method is not intuitive - yet. I have a feeling that it will become so, though. With this second run-through, it is making more sense.

The other thing that is not intuitive - yet - is the way it fits. We are used to the stitches lying in nice neat lines, or at nice neat angles. A gusset here, a heel there. All very precise and predictable, and easy to produce. Yes, there is always lace and all the possibilities that go with it - but we still don't expect great big swirls of stitches, swooping right across the foot in an unexpected direction and working with the inherent stretch and compression of the knitted fabric to produce the shape that is wanted.

But I'll tell you something else. This shape fits my foot really, really well. The first attempt was too short, which meant not quite enough room for the toes. But the arch section fitted snugly and neatly in a way that I haven't encountered before.

I want to get these finished, because I want to wear them - and I want to knit more in this basic shape as well.

Cat Bordhi knows her stuff, really she does.

Sunday, 28 December 2008


I am knitting again.

I've finished the Travelling Socks - actually I finished these on Friday, I think.

My standard sock pattern, to fit my husband. The yarn is Noro Kureyon Sock, and the colourway is snappily entitled S150. The socks, as you can see, are fraternal - however it would have been easy to make them identical. The colour repeats in the yarn are conveniently arranged to accommodate this, and it would have been nice to know this beforehand. Well, I know now.

I like this colourway a lot actually, and I have thoughts of a sweater for myself out of this yarn. If you have similar thoughts, and there is a current colourway that you particularly like, then I would advise you not to hang around. I hear on the grapevine that Noro will be discontinuing all the current colourways of Noro Kureyon Sock - yes, all of them - and replacing them with an entirely new range of colours.

The other thing that merits a mention is the choice of needles here. My trusty Inox bamboo 2.5mm dpns broke whilst I was making these socks. I've had them for ages - I think they were my first sock needles ever - I liked them, and I was sorry to see them go. The replacements, however, turn out to be even better.

Clover Takumi Bamboo dpns, again 2.5mm of course. These are good. They are more rigid than the Inox bamboo needles, and the points are better as well. Also, they have the sizing and needle details neatly engraved in the middle - the Inox ones had no sizing marking at all. The engraved details give a slightly textured surface to the middle part of each needle (of course) and although this was a bit surprising at first, I soon realised that it is helpful - the stitches really do stay put better than on a smooth needle.

If I'm buying bamboo needles again in the future, these would be my choice.

I have also cast on something new.

The pattern is called Tall Tibetan Coriolis Socks, and it is to be found in Cat Bordhi's excellent book New Pathways for Sock Knitters - 'Coriolis' refers to the construction method. I am using the yarn supplied as the last instalment of the Blue Moon Sock Club 2007 - Socks That Rock mediumweight in a particularly lovely colourway called Bella Coola. I really like this yarn - well, not so much the weight, as I do prefer the lightweight STR - but the colour is just beautiful.

I couldn't get on with the Cat Bordhi pattern originally supplied with the yarn, much to my disappointment. Despite repeated attempts, the socks were just not going to end up the same shape as my feet. So I looked elsewhere for a pattern - and here in Cat's New Pathways book there is a pattern written for one skein of STR mediumweight, using a construction method that I think looks really interesting. So, there it was.

I am not messing around with the pattern at all, I am just making it exactly as written, for the size that says midfoot 8.5". I think it ought to fit, but we shall see. The needles are 3mm Knitpicks dpns, and so far this is fairly flying along at 7 stitches to the inch - and yes, that surprised me too, to the extent that I actually worked a swatch. And that is extremely unusual for me with sock yarn.

One last thing, only slightly knitting related.

I now have a Sony eReader, and I love it to bits. It is even better than I thought it would be - crystal clear display, with no problems at all in bright sunlight, and the battery lasts a quite unbelievably long time between charges. Apparently it only uses power when the page is changed - maintenance of the current page takes no power at all.

And it holds so much! At the moment I have close to 200 titles on there, and there is still plenty of space, and that's without any additional memory stick or memory card. I have been roaming around Project Gutenberg finding lots of old favourites (for free!) and putting them onto my neat little Book.

And now the knitting related bit - I have discovered that I can put knitting patterns on there, especially if they are in pdf format. And I can magnify bits of them if needed - like charts. I haven't tried word documents yet, but I bet that will work too.

This is good.

Oh and by the way, the software that you want for one of these little eReaders, IMHO, is Calibre. I've tried the Sony software, and I've tried the Adobe Digital Editions as well - they are both very pretty, but they don't always do what I want, and I certainly don't find either of them very intuitive to use. Calibre is better. Much, much better.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Queues and other things

I'm still thinking about NaKniSweMoDo. Mainly because I'm still not knitting, apart from the travel sock, which is still progressing slowly during car journeys. I am thinking about knitting, definitely, I'm just not doing it.

One of the best features of Ravelry is the queue. Now, I am big on queues. I like lists, I like organising things. Before the Rav came along, I used to have an Excel spreadsheet where I kept track of what stash I had, and what it was intended for. Also where the pattern was to be found - don't underestimate the importance of this one. Nothing more frustrating than being unable to recall which pattern magazine is the one you need - especially as Rowan is now up to 44. That's a lot of magazines to leaf through.

And that reminds me, there will be a new one in the not-so-very-distant future. Number 45, in February 09. Last time - number 44 - I was working for Rowan, and because I had seen the preview I had the delicious knowledge of exactly what gorgeousness was in store. This time, no, unfortunately. I would really, really like to know - but I shall just have to wait and find out with everyone else.

Anyway, the queue. I've seen lots of people starting NaKniSweMoDo sections, and planning it all out. I might do this, but I know of old just how bad I am at sticking to my carefully laid plans. I think I'll just put things up as I come to them.

First, it must be the Striped Sweater, though. I had been sure that this was going to be finished before Christmas - turns out not to be the case. I'll get there in the end.

After that, currently I am thinking Earnshaw, mainly because it is cold and damp and nasty right now, and everyone seems to be ill, and a big soft warm comfort sweater sounds like just what I want. Also it will work up fast - very nearly instant gratification! - and I am a complete sucker for a pretty yarn.

Of course there is also Jadis, which is very high indeed on my list of 'wants' - but all of a sudden I am losing weight again quite fast, and I don't want to knit this lovely thing (Rowan Silk Wool DK, yum) and then have it not fit me next winter. So maybe this one should wait.

And in view of the ongoing weight loss, I think that for the time being I should stick to unfitted sweaters that will still look good even if I do continue to shrink. Polly looks like a good bet, as does Nissa - both of these look good with a decent amount of ease. Sarah Dallas' Moss Stitch Jacket will work even if I do get thin (hah, still can't quite believe it could ever happen) and Kaari is another one that will be accommodating - I do like raglans, they make things so much more adaptable....

So, all that I need now is to actually start knitting again. Maybe I should aim to get the travel sock done, first. That isn't too much to aim for, it is nearly done.


Sunday, 21 December 2008

Past the cusp?

Look! Another post! I can do it if I really try....

The year has turned. The solstice was at 12:05 this afternoon, and from now on the days get longer and the nights get shorter. This cannot possibly be making any perceptible difference just yet, but it does seem to mean something to me. Things feel lighter, better. Things will improve. Except not the knitting, not quite yet.

And on that note, I've been wondering about NaKniSweMoDo. Because at the moment I'm not knitting at all, and NaKniSweMoDo means that I will attempt to finish twelve sweaters next year - adult size sweaters.

Now, when this was first mooted, I signed up like a shot, because of course it would be easy peasy, wouldn't it? Fifteen sweaters this year - twelve next year, no problem whatsoever. Piece of cake. But then life jumps up and says - hang on a minute, things aren't necessarily going to be a smooth ride over the next twelve months. And that's true. Things might be a bit bumpy. In fact I can practically guarantee that they will be bumpy.

Well, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to go with the flow. I had planned to start and finish twelve sweaters next year - but I don't have to. I just have to finish twelve. And that is still possible, definitely. There is exactly zero chance that the Striped Sweater will be done before the end of the year - but it can be the first project finished in 2009.

Now, at the moment I'm still not knitting at all - today even the travel sock didn't get picked up. The Striped Sweater is still in the knitting bag where it's been for quite a while now, poor neglected thing. But I will knit again, I know that I will, and it won't be much longer, because the stress levels are dropping.

At least it means that I am not actually obsessive about knitting. Despite previous appearances to the contrary.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and watch Roadhouse, which I've just realised is on the television.

Patrick Swayze, don't you know. And music from Jeff Healey.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

A turning point

Here I am again.

Last weekend I was all set to post lots of stuff, but life got in the way, as it has a tendency to do. I won't deny that we have had a very difficult time over the last week. Bad things happening - very big, scary life-and-death stuff. The real deal. But everyone has come through it, and now comes the recovery, which might take a while.

It seems very appropriate that tomorrow is the solstice.

You won't be surprised to hear that I haven't been knitting. The travel sock has progressed a little - I am now past the gusset shaping on the second sock. But that's about it. I have every intention of picking up the poor neglected Striped Sweater this evening, but it remains to be seen whether I will actually manage to do this.

I had intended to post about my spinning last Saturday, and I think that I'll do that now.

I am slightly handicapped at the moment by the fact that I only have two bobbins at my disposal - the others are all in the process of being beautified in the same way as my wheel. This will be lovely when it is done, but does mean that until then my resources are somewhat limited.

Here is the state of play with the organic merino pencil roving from Natalie.

This really is spinning up beautifully. Now that I've discovered what I was doing wrong (hold the hands further apart! this is a long staple fibre!) things are going faster. I shall Navajo ply it so that the pretty colour changes don't get lost.

And here is my moorit Shetland. This is such incredibly easy spinning that really I can hardly believe it. It practically jumps onto the bobbin by itself. I'm spinning this mostly straight from locks of washed fleece - I'm opening out the locks with a little wire dog brush if needed, just flicking them really. I'm only carding if I really need to. I'm looking forward to seeing how this looks when it is plied - a simple 2 ply will be the best choice here, I think.

I'm aiming for something like a heavy DK, and I think I might actually get it.

Finally, there is this.

This came from Jan at Frangipani, and it is a shade card for 5ply Guernsey yarn, sold on cones. Just look at those colours! There are 5 different shades of Navy, would you believe? At the moment this is sitting on the desk next to the keyboard, and I keep picking it up and looking at it. I am hoping to talk my husband letting me make him a Guernsey sweater. He isn't keen on Aran work, but I think that the subtle texture of a Guernsey might be more acceptable. And I keep looking at this, and also the pale green one in the background to the right. Nice, I think.

Note to self: sweep floor before taking pictures......

Friday, 12 December 2008

Making someone happy

Yesterday I was sitting in a hospital waiting room for quite some time, doing what you might expect, waiting.

As always, I had the travel sock in my handbag. Actually this isn't really what you might call a handbag, it is a good sized leather satchel that I bought a while ago now from Henry Tomkins. I think that if you had a good look in there, you might possibly find the kitchen sink. It's a good bag. I expect it to last for - oh, at least fifty years. That sort of bag.

Anyway, the travel sock was in there, in its little KnowKnits pouch. And, as always when I have the opportunity, I took it out and began working on it.

Opposite me there was an elderly lady in a wheelchair, sitting quietly, doing nothing at all. When she saw me take my knitting out of the bag, her face lit up. I smiled at her - as you do - and said, 'Yes, its a sock!' And she began to talk to me.

She told me that she hadn't seen anyone knitting socks for more than forty years, and that she had thought it was a lost art. She told me that she thought all the yarn shops closed years ago. She told me that she was 83.

She told me about the pullovers that she had made in the war years, she told me about unravelling things that her children had outgrown and re-using the yarn. She told me about a beautiful blue short sleeved pullover that she had knitted to her own design, using yarn she salvaged from an unflattering sweater that someone had given her.

She told me that she had never turned a heel, that her sister always used to do this for her. I told her that it wasn't difficult in the slightest, it just looked as if it was. She looked at the single finished travel sock, and admired the one on the needles. She was very interested in the yarn - Noro Kureyon Sock - and told me that she thought colour changing yarn was a wonderful idea - 'What fun!' She asked me - where could she buy yarn like that? So I told her.

And then the porter arrived to take her somewhere, and she was wheeled off, telling the porter how she was going to start knitting again.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Sunday evening

Well, I am still here.

Yesterday I had a nice time at That Shop. It was the first Saturday of the month, and that means knitting group. I still don't know very many people there, but it is a nice place to be. I had arranged to meet the lady who has bought the Wee Peggy that I have been looking after for the Guild, and we had time for a lesson. I do like teaching!

It is very hard indeed to leave that shop without a purchase, and I did buy a couple of little bits - a crochet hook in a size that I inexplicably don't seem to have, and some sock yarn which is intended for the facings of the Ropes and Picots Cardigan from the current IK. That's a nice pattern, I think. It will probably be one of the twelve sweaters that I hope I'm going to knit next year - although that particular statement of intent may turn out to have been a bit rash. But if I can't manage it, I won't worry about it.

Anyway. I am going to substitute some black New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed for the Rowan Scottish Tweed DK which the pattern suggests - this stuff is quite unbelievably cheap, and feels lovely, really the quality is excellent. It is so nice that it seems as if it ought to cost a whole lot more, in fact.

I have done a little bit of knitting. Yesterday things seemed to be better, and I picked up the Striped Sweater without even thinking about it. It was lovely to be knitting again, I miss it a lot when I don't knit.

But today, things aren't going too brilliantly, and once again I can't knit.

I don't know why this happens. It really isn't sensible at all to find myself behaving like this. But knitting is a somewhat meditative process, for me, and at the moment I can't seem to find the right place in my mind. Which probably sounds entirely bonkers.

I think that I need to sit down and make myself knit. Maybe it would help.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

I think that it's Wednesday.

There may not be much blogging for a bit.

We've spent a fair amount of time in hospital emergency rooms over the last couple of days.

And if anyone can tell me how it makes any sort of sense, that a hospital that is failing to meet its targets - ie, to get all patients out of A&E in less than four hours - is fined for this.

The place is full. There are no beds available in the wards. So people who need to be on a ward have to stay in A&E on a trolley, until a bed becomes available.

Maybe I am being naive, but it seems that in such a situation it would make more sense to offer additional resources instead of imposing a fine.

Anyway, I'll be back when things get a bit quieter.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

A cautionary tale

So, I picked up the second sleeve this morning, with every intention of getting well along with it today. Around mid-morning, I went to my knitting bag for another ball of yarn, and as I took it out, two plastic pockets for circs fell out too. I keep the needles that are needed for a project, with that project whilst it is in progress, you see.

Anyway. I picked up the two little Addi packets and went to put them back - and stopped. The 3.75mm pack was empty. The 4mm pack had a circ in it.

Oh no......

I got out my needle sizer, hoping against hope that I'd put the 3.75mm one back in the wrong packet after I finished the ribbing - but no such luck.

I've been knitting this sleeve on the wrong sized needles.


Friday, 28 November 2008


We've been quite busy this week, and I haven't got much knitting done. It's funny how it goes - last weekend that first sleeve practically flew off the needles, yet I have hardly done more than a couple of inches on the second sleeve during the whole of this week. And I'm not going to post a picture of that, it truly isn't worth looking at.

I had a nice package arrive during the week, though. If you don't want to see a picture of the last Blue Moon sock club yarn for 2008, then don't scroll down. Otherwise....

This is the first time that I have actually said 'Oooh!' on opening the packet. I believe that it is my favourite of all the colours so far, and as usual my photo does not do it justice. The name of the colourway is 'Muddy Autumn Rainbow', and it is akin to the Blue Moon Rare Gems, in that the skeins will all be rather different. This one is particularly beautiful, I think.

Even better - if that's possible! - is the fact that the pattern is by Anne Hanson. I love her work, so this is a real treat.

I am looking forward to getting some socks done for myself, definitely. I now have all six of the 2008 club yarns lined up on my shelf, together with the last one for 2007. I shall get the current travel sock out of the way, and get on with them!

On another note, we currently have two spinning wheels in the house. This is because I am looking after a Guild wheel, which is going to be purchased by someone that I met at the knitting group at That Shop. I will take it along with me to the December meeting and hand it over.

The wheel in question is a Wee Peggy like my wheel, and it is really very pretty indeed. It is a lovely colour and has a beautiful shine on it, really a lovely little thing. It is a bit more recent than mine, but still an original Rappard wheel - the difference is that this wheel has been cared for, and mine has not been, over the years.

I don't know a lot about the history of my wheel, but I do know that it had been in storage for some years. When I bought it (for £60) it was dusty and very dry - absolutely parched for oil and polish - and the drive wheel was somewhat warped, so that it waved to and fro as it went round and round. It was missing all the bits for Scotch Tension (which is why I learnt to spin using double drive) and it only had two bobbins, both of which had the central grommets missing so that they rattled around spectacularly on the spindle. And there was no orifice hook.

We cleaned it up, we oiled it, I found that the nice man at P&M Woolcraft could make me some nice new bobbins and a new tension peg, I bought a new orifice hook and my husband made it fit the hole in the table of the wheel - and it looks very different. The drive wheel is still warped, but it runs silently and the drive band stays on, so really I don't mind. It spins very nicely.

However there was just one thing. Basically, it was not pretty. It was orange. A nasty, dusty looking, unpleasant orange colour. I've been told that the finish that had been used on the wood had discoloured over the years, and this was the result. Not shiny, despite all my polishing. It always looked dull and dry. And orange.

Anyway, having this new pretty little wheel in the house - which was not my wheel! - was something of a spur here. I wanted my wheel to look pretty, too. And my husband suggested that we do just that.

So, we took my wheel to pieces (that was interesting, I can tell you!) and my husband gave it several coats of proper finishing stuff, and then followed this with a coat of clear wax. It looks so much better!

If the sun was shining today, you could see the gleam that it has now. I am so pleased with it! And it is not orange! It is a beautiful golden brown. And it spins even better than before - in particular the tension adjustment is smooth and easy now, where it had been stiff and difficult before.

There will be more clear wax to come today, together with a lot of elbow grease to shine it up even more.

I feel as if I have a new wheel!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


This was an easy decision. I am in!

The Ravelry group is here.

This was started by Susan, Cheryl, and Margene. We all intend to complete twelve adult sweaters during 2009 - these must be finished and ready to wear by 31 December 2009.

It can be any sort of knitted top - a sleeveless sweater still counts. But it must be adult sized - and I can easily think of 12 sweaters that I want to knit for myself. I could, however, try to argue that a sweater knitted for my husband ought to count double - but I won't go down that road!

So far this year, the total is 15. And the Striped Sweater is still going along nicely. Despite a couple of extremely busy days when I haven't managed to do much knitting, I am sure it will be finished before the end of the year.

So, can I do it again next year? I hope so. Something else, as well - I intend to knit all the sweaters from stash, or handspun.

And now that I've said that, it feels like more of a commitment than the twelve sweaters.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


Still working on the Striped Sweater, and it is positively flying along.

Yesterday evening I finished the first sleeve, and this morning I cast on for the second sleeve. I am half way through the ribbing on that one at the moment, not a lot of point in a picture just yet.

You will not be surprised to hear that once again I am wondering about yarn quantities. The main colour should be fine, I have not yet finished ball number three - the pattern says 6 for this size. But the medium grey is another matter. I am well into ball number four, and again the pattern says 6 for this size. The front will of course use rather less of this colour than did the back - the V neck takes a big chunk out of that large solid medium grey area at the top. So maybe 6 will be sufficient. However, I have my doubts.

I am so glad that I am not doing any Christmas knitting this year - well, apart from this sweater. Last year it really turned into a burden, and I was quite put off knitting socks for a considerable while. Indeed, I have not yet really picked them up again properly.

Instead I am able to concentrate on things that I actually want to be working on, and I shall take pleasure in a considerable amount of 'finishing off' before the end of the year. I shall finish the Druid Mittens, which haven't got much past the cast-on in their second incarnation.

Proof positive that I really am magic looping.

I am looking forward to getting on with a new pair of socks for myself, and I still intend to make the Tall Tibetan Coriolis socks from Cat Bordhi's 'New Pathways' book, using the last lot of yarn from the 2007 Blue Moon Sock Club, STR mediumweight, in Bella Coola.

I am also planning a hat for myself. In Kim Hargreaves new book, Amber, there is a rather nice slouchy hat with a beaded trim - Soul. I haven't made a beaded hat before, nor have I ever worn a slouchy hat, and I am not entirely sure about it. But there are a lot of hats around in this style, and they seem to suit people - so maybe they will suit me too. Anyway, I want to make this, and I have wound up a skein of Cascade 200 in 9459 - Cascade will tell you that this colour is Yakima Heather, but it might be better described as Compost. Or possibly Sludge, as in mud from the bottom of a pond. Earthy, shall we say? And I have gone so far as to string the required number of beads, as well. But I haven't cast on yet. Don't hold your breath for this one though, I want to get the Sweater finished.

Also, I want to do a little bit of swatching ready for a forthcoming project, the Ojo de Dios Vest.

It is lovely to have things left so open! Too much planning can feel like a target that you have to meet.

Having said that, I am still planning to make twelve sweaters again next year, but that doesn't feel like a burden of any sort - instead it is something to look forward to. I hear that a Ravelry group is planned, name as yet undecided. I shall be joining it.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Twelve Sweaters

Have you seen this?

I am up for this, definitely. This year it has been 15 so far - it will be 16 when I get my husband's Striped Sweater finished.

Here is it, by the way. I finished the back.

I am rather pleased with this, actually. It is big. It measures 27 1/2 " across, and 28 3/4" top to bottom - it was beginning to feel as if I was knitting a blanket, by the time I got to the shoulders. I wish I could describe the gorgeousness of this fabric, though. I've said it before about Rowan Scottish Tweed, and it is true - this is wool as it ought to be.

And I started the first sleeve.

That's the second ball of the main colour there, the dark grey. I was well into the third ball of the medium grey by the time the back was done. Will I have enough? Oh the suspense.....

Where was I?

Oh yes. Next year. Twelve sweaters. I think I can do it again - there are still so many things that I really want to make - and wear! Because wearing them is what it's all about, for me.

I've already been thinking about sweaters that I want to knit next year - don't you just love the 'organise' function in the Ravelry queue? But I don't think that I really want to list out my twelve just yet. I'll see what evolves.


Jadis is on the list.

So is Polly.

The Ojo de Dios Vest will also be happening.

Oh yes. Definitely.

I want to make a couple of things with Kidsilk Haze - at the moment I am thinking Spook and Portia.

And I want to make a couple of things with the Rowan Classic Cashmere Tweed that I have in the stash - Chamonix and Susie are both going to happen at some point. (Susie is a high-buttoned waistcoat in moss stitch, a pattern written for Natural Silk Aran)

But who knows?

Right now, I'm loving the Scottish Tweed DK, and I'm going to focus on getting this sweater finished!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

When all else fails....

.... bloggers make lists. In this case, quite a short list.

  • I need more socks. This situation has been made worse by the fact that yesterday my lovely Grasshopper socks in Blue Moon Silkie managed to get in with the mixed wash, and were felted. Sob!

Here is what they used to look like. I haven't the heart to take a picture of them now.....
  • I have broken another sock needle. This is most frustrating, but it was entirely my own fault - I was in a hurry, and I jammed the sock into my bag without paying sufficient attention. So now I have two sets of 2.5mm bamboo sock needles, different lengths, each with just four needles left. I do not like using needles that are not all the same length. And yes, this is quite unreasonable of me.
  • I think that I need to start using metal needles - or else Magic Loop. Now there's a thought.
  • The Earth Stripe Curtain needs to be on the needles.
Nope, not yet.....

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

On we go

I am none the wiser regarding colour memory. I am still interested in this, though. I have always assumed that it cannot be a rare thing, that there must be a significant proportion of people who have it. But it is just that - an assumption. I don't have any data, really, and it is not sensible to make assumptions like that. So I am going to (try to) put a poll in the sidebar to the right. Lets see what happens.

It is worth mentioning perhaps, that having colour memory doesn't necessarily mean that someone has any sense whatsoever when it comes to colour combining, for fair isle and so forth. . My husband is the one for that - the artist's eye, I believe. Me, I tend to rely on grey and black, as I'm sure you've noticed - always works, although not very imaginative.

The Striped Sweater is flying along - well, relatively speaking.

I am past the armhole shaping - yay! finally! - and I have finished the stripe pattern completely. The remainder of the back is worked solid in the medium grey colour. Mindless stocking stitch - always good!

The back is now reduced in width sufficiently that it can lie out straight on a 60cm needle (although only just) and this morning I laid it out over the top of a favourite sweatshirt of my husband's. It is the same size. This is a great relief to me. Yes, I measure, and yes I check tension, but it is not quite the same thing as actually seeing that it is the same size as a favourite garment.

I definitely prefer the red that my husband chose, to the sunset orange used in the pattern.

Also, as usual, I am now worrying about whether I will have enough yarn. The pale grey, the black, and the red will all be fine. The dark grey - probably ok. The medium grey, though - not so sure at all. The pattern says 6 of each, for this size. I am well into the second ball of the medium grey already, and cannot imagine that I won't need to start the third one before I get to the shoulders.

I started the Druid Mittens again, on a very long Addi Lace 2.5mm circ, magic looping. I haven't done much so far, just a couple of centimetres of the cuff, but they are going along alright and I seem to be getting used to the extreme loopiness of it all.

Although there is one thing.

I have discovered something even worse than that moment with dpns, when you think you are pulling out the spare needle, and you discover that you had actually grabbed one that had stitches on it - past tense. The equivalent moment with magic loop - I don't need to spell it out, do I?

I shall try not to do it again.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Several things, including a question

Have you seen this?

Wonderful. I spotted it on Juno's blog, by the way. (We have the same taste in sensible shoes.)

Also rather interesting is this. Do try it, it is not difficult at all, although it does take a few minutes to drag and drop things where they need to be. I was amazed to discover that apparently I have perfect colour vision, along with my various degrees of shortsightedness and so forth.

And that lead me to this, which is really amazing. And also this.

Four-channel colour vision instead of three? Wow. But, if you were a tetrachromat, how would you ever know it? Because it would simply be normal to you.

I've seen tetrachromacy mentioned as being associated with precise colour memory, which is a very useful thing to have, but I am doubtful that it can really be connected because tetrachromacy is apparently extremely rare, and I'm sure lots of us have precise colour memory. I certainly do, and I have always taken it completely for granted. I know that my maternal grandmother did as well. Although my mother does not, nor does my sister. I'll have to ask my daughter whether she does....?

But how common is this colour memory? Is it something that most of us have? Or not? I have no idea, really. I've just been assuming, and that isn't a good thing to do, usually. And it has occurred to me that I could just ask you, here.

So - do you have precise colour memory? When you need to choose paint to match a fabric colour - or indeed a fabric to match a paint colour, or some tapestry yarn to match a pullover that needs mending - do you have to check a sample, or can you do it in your head, by memory?

Enquiring minds want to know! - this might be interesting......!


I have finally frogged the Druid mitten. I'm going to try magic looping it on a nice long Addi lace 2.5mm circ.

Now, please don't laugh. I do love my dpns,as I've said many times, but I did knit a sock on magic loop once, just so that I could say I had done it. I am sure I can work the mitten this way if I put my mind to it, and indeed I think it would be easier if all the back-of-the-hand stitches were in one run - which is why I am trying it.

You know, I always feel that magic loop ought to be the logical way to work socks, and yet I always come back to my dpns. (Two circs? Nope. I just don't feel the call.) Let's see if this mitten will be a turning point!

And the mojo is back - I am knitting again. Just about up to the armholes now - I am at the stage of measuring it on various surfaces and trying to work out whether it is a good idea to do another couple of rows, or not. Why do I find this so hard to decide? It ought to be so straightforward.

I did a bit of arithmetic this evening (yes, procrastinating again) and worked out that so far, I have worked 21, 573 stitches of this sweater. And I can tell you, it feels like it, too.

This sweater is big.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Knitting mojo?

Would you believe that I have hardly knit at all this weekend? I just can't seem to sit down to it. Maybe three rows since Friday, that's all.

It is interesting in a way, because I've been in this situation before. When we were moving house last year - or rather trying to move - things did get rather stressful, to put it mildly.

Usually my answer to coping with stress is simple - I retreat to my knitting. But if things don't ease off, I reach a point where I just can't knit. I wish I could sort this out in my head.

But I'll get there in the end. What I really need to do is to sit down, and then just knit. And not think.

By the way, I still haven't frogged the single half-finished Druid Mitten.

It had indeed crossed my mind that the yarn might bloom with washing - although I don't think it will - or that I could give it some serious blocking and try to make it fit that way. But I don't think I want to go that route. I want it to fit, and let's face it, the mitten size is 'women's small' and I just don't have small hands. Off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all gloves and mittens never fit me. I need to frog it and try again with 2.5mm needles.

By the way - the Wee Peggy is taken, I believe. But the Herring wheel is still available. It really is a very beautiful wheel, in perfect working order. I don't think I mentioned the price - £70. Yes, a bargain. Anyone interested? I shall try to get hold of a picture.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Just things to do....

Here we are again, and it's Friday. Where did the week go?

Wednesday evening I was taking part in a market research discussion group - very interesting actually. More about that later. Yesterday we were visiting relatives, and today it has been errands non-stop all day.

I've got some proper reading glasses at long last, and one of the things we did today was to pick them up from the optician. (Tesco. Yes, we are a class act around here.)

I should call them knitting glasses really. I don't need them at all when I am reading, but I do find that when I am sitting and knitting in the evening, and we are watching a film on the television, then it is not so easy switching my focus from the work in my hands to the screen across the room. If I wear reading glasses and look over the top of them to see across the room, then no problem.

It does feel like a bit of a landmark, getting reading glasses. I had my eyes lasered a few years back - actually now that I think about it, it is almost seven years now. They fixed one eye for distance, and the optician says that I still have perfect sight in that eye - and they left the other eye with a little bit of shortsightedness (is that a real word?) so that I wouldn't need reading glasses 'for probably about 5 years'. So - six years and nine months later - that worked out nicely.

Getting the eyes fixed wasn't cheap, but so worth it for me. I'd been quite shortsighted all my life - enough to be unable to reliably recognise people across a room without my specs, and certainly enough that going downstairs (or up, come to that) without my specs on was distinctly dodgy. So I had glasses from about 5 years old, contacts from about 18 (no soft lenses way back then in the mists of time, hah) - and I only decided to have the eyes fixed because I was starting to need reading glasses when I had my contacts on. I couldn't face wearing glasses over my contacts. Or bifocals? - no thankyou, let's just fix the eyes. And they did.

Guild meeting tomorrow morning, it's the AGM this month. I wonder if they will have sold that gorgeous Herring wheel. Or the Wee Peggy. I was seriously tempted by that - it is so much prettier than mine, and it is in perfect order whereas mine is a bit on the wonky side. Also, I am going to see if there is any more of that Suffolk/Jacob cross fleece. I have decided that a bit more would be a good idea.

And I'm still knitting. The striped sweater is almost up to the armholes - yes, slow. I know. The travel sock is progressing slowly - we went to see the in-laws yesterday, and I was able to knit on the way up. I have decided that the sock should live in my handbag, not in the car.

Have you seen the new issue of Twist Collective? It is very, very good indeed. This collection of patterns is really quite exceptional. There are a lot of things that struck my attention, but I have only actually bought two of the patterns. (Yes, restraint. I can do it if I try.)

The first is Jadis. This is not a complicated pattern - but just look at the result. Simple, wearable, classic - just lovely. I love the clean hemmed edges, and three quarter length sleeves are a favourite of mine, too. Fortunately, I have some Rowan Classic Silk Wool in the stash. This has been mentally labelled for about five different projects now - and I shall use it for this. The tension is different - the RYC Silk Wool works up at 5.5 stitches per inch, and Jadis calls for 5spi. However I can work the instructions for a larger size at the closer tension, and end up with the dimensions that I want. Yes, I've got enough yardage, in fact I should have one ball left over.

Anyway, this is now high in my Ravelry queue.

The other pattern that I have bought is Heroine. This is a felted jacket in Cascade 220, and I am really not sure why it calls to me - but it certainly does. I wouldn't choose that olive green, though. I want a grey one. Or do I? I always seem to have grey knitting. I think that I need to go to That Shop and have a good look at what they have in stock.

The other thing that I keep thinking about is a Debbie Bliss cardigan. It was described as 'Cable Vent Jacket' in Ms Bliss's magazine no.1 - and it was called 'Sophia' in her Rialto booklet. Either way, the Ravelry link is here.

And this one has to be grey.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Yesterday I mentioned that I was thinking of designing a modular knit. Well, I have a bit of a head start now, because look what arrived in the post.

I have managed to get my hands on a copy of Dazzling Knits, by Patricia Werner. Heather mentioned it not so long ago on her blog, and I paid attention, because Heather is a doyenne of modular knitting. Believe me. I've seen her patchwork pullover.

There is all sorts of gorgeousness in this book. Patricia recommends starting with this waistcoat, in order to learn the techniques explained in the book -

- and I think that I shall do just that. I have ideas for colours, and I have yarn in the stash that will work.

Also, there is this waistcoat, which uses a different basic shape.

And just look at this little sampler made of triangles....

Just beautiful!

Patricia gives some patterns in the book - but the reason that I think the book is so brilliant is that Patricia explains how to design a garment using modular knitting. The subtitle is 'Building Blocks to Creative Knitting' - and that is a good way of putting it. She says, in effect - this is how I did it, now you go and do it your way! I like that.

One more thing. The cardigan jacket that I so admired? - it was knitted using the pattern illustrated on the front cover. Yes, modified a bit. But that's it. Lovely.

I shall have to revise my list of planned projects, I can see!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Oh, the excitement...!

I have really been enjoying this mitten. It is excellent fun, and it has reminded me of exactly how much I used to love working Aran patterns.

In times long past - I was 16 or 17, so that really was quite a while ago - I knitted five adult size Aran jumpers in quick succession. I reached the point where I could finish one in ten days flat - I have a feeling that it would take me rather longer, nowadays. But the enjoyment is the same.

This yarn, Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply, is not ideal for aran work because of the tweedy flecks, although in real life the blue and yellow bits are not nearly as distracting as they appear in these photos. However in terms of weight it is very similar indeed to the yarn for which the pattern was written, Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, and the tension is spot-on - albeit with much smaller needles than the pattern suggests. And yes, I swatched.

Where the yarn does rather obscure things is on the palm. This is worked in half-linen stitch, which is not something that I've encountered before in conjunction with aran work. It is an excellent design feature, though. It provides what is effectively a reinforced palm, and the row gauge combines very neatly with the heavily cabled back.

I don't know if you can see it very well, but in the picture above there is the beginning of a three-strand 'plaited' cable which is going to run up the thumb. Lovely little detail!

I have, as ever, been wondering about the sizing. The pattern says that it fits a women's size small, and that the circumference is 7". Now, my hands are really not small. They are chunky and square-ish. But, at the level of my knuckles, my left hand measures 7" around, which is all fine. But my right hand is bigger, 7 1/2" around, and the lower part of my palm is much wider.

So after the initial phase of 'oooh look! pretty new project!' had worn off, it occurred to me to wonder whether the mittens would actually fit, and I tried it on.

They will definitely be a very snug fit indeed. See how the centre cable section is being pulled out widthways? And this is the left mitten - my right hand is bigger. Not so good.

It was at this point that I paused and worked a swatch by the way. Using 2.25mm needles, I get 8spi and 10 rpi, so that's spot on.

Now, it has crossed my mind that I should go up a needle size. Then the mittens would be just a bit bigger all over, and they should fit me neatly, instead of being very snug indeed.

So, I should really frog these, and rework using 2.5mm. Ouch. Not an easy decision. But the thought has been growing in my mind, and it has been becoming more apparent to me that this is what I should do.


So today I've been knitting on the Striped Sweater. I need to make my mind up....

What else.... Christmas knitting!

I am not doing any. None at all. And really, it is so much better. Last year, it became very tedious indeed.

And one more thing. I am thinking of designing something using modular knitting. Now, I am not a designer at all, I would be totally winging it, and it is entirely possible that it could all go horribly wrong. But you see, I have substantial leftovers of Silk Garden Lite from Benedikta in four different colourways, and I also have some odd balls of Tess Dawson Alpaca DK in pink and Merino DK in chocolate ..... if I put it all together, I have enough yardage to make myself a waistcoat. And it does look rather nice, all put together.

So I've been making some little sketches and thinking about sizing of blocks, and how it would all fit together.

If I do actually knit it, and it works - then I have plans for another modular knit, this time a cardigan jacket, using handspun in natural colours. I saw something along these lines, worn by a member of the Wiltshire Spinning Guild recently, and it was really stunning.

My plans are really just pie in the sky, at the moment. But it would be an amazing thing to do.....

Monday, 10 November 2008

Monday morning

Yesterday afternoon I said to my husband - 'Do you like my new mitts?'

'Yes', he said. 'Little red scrooge mitts!'

And so they are.

Toasty mitts, worked slightly shorter than in the pattern. Just a little bit more than half a skein of Cascade 220 in Ruby, using 4.5mm dpns. You could definitely knit these in an evening.

Plain, simple, just right. Very useful.

I wish I could say that I have also worked lots and lots on my husband's striped sweater, but I haven't.

The reason for this is that in my somewhat lengthy wanderings through the stash yesterday - (I was looking for the Elann Baby Cashmere in black that I want to use for the Helen Hamann Trapeze Tank that I planned to knit for Christmas 2007 and - ahem - haven't cast on yet) - I found the Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply in Graze that I knew was in there somewhere. The stash hunt stopped right there, and no I hadn't found the cashmere yet.

Because, of course, I couldn't resist.

This is the beginning of one of Jared Flood's Druid mittens (Green Autumn mittens according to VK) and I am finding it seriously difficult to put down. These are positively addictive. It's a long time since I worked any aran knitting, and I have never worked aran at anything like this gauge. My previous aran work has always been with, well, aran yarn.

I just love this, though. Little miniature four strand cables, tight and neat. Teeny little bobbles. Slip stitch columns. A half-linen stitch palm. It is all so perfect! And it is all charted!

Those are 2.25mm dpns, by the way. The red needle hiding in there is a single Susan Bates Silvalume 1.75mm dpn which is doing duty as a cable needle. I like my cable needles to be significantly smaller than the working needles, also I like long cable needles, so this works perfectly.

Anyway, needle size. The pattern says 3.25mm, which seems a little bit large. Jared says that he actually worked the original mittens on 3.75mm, and I have no idea how he managed that. Well, I do really, of course - he has said that he knits tightly, and it is apparent that he really means it. I will stay with the 2.25mm dpns, thankyou very much.

And now I think I will go and work some more teeny green cables.

Housework? That can wait.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday morning

I might have got slightly sidetracked actually.

Firstly I haven't managed to take another picture of Lucy in her little coat. She hasn't needed to wear it - when she does, that will be the time.

Also, there is this.

I cannot remember where I spotted these online, but spot them I did. They are so simple, and just right. Here is the Ravelry link - and here is the pattern, although I'm not so sure about the tension given there. Anyway, I found this yesterday evening and immediately went to get yarn and needles, and cast on. Half an evening = one mitt finished. You could easily make a pair in one evening.

And here I demonstrate that it is not so easy taking pictures of one's own hand. The second one will be on the needles as soon as I finish this post - I want to wear them today.

I am using Cascade 220 in a colour that I think was called Ruby or something similar, size 4.5mm dpns, and I made the hand section slightly shorter than the pattern says. I don't have long elegant hands with beautiful slender fingers - I have chunky, square hands. Peasant hands. And with these mitts made to the full length of the pattern, my ends of my fingers were just peeping out the ends. Not quite the look that I wanted. But a bit shorter, like this, they work very well.

The problem now is that I want to make more mitts. Current favourites are Genmaicha - pattern here - I spotted these when I saw Margene's beautiful version on her blog. Although the Knotty Gloves are a close second - again, it is all due to Margene! (Hi Margene! I promise I am not stalking you!)

I also want to start the Green Autumn Mittens, but - ahem - cannot find the yarn that I had in mind. It will turn up, probably after I cast on for something else.

I thought I would show you the progress of the Noro travel socks.

As you can see, I have turned the heel and started the gusset. Pretty colours, I think.

The striped sweater is progressing extremely slowly. I took it with me to knitting group on Friday, but didn't manage to work a single stitch - I spent most of the afternoon teaching someone to crochet, and the rest of the time chatting and forgetting to work the gusset decreases on this sock. Knitting group definitely requires a mindless stocking stitch project, if things are not to go astray in the course of the afternoon.

I remember talking recently about things that I wanted to get finished before Christmas. I decided that there were four things that I wanted finished, and a fifth that I wanted to get onto the needles. One thing is finished - the 8 square slippers - but the striped sweater definitely needs a lot more time spent on it, and I haven't cast on for either Tall Tibetan Socks, the Earth Stripe Curtain, or the Trapeze Top.

I have, however, located the pattern for the Trapeze Top. The yarn, though, is another matter. I know it's there somewhere. Probably right next to the yarn for the green mittens......

Thursday, 6 November 2008


A better day today.

Lucy has improved noticeably, doesn't seem to be in any discomfort, and is eating normally again. So, a modelling session of sorts.

I think that one photo is all we can cope with, actually. I'm sorry it is so incredibly blurry - I have no idea what I did wrong - but never mind. We already know that I am a rubbish photographer. I hope that you can still see that the little coat/sweater fits nicely. And I'll take another picture tomorrow in the daylight.

This is based on Penny, from Knitty. I made quite a lot of changes, as you can see. This took most of one skein of Cascade 220.

The little coat/sweater is a strange looking thing when Lucy isn't wearing it.

From the side, as I'm sure you can work out.

And from underneath.

On another note, my copy of Amber arrived this morning. I had heard that this book is a lot better than the photographs online. Now, the online photos are pretty darn excellent to start with. But yes, the book is better still.

The book is lovely.

I thought that I only wanted to make one project from this book. I now like so many of these garments that it is quite ridiculous. However we all know that I have issues with unrealistic planning (please don't laugh too hard) so I will restrain myself from verbally committing to anything at all until at least tomorrow.

But seriously - it is a really, really good book.

From the comments - Terri - yes, Yorkshire Tweed Chunky is an excellent sub for Scottish Tweed Chunky!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Lucy is not entirely well again. She managed to snaffle some ordinary dry dog food yesterday, whilst we were visitingrelatives. Not a lot - but apparently still too much. It has triggered another slight episode of pancreatitis. We are watching her closely, and hoping that it will subside quickly - hopefully she'll be feeling happier and more comfortable soon.

I did finish her little coat/sweater, as I mentioned yesterday. I am not going to try it on her just yet, though - not until she is feeling better. However I am confident that it will fit.

Knitting continues, albeit slowly. The Noro travel sock saw some rows added today, and I am nearly at the heel flap of the first sock. It is surprising how much gets done in odd minutes as a car passenger. The vital thing is to remember to pick up the knitting before I go out of the door. Actually, it has just occurred to me that maybe it would be more sensible to leave the sock bag in the car in the first place. Why bring it into the house at all?

The Striped Sweater is about half way to the armhole on the back. I am not getting on very fast with this, unfortunately. I need to spend more time on it, of course.

I have been thinking about the list that I put together yesterday. It is fun thinking about knitting, and planning one's knitting, of course. I don't know that it is really very useful, but it feels as if it ought to be, and that is probably the next best thing.

Anyway, no cotton sweaters, and no Kidsilk Haze or other fine yarns. That won't do.

So, summer knits that I really want to make -

1. Sea Breeze. Another Martin Storey pattern, from Rowan Classic Beach. The yarn is Natural Silk Aran.
2. Chamomile, by Kim Hargreaves. Rowan Summer Tweed.
3. Cape Cod. An Alice Starmore classic - I plan to use Rowan 4ply cotton.
4. Spook. Sooo pretty. Beautiful Kidsilk Haze in Anthracite.
5. Dark Daisy. I've loved this pattern for years.
6. Portia. Kidsilk Haze again, and one of Sarah Hatton's excellent designs.

I could go on, but maybe it would be more sensible to stop there.

I think I need to stop making lists.

Oh, and Martelle? - I do plan to make Chamonix longer, definitely.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

More sweaters

Round about this time last year, I was wondering if I could manage to knit twelve sweaters during 2008.

And in fact I came out with a list of twelve planned sweaters, which makes interesting reading.

1. The Simple Pie Vest. This I did make - for my husband, from some nice Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran.

2. The Cobblestone Pullover. This one happened too. I made this for myself, from Rowan All Seasons' Cotton, and as it happens I am wearing it at the moment. I think this is the ultimate soft comfortable sweater, and it is surprisingly flattering too.

3. Mr Greenjeans. Er, no. And I am not planning to make this now.

4. Marble. From Rowan 41, a Kaffe Fassett pattern. No to this one, as well. I do still want to make it, though.

5. Kinsale. Yet another that never made it to my needles - at least not yet. It will happen at some point, though. Just not quite yet.

6. Bohus Grey Mist. This is embarrassing. No, I haven't even cast on yet.

7. Jamesey. Nope. Not going to happen.I have been thinking about the Cornish Knit Frock from Indigo Knits for this yarn, instead. But I'm not sure about this now. Maybe it would be better to choose a pattern that doesn't need to shrink. What about Hudson? I like Martin Storey's patterns, they are always good.

8. Cora Pullover. This is a Mission Falls pattern. It is still nice, but I don't think it will ever happen.

9. Thrift. Nope. But I will make this, I still love it.

10. Earnshaw. Yet another one that I haven't managed to get to. But I will, I will!

11. Benedikta. Yes! I made it! And I love it, and it gets worn!

12. Cape Cod. Not yet. But I can dream.....

So, it would appear that I am very bad indeed at planning what I am going to knit. Out of 12 sweaters, I have actually finished just three. And of the remaining 9, only 6 are still in my Ravelry queue - which, by the way, actually has 126 items at the moment. Far too many, without a doubt - but at least it gives one the illusion of being organised.

I have, however, managed to knit 15 sweaters during 2008, so far. Which isn't bad at all. I hope that it will actually be 16 sweaters before the end of the year, because I really ought to get my husband's Striped Sweater finished for him. He's waited long enough, goodness knows. And if I get the Trapeze Tank done (ha ha ha ha ha) then it will be 17. Or not, which is more likely.

And no, I am not counting Lucy's little sweater, which is finished, by the way. Although it is actually a sweater, I don't think that is quite in the spirit of things, tempting though it is. Dog sweaters don't count.


So, what about next year?

1. First off, it has to be Polly. I have yarn for this, some lovely Rowan Polar - long discontinued of course. And I even have buttons, too.

2. Earnshaw is still on the list. Big, loose, soft pullover in lovely Noro Kochoran. Yes please.

3. Kaffe Fassett's Lantern Cardigan. I have the Colourscape for this, but I'm still waiting for the Scottish Tweed Aran that I've chosen - there seems to be a supplier problem, but it will get here in the end, I'm sure.

4. Kaari. Yet another sweater that is exactly my cup of tea. This goes on the list, definitely.

5. Bohus Grey Mist. Because I am feeling really guilty about not even starting this gorgeous thing. If I don't cast on soon, then someone please kick me.

6. Moss Stitch Jacket, by Sarah Dallas. I saw this gorgeous version in real life earlier this year and was inspired. Mine will be in Heath, a soft tweedy brown.

7. Colbert. I plan to make the pullover version of this, in Rowan Tapestry's Leadmine colourway. Attached scarf? Undecided. But I like the boxy drapy shape of this. Very wearable. On the list, then!

8. Salina. Margene was my inspiration here, as she has been before with other projects. (Hi Margene!) When I saw this, I knew that I had to make one of my own. Avocado for me!

9. Chamonix. Ravelry has No Featured Photo and No Projects listed for this, which is surprising, as it is beautiful.

10. Donatello. Goodness I am getting ambitious. But yes, I want this.

11. Susie, from Rowan Classic Beach. Again, nothing on Ravelry yet for this. It is a simple button-up moss stitch waistcoat, written for Rowan's Natural Silk Aran. I intend to sub Rowan Classic Cashmere Tweed. Yum.

12. Everyday Cardigan. This is a Peace Fleece pattern - simple and straightforward. I have some hand-dyed Peace Fleece in a lovely lavender/lichen colourway, sport weight.

And I will just mention Helen Hamann's Trapeze Tank - but I am going to try really hard to get it done this year.

Looking back through this list, it does occur to me that there is nothing in cotton. Also, no Kidsilk Haze. That can't be right.....

Monday, 3 November 2008

Monday morning

It's been a strange weekend. Before I talk about what else has been happening, here is some knitting.

The 8 square slippers are finished. My husband likes these, and suggests that I make him as many more pairs as I feel like - and indeed I will make more, but not just yet.

These are made from 8 different bits of sock yarn leftovers. The pattern - here - is in Finnish, but you get the general idea. Cast on whatever number of stitches you think appropriate, work a strip of garter stitch equivalent to 6 squares, in whatever colour combinations you wish. Pick up along the side and add another square in two more places. Fold - this procedure is interesting, and even with the diagram can be somewhat puzzling until you've got the arrangement in your head - and seam. All very quick and easy.

They are incredibly stretchy, and I do mean that. I used 3.5mm needles, sock yarn held double, and I worked at 6 stitches per inch. For these slippers I cast on 18 sts - they are a little on the small side but still a comfortable fit for my husband's UK size 9 feet, and (I think) a rather better fit for my size 6 feet.

Here are the Noro Kureyon socks for my husband - my current travel knitting.

This is my standard sock pattern, to fit my husband. I am working on the usual 2.5mm needles, and this is colour 150, chosen by my husband when we dropped in to visit Get Knitted the other day.

This yarn has Noro's usual thick-and-thin thing going on, and it has a feel to it that is almost hard. Not bouncy. This is what you'd expect from a yarn of this weight that is a simple single, though, and I have confidence that it will soften up and bloom with the first wash.

Here is the Striped Sweater.

As you can see, it is progressing slowly - this is mainly because I keep stopping and doing other things, of course. This pattern is by Wendy Baker, from Rowan's book Classic Knits for Men, aka Knitting for Him. Ravelry link here.

I am making the size to fit chest 48" - the largest size in the pattern - and the only thing that we are changing is the accent colour. My husband didn't like the Sunset orange used in the pattern, and decided that he would prefer the dark red of Lobster - so that is what you see above.

The yarn is Rowan's ever-gorgeous Scottish Tweed DK, which is just wonderful to work with. Wool as it should be, truly.

Finally, there is one more project fresh onto the needles.

I am making Lucy a little coat/sweater thing. It has become apparent that she is feeling the cold nowadays, so this seems a sensible idea. This little sweater is based on Corrine Neiser's pattern Penny - Ravelry link here - but I am making some changes. Firstly I am making it a bit wider - and secondly I am going to make it longer, to cover all of her back. I cast on for this yesterday, and with luck (and no disasters) it will be finished later today. I am using Cascade 200 from stash - I expect one skein to be sufficient - and the colour is 8400, a soft charcoal grey.

I would just note here that if you are planning to make this pattern as it is shown on Knitty, be aware that there are some typos. Nothing that isn't going to be easily spotted, though, and certainly nothing that would prevent you from actually making the garment.

Now, other matters. We had some news this weekend - a relative is in hospital, having had two heart attacks out of the blue. She is 48.

She had one episode on Friday, but didn't recognise it as anything needing urgent attention, and carried on with her day at work. Then she had another one, on Saturday morning. This time, her husband was there, and took her straight to A&E. In short order she was in the cardiac unit.

We associate heart attacks with crushing chest pain - in fact there was a poster campaign not so very long ago, which emphasised this. It turns out, however, that when a woman has a heart attack the symptoms can be very different.

My relative's initial symptoms did not include anything that she would describe as chest pain. Her left arm 'went numb' and 'felt strange'. This numbness spread up through her left shoulder and neck, along the left side of her jaw. After a little while she felt some discomfort which she thought might be slight indigestion. And her mouth went dry.

I'll say it again - she is 48.