Thursday, 29 October 2009

Thursday evening

I finished the Cashmere Dean Street Hat yesterday, and I really am very pleased with it.

I had plenty of yarn. I used three and a bit skeins of RYC Cashmere Tweed. If I hadn't added half an inch to the length -necessary because of my large head and because I like hats to cover my ears - then three skeins would have done it.

The fit is perfect, and I think that I have here the ultimate non-itchy hat. Very warm and light, too, of course.

Also, I took out the picot cast-off on the Cashmere Fetchings, and worked an ordinary bind off. The fit is much improved, and I am completely happy with these now.

They go nicely with the Dean Street Hat, too.

Back to Kaari, now.

Lucy is doing better. We had a very worrying 24 hours - she was really rather ill. It turned out that the pancreatitis had come back again, and she had a nasty chest infection as well.

Monday night was not good. We sat up with her overnight because her breathing was so difficult, and at several points we thought she had gone - but by the morning she was considerably brighter, and during Tuesday she continued to improve. Today her appetite is completely back to normal and she isn't coughing at all. Thank goodness for antibiotics.

And I am coming to terms with the fact that I will have to have more surgery. This is definite. I don't yet know when it will be - soon, I hope! - and it is also not clear yet exactly how much will need to be done. There is a test coming up which ought to clarify this, but I haven't got a date for that yet, either.

In the meantime, I'm glad I've got my knitting.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Monday morning

Yesterday I felt the need for something different, something that could be finished quickly. And here is the result - Cashmere Fetchings.

The pattern, of course, is Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath. I made these in a single day - they really are an extremely quick knit - and I used less than one ball of RYC Cashmere Tweed, now sadly discontinued. This is the same yarn that I used for Susie earlier in the year - I had some leftovers.

I've still got a bit more of this yarn, so I've now cast on for the Dean Street Hat in size L (fits 18" - 24") because my head measures 23 1/2". At the moment I'm wondering if it is going to end up being too loose - this is lovely yarn but it doesn't have a whole lot of fibre memory. When I've got a bit more fabric on the needles I'll try it on and see what it's like for fit.

We are off to the vet with Lucy this morning, she's been off her food for a few days and this morning she is coughing and is very subdued, poor little thing. So we'll see what the vet can do to help her.

Sunday, 25 October 2009


I have finally finished sweater number twelve this year - so that's NaKniSweMoDo finished for 2009 as well.

Here is my Lavender & Lichen sweater. This is made from just 4 skeins of Peace Fleece DK, in a hand-dyed colourway that was available a few years back, called Lavender & Lichen.

The pattern is basically Josie's Crewneck, again from Peace Fleece, but with a fair number of modifications. I made the sleeves narrower and also a bit shorter, because I don't like sleeves that come down over my hands. I also added extra length to the body - this involved picking up stitches all the way round, snipping and unpicking the row below to detach the ribbing, and then working down. The lower edges were all finished with 2x2 ribbing followed by a round of purl, and then a sewn cast-off. This gives a nice rounded edge in reverse stocking stitch.

The four skeins were all rather different in terms of colour distribution - I didn't worry about this, but just let the randomness do what it would.

The end result is a warm light pullover that will be very useful through autumn and winter.

I do like the colours. Normally anything remotely pink would never make it onto my needles, but this somehow works rather well.

I also finished the travel socks in Lang Megaboots Stretch - now christened the Boring Socks, because they were, rather.

The finished result is a nice straightforward pair of socks for my husband, but I won't be buying this yarn again. It is rather softer than I like for a sock yarn - I prefer a yarn with a bit more twist.

The colours are pretty, though.

Next onto the needles - another pair of travel socks in yet more Lang Megaboots Stretch, in shades of grey. These are definitely the Even More Boring Socks. No picture yet....

And I have cast on for Kaari. I am using Patons Jet for this, in black. I did swatch, because the pattern gauge is not the same as the manufacturer's recommended gauge for this yarn. So I'm using smaller needles than recommended for this yarn, in order to get the pattern gauge. I'm entirely happy with the fabric, so that's ok.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Wednesday evening

It's been an interesting week.

Last time I was writing, we were partway through rearranging the first floor of the house. Well, the next day we heard from some friends, who were in this part of the country and wanted to drop in and see us at the weekend - and stay for a couple of nights.

Cue mad rush to get the rearranging finished.

We did manage it, and the two rooms now both work really well, and also look really good, we think. I've got more room for my spinning, the stash is better organised, and my husband has more room for his painting. The spare room is better, too - it is still a good sized double room, but it is cosier. It is also quieter - no trains immediately outside the window, as there are at the back of the house.

So, a couple of extremely busy days there, and then a lovely weekend with our friends. We took them out on the boat on Sunday - it was so cold! - and we moored up near a nice pub for lunch. They were interested to explore the Tithe Barn after lunch, and then we turned the boat and made our way back to the marina at the end of the afternoon.

I have done a little knitting, but truly only a little.

The Lang Megaboots socks are finished, but unphotographed. And the Lavender & Lichen pullover is nearly finished as well - maybe. I am just about to complete the last sleeve, but I think I want to add a bit more length to the body, so I'm probably going to pick up stitches all the way around, snip a row and unpick, then knit down for another couple of inches before reworking the ribbing. Or I could graft it back on again, that might be quicker, and it would certainly avoid the lengthy sewn castoff that would otherwise be needed.

But I have been spinning. I am just finishing the last of the chestnut alpaca - I think I've finally got the hang of this stuff.

When I started working on it, I had all sorts of trouble. Alpaca isn't like wool - it has no crimp at all, and it is slippery - I did take a little while to get used to it.

Anyway, I've finished one skein of nice 3 ply yarn which has turned out about worsted weight, and I will get a second skein plied up tomorrow - that's chain plying, by the way, because I didn't divide it up before I started. This way, all the singles get used up, and I like that. I still have to finish both skeins with a bit of a wash, and then I will see how much they soften up - I'm already quite pleased with them, actually. I've heard that alpaca can turn out like wire if you aren't careful, so I was trying very hard to add only as much twist as was needed to hold the singles together, and the plied yarn has turned out nice and squooshy.

I still like the idea of finishing something from each category of my queue, for next year. However it does cross my mind that I ought to give some attention to things that are hibernating...... there are several things that have been on the needles for ages.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Tuesday morning

We have been busy. I am definitely feeling better, and with the return of energy comes the return of activity. So we've been getting on with a project that we've had in mind for a while, and this means that at the moment the middle floor of our house is in a state of chaos. So no pictures today, because currently I can't find the camera.

To clarify - since we moved into this house two years ago, we've been using the two first floor rooms as a spare room and as a sort of workroom/studio. We thought that it would be nice to have the spare room at the back of the house so that guests could enjoy the lovely view, and the studio at the front of the house, because, you know, we could manage in the smaller room perfectly well.

Except that we didn't, not really. It was just a bit too cramped in there, and it didn't work as well as it should have. My yarn takes up quite a lot of space. (Ahem.) And there is my wheel, and the chair that goes with it, and my floor standing embroidery frame. Plus a nice big sofa for sitting and knitting. Plus the desk. So, not a huge amount of room for my husband's easel.

Also, we've had guests comment on the noise from the trains waking them in the night. We're used to it and we really don't hear them, but it can be a problem for other people.

So we are changing around the function of the two rooms. The spare room is going to be at the front of the house - no pretty view, but significantly quieter. The workroom/studio is going to be the bigger (and noisier) room at the back of the house.

We've started moving the furniture already. I say 'we', but in truth my input is mostly comprised of offering helpful (?) advice from the sidelines, saying 'left a bit' and 'right a bit' as needed, and watching that various corners of things don't take chunks out of the walls.

Hence the chaos.

Anyway, whilst I try to remember where I've put things amidst all this, I have also been thinking about what I'd like to knit between now and the end of the year.

Previous attempts at lists like this have not been very useful, because I am bad at keeping them within the bounds of reason. This time, however, I hope that it will be different.

I want to make Kaari. I have some nice Patons Jet in black which should work well, and this will be a good warm pullover for the cold weather that is coming.

I also want to make Hudson, because it seems like ages since I made anything with cables. I've already been swatching for this with some New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed in dark graphite, and it makes an excellent fabric.

And I want to make something with Noro. Either Earnshaw, with Kochoran in shades of neutral browns and creams, or else the interestingly named Y680 cardigan, which you can see here. Yes, intarsia.

This year's NaKniSweMoDo is nearly finished. My Lavender & Lichen pullover will be number 12 for me - I'm halfway down the first sleeve at the moment, by the way. There is some discussion on Ravelry at the moment about whether a similar group will be run next year, but even if there is, I don't think I will necessarily be joining.

I like knitting sweaters, but I don't think I want a target like that again. What I do have in mind, though, is something connected with my Ravelry queue. It isn't an enormous queue at all, compared with many - 180 items at the moment, or thereabouts - but it is real. I don't usually put things in my queue unless I seriously intend to make them. I've had excellent fun organising it - undoubtedly this gives me some illusion of control over the thing, but let's not go there....

What I have in mind is to finish at least one project from each of my queue categories. Currently I have 17 categories: accessories; crochet; things for the house; Marianne Isager designs; jackets, Kaffe Fassett designs; light cardigans; light pullovers; scarves; short sleeved tops; sleeveless tops; socks; Alice Starmore designs; vests and waistcoats; wool cardigans; wool pullovers; and finally wraps and shawls.

I quite like this idea. I do wonder, however, if my queue would actually end up being any shorter at the end of the year.....

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Hello world

I think it is high time that I came out from under my rock and talked a bit about knitting.

Here, finally, is Flow. This is garment number 11 for NaKniSweMoDo.

This is a good example of a garment that is lovely when worn, but looks like absolutely nothing on the hanger. It works, believe me. I think this is the nicest sleeveless top I've ever made.

The pattern is of course from Norah Gaughan, and you'll find it in Berroco's Norah Gaughan Vol 2. I used Rowan's Bamboo Tape in Storm, which is grey as you can see, and I used 11 balls of yarn.

I changed one thing with this pattern, and it makes a big difference especially if, like me, you have chosen to work with negative ease. In my case, this is so that the shoulder width comes out right and the straps don't fall off my shoulders. I added three inches of length, after the shaping for the flare was finished.

I am extremely pleased with this top. It is bra-friendly - so important! - and it drapes beautifully. The flare seems to me to be just right. It is enough to camouflage bits of me that are a bit on the bulgy side, and it gives the impression that I even have a real waist. Or maybe I'm kidding myself.

Anyway, I plan to make another in the same yarn, this time in black.

The Peace Fleece pullover is coming along nicely.

The fabric is really pretty, and I do love working with wool as nice as this - this is Peace Fleece DK in a hand-dyed colourway which was called Lavender & Lichen. I don't know what happened to Peace Fleece hand-dyes - they used to do them every year, and this year there haven't been any new ones.

Anyway, the body is finished. I've joined the shoulders with a three needle cast-off, and the neck has been worked in the round. I've changed it slightly - the pattern wants me to work an inch of 2x2 ribbing, but I've decided to have just five rounds of 2x2 rib and then I've worked a bit of stocking stitch, so that there is a rolled edge.

I've decided to work the sleeves by picking up around the armhole and working down - the pattern wants me to work them flat, and then seam them in place. Me, I'm lazy.

I know I say it with every single garment that I made - but I do hope I'm going to have enough yarn.....

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sunday evening

Still here, I think.

I've been just a bit under the weather on and off over the last few days, and am currently at a stage where I feel ok if I rest in bed, but increasingly awful again if I get up and try to do anything. The dreaded words 'remedial surgery' were mentioned at the hospital yesterday evening, in connection with the words 'if this doesn't settle.......' Needless to say, I am not too keen on that particular idea - I've had quite enough of that recently - and would much prefer it if everything just got better by itself. So I am resting. Hooray for appropriate pain relief.

Flow is absolutely lovely, but unphotographed still. The negative ease at the bust is just right, the length is good, the drape is good, and it fits neatly at the shoulders - effortlessly bra-friendly, which makes such a difference. I will get to it, I promise. And I can see myself making another one, in black. The only change that I would make is a very minor one - instead of seaming the shoulder straps, I would choose to work a three needle cast-off instead. Less bulky.

I am almost at the armholes of the Lavender/Lichen pullover, which I have decided I like a whole lot better in its new, smaller incarnation. The colours are not pooling so much, they are nicely mixed. So it isn't the Purple Splodge any more.

Other than that, I've swatched for Hudson with some New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed DK. Very nice, very nice indeed.....