Friday, 5 February 2016

More Banging Out A Sweater

Progress has been steady on my Stopover sweater.

As I said, each morning, I've taken a photo of my progress from the day before.

Yesterday morning, I took this photo of where I'd got up to by the time I went to bed on Wednesday:

Progress up until bedtime yesterday was this:

As you can see, not a huge amount of progress was made yesterday, mostly because I've got a bit of a cold at the moment and I developed a headache which was sinus-related.

I've been knitting on it again this morning and the body's now long enough to stop and I've started the first sleeve.

Exciting times!

Joining in with a knitalong is quite fun, seeing other knitters' colour combinations, modifications and hints and tips.  A few people have already finished their sweaters (I'm not sure if they've slept since the knitalong started on Monday), some people are still waiting for their yarn to arrive and a few decided they didn't like what they were making (mostly for reasons of size, I think), so have frogged their sweaters and started anew.

I'm off now for some sleeve-knitting before I take Jess for a walk and the girls get home from school.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Banging out a Sweater

Hi there.

I know, it's been months and months.  I got out of the habit of blogging and Life took over somewhat in 2015 and then, every time I thought I should write something, I either didn't have much to write about, or something cropped up and, well, the longer it got, the harder I found it to start up again.

But, a new project has spurred me on to start blogging again.

I *could* blame those Mason-Dixon ladies for leading me down the path of temptation, but that wouldn't be fair as it's really just my weak will that's led to this.

This is the Stopover sweater by Mary Jane Mucklestone.

About ten days ago I read this post on the Mason-Dixon website about a knitalong for an Icelandic Lopapeysa-style sweater.  I'd been thinking about knitting such a sweater for a while and this seemed like a nice pattern, and joining in a knitalong is always fun.  So, out of the window went my resolution of Not Buying Yarn and I placed an order at Deramores (and found a 15% discount code in the copy of Let's Knit I'd bought).  My yarn arrived at the end of last week and I knitted a swatch on Saturday.  As I've been knitting something else, I concentrated on that during Sunday and Monday to get to a place where I could put it aside for a while and I cast on yesterday and knitted quite a lot, around household chores.  I decided that each morning, before I started knitting again, I'd take a photo, so this is where I'd got to when I went to bed yesterday evening.

I've had to do a bit of maths as I decided to knit a bigger size at a smaller tension/gauge than the pattern stated.  I've also added an extra couple of inches to the bottom before starting the waist shaping (my first round today was the first decrease) as I prefer my sweaters a bit longer than the original (don't like things that ride up above the waistband of my jeans when I bend over).

I'm hoping that before too long I'll have a nice, cosy sweater to wear.

I'll be back tomorrow with a progress update.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Two WIPs and an FO

First the finished item.  My latest woven scarf.  I bought a 100g ball of James C Brett Marble DK in a shade that looked jewel-like online.  However, once it arrived in the post, it was a bit disappointing.  Yes, the jewel tones are there, but the predominant colour is dark brown.  It's not that I have anything against the colour brown, but it's not a colour I wear a great deal and, well, I expected the yarn to be brighter; that's all.

I started off by warping my loom with some plain, grass-green yarn and wove a couple of inches of the scarf before I decided that the green warp wasn't working.  So, I chopped it off and decided to make a slightly narrower scarf and use the Marble DK for the warp and the weft and off I went.  It didn't take long to finish the scarf.  I think I warped the green yarn one afternoon/evening, started again the following morning and finished the scarf the evening of the third day.

This is another scarf that's going into our knitting group's box of items to be donated to various causes.

Now to the WIPs.

I've cast on my first pair of socks this year.  A simple, plain stocking stitch pair of socks in a bright colour from The Knitting Goddess (I think - I've lost the yarn label).

These are a "pick up as and when" project.  A few rounds while I'm waiting in the car to collect one of the girls, a few rounds while waiting for the washing machine to finish its cycle.

The main thing I'm knitting at the moment is a new sweater.  The pattern is Bedford by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed.  I'm a big fan of their patterns as they're always well written and well laid-out.  I'm using some handspun yarn:

I think I'll talk in more detail about the sweater in another post as otherwise this one will go on and on (and it's nearly time to get DD1 moving so she can get where she needs to be this afternoon).

I hope you all have a good Easter :)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

2015 - the Year of the Scarf perhaps?

It's not as though I planned it, but this year seems to be shaping up to be a Scarf Year.  First off, I finished the simple, crocheted orangey-red scarf from James C Brett Marble DK (a very nice, soft acrylic yarn).

Then, hubby asked me if I'd knit him a scarf.  A bit of deliberation looking at patterns, some frustration when he was looking online at the sort of thing he wanted until I more or less told him that if he wanted me to knit him a scarf, it would be a Double Bump scarf as that was the closest pattern I could think of that would match his requirement of "not plain" (but he didn't want cables).  Discussion then followed because when I showed him the scarf on Ravelry he declared it "not wide enough" so I had to patiently explain that I would just cast on more stitches and "yes, before you say anything, that will work - trust me"!  He decided he wanted burgundy.  And he wanted something that "wasn't thin", so I went to the yarn shop and bought 4 x 100g balls of Sirdar Wool-Rich Aran.  I didn't think I'd need all four balls, but he wanted a long scarf so he could fold it in half, wind it around his neck and pull the ends through it and still have enough length to dangle down his front.  Awkward?  Fussy?  Him?  Why on earth would you think that? :D

So, I cast on and started knitting.  And continued knitting, and knitting, and knitting.  It got to a decent-looking length and I showed it to him.  "It looks good - but it needs to be longer".  On I knitted and then showed it to him again; "still not long enough".  After about four weeks, I decided to stop asking him what he thought of the progress, made a fringe for one end (yes, he wanted a fringe as well), attached it, cut the yarn for the fringe at the other end and then just knitted until I'd finished the fourth ball of yarn, cast off and attached the fringe.

Now, I should say here that I did warn him that once I'd finished the yarn and it had a wash and was laid out to dry it would probably get longer because the pattern's a type of waffle stitch, but I don't think he believed me.

Anyway, I hung it over a coat hanger and he said he liked it.  I went off to work and came home five hours later to be told "my scarf's got longer" (because - obviously - it had expanded under its own weight).  I didn't know whether to laugh or bang my head on the wall.  In fact, just draped around the back of his neck and left to hang, the ends of the fringe reach nearly to his ankles.

So, one scarf for my husband, which he probably won't wear until next autumn, but at least it's done and out of the way (and I'm not knitting anything in burgundy for a while - it's not my favourite colour at the best of times).

Here it is:

A much easier make was my latest weaving project.  I warped my loom with some yellowy-cream, light pink and light blue DK acrylic, wound a ball of James C Brett Baby Marble DK onto a shuttle and off I went.  I'm really pleased with the result --- except --- I beat it (that's using the reed/heddle to push the weft/across yarn down onto the woven fabric) a bit too hard, so the fabric's stiffer than it should/could have been.  I think it's a fairly common beginner weaver thing.  However, all is not lost because, being acrylic, a quick wash cycle and drying it on the hotter setting of my tumble dryer has softened it up a bit, so it's still useable as a scarf.

This is destined for our knitting group's box of "items to be donated".  Last year, we knitted and crocheted ornaments for a Christmas tree to be displayed in the church local to the village hall where we meet each week.  This year, we've decided that our 'tree' will be decorated with accessories (hats, scarves, mittens, etc) which will then be donated to the Salvation Army and other charities, so our knitting has a purpose, so this scarf will be going into that box along with the orangey-red crocheted one I showed off a couple of posts ago,

Last week, I cast on two new knitting projects.  My first socks of the year are on the needles and I've also started a new jumper.  I'd planned on taking photos of them today, but.....

What a dreary day.  It's been raining since first thing this morning, the sky is drab and my house doesn't get enough natural light to take very good photos, especially as there's red involved in both projects (always difficult to photograph indoors).  I've also got another scarf on my loom - weaving is so much quicker than knitting or crocheting.

Hopefully the weather will brighten up tomorrow so I can get some decent shots.

In the meantime, I'm bracing myself for the Easter holidays.  DD2 has a non-pupil day tomorrow, so she'll be at home with me and I'm trying to think of something we can do to get her away from spending the entire day either playing on the Wii or using my laptop.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mothering Sunday

It's always been a bit of an unwritten rule in my family that presents for my Mum are not to be of the household/useful variety, but I'm hoping that she'll make an exception for this year's gift.

I've woven her three tea towels.  Actually, two tea towels and one small towel/large dishcloth (I had an issue with my loom and had to stop early - one of the strings that keeps everything tight against the back of the loom snapped, so the warp went wobbly).

I used King Cole Cottonsoft DK, as I did with the tea towels I made for myself, this time using blue and white.  I put a fairly long warp on the loom, using the weft to create a different pattern effect for each of the tea towels.

Each of the tea towels is photographed folded in half, so is double the length.

Quite traditional in pattern
Wider stripes

Blue only for the weft

Here are the three cloths, next to each other:

See how the plainer blue one is smaller than the other two?!

I hope Mum likes them but, because they're a 'household' present, I've also bought her two bars of Montezuma plain chocolate: Orange & Geranium and Sea Dog (lime & sea salt) flavours.

I finished weaving these on Tuesday and yesterday I hemmed them, which didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd expected as I had issues with my sewing machine.  I'm not sure if it's because it's not used that much, or if it simply needs a good clean out, but it wouldn't move forward in a straight line.  Oh well, I got there in the end and that's the main thing.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Weaving -- Tea Towels

Yes, I know it sounds a bit daft, weaving your own tea towels, but I'm still practising and thought something functional would be a good second weaving project.

Armed with some King Cole Cottonsoft DK yarn (a very nice cotton that comes in a decent range of colours), I warped up my loom.  I went with two colours; white and khaki (which is more of a toffee/dark beige than greeny-brown).

I warped the loom so it was mostly white, with a stripe of about two inches in the khaki on either side.  I also put on a warp that was long enough to make two tea towels, so I didn't have to go through the warping process twice (it takes quite a lot of time).

The first tea towel I made, I just used the white cotton for the weft, so the towel's white, with a stripe at either side.

I was a bit more ambitious with the second towel and put in three weft stripes of the khaki as well.

After I'd finished the weaving, I did a hem-stitch along each end (it's a bit like blanket stitch and stops the weaving from unravelling), then cut the fabric off the loom, carefully turned over a hem at each end and used my sewing machine to stitch the hems (I actually did two rows of machined straight stitch - I wasn't taking any chances).  I put the towels in the washing machine, put them through a quick cycle and then threw them in the tumble dryer on the hotter setting.  They shrank a little bit (about an inch in both length and width), but I expected that.

Here they are, folded into quarters:

Overall, I'm pleased with them and am thinking of making some more to give to my Mum for her Mothering Sunday present (although it dawned on me yesterday that that's only a fortnight away, so I'd better get cracking).  Even my husband commented that he likes them, although they did leave a bit of fluff on his fingers after he used one, but I get that with the tea towels I buy from Dunelm anyway, until they've been washed a couple of times, so I'm hoping it'll be same with these home-made ones.

As requested, here's a photo of my loom in action:

My loom is 32" wide, which is more than I needed for the tea towels, so I didn't warp the whole width.  I've been reading various threads and comments on Ravelry about using a wider loom for a narrower piece of weaving and how the heddle (the bit with the slots and holes) can wobble when being used for a narrower piece of fabric, and how to overcome that wobble (by putting in some warp threads at the edges of the heddle, but making sure they're not woven into the fabric).

My plans for my next weaving projects are tea towels for Mum, then a scarf using a self-patterning/striping yarn.  After that, I might have a go at weaving something with a bit of a pattern in it!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Simple Scarf

I had a couple of 100g balls of James C Brett Marble DK in a nice, bright, red/orange/yellow/green combo colourway in my stash of yarn.  I didn't remember buying it with any purpose in mind, so as I was in the mood to use some bright yarn in the post-festivity drabness of January, I got out a crochet hook (5mm), made a chain wide enough for a scarf and off I went, backwards and forwards, making treble (US double) after treble stitches, going between the stitches, much like the Vintage Vertical Stripe blanket pattern.  At the end of each row, I did something a little bit different to the blanket pattern, which gave a bit of a wavy edge to the scarf.

It didn't take long - just under three weeks and I was getting to grips with my weaving loom as well as knitting a hat as well.  I even added a fringe to the scarf -- something I've never (surprisingly, considering I've been knitting/crocheting for over 40 years) done before.

I quite like it.  Not that I'll be wearing it as I'm going to add it to my knitting group's box of items to be donated to various organisations for those who need them.

I've been doing some more weaving and have finished some tea-towels, so once I've washed and dried them (and probably ironed them so the photos will look better --- I'm not in a habit of ironing tea-towels, I promise!) I'll show them off to you.