Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tuesday afternoon

I've finished my Rainbow Baktus.

Here it is looking slightly windswept on my fence this morning. Once again I am quite unreasonably pleased with this simple little thing. It is very easy to wear - I think this is possibly its main attraction - and the colours, as always with Noro, are pleasing. Bright, yes definitely! - but pleasing.

This was most of one skein of Noro Kureyon sock yarn - most of a skein rather than the whole thing because I was experimenting with different ways of working a picot cast-on for the beginning of a sock, found a knot in the yarn with a complete break in the colour sequence, and got fed up, and threw away the odd section at the beginning. The colourway is S92 and I used 3mm needles.

I could show you Filey, which is coming along, albeit slowly as my hands don't like working with Summer Tweed for too long. I haven't got up to the armholes yet, and really it looks the same as it did in the last post except a bit bigger. I shall have to sort out some buttons for this, fairly soon. I did look up the ones that Rowan used in the magazine, they are from Bedecked these days, and I was somewhat horrified at the price. Lovely, yes, but I don't want to pay that much. And the colour would not work, anyway.

They do have some interesting buttons on that website, though. I want something with a naturalistic feel, I think. The rough sawn horn button looks really good..... but ouch, that's just as expensive as the original buttons. So that's out. As is the round horn button, for the same reason. The smooth wood button looks more hopeful, and that's a better price too.

I have also cast on for something new.

Here is the beginning of Rogue Roses. This is the latest from the Blue Moon Sock Club 09. The yarn is Socks That Rock mediumweight in a colour called Gertrude Skein, and that amuses me enormously. (Gertrude Stein - A rose is a rose is a rose - you know....) Anyway, this is an extremely pretty pattern (from Stephanie Pearl McPhee) and it is interesting knitting. It took me a couple of attempts to get the rosebuds working nicely, but I think I've cracked it now. 'Backwards knitting' is involved in my method, albeit briefly.

And on the subject of backwards knitting - aka mirror knitting - there is a certain Rowan Consultant who is probably the fastest knitter I've ever seen. When she's working stocking stitch, she doesn't turn her work and purl back - instead she 'knits backwards,' with the stitches being worked from the right hand needle to the left hand needle. Knitting backwards, for her, is faster than purling. And of course, no time spent turning the work and rearranging things to begin the new row.

For me, knitting backwards isn't quite as fast as purling, nor quite as intuitive - but one of these days I shall take my courage in both hands (hah) and work an entire garment this way. Logically, it ought to be faster and easier, once I'm properly used to it. I think.

But that's not today.....

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Yesterday I cast on for Filey - an Erika Knight pattern from Rowan 45.

It is a while since I've worked with Rowan Summer Tweed, but I well remember how hard it is on the hands. This is slow going, but at least I can alternate with my Noro Baktus, which is easy knitting indeed.

This colour is 507 Rush, a soft pale green. I believe that I've got the equivalent of 10 skeins, salvaged from several years ago when I made myself Anemone from Rowan 31, and didn't like it at all. There is no way in the world that I can remember how much I bought originally, but I weighed my bag of assorted small balls of yarn, and that's how I arrived at 10 skeins.

I do seem to be going through it awfully fast, though. I ought to weigh the remaining yarn when I get to the armhole shaping, hopefully that will provide some reassurance.

My row gauge is off again - or at least it was at the beginning. I believe that it is settling down now. I read something about this recently - I believe it was from Sally Melville in her recent book Mother and Daughter Knits. That's an extremely good book, by the way. Anyway, Sally was commenting on the way that gauge swatches tell terrible fibs, and mentioned that gauge will usually be off for about the first 20 rows and then will settle down. This is certainly borne out by my recent knitting.

I finally got around to taking pictures of the aran silk that I'm destashing.

I've got 750 grams of this pale apricot stuff, which ought to be something like 1350 metres. I believe the colour was originally called Biscuit, but I don't think it looks very biscuit-like at all. Anyway, £15 plus postage.

And I've got 4 skeins of this pretty stuff, total weight 385 grams. The colourway was called Rockpool. Again, £15 plus postage.

Finally, I still have two skeins of ivory silk laceweight, total weight 320 grams. £10 plus postage.

My destash page is here. If you're interested in any of it, please either email me (address top right on this page) or message me through Ravelry.

And now I think I shall take Lucy for a bit of a walk, as the rain seems to have stopped. It was so stormy yesterday that I took pity on the pepper and tomato plants and brought them indoors, they were looking distinctly weatherbeaten. Today they are back outside again - and so shall I be in a minute.....

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Here is sweater number seven this year.

This is Navigator, from Rowan 29. The pattern is by Kim Hargreaves, and is written for a wide range of sizes. I made the women's size M, and used 11 balls of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in 228 Smoke - the pattern suggests 12.

I added just a bit to the length, and worked the men's neckline shape instead of the wide boat neckline of the women's version. The neckline was worked in the round, to avoid a seam.

This is an excellent throw- on basic, and I might well make another one - this length works well with both skirts and trousers, and I like the decorative double decreases that KH uses for the shaping throughout. ASC is one of my favourite yarns, too.

So that's all good.

Here are the current travel socks, looking even more lurid than in real life.

They aren't quite as bright as that really, I promise, although they are still quite loud. The yarn is one of the Opal Handpaints. My husband likes this, which is the point of the whole exercise of course, so that's good.

And here is the current state of the Rainbow Baktus.

Noro Kureyon Sock yarn here. I cannot remember the colourway - I have left the ballband in my knitting bag downstairs and am too lazy to go and get it right now. It is not actually a whole ball of yarn as there was a certain amount of messing around with different cast-ons for a sock, a while back - and then I got fed up with it and decided that another Baktus would be more fun. And it is.

So that's good too.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


The last week has flown past. I haven't been knitting very much, because once again - very tediously - I haven't been very well. However the NHS has come up with some nice strong antibiotics and some nice strong pain pills, and I'm beginning to feel human again.

I am counting the days until my surgery. (43) I am the world's biggest coward when it comes to anything like this - anaesthetics scare me silly - but really I am so fed up with all these various unpleasantnesses (sp?) that I just want it sorted, thankyou very much. Yesterday, if possible. Which it isn't, of course, but 43 days is not really so long to wait.

So. Knitting. My grey Navigator is nearly completed. I am working on the finishing at the moment, I have to finish setting in the second sleeve and then work the second side and sleeve seam - then it will be done. I may change the neckline, it seems as if it may be a little higher than I had in mind, but I need to block the whole thing properly and then try it on. No decisions until then, it may turn out to be just right.

The travel sock in Opal Handpaints (which still hasn't been photographed, I realise) is now past the heel turn of the first sock. It is a very bright fabric and my husband approves. He does like bright colours - and I like my neutrals most of the time, which I suppose is a good thing otherwise we could be somewhat blinding in combination.....

The Rainbow Baktus in Noro Kureyon sock yarn is also progressing slowly. Again, I must post a photo. It is rather pretty.

Once I finish the Grey Navigator, I shall start Filey for my husband. And I have been thinking about picking up Cookie again - it has been languishing in my other knitting bag since last summer.

Slug news - the nematodes seem to have done their work quite incredibly well. I can recommend them. Our garden is now a slug-free zone, which is excellent - we literally cannot find a single slug.

The tomatoes and peppers are still being hardened off outside at the moment (currently it is raining, so I don't need to water them, hooray) and so far have not been munched by anything at all, including Lucy.

I shall be destashing yet more silk when I can get round to taking some photos - I have enough Hipknits Aran Silk for a Clapotis in each of two different colours, four skeins of classic biscuit colour, and four skeins of variegated soft blues and greens that was called Rockpool. And I've still got two lots of silk laceweight left, Ivory and Wildflowers. Make me an offer...?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


I am de-stashing some cashmere sock yarn and some more silk laceweight. You can see them on Ravelry here.

Let me know if you're interested at all!

A good weekend

It has been a long weekend here in the UK. Monday was a Bank Holiday, ostensibly for May Day. The weather has been very spring-like, with the cuckoo shouting his head off, as he does in May, and really it's been lovely.

I have potted on the tomatoes and peppers that I am trying to grow this year, so far they seem to be doing quite well. I am no gardener, but I must admit I have quite enjoyed growing these from seed. However it remains to be seen whether we'll actually end up with any tomatoes or peppers to eat. At the moment it still seems rather unbelievable, but if it works out at all, then I think this may become something I will keep doing. In fact I've already started thinking about the possibility of courgettes for next year.

The nematodes turned up on Friday and I watered them in on Sunday afternoon. They arrive in a little vacuum pack which has to stay in the fridge until you use them, they just look like a fine moist beige dust. Apparently it takes one week after application for the garden to be protected from slugs, so we'll see. The tomatoes may be ready to be planted outside in another ten days or two weeks, so the timing is good.

I've been pottering along with Navigator, and I'm past the armhole shaping on the back now.

That's it on the right.

Although mine isn't actually going to look like that at all, firstly it is in a solid colour as you can see, and secondly I am going to change the neckline because that version looks rather too wide for me. If you look at the page for this pattern on Ravelry you can see how the neckline looks on the men's version, and I'm going to work a modified version of this. I've worked an extra inch on the length, as well.

I've been thinking about what's coming next, and I think that Thrift (from Rowan 27) is probably going to happen quite soon. Trek from Rowan 17 is also a likelihood - I bought some Rowan California Cotton for this at the time, and I'd like to work with this. No Rav links for either of those patterns yet, I'll add the patterns to Ravelry soon. So, that's two more cotton pullovers, one with some colourwork and one with texture.

Now, wool. Sally Melville's Grey Cardigan is another thing that I'd love to have on the needles soon - cables, you see, I definitely feel the need for some cables! - as is her Mother of the Bride Cardigan - which should be rather spectacular, with all that lace. So, another two interesting projects.

I've decided that the Rowan Tapestry originally intended for Sorrel would get much more wear as Rye - this is a nice semi-fitted cardigan in fisherman's rib by Marie Wallin. Tapestry really is not next-to-the-skin soft, at least not for me. Anyway, an outerwear cardigan will work. And the Coup d'Etat Cardigan is calling me as well, I'm sure there is something in the stash that will do nicely for that.

Plus I want to make Filey for my husband, and Mulgrave for myself.

I could possibly be a bit overcommitted here......

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Here is sweater number six this year.

This is the Lacy Raglan Top from Rowan's All Seasons at the Mill. The yarn is All Seasons Cotton in 234 Cement, a cool grey. I made size M, to fit bust 36 - 38 (yes! negative ease!) and I needed 7 balls of yarn. The pattern says 6 for this size.

No modifications at all. I had some problems with my gauge to start with, but this settled down and it ended up spot on, which was a great relief.

This is the second time I've knitted this pattern. My first Lacy Raglan was size L, and although I can still wear it, there is excess fabric at the sides of the body. So, very daringly, I made size M this time and it works really well.

This is one of those little tops that looks like nothing on the hanger, but is really flattering to wear. It isn't an item that goes well with jeans, but it looks excellent with a skirt or my Japanese trousers.

Once again, I am very pleased with the raglan detail. This does need care in the finishing, but I very much like the result. Will I make it again? No specific plans, but it isn't impossible at all. This is an excellent pattern.

Yesterday I cast on for sweater number 7, which was to be Ravenscar. And frogged. (Sorry, Saffron!) I kept coming back to the gallery of finished Ravenscars on Ravelry, and I kept seeing garments which although nicely made, just didn't seem to quite do justice to their wearers. All fine and good, just not especially flattering. There was one that worked outstandingly well, but looking at the project details revealed that there had been a lot of modifications.

So I thought, and I knitted, and I thought some more, and then I frogged.

This morning I cast on for Honey. This is from Kim Hargreave's book Nectar. I was loving the cables, and the texture - very entertaining knitting. But, but, but....... I wasn't sure. Would I ever wear it? Because if it doesn't work, if it won't get worn, then it isn't something I want to spend my time making. Process is all very well, but the success of the product is paramount for me.

My husband had no doubts at all. He was positive that it wouldn't suit me, and I do value his opinion.

I looked through the Ravelry gallery again with a critical eye. Lots of beautifully made garments, but very few that flattered the wearer. Again, there was one that was absolutely gorgeous. But I am not size XS. I am rather larger than that, and with substantially more curves. And looking at the picture on Kim's website, it seemed to me that the back looked, well, just a bit bulky - the combination of aran weight yarn and heavy cables in a fitted jacket...... Realistically, something like this would work better for me in a lighter weight yarn. So, reluctantly, I frogged yet again.

I have cast on now for a third time. I am making an old Kim Hargreaves design from Rowan 29, Navigator. This pattern comes in multiple sizes - there is a children's version, a women's version, and a men's version. I am making the women's size M, and I might add an inch or so to the length, so that I can wear it comfortably with jeans.

If I am being truthful, I am much more likely to wear this sweater than either Ravenscar or Honey - simple lines with minimal fuss, very much my style.

But I do regret those lovely cables, I was enjoying that.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Friday morning

We've been off on the boat, and very nice it was too. Herons, swans, baby ducks. The may just coming into blossom, periwinkles, campion and celandines along the towpath.... positively idyllic. And the sun shone too, although the wind was cold.

I did get some knitting done. In fact I've finished all the pieces of the Lacy Raglan. Now I need to seam the raglans and work the neckline, which always takes longer than seems reasonable, when you think of the amount of actual knitting involved. But I do like to get a good finish, it makes all the difference. Oh, and I needed an extra ball of yarn. The pattern says 6 for size M, fortunately I did have 7 available. Don't know what it is with me and All Seasons Cotton, this has happened before.....

So, I'll get that done today, and hopefully some pictures fairly soon.

After that I plan to cast on for Ravenscar. Saffron finished one of these recently and wasn't entirely happy with it, but I am still going ahead with mine. (Saffron takes beautiful pictures, by the way - unlike me!)

Anyway, I shall be going carefully with this one, and thanks to Saffron I shall be paying particular attention to the length and to the buttonhole placement.

After that, I plan to cast on for Georgie. I've had this queued since I first saw Breeze, and seeing Saffron's version in progress has inspired me to actually get on with it. Or perhaps I should say , think about getting on with it ......

Lacy Raglan first though. More in due course.