Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wednesday evening

I've finished the two pairs of socks.

Here is Rogue Roses, pattern by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. This is the second pattern from the Blue Moon Sock Club this year. The yarn is Socks That Rock mediumweight, and I used 2.5mm needles as the pattern suggests. Medium size, by the way.

A charming pattern, and very entertaining to knit. The only thing I changed was the toe shaping - I prefer a more pointy toe, so I used my usual graduated wedge toe here - it fits with the pattern extremely well.

The colour here is called Gertrude Skein, which still amuses me. The only thing that saves it from sugary sweetness with all those peachy pinks is the green. The green is acid and sappy, just the sort of green that I like. Colour representation on my screen here isn't so good, but you get my drift. It is not a pastel green, it is a green with a bit of life to it.

Nice socks, very wearable - size medium is just very fractionally large for me in this pattern, but not enough to matter.

And here are the Opal Handpaints socks for my husband, which really aren't quite so radioactively bright as they appear in this somewhat blurry picture.

My usual pattern here, with a couple of minor modifications - I've changed the heel turn slightly, and the result is definitely neater. Also, I am now picking up along the heel flap with both loops of the slip stitch - I've decided that I prefer the way it looks, after all this time.

One thing that merits pointing out - I did experiment in these socks with SYTK instead of SSK, and I am here to tell you that SYTK works just beautifully. One to bear in mind for future use, definitely. If you haven't tried it yet, please do - I think you'll be impressed.

I do have a slight variation on this, which I personally find a bit easier to work - I can never leave things alone, it appears. Anyway I prefer my way, it is only very slightly different from the method to which I've linked, and I expect that I'll do a 'how to' at some point. However, that won't be just yet.

And on that rather inconclusive note, I am going to pause in my blogging for a while. Tomorrow I am off to the hospital in the afternoon, and I will admit that I am looking forward to the rest. As soon as they give me a bed, I can promise you that I will just lie down and go to sleep - I really am tired out.

With regard to knitting, a simple sock project is all that I am taking in with me. I have some Trekking XXL in shades of deep blues and greens, and this will be another pair of socks for my husband.

When I get home, which should be about a week from now, I've got several projects lined up. Also I can continue with the Mondo Cable top, which is very easy knitting, and Shawl That Jazz, which is not yet on the needles, mainly because I am currently undecided about needle size there - I keep seeing finished STJ's where people have used needles smaller than 5mm and wished they'd stayed with what the pattern suggests.

I still think I shall go with 4.5mm.

Or 5mm.

Definitely one or the other......

Anyway, back in a bit.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Saturday morning

Here's what's going on at the moment - yes, I am still knitting....

The Mondo Cable Shell has had a few more rounds completed. It is not looking its best here, remember that it is unblocked of course. However, here for your edification is the back of the right shoulder.

Just look how well that comes together. Yes, you can see my graft, I need to straighten out the stitches just a little bit. But this pattern is just so clever. It is all in the details....

.... like the armhole edging. So well thought out!

I have seen a really nice finished version in wool, made by the designer. I hope that mine looks even half as nice when it is finished.

Anyway, it is coming along very nicely now. The rest of the garment is plain beautiful stocking stitch in the round, knit all the way apart from the big cable down the centre front, and the increases at the sides. Easy peasy. Although I am thinking of doing something other than ribbing at the hem - still undecided on that, just for a change. (Irony there...)

What else - I have this morning picked up Rogue Roses again. The first sock is of course finished, and I'm working the heel flap on the second sock. I have five days left before I go into hospital, and I've decided that I really do want to get the current pairs of socks off the needles - this pair in particular. So that's what I'll be doing this weekend, when I'm able.

Truth to tell, the last few days have been so very stressful (continuing family crisis) that it's pretty hard focussing on anything at all, including knitting. Over the last three days I have accumulated a sleep debt of at least 12 hours - and there was a backlog before then as well. As and when/if things settle down a bit then catching up on sleep is going to be my priority. We aren't quite there yet, though....

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thursday evening

I've progressed a bit with the bamboo cabled top - I somehow can't keep calling it a shell, that word doesn't seem to equate to a summer top in my mind.

But it is only a little bit of progress, because things have been extremely busy. Today I've been at the hospital for a large part of the day. Yes, there was a fair amount of sitting around and waiting, but no chance to knit because there was an immensely long form to fill in. I think I practically wrote the history of my entire life on that form, it was so long.

There was also a large amount of walking around the hospital looking for various different departments, for various different tests. I don't know why hospitals are always so spread out - we did walk a long way. Mind you, if a larger proportion of the time had been spent walking in the right direction then we'd have got finished sooner.

The upshot of it all is that they want me to come in to hospital a day earlier. I don't mind this at all - no stressful drive to the hospital first thing on Friday morning through all the rush hour traffic, instead we'll have a leisurely wander across on Thursday afternoon. Much better.

I wonder if I'll get the cable top finished by then? No, that's definitely pushing it....

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wednesday afternoon

I have, of course, cast on for something new.

This unlikely-looking object is yesterday evening's progress on the Mondo Cable Shell. This pattern is from Bonne Marie at Chicknits, and it is extremely well written - concise and clear.

This is worked from the top down - so far I have completed the back as far as the bottom of the armhole shaping, and the left front to the same point. This evening I will hopefully get the right front finished, and join the whole thing up for working in the round. It is very interesting knitting and the finishing details are excellent - I very much like the way the slipped stitch edgings are worked. Extremely neat.

The yarn, by the way, is the Rowan Bamboo Tape salvaged from Kimono - the colour is called Wafer, the shade number escapes me at the moment. I don't think I'm going to have any problems with the armholes or neckline stretching beyond the bounds of decency, despite the lack of seams in this garment. This is because the edgings add structure - all very clever.

What else - nine days left. Tomorrow I have to go to the hospital for some tests, the letter tells me that I will be there for 'up to four hours'. This does sound somewhat intimidating - four hours? what on earth? - but my daughter, who is a medical student in London, tells me that it is extremely likely that three and a half hours of that will be spent in the waiting room.

So I'd better not forget the travel socks, then.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Here, against the odds, is Filey - finally finished this morning.

This is an Erika Knight pattern from Rowan 45. I made the second largest size, to fit chest 46" rather than our more usual choice to fit chest 48", because my husband prefers less ease in waistcoats. It's worked out just right.

The yarn is Summer Tweed, in 507 Rush - the colour is quite true in this picture, for a change - and I'm not sure how much yardage it took because this yarn was salvaged from a previous project, and I'm much too lazy to weigh the thing.

Buttons from Bedecked - these really are nice, and I can recommend the service there, as well. The website pictures are clear, with good descriptions, and the buttons arrived very promptly. These are lovely smooth wood (yes, real wood) with a beautiful grain and colour.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this, and my husband likes it too - which is what really matters.

A perfectly written pattern, and a very nice result.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Monday evening

Eleven days left - actually it is only ten if you don't count today, which is pretty much finished after all. Excellent.

I've finally finished knitting Filey, which has taken an incredibly long time considering it is only a waistcoat, albeit one for my husband. I started it on May 16th - yes, far too long. Now I need to block the pieces (= attack them with the steam iron) and do all the finishing. I know of old that this always takes longer than I think it should, so it is tempting fate to say that I'll have it done tomorrow, but you never know. Probably Wednesday is more realistic.

Swatching for Shawl That Jazz - I've discovered that I don't like the fabric with Lorna's Laces Swirl DK at the tension in the pattern, it is much too loose and loopy at 4spi. So I'm going down a needle size to 4.5mm, this produces a much better fabric. If I'm going to use this gorgeous yarn at all, I want it to produce a good result. So, 4.5mm needles. After all, I'm still going up two needle sizes from the 3.75mm recommended for the yarn.

The shawl will turn out smaller, of course, if I work at a closer tension, so I shall work a wider border. I should have plenty of yarn, at least.

Rogue Roses hasn't been touched at all, nor has the travel sock. Must get them done....

I have, however, liberated my long 2.5mm Addi Lace circ from the Druid mitten that has been lurking half finished for ages - I want to make myself some Firestarters, or possibly some 'brainless' socks at some not too far distant point in time, and magic loop looks like a good way to go.

Kimono is now frogged, and I've got my two different dyelots sorted out - that was interesting, I can tell you. Currently I am being very indecisive about which size to cast on for the Mondo Cable Shell. My tension with Bamboo Tape is 19 sts to 4" instead of the 18 sts for which the pattern is written, so I need to take that into account - I just need to have the courage of my convictions with regard to negative ease, and I'm not feeling very convinced about any of it just now. Should be nice to wear, though, when I get it finished. But I'm not starting it until Filey is all done.

Early night tonight, I believe. I've been completely deaf on one side for the last couple of days (ear infection, for some unknown reason) and I can't believe how disorientating this has been. Hopefully things will be getting back to normal tomorrow.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Two weeks

I've got exactly two weeks left now - goodness, that sounds unnecessarily final - maybe I should rephrase it. I have just two weeks to wait now. Yes, that sounds better.

Anyway. I find that I have several things that I really do want to get finished. Also, several things that I want to have established on the needles.

So - things I want to get finished....

Filey. This is still coming along slowly. As I've said before, Summer Tweed is not the yarn to use if you want a quick result. Too hard on the hands and wrists. I've now finished the first front and am partway up the second, which is going quicker because it has buttonholes. Landmarks are good for making things go faster - like stripes, I do believe.

The Rogue Roses socks. Currently I'm about three quarters of the way down the leg of the second sock. The problem with these is that I do need the chart, apparently the bit of my brain that memorises such things has given up trying for the time being. So, chart plus post-it notes required, which means it can't be stuffed into my handbag.....

The current travel socks. These do go quickly, when I pick them up. Opal Handpainted yarn is quite fun to knit with in that it really is extremely multicoloured, and also there is no pattern to follow - this one I really do know by heart. Although I have made a small but significant change to the heel turn, which I think I will continue with. Currently on the second sock, working the heel flap.

Things I want established on the needles -

Another travel sock. This will come into hospital with me.

Now, I am under no illusion as to the amount of knitting that I'll be doing post-surgery. (None at all, basically.) Maybe on day four or five I might be able to manage a bit, maybe not. However I will still be taking this with me - my most basic knitting - because I know of old that the waiting around on the day of the surgery can be more than slightly nerve racking. I can't cope with reading at such a time, and I've found before that some simple knitting is just the thing.

Some easy knitting for when I get home. Currently I'm trying to decide between the Jamila Shawl, in New Lanark Silk Tweed DK and Noro Silk Garden Lite (ugh - the word, not the yarn) and Shawl That Jazz, in some Lorna's Laces Swirl DK - and I keep changing my mind.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. The Jamila Shawl is pretty much mindless knitting - garter stitch, stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch - but rather a lot of stitches on the needle, more than three hundred. Also my background colour is extremely dark grey, pretty much black, and you do need to be in a certain frame of mind to cope with more than 300 stitches on the needle in black yarn.

Shawl That Jazz, on the other hand, is not black. It is in pretty colours. Also, it starts off with around 250 stitches and gets less - all of which are good. However it will require a certain amount of concentration as the whole thing is an exercise in short rows.

On balance, I think that pretty colours win, so it will be Shawl That Jazz. I do need to swatch, though. The pattern is written for Koigu Kersti, at 4spi on 5mm needles. This yarn usually likes to be worked up at 5 or 5.5 spi, using 3.75 or 4mm needles. I've got LL Swirl DK, which works up nicely at 5 spi on 3.75mm needles. I'm going to swatch with 4mm and 4.5mm and see what I think of the fabric.....

And really that's about it. I do want to get on with Cookie, I do want to frog and rework the Key West Pullover. But I think those can wait a bit.

Sunday, 7 June 2009


So, I've got two-and-a-bit weeks to go until I am immobilised. As I am an inveterate planner, I've been thinking about what I want to do before that point, and during the four weeks when I'm not allowed out of the house once I get home again - and I've decided that I want to deal with some of my hibernating projects, things that have been on the needles far too long.

First, Kimono. I've completely fallen out of love with this, and it is going to be frogged. I hope to use the yarn to make myself a Mondo Cable Shell. Bonne Marie has just revised this pattern completely, and it is now worked top down so I don't have to make my mind up too soon about what length I'd like - and I may well make it wider and more drapy, like Mine.

I shall have to watch the stretchiness of this pattern - there are no seams to add structure, and Bamboo Tape is heavy, so I may need to do something to keep the neckline and armholes from stretching beyond the realms of wearableness (= decency). Single crochet around the inside should work nicely.

Next, Dauphine. This also needs to be frogged, but for a different reason - I am going to rework it in a smaller size. So pretty, these colours - not my usual choice at all, but I was very much enjoying working with them last summer and I hope I'll soon be enjoying wearing them.

Now, Cookie. Basically I just need to get on with it. The only issue concerns the buttons - the pattern is written with a double breasted shape, and just two buttons which I fear may be rather unfortunately placed for me. The project gallery on Rav shows no finished garments - I know, there is one shown in addition to my unfinished version, but it is definitely the wrong pattern - so I've got nothing to go on here but instinct, or perhaps common sense.

So, to avoid the comedy/embarrassment factor (?!) it shall be buttonless. I have a kilt pin, and I shall use it!

Last but not least, my lovely lovely Key West Pullover. This was, not to put too fine a point on it, driving me nuts. I was working it with my Denise Interchangeables and 12mm points if memory serves me - and moving the stitches (stretchy tape yarn here, remember) back onto these rather large working points from the cable was becoming very tedious indeed. So I lost interest, rather.

I now have some Harmony straights which include a 12mm set - so I will be using these instead. Also, I think I may want to make a different size - larger, for more drape.... Anyway, to be frogged and reworked.

So that's three things to be frogged, and one to get on with. Plus Filey, of course. I've finished the back now, and I'm working on the Right Front.

Other than that, I have Mulgrave, Sandsend, and Avignon waiting in the wings. Plus the Jamila Shawl and also Shawl That Jazz, if I feel that garter stitch is all I can cope with.

Oh, and there are some socks around too.....

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Things are pottering along quite nicely at the moment. Knitting is continuing, specifically Filey - although that really is going slowly because Summer Tweed is hard on my hands and wrists. I forgive it, though, because of the lovely colour and texture of the fabric.

Here's the current state of progress.

Reverse stocking stitch, relieved only by the ribbed edgings and centre panel. Eventually it will look like this.....

Except my version is pale olive green, of course. I have the shaped fronts still to look forward to.

Other than that there has been remarkably little going on. I still haven't cast on for the second Rogue Roses sock - indeed I still haven't finished off the ends on the first one. But it is a charming pattern.

Here is the first one just before I grafted the toe - which I had altered. The pattern is written for a wedge toe with decreases first every other round, then every round, and finally something like 10 sts from the top grafted to 10 from the sole. I know of old that just doesn't fit my foot, I much prefer a graduated wedge with a more pointy toe grafted 4 on 4 side to side, and that's what I've done here. It works very well with the pattern actually.

Last week, once things were stable, my husband put his foot down and said that enough was enough and I had to take a break. So we took the boat out for just a couple of days. He was right, of course, it really did help. It's hard to hold on to tension when you've got things like this outside your window -

- let alone this.

Yes, that boat is called Titanic. It is very very small, needless to say.

The section of the Kennet & Avon between the Avoncliff Aqueduct and the Dundas Aqueduct is the most beautiful along the whole waterway, I think. Such peace....

It was only a short break, but very restful. I slept a lot - I seem to have accumulated a sleep debt that is going to take a while to deal with, and I'm still not caught up.

My big op is getting closer and closer - it's less than four weeks away now - and I really do need to be as fit and well as I can manage, when it happens. But I've got time for that yet.

I know I've been a bit mysterious about exactly what the op is about. Over the years I've had a lot of gynae work done, because unfortunately things kept going wrong and needing to be put right. With the last op, something like ten years ago now, I had thought - well, actually I'd been told - that it was all sorted out and done with, and there could be no more problems. Except that over recent months it has all gone horribly wrong, worse than it has ever been before, and then some.

My consultant said initially that he couldn't do anything to help, that any further surgery would only make things worse, and that I needed to start coming to terms with that. Not a good thought, to tell the truth.

However, he also said that he'd like to get another opinion from an Australian surgeon who was visiting the UK. I agreed, of course. And this surgeon says that he can help me. He's in Europe this month, and he will fly over to the UK to do the surgery together with my consultant. This particular op hasn't been done in the UK before, and it has been impressed upon me that it is a big deal, and that I need to be extremely careful to rest properly afterwards - and afterwards I must never again lift anything heavier than 10kg. I can live with that. I'm just so grateful that things can be put right.

In the mean time, I continue to knit, and plan more knitting. Always pleasant.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Monday morning

It seems much longer than two weeks since I posted, because so much has been happening, and indeed it has been a very difficult fortnight.

I've been privileged to see the NHS doing what it does so well - save someone's life. At this stage, things have settled down somewhat, and we are starting to move back to normality.

There has been very little knitting, not surprisingly. I've finished one of the Rogue Roses socks - fun to knit, definitely - and also one of the Opal Handpaints socks. Filey is just at the armhole shaping of the back - yes, slow progress indeed......